Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Constant Serenade


There once was a mommy
Who didn’t know what to do.
She had to hold her little guy
Or he’d scream ‘till he was blue.
Whenever she’d shower or eat
He’d sing a serenade
About little boys in overalls
On a screaming tirade.

They had three whole days together,
Just mommy and her son.
Her hopes were soon a pipe dream
Of getting anything done.
She attempted to start the laundry,
And she tried to do the dishes
But quickly learned that housework is
Against her cutie-pie’s wishes.

So she told herself
His little won’t stay,
And they went out for a walk
And snuggled together the rest of their day.

And then their last day alone dawned
All clear and sun shiny
So mommy planned for another walk
To help shrink her hinny
And she’ll snuggle in again
And smile, chuckle and laugh,
For when daddy’s home today,
SHE’S TAKING A BUBBLE BATH.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Oh. Oh My. I've Become My Mother.

I never expected this. It was the ultimate no-no to me as a 13 year old girl, and even as I grew to realize my mother knew considerably more than I previously thought, it remained on my huh-uh never list for my visions of the future. Even after marriage, children, and being close with her for the last 15 or more years, it’s still something I’ve tried to avoid. I firmly believe that as women we can love our mothers tremendously and whole heartedly. We can want to be like them. But somewhere down in our little inner psyche a little voice whispers to us as a constant reminder that we do not want to BECOME them.

It may start innocent enough. A little nose wipe with your sleeve here, a spit bath there, and then way out of left field comes using the kitchen rag to wipe a messy face (something I swore at 8 I would never do even under utmost forms of torture).

And then one day I’m going about my business blogging about one of my most embarrassing moments. Then I discover that my sweet mother has taken the time to leave me a nice lengthy comment, and WHAMMO it hits me. I am more like my mom than I previously thought. In fact, I may very well have become her. It’s left me chuckling all morning.

Mom’s comment brought back a memory I’d almost forgotten about. Smoochie attended pre-k classes at our local elementary school for a period of time. The bus would pick him up and drop him off in front of our house. I loved it because there’s something heart tugging about such a little boy trying to get on and off a big bus.

One afternoon in the middle of winter the bus dropped him off in front of our house. My son was bundled to the utmost. Big fluffy coat, check. Snowpants, check. Hood, hat, and scarf wrapped snugly, check. He resembled a 3ft tall Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

We always use our back door at our house that leads into our kitchen. Smoochie got off the bus and took off running as fast as his little legs would move for the back door, which was inside our fenced in yard.

As I watched everything unfold, my mind and my mouth were on two different pages. They were completely out of sync.

My mind went about a mile a minute. Slow down little boy, the ground is wet and slippery. Hey, our gate is closed you need to slow down. He’s gonna stop and wait for me. Slow down slow down slow down, stoooooooop!

My mouth had a total short circuit. Nothing came out, and I watched the events unfold before me in silence.

His scarf was wrapped too high upon his face, and he could not see our chain link fence quickly approaching through the brutal winter air on the other side of it. He was running blind, much like a fluffy little human bowling ball. He’s never been a very fast runner, but I do completely think he set personal speed records on this afternoon.

Fwaaack! He hit our chain link fence at full speed and bounced off it like he’d taken a running leap at a vertical trampoline. He wound up about 3 feet away on his back and stunned into total silence. His winter gear cushioned the fall, and for a moment the only sound was the tingalingaling of the chain link percussion.

And then there was laughter. I laughed so hard my tonsils froze. I fell to my knees and couldn’t breathe. Through my tears I tried to help him up and make sure he was ok, but it took a few minutes for me to compose myself enough to get us into the house. I unbundled Smoochie and made him a nice hot lunch- while chuckling of course. And then I ran to the phone to call my mom and tell her what happened through more laughter and tears- because I knew of all people she would appreciate my story the most.

