Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas Eve Will Find You...At Circuit City!

Mr. Daddy and I have both been off work since the Friday before Christmas. Can I just say that if we hadn't taken our trip, we would likely have all killed each other by now? At the very least, one of the kids would surely have been eaten. I've always said God made kids cute for a reason -- so we won't eat them!

Since the kids fell asleep in the car on the way home from my MIL's house on Christmas Eve eve, they rose bright and early on Christmas Eve. We ate a leisurely breakfast and as soon as the stores opened, we went to spend the Christmas cash that was burning a hole in our pockets.

See, the thing is, we have very little spending money for fun things. I'm not trying to poor mouth or make y' all feel sorry for me, but when you spend $300 a week on child care (as we do), there's usually not a lot a left over for "extras." So, the money that my MIL gave us was a little like manna from heaven and Mr. Daddy and I both immediately went on a spending spree in our heads. Fortunately, we were both buying the same things and so didn't have to duke it out when it came time to spend the real stuff. When we got home we took some test shots with the camera.














Yes, I think he's going to the movies because he's picking his seat!














It's a rare appearance of the Christmas gopher!


Around 2:30 we headed over to my mom and stepdad's house. As I've mentioned before, Christmas Eve was when my family always gathered. This year my mom offered to keep the kids at her house while Mr. Daddy and I went to mass. Since I haven't been able to sit through an actual mass in, oh, about two years, I took her up on the offer. (I usually sit with Punkin' in the cry room but the place drives me so nuts that it's almost better that I don't go at ALL). BUT, when we got to mass, everyone was there with their families. Kids were everywhere, including a few of Bubba's classmates and I really wished that we had our kids with us.

After mass we went back to my mom's house for dinner and to open our presents. My brother and SIL were there with their kids. Their daughter, whom I'll call Birdie, will be 6 in January is one of Bubba's dearest friends. I know that as they get older they probably won't stay close, but for now they are and it makes me happy.

Here are Bubba, Birdie, Punkin and Birdie's little brother. I've blacked out the faces of the other children because I forgot to ask their mother's permission to publish them:


Both kids made out like bandits. Bubba got the Black Knight and the cool tent partially pictured below. My mom and I thought the Black Knight could be the bad guy, but according to the literature that came with him, he's actually the best and bravest knight of all. Go figure.


He also got several Magic Treehouse "chapter books," about which he was super excited. He also got an Air Hogs airplane that he's been talking about for over a year. I had no idea what in the heck he was talking about all this time, but fortunately my step-sister did! I know I'm leaving out several things he received, but suffice it to say that he was one happy little dude.

Punkin "got her princess on" this Christmas. My mom, whom we call MeMe, gave her a gorgeous Tinkerbell dress, which we somehow have NO pictures of (yes, I'm ending that sentence in a preposition, but it was already so convoluted and frankly I was just too tired to rethink it!). Hopefully someone else there took some pictures and will be kind enough to share with me because you have never seen a little girl so excited in all your life. MeMe also gave her these:


Everyone told her how pretty she was and she just pranced around the room, pausing periodically to peek at her pretty feet.

And can I just tell y'all that I covet these shoes. They are the perfect shade of pink and so! sparkly! I would have killed, KILLED, for these shoes when I was a child.

In addition to all her princess finery, Punkin also got a fun bathtub xylophone, some books (always a favorite!) and some Ariel blocks.

And I, of course, got the jeans. My step-sister gave me a gorgeous smelling candle and some books about how to take time for myself. Wonder how she knew I needed those?

All in all it was a lovely evening, though there were some slight meltdowns at the end of the evening. Two year olds just don't understand that every present is not for them. And it was a battle royale trying to take the princess dress and the shoes away from the princess at bedtime, BUT, Madame Queen prevailed, as she usually does, and the children were soon nestled snug in their beds.

Again, I'm running long...tune in tomorrow to find out what Santa forgot!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Have Yourself a Pukey Little Christmas....

Actually, everything turned out okay, but when Punkin threw up Thursday night and all day Friday before Christmas, I was reminded of the Christmas Bubba turned one and came down with a very bad case of the flu on the 19th of December and I was felled by it only two days later. That year I spent Christmas Eve alternately monitoring his 103 degree fever, on the phone with the pediatric nurse/doctor on call, and sitting on the sofa sobbing "I just love him sooo much" a la Holly Hunter in Raising Arizona. As I did a thousand loads of laundry Thursday and Friday I envisioned us all toppling like dominoes under this insidious virus, but thanks to a gigantic can of Lysol, Clorox wipes, and OCD-like handwashing, I managed to keep it contained to just Punkin.

On Saturday she was back to her old self and Sunday we traveled to South Carolina to visit Mr. Daddy's mother and several of his siblings. We hadn't seen one of his brothers in almost 3 years and so were quite amazed at how much his kids had grown. His daughter has recently started living with him full time (he and her mother have been divorced for years) and she recently moved from Ashland, KY to join him in Huntington, WV. Now if you know anything about Ashland, you know that's where Billy Ray Cyrus is from. And guess what? My niece is dating Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montanna's first cousin. She had a photograph of herself with her boyfriend and Miley backstage at one of Miley's concerts. Too bad Bubba and Punkin are really too young to appreciate the fame by association!

Small digression here -- Miley/Hannah used to really get on my nerves, but the more I see her, the more I read interviews with her, and especially in light of the whole Jamie Lynn debacle (and YES, it is a debacle), I'm starting to like Miley with her wholesome, fully clothed, non-pregnant self.

The kids received several nice gifts, including Punkin's very first tiara -- Disney princess of course.

My MIL gave us some cash, which was great. We used it to buy ourselves a new digital camera so hopefully that means the quality of the pictures on these pages will improve. I won't vouch for the composition of the photographs, but the quality of the pictures themselves should be MUCH better.

We also bought something else -- something I have very mixed feelings about. We bought a DVD player for the car. One one hand I think "WE didn't have DVD players in the car when WE were kids and we got along just fine. WE sang in the car. WE played road games. WE stood on our heads in the backseat" -- okay, maybe that last one was just me. On the other hand it's nice to have some peace and quiet. There comes a time in every trip where the kids just get sick of being in the car. Being able to pop in a DVD could definitely come in handy. So we got one. And it was nice. However, when we got to the mountains we spotted a group (a pride? a gaggle? a what?) of wild turkeys on the side of the road and Bubba missed it because he couldn't tear his eyes away from a DVD that he's seen a gazillion times. So, as soon as it was over we turned it off and made the kids look at nature. And we actually saw just a teeny amount of snow and some icicles hanging off the rocks so we officially declared that we'd had a white Christmas.

I've got many more tales to tell, but don't want to run on an on. Tomorrow's installment....Santa's showing the first signs of Alzheimers.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Home Again, Home Again Jiggety Jig!

