Creating an Urban Homestead

Posts tagged “children

Family II

Marley: “CC is basically our sister now. A sister we only see occasionally.”

Avery: “No she is not our sister. What does basically mean?”


Family

Avery: “Is Flash a part of our family now?”

Me: “What do you think?”

Avery: “Yes, he is.”


“Birth” Cast Shoot


Birth Cast – Images by Christine Prichard

Did a quick shoot of the cast of “Birth” at WorkPlay yesterday before rehearsal. The photos will be used to publicize director Elizabeth Hunter’s reading of the play, which will be performed at Alabama School of Fine Arts for one night only on January 30 at 7 pm. A talkback panel and reception will follow the show. Tickets are $20 in advance, available through the Alabama Birth Coalition website. Tickets may also be purchased at the door for $25. Funds raised from ticket sales will help ABC do its work to educate the public about birth choice and to help change laws in Alabama to make practicing midwifery in an out-of-hospital setting legal and safe.

As some of you may know, my daughter Marley was born at home in Birmingham just over eight years ago, and was attended by midwife Karen Brock. Because there is no vehicle for licensing CPM’s in Alabama, my health insurance did not cover the cost of Karen’s services, which by the way, were more attentive, caring, and comprehensive than any OB I’ve ever rubbed elbows with. (more…)


Morris Avenue shoot with Marley and Avery


Marley and Avery on Morris Avenue – Images by Christine Prichard

Marley, Avery, and I spent about an hour today on Morris Avenue and shot some photos. We had intended to go to Sloss Furnaces to shoot, but discovered at the gate that Sloss is closed on Mondays. After a few tears on Avery’s part, I vetoed Marley’s idea to go to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and headed downtown. (more…)


A Flash of Anger

So Flash and I got in our first fight.

Well, kind of. Sometime back in the spring he told me he couldn’t picture us ever arguing. “Quaint and sweet and totally unrealistic,” I thought while smiling coyly at him.

But he’s probably right. Even if I tried my best to raise his dander, I don’t think Flash would ever get in a yelling match with me.

He’s more of an “internalize it” kind of guy. Maybe that’s why I picked him.

In our 17-year relationship, Mike and I had a rich history of verbal battles that were mostly unproductive and emotionally draining. That man LOVED verbal duals, and they could become less than diplomatic in short order. Even though we agreed on almost every subject, we managed to fight often and loudly. One of Mike’s favorite things was to call talk radio hosts and argue with them on the air.

Fast-forward about seven months from Flash’s sweet comment. It’s holiday time. Add to that baseline stress, so far this December: (more…)


No whining, Mr. Crabbedy

Call it blending of the minds, the synergy of creative forces, or just plain bad hearing, but Flash and I came up with a nearly perfect way to describe Avery’s less-than-charming side.

In a word: “crabbedy.”

As I was getting breakfast ready under a fog of Benadryl and lack of sleep, Avery asked me one of his standard morning questions: “Am I staying for nap today at school?” Unfortunately for him, the answer was “yes.” So I cringed, waiting for the whining, pleading, and stomping onslaught to begin.

“I HATE NAP!!!!!” Avery screamed, only the preamble to a verbal tirade that I endure on a daily basis. Why he does this, I’m not sure. It is rare, if ever, that I give into this type of behavior.

To be fair, I know nap time is hard for Avery. He rarely falls asleep anymore and is forced to lay on his cot for at least an hour while much of the rest of the class sleeps. This is very difficult for a boy of Avery’s energy level, and I feel for him. I’m amazed that they can even get him to lie down, really. (more…)


Patterns

So much has happened at The Okey Dokey Ranch in the past month, it is hard to know where to begin.

Suffice it to say, the long-awaited arrival of Flash has more or less taken place. He keeps saying things like “when I get here,” as if he hasn’t moved in yet.  (I don’t think he considers himself “here” until the house is arranged to his liking; we’re not there quite yet, I am told.) Yet it seems like he’s here to me.  Much of his stuff is here.  And he’s rearranged so much of our living space, I feel disoriented in my own home.  Yet grateful.  Things had gotten pretty chaotic around here.  And this guy has the perfect combination of obsession and organizational skills to tackle things like building shelving and rearranging furniture and CDs until things make more sense.  (more…)


Spontaneous Combustion

I’ve been thinking a lot about spontaneous combustion the last couple hours.

Like at 6:45 pm while standing in line at hideous Wal-Mart where I had to make a last minute run for pullups instead of starting dinner. (Hmmm, pissy bed in the morning or hot dinner the night before? Such are the daily guilt-inducing decisions every parent without a partner makes.)

