Sunday, December 20, 2009

A little Christmas "Whine"

It all started with the snow. The weather forecasters predicted 8-12 inches by Saturday, but since weathermen have the only profession known to man that allows them to be wrong, (since most of us don’t know our jet stream from a stationary front a weatherman can blame anything for the missed prediction) and because the computer generated Super Doppler Radar is still just a machine, I didn’t believe them-I was wrong. It snowed continuously from midnight Friday until late into the evening Saturday (we got 20 inches), so no runs to the mall for a couple last minute gifts, or runs to the grocery store for things I needed to do our holiday baking…

Now you might ask how I know that the snow started at midnight Friday night, and I will tell you. I finished watching 3 Weddings and a Funeral for probably the 30th time (still worth it to me, but not my hubby), and was heading to the bathroom for some hand cream. I glanced out the window in the kitchen and saw a few flakes start their decent. When I got to the bathroom, I couldn’t find my new hand cream tube, so I tried to squeeze what I could from my old tube and my hand slipped. The cap made a ¼ inch gap in my left pointer finger (typing is real fun tonight!) and blood was dripping down my hand and onto the sink. I started weaving back and forth and I kept thinking would anyone hear me hit the floor? My inner voice finally piped up and I put pressure on the cut and raised my hand over my head. I did manage to finally get a bandage around my finger-not an easy thing to do while you are rocking back and forth I can tell you-and me and my throbbing finger finally made it to bed.

Later that morning I rolled over and winced because of a kink in my left shoulder-I just figured I laid on it wrong and tried to go about the day. The snow kept falling, and my finger kept bleeding, and with my shoulder now hurting, I parked it on the couch while the kids and hubby braved the wind chill and played in the snow. I tried to make it up to everyone by attacking a new cookie recipe that was supposed to be foolproof, and although it was, I burned my hand getting the tray out of the oven, and the mess I made making the cookies was more than a little disheartening. The bandage kept coming off my finger while I washed up, so I asked if hubby could finish. I know he had been Mr. Entertainment for the kids outside, but I did manage to put something on the table for dinner and get it cleaned up, and although he obliged, he didn’t do so without making a comment or two...

Fast forward to today-I can’t lift my left arm to the side or even lift it up waist high, but since I took it easy yesterday, the laundry for the week (I usually start washing clothes Friday night and end Sunday so I don’t have to do it during the work week), wasn’t done and I wrestled four loads in and out of the washer and dryer all day today. And since Sunday school was canceled, my activities today consisted of computer, laundry, lunch duty, laundry, computer, laundry, and then couch. No one is taking my wincing seriously, and when it was nearing the time for dinner (I was reading the paper on the couch) my husband walks in and asks, “What’s for dinner?

I wanted to say something, but it’s nearing that “most wonderful time of the year,” so up I went to the kitchen to quickly get something together using my one good arm. I sat at the dinner table in a rather sour state and I braced myself for the stress that eating with children always brings, but then something happened that is really quite miraculous, and no, it has nothing to do with my aches and pains. As I sat there, I watched my son pretend to throw super hero punches at his dad sitting next to him instead of eating his vegetables. My husband was doing his best to eat his dinner and ignore my son, but I could tell by the look on his face that his patience was dwindling and his annoyance was growing, and all at once everything-my finger, my arm, the snow, and even my annoyance-was hysterically funny. Even though I tried my best to hold my laughter in, it spilled out then, and sporadically throughout the rest of the evening.

You know it really is how you look at things-I mean my shoulder still hurts and I have a date later with the heating pad (I still don't know what I did to it!), I am typing without the use of my left pointer finger, and I have a load of laundry in the dryer, but I am sitting here smiling, my soul is content, and like a line in A Christmas Story, "everything is right with the world!" Goodnight everyone and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Honesty is the best policy

My home network is finally back from the dead with the addition of a new, better, router, and it seems like ages since I was last on my blog-I was actually starting to go through withdrawals because, yes, I am on the computer that much… I thought I would fill the extra evening time by bonding with my hubby, and “talking,” but hubby wanted to play his new video game then watch TV, and he said that I was starting to annoy him. You’d think after 18 years he would relish spending even more quality time with me-ok, maybe not.

