Saturday, August 30, 2008

Add Lou E Loon into the will

Until about four months ago, I would have insisted that Kate was fearless. For the most part, that is true. However, that claim was abolished the day she saw her first person in costume. Rocket, the Jet’s Pizza mascot, corrupted my once fearless child. I did not witness his entry at the time, but without warning, Kate propelled herself from the ground, directly into my arms, screeching GO HOME RIGHT NOW in no uncertain terms. In retrospect, this sounds fairly mundane. I must reiterate that you did not witness a 30” being launch herself in a direct vertical from the ground to my arms.

Last night we went to a minor league baseball game. Right as the first pitch was thrown, Kate suddenly became interested in the game. She was sitting on the lawn, about a foot from the fence, right behind third base. I looked up and saw the large, looming Loon making his way on our direction. I glanced at Kate and saw the panic and terror in her face. In my own panic, I scanned the area around us. There was no way to escape, we were deer caught in the headlights.

The Loon peeked through the fence and motioned Kate to come closer. She backed into me, quite possibly hoping that she would become invisible. He cupped his hands and held them out towards her. Craig gently pulled Kate towards the Loon. Yes, I know, add more in the therapy fund for this one too. The Loon opened his hands and held out a pink baseball to Kate.

Our costume-freak-out-syndrome has been cured, thanks to Lou E Loon. For hours all we heard was, “He’s not scary. He was a nice bird.”

For the rest of the game, when necessary to maintain some degree of control, I would lean in to Kate and say, “You had better listen to your mother, or the bird is going to come and take that ball back.” Don’t you judge me; desperate times call for desperate measures.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I used to have a house that sparkled

Almost two years ago I quit my job in the hospitality business. When I left that job, I also left approximately 35% of my annual income with it. Overnight our disposable income packed up and boarded the first bus out of town. We stood in the dust cloud in disbelief rubbing our eyes, wondering what on earth we just did. Not only did our money take a first class ride outta here, it came on the heels of having newly added daycare expense. In our budget, the line item for daycare is titled: Making Someone Else’s Mortgage Payment.

Sure, I miss the luxuries. I miss the travel, the shopping, the dining, and the entertainment. I yearn for cute shoes, chunky jewelry, the Aveda salon, and more time at Banana Republic. Those luxuries have been replaced with play dough, bike rides to the library, blowing bubbles in the yard, and singing Ring around the Rosie at the top of my lungs. This is what I call trading up and I would not change it for the world.

So, what is the problem? Unfortunately, my ex-housekeeper refuses to work for free. Call me shallow, but this is a problem, a major problem people. I was hoping perhaps she would consider pro-bono work. No such luck. Possibly a resume builder with a guarantee that I would be an excellent reference. No such luck. A demand that all of my friends who still have money use her services. No such luck. A written contract guaranteeing that Craig and Kate will work on better aim when using the toilet. No such luck.

I'm officially screwed.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Until Renovations Do Us Part

We are entering into Operation Get This Damn House Finished. In December it will have been four years since we moved into this house. Simply stated: four years of renovation hell. Over the course of the past six years, we have worked on a few different transactions with the same realtor. When we bought this house, she said, “I love working with you guys because you have vision.” I think that is Real-Estate-ese for “You are the only ones stupid enough to consider a house this ugly.”

If you have ever been to our house, I know you have heard Craig say, “You TOLD me that we were only going to work on one room PER YEAR.” I say this with confidence because it is the soundtrack to my life. He has recorded it and has it on continual playback, echoing in my sleep. Believe me. You know, I admit that I vaguely recall some discussion of the sort. Leave it to Craig to remember the details. I am a big picture person; the details get me in trouble all.of.the.time.

In my defense, I believe that I was born missing the patience gene. I am slightly too “Type A” to believe that patience is a virtue. Also, I could not have predicted that Psycho Cat would decide that the carpet in the corner of the living room was her new litter box. I mean, we needed to start renovating that room after we tore all of the carpet out, right? I also could not have predicted that the glass-top to our stove would break. I also could not have predicted that the stove I fell in love was not really the same size as the old one, I just call that good taste. I mean, we needed to renovate the kitchen after that happened, right?

The house is about 70% complete and if I have to look at one more unfinished project in that house, I might be tempted pull out my hair and then start all over. If that happens, Craig will be joining the witness protection program. Since I’d like to keep him around, we are going to work on getting the remaining 30% done instead. If you tell Craig that other husband’s do not do this much work around their house, you are as good as dead to me. For the record, he still does not know that many other husbands’ don’t cook, clean, or go grocery shopping. Those will be our little secrets, okay?

