Friday, December 31, 2010

On a Lighter Note

The boy's favorite expressions du jour:

Fiddlesticks.  When thwarted.  Because his inner self is really a 67 year old Southern lady? 
I haven't the faintest idea where he would have heard this - who says fiddlesticks?? 

And since we're on topic, what ARE fiddlesticks?  ....just googled:  a violin bow, a trifle, an injection - "nonsense", or a family fun park in Tempe, Arizona.  Thank you, your vocab lesson of the day is done. 

Was this made with love?  When inquiring as to the source of the sustinence presented.  It was adorable when we were discussing the cookies for Santa.  Oddly sassy when I'm just giving him toast.  Yes, yes, the butter is from happy cows and the wheat was grown under a rainbow.  Now pipe down and eat. 

I'm so made at you I could just....mmmpphhh.  Massive improvement over earlier years when he would just flop down to the floor and cry.  Also cute in he's yet to formulate a plan. 

My girl:
Now knows the difference between the signs for baby and love. 
But she is now refusing to sign 'mom'.  Only signs 'dad'.  She thinks it's FUNNY to break mommy's heart like that, because she's laughing when she does it, but it works out well for me at diaper & bath time. 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

On Loss

Speaking of reading other bloggers, one of the moms I read just lost one of her babies.  So much heartache.  Not just a few flashbacks.  Hoping no one wanders over to my desk right now because tears are not good for business.

And not that it's important but this particular mom would have been one that I'd lumped into the 'hysterically funny' category, not in 'traveling similar road'.  It seems trite to categorize - these are people sharing their lives, or bits of their lives - am not paying for performance art here.  Sometimes I forget that.  I shouldn't.  Tragic news always comes from behind in a sucker punch.

Though maybe not total surprise.  She'd had a difficult pregnancy.  I kept reading. 

After we lost Brennan, people felt compelled to tell me their stories  - the exact same thing happened to their cousin's sister.  But then she had 16 more babies!  And she's fine!  Other people were just silent.  I read through the comments and the advice & references were already pouring in.  Bandaids over amputated limbs.  I am grateful someone took photos of Brennan for us.  I hope she does that.  I think most maternity wards know to do that now - we also got a blanket, a memory box, footprints, etc.  I did not care for the hospital bracelet.  It was a mocking reminder my baby never needed it.  There must be a protocol somewhere - standardized institutional response to grief.  It strikes me that it IS common enough that they have a standardized institutional response to grief.  Sad.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Flashback

Nice jumpsuit!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Yes Deer, there really is a Santa Claus (sic)

In a Christmas Miracle, last night we were able to pick up the negligently forgotten shopping cart for Little Miss here.  Someone saw it and turned it back in to the store.
I guess not everyone out there is a lying thieving cheat.
Thank you, whoever-you-are.
She might need to grow a bit before the hula hoop works.
Just thinking.

Best. Hugs. Ever.

Look!  It says "Plastic" right on the package.
Literacy is SO underrated.

This kid is just awesomeness.
He was THIS excited over the 250 sheet pckg of construction paper.
(boy, that makes me sound cheap.  At least he didn't get socks. 
Though we nearly got him new school-uniform pants - decided against.)

No caption needed.  Just cuteness.

The boys, matching.

I don't know what it is, mom.
Maybe it's a GIANT PINK BUNNY OUTFIT?
Just kidding. 

Merry Christmas babe.

White Christmas.
Perfection.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Day After - a relentlessly mudane accounting.

I get somewhere at the end, eventually -

Due to the Fiscal Woes, Santa wasn't able to visit his workroom until Friday.  I thank whatever gods may be for TRUs's 24 hour pre-holiday policy.  We weren't quite sure how this was going to play out with the kids and husband's schedule but I woke up at 4am and was at the store by 5(ish), done by 6:30(ish), and still had time for two other stops.  Think Santa landed some good deals and ended up with a good mix of volume and wow factor.  Biggest hits were the 200 piece Tinker Toy set (because I am a masochist.  Also, disappointed to find out later they were PLASTIC.  The horror! Is nothing sacred?), the crystal-growing kit (everything thinks I'm forcing the educational stuff down his throat but he LOVES it - the crystals got the second biggest screech. Of delight, not horror. Jeez).  And my $40 online find of a mini-camcorder.  The boy loves to make movies but his current kiddie-camera basically captures shapes.  Which may or may not be human.  For $40 I'm not expecting him to become Spielburg, but perhaps he'll make some blog-worthy clips.  It's super-simple (on/record/review) and clicks into the computer to recharge - LOVE that that are no new cords.  Of course once you get it open they "highly recommend" a memory chip, and maybe a battery pack, so maybe no longer $40 steal, but I suppose we'll suck it up.  Lots of volume thanks to the 50% off second Crayola item - art supplies for the year? Stocked.

