Friday, October 31, 2008

My Dear Country

First of all, I must profess my total and undying love for Norah Jones. Second, I could not pass up the opportunity to share this song.


Take a deep breath.
Clear you mind.
Turn up your speakers.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Guilt Trip: A one way ticket

A brief synopsis of my morning:

ME: Kate, come on, we need to hurry up. Mommy is going to be late to work.
KATE: You are always at work mom?
ME: No, Kate, I am not always at work. Sometimes I am at work and then other times I am home with you.
KATE: Me and Daddy live here. You live at work Mom. You don’t live here with me and Daddy.

This is just unfair on so many different levels. Of course she picks a hot button item on my list right now to taunt me with. You know, I left an insane job, working 60+ hours per week so that I could work for peanuts in a “normal” job and have more time at home. I don’t get any respect around this place. This was my initial thought, but I decided it wouldn’t be productive to go there with a two year old.

Second, and most freaking important of all … this child seems to have FORGOTTEN that it’s her father that is gone for work, oh, let’s see, a good third of the year. Yes, and during that time, it’s only her and her mom. Why? Because Dad is ALWAYS at work. I’m not bitter about this whole situation at all, am I? However, being the restrained person I am, I also didn’t go there with a two year old.

Thankfully I have you to share these frustrations with and didn’t quite respond in either of the above ways to my darling daughter this morning. Instead, I smiled sweetly and said, “Geez honey, I sure wish I could spend more time at home with you too.” If only she could understand how much I really meant that …

Now, please excuse me while I return to my home, errr, I mean work.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kate: Month Thirty Three


It’s hard to believe that you are thirty-three months old already. I will go ahead and address the obvious – I know I am seven days late in writing this. Instead of groveling and admitting that I am a negligent mother, I will tell you that I chose to use the free time (free time *snort* now that’s funny!) I had over this past week spending time WITH you and not writing about you. So, when you are seventeen and you read this, you can’t blame all of your teenage angst on the fact that I was seven days late on writing about your thirty-third month. I’m glad we have that straight.

This month you got to spend some time with your buddy Caden. Since Tammi, Jason, and Caden moved to the other side of the state, our visits with them are not as often as we’d like. It had been awhile since we'd gotten together and you two were so excited to see each other. We had a fun weekend, including a trip to the largest and most obnoxious pumpkin patch ever. Now that you two are a little older, you have this fun little game that you play when you are together. It’s called let’s see who can prove that they have the most delinquent parents. You took the gold medal on this visit Miss Kate. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am all about competition, but you have to draw the line somewhere. With you two, it’s all about who can be the worst sharer, the biggest fit thrower, or just the most TWO-ISH two year old. By Sunday, poor Caden was knocked right out of consideration for the title. We determined that when he forlornly kept following you around, hoping to play. Instead of engaging in any type of activity with him, it was your mission to make sure you were playing in a different room Oh joy!

You have a continued obsession with two things: getting bigger and going to school. Your favorite words are “I am too big enough” and “I AM getting bigger”. You will actually stick your neck out and do something I know you don’t want to do just because it’s something BIG KIDS do. It makes me sad that you are already in such a hurry to grow up. I thought about giving you the lecture that it is not all that it’s cracked up to be, but I guess that would sort of ruin the moment. Your other obsession is school. I don’t know where it came from, but everything is about school. You met my boss for the first time this month and instead of saying hello, you yelled, “I get to go to school when I am five!” We count school busses in the morning and you are always compelled to tell me that it will be picking you up when you are bigger. Often, you go on a tangent about all of the things you will do at school: color, read, play, and sing your ABC’s. It’s possible you got this love for school from me, since I appear to be a professional student, still in school at the ripe old age of 28. On that thought, there are plenty worse character traits you could have inherited, so I guess an affinity for nerdiness isn’t too bad.

