Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Real Reason.

Trying today, in the midst of all of the wrapping and visiting and last minute shopping, to remember the real reason why we do all of this. I posted this last year, and I might just post it every Christmas because I like it that much. And because it's my blog and I can do what I want.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Day In Numbers, aka There's Not Enough Vodka In The World

To add to the madness that is December in this house, we not only get to throw two birthday parties, oh no no no. We get to have WELL VISITS!!! To those of you non-parents out there, that right there is code for Water Boarding Level Torture. I can make my way to the pediatrician's office and put up with all of the crap that goes along with it when one of my kids is sick and NEEDS medical attention. But for some reason it always annoys me more when they are perfectly healthy and we have to spend half of our day in a petri dish waiting room. So, without further bitching and moaning about today, I give you a countdown.

12: the number of people in line ahead of me to valet park their cars. Approximate wait time: seven hours.

11: The number of kids on the Sick Side of the waiting room, germing up the place. We were the only healthy ones there. I bet that lasts until tomorrow when we all wake up either puking or with swine flu.

10: Number of times Ella had a mini nervous breakdown about having a shot, even though I had reassured her since 6am that she did not have to get a shot.

9: How long we waited in the waiting room for the pediatrician to come in. Nine. As in HOURS.

8: Number of teeth Charlie should have by the end of the week. He saw two of them about to pop through. Equals: More fevers, drool, hand-gnawing and screaming.

7: Times that I poured Germ X on both kids' hands between the waiting room and the exam room.

6: Times that Ella interrupted the doctor when he was trying to talk to me about Charlie. Resulting in massive meltdowns that she wasn't the center of attention, oh my god Charlie how could you steal my spotlight by needing health care?

5: Number of times Ella asked the doctor if he liked her pretty blue panties.

4: Number of times Ella offered to show perfect strangers in the waiting room her scar from her stitches.

3: Number of live viruses in a needle jabbed into my son's legs.

2: Number of stickers Ella stole. Times twelve.

1: Number of infected ears (Charlie's!)*.

*Funny story, heh heh. Charlie has had a mystery something or other going on for the last week or so. Symptoms include massive amounts of drool, foul not-of-this-world poop, and chewing on his hands constantly. Teething! I was so sure it was teething. The his snot Which is decidedly not a symptom of teething. Not one to rush into the doctor at the first sign of a 99 degree fever, I stuck with "Yeah, um, teething." People would ask "Why is Charlie clawing at his face and banging his head into the wall?" And I would reply "He's kinda...teething? I think? Maybe?". So golly gee, imagine my surprise when our pediatrician found an ear infection in my sweet boy. Parenting FAIL.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

It has officially begun: The Time Of Year That I Do Not Sit Down For One Single Moment Because There Is Too Much To Do. This? Is not an exaggeration. The minute that Thanksgiving is over I know it is coming, it is looming over my head like a big rain cloud about to burst. It all kicks off with Charlie's birthday on the third, followed closely by Ella's birthday on the ninth, followed by a mad dash to complete Christmas shopping, followed by actual Christmas, and then our anniversary, then New Years. There are parties to attend, parties to host, shopping to get done, food to cook. It is all starting tomorrow with not one but two, yes TWO! parties at our house. Ella is having a small party for her friends...she wanted to let everyone make their own ice cream sundaes. After the guests from that party leave I will have approximately fifteen minutes to clean up the aftermath, set out all of the food for the next party, and maybe take a swig (or twelve) of wine before 25 people make their way into our home for a joint birthday party for Ella and Charlie. So we will be partying here in this house from 3pm until...whenever I shoo the last guests out of the house somewhere around 7-ish. At which time I will promptly collapse onto the couch in a heap and sleep until my alarm goes off Monday morning, at 5:15am.

IN other news, Charlie is ONE! ONE YEAR OLD! My God, this year has simultaneously crept by and flown by, if that's possible. The parts that crept by were, um, the entire first four months of his little life in which he made me consider tying my own tubes each night and the crappy parts like teething and sleep training. But the parts that have flown by, oh! the sweet snuggles and the first smiles and the pride I felt watching him learn new things, and at times I swear I could literally SEE him growing up before my eyes. I remember feeling this same way when Ella turned one. On one hand , the really bad parts are over with and gone, hooray! But, on the other hand, the really really great parts are also gone forever, and that is sad. Now we march onward into the land of temper tantrums, walking, talking, and lots more snuggling.

Congratulations, you wonderful little person. We made it! And it only cost Mommy a small portion of her sanity.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Adventures In Stepford Wifery.