I didn't spent as much on the girl.  I fretted about this - way to short change A/my daughter with special needs and/or B/the youngest child.  But she has, courtesy of her older brother and via a mix of previously flusher parents and 4 sets of elders, a plethora of shape sorters, toddler-aimed noise & light makers, and more push around/ride upon vehicles than our little house has room for.  In my new fiscally responsible fashion, I'd been keeping a list of ideas and rough pricing.  I'd paged thru reams & reams of catalogues but she either wasn't ready for it or we already had it.  Albeit not always in pink but even if we splurged on a pink kitchen, instead of the manly green & brown kitchen in situ, she wouldn't notice and we would have no place to put it.  I did find some very adorable Melissa & Doug puzzles with textured pieces and a new! and different! shape sorter.  Added to the cornucopia of kitchen play food.  Also - and I say this with shame in my heart - a set of pom poms and a pink feather boa.  I was never a girly girl.  I did not enjoy high school, nor the girly girl cheerleader sorts.  I am under no illusions that the girly girls will be nice to my daughter and, though this is unkind and paranoid, I have no wish she be elected homecoming queen in some token patronizing look how nice WE are plot.  I do not wish to encourage any aspirations of pom poms in her future.  Girls are mean.  But... SO STINKING CUTE.  Those damn pom poms are her favorite present, right after the wrapping paper.

That might also be because Santa forgot one of her presents...on the bottom part of the cart in the TRUs parking lot.  The one push toy that she didn't have, that I thought she'd get a kick out of, was a shopping cart.  To go with *cough* the new kitchen food.  She's always loading up the other push-y toys with fridge magnets and the few plastic figures that the dogs haven't yet eaten so thought the cart would facilitate the process - maybe we could put her to work clearing the floor of Happy Meal toys.  But alas, the missing piece was not discovered till 3am (yes, that would be 23 hours later) when I noticed the girl's "volume" was lower than expected.  At the time, the crushing guilt of not finding another equalizing $50 worth of crap stimulating educational opportunities and then leaving one of the "big presents" behind was of Monumental Import.  Worst Mommy Ever.  After a lavish 2 hour nap, it just seemed like a rather asinine way to lose $30.  Because she didn't notice.  Because there was wrapping paper and ribbon and pom poms, and kisses and hugs, and mom & daddy & brother in the same room together.

We started a new holiday book tradition this year.  Prompted by another blogger, who I'd credit but I can't remember where I read it and many many minutes of google and clicking thru my favorites bar lead nowhere. So, just to keep you oriented, I was up at 4am, in and out of three major stores and back home with the car emptied by 8:30, on Christmas Eve no less.  Super Mom!  It was starting to snow so hubby had to go into work early.  I dashed out again for groceries, came back and loaded the kids in the car as hubby departed, then we stopped by a dollar store at the boy's repeated request.  I don't know how he got fixated on the dollar store idea - the Fiscal Woes have downgraded us to Walmart from Target, yet the dollar store still isn't one of our usual haunts - but it was Christmas, we had a long day ahead of us and no reason not to humor the lad.  I had images of Kelly Hampton's girl buying cute trinkets for her dad.  Except it wasn't so much dollar store as repository of random crap, most of which appeared to have “accidently” fallen off the back of a truck, none of it was $1, and it was busy being patronized by recovering meth addicts.  Yes, I am a terribly judgmental awful person. You take YOUR kids there and let me know how you feel about it.  Anyway the boy was easily talked into writing cards for his cousins instead (which we never got around to either - so many good intentions).

