Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Don't diss my cake or I'll sic the wasps on you

I realized today that I haven't left the house/yard in the last 51 hours, so obviously not much has been going on. I think I'll be forced to crawl out of my hole tomorrow though...I am out of thyroid medicine, Mingus is out of his various uber-expensive medicines, and I'm giving Emily skim milk with flaxseed oil in it because we're out of whole milk and she's so skinny I'm afraid she'll wither away to nothing without fat in her milk. But for the sake of posting an update, I will try to make a couple things that have happened sound interesting.

So let's see. Yesterday, after making it through the bee flower incident unscathed, Emily was half-stung by a wasp. For some reason, wasps seem to LOVE sitting on top of her swingset, and I think they're actually eating the wooden monkey bars. Incidentally, the squirrels are eating the swingset too. When we have to replace this one, I'm getting an industrial-grade steel swing set with rodent/pest poison paint.

Sounds healthy AND fun!

Anyway, back to the wasps. I know the wasps like her swingset now, but I didn't realize this yesterday, I just noticed a wasp flying by now and then while I was pushing Emily on the swing. I thought to myself "You know, Emily is probably going to end up getting her first bee sting this summer, just because she spends SO much time outside", and the thought made me sad. Not two minutes later, a freakin' wasp flew into her swing path, and as she swung forward it hit her chin and fell down into her lap. I immediately grabbed her swing to stop her, and luckily the wasp flew away (one of my greatest fears is being forced to do battle with scary insects to save my children. I'll do it of course, but if Emily ever comes inside with a honeybee stuck in her foot or something I will scrape it out, treat the sting, and then probably dissolve into a gibbering mess, the only intelligible words emitting from me being "ew" and "I touched it!!!"), but as it flew off Emily's eyes got huge, her face slowly crumpled and she started to cry very softly. It was a weird cry, there wasn't the usual amount of oomph in it, so I thought I had just scared her with my reaction and I comforted her for a minute or two. Then I looked at her chin, and I saw a little purple dot surrounded by a white circle, which was surrounded by red skin. I realized at that point that she'd been stung and I ran inside and put some baking soda paste on her chin and got her a popsicle and a Thomas show. Then I demanded that Will kill every one of those wasps. They perch on top of the swingset, and he is taller than me, so it was his job. He tried to convince me that it's all well and good to want revenge, but they're wasps and they only sting out of defense, but I believe I snapped something about them DARING to sting my innocent BABY, and he headed out to the swingset. He was a good daddy and went after them, but in doing so he found out the hard way that the monkey bars are too old and fragile to support the weight of an adult :-(

I say Emily was HALF-stung because she honestly wasn't nearly as upset by the sting as I had thought she would be, and by that evening there was no trace of a sting left. But I TOTALLY saw a sting on her chin, so I am just going to say that my daughter has super-human healing capabilities. It's really the only logical explanation. So far we have only killed two of the five wasps I have seen buzzing around the swingset (who am I kidding, there's probably an unlimited supply lying in wait in the trees) so poor Emily can't swing for longer than 2 seconds at a time because I am continually snatching her out of the swing at the first sign of waspage.

Other than that excitement, I've done a lot of vacuuming, I've changed Emily's clothes 3x a day because she gets totally soaked playing with her outdoor water table but I don't have the heart to empty it, and I've made some naturally-sweetened whole wheat carrot cupcakes as practice for Emily's party this weekend. I am still sticking with the "give her nothing but healthy food until she knows any better, then back off" approach, and so far she still loves healthy food and she still doesn't know any better. The cupcakes are very tasty, but quite crumbly, so that means I won't be able to carve cakes into a giraffe-shaped masterpiece that I was planning. I'm actually pretty relieved about that though, because now I can just make a normal cake and put a cutout from one of the paper plates on it, then fancy it up with some frosting. It'll take much less time that way, and hey, I was GOING to make an amazing giraffe cake, I totally COULD have done it, but my healthy delicious cake recipe didn't cooperate so I chose my child's HEALTH over a fancy cake and WHY are you complaining about the cake's shape anyway when I'm inviting you here and feeding you?

Oh, I see you got me Emily a Thomas roundhouse. Well then, all is forgiven.

Friday, April 24, 2009


So we FINALLY got Will's bloodwork back, and things are better. Still not normal, but trending in that direction. At this point the doctor just wants Will to stay off alcohol and supplements for a month, then come back to check again. It is presumed that all of this has been caused by a crazy combination of the supplements and the Epstein Barr.

