Saturday, January 31, 2009

Is It Wrong?

Is it wrong that I actually felt lighter on the way home from Howie's foster mom's ranch last night? I'm disappointed that we're too lazy to stick it out with him, but it's what is best for everyone. He won't stay "homeless" for long. He's very cute.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Letter to Howie's Next Family

Howie is a sweet dog. He was born May 1, 2008. He is very smart and loyal and loving. He doesn’t shed much unless he needs to be brushed, and then it comes off in little clumps. He’s a good eater and likes rawhide chews and peanut butter. Peanut butter is great when he has to take medicine; he doesn’t even notice the pill in the peanut butter. He has a problem with gas that gets better when he eats a high quality, low ingredient dog food like Natural Balance.

Howie completed Puppy Training at PetSmart and did very well. He’s incredibly responsive and can learn new things with just a little effort. He knows to come when he’s called; he knows “sit” and “down;” he will shake if you say “paw” and put your hand down for him; he’s working on “stay” and “leave it” and will do “drop it” most of the time but especially if you offer him something better than what he’s got. He has been working on learning not to jump up on people but hasn’t quite figured it out.

Howie has been an indoor pet. He loves people and other dogs. His favorite things to do are play with the 2 little girls he lived with and go to the dog park. He also enjoys walking on his leash and fetching toys that have been thrown for him. He really likes toys that squeak.

We are heartbroken to have to give him up and will miss him a lot. We know he will be a wonderful addition to your family.

This is an actual letter I wrote to send with Howie when we take him back to his foster mom tonight. I haven't told Pete yet. The reasons to find him a better home outnumber the reasons to keep him here, even though the main reason to keep him is a big one - we committed to him, and we feel guilty and terrible for breaking our commitment. We'll miss him but mostly I think it will be a relief...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

When You're Seven...

It's hard to be what everybody expects you to be when you're 7.

You're supposed to be smart and strong and sweet.

You're not supposed to tell lies (or "forget" the truth) or be snotty.

Everyone has all sorts of advice to help you be what they want you to be: "Put your toys where they go so they don't get lost," "Practice your piano so you can have a good lesson," "Wear socks with those shoes so your feet don't hurt," "Brush your hair now so it's not so knotted later."

And they're always telling you "no" about everything. Or at least, "not right now" and you're supposed to just not care.

You're not supposed to yell or shriek or sit on your head on the couch or stand up at the table while you eat dinner.

You have to get yourself dressed and put on your own socks and gather your things in time to catch the bus every day. Even when you're sooooo sleepy.

It's hard. Very hard.

Poor Pete...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What's On My Mind, you ask?

All sorts of things are on my mind. Here you go.

First, I don't think Husbandguy likes his job. He doesn't seem happy about being there and he doesn't hesitate to call off for the littlest reason. He's fine and everything, but I wish he liked going. I get it, though. Apparently these engineers are even less social than the engineers he used to work with. Hard to imagine, right? Still... But he goes and works and gets paid and just found out that he might be able to work from home sometimes so maybe it's getting better.

Also, 2 out of the last 3 times I've taken my shot (for MS), I've had flu-like side effects. I don't normally. I outgrew them years ago. I only get them when there's something else wrong, like a really bad cold or infection or something. But I don't currently have a really bad cold or infection so I'm not sure what's up. Last night I even had a little fever. It sucked.

And then, I am a terrible person. I contacted Howie's foster mom and asked her to take him back. Nothing is final yet, but it looks like we're going to be pet-free soon. It's for the best. It really is. He's too big and he eats poop and nobody helps me train him or clean up after him and we spend more time telling him "no" and "off" and "leave it" than we spend enjoying him and he barks at the neighbors in their own garage all the way across the street and jumps up on anyone who comes into our house, including us, and knocks Lulu down all the time. I know most of his problems are our fault. I feel really bad for quitting and know he could be a great dog if someone took the time to train him right, but I'm not having any fun being the only one who does that and it won't work if I'm the only one who does it and I just can't deal with the poop-eating thing. The other day I went out in the yard and cleaned it up so he could be out there without me having to worry and he apparently went out and pooped first thing (I didn't see him do it). Then he came to the door and barked like he wanted to be let in and when I opened the door he ran over to the new pile and started eating it. It was like he wanted to be sure I saw him. That was the day I got in touch with his foster mom. The last straw. I suck, but it will be sooo much less stressful here once he's gone, but I suck. I know.