So then, with much fanfare we were then OFF! to the bookstore where I immediately decided that the books would be a surprise next year.  The girl kept trying to run off and the boy wanted a $25 pop up book that wouldn't have even made it home unscathed.  Plus, there were no words in it.  Gigi was always worried my dad's "Assigned Reading" program would ruin books for me but given my collection in the basement, I survived biblio-phile-intact. I love love LOVE that one of my girl's first signs was "book".  I love that she knows what to do with them and will flip through books and even magazines without me.  I love my son's long complicated sentences.  Even if heavy handed (hi dad), I love that I've read most of the classics.  Not that you'd know I know what a complete sentence is by reading this, but the kids' books will have words, dammit.  This didn't go over well in the middle of the store and it was only by threatening Santa and conceding on a (cheaper) Club Penguin thing, in addition to "real books", did I avoid dragging both kids out of there by their hoods.  Screaming.  On Christmas Eve.

Anyway, stayed up till 4am wrapping presents and putting annoyingly effusive bows on all of them.  Betcha didn't think I had a Martha streak?  Christmas morning is all about the presentation.  Also there was the summer in Macy’s gift wrap department.  Do you remember what you got when you were a kid?  I don't.  Except for the new bike the folks hid in the kitchen one year.  I do remember the anticipation and giddiness when looking at a big pile of boxes & bows.  Which is why I individually wrapped every box of crayons and carton of paint.  Which is also why daddy rallied when he got home and put ornaments on the tree (we'd held off due to Little Miss Destructo).

After my aforementioned super-refreshing 2 hours sleep, we did Christmas morning.  In all its pageantry and excess and glory.  Then Daddy had to go to work so we took it easy and eventually made our way over the Auntie A's house.  Had snacks, hung out, waited for daddy to head home... we'd planned on a late dinner because of his schedule but I'm usually long asleep by 9pm.  By the time he arrived and the food was laid out, I'd hit the proverbial wall.  Nothing looked the least bit appetizing but I took a token slice of filet (oh! the suffering!) and tried to remain upright, assuming my marathon Santa act was catching up with me.  I then draped myself on their couch but was feeling worse...and worse... until I insisted hubby escort me & the babe home and I immediately puked all over their driveway.  Merry Christmas!  Grab a bucket!

Which meant that the in laws took the boy to an all day brunch at the other SIL's house Sunday by himself.  Husband went to work.  My girl stayed home because of her disdain for the extended family (and also, the stairs) but she was happy to roll around in the as-yet-uncollected wrapping paper and show off her pom poms.  And I was "Sick".  Maybe not with the bunny ears, so just Sick, but still not exactly incapable of running the washing machine or maybe collecting the wrapping paper.  Which I did not do.  I spent the ENTIRE day reading the archives of another blogger.  Who'd been writing since 2006.  Like I said, the reading obsession had to be re-directed somewhere.

Occasionally I'd check comments and recognized other bloggers (the first step is to acknowledge the problem).  Also I'd click on links and blog rolls and I realized something - in all my www-reading, I actually read very few blogs about DS.  Other special needs - sure, lots (other peoples’ problems), funny blogs, two fashion blogs, large/commercial/semi-professional blogs, but only 3-4 blogs about kids with DS.  I recognize the other sites, have idly perused them but, whatever the reason, haven’t stayed.  I’m not going to insult anyone by saying they were too-this or too-that, though a few were too Jesus made my cereal EXTRA crunchy this morning. Sixteen exclamation points! - I suspect I just wasn’t ready for the party.  Why is probably a whole different post.

Also, not unrelated, many have been abandoned.  Not that the internet isn't littered with other orphaned commentary but the trend seems to be baby arrives with a diagnosis, we are sad, we love our child, we document various emotional adjustments.  Then the thing that is DS eventually fades away, becomes less note-worthy, less exceptional, and Life Goes On. (sorry, couldn't help the last bit).  I also wonder if the opposite might be true - if the hurt moves to a darker place.  Becomes less semi-funny stories about intrusive elderly ladies in the grocery store insisting you have a Very Special Child and more about the slings and stones of the playground, widening gaps, exclusions…a thousand tiny wounds.

