Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Lesson in Manners

We were on our way home from Pizza Hut last night, and Mike and I were desperately trying to carry on an adult conversation, but we were consistently interrupted by Elyse and her annoying, persistent chorus of, “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” We had stopped several times so that he could address her issue, but just a few seconds back into the conversation, she would start up again. I had finally had it and decided that it was a great time to give a little lesson on manners.

Me: Elyse! That is very rude. When you need something, you should say excuse me.
Elyse: Excuse me…
Me: Yes Elyse?
Elyse: I need to talk to Daddy.
Me: About what?
Elyse: Cows.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kids are Creepy

Kids are creepy. It’s a stone cold fact. Watch any horror movie ever made that has launched itself into cult classic status and I guarantee that there is a child involved. The Omen, The Exorcist, Poltergiest, The Ring, The Shining…I could go on and on but the goose bumps creeping up the back of my neck are begging me to stop.

So that’s why the other night when I went into Elyse’s room to check on her before bed I ended up being confronted with a bad case of the heebie jeebies and had to suppress my immediate “fight or flight” response. You see, Princess is starting to strip again. Not all of the time, but enough that I thought I had better check to see that she was clothed before I went to bed considering how cold it has been getting at night. When I walked in, the over head light was blazing as usual and there she sat, as still and as quiet as can be in the middle of her bed looking right at me, like she had sensed that I was coming.

I forced my legs to take a few steps closer and whispered, “Are you OK Elyse?” And then she proceeded to tell me, through muffled pacifier speech, that she wanted to get out of her room because she was done sleeping. It was 10:30 PM. I was like, “Well, it’s bedtime Sweetie, so cozy up and get some rest.” Then, in true horror movie fashion, she let an ornery, terrifying grin creep across her face as she slowly let her head hit the pillow and said, “Goodnight Mommy.” So I hauled ass out of there, but as I shut the door I could swear that I heard her say, “And pleasant dreams…Mmmwah, ha, ha, ha, ha.”

Kids are creepy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas Teachers.

When the time came to relinquish some of my mommy control and send Aaron out into the world to begin his journey through school, I must admit that I was a tad nervous. Being a stay-at-home mom, I had been in control of his every move since the day that he was born, and handing over that control to someone else for six to seven hours a day was scary. But I crossed my fingers, held my breath, and prayed that Aaron would be lucky enough to get a teacher that loved him as much as I do and that truly cared about the job of having a hand in raising him.

That wish not only came true, but surpassed my every hope and desire with the two teachers and two teacher’s aids that he has had so far in both preschool and now kindergarten. These women have been extraordinary examples of what educators should be, and I am beyond grateful for their presence in Aaron’s life. I will never be able to thank them enough for the impact that they have had on him or for how well they take care of him when I am not around.

When Christmas time rolled around this year, I knew that I wanted to do something special for his current teacher and her aid, but what? I didn’t want to give them another tired coffee mug or any of the other typical things that teachers probably receive every single year. It had to be something that said, “Hey, you’re awesome and I get that.” For me, nothing says you care like something homemade. Something created especially for the receiver. This is what I decided on….

A lot of time and work went into making these girls just right, and I hope that they reflect just how much I appreciate Aaron’s teachers and the fantastic job that they do every day.

Merry Christmas Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Weaver, and thank you for the amazing job that you do. Your care and concern make letting go of some of my mommy control just a little bit easier.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Look At My Major Award

So a few weeks ago I got an email from a woman named Sheila (Hi Sheila) who asked me if I would be interested in reviewing a tool from Husky tools which are available at your local Home Depot. I was all, “Uh, ya. I would be all over that and then some,” but I probably phrased it a lot more professional in the email.

So time went by and low and behold, over the weekend I got this in the mail…

It’s a 20 piece T-Handle Driver Set. Now, I had planned to try this out and then offer it up to you, my loyal readers, as a little Christmas giveaway, but the packaging was such that once it was opened, it was opened for good. So, I am just going to tell you all about it and then maybe you can go get yourself one, or get one for someone you know, or for someone that you don’t know cause it’s only $9.88 people.

This seems to be a nice little set. I am by no means a tool expert, but I can use a screwdriver and this thing will totally screw and unscrew stuff until the cows come home. There is a separate little, I guess you would call it a ratchet thingy, that has multiple bits that you can change depending on your screw driving needs.

I will say that there are a whole lot of pieces and perhaps Husky would have done better to make just one handle with all of the different bits that could be changed rather than have all of these long handled things laying around, but maybe you are in the market for that sort of thing; who knows. The point is that this would make for a great last minute Christmas gift for the screw driver enthusiast in your home. And if you would prefer a different kind of tool, Husky has a variety of little sets just like this that would be great for the handy man or woman in your home; all at very affordable prices.

So there’s my little review. Now if you’ll excuse me, I believe that I have some screws to attend to….

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Battle of the Overhead Light

Elyse is, well, let’s call it strong-willed. She is as determined as the day is long and three times as stubborn. She tests my will to go on daily, and the thing is…She knows it. Sometimes she looks at me with this smirk that says, “Oh, Mommy, I know that you have a white-knuckle death grip on the last remaining shreds of your sanity, but it is my job, nay my duty as your daughter and the two year old occupant of this house to test your limits and see just how far I can push you before you crack.” She and I go round and round about many, many things on a regular basis, but the battle that is currently being waged involves the overhead light in her bedroom.

Oh, I guess it started maybe two weeks ago when I went into her bedroom to check on her before I went to bed. At some point between when I had put her to bed and when I was checking in on her later that night, she had turned on her overhead light and had moved the dimmer all the way up so that it was as bright as the noon-day sun at 10:00 PM. I turned it off and went to bed.

The next morning, not only was her light back on, but she had climbed into her toy baby bed so that she could reach the sound machine on her dresser to turn that off too. She was screwing with me. She knew it and I knew it.

Now this went on for about a week. At nap time and at bed time I would leave her room with the sound machine on and the overhead light off, but darn it if when I walked back in she hadn’t switched the machine off and turned the light on. The light was one thing, but the fact that she was climbing into that bed to reach her dresser made me nervous. So the baby bed was relocated to the living room as a testament to the Power of Mommy and also to say, “Na, na, na, na, na, na!”

But the next morning, when I walked into her room, the light was on and she glared first at me and then up at the light as if to say, “You wanna dance Mommy? Let’s dance!”

And so we have been dancing every nap time and every night for about two weeks. I’ve even turned her night light all the way up to make it bright, but cozy. Still that doesn’t seem to help. Mike has taken the position of, “If she is sleeping, who cares?” But I care. I don’t know why, but I do. It’s just that it’s SO bright in there. I mean, how in God’s name can she possibly find that cozy? It’d be like saying, “Come on Honey, let’s go curl up on the couch and stare at the sun. It’s THAT bright.

Ok, maybe I am exaggerating slightly. But I am a person that likes it dark to sleep; cave-like dark. Except when I have to get up to pee in the middle of the night and then I’m all, “Night light! Where’s the night light?!?” So for me, a dark sleeper, to walk into a room that might as well be a tanning bed, I find it off putting, offensive, and just physically impossible to fall asleep under a heat lamp.

Short of removing the light bulb, I don’t think that there is very much that I can do. I’ve considered duct tape over the light switch, but that booger would work all night if she had to to get the tape off and turn the light on. I’m sure that at some point she will tire of the game and will stop turning it on, but for now she seems to be enjoying this way too much. I suppose that this is one battle where I am going to have to surrender, but I’m still going to sneak in at night to turn the light off, cause even though I know that I can’t win, it’s still fun to mess with her.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Why the Smell of Bleach Always Makes Me Cry

It’s amazing to me, after a person is gone, what kinds of things remind you of them and of the time that you spent together. Smells are especially strong memory triggers for me which is why the smell of bleach made me cry today.

Bleach will always make me think of my grandma (AKA Gum Gum). Growing up, we spent a lot of time at her house, and we always knew when she was doing laundry because the aroma of Clorox hung heavy not only in the house, but for about six miles down the road. She liked bleach. Every single time that I use bleach, it makes me think of her, and I am suddenly standing next to her in the basement, in front of her old washing machine that had the wringer that you had to feed the clothes through rather than today’s machines that have a spin cycle.

So much of my childhood was spent standing next to her, which is why two and a half years after her death it is still so painful that I wasn’t next to her when she left this world. Because Elyse was born two days after Gum Gum died, I didn’t get to stand next to her to say goodbye at her funeral either. The complete lack of closure has been a tough pill to swallow because I know that I will never get that chance back. I have to remind myself nearly every day that she is gone because it still just doesn’t seem real. To me, she will always be sitting at her kitchen table, sipping coffee, and waiting for someone to stop by with some good, juicy gossip.