So there you go. That's what's on my mind. I'm really glad I'm seeing my PhD next week.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Have You Missed Me?

Sorry. Nothing particularly interesting has been going on. I mean, I had my birthday and got a Nintendo DS and the Grandpa and Meme got a puppy and it snowed (I think I mentioned that) and I went for an ECHO stress test this morning because I'm particulary sensitive to PVCs, apparently, and they've been bothering me recently (the cardiologist said nothing is wrong with my heart, though), but other than that? Nope. Nada. Oh, and Poppop got laid off, but he's handling that fine. And Pete went with me to church this week and really liked it and will be coming with me next time, too. And the dog stinks, but I can't bathe him until tomorrow afternoon. Also I think he's started eating poop. We might need to talk more about this later. I had a dream last night that I said out loud that I don't want him anymore, which isn't true, exactly, but in the dream it didn't feel wrong to say it. Let me think about this a little more and then I'll try to clarify. Don't worry. Unless Husbandguy insists, we're not getting rid of our puppy. Just day-to-day stuff really. I did find out that President Obama is planning on giving a weekly address and posting it on every Saturday, which is the closest thing I've found to the Barack Obama Show so I've bookmarked it. You should check it out.

What have you been doing?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Can't Believe I Watched the Whole Thing!

It is uncharacteristic for me to get intensely involved in much outside of my family. Pop culture, world affairs, politics... I tend to prefer the highlight reel over actual events. Sure I'm interested in things, but the little details? Do they change me in some way? No? Then who needs them! This is why newspaper subscriptions are a waste of money for us. Sometimes I wish this wasn't the case...

However, I spent yesterday morning glued to the TV. I did all kinds of Insufficient Mothering to my children. I stayed in my pajamas until after 1:00. All so I could watch the world change. The only other time I remember being that swept up in anything was in September just over 7 years ago. The world changed that day too.

Tuesday was a snow day for my girls, the first snow we've had this year, a whole inch-and-a-half. Thank goodness Husbandguy ditched work. Otherwise who would have played outside with the girls and the dog while I waited for (now) President Obama to finish with church? And thank goodness they didn't let us watch them eat lunch or I never would have gotten my shower! These are the things I could normally skim over, by the way. But not this time for some reason.

I realized at one point during President Obama's inauguration address, that I was actually listening to what he was saying. Not in the way that I "listen" to a minister give a sermon or a committee chairperson give an update. I was really listening to the words and his meaning and I cared about it.

I'm excited to see what happens next. What a mess he's in! And it's not his mess. But the whole world is waiting for him to clean it up...

Funny Aside: This morning I was talking to Lulu about her snow day and asked her if she remembered what was on TV all morning. Her answer: "The Arack Obama Show!"

for my grandma - ii

“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.” – Maria Montessori

Post removed by author

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

More Evidence of Her Genius

This morning, Moomie came over for a few minutes to drop off my birthday present (thank you, Moomie!). She was just going to stay for a little bit because the girls and I had plans to go meet Husbandguy for lunch. Pete's been wanting to check out the cafeteria in his building. When we were getting ready to leave, Lulu announced that she didn't want to go - she wanted to stay home with her g-ma. Moomie was fine with that (thank you, Moomie!), but Lulu is only 2 so we asked her a dozen different ways if that was what she really wanted. Apparently it was. She never changed her answer. As I was heading out the door with Pete, Lulu suddenly wailed, "Noooooo!" I thought she'd realized we were leaving her and she was going to change her mind. I thought she'd say, "I wanna go toooooo!" Like an average 2 year-old would. When I asked her what was wrong, this happened:

LL: I just have a question.
MN: What's that, kiddo?
LL: Tomorrow? Can I come with you to lunch with Daddy?