So. Ella goes to this school, this school that we LOVE with all of our hearts and to which we will one day send Charlie. Way back in September when the school year started I noticed Hmmm, about 95% of the moms are really dressed up and have perfectly styled hair and makeup, and they all amazingly lack the presence of spit-up or peanut butter on their perfectly put together ensembles. Hmmm. I chalked it up to a First-Week-Let's-Make-A-Good-Impression kinda thing. But now, as we round the bend into the end of November, they are still at it. Still with the hair that has been freshly curled, and the crisply ironed button down shirts, and Oh My God if I see one more pair of jeans tucked into a pair of Uggs I am going to vomit. We got to school a minute early this morning and while we were waiting for the doors to open, I sat in my car and watched a group of these moms stand outside and talk. I was amazed! Not a wrinkle or stain or sweatshirt among them. Which got me to thinking they must all either have A) live-in nannies who entertain the kid(s) while they are primping and preening and shoving those blue jean hems into their Uggs, or B) children who actually sit contentedly by themselves for the three hours it takes them to get ready in the morning. I could possibly understand all of this if we were rolling up to the school at, oh, 10:00 in the morning. But people!!! We get there at 9am, which means we leave the house no later than 8:40am, maybe 8:30 if Mama has had a particularly rough morning and needs to space out in the car with Laurie Berkner blasting from the radio to keep the kiddies quiet. So from wake-up time to 8:30 am, these Made Up Moms need to fit in the following (or at least *I* do): diaper changes (2), breakfast prep, actual feeding of the breakfast, teeth brushing, dressing two wiggly kids, hair brushing, hair putting-up for the girl, one bottle feeding, a shoe reconnaissance mission, lunch packing, backpack finding, breaking-up-of-the-sibling-rivalry squabbles, basic Child Safety measures which include, but are not limited to, making sure Baby does not crawl into the slippery shower, rescuing stray Barbie shoe from the throat of Baby, and protecting all lamps, laptops, fireplace screens, power cords, and dvds from the wrath of Baby. All between the hours of 6ish-o-clock and 8:30. Also noteworthy is that the above list does not, in fact, include anything whatsoever pertaining to ME. Always up for a challenge, I decided to give this whole Stepford Wife look a go. What follows should be read as a How To Not Look Like You Stepped Out Of The Pages Of A Magazine Before 9am kind of a guide. Enjoy.

1. I prepared the night before by packing whatever items could be pre-packed into the lunchbox. Set out clothes for both kids. Picked out my own clothes and set them aside. I. WAS. PREPARED. Piece of cake, this was going to be.

2. Wake up a smidge earlier than my normal 5:15am to give me time to take a full-on shower, rather than the usual Oh, crap, there's still a little bit of shampoo left in my hair because the Baby was going to chew on the bottle of Pine Sol so I had to jump out of the shower early. Accomplish task #1, hooray! Both legs fully shaved with no prickly stripes left behind. Actual facial exfoliation went on in there, people. And moisturizing afterward! I felt like a new woman. Was smug and beginning to think that this was actually do-able. Was about to get knocked on my ass (literally) as a reward for smugishness. Throw hair in wet ponytail and get on with this charade.

3. Aaand, Go Time. The natives wake up, and the race is on. Bottle feeding: check. Coffee refill #3: check. Breakfast prep, fresh pot of coffee made, diaper change: check. Bonus points for me that breakfast included actual scrambled eggs cooked by me, because you just wouldn't be a TRUE Stepford Wife if you slapped a pop tart and juice box in front of the kids. Mad dash to finish lunch packing. Is 7:15.

4. Downstairs we go, to get everyone dressed and presentable. Tugging and crying commence. Time spent on kids: 782. Time spent on me: big fat pajama-wearing ZERO. Is 7:45.

5. Into the bathroom I go, armed with a make-up bag, blow dryer, and straightening iron. Step One: blow dry hair as straight as possible while keeping one eye on the Baby who is crawling dangerously close to the toilet. Stop blow drying nineteen times to remove him from a situation including the toilet brush and his mouth. Notice that as a result of Stop And Go Blow Drying, hair has dried in a style not unlike Carrot Top's. Sigh and move on to the straightening portion of this bullshit. Like a good Stepford Wife, actually TRY to get it right, meaning clipping tiny chunks of hair up on top of your head while straightening minuscule amounts of hair at one time. Get through three pencil-thin sections before actual toilet-brush-to-mouth contact is made and calls for a thorough wiping down of the baby with Wet Ones. Back to the hair. While flipping hair around to cool it off from scorching heat of the iron, Baby somehow crawls between me and the cabinets, somehow culminating in a fantastical flailing arms and hair brushes dance that ends with my foot tangled in the cord to the blow dryer, and me on my ass. And Baby screaming because I almost fell on him and oh yeah, there are fifty clips in my hair and I probably look like Medusa to him. Comfort screaming child. Is 8:15.

6. Throw on pre-selected clothes. Massive Pooping Up The Back occurs (Baby, not me), screaming and a bath are necessitated. Clothes are ruined, clothes are changed, Preschooler is crying because I don't have time to build a block castle for the Barbies with her. Vodka on the rocks is looking good right now. Is 8:25.

7. Definitely one of the previously discussed Zone Out In The Car mornings. Load up both kids in the car, throw in lunchbox, backpack, blankies and pacis and a very large coffee for me. And we're off.

Stepford Wife status: Jeans (and NOT the cute ones that now have poop on the leg), a tshirt, and SURPRISE! a sweatshirt and Birkenstock clog-y things in lieu of the cute brown suede loafers that would have been soooo Stepford of me if I had been able to wear the shirt I had planned on. Halfway straightened hair, with the leftovers twisted into a knot on top of my head. No makeup made its way onto this here face.

