An irreverent look at motherhood and family life in a new state of normal.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Amazing Abby

Several developments after the Christmas madness of snow and ice and no power. Abby has discovered the joys of measuring tapes and letting them roll up and snap. Makes her laugh like crazy. Especially if the dog (who is to cold and to much of a wimp to be downstairs, so we have graciously allowed him to be in the entryway for some hours in the day) is near her and she can pull out the tape until it falls over on him. He jumps up with a start and runs off his "spot" and is promptly yelled at by both Andy and I. Poor guy, can't win and Abby is laughing all the way to the bank with that little nugget of humor.

She seems to get the idea of temperature, sometimes. She has no idea why her fingers and toes get cold but she claims that anything with steam coming off of it is hot and gets scared about bathwater and she knows that may be hot as well. Baths must now be accompanied by bubbles to be truly acceptable. The Christmas bubbles we got her are incredibly low quality and I have decided that buying pink Dawn and refilling it will be far superior.

During the long and tedious hours of potty training, were I insist that we are near the potty and the TV is generally not on because it is to difficult to stay focused on our naked baby who may or may not soil the carpet if we aren't watching her every waking hour, I have taken to giving her a book and taking a book myself. I will read a few sentences and then ask her what hers says. She now reads books to herself in an incoherent language all of her own making and seems to love it. When the book is finished, she pronounces it "all done" and moves on to the next one. Thank you, Kevin and Karen for her birthday present of a million and one Potter books that have provided endless entertainment and a real definition of the word Froggie.

It is also apparent that she knows about our routine more than we thought. After getting it together in the morning (which is much more fun now that she has her own hairdryer and brush and makeup stuff) she asks if we are going to shakers nakies (gymnastics which is always kicked off with shakers and a song) and when I tell her that we are on break for classes right now, she asks if we are going to Sabi-go-home (Sabbath School), which is her other favorite activity. I'm not sure how she will do when Andy and I have to go back to work and the regular routine starts again. She has been so spoiled for the last two weeks having both Mommy and Daddy around all the time.

Getting Ready for the Day

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Potty Training (cont.)

I have decided that Pull Ups are evil. We are trying to potty train Abby and any time she has anything resembling a diaper on, she just pees in it. She get's upset about poop but pee... nothing. She doesn't even notice unless she is naked and it's going to go on the floor. Therefore, we are going into what I am going to call intense potty training.

We are leaving her naked unless people are coming over or we are going out. Then she gets a regular diaper and we are "taking a break." Other than that, because it is break (and particularly, the side that we have no responsiblities for) we are just leaving her diaperless. She may have a shirt on but that can also get tricky. Then, one parent has to sit close to the potty training potty and call her over every time she starts displaying signs of needing to do something. She is getting the idea that she needs to sit if she feels "the feeling." I think we are getting somewhere and hopefully, by 2010, we will have a mostly potty trained kid. Not a big deal if she doesn't. We are giving her chocolate (M&M's) if she does something in the potty as well as praising her like crazy. I think she really likes this whole deal because there is a parent playing with her (watching her like a hawk to protect the carpet) all the time... literally. We are giving her tons of liquids and trying to keep her fed more than normal to keep the pipes moving. We'll see how it works out. I'm hoping to use some of her Christmas money for new panties for the new year. We'll see how that works out as well.

If anyone has more suggestions, we are open to them. I will say that Pull Ups are definitely out! We will not use them until we are DONE figuring out what it feels like to pee and poop and all that. Hopefully, we will just get into the underwear thing and leave Pull Ups for night time use only for a while.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

How You Can Know!

Many of you have seen Abby's hair in braids or pigtails.

You can know how tired I am or how our morning is going by her hair. When I'm up and at 'em and really getting it together, she's in braids all the way down. When she has been a little fussy that morning, braids are half way. When I'm feeling guilty about caffeine and have not had my coffee, pigtails. When I don't care about anything and am considering going to class in my bathrobe, she has wild woman hair and most likely, it's got peanut butter in it.


