Saturday, September 24, 2011

World Rocked

So on May 16 of this year I was laid off from the company I had worked at for nearly 22 years. My income was most certainly necessary to our family. And now we stand to lose our house; we're going to try to negotiate a short sale but the whole thing is fraught with "ifs" so who knows? We don't even have an interested buyer at this point. This after having our house on the market for over 3 years--we kind of anticipated some potential trouble coming and started trying to sell at fair market value in 2008.

Exactly one week after The Lay-off Day I was offered what sounded like a great opportunity to do contract work. And for the first part of the summer I stayed somewhat busy, and by the hour it pays exceptionally well. However after cancelling our first vacation of the summer because of the layoff and new opportunity, my new colleague / boss absolutely encouraged me to go on our second vacation planned for late July through mid-August. Sami had been so disappointed by not going on the first that we went ahead and went and visited family while staying at our little Iowa acreage. It was a wonderful vacation. Just what we all needed.

However, upon my return it would seem most of my contract work had dried up. I had hoped and expected more of a 40 hour week level of work. And instead it came in sporadically in hour or two here or there increments. And we had tons of unexpected expenses at the acreage during our stay, so my measly (half what it should have been) severance pay was used up. And unemployment hasn't yet kicked in. Scary stuff.

I've sent out dozens and dozens of resumes and applications and the most I've gotten was one phone interview. And trust me, these are jobs perfectly suited to my skill set. I think as a 49 year old woman I'm not even being considered since there are probably so many youthful candidates for the same jobs.

Anyway, for now we still have a roof over our heads and I'm a master at making up meals out of what's in the freezer and pantry. But our financial future is very uncertain. I'll elaborate more on the layoff, and keep this updated now that I (winkety, wink) have a little more time on my hands. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Time Update

Our Thanksgiving is just going to be Michael, Sami and I. As usual, my employer gives us a fresh turkey that is raised here locally – so it has never even been fully frozen. We got them yesterday, and last night I prepared a salty, herb-laden, apple juice-based brine which I will soak it in overnight. Then we're having a variation of green bean casserole where I use fresh green beans, shallots, mushrooms, and a cream sauce with homemade herbed croutons on top. I'm also trying a new recipe this year to make a cranberry upside-down tart (yes, I made that up) for dessert—we'll see how that turns out. And of course we have to have the traditional mashed potatoes and I'll make gravy, along with fresh-baked dinner rolls.

We're looking forward to it, because it is the rare day that none of us have to be at work or school – in our normal "everyday" lives, Michael and I never have a day off together. So holidays are especially precious to us.

Sami just lost her second tooth this week. It was one of those that had been loose for weeks, but she couldn't bring herself to pull it. Well, last Friday it turned and got wedged kind of sideways in the socket and looked just awful. So Friday night she decided she would let me pull it. We got all set up with a cloth full of ice chips in case it bled or hurt a little. Then I got a linen cloth so I could get a better grip on it. But when I got hold of it – expecting it to just barely be hanging on – I could not budget that thing. She started crying and freaking out, and made me stop.

Then later that evening, she decided we'd have another go at it. But this time she was going to try to pull it herself. Well, that didn't work either. She lost her nerve. She had herself so upset and worked up that at that point I said, "Honey? Maybe it just isn't ready to come out yet. Just keep wiggling it with your tongue, and it will loosen up and fall out on its own and then it won't hurt." So she went for 4 more days like that! Then Tuesday when I picked her up from school one of her friends came running out of the building ahead of her and said, "Sami lost her tooth at lunch!"

I asked Sam how it happened, and she said it was pretty wiggly and she just reached up and pulled it out herself halfway through eating a Cheetoh. She said it bled quite a bit, so she took herself to the school nurse where the nurse helped her clean up, and gave her a little treasure chest box to put the tooth in to take home. And of course we did the whole tooth fairy thing that night.


Sami is still loving first grade so very much. She is reading at second grade level, and LOVES to read. I'm so happy about that – always hoped she'd enjoy reading as much I as do. She has just discovered chapter books, and thinks she is so very grown up to be reading books with chapters just like Momma reads.

We're having our coldest day of the season today – it is supposed to get down to 5 degrees tonight. Brrr! We've been lucky to have such a late onset of cold temperatures. It was a really mild fall. Wonder what winter bodes? Today is overcast, and the cold front will move in here a little later in the day.

I'm terribly looking forward to cooking and hanging out with my family tomorrow. Hope all my friends and family have a lovely day as well.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hearts and Flowers

So that was a long break from writing.

Sami was super-duper (her current favorite superlative) sweet on Mother's Day. She builds up anticipation for "events" like that for days on end. Michael has begun his new work hours, so he leaves at 7:30 at night and gets back home at 9am. (I know. That's a whole other story.) So there was no one to help Sami put together her gift for me. But, all on her own she had found a little purse/tote bag thingie that she associates with fun days because her Subway meal came in it the day we went to the Butterfly Pavilions and had a picnic all together. So into the bag she puts my gift, and about 6 or 7 handmade "cards" she's been creating over the past couple of weeks. And she had it all ready before I got down from upstairs. So she must have worked on it a little the night before. But! She wouldn't let me open it until Daddy got home from work.

On Saturday while we were all 3 out together running errands, I made Michael take her to TJ Maxx because they always have a nice selection of well-priced sterling bracelets. I wanted him to take her to buy something for me because I knew she was so excited. I mean really. I practically did everything but walk into the store and buy it myself. But what do you think he allowed her to come out with--oh, he freely admitted it before I ever even saw it. What.

A large heart-shaped pendant necklace. I only rarely wear necklaces. Love, love my bracelets. Love my earrings and rings. But necklaces only occasionally. And beyond occasionally to never is when I wear heart-shaped jewelry. Just not a fan. And Michael knows it. But he cops to what he's allowed. Then... he tells me how it went down. Sami found the necklace, and one with a small heart on it. She wanted the small heart to be hers, and the large one to be mine. And Michael said when he gently tried to tell her it might be kind of big, she said, "That's perfect for Mom because she has a big heart!. Err, that's what he said she said. Sounds a little suspicious to me.

Anyway, it's awful but I'll wear it enough to make her feel good about it. And of course I appreciate her sentiment. But my real joy was all the homemade drawings and cards. Then at the very end of the gift unveiling, she ran into her sun room and brought out a pansy potted in a miniature watering can that her teachers helped her mak (that I saw days ago but pretended I hadn't). I really loved it. And just a few minutes later I was fondly placing it in my kitchen window sill... when she showed up and asked if she could keep it in her play room because she really liked it. So I handed it back over. :-/


With Michael on his night shifts now, I actually want Sami to sleep with me in our bedroom. I'm just not fond of not having Michael here at night, and I like it better if she's nearby so I can put my hand on her head in the night If need be. I have weird freakish what ifs about someone breaking into the house and coming upstairs and getting between me and her. Sigh. I'm so weird.

Anyway, so the first night I conned her into sleeping with me by telling her I'd move her to her bed when I came to bed. But I didn't. She was ticked off with me in the morning. So last night I did heft her up (she's pushing 45 pounds, and she's bordering on being too big for me to carry if she's sleeping and not helping hold on) and wobbled her into her room and tried to lay her gently on her bed without breaking my back. All well and good. Went back downstairs to pack lunches and whatnot.

A little later I hear her at the top of the stairs kind of harumphing and half-assed crying. So I go up the stairs to her asking, "Honey! What's the matter?!" And I can tell she's not really awake. And so I'm following her around as she goes into our closet and through our bathroom and into her bathroom, and then back to our bedroom and throws herself onto our bed. And there the harumphing stops and she immediately fell back to sleep. I went and got her "B" and "Kitty" that she sleeps with, and her pillow. And covered her up. And left her there when I went to bed later. So this morning when she wakes she's all uppity with me about that I didn't move her again, and I get to tell her the whole tale. Which made her smile.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Achin' Bacon

A family breakfast custom of ours that has evolved is bacon and eggs on Sunday mornings. And just to add a nice white trash element to it, I pretty much always cook the bacon on the grill. Well, in a cast iron skillet on the grill. Oh yeah. Doesn't matter if it is 30 degrees and snowing. I'm out there on Sunday mornings grilling my bacon. I bet the neighbors think I am one weird woman. (That sort of thing just "isn't done" in my neighborhood -- "sniff.") But as much as I love me some bacon, I really cannot tolerate the mess it makes of my stovetop and kitchen.

