Friday, March 28, 2014

TToT19: Living Life Boldly

Well, this is my first official co-hosting week of the TToT, and let me tell you, I am excited to be here. Not only that, but I am borrowing Bianca's bold-faced thankfulness style, which is somewhat easier to type and understand than the parenthesesed numbers that confuse my mother.

Not only have I been given the distinct honor of being invited to sit at the cool kids' table, but Lizzi liebed me this week. Thank you, thank you, Lizzi! I am truly honored.

If I can manage to attack that post with some lightness (maybe attack is not the right verb for lightness), I'm gonna do it. But I have already passed awards on to the blogs I follow with liebster-level followers, so who am I gonna send it to? If you want it, let me know in the comments.

I penned my first guest post for Lefty Pop this week. That post gave me a chance to grump a bit about my frustration with misguided education reform (vouchers). Go read my post and comment! Or don't if it'll make you mad. I understand.

Friends, I have had a life-changing (for the better) experience this week. Literally (and I know what that word means). But, I can't tell you now because that would spoil my future post. So, I'll just say it could hardly have come at a more opportune time and leave it at that.

The truth is it's been a rather emotional week. Some of the whispers we've been ignoring are becoming understandable words we cannot pretend not to hear. I've had more than one emotional eruption this week, but I've managed to contain them to the times children are sleeping. And I've had cause again to be thankful for connections made in the blogging world. I know people in this community that fill a niche that is missing in my real life, and this week I am especially grateful.

Little things (Lorie, darlin') have cheered me this week. Putting down my work and turning off the TV so the Dude and I can sit and catch up. Following through on a tradition with my dad. Humorous family emails. 

And, finally, knowledge is power. So even if the knowledge is unwelcome, there is the power of knowing it. Because then you can do something about it. Maybe.

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Oh, No, She Didn't.

But, yes, she did.

Lefty Pop put out a request for guest submissions, and I impulsively shot off an email with two ideas. And, guess what? They wanted both.

So, today, if you're interested and brave, venture on over to Lefty Pop to see my dip my toes into the political waters. Don't be scared! I'm writing about school vouchers, and I won't even insist you share my view. Go visit and leave me a comment!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

TToT18: Cool Kids

The only healthy way to live life is to learn the like the little everyday things, like the sip of good whiskey in the evening, a soft bed, a glass of buttermilk, or a feisty gentlemen like myself.
-Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove)

Have you read that book? You should.

As I write this, I am sitting home alone. (1)

I am not trying to get as much done as possible during "quiet time," and I am not using my precious post-bedtime TV hours. And, I even folded and put away all the laundry before I sat down at my computer. (2) This is a precious moment for me. If only I had a bunny and a yellow bow, my contentment cup would be full.

My birthday present from my parents arrived this week! (3) It came far 'cross the sea from the British Isles, and I cannot love it more. I'm a little stumped as to where to find an A1 frame, so for now, it hangs proudly in my kitchen sans frame. Introducing my life motto:
'cept mine's navy with white writing (source)

Life has slowed down just a tad this week (4), which has been an extremely welcome change. I've been feeling like life has been whipping past without a chance for me to take a breath. I took a breath or two this week, and the increased oxygen has helped improve my stamina.

Look what Leo and I found! (5)
That's a crocus. Spring!

Oh, and this at Costco, too! (6)

My interest is hardly ever piqued by an animated movie. That's why I suggested a daddy-daughter date for Frozen. But then everybody was talking about it, and here it was on sale, so I gave it a shot. It's really not bad. Even pretty good. And I'm just glad we now own one kid's movie since it looks like we're gonna get another load of this misery next week.
Thankful for neighborhood children who like to earn money shoveling snow. (7) I think I've been thankful for that before, but oh well.

Also thankful that we have one parent who likes to play in the snow (not me), and one child who likes to stay inside by the fire (with me) and play Memory.

