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Monday, June 30, 2008

Another reason I love being a Mom

Overheard in our car tonight as I strapped MH into her carseat after our second trip of the day to Target:

MH: Mommy, you're an angel.

Me: I'm an angel? Thanks MH!

MH: Yeah Mommy, you're an angel because you love shopping.

Daddy was busy returning our cart.

Know why I love being a mom even more?

She repeated it when he got in the car.

I'll have what she's having . . .

We had some errands to run tonight and figured we'd stop off for a bite to eat. The Mad Hatter really enjoys going to South of the Border for the kids' nachos, and quite frankly, I rather enjoy their margaritas.

We happened to be driving by when she exclaimed, "It's the nacho place! I'm just CRAZY of nachos!!! Can we eat there?"

Who could say no to that?

We get inside and place our order. I ordered a drink and meal for her, a margarita and meal for myself, and DH placed his order.

Without missing a beat, right as DH finished, MH turns to the waitress and says, "And my Mommy will have a Mommy Juice".

Care to venture a guess at the definition of Mommy Juice?

You guessed it! When MH tries to grab a sip of anything with alcohol in it, I tell her it's Mommy Juice. We have discussed the fact that Mommy or Daddy Juice is special for grown-ups only because it can hurt little girls and boys. And the explanation has worked just perfectly.

So I sheepishly explained our little drink code to the server, who got a big laugh out of the whole thing (and probably thinks I am quite the lover of all things alcohol since my child is doing my ordering for me - the ironic part is, I'm really not a huge drinker at all!).

When she walked away, I asked MH why she ordered me a Mommy Juice.

Her answer?

(spoken with such pride)

"Because I just know how much you love it, Mommy!"

The things that come out of her mouth these days - on an hourly basis - will never cease to amaze me.

Or crack me up.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Panda-moan-ium

I've been having a rough few days, and haven't been getting great sleep, so DH was a dear today and took the Mad Hatter on some errands so I could get some much needed rest.

Around 3:40 this afternoon, I decided that I needed to snap out of my funk and we were going to have some family fun. I quickly hopped on line to check the movie schedule, and declared that we were going to see the 4:35 showing of Kung-Fu Panda. I then managed to get myself showered, dressed, blown dry, and made-up in record time, and off we went.

Let me start off by saying that the Mad Hatter has trouble staying still. I'd like to blame it on the fact that she's 3, but the girl is in Constant. Motion. And has been since she was a baby. However, we've been to a few movies now, and she seemed to be getting better. She loves Panda Bears, has Kung-Fu Panda Eggo waffles, and I figured she'd be pretty engaged by the story. Last time we went to the movies she was quite excited by the great. big. television in front of us.

We bought our tickets, armed ourselves with a ginormous bucket of popcorn (which the MH held and hoovered most of all by herself), big soda, and lots of napkins. We entered the theater as the previews were starting, and found ourselves perfect seats on an aisle. Right behind the Perfects.

The Perfects?

Yes, we all know them. You know, the family you take a look at and instantly feel taken down about 100 notches. Mom was gorgeous. Tall, thin, tan - looked like Catherine Zeta-Jones in a white tube top and mini-skirt. Her legs looked like they went on for miles. There's no way SHE ever got pregnant, got stretch marks, or delivered two children. Dad was a mix of handsome and sexy. Curls peeking out from under his baseball cap. White teeth that glinted in the dim theater. And the kids - 2 gorgeous little boys, I'd guess ages 2 and a half and 4-ish. Dressed alike. One was Perfect Mommy's mini-me and one was Perfect Daddy's. They were all perfectly quiet and perfectly well behaved. Perfect Mommy could of course wear the tube top because her perfect kids would never tug on her shirt and expose her to the world. Yeah, that and the fact that she probably weighed about 100 lbs. Soaking. Wet.

Shortly after the movie started, the youngest of the Perfects curled up in Mommy's lap. The one time they got up (assumingly to go potty), they did so without any noise whatsoever and were back in a flash. They all ate their snacks and drank their drinks quietly and Perfectly.

Then there were the three of us.

MH was good for the first few minutes, while she stuffed her face with popcorn. Her mouthfuls were punctuated with the occasional loud comment about something exciting to her "Look Mommy! It's a turtle!". "Look at the magical stars Daddy! They're MAGICAL!". We were in a full theater, and with every proclamation, I was painfully aware of how loud her voice sounded.

I was also painfully aware of the Perfects sitting right in front of us.

And all the other kids who have clearly been going to movies since the day they were born.

First it was Daddy's turn to take MH to the potty. I'm pretty sure the rows in front of and behind us knew exactly where she was going - she was sure to loudly announce that she had to go. Then it was my turn. Only, for me, she didn't go - but managed, of course, to touch everything I begged her not to touch and get me freaked out because I am sooooo not a fan of public restrooms. Then it was Daddy's turn again. At least she did go for him.

In between trips, we kept reminding her to sit in her chair. We asked her if she wanted to leave (NO!) We told her if she couldn't sit still and enjoy the movie, we would have to leave (NO!). We told her to look at all of the other people sitting and watching the movie. We threatened time out.

She was unfazed.

She played in her seat, climbing on and off. She turned around to look at the projector, exclaiming "Look at THAT Mommy!". She climbed into and out of my lap and into and out of Hubby's.

Finally, we told her that if we had to tell her one more time to sit still, we were going to leave. And we try really hard to never make a threat we're not willing to follow through on.

I was intently watching Jade fight off the evil leopard (I missed his name because I was too busy worrying about MH and her antics) when DH said "That's it, time to go."

So we gathered our stuff, and out we went. I imagined the Perfects and the people behind us cheering.

And you know what? I was annoyed at my child! Annoyed that we spent $40 on tickets and snacks. Annoyed that she has no understanding of the value of a dollar. Annoyed that she just couldn't sit still like all the other normal kids in the theater. Annoyed that she really didn't seem to care that we were leaving. And annoyed that I didn't get to see the ending!

More than anything, I was annoyed that we were not like the Perfects.

It was dinnertime, and we decided to meet my parents for a quick meal at Bertucci's. Of course, as parents and grandparents, they found the situation quite humorous.

But the most humorous of all? The "kids dough" (aka pizza dough) on the table kept the Mad Hatter entertained for the ENTIRE meal. For once, she didn't interrupt us. She didn't raise her voice. She didn't move all over the place. Her creativity was at a peak as she created bracelets, necklaces, and even "Look Sweetheart, I made a matzah ball!" In fact, she had an absolute blast - the dough was far more entertaining to her than any part of being at the movies was.

Had we known that, we would have saved our money and headed straight for dinner!

As parents of a precocious little 3 year old figuring out her place in this world, DH and I are constantly learning that life can be pretty unpredictable, and you need to be willing to roll with the punches and embrace these times because otherwise, we'll go nuts. Not always so easily accomplished, but we try our best.

And although the Perfects of the world really seem to have it together, I'd like to believe they just put on a REALLY. GOOD. SHOW. Or have some deep, dark secrets.

We'd rather live life as one big adventure and resign ourselves to the fact that we're just imPerfect normal.

Normal people who won't be going to the movies for a long time, unless it's date night.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday Morning Tidbits

I LOVE Saturday morning. Daddy is home and not rushing off to work. I love family snuggle time when The Mad Hatter isn't ready to pounce on the world the minute she opens her eyes.

She woke up earlier than I would have liked this morning. Don't they all wake up earlier than we'd ever like?

Anyways, she was in an adorable and playful mood, and although I wanted to close my eyes and snooze while she watched her "Princesses" dvd for the zillionth time, I couldn't resist her chatter and snuggles.

And let's face it, she was not going to LET me close my eyes if I tried.

Random comments I felt the need to document this morning:

*Mommy, why do you have a shirt with no pants on? (I slept in a t-shirt and undies, lest you all have a picture you'd rather not have in your heads right now. Sorry if you have it anyways.).

*Mommy, why isn't Daddy wearing a shirt? (boxers)

*Daddy, you have hair ALL OVER YOU!

*Mommy, Daddy has hair all over him! (Mommy replies, yes, Daddy does!). Why don't you have hair all over you? (it was way too early for a discussion of puberty, so I told her mommies don't have hair all over us. It was good enough.).

*Mommy, I don't have enough room! (we have a king size bed. There's room. However, since my last surgery, I've been sleeping with this. I slept with it throughout my pregnancy with her, and DH and I used to joke that there was a third person in the bed with us. Inevitably, the side closest to the edge of the bed falls off in the middle of the night. In the morning, MH likes to climb into the "nest" right next to me in the side that stays IN the bed. By that point, I am normally falling out of said king size bed with plenty of room).

*(after her pronouncement of no room, I tell her I'm about to fall out of bed). Here Mommy (wraps her whole body around my arm), I got ya! You won't fall out now . . . I'll hold you here as long as you want!

OK, time for some java. I say I'll be right back, but my little shadow is right behind me in the kitchen. Apparently snuggle time is over.