I usually make each of us a hard fried egg and toast and construct each of us an egg and bacon sandwich. It is a favorite of Sami's. And yesterday she was contemplating the name of the sandwich, and she's all, "I get the 'bacon' part of an achin' and bacon sandwich. But what does 'achin' mean?" I said, "Honey, it is called an egg and bacon sandwich. You kind of changed it into 'achin' and bacon' when you say it." I think we'll just start calling it that.

Friday, September 11, 2009


This morning both Michael and I were up early to prepare for a showing scheduled for 10am. Cleaning and whatnot before I headed off to work. And he had his ever-present Fox News on which was showing some footage from 9/11. Of course it stops you in your tracks having not seen it for a while, and we were both standing there watching it on the tv. Sami wanders in and sees we're captivated and so turns her attention to it too. She watched for a while, and then:

Sami: Momma, now why did those buildings fall down? Because of that fire?
Me: (thinking oh geez I have to be thoughtful in how I explain this to a 5 year old) Well, it is a little more than that, honey. Some very bad people took over two airplanes full of people that were flying in the sky. And the bad men hurt the pilots and took over flying the planes and crashed them on purpose into those buildings. All the people in the airplanes died, and people in the buildings died too. Some got out okay, but some died. It was a very sad day.
Sami: So the airplane crashes made the fire that made the buildings fall down?
Me: Yes. Those airplanes had tons of jet fuel on them and it burned into those big fires you saw and eventually that's what made the buildings collapse.
Sami: (thinking for a few seconds, and very somber) Ooooh. I hadn't thought about the jet fuel.

And no. She has no idea what jet fuel is. I'm fairly certain that prior to this conversation she'd never even heard those words before. I anticipated the next question would be, "What's jet fuel?" But she just slowly nodded once and wandered off.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First Full Day of Kindergarten

I anticipated how tired Sami was going to be after her first full day of Kindergarten, but I didn't anticipate that one almost-5 year old could melt down so repeatedly and so thoroughly within the span of about 3 hours.

Last year was preschool at the same location, so at least Kindergarten wasn't as traumatic for her as it might have been had she not attended half days of preschool there before. And they started last week with 3 half days, so she could kind of ease into it. But I just knew...

I could see it last year -- how she'd hold it together during the school day. Emotionally, physically, and mentally; she'd come home just to let it all loose from keeping it together in front of teachers and classmates. So I knew full days were going to be a challenge. I know she'll get used to it. But the poor thing.

She was so pathetically exhausted even she recognized in herself that she was -- ya know? At least 3 times she wailed to me, "I wanna go back to half days."

I told her we're all having a hard time, and of course I told her it will get better as we all get used to it and get into a better routine and rhythm.

And we are all trying to find a routine that works for us. This is a shift for our entire household and lifestyle, even. We've always been more of a late night / late morning sort of family what with Michael working until 10 at night. So all this early morning shuffle has us each upended in our own way.

It will get easier. Right? Won't it? Please say it will?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Fernella? Is that you?

I'm trying to pay bills at the computer. Sami has the tv remote pretending it is her office phone and that she's working.

She encouraged me to use her "phone" to make a call, which I did. To my credit card company to tell them off. That was good. Then I told Sami the people I called needed to talk to her.

She says, "Yes? My name? Yes, I'm... Fernella Peadoe."

Oh Lordy. I LOVE listening to her one-sided make believe phone conversations.

Fernella Peadoe? Honestly, where on Earth does she come up with it?

Monday, July 06, 2009

Of Loosemeat and Paper Sandwiches

Out of the ordinary and unlikely things seem to happen to me. Not big things, mind you. Just... unusual things. Take this for example.

About 3 or 4 years ago, we "found" a specialty meat shop (butcher shop I guess?) near our neighborhood. We love steak. And once we tried theirs, and their ground beef, hand-sliced bacon and roasts, etc. we vowed we were done with the Albertson's nearest our house as far as our meat purchases are concerned. (That damn Albertson's is another whole story in of itself -- to a person each and every one of my neighbors with whom I have discussed this store hates it quite passionately. And that was one of the first phrases Sami learned, "You hate this store, don't you Momma?" as I stamped angrily around its aisles trying desperately to find ill-placed items. Wow. Sorry. I seem to be rant-prone.)

And so quite literally, I never buy meat at this Albertson's. (Oh. And it smells really gross in their meat department. Always with the semi-rotting meat and seafood-gone-bad odiferousness. Geez. Okay. I'll stop it.) Except for on July 4th. I drove to my Happy Meat Place only to find they were closed. I thought they might be, but hoped they wouldn't be. But they were. So we went next door (the produce shop WAS open -- hooray!) and procured about 50 dollars worth of produce for 24 bucks. Love that shop too.

Because I had a hankering for hotdogs in the style of the Milwaukee Weiner House in Sioux City. (That link there is just to someone else writing about it. It only seems right that they don't seem to have their own website. They're old school big time.) A love of their dogs was borne unto me by my dad who loved eating there. And I can do a fairly decent rendition of their "chili" used on their dogs. Plus it is delicious as just a loosemeat sandwich -- that Midwestern staple also known as taverns, sloppy joes, and maid-rites. Plus? Loosemeat? I grew up hearing that name, but now after 20+ years away from the Midwest I realize that is a funny, funny-sounding name.

I bought 5 pounds of ground beef at the @#$$#! Albertson's meat department. I had in mind to freeze most of it, make my loosemeats (snerk), and make tacos, burgers, and spaghetti meat sauce later in the week. So "planning ahead" of me, no?

When I got home and started to divide it up (darn! why didn't I take photos?) I kind of noticed... something. Some kind of dark specks in it. Now, I'm a fairly queasy nonetheless enthusiastic carnivore anyway. Like, I've always said that if I had to kill it, clean it, and cut it there is a high likelihood I'd become a vegetarian. So I'm fearful that the dark specks are like, I don't know, hunks of congealed blood or something gross that won't really show up when I cook it. So I figure if I don't look too closely at it, everything will be okay. You know, once it is cooked and all.

And so I commence to said cooking of a pound of it -- the rest went into the freezer painstakingly labeled by my daughter in some illegible hyroglyphics. I added freshly ground pepper. And other stuff. And as it cooked, I noticed that the, um, pepper -- yes, that's what it was -- was quite prominently visible. Well, I told myself, you did use a large grind. Everything's okay.

Then I picked some of it out. And some more of it. And started putting the pieces of "it" on a paper towel. Then I got brave and put on my reading glasses to look more closely. It was black stuff. And it tore, really a lot like paper.

And I picked and I picked. And then I got the not yet frozen packages out of the freezer and looked more closely at them.

Something was wrong here.

I called the store manager and he told me to bring it in. Which I did. They were mostly nice about it (wait, though, the exception of course happened at the meat counter). Apologized. Asked me if I wanted replacement (I did). Asked me if they could also provide whatever else I had attempted to prepare for my meal in case they ruined a whole meal (I declined). The manager sent me back to the meat counter to get my replacement beef.

When I explained the situation to the Mean Lady at the meat counter. She did not apologize. She did not commisserate. She said, "Oh, that's just butcher paper." I said, "Butcher paper is white." She kept pointing to the butcher paper in the counter display like she was terribly irritated. Yep, it was still white. I go, "Um no. It wasn't white. It was black stuff." She rolled her eyes (!) at me and said, "There is black paper under the meat. Some probably stuck to it and went through the grinder." Like I was being a drama queen because I found foreign black bits in my meat. Lovely. I tell her I want the 5 pounds in 1 pound packages. I'm still striking a friendly tone when I say, "Because I already had to do it once -- figured I'd let you do the work this time around." In a nasty-ass voice Mean Lady says sarcastically, "Yeah. Thanks."

Store Manager not only gave me the new beef for free, but also refunded my money. I'm happy with that. No big deal. I entertained the idea of busting Mean Meat Counter Lady to him, but I just couldn't muster up the effort. She was just mean.

So I ask... what are the odds that the ONE time in 4 years I buy meat at Albertson's I get the one package of ground beef with weird crap ground up into it? Or (think ominous music) do they frequently grind up weird crap into their ground beef?

And more importantly? Once I convinced myself it was harmless black paper and that I had picked a goodly portion of it out? I ate a loosemeat and paper sandwich. And next I fed one to my daughter after determining I had no ill effects. No sense wasting a good batch of Milwaukee Weiner House loosemeat, I always say.

How about you? Anybody out there? What weird stuff have you found in your food?

Monday, May 11, 2009

I couldn't make this stuff up...