We were having dinner at this local pizza buffet a few weeks ago and I passed by their pot of homemade chicken noodle soup. It smelled so much like Gum Gum’s that it actually caught me off guard and I stopped dead in my tracks for a second. It was so familiar and comforting that I could have stood there all day.

It has been especially tough since the holidays are here. Walking through Target the other day I saw a gift set of little jelly jars and it made me all misty. Jelly was her staple gift. We got it for her every year.

She made the most amazing poppy seed rolls every Christmas, and right now her dining room table would have been covered with them, as she gave them out to just about everyone in town.

I imagine what her face would have looked like on Christmas Eve watching my kids opening presents and running around exploding with excitement like my sisters and I did at her house every year. She would have gotten such a kick out of them, and it breaks my heart that she never got to meet Elyse.

As much as it pains me to have not been there to say goodbye, there was a piece of me that always knew that I would never see her like that; at her funeral. I don’t know what it was, but when I would think back to when my Pap died and everything that we went through with his viewing and funeral I just knew deep down that I would never experience that for her. Maybe I just wasn’t meant to live through the finality of it all.

My memories of her are as vivid as if they happened yesterday. As much as I wish that I had had the opportunity to say goodbye, maybe I was just meant to remember her as she was without the filter of knowing how the story ends.

Someday, a long time from now, I want to sit down with Elyse and tell her what an amazing great-grandmother she had, I want to teach her how to make the most amazing poppy seed rolls, and I will explain to her why the smell of bleach always makes me cry.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Cookie Press

Several months ago, when the weather was still warm and snow was in the far off future, I sat on my front porch thumbing through a catalog as Elyse played and ran around the yard. In that catalog I came across a cookie press and I thought to myself, “Self, you should get one of those at Christmas time so that you can make some cute, fancy cookies for the holidays.” Then, I forgot about the cookie press; that is until about a week ago. I saw one at Target and was like, “Hey, a cookie press!” And then I kept going because I was being cheap and didn’t want to waste money on something that I really didn’t need.

Yesterday however, Elyse and I were back at Target and that cookie press was on sale. “Ok, ok, I’ll buy the thing already.” And so I did. Now let me say that this was NOT exactly state of the art, or chef recommended by any means. It is pretty much as cheap as they come, but I was hopeful that it would still make beautiful cookies.

But the thing about a cookie press is that for every cookie that comes out fancy like this…
You have twenty others that look like this…

Sometimes though, the ugliest cookies are the tastiest and if my stomach ache right now tells me anything, its that those are the tastiest, ugly cookies that I have ever made.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This Must Be How Heart Got Started.

Both of the kids are pretty musical. I don’t know if they will ever perform on stage for a crowd of thousands or anything, but they absolutely love to sing, hum, bang on pots, whatever it takes to get the music out of their heads and into the world. Today, Elyse was sitting in front of the toy box which apparently had been transformed into her drums. She was waving two long K’nex “drum sticks” over her head when she busted out with this little ditty…

“And now…Fruit Snacks!"
"I love a brother. I love Daddy. (jumble of words I don’t understand) And Frosty and cereal bars. Yeah!”

I don’t know what I love more; the fact that she introduced her band before the song, or that her band’s name was Fruit Snacks.

Monday, November 22, 2010

No Wonder “Rigging Up the Lights” was Number Two in The Twelve Pains of Christmas.

Today was another rare, but completely gorgeous day in November and I know that there can not be many more of them left. So, I got the bright idea to spend the morning outside with Elyse in an attempt to decorate the house for Christmas. This is what happened…

(You should hear the Twelve Days of Christmas playing in your head while you read this)

While hanging up the Christmas lights I had to deal with this…

12 minutes untangling lights
11 missing twist ties
10 Mommy push me on the swings
 9 near escape attempts by Elyse
 8 games of tag
 7 wipes of a snotty nose
 6 four letter words
 5 regrets that I even started this
 4 strands of lights that don’t work
 3 trips to the shed
 2 phone call interruptions

And Elyse screaming, “Get that off my house!”

Friday, November 19, 2010

Handprint Turkeys and World Domination

So, I may have mentioned once, or twice, or many, many times that I have issues with being on time. I have to be on time, or someone, somewhere in the world may die. I arrive everywhere fifteen minutes early to save lives people. So you can imagine my discomfort when at 1:17 pm my babysitter was MIA and I had to be at Aaron’s school to help with an art project by 1:30pm. Oh, yeah, I was kinda losing it just a tad, and when I called and confirmed that the babysitter had indeed forgotten, and I was on my own, I switched into haul ass mode, and was all, “Damn it, damn it, damn it.”

I threw a jacket on Elyse and ran out the door, hoping and praying that she had socks and shoes in the van. Her shirt was covered in yogurt splatters from lunch and her hair was absolutely everywhere. It must have looked like I rescued her from a life on the streets on my way to volunteer at the school.

Now I get her into the car seat and praise be to God there was quite a selection of socks and shoes scattered around on the floor. So I’m putting on her shoes and socks when she says something. It was muffled, but I knew exactly what she said. Had I not been completely scattered, I might have thought twice before I said what came next, but I was insane with the threat of being late and so I blurted out, “What did you say?” And of course, with out missing a beat she said, “DAMN IT!” I closed the door and headed to school.

The entire way…the ENTIRE way to school she sang a lovely chorus of, “Damn it. Damn it. Damn it. Damn it.” And I totally would have stopped to pick up my Mother of the Year trophy, but I was running late you see.

So we get to school and luckily I was able to distract her with the notion that she was going to get to see Brother and she forgot all about the Damn It song; at least, I’m sure, until she gets to Sunday school this weekend. Then it will be all, “Hey, guess what I learned…”

If you remember some of my previous dealings with Elyse at Aaron’s school, then you know why I was not exactly thrilled to have her with me. I thought for sure that things would get ugly, but somehow Elyse managed to pull herself together and actually behave. Although when she was running around Aaron’s desk giving him kisses on the fly and inciting giggles and laughs from all of the other kids in the class, Aaron’s teacher looked at me and said, “Oh, she’s rotten, isn’t she.” Uh huh.

Now the project at hand was a cute little foam turkey. The kids had traced their hands on a piece of brown foam and then each kid had a little baggie that had all of the other pieces for the turkey inside. It seemed pretty straight forward. Cut out hand…glue on pieces…VIOLA…handprint turkey. Except that the mom in charge of us volunteers decided that we were not making turkeys, but rather constructing very intricate, super elaborate, amazingly involved scale models of foul in turkey form.

Once we had gotten started, I opened bags of turkey bits for the kids and then was like, “Ok guys, go to it.” I mean, you know, it’s a freakin turkey. But then Nazi Mom…after most of my kids were elbow deep in glue and foam pieces…announced, “Ok, now the first thing that you have to do is glue on the hat.” I was embarrassed at first that I had let the kids just dive in when apparently there was a process, but then I was all, “Talk to the handprint turkey lady. We got this covered.”

So my table was having a blast gluing all of the turkey bits and Elyse was happily sitting at the table across from her big brother coloring her own handprint turkey, when I saw it. There was a little girl at the end of the table, and in between turkey construction she would pick up her bottle of glue and sniff it. SHE WAS SNIFFING GLUE!!!!! Holy crap that girl is sniffing glue! As the volunteer was I supposed to put a stop to that and totally harsh her buzz? I decided that it fell under the domain of teacher responsibilities and I left well enough alone, but I had a hard time wiping the stupid grin off of my face. I mean come on! She was sniffing glue for cryin out loud.

Everyone was just about done when the mother who was overseeing all of the art projects for the entire school walked into the classroom to see how we were doing. Nazi Mom was all, “Well, there were steps to the turkey, but they’re not patient enough, and blah, blah process, and yada, yada method,” and I’m all, “That girl was sniffing glue!”

So the turkeys were done, Nazi Mom tried to make peace with her disastrous failed attempt at total militant turkey assembly, and I got to take Aaron home early since I was there and all. We went home, put Elyse down for her nap, threw some pre-made cookie dough into the oven, and spent the afternoon watching A Christmas Story. Not a bad end to what had the potential to be a total disaster.
PS.  The turkey at the top of this post was the exact turkey that we made in the class.  Looks complicated, huh.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It’s Stuff Like This That Makes it So Hard to Stay Mad at Her…

Last week was rough. Elyse just seems to have it out for me lately and her every thought typically involves a dastardly scheme to unravel Mommy. So by the time that the weekend rolled around I had pretty much had it with her; until Sunday.

