Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tender Tennessee Christmas

A quick recap of our epic trip to TN for Christmas festivities:
  • It took 14.5 hours to get to our first destination. This was par for the course of other times we've made the drive and we were glad that baby didn't make the trip any longer. She didn't sleep well in the car, but was a trooper. She would wake up every time we stopped for gas. I'd take her inside to change her diaper and get milk as The Hater pumped gas in the car... and the people inside would look at me like we were aliens or like I was the worst mother in the universe for having my one year old at a gas station at 3 in the morning. Good times. She'd be awake for an hour to an hour and a half after each pit stop, then sleep for an hour to an hour and a half, when we'd have to get gas again and repeat the process. She didn't let Bryan play music as that made her even more fussy, so he made the entire drive in silence. He deserves a medal.
  • It was a tedious trip, but baby was a trooper.
  • She pet the calves, fed plastic fruit to a fake dog, and watched the snow.
  • We were able to have short visits with lots of family and friends that we've not seen since 2 Christmases ago when I was 6 months pregnant. (That feels like a thousand years ago.)
  • We are so very glad that we took our own pillows. The SUV was seriously packed to the hilt. We were slightly gagged that nobody listened to our space requirements regarding what they expected us to bring back. It worked out, but next time we're going to have to be more specific OR have them mail stuff back to us. (We're not going to sacrifice leg room again period.)
  • Baby slept better than either of us expected. She was up every morning about 5am (our time), but napped well and went down well at night. She also didn't wake up a dozen times in the night. I credit that to taking the sound machine with us. At The Dorks' house we ended up having to forgo the crib in our room to put her in her own room in the P&P. She wasn't used to Daddy's snoring.
  • My back did well on the trip. I'm almost to my pre-injury self.
  • Three states. Three Christmases. Six and a half days. (exhausting any way you cut it)
  • Baby did well, considering that everybody wanted to mess with her and that they were all well-meaning strangers. She warmed up rather quickly, sang her ABCs and Jingle Bells, counted to 20, and took people by the hand so they could "run run" in circles with her.
I think we're going to try to make this an every-other-year tradition.
This way we can have our own family traditions, too.

I hope all four of my readers had a blessed holiday. :)

I also hope that you have a fantastic New Year's!! I hope that 2011 brings you as many blessings as you need and as many adventures as you can stand.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


This past weekend our little family lit the Advent candles at church. On our way back to the pew Baby ran the wrong way. The Hater grabbed her and pulled her back. She ran the other way, my direction, so I grabbed her and started to bring her back, but ended up pulling my back the wrong way. I handed her to The Hater and ended upon my back - in the floor.

It was really cold this past Sunday - like 22 and windy when we left the house. But I opted for fashion over practicality and wore a khaki skirt with leggins and cute boots. It would be the day that I ended up on my back and in so much pain that I couldn't put my knees together.

Somehow I ended up pulling myself back onto the pew and sat there the rest of the service. The Hater brought me communion and I didn't stand for anything. The rest of the day was spent stiff and very uncomfortable. I took a nap when Baby did and could hardly roll over when she woke up from her nap.

Monday morning I was still pitiful. I ended up calling my PCP, who didn't have an opening that day. My back-up was out of the office, so I defaulted to another DO in the office. He couldn't get me in until that afternoon. So I went about my day, uncomfortable wherever I was, sitting or standing, having to use the handicap rail to get up off the toilet, dropping things and begging other people to pick them up for me. I just prayed that nobody would come into our office and fall, which thankfully they did not. Anyway, in my goings on I figured out that when I walked it hurt worse on the left side, more lumbar and sacral area.

The DO was so very nice. He adjusted my back and turned me inside out. He gave me flexeril and a really strong anti-inflammatory.

I'm feeling a little better every day, but still uncomfortable.

And I've taken the flexeril already tonight, and I'm feeling it. I think I'll be going to sleep very soon.
But wanted to document a few fun Baby quips:

"cha-ka-ka" is what she calls chocolate milk. She loves it. It's baby crack... and sometimes she gets it on the weekends. (Elmo would call it a sometime food.)

"sha-shook" is the word she calls things that she doesn't know the word for. She's using this less and less often since she's learning more words.

Sunday after church I was walking around in circles on because my back hurt and I was trying to keep it from getting stiff. I had an ice pack belted to me and was walking with my hands holding it, too, like the pregnant waddle without the belly. Baby walked with me with her hands behind her back. She kept saying, "Mama! Fun!" I told her I was glad she was having fun.

She's really into running in circles around the couch and wanting us to chase her. She loves that. "Fun!"
Now I'm really tard. Too tard to type. Wish me flexeril dreams.

Friday, December 03, 2010

motherhood: the gift that keeps on giving

This is going to sound crazy. And there's PG-13 graphic content... so if that will offend you or yours please overlook this story.

At some point in the past three years or so I either read or heard something about the great benefits of jumping rope. If I remember correctly the story went that if you jumped rope for 3 minutes straight at least 3 days a week you'd burn a ton of calories.

I was inspired and bought an adult-sized jumprope. It lived in a drawer in the garage for a long time.

Then one day I decided I was going to jump rope. I took it out of its box and it stayed on top of the dryer for a couple of weeks before I put it back in the drawer in the garage where it previously lived.

And then I think I got pregnant. Or something like that. That happened at some point because I remember thinking, oh, too bad I'm pregnant or I'd jump rope!

The timeline makes a big jump because I didn't jump while I was pregnant or while I was home on maternity leave or even after I went back to work. No, the jumprope continued to live in its abandoned drawer in the garage until this week.

I decided it was time to liberate the jumprope from the drawer in the garage. It was a perfect time because I'd already put the baby down for the night and The Hater wasn't here. I wouldn't have to give any random excuses. I took the digital kitchen timer to the back porch with me and my trusty jumprope and set it to 3 minutes and 15 seconds.

I can't really remember the last time that I jumped rope. I remember doing it in elementary school. I remember wishing that I knew how to jump double dutch, but never was taught. I remember not liking to run into the twirling rope because it always hit me. I remember trying to jump and name the alphabet before messing up. But this was all in early elementary school... in college I remember hearing a program called "Jump Rope for Heart" (link), but I don't remember anything about the program.

You can say I just assumed that jumping rope would be like riding a bike - something that I'd just remember how to do. It was cool outside, but not cold. I turned on the timer and assumed the jumping position. As the clock ticked down to 3 minutes I began jumping. These were my thoughts:

This isn't so bad. (20 seconds had passed)
This is harder than I remember.
Ew. I can feel it. (It being my period.)
Is it the jumprope messing up or just me? (For whatever reason I couldn't do more than 23 consecutive jumps without messing up, although that was the max -- most times I was excited to get to 19 consecutive jumps, but I probably only averaged 12 consecutive jumps. My inner second grader would laugh that I couldn't even make it through the alphabet.)
I can really feel it now. This is gross.
Oh no. I'm only wearing a panty liner - I hope that's enough.
This is the longest 3 minutes of my life.
I'm sure the dogs in the neighborhood next to ours are barking at me.
GROSS. I didn't consider that jumping rope was going to jumpstart my period.
How do the people in the movies do this so well?
How do second graders do this so well?
(Then, finally, the alarm goes off and I take what's left of my dignity and the jumprope back into the house. As I walk...)
Why are my pants wet?
Oh no. I think I've overflowed my panty liner.
(walking to the bathroom) Oh, yeah... I've overflowed my panty liner.
Gag. (to clarify - that was a thought, not an action)

And in the process of discovering why my pants and panty liner were wet I realize it wasn't completely full of period blood (it was there - just not the saturation factor). No, in fact most of the wetness was pee. I apparently pee'd myself while jumping rope. I'm 32 years old and I pee'd myself while jumping rope on my back porch.

