Thursday, September 28, 2006

Stressed Out Of My Mind - Can You Tell?

Ya know, I thought this whole week was going to be pure evil. But Mondays are always pretty good for me (I get to be home with my Sweetie), so that was good. And Tuesday was actually pretty low key. Wednesday was sure to be crazy - but, eh. No, not so much. Pretty cool. Even this morning - busy, yes, but not what I'd really call stressful.

But then this afternoon hit. And now I'm STRESSED!!!

Work stress, primarily. It's a busy week there, combined with new responsibilites I'm just learning this week and the fact that next week is vacation and I have to make sure my back ups are all set with everything - including how to do the new stuff I've started this week. It's all making me practically jump out of my skin with anxiety and stress.

Oh yeah - and the vacation itself. Packing for Hubby and I (Hubby has been very helpful, though), making sure Sweetie'll have everything she needs at Nana and Papa Daves', making sure my parents know certain Sweetie "routines" and such, worrying that I'm surely forgetting something somewhere along the line.... Aaaaaaahhhhhh. Somebody make it all stop, please!!!!!

This is how stressed I am: When I picked Sweetie up today, she wasn't wearing what I put her in this morning, but an outfit I'd previously brought over for her to wear sometime next week. When I asked my mom why the change of clothes, she said, Well I wasn't going to put her back in her old clothes after her bath. (I had mom give Sweetie a bath today so that I'd at least have one less thing to deal with tonight). Fine, but I was all like, But that outfit is for next week. Now she's going to have to wear the same outfit 2 times in 1 week! Like, I was really upset about this! How could my mother not consider these dire consequences, you know?! Now I was going to have to go home and pick out an extra outfit for next week. Aaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!

Anyway, I decided at work this afternoon - after the stress started to hit hard - that I'd come home and have myself a drink (we're out of wine, but still have some Twisted Teas in the fridge). Then Sweetie gave me some real grief on the way home (unbuckling herself from her carseat when I stopped at the gas station, yelling at me not to talk to her, etc....). So I decided I definitely needed that drink. Then we got home and I vacuumed, ran the dishwasher, and generally ran around getting things finalized. No time for a drink. Also, Sweetie became clinging/huggy instead of a pest, so that actually made me take some time to sit on the couch with her and chill. I felt better. No drink necessarily needed.

Now, after putting her to bed, I feel stressed again. But now it's too late to drink (I don't know why. Just my own standards, I guess). So - lucky you - you get to hear me rant and ramble it all out of myself. Yay, fun!

So - who wants to hear a Late Thursday Version of Sweetie Saturday tidbit? You know, to lighten the mood a bit? I do! I do!

Usually Sweetie wakes up in the morning when I get up and start making noise. But not this morning. Even after turning off her fan (for white noise making purposes), going into her room, turning on her light, and repeatedly telling her it's time to get up - she was still totally zonked. Hubby had to get her up instead. She was sleepy but, thankfully, not really grumpy.

Shortly thereafter, after I got her dressed and ready to go, she was in the kitchen dancing and being all silly. I commented,

You sure a study in extremes, Sweetie.

At that, she stopped her silliness, put her hands on her hips, and exclaimed,

I am not!


Okay, so maybe that's not the most endearing thing she's ever done or said - but I thought it was pretty funny at the time.

SO - I guess that's it for me. Maybe I'll write a little something while we're away. We'll see. I'm pretty sure I have at least one Guest Contributor who'll be providing a post next week. Maybe two. So check on in and see if anything's new. Otherwise - I'll see you when we're back.

Take care of yourselves. As for me - after today and what's sure to be an even more stressful day tomorrow - I'll definitely be using this vacation to take care of myself, to find myself, and to just plain "be".

Pampered bliss - here I come!

(Oh! And drinks after bedtime! Woo Hoo! Rock on with my bad self. Cool!)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Mama Monday #32

Theme: Balance

I often feel like I'm on a see saw (and I'm not talking about my "wobbly-woopsie" mode of graceless walking). No, life in general for me is one big balancing act.

Like my Sweetie so often says about herself, I could say the same: I'm Just Amy. But wait! I'm a wife! A mommy! A daughter/sister/auntie! An employee and a co-worker!

