Friday, June 4, 2010

You Say Frog, I Say Blog

Nauseous. There’s really no other way to put it. I knew there was a mouse in the pool filter, and sadly, I have known it for awhile. When I decided to finally get rid of it, I noticed there were a couple of frogs in there as well. Great.

The handle to the filter basket is missing, so the only way to get the basket out is to slide your fingernail down between the basket and the wall in an attempt to wiggle it out. You should know that while the wiggling is going on, my hand will have to be submersed in the water, which is sloshing the items in the basket to and fro…to and fro against my hand. Get my problem?

I’ve looked in the basket many times, trying to psych myself up enough to just do it, but I always walked away defeated. Yesterday, I tried again. I reached in and pulled out. I reached back in and pulled back out. There was no way!

Later, Rylee and our 11 year old neighbor were swimming, and they decided they were going to get it out. Yes! Reinforcements! I watch them with a toy shovel, digging down into the filter, unable to retrieve any of the varmints. In fact, the shovel was actual dismantling the frog, making the situation a little worse. We gave up.

Today, while I was working out in the garden, Rylee noticed another frog swimming, yes swimming, in the pool. I could either get it out now, or I could wait until it’s dead and drifts into the filter, but then my problem still isn’t resolved. So, I grab the pool net and chase after the frog, which is as afraid as I am. My fear was due to the frog’s ability to hop, jump, no, leap at me. I drug the poor little thing under water the length of the pool and then flung the next up through the water and over the fence with epic force. Gone. Long gone with the ferocity of my throw.

Okay, so then I thought, let’s tackle the filter. I can do this. I really can. Then I looked inside at the claws of the mouse and the legs of the frog, and politely closed the lid again. ‘I can’t do this,” I thought, but then Rylee uttered a simple statement that was so wise: “”Mama, if you want to do it, you can do it.”

Wow! My little cheerleader said something so simple, yet so difficult. I wanted to do it, but I couldn’t do it. Or could I? I put on a gardener’s glove and reached down to get the basket. It took a few shakes, but I finally yanked it out. The frog was looking at me, but I pressed on. The mouse was a furry mess, but I pressed on. I ran to open the back gate and dumped the basket. Due to my procrastination, the dern things were pressed to the sides, so I had to shake and roll the basket before they would disengage.

I walked away a little cocky, forgetting about the million other times I had attempted to do it and failed. But, I hadn't failed this time. I placed the clean basket back in the filter, and I was smiling. I felt accomplished because “I wanted to do it, so I did.”

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Running the Race

It was time for another challenge, so I registered for another 5K. I knew it would be a struggle because I hadn't been running and keeping in shape after the other 5Ks, and this one was on a cold, December day, which didn't excite me at all. However, in the end, this race proved to be far more rewarding.

This time, Rylee joined me for the race. I should point out that at the last minute, due to the cold, rainy weather and my inability to train in time, I opted out of the 5K and settled for the one mile Reindeer Dash that preceded the longer race. Little did I know that this shorter trek would take me much farther than I had expected.

We bundled up to shield ourselves from the cold air and took our place at the starting line. I didn't really know what to expect from Rylee, but I did think that perhaps she wouldn't be able to run the entire mile; nevertheless, I was hopeful, mainly because I knew that I wouldn't be able to carry her the entire way.

The gun went off, so we started to run. I saw her little braids swinging back and forth as she took off with excitement. We ran through the parking lot, out of the park and down the road. As we ran with a group of people, Rylee suddenly sped off without me, ducking and weaving between people. As I struggled, gracefully, to catch up to her, she simply explained, "I had to get around all those slow people." She didn't realize, I guess, that I was one of those slow people, now huffing from the sprint.

We ran down passed the government building and looped back around, heading back to the park. About halfway into the mile, I could tell she was getting tired.

"Mama, can you hold me?"

"I can for just a second while you catch your breath and rest your legs, but then I'm going to have to put you down."

So, I picked her up and carried her for a few yards, while she rested her chin on my shoulder.

"Okay, you're going to have to walk now."

She started to run again, and we were on our way back towards the park. Along the way, she began to strip off her hat and Rudolph nose when they became burdensome and gave them to me to carry. She ran and then walked and then ran again, never again asking for any assistance. I kept encouraging her: "You can do it, sweetheart. We're almost there. It's not far now." She kept running, her little face showing fatigue, but again, she never once complained. As we made our way back up the parking lot, I promised her, "The end is almost here. It's so much fun. People cheer you on while you run through the flags. You are going to love it!" Her eyes lit up, and she ran harder.

We made our way through the crowd getting ready for the 5K and began our descent down the final stretch. We could see the finish line.

