Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Halloween Story, Not For the Faint of Heart

As October approaches, thoughts drift to cooler weather, changing leaves, and Halloween. Oddly enough, when I was a kid, I liked the holiday for the candy, and that was about it. I put some thought into my costume, but didn't get super excited about it. As an adult, Halloween became a much bigger celebration. It was an excuse for a big party. And when I was single, I lived in the best party house. At some point, I will delve into more background on my old stomping grounds, but for this post I will start with a brief synopsis. (And I'd also like to give a tip of my hat to Lori at In Pursuit of Martha Points for inspiring this post. She will probably NOT be thankful for that acknowledgment.)

A.C. and B. H. (After College and Before Husband) I lived in a duplex with two awesome guy roommates. I'll call them Roommie S and Roommie B. They inherited the place from a friend, and when I moved in I learned that the owner didn't really want to be a landlord so the deal was that they didn't raise the rent, and we didn't complain about anything that was less dramatic than a wall caving in. It was a perfect singles place for parties. The building was a piece of crap, so it wasn't a big deal if beer got spilled or furniture got moved and marked the wall, and the rent was cheap - CHEAP - so we usually counted our blessings.

Sometimes though, we would complain about how awful it was, and friends would say it seemed fine. Roommie S would then give a perfect analogy regarding the state of our home: You know how you go to a bar, and it seems really cool. You open a tab, get drunk, forget your credit card, and the next day, you have to go back to get it. In the daylight. And then you see what it REALLY looks like. And it... is.... disgusting. That, my friends, describes our duplex to a tee.

I did my best to be a clean roommate. The guys were very tidy, I'll give them that, but cleaning was not their forte. When I moved in, I dusted the fireplace mantel and the dirt was so thick I said something about when it had last been cleaned. The boys looked at each other and said, "Uh, never?" BLECH! Even with my additional cleaning, the place was far from perfect, but it was good as it possibly could be under the circumstances.

What circumstances you ask? Well, because there were gaping holes at all intersections of the facets of the building - between the window panes and the walls, between the flooring and the walls, between the doors and the floors - we inevitably had.... infestations.

Every July it started with roly-polys. Aw, you say, roly-polys are cute! Yes, yes they are. Outside. In quantities of two or three. We would get dozens of them on the main floor. I would vacuum them up what seemed like every day, but was probably once a week. (I know, ew.) August came around and then the roly polys disappeared and the crickets joined in the fun. Much grosser - bigger and crunchier. Ew, EW. Then in September, we got spiders. I. Do. NOT. Like. Spiders. At all. I get the heeby-jeebies just talking about it. In the winter, we always had some silverfish and mice. (full body shivers!) Don't ya wanna come visit?

Why, you say, why WHY did you keep living there? For FIVE years? Did I mention it was cheap? And, well, to be honest, I drank a lot. And I was almost never home. I worked a lot of overtime, I played volleyball and softball and traveled and went out with friends. I really enjoyed my single years. And like I said, it was C-H-E-A-P. I wasn't making much money, and the money I was making? I wanted to spend on traveling. And booze.

So the day came when Roommie B got married and ditched us. A week after his wedding, I got engaged. So we decided it was time to say farewell to the ol' duplex.  We had an annual Halloween party that, if I do say so myself KICKED BOOTIE. We went all out with costumes and themes and food and drinks, averaging 50 - 75 guests.

Roomie S and I were prepping for the last Halloween party. We were in the basement covering the walls and ceiling with black trash bags to help transform it from a dank, dreary, prison-grey dungeon into a rockin' dance floor with glow-in-the-dark paint/black light/strobe light/fog machine accoutrements. We were about halfway done with the ceiling when we heard something that sounded like a raindrop on the plastic. Then we heard another. And another. We looked up and saw tiny wormy-looking things dropping over the edge of the trash bags. WTH?

We went upstairs and (brace yourselves) the carpet was MOVING. It was covered with thousands and thousands of these little creatures. Some had even started to climb up the walls. OMG. Roomie S grabbed a flashlight and ran outside to see where they were coming from. His report was not good. The entire foundation was covered by them. I wanted to run screaming from the house, but all I could think was, we're going to have dozens of people here in less than 24 hours. What the hell do we do now?

