Wednesday, February 28, 2007

4 Is The New Good

Finslippy, one of the fabulous bloggers I read, recently wrote this post about her son, Henry. She touts the wonders of his age - 4 1/2 years old. A great age! An amazing age!

Even though Sweetie is just 2 months into her 4th year - I have to agree. 4 is awesome!

She's sensitive (asking me to play with her, but telling me I'm too sore to play like this, sit there, or do such and such activity. Visibly upset when we're disappointed in something she's done. Beaming with pride when she does something great).

She's helpful (taking dry laundry from the dryer to the bathroom, living room or folded towels to the kitchen drawer. Or even folded laundry upstairs to her room).

She's patient (I'll watch this while you write and wait for you to play with me after. - something she just said to me as I started this post).

She's cooperative (sharing everything from food to toys to TV-watching times with me and Daddy).

She's so smart....

She works in her "school books", learning simple math and reading.

She can put together her USA map puzzle all by herself and she knows several of the states by name and/or sight. In fact, I was telling my mom this the other day while Sweetie and I were visiting her house and I mentioned that Sweetie knows Mickey Mouse's state of Florida. Then I asked Sweetie what picture was on Florida's puzzle piece. Is it a peacock? I asked - really, that's what I seemed to remember that it was. But Sweetie quickly corrected me - No, it's not a peacock! It's an alligator! And, indeed, it is. Wow!

Just a little while ago, Sweetie and I were "playing" Blokus. She doesn't play by the correct rules, but she does like to put all the pieces on the grid so that each and every piece fits. Then she can spend a long, long time, by herself, switching out the pieces, rearranging the grid so that all the pieces continue to have a spot on the board. Brilliant!

And Sweetie is understanding. Almost shockingly so.

This past weekend she got it in her head that she wanted to go to the Peanuts on the Floor Store. We told her we couldn't go then but we'd go in a few days. Hubby even made a deal with her that if she ate great dinners at home for a few nights, then on Tuesday night we'd go to the Peanuts on the Floor Store.

Yesterday, of course, was Tuesday. The big day. And she had eaten some really great dinners, so the restaurant visit was definitely deserved. Now all we had to do was wait for Daddy to come home from work, then we'd go.

She kept asking me all day long if it was time to go yet. She kept asking when Daddy would be home. She knew she wanted to get macaroni and cheese and chocolate milk for dinner and she was excited!

Then it was getting later and later. I feared Daddy would now be home too late to go out again. And I warned Sweetie that I thought this would be the case.

At one point I thought I heard Hubby drive in the driveway. Sweetie excitedly said, Now we can go to the Peanuts on the Floor Store! But I had to remind her that it was too late to go today. We'd go another time.

Oh. Okay.

Alas, it wasn't Hubby driving in at that time. He was later still. Didn't walk in the door until close to 6:30pm. He quietly asked me if I still wanted to go out, but I said no. We'll go another time.

And Sweetie never once put up a stink about it. For all her excitement about it, for all her questions all day long about when we'd go - literally all she said to me when I said we couldn't go today was, Oh. That's it. Wow.

I keep thinking back to last summer. When I wrote posts like this and this. How much I couldn't handle Sweetie's antics. How trying she was. How stressful and frustrating her behavior was. The supreme craziness she was bringing into my life. 3 1/2 was busting my chops in a big, big way.

Huh. Now I have 4 year old Sweetie. Good Sweetie. Sweet sweetie. My little girl has returned.

I've really loved spending my recovery time with her. We've played together, we've done chores together, we've watched TV together. And we've played and worked and watched separately as well. I'm often concerned about whether or not I'm playing with her enough - do I leave her to her own imagination too much? Do I allow too much TV? Is it detrimental that I ask, even expect, her to help with some chores instead of letting her play and do and be a kid?

But, no, maybe not. She's really good. She's really smart. She's really helpful.

Either I'm doing this mom thing pretty well after all, or Sweetie's just too with it to let my little parenting slip ups beat her down.

Never let The Man (or the Mom, or the Dad, or anyone, for that matter) beat you down, Sweetie. Never.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Mama Monday #50

Theme: Static

Was going to post a picture of Sweetie's crazy, staticy hair... couldn't get a good shot.

Coulda written about the staticy snow on so many of our former T.V. channels.... been there, done that.

Suppose I could have pulled together a deep, philosophical post on how nice it would be to stay static, in the moment of Sweetie's childhood, while simultaneously wondering what her future holds and being excited to see where life takes her.... don't feel like it/pretty much did that already (but too lazy to find the link(s). Sorry).

