Sunday, November 30, 2008


NaBloPoMo, oh how I will miss you. Wait, not so much.

Thirty posts in 30 days. Some of them interesting, some of them ridiculously boring. All of them written with little forethought. That's how I roll on this site: don't think, just write.

For all of you who joined me on this epic journey, I thank you for your support. And I apologize for taking those minutes of your life you will never get back.

As I write this, there is several inches of snow on the ground* and my holiday decorations need to be dug out and strewn about. I am really looking forward to the holidays this year since Jack really gets it. Everytime he sees a lit-up tree, he yells "Dat Chrisssmisss!"

So I will be busy with that tomorrow. I think I deserve a day off from the posting.

* Josh and I just debated the use of "is" or "are" in the phrase "there (is) several inches of snow on the ground." I say you use "is" because you are talking about snow, not the several inches. He says "are" because it sounds better. Thoughts?


Almost missed it

But here I am, in under the wire.

And don't you know it, I have nothing to say.

Oh, well, I am tired. Emmie is still waking multiple times a night. We had her ears rechecked tonight and there's no more infection, just a little fluid in there. So that might be causing her some pain when she lays down.

So. Tired. Sick of NaBloPoMo. Blah.


Friday, November 28, 2008

What was he thinking?

Wednesday afternoon we were getting ready to leave for Thanksgiving when I asked Jack to please go use the bathroom. I wanted to make sure he went before we got on the road so we wouldn't have to stop.

He told me he didn't have to go, I insisted he try, he ran away laughing and I told him if he didn't get in the bathroom THIS MINUTE that we weren't going to go to Grandma's to eat dinner. That got his attention, and he went into the bathroom.

I was busy getting the last of the stuff together and yelling at Josh to get off the damn computer for the love of GOD I am so sick of being late all the time. Jack ran out of the bathroom into the kitchen laughing maniacally with the front of his hair wet.

Looking at him suspiciously, I asked why his hair was wet. He yelled at the top of his lungs, "Jack put his hand inna toilet! Jack get hair wet!"

I tried to remain calm, failed, and told him to knock it off because that is disgusting and he could get sick and it is gross. Not to mention, he still hadn't peed on the potty. I sent him back in, but this time the door stayed open.

As I walked back from the dining room, I saw the the back of his butt, fully clothed. I could not see his head BECAUSE IT WAS IN THE TOILET. He stuck his whole head in the bowl, in the water.

I grabbed him by the arm, yanked him out of the bathroom and got right in his face. I told him that he was never, ever to do that again. Josh happened to walk by as I was down on my knees with my face inches from his and asked what the problem was. When I told him his son's HEAD was in the TOILET, he grabbed him and told him that was a timeout.

Honest to God, I have no idea what he was thinking. But I can tell you if this is what his little boy brain thinks up at almost 3 years old, I can't even imagine the surprises I am going to be in for in the next few years.

I walk out to the

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gobble, gobble all you pilgrims.

Today I am thankful for my children, my husband, the rest of our families and our good health. May you and yours enjoy your turkey and pie and football.

At school last week, they asked all the kids what they were thankful for and posted the one-word answers on the door. Almost every child answered, "Mommy and Daddy." My kid? He said "school." Brownnoser.

What are you thankful for this year?

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stop 1 on the Turkey Train

Today was our first Thanksgiving dinner of the season. We do Thanksgiving at my parents' house on Wednesday, which allows us to go to Josh's family Thanksgiving on Thursday without any conflicts. We began our journey north to Wisconsin this afternoon, continuing on with a stop in Peoria tomorrow.

There was great excitement during this, Emmie's first Turkey Day: the fire department almost joined us for dinner. There was a (minor) kitchen fire during the preparation. One minute I was grabbing something from my bag in the other room and the next I hear a huge commotion and my mom screaming, "Dave! Dave you started it on fire! No, not there. Just put it down!"

Appparently the disposable pan in which my mom was roasting the turkey had a hole in it. That allowed the grease to drip out and onto the bottom of the stove, where it started smoking and eventually caught fire. When my dad tried to put it out, the towel caught fire and all hell broke loose.

Luckily, the turkey was safe. Oh, and my dad was fine, too. Although my first instinct was to yell, "Stop, drop and roll!" Not so much useful in this scenario, but good to know my instincts will be spot on if I ever catch on fire myself.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Busy day

Emmie and her double ear infection slept until 8:15 a.m. this morning. She did wake once at 6 a.m. and then we threw her in the swing and got two more hours out of her. So that was awesome.

Not so awesome was the fact she ran a fever off and on today. So apparently the three doses of antibiotics have yet to kick in. And I took her for the Thansgiving celebration at Jack's preschool this morning. In my defense, I had no other option and I didn't let her touch anyone else. And it's an ear infection, for God's sake. It's not like it's leaping from her ear to someone else's.