I guess if becoming my mother brings years worth of tears from laughter, there could be worse fates in life. Unless you ask a 13 year old girl.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Kleenex Boxes

My mother is the youngest of 5 children. More importantly, she is the only girl of the family. I know I have mentioned in the past that my uncles have been known to tease me. I can safely assume that once I arrived in the picture, I may have taken my mother’s place of honor. I can also assume that she probably got worse than I ever dreamed of. Something tells me, though, that it was just a matter of time before she was able to hold her own.

Back when we lived in Carbondale (and shortly before we had children), my mom drove the 6 hours to spend a few days with us. Bonehead and I used to love these visits from our mothers because it usually meant a trip to the grocery store. Free groceries to supplement a college budget are always an extremely welcomed item.

On this particular visit, my mother and I went to the local Wal-Mart to do some shopping. She had gone her own way for a few minutes leaving me to peruse the aisles at will, choosing the items I thought we could make use of. As I neared the end of an aisle, on the right hand side, I saw boxes of tissues. We needed tissues.

Now, I have noticed a pattern in all of the grocery stores I have visited in the past 15 or so years. At one point or another during my excursion there is always someone I have to wait for to make a decision. Usually, from the time they take, you’d think the decision was a matter of life or death. “Oh, oh, oh. Do I get the 2% cheese or the full fat? What would the kids actually eat? Would the hubby notice if I slipped 2% into his diet? Oh, oh, oh.”

Sometimes that decision maker is me, sometimes it is not.

On this day, it just so happened the decision maker was someone else. And usually, I am more than patient. But for some reason I can not quite explain, that day I wasn’t. As I saw her bent over the Kleenexes, I decided I could sneak up above her and grab the box I wanted real quickly. In and out, and she’d never know I was there.

Except for the fact that I dropped the box on her head. I immediately wanted to crawl into a hole and blend in with the scenery. Oh, how I wished I could have been anywhere but there- I would have preferred weeding the cracks in sidewalks with a butter knife to standing in that store at that moment. I immediately began to apologize profusely. “Oh, I am SO SORRY.”

It was that moment I noticed my mom approaching us. My own sweet , loving, grocery providing mother looked at me, looked at the lady, assessed the situation, and said, “No, she’s not. I saw her, she did it on purpose.”

I turned about 23 individual shades of red, and that’s all I remember. I think I blacked out.

And that is another one of my very many most embarrassing moments.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Weight Loss Wednesday

Wednesday weigh in time:

Weight: +2

I caved big time in the face of French bread yesterday. Mental note- if you’re going to cave, if you absolutely must give will power the day off, do it on Thursday and not Tuesday.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Critter's World

I apologize for the shortness of my past few posts, but typing one handed takes a lot out of a girl. Right now I feel like an undercover agent fully immersed in Critter’s world.

In Critter’s world:

Feeding = Full body contact sport

Binky = Projectile

2 a.m. = 10:30 a.m.

Mommy’s fingers = The best toy EVER

Big brother = Entertainment center

Sleep = Unnecessary waste of time

Mommy = Really cozy bean bag/ Beef jerky

Mommy's laptop keyboard = Kick-toy target

4:30 a.m. = Snuggling into Daddy’s super comfy abandoned spot in bed next to Mom.

Hey. Mommy has to sleep sometime.

Smile = Gold

Laughter = Titanium

Snoring = A happy dance from Mommy.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Reason I'm So Good at Typing One Handed


As I’m up for the second time tonight, I am reminded of a phrase of mine that my husband often repeats in situations like this. “Cute baby fingers and cute baby toes.”



Sunday, June 22, 2008

Rights of Passage

Today Smoochie performed 4 summertime rights of passage. He played on the slip and slide, learned how to spit watermelon seeds, walked barefoot in freshly mowed grass, and slurped down a freezie pop.

As I was showing him how to spit watermelon seeds, I was reminded of my own summers as a child. I mentally traveled back to the days before air conditioning was common place, when we splashed in a 3ft plastic pool for relief and ate watermelon in slices as big as our heads. Wearing little jumpers that tied at the shoulders. Walking to the little convenience store for candy and carrying our shoes the whole way. Making up games at the park in order to avoid the boredom that inevitably arrives on the longest of lazy summer days.

