Sunday, December 31, 2006

Yet Another Good Reason To Have Hubby Around....

... He's excellent at getting Sweetie to properly test out her new snow boots.

Her boots are a 1/2 size smaller than her shoes she's currently wearing (which she sometimes complains are too tight). Yet, the boots seemed to look properly sized when held up against the bottom of Sweetie's foot. So a thorough wearing/testing would be in order to make certain all was good.

I put them on her and tried (unsuccessfully) to instruct her to push her foot all the way down to the bottom. But that just resulted in her wobbly walking to the other room, then running back to me - sans boots. I tried to ask her if everything felt all good and comfy with the boots on. But, let's face it, I don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to footwear and comfort and fit. Which basically meant that I couldn't determine if any squeezie-ness she complained about was really a problem or just the way it should be.

Enter Hubby, who knew how to put the boots on correctly and was able to help Sweetie determine if the aforementioned squeezie-ness she felt was on her legs (a good thing because it meant no snow would get inside) or on her feet (a bad thing, meaning the boots were in fact too small). Then he was able to engage her in a follow-the-leader game around our downstairs in which he made her jump, twist and silly walk all crazy.

By the time they made it back to the kitchen, Sweetie happily determined that her boots fit just fine.

Yay! Now - if only we could get more than a dusting of snow to play in.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #38

Actually not much to report in Sweetie Saturday land today. She was cute at Christmas Dinner, though.

Ideally, I wanted her to say grace, but that didn't prove to fruitful. She needed lots of prompting to talk about things she was grateful for. But I did ask her if she knew what Christmas was all about.

Christmas is about friends and family.

Amen, Sweetie. You got that right.


Here's something kinda curious....

Sweetie has a riding horse-on-a-stick she's named HardToe

Her one dolly (that she never plays with) is named Baby Cartene

She's decided that her big stuffed animal giraffe is named Melina

But then she's got her old, reliable pals - Bunny and Teddy (and Curious George, of course, but he kinda came with the name, didn't he?).

I just wonder why some of her "friends" have such imaginative names and some of them are so very simple.

That's Sweetie for ya - very dramatic and creative one moment, very cut and dried/practical the next.

Multi-faceted Sweetie - that's my girl!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #9

Sweetie's Bunny - Sporting Thirteen Different Poses

Sweetie's the one who first started makin' Bunny do crazy things -
I just took it to the 13th Level.














Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Mother Knows Best.... And The Big Count Down

Not that I'm sayin' I told you so or anything, but Sweetie sure seems to like her kitchen a lot more than her Paz Car.

Oh, sure, she thought it was a hoot when Hubby chased her around the house last night with the car, driving it up her toes and whatnot. But all in all, she's much more interested in cooking in her kitchen then playing anything else.

In fact, on Christmas Day when it was time to go to Nana's house, Sweetie didn't want to go. Or, if she had to go, could she take her kitchen too, she wondered.

No! It's way too big to take to Nana's house!

But... maybe we could put it in a HUGE bag and take it with us.

Ummm.... I don't think so.

So she kissed her kitchen goodbye (literally) and we headed on over to my parents' house. Then she wondered if there'd be another kitchen hiding under a blanket with Sweetie's name on it at Nana's house.

Ummm.... I don't think so.

Then she complained a few times while at Nana's house that she wanted to go home to her kitchen.

She was cute at Christmas dinner, though, telling everyone that Santa gave her everything she's always wanted: a Paz Car, a kitchen, a Christmas Fork and High School Musical. Wow! What a lucky, lucky girl!


So, now that Christmas is over, it's time to get back to the real world.... 19 days and counting until my hysterectomy surgery.

I went to my pre-op appointment last Tuesday, where I also went through some urodynamic testing (fun, fun). Those test results showed that I have stress incontinence (sorry - I wasn't going to share so freely - but then I remembered the major point of this blog is to show what I have to go through as a mom with Spina Bifida... so I'm sharing in the hopes that someone else out there can relate). Anyway, my surgeon can fix this problem during my surgery, but it means taking a strip of my abdominal tissue and attaching it near my bladder in some way that I really cannot explain or fully remember at the moment - but, believe me, it will help with my problem. And so, since he'd have to take this skin from my abdomen anyway, he might as well take my uterus abdominally, rather than vaginally (as originally planned).

Okay, then. Whatever. So - maybe two nights in the hospital instead of just one. Other than that, no huge difference in recovery time or post-op "rules". So - let's do it.

About those post-op rules. For one thing, I can't lift anything more than 5 pounds for six weeks! And that includes lifting myself up our stairs! See, physically able people can climb stairs pretty easily, so for the average post-hysterectomy patient, she could climb stairs after about 2 weeks. But I have to really work to get up stairs - pulling myself with my arms to make up for my lacking leg muscles. And so - since that would be pulling more than 5 lbs. up the stairs - they're off limits. At least by myself. Hubby can help me up and down. I just can't do it on my own.

So - I'm getting a bit worried. About taking care of Sweetie. About getting her to bed when Hubby's not here. About having to have Hubby take ample time off from work so that he's here to put her to bed. About having to have my mom over more than she'd probably prefer during the day to help me take care of things. I know she'll do it in a heartbeat. But it's the winter and, even though it hasn't snowed yet, it's bound to snow soon enough. And mom hates driving in the snow. And the dark. And what if it storms so bad and Hubby's not here and the driveway has to be plowed and Sweetie starts a tantrum cuz all she wants to do is go outside in the snow and I can't get the fire going because it's too much lifting and twisting and we run out of hot chocolate and we freeze and no one will be able to get to us and even if they did they'd run from the stench of my not being able to take a bath for 2 weeks post-op coupled with my refusal to take a shower because that's just way too different and stressful and weird for me and OMG!!!!...........

Okay, okay..... deep breathes, everyone.... I've had surgeries before. I've done this a million times. So what if it's been about 8 years since my last trip to the hospital? It's like riding a bike, right? Once you do it once, you've got it down pat forever. Same poop, different type of surgery, right? RIGHT?! Speaking of which, I've never had to do a "bowel regimen" before for any of my other surgeries like I'll have to do the day before this surgery. But, whatever. It's cool. Everything will be okay.

Really - I must chill. I currently am suffering from such a yucky cold (and very painful sore throat that is NOT strep, cuz I just got it checked out today , but the doc gave me medicine anyway - yay!). I need to get better from this yuckiness so I'm in tip top shape on Game Day. The "you-don't-have-strep-throat" doctor told me to get plenty of rest. And so - I'll do that. It's a start, at least. Once I feel better pre-surgery, I'm sure my attitude about the sugery and post-op restrictions will all turn around and things will fall into place very nicely.

Here's hopin', anyway. Here's hopin' like crazy.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Wishes

Wishing You All A Christmas Fork Dream Come True Holiday.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Discuss Amongst Yourselves

It's Christmas Eve, y'all. I've got WAY more fun/interesting/necessary things to do today than sit in front of the computer and pour my guts out to you. So...

A co-worker of mine gave me this book as a Christmas gift earlier in the week. It is truly awesome! I love giraffes and have collected all things giraffian for several years now. So this is perfect. The humor is just my cup of tea.

Also, browse around this website from the authors. It will give you an excellent sense of the whacked out, non-sensical tone of my book. And, while you're at it, I think you should all become well versed in this language.

So get crackin'. There'll be a test later.

Merry, Merry and all that. Catch ya on the flip side.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #37 - Feelin' Like Crap Edition

I've got a cold. Or the flu. Or just impending, imminent death. I don't exactly know, but I don't like it. Nonetheless, I'm hopped up on meds and ready to "enjoy" three straight days of Christmas Celebration.



After Sweetie's birthday party, I helped her write out some thank you notes. All she had to do was sign her name, which she did just beautifully. But on one card she did add an extra "L" to her name.

Sweetie, you have three "L"'s there. Why'd you do that?

That's the brother "L". He's just visiting.


As is tradition (or, it will be after a few more years of this, anyway), we took Sweetie to see Santa on her birthday to get her picture taken with him. She did very well - she wasn't shy or rude or unwilling to sit with him at all. They took an adorable picture together and she graciously accepted the paper reindeer anters crown Santa presented to her when we said goodbye. Overall, it was a lovely experience.

However, the car ride home afterwards was not. For pretty much the entire drive, Sweetie cried/whined that Santa had given her the wrong thing.

She was upset that Santa didn't give her the Paz Car she's asked him for for Christmas. (Oh, and that's another thing. This Santa asked her twice what she wanted for Christmas, but she was too busy looking around to hear his question. So this added to her sadness in the car - she didn't tell Santa what she wanted.)

It's okay, Sweetie. You wrote Santa a letter, remember? And I sent it off to him, so he does know you want the Paz Car. You have to wait until Christmas Day to see what he brings you. Tonight he just gave all the kids a small little treat. He doesn't have all the real presents to give out until Christmas Day. They're not ready yet. Don't worry about it!