We went to get pizza after church like we most often do and when we were leaving, the kids were begging for quarters to get some piece of crap out of the machines. I relented and gave them each a quarter. Always the girly girl, Elyse automatically went for the machine with the rings. When I was putting her into the van and opening the little plastic egg to reveal her new treasure we had this exchange…

Me: Wow Elyse, this ring sure is beautiful!
Elyse: Ya, it’s like you Mommy.

And I was suddenly ready to tackle another week. Does she know how to work me or what?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When Underwear Talk, You Better Listen.


So, we get home last night after a fantastic evening at Sesame Street Live and we were rushing around trying to get the kids ready for bed and what not, you know, the whole bedtime routine. While straightening up, I went to toss Hailey, my gigantic cat, off of my blanket that was still on the couch after a failed nap attempt that afternoon when Elyse did nothing but play around and scream for me for the entire nap period. When I managed to pry the gigantic lump of fur off of the couch I realized that she must have had a dirty butt… AGAIN, and had gotten poo on my blanket. Thanks Hailey. That’s awesome.

So I grabbed my blanket and ran downstairs to put it into the wash. I set the washer to accommodate a large load, as in an entire washing machine full of water, tossed in the detergent and poopy blanket, and went on to feed the cats and scoop their litter box.

Wow, I just realized how many times poop is mentioned in this story.

Anyway, after the kitty poop scooping, I went over to the sink to wash my hands. I just happened to take note of Aaron’s poopy underwear from an accident the night before that was on the edge of the sink, had been rinsed, and was waiting to go into a scalding hot, disinfecting, antimicrobial whirl in the washing machine. I don’t know why I noticed them, but they seemed to stand up and say, “Hey, Look at me. I am a potential disaster waiting to happen. Look at me…look at me…look at me!” And I looked at them and decided I would get right on it in the morning. Why didn’t I just throw them in with the blanket that was being sanitized? I’m not really sure.

Now I suppose that I should explain something a little clearer here. A while ago, Mike was working on a draining project with the washing machine. Something wasn’t quite right with a ratchet, or thing-a-ma-gig, or a who’s it what’s it, and to buy him some time, he put the pipe that drains the washing machine into the neighboring sink.

You know where this is going, right?

So I bid adieu to the talking underwear and went back upstairs to work on brushing teeth and getting everyone to bed. It’s almost ten o’clock. All the while, I am listening to hear if the washing machine had stopped so that I could get my blanket into the dryer and hopefully have it before Mike and I went to bed.

While Mike and I were going through the painfully long routine of getting Elyse to bed, I heard the machine stop. So when we finally got out of her room, I went downstairs to toss my blanket into the dryer…BUT…before I could get to the dryer I walked down the steps and into about an inch of water that was covering the basement floor about as far as the eye could see. I stood there in horror for what seemed like an eternity confused about when we put in an indoor swimming pool and completely panicked over what to do about it.

Apparently, some time during the wash cycle, the underwear fell into the sink and plugged the drain causing all of the water from both the wash AND rinse cycle to spill all over the floor.

I ran upstairs and told Mike that we had a problem. Now I have to say that Mike is amazing in these times of panic. I was ready to sit in the shallow end and sob, but Mike just accessed the situation and started trying to fix it. I snapped out of it and tried to pitch in. I was using blankets and towels and whatever absorbent thing that I could find to wrangle the water and push it in Mike’s direction where he was furiously working with a shop vac.

Eventually, we managed to bail ourselves out, but not before I realized that the water had gotten under the door to the family room and there was a gigantic puddle in there too. The cats were huddled on the play mats like it was a piece of drift wood and Hailey was telling Bella, “I’ll never let go, Bella. I’ll never let go.”

So this morning our dehumidifier is getting its ass kicked and working some major overtime while I try to not only catch up on the regular laundry that is piled sky high, but also all of the stuff that either got wet last night or was used to sop up the water. Where’s a Sham Wow when you really need one? You can bet though that before I even look at the washing machine, I am going to take a look at the sink first. And if there happens to be a pair of talking underwear hanging over the edge begging to be acknowledged, I will definitely listen to what it has to say this time.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's a Good Thing That She is Cute...

Mike and I very often look at each other, the same run-down, exhausted look on our faces and ask in unison, “Where did Elyse come from?” I’m just going to lay it out there…the girl is t-r-o-u-b-l-e. I am completely convinced that never has there been a child on God’s good Earth who has ever tested her parent’s limits quite like she does. Ornery describes her on a mellow day. Mad scientist, evil genius, creator of all things rotten and destructive describes her on every other day.

For example…

Yesterday she got into a craft box that is Aaron’s and is filled with all kinds of tiny, highly illegal, massive mess potential supplies that are completely off limits to the Destroyer. However, sometimes as a parent, when your child is getting into something that he or she should not, but it is keeping them occupied, you choose to ignore what is happening in a vain attempt to grab a few minutes to complete a task. Things seemed ok until she found the glitter. Now when you are dealing with Elyse, you must remember one very important thing…Never, ever overreact. As soon as you get flustered and yell something like, “No, no, for the love of God, stop, stop, stop,” her little hands go into overdrive and she can hotwire your car and be half way to Mexico in the time that it takes you to move across the room. If you can compose yourself enough to very gently, and very quietly ask her to give you back whatever weapon of mass destruction she has in her possession, she will, most or the time, comply with little or no incident.

When I saw glitter, I panicked, and that is why my area rug in the family room is all gold and sparkly right now.

The cat food and water are also items of which she has much interest. She is constantly dumping more food into their bowls, or mixing their water with a handful of food. Do you know how many times that I have had to fish something out of the litter box?

I don’t even allow crayons upstairs because the one time…one time, that she got a hold of one, she autographed her bedroom wall, princess sheets, and just about anything else that didn’t move fast enough. Luckily crayon doesn’t transfer to kitty fur, but trust me, she was trying.

Her newest trick is to ninja her way into Aaron’s bedroom before they go to sleep to dump his cup of water all over the floor as a sweet little parting gift for the night. She also enjoys dumping his morning cup of water out onto his waffle plate if I didn’t get it picked up before she comes out of her room. If there is an open container anywhere in the house, she will find it, dump it, and be gone before you even know what hit you.

She knows when she is up to no good because she comes running from wherever the crime took place to announce, “Come on Mommy. Look at what I did.” When you tell her that she shouldn’t have done something, the first word out of her mouth is, “Why?”

I keep trying to tell myself that her third birthday will be here before you know it and hopefully with that will come a little bit more maturity and a little less chaos. I’m not holding my breath, but I’m at least keeping my fingers crossed. In the meantime, I guess our best bet is to Elyse proof as much as possible and keep her super busy with things that don’t end with me using the vacuum cleaner, or a whole roll of paper towels, or an industrial sized solvent of some sort.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Again With The Aaronisms

Elyse fell on the back porch over her little plastic chair and hurt her belly.  She pulled up her shirt to show Aaron and get an all better kiss.  Aaron carefully examined the round little belly sticking out and when we asked him if it was OK he said, "Well, it's OK when I smack it!"  Med school here he comes!

After an incredibly long dinner negotiation:
"Mom, why are you looking at me with that annoying face?  Is it because I'm annoying?"

Mike:  Aaron, you should try bologna sometime.  When I was a kid, I loved bologna sandwiches.
Aaron:  I am going to create a sandwich and it is going to have bologna, cheese, lettuce, bologna, cheese, lettuce, bologna, cheese, lettcue, well, bread first, then bologna, cheese, lettuce...and I am going to call it The American Statement.

*Where in the crap does he come up with this stuff?

While riding his bike around the yard:
Aaron:  Hey Mom, you know what?
Me:  What?
Aaron:  All of the girl teachers at my school, their first name is Mrs.
Me:  Well, that's not their name, it is just what you say if someone is married.  I am Mrs. because I am married to Daddy, but Elyse is Ms. because she isn't married.
Aaron:  Oh, and guys are Mr. right?
Me: Yeah, whether they are married or not.
Aaron:  But when they are older they are dudes, huh.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What I Have Been Doing for the Last Two Months…

Wow, I am not even going to pretend that it hasn’t been like a bagillion years since I have written my last post. Let’s just go with things have been super busy and crazy insane. I have really missed writing, but there has just been so much going on that it has really taken a backseat which is sad because there is SO much that I could write about. If only I didn’t have to sleep.

