Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween

Alright, so I'm sure some nice, really good mommy bloggers would post adorable pictures of their children in costume from past years (or even the mandatory pre-trick-or-treating trying on), or tips on turning your children in reflective glow worms for safety, or even how to effectively hoard the best stashes of your child's tooth rotting (and mommy-ass-enlarging) candy haul. 

But I'm not nearly classy mommy-bloggy enough for that.

I did, however, snort beer out of my nose the first time I listened to this, and thought it would be a humorous (if you think zombie snack is funny) seasonal piece to share with ya'll.

(Did I just use ya'll in a non-sarcastic sentence? Oh drat......)

Happy Halloween!


Halloween, by Stephen Lynch

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Poosplosion

I was attempting to write a blog post, a nice normal and not involving my children's feces one in fact, when Adrianna crawled on over, pulled herself to standing, and cutely started banging away on the keyboard with me.

(Side note, if your child magically makes the text go teensytiny on your screen by touching the keyboard, hold 'Ctrl' and scroll your mouse or push the +/- buttons to make it change back to normal size.)

And then smiled cutely and made some very cute poopy noises.

Again?!? That's the third time this morning, and it's not like those other ones were anything to sneeze at.

Ah well, lets go baby girl...

And that is when I noticed something.

Her bottom was a little.... wet....... and getting wetter by the second.

Which then leads to the awesome freaking out AAAAGGHHHEWWWWWWWW and running up the stairs to the diapers and clean clothes while holding the poor baby as far away from myself as possible to prevent the contamination from spreading onto myself.

Luckily Adrianna found this hilarious and was laughing the whole way.

So, think of a baby wearing a diaper.

Now think of every possible way that diaper could fail to work as intended.

Yep, that's pretty much how it was.

By the time we had made it upstairs, that diaper had failed in every conceivable way (and probably a few you haven't conceived of). Adrianna was covered in nastiness and soaked clothing from knee to armpit, and I was seriously regretting having just free-ed the changing pad we hardly ever use (except for, apparently, poomergencies).

This stuff, this was some bad crap.... it was as if someone had mixed Elmers glue and cottage cheese together, turned it dark green, and put a lovely dash of sand on top for extra texture, and smeared it all over my child.

And it was my job to clean it up.

(Eeeewwww.....)

Half a box of wipes later, she was mostly returned to a semi-sanitary state, and I was attempting to get some (clean) pants onto her.

At which point she decided to poop again.

Yep, babies are truly an amazing invention of whose fecal production knows no limits or bounds and seem to defy all logic of mass equations.

And I have a great idea of what they should really use in sex ed classes to convince teenagers that they never, ever want to have a child!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Musical Activism

Music has power.

Music has the ability to set a mood, to make somebody angry or soothed or excited.

The background music brings about suspense and resolution, and people in film industry are fully aware of this and use it as a basic part of production.

Stores put cheerful, slightly mellow sound tracks on. Ones that everyone knows the words to, and will hum along while browsing clearance racks.

(And they also start putting on Christmas music when the decorations come out, even if it's still a week before Halloween!!!)

Music speaks to the decade it was created in. Looking at the history of western music (yeah yeah, you go take five courses of it in college and see if you can avoid the occasional reference for the rest of your life), each seperatet era is defined by specific styles, by specific things being done in the music.

Modern music is diverse, and seems to have a new trend every decade, but one that has been going on for decades is activism.

The 60s and 70s, the products that came out of it like Hair and Blowing in the Wind, they were speaking about an ideal, a political movement, a feeling behind a generation.

(A generation that wore some trendy tented glasses with dreadlocks and smoked plenty of pot, a generation that partook in sex as a political declaration and didn't bathe very much, a generation that created... um.... ME! OMG that's my parents generation!! Aaaaaaggghh!)

*Ahem*

And musical activism is far from dead, despite there being no good musically themed movements at present.

(Tea Partiers: you should TOTALLY have Yankee Doodle being played on a tin whistle in the background every time a spokesperson goes to speak!)




Another Way To Die, by Disturbed

(Be sure to minimize the ad so you can read the lyrics streaming along the bottom. Official one without lyrics, and even more provoking images here.)

General Surgeon issues warning: Another way to die.

(And a big thanks to Peter for sending me the video :-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Smiling Samurai Mets Jo

I previously posted about my introduction to Aikido and learning how to fall down roll, and I mentioned that it is a hand-to-hand martial art.

Well, that doesn't mean we never used the occasional weapon in class.

The one where we learned about using a gi (the snazzy white pajama looking uniform) belt to apply techniques was really pretty cool.

And then there was my first class with the Jo.....

A Jo is a 4 foot long stick. And that's all it's supposed to be. It's bigger cousin, the Bo (which actually had it's own class of Bojitsu) is a 6 foot long stick which is supposed to represent a stick with a blade on the end (much like the sticks called bokkens and used for sword class were supposed to represent an actual sword).

But a Jo is just a stick and a stick is just a Jo and that's really all I really know

(Hehehe, I rhymed!)

So it was "play with stick time" one Aikido class, and somehow, I don't remember just exactly at the moment, there was no set direction or instructions (or supervision....) going on right then.

Cassi showed me how to do a really spiffy little overhead twirly hand change, and I was happily practicing spinning while not hitting myself in the head, when Hunter just had to chime in.

Hunter was a fellow student who preferred only the sword arts, particularly the two sword version, and up to this point had only existed on the very edge of my fellow student awareness.

Which means I had no idea that he had no idea what the freakydink he was about to be talking about to me.

Hunter was sitting on the benches on the sideline, waiting for our stick play time Aikido class to end and for the following Shinkendo (the beating with sticks in lue of swords one) class to began.

And he chimes up "hey Marty, try this" and does some elaborate twisty throwy gesture above his head.

And me, being the clueless dedicated student I was, tried to mimic what I had just seen his hands do.

And of course, dropped the stupid stick.

But could I just let it the stupid thing fall to the ground? Nooooo.... nobody else had dropped theirs, and I was just certain I'd be in horrible trouble for goofing off if mine was heard crashing down.

So I valiantly lunged after it to attempt to catch it in mid air.

But see, the stick didn't fall nice and flat. It fell pointy end down, where it immediatly bounced back up off of those squishy-for-rolling tatami mats.

And smacked me right in my bending down after it head.

Specifically, on the right eye ridge.

Which, just in case you were wondering, hurts a really bloody lot.

Buuuuut, when I stopped seeing stars and it was determined that no bones had been broken or eyeballs removed (or even blackened), I was actually allowed to hold the stick again.

So I could go whack Hunter upside the head with it.