We’ve been working with you on feeling words quite a bit and identifying feelings. You love to talk about being happy and being sad, which I think is a good thing. However, your new thing is “ … and I made you happy momma?” While sweet in intent, makes me sound quite desperate and dependent on a two year old. That was NOT the intent of the feeling conversation people! On top of the feeling words, you love making your feeling faces. Your favorites are happy, sad, and surprised. Surprised is my favorite, look at this picture and I am sure you’ll agree:

(click to enlarge)

Life’s been crazy over the past month for many reasons, but we’ve had so much fun. I am so blessed to be able to continue to share this journey with you and watch you grow and learn. You never cease to amaze me. You are such a compassionate, funny, smart, and well adjusted kid. I am lucky to be your mom.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Did we over teach empathy?

Last night, Kate was being rambunctious on the couch with Craig and me. She kept hiding behind the big cushions and jumping out and scaring us. She was doing some jumping maneuver and went over me, heading toward the ground. I grabbed her arm, trying to catch her. That didn't work, but it did make her contort into an abnormal position as she landed on the ground. It was the perfect makings for Mother of the Year: How she dislocated my elbow. On top of the unnatural position of her body, when she hit the hardwood floor, she hit hard.

Craig and I looked at each other, waiting for the scream that would certainly wake the neighbors. She looked up at me, took a deep breath, and said, "I'm sorry floor."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Way I See It #27

Do not kiss your children
so they will kiss you back
but so they will kiss their children
and their children's children.

-Noah benShea

Starbucks provides me not only with my daily caffeine fix, but inspiration and thought provoking quotes. What more could you ask for? Totally worth the four-bucks.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I really do still exist

I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth; I just wanted to reassure you. However, based on my current workload, it doesn’t seem like that bad of an option. Classes started yesterday. Classes. Plural. What was I thinking? To make the chaotic even more insufferable, I had not even finished the large project from the last class I just finished.

I just realized how often I say what was I thinking. Where are my brains before I make these decisions?

So, be patient with me while I get acclimated to this new schedule over the next couple of weeks. If you don’t hear from me, send search teams. I’m likely to be the one in the corner, rocking back and forth, and plugging my ears.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A quiet moment

It's easy to talk about the struggles of parenthood; the stresses, the catastrophes, and the challenges. It's particularly easy for me to do that with humor and sarcasm. What can I say? It's how I handle most things. However, I just want to be clear that I would not change this journey for the world. There isn't a single more important thing to me than being a mom. I normally don't write about sappy and mushy things (reference again the humor and sarcasm), but this morning I captured Kate in a moment of quiet that just warmed my heart.

I look at this face and I can totally understand how I suddenly lost my ability to say "no". This face reminds me why I allow my house to be infested with Polly Pockets and Princesses. This face makes all of the hard times so very worth it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Its 5 o'clock somewhere

A couple of weeks ago, I was picking Kate up at daycare, when her daycare provider informed me that Kate had something new to tell me. Nonchalantly, she asks Kate, “What time is it?” Without missing a beat, Kate yells back, “Its cocktail time!”

My head rotated 180 degrees as I stood staring in disbelief. My first thought was what a horrible judge of character I must be. How on earth can her daycare provider be teaching her that it is cocktail time? I laughed a nervous little laugh and just.stood.there.

Then, the story came out. See, our daycare lady is one of those people who are truly made for the job. All of the kids are on the same routine and take a nap at the same time every day. During nap time, there is a cooking show that she apparently watches. Well, Kate incidentally had been getting up a little early from her nap and would be coming downstairs right as this show was ending. At the end of the cooking segment, the host apparently says “Now, it’s cocktail time!”

She hadn't given a thought to it until Kate started repeating the phrase. All of a sudden, she realized that she should probably inform me. I think she was worried that it would just come out some time and catch me totally off guard. Yes, I think that would be an understatement.

Whenever someone asks what time it is, my sweet little daughter STILL yells “It’s cocktail time!” It’s sort of difficult to defend and I tend to think I look like I’m making up some bizarre story to explain it, so I don’t. I’m sure the general public is quite concerned about the activities taking place in our house.

Oh well.

