Gravy, Snowflakes, and Pumpkin Nog Goodness

What a combination, huh? I don't recommend these 3 things all together. But individually they can be quite good.

Snowflakes have been flying this weekend. To Big One's delight, the snow is actually sticking. This morning, Hubs and Big One made a trip to Target for snow pants, boots and "hand glubs" (gloves). On their great shopping adventure, Hubs and Big One picked up some Pumpkin Nog. It was like liquid pumpkin pie. That actually sounds kind of gross but it was really yummy. I highly recommend picking up a carton.

Big One was able to get in some fun time in the snow with Hubs this afternoon. He was very pleased until we pulled the plug on the fun and made him come inside. We're so mean!

Hubs suggested we celebrate Thanksgiving: The Sequel today. Since Little One demanded so much attention (and refused to nap) on Thursday, I was all for a more relaxing version of the holiday. I cooked my first turkey ever and it turned out surprisingly well. I also made gravy for the first time ever. Guess what? No lumps! I was excited. We bought the smallest turkey we could find but we still have plenty left. Feel free to share any leftover turkey dish recipes!

The kids were a bit crabby today. Hubs and I snapped at each other a few times. But I am truly one blessed mama. I hope you have all enjoyed Thanksgiving, however you celebrated!

Black Friday (Or Not)

Black Friday shopping is crazy. Who in their right mind would go shopping at 4am? I'm unwilling to sacrifice sleep just to save a few bucks.

I am seriously addicted to bargain shopping, but honestly, the Black Friday "deals" don't excite me that much. First of all, I HATE crowds. I like my personal space. I like aisles free of clutter, carts, and sweaty people who have been shopping all day. I don't want to wrestle another Black Friday-crazed mom for the last of whatever great deal is left on the shelf. And I loathe waiting in line for more than 5 minutes. So I never partake in the Black Friday festivities.

Honestly, I can find a lot better deals shopping the clearance racks at Target throughout the year. Their clearance eventually gets to 75% off and that's a REAL deal. These days, even 50% off doesn't excite me. I'll wait until it goes to 75% off unless it's something I *really* want. Otherwise, I'll take my chances on losing it.

Despite my extreme dislike for Black Friday shopping, we decided to head out of the house yesterday at 4pm. We figured that most of the bargain shoppers were done for the day. Plus, I really only wanted to go to Michael's and Hobby Lobby so I could get the supplies I need to start making Christmas gifts. Apparently, everyone else had the same idea.

Hubs and Big One stayed in the car at Michael's. I lugged Little One in the store with me. The fact that there were only 4 carts left at the front of the store should have been my first clue to turn tail and run back to the car. Still, I forged ahead, determined to get through my list.

Until I saw the checkout lines. They stretched halfway to the back of the store. Did everyone head to Michael's after their long day of shopping at the malls, toy stores, and Walmart? Why in the world was it so busy at 4pm? I just wanted a few craft supplies, people! But I couldn't do it. I couldn't entertain Little One for who knows how long in line. I promptly returned my cart for some other poor sucker to use and headed back to the van. We didn't even try Hobby Lobby. I'm not sure I want to brave the crowds today either. I have a feeling I should have made the trip a few weeks ago if I didn't want to battle the Christmas crowds.

I did send Hubs into Toys R Us to buy a doctor's kit for Big One. He always wants me to pretend to be a doctor when he gets hurt so I thought it would be a perfect little gift for him. Hubs called me from inside the store.

"It's all pink. Is that ok?"

I was shocked. Was this the same Hubs who, 2 years ago, didn't want Big One to have a doll, even though he was dressed in all blue? Now he was willing to buy him a doctor's kit that was pink. My how things change! They were all out of the blue ones so it was pink or nothing.

Since Big One has been asking for Tinkerbell for Christmas and seems completely comfortable playing with "girl toys", I had a feeling he wouldn't even notice the bag was pink, nor mind if he did happen to notice. I didn't care and if Hubs was on board, it was a go. So Big One will find a shiny pink doctor's kit under the tree this year. It will probably be one of his favorite items.

We also headed to Target for a few groceries. But that was the sum of our Black Friday shopping. And I don't feel like I missed out. I'd much rather shop the clearance section of Target throughout the year and get 75% off things than battle 5 million people on Black Friday to save a few bucks. Did anyone else brave the Black Friday crowds?