Where exactly did Just Amy go?

My upcoming vacation will hopefully bring a return appearance of Just Amy into my life. Boy, I can't wait to see her again. I wonder what she's been up to these days? You know - Just Amy - the one who can do what she wants, when she wants, how she wants, and with whomever she wants. I bet she's pretty peeved at me for not allowing her to come out and play more often.

Well, Honey, vacation week is your week! Get ready to rock! (Or relax, if you'd rather. And if I know Just Amy, she'd much more appreciate a week of pampered relaxation than rock and roll, go-go-go activities. Hence, the cruise I'm treating her to. Massages every day - woo hoo!).

Yes, I'm sad to think about leaving Sweetie behind. It's definitely going to be hard to say goodbye to her for an entire week. But I know she'll do fine. She'll have great fun at Nana and Papa Dave's house on her Very Own Super Special Vacation. And Hubby and I will get our much needed break from the stresses of our regular life.

Like my doctor told us today when we were telling her about our plans away - Good for you! All parents need a break from the kids sometimes. It's a healthy thing to do.

Now, if only the last days before leaving on vacation weren't 1000 times more stressful than your regularly stressful life. That's what I always wish for, yet never achieve.

I guess it's all part of the balancing act - you've got to stress hard and worry a lot before you can relax hard and fully appreciate your time away.

Just Amy - I'm coming for ya soon! Don't let the ship sail away without me!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted... No. Not Yet, Anyway.

Happy Sunday. I guess. Not too much sleep last night and stressing about vacation prep (both home and work related) are making me not so very chipper.

Man, I really need a vacation. But then again, I don't. Because it seems the major cause of my stress is the vacation.

I'm packed, more or less. Except for all the little incidentals. But Hubby is not packed. Nor is Sweetie. And then all the work stuff. Ugh.

I need a vacation from my vacation.

Anyway, as my regular readers can probably attest, my last several posts have been less than stimulating. So I think a blogging vacation is in order. At first I was going to do a "working vacation" in terms of the blog. You know, since I'm planning on being on line quite a bit to check in on my Sweetie - why not post a little something? But now I'm thinking I could really use the break.

So I'm working on getting some guest contributors to fill in for me that week. We'll see what comes of that. Otherwise, I'm sure I'll check in and write something or other. We'll have to see.

But that's not yet. Vacation is soon, but not quite now. You still have me to look forward to for the time being.

Let's all hope I perk up a little bit, huh?

Hey! My follow up doctor's appointment is tomorrow. Maybe she'll tell me I can't go on vacation because I need emergency surgery (refer back to this post for not very much of an explanation at all). That would be cool!

It's pretty sad when you'd rather have emergency surgery than deal with vacation prep work, huh?

Oops, sorry. Deal with it on your own. I'm sick.

Vacation. Blah humbug.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #26

Hi there! Sorry it's been awhile. I didn't get to my usual mid-week post this week. Too busy. And too blah. Not much going on that I care to report.

Likewise, there's not too much by way of Sweetie Saturday -isms this week. Only one I can think of, really. And since I've not posted all week, I'll give this to you a little early.

I had a dentist appointment on Monday. Sweetie went with me - because I wanted her to see what it's like to go to the dentist and because I didn't have someone else who could watch her then. She behaved herself nicely and even got a turn in the chair. Sweetie got her teeth cleaned! She did great! And when I go for my next appointment, Sweetie will be coming along for her very first official appointment. Cool.

Anyway, while I was in the chair, Sweetie announced that she had to go potty. The hygienist walked her to the bathroom and left her to take care of herself. I was kind of concerned that Sweetie would freak out by herself or not do everything she's supposed to do. But she did. She was a big girl and helped herself just fine.

Back in the exam room, we asked Sweetie if she washed her hands after she went potty (the hygienist figured the sink in the bathroom was too high up for her to reach). But Sweetie assured us,

No, I was strong enough to reach the sink.

Good! Good for her. But.... just to be safe, we had her wash her hands in the exam room. The hygienist helped Sweetie and put a dollop of soft soap in the palm of her hands. Then she told Sweetie the following:

Now, don't forget to interdigitate.

Huh? What a thing to tell a 3 year old! She wanted Sweetie to rub her hands together and get the soap in between her fingers by interlocking them. You know - interdigitate. Whatever.