It makes me a bit nervous, because it seemed like last week the "Epstein Barr and supplements" theory was considered not enough to cause levels as high as the ones we were seeing, then with the fatty liver diagnosis it really was seeming like something was wrong, but this week the "EB&S" theory seems to be our working explanation for everything.

At least things are looking up now, and maybe we can stop living with the constant nagging uneasiness that something MIGHT be very badly wrong.

And at least this should give Emily exposure to Epstein Barr when she's young enough that she won't have symptoms. Thank goodness for small favors.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The top 10 awesomest things Emily has done today

1 - Shouting that she wanted to "go faster" while I was pushing her on the swing, and when she was going as high as she could possibly swing, shouting "I see trees upside down!" I didn't even know she knew the meaning of upside down.

2 - After being admonished that she needed to share blocks with a little boy at the library, walking up to him, thrusting a block at him and yelling "Share!"

3 - Managing to spend 20 minutes recounting the plot of an episode of Thomas and Friends, even though the episode itself was only about 5 minutes long and the only actual words Emily used were "Emmy Train", "Water", and "Seals".

4 - When I told her we were not going to go outside right this minute, asking instead for me to put her shoes and socks on, then her jacket, and then hey look! I'm all dressed, why don't we just go ahead and go outside.

5 - Coming inside to get me to follow her out to the yard so she could show me some doggy poop that had materialized since I cleaned up the backyard this morning. My little dog poop monitor was very concerned. Too bad there was already a footprint in it.

6 - Taking her nap exactly when and for as long as I needed her to today.

7 - Stealing my sandwich at lunch, but then making up for it by eating her tomato soup with noodles VERY carefully and not spilling practically any.

8 - (ok, this one was last week, but still) Being almost as excited as I was when we went to my great-grandma's birthday party at her retirement community center and randomly discovered the biggest, most well-outfitted Thomas train table ever assembled. Not only did this make it ok for me to play with it (my kid is playing with it y'all, I need to supervise) but it also affirmed that spending all that money on Thomas sets won't be just for my benefit.

9 - As she was watching her episode of Thomas before naptime and I was laying on the couch "resting my eyes", randomly producing two of her circular gel gems and sticking one to each of my closed eyelids.

10 - Humoring me when I was tired and laying in the yard to look at clouds for a couple minutes before hopping back up to continue tearing around at toddler light speed.

11 (Bonus) - Being the most expressive, verbal, sweet, outgoing, flexible, brave, clever, loving, independent, happy little 2 year old I've ever had the privilege of spending time with <3

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

That was the good, now here's the bad

We have a lot going on right now, and I chose to post about the good things first, but there's some other stuff we're dealing with that isn't so good.

I mentioned that Will has been feeling badly for months now and he went in for some bloodwork. Last Friday around 8AM we got a call from his doctor's office saying they wanted him to come in to talk about his blood test results this morning. Could he come in around 9?

Of course my stomach dropped to my feet. I helped him get ready to go, and then desperately tried to keep myself busy until he called to let me know what was up. I tried to ignore the fact that we'd gotten the call as soon as the doctor's office opened and that they wanted to see him ASAP. Probably not Mono, then. I tried not to let my mind wander to possible explanations that made me panic to the point where I felt like I just wanted to hug myself and rock.

When Will did call, it was a relative relief. First of all, he tested positive for Epstein Barr, but negative for Mono. The Epstein Barr means that he has had Mono at some point though, so I'm betting Will did just have Mono and he's gotten over it enough to test negative but the Epstein Barr still shows up. According to his bloodwork though, he was in kidney and liver failure. This sounded awful, but luckily we knew that the creatine Will takes can throw kidney function tests out of whack and show that there is a problem when there really is not. The liver thing was concerning, especially because his liver enzymes tested "very high", but we suspected that some of his other supplements might be partially to blame, and if he just got over Mono that would explain some of it too.

Either way though, it was nothing to mess around with, so Will went off his supplements and he went in for an ultrasound of his liver, kidneys, spleen and pancreas on Saturday. He got his blood drawn again yesterday to check his levels and make sure everything was trending downward after going off the supplements.

So then we got a call last night saying that Will's ultrasound revealed that he has a "fatty liver". That's all we've heard, but we're supposed to go in to talk to his doctor again once the new blood test results come in.

We're not sure if he just has a "fatty liver" or if it's considered fatty enough that he has Fatty Liver Disease. It looks like Fatty Liver is almost always caused by alcoholism (um, no) or being obese and not exercising (um, REALLY no).