Also, not insignificant, is that I cannot remember the last time I had an entire day of leisure to read through four years of someone’s life.  Even if it was at the expense of the laundry and dishes and uncollected bits of ribbon.  It IS like dating – you’re not sure if new bloggers (me – who wudda thunk?) will stick around for the long haul, and the old hacks have lots of luggage to sort though, stories to catch up on.  Which requires (this might be beating the metaphor to death a bit) a commitment.  Of time, if nothing else.  And maybe I could have been reading an actual book which I just got done complaining I didn't have time for, or should have been doing flashcards with the girl,  instead of internet stalking dating perusing but she was still on a Santa High and busy reveling in the wrapping detritus and new stuff.  She’d come over, give me a hug, we’d sing a song, she’d laugh and laugh, then spy the pom poms again, and would be off.  Because it’s not always about the DS or the therapy.  It’s about the kids, and Christmas, new books with words, and new pom poms, and crystal growing kits.

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Tis the Season

It wouldn't be Christmas without elves. 
Or David Sedaris.
An oldie but goodie:

Part II


Part III

Part IV

I'm sure there was a way do this all in one part? 
Hey, I'm just thrilled the computer turned on.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

No Bones About It

Or, 12 Moments Before Christmas

1 - Pantry Door, left open.
2 - Children, getting ready for bed.
3 - Dogs, aprowl.

4 - Pounds of Sugar, gone.
   [The Sugar?  Really?  I can't have normal dogs?]
5 - Pounds of Flour, dispersed.
6 - Puppy ears, sulking.
7 - Passes with the Dyson, made.
8 - O'clock, still cleaning.
9 - Pounds of baking suppies
   (that one might be cheating).
10 - Deeps Breaths, taken.
11 - Dozen cookies, unbaked.
12 - Little paws, banished outside. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Big Cardboard Box

One of my favorite books is Little Boy (by Alison McGhee) - about a boy & his big cardboard box.  My little boy actually prefers the little monster books more but sometimes I'll assert my parental rights & pull it out.  Even if he's not into the writing, he LOVES the real thing.  And, as part of our clean the basement effort, in addition to me contemplating my book stash, my husband has also finally released the ginormous TV box for general use.  You know, the TV that's so old it's dying - we still have the original box.  I make fun of him for hoarding, but I just disclosed my book fetish so I suppose I'm on thin ice (badda-da-dum).  And the boxes are arguably just as useful...

This is the boy's TV.
[No, this is not a commentary about our poverty]
He and his cousins cut it up so they could do Shows.
Here he is giving me a cooking demonstration.
A much needed one, some would argue.
 The Artist, disturbed.
 ...by Baby Godzilla
 But so cute, who could stay mad? 

Here she is, practicing her Wheeeeee!
Presumably in preparation for her next gleeful city-stomping.
 Which she finds incredibly funny.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tangential Tree Texts

7pm:  edited to include photo of my gorgeous puppy, Max. 

I still can't talk about the car(s). I just.... SERIOUSLY!?!? I think the TV is going out now too. I think we’ll start running numbers on what other durable good will die next. Maybe that’s how we’ll fund the replacements. Till the authorities crack down on illegal gambling in [our tiny town]. At least we’re entitled to free defense counsel.

But anyway I was thinking about the text books I fell whilst giving up the other morning which, in mom-like fashion, is related. My mom's stories are like trees, branching off into ever-more remote tangents - awesomeness, even if phones calls have to be carefully scheduled away from work and distracting small children. (hi mom! xoxoxo).

In SoCal we had a loft with a wall crammed full of books, which were sadly boxed up when we moved to Flyover Country, 6 months pregnant. We got an estimate to put shelves in what eventually turned into the toy room but apparently the guy was going to build it with hand-watered teak carried out of the hills by genetically engineered unicorns. And by that time we'd put in a fence for my dearly-departed-much-missed dog Max, the wall for my not-quite-fulfilled-dream of garden terraces, and new counters. You wonder why we're in trouble. Any-who, we dropped that idea upon receipt of the estimate & as I was nearing D-day. When the boy arrived, all plans for shelves - and regular showers - were forgotten as we dug in under the incessant screaming.

I say 9 months of screaming but actually, around month 7, he started being pleasant for about an hour in the morning before re-commencing the screaming. But it was an important beacon of hope as we teetered on the edge. We made it. But you'll notice the 3 year gap between siblings.

