Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mom's Night

Last night was Mom’s Night at Mister Man’s preschool. Actually the whole afternoon was Mom’s Night. Fortunately, we had lots of fun.

Well, maybe not to start. Mister Man took a killer nap yesterday, and I had a really hard time waking him up. When we got to Language Stars – my one session to see him in person and where the other moms in his class also see him – he still was not really all that awake. In fact, he was mostly interested in lying on the floor and covering his face. Oh yeah, and not participating.

Fortunately, he wasn’t the only reluctant child in the class of five, and only one other mom was there are the time. Phew! Eventually, he woke up enough to participate and have fun. When we voy’ed a el Supermercado, he definitely was interested in shopping en el section de pan. I think I maybe could have talked him into la section de las frutas. From that point, we were good to go, and he was so excited to choose the items to put into his “shopping cart” art project.

From there, we had an hour to get to Mom’s Night at his preschool. I wanted to get there early since I had a ton of photocopying to do – since you know I sort of have a toe in the water at the PTO and we have both our Cinco de Mayo celebration next week (anyone want to enter our raffle or silent auction?!) and Teacher Appreciation week.

We decided to stop for a quick dinner, and Mister Man decided that a smoothie sounded good to him. Good choice – gotta love the child who goes for healthy. And shockingly, even when he took off the top to drink it, nothing spilled in the car – or for that matter, in the teachers’ lounge when we got to his preschool.

He thought it was the greatest thing ever to be my helper at the copy machine. Fortunately, I decided to copy the Spanish and English packets for Cinco de Mayo first, when he was still drinking his smoothie. Once he finished, he came in, and every time a paper came off the copier, he grabbed it with a cheerful “Here, Mom!” When you think about the fact that there are around 250 kids in his school, and each kid was getting a copy, he had fun. I did the photocopying in batches – 15 for this class, then 17 for that class, then 8 for the next class, et cetera. Every time the copying stopped, he started hopping up and down, “Do more, Mom! Do more! Do more!”

We finished just in time to get signed in for the Mom’s Night event itself. We ran into several of his classmates as we were making our nametags. It was pretty cool to see how excited he was to see them, and even cooler how excited they were to see him.

Once nametags were made, we had a long line to wait in. Having not been to one of these nights before, I didn’t realize we could have skipped this line and come back later. It was the photo line. No one told me I was having my picture taken. This is what happens when I don’t know my picture is about to be taken:

(Pretend there’s a picture here – I haven’t had time to take it yet, let alone download it)

We went to his classroom first, where we had snack. Using pretzels and cheddar, we made hammers and ate them. I’d never have thought of that on my own. Somehow, we skipped the puzzle room, and I swear it wasn’t because I didn’t tell him about it. Actually, he decided he had to go potty right after we walked into the puzzle room but had to go in his classroom then forgot about the puzzles, and I didn’t remind him.

Reading a book with Mom was his favorite room, I think. After we finished the other two rooms, we came back to this one and spent the rest of the time here, some with him reading to me – he’s getting really good – and some with me reading to him.

Our next room was where he had the opportunity to make a book for mom. The pages were photocopied, and he got to draw the items in the appropriate pages. Page one was drawing something just for mom.

So what do you think he drew? A monster. With fire on its back. And a mean face.

The next page was drawing a picture for mom.

Not a surprise, we had another monster, this one breathing fire.

On the next page, it was draw mom’s hand and draw his hand. Awww. He actually drew mine. And his isn’t that much smaller than mine. Freaky!

The last page was a portrait of mom and me.

Three guesses. Yep, we’re both monsters. In face, we’re both mean monsters. I think someone’s in the midst of a new obsession. We won’t talk about the monster that lives in our garage when the door’s closed.

The good news is that his drawings are starting to be somewhat recognizable, which is a new trait. Plus, he was holding the markers correctly instead of with a fist grip the whole time! And Victor was working next to Mister Man while they were making their books, and both interacted – Victor showed Mister Man how to draw a cat, and Mister Man showed off his monsters.

At the end, he talked to last year’s teacher, Miss Erin for a bit before we left.

Mister Man: Will you remember me in a day?
Miss Erin: Yes.
Mister Man: Will you remember me in a week?
Miss Erin: Of course!
Mister Man: Will you remember me in a month?
Miss Erin: Certainly, I will.
Mister Man: Will you remember me in a year?
Miss Erin: How could I not?
Mister Man: Knock, knock.
Miss Erin: Who’s there? (says a somewhat confused teacher)
Mister Man: Hey! You forgot to remember me already!

That has to be his favorite joke ever, and he absolutely loves catching people with it. Fun night!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

When Is Enough Too Much?

I ask this because I’m being pressured to help out with something that’s a great cause that I’m already involved in that will dissolve if I don’t do more. It’s one of those things where I’d love to help, but is doing the right thing in the big picture also the right thing for me and my family?

To wit, no one has volunteered to be the PTO president for my son’s school for next year. Without a president, even with all other positions filled, the PTO will dissolve. Without the PTO, there is no fundraising, which means that low income students can’t go on field trips, teachers don’t get their wish list items fulfilled, etc. All of those are a big deal given the population of special needs and at-risk kids that we’re dealing with here.

I’ve been involved in the PTO both this year and last year, and I’ve taken on more responsibility this year. I’m essentially chairing the fundraiser we’re doing this coming Monday (note: I’m out of town Thursday afternoon until Sunday night) which should be our largest of the year. I’m also the PTO shopper, which means I track, budget and buy the items that the teachers ask for from trampolines (placed that order for 8 today after negotiating with a vendor for 2 weeks) to listening centers to yarn to Model Magic dough and everything in between. I’m also chairing and coordinating the teacher appreciation week, which is also next week – arranging donations, writing up the letter to parents, etc. Plus, I created and organized a good chunk of our Fall Festival this year in place of a field trip to the pumpkin patch.

I’m a good project manager, I pay attention to detail, and I follow through. That makes me an ideal candidate for PTO president, apparently. Plus, the PTO is fairly small, and you don’t want to have someone new to the PTO be the president. With most children in this school for two or fewer years, a big chunk of the PTO is moving on to kindergarten next year (side note: Mister Man will do a third year of preschool we’ve decided). The few who are staying on are pretty much all stay at home moms but don’t have the organization skills to do it – plus, they’ve also said no.

I said no the first go-around because:
1) I work three days a week
2) I have two small children
3) I also volunteer at Little Miss’ preschool
4) I do yoga/go running/do things for myself that take up time
5) My husband is a schoolteacher, Scholastic Bowl coach, baseball and basketball PA announcer and isn’t home much, leaving me less time to do things
6) The PTO presidents’ council meets on Wednesdays, which is a day I’m in the office and can’t make the meetings
7) I had already volunteered to do the PTO shopping and teacher appreciation again, along with writing the newsletter.

I look at how busy I am now, and adding the PTO presidency to my load seems stupid. The current president keeps reassuring me that she’ll be there for backup and she’ll attend all the Presidents’ Council meetings for me. This PTO is larger and more “stacked” than it has been in the three years she was involved in it. There are volunteers for all the board and other positions, meaning that less would fall to me. And the argument goes on for how it won’t be that hard. All I have to do is run the monthly meeting and keep in touch with the principal.

I know it won’t be that easy. That’s why I said no the first time. But then I go back, and if I don’t do it, the PTO simply won’t exist, and I would really hate to be the cause of that. The PTO is critical to the success of the kids at school even from the standpoint of providing funds to do a RIF (Reading is Fundamental) program or two during the course of the year. And without the PTO, there are so many valuable tools that the teachers can’t afford to buy themselves, nor can the parents all purchase on their own.

You can tell that I’m wavering towards doing it, right? But what will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back? Am I going to make the right decision if I agree to be president next year?

Monday, April 28, 2008

T Minus Four Days...

I realized that I have a heck of a lot to do in the next couple days aside from the usual working and wrangling kids. Fortunately, Google came to my rescue to alert me to all my duties prior to and the day of the wedding, as well as what I’m supposed to carry in my invisible shrinking bag on the day of the wedding.

My dress did finally arrive about two weeks ago, fortunately. When I tried it on, it was too big, but it’s since been altered as much as it’s going to be. I’m so not a sewer, so don’t ask me what was done. A friend’s mom did it for me, and said friend dropped it off around 9:30 last night. Needless to say, I’ve yet to try it on again. That’s a task for tomorrow, I think… somewhere between dropping Little Miss at preschool, an hour long conference call, running, picking up Little Miss, getting to Language Stars (where of course it’s parents’ week, so I have to stay), and going to Mom’s Night at Mister Man’s preschool. Oh yeah, and the final prep for the Cinco de Mayo celebration when I get back on Monday!

Fortunately, I already had silver shoes and appropriate jewelry, so that part is taken care of with no worries. And since we’re in Houston, I won’t even pretend like I’m going to wear pantyhose. The hair and makeup lady is going to take care of me, so that’s set.

And before anyone lectures me on being too irreverent or not performing my duties with the proper respect, keep in mind that my friend who’s getting married isn’t exactly into the whole girlie wedding thing. She’s no help to me when asking her what she wants or needs me to do, nor does she really care.

I do know that I have a speech to write, but I’ve yet to start on that one. Maybe that’ll be a task for the plane ride down (which means the other bridesmaid will yell at me when she sees me working on it then since she’s sitting next to me for the flight; she’s a little more uptight about this whole thing than I am). Anyone have a good speech I can use?

I know I’m in charge of keeping her dress straight and pinning up the train afterwards. Oh yeah, and holding her bouquet during the ceremony. All of that came as news to my friend, so I went googling MOH duties tonight and found a great list of what I’m supposed to keep track of.

Dress: Ummm, it’s living in Houston now and Saks will be delivering it to the hotel. I think I’m ok there. I will, of course, help her get dressed. And learn how her bustle works.