You know when you get an unexpected shout-out? The unexpectedness of it makes the positive reinforcement all the more meaningful. I got an email this week (9) from a distant relative who had come to visit for an hour or two. She wrote to tell me how impressed she was with my mothering, specifically my patience and ability to turn every instance into an opportunity to nurture and teach. And, yes, I am quoting the email for you. I am actually absolutely certain that patience is one of my weaker traits, but that whatever I was doing with my kids seemed like good parenting to her gives me an enormous boost. Enormous! I am still floating from this one.

And then, BONUS! Lizzi emailed to see if I'd like to help cohost this little thankful gathering! (10) Whoop! I admit that it's bittersweet since I'll be taking Lisa's place, but I'm excited to sit at the Cool Kids' table, nonetheless. Tada!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Sunday, March 16, 2014

TToT17: Making Up

It broke my heart a little to miss the TToT last week. Not only because I think the exercise is worthy and the participants fascinating, but because I can get just a little overly hooked on routine. So it might not have been a terrible thing to make myself skip the post when there simply wasn't the time. But that doesn't mean I'm not gonna make up for it with an extra post this weekend.

1. First of all, and this one's huge. Lookie here:

If you were able to see past my enormous knuckles and desperate need for hand lotion, you might notice I am wearing something that may very well be my wedding ring. That's right, my friends, I found it! Special thanks to my nephew who stuffed a bunch of books through the gap between the unelevated trundle bed and the regular day bed. As I was digging around down there, retrieving the books, I noticed something shining in the dim, dusty, under-bed zone. Wa.Hoo.

2. One thing I know about volunteering is that you probably end up feeling taken for granted at some point or another. You sign up for one thing and then more and more tasks fall into your lap, and you hate to say no because everyone's a volunteer and there aren't enough hands to go around anyway, and it's such a worthwhile cause.
So it's nice when you get a big bonus of getting to attend a conference for free. I got to go to one on Saturday which conveniently helps me keep up to speed in my occupational (past and probable future) field as well as my parenting one.

3. And, besides that, I felt like I was in my element. I was able to connect with people I had known through my previous workplace (in another state) and with people I have met and associated with in this area. I didn't feel like an outsider in spite of not currently working as a language therapist, and I felt I was able to manage some of that elusive "networking," a term and skill of which I hate the sound and in which I perform miserably (being an introvert, you know). (And you did you notice the extreme finagling I did to tuck in my prepositions?)

4. Wait But Why. Do you know this blog? You should. This blog is fun, and fun is good. (See Instant Gratification Monkey.) And actually quite informative at times. The author posted this video recently, and it worth watching. It's longish (five minutes or so) and has a terrible New Age-y sounding soundtrack, but who knew videos were being taken at the turn of the century? The one before last, that is.
Here's what I was struck by: there seem to have been no traffic rules. No stop signs or lights, no restricted lanes, no crosswalks. Clearly no sense of right-of-way. I'm torn between being really impressed that people were able to calculate time and speed correctly (horse team and wagon may have crossed in front of the trolley at the very last minute, but they made it past without getting hit) and thinking ummm, and this is why those rules were created. Check out the boys playing chicken with the trolley and then hanging onto the back of a car.

5. Samoas. This is my first experience with them, having lived in the land of Caramel DeLites until now. Poor little Girl Scouts didn't even know what I was talking about when I tried to order Caramel DeLites. So far, halfway through the box (in fifteen minutes), I say Samoas are just as good. Don't hate me, but I rank these cookies higher than Thin Mints.

6. I am an official member of the Capital Accord Chorus! After a prolonged (because of weather and travel) audition process in which I performed (with varying degrees of success) the Baritone part in two songs with a quartet made up of three other very accomplished singers, I managed to pass and gain admittance. My family is thrilled that I no longer constantly sing only the harmony of Consider Yourself and Harmonize The World around the house, but I am afraid will soon get sick of hearing There Goes My Heart and Blue Skies.

