Thursday, December 31, 2009

When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade

...and when life hands you wet, heavy snow that utterly stinks for sledding, you make snowmen. Or is that snowpeople? Snowpersons? Persons of snow?

Anyhow, that's exactly what happened this afternoon when Kiddo and I, after watching big, fat, fluffy, lake-effect snowflakes steadily falling from the sky all morning, decided we were going to head over to the closest hill and do some sledding. We bundled up, which involved finding things like sports bras, thermal leggings and snowpants (for Mommy) and then wrestling and/or stuffing various body parts into them (again, Mommy - Kiddo only needed help adjusting her scarf). We went on a search for the sleds (basement? Nope. Lanai? Nope again.) and then carefully extracted them from inside the wading pool which was stacked on top of lots of pointy, sharp, poky and/or rusty things up in the loft section of our garage. This involved balancing while bundled up like Ralphie's little brother Randy upon the second-to-top step of the stepladder, leaning way out to the left of the ladder over the chest freezer and reaching above my head, then trying to lift the sleds up and out of the pool, over the ledge and pass them gently down to Kiddo who was dancing about and generally not paying much attention to the daredevil feats of bravery occurring several feet above her head. Once we got ourselves and our gear strapped into the minivan, I opened the garage door (I left it closed for the sled extraction as I didn't particularly want any of the neighbors witnessing that scene) and we began merrily backing out into the driveway. The driveway upon which it was no longer snowing flakes of big, puffy, picturesque perfection, but rather spitting down some sort of freezing rain/graupel (and if you need to click on the link to learn what graupel is, then I am most envious because obviously you live in a part of the world with a much more pleasant climate and therefore much more pleasant forms of precipitation) and generally not looking too promising. Kiddo and I gamely headed up the road anyway to the high school, where there are several hills upon which one can sled, and pulled in to the parking lot to discover there wasn't going to be any sledding going on today.

We turned the car around and headed home, the kid quite disappointed and the both of us rather warm in our bundling. I didn't want all that effort to be for naught and decided to invoke the Life Handing One Lemons philosophy and when we arrived home, I suggested to Kiddo that perhaps this heavy, wet snow would be good for snowman building. So, we did.

Kiddo has always been a fan of the "jam and pack" method of snowperson creation, instead of the more traditional "roll a snowball and stack" method. Sometimes, her jamming and packing gets a bit......... exuberant, and she then has to do snowperson body repair and patching.

We will call our snowman Ned, but first he has to have a head.......................... and a face!

His head will have to have a hat. His hat is on, just look at that!

Lemonade! Also known as Kiddo and Ned!

(By the by, the above lines and name of the snowman come from the Eastman/McKie children's book Snow, which was one of my favorite stories as a small child and now is one of Kiddo's favorite stories. This is the reason why more snowpeople created by members of my family get named Ned than any other name.............)

For the new year, a new blog to read

I had a new visitor to my blog today. Her name is Hartley and she has her own blog, which I popped over to check out after reading the comment she left on mine. You know, as you do in such situations.

Well, as it turns out, Hartley and I have quite a bit in common, besides both having names that start with the letter H. She is an SPD Mama just like me, and she is also a parent through adoption, just like me. I just lost a major chunk of time that I had intended to use cleaning the kitchen (it turns out that the kitchen floor, which is directly attached to the most-used entrance to the house, gets ridiculously filthy what with the snow, salt, mud etc - all the stuff that used to get absorbed/hidden by the carpet in the hallway off the garage-into-house door in our old house) because I was clicking around various posts on Hartley's blog. I found myself nodding vigorously and saying "Oh YES!" and "Amen, sister!" so many times in the posts I was reading that I have decided I must share her blog with you. I mean, here is someone who knows what it's like to have to maintain utmost vigilance over seemingly innocuous things like food dyes and artificial sweeteners. Who knows how hard it is when most of the world believes there are only five senses, not seven. Who probably wouldn't bat an eye at the presence of a mini-trampoline where one normally has a coffee table in one's living room. She's living my life, albeit with two other kids (who have sensory issues of their own to boot) in the mix.

So, bloggy buddies o' mine, please meet Hartley of Hartley's Life With 3 Boys. You might want to start with her posts on You Know You Have a Kiddo With SPD When..., Parts One and Two. She also explains about those other two senses, in case you need clarification or further explanation on that topic.

Here in my own household, we're dealing with the ramifications of a holiday break with an SPD kid. Kiddo has been off her schedule (including staying up past her normal bedtime 3 nights in a row while we were visiting family for Christmas), has had things to eat that she normally doesn't ingest (hello, candy canes and Christmas cookies), has spent many hours strapped in to her booster seat in the car (oh, the horror of forced inactivity) and has had a lot more "screen time" than she ever gets in her daily life. Add to that the less-than-spectacular weather and the fact that we were without her snow boots for a few days after leaving them behind at my folks' house in NJ (Dad shipped them up to us and they arrived, thankfully, yesterday afternoon) and we have a kid who is quite a bit out of sync. Ways that one can spot this include her elevated moodiness (she had a major meltdown over dinner the other night even though it was one of her favorite menus ever), a lot more bumping into things/falling and crashing into things and people, and the increased clinginess especially in the "I need a great, big, giant, squeezy hug" vein. Which isn't such a bad thing in and of itself, except when you are trying to do something that doesn't lend itself to a great, big, giant, squeezy hug at the same time, like, say, going to the bathroom or taking a shower or cleaning the aforementioned kitchen floor. (Going to have to get some sort of mat or rug to put down there, because the plastic boot tray ain't doing the trick.) If it stays nice enough outside - that being an entirely relative term, of course, as presently what I'm considering nice amounts to only moderate snow and a temperature of 29 - I may bundle us up and head over to the park to do some sledding. I'd take her to one of the bouncy places or the Y but I've heard of several virulently nasty bugs going around, and I don't really want to throw Kiddo into that kind of a mix. She has a birthday party to attend on Saturday and that will be enough wrassling around with other germmongers kids. I mean, Kiddo's sporting some pretty good snot herself, especially in her left nostril - there have been more "bats in the cave" than I'd care to count, or even see, in the past few days. So any activity we get into Kiddo, I'd like to be of the non-germ-mingling sort. We've been doing yoga (and boy, I don't know which of us misses her most fantabulous school aide more, because her aide is a total yoga genius, as well as being an all-around amazingly wonderful person) and heavy work and I'm trying to get Kiddo back into sync, something hopefully that will be achieved by Monday when the school bus rolls up to collect Kiddo once again.