So yesterday we're in the car just backing out of the garage to run to the grocery store, and out of the blue she says to me, "Mom? Was I in your tummy at your wedding?"

What?! WHAT?! Now I'm not afraid to admit that our particular timeline was such that in fact yes she was "in my tummy" at our wedding. But there is just no way possible that this child has the faculties to even question such a thing. She doesn't know math. She doesn't know how long babies gestate. She has no concept. We've never talked about it nor referenced it in any way. So what the hell?

Deep breath. Matter-of-fact tone. "Well, yes. You were."

Her: Oh, then I was there early, huh?


Me: Kind of. Why are you asking?
Her: I just wondered what your wedding was like. Who was there?
Me: Oh, it was fun! Aunt Bec and Grandma Grace flew in for it. And all our friends were there. There were beautiful flowers, and oh! We even had a cake!
Her: Mmmm. What kind of cake?
Me: The best cake I've ever had. One of our friends had it made for us as a gift and it was delicious. It was chocolate with white frosting.
Her: Oh that is my most favorite.
Me: And there were presents! People brought us presents!
Her: But I wasn't really there, right?
Me: (finally figuring out what she was getting at...) No honey. Are you wondering why you couldn't remember it?
Her: Yes. It sounds like I would have liked it.

She was just trying to figure out why she couldn't remember such a momentous event, I guess. She wasn't trying to implicate us after all. No doubt that will come later. :-)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Question

I'm was at work and stepped away from my desk for a minute, and when I get back I was given the following message from Amanda in my office:
Ms. Ashley of Lunch Bunch (this is the little hour-long day care we use 2 days per week that is available just prior to Sami's preschool class where they each bring their lunch, eat together, and then go play together) called, and Sami just threw up during lunch. But she's got her color back and she seems okay.
Me: Did she leave a number?
Amanda: She wasn't sure what it was. (huh?) But they were leaving to head to the ECE classroom in 10 minutes anyway. She said you might just want to call the school office.
Me: Thanks, Amanda. (mutter, mutter at Lunch Bunch lady for not leaving me a number)

I dialed the school office and told them the situation; that I'm just trying to determine what happened and maybe talk to Sami. They first try the room where Lunch Bunch is held, but they've already left. And then they try the ECE room, but I figure they're out gathering the kids in the hall to bring them in. I'm only 15 minutes from the school at my office, so I decide I'll drive over. I'm certain I'm not leaving her in school for the remainder of the day anyway. So instead of wasting time trying to call them, I'll just head over there.

When I get there she's already in the classroom at the back, smiling with her bff Zaria. When I walk in her teacher smiles, but seems perplexed as to my presence. So I quietly say to Mrs. Teacher, "I hear someone got sick at Lunch Bunch." She looked surprised, and goes, "Oh really. They didn't tell me that when they dropped her off." You could tell it kind of irritated her. Anyway, by that time Sami had spotted me and as soon as she did, against the backdrop of my breaking heart, her chin began to tremble and I could see the tears just beneath the surface. My brave little girl was holding it together in front of her public, but I could tell she really wanted her mom. I walked over and hugged her, and said, "I hear you got sick, Honey." She just nodded -- I think she knew if she talked she'd cry. I said, "That's okay. Go get your stuff and you can just come home with Mom now. We'll make a nest and relax and then you can come back to school tomorrow." She protested just a little bit, but I reminded her that she didn't want to make her friends sick and then she seemed to be relieved to get to leave with me.

Thank God I went to get her because sure enough, I had her nested in a blanket surrounded by her stuffed animals when about an hour later she got an awful look on her face and said, "Mom, I think I have to throw up again." Poor little thing. All she'd done was take about 2 sips of juice. I said, "Can you make it to the bathroom?" And she shook her head -- I ran for the kitchen and grabbed a big ol' bowl, and while the first round went on the floor we "caught" the second round. She had nothing to throw up but juice so it wasn't as awful as it can be, but I felt miserable for her as I held her hair back for her.

I cleaned her all up, and grabbed blankets and animals and headed for the washing machine. Got her fresh clothes, and all that. Then made sure she was comfortable and went downstairs to do a little work on the computer.

Later -- feeling a little better -- she wandered down. She goofed around nearby for a while, then came over and said, "Momma. How do doctors make our bodies?"
Me: Do you mean like when we're babies?
Her: Yes.
Me: Oh, well doctors don't make our bodies. They just deliver the babies.
Her: Then who makes our bodies?
Me: Well, mommies and daddies make babies.
Her: So my body, and Daddy's body, and your body, and Jazzy's body? They all come from mommies and daddies?
Me: Yep. You know Grandma Grace... remember? She's my mom. And she's Aunt Bec's mom. And my dad isn't with us anymore. And you remember Daddy's dad, "Granddad," right? He died too. And Daddy's mommy is gone too.
Her: Daddy's mommy died too? I didn't know that.
Me: Yep, that happened before I even knew your daddy -- years and years ago.
Her: (thinking)
Her: What about Jazzy's body? (our dog)
Me: Jazzy had a mommy and daddy too. We don't know them, they live on a farm somewhere and we never met them, but sure enough -- even Jazzy had a mommy and daddy that made her.
Her: Okay.

And off she went. I was kind of relieved she didn't dig any deeper because I hadn't yet comtemplated how I was going to handle The Question. Anyway, I didn't think it would come up at her age. Seems like she'd get older before she'd need more detail. You'd think.

Later, I cautiously fed her a piece of toast and it stayed down. I could tell she really needed to rest but I knew the suggestion of a nap would be met with resistance. So I said, "You know what? I think maybe I'm not feeling so great now. I think I'm going to go lie down for a bit on our bed and watch some tv. Do you want to come with me?" She did, and I closed the curtains to darken the room, turned the tv on really low, and gently tickled her back. Worked like a charm, and she ended up taking a nearly 2 hour nap. Just what she needed.

We got up later and she had some soup. Again, success at keeping it down. Then I was helping her do something or other, and she goes, "Mom, your shirt smells puky. Why didn't you wipe it off?" I just said, "Honey, I've changed my shirt. It isn't my shirt -- I think it is your hair. Wouldn't you like to just rinse off in the shower so that smell is completely gone for you? Your animals and Nemo blanket are all fresh and clean now. She agreed and then afterwards I was folding laundry in our room and half-watching some tv. It had been an exhausting day, and I had been knee-deep in laundry even before I got to add in all the pukey stuff I had to wash.

And here it came...
Her: Mom? How do mommies and daddies make babies?
Me: (oh geez) Well, when they love each other very much they touch in a special way and that's how a baby gets started.
Her: Oh. Okay.
(tick, tick, tick)
Her: But what parts do they touch?

This is my child. She is like me in the most annoying way. I know that vague or cutesy answers are not going to satisfy her. So I figure I'll plunge right in...

Me: Well, boys have a penis...
Her: I know that.
Me: (taken aback...) You do?
Her: Yes. I've seen Daddy's when he gets in the shower. (We're modest around our house, but not to the degree that she never sees us naked obviously.)
Me: And you knew it was called a penis?
Her: Well no. I didn't know that.
Me: Well anyway, and women have a vagina -- and that's what they touch together.
Her: Oh.
(tick, tick, tick)
Her: Where's a vagina?
Me: (demonstrating...) Down by your bits. (I know -- I didn't set out to call our privates that, it just evolved. Shut up.)
Her: Oh.
Her: Okay.
And away she went.

I was thinking about it later and realized that, like, she's never seen herself down there. Ya know? So I told her the next day, "Remember when we were talking about your vagina? First of all, you know that's a very private area, right?" (Nod.) "Well, sometime when we have time, I'll get a mirror and you can look down there at your private area, and you can see how everything looks, okay?" "Okay, Mom."

I don't know if all that was prompted by some bit of playground talk, or if she just thought it up on her own to ask me about it. But I was very matter-of-fact about it all, and I hope I approached it in a way that left her feeling like she could ask me about anything she wants, and that I'll answer her honestly. It was quite the day.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Comments from Sami while I'm getting ready for work

Me: (getting ready to spray my hair with hairspray)
Her: Yes, Mom, you need that spray because your hair is 'up.' (Meaning it had just the slightest and most stylish of 'poofs' in the front -- most would call it "volume.")
Me: I know it's 'up.' That's how I want it.
Her: Why?
Me: Because it looks pretty.
Her: Well. I don't think it looks pretty. You should put it down.
Me: Get out of my bathroom.

