Parents of the year, right here

I left out one wee little detail about our lake vacation. I shall confess it now: our daughter, our one and only child, the lass whose adoption is still being paid for on a ten-year loan, she-who-only-wears-dresses . . . fell in the lake on the second day.

I was in the cabin making biscuits at the time (no, that is not a euphemism for anything - I was actually making biscuits), so clearly the incident was solely her father's fault. While we had been very conscientious about putting a life jacket on her when were out on the boat, we had not been requiring it when she was simply standing on the wooden dock with one of us. We should have known better, though, because A is not a graceful, coordinated sort of child. She frequently smacks her head on door frames and recently, somehow injured herself WHILE STRAPPED IN HER CAR SEAT.

At the time of the lake incident, she was fishing off the dock with her dad and somehow tumbled backwards into the chilly water. I have to imagine that his heart skipped a beat, though he will not admit to even the slightest measure of panic. He jumped into the lake immediately (the punchline: he had his cell phone in his pocket) and pulled her out. The water is only about three feet deep near the dock. He brought my sopping, teary child into the cabin, and I comforted her by . . . taking her picture.

We gave her a shower and changed her into some dry clothes. She didn't seem to be overly traumatized. She has been taking swim lessons at the Y since she was a baby, and although she doesn't technically know how to swim yet, she is not afraid of water. Looking on the bright side, she had a good story to tell when she went back to Kindercare. A tumble into a body of water builds character, I say. And she got a brownie out of the deal.

As for the cell phone, it started working again after it dried out. So, all's well that ends well. And for our next trick, we're planning to let her tip backwards in her chair.

Star Light, Star Bright

As is the custom when staying at a lakeside cabin, we spent a couple of evenings gathered around a hard-won fire (wet wood is so particular about burning). We roasted marshmallows and ate s'mores. Well, technically I am the only one who ate fully assembled s'mores. The kid just ate marshmallows straight out of the bag and her dad just ate the chocolate. We had a flashlight with us so that we could see as needed once it got really dark (and if you've ever been hours away from the city, you know that that kind of dark is DARK). A is obsessed with flashlights so of course she was waving it around and aiming it directly in the dogs' eyes.

"Hey, put it under your chin and say 'it was a dark and stormy night,'" I suggested.

She held the beam under her chin. "I'm gonna tell you guys a ghost story. But don't worry, it's only a little bit scary."

"What is your story about?" I asked her.

P muttered under his breath: "I dunno, but I know it's gonna be long."

The kid sat on a stump and positioned herself. "There was a big monster and it ate the baby ghost . . . " she began. Indeed, the story went on for quite some time. Not only did the horrifying monster eat the baby ghost (and who knew that ghosts are, in fact, edible?), it went on to devour the ghost's siblings as well. The ghosts' mom and dad were devastated and yet relieved not to have been consumed themselves. Then, inexplicably, a little robot entered the story. And then a fireman. The fireman turned out to be the most diabolical character of all because, when the little robot's batteries died, the fireman flatly refused to change them. I got a little lost at that point. Maybe it was the sangria, or maybe it was that the tale did not, in fact, make a whole lot of sense. Every time we thought the narrative was nearing its denouement, she would say, "And thennnnnn . . . "

When the tale finally did end, we looked up at the stars and noticed that they seemed more numerous and bright than the sky over our regular old house. A tilted her head back and said, "Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight."

"You have to keep your wish a secret," I reminded her. She nodded.

"You wished for ice cream, didn't you?" P asked her. Normally, she does tell us what she wished for and nine times out of ten, it is ice cream. This is good because, on occasion, we can actually make her wish come true and that makes us feel like darned good parents.

"I always used to make the same wish," I told my daughter. It was true. I made the same wish from 1998 to 2005. Every birthday cake, every fountain, every star in the sky.

"What did you wish for, Mommy?" She looked up at me expectantly.

"Don't you know, goober?" I looked back at her and smiled. "I wished for you.

The funniest thing I saw while on vacation

If you are here for a massage (nudge nudge, wink wink), don't even think about coming through the front door with the respectable people.

MOMS NIGHT OUT well actually AWAY!