So, anyhow, here's to all the other SPD parents out there, with a special "Cheers!" to Hartley. Please do drop by her blog and check her out if you have a few minutes (or are as capable of ignoring the mess in your kitchen as I've been today)!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The perfect gift idea

This morning, as happens almost every schoolday morning, I found myself saying a variation of "Hurry up/finish your breakfast/you're running out of time/you're going to miss the bus" for the seventeen-squillionth time, to which Kiddo responded "I'm so SICK of hearing you SAY that!" in that I'm only six-and-a-half but I'm totally practicing my sixteen-and-a-half sullen, pissy 'tude way that is guaranteed to tick me off. (As she is only six and not sixteen, I cannot take away the car keys just yet, so usually I wind up taking other things away instead - iPod, whatever book she's reading instead of eating, etc.) Well, this morning when she snarked about how sick she was of hearing me SAY that, I snarked back "Oh yeah? Well I'm sick of saying it!" because neither of us are particularly morning people and if she can channel sixteen and a half, I can certainly bust out my inner six and a half year old every now and again. And truly, I am just as sick of hearing the Nagging Mom voice as she is, and nothing is quicker at getting my morning started off wrong than having to recite the Get Yourself Going mantra seventeen-squillion and three times in a ninety minute period.

That is when inspiration hit me. I figured out the perfect gift idea for Christmas.

I need someone else to be the Sayer of Such Things. The Nagger. The Nudger. The Incessant-Repeater-to-Counter-the-Terrifically-Annoying-Selective-Hearing of the kid. But who? Not Hubby, because she can tune him out almost as easily as she tunes me out. No, clearly I need bigger guns.

I pondered for a bit, as I assembled her lunch and made sure her snowpants and library book were packed in her backpack. I thought about folks who have voices I wouldn't mind hearing all day long instead of Nagging Mom Voice.

Alan Rickman!

Alan RIckman has the best voice EVER! I once listened to him read a book-on-tape version of The Return of the Native (after waiting over three months for my hold request to come through at the public library) even though the only place I could listen to the 18 tapes that comprised the audiobook was my minivan, so it took weeks of hearing a paragraph or two at a time to hear the whole thing. He's got a kickass voice. Oh yes, I'd much rather hear him than me hustling Kiddo along as she dawdles over her bowl of cereal that has turned to mush or her fried eggs that have congealed and gone glacially cold on her plate. Definitely Alan Rickman. Or Jeremy Irons!

He does sinister quite well - just think of his Scar in The Lion King... (Incidentally, a study was conducted a few years ago that concluded that the perfect speaking voice would be a blend of Rickman and Irons. So apparently my ears have a very good ear for such things.)

But would either of them work for Kiddo? Not sure. I think I might need even bigger guns to get her going and save my sanity in the mornings.

Finally, I hit upon the perfect choice.

Oh yes.

James " CNN" Earl Jones. I'm pretty sure that if Darth Vader were telling Kiddo to hurry up and finish her eggs, she'd hurry up and finish her eggs, and even clear her place without reminding, too.

Do you think Mr. Jones could be here by Friday?

Oh, and as for Alan Rickman and Jeremy Irons, I'd gladly take them both as well. Just for everyday reading sorts of requirements. For example, I have to read a lot of labels at the grocery store to figure out if something is a safe food item for Kiddo. "Sugar, Corn Syrup, Modified Corn Starch, Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Mineral Oil, Carnauba Wax, Artificial Colors: FDC Red #40, Yellow #5, Yellow #6, Blue #1" would sound a lot more pleasant to my brain if spoken in a well-modulated, British accent. Kiddo's endless stream of school-related paperwork would sound better British, too. I'm sure I'd pay much more attention to the upcoming PTSA meeting agenda or the deadline for Box Tops in that case. I don't have a GPS thingy in my car, so I am forced to rely upon printed out directions from Google Maps (how old-fashioned, I know!) and would feel much better about finding that next exit if instructed by Alan or Jeremy.

It could go even further - Facebook! Twitter! Status updates and tweets sure would sound more posh, if not funnier, if read by one of them. (I could even get James Earl Jones in on the action, since he'd be available during the schooldays when Kiddo is gone and doesn't need the Maternal Nagging.) Clearing my blog reader would be more entertaining (and less eye straining) with one of those gents reading aloud. But then, a lot of the blogs I follow are written by women, and have a distinctly female voice. So, I'd need a chick, too. How about

Emma Thompson? That'd keep it classy...

So there you have it. The perfect gift idea for my house this Christmas.
I'd better go get the spare room made up...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Foto Finish Fiesta - My favorite elf

I was feeling a little artsy-fartsy with some pictures I took while Kiddo and I were working on our holiday treat tins for the teachers and staff at her school.......

Want more Friday Foto Fun? Drop by Candid Carrie's!

Monday, December 14, 2009

We will, we will ROCK YOU!

So, it turns out that 38 has been one of the best birthdays EVER in the life of this particular chick. Not only because of my wonderful husband and beloved daughter, either. Well actually, yes because of my wonderful husband, because he gave me the coolest present ever...

Guitar Hero: Aerosmith


Rock Band 2.

Yes, yes, yes, I know. We're totally years behind on this whole Rock Band/Guitar Hero phenomenon. For ages now, I've heard folks talk, blog and tweet about how much fun they were having rocking out to one of those games. I honestly didn't really get all the fuss. Pushing little buttons in time to music? Huh.

Then, Hubby gave me the two games, plus the cymbals add-on for Rock Band. Being Hubby as he is, he bought the various pieces over a period of several months, and kept them hidden away at his office, where I rarely go and when I do, I'm not left alone. I opened my presents this morning over breakfast (which consisted in part of a Wegmans Bakery cinnamon streusel friedcake - if loving them is wrong, I don't want to be right) and then Hubby and Kiddo promptly departed for work and school, leaving me all alone in the house with my new toys.

I decided I'd just open up Guitar Hero: Aerosmith. Just to, you know, check it out. I put together the bits and got everything all synced up and connected and gave it a try.

Two and a half hours later, I realized I was still sitting on the family room floor in my jammies playing the game. Apparently I suddenly got the appeal.

After school, Kiddo and I started putting together the Rock Band equipment. Realizing it was well beyond our technical capabilities, we decided to pause lest we break something (we're both quite good at breaking things, thankyouverymuch) and waited for our roadie to get home from work and take care of it. Hubby made quick work out of assembling the drum kit with cymbals add-on (Kiddo consistently called the cymbals "tambourines" which cracked us up) and we fired up the Rock Band disc.

