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!