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.