And even though the screaming eventually stopped, the hours & hours of free time to read just never reappeared. Nor will they. Not working full time with two kids, three dogs, and a long commute. So now I read blogs instead – short chapter updates in others’ stories, true or not (but naturally all well-written). Easily squeezed into ‘settling in’ time when I first get to work. So what to do with the books? It seems sacrilegious to let them slowly mildew in our basement. Nevermind the boxes are assuredly harboring spider colonies. It's not like I'm reading rare out of print first editions - few are even in hardback. I could buy mildew-free replacements in 11-12 years, when the kids won't want anything to do with me and I'm trying to keep myself occupied while waiting up for the boy to see if he makes curfew. Or hey, use your library card and learn how to save some money for once you spendthrift.  But like any true hoarder I drew comfort from their presence – a collection of old friends. Even the ones I didn’t think much of at the end, we’d still spent time together. Dated, even.

There's also lost potential there. I was a lousy student and there are some random books on who-knows-what that I always fully intended to…. Nevermind. This is where dating metaphor veers wildly off course.

So the grim reality of our finances and schedule was sinking in when Random Charity called to see if I any crap to give away. I spontaneously said sure. Brave move! I came up with one box. A single box of random, dated, entirely useless “reference” books (using that word extremely broadly). Each of these is a story - Paths not chosen. Tangents.  [Please excuse the cheese – it’s Christmas & I’m feeling sentimental] LSAT study guides, learn to speak French AND Spanish, POST study guides (HA!). Also, random gag gifts (A Man’s Guide to S--? For him. Men: An Owners Manual. Presumably for me).

So the question is – can I take the plunge? Wipe out the spiders’ coven in the basement, to make room for marble runs? Accept there will be no clean, well-lighted place for books* in my near future? Maybe one box at a time. Next up for the offing – all my airplane reads.

*Bonus points for the reference!

Max:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Impromptu Cookie Decorating Party

Last weekend we had grown up mimosa cookie party.  The boy was NOT HAPPY he didn't receive an invitation.  Last year we'd had some kids over to decorate his cake trains but that required less frosting slathering and more frosting tips.  Ideally frosting tips that wouldn't have exploded in then-4-year old hands.  Duly noted.  My folks had had cookie parties for years for my younger two siblings, which always seemed like a fabulous time - the grown ups would hang out and drink, the kids would get high on sugar then race around like banshees.  They also knew all the parents - presumably because of years of socializing (I wanted to write 'social effort', but that's a little too revealing).  Since moving to flyover country I've been coasting along on my SILs' social coat tails.  The boy's had plenty of playdates between his cousins and next door neighbors, and gone to lots of those 2 hour birthday parties at the pleasegodwhereismychild pedo-haunts pizza joints, but we're now almost 4 months into Kindergarten and its time to figure out who he's going to be spending the majority of his day with for the next eight years. 

I'm also at a little bit of a disadvantage in this neighborhood because most of moms stay home and arranging play dates with virtual strangers is hard from 35 miles away. 

So did I pull it all together and start my great social project this year?  I did not.  After realizing how sad he was at not being able to come with last Saturday I decided we could have a kids' cookie party too.  With 4 days notice.  On the last weekend before Christmas.  I am a genius.  I thought being that socially oblivious might not be the best first introduction to the 25-30? (I don't even know!  Mom fail) other kindergartners, plus there's a serious space factor.  Even at a miserly acceptance rate, furniture would have to be moved, tables borrowed, blah, blah, blah.  So I stuck with our soccer team list, couple friends from work, and the cousins.  Made it a breezy "know you're busy but drop by for cookies & Christmas cheer" e-vite.  Except one set of cousins was already booked, my coworker caught The Plague, and my son's bff's mom next door still needed to shop meet with Santa.  Friday night I was faced with the very real possibility NO ONE would show up.  Huge parenting disaster.  My back up plan was to borrow the cousins' other set of cousins next door to "give their parents a break".  "Sorry to crash your family Christmas but I need your children because I am socially incompetent". 