"There it is, Rylee! We're here! Run, sweetheart!"

Those little legs never stopped. She made it! She crossed the finish line and received her ribbon. We stopped for a picture, and than I squeezed her and told her how proud I was.

"I want to go ride the ponies," she said, already recovered from the race.

As we walked away, I couldn't help but cry. The tears welled up in my eyes, and all I could think was, "She didn't give up." I reflected on her face toward the end of the run, completely exhausted, and that little girl wanted to see the end, the place where the people cheered her on and she received her prize.

I cried for her endurance: I cried for her ability to reap the reward; I mainly cried because I saw her run with perseverance the race that was set before her.

It reminded me how I have been running a race this last year, and I'm exhausted. And there have been times when I couldn't take another step, so Jesus picked me up to rest snd then put me back down, knowing that I could finish the race. When burdens began to hinder my success, He carried them for me.

Yes, I cried. I cried for many reasons that day, but mainly I cried because Jesus used my little girl to remind me that He has given me the strength to persevere to the end of the race where my reward is waiting.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Little White Lies: A Mother's Survival

It's been awhile since I have blogged. I have no excuse, except that I'm busy with life. However, this past weekend I took Rylee to Jungle Jumpers, and while I was climbing up a ladder, I thought, "This is a blogging moment!"

I observed many things throughout the two hours, but I suppose the most important thing is that I am too old and too out of shape to keep up with a four year old.

We were the only ones there, so naturally I decided I could hang with Rylee. How hard is it to climb up a small ladder and slide down? Well, extremely hard, if you really want to know.

The little blocks that are the steps up the ladder are made for feet with tiny toes. As I'm lifting up my weight from step to step, I feel my toes bending backwards at the joints, unable to sustain the pressure. For fear of permanent damage, I try, as much as possible, to lift the majority of the weight with my biceps. (By the way, that damage isn't felt instantly like the backward-jointed toes; that damage is felt the next day when I try to lift my arm and squeal from the pain.)

I slide down and run to the next jumpy, which again has steps. (Yippee) This time, though, I had problems sliding down. I decide to go head first, which sounds fun and youthful, but as I start to slide, gravity keeps my arms back and I proceed to slide down on my chin, dragging the rest of my body behind me. It wasn't graceful, and I must add, it wasn't painless either.

Then we run, slowly, to the next jumpy where Rylee wants me to bounce her really high. Yes, that's fun, until the fifteenth jump, when my thigh muscles clinch up and won't extend. I drop to the floor in an attempt to let them relax a second, which a 4 year old does NOT comprehend.

On to the next slide (with steps...tears, glistening in my eyes)...Did you know it was possible to get jumpy burn on the way down? It most definitely is. My knee has a nice war wound to match my elbow.

But I press on...going under and over and through obstacles only to end up at the bottom of a tall ladder (with steps) that take me to the top of a huge slide, where I swear I left a layer of my epidermis. All the twisting and twirling through the obstacles keeps making my shirts roll up like a scroll. "Mama, your belly is showing."

"I know, I know," I say as I try to rearrange my shirt and dig out yet another wedgie.

I'm hurting. It's been two days since we left that jumpy place, and my arms are still aching and my toes just aren't quite right, but Rylee had much fun she wanted to go back the next day.

"Oh, sorry's closed today."

No, I do not feel guilty about that lie...not at all.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"Mama, you sound like an elephant!"

I'm glad I've given myself a few hours to recuperate after my traumatic morning because I don't know what emotional blabberings I would have blogged had I done so directly after the event. I plan to relay this horrific event just as I experienced, thoughts and all. Here it goes...

Rylee is sleeping soundly in my bed while I am applying make-up as I get ready for church. I've been up for 30 minutes, letting her sleep just a bit longer. I've taken my shower and have almost completed the make-up process, except for a bit of lipstick. I dig in my drawer trying to find the right shade, when all of a sudden, the house alarm erupts. Unclothed, I run to the bedroom door, slam it shut, and lock it, knowing that I have created at least one more obstacle between the intruder and us. The whole time I am screaming, "WHO IS HERE?!! WHO IS HERE?!"

Someone is. I hear him running through the house, obviously frightened of the blaring alarm, which I refuse to turn off until I know help is on the way. I grab the phone to dial 911, but there is no dial tone. He has cut the phone line! I'm screaming with a voice so stricken with panic, "WHO IS IT?!!! WHO IS IN MY HOUSE?!!" I can't believe this is happening. It's my worst fear, and here I am
alone in the house, facing an intruder.

It is only now that I reach for Rylee to make sure she is okay, but she is gone. She is gone! I swing open the door and run down the hall into the living room,


No answer, except the alarm screaming through the house. I panicked! Where is she? Did he take her?