Six Months Ago...

...I gave birth for the second time. Little One has made the halfway mark of her first year! I remember the day (night) so clearly. The red light we ran to get to the hospital. Staring at the stupid light on the ceiling in the delivery room. The anesthesiologist trying to convince me not to get an epidural. Little One making her entrance. The overwhelming, indescribable wave when I held her the first time. The wait to get her back after she went to the nursery. The doctor telling me she was going to the NICU. The guilt that I hadn't called my doctor sooner when I thought my water was leaking.

I'm finally starting to get over the guilt. Our journey as a family of 4 didn't start out as I had planned. Big One didn't get to cuddle with his new baby sister in my room the way I had imagined (but he did get to cuddle with me). He was able to see her once through the glass of the NICU. He cried the 5 days she was in the NICU, asking for her to wake up and come home with us (she had been sleeping when he saw her so he thought we were waiting for her to wake up before she could come home).

Little One stayed in the hospital 2 extra days so I spent the nights with her in her room. While at the hospital with her, I wanted to be home with Big One. When home with Big One, I wanted to be at the hospital with Little One. Really, I just wanted us to be together. A family. I can't imagine how the mamas whose babies spend weeks or months in the NICU must feel.

I remember at 2am staring out the hospital window. A traffic light blinked from red to green to yellow and back to red. I watched cars driving on the freeway. I remember thinking, "I'm not the only one awake right now. There are other people up right now, but they want to be up. They're drinking and partying. Are they crazy?"

Then there was the bili light night. I imagine it was the equivalent of trying to sleep on the sun. The thin hospital blanket did little to block the glow that lit her room all. night. long.

It seems so long ago. Yet it seems like yesterday.

Despite the bumps in the road, I know we are lucky. Every night, I walked the length of the corridor in the NICU to Little One's room. The walls proudly displayed pictures of NICU graduates then and now. Tiny babies, clinging to life. And the vibrant, healthy children they grew into. Little One's stint in the NICU was more precautionary than anything else. Our story has a very happy ending. The grinning, giggling 6 month old I get to cuddle every day is the proof.

Happy 6 month birthday, Little One!

Look, Mommy, That Zebra is Red!

On our trip to the library today, we headed to the juvenile non-fiction section to look for a zebra book Big One saw last time. Little One was heavy and squirmy. We had been running errands all morning. I just wanted to get in and out of the library. I quickly scanned the shelf for the zebra book but didn't have much luck. While I looked, Big One plucked random animal books off the shelf. After collecting 4 or 5 books, I decided to cut him off and ditch the zebra book for today. He agreed and we were off.

At bed time, we perused the two cat books that he selected. I had no idea there were so many different types of cats. Some of them are very creatively named. The fishing cat. The jungle cat. The flat headed cat. Pure genius. Big One wanted to know the names of every cat. And he repeated every name exactly after I said them.

It reminded me of the radio cooking show that used to be on the local country radio station. I clearly remember riding in the car with mom, listening to 2 women reciting recipes. The lead lady would read the first ingredient. The second would repeat it word for word. They were the ultimate tag team of radio cooking shows.

Now for the red zebra.

We flipped open the last book. On one of the first few pages was a sketch. Two tigers and a zebra. The zebra was red. And half eaten. I attempted to quickly flip past the potentially nightmare-inducing sketch. Not fast enough. Big One spotted the zebra and wanted to look at it. Darn! He didn't say anything at first. Then,

"Look, Mommy. That zebra is red."

Forget that he was missing his hind legs. Fortunately, that little detail went unnoticed.

Apparently, non fiction books need to be censored!

More of Me

Since I have you under my spell and you surely crave more of my genius writing, I wanted to share with you my latest endeavor. I have so much free time these days with a 3 year old and a 6 month old, that I started writing for a website called Busy Mommy. I am the Mommy Time Topic Editor. I only have a few articles up so far but more will be coming soon. You know, between all the diaper changes, temper tantrums, and holiday activities.

The Busy Christmas Giveaway is going on right now so check it out. Currently, there are giveaways for a Radio Flyer Turbo Turtle Ride On Toy and a Crazy Forts Construction toy. There are several more giveaways that will be added, including a personalized blankie, a Jawbone Handsfree Headset, Pediped Shoes, and lots more. Don't forget to register on Busy Mommy before you enter the giveaway. No, I'm not paid to pimp the contest. :-) I just wanted to share the chance to win some prizes right before the holidays. Happy Monday!