It took several reassuring retellings of this message to finally get her to understand. But this experience definitely made it loud and clear that we MUST have that stupid Paz Car at our house for her to open on Christmas - and not wait for her to get it at Nana's house later that day (which was the original plan).

Lord knows if she doesn't get that car first thing - we'll be in for a very sad little morning.

Yeah - so - obviously a restructuring of presents is in order. Oh well. So what if we arranged for Santa to give her an expensive play kitchen with all the trimmings? All she wants is a silly $30 remote control car.

Hubby and I will just have to put aside our pride. Yes, we may think her kitchen is the Big Deal Present of the day. But Sweetie knows better - for her, that car is IT.

I can't wait to see her face Christmas morning. :)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #8

Thirteen Gifts Seen At My Company's Annual Tacky-Junk-From-Your-Own-Home Yankee Swap Gift Exchange Today.

Seriously. I couldn't even try to make this stuff up.

1) A Paper Mache Flamingo Head

2) A Statue of Gollum

3) A Festive Box of Kleenex

4) A Photoshopped Picture Merging The Head Of One Of The Managers Onto The (swimming trunk wearing) Body Of A Co-Worker.

5) Plastic Animatronic Christmas Carolling Frogs Sitting On A Log

6) A "Bugs (Bunny) And Friends Sing The Beatles" CD

7) An Overly Frilly, Lace Covered Wedding Album

8) A Large Candle In The Shape Of An Ugly, Old, Fat Hag

9) A Bowl Of Wax Fruit

10) A 2006 Calendar/Mug/Tea Set Featuring Cutey, Fruity Christmas Angels

11) A Set Of DVDs Featuring Classic TV Shows Such As: The Lucy Show, Benny Hill, and George Burns and Gracie Allen

12) A Royal Blue Sequin & Satin Covered Box (Empty)

13) A Hot Water Bottle Cover In The Shape Of A Fluffy Beret-Wearing Bunny

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Happy Birthday, Sweetie!

Look at you - already givin' me 'tude. What, do you think you're 4-years old or something?

Happy, Happy Birthday, Sweetie. Love you lots!


Mom and Dad

Monday, December 18, 2006

Mama Monday #43

Theme: Tradition

When my dad was a boy, he and his brothers didn't help decorate the Christmas tree. Instead, they would wake up on Christmas morning to find a beautifully decorated tree in their living room, complete with gifts galore underneath and stockings stuffed to the gills.

When my mom was a girl, she and her family decorated their Christmas tree every year on Christmas Eve afternoon. Not a moment sooner.

Likewise, this was the tradition I grew up with. Christmas Eve day was super special because we could finally decorate the tree, topped with a homemade angel my mom had sewn. Then on Christmas morning my brothers and I waited at the top of the stairs while Dad went to "check" if Santa came.

When Hubby was a boy, he and his family put their Christmas decorations out the day after Thanksgiving, but didn't put up the tree until a couple weeks later - about 2 weeks before Christmas.

And what about now? Well, I think we're still trying to work out a true family tradition. Now it's an artificial tree that we put up when we have the time - usually some time in early December.

But we always have some of Hubby's Grampy's punch on hand when we do.

And Sweetie and I always sit at the top of the stairs on Christmas morning and wait for Hubby to announce that Santa had, in fact, stopped by.

So - what about you? When do you put up your tree? What do you top your tree with? Do you have more than one tree decorated? Do you put out Christmas lights on your house? What's the order of things for your family on Christmas Day (we always do stockings first, then a quick breakfast, then on to the gifts). Does Santa leave wrapped or unwrapped gifts at your house? (I grew up with unwrapped Santa gifts. Hubby had either/or, depending on the size of the presents).

Inquiring minds want to know. Please, share your holiday traditions.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Scenes From A Birthday Party

Before the masses arrive... All 7 -11 of them... Those wild and crazy grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, ya know....

Yeah, so what? We kinda ran out of the red gel decoration stuff, so Hubby did what he could do.... Just deal with it... and dig that yellow frosting!

Parenting Lesson learned - don't put shiney birthday balloons in the car with your child just before you take her out to look at all the pretty nighttime Christmas decorations. All she'll care about are the balloons.

I sure hope Sweetie and her almost 2-year old cousin (who probably couldn't care less about a stinkin' pinata) have fun opening this baby up. Hopefully her other 3 cousins will show up too to help out.

Also, look closely to the right side of George's body and you'll see the edge of the infamous Advent Calendar which continues to disappoint Sweetie on a daily basis for its gross lack of Christmas Fork images.

Happy Birthday Party Day, Sweetie! Hope you have a fun.


Mom and Dad

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #36

Another one of my gotta make this quick posts - we've got cleaning, party prepping, coffee dates, bookstore sing-a-longs and a Christmas house lights holiday tour to get through today...

Did you know that every single time someone asks Sweetie how she's doing, she always has the same answer?

How are you, Sweetie?


Sometimes it's said more enthusiastically than other times. But it's always the same.

We should all take a lesson from her, I think. Enough with the plesantries, everyone. Enough with the, Hi, how are you? - Fine, How are you? stale exchanges.

If you're feeling great, then gosh darn it, let the world know!


Other adult-isms that Sweetie has adopted - albeit not entirely in the correct context (or maybe they are???)

If you ask Sweetie to do something, she'll either happily agree or throw a huge fit. But if you're lucky, the worst she'll do is roll her eyes and say,

Uhhhh! Alriiiight. If you say so!

And if I'm telling someone about something Sweetie's recently done - good, bad or indifferent - when Sweetie is around, she'll often roll her eyes (do we see a pattern here?) and say,

Uhhh! Nobody even cares about that.

Not that y'all even care about all that - but just thought I'd share.

Have a great day!


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #7

Thirteen Annoying Things That Have Happened Within The Last Week

1) I locked Sweetie and I out of our house - at night - and I didn't even have my walking stick with me.

2) We had to walk to the neighbors - in the dark - without my walking stick - on an uneven (but thankfully not busy) road to get to my neighbors' house (where they have a large dog Sweetie wasn't too fond of) where I waited for my FIL to show up with his key to our house.

3) Co-Hosting a Holiday Party for 12 people and having only 2 people (other than the 4 of us hosting) show up.

4) Taking Sweetie to a nighttime Urgent Care appointment because I thought she had a urinary tract infection. Then she was a pure angel at the appointment itself - very outgoing, agreeable and supposedly pain-free. (Turns out she doesn't have an infection.)

5) Being called in to work on Monday evening. The woman who does my job on Mondays had a family emergency so was out. My boss didn't call cuz she figured she could work through my instructions and get my job done. It didn't happen. I actually offered to come in just so I could get it all done on my own time without having to talk her through every little step on the phone.

6) Did I mention I live 40 minutes from work? 1 hour, actually, when you factor in dropping Sweetie off at my parents' house first. Plus we had that evening doctor's appointment to get to.

7) Not knowing how Sweetie hurt herself this past weekend. She fell and got a goose egg on the back of her head - and she won't explain what happened. All I know was there was a big thud and I found her flat on her back on the floor with a small but heavy side table toppled over beside her. The girl can talk - why won't she say what happened?! At any rate - she's fine now.

8) The day before, she hurt her back at my mom's house

9) The day before that - she got adjusted at the chiropractor's office. Figures. And that was her last insurance-covered appointment for the year.

10) Despite a good run of at least a couple months or so, Sweetie seems to be misbehaving more and more these days. I know about the Terrible Two's. And I quickly learned about the Terrible Three's. But I didn't know that 4- years old was such a difficult age! Even threats of Santa not liking naughty girls or possibly cancelling her birthday party this weekend is not enough to set her straight sometimes. Ugh!

11) Anxiously waiting for a Christmas package to arrive - 2 presents I bought for 2 of my nephews. Tonight I just realized that I never placed the order in the first place. And it's getting too late to order it now. (But I think I can find this product in the "real world", so that's good.)

12) Working with the new ad designing program at work. It's a challenge - it slows me down - and my back-up helper who takes my excess work when I'm overloaded cannot help me now since she neither knows or has access to this new program.

13) OMG!!!! Don't let me forget the big one ---- I tried to start a fire in our woodstove this evening, but all the smoke came in the house instead of up the chimney (none of the "settings" were changed on the stove, though, from the last fire we had, which went fine). The house was filled with smoke. Sweetie and I didn't know what to do. The fire alarm started going off. I had to call my dad (20 minutes away) to have him come help me get the alarm to stop beeping. I HATE loud noises, but yet I had to stand under the alarm waving a large book so hopefully it would stop beeping. (It didn't). I finally stood on something so I could reach it to get it down, but I still couldn't figure out how to turn it off/take out the batteries. So I hid it under our blankets on our bed. In the mean time I opened several windows to get the smoke out, so I was really worried the neighbors would hear the alarm (it was going off for about 20-30 minutes by the time I hid it) and rush over to help me (again!). Not that that wouldn't have been nice and great - I just didn't want them helping me (again!) and knowing what a complete fool I obviously am. All is well now, but the house still smells smokey and it's cold in here cuz the windows are open and a fan is going.