I am excited to share renovation pictures with you along the way. I am going to find my old hard drive and get some before pictures. You truly cannot appreciate the “after” until you have seen the “before”. I will title the photo album: Proof that I Have the World’s Best and Most Patient Husband.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I Used to Welcome Chaos

It was a lame title, I know. It was stage fright, performance anxiety, the pressure of coming up with something perfect, something all encompassing. It was pathetic. For weeks I've racked my brain for a good title. Each time I would ask someone for their opinion, I would start with, "I can't believe I cannot come up with something. I swear, I used to be witty." Eventually it just stuck. June, the Queen of Wittiness, gave it two thumbs up, so apparently she too thinks I Used to be Witty.

Be on the lookout for some fun changes, a new .com, a new design, and some flair. I can't continue to be associated with such boringness and I applaud you for tolerating it for these torturous couple of weeks.

For your listening pleasure, I will leave you with what I have been listening to today. I heart Mat Kearney.

Now Walk your Feet up to your Hands

How did you spend your night last night? If it was not watching a freshly bathed, naked, two year old learning how to do a somersault, then you’ve got nothing on me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Every morning about 7:42 a.m., I wait impatiently in the Starbucks drive-thru line just as unawake as I was 2 hours 25 minutes earlier when I rolled out of bed cursing my alarm clock. Did you know that they have cameras that watch you while you order? Yeah, I wish I would have known that before, well … you know. Okay, not really, but it was shocking the other day when I pulled up and the Voice Within the Speaker said, "Grande Non-Fat Vanilla Latte?" People this is NOT GOOD. I am on a most wanted poster at Starbucks, complete with drink of choice.

I pull around the corner where Tony graciously hands me my coffee. He rests his arms on the ledge and slowly leans towards my car, craning his neck at a seemingly uncomfortable angle. "Whoa, this is a sweet ride," he says. I smile, say thanks and go to move on. No wait, he isn't done. "Whoa, does your IPod feed right into your stereo?" I smile, say yes and go to move on. I do not have time in my schedule for small talk with the drive-thru coffee guy. As a matter of fact, I can't find time to make small talk with people I know and love. "No, you don't understand, this is a sweet ride. You see, I see a lot of rides, so I know my cars and this is a sweet ride." I smile, say thanks and go to move on. Now, you must understand, people behind me are ANGRY. You are interfering with commuters' daily coffee while you are ogling the inside of my vehicle. Shortly there is going to be a massive attack on the baristas, a stomping of coffee beans, a flinging of scones.

The drive from Starbucks to work is approximately coffee cooling time to the point of drinkability, plus two sips, otherwise measured as about a mile. During this ride, I keep thinking about Tony, strange, car obsessed Tony. I have come up with the best possible scenarios to offer Tony as an excuse for his morning behavior:

Tony has an obsession with Toyota 4Runners that just cannot be contained enough to maintain any level of public control.

Tony is socially awkward and truly thought we were carrying on a lovely, mutual conversation.

Or, more likely, Tony saw an unkempt woman with yogurt remnants on her suit jacket, weeks worth of dirty dry cleaning in the back of her car, ground Cheerios in her floor mats, and crayons melted in the cup holders of her sweet ride. In that moment Tony realized that just for a fleeting second this lady needed to feel like she had her act together, so he offered that in the best way he knew how.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sleeping Beauty

Kate plays hard. I often say that she is rarely idle; mind, body, or mouth. With hard play comes an inherent need for sleep. This kid loves her sleep. I cannot remember the last time we had difficulty getting her to go to sleep. There is some mom somewhere who hasn't slept in months who is gritting her teeth and cursing my name as she reads this. To her I will say, this is the only area that we have caught a break, I promise. It is the universes' way of giving us just a little hug in recognition for every aspect of parenting that does not involve sleep. Trust me. We have a great routine, kiss her goodnight and she talks herself to sleep (see, talks herself to sleep … so much to say, such little time!) I love to see the reaction from witnesses when Kate asks to go to bed when she is really tired. The need for sleep, for a recharge, is so great to her that she will ask you to take her to bed. Need I elobrate more?