Roommie S ran to the hardware store praying they wouldn't close before he got there. In the meantime, I vacuumed, and vacuumed, and vacuumed some more until I was satisfied not one of those little buggers was still inside the house. Roommie S came back with the news that they were millipedes and had some spray that supposedly would rid us of them. He sprayed the hell out of the foundation, and we went back to decorating and held our breath. Thankfully, there were no more millipedes that night.

I went to bed with nightmares of a crowded basement dance floor and people being crushed in the stampede to get out when bugs started dropping on them from the ceiling. We kept an eye out all the next day, but never again saw a millipede in the house. Talk about a truly creepy Halloween!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mom Guilt

I could hear Yoda yesterday, "Strong is the mom guilt with you."

I would love to stay home with our girls, but it's not in the cards. I cried a lot when I first went back to work, and then it was every couple of months. After we moved to our new house last year, I knew staying home was no longer even a remote possibility, so I've only had a few bad days. Yesterday was one of them.

We've been blessed to have my parents as the girls' secondary care providers for the most part. Our eldest daughter has been going to an in-home daycare provider a few days a week for the last year and a half. She is a wonderful, grandmotherly woman who adores the 3 kids she watches part-time. She is having surgery this Wednesday and will need to recuperate for a month. Enter mom guilt.

In the interim, we had discussed having my parents watch S full-time, but they already watch Baby R 40 hours a week, and throwing S in the mix that much is too exhausting for them. So we were going to see if my FIL could watch her a bit and juggle some scheduling (mom guilt creeps in a little further), but then our provider suggested a daycare with a Montessori approach down the street whose owners she's friends with.

I was intrigued. I'd been wanting to put S in Montessori preschool, we just couldn't afford a typical one. The daycare costs the same as our other provider and was willing to take her for a temporary time with the possibility of switching to permanent if needed after this month. So yesterday was S's first day there.

They are nice enough, I guess, and there are about 10 kids S's age with 4 adults, but it's definitely more of a center than a home. She's old enough for that now, but it's just not the same kind of environment. S is not a fan of change. She's become fussier and clingier in the last week. I can't blame her. I'm not a fan of change either; who is? But some kids are really all about their schedule, and she is one of them. I know I can't keep her schedule the same forever, and I want to teach her how to deal with change in a healthy way, but I also don't want to unnecessarily create situations where she feels unstable. And the mom guilt has a firm toehold.

So yesterday, as I waved goodbye to her as I drove away, her little face in the window showing signs of apprehension, mom guilt won; for the first time in a long time, I cried on the way to work. I worried for her. I worried if I'd made the right decision, and if she was going to be safe and have fun and learn. I worried that she would be worried. I worried that she would not be able to nap. I worried that since there were so many kids, they would already have friendships and not make room for her.

I used to think it was just because I worked that I had mom guilt, but my SAHM friends tell me they have mom guilt, too, so I've decided it's just part of the job. More so for those of us who have unrealistic expectations. I try to keep them in check, but that's just part of my personality. I left work early so I could be the one to pick her up (Daddy usually does). I got there...and she was fine. And I let out a big sigh of relief, a breath I'd been holding all day without realizing it. The mom guilt subsided - for now.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Yes, Seriously, Another Blogger Posting about Katy Perry on Sesame Street

I had heard the scuttlebutt and was content to just have my own internal thoughts on the matter. Ha! Ok, maybe I posted a few things on Facebook, and OTHER blogs, but I wasn't planning to write my own post. Until I just watched the video. Was her outfit a bit too revealing? Yes. Is it worse than Disney princess or Barbie outfits? No. Is the outfit really the problem? I don't think so.