Its cocktail time, no?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Alarm clocks are so 2007

Currently I am at the Dearborn Hyatt, where I am spending most of the week at a work conference. It is a nice hotel, but you pay $200 per night for a room, then they charge you $5 for a bottled water and $10 to access the internet for 24 hours. Don’t they know we are headed for a recession?

Upon check-in, the following conversation transpired:

STAFF: Would you like a wake-up call for tomorrow morning?
ME: Yes, at 6:30 please.
STAFF: And, would you like a follow-up call 10 minutes later?
ME: Of course.

I think I’ve died and gone to Heaven. Upon second thought, maybe the $5 water is forgiveable. Now I just need to figure out how to get someone to call me at home repeatedly in the morning to get me out of bed. And Craig thought my snooze button was annoying …

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Just keeping your mind sharp

I’m not all that technologically savvy, while I can hold my own on a computer, I don’t rank up there in geekdom. Most things I have learned how to do, I’ve learned on the internet. Seriously. I dare you to try to find something that the internet doesn’t have a tutorial on. This summer, my computer was plagued by an atrocious virus, courtesy of My Space. When all attempts to fix it failed, I knew I didn’t have many other options. I also didn’t have money to buy a new one, so we were in desperate straits. I sort of can’t function without my computer.

Courtesy of the internet-directions, I wiped my entire hard drive out, repartitioned it (do you even know what that means? No. Me either, but I did it), and reinstalled my entire operating system. Proof that the internet saved my sanity and it was FREE. I think I just broke my arm patting myself on the back here.

When I entered into the blogging world, I was blogging-inept. I sort of logged in and tried to figure it out. I know a number of my readers are new to the blogging world, or new to blogging themselves. I wanted to share a link to Sasha’s blogging hints (Hi Sasha!). She’s been kind enough to post a collection of some tips and tricks for your blog. Her directions are simple and helpful. In fact, I credit Sasha for helping me get my blog routed to my own domain.

Now, you can’t claim you didn’t learn anything new today.

Monday, October 13, 2008

She's crafty - she's just my type

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a private paint party: Think Pink! Paint for a Cause. The event was destined for success, as it included good food, great drinks, wonderful company, and a good cause. Plus, it was hosted by the fantabulous Connie and benefited our local hospital. What could be better?

Initially, I was skeptical of the event. Normally CRAFTS! IN PUBLIC! give me hives, heart palpitations, and make me want to curl up into a fetal position. While that was my first reaction, my immediate second thought was that I would pretty much sacrifice public humiliation for a girl’s night out. It’s quite possible that comet Hale-Bopp makes an appearance more often than I get a chance to have a night to myself. That trumped any embarrassment that would ensue what I CRAFTED! IN PUBLIC!

The night was an overwhelming success. No broken pottery, spilled paint, or major embarrassments. In fact, the studio made it so easy, it was near impossible to make a complete fool of myself. I’ve shared a couple of photos of the Masterpiece in the Making: Documentation that I Left My House for an Evening without Child and Played Crafty with the Girls.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

How can you be mad at this?

One day last week, Kate and I were in the car driving home from daycare. For some unknown reason, she became obsessed with having her bag RIGHT NOW. I NEED my bag. Give me my bag. After trying to convince her nothing exciting was in her bag and offering many alternate options, it became clear that no substitute was acceptable. I'm driving down the road, in the precarious act of holding on to the steering wheel, leaning as far as I can into the back seat, and stretching my go-go-gadget arm to get Kate's bag. I put it on her lap, tantrum diverted, potential accident diverted as well.

A few miles down the road, I looked in the mirror and Kate was holding on to the little container that holds all of her ponytail holders. Actually, more like thousands and thousands of ponytail holders. It looks an awful lot like a pill-container, one of those day-by-day ones. So, she's playing with it and opening it and closing it over and over. Repeatedly, I remind Kate that she must keep the ponytail holders in there. Don't spill them Kate. Don't touch more than one at a time. Don't mix the colors together, it might make the OCD part of me freak out. I'm keeping an eye on her and she's doing really well. Inadvertently, I stopped paying attention.