So for now we're kind of dumbfounded. When we took out a life insurance policy about a year ago Will had his liver and kidney levels checked and everything was apparently fine. If he has a fatty liver, how on earth did it happen when he leads the healthiest lifestyle of anyone ever and what on earth do we do to treat it when the suggestions we've found so far are "lose weight" (he already did), "drink less than 2 alcoholic beverages per day" (he already does) and "exercise more" (I don't think that's possible)? Is it in bad taste to point out that "Fat Liver" (foie gras) is actually a French delicacy?

We're in the "something's weird and we don't know why" stage, and it's kind of scary. I hope talking to the doctor this week will answer some of our many questions. We're glad it doesn't seem to be anything completely horrible like cancer, but we'd rather it be nothing. On top of that, my parents and Will's mom (our only babysitters who don't have 9-5 jobs) are out of town this week so we might have to bring Emily to the doctor's appointment with us.

I'll update when we know more. In the meantime I console myself by thinking about the fact that my blood type can donate to Will's, so there's a good chance I could donate a kidney and part of a liver to him if it came down to it. It's nice to know I might be able to help in the future if it gets too bad, because I feel pretty helpless about how to help right now.

Monday, April 20, 2009

High and Praise-y, Low and Lazy

Will and I were Episcopalian-ized on Sunday.

Yep, we went down to the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Baltimore (which incidentally is smaller than our church in Frederick ptttttht!), and along with a bunch of teenagers being confirmed, we were "received" into the Episcopal church by the bishop. I'm a big fan of our bishop...he was raised Southern Baptist and spent some time in the 60's promoting the Black Panther party before becoming a bishop in the Episcopal church, and I just find that hilariously fascinating. It was also fascinating to observe some interesting phenomena I have never been exposed to before...for example a priest with BO so bad that it permeated the several layers of heavy vestments he was wearing to wrinkle the noses of people he passed by (who we nicknamed Father Stank), and a crucifer-type guy who looked exactly like Ricky Gervais and who periodically swung around a 30-ft pole with silvery ribbons at the end of it. I STILL haven't been able to figure out what that thing was and how it fit into the service, but it sure made things interesting when, at the end of the service he accidentally thwacked it into one of the hanging chandeliers and had to spend the next 20 minutes or so tugging on it to try and untangle it.

I may seem pretty blase about it all, and this may seem like it came out of nowhere to those who know me, but I just haven't really talked about it. It just seemed premature to mention it before we really became members, but we've actually been working on this for awhile.

As a kid, I didn't go to church. My mom was a non-practicing Episcopalian, and my dad was an Atheist. My mom wanted to take us to church, but my dad had bad memories of being forced to go to church as a kid, so they compromised and decided that my mom could take us to church IF we decided on our own we wanted to go. When I was about 9, I noticed that my friends were doing things through their church youth groups, and I asked if we could go to church. We decided to try out some churches, but ended up staying at the first one we went to, a Church of the Brethren because my mom liked it. There were only about 30 people in the congregation, and only 2 other kids my age. I was ok with it for awhile, and I went through with the whole baptism thing because the other kids my age were doing it, but I didn't really like church. It was all so casual, it felt more like going over to someone's house for a get-together and I wasn't all that pleased with some of the Church of the Brethren's rituals.

Will was raised Episcopalian, but his family switched to a Methodist church when he was about 12. He was pretty into the whole thing, but then his church started to get kind of crazy with people swaying and crying and such. No offense to people who choose to sway and cry, it's just not for us.

We tried to go to church when we were in college once. The whole getting up early on a Sunday morning thing didn't work too well with the way we chose to spend our Saturday nights in college, and the service was INTERMINABLE. We decided not to go back a second time, but it took us MONTHS for the church members to stop approaching us and inviting us to various hayrides and other activities.

After college, we were faced with the task of finding a church in which to get married. As I said, I wasn't a big fan of "my" church which was too small anyway, and Will's old church had left a bad taste in our mouths. We knew Will's family had a long history at All Saints Episcopal church and it passed my test for being big and beautiful, so that's where we ended up having our wedding.

Over the next couple years, we always intended to start going back to church at some to-be-determined time in the future. We both agreed that it would be good to give our kids some exposure to the whole religion/spirituality thing from the beginning, because I honestly wish I had gotten that earlier in life. The plan was to become established at a church before our first baby came along, but we still kept on putting it off. Getting up early on a Sunday was still too much for us to deal with.