So in other words? I looked just like I do every other morning at 8:30am, except I may have suffered a stroke or two. And my kids had no playtime with mom like they usually do, which made them crabbier. Which did not help with my need to iron and bursh and lacquer myself beyond recognition.

Hats off to you, Oh Wearer Of The Stain-Free Button Down Shirt, Perfectly Curled Hair At 8am Lady, and Holy Hell Did She IRON HER JEANS? Woman. You are better women than I. Either that, or you wake up at 3am to accomplish these ungodly feats. And in that case? No thank you.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I'm Suprised He Didn't Come Out Holding a PBR And Watching Nascar.

For the first three years of my career in parenting, life was all about a girl. A dresses-nail polish-Barbies-playing beauty salon-sweet powdery smelling girl. That is all I knew of parenthood, the endless hours playing dress up and letting her put makeup on me until I resembled a car accident survivor. I marveled at how this girl seemed to be born with the innate knowledge of what to do with a blush brush and how to spin around and make her skirt twirl like a fairy and how to find the most glittery, pink item in a toy store. So, too, do boys. Apparently. As Charlie rapidly moves from Baby to Boy, I am in awe of how much like a little MAN he is. There are no gentle caresses for a baby doll. Baby Doll gets thrown across the room or gets her head smashed into the wall repeatedly. As a member of The Gentler Sex, Ella was content to sit and play with her shape sorter for an hour, actually trying to figure out where the pieces fit. Charlie? Holds said shape sorter over his head and bounces up and down, bangs the pieces into another toy, and then grunts and yells like Tarzan. I knew going into this that boys and girls are different from one another, but I don't think I was fully prepared for just how different they can be. I give you Exhibits A-E to display how little boys are just tiny little men.

A. He is obsessed with The Junk. I believe Ella was a few days shy of her third birthday before she realized, hey! there is something down there! Charlie grabs incessantly at the bits during every diaper change.

B. He doesn't pay attention to one thing for more than three seconds. One minute he's playing with his car, the next he's all "Hey! Let's go knock some crap over!" It is vaguely reminiscent of my conversations with the hubs: "Hon, could you take the trash to the curb, it's..." "Yeah, sure...WHOA! Golf is on! Score."

C. He wants a woman (ie. ME) to do everything for him. Why make the effort to lift that Cheerio to your own mouth when there's a woman to do it for you? Holding your own bottle? Psssh, Mom's got that covered. Any day now he'll start leaving the new toilet paper roll propped up ON TOP OF THE OLD, EMPTY CARDBOARD ROLL.

D. His feet stink. I'm not sure what this is all about, as he doesn't wear shoes yet, and they stink first thing in the morning, when the last thing they have touched is sweet smelling bath water the night before. I now firmly believe that men are born with a stink gene that makes this possible.

E. He grunts and yells and is about three seconds away from pounding on his chest and yelling "MORE POWER!" a la Tim Taylor The Tool Guy.

But he sure is cute, and there truly is nothing else like the snuggles that he reserves for only me.

It might look like he is playing in the yard, but he was actually about to crawl inside to get on the couch, scratch his crotch, burp, and then watch football.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Like Cats and Dogs.

Like cats and Dogs, my kids are. On so many levels, in so many ways.

The fighting. Has gotten ridiculous here. Charlie will be holding a toy and magically, all of the sudden, Ella NEEEEEDS it NOW. She will absolutely cease to exist if she cannot have the green alligator-shaped baby rattle this very instant. She doesn't know how she has survived up to this point without this rattle. And Charlie? He feels the exact same way. I got a scary glimpse into the next, oh, four years this weekend. Ella was playing with her Magna Doodle, drawing and writing and having fun. Charlie decided he needed the magnet pen part thingy right that second. He grabbed at it and got it. Mommy told him no, and took it away from him to give back to Ella. Again. And again. Repeat twelve times. Finally, after the thirteenth time of being reprimanded and shot down in his attempts to steal the magnet pen, Charlie got a look of resolve on his face. Stuck out his bottom lip, knitted his brow, and crawled over behind Ella. And bit her on the ass. Yes, at a few days shy of eleven months old, Charlie has become A Biter, the most dreaded of playground playmates. I didn't know what to do first: laugh hysterically (which I did), tell Chrlie NO, or tend to the now hysterical victim of his drive-by biting.I was doing the Trying To Hide It Because It Is SOOO Not Funny But, Hey, It Kinda Is laugh, Charlie started laughing because I was laughing, and Ella was sobbing because in addition to just having been bit on her butt cheek, she thought we were laughing at her.

It's gonna be a loooong four years.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

We're heading into Fall as a family of four for the first time. Crap, that sentence had a lot of Fs in it. Anyway, there is no shortage of Fall activities to keep us busy, and busy we are. Halloween parties, visits to the pumpkin patch, Fall bonfire parties to attend, and the list goes on and on. All of this on top of our everyday, cleaning, playing short order cook to two kids on a daily basis, laundry and laundry and laundry that never ends. So until things slow down a bit, here are some photos of what we've been up to lately.

Finger painting outside on one of our old moving boxes and leaves and anything else Ella could find. ***I take no credit for the outfit she is wearing here. She came home from my mom's house in it. And I promptly declared it Messy Arts And Crafts Day! Hooray!***



Halloween Party.