But oh my, what cuteness the Thanksgiving was. There were headbands and snacks and stories and snacks and did I mention the snacks? Because those were Jack's favorite part.

After turkey day at school, I put Emmie down for her nap and headed out with Jack for his flu vaccine. Lucky for Jack, he is old enough for the flu mist so he didn't have to get a shot. He was a trooper and collected his two stickers after allowing the nice nurse to "look in his nose," as Mommy put it.

Then this evening, Josh and I hosted a cocktail party for the parents in Jack's preschool class. We had a great time and it seemed like everyone else did as well. At least they left with a few glasses of wine under their belts, so it had to be somewhat fun.

Tomorrow, we begin our holiday travels hither and yon -- with two kids this year! One of them sick! I can't wait!

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Two times the fun

If you had "double ear infection" in the Guess Emmie's Ailment pool, you are the big winner. Your prize will be waiting for you in your mailbox real soon. Just after I get over the Mommy Guilt.

She definitely was batting at the back of her head and her ears this weekend, but I figured she was rocking to some weird beat and gettin' down in her wee little way. She was waking up multiple times per night, but I figured she was just being needy. Her father insisted we make her cry it out, although I only made her cry a few times before I finally went in and rescued her. She was inconsolable and crabby, but I figured she was just pissy that I wasn't spending more time with her because I was busy. Her nose has been running like a faucet, but I figured she just had a cold.

Mother of the Year nominees, the line forms to the rear.

The doctor said her rash might not be related to the ear infection, it might just be a weird way her body is responding to the fever. And the great news is that if the ear infection is viral, not bacterial, then the other child is probably going to get it too! Since we're T-minus two days to Thanksgiving and lots of travel, I would put my money on Jack coming down with it, oh, about 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

For now, the Emmie gets lots of hugs and spoiling and two doses of antibiotic per day for 10 days. And a pony. And her own phone in her room. And a car. That Mommy Guilt is a powerful thing.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fifth time's a charm

The past few days have been rather challenging with Emmie. Oh hell, let's just call it like it is and say it's been a pain in the ass.

She has had a little cold this week, nothing more than a runny nose for a few days, but was waking up multiple times each night. Like four times a night. I look like someone punched me in both eyes due to lack of sleep. She's also been generally fussy, in a "Nothing makes me happy so leave me alone! No, pick me up! No, put me down!" kind of way.

I attributed it to the fact I was busy working nonstop on Snarky stuff, so grandma was babysitting. I figured she was just mad I wasn't paying nonstop attention to her and she was going to let us know how she felt about that. Tonight, her fussiness increased to orange on the National Fuss Level scale around 5 p.m., so I whipped out the boob in the hopes of calming her down. She nursed for a few minutes and then up and fell asleep on the boppy for 45 minutes. I let her sleep because she was so wiped out. She only woke up because her brother was screeching like a dinosaur a mere 3 feet away.

After she complained all the way through dinner, and ate about half of what she normally does, I swooped in to take her upstairs for a bath. That was when I noticed her legs looked really weird -- they were covered with a lacy, red rash that almost looked like the circulation in her legs was not right. Then I saw it on her arms, back and stomach, too.

Here's what it looks like, because I am nothing if not a documentor of my child's life on the interwebs. Seriously, my first thought after seeing the rash was, "I need to take a picture of this for my blog."

Dr. Google told me it was probably Fifth's Disease or possibly Roseola. But she didn't have a fever, which was a little confusing. Except when I thought about it, she did feel a little warm. So I took her temperature and damn if it didn't read 102.1 -- perhaps more than a little warm.

I gave her some Tylenol and generally kicked myself for a few minutes for not realizing she was SICK, not a pain in the ass. Who's regretting that cry-it-out theory from last night now, huh?

So tomorrow I'll take her in for what will be the first sick-baby visit of her 10-month life. But I am guessing I am just going to hear "It's a virus, let it run its course, give her Tylenol and call us if it gets worse."

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Look at my kids

NaBloPoMo: Making my blog suck in late November for three years!

Since I have nothing to say, let's look at pictures of the kids. I haven't posted any recently, anyway.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Wok's up?

When we remodeled our kitchen three years ago, I remember picking out the cabinets and planning the layout and being so freaking excited that we would have a refridgerator again. You know, after living with a college fridge for six months, it's the little things that excite you.

Because we had never unpacked the kitchen accoutrements after moving in, I had kind of forgotten what we had in all those boxes stacked floor-to-ceiling throughout the whole dining room. Plus the whole lying-flat-on-back-for-four-months-trying-to-keep-the-baby-in-me thing happened during that time, so I was a little distracted by that.

Once the cabinets were installed and the island was finished and we were able to start unpacking our stuff and moving it in, I realized we were in big, big trouble. We didn't have enough cabinet space for all the stuff. Somehow, 13 cabinets was not enough to pack it all in. We had to buy a sideboard for all our china and an additional armoire-type thing for the rest of the crap.