Today. In my closet right after my shower. I'm naked. Sorry for the visual, but it's key to the exchange.
Her: Your bottom is kind of red. You must've put your lotion on too hard.
Me: (snicker) No honey, I took a hot shower and that makes my skin kind of pinkish.
Her: (thinking for some time...)
Her: Bottom is our word for butt which we're not supposed to say.
Me: Right.
Her: And thick is our word for fat that we're not supposed to say.
Me: Right. Alive things generally don't like to be called fat. It isn't very nice.
Her: But suck is a word we're not supposed to say but it is just it's own word. Right?
Me: (snerk) Yeah. Pretty much.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

First Swimming Lesson

Weekend before last, Sami was invited to her first birthday party of one of her little pre-school classmates. The parents threw a lovely little kid-friendly party at an indoor pool. But the thing is, most of Sami's classmates had (apparently) either more experience at being in the pool, or a great deal less sense than she did. The pool at its shallowest was 3 feet deep. Which puts it about mid-eyeball on Sam. There was one little raised platform about 3 feet by 4 feet that made it only about 2 and a half feet deep. But even with her life jacket on (oh don't worry, I didn't embarrass her -- a number of the kids wore them) the movement of the water freaked her out, and she ended up spending most of her time in the kiddie playground area and playing catch with a beachball with her little buddy Tomas.

She had fun, but I realized it would probably be good timing to get her into swimming lessons. And while she's not generally fearful of being in a pool, we just don't have many opportunities. She thinks its fun when we're all in the water together like when we visit my aunt and uncle who have a pool in their back yard. But as for braving it alone, not so much.

Enter yet another classmate's lovely mother. Her son was swimming like a little happy fish, and she admitted it was because her husband runs the rec center. In our neighborhood! Better yet, they offer to sign Sami up for lessons even though we have kind of technically missed the deadline. So we did. Great deal too -- 10 half hour lessons for 32 bucks. Twice a week. And it fit perfectly with our schedules.

So yesterday was her first lesson. For the couple of days leading up to it, she said she was excited. But as the hours gave way to minutes until we left for the center, I could see her nervousness amp up. She exhibits it by chattering nonstop. It is kind of cute. And she doesn't come by her apprehension about coming events unfamiliar to her on her own--I am exactly the same way. (We did stop by a few days prior to her lesson just to get the lay of the land. As much for goofy me as it was for her. Anyway....)

We got there and made our way to the pool area. And all I'm seeing are moms (20 years my junior) in their swimsuits with their infants. Clearly a "Mommy and Tot" class. Umm. Hmmm. Crap. We got signed up for the wrong class. Unsettling discomfort ensues. I finally cornered a sort of "in charge"-looking woman and inquired. Ah, good. There are 2 classes. They will not be forcing my pudgy whiteness into a swimsuit. Sami is properly signed up for the pre-school lesson with no parental swimming.

Sami whispers to me that she really wants her teacher to be a girl. We get Terry the Guy. Oh well, he seems really nice. This first day was only 5 kids. That was cool. But ol' Terry jumped right into it -- errr, made the precious children jump into it. He took them to about the 2.5 foot deep level, and had 'em jump in. I saw it on Sami's face. I knew she was struggling. And trust me -- every part of me wanted to go over there and talk her through it. But I resisted. And watched. With my heart kind of breaking just the teeniest bit to watch her be so brave because all the other kids were more experienced and not at all freaked out about jumping in. And the peer pressure. Gah! She went with it, but I could see she was NOT comfortable.

She loosened up as the lesson wore on, but I could still see discomfort. And then, the instructor had them lie on their bellies, and one at a time he kind of pulled / supported them through the water while they were supposed to be kicking. Well Sami was a champion kicker but she was so afraid of getting her face in the water that she was holding her head up so high that her feet weren't kicking up out of the water. So she was like a little propeller and knocked the stalwart young Terry right off his balance at which point he kinda dropped her and splunk, into the water she went. Face and all. She had a little freaked out look on her face, but she bucked up and was fine.

After the lesson when we got home, I asked her if she had fun. She said yes. I like to try to give her room to talk about her negative emotions without feeling all judged about it, so I said, "Man, I'd have been nervous at the beginning, though. Were you?" And she goes, "Yes Mom. I was. Actually? Right when we started I felt like I was going to cry. But I didn't."

Then she proceeded to tell me the story of her face going into the water about 3 more times over then next hour.

Took me long enough to finish this post that her second lesson came and went. Daddy took her to it. I was afraid the dropping incident might have made her a little intimidated about going back, but Daddy said she never hesitated once.

Oh, and at the nearly brand new rec center? She pronounced the restrooms a bit "old" for her taste. I've no idea.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

This morning:

Michael (forgetting little ears listening...): So are you buying me lunch today?
Me:Yes! I'd love to go to lunch with you.
Sami marches over.
Sami: Why aren't you two inviting me to lunch? (I think it is funny when she calls us "you two.")
Me: Wellll, you'll be in school. Sometimes Daddy and I go to lunch together while you're in school.
Sami: Hmph.

Apparently first realization that Mommy and Daddy have any modicum of life that doesn't revolve around her.

Monday, February 23, 2009


I have "things" going on work-related that are attempting to erode any sense of creativity or fun or joy in my days. But I had to decide I can't let that happen. Hence, a quick post...

Having to not utilize day care for her first 3 years was a huge blessing. For us, for her, and for our finances. But now that she's in preschool, not suprisingly she is bringing home about a bug a month. That's okay. We expected it. And that's the only way one's immune system develops. And we've been lucky, she has only gotten sick for a day or two at a time, and none have been severe.

One hit yesterday. The sniffly nose when she woke up didn't make me get it. (Even with our whole house humidifier, the air is just crispy dry this time of year, and a stuffy nose is pretty common in this house without it being an indication of getting sick.) The lack of appetite for breakfast didn't make me get it. The willingness to sit quietly and watch tv while I bustled through a complicated breakfast prep didn't make me get it.

But later when I slowed down, I saw the ever so slight droop of the eyelids. And then when I kissed her forehead I knew. The beginning of the fever. She's finally maturing enough to mostly understand that she's sick and that it is okay to lay low for the day, and that it will be over soon.

I kept trying to con her into lying down in our bed to "watch tv" with me in the afternoon. She kept turning me down. Then later she came to me and said, "I don't feel good at all. Let's go lay down." Zowie! Then get this... she actually chose to lie in her own bed while I went to mine. She wouldn't let me close her curtains to darken her room. She had me open her windows for fresh air. She left the door open to her room. And Katie (our cat) was smack in the middle of her belly. And of course despite everything I would expect to keep her awake, she fell asleep and stayed that way for over 2 hours. And at one point goofy Jazzy (dog) went into her room to bark at God knows what like always, and it still didn't wake her. Tired, sick child.

Then last night her fever broke and today she's on the mend. Not good enough for school, but easily managed with a work from home day.

* * * * *

Does anyone care as little about the Oscars this year as me? My whole life I've loved movies. But since Sami we don't go to them any more. Still like 'em on cable or Netflix or whatever. But seriously. These people. These people seem so self-absorbed and riddled with a sense of self-importance and personal drama. Ummm, people? You pretend for a living. It isn't important.

Ooo. Ranting. Where'd that come from? Oh well, I'm proud of myself that it wasn't about work.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Our Holidays

This was the first Christmas since Sami was born that Michael didn't have to work on Christmas day. What a treat! Our Christmas was simple and sweet. It was just the 3 of us, and we scaled back on spending like most people I know.

Sami's Aunt Bec did her usual overachievement in the gift-giving department much to Sami's (and our) delight. Sam started opening her gifts around 8:30 in the morning and by 11am was still at it. Not that she had that many (well... except for from Aunt Bec), but because she was so deliberate in her gift-opening. She really took the time this year to understand who each gift was from, and she was so gracious about each of them. Making thoughtful comments and really looking each one over, and then exclaiming heartfelt thank-yous with many "It was just just what I wished fors" sprinkled in.

Her "big" gift this year was a classic Radio Flyer red wagon. She hadn't expressed any previous interest in one, and I'll admit it was self-serving -- but she was thrilled with it and said, "I saw one on tv before and I really wished for one!" Even though she had never actually mentioned one before. I wanted it because I missed the days when I could plunk her into her stroller and take long walks on nice days to either go to the library or grocery store or whatever. And now that she can bike and ride her scooter, she always wants to do that on the long walks. Or she'd just walk. But inevitably we'd get to our destination and halfway home she'd peter out and ask me to carry her bike or scooter. Or her. None of which is an option with my hurty hips. Well, and she weighs over 40 pounds now. So... this is a way for us to head out on long walks again with a vessel for bringing home groceries, books, and 4 year olds too tired to walk any further. We already got to use it on New Years Day (almost 60 degrees! woo hoo!) when we all went out for nearly 3 hours of walking and playing at the parks.