Anyway, it all worked out.  My neighbors came through, my coworker dispatched husband and children, cookies were slathered.  Lots of sugar consumed.  Massive crush of dishes created, and as yet unaddressed, in the kitchen.   Notes for next year: 
    PLAN AHEAD
    Move the furniture anyway, no matter how short the guest list.
    Buy a REAL tarp for the floor.  The old set of sheets were a profound fail.
    PLAN AHEAD
    Bake the cookies the night before.  I did make the dough Friday night but then crashed.
    plan ahead plan ahead plan ahead plan ahead PLAN AHEAD.
    Schedule it for a day when your support staff darling spouse doesn't have to work. 
    Don't buy the cheapest paper plates ever made.
Duly noted.

Not too many pictures.  I was still putting out sprinkles, et al as people started arriving so didn't get the picturesque pre-chaos shot.  The after-shots just look unappetizing. 
 She thought putting all that food within easy reach was just delightful.
Ignore the chapped cheeks.  And the close-up crumbs.
 Me, sitting at the table with a beer as things wound down, instead of cleaning the kitchen.

This does not address the original question of reaching out to the other Kindergarten parents. 
Maybe Valentine's day cookies? 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ice Day

Husband got home about 1am and couldn't make it up the driveway.  He slide backwards down it and the wrong way across the street but thankfully managed to stop before ending up in the neighbor's yard - that guy is a NUT about his grass - so he parked around the corner.  I'm not sure why navigating the corner seemed like a good idea but as I mentioned, we're no longer operating in logic land around here.  Plus my brother's car was hit once while parked in front of our house, which is the "main drag" (ha) so I suppose he can cobble together a story for the neighbors. 

All of this, of course, he had to wake me up to tell me about.  So now, um, happily awake, I watched the local news with him and confirmed the schools were closed.  And he announced I was not going to go to work today.  Which, for those couple people reading who don't know him, is hysterical because he's not the bossy macho type.  But at 1-something in the morning, watching the local news coverage of the Storm To End All Storms, I couldn't find any reason to disagree.  He doesn't have to leave for work till noon so on no school days I'll usually put in a half day but the thought of driving 35 miles in the ice for four hours of shuffling paper seemed silly.  Especially considering I can ruin a car these days merely by touching the keys.  I was a spin out waiting to happen and AAA hasn't kicked in yet. 

Of course, you might notice in this picture this morning there are no icicles.  No dramatically downed trees.  By this morning it was not so much Ice Storm 2010, as a "glazing" (lower case).  But, again, am more than a little gunshy about the cars so will just stick with the plan to stay home.  Further reconfirmed when I went to put a box of stuff out front for random charity and landed on my elbow.  Then the little dog off out the front door (my life IS a country song) as I was stretched out across the front steps.  Disloyal mutt.  Hadn't really expected a "glazing" would be quite so slippery.  So then, suddenly picturing random charity guy breaking his neck on my front walkway in an effort to collect 20 year old textbooks, I decided to salt the walkway. 

My shoes are all upstairs and I'm too lazy to make that trek so I put on my husband's clown shoes.  I'm also still in my plaid PJs & robe (I know, sexy).  I find what turned out to be a shockingly inadequate bag o'salt,  open the garage and.... again.  Flat on my back.  And this time I hit my head pretty hard so I decided to stay down.  It was surprisingly relaxing.  What does it mean when the calmest moment of the day will likely have been spent on your back, in the driveway, on a sheet of ice, in your jammies?  It mean you have a concussion you nincompoop.  Am off to find the advil. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Gigi!

The original boys

The two of us

The boy and his Gigi.
From our visit in April 2007
These are some of my favorite pictures.




From your 2008 party

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dark Corners, Revisited

So I broke our other car yesterday, which I was driving because it was still icy & Car B has four wheel drive.  Probably the transmission.  What are the odds of both cars breaking at the same time, two weeks before Christmas, both while I have the keys?  It’s not like the husband never turns them on.  I hardly ever drive his car.  After a late night pick up (Look kids! It’s 10pm!  Aren’t we having fun staying up so late?!)  I tried to leave for work this morning and MY car wouldn’t start.  AGAIN.  I’d like to consider myself reasonably rational and I would tell myself that even if originally nice, both cars are hitting the 10 year marks and will start needing repairs.  Ration-smashin’.  I need a serious de-hexing or exorcism.  That my husband wiggled the teensy tiny wire leading into the alternator and the car started just fine does not mitigate the jinx.  It just makes the irony of the previous $288 “fix” worse. 