*Mommy, why are there numbers on there? (seriously, why are there numbers on the coffee pot? I make the whole 10 cups. Every day. Most mornings I'd prefer a direct IV)

*I. Need. Eggs! (not in this kitchen without rephrasing that statement!)

*Can I have some eggs, puhleeeeeaaaaaaase?

(Mommy tries to gather egg making ingredients while MH reads her Big Backyard magazine that comes via subscription from Auntie P)

*Mommy, look at the teeth on this hippopotamus! (she says the word perfectly. I'm proud.)

*Mommy, come look at this fox!

*Mommy, this one. big. alligator. Look at his teeth!" (Mommy twitches her nose so someone else will whip up the eggs that will no doubtedly be shouted for in 1 minute. I am SuperMom of course! I can read magazines at the island and cook at the stove with no problem whatsoever, m'kay?)

*Daddy! (who has just made his way into the kitchen). Mommy's makin' me cut-up eggs! (scrambled)

Daddy proceeds to eat a muffin while standing up.

*Daddy! You sit DOWN while you're eating! Mommy, Daddy's being a bad boy. He needs a time out.

(We've been working really hard on staying seated during meals. Can you tell? I gently thank her for reminding Daddy of the rules and tell her Daddy gets one warning. He only needs a time out if he doesn't listen again, and then his breakfast will be over.)

I tell Daddy he better follow the rules! (if he gets a time out, he'll be there for 35 minutes, as we do 1 minute per year of age. He'd probably enjoy his forced time out).

The two of them sit down to eat breakfast together (MH tells Daddy and me that he's being a good boy now, and they're sittin' next to each other) while I run hobble back to bed to hop onto my laptop and record the comments that I know will make us laugh hysterically several years from now.

She's now trotting around the house in a pajama top, undies, and flip-flops. We're so glamorous around here!

Happy Saturday everyone!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Driving Lessons

Tonight my hubby and Dad had a meeting for an organization they belong to, so MH, Sweetheart, and I had a little girls's night out planned. We were on our way for a bite to eat, and to drop by a friend's house.

First, let me give you some details of relevance:

  1. We live at the top of a hill with 4 stop signs on the street we take down to the main road.
  2. We were on our way down that street.
  3. My mother drives like a saint. I swear, if she hits a mile over the speed limit, she takes her foot off the gas. It's actually somewhat annoying to drive with someone who follows the rules of the road so steadfastly (is that even a word?) and she takes quite a lot of (loving) abuse from our family about it. But seriously, she's an excellent driver. Rainman would approve.
  4. MH's carseat in my Mom's car is right in the middle of the back seat, giving her the perfect view of the road in front of her.
  5. There was a car about one stop sign ahead of us.
  6. The license plate was AMEN. That part isn't so relevant, I just for some reason found it humorous.

And so the conversation went:

MH: Sweetheart, don't hit that car in front of you!
Sweetheart: Honey, of course I'm not going to hit the car in front of us.
MH: Well, I don't want you to hit that car in front of us because I don't want you to hurt the front of your car.
Sweetheart: Sweetie, you know what? More than anything, I would never want anyone inside of this car to get hurt. That's the really important part. I always want to make sure that you and Mommy are safe.
MH: (after a pause) Yeah. I just telled you that because I really didn't want you to hurt your car.

Lucky for us, Sweetheart continued to be a perfect chauffeur, no car accidents ensued, and we had a lovely evening together.

AMEN.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

In Real Life

OK, I am trying out the It's Real Life fest over at Farm Fresh Iowa. I am a week late because last week at this time my back was in so much pain, I could barely get out of bed! I think I've got the whole list, you'll get the picture(s)!

Welcome to our humble abode! Come on in! First, let's take a look at what the Mad Hatter is up to right now (well, hopefully she is sleeping now, but this is the pic I got right before bedtime):


While we're at it, her room is definitely my fave in the house right now. We've been busy converting from baby to "big girl". When I found this pattern, I went nuts and ordered everything. It's called Clothes Line and is totally me (and, of course, MH). DH and I (well, mainly DH) put up the border and added the new valance and curtains. I've got some coordinating pictures that I'm going to hang with pink and white gingham ribbon. Then, I'm going to buy the letters that make up her name, hand-paint and decorate them, and hang them from the matching ribbon on an opposite wall. We're all loving her "new" room, and the new sitter who came to play today while I was home told me it looked like a room right out of the PBK catalog. Needless to say, I was thrilled! I haven't captured all of it, but you can get the idea!




Can I offer you a drink? Well, let's take a look at this lovely fridge. Outside first - clearly, I am a collector! I'm also a big proponent of learning toys, and we love the Leap Frog fridge stuff. I have to admit that there is not much substance in my fridge (note: fridge has been filled since picture was taken 2 days ago). I always have plenty of stuff for MH, but we tend to buy as we need since it's hard for me to get out for regular grocery shopping and I hated PeaPod delivery service. The freezer is full of "stuff", and totally disorganized, as you can see.


Wanna see organized? Take a look at Hubby's closet.



Then there's me. I'm mortified at the bottom of my closet - my poor shoes get kicked off in there and then MH helps me get the ones I want to wear.


Speaking of, here are my current faves. The brand is OkaB, and I must be completely out of the loop because these shoes are quite popular, and were meant to be on my feet. Since the surgeries, I am only allowed to wear flats. I have been looking for cute brown ones for-ever. Last Friday I saw two different women in two different places wearing these (in two different colors, imagine that!). Upon asking, I learned that each pair was purchased at the same FABULOUS little shop (which I adventured to today and could now be one of my favorite places to shop for gifts - I mean, the shopping bags are black and white toile!). How cool is this? I had no idea the shoes were made of a rubbery flip flop material. Kind of Croc-ish, but much more flexible. You can't tell when someone is wearing them because the big grosgrain bow covers the surface. AND, the ribbon can be switched out so you can change them up. They are most comfy, and at $30, they were a bargain, so I treated myself to a pair in both brown and black. Are they adorable or what? Right, back to some sort of organization (since it's definitely not my strong suit). My fabulous hubby does all of our laundry, almost on a daily basis. Here's the current load, not yet full enough to go:
Soooo, back to the kitchen. Here's my sink. Nothing too exciting here - I do try to keep it as empty as possible. I'm quite thankful for our dishwasher.

Need to use the little girls' room on your way out? We've even got a little stool if it's too high for you! Also, if you're afraid of falling in, feel free to use our potty seat!



Before you go, have one last look at me. I'm usually looking a little better, but you're standing kind of close.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope the next time you come for a visit, we might be looking a little neater around here (and maybe have some more food so we can offer you a nice meal!).

OK, I am skipping THIS week's Real Life. I don't lie when I tell you that it has taken me 2 days to get this post done. If anyone has tips on how to add so many pics in an easier way (other than upload, then switch to edit Html and cut and paste), comment away!

Today's Reasons for Why I Am a Great Mommy

According to the Mad Hatter, of course, in her infinite 3-year old wisdom.

Author's note: comments were both unsolicited, and made at different intervals throughout the our day

  1. I am a great mommy because I kiss all of her boo-boos and make her feel soooooo much better (pretty sure that's a regular part of my job)
  2. I am a great kisser (not sure if that should go in the book of great parenting)
  3. Because I make the Best. Juice. Ever. (who knew that mixing 1/4 part juice to 3/4 parts water would give me such an honor?)
  4. Because I'm beautiful and so fancy (to see through the eyes of a 3-year old again!)
  5. Because she loves the bathing suit with "dots" that I wore to pool therapy

All comments really were preceded by "My mommy is a great mommy BECAUSE . . ."

Sweetie, I adore you too. And I could never possibly list each and every reason why you are the best daughter in the world. You are amazing, and your bright smile is the highlight of each day I am blessed to spend with you.

But for today, I'll go with this - you're the best daughter in the world because you come up with comments like the above on a regular basis.

And though I'm constantly questioning myself as a parent, if the above reasons make me a great mommy, then I know that for now, I'm definitely doing just fine at all the other stuff.

I love you!

*****************************************************************************
Edited to add: I posted this after midnight and had to add one more that I got this morning:

"Mommy, you're a great mommy because of all those songs you sing that make me go to sleep".

If only my singing MADE her go to sleep! But I will take the compliment that she likes my singing - she's probably the only one!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ask and you shall receive!

I've got a secret.

And I know you really want to know the answer.

Some of you really want to know the answer.

How do I know?

I've gotten several comments and emails requesting that I share this HUGE secret.

This secret might just change your life!

Or maybe just your blogging style.

You'll have others begging you to let them in on the secret!

So, are you ready?

Do you think you can handle it?

Without further ado, I present to you: How to do the word crossy-out-thingie

Yes, my friends - even a Mommy who is learning to blog can teach you a thing or two.

Are you ready for this?

It's pretty complicated. You better take notes.

Create your post.

When you are done, click on the Edit Html tab.

Put your cursor RIGHT in front of the word you want to cross out.

