Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Trip to the American Girl Store

This trip was set in motion by several factors not directly relating to us at all.

You see, Kristina's second cousin Quinn has a birthday just a week before Thanksgiving every year.

This year, the family had just arrived in the DC area from their present home in Nicaragua, and celebrated Quinn's birthday (well, one of the times they celebrated Quinn's birthday) with a small party while they were staying at Aunt Leslie's house.

Apparently there had been some discussion between Aunt Leslie and Quinn's mommy LauraJean about what would be a good present for her 4th birthday, and the consensus had finally settled on a set of Bitty Baby Twins.

So Aunt Leslie set off to the American Girl Store to procure them the day beforehand.

However, there were some stock issues (namely, the store didn't have what exactly they had decided she should get in stock right then), and then some long and involved phone calls trying to reach various family members to consult on what would be a good solution to this problem.

But finally, Aunt Leslie decided to get Quinn one of the American Girls of Today dolls that looked just like her.

Presumably it was a big hit with Quinn, although I don't think anyone ever got to the part in the story where she was given the doll, so I couldn't say for sure.

However, a few days later we showed up.

And Aunt Leslie looked over my few month older Kristina, and decided that if Quinn was old enough for an American Girl doll, so was Kristina.

Choosing a Kristina doll.
And off we set for the American Girl Store!

Alright, I'll admit it, I adore the dolls myself and had a VERY beloved Kirsten doll myself back in the day (ok, she may still sitting on a shelf in my room), and thus am incredibly weak when someone aks "Would it be alright if I bought your child this American Girl doll?" and will only ever be able to answer "YES!!" even if I should at least consider making attempts at politely declining... and add in the temptation of actually getting to go the American Girl Store, of which I'd never been but always wanted to go......... lets just say it took every ounce of maturity for me not to want to get one for myself, anything more was simply unattainable. Sorry.

But getting back to the store....

Although I have spent countless hours over the last 20 years meticulously pouring over the beautiful pictures in the American Girl catalogs, and undoubtedly had their entire inventory memorized at different times, I had never seen the collection displayed in person like they have it in the store. They have hundreds of dolls set up in museum cases, adorably arranged to showcase the different outfits and accessories.

And it was a place I could have happily spent several several hours merely gazing at all the pretty wonders.

Kristina was well prepped for the adventure, with much discussion about how there would only be one special doll picked out and the like. However, one little detail was overlooked in the adventure planning....

This is mine.

Or rather, Adrianna's strong love for all things DOLL despite her little age.

The moment we walked into the store she lunged for the nearest glass display case shouting "MINE!"

And so she continued "mining" all the dolls we passed as we followed the focused and excited Aunt Leslie and Kristina through the historical doll section and downstairs to the American Girl of Today/Bitty Baby land.

As is this.
At which point Adrianna was in 7th heaven, since the Bitty Baby's weren't cased and were displayed right at small child height to play with, while Kristina set about the important task of picking out her new doll.

The girl's cousin Aerik and his parents were also along for the ride, and although Aerik is but a few months older than Adrianna, he did not seem nearly as inclined towards the dolls and spent the time in the store riding up and down the escalator with his daddy.

(See: Sometimes boys and girls are different. Even when they're little.)

And these. They are also mine.
And then, Kristina came over dragging a very conspicuous red bag nearly as big as she was while grinning ear to ear, and it was time to go.

Which meant I had to extract all the wonderful dolls from Adrianna's grasp and drag her out of what she undoubtly viewed as the best store in the world.

(She IS my little girl, after all.)

And although there was some objection, she actually didn't put up as much of a fuss as I was anticipating (not that I would have had to carry toddler Kristina out of the store screaming bloody murder at the top of her lungs the whole way..... *ahem*), which helped to decrease my personal level of parental guilt for not having accordingly planned on getting her a new doll as well.

And Kristina has been adoring her 'Kristina' doll, and even insisting I style her and her doll's hair the same they can look EXACTLY alike.

After all, she does know the importance of matching

So our very warmest thanks, Aunt Leslie. I'm know the experience and the doll will be treasured and well loved for MANY years to come. 

Successful shopping trip.
Matching pigtail bows.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Worth of Happiness

My mother sent me an article several years ago (by which I mean anywhere from 2 to 8 years in the past) from Newsweek magazine (maybe.......) about the monetary cost of happiness.

I really wish I could find that article again, as it was truly awesome, but my (very lazy) attempts to find it on the internet haven't yielded success, and even though I know I held onto the paper copy at the time, there have been so many moves (not to mention details like much of my belongings still in storage at present) that where it might be really is anybody's guess.

Some fuzzy details aside though, I DO distinctly remember the Starbucks evaluation.

And the conclusion the article reached was that if all you need is your morning caffeine fix, you are way overpaying for your $5 fancy coffee drink, and that even buying one of the very nice home espresso machines would be a better use of money in the long term.

