Sunday, November 29, 2009


When I was making dinner for the Bean and I tonight, she came into the kitchen with one of the little bottles of bubbles leftover from her birthday party. She squatted down next to me and worked on the bottle, removing the decorative ribbon and stickers before beginning her assault on the lid. It's tight and tough to get off, especially for little hands.

I watched her doing this while I chopped sweet potatoes. I was making sweet potato fries, one of her, and my, favorites. When I had finished with the fries, tossing them in oil, evenly laying them out on a cookie sheet and throwing sea salt over them, I put them in the oven and turned my attention fully to my daughter.

She was getting frustrated. Unable to open the bottle, her toddlerness was showing itself. She squealed, not the happy kind, and handed the bottle to me. I opened the bottle and brought the lid to my mouth, blowing out a stream of bubbles. Delighted, she danced around, my little imp, catching and popping the bubbles. Laughing.

I watched and counted the bubbles. There are two kinds. Heavy ones that fall and pop quickly, and light ones that seem to defy gravity as they dangle endlessly in the air.

A couple of weeks ago, my mom called me up, worried. I had written a post that said to her that I was not okay. It wasn't so much the words, but the way I had phrased things. Subtleties. It had gotten her mommy sense tingling. My mom worries. Not without reason. My family is not short on crazy. We wallow in it. Rub it in to our skin.

But that is not, was not, the problem. I was just frustrated. I was having one of those days you have with toddlers. Too little sleep, too much screaming, not enough caffeine. I was cranky, and rueful, and angry, and heavy. There are just days like that.

But that day passed and with it the heaviness. We are back to our usual buoyant selves. Today, we are laughing and joyful and light. Sophie and I and the bubbles. We could float all night.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gobble Gobble

Trying desperately not to succumb to the tryptophan after a fabulous Thanksgiving meal.


Hope everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cleaning House

Not enough brain power to do a real post, so just some thoughts banging around in the old warehouse.

- I'm sick. Again. I started feeling icky Sunday, it got worse over the course of a couple of hours and by 3am was bad enough to send Neil to the guest bedroom because I was keeping him up with my snorting and snuffling and nose blowing. All day yesterday was spent laying in bed, blowing my nose about a gajillion times. Starting to feel human again this morning.

- Because I can't smell, I got a HOLY COW surprise when I opened up Sophie's diaper this morning. Even when you can't smell it, you really have to prepare yourself for one of those. Note to self: ALWAYS look first.

- Saw New Moon this weekend. While I had a few beefs (the sparkly business was still wrong), I generally really enjoyed it. Especially Jacob. All those months in the gym really paid off for Taylor.

- Due to "the ick" and being generally busy, I'm way behind on blog reading. I haven't even browsed through People of Walmart in days. (Which I know is mean-spirited and all, but my goodness it's funny, and they leave the house like that, so tough noogies.) Seriously, though, my apologies if I haven't been by to see you in a few days. I'm hoping to get caught up soon.

- Also way behind on my TV watching. Our dvr is 85% full. Considering it can hold like 400 hours, that's a LOT of programming. The good news is that as all of these shows go on their winter hiatus we'll still have new shows to watch.

- I inadvertently bought sweetened condensed milk rather than evaporated milk in preparation to make Lula's famous Pumpkin Crisp, which, btw, is CRAZY GOOD. Although I briefly contemplated attempting to adapt the recipe to use it, everything I read said DO NOT DO IT, so now I have three cans of the stuff. I'm charged with making a dessert for Thanksgiving, so this might be an opportunity to use it. Any suggestions?

So there you go. Blah. I read somewhere that you should never post anything but your A-game, top shelf stuff. That is, if you want to attract and retain readers. Meh. I'll have to work on that tomorrow.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Some Girls...

Sleep with a stuffed bear. Or a cuddly little rabbit. Or maybe a silky blankie.

Not my girl.

Obviously, she has her priorities in line.

*Of course you wouldn't know it from that crazy hair. That's genetics, though. Someday I'll post my 3rd grade picture and you'll see she comes by it honestly.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Estrogen Extravaganza 2009

Still coming down off of an amazing weekend with some great ladies. It was a meeting of 13 blog friends. Some had known each other IRL for years, but for many, it was the first time meeting. I was among the latter group. It was everything I had hoped for it to be. And more. Each and every one of them was as beautiful and warm and funny in real life as they are on their blogs.