Anyway, here’s a little update…

After much deliberation, and thought, and second guessing myself, I finally decided to put my knitted critters on Etsy and open The Fuzzy Forest; thus the complete and utter lack of time. Almost every waking second is spent trying to figure out how to cram in more knitting time. If I am not cleaning, or doing laundry, or tending to the needs of the children, I am knitting. This is great because I LOVE to knit, but it’s hard when I can only devote ten minutes here, twenty minutes there, and the occasional afternoon during Elyse’s nap. Still, I am feeling a huge sense of accomplishment and just this past weekend I got my first two sales. So I am officially a productive shop owner.

Elyse is just getting over a bad, BAD stomach bug which was the cause of a total Febreeze shortage at Wal Mart last week. I will spare you the details, and let me tell you, there are details, but let’s just say that when it was all said and done, we had gone through an insane amount of Pull-Ups and wipes, bought stock in the Febreeze company, and had to replace the area rug in the living room. It was a rough, smelly week.

Aaron is still doing fantastic at school. We are well into the third month now and not once have we had any tears or desperate pleas to spare him the agony of school. He seems to love it and his teachers say that is doing an amazing job.

Speaking of Aaron, he is getting so big, so fast, I feel like at times I can barely recognize him. We were standing outside waiting for the bus a while back and he was talking to me about something school related and I couldn’t believe how mature he seemed. I wasn’t talking to a little kid. He was this great big boy who had all of this stuff to say and I was speechless. When did my baby boy get to be such a big guy?

This past Saturday I watched with Mike as he rode his bike without training wheels for the very first time. He sat on the bike in our front yard trying to kick off and get moving. He was unsuccessful the first few times, but as I watched him I just knew that this was it and that he would do it. I no sooner thought it and off he went clear across the yard. My heart almost burst with pride.

Elyse is in tumbling classes on Tuesdays now. It’s the same class that I used to take Aaron to when he was her age and whenever I hear the Wiggles start to sing “Five Little Ducks” I almost start sobbing. Anyway, she loves her class. After each tumble she stands up and yells, “TA DA!” I even bought her an adorable little tutu for the class and she looks so sweet that I have a hard time not gobbling her up right then and there. Looks sweet is the term though because unlike Aaron, we have had a bit of trouble where the other kids are concerned in that Elyse appears to be a hitter. I am MORTIFIED beyond belief at this because she is THAT kid in the class; the one that all the other mothers have to keep an eye on, and I am THAT mother who spends much of the class apologizing for her behavior. She doesn’t just go up to another girl to hit her, she does it when she feels crowded which is no excuse, but I’ve got nothing else. Screw it, she’s the class bully and I am her toady.

I am sure that there is a lot more, but I will leave it at that for right now. I hope to start squeezing in more writing time in between all of the knitting, but I am not going to make any promises. In the meantime, go and check out The Fuzzy Forest and let me know if there is a critter that you would like to see in the shop.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Look at What Elyse Let Me Do...

Pretty much since the day that I found out that I was carrying a girl, I wanted to braid her hair. Then Elyse was born and she had the most gorgeous head of hair that you have ever seen on a baby and it only made me want to play with it more. Today, against all odds, she held still long enough for me to do this…

I had to bribe her with playing in the sink and sure, at one point she lost her balance while standing on the bench and fell off, ripping the towel bar off the wall in the process.  Not just a towel bar that is screwed into the wall, oh no, one that was tiled into the wall. But look at how pretty she looked.

I say “looked” because a few minutes after we snapped these pictures the braids were no more, but for those few minutes I got to look at my pretty baby with the beautiful braided hair, and it was totally worth it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sometimes Dolls are Evil

Take a look at this doll…

I personally don’t find her troubling. She doesn’t really look demented and she certainly doesn’t give the impression that she is a minion of the antichrist. Elyse used to agree, that is, until this morning.

Aaron left for school and Elyse and I decided that we should play with her babies. Everything was cool; everyone was having a good time. I was feeding her new knitted pug some baby cereal and she was giving her baby a bottle when she decided to put the doll down for a nap. This doll does a lot of stuff if you do different things with it. If you squeeze a foot, it cries. If you squeeze its belly, it laughs. Blah, blah, blah. Anyway, what we didn’t know until today was that if you feed the baby and then immediately put it down, it goes into sleep mode and the baby snores. Elyse DID NOT appreciate this feature.

At first she just kind of starred at me from her bed with this look of horror plastered clear across her face. Then the baby snored again and in about 2.1 seconds she was wrapped around me so tight that I needed a crowbar to get her off of me. A few minutes later I had to call our pediatrician about a prescription for Aaron and I had to run into the kitchen to double check the name of what he needed. After I left her room, she threw such an incredible, blood-curdling, terrified fit that you would swear that I had left her alone with Chucky.

When I finally got her to calm down, I took her back to her room where evil baby waited and I asked her if she would feel better if I turned the baby off. She responded with a very enthusiastic “YES” and so I turned the thing off. She has refused to put the baby down ever since.

The thing is, now she has me all paranoid and I am starting to look at that baby in a whole different way. Just to be on the safe side, I think that I am going to lock the thing in a closet before bedtime tonight because, you know, sometimes dolls are evil.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

So Far, So Good.

I am pretty sure that I am totally tempting fate by even thinking about the fact that Aaron’s first day of kindergarten went so well yesterday, let alone dedicating an entire post on the subject for all to see. But I had to tell you just how fantastic of a day he seemed to have, and how uncontrollably excited he has been to go back. I think that it has more to do with riding the bus than anything else because the bus was almost all that he could talk about when he got home. He is also back with some of his best friends from last year which seems to have put him right at ease.

Mike and I stood in our driveway for almost an hour waiting for the bus to bring our little kindergarten student back home. School was out at 3:00 PM, but we had no real idea when the bus would come through. Being the on-time psychopath that I am whose biggest fear in life is being late, I went outside to wait around 2:50 PM. Sure, I knew that school didn’t end until three, but what if Aaron’s bus runs early, and I am not out there when it comes through. Since Aaron is a new bus student, the driver might forget that that is his stop and will just keep on driving. He will make all of his stops and finally Aaron will be the last one on the bus, little lip quivering, a running commentary in his head about how Mommy must not love him, and an entire lifetime of therapy sessions staring him in the face. I couldn’t let that happen to my little guy. So out the door I went at ten till three.

There was one false alarm when a different bus came through, but finally around a quarter till four, Aaron’s bus pulled in and a smiling little boy bounded down the bus steps. We were absolutely petrified that he would step off of the bus and burst into tears, but instead he got right to telling us about his day and demanding snacks.

All evening he kept saying how excited he was to get back on the bus and he also told me that he did NOT want me to start taking him to school because he always wants to ride the bus. About forty-five minutes ago I watch him get back on the bus for his second day. He gave me a big smile, a quick wave, and hopped right on; disappearing into a sea of other students. I know that it is early, and there is still plenty of time for things to go down hill, but for now I am thoroughly enjoying the fact that he seems to be having so much fun, and I can’t wait to hear the stories that he will bring home today.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The First Day of Kindergarten

Today is Aaron’s first day of kindergarten.

When exactly did he get to be so big? As I am sitting here sipping some coffee and looking at the pictures that we took this morning, I am blown away by the little man staring back at me. He was just two years old talking about how one day he would be a big kid and would ride the bus to school. At the time I thought that it would take forever to get to this point, but thinking back now over the last five and a half years, I feel like someone must have accidentally pushed the fast forward button.

This is the first year that he is able to ride the bus and it has been all that he has been able to talk about. One of the first things that he said this morning was, “Can you believe I get to ride the bus today?” No, Sweetie, I can’t.

I hope you have an absolutely wonderful first day of kindergarten Aaron. I am so proud of the little guy that you are growing up to be, and I can’t wait to hear all about your day when you get home.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Yep, It's a Pug

Yet another knitting project.  This guy is for Elyse.  She has loved him since he was just a doggie head in my knitting basket.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Sometimes, after a long day of playing and dealing with the drama of life with an older brother, one pacifier just isn’t enough.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Some Questions are Hard to Answer…Especially When They are About an Elephant.

So we’re in the van yesterday on our way to my parents house when Aaron asks, “Mom, if I was feeding an elephant, and he was eating peanuts, you wouldn’t let me do it would you?” Before you say, “Um, come again,” Aaron has a peanut allergy and it seems to really be on his mind a lot lately because he keeps coming up with these insane ways to bring peanuts into the conversation. I told him that no, if he wanted to feed an elephant peanuts, I would have to say that he could not partake in the pachyderm peanut-feeding process. Then he went on to say how much he wishes that he didn’t have a peanut allergy and I tried to explain to him that he might not always have it. There’s a new study out where doctors are giving children with peanut allergies very small doses of peanuts and after time, they begin to build up a tolerance and viola, no more allergy. “Well, do they shoot it into you,” Aaron asked. Yeah Honey, they load up a pistol with a peanut, stand across the room, and ready, aim, fire there’s your peanut dose for the week.

