Archives for July 2009

Thursday Ten: I’m Like Nancy Drew Edition

1. This afternoon, we received a Fed Ex box from Build-A-Bear addressed to my kids. Inside were the two CUTEST bears EVAH, but… problem? I didn’t order ’em.
So, I called my dad. Pumpkin’s birthday was recently – and though it doesn’t seem like dad’s thing to send stuffed animals, I figured… I’ll check. I was right, it wasn’t him. Sooo, I called the peeps at Build A Bear. Okay, so calling myself Nancy Drew is kind of a stretch – because all I did was give them the order number and they said that they came from my VERY AWESOME FRIEND CASEY. Casey – I love you. You are sweet to me and sweet to my kids. They are THRILLED. And you, lady, are amazing.

2. Another awesome guitar lesson – made some awesome progress on learning the chords in the Key of E. Today, started with Staind’s “Outside”. And I picked it up pretty quickly, and the chord shapes are so similar that it’s a fun one to play.

3. Can you believe it’s almost AUGUST? W00t! In just over two weeks, I just be receiving information about The Princess’s second grade teacher and all that good stuff.

4. I’m still in the midst of planning my sister’s bridal shower. It makes me realize that I really am not a fan of the showers for brides (or babies, or whatever). You try to do a simple, low key event that is nice, and what happens is that every one weighs in with an opinion Food seems to be the big drama in our case. Really – do you go to a 2 p.m. event expecting a full meal? I know I sure don’t. For me, as long as the cake is good – we’re FINE.

5. I bought a dress for my sister’s shower. I tried on a long maxi-dress (which I may go back to buy) and a canary yellow Calvin Klein dress. What did I end up buying? ANOTHER LBD. I just can’t help myself.

6. I miss Chicago so much. I can’t believe a week ago at this time, I was hanging with Kat and then getting ready to see a lot of really cool people. Miss ’em all already.

7. Yesterday the weather was perfect – in the 70s, sunny with an amazing breeze. Last night, I ventured out for my workout and I didn’t want to come back inside. The sun was smiling on me and as I made my way through town, I was overwhelmed with the smell of lavender. I don’t normally like the smell – but something about lavender plus sunshine. It was amazing. Today, the sky is hung with clouds and though it’s sunny, it’s a bit more human… a little less perfect.

8. New music – just some miscellaneous stuff, old stuff. Rosie Thomas “Farewell”, Regina Spektor “Radio”.

9. I keep thinking about that dress I didn’t buy. Guess I’ll be going back this weekend for sure. Sigh. I’m such a GIRL.

10. I haven’t watched So You Think You Can Dance in about three weeks. What am I missing?

Happy 4th Birthday, Pumpkin

Dear Pumpkin –

Happy Birthday sweetness. I have set this post to publish at 5:53 a.m., the exact time of your arrival here four years ago. I cannot believe how quickly four years has gone by, and I cannot believe there was a life that existed before you and your sister.

You are a morning person. You wake up insanely early and there are days when I say to myself, “OHHHHHH! If she would JUST GO BACK TO SLEEP!!!” But, from the get go you were an early bird. Starting from the day you were born, waking me up at 2:30 in the morning with contractions… then less than four hours later, you were in my arms crying and snorting (I loved how you would snort when you’d cry).

You are a cuddle bug – and it has been such a blessing to me, because you seem to sense when I need a hug or a kiss. You just sense when people need some loving and you give it. You’ll wrap your arms tightly around my neck and give me an enthusiastic squeeze, pull back and then say to me, “Are you happy? Now you’re happy, right?” And I am. How could I not be?

You worship your older sister, you want to be like her – you want to be included when she plays, you want to listen to the music she does, play with the kids she does, and if she’s rolling around on the floor with her feet on her head (your sister is a little gymnastics nut), darned if you aren’t going to try too.

And that’s awesome. I love that you love her. I love that you want to be with her. I hope that someday you guys become really good friends, and that even on days when you feel you can’t turn to me, you’ll turn to each other and find strength in your sisterhood. I want that for you guys because you both are so amazing – together, you’ll be unstoppable.

(Though, please use your powers for good, okay Pumpkin? If you guys gang up on me, I am in TROUBLE).