We are home. The mountain was traversed -- to nauseating effect -- in dense fog and much rain. The dirty clothes are washed -- or are washing as I write, if we're being technical. The groceries have been shopped and put away. The Christmas toys played and put away (thanks to the direction of Mr. Daddy).

And the hallelujah jeans? Just as wonderful as the day I tried them on. Just ask the people at Dollywood who saw them every day!

Stay tuned....stories to come!

I missed you guys!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Gift from Me to You

Okay, I know I said I was done, but I lied. But really, you'll thank me for this.

I just finished baking 4 dozen chocolate chocolate-chip cookies -- FROM SCRATCH! (applause,applause). Thank yuh. Thank yuh verruh much!

Anyhoo, I also just made the most delicious hot artichoke dip ever created. I can't take any credit for it or anything. It is one of the easiest recipes on earth and I'm just following the directions. But I thought I would share it with you guys because I love you so much. If you don't already have this recipe, you MUST try it.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup mayo
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup jack cheese
1- 4 oz can of chopped green chilies
1 small jar artichoke hearts, drained.

Mix together. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Eat with copious amounts of Fritos.

Enjoy!!!

By the way, if I keep eating like I have over the past couple of days, there's no way I'm fitting in the Hallelujah Jeans, as Burgh Baby's Mom has so aptly dubbed them!

Monday, December 17, 2007

And I Heard Her Exclaim as She Drove Out of Sight....

....why on earth did I wait so long to do this stuff??

So, you can see, I'm a running a little behind on my Christmas to-do list. Because of that, I think I'm signing off until after Christmas.

We're heading out to Dollywood and Pigeon Forge on Christmas Day. We'll be back on the 28th and I'm sure I'll have plenty of excellent blog fodder. Ooh ooh, maybe I'll get to see Dolly herself. How awesome would that be?!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. Be safe. Eat well. Hug your loved ones. Or call them on the phone.

Merry Christmas!






My Little Grinch Heart Grew Three Sizes Today

So, about a month ago our church sent out a call for kids for this year's Christmas play. We asked Bubba if he wanted to be in it and of course he said he did (the kid is meant for the stage, I'm telling you!). And then we found out that rehearsals were TWO HOURS every Sunday for a 6 weeks and we immediately set about trying to change his mind. (We're a terrible influence, I know.)

Every Sunday we'd say "Are you suuuuurrrreee you want to be in the play."

And every week he'd emphatically assure us that YES, he wanted to be in the play.

Mr. Daddy took the brunt of this, really. Every week, Mr. Daddy and Bubba would head back to church while I sat here in the blessed quiet while Punkin napped. At the first rehearsal we found out that Bubba was to be a stable animal, though we didn't yet know what kind, and would only sing two songs yet was required to stay for the entire rehearsal.

"Whose bright idea was it to have a bunch of 4 and 5 year-olds sit around for two hours, waiting to sing two songs?" I asked.

"I don't know," Mr. Daddy replied. "But it was torture!"

On it went for several weeks. And then finally last week we got our animal assignment. We were a cow.

"Oh," Mr. Daddy said. "And we have to have his costume by next week. It has to be black or white sweats with coordinating cow spots."

"WHAT?" I had been under the impression that the church was going to be supplying the costumes. But even if not, they shouldn't wait until the WEEK of the performance to give us our costume assignments. We've been meeting for 6 weeks, for pete's sake.

So. I made a cow costume. It wasn't that hard really. I had been most concerned about being able to find appropriate colored sweats, but those were fairly easily located at Target. And then the ears had been a little bit of a conundrum, but Karen, our resident sewing and cow expert, told me exactly what I needed to do. And despite the fact that last week was somewhat hectic, I managed to get the costume completed. What do you think:





















(For the record, I think Bubba is starting to exhibit the traits of the "can't keep your eyes open in a photo" gene that I passed on to him).

I thought it turned out rather well, if I do say so myself! Especially the ears! (Thanks, Karen!!).

And then so Saturday was the dress rehearsal. I ended up taking Bubba and when we arrived at the church, it immediately became obvious that I was one of about three mothers who had been required to make a costume. All of the other costumes were being supplied by the church. WTH? My frustration and pique were somewhat -- okay, a lot -- assuaged by all the compliments we received on our costume, but STILL.

As we were leaving, the lady in charge told all the kids to leave their costumes at the church. I spoke up and said "Well, I made his costume myself. It doesn't belong to the church. And also, he wore it here so he doesn't have any other clothes. "

"Oh. Well." she replied, looking a little perturbed. "Okaaaay. Just don't forget to bring it tomorrow!"

No duh, lady. I felt like saying "Like I've gone through all this effort to make the d-a-m-n thing and then we'll just oops! forget it on the day of the actual performance." But since it was church I let it slide. Also, she didn't really seem like she would catch the sarcasm.

And finally the day of the performance arrived. The play was the story of a modern day family, re-discovering the joys of being together for the holidays, intercut with the story of Mary and Joseph and their journey to Bethlehem.

And I watched Bubba, up on that stage, and I felt all the frustrations and irritations associated with the endless rehearsals and costume drama slip away. There was not a child in the production older than 12 and it was heartwarming to see them bring this age old story to life. Even though it was not the most tuneful production I've ever heard, it was really wonderful to hear all those little voices singing together, singing their little hearts out. It won't be long before they're all too self-conscious to sing, before some grinch tells them they're no good. But at that moment, they were full of love and pride and happiness. And they were making a joyful noise.

And there I was, Mr. Daddy on my left, my mom and step-dad on my right, Punkin alternating laps as she deemed necessary. Family. All around. And then we sang "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and it there it was. My Christmas Spirit. Returned.


I wish YOU a Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Tell Tale Cough

Thanks for all the well wishes for Punkin. She had a better night and seems to be on the mend, though now the croupy cough sounds a little more congest-y. We'll see.

But y'all. This coughing thing has got to stop. If the U.S. Government wants to break some terrorists, forget waterboarding. Just put them in a room with a bunch of coughing toddlers and pre-schoolers. They'll snap within five minutes and spill all their secrets.

At my house, someone, and sometimes someTWO, have been been coughing since October. We've been struggling to get a handle on Bubba's intermittent asthma since early fall. Finally on Tuesday I took him to our pediatrician and pleaded with him to have mercy on my ears and my sanity. He finally diagnosed him with persistent asthma and put him on Singulair. And I have to say, so far, it seems to be working -- though I probably just jinxed everything by saying that.

So one well, or almost well. Only one more to go!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

In Which I Obsess in the Middle of the Night.

It's 1:35 am and I'm blogging. That's rarely good. I've just got 1000 things on my mind and too much to do over the next 3 or 4 days. Plus, Punkin has croup and is restless. Not sure what to do about the childcare situation tomorrow. I've been out so much recently with sick children that it's starting to feel embarrassing.

