Monday, May 31, 2010

Fallen Soldiers

People are surprising.

One of our neighbors is a family about our age, with a little blond girl of their own (whom Kristina greatly adores).

And although they've always been very nice and cordial, I don't think we've ever really connected very well, and I don't really know why.

Ok, a little bit of it might have to do with the husband being very vocal on occasion about being very republican.

And more than a little insane when it comes to PT.

And very, very attached to his firearms.

And he likes to ridicule hippies.

But then, that could easily describe 75% of those in the Army.

However, he also has surprised me on a couple of occasions.

Like he draws quite well with sidewalk chalk.

And enthusiastically dressed up as Jack Sparrow (complete with dreadlocks and fake facial hair) for Pirate Days in Sacketts Harbor, NY.

And can paint really great jack-o-lanterns.

And also has some musical talent.

So lets take a moment to remember the fallen soldiers of this war and all wars (well, at least from the Civil War onwards when Memorial Day was created). And to recognize those who remind the rest of us of that in their own special ways.

It's somewhat a shame his creative talents are channeled into the military though. He'd make such a good hippie with those skills.....

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Trinity of Marriage

First off, happy wedding day Cassi and Josh!!

I wish you both a lifetime of happiness together.

Cause I am not flying across the country solo with two children under the age of 3 to be a bridesmaid at a sunrise beachside wedding AGAIN anytime soon.

And thinking about your wedding has made me look at the whole marriage conundrum.

The way I see it, getting married breaks down into three parts: the wedding, the civil union, and the marriage.

The wedding is ultimately just a big party.

Sure it's nice to mark the event, to add something more to the act of getting married than just signing your name (incidentally signing is also all that's needed for a divorce, but we don't see very many celebrations of that).

And who would pass up a chance to be the center of attention for a day and to wear whatever level of outlandish dress (to include price tags greater than most cars) you wish.

And the food.

And the CAKE!

So yes, weddings are good and fun, but still come back to just being (often overpriced and superficial) revelry on a single day of your entire life.

The legalizing part of getting married is a simple form needing signatures.

(Unless of course you're gay, when just being able to sign that form suddenly means a whole lot more)

And there are many military marriages that rely heavily on this aspect and take very little from the other parts.

There are also many military divorces (last figures I saw were at 60%, which I believe is about twice the rate of the whole US).

But still, it is a document which is relatively easy to procure (although it does need to be done in advance if you want to start your legal marriage on the actual day of your wedding festivities), takes a few authorized signatures, and then you are legally bound to one another (and it's not even all that dissimilar to having a child legally bound to you).

And then we come to the actual marriage, which (hopefully) lasts for years and years and years. And which is ultimately much more important than the other two.

And is also much more difficult.

But then again, difficulties are what make life worth living (otherwise it'd be incredibly boring!), and what better way to experience them than going through all the challenges with (a legally bound) special someone.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Procrastination




One of my fond memories of childhood was sitting with my father and having him read me the comics from the newspaper in the morning. Even now when presented with a newspaper I still tend to skip over to the comics, because they really are the best part of most.

And my absolute all time favorite, as both a child and adult, is the monumental strip by Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes.

Which is why my father received Watterson archival comic books for many a birthday/father's day/Christmas (although I did eventually have to branch out to include other artists since there really are only so many Calvin and Hobbes books in existence).

And the best part of all: They have all ended up with ME.

(This would have nothing to do with me accidentally packing some off them to go off with me to college)

((Just think of it as me inheriting some of your stuff while you're still alive, Daddy))

Which means I have a totally wicked bathroom library selection set up right now. Selections also include Baby Blues, For Better or For Worse, and The Treasury of Wit and Wisdom. Admittedly we are sorely lacking the true classics, like Uncle John's Bathroom Reader and The Far Side, but every collection needs a little work.

And as I read and re-read (and re-re-read, ans re-re-re-read) the antics of an imaginative child and his thoughtful companion, I realize some things.

Like that I did not get a lot of the humor and subtext/context when I was 5.

And that the mind of a child is a universe unto itself (which is a very good lesson to remember in conversations with Kristina).

And that within a few cartoon panels, Watterson shared great humor, wisdom, and philosophy of life.

Because really, procrastination and rationalization ARE some of my most used skills in my life (right after changing diapers and making peanut-butter sandwiches).

Friday, May 28, 2010

Labels


I will admit, I have become a bit obsessed with labeling things.

But life just keeps reinforcing it!

Take this example of a onesie labeling the wearer as "baby".

You know, just in case you forgot and tried to dress the cat in it.

Or couldn't decerne whether the wearer was a Yorkie or your offspring.

Babies are tricky like that.

And Yorkies don't like to be dressed in green strips.

(Only pink polka dots will do, while cats are even more persnickety dressers)

And then there is the labeling reinforcement from sending the girls to a military operated childcare/preschool, where everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING) must be labeled with their first and last names.

To include individual diapers.

And labeling the child herself upon delivery.

(No really, you have to put their name written on masking tape on their back, along with any allergies, when you drop them off).

Thus I end up labeling lots of things (and dearly love my fine point sharpie) as a way of life.

And then my husband acted as a labeling enabler and got me a label maker.

Label makers are awesome.

And this wonderful piece of technology has resulted in the dressers having labels on all the drawers.

And on the kitchen cabinets.

And on the filing folders.

And on some of the furniture.

But NOT on the cat.

And the baby is only labeled when it comes on clothing or is otherwise required by outside forces.

Cause really, something that cute can't be defined by a four letter word.

Unless of course, it's "baby".

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Name That Diaper


All right all you swanky child care givers, have I got the challenge for you!

It's time for a round of Naaaame Thaaat Diaaapeeerrr!

The picture is of the diaper selection needed for our little California vacation (ok, the whole trip was planned so I could be a bridesmaid in an old college roommate's wedding, but why pass up a perfect opportunity for beaches and Disneyland when it's right there?).

Can YOU identify what all is there?!

It's a challenging picture, since it's a side view of most of them.

But I'll give you some hints:
~There are diapers for 2 children, a 2.75 year old whose daytime dry (potty trained), and a 4 month old
~We are also packing swimsuits
~Target is better than Walmart
~Both girls have easily irritated skin
~There are three brands and four types represented

AND if you can guess the sizes correctly, I will be so impressed that I will probably create some wonderful diaperish prize for you!

So get ready to NAME That DIAPER!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Formula Temptation

Formula companies are starting to get a lot of grief here in the US.

Ironically, way after many of their marketing practices have been banned world wide (without the United State's participation).

Or caused massive multi-generation global company boycotts and protests.

(So much for being a world leader on all fronts, old glory).

And one often repeated nugget of breastfeeding advice: Do NOT keep formula in the house.

The why usually following is to avoid temptation, but I also think it's a bit of a snub towards the hospital/formula company new baby gift bags (although why the breastfeeding new baby gift bag ALWAYS contains formula samples and not breast pads and lanolin samples is beyond me).

But as a result we've always had said hospital formula samples in the house.

And you know what?

Neither girl has ever had any (thus far, at least), and it has never even occurred to me to try and give them some.

Temptation for what?!?

Measuring and mixing and warming are all going to take much longer than pulling up my shirt ever would to soothe a cranky baby.

And Adrianna (equally true for Kristina back in the day) likes to nurse.

And my body likes to nurse.