I think my weekend of crazy blog-related mishaps has ruined me for wanting to spend much time writing anything here at all.

Oh well. I best get back to the static-laden couch (can you hear the static electricity coursing through our furniture?) and cuddle up with Sweetie.... that is, right after I up the dryness factor in our house by adding more wood to the woodstove. And maybe, in awhile, I'll try to tame Sweetie's hair... not the wild curls of summertime, but the dead, straw-like bird's nest that is wintertime.

All that, after Oprah. At least I can still watch her.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Now Gimme My Stinkin' Oscar

Edited to add that - duh - the links here don't get you anywhere because I password protected my videos. Which I ultimately want and appreciate because I don't want any old fool at Vimeo seeing my Sweetie. But it doesn't obviously do you guys any good at all. At any rate.... I'm done. I'm not taking this post down because it's what I intended to post today. Y'all deserve to know at least that much. But... that's it. I can't waste more time on this. I don't know. Tons of other bloggers out there post their own videos on their sites. Don't know why I can't do it right. Bah. On to bigger and better things


(do you know how many posts I'd have liked to have named Dude!? Or how many posts I could have easily started with that simple exclamation? Many).

Anyway - Dudes! And Dudettes! Hubby and I figured it out. And we also figured out that YouTube stinks and Vimeo is friendlier.

So now I can show you my homemade videos! Trouble is, I still can't figure out the coding for how to embed the videos here on my blog. So I'll have to give you a link instead. Also, for me, said videos are no longer even remotely humorous since I've been looking at them and edititing them and trying to upload them over and over and over and OVER for over a day now. BUT - I can vaguely recall that they were at least mildly amusing when I saw them any of the, oh, first 10 times or so. So, here's hopin' you, my friendly neighborhood blog readers, will get a kick out of 'em.

At any rate y'all can finally see my Sweetie live and in person. That's cool, huh? And you can also hear my own tiny little girl voice. That's always fun, right? (BTW - do you know how many mom blogger videos I've seen by now from other moms and each and every one of them sounds the way I believe I sound to the world? Which is to say, not very good. Very little girl-ish. Very tiny. Oh well - we're all surpised when we hear what our voice really sounds like, I think.. anyway, enough with the rambling, Amy).

First up is my interview with Sweetie in which she answers some of life's important questions. No go, watch, enjoy. I'll wait.....


Oh, hi! Cute, huh? The video did go on a bit from that point, but she honestly didn't say anything that worthy of air time after what you see here.

Next we have Sweetie explaining to me how to play Checkers. Keep in mind, she's never played checkers before. But I think she did an awesome job anyway. Sorry the videograpy is not so great - it's difficult to learn a new game and video tape all at the same time as being too sore.

Now, please excuse me while I go sleep. Or die. Or - shock! - maybe even try to think of something that would actually be mentally stimulating to post here for next time.

Yeah, probably not. Oh well - see you next time!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sweetie Saturday #46 - Frustrated Mama Edition

Hi there. Very frustrated now. Hubby and I just spend the last couple of hours figuring out how to edit movies on our computer and upload them to YouTube.

For some reason the videos didn't "take". Too bad - y'all were going to see Sweetie Saturday today instead of just read it.

Oh well. Now I'm just too tired and frustrated to write anything at all. If anyone out there can tell me how to successfully upload (I was trying to upload a .mov file and I followed the directions - they videos just failed) then please do and I'll post them as soon as I can.

Otherwise - there's nothing today. Sorry. See you tomorrow.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #16 - The Final Edition

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The hostess of Thursday Thirteen has decided to close down shop. No more Thursday Thirteens after this one. How sad. :(

13 Things I've Said Goodbye To This Week

1) Cable TV

2) A bad habit

3) High credit card interest rates

4) A messy, cluttered bedroom

5) A ton of books I don't love and don't need taking up room in my house

6) The painful past

7) Hopelessness

8) Resentment

9) The better part of my long recovery from surgery

10) The majority of crossword puzzles in a large crossword puzzle book that's been helping to keep my mind active during my recovery.

11) A return-to-sender package that's been sitting in my house since November.

12) Another return-to-sender package that's been sitting in my house for a week.

13) The Thursday Thirteen - this was fun! I will miss it. Thanks for several great weeks of creative posting.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Blessing In Disguise

So, our cable got downgraded a couple days ago. Really downgraded. To the most basic of all basic channel options. That means no more TLC, no more Food Network, no more Bravo. And, for poor little Sweetie - no more Disney Channel or Nick.