I heard Ella SCREAMING from the bathroom a few days ago, yelling, "OH MY GOSH Mom, we have NEVER seen this kind of animal in here before!" You can imagine how quickly I ran in to the bathroom to see what she was talking about. A squirrel? A snake? Or was this merely one of Ella's overactive imagination scenarios in which there is perhaps a unicorn in the shower that is her new best friend? Nope. There was an actual, slimy Lizard Thing in the toilet. I screamed, and then flushed the sucker. Ella cried because in the 2.6 seconds it took me to run in there, she had apparently named it. Steve.


Charlie, being cute. And planning on swiping some candy from another kid at the Halloween party.


Playing outside and taking as many photos as I can before Ella crosses her arms and storms away because she's "Mommy always just take pictures and NEVER EVER plays with her". Dramatic much.


I got these of Charlie:



And then he gave me this look:


And I knew it was time to stop.

And one more for good measure.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Breathtaking Stupidity.

I cannot believe I am about to share this with the five people who read this blog. But hey, things have been kinda ho-hum around here lately, so I figured "Why not give the ol' blog a kick in the pants by sharing a story that will make me look like a complete and total moron?".

Our electricity went out last week during a thunderstorm, so I had to reset all of the digital clocks in the house, including my coffee maker's clock. And when I went to reprogram the "delay brew" time (usually set to 5:00 every morning), I thought "Why not set it for 5:15am instead, so it will be that much fresher when I get up at 5:20 every morning?". So I did. And let me tell you, I was pretty proud of myself. Fresher! Hotter! COFFEE!!! Fast forward to the next morning, 5:20am on the dot. I stagger out of the bedroom in my pjs, feeling my way to the kitchen to gulp down that first cup of (much fresher now) coffee. About two steps into my walk down the hallway to the kitchen, I froze. Grabbed the wall to steady myself. What was that I heard? OH DEAR GOD, someone has broken into our house in the early morning hours and is rifling through our things downstairs. My heart raced like I had just taken speed, I panicked like I have never panicked before. The noises got louder and louder as I wondered what the hell the intruder(s) were DOING down there. WHAT could they possibly be looking for? Barbies and baby wipes are about the extent of the jackpot in this house. My mind was racing, I broke out in a cold sweat. What to do?!?! Tip toe as quietly as I could back to our room, wake up the husband and let him handle this horrific situation? Gather up my babies and jump out a window to safety, thunderstorm be damned? No, I couldn't do that, as there is a floorboard in the hallway that creaks and the intruders would surely hear me padding around upstairs and come looking for the person who has now foiled their plans to rob us blind. And likely, kill me. I couldn't call the police, as my cell phone was downstairs probably sitting right next to the ten masked men who had just broken into my home, I had now convinced myself of this. So in the dark, at 5:20am, I crouched in the hallway alone, and cried. Silent, panicky tears, because we were all going to DIE. We've lived here for not even three weeks, and we are going to die in this house. I shouldn't have written that blog entry titled "I Will Die In This House If It's The Last Thing I Do", is what I told myself. I thought briefly about running down the stairs at full force and beating them all over the head with Charlie's Drop 'n' Roar Dinosaur toy that was sitting nearby, but the thought better of it. So I sat in the hallway and....wait, what was that sound? Oh, God help me, they're HISSING now. HISSING! What kind of psychopaths have come into my home?!? Oh God Oh God Oh God, please help me. And then? THEN. THEN! I heard bubbling steam noises. From the coffee pot. Turns out I was used to waking up to a completely silent, coffee-has-already-completed-its-brew-cycle house. And the coffee maker almost made me pee my pants.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Boy And His Blankie: A Love Story.

Well, I guess there's not much of a "story" to it: Charlie is in love. With The Blankie. I remember when Ella first got attached to her Blankie, and she really only wanted it when she was ready for a nap. When it was countdown to nap time, I would frantically rush around trying to find Blankie so that she could sleep. But Charlie's Blankie? Never leaves his side, ever. So at least I always know where the damn thing is. A lovely side effect of this is that, yes, it smells as fantastic as you would imagine it smells, since I can NEVER EVER ever wash it EVERRRR. The hour and a half it would take to put Blankie through the wash cycle and then dry it would just lead to Level Four Meltdowns Of Ginormous Proportions. He bites it, he rubs his whole face with it, he drags it all around the floor and he wants it while he's in his high chair eating. All of the above leads to: snot, drool, dog hair, and baby food. Covering Blankie. So if you get within ten feet of me when I'm out and about with my kids, and you are asking yourself "WHAT is that smell? Does someone have body rot?". It's Blankie.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rows And Rows Of Big Dark Clouds.

Here has been my daily routine for the last three days: Rain rain rain rain rain rain rain oh wait it's clearing up hurry and get your shoes... wait, rain rain rain rain rain. So what a mom to do when all she hears all day is incessant whining that makes her eardrums bleed? Embrace the rain, say screw it and let your three year old go outside in her pajama top, skirt, and rain boots and get absolutely soaking, dripping wet.








She told me last night at bedtime that it had been the best day of her "whole, wide life".