And OH EM GEE y'all!! Did you know that this game allows for one to SING? Into a super-kewl MICROPHONE? Why did no one tell me this years and years ago when the game first came out?! I thought it was all pushing buttons (which the guitar/bass parts kind of are, though that is admittedly way the heck more fun than I'd assumed it to be) or drumming, but you can SING as part of the game, too! Not just any old songs, either, but FUN songs that I KNOW, like Duran Duran and Queen and David Bowie. (Also, lots of songs I thought I know but when attempting to sing them, it turns out I don't really know them nearly as well as I thought. Hubby was cracking up a few times to the point that he could no longer keep playing his own part.)

We proceeded to take turns rocking out on the drums, then paused for dinner and the World's Best Birthday Cake, then after Kiddo went to bed, Hubby and I continued to rock out for a few more hours. All in all, a fantabulous birthday was had by me. Plus, I was surprised with a SECOND birthday cake, this one the Wegmans Ultimate Chocolate Cake, and seriously, what on Earth could possibly be better than one birthday cake? TWO BIRTHDAY CAKES, of course!

Oh, and for the proverbial frosting on the proverbial cake, I managed to find that earring I dropped yesterday afternoon. Yes, it was with my foot, but I had socks on so it wasn't like I pierced my toe with it or anything. Woot!

Here's a brief photo recap of my super-rockin' birthday...

A couple of Guitar Heroes, waiting for Hubby to come home:

Hubby's turn, with Kiddo backseat-drumming - "The red one! The yellow one! The bass! The blue one!"

Kiddo taking her turn on the drums:

The birthday cake...

Seriously, this counts as food porn. I cannot adequately express in words the utter deliciousness of Cheesy Eddie's carrot cake.

The post-Kiddo-bedtime rock session. Yes, I'm wearing my stylin', stylin' jammies (old flannel PJ bottoms, even older way-oversized t-shirt and paint-spattered, oversized sweatshirt. Straight outta Victoria's Secret, mmm-hmmm. Oh, and don't forget the wool socks - any rock star's must-have wardrobe accessory.). I know, you don't have to tell me. I simply am the hottest 38 year old around...

Long live Rock-n-Roll! If you're ever up for a jam session, you know where to find me!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Not with a bang, but a whimper. Well, actually, with kind of a rather resounding bang, now that I think about it...

Today is my last day of being 37, or being in my "mid-thirties" as I've been saying for the past 364 days. Let me just say that if today is indicative of how 38 is going to go down, I'm in trouble.

The day started out well enough. We've been checking out different churches in our new town, trying to find one that feels right for us. We weren't overly enamored of the United Methodist church we attended last week, so we'd decided to try the Presbyterian church right in the middle of town. We all were fed, showered and dressed appropriately with plenty of time to make the five minute drive over to the church. Hubby and Kiddo were waiting in the minivan, which Hubby had already backed out into the driveway, when I headed out the door.

And here is where things started going south in a hurry. I was putting the bag with our shoes in it (as we were wearing our sensible winter boots due to the weather) in the back next to Kiddo when Hubby, noting the freezing rain pelting down, suggested I grab the large umbrella out of the back seat of his car so we'd have enough coverage for the walk to church (Kiddo is a bit of an umbrella hog). We'd read about the parking situation at this particular church - that being that they don't really have any - and knew we were in for a bit of a walk. I turned around and started back into the garage to grab that umbrella.

The next thing I knew, I was sprawled on the icy, icy driveway. Did I mention it was icy? It wasn't actually the "next thing" I knew, for as always seems to happen when I fall, time freezes into super-slow-motion and it feels like it is taking an eternity for my body to meet the ground. (Hubby disputed this over lunch, saying that no, one second I was standing by the front of the van and the next I wasn't. He swears it was a "blink of an eye" sort of thing.)

Now, traditionally I have One Big Fall each winter season. (The length of said season depends on where we're living - sometimes it is just January-March, nowadays it's more November-April.) It is an accepted fact among those who know me that I will fall, spectacularly, once each year. I generally breathe a sigh of relief once the One Big Fall has happened, as I know I'll be safe from there on out, and I dread those years when the OBF doesn't occur until March or April. Now, there has been the occasional season when I do fall more than once, and there is even the rare year that I don't fall at all. But generally speaking, there's One Big Fall each winter.

So, it was today. I landed rather heavily on my left hand/arm. Not in any conscious "I shall stop myself from falling by breaking said fall with my left hand" sort of way, because my Spectacular Falling Method does not employ any such choreography. It's much more pratfall than graceful sinking to the ground. My best OBF ever occurred back in 1997, when I was working at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH - aka The Land of Neverending Winter (followed by the Inexplicable yet Quite Accurately Named "Mud Season"). One February morning that year, as I was heading in from the parking lot to the building that housed my office along a very slippery sidewalk, I did one of those both-feet-out-from-under-me moves typified by the expression "ass over teakettle" (though Dame Helen Mirren used a more colorful, British variant of the same euphemism quite famously at the Emmy Awards a few years back). My bagged lunch and bag of shoes, which I had in my right hand, and my purse, which I had on my left shoulder, went sailing off into the bushes and snow all around me and I even managed to lose one of my gloves (which I'd been, you know, wearing) in what Dane Cook would call a fit of joy. Of course there were several witnesses of the Snooty Ivy League Graduate Student variety, which meant far more in the way of pointing and snickering in my general direction than any offers of help or inquiries as to the state of my extremely prone body. That added note of humiliation, coupled with the incredible amount of hangtime my suddenly horizontal body had whilst in midair, definitely qualified that as the Best. OBF. Ever.

But I digress. Back to this year's edition of my OBF. There I was, sprawled upon the icy, icy driveway. I managed to get up without falling again and limped into the house for a wound check. Hubby and Kiddo were quite concerned, but I determined I was all right once I'd washed the grit and stones out of my palm and wrist. (Kiddo did pipe up with the helpful tip that if I'd been wearing my gloves when I fell, my hand would've been protected. Thanks.) I grabbed an icepack for the road and away we headed to church.

It turns out that more than our driveway was really, really icy. Our neighborhood is in a very hilly area, and the main road into the village is in and of itself a large, large hill. The road out of our subdivision empties out about 2/3 of the way up one side of this hill, and the most direct way to the church means turning onto and going up the rest of the way and then down again. Well, the minivan wasn't so sure about the whole "going up" bit, and when we'd gotten to the top, we came upon an accident involving at least two cars and a street sign, along with a fireman who was waving us off to turn around. So, we did, opting to carefully make our way down the hill the other way and take the other route into the village. (Kiddo: "Is this a shortcut?" Hubby: "No, this is actually a longcut.")

So now we're pushing it in terms of getting to church on time. (Oooh, brief musical interlude here.....) We carefully make our way to the church without further incident and Hubby lets Kiddo and me out right in front before driving off to find parking. By the time he finds a spot and makes his way back to the church, the service is well underway. I think we were about 12 minutes late by the time we walked into the sanctuary, though we were not, I'd like to note, the latest people to arrive.