Hopefully this next week will be much nicer.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Christmas Miracle (with some Give and Take)

Every December since I've known (and worked) with Hubby, he's gotten (in my opinion) overly involved in all things Holiday.

Cookie Swap? Check!

Home-baked goods for the work Christmas Party? Check!

Secret Santa? Check!

Yankee Swap? Check!

Homemade Christmas Cards? Check!

My Hubby - Little Miss (ahem - Mister) Homemaker.

He always loves baking, decorating, crafting and more. He makes the time for it - even if it means adding stress to our lives.

What are we doing this weekend? I've got to bake 4 dozen cookies and put together our cards!

This year, with Hubby not so much at the newspaper anymore, I've felt a sort of holiday freedom that I haven't felt in a very long time.

This year, I'm bringing store bought soda to the Christmas Party!

I am NOT participating in the Cookie Swap!

And the company Secret Santa tradition has been banished in favor of a company donation to a local charity! (No, that one has nothing to do with any decision I made, but still, it helps).

The homemade Christmas cards, though, were still the one hold out. In fact, this very night Hubby was to manipulate a scribbled picture Sweetie recently did into a beautiful Christmas Tree adorned family card.

Well, guess who just emailed me saying he wasn't doing it? Guess who just decided to retire his homemade card making skills?

Yup, that's right. Hubby is done. He's proclaimed that this year, we can simply send store bought cards.

Yahoo! And Amen!

There is one catch, though. We are going to include Sweetie's picture with Santa in at least a few of the cards. And that's not being taken until her birthday, next Wednesday.

So - that's okay. People will get seasonal cards - not Christmas cards. That'll work.

Now - I gotta go. Our house is a mess (as usual) and I've got to get it beautified by Sunday.... For Sweetie's birthday party.... That Hubby and I just decided on Monday we were going to have..... Complete with Curious George pinata, decorations and.... a homemade Curious George cake (that, of course, Hubby is in charge of baking/decorating).

Oh well. Give and take. That's what it's all about.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Mama Monday #42

Theme: Remember

Yes - I know, I know. I've pretty much mentioned Christmas in at least some context for the last several posts in a row. You're over it. I'm over it. But yet I still can't stop myself. Please forgive me and permit me some more holiday indulgences.

As we approach Sweetie's 5th Christmas Day, I'm learning just how much she "gets" it this year. She "got" it last year in that she knew Santa was coming and would bring presents to her. But this year she seems to understand the broader picture - how Santa operates, where he lives, the elves that help him out and the countdown to all the things we need to do and people we'll see (from family gatherings, to parties with Santa, to her birthday, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).

Still, I asked Sweetie yesterday if she was more excited about Christmas or more excited about her birthday.

I'm more excited about my birthday.

You are?! Yeah.... you're birthday is great!


This morning I asked her again.

Why are you more excited about your birthday than you are about Christmas?

My birthday is Christmas!

No it's not. Your birthday is before Christmas.


The excitement over special days - most specifically birthdays and Christmas - are great memories for me from my own childhood.

Waking up on my birthday just feeling special. Feeling older, knowing that today was my very special day. Going to school where all my friends and teachers would wish me a happy birthday. Coming home to a dinner of my choosing (usually mom's pot roast). Spice cake and presents. Then going to Dairy Queen with my dad in the evening for ice cream. Every year. I was a princess!

Waking up on Christmas morning, scampering to my brothers' bedroom, rousing my parents much earlier than they would have preferred. Anticipating whether or not we'd get our desired gifts from The Big Guy. Waiting on the top stair as my dad went down to make sure Santa remembered to stop at our house. The absolute magic of seeing the mounds of presents stacked under the glistening tree. The transformation of the living room from a pleasantly festive room one day, to a glowing, amazingly magnificent wonderland of Christmas joy the next. Rummaging through our stocking. Awed over the unwrapped gifts Santa himself had left for us. Listening to Christmas songs on the radio and enjoying our day. Pure magic.

I wonder if Sweetie is "there" yet. I think she's probably not, but maybe. Excited for the specific days themselves, yes, but not yet fully able to anticipate everything that will take place. I imagine it will take another year or two for her to see the traditions of our family and to look forward to our own unique customs.

Concerning Christmas - like I said, last year she was excited, but she was still too young to go all day. She grew tired of opening presents. She wanted to move on. She still needed a good nap to recharge her energies and go again. It was overwhelming for her - maybe moreso than exciting, at least after awhile.

This year - I think she'll be able to handle it better. I think she'll be excited to open all her gifts without getting distracted (too much) or needing a chill break. It also may help that we plan to stay at our house for Christmas morning and then go to either my parents' or my brothers' family's house for the afternoon/evening (rather than both of their houses). Having less travel - and therefore less stimulation - should make everything that much more enjoyable and manageable for Sweetie and for us on Christmas Day.

But still - while I'm sure she'll have a fantastic birthday/Christmas week, I'm not sure the true magic of it all that I felt as a child is in her quite yet.

And that's another thing. What about Sweetie's birthday?

Since my own birthday is in May - so removed from Christmas - I wonder just how different everything is/will be for Sweetie. Hubby and I have made a decision to make Sweetie's birthday as completely separate from Christmas as possible. No Christmas-themed birthday parties, no Christmas wrapping paper, no candy canes or Christmas music on her day. The one hold out, though, is the visit to Santa. That will be Sweetie's thing. Every year we'll take her to the mall to see Santa and to have their picture taken together on her birthday.

Admittedly, our parental decision to separate birthday and Christmas is an effort to make sure Sweetie has two distinct sets of memories as she grows. Birthday memories. And Christmas memories. Just like Hubby and I have from our childhoods.

But what will really happen for Sweetie? As she grows, she may very well want to encorporate her birthday into the holiday celebrations. And that will be just fine with us. Whatever she wants to make this time special and meaningful to her is what she'll get.

Will she grow up having memories of the whole holiday season? An entire week, year after year, that includes both her birthday and Christmas? Will it all meld into one memory set for her? Or will she have birthday memories separate from Christmas memories?

Whatever is Sweetie's experience - it's all good. Sure, Hubby and I love having separate memories of our special childhood days. And we will work hard to make sure Sweetie has her own specific memories as she grows.

But if Sweetie rejoices in the fact that her two magical days are so closely connected - so be it. If that's what she comes to love about this time of year - then that is great for her. And we will help to make the days as great and magical as possible.

May you all make wonderful memories this year - and every year - within your own families for all your special days.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Little Party Killers

Kids. I'm talking about kids.

Hubby and I had our 2nd Holiday party of the season to attend last night. Actually, as I've mentioned before, we were co-hosts of this party, but it was actually held at our friends' home. Including the 2 hosting couples, we were expecting a small crowd totalling 12 people. A good sized party, we thought. But would we have enough food?

In a word - yes. Why, you ask? Because:

One couple cancelled because their babysitter fell sick and, beyond that, their 5 months old daughter has been teething for the last few days and was constantly screaming like a little banshee (therefore they refused our offer to just come anyway and bring the kids along).

One couple cancelled because their son was slightly under the weather and wanted to go to a birthday party the next day - so the whole family decided to lay low last night, thus cancelling on the adult party in favor of attending the kids party today.

One couple cancelled because their daughter fell and split her lip just before they were to leave. Their daughter is fine, but the whole event, plus knowing the long drive it would be to the party and home again late, put a stress on the little family that they just didn't want to have to deal with anymore. Understandable, but a shame that they didn't come.

So that left Hubby and I showing up at our friends house 15 minutes before the 6pm party was to begin - and the one and only couple left that we were expecting showing up just after 8pm (granted, they did call around 7:15 or so to apologize for being insanely late).

Before the 8pm couple arrived, the four of us gorged ourselves on chocolate fondue (with brownie bits, apples, strawberries and pound cake for the dippin' - we even went crazy and dipped bite sized chocolate eclairs. Yum!). We also had downed several crackers spread with chocolate goat cheese, half of the appetizer veggie pizza, some veggies and dip, and bread topped with warm spinach artichoke dip. Oh yeah, and we were half way through our 3rd bottle of wine by that point too.

Yes, we were drowning our pitiful loser party woes in yummy food and drink - so sue us.

Anyway, once that last couple showed up they took their own reasonably-sized samplings of food and wine before we moved into the living room to chat and relax. It was fun, but calm. Hubby and I were home just before midnight.

Sweetie, on the other hand, seems to have had a fabulous time at Nana and Papa Dave's decorating party (not really a party, just Sweetie helping them decorate their tree). She watched a Christmas special, had pancakes for dinner, watched her favorite parts of the Cars DVD (the extras and the outtakes), and basically just had a blast. She slept well there overnight, with Curious George, Bunny, Elmo and Teddy at her side.