7. FMI, because I know you are fascinated, the CAC is a women-only barbershop chorus that performs all around the DC area. Including, I hear, maybe, the castle (as we call it in our family). This forbidding, perhaps even fantod-inducing, edifice is the main center of worship for Mormons in
the DC area. It rises up in all it's modern-Disney princess castle style glory well above the tree line just north of the beltway, and I will not deny that I'd jump at the chance to see inside it. Not that I'd be allowed in the inner sanctum for the Mormon Big Guns (e.g., Mitt Romney), but still. I'd see part of it.

8. We've had two days that very nearly reached 60 degrees in the last week. To walk outside and not need a coat? To walk my daughter out to the bus in bare feet and not get frostbite (I'm usually barefoot unless there is snow and ice on the sidewalk)? Spring just might come, after all.

9. My Kairos moment of the week: following Leo's lead and discovering what he really wanted to do upon leaving the PO was to empty the outside beds of their rocks and throw them across the pavement. One by one by one. Ones I was surprised he could move, he slowly rolled out, lifted, and tossed. You may call him little, but he's mighty!
Which one is airborne?

10. Skeuomorph. A wonderful new word, courtesy of my cousin Big Pete (and yes, there is a Little Pete who is a few inches taller than Big Pete, though several years younger). A skeuomorph is a derivative object that retains ornamental design cues from structures that were necessary in the original (courtesy of Wikipedia). For instance, the typing sound you can allow your phone to make is a skeuomorph. I enjoy the skeuopmorph of a clicking sound my phone makes when it takes a picture. Apple utilizes the skeuomorph particularly well.
So, did you know that word, Lizzi? It's a fun one to say.

And now, on to next week! And the snow.

Friday, March 14, 2014

TToT16: I Conquered the Birthday Party!

You know I love a good craft project. I love to create something pretty for display (bonus if it's functional). And, unlike many, I trawl Pinterest in my downtime.  For fun.

But when it comes to my children's birthday parties, I feel so terribly inadequate. Have you looked at the party ideas on Pinterest? I mean, a lot of them are ludicrous, yes, but still, some are reasonable and still far beyond the scope of my abilities and energy. This is where I understand the Pinterest haters.

Plus, the whole birthday party planning experience is shrouded under this feeling of what the party should be like and how I should love it. And I just don't. I don't like crowds (especially of small children), I don't feel like event planning is my thing, and I don't like performance decorating. Yet, I can't help but wonder (I've watched too much SATC, clearly) if I skip the party, am I not robbing my children of an important childhood experience of attention, cake, and presents?

Fortunately, my children are born four days apart (well, two years and 361 days). That means they're getting a joint party for as long as I can get away with it. And this year, this year folks, I think I conquered the party. I managed to plan an event that was not too overwhelming, yet pleasing to the senses. I managed to perform adequately while still honoring my children's preferences. And the cake. I knocked it out of the park with the cake, guys. Just you wait and see.

1. Shopping. One long date with Amazon on a Friday night and done. Budget set, presents selected, Amazon Prime membership borrowed from my MIL, and presents in time. Boom.

2. Leo's main present actually came from Etsy. I ordered it in December (for Christmas) and it arrived in late February. Oh well, it's not like he knew any better. And it is so stinkin' cute. I've got a boy who loves balls and loves soft, cuddly toys.
Perfect combo, and the seller worked with me on colors, theme, everything. She was slow, but she delivered in the end. And Leo loves it.

But on to the actual party:

3. Maggie and I went to the "balloon store" the weekend before, and I let her pick some basic decor. Balloons, streamers, tablecloth, plastic utensils, treat bag stuffers, etc. I limited categories of items we could purchase but let her have free reign within those areas. And then I worked on putting the house together. And I really think I came up with something fairly attractive. Festive even.

4. I even came up with a frickin' theme for this party: carousels (you'll see why later). I downloaded a carousel horse picture and created a craft for kids to do. No one did it, but who cares? It was there, it was free, and it worked with the theme.

