Monday, December 22, 2008


With all the holiday preparations and family things going on, I haven't been able to spend much time in the blogosphere lately. But, I did come across something festive, a "ghost of Christmas past," in all of the bustle.

I lived in Africa from 1976 to 1980 (the reason I am not allowed to give blood or donate my organs).

There I am, with my brother and some of the local kids. I don't know what I was looking at.

On Christmas, we would go to the home of the American Ambassador for a Christmas party. Santa would make an appearance, bearing gifts for all the kids - you know, the usual. What was unusual was that Santa would ride into the yard on a camel.

Here I am in, I think, 1978. I'm getting my gift from the recently cameled Saint Nick.

I got a wind-up plane that spun in circles on the floor.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Was it just me, or was Friday an insane day for everyone? Being pregnant, I'm already a little ... um, shall we say unsteady ... emotionally. Add to the mix four small, hyper dogs and two small, dramatic children. And Friday ... Wow! Grammy, who was kind enough to help me stave off a total nervous breakdown that day, and I kept looking at each other and saying, "What is going on?!"

I found out later that Friday night was the largest full moon in fifteen years. Usually, the moon is approximately 238,000 miles from the earth. Friday night, it was only about 221,000 miles from the earth. I don't care what anyone says; there is something about the moon that affects behavior, at least of dogs and humans.

I used to work at a rehab center for adults with traumatic brain injury. After about a week of adjustment, I really enjoyed the job. I have such a soft spot in my heart now for physically and mentally challenged people. I hate that there is such a stigma placed on them. They were great! But, I'll tell you what. On the day before a full moon, chaos reigned in the rehab center. There was a general grumpiness and uncooperativeness about the clients. But, the frontal lobe injuries (those with poor to no impulse control) were most noticeable. It was okay, as long as you kept a good sense of humor about it. It's kind of like being out with a toddler who blurts things like "Mommy, does that man have a baby in his belly? Then why is his belly so big?"

And I've lost my train of thought. But, yeah. Friday was pretty crazy. Any thoughts?

Thursday, December 11, 2008


After the inexplicable popularity of Cakes' Dora birthday cake among my two children, Bean was requesting a character cake for her birthday as well. Her first request? Uniqua from the Backyardigans. Well, that certainly wasn't going to happen. Neither were any of the characters from Blue's Room or Yo Gabba Gabba. No Wonder Pets, either. So, I hopped onto Nick Jr.'s trusty website to see if I could find something doable.

I found this (photo courtesy of the Nick Jr. website).

It's round, it's almost monochromatic, and it doesn't require copious amounts of drawing with icing. Easy, right? Well ....

It's like some Backyardigans bizaaro world - it looks familiar, but is just off enough to be really creepy. The first thing Big Daddy said to me was, "Why didn't you mix the icing? The color's all uneven." Yes. In spite of stirring until my arm hurt, the icing still looks like a satellite photo of the Pacific Ocean. I can't seem to get away from grotesque skin texture. And, I don't know where they found their Oreos, but the ones I found made Pablo's eyes ... um ... a bit oversized (to say the least). The hat looked really easy in the picture, but mine looks like a multi-colored pile of poo.

At least it's not as bad as Dora was.

If it weren't for my children's undying gratitude and sheer awe of my cake making ability (not to mention good blog fodder), I would be buying stock in Carvel Cakes.

Check out more photos that won't be in any scrapbooks on We Are THAT Family.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


It was pretty hard to get Cakes to stop nursing. I kept hearing about "self-weaning" and stuff, but that didn't really seem to be something she was interested in. I think she would have happily nursed until she went to college.

But, after about a year of effort, I finally got Cakes weaned a few months ago. Now, if I could just get her to sleep through the night ....

Which leads me to my Momma Love post this week. I, as usual, had ended up in bed with Cakes in the middle of the night. Good parenting? Maybe, maybe not. Good for getting a full night's sleep? Absolutely! So, Cakes started moaning and groaning, and I hopped into bed with her before she woke up Bean.