I rush to the back door and notice the deadbolt is still locked. Rational thought begins to invade my highly emotional being and I realize something...Gilfore. Gilfore the turtle. GILFORE THE TURTLE!

I hear Rylee whimpering amidst the house alarm (yes, still blaring) and I scream for her. I can't find her anywhere. I run back down the hallway and find her in her room, covering her ears, crying.

"Rylee, did you open the back door?"

Crying, she nods her head, still with her hands shielding her ears from the blasts.

"Rylee, you opened the door?"

"Yes," she says.

I run to turn the alarm off, just as the alarm service is calling to make sure all is okay. I give them the password, letting them know not to send anyone.

I grab Rylee, my heart still racing and my hands still shaking. Tears begin to well up in my eyes as I hold her tight. She, still shocked from the experience, has tears in her eyes.

"Rylee, why did you open the back door?"

Quietly and with the sweetest voice, "You said I could feed Gilfore in the morning."

I held her tight in disbelief and relief, allowing the last few minutes to sink in. We sit for a minute before Rylee rebounds quicker than I, saying,

"Mama, you sound like an elephant."

"What?! How do I sound like an elephant?!"

She mimics my breathing, "Hee hoo, hee hoo. You sound like an elephant breathing."

I laugh and I cry, more from relief now that the whole thing is over. I set her down, fix her some cereal, and turn on Mickey Mouse for her to watch.

I return to my bathroom, and shakily, find my lipstick in the drawer.

Friday, July 10, 2009


It's been awhile since I have blogged. I thought I would keep it up when summer came around, you know with all my free time, but I have deduced that I am more motivated to blog when I have a stack of papers to grade. So why am I blogging now? I have a bathroom to clean...

I have had a drama-filled morning, so I thought that blogging would give me an outlet, a relief of tension, a method of relaxation, if you will.

The Friday morning started as usual: woke up, ate breakfast, played around. Then I had the great idea to run, which is very hard to do with a 4 year old, but I thought perhaps she could ride her bike, while I jogged along beside her. I thought it was a great idea; she thought is was a great idea; it was NOT a great idea.

We started out the back door, Rylee on her bike, me with my water and phone in hand (in case we were attacked my a stranger, a dog, a vicious bird). We were having fun, walking and running and riding, until we reached the hill. Or I should say, The Hill.

Rylee took her feet off the pedals and coasted down The Hill, and it was about 20 feet into the free fall that I became aware of her increasing speed and my inability to reach her if she was unable to sustain her balance. I started calling, "Rylee! Rylee, slow down!" But she continued her descent. I started jogging, and yelling, "Rylee! Hit the brakes!" But her speed only grew more intense. I yelled one more time, "RYLEE! RYLEE!!" She finally put her feet down, beginning her 5 second attempt to stop the bike.

Her legs flung out to the side, she slid backwards off the bike, still holding the handle bars, bless her heart. The bike drug her a few feet before the front wheel began to topple side to side, causing her hands to release from the front bars. She fell to the ground, the bike fell on top of her, and then the descent was over.

I came running up to her, laughing, yes, laughing because I couldn't get those last 5 seconds out of my head. A still shot of her would look like she was caught in a wind storm and she was holding on for dear life while her body flung horizontally over her bike. Yes, it was funny.

"Rylee, are you okay?" I managed to squeak out.
"Yes. I couldn't stop," she said in shock.
"Why didn't you hit the brakes?"
"I couldn't do it. I was going too fast."
"Do you want to go back home?"
"No, I am okay. I didn't get hurt."
"Okay, good. That was sort of funny, though."
"Uh,oh," she says, her voice shaking.

I looked down and saw what she saw: a quarter-sized bloody spot on the inside of her knee where she made contact with the road before the bike fell on top of her.

That was it. The laughing was over. She started crying, I mean, screaming, I mean, wailing because the pain. Automatically, her leg was not functional, so she continued to wail while balancing on one leg.

I had quite a dilemma. We were about half a mile from the house, down a hill, in a remote place. I thought I could carry her back, but I had her bike, my phone, and my water to think about as well. I called for reinforcements.

Rylee's dad couldn't get there for ten minutes, which really isn't that long, unless you have a 4 year old wailing on the side of the road in 80 degree weather, then 10 minutes is a very long time, almost eternal. About five minutes into the wait, I decided to make the walk back to the house. I stashed the bike in the woods, chunked my water, and picked up Rylee, who decided to go limp at the point of contact.

I start walking up The Hill, and about half way up, my breathing gets a bit heavier. Sweat is dripping off of me, which gets worse because Rylee sporatically is beating me on the back because the pain is so intense. My breathing gets louder, and through her screams, I notice her looking up at me, probably even more afraid of the sounds coming out of me. But I press on...

