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?"


"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 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.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Plenty to be thankful for

Before we get down to "bidness" I have to show you this:

Imposter Mom gave me this award today. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw that she had nominated me. I just recently discovered her blog (and love it!) but I really had no idea she was even reading mine. But oh! What a nice surprise!

So I'm passing it on to these lovely ladies:

The Tea Party Place

One Woman Show

Stay At Home Mom Going Quickly Insane

Now...on with the ramblings, er, I mean show...

First of all, I cannot be-leeve Thanksgiving is next week. It has completely snuck up on me this year. And if we're being honest, I'm a little disappointed. Because we're spending it with Mr. Daddy's family. Mr. Daddy is completely aware of my feelings and thinks I'm a little silly, but I really like my family. (Editorial note: for most of this post, when I say "family" I'm referring to my mother, brother, dad, aunts, cousins, step-siblings, etc. I realize that I have my own family now, but for ease of reading -- and writing -- see note above).

Don't get me wrong, I really, really like Mr. Daddy's family, too. Of course I love them, but I like them too, which is wayyy more important, if you ask me. In fact, I have a hard time imagining a better family that I could have married into. Mr. Daddy's mom is one of three sisters who are very close. And they're a hoot. When they all get together they'll usually wind up tickled about something and we'll all find ourselves just about rolling on the floor laughing along with them. They used to be a semi-famous (for West Virginia) singing trio when they were children and in their teens and very early twenties and they like to sing a lot. And they're really good, so that's always fun. When Bubba was about 3 weeks old we were at their house for Christmas an they decided to "serenade" him with "Frosty the Snowman" but they kept forgetting the order of the verses and before it was over we were all hysterical laughing and no one could sing a note. We have that on tape somewhere -- I need to dig that out.

And Mr. Daddy is one of six children and I really like all his siblings, though most live in West Virginia and so we don't get to see them that often. So I will be really excited to see them next week. Plus we have a new nephew, Max, that we'll be meeting for the first time.

BUT, having Thanksgiving with them means that I won't be having Thanksgiving with my own family. I've said before on this blog that I'm a family girl. And I would have to say that spending major holidays away from my family was (and sometimes still is) the hardest thing about getting married and blending families. I mean, I spent 24 years with my family before I married into another family. THAT's a hard habit to break.

One of the biggest fights Mr. Daddy and I have had was our first Christmas as a married couple. My family always gathered on Christmas Eve. We'd go to a candlelight service at the church, go home to a delicious meal and then -- and I know this is sacrilege to some people, BUT -- we would open our presents from each other. Our first Christmas together we went to my mom's house for dinner on Christmas Eve and then went home. I mentioned something about seeing my mom again on Christmas Day and Mr. Daddy said "What? We're not going back are we? We just saw those people."

THOSE PEOPLE?!? In retrospect I know he didn't mean any disrespect to them or dislike for them, but all I heard was "THOSE PEOPLE!"

"'THOSE PEOPLE' are my FAMILY!!" I yelled.

"We're a family now!" he countered.

"NO.WE.ARE.NOT!" I cried (literally). "Not until we have kids." In the end we did go to my mom's for Christmas Day, too. Partially because there wasn't a thing to eat at our house. I had just assumed that we would spend Christmas Day with them and so had not bought anything at the store.

And of course we now have kids and we have a family of our own. These familial tugs-of-war have gotten easier over the years. And I will enjoy seeing Mr. Daddy's family next week. And Bubba and Punkin are going to have a blast playing with their cousins. And in all fairness we have spent the majority of the major holidays with my family. But that doesn't mean I'm going to miss my extended family any less. But wherever I spend the holiday, I'm thankful for ALL of my family.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Random Blog Bits

I don't know if any of you experienced this today, but Blogger was having some kind of "issue." Every time I would try to comment on someone's blogspot blog I would get an error message. I felt very...thwarted. Who knew I had so much to say about YOUR blogs? Very late in the day I found that if *I* was already logged in to blogger that I could comment on other people's blogs, but if I wasn't already logged in = error message. Whew! (Do you think Betty Ford has a wing for bloggers?)