Nicole over at A New Normal,(pop over to get a look at her new blog design and posts ranging from the heartwarming to the hilarious) recently awarded me the Honest Scrap Award. Merriam-Webster defines honesty as, “a fairness and straightforwardness of conduct; adherence to the facts,” so I’ve composed a list of ten honest things about myself that quite honestly are a little discomforting to admit, and a little alarming in print, but I figured what the heck…
  • Unmade beds unnerve me-I can’t stand walking into a room where the bed is unmade, and I won’t get into a bed unless it is made. Sometimes I don’t have time in the morning to make my bed, so I will make it before I climb in it at night, and if my husband happens to climb in first, I will make sure all the covers are where they should be even if it means removing his warm spot.
  • I can’t stand having sticky hands. I mean the whole world might be crashing down around me but if my hands are sticky the only thing going through my mind is getting them clean.

  • When I buy a book or magazine, I reach for the copy at the back of the pile because it’s still nicely creased with no fingerprint smudges on it.
  • Becoming a mother has really brought out the “germaphobe” in me-I can’t tell you how many times I’m washing my hands in a day and the H1N1 stuff has me ballistic! Before we got some hand sanitizers in our classrooms from the Department of Health, I placed two huge bottles near the tissues, and I personally helped the kids go through those two bottles in two months.

  • I told my husband that I love to cook just so we didn’t have to suffer from his many strange food combinations-I mean he tries but the secret ingredients in his sauces have the kids and I turning up our noses! The truth is that while I sometimes enjoy the creative aspect of trying out a new recipe, after a long day at work I would love if someone else could do the cooking for a change.

  • My kids’ rooms would be condemned by the Health Department, because even though I rant and rave about having them clean things up at least once a week, the rest of the time I just close their bedroom doors and pretend.
  • I still have jackets that don’t fit the kids or myself in our coat closet, and even though I keep telling myself that I have to get them out of there so we have more room, there they remain
  • If I had to choose between running and walking, walking would win hands down. (Sorry Molly!) I am a firm believer that you don’t run unless, A) someone is chasing you, or B) a bug has dropped on you. I still remember when my husband and I were engaged- I was trying to prove to my outdoorsman fiancé that I could be a “nature lover” too, and I agreed to go for a walk in the woods. Well everything was fine until a spider (hate spiders!) dropped on me from a nearby tree branch. I took off in a flash and my husband claims I have never moved so fast.

  • I love anything and everything written by Jane Austen-I have all her novels and have most of the PBS and popular movies based on her novels, so I guess you could call me a romantic.

  • And last but not least, I am a closet pack rat, meaning I say I want to get rid of things but I want to do so at a garage sale that has never happened and may never will, so I store (or hide) things in boxes and bins down in my basement.
Well, you wanted honest, so I gave you honest… Since all these admissions have me pretty drained, I'm going to save my award recipient list for another post- I am off to wash my hands and make my bed, so goodnight everybody!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

You're it!

Molly from I'm a Sleeper Baker tagged me for a Christmas meme. I'm supposed to answer some holiday themed questions then tag 5 of my favorite reads. (I have tried to include only the blogs that did not get tagged for this...) I have never done one of these before so I'm more than a little excited. Now on to the questions...

Have you started your Christmas shopping?
I slowly eased into Christmas shopping in mid October.

Tell me about one of your special traditions.
We have two special traditions. The first is cutting down a Christmas tree that the kids get to decorate, and the other, wrapping all the gifts Christmas Eve, which actually started out as a form of procrastination. We now grab a glass of wine, divvy up the gifts, and wrap away as we watch The Christmas Story over and over again...

Are you a Black Friday Shopper?
Yes, but not a "faithful" Black Friday shopper. This year I headed down to the Toys 'R' Us' midnight sale only to get back in my car and drive home. I was able to find most of the things I was after online at about the same prices (some less), so I was "shopping" from my computer that night until around 1 am.