Type this: "less than" symbol (next to M on keyboard) followed by del and "greater than" symbol (next to "less than" symbol on keyboard)



Move your cursor to the end of the word you are trying to cross out.



Do the EXACT same as above, adding a "/" (aka backslash) before the letters "del"

Click on the Compose tab.

If you have followed these extremely complicated steps, your word should be "crossed out".

My dear blog buddies, I know this all sounds very difficult.

But trust me - I have FAITH in you.

I KNOW you can do it!

And when you can (and if you feel like it), you too can pass along the power.

As for how the learning Mommy came to post a mini-tutorial?

A lady never tells her secrets.

A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: in creating this mini-tutorial, I learned that if I actually typed the instructions exactly as they should appear both before and after the word you want to cross out, I couldn't GIVE you a tutorial because the words actually got crossed out. This means Mommy has learned a second lesson. You do not need to go into the Edit Html mode to do said cross-out-thingy. Just follow the instructions as noted above as you are typing your post, and you should be all set. Clear as mud? If you've got questions, shoot me an email at mommylearnstoblog@gmail.com and I will be sure to help you out!tutorial test

Recipe For Disaster?

*One birthday party at an ice skating rink

*One mom who has no business being within a 20 mile radius of an ice rink, unless she's lying on it to ice her back

*One dad who has never been on ice skates and is not particularly athletically inclined

*One three-year old who has no idea what we're about to do, has also never been on skates, but looks pretty darned adorable

The scenario:

Mommy needs to convince the Mad Hatter that although it's 85 degrees outside, we need to dress for winter. This was no easy feat. Come on, socks in Crocs? Luckily, she was excited about going to a birthday party and wanted to look beautiful, so I worked it.

Daddy says he doesn't think it's a good idea for him to try skating - we already have one broken back in the house, two would not be a good thing.

Mommy is not so sure about all of this. The birthday girl's dad and some of his friends are avid skaters and hockey players. They have assured us that they will help. But will they help DH or MH?

Get to rink, deliver birthday gift, get skates for MH. Spend 20 minutes maneuvering said skates onto MH. Watch 3-year old MH learn to walk all over again - it takes two of us to hold her up.

Birthday girl's dad (who MH happens to have a MAJOR crush on) asks MH if she wants to go for a ride. He puts her on top of some milk crates and whooshes her around the rink. From the look on her face I'm not sure if she's going to throw up or errupt into giggles.

Birthday girl's dad offers to help her skate "by herself". With lots of assistance, a not so sure MH slowly holds onto said milk crates and tries to move.

At this point, I'm sure she's about to cry.





They get back to the entrance, where Daddy and I are waiting, cheering her on.

Birthday girl's dad asks if she wants to go around again.

Her answer: "Can I go put on my Crocs?"

Yes, my friends, I think we have found the one activity in life that could possibly slow down our little Mad Hatter. She lives life to its fullest and NEVER stops, so I found it quite ironic that an ice rink could bring her to a screeching halt.

She happily spent the rest of the afternoon munching on party pizza, cheez curls, and a DELICIOUS cupcake made by my dear friend N (birthday girl's Mommy). Or should I say the frosting on the cupcake. She licked it clean and told me she needed more frosting. That's my girl!
The highlight of MY day? Watching DH put on a pair of skates and attempt to navigate the rink. 6 feet of man clinging to a stack of milk crates with the fear of God in his eyes. Sadly, I didn't have the camera with me for the short amount of time he was out there. But I am happy to report that he made it back safely, and can live to tell the tale.

Priceless.

As for the MH? Maybe next year.

Heck, maybe by next year I will be able to get on the ice. OK, I can dream.

Regardless of next year's party locale, we will definitely be there for the cupcakes great friends and good times! Always a recipe for success!

Pondering

How is it that we went to Target to make a return (approximately $128 credited back to my card), and left there with a charge of approximately $320?

I am hereby declaring myself banned from Target for at least one week.

And if I decide to return any of my fabulous purchases, I think I will send DH along without me.

Target could be a sickness second to my blogging addiction. Where else can you buy a bathing suit, birthday card, and breakfast bars?

Does anyone know where I can find a TA meeting?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tiny Dancer

With a HUGE personality!

The Mad Hatter has a love for singing, dancing, and all things musical like NOTHING we've ever seen. We go to music class, own just about every musical instrument possible, and have been known to have an impromptu dance party or two in our kitchen (even if my moves are both slow and geriatric at best these days).

MH absolutely LOVES the "aaaahhhh-pod", and knows how to turn on the player all by herself. She thinks the music on the on there is fabulous. Of course she does, it's set to the mix I made for her 3rd birthday party!

Anyways, when I was in my early teens, I could not get enough of the movie Hairspray. I just loved watching underdog Ricki Lake beat out mega-bitch Amber von Tussel, and watching the world fall in love with her while she fell in love and fought for de-segregation on The Corny Collins Dance Show.

I especially loved the cameos by Ric Ocasek and Pia Zedora.

When I got wind of the fact that Hairspray was being re-made AND it would be starring John Travolta, only one of my favorite actors in the world (he's on my list of 5), I knew nothing would stop me from re-living my youth again at age 32 in the local movie theater.

DH selflessly sacrificed 2 hours of date night and took me to see it. I was a little worried he'd hate it, but quickly got over it because I knew I would love it (I mean, it IS all about me, right?). I'm happy to report that it didn't take long before I noticed his feet tapping along to the beat. The soundtrack is contagious! I, of course, had no problem with the added bonus of looking at James Marsden and Zac Efron for a couple of hours. The outcome - we both had a ball and date night was hit.

My parents saw the movie not too long after we did, and my mom instantly purchased the soundtrack. Shortly after, I had my first back surgery and was unable to drive, so MH and I were spending a lot of time in her car as she shlepped us around to doctor's appointments, physical therapy, and any other errand I had to get done (another big shoutout to Sweetheart!).

The Mad Hatter is quite used to having a very large selection of "nusic" in my car, as her favorite CDs have slowly taken over every spot in the 6-CD changer. Mom only has a single CD player, and the first time MH asked for her "nusic", she had nothing but Hairspray in the car.

This was not a problem for my little music lover. Since that day, she has memorized just about every song on the CD. I get such a kick of hearing her little voice belt out (in great tune, I might add) the lyrics when I'm least expecting it. She knows the words better than I do, and she sings with such fervor and gusto!

A couple of weeks ago I went nuts when I found out that Hairspray is currently airing on HBO. When I told Hubs we needed to DVR it, he said he didn't think she'd like it. Mommies always know best.

While I didn't DVR it, one day we were at my parents' house and we put it on for her through On Demand. Watching her face as her favorite music came to life on TV was one of the most priceless things I've ever experienced.

She stood, jaw dropped, glued to the TV for a few minutes, and promptly launched into full-on song and dance. It was fantastic! And while she has no understanding whatsoever of the storyline, which is really pretty sad (until, of course, they overcome segregation on the Corny Collins Show), it's all about the singing and dancing for her. She begs to watch it, and each time just has a ball turning into a dancing fool and singing her little heart out.

Last week, MH requested dinner nusic, and we were happy to oblige. When we had finished eating and DH was cleaning up, MH turned our kitchen into Dance Fever. We were dancing to a variety of faves ranging from Dan Zanes to Barry white, when all of a sudden we got a burst of our now favorite soundtrack ever. "You Can't Stop the Beat" came on, and there was no stopping her. I grabbed my camera, which I am thrilled takes video, and watched her go to town.

And now, making her Bloggywood Debut, I present to you The Marvelous Miss M:

My only hope is that she's still young enough to miss the actual storyline and is only paying attention to the music when she's watching. If she ever comes out with a comment like "I wish EVERY day was Negro Day", I'm done for!

And yes, we will be signing up for dance classes in the fall. My girl's got rhythm!

**************************************************************
Edited to add: please ignore the Mommy's singing voice - to the Mad Hatter's credit, she seems to have found the musical genes I am missing.

3-year old logic

One of the gazillion reasons I am loving the Mad Hatter this weekend . . .

Yesterday I was having what we call a "coma" day around here.

This is what we've dubbed those days where my body just hits a road block and I literally cannot wake myself up or muster any energy to get out of bed. They usually happen after a few days of trying to do too much (or in this case, a few days of rest followed by one day of doing too much).

DH (or Mom, depending on what day of the week it is) is fabulous when this happens, and did a great job of keeping the MH entertained. They went to Johnny Rocket's for lunch, did a few errands, and came home and had a nap, most of which without my even realizing it.

When MH woke up from her nap (blissful, the 2nd one in two days since she's been on a nap boycott), DH opened the door to our bedroom to slowly get me stirring.

MH got very indignant about not waking me. My eyes opened to loud yelling. "Daddy, you're going to wake Mommy! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO don't go in your bathroom, you're going to wake Mommy - use MYYYYYYYYYYYYYY bathroom!"

DH knew my eyes were already opening, and I was quietly giggling while dying to hear how the scenario would play out.