Cakes, eyes still closed and half asleep, wrapped one sweet little arm around my neck. With the other hand, she grabbed my hand and began to "nurse" on each of my fingers. Of course, she was disappointed with each one, and moved on to my knuckles, also with no success. Then, still holding my hand, she lay there smacking her lips, as if dreaming of nursing. Since Bean never showed any interest in nursing, it's funny to see how profoundly it affected Cakes. Months after weaning, she's still finding comfort in "nursing" in her sleep (and in digging around in my cleavage every chance she gets ... but that's another post for another day).

For more stories that remind us all how great it is to be a mom, check out In the Dailies.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


My friend Tanya started this carnival to highlight those wonderful Mommy moments that we have in the midst of all that fun stuff like disciplining and enduring tantrums, etc. You don't have to have kids to participate; any feel-good story is welcome.

Bean is at that age where she takes things very literally. Since I've been in the throes of morning (afternoon, evening) sickness, my mom has been kind enough to cook for us and spare me the horrifying sights and smells that make my stomach churn. One night, we sat down to a tasty and particularly creative meal. We were all showing our appreciation to Grammy for her culinary prowess. I piped up with something like, "This meal was a great idea, Momma!"

Bean's head shot up and she said, "Momma?"

I said, "Yes."

She said, "You're talking to yourself?"

This led to a discussion of the abstract concepts of all the different roles that one person can have. Which led to a discussion about who my children resemble. Grampy looked at Cakes and said to me, "She looks like you for all the world. I just can't get over it!"

I said, "I know. And Bean looks a lot like her Daddy. She has his nose."

Again, Bean's head shot up from her plate, and her little face was twisted into a horrified expression. "I have Daddy's nose?!" Then, her voice cracked a little and her eyes welled with tears. "I don't want Daddy's nose!"

I can only imagine what was going through her mind as I laughingly assured her that Daddy's nose was safe and sound on Daddy's face, and that Bean had her own nose.

I love watching their little minds develop, and hearing their original thoughts!

For more mommy moments, and to leave a nice mommy moment of your own, check out In the Dailies.

Monday, December 1, 2008


So, it was some time in the wee morning hours this weekend. I had been up most of the night, because about five trains went through the neighboring town, whistles blowing and wheels rumbling. Of course, all the country dogs were barking like crazy. That many trains in one night was weird. Usually, we hear one or two roll by, but five?

As the rumbling faded away, I heard some weird sounds coming from the woods across the street from my house. A couple of men were yelling in a foreign language. Then, a whole group of people started chanting in a foreign language while someone played a tambourine. Everything would get quiet for a minute or so, and then it would start again. This went on for about twenty or thirty minutes.

I've been looking up all kinds of things on the internet, trying to figure out what in the world could have been going on out there in the woods, but I keep coming up empty-handed. Any ideas?

Thursday, November 27, 2008


My oldest child has an aversion. To clothing. She loves being naked! We're trying to teach her some modesty, but it's been slow going. And, seriously, the temperatures have been below freezing lately. Today she was, as usual, running around without any pants on. So, I told her that I was going to get some pants for her. She said, "I can do it myself," and disappeared into her room.

When Bean reappeared, she ... well, she wasn't bottomless.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 24, 2008


We all know pregnancy does weird and irreversible things to the body. I got back to my pre-wedding weight recently, but having babies has changed the shape of my body. No matter how much weight I lose, my clothes just don't seem to fit the same way.

And then there's my navel. I used to have a nice bellybutton. I had a little belly ring, which took all the courage I could muster (in addition to being an anti-dentite, I'm not big on getting poked with needles). But, my bellybutton popped out like an indicator on a Thanksgiving turkey very early in pregnancy. And it was huge. It looked like I had a golf ball embedded in my abdomen. And it was off-center. It poked out to the left.