5. Only two children attended; one for Maggie, one for Leo. We invited four, but two didn't show. Some might be sad about such a development, but I was overjoyed. We did our duty by inviting back, and we still didn't have to deal with crowds.

6. Leo's little friend had a ball. He was perfectly comfortable at our house and had a great time. Maggie's little friend wanted to sit her mother's lap the entire time and hardly uttered a word. Maggie didn't either. They did not have to interact, but they both got cake. Win-win!

7. When I asked Maggie what kind of party she wanted (Leo gets no say until he'll talk to us) a few weeks ago, she said she wanted to ride a carousel. Carousels are a dime-a-dozen around here, but most don't open until April. Except for the one on the National Mall. You know the one outside the Natural History Museum? Of course you do.
So I hatched a plan. If there is one thing Maggie likes to ride as much as a carousel, it is the Metro. We partied it up at home, had cake, and then took off for the Metro.

8. And, the guests Maggie most wanted, her cousins from NC, arrived just in time to accompany us. My nephew Charlie provided, for me, the highlight of the day. Smack dab in the center of the National Mall, surrounded by crowds, he announced he needed to pee, and while I was brainstorming bathroom locations, he dropped trou and told us he'd take care of his business right there. Fortunately, my expression of surprise must have made him tense up, and we avoided any release of fluid. Boys.

9. I get no credit for this, but the weather was amazing. Blue skies, breezy, and a high near 60. The first nice day of 2014. That meant everyone and their Aunt Lillian was on the Mall, but they'd brought their soccer balls, and the boys had such a grand time running, running, and running some more. And Maggie got a special second ride with just her daddy on the coveted turquoise horse-sea-dragon. If you've ever ridden this carousel, you must remember it.

10. And now for the cake. It's out of order, but I saved the best for last.
Maggie started talking about her birthday cake back in mid-January when I started discussing my own. For nearly two months, we have heard regular reminders of what kind of birthday cake she wanted: peppamint cake with tat-tat (chocolate) syrup. We were rather puzzled until we realized...i-pim (ice cream).
I am a loyal member of the "show your love by baking your family members' birthday cakes" club so I started doing some research into ice cream cakes. I came across this recipe via Google, and this is a site and chef I follow and trust. Her recipe describes how to make the ice cream, the cookies for the crust, and the hot fudge sauce. Welllllllllllllll, I bought the ice cream and the chocolate cookies. But hot fudge sauce is easily made and miles beyond what you can find in the store. I added peppermint extract and red food coloring to one carton of vanilla ice cream, and the Dude came through by forsaking happy hour and finding a springform pan (how do baking pans disappear from your cabinets?) at the last minute.

I found this cake surprisingly easy to make. It's a lengthy process because you have to soften the ice cream and then wait for each layer to freeze before adding another, but there's very little hands-on time. And the final effect is beautiful. And tasty.

It's been a week, and I am still on a high from my triumph. I kicked that birthday party's hiney! And now I have a whole year before I have to plan another.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Willie Covers

Oh, hello.

I'm jumping in folks. I'm dipping my toes in the Twisted Mix Tape waters. I like music, but I have no memory for artists and no time to stay current. But, but, but, this week's topic got my attention because I actually have some strong opinions (that I even remember) on cover songs. I fiddled around with various ideas and finally settled on one: performances of one of the great musicians of our time, Willie Nelson. You may love him or hate him, but you must admit he's distinctive. And I'm firmly in the love him category. I suppose I've been listening to his voice since I was an infant so he just seems like the pig-tailed, pot-smoking grandfather I never had. He's a valid songwriter in his own right, but he's not shy about borrowing from (and improving on) others' work.