I've taken a sleep aid and am waiting for it to kick in. In the meantime, do any of you, lovely readers, know how to make a cow's ear out of felt? I have to make a cow costume for the church play that Bubba is in this weekend and frankly, right now, I can't even think what a cow's ear LOOKS like, much less how to make one.

Help me, oh internets. You're my only hope. You and The Google.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

What's that sound, you ask? Why that would be the Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. Why you ask? Well, one because I love it and it reminds me of my childhood when my mom would sing it every Christmas in a local chorus, BUT, also because today, I found the perfect jeans.

I know you're probably thinking, "Yeah, right. There's no such thing."

But there is. Yes, Virginia, there IS a perfect jean. I have found them and I love them. And I owe it all to Burgh Baby's Mom. She told us about these jeans weeks ago and then she kept teasing us, dropping little hints, but never actually telling us what they were. It was starting to be like Joshilyn Jackson's Crazy Farm Plan. But I guess there were enough of us bugging the heck out of her in the comments that she finally realized how desperate we truly were.

Tonight I went and tried them on. They were perfect. Not too tight. Not too loose. Not too high in the waist. Not too low. Just the right amount of fabric around the middle. The perfect color. They're called the "Curvy," which I much prefer to "Can't get rid of these last 15 lbs of baby fat." They make me look more like my pre-baby self.

One of the hardest things to deal with post-baby were the changes in my body. I never had an awesome body -- though now I look at pictures of myself in high school and college and weep -- but I had a nice figure and a small waist. Waist? What is this waist you speak of? Now? Now I have the perpetual muffin top. When I shop for bathing suits I feel more like this:


Than even this:

(Which is totally NOT fat, by the way!!)

But the hardest part is what I call the "c-section shelf." After two c-sections, I have a "Dunlop Belly." What's that, you ask? My belly has done lopped over my c-section scar. It makes wearing a bikini nigh on impossible.

The frustrating thing about that is that if we had stayed in Savannah, my doctor would have taken care of that for me after Punkin was born. He was known around town as being the doctor who would do modified tummy tucks after c-sections. He would only do them if you were pretty sure you weren't having any more children and before sewing you up post-baby, he would just remove a little extra skin. Sigh. I swear I briefly thought of having him deliver Punkin as well, even though he was four hours away. Vanity, thy name is Madame Queen.

So my search for the perfect jean is really all about my search for my pre-baby body. But to get that body means I'd have to work really hard and go to the gym more than twice a year. So I don't know about you, but I'd rather get my pre-baby body at the Gap.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ten More Things AND a Meme!

Lulu tagged me for a meme the other day. Thanks, girl! The Rules are:

-Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
-Share 7 facts about yourself.
-Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
-Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

I'm just going to state right up front that I'm going to cheat on this meme. Since I'm supposed to list 7 facts about myself, I'm just going to combine that with another 10 things in my trek towards "100 Things." Multi-tasking, if you will. If you really want to see blog multitasking at its finest, check out THIS link -- a haiku and a meme!

Also, I'm not going to tag seven people. I just did a meme and tagged several of you, and I just don't feel comfortable tagging anybody else right now. If you want to do this meme, please feel free to tag yourself. I'm probably breaking all kinds of bloggy rules, but hey, whaddaya gonna do?

So here we go. Ten more things.

80. I have a Bachelor's degree in English from the University where I am currently employed, but I had never actually used that degree until I got my current job.

79. When I was in school, I had about 3 or 4 different majors. They weren't all official, but I changed my mind many, many times. I was pre-med and pre-nursing for a while.

78. I almost went to grad school at the University of Vermont. I drove up from Georgia -- BY MYSELF -- and visited the school, met with professors, etc. The trip itself was awesome. But when I got to Vermont there was still snow on the ground in March. Me? I'm not so much a cold weather girl. I ended up staying in Georgia.

77. A friend and I once got embarrassingly, snortingly, hysterical at the English honor society induction ceremony when the Sigma Tau Delta advisor told us we could all qualify for an STD scholarship.

76. My great-grandfather fought in the Civil War. Weird, huh? He was 72 years old when my grandfather was born.

75. It causes me a little bit of anxiety when my kids take the paper off the crayons. I don't stop them from doing it but I really wish they wouldn't.

74. Same with mixing the play-doh colors.

73. I was only the second junior editor ever of my high school yearbook.

72. I took 4 AP classes my senior year. I only got credit for 2 of them -- English and Biology.

71. I used to be able to type about 90 wpm with about 95% accuracy. Now I'm down to about 60 wpm, but my accuracy is still pretty decent. I can type by touch without looking at the keyboard.

So there we go. Ten more things. I hope you guys are continuing to find this interesting.

Oh, and you have to check this link out. See, she used to be pretty. And I still love her. Thanks to All Adither for her comment or I never would have gone looking for her -- or even known where to start!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Posting about my awesomely rad fur coat the other day made me start reminiscing about my childhood. I was a little bit of a contradiction even back then. I was kind of tomboy but definitely loved my girly stuff.

My brother is 6 1/2 years older than I am, and of course I always wanted to be doing what he and his friends were doing, which meant that I had to be rough and tumble girl -- and I have the scars to prove it! In fact, the second time I had to have stitches after playing with my brother, my mom told him that if I had to have stitches again and it was his fault, he was going to have to get the same number in the same place whether he needed them or not. Brilliant threat = no more stitches for ME!!

BUT, I also had my box of dress up clothes. This was in the days before the Disney Princess marketing extravaganza started, so there were no princess dresses in my costume repertoire -- only castoff dresses of my mom's, some of my old tap/ballet costumes, my mother's belly dancing costume (this requires a post in and of itself -- remind me!), and a gorgeous pink, dotted Swiss dress that my mom made for me. I was ALWAYS in costume. One of my favorites was a navy blue polyester dress that had a full, pleated, circle skirt. When I twirled around in that thing, I could get full expansion of the pleats and have that thing spinning in a complete circle around me.

But oddly enough I was never really into dolls. I had some Barbies and I would play with them sporadically. When the Cabbage Patch Kids came along I HAD TO HAVE one (Angus Alfred, is in fact, featured on this page. Try not to stare, he seems to have picked up some kind of skin condition over the years.). But most of my dolls got short shrift. The family joke about me is that all of my dolls usually ended up naked, in a box, under my bed.

Except Audrey. Audrey was a favorite of mine. My family likes to joke it was because you couldn't get her completely undressed. But Audrey met with a little...um...accident.





















See, Audrey got left on top of a heater. And her hair, being the lovely auburn plastic strands that they were , melted so that it stands STRAIGHT UP on top of her head. As a child I did everything I could to get her hair to lay down. I wet it. I combed it. I cut it. I put barrettes in it only to have them fwwwwp stand straight up, still clasped firmly on her hair. I honestly can't even remember what Audrey looked like in her BEFORE state. I can only remember her after.

Anyway, she was one of the few dolls that didn't end up naked under my bed. Maybe it was because she was a challenge!