HOWEVER, if the barista knows more about your love life than your mother and you look forward to seeing the same regulars every morning, the cost of the fancy coffee drink might actually be worth it's overpriced price tag for the added happiness those human relationships bring to your day.

And I'm starting to see how that really works.

The Target in Boulder has a Starbucks in it, and I've gotten into the habit of getting a hot chocolate there on my morning break most of the days I'm opening.

Being able to drink anything (especially hot chocolate) in piece is certainly worth something to me, as trying to do so when I'm with the girls is truly a futile effort, and it's a nice little reward for working so hard in the mornings (as the first few hours are definitely the busiest for instocks).

However, as I keep going in I've also gotten to know the baristas rather well.

Or more precisely, they've gotten to know me rather well.

The three that regularly open during the week all know what I order and will have my hot chocolate started before they even ring me up for it.

Which, other than I'm still *slightly* embarrassed by the fact that I don't drink coffee, is really rather cool.

But a few weeks ago, it went above and beyond.

I had lost my book the day before, and I suspected that I left it in Starbucks after my lunch break (or accidentally threw it in the trash when I was throwing away other stuff........) when I realized it's missingness on my afternoon break.

However, the girl who was working the coffee machines right then had just started her shift AND was one of the very new hires (don't get hot chocolate from the new ones), and had no idea whether a book had been found or where it might have gone.

And since the rest of my searching of the lost-and-found and seeing whether it had been re-shelved was without success, I stopped by Starbucks on my lunch break the next day to ask one of my usual barista's, who had also been working the day before, whether my book had turned up as he would have been one to both recognize it as mine and set it away for me.

But sadly, there was no book, and I mournfully went off to booklessly eat my lunch.

(Anyone have a copy of The Help they'd like to loan me?? I was just getting to the really good part.... but am still bulking at the idea of spending another $12 on a second copy just to finish reading it.)

And then, a surprise appeared.

Yep, the barista made me a personalized "lost book pick-me-up" hot chocolate.

Because he is awesome. And possibly even a friend. Which, in some ways, the demonstration of such is even cooler than the hot chocolate itself.

Monday, November 28, 2011


I have been working with Kristina on writing her letters pretty much since she started scribbling on papers.

I had the goal that she would be able to write her name before she went to Kindergarten, which although certainly not an unreasonable academic prospect, was not something that looked overly promising for a long time.

Kristina is a very bright child, but she likes to do things her way, is resistant to instruction, and fine drawing skills are not her preferred method of artistic expressions.

(I can always pick out her pictures at school, because she's the child that paints pumpkins by smearing the paint ALL OVER the entire sheet of paper.)

To add difficulty, her name is not the easiest as it is a touch on the long side and with lots of letters to keep in order.

But she did it!

There was another sheet of paper which I printed her name out on that she was looking at, and I did help her keep her place on which letter she was doing.

But she did it!!

And I am immensely proud of me her for it.
November 19th 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Adrianna's Tea Party

Some little girls have pretty pink tea sets and serve all their friends (real and imaginary) from dainty little cups.

Adrianna is more of the improvising sort, and is happy to make due with what she has on hand for playing tea party.

Even if it makes it more of a beer party.....

She carefully got everything ready.

And served some snacks.

She invited her friends.

And then they partied it up!

I would like to give credit to whichever cousin made the comment of "Ah look, Adrianna's having a tea party" which then served for inspiration for this post, but I, very unfortunately, do not remember who that was....

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Matching Cousins: Fall 2011

Remember the ever important matching cousins outfits? You know, the same deal I did last spring, but this time with ALL the cousins?

Yeah, I thought it was pretty awesome.

This time went a little better, as I was much more on top of sensing when the moment was right to do the photo opt and seizing it.

Note the better color contrast on the white couch piece
I have to admit, the location was not my venue of choice, but I was outvoted on claims of better lighting because the windows wouldn't be in the background.

However, if that's the plan in the future, we're rearranging furniture so they're either on the floor or on a large enough neutral colored couch (two sides of the room in which this happened have a very nice for photo opts sectional couch which was already broken down and rearranged to fit the tables, a few chunks can totally make over to the non-windowed wall), because the too-small-busy-pattern long-since-dead-cat-clawed fainting couch just isn't doing it for me.

I have admit, I did drop the ball a little on properly conveying what I was doing outfit wise to all the other parents ahead of time (and not even for a good reason, but just because I was lazy and subsequently a bad communicator), so I'm sorry about that and will make sure to do better for future gatherings.

You know, assuming they *let* me continue to do this for future gatherings.....

(Pretty please??)

I do think most people liked the outfits, and I did keep other people's color tastes in mind when selecting stuff (aka, notice how the girls aren't in overwhelming pink? you're welcome). However, some raised questions about the boys' rugby shirts.... and I suppose I should confess I have no idea what a rugby shirt is (removable collar? what???), and picked these solely on color and price point. And I totally skimped out on getting pants for the boys. Because boys pants are boring, and it's not like they don't already have numorous pairs of basic pants.