In general, I like Katy Perry's songs. They're upbeat, risque, yes, but good to dance to. A few have lyrics that are too much for me, but I love "Hot and Cold" which is what is parodied in this clip. (Yeah, I'm a cool mom. That's my thing. I'm hip to the kid's music these days. I surf the Web. I text. LOL - laugh out loud. WTF - why the face.) Anyway, I am also pretty conservative. I do keep in touch with the current pop music so I can be educated (and let our my inner teen on occasion), but only when I'm in the car alone which isn't often. Most of the time I listen to Christian radio or kids CDs. If my kids were to hear "Hot and Cold" though, I wouldn't be overly concerned about it. The worst line in the song is "You PMS like a b!tch, I would know", and of course the curse word is always bleeped out on the radio. It's not like it's Usher's "OMG". (Though, to be honest, I doubt my kids would get any of the sexual innuendo in "OMG" if they're anything like their mama. I watched "Grease" all the time when I was little and never gave it a second thought until I saw it in college and about died when I realized what the lyrics to all the songs were!)

Anyway, Sesame Street did a good job of parodying the song, and it was a cute little skit. (BTW, big Sesame Street fan. Grew up watching it, and our 3-year-old loves it, too.) I think if Miley Cyrus had done the song, parents would have been applauding (don't get me started on what I think about her). At the very least, had they criticized her outfit, I think Sesame Street would have reshot it with her in a different ensemble and moved on.

But this is not Miley Cyrus. This is Katy Perry.

Interesting fact I was not aware of until yesterday: Katy Perry was a gospel singer when she started her career. I Wikipedia'd her today (because that's the best source of accurate information, right?), and apparently she even studied opera. But that's not what she's known for. She's known for songs like "I Kissed a Girl" and "Waking Up in Vegas" - not exactly family-friendly lyrics and videos. And that, my friends, is why parents don't want their kids to see her on the show.

You know what? You're right. Katy Perry is not the best role model for our kids, so she should not be featured on Sesame Street. I mean, Sesame Street has had tons of more conservative-appropriate guest hosts like Kobe Bryant (who had an affair), Jake Gyllenhaal (who portrayed a homosexual character in "Brokeback Mountain"), Ellen DeGeneres (who actually is homosexual), and Johnny Cash (who was a drug addict). The great thing about Sesame Street is that they try to have people on that adults find entertaining as well, and they preach acceptance.

For me, if anything, this type of skit opens up the possibility of dialogue with my preschooler about what is appropriate in our family. (We have a daily struggle with getting her to wear any clothes at all.) I can just imagine it...

S: Mommy, I like this song!

Me: Me, too, honey!

S: Look at Elmo - he's so silly!

Me: He sure is!

S: Mommy, why is Katy Perry so scantilly clad?

Me: Well, honey, she's a bit of a slut...

(Just kidding.)

S: Mommy, that girl has on a green dress. Green's your favorite color!

Me: You're right! What do you think about that dress?

S: It doesn't have any sleeves. Is it a princess dress?

Me: Well, some people might think it is, but we don't wear clothes without sleeves, do we?

S: No. She's almost nakey-pants!

Grand"mom"ments, Chapter 3

This week Mom came prepared with about 50 Post-Its with notes about things she and dad had discussed to prompt our meeting. I thought she was exaggerating until I saw the stack. She said if she'd realized how much she was going to write down, she would have used bigger paper. :)

She shared a timeline of events, most of which I remember, some of which I'd been told about often enough to already know. There was one tidbit that I hadn't heard until this week, though, so I'm going to focus on one year of the timeline for today's post.

In January 1974, my dad's mom passed away. Mom and Dad went from Kansas City to Arkansas in March to help Dad's step-father, Pappy, clean out their place since he had decided to move to California. While they were in Arkansas, Mom got pregnant with me.

At this point, Mom and Dad were living in a house that he had lived in with his first wife.  My dad's daughter from his first marriage was 13. She moved in with Mom and Dad in August. To the house she had lived in with her own mom and dad. She was bitter. She would tell my mom that the silverware was in the wrong drawer and criticize the decor. I tell you all of this not to make my dad sound like a jerk (though I still don't understand why they were in that house), nor to make my half-sister sound like one either (she was in the midst of teen-angst and from a broken home in the '70's - can you blame her?), but to give you an idea of what life was like for my mom at the time. (In her words, "pure hell".) And don't forget that she was 5 months pregnant.

On December 13, I was born. I was full-term, but only 4 lbs, 5 ozs. The doctor told my parents he didn't know if they would have a live-birth. But I made it! (See Chapter 1 for more on that.) December 28th, Pappy passed away. There was technically nothing physically wrong with him. They had just always assumed he would be the first to go, and losing his wife earlier that year was too much for him. He died of a broken heart.

