Watermelon Roses

A collection of random thoughts, commentaries, and journaling. There is a lot to explore here, including links to other sites of mine. These are mostly for my own benefit, but guests are welcome to browse and explore as much or as little as they like.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Thanks to some great suggestions in response to "Christmas Blues," we introduced some new traditions to celebrate the first of spring this year. We knew the spring fairies had been out and about, because everywhere they alight, flowers grow, and we had been seeing new flowers for a couple of weeks. We left some cake and honey in the back yard for them, and by the time we awoke, the cake and honey were gone, and our yard was filled with colorful gift eggs and flowers.

Fairy Gifts

I gave Layth and Maya buckets and set them loose in the yard. Rayan came out with us, too, but he was content to sit and watch (and discover what pill bugs taste like) while they gathered up all the eggs and flowers. Once all the eggs were collected, I let them pick a few to open, and I put the rest away for treats (and bribes) to be used later. Some eggs contained candies, some contained dried fruits, and a very few contained magic tokens that looked suspiciously like little foam spring-themed stamps. Amazingly, I was able to work the same magic that turned Maya's pacifiers into a sticker book to turn the magic tokens into spring-themed books.

Hunting and Gathering

Comparing Treasures

We celebrated the gifts of the fairies with a breakfast of fresh fruit and powdered donuts. It took a while for all the sugar to wear off, but once it did, and the children had napped, we planted fragrant phlox to thank the fairies for their visit. We also discussed thanking God for our gifts and flowers as well as the fairies, since we believe all things (fairies included) come from Him.

New Gardening Gloves

Have a fruitful spring!

Saturday, March 10, 2007


Maya is two, so experts and pediatricians alike rule that it is time to get rid of the pacifiers. After reading various suggestions and asking our pediatrician for advice, my favorite idea was to gather the pacifiers and leave them somewhere for the pacifier fairy, who would come in the night and replace them with a present. My concern was that Maya, knowing that the pacifiers were sitting somewhere nearby, would cry for them until either we gave in or she fell asleep. Hoping to avoid as many tears as possible, I came up with my own idea.

We emptied a pink toy box from the toy shelves and gathered all the pacifiers from the house and the car into it. I left the children to guard the box while I went to get a magic blanket. Hidden inside the magic blanket was a Ziploc sandwich bag and a giant sticker book. (Maya loves sticker books more than anything else except Bunny and jellybeans.) When I spread the blanket over the pink box, I slipped the hidden items in unseen. While we sang the alphabet song, I reached under the blanket to mix up the pacifiers (stuff all the pacifiers into the sandwich bag and seal it.) We then waved our hands over the blanket saying "abracadabra" and I lifted the blanket off with a flourish (pinching the bag of pacifiers into the blanket as I lifted it,) revealing only a giant sticker book in the box. Layth was very amazed, and Maya was very dubious. I was very proud of myself. While I explained to Maya that we turned the pacifiers into a giant sticker book because "paci"s are for babies and sticker books are for big girls who are 2, Layth was busy trying to turn things into other things and wondering why he just couldn't do it. I explained that magic was just very tricky to do and that it didn't always work. I actually showed him how to do the trick later, but it's hard to pull off when you're 4! I advised him to keep practicing. Maybe he'll be ready for a magic set for his next birthday.

K slept with Maya last night to ease her first night without a pacifier. This afternoon, she was still asking for them, but not crying for them. She even explained to me that they turned into a sticker book. I think it helps her to know they're not just lying around somewhere. What a big girl!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Mina at 1 at K's uncle's house in Alabama.

Mina was such a joy for us. She was born on London's east side at the hospital where K was working. We had bought a ton of pink things and I had been having nightmares about having to return everything, so I was so relieved when she was really a girl! Deliveries are done by midwives in England, and because K was an obstetrician there, they saw no need to have anyone standing by when the baby actually came. When she was floppy and not breathing, therefore, I was panicky. The midwife told K to bring her something, which got tangled up in some cord, and made me more panicky. They suctioned her and removed the cord from around her neck and she was fine, by which time they realized that I was bleeding a lot more than I should be, so they gave me a shot of something and I was fine. Six hours later, we were released from the hospital and sent home! K and I were sitting on the couch watching a movie and eating pizza that night. We looked over at each other during a break and were completely surprised to see a new baby in a baby carrier sitting on the couch between us! It was hard to believe that I had still been pregnant earlier in the day.