For moms night out this month a few of us Moms went to a local resort. They were having such great end of the summer discounts at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass that it was too good to pass up. We had a great room with a view of the pool, golf course, and mountains. We enjoyed the beautiful pool area and water slide that afternoon. That night we took the little boat ride to the casino and had dinner there and lost a few bucks gambling. It was so nice to sleep in and we enjoyed breakfast around the pool again and some more fun in the sun. It was hard to go back to reality, but we all missed our little ones. :)

Spray Pad Day

We had a fun morning cooling off at the Spray Pad before the mall opened. There were a lot of falls this time though which made for lots of tears. While some had fun in the water area others went to the play area to have more fun. It was a great turn out for fun in the sun and shade!

Be Kind to Humankind Week

August 25th – 31st is “Be Kind to Humankind Week”. Be Kind to Humankind Week (BK2HK) is the annual celebration of kindness that is recognized globally from August 25th-31st each and every year. It is basically a week long holiday. Of course we suggest practicing kindness daily, but this is the week you can take it to the next level. The week consists of seven days, each with it’s own unique theme, have a look at each day below.

The Days:

Show them that you care -Sacrifice Our Wants For Others Needs Sunday

Drive Courteously-Motorist Consideration Monday

Spread kindness, one heart at a time-Touch-A-Heart Tuesday

Offer a helping hand-Willing-To-Lend-A-Hand Wednesday

Treat others well-Thoughtful Thursday

Come together-Forgive Your Foe Friday

Say something nice-Speak Kind Words Saturday

I'll be in the cabinet

Our little clan is doing the cabin-by-the-lake (or "the cabinet" as my daughter calls it) thing next week, so I'll be offline for a little while. P and I are looking forward to hanging out and doing nothing. The kid can't understand how we could possibly be excited about going somewhere that doesn't even have rides.

I'm curious to see if our newer adoptee, Gretchen, will dig the water. Having met hundreds of Boxers during my ten-year adventure in rescue, I can attest to the fact that most of them do not care for water and do not swim. As my friend Dave says, "My Boxer swims like an anvil." They are very muscular and hence, don't float well at all. The front end is much heavier than the back, making it harder for them to keep their heads above water. Nonetheless, a few of them do like water and having seen Gretchen in action with the sprinkler in the back yard, I think she may just give the lake a try. We'll see. I told P I might get her a doggie life jacket and he looked at me like I was already aboard the crazy train.

Speaking of Gretchen, she did a number on me last night. I took the kid to the county fair for a few hours after work. Styx was playing later in the evening but we weren't staying for that. We had a great time hitting the rides, eating junk, and visiting the exhibits. A nice 4H mom let A come into a stall and pet her daughter's horse. We also met a man with cerebral palsy who makes greeting cards (using a pen attached to a contraption on his head), so we bought a couple. A was curious about him and the man's mom was kind enough to explain his condition to my daughter. I think she is just getting to the age where she realizes that not everyone is born with the same abilities and opportunities, that it is a blessing just to have working hands and limbs. Honestly, he was less afflicted than many of the aging Styx fans who were at the fair last night.

But getting back to the dog . . . it was dark when we got home and I let the dogs out right away. I unpacked our gear and then opened the back door to let them back in. Gretchen hopped up on the deck and then deposited a squirrel's head directly in front of the door. It took me a moment just to realize what I was looking at. It was like one of those "what's wrong with this picture?" games where you find objects that don't make sense within that frame of reference. Like a cat wearing sneakers and a top hat. When I realized it was the head of a squirrel, I felt a wave of nausea pass through me. My stomach sent a message to my brain along the lines of, "You were already pushing your luck by sending down cotton candy directly after the cheese curds. Do not put me over the edge by looking at bloody dead things."

I closed the door and tried to figure out what to do. P was at work and wasn't answering his cell phone. I called my friend Kathy so that she could come and get it, but she was all, "I live two hours away blah blah blah." I really need to find some friends who are more dedicated.

Eventually I got in touch with my other half and informed him that he needed to deal with a dead squirrel when he got home. My assumption was that Gretchen had killed the squirrel, but she did not have any blood on her. I didn't venture out into the yard with a flashlight to find the body, though I assumed it must be out there somewhere. He checked this morning after the sun came up and found another squirrel part, but not the whole body. We have no idea how these gruesome remnants ended up in our little yard, but I guess Gretchen was not the culprit. Granted, she would definitely kill a squirrel if she got the chance, but I doubt she would behead it and all that jazz. She caught several birds this summer and typically she seems more keen on torturing the animals than killing and dismembering them.