It was incredibly difficult to limit myself to five cover songs performed by Willie Nelson. That man spreads his love and appreciation for a good song across all kinds of musical genres. He's covered Cyndi Lauper, Irving Berlin, The Shirelles, and Pearl Jam, among countless, countless others. But, in honor of the challenge, I stuck to ones I genuinely know and love, ones I can sing along with (which is saying something since he loves to play with the rhythm and come in on the off beat). These songs may not come from albums I love entirely (though some I do), but I do listen to the albums multiple times a year to hear these songs. And you should too!

1. My favorite cover of all time, the original song on this list that gave me my theme, and a song that I truly believe is vastly improved in cover version. I have nothing against Paul Simon. Like everyone else on the planet, I own Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits. And I know quite a few of his later works as well.

But, his voice is a bit too sweet and too soft for me. So who better than to improve upon Graceland than Willie Nelson? Listen to it and pay particular attention to the "There's a girl in..." line.


2. If you're gonna talk about covers performed by Willie Nelson, you can't neglect the Stardust album. And I could choose Stardust or any other of the excellent songs on this album, but I'm going with Sunny Side of the Street because it's just so peppy and cheerful. Do you need a little more pep? Listen to this song:


3. There's a wonderful quote from Steve Earle about Townes Van Zandt.
Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that.
Perhaps even better was TVZ's response when he heard the quote. Something about having seen BD's bodyguards and there was no way SE was getting anywhere near BD's coffee table.

That aside, the bulk of my music knowledge comes from my brother and my husband so this one goes out to my big brother who believes Pancho & Lefty is one of the three finest songs ever written. Townes wasn't much of a singer, so we need Willie's cover.


Quick aside:
Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson tour together quite a bit so I think they must hold each other in high esteem. The Dude holds Bob in extremely high esteem and so we listen to him quite a bit around our house. So long as he doesn't get too pretentious, I can also appreciate Bob Dylan's songwriting skills (if not his current voice). Though it will make The Dude mutter and groan, I have to skip a Bob Dylan cover because I just don't love any of the songs Willie has chosen. Sorry, Dude.

4. It seems fitting to have a Bob Wills song on this playlist of Willie Nelson covers. One famous Texas musician covering another. And this song is so sweet.


5. And, finally, I'll turn the tables for the last one just to prove Willie Nelson can indeed write a song.


Yes, he can. Did you know he wrote that?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Maggie, My Bluebaby Muffin

Maggie, my wonder monkey, my bluebaby muffin, it is hard to believe you are five years old. You are no longer our baby and won't be our preschooler for much longer. It's a momentous birthday.

I'm going to be sad the day that your articulation moves beyond bluebaby. It has been hard this year to bid adieu to tajul (towel) and funin (seven), among others. You continue to wow us with your development, surprising us with small signs of maturity. Your speech is still a little hesitant, but your vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds. You are a funny little mirror, reflecting the words and phrases Daddy and I use. It tickles me to hear you try out phrases like by any chance, or hear me tell you that you are not a fan of something. Green beans, for instance.

The more you communicate, the more we are learn about the inner workings of your mind. We are just now discovering how sensitive you are to tags and lumps in your clothing. I hate to think you've been feeling that way for years and have just now learned to express it. I thoroughly enjoy and support your creative expression through your clothing choices, though: multiple colors and patterns in one outfit and shiny, glittery footwear. But I am disappointed that you only want a "small ponytail" in your hair every day. There are so many other options!

This fall, you astonished me by introducing yourself to an electrician who had come to our house. "What is your name? My name is Maggie, and this is my little brother Leo." I don't know who taught
you that, but it wasn't us! With the exception of your cousin Charlie, you don't have much use for children your own age. Charlie has a strong will, but you have one to match his when it really matters, and the two of you make a great team. You can entertain yourselves for longer and longer periods of time. All we hear are the giggles.

I think your best friends are fictional: Maisy, Olivia, and Frances. I hear you "read" your books from memory during quiet time (hardly ever a napper anymore). But games and puzzles are starting to compete with book time. It is so convenient that you love learning activities like your number and rhyming puzzle pairs. And you've just learned about memory games. Your memory for the location of the matching tile is better than mine! Fortunately you have Papa Willie as your willing partner for Chutes and Ladders and CandyLand.

