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Random Thoughts for a Tuesday

  • I thought I was addicted to Smarties™. But, now that they’re all gone from the Halloween Candy Stash, and I haven’t had the urge to replenish the supply, I realize it was an addiction of convenience…an addiction fueled by the sweet intoxicatingly wonderful little pieces of pure paradise, but an addiction of convenience nonetheless.
  • The other day, I may have implied that the vacuum would suck up all of Claire’s toys if she didn’t get them put away…and Claire cleaned her room in record time!  Mooooo-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah.  The line between good and evil is so blurry sometimes.  😉
  • Claire’s birthday present from us is really large and heavy. On Sunday, I was able to help my hubby move it from his car to the downstairs Guest Room, where it will be hiding until we move it upstairs to her room. At that time, I’d prefer that someone else help him move it. So, if you’re big and burly and you get a dinner invite from us, you may or may not need to bring your back-brace.  We’ll serve a wonderful meal, and remember…lift with your legs!  🙂
  • My current favorite Riesling has switched from a cork to a twist-top cap. The Riesling is called Relax, and the cap says “chill and unwind.” How punny and clever!
  • Remembering to take my cloth re-usable bags to the grocery store took some getting used to, but I’ve been doing it for so long, that now it feels weird to not use them.  In fact, if I forget them, I’ll even walk all the way back across the parking lot to get them from the trunk of my car.
  • Also, I’ve found that the four cloth re-usable grocery bags I have easily hold the equivalent of 15 plastic-bags of groceries.  I’m not sure how the math works on that, but I’m okay with it.
  • Today is 11/11…make a wish! 😉

Today is Day 11 of 30 in the NaBloPoMo Challenge! Check it out and/or join in the fun! A smattering of randomness AND for a post for Day 11? Done!

Our Trip to the Midwest – Part 4 of 4

You can read about Part 3 of 4 here.

Originally, we weren’t sure if we’d drive back home on Friday or wait until Saturday. On one hand, we didn’t want to deal with the weekend traffic, but during the summer, it’s always weekend traffic. On the other, my hubby’s brother has Fridays off, so we decided to stay the extra day and spend some quality time with Uncle Wah.

What follows is absolutely hilarious. It’s really hard to explain without some back-story, but let me boil it down to this. Uncle Wah was 7 when my hubby was born, and he’s never quite gotten over having a baby brother swoop in and steal all the attention, and not to mention, break all his toys. He is now 41, and I really think he’s a 12-yr old boy trapped in a man’s body. It doesn’t make any logical sense, but he’s extremely jealous of Claire. He often refers to himself as a “second class citizen,” and actually pouts about things. If you were to see him in real life, you’d think I was lying. He’s a big man. He’s a welder-dude. He’s 41. He is single and doesn’t have any kids of his own, so he adores Claire, but he’s really jealous of the relationship Granny and PaPa have with her.

Anyway…Uncle Wah called the house Friday morning to see what the plan for the day was. My hubby told him to come over. He hemmed and hawed and said he was going to be working on his yard. (What? This is the last day we’re here, and we stayed an extra day so we could hang out with you…and you won’t see us for months…and you want to work on your yard??) So, my hubby says, “Uh, okay…but we were going to go take Claire to see the trains.” You see, there is an intricate train exhibit at the Botanical Gardens, and Granny and PaPa thought it would be a fun outing for all of us.

So, what does Uncle Wah say? Picture the most whiney, sing-songy voice possible, “But I want to see the trains!” Ha! So, my hubby told him to get a move on and get over here, and we’d all go see the trains.

Needless to say, Uncle Wah thoroughly enjoyed himself at the train exhibit. Claire thought they were cool, but she’s not a 12-yr old boy trapped in a man’s body.

After the trains, PaPa took us on another spontaneous tour of the city. Oh! Speaking of this, I have to interject with another funny thing that happened. As we’re driving around, Claire begged to see my purse. So, I handed her my purse and then focused on what the Tour Leader was saying from the driver’s seat. All of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye, I notice Claire is chewing on something. She’s making a funny face. She’s sitting in the car seat, which is between Granny and me, but neither of us saw what she put in her mouth. So, I said, “Claire! What’s in your mouth?! Give it to me!” So, she politely took it out of her mouth and handed it to me. I couldn’t tell what it was. It was a lump of something. Was it glue? Was it plastic? Did she get it off my purse? Did she get it off of something in my purse? She didn’t have my purse open, and I couldn’t tell what it was. As I was rolling the sticky mess around on my finger, I said, “Claire? Where did you get this?”