So anyway, all week long, whenever Sweetie has washed her hands, she's reminded herself to interdigitate.

Well - sometimes she's said interdugitate. But I'll give her a break - this time. She learns the word at 3 years old. Hubby and I learn the word at 30+ years old.

You learn something new everyday.

Monday, September 18, 2006

He's Here!

Milo's here! Yay!

I finally got my very own Milo My Ninja Seal shirt! Cool! Actually, I got my first shirt about a week ago, didn't like the placement of the artwork on the front side, had it fixed, and now I'M HAPPY!!!!

So - now that I worked out the kinks of the design, you can all click on over to BlanchardCreative and get your own. Or, if a shirt's not your thing, why not go for the tote back, mouse pad or stamps? Lots of choices - take your pick!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Mama Monday #31

Theme: Clear

If you haven't noticed already that my posts have become somewhat more photo driven, then take another look.

I'm especially loving the macro function on our otherwise-almost-worthless digital camera.

I love how up close and personal I can get and still produce such crisp, clear pictures.

Whether it's plant life

or random "still life"

The results - like a gorgeous New England pre-autumn day - are always dramatic, always beatiful, always clean and clear.

Oh No, Not Again - Procrastination

But before we get to the procrastinating - here's a couple Sweetie-isms to make up for my failings yesterday -

Hubby spent Friday day with Sweetie because my parents are currently whoopin' it up in Ohio at some sort of old tractor show. (I'm sure my dad's having a blast. I'm sure my mom is not).

Somewhere around mid morning I emailed home to check on how Hubby and Sweetie were doing. I got this following email back (more or less - I just tried to find the email and I guess I deleted it. Oh well):

Sweetie's fine. We had waffles for breakfast. Now she's a tree. Trees like to close doors with their hands. They also like to walk around, tip to toe, all "bendy bendy".


Friday night, Sweetie was all mine. One of the things I did was give her a bath. As she sat in the suds, she began to sing.

In your head, In your head....

Are you singing Zombie, Sweetie?

Yeah... Zommie, Zommie, Zommie, ee, ee

Did you watch Daddy's tape of the singing show today?

Yeah... we watched Supernova today. We watched Rockstar: Supernova.

Oh, okay then. I thought so.

Later, when I talked to Hubby, I asked if he had ever told Sweetie the name of the show they were watching.

No, I just asked her if she wanted to watch the singing show with me.

Wow. Like I've said before - she's a very good listener - when she wants to be. Before Friday, she'd only seen short glimpses of Rockstar because it was usually on after she went to bed. But the girl knows talent when she sees it and a good song when she hears it! Poor Dilana - I'm excited to see her solo career take off, though.


Now - procrastinating. Cool. I was the queen of procrastinating in high school and college. Convincing myself that I did my best work under pressure (and, to be honest, I did usually do very well with my last minute essays and other assignment completions). But it's still not a very admirable trait.

My propensity to procrastinate is even pretty funny when you consider that I was a tutor for a few years. I was always touting the importance of pacing yourself and working well ahead of time so that you never get overwhelmed with assignments piling up on top of each other.

I sure talked a good game. But putting it all into practice for myself.... not so good.

Now, with my various writing assignments, I'm still a huge procrastinator. For example, I usually have a Club Mom deadline on the 15th of every month. So last weekend I was all like, I really have to get my writing done. I can't be in charge of watching Sweetie - I've got too much to do!

Then I noticed in an email from my editor that, this time, our deadline was Sept. 18th. Cool! I didn't have to rush like I thought I did - freeing up last weekend very nicely indeed.

Now - tomorrow is the 18th. And, while I started to jot down ideas for my Club Mom writings, I'm nowhere near having completed offerings. Making things worse - we spent all day yesterday out and about shopping for our upcoming cruise. And today Hubby has to go off to my parents' house to work on their 3-season porch (my FIL built the porch - Hubby is completing the interior work). So that means Sweetie is left here with me. Exactly NOT the ideal situation for having a good writing day.