Ok ok, I'm totally kidding about that last little line. But I did hold a bit of a grudge against him for the next little while, which worked so well I smacked myself in the head really hard with my bokken the next time I ended up practice sparing with him. Luckily he felt horrible about it, brought me some chocolate, and we ended up being good pals after all.

But I did learn my lesson: never listen to Hunter to the one sitting on the sidelines to men to...um......

Alright, maybe I didn't learn my lesson. But I did manage to keep from getting stabbed in the eye by a Jo for the rest of my dojo career. Sounds close enough to me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ebay Pain

I have been buying stuff on eBay for years (where did you think all those ponies came from?), but I have never bothered to try my hand at selling anything.

Until now.

Or more accurately, last week, when I listed some of the girls Hanna Andersson (picked up at the end of the season when they were on as sale as Hanna stuff gets) dresses from last winter.

See, this really was a well thought out plan.

The Hanna Andersson play dress and legging sets sell for ridiculous prices for used kids clothing all the freaking time on eBay (not that I've looked often wanting to get stuff for my princesses or anything like that...).

And everybody loves a low starting bid (not to mention it's free to list right now), and I put a buy-it-now option on for the really compulsive with a price I'm really happy with... yep, pretty dang perfect auction listings here.

And then they all sold! Most for the me-being-waaaay-hopeful-buy-it-now prices even! This is great!

And then the buyers started receiving them.

(And could any of them be bothered to be like "oh thank you for going out of your way with your own crazy life to make sure it got mailed out asap to me"? Noooooo... that would be far to selfless and considerate of others for our egocentric culture to indulge in.)

So the first buyer, who snatched up a Kristina pink and grey stripped set with the buy-it-now a whole three hours after it was listed, wrote stating that there was a faint stain on the butt of the pants, (and I quote here) 'as if she sat in mud or something'.

Well, she probably did.

Did I know there was a stain on the tush? Nope.

My bad.

So I wrote her back, sincerely and profusely apologizing about the inaccurate description and stating that I didn't know the stain was there (and refraining from pointing out that it's a dress and leggings set, if your child is wearing the dress nobody will see the butt anyways).

And I offered too give her a full refund if she wished to return it.

(Sure seemed reasonable to me.)
But see, that's totally not what she wanted. She was annoyed that she paid so much for clothes a child has actually worn, and I was blatantly ignoring that subtle innuendo from her ramblings about whether or not it will come out in the wash.

So then she went for less subtlety, and plainly stated that she wanted a partial refund.

I reiterated that I was very sorry about her dissatisfaction with the clothes, and that I was more than happy to issue her a full refund if she wanted to return the item.

She told me she really liked the dress set, she just wouldn't have paid as much knowing it had a stain.

I apologized again for not having noticed the stain when listing the set. Then told her I wasn't going to barter the price down, if she was unhappy with the item she should return it and I will gladly send her a refund.

And I haven't heard from her since, nor has she me feedback.

Ah well, at least she didn't give me my first negative....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Security Deposit

One of my fun things to do when I apply for a job I really really like is look up coordinating housing for us.

(Yeah my life is that lame....)

Which means I've been reading through almost as many rental listings as job postings.

And I keep seeing some common things.

Like wanting non-refundable security deposits for pets, or simply not allowing them at all.

And I would just like to boldly say, to all potential rent holders of mine, that my children will cause substantially more damage to the place than my two declawed, fixed, litterbox trained cats ever will.

Worried about carpet stains? Those would be caused by child excrement or chocolate milk, not kitty poo.

Just how does child excrement get on the carpet, you ask? Well, there are two general causes, the first is my habit of changing the baby wherever she happens to be with complete disregard (aka laziness) about putting anything beneath her patootie. The other cause? Well, my friend, that's a special surprise which only those who have children are privileged enough to know about. But I will tell you that there are two versions, one for the diapered and one for the (hypothetically speaking) toilet trained, and if you're really really really lucky, you can experience them both in one day.

(And they might even merit the usually forbidden poopictures.)

Potential damage to the walls? Child furniture and art supplies will cause INFINITELY more problems than those little kitties ever have, will, or could conceivably do.

Take picture example A over here, with it's slightly befuddled child in front of her free-restaurant-so-they're-crappy-and-not-washable crayon written 'name' on the wall just above her chair made pain scratches.

Noise concerns causing you not to allow pets period? Well, admittedly the cats DO sound like a small heard of elephants when they're chasing each other up and down the stairs.

But lets be honest here, how do you think the girls sound when Kristina is stomping around in her little plastic dress up heels and playing her recorder while blasting Raffi at top volume from her Elmo CD player and Adrianna (who I'm sure will be stomping around in her own set of little plastic dress up heels half a step behind her sister as soon as she gets this walking thing down a little better) is doing her happy pterodactyl screech while shaking the maracas for harmonic accompaniment?

(By the way, in case anyone is wondering about a present NOT to get us for Christmas, this child's accordion with authentic accordion sound springs readily to mind.) 

So really, potential rental companies, you should be asking for a $500 nonrefundable deposit for my children, not my kitties.

I promise you, they will be the ones doing all the damages.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Broken Life

I have tried to write about some of these things before, but have never had much success in it (and I'm totally double posting it as I finish it up tonight, because I'll surely chicken out about it if I delay publication for later).

But I think there are things which other people need to know, need to hear about, need to try to understand.

Please bare with me if it gets a little rambling and disjointed at times, I don't know how better to phrase it.

Adrianna was born just after 5 am with some seriously cardoor freezing subzero temperatures outside.

And I was alone.

Granted there were the usual eclectic collection of nurses and doctors and midwives that end up in any hospital delivery room (I think there must be some subset of hospital law that requires at least 6 strangers to witness the messiest and least dignified pose of one's life).

I could have had my mother or a friend or even a really nice homeless guy who just wanted a night off of the park bench in there with me. But I didn't want any of them. I wanted my husband. I wanted Peter. 

But Peter was not there. 

Peter was in Iraq, and didn't even know I was at the hospital, let alone birthing his child right then.

He wanted to be there. He was set to leave on a plane in a few days. But the baby came two weeks early.

And there was a very distinctive moment during labor where I needed him there. And he wasn't.

Now, arguably whether I truly needed him is subjective, since obviously the baby came out just fine and I came out of it with minimal mauling.

But I wasn't subjectively evaluating my life from an omniscient future state. I was living it. And right that moment in time, I needed him.

And he wasn't there.

I do realize that there are many a birth where things don't go as planned or as desired. And I know my birth was overall very easy and we were very lucky and blessed for everything to be so simple.

And honestly, Adrianna popped out less than two hours after I went to the hospital (being the brilliant one I am and not realizing I was in labor in the few hours prior) and Peter easily could have been reachable and in the same state as me and still missed the birth because of traffic delays.