“Outta my nose,” she said, matter-of-factly.

Awesome. Thanks for sharing.

Anyway…as the tour went on, Claire finally fell asleep. I’ve never been able to transport her from the car to the house without waking her up in the process. She hadn’t been asleep long, and she was in desperate need of a nap, so I carefully unbuckled her and hoped for the best. This time, I was successful! I was able to get her downstairs and into the pack-n-play without waking her! Uncle Wah, Daddy and I had planned on going out on Friday night to dinner and a movie, so I quietly and quickly went upstairs and told them we had to go! Right now! As much as I hate to ditch my child and run, we’d better go while the gettin’s good!

So, we left Claire with Granny and PaPa and we escaped.

The three of us when to a really nice BBQ place and then we went to see Transformers. We actually loved the movie. It was action-packed and not too cheesy and the effects were awesome. Both my hubby and I grew up around the Transformers, and I think they did a good job of telling the story.

So, we get back to the house around 10:30, almost 11pm (Central Time, which is an hour off from our normal time…). I had told Granny not to even bother trying to put her to bed, because of the time-difference and not being able to see me when waking up from her nap. I see Claire through the window, and she’s fresh out of her bath. She’s all happy and waving and greets us at the door. So, I ask Granny how it went. “Oh, when she woke up, she just cried her little heart out. She was so upset and kept asking where you were,” Granny said with a completely straight face. My heart sank and I felt sick to my stomach. “What??” I gasped, actually clutching my chest.

“NO!” she said, beaming, having pulled off the joke. “She was totally fine, and she slept for THREE HOURS. I had to wake her up for dinner! And, she was all cheery and happy when she woke up, like she normally is. She asked about you a couple of times, but I told her, ‘Momma and Daddy went bye-bye, but they’ll be back later.’ And she would just say, ‘Okay!’ and keep playing. She’s such a good girl. And, then, we played in the bath until her little toes turned into prunes.”

Granny thought it was pretty funny that she’d nearly given Momma a heart attack. My mother-in-law is a sneaky one. Ya gotta watch her like a hawk. 😉

So, that’s pretty much it. The only thing missing from our saga is a re-cap of Saturday, and that day was a complete blur. We spent another 8 hours in the car, every hour getting us closer and closer to our own beds. This time, we went directly out to eat, because we knew the fridge was practically empty and the thought of unloading the car on an empty stomach was daunting. So, we had a leisurely meal and then drove home from the restaurant. The house was still standing. The kitties were happy to see us. The trip was a success. A good time was had by all.

Alternate Sleeping Option – Success!

Note: Maybe I’m the only one who cares about this (please see the title of my blog) 😉 but I’m not sure where to post the re-caps of our trip! The trip was from Saturday, July 14, 2007 to Saturday, July 21, 2007. For posts that refer to a specific date, I’ll post them there. For posts regarding general things, I’ll post them on the 21st, the date of our return and the day before this online blog existed, and I’ll tag them with the ‘from the offline blog’ category. There, I decided. Executive decision executed. Carry on…

In preparation for our Tour of the Midwestern Trifecta, I’d been trying and trying to get Claire to sleep in the pack-n-play. All attempts on the home front were unsuccessful. So, we decided to take it with us anyway, set it up in the hotel and hope for the best.

The first night was basically a stop-over in one state while on our way to another. We stayed with my hubby’s family, and because we were leaving early the next morning, we didn’t even take the pack-n-play out of the trunk of the car. Granny had the 41-yr old crib (Yes, it’s really that old, and I’m sure it was a great crib, and maybe it still is?) all set up in the nicely finished basement guest quarters, and we figured that if Claire wouldn’t sleep in the 41-yr old crib, she could sleep with us for one night. We would adjust our plan accordingly on our way back. (This was just a layover, with a longer visit scheduled at the end of our trip. This is purely a logistical detail that happens when you travel from west to east and back, and it by no means indicates that one side of the family tree is more important than the other.) 😉

Sure enough, Claire cried and cried while in the 41-yr old crib, so she ended up sleeping with us. The guest bed is maybe the size of a double, maybe. Needless to say, we were one cozy family that night. Claire slept great! (And, really…when traveling with a toddler, isn’t that the most important part??) I slept with one eye open for fear of falling off of my 4.5 inches of mattress, and my poor hubby got kicked all night. I’ll let you imagine just where he got kicked. Poor guy!