After the funeral, my half-sister was even more troublesome. She had lost her grandfather and now had a baby to compete with for attention. Finally, in February of 1975, my mom had had enough. She told my dad to take her back to Canada. So he did. He drove Mom and me there, and came back to Kansas City alone.

(Side note: WHAT!?!??!! I had never heard this part of the story before.)

Two weeks later, Mom called Dad and wanted to come home. He brought us back, and my half-sister went to live with her aunt and uncle.

I cannot imagine any of this. It's a sad story from everyone's perspective. My poor dad, losing his parents, trying to do right by his eldest and keep his current wife happy. My poor mom, dealing with a bratty step-daughter, being completely isolated from her own family, trying to care for a newborn. My poor half-sister, dealing with a step-mother and baby, being sent away from her mom's and then from her dad's. And to think that I had pretty much a Norman Rockwell childhood - I always felt blessed, but it seems somehow unfair that they had to go through all that and I didn't.

Thankfully today, we all get along well. My half-sister lives in KC. She and my parents came over for dinner on Monday. She loves my mom like her own now, and my mom loves her, too. She's so much older than me, that I always thought of her as an aunt growing up. Now that we are both adults, we commiserate about dad being a grumpy old man, and I take my girls to her pottery shop to make Christmas gifts with their hand- and footprints. It gives me hope for the days when I feel like I'm a terrible mom and our kids won't turn out ok. And it is yet another reminder of what an amazing person my mother is.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

B2S/B2B Assignment 2: I Thought I Was Going to Die

This week's assignment was a fun one. We pooled ideas for posts and then chose one as a starting point for our own blog. I chose #71 "I thought I was going to die…"

I thought I was going to die. Literally. I don't think I've ever really thought that any other time in my life. I have a fear of heights and an over-active imagination, so there have been lots of times I've been afraid of falling to my death. On a ski lift, for example. But as I recited my mantra (Our Father), and had a death-grip on the side of the lift, I knew it was POSSIBLE I could die, but not PROBABLE. There was the time I had mono, and I prayed that I WOULD die, but I didn't feel close to it happening at all. But that cab ride. That cab ride was the green light to heaven.

My DH and I were in Vegas six or seven years ago. He'd never been before, and I surprised him with a trip. I'd been to the Strip four or five times before then, and I'd always walked to get places for the most part. I'd taken a cab to and from the airport, of course, and I'd been a passenger on a bus there and used the monorail once or twice, but usually I just hoofed it everywhere. I mean, every building is a destination, and 90% of where I wanted to be was on the same street, and I usually didn't have a time frame to work in, so it always seemed silly to use any transportation. But when DH and I were there, business was booming and traffic was ridiculous, so the lines at the bus stops and monorail were crazy. And it was H-O-T, hot, and we were hungry. We wanted to go from New York, New York (on the south end) to the Stratosphere (on the north end) for dinner. So we got in a taxi. If only we'd known what we were getting ourselves into.

I've ridden in cabs in Chicago and New York - I've experienced the attempted scam on taking a longer route for an out-of-towner, and moves that should be reserved for a hockey rink, or at the bare minimum, a NASCAR track. I think I was blindsided in Vegas because it's not a typical big city, so I anticipated a ride comparable to ones I've experienced in KC. The driver was nice enough; he wasn't even foreign. (I say that only to illustrate that we weren't reacting to a stereotype.) Things started out fine; DH and I were relaxing and chatting casually as we merged into traffic, and the driver asked if we minded jumping on the highway to avoid the congestion. I knew this was a ploy for more money, but I also could see that we would easily get where were going in half the time, so when DH said that was fine, I didn't protest. And then it happened.

I can honestly say, I don't really remember much more of the trip. I can't really describe exactly what traffic violations were committed other than a vague sense of speeding and extreme reckless driving. I just remember the adrenaline I was feeling, the silent prayers I was saying, and DH looking at me and saying with complete sincerity, "I think we're going to die." I love my hubby, but he is not big on snuggling and especially avoids PDA. You would not have known that had you seen us in that back seat from the tight grip DH and I had on each other.