My bellybutton was a constant source of embarrassment during my first pregnancy. I was working in an office downtown. People stared at my navel in the elevator. People knew it was me walking down the street because they saw the enormous growth. Kids pointed at it and asked, "What's that?!" I'm not kidding. I tried putting a Bandaid on it to hold it down, but that was like trying to stop Niagara Falls with one sandbag. Next, I tried an Ace bandage, but that just added bulk to the protrusion. Duct tape was not very comfortable. I finally resorted to buying non-maternity skirts with elastic waistbands and strategically positioning them over my bellybutton. As long as the skirt stayed in position (which was about 50% of the time), the effect of my bionic bellybutton was minimized. My navel never returned to its former glory. I miss my bellybutton.

But, the effect of pregnancy on the mind is equally strange. I have a friend who craves bricks when she's pregnant. All she wants in life is to take a big bite out of a brick and chew on it. I have another friend who was nauseated by the color orange. Driving through a construction zone was like a mine field. She dry-heaved her way past the pylons, work trucks, and reflective vests.

The latest thing with me is reading. I've been wanting to read a book I bought months ago called Confessions of an Ugly Step-Sister. But, for some reason, the thought of reading a work of fiction overwhelms me with nausea more than the smell of onions. I can read autobiographies. I can read political commentaries. I can read Uncle John's Bathroom Reader. I just can't read fiction. Even thinking about it right now is making me gag a little.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Bean had a long and, in my estimation, kind of rough day yesterday. First, she woke up early in the morning (we're talking, like, 3:00-4:00 a.m.) because she had a bad dream. The dream? She dreamt that Cakes was drinking tea, choked on it, and threw up. Bean is not a big fan of vomit (is anyone a big fan of vomit?), and she was fortunate enough to witness Cakes throw a trantrum until she threw up the other night. I think she was a little traumatized by the whole thing. More so than Cakes, who recovered within minutes. So, the morning started out with a nightmare. But, in spite of the nightmare, she was pretty happy and very helpful and cooperative all morning long.

That afternoon, it was off to the dentist for a filling. Now, I've mentioned that I'm an anti-dentite. I am fortunate that my child doesn't know this, and that she hasn't inherited my irrational fears. She sat patiently, nitrous oxide pumping into her little body, while the dentist quickly and efficiently drilled and filled. The dentist and his assistant both expressed amazement that someone so young was so well-behaved during a dental procedure (she handled it much better than I would have).

We got home, where she patiently played with Cakes all afternoon. No fights! Then, we got ready for dance class that evening, where she actively participated in class, socialized with the other little ballerinas, and chatted excitedly on the drive home about how "I'm going to be a great dancer!"

At bedtime, she voluntarily climbed into bed, said good-night, and went to sleep!!!! These days make those tantrum- and screaming-filled days tolerable.

For more feel-good moments of Mommy-ness, check out In the Dailies.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I didn't sleep very well the other night. We live out in the middle of nowhere, and have very few neighbors. Unfortunately, one of those very few neighbors is into partying on the weekends. Loud partying. So, I was lying awake, listening to the bass thump through the walls of my house at 1:15 a.m., debating whether or not to call one of the five police officers in my small town to come ask them to turn the music down a little bit.

After the partying, Cakes started having a turbulent night. So, I ended up in a twin bed with her, trying to keep her calm and quiet so as not to wake Bean, who was sleeping in the top bunk. And, of course, pregnant me has to pee every five seconds. Oh, the wonderful things pregnancy does to the body. And the mind.

In my few minutes of sleep between loud music, the toilet, and a shrieking cherub, I had one of what I refer to as my "pregnancy dreams." My dreams take on a rather bizaare angle when I'm pregnant. Once I'm in my third trimester, my dreams usually involve me being stuck in a very small space, my only escape being through a tiny opening that I couldn't possible squeeze my enormous, pregnant self through. Or being stuck in the tunnel section of some amusement park ride. Those dreams seem rather self-explanatory, don't you think? But, the dreams during my first two trimesters are just plain weird. So, without further ado, a glimpse into the sleeping pregnant mind ...