Bobby pins: Fortunately, I always travel with some in my overnight kit. Don’t ask why. Really, just don’t.

Makeup: Well, the makeup lady is going to do our makeup. Am I supposed to go out and buy a new set? How about the bride has a stash of powder or whatever, and we go from there?

Makeup for touchups: Oh! Apparently the makeup was the original makeup. In that case, makeup lady has us covered, and I just need to figure out touchups. Hmm. Maybe I’ll stop at Ulta and buy some of those blotting things to stick in my (hopefully) matching clutch and call it a day.

Clear nail polish: Obviously this was written for someone who’s not having a wedding in Houston. We’re so not wearing nylons. Although maybe I should bring some in case her 24 hour old manicure starts to chip. With my luck, it’ll be my manicure that chips!

Nail glue: Seriously? How about nail file?

Hairspray: Hmmm. This one may not be a bad call. Ten to one I leave it in my hotel room. That’s ohhh, an elevator ride away from the ceremony and reception. Check!

Tissue: Apparently this is in case we start to cry? Or snot runs down our faces? Actually, given the way I feel right now, that may not be a bad option. I have an empty Kleenex box sitting next to me because I woke up with a horrendous cold this morning.

Perfume: Just in case we start to stink, I suppose. May happen.

Jewelry for the Bride and yourself: I love how they capitalize “bride” there.

Wedding dress shoes and a casual pair for after: Umm, for after what exactly? Some fetishes I refuse to be a party to. Plus, the bride went with the groom’s mom a few weeks ago to buy some ballroom dancing shoes with special inserts to keep them comfortable. Since groom’s mom is a former ballet dancer, I think she’s covered.

Undergarments for the wedding dress: Ok, now they have to be joking. Do they really expect me to go out and buy them or hold onto them because the bride can’t be trusted to dress herself now?

Needle, thread (white and color of bridesmaid dresses), and scissors: Ok, this I was planning to bring, since I have a cute handy dandy little sewing kit. And it’s the best way to avoid jinxing myself!

Contact solution/rewetting drops or glasses: Now this is useful, as the bride does wear contacts. But I don’t. Maybe I’ll bring a little tote where I can steal things out of her room to keep in my “Official Things To Bring To The Wedding” bag.

Breath Mints: No comment needed, really!

Pantyhose/Nylons (at least 2 pair): Maybe if we were going to rob a bank….

Change of clothing for after: I’m starting to feel like I’m supposed to be a pack mule.

Phone numbers for all the important vendors: How do you choose an important vendor vs an unimportant one?

Watch: Ok, now I’m in trouble. My watch broke last October, and I haven’t gotten a new one. It’s on my List Of Things To Do, but I haven’t found one I really like yet, not that I’ve looked all that hard. Does my cell phone count?

Any prescription medication the bride or groom is on: Note here that they capitalized neither bride nor groom. Interesting. Actually, if the best man doesn’t grab it, I’m taking the epi pen for the groom who’s deathly allergic to all aquatic life, and I know there are fish type things on the appetizer trays and for dinner. Nothing like living on the edge at your own wedding!

Plane tickets and luggage if the newlyweds are going on their honeymoon straight from the wedding: Phew, they aren’t going until July (interestingly – my husband and I were married in May and honeymooned in July, too!).

Extra money (just in case of emergency): Heh. Can I assign my husband to this one? I’m notorious for walking around with $3 in my wallet for weeks at a time because I just don’t buy things and generally don’t use cash. I actually need to stop at Costco ummm Wednesday to buy a couple things and use my rebate check so I will have cash on hand for Houston.

A friend to stand by for back up (yes two words for them) in case the car has a flat tire or engine problems: Yep, we’re all guests in Houston with no rental cars, but I’ll find someone to be a backup in case a car breaks down. At what point do you just say that it’s fate telling you not to get married?

Your speech: hmm. See above!

Card to give the bride (always a cute friend idea): Coming from the person who doesn’t give anyone cards for any occasion and has her kids use scratch paper to draw cards for birthday parties, ok! Actually, maybe I’ll have my kids make some.

2 garters (1 to keep and 1 to toss): Really? People would want to keep their garters? I suppose I should ask her if she’s even doing a garter toss….

Groom’s ring: I can almost guarantee I'll have to wrestle the groom's mom for it.

Tylenol and Tums: Now this is my kind of partier! Whoever wrote this was definitely planning to have a blast at the wedding!

Deodorant/antiperspirant: Definitely stealing this from her room. I wouldn’t want to share with anyone or have anyone share with me. Actually, I’d go for the "not needing any more than I’d already put on" theory.

Phone Numbers of all Important Family Members in the Wedding, Bridesmaids, Grooms: Yep, that was the entire sentence and their caps, not mine

Toothbrush: Ah ha! Those visits to the dentist come in handy. I have a brand spanking new one that I can bring down (I use a Sonicare so the ones from the dentist usually get donated). Interestingly, they don’t suggest toothpaste.

Antacid: Isn’t that covered by the Tums and Tylenol? They’re really reaching now.

Cash (In small bills for tips): We’re going to a strip club and no one told me?

Apparently I’m not a good maid of honor. Fortunately, my friend isn’t a good bride, so it’ll all work itself out, right? Anyone have a guess as to whether or not either of the other bridesmaids will pay me for the dresses I bought them before the ceremony actually occurs? Or for the very nice shower I paid for? Whoops, that was petty.

Lastly, can you all send me good vibes? I’m actually skipping yoga tonight because I feel so yucky. With all the oranges I eat, you’d think I’d stay healthy, but apparently karma’s having a good laugh at my expense.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

We're Making Progress...

Today, right before nap, Little Miss announced that she had to go potty. I pretty much figured it was a stalling tactic, as we’d been having fun playing prior to that point. She’s getting good at trying those, but I generally don’t let her get away with them. Buuut since we are trying to potty train her, I can count on it being a false alarm.

So into the bathroom we went.

Little Miss: Mommy, I have a dry diaper.
Me: I’m sure you do, Sweetie.
Little Miss: I don’t have any pee-pee in it at all.
Me: Well, let’s check. And there really wasn’t any!
Little Miss: Now I have pee-pee hands. I have to wash them with water and soap and make bubbles so the pee-pee hands go away.
Me: You’ve got it, Peanut.
Little Miss: Now I get to do a sticker book page. And if I keep my diaper dry more, then I get to wear big girl underwear. And then if I do pee-pee and poo-poo in the potty, I get to wear Cars pull-ups. (Yes, they’re leftover from Mister Man’s potty training experience.)
Me: Well, actually, you can wear pull-ups if you keep your diaper dry and tell me when you have to go potty for a whole day. Then if you keep it dry for four days, you get to wear big girl underwear. Pull-ups come before underwear, Sweet Pea.

And after naptime, I walk into Little Miss’ room to get here…

Little Miss: I have a dry diaper again, and I want to go potty.

Off we went again. Unfortunately, this time, there was a tiny bit of urine in the diaper, so it doesn’t count for a dry diaper sticker book page. But she still went a pretty good amount, so yay Little Miss!

Tonight before bed, she again wanted to go potty. She definitely didn’t have a dry diaper that time, which isn’t a surprise since she’d been playing with the children of some friends of ours since right after nap all the way until then. But she tried to go anyway. Not much came out. Then....

Little Miss: I have to make poops!

And she did! She actually knew. And she sat on the potty long enough to complete her mission. You’ll all be grateful that it didn’t even cross my mind to take a picture. Yay!

We have four months until we start at St. Marks where using the potty is not an option. I’m definitely not panicking yet, but I keep remembering that Mister Man didn’t potty train until almost 3 ½ (although thankfully we had zero accidents once he did). I definitely don’t want to push it on Little Miss because I don’t want it to be a power struggle or something where she isn’t ready and we have accidents constantly. I’m hoping that introducing the concept early enough will give her long enough to get comfortable and potty train easily.

We’re allowing her to do one dress up of stickers from the Usborne books I bought her a month or so ago. Plus, she knows that once she potty trains, I’ll let her start taking swimming lessons like Mister Man. And obviously, she knows that she needs to use the potty when she goes to St. Marks. Interestingly, while she will use the potty at her daycare, she refuses to do so at her current preschool. I wonder if she knows that she doesn’t have to and therefore doesn’t chose to.

In any case, we’re making progress! Anyone have other suggestions? (And yes, once it’s warmer, we’ll be spending our time outdoors in dresses a LOT!)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Division of Labor

Usually the division of labor works fairly well at our house. There are certain things that I do well or that I enjoy doing, and there are certain things I despise. Luckily for me, my husband is pretty laid back about that kind of stuff and is fine with me handing off the items I despise. Except for cleaning bathrooms, but that’s why we have a cleaning lady (ok, technically there are three of them, but you know what I mean).

I do all the cooking, with rare exceptions. I also do all the baking, arrange for all the birthdays (attending and giving), do the majority of the shopping, I straighten, I’ll fill and empty the dishwasher, etc.

My husband gets the joy of giving the kids their baths. Mister Man is finally pretty good about it, but Little Miss screams bloody murder (ok, actually she cries for Mommy) the second you tell her there’s a hair wash coming. His job.

He also gets to do most of the usual guy type things like mowing the lawn – hey, his first job was for parks and recreation down in southern Illinois, so he knows how to do it (or so he claims). Yup, garbage is his task, too. Somehow, vacuuming falls into that category, now that I think about it.

He’s also in charge of washing dishes, as many of mine can’t go in the dishwasher (read: I don’t let them go in the dishwasher even though some of them maybe possibly could). The whole kitchen sink grosses me out for whatever reason. If dishes go into the sink that are supposed to go into the dishwasher, I have to wait until he puts them in there because I can’t stand to touch them. Yes, I know I have issues.