You love singing along to Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana. You love dancing. Yesterday you proudly showed me how you hop on one foot. The other day, you were checking out a science book and correctly identified four different kinds of worms – kiddo, I can’t even do that! You have a pure laugh that rings loudly and takes away hurt. It’s infectious and it warms even the worst of moods. Someday, I hope to find a way to bottle that up and sell it.

You’ll start preschool again in the fall, and you’ll take them by storm with your smarts and your attitude. I can’t wait to watch you learn things and watch you seeing new things with fresh eyes. Your wonder is my wonder.

I am so blessed and grateful every day that I am your mother. I love you with my whole heart. I love you lots and lots of tater tots, and bunches and bunches and bunches of lunches .



So, When Is the Next Chicago Trip?

As many of you know (because I JUST SAW YOU THERE!), I ventured down to Chicago on Thursday morning to visit friends and kind of weave my way in to the BlogHer madness (without ACTUALLY being a BlogHer attendee). Thursday, after much driving I met up with Kat (she of the Sassy Irish variety). Kat put a roof over my head, and so graciously put up with my non-sleeping, french fry bingeing self for two days – AND I ADORE HER EVEN MORE FOR IT. Also, if you didn’t know: Kat can parallel park any car, anywhere. She’s got wicked skillz.

Kat and I started with dinner and drinks before venturing to meet the folks at the Sheraton to kick off the night with some parties.

First stop: The People’s Party. Hosted by a bunch of AMAAAAAAAZING women, it was a great start to the evening. Chris Mann performed while we drank and mingled (BTW – his EP drops on August 11 via iTunes and all those other places. Check it out. Not only does he have an incredible voice – he’s a super nice guy. So 8/11. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you again).

From The People’s Party, we moseyed on down to the Room 704 Party. Featuring legendary swag bags and some kick ass hostesses. Those swag bags were the bags to have – with swag for every part of your house – from your kitchen to your (ahem) bedroom. Also, omg Fling Chocolate that made a very nice breakfast yesterday as I was hitting the road.


Though at one point, 704 became SEVEN-OHHHH-FLOOR! (Wine, plus liquor, plus wine again? Um, I’ll just sit over here for a little bit, mkay?).

Got up Friday morning to help out at Shannon’s awesome BlogHer 5k. I was loving the turnout she had – lots of people showed up to get their sweat-on early a.m. Awesome.

From  there, some time was spent walking around Chicago. Chicago is one of my favorite places on the planet. I love it and love the vibe of the city. Wish I could have spent more time just soaking it in, but for all the blanks in my schedule, it was still pretty busy. Next was lunch with some awesome Twitter peeps (including my walking mate from the Avon Breast Cancer walk – how happy was I to see her again? SO happy!).

Ventured to a cocktail party with my BD chicas afterwards, hosted by the lovely folks from Hanes at the gorgeous Trump Hotel. Some hors d’oevres, some Comfortini’s and flowers made out of socks? It was an awesome time to meet new friends and hang out with my lovely friends I haven’t seen since February. I was so thrilled to be included.


Back to the Sheraton for the BlogHer cocktail party, and then Type A Mom’s event (chocolate fountain? I couldn’t even get near it – the line was so long… Cookies and chocolate – I guess they know what we like?!).

I had an amazing time in Chicago – a terrific time catching up with old friends and a lovely time getting to meet some peeps I knew from Twitter and other various social arenas.

And getting away from life for a bit? Awesome.

And now? I need a vacation from my vacation.

Midsummer Sanity Check

We’re just about halfway through the summer, people: How are you holding up?

While I have managed to find a groove for getting things done (sorta) and for making sure my mind is on work when it needs to be and on my children when it needs to be, I am so EXHAUSTED at the end of the day because juggling? It’s hard work.

We’ve adopted a library to go to for a weekly story time (though, I have to say, their craft projects are ill-conceived and not age-appropriate, leaving the parents to do most of the crafting while the children look on). The girls love checking out tons of books (The Princess blows through books so fast – she’s amazing – and probably should be taking on more difficult books – based on where she is reading-level wise, the school said “A Wrinkle In Time” is where she is level wise – and that may be, but I worry about her ability to understand the concepts).