I've decided that fall is my favorite season. I used to think I was a springtime girl -- you know, the thaw after the winter, the flowers. BUT, this fall (and last fall) have cemented fall in first place in my affections. I much prefer the cooling off after the sweltering summer (that cooling off is of course in theory -- it was 75 here today). I prefer fall clothes -- they're more forgiving. You can't see my ham arms in my cozy sweaters. There's not much you can do hide them in sleeveless shirts. But my favorite thing about fall is the trees. Oh! They are glorious! I had heard that drought makes the colors more vibrant, but that too much drought would mean they wouldn't have any color. If they are any less vibrant this year I can't tell it. I saw a tree today that was just golden, except for one teensy little stripe down one side of the tree that was gloriously burgundy, like someone had swiped just the edge with a paintbrush.

The thing I like best about the trees, though, is that they make me take notice. So often I'm rushing here or there, lost in thought, listening to the whining from the back seat. But when the trees look like this you can't help but notice. The trees bring my outside of myself and make me think "Oh my gosh. That is glorious. LIFE is glorious. I'm glad to be alive."


Some days there's just no pleasing Punkin. When I picked her up today she was in a mood. Nothing suited. The answer to every question was "NO!" After we picked up Bubba she continued to whine and fuss about every little thing.

Finally I said, "Punkin, if you don't stop whining I'm going to leave you on the side of the road."

Bubba wailed "No, Mommy! She's my little sister and I love her!"


I have a feeling I'm in for a real treat tomorrow. Bubba's school is going to a nearby senior center for a Thanksgiving lunch. Parents are always invited to go along on field trips, but this is the first one I've been able to attend so far. And I'm going to ride the bus. I could have just met them at the senior center, but Bubba was absolutely insistent that I ride the bus, so ride the bus I shall.


Tonight after dinner Bubba and I were playing knights. He asked me "Mommy, do you mind being the bad guy?" With manners like that how could I refuse?


I STILL can't hear out of my right ear. I know you guys are sick of hearing about it -- heck, I"m sick of hearing about it (or not hearing about it, as the case may be! HA!). It makes conversations in the car particularly difficult. I've been keeping the radio mostly off because that noise combined with the kids talking creates a cacophony of sound inside my head that should be designated as an official form of torture.


I wore these boots yesterday (in black, natch):

NOT SMART. I hiked from the parking deck to my office. Two hours later I hiked from my office to the parking deck. I picked Bubba up from school. I picked Punkin up from school. We went to the doctor's office. We went to McDONALDS! I took Bubba BACK to school. I took Punkin to the PARK because I couldn't take her back to school until after nap time. I took Punkin back to school. I hiked from the parking deck to my office. I hiked from office to the parking deck. I picked Punkin up from school and stood and chatted with her teacher for 15 mintues. I picked Bubba up from school and stood and chatted with HIS teacher for 15 minutes. I did all that in THOSE shoes. When I finally got home and took my shoes off, my feet took off, jumped right off the end of my legs and ran around yelping like wounded dogs, like you see in those old cartoons.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The End of an Era

We put away Punkin's crib this weekend. We moved her to a toddler bed, which so far is working out okay. I don't really know why we moved her except for the fact that Bubba was already in a toddler bed when he was her age.

I found out I was pregnant with Punkin not long after Bubba turned two. And because I never wanted him to feel that she had usurped him in any way, we moved him out of the crib about three weeks after I found out I was pregnant. I was worried about how he would handle it, but it went so smoothly I could hardly believe it. No fussing, no nighttime wandering (which was my greatest fear), nothing.

And while I KNOW in my head that he and Punkin are two different people, for some reason it just seems that since HE was out of his crib by now then she should be, too. But with Punkin nothing is ever as cut and dried as it was with Bubba. Remember the higgie incident?

Let me just say that Punkin was thrilled with her new bed. She spent most of Saturday morning running down the hall to her room shouting "my new bed, my new bed" and then flopping on it. I didn't really think we would have any trouble getting her to lie down come bedtime.

