Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Olivia

You know those children's books about Olivia?  There's an illustration in on of them that gets me every time.



I see that picture of Olivia in pantyhose and think "I hear ya, Pig. I hear ya."


Maybe it is because occasionally, when I'm feeling overly ambitious, I will pick up all of the toys.
And you are able to see the floor.




And then You-Know-Who-Number-Two wakes up from her nap, and it's like Christmas. Like she's never played with these toys before and she must play with every single one of them in the next five minutes or her entire world will combust.

What took me the entire time she was napping to clean up, took her less than 6 giggles to wreck.


And I end up with my hair looking like this:



Frazzled.

And maybe a little dejected.

Much like a pig in pantyhose probably feels.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Nuk

I have been worried about how we are going to ditch Bear Cub's Nuk. 
It's not easy breaking an oral fixation habit.
I know.


One morning last week, when I went in to rescue her from her crib, she handed me her nuk and said
"Bo."

Which, as everyone knows, is Bear Cub speak for "broken."

I inspected the tip and sure enough, she had chewed the entire tip off.

I informed her that we must throw it away immediately.

So, we got dressed and headed downstairs.

"Maggie, are you ready to throw your nuk away?"


"Yes, Ma. Ma."


"OK then, go chuck it in the bin."


"Maggie? Are you OK? Do you need a minute? Do you understand what just happened?"



"Uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh"


Which everybody knows is Bear Cub speak for:

"Seriously?"


Friday, March 25, 2011

Another Letter, This One to My Cousin

Dear Cousin Cathy,

Earlier this week I opened a contest on my blog. I offered up a picture of you laughing, as the prize. I think it's a nice picture. As an added bonus, I also promised it would be autographed. Well, today is the final day of the contest and it turns out, we only had one entry.  I don't know why the turnout was so poor. My Chef has suggested that people either don't know how to post video's of themselves, or they don't want to be seen looking stupid. Then he stroked my unkempt mane and assured me that I wasn't a cruddy contest host.

In the end, I feel like we should still award our one entry the Grand Prize.  Would you mind so much sending her an autographed portrait of "Nancy Laughing"?  I would gladly send you a box of Florida oranges for your troubles.

Her video can be seen below.

Seriously,
Nikki

video

Thursday, March 24, 2011

An Open Letter

An Open Letter to the Producers of What Not To Wear:

Dear WNTW,

I was at the gym this week, and found this magazine in the women's locker room.


When I first looked at this I thought it was something maybe from a foreign country. Then I read the very top line on the cover "... for Central Florida's Modern Parent." 

Can this be right? If so, I am more confused than ever. I mean, I guess I can be happy that my lack of hair brushing is in fashion. But how's a gal supposed to walk her children into school wearing plastic pants with a straight face...and in this kind of heat. Did we learn nothing from the Friends episode when Ross wears "leather" pants on a date?

I've digressed. It appears that my understanding of fashion is really off base, or the women in Central Florida are, well...foreign.  Any assistance you can throw my way would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
I Just Bought Four New Pair of Capri Yoga Pants So I Don't Have To Do Laundry Mid-Week.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Bedtime Routine

It's about this point of my day when I figure up if it's my night "on-duty" as the official Bedtime Put Her Down-er for the Taz or not.  If it is my night, I start getting myself mentally prepared for what awaits me. I do some breathing exercises. I formulate my plan of attack. I give myself a few pep talks. And for good measure, I toss in a few Hail Mary's.

For my pregnant friends about to enter the joy of parenthood, stop reading. There's no turning back now, so go into this journey blissfully ignorant.

I've read all the books. I've talked to fellow parents who have conquered this stage and come out on the other side with all of their hair. I've done research on the Internet. I've sought council from a friend who is an expert in the field of behavior modification for children with disabilities. I've left prayer requests at several churches in the Central Florida region. I keep getting the same answer: Routine and Reward.

Well, let me tell you this. We've had the same routine for two years. Bath, Teeth, Books, Bed. It just seems that the older she gets, the sooner in the routine, she starts to wig out. It used to be just right at Bed time when she didn't want to lay down. But now, she understands that getting into the tub means, pretty soon, she'll have to hit the hay. This is when the bouncing off the walls starts. Literally. Spitting. Kicking. Shouting. Ordering me to go make her a "samich" or she'll put me in time-out. Then crazy laughing and jumping off the bed.