When do you put up your Tree?
We put our fake tree up right after Thanksgiving-this is the tree that displays my not-so-kid-friendly ornaments and keepsakes, and it's in our living room. We get our real tree the weekend after Thanksgiving and put it up in our family room.

Do you Travel at Christmas or Stay home?
Now that the kids are older and in school, traveling around the holidays becomes a little bit trickier, especially when it comes to the anticipated arrival of the big man in red, so we celebrate Christmas at home, then stay at my in-laws and ferry back and forth between my family and other relatives. It's not too bad-my husband's parents live about 1 1/2 hours away from my folks.

What is your funniest Christmas memory?
Well, it's funny now but it wasn't at the time... When I was 6 months pregnant with my daughter we were heading to my parent's house (they had room for us back then) on Christmas Eve. We got a flat tire on the turnpike, and luckily were able to buy a tire from a service station still open. I waited in the frozen car while my husband and some kind local kids took my husband back and forth and helped him change it. I think we arrived "home" around 10-11 pm that night-a four hour trip ended up being 8 hours!

What is your favorite Christmas Movie of All time?
Well, it's still The Christmas Story, mainly because it brings back some old childhood memories.

Do you do your own Christmas Baking, what’s your favorite treat?
Sometimes I manage to squeeze some baking in, and during these times I try to make extra for my kids classes and my work friends. Our favorite cookies are probably the ginger bread men because the kids really get into decorating these.

Fake or Real Tree?
Both-it just worked out that way.

What day (as a mom) does the actual panic set in to get it all done?
Well there are two times when I panic. The first is when it gets too close to Christmas and I still have something to buy. I literally won't enjoy the days leading up to Christmas if I let things go to the last minute, so I try to have most of my things purchased by Thanksgiving. The second time I panic is when I look at the mountain of stuff that needs wrapped Christmas Eve!

Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve?
Yep-our biggest wrapping day.

What is your favorite family fun time at Christmas?
I like to watch all the old time Christmas classics with my kids as we count down the days-it gets them all pumped up!

What Christmas craft do you like the best?
Craft? What craft?

Christmas music. Yes or No, and if yes What is your favorite song?
I love Christmas music and my favorite song is "Do you hear what I hear?"

When do you plan to finish all your shopping?
I say I'm done now, but my husband likes to survey the "piles" to make sure they look about even...

Now that you know how my family celebrates, what traditions do you follow? I am tagging the following:

Nancy at If Evolution Really Works

Janie B. from Life Not Wasted or Lost

The girl from The Girl Next Door Grows Up

Becky from Welcome to my Life

Kelly from My Voice, My View

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Living with Miss Opposite

My daughter was such a bubbly baby-always giggling and gurgling, having conversations with her hands, the dog, the carpet, and her dad and I, and she was very affectionate well into toddler hood. She was my partner in games against daddy, and she would laugh her head off when I made smooching sounds as I got close to kiss her goodnight. Dressing her was a snap because she liked everything that I liked and her outfits would often consist of matching hats and tights-she was a diva in the making! And the part of my day that I looked forward to the most, was rocking this little angel until she fell asleep on my shoulder-sometimes I would continue to rock because I just couldn’t part with her.

She graciously took on the role of big sister, and though we all hung on for dear life as she rocketed through the terrible threes and into her fours, generally by the end of the night we would get our loving daughter back. But time changes things-sometimes good and sometimes bad-and somewhere along the way my daughter turned into Miss Opposite.

Now this change didn’t happen over night-I noticed little alterations in her actions at first, like when she stopped giving me her wet, sloppy kisses. My husband and I would brace ourselves as she came near because she never puckered up, she just opened her mouth and planted it against our cheek-I hated it then but I wouldn't mind it now. Granted, I still rub her back and head every night just as I did when she was smaller, and I still manage to sneak a kiss in before I leave her room, but I have to sneak a kiss in because Miss Opposite doesn’t like kisses anymore, and she never returns them.