It is not until you have a Child Who Needs Sleep that you realize how many events exist just to wreak havoc on naptime. We have been inundated with baby showers, wedding showers, weddings, and birthday parties over the past few months. Don't these people have kids? I will cut the wedding people some slack, as most of them probably do not have kids. The baby shower people are only months away from paybacks, so they are forgiven for their naivety. But the birthday party people, we need to talk. Actually, on second thought, maybe no payback is greater than having my nap-less child in attendance at your kid's party.

Coupled with the people who live to screw up our schedule are the people who just think that I am exaggerating Kate's need to nap. Oh, we didn't give her a nap, she wasn't acting that tired. You guys can stay awhile longer; forget about her nap, she'll sleep really well tonight. She woke up after a 30 minute nap, but she seemed happy, so I kept her up. I understand that you had a child who stopped napping at two. I understand that you think I am a schedule-obsessed-first-time-mother. I understand that she was having fun and did not want to nap. Do not, I repeat, do not screw with her sleep people.

Now remember, I am not good with confrontation. If you mess with her naptime, I am not opposed to bringing her back to you, setting her on your porch, and making a run for it. You might not hear my tires squealing out of your driveway over the guttural screams coming from my child on your front porch. If you have not been privy to a nap-less Kate meltdown, be warned that nothing logical happens at this point. We have sufficiently managed to disrupt the order of the universe. The kid cannot keep it together. No matter how hard you try, there is nothing you can do to help. The milk she wants? No, NOT MILK. In the pink cup? No, NOT IN THE PINK CUP. You also had better be able to accurately anticipate wants and execute them well before the demand is uttered. If not, there will be a meltdown of epic proportions. Once she makes it down on all fours, head to the ground, it's over people - OVER. Then will come more screaming. What ever you are thinking about trying at this point, don't waste the brainpower, it WON'T HELP. The only thing that will appease this kid is sleep and when we reach this point, sleep is unachievable. We don't screw with our naps people.

If I were writing a book titled Our Family Trip to Chicago 2008, I would take this entry and I would use it as the foreword.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I used to be witty …

I am not sure what happened. My best guess is that I passed that gene on to Kate and she kept it. Little thief, let's hope that was an isolated incident and not a precursor to late night phone calls from a jail cell somewhere. That kid has more personality than Craig and I do combined, so at least she's putting it to good use. That's my consolation prize.

Anyway, I have tried for weeks to come up with a clever title for this blog and it just escapes me. I have asked Kate, but she's not a lot of help. Well, I mean unless Dance To My Barbie Radio Right Now, I Can't Want to Come Back Inside, or I Am Too Big Enough are viable contenders. Without inspiration of a title, I am having a hard time coming up with a design and such. I'm not above begging you for help. If something here inspires you, I'd welcome any suggestions.

You don't want to be stuck with I Want to Wear My Dora Underpants, do you?

I didn't think so.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Water for Elephants; In My Spare Time

I love to read. I have a problem with reading though, in the sence that once I start, I cannot stop. I read at lunch, read while I am cooking, read until 2:00 a.m., despite how tired I know I will be the next day. I would read at red lights if they were just a second longer. Needless to say, I don't have the luxury of getting lost in a book anymore, so I strategically plan my reading. The next step - schedule reading time in the Crackberry. As a result, I have become more discriminatory in my reading. No mindless crap. If I have time for one book, it's going to be good. My favorite books tend to be unique and I adore books where I learn something new. In essence, I think you can say that I read on a quest for more than just a decent story.

Life is about to get hectic. Ha. About to, that's funny! I am taking nine credit hours towards my Master's degree this fall. Who thought that was a good idea? If you find her, let me know. I'd love to buy her a drink and ask her what the hell she was thinking. One might think that alone is a challenge. Oh, I mean besides the full-time job, husband on permanent out-of-town work assignment, and Kate. If one thought that, then one would not know me very well. I also have a professional certification test that I will be taking in December. Of course I do. I paid my $345 to register, then got the handbook and study materials. Oh and the pass rate is 52%. Someone is going to be busy! I decided to celebrate the end to any dream of a free moment and picked up Water for Elephants. What an outstanding book; definitely worth the sacrifice of the only three free hours I will see again for at least five months.

On a different note, I want to mention Dispatch. Dispatch is an old band, but I love them. You know when you get in a funk and stuck on listening to one think over and over again. Yup, that's me and Dispatch right now. It's the best video quality I could find, but if you remotely like this, trust me, you will love them!

(If someone can tell me how to post the video and not just the link here, I'll even buy you a drink ...)