Even with all that, we still don't have enough room. With the recent conversion and remodeling, we lost a huge cabinet in the kitchen that used to hold our liquor and other appliances. But we gained some storage in the basement, so that's where the breadmaker and icecream maker now live. It made my stomach hurt to put them there, because I am one of those weird OCD people who like all "kitchen" things grouped together, you know, in the KITCHEN. Or at least the nearby dining room.

The food processor and slow cooker had taken up residence in the laundry closet, which is located off of the kitchen. I use those two things enough to need them nearby, but not enough to earn them cabinet space. Because, you see, I need a lot of that precious cabinet space for the wok.

This wok is the bane of Josh's existence and could very well be a contributing factor if he ever serves me with divorce papers. Right there next to "irreconcilable differences" it will say "wok storage." You see, I put this wok on our wedding registry, excited about the prospect of making stir-fry. I had never made stir-fry before, but damn it, I was going to now that we were married! Except, yeah, I never made any stir-fry. And I have yet to take it out of its very pretty, pretty wood storage box. Every few months when I whine about not having enough storage space, Josh threatens to get rid of the wok and I shriek and throw my body in front of the cabinet to shield it, and we all go back to our storage-challenged existence until the next time we have this chat.

So because I need to keep my wok within reach, my food processor sits on top of my stacked washer and dryer in the closet. Today, I was making homemade applesauce -- why yes, I am Betty Crocker, thank you for asking -- and I needed it. I am not a short woman, but at 5-foot 4-inches tall, I am not above needing a stepladder on occasion, either. As I reached above my head to grab the food processor, I realized I would have to move it around a piece of copper pipe that was in the way. (Yes, the laundry closet also contains our furnace. And water heater. I told you we were storage-challenged.)

As I moved it around the pipe, I realized it was much heavier than I remembered. It crashed to the ground, on my foot, narrowly missing MY FACE. Yes, the blade of the food processor was millimeters away from not only my nose, but also my eyeball. How I escaped death, or horrible disfigurement, I have no idea.

Josh ran upstairs thinking the termites had finally gotten the best of us and caused the collapse of the entire house, only to find me looking down at the various blades that could have caused my untimely death.

Do you think he was concerned for my welfare or even his own at that point, because he would have had to pretend I was still a MILF with a big jagged scar on my face? Nope. He took one look at me and as he headed back downstairs, said, "I told you that you should have gotten rid of that wok."

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Seriously, don't even bother

I have nothing to say today. No, really. If it wasn't NaBloPoMo, I would have skipped today. No funny quips, no amusing kid stories, nothing.

Emmie woke up four times last night for the second night in a row. I am beyond exhausted. I am working my ass off on SnarkyBabies right now and I really need some sleep. So that's where I am headed right now.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

On all fours

Emmie started real crawling yesterday. No more of that pansy-ass army-crawling for her. Oh no, she pops up on all fours and purposefully moves her arms and legs in unison.

I like to think she was waiting until she could do it perfectly, so she could show off.

But it's so cute -- I think she looks like one of those mechanical toys that move around and make noise. Except she's real!

(That's all I got for you today. Big week at Snarky prepping for some cool new stuff, so I am ridiculously busy.)

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Turning into a pumpkin

Tonight we saw the Smashing Pumpkins at the Chicago Theater. I was really excited about this show as I have long liked them, dating back to the "Siamese Dream" CD, which was the soundtrack of my sophomore year in college.

Ahhhh, memories. At the time, I was just back from summer vacation, tanner and thinner than ever before. I was living in the dorm with the biggest rooms and my roommate had just bailed on school that year, leaving me with my own huge room. My fake ID was awesome and I was flush with spending money from a summer of working at the kiddie pool at the local park.

My friends and I were so excited to be back and the boys had a place off campus. We spent a lot of time at their place those first weeks back, drinking and playing games (Asshole, anyone?) and listening to the Pumpkins. I remember the guys talking about how cool the female bassist was and thinking their music was like nothing I had ever heard before and I started listening to it nonstop.

One of the guys who lived in the house was a fan favorite of many of my friends. The year before, we all announced we wanted to make out with him. Well, guess who was the first to lock lips with the object of our affection? And you know what was playing in the background? You guessed it. Smashing Pumpkins. I want to say "Disarm" might have been playing, but it could have been any one of those songs because we listened to it so damn much, it all just runs together. That and I kissed him kind of a lot in those first few weeks. And there was a lot of beer involved.

My point, other than to recount yet another time when I had a boyfriend and was kissing some other dude, is ... well, I am not exactly sure. Apparently that is a theme this month. Next year for NaBloPoMo, perhaps I can just post 30 entries about making out with guys who were not my boyfriend.