We left England and stayed with several family members for about 6 months while K looked for a residency position in the US. During this time, I got pregnant with Layla, Mina turned 1, and I lost one of my grandmothers less than a month before we were planning to go introduce Mina to her. This was a stressful time for our little family, but we have very fond memories of the time spent in California with my parents. She learned to crawl and pull up, got her first teeth, and got cuddled by Precious the cockapoo at naptime.

Mina at 2 in our Queens apartment in New York.

Just as we were about to give up on finding an OB/GYN residency (K thought he should settle for internal medicine and I thought we should go back to England,) he was granted a position in Queens, NY. We went back to England to pack up our things and moved to New York without even having a place to live. A friend of an acquaintance of K's uncle took us in and let us live with him and his wife in their small apartment until we could find a place of our own. Having no car and no money for taxis, we pushed baby Mina in a stroller for many miles in search of an apartment. We finally found a sixth floor apartment with bars on the windows and no air conditioning, a smelly trash room that drew roaches down the hall from us, and a dank laundry room in the basement. We were so happy to have that apartment! Happy, that is, until the tap dancing of our joyful little Mina in her new shoes on the wooden floor of our apartment started annoying the cranky old man with the little dog named Mouse downstairs. I did start trying to take her shoes off in the apartment, but I couldn't stop her from running around, and he actually called her a little monster to my face when we were stuck in the elevator together, which happened way too often. When K found out by phone that we'd be transferring to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I was born, for the remaining three years of his residency, we were so overjoyed that we were screaming and jumping up and down in the kitchen. Mr Mouse didn't take to kindly to this, and started banging on the ceiling with his broomstick. I'm not terribly proud of the fact that I started jumping and stomping harder, but it sure felt good at the time, especially knowing that we were leaving! Seven months after Layla joined our family in New York, we were off to Michigan.

Mina at 3 in Ann Arbor.

Our favorite memories of the girls are from Ann Arbor. Mina grew from a toddler to a preschooler there. She discovered and learned to love Hamtaro, Powerpuff Girls, Chuck E Cheese, and horses. She made her first friends, neighbors Journey, Cheer, and More (yes, those were real names.) She learned to ride a tricycle and decided to be a veterinarian. She got her first pet (Cinnamon the hamster) and rescued earthworms after heavy rains. She learned how to use the computer and how to push her car to the top of the hill and ride it down. We loved the petting zoo at Domino's Farm and the playground at Gallup Park. We picked apples, cherries, and peaches at Wiard's Orchards. We went sledding in the snow and swimming in the sun. If I could live anywhere in the world, it would be Ann Arbor.

Mina at 4

Although I've never loved Texas, I was very happy that K got a fellowship in Dallas, because it meant I could be close to my parents (who had just moved back to Ft Worth) and Justin again. The girls and I closed on the house and stayed in it for a couple of weeks until it was ready to be abandoned for a bit while we went back to Michigan to pack and welcome baby Layth into the world. When Layth was three days old, I got a letter of permission from the hospital and flew back to Texas with Layth and the girls. K and his parents (and the hamster) followed a week later.

Mina at 5 in Grand Prairie.

The girls loved the new house, despite the fact that I was so busy with the three children that I never managed to unpack all the boxes from Michigan. The front room of the house looked like a storage room for months, until the girls started actually opening boxes and pulling things out when I wasn't looking. Then it looked more like a tornado zone than a storage room. I had plenty of time (that I didn't even want) to unpack once the girls were gone, and the hardest box to open was a box of their favorite toys from Michigan that we had forgotten about and that they would have been thrilled to find.

Mina at 6 in Grand Prairie.

Six months after moving to Texas, we got our cat. She was a kitten then, and was supposedly for K, who had never had a cat and always wanted one. We wanted an older, declawed female who was tolerant of children. While I was systematically going through the shelter cuddling older female cats, my children were down the hall befriending a young kitten who was playing with them through the bars of its cage. By the time I had worked my way over there, they were in love and had persuaded their father that a kitten wouldn't be so bad after all. She may have been K's cat in theory, but she really belonged to Mina. The night we lost the girls, I was petting the cat in the doorway of the kitchen when she froze, arched her back, hackles raised, and stared at the doorway of the girls' room. No matter how I tried to sooth her, she didn't move or calm down for almost a minute. That happened twice more at later dates, both times in the girls' room. I couldn't help but feel she was sensing them somehow, especially that first night. I whispered my love to them every time, just in case.