The night before the elephant conversation, I was putting him to bed and he started saying how much he wished he wasn’t allergic to peanuts and then he asked what I was allergic to when I was a kid. When I told him that I wasn’t allergic to anything, he looked absolutely shocked and with his eyes about as wide as I’ve ever seen them he asked, “So Grandma gave you peanuts when you were a kid?” “Yes,” I said. Then he was like, “Did she even make you peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?” “Yes, Honey, she did,” I said. He sat there in his bed for a long while trying to absorb this new information like I had just told him that I was the Tooth Fairy.

The fact that this seems to be weighing on him so much absolutely breaks my heart. I’m sure that at five years old it makes no sense that there is this food that he can’t eat, but it seems like everyone else around him can. When he is at school, the teachers always make sure that he sits in a group with kids who don’t have peanut butter for lunch and while he has never said anything about it before, I wonder if that bothers him or if it makes him feel out of place. Although it’s really not an option; he just can’t sit with kids that bring it for lunch. One time this year when I went to pick him up from school, he had just finished gym class and was walking down the hallway toward Elyse and me. His face was beet red, but I didn’t think anything about it because he is always red when he gets overheated. Then, as he got closer, I realized that his face was covered in welts and they were starting to form down his neck and back. Apparently a kid from the other pre-K class had peanut butter on his hands after lunch, played at gym, and then Aaron came in and played with that same toy, and bam…instant peanut reaction.

I have to hand it to him though, Aaron is very aware of the peanut thing and is super cautious in situations where he isn’t sure that he should be eating something. We were at a birthday party for one of his best buddies a few weeks ago and along with the cake, the kids were allowed to make ice cream sundaes. When it was Aaron’s turn, the first thing that he asked the guy dishing out the toppings was whether or not the stuff was peanut safe.

When I was pregnant with Aaron I remember briefly skimming over the parts in the baby books that talked about the precautions you should take when eating certain foods if there’s an allergy that runs in your family, but no one is allergic to anything and I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to that stuff. I was very careful to not give him any questionable foods until he was well passed his first birthday; no strawberries, no cow’s milk, no peanut butter. Then, when he was around fifteen months old, I was eating a peanut butter sandwich and he wanted a bite. He took a tiny little nibble and went on his way. A little while later I noticed his face looked a little splotchy, but it didn’t seem to bother him and he was otherwise fine. It went away pretty quick and so I didn’t give it much thought. Then, when he was about eighteen months old, I had been eating apple slices with peanut butter and there was a small amount left in the bowl. He had gotten a hold of the bowl and put it up to his face and a tiny bit of peanut butter got on his eyebrow. I wiped it off and then took him to change his diaper for nap time. I changed him and then looked at his face and he looked like someone had just punched him in the eye; it was huge, red, and swollen. I immediately called the doctor who said to give him Benadryll and then he wanted to schedule an appointment to test for a peanut allergy. Sure enough, the blood work came back showing that Aaron was definitely allergic to peanuts and we had to start carrying Benadryll and an Epi-pen everywhere we went.

When he was three and a half, his pediatrician decided that he should be seen by an allergist to determine if he was allergic to anything else. I remember he was such a trooper the day that we took him for the testing. These two nurses walked into the room each carrying a plastic square thing with spikes all over them. Each spike had been dipped into a specific allergen. Then, the squares were pressed into his back for a few seconds and then removed. We had to wait for a half an hour to see which ones reacted. His back looked awful. It was bright, bright red and just about everywhere that there had been a spike, he had a welt. He was really itchy, but he hung in until the nurse came back to read the results. In the end, the only things that reacted were of course peanut, but also shellfish and a certain type of grass. They wiped him down with Benadryll wipes and sent us on our way.

Since we have known about the peanut allergy he has only had a handful of reactions and thank God those reactions have only been welts. He has never had an anaphylactic reaction which required the Epi-pen, but we never leave the house without it. We still don’t know if Elyse has a peanut allergy or not because she can’t be tested until she is three, but I am pretty confident that she does not have it.

I wish that I could make this go away for him. Can you imagine living your whole life without ever experiencing a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, or peanut butter crackers, or good Lord peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? I am hopeful that because he is still so young that there will come a day in the near future where there is a cure for this and he will be able to start freely enjoying things like Halloween, or eating with whoever he wants a lunch time, or good Lord peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Can you tell I love me some peanut butter and jelly? But until that day comes, I’m afraid that he will just have to steer clear of any peanut-eating elephants, no matter how much fun it would be to feed them.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Yes, I Had a Real Job Before I Wiped Your Butt.

Over the weekend I took Aaron to one of those Build and Grow clinics that is offered at Lowes. This week’s project was a UFO and he did a fantastic job. While we were there, I ran into one of the pathologists that I used to work for when I was a histology technician back before I had Aaron. He was probably one of my favorite docs to work with and seeing him brought back so many memories of my old job and the four and a half years that I spent with some of the most amazing people that I have ever had the pleasure of calling my friends.

It was the summer of 2000 and I had just wrapped up my second year of college, but I was absolutely miserable. I don’t know what it was, but I hated just about everything about college life which was surprising because I had always done pretty well in school before. I had made good grades and I genuinely enjoyed learning. Maybe it was being away from home, or the pressure of the increase in responsibility, or the fact that I was engaged to an absolute ass who kept me on a very short leash and prevented me from truly experiencing college and all of the fun that it had to offer. What ever the reason, college and I clashed and I soon began contemplating quitting altogether.

After a few weeks, I decided that college wasn’t for me and I started trying to find a job. I would consider that the worst mistake of my life except that that decision led me to a job that I absolutely adored and to friends that I cherish to this day. You see, the gigantic ass that I was engaged to at the time worked at a local hospital and one day he brought me a list of job openings. I looked over the list and immediately stopped when I saw the words Anatomical Pathology. I was intrigued. The job listing described a position where the applicant would assist in the processing of microscope slides, assist a pathologist with the gross dissection of surgical specimens, and occasionally assist with autopsies. I knew that I HAD to have that job. I had always loved science and the things described in that job listing sounded like the most fascinating position ever created. I’m sure most people would have seen the word autopsy, fought off a wave of chills and the urge to vomit, and then moved on to the next listing. For me, it only made me want it more. I’m sick like that I guess.

Anyway, I sent in my application and started harassing the woman doing the interviews for a chance at this job. I’m not sure how it happened exactly, but she eventually contacted me and just told me to come in and start working. No interview, just come on in and work. It was kind of on a trial basis and if things worked out, I would get a full-time position. I practically ran out to buy some scrubs and I very anxiously went in to work the very next day.

At first my job was pretty simple. I did whatever everyone else needed me to do. I would cover slip the slides as they came out of the stainer. I’d set up the counter of specimens for dissection by the pathologist. I made trips to the OR to collect specimens. I basically did the odd jobs for the ones who were busy doing the real work. And I loved every single second of it.

As time went by though, Tim, Karen, and Connie started teaching me more about what was being done and started training me to do some of the things that they were doing every day. I started assisting the pathologist with the gross dissection every afternoon. I learned how to embed the processed tissue into paraffin wax to prepare it to be cut and mounted on the slides. I learned how to cut the tissue on a special machine called a microtome and then mount that tissue on a slide. I did special stains and eventually Karen even taught me how to use the immuno stainer which was her precious baby and only allowed a handful of people to breath around it let alone run it. By the time I left, I was able to do just about everything that I had marveled at during my first few weeks there.

When I started that job I was twenty years old, had just quit school, and as I have already mentioned, was engaged to an idiot. In the four and a half years that I spent there I dropped the idiot and met my knight in shining armor, Mike. Mike and I got engaged and Tim, Karen and Connie along with Lance and Lori attended our wedding. I took and passed the tests to become an officially certified Histology Technician by the American Society of Clinical Pathology. And of course, I got pregnant with my firstborn, Aaron.

Getting pregnant with Aaron changed everything. Everyone knew that Mike and I were planning on having a family and when that day came, I was planning to quit so that I could be a stay-at-home mom. The night before my last day in Histology, I sat on the floor in the nursery, eight months pregnant, and sobbed to Mike about how much I was going to miss this job and the people that I had come to love. I was so conflicted because I was just a month away from giving birth to my first child and becoming a stay-at-home mother which was the job that I had been dreaming of for my entire life, but starting that job meant leaving this one behind and that hurt so much more than I had anticipated.