Clothing choices have become a nightmare-the days of picking an outfit for her are gone because Miss Opposite doesn’t always agree with what I think is attractive anymore, and now there are certain items of clothing that she refuses to wear like turtlenecks (they choke her), socks (she can’t stand the seams against her toes, so when I make her wear them with tennis shoes, she turns them inside out, but at least they’re on!), and over-the-head sweaters (they’re too hot). Naturally all of these particular clothing items were worn previously by Miss Opposite, but then, just like that, they are shoved to the back of her closet. Nowadays when Miss Opposite needs something new, I drag her along to the store and keep my mouth shut because if I say I like something, Miss Opposite decides she doesn’t-I make a suggestion only when asked and this assures that the item will be bought and worn.

And don’t get me started on her hair! She used to have wispy bangs and I pulled her hair back away from her face with fancy bows and ribbons, or curled it into bouncy spirals, and because it was fine and prone to knots, I kept it shorter. That shorter “do” is now down past her shoulders, and Miss Opposite tries to take care of it herself. Gone are the bangs and her hair either falls flat against the sides of her head (Miss Opposite cries if I make it too fluffy because she says I’m making her ugly), or she pulls it back into a ponytail using her customary scrunchy.

Then there is her new means of communicating, or more like the lack thereof of any real form of communication. Gone are our meaningful talks before bed, and the endless tales of the goings-on at school, and in its place are Miss Opposite’s overreactions, snide comments, and conversations like the following: “How was school today?”


“What did you do?”


“You know you have to wear black and white to your concert tomorrow, and…”

“I already know.”

“How about wearing those black gauchos, and that white turtleneck, and…”

“I’m not wearing that turtleneck, you know I don’t like turtlenecks.”

“It’s only for one hour one night, can’t you stand it for one night?”

“NO!!! I can’t wear that!”

This particular scene was played out Monday evening, and after much haggling back and forth, and all the “my mother is ruining my life” theatrics, she agreed to try the turtleneck on. I really don’t know if it fit or not-she was holding her arms out straight to show that the sleeves were too short, but by this point I was too tired to fight her anymore, and agreed to run to the mall after dinner. I must have still looked upset when my husband walked in the door, because when he found out all Miss Opposite needed was a white blouse, he agreed to take her shopping-I am still in shock over this, and even though he sent me six pictures of possible blouses on my cell, they arrived back home with a purchase.

Preparations for Tuesday night's concert were just as bad-I told Miss Opposite to go shower and wash her hair while I was getting dinner ready, but it took her three “reminders” to get moving. Miss Opposite was still sitting at the dinner table even after I told her more than once to go get dressed, and then when I wanted to dry her hair so that it looked nice instead of her usual no-style look, once again I was making her look ugly. And everything else Miss Oppositez said about this event was, well, opposite-

“Is this a combined concert for the band and chorus? We might want to leave early if that’s the case.”
“No, there will only be about 20 students involved.”

There were 90 chorus students, 70 band students, and 25 jazz band students, so multiply those numbers by at least two parents (not including siblings or grandma) and you guessed it-the place was packed, but we are used to everything being the opposite so thankfully we got to the school early.

“Where are you going to be so we can sit close?”
“I will be in the front on the right.”
We got 2nd row seats in the middle right, but when Miss Opposite filed in, she was in the front on the far left and we couldn’t see her. My husband went scouting around to get some good shots while my son and I tried to catch a glimpse of her between the bodies in front of us. I looked over the other girls and something struck me-they all looked the same, flat hair, no bangs, hmm... And when the principal ended the show, instead of waiting for us to meet her, Miss Opposite headed back to the music room and my husband had to fight the crowds and go look for her.

It was a nice concert, but Miss Opposite was still upset about her hair so I don’t recall any smiling during the event, but I’m going to watch the tape later and hope for the best. This see-saw back and forth betwen loving me(she admitted to her principal recently that I am her role model) and hating me (she snapped at me tonight saying I was going to make everyone late ), is pretty hard to take, and I am now snapping back after her comments. It also seems that the tighter I try to hold on to what once was, the more my daughter tries to pull away. When my husband asked if she had fun after the concert, Miss Opposite grunted at first, but then laughed, and for a split second I caught a glimpse of the daughter from years past, the one I know and love-Sigh...boy do I miss her.