So really now, temptation for WHAT??

Perhaps it's temptation for other adults, like the theoretical father figure who doesn't want to disturb the resting mother with a hungry baby.

But then, we have a month's worth of pumped milk in the freezer that would be just as easy to pull out and use.

And their father is in a different country right now.

And is well trained at handing hungry babies to mama when he is home.

And, as I'm thinking about this, probably doesn't even know how to make a bottle of formula in the first place (the only reason I even know is from years working in child care).

But still I hesitate to gift my latest can of sample formula to the food bank just yet, while Adrianna is still very much in the bottle stage of babyhood, probably as a result of my overwhelming need to be prepared for anything.

ANYTHING.

(Do note that I also have been known to carry duct tape, sand bags, jacket/hat/mittens, AA batteries, safety pins, lemonade mix, lighters, tic tacs, water jugs, a ka-bar (just a little one), rag towels, seasonal shoes, sleeping bag, and a hairbrush just to be prepared. For anything. And then I had children, which means in addition to whatever randomness from the list above which is presently deemed necessary there's also a permanently packed extra diaper bag in the truck with "emergency" diapers, wipes, clothes, toys, snacks... just to be prepared.... after all, you never know when the next invasion might be that can only be survived by staying locked in one's vehicle with one's children while the aliens start landing flying saucers in DC.....)

Thus the can of formula continues it's misspent life sitting unopened in the pantry.

And I still doubt there will ever be much temptation to use it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

House

I finally got around to watching a full episode of House (live and straight through even!) the other night, after seeing bits and pieces of the show and hearing about it from friends and other media for years.

And I must say, it wasn't bad.

But first, some background explanation is in order.

The biggest question I'm sure you all have is: how on earth did you watch a full hour episode of anything live on tv complete with commercials?

It's all thanks to Adrianna.

You see, our current bedtime routine involves bathing and pajamas and stories and Kristina being tucked into bed by some ridiculously early time (no seriously, she's usually snoring by 6:30pm, that's early even for little toddler standards!), and then Adrianna likes to settle in for a leisurely feeding.

And by leisurely feeding, I mean constant nursing for an hour or two (on occasion even three).

And this would be a problem if it meant I was starring at a wall for 90+ minuets by myself every evening.

But the most wonderful powers that be have granted me the respite of Adrianna completely ignoring the television as long as the volume is down pretty low and I'm rocking in Peter's lazy boy.

And I even have the ability to work the remote with the non-baby-supporting hand!

Woot!

Thus I have ended up with an hour or two (on occasion even three) of mandatory television watching each night.

And after a couple of months, I have become rather bored with some of the old favorites.

Which has led to more browsing of what's on live tv (vs. only selecting what's previously been recorded) and branching out into new televised territory, as we do in fact have cable-which-is-called-satellite channels.

And when an episode of house started as I was flipping channels, it seemed like a good thing to try to watch (after all, there's only so many times Mac and Harm can only almost but not quite get together before a new plot line is needed. And I really do think I have seen every single episode of NCIS done before 2009. And Comedy Central has been on vacation this past week, meaning no new comedic news even!)

So yes, I watched House.

It was the episode (2008, I believe) where a deranged patient-to-be took the good doctor and a motley crew of patients and hospital personal hostage at gun point and demanded he be diagnosed and treated.

In many ways, not that different from sine common plot themes in NCIS and Criminal Minds, which are what I usually end up watching (thanks to Peter getting me hooked on the shows in general AND setting the DVR to auto record every episode that comes on), and the medical bit is kinda a nice diversification of forensic science drama.

But one thing really struck me about the show where, on two ocassions, members of his little (main cast) group bailed on doctor. First the accented surfer hair guy, and then the suited (and probably token) black guy muttered something about how Dr. House was going to get people shot and walked out of the conference call session between the hostaged dr. and his posse.

Now, I understand there is probably some long existing scripted drama and conflict between people and all that is influencing and guiding the television quirks. But in the other shows the unity of the team is extremely important, and the members will side with their (older, grumpy, and graying male) leader over all else, including the higher authority.

Even shows like Star Trek had the members pull together in emergencies and crisis situations, where they would work out problems and come to a deeper bonding and sense of unity (at least until next time).

But not House.

And this puzzles me.

Now, JAG (and as far as Starfleet Academy can be compared to West Point, the various series of Star Trek too) is based on members of the military, where hierarchy and the group as a whole are greatly emphasized as part of the culture and way of life off screen, and thus would transfer over if the show is to remotely resemble serving men and women.

And if we're arguing that the military mindset changes group dynamics, that graying lead in NCIS is a former Marine, and therefore would demand more of that particular mantra from his team.

And NCIS and JAG were developed by the very same Donald P. Bellisario.

But the characters in Criminal Minds are unmilitary, albeit federal employees.

So why would doctors be so different?

Perhaps it is because they do not see themselves as a unit, a team, and hence don't see the need to function as such.

Or perhaps there are much greater interpersonal disputes I am simply unaware of from not having watched more of the series (similar to not knowing most of their names, just those little details that need more watching to pick up on).

Or perhaps the other shows got humanity wrong (or maybe even just outdated).

Or perhaps it's a slight writing flaw, in one particular episode.

Regardless, the show is now set to join the ranks of the others by having it's every cabelized broadcast (on the cable-which-is-called-satellite) recorded to our DVR.

So I can watch it without commercials whenever it happens to be extended nursing time.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dance Pictures


Kristina attends a little local dance school, where she has great fun running around like crazy (but to music!) with the other two and three year olds once a week.

They are also having a big recital for all the students next month.

I think her class is relying heavily on the "they're so little so of course they'll be cute even if they are sitting down crying or eating their boogers on stage" for the performance.

And just in case you were wondering, my child would be the one eating her boogers.

This past weekend, however, was dance picture taking time, where they set up the dance studio like a photography room and had a professional in there to get pictures of all the kids in their recital costumes.

And me being the good mommy I am of course had signed Kristina up for this, made sure she had matching hair bows, fluffed her recital tutu the night before, and even remembered about the whole thing that morning (which says a lot considering it started at 4:30 am thanks to a certain squirmy baby)!

And Kristina was fairly agreeable about getting ready for the whole thing, other than a slight altercation regarding her hair, and seemed reasonably excited for the process.

After all, she got to wear a pretty tutu and fairy wings.

And she was fairly agreeable when we got there, taking off her shoes as bid, and although she requested not to wear the wings was happy in the tutu, and enjoying seeing the other costumes and saying hi the other children.

And then it was her turn.

One of her biggest meltdowns to date ensued (and just in case you haven't spent much time in person with Kristina, that is not a little thing to say).

Completely terrified, screaming, crying, sobbing, would not get anywhere near backdrop.... the lures of the baby getting her picture taken (dearest Adrianna, thank you for being so agreeable right then, mommy really, really appreciated it) or watching the other girls have theirs taken did nothing.

The offer of using her most favoritest blue dance school chair did nothing.

Bribes of candy did nothing.

She continued her panicked screaming until sneakers were on and we were safely out the door of the (formerly beloved and now apparently evil) dance school, at which time she promptly stopped crying, and after being reassured that we were just going home, went right back to being fairly agreeable and good natured.

Oh. My. God.

I often find myself asking why.

Why is it always my child?

Why did she lose it that day? Why right then at the studio??