So then Emily came along, and we struggled for awhile over whether or not to have her baptized. We felt like we shouldn't make too big of a deal over it, since we weren't especially religious ourselves. Both of our mothers were pushing for it, but did we really even care that much? If we got her baptized, would we be doing it for her, or for us, or for other people? We couldn't exactly carry her up to a random church and ask them to baptize her, so where would we even have it done? Again, neither of us really harbored fond memories of our childhood churches, and my search for someone nondenominational to perform a baptism didn't yield much.

So fast forward almost two years, and I felt that we had finally put it off as long as we could. Soon she'd be old enough to actually start in a sunday school, and the children's bibles Will's mom kept buying for her were bound to raise questions some day.

I was heavily leaning towards the Unitarian church. I liked the idea of exposing Emily to various different belief systems, then allowing her to make an informed decision on her own as to what she believes when she's older. I went to a local Unitarian church to try it out, and it just didn't feel right. As open-minded as they claim to be, most of the message the Sunday I attended seemed to be pretty judgmental towards Christianity. Plus the more I thought about it, the more it seemed that exposing a young child to ALL world religions all at once would just be confusing. Perhaps it would be better to choose a religion in which to give her a background, then visit some different churches/mosques/temples etc. when she is older.

I had kept my search under wraps up until this point, just because I did NOT want Will to feel pressured to go to church with me. He'd had enough of that when he was younger. But it felt wrong to keep things from Will, so I mentioned my search and surprisingly he was totally on board. He pointed out that we live in a largely Christian country, we celebrate Christmas and Easter. Christianity is where both of us have our backgrounds, and is the belief system we still both identify with most, and if the goal was to raise Emily in a church and eventually have her baptized, we had to first choose a church where we were comfortable.

The Episcopal church appealed to us because they are very formal and traditional, and yet they are also very progressive. I like the idea of participating in services that are much the same as they have been for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Services that are very similar to the ones OUR families have attended for a very long time, and yet I am encouraged to decide for myself what I believe. We also wanted a big church, because we wanted Emily to have lots of kids her age to do youth group activities with, and because a big church offers more opportunities. The Episcopal church offered services at all different times, and of all different types. We could have some anonymity and limit our involvement to simply attending church each week, or we could choose to get more involved and take classes or go to smaller services. Most of all I think I wanted to be sure I was choosing this church for the right reasons, and not just because I thought it was pretty enough to get married in.

So we enrolled in the 6 week confirmation class, started going to church, and now here we are. We followed the painfully typical path to get here (going to church as kids, stopping as teenagers, feeling rebellious about it even though almost EVERYONE does the same thing, then coming back once WE had a kid) and it'll be awhile before Emily can actually make it through a service, but for now she loves the nursery, and we're giving her something I wish I'd had. She'll probably decide she doesn't want to go anymore at some point and that's fine with me, but for now I think it's important and I'm glad we've made a decision and are happy with it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Jon Stewart stole my schtick

I totally posted about the pirates and took this same approach last week, Jon Stewart! Why don't you try to keep up and stop stealing my material!

And now for something completely different!

In my family, there has always been an ongoing argument about which Disney princess is best. Krista swears it's Ariel. Kathleen is a diehard Aurora fan. My cousin Maddie is all about Jasmine. I have no preference, but I like to instigate. Cinderella and Belle get no love, although to be fair, neither of them were BORN a princess, they just married WAY above themselves and are totally social climbers. We talk about this a lot. And the conversation usually ends with Will chiming in that oh please, Ariel is totally the hottest and everyone needs to shut up.

The fact that Emily is getting to the age where she understands the concept of Disney Princesses has only intensified things. She has seen a couple of the movies, and she has some books (thanks to my family). She thus far seems to be leaning towards Aurora.

Anyway, the other night I was looking at the new princess books my mom the Easter bunny got her for Easter.

Sara: Ariel looks really young in this picture. Her boobs are smaller and her body is skinnier.
Will: Yeah, Ariel has big boobs (snicker)
Sara: Yeah, especially for a 16-year old.
Will: Ariel is NOT 16!
Sara: (quoting) "I'm 16 years old! I'm not a child anymore!"
Will: Ewwww....
Sara: And Jasmine is still only 17: (quoting) "The law says you must be married to a prince by your 18th birthday!"
Will: Ewwww....
Sara: And AURORA is just barely 16! She's practically 15! (quoting) "Before the sun sets on her 16th birthday, she shall prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel...and DIE!"
Will: EEEEEW! They really should make them all at least 18!
Sara: Pedophile.
Will: To be fair, I was younger than all of them when I saw the movies, so it's ok.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

I didn't hold out high hopes for Easter. We were over-scheduled, Emily's nose had started running again so I didn't know if she'd be feeling very well (or behaving very well) or not, and with Will being #1 still sick and #2 an Easter grinch, I was stressed and worried that we wouldn't get everything done. It turned out much better than expected though, and I would even go so far as to say it was a good day.