Over the past couple of days, I noticed something around our house. See if you notice anything. Take a look at this:

And this:

Notice a pattern?


And last but not least:


Nature vs. nurture? No contest. It's in her genes, baby!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Thank God it's Friday!

Can I just tell y'all that it's been a rough week? It started out good, but then it went quickly to you -know-where in a lovely, handwoven handbasket.

I had to attend a work event Tuesday night, so Mr. Daddy picked up the kids. I called home to check on how everybody's day went. Turns out, Punkin started crying at daycare and got herself so worked up that she threw up. The teacher is not quite certain what got her so upset. "Oh," the teacher said, "she also has a low grade fever." Great!

Quick aside: When I picked Punkin up on Monday, I had a lovely little note telling me that Punkin "got frustrated while she was playing and bit two of her friends." Trying to get information out of a 2-year-old about why she bit a friend is like trying to get blood out of a turnip. Our conversation went something like this."

"Punkin, did you bite somebody today?"

"Yes. I bite Hailey."

"Why did you do that, Punkin?"

"Hailey get ice pack."

"Yes, I understand that. But WHY did you bite Hailey? Were you upset about something?"

"Yes."

"What were you upset about?"

"I bite Hailey."

Okay then. That clears everything up. We did that same round of questions and non-answers about three more times before I gave up. BUT, in light of the fever on Tuesday, I'm thinking the oncoming virus is what made her go all bitey on Monday. Maybe. Hopefully.

Back to main story: Let me also note for you that every time, literally every time, I have to go to a work related event, Punkin somehow manages to get sick, and she usually throws up while I'm gone, which absolutely freaks Mr. Daddy out. He does not have my awesome throw up handling skills. He has been known to call me in major panic mode about what to do.

Fortunately, she didn't throw up while I was gone, but her fever was pretty high by the time I got home. I ended up making a pallet by her bed and sleeping on the floor Tuesday night. Amazingly, I actually slept pretty well.

Wednesday night, though, was like having a newborn in the house again. I was up about every two hours, going in, calming her, finding her higgie, her bear, her Ariel blankie, her cup.

And now I just spilled coffee on my cream colored corduroy pants. And no, I'm not organized enough to have Shout wipes or some such in my desk or in my purse. So, thank God it's Friday. I know Sunday is the traditional start of the week, but do you think just this time we could start over on Saturday? If we could work it out, that would be great.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, We Have a Winner!

And the winner of the 28" tall Miffy from Ty's Toy Box is... (drumroll, please).....Burgh Baby's Mom! Thank you all so much for playing! BBM, your ginormous Miffy should be on its way to you shortly.

And speaking of Burgh Baby's Mom, she tagged me at least a week ago for a meme she created. And it is a good meme, too. It made me do some thinkin'. But, I had so much going on over the weekend, which I still haven't gotten around to telling y'all about, and then I had the Miffy giveaway that I was committed to, and then I had to post about Bubba's birthday.

So. Finally. Here we go! My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to list my favorite childhood gift, my favorite gift I received as an adult and a gift I would like to receive in the future.


Past:
This one was the hardest for me. I had a lot of great gifts as a child. My dollhouse, my walkman and my camera all came to mind. And then it hit me. The greatest, most wonderful thing a girl like me could have ever hoped to have. My fur coat. My rabbit fur coat to be exact. It looked just like this:

This is obviously not me in this photo, but man, when I wore that coat I thought I was hot stuff. I don't remember exactly which Christmas I got that coat, but I was probably about 8 years old. I've always had delusions of glamour and champagne taste (on a beer budget these days!). There was nothing more sophisticated and glamorous in my eyes than a fur coat. I wore the thin until it was way too small, along with a pair of black, extremely high heels that my mother found at a yard sale for me. Looking back, I probably looked like a very small prostitute, but I was in heaven wearing that coat.

Present:
The year that Bubba was born, Mr. Daddy bought me a Timex watch with a very thin, black band. I wore it every day until the band broke and have been watch-less ever since (hint, hint). He also bought me a very lovely pair of pearl stud earrings that I still wear almost daily. I liked both gifts because they're classy and understated and I don't really have to think about them. They go with everything.

Future:
Okay, I'm shooting for the moon here, but what the heck. I would like a for real and true Cashmere sweater. Something like this gorgeous number from Ralph Lauren:

Of course I want this girls figure, too. A girl can dream, right?
I also love this one, also from Mr. Lauren:

One day, it will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine. When there are no peanut buttery, playdoh'd, M&M'd fingers to wipe all over it. Hey, at least I have something to look forward to!

So now I have to tag three of you. I know it's the supercrazy, busy time of year, so if you don't get to it right away, I understand. Hey, I have no room to talk! So, I'm tagging Sophie at A Hole in the Fence because I like hearing stories about her family, Esme at Blowtorch in the Middle because she has figured out some way to get each of her kids only one gift from Santa (teach me your ways, oh wise one!), and Tootsie Farklepants because she and I are very similar -- both in mid-thirties, both Libras. Also, I'm new to her blog, so I just want to know a little bit more about her. And finally, her childhood Santa didn't wrap gifts either.

Feel free to use the gorgeous "Christmas Past, Present, Future" button that Burgh Baby's Mom created. And then tag three more people.

So that's it. I will eventually get around to you about the awesomely fun thing we did last weekend. But I have a sick toddler. Yay! So fun. As tired as I am, it may be a day or two. But if anybody's going to cut me any slack, I figure it will be you guys.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Happy Birthday, Bubba!

Today, December 3rd, is Bubba's birthday. He is five. I cannot believe that my firstborn is now five years old. I can remember his birth like it was yesterday. And in honor of his birthday, I'm going to tell his birth story.

First a little back story. When I was in seventh grade I had appendicitis. Or at least that's what they thought until they did the surgery. Turns out I had a ruptured ovarian cyst and it was bad. In fact, it was so bad that they cut off part of my right ovary. The surgeon (who was my small town doctor) said he didn't know if it would affect my fertility or not. Um. NOT. I am, in fact, Fertile Myrtle. You can practically just look at me with a gleam in your eye and I'll get pregnant. It wasn't until I started talking to other moms and meeting a lot of women who had fertility issues that I realized how fortunate I am.

Anyway, I got pregnant with Bubba right away. Here I am, just barely pregnant:

And this pregnancy, compared with Punkin's, was a breeze. I suffered very little morning sickness, although I can remember clear as day when it struck. I was cooking chicken with balsamic vinegar and had to stop in the middle of cooking and lay my head on the cool tile countertop. Shudder. I could barely eat chicken for the rest of the pregnancy.

As we neared nine months, my grandmother fell ill and I was told she was not expected to live very long. This caused me great distress because I was in Savannah and she was in my hometown 4 hours away. I talked to my doctor about wanting to go home and visit one last time and we talked about inducing me. It was only about a week early and I didn't feel like it was pushing things. My doctor was great and he was very no-nonsense, common sense kind of guy.