I've already explained to Sweetie that Daddy is going off to work today and that I have to work a lot on the computer. So that means Sweetie is going to have to spend lots of time working alone in her activity book, watching videos, or playing her own games. I'm going to be too busy to play. :(

Ahhhh, the story of my life, it seems..... too busy writing about Sweetie to actually spend time playing with her.

Now THAT'S something to muse upon for awhile. Something I've wanted to ruminate on for awhile now, actually. But, alas, not today. Too, too much to do....

So - on with the laundry, getting Sweetie dressed, vaccuuming, dishes..... OH, and the WRITING! Oh, yeah. Almost forgot....

Ugh.... It's going to be a long day.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #25 - Slacker Edition

Oops! Looks like time got away from me today. We left this morning for some "quick" pre-cruise shopping and just got home now, in time for dinner. Oh well.

Too wiped to post anything major today - sorry. But I promise I'll be back tomorrow and I'll toss in a few Sweetie-isms in that post. There are a couple of good ones from this week, so I wouldn't want you to miss out on some cute laughs.

Hope you didn't miss me too much. See you tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I'd Love You To Love Me

So, last week I mentioned how different things are around here now that Hubby is working some night shifts. I'm putting Sweetie to bed a few nights a week now instead of Hubby being the tucker inner all the time. Fine. That's all going well enough. No huge problems. Except....

Sweetie basically wants nothing to do with me. On the nights Hubby is here, I ask for my usual from Sweetie - a hug, a kiss and a nose (rub noses together like Eskimo kisses). But most of the time lately, she refuses me this treat.

No! Nothing! I want nothing! she tells me.

Now I'm finding myself a bit perplexed. On the one hand, I don't want to make the act of giving me a hug, a kiss and a nose some sort of punishment. But on the other hand, it is a cute thing I myself look forward to and I think it's a nice way for she and I to end each day. Still, most of the time if she starts to put up a fuss about it, I just let it go and she's able to go to bed with her requisite "nothing".

Last night, though, was different. I guess I was on some sort of mission or something. I don't know. And I don't know if I was in the "right". Here's what happened...

It started with Sweetie asking for a popsicle a little later in the evening than I would have liked to have given her one. But Hubby and I agreed that she did eat a good dinner, so the treat was rewarded. Not before I could make a conditional request, though.

If I give you a popsicle now, will you give me a hug and a kiss and a nose at bedtime.

Uh huh.

So she was given her popsicle, had a few licks, then decided she wanted it all to melt in the accompanying bowl. She'd drink the melted juice instead. Trouble is, it was so close to bedtime that the popsicle didn't really have enough time to melt. And so she quickly lost interest in it and it just sat.

Then it was bedtime and I asked our happy-until-that-point-little-girl if I could have my end of the bargain fulfilled.

No! Nothing! I want nothing!

Long story short - she threw a fit for a good 15-20 minutes over just wanting to go to bed and not wanting to be nice to me. I even enlisted Hubby's help on this, and he and I told Sweetie that if she wasn't nice to me, we weren't going to be nice to her. She could either give me my hug, kiss and nose and then Daddy would take her to bed, or she could just go on her own (after Daddy turned on the lights for her).

Well, she didn't like either option at all. She almost started to take herself away, but then stopped, flipping out in a bigger fit.

On any other night, I would have been all, Fine, whatever. Take her to bed. But last night I wanted my way!

I couldn't believe it - this little 3 year old girl was genuinely hurting my feelings (although I don't think she intended to). I was really upset that she wanted nothing to do with me. And the more she worked herself up about the indignity of having to give Mommy the time of day, the more I was hurt by it all.

Ultimately, Hubby and I stuck by our guns and Sweetie changed her tune. I mean really changed it. After some time she stopped her crying, came to give me a BIG hug, and very sweetly told me she loved me (I still didn't get my kiss and nose, but whatever). Finally, so much longer after Sweetie could have been snug in her bed, Hubby was able to take her up and tuck her in. Whew!

So, tonight it was just she and I. And, just like last Wednesday, she just wanted to go to bed. No having me read to her like Daddy does. And, again, no hug, kiss and nose.

No, nothing. I want nothing. I just want to go to sleep.

Okay then, Sweetie.... I love you, Sweetie.

I love you too, Mommy.

If you say so - you sure do have a funny way of showing it, though.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A Tribute

Battalion Chief Orio Joseph Palmer, Battalion #7 , Manhattan.