Oh, woe is us.

This downgrade wasn't by choice but by our cable company. It's a long story but basically they made a mistake, years ago, giving us more cable channels than they should have. Recently, the original company was bought out and my guess is that this new company is just setting every account straight, making sure each customer is getting what they're paying for.

They found us out. Okay, then. Whatever.

To upgrade back to what we've gotten used to would mean an extra $30+ dollars a month. I don't think so. Hubby and I agree - let's give this fewer T.V. options thing a shot.

And let me tell ya - so far, so good.

The first evening, we actually turned the T.V. off around dinner time and instituted Family Music Hour - pick a CD or favorite radio station and start dancin' (also a great distraction for Sweetie against the Zach and Cody and Raven episodes she'd be missing).

Yesterday during the middle of the day, Sweetie and I went grocery shopping with my mom. That is, mom took Sweetie and I to do our grocery shopping (usually a task left up to Hubby - or at least a team effort between he and I. So it was nice to take charge and get out and about).

Today during the late morning hours I - gasp - went up and cleaned out the clutter from our bedroom. The bed is made, the clothes and magazines that were heaped on the chair are all sorted and put away (mags sorted alphabetically and by date). And I even brought in a nice little side table and table top decorations to liven up the joint.

Best yet - Hubby likes it! (Again, he and I usually work together to organize and rearrange things. But I guess I did okay on my own with this one).

Hubby and I were pretty sure we'd handle the fewer T.V. options pretty well. It's always been our goal anyway to watch less, but with so many choices it was hard to abide by. Still, I'm most going to miss What Not To Wear. And Hubby is going to miss Good Eats. But, really, it's fine. Whatever.

I was worried about Sweetie, though. She's used to watching Hi-5 in the early morning. And she's an absolute nut for Blue's Clues. She also enjoys The Backyardigans and The Wonder Pets. Then, in the evening, there's Zach and Cody, Raven and Hannah Montana. Would she put up a stink? Would she demand to know where her shows went?

Well, it's only been a couple days now, but - she's fine. Great thing about her age is that she's easily distracted. Yes, she has a great memory. She knows that after Backyardigans is The Wonder Pets. But if I turn the T.V. off and tell her, Now you can play Hulabaloo! - then that's what she's up for. Wonder Pets? What's a Wonder Pet?

So - life is good.

Ironically, thanks to The Secret, I decided I wanted to make a collage board with pictures and words depicting all the wonderful things I want in my/our life. One of the things I intend to put on this board is the saying, More reality, less T.V. I thought of this, oh, I don't know, on Monday evening. Tuesday midday, our cable was downgraded.

Looks like that Law of Attraction thing truly is a powerful force.

(BTW, I also intend to have much more disposable cash in our lives. And a couple days ago I decided to ask the credit card companies for a lower interest rate for both Hubby and my cards. "Sure! No problem." Yay! - there's a ton of saved money right there! We are on a roll.).

Monday, February 19, 2007

Mama Monday #49

Theme: Shoes

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to post this video for this week's theme.

New Shoes, by Paolo Nutini.

Hubby introduced us to this song and Sweetie just loves it. However, even though she does know the correct version of the main chorus line, she much prefers to sing the silly version her Daddy taught her.

Hey, I put some Blue's Clues on and suddenly everything's right!


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Birthdays, Buckets and Bonfires

So, we had two birthday parties yesterday.

One for our youngest niece, who just turned 2.

And one for our oldest niece, who's just about to turn 20.

Both parties were fun. We enjoyed visiting with both sides of our families, enjoying good food and lots of excitement. And Sweetie made out like a bandit, getting fishie party favors at the first party, and a Valentine's Day gift at the second one.

But what I liked best was my and Sweetie's grand entrance to the second party (which happened to be a bonfire party).

I guess my sister-in-law had been a bit concerned about how I'd be able to get back to the fire. But my brother told her not to worry, he had a plan. He had it all worked out.

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See above? That's me and Sweetie, riding in the bucket of my brother's tractor. We travelled from their driveway, up a little hill, and on back to their backyard to where all the action was.

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No, not the greatest picture of me, but it certainly shows my shock and amazement at what I'd just experienced. And, no, Sweetie doesn't seem all that thrilled in this shot. But she was excited, let me tell you!

In fact, I think the whole experience must have been nothing but thrilling for her. She'd never seen such a big fire before. There was ice cream cake, marshmallows for roasting, music to dance to, and kids and family of all ages to play with and make new friends with.

Plus, hey.... two birthday parties in one day! What kid wouldn't love that?!

