Saturday, January 27, 2007

Things heard around here

This blog was supposed to be about the girls so I guess I should try a bit harder to include them! Here are some of the things heard around our place in the last few weeks.

Papoosie Girl
To her father, "Yes, I have thought about Mom's birthday, I have a list in my purse I just haven't got around to it yet."
Umm this doesn't sound like me at all...

To me, "Actually Mom, I think I probably know more about this than you."
Even if this was true, whatever, I am your mother. The word actually, appears at the beginning of many sentences these days.

Referring to the top bunk of bunk beds as, "the tippy tippy top."

Calling various things, "Gwoss."

Referring to short sleeve shirts as the, "up sleeves shirts."

Calling everyone in her pretend play, "sweetie-hon", and repeatedly telling her dolls/me to, "not touch it, not a bit, I can see you."

Telling me her yogurt is, "Minigo-ish."

Asking me, "Can I talk?"
After non-stop chatter, and both of them trying to have conversations with me at the same time in our van, I will occasionally say loudly, "no more talking." After a while Rosebud will ask if she can talk, Papoosie Girl however, can barely last a minute.

Telling everyone she watches Y&R all day. I do occasionally, watch the Young and the Restless however, I record it and watch it when the girls are in bed. They have never seen it, ever. If you ask her what her favourite show is she will often answer with Y&R.
It is so hard to remember all the funny, silly, eye-popping things that come out of their mouths. I am grateful they are so curious and want to talk to me, but, there are times I am sure my head will explode.

When they are young all you want is for them to talk, so they can tell you what hurts, for peeks into their personalities, to understand them. When it happens however, it can be another thing. Today they start talking the minute their eyes are open and often as I am tucking in Papoosie Girls she is still trying to tell me a story about something.

Right now Rosebud is napping, Papoosie Girl is out with her Daddy, and I am savouring the gentle sounds of the radio. I know this is a short-lived silence and I would not have it any other way. It sure is nice though, thoughts pop into my head and stay there, I can hear myself think. A real treat in my world.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Dishing out the truth

I think you are either blessed with children that eat* or sleep, not both. Sounds fairly simple, right? It is, and after no scientific study whatsoever and lots of my opinion and me studying all of our friends with children, this is the conclusion I have come to about this topic. This doesn't mean that children who sleep well eat nothing at all, or that children who sleep poorly eat liver and onions. Just in general, children are more inclined to be better at one over the other. That is the way it is in our house anyway.

*When referring to eating this does not apply to the true baby stage of nursing or formula. This applies to when babies turn into toddlers and preschoolers and can voice an opinion on their food preferences.

Mine are sleepers. I have been blessed with children that more or less have slept fairly well from early on. By about eight to ten weeks both girls slept through the night. By this, I mean had a feeding around 10pm or 11pm then slept to 5am or 6am ate and went back to sleep for a bit more. They napped with great regularity with two solid naps a day then down to one. Rosebud at 3 years old still naps about two hours every afternoon.

That is not to say we didn't experience nights from hell. When Papoosie Girl had colic she slept wherever and whenever she wanted. That included, but was not limited to, the car seat, swing, and stroller. We took her for car rides to put her to sleep many nights. We also had teething set backs, nightmares, and changes in routine. When I returned to work after my eight month maternity leave, I slept on Papoosie Girl's floor on an inflatable mattress for a week, otherwise she screamed for hours.

In general though, whatever setback we experienced we were always able to get back on track. My girls went to sleep awake, fell asleep and stayed asleep with great predictability. Sleep was something that came easily and when it didn't we were able to tough it out and get them back on track fairly easily. I did let them CIO (cry it out) occasionally, and they generally slept by themselves in their own rooms. I am not a big Family Bed proponent but, I do have friends who do it and I completely respect their decision (especially for those nursing.) Personally, it is just not for me. One, I need my sleep or am not a functioning person and I was afraid I would roll on them or somehow squish them. While I wasn't a crazed Ferber follower we did follow that mindset when treating any sleep issues. The idea being we would help them figure out how to get to sleep as opposed to doing it for them.

So they sleep, great. Now everyone is mad at us. Not so fast, life cannot really be that rosy. Although they do sleep and go to bed by 8pm every night with absolutely no fuss we pay a price. Our food situation is not exactly as show-stopping.