I didn't do a couple Tuesday tunes so I thought I would add an appropriate song (or two) here.  I hope you enjoy The Beatles with Yesterday , and I am reminded about how the relationship between my daughter and I used to be like, and hopefully will be again, with Martina McBride's tearjerker, In My Daugher's Eyes.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Climb every mountain...

I don’t remember when we first started cutting down our own Christmas tree-I know we bought a tree off the lot the first year we were married and my husband could barely get it into our rented townhouse (we were not good at height estimations), and we settled on having just a fake tree afterwards because we went “home” for the holidays and we were tired of coming back and cleaning up the pine-less stick that was left. Our vacuum didn’t pick up all the needles embedded in the carpet, so we were still getting the occasional prick for months afterwards.

My family never chopped a Christmas tree down either-we lived in the suburbs and were strictly “lot tree people” as far as I can remember, but my husband’s childhood was different. He grew up a few hours North of me where the snows are deeper and more frequent, and where residents are primarily “tree cutters.” So I guess things were going to have to change one-way-or-another when this “lot tree” person married a “tree cutter,”and things went my way until we had our first child.

As all of you know, when kids arrive everything changes, and what was once acceptable is no longer. My husband wanted to follow his family traditions at Christmas, and since I really didn’t have any traditions of my own, I embraced most of his. (Notice how I said most…) He relayed story upon story of his families’ treks in the woods to find the perfect Christmas tree, and he really had me convinced that if I didn’t go along with this, I would be shortchanging my daughter’s Christmas experience. Unfortunately, the area chosen as the “perfect” spot for this trek was about a 300-yard walk up a steep hill that is about 200 feet high! Now remember that I mentioned I was a suburbanite, and trudging up any hill during the cold is not something I wanted to do, but I was a new mother, so I caved. We also had a year old dog that our families affectionately referred to as our “firstborn,” and my husband decided he should go along on the trip too.

I remember standing at the foot of this mountain-hill and not being able to see the top-I had the dog and my husband carried our daughter in her car seat. We passed very nice trees towards the bottom end of the mountain-hill, but my husband, being the experienced “tree cutter” convinced me that the perfect tree could only be found at the top, so on we went. The dog, who was not yet obedience trained, pulled mercilessly forward, and about half way up I nearly fell over him as he dove in and out of the trees. I was losing my Christmas spirit very fast, and I soon muttered obscenities to the dog and to my husband under my breath. And then I started to whine-I was cold, I was tired, I would wait in the car-and my kind hearted husband ended up with both the dog and the baby as we slowly reached the summit. I did relax a little when we found a gorgeous tree (although by then all the trees looked alike), and I slowly dragged the car seat with my daughter down the hill, while my husband had hold of the tree and the dog.

Today marks our tenth trip up that blasted hill, but we are now a family of four and these days I’m an old pro. I know how to dress for the cold so I don’t whine as much (my husband says I still do more than necessary, but the reform process takes time), I know how to best negotiate the steep incline without falling, and I know to leave the dog at home!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A dog, his pillow, and awards, oh my!

To say that tonight’s post is a jumbled mess is clearly an understatement, but with closer study it does resemble my life right now-an odd toss up of highs, lows, and the all-around wacky. Now I will warn you that before I talk about awards, I’m going to recap what happened with my dog and his pillow last night, partly because my husband declared through major guffaws that I now had the subject of my next post, and partly because I hope that if I retell this story it might get funnier, but you can be the judge on that. And, if you don’t find doggy dating humorous at all, skip to the bottom because I don’t want to offend anyone.

First some background information about our dog. He’s a Havanese a little over a year and a half, weighing in around 14 pounds, and in love with his pillow bed even though he’s fixed. He used to have two pillows but is down to one due to his “rough” treatment, and he recently ripped a hole in the bottom of this last pillow bed so we only give it to him whenever we turn in.
My daughter and I had just gotten back from the drug store for a quick refill on some much needed meds when she started yelling from the living room, "Mom, come in here! It’s out!” “What’s out," I said as I walked in, but when I got there I knew exactly what she was referring to-our little dog waddled past me like a cowboy in the saddle too long, and yes it was out, way out-I had never seen a male dog look this way and I don’t want to ever see that again. Our dog must have sensed it too, because he averted my gaze, and with head down, he slowly sauntered into his crate, and I gladly shut the door.