I realized that someday Smoochie will look back on his summer vacation(s) in much the same manner that I look back on mine. I want to plan a summer for him that includes all manner of new experiences and some of the rights of passage from my childhood as well. I want to be with him and watch the joy as he experiences catching lightning bugs at dusk, gorging on smores next to an open campfire, learning the fine art of the well aimed cannon ball.

I want him to experience all of that and more, but I am finding that I am quickly running out of ideas, and summer has only just begun. On top of that, I am limited by funds having just recently become a stay at home mom. All of this leads me to my question. What other summertime rights of passage can I pass on to my son? What stands out most in your memories? I would love any ideas that would help me make a very long summer a little more enjoyable to us all.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Chain Grease and Green Beans

Earlier this afternoon, I watched Bonehead make about 4 trips to our basement with bike stuff in his hands. I sat in my chair, holding our napping son in his preferred horizontal position, and watched. He hadn’t mentioned anything about his plans, but I know him. I know when something is brewing in his scheamy little mind, and after being married so long, I recognized the feisty tunnel-visioned determination with which things were being carted downstairs. Something was definitely up.

Sure enough, after I laid Critter down and began dinner preparations, Smoochie came upstairs and said “Mom, Dad needs you downstairs.” What on earth was going on down there? I took the bait and down I went.

I got downstairs and asked Bonehead what it was that he wanted me to do. Apparently, by the look he gave me, even he was doubtful I was actually going to follow through and help him out with his request.

“I need you to crawl under the tool bench and hold this screwdriver on the back side of this round spinny thingy here.” Yes, he used a technical term, but I have never claimed to have a photographic memory when it comes to mechanical stuff. Now, every word Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson muttered on the talk show I watched last night I can regurgitate verbatim. But Bike terms, no.

I looked at him like he just sprouted fangs and told me he “Vanted to Suck my Blooooood.” Our basement is not finished. There are scary creepy crawly things down there. There are cracks and crevices I’m afraid to LOOK in let alone place precious limbs in. So I did the only thing I could do. I looked at him and with all of the love in my heart said, “No. Huh-uh. Not gonna happen.”

At that point he gave me option #2. “You can stay right here and torque this tool thingy if you want and I will crawl under there and keep the round spinny thingy from spinning.” (Again, my interpretation of what actually came out of his mouth)

I chose to torque the tool. Which didn’t budge, of course. So after trying for a few minutes and getting looks from Bonehead which I interpreted as “Oh for crying out loud, crawl under the freeking tool bench so I can hurry up and get on with my diabolical plan already!”, I finally caved.

I crawled under the bench that had been free to gather cobwebs and all sorts of creepy crawlies since the dawn of time and held the screwdriver just where he wanted it so he could torque. I snuck a look at my hands which just mere moments ago were preparing green beans for dinner, and they were covered with chain grease. I sat on our cold concrete basement floor and looked at him square in the eye across the bike frame hung up on the hooks and told him, “The things I do for love.”

It turned out that the tool he had was the wrong one, so he and Smooch had to make a quick trip to our local bike shop for the proper one. I traipsed my way back upstairs to wash my hands and continue with the beans; only to discover that the beans I bought two days ago fresh looked pretty sketchy tonight.

So I asked him if he could stop and get me new beans on his way back home. Now, I know how geared up he gets when it comes to bikes, bike things, bike rides and bike accessories. So when he rolled his eyes and said, “I’ll stop for you”, I knew it was the same as saying “The things I do for love.”

We’ve been married for 14 years. I learned a long time ago that fairy tales and ultimate romance happen not so much. It’s all about the chain grease and green beans.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Breakfast Banana Split

Breakfast Banana Split

This is my favorite breakfast –aside from pancakes made at our local pancake house. I discovered this recipe in the Biggest Looser Cookbook and quickly fell in love. At first I thought the combination sounded a little kooky, but I figured I would give it the “one honest try” I’m always telling my son about. Yum. It’s just enough food to keep my tummy happy until lunch without making me feel overfull and drowsy. Well, any drowsier than I normally feel.