But I can tell you the concert tonight was not that great. They played way too much new stuff and way too many extended songs that went on and on. And on. Billy was yapping on stage about nothing when he could have been playing "Disarm," which he didn't. He did play "Tonight, tonight" and that made me happy. Other than that, I knew four songs. Thanks Billy. There were also kazoos. Yes, kazoos. For the encore.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Goodnight kittens, goodnight mittens

Today I had to take the kids out in the stroller in the freezing cold to the post office. Granted, the freezing cold is relative at this time of year. It was 34 degrees. Which in January would be downright balmy in Chicago, but in November, is bone-chilling. But soldier on I did because Josh really needed something overnighted and he had my car in Bloomington.

So I got the kids all packed into the stroller with their respective foot muffs encasing their legs and torsos. Jack dutifully tucked his arms into the muff and looked extremely warm. Also quite cool with his hat and sunglasses. He's a pimp, you know.

But Emmie, well she was another story. I got her equally bundled up in her coat and hat and tried to tuck her little hands under the cover. And she pulled them out. And then I tucked them in. And then screamed and pulled them out. And then I laughed and tucked them in. And then she started to cry and pulled them out.

Because I didn't buy her any mittens, knowing Jack never would keep them on at her age and it would be a waste of money, I was at a loss. But! I am resourceful. I have a college degree. I am 34 years older than her. So I ran upstairs and grabbed a pair of her socks, shoved them on her hands and away we went.

She kept her hands out the whole time with a smile on her face and I averted frostbite with a smile on mine.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Emmie: Ten months

Dear Emmie,

It's double-digit time for you little girl! A whole 10 months you've been with us. And wow, have you done a lot this last month. I am pretty sure this has been one of your busiest months yet.

Now that you've been mobile for several weeks, you're getting more and more proficient at getting around. You still army-crawl 99 percent of the time, but more and more, you are taking a few tentative crawls on your hands and knees. But the army-crawling gets you where you need to go -- and pretty darn quickly I might add -- so you really don't see any need to do it the other way. But you are a pro at sitting yourself up now. You started pushing yourself up from your side with one arm, and now you can back yourself into a seated position from your hands and knees as well.

You are also an old pro at pulling yourself up now, as evidenced by the fact I found you standing in your crib grinning at me about two weeks ago. At this point, nothing is safe from you. You pull up on the couch, the ottoman, the exersaucer, your crib, the fireplace and my leg when I am standing in your general vicinty. You once tried to pull yourself up on Jack, but he was having none of it and you just toppled right over when he scrambled to his feet to get away from you.

I have seen you stand unassisted for about seven seconds on a couple of occasions, and you're starting to cruise along the ottoman to get to toys or remotes out of your reach. You so love the remote and even know to point it at the TV when you are playing with the buttons. Smart girl, but don't even think about turning off the football game to watch PBS.

The vacuum is getting quite a workout these days because you are smack in the middle of the "put everything in your mouth" stage. Last week you tried to consume a plaster chip, a dried-up piece of pancake that had fallen off your brother's plate undetected, a torn-up piece of coloring book and 571 pieces of fuzz off the carpet. I could vacuum four times a day and you would still spot the teeniest piece of string from across the room and make a beeline for what you hope is your afternoon snack. While it is resulting in a much cleaner house, it's still pretty annoying to be fishing stuff out of your cheeks all the time.

It's not like you're not getting enough food at mealtimes. You are starting to eat more tablefood here and there, like pieces of pancake and turkey or scrambled egg yolks. I am pretty sure you would live on Veggie Booty alone if we let you, but you're pretty amenable to eating the two jars of baby food we give you at all meals. Because you still can't have any dairy products, we were lucky to find a new yogurt made from coconut milk. Because it's dairy- and soy-free, you are allowed to eat it and I must say, it's quite tasty. You gobble it up and look pretty content, so it's a good thing.

The breastfeeding has gotten a lot better this month after last month's distractable disasters. You are more on task and doing longer sessions, which makes me feel better about how much you are taking in. Of course, you are getting more in during the night because YOU ARE WAKING UP MULTIPLE TIMES AGAIN. To say I am tired of being tired is an understatement. This past week, you were sick again and that meant lots of wakeups where only the boob would console you. Because you were sick, I took pity on you and fed you every time you cried. Which one night was at 10 p.m. and 1, 3, 5, 6 and 7 a.m. It's like you were a newborn again. Wheee! But once you appeared over the worst of it, I got you back on a somewhat-better schedule by making you cry out the first wakeup. Last night you were awake for the first time at 1 a.m., which is better than 11 p.m., but not great by any means. You had been sleeping from 7:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. for a few weeks and I am hoping you will start doing that again. Real soon.

As for your sunny disposition, it continues to be the most charming part of your personality. You are almost always smiley and happy and content to babble away at your toys or your books. You stop to look at your brother like he is crazy whenever he deems you acceptable to play near. You save your best smiles and laughs for Daddy because apparently he is the light of your life. You definitely don't like it when I leave a room, but you can be pacified if Daddy is around.