When Abby wants to sit on the toilet, she says, "Poo-pawie?" Which translated is, "Poop in the potty?" But this always comes directly after she has already pooped, or she is trying to get out of bed time, or she is sick of being in her diaper. So, today I was in the bathtub and she was messing around in the bathroom and I saw the look come over her face. You know the one, that watery eyed, red cheeked look with the lips pooched out that said, "I'm going to poop and you are going to have to chase me around to change this diaper."

She has been doing this thing where she hides behind a wall in the kitchen to poop and then she runs from me knowing that I'm going to change her immediately because I hate the smell and I don't want her getting used to being in a messy diaper. I leaped from the bathtub, as fast as a huge pregnant woman can leap. I grabbed my somewhat frightened daughter, ripped off her pants and diaper and sat her on the big toilet. She was freaked into constipation.

I knew that poop was waiting to come out and I wasn't going to let it get the best of me. I put her training potty behind the kitchen wall, got her some wipes (her favorite just-sit-there toy) and sat her down, naked to learn what pooping in the potty really meant. I didn't want to scare her again so we played with wipes and we washed the wall. (Before you start thinking what a mean Cinderella step-mom I am, realize that these are her favorite activities...) We scrubbed carpets and jumped around in blissful naked freedom. Several times, the look crept back onto her face and I would rush her back to sit down armed with a juice box to get the pipes moving and keep her from being scared about what we were doing. Finally, she got the idea that when she started to feel that way, she was to sit and she would rush there herself only to lose that feeling and run off to jump some more. Finally, after an hour and a half, she sat down just in time for the poop to rush out INTO THE POTTY!!!! She was scared at first that she had done something wrong with me sitting right there but as she sat, I praised the heck out of it. I smiled and clapped and made a general fuss. She got excited also and after a good wipe down, celebrated with me. So maybe we have closed the lid on what it feels like to poo-pawie. But I'm not sure. We will try again tonight and every day of break after that.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Giving Mommy the Spa Treatment

The other night, Abby decided she wanted to give Mommy a bath. She got down on her knees next to the bath and after testing the temperature of the water and pronouncing it "HOT!" she got a wash cloth and washed everything on that side of my body. She then turned me around so she could do my back. She got my shoulder and cheeks and everything and it was totally cute. There was water all over the floor but she felt totally important.

Today, we put bells on the tree. She put them all on one branch and it is taking everything in me not to move them but I can't. It was her thing to put on the bells. I got to put on the bulbs and ribbon. She's getting to be such a little helper. LOL!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cleaning Up Your Act

Was watching one of those entertainment news shows and saw Mark Wahlberg say something interesting. When asked about his Bob Marley tattoo, he responded that he was having all his tattoos removed. He said that he had kids now and didn't want them getting tattoos. Really? Marky Mark is changing his lifestyle because he has children? He's cleaning up his act. If you are single and somewhat unscathed by the world, take note: If Marky Mark, the man that made all other bad rockers lives possible, is cleaning up his act after having children to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars of tattoo removals and most likely other major cover-ups, you can still avoid it. Remember, someday, you are going to have to explain why you were on youtube doing whatever it is you were doing (Hello, Jon Gosslin). Remember that you are not invincible and stuff doesn't always get erased or forgotten. Even if the flashbacks are only in your own mind, you are going to have stuff in the past. I know it's hard to think ahead but I bet when Mark W. is sitting under a laser that is burning his Bob Marley portrait off his shoulder, he's wishing he had.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Woke up this morning to the most beautiful sound, "Mommy?"

"Yes, I hear the fan!"

It's amazing how when you start to feel like you need stuff (like a finer Christmas, or new dishes, or just a bigger paycheck in general), God plucks away something like the electricity and suddenly, you are satisfied with flushing your toilet.

What is it that we really need? Our bills are paid, we are clothed, fed and have a beautiful daughter, and somehow, the cords that attach to our gadgets are taking over the house. We financially struggle sometimes right before payday but we are not "needy." How many people are going without something like heat this Christmas? How many people will not be having a single present under the tree? Who is it that you can help? What can you do without this Christmas so you can do something for someone who is needy?