The Ensemble:


A Banana. Whatever your preference is. I like them ripe.

2 TBS Peanut Butter. Whatever brand you’d like to use.

Yogurt. The recipe actually calls for a yogurt such as Boston Cream Pie, but I prefer plain vanilla. I haven’t tried any other flavors with this recipe, though.

2 TBS Crunchy Cereal. (I use 1/4 cup and adjust my calorie count accordingly) You can use the cereal of your choosing. Grape Nuts, Granola, whatever. I prefer Kashi Go Lean Crunch.




First you cut the banana length wise in half. Because I don’t have a banana split dish, I have to cut it in half the other way, too, in order to get it to fit in my bowl.





Then you spread on the peanut butter. Sorry. I usually get carried away when it comes to the peanut butter. I tend to get a bit messy.





Next you spread the yogurt over the banana and peanut butter. I like colder yogurt better. Next time I think I might try to put it in the freezer for a little while first to make it even colder. I can’t believe I’ve never thought of that before.





Sprinkle the cereal on top and dig in. It’s pretty simple, filling, fairly healthy, and fools me into thinking I’ve had a sweet treat. Sometimes I even make it for a mid afternoon snack.

Makes 1 serving.

294 calories, 8g protein, 53 g carbohydrates, 7g fat (2 g saturated), 3mg cholesterol, 5g fiber, 241 mg sodium- if following the Biggest Looser measurements.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"Concert" x's Infinity / Weight Loss Wednesday


My hoodlum boys in the park


I have been taking Smooch and Critter to the park across town a couple/few days a week for something new to do. Last week Smooch, who is learning to read, noticed the sign out in front of the park announcing the annual summer concerts in the park on Tuesday nights. Our town’s symphony band plays in an outdoor pavilion on Tuesday nights at this particular park. I was impressed. Smooch read the entire sign by himself.

And then I made a colossal mistake.

I mentioned that MAYBE if it wasn’t raining, we could MAYBE go the following Tuesday, which was yesterday. I thought nothing of it. I’ve got to expose the kid to a little culture somehow, what’s better than free culture, and it was nice to see him get excited about it. Each day from that point brought forth a question from Smooch about what day of the week it was, because he was anxiously waiting for Tuesday to arrive.

I have mentioned before that Smoochie can talk at the speed of light. And with the speed of sound taken into consideration, that means even when his lips stop moving for a moment or two, I’m still hearing him.

The dawn of Tuesday morning brought forth the word “concert”. Every sentence that erupted from Smoochie’s mouth began with, ended with, or contained in some way or another, the word “concert”. I had more than one speed of light moment yesterday. I’m looking at the boy’s big blue eyes, his lips have stopped moving, and I’m still hearing the word. I may actually physically shudder every time I hear that word ever again.

Fortunately, once we arrived at the park with our picnic dinner last night, the word was quickly forgotten. The music was nice, the weather perfect, and I have to confess I enjoyed a little bit of quality time just hanging out with my boys.

We may even do it again. This time, though, I’ll try to keep my intentions secret until it’s time to go.


WEDNESDAY WEIGH IN TIME:

I weighed in this morning, and here is my weight loss progress as per my post last Wednesday:

Weight: -5 lbs

Exercise: Goal accomplished. I added 4 days of exercise to my week last week. This week, I plan to add 6.

Food journal: Fail. I found it a little difficult to track down a notebook with a squirmy 4 month old in my arms most of the day. I’m trying again.

Starbucks: Uh………Um…….No. I failed miserably. I did, however, switch to their light version, which is considerably fewer calories. This one’s going to kill me to accomplish, but I’m trying again.

I do have a recipe I’ll be posting in the next couple of days.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Say Anything

I have always treasured sleep. I am an 8 hour a night person. If by some reason I don’t get my full 8 hours, I get a tad bit grumpy. Needless to say, I’ve been a tad bit grumpy for most of the last 7 years. I have to admit, somewhere between year 4 and 5, I got a bit spoiled in the sleep department. Smoochie was sleeping through the night and I have come to realize I was definitely snoring in high style.