The TRUE Meaning of My Name

My bloggy friend, Jessi, just did this on her blog and I couldn't resist. I quickly clicked the link to reveal the hidden secret to my name. I added in a few of my own comments in red. Here it goes...

What Shelley Means

You are the total package - suave, sexy, smart, and strong. [EXACTLY what I think every morning when I look in the mirror]

You have the whole world under your spell, and you can influence almost everyone you know. [This truly was written just for me. You may not know it, but you too are under my spell. That's why you keep coming back over and over again. Don't fight it. I have you mesmerized.]

You don't always resist your urges to crush the weak. Just remember, they don't have as much going for them as you do. ["Crushing-the-Weak" is actually my middle name. But you probably figured that out by now.]

You are truly an original person. You have amazing ideas, and the power to carry them out.

Success comes rather easily for you... especially in business and academia. [If by success you mean showering almost every day and not completely losing my cool when the kids do everything in their power to push me over the edge, then heck yeah success comes easily!]

Some people find you to be selfish and a bit overbearing. You're a strong person. [Overbearing and selfish. Check and check.]

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone. [Getting a little warmer. There are very few people I don't get along with. Unless I'm pregnant. But really, can you blame me? It's all those raging hormones. Charming may be a bit strong. It's a bit difficult to be charming with baby drool dripping off the nursing tank top I've worn for two days straight. I'm pretty sure I've got the "box guy" (UPS man) eating out of the palm of my hand though.]

You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together. [I'm really not big on water. I can't swim so I try to avoid boats. Oh, we're talking metaphorical boats here? Then, again, we're pretty close to the mark here. I like to think of myself as a people-bringer-togetherer.]

At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together. [I resent being called flaky! Just because I forget to feed Big One lunch occasionally or can't remember the last time I showered does not make me flaky. Ok, I may forget a few birthdays. But who doesn't?]

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow. [Chill. Yes. Very chill. A preschooler and a baby will do that to you.]

You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily. [Hubs will definitely veto this one. Light hearted and accepting, yes. That last part though? Not so much.]

Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is. [People are ALWAYS asking me what my secret is. Especially when I'm cruising the aisles of Target, hair in a ponytail, clothes only slightly disheveled. Even more so when I'm chasing Big One down the toy aisle, hurling threats of him never again seeing the light of day, all while bouncing Little One in her sling in an attempt to minimize her blood-curdling screams to a dull roar. Oh yeah, I make people jealous wherever I go!]

You are a free spirit, and you resent anyone who tries to fence you in. [Isn't there a song about not fencing me in?]

You are unpredictable, adventurous, and always a little surprising. [People are always wondering what in the heck I'm going to do next. But usually they have the mental ward on standby.]

You may miss out by not settling down, but you're too busy having fun to care. [I'm pretty sure I'll never settle down. I'm so far from it it's not even funny.]

Cake in a Cup

Due to my yucky sickness at the beginning of the week, I haven't done many activities with Big One. So today, we did one of his favorite things. We baked! Except we used the microwave. That was a first for me. I'm not big on using the microwave for much of anything, honestly. But, as I was bouncing from blog to blog last night, I came across this cake in a cup idea at Her Cup Overfloweth. Since I've been craving chocolate for a few days, I knew we had to try it out today.

Usually when we bake, I hand Big One a measuring cup or spoon full of whatever ingredient is next. This time, I decided to let him do the scooping and measuring. He did a darn good job (with the help of his new Planet Hero)!

I like this baking project because he can have his own little cup. He has more ownership over the whole process.

Here were our little cakes in a cup just begging to be baked... the microwave. It was a little odd to me because I'm a baker. I bake a lot. In the oven. But they sell the dessert mixes that you just microwave, right? So why not?

After 3 minutes of spinning in waves of radiation (sounds healthy, huh? that's why I'm not big on using the microwave. Hubs will say I'm crazy. And he's probably right), this was the result.

Big One was hesitant to take a bite because he thought it was too hot. Eventually, he gave it a try and gave it the big thumbs up. I like the idea of him just digging the cake out of the cup with a spoon. It was less messy than a piece of cake on a plate, at least for a 3 year old!