I'll get them hair bows too little hats or something next time.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Blue Bandaid of Shame

Working at Target comes with many hazards.

The backroom regularly uses forklifts and the person-riding version of a forklift called the wave.

The store is often full of people, an ever moving landscape of obstacles to stir around while pushing out tubs of merchandise.

And there's always the slight possibility of something like an armed robbery happening. 

But by far, the biggest concern is my own personal box cutter.

I use it constantly, opening boxes of stuff, removing packaging, twirling it through my fingers when I'm bored.

And then, every so often, tragedy strikes.... and I LOOSE my box cutter.

And tracking down a new one can be a challenge.

We used to have a stash of them with the rest of the instocks stuff (like our stickers!!), but then they quickly dispersed after the unfortunate lose of our instocks drawer.

However, the backroom guys like me reasonably well, and usually do take pity on me when I beg pathetically enough for a new box cutter and help me track one down.

My latest requisition was an old holder, but refurbished just for me with a shiny brand new cutting blade. 

And that sucker was SHARP.

By far, noticeably sharper than any I had previously used. I was slicing through the cardboard boxes like nobody's business instead of just managing to split the tape.

And it was pretty awesome.

Until 45 minutes later when I gauged my thumb open.

My bloody thumb and I went to the backroom first aid kit in search of bandaids, of which there were none, although I was asked by half a dozen people as to what did I do and why would I do that to my rather noticeably bloody thumb during my search.

The first aid kit lacked bandaids, but it DID contain gauzy pads which provided some slight help to the gushing blood situation as I made my way from the backroom to the human resources office on the front side of the store, where I ultimately discovered that they, too, were out of bandaids.

But never fear, for I had been told that guest services often has a good stash of fun ones from packages that get opened or destroyed and can't be sold.

However, that day even guest services did not have bandaids, from the floor OR in their first aid kit.

So I set about tracking down one of the uniformed security guards, as they are the ones who are responsible for team member safety (and, incidentally, stocking the first aid kits), to make the very pathetic request of him to get me a bandaid.

He ushered my back to the security office, where he proceeded to break into a ineffectively locked cabinet where the bandaids were kept.

(What, did you think the security guys would have keys?)

A spritz of disinfectant, quick pat dry, and then the all important blue bandaid of shame was expertly applied.

And then I had the pleasure of tracking down security guys for the next 4 days to obtain new bandaids, as it is amazing how many things you touch with the side of your thumb and how much doing that hurts with a still gaping flesh wound.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gobble Gobble

Good tidings and warm (American) holiday wishes. May your turkey be more edible (but perhaps every bit as colorful?) than Kristina's beautiful creation of which she's very, very proud.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How to Pack for Visiting Family