The first night the toddler bed was up was the night we went to the football game. We picked the kids up from my dad's late and by the time we got home both were sound asleep in the backseat. I managed to get Punkin into her pj's with a minimum of waking and put her in the toddler bed. Sometime in the night I heard a thunk, went to check on her and found her somehow halfway wedged underneath the bed, a feat in and of itself because the thing is so darn low to the ground. But, she remained in the bed for the rest of the night and was there when I went to wake her on Sunday morning.

Last night, around 12:30 I heard Punkin crying so I went to check on her. I opened the door to her room and ran smack into her. I don't know if she was crying because she couldn't get her room door open or what, but I picked her up and put her back in the bed. After I got to bed I kept thinking that I heard small thuds and rustling coming from her room, but since I STILL can't hear out of my right ear, I couldn't be sure. She wasn't crying. So eventually I fell back asleep.

This morning when I went to wake her she was in her bed, but her blanket was wayyyy over by her closet. And tonight when I put her to bed I noticed a strange stuffed animal that normally sits on her bookshelf on the other side of the room. She must be an intrepid little soul because her room is a dark as pitch at night. I don't want to put in a nightlight because I'm afraid it will only encourage the wandering. But, sheesh, I'm not sure I would go wandering in a room that dark.

We're probably going to sell the crib. And I have to say that putting that crib away gave me a pang of sadness that I haven't felt before when retiring any of my other baby stuff. I loved that crib. We bought it when I was pregnant with Bubba and it was gorgeous. Dark Cherry. Clean lines. It was expensive but we had more money (than sense!) back then. For me, that crib symbolizes all my hopes and expectations when I was pregnant. And now it seems like we've reached a very significant milestone not only in Punkin's life, but also in mine.

A former client of mine and I were discussing our kids once. He said that sometimes he felt wistful and sad about milestones that passed unrecognized. We don't often celebrate the last bottle. Or the last diaper. Or the last time your children sit in your lap. Because at the time you may not realize that it IS the last time. And I really didn't realize on Friday night that would be the last time Punkin' slept in her crib. Getting out the toddler bed was kind of a spur of the moment decision on Saturday.

And although I'm glad to see Punkin becoming more independent, it makes me a little sad too. She's growing up. How am I going to know when all the "lasts" are? I definitely don't want to miss the last time she sits in my lap.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Back in Black


A friend, who shall forever be dear to me, gave me a wonderful gift on Friday. She gave me tickets. No, not tickets to Hawaii. She gave me tickets to the Georgia vs. Auburn football game, which turned out to be the most amazing and most exciting sporting event I've ever attended.

I know some of you aren't into sports, but I love sports and I love college football, particularly the Dawgs.

And for those of you who don't know, Saturday was a "blackout" game. The seniors on the football team requested that all the fans wear black, in a show of solidarity. Late in the week, rumors began to fly that the team would wear black jerseys, something no one can remember ever happening before, but no one would confirm or deny and Coach Richt said he was just plain tired of talking about it.

As Mr. Daddy and I walked to the stadium, it was clear that the Bulldog faithful had listened to the players. There was an occasional red shirt (where have you people been? In a cave?), but black was everywhere (seriously, how hard do you think it was for most women to find something black in their closets? And of course most of the women were dressed like they were going to a cocktail party, but that's a whole `nother post entirely).

When we got to our seats, we were greeted by a sea of black:

This was a sight never before seen in Sanford Stadium. And it was impressive.

And I'm about to get a little sentimental here but please just bear with me for a moment. When the announcer asked us to stand and sing the UGA Alma Mater, I looked out at all those people, all wearing black, all rooting for the same team, and I got a little teary eyed.

Truthfully, this is not unusual for me. I get teary eyed any time the National Anthem is played. Whenever I go to a parade and see all these happy people, sharing in a common experience that seems so Norman Rockwell-y, so American. I can't explain why it happens. It just makes me feel like I'm part of something larger than myself -- even if it is just a football game.

We missed the team warming up, but everybody around said they were in red jerseys. So maybe it was just a rumor after all. Maybe not.