I was standing in my parents' bathroom, looking in the mirror to see if I was starting to develop the "baby bump," when I noticed that my belly button looked swollen (as an aside, my belly button grows to the size of a golf ball and protrudes off center very early in my pregnancies). So, I squeezed it. A little drop of water came out. I squeezed it some more. Water started gushing out of my navel like a faucet. Fortunately for me, there was an empty aquarium on my parents' bathroom counter, so I positioned myself over the aquarium and proceeded to squeeze all the water out of my belly button. After I had squeezed out every last drop of liquid, I looked into the aquarium and saw that, in addition to water flowing forth from my navel, a variety of large tropical fish had also come out. Some of the fish were as big as my hand, while others were the size of a pencil eraser. And then, I woke up.

And, there you have it. Strange.

Friday, November 14, 2008


My cherubs really are growing up. We packed away the crib and toddler bed, and got the girls their very own "grown-up" bed.

Needless to say, the girls are ecstatic. Cakes has fallen off the ladder four times, Bean has hit her head on the ceiling twice, and Cakes has hit her head on the underside of the top bunk once. But, this has not dampened their enthusiasm. Every bedtime is full of exclamations of:

"I just love my new big girl bed!"

"This bed is so cozy!"

"I love having a big girl bed of my very own!"

And, while I still have to wrestle Cakes into bed every night, Bean has gone willingly and excitedly. She often starts asking if she can go to bed about two hours before bedtime. We'll see how long this lasts.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


My girls are quite the artists. I've become rather adept at removing ink from vinyl kitchen chairs, permanent marker from light-colored carpet, and crayon from just about anything. But, by far, as demonstrated here and here, the cherubs' favorite art surface is their own bodies.

Cakes managed to turn the pink watercolor into a paste that rivaled Pepto Bismol in color and texture. It was quite tiring.

For more photos that will never see the inside of a scrapbook, check out We Are THAT Family.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


So, I went to this pregnancy's first OB/Gyn appointment yesterday. First things first, I am exactly 9 weeks pregnant as of today. My official due date is June 17, but I tend to run late and will probably actually give birth around June 24. The baby looks like a healthy peanut, with a very strong heartbeat. I love seeing those first images of the baby! I could make out little arms and legs, and a great big head, and that wonderful, beating heart.

And now, on to the Life Lesson.

I have been surrounded by illness for about a week. My husband (who continued to go to work in spite of his illness) had a bad chest cold. Bean spent a few days with a fever and the sniffles. Cakes is still recovering from a head cold. And I have had a hefty chest cold on top of the sometimes debilitating nausea. So, I've spent my week choking my way through each day while covered in a moderate coating of kid snot.

So, as I was saying, I had my first OB/Gyn appointment yesterday (and let me preface this story by saying that I've been so distracted by household illness that I forgot to shave my legs at all this past week). Anyway, I was at the doctor's office. We discussed some medical history, and then the "lady doctor" proceeded to do what "lady doctors" do.

Then, I began to feel a tickle in my throat. I tried to ignore it. It would not be ignored. I tried to politely clear my throat. The tickle remained. I coughed a little "ahem"-type cough. The tickle grew worse. Suddenly, in the middle of everything, I began coughing uncontrollably. It was that kind of cough that makes you dry heave and gag and barely get a breath in between hacking. The doctor grabbed the trash can in case I began to throw up from the coughing. And, then I peed myself. Yes. Ah, pregnancy.

All in all, it was an eventful appointment.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


You know a book that I really enjoyed while I was pregnant with my first? It's called Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy. Oh, man! It was so funny! My husband saw an interview with her on TV and got me the book during my second trimester with Bean. I couldn't read it sitting on the couch, because of my tendency to laugh so hard that my bladder suffered a bit.

One of the things that really stuck with me throughout my pregnancy (and all subsequent pregnancies) was the concept of "pregnant head." Have you ever heard of it? It's where your face swells up during pregnancy so that you look like your own ugly twin. I became obsessed with my facial swelling. At every OB/GYN visit, I gave my midwife the "pregnant head" definition and asked her if I looked like my ugly twin yet. I pored over photos of my face from each month, seeing if I could find any differences. I pointed out to my husband all the celebrities I noticed with prominent "pregnant head." And, then, there are those people whose faces never quite recover from "pregnant head." Oh, the horror!