  1. Briefly think about needing to pack three weeks before trip.
  2. Dismiss thought as being preemptive.
    1. After all, you have PLENTY of time still...
  3. Wake up in the middle of the night two days before you leave, realizing that you need haven't thought about (much less done) packing yet. 
  4. Resolve to pack first thing in the morning.
    1. Like a boss!
  5. Start right in on laundry shortly after getting up for the day.
  6. Feel rather accomplished for being so on top of getting clothes clean.
  7. Take laundry basket of clean clothes to children's room. 
  8. Attempt to pack for children. 
  9. Interested children climbing all over you, the laundry, and the suitcase.
  10. Put movie on for children.
  11. Start sorting through clean laundry. 
  12. Make piles. 
  13. Go stop children from fighting over imaginary food. 
  14. Concede to demands for real food.
    1. Because you, apparently, never ever feed them.
  15. Get children a snack from kitchen.
  16. Serve it to them on their chairs in front of the tv with a flourish.
  17. Return to bedroom and packing.
  18. Realize you forgot what your piles were. 
  19. Start over. 
  20. Make more piles. 
  21. Go find out what children are squawking about now.
  22. Get children drinks from kitchen. 
  23. Return to packing. 
  24. Realize your piles are getting rather out of control and taking over the bedroom. 
  25. Resolve to do something about this. 
  26. Attempt to set out outfits for children by day. 
  27. Have matching issues. 
  28. Contemplate personal level of craziness as indicated by need to make matching children. 
  29. Dismiss as irrelevant, as you are awesome just the way you are.  
    1. Compose good threats to use on anyone who disagrees. You know, detailing how exactly you shall creative produce their untimely demise. And then blog about it. 
  30. Feel very accomplished having decided the outfits for the week. 
  31. Carefully stack outfits in the reverse order of which they will be worn (so the first day is on top) by child into suitcase. 
  32. Admire personal organization and planning.
  33. Go check on children.
  34. Ignore details like them having dumped out every single toy, block, and book from shelves and buckets.
  35. Agree to child's demand to bring pack a puzzle. 
  36. Tell her to sit it on top of the suitcase.
  37. Answer her questions of "are these my clothes" with "DON'T TOUCH MY PILES!!!"
  38. Make note to self to apologize later for yelling at her unnecessarily.
  39. Go to make sure your piles of children's clothing are still intact.
  40. Attempt to pack your clothes.
  41. Decide it's much easier to pack when you have practically no clothes that fit anyways.
  42. Wonder, not for the first time, whether you're the only person on the planet who is annoyed by loosing weight. 
  43. Feel exceptionally accomplished having gotten your clothes selected and packed as well. 
  44. Decide no more packing is needed for the time being.
  45. Spend the rest of the afternoon playing.
  46. Realize as you eat dinner that you still need to finish packing for leaving in T-12 hours.
    1. And counting.
  47. Briefly ponder how much you *need* to watch TLC family horror, polygamy flavor. 
    1. aka, Sister Wives
  48. Decide to be a responsible adult, and forgo your usual cheap crazy-family-reality-tv-comparison-to-make-my-life-look-sane-and-marginally-good fix. 
  49. Get briefly distracted by the internets.
    1. Facebook!
  50. Stare blankly at suitcase for 5 minutes, completely unable to figure out what you're supposed to be doing. 
  51. Oh right, PACKING.
  52. Take stock of what you accomplished during your productive and functional time of the day. 
  53. Determine that you still need shoes, toys, diapers, and toiletries. 
  54. Feel immensely accomplished for achieving that level of brain function.
  55. Decide that the most efficient way to pack toiletries is to take a shower first, use everything you need to use that night, and then finish packing. 
  56. Get briefly distracted by the internets.
    1. Webcomics!
  57. Enjoy your shower. 
  58. Get marginally distracted immediately post-shower with random personal grooming habits, like plucking your eyebrows and unsuccessfully attempting to find nail polish to paint your toenails. 
  59. Realize it's getting late, and you still have packing to do. 
  60. Get briefly distracted by the internets. 
    1. Kitties!
  61. Toss toiletries into ziplock bag, contemplating (not for the first time) that one of these days you really need to invest in a real toiletry bag. 
    1. Although a ziplock baggies IS classier looking than the Target plastic bag you've been known to use on occasion as well. 
  62. Attempt to determine how many diapers you need.
  63. Decide that counting is just too difficult, and that "a lot" will be plenty. 
  64. Get briefly distracted by the internets. 
    1. Blog stats!
  65. Go to pack children's toys. 
  66. Stare blankly at overwhelming pile of toys. 
  67. Finally get enough functioning neurons together to thing of something good to pack. 
  68. Spend 10 minutes tracking down loose pieces. 
  69. Get distracted by your parents' "helpful suggestion" that while you're digging through the bucket of toys in their living room, that you should also move them to the designated children's play area.
  70. Make the overwhelming pile of toys bigger while acquisitioning their request.
  71. Decide that this did NOT help you pack. 
  72. Determine that your personal level of caring about toy selection is quite low, and simply grab a large handful of the nearest easily package things. 
  73. Get briefly distracted by the internets.
    1. Rage comics!
  74. Debate which shoes to pack, ultimately taking the minimalist approach 
    1. aka, choosing the singular smallest pair of alternate shoes to bring for each family member. 
  75. Feel extraordinarily accomplished by having completed packing before midnight.
  76. Make list of things to pack in the morning, knowing that however low your brain function is now, it will be WORSE then.
  77. Feel incredulous accomplished for it only has three things on it, one of which you can totally take care of right now.
  78. Say a prayer for successful journey and minimal forgotten-ness.
  79. Realize you might want to check to make sure your suitcase is under 50lbs.
  80. Lift several times. 
  81. Realize it's going to be really damn close. 
  82. Lift again, carefully thinking about all the things you stock in Target that come in nice increments, like 25lb containers of cat litter. 
    1. Does it feel like less than two of those??? 
  83. Decide that it IS under the 50lb wait limit. 
    1. Barely..... 
  84. Go to bed. 
  85. Realize you forgot to pack the diaper bag.
  86. Get back up.
  87. Search up backup outfits, assorted toys, and misc. stuff we might need (like tissues) and toss into first bag you can find. 
  88. Grab purse to transfer your important things (like wallet) into diaper bag for trip.
  89. Realize that your overflowing purse consists entirely of trash, one diaper, and an overstuffed wallet. 
  90. Resolve to do something about that.
    1. Right after your trip.
  91. Sit all your "done" bags by the door for the morning. 
  92. Take one last look into the immense just-under-50-lbs suitcase, once again pondering whether you put everything necessary in.
  93. Decide that at this point it's good enough. 
  94. Double check your morning packing list, still in disbelief over how there are only two things on it. 
  95. Go to bed. 
  96. Sleep. 
  97. Wake up before your alarm goes off. 
  98. Feel unbelievably accomplished for being up and ready to go first thing.
  99. Pack to remaining items into suitcase and load up car.
  100. Depart on trip.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Latest WOW

The WOW children's museum is a local (and by local, I really just mean less than a two hour drive from us) children's museum we visit from time to time. It's just a hair closer than the big children's museum in Denver, and it has a few other slight perks.