We’ve also found a few fun parks nearby, and depending on the weather it’s either an awesome way to breeze through a bunch of time or it’s so hot that we are in and out of there in ten minutes. Actually, weather wise, it hasn’t been TOO unbearable lately (BIG sigh of relief).

We’ve had a fun time – but, yeah – we’re also ready for school to start. This fall, The Princess will be in second grade and Pumpkin will be back to her preschool schedule. I look forward to the return of the more rigid schedule (it allows for my days with them home to be more fun, instead of divided between work and play) – and frankly, I really look forward to not having to make lunch every day. For some reason, lunch boggles my mind. I can plan for dinner, I can pull together breakfast. Lunch has me staring into the pantry wishing something would magically appear before me, sparing me from making yet another grilled cheese sandwich.

Soon enough, soon enough.

How are you holding up?

The Children Were Nestled…

My daughters are both curled up in The Princess’s bed right now. They’re sleeping soundly – Pumpkin and The Princess with their heads at opposite ends of the bed, sharing a blanket. After tucking them in, the girls asked if they could have a “slumber party”. The Princess qualified it by saying, “You know, until she annoys me or something and then I’ll send her back to her room.”

I said okay, figuring: This won’t last long.

And for awhile, I ignored the closed door and the light streaming from underneath. I ignored that I could smell the scent of nail polish wafting down the hall. Finally, though, I went in, turned off the light and turned on the radio lightly, telling them, “Okay now… It’s bedtime.”

Moments later, they were sleeping. In the same bed. If I could take a picture, it’d be a pitch black mess of nothing, but I know what’s there, and my god it makes me smile.

I know that inevitably, Pumpkin will wake up gruesomely early as she always does. Given their shared bed, she’ll likely wake up her sister far earlier than normal. I know that part is coming and I don’t look forward to it. But watching them sit in bed and giggle and talk and sing songs – It’s awesome and amazing and exactly those kind of moments I hope for when I found out I was having a second daughter. That they would have moments of closeness (I fully anticipate the moments when they want to rip each other’s hair out – they have some of those now, as it is) and be friends to each other.

Thursday Ten: My To Do List Is Eating Me Alive

1. Today, I made a list of things to do. MH is here (it’s going fabulously, by the way — I think she put on her best behavior AND THEN SOME), and I’ve been trying to get some housekeeping tasks out of the way that I’ve put off for awhile. Only, the list keeps multiplying. I’ve actually managed to get a lot of the biggies done on my list. It’s those nit picky small things that are so much easier to procrastinate. Sigh. I’ll get there.

2. Lots of new music this week from friends who were sharing their amazing musical tastes with me – it’s a diverse collection of stuff – Matt White, Matt Wertz, Aimee Allen, Crosby Loggins, SwollenMembers. Lots of stuff. LOTS. So, I’m happy, and my iTunes library is so full it just let out a very unladylike burp.

3. In guitar lesson today, I started learning the key of E. Six new chords – so that’s pretty awesome. It’s lead in for learning “Outside” by Staind, which I love — once I get these chords down… maybe.

4. Also, my lesson went pretty well in general today. My F chord, my B flat, D minor? Beautiful. So beautiful. The downside to that is that by doing it right, I have no excuses really on the days I can’t.

5. I have been avoiding making dinner all week.

6. Ask and you shall receive – awesome Twitter people gave me excellent ideas for a bridal shower menu today. Once I see some recipes, I’ll see if I’ll be able to pull it off.

7. The other day when I was out with my girls, I saw Pez candy dispenser dealies. So I bought them. I hate Pez, but they are so dang cute. Couldn’t help myself (Somehow I think this was last week I did this – and probably blogged it then. Oh well!).

8. I missed So You Think You Can Dance last night. I forgot it was on, and instead was walking around outside getting four and a half miles of beautiful fresh air into my system. LOVE.