So I do not hold it against him, I know he wanted to be there and was very nearly as disappointed about not being able to be there as I was about him not being able to be there.

But it is an excellent example, and one that I think many people would find easily understandable, of something that put one of those cracks in our marriage that neither of us can fix. 

Another one that still breaks my heart was the day Peter deployed last fall (just over a year ago, in fact), and I had to carry Kristina off while she sobbed "Daddy!" over and over again as he marched away.

He was hurt just as deep by that as I was, maybe even more so, and there was nothing either of us could do about it. He had to leave, we had to stay, and the just-turned-two Kristina.... well, she loves her daddy.

And the hardest part for me was being unable to say anything to comfort her, to tell her Daddy would come back home soon, to reassure her in some way that the little tiny world she knows isn't completely ripping apart at the seams.

But it was all I could do not to start sobbing myself.

When we were living in Oklahoma our dishwasher flooded. It was, of course, sometime around midnight. And Peter was, of course, not there. He was 10 miles away on the base doing a training exercise, but the details didn't matter beyond "unreachable".

And the dishwasher? Well, it hadn't just flooded the kitchen and been done with it. No, it continued to pump out a steady stream of water for hours while I unsuccessfully attempted to turn off the old crusty rusted shut off valves, put a now-wet-and-crying-because-she-slipped-in-the-water-and-comically-fell-on-her-tush-repeatedly Kristina back to bed, convince the rental company that this was in fact an emergency, and ask the local police department whether they could shut off the main water to our house.

And then, after finally bugging the rental company enough to get a plumber out there to turn it off and getting Kristina into her 5th set of pajamas for the night and back to sleep for the 8th time, I spent the 3am hour mopping water up off the floor.

And Peter wasn't there.

Now this is certainly one of the funnier instances of things going horribly wrong, and again, it's not like he couldn't have been gone right then for any number of other, non-military reasons, nor do I harbor it against him in any way.

But he was gone, and I was alone and dealing with this huge wet spraying dose of life which I didn't have any idea what to do about nor much capability at all to execute it after calling up my parents to ask about how to turn off a dishwasher.

And our life has just been one story after another feature Peter being gone and Marty feeling like life is crashing in around her in some horrible crazy way.

Peter is tired of (fairly accurately) feeling like he misses everything. And I am tired of (fairly accurately) feeling like I can't count on him for anything.

And we're dealing with it by pulling apart big time.

We cannot give each other the love and understanding we each need right now.

And it's sad and it sucks big time, but it is what it is.

And we need what we need.

We are each but human, and sometimes we just can't do any more than we have already done.

Who Lives Here?

We officially got our house on the market this past weekend.

(Woot!!)

And part of that officialness means having our Realtor take official pictures of an officially neat and tidy home.

(Any who have ever lived with me should, appropriately, be going "aaaaggghhhhaaahahahahaa!" right about now.)

((I sure was!))

Which is how come I had been doing pretty much nothing besides making it look like we don't actually live here for the previous week.

(Ok fine, it was probably like the previous 36 hours, if you happen to be one who recalls my tendency to procrastinate things until deadlines are large looming objects directly ahead.)

And I totally cheated.

The clean clothes that were still in baskets awaiting folding and/or hangers were moved into the closet, and the dirty ones were shoved into the washer that morning. But it made for NO piles of laundry anywhere.


And clean carpets were only achieved by vacuuming that morning, since the usually have a nice layer of cat hair and crushed cheerios.

The beds were made by a neat bedspread alone, with 95% of the bedding stashed in a couple of boxes in the basement.

The bathrooms were spotless, cleared of the 5 million random bottles of toiletry stuff we somehow accumulate by way of our awesome basement. And since I do actually try to clean the toilets before company comes over (sometimes), they weren't actually all that bad.
And making the kitchen sparkle.... well, that one I didn't cheat on. I actually cleared off every scrap of paper to it's appropriate trash/shred/file/save place, and scrubbed every surface in it until it was shiny. If there's one room that's going to sell this house, it is that kitchen. So that kitchen needed to look shiny. And we won't discuss what hour of the night (or more accurately morning) I was up to making it happen.

(Yes, I did actually find paperwork from our rental in Oklahoma on the counters while clearing them off. Proof that we literally did put papers (and unneeded ones, at that) down on said kitchen counters, which then didn't move the entire time we have lived here.)


The biggest hurdle for photographs, however, was the toys. Which is somewhat surprising, since I spend most of my normal time picking up toys too. But it's pretty much impossible to have ALL the toys put away at any one time while the children are awake and in the residence.

(We have really efficient children like that.)

And despite our best efforts to keep the girls from playing with anything that morning after the magazine photo worthy toy organization the night before, we still had to scramble to scoop up toys before pictures could be taken.

(Luckily our Realtor was a total advocate for the 'shove stuff to one side, take a picture, shove stuff to the other side, take a picture' approach.)

((Which she totally should have told me about before I did all that counter cleaning the night before.))

Now lets just hope someone comes and buys it soon! I'm not sure how many more nanoseconds our kitchen can possibly look so sellably shiny, and I've already used up my cleaning quota for the next 6 to 8 months or so....

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Musical Sesame Hijacking

Ok, I was totally trying to get a blog post written during Adrianna's nap, but Kristina just wanted to watch Sesame Street songs on Youtube way more than leaving Mommy alone to think of non-child-oriented topics.

So bring on the milk and cookies and preschoolers (because we, as adults, would never ever enjoy watching Ernie and Rubber Duckie just for ourselves.... *ahem*), and lets watch some Sesame Street!

C is for COOKIE, with cookie monster!


Rubber duckie, sung by Ernie!


Elmo and Whoopi Goldberg, rocking out to Come and play.


I love trash, with who else besides Oscar the Grouch!


Ok, this next one I'd never heard/seen before, but it was... um.... interesting

Batty bat, with Count the Count.


Telly singing The people in your neighborhood, with Ben Stiller.


And this one was a favorite of mine when I was little. I had it on a Sesame Sing-a-long tape and everything, (the one where they were going for a bus ride...?) which we may or may not still have and may or may not still listen to when the occasion brings about a working cassette player.

Ernie and Elmo singing Sing after me.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Small, Cute, and Trouble

Since Adrianna  finally figured out she could crawl and nearly almost walk, she's been getting into anything (most often the clutter of cords under my desk) and everything (all of them, especially the ones that disconnect the keyboard and mouse) constantly (whenever I am ignoring her to check email or write blog posts)!

(And the cat food.)

(And a very memorable bag of shredded paper.)

Back when I was pregnant with Adrianna, I would watch Kristina, and I would think that I was in trouble.