Like being cheaper. In addition to the kids' ticket prices just being substantially less, the WOW museum doesn't charge for adults (which I personally think is something ALL kids attractions should start doing).

It's also smaller. You may not immediately understand why that's a perk, until you spend a morning being one person with multiple children to keep an eye on, and then the smaller the space for them to split up in, the better.

Inside the bubble maker.

The pirate ship is Kristina's favorite.

Adrianna prefers the car. But only if she can sit on the floor.

Magnet table.

Teamwork! Kristina is scared of heights and Adrianna lacks the dextority to work the pulleys.

The world orbits around the sun, apparently, and NOT my children.

Hoist the colors!! I was so proud of her choice of flag.

We need an indoor sandbox at our house.

Fancy gown time.

Adrianna was so surprised each time the train came back around.

Dinner, anyone? The chefs have been busy...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Yep, Still Awesome

Remember my post about my boss's boss thinking I was totally awesome at work?

Well, it seems to be the theme of the month, as I've gotten officially recognized (by which I mean told to go pick out stuff to be requisitioned (essentially bought by Target) for me) twice more since then along with receiving several $5 gift cards and free trips to Starbucks from assorted personal for doing various good things around the store.

However, it's the most recent recognition that I got today that I'm REALLY digging.

So, the Price Change Team Leader recognized me as her pick for top store performer for... something. Week? Month?? See, they just kinda assumed that I understood how all this works when I actually don't. But I feel really stupid asking for clarification as to what exactly they're saying I'm awesome for while they are telling me to go pick out something like a DVD as a reward.

(And now we have Despicable Me.)

But anyways, this particular recognition also includes being put up on the awesome board of awesomeness for the first time.

(Ok, that's probably not it's real name, as it's way too un-Teamspeak-ish, but that's what I've always thought of it as.)

And the Team Lead who recognized me as her pick of being totally awesome for the awesome board of awesomeness is also inclined towards creativity!!

Many of those recognized are done so by simply scrawling a name on a sticky note. But no, she went above and beyond, and made mine on a raincheck!


My team are the ones who make all the rainchecks for the store as part of our job! I have stacks of the raincheck pads sitting in my bathroom, on my nightstand, tossed in my purse. The only thing I use more in my daily work is my box cutter. So her using a raincheck as a base is so freaking cool!! 

(Ok, I'm a dweeb, lets just accept it and move on.)

But THEN, it gets even better! She used sparkly stickers to spell out my name AND added 3d decorative gems!!!!!

Isn't that unbelievably cool?!? I have the overwhelming urge to recognize her for her awesome recognition of me now.

ME! on the awesome board of awesomeness

A side note: I did feel rather stupid blocking out the names on the board as Target employees are required to wear name-tags clearly stating those exact names, but I was specifically told NO NAMES on blogging about Target (well, I may have also been told preferably no blogging about working for Target at all, but we'll overlook that little detail right now), so there are no names. Well, besides mine. In glittery stickers! I hope they let me take it home, instead of just throwing it away whenever it changes again. Because I still think it's an unbelievably awesome way to be recognized on the awesome board of awesomeness.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Inner Dialog Over My Lack of Blogging

Hey Marty, did you see how many days it's been since your last blog post? 

I know I know, I totally need to do one.

Why don't you get your lazy bum around to finishing that Halloween one you started weeks ago?

I... um....... 

Or the one about the long article blaming your parents' for you feeling like working at Target is beneath you?

I did like that article....

Or those half-a-dozen web comics you've been hoarding for when you needed back up blogging material?

But.... that seems so... cheap....

Or all those cute pictures you took of the girls at the children's museum last weekend?

Uh.... crap, I still need to look at those.....

Or the random idiomatic stories from work? Don't you have several of those floating around? 

Yeah.... there's even a few pictures I took to go along waiting to be uploaded....

Or about being on the board for Kristina's preschool? 

Well.... sometimes the board is kinda... boring.......

Or even the divorce stuff? You NEVER write about that! 

No..... I guess I don't......

And what about next week, when you're GOING ON VACATION? Have you gotten blog posts written to cover for that yet either??

I'm sorry, I just haven't felt like writing blog posts the past few days.

Oh, is that all? Ok then. I suppose it's ok to not try to force yourself to do something that's supposed to just be a fun hobby anyways. 



Thank you.

But don't start doing it on a regular basis! 

Yes ma'am.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Clever Girl

Putting on her own shoes at 21 months.
Adrianna is a very clever little one.

She can (and regularly does) put her own shoes on when asked.

Kristina only does that about 50% of the time, and she's nearly twice as old!

When Adrianna gets up instead of going to sleep at bedtime, she sneaks out of her room stealthily shutting the door behind her, so there have been several occasions where I didn't even notice she was quietly playing in the corner of the family room after assuming that the shut bedroom door and quiet on the baby monitor meant all little girls were peacefully sleeping. A few nights back when I caught her doing that and sent her back to bed, she then cracked the door and stuck her doll out. After suppressing a giggle, I told her to get back into bed and she yanked the doll back into the room and shut the door.