Up until the age of two Papoosie Girl ate just about everything you gave her. She ate meat, veggies and fruit with no qualms. She was never a fan of peaches and pears (still is not) and did not like peas (I swear I had nothing to do with that.) She ate regular meals with regular food and life was good. She could eat an entire chicken breast and we started ordering entrees for her in restaurants because I was tired of sharing and starving. I remember being in a restaurant and another mother asking me how I got her to eat "real" chicken. At the time, I remember feeling slight smugness telling her she didn't even know what a "nugget" was. Of course, that same mother would see us now and laugh. Papoosie Girl did not have a potato chip until she was three years old. With the first one I was able to control what she ate fairly well.

At around the age of two Papoosie Girl started to become "picky". When I look back now I realize it was a gradual process and something that should have been addressed at the time, not now after the fact. First it was meat, then certain vegetables, then certain fruits. Soon she had a menu of about five foods she would eat and they were mostly some form of a white carb. By the age of three she lived on her Yia Yia's homemade chicken rice soup (her only meat), grilled cheese, pancakes, french toast, scrambled eggs, macaroni with cheese, spaghetti and Parmesan, and very few veggies or fruits and absolutely no meat other than what was in the soup. Oh, she loved cookies and treats but, healthy food choices were a struggle. She also had issues with texture and no matter how much we minced things she would just not be able to eat sometimes.

Our doctor was never overly concerned about this and said that the more you force the more a toddler will resist. He told stories of kids eating one or two foods for months and they were perfectly fine. So, between my internet self-diagnosis of the problem, his advice and parenting books all echoing the same thing, I didn't obsess too much, not an easy feat for me either.

By now Rosebud was born and we were busier and more tired and it just became easier to let her eat what she wanted. Most nights hubby works past the dinner hour so it would just be me and Papoosie Girl, it seemed to exhausting to make a lovely healthy supper for two that would be diligently ignored by one of the guests. I either ate what she ate with a salad on the side or whatever yummy food my mother-in-law packed for me at my last visit.

Rosebud followed a similar pattern of being a great eater until the age of two. Then the same gradual process started to unfold. During these two years I would go on a rampage even now and then and would cook only healthy food for everyone and insist they eat/try everything. This would last a week or so and I would get tired of tossing meals out and I would go back to making them what they wanted. I would hear of families that made one dinner for everyone and the kids ate everything the adults ate, I could lie, but that would not be remotely close to, "dishing out the truth." Truth was I did not make one meal, hardly ever. The only meal we ate together was (whole wheat) spaghetti, hold the sauce for Papoosie Girl. I personally know children who eat any and everything you put in front of them, I am always amazed to see kids scarfing down grilled salmon or asparagus.

As Papoosie Girl got older we started a reward system. If she ate meat or tried a new fruit or vegetable she got a sticker on the calendar. After 10 stickers - give or take - a trip to Woodbine Mall for some rides. This has worked very well with her and she now regularly eats many of the foods we originally tried. She eats fruit now and a few veggies and although meat is still a struggle we are working on it. Her personality is suited to this reward system and after many discussions about healthy eating and studying the food pyramid she gets it. She understands now that when we put healthy things in our bodies you become a healthy person.

This strategy has not worked so well for Rosebud. She is much more stubborn and not so much a pleaser as Papoosie Girl. You can put a box of Smarties on the table and tell her if she just tastes the orange she gets them. She will tell you, "I really don't like Smarties" and walk away. She will never have a fit or beg for the treat just dismiss the whole event. I even tried a fruit party with hats, balloons, the whole works, Rosebud would not try a single fruit. She will tell you she will eat it when she is bigger, maybe when I'm four she will say.

People always assumed we were giving our girls lots of snacks but, that was not the case either. They hardly ever ate between meals. We have friends whose children cannot go twenty minutes without eating something, whether it is fruit or cereal bars or Minigo. They are constantly eating something which is something my girls never do, in fact, they could easily skip meals if you didn't prompt them.

Where is this all going? I guess I am just trying to figure out how hard I want to draw the line in the sand. I have dear friend who grew up like me an only child and meals were a battleground. She vividly remembers sitting at the table gagging down food with her stomach in knots. All the focus was on her and she remembers the horrible feeling of staring at her plate night after night. I would never subject my kids to such torture of course, but is it say mean to force a few bites of a food I know they like? We have talked about healthy food, read books and made collages, painted pictures, and created food animals and people but ultimately, I cannot eat for them. This is a power struggle of epic proportions and I just don't want to engage that way with them.