With pink pull ups in hand (for some reason my oh-so-boy boy LOVES the color pink), Avery asks through tears why I wouldn’t ask anyone that worked there whether they sold Harry Potter glasses, even after we cruised through the toy department and saw nothing Potteresque.

Suddenly, in my mind’s eye, poof! There goes mom, a smoldering pile of ashes on the floor. Somehow that image was extremely satisfying. (more…)


Spirit phones and homegrown tomatoes

Sometimes malaise sneaks up on me, and other times it follows a more predictable path. As cliché as it might sound, today’s bout of blues definitely seems related to the fast-approaching 2nd anniversary of Mike’s death (Sept 13).

I’ve found no good way defend myself against the pain. It comes uninvited.

I am haunted by a past that is gone and a future that no longer exists. It began in the relative quiet of Labor Day after Flash, CC, and her kitten Casey departed from The Okey Dokey Ranch after spending a raucous and rainy but fun Saturday and Sunday here.

This afternoon, Marley went to Tannehill State Park with her friend Bella, which left me alone with Avery. The boy has been quite wild all weekend—a draining surprise after he acted disarmingly docile and charming Friday afternoon after school. By Monday afternoon I was, shall we say, finding it difficult to appreciate Avery being anywhere near me. I really just wanted to be alone with my thoughts. (more…)


Down under The Okey Dokey Ranch

If you want to fail miserably, try raising two children by yourself. It doesn’t take long to realize that no one is capable of succeeding at this endeavor. I somehow allow myself to forget this from time to time. Indeed, it’s probably how I remain sane.

But reality always returns, and it stings. Rediscovering life as a single parent is a trying and lonely affair–especially after a travel-induced period of giddy denial filled with grandparents and cousins who gladly watch your children while you chum with old friends.

But now we are home and it is back to reality again. Manning The Okey Dokey Ranch with the help of only a seven year old (no matter how precocious) and a five year old can get downright depressing in short order.

Although Marley started school two days after our return from Minnesota, Avery did not. So I had to bring him on all of my home renovating errands–a major drag for both of us.

Combine that with absolutely no freedom to exercise or adults to talk to and, voila! You have the perfect ingredients for a mental breakdown. I spend most of a sunny Saturday in bed crying.

But miraculously, Sunday was a glorious day, despite heavy rains.

Marley and I made a batch of muscadine jelly. I made a chicken dinner. And Flash stayed overnight, tipping the household vibe into positive territory.

The boys joust in the man cave.

The boys joust in the man cave.

He set up a “painting zone” in the basement, now under heavy construction (click here to see the vid of Flash doing his thing), which will eventually house his personal space and occasionally his daughter CC and along with them our newly-formed household.

The fabled blended family.

Anyway, Flash thought it would be fun for the kids to paint the floors and walls before he completed the rooms. So fun that he joined them. He started painting words on the walls and saying that he was “channeling,” which made me flash back to a time nearly two years ago when me, my mother and my dear friend Suzanne Kilpatrick painted similar words on the walls of the basement following Mike’s accidental death in the man-cave.

Suzanne felt that writing positive, loving words on the walls would help cleanse the space and help us heal. We did this, and about a month later, I knocked down the walls on which we wrote and painted the remaining walls blue. Suzanne also said she saw the corner of the basement eventually becoming the creative hub of the house.

I distinctly remember thinking “never.”

But now it is becoming just that. And somehow, Flash just knew it. So, on that rainy day, I joined him and the kids and painted a bit, too. And finally, things felt like a nice Sunday at home with my family.

Thanks, Flash. I love you more than you could know.

Marley paints the subfloorMarley paints the subfloor
Avery paints Flash's pants while Flash paints the basement wall.

Avery paints Flash's pants while Flash paints the basement wall.


Deathoughts

Five years ago, a young couple—friends of friends–died in a freak car accident while traveling to their 4th of July vacation spot in Asheville, NC.

Their three-year-old son lived. I remember being blood-curdlingly horrified by the story.

The woman had once been a teacher at The Redmont School, where Marley was attending preschool. That was the extent of our connection–two degrees of separation.

I worried for their son, bargained with fate to undo what had been done, obsessed about the unfairness of it all.

And finally, I spent several hours in bed, paralyzed with fear about what could befall my own children, seriously considering never taking my family out into the world in order to protect them. Then I realized that even at home, an airplane could fall from the sky and hit our house, or a meteorite could pulverize us anywhere on earth. The realization that I am not in control hit me hard that weekend. (more…)


Bio

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As recently as 2005, I was a gainfully-employed photojournalist making top-scale union wages, living with my husband Michael Prichard, 2 children, one dog, one cat, and several gardens in a 1950’s -era ranch house in Birmingham, Alabama.