When we got home, I opened the back door to get Kate. There she sat, EMPTY container in hand. Thousands of ponytail holders littered her, her seat, and every inch of my car. We will be finding these things for years, I kid you not. I looked at Kate with a really seriously look on my face. She looked up at me and said, "I'm sorry I broke your feelings Mom."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Here's your sign(s)

I was running errands today when I may have made a slight detour through a residential area to avoid some congestion on the main road. I think that’s illegal, so I also may not have done it. While I was gallivanting through the neighborhood, I came across a sight that is safe to say I have never seen before.

Are you ready for this?

What ever could it be?

In the front lawn of a particular house, neatly arranged, side by side, actually touching each other, sat an Obama Biden sign and a McCain Palin side. Say what? They were all cozy, hanging out in the front yard like best buds. I pondered stopping to capture it on my trusty camera phone, but figured the risk of injury and added wasted time wasn’t worth it. However, I have full intentions of returning to photograph it. I’ve spent the majority of the afternoon wondering how this was allowed to happen.

Perhaps the person has an alter-ego? I want McCain. No, I want Obama. McCain I said. Obama! So in an effort to stop a potential self-self fight, they put both signs in their yard.

It’s quite possible that, like me, they aren’t overly thrilled with either candidate. I am not sure what they are attempting to convey by taking the dual-sign approach. Just because you don’t like either doesn’t mean you can vote for both. Unfortunately, it's also not going to make any new candidates miraculously appear. Maybe they are hoping that somehow they will morph into one person? The McBama ticket?

Maybe they did it just to screw with people like me.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What is this work of which you speak?

Last night, Kate was busy picking up everything in the family room and dumping it into an empty diaper box. We call that redecorating in the abstract art sense. Since I didn't get to see her the night before, I really wanted to spend some quality time with her before bed.

ME: Kater-bug, Do you want to color with your Momma?

KATE: No, mom. I've got work to do.

I can guarantee you that I've never uttered that phrase to my darling daughter. Heck, I look for excuses not to do work, I don't use it as an excuse. I am wondering what exactly she's been hired to do and by whom. On second thought, I guess it doesn't matter. We are eagery anticipating her first paycheck. Maybe it will cover her daycare expense. No? Okay, I guess I'll take a contribution towards all of those M&M's then.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Domestic Diva ... or not

So, I know I told you that I would only share recipes that cooked themselves and hopped onto the table, eagerly anticipating your arrival home. Regrettably, I still haven’t had success with that one. However, this could be one of the easiest, most delicious meals I’ve made in awhile, so I must share (drumroll please) Crock-Pot Stuffed Peppers.

I made a couple of minor adjustments. I used brown rice instead of white, ground turkey instead of ground beef, and only red peppers because I’m difficult like that. One short cut I tried to make was mixing the filling the night before. Safe yourself the mushy rice and don't mix the rice in, store it individually. Duh. It was easy and healthy for a crock-pot recipe. (Isn’t is disconcerting that spellcheck caught crockpot and tried to replace it with crackpot?) The family loved it, which is a major accomplishment, as it isn’t easy to please a picky toddler and a husband who is leery of dinner being served in a vegetable. No one went to bed hungry, got violently ill, or sprouted any additional appendages as the result of this expedition in the kitchen, thus classifying it an overwhelming success.

Do you have any great crackpot recipes to share? My family would thank you.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The transition from diapers to Depends

A few years ago, a good friend mentioned that she knew she was finished having kids. Being the neurotic (thanks Megan and Sarah!), indecisive person I am, I am very intrigued with people who seem to just "know" anything. I am much more prone to changing my mind 500 times, while beating myself up every single time I attempt to firm up any decision. As I pondered her definitiveness, wondering how she came upon this realization, she blurted out, "there is just no way I could handle potty training another kid. I am totally done."