So then we made a reward chart. She loves stickers, so she got a fancy sticker for each task. That lasted about three weeks. It still wasn't easy. There were still fights, but we had LEVERAGE!  Now the stickers aren't enough. Now, she has to get all of her stickers and if so, in the morning she gets ONE MILLION DOLLARS.  I feel like Madonna, always having to reinvent the game.

Nap time is no better. Last weekend, we told her she needed one hour of quiet time in her room. She didn't have to sleep. She could just play quietly in her room.  She was told that if she came downstairs, she would not get to go to the hardware store. (Girl loves to go to the hardware store.)  She threw an 18 minute tantrum, and when it was over, I headed upstairs to see why it was so quiet.


What's that lump at the top of the stairs?


Is she faking, and when I get there she's going to cackle and run and maybe try to push me down the stairs?


Must. Approach. With. Caution.


Oh tuckered little tazmanian, Momma's gonna go to the bank and steal One Million Dollars for you.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

All The Cool Blogs

Apparently all the cool blogs do contests, or giveaways. Some days, I want to be cool. Today is one of those days.

I sat down to put some thought into my contest. Apparently to host a contest, you should be somewhat versed in your subject matter. Some of the blogs that I like to read are about photography, so for those blogs you can send in pictures and there's a contest for who sent the best picture for that category. Other ones I've seen are "how to" on crafts, or wood working, or furniture rehab. Others are poetry writing contests. 

I am not good at any of that stuff.

Then it came to me. I am good at laughing. We should have A Laughing Game Contest! Yesssss. It's brilliant...unless, of course, no one plays along. The prize is an autographed copy of this famous portrait titled: "Nancy Laughing."





Here's how we'll do it. You upload a little video of yourself and your crazy laugh to YouTube. Then post the link in the comments section of this here blog or on my facebook page. On Friday, I will pick the finalists and we'll vote and come up a winner and whatnot.   You don't have to have a pretty laugh, or a contagious laugh or a loud laugh. Just start fake laughing until you've got yourself good and worked up to a steady wheeze.

Let the laughing begin!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Seriously

Tuesday's List:

Reason's I Could Watch This Very Anti-climactic Video Over and Over


1. She is my baby and I could watch any video of her over and over.

2. Despite the fact that all she wants to do is sleep, she still smiles.

3. Despite the fact that all she wants to do is sleep, and I keep waking her up by calling her name, she still smiles.

4. Despite the fact that all she wants to do is sleep, and I rolled down the windows to blow fresh air on her tired little face, she still smiles.

5. She is my baby and I could watch any video of her over and over.



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It Ain't Easy

It ain't easy bein' me. But then again, nobody said it would be.




Slaving away for my family day and night.




Making sure every one gets their recommended daily servings of fruits and short cakes.




Teaching our young that perseverance pays off.



Nope. It ain't easy bein' me.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Home Again

Occasionally I stumble upon a place that reminds me of home. Sometimes it's a pond with sun sparkles dancing across the surface. Sometimes, it's a wooded place with trails that make you feel miles from civilization.

Today it was a log lodge in the middle of pine trees.
The minute we walked up to this building, I felt like I belonged there. Like I could sit on one of the rocking chairs and stay as long as the provisions in our backpack could sustain us.
(Which turned out to be about an hour and a half.)




It wasn't until I sat down to write this, that I realized this "reserve" we visited today, reminded me of my summers as a camp counselor. Summers spent exploring new things and pushing the limits of what I thought I was physically and mentally capable of. Summers spent being young and dumb and carefree. Summers developing a love of the outdoors that would only ever be championed by one thing: Them.



We ended our short visit with a picnic lunch, devoting most of our conversation to
planning our first camping trip with the girls.
How sweet it is to be finally able to combine my two loves.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wild Things

Every single day I find myself questioning if I am making the right choices as a parent. Scratch that. Every single interaction I have with my 3 and half year old, I question if the words I use, the tones I take, the emotions I show are molding her into being a pole dancing, cigar smoking, serial killer.