Why does every little thing turn into some major catastrophe?

Why can't life ever just be easy?

And WHY is the rum always gone?!?!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Second Child Syndrom



I am an only child, and thus have very little personal sibling interaction experience.

I keep meaning to procure and read some of the parenting books on the subject matter, and several of Kristina's "you're going to be a big sister" genera books even have recommended ones for parents in them to make the selection easier.

But I also keep meaning to organize the basement and pretend I care about the front flowerbeds.

So needless to say the intensive sibling studying just hasn't happened yet.

I do however have a nice case of second-child-neglect guilt, and would like to make a few condolences to Adrianna in regards to her birth order.

First off, I'm really sorry you have an exuberant-for-life (at times also known as noisy) big sister who often accidentally wakes you up from your naps.

(I'm also really sorry that this occurrence is largely a result of your crib being in a hallway nook, but we had to find a house on a crazy one weekend cross country trip and you hadn't even been conceived yet when we bought this place and the military really will move us again in a year anyways and Kristina's room is already set up for bunk beds for you guys once you get out of the crib so it's not that horrible of a set up, right? At least you have a brand new super nice real little crib! With brand new bought just for you pink and brown polka dot bedding! And incidentally, Kristina didn't have her own room until she was one either..... so I promise you're not getting that jipped for not having a nursery. Or at least that's what I keep telling my guilt)

But Kristina's a really good big sister who loves you lots. She is super protective of you, and always wants to know where you and that you're ok. She also likes to come tell me if you're crying and that I need to go pick you up (the fact that I already know you're crying and really will go get you just as soon as I get the muffins out of the oven while they're still edible is mostly irrelevant).

And I know you don't like her wiping your nose, but you don't like mommy to wipe your nose either... and sometimes you really do have boogers!

And although you certainly do end up wearing your share of hand-me-downs, I also greatly enjoy buying baby clothes and have gotten you some of your very own (like that adorable 'baby sister' outfit you were wearing today, that was gotten just for you!). Plus Kristina wears just as many hand-me-down too, they just aren't from our family. And I promise I won't make you wear anything that's already worn out before you ever got it.

But it'd be really nice if you could use some of the tennis shoes Kristina out grew in less two months that look brand spanking new. Because shoes (even little kid ones) are expensive, and you'll probably out grow them just as fast.

I really try to take equal numbers of pictures of you both, and to make sure you have plenty of baby pictures without Kristina in them (although I have to admit, you two are freaking adorable together!), as I have heard this is often a second sibling complaint. And although Kristina does have a scrap book, it's very pitiful and years out of date, so you not having one at all isn't that much worse, right?? Ok ok, I promise I'll make you a scrapbook one of these days.

Like, right after you leave for college.

Oh, and I also promise promise promise I'll get around to writing something in your babybook soon (as it doesn't even have your name in it yet.....). But again, Kristina's is a year out of date, and in an unknown location at the moment (probably in one of those not-yet-unpacked boxes down in the basement) if that makes you feel better. I know, it's a small consolation.... sorry baby.

And I'm really really sorry Kristina stepped on you that one time, I'm fairly confident it was an accident (and I did keep her from running over you on her tricycle, so I really don't mean for you to get smushed).

But just think of all the great toys of hers you can steal once you manage to become mobile!

See, when she was your age all we had for toys in the house was a small bucket of hand-me-down baby rattles and a playmat (ok ok, it's the same playmat you're using, but it's not like it expires in two years, and I did wash it before it came to you!). But you can go after her princess dolls and crayons right from the start! Not to mention I'm sure you'll get to eat french fries and to watch Disney movies at a much younger age than Kristina did!!

See, there are some perks to being second.

And if you're the (no guarantees yet kiddo, that conversation is on hold until your daddy is back in the country) baby of the family you'll get spoiled in so many other ways!

And if you're not the baby of the family, I'm really really sorry for making you the middle child......

I love you Adrianna, just as much as Kristina.



ps- I'm also really sorry your daddy isn't here right now, but that's just not in our control little one. I promise he loves you just as much too, and will have many condolences with you over having an affectionately bossy (and only occasionally tattley) older sister, as he fondly remembers those times growing up as the second child in his family too.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sexy Panties

Disclaimer: Just in case you didn't gather from the title, the follow post discusses female undergarments. Choose to continue reading accordingly.

Sexy panties make you look more attractive when fully clothed.

No really, they do!!

Even when you full well know the only person who's going to be seeing them is your two-year-old who simply MUST accompany you on any and all bathroom visits.

Because you just might try to sneak out the bathroom window.

But she will also notice and compliment your pretty panties, as she likes to wear pretty panties herself being newly potty trained.

And you will still feel, and consequently look, more attractive than while wearing non-pretty old grubby panties that you don't want anyone to know you even own.

You see, it's all about self confidence and how you carry yourself. And when you personally feel attractive (this also extends to things like pedicures and shaved legs even when you're wearing jeans and sneakers), you exude that feeling in body posture, mannerisms, and the like.

It is important to note that for sexy panties to feel pretty, they must be the correct size.

Even if that means you must swallow your humiliation and exchange the originally purchased panties for bigger ones, since you apparently are in deep denial of your true derriere size.

Ahem.

But you will feel more attractive wearing appropriately fitting garments regardless of the tag label, for if they are to small you will think you are to big, when really it's all the pantie's fault and you are a lovely size right where you are.

Even if it's a slightly curvier size than previously anticipated.

And what makes underwear sexy is not necessarily skimpiness.

Nor color.

Nor even lace content.

If you think it's sexy, and if you think it makes your posterior more attractive, then that's what it will be and that's what it will do.

And it's the one article of daily clothing that can be frivolous and impracticable despite dressing to chase after small children. Or professionally. Or even in uniform.

And it's one garment that really can be worn solely for YOU.

So ladies, lets make sure we all occasionally indulge in some sexy pantie shopping, regardless of life, for it will make for better dressing and better days.



And a personal thank-you to Paola for reminding me of this (and taking me underwear shopping :-)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Elmyra


Kristina (at times) reminds of Elmyra from Tiny Toons and Animaniacs.

Particularly with one of our cats, Diamond.

And on occasion, the baby.

Because she's just going love them and hug them and squeeze them forever and ever and ever.

And she has adored Adrianna since she was in utero, where she'd regularly carry on conversations with my belly.

Frequently first thing in the morning

Oh, and in just in case you were wondering, the belly needs to be bare for the baby to properly hear her big sister. Which means she'd be climbing into bed with me and pulling my shirt up because she just had to say good morning to the baby. At some time that was seriously stretching the definition of 'morning'.

The cat and her have been buds since Kristina came home from the hospital, much to my chagrin.

That's right, the cat loved her long before she could even love the cat.

And Diamond almost lost her happy home because it. There's just something about finding the kitty curled up in the baby's bassinet alongside the new baby that makes new parents a little less fond of their pet.

Diamond also liked to hang out right next to baby Kristina when she was playing on the floor.

And then would meow pitifully when the immobile and barely able to work grabby hands baby would pull her fur.

But Kristina has also been very fond of this kitty, probably from her always serving the living doll roll in her little world.

That is, until Adrianna was born.

Now Kristina has two living dolls.