I have to admit that I am a sleep-o-holic. I have slept alone (when I should have been cleaning), I have hidden my intent to nap behind the ruse of reading a book while stretching out in bed, and I have shipped Smoochie off to Grandma’s for the sole purpose of prolonged horizontal snoozing. It should not be a surprise to anyone who knows me that I will say anything to anyone if it means I can roll over and go back to sleep. I’m pretty sure I would tell Smoochie he could ride his scooter to Chuck-E-Cheeses (the closest one is at least 30 miles away) if he asked me for permission. “You want a pet snake honey, sure. Just let Mommy sleep for 30 more minutes.”

One afternoon when we still lived in Carbondale, Bonehead came home from class to find my car in the driveway. I had an 8-5 job on weekdays, and I should not have been home in the middle of the afternoon. So, of course, Bonehead was immediately worried about the wife who was home from work early.

He walked into our house, found me sound asleep in bed, and proceeded to ask me if I was ok. My response?

“I’m fine. I’m just pregnant.”

And that’s how I told the poor man he was going to be a father before Smoochie’s arrival.

I tried to make up for my shortcomings with Critter’s impending arrival. This time I found out 3 days before Father’s day, so I kept the news to myself and insured any napping I did was uninterrupted.

On the arrival of Father’s day, he opened a card. The outside read “For Father’s day we thought you could use a little peace and quiet.” Then inside there were two cotton balls. And a handwritten note from me- “Next year you’ll need twice as much cotton. Love, Smooch and his future brother or sister.”

He didn’t get it right away. Just when I started thinking I should have slapped him upside the head with the news like I did the first time, it sunk in.

This year he jokingly threatened me with divorce if there was a repeat of last year’s news. No repeats. This year he got shirts that Smoochie picked out himself and lunch from Panera because Critter tends to scream at the top of his lungs in restaurants and I wind up taking him out to the car and eating my food cold at home three hours later. So we picked up Panera and brought it home. Now that I think about it, Bonehead might have found cotton balls handy.

All in all it was a good Father’s day, even if I didn’t get a nap.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Idiosyncrasies


I took these pictures after our trip to the park on Wednesday. It was the 1st time Critter played himself peacefully to sleep in his Exersaucer, and I couldn’t resist the urge to grab the camera and take a couple of shots. I wanted to capture the rare moment when the path to sleep didn’t follow his normal strictly enforced regimen.

Normally, Critter is a high maintenance sleeper. What does that mean, exactly?

He has to be held completely horizontally. According to Critter, his angle can not exceed 15 degrees, and said holder must be completely still with elbow bent so he can bury his face (which is a little scary by the way) in the bent crook of the inner elbow. If you are Critter’s holder, beware. He will not just nuzzle into your crook, he will face-mash into it complete with wind up.

Another essential ingredient for sleep must be the holder’s cupped hand resting on the exposed side of his face. Critter will let you know if you are doing it right. If you are doing it wrong, he will make a loud shrieking noise that is almost impossible to stop once it starts. This is not to be confused with his “I’m hungry” shriek which is usually, “Cough cough, feed me, yell, cough cough.” This particular shriek is quite uncomfortable and often makes my eardrum vibrate like a kazoo inside my ear. This shriek is so uncomfortable I would give the boy a cheesecake if I knew it would stop it short. If you are cupping his face correctly, he will close his eyes, lift his eyebrows, give two sucks on the binky, and hug your wrist like a stuffed hippo. It’s the angelic desired result. Heaven help you if you mess it up.

The last technique in the sleep countdown is the proper lay-me-down sequence. On the path to bed his head must never be lower than the remainder of the body, nor must it (again) exceed the maximum higher angle of 15 degrees above the remainder of the body. Should you mess this part up, the end result will be the immediate appearance of eyeballs and the sleep sequence will be forfeit and have to be started again from the beginning.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Weight Loss Wednesday

I have gained two pounds since I went back to work, which isn’t too bad considering I gave up the concept of dieting about a week after going back. I couldn’t seem to find time to exercise and I was exhausted so I decided the diet was off for a while. Now that I’m at home, it’s back on full swing. Starting today.