That was a few days ago. I was eager to share this story with women with whom I work who have also had children. They're always telling me not to make them laugh or they'll pee their pants. For the record (because at this point I certainly have to clarify) I've never pee'd myself while laughing or coughing or or any other time that I wasn't intentionally hovering over a toilet with full intentions to pee (at least not since my third trimester, but that's totally normal). They were very supportive and laughed with me as I retold the story. They told me not to bother with Kegals because it wouldn't make a difference.

I didn't believe them. I've been doing Kegals like I was pregnant again. I've been a hard core Kegal queen. I can't say that it's made any difference yet, but it's certainly led me to believe that I'm being productive. Calisthenics for my pelvic floor.

So tonight I decided that I was going to jump rope again after I put the baby down. And I'm tickled to report that I lived through 3 more minutes of jumping rope. My top was 20 consecutive jumps, but my average was probably 14. Furthermore (and frankly the reason for much more jubilation), I did not pee myself!

The small victories mean so much.
It's truly a day to celebrate.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

short and sweet

I've never been more thankful for the state of Arkansas than I am today.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

if only

Baby loves helping me check the mail when we get home. She thinks it's a most amazing thing, especially if we see a school bus while we're at the street.

After we check the mail we come inside and she gets a sippy with 1% milk. I set my purse down and sort mail. She gets the junk mail circulars, political ads, and catalogs, all magical things.

Earlier this week I got a circular from Victoria's Secret. I opened it and glanced to see that they sent me a coupon for a free pair of panties. (Which is super exciting because there's no way I'd pay that much for them from my wallet.) I took the coupon off of the paper and handed it to her with some other junk goodies. She sat down on her step-stool with her milk in one hand, the ads in the other. This particular circular seemed to hold her attention and I was able to get a lot of things done without her pulling on my britches, begging me to pick her up.

She handed me her sippy with an, "All done". I was ready to throw away her junk mail treasures and she was eager to help. All this time she still had the Victoria's Secret circular under her arm. After we had everything else thrown away I asked her if she was ready to throw that one away, too. She wasn't, "No! No-no no."

She sat back down on her bench and opened it up. This was one of those typical VS ads with scantily clad women. I started to wonder if this was really the most wholesome thing for her to study. I asked again if I could throw it away. She wasn't ready to budge. I asked her if we could read it and she looked at me, seriously considering it. She turned the page and I asked her what she saw.

She pointed to a beautiful blonde model in her underwear and said, "Mama!"

I laughed. Only a child of one could make that mistake... but it still made me feel good.

And then we threw it away.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

lesson learned

I emailed some of you with little ones last week with a poll for tempra vs acrylic paint for small ceramic figurines for some surprise Xmas goodies for the grandparents. Baby picked out two very festive colors - royal blue and purple with glitter in it.

I rolled out some wrapping paper over the floor, changed us both into smocky-like clothes, handed her the toddler brush, and held my breath. She did so well... and we managed to get paint on every piece. I cleaned up and figured we'd do the next color the next night. She was excited, I was excited; it was fabulous.

The next morning I woke up and saw that you could hardly tell we painted them. They totally absorbed it so that the streaks of bright purple looked barely pink with a little glitter. Tempra paint was NOT the way to go (if you're thinking about a similar project, don't bother with it!)

So we were back to the drawing board... and her options changed to what acrylic colors I had in stock. She chose bright pink, lavender and UT orange. Over several sessions this weekend we at least have some of each color on each piece. We also experimented between using a bristle-ended toddler brush and the 1" foam sponge brush (I noticed very little difference between the two.).

In her infamous words, "Ta-da!"

She didn't eat that much paint, either - so that's good, too!

Speaking of eating, tonight we figured out that Baby really likes fried okra. She gets it honest.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

voting on values

My work has a policy where you can take off to go vote, so I plan on leaving a little early this afternoon. This morning, while driving to day care, I was trying to decide if I wanted to take Baby with me or not. She’s at fantastic stage where she repeats the end of every phrase I say back to me. So the convo goes something like this:

Mommy: Baby, we need to talk about something important.

Baby: im-pah-tah

M: Today is an election day, which means we have to vote.

B: vote

M: That’s right. It’s our civic duty.

B: doo-dee, doo-dee, doo-dee


I won’t give you the whole lecture, but I was trying to decide if I wanted to take her with me to vote. On one hand, she’s gone with me to every election where I’ve voted since she’s been born. And that is im-pah-tah. However, it’s not like she’s going to remember this; she won’t know if she misses one. But at the same time my parents did a really good job modeling this for us, and the nerd part of me wants to be able to tell her that she’s been to every election since she’s been born. It’s a conundrum. Do I push the longer drive and take her to vote in the afternoon when she's already fussy – or do I do it before I get her? In a moment of brilliance I just asked her…

M: Baby, do you want to go with Mommy to vote this afternoon?

B: No. No. No-no-no.

M: Well, that solves everything.

Except it doesn’t, really. Any time you ask her a direct question the answer is always no. The easy answer is obviously to vote before I get her because that would make my life much easier. But voting is a huge deal, not to be taken lightly… Can you really impress any character-building moments on a nineteen month old? It’s a quandary and I had the rest of the day to mull it over before I made an official decision.

Speaking of voting, I’m about sick of the robo-political calls. It’s like junk mail on your phone, and it really gags me. We had 4 msgs on our answering machine yesterday plus got 4 more yesterday evening after we were home, including one at 9pm. I wish that had been a real person because I would’ve gone off on them about how no candidate who claims to support family values could possibly think that calling a home that late on a school night was a good idea. But, alas, it was a robo call. The one before it at 8:30 was a real person from the “Junior Chamber of Commerce” – that was Steve, and I told Steve that we didn’t accept political calls after 8pm, that my husband and I would be voting tomorrow and to have a nice day before I hung up on him. I think there should be an opt-out type of policy for people to get their numbers off of the political call list. Personally, I’d like this to be based on your voting record attendance. If you’ve voted in the last three elections, you’re exempt from getting the phone calls (unless, of course, you’d like to get them, in which case an automatic referral to mental health services could be started). That way you’re rewarding the people who vote anyway. Furthermore, I wouldn’t get the calls that way, and since it’s my scenario, I’m going to devise a plan where I don’t have to get them.
And that was the big dilemma of my day. I decided to take her with me. At day care when I picked her up the workers gave me the what-in-the-you-know-where-are-you-thinking look. They told me that on the news it said that it was taking people 15-30 minutes after they got their ballot to vote. I explained to them that I'd already gone through and knew for whom I was voting and what I was voting for each of the state questions.