On an upbeat note, I’ve moved past the “woe-is-me” stage of grieving and have now made peace with the fact that we will eventually end up living in a transmission-less car on the side of the street.  Probably without the dogs ‘cause they will all have run off ‘cause my life is nothing but a sad country song.  But look kids!  Now that Mommy was fired, because she lacked the requisite transportation to reach said establishment, I have so much extra time for you!  Let's go to the park - Everyone out now and push! 
This is not me.
This is my absolutely fabulous neighbor striking a pose whilst pushing my car in heels at the U-Gas. 
At midnight. 
Three days ago. 
In case you're having trouble keeping track (I sure as hell know I am), that would be Car A.
Car B was yesterday. 
[She broke her shoe in the process, which I feel responsible for too]
Photo credit to my other fabulous neighbor who saw fit to document our experience, paparazzi-like.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Signing Update

First list:
Mom, Dog, Book, Love, Sunshine, Shoes, Eat, Milk, Gentle (my version), Ears (their location, not the ASL sign thereof).

New accomplishments (& a few I forgot to include last time):
Hi/Bye
All done
Bedtime
Stars
Toothbrush
Dad
Sleepy
Bath
Ball?  (iffy)
I also think she signed Jacket tonight. Pending confirmation. 
Also pending further use of Car.

She also does the motions for wheels on the bus, patty cake, etc but if I'm being brutally honest, she is doing them en masse, i.e. not necessarily (read: at all) on cue with the lyrics, so they might be closer to awesome dance moves, & not so much word association.

"More" was one of her first signs but we were almost exclusively using it for food, which we thought might be confusing, so we started using "eat".  My little gourmand nailed that but "more" seems to have dropped off the radar.  After realizing this I started using "more book" for books no.2 & 3 but I'm just not sure she's ready for a two word construct.  "More" is such an abstract concept - if she's in the bath & isn't ready to get out is she going to sign more or bath?  Bath.  (actually she just pouts and scoots away).  I need to ask her speech EI but that gal doesn't seem to be as interested in signing as getting my girl to talk.  And she's coming along - she'll do almost all the age appropriate sounds on demand ("on demand" with any toddler being, of course, relative) but she's 2 1/2 years old still hasn't said "mom" yet.  (Which... well..... yeah.)  I don't doubt she'll talk eventually given the constant stream of jabber and the letter sounds.  I just haven't the faintest idea what eventually means.  I think her receptive language is fine.  If I say we're going upstairs or it's time to eat, she heads over to the stairs/table.  Also, she'll make those eve-of-talking sounds:  something close to zzzz(ip) when we're zipping up PJs, 'da-da' when we say 'thank you', etc.   So in the meantime, we sign [SOME OF US *COUGH* MORE THAN OTHERS] because A/ it'd be nice to communicate with her "now" (however long "now" lasts)  and B/everything I've read and heard says signing reinforces language development. 

Things that she would know except which require exceedingly excessive fine motor skills:
banana, hair, her brother's name, socks, toast, juice, water

Things that are confusing and/or which require far too much spatial precision:
milk/orange/eat.  snuggle/blanket.  baby/love.  grandma/grandpa (as compared to mom/dad).  wash hands/soap. brother.

Things she could give a flying you-know-what about, but with repeat play of Signing Time, she'll probably eventually pick up:  boat, train, bus, plane (sorry daddy), potty, any and all non-canine animal signs. 

Hopefully we'll get a couple more Signing Time videos for Christmas.  I looked for some ASL classes but they are geographically undesirable and I haven't the faintest frickin' idea when I'd actually attend.  I also found this site:  Signing Savvy, which offers little 1-2 second videos of each sign.  Except they occasionally vary wildly from our DVDs and/or our baby-signing books WHICH IS ANNOYING.  Are these dialects?  Is baby ASL distinct from grown up ASL?  Southern ASL vs west coast?  Shall we whip out the blue & red bandannas?  (Sorry, that's such a SoCal reference).  Seriously.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Shopping recommendation

Shipping paper.
Lots & lots of shipping paper.
The gift that keeps on giving.
[And yes, I know my baby looks like an urchin here - half nekkid and needing shampoo -
but how can you resist that laugh?]
video
Couple commets - my husband will object to the back-of-the-head shot because of The Spot but she also signed Dad in my little clip, which is just awesome.  Also, this video is not nearly as crappy on my computer as it is here, after being uploaded, so sorry, work through it.  Last, you probably can't see it given the aforementioned crappy video, but when I mention bedtime I got the "What is wrong with you woman, can't you see I'm having fun?  I'll pretend I can't hear you" look.  It's going to be delightful when she hits 13.