I can't even tell you how much we laughed. So much that we scared off a table of elderly folks at the famous Apple Barn restaurant. Shelley has THE best laugh. We actually overheard them say that they hoped our food arrived soon so we would SHUT UP. Then they got up and stomped off. Which just goes to prove that old age and nice aren't necessarily companions.

And there were screams. We went to see Paranormal Activity. While Lula cowered behind her pillow (YES, she brought a pillow to the theater), I hid my face in Brandy's shoulder, who in turn hid her eyes under her shirt, all while Heather giggled at us fraidy cats. That movie is just about the scariest thing I've ever seen. It got my heart pounding almost as much as Lula's driving*. Needless to say, I slept with the light on the rest of our stay there. Sorry, Jane!

And we ate SO much. Between the crack bars Denise brought and the caramel popcorn Lizzy Beth brought (please, please, please post the recipes, ladies!) and the vast quantities of food we all brought and prepared, I all but waddled home. Which would probably have gotten me home faster considering Tennessee is now officially the worst state in the country for traffic. Seriously. People told me it was bad, but I thought, whatever, it's Tennessee, for crying out loud, how bad can it be. Yeah. It's bad.

And there was a raucous game of 80's Scene It, during which we all showed our age and passion for pop culture trivia. Kat might just be one of the smartest people around. Followed by a viewing of Space Camp, only one of the best movies ever. Made back when Jaoquin was still a Leaf and John Locke had hair.

And there was a lively discussion and demonstration about "crescent rolls" led by Melissa. That girl really knows her stuff.

And there was horseback riding. Where I had to go and admit that I had ridden before so they gave me the "stubborn" one. Which I think is code for "you don't know ridin', yankee" because that horse went on to be the biggest pain in the butt and I spent half of the hour long ride with the trail guide holding my reins, like a little kid.

There are so many more stories, but the best part was just getting to be face to face with women that I have been talking to for so long. Thanks Shannon and Angie for making it happen. Is it too early to start planning next year?

Now it's back to the grind, right Angela?

*No lie. That woman took those mountain curves like Mario Andretti. Love you, girl!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Next Stop, Tennessee!

I am mere minutes, 60 of them, from departure for a long weekend with girlfriends. We're heading to the mountains of Tennessee for a much needed respite from the grinds of every day life. For some laughter and relaxation. And maybe a scare or two.*

I'm leaving my husband and daughter for four days. I've left copious instructions; schedules and preferences. They'll be fine. They'll be fine. It almost galls me to say that, because a tiny part of me doesn't want them to be fine without me. I kind of want it to all go to hell in a handbasket, just to prove the enormous value of my presence. They are my life, those two, and it feels good to be needed. But it feels just as good to take a break.

This is the first long road trip I've been on in years and years. The first in at least a decade now. How does so much time go by? There was a time when long road trips were not at all unusual. These days, you could draw a circle around Baltimore with a compass delineating the three hour mark and that is as far as I ever get. I can count a half dozen trips in recent years that just touch on that boundary. Any further and it merits a plane ticket.

Of course, traveling with a child makes all the difference in the world. I don't even make spontaneous trips to the grocery store any more, I'm sure as heck not going to hop in my car to drive 9 hours with her. Much as I love her. Neil and I talk about taking these trips all the time, but somehow it just never happens.

But this trip is. And while I'm taking my laptop, I'm going to try not to spend too much time on it. With 13 women, friends and sisters of my heart, around to keep me company, I'm betting you won't see much of me on this here internet.

So with that, I'm off. Wish me safe travels and I'll see you next week!

Now, where's my Thelma and Louise soundtrack?

Road Pictures, Images and Photos

*We're going to see Paranormal Activity on Friday. Hold me.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday Funday

Despite the fact that the thermometer said 65, I bundled us up for some play outside on this glorious sunshiney Sunday afternoon, because it's November forcryingoutloud. But the sun, she was beating down. Within minutes, red-faced and sweaty, we threw off our jackets as we got down to the business of playing in the vast piles of leaves that have accumulated in our yard. For more than an hour, Sophie ran and burrowed and cavorted and dug and hopped. And laughed and giggled and squealed.

This? Is just one of the many reasons I love Fall so much.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Fancies

- I had my first photography class last night. I got an SLR last Christmas and I barely know how to use it, so one of my girlfriends and I are taking an intro class at community college. I was actually kind of nervous going in, but I really enjoyed it. Even if I did get the stink eye from the teacher for talking during class.