I ignored their doubts and went with Baby on a leash. The very nice poll workers tried to give her a sticker, but she wasn't interested. I walked up to the fancy cardboard podiums, picked up the marker, pulled out my cheat sheet, and was done in about two minutes. Ta-da.

Most likely she won't remember any of this particular day at all, which is okay because we've got to start somewhere. If nothing else she'll learn that the "I Voted!" stickers are worth the wait to get them.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

grand total: eight

So far we've had more spooks than ever and we're up to a whopping eight. Wouldn't you want to come to our house? We've got about twenty of these ghost milk cartons in the flower beds.

I was dressed as a cow walking around the front yard. I had a red glow stick around my neck and was wearing a cow bell (circa 1996 for the LCHS - Giles County "cowbell game"). One guy told me he could hear the cow bell a mile away... and I waved at every car I walked by.

Even then, people just walked past us. Seriously?

The Hater, who is way more into this than I am, was posed and ready on the porch:

He really wanted to scare kids. The first two kids who came up just laughed at him. The little girl dressed as a fairy told him, "You're not really that scary." I told him he was, indeed, scary. But, really, after a little girl laughs at you there's really not much redemption to be had.

Although one little boy was too afraid to take the candy from the bowl.

We're glad to have had eight kids... but we're still disappointed. The HOA acted like we should prepare for waves and waves of kids. We were worried that the one bag of candy wouldn't be enough. (So the two additional bags that I bought were pretty much not needed at all. This is best for the kids who have come because they've all gotten huge handfuls of candy.)

Baby slept through all of this fun. She couldn't help it because we've had a huge day. We started out at the zoo. We were adventurous and did parts of the zoo we've not done before... which yielded in getting up close and personal with a white-tail deer, an ostrich, and bears. She loved it and we captured some FANTASTIC pictures, not to mention found a few more areas where we can let her run without worry. Great trip - the family zoo pass really is one of the smartest things we've done.

Oh, let me mention that Baby wore her skeleton sweatsuit to the zoo. I had on my Ghostbuster shirt. We're embracing the holiday spirit.

We came home after the zoo for a much-needed nap, but woke her up a little bit early so we could put the fairy costume on her and take her to the mall to trick-or-treat. She loved it. It didn't take long at all for her to figure out that people were giving her things to put into her plastic jack-o-lantern. She really liked it when they handed her the candy and she put it in the pail herself. We spooked the entire mall and she walked most of it. There were hundreds of kids in costume; all three of us had fun. We took her to the petri dish to play, but there were too many bigger kids playing rough, so we didn't stay long. We did, however, discover the escalators at Macy's and spent about twenty minutes going up and down, up and down, up and down.

She's been in a fabulous mood, despite our all-day adventures. Tomorrow will be easier because our plans focus on going to church, then spending the rest of the day being low key and doing laundry. Good times.

And now I'd like to report that we're up to 10 spooks! Double digits. This is the big time.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

another fun day

Baby's congestion is getting better, and with that she's also been letting us sleep later than 5am. And let me tell you, that wake up call was getting OLD. The last two days she's not gotten up until 6:20-6:30am, which means The Hater has gotten to sleep later. It's amazing how much better you feel when you get a better night's rest.

While he entertained her I finished my shower and getting ready, at least partially. He handed her off and I prepared baby cereal and fruit while he went back to bed to catch fifteen more minutes of shut-eye. He jumped in the shower while we ate our bites (breakfast at 7am). When he finished we handed her off again and I finished my makeup and dressed.

In a whirlwind we changed her, packed the car, and headed out for fall pictures. We had so much fun. We started out in costume, then played on the playground. Baby was bummed when we left the playground, so the great ideas of posing next to the first letter of our last name just didn't work out. However, the chocolate ice cream DID work out. (What one year old is going to turn down their nose to ice cream?) My cousin had some ice cream pictures earlier this summer and we loved the concept. By the time we were done Baby had ice cream and sprinkles just about everywhere. It was a great day with perfect cloud cover -- a little wind, but when isn't it windy in Uglyhoma? Our favorite photographer made it fabulous - and it'll be a tough decision to pick which one will be our Xmas card picture.

After all of that sugar we took Baby to Pet Smart. I'd read that they were having a huge adoption weekend and were hoping to get a ton of animals adopted. They had tents set up in the parking lot and she had a ball running around looking at and petting all of the doggies in the cages. And the kittys in the trailors. She had her leash - doggies had their leashes - it was a great way to run off some extra sugar-induced energy.

From there we went to TGIFridays (lunch at 11am) and the guy who sat us was not very nice. I really like their pecan-crusted chicken salad. The lettuce is shredded, the dried cranberries and pieces of mandarin oranges make me happy, the chicken is yummy - it's great. But it's huge, so I have leftovers in the fridge. The Hater got a sandwich that he said was a disappointment. Baby ate mandarin oranges and a little bit of cheese pizza. By the end of the meal the sugar had worn off and she was tired.

She fell asleep on the way home. It was simple getting her changed and put down. By the time I had her down The Hater had brought in all of the things to put away. Once that was done I laid down to enjoy her nap, too. She slept for about 3 wonderfully magical hours. It was fabulous. The Hater brought her in to see me after she woke up. I pretended to be asleep, and she climbed over my shoulder and started kissing me. It was super sweet.

We played and split a huge apple for a snack. The Hater went out to get a few last minute groceries (milk). Baby and I stayed home and played and read stories.

Supper at 5pm. We played for a little while outside (with bubbles!) while The Hater grilled burgers for us to eat when the work week starts back. Baby and I ran around the yard, then came inside for a bath (with bubbles!). The big decision after that was to wear the horse pajamas or the Dora pajamas. The horse won out this time.

She's not nearly as fussy with the lotion as she used to be. Usually if I hand her a book she's great. I have most of these memorized, so I recited it and she turned the pages while we were lotioning. (Incidentally, The Nose Book won out over The Foot Book tonight.) Her new thing is to pull her feet up and try to put her toes in the book after we've "read" it a few times.

Tooth brushing was easy. I gave her the regular toddler-sized toothbrush and one of her stuffed animals to brush their teeth while I used the silicone tooth-brusher over my finger with baby toothpaste to brush hers while she's still on the changing table. It works for us. I sing the broadway hit toothbrush song (to the tune of For She's a Jolly Good Fellow) while we brush: "We brush our teeth in the evening. We brush our teeth in the evening. We brush our teeth in the evening. We do it every day. // We do it every day. We do it every day. We brush our teeth in the evening. We brush our teeth in the evening. We brush our teeth in the evening. We do it every day!" (Don't you wish someone sang the brushing song when you brushed your teeth?!) (In the mornings we sing the same song, except substitute morning for evening.)

Because we played outside we didn't have much time to play after we had her ready for bed. We sat down and read our usual four night-night stories. After the last one, per her usual routine, she slid off of the couch, said "night night!", and walked to the kitchen where we give her teething tabs and milk. We also give kisses in the kitchen. Then I took her to her room and rocked her while I sang the night-night song. When the song is over I say "night-night", turn on the sound machine, and lay her down in the crib. She said "night-night" as I hand her the baby she sleeps with and cover her back with the buh-buh that Nana made her. I turned on her sound machine to 45 minutes of the ocean and snuck out of her room.

We know that we're fortunate that for now our bedtime routine is easy.