Due to the fact that I am nursing, I can’t really restrict my calorie intake too horribly much. I can watch what I eat and make sure it is good healthy food – no more Starbucks which is going to be the hardest challenge of all. Even as I sit here typing this morning, I feel this pull to pack up the kiddos in the van and drive across town for my Starbucks fix. It’s my personal version of Bonehead’s “crack shake”. Apparently Dunkin Donuts makes a shake so good he swears they put crack in it. It’s that addicting. So I am going to work real hard at the “just say no” policy and stay far far away from Starbucks. That’s change #1 for this week.

Another change I think I am going to make is to write everything that enters my mouth down in a journal this week. That way maybe my son’s popsicles may be more prone to stay in the freezer unless he’s eating them.

This leads me to change #3 for the week. Exercise. Having two children does not grant me the ability to ride almost daily like my husband has been, nor can I often escape to the basement for the exercise bike. If all goes well, I will have a place cleared off on the sun porch for the trainer sometime within the next two weeks. Until then, and even after, I’ll be packing up the kids and taking them to the park. Or on long walks. Or on long walks to parks across town.

I think 3 changes are enough for the week. I’ll post my progress next Wednesday, and any good healthy recepies I try along the way.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bug and Critter

This past weekend we attended my cousin’s wedding. I took many pictures over the course of the day, but I wanted to share my favorite photo of the entire batch. This picture is of my cousin’s oldest son with my youngest son. Apparently the nickname gene runs in the family, because he answers to Bug. Bug and Critter. How appropriate.




Another deer in the headlights photo for the archives.

Shopping Trip

I have been a stay at home mom for just under a week now. 6 days, to be exact, and three of those 6 days were spent out of town. In those 6 days I have wondered no less than 40 and no more than 500 times exactly what I have gotten myself into.

For example, today we went grocery shopping for our food for this week. Let me be clear. I. Hate. Grocery shopping. Strongly, vehemently, and passionately. To begin with, nothing puts me in a better mood than trying to squeeze a cart and two kids down an overcrowded aisle politely. My 6 year old has taken lessons from our dog and learned how to stand in exactly the wrong spots at precisely the right time for me to trip over him or clog up the slow moving gears of shopping traffic. And although his mood today is much improved over yesterday, my 4 month old knows how to make it clear he’d rather be doing something else. Mostly, though, he was good.

Smoochie in his own way was just as good. But he has two qualities about him that make him who he is. Mostly I find them endearing, but sometimes I secretly wish for a sensory deprivation tank.

Quality #1. The ability to talk at the speed of light. My husband can tell you precisely what this speed is even when he has been over-served, but I will never remember. Really, though, there is no need to. All I have to do is ask Smoochie a question to start the launch sequence. Speech at the speed of light spews forth. Then there is no stopping it.

“Smooch, should we get a watermelon today?”

“Mom. Mom. Mom. Look, broccoli. There’s napkins. Do you want cheese crackers? How about egg plants? Why do they have to put eggs with the cold stuff? Mom. Mom. Mom. Can we get ice cream? What about the toys? How do they make cheese, Mom? Can we go buy a toy today?”

Let’s just say there’s next to no ability left in me to comparison shop with that dialogue going on in the background.

Quality #2. The ability to turn the smallest excursion into a giant project. This particular quality is one I enjoy watching in action on his grandmother because she has the patience for it. The woman is an absolute saint.

“Smooch, please would you help me carry the groceries inside?”

“Sure. What if I take the first two bags and put them by the pantry? The next bag I can put by the coffee pot, and the one after that I can put on my bed. Mom, I was swinging the bag and a can of green beans accidentally fell out. Would you like them in the freezer? I want to keep our toilet paper rolls and freeze water in them, and a balloon too. That way in the winter time I can take them outside and play bowling with them. Mom, don’t throw THAT box away, I can keep it, freeze water in it, and use it as a seat for my bowling alley this winter.”