Finally, after probably only 15 minutes but what felt like an hour, we got to our destination. We threw the cabbie some cash and jumped out of that car. We were exhausted and ready to eat and go back to our hotel and relax. Needless to say, though we were tired, we walked back, thankful we only had throngs of pedestrians to avoid instead of oncoming cars. We haven't been in a taxi together since.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Forgive the Mess!

I'm working on overhauling the blog so it's sleeker and more user-friendly. So far, it's not going well. I know what I want it to look like, but I can't seem to make it work. So please be patient!

Exciting news: I'm slated to have another post published on Mamapedia tomorrow - woo hoo!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Not Just Another Jennifer: The Formative Years

Kludgy Mom posted the other day about her son and how she was concerned about his social skills at school, handling the popular kids, etc., was it nature or nurture? And then she witnessed him in action, and this year, HE'S one of the popular ones. It got me to thinking about how fluid our "status" is growing up.

I was very popular in the early grade school years. That sounds pretty uppity, but I can say that confidently because a couple of decades have passed since then, and because I didn't stay that way. My dad always jokes about me walking into school the first day of kindergarten knowing no one, and walking out on the last day talking with the 6th graders. I was friends with almost everybody in our school, because I wasn't afraid to just walk up to anyone and say, "Hi! I'm Jennifer. What's your name?"

Plus, I found things in common with everyone. I was a hyper-active tomboy, so I spent recess playing sports with the boys. But I also had a little sister, so I could play house with the girls. And I was very smart. Though I never attended pre-school, I could already read when I started kindergarten, so my classmates often asked me for help which I was more than happy to do since I loved to play teacher to aforementioned baby sister. I think it was natural that I was popular when I was young, when kids are more concerned with the true qualities of friendship, like who's willing to share and who will help you, before they get swayed by the politics and fads that inevitably present themselves regarding who's prettier/richer/cooler/insert appropriate superficial adjective here. As for the nature vs. nurture debate, I think a certain amount of that charisma is inherent - there are those who work at it, but most people are either ones you instantly want to be friends with, or are ones who eventually grow on you. Beyond that first impression, though, you need to have been taught those friendship qualities, so it's really a combination of the two at work.

If popularity was determined solely on charisma and being a good friend, it would be Around 4th or 5th grade, things changed. Girls started being more, well, girly. I didn't. I wasn't ready for puberty, which was fine, because my boobs weren't either. But I no longer belonged with the girls who talked about makeup and hairstyles, and the boys didn't want a girl to play football with, they wanted a girl who cheered for them on the sidelines. I didn’t know how to make that transition from tomboy to “girl”. There were others who did it fine. I had hoped 7th grade would be like in the movies – I’d take off my glasses, put on some makeup and let down my hair, and voila! Everyone would love me again. But alas, that’s not how it works in the real world! Not to mention that my parents are pretty conservative, so I wasn't allowed to do things a lot of the other kids were by the time I was in 6th grade - like go to the mall unsupervised, watch "R"-rated movies, etc. So I started elementary school as one of the popular kids, but ended it as a nerdy outcast with only 1 real friend.

Was it a tough road being nerdy until I graduated from high school? Yes. I cringe when I think about all the times my parents said, "The wouldn't tease you if they didn't like you." What I learned though is that it's not about the quantity of friendships (ie, popularity), but the quality. That one friend I had left? We're still friends today. She teaches my oldest daughter preschool. :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

B2S/B2B Assignment 1

It's been a whirlwind of craziness in the land of Not Just Another Jennifer recently. My hubs and I both have been overscheduled last week and this week, he got a stomach bug Sunday and Monday, and while the full moon isn't supposed to occur til next week, it must have been shining over our house last night because the girls were completely whacko. By this I mean that within minutes of my arrival home, S peed on the couch - for no reason - so I asked her to go to the bathroom and clean herself up while I scrubbed the , and then she pulled the entire roll of TP off onto the floor. When I asked her to pick it up, she said, no. Deep...breaths. Do not...strangle...your child. And poor baby R has a horrific diaper rash that is so bad that it woke her up in the night. :( Not to mention that Kludgy Mom's Back 2 School/Back 2 Blogging project started, and though I was ahead of the game Sunday having read the assignment AND checked out the extra credit, I'm currently in a time crunch to finish the writing portion by tomorrow. I just want to go to bed after volleyball tonight since I was up from 2am-4am with my 3-year-old insomniac, but I will push through and get it done, because that's the kind of student I am. A procrastinating perfectionist - yikes.