We had birthday party today at an ice rink.  First time on ice ever for the boy.  By the end he'd figured out it was much more fun to build up speed & slide on the kiddie cart, then to actually try to stay upright.

Contact!

Evidence I laced up.
I knew I'd ice skated before (as distinguished from high school roller skating -
low lights, disco ball, and...was it Chaka Khan?  Yikes.) but it wasn't till we got on the ice that I remembered where - Gigi would take us (I think just me?) to the rink in the mall near her house,
when we (I?) was visiting.  Hi Gigi - we miss you!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

ERRRGGGGHHHHH

More car drama but I will wait till the happy ending - the @#$%^& dealership giving me my $288 back - to bore you with the $%^&*(#  details of my mo-$%^&* car.  [I might be just a teensy bit too annoyed to relay in coherent fashion].

In the meantime, this is why I absolutely adore my job:

Letter to Atty A (by way of explanation):
blah, blah, blah.... Our investigation into this loss has revealed information which may impugn your clients' testimony in litigation...  {claim denied}

Letter to Atty B:
We are in receipt of your letter of representation dated 12/1/10.

Enclosed is a copy of the letter sent to your clients’ prior counsel denying the claim.

Please also note coverage for this loss is uncertain; we have issued a reservation of rights to our renter citing her material misrepresentation of the facts and the intentional loss exclusion of the policy.

Should you wish to pursue the matter further we would be delighted to take your clients’ Exams under Oath.

And yes, I did italicize delighted in my formal business letter.  If you're going to try to commit insurance fraud, don't be so obvious about it.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

At least tomorrow's Friday.

I was going to work these into the rest of Twas the Night Before Christmas -something about clutter clatter  on the roof & our own little St Nick but maybe another night when it's not late & I didn't get beat up at work (figuratively of course) & didn't sit through have the privilege of attending the Christmas Pageant. 

My husband's dearest wish is access to a cherry picker and/or money for professional light-people to tackle the as-yet-unmolested roof line so as to single-handedly blow the Mid-Western power grid. 
At least the inflatables are all in the backyard.

 Griswald, Clark Griswald
Are we really down to only three inflatables?  Tragedy!

Did I make him wear the Christmas sweater again?  Hell yes!
Meanest mom in the world. 
But it's probably the last year I'll be able to Enforce The Cute.
Terrible picture, I know, but I have qualms about posting all the other kids' faces from the better shots on the internet.  Granted their parents are all on FB & are sharing them with their ex-boyfriend from 7th grade...OK nevermind, totally fibbing. There are NO better shots.  There's some video of my son not singing & looking stoic in the back row but it was far away with sketchy lighting, enough camera motion to make you seasick, and useless audio.  (whiney-whine-whiner!)

And lest my girl not get any post time, here she is...  I've been following her around with the camera trying to get an oscar-worthy clip to make my Great Reveal, but alas, no.  Will just have to keep you in suspense.  This, in the interim, is 16 seconds of her dancing in front of the oven in PJs (again?! still?!) and Morning Hair... .  She thinks her reflection is a RIOT.  Please ignore the clutter & dirty windows. 

video

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Griswalds have Arrived.

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
[Only momentarily not stirring. I had cheese & thus their FULL attention]

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
[Kids' stockings carefully cropped out because of the Crazies]

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
[Those aren't sugar-plums, those are the
 boy's seizure-inducing personal Christmas tree lights]
 [Here's a better shot - the Gingerbread man is from last year; the Santa is an upside down hand. Clever Kindergarten teachers!  Whatever will they think of next? 
Though I'm not clear why my son appears to have two thumbs]

And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
[Or been stuffed & mounted on the wall but, you know, same difference]
 

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
[Where I promptly froze my butt off because it was SO STINKING COLD.
No, it's not 3:48, we can't get it set to the right time zone. Really was 5:48 -
which is still early but that's mommy's Quiet Time]

to be continued...