Mina completed her first year of school in Grand Prairie, and loved her teacher, Mrs Chase. We loved her because Mina loved her. She loved to draw and write. She wrote notes to her best friends every day. K found one under our bed months after losing them that said, "I love you, I miss you, I'll see you again." I remembered that she wrote that for her friend Brittany, but it still comforted me (and made me cry!) She wrote a couple of "books," papers stapled together with a story and pictures that we treasure now even more than when she first wrote them. We have boxes of pictures that she and Layla drew and colored for us. She liked to make checklists of different types of animals, then conduct surveys of which animals her family members liked. She liked horses best.

The Golden Corral was her favorite restaurant, because there she could get steak and cake. "Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy," she would exclaim, "steak and cake! Steak and cake!" She wouldn't order from the children's menu at restaurants. She always wanted medium rare steak. The waitresses were amazed. We were too, frankly, since for years the only things she wanted at restaurants were lettuce and cucumbers.

The pictures here don't do her justice. She was so beautiful, so happy, and such a joy to us. We have pictures of the girls above the fireplace, and any time I take Rayan over to look at them, he fixates on the most recent picture of Mina in the pink shirt (similar to the one above) and breaks into a huge smile. I know not everyone believes as I do, but I believe he knew them in heaven before he came here to us, and that when tiny babies dream and smile long before they smile at us, that they are dreaming of heaven, or are perhaps in contact with God and/or others that they knew there. When Maya and Rayan were born, I wondered if Mina and Layla had given them hugs and kisses for me. When Rayan reacts the way he does to Mina's picture (he smiles at Layla's picture, too, but only after gazing at Mina's for some period of time,) I feel certain that he remembers her.

I had a really hard time at the cemetery today. I miss her so much every day. For the time being, I've stopped wondering what she would be like if she were here and 10 years old. I'm happy to remember her at 6 and just want to keep her like that for now. I miss her hugs and her laughter. I miss her chatter and her enthusiasm. I miss her art and her writings.

I miss you, Mina. Happy birthday.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Oh, yeah ...

Oh, yeah, I'm supposed to be keeping this thing current! How time does fly. I have some updating to do! For now, a quick summary. Let's see ... since my last post in January:

Lunch with Mom and the extended family at Red Lobster for her birthday. We gave her a digital camera so she could finally stop buying those disposables!

We helped Nana and Granddaddy celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary.

I remember my birthday being really nice, but since 37 seems to have brought senility along with it (who am I kidding, I've been suffering from senility for years already,) I'm really struggling to remember what we did! Thinking ...

Ten minutes later, I'm concerned about having so little memory of that day. After scouring my outbox to see if I told anyone about it, I did find the restaurant we went to for dinner, but little else. This was only six weeks ago! Now I'm wondering what's wrong with me. Maybe it's because it's 3am and I'm sleep-deprived. I remember tres leches cake, I remember getting spending money and a season pass to Scarborough Faire along with some flowers, and I remember a long-awaited Peking duck at the May Dragon for dinner. I remember that my mom and grandfather came over to babysit. I know K pulled a muscle in his neck that afternoon and barely made it through dinner. I remember nothing else! Did we go out for breakfast? Did we do anything else during the day? There are no pictures to remind me, no pictures of the flowers, nothing. If nothing else, this emphasizes the importance of writing more regularly, and backing up my writings so that I can preserve my fleeting memories!

K's father came to spend a few weeks with us, and we had a really nice visit. He even babysat so we could go out for valentine's Day. We swore off going out for Valentine's Day years ago after several years in a row of overcrowded restaurants with long waits that didn't take reservations, but this year we reserved a private, curtained booth in a fancy seafood restaurant and it was really nice. Unfortunately, I haven't liked fish since I was pregnant with Rayan, and for some reason I ignored my husband's suggestion that I order lobster and ordered fish instead, telling myself that I was surely over my distaste for it by now. I wasn't, and couldn't manage more than about three bites. On the bright side, I was already satisfied with the delicious bisque and calamari we started with, and the special Valentine dessert was a wonderful light pink chocolate "bag" filled with hazelnut mousse and fresh berries. I'd go back just for that dessert!

Maya turned two, and celebrated at home with a luau-themed party (she chose that over all the Disney themes at Party America) for the extended family. Rayan sprouted two teeth and is working on a third, started crawling, pulling up, and walking with two-handed assistance.

We've also been passing around various maladies ranging from intestinal bugs to head colds, but I'm hoping we're nearing the end now. There's been at least one sick person in the house at all times for over a month!

I've done some reading and watched some movies, (not to mention indulging my American Idol obsession,) but the updating of the sidebar will have to wait until I get some sleep!