I remember a friend of mine talking about something similar using a cake mix instead of making it from scratch like the recipe we used today. It would actually make a great (cheap) Christmas gift idea in a cute mug. I found one here that uses a cake mix. I think we'll try that one next time since we're usually a cake mix family anyway!

I'm Back!

I wish I had an exciting story to explain my blogging absence, but I don't. I was sick. And when Mama's sick, everything goes crazy. I've been out of commission this week and it hasn't been fun for any of us. The weekend was crazy because Hubs was out of town. Then late Sunday night I started feeling really tired and just yucky. I thought it was from running after the kids all weekend. I was wrong.

Hubs had to stay home Monday and Tuesday. Unfortunately, he doesn't get a lot of PTO so he had to take both days unpaid. Yuck! There was no way I could have handled the kids (I could barely get out of bed) so we didn't really have a choice. I actually thought I was better Monday night. But then I was up all night getting sick. By 6am we knew Hubs would have to stay home Tuesday too. It was rough on everyone.

Hubs is not used to so much time with the kids. Patience was wearing thin very quickly. The kids aren't used to Mommy being tucked away in her bedroom all day so they were more difficult than usual. I think Little One had it the worst. I breastfed her as much as I could but since I could barely hold down water, my supplies were low. Now that I'm (sort of) back up and running, she has been a little more clingy than usual.

I still have a headache that just won't stop. But I'm functioning again and I feel worlds better than yesterday or Monday. So that's it. That's why I've been gone for so long. Aren't you jealous?

MomDot Christmas of Dreams Blog Party: Day 2

It's Day 2 of the MomDot Blog Party! I didn't get to nearly as many blogs yesterday as I had hoped. I hope to get to more today. Today's sponsors are LaPlates, Lets Go Strolling, and Natity's Design. The question of the day is:

Traditions, what are some of your favorite family traditions? What are some that you want to begin?

It's the little things that make Christmas special for me. Many of the traditions from my childhood manifest themselves into the traditions that we now create for our own kids. Baking and decorating Christmas cookies with Mom, setting up the tree the day after Thanksgiving, writing a note to Santa to leave next to the cookies, leaving a carrot for Rudolph*, eggnog, opening 1 gift on Christmas Eve, heading to Grandma and Grandpa's on Christmas morning, a ridiculous amount of really yummy holiday foods.

The fact that I remember the little things and not the gifts I received guides how I approach Christmas for my own kids. We don't spend hundreds of dollars on gifts for them, but we do try to make the whole holiday season special for them. Baking Christmas cookies with Big One is one of the things I'm most excited about this year. Now that he's 3, everything is so much more fun. I'm also excited to see how Big One involves Little One in the excitement. He's so good with her and always tries to involve her in what we're doing. One of my favorite things is watching the two interact.

A tradition I plan to start this year is making homemade gifts for the grandparents. No tree is complete without homemade ornaments!

*Yes, we only left a carrot for Rudolph. The other reindeer were on their own. Karma, perhaps? All that laughing, calling him names, and not letting him join in any reindeer games came back to bite them. The whole Rudolph story is a bit reminiscent of high school drama, don't you think? Outcast is ridiculed, Outcast does something really great (saves Christmas), suddenly all of the popular kids (reindeer) want to be Outcast's best friend. *sigh* Drama really is everywhere!

Funny childhood memory: one year Mom and Dad decided it would be a good idea to throw Rudolph's carrot on the roof so it would be right there, waiting for him when they landed. They were all about making a production to make us believe in the magic of Christmas. They didn't consider the fact that someone would eventually have to climb on the roof to retrieve the carrot. During winter. In Iowa. With all the snow and ice. That carrot stayed on the roof for a while. The carrot waited next to Santa's cookies in following years.

Thanks for joining my little walk down Memory Lane. Can't wait to read about all of the other holiday traditions out there!

MomDot Christmas of Dreams Blog Party: Day 1

The ladies at MomDot are hosting a Christmas of Dreams Blog Party with different blogging topics each day. Of course there are prizes involved, but it's also a great chance to get to know some new bloggers.

Today's topic is sponsored by La Belle Toile and This and That by Randi. MomDot asked us to introduce our families and share holiday photos from past years. So here we go...