Other big hits for her were a realistic dolly named Lilly Bragg and all the accoutrements. We took Lilly in the wagon with us to the big park and left her in the wagon bundled in a blanket while we walked to the opposite end of the park. Later we ran into a guy that had walked by it and when he figured out that it was ours, he told us how it freaked him out when he came upon it because he thought someone had abandoned their baby in the wagon. Funny stuff.

She also got the Candy Land Castle game. This one is a gem for no other reason than it plays quickly. A whole game with 3 players takes less than 5 minutes. Anyone who has suffered through the regular Candy Land board game with a 3 or 4 year old knows why that is a very good thing indeed.

Her daddy found her a Princess bouncy ball. (What are these things supposed to be called anyway? A hippity hoppity ball? I don't know.) The kind with the handle on it where they sit on it and then bounce along? Well good grief. She has lived on that thing ever since. We have plenty of open space in the house for bouncing. And she even bounces all the way to the park. About 3 days after receiving it, as I was drying her off from her shower and dried her legs, she goes, "Ouch. My legs hurt from bouncing." She actually had sore muscles from it. :-) She takes it in her room at night while she's sleeping. She has taken it into the bath with her. She loves the thing.

She also got other small things: a stamper set, replenished paints, bath gels, etc.

Sami and I got Michael 2 books about the Corsair planes and their pilots, like his dad flew in WW2. And some new slippers for his delicate little feet lest they suffer from the debilitating cold of our hardwood floors. :-D And a watch. And a few bottles of "nicer" wines.

And perhaps most importantly of all, I got a GORgeous gold bracelet. Michael has bought me a couple of others over the years, and for some reason I seem to be a bit hard on my jewelry, and both of them have long since broken. This one is heavy and strong and I can wear it all the time without fear of wearing it out in a few months. And I have a couple of "charms" that I want to put on it. A heart that signified our wedding, and a teensy gold ring with Sami's birthstone in it. So that thrilled me. Oh, and he's learning to catch my hints -- I also got new oven mitts. Fancy ones. And some new kitchen towels that he deemed necessary for my "gourmet" cooking. He fancies the idea of me throwing one over my shoulder while cooking ala Emeril.

So all the gifts were nice? But it truly was just the family time that rocked our Christmas and New Years. I worked until 2pm on Christmas Eve, then we came home and had a fairly simple dinner and got Sami to bed early. I HAD NOT WRAPPED A SINGLE GIFT BEFORE THAT NIGHT. Honestly. What was I thinking? But time was not in abundance this year. Anyway, so then I lit into that task, and Michael assembled the wagon. And the wee replica of the big wagon. And when we were done, we arranged everything under the tree and it looked so beautiful. I actually like the idea of having gifts under the tree ahead of time so that the excitement builds for Christmas morning. But with our crazy chewing Katie the cat and the rambunctiuus Jazzy the dog, it seemed best to put them all out at the last minute this year. Oh, and thanks Katie for chewing through the prelit Christmas tree lights so that my only-2-year-old tree now has 3 bands of darkness. Just what I wanted. A stripey Christmas tree.

On the night of Christmas day, we had a very special dinner of prime rib roast with a really good bottle of wine.

I took a vacation day for the day after Christmas too, and while I really wanted to take the tree down, Sami and Michael prevailed. Alas, it is STILL up. Maybe tonight. I'm really quite over it at this point.

For New Year's Eve we again had an (if I do say so myself) a fairly simple dinner that turned out amazing. I made shrimp and pasta, but I poached the shrimp in a buerre monte butter sauce (I find it spelled both ways on the interwebs -- buerre and beurre. So whatever.) that I read about on another blog earlier in the week. Woo. Tasty stuff. Then another early bedtime for Sami. Michael and I opened a bottle of champagne and actually made it all the way to midnight this year to toast in the new year.

New Year's Day was when we enjoyed being outside for most of the midday. It was so beautiful and unseasonably warm. Then that afternoon we had an early dinner of surf (wee lobster tails) and turf (ribeyes). At the end of this dinner we were sated and just sitting there basking in the enjoyment of it. And reflecting on how much good food we had enjoyed beginning at Thanksgiving when it seemed like every single thing turned out so good. On through to all the other meals we'd just had in the past week. And then we talked about how blessed we are and I always have to offer up how grateful I am that we're all healthy. (Especially in the face of some heartbreaking news a co-worker received about a child relative.) And that we're both still employed (so far). And that for now, we're still able to pay our bills and buy groceries whenever we want. Yes, times are tough. We're deinitely in cut-back mode. And we're certainly not likely to ever complete the dream scenarios we had laid out 3 years ago for our housing plans, but it is what it is and we're doing fine.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I'm back

Whew. Um. So I kind of went missing for a few months.

Just. Busy.

Our house is on the market, and precluding that was much time spent sorting through belongings and cleaning up storage areas and even whole garages. And cabinets and drawers and any other places I could envision my happy potential home-buyers snooping. But our happy home-buyers haven't found us yet. And so we wait. And have our lives interrupted constantly to stop and make the house presentable in the midst of 4 year old mayhem and a dog with an ugly bed on every floor of the house. So that's, you know, where I've been.

Sami seems so, so grown up to me. To us. Michael and I comment on it all the time. Just like whoa! How'd she get that tall?

She's in official preschool and adores it. She pronounces regularly to anyone that will listen that home days (meaning no school on those days) are just "BORin'." I think we can all imagine how she's coping 4 days into her 19 day Christmas break. Gah.

She's enjoying the wintery cold snap we're in much more than she did last year. She loves having me "bungle" her up so she can go to the park with Daddy when he takes Jazzy out to run each morning. She returns so brightly pink-cheeked that you just want to plop her into a cup of hot chocolate and drink her up.

She's lost most of her mispronounced baby talk. Like, when her teacher finally taught her how to properly say "yellow" instead of "lellow," I'll admit it wrenched my heart a little. But she still assures me she has "sensible" eyes and ears when she spots or hears something I may have missed. I'm sorry. I'm not correcting these. They're too adorable and they'll be gone soon enough without my assistance.

Maybe I cherish them so much because she has a pretty amazing (to me, who has not hung out with 4 year olds previous to my own) vocabulary. When she was but a wee infant I took it upon myself to always answer her questions and to talk to her like I would anyone else. I don't try to be overly complex or anything. But I also don't hesitate to use "big words" if it is required to properly explain a concept. And she uses some really big words in exactly the right way which never fails to amuse me. And humble me to think of the miracle of the human brain to be able to learn like it does even at 4 years old.

She is also strong-willed. The inherent stubbornness abundant in both her father and to somewhat much lesser degree in her mother seems to have multiplied exponentially in her. Good Lord. Trying to work our way through these last months has been the most challenging part of being a mom that I've yet experienced. Tantrums. Hissy-fits. Demands. Call it what you will, but we're still coping with them. And this is from 2 adults who made up their minds early on that they would never give into a tantrum since any sane person knows that only begets more tantrums. Sami? Tantrums? THEY DON'T WORK!. Why oh why do you continue with them? Why? I'm going to be ultra-eccentric when I grow old just to get back at you. So there.

She is so fricking excited for Christmas this year. Thank God for her present & surprise-gifting over-achiever of an aunt supplementing the Christmas presents this year. Times are tough, and a 4 year old shouldn't have to be aware of it at Christmas time. I'm not saying she should have EVERYthing she asks for by any means. And I've been making her gently aware of the cost of buying "things" and trying to explain that's why Momma and Daddy work -- to earn money, etc. And how that all works. But I'm just saying -- having Aunt Bec doing her thing delights more than just Sami. (Thank you, Aunt Bec.)

I feel very humbled and blessed this season. First and foremost for all our good health. I've seen and heard such heartbreaking stories recently -- I can't say it enough. I am so, so thankful for that. And for all of us being together. And after that, really what does much else matter? Anything else dished out to us, somehow working together we'll get through it. With that said, I'm very thankful we both still have our jobs. But I'm smart enough to know that that could change at any time. For now we still have a beautiful house, 2 fairly reliable vehicles, and I only have to be a little careful when grocery-shopping. :-)

There. I've gotten the stopped-writing-for-months- first-entry-back-is-intimidating thing behind me. So let's leave off there.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Long Time, No Write

I've allowed a horrible gap in my posts here, but undaunted I shall simply pick up in the present so as not to delay myself further by trying to cover past ground.