So, we scheduled the induction for December 3rd. We checked in around 5:00 or 5:30 and they started me on the pitocin. My doctor came by around 9:00 and broke my water. When making out my birth plan, my plan had basically been to play it by ear. I was going to try to go "natural" but was fully prepared to cave in and beg for an epidural without making myself feel guilty. I think I lasted, oh, maybe half an hour. The contractions just kept coming one on top of the other and I couldn't get over one before the next wave hit. It was truly like no other pain I've ever felt (disclaimer in case there are any first time pregnant women reading: Pitocin makes contractions worse. At least that's what they tell me. I have nothing to compare my experience to, but don't freak out, you'll be fiiiine.)

My hospital had two anesthesiologists just for the labor and delivery floor so I didn't have to wait long for the blessed relief. My mom called to check on me --she was on her way down -- and I confessed that the entire time I had been in excruciating pain, all I could think of was Melanie Wilkes, birthing Ashley's baby in the Georgia summer heat, Yankees on the way, and only a knife under the bed to cut the pain. We both had a good laugh. I could laugh now. I was feelin' no pain.

About lunch time my doctor came and turned off my pitocin. We all sat around and stared at each other.

Around five my doctor came back. My contractions had slowed considerably, so he started the pitocin back up and stepped out into the hall.

"Oh, look!" I said, watching the monitor. "A really big contraction!" I was so busy watching the spike that I didn't notice the red warning lights flashing everywhere until my doctor burst into the room followed by about 6-7 nurses.

Honestly, the rest is a little bit of a blur. They threw my bed back, gave me some kind of shot, hustled my mom and my MIL out of the room, told Mr. Daddy to run into the hall and ask for "Daddy clothes."

I heard the words "c-section" and "fetal distress." There was discussion of whether one of the two operating rooms on the floor were ready. Apparently both had just finished with a surgery and the floor inside both was still wet.

We arrived at screeching halt in the operating room. The anesthesiologist administered the goods in record time and the next thing I know, Bubba was there. Screaming. Healthy. Alive.

From the time my doctor rushed into my room until the moment he pulled Bubba out was eight minutes. Eight. Minutes. By this time Mr. Daddy and I were both sobbing with joy. Fear. Release.

Here's a picture of my little man. I edited out his bits and pieces, which were, um, surprisingly large. I know now that's normal, but it was a little shocking at first.

And Bubba was a good baby. I didn't know it then, but he was a really easy baby. He was a good nurser, despite a few early latching problems. And he got FAT! Good fat. But fat.

And once upon a time, he was a good eater.

We call this photo "I can't believe I ate the whole thing!"

But this. THIS is my favorite photo of Bubba as a baby.

But of course they grow up. We hit the terrible twos. We went through our train phase. Here's Bubba in the Halloween costume I made for him when he was almost two.

Mr. Daddy drew the Chessie system Cat. Mr. Daddy is a from Huntington, WV, a real train town, so he was the expert on making the trail look real.

And now Bubba's five. FIVE! And he's such a sweet boy. He's so good to me and his daddy. He's so sweet to his sister. And he's very funny. And he loves to read. He wants to be a rock star so bad he can't stand it.

Happy Birthday, Bubba. I love you!



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Don't forget to register for my contest. Go ahead and register! If you don't need the Miffy, give her to Toys for Tots. Oh, and Karen and Burgh Baby's Mom? I'm totally registering you. Give it away, but don't disqualify yourself!! It doesn't cost me or you anything to win!


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Random Blog Commenter...Come On Down!!! You're the Next Contestant

Boy this was a busy weekend, but I'll have to blog about that later. Today we have a contest. And who doesn't love a contest? Especially when you could win this:

In case you've been living in a cave and don't know who this is, this is Miffy. Oh, and THIS Miffy? She's 28" tall. That's right. I said twenty eight inches. And you can't get this Miffy anywhere else except here and Ty's Toy Box. See, Ty's knows where the real word-of-mouth power lies -- BLOGS!

I don't know about you, but I've done just about all of my holiday shopping online this year. I've used a variety of sites -- some good, some not so good. Ty's Toy Box is awesome because they have their site organized by characters and I've found that as my children get older that all of our toys are character-driven -- Thomas, Angelina, etc. But Ty's not only has the requisite Princesses, they also have Caillou, Charlie and Lola, and even Daniel Cook, who I think is a real cutie.

In case you haven't done all your shopping yet, Ty's is offering some really great deals right now. They are offering free shipping on any domestic order over $65 (and $10 shipping credit toward international orders over $65). And also, through the end of the day on December 3rd, if you use the coupon code HOLIDAY5 at checkout and get $5 off any $50+ order.

So you how do you get your hot little hands on that giant Miffy pictured up there? All you have to do is go over to Ty's Toy Box and browse around. Come back here and leave me a comment and tell me which toy your child would love to receive the most from Ty's. If you don't have children, or if your children are grown, tell me which toy you would most liked to have received as a child. Leave you comment before 11:59 pm on Wednesday December 5th. On Thursday, I will randomly pick one commenter to receive the giant Miffy doll. Even if you don't have a little girl in your life who would love this Miffy, this giant plush would be a great item to drop off at your local Toys for Tots station. Due to the size of the box to be shipped, only U.S. residents are eligible to win.

So if you want Miffy to come and live at your house, comment away! And good luck!

(Pssst: The best part about this Miffy? She doesn't require any batteries and she doesn't make any noise).

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Small Kindnesses

Recently some people have shown me small kindnesses. And while the acts themselves might have been small, my gratitude was large. These seemingly simple acts made my day. And they have have affected me.

To give you a rundown:

1. A friend in Massachusetts was going to send me something. When the package arrived, it seemed larger than it should be, considering what I knew to be inside. But when I opened it -- Oh! Y'all. Inside was a copy of every Boston Globe dealing with the Red Sox's ALCS and World Series victory. What a gift. I was floored and so touched. When the Sox won the Series in 2004, my husband actually paid money to the Home Shopping Network for a copy of the Globe that documented their victory. But she knew we liked the Sox and she sent these papers.

2. My co-worker, MacKenzie, surprised me and another co-worker with coffees from Starbucks one morning. She knew my favorite flavor -- Gingerbread Latte -- and even got me a grande! It was such a wonderful start to the day and such a pleasant surprise.

3. My friend emailed me and said "You deserve a treat" and then proceeded to give me the tickets to the awesome Georgia v. Auburn game.

4. I've been nominated for a couple of blog awards recently. Y'all might think it's silly, but these meant so much to me. I started this blog kind of as a fluke and when I get these awards it feels like...I don't know. Validation.