Anyway, I need some bleach to scrub the image of that little grey head out of my brain. It's gonna take more than a few vodka cranberries while I'm on vacation, but I'll give it my best shot.

I'll leave you with this little ditty from Passion Pit. I've been grooving to their tunes on my iPod for the past few weeks (the video is almost a year old but I guess I don't get out much).

August Kid's Activity Day

This month we had a fun scavenger hunt at IKEA. We had 5 teams compete and run around the HUGE store. Afterwards we met up with some other moms for lunch. The kids had fun sitting and playing in the toddler eating area before lunch came. After lunch the big kids went to the play land while the moms and babies went shopping. It was a lot of fun and a must do again!

Ice Cream Day

We tried out a new place for Ice Cream Day this last week. The Sweet Yogurt Shop gave our club free toppings which was so nice. Over 15 of us showed up for some frozen treats. We all enjoyed our creations and catching up. I think the highlight was watching one of the baby boys walking for the first time.
Family Fun at the Yogurt Shop!

Power knee! Arms up!

My neighbor invited me to attend step aerobics with her. I've been having some trouble managing my stress levels (not to mention my weight), so I thought maybe a good workout would help. That is not to say I'm sedentary; I walk the dogs all the time, do sit-ups, ride my bike, etc. But I very seldom do a hardcore, face-turns-red sort of workout. I'm a delicate flower and sweat does not become me. You know how it is.

When P and I still lived in Virginia, I used to attend step aerobics classes that were held in the community center of our apartment complex. The majority of the people who lived in the complex were stationed at Fort Belvoir. Most of the time, I was the only white girl in the class. The racial difference didn't bother me at all, but let me just say that those girls could rock a beat. I had to count the steps (sometimes aloud) to keep up whereas the women of color had natural rhythm. But, I loved the class nonetheless.

When we moved away, I started taking step classes at the Y as soon as we were settled in. I met a 72-year-old lady in the class, who became my first friend after the move. Not only was she 72, she was also a chain smoker (until later, when a doctor slapped a patch on her and told her to knock it off), but that goes to show you that the class was not all that tough. Eventually, though, a baby came along and our gym membership was dropped (kids, they ain't cheap). So, I hadn't taken a class in years when my neighbor invited me to her gym. I was game, but wary.

The instructor (let's just call her Satan's concubine), kicked my ass with her boot camp-style routines. Yesterday was the third class I attended and it was actually a different instructor than the first two times, but with their rock-hard abs and perky attitudes, they are pretty much interchangeable. The second one actually CHEWED GUM through the entire workout, while I gasped for air like a dying lake trout.

One second we were doing double-squats and the next we were doing some elaborate step routine that includes something called the "six point tap." I cannot, as it turns out, count to six. We finished the hour by doing unspeakable things to our abdominal muscles. I'm fairly certain that many of the moves we were required to do . . . are specifically and explicitly banned under the terms of the Geneva Convention.

The kicker is that it seems as though, when I hop on the scale the morning after class, my weight should have dropped significantly. By double digits even. But alas, usually I've even managed to gain a half pound. I guess I'm just lucky that way.

I'll keep it up as long as my neighbor continues to let me be a guest under her gym membership. And I'll continue to take the instructor's name in vain. Seriously, though, one more "get lower!" on the squats and I'm keying her car on my way out.

All kinds of random

Hey, let's blindfold the kids and hand them a bat!

I lost a follower after that last post. I guess the dead bunnies pushed someone over the edge. I'll try to keep my posts in the realm of sunshine and rainbows and (blissfully unabused) puppy dogs henceforth. I know you are on the edge of your seat wondering how my weekend went, so here goes.

I took the kid to Weight Watchers with me yesterday morning. I chickened out and did not weigh in (I am a Lifetime member so technically I only have to weigh in once a month). Between the state fair and a bit of a medical issue I am battling . . . let's just say I did the scale a favor by not getting up there. After the meeting we grabbed some breakfast, then purchased our county fair tickets (to be used on Thursday), and then headed to a pet expo. Normally I would be working at a pet expo but our rescue opted not to participate in this one.

We spent quite a bit of time watching an agility demonstration. It reminded me how much I miss competing since Lucy died. I'm hoping to get Gretchen into agility, but she needs a solid foundation of obedience under her belt first (if she wore a belt, I mean). We'll get there. A lot of the rescues have "spin the wheel" games for a buck, so the kid spun every wheel she could find. She won a totebag, a popcorn ball (why is it that a popcorn ball sounds like it would be the yummiest thing ever and then you get it home and it tastes like a wad of dryer lint?), and some play-doh (thanks, Basset Hound rescue!)