Adrianna insists that the balls for her pounding tower get put into the correctly matching hole, and will squawk loudly at you in indignation if you put the pink ball in the orange spot.

(Although this rule does not, however, appear to apply to non-ball items....)

She also likes to play with blocks by sorting them by color and size, and will make little rows of them in this manner.

Clever, clever girl.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Will All the Veterans Please Stand

Yesterday was the United States Marine Corps birthday.

And the Marines like to celebrate it with an annual birthday ball.

One of the formal ceremonial parts of the ball is where they ask for all the Veterans to please stand up.

Nearly the entire room of uniformed men and women rise up in unison, with only a scant handful of very new (like, just-graduated-from-boot-camp very new) Marines still sitting.

Then the MC starts to go through the wars.

The Veterans stay standing for all the ones the ones they've served through.

Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Desert Storm
Korean War
Vietnam War
World War II

By the end, there are only a few very elderly and very proud Marines left standing, albeit sometimes with walkers and canes. And everyone in the room takes a moment to appreciate what they have given to their country over the years, and their continued pride in the life they have led.

Will all the Veterans please stand, as America briefly pauses to recognize who you are and what you do. I'm sorry it doesn't happen more often or with more sincerity.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kristina's Earring Nightmare

Our story begins in a very unrelated manner, in a distant land far far away, with another family with two little girls.

This other family lives in Nicaragua, but wanted to spend the fall visiting their beloved siblings, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and the occasional not-really-related-but-still-part-of-the-family member.

Plane tickets were purchased and excitement grew, and soon they had departed onto the first league of their journey up to California.

But quickly, a problem presented itself.

The second league of their grand journey was to go out to the Washington DC area. In November. Where it will be substantially colder than either Nicaragua or California.

And so, they turned to me.

And asked if I happened to have a winter coat their oldest little girl could use. And maybe some warm clothes as well??

Well, we have been exceptionally blessed on receiving all sorts of hand-me-down clothes during my girls' little lives, and it just so happened that a few weeks ago we were given a winter coat for Kristina.

Which was exceptionally good, as the one she had been using was from last year, and getting rather small.

So I thought, of course we can have a winter jacket your perfectly sized one size smaller little girl can use! And we have several boxes full of all the warm pants and shirts Kristina outgrew from last year that are just sitting there under her bed, it would be no problem at all to pull out a few outfits and mail them off!

And then, I mentioned to Kristina that we were going to send her very-nearly-too-small-to-put-on jacket to her cousin.

And Kristina flipped out.

Sobbed hysterically she started clinging to her jacket like a lovey, refusing to put it down while repeating over and over again how much she loved her flowered jacket.

But... it's too small for you anyways honey, and now you have the new bigger purple jacket to wear..... 

Such logical arguments didn't matter in the least. She was NOT willingly sending that coat to her cousin.

So I took a different tactic, and started discussing whether we could get her something special to replace her much-more-beloved-than-I-had-any-idea jacket because she was such a big girl and all.

One of the (many) things I suggested was to go get her ears pierced with special flower earrings.

At the time, she wasn't taken with that idea (or any of them), and I finally gave up making any progress on the topic in general and said we'd discuss it later.

But the next day, she said she wanted to send her flower jacket to her cousin and to get her ears pierced with flower earrings ALL ON HER OWN.

YESSSSSS! It worked! It actually worked!!! I AM supermom! *happy dance*

She put the coat in the box herself, and insisted on helping to tape it up (interesting side note: taping a box with two small children "helping" makes the whole process much more involved, time consuming, and exhausting).

The plan was to mail off the big flower-coat-containing-box, and then go to the mall to get her ears pierced.

I kept asking her if she was sure she wanted to during our trip to the post office, and she kept answering in a very mature way that yes, she wanted to go get her ears pierced with flower earrings.

I did start to worry a little, wondering whether there would be flower earrings as an option, but took a leap of faith that Claire's would have something for her to choose with a high level of little girl appeal. Oh, and told myself I could just get her a nice little pair of flowered earrings for Christmas if needed, as that would be right about when she could take out the original piercing studs anyways and wouldn't that just be the perfect little special thing to put in stocking?

And then, we arrived at the mall.

I was amazed by how similar of an experience it was to when I got my very own ears pierced at Claire's 20 years ago, remembering my own mother signing the same consent form and them drawing purple dots on my ear lobs and looking for her approval.

The only difference I saw at all, in fact, was that now they use little plastic sliders to put the earrings in instead of the larger guns of the past.

Kristina carefully eyeballed the earring selection chart (which still had the lame birthstone ones, which I viewed with scorn just as much as I did when I selected my little gold hearts for my first earrings), and while I breathed a sigh of relief seeing some cute little pink flowers on there, she said wanted the largest gaudiest fake diamond pair.