It was a late night for us. Sweetie didn't fall asleep during the car ride home (but she did on the car ride between parties). And we didn't get home until 10:30pm. But she went right to bed and hasn't given us any crankiness problems today.

It was a lot of driving around too, but I'm so glad we got to both parties. It was important for Hubby and I to attend both nieces' parties, and I knew how much both Birthday Girls were looking forward to us helping them celebrate their big days.

Family is so important. I'm so glad we live close to so many members of our families.

And thank goodness for creative thinking and heavy equipment! Without it, I'd never have been able to attend such exciting events!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Sweetie Saturday #45 - The Honesty Edition

Hey! Guess what?! I'm feeling better! I can even, like, climb stairs and stuff now! Still, not too much, but one or twice a day up and down the stairs is definitely manageable if I take my time.

That being said, Sweetie helped me the other day when she and I both took piles of clean laundry upstairs.

Her first trip, all I gave her to carry were some pairs of undies and some socks. When we got to the drop off location (my walk-in closet), I placed my pile of nicely folded clothes down on the floor. And Sweetie tossed her load wildly into the air.

Ugh. But whatever, it's just undies and socks.

We came downstairs for more but, for my part, I was done doing stairs for the day. I gave Sweetie her second pile of clothes and instructed her to take them back to my closet.

But this time, please don't toss the clothes. Just put the pile neatly on top of the pile I left.

Okay, Mom.

A minute or so passed and Sweetie came down the stairs again.

Do you think you can take one more pile for me, Sweetie?

Sure, Mom... But, well.... I really need to talk to you for a minute.

Okay, come here. (she scampers to my side)

What would you like to talk about?

Then, after a moment's hesitation, and with an impish smile on her face, she whispers to me,

Well, I ..... I tossed it!


You did? Well, thanks for telling me the truth, but you shouldn't have done that. I wanted you not to toss my clothes. Can you try again to do it the right way?


This last time, she proudly proclaimed that she did it nicely.

Thanks so much, Sweetie.


Sweetie recently got a new board book. It came with a dry erase pen and has lots of activities for pre-schoolers to do and learn from.

After she went through the book once, she was ready for me to clean off the marker so she could start again.

Against my better judgement (i.e. - too lazy/sore to get up and get a damp towel), I just used my "mom spit" to clean up the markings, Sweetie watching intently the whole time.

And so, since then, we have Sweetie using her own (Sweetie) water and (Sweetie) soap (except she uses her real name when she says it), to make lots of different things clean and shiny - from her face, to a mess on the table, to (hopelessly) trying to erase crayon markings on paper.


I was typing at the computer the other day as Sweetie watched one of her T.V. shows. The show ended and she wasn't interested in the next show up. But I knew the channel she needed for another show she'd like.

So, I instructed Sweetie on the fine art of remote control usage (because, remember, I'm lazy), and Sweetie was able to successfully turn it to channel 11 for her next show.

Can I just tell you, she was so proud of herself for learning how to use the remote?! So excited. So much so, in fact, that I believe it was one of the first things she told her Daddy when he got home from work that day.

Daddy! Guess what?! Mommy teached me how to use the remote control all by myself!

Now, if only I can teach her proper grammar.


And finally, this is the card Sweetie made for her Daddy for Valentine's Day.

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Pretty nice, huh?

Yeah, well.. above is only the front of the card.

Here's the back of the card, full of pictures of lots of different things that remind Sweetie of her Daddy. And, I swear, I did not influence her choices at all. This is pure Sweetie here....

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Obviously, that diamond shaped guy is Daddy himself.

Over his head, in the upper left corner, is the computer and computer chair (he does tend to spend many an evening in front of that screen)

To the right of that is our pumpkin shaped cookie jar, full of cookies (cuz Daddy sure loves to bake, and eat, cookies!)

Next to that, in the upper right hand corner, is a piece of wood (cuz Daddy's a builder, ya know).

To the right of Daddy's feet - that rectangle with a circle in it - that's the door. And in the lower right hand corner - that's a window. Not sure about the significance of those items, other than maybe she's used to seeing him go out the door to work or to the yard, then watching him out the window.

I don't know what that is to the right of the door.

I added the 2007 myself for posterity.

Oh, and I almost forgot.... That picture along the middle right edge of the card? Above the door and to the right of Daddy's hands? Yeah, that one...

That's the potty.

Ummm..... okaaaayyyyy. Perhaps he does spend a goodly amount of time in there.

Enough time to be notable enough for Sweetie to record, anyway.