Every year, at my parents house, we got out the stockings and there was always one for each of us and then one for "the other guy." This stocking was for that person or persons who either was alone on Christmas (which happens ALOT) or needed something. We always took food down to the shelter and my Dad always does nice stuff for people year around. I hope that I can be an example of this Christmas spirit to my daughter and not get caught up in the hype.

But getting caught up in the hype is suddenly so easy to do with a kid! In my mind, that kid HAS to have Christmas. Abby won't even remember this Christmas but it is suddenly essential to have a Christmas dress ($50), a tree ($35), decorations ($25), presents ($150), wrapping and bows ($10), and your picture taken with Santa at the mall ($25)! $300 later and I am thinking about the person that doesn't have oil in their heating tank and wondering if we could have gone without so they could have what I take for granted every day, a thermostat that magically makes things warmer in my house... priceless.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What We Take For Granted

I pause in my frantic preparations for another possible power outage to blog this little thought. It is amazing what we take for granted. Like: washing dishes, vacuuming, flushing the toilet, heat, lights, maintenance men, and a million other little things.

Our power being out for the last 17 hours or so was the worst. We didn't have any indicator of when it might come back on and now that it is on, we don't know how long it might be until it's off again. There are heavy snow/slush/freezing rains predicted for the next few days and we might be going back and forth between the here and now and Little House on the Prairie. Fortunately, I have the most wonderful husband ever who just loves it all and gets out his camping stove and makes hot chocolate and Ramon Noodles and plays music on the little battery powered speakers.

A long game of Scrabble and several rows of cross stitch and I was tuckered out last night. We were scared we might not have power for several days so this morning we sponge bathed and conserved water as much as possible, using heated water from Andy's camping stove. That poor little thing is about done for after all this. When the lights suddenly kicked on, I was ECSTATIC. Thank you, Lord, for all your blessings including fast working power line men that are willing to get out in blizzard conditions and fix our power so we have HEAT! Those guys should get a medal! And Paul and Jason too for being on top of stuff here at the school.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Amazing Appearing Shower Head!!!

Whenever my parents are here, they tend to "fix up" our house a bit with a few gifts. They bought us a new table cloth (for my birthday). One time, Dad fixed our freezer and this time a chair and the stroller. You know, having them come is always awesome and feels a bit like some fixer upper show.

After they left this time, Abby was playing with a box and I saw that it was an unopened shower head. For a week, it just hung around and I finally got around to calling my dad to see if it was one of the things he had picked up at Home Depot. He didn't remember buying anything like that but you know... maybe. Josh was here too and I wondered if he had bought it and left it. He didn't remember either. We figured someone had purchased it and forgotten. We needed a new one and had been talking about getting one and just hadn't for lack of time. So, we put it up and started enjoying evenly dispersed water in our shower again.

A week later, I was collecting stuff that Josh (the toddler who plays with Abby two mornings a week) had left around the house as he was going to be gone for the break and might want all his things. His mom came in and we took a quick inventory and she said, "You didn't happen to come across a shower head did you?"

Oh, man. Should I tell her that it is in my shower?! LOL! I totally did. We got a real kick out of the amazing appearing shower head that she had been trying to find for two weeks! She "gifted" me the shower head for my birthday and we left it at that. I mean, returning a used shower head is kinda like returning underwear or something... am I right people?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cindy Lou's Mom

If you have seen the newest version of the Grinch, you know that Cindy Lou's Mom is in an unofficial competition with EVERYONE for the best lights, especially her perfect neighbor, Martha May.

Here at the school, there are several times during the year when we have these "potluck" like events. We are asked to bring a desert. My "Martha May" has always been this perfect haired goddess who makes the most awesomely wonderful tasting and beautifully table decorating deserts. She rarely has the time to actually participate in these potluck things but we all know who she is and how amazingly talented she is and we all wait with baited breath to see if she will show up with one of her gourmet concoctions.