On to the point of my post. Week 1's assignment was to do an inspection checklist of my blog. Before I even started, I knew I needed to do some major overhauling. I need to have a remedial class with Gigi to figure out how to do some things. From looking over our 11-point checklist, I did a several simple things that I feel like made a big difference, but here are the things I still want to do to improve my blog:

• Figure out how to add tabs.
• FIgure out how to add categories.

Hmmm, hopefully I'll have time to work on that before the next assignment.

The writing task for the week was to find a "COOL, little-known plugin or widget and tell us about it". I don't know about any, so maybe others have already seen these, but I thought it was be really helpful for me as a mom blogger. There's a site, Widgetbox, that has a bunch of different things available. One section is basically for quick searches or links to check out how family-friendly different entertainment arenas are. The first one I saw was called Moral Metric Search. It gives movie, TV, video game, and Web safety reviews. I couldn't get it to work, though. Then I found one that is a link to where there are Christian movie reviews. It's sort of like the Facebook or Twitter widgets in that it shows the latest posts to their site reviewing different movies. When you go to the site, though, there are also areas that cover music and other popular culture. I installed it and am interested to see if it's all I'm hoping it can be!

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Note on the Importance of Siblings

An email between my sister and me this morning:

On 9/10/2010 11:25 AM, Jennifer wrote:
I forget you are the only one who understands that I'm slightly psycho and don't think I need to be committed. (Yet.) I accidentally shared too much this morning and I think my coworker is scared of me now. Here's what happened:

Last night after I gave Baby R her 4am feeding, I went back to bed and had a pain in my leg. I thought, what if it's a blood clot? I could die and DH wouldn't notice because he just gets up and leaves in the morning. Then the girls would wake up, and I would be dead. Baby R would be crying in her crib for hours and S would be trying to shake me awake and scared and lonely and they'd be scarred for life. Please God, let me just live til the morning so I can teach S how to dial 911.

Clearly, I didn't go back to sleep for awhile.

Your Nutso Sister

On Sep 10, 2010, at 12:04 PM, Sister J wrote:

Where do we get these crazy thoughts from??? I totally understand. :)

I love the ending where you say please God let me live until the morning to teach S how to dial 911. Perfect.

Seriously, who else could have said that and made me feel like I'm not losing it? Love her.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Grand"mom"ments, Chapter 2

Last night my mom brought a photo album with her to hopefully spark a memory for conversation. We didn't really end up with any specific stories, but we had fun looking at the pictures. We mocked the styles (seriously, could the shorts have been any shorter and the socks been any taller?). We shared derision at the way we looked at times - mom for being overweight, me for, well, not only was I freakishly skinny, like Calista Flockhart skinny; my sister called me Ethopia girl - but my hair, oh dear God, my hair. I was going to post some photos, but I just don't know if I can. They are THAT bad. I was a tomboy and wouldn't let my mom style my hair when I was little. So by the time I decided to grow it out, I was in sixth grade. I looked like a 12-year-old boy. A boy with really bad hair. Anyway, we grinned at pictures of my sister that perfectly captured her personality. She still has some of those expressions. And we spent quite a bit of time looking at field day/softball/dance pictures and trying to remember who the other kids were. Most of the time we teased my mom about her horrific photography skills. She tried, bless her heart, but she just doesn't have it in her. It doesn't help that 110 film is far from high-quality by today's standards. There were shots that were actually framed well - rare since she tends to push the whole camera down when pushing the button so people's heads were cut off - and most of the image was in focus - also unusual since her hands shake only when holding a camera - but they were action shots of a race or something, so of course the people moving were blurry. And seriously, why did we feel the need to keep every single photo? There was one of which 3/4 was the back of someone's head. I was the same way until I was rescued by Creative Memories 15 years ago and began a scrapbooking journey of amazing proportions. But that's for another time...