The idea that our little girl was being so fiercely protective of my need for sleep and rest was incredibly endearing - the fact that I woke up because of her yelling and carrying on to her Daddy about it, and not his actual walking into our bedroom was priceless.

The best part was when Daddy got the cold shoulder as MH incorporated one of our favorite tactics - disappointment in his behavior. She told him "Daddy, I'm very sad that you're using your bathroom because you're GOING to wake Mommy!"

At a deafening 10+ on the noise scale.

At the foot of my bed.

All the while, having no concept of the fact that she was the one doing the waking.

3-year olds and their logic - there actually are days when I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What a week . . .

So we had the traumatic 4 month post-op visit to the neurosurgeon on Monday. I cried. A LOT.

I didn't fall asleep until 3AM Tuesday morning.
Hubby was great enough to bring MH to Sweetheart's house so I could get some sleep.

I couldn't sleep. I called Sweetheart (Mom) and cried some more.

I finally fell asleep but had to get up for my massage therappy appt at PT.

The massage therapist BEAT. ME. UP. (really, I love her, but I bruise easily and I've got a big one on my butt to prove it).

I drove (WOO HOO!) for the third time in 4 months to this appt, then went to pick up MH from Sweetheart and Poppy's house. She kept asking me why I was driving.

While lying in bed with MH reading her some bedtime stories, I coughed and felt some pretty serious pain shoot through my spine.

I got Daddy to handle the snuggle time portion of bedtime routine and got myself into bed with an ice pack.

I even whipped out the TENS unit my brother gave me so I could try to shock my muscles into calming down.

I adamantly refused pain meds since my neurosurgeon made me fear I'll turn into an addict.

Again, I did not sleep. At 3:30 I took a Sonata. I watched the sun come up (through my blinds).

I finished half of Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella. It's hilarious. And fun.

I finally fell asleep. At 5:30AM For 3 hours. Mom woke me because I had PT. I wanted to cancel but decided going into the 98 degree pool and moving around some would be good for me.

I could barely walk out of PT.

The ride home was worse.

I could barely make it up the stairs in my house.

Screw the neuro, it was time for pain meds. I shouldn't have listened to him anyways because we know there are no issues.

The pain feels so bad within minutes that I am bawling.

Mom is scared. I don't cry about pain. Even when it's really bad. She is amazing. She gets me into bed, onto ice, legs propped up, and will not leave my side until those drugs start working.

She even offers to put her hands under my back like they do at PT. Mom, I LOVE YOU.

MH is the cutest little doll ever. She wipes my tears away. She asks me if Sebastian singing Under the Sea (we bought Daddy a musical FD card that has become hers) will make me feel better. Abso-freakin-lutely, angel - go for it.

MH stands by my bedside rubbing at her little eyes. I ask her if she's ok.

She tells me her eyes are sad because her mommy is sad. I cry some more. I make her climb into bed with me so I can snuggle her as close as humanly possible.

I HATE that this is the life she knows. No 3 year old should be so filled with caring and empathy.

Or maybe I should be proud that she has these characteristics - she learned them somewhere.

Finally, drugs start kicking in. Mom and MH leave so I can rest.

I finally dose off, but don't sleep for long. More drugs, more sleep.

Mom is amazing - MH is going for a sleepover at Sweetheart and Poppy's house!

She couldn't be more excited. I couldn't be more thankful for better parents.

I was relegated to not moving around much, icing as much as possible, and taking my pain meds.

Hubby brought home my favorite cake batter ice cream after his meeting.

It was dinner, and it was delicious.

I chatted with DH about his day, then got ready for bed. And took more pain meds.

I slept. ALL NIGHT. Finally.

And woke up at 12:oo PM.

I'm still tired. I just took more meds and I might just sleep some more.

Sweetheart and MH are having a ball. They called from the playground and MH kissed the phone and said "look at me". She thinks everyone can see through the phone. I love that about her.

My back is actually feeling a lot better, but I know it needs some calm down time.

And I think I do too.

I'll be calling Chris (my beloved PA) early next week and I am less emotional so I can get a real perspective on this whole back thing and some better professional feedback.

I know it takes time and there are ups and downs but I am so so ready for an uphill jaunt, however slow it needs to be.

I'm sad I am missing out on Jessica's Real Life party over at Farm Fresh.

When I feel better, I will post my real life right here. Although in the meantime, this is it.

My eyes are getting sleepy.

I just realized I typed this entire post kind of Wendi-style. I love Wendi's posts.

I also realized today is my 4 month anniversary of a lumbar spinal fusion.

And despite today's post, I'm doing okay. I'm taking life in stride. Just hitting some speedbumps.

And now, I bid you all goodnight (afternoon).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bragging, then bedtime

OK, last post of the night. I swear I've been at this computer for 3 hours. I need a life. I need sleep.

My post last night was REALLY, REALLY long.

"No shit, genius!" (see . . . I can hear the blogosphere roaring already)

Anyways, I am back with much shorter post to shamelessly shout out again "WA-HOOOOOO!"

First of all, if you read the entire post, you deserve the award too. I was having a shit-ass day. So I offer my utmost gratitude. It hurts my eyes to look at it now - I apologize if yours are bleeding too.

I digress . . .

I am the recipient of an award from McMommy (I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy).

It's the Arte y Pico award, and according to McMommy the criteria for receiving it is to: Choose 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also contribute to the blogging community

Here it is in all its bloggerific glory:


Just wanted to thank McMommy again for being such a wonderful inspiration, and for thinking highly enough to rank me up there with some pretty amazing bloggers! I consider you all professionals in BlogWorld!

I will do my best to uphold the honor to its fullest, and can't wait to pass it on to other more equally deserving women (and men, if you're out there and I find you, I don't discriminate!)

NOW, hutt-to! If you didn't read the post last night all is forgiven, but now you have no excuse, so go ahead and leave me some lovin' in my comment section!

And again, many many thanks to those of you who did read and comment - I need to check on blog ettiquette as I haven't actually received this award myself so I don't know if it's okay to borrow and pass on. Hopefully I'm not committing a huge blogospherical faux-pas (be sure to let me know if I am, you know I am the learning Mommy), but I bestow upon you this:

PS Did you notice that I learned how to do the word cross-out thingy? Guess what? I can actually teach you something!

Let's Show Some Love for Poppy

The Mad Hatter always does!


Father's Day Fun, a few days late

Our father's day plans to head to the beach were sadly ruined by rain. How dare that Mother Nature rain on our parade (yep, bad pun intended). Hubby really wanted to hit the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, and while braving it with back pain and a very active Mad Hatter wasn't first on the list of activities I'd have chosen, it was Father's Day after all, so of course I was ready to comply.

Hubby took his shower, and then MH proceeded to throw a fit. One that assured me a trip to the mall in either of our conditions was not a wise idea, and that into bed for a nap was the only place she would be going. I told Hubs I hoped he didn't mind, but that he knew better, and to go enjoy a little time on his own. We had plans to visit the IL's and have dinner at my parents' house later anyways. No biggie. Sad not to spend the day together as planned, but we do what is necessary to get by, and a tired, tantruming MH is no-one's idea of a good time.

Poor DH - he didn't find much at the sale, and came home to Raving Lunatic Mommy, who had spent 2 hours dealing with a highly defiant and quite stubborn MH. An MH who got herself so riled up she showed me who was boss - by screaming so much she threw up all over her bed. NICE.

Once everyone calmed down and Mommy had a nap, the world was better. We jetted off to the IL's for a quick visit, then on to my parents' house for a DELICIOUS steak dinner. Mom really pulled out the stops on the great steaks, sweet corn - the works. By this time, MH was being fairly charming, no doubt largely due to the fact that Uncle DKR had come down for dinner, and had brought along Shay the dog.

Uncle DKR lives about an hour away and is incredibly successful at his highly demanding job, so we are lucky if we get to see him every few weeks. He and the Mad Hatter have a very special relationship, to put it lightly. After dinner, we had some great fun with the camera:


Sadly, all good fun must come to an end, and unfortunately this ending was abrupt. I watched in what seemed like slo-mo eternity as she fell backwards over the arm of the couch and I screamed in horror. I thought for sure she was about to crack her head open on the ceramic tile (and we couldn't see because she went out of our line of vision). The MH is amazing enough to have only hurt "right here" (her foot), although that didn't stop incessant hysterics on her part. It took some time, but we finally convinced her that while we didn't have our trusty frozen Cinderella (which she doesn't hold on the boo-boo as intended, just touches to where it hurts and tells us Cinderella made her feel better), Frozen Nemo would work just as well. Since she was more interested in examining Frozen Nemo, we were pretty sure she was okay.

Then it was time for some fun family shots:

Myself, DKR, Dogs Shay and Cassidy, and the rest of the fam . . .



DKR, Hubby, Sweetheart, MH, Shay, and Poppy


And would you believe I never knew how to use the timer on my camera? Shocking, I'm sure. With a little work on Hubby's part, we got the camera propped and timed, and got a couple of decent shots - we'll have to work on getting better at that stuff!