And bad mommy sacrifices the kitty to distract from the baby.... "alright Dr. Kristina, I think the baby is all better now, why don't you give Diamond her checkup? I bet she's really sick and needs lots of care and medicine"

Yep. Kristina's just going to love them and hug them and hold them forever and ever and never let them go....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Comments

It has come to my attention that there may be a few of my most faithful readers (ok ok, so in all likelihood the only readers I have) are a bit unfamiliar with the blog format and how to leave comments directly to the posts.

And just to make you feel better, Peter (the guy that likes to browse new computer models as a recreational activity and actually knows what gigabites are in a real world sense, much likes cars and dead bodies) didn't know either.

But see, I DO know how to leave comments, and you don't even have to have an account or be a follower either!

As I briefly ponder why that is, it occurs to me that I have spent a lot of time over the past few years on message boards and similar environments (mostly as a substitute for human interaction "in real life", but we won't go into that today). The pony boards, facebook, the paralegal masters program I did for exactly 1 semester before deciding I just might die if I continued right now, even ebay.... they all have similar user interfaces, which I actually know how to use to some degree!

Like pictures, you can insert them directly from your computer into your blog via their uploady tool that only puts them at the top of the page. OR you can upload them to photobucket (so now the pictures live on the internet) and use the those links in the middle of text paragraphs (although I'm having resizing quality issues with photobucket, so no super claims of it's amazingness here).

And I already knew how to do that from posting pictures to the pony boards!!

Ok, I thought it was kinda cool..... but seriously bloggy, why are there no icons? The masters program has icons! I must explore how to fix that at some point, because icons (in addition to being exceedingly helpful to properly convey emotion via text) rock.

Especially the animated hula dancer one.

But getting right back to how to post comments.....

Click on the title of the post (ie- this post's title is "Comments"), either from the post in sequential order or from the index to the left, and this will take you from the main blog feed (which probably does have some technically correct name, but hence forth we'll just call it Steve (and somebody sure better get that movie reference!)) to the individual post itself.

From here, if you scroll down to the bottom you will see an empty text box (where you enter text just like an email), and then click comment.

Previously I was under the impression that one could leave anonymous comments, but as I am testing this theory it doesn't seem to be working..... must investigate further........

If you have a blog account and are signed in, it should default you to leave a comment by that id.

If you are not signed in (or don't have one, or just feel like using some variety) you can select other online profiles, like google (gmail), where you will be prompted to sign in to that account and your comment will show up that way.

Or my poor, pitiful blog can continue to be commentless, as I try to console myself with the knowledge of comments received via email really are proof enough of people actually reading any of this. [insert pitiful puppy dog eyes icon here]

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Someday I'm Going to be Famous....


....do I have talent? Well, no.... But these days you don't really need it, thanks to reality shows.


Ah how I love Brad Paisley, and the social commentary he interjects into music which would be good with only the instrumental foundation. He was just becoming big when I was in high school, and the first music video I saw of his was the above quoted Celebrity.

He captures snapshots of America with the lyrics, to include humor and cultural references, and the blending of southern rock and country style matches beautifully.

He also gives excellent advice about life through his songs, really as good as my college adviser as far as my major being applicable to where I am today career wise.

Peter is particularly fond of Little Moments, claiming it makes him think of me (.....not that I've backed his truck into anything or gotten us lost (repeatedly) by my inability to read directions or anything like that.... ahem.......) Oh, and he really likes this one as well, I think it's a truck thing.

Some are a bit deeper, and tackle the more serious issues of life and death. But I still find them musically irresistible.

While others only make you think they're going to be emotionally heavy, until you get to the chorus which serves as a punch line about fishing.

Then there are the songs full of relationship advice, although some of it may be better (much better, even) than others.

And it just wouldn't be country music without alcohol.

I really am so much cooler online.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Little Obsession


Have you ever gone over to somebody's house for the first time, and discover an entire china cabinet filled with little angel figurines, or every nook and cranny adorned with (seasonally changed) teddy bears?

People like to call these things their "collection", when everyone else can plainly see it is merely a strange quirky obsession which has taken on a new meaning all of itself far from the original purchase or gift of said figurine, teddybear, etc.

And my chosen irrational obsession?

My Little Pony.

Why??

Well, I'll admit, there's probably a half dozen different "collecting genres" I could have just as easily adopted as my own, but ponies are fairly cheap and easily found at Walmart.

(These were very important details to a limited funds college student)

So I went with them. Cute, pastel equestrians to keep a little piece of childhood alive a little longer. And incidentally they also taught me some great lessons about life.

But back to the pony collection, as those stories will keep for another day.

It started with one little purchase as a college freshman, because I was browsing the toy aisles and saw them newly re-released (I'm sure one of these days I'll get around to posting a whole history of MLP according to me, but in the mean time feel free to check out this Wikipedia summary of pastel plastic history), and the rainbow of childhood memories were to much to pass up for $5 that day (plus it was a really cute pony).

And then I bought a second and third one, because it was a mommy/baby packaged together and I needed the baby pony.

And then I discovered the online pony chatboards.

Acquisition of ponies ensued for the next 4-5 years.

From my vague recollections I think the count of ponies was well into the several hundred mark, along with assorted plush, playsets, and other pony paraphernalia.

And then we had Kristina, moved three times, and left the world of pastel plastic in my parent's garage.

Oh, and Hasbro, the official maker of all licensed MLP merchandise, drastically changed their pony production which really decreased my desire to collect the current releases at all, along with the timing of children and all previously recreational pony funds being transformed into Gymboree and Hanna Andersson funds.

Someday I still kinda hope we will have the house and I will have the time to pull out all the boxes and set up the long coveted pony room, but I will settle for slowly passing them out to my children and seeing them loved and played with as the toys they are.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sesame Street



Sesame Street is awesome.

It really is.

And it's the longest running children's television show of all time.

It was pioneering when it was new, has always had an unbelievably endearing quality, includes a great educational value, and has accumulated a celebrity guest list that rivals Saturday Night Live.

But one reason why I've become even fonder of the show is it's support of military families.

They created several bilingual short episodes entirely about a deploying military parent, entitled Talk, Listen, Connect. These are distributed free at deployment briefings and the base child care center for all military families. And the episodes are absolutely wonderful (if a bit cheesy with muppet singing).

Toddlers and preschoolers are a hard age for deployments, as they are old enough to understand some of what's happening but not old enough to understand all or to express their feelings about it very well.

And there are very limited resources to help (there are less than a dozen picture books about military families in general that I could find online, and some of those are out of print).

So what better way to approach it than the always favorite little monster Elmo and his dad deploying! The bilingual version switches characters (in addition to being in Spanish) to Rosita (the teal Mexican monster, for those of you not up on your Street), but follows the same story line.

They also interject real military families (to include all service branches and a wide range of family situations), with the parents and kids talking about the different components that affect the little ones.

They even have an episode about dealing with grief and the lose of a parent (which I have not been able to bring myself to watch, but am fully confident is well done based on the others).

Thank you Sesame Street, you really are just that awesome.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Armed Forces Parade

The Armed Forces Day was on May 15th this year (technically falls on the third Saturday of May), and the amount of recognition it gets varies greatly (from none at all to a whole week of festivities) region to region.

Watertown hosted a parade and the little local zoo had free admission for all military and dependents.

Alright, the parade wasn't particularly noteworthy and we skipped the zoo entirely on account of crankiness, but there were a few cute pictures out of the whole thing.