Nana's Teddy, that is. I think I've mentioned it here before, but Sweetie is now hip to the fact that there are 3 different Teddy's in her life (and not just one that magically travels from our house to each of her grandparents' houses). But that's okay. She doesn't seem at all traumatized by this. And Sweetie made sure that her home Teddy was all set up to have his own fun-time companionship while she was gone.

Not so sure Spoon! the cat is so happy about her little visitor, though. Oh well. It's the thought that counts.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #35

Sweetie's word of the week? - Amazing!

At last weekend's Christmas party, one of the presents she got from Santa was this Suprise Ink Game Book featuring Elmo and Zoe. It's one of those coloring books where the marker only works in the book itself.

Sweetie colored several pictures the other day, all the while exclaiming,

This is amazing! This coloring marker is amazing!

She must have said it 15 times or more!

In fact, all week long she's discovered amazing qualities of several things - too many to remember and report back here. But last night, while watching Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer, Sweetie was especially impressed with Rudolf's blinking nose.

Rudolf's nose is amazing!


My niece (the one with the Thursday Thirteen wish list - Hi again, Abby!) was helping Sweetie the other day to make a quilt. Or, maybe I should say Sweetie was helping her cousin. I wasn't there, so I can't really be sure, but I think it was a kid's project my niece had to test out for one of her Early Childhood Education classes.

Basically, they just took a thin sheet of colored felt, cut slits in it, then cut other thinner strips of different colored felt to weave in and out of the sheet. Voila! A quilt!

Anyway, my niece must have done one final thing to the quilt, calling it the finishing touch.

That night, as I was tucking Sweetie into bed, I arranged the many warm blankets on top of her. But Sweetie was sure to place the top most blanket in just the perfect way.

There! That's the finishing touch! Just like Abby said!


This morning Sweetie has been helping Daddy sleep on the couch - but not very successfully. She even applied her very own machine to help get the job done - her Sleeper Weeper 3000! (A.K.A., a Christmas-themed throw we have on the back of the couch - that is, whenever Sweetie's not wrapped in it, making a tent with it, or otherwise playing with it).

We've been having a pretty good morning here - until something happened to the Sleeper Weeper 3000. I have no idea what exactly happened to it, but it sent Sweetie into a fitful cry.

Oh well. So much for our peaceful morning....


Sweetie still opens her Advent Calendar door every morning and, everyday, she laments,

Ohhhh. It's not a fork!

This crazy interest has given Hubby an idea.

He happens to have a dollhouse door in his collection of woodworking/craft things. He's going to make a box for Sweetie, using the door as the lid. Then we'll decorate a cheapy plastic spoon all Christmasy-like. On Christmas morning this can be Sweetie's 25th door to open - and she'll finally get her Christmas Fork!

Yay! :)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #6

Thirteen Things My Niece Wants For Christmas (Hi Abby!)

My college-aged niece is studying Early Childhood Education and needs many supplies for an upcoming Methods and Materials class. So she's asking for these things for Christmas, plus she's added in a few of her own wants and desires. You decide for yourselves which is which in my list: a want or a need. Play along!

1) Dice (10)

2) Card Stock (110 lb weight, 8 ½ x 11) 100 sheets multi color, 100 sheets white

3) Clear Plastic Storage Container ( file folder type)

4) File Folders (Some multi color and some manilla)

5) Color coding label, self-adhesive, ¾ in diameter (dot’s)

6) 1 Bag of Polyfill Stuffing

7) Aluminum Pie Plates

8) Felting Needles

9) Counters- Three sets of 100 “things”. Be creative!

10) 1” Wooden Cubes (as many as I can get, within reason please)

11) Lots of stickers

12) Knitting accessories

13) Books

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Funnest Days

Hmmmm. Yesterday was the first day in over a month that I did not post anything. And the couple days before that I posted very brief entries. I also feel like I've spent considerably less time at the computer in general over this past weekend - and more time with Sweetie. And I feel so much better for it.

What did Sweetie and I do, you ask? Well, we: went outside to count 100 pebbles for my niece's Early Childhood Education course (all the while Sweetie shouting out bristle! as I call out each number - no, I don't know why). We played train. She was my ribbon girl when I wrapped presents, helping me hold the knots as I tied the bows. I had her draw pictures of her favorite things at Christmas time (a Christmas tree and a Christmas house with an "L" cave you can crawl through). And I helped her write this letter (she dictated, I wrote - except for Santa and her own name, which she did herself - and she drew the pictures):

In the cover shot, that's a picture of Sweetie's grandmother jumping up and saying Yay! In the inside shot, that oval shape with lines in it is a football, because (one of Sweetie's cousins) loves to play football. Above that in the rectangle - that's a card with I (heart) U written on it (sideways). And at the bottom - that's a circle man being happy. Just so you understand the whole scope of the project.... Oh, and of course her message to Santa: Please can you bring me a Paz Car?.... A remote control car with Paz the Penguin and his friends in it. A car that Hubby and I think is silly and too young for Sweetie and something she will become easily bored with. So we didn't get it for her. But yet she's still asking for it from Santa. So of course it has to be gotten. Thanks to Nana for making that possible. Yes - Santa even visits Nana's house.

Anyway - back to what I was saying.... Sweetie and I basically just had a lot of fun together these last few days. Yes, I still let her watch T.V. Probably too much T.V. and videos, actually. But the difference this time was that I didn't leave her to watch it by herself while I sat and typed at the computer. We sat together and watched. We snuggled together and relaxed. We made silly faces at each other. She thought it was a riot to strum my lips as I hummed a high/low tune, then learned how to make music herself by strumming her own lips.

We laughed, played and had fun. It was great.

Too bad I was so abruptly put in my place when I looked through Sweetie's school workbook she brought home yesterday - she did two drawings of her "family": one, titled My Home was labeled Me, Julia and Daddy. And the other, titled My Family and I was labeled I am playing with Daddy, Julia and I. (Julia is one of her best little girl friends). Huh... Not a Mommy in sight.

Of course, I had to ask Sweetie where I was in the picture. She said, You're in the house... making hot chocolate!

Yep, that's me. Always looking out to keep my family well cocoa-fied!

Let's all lift a mug of chocolatey goodness and give a hearty cheer - here's to the Funnest Days!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Mama Monday #41

Theme: Smooth

AKA: The Non-Post Post

In honor of this week's theme, I've decided to take the day off from posting (much) in order to spend more time with Sweetie and to start getting my in-house Christmas gifts organized and wrapped. Doing this will really help my day/week/season go much more smoothly. And Sweetie will be pleased as well to share our day more closely with each other. She's got a letter to Santa to write, after all, which I can help her with. This, in turn, will help make Santa's job go just a little more smoothly on his upcoming busy, busy night.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sweetie's House

Gonna try to make this quick today - I've got to meet a friend for coffee soon, to discuss the menu for our co-hosted Christmas party next weekend. Then I've got to get home in time to leave for another Christmas party (we have one party each weekend until Christmas!)

So instead of a long post, I thought I'd just give you this picture. I actually could have submitted it for the Seen something strange? question in my meme the other day. But I forgot all about it.

Those are Sweetie's dress up shoes. She took it upon herself to hang them from the lower rungs of Hubby's director's chair. Strange - but cute and funny too.

When I asked her why she did this to her shoes, she answered, Because it's my house. And that's my decorations.

Ohhhh. What she means is that the chair is tucked under our pub table, the underneath of which Sweetie calls her house. That prompted Hubby to note the following:

Underneath the pub table is her house.
Next to the upstairs toilet, at the toilet paper is her closet
Between us in bed, underneath the covers is her hallway
And the kitchen island is her work

Hmmmm. Sweetie's building a pretty impressive space for herself, isn't she?

Well, she's always called our house Noki's house (Noki is one of our cats). So maybe she's trying to create her own little property amongst the larger area.

Good! 'Cuz little does she know, she's getting her very own kitchen for Christmas!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #34

Sweetie has some issues with proper grammar, not to mention the whole time/space continuum thing, which of course is to be expected at her age. But still, she can come up with some real mind-blowers when she's trying to tell us her stories:

Daddy, when you're a baby I will hold you when I am your age.


Last weekend we bought Sweetie her Advent Calendar, and I got a small one for myself to take to work. Yesterday was the first morning to open a door. She was excited to find a stylized Christmas tree behind her door, then asked me what was behind my door on my calendar.

I don't know yet. I'll have to open it when I get to work, and then I'll let you know.

Okay... maybe it will be a... fork!

Maybe! (it was a snowman, in case you wanted to know).


Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Sweetie and I headed to Nana's house one day, stopping at McDonalds on the way. I was treating all my nieces and nephews to lunch.

As we pulled up to the drive-thru window, Sweetie wondered aloud what the Happy Meal toy would be. I said I didn't know, we'd just have to wait to see.