I made a deal with her that she and I would have lunch with Daddy later in the week because how could I not? My Very Small Child wanted 2 things. These things conflicted in such a way that she couldn't have both today, and she knew that. And she, with her Very Small Giant Brain, solved this problem in a very grown-up way. All on her own.
  • I want 2 things.
  • I can only have one now.
  • I'll make sure Mom knows that I'd like to have the other one later.

She's not 2. Nuh-uh.

Update - 7:55PM: Just before dinner, Lulu explained to me that the reason she had Lip Smackers smeared all over her face was that she was too young to know better.

One Goal --> half-check

Remember? I was going to check out the Unitarian Universalist Church? It was one of my goals for this year? Remember? It's actually a 2-part goal; I am also going to join the choir.

So, this weekend, I got up on Sunday and came up with 2 Really Good Reasons* not to go and then... I went anyway. Just to irritate Husbandguy (if you ask him). It was the experience I was expecting and that's a good thing. The service was MLK-themed, which was especially appropriate considering the big change coming on Tuesday (and MLK's birthday and all). The lay leader, who was black, and the minister both talked a lot about slavery and race and Obama. There were some poignant moments (the woman sitting next to me, who happened to be a friend of mine, got kind of choked up at one point). The minister talked about the fact that the White House was built by slaves and wondered if those men ever imagined a president living there with the same skin color they had. And there was laughter - the lay leader told a story about the time his father, who was a "Ford man," was given a Chevy. I'm not going to try to retell it, but trust me, it was funny. And there was music, an African drumming group who didn't look particularly authentic but who did a great job, and the choir director led the whole congregation during the hymns. He let us get through the first verse and then praised how well we'd done and told us to put down our hymnals. That made me kind of uncomfortable because I like to read the music, not just the words, when I sing, but I tried anyway.

After the service, I grabbed a cup of coffee and gathered with a bunch of other newbies in the minister's office for a little conversation. He does this monthly, apparently, and this Sunday just happened to be the day. Lucky me! Then, since the choir didn't sing at the early service, I thought I'd try to sit in for the first part of the second service and sneak out after I'd heard the choir. The minister suggested I sit at the back of the hall, which was the opposite of what I was thinking but turned out to be the best place to sneak out (it's where the late people sneak in). I was moderately impressed with the choir. They are skilled enough that the song I heard was 4-part harmony sung a cappella, a challenging task for a small church choir. I think I'll go to a couple more services before I jump into the choir, though, just because that's how I am.

Next week, when their early service is a family service led by the older youth, I'm going to take Pete with me. I think she'd like it. Usually she would go to Religious Education class with the other kids during the service. I mean, she could come to the service, but I think she'd enjoy the RE class more, especially since she's friends with my friend's daughter who goes. You know what I mean. But next Sunday the service is designed for everyone. So hopefully she'll come. I'm going. Either way.

*One was bad weather (it was sleeting and raining and snowing a littlelittlelittle bit); the other was that if I didn't hurry I wouldn't have time to take a shower (but I actually did).

Sunday, January 18, 2009

LL Says:

MN: Are you pooping, sweetie?
LL: No. Go away. Leave me alone.
MN: Please go poopoo in the potty.
LL: I don't want to.
MN: Well, I don't want to change a poopy Pull-Up. When do we get to do what I want?
LL: After tomorrow!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

For Future Reference

If you want to give someone a Nintendo DS right after Christmas, buy it before Christmas because they are really hard to find in early January.

Also, since I'm not getting my little dog for my birthday, I would like a Nintendo DS and some cool puzzle or hidden object games.

Friday, January 16, 2009

For Pete's Sake

Pete's having a puppy party this weekend for her birthday and she wanted a dog cake. No. She wanted me to make her a dog cake. It looks simple, I know, but I don't know anything about cake decorating and that little pup was a lot of work and stress. At one point I found myself formulating a back-up plan in case I failed miserably. Pete said, "It's gorgeous! I LOVE it!!" So I guess I won't need my back-up plan.