There are no definitive answers here folks, sorry. I think we are on our way to a healthier eating plan but we have a ways to go. I am so proud of Papoosie Girl for trying new foods, I know it is still hard for her and I blame myself for letting it get so out of hand. I don't want to spend the rest of their childhood trying to figure out how to "hide and disguise" food. I want mealtimes to be about sometimes having your favourites and sometimes having things that are not your favourite. I try to not describe food as good or bad, just healthy or not really healthy. They both understand that before anything not so healthy can be eaten you must fill up on healthy first. They understand that they will be strong and well if they do that, but actually doing it is sometimes a struggle. I don't want food to be the enemy, I worry they will fall into bigger food issues as they get older.

I hope that Rosebud follows her big sister's lead and there are signs of progress, a couple of nights ago she ate some salad! Rosebud is suffering from some constipation issues right now after her five days of stomach flu the first week of January and three days later a fractured foot she has just not been eating or moving enough to keep things moving. The doctor told us today we have to put her on stool softeners and natural laxatives to help things along at least until the blockages move out. If this isn't motivation enough to get us eating better I don't know what is. Watching her suffer with stomach pain and a bloated tummy is horrible.

So, the sleepers want kids who eat and the eaters want kids who sleep once in a while. I just want two healthy little girls who enjoy meals. When Papoosie Girl gets excited about Raspberry salad dressing and Rosebud eats a huge bowl of whole wheat spaghetti covered in vegetable rich sauce I know I am doing good job. I want more of that and once in a while I think I would trade a good nights sleep for it. Well, once in a while anyway.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Then it was pink

We visited the Fracture Clinic today and we are with cast still. After a brief debate we settled on pink for our new cast. We go back again in two weeks to have it removed. So I remain Rosebud's chief form of transportation for a little while longer. I am booking my massage now.

As you can see she is not terribly concerned by it all!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Casting call

Many people comment that Rosebud is our "boy" something about her toughness that prompts this comment. I realize it is so ridiculous since we have so many sensitive boys and scrappy little girls around us (and vice versa for that matter) that it is probably all hogwash. None the less people say this to us. It is like they think I mind that I have two girls so having one sort of like a boy makes it better. I find it all kind of funny but, usually keep my comments to myself. Stay out of trouble that way.

If you knew Papoosie Girl you would know she is so stubborn (hubby's side for sure) she never backs down...she will fall on her magic fairy wand first. And, if you really knew her you would know she has two left feet. She walks into walls and trips over her own feet with great regularity. We actually put foam stripping around our half wall leading out of our kitchen since she used to walk into head first over and over. Hubby wanted to buy this foam helmet we found at WalMart when she was one or two and make her wear it all the time. We didn't but, many a goose-egg later we regretted it.

An example of her grace:

Papoosie Girl: I have to pee.
Me: OK go pee...
Walking up hallway completely empty, not a single thing on the floor.


Me: What happened!!
Papoosie Girl: I was walking along and then I fell. Sob. Cry.
Me: What?! What did you fall on?
Papoosie Girl: I don't know. More sob and cry.
Me: So you were just walking along and then you were on the floor?
Papoosie Girl: I think so.
Me: [In my head, good grief] Well, let's see the damage...big bruise on knee, hand is a bit mangled but you will survive. And, oh yeah go pee.

Now that she is six and wears glasses things are no better I assure you. So that leads us to Monday night. Never in our wildest dreams did we think Rosebud would be the first to break something. The whole event is so tragically boring - she jumped HOLDING her Dad's hand from the second last step to the landing. She immediately crumbled to the floor and from the look on her face and serious crying we knew something was wrong.

We put an icepack and gave her some Advil and after an episode of Max & Ruby she fell asleep on the sofa. Deciding not to move her we left her and she slept most of the night despite the bulge on the top of her foot. We debated taking her to ER then but decided to wait until morning and see how things were looking. In the morning the bulge was the same and she would not let us touch it or try to walk on it so off to ER we go. It was actually fairly painless, a bit of waiting, an x-ray, and the doctor telling us we needed a cast. Uh. Excuse me? She has a growth plate fracture, or Salter fracture I was told. She will need a temporary plaster cast and in a week they will take it off and re-evaluate. If it seems fine we are done, if not it will be re-casted for about 4 weeks. Yikes.

Have you tried bathing a child with a cast? My back is already spasming from carrying her everywhere. I know it could be so much worse so really I am not complaining, well, not a lot anyway.