I would watch Kristina lead the other girls in her dance into racing across the floor after each other like wild hooligans.

I would watch Kristina lead scold the kids at preschool not to push each other, and boss them around as a matter of play.

I would watch Kristina make messes with the cat food, and smear diaper cream all over her face, and spill cup after cup after cup of water.

(Which is why she still gets anything besides water, most notably chocolate milk, in a sippy cup.... because I may be crazy, but cleaning up chocolate milk eight times a day is a PAIN.)

And I worried.

She was going to take this little sibling, and lead it into all sorts of horrible trouble.

She would be boosting the baby up to grab things she couldn't reach on her own.

She would be getting the baby to distract me so she could make a run for unattended cookies left on the counter.

She would blame the crayon scribbles on the wall/floor/toy kitchen/cat (wait, maybe that one was playdough...) on the baby.

And at some point, I wouldn't know for sure which child it had been.

But you know what? I really shouldn't have worried. Adrianna is completely capable of getting into PLENTY of trouble all on her own.

She'll be leading Kristina into messes like the paper shreddings.

She'll be telling Kristina to boost her.


She'll be the one coming up with the plan to distract me and informing Kristina of it.

Ah well, at least they'll be playing together so nicely... even if it's because they're making a huge mess!



Adrianna got into the shredded paper all on her own, and when I went to take a picture of it (it was stuck up her nose!) Kristina saw that as complete and total permission to go to town on it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Money Makes The World Turn Round

I talk about finding a job. And I've been spending a fair amount of time looking and applying for one. But it's not so much about the job in the job sense.

If that makes any sense at all.

See, I really want (need?) to do something with my life beyond loading and unloading the dishwasher. And I'm pretty sure there are many things I could be passionate about and thoroughly enjoy doing that are not jobs at all.

Or even about getting a paycheck. 

(Heck, I had to pay money to do the dojo!)

But I also have other very real (and reasonable and valid) wants.

(Like me and the girls living in a nice townhouse that's between 1200 and 1500 square feet, with two master bedrooms upstairs and a nice big empty rec room in the basement, and as long as I'm dreaming big here, an attached garage and large private patio out back.)

And those wants take money.

(To fund rent and internet.)

((Well, maybe just rent, I can probably steal the internets from a neighbor or two.....))

And since I haven't had an exceptionally wealthy relative die any time recently while leaving me his entire fortune and estate as long as I can survive one night in a haunted castle, that means the desire for the acquisition of money necessitates working.

And if I'm going to be spending a substantial portion of my time and energy doing something, I would really prefer it to be something I actually have some desire to be doing in the first place.

(Not to mention the need to earn a wage high enough to cover the exuberant costs of having two children in full time childcare at something that has some faint possibility of being a good place for them to be and not just the crazy old lady down the street with 50 cats AND the before mentioned rent.)

((And maybe even internet.....))

Thus I am looking for a job, for a place to go in life, for funding for rent (and maybe even internet), for something for me....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hair Envy

Adrianna has been having some serious baby hair envy going on recently.

(And by Adrianna, I totally mean me.)

She looks at pictures of absolutely adorable little babies, like this one of Noah, the  sprog of a friend of mine from college, and wonders why she can't have locks as gorgeous as this 11 week old boy's.

(A boy!)

She worries that at the rate she's going on hair growth Mommy will have to send her off to kindergarten in a bowband.

I try to console her.

Don't worry honey, I'll get one of those really huge bows for you to wear on your bowband, that way nobody in kindergarten will see you don't have any hair. 

But that's just not enough.

Bows are totally trendy for middle-schoolers these days, I'm sure nobody would notice that yours isn't attached to a ponytail. 

And if you still don't have hair when you go to prom, I'll be sure to find a matching scarf to gracefully drape over your head. I bet we could attach a corsage to it too!

I remember back to Kristina's baby days, and her unbeliviable head of blond hair I so happily flaunted to the world. And I remember us meeting babies balder than Adrianna (if that's even possible), and me laughing at their demands to 'share the hair wealth'.

Yep, karma's a bitch sometimes.

Sorry pumpkin.


And don't worry sweetheart, I'm sure we can fasten a wedding veil to your bowband too.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Smiling Samurai Learns To Roll

The Jade Tiger Dojo was an interesting place for me to end up.

(Technical note, the school has since changed their name to Kojokan, as well as unaffiliated with the Shinkendo Federation, but I'm writing about how it was while I was living the dojo life.)

And the people.... I've never seen such an intriguing conglomeration of social misfits who simply don't fit anywhere else.

(Pony people would be the second closest, and they don't hold a candle to the dojo peeps in diversity and uniqueness.)

Nearly all of the people I met through the dojo are truly amazing souls, full of passion and wonder, kindness and caring, and have a never ending stock of fascinating stories to tell to a listening ear.

(So one this time we were at a renfaire, and while we were getting the swords ready for target cutting and this camel came out of nowhere and the fairyman had to.....)

Now, to understand what it's like to walk into this world, you must understand what they do.

The technical arts practiced were Shinkendo (Samurai (aka Japanese) sword) and Aikido (hand-to-hand martial art), with Kickboxing, Bojitsu, and few technical variations of these basics (live sword, cutting class, etc.) thrown in for good measure.

Which pretty much means everyone is wearing some snazzy matching white and black pajama-looking uniforms and learning how to kick some serious hypothetically invading Hun butts.

(Or like, whatever was invading Japan that the feudal Samurai attacked... since I totally only know all my middle east history from Mulan.... *ahem*....)

((And to Sensei Dan, who I'm sure both mentioned it during the years of classes and is smacking his read right about now for my lack of remembering.... sorry about that.))

Aikido focuses on a few incredibly basic concepts. The attacker either punches or grabs onto you, and you do a fancy Aikido thingy and either pin him to the floor (where you then sit on top of him while you pull out your cell phone and call the police to come get the bad, bad man) or throw him away (preferably into a brick wall should one happen to be handy).

Except that, since we didn't have an unlimited supply of bad guys to patiently wait while some novice attempts to figure out where pressure points on the elbow are, we practiced these techniques on each other.

Which meant the very first thing a new Aikido student learned was how to fall down.

It sounds simple, I know, but being able to do a few hundred times in an hour and not have any ill effects makes it a little more complicated.

And you know who got to teach me (along with many other galumping ungraceful adults) the basics of rolling? Amanda, Sensei Dan's 13 year old perky little daughter (who I suspect Kristina may strongly resemble in her teenage years).

After Amanda managed to get me sorted out enough to kinda know sorta where my arms were supposed to be enough to keep me from actually smashing my face on the mats, she was having me practice by doing repetitions of rolls.