My Argument Is This:

If we were to get one of these cute little sisters (10 and 12 lbs), she would keep Howie from getting bored and getting into trouble and she could warm Husbandguy's lap while he watches TV in the evenings. I think that's a pretty good argument. And my birthday is next week...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

In the past, when Rhymes-with-Tennis's mom said "I'm going to [local Italian restaurant/bar]," after the PTA meeting, I would have waited for her to also say, "Are you coming, [Mommy's Nintendo]?" which she wouldn't have done because the invitation was implied in the original statement, right? So I would have gone on home, wishing I could also have gone to [LIR/B] but not wanting to seem pushy and assuming. But when she said it last night, I said, "Me too!" and went and had a beer with the ladies. And I didn't feel pushy and they didn't act like I didn't belong there and we all had a good time. And PhD will be so proud of me!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How Would You Say This Passive-Aggressively?

"I signed us up for training classes on Sunday at 3:00 starting February 8th. Please call your dad and ask him to watch the girls for us on Sunday afternoons."

I've worked so hard on just saying what I want that I couldn't even think of a way to say that passive-aggressively. Can you do it? Show me in comments...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Training the Dog

Have you seen that show "It's Me or the Dog"? It's on Animal Planet. I'm kind of addicted. Only kind of, though. I don't actually know when it's on for real, but I keep coming across it late at night, and it always seems to be on for 4 hours in a row and I have to watch it. Anyway...

There was this one episode where this family had these obnoxious dogs who wouldn't leave them alone when they ate. They would mill around the table, begging and even putting their paws up on the table. Victoria Stilwell (the trainer) fixed this behavior by making a rule that the dogs weren't allowed at the table, or even in the dining room, while people were eating. She "body blocked" them from coming into the room and then put them in a down and taught the people to do the same, and eventually the dogs got it and mealtime was peaceful.

Howie didn't exactly have the same problem. He never put his paws on the table or anything. In fact, most of the time, when we ate, he would just lie under the table, which I thought was actually kind of cool. But every now and then he would get up and kind of circle one of the girls and start licking their chairs and trying to lick their hands, and this was not okay. It was especially not okay when he stole Pete's toast from her (she wasn't sitting straight in her chair and he might have thought she was giving it to him, but it still wasn't cool). So imagine how pleased I was to see that episode! "Watch this," I said to my family a few days later, and I led Howie out of the kitchen and put him in a down and sat back at the table. When he tried to come back in, I blocked his way and praised him when he stayed out. He got it pretty quickly, really. In fact, after just a few times shooing him out the first meal he didn't even try to come back in. We've been doing this with him for several days now. Even if just one person is sitting at the table eating, Howie is not allowed, and this evening at dinner he didn't even try to come in. As soon as we started gathering to eat, he laid down outside the doorway and we didn't see him again until we were done.

I pointed it out to Husbandguy because he's always complaining about the things Howie does wrong, but he didn't seem at all impressed. I think I'm going to have to mention it again and make sure he gets that the dog is trainable if we all work at it.

The Black

Pete and her BFF had a sleepover this past weekend (BFF came here). They watched The Black Stallion, which Pete got for Christmas. Have you seen it? It had been a while since I had. I had forgotten that the movie is kind of light on dialogue, which isn't necessarily a good thing when you're 6 and 7, so I was keeping an eye out for first grade boredom and was surprised to see that neither little girl lost interest. They watched were swept up in the whole movie. BFF even took it upon herself to explain the parts that she thought Lulu or I might not understand ("The ship is tipping over." "The horse is going to save him." "There was a storm. That's why the ship tipped over."). I was worried for a moment because there is potential for the movie to have a very sad ending, and I wasn't sure how my not-quite-emotionally-savvy 7 year-old would handle that, but it didn't. But here's the thing: She cried anyway! Moomie, she's got it too! That Super Empathy you and I share, you know? Poor kid. I've learned to squelch mine because Husbandguy just laughs at me, but she broke down when the credits finished and crawled into his lap and he hugged her and rubbed her back and didn't laugh at all. What, you ask, did I do? I left the room. Seriously. Because it breaks my heart to see my girls honestly emotional (crocodile tears don't get to me), and I had to busy myself seeking out a pillow for BFF so I didn't get all weepy too. She said she liked the movie, but she wasn't sure if she wanted to watch it again, but I bet we do...