Anyway, suffice it to say that I don't have any grand epiphany to share, though seeing pictures of birthday parties that my mom hosted did prompt me to tell her again how much more I appreciate her now for all she did for us. And we had fun hanging out. And for now, that's all that really matters.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Girls...and My Wonderful Hubby

Ok, really most of this post will be about S, but I have two notes about the other loves of my life I need to include.

First, S. This weekend, she was "stretching" for her "exercises" and had her leg behind her. I told her she was doing a position in ballet known as an attitude. She started walking around kicking her legs in front and in back of her. "Look, Mom, I'm doing a Batman and an attitude." I'm sorry, what?? A Batman? Not sure what that is....

We were talking about drinking juice and how we only have a little bit of juice because it doesn't have as much nutritional value as milk and water. I mentioned that milk is good for your bones. And S piped in, "Yeah, and we hafta drink lotsa water because we don't want to get hydrated." Wow! How does she know about being dehydrated? Must be the sitter or my parents. Good thing that I've put her in such good care when she's away from me. And I'm not sure if it was that same conversation or another where I let her know she had done a good job when she said, "Pretty impressed, aren't you?" Oh my. Note to self - work on teaching her humility.

Today was her first day of preschool!! Aack! Can it really be that she's big enough for school? I'll spare you all the sappy thoughts since I know many of you've been there. I'll just skip to my embarrassing "mom"ment. So I'm blessed to have had a best friend since the 4th grade who lives about half a mile away. She's an amazing mom to 4 girls, two of whom are twins, AND she teaches preschool out of her home. Incredible! Anyway, S is going to her house for school. Which is somewhat confusing as it is because she's supposed to call her Mrs. D, but has always known her as B, so she is confused about why she has to call her a different name. Anyway, pick up time from preschool is 11:30am. I need to leave work at 11:15am. All morning I was thinking about it. Until I wasn't. And suddenly I looked up from my computer (which, by the way, I wasn't even working on, I was reading blogs - yes, I blame all of you!), and it was 11:45am. OMG!!!! I bolted out the door and called my BFF to apologize profusely and let her know I was on my way. Of course, S was the only one left. She wasn't wanting me to leave her that morning, and now I've gone and left her too long. NOOOO!!! Thankfully, she'd warmed up after a bit and was having fun playing with the toys. I felt like the worst mom. And the worst friend!

Ok, enough about that. At dinner tonight she was threading her penne pasta on her fork tines, and I smiled to myself. I remember being little and doing that. I'd forgotten all about it until tonight. Kids are great like that.

Another classic potty moment at bedtime tonight. She was going to the bathroom, and she passed gas, and I said, "Whew! You are stinky!" She looked at me with the most solemn, angelic face, and said, "Yes, Mommy. Jesus made me that way." It took all my physical restraint not to bust a gut. I'm pretty proud of myself for simply replying, "You're right, honey. Jesus did make you." And then she said something that melted my heart. "And he made me pretty." Yes, he sure did. Don't you ever forget that. "And he made Riley's baby bottle. Who built our house?" And we're off to the next train of thought in a preschooler's little mind.

Moving on to the other family members. Baby R tried to start climbing the stairs yesterday. Oh boy - look out!

My parents, bless their hearts, are not the most technically savvy people. I am pretty good with software, and ok with hardware - on a Mac. A PC is all Greek to me. I can make it work to a certain extent, but anything beyond the basics is out of my area of expertise. My DH is a lifesaver. He has helped my parents on more than one occasion when I've been unable to fix their problems. So tonight he bought them a new printer and hooked it up for them. Love that man!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Birthday Palooza

Last night my friend, and wonderful photographer, Rebecca Peters (H), had her 30th birthday party. I had a great time seeing friends, and of course, Rebecca had a photo booth set up with props for people to take crazy shots. We watched a slideshow of them at the end of the evening, and it was quite entertaining.

Though I got home later than I'd planned (11:30pm), I thought I'd be a little tired, but ok today. Unfortunately, S woke up when I came home and was sneezing like crazy. So I gave her some Benadryl and she wanted to sleep with us for awhile. Around 1:30am, I took her back to her room and stayed for a bit. Came back to our bed, and about five minutes later, Baby R was awake. Fed her and put her back down, but she was fussing for a bit. I think I finally got to sleep at 3ish. Another short night.