Robin, I owe you a drink!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Kate: Month Thirty-One


Today you turned thirty-one months old. What a month it has been. We've been busy with events, travel, quick trips to the beach, and having company around. It seems like over the past few months you've just grown up so much. You are quickly moving out of those baby moments and closer and closer to becoming a big girl.

In early August we traveled back to Drummond for James & Stacy's wedding. You danced. You danced. You danced. It involved some interesting moves that I KNOW you didn't learn from me. The highlight could have been a move that resembled the crocodile, or watching you continuously interrupt other people's dance groups because you knew they just wanted you to join. I wish I had better words to describe your stage debut that night, but I don't. I'm not overly worried though, I am quite certain people will still be talking about it when you are sixteen. So, you can hear it for yourself. It is so much better told in person.

Now, let's move on to Sponge Bob. There are plenty of things we said we'd never let our kids do. Yeah, we made that bright list before we had a toddler. That is a different story for a different day. However, I vehemently oppose certain television shows and Sponge Bob is one of them. Now before I start getting flamed over Sponge Bob, I just need to say I am sure it has some benefit – to a derelict high school dropout living in a van down by the river. Anyway, I digress. You came home from daycare and mentioned Sponge Bob one day. I pressed you for details, but you didn't cave. I silently hoped you had just picked up the word somewhere. A few days later we were at the store and you turned and pointed directly to the rack on my left and said, "Sponge Bob". Well, see I find it slightly difficult to have conversations with people that are confrontational to their beliefs. Maybe it is because I have to do that 40 hours per week at work; I just don't have it in me when it comes to people I care about. Unfortunately, that often means I resort to desperate measures. So, we had THE CONVERSATION about how we do not watch Sponge Bob in our house. Sponge Bob is not good. Sponge Bob will destroy your brain cells. Sponge Bob will give you boils. In a panic, I pondered my options. I looked at you and said, "Kate, what do you do when Sponge Bob comes on?" and you said, "Turn it off! I can't watch Sponge Bob at my house." Hey, that was easy. Yesterday I went to pick you up at Joni's and she said that she was washing dishes in the kitchen and you burst out crying, screaming, running in to the kitchen screaming TURN.IT.OFF. She actually had to place you in the other room to calm down so she could get Sponge Bob off of the TV. Whoops. When did you start listening so well? We will need to put some extra in the therapy fund to cover this one.

Your new favorite word is disgusting. You don't say disgusting though, it is bis-gusting! Not only do you use bis-gusting, but you use it in the proper context, which cracks me up. The dead mole in the pool? That is bis-gusting. The bird poop on your tire swing? That is bis-gusting. The egg that fell out of the nest, containing some bird remnants? That is bis-gusting. Pointing at the delivery guy in the driveway? That is bis-gusting. We need to talk about that one.

What amazes me the most is what a girl you are. You have a never ending love for dresses, jewelry, shoes, and princesses. I swear I have not taught you any of this. Perhaps you absorb it through some type of osmosis just from sitting too close to me. I have not figured it out, but it horrifies your dad. It probably doesn't help the situation when I giggle. We were shopping at Target the other day and you kept pointing so daintily at things you liked, "Awww, it is so pretty", "Look, isn't it beautiful". There was an older lady that followed for quite awhile, simply enjoying your blissful commentary. I am sure it won't be so cute when we are living out of a cardboard box because we can't afford your couture habits. While I would never try to influence what you like, I find it amusing that you have such an affinity for all things girly. Just for the record, I also think your obsession with hammers, legos, and trucks should balance that out for awhile.

I can't wait to continue to watch you grow and learn. You bring so much joy and laughter to my life. We are going to let you keep thinking you are in charge for awhile … just a little while longer.

Hugs and Kisses,


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Two of My Favorite Things

I admittedly spend too much time on the internet. However, there are many many incredible benefits from perusing the internet and I hope you appreciate the time I spent researching these things just to share with you. Shout out to you internet! Many of these incredibly cool things just make life a little more complete. Let me share two of my faves. First, let's talk about Pandora. If you have been deprived thus far of Pandora, you need to immediately click here. I am a music junkie, so this site is like Christmas every day to me. It's technically called the music genome project; it allows you to create your own radio stations that play songs that fit criteria you specify. Some choose to pick a genre, but I've been so impressed with stations modeled after an artist. Jack Johnson. Get Jack Johnson Pandora Radio. Right now. Yes, I know, Jack Johnson is uber-popular now, but he's still great and the new artists you'll be exposed to on Jack Johnson Pandora Radio are stellar. I promise. Do you hear me internet? Pandora plays in my office