Wow. Last night my dear husband took me on a date. A few weeks ago he surprised me with tickets to Chorus Line, and last night we got to go. It was awesome. Sami's sitter Mewanie (Melanie to most) came by early allowing us to head downtown for dinner and a martini before showtime. The "dinner" part consisted of really bad service and terrible food, but it didn't even bother us much. We had a great table outside on a balmy night where we could people watch, and we amused ourselves dissing our waitress in the long gaps between her visits.

Then on to the show which was absolutely captivating. Now going to any kind of a Broadway-type musical is my absolute premier choice of outings. I usually start crying the minute the opening number swells up out of the orchestra pit... just because I get overwhelmed that I get to be there. It makes me happy. And last night the performances were so good, I swear my eyes watered through the whole thing. I'm such a weiner.

I called home as we left the show and Melanie reported that while Sami was terribly sleepy she kept saying she wasn't. Obviously she was waiting up for us.

When we got home she did her little number whereby she won't talk or acknowledge us for a little bit. I get this in her. What it really reveals is that it is difficult for her to cope with both Mom and Dad being gone. And when we get home she's so relieved that she's kind of overwhelmed and can't face it. Anyway, while a part of her adores Melanie there is the part where she's just not used to not being with one of us. About an hour before Melanie was due, Sami was uncharacteristically sitting down. Just sitting. Not doing anything. Um... she just doesn't do that. I waited. I knew something was coming, when finally she says, "I don't want to talk to Melanie." "Hmmm. Why, Honey?," says I. "I just don't want to talk." I took her on my lap and hugged her and said, "Well okay. But that will be kind of weird, don't you think, since you'll be spending the whole evening with her?" No answer. It was the indication that a pending babysitter night was stressing her out in her own little way.

But she did fine with the whole thing. And then when it was time for bed she asked to sleep in our bed. And then asked me to lie with her. I really wanted to continue my husband-date but something about her pleadings was more pronounced than just the regular "I'm going to whine and fake cry to see if I can manipulate Mom into hanging out with me longer." I stayed and laid down with her, and we cuddled up close--her with one arm thrown rakishly across me as insurance against me sneaking away.

About 15 minutes later, she's all, "I'm ready to go to my own bed."

Sometimes ya just need some Mom time to put everything straight again. I get that.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

She says funny stuff

Daddy bought Sami Crayola's Color Explosion thingie, and in it comes a pad on which she outlines lines with a clear marker and colors appear. Then it also includes some glitter pens to add glitter later. But she can only remember them as 'grease.' So she tells me while she's drawing... "Momma? I'll do the lines part now, and then later we'll add grease." Yes indeed, honey. That will look lovely.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


The other night as we were waiting for Michael to come home from work, I was watching the tail end of the Miss American Pageant. I know, I know. Just shut up. Anyway, it was the talent portion. And let me digress for one moment here. I didn't get to see all of the performances, but on the next round of axing some of the girls, Miss Iowa got cut. Now, as she's gracefully departing what should I see? Batons. Batons, people. Did she honestly twirl effing batons as her talent? Pageanteers still do that?! I'm sorry. I thought that went out in the 80s. Or should have. Batons. She deserved to get ousted. Even if I'm partial to Iowa in general.

I'm back now. Anyway, as Michael comes in the door I'm watching Miss So-and-So who was kind of one of those big-boned gals you hear about, balleting about in a less than graceful manner. But it was ballet so it caught Sami's attention for a moment. And I go (and only because it was captioned beneath her), "Oh she's dancing to Vivaldi. Mommy likes Vivaldi."

Sami runs off and throws over her shoulder, "I have Vivaldi!"

Michael and I are chatting a bit, and Sami comes tearing back around the corner and hands me a Vivaldi CD. "See? I have Vivaldi."

I sat there. Trying to grasp.
She can't read.
She has about 40 CDs.
I've never played Vivaldi for her. Let alone played it and identified it as Vivaldi.

Michael said one day a few weeks ago he took that CD to work to listen to on his drive. And she must've seen it and heard him call it Vivaldi.

But she's got crazy recall skills. Or she's secretly taught herself to read but doesn't want to reveal it due to the whole 'read me a bedtime' story ruse she's got working for her.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007


Oh marketing people at Campbell's, you are savvy, savvy folks what with your Dora and your Shrek and your starry, starry soups.

Now there are worse things for a 3 year old to nag for in the store than soup. With carrots! And I get that. Earlier this week she went grocery shopping with her dad, and because he's a notoriously easy mark she got him to buy her about 3 different varieties. But then she conned me into the very same thing on Saturday's shopping trip. I didn't know I'd been had until we came home and put them into the pantry and I see all the cans in there that I had not bothered to notice previously.

So we're, you know, totally stocked up on kiddy soup. Whatever.

I tasted it. It isn't horrible. But like so many other kid-type foods, it is really quite bland and of questionable nutrition. And Sami's developed a fairly diverse palate -- some of the stuff she'll eat is surprising to me. Like she would eat me out of half my weekly income in freshly grated parmesan (the 'real' kind; don't even think about that green can in my presence) if I let her. And parmesan (the 'real' kind) is not a mildly flavored cheese. Plus she'll eat blue cheese crumbles. Straight. I know a lot of adults who can't handle those strong flavors. Anyway, I digress.

So yesterday I spent a good deal of the afternoon putting together a homemade vegetable soup. And when I make soup, I make a vat full. I like lots to put in the freezer in individual portions for simple, fast, healthy lunches. Into this particular vat went first my luscious turkey stock carefully preserved from the abundance that was Thanksgiving to serve as my soup base. Then I added: green beans, white and yellow corn, cabbage, lima beans, edamame, carrots, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes (frozen, but from our own garden), onion, yellow and green bell peppers. That might be it. Anyway, it turned out divine. Just what I was hungry for. And surprisingly satisfying for a vegetable-only soup. I could just feel the good health in store for us all in the coming weeks.

But today I was going to heat some for Sami and I to have for lunch with our turkey and lettuce wraps, and she Wouldn't Hear of It. Must. Have. Shrek. Soup. I wasn't in the mood for a battle, so instead I tricked her handily. I made the stupid Shrek soup, but I ladled several spoonfuls of delicious tricky vegetables out of my soup into hers. Ha, little one. Ha.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Dear Sami,

You are now 3 years and 3 months old. And you are probably the funniest person I know. Both on purpose and not on purpose. You are sometimes so endearingly quirky that I can't help myself from indulging your nonsensical demands.

For instance today. I was working at my desk and you were watching Playhouse Disney and doing whatever else it is you do to so nicely amuse yourself. I announced that I was going to go find us a snack. When I got to the pantry, I found an item purchased by your Aunt Bec when she was here recently that didn't get thrown out when she left like I did the 2 cartons of ice cream none of us need. It was some chocolate dipped pretzels. I'm not a huge fan, but you are. So I chose those. I put about 4 in a cup for myself, and because you seem to enjoy the eating of the pretzels straight from the bag, and since we were at the bottom of the bag, I thoughtfully trimmed off the top scrunchy part of the bag to facilitate your handy grabbing of the bottom contents of the chocolicious pretzels.

I returned to the Man Room area triumphantly to present you with your snack. And you freaked out because (gasp) I had cut the bag. Yes. You informed me tearfully that you only loved the big bag. You did not like the cut bag at all. Whatsoever.

My mind told me you were tired and that I should just let you work through this little upset. Or not give you any pretzels to teach you that, um, what? That if you melt down over silly things you get no pretzels I guess? But my heart could see that you were in one of your heartfelt moments. I can read heartfelt emotional crying on your face and tell very easily the difference from the 'I'm being kind of sassy and naughty and seeing what I can get away with here' crying. And this was the former.

So I by God went upstairs and mumbled disbelief to myself as I TAPED THE TOP HALF OF THE BAG BACK ONTO THE PART CONTAINING THE END OF THE PRETZELS. I did.

And you were happy.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Catching up

I can't let myself get so intimidated by having not posted Sami stuff in a timely fashion in like, forever. It builds up and makes me keep not posting. So here I go. I missed the first few days of November, but from here on out I'm going to try to post something daily in honor of NaBloPoMo.

Sami is 3 years and 2 months old now. She has moments of the most extreme cuteness, cleverness, and humor. And she just recently started having moments of the most extreme fit-pitching imaginable. I'm hoping that just comes with the 3 year old territory, because the depth of her emotions frightens me sometimes.