We started the Easter festivities yesterday, with egg dyeing (with me still sporting my favorite gym shirt):

And also egg eating. We sacrificed no less than four eggs to Emily's not-so-gentle handling of the eggs and her appetite:

This morning started with the discovery of baskets (please excuse Emily's interesting pajama combo...she deemed every other pair of pants she has completely unacceptable. I guess we just dress a little strangely around here):

A quick breakfast:

Then we left for church, late of course. We arrived and our sizable church was already packed to the walls! We usually prefer to sit in one of the short pews along the side that goes all the way to the wall because one adult placed across the entrance to the pew can effectively corral an Emily while still providing her ample space to move around. Today we managed to get one of the last pew seats available, but it was a funky pew that was perpendicular to the other pews. This was undesirable because it offered no Emily-corraling capabilities, plus my dress was shorter than I remember it being and instead of having the back of another pew in front of me to block the up-skirt view, I was facing hundreds of people while trying to remain modest and wrangle a toddler. After loudly crunching through her Gerber Graduates cheesy corn puff whatevers and pretending to color on the ceiling, Emily was DONE so the rest of the service was spent taking her downstairs, passing her off, trying to take her back upstairs, failing, and then after all of that realizing that they DID offer daycare today, even though they had said they wouldn't. Blah.

Then it was home, for a quick egg hunt in the front yard...

...and me trying to throw together the sugar-free version of my favorite Easter dessert that I try to make every year with varrying degrees of success. I decided to tweak it a little this year, and if you've ever wondered what fruit-flavored and gelled curdled milk tastes like, I now know. But attempt #2 was my best yet.

After that we headed over to my mom's house, and Emily obligingly fell asleep in the car on the way over, napped for an hour, and awoke fresh and happy, making me look like a fool for warning everyone that she was going to be a monster when she woke up because she's ALWAYS a monster when she has to take her nap in the car. Way to know your kid, mom. Much fuss was made over Emily, a second egg hunt was orchestrated (what is she going to do when she's not the only grandchild and she'll have to share eggs with other kids?) and then we headed next door and spent an enjoyable evening at my grandparents' house. Emily actually played with her (first) cousins (once removed) instead of clinging to my legs the whole time, and my grandfather solved the problem of the pirates (nuke Somalia).

So we accomplished every planned activity, there were no major meltdowns despite Emily having another cold or possibly allergies, and despite the fact that the only things she's really eaten today are eggs or things that came out of plastic eggs.

Oh, and Will is pretty convinced he has Mono now, and he's getting tested tomorrow. He has started counting the length of this weird illness in months and not weeks, and allergy meds, 2 rounds of antibiotics, sinus sprays and rest have all failed to cure him. Someone suggested back in early March that he might have Mono and might want to get tested, but someone else scoffed at the idea and dismissed it as preposterous. And what brought about this change of heart? A conversation with my mom.

At least he listens to her. We'll see what the doctor says tomorrow. If it is Mono, there's still not really anything we can do but at least we'll know one way or the other.

PS - Sorry to harsh on you Will. You know I love you!

Friday, April 10, 2009

They're two, they're four, they're six, too late

I could have stopped it. But I didn't. And now I'm going to pay, quite literally.

I remember watching Shining Time Station when I was a kid. It must've been on after my sisters watched Sesame Street or something. I remember not really liking it. The trains kind of freaked me out, there was all manner of foolishness about a jukebox, plus it was BORING. At 8, I was probably a little old to be in the target audience anyway. Up until a couple weeks ago, I was mildly aware of the fact that Thomas is, in fact, still around a generation later, and that he is quite popular.