I never met him - had never even heard mention of him before - yet we were a mere few degrees of separation away from ever crossing paths. Married to my sister-in-law's cousin, Orio was the closest personal connection I had to the events of September 11th, 2001.

What do I know about Orio? Well, he was one of the very few fire fighters to reach the 78th floor of the World Trade Center, South - the highest level reached by any rescue workers. But more than that, I've learned just a little bit about the man behind the hero. From the accounts of his life I've read and from what I've learned from my family, I hope I can give my readers a glimpse into the great man Orio Palmer was.

First and foremost, he was a loving husband and father of three. Called the Music Man by his kids, he loved all types of music (but perhaps especially the classic rock of Led Zeppelin) and often embarrassed his kids with his "goony" dances.

Orio was a marathon runner, completing the New York Marathon on several occasions, among many others. He loved training on the hottest days of the hottest months of the year. It was the firefighter in him, I suppose. He loved the heat!

Orio was also very interested in restoration carpentry, working hard to restore the house he purchased with his wife, striving to turn it into the house of their dreams.

When it came to his job, Orio never settled for anything but the best. As my brother put it, he was never "stagnant" - always pushing for better conditions, improved communication, and top notch skills. He not only pushed himself to be the best he could be, but he insisted upon the best from those he worked with. A hard worker with a very strong work ethic, he was both a true leader and a loyal friend and coworker who couldn't help but gain the respect of everyone he came in contact with.

Orio Palmer - a silly, music loving family man. A passionate athlete and hobbyist. And a selfless, hard working man interested in improving conditions and helping others above all else.

Hmmmm.... no wonder I've grown so fond of Orio from the admittedly little I've learned about him - he reminds me of the important men I love in my own life - my husband, dad, grandfathers and brothers.

To Orio - a true hero and one outstanding husband, dad, brother and (future) grandfather. You are greatly loved and sorely missed. R.I.P.

For more tributes to the victims of 9/11, please click here.

Mama Monday #30

Theme: Beauty Is...

...watching our Sweetie grow up into an intelligent, expressive, vibrant and caring individual.


Here we go again. It seems like a common theme - in my blog, and in my life. So many things to do, but no motivation to do any of them.

Writing deadlines to meet, a house to clean, a checkbook to balance, forms to fill out, an upcoming vacation to prepare for (cuz if I don't start thinking about it now, the next thing I know I'll have only 24 hours to get everyone packed and out of the house), medical procedures to meet about, research more, get second opinions on, and schedule treatment for, etc., etc., etc.... It just never ends.

But what do I want to do today? Oh, I don't know. Not much. But not any of all that either.... Ho hum.....

Hubby just whisked Sweetie away for a little while so I could have some writing time. So I guess I'll start on that (oh, look. I have already. Sunday blog post - almost done. Yay for me!).

Maybe it's the time of year - Autumn is fast approaching (it's not even mid-September yet and the leaves are already browning and falling to the ground below) and things seem so blah. Normally I love Autumn - the colors are amazing, the crisp, cool air is refreshing, and the smell of leaves and hot apple pie seem to follow you everywhere. We got married in Autumn - we truly do love it. And living in NH at this time of the year is definitely the place to be. But still.....

So - no, I don't know what I'm getting at here. I feel, all at once, like a restless soul in dire need of a little R&R. My body is tired but my mind is full.

Back to square one, then... When all else fails, and I feel like doing absolutely nothing, and I especially don't feel like writing - I write. And, as what I imagine physical exercise does for most people, I will feel oh so much better after the mentally aerobic workout of putting my thoughts down on (albiet "virtual") "paper".

Yeah, so... after my little nap then... I'll get right on it..... maybe.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #24 - Dance In Smarty Pants Edition

Two weeks ago I kept Sweetie home from school because of a stomach bug. So when we went back this week, things seemed totally changed (I hadn't realized that we were now entering the "official" start of the school year for her).

Long story short - it turns out the center's director and Sweetie's teachers feel Sweetie is advanced enough now to enter the 4- year old pre-kindergarten class (instead of waiting until her December birthday). Great!