Needless to say, a shopping trip that usually takes me an hour took 2 ½ hours.

My lesson #1 as a stay at home mom- Take a really deep breath, slow down, and try to keep up with and respond to speech at the speed of light.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Baby Teeth

We went to my cousin’s wedding over the weekend. The wedding was sweet, the reception hall beautifully decorated, the food wonderful. I can safely say a good time was had by all. Even Critter was able to put aside the grouchies that had been plaguing him for the past few days and enjoy all of the dancing under the disco ball. For someone who isn’t yet old enough to walk, he sure did dance the night away. He even perfected the art of chair dancing.

Prior to the wedding was an entirely different story, however. Critter had been screaming inconsolably for more than an hour and I was beginning to panic. We had to leave for the wedding in less than 2 hours, we were out of town and I had no emergency babysitter reserved, and I could not submit my cousin and all of her wedding patrons to the eardrum rupturing screams that my little Critter is quickly making a name for himself for.

Amongst one of his screams and one of the fifty gazillion positions I tried holding him in order to console him, I noticed something WRONG in his mouth. So I leaned in for a closer look. I noticed a little white bump protruding from his gums.

I have to admit, it has been 6 years since I’ve had a baby to take care of, and some things escape me until they occur again with Critter. You have to make sure they stay covered or you get sprayed in the face when you’re changing diapers. Somehow I managed to forget about that. I forgot about the fact that holding a squirming baby can be like trying to hang onto a wet noodle with a Spork.

I also forgot about the joys of teething. I was completely unprepared for this new development in my day, and had to go to the local drug store for baby pain reliever and freezer chew toys. At least I was fortunate enough to discover the root of the problem an hour before the wedding- giving us enough time to address the situation and muffle the screams and pain a little.

The following morning I discovered another nub. I’m full of questions at this point though. The first tooth I discovered was a back tooth, not an upper front tooth. The next one is a bottom front. I’ve always thought the top two teeth were supposed to come in first. Now I’m wondering if I need to call our dentist in a panic because he’s getting a back tooth first.

Regardless, I am a proud parent of the biggest, most miserable grumble bunny known to man.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Unemployment

Today I officially joined the ranks of the gainfully unemployed. By choice. Bonehead and I have decided that the best thing for the family at this time is for me to be home to take care of the kiddos. Of course, our decision might have a little bit to do with the 3 cheese, mustard and oregano sandwich Bonehead had to make himself for dinner tonight because I’ve been too tired to grocery shop and Critter woke up before I could get Smoochie’s pb&j made let alone 2 of the darn things. Our decision might also have something to do with the fact that daycare is currently costing us more than our mortgage each month, or the fact that our laundry is currently clogging every pore of our home.

Now I get to make the switch from a full-time fast paced phone answerer, problem solver, shipment tracker, fire putter-outer, feather un-ruffler to a fuller-time fast paced diaper changer, peanut-butter face wiper, shoe tracker-downer, feather pillow picker upper. I think I may even start with the dishes that are currently taking refuge in my kitchen sink, and save the grocery shopping for tomorrow.

And maybe thank my husband for not complaining that he had to eat a pepper jack, American and parmesan cheese sandwich for dinner. And for not complaining about the labradoodles of Kepler hair growing in the corners of our living room. And for not complaining about the giant 24 roll package of toilet paper sitting on our kitchen floor that I haven’t felt motivated enough to drag into the bathroom all week. And for…..well, you get the picture.

Which leads me to wonder, is the man blind? I’ll be in big trouble if he ever takes off his rose colored glasses I guess.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Growing Up Smoochie



It’s almost the end of the school year. Just a few months ago my Smoochie dressed in his school attire, put on his brand new Ninja Turtles back pack, swung his Transformers lunch box, and bee-bopped his way into the kindergarten classroom for the first time. I promised myself I wouldn’t, but I cried a tear or three.

It’s absolutely amazing what a few months can do to a child. Inside of 9 months my little boy has learned to read, can count by twos and fives BACKWARDS, and can now make rude noised with his armpits. This year he’s discovered the joys of hot lunches, library day, a class bunny rabbit named Peppy, and forged new yet often fickle friendships with other children his age.