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The parade started with a whole bunch of sirens (cop cars and fire engines, not the singing winged seductress kind). Kristina did not like the loud noise from them, which I found ironic since she'd screamed for most of the walk to the parade from where we parked at nearly the same volume.


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The Army band was why we were there, as Kristina really, really wanted to see them.
The lady next to her was a random grandmotherly type who apparently decided we needed adopting for the morning, one of those I-know-you-mean-really-well-but-please-stop-touching-my-baby-and-handing-my-2-year-old-gum sorts (and what idiot decides that bubble gum is just the thing to distribute en mass at a parade?? 70% of the kids scrambling for candy can't be any older than 4.......).


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A girl scout troop came by distributing carnations.


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And Adrianna even got a flag!


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Kristina made a friend (and only attempted to steal her babydoll half a dozen times, but then made up for it by bringing her candy AND one of Adrianna's blankets because she was cold).


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The second most exciting part of the parade: the drum and beugle corp. Kristina is attempting to play the quads on her lap in the picture.


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And what better way to finish out the day than (pretending to be) driving daddy's truck!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Potty Training

Disclaimer: potty training occasionally involves referring to things like poopies, pee-pees and panties; if these make you horribly uncomfortable and squeamish feel free not to read this post.

I am declaring Kristina officially day-time potty trained.

She has spent the last two weeks in underwear from when she gets dressed in the morning until bedtime and has had exactly 2 little leaking incidents at home (where she realized she was wetting herself, stopped, and got to the bathroom to finish).

No accidents at stores. No accidents at preschool. No accidents in the car. No accidents when sick and taking a nap on the couch. No accidents while playing at the park. Even no accidents while waiting in the pharmacy parking lot for the tow truck to show up for mommy's dead car.

Booyah!

Go me!

Gold stars for the mama!!

And now for the super impressive part: the key component to my potty training of Kristina was making it as convenient and easy as possible for me (because come now, I'm an acting single parent with two small children, I need all the convenience I can get. And I'm really sleep deprived, which leads to elevated levels of laziness).

Double booyah!

So now onto an in depth discussion of potty training methodology and parental laziness.

Kristina showed great interest in using the toilet and was pretty close to bringing it all together back about the time she turned two (Aug/Sept), and I got her some pretty panties (getting to wear such being the ultimate toileting incentive), and overall was thinking "wow this is going to be easy".

And then Peter deployed.

All interest in using the potty vanished along with her daddy, including the sitting on the potty before getting into the bathtub that had been part of the bedtime routine for a month.

So I didn't push it. She was little still and toileting regression apparently happens across the board for all children under the age of 5 when a parent deploys (since all us mamas do is have in depth conversations concerning our children's bodily functions I was able to acquire statistical information from a fairly good sample size to come to this conclusion). Also all the books and articles I came across mentioned not to try to potty training (regardless of method) during a big change at home (specific examples included a parent leaving and new baby arriving).

And then Grandma arrived to stay for a bit (another one of those "big changes for little kids" to be avoided when training).

And then baby Adrianna was born.

And then Grandma left.

And then mommy was being lazy.....

But this does bring us to her not being quiet so little, not so much disruption of her little life, and mommy (despite being lazy) a little more concerned about her falling behind in her peer group.

So mommy began potty training again.

The tried and true and highly promoted potty training method for Peter's family is Toilet Training in Less Than a Day. However, part of this methodology involves the complete 100% focus of at least one parent on the child and on potty training for an entire day.

I just couldn't give her that with a nursing 2 month old baby and no other adults in the household.

Also, it makes a point of 'once you start you can't go back', which is something that can be a pain if she wasn't quite ready in the first place, or is having a rough day, or if my life would just be much easier that day for her to be in a diaper.

But the biggest difference between how I had thought about potty training before and this method was the goal: dry pants.

Not going pee-pees in the potty, but keeping your pants dry.

Admittedly, I modified it to panties, to help remind Kristina about the that fact that she was indeed wearing them and not a diaper, and to avoid the day she's in a dress (and not pants) and explains to me that her pants can't be dry for she isn't wearing any (because she totally would notice and correct me on this point, the sassy little thing).

This also meant that I could reward her for keeping her panties dry over a period in time, instead of every time she does two drops in the bowl.

Now, the wanting to use rewards is completely not a part of the above noted TT methodology. They use practicing, and if the child has an accident they must practice going potty repeatedly (which can be very inconvenient to mommy in addition to not fun for them).

And I really like doing positive reinforcement (along with setting attainable goals).

Also, this child will sell her small soul for an orange lollipop, so I have some experience using bribes to motivate her to do what I want her to do (and lets face it, if she does not want to use the toilet, I can't do a damn thing to actually make her. Just like eating, and sleeping, and not screaming.....).

So the goal I set out for Kristina was to keep her panties dry until bedtime, where she would get a special sticker if she succeeded.

The first day she wore underwear for 20 minuets (me having put them on 20 minuets before bedtime), kept them dry, and got a special sticker. I will entirely concede that she just happened to not need to pee for that little chunk of time, rather than it being anything related to toileting success. However, she got the idea from it, and a sparkly pony sticker, which made her happy.

The second day I put underwear on her an hour and a half before bedtime. She was wet 10 minuets later, went back into a diaper, and got no sticker (which made her sad).

The next day, she stayed dry for the hour and a half.

And I think it was somewhere around the 5th day she said she didn't want to wear panties that day. So she didn't. And I took the very passive approach of simply asking her if she wanted to wear panties that day and get a sticker or not. And some days she did, while some days she didn't.

To help encourage pottying I also got her a little book, Big Girls Use the Potty, which just so happens to have photographs of a little girl who looks remarkably similar to Kristina (which she immediately recognized as herself) learning to use the potty. And after reading this book for a few days, she was re-interested in using the potty with a passion.

Except for one little detail.

She wanted a pink potty like the one in the book.

And NOT the toilet seat adapter or ring she'd been using.

So I ordered her a pink potty.

This potty is also of the kind recommended in the TT method, (which at this point had totally become my backup plan for when she hits age 3 and is still in diapers), and which I also thought was brilliant, incorporated having the child empty the potty themselves into the regular toilet (where as I'd just gotten her the potty rings that sit on the toilet to skip this step entirely) to have complete toileting independence.

And less mess from using the pink potty for mommy to clean up.

Oh how excited she was when when the pink potty arrived in the mail! She insisted on using it immediately and wearing underwear for the rest of the day just so she could go pee-pees in the pink potty (we won't go into to much depth regarding the poopies, other than to briefly mention that it took a little longer to convince her of doing that part in a non-diaper poopie receptacle device).

She only used the pink potty for a week or two before transitioning all on her own to the regular toilet (sans ring, as apparently she now hates them, but really liked the matching pink stool she can use to climb up on), but it was instrumental in getting her interest back into the whole concept and getting her to want to go potty (just so she could sit on the pretty pink potty!).

So we continued expanding the amount of time from when I put underwear on her until bedtime.

And on the days she had three accidents in less than an hour I just put her back in a diaper and told her we'd try again tomorrow (mostly because she was fast running out of clean clothes to put her in. And again, mommy is lazy and has short patience for futile tasks these days).