That evening, as I'm driving home with Sweetie, I had her practice what she'd tell Daddy - I'm 3-years old, but I'm smart enough to be with the 4-year olds! She said it just right.

Then we got home and this is what she told her Daddy,

Daddy, I'm 3-years old but I'm smarter than the other kids and I can go in the 4-year old class now!

And again, when I had her tell the secretary at our chiropractic office,

I'm 3-years old, but I'm smarter than they are!

Looks like we've got a little head case on our hands, huh?


Last weekend I bought Sweetie a new book, Finding Fairyland. It's a wonderful hidden picture book and she really loves it. But, after just one time looking through the pages, she already knows where all the hidden pictures are.

So when we took it over to my parents' house and Nana started asking Sweetie to find all the images, she practically had her finger pointing in the right place before my mom could get the words out.

After a few rounds of this, Sweetie found the latest requested picture and then declared,

I'm too smart!

Yes you are, Sweetie. Yes you are.


Sweetie loves to play games on the computer and is pretty good with the mouse. She needs very little help to play the games she loves.

This past week my mom was playing games with Sweetie and then set her up to play on her own while mom talked to my brother (hi, Rob) on the phone. But in just a few minutes, Sweetie was running out to Nana, with a piece of paper in her hand.

Nana, can we make this please! I printed it.

Wow! She had in fact found the right buttons to push to print instructions for making a toilet paper roll micophone from one of her favorite sites.

After said microphone was assembled, Sweetie knew it needed one final touch.

Now it needs a string out the bottom, Nana.

Right you are, Sweetie. Too, too smart.


Other randomness from the week:

Sweetie asked me the other day, while we were driving home, to, Do Periwinkle, Mommy.

What? What's that?

It's when you put your hands on your head and stick out your tongue.

It is? Who taught you that?


At that, I turned around to look at her. Sure enough, she had her tongue sticking out and her fingers up and wiggle at the side of her head.

Oh! Bullwinkle! You're doing Bullwinkle, not Periwinkle.

Yeah, Bullwinkle. Do Bullwinkle, Mommy.


Mom and Sweetie went for a walk the other day and encounter some "natural" items along the way. Nana had to tell Sweetie to not step in the dog poop.

Apparently, Sweetie was all sorts of fascinated by the pile of poo. My mom had to explain to her that doggies don't use the potty like people do.

Yeah. Sweetie said. That puppy had a little accident.

And on that lovely note - have a great day!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

As God As My Witness - We May Very Well Go Hungry

Hubby's new work schedule is putting all of our schedules just a bit out of whack.

We always have a chiropractic appointment on Wednesdays after work - me, every week. Hubby, every other. Now - who knows when Hubby will be able to go (despite taking on a more physical job that will probably require him to visit the chiropractor more often). His availability will depend on when and where he's working with his dad.

We always go grocery shopping together after work on Thursdays before we pick Sweetie up at my parents. Now - well, it looks like we may end up starving. I can't easily go grocery shopping on my own. It's physically difficult for me to maneuver the cart through the aisles and then get the heavy bags into the house. Also, Hubby is really the chef in our home - he loves to cook and he knows what we should pick up each week to keep us fed well. Plus - he's pretty picky about getting the exact items he's looking for. So I wouldn't dream of trying to grocery shop for the family on my own - I mean, who knows what I'm likely to bring into this house if left to my own devices, you know?

But, that being said - I don't know when Hubby is going to find the time to grocery shop for us. It certainly doesn't look like it's going to be a set weekly appointment anymore. The only thing "set" about Hubby's work schedule is the three evenings a week he's working at the newspaper. But who wants to go grocery shopping at 11:30 pm (although it is possible - at least one of our local grocery stores is open 24/7)?

And just today I rescheduled again - for the third time - our two cats' vet appointments. Yes, they're annoying as all get out. And, yes, we'd just as soon give them up for adoption at this point (seriously - we're never home enough for them. It's not fair to them to live like this. They need a good home. Any takers? 4- year old female, indoor cats - both spade). But the poor things do deserve to have their annual check-ups. It's just increasingly difficult to fit things like this in these days. Ugh!

Then, included in all of this.... I now find myself on Sweetie bedtime duty three nights a week. Yuck!