You have the most beautiful, rolling giggle. Movies and TV shows bring it out in you the most. Timon and Pumba, Olaf the Snowman and Sven the Reindeer. These are the characters that get you going more than any others.

For the first time in your life, you've started weekly lessons in gymnastics. I may enjoy watching you roll and jump and balance with Mr. Rob more than anything I watch you do all week. You amaze me! If I asked you to walk the balance beam with "airplane arms" or jump up on a pile of mats, you'd tell me it's too hard. But Mr. Rob doesn't even need to ask, and you have smile plastered on your face the entire time. 

Finally, after years of Daddy preference, I've got a little of you back. You even prefer me to Daddy at times. We are partners in the kitchen, and we both love to work with scissors and glue.

Tracing letters is still great fun, but I've seen you write your name without any help. Granted, the letters did not proceed left to right, but four out of six were recognizable! And now our porch floor is often adorned with chalk portraits. You have a strong attention to detail if not a strong sense of shape representation. Your representations have ears and foreheads and hair and knees (among the other common features), but the ears and arms both sprout like whiskers from the sides of the head. And the hair is limited to one scribble at the tiptop. Utterly charming.

The sweetest moment of the day is our goodbye routine. Daddy has offered to walk out with you out to the schoolbus and bid you goodbye, but I'm the one you need. Every day you remind me to wave and blow kisses. So I walk to your side of the bus and furiously wave (both kinds of waving) and blow kisses until I can no longer see you. I suspect going to school still makes you nervous, but the predictability of this routine brings you comfort. I just love it. You'll probably have to ask me to stop some day.
You are our little worrier. Anxiety will be ever-present in your life, I'm afraid. Genetics or example or both. I know that handling my own anxiety is a gift I must give you in order for you to learn to handle your own. We noticed a tremendous upswing in your anxiety levels with your class change in January, and it is just now starting to settle back down. We see it in your hesitation to try new motor tasks and your limited interest in social interactions with children your age. And we definitely notice it in your list of fears that you love to number off. It must bring you some level of comfort to repeat them, but the cause of them is still unclear. Loud noises, understandable. Car washes scare me, too. But why are screws frightening? And small lights shining in the dark (from a smoke alarm, for instance)? Or tacks in the wall? My working theory is they look like eyes to you and you feel you are being watched. As your communication improves, we will know more.

Five years old! That puts Kindergarten on the horizon and all the anxiety of mainstream public education. Fortunately, you are spared that anticipation. And so far, your teachers seem to recognize the absolute treasure you are (you can tell when a teacher really loves a student), and you have two staunch and stubborn allies in your parents. There are mountains and mountains ahead of us, but you are our smart, brave girl, and isn't the view lovely?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Handsome Man

We call Leo our handsome man. I'm not sure where that started, other than the irony of calling a very small boy a man is amusing to me. At Maggie's Valentine's Day party (at the end of the month since the first was cancelled due to snow), the teachers went on and one about how cute Leo was. Maggie corrected them. "He's handsome!"

Leo, my baby boy, you a two today, and your last year has been remarkably steady considering your tumultuous days first year and days in utero. I still marvel at your good nature and your flexibility considering the rocky start you had in life. Daddy is increasingly your favorite person in the world with Maggie coming in second and me a distant third. But I know this game now. You'll come back. I may have to wait a few years, but you'll honor me with your affection again someday. And when there is no one else or all through the day, there is Purple Hippo, your great love.

I sure do love your sweet face. You got a whole lot of me in it, after all. You've got the prominent Boyd eyes and the prominent Summerlin jaw. It's those features that prompt people, like the man at the service station two days ago, to say, "You look like your mama!" But the truth is, your face shape and your body you got from your daddy. You seem very delicate in bone structure, and those petite genes can only come through Daddy's side.