9. The weather in Michigan is perfect today. 75 degrees and sunny? I’ll take it. YEAR ROUND.

10. Officially three months til my birthday – but it on your calendar with a bunch of stars around it, baby.

Facebook Vs Babysitters: What I Opted To Do

First of all, y’all have amazed me with your feedback and comments about the babysitter talking about my children (Well, The Princess specifically) on Facebook last week. I have kind of waited to marinate on it – to see how I felt when the initial flash of anger/frustration/MamaBear-itis wore off. I didn’t know where I’d be or how I felt on the matter, but figured there was nothing I could do on Thursday that I couldn’t do in a few days from then. So. I waited.

And in the past several days, my daughters have asked me time and again, “When is MH coming?” and “Is it MH day?” Which tells me something – they really do like her a lot. For the most part, she’s very good with my kiddos.

So, I opted to send her a message letting her know that I saw what she wrote, and that it bothered me. That I realize that she had a bad day and that sometimes I do too. And that in life and in my own working life, sometimes I have a bad day and I have to choose where I talk about it so as not to offend my coworkers (some of whom ARE my “friends” on Facebook), or to appear unprofessional.

I’ve asked that in the future, she come talk to me when things aren’t working or she’s reached a frustration level (part of the awesomeness of our arrangement is that I’m home – so I am available for guidance should she really get in a jam or hit a level of frustration that makes the day unbearable for her – she can come to me and we can figure out a solution.

Was it the right thing to do? I really hope so. I’ll be watching a little bit more closely in the next few weeks, for sure – but I’m crossing my fingers that this was the right thing.

Why Facebook and Babysitters Don’t Mix

Thursdays are my special days – I hired a mother’s helper last summer to hang with my kids while I had a full day of work uninterrupted. This worked well for me – allowed me a good block of time to be productive, but it proved to be a good thing for the girls as well, getting a dose of someone other than me one day a week.

The girls adored our MH, so I rehired her this summer. Somewhere along the way, she friended me on Facebook. This has been mostly a convenient thing – I can send her messages or wall posts to schedule when she’d come over or if something needed to change time-wise. It’s easier than trying to catch her on the phone, and I put forth a great deal of effort to ignore her lack of spelling skills.

Today, I’m not sure what happened. All was fine in the morning, and when I came home from guitar lesson, Pumpkin was sitting downstairs by herself changing out of her wet bathing suit and so I hung out with her awhile – eventually I ventured to my office, and popped in to see if I could find The Princess and the MH. They were in The Princess’s room having a talk – and I could sense that something had happened – The Princess had her head buried under her pillow (Standard Operating Procedure if she’s being scolded, actually). MH had said that The Princess had disobeyed her and wasn’t following directions and was upset to have been reprimanded. This was all fine to me – I know this about my child. Her fear of getting reprimanded is why she’s never needed to be spanked – if you look at her cross-eyed, she gets horribly upset.

But, then later after MH left I logged on to Facebook and noticed MH’s status was: “– is TIRED of babysitting!” Her friend commented on her status, and then in her response to her friend, she said a few snotty things about my daughter. And the Mama Bear claws came out.

I understand the frustration with whatever happened today – I get upset too if my daughter doesn’t follow directions. To vent in a forum where I, the mother of said child, would be able to read it? Not cool with me. Granted, her talk wasn’t vicious – there were no “hate” words used. Had she called my child a brat or a monster or some such, the decision of how to proceed would be clear cut.

She didn’t.

She just happened to vent in a place she knew I could read it (though I highly doubt she gave that much thought), and I saw it. And I didn’t like what I saw.

And though I was torn, I’m pretty confident that she’ll be getting fired. And if she wonders why, I’ll explain why – and it’s probably a good lesson for her to learn in life. It’s a tough call – but ultimately, I want my kids to feel comfortable with her. And obviously, she was annoyed enough with my daughter to vent about it in a semi-public venue. Kids are kids – and some days, kids are less than obedient. Some days are more trying than others. As a mother, I know this from experience – you can’t be a mom and not soak in SOME knowledge about these little people you are raising. But as a mother I also know this – even teenagers are capable of knowing this, and I know that we didn’t have these problems last year. And perhaps we’ve just all kind of undergone some personality shift/mindmeld/funky thing that has made us all not a good fit anymore. And I owe it to my kids to find them the best possible fit.

I’ve debating riding it out – only a month and a half left of summer at this point. But, I just don’t know that I can do that.