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Perfect Timing.

Settling in to the new house, finally got the air conditioner fixed so we can freaking relax inside, unpacking the endless mountain of boxes and boxes and boxes. Ella is loving the new yard and being able to actually play outside with the neighbor kids. And Charlie? He decided that this week would be the absolute perfect time to do this:






I like to call this the "Hey Mom, Guess What? YOU'RE SCREWED." look.

This new development led to the immediate shrieking of HOLY HELL, GET THE SCREWDRIVERS AND HAMMERS AND TINY NAILS AND HOT CUPS OF COFFEE OFF OF THE TABLE NOOOOWWWW. Perfect week to do this, since there are random small things laying about everywhere on coffee tables and low shelves. Nothing is safe any more.

But he does look pretty damn cute when he pulls up and is so proud and he just laughs and shrieks and claps and oh wait, you need two hands to hold on to the table so when he claps he falls on his face.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Will Die In This House If It's The Last Thing I Do.

I am never moving again. Ever ever ever ever ever. If the husband and the kids decide in a few years that they would like a change of scenery and wish to move to a new house, that's fine. I'm staying put. I'm parking my rear end on the couch and staging a sit-in. Or protest sit. Or whatever the hell it is that hippies do to protest something.

Due to a recent chain of events and financial strain, we are renting a house. I was already not thrilled at this idea, but now I am beyond not-thrilled. Let me just walk you through the last few days of my life and I guarantee by the end of this tirade you will be left wondering "How has she not killed someone by now? Or herself?"

*Prelude: When we went to look at the house a week ago, I got approximately thirty to forty flea bites on my legs. Awesome. We told the landlord that we would sign the lease and pay the first month's rent ONLY after the house was treated for fleas. He never did this. We ended up calling a pest control company ourselves, AND setting off our own flea bombs inside the house. And my dad sprayed the backyard with flea killer. I should have payed attention to this foreshadowing of things to come, but I was so tired and busy from packing all week with two small kids at home, I guess I had my head up my ass. Fleas got taken care of, end of Prelude.

Day One: We are all set to take possession of the new house. We go over to give it the ol' once over, to make sure everything is ready for move in day. Electricity on? Check. All the lights and locks and little things like that working? Check. Filthy, crusty floors? Check. MOLD in the refrigerator? Big, fat, hairy CHECK. Literally, hairy. This mold was a half-inch thick. After I stopped dry heaving, we called the landlord, who assured us that someone would be over THAT DAY to clean the refrigerator for us. Whew, thank goodness. After a thorough vacuuming, sweeping, scrubbing, and mopping of the floors, we left the house to go to the old house to finish packing.

Day Two: First of two move-in days! Hooray! We are finally going to get this show on the road. I headed over early in the morning with Charlie to do a little spot cleaning in the kitchen, and lo and behold, what did I see? I'll give you a clue. NOT a sparkling clean refrigerator. What I saw was the same stinky, filthy, petri-dish of a refrigerator that I saw the day before. Livid. Rage. Want to channel my inner Hulk, pick up said refrigerator and throw it out the window into the street, preferably onto the landlord's head. After a few phone calls we finally got a promise that someone would come out that day and clean it, Eh, we'll see. I was skeptical at this point.

The in laws show up with their truck to help us move everything we can that day. We actually got a lot done, hooray! I was starting to feel okay about this move. I should have known better. The whole day that we are in and out of the new house, we would all look at each other every once in a while and comment on how hot it seemed to be getting in the house. The husband said he would get some coolant and some gauges and service the air conditioner himself, since he knows how to do all that crap. Fantastic. We commence to moving boxes into a ninety degree house with a moldy fridge. I am taking deep, cleansing breaths and trying not to rip someones eyeballs out with my bare hands. Add in a baby who has a green-snot cold, and who needs to intermittently, you know, NAP, and you'll get an idea of how this day was.

Day Three: REAL moving day. Actual furniture being moved from point A to point B. TWO kiddos with green-snot colds, one of which went to my mom's house for the day and the other who was basically a whining ball of boredness all day long. I can't say that I blame sucked. Thank the heavens above that the brother in law had access to a huge truck that fit every piece of furniture we own into it with room to spare, so the actual moving of things was somewhat painless. We get to the house. Still ninety degrees inside. BUT! The fridge was clean! I almost did a little dance right there in the kitchen. This was the only bright spot in the cards for that day. The husband got his tools, commenced the air conditioner fixing operation, and .....nothing. Still hot, still no cold air blowing through the vents. Of course. OF COURSE, this is a holiday weekend, and no air conditioning repair places are open. OF COURSE. A couple phone calls later, and we have a promise from the landlord (remember? He likes to promise things and then NOT DO THEM) that "someone" will be over there today to "fix" it. Something tells me tha The Landlord is the type of guy to send over a friend that kinda sorta knows like one or two things about air conditioners (like how to turn them ON or OFF) to "fix" it, and we will go around in circles until we end up either fixing it ourselves or living in the backyard because Good God Almighty, it is cooler outside than it is inside that house. So, here I sit, in the OLD house, after sleeping on Aero Beds last night, with Charlie at my mom's house after a spend-the night, sitting in an empty house, waiting on the landlord to decide to make the call and send someone over to fix the air conditioning. We have one house that is fully furnished and so hot that it feels like you are entering the gates of hell when you walk in, and one completely empty house that is nice and cool.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go take my daily dose of Zoloft before I decide to google the landlord, find his address, bind him with duct tape and make him sit in the un-air-conditioned house until he cries uncle and fixes it.