5. I had my mom order this shirt for Bubba's birthday from The Rocking Pony's Etsy site (He sooo wants to be a rock star). I read her blog regularly. She reads mine. When the gift arrived today, one of these fell out. She included it for Punkin because she didn't want Punkin to feel left out. I can't even explain how this small act of kindness made me feel. (Go check out her site! She's got some really cute stuff!)


Y'all, all of these times I was so touched that tears came to my eyes. Am I overly emotional? Probably -- I told you I'm an easy crier. But it made me start to try to think of ways -- even small ways -- that I could brighten someone else's day. I get so caught up in my day to day life that I often don't stop to think of others. Is it selfish? Or just a fact of my harried life? I don't know. But I don't want it to be that way. I want to make others feel good about themselves. I want to do things to make others happy.

It may sound kind of cheesy, but I want to pay it forward. So that's my new resolution -- not new year's resolution -- just a plain old resolution.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We Need to Have a Talk

I've noticed that the holidays tend to be stressful. Really? you say sarcastically.

And it's not just the shopping and the running to and fro. It can even be the little things. And no, I'm not talking about the kids, although they add their own special brand of stress.

It's the little things like how we put the lights on the tree. Just ask el-e-e over at Hello, Self. It can be the weather not cooperating. Read this from Burgh Baby's Mom.

I've already written here about the struggles Mr. Daddy and I have had -- okay, it's really MY struggles -- about who to spend our holidays with, but we recently happened upon another land mine in our relationship:

Santa. As in, do we wrap the gifts that are from Santa? My answer is an emphatic NO, but Mr. Daddy is equally as horrified by the prospect of unwrapped gifts. It all goes back to, as el-e-e so astutely pointed out -- TRADITION.

In my family we always had a big gathering on Christmas Eve. We went to church, came home and ate copiously and then retired to the living room where my dad played Santa and passed out our gifts to and from each other. Then we went to bed and when we awoke, all of our glorious Santa booty was laid out for us to see (okay, that sounds all kinds of wrong, but you know what I mean!). Apparently, in Mr. Daddy's family, Santa wraps his gifts.

My first question is this: Who has that kind of time?! This spurious tradition also necessitates buying SEPARATE wrapping paper that can't be used on any OTHER presents and then must be either disposed of or completely and utterly hidden for the remaining 364 days of the year. Assuming that your preschooler won't notice that Mommy and Daddy's gifts are wrapped in the exact same paper as Santa's is not an assumption I'm willing to make at this point. I don't want Santa ruined for my 5 year old by some silly wrapping paper.

So far it hasn't really been a battle. Bubba had just turned one his first Christmas and honestly we really didn't buy him a whole lot. And we certainly didn't wrap what we did buy. Same for Christmas two and I'm thinking for Christmas three, though I can't really remember Christmas three all that clearly. Probably has something to do with the fact that I had a barely-sleeping 4 month old at the time.

It was at Christmas four that it really became an issue. Remember this train?

You don't wrap a train like that. A train like that begs to be laid out, just waiting for the sleeping child to awake. Can you imagine a four year old waking to find this train in a box? And then waiting oh so patiently (yeah right!) for Daddy to put it together. Fortunately, I was able to get Mr. Daddy to relent on the train and the "reveal" was all I could have hoped for.

But this year we're at it again. I asked Mr. Daddy the other day "Are we going to wrap gifts from Santa this year?"

"OF COURSE!"

"I just don't get it," I sighed. "What is the point? This goes against everything from my childhood."

"I can see," said Mr. Daddy laughingly "that we should have had a serious conversation about this before we got married!"

"Yeah," I replied. "Politics be damned. Let's talk about Christmas."

But we're wrapping. I guess I do see the teensiest benefit in that it does prolong the enjoyment of seeing what Santa brought, but it still just feels wrong. And like a lot of work.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Twenty Down. Only Eighty More to Go!

Here's my latest installment of my 100 Things. But first I have to share this with you. Last night we were eating dinner. Bubba asked for more milk and then proceeded to tell us he needed to go potty. As he walked down the hall toward the bathroom he said "I expect to see milk on the table when I get back." Cheeky monkey! I couldn't even scold him because I was laughing too hard.

90. I’m kind of a music snob.

89. BUT. I like Pink. The singer. It’s kind of a secret shame of mine (not anymore!). I think I like the fact that she’s a kick-ass woman who has charted her own career course and seems not to care what others think of her. She’s no Britney, that’s for sure. In case you’re interested, this and this are my favorite Pink songs.

88. I love coffee. I’m an addict. I started drinking it right after college when I joined the work force but I got really hooked when Mr. Daddy managed a Starbucks. Back then we got a free pound a week. Sigh. I seriously think they put heroin in their coffee. I think somebody needs to look into it. Seriously.

87. I love Bob Dylan. My mom loves him more. I've seen him in concert three times and once took a day off work to get tickets for my family.

86. I hate 70s music. Back in those days my mom told us that the radio in our car was broken, but knowing what I know now about my mother (and what I’ve been tempted to do many a time myself) is that our radio was not, in fact, broken. I grew up listening to Bob Dylan (see #87), Simon and Garfunkel, and Cat Stevens.

85. I’m a packrat. I’ve gotten better over the years, but I still have boxes and boxes of stuff from high school. I saved all my prom dresses for my daughter, long before Punkin was even a twinkle in her daddy’s eye. I have a really hard time deciding which of Bubba and Punkin's "art" to keep and which to throw away. They're all keepers in my eye.

84. I wish I were a better letter writer. I think it’s a lost and dying art form. My roommate from Governor’s Honors was an awesome letter writer. Granted, it was pre-email, but her letters were great and I still have most of them 17 years later.

83. I’m becoming fond of the Oxford comma. MacKenzie, a co-worker, has converted me. It often DOES clear up ambiguity.

82. I had a tonsillectomy in the third grade. Several years later I went to the doctor for a sore throat and the doctor called my mom into his office. I thought I had throat cancer or something. Turns out my tonsils grew back. It happens sometimes, apparently

81. I generally like bugs. I know that’s kind of weird and there are some bugs that definitely don’t make the cut, but I’m not afraid to pick up a beetle. Or a cricket. Or even a worm – okay I know a worm is not a bug, but they definitely fall into the creepy/slimy bracket for some people.


And there we are. This is much harder than it looks, by the way!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Punkin Funny

I have a confession to make. I know I'm probably going to get some backlash from this, but here goes: I don't really like babies very much. Okay, that's not 100% true. I love babies -- especially my own. They usually smell pretty good, the occasional poop smell notwithstanding. And they're good to snuggle with.

BUT. They are not great conversationalists you have to admit. And they rarely stun you with some out-of-left-field but right-on-target insight. And witty remarks are few and far between.

THAT's why I love toddlers and preschoolers. I love it when they're personalities start to develop. When you can see their thought processes. The other day I said that Punkin was probably going to start appearing here more and more. She's definitely coming into her own.