This Christmas, we had our annual Christmas desert potluck. Now let me emphasize that the competition I'm about to describe all takes place in my own head (and probably the heads of all the women on campus).

I spend hours deciding what desert will be better than anyone else's and how I can dress it up to be PERFECT! This year I decided homemade, from scratch lemon meringue pie and key lime pie would be the key to me "winning" this cooking competition. Remember, I'm in contention with a culinary student, two cafeteria gurus and several mom's who make fondant covered birthday cakes... I'm really in trouble. Every year some disaster befalls my creation: soggy pastry, missing ingredients, time crunch issues or something like that. I'm plagued to never have that perfect desert.

My lemon pie is no exception. Today, I forgot to put in the egg yolks and had to start over, my meringue wouldn't stiffen up, and my filling overflowed the pan. As I clean up the GIANT mess, I think about the upcoming party with fear and loathing. As I wash sugar and egg whites out of my hair, I hope the mostly uneventful key lime pie will be better... It will most likely taste good but I doubt it will be pretty.

There is only one unofficial judge in my mind (as our boss has decided to go on a diet and this makes him totally incapable of judging). This person loves sweets and everyone makes sure he gets a little of their creation. Like Jim Carey being stuffed with fudge as the Holiday Cheermeister, our friend is watched on every side (albeit subtly out of the corner of our eyes) for his reaction to each and every bite.

Well, tonight I will find out how I did. I will be watching and it will be all in good fun. At least my presents for the gift exchange will be pretty! And so will my little Cindy Lou!

Potty Training

So we have arrived at the time in life where Abby knows when she needs to go potty. She asks to sit on the potty and then does... absolutely nothing. Then she will get up and down and up and down and I will put her in a new diaper and she will inevitably pee or poop. So, how do we get her potty trained? Is it worth it right now as she will have a new sibling in March? Ideas?

I have read Dr. Phil's ideas... crazy. I have heard about just leaving her naked for about 5 days and following her around all the time. If this really works, then Christmas break is the ideal time for getting it done as we are here and have minimal work to do over the break. I have heard about many different methods but I almost always hear that it's harder than any other part of parenting.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

You're hiding where?!

I have seen this for years: children hiding behind their mothers or fathers and the parents pulling them out from behind and putting them somewhere else. I always thought, "Why? Just let them hide if they are shy." That's not it at all. Abby is just butt height. Grr.... When she get's behind me, which she does ALL THE TIME, she puts her face right in my butt crack! LOL! I'm laughing and freaking out like, "Kid, that is not a place for a face." Talk about being up your butt all the time...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bed Time

Last night I was trying to put Abby to bed and I always start to get frustrated when she has come out of her room for the 3rd time (OK, the biggest and hardest part of putting her back in is that when she comes out, she's like waving and happy to see you sitting on the couch and you have to send her back to bed.) and I'm like, "Get to bed!"


How do you resist when she says, "Mommy? Book?" So you read her a book.

"Mommy, kiss, elbow?" So you kiss her elbow and any successive body parts she asks to have kissed like her cheeks and toes and hands and whatnot.

"Mommy, kiss mommy elbow?" So you let her kiss your elbows after she pulls back your sleeves because kissing an elbow through sleeves is not kissing an elbow, it's kissing a shirt.

"Mommy, drink?" So you hydrate her because she needs to be hydrated and child services doesn't look kindly on people who with hold liquid from their kids at night time.


"ABBY! Time for sleep. Night night!" And you run out of the room because if you stay one more second, you will be pulled into yet another cute way for her to manipulate you into letting her stay up.

Man, she's good....

Friday, December 11, 2009

Back to the OBGYN

Went to the OBGYN today to have a glucose test. I had to drink this awful sugar water and then they drew blood. Abby wanted to get her blood drawn also. I could just see that... I would have really fainted. I have trouble with needles as it is.

I don't have another appointment until January. I'm really ready for all this stuff to be over. I just want to have the baby and be done with the pregnancy. I being a mommy.