One of the only times it is acceptable for me to actually leave you in the other room for a few minutes is when your brother is around. You love to watch him run around and play and now that you can get around, you really try very hard to play with him. He's not exactly keen on that idea, however, and it's led to some battles. Just today, you started to play with his garage and cars and he fuh-reaked out on you and you may or may not have been kicked in the head. He is having a hard time sharing, and will instead try to bring you some other toy to play with. But because you are so easy-going, you generally accept the substitute with a smile. You also get so excited in the morning when we go into his room, kicking your legs and laughing and trying to throw your little body at the door to get it open. He has been less rough with you as each month has gone by and he really does love you too. Just today when he got home from the park, he ran over to you and said, "Hi Emmie! Jack home from the park. Jack give Emmie a kiss!"

Every day I look at you and I think to myself, "I will remember her like this forever." And then the very next week, you already look different and I have forgotten that previous stage. I was looking back at some pictures of you this weekend from the previous months and I can't believe how much you have changed. You used to have chubby little baby cheeks at one point and now it's all dimples and cheekbones. Your little blonde hair is starting to darken up with the winter, and I think it might be a thing of the past soon. Your eyes are definitely settling into a nice shade of hazel, which proves to me I really was in the room when you were conceived! Finally, something that I can say looks like me, since you're clearly the spitting image of your father. Hopefully you will get my brains and good humor -- and humility -- as well. But whatever you end up looking like, I will always remember what a sweet, sweet little girl you were when you were 10 months old.


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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lameass NaBloMe post

It's always around this midway point of NaBloPoMo that I get fatigued and bored of my own boring blogging. Lucky for you, I soldier on. Oh yes, I am nothing if not dedicated.

Anyway, I am sick. With a terrible cold. The cold both my children have had this week. And now I know why Emmie was waking up multiple times per night, because I woke up multiple times last night. I cried and wanted Josh to come and get me, but he made me cry it out.

Tonight, we're going on a Date. Capital D. A movie and something to eat. And for the first time ever, we are paying a babysitter. Up until now, we've been lucky enough to leave them with family. And because we're cheapasses, it works out well. Tonight's babysitter is still family (Josh's cousin) but we're paying him. Our immediate family better not get any ideas from that though -- they're still on the hook for free.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Not sure what this means

You know, I always thought Amazon and I were close. Their recommendations were always right on the money. But tonight, I received this recommendation e-mail.

" recommends 'The Journey : Living by Faith in an Uncertain World.'"

Does Amazon know me anymore? I think we have to break up; we've apparently grown apart.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

He's a little runaway

Several times a week, I take the kids out for lunch. Sometimes with other moms and their kids, sometimes just us. Today we were out running errands after school and as we started to head home, Jack asked in a little voice from the backseat, "Out eat Mommy?"

I was all set to give him almond butter and jelly at home, but since he asked nicely and he was well-behaved in the stores, I said we could stop. Plus we were right across the street from a Corner Bakery and I love me some reuben.

It was pushing past naptime, but I figured I could feed him and get him straight into bed when we got back. Either way, he needed to eat. But I should have known when we walked in the door and he started touching everything in sight that we should have just gone home. That would have precipitated a tantrum of epic proportions, and I just didn't want to deal, so I started bribing him.

"If you don't stay with Mommy, no Elmo tonight." That brought about the desired effect for about 15 seconds. Then he was off to the races again.

I finally got the lunch ordered and everyone settled into a booth. I fed Emmie with one hand and ate my sandwich with the other while I kept up a constant stream of "Jack, sit down. Jack, turn around. Jack stop touching that. JACK. Jack, I am going to put you in a high chair if you don't turn around and sit down right now."

We are a pleasure to sit near, let me tell you.

After I was finished and he was done eating the inside of a grilled cheese sandwich, I got his coat on him and then turned to put Emmie's on. In the split second that I reached for her coat he ran away from the table to a door three feet away. A heavy door. One that I was almost sure he could not open, but still used my very stern Mommy voice to hiss, "Get back here NOW."

He looked back at me and then opened the door and ran out. Literally ran away from me. I ran after him, catching him by the arm three steps from the parking lot and dragged him back inside. He, of course, was cackling. I, of course, was shaking.

I sat him down and made him look me in the eye while I told him he is never, ever supposed to run away from Mommy because he could get hurt very badly. I think I was about an inch from his face when I was saying it.

Poor Emmie, she was just dumped in her high chair while all of this went down, staring at us like we were crazy. Another mom asked if I needed any help, and I smiled and said no, thank you. I think I have the "almost letting my kid run into a parking lot" parenting technique all wrapped up by myself, thankyouverymuch.

Apparently I should go with the Josh approach to dining out with the kids alone: just don't.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Good report

Yesterday was our first parent-teacher conference at Jack's school. Yes, conferences at preschool.