So, I wasn’t sure what to expect for the next night in the hotel. Luckily, we had a room with a Queen bed (the size we have at home), so we had a little more real estate to deal with if she had to sleep with us.

After our day’s adventures, we got back to the hotel. Claire snuggled with us (and Puppy, of course) for a total of three minutes and fell fast asleep. I transferred her to the pack-n-play, and SHE SLEPT ALL NIGHT. Success!!

The rest of the trip went just as fabulously. When we got back to Granny and Grandpa’s house, we lugged that pack-n-play down to the basement and set it up next to the 41-yr old crib. The Travel Gods of Sleeping Toddlers smiled upon us! And there was much rejoicing. 😉

Our Trip to the Midwest – Part 3 of 4

You can read about Part 2 of 4 here.

Wednesday morning, I decided I wanted to take Claire swimming since the boys had a chance to do so earlier in the week. That morning, before getting ready and checked out of the hotel, Claire and Momma put on their swimming suits and headed down to the pool. I don’t swim with my glasses on, and I’m near sighted, so I have to squint to see some of the signs. After discovering the pool to be freezing cold, I saw on the sign where the pool doesn’t even open until 10am! I guess they don’t have to put up a big sign asking people to stay out…they just make it so cold that no one would want to stay long anyway!

So, we headed back down to the room, packed everything up and checked out earlier than anticipated. This gave us the added boost to actually stop at a really nice, piggy place for breakfast on our way back west, out of town, and out of the state. (piggy = a place so good you gorge yourself and eat like pigs. Oink.)

We arrived back at Granny and PaPa’s place and had a really light, late lunch. We’d all eaten so much that we didn’t even have a real lunch. Claire had a couple of snacks, and then we grilled hamburgers. Daddy and PaPa went to a car-show, so the girls had fun playing at the house. Claire had fun telling Day about all her adventures on the farm.

Thursday was the day we’d devoted to visiting the third state in our tour. My hubby’s grandmother is in an assisted living facility in a state farther south, and she’s suffering from Alzheimer’s. It’s such a terrible disease. Thankfully, she’s happy in the moment, and that’s all we can ask at this point. We all piled in the car and took the 1.5 hour drive. Luckily, this doubled as Claire’s nap, since she hadn’t really been taking her naps, and she’d actually been in a really good mood despite this. Even then, any nap was a welcomed nap, and she slept all the way there.

We’d planned on stopping to get a “picnic lunch” to take to Great-Grandma, and the only game in town is McD’s. And, this brings us to another First on Claire’s List. No, she’d never had McD’s up to this point. I’ve just never seen the need. Well, when you’re hungry, and the only place that’s serving lunch is McD’s, it’s a nice little treat. As we discovered, she loves chicken nuggets and fries. Go figure. That’s a big shock. I think moderation is the key, and so far, she hasn’t snuck out to eat it since. 😉

The visit with Great-Grandma went very well. Like I said, she lives totally in the moment, so she didn’t really remember the three of us. After Granny (her daughter – thankfully, she still remembers her…) explained who we were, she seemed to remember and her face lit up. Sadly, my hubby’s Grandfather passed away last year, and Great-Grandma doesn’t remember this. (Luckily, Great-Grandpa got to meet Claire before he died.) Great-Grandma knew he would have loved playing with Claire, and she was so afraid he was missing our visit, so she kept asking where he was and saying he needed to get down here right now! Granny had to explain that he wasn’t there, and why, and there would be momentary sadness, and then it would be replaced with the joy of seeing Claire…all to be repeated a few times throughout our visit. I’m glad we were able to end our visit on a happy note, and Claire loved playing with her and giving her hugs.