Abby has been wanting to rock in the rocking chair more and more. I can't believe it because she was never a snugly kid. She just wanted to play all the time. Now she will point and say, "Rock? Sit, Mommy? Rock?" She get's her blanket and her milk and we rock. It's so great!

You know how your baby, when they start talking, says words wrong and you love it? In fact, Andy and I say the words like her sometimes just to be funny. It's so cute. Abby goes to nackies (gymnastics). She eats cackers (crackers) and she says pees (please) and da du (thank you). I love it. I do say the words correctly around her because I want her to learn proper pronunciation but it's hard because I think her baby talk is so cute. My mom still talks about certain words that we always mispronounced that she loved to hear. I guess that's part of your little one growing up.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ashes of Bad Teenagers

I see this little bottle everywhere in schools and homes, this Ashes of Bad Teenagers. It is obviously a difficult thing to deal with young people sometimes and I should know - I was a BAD teenager. I was the one that rolled her eyes at everything my parents said and even if I wasn't showing it on the outside all the time, I was thinking what idiots they were. I was having shouting matches with them in my head and sometimes in real life. I said things I'm not proud of and made mistakes I wish I could go back and fix like a bad spelling error in a manuscript. I'm writing this particular blog for the parents/teachers of difficult teenagers. What am I saying? I should have said ALL TEENAGERS!

My parents spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get me to understand several things:

1. I was smarter than I thought. I could have been a straight A student.

A little time and effort and READING THE DIRECTIONS ALL THE WAY THROUGH makes a huge difference in grades.

2. Boys would always be there. I had way to many boyfriends.

Relationships when you are a teenager are largely just for entertainment and should be taken in stride. Don't get all bent out of shape over stuff.

3. Being open minded didn't mean agreeing with ME (the teenager).

Cussing is not an acceptable substitute for a well rounded vocabulary. Get it together and learn something and then express your frustration or anger or love in a clear manner. Not everyone HAS to like your taste in music, movies, or books to be an open minded person. You don't like their stuff either so don't judge the older folks.

4. A relationship with God is the only way to make it through this life.

God seriously wants you to have a great life. He didn't put you here to suffer. Let him lead you and it will go much smoother. If you want to know what He wants, you need to be His true friend and be honest with yourself. This means taking a good hard look at yourself, and no one else, every day when you STUDY YOUR BIBLE or SPEND TIME ALONE WITH GOD! If you can find 2 or 3 hours to spend reading Twilight, you can find 30 minutes to set aside for the Lord your Savior. If you can find 3 hours a day to watch youtube, you can find time to spend with God. If you can spend 3 hours on the phone with your significant other, you can find time to spend with God. It's all a matter of priorities.

The hope for parents and teachers is this - I find myself saying those exact things to my students all the time which means I either learned them or I'm great at channeling my mother. Maybe both.

Teeth, Mommy

Abby's favorite thing to do is brush her teeth, at least right now. She loves to floss also... Weird. If I let her, she will walk around with the toothbrush cleaning everything and then her teeth. No wonder her breath stinks half the time. She comes into the bathroom and practically screams, "Teeth, Mommy, Teeeetthh!!!" I wonder if she thinks she needs to yell because I'm way up here and she's way down there.

Whenever I'm getting ready in the bathroom, she comes in and stands on the toilet and imitates my every move. She wants foundation, blush, eye shadow and the works. I substitute a q-tip for and eye applicator, let her use a clean old blush brush and give her lotion to put on as foundation. I love it that she wants to do whatever I do.

When I go to the OBGYN, she sits in the chair with me and gets an unhooked blood pressure cuff on her arm while I'm getting mine checked. She weighs herself and pulls up her shirt and points to her tummy when they check the heartbeat. I love it. She's such a cutie.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Birthday and Baby Butts

My birthday was fabulous. I got up, went to gymnastics with Abby, came home, cleaned, taught class, got some fabulous pictures from my husband as a romantic gift, made myself a birthday lasagna, put Abby to bed and now I'm sitting here dreading putting together the worksheet for my students. I just want a break. I know that's not going to happen right now but we are going to celebrate at the Christmas break. I think. I'm not sure what we are going to do.