Now, sometimes people get "pregnant head," and it doesn't make them look unattractive. They just look a little different. That wouldn't be too bad.

Margaret, my midwife, laughed at me every month when I went on and on about "pregnant head." Then, she got pregnant, and was surprised to find herself obsessing about the very same thing. She would look carefully in the mirror each morning, she would ask her co-workers if her face was getting puffy. I was just amused that I'd been able to pass along my pregnant neurosis.

Did I get "pregnant head"? Looking back at photos, I think I did. A little. It was most noticeable in the weeks right before I gave birth. And, I think my face went back to normal afterwards. That's what I tell myself.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I'm an anti-dentite. I shudder at the thought of some masked, gloved person poking sharp instruments into my mouth. It's like some form of medieval torture. I think dentists might be the most feared and/or despised group of medical professionals in existence.

Why are dentists so scary? I don't know. I think people don't like sharp things in their mouths. I think tooth pain may be worse than labor. I'm serious. I didn't use drugs with Cakes, and I think I prefered it to getting my teeth cleaned. By a huge margin.

But, today, I had to choke back the urge to scream and hyperventilate as I took Bean on her first trip to the dentist. She put on a brave facade as various people cleaned, flossed, poked, and flourided her teeth. She even eventually enjoyed "thirsty Joe."

The good news? Bean came through her first dental appointment with flying colors. She was well-behaved and cooperative, even if she was a bit nervous having so many things put into her mouth by strangers.

The bad news? We have a cavity. Nothing like a cavity in your kid's mouth to make you feel like a horrible mother, huh? It's not big, but it's there and it needs to be filled. Yikes!

Friday, October 31, 2008


Want to know about my birthday? Read this.

Want to know about the night before my birthday? Read this, and replace "car" with "Mommy's bedroom".

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I had one of those moments of Mommy Terror yesterday.

I'm sure everyone who has kids has occasionally had kid un-friendly items wander into their house. Yes? No? Well, we have. Someone will come in with a styrofoam coffee cup, a pocket knife, or one of these:

(Thanks to Sweet Services for the picture.)

This peppermint candy found its way into Bean's hands, and then into Bean's mouth, where it became lodged in Bean's throat.

So, there I was, watching Grammy play Scramble on Facebook, when a red-faced, not breathing Bean ran into the kitchen, clutching her throat. Ignoring my sheer panic, I immediately and calmly flipped her upside-down and began pounding her on the back. After a few seconds that seemed to last hours, Bean made a gagging sound and coughed up the peppermint.

I gathered a surprisingly composed Bean into my arms as my dog began to eat the coughed-up peppermint off the floor, and carried her into living room so I could sit down (because I wasn't very confident in my shaking legs).

"Did you choke a little bit?" I asked Bean.

"Yeah," she replied.

"Are you okay now?"

"I'm fine."

Bean cuddled up to me for a minute. Then, she sat up and said, "Mom?"


"I want another one."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


So, I'm about 5-7 weeks pregnant. I'm not sure exactly how far along I am, because I wasn't keeping track of anything when the plus sign appeared in the stick. So, my best estimate is 5-7 weeks.

And, boy, am I nauseous!!!! The other day, I stood over a sinkful of dishes, gagging while I tried to load the dishwasher. I have to hold my breath in certain sections of the supermarket. I should invest in any company that makes ginger snap cookies.

Now, I didn't want to resort to prescription medication, but I didn't want to dry-heave my way through the next eight weeks or so, either. So, I tried Davis Queaz Away Traveler's Wristband. It's designed to control nausea through pressure points on the wrist. Now, I'm not going to say that the wristbands are some miracle cure that has me doing cartwheels on the front lawn; but, I will say that they have made quite a dent in my morning (afternoon, evening) sickness. I have a faint sensation of nausea, but I can do dishes and shop and take care of my cherubs without the constant fear of throwing up (and, let me tell you, I would rather lose my left arm than throw up - I hate throwing up!).