Say what? If I had to come up with a list of reasons not to have any more kids, it would be: child birth, sleepless nights, no sleep, recovery from child birth, interrupted sleep, and the lack of having an additional $600 a month to dispose of. Potty training though, are you kidding me? You could at least come up with something slightly more credible, something like stretch marks.

To reiterate my naivety, I must mention that this whole conversation occurred years before I had Kate. How wise we become in just a few short years. We are in the potty training phase at our house and I concur that it is a totally reasonable reason to halt procreation. In fact, after the past week, I can't think of a reason that would be any more credible. Right now I'd like to go back to that potty-training friend and give her a giant hug of understanding.

A few things I've learned:

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT reward your child with M&M's for going on the potty. Oh no, this will make trips to the bathroom way too enticing. During one nap, Kate conveniently had to "go potty" about five times. I hate M&M's. Even better was the night she sat on the potty for 15 minutes TRYING to go potty. When it was evident she wasn't able to go, we attempted to get her out of the bathroom. World War III ensued, as Kate screeched at the top of her lungs that SHE WAS STILL TRYING.
No amount of trying was going to squeeze pee out of an empty bladder, yet Kate was not leaving that room until she went, which would lead to the ultimate reward – M&M's. After 45 minutes of bribes, coercion, and tantrums, I sold my soul to the devil and gave her the M&M's anyway. You can imagine what that has done to my reputation around this place.

Buy your child's favorite character underwear, ours happens to be Dora. This is only because they don't make Clifford or Curious George underwear, weird kid. Now, repeatedly tell your kid that they better not pee on Dora. It's amazing what that will do. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Yes, we'll be adding more into the therapy fund for this one too.

While I can say we are making a slight amount of progress, we are far from there. I just hope her future husband doesn't mind changing diapers.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A good excuse to spend money

In one of my futile attempts to avoid doing everything else I should be doing today, I've been perusing the internet trying to find some fall sweaters. J.Jill currently has some incredible deals in their SALE section. Hop on over and check it out. I have a promo code for $25 off $100 to share with you – RLS108. I just ordered 5 tops and one skirt and paid a whopping $80, which included tax and shipping. For those of you who aren't J.Jill shoppers, that is usually what one item costs from there.

If J.Jill is a little too … earthy? … granny-ish? … or unappealing to you, I guarantee you'll find something you love in their shoes or jewelry section. If not, take advantage of the great deals and buy your great grandmother something for Christmas. I'll feel even better about my wardrobe then.

Friday, October 3, 2008

An Equal Opportunity Listener Here

I was recently accused of not liking any female artists and must protest the absurdity of that. I will admit that there are many more male artists than female in my musical collection. That is mostly due to the fact that there are more male artist options in the type of music I like. It’s not some conspiracy against all things female. I mean, really, where would that leave me?

This morning, I was driving to work and Beth Orton came on my ipod. I love, love, love Beth Orton. Her music brings back crazy memories of teenage angst and drama, despite which, I still can’t get enough of it. Her newest album is one of my favorite and I want to share a teeny tiny piece of it with you. I apologize for the lame video. She’s the type of person who plays at tiny obscure places, so it is difficult to find a good quality live recording. As an added bonus, it’ll hopefully make my friend Andi (Hi Andi!) happy.

My absolute favorite doesn't even have a video option, but to listen to it, go here and click play on the right. If people's musical tastes are some reflection of their character, I wonder what mine would mean.

I am looking forward to a nice, relaxing weekend, and I’ll hopefully get some quality writing done for the good ole’ blob here. Any topics you can think of for me to ponder? I’m always looking for one more thing to keep me up at night.

I need your inspiration. Desperately.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Big Brother is Watching

I have to share something that has been both fascinating and disturbing to me over the past few weeks. For those of you that aren’t familiar with site meter, it is a nifty little tool that gives you a lot of information about people who visit your blog. Most intriguing to me is HOW they got to my blog, which in a general sense, site meter provides. So, let’s say you searched some key words in Google and ended up at my blog. Site meter would tell me that you came from Google and show me what words you used that made you “find” me.