I'm sure I said it that day, but I'm putting it here for the world (or at least the people I am lucky enough to have read my blog) to see: Hubby, I couldn't ask for a better partner in life or a better dad for our daughter. We are both so lucky to have you.

And Dad, you are an amazing support to me and the best Poppy the MH could ever ask for.

Of course, I can't leave out Uncle DKR - the best doggie daddy ever!

We love you bunches!

Open Letter

Dear Blogosphere,

We need to talk.

I'll admit it, I am totally and utterly in love with you. Butt-ass crazy (to coin a term from my friend Pam) in love. It happened fast and furiously and out of nowhere. Well, not nowhere - a good friend did send me a link to a blog and told me to check it out. I didn't have to listen to her, but I did. From that moment, I've become a hopeless case.

I think of you day and night. I think I even dream of you. I cannot get enough of you. I'm even fine with the fact that we're not exclusive. There's plenty of you to go around, and I have no problem sharing with the other ladies both inside and out of Bloggywood. In fact, I'd be doing them a disservice if I didn't share you!

The problem is, the more you give me, the more I want. And boy, are you a giver. Never, have I EVER had a relationship with someone so giving. Almost too giving. Just when I think I've gotten my fill, you offer me more.

My laptop taunts me every time I see it - open me, open me! Just one click! Don't you want to hear what McMommy has come up with today? And while you're there, it only takes a few seconds to leave a comment. You have to leave a comment! Wait! McMommy posted about you?!? Well, you MUST write about that - you're nearly a celebrity in Bloggeritaville if she's talking about you! And all those other fab peeps McMommy wrote about, well if you're not already reading them and she thinks they're worthy, shouldn't you? How can you not add them to your reader? You don't want to miss the boat, do you?

Blogosphere, I do love me some good blog. And let me tell you that there is NOTHING better than a good blog. I could blog all day and night. And lately it seems that I am doing just that. But I'm starting to get a bit worried - can too much bloggity-blog become too much of a good thing? I mean, my husband and daughter know all about us, and are surprisingly fine with our relationship. But you're just.so.good. I don't know how much more good I can take. I'm starting to worry that I might be addicted to you.

You and I have the perfect relationship, and such chemistry! I know I can always depend on you. I know you'll always be there for me, giving me all you've got and then some. You make me laugh, you make me cry (but in a good way), you have great taste, and you are such a great teacher. Best of all, I haven't gained an ounce since we got together! I take that back because it's not entirely true, I've gained a lot of bloggy friends and funny tales to share. But I feel like I am starting to think of you and only you, and maybe neglecting a few other things that require my attention.

I mean, I do have a family. They need to eat. The Mad Hatter needs attention. And Hubby, well poor hubby - he has taken to a relationship with the Wii, specifically Mario Kart. When I'm feeling really guilty about my love for you, I go down and play a few courses with him. I always end up in last place, which makes me sad. Then I come back to you because I just know you'll always have something to make me happy.

But I do need to get my rest - you know what the doctor said about my recovery! My morning showers are getting shorter and shorter. I'd rather catch a fix than do my makeup! And forget about things like straightening the house, reading my real books, doing the crafts I once loved so. I just can't seem to be bothered. Last night in the middle of the thunder and lightning, I was worrying about whether we'd lose power and then my laptop battery would die. I don't think this obsession is healthy.

Oh Blogosphere, what's a girl to do?

If you have any ideas, please let me know. Until then, I'm going to continue to accept your unconditional love, selfless giving, and all the other wonderful things that make you YOU, In the short time we've been together, I've become so dependent on you, and I can't bear the thought of not having you in my life. Maybe one day you can help me find a blog that will teach me a bit more about time management.

Or, Bloggers Anonymous.

My name is Rachael, and I am a Blogoholic. And proud of it.

With my deepest love and affection,

Rachael

Oh, Mc-Mooommmmmy

I think you need to design a new award for me - longest blog post ever. I just took a look and it'll be a wonder if anyone even gets to the award part!

Love ya!

Calling all seasoned bloggers

When will it take me less than 2 hours to put up a proper post?

Am I too anal?

Do I think too much while I'm writing?

Is there an easier way to do my links?

There has got to be SOME reason why I started my last entry a little after 11:30PM and it is now 1:41AM.

I know I've had a rough few days, but it seems a bit excessive.

Tips on quick posting and easy linking welcome here - anytime.

And now, I bid you all a good night (or good morning - will someone pass me a cup 'o joe?). The MH will likely be awake in 5 hours and by then my already puffy eyes will most-likely be swollen shut.

Kisses.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Just When I Feel Like I've Been Slackin'

I feel like I haven't done a real blog entry in a few days - it's been a little rough around here.


Last Wednesday, I accidentally (seriously, who would do this on purpose?) tripped over MH's baby-doll stroller and went flying. Trying to stop myself from falling probably wasn't the best idea because it made my already horrifyingly pain-filled back go from about an 8 to a 22 (I know, I know, the scale is 1-10). My physical therapist said I probably pulled something trying to stop myself from falling - WHICH, I'll have you all know I did. Stop myself from falling, that is. Of course, the result was increased difficulty in walking for a few days, increased dependency on Percocet and muscle relaxants (and therefore, sleep) for a couple of days, and some major work on my back by said amazing physical therapist. Not necessarily in that order.

In addition, The Mad Hatter wasn't at her best yesterday. She was defiant, and mouthy, and made it known who was going to be boss around here for the day. And to think, I thought it was Father's Day! I know, I know EVERY day is 3 year old day! I decided she was in dire need of a nap, to which she willingly agreed - at first. Hubby no sooner left the house for a little "Dad" time, when MH managed to show me who was boss. She kept calling me back into her room. And back again. I retorted with threats of consquences. Which apparently, meant nothing. She showed me who was boss. She carried on with her screaming and crying until she threw up. In her bed. Where luckily, I didn't have to worry about having this instinct. It didn't make for the finest hours in this household, although the end of the day did have a lovely (no sarcasm intended at all) ending (more on this later, or more likely - tomorrow).

Moving on to today. I had my 4 month post-surgical visit with my neurosurgeon. It was supposed to be last week, but they rescheduled me. With my neurosurgeon. How dare they? I love Chris, the sweet, sensitive, and caring physician's assistant who has handled all of my post-op care. The one who I've had a great relationship with since my first surgery in October. The one who is so empathetic he gives me hugs. The one who was so mortified at how his office staff talked to me on the phone one day he gave me his cell phone number and told me to use it any time (like I have the nerve). The one who never makes me feel stupid, always tells me I'm completely normal (ok, maybe he is just doing his job), and the one who never looks at his watch when I'm on his clock. The one who has become my own personal McDreamy. Yes, we're both married. Yes, it's his job to be nice to me. Yes, he've even given Hubby a hug too. But he just has a way of making it all better, even when it's really not. I feel a bond with him. Did I mention that he's absolutely A-DORABLE?

But I digress.

Today, Dr. D. came walking in. Don't get me wrong, he's fabulous. He is the Chief of Neurosurgery at the hospital where he performed my surgery. He has cut me open twice, put me back together nicely (actually, my incision scar is pretty much perfect), and I am still alive to blog about it. But he's a surgeon, and surgeons just aren't known for their bedside manner. That aside, he seems to like me. He always knows me by name when I am in the office. He visited me several times during my hospital stay. He's definitely likeable. Hell, he even kissed me hello today - on the cheek of course - which none of my other doctors do (and incidentally, he isn't too shabby looking himself, if you like yourself a married man who is probably about 20 years older than you and has teenage kids). But kiss and amiability (is that even a word?) aside, it wasn't him I wanted - I was looking over his shoulder to make sure Chris was in tow. Not so much.


My visit felt rushed, my list of questions felt silly, and I left the office in tears. TIME, he tells me. Repeatedly. I've heard that one. A LOT. We all heal at different speeds, he tells me. Yep, let's get on with the good stuff. He had nothin'. Try to be patient, let's up your nerve meds. What's that? You're still taking pain meds? It's 4 months post-surgery - we Must.Get.You.Off.Narcotics. I tell him I only take my Percocet in the morning when I get up, to help me get moving because I'm in a lot of pain. This must appease him, because after a brief lecture on how I don't want to be addicted to narcotics (Chris and I have had this convo a zillion times with ME being the concerned one, and we both know that I'm nowhere near being addicted to pain meds. I just have the tolerance of an elephant when it comes to any and all meds and can pretty much take enough to put most people into a coma while I'm still dancing around them in profuse pain) he writes me a new scrip. Does this mean we'll work on getting off the drugs 3 months from now at my next visit?