Guess what else? According to the doctor and Google they occur twice as often in boys.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Meme too

Holy moly my first meme. Thanks Alpha Dogma for the tag...I feel a little sick following your glorious first attempt. If anyone thinks my first attempt pales in comparison come back after a few glasses of wine.

1. Do you like the look and the contents of your blog?

Actually, yes. I did a bit of tinkering the other day and I like the format (colours remained the same) and the labels. The labels are fun. Content is a work in progress. I like everything so far but, understand there is room (a few continents wide) for improvement.

2. Does your family know about your blog?

Yes and no. Whew, that covers it then?! My sister who is teaching in Seoul knows about it since one of my original reasons for starting my blog was for her to keep track of us. My hubby knows about it and that is about it. I have mentioned I have a blog to a few by accident but have never given out any info. I'm not really sure what their reactions would be and certainly don't want to find out. On a subconscious level I have kept it fairly neutral, there is always that "what if they find out" in the back of my mind.

3. Can you tell your friends about your blog?

As mentioned above I have told a few people by accident but, no none of my friends know about my blog in terms of how to find it.

4. Do you just read the blogs of those who comment on your blog?

Gosh no. I read tons, more than are on my blog roll and they have no idea I exist. I read what I like and that includes those who comment but, by no means is that all I read.

5. Did your blog positively affect your mind?
Oh yeah! I am insanely happy I can still string together a few sentences and cobble together something coherent once in a while. Mommy brain can be a silent but deadly condition.

6. What does the number of visitors to your blog mean?

They like me, they really like me! Seriously, it is so wonderful that someone would take the time to read anything I have written, then take the time to comment. It makes me feel all yummy just thinking about it. I have met the most wonderful people and for that I am grateful.

7. Do you imagine what other bloggers look like?
Not really. Although, I sometimes wonder about their kids. And, I sometimes think about running into certain bloggers at say the mall or a restaurant. How I would know it is them I am not sure. Then again some bloggers have posted their photos lately so maybe that is why I am not really preoccupied.

8. Do you think blogging has any real benefit?

Absolutely. If nothing else I enjoy it. My writing is improving, well maybe not to overstate, it is not getting worse. I am trying to get over my dash addiction - not easy mind you. Crappy punctuation pisses people off so I am trying to study all of Bub and Pie's posts.

9. Do you think that the blogosphere is a stand alone community separated from the real world?

Hmmn. Is this a trick question? Isn't it us people in the "real world" that make up this "stand alone community"? I'll leave this for the smart people to answer.

10. Do some political blogs scare you? Do you avoid them?

Honestly, I don't avoid them but I have never been to one either. I enjoy when mommy bloggers use their blogs for something other than poop stories once in a while but, I would never seek out a political blog. I guess the closest thing would be I love watching the Daily Show.

11. Do you think that criticizing your blog is useful?

Georgia peach. I bruise easily.

12. Have you ever thought about what would happen to your blog in case you died?

Not even once until I read this meme.

13. Which blogger had the greatest impression on you?

To be fair (which unfortunately makes me sound horribly lame) I had never visited a blog in my life until I found Catherine Newman's after she left Baby Centre. I was dazzled by this first introduction and I was not happy until I had my own. As for the present, I would have to say Bub and Pie. She captures life with such lively wit and serves it up with a depth of character that makes me embarrassed sometimes to even have a blog.

14. Which blogger do you think is the most similar to you?

Yikes. Well, since Alpha Dogma and I started our blogs at roughly the same time and stumbled upon each other, I will say AD. I do see myself in countless others, the good and the bad. I think that it what draws us in and keeps us coming back. The idea that you are not alone and there are parents all over feeling what you are feeling. It compels you to come back for more.

15. Name a song you want to listen to?

Right now? Why is this the hardest question? How about Green Day's Time of Your Life.

I guess it is my turn to tag someone but I think I have seen this on every blog I read. No tags for today just adding to the fun.

Monday, January 08, 2007

It's all about the shoes

Now I'm just toying with you.

I am not sure if I am more surprised that I wanted to do this or that I actually did it. I must say I still love my wedding shoes as important as that can be in the grand scheme.

I not only had to navigate my new digital camera, I had to get the photos out of said camera, and finally had to get them on here. For the record, there are very few people bloggers and non alike that would motivate me to go to such great lengths.