Sweetie - at least she's honest. And funny.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #15

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13 Things In Our House That We Intentionally Purchased, Yet Have Never (or very rarely) Been Touched/Used/Viewed

1) The Complete Oxford English Dictionary - not that the OED is something one would really use on any sort of regular basis. Especially the edition I have - it came with its own magnifying glass because the large, paper thin pages each have about 8 of the actual pages condensed down onto them. But - it's still in its box. Not displayed. Not anywhere special. It's just taking up space.

2) A Personal Sized Trampoline - for exercising. Not.

3) A Car Fridge - granted, I just got this one for Hubby this recent Christmas. But it's currently sitting, in its box, in our kitchen. Doesn't seem like it's going to leave the premises and make it to the car anytime soon, but here's hopin'.

4) The Illustrated Da Vinci Code - yes, Hubby had already read The Da Vinci Code when I gave him the Illustrated version as a gift. But we both liked the book so much that I thought for sure we'd take advantage of reading it again - with pictures! ... Or, maybe not.

5) A computer program which converts drawings to counted cross stitch patterns - I actually asked for this a few Christmas's back. I really wanted it! I got it! .... I've never touched it.

6) A Blue Squooshy Tube Pillow - I thought Hubby would really appreciate having a long, blue, squooshy pillow to lounge upon. I mean, who wouldn't?! My mistake. Oh well - Sweetie got a couple good uses out of it. I don't know, maybe Hubby did too. Alas, it also quickly lost its appeal.

7) A Chess Board - This one is actually a 3-in-1 game board that I gave to Hubby one year because I knew how much he enjoyed playing chess. Problem - I don't know how to play chess, nor do I desire to learn how. So - no one to play against = no playing at all. Maybe he can teach Sweetie soon.

8) Several DVD's - Definitely my fault here (I guess). The untouched ones are mostly "boy" movies that I don't care to watch. And Hubby's not one to take time out to watch a movie all by himself. And so, they sit, collecting dust.

9) Our Professional Cruise Pictures - This one is just sad. I mean, they're really nice pictures of us! Hubby says he wants to get them framed, and I believe him. But Hubby wants to do a lot of things - to the house, in his life, etc... and most, unfortunately, don't make it to fruition (in a timely matter, anyway). So, at least I can hope, knowing the intention to get them framed and displayed is there.

10) Hubby’s Pub Table - Hubby built a gorgeous pub table in a woodworking class last winter. It's really very nice. But all it's doing is sitting in the corner, acting as a catch all for more random junk which also doesn't serve any purpose in our house. I blame our low ceilings, actually. It's a high table and the ceilings are low. We need a professional designer to come in and tell us exactly where to put this bad boy so that it acheives its maximum aesthetic and functional purpose.

11) An Electronic Scrabble Dictionary - Hubby just got me this for Christmas. It's pretty cool! I tried to use it once when we played Scrabble, but Hubby admonished me, saying I was cheating by using it. So - when exactly is a good time to use it, I ask? It's got lots of cool functions! I want to use it, really. But when?

12) Lots of Stuffed Animals for Sweetie - Admittedly, Sweetie has started to play with her animals more than she has in the past. But there are many she still doesn't even acknowledge. And that's after we cleaned several out from her collection to give to needy kids over the holidays. Note to relatives - Sweetie doesn't need any more stuffed animals!

13) Several Christmas Related Books - Hubby tends to get me nice, hard cover Christmas-themed books for the holidays. They're interesting. They're often beautiful. But hardly ever, if ever, cracked open. I'd love to take the time to browse through them, but my life seems to lack the time to do such things. Especially around the holidays.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Secret To Our Success

At the risk of sounding like a complete and total Oprah follower (which I suppose I am - if she's talking about things that make sense to me, that is), Hubby and I just finished watching The Secret.

Powerful, meaningful stuff.

As the DVD started, Hubby and I were sitting on the extreme opposite ends of the couch (as is our typical positions - that is, if we're even sitting together at all and not separated by computer and TV).

As the DVD played, we scooted close to each other and snuggled.

By the end of the DVD, Sweetie had joined us, all snuggling closely together.

Also, Hubby's upper back and shoulder, which has been tormenting him for almost a week now, started to feel a little more relaxed, a little less painful - just around the time we were watching the DVD.

And, I swear, for the last several days I've woken up and declared to myself, I will lead a fully aware, fully conscious life.

Conjointly, just yesterday, I ordered an inexpensive product to help me combat a years long habit I've been challenged by. A product that will help rejuvenate myself in the after effects of winning this fight against myself.

