Saturday, January 29, 2011

Simply Saturday

This is a new link-up that Jenn over at A Country Girl's Ramblings is starting today! The idea? "Grab your camera, take a picture of anything that speaks to you of simplicity and home. Your post can be as wordy or as wordless as you like. You decide!"

Jenn is an awesome photographer (you can see her photography blog here  or see some of her offerings on Etsy here.)

At any rate, we'll leave the photography photography to her this week ;-) But here's a snapshot of K that I took today while she was watching Saturday morning cartoons (Dinosaur Train!) that just feels very "Saturday" to me:

Toy story couch? Check. Elmo blankie? Check. Kitty jammies? Check. Chocolate milk? Double check.  

Click on the Simply Saturday icon below to hop over to Jenn's blog and join-up!

Friday, January 28, 2011

What is Happening?

Sometimes K will stop in her tracks, look around, and say, "What is happening?" There's usually no (obvious) outside impetus, and she quickly goes back to whatever she'd been doing. (Today, for instance, the question came in the middle of a rousing session of "let's hit the clock reset button on the radio hundreds of times in a row.")

Lately, Fridays have become my cleaning days. (Well, cleaning along with everything else days. I *try* to finish my Work work early on Fridays so I can focus on taking care of my family and not just clients.) Floors, bathrooms, kitchen, get caught up on dishes, etc etc. And do you know what? I'm kind of diggin' it. I kind of enjoy Cleaning Fridays, even.

What is happening?

I guess I should add the "my 'clean' may not be what you consider 'clean'" disclaimer, because even after a full Friday of cleaning, no one is going to walk through the door and say, "Wow, this house is sparkling and spotless!" My goal is more humble: as long as they don't walk through the door and say, "Excuse me, I need to call CPS now," I'm happy. 

The "clean" never lasts very long. Boots come in and leave pools of melting snow in the kitchen. K decides she wants popcorn for a snack (is there a way to eat popcorn without little pieces of it getting everywhere? I really want to know). I decide that baking with a toddler and letting her measure out the flour is a good idea. Just as I was writing this blog entry someone spilled a cup of pop all over the floor that I finished scrubbing not 45 minutes ago. But! I know that it was recently clean, and that it can be clean again, and that it's not such a lost cause. And that's a good feeling.

Motherhood does strange things to a person. It makes you ask yourself tough questions like, "What might be the best cleaning tool with which to get dried-on splotchy mounds of red jello off of the hundred year old hardwood floor?" (Hint: it's not your fingernails. Trust me on that one.) 

Is there a "mom job" that you find yourself enjoying these days, much to the surprise of your pre-parent self?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

We're Going to Need More Chocolate

Today when we went to the grocery store, K chose a York Peppermint Patty as her treat. When I put her into her carseat, I asked if I could have a bite. She graciously offered to share, and when I handed it back to her she did a double-take and said, "Whoa, Mom. Big bite. Really big bite." Back off, baby. Mom needs it.

It's been a week since I posted here, guys. A week! Last Friday we were featured on BlogHer and to celebrate our newfound blogosphere superstardom I . . . did nothing. (Ha! Well, that's not true. I did about eight million things. Alas, none of them were blog-related. The real world, much like the baby and her judgment w/r/t the amount of chocolate I put into my mouth at any one time, needs to back the heck off. Got it, real world?)

At any rate: I have almost all of my work-work done for the week, I managed to not fall off the interstate on-ramp today despite the dramatic fashion in which I slipped and slid all the way down it with a toddler going "whee!" in the backseat, a new episode of Parks and Rec is on TV, and we're only hours away from the weekend. Things could be worse.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Search for the Perfect Storytime

Does it exist? Probably not. I'm trying my best to find it anyway.

K is 28 months old. In those 28 months, we've been to just about every baby/toddler/mommy & me type activity that exists (at least in our relatively rural area. We're less rural now than we were before the move, but there's still no shiny neighborhood Gymboree either.) So far we've hit:

-Baby Tyme (good for the infants, but a bit mind-numbing for the parents)
-Toddle Time (Lots of repetition and usually followed by a mid-morning sugar infusion. I feed her enough junk at home, but thanks!)
-Mom & Me Dance Class (Kind of fun. Held in a roller-skating rink. A FREEZING COLD roller-skating rink. Also starts way too early in the morning.)
-Yoga Tots (We actually love this and have been going to it faithfully since April 2010.)
-Time for Twos (Twenty+ two year olds in a small room on a Monday morning? Excellent idea.)
-Intergenerational Playgoups (this is actually a neat idea -- it's a playgroup at the senior center where the residents come down and interact with the kids; however, like a lot of neat ideas, it's better in theory than in practice.)
-Church-sponsored playgroups (in their gymnasiums, in the winter. However, K never even entered the chapel part of a church until a friend's wedding six weeks ago, so -- that tells you something about my comfort level in that environment.)
-I... I forget. I feel like there have been other things we've tried, but they're all sort of lost in my brain under a hazy memory cloud of hand sanitizer and fruit snacks.