No, we weren't the latest but still, turning up late at a new church doesn't make a very good impression. In my haste to get Kiddo to pipe down as we entered the sanctuary, I completely missed the usher who was attempting to hand me a bulletin, so that plus the distraction of being late, keeping Kiddo in line (she's had serious ants in the pants going on all day) and the relatively searing pain that occurred every time I tried to straighten out my left arm, it didn't make for a peaceful and satisfying worship experience. Add to that the fact that this was a Presbyterian church so there were bits of it that differed from the UM service we are used to, and bleargh. (Case in point: The Lord's Prayer found Hubby and I saying, as we are accustomed, "forgive us our TRESPASSES as we forgive those who TRESPASS against us" while the rest of the congregation all was saying "Forgive us our DEBTS as we forgive our DEBTORS" and let me tell you, of all the things to be saying fervently yet incorrectly aloud, something chock full of sibilance is really going to stand out.)

So, the service concluded and we went off to collect Kiddo from Sunday School, to which she'd happily gone off with a girl she knew from school who'd also gone up front for the Children's Moment. We arrived at the classroom to find Kiddo wearing an angel's costume, having secured herself a part in their upcoming Christmas pageant. We were introduced to and spoke at length with the Director of Christian Education, who assured us Kiddo was most welcome to be in their pageant and that they'd be rehearsing from 11 until 12:30 today so we could come back and pick her up then. We talked it over with Kiddo and she assured us she really, really wanted to be in the pageant and off she skipped with nary a backward glance to the sanctuary to rehearse with the rest of the children.

We wandered about the very crowded Fellowship Hall for coffee hour for a bit, then headed past the sanctuary and went home to change and for me to strap an ice wrap on my now throbbing and swollen left elbow. I took a few Advil for good measure, since I'm certainly not getting any younger so I don't bounce back as quickly as I might've from my OBFs of years past. When we returned to the church around 12:20, one of the Sunday School teachers was sitting with a de-costumed Kiddo in the front pew. Uh-oh. She then explained to us that Kiddo had changed her mind about being in the pageant as the rehearsal got underway and had proceeded instead to sit in the front pew, crying. Not crying about the pageant, mind you, but because she'd eaten a doughnut with the other Sunday School children right before the practice started and, having eaten a doughnut at home for breakfast, was suddenly stricken with remorse that Mommy might not have wanted her to eat a second doughnut and that she might get in trouble for eating too much sugar. (Which: did I mention the ants in the pants? Sigh.) She had explained all of this at length to the Sunday School teacher, about how Mommy would be so, so mad about her eating that doughnut and how that was why she was crying, because she knew that Mommy would be so, so mad.

Ugh. To sum up the first impression this church has of us: We arrive late, foist our child upon them and then leave (though, as Hubby rightly pointed out, the other parents all left as well) so that our child could whip herself up into a hissy fit about having eaten a doughnut (um, guilty conscience there much, Kiddo? Getting that general sense of "knowing better" and the subsequent guilt that comes with doing it anyway? Fanfreakingtastic, but next time, let's try to keep the histrionics display for family only, mmmkay?), turn on the waterworks and quit the pageant, while also demonstrating what appeared to be a significant amount of fear at the pending Wrath of her Wacko Mother over the minor transgression of eating a doughnut. I mean, Kiddo turned it on as she is wont to do, being a junior Meryl Streep and all. I'm sure they were expecting me to whip out a switch and flay her alive right there in the sanctuary or something. Yeesh.

On that note, we made our way back out into the sleety rain and headed off to my birthday lunch, with a now sulky and petulant Kiddo in the back seat. Happy, happy, joy, joy. We arrive at the restaurant, Macaroni Grill, where we've gone to eat for my birthday for the last several years (um, okay, over a decade). I do adore their food and they make a "dessert ravioli" that is to die for.

Well, they *used* to make a dessert ravioli that is to die for, anyhow. Turns out they changed the menu since last December and the dessert ravioli is gone. Bummer. The rest of our lunch was fairly delightful and the chocolate cake covered with chocolate ganache and crumbled pecans, surrounded by dollops of fresh whipped cream was almost an acceptable substitute for the dessert ravioli. It would've been better if Kiddo, aka Ants in the Pants Annie, hadn't decided to end her two year aversion to all things chocolate (which yes, I never fully understood, or even partially understood. I mean, to suddenly go from loving to refusing CHOCOLATE? What the heck?!) and grabbed a fork to join in on the piece Hubby and I were sharing. In doing so, she managed to scoop up all the dollops of fresh whipped cream, which took the delightfulness factor down a notch or two.

On that note, we headed home again, home again, jiggety jig. I went upstairs to change out of Clothes That Require Things Like Zippers and Brassieres and into Comfy Clothes, aka my jammies. In the bathroom, I was taking out my earrings when my left arm - you know, the one I landed on mere hours ago? - decided to suddenly send a searing pain up to my left hand and kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk, I dropped the earring I was holding. The toilet lid was down and I wasn't right over the sink (which, granted, pretty much anywhere in our master bath is basically "right over the sink" unless you're in the Pepto-Bismol stall shower), so I didn't fret about it too much. However, I couldn't find it anywhere, which befuddled me and led me to believe that it must've fallen into the mostly full garbage can that sits between the toilet and sink (because the dang bathroom's too small to put it anywhere else, including under the ridonkulously small vanity). Now, this wasn't an expensive earring, just a $5 faux-diamond stud, so I decided that I was not about to go dumpster diving in my own bathroom just to retrieve it. With my luck, it didn't fall in there anyhow and I'll find it by stepping on it in the middle of the night when I get up for a drink of water without putting my glasses on...........

So, there you have me today. Bruised, swollen, probably banned from the new church, unstuffed by dessert ravioli and missing an earring. The cat is presently perched in the windowsill just behind my computer monitor, and I'm fully expecting her little, kitty head to whip around a la Linda Blair in The Exorcist and spew forth furballs upon me and/or my computer. (No, I'm not linking to that particular film clip. You're welcome.) Ants in her Pants Annie is whinging away in the next room wanting me to play with her, and at my refusals (because, ahem, I'm working on the Christmas presents for the grandparents right now...) is whinily asking the Magic 8 Ball "Oh Magic 8 Ball, tell me true, will Mommy finish doing her boring work and play with her kid?" And I do have to finish the project, which I can't get into as certain of the grandparents have been known to read my blog and I can't spill the beans, but let's just say there is a lot of creative input and uploading type work involved as well as completion deadlines for shipping in time for Christmas and if my kid is Ants in her Pants Annie, well I might as well confess that my own mother has called me Last Minute Annie for the past 37 years and 364 days... so I'd better get to it.