On a side note, I must say that there are an excessive number of people who try to find out what movie the phrase “Winner winner chicken dinner” came from. Then, they come to my blog, where I ask them to tell me. I am sure that wasn’t what they were looking for, was it? One could assume maybe I’ve frustrated them even more, which I oddly find some humor in. To show you that I am not that horrible of a person, I’ll spill the beans. It was the movie 21 people. I heart Kevin Spacey.

Alright, now you are going to have to pay attention here, this one is a little more complicated. There are an inordinate, I repeat inordinate, number of people who Google either “how to be witty” or “witty things to say”. I find that curiously disturbing and have to tell you why. To start, when I Google “witty things to say”, there are 481,000 options that come up. Since I get about 20 people a day that find my blog through this particular search, one could only imagine how many additional people are searching for the same thing and ending up at the other 480,999 sites. That is a lot of people who have nothing better to do than search for witty things to say.

Additionally, I have to think that they are overwhelmingly disappointed when they end up at my blog during this search. I’m afraid I am not much help. I’d sort of like to play Mr. Obvious here though and point out that THEY were the ones who clicked on a link that clearly was labeled I Used to be Witty. To make matters worse, I am not sure that I ever really have been witty. It seemed a lot better to claim that I was and lost it than titling my blog: I Have Never Been Remotely Interesting at Any Point in My Existence. So, these poor Google-searches are really screwed when they end up here.

Now, the most important point I must make, is asking what these people do when they find a witty thing to say, or learn to be witty, via the internet of course. It is sort of like the person who professes to be cool and has totally discredited that with their own statement of coolness. Do these people keep a “witty mental note” and hope that the appropriate situation arises where they can “insert witty comment here”?

I find it irritating that I can’t stop obsessing over these people on some freak witty quest. Like the annoying person I am, I will share these frustrations here so you can obsess over them as well. Do you have any comments on this subject?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The maid is so fired

I've already informed all of you that we no longer have someone who cleans our house. What magnifies that tragedy is that I rarely have time to do it either. You do the math there. My cleaning routine is less: I think I'll Spend Saturday Scrubbing the Baseboards Cleaning and more: Holy Shit Company is Coming Cleaning. There are a couple of areas that get missed in Holy Shit Company is Coming Cleaning and our bedroom is often one of them. When you have a limited time to clean, you clean the areas that matter. Our bedroom is rarely one of them. Yes, I know that goes against all things zen and feng shui. Maybe that is my problem, a reasonable excuse for all of those character flaws.

Since our bedroom has become a squalor pit and attracts all things without a home, we avoid it unless we are sleeping. Kate is rarely in our room unless she comes in our bed on a weekend morning as I continue to sleep and she looks at me in silent wonder. Uh huh. My blog, my story.

One weekend this summer, we stayed the night at Craig's mom house. We set Kate's pack-and-play up in their guestroom, next to the bed. The bed is a large king bed that was made with a very thin, delicate coverlet. It was wrinkle free and perfect, like Grandma's beds are supposed to be. When we went in to take Kate for bedtime, she was overly obsessed with the bed. She kept asking if we were going to be sleeping it in, which I assured her that we would be. For a number of minutes the questions continued and then she kept saying, "and you aren't going to cover up your feet?" Over and over and over again I reassured her that we would indeed cover our feet up.

Kate just doesn't come up with random nonsense and it aggravated me for the rest of the night. I could not figure out why on earth she would be so obsessed with us not covering up our feet. A number of times through the evening, I would make that comment and ask Craig if he could think of what she meant. After about time 498, he looked at me, like if you ask me that one more time woman, you aren't going to be sleeping in that bed at all.

That night as we got into bed, Craig looked at me and said, "I just realized why Kate was so confused .... I don't think she has ever seen a made bed before."

Note: Kate not seeing our bed made and our bed never being made are two totally different things. Just sayin'.

We giggled, for hours, like two high school girls. In retrospect, I am not sure what element of this story is the most disturbing. Now that I just told the internet this, I am going to fall over and die, but it's just too funny to keep to myself.