Needless to say, I tend to avoid the sink area except when places knives and cutting boards into it or dishes next to it or washing fruit or veggies. I’ve mentioned to him before that there should be two sponges: one sponge washes dishes and the other sponge cleans counters. I gave up on that one after a couple years when he just didn’t get it. Instead, we have one sponge, and my job is to clean the counters with wipes. Good compromise, no?

However, he never remembers to dishwasher or microwave the sponge to keep it clean every few days (and since I rarely look at it, I only occasionally do it myself). I’m also of the belief that a sponge is good for only so long. He apparently disagrees. This is what I found today when I went to wash some strawberries and looked up.


That lasted all of 45 seconds, which was the amount of time it took me to find the magnet, unlock the cabinet and root around for a new sponge. Ta da!


Unfortunately, his blindness towards things of this nature don’t end here. We had some friends over a couple of weeks ago for dinner, and they (meaning everyone but me) wanted coffee. Since I don’t drink coffee ever, I honestly don’t know how to work our coffee maker. Granted, I know coffee grounds go in one part and water in another and you press a button and it starts brewing, but the ratios? Who knows!

Since my husband was putting the kids to bed at the time, two of my friends volunteered to make the coffee while I got dessert out of the oven (mmmm, molten chocolate cakes!).

Friend 1: Ummm, when was the last time you changed this?
Me: Changed what? You know I know nothing about this coffee machine, right? That's why you guys are making coffee instead of me, after all.
Friend 2: The filter thing is pretty crusty.
Me: Oh. I have no idea; that’s hubby’s job. My guess is never though.
Friend 1: I don’t think we should make coffee with this. Do you have any vinegar?
Me: But of course (pulling it from the cabinet) I do. Do you think you can clean it?
Friend 1: I think it’ll help, but not in time for our coffee tonight. We’ll just make it without this filter. I’m assuming you don’t have a spare one, right?
Me: Uhhhh

Let’s just say that exchange was a bit embarrassing. Granted, I’ve never looked inside the coffee maker before, but they’re right: it was gross! We put vinegar into a little bowl and got most of the white crusty off the filter. And we used a paper towel soaked in vinegar to clean off the inside of the coffee maker, too. Fortunately, the coffee tasted fine.

Yet here we are three weeks later, and I can see that the scale is reforming. Maybe I’ll give hubby a pass because he’s generally making and drinking coffee before 6am. Except for every Saturday and Sunday when it’s more like 9. Anyone know how to figure out what kind of new filter I need so I can have them on hand for company? Obviously I can’t trust hubby with changing them out – and you wonder why I don’t like coffee!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Treasure Every Precious Gift

Well once again, something was thrown at me today that changed the direction of my intended post.

Nicole at Driving with the Brakes On posted the most moving bit of writing that I’ve read in a long time. She just delivered her baby girl at 21 weeks and lost her. I can’t imagine the pain that she’s going through right now, but her story is well worth the trip there to read and to offer her support.

I was reading it this afternoon while the wee ones were napping – or in the case of Mister Man, resting “quietly” in his room. I had gotten through the first post (April 22), with tears just streaming down my face. As I was about halfway through the second post, with audible choking and periodic gasps with my tears, Mister Man came downstairs and interrupted me. It’s probably a good thing he did, as I definitely needed some time and space to prepare myself for reading more.

How Nicole is able to talk so openly about her experiences and even just to keep going, I have no idea. I don't know how I would react were I in her position, but I doubt it's with the equanimity she's showing. I’m lucky in that both my pregnancies were easy, and I can’t imagine losing a baby or a child ever, let alone like this. I realized awhile ago that my husband is my talisman. We want and have two children, but we’ve refrained from him having a vasectomy to ensure that both our children stay happy and healthy – cheating Murphy’s Law if you will, as callous as that sounds. But I’m a superstitious person.

With Mister Man coming downstairs, I again counted my blessings, and I encourage you to do the same. The preciousness of each child and person and being that is important to us is so easily overlooked. Needless to say, there were a few hugs and kisses given before I scrapped the afternoons plans and we went on a bike ride to the park to go have fun instead.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hooray!

This morning didn’t start out so great. I sat down to work and couldn’t find my SecureID. What is a SecureID, and why is that important? In order to log onto my work’s network and actually do any work, I use the SecureID to create a password that changes every 2 minutes or so. Without this, I’m sort of sunk.

It looks sorta like this:


I knew I had it yesterday, since I worked at home yesterday, too. Little Miss being the clean freak she is – really, I have no idea where she gets it from – sometimes sees it on the end table and puts it away where it belongs. Nope, not there.

For anyone who remembers my Monday a week and a half ago, this was not looking good. Well, I knew I’d been working on the couch (I prefer working in the family room, and it works – no pun intended – well for me), so just like that Monday, I started out by lifting up the couch cushion where I’d been sitting.

And found this:


Wait! I found this?



Yay! I swear I pulled out, not just lifted up, every cushion on both couches twice when I was looking for them the first time. They quite simply weren't there. I even felt around and put my hands in the seams, and they weren't there. My husband looked for them there. The keys were not there. But they are now, and I'm going with it!

Hmmm… And I also found my SecureID card. Phew!


I finally got my work in, and once my husband got home, I went shopping.

I came home with this box. Any guesses what’s inside?


It’s my new running shoes!



My Monday yoga instructor referring me to Running Unlimited where they watch you walk, find shoes that specifically address whatever your inclination is. Then you get to run up and down a nice (private) hallway to try them out.

I felt like Goldilocks. This pair was too squishy. That pair wiggled in my heels. The purple pair was too wide (really a bummer since my favorite color is purple). The issues went on and on. Considering that I haven’t bought running shoes on purpose ever, it was pretty cool to see all the advances they’ve made since I bought my last pair of shoes because they were cute. Eight years ago.

After an hour and a half, I finally found a pair that was a strong maybe. Then I tried on one last pair. Also a strong maybe. I spent the next fifteen minutes wearing one of each shoe trying to figure out which one felt better. I finally made a choice, and – amazing for me – the one I chose was on clearance! Less than half the cost of the one I passed up. Yay, me! The only thing that made me feel better was the knowledge (courtesy my yoga instructor -- yes, she's freakily fit and flexible; I've learned to accept that) that people spend hours in there trying on every shoe in the store. I didn’t quite break the two hour mark, so totally acceptable, right?

Tomorrow? Two eight minute runs. Sunday? A twenty minute run. I’m going to pretend like my new shoes will make this palatable.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Half Birthday, Mister Man!

Ok, so his half birthday was April 11. And today's the 23rd. I am notoriously horrible at getting pictures from my camera to this computer, and this definitely needs pictures. So, yes, this is over a week late.

Most people and families celebrate birthdays – with the exception of my husband’s family, but I won’t get into that today. In my family, we always celebrated half birthdays, too, and it’s a tradition that lives on today.

For the half birthday, there are certain rules we follow. First, the half birthday child (my husband refuses to acknowledge half birthdays for me and isn’t into it for himself either) gets to choose whatever he or she wants to eat for dinner. Second, there are cupcakes to celebrate. For “real” birthdays, we do full cakes, but half birthdays get cupcakes – also of the birthday child’s choosing. Lastly, the child must blow out candles, including a smaller candle to represent the half year.

This year, Mister Man decided that he wanted to have sausage for dinner. When I suggested he might want something else, he decided to add sausage, too. I kindly suggested maybe something not in the meat family. And he came up with French toast. This is exactly what he had for his real birthday back in October, so apparently creativity in food choices is a skill that develops a bit later in life!

He then had to choose his cupcake. At first he wanted chocolate cherry – not a big surprise since Daddy’s favorite cake is the cherry chip that came from a box that his mom made a couple times for him growing up. I love to bake, and my cakes never come from a box, so I reinvented cherry chip to my own liking a few years ago. Mister Man has chosen that for his birthday cake and cupcakes every year since Daddy introduced him to it. Then he changed his mind and wanted a chocolate cupcake with cherries in it. Ok, I can do that, too. Then he finally settled on just chocolate cupcakes. Okie-dokie!

Me, being the sweet and giving mom that I am, did not try to talk him into a different dinner or cupcake. Ok, I did, but I failed. I don’t think I’m the most picky eater, but for whatever reason, I don’t like French toast, sausage or chocolate cakes (except for my molten chocolate cakes, but those are in a separate category). Since he had made his choice, I simply got to eat a different dinner and skip dessert. Fortunately, even when I don’t like certain foods, I can still cook them well – or so my family tells me.

Once Mister Man was on the bus, Little Miss and I set to work making the cupcakes. Not surprisingly, she wanted to help me make them. It’s actually sort of fun to watch her excitement as she pulls the stool around the island to wherever she thinks she’ll have the best vantage point. She helped me put in all the ingredients, and of course we had to smell most of them. Trying to explain to a two year old why flour doesn’t smell like flowers was probably the most difficult part of the baking process.

As I started to put the cupcakes into their molds, Little Miss watched intently. She saw how I dipped a 1/3 cup measure into the batter and carefully dripped it into the cup. As I was concentrating on this, she – unbeknownst to me – picked up her own cup measure and dipped it into the batter. She, being the girl she is, chose the 1 cup measure. However, she had no interest in filling the cupcake molds. As I looked up, I saw her drinking the batter from the cup.

Me: Stop! Freeze! What are you doing? (giggle, giggle, snicker)
Little Miss: Mommy, I’m eating.
Me: I can see that. Do not put that back into the bowl, do you understand?
Little Miss: Yes, Mommy. This is yummy. Do you want some? (As she holds it out for me)
Me: I’m good thanks. No more dipping though.