We got into the whole Thomas thing because it was free. I found a coupon online for a free wooden Thomas and Friends engine (choice of Thomas, James, Edward or "Lights and Sounds Percy") and I figured "Emily has never seen Thomas in her life, but hey, it's a free toy". We got Percy, of course, because he made noise and lit up and cost more than the other engines. But while we were picking him out my jaw almost hit the floor when I realized how much those damned things cost. Lights and Sounds Percy is $17.99 at Toys R Us. The other engines were $12-ish. The wooden track sets are ungodly expensive. That means the little boy who brings his Thomas play set to Little Gym and plays while his younger brother is in class is carrying approximately $500 worth of trains and train accessories in his Thomas backpack. And you give these things to toddlers to play with?!?!?!

Emily enjoyed her Lights and Sounds Percy, but never showed a preference for him over other toys. Then one day she wanted to watch a "show", but she turned down all of the "shows" we own, one after another. So I went to Netflix and tried to find something available for insta-watch. I saw a couple Thomas episodes, and I figured she might get a kick out of seeing her toy on TV so we watched one. Again, because it was available pretty much for free. Emily seemed less than impressed. In fact, she turned the TV off halfway through, which is unprecedented. "Oh well" I thought. "I never really liked Thomas either but holy cow are there a ton more trains and trucks and tractors and helicopters now then there were back in 1989".

But then the next day she wanted to watch "train show". And that is where I could have stopped it. I could have put on Elmo instead or found something else and after a minute or two she would've forgotten all about Thomas. But part of me felt that it might be good to get her interested in something more "boyish". If I had a little boy, I'm sure I would've bought him a token baby doll, so maybe it would be a good thing to encourage an interest in trains (boyish) vs. play kitchens and dollhouses and tea sets (decidedly girlish). Plus he is a licensed character with easy-to-find birthday party decorations! And part of me figured she has a birthday coming up and we could tell our relatives to get her all sorts of expensive trains and track sets and the Mt. Sodor Bridge and Cranky the Crane and ooh, I want the zoo cars....

THAT is why they're so expensive. You're buying them for your children, but you secretly want to play with them too. It'll be fun time spent together! It'll help teach them sharing! It's interactive fun for everyone! And we have a million Thomas' but we don't have Happy Birthday Thomas yet! They suck in the parents too and then they know you'll shell out hundreds of dollars for more and more engines and cars and track sets because it's something both you AND your child want to play with. I just noticed Toys R US is having a "buy one get one half off" sale on some of the trains and I will be very surprised if this day doesn't end without me having purchased two.

So we watched another episode. She spent the whole time excitedly shouting "Hi Thomas!" every time he came onscreen. And ever since then, "train show" has been the only show she requests anymore.

She can tell Thomas (Hi Thomas!) from any of the other blue engines. She recognizes Percy, although she has trouble with her "R" sounds, so his name comes out sounding like a slang term for part of the female anatomy which makes Will snicker like a very grown-up adult every time she says it. She has also realized one of the trains is named Emily, so she calls her "Emmy-train". She has started trying to say "Gordon" but she's not quite there yet.

And she truly does learn from it. She busts out with brand new sentences after every episode, and she LOVES to run over to me and tell me what just happened over and over and over (even though I'm sitting right there watching it with her) so I know she's listening intently. And there are worse things she could be watching.

So all I have to do is put up with a bunch of freaky engines always being "cross" and whining that they want to be "really useful" and pushing each other into snowbanks (what on earth are the actual drivers doing during all of this?) but then they "buffer up" and learn very important lessons about sharing and not hurrying and doing a good job, and we won't even get STARTED on the brittish kids singing "do be do be do bah" who sound exactly like the brittish kids who sang "Every Sperm is Sacred" in Monty Python's Meaning of Life....

....and then all those Thomas and Friends wooden railway toys will be MINE! I mean Emily's.

I'm fairly "chuffed" about it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ninja Bees

I was driving home today, trying to simultaneously drive, listen to the radio and shake my fist at Superfresh (damn you Superfresh! You lure me in with irresistible deals and half price dairy products and then you charge me $1.50 extra per artichoke and tell me that yes the mustard is on sale but only the kind that we don't actually have any of and no you can't have your coupon back even though you haven't even left the store yet) and the typical things were being discussed on the news. Cyber-hackers getting into the US's electrical grid blah blah blah the economy is still a long way from turning around yadda yadda yadda pirates.


And not just pirates. Pirates who took over a ship crewed by Americans off the coast of Somolia and took them hostage and then the crew overpowered the pirates and took one of them hostage but then the pirates took the captain of the ship hostage in some kind of bizarre triple-hostage situation. Didn't I see this movie last year?