This year he’s discovered the joys and trials of being a big brother and learned how to nurture and care for another human being. He’s also learned that mom’s heart is big enough for two boys and that having a little brother means that he’s loved and adored that much more by yet another family member as well.

I keep thinking about the end of the school year, which is officially this Thursday at noon, and I get teary eyed. My little boy will be a first grader. Kindergarten wasn’t all that bad to me, because he could still be my little guy in Kindergarten.

First grade is for big kids who start to get embarrassed by their parents and don’t want them around as much. I enjoyed every day Smoochie would kiss and squeeze me at the bus stop, and every smiling wave I received from the bus window. I’m afraid that in three months when he goes back to school he will be bothered by all that “little boy” stuff and it will be no more.

I know I can’t turn back time or keep my children little forever, but I sure am going to miss kindergarten.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

What IS that smell?

I was 19 years old when Bonehead and I got married. I have a feeling at the time there were many bets on the table-

I give it two years.

I give it 5.

I bet she’s pregnant.

I give it 6 months.

We’ve somehow managed to defy all of the marrying young odds and lasted for a while, and after about 10 months of marriage opinions on the baby topic changed as well. I’m sure bets were lost. In retrospect I wouldn’t recommend my oldest niece marry at 19. But all the same, I wouldn’t change a day of the last 14 years.

Bonehead and I married on a Sunday afternoon in front of the picture window in his parents’ house. We spent the night in a local hotel and promptly got up the next morning and drove to Dubuque, Iowa so I could take my final exams for the semester. Our plan was to get me through finals week, and then spend a couple of days at home packing and putting things in order before driving cross country together to start our life across the sound from Seattle. At the time, he was in the navy and that is where he was stationed.

The drive from the greater Chicagoland area to Dubuque was pretty uneventful, but we did get at least one toll free due to the “just married” d├ęcor theme of our Ford Tempo.
Finals week went pretty well too- all things considered. Looking back now, the week was a giant blur of testing, eating out with Bonehead due to the fact that I was super tired of cafeteria food by that time, spending time with our mutual friends, and packing up my room full of belongings.

Towards the end of the week strange things began to happen in my car. Bonehead and I would be on our way somewhere and one of us would notice the hint of an unpleasant aroma.

Bonehead- “Do you smell that?”

Me- “Smell what? I don’t smell anything.”

Bonehead- “It’s gone now, I don’t smell it anymore.”

A day or so later we’d replay the scene but with opposite rolls.

Me- “I smell something weird.”

Bonehead- “In the car, or outside?”

Me- “I can’t……quite…..(sniff sniff)… tell……never mind it’s gone now.”

And then on the way back home at the end of the week, the real trouble began.

Bonehead- “Oh man- WHAT IS THAT SMELL?”

Me- “I don’t know but (pulling my shirt up over my nose) it’s killing me.”

Bonehead- “I think it’s coming from our back seat.”

Me- “Do you see anything back there? I’d check but I’m a little busy driving.”

Bonehead- “No, I don’t see anything. And now it’s gone again.”

A while later the mysterious odor reappeared. This time Bonehead asked me to pull over. Neither of us could stand the stench that seemed to be permeating the car- even with both windows rolled fully down. I found a parking lot to pull into and stopped the car.

That Bonehead, he’s so brave. He got out and dove into my back seat head first looking for the location of the smell. After a moment or two of digging he came up for air with a triumphant, “Ah-ha! I found the culprit!!”

Our first night in Dubuque we had gone out for Chinese. We got our leftovers wrapped to go, put them on the back floorboard of our car, and never gave them another thought. After being buried by the beginnings of packing up my dorm room and a week of sitting in a warm car they had taken on their very own identity of the odiferous sort.

We left that smell in a dumpster on the side of the road somewhere between Dubuque and Chicagoland. And other than to laugh and giggle about it every couple of years along the path of our marriage, we never gave it another thought.