Then, at the ordering menu, I'm starting to place my large order when Sweetie chimed in:

Mommy! Mommy! Excuse me, Mommy! It's Flushed Away toys, Mommy! Mommy, excuse me! Flushed Away toys are in the Happy Meals! MOMMY! EXCUSE ME!!!

I had to stop my order, quickly acknowledge Sweetie so she'd stop her yapping, then continue on with my order, all the while giving Sweetie "the hand" to keep quiet.

Then, as I'm waiting my turn between the paying and pick-up window, I started to crack up at Sweetie's craziness.

Yes, it was annoying to have her talking at me at the wrong time. But at least she was trying to be polite about it. And it's always nice to see her get so excited about little things.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Amy's 1st Meme

Hi there. I know, I know... It's December now. So I can stop with all this "writing every day" nonsense. But I've had my eye on this particular meme for awhile now, so I thought I'd give it a shot, complete with absolutely no links whatsoever to the many and various things I refer to in my answers. Sorry - it's late. I'm tired. I'm know you're all capable of investigating anything you want more info on all on your own.

Now - on with the meme!

1. Flip to page 18, paragraph 4 - in the book closest to you right now, what does it say?
Page 18 of my Hubby's Woodcraft magazine:
Clean up the parts with a small drum sander in the drill press and some hand sanding. (Is that even a complete thought? Apparently these editors think so).

2. If you stretch out your left arm as far as possible, what are you touching?
In what direction? If I just stick straight out, I'm touching nothing but thin air. But the closest object I can reach with my left hand is one of our couch pillows.

3. What’s the last program you watched on TV?
Hubby and I just watched What Not To Wear: Redo My Spouse. Hosted only by Clinton, acting as some all-powerful life coach makeover maven. NOT the regular show. Did NOT make me happy.

4. Without looking, guess what time it is.
Let's see. I'm usually pretty good at this. I think it's 9:28pm... and now I'll look. It is 10:41. Oops. Umm... That's what I meant. I know my Hubby is watching Numbers. And I know that starts at 10pm. I suck. I'm sorry.

5. Aside from the computer, what can you hear right now?
The T.V. right behind me. Like I said, Hubby's watching Numbers.

6. When was the last time you were outside and what did you do?
I was outside when I got home from work - duh. I had to walk in the house, didn't I? Oh, and I was also outside at lunchtime today (in the 1pm hour). Took myself to Barnes and Nobles for my usual Friday "thing".

7. What are you wearing?
A lime green hooded sweatshirt and some copper colored jeans that are too big for me (actually, they're the exact pair I recently referred to as being my "mommiest" pair of jeans).

8. Did you dream last night? If you did, what about?
I don't think I did dream last night. But the night before I remember dreaming something about a little girl (not Sweetie) who was crying, which turned into waking up to Sweetie's real cries for her Daddy - she needed her nose blown, poor Coldilocks (but she's pretty much better now, so that's good).

9. When was the last time you laughed?
Just about 1/2 hour or so ago when I recounted to Hubby a conversation I had with Sweetie the other night. She saw my exposed bra strap and asked me what it was. I told her it was my underwear shirt, called a bra. She said, It's called a bra? Does it hold up these? Your two bumps? This one bump and this one bump? as she's feeling me up.

10. What’s on the walls, in the room you’re in right now?
A watercolor of Union Station in Worchester, MA (circa 1918) painted by Joyce Johnson, Hubby's grandmother's cousin. Also, a Dali "melty" clock. An old wooden clamp from a book bindery, on which is displayed various knick knacks. And a framed poster of four frogs looking up at an easel (presumably of Monet's Waterlillies painting), advertising the Monet Exhibit at the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA in 1995.

11. Have you seen anything strange lately?
Actually, no. Not that I can think of, anyway.

12. What do you think about this meme?
This was totally fun! Memes are cool!

13. What’s the last film you saw?
The Santa Clause 3 - it was okay. Better than the reviews I'd heard, worse the the rave review from a co-worker.

14. If you became a multimillionaire, what would you do with the money?
Pay off debts, give to charities, quit my job, build a custom home in the country, invest and not stress about money anymore.

15. Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
I'm allergic to latex

16. If you could change ONE THING in this world, without regarding politics or bad guilt, what would it be?
OMG, I can't deal with heady questions like this right now. I think I'll just say that I'd like to make everyone in the world be truly genuine people who can act as they please without repercussions - no acts, no fronts, no pretending to be what you're not. Just be who you want and people will accept you. Or not. No hard feelings..... but this doesn't actually work because this assumes everyone will act only for the good and no one will go off the deep end or act violently or otherwise criminally. I don't know what I'm saying anymore. Like I said, I'm tired. Let's move on...

17. Do you like to dance?
Yes, but I can't do it very well. I love to watch dancing, though.

18. George Bush? He's a tool. But, really, I don't know much about politics at all. Doesn't interest me. But he seems like a tool. And Hubby definitely thinks he is. So let's go with that.

19. What do you want your children’s names to be, girl/boy?
Well, I've already named Sweetie the best girls name ever. If I were to have another girl, I'd name her Audrey. And if I had a boy, he'd be Carver (combining my dad's and my FIL's first names). However, due to my whole uterus-falling-out-of-my-body-thing and impending surgery to remove said uterus, this is not to be.

20. Would you ever consider living abroad?
Yes. I'd love to live in France or Italy or England or Canada or the Isle of Man or.... lots of different places. Love to travel.

21. What do you want God to tell you, when you come to heaven?
You done good.

22. Who should do this meme?
Anyone who has enough time and is ready to have some fun. So get to it!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #5

My Thirteen Favorite Alcoholic Beverages

I thought today was going to be a very, shall we say, trying day at work. A day to come home and enjoy a nice, full glass of wine after. Thankfully - it wasn't so bad after all. But still - a glass of wine (or mixed drink) is always a nice thing. So I thought I'd celebrate this Thursday by listing my favorite alcoholic beverages (in no particular order).

1) Gallo Cafe Chardonnay

2) Sutter Home White Zinfandel

3) Red Cat Wine - Hazlitt vineyards

4) Schmitt-Sonne Reisling Wine

5) Midori Sour

6) Midori Margarita - on the rocks

7) Amaretto Sour

8) Sea Breeze

9) Bahama Mama

10) Strawberry Daiquiri

11) Long Island Ice Tea

12) Mojito

13) Grampy's Christmas Punch (cranberry juice, ginger ale and Southern Comfort)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dude! You May Now Commence With The Oohing and Aahhing

So, I ordered one of my own products from my BlanchardCreative CafePress shop. I'm going to give it as a Yankee Swap gift at the MSBA Christmas Party this weekend. I got one of my Milo Mugs. It came today.

In a word, it's - AWESOME! See?!

That's right - none of that half-baked, screen-printed, image-disappearing-after-only-one-dishwasher-cycle crap here, boy. No siree Bob - this is nice! The image is bright and crisp and appears to be entirely baked into the mug - Milo ain't goin' nowhere, baby! Milo is here to stay!

Also, just so you know, on the advice of one of my faithful readers (Hi there!), I added a new product to my store - a messenger's bag. My reader suggested that I might want a second option for bags - one that would more easily work for the wheelchair using population. And thus was born the messenger bag. Yes, it is in yellow, but that was the only option with CafePress. Still, I think it looks nice and should serve anyone very well - wheelchair bound or not.

So take note - Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus/Whatever-you-and-yours-celebrate is fast approaching. But it's not too late to order your Milo-loving loved one(s) a truly unique gift. They'll treasure Milo forever because he speaks so personally and positively to their lives.

Heck! I even have Milo stamps you can use on all your holiday mailings. Now if that ain't jolly, I don't know what is.

Go! Check out my store, and my Hubby's too, and see if anything speaks to you.

Happy Shopping. And Merry Everything!


Double Dude! Hubby was just browsing through a catalog we got in today's mail when he saw an item for sale from my aunt! She's a weaver from Boston and I know she sells her stuff in shops and boutiques and such. But how cool/surreal is that to see her name and product in the pages of a catalog?! And just by chance, to boot!? Pretty darn cool/surreal.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I'm Fine, Thanks For Asking

I meet a friend for coffee** a few months back and she asks me how I am. I proceed to tell her all about Hubby's new work schedule and life changes. She repeats, But how are you?

A co-worker asks me how my Thanksgiving was and I turn it around onto her. How was her Thanksgiving? Did she host? How many people? Is that what she usually does?

People ask me if I'm getting excited for Christmas and I go on and on about how excited Sweetie seems to be for both her birthday and Christmas. About all the baking my Hubby hopes to do. And about all the gifts we have to buy for everyone and the places we have to go to see everyone.

Do you see a pattern here?

What? Am I uncomfortable talking about my own feelings? Do I feel I'm not worth my own time of day? Do I have nothing better to do than to concerm myself with the lives and concerns of others?

Well, not that I've ever really thought about it much before now, but, um - yes and no, I guess.