Anyway, in pursuit of the storytime holy grail, I dragged her grumpy butt out of bed at an ungodly hour (anything before 10, when Sesame Street comes on, is too early according to K) so I could try a new storytime. A new library branch. A new age group. (It was for 3 & 4 year old preschoolers. I have no regard for storytime policies! I'm such a rebel! Also: K is tall and can properly hold writing utensils and she speaks very clearly and can sort of pass for three!)

And you know what? It was awesome. I don't know that it was perfect perfect, but I think it's the best we've hit so far. Do you know why? Let me tell you. (I'm really diggin' the bullet-points today.)

-A good number of stories, read at a good pace. We've been to other storytimes where the librarian reads so quickly that you'd think she was getting paid by the page. I love it when librarians not only read at a nice, easily-understandable speed, but also take the time to point out neat things in the illustrations and actually interact with/welcome audience participation.

-A theme that makes sense but that is more than just the same thing over and over. Today's theme was staying healthy and taking care of yourself, and we had books about a bear having a cold, monsters eating their vegetables, and about what happens when you go to the doctor. (OK, that last book wasn't the exact one we read, but I can't remember what the name of it was and this is a good doctor book, too!) We talked about washing our hands and brushing our teeth and exercising.

-A relevant, engaging craft. Librarians: no one's being fooled when you throw some crayons and xeroxed coloring book pages at the kids and say "here, color something!" Today we made "baskets" with healthy fruits and vegetables and milk (um, paper, but still) and K had a great time identifying all of the colorful ingredients, using the gluestick (always a hit) and arranging them in the basket, then coloring/writing her name on the whole thing when she was done. She had to think about what she was doing and it kept her busy, and the end result is something I'll probably actually hang on to for a while instead of "forgetting" it in the car and then, um, having it accidentally fall into the trash. (Don't judge me. I love that she's a prolific artist but I can't preserve every masterpiece my special little snowflake makes for all eternity.)

-A good song/story ratio. Today was a little light on the song side, actually, but a lot of our other storytimes have been heavy on them, so -- no real complaints. There were other opportunities for the kids to stand up and move, which I think is important. Trying to keep a toddler sitting still = not one of my favorite things.

-A good mix of kids in the audience. This part is hit or miss and isn't something the library can really control, obviously, but I love it when the group is big and diverse enough to keep things interesting, but not so huge/the room so crowded that it intimidates the more introverted tots.

-A librarian who seems to genuinely enjoy what she's doing.

I know this list makes me sound like an entitled mom snob. I don't mean for it to. I know that there's really no room to complain about programs that are presented free of cost to the public. I think anything that gets kids into libraries and being exposed to books and music and new friends is fantastic, and I'll take a coloring page in that environment over the seventeenth Dora episode in a row at home any day. I also know that groups of snotty toddlers aren't every librarian's cup o' tea, and that's fine. I don't even like my snotty toddler all the time and I gave birth to her.

But when the stars align and you leave a children's activity (like a storytime!) where you're both smiling? It's a beautiful thing.

Tell me, what's important to you in a good storytime or organized mom/toddler activity? What makes you choose one library branch or group over another?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hello, Weekend. How YOU Doin'?

Blizzards, doctor's offices, and a heavy workload: oh my! This is one week I'm not sad to see go.

I'm hopeful that the weekend will be better. K seems to have (mostly) rebounded from ColdOfDoom 2K11. She's still a little . . . snotty (and I mean that in every possible way) but she's left Zombieland and has returned to business as usual: today she ran laps around the house, naked, pushing her shopping cart and yodeling at the same time. Ah, to be a toddler.

After devoting the first half of the week to nursing duties, I finally got caught up on my actual OhYeahIHaveAJob work. Tall stack of manuscripts & playing catch-up & having to delicately deliver (a lot of) bad news to some clients = one huge sigh of relief when I closed my work e-mail window for the week earlier today.

Also? The house is cleanish. (Cleanish is about as good as we can hope for these days.) K took a long nap this afternoon after I finished my work, and while there's (always!) more to be done: the laundry is put away, the floors have been cleaned, all important/food prep surfaces are clean, and the dishes are done. I call that a win. Um, just don't go into the bathroom.