I've taken her to dance class 3 times now. The first 2 times were all I could muster to get through. I could see she was scared, uncomfortable, and upset by being there. But her dad and I had decided it was time for her to take instruction from someone that isn't Mom or Dad. And to just begin getting used to doing something outside her comfort zone. Plus, she loves to dance and sing at home, so it seemed like a good place to start. So we stuck it out. And just went back for week 3 this past weekend. Finally. A smile. Some laughs. And even 2 episodes of acting silly. Yay! She enjoyed it. When we first got there on Saturday and I helped her to go potty, as we were getting ready to go back out and put on her tap shoes, I saw the lip begin to tremble and my heart just ached for her when she told me, "Mommy? It is too scawy." I tried to reassure her that she knew exactly what to expect and that she'd have fun. And she did! We're going to keep at it until at least the fear factor is out of it for her. Then, if she's having fun, we'll continue. If I truly believe she is not enjoying it, we'll then try something else.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


So, the other night Sami was in our bed and in the middle of the night she had a whimperfest where it is one of those where she's semi-coherent but not enough so for you to actually reason with her? And it went on for like 10 minutes which in the middle of the night is 3 hours.

The next morning after we'd been up for a bit I asked her about her hard time in the night (that's what we've taught her to say to help her express when she's having problems controlling her emotions); asked her what was going on and such.

Me: Honey, you had a very hard time in the night.

Her: Yeah.

Me: Do you remember what was bothering you so much?

Her: I didn't know where to put my arm.

Me: (Huh?) Oh! What do you mean?

Her: I didn't know where to put my arm.

I dropped it for then. And then about 20 minutes later I thought I'd try again to see if I could glean a little more detail.

Me: So honey, when you had that hard time in the night what was it again that got you upset?

Her: (consistently) I didn't know where to put my arm.

At this point I figure she's just having a difficult time articulating the problem. So a couple hours later I asked again and got exactly the same answer. Which was totally amusing me. So I shared the story with her father.

Him: (nonchalantly) "Oh. I had a time I remember--it was for like a whole day--when I was about 8 or 9 or so I guess, where I didn't know what to do with my arms. So I kind of know what she means."

Me: (with giant wide open eyes sensing a bit of insight into the inner-workings of his mind) Hm.

Him: (apparently feeling encouraged by my stoic interest in the story because I'm not smirking...yet) Yeah. It was like, 'My arms! What do I do with them!?' It felt like they were just kind of dangling there and in the way and I didn't know what to do with them.

Me: BRAW-HA-HA... what?!?! What are you talking about?

Him: (sensing I've ambushed him by playing along straight-faced only to get to the really funny part) Well....

Me: Okay. Wait. You didn't know what to do with your arms? What the hell is that supposed to mean?

Him: I just didn't.

Me: But just for that day?

Him: I guess.

That's just the sort of thing that amuses me no end. I laughed about it then. I laughed about it about 4 more times that day when it would come into my head as I went about my housework. I laughed about it when I related it to my sister on the phone. I have continued to laugh about it even as I type it here.

Last week as I'm driving to an after work party at my boss's boss's boss's house in a loaner car because mine is in the shop:

Me: (calling home from my cell) Hi. I was just driving to the party in this loaner car, and it is making me crazy.

Him: Why?

Me: Because I'm so used to my manual transmission car, and in this automatic I don't have to shift and I find I don't know what to do with my arm. BRAW-HA-HA.

Him: I'm glad I provide so much amusement to you.

Me: Me too. Thanks. I'll be home early. Love you.

Him: Good bye.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Conversation in the car...

A conversation in the car after we had to pull over on Colorado Blvd. for an ambulance to go by, sirens and lights blaring:

Sami: That's a fire truck, Mom.
Me: Actually, no honey. It is like a fire truck, but it is called an ambulance.
Sami: No. That's a fire truck.
Me: They're very similar. But a fire truck goes to fires, and an ambulance helps people who are hurt. That was an ambulance.
Sami: It is a fire truck.
Me: They look alike, don't they? And they both have sirens and lights. But an ambulance is a little smaller than a fire truck and does something different. So that one was an ambulance.
Sami: But it is a fire truck.
Me: No, really. It was an ambulance.
Sami: Oh call it whatever you want.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Yesterday Morning

Me (having just gone #2 in the basement bathroom then discovering I had no toilet paper (Michael wasn't up yet): Sami! Com' 'ere! I need your help.
Her: I can't. I'm busy.
Me: Busy doing what?
Her: I'm on the monkey bars. (This is what she calls swinging and balancing around on the treadmill.)
Me: Well, com' 'ere. I went potty and I don't have any toilet paper. I need your help.
Her: But I'm so busy.
Me: Seriously. I really need your help.
Her (as she comes into the bathroom smiling devilishly): Sowwy. I'm too busy.
Me (suppressing a laugh): If you ever want to see a home-cooked meal again during your formative years, you will get 'not busy.'
Her: (Just grins. She knows she has me.)
Me: Really now, Sami. Just go upstairs and bring me this much (holding out my hands) toilet paper.
She leaves and is gone for over 5 minutes. I can hear she's not on the main floor but has gone on upstairs.
Me: Sami! Where are you?
Her: No. No. No! Jazzy!
Me: Sami. Get down here and help me, will ya?
Her (showing up with a whole new roll of toilet paper and now sporting a headband): Here you go.
Me: Where'd you get this?
Her: My bathroom. (I didn't even know there was a package of tp in there.)
Me: Thanks! How did you know that was there? You're awesome. Thanks for helping Mommy. And how lovely that you stopped and took the time to select and put on that headband too.
Her: (Twist-mouth smile.)

Monday, July 02, 2007


And look at this photo I found while poking around on my hard drive...

Eeek! Doesn't my dear husband look so very sexy here?

Why does he have his shirt off while holding Sami when she was about 3 hours old? Not so sexy. She had just puked all over him for her very first spit-up. :-)

Reasons aside? I adore this photo.


On Saturday, Sami and I went to Big Lots for, um, let’s see – what would it have been? Oh yeah. Birdseed. We hung up birdfeeders in our back ‘messy’ yard where I don’t really care if the resulting weeds sprout from beneath the barren grass-free dirt beneath our big pine tree anyway. So yes. Birdseed. Cheaper at Big Lots, donchaknow? Except, I always end up buying 50 dollars worth of other stuff there too. Like, Saturday, we found two books for Sami for a couple bucks apiece. One was a wipe-off marker book, and the other a lift-the-flap book. She was pretty distracted when I put them in the cart since I let her play with something else while we shopped. Then, I was also stealthy at check-out and she didn’t acknowledge at least, that she had seen them.

Which is all well and good since I like to have something—ANYthing—new to break out during Mondays and Tuesdays when I work from home with her there.

Today (Monday), I remembered I had those as my trump cards hiding in the toy bin, stashed away for when she ran out of entertainment today. I couldn’t wait to see how long I could go before I had to break them out.

Then? Early afternoon, and Sami strolls into my office from playing in the spare bedroom with her stuffed bunny and giant stuffed panda. (I don’t know what she was playing because every time I tried to spy on what I suspected was cuteness, she pointed her finger and ordered me out. She was talking to them, though, and I never could catch what the whole scenario was. Dammit.) She goes, “I have 2 new books.” Holding up two fingers at the same time. I was so taken aback that a) she had noticed them b) that she was suddenly remembering them c) just in general. I said, “What?” Blink. Blink. I was stalling to try to figure out if she actually KNEW it, or had just blundered into a lucky guess. Because, come on – she’s two.

She goes, “I’d like to read my two new books.” Well alrighty then. I went and got them for her. How the hell did she know they were in there? What other things does she ‘get’ that I think is over her head?!

She ‘read’ them for a while herself, then invited me to join her, and I couldn’t resist.

And in the lift-a-flap book, it was the alphabet with pictures behind each letter, ya know? Under the ‘P’ flap, they had a pail. Only, we’ve always called her sand vessels ‘buckets.’ So I’m ‘reading’ it and I say, “’P’ is for…pail.” She repeats it as ‘pay-oh.’ Then, she pauses and goes, “Actwee? It’s a bucket, mom.” Gently. So as not to embarrass me that I got it wrong.

But that little well-placed, “Actually?” Her delivery slays me.