If you've read any of my previous posts, you've probably figured out that my little family consists of myself (obviously!), Hubs, Big One, and Little One. This is the latest (and one of the only) pictures of all four of us.

Big One just turned 3 last month. He is such a character and very smart. We can no longer get away with redirecting him when he wants something. (What? You want that $300 moving dinosaur? Here, have a sucker instead.) If we tell him we're going to do something, he'll remember it and not let us forget! He has always been a mama's boy but also really wants to be independent. Here he is on his first Christmas. The "My first Christmas" Santa hat was a little big!

And here he was with Santa at the mall. Santa was a bit crabby. Like he would rather have his eyes dug out with a spoon than let another child sit on his lap. Fortunately, Big One was too little to know the difference!

This was the following Christmas shortly after he turned one. Notice that we went with a small tree that could be put up high out of his reach!

And here he is last year with Daddy opening his presents.

Little One is almost 6 months old already. So far she has been different than her brother in many ways. It's not fair to compare them, but it's also impossible not to compare. She started off a lot fussier than her big brother but she's turning into quite the smiley little girl. She's also VERY attached to her mama, but we spend all day every day together so it's really no surprise. I can't wait to see how she reacts to her first Christmas this year! Since we don't have any holiday pictures of her yet, here is one of her big grin!

And here's another one of my little sweetie. Seriously, don't you just want to eat her up? I may be biased but I think she's pretty darn cute.

So that's us in a nutshell. If I really went into depth on each of us this would be even longer. Brevity is not my strength. I look forward to visiting the other participants and getting to know their families!

Wordless Wednesday: Navy Pier

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Release Thy Guilt, Woman!

Nothing strikes panic in my heart like the ding dong of the doorbell mid day. Do I have some strange phobia of doorbells? No, although I'm sure I have enough issues to keep any psychiatrist busy for weeks, months even.

The anxiety I feel is mainly due to the fact that I'm never appropriately dressed to answer the door. No, I'm not a nudist. Hubs would like that, though. I've used my wicked Paint skills to draw this representation on how I normally look.

It might not be the most accurate picture. I do have a torso. And a head, a neck, a couple arms, the usual. And my feet aren't quite that malformed. They're not pretty. But they are more foot-like in real life. I may have shaved off a few pounds. Oh, come on. You know you would too.

Unfortunately, the amount of hair growth on my legs on a typical day isn't too far off from the picture. And many days I wear shorts around the house. And unfortunately, my leg hair is dark. See where I'm going with this? I know my standards of acceptable personal hygiene and attire have dropped considerably in the last 6 months, but even I can't answer the door looking like that.

While the top half of my body is considerably less hairy, it's generally not ready for public show either. I live in nursing tank tops. Here's the problem with that. I still look, oh, 4 or 5 months pregnant. Except there's no baby in there so it's all squishy and flubbery. Not so hot hanging out the bottom of a nursing tank top. Couple that with the cloth nursing pads I use (which can be seen from a mile away under almost any shirt) and you've got one hot mama.

Just for the record, I attempted to recreate the top half using Paint but it ended up looking like really bad cartoon porn so I decided to leave that out. You're welcome.

So when someone comes to the door, panic strikes. I rush around the house, searching for a clean pair of pants and a sweatshirt so I can answer the door with some bit of dignity intact. It's in those moments that I seem to move in slow motion. I can't find a shirt and when I do I struggle to get it on. Same with my pants. It's like a bad dream. A dream that I actually have sometimes. I'm generally naked in my dreams, though. And many times in a public place. I either can't locate any clothes or can't get them on. Too much? I'll stop with the dreams.

Do I have a point amidst all of the hair and tummy fat? I think so. Oh, I remember. Yesterday, DURING NAP TIME, the doorbell rang. Panic! At least I have pants on as opposed to my usual shorts. I scrambled to find a sweatshirt to cover the top half. Success! I get to the door holding Little One, to find that our visitor was on his way down the stairs. He stopped and turned around.

And that's when I realized what he was. Yes, I said what and not who.