Now we're watching football. We're cheering for our Vols and are excited at how well they've played in the first half. It's halftime now, so we're hopeful that they'll come back out and continue to play well... but historically our 2nd half isn't very good, so I'm nervous. We're also cheering for Mizzou to beat Zero-U.

The cat is cuddled to my left. My arm is warm from her love.

It's been a great day.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Baby really likes that it's dark outside in the mornings because she can see the stars and sometimes the moon, too. Somehow she knows that they're special and not something we can see every day. She points and laughs and says, "Stas! Stas!"

This morning on the way to daycare between singing songs and our usual routine I told her that with the weather change we probably weren't going to see any stars this morning. We talked about clouds and rain and how sometimes the stars are hidden, but they're still there even when we can't see them.

As I pulled into the driveway and got out of the car to get the baby I was totally shocked -- there were more stars in the sky than we've seen since it's been dark in the mornings, and more than I've seen since I've lived in the city. For a dark city sky it was breathtaking. Sure enough, I pulled her out of the car and she squealed with delight. "Stas!!"

The mornings when we can see the moon, too... that is pure joy.

If I could bottle an ounce of that glee we could all retire. It'd be the new anti-drug.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

milk matron

The Hater is out of town. It's terrible for everything, but especially when we need to know if the milk has gone bad. I don't drink milk - it all tastes bad to me. So anytime we need to know if it's time to throw away the milk that straw falls to him. Except he wasn't here today to be the judge. I wasn't about to taste it, or give it to Baby- so down the drain it went.

I hate throwing away food.

The Hater will be back tomorrow. I'll come up with something else sour for him to taste so he doesn't feel left out.

Been a busy day! This morning Baby and I went to a 5k/1mi fun run at church. We did the 1 mi - she did about 3/4 of a mile on the leash, but then she ran around and was crazy for another hour. I have no doubt that she did well over a mile before she even climbed into the moon bouncer. She played in there for a long time before we went to the mall and played some more. Needless to say she had a fantastic nap. Soon as she woke up we had a snack and then went grocery shopping to get more milk and some other sundries.

Sushi and sugar snap peas for supper. Played with balloons, read our stories, and she's now konked for the night. She's got a cold that I'm sure has come about due to recent weather changes -- hopefully she sleeps through the night despite her coughing.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10/10/10: World Zombie Day

Today is World Zombie Day, and don't you know that we celebrated! The Hater and I have a vision of a family picture of us decked out in full costume and makeup, but we didn't pull out all of those stops today. We just did a plain jane family zombie picture - all of the facial expressions and posturing with none of the blood. It was fun for us and Baby got a kick out of it, too.

(peppers about to be broiled - Bobby Flay would be proud)

Our crock pot has an adventure waiting for us: pork tomatillo stew. It's got poblano and jalapeno peppers, onions, hominy, lima beans, tomatillos and pork loin. It's been simmering for about nine hours. When we peek under the lid it smells good -- but looks terrible. Fingers crossed that this isn't a big let down.

It's just so green. So very green. Maybe we should call it Frankenstein soup instead.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Baby's vocabulary is growing every day. Just six months ago I was keeping a list of her words - and when we went to her 12 month appointment I had a list of about 46 words that she regularly used. Now we're beyond a list and I wouldn't even wager a number.

Sometimes out of the blue she'll just say something and The Hater and I will look at each other with wide eyes. A few days ago it was "Hoo-ray" paired with both of her arms up in the air. I asked at day care if they taught her hooray, and she said no... but then remembered that the last verse of "If you're happy and you know it" they shout hooray. However, she never says it there.

One day last week after supper she looked at me and said, "Pee-Pee Potty Pee-Pee". I jerked her up and ran to the bathroom, clumsily pulling off her diaper (wet), and sat her on the potty. "Potty. Paper! Paper!" I handed her a square of toilet paper. That was about it... nothing else exciting happened. I put a clean diaper on her and bragged on her for telling us that she needed to potty.

Mind you we're in no hurry to potty train her, especially not before our trip to TN over Xmas. We won't be making that trip with her in training pants until she's more experienced at going potty.

We're having day care dilemmas. Still love our lady, but may have to move. It's so hard to think about finding someone else to take care of your baby. It just makes me want to throw up.

Baby is becoming both more fussy and more sweet every single day. She is truly a child of routine, and the closer we can stick to it, the more content she is. Just typical stuff.

She likes to climb and run and throw and make her babies kiss. She likes her bedtime stories in the same order every night. She likes to say "no" to every question asked. She knows the difference between "up" and "down", but says "up" every time she wants to be in a different position, even if that means putting her down. She knows the magic words and will say them on cue.

Last night she said her name. Not with the correct enunciation, but it was the most beautiful thing I heard all day.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Code Red

This afternoon I was working away on the computer when I heard the overhead speaker call a Code Red on the building adjacent to where I work. I jumped up, grabbed our fire extinguisher, and ran over there. Got around the corner to see the rent-a-cop sitting at a table doing paperwork.

Me: This was a drill?!

Him: Yeah. (glad I came so they could fill a blank that someone showed up)

Me: Then why didn’t you say DRILL? I wouldn’t have lugged the extinguisher over here if I knew it was a drill.

Him: (old guy – not paying attention) (has me sign the form that I showed up)

Me: Do I at least get a sticker for it?

Him: Honey, you know I don’t have any money to give you.

About this time there are people carrying their purses coming out from the stairwell. They stop and look at me and say, “It’s just a drill? You should have said that.” (as if I had something to do with any of this) I told them I didn’t know anything about it and pointed to the extinguisher that I brought with me.

That’s when the rent-a-cop looked up and said, “She didn’t say DRILL?”

The valet guys laughed at me when I walked back by them. They asked me what I thought I was going to do. I told them I was going to put out the fire. I think they would've laughed if I wasn't so serious when I told them what I was going to do. Then I asked if they'd used one before, raising the extinguisher. They hadn't.

I was shocked. I thought everybody has used an extinguisher before. We had to do it in high school Chemistry; it was a requirement. The local fire station built a 4x4 fire pit in the front yard of the school, lit fires, and we took turns with an extinguisher putting it out. It took the scary out of what really isn't a big deal.

I don't usually go to the drills. When I was a CNA I went to all of the Code Red calls because I was the only one who could run with the extinguisher. But I've not even thought about grabbing the extinguisher since then - but, then again, I've not been around anywhere they've called a Code Red either.

Is this just me? Have any of you pulled the pin and aimed for the base of the fire? Was it not a requirement for anybody else?

I went back to work, but wasn't nearly as productive as I was before I was interrupted.I was going to save the world, but I didn’t even get to pull the pin out of the extinguisher. My superhero skills will have to be used another day.

And now I'm worried that I'm going to have to build my own fire for Baby when she's in high school so she can learn the PASS acronym and grow up to save the world from fire drills, too.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

0.11 mR/hr

This is a Geiger counter. It has a little wand attachment that you can use to wave against things that are radioactive to measure the activity. This isn't exactly the picture I wanted to get, but when I picked it up and it started beeping I wish I'd gotten a picture of the physicist's face who was sitting next to me. He about came unglued, "That's not supposed to beep!"