I take them off when I sleep or shower, but other than that, I wear them constantly. They have been a life-saver!

For more Try It Out Tuesday ideas, check out Muthering Heights.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I know this is supposed to be wordless, but I want to point out that the thing on Bean's head is called a strainer. It hooks on the bottom of a snare drum to give it its unique sound. It also, apparently, works well as headgear.
For more Wordless Wednesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I love when kids get to the age where they start naming their dolls and not just calling them "Baby." Bean is very creative when it comes to naming her babies. Here are some of her favorites.

This one is Curly. Appropriate, because her hair is curly. Pretty good, right?

This one is Noddy. Okay, that's a little different, but cute.

This one is Bobka. Bobka? Um ... okay ....

This one is Sellamo. Well, it's definitely creative ...

This one is not a doll, I know. It's a pillow. But, it is carried around and tended like a baby. Bean was lying in bed, cradling the pillow one night, and she said to me, dreamily, "This pillow has a beautiful name."

I said, "Really? What is it?"

Bean took a dramatic pause and declared, "Ambelo. Ambelo Cracker."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008


I can't think of too many things that my cherubs love more than playing in water. So, after a much-needed rain the other day, they donned their scruffy clothes and their Crocs and headed out for an afternoon in the puddles (this immediately preceded the "tub turd" incident).

A great place to find puddles is behind the pool.

The girls jumped and splashed.

Cakes sat down a few times, resulting in an extremely saggy diaper and muddy bottom.

But this was an unexpected occurrence ...

Crocs - slippery when wet.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Last year, we got Bean and Cakes the Fisher Price Twin Time Loving Family dollhouse for Christmas.

It's in their playroom and it gets a lot of use. The girls will spend hours sitting behind the dollhouse, hidden from view, playing house with the little dolls. It's a great and surefire way to keep them from fighting for a significant period of time.

Last night, the girls were thoroughly engrossed in playing house. I usually watch them from the bonus room (they get irritable when I interject in their personal playtime, but nervous if they're upstairs by themselves), but I had to run downstairs for something. So, I sent Big Daddy upstairs to keep an eye on them. The cherubs were so involved in their play, that they didn't see Big Daddy come into the room. Big Daddy took this opportunity to get a little closer and enjoy watching his offspring at play. So, he crawled over to the dollhouse and peeked at them through the door.

The girls continued to play together, oblivious to his presence, until Cakes looked up and saw this ...

And this is how Cakes responded ...

(Thank you, YouTube, for this family-friendly parody for this family-friendly blog).

I think my youngest may be a bit on the high-strung side ...

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Do the poo stories ever end when you have toddlers?

Bean did a great job on the potty the other day. She let me know she had to go, and she performed well (and quickly) with no stagefright or tantrums. It's yet another milestone in the Poo Chronicles. I keep hoping we've finally turned that corner, where poopy on the potty becomes a normal part of her everyday existence and not some torture that she must endure on a regular basis.

And on to Cakes. She and Bean did some puddle jumping yesterday. Needless to say, they were quite muddy when they were done. So, I stripped them down on the back porch, and shuttled them into the bathtub. Then, I settled down in the living room where I could keep an eye on them and get some knitting done.

About ten minutes into the bath, Bean calmly called, "Hey, Mom! Poopy!"

I got up and walked toward the bathroom, thinking that she wanted some help getting settled on the potty so she could have a go. That was not the case. Bean was standing at one end of the tub, and Cakes was standing in the middle of the tub, dropping ... um ... little gifts into the bath water. I was surprised at the calmness of the whole scene.

So, after suggesting to Cakes that the potty was a better place to go poopy than the bath tub, I got the kids out and dressed. And spent the rest of the day listening to my giggling cherubs discuss what happened during their bath that day.