Yesterday Bubba was chasing her around the house with one of these:



The head and neck move when you push a button on the back and Punkin did not like it one little bit. Of course, being an almost 5 year old boy AND an older brother, he could not resist tormenting her and so he continued until she was almost in tears. Finally I intervened, "Bubba, stop that! She doesn't like it."

Punkin looked right at Bubba and said in her firmest voice "Bubba! I no like that!" You tell him, Punkin!

And then last night at bedtime Bubba and Punkin were giving each other their nightly bedtime hugs and kisses. Punkin already had her higgie and there might have been just the teensiest amount of drool on her chin. When she leaned in for her kiss Bubba said "Ewww. Punkin! That kiss was slimy!" And of course, being an almost 5 year old boy and an older brother, he kept on with the ewww-ing and the yuck-ing long after Punkin and I headed down the hall to her room. When we got to her door I guess Punkin had had enough. She turned around and yelled back down the hall "No Bubba! Not swimy!"

But the funniest things she's said lately have come on two recent mornings. On the first morning Mr. Daddy sat down next to Punkin and said "How did you sleep?" She replied "I lay down in my bed." Duh Daddy!

This morning when he asked her "How did you sleep?" she said "Zzzzzz." Looks like we've got a little Amelia Bedelia on our hands!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Can't. Move. Too. Full.

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. One full of good food and good family. We did. The family part was good and the food part was out of this world.

On Thursday we went to my mother-in-law's house. In addition to the family we were expecting, Mr. Daddy's cousin and his wife were also there. We haven't seen them since their wedding back in 2003, so it was good to see them. Mr. Daddy and his cousin are very close in age and because my MIL and her sisters have always been so close, the cousins were close, too. Of course now everybody is spread out and they don't get to see each other very often, so that was a nice surprise.

When we spend Thanksgiving with my family, we usually have two meals -- a lunch at my dad's house with my brother and his family and all of my aunts, uncles, great-aunts and uncles and most of my cousins. After that we go to supper at my mom's with my brother, et al and most of my step-siblings, of which there are 7.

My dad had about 50 at his house for Thanksgiving. He used to own a restaurant, so cooking for large crowds is not that hard for him. And everybody brings a side dish, so he really just does the meats. But my dad will be 70 -- 70!!-- this December and it's getting a little harder for him every year. My mom has been known to have 25 or more at her house, and although she never owned a restaurant, she has become a master at cooking for large numbers. But my mom is 67, so I know it's harder for her every year, too.

Anyway, so it was weird to eat only one big meal on Thanksgiving this year. In fact, my Thanksgiving meal this year was right puny compared to meals of yore. I really only had one helping of everything, except of course the mashed potatoes and a squash casserole that was unlike any I've had before.

But then. Then. On Friday I went to my dad's house and ate leftovers for lunch. There wasn't a whole lot left over -- I mean, with 50 people you have to be a little surprised that there's ANY left over. But when I left there was NOTHING left over. I ate until I was almost sick.

Small digression -- I have a habit of doing that. Eating myself sick, I mean. When I was a child there were two things that I would eat until I was nearly nauseated. My grandmother's dressing (as in turkey and dressing) and her colored butterbeans. Dressing, of course, I only got to have at Thanksgiving, but she would cook her colored butterbeans almost every Sunday, especially during the summer when their garden was in full bloom. And I don't even know if colored butterbeans are what they're REALLY called, but that's what we called them. They were small, gray butterbeans cooked with fatback. Heav-en! And oh how I miss them.

From my dad's house we went to my mom's house. Several years ago, before my children were even born, my mother decided that if she was going to be a grandmother there were certain things she needed to learn how to cook. Chicken and dumplings was one. Dressing was the other. And her dressing is fantastic and it gets better every year. It's just not Thanksgiving to me unless I get some dressing. And though I love my MIL, even SHE apologized for using Stove Top stuffing. My mom had some dressing left over and even though I was full to bursting, I heated myself up a couple of pieces and went to town.

On Saturday we went back to my mom's house to watch the Georgia game. When we got there I helped myself to a delicious piece of my mom's homemade pumpkin cheesecake. Then we snacked on cheese and crackers and a vegetable plate while we watched the game. A beer or two might have been consumed. Then my step sister and I proceeded to eat almost an entire large pizza -- though in our defense it WAS thin crust. And I topped that off with another piece of pumpkin cheesecake. Why, yes, it was hard to find pants that fit this morning. Why do you ask?

What was the best thing you ate over Thanksgiving? Is there one thing you have to have to make the holiday complete?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Book is Dead. Again.

Well actually, according to Newsweek and Jeff Bezos, they're not dead, they're just going digital. Here's a link to the story, if you're interested.

In case you don't feel like clicking through and reading the whole article, which in all honesty is how I often feel when I see links such as the above, I'll summarize it for you.

Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon.com has just created the Amazon Kindle (as in kindling the flame of knowledge), the newest e-Reader. Compared, innovation-wise, with the iPhone and iPod, it does sound as though it is leaps and bounds better than other eBook readers. For it to succeed, Bezos says that "If you're going to do something like this, you have to be as good as book in a lot of respects."

Here are some of the things that Bezos says make the Kindle "as good as" a book:
  • it contains an aura of "bookishness"
  • it has the dimensions of a paperback
  • it weighs 10.3 ounces
  • it uses E Ink, a breakthrough technology that mimes the clarity of a printed book
  • it has a 6" screen
And don't forget that when it's in "sleep" mode, it displays retro images of ancient texts, early printing presses and beloved authors like Emily Dickinson and Jane Austen.

Okay, where to start? Can I just go on record and say that I for one don't ever see myself falling into the eBook craze. Although the device does sound kind of cool, I just can't imagine myself settling down onto the sofa with a hard plastic case to read a good book.

A book has weight. Heft. It has a smell. It has a specific typeface (which I guess could be duplicated, BUT). It has cover art. Just go read Faster Than Kudzu (specifically the 10/19 post) to see how important cover art is to a lot of people. For me, these are all a part of the experience of a "book." Of reading.

I'm just not sure that experience can be duplicated by a machine.

Some other things the Kindle will be able to do:

  • Store up to 200 books! (ummmm, isn't that what bookshelves are for? What about a library, people? While I'm all for supporting authors, oftentimes a new book just isn't in the budget, you know? That's where libraries come in handy. Kindle currently has no plans to loan books.)
  • It can venture out on the Web! (ummm, again, will my computer become obsolete? Because the Kindle can also receive emails!)
  • It has advertising space! (To borrow from Grey's Anatomy...Seriously? Although they say that advertising is not in their plans for the Kindle, you know it's just a matter of time. I read books to get AWAY from advertising. Will there be no space left untouched by Madison Avenue? Is nothing sacred?)
I think the most disturbing thing, though, is this quote:
"'The possibility of interaction will redefine authorship," says Peter Brantley, executive director of the Digital Library Federation, an association of libraries and institutions. 'Michael Chabon will have to rethink how he writes for this medium,' he says. Brantley envisions wiki-style collaborations where the author, instead of being the sole authority, is a "superuser," the lead wolf of a creative pack."