This not-talking-baby-talk-to-her is really paying off. Some of the ever so proper things she says, but still in the sweet pronunciation of her 2 year old self, is just priceless.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day

So Michael had to work on this his Father’s Day. But we tried to make the best of it. We got him two boring shirts that he seemed to act pretty excited about. But really, they were just for work to wear under his uniform. And we got him an excessive amount of wine glasses. But we love our wine glasses so we got him these stemless ones, and these classic ones to replace some we had broken (and no, we weren’t likkered up when we broke them—just innocently washing/drying them usually) and these because we didn’t have any like them. And well we needed them. And then we got him one of these rings with my name and Sami’s name inscribed inside. And I got myself one with his name and Sami’s name inscribed inside. About that ring, he says, “Does this mean I’m doubly married? Wearing a ring on each hand?” I said, “No. It says, ‘I’m married. And I like it.’”

We had his gifts all wrapped and waiting out for him with a card from each of us on the kitchen island. And when we were setting them up, Sami said, “Daddy will say, ‘What’s all this?!’” when he comes down. And so when he came down and said, “What’s all this?!” she couldn’t have been prouder. Then she handed him the first one and said, “That’s your shirts, Daddy.” Next he reached for a box with the wine glasses in it. “What’s this?” says he. “Your cups, Daddy!” And before he could even ask, she handed him the envelope with the ring, and said, “And here’s your ring, Daddy.”

Above right is how he looked about all that disclosure.

We had gotten up early and took Sami and Jazzy to the park to run and play.

Then we came home and I made a quiche (prepped the night before) which we enjoyed on the deck. Our pretty, pretty deck-yard that we love.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

After Sami woke up from her nap, I go in to get her and she says, "Mommy? Raindrops are falling down."

Me: Yes Honey. It is raining. Isn't it nice and cool? I'll open the curtains so we can see.
Me: Humm. Your windows are closed again. No wonder it is so stuffy in your room.
Me: Why did your father close those windows again?
Her, in a groggy trance-like voice because she just woke up: Because he's a goober.



My work is done on this second work-from-home day this week. And it is lovely and cool and raining outside my 4 open windows (after being a stifling 96 yesterday which equates to about 106 in this office). And Sami is starting on hour 3 of her nap. And all I have to do this evening is laundry. And I don't even mind that. And I'm feeling about a bazillion times calmer than yesterday.

I had a lot of work work to get done yesterday. Stuff people were waiting for. And Sami was in a Mood. At one point she asked for some cookies. I brought her chocolate Teddy Grahams -- the only cookie in the house. She told me those weren't what she wanted and described the ones she wanted. I explained to her that those other ones were all gone last week. She FLUNG the bowl of cookies I'd brought her. I very calmly told her how angry and sad that made me, and picked them up and put them out of her reach. She then came in and wanted to sit on my lap while I was working. I told her I didn't want to sit with her right then since she had made me so sad about the cookies. She flew into a rage. Her little face got bright red, and she grabbed the under side of my upper arm and just dug in her nails. It hurt so bad and I could barely break her grip. I stayed calm but that just seemed to make her madder, and before I knew it, she grabbed me and bit me in the lower back on the side. Hard. It hurt so, so bad. I put her on the floor. Told her she was absolutely NEVER to bite or pinch. And told her I had to spank her for it. I popped her on the diaper so softly it did nothing; except humiliate her. Well, and even humiliate is too strong a word. It just put an exclamation point on what I was trying to tell her. Then I picked her up and put her in her crib in her room and shut the door. Mostly I did that because I needed to have a break from her--needed a little space between us. It was a day filled with things like that. Her flinging things in anger and just being a brat.

Now, last week Michael and I had a talk about discipline matters. And how we kind of think we're letting her call a few too many shots around here as a result, I believe, of our exhaustion at times. Like, it is easier to just give in and let her have her way with small things like watching f-ing Barney, or having pretzels an hour before dinner, or little things like that. So we decided to be a bit more strict and steel ourselves for her little meltdowns instead of allowing her meltdowns--or the promise of an ensuing meltdown--to aggravate us into letting her have her way. So I think she's sensed this clamping down a bit plot. And she's rebelling against it.

She seems to be testing to see just what will and will not fly at this point. But geesh. She just uses up all my patience and tolerance and then I find myself snapping at Michael over nothing.

Anyway, when all was said and done and she was calmed down and I talked to her about the very visible bite on my side, she started crying all over again but this time I could see she was embarrassed and feeling badly about it. I hugged her and held her and told her we all lose control of our emotions and have hard times, and that it was okay. She melted into me in that heavy way and stayed that way for an extra long 'hold.' And trust me, it's true. We do all have hard times with controlling our emotions.

Anyway, no time for a lengthy entry. But maybe it takes days like yesterday to make me so appreciate days like today. Maybe I need the perspective.

Monday, June 04, 2007

All manner of things

The past 3 weeks have been chock full of …what. Life I guess. Good stuff. Just chock full. Well, mostly good stuff. Except for the fact that I literally have not caught up on my laundry for going on a month now. But that’s because I can’t be bothered with laundry when there are more fun things to do. Important fun things.

First Sami’s Aunt Bec came from Iowa for a visit. I took the whole week off from work, and we just hung out together. Shopped a lot. Ate whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. And had a ball. Sami took no time at all acclimating herself to being comfortable around Aunt Bec. In fact, she decided she wanted to sleep with her the very first night Bec was here. Sami got so caught up in the Fun that is Bec that she just didn’t want the attention to end at bedtime.

The second night as we all wound down for the night in our finished basement where my sister’s bedroom was, I noticed Sami was particularly busy. Remembering things she needed upstairs, etc. And then I noticed her sitting by herself quietly on the stairs, off by herself.

I went over and (this makes me feel like such a mom) suddenly got this sense… I just ‘got it.’ I said, “Sami, can I talk to you?” And I sat down by her. And I gently asked her if she wanted to sleep with Mommy and Daddy tonight instead of sleeping with Aunt Bec again. I think she got it into her head that once she made that choice the first night, that she was kind of obligated to stick with it. And I could tell she didn’t want to. It was kind of heart-breaking, because she didn’t want to say anything. When I asked her about it and told her she could sleep wherever she wanted, you could just see the load lighten. She brightened and was relieved. I’m glad I figured it out.

She did decide a few nights later to sleep with Aunt Bec again one night, though.

Anyway, then after my sister left, Michael had a week and a half vacation. I worked part of it, but that meant he was home each evening and we actually had family time for more than 3 evenings a week. It was heavenly. Sami again stalled at bedtime (she’s a master at it, too). This time I think because she so enjoyed being around both Mommy AND Daddy so much that she was afraid she’d miss out on something by retiring.

But that’s what caused me to get so far behind on housework. I too couldn’t tear myself away from the family unit to go do boring laundry. And so I didn’t. And neither did anyone else, oddly. So there you have it – lots and lots of laundry. Insurmountable laundry. Coupled with the fact that during this time our weather turned unmistakably summerish, and I had to switch out my closet and Sami’s from winter to summer. The winter stuff still isn’t all packed/stored away in the off-season closet in the basement.

But, when I took a couple of days off with Michael, we achieved glorious results outdoors. Michael moved the rock displaced by the building of my raised vegetable beds last summer and replaced the bark out front so that both sides of the front have rock now, instead of the ugly unkeepable bark crap. And we built an addition to our deck to house our grill. It came out so very lovely we still go out there nightly to gaze adoringly upon our work.

And we planted and planted and planted. Perennial flowers aplenty in our deck yard. 64 (!) baby tomato plants. Annuals in baskets and pots. Oh my, ours is a lovely little slice of heaven. We got our fountain set up in the deck yard, and it is bursting with our perennials planted the past 2 years, plus filled in with new ones. Oh we love it so.

Sami’s certainly—how do I say—pushing to see what the boundaries are lately. Read: bossy and whiny and sassy. Fun too, and funny. Don’t get me wrong. But whew – this molding of her little psyche is exhausting work. By nature I am not a tolerant, patient, understanding woman. But of course, one needs to be in this parental role. Very exhausting. On some things, she’s maturing and can be reasoned with and I see light at the end of the tunnel. On other things, she’s as 2-year-oldy as she can be.

But the good news is, she falls down much less than last year. Why is that good, you ask? Well not only for her good health and not-so-scraped knees, but also because when they’re nearing 2 and falling down constantly, dresses are highly irritating to them. Because when they go to stand up and stand on the hem it makes them scream. Fast forward one year? Oh, my sister and I had such fun buying pretty little sundresses for her. And she loves them this year. Oh joy! And she loves her necklaces, and her bracelets, and her anklets, and shoes, and all manner of things fashion. What fun. What very good fun.