I get to the top of The Hill and feel successful...for a short second, because I know I have a loooong way to go, and the rest of the trip is in the direct sun. But that wasn't the worst; every time the wind hit her scratch, I mean, wound, I mean, death-inducing gash, she screams, tightens up, and beats me on the back.

Now, I know the girl was in pain. Heck, at this point, I was in pain, but there was no way I could make the pain, for either of us, go away.

"Honey, I can't do that!"
With more intensity, "MAKE THE WIND STAAAAH-OPPP! IT HU-URTS!"

As a mother, I wish I could have. As a mother, holding 35 pounds of a wailing mess, I desperately wish I could have. But I couldn't, and I also couldn't walk anymore.

I found some shade off on the side of the road, and, defeated, waited for her dad. He had found the hidden bike and came to take us home. She cried off and on for an hour and a half, but at this moment, she is okay. She's limping around the house, she won't pull her undies down to go to the potty, and there is no telling when I will ever get her in the bath again, but she is not crying anymore, and trust me, that is the most important thing.

I think tomorrow I will just go to the gym.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Poops, I Did It Again

I have shared before about Rylee’s desire to potty outside. I thought it was her animal phase, which has lasted over a year now. One day while my mom and I were talking in my driveway, my mom suddenly gasped. I whirled around to see what was happening, and Rylee was squatting in the yard, pants down at her ankles, saying, “I’m just gonna take a little poop.”

I rushed over and whipped up her pants before she could make anything happen, wondering what on earth would have provoked her to do this. I tried to explain to her that little girls don’t pull down their pants and potty outside.

Another time she and I were playing outside when she said, “Oh, I have to poop.”

“Go ahead, then.”

She looks around the yard and says, “Where?”

“Inside, you goof!”

I’m not sure where she gets it, the desire to poop outside. It’s a strange phase, perplexing, one I can’t trace back to a single source…until yesterday.

The first swim of the season! The weather was just okay, but the pool looked so inviting, so we put on our bathing suits and dove in. We hadn’t been out there 15 minutes when Rylee announced that she had to poop. I have to add that Rylee has done this every year, multiple times throughout the swimming season.

“Oh, Rylee. Are you sure?” She was dancing around, holding her bottom, so I knew the answer. It’s such a pain to pull down a wet bathing suit, and even harder trying to pull it back up. Furthermore, I didn’t want her going inside wet because I was afraid she would slip on the hardwood floor, so I had an idea.

“Rylee, come over here to the grass.” I tried to pull her bathing suit over far enough so that her backside was exposed (all of you ladies who never wanted to take off your bathing suit to pee can relate to this obstacle). I had tugged all the way over and told her to squat. I had many things running through my mind: how are we going to wipe? What will I use to scoop it up when she’s finished?

I guess the pressure was too much for her as well, so she quickly stood up and said, “Nevermind.”

We jumped back into the pool, but soon after, she declared that she really had to go.

Defeated, I dried her off and sent her into the house to poop. When she came back, it took us five minutes to pull the wet bathing suit back up into its proper position. But finally, we found success and jumped back into the pool.

In the end, Rylee was relieved, and I didn’t have to scoop any poop.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

And the Oscar for Best Actress Goes to....

...Rylee Sargent for her performance in the bathtub. **gasps, applause**

Rylee is a tough, little girl. She loves to tackle, to give wet willies, and to throw punches that sting, but she cannot handle a little boo boo. I'm not talking about a deep gash or a slice to the leg; I'm talking about a small scratch, a mark, a mere lifting of a millimeter of skin.

Her recent diva moment involved a tiny red line across her knee that apparently stung when it hit water; however, she had been in the bath for 10 minutes before she realized it was there, and in turn, realized it was stinging.

"Mamaaaa!!! It hurts!!!!"
"Okay, let's get out of the tub."
"But I caaaann't waallk."

She tries to fling her leg over the side of the tub without putting any pressure on it. As she stands there like a flamingo, I get her as dry as possible so that I can carry her into the living room. The entire time she is whimpering and whining about the pain as if her leg may detach at any moment.

I lift her up, strenuously, I might add, because she is so limp due to the "pain" of this life-altering wound.

Heaving, I take her into the living room, turn on the tv, and let her recuperate from her emotional and scarring experience in the tub.

Sweating, I crash on the couch and reflect on the last 5 minutes. I feel inclined to stand and give her an enthusiastic ovation because I know she gave it her all. She delivered her performance and got what she wanted...out of the tub in time to see Dora.

Well done, little girl. Please don't forget to thank the Academy.