And then she was able to go all afternoon with dry panties for a week. So I put her in underwear when she got dressed in the morning for the weekend, and she went all day long with dry panties both days. So I brought her to preschool in underwear (and with 4 changes of clothes) that Monday, and she has yet to have need of any of those extra clothes two weeks later.

Booyah!

Day time potty trained Kristina!

Woot!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Logistics

Everything is a logistical nightmare with small children.

Everything.

Every little tiny operation takes tons of gear, planning, and substantially more time to accomplish than for those without small children.

Today I needed to run by the post office to mail some things and get stamps. I even managed to do this while Kristina was in preschool to decrease my small child count by half. But I still had to carry the little baby, wallet, keys, 2 boxes of expecting mama gifts (btw- if you're pregnant, you may be getting a box of baby goodies in 3-5 business days), stack of envelopes, and a shoe return. The mailing stuff alone was a big armful (which I realized when attempting to carry it to the truck), let alone adding a wiggly baby on top of it. So I got out the stroller, which could hold the shoes and envelopes in the bottom, baby in the baby part, and wallet/keys in the parent tray. That just left me carrying the two gift boxes and pushing the stroller, which admittedly still wasn't easy, but greatly reduced possibility of accidental child dropping.

The Carthage post office has a ramp to be handicap accessible, of course, but this particular access ramp makes a lovely 180 degree turn in the middle, which is surprisingly hard to negotiate when you're steering the stroller with your elbows. But we made it up with minimal catastrophe and only a couple stroller bumper checks, and arrived at the doors. Now, was there anyone coming out of the building who could be so kind as to hold the door for us?

Nope.

That would make life to simple.

Which also means I was first attempting to pull the door open with my elbow, then holding the door open with my bottom while attempting to pull the stroller through with my foot, all which I'm sure would have been comical had it not been my life.

And that was while operating at 50% child capacity! Had it been with Kristina along, there would have been at least one melt down fit, destruction of postal packing supplies, and possibly a TAD (toddler attempted demise, most often caused by the overwhelming urge by a two year old to sprint out in front of oncoming traffic) incident.

Yep, it's the little things... that become constant and overwhelming logistical challenges when mixed with small children.....

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sisters

The reason we decided to have Adrianna was so Kristina would have a sibling moderately close in age.

Yep.

Sorry baby, the second child disadvantage started even before conception.

But as this was the reason for making my life much, much harder right now, I also went into it having high expectations of what would come out of it (ideally a set of children who played well together which would make my life easier. Oh, and that whole sibling love thing seemed good too).

Admittedly, a newborn baby doesn't fulfill much of this other than the making my life harder part.

But the baby is no longer a newborn, and Kristina is very much into the "big sister" role. Which means there is hope (not for sleep mind you, but for playing together and loving each other). And I even captured concrete evidence of it!

The video was taken on Sunday, and they continued to play together like that for a good 15 minuets!! Actually playing TOGETHER!! Happily!! Safely!! Adorably!! Sisterly!!

What a wonderful Mother's Day gift for me :-)


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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lawn Care



The grass is busy growing here in New York, and I'm busy pretending I don't notice.

Ok, I'm also busy hoping Peter will get home soon so he can mow the yard.

Because I have never used a lawn mower in my life.

And anything like that is substantially harder while being the sole care taker of a hyper active toddler and spoiled baby.

Because there are very few stretches of time longer than a few minuets during the day where I'm not directly interacting with at least one of them, and most of those are around 10 pm....

So, mowing the yard is a bit of a daunting task.

However, I did go get gas for the lawn mower (while filling up the Subie's tank for it to die on me a few hours later), and learned that the convenient pour spout part on the gas can makes it an open container which will fill your car with gas fumes within milliseconds.

And the sun is setting later, so there is the faint possibility that I could be out mowing at 10 pm and it not be super dark out (although it's also been cloudy frequently, which is very limiting to evening sunniness).

And I'm still more than a little wussy about actually trying to do it.

Some of this comes from the failure of my attempts to use the snow blower and otherwise remove snow from the drive way (while 9 months pregnant). And some of it is not wanting to admit that I really can't when other wives (much girlier than me wives, who are freaked out by bugs, and don't know how to use small power tools) can. See, as long as I haven't actually tried, I haven't actually failed, and don't have to admit that I actually can't, right??

I also keep entertaining the idea of just hiring somebody, like I ended up doing to plow the driveway. Except that it's a really small patch of yard, since the big back grassy section is done by a neighbor in exchange for letting them use it for their dogs, and the area around the swing set is such that it really needs a weed wacker (which I'm fairly confident I can probably do, if I ever got around to being motivated about....), which only leaves this little stretch in front. AND there's still some possibility that Peter will come home some time in the moderately near future, thus the time frame for this still being an issue would be limited.

Or maybe one of our neighbors will take pity on me and just mow it (and not complain to the city to give me a ticket for it).

Part of the problem also is I just don't care that much about grass length, or for that matter what exactly is growing in our yard as long as it's green and doesn't have prickles. Therefore personal motivation to mow (weed, groom, etc) the yard or even hire someone to is low. Especially considering all the other things that I need to do which rank more pressing (like, laundry. Or facebook), and the child-limiting time frame I have to work with for anything.

And I like letting nature be nature, perfectly manicured subdivisions look so... blah......

I think I'll just buy a goat....

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Baptism

The girls are not baptized.

And this bothers me.

Neither Peter or I have attended religious services regularly since heading off to college, although I think some of it is trouble finding the right place to do so more than a true inclination not to go. But this also means essentially no religious influence on the girls as of yet, which has its good and bad parts.

In some ways I'm glad Kristina has not been learning the religious rhetoric in Sunday school, for I have heard other children spout off half remembered, poorly presented, bible-ology which made me cringe not only at the inaccuracies but also at the flawed reasoning behind it. At the same time, I wonder if I am doing her an injustice by not giving her the opportunity to believe in it if she wants. (I should put in that while not teaching my child extensively about Jesus, I also have not been teaching her about Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and only a very vague sense of angels, and have the same moral dilemma as to whether she would want the chance to believe in those things as well)

It also means very limited opportunity for baptisms.

Peter grew up in a Southern Baptist church, where baptism happens as teenagers. Thus he sees no problem so far with our spiritual influences on the girls. I however was raised Episcopalian, where in addition to having liqueur at all functions, we also baptize babies to be full members of the church.

But why does any of this matter to me when we don't go to church regularly anyways?

Because the reason people baptize little babies in the hospital is so if they die they can still go to heaven.

Or so I remember the answer being from when I was a small child and asked about why they baptize babies in the hospital. Which, although a reasonable answer to give to a child, is probably either a flawed concept or grossly understated. But, it has stayed with me since, and is the nagging reason why I care whether my children are baptized.

So if they die they can go to heaven.

Which is increasingly ironic that it should matter to me so much since my own views and beliefs of heaven are questionable at best.

But what if they die without being baptized and it's all true?!?

Peter tells me that God is loving and forgiving, and of course our innocent children with no sins would go to heaven.

I'm not sure I really believe him.....

Monday, May 10, 2010

6 Dead Bodies

My car, a little hand-me-down '93 Subaru Impreza, may have come to the end of its little life with me this past weekend.

My little Subie has seen many years with me. I remember as a child when my parents bought it, and the countless hours spent sitting in the backseat. I learned to drive on this car, and then somehow cozened my folks into letting me take it off to college with me. It's been with me as I've gotten married and started a family, been driven or towed to state after state, and even occasionally cleaned (by me, even!).