......wait, what??

But after a moment of me rather stupidly repeatedly asking "but don't you want the PINK FLOWERS?", it occurred to me that the only earrings she ever sees me wears are my little diamond studs, and that she probably wanted to get earrings just like Mommy's.

So I let my disdain of fake diamond earrings on little girls go, and told the Claire's employee that she wanted the smallest pair of fake diamond studs.

(Shhhhhhh.... don't tell Kristina I switched earrings on her....)

Kristina confidently got up into the piercing chair, graciously shared the piercing teddy bear with Adrianna (who only destroyed three display racks during the whole thing, which counts as an exceptionally well behaved child in my book), and excitedly watched the piercing lady get stuff ready.

And then, there was this moment just before she started piercing, where Kristina got really still and quiet and her eyes started to grow large.

Are you ok honey, I asked her, having seen that face many a time just before she completely looses her cool.

But she nodded, and said she still wanted to get her ears pierced, so I let that moment go.

(That was a mistake.)

The piercer 1-2-3ed her left earring in quick as a snap.

And then, there was this very brief moment where you could actually SEE Kristina's brain processing all of this, before she started sobbing "ouchy ouchy ouchy".

(We should have used the brief moment to get the second one in as well, but that is hindsight talking.)

The piercer was very good with her, and cleaned her ear off and got her calmed down.

But then she went to pierce the right lobe.

And Kristina flipped out.

Absolutely FLIPPED.

She wouldn't let the piercer anywhere near her head, screaming substantially longer and louder than she had after the first earring, kicking and thrashing about as though she was being attacked by rabid possums.

Time and time again the piercer would back off, we'd talk to her some, she'd get calmed down, I'd agree to demands like her wanting to get nail polish once we were done with her ears, the piercer would promise extra suckers, and we'd try again.

And as soon as the piercer got close to her ear, Kristina would lock right back into panic mode screaming at the top of her lungs and spazing all over the place.

I finally decreed that either she sit and let her right lobe get pierced or we were leaving. No more chances, no more arguments.

Sadly, when one makes threats like that as a parent one has to be willing to carry through on them. Even when it means dragging your now-hysterical-because-she-didn't-get-her-second-ear-pierced child to the car with only one shiny fake diamond earring that still cost you the whole $53.68 post tax.

Oh, and I'm pretty sure I remembered to bring Adrianna with us too.

As we were getting into the car, Kristina started carrying on about her (very much singular) earing itching just horribly. And I have to admit, at that point my patience with her on this issue was just a little bit thin, so I simply told her we would be taking it out as soon as we got home.

Eventually, she did stop the dramatic sobbing enough to ask if I was still mad at her.


No honey, Mommy's not mad at you. Mommy is just sad, because she really wanted today to be a special fun day (remember how you got to play hooky from preschool for this??) and then it wasn't.

*sigh sigh sigh*

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thoughts on Humanity

A few things have happened today to make me think about humanity.

I was commenting to my mother this morning about how I regularly pick up fairly ridiculous amounts of drinks left around Target during my shifts.

I had assumed that people were either clueless, and simply were unaware of the existence of regularly spaced trashcans throughout the store. Or that they were VERY clueless, and just didn't realize that other people would have to clean up the mess they left behind.
It's called a trashcan. You should use it.

But then my mother made a comment about how, maybe, they just don't care.

Wait, they would be aware of a of trashcan 10 feet away AND that them leaving their now empty Starbucks cup on the shelf is kinda a pain for employees.... and they would do it anyways??

God damn.

Apparently I'm much more understanding of people just being stupid ignorant, because someone doing that while being fully informed and of reasonable intelligence just makes them seem like real jerks.

When I was leaving work today, the coworker parked next to me asked if I could jump his car.

I said of course. After all, the old Subie left me relying on the kindness and help of roommates, classmates, and even complete strangers on more than one occasion. Helping someone else that way seemed like the only reasonable course of action to take.

But then, as he was hooking up the cables, he commented that he had asked like 3 or 4 other people before I came along, and they were all like "nooooooo.....".

Which truly boggles my mind.

It took less than five minutes, all I did was pop the hood and turn on my car, why on earth would somebody be like "nah, don't think I can" to that?

Unless, of course, they're actually just jerks.....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

8th of November

8th of November, by Big and Rich

Embedding is disabled on the video, but it's still worth linking to youtube for.

Sometimes the world needs more songs like this...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Growing Up Digital

I sometimes wonder what opinions the girls are forming of the world around them with the state of technology.

I know it really won't be THAT long before I'm seriously looking at getting Kristina a cell phone, and that the only reason they don't already get to play on an Ipad is my personal lack of having been given one.

(Or like, have enough disposable income at my disposal to just go buy one myself.)

But it's not their assumed inherent entitlement to constant email access (or is that just me?) that I wonder about. No no, I wonder about how they view outdated technology.