Now K is doing her best to lure mice into the house by leaving little crumbles of cheese curds all over the newly washed floor, and we're (kind of) watching Shrek, and not too long ago she told me, "Mom, I love you too much." So, yeah. Things are better.

Still, I'm itching for some time that doesn't include diapers or animation or, well, work. Which is why my Saturday, I'm hoping, will be full of this:

Bob, you're going to take K out for some father/daughter bonding time tomorrow, right? :-)

It's National Delurking Day, guys! If you read this blog, please leave a little comment to say hi, and tell me: what are your plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Hate the Smell of Resolve

*Resolve brand carpet and upholstery cleaner. (I'm cool with the word itself.)

I only bust out that red spray bottle of doom when something awful has happened. That something awful usually includes bodily fluids in places bodily fluids should not be.

Today it got a workout.

I feel absurd complaining about standard issue Mom-of-Toddler duties. I know lots of folks who are dealing with much bigger issues right now, whether in terms of overall severity or scope (I only have one sick little one, a friend is currently dealing with four children passing germs around!)

But I'm tired and grumpy, and this is my blog, and maybe if I internet grumble loudly enough the universe will take notice and say, "Yeah, we really have piled enough on her. Let's reward the way she bravely struggled by blessing her crew with eternal good health and a winning lottery ticket!"

K has had a little bug since sometime between Christmas and New Years. A sniffle here, a cough there. Pretty standard whatever-the-kids-are-passing-around-at-daycare cold stuff. I'm not a mom who rushes her special little snowflake to the hospital every time she sneezes. K is a strong kid with no underlying health issues and, for the most part, I trust her immune system to fight its own battles and get stronger as a result.

But then sometimes that little cold turns into a Big Scary Cold. A (relatively high) fever pops up where there was no fever before. The cough that was merely annoying before starts triggering the gag/vomit reflex. The lively little kid becomes a glassy-eyed zombie. Mom gets real worried real quick.

Sometimes it happens on a day when a major winter storm system is making its way across your area. Sometimes your doctor's office is an hour away because you haven't found a new pediatrician since relocating.

I'll spare you the play-by-play, but the highlight was driving home very slowly through the snow when K woke up from her nap (poor kid, she was exhausted!) to throwup three times in a row. In the carseat. In the middle of nowhere. I was like, look, K: I'm really sorry, but there is literally nowhere to stop other than someone's snowy driveway, and there's not much I can do for you now anyway, so -- here's a tissue. (Compassion, thy name is Karinya!) We were going to stop at the pharmacy before actually going home-home to grab the (sort of random) cocktail of drugs her doc prescribed, but I wasn't going to drag the poor girl around Target like that. I tried to call Bob to arrange a plan B.

My phone service had been "temporarily deactivated." You're killing me, Centennial Wireless. You know that, right?

Bitch, moan, whine, repeat.

Tonight it took both of us to hold K down so we could get the medicine into her. (She kicked the doctor earlier!) Even with a fever of 102.5, she will beat you up.

And now Bob doesn't feel good. (I seem to still be enjoying that temporary Mom Immunity. I usually *do* end up getting whatever K gets, to some degree, but it almost always holds off long enough that by the time I'm getting sick myself, she's feeling better and doesn't require as much care. I'd prefer to, you know, skip getting sick completely, but I suppose this way is preferable to playing nurse and patient at the same time.)

Tonight I'm camping out with K in her room. She's bouncing all over the place right now (though I don't know what is fueling this rally since she hasn't held much down today) and seems to be on the upswing, but the way this. . . whatever it is has morphed so quickly has me spooked, and I want to be there in case she spontaneously combusts or (more likely) just needs someone to quickly hand her a bucket. (Plus, you know, she's my baby and I like her and yadda yadda.) This will either prove to be a sweet bonding experience or a horrible, horrible idea ;-)

Good healthy thoughts this way, please, if you've got some to spare?

Friday, January 7, 2011

We're Getting Married.

If you know me in real life, you know that thus far I've been a bit of a reluctant bride. Not reluctant about the actual marriage part (I'd go to the courthouse with him today!) but about everything else. The arrangements. The cost. The guest list. The dress. Wondering when in the world I was going to have time to plan a flipping wedding when some days I already don't have time to do basic things like bring in the mail. Moping about the fact that the majority of my friend base lives a couple thousand miles away and that the bride's side of the [wedding venue] is going to be. . . sparsely populated, especially compared to the groom's side. Editing out the misogynistic portions* of the traditional wedding ceremony (Dear God, where should I start. There shall be no "giving away" of the bride, for starters. . . ) Um, finding a way to fund it all when we're paying two mortgages and there are no parents to lean on for cash infusions. You get the idea.