I explained that I'd intentionally been exposed to I-123 the day before for a scan. Then he got super excited and wanted to help me calculate exactly how radioactive I was. I just wanted a picture of the screen with the needle, but he was insistent that we also show the knob because that's the number you need to do the math. So here you go... and the answer is the title of this post.

Then I asked how much radiation a person would have to be exposed to in order for them to glean superpowers. I love this physicist. He's a nice guy and can explain things to me in a way that I understand them... but he's not from this country. He looked at me, "Super? Powers?"

me: Yeah, you know, like Spiderman got his powers from being bitten by a spider. The Hulk got his powers from radiation exposure. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles got their powers from walking through radioactive waste. How much exposure do I need to get some super powers? Is it cumulative?
him: Oh, no. It's not cumulative.
me: So you're saying that super powers are based on a one-time exposure and not lifetime cumulation?
him: It's not cumulative.
me: So you're saying that my chances of getting super powers out of all of this is not likely at all.
him: No. Not likely.

I told him he broke my heart, that I was counting on telekinesis.
I think he had no idea what I was talking about.

And then about three hours later I received fantastic news... my Tg is down from last year and my scan only showed normal uptake. No 2nd opinions or surgeries are needed at this time. I'll continue my 3 month follow-ups and we'll do our yearly rigamaroll of labs and scans again next fall.

Thanks to everybody for their well wishes, prayers and good vibrations. It all helps.

The Hater and I are doing the happy dance. We're going to have ice cream later to celebrate.

After we came home I told Baby the good news. She was so excited that she pooped all over herself. Two blowouts in less than twenty minutes.

We live a most blessed life indeed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

check your neck

This morning I dropped my drawers for shot #2 of Thyrogen. (Shot #1 was yesterday.) I always tell the guy that I wore my sexy panties for him, although there's nothing especially sexy about them. We always laugh, and he always tells me that if I were anybody else he'd get one of the women in the department to give it to me. We don't actually say the c-word, but we both know why I'm there.

This afternoon I swallowed 5 pills with about three sips of water. The pills were 1.5 mci of a radioactive isotope that goes by the name of I-123. The purpose of these pills are to get sucked into any remaining cancer tissue, so that when we do the scan tomorrow those cells will glow.

Before I took these pills I had my blood drawn, one tube looking for my Thyroglobulin level, which is basically my tumor marker. It was an exceptionally good stick today.

The best case scenario is the Thyroglobulin level being under zero and nothing on the scan. The next best scenario is at least the same level as last year and no new places of uptake on the scan.

The scan is tomorrow morning. Not sure when I'll know any results - either of that or of the tumor marker.

Last week was my panic. Over the weekend I actually forgot about it. This week I'm just going through the motions, but I'm not anxious. Acutally, the shots have made me tired. Too tired to even play Halo: Reach and get aliens.

So before I konk out and dream of nil Thyroglobulin levels let me take this time to remind you what I remind you of every September: this is thyroid cancer awareness month. Do yourself a favor - the next time you're at your doctor's office ask them to "check your neck". It's really as easy as them touching your neck while you swallow.

It can save your life.

And while you're at it, try really hart not to get cancer because (in the words of my esteemed college roommate) it sucks donkey balls.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Here it is officially fall and our yard is finally greening up. With the grass has come dandelions and other such exciting weeds. Baby had a total blast running around and pointing at all of them, followed by picking one, shoving it up her nose and saying "Mell Good!". I know where she learned to pick flowers, but I'm not sure where she learned to smell them.

It was about 90 degrees outside, windy and overcast - about the prettiest it's been in a really long time. The Hater is home this weekend and we just can't decide where we want to go this weekend between the storms. Hopefully it'll be nice enough for us to get all kinds of fun exciting things done.

Baby gets so upset when it's time to come inside. To hear her you'd think she was being beaten.
Tomorrow she'll be 18 months old. How times flies when you're having fun.

Friday, September 17, 2010

tomorrow's dessert

Found some pretty strawberries at the grocery today. Got them sliced and oozing with splenda in the fridge. We'll have that over some vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce for dessert tomorrow night. Yummy.

Now that's done I'm working on catching up with my blogging AND watching Project Runway. It's one of my guilty pleasures. (The best line from this week: "Jackie Kennedy would not have camel-toe." No, she wouldn't. I doubt that John would've been into that.) Top Chef is my most favorite all-time tv show. My Sister got me watching PR, and we email each other every week to critique and share opinions about it. ... And I like Vampire Diaries. It's totally fun - I've always liked the bad brother better than the safe brother. I'm going to try to get The Hater to watch it with me this fall when it starts back (but he'll never admit it if he watches it with me).

Question number two - because this is my random post where I'm answering questions that other people have asked me... If I could go to any celebrity's wedding I have no idea whose I'd want to see. I'm not good at movie star's real names or social lives. I'd want to go to one of those weddings that are at a beautiful destination where they fly their guests there to stay with them for a week before the ceremony, then wine and dine and entertain them that whole week. Maybe somewhere on a beautiful beach or a snow-capped mountain. And I want them to invite stars that I know so we can hang out on the beach or on the thing you ride up the mountain when you ski back down (the lift?). I want it to be a beautiful storybook ceremony (with childcare provided), and a crazy awesome reception.

Question three... So far in my life, what have I done that I'm most proud of... This is tough... The other day when I wrote about musicals I was reminded of the semester that I did Godspell -- because I also took 22 hours and made the Dean's List. That was hard core. I'm also proud of my first semester after I finished my ed degree where I took 21 hours of all sciences. Holy Catfish that was hard. Those were my two single hardest semesters... But even considering that, so far as schoolin' goes I'm most proud that I made it through nursing school, passed my NCLEX on the first try, and am now a RN. (I spent many tearful nights over hot mugs of chamomile and st. john's wort teas, doubly brewed, wondering if I could do that). I'm also proud of all the volunteer work I've done and look forward to Baby being big enough to go to projects with me.

Question four... I think the greatest invention that's come about in my lifetime has to be the internet. Nannotechnology is super cool, too. And cell phones. (Prozac, invitro fertilization, heart stents, robotic heart surgeries, pathology stains, IMRT, CT scans, and all the new chemotherapy regimes they've come up with.). But probably the greatest invention is the WNBA... just kidding. :)

Question cinq... At this point in my life if I could speak any language fluently I'd want to speak Spanish because it would be really helpful for my job. An unpractical language choice would probably be Japanese so I could watch those scary movies without the subtitles.

Question six... Is it better to be smart or satisfied? That's a trick question. If you're smart, you know that there's more to life than to be satisfied. If you're satisfied, who cares if you're smart. I think I'd rather be smart because if I were satisfied there'd be no reason to keep learning, to try to do or be better, no challenge.

Question sept... How far would I travel for a really good meal, one I couldn't get easily... On really hard days when The Hater tells me he'll go get me supper from anywhere I want I always ask him to get me Rick's BBQ in LBG. But 12 hours really is too far to go for the best pulled pork sandwich on earth. The problem with being in the city is really you don't have to go that far to get anything. Before Baby came we made a few day trips for certain meals, but our anti-traveller has kept us questioning even a 20 minute drive from home. So I'll have to say the most we've done is 2 hours, but you really have to KNOW that it's worth it or you spend the 2h drive back just being flat disappointed.