The captains met at the center of the field -- in red jerseys. The coin was tossed. The decision to kick or receive was made.

And then the cheerleaders and the band lined up beside the tunnel where the team emerges. Everyone held their breath.

And then the team stormed onto the field wearing black jerseys and oh my God the stadium went wild. AC/DC's "Back In Black" blared from the speakers, and while it is certainly not one of my favorite songs, it certainly did get everyone fired up.

The truly amazing thing was that the momentum never faltered. Every time Auburn had the ball the stadium would erupt again. Auburn wasted two time outs simply because the players couldn't hear the plays being called by the quarterback. I myself was almost completely hoarse before the end of the first quarter.

And of course, Georgia won. It was the first time that Georgia has beaten both Florida and Auburn in the same year since 1982. So it felt good. I know it was just a football game, but holy cow that was fun.

Ticket lady (you know who you are), thank you.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Women Are Fantastic Friday

My friend Sophie over at A Hole in the Fence came up with Women are Fantastic Friday. And I think this is a fabulous idea. (Sophie, I could not get the html to work to save my life, but I hope I've linked appropriately.)

I've been thinking about this for a while. I have been thinking about all the wonderful women who have been caregivers for my children over the years.

I'm not foolish enough to believe that they came into my life by chance. They were sent by God. That may sound a little melodramatic or overwrought, but it is true. All of these women came into my life at a perfect time and they were all angels in my eyes.

Before Bubba was born I had already scoped out a daycare. In my mind there was no doubt that I would go back to work. Financially I didn't think we had a choice. About a three weeks before I was supposed to go back to work, I went to scope out the daycare ONE MORE TIME. There was a young girl taking some of the older kids out to the playground and she yelled at them to COME ON. It was such a harsh tone that she used. (In her defense, it is a tone that I have now used with my kids many, many times and it is drawn out of me by dawdling and whining). But at the time I was horrified. I could not leave my child there.

So, I called my boss and quit my job. And then I panicked and called him back and said wellll, maybe I wouldn't quit, but could we work something out? He was willing to let me work two days a week. But what in the world was I going to do with Bubba two days a week? Those of you with kids in daycare know that most facilities won't let you do part time. I was screwed.

And then came Dwan. I actually met Dwan in my postpartum depression support group, if you can believe it. She had two kids, a two year old and an almost one year old, and she and her husband had been living in separate towns while he looked for work in Savannah. It was hard on her, to say the least. There were only two of us in our group, so we bonded kind of quickly. I was talking about my dilemma in the group and she offered to keep Bubba for me.

The situation was ideal because she lived just around the corner from my office. I could go to her house at lunch and nurse Bubba and then she gave him my pumped milk during the rest of the day. During this time Dwan also started a playgroup that became my lifeline in those early days. We met every other week and some of those girls became some of my closest mom friends.

Eventually, finances forced Dwan to go back to work and I ended up putting Bubba in a traditional daycare. He was eight months old by this time and I was over my new mom jitters (a little). I found a new daycare in town and he quickly became the favorite of Ms. Rasheeda. She loved him like he was her own and she always called "My Bubba." Every day when we went to school Ms. Rasheeda lit up like the sun when Bubba came in.

The day that we took Bubba out of the school to move up here, Ms. Rasheeda just cried and cried and truthfully, so did I. We still talk about Ms. Rasheeda to this day and that was almost 4 years ago.

When Punkin was born things were very different. Financially we were struggling a little and I couldn't afford to put her in the same daycare with Bubba and there was no way I could stay home. I actually started answering ads in the paper for "Qualified Caregivers." I made several appointments that I ended up canceling just because of weird feelings I got while talking to these women on the phone.

There was one, Denise, that lived very close to our house, so I made an appointment and one day on my lunch went out to visit. I knocked on the door and a young woman opened up, looked at me and said "Are you Madame Queen? Did you go to XYZ High School?"

"Yes, I am and I did." And lo and behold I had gone to high school with this woman! Denise graduated when I was a freshman, but I knew her younger brother very well. Again, God delivered an angel.