At least tomorrow I have this to look forward to...

Maybe hitting my late thirties won't be so bad after all...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How's the weather?

According to my kid, it is DELICIOUS.

I won't tell you what the weather is according to me, but suffice it to say that we have come, once again, to the time of year that makes me wonder why the heck I ever thought settling down to live permanently and raise a family in western, upstate New York was a good idea. Sing it with me now, Dino.......... Oh, the weather outside is frightful!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Phriday Photo Phiesta - The Man in Red

Of course I have taken Kiddo every year to see Santa, and of course I have taken pictures of the event every year as well. So, without further ado, here's the Santa and Kiddo picture retrospective! [Ed note: I just looked back in my archive and realized I posted this same retrospective last year. Whoops! So, please ignore the repeating of photos and chalk it up to the ever-increasing addled state of my careening-into-older-age brain. I mean, in ten days I'll officially be in my late 30s........ At least there are NEW photos from this year included!]

The first Christmas, six months old, rather scary Santa. What can I say, I was new to the whole gig - I subsequently learned that there are Better Santas and Creepy Santas and that having four shopping malls within driving distance and a few other Breakfast With Santa opportunities each year, I wouldn't have to settle for Bad Santa photo ops after all.

(Yes, Kiddo's outfit that year included a beret and a faux fur, bolero sweater. It was too much and yet adorable and it had been a gift from a dear, old, high school friend of mine. I couldn't resist!)

The next year, 18 months old, a different mall yielded a much better Santa -

Two and a half and quite eager to chat Santa up -

Three and a half and a particularly jolly Santa, despite the voluminous, fake beard -

Four and a half. I ran out of time that year, so had to settle for a less-than-spectacular Santa, who I think might've been hitting the eggnog a bit too enthusiastically prior to his shift...

Last year, when she was wearing glasses. A Real Beard Santa for the first time, too!

And from this year's visit, we have:

The unfurling of the list which Kiddo created in scroll format and proceeded to read to Santa in its entirety. Fortunately we went to see him in the middle of a weekday thanks to a half day of school, and there was no line so she was able to spend as much time with the Man in Red as she wanted. She even asked him what his favorite cookies are and has now informed me we have to set out ginger snaps for Santa Christmas Eve. Ginger snaps, really? Santa couldn't have said chocolate chip or perhaps Girl Scout cookies, which I have coming out my eyeballs?

I like that this shot is reminiscent of the one from when Kiddo was two and a half. This is where she was pointing out her missing two front teeth to him, as per the song.

And the official "Kiddo and Santa" shot for this year:

I'm thinking we may not have too many more years left where I'll be able to do this, but you can be darn sure I'm going to keep the tradition going as long as I possibly can!

Want more Phriday Photo Phiesta Phun? Drop by Candid Carrie's!


The big CSE meeting was yesterday morning. Many, many shenanigans occurred prior to the meeting, and Hubby and I wound up writing a letter to the CSE outlining our deep concerns about some of these shenanigans that we sent on Monday. This stirred things up a bit more, needless to say. All of a sudden, the person who had no-showed twice for an in-class observation of Kiddo turned up at school and observed her. All of a sudden, the principal of the school was there for the meeting. We were very, very, very stressed out by this time yesterday.

And then? It all went our way. Improbably, unexpectedly, shockingly our way. With our concession of allowing them to label Kiddo as having ADHD (which, for the record, we are not yet convinced she has, but a doctor's statement that she presents with characteristics that are consistent with ADHD was all the CSE committee needed), they continued her classification as a student with a disability, OHI. They also approved the continuation of her services, including her aide and sensory diet. After the meeting, there were tears and apologies - to us, not by us. My gob was thoroughly smacked, to say the least.

So, whew. Kiddo will be able to continue to learn and succeed and be a happy, well-adjusted first grader. She will have the support she needs so she will not fail. Whew.

I am a very happy mommy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Name that Tune: "Tails" really is.............

[Ed note: Whoops! I'd originally written this last night to post after I went to bed, but messed up the post options date so instead of waking up this morning to see that this had posted and revealed the answer, I had total Future Posting Fail. Sorry!]

Someone guessed it! Faster than I did back in the day when it was of critical importance to the kid, too... Way to go, Teresa!

I had hoped to find the Muppets clip of this song to share with you as the big reveal, but alas, it doesn't seem to exist online. So, I'm going with the original, but trust me, if you can get your hands on a copy of John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together, you'll love Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem's version. Animal and his RUN RUN REINDEER alone make it worthwhile. (Teresa - that is one of the Smith family's favorite Christmas albums as well, and has been one of my favorites since I got it on vinyl back when it was a new release in the 70s!)

Well, way up north where the air gets cold
There's a TALE about Christmas that you've all been told........................

Little St. Nick is the TAILS of Kiddo's oddly named request!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Song Name That Tune... a hint

Several guesses so far, but no one's gotten it right.

How about a hint?

Musicians that have recorded this particular song include The Captain and Tennille, The Beach Boys, The Drifters and my favorite version that was done by the Muppets.

Seriously now, that's a total giveaway, even if you don't have access to my iPod's holiday music playlist................

Answer later tonight - somebody's gotta guess the Tails!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Name That Tune: Christmas music edition

I've always loved Christmas music. Over the years, I've had an extensive collection of Christmas albums, first on vinyl, then cassette, then CD and most recently on my iPod. Kiddo, therefore, has been exposed to Christmas music as much as a child can be from her very first year on Earth.

By the time she was two and a half, Kiddo began having favorites among Mommy's vast catalogue of holiday tunes. She'd even begun making requests. One wintry afternoon as we were driving about running errands, Kiddo piped up from the back seat where she'd been rocking out to the strains of one of my eleventy million and twelve holiday CDs.

"Mommy, play Tails, peese!"


Hubby and I looked at each other blankly. Tails? What the heck did she mean by Tails? We conferred, trying to come up with the song Kiddo wanted. We had nothing. We began forwarding through every song on the compilation CD that had been playing when she made the request. She was quite insistent. "Peese play TAILS! I want TAILS!" We kept going through the CD, but none of the songs was the one Kiddo was waiting to hear. We reached our destination without ever finding the mysterious Tails song.

This continued for another two weeks. Every time I had Christmas music playing, Kiddo would ask repeatedly for Tails and we hadn't the slightest idea what song she wanted. We asked her to sing a bit of it for us, but as you can imagine, at two and a half, what she came out with was pretty unrecognizable.