The event organizers had a couple of rides set up outside in the parking lot, so I indulged the kid. One of the ride operators told me he had been standing there since 8 a.m. and that we were his first customers (it was around 11:30 a.m.). I told him that it seemed like there were a lot of kids inside the expo and he replied that he thought parents were scooting their kids out the side door so that they couldn't see the rides. I am sure I had other uses for the $7 I spent but I'm of the "they're only young once" school of thought. They also had one of those tall slides where you climb up and then fly down on a burlap sack. Since they had no other customers, they gave the kid a freebie after her first trip down.

"You know, they had one of these at the state fair and they wouldn't let my daughter ride because she's too short," I told the tattooed, text-messaging kid who was overseeing the slide.

He shrugged. "Oh yeah, we don't care here." Good to know. Seriously though, it does bug me when my daughter is deemed too short for stuff where it's hard to see how that one inch will somehow result in certain death if she does climb aboard. Meanwhile, some freakishly tall two-year-old might come along and be able to ride, but won't know not to stand up, flail his arms outside the car, etc.

After we left the pet expo, we grabbed some lunch and a birthday card for one of A's friends. On the way home, A mentioned that one of her toys is "expensive." I wasn't sure if she knew what the word meant, so I asked her. "What does expensive mean, sweetie?"

She replied, "Expensive means that when you break it, you have to tell your mom."

"You're right!" I responded.

Later in the afternoon, we attended her friend's fifth birthday party. We knew most of the kids there, as they are A's friends from church. The party was held in a park so that the kids could wear themselves out at the playground. As parents that is, of course, the goal.

Sunday was pretty uneventful. We went to church and then I came home and made lunch. After lunch, P said that he would take the kid somewhere so that I could have some time to myself. After checking his forehead to ensure that he did not have a fever, I took him up on the offer. I packed up my bike and drove to a local trail. Say what you will about my Craigslist bike, but it gets the job done. The weather was a little iffy and it seemed I was riding into the wind no matter what direction I was going, but it was a good ride nonetheless.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've received an invitation to play Hullabaloo and I'm feeling lucky.

girl's trip

Rachelle's b-day was a couple of weeks back and she really wanted to go on a girl's trip to downtown San Diego. So we price-lined it, got a screaming deal at the Hyatt where we had a view of downtown, the bay and the pool. It was great. We got pedicures, went out to eat, laid out by the pool (which was so wonderful without kiddos to stare at!) and shopped. So so fun.

Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) at Calvary Fellowship Church

What is MOPS?
  • MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers, an international organization that exists to encourage mothers who have children newborn – Kindergarten.
  • It’s a place where moms have the opportunity to make new friends, share experiences, laugh together, and learn trusted principles pertaining to womanhood, marriage and parenting. MOPS also provides opportunities for social outings geared specifically for preschool aged children and their mothers.
  • MOPS recognizes that the years from infancy through kindergarten are foundational in a mother-child relationship and are filled with unique needs.
  • MOPS groups gather throughout the United States, Canada, and numerous other countries to meet the needs of more than 100,000 women each year! The women you meet at your local MOPS meeting may not all be of the same age, background or lifestyle, but they’re all in the same season of life with a shared desire to be the best mother they can be.

How do I Join?

If you are interested in joining this incredible support network of women, there are a few things to take note of:

  • Calvary Fellowship Church MOPS meets the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays, September – May.
  • Meetings begin at 9:30am and end at 11:15am. Children can be left in the care of the Wonderworks program at 9:15am.
  • An annual fee of $25.00 registration fee is required that goes to MOPS International. This secures your membership and entitles you to a one-year subscription to MOMS SENSE a bi-monthly magazine and the book “ Life on Plant Mom : A down to earth guide to your changing relationships” by Lisa T. Bergren. The Calvary Fellowships Church MOPS group also has a fall & spring semester dues that cover the meeting expenses. The dues are $42.00 for the fall (6 meetings) and $56.00 for the spring ( 8 meetings ).
  • Scholarships are available, so don’t let the cost hinder you from participating! We exist for the community of moms around us, and we want to include everyone we can!