And me, being the diligent student that I am, would do the three rolls it took to run out of floor, stand up, walk back over to Amanda, and do three more until I reached the wall again.

And then she said, in her cute little Amanda way, "you know the floor rolls both ways, right?"

Ummm... yeah! I totally... um......really? ....damn I'm an idiot. Alrighty, moving right along....

(Hey, at least I didn't roll into the wall my first night.)

((However I did nearly impale myself on the wall while washing the floor after classes...))

But I did eventually learn how to successful fall down without substantial personal damage (and that bruises heal).

(And a few weeks later I accidentally fell on Amanda and smoshed her, which was good bonding and a much better "Marty moment" story to tell, so the one way rolling one faded quickly away.)

Now, the first night of the dojo really had been rather fun. I learned how to roll, which was super exciting (even if Cassi wouldn't let me practice in our teeny tiny apartment hallway that night), and everyone was nice, and I was still just totally stoked to be out of the apartment regardless.

And then I woke up the next morning and felt like I'd been run over by a steam roller, and the supporting-of-that-theory bruises soon followed.

But I still had nothing to do, and minor physical mauling seemed like a small price to pay to alleviate boredom and loneliness.

So I kept going back.

And after about three weeks I gained 10 pounds of muscle, started to vaguely understand some of the Japanese stuff, and even figured out how to kinda sorta do a few things.

And then it started to seem really freaking cool!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Body Image

I work very hard to like my body as it is, to be happy with how I look (and to not mournfully stare at the scale and it's unbudging 20 pounds of extra lovin' hanging on post baby #2).

Because I want to teach my children that adult women don't have to always be on a diet. I want to teach them that they are beautiful by believing I am beautiful. I want to teach them that healthy is better than a number.

(I want to teach them that it's ok in life to like french fries more than being one pant size smaller, and that there should be no guilt in the occasional, needed Ben & Jerry's....)

And I do honestly believe most of it.

There was a girl in my high school class who had the unfortunate luck of being 'the fat one'. She was a bit on the heavier side, and because the school in general catered to a fairly high class bracket and we were in the extra elitist IB program, many of our prominent classmates were designer label wearing athletic spoiled white kids.

And she tried exceedingly hard to dress trendily.

Except that the little chiffon skimpy clingy tops that only look good in sizes xs through small and on a size 2 and under frame just don't do favors to anyone bigger than that (even if they make them in xl). And she paired them nicely with the low waisted flared jeans and sneakers, very much the style of the time and the school.

As somebody whose gotten to deal with a few rounds of tummy changing sizes, I would just like to boldly state (from personal experience, no less) that super low cut jeans just are not friendly to anything less than perfect abs. Especially not when paired with snug and/or clingy shirts.

But then one day she dressed up (French presentation, perhaps?). She wore a cute plaid knee length skirt and these strappy chunky heel sandals (very much the in style back then (cause we're all so much older and with better fashion tastes now)) and a red turtleneck sweater.

And she looked GREAT.

Not to mention like she'd lost at least fifteen pounds overnight.

Her calves were positively skinny, and she had cute little feet with matchingly painted toenails (oh how I wished my calves were that slender and my feet that cute). The sweater did an excellent job minimizing her not-anorexic-model-appearing midsection and directing the eye right on up to her sweet face (which presumably just might occasionally be saying something of interest or worth).

I told her she looked really nice, and I heard other people telling her that too. And I think all the attention made her a bit uncomfortable with the whole thing (I sure would have been!). I couldn't find the words or the boldness to tell her how cute her feet looked and how slimming the sweater was, how the skirt was an incredibly flattering length on her, and how the outfit just made such a difference compared to her usual wear.

And I'm still not sure I can find the words today to express the idea of dressing the body you have well, without it coming off shallow or lusting after idealized proportions.

But there is a truth about wearing the correctly sized clothes and dressing what is (and isn't) there. It's one I have to face every morning as a glare at my collection of pants spanning ten sizes, deliberating whether to keep or toss different pairs, wishing I still fit into the 2/3rds of them which I don't.

But then I ask myself why.

Often the answer is much more "because they were a really nice pair of jeans and I felt good wearing them" rather than an obsession with the number 6 printed on the tag.

You know what? That's a really easy thing to fix with a little shopping.

And my ginormous (by my standards, which means they're probably about a whole whopping D cup size....) nursing boobies? These things are AWESOME! However, they do not look awesome trying to be shoved into shirts that were never meant to house such expansive lactating goodness.

But I am totally ok needing to buy xl babydoll t-shirts to properly display them in their regal goodness. I figure I might as well fully enjoy my endowment while I got it, since if they do they same thing this time around as when I weaned Kristina they're very much a temporary state of being 

(Plus looking busty up top helps balance out the bottom and gives the optical allusion of my waist being smaller than it is.)

((Ah crap, now I'm sounding shallow and lusting for unrealistic idealized proportions again.....))

Monday, October 18, 2010

That's My Girl

 I have to admit, I'm a total sucker for overwhelming evidence of my personal contributions (biological or learned) to my children standing out bold and clear for all to see.

Well, most of the time....

Yesterday I was changing Adrianna's poopie diaper (yes, babies do that), and Kristina came running into the room exclaiming "Adrianna pooped?!?" Yeah.....? "I wanna take a picture of the poops, where are the poops mom?" Um.....

*click click click* goes the little pink camera.

Yep, that's my girl. Gotta photograph those poops.

Kristina also had another good episode when we went on a walk last week, where she managed to run into the same pole twice in one walk (going and coming back) while riding her tricycle.

Because she was busy admiring her shadow.

Not that any of us have any recent experience with the trickiness of poles. Especially when combined with personal fascination.

*Ahem*

And although Adrianna may be little, she has shown a few moments too.

Like her ability to wolf down any and all offered chocolate and squawk for more from a far-to-young-to-be-getting-chocolate age.

And then there was the time she got her foot stuck in the steering wheel when we'd been sitting in the car nursing.

Now, to really appreciate this one (and so you understand why you can probably hear my parents laughing right now from several states away), you need to understand about the table we had when I was growing up. It was a roundish (hexagonal, I think...) pedestal table, except that the pedestal part was actually four ornately carved legs all clustered together in the middle.

And I liked to stick my feet in there when sitting at the table for meals or while winning playing a game of Pinochle.

And, on a few, rare, occasions I somehow managed to get my feet a little bit stuck.

*Ahem*

Yep, always nice to see concrete proof that they are my little girls.

Even if it means them running into poles and getting their feet stuck.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What It Means


What my resume says: I am adept at using office equipment.
What I mean: I almost never break the copier and can usually even figure out to make it print on both sides.

What my resume says: I am proficient at Microsoft Office products.
What I mean: I live on the computer and equate not having internet to not having a toilet.