- Daylight savings continues to kick my butt. Sophie, despite going to bed at her normal time, has been getting up an hour early all week. If I take a nap in the afternoon, I have trouble going to sleep at night, but if I don't take a nap, I'm run down from lack of sleep and still can't get to sleep until midnight. This girl needs to sleep in.

- I just bought Happiest Toddler On The Block. I had kind of decided that I was done with parenting books, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I had to put Sophie in time-out no less than 10 times yesterday. Including once at Old Navy. And that's not counting the 3 times the ladies gave her while at gym childcare. I liked the Happiest Baby book and this one came recommended by a good friend, so hopefully we can make some positive changes. Before this kid drives me to drink. More.

- Am I the only woman that looks at other women's behinds and wonders how mine compares to it? Ie, is it bigger or smaller? Not in criticism of the other women, but just wondering how mine looks to the world. As an aside, the other day a girlfriend of mine told me what she weighed and I about fell off my chair. I thought we were close to the same size, turns out she's FORTY pounds lighter. Clearly my perception of myself is WAY off.

- Sophie loves the movie Cars. We start it all the time, but never finish it because we'll stop it to go, you know, DO SOMETHING. So yesterday was the first time I have seen the end since I first saw it several years ago. When Lightening pushed Mr. The King over the finish line? Waterworks. I'm such a sap.

- I'm going away for a girls' weekend next week to the mountains of Tennessee. It's only the second time in her life that I will be leaving Sophie. Teensy bit nervous, but so excited for this little vacay. Mama needs a break.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wake Up Call

One of the real saviors for me has been the gym. You wouldn't know it to look at me, but I'm actually in pretty good shape. I bust gluteus five days a week. I spend 50-60 minutes on the elliptical/treadmill/arc trainer and 15 minutes or so strength training. The truth is I really don't enjoy working out. I hear people all the time talking about how much they love it, but I am not one of them. Nine months in, it is definitely a habit, but not a pleasurable one. The real reason I go? The gym day care. For that hour and 15 minutes, it is all about me. Some days it is the slender thread that holds me to my sanity. And that's no exaggeration, folks.

Yesterday, after a couple of particularly rough days, I was feeling all run down and frustrated and squingy. (Daylight savings is no friend of mine.) The morning had not been especially pleasant, punctuated by a huge fight to get Sophie in clothes and a diaper because my girl is all about going au naturel these days. I was in bad need of a workout, so off to the gym we went.

When we walked into the childcare room, there was another mommy at the desk checking her kids out. She turned around as we approached and noticed Sophie at my side. Her face lit up and she said "HI SOPHIE!!" I was taken aback a little. I know my daughter is a friendly sort, but I hadn't really expected her to be on a first name basis with other members of the gym that I didn't even know. Then the woman tells me that her kids love Sophie and they talk about her all the time. How disappointed they're going to be for missing her.

Isn't that always the way.

Just when I'm settling in for a good wallow, that girl of mine has to puff me up with pride and make me all smiley.

Monday, November 2, 2009


My daughter doesn't listen to me. At all. She runs when I say NO. She continues when I say STOP. I'm doing way too much yelling these days and I am not enjoying it one bit. When I'm out on play dates, my daughter is the only one screaming and running and generally causing trouble.

What am I doing wrong, people?

I know that the toddler years are difficult. I know that they are opinionated, obstinate, mouthy, 25 pound producers of messes of all kinds. But. But.

Knowing this doesn't change how I feel. I feel lost. I feel like I'm doing all the wrong things. Watching too much tv. Not spending enough time working on colors and numbers and letters. Even though I do try to minimize the former and maximize the latter. I don't know what I'm doing here. They don't come with manuals. There is no right and wrong. It's walking blindfolded through a maze. It's reading a book upside down.

Sophie's attention span is about fourteen seconds. Every day I go through the whole range of activities: coloring, puzzles, reading, Mr/Mrs Potatohead, playdoh, singing, wrastlin', tickling, banging on pots, running around, playing outside (if it's nice), trying on mommy's shoes, chasing the cat, being chased by the cat and so on. All of this takes up about a half an hour.

Then we have 11 hours of the day left to kill.

I'm not looking for people to tell me I'm a good mother. I AM a good mother. I have a healthy, happy little girl. What I do want is for you to tell me what the hell to do all day. And how not to go crazy while I'm at it.