And she truly was an angel. She loved Punkin' as much as I did and her two young daughters doted on Punkin so much that I never had to worry that she lacked for attention. She care for Punkin from the time she was 8 weeks old until she was almost a year old. When we moved to our current house it was too much of a commute for me to have her continue to keep Punkin', though I tried for over a month. Eventually I had to deliver the bad news. And she cried. And I cried. And her daughters wouldn't even come out of their rooms. Punkin' left there before she was even a year old and it breaks my heart that she will have no memory of this wonderful woman who cared for her and loved her every day.

And finally, there is Lauren. Lauren had been my back up sitter for a little while. I met Lauren initially through a local mother's group and I put out a call that I needed a back up sitter one for the Friday after Thanksgiving. When Denise's children had dentist appointments or if she was out of town, Lauren was there for me. And when ultimately we decided that I could no longer make the commute to Denise's, Lauren was there for me again. She kept Punkin 5 days a week, in addition to her own two at home and she was fantastic. So patient (more than I am, that's for sure!). And they were always on the go -- to the Library, to the Park -- always keeping Punkin's mind active and doing exactly the kinds of things I would do if I could have stayed home with her. And she loved Punkin' too. And Punkin' loved her and her family (and their dog -- Punkin' even named one of her stuffed dogs after Lauren's dog!). A lot of big life changes ultimately led us to put Punkin' in the same daycare as Bubba, but we still see Lauren and her family on a fairly regular basis. But now Lauren and her family are moving. And although we are excited for them, we are sad for us because now they won't be just right down the road and we won't run into them at Wal-Mart on Saturday mornings!

I'm leaving out a lot of wonderful women who work in my children's schools, but the women above are the women who stand out in my mind. These are the women who made a difference in my life. Because they cared for and loved MY children like their own, I had peace of mind. That is a wonderful gift. And for that I thank you.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Here are my heartstrings. Go ahead. Pull 'em.

It's getting to be that time of year again. You know. Christmas. When the toy catalogs start rolling in and the toy commercials so cleverly spaced between the cartoons really kick it into high gear. Bubba has already made a list of about a gazillion things he wants, most of them either knight, Transformer or ninja related (that boy, he definitely has a one track mind).

On top of Christmas you have to throw Bubba's birthday into the mix, which means more opportunities for toys. Bubba, on the whole, is not an "I want, I want" kind of kid. He can usually be pacified with a Hot Wheel car, which you can usually get for around 97 cents (THANKS, Mattel!).

But when Bubba really wants something, he really wants it.

Last year Bubba had his heart set on this:
THAT, my friends, is a Lionel Polar Express Train which retails for, at MINIMUM, $245. Well. We didn't have $245 to spend on a Lionel Train for a child who JUST turned 4, so I bought him a lovely train set for about 1/6 that price from Wal Mart. Bought it early even. But see, we live literally right around the corner from an amazing train store. AND one of our favorite activities is to walk over there and have the very nice old gentleman run the trains for us. So Bubba was a bit spoiled as far as trains go.

One night close to Christmas I was putting Bubba to bed and we were talking about what Santa might bring.

"I hope he brings me my Polar Express train."

"Well, Bubba. Santa might not be able to bring the Polar Express train. I don't know if he has that kind in his shop. It might be another kind of train."

Cue the heartbreak. No tantrum. No screaming. Just a quiet welling up of tears in the eyes and the crumpling of his sweet little face.

I couldn't help it. I started crying too. That was the first Christmas that he was really excited and it just broke my heart to know that he was going to be disappointed by Santa (of all people!) on Christmas morning. I hugged him and said that maybe Santa would bring the Polar Express train. We'd see.

When I told my mom this story it broke her heart too, and being the angel that she is offered to help us pay for the Polar Express train. And you've never seen a more excited child on Christmas morning.

And now we've started in this year. Last week I signed Bubba up to have his 5th birthday at the fire station. When I told him he didn't seem all that excited.

"Did you sign me up for my birthday in pencil?"


"Did you sign me up in pencil? Cause I want you to erase it and sign me up for my party at Pump It Up." So polite. So restrained. So wistful. And there goes my heart again.