Now, not having ever experienced a positive parent-teacher conference as a child, I must admit I was a little tentative. The recurring theme when it came to Amy the Student was "Amy talks too much in class. If she spent as much time on her schoolwork as she does on socializing, she would be a straight-A student." Some variation of those phrases were used for 12 consecutive years on my permanent record. It got a little old by my senior year, but it never did spur me to change.

But I was pleasantly surprised when we sat down on the tiny chairs in his classroom. His teacher said he is a joy to have around and he is doing great. He plays well both with others and alone, he communicates well and he's a bright kid. She said he'll do awesome in all-day Montessori next year and that it will be good for him.

But. You knew there was a but, didn't you? He needs to temper his enthusiasm for school just a tiny bit. He is so excited to be there that when they walk up to the classroom in the morning, he runs down the hall. As in, runs away from the group and his teacher in his excitement to get started. He gets points for enthusiasm, I guess.

Apparently, we'll have to wait until he can actually speak in complete sentences all the time before we find out if he's going to take after his Chatty Cathy mother.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Would you like freshly grated cheese on that?

Tonight I was working on our new site -- Snarky Pets -- and one of the pet names totally made me think of a story from high school. I have weird memory associations like that.

My senior year I switched high schools. The new high school had been all-boys for decades, and then became co-ed. Since I went to an all-girls high school, imagine my delight at now being able to attend school with boys. Eight hours of flirting! Pure heaven to a 17-year-old girl. That and they had Pizza Hut in the lunchroom. God, to have that metabolism again.

I was dating a new guy that fall after my seeeeerious high-school boyfriend and I broke up. Anyway, new guy. Ahh, young love. More like young like. Sometimes. His friends called him Scooter in that ironic, self-deprecating way that high-school boys do, although they have no idea what that even means at that age. They just think they're being weird and amusing. Little did they know that Scooter would be the 64th-most popular dog name 15 years later and it would make me think of him.

Did I have a point? Oh yes!

The name reminded me of my breakup with this young lad. As high-school girls and their fickle hearts are wont to do, my eyes -- and lips -- wandered to another. But I wasn't entirely ready to be done with him because we had a big date coming up. He was taking me to the Olive Garden and I had never been there before!

So my plan was to break up with him after I had me some soup, salad and breadsticks. But alas, he discovered my indiscretion and ended it faster than I could say "mostaccioli."

Never fear, however, I did eventually make it to the OG with another boyfriend a few months later. The good news is I have moved upward with my Italian cuisine since then. But who doesn't crave a raspberry lemonade every once in a while?

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Snot-nosed kid

Poor Emmie is sick again. Her nose had finally stopped running for a mere five days after her epic 21-day cold of last month and now it started again.

This time, however, I am fighting it with a humidifier and Vicks on the bottom of her feet. I read it really does work, so I am giving it a try.

Unfortunately, her cold also throws her sleep all to shit. Two nights ago, she woke up at 10 and would only be pacified by the boob. And even that didn't put her to sleep, it only calmed her down. Last night she woke at 9, same drill. Screamed hysterically, snot everywhere, until I finally brought her in my bed and fed her.

Can't wait to see what tonight has in store for us. Because I do so love being up multiple times per night 10 months into this.

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

An elephant never forgets

We take the same route to preschool each week, one that takes us past the hospital where Jack and Emmie were born. You know, the one where I spent more days than I care to count during two high-risk pregnancies.

I am usually too focused on running yellow lights and flipping off slow drivers to pay attention to our surroundings during the drive. That and listening to NPR. Which has become my new go-to station, much to Josh's chagrin, because I used to make fun of him for listening to it.

So I am driving by the hospital and I hear a little voice from the backseat say, "Mumber (remember) Mommy go dat store? Jack come see Mommy, bring Emmie a bunny."

I almost drove into the El supports when I heard that. My son -- my bright, articulate little boy -- pulled something out of his wee brain that happened almost 10 months ago. When he was days shy of 2 years old.

Not only did he recognize the building, but he recalled the fact he brought Emmie a present and what that present was. I am still amazed by the whole exchange.

Now if only I could harness his freaky memory capacity for something useful, like counting cards in Vegas. We could be rich!

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

New 'do

Today, I decided Jack needed to shake things up a little bit, style-wise. I took him for a haircut this afternoon and told the woman to give him that spiky/messy cut that all the fashionable young men are sporting these days.

After she was done, I clapped and laughed and just could not believe how different he looked. Amazing what a little hair product can do for a toddler. Every time I look at him, I do a double-take because he just looks so different.

He's really not a baby anymore. He's definitely my little boy.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

How you can help CiCi

Life changed in an instant for sweet little CiCi and her family last month when she lost consciousness after choking. Due to the quick actions of her mom, Jenny, CPR was started and she was helicoptered to a children's hospital where they were able to save her life. CiCi is facing a long road to recovery and her family is trying to figure out their new normal. That new normal will include medical care, bills and child care for their other two children, Max and Penny.