Question huit... Should Han Solo have shot first? Absolutely. It was the original - Lucas should've known better to change that part. Give me a break.

Tomorrow's plan includes a trip to the zoo and TN football. Life is good.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I took baby with me to a graveside service this morning. This was after I called three people to make sure it wouldn't be obnoxious if she came with me.

I've been to several funerals and graveside services since I've been in OK. They're very different from funerals I've been to in TN, where I've been to probably more than a hundred funerals/services. I don't know if it's actually cultural differences or if it's the natural evolution these social events.

On my way back home I called Mom and asked her if she'd noticed some of these changes. My mother, bless her heart, frequently inhabits LaLa Land. But she did suggest, "Well, you know, you are from the Bible belt. It's different here."

This amuses me because OK thinks they are the Bible belt, too. So does KS. And WV. And probably every other state that has a rural area with an active church.

Claiming to be the from the "buckle of the Bible Belt" just doesn't have the same ring to it when you move somewhere and they're quick to tell you that, no, they had that imaginary designation.

But these are just observations, not really the story I wanted to tell. (However, if you, too, have noticed an evolution of funeral services, please let me know that I'm not going crazy.)

The service lasted a little over an hour. I wasn't really prepared to entertain Baby in my arms for that long. I took my sling and she was content to pull four plastic bead necklaces out of her little black purse, put them on, take them off, put them back in the purse, and repeat for what had to be 25 minutes. After that point she was done being held. I opened up my bag and gave her a snack, but she was ready to get down and run.

I pulled my baby leash out of the bag and strapped her in. We walked around behind the service (so not to be that much more of a distraction). I was secretly proud that she didn't want to pick all of the plastic flowers from the vases on the flat-to-the-ground headstones. Although I would have argued that she would've gotten more enjoyment out of plastic flowers than, say, dead people; we didn't have to have the "no, honey, that is disrespectful" conversation. She was content to walk around and dust off the leaves and dirt from the headstones.

About 25 yards away from where they were burying my friend's Dad there was a little white Mary statue. Baby saw it and led me over there. She was babbling and picking up leaves and doing her own thing. I was paying halfway attention and also reflecting on cultural differences and similarities in burying the people we love.

About that time we were over at the statue. She stopped and looked up at me. I looked at her. She said, "Babies?"

I looked down. She was right.

We were standing next to the statue of Mary, who was overlooking more than twenty infant graves.

"Yes, honey. These are the babies."

And she continued to play and dust their headstones from leaves and dirt.

This really jerked me out of my daydreams. How had she known? Although I'd like to think that she's brilliant and was doing the math on the headstones, I know that's not the case. I also know that there's no explanation. She just knew.

Like all things with a toddler - we moved on to play with something else, to walk in a different part of the cemetery. But several times in the next thirty minutes she'd look over to that area and point, "Babies?"

My boss and I carpooled to the service. After it was over I told her about the babies and she went pale and got big eyes, then changed the subject. I tried to bring it up again, but she didn't want to talk about it.

There were other infants buried in the cemetery - scattered in with everybody else. She didn't say anything else in particular about those graves. But she knew when they were all together.

That's my different and strange story for the day.

Friday, September 10, 2010

perpetual it

I was always one of the slow kids, which made me a prime target for being "it" when we played tag. I was tagged because I was easily caught. And it always gagged me when the fast kids would pretend to be slow so you could catch them, but then as your outstretched hand came within millimeters from touching their jacket they'd throw into high gear and run away, laughing over their shoulder. Leaving you standing there, still it, realizing that you were always going to be it because you would never catch anybody.

Oh, yeah, I've got great memories of playing tag...

But blog-tag is different because it's not about escape. With that said, I have been tagged and nobody is saying "it's okay, you can catch me" or "nyah-nyah-nuh-na'nyah". Kelly over atNeffajawea has tagged me with a fabulous four-question game.

The instructions are simple. I answer her questions, then make up four of my own. Tag other people. Don't tease them if they're slow.

Okay, I made up that last part. But, really, it's not nice to tease the slow kid who is habitually itjust because she can't run.

I: Do you like musicals?
Oh, yes, I heart me some musicals. In fact, I wonder if my husband put you up to asking me that particular question. We will celebrate our 11th date-a-versary this October, and he has endured many many hours of me singing show tunes followed by asking him which musical it came from. But, you know, he's gotten REALLY GOOD at naming them after all this time!

When I was very young my parents would play The Music Man on record and my sister and I would dance around and sing with it. That was before I saw it on VHS. It (and, yes, I mean the original 1957 version) will always be one of my favorites. In fact, many times when I change Baby's stinky diapers I sing "Shipoopi".

Every morning when I get her out of her crib I sing, "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" (Oklahoma!). We also sing "Hair" when I fix hers in the morning (Hair). Many times we sing "I Feel Pretty" (West Side Story) while getting dressed. At least three times a week she hears "I'll Cover You" (Rent) between at least a thousand kisses on her face and tummy.

We do lots of "The Sound of Music", too. From "How do you solve a problem like Maria..." to "Doe, a deer, a female deer"... to "I am sixteen going on seventeen"... and "These are a few of my favorite things..." (but never "The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music" because that one always sounds pretentious...)

A "Sound of Music" aside: when I was little we'd watch this one every time it came on tv. After the big wedding scene there was always a commercial break and Mom would turn off the tv and tell us it was over and time for bed. Imagine my surprise when I was watching it in college with my roommate when I turned off the tv and said, "ok, now what do you want to do?" only to find out that the movie wasn't even close to over yet! And, what's worse, there were bad Nazis!! Talk about being embarrassed. I have a friend now who thinks it's the funniest story that I didn't know there was a whole political subplot to the movie until I was twenty.

I have "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and was actually thinking about that one this week because it's almost time to get it out and make The Hater watch it again with me! I love the concept of a crossover cartoon musical. If someone would come up with a horror zombie movie musical I'd have to own it, even if it was terrible.

Mom took me to see "The King and I" in Nashville when I was little. My favorites from that one are "Getting to Know You" and "Shall we Dance?"

I consider "Mary Poppins" to be a musical - and one of my favorites, too. "Let's Go Fly a Kite", "Just a Spoonful of Sugar", "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"...

My college roommate and I used to always watch "Little Shop of Horrors". She was a soprano and I sang alto - so we'd go through the whole musical and she'd sing the high parts and I'd sing the low parts. We even went to an open mic night on campus and sang "Suddenly Seymour" (She sang the Audrey part and I sang the Seymour part.).

"My Fair Lady" is one of my favorites, too. In high school I got made fun of for knowing the songs in this one. A lot of the guys called me Eliza because they were douche bags. At the time it really bothered me, but now I only wish someone would say, hey, you look a little like Audrey Hepburn. Or, even better, you sing like her!

I also love "Gee Officer Krupke" from "West Side Story". It cracks me up. The choreography is just fantastic for that song.

And it wouldn't be a good overview of musicals if I didn't at least give a hat tip to "MoulinRouge", which really had to grow on me because I didn't like at first, and the "Chicago" remake. Both are great, but don't really lend to singing to a toddler.