To register or learn more about Calvary Fellowship Church (CFC) MOPS contact one of our coordinators, Sharon Fleet or Rachel Fair at or visit our church website.

REGISTRATION is now open!

** is not specifically affiliated with any playgroups, Moms groups, or Parenting Organizations. If you are interested in advertising your group on, please feel free to email us at

What the hell, people

I like to keep my blog nice and random, so I don't discuss current events too much. I mean, I could beat healthcare reform and the economy to death, but I suspect such things will die just fine without my involvement. I also passed up most opportunities to comment on the Michael Vick saga, which flared up again recently when he was released from the Big House (don't you love prison synonyms? The pokey, the clink, the slammer . . . ). If I was grateful to him for anything, though, it was that his conviction served as an example to other animal abusers. I don't think Michael Vick is at all sorry for what he did; I think he's sorry he got caught. Slowly but surely, though, the law is catching up with (and prosecuting) those who harm the voiceless.

Did you catch the recent story about the young Petland* employee who drowned two rabbits in the back room? She posted a photo of herself on Facebook clutching two wet, dead Peter Cottontails. I thought kids today were using Facebook to talk about their genitalia and to chronicle their alcohol consumption through lurid photographs, not to boast about animal abuse. I suppose the good news is that the general public was mostly appalled when this story broke. You don't have to be an animal lover to know that drowning a living creature is simply beyond the pale. If she doesn't receive jail (lockup, brig, up the river) time, I'll be very surprised and disappointed. I'll bet her parents are swelling with pride right about now.

As a rescue volunteer, I don't see a lot of blatant animal abuse. A lot of general neglect, failure to provide veterinary care . . . that sort of thing. If you've ever been afraid of volunteering for a shelter or rescue because you don't think your heart can take it, fret not. You will seldom be exposed to outright atrocities. The animals are fine, in fact - it's dealing with the kind without fur that can be challenging at times. If nothing else, a stint in rescue or shelter work will arm you with stories to tell for the rest of your life. We have two young Boxers in our rescue right now who are heartworm positive. We are in the process of treating them. As part of the diagnosis process, veterinarians generally run a set of chest x-rays to get an idea of how bad the infestation in the heart is. When the x-rays on these two dogs came back, it turned out that one of them had been SHOT in the past. Literally! Pellets in his chest and everything. Just when you think you've heard everything, eh?

My fellow rescue volunteers and I would go insane if not for alcohol the nice people who adopt the hard luck cases and the sweet seniors. And for nice people in general. Today I got an email from a former adopter who is donating 300 can coolers with our logo on them to the rescue so that we can sell them and make a profit. People send us checks out of the blue, wanting nothing in return. With an average of $300 in vet care needed for each dog, we'd have gone belly up a long time ago if not for the kind of generosity we see every day.

My Gideon - the worst abuse he endures is when dinner is five minutes late.

*I am surprised that people still frequent (and purchase from) places like Petland. How many anecdotal tales does it take, mes amis? Sick animals, puppy mill pups (and Petland does buy from puppy mills, no matter what they say), and a no-return policy to ensure you are stuck with your sick dog until your bank account is fully drained. Our rescue has taken in several dogs originally purchased from Petland. The dogs are sometimes poorly bred and are ALWAYS from puppy mills. If you purchase a purebred dog from a reputable breeder and then need to return the dog later for some reason, the breeder will always take the dog back. If you try to return a dog to Petland, they'll point to your contract and then advise you not to let the door hit you on your way out. If your carpet is yearning for urine and you want a puppy, please buy one from a reputable breeder. We now return you to your regularly scheduled broadcasting.

The Fair

We attended the state fair yesterday.

The good:
  • Deep-fried Oreos. I don't know what the Weight Watchers points were for these, but I'm thinking triple digits. One of those "if you have to ask you can't afford it" sort of things.
  • The poignant moment when we were viewing the Budweiser Clydesdales. One of the horses let down his wiener to pee, and I mean to tell you this thing was the size of my forearm. Our adorable little sprite pointed at the horse's junk and yelled, "He's got a penis just like you, Daddy!" I couldn't tell if my husband was having a moment of pride or mortification, but he did leave the exhibit toute de suite.
  • Let's hear it for swings you don't have to push. (At what age to they learn to pump, fer cryin' out loud? My arms seriously want to know.)
  • Meeting a bunch of fellow rescue people at Buca di Beppo for dinner.
  • Watching my child slide out of a pig's butt. You don't get that kind of entertainment just anywhere, people.
  • Freeloading off good friends who make a really spectacular breakfast. If you know Dave and Lynn, I highly recommend their house for freeloading. They do not provide valet parking, however, and that was a bit of a downer.