What can you do, you might ask? You can take part in our T-shirt fund-raiser for CiCi. All proceeds from the sale of each shirt will go directly to the Fischer family. So click here and buy a shirt today. Feel free to tell others about this great cause as well. If you can't buy a shirt, please keep CiCi in your thoughts. Every little bit helps!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

The fun never stops

It's been awhile since I wrote about our construction. It couldn't just all work out for the best, now could it? Of course not. Because this is us and things never go right for us when it comes to construction.

A few weeks ago, we noticed a funk coming from the downstairs bathroom. (I could make a ton of jokes here, but since it's not that kind of website, I will let them go. We only talk about kid poop around here, not adult poop.) Since the only plumbing that changed was the installation of a new toilet, we suspected it was the culprit.

We called our contractor and asked him to come and fix it. And then we called him again. And again. Finally, three weeks later, he assured us he was going to give us the attention we deserved. We called him again the following week. Like how that works?

Last week, he finally sent one of his guys over to reseal the toilet. Super. Except it didn't work. It was still the home of the funk down there. We called him back. Twice.

A visit from a real plumber was arranged and he came for the first time on Monday. He smelled the smell and said he would be back Wednesday to do a smell test. He returned as promised and poured peppermint extract down the drain on the third floor. He said if it smelled minty fresh in any of the other bathrooms, we had a leak in a pipe someplace.

Great news! It only smelled like peppermint schnapps in the third-floor bathroom, which meant no leak. I am not sure if the guy really poured it down the drain or if he got a little tipsy up there, but apparently it doesn't matter. But if there's no plumbing problem, then what in the hell is causing the funk?

The plumber gave us his best guess: a dead rat. If one crawled under the house and got trapped under the bathroom floor, then we're smelling the decomposition. It should go away in 30 days. Give or take a few.

In the meantime, I won't be hosting any playdates down there.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Little of this, little of that

Last night, as you can see on my Twitter feed, Josh and I attended the Obama election rally in Grant Park with our friend, Ed. It was amazing. We were surrounded by tens of thousands of people who jumped to their feet everytime CNN flashed the graphic that it was about to call a state. Tens of thousands who cheered every state annoucement. Tens of thousands who screamed and clapped, and even cried, when they called it all for Barack Obama.

I have seen my favorite team win a World Series, but the electricity of the crowd at Grant Park far surpassed the mood at Busch Stadium two years ago. It was like nothing I have seen before. I am so glad I was able to be a part of it.

But my enthusiasm was tempered when I got home and saw the day's update from my friend Jenny, CiCi's mom. Jenny said CiCi has suffered brain damage in all parts of her brain and they just don't know what her prognosis will be in the long term.

I encourage you to read her update. If you ever wondered what true selflessness looks like, look no further than Jenny. I am not sure I could get to the place she has gotten at all, much less within a week of the accident. She has inspired me more than she knows with her reaction to all of this.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get out and vote!

As you can see, Jack is carefully reviewing his ballot for accuracy while Emmie has already cast hers. I had the same look on my face as she does after voting for eleventy-billion Cook County judges. I am not kidding, there had to be 50 on the ballot and you had to mark each one.

I would not, however, advise you to vote with two children in tow. By yourself. With no stroller. Actually, they should just rescind my voting rights for even thinking I could do such a thing.

We vote at a firehouse. So of course, everything in the garage is of the utmost importance to an almost-3-year-old who can't keep his hands to himself. He somehow got ahold of a hose and dripped water on the floor and then started pumping some blue gunk out of a bottle. He was never more than 36 inches from me while this happened.

Through gritted teeth I hissed there would BE NO ELMO TONIGHT while I grabbed him and wedged his upper arm between my knees. He then freed himself and melted into a puddle while yelling "Elmo! Elmo!"

Not to mention my left arm lost all feeling because I had to balance Emmie while trying to fill in the little lines with my right. She was squirming all over the place and looks like she was trying to be the ballot, as there is black marker all over her hands from where she kept trying to "help" me vote (read: grab the pen and eat it).

I walked out of the firestation after completing my ballot -- with one mistake where I voted yes and no for a judge because SOMEONE was grabbing my pen -- and I do believe the election judges were cheering as we departed. I did get a few dirty looks from other voters during this debacle, so thankyouverymuch Mr. Asshole In The Brown Jacket Who Clearly Has No Kids And Probably Hates Puppies And Rainbows Too.

However, as we walked up to the machine to insert my ballot, Jack pointed at the election judge and yelled, "OBAMA!" So at least he understood why we were there.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

My mouth just runs and runs

Tonight I had a little parent meeting at Jack's preschool. Kind of a PTA thing, but on a much smaller scale. There were six parents and two administrators; seven women and one man.

We were talking about gifts for the teachers at holiday time. Somehow the talk turned to what some of the parents (former teachers) had received from their students back in the day.