Anyways, it was just frustrating, and sad because I don't want to hear about how much time it could take. I want to know what I could be doing RIGHT NOW to get better. I want to know what I could be working harder at. I want to know what I should be laying off of (besides the drugs). I'm barely driving because I don't feel safe considering my range of motion leaves something to be desired and he says I should try to work through the pain and "work on that". But lift my little girl? Absolutely NOT, in my condition. I just felt like the whole visit (which lasted 10 minutes, if you include the call he stepped out to take on his cell phone) was one big contradiction. I should clarify that for the most part, Chris would have given me the same kinds of answers to my questions, but somehow I know I would have felt a little better about all of it. I would have had better advice. That's why he's the PA who does patient aftercare and Dr. D. is the brilliant neurosurgeon. He's not a bad guy, in fact he's great. He's just much better with a scalpel than with boosting morale.

The point of all this rambling is, I had a rough few days topped off by a really sad day. I cried a lot and MH kept yelling at me to stop, that my crying was making her sad. (Note to self: stop telling MH that her crying and carrying on during a tantrum makes Mommy sad, apparently 3 year olds have a hard time differentiating between necessary crying and you're going to put Mommy in a rubber room crying). I really just want to feel better already, and I'll do anything to get to even half of the me I was a year and a half ago. And it's frustrating not to see a light at the end of the tunnel, because as good 'ol Dr. D. says, I just need to keep doing what I'm doing. It takes TIME.

And then I click on bloglines. I couldn't resist one last peek before bed. And McMommy had posted this fabulous post (when aren't her posts fabulous). Actually, it wasn't just a post - it was an awards ceremony. With a red carpet and everything. And guess who was the recipient of an award from McMommy?

(drumroll please . . . . . . . .)

ME!

And McMommy seriously made my day. Her posts always do. But today especially. You see, McMommy is the reason I decided to take the plunge and finally start a blog. And thanks to her, people have started visiting my blog. And leaving comments (which you all know makes me do the happy dance). McMommy is way more than a gorgeous mom with a hottie husband and two beautiful little boys. She is hilarious, SO very loved in the blogosphere, and genuinely one of the nicest people I've ever "met". In corresponding with her, I've become quite sure that we would be very good friends in real life. She makes it a point to spread her good cheer and kindness to others on a regular basis (I can't tell you how many blogs she must visit on a daily basis, and yet she almost ALWAYS leaves a comment on mine), and the good she brings to others' lives is evidenced only more by the fact that every award she passed out at her ceremony is one she received from another blogger. I could go on and on, but if you check out her blog you know I don't need to say another word. She just ROCKS.


So, I proudly present my award from McMommy: The Arte y Pico Award




Apparently, this award has some qualifications: (From McMommy's post) Choose 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also contribute to the blogging community

So McMommy, thanks for thinking so much of me and my little 'ol blog, and for brightening my day - as you always do, but even more-so today. I will be going to sleep with a little smile on my face tonight, and believe me, it's one of the first of the day (although I did see McDreamy in the hall after my appointment, and we hugged, and I told him how sad I was that I didn't get to see him today, and he told me to call him and we'd catch up, he knew the deal - that did make me smile too, but it still falls a close 2nd to my McMommy smile).

I'm going to borrow one of the awards you bestowed upon another well-deserving blogger and send it right back to you:




I promise to do my best at continuing to uphold the standards that brought me the honor of your award! Thanks for choosing me out of your 5. You really are THE BEST!



Water in the pipes

Overheard at dinner tonight:

MH (takes a sip of water and starts coughing and sputtering)
Mommy: Sweetie, are you OK? Did it just go down the wrong pipe?
MH: yeah mommy, it went right down the wrong drain.

MH then proceeds to continue talking about how she's fine, her water just went down the wrong drain. What a crackup.

Gotta love how literal they can be and how quick we are to forget it!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tag, I'm it!

How excited am I? I have received my first "tag"! A new bloggy friend, Lipstick at the Mailbox, sent this to me. In the fun world of blogging, I have seen lots of these little things (also sometimes called a meme which I'm not quite sure how to pronounce - I think it's supposed to sound like Me Me, as in "it's all about me"). They're great because you learn interested new things about the people whose blogs you read. So thank you, Lipstick, for wanting to learn more about me!


(Post rules at the beginning of the post. Answer all the questions. Tag 6 people, go to their blog and leave a comment to inform them that they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.)

1. What were you doing ten years ago?
I had graduated from Ithaca College a year before, and was well into working for my father's company, as a senior account manager. The company is a distributor of promotional items (anything with a logo on it), and I was managing several programs for the former Fleet (and now Bank of America) Bank. The job was high stress - we were their contracted vendor at the time for all promotional products company-wide, which involved warehousing and fulfillment of several programs worth of merchandise as well as handling all custom orders. I loved my job (not the stress of it, but everything that I did), and loved working with my dad and aunt (also a part-owner of the company) every day. I was also about 3 months into dating Hubby. I was as happy as could be in the early stages of a relationship you can pretty much only describe as euphoria - the being wined and dined, talking for hours at a time about our pasts, present, and future, kissing and cuddling for hours at a time, butterflies in my stomach, feeling like I never wanted him to leave, even though I knew I'd see him the next day. Basically, falling completely in love and knowing that this was the man I wanted to spend my life with. Lucky for me, he felt the same way ;)

2. What are five things on your to-do list today?
Well, it's 9:2oPM so most of them have already been done, but here they are. 1- Go to physical therapy 2-finish getting my Fathers Day cards for my dad, FIL, and cards from MH to her Poppy and Papa J. I was actually way ahead of the game and bought cards for Hubby and Daddy ages ago - go me! 3- Purchase a pair of FitFlops to bring to my neurosurgery appointment on Monday. They are supposed to be great for lower back problems, but they also supposedly help work your leg muscles by providing a slightly unstable walking surface, so I want to make sure my doc approves of my wearing them. 4- Get this blog entry done. 5 - make a birthday card (I do rubber stamping) for a friend - looks like that one is getting pushed off till tomorrow since I'm in excruciating pain today and needed to take lots of drugs, hence a very long nap.

3. Snacks you enjoy? chips and dip, chips and guacamole, popcorn (really, kettle corn), fresh fruit, edamame, hummus and pita, ice cream, and pretty much anything chocolate, cakey, gooey, and desserty. I have a MAJOR sweet tooth and am on a huge cupcake kick these days.

4. Places you've lived: Rhode Island, Ithaca, NY, LA (4 month college program), back home and settled in RI.

5. What are 5 things you would do if you were a billionaire? 1- pay off my mortage and all bills and start designing/building my dream house. 2- share the wealth with my family. 3- Donate money to EVERY charity I wish I had the money to give to now. 4- Invest for our future 5 - find a doctor who could go POOF! and take away all of my back pain. Or at least have fabulous massage therapists and other things to help the pain at the ready!

6. People you want to know more about? My two grandfathers, who passed away when I was much younger, my own parents, MH, new real-life friends (you can't ever have too many!), new bloggy friends!

This was fun! Now I tag (and I'm sorry if you've already done this):

Absolutely Bananas
Levett-Ventures
Memoirs of the Shoe Obsessed
Because Wendi Said So!
The Story of a Little Man Named Lincoln
Ladybug's Picnic

This was fun - I look forward to learning more about each and every one of you!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

MH hearts Sweetheart

You might remember me blogging about The Mad Hatter's special bond with Sweetheart - she would have been content to hang out like this all afternoon yesterday!


Thanks for a fabulous first day at the beach Sweetheart - we can't wait for the rest of the summer!

Beauty and the Beach

And so begins our beach season . . . I've never seen the MH take such a liking (ok, LOVE) to the camera! When she started with the hands on the hips and I started to giggle uncontrollably, the rest was history. The little ham just kept going, making sure I got her best side (which, clearly is all of them).

We should all be so comfortable in our own skins!







Momma rights got me braggin'!




Overheard in the car today . . .

For as long as I can remember, we've taught MH that when someone is speaking, you need to say excuse me rather than barge right into the conversation. She picked up the concept pretty quickly, but also quickly assumed that as soon as she uttered those magic words, it was ok to, well, barge right into the conversation!

After more hard (and constantly continuing work), we've made some headway in helping her to understand that she needs to have something fairly important to say if she's going to interrupt someone else's conversation.

She's a smart one, that MH. Soon, our conversations began going like this:

(Mommy is trying to tell Sweetheart something in the car):
MH: Sweeeeeetheeeeart, I need to talk to Moooooommmmmmy (I wish you could hear the singsong tone in her voice, it's hilarious)
Sweetheart and Mommy (both at the same time): Yes, MH
MH: (pause) Mommy, I love you.

Well, you gotta give the girl credit. What she said is important, and what mommy doesn't love to hear those words from her child's mouth?

However, enough gets to be enough. Clearly, if we're not talking to her, we should be. Right? I mean, she's 3 - enough said.

So today, when she pulled her shpiel for the umpteenth time, I waited for the answer so I could go on with what I was trying to tell my mom. I got the usual, with a twist:

MH: Mommy, I love you.
Me: MH, thank you. I love you too.
MH: Mommy, I'm so happy you put these Backyardigan Jibbitz on my Crocs (said Jibbitz have been on said Crocs for about 3 weeks, which she has seen and already acknowledged). I weally, weally like them.
Me: Sweetie, I'm so glad they make you happy. When you're happy, that makes Mommy happy.
MH: Yeah, but I'm sad Pablo didn't get here yet.