The bad:
  • Rain at the fair. Precipitation at the fair should be illegal. We were carrying umbrellas and when it stopped raining I pulled out a nylon tote that I bought from a church fundraiser. I figured I could carry our soggy umbrellas (and any other fair-related stuff we picked up during the course of the day) in the tote. As soon as I pulled out the bag, however, it caught the wind and went flying. I chased it and then gracefully fell just as I caught it (and by "gracefully" I mean "with arms and legs akimbo and with my purse in a puddle"). I spent the next hour scraping mud off my leg. "I feel pretty, oh, so pretty, I feel pretty and witty and bright! And I pity any girl who isn't me tonight . . . "
  • Being served chicken at Buca di Beppo even after explicitly explaining to the server that I am a vegetarian.
  • Paying six bucks for a Mike's Hard Cranberry. :::wiping tear from eye:::
The truly sucky:
  • Buca's not comping the dead animal flesh they served me.
  • Whatever I'm going to weigh when I step on the scale tomorrow morning.

Cheese curds should have their own category on the food pyramid

Love a Mystery? (Nah, me neither)

As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, my body recently decided that, as it plummets into middle age, it would be fun to develop a food allergy. For almost two years now I have been scratching my head over the specific ingredient (or combination) that might be causing me to get sick. It often seems to be a baked good that causes a reaction, so I've learned to be wary of anything that appears to contain lots of ingredients. If it's a packaged muffin that contains lots of artificial ingredients and has not been touched by human hands, I seem to be fine. However, if it's made from scratch and contains ingredients actually found in nature, I might be in trouble.

Yesterday I took the kid to a street festival downtown and she wanted a cookie, so I bought one for her. She took one bite, realized it was a "healthy" cookie, and spat out the bits still in her mouth (onto my plate, which I appreciated oh so much). Not wanting it to go to waste, I took a bite myself. Now, I've learned not just to plow into stuff willy-nilly. I take a bite and wait to see what happens. The first bite seemed okay so I took another. I felt the familiar burning on my tongue and immediate abandoned the cookie. It took two plastic cups of white wine to numb my tongue sufficiently. The good news is that the cookie had a label.

Here is the list of ingredients from the cookie-from-hell:
  • organic whole wheat pastry flour
  • organic oats
  • heath bits
  • organic sucanat (suca what?)
  • soy grits (kiss my!)
  • turbinado sugar (I think that's made up)
  • organic soy nuts
  • soy protein
  • flax seed
  • salt
  • baking soda
  • baking powder
I think it is the wheat, as I've also gotten sick from wheat pasta and other products containing wheat. However, I can eat wheat bread just fine. Maybe the wheat flour in most commercial breads has been processed half to death and that's why I don't react to it? What say ye, armchair diagnosticians?

Whatever the case, I do feel like I am getting closer. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to pack for the state fair, where I'll be eating sugar-coated deep-fried sugar on a stick (or something pretty close to it).


I've been on a sewing kick lately and these are some of the projects I've done in the last couple of days. I've been looking at anthropologie pillows a ton because they look so hand-made and unique, but absolutely cannot bring myself to pay $95 for a pillow, so I decided to try it out myself with the butterfly one. I love it. Obviously I didn't do it as intricate as theirs, but I didn't want to get frustrated at my first go of it. Next time......

When my sister Amy came down for a visit she took me thrift store shopping (she's super good at it) and we found this great chair that matched a desk I built in college. So we snatched it up and I covered it to match the room better.

Fun with the Sun Lakes Firefighters!

What an amazing time we all had the other day with the Sun Lakes Firefighters! This activity was set up last minute when we met Captain Robert at breakfast club last week. He was kind enough, along with his amazing crew, to meet up with us to see the truck, the firefighters, and get wet from the hoses. It was a VERY HOT morning but we had a blast. The kids first got to put on the fire hats they gave them and then pick out a water or Gatorade from their coolers. It was a nice treat as standing on the black-top we were all getting very sweaty. They then put on their gear and talked to the kids about fire safety. Also that they aren't scary even with the masks on and the noises it makes.