I'm too used to the way things have always been - she gives me a hug and a kiss and a nose, I ask her a couple questions about when she'll get up in the morning and if she promises to stay in bed all night, and then Daddy takes her up, tucks her in and reads her a story. Sounds good to me! But, noooooo. Now I'm doing it all. And can I just tell you that I am not a good putter to bedder? Make sure she has Teddy - go back downstairs and hunt down Teddy if he's not in bed already - make sure she's all set with the potty - and, worst of all, read a bedtime story. I just can't deal.

I'm too tired at the end of my day to get all sweet and lovey-dovey and animated about bedtime stories (just tonight, Sweetie was looking me square in the eye, telling me about the red wrinkes I have in my eyes. Great.) I've listened to my Hubby through the baby monitor as he excitedly reads to Sweetie, using silly voices and lots of energy. Me? I skim the pages for ways to shortcut/modify the story while trying not to yawn my way through every other word.

And Lord help us both if Sweetie gives me any troubles. Fussy Sweetie makes for fussy Mommy, especially at bedtime - a Mommy who especially doesn't want to read to and be all lovey to a little button-pushing girl.

So far, though - it's okay. Tonight actually went pretty well (aside from the whole hunting-for-Teddy thing). All my fussing and moaning is, for now, just that. We'll get by.

We'll manage. Or starve. Whichever - we'll make it work.*

* Shameless Project Runway plug. It's on now - gotta go! :)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Mama Monday #29

Theme: Space

A couple weekends ago, my father-in-law came over to help my Hubby finally install our two new bedroom windows (windows that he meant to put in during our July vacation). Since the room was in disrepair because of the windows, Hubby asked me if I'd like to take this opportunity to paint our room. Sure!

You see, he and I were kind of gypped out of a bedroom redesign last year. Sweetie's current room used to be ours. Last summer, during our vacation, Hubby and I had the grand idea to stripped the room down to the studs, paint the new walls red on top and - underneath a chair rail photo ledge along each wall - faux leather. And, to top it all off (literally), a beadboard ceiling. It was going to be awesome.

But things changed and the pressure to get it all done so quickly started to get to us. Plus, in the mean time we had moved to the true master bedroom in the house and we were starting to like it there. So we made a switch.

Our old room became Sweetie's big girl room. Peachy walls, white trim, a second closet, and that beadboard ceiling with recessed lighting. A beautiful room for our beautiful girl.

But we got nothing more than a new, old room. How blah. Oh well.

So when Hubby suggested an inexpensive paint job to spruce things up, I jumped at the offer. The only obstacle would be getting us to agree on a color. With Hubby's art education and graphic design sensibilities, he has very strong opinions on what he likes. As do I. This was going to be tough.

Surprisingly, though, it really wasn't. We took a trip to the store to start looking at paint chips and pretty immediately started looking in the same color family. Albeit, perhaps, a pretty unconventional color family: browns.

Ultimately we excitedly agreed upon a deep, rich color: chocolate pudding.

Since we had the primer mixed to match, we knew immediately what we got ourselves into. Actually, that first coat of primer didn't go on so well. But the second coat and then the two coats of paint all did much better. And we are extremely please with the results.

The color really does look like chocolate pudding. Makes you want to lick the walls, it looks so warm, rich, inviting and yummy.

The room's not done yet. Hubby just painted the baseboards Sugarcane white, and then he's got to finish the inside trim on the windows - also to be Sugarcane. Then, with the repositioning of the bed, maybe a snazzy bamboo rug from Hubby's cleaned out office, a small seating area, some shelving made from leftover lumber we already have from other projects, and finally getting some of our framed artwork up on the walls, our new space will finally become the cozy sanctuary we've been dreaming of.

From new windows, to a spur of the moment painting idea, to recycled and repurposed additons to the room - we're going to absolutely love our new space.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Meet Milo!

As I've mentioned here before, my Hubby is a very funny, silly, punny, creative, intelligent guy. As a benefit of this, I've gotten some pretty creative gifts over the years.

After we saw the movie Simon Birch years ago, he gave me two homemade turtle doves for Christmas (literally two ceramic turtles with white Fimo wings baked on).

A few years ago he made me a wooden box puzzle for which I had to solve the riddles to find the clues to open the box (a la The Da Vinci Code) and get the present inside.