But you're muscular and you climb up and down the stairs with Mr. Purple Hippo in tow with ease. Your favorite toy is a ball, and you are surprisingly good and throwing for someone your age (says your indulgent and ignorant mother). Running is great fun. Especially downhill when you can really get some momentum. But you hate to swing.

You haven't yet learned to turn doorknobs, and for that, we are grateful. You are most certainly in to everything. We keep the glassware cabinet locked up, and just yesterday morning I had to shoo you away from broken glass after you shattered a picture frame. You know how to set up the kitchen stepstool, and you are very curious as to what I do in there, going so far as to learn the concept hot through experience when words were not convincing enough. You know now.

I don't know if it's birth order, gender, or personality, but if Maggie is our good girl, and you are our mischief maker. You know very well what you're supposed to do, but you prefer to give us a big grin and do the opposite. Always the big grin. Once I caught you signing more clear as day when you
thought I wasn't looking. When I called you on it, I got the grin. We'd been trying to get you to sign for months and you just enjoyed watching us dance.

So young to know how to push buttons. You certainly know where mine are, but you love Maggie's best of all. If you're not getting the attention you want from her, you can send her into hysterics in 30 seconds.When you're not getting enough attention from Daddy or me, you start working through rules to break until we are fully engaged. It's an effective plan, I'll give you that.

You're still not much of a talker. Ball was your first word, maybe around 14 months(?), but we don't hear it anymore. Lately we've gotten a little more talking, though. The littlest piggie says wee, wee, wee. And when we lie in your bed together you point to and name the fish (hsh) on your mobile. I thought maybe I heard more the other day and sometimes I think you're trying to say baby. Jury's still out on Mama; could be or could just be what you say for "Give me some of that." You most certainly know how to shake your head.

Despite that, your language comprehension is excellent. You clearly take delight in following some directions like, "Find me your socks and shoes," because that means we're going somewhere. I need hardly to mention them and you're off to your bedroom, hair bouncing along with your sweet little highstep. Any mention of Daddy makes your eyes light up, but you can follow even two-step instructions at times.

You love to have us name nouns for you. Colors, letters, shapes, animals. You want to know it all. The purpose of book reading is not to hear the story; the purpose is to point and hear the names of each item on each page. You also love to point out people and objects in photos and have them named. Mama, Aunt Beth, Nona, Papa, Papa's wine glass, Uncle Sam. Papa, Grandma, Mama, flowers, Daddy, Aunt Beth. We run through those name (from those two photos) multiple times a day.

You are my picky, picky eater. You'd live on bread and bananas if I'd let you, though I've trained you well enough that you scorn white bread. Salty pork makes the cut sometimes and you're usually open to fruit. Vegetables are right out. No meal is complete without a good, solid mess made and whatever food items beneath your notice splattered on the floor below you.

But you're still my snuggle boy. You like a little snuggle time when you first wake up, and you're sometimes a good sport about lying together in bed. Cuddle up, insert two middle fingers in your mouth, and you are content for a good while. Your interest in those two fingers is not lessening, and I don't care. They bring you comfort, and they are omnipresent (if often filthy).

Happy, happy birthday to my Wonder Boy, my Handsome Man, my Favorite Boy in All the World!

Saturday, March 1, 2014


I went to this thing this week where the speaker was talking about being resourceful. His analogy for feeling resourceful is how you would respond if someone asked you to borrow a pencil. A well-rested person, one who, perhaps, just returned from a relaxing vacation, might say, "Of course! I have a whole drawer full of pencils! Take as many as you need!" Whereas, a stressed person might respond, "Well, you can borrow this one, but it's my only one, and please be careful not to break it." I sat there and thought, "What would my response be? Am I feeling resourceful?" And it hit me like a ton of brick:
I have no pencils!!!!!!!!!!!! Why are you asking me?!?!?!?!?! Leave me alone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, I would say, not so resourceful. Should I buy what the man was selling?