Then they took down one of the huge hoses and turned it on. It sprayed so far and the kids went nuts! Most of the firefighters joined in the fun of getting soaked and even some moms got wet unexpectedly and on purpose. :) After the kids cooled down they got to take turns at turning on the nozzle of the hose. They then tried to knock down a cone with the water pressure. We then got to tour the ambulance and had fun taking pictures with the crew. We can't thank the Sun Lakes Fire Department enough for such a fun and memorable event. So glad Captain Robert likes the Tropical Smoothie Cafe or we would have missed out on a very fun morning! :) We hope to do it again with our new firefighter friends!

Firemen talking and then the hose turning on!

Knocking down the cone and more fun in the water!

I'll tell ya one thing: she ain't shy

During our drive back from our vacation in Virginia last month, we stopped at a Burger King in the middle of nowhere. Aside from our little clan, all of the other patrons appeared to be construction and utility workers who were wolfing down a quick lunch before heading back to their respective job sites. We had been in the car for hours and apparently the lack of social interaction was taking a toll on my daughter. As we were tossing out our garbage and preparing to leave, the kid headed back to the front of the restaurant and started chatting up some of the men who were in line. Picture a sea of steel-toed work boots and one wee pair of pink flip-flops from Old Navy.

"Okay, let's go!" I said loudly, as P and I were inching towards the exit. I could hear her telling them her name, advising them that she has a Barbie princess movie, and informing her new friends that her aunt had painted her toenails. Basically, she seemed pretty determined to impart enough information that would facilitate any random stranger's ability to kidnap her. Again, I'm not giving her her social security number until her wedding day.

Earlier in our vacation, she stopped to chat with a homeless man during our outing to Old Town Alexandria. I didn't want to pull her away immediately because I didn't want her to think she can't be friendly and talk to folks as the whim hits her. And I didn't want HIM to think that I didn't want my daughter chatting him up just because he's homeless. So, I let her go for a minute or two.

Her: Hi, what are you doing?

Him: I'm peeling a peach. (There was a farmers' market going on across the way.)

Her: Why are you peeling a peach?

Him: I don't like the fuzz.

Her: You don't like the fuzz?

Me: Okay, leave the man alone now.

For the most part, people are generally tolerant of a chatty child. Adults who talk to strangers sometimes end up with restraining orders, but most people are pretty happy to talk to a kid. A couple months ago, we attended a picnic with my old therapy dog group. A was the only kid there - not that she minded. The picnic was held at the home of one of our members, and we had a bunch of dogs running around in the large, fenced yard. As we were leaving, A stopped to chat with my friend Barb while I gathered Giddy and Gretchen and leashed them. When I got to the gate, Barb filled me in on what my child had been telling her. A, with much sympathy in her voice, told my friend: "You are really going to miss me when I leave. You are going to be so sad!"

Can you imagine having so much confidence in yourself that each time you leave a particular location, you believe that anyone still present after your departure will crumble into utter despair? I saw Barb a few days after that and she reported that while she hadn't yet needed therapy, she came pretty close.

On Friday evening, I took the kid to the park after dinner. The park in our neighborhood is about a mile away, so I usually pull her there in a wagon. She loves the park, but she loves it even more if there are people there. We got to the park and there were two families already swinging and sliding and whatnot. Eureka! The only catch was that the kids were younger, 2 1/2 or so (they were the same approximate height as my kid, but two years younger). These youngsters seemed unable to provide the level of interaction my daughter requires so she went for the next best thing: their parents. She found one couple sitting on a bench and would not give them any peace, so eventually I picked her up and carried her back to her wagon.

So, what to do with all of this outgoingness? (that's a word, I'm sure of it) Well, I've contacted a local children's theater to get the scoop. Most of the children they cast in their productions are closer to 10. However, they do have a Christmas production for which younger kids are needed. So, I'm half-tempted to let her audition later this year. If not, we'll plan to get her started on the road to fame and fortune when she gets a few years older.