Today Kristina found an old VHS copy of Cinderella and wanted to watch it. As we have yet to obtain that particular Disney princess production on DVD (I know, my children are sooo deprived), her Cinderella viewing has been limited to when we visit her cousin Grace.

So I agreed to put it on for her, under the conditionals of not being sure whether the tape itself OR the old VCR would actually work, since we've had some issues in the past when I've tried to put on old movies.

(Something about 25 years of dust and being banged about, I think....)

But everything seemed as though it was in reasonably working order, I just needed to rewind the tape.

And in addition to attempting to explain how VHS tapes work and subsequently what I was doing, after my initial answer of "I just need to rewind it first" was met with a blank stare, I also had to listen to her laments (and let me assure you, no one laments the hardships of life as well as a dramatic preschooler) of how it was taking for-freaking-ever to get Cinderella back the beginning.

Of course, I listen to my parents stories of using punch cards to operate computers in slight disbelief, so I suppose this is all just a part of the circle of technology.

I can't wait until my grandchildren start talking about how archaically quaint Kindles are.

Sisters in October

So I would just like to point out, in slight defense to my nearly two year old having a pacifier firmly planted in her mouth for nearly every picture, that she did have a string of ear infections this month that we had trouble getting cleared up and thus wasn't feeling her greatest rather often. And that we're working on her not having it all the time now that she's feeling better. Or at least limiting her usage to bedtime, car rides, and when she won't stop making that really annoying screeching noise. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Tis the Season

The morning after Halloween the Christmas music display went up in the seasonal section of Target.

There had been Christmas lights up on the back wall since the back to school stuff was cleared out, and the last two weeks of October were spent constantly condensing the Halloween section into less space and resetting the newly vacated aisles with all thing red and green and Santa.

But the music display really caught my eye. Or rather, my ear, that morning as I started seriously rocking out to this particular gem while completing my morning scanning.
Now the song is certainly an infuriating mix of catchy and classic all on it's own, but I know it even better because it is in the middle of a commercial break in a recorded-off-of-tv copy of Toy Story the girls regularly watch from LAST holiday season.

Which means we've been watching Phineas and Ferb sing We Wish You a Merry Christmas every time we've watched Toy Story for the last 11 months.

Which means the fact that my reaction to hearing it in Target is to start dancing and not to cover my ears and sob on the floor is probably a good indication of me having lost my grip on sanity a loooong time ago.

And just in case any of you are equally crazy and of the group of people who have been annoyed at our lack of fake Christmas trees for the last month, they're totally up in Target now, which is having the slight effect of making the seasonal corner feel like you're inside a low budget enchanted forest themed Christmas special.

We ALSO have nearly one entire aisle of Hanukkah stuff up as well.

Because we'll happily embrace any excuse to blatantly commercialize any and all holidays.

Yay cultural diversity!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Did It

Today was my 8th day of opening at work in a row.

Today was also the day my Team Leader (that would be my direct boss, for those still unfamiliar with Teamspeak) returned from being on vacation for the past 8 days.

And as a combined result of those first two things, today was also the last day of me apprehensively being temporarily left in charge of Instocks (that would be my particular job department within the store).

And I must admit, I was not sad to see my TL return.

The past week really has been a long one.

The first few days were filled with some seriously short staffed issues on my team (like, we had less than half of the usual number of team members sort of short staffing), followed by extremely busy high sales days over the weekend nicely sprinkled with a little extra stress from the higher ups.

There was a huge snow storm, a night of the girls (and me) alternating between puking and shitting diarrhea every 20 minutes, and a very serious moment somewhere about Sunday where I honestly could NOT tell you why I hadn't quite already in there as well.

And then, there was a change Monday.

I do not know what caused it, as at that point I had reached a high level of apathy and certainly wasn't trying any harder than the past days (and lets just be honest here, I was probably even trying less so than normal).

But on Monday other people thought I was doing good.

I received Great Team cards (those would be little slips of paper with notes to the gist of "thanks for being awesome" that are given to Target employees by fellow Target employees in an effort to recognize and reward exceptional hard work) from several of the higher ups that day, including one from the top store manager, as well as a $5 thank you gift card for consistently responding to a rather excessive number of back up calls to cashier on the check out lanes.
My choice of $20

Today, my Executive Team Lead (that would be my direct bosses boss) told me he had recognized me for being a top preforming team member for the month of October, mentioned potential future development including tossing out the idea of me hypothetically becoming a team leader myself at some point if I wanted to, and said that with that recognition I get $20 to spend as I will.

And then my TL (aka boss) showed up, and after several hours of scrutiny, me giving a detailed report about how the week went, and discussion with assorted other Target personal, he conceded that I did a good job as I was leaving today.

My drive out of the Target parking lot today was filled with nothing but the exhilarated  feeling of accomplishment.

I did it!

Ok, I'm not actually sure what, exactly, I did besides survive, but I DID!!

And tomorrow morning I do NOT go to work, which is about equally exciting at this point.