This week has been a lot of the typical stress of returning from a long trip along with a lot of other stressors that just showed up for the party. All culminating in losing my wedding ring. It is simply gone. I have no memory of taking it off or where I left it. But if I had to place a bet, I'd say I left it on too low of a surface and our small magpie found and and made off it with it. He could have thrown it away or hidden it in a crevice. He could have eaten it, but I haven't seen it, and since he wears cloth diapers, the...contents...go down the toilet. So, a really bad climax to a really bad week.

So after whinging to Lizzi in the comments section of her post, I'm putting on my big girl panties, as they say, and scrounging up a little gratitude. 


This week has really sucked.


1.  Everyone in the house slept in this morning. I heard fussing around...sometime early...prayed it would stop, and it did. And I got more sleep. When I finally worked my way downstairs around 9:00, the kids were just barely waking up.

2. The Dude and I actually had a date this week! How'd I forget that one? It was a wedding ring-less one (he lost his, too, several months ago (what is wrong with us?)), but it was a date. We met some friends for drinks, friends we don't see often enough. They live on the south side of our Grand Capitol, whereas we live on the north side, but when we get together we spend the entire time laughing and then asking why we don't get together more often.
Then, The Dude and I saw Inside Llewyn Davis. I'm a pretty loyal Cohen Bros. fan, but I'd heard mixed reviews of this film so I went in with pretty low expectations. And I really enjoyed it! Not their best, but still very good. Whereas a lot of people described the main character as unlikeable, I actually kind of liked him (what does that say about me?). Granted, he did act like an asshole a lot of the time, but he was in a bad place. I felt sympathetic.

3. The paronychia of my left big toe is healing. (This one's really gross; feel free to skip.)
 Hello, my name is Sarah, and I practice aggressive nail maintenance. Especially when I am stressed. And then bring paronychia upon myself.
I dealt with the infection almost all through my trip to TX and was barely hobbling around by the time I got home in spite of regular soaks in salt water and regular use of antibiotic cream. You know what did the trick? I stubbed it on some toy littering the floor and that "released the fluid." Not only that, but my screams woke the neighbors. A later visit to the doctor confirmed the toe was healing (finally), and the doctor kindly lanced my toe further.

4. This little clip, a trailer for Frozen. I know everyone on the planet has seen Frozen except me (though I pretty much know the song Let It Go by heart now since the two people in my family who did see the movie love the song). This clip never ceases to make me laugh, and it brings out the most enchanting giggle in my daughter. I'd watch it just to hear her laugh.

5. I hereby invoke the Secret Book of Rules (Book of Secret Rules) chapter about those who very seldom invoke the SBR (BSR), even when given explicit permission by Clark, and skip one of my thankfuls.

6. I had an extremely productive date with last night and might just have completed all the birthday shopping for the two big birthdays approaching early this month (see more this week). A load off!

7. I dropped off three bags of clothes at consignment shops this week so I am hoping those yield reasonable credit at said shops when it comes to buying spring clothes for the chillun. But, I also sorted through the hand-me-downs we already have on hand, and their wardrobes are already looking pretty good. This is a comfortable place to be.

8. Our beloved pediatrician is moving to Boston, which breaks my heart and makes me extremely angry at her for being so inconsiderate of our needs (how dare she live her own life!). I was feeling frustrated and overwhelmed at the prospect of finding a new pediatrician I love, but then I got three recommendations within a few hours, and one sounds like just the kinda hippie doctor I love. Yay, yay!

9. Points to the Dude for hearing my analogy about not having pencils and stepping it up in the Dishwasher Unloading and Breakfast Preparing Departments and double-checking with me when he needs to go to his parents' to set up his father's computer and be fed classy take-out.

10. And now I'm handing in my Skip A Thankful Reward Card I received with my first use of the Secret Book of Rules (Book of Secret Rules) for being a seldom-use customer.

If you made it through this whinge-fest, I am impressed. How was your week?