Oh! I almost forgot! I sang in "Godspell" in college! I sing her songs from that one at least two mornings a week on the drive to day care - usually "Save the People", "Day by Day", "Light of the World" or "We Beseech Thee". (In fact, my VHS of the performance was about to die so The Hater took it to be converted to DVD for me last year because he's the greatest husband in all the land.)

So, in short, yes, I like musicals. They're almost all my favorites.

II: Have you ever been thrown a surprise party?
No. At least not that I remember. If I was thrown one I apologize profusely, but have no memory of being surprised. :)

III: What is the WORST thing you've ever done?
This morning I turned right on red at a place where there was a sign that said I shouldn't do that! I'm such a rebel.

IV: What is your dream vacation?
I used to think I wanted to go to Greece. Don't get me wrong - I still think that'd be awesome. But it'd be even better if it were a stop along the way to going to all kinds of faraway places. I'd like to see it all - and not just the typical tourist stops - on the perfect vacation I'd see countries and cultures all over the world. I want to eat in their dives and worship in their churches. I want to play with their kids and hear their stories.

I want to go to a really old city and touch buildings that are older than our country. I want to feel the masonry and let it whisper to me its secrets. I know - nerd alert - but I would totally geek out if I could hold a book that was bound thousands of years ago. I'd follow all the rules and wear the gloves and not even breathe on it and treat it with the utmost respect and gentleness as if it were a sickly preemie. But I want to hold that book and at least turn one of its pages.

I don't want to run with the bulls or climb tall mountains or swim in specific bodies of water. I don't really want to see a specific event.

I'd just like to experience their cultures.

But that's the once-upon-a-time-in-a-land-far-far-away dream... my more realistic dream is to be able to take some time off and go to Glacier National Park with my husband and my daughter. I went there briefly for an afternoon in college when I was at a research conference in Montana. I can't begin to tell you how beautiful it was - Lake McDonald is the most beautiful body of water I have ever seen. I'd like to take some time and really enjoy the park.

My Four Questions
A. Tell me a story about a vivid memory you have when you were in the third grade.
B. If you could go back in time and visit the you who was a senior in high school the night of your graduation, what would you tell them? Would you give them any advice?
C. If you could go back in time and have a drink with any person in history, who would you visit and what would you drink? (If you choose a Biblical person that's fine, but you also have to answer with a nonBiblical person, too.)
D. What children's book would you say best describes your personality? Why?

Consider Yourself Tagged by the Slow Girl
1. Jane over at Greetings from Kentucky
2. Kelly over at Neffajawea (because you didn't say "no tag-backs")
3. Ely over at Ely Here and There
4. both Bills from Bills Stuff and My Journal
5. Whomever would like to be tagged because I don't want to leave anybody out.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

traveling with a toddler: lessons learned

Four days. Two states away. One seventeen month old toddler.

This is what I should've known:
  • I am of a new generation that doesn't need a wristwatch because I use my cell phone as a watch. If you're going to be traveling by air, it behooves you to go buy a cheap wristwatch. When you're on the airplane you have to totally power off your phone - meaning you are blind with your time perception. This makes an hour flight feel like it takes six times as long.
  • Pack lots of entertainment, but know that the magic of the airplane and airport will provide lots of entertainment and you probably won't use all of what you take with you. I didn't use half of the goodies I packed, but I was glad that I had them. (This includes both snacks and toys.)
  • Spring for the extra seat. The two flights we took to our destination had empty seats and I was able to sit her next to me. This was fantastic, wonderful, magical... but on the way back she ended up in my lap. It wasn't a pretty sight. I think it would've been easily managed if she was still little - not sitting on her own yet - where being held is always a happy place. But with the toddler - uh, no - bad idea. I'd read that other people suggested getting their own seat, but I was sure that wasn't the best idea. I was wrong. Don't make my mistake.
  • If you have a toddler, invest in a kid leash. (especially if you have a lengthy layover) It was nice being able to let her think she was running around, but having some control over where she went. It was a great way to let her burn some energy.
  • Once you arrive at your final destination, don't plan on being busy the whole time. Seriously plan for down time. I messed up with this and paid for it the last day when she screamed and was on my hip most of the day. We will do better for our traveling at Xmas. This will most likely make the people you're visiting frustrated, but their frustrations will be much easier to deal with than toddler frustrations that are exhibited by tired tantrums and the refusal to go to anybody but Mama.
  • Expect changes in the sleep routine. This is different, and for a toddler who is tired, different is scary. Expect it to take much longer to put them down, expect them to wake up multiple times in the night, expect them to wake up earlier, expect them not to nap as well. Even if your angel is a pristine sleeper... Expect the worst so you won't be disappointed if it's bad and you can be pleasantly surprised if your little darling adjusts quickly.
  • Take and plan for healthy meals and snacks so you don't fall into the vacation trap of eating junk. Just because baby's not had Aunt Mildred's pie doesn't mean she needs Aunt Mildred's pie. Even if Aunt Mildred pouts. Try to stick to what routine you had at home so far as treats go.
  • Routine. Routine routine routine. Routine is crack to a baby - take it away from them and they get the shakes and go into withdrawal. If you have them on a routine, do everything you can to keep them on the routine. Don't budge on bedtime or mealtimes.
We had a good visit. She did great, except for the last day. The last day put the terrible in doosey.

I've not recovered from my trip yet and am already daydreaming about my naps this upcoming weekend. And my neck and back are caddywompus from lugging 28 pounds of Baby on my hip throughout the Houston airport yesterday for several hours (which is NOT kid friendly, BTW).

As long as I'm talking about airports, the Nashville airport had a kid play area - one of those petri dishes with foam toys that they can climb and slide off of on top of a padded floor. It was fabulous. Also, the Kansas City airport, although bad, is much better than it used to be. They have tvs and a snack area now. You still have to leave and come back through security to use the restroom, but you can at least sit down in a padded chair and get something to drink.

This has been a Mommy PSA.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

independent film woes

We had two indie films from our netflix queue come to the mail that we watched this weekend.

They were both strike-outs. So much so that we are no longer trusting the netflix star guide. This is the last time it leads us astray.

I'm not against all independent films.

I wasn't a huge fan of Pulp Fiction, but it had some great scenes and dialogue. Same goes for Reservoir Dogs. I really liked Before Sunset. And most of my favorite scary movies would've never made it if it wasn't for independent film companies (like The Blair Witch Project - not one of my all-time-favorites, but definitely a fun movie).

The Believer (not as bad as the 2nd one, but still not great) and Mean Creek (terrible, but had a good soundtrack), however... not worth your time. Take them out of your queue.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

feeling creative?

Anybody interested in a 365 photo project?

Holler if you are!

Monday, August 23, 2010

it's football time in Tennessee, we hope

We would like to address football in the state of Tennessee. It is, after all, that time of year again.

Dear Coach Dooley:

You've not really had the opportunity to meet us yet. We're your big orange fans in Uglyhoma. Since you're new we really don't have much critique to share, yet, but that will most likely change with time. No offense intended, that's just how the ball bounces.

We would like to wish you best of luck on your first season as the head coach of our Vols. We loved your press conferences; you always seem to say the right thing to the media. We hope that your sentiments carry over to the field.