Everything about my last day made me want to cry. Everything that I did I noted that it would be the last time. I had stepped out for a minute and when I got back I saw that Mike had sent me flowers. I still have the card that came with them. It said, “Thinking of you on your last day of work.” That did it, and I started crying again. I cried off and on for the rest of the day until it was time to leave. I said my goodbyes and stopped in Tim’s office for the last time. He had this thing that he always said whenever any of us were leaving for the day which was, “Thanks for coming in, being here, and making a difference.” He said that to me and I just had to leave. Karen walked me out and we decided that we weren’t going to say goodbye because (A) It was just too hard, and (B) My baby shower was that weekend and so why go through the agony of goodbyes when we were going to see each other in just a few days. Good call Karen.

I got in my car and sobbed the whole way home.

Being a Histology Technician meant more to me than I could ever begin to explain. Even now writing this I am getting all chocked up because that job was so much more than just a job for me. When I walked in every day I felt like I was there to do something important and when I left each day I left truly feeling like I had made a difference. The work that we did in that department mattered. The quality of our work could mean life or death for our patients, and we took that responsibility seriously. I was good at what I did and I was extremely proud of it.

Of course I know that being a mother is the most wonderful and important job on Earth. I get that, but it can also, at times, be a very thankless job in which more than once I have questioned whether I was really cut out for it. Deep down I know that I am a good mom, but I am constantly plagued with doubts. I knew for certain that I was a good histology technician. I am not saying that I don’t love being a mom. There’s truly nothing like it, but it’s hard to see the significance in what you are doing when most of what you do everyday seems so trivial; changing diapers, preparing meals, keeping up with the laundry, etc.

Maybe some day if I’m lucky, when the kids are old enough to take care of themselves, I’ll be able to go back to that job as I have been told many times that the door is always open. But until then I hold the memories of those four and a half years in my heart and when the difficulties of being a mom get overwhelming, I think back to those years and it always makes me smile.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Italian Festival

Every summer around the fourth weekend in July, our town holds its annual Italian Festival. One entire street for about five blocks is closed off and vendors of all kinds line the streets peddling their wares. There are so many food stands, not all Italian foods mind you, that even if you went all three days you couldn’t sample from all of them. There is live entertainment, and on Saturday night there is a fireworks display. I have been going to the Italian Festival since I was a kid and it is something that was always a highlight of my summer. Last night, for the first time, I got to take my kids for their first ever Italian Festival experience.

We hadn’t really anticipated taking them just yet because although it is a good time, it is hot and crowded and not something that we thought they would get much enjoyment out of at this age. However, a few nights ago, Aaron heard Mike and I talking about it and asked, “So, what is the Italian Festival? Is it something that I can go to?” He seemed so interested that we decided to throw caution to the wind and take them on Friday night.

Now, we are currently experiencing a bit of a heat wave. The Weather Channel said that it was about 98 degrees out, but I know that when we passed the bank it was registering 1000. It felt like we were standing on the sun, but did that stop us? Hell no! It’s the Italian Festival for cryin out loud. I dressed the kids as cool as possible, double checked with Mike that going naked was probably in poor taste, and hoped for the best.

We somehow managed to steer the kids away from the giant blow-up bouncy ovens of heat exhaustion, and went about finding something to eat. As seems to be the norm lately, Aaron gobbled up a slice of pizza, but Elyse refused to eat. I think she was having some belly issues because in the van on the way down she informed me that her belly was full. When I asked her if she felt sick, she told me with a giggle, “My belly full…in my butt.” That’s 100% pure two year old wisdom right there people.

Not much later we decided to grab some Italian ice for the kids to try and cool them off, but while Aaron sat perfectly still, devouring his, Elyse decided that running around and rolling in the grass was more fun. Shortly thereafter, Mike decided to take Princess home and my Mom, Aaron and I stayed to pick out a souvenir and soak up a little more people watching. Possibly one of the greatest things about the Italian Festival is the people watching. I have seen some pretty incredible sights over the years, but the highlight of last night was the girl who was wearing jean shorts and white spiked heels that laced all the way up her leg past her knee. You just don’t get that everyday.

Mom, Aaron, and I walked around a little longer and then Aaron declared that, “He HAD to go home.” On the way out he grabbed another Italian ice and then savored the air conditioning on the ride home.

All in all I think that they had a good time for their first Italian Festival experience. Aaron already asked if he could go back tonight when Mike and I go with Angie and Derek, and Mal and Matt. Um, sorry Sweetie, tonight is the beer portion of the Italian Festival and after Mommy has a couple of drinks, I probably won’t be able to chase after you in my white, lace-up spiked heels.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Latest Project...

Here is another one of my knitting projects.  I call her Daisy and I think that she is adorable.  I have been participating in a summer clothes themed knit along on a crafting website called  This pattern can be purchased from Barbara Prime on Ravelry.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

If You Listen Carefully, You Can Hear, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It,” Softly Playing in the Background.

After much consideration and deliberation, while pounding fist full’s of Tums, and fighting spine tingling chills caused by the images of what could be, against our better judgment Elyse is in a toddler bed.

About three weeks ago now we took the plunge. We dismantled the crib, said a little prayer, and put Elyse to bed in Aaron’s old toddler bed. Petrified doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt about the move, but it was something that had to be done. She had turned two on June 1st. By the time that Aaron was two, he had been sleeping in a toddler bed for over seven months. Why did we wait so long? If you have to ask then you probably don’t know this little girl. Maniac describes her on a good day. She has a brain that is constantly churning out new and exciting ways to torture us. She is absolutely fearless and will scale anything given the opportunity. Do we really need to relive the poop story; Versions 1 AND 2?

The thought of her all alone in her room with absolute total freedom to live out whatever scheme she could devise caused my left eye to start twitching involuntarily. I have seen her in action and I know what she is capable of when adult supervision is present and ready to thwart her evil plans. I couldn’t even conceive the damage that could take place when given a ten to twelve hour span of time with no witnesses.

But, these milestones eventually have to take place and so on June 20th, Father’s Day, we took her to Wal Mart to pick out some big girl bedding. That night we read her some stories, sang her some Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, crossed our fingers, and closed the door behind us hoping that when we opened the door the next morning her room would still be standing and intact. It was quiet at first, but then there was a little knock at the door. She knocked for a while and then yelled that she had to use the potty. Ok, we can’t very well deny her potty privileges, so we let her out to pee. She went back to her bed, but then started knocking again. We started this at 8:30 PM. By 9:30 PM she was still knocking. Then things seemed to get quiet. Around 10:30 PM I went in to double check on her before Mike and I went to bed and she was STILL awake, sitting up in the middle of her bed with the biggest bags under her eyes that I have ever seen. When she saw me she said, “I need Twinkle, Twinkle.” So I sang her Twinkle, Twinkle, tucked her back in, and went to bed.

The rest of the night was quiet and when we walked back in the next morning we were relieved to find a happy, rested girl and a completely intact bedroom. After a few more nights of knocking on the door, she got with the program and now she goes to bed without a problem. She has only fallen out of bed a hand full of times and when she does wake up in the morning, she very quietly plays with a couple of toys until we go in to get her. The other morning I walked in and she had her blanket all stretched out on the floor, books all around her, and when she saw me she said, “I read stories, Mommy.”

Still, I am not completely confident that we won’t walk in there one morning to find her constructing a bomb with nothing more than some Desitin, left-over Cheerios, and a baby doll head, but that fear seems to lessen with every successful morning that she is not sitting in a pile of rubble that used to be her room. This was one of the milestones that I dreaded the most with her, but somehow, against all odds, things seem to be going well. My eye has almost completely stopped twitching and I am down to just one handful of Tums a day. Now if you will excuse me, Princess beckons from the baby monitor. Um, wait a second. Did I just hear her say, “Fire in the hole?” Nahhhh.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Baby You and Me, Got a Groovy Kind of Love.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily routine and bogged down by the stresses of parenthood that we sometimes forget what got us to this point in the first place; each other. Back in the day, in a time before kids, we talked without interruption and we laughed liked there was little to worry about. Time was ours, and we lived every second of it.

Then…the kids came along.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that like it’s a bad thing. I firmly believe that Aaron and Elyse are why God put Mike and I together in the first place. A world without them is a world that I wouldn’t want to know. Our lives with kids, while stressful of course, are more joy-filled and precious than I ever could have imagined before they came along. But sometimes, I miss us and the time that we used to have to just focus on each other. The good thing, no, the fantastic thing is that it never takes us long to get back into that groove when given the opportunity. Yesterday evening was one such opportunity.