Finally, one afternoon just a few short days before Christmas, Kiddo and I were out with her godmother when sure enough, Kiddo began yelling for TAILS! PEESE PLAY TAILS! I explained to her godmother (also my BFF) that Kiddo had a specific song in mind but that we had no idea what song it was. Her godmother was intrigued and totally up for the challenge, and began the arduous task of playing snippets of every single song on every single CD I had in the van and asking Kiddo "is this it? Is this Tails?" as Kiddo vehemently rejected each song.

Until............ we found it. We found Tails. We found Tails and we subsequently listened to it over and over and over and over again. All the way on the 6 hour drive to NJ that year, we listened to Tails. All the way home again, too. Kiddo was so, so happy to *finally* have her favorite Christmas song (that year) and she would sing along cheerfully and enthusiastically. While out doing some last minute shopping, it came on at some store at the mall, and Kiddo freaked out. "They're playing TAILS!!!!" Oh, the joy of Tails.

By the next holiday season, Kiddo had moved on. She no longer loved Tails above all other holiday songs. That next year, she was all about Dominic the Donkey. Now, at the ripe old age of six and a half, Kiddo is able to play Christmas CDs in her room all by herself, or to dial them up on her iPod, which is even better since that involves headphones (unless she's using my iPod speakers). She can listen to Tails or whatever other song her little heart desires as many times as she wants without driving her father and I to distraction trying to play Name That Tune.

Think you can guess the song that Kiddo called Tails? I'll post the answer tomorrow...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

As a photo-obsessed mother of an only child, I have, over the past 6.5 years (6.5 years *today* actually!), taken many, many, many pictures of Kiddo. Over time, certain traditions developed. There are the typical ones - Kiddo with Santa, Kiddo with the Easter Bunny - and then there are the ones that might be a bit more unique to our family.

Case in point: Tom the Turkey. Tom is a Thanksgiving centerpiece that my aunt made (along with matching Thanksgiving placemats) and gave to Hubby and me back when we were still newlyweds, in anticipation of the first ever Thanksgiving dinner that Hubby and I were going to have on our own. (Hubby worked in radio back in those days, and living where we were in the Middle of Nowhere, NH, it was impossible due to his work schedule and the distance to get back to NJ for Thanksgiving dinner with the family.) On a side note, my aunt had brought this little craft project with her as she, my uncle and grandmother went on their annual Leaf Peeping tour through New England, stopping off that year to visit us since we were then living smack-dab in the middle of their tour route. She was finishing up Tom in a hotel room prior to their arrival at our house, and ran out of stuffing for him. So, apparently Tom has an extra souvenir inside him to remind us of our time living in NE and that particular visit: some washcloths from a hotel in White River Junction, VT. I've never cut Tom open to verify the tale, but I do think of it each year when I take him out of his storage box...

Now, flash forward almost a decade. Kiddo joins our family and at the age of six months, is celebrating her first Thanksgiving. In a moment of inspiration, I plunked her onto the couch and set Tom the Turkey next to her for a photo op.

The following year, I did it again. And thus, the Turkey Pic tradition was born.

It wouldn't be a very good tradition if I didn't keep it up over the years...

So, it seems only fitting to share the latest of the series "Child with Turkey" (snapped just this morning!) as my way of saying Happy Thanksgiving with you all now!

Hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday, and if you are not celebrating Thanksgiving today 'cause you're not here in America, well that's no reason not to pause for a moment and think of those for whom and that for which you are thankful, right?

Now, it's time to turn the oven on.........

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In lieu of ranting and raving, some humor

Oh. My.

I am so, so, so, so, so furious right now. Almost beyond words. I am fairly certain I could shoot laser beams from my eyes if certain members of Kiddo's CSE team were standing in front of me right now. The new levels of asininity that have been reached in the farce in which we've been forced to engage in order to maintain Kiddo's services have left me gobsmacked, utterly dismayed and stressed beyond belief.

I could rant and rave for paragraphs and paragraphs on the topic, but I'm choosing to let it go - for now. Nothing can be done until Monday and we have a holiday coming up. While it isn't going to be the Thanksgiving we'd envisioned (my sister, brother-in-law and nephews were supposed to be coming up from Jersey, but due to H1N1 in their house, they can't), it still is a five day period in which our family of three will be home together. So, I'm choosing to take deep breaths and try to forget about the hell of the last two days at least until I am able to pick up my sword and battle ax and resume the fight next week.

So, in lieu of another diatribe from me on the idiocy that exists in the world of Special Education and the unconscionable acts that are required by the adults therein, all supposedly in the name of helping the children with disabilities, I want to share this with you. A friend had linked to it on his Facebook page and I came across it while ferociously typing out infuriated status updates earlier this afternoon. It cracked me up, and as a fan of both the Muppets and Queen, I can't not share it with you now.

So, please enjoy the following cover of Bohemian Rhapsody:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Five words

10) Other health-impairment means having limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that is due to chronic or acute health problems, including but not limited to a heart condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, asthma, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia, diabetes, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or Tourette syndrome, which adversely affects a student's educational performance.

including but not limited to. Five words that are at the heart of a big issue.

When we moved into this new school district back in May, Kiddo had an IEP in place which classified her as a student with a disability, Other Health Impaired. The paragraph at the beginning of this post, taken from the state IEP guidelines, is the one that describes how a child can be classified as "other health impaired" and therefore receive services through an IEP.

(Side note, because I'm angry and bitter right now: I cannot begin to tell you how many people, including several people that work for this school district, have told us how lucky we are to be in this school district and how grateful we should be for being able to partake of this wondrous, super-awesome school district. I can't italicize enough to convey the tone with which I type this, but suffice it to say I am not feeling particularly lucky or grateful right now.)

Kiddo's old school district classified her as "Other Health Impaired" for her SPD because there is no specific category for SPD as a classifying disability. (Things like autism, deafness, emotional disturbance, learning disability, visual impairment and so on all count as their own qualifier. OHI is meant to catch the rest of the disabilities that do not have their own qualifying category.) The old school district read that paragraph that stipulates what counts as OHI and chose to include SPD because of those five words "including but not limited to" and all was well. Kiddo was granted the services she needed to succeed in the classroom, most importantly the aide to provide her sensory diet. (Yes, yes, getting the old school district to follow through and be in compliance with the IEP was a major battle, but at least we had the plan written and signed.)

The new school district? The one that is so awesome and the one that we are so damn lucky to be in now and for which we should be so grateful? They are choosing to ignore those five words. To disregard them completely. They have stated in no uncertain terms their intention to declassify Kiddo and therefore discontinue her services and IEP at the next CSE meeting on December 3rd. They say that SPD doesn't "count" as a qualifying disability, because it doesn't appear in that list. Furthermore, SPD isn't yet included in the DSM, so they say that means they don't have to count it.