What my resume says: I have good phone etiquette.
What I mean: I sound really cheerful when I say hello.

What my resume says: I am partially fluent in Spanish.
What I mean: I took more Spanish classes than I can count, but have never used the stupid language outside of school and only might be able to remember how the past tense verbs work, since it's been a few years.


What my resume says: I am enrolled in an online Paralegal Masters program, and am taking the current semester off, but I hope to continue in the spring.
What I mean: Look how personally motivated and smart I am, now will you please hire me?

What my resume says: I am a team player.
What I mean: I make really yummy cookies and promise bring them in for the office occasionally.

What my resume says: I am a dedicated worker.
What I mean: I'm obsessive compulsive and a perfectionist.


What my resume says: I'm looking for a career in the legal field.
What I mean: It sure as hell beats working in childcare.

What my resume says: I am professional in appearance and attitude.
What I mean: I don't have facial tattoos or piercings, I know what a bra is, and I might even occasionally not have spit up on my shirt.

What my resume says: I can be moved with a weeks notice.
What I mean: For the love of God please give me a reason to leave that doesn't make me feel like I'm a complete failure at life.


What my resume says: I hope to hear from you soon.
What I mean: Please please please please please please please give me this chance.....

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Brown Boy and the Girl with the Pretty White Hair

There once was a girl with pretty white hair
who had a complexion that was ever so fair.
She made a new friend as dear as could be,
they did so love laughing and just running free.

She told her mama about all their fun,
the games and the giggles at 3 year old puns
but then she said this, with a bit of a frown
"that's my new friend, the boy that is brown."

Her ma was perplexed and slightly befuddled,
how to respond about race is always so muddled.
So she took a deep breath and the quickest reprieve
and merely replied "I heard his name was Steve."

  

The background stuff: One of the kids Kristina really enjoys playing with at her gymnastics class (probably because they're on the same hyperactive wild crazy wave length) is a little boy named Steven. His mom was telling me a few weeks ago how he refers to Kristina as "the girl with the pretty white hair". And then she came out of gymnastics that day calling him "the brown boy". I don't actually want to correct her and say 'no honey, we call people like that "black"' (especially when, as I'm sure she would be the one to point out to me, his actual skin color is, in fact, of brownish tone), but I'm also not quite sure how to respond. I have mentioned other times about people having different skin colors just like different hair colors or different eye colors, but that's not what Kristina is asking about and we both know it. She has also asked what color we are, after pointing out that someone else is brown, and I don't know what to tell her for that either (so I usually ask her if she wants to go get french fries instead of answering).

Friday, October 15, 2010

Finding The Smiling Samurai

The summer between my sophomore and junior years of college was substantially more impacting to my personal development and coming into adulthoot than I could have ever imagined.

Because really, I didn't set out to do anything great at all.

Peter spent the summer at basic training for the Marines, and thus was pretty much out of the picture beyond the occasional highly coveted (if barely decipherable) scrawled letter that came every few weeks. 

(If life read like a novel we'd call it forshadowing.)

And me? Well, I had little to do and less people to do it with.

Cornell College requires nearly all of the student population to live on-campus during the school year, and then kicks everyone off for the summer, so it's a surprisingly small number of students that stay anywhere near locally.

Somehow, through some random workingouts of life, I ended up sharing an apartment in a neighboring town with a couple of other gals, one of whom I had roomed with my freshman year.

And the other one was Cassi.

(We'll get back to her later, but you might recall me being in her wedding a few months ago. You know, more of that forshadowing stuff.)

Now, I had the brilliant plan of *gasp* working that summer, and had actually gone to some pretty great lengths to secure employment after having lots of stress and some difficulty with getting a job lined up the summer beforehand.

I had applied at a local childcare center in January (freaking JANUARY!), to make sure I could work there full time come June. Well, they thought I was pretty flippin crazy to be concerned about the summer, and somehow convinced me to work 12 hours a week during the school year with the promise of it turning to full time the minute the semester ended.

Yeah, that so didn't happen.

So I set about getting another job, and actually found an awesome-for-summer one doing some in-home care for a couple of boys with disabilities. But it was complicated, and the actual work hours didn't end up materializing like they were supposed to.

So I was sitting around in this apartment by myself, with nothing to do. At all. And nobody to do it with.

And after about three days of that, I would have been up for just about anything that gave me a reasonable excuse to have human contact at someplace other than that apartment.

(Or Walmart.)


Cassi and me on our first night at the apartment.
Now Cassi and I didn't know each other particularly well going into this. I think we knew, vaguely, who each other was (it was a small school, you pretty much vaguely knew everyone) and had some slightly overlapping social circles.

Like, one of Peter's roommates was Adam who played DnD with Cassi who played Magic the Gathering with Colin who had been in a fair number of my classes (and who just got his JD and started a law practice since he actually went on and did law school as planned instead of getting knocked up, way to go Colin!!)... those sorts of vague connections.

But she loved Disney movies and chocolate DairyQueen blizzards, so she seemed like a pretty ok person right from the get-go.

(That's a really weird phrase, right from the get-go....)

Plus she was another human being who would spend time hanging out with me. At that point I sure wasn't picky.

So I was spending the entire day bored out of mind sitting along in this apartment (since both the other girls had jobs that actually involved working), counting down the hours until Cassi got off work so she'd come play with me.

And then Cassi came home!

And she changed clothes and went to leave again!

I'm sure I must have looked as pathetic as a three legged puppy exclaiming something along the lines "but where are you going now?" as my all-day-long harbored visions of us eating ice cream and drooling over Johnny Depp together starting crashing down around me.

And she tells me that she does this dojo thing a bunch of nights a week.

And then she hesitantly asks ".....would you like to come along?"

OMG, it wouldn't have mattered if she'd said she swam in a tank of piranhas every Tuesday night before sacrificing small bunnies to the gods of piety.

(And honestly, I barely had any glimmer of an idea of what a dojo even was, but it really didn't matter to me right then.)

"YES! I WANT TO GO! PLEASE TAKE ME WITH YOU!!"

And that is how I ended up at the Jade Tiger Dojo, not having the slightest clue what I was doing, much less how much all of it would come to mean to me over the next two years.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Scuttlebutt

Scuttlebutt is what the Navy (and by sea worthy association, the Marine Corps) refer to as gossip, rumors, grape vine news, water-cooler talk, etc.

(Interesting note, the name comes from the storage device of water on ships (a scuttled butt), literally calling gossiping around the water-cooler "water-cooler" in it's own right.)


But I have a much more cuter usage of it.

It's Adrianna's new nickname, since there's absolutely nothing like her being bare bottomed (diaper change, getting dressed, etc.) to motivate her to take off crawling across the floor at top speed.





Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Autumn Leaves

I take a fair number of pictures of the girls (and by 'fair number' I mean obsessively documenting every nano second of their little lives in digital wonderfulness), and through the wonders of statistical odds, I occasionally even get one that is particularly photographically great.

At least in my what-does-she-know-anyways humble opinion.

My parents were kind enough to get me Photoshop a few months back, which I neglectfully have not played with nearly enough to consider myself mastered (it really is on the to do list, right after sleep...).

And my husband got me a most wonderfully awesome digital camera, which I even kinda might know how to use a little bit some of the time.

And then, every so often, I get lucky.

(Total statistics, a thousand photos will at least one that's something kinda decent.)


This one is completely unedited. I'm not sure why it stuck out to me more than the other hundred from that day, but it did.

I love the colors, the flag, the snippet of pure blue sky with clouds. You can almost hear Kristina laughing as she crunches the leaves, on a rare fine day in upstate autumn.

I'm sure someone with some serious Photoshopping skillz could do a little magic and make it really pop.

But I'm pretty fond of it just how it is.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Salted Pancakes

I am a big fan of pancakes, since they really might just be the best breakfast food EVER.

However, liking to eat them also necessitates me personally needing to cook them from time to time.

And I really suck at cooking pancakes.

(Seriously, how is it even possible to repeatedly screw up (in new and exciting ways, no less) something with the instructions consisting entirely of "add water"? I don't freaking know, if you figure it out please tell me.)

((And then make me some pancakes.))

(((Pretty please?)))


So, I was holding the bag of pancake mix, recalling how horrible the last few batches turned out with me at the griddle, and doing some serious deliberation as to whether it was worth trying to make some this morning.

And then I noticed something.

They're a good source of calcium! Cool! Wait, is that some fine print below..... see side panel for sodium content? Huh, I wonder why that's on the front....


*Turn pancake mix to the side to read nutrition label*

Holy crap! That's way more salt than is in french fries!

(No kidding, look it up, a large McDonald's french fries has 350 mg sodium, 15% daily intake.)

And this discovery distresses me even more, since I'm usually pretty good at actually reading the nutrition labels.

I will totally maintain till the day I die that chocolate teddy grahams are nearly identical in nutritional value (not to mention ingredients) to regular graham crackers and thus can be eaten in any and all quantities and situations where graham crackers would be acceptable.

Not that there was ever a debate or anything over such when Peter made some comment about me giving Kristina cookies in regards to her eating teddy grahams.

And have you ever actually read the nutritional facts on a box of cookies? In small quantities they are surprisingly unbad.

In fact, I'd actually say overall a lot better than these pancakes over here..... could be complete and total proof that we really should just eat cookies for breakfast.

Yummy!

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Toothy Tale

Last week I experienced a horrifying first in my mommy career: taking a child to the dentist.

And even more horrifying, it was because Kristina had a chipped tooth.

I had no idea of where it came from or when it had arrived! Had it been there for a while? She fell down and scraped her knees the other day, could she have bumped her mouth too? Did something happen at school and nobody noticed? Is it going to cause problems now? What if they have to pull it?! She'd be missing a prominent tooth for years!

So then I frantically (you know, because she really just might die if I didn't get her seen RIGHT THEN, despite it having almost certainly been chipped for at least 24 hours before I noticed, and not presently bothering her in the slightest) started calling dentists.

Except that, being the just turned three-year-old-with-tendency-to-procrastinate-mother that she is, she hadn't been to a dentist yet. Ever. Not even for something not stressing like a normal checkup or cleaning. And the local ones? Well they wouldn't touch a child that age "with a problem" with a 10 foot cleaning pick.

Alrighty, pediatric dentist it is.... what do you mean there aren't any in Watertown? Oye... I do so love driving 2 hours each way for doctor appointments, why freaking not!

*Grumble*

Now, I will give major props to the place for being kid friendly to the max. First up Kristina got to watch a cheezy cute video about a couple of little dogs going to the dentist for the first time (although she was more entertained by getting drinks of water from the dispenser that was also in the room than in the movie itself. And Adrianna kept trying to eat the tv).

Then, after a little play time in the well stocked toy room, I mean waiting room, it was Kristina's turn to try out the big pink chair.

The hygienist was practically a preschool teacher, and totally awesome about coaxing Kristina along through the first part. And then out came the polisher.

The hygienist really did try her best. She showed it to Kristina before beginning, and let her feel it 'tickling her palm' while discussing flavor choices of the corresponding special toothpaste.

But the noise and strangeness of it all overtook Kristina's bravery about 3/4 of the way through, when she went from doing GREAT to a complete and total sobbing meltdown in about a tenth of a second.

I saw it coming, in that split second before the fit started. She was doing good, and then her hands tightened on the armrests, and she looked over at me with this imploring look in her eyes pleading "get me outta here!" And then she lost it in true full bodied screaming Kristina fashion.

Ah well. At least it made it memorable right?

And she didn't really need those last 4 or 5 teeth polished, right?

And she DID (eventually...) calm down and cooperate fairly well for the dentist to poke around.

(Ok, it totally took some serious sticker bribering (thank you dentist office for having 12 rolls of them sitting right there for me to steal some Princesses and Shreks from) and promises of getting french fries just as soon as the dentist was done. But occasionally the results out weigh the methods, right? Or at least make them not terrible?)

Apparently chipped childhood teeth aren't all that uncommon in young children, and nearly never need further intervention.

BUT.... her front top two teeth are DECAYING!

Like, we're going to have to be scheduling her for fillings soon, decaying!

*Faint*

Peter and I don't have a cavity between us, she gets her teeth brushed well by me at least once a day, most days twice, and they're teaching them to brush their teeth themselves after lunch at preschool. I don't buy fruit snacks or give her honey sticks or other chewy candy, and she drinks a ton of milk.

How the blue bloody blazes can they be DECAYING?!?

(By the way, very nice of you dentist office to label it as such and not just say she has cavities, it makes me feel slightly better as a parent worded that way.)

The dentist makes some nice pr comment about how it's often seen with children who nurse or use bottles substantially longer than normal.

Pshh, no....

Especially at bedtime.

Bedtime you say? Um... well, she does get juice at bedtime....

In a bottle?

No! In a.. sippy.... cup........

Ah crap, I totally just ruined my child's mouth by giving her juice in a almost-a-bottle at bedtime for the last two years.

*Sob*

But it's ok, the dentist reassures me in the midst of my distress, we're going to try a concentrated florid treatment and see if that hardens them back up. She only ALMOST needs fillings right now, if they harden back up that part will just totally just go away on her dental charts.

*Sob*

Ok....