Maybe that's why I fit so comfortably in my role as mom. I'm much more interested in making sure everyone else is happy and safe than taking care of myself.

On the weekends, I sometimes literally forget to eat. But I make darn sure Sweetie gets at least some kind of breakfast, lunch and dinner in her.

I sit down to watch my all time favorite shows - or a special episode I've been waiting to see all week - when Sweetie calls my attention or Hubby asks me for help in the other room. And I tend to their needs. (Oh, sure. I'll probably complain for a minute that I'm missing my show - but I do give it up if need be).

I don't have any problem whatsoever buying gifts for others. Whatever they want - done! It's theirs. But I won't spend a dime on myself. So what if I'm wearing the same jeans from junior high school - the ones with ratty edges and expanding rips and tears? They still fit me just fine - they'll do.*

All I want for Christmas is The Little Mermaid DVD and a new bottle of Poeme perfume. But the perfume is expensive, I know. So whatever. If it doesn't happen - I understand.

Man oh man! What I downer I am! I'm really not as miserable as I'm making myself out to be. I just, for some reason, can't seem to take the time to care about myself as much as I do about the lives of others.

Call it self-sacrificing. Call it altruistic. Call it pitiful. Just whatever you do - don't worry about me. I'm fine. Thanks for asking.

Now, excuse me while I go massage my poor, hard-working Hubby's tired, achy feet. My sty on my eye can manage without one night's worth of warm compress treatments. And my counted-cross stitch can wait. I'm sure I can't finish it by Christmas Day anyway.

So, how are you?

* For the record, I did buy myself a few new pairs of jeans this summer. All from Coldwater Creek. All on clearance. And, at first, they were all great. But I quickly saw the truth of the matter - they were high waisted, unflattering Mom Jeans - every pair... and yet I proudly wore the Mommiest pair when I went for that coffee to meet my friend.** How cool am I?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Mama Monday #40

Theme: Time

What to say - time just seems to slip away much to fast. As a child, I remember each new school year, each birthday, each Christmas Day - the passing of the excitement and the LOOOONNNNNGGGG wait for it all to come around again. Oh, to have that back again!

Now - I cannot fathom just how quickly the months pass by. Didn't it just turn into November? How can it almost be December? Didn't we just dress up for Halloween, like, two days ago or something? You mean now I've got to figure out which pretty little Holiday dress to put Sweetie in? You've got to be kidding me, right?

It seems like just yesterday that we were bringing Sweetie home from the hospital on Christmas Eve eve. How we added a second middle name to her full name to mark the time of year she was born. I remember our friends stopping by after catching a movie in our neck of the woods. All they expected was to drop in and say a quick hi to Hubby and I. What a surprise to find our Sweetie was here too! And then there was the phone call from another friend, warning me not to use the herb soaps he and his wife had given us as an early Christmas gift for fear that it would start early labor. Little did they know our bundle of love was already home.

We were to host our family's Christmas Eve dinner that year - and we still did! It's just that family came over ahead of time to help us prep the house. And the gathering was much more low key than it would have otherwise been. All that mattered that Christmas was that we had a brand new baby in our lives and in our hearts - to cuddle, coo over, care for and comfort. What a great Christmas present!

And here she is - about to turn 4-years old. And, yet, we'll all be celebrating our 5th Christmas with her. This seems to be the first Christmas that Sweetie truly knows what's going on - what it's all about (well - in Kid World, anyway - it's all about the presents!). She knows that her birthday comes first and that just a few days later, it's Christmas! I remember 2 years ago when we easily put her to bed on Christmas Eve. I noted how that would probably be the last time a Christmas Eve bedtime would go so smoothly. But then last year was fine too. We just told her she had to go to sleep or Santa couldn't come.

(It's great how, as time goes by, we as parents pick up more and more tips and tricks for getting things done. We also acquire more confidence in our parenting skills over time. Things that seemed so daunting a year ago now seem so old hat and so easily resolved.)

I wrote this post about a week ago. I complained how rushed I always feels at this time of year. How busy and stressed I am and how many things I'm always committed to do during the holiday season. But I vowed this year to take it easy, re-evaluate my commitments, and relax and enjoy my time more.

Then yesterday I wrote this post. And we 3 had a great day. Sweetie drew Christmas pictures that we can use to make our own Holiday cards with this year. And we prepped the house for the season. We played Scrabble. Hubby made Chex party mix. I picked up a holiday themed counted cross stitch that I started awhile back and then let go. We had a great, relaxing, enjoyable day.

What a wonderful way to spend our time together as a family. Enjoying each other in the here and now. Trying to hold on just a little longer, a little tighter - not wanting the moment to slip away too soon.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Pajama Day!

We did all our running around yesterday - took the car in for its inspection, went to the bookstore for an Advent Calendar for Sweetie (and a small one for me), took Sweetie to see The Santa Clause 3 at the movies (Did you like that movie, Sweetie? - Yes, but, um, parts of it were a little not right so I hid my eyes and I was a little scared. - She didn't so much go for the whole Jack-Frost-freezing-the-Mommy-and-Daddy-thing). Then Hubby went grocery shopping and got a jump on his Christmas shopping.

Today - it's Pajama Day! We've got nowhere to go, and a large crock pot of turkey soup to stew. A fire is crackling in the woodstove and I just put a 140+ track Christmas CD in the player. Sweetie is busily playing, imagining that a comfy snowflake patterned quilt from her Auntie is a (Sweetie) Hospital Dancing Room (I don't know - just go with it), a garage to sleep in (seriously, I don't know where she got that from either - we don't even have a garage) and/or a boat with a dancing floor, depending on her whim at the moment. I kind of want to bring down the Christmas decorations (the absolute only season/holiday that I decorate the house for). I feel like making pretty and cozy, but not really cleaning/decluttering. How to do that?????

Well, Hubby seems motivated to declutter - maybe I'll take over once he's done...

Happy Pajama Day, Everyone!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #33

Sweetie's come up with a lot of doozies this past week, what with all the family gatherings, craziness and holiday celebrations...

At Nana's house the other day, Sweetie came in from the outdoors, having just run around and explored my parents' backyard with her cousins.

When she got inside and took her coat and hood off, my SIL commented to Sweetie, Look at your hair!

To which Sweetie screamed, NO! and ran off crying... totally, completely distraught over the seemingly innocent comment.

I went after her to find out what the big problem was.

Why are you crying so much?!

Because Auntie Wendy..... took my mind away! WAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

What?!!! She took your mind away?

Well, yes, but not exactly....

And then I'm not positive what exactly Sweetie said, but suffice it to say that the great "offense" was Sweetie's Auntie had implied that Sweetie had straight hair (or line hair, as Sweetie calls it) and not curly hair. And woe be to those who don't recognize and appreciate Sweetie's curls. They're her pride and joy, you know, and therefore must NOT be messed with. So there....


Again at Nana's house - Sweetie passed by Nana at one point and noticed that she'd put red lipstick on her lips (much more so for the moistening effects of the lipstick than for vanity's sake). Since Nana doesn't tend to wear lipstick, it really made Sweetie stop and look.

Nana, why do you have lipstick on?

Because my lips are dry and this makes them softer.

Oh. But.... you don't look like Nana anymore.

Oh no?

No... you look like my Mommy.

Hmmmmm..... And I don't even wear red lipstick.....


Sweetie has decided for some reason that our staircase in our house is now called the A Table Pyramid (pronounced Ah Tahblah, as in the French phrase for to the table).

(See, Hubby studied in France and is pretty fluent in the language. Every night at supper time, Hubby says A table to get us to come sit and eat).

Anyway, Sweetie has regularly been referring to our stairs as such. So much so that, when my brother and niece came to visit last weekend, Sweetie took her cousin to see her bedroom and very specifically made sure her cousin knew they were taking the A Table Pyramid to get there.

And this is the A Table Pyramid, she proudly presented, as they trekked on up.

Yeah. I know. I keep tellin' ya - she's a crazy crazy nut girl.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Oh No, You Didn't!

Is it just me, or does it now seem like the worst, more offensive thing one person can do to another is to put his or her hands over another person's mouth?

I'm just sayin'.....get over it already.....

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #4

Thirteen Names That Can Be Played In A Game Of Scrabble

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving! But, no, I'm not doing a "13 things to be thankful for" list. Too obvious. I'm thankful for too many things to list - one of which is having my family around at this time of year to visit and play games with. Like Scrabble.

My family loves Scrabble! My brother just started a list of people's names that are also legitimate Scrabble words. I think his list is approaching 200 names/words. Following is just the tip of the iceberg (along with their official Scrabble Dictionary definitions):

1) art - an aesthetically pleasing & meaningful arrangement of elements

2) ben - an inner room

3) carver - one that carves

4) dirk - to stab with a small knife

5) earl - a British nobleman

6) fletcher - one that makes arrows

7) graham - whole-wheat flour

8) herb - a flowering plant with a nonwoody stem

9) iris - to give the form of a rainbow to

10) jack - to raise with a type of lever

11) kelly - a bright green color

12) lily - a flowering plant

13) missy - a young girl

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Mountain Maker

Okay.... so that wasn't so bad. I've got all my "have to's" done and it's just noon. Actually, I lessened my list by a considerable amount, to be honest.