This morning was a birthday party for one of S's best friends from daycare. He had the party at the Ag Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs. It was so cool! His mom and I were saying we needed to come back and bring a picnic and spend the day there. There's was so much to see and we only got to do about half of it in the two hours we were there. The guide showed us the old machinery they used to shuck corn, and then the grinder to make cornmeal. Then the kids got to feed that to the chickens. There was an old house with some original furniture from the late 19th century. Then we got to ride on a mini-train around the grounds. That was really fun for the kids - the party theme was Thomas the Train. There was also a real full-sized caboose that the kids got to wander through. While we were in the train depot building, one of the boys said, "Wow! This is REALLY old! Like from the '80's!" 1880's maybe.

Tonight we are getting together for my FIL's bday celebration. He and my MIL went to Cali to visit my SIL for his birthday, so we are just now getting around to cake and presents. And on that note, I need to head out to get his gift card. But before I go, one note about Baby R - she crawled on her knees today! Very exciting. She's just been army crawling, and since she'd started pulling up, we thought maybe she'd just skip "regular" crawling all together and just walk. But today she did. She's getting so big!

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I can't believe it's been a week since my last post. I had to go to San Francisco for a couple of days for a business meeting. It went really well; so well in fact that we almost missed our flight! Thankfully we didn't, but on the approach to Kansas City, there was a storm, so we circled the airport for an hour or so, then were diverted to Wichita to refuel and wait for the go ahead to return. To sum up, I got to bed at 3am Tuesday night. Oy. Clearly I was exhausted, which is why I decided to postpone the next installment of Grand"mom"ments until next week.

Because the meeting in San Francisco was with our biggest client, I wanted to get a new outfit. I'm embarrassed to say this, but I pretty much still wear my maternity clothes. I gained all my baby weight back after I went back to work, and I just don't want to buy clothes in my current size. I want to lose weight. Because of that, I look less than wonderful on a daily basis. So I had intended to bite the bullet and go shopping. Then at an internal meeting last Wednesday, our boss told us he wanted all of us who were attending the meeting in SF to look and feel confident, so we should all get new outfits. That put a little stress on my shopping experience. Suddenly I felt all this pressure to get the "right" outfit.

A little background on my "style". I don't have any. I'm very low-maintenance. I've never been into designer clothes. I never read fashion magazines (except for the relationship quizzes and celebrity dish). My sister is the polar opposite. She used her allowance to buy Guess jeans and Swatch watches. She is currently employed by Michael Kors. (If you are on my level of fashion, ie Old Navy, you may not be familiar with him. He is one of the judges on "Project Runway".)

So of course the first thing I did was call my sister for advice on what to wear and where to buy it. One of the many times I've wished we lived in the same city. We looked at some things online, and she suggested Anne Taylor Loft. I had a friend go with me the next day. I ended up getting an ensemble from New York and Co that encompassed some of the elements my sister and I had discussed. The photo montage of the items is in this post. (I'm having issues with inserting photos, so I know it's in a random spot.) Anyway, I chickened out and didn't wear the belt. I just felt like an impostor - a mom in her mid-30's trying to look like one of the cool kids. Maybe I'll wear it for a different event, but I didn't want to go into the meeting looking like an idiot.

The last thing my sister told me was I needed to get new shoes, too. I told her I had some strappy black sandals I was planning to wear. She asked me when I bought them. Ahem, uh, for her wedding (8 years ago). You MUST buy new shoes. Black wedges. Sounded easy enough. Ha! I went to EIGHT stores in search of them. They were either the wrong size, the wrong height or the wrong color. I found some really cute Jessica Simpson ones, but the peeptoe was shaped so that the edge of the hole was against my cuticle and it hurt to walk in them. I finally gave up and wore my old shoes. Which was fine except that running through the airport in 3" heels to catch our flight is NOT something I'm accustomed to. Heck, I don't even know the last time I wore heels of any kind, much less those monsters.

But, as I said, the meeting went well, and now I have at least one nice outfit to wear.
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