One mom shared that she had received bottles of wine from several parents, which she joked either meant they really liked her or thought she really needed to relax.

So what do I do? I pipe up with a teacher/student gift story of my own.

One of our good friends was a high-school art teacher at an all-girls high school. She was leaving at the end of the year and was not returning to teach the following school year. Our friend is a very cool girl, so I can see how all her students would think she was cool as well.

On her last day, one of her students gave her a teddy bear and told her to look inside it when she got home. The bear, it contained a bag of pot.

And I told this story. To the director of my son's preschool. Seriously, does my mouth have an on/off switch? (Josh, do not answer that.)

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Monkey see

I have always looked forward to the day when Jack would make friends with the other kids at the playground. I had visions of him running and kicking balls with a group of boys while I sat on a bench nearby and read a book. Somehow in this vision I don't have another child who requires my attention, my hair looks awesome, I am wearing a really cute outfit and it's a perfect 73 degrees with golden-hued lighting, but that's neither here nor there right now.

Today, a beautiful late-fall day here in Chicago where the temperature was in the mid-60s, my vision came to life. Kind of. Although I was wearing slouchy pants and a T-shirt and I hadn't showered.

Jack was playing on the bridge to the slide and two boys were up there with him, running back and forth and yelling. So Jack starts running after them and yelling. I realize they are yelling, "FIRE! FIRE!" So he starts yelling it too.

Great. Now I have a kid screaming about fire. I hope he's never in a crowded theater.

Then they throw themselves down the slide, headfirst. Of course, Jack jumps right in and does the same. So now I have an almost-3-year-old careening down the fast slide, face first. I am having visions of stitches and disfiguring facial injuries.

He gets to the bottom, stands up on the edge of the slide, jumps off and laughs hysterically. He repeats this about 47 more times and has the time of his life.

From now on, I am hoping he just hangs out in the sandbox with the little kids. It's a lot safer there.


I also have a CiCi update for those of you wondering. She is making progress! She was taken off all the blood pressure meds and was moved to a smaller ventilator this weekend. She also got a visit from her twin sister, which everyone thinks is going to help so much. You know what they say about twin bonds. She also reacted to a toy being brushed across her cheek, which is a great sign. She is still on sedatives so she is not awake or moving, but scans showed there is activity on both sides of her brain.

Tomorrow they will perform the big MRI to check her brain, so if you could spare the positive thoughts for one more day, I know her family would appreciate it. What a fighter she is!

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Saturday, November 1, 2008


Here we are again, Day 1 of the third year I am participating in NaBloPoMo. For those uninitiated, it's 30 straight days of posting in November. Which usually results in serious malaise around, oh say Nov. 5, and then I just throw content up without much thought for the rest of the month.

But aren't you looking forward to that? Unthoughtful content, all the time! It's my new tagline.

I am currently typing this from the passenger seat of my vehicle while Josh pulls a quick nap before we head into a wedding reception in Milwaukee. This is dedication, my friends.

So my story for today involves my Halloween from yesterday. After Trick or Treat, Josh and I headed out to dinner with friend/reader Ed and two other friends. During dinner, Ed told us he wanted to head out to a party. A house party. At an apartment.

Oh dear lord. If you know anything about me, it's that I hate dressing up for Halloween and I hate house parties. I am 34 years old and way too old to be drinking out of a cup in the living room of someone I don't know with 100 people who are probably 10 years younger than me.

So we go to this party. Josh and I are not wearing costumes. Someone asks what I am and I glare and reply, "A MILF." Classy.

We grab a beer, I mouth to Josh, "I HATE THIS" and he smiles and drinks from his cup. Bottoms up! I wander outside to the deck, where there is a Beer Pong tournament and an ice luge for shots. I head back inside and see a couple completely making out in the corner. I am not sure she was wearing anything under her costume. Eww.

Upon finally leaving, we pile into a cab and head for a bar that I have not been to since my very first days in Chicago. TEN YEARS AGO. Josh remarked it was the first bar he ever went to in Chicago. And we are here why? Oh right -- our friends want to meet SINGLE CHICKS.

Again, I am 34. Not single. A mom of two. Definitely NOT my scene. Then I find we have to wait in line. This sends me over the edge. In a moment I am not proud of, Ed asks we what's wrong and I scream, "What's wrong is I am standing in line at fucking TIN LIZZIE."

It was one of those movie moments where the crowd goes silet, so your voice is the only thing people for miles around can hear and everyone just stares. The doorman wryly tells me, "No one is forcing you to be here, you know." My husband, the man who vowed to stay with me through good times and through bad, says, "Maybe you should leave then."

I jump out of the line, cross the street and get in a taxi. I head home. Where I then have sit shivering on the porch steps for 10 minutes -- without a coat -- because I forgot my keys. Not my finest moment as an adult, I must admit.

Moral of the story: don't go out with me on Halloween. I am a barrel of laughs.

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