Sweetheart and I are rolling on the floor at this point. Unfortunately, Backyardigans Jibbitz aren't so easy to find, so I was thrilled when I found an eBay auction for Uniqua, Tasha, Tyrone, and Austin. She was just really starting to like the Backyardigans, and I figured she'd be excited when I surprised her one morning with the new bling on her shoes. I never even thought about the fact that Pablo wasn't part of the auction, or that she'd even care.

Clearly, we can't put anything past the MH. She told me confidently that she's sure we'll find one soon.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Mommy Learned Something New!

My good friend Pam (check out her blog Whatevs . . . under my fave links, she is awesome and is an IRONMAN!) found out that I had created a blog through something called Google Analytics.

Pam moved out of state a few months ago and we miss her dearly, but she is about to become an auntie at any second, and is planning a trip home to meet her new niece or nephew (my money's on nephew).

I had tried to email her to let her know I'd finally started a blog, but the emails kept getting rejected. I think Hotmail thought I was sending spam. I think Hotmail should read my blog!

Anyways, last week I opened my email to find a comment from Pam asking me how it is that she learned of my blog through Google Analytics and not me?!?

Google Analytics, Pam? What's that? Pam says she'll tell me all about it when she's home to meet said baby.

But we all know me. I can't wait that long. I'm curious.

I Google "Google Analytics" (chuckle, somehow I find that humorous).

I follow the steps.

I assume I've done something wrong because although it says it's gathering data, it has no reports for me.

Until just now when I went back to the page I bookmarked. All of a sudden there was a plethora of information!

I'm guessing GA (as I'll call it) tallies its info over a month-long period. Apparently mine started 3 days ago.

I don't understand much of what I'm reading, but from the looks of it, GA could be lots of fun! I can see where readers are coming from. I can see what posts were most frequently viewed.

There's a lot of stuff I don't understand.

100% bounce? Pam (or anyone else), you'll have to explain.

McMommy - shout out to you once again girlfriend! If I'm understanding correctly, the majority of referrals to my blog are coming straight from you! I just love playing POW!

I'm glad I named my blog so aptly. I still have so much to learn . . . I'm in amazement of all the super cool things that are available to us bloggers (yep, this is the second time I've dared call myself a blogger - if I keep saying it, maybe I'll believe it).

Now, if you're reading this post, please please please leave me a comment - I want to see the results on my GA reports! I can't guarantee that I'll understand what it all means, but your comments make me oh so happy :)

Seriously, if I haven't said it enough, I do a little happy dance every time I get a comment in my inbox. Yep, I'm a dork, but I'm just so excited to have an audience here!

Now if I could figure out how to make a cool signature . . . seasoned bloggers, feel free to chime in at any time!

**Edited to add: Pam, I hear that things are moving right along and you should be an Auntie very soon. I hope I'll get to see you this weekend!!!

Why, why, WHY???

The Mad Hatter has always been a very inquisitive little girl, so interested in every little bit of the world around her. We've been more than thrilled to help feed her little mind with as much knowledge and interest as she'll take, and then some.

However, up until a little over a month ago, Hubby and I were actually (and maybe slightly smugly, or now as I like to think, foolishly) thinking we had bypassed the "why" phase.

We were wrong. It happened, and it happened literally overnight.

One morning I am putting my makeup on, something MH has seen me do a million times over. In fact, I often hand her a brush and an empty bottle so she can do her makeup too. On this particular day, MH comes in and asks what I'm doing. Although I know she knows the answer, I figure I'll play along. I contemplate explaining how lucky she is not to have permanent dark circles under her eyes, but instead choose something simpler - Mommy is putting on her makeup, just like she does every day!

Her response? Oh. (pause) Why?

And so began our life with this word we have learned to absolutely abhore. It punctuates nearly every sentence out of MH's mouth. She asks a question, we give an answer. And it never fails that our answer is followed by that wonderful word. Sometimes we think we've avoided it. I'm just about to give myself a secret high-five, and there it is . . . again.

Some examples:

(As we are leaving a birthday party the other day and walking down the street to where our car is parked).
MH: that's not our car!
Mommy: nope, it's not!
MH: Why isn't that our car?
Mommy: silly MH, you know that's not our car - it's not our car, because, well, it isn't.
MH: but why?
Mommy: ummm, because other people drive cars too.

This went on for about 3 cars worth of questioning, and thankfully she finally spotted our car and moved on with excited chatter about that.

Here's another:

Mommy: MH, go get your shoes on! We're going to be late for art class!
MH: Why do I have to put my shoes on?
Mommy: because, we can't go barefoot to art class, silly!
MH: oh . . . why are we going to art class?
Mommy: because we go to art class every week - you love it, aren't you excited to see your friends and make some new projects?
MH: Why are we going to make some new projects?

Every answer I give prompts yet another new why.

And one more:

MH: DADDY! Daddy, where are you?
Mommy: Daddy left for work, you just gave him a hug and kiss goodbye and told him to have a good day.
MH: Why did Daddy go to work?
Mommy: you know the answer to that - daddy works hard so we can have a nice house, and food, and clothes (we talk about this all the time).
MH: Oh. Why do we need to have clothes?

Maybe she's onto something. With the recent spike in temperature and humidity I find myself wondering the same thing.

But I digress.

I could go on. The word why is so much a part of my daily conversation that I struggle to think of a time when I don't have to come up with SOME sort of explanation for whatever we're discussing. The girl has why's for things I didn't know had answers.

And the worst part? We'll have an entire conversation (complete with why and explanation of why) and she'll ask the entire why question all over again!

I used to fall for it every time. But this Mommy can't be manipulated so easily - I caught on pretty quickly and came up with a great tactic - switch it back and ask her why. And why, and why? I sing songs about why. I tickle her and change the subject. But she seems to see right through me and sadly, my cynicism is usually lost on her. Occasionally, she gets the humor and laughs hysterically. And in those cases, which are rare, why can be fun.

Daddy has come up with a great answer to the never ending question: Because I love you. I'm not sure why, but when he says it, she seems to accept it as the perfect answer and move on. Tonight they were standing on our deck together and she asked why our neighbor was swimming in her pool. Daddy's answer? Because she loves you. End of conversation, on to something new.

She doesn't let me off the hook so easily.

So I guess for now, I will continue to be stuck rotating in our WHY orbit, waiting in indescribeable anticipation of the day we move onto another fixation.

But I do have a question.

How come when the MH misbehaves or does something that leads me to ask her "MH, why did you do that" she finds it perfectly acceptable to respond with a simple "Because I did."? And when I continue to incessantly badger her with the same question (it's only fair, right?), expecting a reasonable explanation (or at least some response), she continues to give me the same answer, or even worse, moves on to something more important than me or the question at hand.

Once again, I am reminded on a daily basis that while Daddy and I like to think that we're running the show around here, MH is busy setting plenty of her own rules, and we have no choice but to indulge her. After all, she is 3, and this is part of growing, right?

But WHYYYYYYYY?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Birthday Parties and Baby Showers

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend two fabulous parties - one was the 1st birthday celebration of a close friend's twin boy and girl. The other was a baby shower for one of my oldest friends who is having her first baby at the end of the summer. As I was coming home from a long and exhausting day (it was 92 degrees, and let's remember I am still recovering from major back surgery), I was thinking about how different each party was, yet still perfect in its own right. I thought I'd do a bit of a comparison (Hubs, if you are reading, please know that you get all the credit for MH's care at the birthday party!)

(*Side note: birthday party was for 1 year old twins who have a 3 1/2 year old brother, and most of the child attendees were ages 2-5)

Toddler Bday party: spend entire time trying to keep an eye on your child(ren), who are bouncing around like crazy in a ginormous bouncy house with 30 other kids. Pray that there are no collisions that result in a trip to the ER.

Baby shower: leisurely chat with other ladies, sip drinks, relax - the only children there are ages 10 up.

Bday party: Food - typically kiddie faves like chicken nuggets, party pizza, chips, etc (except in this case, where said twins parents are phenomenal caterers who set out a spread fit for kings, queens, AND kiddos). Mom and dad are lucky if they can manage to get child out of bouncy house long enough to eat something, let alone manage to eat anything off their own plate.

Shower: Grown-up food that is not inhaled at lightning speed in between chasing child, taking child to potty, soothing child who has just fallen out of the entry-way of the bouncy house. Realize halfway through inhaling half of the food on your plate that you can actually exhale and enjoy the rare opportunity to take your time eating.

Bday party: Cake time - CHAOS! Everyone needs cake immediately. Try to relish in the fact that your child is throughly enjoying said cake and so what if she covered head to toe in frosting (of course, they come pouring out of the bouncy house when cake time is announced!) all the while praying that your dear, dear friend OxyClean will help get the blue stains out of that adorable giraffe-print dress she's wearing for the first time.