Then I stop and just watch her.
I watch her pick "flowers" or ride her bike or color a picture for her favorite person. For five minutes, I stop worrying about her use of "may I" or "can I" or finding the right motivation to get her to put on some sort of pants or even getting her take one stinkin' bite of dinner.


I just stop and watch her.
And that's when my heart breaks because I am so completely in love.


The one thing I never have to question is my love of the wild things.



Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lent Day One

It's Day One of Lent. Yesterday morning, I still wasn't sure what I was going to give up. I had it narrowed down to one of three things. After tossing out American Idol, I was down to Soda and Chocolate.

I was at work (a.k.a. treadmill number 12 at the YMCA) when I realized it was Mardi Gras. A small smile crossed my face because it meant I could indulge a bit in whatever I decided I was going to give up. And by indulge, I mean seriously knock myself out.  I envisioned brownies, and chocolate glazed donuts and king sized snickers bars all washed down with a ginormous Mac.Donald's chocolate shake.

Right about then, the trainer walked by. The one that took my measurements and calculated my body fat a week ago. The one that said THIRTY TWO PERCENT of me was FAT!  The trainer that did not chuckle when I asked him "But how much of me is PHAT?"   I reminded myself of how that felt and how when I got home that day, I signed up for Weight Watchers.

So there was my answer. I could indulge in as much Soda (Pop, Coke, DP, Fizzy Drinks or whatever people in your region call it) as I wanted on Mardi Gras without actually hurting my "diet".  One the way home, I bought two bottles of the diet variety and a bag of chocolate covered raisins (just in case I ended up changing my mind at the last minute).

The whole point was to pick something that I would think about every day and use that time to think about the grace and love shown to me and in turn pour out love and grace on those around me. Since I find myself daydreaming about a gigantic Big Gulp the size of my torso on most afternoons, I think I've made the right choice.

It's Day One of Lent and so far, so good. Earlier, when the Jehovah Witness' came around, I did not give them the stink eye for ringing the door bell during nap time.

Monday, March 7, 2011

SAHM

Remember the first time you called someone your boyfriend? Remember how goofy that felt. Or for those of you who are married, how it felt to call someone your fiancee? I never really used the term fiancee. For a couple of reasons. One, our engagement was only 6 months and B, I preferred to refer to him as My Mans. But I do recall thinking it sounded soooo weird to refer to him as My Husband. Even at 30something, I didn't feel like I was old enough...or something to be A Wife.

I'm feeling the same way about my new title. Stay At Home Mom. For the first couple of months, I wasn't really an official stay at home mom because the children were in daycare so I could find a job. Even so, now that I have officially throw job searching to the wayside, and have taken ownership of the laundry, cleaning and grocery shopping duties (the child rearing is still split 50/50 and let's face facts about the cooking), I still haven't become comfortable with my new title. 

It took a good year before I could say "This is my husband." without getting the giggles. I wonder how long it will be before I can answer the "What do you do?" question with "I'm a stay at home mom." without feeling like I just made it up. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

A little bit of the road rage

On my way home from our morning outing, I slowed down because the car in front of me was turning. There was no turn lane. Just a two way county road.  As I countinued to slow, I heard the car behind me lay on the horn.

This ticked me off a little. Did the car behind me think I was going to keep my foot on the pedal and ram the turning car? Did she think I should swerve into oncoming traffic so we didn't have to slow down. Should I endanger one of the most important things in this world (Bear Cub) so she didn't miss her hair appointment. The crabbier I got, the slower I drove.  I knew that I would eventually have to turn and she would get to go on her merry way. But until then, it became my mission to drive 5 miles below the speed limit.

Two miles later, I signaled into the turn lane, making sure to slow waaaaaay down well before I needed to. She sped up next to me and for 1.5 seconds the two of us held stink eyes with one another.  Luckily, my middle finger got the message that we are trying to be better people.  This is huge progress as just 5 months ago I practically punched the person in my passenger seat trying to get my finger out of her window to communicate my disapproval to a punk that tried to push me off the road.

Happy Friday My Friends. May the road rise up to meet you...but not the road rage.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lent

Lent starts next week. I like to give up something for Lent.  I joke that it's so God will know that if I promise to give up something for Lent and am successful, then he'll know I can keep a promise. Then when I tell him that half of my lottery winnings would go to Him, that my chances are better. But here's the real reason. (It's going to take a minute to get around to my point...but stick with me.)