Now we have had male dogs before, and we have gotten them all “fixed,” but for some odd reason this little guy still wants to do the nasty with his pillow bed. We try and take this unusual love away from him immediately and give it back to him when it’s time to turn in for the night, but no matter where we put the thing, he always manages to find it and drag it back out for more. Unfortunately I forgot to put the pillow up before my daughter and I left, and my husband and son were watching videos in the family room so they didn’t notice that the love match between pillow and dog had gotten serious.

Now put yourself in my shoes right now-I have a tween daughter and a first grader so there were lots of questions, questions I wasn't sure how to answer. My daughter kept asking me why “it“ was out like that, and my son wanted to know if the dog was in pain, so like any good mother, I called (or more like yelled) for my husband-he would know what to do. He took one look at the dog and said we might have to call the vet because, well I’ll spare you the details mainly because I can’t even type an appropriate way to describe what the vet may have to do. I went for the phone book while my husband went to the old standby-Google-but how do you Google something like this without the search returning nothing but porn sites? We were able to connect to some vet places and all of them said to leave the dog alone and after about 15 minutes things should start to return to normal.

Our little dog just lay in his crate pretty listlessly and every couple minutes the kids would give us a report on how far it was out. Pretty soon the dog was whining to come out, and after 15 minutes, most of it was in and I let him out. He scampered about without a care in the world so I guess our worries are over. He usually jumps in bed with my daughter for a few minutes until she falls asleep, but she said to me, “Mom, I really don’t want him in bed with me tonight,” and frankly I didn’t blame her.

Now my kids, not knowing anything about the birds and the bees, have their theories about what happened to our dog, but they decided today that he must have suffered from a dislocation. In fact, my daughter is comparing it to the time she dislocated her elbow, and I am going along with her story because I am really not ready for the complete“talk” just yet. As for the pillow bed, it is no longer, but our dog is still looking for the thing!

Now for those of you who didn't want to learn anything about my dog's habits, I would like to thank Nicole from A New Normal for passing the Lovely Blog Award on to me-this really means a lot. I recently found Nicole's site and really enjoy her writing. Her site contains information about her family and often funny posts about being a mom. I'm going to skip the 15-blog list since I received this award already (Phew!), but I am long overdue at awarding the "I love your blog" I received from Nancy at if evolution really works, to 7 other blogs I love. The recipient of this award is supposed to list 7 personality traits, but feel free to customize this to suit you, and as always, if you have received this award aalready, there is no need to pass it on again. Here we go:

  • Check out Molly from I'm a Sleeper Baker for a site with family stories, tasty recipes, and accounts concerning Molly's goal of running a marathon.

  • If you want anecdotes dealing with the stresses that women and mothers often face, as well as some really funny posts, read Areeba's My Life as a Stay at Home Mom

  • I've recently been enjoying the site of the girl from The Girl Next Door Grows Up . Not only is the site fantastically creative in it's design and layout, her posts are certainly worth your time.

  • Swing by the girl with the flour in her hair at Peeling an Orange with a Screwdriver  if you really want to laugh and laugh hard!

  • Be sure to visit Becky from Welcome to my Life  for personal stories that will touch your heart and others that will have you in stiches!

  • Janie B. from Life Not Wasted or Lost  has always been a must read of mine because I always feel good after leaving her site.

  • And speaking of feel good sites, why not check out Kelly from My Voice My View .
    And I know I have gone past 7, but who's counting?

  • Visit Flory at A Woman's Life Stages  if you want to ponder about issues that affect you as a mother or as a woman.

  • I also found and thoroughly enjoy Diary of a Mad Bathroom for a good chuckle and I continue to enjoy Two Toddlers and Me for reviews on the most interesting items and family centered posts

  • That's all for tonight everyone.  I hope you all have recovered from the Thanksgiving holiday, and any other unusual family event.