Second, let's talk about Cake Wrecks. I found Cake Wrecks through Sasha's blog (Hi Sasha!). I'm not even sure why on earth I love it, I just think it is her humor. Sure, the pictures are funny, but her humor just kills me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

She's a quick study

Craig left for West Branch at 3:00 a.m. this morning. Needless to say, when he got home at 4:30 p.m., he was ready for a nap. When I got out of work, I headed out and got Kate. Kate has this new thing of telling me which way to turn when I am driving. It works out as long as I am indeed going the direction she thinks I should be. If, by chance, we are going somewhere other than where she's telling me to go, well, let's just say at that point she considers me "WRONG". Parents don't know anything, don't you know?Along with my built in navigation system comes a constant reminder of the rules of the road. On any given trip, I get these gentle reminders:

"Green means go. Go cars, go." Which is even better when people aren't moving and she yells, "Go people, GO!". I honestly have no idea where the kid got this.
"Red means stop."
"Yellow means sloooooowwwwww down." This is only effective if you say slow very sloooooowwwwwwwwlllllllyyyyyyy
"White means stay in the lines!"

So, I am driving home with directions and constant reminders from the back seat, when Kate moves to her next question:
KATE: Is DaddyO's truck home?
ME: Yes, it is. Your Daddy is sleeping though.
ME: You know what? When we get home, you can run in and wake him up.
KATE: I'm going to run in and I am going to yell, WAKE UP STINKY DUDE!

Monday, August 18, 2008


Kate decided today that I am "mom". Hey mom. Look mom. Come here mom. Please mom. Please understand that I am not old enough to be mom and she is not old enough to have a mom. Repeatedly throughout the day, I kept telling her that I was mommy or momma. As we are getting ready for bed, this conversation transpires:

ME: Kate, it's mommy.
ME: (Making a sad, pouty face)
KATE: Mom! Mom! Mom! Awww, be sad again mom, be sad.

I can only imagine this kid at 15. No wait, maybe I can't.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Darn Paparazzi

Alright, one can dream! We actually paid this awesome photographer to do some family pictures of us this past June. We went to Chicago for a long weekend with our friends Jason, Tammi, and their son (Kate's BFF) Caden. On our way home, we stopped in LaPorte, IN. to meet Nikki for a photo shoot. Nikki is a mom that I met on a photography forum a number of months ago. She has the sweetest little girl named Piper, who looks an awful lot like Kate. Kate was way more excited to see Piper than Piper was to see Kate. That's pretty much the story of Kate's life. I am pretty sure she'll get an A+ in Social Skills. I will cross my fingers that some of the nuances work themselves out so she doesn't turn into the Girl Who Doesn't Get It. I am totally delinquent, as I haven't managed to order our family pictures yet, but here are my favorites.

Friday, August 15, 2008

It's no DiGiorno

Dinner has been a battle in our household (making it, eating it, you name it). As a matter of fact, I don't find much is easy with a two year old! Anyway, I don't claim to be an expert in the kitchen. We don't have a normal repertoire of meals. We get home at 5:30 most nights and really only have two hours for play, cooking, eating, and bath. The last thing I want to do is spend all that time in the kitchen. I've tried semi-successfully to increase my crock pot use. I do have to say that for a family that tries to eat healthy, most crock pot recipes are in sheer protest of anything health related. I did find a great crock pot website here that I use quite a bit.

Otherwise, it's normally a quick throw something together at the last minute act. Over the past few weeks I've taken a big step and enlisted a dinner helper. Yeah, helper, I'm an optimist.

Okay, so maybe it's more work than help, but we've had so much fun! Kate loves helping. It's a great way to spend time in the kitchen together, while still getting something accomplished. Tonight we made pizza. It was so easy. All you need is the following:

Pre-made whole wheat pizza crust, pizza sauce (we love Mid's), cheese (we used a blend of mozzarella, asiago, and romano, but I'm a cheese snob), and your toppings (we used fresh chopped basil and two large sliced tomatoes). Oh, I'm also a big toppings on top of the cheese person, but to each their own.

Easy peasy. Put it in the oven, I'm a guesstimator so about 375 degrees in the convection for about 12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. It was super quick, healthy for a pizza, and best of all, Kate couldn't wait to eat the "Pizza I made!"