When people have asked about dates I've been squirrely and noncommittal. The first one we'd had in mind got nixed when I had a middle-of-the-night realization that if we wanted to get married then, I'd have to get everything taken care of, like, yesterday. (I was even scolded over the phone by a David's Bridal lady!) And so, on to Plan B.

I finally got up the nerve to call the venue I'd been eyeing. (We've talked a lot and checked out lots of websites, but there had only been one real contender in my mind.) I talked with their event coordinator about dates and going on a tour. I thought about backing out when, on the day of our meeting, K woke up at 8am and was not interested in napping before our 2pm appointment, and when I looked outside and saw So. Much. Snow and more still coming down and yucky, yucky roads, and it was nice and warm inside and I had other things that needed to be done anyway and, hey, we've waited this long, what could rescheduling it for next week hurt?

But I didn't. I bundled the baby up in her snowboots and winter coat and turned on the 4 wheel drive and (still!) skidded my way across town to the venue. Their parking lot hadn't been plowed yet so I just kind of parked the truck . . . wherever it stopped. (That sense of bridal entitlement is kicking in already. What do you mean that's not even a spot? I'll park where I want, thank you very much.)

As we made our way into the building, I asked K, "Do you know what we're doing here?"
K responded: "We're getting married!" *She's been to two weddings in the last six months and she's heard us talk about it enough, so this isn't quite as out of left field as one might think.

Once inside, we talked. We toured. We swooned. We penciled in a date & time. (We'll lock it down next week, probably.) And I left feeling excited. Excited! Ideas were flowing. So much so, in fact, that I sat at a flashing red light not realizing that it was flashing and not solid red until one of the cars in the line behind me finally honked. (Again, I can't be expected to follow your silly traffic rules. I'm getting MARRIED. If I want to daydream about weddings at flashing lights, I will!) I stopped at the bookstore to cash in some gift cards on silly bridal magazines. I talked Bob's ear off about my clearly brilliant wedding/party/etc ideas when he got home from work.

It was a good day.

We're getting married.

*Things that I interpret as such. (And I've taken a lot of women's studies classes, and thus interpret a lot as such ;-)  No judgment on others who see things differently.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hey There, Real World.

Oh, holidays. I love you, but you sure make the return to the real world difficult. I've officially been "back to work" since Monday (though I haven't spent much time on the computer. I haven't forgotten about you, clients!) and Bob goes back to his job (that he actually has to, you know, get dressed and leave the house for) tomorrow. Today? Today we've each got our respective errands to run and commitments to keep (our attempt to actually accomplish all those things we said we were going to accomplish over break at the very beginning!) Happy Family Fun Time Holiday Party is over for another year, I'm afraid.

We had four (four!) actual dates without the baby over break. Four! That's about equal to the total number of non-family dates we'd had for the entire length of our relationship up until the holidays. Bob's sister (bravely) took K for a 48-hour block, and then two other days we sent her off to daycare and ran around like gleeful bank robbers (or, uh, someone else who just got away with something terrible and crafty. I'm sorry. I haven't written in a while. I'm rusty!) We had a sushi date with one couple. We went to a New Years Eve shindig with another where I *almost* had enough celebratory beverages to make a public performance of Space Ghost's entire OHIO song seem like a brilliant idea. We ate places where no one asked us, "Do you want a high chair or a booster?" and we got to sit through movies without having to hush/rush the randomly screaming toddler out of the theater halfway into the film. On another date we covered three states. We started in mid-Michigan, ate breakfast in Ohio, went shopping in Indiana, and then ended up back in the Great Lakes State just in time for a weirdly localized little snowstorm. (When we picked K up from daycare, we passed several cars in ditches. "Cars fall off the road! Road slippery because the snow! Be very careful!" our backseat driver warned.)

Our last "date" was a stop at a coffee shop. The same coffee shop where we were supposed to have our first date, in fact -- had it not been closed when we arrived there at 4pm on a Saturday (hey thanks, small town!). We camped out on a couch and bemoaned a particularly disappointing black and white cookie (why is it so hard to find a B&W cookie that isn't disappointing?) and worked on our invite list for the wedding. Our first real coffee date, and we spent it planning a wedding!

2010, you were full of surprises. 2011, let's see what you've got for us.

Happy (belated) new year, everyone!