And then, this past Saturday after faithfully running errands all morning, it would not start for the final stretch home.

So, since I haven't quite managed to get to the point where I'm ready to give it a decent burial and move on, it's sitting in our back yard accumulating rust and bringing our red neck status up a good 50 notches (now if only we could find a toilet to put out there as a planter....).

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However, we have started seriously looking at a replacement vehicle, and since my husband is much more automotively inclined than I, he gets to explain the differences in car models to me.

Now, this is probably all for the better, for I tend to use the logic of "the red one's pretty" and "I don't like that car, it has a big butt", while he does things like look at mileage and other engine type components.

It also leads to some interesting analogies to convey space.

Particularly trunk space.

Which is most often measured in dead bodies.

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me: "What do you think of pretty car X?"

Peter: "To small, the trunk would only fit 3 dead bodies, and with the big stroller you'd probably want one that will fit 5 or 6. Yep, we definitely should get you a car with a 6 dead body trunk."

me: "Oh, ok.... what about the SUV's with the third row? They wouldn't fit very many dead bodies with the back row up would they?"

Peter: "You'd need the extended version, those have 4-6 dead body trunk space even with the seats up. And with them down you'd be talking easily 12-15 dead bodies back there"

me: "Oh that could be nice to have...."

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After all, you never know when you might need to transport a dozen or so dead bodies around.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Feeding a Baby

Nursing is one of those things in our culture that's become a strange phenomenon, for it is no longer simply how things happen with babies, but neither is it unbelievably rare. I've been following a saga on facebook regarding a friend from college who was nursing at a mall in Iowa without covering and was asked to breastfeed in a more discreet fashion. It has turned into one big news story after another, looking into legal rights, retaliatory harassment, the whole shebang.

And ultimately I think both sides have blown this WAY out of proportion.

Iowa code protects a woman's right to nurse just about anywhere, and as a demonstration of such they are planning a nurse in at the mall for today (Mother's day). If we were still living in Iowa, I might consider going since it'd probably be more entertaining than what our weekends usually consist of. At the same time, I still don't think it's that big of a deal.

Yes she has the right to breastfeed uncovered, yes others were (probably unduly) offended, and yes it's taken on great importance to her.

And yet, it was just a baby eating.......

I think nursing mothers reacting so strongly to instances like this actually just makes breastfeeding in public into a bigger deal than it would be otherwise. It becomes a political statement, and everybody has to be just as opinionated about it as with every thing else. Places like malls get caught in the middle and have to take a stance in something that nobody should really care about in the first place.

What do I do personally while nursing in the general populace? Well, that depends on all sorts of different variables, but ultimately comes down to sometimes I cover up and sometimes I don't. The decision is much more of how I happen to feel right then than anything else (well, and perhaps also slightly influenced regarding the immediate availability of a light blanket), and I think that's ok. I don't mind people seeing me nurse, even if it means they might catch a booby-glimpse (hey, I think they're nice breasts, and it's not like 98% of the population hasn't seen some already......), but I don't like people looking at me, either in the sense "you go girl" or in a condemning fashion. Nursing shouldn't attract the extra attention regardless of how it's done.

After all, it's just feeding a baby.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Energy

Disclaimer: the follow post contains a few moderately untasteful curses used to make a point about the human psyche. If you find such offensive, I recommend you choosing not to read this post. Or read it out loud but bleep the cuss words like on television, you wimpy B-L-E-E-E-E-E-P.

Do you ever think about the energy you put out into the world? I know, I'm drifting into my granola crunchy roots here, but lets stick with it for a bit... I promise it won't involve organic baby shoes!

People see things in the world in either a positive or a negative manner (that half full/empty glass of water analogy applied to things beyond cups of liquid), and how things are viewed in turn affects the reaction and energy put forth. You see this most easily with the people you interact the least with, probably because of the limited context imprints the specific event as representing the person as a whole.

For example, someone in another car cuts you off while driving, and depending on your pre-existing mood, personality, numbers of small children with big ears in the back seat, and the degree of cut-off-itude, you either shrug it off and continue rocking out to that wicked good sound track of Beauty and the Beast or you give them the finger and mutter nasty thoughts about that damn asshole who can't drive worth shit (and if you're really really talented, you mutter nasty thoughts WHILE rocking out to Disney classics).

But see, that damn asshole could have had any one of 5 million things going on that led to them to cutting you off, and none of them were to intentionally be an asshole to you (they might have even be in the middle of the back seat thrown paci retrieval lunge and honestly not realized how close they came to cutting you off!), and even if they can't drive worth shit, that still doesn't mean that they, as a person, are bad.

But, they did cut you off which made you (rightly or wrongly) pissed. You park and go into Target, still pissed, and act out your annoyance be being a jackass yourself to the cashier (it really is a part of their job to ask every single customer every single time about whether they want to open a Target charge card and save 10% today), who really hadn't done anything to warrent your pissed-off-itude directed their way.

Now the Target cashier can either shrug it off as nothing personal and continue to be genuinely cheerful while greeting the other customers, or they can mutter nasty words about that damn jackass customer who was crabby at them for no reason and have to maintain fake cheerfulness for the rest of their shift.

Then that Target employ's shift ends, but they are still pissed about you being a jackass to them, and in turn is a bitch to.........

Do we see how this keeps going??

The negative energy, once introduced, is very hard to shake off. It's hard to take a deep breathe and let all the little slights go. It's hard to be objective when you feel wronged, and not to take things to heart.

And it's even harder to forgive.

Friday, May 7, 2010

4 Months


Adrianna is officially 4 months old today.

Does this mean very much? Not really, except that I get extra good-mommy points for actually noticing on the 7th, and not a week later as has happened with other months.

Adrianna's accomplishments to date:
~Easily rolls from tummy to back
~Makes Velociraptor noises
~Spits up, a lot...
~Occasionally managed to roll from back to tummy
~Has figured out how to poop on a normal regular schedule (hey, this one took a few months....)
~Can refuse to go to sleep despite being tired
~Switched pacifier brand preference
~Laughs
~Will slobber on anything within mouth reach
~Occasionally tries to bring things to her mouth, instead of her mouth to things
~Tolerates being toted around outside to "play"
~Attempts to climb out of baby carseat
~Is charming to strangers as long as held by mommy
~Adept at grabbing hair and holding on with a death grip
~Rocks to sleep when swaddled and pacifiered
~Can demonstrate a refusal to nurse by biting the offered nipple
~Wiggles herself across playmate or around in a circle (but still fails at gaining much forward momentum)
~Finds television fascinating
~Smiles, a lot :-)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Except Bathrooms

My husband is the most wonderful man in the world!

And I am proclaiming this while he is still on the other side of the world.

Why?

Because of his random crazy idea of the day:
Hire a cleaning service to come in once a month to do a deep cleaning.

OMG

I might never have to scrub a bathroom again!!

*faints*
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Alrighty, now that that's out of my system, on to why we need a cleaning service.