OK, on to the poop. Abby has been telling me when she feels like she's going to poop. She really wants to poop in the potty so I tried tonight to accommodate. I got her pants and diaper off and put her on the potty. Nothing. She got on and off and on and off. Then I heard it: the telltale fart that indicates the beginning of movement. I grabbed her to put her back on the potty. There was poop everywhere but the potty. She was so pleased with herself. I spent 10 minutes putting the poop in the potty and cleaning up the residue while she sat happily on the potty doing absolutely nothing. So why don't training potties come with the straps? Whatever.

Friday, December 4, 2009

I give up... Come on, Christmas!

The little tree that could is no longer. Due to my inherent lack of a green thumb, we have had to make rosemary butter out of what was to be the Christmas bush. Today, Andy browsed Home Depot for something I can't kill and found a 5 foot pre-lit tree. We are going to make some ornaments and I'm making some stockings for us to hang... I'm not sure where. Maybe over a heating vent or something. Anyway, let the frivolous Christmas decorating begin. We are officially on the path of financial ruin around the holidays and for some reason, I just can't say no to it all. Stockings, tree. Next thing you know, I'll be out selling my hair for an X-Box.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Public Tantrums

Whenever I go to Mom's group, if I want to stay awake through the whole thing, and my class and then dinner and bedtime, I have to have a little caffine. Therefore, Abby and I make a trek past Abercrombie and Fitch, some hair place, a jewelry store, through Belk and to Starbucks and back to the play area. Now, store fronts are easy because everything is behind glass and she can press her face up against the windows and no harm is done. Belk is another story. Jewelry is laid out for all to TOUCH and clothing racks are practically in the aisles. Makeup is within arms reach and all this usually proves to much for my little angel. Sometimes, I can get her through holding my hand the whole way. Some days, she get's through being held, squirming, screaming and upside-down. Oh, well.

She has taken to going limp when I'm holding her hand and she doesn't want to be led. I'm not sure how to get her off the floor when I'm to big and she's to big for me to carry but for now, I still win by sheer size.

Public tantrums are going to be a problem. Fortunately, my husband is an angel and usually is with me when I'm in the grocery store or a restaurant. Then one of us can haul the screaming kid out and the other can face the stares and humiliation while paying.

My biggest problem is when someone else's kid is having a fit. I want to be sympathetic but I can't decide whether to look or not look. If I don't look, I'm judging. If I look and they take it the wrong way, I'm judging. JUST TO LET YOU ALL KNOW: I'M NOT JUDGING! Abby is just as bad as every other kid. She is a screamer and unless I've had enough stamina to get out our monster stroller or the grocery cart straps are in tact and working, she is going to be in my arms, screaming, kicking and making a general nuisance of herself.


Well, just like the last pregnancy the insomnia is setting in. It is very hard not to cry every night when I wake up at 2 am and can't get back to sleep. I have read several books, taken up a vicious video game habit and am getting very frustrated.

The worst part is that when I first wake up, I try and get back to sleep as fast as possible but all the things I did that day that may have been "wrong" go through my head over and over and over. Last night I gave the wrong version of a test to some unsuspecting and very vulnerable freshmen. Poor kids couldn't figure out why they failed and all of them were feeling really crappy. I tossed and turned over that one most of the wee hours of the morning.

After finally getting back to sleep, I will wake in the morning feeling like I forgot something important and I will have that feeling all day. You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach? Like, "I left the oven on and the house is burning down and it's all my fault." Yeah, that feeling... all day. I hate it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pictures with Santa

So we finally did get pictures with Santa. So cute. Posting a copy on here. For $17 you get a fist full of advertisements and two, count them people, only two photos of your kid and Santa. Thank goodness for scanners.

Abby was totally freaked out and I don't know why. She is totally won over all the time and I don't get this sudden refusal to smile. So, I went ahead and bought the dear in the head lights picture and it looks remarkably like last years picture.