But, but, but........ they really do. They do because of those five words. "including but not limited to" means that they can't limit what counts. That's our position, anyhow, and we plan to fight. Kiddo's SPD is a chronic health impairment. It does result in a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli. It does impact her ability to function and succeed in the classroom.

There are alternatives to the IEP. Implementing a 504 plan has been suggested. Not just suggested, but hailed as the shining beacon of perfection that will be the savior of all this mess. Except... a 504 plan doesn't give a child an aide. Aides (or "paraprofessionals" as this district calls them) are only available through an IEP.

Like that? Like how they're telling us we can have the plan that doesn't guarantee the services she needs, but that she doesn't qualify for the plan that does guarantee the services she needs, and yet they acknowledge that those are, in fact, the services she needs all at the same time?

Kiddo is smart. She's extremely capable of learning in a general education classroom setting and has consistently worked at and usually above grade level. She's a happy kid, well adjusted and with good self esteem and lots of self confidence. She has many friends. She is well liked by her peers. She enjoys school greatly.

If the CSE pulls her services and removes her aide and her sensory diet, that will all change. Kiddo will not be able to succeed in the classroom. She won't be able to focus adequately if her sensory system is disregulated, which it will be if she doesn't have the support in place. She will fail. She will suffer. She will lose friends, self confidence and self esteem. (We've seen it happen before, at the first preschool Kiddo attended. It took time to get her back to normal, to have an unstressed, happy kid, and that was preschool. These are much bigger stakes now that she's older.) We've been told that if (or really, when) that comes to pass and Kiddo fails, we could then go back to the CSE and say "See? She's failing!" and then maybe they'd be more amenable to giving her an IEP and reinstating the services they took away. Hubby and I do not intend to let it get to that point.

I think I need to go bang my head against my old friend the brick wall.

The CSE team wants us to agree to declassify Kiddo and to pursue the 504 plan. They're promising to give their best effort to arrange for services as best they can through the resources available at the school. (In other words: no guaranteed aide who has been trained in how to meet Kiddo's needs and supply the necessary sensory support as demanded at any given time.) We have said that this is not good enough. Not acceptable. We say Kiddo needs an aide. (They don't disagree, you'll recall.) They say that to have an aide requires an IEP, which they say Kiddo doesn't qualify for - unless, of course, we can come up with another diagnosis for her that would automatically qualify, like ADHD, in the next two weeks and show sufficient documentation to support that other diagnosis.

Oh yeah, you can bet we're going to fight this. Tooth and nail. We've already contacted a special education advocacy agency and are going to be strategizing like mad. We're also considering our route of due process in terms of appeals, mediation, hearings. We will fight this, because Kiddo needs the aide for her sensory diet. The thing that kills me is that no one, not a single person on the CSE, says otherwise. They all seem to be in complete agreement that she needs the aide, they just say she doesn't qualify.

We've got five words that say otherwise. I just hope we win.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Class picture day

Kiddo lost her first top tooth yesterday. Well, it wasn't so much lost as finally gave up its struggle and allowed itself to be wrested from her gums. The tooth in question had been sorta loose for a long time, then really loose for a few weeks, and by a week or so ago had moved into ridonkulously loose and yet still hanging on by one stubborn, jagged bit and was giving Kiddo the appearance of some sort of hillbilly yokel of possibly British descent. It stuck out between her lips when her lips were closed, y'all. It was nasty. Sadly, Kiddo has teeth as stubborn as she is - none of the five which've left her head thus far have come out easily. There is adult assistance required each and every time. Two of her teeth came out at school, so I was not the adult providing assistance for them. That was delightful. The other three, sadly, have been home removals, requiring my help. (Hubby utterly refuses to lend a hand in this realm. Seems like a "dad" thing to do, but he won't. Humph.)

I was more concerned about this upper tooth than I'd been for any of the lower, because "hillbilly yokel of possible British descent" is not the look I was hoping for in this year's edition of class photos, which are being taken today. So yesterday, when Kiddo came downstairs after sitting at the breakfast table and wiggling her tooth instead of eating and said "Mom, I think it is ready to come out" I snatched up a Puffs Plus, wrapped it around the tooth and prepared to yank for all I was worth. Seeing that gaping hole in her gumline where Cletus the Slack-Toothed Yokel had been dangling was totally worth any screams, I tell you. (Okay, fine, all screaming was done by me - I'm not a fan of doing anything that draws blood out of my child. Most of the time.)

With her newly remodeled upper jaw, I scrubbed, brushed, dressed and fixed Kiddo up for school today. New dress, new tights, non-sneaker type shoes and new hair accessory to match the outfit, she was ready to go.

The bad news is, today is actually "make up" picture day. The original class picture day was the day Kiddo had her eye surgery. So, we've got one shot at her picture this year. In previous years, we've been lucky. Kiddo's photos have come out well. I think this is because I never had anything less than a wonky, terrible school picture myself in my school picture career, so School Picture Karma therefore dictates that Kiddo should only have phenomenal pictures for her entire school picture career. Right?

When it is actual class picture day, the teachers do their best to keep the kids calm, quiet and clean. Not so much for make up day. Children are rounded up and taken to the auditorium at any point between 10am and 1pm according to the flyer that came home about make up pictures earlier this week. If her picture is at 10am, we should be okay. If it is closer to 1pm, all the karma in the world isn't going to help. With P.E., lunch and outdoor recess on the agenda, I'm pretty much guaranteed to get back a hideous picture this year, especially since we don't have a chance to retake them because this is the retake day.

Stay tuned for further developments............

Sometimes Mother Nature can be a real B----

So we have this tree in our front yard that I've nicknamed the Leafy Bastard. It's a silver maple and it is huge.

The plus side of having a huge silver maple in the front yard is that we have some lovely shade in the summer months, something we never had at our old, virtually shadeless house. The downsides of having a huge silver maple in the front yard include the helicopter seeds that come down in massive quantities for weeks and weeks in the spring, followed by a summer's worth of bird crap all over the driveway (and anything thereupon) and what has happened over the past month. The shedding of the leaves.

Now, having a virtually shadeless yard up until this point in our homeowning lives, we never had to deal with leaf collection and removal. The two ornamental pear trees and one tiny maple at our old house only shed a minimal amount of leaves that were easily mulched in with the lawnmower. Not so the Leafy Bastard.

A few weeks ago, I attempted to rake the seventy-six squillion leaves that LB had dropped all over the front yard.

My next door neighbor kindly lent me her gas-powered leaf blower, and I had a fair amount of fun blowing the leaves towards the front of the yard before raking them to the curb. The residual effect of not being able to feel my arms from the elbow down after leafblowing with such enthusiasm for over an hour was a small price to pay. "Hey, leaf removal isn't so bad!" I thought to myself. Kiddo definitely thinks it is a grand, old time.