What I will likely turn into if this air conditioning problem is not fixed today. TODAY. Maybe I should link this post in an email to The Landlord.Do you think he would want to reneg on the lease contract, on the basis that he does not RENT HIS HOUSE OUT TO LUNATICS?


Thursday, September 3, 2009

And She's Off.

I packed the first of many school lunches today. I said for the first time, "Hurry up or we'll be late for school!". I watched for the very first time as my girl waved over her shoulder to me as she walked into her classroom, happy as could be. I know that in no time this will all feel like a part of our every day routine, but firsts are hard. Especially since she is my first baby and there is no more denying that she is oh-so-gradually learning to make her own way in the world.




Wednesday, September 2, 2009


One of my favorite bloggers, Emily of Chatting at the Sky, wrote this article on a fantastic new website. I've always loved her writing and the things she chooses to write about, but this article reached out and slapped me in the face when I needed it most. I know of a few people in my life who are going through rough times, be it financial or marital or just everyday, run-of-the-mill problems, so I thought maybe posting this here at this particular time might help someone feel a little bit better about things. I know it did that for me.

*Aaand the linky thing on blogger isn't working. Fantastic. Just copy and paste the web address if you want to see the article.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Lazy Housewife's Guide To Having A Sort-Of Clean House.

I love having a super sparkly spotless house as much as the next girl. Nothing thrills me more than looking at my hardwood floors and seeing nothing but shiny-ness and the absence of dog hair and crumbs. But, umm, hi, I have two kids and a dog and errands to run and playdates to make and when I'm averaging 2.5 showers a week, scrubbing the floors on my hands and knees isn't exactly a priority. So today I was thinking about all of the ways I manage to cut corners on housework and then I thought, "Man, it's a wonder that my house is not covered in mold and that we don't have an ant infestation." But it's not! On 6 out of 7 days of the week, I could proudly have company over and not have them run back to their car shrieking something about calling the Department of Human Services. As long as they don't open that closet door in the hallway.

1. Pizza boxes from last night? Go in the oven. Because the outside trash bin is full.

2. Spray Lysol on a bunch of stuff because then at least the house will smell clean.

3. When you've just swept and inevitably notice that you forgot to wipe the countertops off first? Sweep the crumbs off the counters into that little space between the cabinets and the refrigerator or stove.

4. The doorbell rings and there is an unannounced visitor at your house. Quickly kick all small toys and bits of paper and crayons under the couch or coffee table.

5. Don't have time to sweep? Put your 9 month old in some footed pajamas and let him crawl around the kitchen on his belly.

6. Keep refilling that big pot in the kitchen sink with hot water and dish soap. People will think that you're just letting it soak instead of realizing that it's actually been sitting there since last Thursday.

7. When all else fails, just walk around the house with a huge garbage bag and throw everything you see away. Tell the three year old that the dog ate her Polly Pockets because she left them sitting on the floor.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I Give Up.

I had a blog post in mind for today, but it is turning out to be one of those days where things keep piling up and I have too much to get done and here are some pictures instead.






*Those of you who know me know how much this picture makes me want to throw up. Princess nightgown made of almost 100% polyester. Princess rollerskates. My God, I'm one step away from turning into Roseanne.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Reason For All Of This.

Diapers, whining, bickering, time outs, spills to mop up, crayon on walls, more whining, stepping on blocks and Barbies, lots of laundry, and lots more whining. There are days that I think to myself, "You know how everyone says that this will go by so very quickly and that I will actually MISS it? Could someone call me right this minute and tell me that little story again?" And yet. There is this: Ella playing playdoh at the table, cutting out about twenty hearts in different colors. "Happy Heart Day, Mom!, she says. "What's Heart Day, Ella?, I ask. She gets up from the table, stands beside me, and cups her tiny hand over my ear. In a giggly whisper I hear, "It's Happy Heart Day today because my heart feels so happy when you're with me." And my heart breaks in a million little pieces in a good way, and I realize that I would change a thousand more diapers and scrub every wall in this house ten times a day to have the privilege of hearing her little voice tell me that.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

How A Three Year Old Can Reduce Me To A Stammering Fool.

I consider myself a fairly intelligent person. Heck, by the standards I see when I shop at Walmart, I am a freaking genius. So how is it that a three year old girl, who last summer was still peeing in her pants and flinging food at the dinner table can one-up me in a conversation about 90% of the time? What starts as a conversation about why the sky is blue can turn into a discussion on the inner workings of a manufacturing plant in a matter of minutes.