First off, I don't really care for cleaning.... alright, I happen to think it's the utter ban of my existence. Especially bathrooms. And dishes, but I've gotten a little better about not hating them as long as we have a dishwasher. This dislike is only compounded by my natural tendency to be a tad, shall we say, messy.....? And then there is the issue of time.... see, Adrianna is a little nursing baby, which means for at least 8 out of every 24 hours she is having booby time. Which means I am sitting down nursing, not cleaning, for a fairly good chunk out of the day. And then there's Kristina, who I try to play with lots to make up for all the times she wants to do something and I have to say "not right now honey, when the baby's done nursing". Plus it's an excellent reason for procrastinating emptying the dishwasher. Add to it Kristina's own knack for creating mess, the constant strive to stay on top of things like laundry (it truly is amazing how much laundry two little girls create), and chronic sleep deprivation for an all around picture of why we need a cleaning service.

Oh, and I hate cleaning.

Especially bathrooms.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Driving Under the Influence (of children)

Recently there has been a societal push for wanting to limit or eliminate cell phone usage while driving, possibly even to include texting and hands free devices, to decrease distracted driving.

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However, I happen to be much, much more distracted while driving by my children than I ever have been with a phone (even when living in state where it was legal to talk and drive) or eating. There is nothing quite like the cross back seat lunge for a dropped sippy cup or toy that the losing of has put Kristina into meltdown mode to make someone's driving focus questionable.

In the past few weeks I've had to perfect the baby carseat paci search reach-around, where I lunge into the backseat (preferably at a stop light, but frequently while still zipping along) frantically groping around the (crying) baby in her little bucket attempting to locate the treasured piece of plastic which will allow the remaining 15 minuets of driving to occur with some small amount of tranquility. And as Adrianna is just learning how to work those little arms to maneuver everything into her mouth, she helps greatly by latching onto my arm or hand and beginning to slobber on it. You see, pacifiers are one of those things that no matter how many you have in how many convenient locations, you will never be able to locate one when it really matters. And they are exceedingly skilled at placing themselves underneath the baby, where you cannot find them without removing the baby from her carseat.

The attempt to put a set of plastic keys into her hands/mouth as a substitute, since they were what I could find while driving along at 55, was a FAIL, as they were flung out of the carseat and into the crack between the seat and the door. Now, at the time I assumed this was a random fluke of the flailing baby arm motions and not a deliberate rejection, and thus handed her the next baby friendly object I could locate, a small rattle, which promptly met the same fate as the keys. And she continued to demand her precious paci at a loud volume.

THEN I had the brilliant idea of putting a paci attacher devise onto her carseat strap to aid in paci retrieval, which worked twice until Adrianna manged to remove the contraption and promptly shove it deep into the depths of her bucket to keep the other 4 unlocatable pacifiers company.

But all this has served to teach mommy that the baby has much better motor control than previously suspected. And that we need to buy more pacifiers.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Picture Time


Today I took the girls to get pictures taken at the Sears Portrait Studio, since we hadn't been since Adrianna was itty bitty (and went three times in two weeks) and I needed an excuse for the girls to wear their pretty dresses since the original event for which they had been gotten was canceled. And I must say, I was a little disappointed in Kristina. Up to now, she LOVED getting her picture taken, would totally ham it up for the camera and think the whole experience was great fun. However today was sullen uncooperative sulky child day, and no amount of M&Ms or promises of french fries for lunch would bring about cheerful smiles. Admittedly, the fact that it can take more than 10 seconds to get a smile from the baby precariously perched in Kristina's lap did not help matters, but she was even a pain for her solo pics! All she had to was stand there for however many milliseconds for the photographer, and she was spasticly JUMPING all over the place, and while doing so almost pulled down the backdrop on top of herself. And then there were the shots where she alternated between having her fingers in her ears pretending she couldn't hear us (and instructions to sit, turn, look at the camera, etc), and attempting to hide behind the baby. Oh, and my personal favorite: when asked to give Adrianna a kiss, she licked her.

Like, full-tongue-out-left-a-wet-spot-on-the-baby's-head licked her.

*bang head here*

So yes, the picture going experience of today did leave a little to be desired, and I'm sure the photographer who ended up cleaning up the yogurt raisins Kristina coated the entire studio with while I was attempting to select pictures and nurse at the same time would agree, Kristina has seen better picture taking days. They did get to wear their adorable matching Hanna Andersson dresses (with custom matching hair bows, just in case any of you were wondering just how crazy their momma really is), which had been gotten for another spring festivity which has since been canceled, which was slightly consoling to me (and the hair bow budget).

However, as to the most important question that I'm sure all of you (ok, at least all of you who are grandparents) are wondering, yes we did get some cute pictures (thanks to occasional dumb luck and digital editing) and yes, you should get some in the mail in approximately 3 weeks. Oh, and I would just like to mention that donations to the Heller Children Picture Fund are always welcome ;-)

Introduction

My biggest reason for wanting to write a blog: facebook space is to small to properly contextualize my life! And life with small children NEEDS contextualization for those without small children, otherwise the story about Kristina saying "Darffy, this is how I eat a banana" and shoving half of the banana into her mouth to promptly chock (but regurgitated it before mommy panicked, and thus was still able to find it hilarious) makes little sense unless you also disclose that Dorothy is the name of Elmo's pet goldfish and the children "show" Dorothy how they do things in a little segment of Sesame Street.

Oh, and blogging is much easier than writing a book, which I also want to do, but that's mostly just so I can be on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, as I haven't yet figured out what I would write an entire book about. I also haven't figured out what I will be blogging about, but I highly suspect it will involve my children a great deal, since that's pretty much the entirety of my life. However, this will also make some grandparents very, very happy, and therefore should be well worth the effort.

Now, for the 2 people out there who actually end up reading this who are not related to me, I shall introduce my life. I'm 24, went to a small liberal arts school in Iowa for college, and have spent the last three years having children and following a military husband all over the United States .... My oldest is Kristina, and nothing can describe her better than saying she's two (although more technically, she's about 2.75 right now). I'm sure there will be many, many more lengthy discussions of her antics and personality. The baby is Adrianna who is just shy of 4 months right now, so I'm also fairly sure this blog will cover such amazing milestone as "baby sat up unassisted for 30 whole seconds before faceplanting on the carpet" and "baby puts pureed carrots onto the ceiling for the first time", since those are imminently in our future. The husband is Peter, officer in the U.S. Army, presently deployed to Iraq, and most posts concerning him will probably revolve around him being gone (a common theme in our life together). I am Marty, (or Martha, or Mrs. Heller, and even the occasional Mattie....) and I honestly have to say, other than helping to identifying who is asking for me on the phone, I don't really care which name I go by. Oh, but I recently discovered that I really like being called Ma'am, which is one of those funny perks in the military that at first you think is demeaning but then you get so accustomed to it that somebody hollers at you "hey lady!" and all you can think is "and YOU can call me ma'am!" But yes, me and my bunch are currently (and I do mean "currently", as Kristina had lived in four states before she turned 2...) living in a cute little house in upstate New York, closer to Canada than anything else of note. There are two fluffy kitties residing with us as well, Diamond and Whispey (his full name is actually Whispey Creme Puff the first, but that's just to long to shout in the same sentence as "NO, bad cat!!"), and Peter harbors dreams of a large drooly canine also joining our abode sometime in the future, but as Peter isn't here, neither is said dog. So yes, I think that's the main cast, my days are spent attempting to rein in the chaotic mess that is our house and to take care of all those 5 million details involved with small children. Hence why most of these posts are going probably going to center around my children, but you never know what craziness just might become my life.