So, happy with the leaf containment I had achieved, I congratulated myself heartily on a job well done. Then I woke up and looked out the window the next day. Leafy Bastard had decided to mock my earnest efforts by dumping another seventy-six squillion leaves on the front yard. I'd have thought I dreamed the entire leaf-removing experience except that my ginormous pile was still there at the curb and the blisters were still all over my hands. (Yes, I wore gloves. I shudder to think what my hands would've looked like if I hadn't.)

It wound up taking four full leaf blowing/raking events over a three week period to get the majority of the leaves to the curb. Leafy Bastard. If you think I am being unduly harsh to ole LB, let me tell you this. It turns out that leaves are a serious allergen for my poor,beleaguered eyeballs. All that leaf work culminated in my eyelids swelling to the size of golf balls and my eyes feeling as though they were being stabbed by red hot pokers, along with my vision degrading to the point that I felt like I was seeing the world through heavily Vaselined lenses. I would've taken a picture to show you, but my eyes were getting really sensitive to the light too and I didn't want to kill them with the flash.

After a few days of worsening eye problems, I took myself over to the eye doctor to get 'em checked out. Sure enough, the icky eye disease I dealt with two years ago, GPC, had reoccured, and I also have some SPK going on, and the combination of the two has made a hot mess of corneal badness. (Google the abbreviations if you must, but do so at your own risk because they're both really icky.) For the record, things you don't want to hear while at the eye doctor include "Wow, it looks like someone took sandpaper to your corneas!" and a general sucking in of breath in horror as he gazes in the other side of the machine you're holding your eyes up to for examination. Now I'm back on eye steroid and antibiotic drops and off of my contacts while my corneas heal.

At least this gets me off of leaf-removal duty for the rest of the year. Did I mention we have another huge, leafy silver maple in our back yard?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Not Really Even Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Whatever you've got on tap...

Our crazy cat has a drinking problem. Her problem, specifically, is that she won't drink just any old water. She prefers to drink from a running source. Now, this was kind of cute at first, the way the tiny kitten would jump into the bowl of the sink when the water was on, but we still tried encouraging her to drink out of a plain, old water bowl just like every other housecat in the world since practically the beginning of time. She clung fast to her peculiarity, stubborn as she is, to the point of constipating and dehydrating herself. Seriously. Following the vet visit during which we learned that no, apparently she wouldn't just drink from her bowl when she got good and thirsty enough, we trotted ourselves over to the pet store and acquired one of those fancy-shmancy, "water fountain" style water bowl gizmos, complete with carbon filter for the purest possible water. The whole set up, plus the ongoing cost of the replacement filters, was not cheap. Hubby grumbled a good deal about it, but we didn't want Crazy Cat getting sick from lack of water.

Well, Crazy Cat didn't like it any more than the non-fountain variety bowl. Nope, apparently *running* water wasn't enough for her, it has to be running water from a tap somewhere in the house. In our old house, we left the sink in the vanity area of the master bedroom on a slow drip. (Sorry, environment and yes, it did affect the water bill, but we didn't want the cat to dehydrate and get sick.) In the new house, I'm happy to say, we've worked out a slightly different system. We don't leave any faucet running 24-7 like we did in the old house. (Yay environment and yay lower water bills!) Instead, when the cat wants a drink of water, she asks for one and we turn on the tap. Her favorite tap in the new house is the laundry room's utility sink.

She'll hop up onto the edge of the sink or the washing machine and meow quite dramatically until one of us responds and turns the tap on for her.

You can't just turn it on, mind you, it has to be done to just the right amount of water pressure. It is a delicate art.

Crazy Cat now will come and get me wherever I may be in the house and lead me down to the laundry room to turn the water on so she can drink, meowing with great purpose the entire time.

Yeah, she's got us right where she wants us. Let's hope she doesn't develop a taste for Evian or mineral water...............

Monday, November 2, 2009

Leopards and poodles and pigs, oh my!

So, my parents came up to visit for the big Halloween weekend festivities. Mom arrived with her year old standard poodle on Thursday, Dad arrived Friday afternoon. Of course, the Halloween festivities had actually started prior to their arrival, with the Halloween party at Hubby's office on Wednesday afternoon:

On Friday, inclement weather forced the school's Halloween parade indoors. All the various parents, grandparents and siblings crammed into the auditorium and the classes paraded through. I sat on the aisle, camera at the ready, and caught this shot:

You'll notice that this particular leopard *does* in fact change her spots. I never did the same spotting pattern twice for all the various costume-requiring activities. Artistic license, yo!

So, I mentioned that my mom brought up her poodle. Well it turns out that the poodle, ginormous as she may be, is scared - petrified, even! - of Kiddo's goldfish, Swimmy. The dog would slink up to the tank and then when the fish would swim over (because to Swimmy, any movement in the vicinity of the tank could bring manna from Heaven in the form of fish flakes, so Swimmy gets verrrrry excited to see things moving about in any close proximity) the dog would jump back and cower, tail between her legs. Heh.

The Halloween festivities continued on into the weekend, with Kiddo attending a friend's costume birthday party Saturday afternoon and then Trick or Treating in our neighborhood Saturday evening. Alas, a little bit later Saturday night, we went from leopard spots to swine flu. Kiddo spiked a fever of 104 and by midday Sunday, I was chilled, feverish and coughing too. Phone calls with the pediatrician's office have concluded that we both have H1N1 (which is running rampant through the school - over 20% of the kids were absent last Wednesday) so now I'm supposed to be monitoring Kiddo for worsening or new symptoms that might indicate a secondary infection and keep her resting comfortably and pushing fluids in the meanwhile. Sadly, without that great pacifier of TV, Kiddo is proving to be a most cranky and recalcitrant patient, which I do not particularly enjoy given that all I want to do is crawl into bed and let Nyquil take me away. Stupid Swine Flu. Hopefully for Hubby's birthday (yes, today marks the beginning of that glorious period where, for exactly six weeks, Hubby and I are the same age. Then I go back to being a year older, sob sob...) we will NOT give him our germs. He's threatening to fly off to Vegas after work, Dad left for work early this morning and my mother and her scaredy-fish poodle have departed for their apparently equally germy homeland of New Jersey (both of my nieces and one of my nephews down in Jersey have H1N1 symptoms as well) so right now the house is merely occupied by Cranky, Achy, Sneezy, Chilly, Fevery, Whiny and Coughy. Trust me, that's plenty of company for the time being.

(Apparently the above is available for sale as a t-shirt - don't know to whom the credit goes but it's not my original design and props to whomever did create it!!)