Bubba loves Pump It Up almost as much as he does ninjas/knights/Transformers, but a party there is just out of our price range at the moment. I know he'll have a good time at the fire station once he gets there -- especially since he wants everyone to come in costume.

I also know I can't give in to every request he's going to make over the next 13 or so years. But that sure doesn't make it any easier.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Three out of four ain't bad (but it ain't too good, either!)

And then there was one...who was not on antibiotics in our house. Yes, I succumbed during the night last night. I woke around one feeling like there was a worm wiggling it's way into my brain through my Eustachian tube.

At three, it felt like someone was sticking an ice pick in my eardrum. I got up and took a decongestant, thinking that might help. It didn't.

At four I got up, having never gone back to sleep and took some ibuprofen. I also heated up my buckwheat pillow and went and sat on the couch and rested my head on the hot pillow. I slept a little but when I woke the whole side of my head hurt. Uh oh.


I've been down this road before. When I was a week away from delivering Punkin I awoke to the same pain. Then I had been avoiding decongestants because of, you know, THE BABY. That time the pain was a lot worse. In fact, it was unbearable. I woke Mr. Daddy at 1:00 am and told him I had to go to the hospital. I didn't want to wake up Bubba so I just told him to stay home and I'd go by myself.

You should see the looks on people's faces when an extremely pregnant woman walks into the ER by herself. Everyone visibly relaxed after I explained why I was there. I was triaged and sent back to the waiting room.

And then I waited. And waited. And waited. The ER was empty so I couldn't figure out what was taking so long. I had to pace because the pain was so bad.

Finally, around 4:30 they took me back to a room. Where I waited some more. (By this point I was beginning to think I should have faked labor. I certainly would have been seen sooner. I hope.)

Finally I got to see the doctor, who prescribed me not only some antibiotics, but also some fantastic pain medicine. I was seriously jonesing for it by this time. I filled the prescription at an all-night Walgreens and finally headed home. Exhausted.

I got home around 6:30, took the medicine and went to bed. Where my eardrum promptly ruptured. Ruptured, people. Actually, it's not as bad as it sounds and it actually made my ear feel tremendously better. BUT, that occurrence meant that I had to go see a specialist, who was kind enough to work me in when he found out that I was having, you know, a BABY in two days.

Fortunately, everything healed just fine. No hearing loss. But when I woke last night with the pain I was afraid I was in for a repeat performance. Perhaps my right ear is going to be repeat offender. We'll see. Either way, I have an all new empathy for babies with ear infections. No wonder they scream so loud. It hurts like hellfire!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Every Rose Has Its Thorn

The other day in the car Bubba said "William really really loves Samantha."

"Oh really? Hmmmm. Let's see what kinds of interesting tidbits we can find out here. Is there anybody you really really love? Or is there anybody that you think is very pretty?"

"I fink Christiana is really pretty. I followed her around all day today. But Mommy, she wouldn't play with me at all today and she kept running away from me."

Oh Lord. This sure seems like it's starting early. "Well, Bubba. Let me tell you a secret. Sometimes when a girl knows you like her, she runs away. Even if she likes you back."

"Why, Mommy?"

"I have no idea Bubba."

I was a little surprised to be having this conversation with Bubba this soon. But he's almost 5 and I had picked out my future husband by around the age of six or seven, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised.

When I was very young I fell in love with Roger, who was a classmate of my brother (who happens to be 6 1/2 years older than I am). And I was in looooovve. I wanted to marry Roger and pitched such a fit when my mom told me that I couldn't marry him. The only way that my mom could get me to calm down was by taking me to the stove and saying "Look, if you're a wife you have to cook dinner for your husband. You can't reach the stove." Oh. Okay. (Hey, I could be reasoned with even back then).

Even though we weren't allowed to marry, I still loved Roger. One Valentine's Day I made him a card and my brother was kind enough to bike all the way across town on a cold, dark February night to deliver it to him (although being about 13, my brother was probably looking for ANY excuse to get out of the house -- Hi, Brother! THANKS! Don't know if I ever told you that. Oh, and can any of you imagine letting your 13 year old ride his bike across town in the dark, by himself, these days? Back then it was completely safe, and truth be told, probably still safe in the town I grew up in.)