After making the trek back to Granny and PaPa’s house, we went to a fun Mexican place for dinner. Claire had a great time, because she would be happy eating her entire body weight in rice. Throw in a quesadilla, and you’d think that girl was in heaven! After dinner, PaPa took us for a drive around the airbase, and it was neat seeing all the sights. (PaPa is retired Air Force, and he gets a kick out of giving spontaneous tours. I’ve visited that city countless times and have never been on the base.) Claire had a nice after-dinner snooze, and the day was a success. Continue to Part 4 here…

Our Trip to the Midwest – Part 2 of 4

You can read about Part 1 of 4 here.

Every day with my nephews is a new adventure…especially if you’re a fun-loving *this close to Eagle Scout* boy-at-heart like my hubby. As much as he grumbled about having to drive to the middle of nowhere, in the heat and humidity, I could tell he was looking forward to playing with my nephews. They always give him a run for his money, and this trip would be no exception. They have been impatiently waiting for our arrival for months.

We arrived out at the farm just after breakfast. (My parents live in a house that is a quarter-mile away from what used to be my grandmother’s house. It’s all on the same farmstead. After my grandmother’s death, my sister and her husband purchased the house, and they live there now with their four boys.) It was so good to finally meet my newest nephew! He was just 6-weeks old and still really tiny. Actually, he was a pretty big baby, but compared to the almost-30-lb. sack of potatoes I lug around, he still seemed pretty tiny. You could tell the other three brothers had taken his arrival in stride. I was amazed at how they have all grown! They are Three, Five, and Seven, or as I was reminded, “Almost Four,” “Almost Six,” and “Almost Eight.” Where does the time go??

Claire loved seeing the baby and kept saying, “Oh, HI, BABY! HI, BABY!” She was really gentle with him and held him a couple of times (with our assistance, of course). The other boys were very good with Claire and really tried to include her in a lot of things. They needed to be reminded to be a little gentle, but thankfully Grandma (my mom) was there to referee. I’m so glad that Claire warmed up right away to my mom. I know it’s hard for my mom to live so far from her only grand-daughter.

My dad, on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky. Claire was scared to death of him. No amount of coaxing could keep her from bursting into tears whenever he came near. I actually put her in his arms for a moment, and she cried so hard that she stopped breathing. In her defense, he’s a big ol’ farmer dude, and she’s just not used to people like that. I really think if she spent more time with him, she’d warm up. Maybe. But, I’d adopted my Zen Mentality, and decided that it was what it was, and we just adjusted. She’ll either come around, or she won’t.

It made him feel a little better that she was also afraid of my brother. She would actually sit on his lap for seven-seconds before trying to escape, but still. It’s not like there were many Hallmark moments to capture. Later that day, an aunt and uncle of mine stopped by for a visit. There was no way Claire would remember either of them. She looked at my uncle sideways, and he said, “I’m not even going to try! Don’t be so alarmed!” Then, she took one look at my aunt and extended her arms and asked to be picked up. My dad said, “Oh great. A perfect stranger can pick her up, but I don’t have a chance.” Poor Grandpa.

Oddly enough, Claire pretends to talk to my dad on her play phone, all the time. She begs to talk to him on the real phone. In real life, though, it’s another story. Quirky, that child o’ mine.

So, what was in store for my hubby? After lunch, he and my brother-in-law took Three, Five, and Seven to the hotel for the pool party. Claire and I stayed at the farm to visit with everyone else. After the pool party, my hubby stayed at the hotel to get ready; Claire and I drove by ourselves back to town to the hotel, and then the three of us picked up some take-out from our favorite Chinese restaurant and took it over to our friends’ house.

Of course, the “pool party” wasn’t just a pool party. It was a pool-party playground-hopping Dairy-Queen-visit and-who-knows-what-else boys-do-when they’re-by-themselves extravaganza. That night, I went to the bathroom to get ready for bed, and by the time I came out, Claire and Daddy were fast asleep… And, looking back, that wasn’t even the busy day! 😉

Tuesday, July 17th was the day Claire’s great-grandmother (my mom’s mother) got to spend some time with us. That day was also devoted to playing with my nephews, and when accompanied with the swimming of the day before, completed the triathlon my hubby ran with the boys. Yesterday they swam, and today they ran races and rode bikes. They also did much more than that, but I lost count eventually.