Here's to always snuggling on the couch.

Here's to always speaking in positive terms.

Here's to always loving more.

Here's to always attracting wealth into our lives - loving wealth, healthy wealth, a wealth of awareness, and yes, definitely even monetary wealth.

Here's to all the best that life can offer and a wonderfully happy, fulfilling future.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Mama Monday #48

Theme: Letter

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My "E" Necklace. My favorite necklace. Sweetie's initial, around my neck, everyday.

It was the only thing I wanted from my Hubby for Christmas a few years back. I cried tears of love and happiness when I opened it.

I once thought I lost it and I was crushed. Hubby luckily found it while I cried in the kitchen over the pain of this great loss.

Somebody once asked me - somebody who really should have known better - what the "E" stood for. I joked that it was for "Everything".

But you know what? Sweetie is my everything.

Sweetie and Hubby, that is - my life, my loves, my everything.

It's My Own Dang Fault

Scene: I'm sore and can't (easily) climb stairs. Hubby hurt his back and shoulder and can't (easily) climb stairs. We'd run out of toilet paper in the downstairs bathroom. But I know we have new rolls in their packaging in the upstairs bathroom.

Sweetie, can you do me a favor?

What, Mom?

Go to the upstairs bathroom. There's a few rolls of toilet paper on the bathroom floor. Please bring down one roll of toilet paper.

Okay, Mom. (pitter patter to the bathroom... pitter patter back to the top of the stairs)

A whole roll of toilet paper, Mom?

Yes, a whole roll from the bathroom, please.

Okay. (pitter patter to.... pitter patter back....)

Does Daddy need to blowing his nose?

No. It's not for Daddy. I need a roll of toilet paper so I can put it in the downstairs bathroom.

Okay. (pitter patter to.... about a minute or so passes, then pitter patter back).

Is this what you meant, Mommy? (as she's walking down the stairs with her find).

Ugh. No. Not exactly.

Luckily, Hubby was able to salvage the TP and, after about 10 minutes reconstruction, we finally had TP in the downstairs bathroom.

Thanks, Sweetie. You're a big.... help?....

Anyway, you sure are somethin'.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Sweetie Saturday #44 - Big Girl Edition

What a mature, sensitive, understanding girl I've got. At least lately....

Sweetie was playing in her room the other day while I was downstairs resting on the couch. Soon I heard her running to the stairs and calling for me.

I will help you upstairs, Mommy.

You will? How?

I will pull you up.

You can't pull me up, Sweetie. I'm too big.

But I need help with my puzzle.

Oh. Well, I'm sorry, but I can't climb stairs yet. I'm too, too sore.

I know... So... I will try my puzzle again by myself.

She went back, but shortly came downstairs. She wasn't upset, but decided that the puzzle was too difficult for her to do on her own.


Sweetie and her 1st cousin once removed had a very happy and successful playdate at my parents' house earlier this week. Yay! Much different than the last time they met there.


The other night at dinner (at Nana and Papa Dave's house) I asked Sweetie what she's going to be when she grows up.

A builder. (her typical answer)

After discussing that a bit she decided, no, that's not what she's going to be.

So what will you be?

Ummm.... It's a surprise.

And then, with a grand, sweeping hand gesture, she added,

I will surprise you all!

No doubt, Sweetie. I know you will.

Just be happy, okay?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #14

Thirteen Things In Our House Made By My Family

1) My Dad makes stoobles, a cross between a stool and a table.

2) Hubby made this beautiful pub table in a woodworking class last winter.

3) My cousin Tim made these lovely clay soup bowls for us as a wedding gift.

4) Hubby's cousin (a couple times removed) painted this watercolor of Union Station in Worcester, MA.

5) My brother Rob made us this doormat.

6) Hubby built this bench, which now sits right inside our kitchen door. Sweetie calls it her bus.

7) My maternal grandmother was a hobbiest painter and did this watercolor of me when I was a little girl. It now hangs in Sweetie's bedroom.

8) Hubby made me this puzzle box for Christmas a few years ago. It took me a week to solve the riddle, open the box, and get the gift inside. Very cool!

9) Hubby again - he did this pointillism painting back in his college days. It's Neuschwanstein Castle, which was the inspiration for Cinderella's Castle in Disney World.

10) Another one from my brother. He made this lamp as a gift for Hubby this Christmas.

11) Hubby is so talented - even delving into photography! He took this shot when he studied in France for a college semester.

12) My aunt Claudia is a professional artisan - a weaver. She gave us this beautiful rug for our home.