I finished filling the cups and placed them in the oven. The fun now begins – the bowl has to be cleaned, as do the beaters. I told her she couldn’t dip anymore, you notice, I didn’t tell her that she couldn’t have any more of the batter. She licked off the spatula and one beater. As I removed the first beater, Little Miss asked if she could save the other beater for Mister Man. Awwww… And yes, he did get the beater when he got off the bus. I had to talk her into not carrying it outside for him, but she finally acquiesced.
Before we got to that point, of course. There was a bit of a mess on Little Miss' face to clean up. Fortunately, she knows how to do that, too. And nope, I can't help.

I did have a few issues once the cupcakes were finished baking, however. When I bake, I bake for flavor not presentation. Somewhere down the road, my goal is to take classes to learn to decorate cakes, etc but for now I tend to leave the cakes in the pan and frost from there or do minimal decorating (especially after my 4 layer disaster 5 years ago for my husband’s birthday at the ball field). For these cupcakes, I debated what to do.


I finally decided that powdered sugar was the way to go. I’m better off not hiding it and going with the flow – I called them my see-saw cupcakes.

For dinner, my parents joined us, of course. What’s a half birthday celebration without family, after all? For the French toast, I experimented with adding orange zest this time, and fortunately it went over well with all involved. I can’t attest to its flavor, but all the pieces were eaten.

And fortunately, no comments were made on the cupcakes’ appearance, but that may be because everyone’s mouths were full.



My baby is 4 ½. *sigh*

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

I can’t believe this is the 39th anniversary of Earth Day today. I think the first time I ever heard about Earth Day was the 20th anniversary of it, which puts that at 1989, if my math is right. I can’t figure out if it’s gotten that much bigger and more important since then or just that where I grew up didn’t care about it.

Either way, this year both my kids’ preschools (yes, they go to different preschools) celebrated it this year.

Little Miss was easy. She was supposed to wear green to school. For St Patrick’s Day, I had a really hard time finding something green to wear. We settled on something in the green family. Learning from that, she now has a green shirt that we were able to wear today – and I remembered to put it on her, more impressively!

When I picked her up from preschool today, she had a little flower (begonia, I believe?) that she’d planted – yes, with the teacher’s help – in the bottom half of a pop bottle. I’m sort of bummed. She had a choice between pink, purple, and red. Apparently she has a new favorite color, and it isn’t purple anymore. I have some indoctrinating to do!

Mister Man, on the other hand, wasn’t required to wear green today, although he did anyway for the fun of it. For him, I’ve been supposed to send clean recyclable items into school for him to turn into art, I believe. I always feel a bit weird when I send in items like that, as the school gets a real glimpse of our lives. What exactly does a Kleenex box, a quart yogurt container, newspaper, an egg carton, a paper towel roll, and the box from my turkey bacon say about me and my family?

His class went one better. He got a homework assignment that’s due tomorrow. He has a big blue circle that he’s supposed to decorate. We haven’t done it yet because we can’t decide how to decorate it. Tomorrow morning after breakfast, right? He’s only in preschool and we’re already to that stage. We’re in big trouble!

The other part of his assignment is that he’s supposed to write down his “wish for the world” on a piece of paper that goes with the blue circle. His wish started out for the Thomas toys that he doesn’t have.

Me: Uhhh, Mister Man. The wish is supposed to be something you want for the entire world.
Mister Man: Then I want you and Grandma and Grandpa and Daddy to have some new trains, too.
Me: That’s not quite what I meant. The wish is something that everyone would want that would help them.
Mister Man: Ok, then Thomas stickers, too.
Me: Huh.
Mister Man: Yeah, I want them to have stickers, too.
Me: So you mean that you want all of the children of the world to have Thomas toys and stickers to play with?
Mister Man: I don’t know.
Me: Usually, the wish for the world would be something that people want but don’t have like a warm blanket at night or dinner in their tummy so they aren’t hungry all the time or enough water to drink so they aren’t thirsty or a house to keep them warm and safe or something like that.
Mister Man: My wish is to have Thomas trains. And stickers. Victor’s (yes, name changed) wish is for Spiderman.
Me: That’s an interesting wish.

That tells me two things right that. First, I’m not the only mom who’s having a hard time explaining Earth Day and the wish for the world to 4 and 5 year olds. That made me feel a bit better. And second, everyone else already has their homework turned in. I guess I need to get my act in gear!

And my Earth Day? I never did figure out a grand gesture that didn’t seem hollow or empty.

Monday, April 21, 2008

New Places, Old Faces

Ok, first -- thanks for all the comments! I just got home from yoga and am exhausted but wanted to get the post out that I wrote right before I left for yoga and what a motivator to see all the nice things you lovely readers have to say!


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Well, I’m officially moved into the new office. Lots of interesting things today.


We’ll start out with Mister Man. Around 9:45, he woke up screaming and crying. His tummy hurt, and it was not easy to calm him down. Fifteen minutes later, he was up again. And fifteen minutes later. It continued this way until I asked if he wanted Mommy or Daddy to sleep with him to help him (nothing was comforting him), which we’ve never done. He only wanted me (awwww), so I “slept” in his bed until I finally called the doctor at 11. Of course, that was the last time he woke up. When the doctor called back, he was finally asleep – I’d found the magic place on his tummy to massage and apparently that did it. According to the doctor, the left side (I knew it wasn’t his appendix btw or would have been at the hospital by 10) is generally gas or something trying to work its way through. Can you imagine that ER trip? “Ma’am, your son’s fine. He just needs to toot.”

Needless to say, I was a little tired when I woke up earlier than normal to get to work. Today’s trip in took me just over a half hour, which is less time than the old work took me. Yay, already!

When I got to my cube, I realized how tight they really are. We have no size differentiation anymore, except for the SVPs, and the cubes are tiny with low walls and you can see everyone. Even the SVPs don’t have much more space, just enough for a chair. Because of the configuration, I have six people within a four foot radius of me.

I also had a bag sitting on my desk. Hmmm… pretty unassuming, isn't it?


I opened up the bag and discovered:


While I don’t wear glasses, a lens cleaner frequently comes in handy. At least I think that’s what this was.

And:

Yep, because I refuse to wear glasses, I need a magnifier to read the type. And a ruler because rulers are just cool.

And:

Gotta love the mugs. And of course it has my company’s logo – remind me to tell you my funny logo mug story from last week soon. Apparently while they say you can’t drink at your desk, they will provide you with a mug. Just don’t use it at the office.

And:

Ooooo, now this is cool. It’s my very own Bluetooth. Now I just have to figure out how to use it. I’m assuming it works with my phone. And you wonder why the admins were complaining that these goodie bags were disappearing off people’s desks. (Although that alone, I found quite depressing.)

And lastly, there was a coupon for $3 for the company café – btw we have a café not a cafeteria. Quite upscale, no? I didn’t use it today, as I didn’t know that we’d have such a lovely treat, so I brownbagged it. At my desk. And yes, the HR guy happened to walk past as I was eating – drat the luck – and lectured me about eating at my desk. I guess that is one they’re going to enforce. I had my afternoon orange in the café while editing a deck.

There were some unique issues though. They built the building like a cheap hotel, apparently, and they neglected to factor that in when they decided to have wall-mounted adjustable monitors for everyone. If anyone with enough girth – and it doesn’t take much, mind you – walked down the aisle, the monitors shook, and you could feel the vibrations in your chair. The first time I wondered if it was more earthquake, but it was far too frequent. After much experimentation, we discovered that the shaking monitor syndrome was mitigated by pushing it all the way up to the wall and pinning it there. Voila, motion sickness averted!

Oh, and we have headsets for conference calls since speakerphones are banned. Considering people on the other end of my phone conversations could hear other people talking when no one was on speakerphone, that’s definitely a good call. The not so good call? One desk, one headset. That goes in your ear. That I’m supposed to share with two other people. Not that I have anything against the two lovely women I’m sharing my cube with, but some things just aren’t meant to be shared. Anything that goes in an orifice falls into that category in my book. Even our ops centers have a different headset for every employee on every shift. Maybe I can trade my Bluetooth for my own headset. Or maybe I’ll just use the handset instead.

Speaking of which, I also couldn’t get on my phone at work. Because I share my desk with two other people – we’re supposed to work varying days but it isn’t calculated correctly – my physical phone there isn’t tied to my personal phone line. I have to log in to send my phone to the desk. And the login instructions didn’t work. Up went my first flag to join the sea of others. (On day one, they have about two flags for every person so that when you have a technical issue, the guys know who to go to -- apparently they've had a few issues as people have moved in so far. Comforting, really.) Fortunately, that was fixed fairly easily. They had the wrong password in the brochure we had sitting at our desks, so I just had to get my password reset.

Then I couldn’t access the network with my computer. Considering that all my files are on the shared drive and email is pretty critical to what I do, that was a problem. Up went flag number two. After three reboots and some fiddling by a tech guy, I was finally able to connect. Yay!

Later, I had to print something. The printers are actually pretty cool. I’m constantly irritated by the people who print things and never pick them up, then print again and don’t pick that up, etc. It’s a huge waste of paper and in my mind at least, rude! Now we can print to any printer on our floor, and the job is sent to the network. We then swipe our badge at the printer we choose, select the job we want to print (of ours) and print. The only problem is that the printer tool that (per the instructions) “will automatically recognize your office location” had no idea where I was located, so it wouldn’t let me choose a printer. Up went flag number three! Again, the nice tech guys fiddled and found a way to manually enter the printer. The thing that made me feel better at least is that each time they did the “huh, that should have worked. This is weird” kind of a comment that made me feel like less of a moron.

Then my admin delivered a new toy. It’s called my soft phone. Up went flag number 4, as the tech guys have to configure it.


Has anyone ever seen one of these things before? It's actually far cooler than it looks, I swear. Whenever I'm logged into the network at work now (using my remote access, of course!), I log into the software, plug in this funky looking device, and my work phone is automatically routed to this gizmo. I no longer have to leave the voicemail on my phone of “Hi, I’m rarely in the office, so don’t bother leaving a message. Send me an email or call my Blackberry.” Admittedly, I say it nicer, but it’s still an odd kind of message. I can call in or receive calls, and it even flashes cool colors when it rings – or so I’ve been told. I love technology!