I didn't give Sweetie a bath - I forgot. But tomorrow is another day. I don't really have to go to the bank - it can wait until Friday. The bread is on hold for us at the bakery, to pick up on our way to dinner tonight. The presents for my niece and nephew are wrapped. The thank you card Sweetie needs to make is to be handed out tomorrow - so that can wait. And all her birthday and Christmas gifts are now hidden in the house and her used activity books are weeded out of her current collection. I am all set.

I've even got a fire roaring in the woodstove, a load of laundry in the dryer, and a bid in at Ebay for a Christmas gift for one of my nieces. I rock.

Actually, I feel badly for making so much out of the things I had to do today. I know there are so many others out there who have full houses for the holidays and who have to cook a full-out Thanksgiving feast tomorrow, probably after working all day today. I've got it easy. I've got it made in the shade. All I have to do is show up and eat. I think I can do that just fine.

It's just that I'm really good at making mountains out of mole hills. But doing so is a helpful life strategy for me. If I go into something thinking it's going to be the worst, most stressful, busiest, craziest thing - and then it's not - I win! I guess mountain making is my defense mechanism in that regard.

So, that's it. I'm good. I'm happy. I'm all set. I am blessed.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Day Off - Yeah, Right

Yay! I have tomorrow (and Thursday, of course) off. Time to sleep in, lounge around and wait for the evening festivities!

Ahhhh..... no. Tomorrow I've got to:

Go to the bank

Figure out how to go to the bakery to buy 2 loaves of bread with Sweetie tagging along (not so easy for me to do on my own)

Give Sweetie a bath (I'm not one of these moms who insists my child take a bath every night. About twice a week is good, so tomorrow's the day!)

Wrap 2 Christmas gifts for my niece and nephew to take back to TX with them

Write/help Sweetie write a thank you card to her Great Grandmother for a Halloween gift she received

Bring all the Christmas and birthday gifts that we just bought tonight for Sweetie into the house -assess what's left to do for her - weed out old toys and used activity books - and hide all the goods

Go to my brother and SIL's house for a Thanksgivng Eve meal/family gathering tomorrow night

Oh, and then it's Thanksgiving Day at the in-laws

And then it's back to work on Friday

At least I'm not doing any cooking whatsoever for the holiday. We're bringing bread to both tomorrow and the next day's events. And hubby is whipping up a mess o' butternut squash. But that's his problem, not mine.

So much for the lounging. Oh well. There's always this weekend.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Mama Monday #39

Theme: Inside

What? You lookin' for me?
Feb. 2006

My Sweetie - Adventurous, brave and curious.
Silly, cuddly and sweet.
A builder, a dancer, a jokester, a nut.

Forever and always - inside my heart.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Don't Get Mad, Get Bloggin'

So, the mouse went away (or at least I don't know where it is rigt now. But the cats are both sleeping, so I guess I'm safe). And we got through yesterday's evil day from Hell without too many scratches (seriously - I'd blog about it, but I can't really do that without committing blasphemy against the creche). And now today is Hubby's birthday! So let's move on to the good times, shall we?!

This past Friday my brother and sister-in-law and their 2 kids arrived from Texas. They're staying at my parents' house and will be here all week. They come every year to help us all celebrate.

And so begins the true holiday season for our family. Meaning a lot of family, a lot of food, many gatherings and lots of good times - basically, just plain a lot. This week in particular means spending as much time as humanly possible at my parents' house, not only visiting with my family from TX, but with local family as well. Since Rob is here, EVERYONE is here - that's just how it goes.

Every year Hubby and I get pretty stressed about all the holiday commitments we have to see through. All the places we're expected to show up and everything we'd like to find the time to do just for ourselves. And every year we have to do a good deal of give and take to get all the wants and have to's done. Like I said, it can make us stressed and even angry. Bah humbug!

But this year we'll do our best to take it easy. Maybe start some of our own small family traditions, therefore letting go of some other annual doings. We'll try to make some real time for the three of us to do Christmas crafts and relax in our cozy home watching Christmas movies while drinking hot chocolate. And Hubby and I will try to get away both by ourselves and with friends to either get some shopping done or to simply enjoy each other's company during this crazy time of year.

Heck, Sweetie's ready for the holiday! She spent this morning bringing down all her train track pieces - individually - from her bedroom to our living room (from the train set she got last Christmas and barely played with at all) and had me help her set it all up. And she's just informed us that, since the train's set up, we can now put the Christmas tree in the middle!

Anyway, we will try to enjoy ourselves more this time. And I hope we succeed. But no matter. Every year we're simultaneously stressed, harried, angered - calm, joyous, merry and full of love and happiness. Every year we rush to the Big Finish of Christmas Day - and every year we're so sad to see it pass by so fast.

My main goal is just to take each day as it comes, enjoy every moment that we experience, and have the most fun that we can. And you can be sure that I'll be right here every step of the way spreading our Christmas joys - and beyond - with you.

Ho, ho, ho!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #32 - Retro Sweetie Edition

Sweetie really only said one noteworthy humorous thing this week, so I'll save that for the end. But first, here are some silly things she's said or done in the past...

1) Attribute this one to good ol' fashion baby talk cuteness. But I think it's adorable and I want to have some record of Sweetie's early words...When Sweetie was just learning to talk, I tried to teach her how to say Thank You. But the way it came out when she said it was kee koo.

2) This one is on-going, but she's been saying this for quite awhile now... Pretty much everyday when we all come downstairs in the morning, Sweetie's #1 request is for chocolate milk and for either Hubby or I to hold me with two hands. This 2-handed holding request is also made in the evenings, when it's too cold in the house, or just when she's feeling particularly cuddly.

Oh, and if she sees that one of our hands is holding something else at the time, she'll either adjust and say, Hold me with one hand. Or she'll insist that we put the object down so that we can concentrate all the holdin' goodness unto her.


And now for this week's Sweetness....

As I've briefly mentioned here before, Hubby was commissioned to make a creche (you know, a manger) for a client. One large enough for a big, outdoor display during the holiday season.

Most of the construction of said creche has taken place in our basement. But eariler this week Hubby finally brought it up to our dining room to put the final pieces all together.

Sweetie was very interested in this structure and wondered what it was. He told her it was a creche and that she and I could even help him finish building it.

So Sweetie and I did what Hubby requested and held one of the pieces in place as he fastened it together. As we were doing this, Sweetie wondered,

Are we creching yet?

Also, when we told Sweetie what a creche was - the place where baby Jesus was born - I followed up the explanation with a question for her.

Do you know who baby Jesus is?


You do? Who's baby Jesus?

Um.... I saw her the other day at somebody else's house.

You did, huh? Interesting...

Looks like we've got a lot of 'splainin' to do this Christmas season....

Friday, November 17, 2006


Regrettably, Amy cannot blog tonight because she thinks there's a mouse creeping somewhere in the vacinity of her computer desk. Or, at least so say her cats, who are very interested at staring into that corner of the house. And she heard something there too. So - she's out...

Will return in the morning for Sweetie Saturday.

I'm sure you understand....

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #3

Thirteen Books I Love

I watch T.V. much too much. Particularly, I'm hooked on too many reality shows. So - let's take a break from all that! The following books are just a few of my favorites reads of all time.

1) Tess of the D'Urbervilles - I wrote my college thesis on this one

2) Jane Eyre

3) A Prayer for Owen Meany

4) My Sister's Keeper

5) Girl with a Pearl Earring

6) A Yellow Raft in Blue Water

7) The Da Vinci Code - Loved this one before it became "the" book to have

8) The Secret Garden

9) Anne of Green Gables

10) I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

11) Wicked

12) The Time Traveller's Wife

13) Little Women - Sometimes I think I am Louisa May Alcott reincarnated

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Good, The Bad and The Very Very Ugly

G - We no longer feel so strapped for cash now that Hubby is working with his dad. It's good, consistent work that Hubby loves (even though his 2 part time jobs make for long, tiring days) and we're doing well.

G - The dishwasher, which I thought was on the fritz, is okay. A wayward spatula was preventing the top rack's spinner from spinning, that's all.

G - I got another added bit of money this week when I got paid for some tutoring hours I didn't actually perform. My student cancelled (repeatedly) too close to our meeting times. So - her parents still had to pay for the sessions and I still got paid. Works for me!

B - I'm pretty sure I'm coming down with a cold. My poor mom has had a cough and been sick since early October, it seems. Now she's cough-free, but much more coldy. Sweetie is drippy and I'm drippy. I'm having flashbacks to last year at this time when both mom and I each had terrible ear infections. Ouch!