Monday, January 12, 2009

I Smell Like Coffee

You may or may not believe this, but before today, I had never met a friend for coffee (you may believe it because I'm pretty sure I mentioned that I have a social anxiety problem; you may not because I'm just so darn likeable how could that be true? right?). Anyway, I did this morning. I met one of the moms who did cooking camp with me this past summer and we just hung out and talked for more than 2 hours. I had so much coffee that I was all jittery and had to pee twice, but it was okay because it was fun. Super Fun. And I found out that she and her family have been going to the Unitarian Church I mentioned when I was talking about my goals for this year, which is just one more reason for me to go check it out!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Pete!

This morning I had an appointment and had to write down the ages of my children and had to think for a second and not write age 6 for Pete because when she woke up this morning she was already 7. She is very excited about being older and said she definitely feels 7.

Happy You Day, Sweet Pete!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Backward Was World My, Moment a For

This morning I had some stuff to do at Pete's school in the parent center, volunteer-y stuff, and I took Lulu along with me like I always do have. When we started doing this, Lulu was 3 months old. I just plopped her car seat carrier into her stroller and rolled her all around the school with me. People would stop and say how sweet she was and blah blah blah. It was what was normal. And she was the littlest of all the sibling children at Pete's school. Eventually (and obviously) she got bigger - too big to be restrained in a stroller. But she was always still the littlest or at least among the little ones. Today, though? Today she was the biggest little kid. The BIGGEST. You know, the oldest. She was sharing her book with another little one, who is not yet 2, and I looked down at my baby and realized that she wasn't there! There was a kid there who looked just like her, who is just as sweet and just as dramatic and just as smart as my baby, but my baby wasn't there. It felt surreal for a moment. Then my vision shifted and this, this big girl helping out, "reading" to and directing the play of the other kids, wearing underpants, this became normal.

You're probably getting tired of all the my-kids-are-growing-up posts (those of you who don't have a grandparental relationship, I mean - maybe you too), but I can't help it. See, in 2 weeks I'm going to graduate to the next demographic. When I check my age range on surveys or whatever, I won't be lumped in with the 20-somethings anymore, and I think it's making me all nostalgic and whatever. And having big kids of my own isn't helping.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

If You're Interested...

Lulu was wearing the same clothes when I picked her up this afternoon that she was wearing when I dropped her off this morning.

A New Year - A New Lu

My littler big girl apparently did some growing over her winter break because the girl I dropped off at preschool about an hour ago was not the same girl I picked up there 2½ weeks ago.

Those of you who were with TIBM from the start may remember that the drop off line at preschool has been kind of an issue (look here or here for a reminder if you're interested). Well, for the past few months Lulu and I have been walking together up to the drop off line and she's been going inside without me. It was a struggle to get her to agree even to this, but we'd been doing it pretty well so I suggested that we start driving through the drop off line when vacation ended and she agreed. I thought that she would change her mind this morning when actually faced with the thing, but she didn't. I was totally surprised. She even said things like, "I'm going to walk in by myself!" and, "I'm a big girl now!" She didn't hesitate for a second, even when Ms. J had her all unbuckled and ready to hop out. She blew me a kiss (less than I wanted, but good enough) and hopped out (literally hopped) and said, "Bye, Mom!" without even looking back. Aw! Poor me!!

And when she was getting dressed this morning, I simply asked her if she wanted to wear a Pull Up today. "No," she said. "Panties," she said and then proceeded to tell me exactly which pair she wanted ("I have Pooh Bear panties you know, Mom. I'll wear Pooh Bear.") And she didn't hesitate about that either. She wore panties yesterday all the way up to her nap and didn't have an accident. She almost went poo in them, but I caught her and she opted to not poo over going in the potty (it's okay, though; it'll come out eventually).

And she keeps reminding us that we told her we would start looking for a big girl bed soon, which we will as soon as the bigger big girl is all done turning 7. Holy crap...

Sunday, January 4, 2009


She swings her arms
When she walks -
A little soldier
On stubby, plump legs.

A girl with a purpose?

Listen to the noise the new shoes make on this floor.
clip clop clip clop - stop - clip clop clip clop - stop
Then clipclopclipclop - stop

You march too. Okay?