After a rough morning, and that’s putting it mildly, I put in a call to Grandma 911 and pleaded my case for a child free evening. Although it didn’t take much pleading because all my Mom really needs to here is hello and she is ready to take the kids indefinitely. 5:00 pm rolled around and we promptly dropped the kids off at my parent’s house and escaped for dinner. We talked and laughed, ate awesome burgers, and held hands as we walked. I could actually feel the tension of the day melt while we soaked up each other’s company.

It wasn’t long before it was time to head back to get the kids, but our evening was so us-filled and relaxing that I almost didn’t mind. Even this morning I can still feel the effects of our time together, and I am so much more relaxed and positive for it. No matter what is going on or how difficult things seem to be, all I need is some time with my husband and best friend. I am one lucky girl because Mike is both.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Old Grey Mare, She Ain't What She Used to Be...

There comes a time in the life of every marriage when you have to sit down and take stock of what you have together as a couple. At some point you look around and realize that things just aren’t as new as they used to be. Perhaps they are a little worn or in some cases even broken, and you look at each other and say, “What in the hell happened to all of our stuff? Everything is falling apart!”

What? You knew that’s where I was going, didn’t you? How about you Sweetie? Mike?...Mike?...Hang on, let me get the smelling salts.

Ok, so as I was saying, seven and a half years of marriage have been a little rough on all of our household items and all of that great stuff that we got as wedding gifts is kind of falling apart. The things that we already owned and brought into our marriage have frankly seen better days, but as far as our marriage goes, our marriage is hotter and spicier than ever. Grrrrrrr Baby!

I remember right after I had my wedding shower, how excited I was to open everything and put all of our new stuff in its place. The dishes sparkled, the towels glimmered, and as far as the eye could see everything was new. Fast forward seven years later and things are starting to show their age. The rubber grips on my pots and pans still prevent third-degree burns IF you make sure to line up both pieces that are barely hanging on. Our microwave finally gave up the good fight and died a couple of months ago. The dishwasher that came with Mike as part of a combination bed/dishwasher/husband deal has gotten so lazy that using it is about the equivalent of blowing our dishes clean. House ware items of all kinds are choking and hacking up a lung right in front of me and our kitchen seems to be the place where appliances go to die.

It’s overwhelming to look around and realize how many things need to be replaced. Just this month we finally broke down and decided to pick something, just one thing whose time had come and make the move to finally replace it. After careful consideration and much deliberation, we decided to purchase a new bed. Our old bed was the one that Mike owned before we even met; no fancy headboard or anything, just a mattress and plain metal frame. It screamed bachelor, but when we first got married it seemed like a waste of money to buy something new because the thing technically still worked. It was soft, sheets fit on it, and no springs were hanging out. What more could you ask for in a bed, right? It also wasn’t all that old and so we just went with it.

Time passed and the frame started getting squeaky. Every time one of us rolled over, we woke the other person up, but that was kind of ok because the thing had lost so much support that when someone moved even slightly, the other person was almost sent flying out of bed and so the squeaking was a nice little heads up to hang on. Finally we said forget it and got rid of the frame and just left the mattress and box springs on the floor. We had every intention to replace the frame right away, but then stuff would come up and the kids would need shots, or food, or whatever, and we just never got around to it.

Then a few weeks ago I started thinking, “Could we be anymore white trash?” When I realized the answer was “no,” I told Mike that we HAD to get a new bed. I didn’t care what the cost. If it meant selling a kidney on Ebay, I was going to do it. Luckily it didn’t come to that because I found some fantastic deals over the Memorial Day holiday weekend and VIOLA…A brand new mattress AND bed; headboard, footboard, and everything. We’re like real, live grown ups now.

But the bed is just one thing on the list of many, many items that have had their time in the sun. It seems like just about every day I come across something else that is begging to be put down. That is why I feel that every so many years a married couple should be entitled to throw themselves another shower. I just so happen to believe that seven years is the perfect interval to whip up such a shin dig. Think about it, five years doesn’t seem like a tremendously long time to hang in there, and ten years is a real milestone worthy of celebrating. So it seems only logical that every seven years is the way to go.

I think I may be really on to something here. You may consider this your official invitation to our Seven Year Wedding Shower, or Way to Hang in There and Deal with Each Other’s Crap Shower. Err, on second thought, maybe the word “crap” shouldn’t be a word that gets written out in fancy writing on a cake. I think we’ll go with Seven Year Shower, cause we’re classy and stuff.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Aaron's Prescription Saga

The story that I am about to tell you is real. The names of the characters have NOT been changed, as they have caused me so much mental anguish over the last two weeks that I am going to out them like a snotty five year old who didn’t get her way at recess. And so it goes a little something like this…

A week and four days ago, I scheduled Aaron to see his pediatrician to discuss the fact that he is still having throat issues and sometimes his voice gets really hoarse. I love his pediatrician. There is no one out there like this guy. I would believe that monkeys can fly if he told me that they could because he knows THAT much about EVERYTHING. He’s awesome.


He agreed that this has been going on for too long now and that we need to treat it. His best guess is that Aaron has reflux and he wasn’t surprised that the barium swallow test that he had done back in March didn’t show this because it isn’t something that happens every time that a person eats and so the chance of actually catching it during the test is rare. He prescribed Prevacid, told me to give it two months, and then take him off of it. If it goes away then yippee, and if not then he may just have to be on the antacid for a while, no biggie. We walked out of the office, prescription in hand, happy with another successful visit with Dr. All-Knowing.

This was a Wednesday.

Now here’s where things start to go downhill. The next day I took the prescription down to our local Wal Mart pharmacy to have it filled. We dropped it off at the drive-thru and went across the street to have an ice cream cone while we waited. A half an hour later, we used about half a pack of baby wipes to get Elyse to a state that I could actually put her back in the van without getting ice cream all over the place and we skipped back over to Wal Mart to get the prescription.

Me: (Pushed the little call button in the drive-thru)
Pharmacy Lady: Can I help you?
Me: Yeah, I’m picking up a prescription for Aaron.
Pharmacy Lady: Birth date?
Me: 1/11/05
Pharmacy Lady: Ok, that’ll be one hundred and something or other dollars.
Me: Um, oh no it won’t.

Our insurance doesn’t cover name brands, so I asked if there was a generic available. Pharmacy Lady went to check and when she came back she said that there was a generic, but it was a pill that Aaron would have to swallow. It doesn’t dissolve like the Prevacid would have. So I told her to disregard that prescription and that I would have to call the doctor’s office for something else.

And so I did.

At the end of the day on Friday, I got a call from the pediatrician’s office and the girl told me that she called in a new prescription. Everything was taken care of. Great! We were super busy that Saturday, so we didn’t make it to Wal Mart until Sunday, Father’s Day. The fact that it was Father’s Day has absolutely no significance to the story, but I thought I would mention it anyhow. Mike and Aaron went to get the prescription while I took Elyse to pick out bedding for her big girl bed. Yes, we finally made the transition to put Elyse into a toddler bed, but that is a whole other story in itself.

So Mike and Aaron found Elyse and me and said that the pharmacy didn’t have anything for Aaron. Well what the crap? The girl said on Friday that everything was taken care of. I guess I am going to have to call the doctor…AGAIN!

But I didn’t call on Monday because we had an out of town trip to the zoo planned. So first thing Tuesday morning I made the call…again…because calling the doctor every other day is my idea of a good time. I nicely explained that there must be some kind of miscommunication because the pharmacy doesn’t have the prescription. She was super nice and said that she would take care of it and call me right back. I took the kids to bible camp and waited for the call.

Right at 10:00 AM I got the call that all was right with the world and Wal Mart now had the prescription. I stood up and shouted, “Halleluiah!!” and since I was at bible camp, I got a rousing, “Amen!!”

Now, even though the nice lady said that Wal Mart had the prescription and everything was taken care of, I was a bit skeptical. So before I made yet another trek for medication that wasn’t there I called Wal Mart to confirm that there was in fact something there with Aaron’s name on it waiting to be picked up.

Me: Hi, I just wanted to check to see if you had a prescription for my son Aaron. His doctor’s office was supposed to have called it in this morning.
Pharmacy Lady #2: Birth date?
Me: 1/11/05
Pharmacy Lady #2: Yes, we have it. You can come down to pick it up.
Me: Praise be to God! (I was apparently still over-flowing with the Spirit from bible camp.)

So we journeyed back down to Wal Mart AGAIN to get the medication. FYI: At this point a whole week has passed since the initial doctor’s appointment where we were given the illusive prescription. We pulled into the drive thru…

Me: (Pushed the little call button in the drive-thru)
Pharmacy Lady #3: Can I help you?
Me: Yeah, I’m picking up a prescription for Aaron.
Pharmacy Lady#3: Birth date?
Me: -SIGH- 1/11/05
Pharmacy Lady #3: I’m sorry, but we don’t have anything for him.
Me: You have GOT to be kidding me. I JUST spoke with someone here not twenty minutes ago who said that it was ready and in the words of my beloved Bob Barker, I could “come on down.”
Pharmacy Lady #3: Well, what’s the birth date again?
Me: Son of a…1/11/05
Pharmacy Lady #3: No, I’m sorry.