The way I see it is I will not have time to work on my Masters for many years. If I keep Bub and Pie happy then I will be much smarter without all the pesky textbooks, novels, studying and essays. I benefit greatly and appear oh so much smarter. Good deal right?!

For you Bub and Pie.


Sorry for any confusion today...

I have changed my blog over to the Google Account thing, added labels to all my posts, and started my very own blogroll!

In my very recent blog life I have been a bit neglectful (and frankly afraid of such things) so these are major milestones for me. Sorry if this has caused any readers to wonder if they slipped into another blog dimension as things changed around them.

The problem is this is sooo addictive I cannot stop. I think I have reached a level of satisfaction for now so hopefully no more major changes for awhile. Or, maybe not.

Back to business.

Wedding Shoes

This will make no sense for most readers, like there are so many! I promised Bub & Pie a photo of my wedding shoes. Creamy white Kenneth Cole pumps with silk Stephanotis flowers on them. I realize now that you can't really see them all that well. Maybe one day I will take them out of their box and shoot them up close, for now this is what I have.

I hope you can see how lovely they were. I still love them and my husband, both good I would say.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Mall Rat

Today I went to Sherway Gardens all by myself. Not in the sense that I needed to hold someones hand while driving or get permission to take the car but, alone. We sometimes visit this mall - the rich mall is what we call it. The moniker is simply based on the fact that there is no Zellers, WalMart or Dollar Store. There are stores you read about in magazines and lots of lovely pretty things to look at.

I had to exchange a Christmas gift from hubby and since Rosebud is still throwing up occasionally 5 days later we can't really take her out of the house. The girls love this mall though as it is one of the few left with water features. My girls are so easily entertained with a handful of pennies and these water features.

I remember when I was younger just about every mall had fountains and water. Fairview Mall had great fountains that raised and lowered and had nice marble around them (well it looked like marble) to sit on and admire the show. Scarborough Town had the coolest with miniature hot air balloons over the water that went up to the second story of the mall and back down again. Scarborough Town Centre also had a restaurant called Obie's and some of my fondest memories of my Grandmother are from breakfasts at Obie's on my weekends with my Dad. They used to give kids a paper crown with feathers to wear and at the end of the meal you could pick a ring (not sure what they did for boys mind you) from a bowl and boy did I love those rings! I digress, back to today.

Me at Obie's!

I suppose these water features are not exactly easy to maintain or the most hygienic so perhaps that is why so few malls have them nowadays. We enjoy our trips to Sherway and listening to the wishes the girls come up with - if they tell us that is. Papoosie Girl is very superstitious about the "telling" and the potential for the wish not to come true.

As I wandered around I had a chance to visit those stores that we tend to avoid or peruse very quickly when the girls are around. I had a leisurely browse through Williams and Sonoma and discovered that I am easily dazzled by pretty packaging and lovely scents. Who needs twenty dollar marshmallows? But, oh that gorgeous tin! After venturing into a few stores before heading home feeling a tad guilty for not exactly rushing, even after hubby suggested I get myself lunch and take my time I realized something. Why is it that even when I am alone do I notice every pregnant couple, family with a new baby, and families in general?

I was surrounded by so many people with babies and all I could do was think of things to say to them. To the expecting couple in Pottery Barn Kids no it will not matter that your linens have been discontinued, yes, those other bumpers match fine. Really, save your energy. Your life is about to change in ways you can never imagine, your heart will swell and break into a million pieces every day and it won't matter if your lavender bumpers are in the same linen family the first time junior barfs on them.

To all the couples with their brand new babies and million dollar strollers so shiny and new - just you wait. Junior may not be shrieking or grabbing or peeing on the floor but he will. That smugness of, look we can still shop and do what we want will quickly vanish once junior is a little more mobile.

But mostly what I think I wanted to say was, me too! To the Mom piling on more Goldfish on the stroller tray, to the Dad trying furiously to bend juniors ramrod body back into a stroller, and to the Mom so frazzled she declared they were leaving - now. I wanted to say I'm not really a woman of leisure, I don't have free time, I'm not really like this in real life, I'm, I'm a Mom too! It is so strange to me that this part of me has simply become me. It is so undeniably a part of who I am I cannot even separate for a solitary trip to the mall.

Does this mean I am lost I wonder out loud. I don't think so. I think I am exactly who I am meant to be. I will sleep later, I will read real books later, I will catch up on movies later, I will be the other me later or maybe never. Now I am Mom. With great pride I relish this role and all the angst, frustration, occasional boredom and profound fulfillment it brings.