And he's made me countless homemade cards, artwork, collages and trinkets.

But perhaps one that touched me the most (okay, maybe not the most. I mean, every gift he's given and/or made has touched me deeply because of the sentimental value and love behind it) was this silly seal:

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Milo, My Ninja Seal.

(Come on. Say his name out loud now. Milo, My Ninja Seal. Perhaps it sounds familiar to some of you????)

You see, as we all know and love, I have spina bifida. But the more technical name for the condition is myelomeningocele.

What?, my to-be Hubby asked when I first ever said the word to him.

mye-lo-men-ingo-cele. Another name for spina bifida.

And that was that.

Months later, it's Christmas night and he and I are opening our gifts from each other. One of mine being Milo.

I didn't get it. Why was he giving me this silly seal dressed up like Zorro?

But then he explained who exactly I was looking at - Milo, My Ninja Seal, and I just melted. How cool is that?!!!! I ran right out to show my parents my newfound friend and to quiz them on what his name was.

Okay, here's your clues. He's a seal. His name is Milo. He's mine. And he's dressed like a Ninja.

I don't think they guessed right away either, but were nonetheless equally impressed and excited when I told them the answer.

Cut to these so many years later. Hubby and I have always thought we should do something more with Milo, but what? And now, thanks to Hubby's creative graphic design skills, we have.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the new and improved Milo!

And, no, the fun doesn't stop with just this little cartoon rendition. Now you too can grab your own little piece of Milo over at my section of BlanchardCreative. Products and clothing of all kinds and sizes. Milo is ready and willing to come to your home, move right in, and warm your heart!

Milo is kid-friendly and a positive role model for all people living with spina bifida, stressing the importance of recognizing your disabilities while realizing your possibilities. You go, Milo!

So click over and take a look. If you find yourself saying, Gee, I sure would be interested if I could buy X with Milo's image on it., just let me know and I'll see if I can add that product to the line up. This is your store too - your wishes are my command.

Also, if enough orders are placed that would make a decent contribution, I'll happily donate 10% of the proceeds to The Spina Bifida Association of America. Little by little, we can make a difference - in attitudes, in empowerment, and in affecting a change for the better!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #23

Sweetie decided this week that her horse-on-a-stick riding toy's name is Hard Toe. We thought she was saying Harto and thought that was a pretty interesting name she chose. But then she corrected us.

No. Hard Toe, because his toe (the stick) is hard.

Oh. Okay, whatever you say Sweetie. Good name.


Like I said last time, Sweetie and I were sickly earlier this week (she actually still is, kinda sorta. Just not quite herself yet). So maybe I was lounging around in my big, ratty nightgown the other day. And, yeah, so maybe I haven't been inspired to keep up with my personal care as much as I should. So when Sweetie came to sit next to me in my less than adorable state and happened to brush against my stubbly naked knees, she was caught off guard.

Upon curiously rubbing my knees a bit more:

Mommy, you have hair just like Daddy's!

And then she goes off to not only tell Daddy this little gem of information she just discovered, but to also take her turn rubbing Daddy's hair upon his stubbly chin.

Yes, funny. No, not helping to make me feel any better about myself.


More hair speak:

Sweetie told me the other day,

I love your curly hair, Mommy.

Thank you Sweetie. I love your curly hair too.

Then Daddy wanted in on the lovin' and asked if Sweetie loved his curly hair (remember - the man is practically bald. But right now he's doing the growing-it-out thing, just until he gets a chance to shave it all over again).

You don't have curly hair, Daddy.

I don't? What kind of hair do I have?

You have line hair.

Good observation, Sweetie. Good job. :)


We woke up to Sweetie's cries at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning. Frantically, frightenedly calling,

Mommy! Mommy, Daddy!

Turns out she was sick. Or just about to be, anyway. We were so proud of her and so impressed that she realized she was about to be sick and called for us to help before anything actually happened - just a tiny bit on her comforter before we got her to the bathroom.

Then, as Sweetie was just finishing up her first round of vomiting, she declared (in a kinda scared/kinda cry-y/kinda self-reassuring voice):

I'm okay!

Yes, Sweetie. Just hang in there and you'll be feeling fine very soon.