My love for Roger ended the following Christmas. For some reason, still unknown to me (and I'm the one who did it) I put my only photo of Roger inside my Christmas stocking. I don't know if I thought Santa was going to bring me a real live Roger (he eats! he drinks! he wets!) or what. But Santa TOOK my photo of Roger. Granted he did replace it with a lovely ballerina necklace, but STILL! Somehow I ended up blaming Roger for all that and the love affair was over. The fact that Roger's family moved to another town that year probably had NOTHING to do with it. Or the fact that I had moved on to my brother's friend Bill.

I had numerous, numerous crushes over the years, mostly on guys who were WAY older than I was (Daddy issues, anyone?) There was Houston, who asked me to dance at an All Night Dance-A-Thon my mom was chaperoning. I was so mortified that I turned him down and then kicked myself the rest of the night. There was Rod, who played the violin. Sigh.

There was Barry, also a classmate of my brother, that I met on a class trip to D.C. that my mom chaperoned. He was very funny and thus began my attraction to funny guys. But I was the younger sister and none of the "cool" high school kids wanted me around. Years later, when I was in high school I ran into Barry again. He was hitting on me and I admit my ego was somewhat assuaged, but I was also just the teensiest bit creeped out. I was 17. He was 23.

Probably my last serious crush before actually starting to like boys, you know, my OWN age, was Quinn. Quinn was my leader at the day camp that I attended for most of my life. I was in love with him for many, many years. One day I overheard Quinn tell one of the other guys that Sherry, a friend of mine at camp, was going to be a fox when she got older. Sherry. Not me. I was crushed.

So, I definitely remember what that unrequited love feels like. I know Bubba, and Punkin' too, are going to be in love many, many times during their lives. At least I hope they will. And I hope I can take their heartbreak seriously. But not too seriously.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Ay yi yi

So all week, a cold has been working it's way into my body. By Thursday it had set up shop and was holding its semi-annual white sale. And then for SOME reason, on Friday, my allergies went on high alert and I sneezed and sniffed and snorted all day long. By Friday at 5:00, I waved the white flag and went and bought some serious allergy/cold meds.

And THEN I had to go to Bubba's end of season soccer party. On one hand, end of season so YAY! Cause let's just say soccer stardom is not in Bubba's future. On the other hand, I'm hopped up on cold meds and I have to go sit in a SUPER slow pizza restaurant with 5 other 4-6 year olds, their accompanying mostly younger siblings and the other parents, which okay, the parents part was fine because we all sat at one table and got to have mostly adult conversation. But can I just say that Johnny's Pizza on this side of town needs to seriously get its act together. The entire place was full last night and at one point only one table had pizza. And most importantly, it wasn't ours! AND our cheesy bread came out AFTER our pizza.

And THEN, we got home and I had to put both kids to bed because Mr. Daddy was dealing with our "ghost" and by 8:30 I was literally sacked out on the sofa. I've never been so exhausted in my life. I finally dragged myself to bed around 9:00, fully admitting defeat adn also that I am old.

And THEN, Punkin' woke up at 11:30 extremely upset that her sippy cup of water that I allow her to take to bed was empty. So I had to get up and get more water.

And THEN at 12:30 Bubba woke me up to alert me that he was "soakin', soakin', soakin' wet" (by way of explanation, Bubba has only recently been staying dry at night. I was beginning to think that he was going to go to college in pull ups but then one night, then two, then several -- he was dry! So we've been skipping the pull-ups and been mostly successful). And he was soaked. I mean, he was wet all the way up to the neck of his shirt. So, I had to get up, change him, scrounge around and find some sheets and a dry blanket, change the bed and then stumble back to MY bed.

And THEN, my neighbors decided to have a yard sale and so beginning around 6:30 this morning, their dogs -- who bark at EVERYTHING, even us when we go out into our OWN BACKYARD -- started in.

So if you need me, I'll be in bed.