My love for my girls causes me a physical ache and most of the time I operate with a sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop. The moments of true bliss, walking along the beach picking up shells with Papoosie Girl as our cups burst with keepers with not a watch or a worry in site. Or, picking apples in the September sun, as Rosebud picks apples faster than anyone and fills her basket to the brim and proclaims with each apple, I am not eating any OK? These are the moments you cannot imagine even existing before you had children. They make the memories of your old life look like fading postcards. These are so real and vivid and the wide eyed lust for life evident on these tiny faces makes you wonder what you found so important before. Not that I don't have so many wonderful memories of the past but, none are so sharp and all encompassing as those with my girls and shared with hubby. We marvel that we made these girls, we made these miracles - imagine we did it twice!

They are the love of my life and even a trip to the mall can seem uneventful without them. It is funny what you can find at the mall these days.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Uncle Bill

Baptism Day 1971

This has been a very strange holiday season for us. My beloved Godfather known as Uncle Bill passed away suddenly on December 19, 2006. Suddenly, the week that was supposed to be last minute Christmas preparations, baking and shopping was turned upside down. I was grateful to make it to the hospital before he passed away...the last thing I told him was that I loved him and would come back after dinner. He passed away at 3pm there was no after dinner.

The last time I saw him was the week prior when he and my Godmother Aunt Lil dropped by my place after having lunch with some friends. He brought my girls the book Marsupial Sue that he got in his cereal box. Despite having grandchildren that numbered into the twenties I was always a very special part of this family. And in turn, my girls became a part of this.

We quickly made arrangements and Friday night held his funeral. Which, by all accounts was an upbeat kind of affair. Everyone had such nice funny stories to share, he would have loved it. My Aunt is coping so well although I am sure the shock of it all is still so fresh. She has been keeping busy and taking care of the endless paperwork that seems to accompany such an event. I will miss him so much, he was a second father to me and my Godparents doted on me in a way parents can't.

Our relationship was special. My parents divorced when I was very young and while both my Mom and Dad remarried when I was ten years old, my Godparents were my constant. Life goes on and there were more divorces a much desired brother and sister from my father's second marriage, and my Godparents. My Mom and Dad were friends with my future Godparents and they lived in the same apartment building in North York, on Underhill Drive. At some points they all worked with each other and they were fast becoming dear friends.

My Mom stopped by their apartment on the way to the hospital for tea. My Mom felt that at 6 weeks away from her due date she had plenty of time for tea despite the fact her water had broke. In the photo below she is in my Godparents apartment and on her way to the hospital! She crocheted the scarf and hat and my Godmother, Aunt Lil had a matching set. My Mother managed to make dinner, clean up and have tea before proceeding to the hospital. Unbelievable.

Mom on her way to the hospital

My Uncle Bill was at my Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, trips to the zoo, trips to see Santa, my highschool graduation, my university graduation, camping, every birthday party, my wedding where he spoke for me, and all my girls birthday parties. All my friends loved Uncle Bill. When I was ten and broke my arm he drew with markers the most beautiful butterfly on my cast. I distinctly remember the fit I threw when the cast had to be changed. Of course, Uncle Bill drew me another. Hubby remarked as I started to look at photos that the only word to describe my Godparents love and attention was devotion. I was the little girl they never had and I knew it. Not in a bratty way I just new I was loved and doted on and felt extremely special. There is not a single childhood milestone they were not a part of which is remarkable. I was so lucky to have such a constant presence of love in my life. I wish it dearly for my girls. I worry they won't have that one special relative or friend that is their Uncle Bill and Aunt Lil.

Sweet 16 dinner at The Keg, note the earrings and necklace - not to mention the bad eyeliner!

It is Papoosie Girl who has been able to comprehend and digest this better than the rest of us with frequent proclamations of, "I'm sad for Uncle Bill" or "I'm sad that Aunt Lil is sad." Me too sweetie, me too.

Now it is well into the New Year and we must move on. As we struggle through the barfing flu at our house I am reminded that this too shall pass and in a week or so I won't even remember the 8 hours where there was at least one child throwing up every fifteen minutes. What I will always remember with love and fondness is my Uncle Bill with his earring, ponytail, his incredible artistic abilities and affection for a nice dark rum. How he could play the spoons and loved eagles and always dressed so spiffy.

Time will march on but Uncle Bill will forever be in my heart.