B - One of our cars goes in for its yearly inspection this weekend and it's definitely going to mean big bucks. We know we need 4 new tires and I wouldn't be at all surprised if there were other repairs to make as well.

B - As the days get shorter and the weather creeps closer to snow season - I'm getting more and more concerned about managing Sweetie when Hubby is at work. For instance, my weekly chiropractic appointment. Sweetie comes with me and I just know that it won't be easy to get her in and out of the car and office when the snow and ice comes. It's hard for me to manage on my own - how will I handle her? But picking her up after my appointment is a lot of extra driving. So - who knows what I can do....

U - I was absolutely LIVID at Sweetie tonight.

Plopping-her-on-my-lap-getting-right-in-her-face-yelling - LIVID.
No-television-and-no-interaction-with-me-until-she-did-what-I-asked - LIVID.
Stripping-her-down-and-into-her-pajamas-on-the-1st-step-up-to-bed-1-and-a-half -hours-before-bedtime - LIVID.

All because she wouldn't eat her popcorn shrimp dinner.

Once she saw how serious I was about putting her to bed early with no story or anything, she changed her tune. Then she ate all her shrimp within a 20 minute span of time and the rest of the evening went smoothly and without further incident.

I apologized to Sweetie but told her how important it is that she eat her food to grow up strong and healthy.

So much for my creative, kid friendly steps to a happy meal time. No - tonight, I was one ugly mutha. And I feel so badly about it....

Pick your battles, Amy..... Pick your battles wisely.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The One Where I Ignore Even More Personal Blogging Standards *

* Warning - ho-hum daily life anecdote coming up....

Yesterday my mom, Sweetie and I went to visit my grandmother for the day. My cousin and her daughter met us there as well. We arrived around noon, first picking up a pizza lunch to share.

As usual, it took much bribery (in the form of leftover Halloween candy) and mama mental gymnastics to get Sweetie to eat any lunch whatsoever. In fact, when all was said and done, I think she may have managed to eat only 3 bites of a slice of pizza and perhaps a full crust and a half. That's it.

On the other hand, my cousin's daughter, who's not yet 3- years old, requested and ate 3 whole pieces of pizza! Wow! I could hardly believe it.

You see, eating has always been a challenge for Sweetie. She's just not very interested in wasting her time to put food in her mouth. It's our ongoing battle with her.

But for tonight's dinner, I came up with an awesome idea (if I do say so myself).

I made Sweetie a Rainbow Dinner! With her help, I found a food item for every color of the rainbow.

Red - dried strawberry slices

Orange - baby carrots

Yellow - corn

Green - peas

Blue - jelly on her PB&J roll up sandwhich (okay, so that one was a bit of a stretch. But I couldn't find anything truly blue to offer her).

Purple - apple sauce (What?! I don't know. Some crazy apple sauce we picked up that has berries mixed in. She didn't like it the last time she tried it, but tonight it filled it's purpley purpose to a T).

Yes, it was an eclectic mix of food options - but she loved it! And, while Sweetie didn't eat all of any of it (oh, wait. Yes - she ate all the strawberries), and she didn't even touch her peas (despite excitedly requesting that peas fill the green spot) - she did eat more food than I've seen her down in a long time.

Actually, I didn't mind that she didn't eat it all. I didn't expect that she would - it was a lot of food. Anyway, I wasn't sure what I was going to eat tonight. So I basically ended up finishing her food and then I was fed too. Yum!

I have to say, I'm proud of myself for coming up with this menu. I'm proud of Sweetie for getting excited with me about this idea. And I'm proud of her for eating a healthy amount of a healthy assortment of foods.

Yay, Sweetie!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Mama Monday #38

Theme: Outside

I'm not much of an outdoors type of gal. I'm much more at home within my home. Sweetie, however, is a true lover of the outside world!

Every day that she's at Nana's she gets to go outside and explore their yard - almost 2 acres worth of grass, woods and fun. And if my dad is around, you can bet Sweetie is right outside with him, helping him pick up sticks and exploring the land with the added knowledge only Papa can provide.

At home, it's sometimes difficult for she and I to go outside on our own. When Sweetie was a bit younger, I was afraid she'd get away from me and I'd not be able to run after her. Now maybe I'm more afraid that her wild explorations will result in injury that I won't be fast enough to prevent or properly take care of.

Still, we manage. In fact, the last few Mondays she and I have ventured outdoors to rake leaves. And, as I should have expected, I'm finding my biggest problem is getting her back in the house. But I've found a solution that's working just great!

Let's go in and have hot chocolate!

Works every time.

This and That

Yesterday I had Hubby take the mail out. Later, I added one more paid bill to the lot - and raised the flag that Hubby neglected to put up.

Later, starting after 3pm, I started watching for the mailperson. I know they always come pretty late on Saturdays, but it was getting to be that time...

Later I looked again. Okay. Friday was a holiday, so that always seems to make the mail come even later the next day.

Later - I'm talking 7:30/8pm, I'm turning on the outside lights to check on the delivery status. Our flag is still up!

Me: Where's the mail?! Isn't it, like, illegal or something not to deliver our mail to us?!

Hubby: I don't know.

Later - maybe around 9pm or so....

Me: Oh. Today's Veteran's Day. Maybe that's why we didn't get mail.

Hubby: Yeah. Maybe.


Bonus Sweetie Saturday (er, Sunday) tidbit:

My parent's lost power on Friday when a tree in the area fell on some power lines. Sweetie had a hard time with it, not understanding that she'd not be able to do some beloved things now.

You can't watch TV because the power's out.

Well, can I watch a video?

No, because there's no power.

Okay. Then let's play on the computer.

Sweetie - the computer doesn't have power either. We can't!

After awhile, my mom asked my niece, who was at her house suffering from a cold, if she'd like some tea.

I can't have tea, Nana.

Why not?

Then Sweetie answers -

She can't have tea because there's no power!

She finally understood.


So, I don't know if you've noticed, but I've been switching up my blogroll this weekend. Actually, it's pretty much always in flux, but I've recently done a good deal of changing all at once - taking out some (sorry - I'd keep you if only you'd update more frequently) and adding others. I'd love to add even more! What are some of your favorites? Point me in a direction and I'll surf around. Thanks!

Basically, in my search for new links, I've really come to understand what I like and don't like in other people's blogs. I like people who update frequently, who write (A) brief entries &/or, (B) timeless/thought-provoking/well written/funny entries. Non of this "this is what I did today - I sat around on my butt and took a nap" stuff. Nope - don't really care about that so much.

Also - I like pretty blogs that are easy to read. Not so interested in the cookie-cutter templates that haven't been made to look unique in any way. Likewise, if the font is too small or just not easy on the eyes - I'm not sticking around.

Basically - I'm looking for mommy and daddy bloggers who've got fun/interesting things to say and who care enough about their writing to do it often and well.

With that said, let me introduce you to a few of my favorite reads - both old and new....

Blogs I check out every single day:

My friend Beth over at -

So The Fish Said...


Diary of a Playgroup Dropout

Hysterical Amy over at -



Mom's Daily Dose

And, wow!, a blogging dad! Rob over at -

My Beloved Monster and Me

He's writing a book about his daughter! To be published next year! I can't wait!

Some newly discovered gems:

Girl Gone Child - yeah, I know. I'm late to this party. She's awesome!

Crooked Pigtails - too, too cute. And a fellow New Englander. She's a fabulous story teller.

Oh, the Joys - perhaps one of the funniest new finds I've come across. Love her!

Three Beautiful Things - Just a wonderful idea. This blogger finds 3 things about each day that make her happy. She makes me happy.

Oh, and also? If I could "make" some people I know blog, I would. I think my friend Courtney should look into it. (Hi Courtney) She's an awesome person, a great writer and I know she'd reach a lot of wonderful people with her unique mommy perspective (she's a SB mom too. We need more of us blogging, don't ya think?!) And my brother Rob. He and my sister-in-law Wendy could blog together. Rob is my funny brother and I know he'd be able to tell great stories in an absolutely hilarious way. Plus I know they read my blog and I think others as well. They should get in on the action themselves. I'm just sayin'.....


Finally (yeah, I know. I've totally broken my "short entry" rule of good blog reading material. Oops. My blog, my rules).....

I'm having a Lia Sophia Jewelry Party - internet style! Woo hoo! This was the party I was supposed to actually host in my house this weekend but it fell through and became catalog based. Well, now it's internet based! That's right - I'm bringing my catalog party to you. Get psyched!

Click on this link and see if there's anything you'd like. Type my name - Amy Blanchard - as the hostess and then you're in - look around at all the pretty things!

If you purchase 3 or more items, the 3rd, 4th, etc... items (the top most expensive items) are all half price. Cool deal! But hurry up. I'm closing this party in exactly one week - on Sunday November 19th. So make your selections soon. Thanks. Happy shopping!

Okay, okay. I'll stop now. Gee - I thought I didn't have much to say today. Guess I was wrong...

Thanks, as always, for reading!