He was a magazine salesmen. You know? The ones who come around talking of all the glorious prizes they'll receive if you only buy a magazine subscription from them. It's not like it's even a school fundraiser or something worthwhile. It's for someone who is too lazy to get a real job and falls for the glitz and glamor of... door to door magazine sales? Sorry if you are or ever have been one of these folks. I just don't get it. I suppose I might go AWOL and join the program if I knew all of the juicy details.

Somehow, I declined his generous offer. Yet I felt guilty. I felt guilty when he's the one who goes door to door asking people to buy magazines. Thanks to his quest for these magical points, I now have 2 screaming children since he rang my doorbell during nap time. But I truly felt guilty for not buying a magazine from this guy.

Women, we need to let go of the guilt. Let go of the guilt for not spending enough time with the kids, not cleaning enough, not shaving your legs, forgetting your brother's birthday, cooking something your husband doesn't like, and yes, even for not buying a magazine subscription from a total stranger. Who rings your doorbell. During nap time.

I think I'm just going to stop answering the door. It always gets me into trouble. Just ask Hubs about the time he came out of the bathroom to find 2 Mormon gentlemen on our couch. He loves telling that story. If nothing else, I provide him plenty of great stories to tell.

OK, OK, I'll Write!

I can't guarantee it will be of any substance though. Hubs reminded me last night that it's been a while since I've blogged. This morning my friend, Jessi, also mentioned that my blog has been quiet lately. So here I am, trying to write something worth reading.

To be honest, nothing has struck me as blogable lately. Life has been fairly low key. Not a bad thing! I'm sure the 3 ring circus will return soon. Hubs is going out of town this weekend so I'm sure I'll have plenty of blogable moments for you next Monday.

One thing did strike me last night as a potential blog topic. Hubs and I were cleaning the kitchen last night and the flowers that he got me for our anniversary were ready to go to flower heaven. As I pulled them out of the vase, I realized I hadn't really enjoyed them. I hadn't stopped to look at them or smell them. [Insert "stop and smell the roses" references here.] Now they were withered and dried. I was sad to throw them away. I felt guilty for taking them for granted.

Of course, this made me thing of other things I take for granted or don't enjoy enough in my life. My kids and Hubs were at the top of that list. I'm constantly struggling to find that balance that we all seek. The balance between kids, relationships, and household chores. I feel like I'm just getting by in all areas but not really excelling at anything. If anyone has the secret to doing it all, I'm all ears! If I could figure out a way to live on no sleep, I might be able to get to half of the things on my to do list.

Bored yet? I warned you!

Wordless Wednesday: Sunset

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A Boat, A Vote

I said, "When Daddy gets home, we're going to vote."

Big One heard, "When Daddy gets home, we're going on a boat."

It took me a while to catch the breakdown in communication. At first, he started talking about how he would miss us. I told him he would be going with us. He wanted to make sure that Little One was also going. Once it was confirmed that we were all going, he was thrilled.

Then he started talking about boats. I didn't think much of it since random thoughts strike him all the time. He'll suddenly start talking about something we did last month as if we've been having a conversation for 10 minutes about the topic.

I finally realized he was expecting to take a boat ride upon Daddy's arrival from work. I felt guilty. I felt as if I had to hunt down someone with a boat so I could fulfill his expectations. After all, as he had already pointed out, he has never been on a boat. He seemed ok with the fact that we won't be taking a boat ride this evening. At least I think so. We'll find out in a few hours.

How do you explain voting for a president to a 3 year old? I did the best I could. He didn't really understand. But I think it's important to try. To say the words. To get him accustomed to these rights that belong to us as citizens.

The thing about this vote is Big One and Little One are the most important reasons I am voting. Don't get me wrong, I always vote. But this election seems more urgent than previous presidential elections. Perhaps it's because I'm now a mother and the future of our country doesn't just impact me. It impacts my kids too. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the economic issues, the war, and all of the other things that seem to be going wrong. Whatever the reason, this feels like a critical election.

And I don't yet know who will receive my vote.

I'm struggling with this one. There are things about both candidates that I really don't like. They also both have certain views I strongly back. Unfortunately, I can't pick and choose. Just like everything in life, you take the good with the bad. I feel a lot of pressure to make the "right" decision. And since I don't know what that is I still haven't decided.

If you haven't yet, vote. Or don't. But vote. You should. I didn't mean for this to turn into a "you should vote, it's your right and responsibility" post but it seems it has. The older I get, the more it surprises me when people choose not to vote. That's your right too. But I really hope you vote.