We know the first couple of seasons will be rocky. (They don't call it Rocky Top for nothin'.) Know that no matter what happens the first few seasons, we will support you. We acknowledge that you have a big mess to clean up (Kiffin + Fulmer).

You're an SEC guy, and we love that. We also love the way you've handled players and discipline issues so far. We hope to love your offense and defense just as much.

We're hopeful. Word has it that east TN is hoping for 7 wins. We'd of course like to see that, but we're also a house divided. The Hater would be okay with that. I, on the other hand, would be happy with a clean 6-6, or a not shabby 5-7.

We're eager to see where you're going to take the program. Take care of our boys.

The Hater and genderist
and Baby and Zoloft the cat

And in other news... a letter we've always talked about doing but never have done is to the Titan franchise...

Dear Titans Owners, Coaches and Players:

The second half of our year last year was great. We're looking forward to this season.

We know the defense won't be as strong as years past. But the offense looks like it's going to be better than it has been in years. We have the best RB in the NFL, a good group of young receivers, a great offensive line, so the key is really Vince Young (no pressure).

This is the last year of Vince's contract, and we're hoping for a breakout season. When he was signed four years ago The Hater said that we were on the "five year plan" to the Superbowl. Vince, don't let us down. You looked good at the end of the last season and you're playing well in the preseason.

Note to our defense: Play smart. Someone will step up and fill that right DE. We hope the secondary will improve; that will be key to a successful season.

We look forward to seeing a few of Fisher's trademark trick plays!

Thanks for making our Sundays more exciting.

The Hater, genderist, Baby and Zoloft the cat

It's not football time if we don't acknowledge the greatest QB of all time...

Dear Peyton Manning:

You can do no wrong. I think you are awesome.

Please don't take it personally that you're not my FF QB. You were gone before I had a chance to take you for my team.

If we can't cheer for the Titans our #2 team to support is the Colts. When you play each other I cheer for you and The Hater cheers for the Titans.


One more note, because SERIOUSLY, someone should say it...

Dear Bret Farve:

I have never in my life seen such a whiny, needy, attention-craving crybaby of an old man.

It's poor sportsmanship to hold a franchise hostage, and that's exactly what you've done the last several years.

I'm going to retire.
No, wait, I'm not.
Oh, yeah, I think I'm going to retire.
Okay, I'll come back, but this will be my last season.
Maybe after I skip all the preseason workouts and practices.
How come there are no reporters calling me this summer? Where's the tv crews? I'll fix that!
No, never mind, I'm going to retire.
I'll come back if you send teammates to fly to Mississippi to beg me and offer me extra money.
But it's not about the money. I'm a country boy who wears Wranglers and throws the pigskin.
Aw, shucks, folks, I just want to play football.
No, wait, I'm going to retire.
Okay, you talked me out of it.
Well, Idunno, maybe? Let me shoot a commercial with my wife first.
This is going to be my last season. For real this time...

Give me a break. You're press grubbing like Paris Hilton and it's not becoming of you.

I'm not saying you're too old and shouldn't play anymore. You don't need me to tell you that you had a good season last year. I'm just saying you need to man up and make decisions. Don't be tacky and hold franchises hostage. You're just not cool enough for that to be an okay thing to do.

I'm still going to root against you because I think you're a douche bag for your flip-flopping.

genderist and The Hater

PS: It makes me laugh when you throw interceptions. Please keep doing that.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

cantaloupe julius

At the farmer's market yesterday we scored some Peaches and Cream corn (my favorite! the first time we've found this kind since we've been in OK), the most perfect peaches, and a too-ripe cantaloupe. Baby liked the cantaloupe, but The Hater and I decided it needed to be in a smoothie. It ended up being really good.

And it's a great way for us to show off our excitement that football season is so close we can almost taste it...

This morning when we were out playing on the swingset Baby was most excited to see a hot air balloon. We watched it for a long time. It would've been great if we could have been closer for some better shots, but such is life.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

flow it, show it

The Hater and I have been talking about Baby's hair for a while. After more than the little baby peach fuzz came in, her hair actually started growing at the back of her head first. It slowly filled in from the back to the front. We knew that eventually it would get long enough in the front to need a hair cut, but we've just been waiting for that point.

This week we hit that point. We noticed her pushing hair out of her eyes several times. Some strands went below her nose. It was simply time.

My cousin and her daughter had a good experience at one of the kid-themed hair cut places. However, Jane and her daughter had a terrible experience (I can't remember if this was told to me via emails and chat windows or her blog. Can't find it on her blog, but it could be there.). The Hater and I talked about this in depth and decided to throw the dice and try the place that was meant to be kid-friendly.

I should note that growing up my sister and I had terrible Dorothy Hamill bowl hair cuts. We had uneven bangs in the shape of a rainbow from where Mom cut them for us. (I can remember her taking us to the hair dresser, who would look at us with a sad face while Mom explained that she just gave us a little trim...) If that wasn't bad enough, strangers always thought we were boys. Boys.

Other hair memories include both Mom and Dad jerking out tangles from my hair with a fine tooth comb. Because apparently there was no such thing as conditioner in the 1980s. This was also one of the first scenarios when Mom would tell us, "Beauty must suffer pain," a reason as to why the tears should have been worth it. In hind sight, that was probably one of the beginnings of my indifference to making an effort. But that's another story for another day.

With all that said, Sister bought Baby some spray-in conditioner at a baby shower before Baby was even born. It's the dawn of a new day and there's no reason to jerk out tangles anymore.

The Hater and I have decided that we don't want anybody to think that Baby is a boy. Our plan for now is for her to have at least shoulder-length hair, at least until she's big enough to have an opinion about what she wants to do with it. All bets are off when she has sense enough to have her own opinion.

That's probably the understatement of all understatements.

So we went this morning to the kid-themed hair cut establishment with plans to just get her bangs cut. We like the length of it and the curls in the back - the purpose of today was just to get it out of her eyes in the front. We ordered the "bang cut" and a nice lady led us back to her station.

The decor was decked out. Baby was intrigued. I sat her down in the pink padded chair and the hair cut lady buckled her in with a buckle. She covered her with the hair drape apron and turned on the tv. Baby was sitting quietly, taking it all in.

And then the lady picked up her water-squirt bottle and sprayed the back of baby's hair. About that moment baby looked at The Hater and I, took in a slow deep breath, dropped her bottom lip, and proceeded to scream. I snapped one picture and then felt too bad about being the paparazzi during such an austere moment. Other parents gave us sympathetic looks. We tried to console baby, but she had nothing of it until she was out of the chair and in my arms.

They gave her a prize of bubbles and her bangs are no longer down to her nose. On the contrary, it's business in the front and party in the back. She's sporting a mullet for now, but we just had to spare the curls in the back! (Don't tell her heart, her achy-breaky heart... she has to have something to complain about on whatever social media exists in 30 years. "Oh, yeah? Well MY Mom gave me a mullet! A mullet!") Eventually the hair on the front and sides of her head will fill in and she'll outgrow it.

I would recommend the kid-themed salon. If you prepay haircuts ahead of time they end up being cheaper than the cheap places in the mall, plus they get a treat at the end. And, what's possibly my favorite part, you can avoid DIY rainbow bangs with an inexpensive bang-only cut option.

We hope the next time won't be so bad, but I'm not going to hold my breath.