I also dropped off my registration for the fitness center. We have a regular Bally’s down there now. I didn’t have time to do an orientation – I got there at 7am and left at 4:56 because I really, really couldn’t deal with traffic if I left any later – so I didn’t see the whole thing, but I’m excited to have it in my building. I figure I’ll join and feel good about it but rarely spend time there. Usually I’m in too much of a rush with work to go to the gym. It’s literally been probably seven years since I’ve been to the gym at work because I’d rather go home and see my family or relax then spend more time at work. Do I get to feel good just for turning in my registration?

I finally started home, much later than I’d hoped, of course. Supposedly I finish work at 3pm on Mondays, but that obviously didn’t happen. Although I had to sit through three lights at one intersection waiting to turn left because someone must have one of the emergency vehicle things that turns their lights green but then skips my green arrow, I still got home in fifty-two minutes. At 5pm. And while sitting at a stupid light through three cycles watching the emergency light flash on, then off, then the other direction went, then it would flash on again…. You really would have admired my restraint!

And now I’m home and mostly sane after some of the weird things today… and I’ll even be on time for yoga! (Ok, so I'm posting this after yoga -- I had to leave if I wanted to be on time!)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

While Daddy's Away, The Wee Ones Will Play!

Well, I have my first tan line of the season. I wasn’t even trying. Today was one of those busy days, but it was all fun busy versus running around nuts and freaking out about what you forgot to do and realizing you’re going to be late busy. I much prefer the former.

This morning, the kids slept in later than I did. The fact that my husband was at a poker tournament until late last night errrrr early this morning meant that he never put the cats in the basement, so I was awakened by their meowing outside the wee ones' doors around 7:30 – fortunately, before the wee ones were.

That gave me time to eat breakfast and get ready to go running with lots of extra time. Time enough, in fact, to make my scones. Mister Man was excited that we were going to have this treat, and Little Miss couldn’t wait to help me make them. She helped me put all the dry ingredients into the bowl. Then we got to the wet ingredients. An egg. Whoops. I always have eggs. I buy them at Costco and am never out. Except for today, when I realized that I’m out of about all my staples because I haven’t had time to restock when I ran out over the past few weeks and forget about them by the time I do get to the store.

Little Miss was very understanding, but Mister Man was just a touch more disappointed. By the time we got to Costco, all was forgiven, and he was my big helper. He was in charge of pushing and steering the cart. He had “good eyes” and spotted the items we were looking for. And he helped me unload the cart. Oh yeah, the best part of course was getting the smiley face on the receipt as we left.

For the first time, both wee ones rode their bikes/trikes all the way to and from the park. Ok, Little Miss only rode hers halfway home before I had to carry it – let’s just say she wasn’t the one I was expecting to poop out on me. I love picnics in the park, and this is the first one we’ve had this year. Plus, neighbors were out, so lots of people to see and talk to and play with at the park.

After nap time, we finally made our scones. Once again, there were eggs in the house. And fortunately, my assumption that I had butter without checking was a valid one. I do need to buy some more soon though. And we’re now out of chocolate chips. I had to augment them with dried cherries – newly purchased – but chocolate cherry scones are never a bad thing!

While they were baking, we headed back outside. The wee ones wanted to head back to the park, but getting there, playing and getting back just doesn’t happen in eleven minutes. Instead, we decided to play run around the house as fast as we can and try to “get” each other. Wheeee!

That’s about when I decided to go get some bubbles. Bubbles, if you didn’t know, fascinate all children from 3 months to 103 years. And most in between. They had a ball chasing the bubbles and trying to catch them or stomp them. That’s also when I discovered that Little Miss sort of knows how to blow bubbles herself. I say sort of because while she gets that she has to blow through the wand to make the bubbles appear, she doesn’t have the patience to wait for me to bring the wand to a position that doesn’t involve the bubbles being blown straight into my face.

Amazingly enough, when it was dinnertime, they both quite willingly came inside. Usually doing fun things means that there is whining and complaining and occasional full-blown refusals before we leave the fun thing. Tonight, not a whisper. They both took off their shoes and hats and put them away without a word from me. When we sat down to eat, I discovered why. Their sneaky little minds remembered the scones, and that was all they wanted for dinner. Really, that explains so much. Fortunately, they also know Mommy and know that they won’t get away with that, so we were fortunately able to negotiate an appropriate compromise.

After dinner, we even got Mister Man’s “homework” and piano practice done. Plus, my mole is just about complete (that’s mol-ay, not the rodent btw). It’s for dinner Tuesday, but it’s a pretty involved recipe and tastes much better the next day anyway. Trying to make it on Tuesday would have been really stressful. Now I just have to poach chicken and make rice, which is way easy. Of course, I'll probably still deliver it late for some reason, but it takes a lot of the worry out.

Days like this are what makes having kids – especially two as close in age as Mister Man and Little Miss – completely worthwhile. If I weren't going to the new office for the first time tomorrow, I'd be awfully tempted to play hooky with them!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I Love Quality Time...

As I sit here typing this, Mister Man and I are enjoying a treasured ritual.

In general, both the wee ones apparently have a relatively early bedtime. I didn’t realize it when I started doing it, but whenever children’s bedtimes or sleeping habits come up, I realize how lucky I am (and how much my wee ones benefit from it). Little Miss goes down between 6 and 6:30 and wakes up around 7:30 (plus a 2-3 ½ hour nap).

Mister Man goes down and wakes up around the same time if he doesn’t have a nap. If he does sleep, I allow him to stay up until 8pm. At 4 ½, he still needs a nap – or at least quiet time – to avoid meltdowns. However, he only truly sleeps about every third or fourth day at this point. The last two days, he’s actually gone upstairs and put himself to sleep.

Apparently most children go to bed later, wake up earlier, fuss and protest about bedtime, or some or all of the above. Sometimes not knowing that there's an alternative means that you end up making things easier on yourself. Had I known that fighting bedtime was a "normal" childhood ritual, maybe I would have somehow unknowingly encouraged it. But for now, I know I'm blessed and I'm not taking it for granted!

On weekend nights, Mister Man gets a special treat if he’s taken a nap. Not only does he get to stay up until 8pm, but we get … MOVIE NIGHT WITH MOMMY!

There are very strict rules about Movie Night With Mommy. Mister Man gets to choose the movie (Dumbo, Fantasia, Robin Hood, or a Thomas episode). We do this after Little Miss goes to sleep. And we make popcorn.

Tonight, we’re again watching Robin Hood. Every time the Sheriff of Nottingham comes onscreen, he points to him and tells me that he’s a bad guy. Robin Hood or Maid Marian? “Mommy, that’s a good guy.” He laughs, he does the “Oh, no!” when something seemingly bad happens, and oh the facial expressions. If it weren’t for the fact that my camera is out of batteries, I would have tried to capture him moods. Words don’t do them justice.

And the popcorn isn’t just any popcorn. I’m a throwback. No funny tasting, overly salty popcorn for me! I go by the Alton Brown method and cook mine in a metal bowl on the stovetop with just a tiny sprinkling of salt. I’ve learned to use potholders that are the glove kind vs the squares when making it – but not before several burns, of course. Really, it’s not much more effort, but it’s a great workout for your triceps and the taste is so much better!

We’ve been quite companionably sitting here, chatting about the movie, and sharing our bowl of popcorn. Alas, the credits are starting to roll.

Mister Man: Mommy, can I watch a Thomas show now?
Me: No.
Mister Man: Pleeeeaaaassssse?
Me: Wait a minute. Do we have Movie Night with Mommy or Lots and Lots of Movies with Mommy?
Mister Man: Lots and Lots of Movies with Mommy.
Me: Are you sure?
Mister Man: No, I was just making a joke. It’s just Movie Night with Mommy. Did you know you make the best popcorn in the whole wide world?

Awwwww. He could melt your heart. Good thing I’m not a sucker. He’s a good kid though, and we went quietly and calmly upstairs, changed, brushed our teeth, read a book, and I haven’t since heard a peep. Perfect way to end a fun but busy day!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Eek, Eek, Squeak!

I did have an entire other thing that I was planning for today, but like the every other person who lives in the Midwest with a blog, I’m changing my topic to the earthquake. I can’t imagine that this will be a unique story, but it’s mine.

This morning, I woke up and was really confused. I knew it was before the alarm had gone off. And I was trying to figure out why the washing machine was on at that hour. At that point, I realized that the doors to our bedroom were rattling.

I started to put things together. The washing machine only shakes if you’re standing right next to it, and our bedroom is on the opposite side of the house. And the spin cycle isn’t totally consistent, but this shaking was perfectly constant. And seriously, who’d be doing laundry at that hour? Nope, not the washing machine.

Then my thoughts turned to the doors. Only the bedroom door was rattling. The closet door was quiet. The doors we have in the bedroom are double wide, so one door fastens at the ceiling, and the other door fastens to the first door (umm yeah, they’re French doors). The reason they were rattling is because they aren’t secure, which meant the whole house was shaking.

Huh. We’re having an earthquake.

By that point, my husband was also awake. He immediately got out of bed (I never moved, knowing that once I’m out of bed any chance I had of getting back to sleep is shot) and opened the bedroom door. Then he stood near the wall and looked up. Then he smacked the wall. Yep, that’s gonna stop the shaking. I started snickering; you would have, too.

Then he walked over to the closet, opened that door and turned the light on. By that point, I realized sleep was out of the question, as light is another sleep stopper for me. I looked at the clock (a third sleep stopper) and saw that it was 4:38am. Ugh.

I finally told my husband that it was an earthquake. He didn’t believe me at first, but once I explained that the bed was still shaking, he finally gave in. I reminded him that there was a fault running along the Mississippi. Oh, yeah….