"Mom, why is the sky blue?"
"Because it reflects the water or something like that."
"Mom, why is water blue?"
"Because it reflects the sky, er, yeah."
"That doesn't make sense. Why?"
"Because water molecules evaporate and float up into the sky and clouds and, um, reflection."
"What's reflection?"
"When something looks like something else in something else, kind of like a mirror."
"But why?"
"Because light bounces off of a hard surface and we see it as the same thing."
"Did God make mirrors?"
"Well, God made the stuff that mirrors are made out of and then people actually make the mirrors."
"But HOW does a person make a mirror? I want to make one."
"Well, mirrors are made in a factory with lots of machines to help make them."
"I thought you said PEOPLE make mirrors."
"Well, yes, but they use machines to help them."
"Because there is no possible way for a human being to just MAKE a mirror without a machine helping them to do it."
"Because people are not strong enough to make all of those mirrors by themselves and they need help."
"Oh. Okay. Mom? What's a factory?"

Head explodes all over the kitchen table.

And Now, Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming.

Whew! What a month. Things around here have been cuh-razy, both in the "we have a million things to do today" sense and the "holy hell, life is kicking the crap out of me right now" sense. I had the best intentions of updating this blog about a hundred times in the last month or so, but then life always seemed to get in the way of my best laid plans. Things are beginning to calm down, though, so I'm baaack!

Updates. Ella is busy building block towers for her tiny little princess dolls, painting, playing dress up, learning to actually enjoy (!!!) playing with Charlie now that he can play and laugh at her and follow her around, and just generally being wonderful. We are preparing for her first day of school in a couple of weeks, and I have mixed emotions about this, to say the least. On one hand: Oh my word, I will have five hours a day, twice a week, without hearing "But WHY???" seventeen hundred times a day, and I may actually get to sit down and enjoy the silence when Charlie naps. On the other hand: Waaaaaahhh. I cannot believe that she is at this stage already...wasn't it just yesterday that she was saying her first word and stumbling around the house like a drunk midget (sorry, "little person") learning to walk? Now we are picking out lunchboxes and backpacks and she is so very excited to be a "big girl" now.

From this:


To this, in no time flat:



Charlie has really changed since the last time I updated this thing. Crawling! Teeth! Loud, nasty screams when he is mad at you for taking away that safety pin or that golf tee that he fished out of some corner of the house! Ahhh, how I had forgotten both the pros and cons of this age. He is WAY more fun now, what with the giggling and the army crawling around the house, but he has also realized "Mom? I do not much care for it when you tell me not to do something, and I am damn well gonna let you know about it. Maybe for an hour or so." But for the most part he is a joy ( and by "most part", I do NOT mean the part about the 5:30am wake-up calls I get every. single. morning.)


All in all, we are doing well, and now that things have turned around for the better and we are back to a somewhat normal state of being, I am looking forward to actually keeping this bloggy-blog updated more than once a month.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It's Happening.

I am turning into my mother. Not that that's a BAD thing. At all! She is a wonderful person and is/was a great mother. But. Lately some things have come flying out of my mouth, and a split second after I hear myself saying these things I smack my hand to my pursed lips in shock. REALLY?! I just said THAT?! It's like my mom circa 1988 has invaded my body. Things I SWORE I would never say to MY own kids are becoming standard issue replies to Ella these days.

"Because I SAID SO."

"If you are not over here by the time I count to three..."

"Where's the pen I just had laying RIGHT HERE?! Hmmm? HMMMHMMM?!?! Why can't I ever have anything of my own without it disappearing?!"

That last one right there is a big one from my childhood. There were five of us kids in one house, and for some reason we were always taking Mom's ink pens and/or scissors. I vividly recall my mom rounding all five of us up in the kitchen, and making us search the house high and low for every ink pen we could find, and we were to bring them all back to her. Where they would just disappear again in about two days, all forty pens. I find myself saying this "Why can't I have ANYthing nice?!" about seven times an hour lately.

But I am trying, sometimes unsuccessfully, to look at things from Ella's perspective once in a while. The pen I left on the counter? It DID have a cute little butterfly on the side of it. Irresistible! The cream-colored ottoman in the front room of our house? Why, it's nothing but a 3x4 blank canvas for Ella's artistic expression! The wall, tables, and couch, too. When you're three, there's really no way to grasp that Mommy and Daddy paid $1500 for that couch so you had better not spill fruit punch on it, young lady.

The ottoman. With an outline of Ella's hand in marker.

Ella's table, that is apparently NOT stain-resistant. Which is, you know, GENIUS considering that it is a KIDS' TABLE.

The couch. With all of its assorted stains, spills, and rips.

*Sidenote: I'm not completely sure what's going on right there with the naked Barbies and the stuffed animals. I'm also not entirely sure I want to find out.

So, in addition to trying to get over the fact that I will not have a nice couch, table, or carpet any time in the next, oh, seven years, I am also reminding myself that one day I WILL have a whole house full of lovely, expensive, hand-print-free things. And I will probably be sad that no one is there to spill something on them.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Picnic, Parks, and Perfect.

Long morning at the park, wading in the water, letting Charlie touch the shells and rocks on the river banks, Ella running through the fields and picking flowers, watching tadpoles swim, finding baby turtles, swinging, sliding, skipping. No one else there, complete silence. Well, except for the three year old shrieking and asking "why?" a thousand times, and the infant babbling and laughing and also shrieking. But no phones, no email, no chores to be done. Perfect.






Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ella-isms, v2.0

Ella is just full of it. Literally. She is either going to be something brilliant like a rocket scientist, artist, or doctor....or she will be something scary with a side of sociopath-ness. Because she is a world-class pro at spewing crap whenever she thinks it will get her something she wants. But she sure is cute while she's doing it.

* "Mom, you look like a marvelous lady today. I like it when you take a shower."

* "Nothing is fair. I know you have candy that you aren't giving to me."

* "In fact, I CAN have a cookie for dinner. I don't really want spaghetti. Mimi told me I could have a cookie instead." -said when she hadn't seen Mimi in, oh, three or four days.

* "Charlie can be Mr. Penis." -said in Target, in a crowded aisle.

* To a lady in Walmart: "Hi, my name is Ella, it starts with an E-L-L-A, what's your name? Do you like dogs? We have a dog named Stu. I see some ice cream in your cart, mom can we buy some ice cream the vanilla kind do we have sprinkles at home to put on it and can I have it in my Horton bowl SPLAT". That last sound was my head exploding right in the middle of Walmart.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Big, Fat Update-y Update.

So it turns out? When you have kids and it's summertime? You're busy. Very much so. We've been at the pool, at the splash pad, at the park, at the bouncy-inflatable-oh-God-please-don't-catch-Hand-Foot-And-Mouth-Disease place, watching fireworks, riding bikes and scooters, taking walks, meeting friends, and various things of that nature right there. Which means that taking five minutes to pound out a blog entry ranks right up there with "scrub toilets" when the kids finally fall asleep around noon. Somehow I feel a smidge odd about having a lovely, updated blog when we are all picking clean clothes out of the dryer when we need something to wear, and I have resorted to kicking the large-ish crumbs that stick to my feet into the space underneath the oven rather than sweeping. So without further ado, I give you An Update.

*Ella's new favorite place. Ever. On Earth. I think she has asked to go back to "the jumping place" about seventeen hundred times since last week. Which would be fine, except for that a friend that was there with us last week said "Oh, the girl is coming in to clean the bouncy things" and I said "Oh! Fantastic! At least we know that this stuff is clean and the kids won't pick up any nasty..." and she was all "With Windex." Dear Bouncy House Place Employee Girl: Lysol Wipes.



*Charlie. Is cute. That's about all he's up to these days. He is trying ever so hard to crawl, with no success. Unless your definition of "success" is "rocking your body back and forth like you're having a seizure and then slamming your face into the floor. Hard."


*Me. Am sad. The dance studio I grew up in (literally) and spent the majority of my time in from the ages of 7 to 18, is closing. I know, right? I DON'T DANCE ANYMORE. Why should this matter? If you are asking this, then you...sound like the husband. But it does matter! It's sad! There was (is) an amazing lady behind that place that had an enormous, huge, very very big influence in my life and got me and my friends through some rough, rough times. We were a family. So I've been attending farewell get-togethers this past week. Which adds to The Busy-ness Of Abby.

The front of the dance studio, covered in pictures and letters and memories and now I need a Kleenex.

*Ella. Has developed a completely irrational fear of all things mushy and gushy as related to Charlie. Spit up. Slobber. And BABYFOOD. She is so freaked out by the possibility that the squash I am feeding Charlie will somehow leap across the room and land on her that she will not come near me at his mealtimes. She gags. Dry heaves. And this was her face when I dared walk within three feet of her holding a bib with green beans smeared across the front.


* Fourth Of July. Meh. It started out just peachy, with my mom having a slumber party with Charlie at her place so we could take Ella out alone for some big girl time with mom and dad. The In Laws even decided to join us, and we planned to meet at The Spaghetti Factory. Awesome. I love that place. So, like the true idiots that we are, we were running late and decided hey! Let's just park right in the middle of all of the holiday festivities downtown. I don't know if any of you have ever been to the downtown fireworks in Nashville, so let's just say that I don't think I've ever seen that much traffic anywhere, ever. Nightmare. So we make it to the restaurant, order our food, and BANG! Lightning and thunder. Awesome. Rumor had it that there were huge storms moving in quickly, and they were starting the fireworks show early. So we shoveled the food down our throats and made our way outside. Still having fun! Psyched to see the awesomeness that is Nashville's Firework Show! What happened next can best be described in pictures and smart-ass captions*.

"Hey, since it's about to rain, let's just scrap the stand-on-the-walking-bridge idea and head up to the parking garage that for sure has a killer view of the riverfront where they are staging the fireworks. This is a no-fail plan."


"And we're off! We are so smart. This is going to be awesome."


"I know that the city spends about two million dollars on this spectacular show, but seeing just one-twentieth of the action from between two buildings is just as good."


*All was well in the end, and I really didn't care that we didn't get to see the whole show as I have seen it countless times before. It started raining about five minutes into it anyway so we had to leave, but Ella was still absolutely thrilled with what she got to see. She kept screaming "The fireworks are candy sparkles!" over and over again. It might be fair to note that at this point it was about two hours past her bedtime and she really had no clue what she was saying.


* Charlie. Still cute. And still sitting in that damn exersaucer. He loves that thing so much I'm thinking of starting an album of just pictures of him in it. It should be full by Friday.