Now I know that she is just screwing with me and that she DOES have a prescription with Aaron’s name on it, but the birth date must have been called in wrong. So I asked if by some chance the office gave Elyse’s birth date by mistake and I gave her that date, but she acted like I was requesting top secret military plans for an alien research facility in Roswell, New Mexico, and refused to say anything except that she didn’t have anything for Aaron.

So now it is sweltering outside and I had shut the van off so that I wouldn’t waste gas while dealing with this lady. We were sitting there with no air conditioning and I am just about to loose my marbles. Sweat is starting to drip down my back and the kids are torturing each other with another swell edition of Not Touching, Can’t Get Mad and Here, Hold My Booger. I calmly explained to Pharmacy Lady #3 that she could go do whatever she had to do, but that I was going to sit in that drive-thru to call the doctor and get everything worked out.

Again, the girl at the pediatrician’s office was very nice and said that she would get Wal Mart right on the line while I was on hold to straighten everything out once and for all.

And so I’m holding…

Then she comes back on the line and says that the birth date was wrong (Um, yeah!) and now everything is good. Yeah, I’ll believe that when I see it.

Me: (Pushed the little call button in the drive-thru)
Pharmacy Lady #3: Can I help you?
Me: Yeah, I’m picking up a prescription for Aaron.
Pharmacy Lady #3: Birth date?
Me: (shaking from the amount of force it is taking to not reach through that little speaker and choke the ever living crap out of this lady) 1…..11….05.
Pharmacy Lady #3: Ok, well did you just call it in cause it takes a half an hour for drive-thru orders?
Me: You JUST talked to the doctor’s office. Everything is supposed to be taken care of and….
Pharmacy Lady #3: Ok Honey, let me go see. (long pause) Ok, well like I said, it takes a half an hour for drive-thru orders and you can’t wait in the drive-thru because someone else might need to get a prescription.
Me: (deep cleansing breath. In with the good, out with the bad…) I will have my husband get it on his way home.

You would think that that was the end of the story. You would think that Mike went to get the prescription and that the world was all rainbows and sunshine again, but I’m not done yet. On the drive home, I started wondering if the new prescription was something that would dissolve or if it was another pill and we would have to go through the dance of the insane prescription ordeal all over again. So, with a deep breath, I called Wal Mart.

This time I got some guy who I had never spoken to which was odd because I was pretty sure that over the course of the last week that I had had some kind of contact with just about everyone employed at the Wal Mart pharmacy. When I asked him if this new medication was something that would dissolve he said…Can you guess what he said? Come on, guess. No really, this will be fun.

He said that it does NOT dissolve and that the only thing that does dissolve is the Prevacid…which was the first prescription that we tried to get…which costs over a hundred dollars…because our insurance sucks AND the universe hates me.

Long story short (too late) after another call to the pediatrician, Aaron was prescribed a new medication in liquid form. There is a liquid antacid available. Tee hee, hee… we could have avoided this entire mess… Ha, ha, ha, if Dr. All-Knowing had just prescribed this liquid from the start. Hah, ha, ha, haaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh, that’s a good one. Oh that’s rich. Hold on, I can’t breath. Wait. Give me a second to compose myself….

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Here Kitty, Kitty

I made this kitty for my friend Leslie's daughter for her 6th birthday.  Isn't she cute!  This was another pattern from Barbara Prime's Fuzzy Mitten book and as always, I thought it turned out better than I expected.  Aaron has put in a request for a turtle so I guess I better get to work on my next project.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Don’t Mess with Me Kid. I Know How to Get Rid of the Body.

This week, the kids are taking part in the bible camp at our church. They have been having a blast and are coming home completely exhausted (Yippee). At the last minute I even decided to let Elyse give it a try despite the fact that she is typically a complete maniac at these kinds of things; under the condition that I would stay with her to monitor her behavior. She has been fantastic for the most part, but there is this kid who I think could benefit from having one of his family members sticking around to keep an eye on him.

I noticed this kid on Tuesday. Almost as soon as he walked in the door he zeroed in on Elyse and came after the baby doll that she was carrying around. When she wouldn’t let it go, he smacked her on the arm and ran away. Later on when ever he was around her, he would either push her, or elbow her, or even just touch her because he knew that it was making her mad.

Today, I had a very difficult time restraining myself from taking that little pain in the ass sweet little scamp and having a nice long chat about how every time you are mean to someone, you kill Santa just a little bit. If he was anywhere near Elyse, he was pushing her. When we were in music class he was all in her face and elbowed her every time that he ran by. Elyse’s little buddy was also a target for this bully and he was constantly pulling her ponytail and grabbing her around the neck. I told the kid nicely several times to knock it the hell off, not in so many words of course, but he just glared at me with his evil little, “I don’t give two craps about what you have to say,” kind of sneer and ran off to torture someone else until he thought that I wasn’t looking again.

I am not sure that I will have so much restraint tomorrow. If one of my kids were acting like this I would want to know immediately so that I could inflict a punishment so swift and severe that they would never think to lay a hand on another child ever again. It appears that it is his grandmother who drops him off every morning and I would just LOVE to mention to her that this kid seems to have some difficulty keeping his hands to himself, but I can tell that her response would be along the lines of, “Not my precious shnookums.”

Granted, this kid is probably about three and a half. Yes he is young. I get that, but that doesn’t mean that he should be allowed to terrorized the entire bible camp because he is a little on the young side. It is definitely not my job or even my place to correct this child, but when you mess with my kid, you mess with me and Homey don’t play that.

I just think that if your child has trouble behaving then you should make an effort to be there to monitor their behavior. If you can’t stay with them, then maybe they don’t belong there. I wanted Elyse to have the opportunity to participate in this camp, but not at the expense of the other kids or the adults who are running the show. I don’t expect anyone to have to chase after Elyse because she is a little on the young side. That is why I am sticking around everyday.

Whew, I feel better. Maybe that will give me the strength to hold back for anther two days. If not, I will post the story of what happened from my jail cell. Prison has Wi-Fi right?

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Quiet Before the Storm?

There is something strange going on in our home at the moment. It’s a phenomenon that I would have to describe as having somewhat of a calming effect, but not the kind that washes over you after a soothing hour long massage and sticks with you for the rest of the day. No, it’s more of a, Golly, George is telling me that swell story about the rabbits again. “Tell me about the rabbits, Geor...,” BOOM! I am in constant fear of what is going to happen next.

So what could possibly induce such a strange combination of hopeful serenity and overwhelming dread all at the same time? The kids, of course. More specifically, it’s Aaron and his sudden desire to help and be useful and even eat. You heard me…EAT. He even made us stop at McDonalds for chicken nuggets on the way home from the zoo today because he said that he, “needed to eat meat.” I know, I know, chicken nuggets aren’t really meat, but for a kid who once thought that a cow shaped animal cracker was all the protein that he needed in a day, this is huge.

It’s been going on for a few weeks off and on now. We will have a few days of absolute horror where he is so difficult that I keep looking outside to see if a couple of hell hounds have shown up to guard the son of darkness. Then, out of no where, he will barricade himself in the tornado of the family room until every last toy has been picked up and put in its place. I’m talking up to my standards kind of clean here people which, ok, have gone down hill a bit since becoming a mom, but nevertheless, they are still pretty high. He doesn’t even have to be asked which is the spookiest part about it. It’s like, I don’t know, he is growing up or something and all of the begging and pleading to help mommy or holy hell I am going to unleash a world of hurt, is finally sinking in. Weird.

The eating thing has me completely baffled because the last time that he was a good eater I was still pouring his meals out of a jar labeled Gerber. We have fought with him for years to “just try it” with no success. Then yesterday he spied some corn on the cob left on the dinner table and asked if he could eat some. I was like, “Uh, yeah,” but thinking, “Yeah, right.” And then …..he…. ATE IT! He ate the whole freaking thing.

I am guardedly optimistic that he is turning over a new leaf and becoming a little man rather than a fussy preschooler. Maybe it’s the fact that he is five and a half and well on his way to being six years old. I’ve heard that something magical happens at six and your tiny little multiple personality maniac becomes a rational little human child thing. If this is about as likely as having pixies and fairy diddles peacefully gathering daisies every spring in your backyard, please don’t tell me. Holding on to this little shred of hope is just about all I have left.