By that point, my brain was functioning well enough to start worrying about other people. If we could feel the earthquake here, how bad would it be at the epicenter, which had to be pretty far from us. By the time I expressed my concern, however, he was already sound asleep. I detest that ability in other people. Mostly because I completely lack it.

I did finally fall back asleep, but I know it was over an hour later (I checked). My SIL who lives in St. Louis called at 7am to find out if we’d felt it and to give her story. I also got to hear about how my FIL was in the bathroom during the earthquake. That was a phone call I could probably have done without. Actually, had she not called and had I not heard about it on the radio as I was getting ready this morning, I probably would have chalked it up to an odd dream.

Tonight, I asked my husband why he thought banging the wall would help. Apparently, he thought maybe we had some sort of super-mouse in the attic that was shaking our bed and rattling the doors. And of course, smacking the wall would frighten away such a monstrous beast. I totally get his logic now. Really.

In all my travels to the west coast – and they were many, as I managed a relationship for a retailer based in CA with stores throughout that part of the country – I always thought it would be sort of neat to be in a (very small) earthquake, just to find out what it was like. It never happened, and I never imagined that my first earthquake would be in Chicago. The good news is that it wasn’t the “Big One” along the Mississippi that they’ve feared, so it all worked out.

A mouse. That still cracks me up!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I Forgot To Invent That Rule...

The morning started out normally enough, today.

Mister Man woke up and went to the bathroom and got himself dressed. Not fully matching and all, but who am I to quibble? Today, it was all right side out and front facing, which is not always the case. For some reason, wearing clothes backwards and inside out absolutely cracks him up. It’s taken me awhile to convince him that wearing underwear backwards is just not a good idea.

Little Miss had taken off all Baby Coco’s clothes and was now trying to put them back on. Since the diaper had to go on first and Baby Coco is not exactly the most flexible doll, that meant it was my job to get her dressed again before Little Miss could go potty, change her diaper (she likes to use the potty … but only when she wants to so we’re still in diapers) and get her dressed.

At breakfast, they both wanted waffles, which is pretty typical. And of course, Little Miss wanted to put them in the toaster, so the chair was pulled over to the toaster in anticipation of Mommy handing over the precious frozen disks.

Both of them ate their breakfasts well and even drank their milk without any reminders. Then Little Miss decided she was still hungry. We decided on Goji berries. I’m not a fan of them, so they’ve been in the house awhile – they’re dried, relax. For some reason, she likes them. She got a small handful added to her plate.

About that time, Mister Man asked for some more milk, so I got up to get that for him. As I came back, Little Miss had a bit of a sneezing fit. I noticed that Little Miss was wiping her nose afterwards. Easy solution: I got a Kleenex for her and handed that over. Little Miss Independent doesn’t like help if it’s something she can do for herself, after all.

As I sat down to try to eat my granola and yogurt, she started fussing and pulling at her nose. I asked her what was wrong and she whined something unintelligible. I asked her to repeat herself so I could understand, at which point she burst into tears. I picked her up, sang Lullaby and got her calmed down. I asked again and she said her nose hurt.

I took a look, and I could see a dried up bit of snot in there. I tried to get it with a fingernail – oh the things moms will do, and don’t try to tell me you’ve never done the same. It didn’t come out, so I looked more closely. It wasn’t snot. It was a Goji berry. Oh so calmly, I asked Little Miss if she’d put a Goji berry in her nose. Sniffling (egads – don’t sniffle!), she nodded. I asked her how many Goji berries she put in her nose. I was pretty sure the answer was one.

I tried using my fingers like a pincer to get it out, but that wasn’t happening. Mister Man by that point was hopping up and down out of his chair telling me that Little Miss was in so much trouble!

As I looked at the clock and realized that Mister Man’s bus was going to be coming in the next ten minutes and I then had to get Little Miss to preschool and had a call starting at 9am (which I call into as I’m walking out of preschool, of course), I calculated how bad the situation would have to be before I’d need to go to the ER.

This is quite obviously not my first run in with a potential ER situation. When Mister Man was 17 months, he had rotovirus and was hospitalized for four days. Last May, Little Miss had pneumonia and we were in the hospital for about 8 hours one night before her oxygenation improved enough to go home. And in February, Little Miss had RSV where we also spent some time in the ER getting her stabilized. But a Goji berry? C’mon!

I’ve heard stories of people who’ve had to go to the ER to get M&Ms and other goodies out of their noses. In fact, I’ve heard of kids who’ve tried to get it out (or maybe their moms had tried to get them out) and instead pushed them up far enough that surgery was required. Well, surgery definitely wasn’t on my agenda for today.

I debated briefly what to do, as I started the lecture to both of them about not putting anything in their noses, not even their fingers. Luckily, I’ve given the finger part of that lecture often enough that I can recite it while my brain searches for alternate solutions.

What would they do if they were in the ER? I pondered this briefly before I realized that, of course, in the ER the first step would be to try to use a pair of tweezers to get the item out. We have a pair of tweezers! I ran upstairs to get them, while warning Little Miss not to move a finger.

Now, anyone who’s ever played the board game Operation with me growing up is probably groaning about now. I was horrid at the game. I don’t think I ever won a single game of it, and rarely did I get a bone out without buzzing the edges.

However, I’m now a mom, and moms have super powers after all. I laid Little Miss down on the surgical operating table (my couch) and told her to stay still. I told her this might hurt but that I’d try to be gentle and that it would be easier for both of us if she wouldn’t move. Fortunately, this is also the girl who sits perfectly still when getting a flu shot in her thigh.

I took a deep breath and started the procedure. The first try I slipped and pushed it back a bit more. Whoops. Now the ER was looking more likely. I tried again, and this time I was able to grasp it. It slipped off the tweezers before I got it out, but the third try’s the charm! Goji berry removed!

I held the Goji berry out to show Little Miss.

Me: Do you see what was in your nose?
Little Miss: Yes.
Me: Do you know now not to ever … EWWWW!

Little Miss had chosen that moment to grab the Goji berry from my unsuspecting hand and popped it in her mouth. Apparently she was just marinating it. Once I stopped gagging, I was able to finish my lecture. Both kids have promised to never put anything inside their noses again. Here’s hoping they keep that promise, because I do not want to do that again.

And the kicker? Little Miss was so proud, she couldn’t wait to tell everyone at preschool about the Goji berry she stuck up her nose. Oh yeah, and how she was never going to do that again. The only response I could give was to shrug and explain what a Goji berry was. That didn’t really help the odd looks, but I can’t have been the only mom with a child sticking something up her nose!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Good-bye, Shag Carpeting!

Today was a little bit of an odd day, quite bittersweet. It was the last time I’ll ever go to my office. Two years ago yesterday, I thought I was going to the office for the last time, as I had quit to stay at home with my wee ones (you see how well that worked out!), and everyone was there, celebrating and saying good-bye.

Today was different. As I got to work, I got the second parking spot in the lot. Walking inside, much of the building had no lights turned on, and it was eerily quiet. It’s a very odd sensation to walk into an office that had housed well over 1,000 people that now holds only a couple hundred.

The good news is that no, my company isn’t going under and no, I didn’t lose my job. My office is moving from our old building into a new one. We’ve known about this for three years, and it’s finally my group’s turn. People have been moving to the new facility since February, and we’re one of the last areas to move.

It’s been odd over the last several months. We had an art sale in December, and there has been no art on the walls since then. Giant shredding bins have been sitting out everywhere since January. For the last two weeks, large orange crates and rolls of bubble tape almost as tall as I am have lined the hallways. And today, I packed everything up.

Once upon a time, it took three of those orange crates to move all my stuff. Since I work part time now and am only in the office one day a week, though, I don’t have as much. And I accumulate much less in a year and a half than in 6 plus years! Plus, the new office has lots of rules that help keep our crates few in number.

Rule #1: No personal items at your desk. Seriously. No pictures, no comics, no promo items, nothing. Part of the reason for that is that the walls are only about four feet high, so there isn’t much room for those items. The rest of the reason… well, take a look at more rules.

Rule #2: No eating or drinking at your desk. Anyone who’s ever seen me at work knows that this will be an issue for me. I have a 40 ounce mug for water that I fill up and drink 2-3 times per day. I also bring in fruits and veggies to snack on a couple times a day when I get hungry.

Rule #3: No coats at your desk. They started out having two coat closets on each floor where we’re required to put our coats. They’ve since altered this to have one smoking closet and one non-smoking closet. Thank God for small favors!

Rule #4: No speakerphones. Actually, I’m good with this one. Really good with it. As I was trying to concentrate on a project plan I was developing today, I could hear a conference call echoing on at least three phones on my floor. If you have a conference call now, you have special rooms to go into that will allow for speaker phones. Otherwise, use your headset, people!

Rule #5: Share your desk! Since I’m in the office only one day a week, I don’t have my own desk. In fact, I share my desk with two other women who also work part time from home. They both come in either one or two days a week. One comes in Mondays and Wednesdays. The other comes in Thursdays. I work Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. I generally come in on Wednesdays. Whoever the brainiac was to figure out this sharing arrangement needs to rethink this a little. I’ve heard the same issue from several other people who are (just now) starting to telecommute part time. I figure I’ll be using a touchdown cube about 90% of the time I do go to the office.

Rule #6: No personal electronics. That means no fans or heaters (a necessity in our old building, although they frequently blew various fuses). That also means no radios, which I’m ok with given the EXTREMELY open environment. Our SVPs don’t have offices. But that also means no iPods or other devices like that. When I’m trying to get into a groove at work and just want to shut out everything around me, guess what I turn to.