  • Right now the kids are playing so good. Not a big deal to everyone else, but it makes me so happy. And "happy" can't even fully explain it. I had no idea before I had 2 kids that some of the greatest joy you could ever experience was seeing your kids love each other so much.
  • Tanner is no longer allergic to dairy. It kind of happened over the last month or so. It's been fantastic.
  • BUT, Kate has had diarrhea everyday for 4 weeks now and wakes up all night saying her tummy hurts. This is all while she's been obsessed with cheese and yogurt and I've started cooking with milk and butter again (because Tanner's okay with it now). This is how it started with Tanner too. We're thinking she must have developed some intolerance to dairy also. We probably sound like hypochondriacs, but if you'd cleaned up as much diarrhea as I have in the last month, you'd be singing a different tune.
  • I really want to see Julie and Julia...comes out on Friday.
  • We decided 3-4 months ago that we were going to stop buying Tanner toys and have him earn money to buy toys himself. We started a sticker chart where if he earns enough stickers, he gets dollars. It was a slow start, but he loves it now. He's saved 28 dollars so far. He counts it almost everyday. = )
  • Kate is very into monsters lately. Every time I put her in her bed, she says, "but the monsters will get me Mom". We're not sure if she's just trying to get out of going to bed or if she's really scared.
  • Kate is also OBSESSED with medicine. These have been her "ailments" that she needs medicine for: "My back hurts Mom. I need medicine." "My feet hurt. I can't walk. Hold me. Medicine will make them feel better." "My tummy hurts (probably a legitimate one)" "My cheek is broken. You need to take me to the dentist to fix it and get medicine" "My head hurts" "I have an owie. I need medicine" She says that while she points to a 2 week old scab the size of a flea. Unbelievable.
  • It's hot here. Way too hot. I wrote a post a while back about how much I love summer her. I take it back. I take it all back. 115 degrees is just too hot.
  • Kate has full confidence in her abilities to swim which scares the living heck out of Shad and I. She refuses to wear her floatie swimsuit or floaties on her arms. She can swim 5-8 ft in the pool by herself, but she doesn't know how to lift her head to take a breath yet. She's constantly telling me, "Don't touch me. I do it" and lets go of me in the pool. Then I have to grab her. She'll take a breath and get mad at me all over again for grabbing her. We're hoping by the end of the summer she'll be able to fully swim, taking breaths and all.

August Family Activity Day

What a fun time we had at Home Depot the other morning for their Kids Workshop. The kids had fun in their aprons making a bulletin/white board. It was very loud with all the hammering and very sticky with lots of glue smeared over the wood. Hope to do this activity again in the future as everyone had a fun time getting their certificates, new pins, and taking projects home.

Schtuff I've Never Done

  • Had sex in any sort of unusual location, at least not that I can recall. (Hi Mom!)
  • Drank a beer. (And why would I when the humble grape has given us something so spectacular and perfect?)
  • Had a cup of coffee. (People who absolutely cannot function without coffee in the morning do irritate me a bit. There, I've said it.)
  • Had a pedicure.

Most people think I'm joking when I say I've never had a pedicure. I have to confess that I do keep my toenails painted at all times (usually in a shade that's best left to streetwalkers). If you ever spot me with naked toenails you can rest assured that I've just hatched out of a pod and that the aliens have taken the real me away. Won't they be surprised when they implant an alien spawn in my womb only to find that it no worky.

Why have I never had a pedicure? In my mind, having a pedicure is akin to saying, "Hey there! I'm pretty important. So important, in fact, that I'd like to pay you to get down on your knees and touch the grodiest part of me." I just can't get my brain around that. It's not that I think my feet are the worst out there. I don't even hate them. I save that kind of rancor for my thighs. It's just that it seems awfully . . . self-indulgent, I guess.

I have a similar roadblock when it comes to massages. I have had a couple of massages as a result of gift cards that could not be used in any other way (And if you know me, you know that unused gift card = does. not. compute). When I get a massage, I imagine that the masseuse (massage therapist?) is thinking: "I don't have enough hands to cover this expanse of flesh." It's hard to relax when you're convinced that the massage person is pretty sure that you're Jabba the Hutt.

Can anyone convince me of the merits of getting a pedicure? Give it your best shot, ladies.

Chester County Mid-Summer Restaurant Week

Barnaby's of America - West Chester
Brandywine Prime - Chadds Ford
Farmhouse Restaurant - Avondale
La Locanda Restaurant & Bar - Edgemont
Landmark Americana - West Chester
Molly Maguire's - Phoenixville
Pietro's Prime - West Chester
PJ Ryan's Pub - Phoenixville
Riverstone Cafe - Exton
Ron's Original Bar and Grille - Exton

For more info please visit