13) And finally, my mom. She knits these, what she calls 'Loves (because they're not quite gloves). I have a few colorful pairs in my house. If you'd like your own, let me know. She's selling them for $6/pair, plus S&H. So warm and cozy!

That's it for my list, but we've got a ton more household items, including a handwoven stair basket from my sister-in-law, as well as several quilts and blankets from either her or my mother-in-law. And outside we have things like our beautiful rock wall, courtesy of my talented and hardworking father-in-law. So many things, yet so little space to post!

Isn't my family talented and creative?! You betcha!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Who Are You And What Have You Done With My Sweetie?

What happened to my non-girly girl?

You're playing with stuffed animals - visiting Teddy's house, conducting school, holding birthday parties that go on for days, and sleeping with a whopping 8 of your friends when we're at Nana's house (as opposed to the mere 3 you sleep with at home).

Yesterday you even put on your tutu you got for Christmas - which has been shoved to the sidelines until now - and danced around the house to Tubby More (Grease) music for close to an hour!

Not to mention your hair - it's darker now and only curly right after a bath. But I'm blaming this one on the season, anxiously hoping that, come summertime, your beautiful, bouncy, bountiful, blonde curls will return with a vengence.

But you still won't let me comb that rat's nest of yours or, God forbid, put a stinkin' clip in it.

Oh well, some things never change.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Mama Monday #47

Theme: Courage

Yesterday I wrote this post. I think it fits very nicely with this week's theme. It takes courage to make tough choices. It takes courage to stand on your own. It takes courage to do what's right for your family, even if it's not your personal favorite choice.

I think many people simply get by in life - not taking risks, not making the tough choices. Just doing what they have to do to make it through the day. But the disabled person, the disabled adult, must live a courageous life in order to be strong, be purposeful, and be happy.

That's my humble opinion, anyway.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Are We Ever Really Alone? Do We Really Want To Be?

My friend/pen pal Courtney is awesome. She's just like me. We have the same level of spina bifida. We both have daughters (hers just turned a year old this past Autumn), and we have very similar likes, dislikes and opinions on lots of different things.

But Courtney has a dilemma right now. Namely, what to do with herself and her daughter when her Navy husband is deployed for another 6 months in the coming weeks?

Should she move out to CA, to their new base, where she knows no one and has no known means of child care support or - um - friends?

Or should she move back to Indiana to be near her mom and stepdad, who'll be available to help her take care of her daughter, help her manage her own medical needs, and - um - can be kinda overly protective/opinionated/exasperating to their grown daughter who's just trying to be as responsible and independent as possible?

Decisions, decisions.

I told Courtney that my gut says she should move back to Indiana. I know if it were me, I would appreciate the close proximity and support from my parents more than be annoyed by little girl treatment I'd be sure to sometimes encounter in their presence. I'd rather be near people who loved me and could help me in a moment's notice than to be in a new location (essentially) by myself with no known means of personal support.

On the other hand, if she moved to CA, Courtney would be on a military base (as long as the housing came through). She'd surely be able to make quick friends with all the other military wives. I don't know about the military lifestyle at all, but I'm sure there'd be childcare on base, as well as exceptional medical facilities that could handle any routine or emergency issue either Courtney or her daughter would run into.

Plus, it's warm out there. With beaches. That's always nice.

So, like I said - what to do?

After many stressful days, long talks with her husband, and many list making comparisons, I think she's found her answer. Last we emailed each other, Courtney seemed pretty well set with her decision. She and her husband talked long and hard about all the pro's and con's of both situations. She had some more phone calls to make to help her with the final decision but, other than that, she's made up her mind. She'll go to Indiana.

But, boy oh boy, was that difficult.

As she said to me in an email...

This is (one of) the only time(s) in my life...where I have felt that my body has failed me in multiple ways. The best way for me to put it is that I feel like my body has left me a prisoner in some ways. I'm never going to have that independence that I crave because I'm always going to have to have someone around just in case things go wrong...not only for me, but most importantly for (my daughter).

Courtney loves her parents and appreciates all they do for her. And I know my parents are wonderful, giving, loving people who are always there for me whenever I need them (and even when I don't think I do). She and I are both so blessed to have the families that we do.

But when you're disabled and you're an adult and you want so badly to make it on your own, to be yourself, to be independent, to be a free spirit, to defy the system and take care of everything on your own - can it really happen?

I'm sure it certainly can. I'm know, for many disabled adults who simply don't have the support of their families and/or friends, that - like it or not - they are on their own. They deal with it every single day. And they get by. Maybe happily and successfully. Maybe not.