And no more juice at bedtime!

Yes sir.

(Immediately cut her down to 1/3 juice to 2/3 water, as according to the measuring cup, with great plans to decrease it further and maybe even eventually get it down to entirely water.)

And then the hygienist was sweet enough to assure me that it wasn't anything I'd done wrong, it could be unflorided well water or a lack of enamel from when they originally formed.

(Or like, my giving her a sippy cup to use as a bottle at bedtime full of juice for the last two years.)

At least Kristina was positively gleeful upon leaving, after having a new Princess toothbrush and sticky lizard bestowed upon her. Which is good, because she gets to go back in three months to see whether nightly florid is hardening her decaying mouth up enough to not need fillings.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Moment of Peace

A brief video I captured of the sunrise the first morning we were at the Outer Banks in North Carolina. It was a truly incredible experience to wake up to, with the sounds of the waves and the smell of the salt in the air.

video



To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity int he palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.
-William Blake

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Only Need One


My personal stress level just isn't doing that great right now.

I keep applying for all these jobs, jobs that I would enjoy, jobs that I would be good at, jobs that I genuinely want.

Jobs that pay more than minimal wage, so there would be some faint hope of being able to live someplace beyond my parents basement and to not clothe my children only out of other people's generosity.

Jobs that might have some slight possibility of advancement, of being somewhere I could work at for more than 6 months, of being something I could build a new life on.

Jobs that require the education I have, that expect me to be able to think, that want more than a pretty face or a human voice mail.

And I hear nothing back, save a Kristina-sized handful letting me know what amazing numbers of ultra qualified super awesome individuals they had applying and that they're pursuing someone else at this time.

Peter keeps telling me that I only need one. I only need one employer to think I might have a shot. I only need one company to take a gamble on me. I don't need ten jobs, I only need one....

But, I still do need that one.

And every day I glare more and more at my empty inbox, at the phone that isn't ringing, at the world that won't let me have that one.

I keep applying for more jobs, figuring the sheer statistical odds have to turn in my favor eventually.

But what if they don't?

And everyone is being so awesome. People keep sending me links to different job search engines, to companies' "employment" pages, to a job posting they heard about from their aunt's neighbor's second cousin who works there.

(THANK YOU!)

And I keep doing my best to follow up on all of it, learning that I am not eligible to work for the Colorado state department because I am not a resident, nor work as administrative staff at a medical marijuana dispensary for the same reason. Learning that Banjo Billy's Ghost Ride Tour Bus pays their tour guides surprisingly well (better, in fact, than half the office administrative jobs posted). Learning that it soon feels like all jobs either pay minimum wage or expect a masters degree and 6 years of highly specialized experience. Learning that after three hours of filling out the same stupid online forms (entering prior work experience line by line, etc, because they can't possibly be bothered just to read my stupid resume in Word format) I'm about ready to smash the computer with a hammer and commit seppuku just so I don't have to do any more.

But I still only need one....

Selling the house posses a similar conundrum.

We only need one person to want to buy it. We only need one family to fall in love with the swing set and play area out back. We only need one couple to be willing to take that leap....

But what if they don't?

What if they DO?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Old McDonald Had A Pumpkin Patch

Last weekend brought about the only sunny day in weeks, and I took full advantage of it to take the girls to Old McDonald's Farm to visit the animals and bring home some pumpkins. Got some adorable pictures out of it, and just in case you didn't know, they get bigger if you click on them, and then gigantic if you click on that one again, a good high resolution size to save them to your computer from.

(And no, we didn't have to sing E-I-E-I-Oooooooo the whole time we were there.)

Getting all ready to go, since one simply cannot go get pumpkins without wearing appropriately themed attire.

First up, feeding the goats.

The goats, the poor starving creatures I'm sure they all are, were more than happy to come gobble up all the popcorn Kristina had to dispense.

Adrianna even managed to make some goaty friends too!



Kristina was very excited to see the new puppy Tucker, although she was not nearly as captivated as she'd been with the old dog Maggie the last time we visited (when we had to spend a half hour doing nothing but sitting petting the dog).

She ran to the geese wanting to pet them, but luckily was quickly deterred by a few loud honkings.

And then we saw sheep, who sadly would not come over to be petted despite Kristina's continued attempts with hollering "SHEEEEEEPSSS! SheeeeEEEEEEEeeeps! SheeeeeEEEEEPPPSSSSSSS!"

A brief stop by Humphrey the camel.

And then it was back to some more poultry.

Baby bunnies are always adorable, and there were other rabbits to be petted and fed but Kristina got distracted by....

...more ducks! Swimming in what usually is a grassy area for the bunny hutches (the result of a constant week of rain).

Next we visited with the alpacas and llamas.

And even Kristina got to feed them grass.

When I told Kristina it was a reindeer she immediately asked if it was Christmas. I don't know whether that's really good association or a really bad sign for the months/years to come.

She has also spent the last week asking me at least daily if we could go to the store to go buy Christmas. And I'm really not sure whether I'm proud or horrified of having taught her the magic of commercialism....

In the barn to visit the ponies.

And donkeys (from Shrek, according to Kristina).

And a really big horse.

Of course, it just wouldn't be a trip to the farm without a stop by the cows.

Then Kristina wanted to go play in Goatville.

Much communing with goats occurred, apparently they're just fascinating to talk to.


And then Kristina found her (and Adrianna's) second most favorite animal, a little farm kitten.

Adrianna was making "kaw" noises, I think trying to say cat in her very cute little baby way.


And then it was time for the big adventure tractor ride to go feed the pigs and cows! Kristina was very discerning in her corn and hay choices.

And Adrianna thought they hay was quite tasty.

Sitting down, ready to go.

Kristina feeding Mr. Stinky some bread.
While Adrianna checked out the big pigs.

Then we went to feed the cows.

Kristina was quite brave, and had no problems feeding something that had a head the same size as her.

A quick stop by Humphrey post hayride.

And then it was off to the pumpkins and corn maze, which you get to through the gigantic hay bale castle.

Adrianna and me in the corn maze.
Kristina was too busy running to turn around for a corn maze picture.

Time to pick out a pumpkin! This one was too big!

Ah, here we go, so-tiny-it's-not-even-a-real-pumpkin-but-actually-a-pumpkin-gord perfect!

And then as the good Mommy I am, I had to search out an even smaller one for Adrianna to have.

(Which of course I forgot to get a picture of, despite capturing forty thousand of the stupid goats.)

((Sigh....))

A full and fun day at the farm with my two favoritest little pumpkins, if I do say so myself.

And a sincere thanks to the farmer who told me to stand with the girls for a picture (who I'm 99% sure is the same woman who took the family picture of us there last year).