A few years ago I was walking back from lunch with a coworker who was telling a story and every other sentence was "God Damn" this and "Jesus Christ" that.  After a while, I said "easy on the GD's man."  His reply was "Why? Are you religious."   I paused a minute. This very question has always been my struggle.  So I do what you do when you need to pause, and I answered a question with another question. "Would my being religious change anything?"  And his answer was yes, he'd watch what he'd say around me.  Basically, he'd be someone he's not, around me. 

Why do people do that?  Like I'm the one you need to mind your P's and Q's around. Or is it a fear that if they are completely vulgar and heathenness around me, I am going to hound them to drink a nice sip of Kool Aid from this little Dixie cup. Uhg. The term Religious and all of it's negative connotations.  I wish I would have had the chops to tell that kid  the following (but it just came to me- two years later):

I'm not religious. But I AM a believer. Hearing you drop my creator's name around like it's profanity makes me cringe, even though I myself have dropped the JC's , with a cigarette hanging out one side of my mouth and a beer in one hand no less (mmmmm beer).  My saying that I'm a Christian doesn't mean I'm a pusher, or into guilt trips and I don't think the way to show grace and love is to preach damnation and tell you the perfect way to live. (This is the point in the story that my brother likes to interject that I once told him, in high school, that I thought he was going to hell because he drank beer. We like to laugh about that now.) I just know that a price was paid for me, and I'm want to try and live up to that gift. And most likely I'll fail miserably.  But a girl's gotta try right?

And that's what I was thinking about this pre-Lent season. Lent being a season of prayer and penance and preparation for the celebration of Easter. Easter marking that gift I was talking about, of Love and Redemption and Grace and the discovery of Cadburry Eggs.  Last year I had the sweats about what I was going to give up for Lent. I wanted it to be something significant enough that when I thought of that "thing" 800 times a day, I would think about why I gave it up. Thinking about grace 800 times a day no doubt should give you a heart of gratitude and seep into other areas of your life. I gave up Facebook. I'm not really sure if I ended up being a nicer person because of it. But like I said, a girl's gotta try, right?

This year, I hadn't come up with anything; so I asked The Taz what she was going to give up. She said "Roller coasters." (As a side note, The Taz has no concept of what it means to give up anything, and I mean anything.) That was no help. So I turned to Facebook. I looked at my "year in review" status updates. The word brownie kept popping up.

Dang.

I think I have the sweats again.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Taboo

Everyone knows the saying "it's impolite to talk about politics and religion." Well, this week, I'm gonna be a little rude and talk about both of them. First up, Politics.

There's a lot of reasons I don't like politics. When you boil it down though, the main reason I don't like it goes something like this:

Garbage collection day is on Tuesdays. The garbage trucks usually drive through the neighborhoods in the morning before the hot hot sun stanks up the streets.  Children go to school on Tuesdays (hopefully) and on fine spring days like today, they walk in the morning, past the disposal collection trucks.

To avoid tragedy, a local lawmaker of a certain party, sends a bill up stating that children must wear bright orange shirts to school on Tuesdays, so that disposal truck drivers would easily be able to identify that the children should not be run over.

The opposing party claims that sanctioned bright orange shirt wearing will put the Blue Shirt makers out of business. Therefore to make their bill pass, the orange shirt supporters tell the opposing party that they will include in their bill, a sanction for all children to eat tator tots on Mondays. Tator Tot Mondays will create jobs and offset the decrease in commerce from the now defunct blue shirt making businesses.

Now things get interesting because a third party comes out and says that Tator Tots make children obese and voting yes on this law means you don't love children. The Tator Tot farmers say voting against the bill means that your against families because they provide jobs to support families. Because all of the riff raff, now you have groups with special interest in Orange Shirt making throwing money around campaigning for the bill. They use scare tactics telling you your children won't be safe unless this bill gets passed.  And some of the money for these ads are coming from sources that don't seem to give two cents about children in the first place.

At the end of the day, it's hard to say who's the good guy. And that's why I'll just stay out of it.