But for people like Courtney, or me - disabled adults who do have the priviledge of asking for family assistance when they need it - when their spouses go off to war, when they just had major abdominal surgery, when they just need to get a break from it all - I think we should take it.

Don't think of it as losing your independence. Don't think of it as resorting to your childhood and being treated like a kid. Think of it as doing what you need to do to most help out not only yourself, but your spouse and child(ren) as well. Think of it as the responsible, adult thing to do.

Sure, toes can be stepped on when outside members of your immediate family are helping you care for your child. Maybe grandma, who's already successfully raised her own family, will not agree with a few of your parenting decisions. Maybe it will even be confusing for the child - whose authority should he/she listen to when/if orders come down that are conflicting?

But, in my opinion, all the trouble and frustration is worth the result.

A loving family to help you when you need it. A close knit family to give you support, while also allowing you the space you need to make your own decisions, set your own goals and live your own life.

That's what I've got. And I think that's what Courtney's got as well.

Everyone should be so lucky.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Sweetie Saturday #43

I was playing a game of solitaire the other day (not on the computer! with real cards and all!) when Sweetie asked me what I was playing.



About 10 minutes later, after not paying much attention to me, Sweetie inquired,

How do you play Golden Hair?


Blank stare

Oh! Solitaire! Not Golden Hair. Solitaire. It's kind of hard. You have to play it by yourself.



Did I ever tell you what Sweetie requests of me or Hubby (or whomever else is around first thing in the morning)? I must have - she's been doing this forever. But just in case...

Every morning, or evening - whenever she has her milk to drink or is just feeling a bit snuggly or cold - Sweetie requests that she be held with two hands.

Hold me with two hands, Mommy.

Then, if you dare to unclasp your hands from each other, so that you're no longer encircling Sweetie tightly, she'll quickly and silently bring the errant hand back to its proper clasped resting place.


Sweetie is very particular. She's got all sorts of rules.

Every morning she has morning milk.

Every evening she has bed milk.

Every evening she needs to play a bed game.

And every night, right before she goes to bed, she and I need to share a hug and a kiss and a nose (at the very least - sometimes there are eyes and ears and cheeks and such as well). Then I need to ask her what time she'll get up in the morning and if she promises to stay in bed all night.

If one of these (or any regular step she shares with her Daddy) is missed, then Sweetie will most likely be calling to us from her bedroom for one of us to come and make up for the missed part of the routine.

Then, and only then, can she happily go to sleep.


Last night my parents took me and Sweetie out to dinner, after which we stopped at Target. Only mom ran in, though, to quickly buy me (and her) our next book club book.

While Nana was in the store, Papa Dave, Sweetie and I drove around the parking lot, waiting for Nana to come back out. Sweetie started to cry that she wanted to go in the store with Nana, but I told her no.

Nana just went in super, super quick because the store is going to close real soon and she's got to be quick so she's not locked in all night.

After thinking about that for just a second, Sweetie answered,

Well... Will Papa Dave put me to bed then when Nana is locked in?


This morning Sweetie announced that she had to go potty. I followed her in there, but I was a little late. She said,

I already peed (don't worry, it was in the potty - no accidents for Sweetie!)


Hah! I mean piddled, not peed. Piddle is Spanish for pee. I talk Spanish just like you do, Mommy! (I don't, really. Don't know where that came from).

Then, just a bit ago, Sweetie informed her Daddy that,

Tombe' is French for "fall". (that's true, although I don't know if my spelling is correct). And piddle is Spanish for "pee".

Whatever you say, Sweetie. You're crazy. (to which Sweetie's latest typical response is, I'm not crazy anymore! and to which I occasionally respond, Well, you're not crazy any less either!)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - Kinda

Thirteen Reasons Why I Didn't Do A Thursday Thirteen List

1) I was tired

2) I'm still sore

3) I'm annoyed that I'm still sore and it's ruling my life

4) I had nothing to list

5) Sweetie was being too crazy

6) I don't know how to post images - like the banner - from my parents' computer

7) Ditto on the images thing - the only 13 things I could think to list would have been pictures, but I couldn't do it from their house

8) Sweetie goes to bed, early, in the room where the computer is

9) To list 13 reasons why my dad kicks tushie would have been mostly repetitive to last week's list

10) I'd rather be doing crossword puzzles

11) Oprah's show yesterday mesmerized me so much that I wasn't able to concentrate on anything else

12) It's too cold in the computer room

13) I just didn't want to