Vaca Do-Over

You may recall that we went to the beach at Christmas time last year (if not, click here) and that it wasn't a ton of fun for me because Lulu was sick the whole week. We tried again last week and it was way better this time. Sometimes do-overs work out great. Like one time when we were newly dating, Husbandguy and I were playing pool and I totally miffed a shot and I batted my eyes at him and asked for a do-over and he, being all in love with me then and whatever, said okay and then I cleared the table - that was a great do-over. And this one was pretty good, too, but not great. I'll just tell you the not-great stuff up front and then we can move on. Okay?

Nana showed up at the beach with a cold. Nana is not a particularly healthy person in the first place so this cold, which would have just been a nuisance for most people, sent her to urgent care our 2nd full day there. They gave her a breathing treatment and a prescription for an antibiotic and Mucinex and sent her back to us with the instructions to come back 2 days later for a follow-up and to go to the emergency room if she got worse in the meantime. Well, she got worse, like didn't-get-out-of-bed-all-day worse, and I thought she should probably at least go back to urgent care early if not to the hospital, but it wasn't my decision. So the day she was supposed to go for the follow-up, Poppop and HG took her as soon as she was awake (and I took the girls to breakfast by myself - more about this later, probably) and the urgent care doctors sent her directly to the emergency room where she was fairly quickly (for an ER) admitted with congestive heart failure and pneumonia. And there she stayed. For the rest of her vacation. We went to visit her a couple of days later, well HG and Pete did while Lulu and I saw the ER doctor ourselves about croup. In the meantime, though, and croup aside, the rest of us had a pretty nice vacation.

We ate at a couple of buffets. HG and his family like buffets. I do not. I DO NOT. Meme very astutely pointed out that my quality over quantity preference probably has something to do with my dislike for them. There's more to it, too, though. Like, they're expensive and I don't eat nearly enough for them to be cost effective because I don't like to be uncomfortably full. Especially not uncomfortably full of fatty, lukewarm, overcooked, salty food. Buffets just don't seem sanitary, either. In fact, one time I watched someone who worked at a buffet (not at the beach - this was a long time ago) wipe lo mien noodles back into the pan from the counter thingy! EW! We haven't eaten there since. Or at any buffet, really, except for last week. Because apparently you have to eat at a buffet or 2 when you're at the beach. Bleh.

But that was it, really, for the not-great stuff. Everything else was cool. The weather was pleasant pretty much the whole time. We stayed in a nice condo on the 21st floor with an ocean view from the balcony. We played on the beach several times. I found some pretty sea shells, and Pete took some great pictures (that's hers up above there). We went swimming in the pool. The breakfasts were all good, for the most part. I drove the girls to breakfast once so HG could help his dad with his mom. Then the 3 of us went to the aquarium, and I realized that a year ago I wouldn't have been able to do all of that as easily as I did this time because I would have been all anxious and neurotic about driving HG's car in a strange town to places I wasn't familiar with. Turns out vacation is nicer if you let yourself enjoy it instead of worrying about everything. Pete had an early birthday dinner at Planet Hollywood on New Year's Eve and then there were fireworks. And there was shopping and coffee and other wonderful things.

I think I might see if I can talk Poppop into renting a house for next year instead of the condo so high up. But if we end up there again, I won't complain. Unless we have to go to more buffets...

Saturday, January 3, 2009


We'd only just started
And hadn't gone far
When it finally fell out
Right there in the car.

Pete thinks she looks funny without her most recently lost tooth (in the car on the way back from the beach). I think she looks adorable like she always does when she has holes in her smile.

If you click on the "tooth fairy" label at the end of this post, you can read the poems I wrote for Pete's first 3 lost teeth. I'm trying to commemorate them all in verse...

Friday, January 2, 2009

More Sleeping and Walking

You know Pete walks in her sleep, right? Especially when she's stressed or excited or overtired. My recent favorite was when she came out of her room, went back in, came out again, went back in, came out again and then went and laid down on the couch next to Husbandguy and propped her feet up and went back to sleep. She looked more awake than usual so I asked her if she was and she said, "Mm-hmm?" I disagree...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

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