Rule #7: You must wear your ID badge at all times. I’m not a huge fan of this one. First, my picture on my badge is horrible – the guy was talking to me, and he got me mid-sentence. Then, they apparently didn’t make the images the right proportion, so instead of cropping, they stretched the photos vertically as evidenced by all the badges I’ve seen so far. Essentially, my badge photo looks like The Scream except that my mouth is somehow closed. Plus, we have to scan in and scan out to get the doors to open for us. Either security is competent or it isn’t, but I’m so not looking forward to wearing that badge. We’ll see how much it’s enforced.

Rule #8: No cash. If you want to buy something in the cafeteria, you have to use your ID badge to preload money or connect it to a credit or debit card. Fortunately, I cook a lot and generally have leftovers (which I eat at my desk while working to get my hours in…), so I rarely go to the cafeteria, but here’s hoping no one loses their ID badge!

Anyone care to take a guess how many rules I’ll be breaking on Monday when I go in to unpack my crate and figure things out with my cube-mates? I still haven’t figured out how every job I have puts me into a smaller space.

When I graduated college and working in management consulting, I had my own office with a door. In marketing, I had one of the big cubes with a curvy desk and two guest chairs. I moved to sales and got a smaller cube with a small desk and room for just one person. Now I’m down to a “pole cube” which means I have no chairs and a 2’x2’ pillar running through the middle of it. And yes, the space in our new office is somehow smaller.

As for now, I’m taking the parking sticker off my car and my old ID badge and trashing them (here’s hoping that’s not breaking any rules!). Anyone want to guess how far I go on my old way to work before I remember I’m going to a new location?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I Hate Spring ...

Really, I only mean sometimes. And mostly just specific instances. I never thought I’d say that I didn’t like spring, but children and spring aren’t the greatest mix, for anyone who doesn’t know. The mud, rain, cabin fever, and so forth just don’t mix well.

My biggest issue is that I live in Chicago where we get hourly updates on the daily forecast. This morning, I was listening to the radio as I was taking my shower. Admittedly, I may have had soap in my ears, but I swear the radio weather person said “And this just in, we have an updated forecast today. Our new high will be 63 degrees.” That’s one of those times I really wish I had Tivo for my radio. I believe the previous high forecast had been either 61 or 62.

This morning, it was 32 degrees when my children left the house. I’ve tried sending them in their winter coats then placing more windbreaker type coats in their backpacks for when (ok, if) it warms up. Inevitably, there is no changeover of the coats. And periodically, I then have to go to the school in search of the missing coat. Considering how well I’m doing with my keys, I decided this wasn’t worth the risk.

By the time I went running after dropping off Little Miss at preschool, it was 45 and I ran without a jacket. By the time I ran a few errands and picked up Little Miss at 11:30, I couldn’t justify her wearing a coat at all.

At that point, I decided a picnic was in order. As a family, we loooooove picnics. Actually, spending time outside in general is pretty much a favorite pastime. (I’ll admit, Little Miss wouldn’t come inside after we got home from Language Stars this afternoon until I closed the garage door and went looking for her out the front door.)

When we got home, I brought out our Little Tykes picnic table that spends the winter as a craft table. Since we usually have a laid back lunch where they can choose (within reason) what they want to eat for lunch, I asked Little Miss for her selection and what she thought Mister Man would want. I was expecting Tacquito’s (her personal favorite), but she surprised me today. She went for cheese. Really, that means crackers made into a cheese sandwich. And for Timothy, no surprise, she chose Chicken Dinosaurs.

She was in charge of watching for the bus while I started “making” lunch. As I sliced the first piece of cheese, I asked Little Miss if she saw Miss Nancy yet. “Nope. I just see the picnic table.” Had I been thinking, I would have realized that meant she was fixated on the picnic table and looking at nothing beyond it. About 5 seconds later, I heard the beep that meant the bus was sitting in my driveway waiting for me. She’ll never make a good watchdog.

Herding the cats inside to wait for me to finish making lunch was a chore. Mister Man interpreted it as he had to come inside to take off his coat and put his backpack away but was then free to go back out to play. Not surprisingly, that infuriated Little Miss, so she tried to go outside but can’t quite manage to pull the lever and push the door at the same time – yet. Fortunately, Mister Man noticed her plight and helped her outside.

It was about that point that I realized someone (meaning not me) had used up the last of the Saltines. Fortunately, the oyster crackers were still there. I hadn’t tried that combo on her before, but usually if I don’t make a big deal out of making a substitution, she manages. Yep, it was a hit.

In fact, Mister Man wanted some for himself. As he asked – oh so politely – if she would share some crackers, his hands closed around several. She magnanimously agreed and put one cracker on his plate. He then let go of the crackers in his fist, and she shared more with him. Then he shared a chicken dinosaur with her. Then she tried to share cheese with him. You’d think she’d know by now that he won’t let cheese pass his lips unless it’s melted in a sandwich or on pizza. That started off a lovely exchange.



(Nope, we don't sit still for photos in this family, and we tend to not have normal facial expressions either. And you wonder why Little Miss was 2 1/2 before I had her 2 year photos taken.)

As happens in about three-quarters of the meals we eat, drinks were spilled. In fact, Mister Man spilled his cup first. It landed on his pants, too. For anyone who’s ever seen this child, he hates being wet, although I’ve gotten better at convincing him that things like water will dry. This was a particularly large spill, so you’ll notice that the pants change as time goes on in our picnic.

Since I was making watermelon granita for dessert for dinner tonight, I had cut up some extra watermelon for them to eat, as well. By the time we got to the point of eating the watermelon, the wind had picked up, and I was starting to get a little chilly.


And since I'd stopped at Clarke's Bakery to ask them for a donation for Mister Man's school fundraiser (and they gave me one), I had to come home with some sort of treat for them. They recommended the smiley face cookies, and they were certainly a hit with my angels. Actually, I was really proud of them. Rather than stuff their faces, they both decided after eating about half the cookie that they were full and wanted to save it for later. Actually, they wanted to save it for me to eat after dinner. Here's hoping they still know when they're not hungry anymore as they get older!

As I was getting the cookies from my car, Little Miss was definitely chilly. She let me know that in no uncertain terms. In fact, she went from winter coat to no outerwear to spring jacket in matter of two hours. Really, it’s pretty par for the course here.



And tomorrow? 70. That’s simply because I’ll be locked inside a building working the entire day. We go back to thunderstorms and low 60s for Thursday and Friday when I’m at home. I think that really about sums it up!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ever Been Dumpster Diving?

Well, I still haven’t found my car keys. I swear I’ve checked all the usual suspect kinds of locations. Since I’ve never lost my keys or (knock on wood) my cell phone or anything else somewhat critical like that before – unlike my husband who recently lost my credit card – I probably don’t know all the good places to look.

I keep coming up with new places to look – actually, as I typed this I realized I hadn’t looked in the heat vents – but so far, no dice.

I also realized that my purse, which ostensibly is where my keys should be, lives on top of the microwave in the kitchen. Which is at the end of the counter. Which is next to where the garbage can is. And my purse sometimes falls sideways. And when I’m at home, I frequently am lazy about zipping it up since I’ll just need to get my car keys out again (anyone want to take a guess as to whether or not I make my bed in the morning?).

So this morning, I started thinking: What if my keys fell out of my purse at the same time that someone was putting something into the garbage can. And maybe that person didn’t notice. And maybe the keys are sitting in the bottom of a garbage bag in the big garbage bag in the garage just waiting to take it away to the landfill forever this morning.

Unfortunately, keys to my screen door and bike rack are also with my car keys. And so is the remote unlocker thing. (But as someone once taught me, don’t put lots of things on your car key rings because the weight of them over time damages ummm the starter, I think? Someone help me out here!) So I really can’t lose them permanently.

What’s a girl to do?

Yep, this morning after Mister Man got on the bus, Little Miss and I played "garbage man" outside. Please, stop snickering at me.

I brought the kitchen garbage can into the garage and got the big garbage can up from the curb. I rolled my sleeves up as high as they went, took a deep breath, opened the top and peeked in. At least we don’t accumulate much trash. Even though we have an 80-gallon drum for our garbage, there were only two garbage bags inside for the whole week. Thank God for small favors.

Then I had to figure out how to get a garbage bag out from the bottom of the giant garbage can without touching anything. Yoga comes in handy once more, and I managed to pull out the first one.

Then I began the archaeological dig. Ahh, yes, that is the plastic that encased the NU flag I put out for the first time yesterday. Here comes the mango peels from dinner. There is the ribbon leftover from wrapping the engagement party present. And so on it went. It did help that we don’t tend to throw away a lot of leftover food, since I insist on eating it. As I took out each item, I placed it in what had been a near-empty bag in the kitchen garbage can and took a deep breath to see what was coming up next.

As I got to the bottom of the first bag, I could tell there were no keys. Of course not. That would be far too easy. I peered in the big garbage can again, I envisioned how to pull out the bag. The trick with this one is that it hadn’t been tossed in with the strings facing up. I somehow had to finagle a way to pull it out without dumping the contents into the big can. That would have caused two problems. First, YUCK! I’ll leave it at that. Second, if the keys are in this bag and they fall into the bottom of the can, I’d have to … as this train of thought continued in my mind, I gagged mildly and shuddered. Determination to do this right renewed, I successfully removed bag number two.

The same excavation process continued, and again I found nothing more interesting than an old birthday invitation. No keys, and nothing that even gave me the remotest bit of hope by jingling.

I’m still missing those keys, and now I’m getting more paranoid every day that I’m going to lose my spare set and not be able to go anywhere. In the meantime, I had my first – and hopefully only – dumpster diving experience.

Now Little Miss goes around telling people that we play garbage man. Thank God so far everyone’s just smiled and nodded at that announcement and no one’s inquired further.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

It's All About The Shoes....

Well, last night was the engagement party for the wedding I’m in. It was quite impressive. The condo it was in was on Lake Shore Drive in the Gold Coast (way ritzy for those of you not from Chicago). And it was the condo where the owners entertain. The condo they live in is two floors below this one. Egads! Gorgeous, but not my world.