I'm sorry. I KNOW that these are real, live, actual people who are in peril as we speak, but I just can't fathom (ha!) the whole pirate thing. I mean, little boys dress up and play pirate. So I make tasteless jokes about it.

And in a seamless segue, because I am an excellent writer who values continuity, here is a story from this weekend complete with pictures.

Will went up to his parents' farm on Saturday, and came home with a bouquet of daffodils that he'd picked for Emily and I. We were both thrilled...Emily because I gave her one to run around with, and me because I was thinking "Emily is a lucky girl to have such a good example of how men should treat their women, and I am a lucky girl to be married to such a good example of how men should treat their women, and now I am going to follow Emily around the backyard taking pictures of her with her flower because I want to capture precious childhood memories."

And I did...

Toddler with a daffodil, how adorable!

Smile for Mommy!

"Bees", she said. "Yes, you're right you smart little girl, bees like to go in flowers!"

Can you sniff the flower Emily?

Oh look, here's Daddy, lets get some Daddy-daughter photos!

I snapped the picture the instant that Will realized that the flower was, in fact, filled with bees.


And that was one of the first pictures I took.

About 10 minutes of "Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, get them out, they're in ALL the flowers, holy crap and I was telling her to smell them, she told me there were bees but I didn't listen oh my God oh my God oh my GOD" followed. Will was chivalrous and took every flower over to the fence and flung the bees into the street. I don't know what kind of freaky ninja stealth-bees they were, but they were all just chillin' in the flowers in groups of 4 or 5, waiting for us to perhaps go to bed before the emerged, flew up to our rooms and stung us to death.

Or maybe they were actually pretty small bees and they may not have had agendas that included killing us and turning our house into a giant beehive, but still, there were BEES 3 inches from my daughter's face!

Bees sneaking my house, pirates sailing the high seas in 2009, Superfresh being a total (irresistible) dumbass, it's all too much for me to take right now. I think I'll go swab the deck (mop my bathroom).

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


It's snowing. I'm not ok with that.

I guess it's not the latest in the year it has ever snowed. I recall getting stuck in April at a super-lame party in college because it snowed a lot and we had to sleep in a car because our ride parked in a field and it was too snowy to drive away. And we let a guy we'd never met sleep in the trunk. Fast forward 9 years, and that guy is about to become our brother-in-law. Funny how things like that happen.

I'm still not ok with it snowing right now.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

OMG she peed in the potty last night!!!!

I was so excited I almost cried.

Maybe she is ready to start officially potty training.

UPDATE: Tonight she peed on the couch once, on the carpet once, and in the potty zero times. May reconsider beginning to attempt potty training.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

"OhHO Dash!"

There is a guy in my life about whom I have hinted before, but I've never spent much time discussing him here. I think I may have mentioned him twice in passing. I guess I felt that it would be kind of strange to devote a post to him. But as I sat and thought about it, I realized I spend almost 100% of my waking hours with him. He factors into my plans, and household activities are planned around him, so I think he warrants a post. Plus he is absolutely central to Emily's existence...her happiness hinges on his constant presence, therefore he is very important to me too. I am speaking, of course, of Dash the Giraffe.

Emily has shown preferences for stuffed animals occasionally over the past few years. Her favorite toys have almost always been bunnies (which she still stubbornly refers to as "hoppies", even though she definitely realizes that's not what they're really called) with the exception of a couple weeks of Nemo-inspired fishy preference. But she never seemed to care what particular "hoppy" she was dragging around, just that she had something soft to play with.

Dash has actually been around even longer than Emily. Will's Aunt Betsy gave him to me at my baby shower, along with a bunch of cute matching onesies. She lives on a farm, and she initially thought that the characters on the clothing were cows, so she grabbed up a bunch of matching items. She must've realized they were giraffes and just decided to go with it once she decided to buy Dash because I've never seen a cow with such a long neck, and even though she has raised quite a few cows herself, I'll bet she hasn't either.

So Dash was always there, waiting in the toybox or the toy hammock in Emily's room. He'd periodically come down to play, then disappear for a little while longer. As an infant she preferred toys that were more interactive, and Dash doesn't do much other than rattle. As a toddler she has seen him now and then, but never really been interested. A month or so ago, all of that changed. I'm not sure what brought it on, but all of a sudden he went everywhere with her. Whenever we told her he was a giraffe, she would repeat after us but the word would come out as "Dash", and now it is just his name. I think it's a good name for a giraffe. If I don't remember to bring him upstairs at bedtime or naptime, I will most certainly have to witness my daughter's eyes growing wide with panic and her voice losing its ability to say anything other than "Dash! Dash! Dash! DASH!". He gets particularly frisky during diaper changes, kissing Emily's face and toes and climbing her legs, illiciting the occasional (and unsettlingly flirtatious) "Oh, Dash!" from Emily. Occasionally he is also "poopy", and Emily demands that I wipe him too, although as you saw in the last post he is making stunning progress with both using and living in the new potty.