Thursday Ten: Makin’ Up New Words Edition

1. If you follow me on Twitter, you know one of my new words in my vocab is “peecrastination” (I usually post this with the TM trademark symbol, because… intellectual property and all). If you weren’t aware, peecrastination is when you are so engrossed with something – a project, reading a book, watching a movie – that you ignore the need to pee. And just hold it. A REALLY LONG TIME. Peecrastination, folks. It’s a thing. (It’s also my word, so, I’ll expect the royalty check ANYDAYNOW).

2. Guitar lesson went well today. It’s frustrating, though – a few weeks ago, I had the F chord down, today I was struggling. It’s worse, I think – to know I can do it and then just have a day where I can’t make it work. Frustrating. Did a little bit of Tom Petty, a little bit of Counting Crows, and started working on the Juliana Theory a bit more.

3. My fingers HURT when I left my lesson today, though. Wow. I had marks on my fingers from my strings. Not just the indents but MARKS. Think maybe my strings need some tlc.

4. Tonight I’m making cuban sandwiches – kind of like sloppy joes-ish (so, decidedly Americanized Cuban, if you will, I’m sure)Spicy with lots of chorizo. I’m sure my kids won’t eat it. I gave up trying to make food they like because I get bored. Sooo, I make what I want and hope that they try enough to expand their boring horizons.

5. New music – a few Mat Kearney songs and also I’ve been giving some repeat love on my iPod to the Daughtry “Pokerface” cover, which I love.

6. I got the cutest pair of red shoes the other day. Red heels. I almost never wear  heels and I’ve certainly never owned red ones, but they are the cutest freakin’ things. Ask me how cute they are after I’ve worn them a few hours.

7. Peecrastination. I’m doing it. I’m having such a hard time coming up with ten things because all I can think about is, “Just a few more things and I’m done! I can get up then and go pee.” DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU, PEOPLE.

8. How long do you give a book to get interesting before you give up on it? I was reading a book my mom loaned me – but by page 65 I was still wanting to poke my eye out with flash drive (guess what’s sitting next to me?). I slammed the book shut and didn’t look back. Did I give up too early, or too late?

9. Because of all these crappy books I’ve been reading, I’m SO FAR BEHIND on reading magazines. I have a stack of mags about a mile high. Yikes. I have some catching up to do.

10. I’m still on a mission for the perfect recipe for mojitos, so if you have one you feel like sharing, please do!

Big BIG Steps


The morning of July 4th, we got up insanely early and drove to watch the balloon festival. It’s funny, I used see the balloons launch in the morning on my way to work – they would float over the highway and it was such an awesome way to start my morning – so that now, even though they are not in my course anymore, I like to go see the balloon festival at least one day each year.

This year, we arrived and the sky was empty. Not a balloon in sight. The weather was mild and we were unsure if perhaps the launch was cancelled for some reason – or if perhaps delayed?

No fear.

The balloons went up.

Eventually, the sky was filled with them. It was beautiful.

Afterwards, we went to the fair where we gave each of the kids enough tickets to go on two rides each. Both girls went through the funhouse first (oh, that was wretched – because initially, seeing them struggle going through the hall of mirrors, I thought for sure one or both would come out crying in the end). But, they figured out the path of mirrors and bounded out with smiles mere minutes later.

As we wandered through the fair, Pumpkin zeroed in on her next ride choice: The Ferris Wheel.  Part of me panicked – I do not love a ferris wheel. I will go on any roller coaster, ANYWHERE, but the ferris wheel? Thank you but no thank you. None for me thanks. I thought she’d change her mind, but she was set, she would be going on that ferris wheel. I made Hubby take her, and sure enough, she loved every minute of the ride and was just all smiles when she came off. The Princess, on the other hand, prefers to keep her feet much closer to the ground, so she picked a ride with cars. I knew when she said that was the ride she wanted that she would be disappointed. And, disappointed she was. I could tell as soon as the ride started that she felt let down. She exited the ride at the end with a look on her face – she did such a good job holding back her tears. She sniffled a bit, but she realized that she had chosen that ride. And… next time she’ll know.

Maybe she’ll go on the ferris wheel with her little sister next year.

So long as I don’t have to.