Claire got to experience some First-Time Things while at my sister’s (on the farm). She got to play with play-doh (Note to self! Make that recipe and play with that here, too! I keep forgetting!). She got to swing in a swing and ride in a wagon (she wasn’t sure about those two things…so we’ll have to try that again.) She got to attempt to ride a tricycle. (Another note to self! She could totally do this with a little practice! She almost had it mastered!) On her many adventurous walks with Grandma, she got to see real live cows! My side of the family takes this for granted, because they live on the farm…but we don’t see many real live cows here in the suburbs (thankfully!). And? Claire got to eat pizza for the first time. No, I have not given my child pizza. It’s one of my favorite foods, and I figure she’ll have years to grow an appreciation for it. That will not be needed. She loves it. I think she would have eaten the whole thing, had she been given the chance.

Gee, after looking at that list, you would be led to believe my child is pretty sheltered. No, she’s not…these were just a few things that we haven’t had a chance to do yet. Needless to say, Claire had a blast.

Again, that evening in the hotel, both Daddy and Claire were fast to sleep within minutes. We’d already done so much, and our trip had only reached the half-way mark. Continue to Part 3…

Our Trip to the Midwest – Part 1 of 4

We’ve been referring to our most recent adventure as the Tour of the Midwestern Trifecta, because we visited not one, not two, but three states in the Midwest. We were on a mission to visit my newest nephew and see other friends and relatives at the same time. As always, our trip was practically planned to the minute, and we didn’t get to see everyone we wanted to see. We knew going in that we couldn’t see everyone, and we’re thankful to have understanding friends.

We set out early on Saturday, July 14th and headed east. Of course, you have to realize that “early” means, leave the house by 8:30, and hopefully be out of town by 9am. 🙂 The first leg of our trip was an 8-hour journey which wasn’t too bad. It’s weird to think that we spent a typical working day in the car, but it is what it is. As predicted, Claire handled the road trip extraordinarily well, and she actually seemed to travel better than we did! 😉

We had awesome driving weather, and other than a little wind and road construction, it was perfect. Somehow, we planned the swapping of the drivers perfectly so that the only road construction encountered was when I was behind the wheel. Funny how that works…

We overnighted at my hubby’s parents’ house. That evening, his mother (Granny – a. k. a. Daey) and father (Grandpa – a. k. a. PaPa) had prepared a feast. We were joined by my hubby’s brother, Uncle Wah, and one of the cousins, Auntie M. Claire loves talking to Uncle Wah (her name for him) on the phone, but she is terrified of him in real life. It took a while, and she eventually played near him, but not with him. Every time he got too close, she’d run to the safety of Momma-Momma-Momma!

Auntie M. is a grandma at heart, and Claire took to her right away. It’s been seven months since she’d seen her, but Auntie M. is female and came bearing gifts. Claire is definitely more hesitant around men, gifts or not. 😉 Even Uncle Wah had brought some gifts for Claire, but it wasn’t enough to calm her fears. Poor Uncle Wah.

All of us had fun watching Claire explore a new environment and new toys. It wasn’t until after Claire’s bedtime that we realized how entertaining the evening had been. Amazingly, not one electrical device had contributed to it! Who needs TV when you have live entertainment? Dinner and a show, so to speak. 🙂

The next morning, after an early lunch, we continued heading east and into another state on our tour. The next leg of our trip was about 3 hours. We stopped for the night in a town about 45-minutes away from the farm where I grew up. We’d reserved a hotel with a pool so that my hubby could take my three nephews swimming on one of the days of our vacation. It was a basic hotel with a pretty nice pool, and I’d negotiated a good price. (My experience as a Front Desk Clerk come in handy every once in a while. That was one of the most fun jobs I ever had while in college…but I digress.) It wasn’t extravagant, but we just needed a place to sleep (and a pool), so it worked out fine.

After checking into the hotel, we went over to spend some time with one of my hubby’s best friends from college, his wife and their two girls. My hubby and I used to live in this town, and we partied with these people (pre-kids, obviously) for years after college and before moving away. Times have changed, and our families have grown, but it was good to see them and catch up.

We retired to the hotel relatively early, and got a good night’s sleep in preparation for the adventure that awaited us… Continue with Part 2 here

The Random Shoe

My hubby and I have taken countless road-trips in our 10-plus years together.  It never fails; we’re just driving along, minding our own business, when we see it.  There it is, all alone…a random shoe on the side of the road. 