We were vegetarian, but ate like royalty; Mike was a genius in the kitchen–ask anyone who ever dined with us.

Then I got laid off and started two businesses with Mike.

In 2007, we were on course to make more money doing media work and renovating houses than we ever did working for the man. Things were looking pretty peachy.

Then Mike electrocuted himself in the grow room (yes THAT kind of grow room), and I was thrust into the world of single parenthood in the blink of an eye. (more…)


The Honeymoon is Over

20090730AveryMarleyEinstein

Single momdom has hit me square between the eyes today.

Kids home from NM.

Flash has flown the coop, after more or less living at The Okey Dokey for a month while the kids were with my mother-in-law and father-in-law. Yet he came by with hugs and kisses as he retrieved his drum (playing with Gene and Zack tonight), his Bluetooth charger, his blue shortie bath towel that he Velcros around his sexy hips when he’s feeling modest. Or chilly.

Guess he’s out of here for a while. Shit. (more…)


Hairy Scary

“How did Flash make that hairy stuff on the floor?”

(Asking about how Flash built my office and how, specifically, he made the shag carpet; Avery has lived exclusively in houses with hardwood and tile covered floors.)


Farewell, friends

20090730KIDS

“I never thought this day would come,” said Marley, right. Her best friends Veronika and Yan packed up and moved to New York. Their family and ours along with other friends spent the morning in our kitchen packing food, eating, telling stories, while the kids watched a DVD together. Such a sad ending to a Mayberry-like relationship with our sweet neighbors Anton, Lena, Yan and Veronika. They were there during the worst time in my life and I’ll be forever grateful for their love and friendship over the past two years.

(more…)


The Gate from Hell

I would have cried had it not been so ludicrous; picture me in a downpour wearing heels and white pants while a dragging a metal gate behind the 12-foot trailer being towed by my minivan.

First sign of trouble: a disturbing grating noise coming from behind the van as I drove to see a performance of “The Nutcracker” at Samford University. My first thought; please don’t tell me I’m dragging my gate down the street. I’m already late. (more…)


Marley lost her first tooth tonight

Another first–a non-holiday milestone that Mike has missed. One of those things that I know he would have loved to celebrate with her. And maybe he is. It’s just not that apparent to me.

Marley is soooo excited. When this happened, I of course was happy for Marley, but my mind also immediately went to “well, here’s another thing that Mike will never get to enjoy.”

(more…)


Thanksgiving weekend

On this weekend, I want to again thank everyone for their love and support. We could not do this alone. We ate Thanksgiving dinner at my mom and stepdad’s house along with my aunt. It was nice and quiet.

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Happy Anniversary

Ten years ago, we walked the French Quarter

Hunting for rings on our wedding day

Thinking we would spend full lives

Traveling, carefree, growing old gracefully.

Instead we worked, had babies; hitting our stride only recently (more…)


Jones Valley Urban Farm orchard planting details

Ok, on Saturday, November 17, 2007, Marley, Avery and I will be helping plant a blueberry and fig tree orchard in Mike’s memory from 10 am until noon. All are welcome (kids too) to come and help plant. Bring gloves, but all other tools and refreshments are provided. At the end of the session, all who partipated will make a handprint for a metal casting that will be poured @ Sloss and made into a memorial plaque for the garden. (more…)


Life as a ghost

It is so strange going through the day as if nothing has changed.

Bring the kids to school; work on the books; close on a house; bullshit with the real estate agent; answer the phone; meet the HVAC guy; talk to the guys doing demolition work on my houses; listen to the radio; read a snippet of a novel. (more…)


Sunday blues

I can already see that Sundays are going to be the worst day of the week; it was most often the day that all of us would be home together, working in the garden, cooking, listening to NPR. Yesterday was just like one of those days, except it was Mike’s mom with us from New Mexico instead of Mike. And that was great–she’s had a great time with the kids and vice versa. Mike and the kids and I have always appreciated and enjoyed her visits. (more…)


Haunting outing

Went to Art in Avondale Park today. Crisp blue sky, autumn chill in the air. My mom and father-in-law came and helped with the kids, who marched in the parade and did arts and crafts. Ran into many friends and acquaintences. (more…)


Shattered trust

I’ve always had this fear that something would happen to my children. I have often thought about how devastating it would be if one of them were killed. Same with my parents/other relatives/friends.
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