Anyone up for a boat ride?

Think About Happy Things... Like Goats

What? Goats? Happy? Apparently, according to Hubs, anyway.

Big One was still awake and I could hear whimpering coming from his room (typical part of our nighttime routine). I went to check on him, scare away the monsters, explain the shadows are just his toys. The usual. Hubs also joined us.

Big One: But I'm thinking about monsters and shadows.
Me: Well, think about happy things. Like carousels. And puppies.
Hubs: And goats.

[Crickets chirping]

Big One: What? [As in how in the world can you put puppies and goats in the same category. That makes no sense, Dad. What are you on?]

Big One looks at me, searching for some understanding.

Me: I'm with you, Big One.
Hubs: Like at the pumpkin patch. You know, like a petting zoo.

We're city folk so apparently seeing a goat at the petting zoo is memorable.

Maybe you had to be there.

Daylight Savings Time: A Mother's View

I would like to thank the mastermind behind Daylight Savings Time. I don't know your identity (probably a good thing for your own safety). Are you even still alive? Or is Daylight Savings Time one of those archaic ideas we continue to practice whether or not it is still practical? Either way, I do know you must not have young children. Surely, no one with children would concoct such an idea. One that would entirely throw off the schedule mothers work diligently to create. You see, mothers build their lives around nap time and bed time.

Long ago and far away, in a time before my own leap into motherhood, I coveted this time change. An extra hour? I'll take it. No complaints from Ms. Carefree with only herself to manage. Unfortunately, when children enter the equation, all hell breaks loose.

You see, oh wise creator of Daylight Savings Time, children don't understand the concept. They just don't get it. They don't relish an extra hour of sleep like adults. Clocks are meaningless when you're 3. A clock is just another toy to destroy while Mom has her back turned.

In my attempt to prepare my children for the time change, I kept them awake until the clock, with it's newly assigned time, dictated by your genius plan, reached their usual bed time. Now keep in mind, that was actually an hour later than they've grown accustomed to falling asleep. Have you ever kept a young child awake for an extra hour? It's not pretty for anyone involved. In fact, it can get downright ugly. Flailing on the floor screaming ugly. Clawing at their eyes ugly. Pulling out my hair ugly (which is turning gray by the way. And you're not helping). But I did it just to play along with your little scheme. Who am I to rebel?

Would you like to know what happened this morning, Mr. Daylight Savings Time Creator? (You must be male. You must. No woman would inflict this upon another woman.) My children, particularly Little One, woke up at their usual time. Their old usual time. Which was 7:30. Last week, anyway. But now, my clock reads 6:30 since you wanted to mix things up. The same clock that tricked me into staying up an extra hour last night, what with the time change and everything, is now telling me it is 6:30. And my children are awake. Children won't sleep until the new 7:30 because to them that's actually 8:30 which is way longer than they would like to sleep. You following me here?

Now I must slowly retrain these two young children to go to bed and wake up at the new times that we've set. I must also train myself to go to bed a little earlier just in case they still aren't getting with the program. The program of getting all crazy with the clocks. You're watching all of us, mocking us, aren't you? Reveling in your creation of chaos. Watching us drink our fourth cup of coffee. Counting down the hours until bed time. The new bed time. Not to be confused with the old bed time.

Is it nap time yet? New or old? I'll take either at this point.

Tootsie Rolls

How many sizes of Tootsie Rolls are really necessary? You have the teeny tiny ones. The normal size ones. Then, of course, there are the long, thin Tootsie Rolls. And don't forget the Tootsie Roll bars. Did I get them all? Is there a purpose in having so many different formats for the same candy? It's something to ponder while raiding the Halloween candy.


I think I lost it. Maybe amidst the wrenches, fertilizer and inflatable Christmas yard decorations at the home improvement store today. Perhaps in the bottle of ibuprofen I've consumed this week. Did the gallons of Mountain Dew extinguish my flames of inspiration?

Staring at my laptop screen isn't helping. A long trip around the blogosphere (can't we come up with a new word?) isn't igniting any deep, creative sparks. Even a sampling of Anais Nin, my go-to girl for inspiring words, is not moving me.

Still, I will leave you with one of my favorite Nin quotes.

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."