“A shoe!  Another shoe!  A different shoe!”

How does that happen?  What was going on in the car that made someone lose a shoe?  And, did they even notice?

“It’s all fun and games until someone loses a shoe!”  😉 

Speaking of which, we never see a pair of shoes.  We only see one shoe…at a time.  We see many shoes on our trips, but never a matching pair.  Why is it always one random shoe?

We’re only five hours into our trip, and we’ve already seen four shoes.

Zen

Well, I’m done packing for our trip!  We’ll be gone for a week (which is actually eight days, oddly enough).  I’m excited to see everyone, and I’m trying not to focus on how stressful this whole thing could be. 

I’ve decided to have a good time on our trip, regardless of what the reality of the situation dictates.  I need to dust off my Zen Master notes, but I’m not too worried about it.  It is what it is, if nothing more than a huge reminder to appreciate our “normal” routine.  🙂

I’m going to pretend that I heard him wrong.

He just doesn’t get it. How could I possibly be tired when all I did was watch Claire, run errands, and clean. Because we’re leaving for our trip to the Midwest on Saturday, my “vacation” from the files has already started. So, no, I didn’t have calls to make today, or my normal deadlines, or a full day of files to do. I did a couple of follow-up calls, but they really don’t count.

Yes, logically speaking, if I have less on my plate to do during the day, I shouldn’t be as tired as I normally am at the end of the day. For some reason, it just doesn’t work out that way. Life with a toddler is rarely logical, so I guess that’s why.

It’s as though I’m always going to get to a certain level of tiredness, and even a “slow day” with a toddler will push me to that limit. (I put that in quotes, because there’s really no such thing as a slow day with a toddler.) Then again, I filled the empty space on my plate left by the lack of files with other things.

Honestly, I don’t run a lot of errands or do a lot of cleaning if I have a lot of files, and caring for Claire is a time-and-a-half job all on its own. I’m extremely lucky to have a hubby that shops and cleans, even after working full-time. Sometimes I think he’s the best wife anyone could have. 😉 Most of the time, he can’t, however, watch Claire for 20 minutes without getting exhausted. “Claire, let’s play the Daddy Goes Night-night Over Here On the Floor While Claire Plays Game.”

So why did what he say strike such a nerve? Looking back, I really know what he meant, and I really can’t think of an easy way to say it without pissing me off. He sees me as some kind of SuperWoman, and it’s my own fault, really. But just because I try to make what I do look easy, doesn’t mean it is. Deep down I want him to think I am SuperWoman, so when he sees through my disguise, I feel inadequate. I want to do it all and not feel tired at the end of the day. I want him to realize that what I do during the day is the equivalent to his job.

So what happened to set me off? All I said was, “Ohhh, Claire. Momma’s ready for a nap!” (Claire has started playing this game where she wants up and down and up and down, a billion times in a row. This game makes me feel old.) So, I say what I said, and he says, “Why are you so tired? It’s not like you even had to work today.”

He insists that what he really said was, “Wow. You did so much today, but luckily you didn’t have any files to do, too! Imagine how tired you would be then!” He knew by the stunned silence, gaping mouth and look of death that the words must have come out wrong.

A little breathing room

Not having files rollin’ in makes me all giddy.  🙂  Of course, part of me keeps thinking, “Well, I *could* do a couple more, right?”  It’s a disease.  Thankfully the system doesn’t work that way, and I’m forced to take a little break.  We all know that the trip will hardly be relaxing.

I’ll come back refreshed and prepared to jump in with both feet.  Of course, since we’re doing a Tour of the Midwestern Trifecta, you can replace “refreshed and prepared to” with “exhausted and begrudgingly willing to.”  🙂

I really do like my job.  I know it’s hard to see that sometimes.  I’m so glad I can be home with Claire and still bring in some moo-lah to help with our financial goals.

Next on my list?  Cleaning.  Although I roll my eyes at my hubby because he wants the house spotless before going on vacation, it is nice coming home to a clean house after an exhausting trip.  I think I’ll wait until tomorrow to do that. 

I also have an appointment at the eyebrow place, so that these monstrosities don’t startle the nephews.