I have to plan my loads of laundry around him. As any well-loved toy does, Dash becomes filthy on a pretty regular basis. Thank GOD Emily decided to form an attachment to a toy that is machine-washable and not one of those fancy little "wipe with a damp cloth" stuffed animals we seem to have so many of. That is just NOT practical. As was the case today, I had to make sure I had a load of whites ready to go when I put Emily to bed, so that as soon as she fell asleep I could sneak Dash out of her crib and into the wash, hopefully to be all clean and dry before she wakes up. It proved more difficult than I had thought, as she had fallen asleep with a death grip on his neck.

I am now pleased to say that thanks to Grammy's generous donation, we have a back-up Dash. Since Emily would be absolutely broken-hearted if anything ever happened to Dash, Grammy suggested I look for another one online. He wasn't easy to find, since he was just sold to go along with a particular line of clothing at The Children's Place and there aren't many of him out there. Another Dash finally turned up on Ebay...for $12.99! How much did this thing cost originally? I griped about it, and finally Grammy decided that she would see to it that Emily had a back-up Dash, even if her mother wasn't willing to submit to highway robbery on Ebay to get her one. Dash the second arrived in the mail today, looking pristine and proud, with a head that will stay up straight instead of dangling off to the side on a neck that has had all of the stuffing squeezed out of it. I am thinking of putting Dash the second into rotation as a substitute when Dash the first has to be washed while Emily is awake. I debated just putting him up on a shelf in case any calamity befalls Dash the first, but the longer Dash the first sustains the brunt of Emily's affections, the more he will deteriorate and the more obvious it will become that pristine Dash the second is not the real, well-loved Dash.

We are having a Giraffe-themed birthday party for Emily next month, and I am hoping to make her a cake that looks like Dash. I have been taking pictures of him, making sketches of him, and brainstorming foods that fit into the "Dash" color scheme of white, ivory and orange with a touch of greyish-brown. I would love to do a whole Dash theme, but since he's just a toy and not a TV character he has no background story and I am not a skilled enough graphic designer to create our own Dash decor.

Have I mentioned we're a bit obsessed with Dash around here?

There. I've finally gotten it off my chest that these days I spend almost as much of my time thinking about Dash and doing Dash-related chores as I do accomplishing anything else. And now I know that when our second kid comes along, I should encourage him/her to take interest in toys that are machine-washable, and preferably ones that you can easily find on party supplies.

Now if you'll excuse me, I hear a little girl over the baby monitor who is seconds away from realizing she is Dashless. And unless the dryer is lying to me again, Dash should be just about ready.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The dryer is toying with me

7:03PM - The dryer says Emily's diapers (including ALL of her night-worthy diapers) will be dry and toasty warm in 1 hour, 15 minutes.
8:00PM - Time I meant to take Emily upstairs to fight her into the shower because even though she hates baths and showers she has to get clean sometimes.
8:22PM - Time I actually got my act together and started to head upstairs with Emily before noticing the dryer only had 12 minutes left. It does not occur to me that the diapers were supposed to be done already, and I decide we can wait another 12 minutes before going upstairs for bed.
8:40PM - The dryer is not done yet. I check it and it says it has 39 minutes remaining!?!?! Now I have to get creative and figure out what Emily will be wearing to bed tonight because I am not keeping her up 39+ more minutes just for a diaper. I am really wishing she had miraculously potty trained herself immediately after being introduced to her new potty today.

My dryer lies to me but I still love him. We have a dysfunctional relationship.

Potty time

A couple weeks ago, I got Emily a little step stool/potty seat that goes on the big potty to make it more toddler-friendly. We've left it set up and not really pushed the issue, just allowing her to explore it and see if she liked climbing up there. Well, she doesn't. She will sit on the bottom step, but she doesn't actually go up onto the potty, so I thought maybe a little potty that isn't so high up off the ground would be less scary for her. We got our Bjorn potty today, and Emily definitely finds it more approachable, but we are still a long way from using it for its intended purpose. Dash the giraffe loves it though.