The condo was filled (and I do mean filled) with body art and jewelry from the 18th century. The groom’s mom apparently used to visit her friend’s apartment and try on the headdresses and tiaras and parade around the apartment. Until she realized that there were multiple museums vying for pieces of the collection.

Ok, last comment on the apartment, then I’ll tell my sad story.

The woman who owns the apartment is also a photographer by avocation. There were gorgeous pictures she’d taken located around the apartment. A baby leopard in a tree, poignant tribal ceremonies, a dead ostrich’s half eaten head…. Wait, what? Yep, that was one of the photos. It probably wouldn’t have been one I would have been driven to take. The other unique one that stuck out was the penis. It was mostly unrecognizable, as it had rings around it (picture African women lengthening their necks) and then a red cloth laid over it like a table runner. The head was the only part that was recognizable. But once people noticed it, it caused some conversation, needless to say.

Some of our mutual friends were also at the engagement party, not surprisingly. Now that I’m in the suburbs, I don’t get a chance to see many of them that frequently. One of them happens to be very into running and cycling. In our conversation, the fact that I’ve started running came up.

Me: Yep, I’m doing the Couch to 5K program.
Her: That’s great! How’s it going for you.
Me: Pretty well, actually. It’s not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. The worst part is that I can feel my calves tighten up, which isn’t fun.
Her: Hmm. What kind of shoes are you running in?
Me: Ummmm, my shoes.
Her: Well, what kind of running shoes are they? Are they supportive or (granted, she lost me at this point, so I can’t accurately repeat it) …?
Me: Ummm, I don’t know.
Her: Well, do you have high arches or more flat feet?
Me: Really high arches until I stand up, then they fall.
Her: Oh, you definitely need ones with (ok, it sort of turned into blah blah blah to me here)
Me: Oh. Ok.
Her: Well, what brand of shoes are they?
Me: (thinking and trying to picture the shoes) Reebok, maybe?
Her: Maybe? Well, how did you choose them?
Me: They were cute. And comfortable when I put them on.
Her: (hysterical laughter for about 2 minutes) Oh, girl! You need new shoes. How old are your shoes anyway?
Me: Mmmm. Probably seven or eight years, I guess.
Her: (more hysterical laughter) You’re serious, aren’t you? You need new shoes!
Me: Well, I was going to get some when I got more into running.
Her: You’ll get new shoes when you get injured?
Me: Huh?
Her: Never mind. I’ll send you an email with some suggestions of shoes to look into. Do you know where there’s a good specialty store by you?
Me: Uhhhhh…
Her: (more hysterical laughter) Wait until I tell my running buddies about you!
Me: Yeah… thanks. I’ll look for the email.

Apparently, I do need new shoes. And I’ll go buy some. Sometime this week. Maybe. But come on. Think about when you were a kid. Don’t you remember getting really into something and your parents buying you all the new and expensive equipment for it and then giving it up two weeks later? Well, I didn’t want to do that… but I think maybe it’s time. At least according to my friend. If she’s stopped laughing yet. I haven’t gotten the email yet, so maybe she still hasn’t.

So does this mean I'm not a real runner yet?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Never Trust The Child Who Puts Himself To Nap ...

at least not when he's four and a half!

It’s always a challenge to know what specifically is up with the wee ones when they’ve been out of my control. I know bits and pieces, of course, because I ask, but without knowing that they’ve been following out routine, all bets are off.

Last night, they spent the night at my parents’ house – pictures and a post on Mister Man’s half birthday party to come, I promise – because I do yoga every Saturday morning, and my husband is a Scholastic Bowl coach and had a tournament where he left hours before I woke up for my 8am class (and still isn’t home yet). My parents graciously volunteer to have the wee ones do sleepovers whenever we run into this situation, which I dearly appreciate.

I know what they ate for dinner last night, because I fed them. What they did once they got to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, who knows. My mom claims they were both in bed at 7:30 – which is well past their bedtimes, as is – and were up by 6, not surprisingly an hour plus before they usually wake up. When I picked them up after yoga at 9:30, Little Miss was being given a refill on her “tea party” by my dad, which meant another handful of mini-marshmallows, raisins and Goldfish into her bowl to run back to the family room to eat. We won’t talk about how many of my rules are being broken right there – plus, who eats marshmallows and Goldfish together? Yuck!

At least we did get home in time for our playdate that wouldn’t end. When I got to my parents’ house, both children were still in pjs and had no interest in leaving, nor knowledge that they had to go home. My parents don’t – or won’t – get it, which irritates me, as I try to explain why I do things the way I do. Leaving was not pleasant, which I think my parents intentionally do so that my kids will prefer them and their house over their parents and their home.

But I digress (as usual)….

Both kids had fun playing with my friend and her children. We don’t see them often, as they live a half hour away and we don’t have any activities that overlap anymore. She raises her kids differently than I do, and that’s fine. I forget that there are times when it’s better to meet at a neutral location or her house though. A neutral location – my initial suggestion of a park was laughed at – was unfortunately not possible since it isn’t even 40 degrees and has been raining and snowing all day. Actually, for most of the last three days.

When we had agreed to a playdate, we talked about playing for awhile in the morning then having lunch, since both my kids need to nap. Her kids don’t nap, although her son is younger than Little Miss by a few weeks. And she’s really laid back, again not a bad thing, just different.

When they got here a little before 11, I could tell the wee ones were already tired from getting up so early, but they did a good job of being host and hostess. Little Miss and her son were inseparable, finding books and “reading” them together and talking about the story and so forth. Mister Man and the daughter took a bit longer to find common ground, as she only wanted to play Duck Duck Goose and he wanted to do a board game. Play Dough worked as a compromise, fortunately, and everyone had a great time. In fact, they sat at the kitchen table playing with the different colors and activities until it was time for me to make lunch.

No two children ate the same thing, of course. Didn’t you know I was a short order cook? Little Miss originally wanted a grilled cheese but then decided she wanted the leftover orange-fused French toast with Nutella from last night. The daughter is a picky eater and would only eat a hot dog or bologna, neither of which we have in the house, or plain bread with a stick of string cheese. Two down. Mister Man and the son both went for chicken dinosaurs. Until her son saw Little Miss’s French toast. Unfortunately, that part of the kitchen was closed, but he made do with Italian bread toasted and slathered with Nutella.

After lunch, our usual routine is to put dishes away, wash our hands and faces, and go up for naps. My friend’s kids finished eating before mine did, so they ran off to play. My kids soon joined them. Around 1:05, my friend asked what time my kids usually went for a nap. I told her that Little Miss usually went down between 12:45 and 1pm, and Mister Man at the same time or shortly after her. She then announced that they would leave in fifteen minutes.

At that point, I realized Mister Man had disappeared. Ok, I realized it because I heard a wail from upstairs. He was looking for his baby (a Thomas pillow) and Douglas Kitty and grey teddy bear. I had seen him take them out of his room – where they usually live – but didn’t know where he’d left them. A search ensued. He finally found them after my friend spotted them on a dining room chair.

He disappeared again, I assumed to put them back in his room. I was half right. He’d put them in his room… and then laid down to take his nap. Now if this is me and a friend’s child just put himself to sleep, I do a quick pick up of toys and head out. Like I said, my friend is really laid back.

By the time she decides clean up time means clean up, her kids have both disappeared into our basement. As with all kids, they were enthralled with the slide and roller coaster. Her “two more times, then we’re leaving” went on for 10 or 15 times. She and her daughter finally made it upstairs, but when I tried to direct her son upstairs, he was having none of it. Knowing she doesn’t correct him, I wasn’t about to start at that point. Instead, Little Miss and I went upstairs, leaving him in the basement.

He did finally make it upstairs after realizing we were really leaving him down there. Shoes went on, lollipops were given to Little Miss and left for Mister Man, and they were out the door. At 1:50.

Little Miss quickly went potty (with a dry diaper!) and into bed for her nap. As I started to clean up the mess from our playdate, I heard Mister Man come out of his room. He had to go potty, too. After he went, he came down and told me he felt sick.

Needless to say, I spent the next twenty minutes upstairs with him, trying to figure out if he was going to throw up or not (please no, I so don’t do puke!). Fortunately, he has no fever, but he told me he went potty, and his stomach still hurt (generally, solution #1), and then he got a drink and it still hurt. He wasn’t still hungry, but it felt yucky and was hurting, too. I finally gave him a little Motrin, hoping that it would help him sleep at least and maybe take away some of the pain.

He wasn’t up to laying down in his bed to nap yet, and he didn’t want to try to lay down in mine. I had him lay down and show me where his tummy hurt. He pointed right in the middle, and I started gently rubbing in circles to see if I could ease the pain. He said that made it feel a little better. I could tell it was helping, because his eyes were starting to involuntarily close, then open a little, then close again. Within a few minutes, he was out like a light, laying in the middle of the hallway in a most uncomfortable looking position.

I debated leaving him there and letting him sleep in the hallway with a blanket. I didn’t want to wake him by carrying him into his room, but then I remembered this is the child who’s practically comatose when sleeping. All I got was a slight murmur as I laid him in his bed, and he’s snuggled warm as a bug in a rug.

The only bummer? In 3 ½ hours, I have an engagement party for the wedding I’m in. My parents have a charity even they’re going to tonight, of all nights, as is my sister and an aunt and uncle. One of the women from the babysitting co-op is scheduled to come over at 5 to watch them until we get home.

I haven’t called her to cancel yet, but if he’s off when he wakes up, I think I’m going stag to the engagement party!

And yes, I do have a picture of Mister Man sleeping in the hallway, but I need to wrap the present, fix dinner for the kids, and get ready to head to the party. Knock on wood, Mister Man will be fine and was just overtired.

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