I don't know about you, but I don't want to tell Michael Chabon, or anyone else for that matter, how or what they should write. That's almost sacrilegious, in my opinion. The writing process is an art form, one that shouldn't be tampered with. It is storytelling. Can you imagine how Jane Eyre might have turned out if Charlotte Bronte had consulted her readers upon the completion of every chapter. It's absurd.

So, I'm curious. Is it just me? Do you ever see yourself using a Kindle? If not, is it our generation? Am I too old? Is this my my misguided attempt to hold back the sands of time? Will I, like those who proclaimed rock and roll to be the devil's music, be shaking my hips to the digital beat in 10 or 15 years? Let me know what you think. I'm curious.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Oh, She's Good. She's Really Good.


Y'all! I'm so excited! All Adither gave me this blog award today!
I'm so honored because she intimidates me slightly! She's a real live published writer! Truth be told, all you published types intimidate the heck out of me! BUT, I'm still so flattered and honored and I'm passing it on to Blowtorch in the Middle. Her writing inspires me -- her haiku are amazing -- and she usually keeps me laughing as well!

I talk a lot about Bubba and conversations he and I have. I feel like Punkin has gotten short shrift somehow. But every day she's developing into her own little person so I have a feeling she'll start showing up here more often.

Punkin has been sleeping in her toddler bed for over a week now. She seems to be adjusting well. She's only fallen out of the bed once since the first couple of nights but fortunately she went right back to sleep after I picked her up, kissed her, and put her back to bed.

Occasionally she'll still cry out at night but she can usually get herself back to sleep, unless the higgie or her bear are under the bed. But even then she'll usually go right back to sleep upon retrieval of those beloved items. (THANK GOD!)

We've even established a pretty good bedtime routine:

(1) Go potty -- with pretty regular success. She's got the going part down though she hasn't yet learned to tell me when she needs to go. I think her response is sort of Pavlovian -- sit her on the potty and she goes. Funny note, if I go potty in front of her she cheers for me "Yay, Mommy go tee tee!" It makes me laugh.

(2) Brush teeth -- This used to be an absolute chore. I have been known to pin her down and pry her mouth open just to get at her teeth. Fun. Then this weekend I bought her a new toothbrush (with Little Einsteins!) and she has been sweetness and light and oh-so-cooperative ever since. If I had known that was all it would take I would have bought her a new toothbrush ages ago.

Editorial note: Sometimes a bath comes between potty and brushing teeth. Since we're having a record-breaking, fear-inducing drought I've been bathing both kids every other night unless they're just filthy when they come home. Which Punkin usually is. That girl has a good time at daycare.

(3) Read an Angelina Ballerina story for the thousandth time. Don't get me wrong, I love Angelina myself, but a little variety wouldn't do anybody any harm is all I'm saying. I still have my glider rocker in her room, but she no longer lets me sit in it while she sits in my lap. SHE sits in the glider while I sit on the floor and read to her like the peasant that I am. Here's Madame Queen II in all her glory.



And finally (4) Lights out, sound machine on "rain" setting, lullaby sung. I've been singing the first verse of "You Are My Sunshine" to her every night since she was a newborn. Occasionally she makes me throw in "Row Row Row Your Boat" or "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" -- but ONLY if you pronounce it "twinkie," NOT "twinkle" for some reason known only to toddlers.

But here's where her mad skillz as a master manipulator have really come to the fore. After we sing and I turn off the light I say "Night night. I love you, Punkin"

"I luff you, Mommy."

"I love you, too." And I close the door.

At which point from behind the closed door I hear "I luff you, Mommy." I can't not respond. It's Pavlovian in me! I simply must reply. I can't let her go to sleep thinking I don't love her.

Open door. "I love you, too, Punkin. It's time to go night night. Go to sleep." Close door.

"I luff you, Mommy." Aghhhh!

We've been known to go back and forth like this for a good three or four minutes. I KNOW she's manipulating me but I still can't help myself.

Tonight after we did the above routine I went back to the kitchen to finish cleaning the supper dishes. I heard a distressed cry from her bedroom "MOMMY!"

Open the door. "What is it, Punkin?"

"I luff you, Mommy."

That girl! She's good! Even though I'm frustrated beyond measure (mostly because I have to keep drying my hands off!) I just can't be mad at her. She's got me wrapped around her little finger and she knows it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

100 Things - Counting by Tens

Well, I never thought it would happen, really, but I've written 100 posts. Some days it's hard to imagine that I've had the time or the energy to write even one, but somehow there are 100 -- or at least that's what Blogger tells me. I'll take his word for it.

I've never really filled out the "About Me" section that you find on most blogs. For one thing, I've read too many of yours and feel like anything I put down would pale in comparison. Also, to be frank, it seems impossible to sum myself up in just a couple of sentences. I am, if nothing else, complicated. And I'm full of contradictions. Just ask Mr. Daddy.

I've also been tempted to do the "100 Things" you see on a lot of blogs, but was a little overwhelmed by the task. So, I'm stealing a little bit from Diary of a Diapering Madwoman who did her "100 Things" in bits and pieces and Blowtorch in the Middle, who already had a "100 Things" but did 10 more in honor of her 100th post. Thanks for the inspiration, ladies!

So here goes. Please note that these are in no particular order, except the order that they popped into my head. And I"m going to start at 100 and go backwards. I don't know if there's a protocol to these things, but this is how it's going to go on this here blog.

100. I can never remember what the anti-drug acronym DARE stands for. Never. I always think it stands for Drugs Are Really Evil. It actually stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education (I had to ask Mr. Daddy). I think mine is better.

99. I like Mariachi music.

98. And cowboy yodeling.

97. I'm an easy crier. Mr. Daddy still teases me about crying over a Mercedes commercial where the Mercedes is about to be crushed in a junkyard and it's "life" with this young family starts flashing before its eyes. Sniff.

96. I can pat my head with one hand and rub my stomach with the other. If I switch hands I can do the opposite task on the opposite body location.

95. I can quote most of the first chapter of Gone With the Wind from memory. Oops! I meant to say first PARAGRAPH, not the first chapter. Sorry!

94. I have an irrational fear of spiders.

93. I love french fries. Especially dipped in ranch dressing. They are my dietary downfall every time.

92. I have a tattoo. It's a comedy and tragedy mask, which occasionally seems kind of cheesy to me, but it does mean something to me and I've never regretted getting it. Nobody can see it unless I want to show it to them and since it's now located riiiight beneath my c-section scar, only my doctor and Mr. Daddy get to see it these days!

91. I won the county spelling bee in the fifth and seventh grade. On the certificate for my 5th grade win they spelled my name wrong.

That's it for now. I'll post these periodically until I have 100.