Shower: cake time - ooh and ahh over how cute the cake is, help pass cake out in an orderly fashion because there is such a thing as patience, and enjoy each delicious bite of cake in a civilized manner, managing to avoid frosting handprints on your shirt.

Bday party: amazing energy - kids are everywhere, full of life (and sugar), you are reminded that this is what being a parent is all about.

Shower: amazing energy - everyone is so excited for the mom to be, you are so excited to share with her all of the joys that lie ahead of her as she becomes a mom.

Bday party: run into friends you see all the time, and others you only see once in a while and are excited to catch up with. Start conversations with all - do not finish one.

Shower - catch up with old friends and family of the mom to be, find it almost strange to be able to talk without any interruption at all. However, it does not go unnoticed by you that even though you are away from your child, you do spend the majority of your conversations talking about her (isn't that what all proud mommies do?). Realize that you are normal - the other mommies are doing this too.

Bday party: wear something that looks cute but you don't mind getting covered in above-mentioned food and frosting.

Shower: spend what seems like forever finding something nice to wear - you can dress up in something fun! Accessorize like crazy because you can actually wear that funky necklace without it being pulled on all day by your daughter who is fascinated with all thing "fancy" these days.

Bday party: conversations (when you do manage to have one) tend to revolve around the latest antics of the little munchkins, what you are going to do all summer with said munchkins. If you're lucky, you might think to throw in a "we should get together without the kids soon!" and make a promise to send an email with some date. Try to remember that you should really follow through with that later.

Shower: filled with tons of conversation about new babies, our own pregnancies and birth experiences, and trying not to scare the guest of honor. There is much excitement and energy over the idea that a new life - this amazing new part of our friend - will soon be coming into the world. Who could be happier for the mom to be?

There are so many more comparisons I could make but I will say this. Did I have a better time at the birthday party or the shower? It's an absolute tie.

Being a mom is the greatest thing in the world - I got to spend the morning watching my daughter have a blast with her little friends and help my friend and her husband celebrate the fact that they made it through a year with twins AND an active 3 1/2 year old little boy. Oohing and ahhing over the cute little party dresses and the adorably dressed little boys. Kids birthday parties are always so much fun, and I have yet to tire of them in the past 3 years.

As for the baby shower? I got to see one of my oldest and dearest friends glowing in the joy of her pregnancy, oohing and ahhing over all the fun (and new - how do they keep coming up with more and more stuff we just "can't" live without?) loot she got, and had a chance to sit with adults and spend a few hours feeling like a civilized adult. I also had the chance (for just a little while), to remember how much fun it was to be pregnant (that is, after the first 14 weeks) - the anticipation and excitement, and the wonder of what was to come.

At the end of the day, as I sipped a lovely margarita, I found myself grateful that there was no scheduling conflict and I was able to be at both events. It was a perfect day!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Are you kidding me?

I get a monthly newsletter from my old chiropractor (who incidentally specializes in pre-natal care, which is how I started seeing him). Although I haven't been to see him in about a year and a half, I still liketo read his newsletters, as they are usually full of interesting and good information. This one, I'm not so sure about - I found it so funny I had to post it:

Cell Phone Use During Pregnancy Can Cause Problems

Women who use mobile phones when pregnant are more likely to give birth to children with behavioral problems, according to a study of more than 13,000 children.Pregnant women using the handsets just two or three times a day was enough to raise the risk of their babies developing hyperactivity and difficulties with conduct, emotions and relationships by the time they reached school age.

The likelihood is even greater if the children themselves used the phones before the age of 7. Specifically, mothers who used mobile phones were 54 percent more likely to have children with behavioral problems. When the children also later used the phones themselves, they were:

80 percent more likely to suffer from difficulties with behavior
25 percent more at risk from emotional problems
34 percent more likely to suffer from difficulties relating to their peers
35 percent more likely to be hyperactive
49 percent more prone to problems with conduct

The results of the study took the top scientists who conducted it by surprise. The research will carry particular weight because one of its authors, UCLA's Professor Leeka Kheifets, had previously been skeptical that mobile phones could pose a risk to health.

Sources:
The Independent May 18, 2008
Epidemiology July 2008adapted from Mercola.com

Hmmm, an explanation of 3-year old behavior? I think not. But if you're having a bad day and need to use it, here you go!

I'm dying to hear your thoughts on this!

I have a confession

You've probably already noticed.

I made a promise I can't keep.

About 6 days ago, I told you my posts wouldn't be so long once I got the hang of this blogging thing.

But you know what? I just have SO much to say that I can't seem to stop my fingers from flying across my keyboard.

If you know me in real life, you knew I could never uphold my end of the promise. If you've just recently met me, well, this is me.

And I can keep promises - I guess just not ones that apply to tales of life with the Mad Hatter!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

We love to see her SMILE!

Yesterday was our first visit to the dentist. A pediatric dentist both highly regarded by our pediatrician and friends, but a visit I was slightly apprehensive about.

You see, the Mad Hatter is one of those kids who is fearless. She totally beats to her own drum. We think it's great - she is outgoing, caring, full of personality, and not afraid to try new things. The scary thing is, sometimes she's too fearless and I worry how we can teach her about safety for her own good without crushing that amazing spirit that is the essence of the MH.

The flipside of this fearlessness is her strong need for nurturing that sometimes extends to the point of coddling. Not coddling in a bad way, but as in a pick your battles, "Mommy can't feel good about having a martini at 9AM so we need to stop this fit before it happens" kind of way. Part of me thinks on some level it's insecurity. My back problems started before she was two, so all she has ever known is that Mommy has a back boo-boo and needs a lot of rest. As much of my undivided attention as she gets (and believe me, she gets as much if not more than I can physically and emotionally give), it seems like it's never enough. And since she's certainly not going to have any siblings for some time, Hubby and I are concerned that this is the age where we really need to crack down because if everything goes her way, we've got a spoiled brat on our hands. So, we continue to pick our battles and stay tough when we need to.

She's a paradox (find me a 3 year old who isn't). She's so independent, yet if something is out of place, or not done in the right "order" we're doomed. Example: bedtime routine is lamp off, turn on white noise machine, start CD. Usually. Then, of course, there are the variations. Sometimes SHE wants to put on the noise. But, uh-oh, Daddy did it. Even though we always start snuggle time with song # 3 (who doesn't love Skiddamarink-a-dink-a-dink?), tonight she wanted #2 first. And instead of expressing her feelings, she melts into hysterics, and the only way we can appease the situation is to start the whole routine over again. Maybe this is typical behavior for a 3 year old. Maybe she has OCD.

Regardless, I was unsure of what lay ahead at the dentist. Would she embrace it with open arms or flip out the second they tried to touch her? With the MH, you just never know. DH and I spent a few days talking about the special doctor called the dentist, we practiced opening our mouths super wide, I told her about the magic toothbrush they were going to use. By Tuesday night, I heard DH threaten her behavior with "If you keep it up, I don't know if Mommy's going to be able to take you to the dentist tomorrow" and she snapped right into shape! Still, I wasn't exhaling just yet.

Yesterday morning came. She couldn't wait to go. Armed with the help of Sweetheart, off we went. We got there and walked down a long hallway to the bathrooms - it was hand-painted with an underwater scene not unreminiscent of The Little Mermaid. MH WORSHIPS Ariel. A variety of fish, including a Sebastian-like crab were all holding toothbrushes. Woo Hoo! More ammo for Mommy to keep going on about the excitement that is having clean teeth! Oh, the little things it takes to make me happy.

The hygienist calls us, and we're through the ocean and into the Jungle, where the whole tooth business takes place. Every jungle animal under the sun was brushing their teeth. There were tropical flowers. There was a 3-D monkey on the wall wearing ginormous sunglasses. I asked if I could have my teeth done when they finished up with MH.


The staff could not have been better - MH got to see and touch everything. She got a brand new Ariel toothbrush. Fabulous shades so the light wouldn't bother her. A mirror to check out her teeth. A ride up and down on the chair. Her choice of toothpaste flavor (strawberry) and flouride treatment (orange). They were SUPER fast with the cleaning (and showing Mommy how to get around that mouth as quickly as possible at home). A prize bag (hand decorated, with her name on it) to take home. Did I mention they were FABULOUS? Well, they were.


She had a BALL. She was slightly apprehensive when it came to lying her head back in the chair, but other than that, she would have stayed all day if they let her. The highlight of her day was showing Daddy her new toothbrush and toothpaste when he got home.

We shared a celebratory lunch (after waiting, of course, the requisite 30 minutes past her flouride treatment)
She has brushed about 6 times since yesterday afternoon. She has not stopped telling anyone who will listen (including those men who came to cut down our trees this morning) about her trip to the dentist. We had a Skype chat with my SIL in MN, and she insisted that we bring the laptop into the bathroom so Auntie P could see her new toothbrush and watch her brush her teeth. And of course, she has the flashing those pearly whites move down perfectly.

I'm thrilled. The unknown had a great outcome. Will I be holding my breath for our appointment in 6 months? You betcha!