January MNO and Service Project

We had a fun time on Thursday night preparing meals for a family in need. We made 12 meals at "The Dinner A' Fare" . The owners were so nice and stayed open late just for us, gave us a discount on the meals, and had yummy appetizers for us to enjoy. We had fun putting the items together and catching up. Be sure to check out www.dinnerafare.com to make some yummy meals of your own if you want.

New Member Coffee!

We had a HUGE turnout for our New Member Coffee gathering. We are very excited about the new members that joined this year. The kids had fun playing in the backyard while the moms had fun catching up and playing a get to know you game. Everyone enjoyed the yummy treats that were brought and had fun seeing one another.

Recipe Exchange

We had a very fun recipe exchange at the park. Everyone brought lunch items so we all enjoyed a picnic lunch together. The kids had a fun time on the swings, slides, and running around. It was a beautiful day outside and fun seeing our friends.
Mommy Time
Push Me Higher!

The Playground

Time for lunch!

Time to eat!


At Winterfest this afternoon

It occurred to me recently that my daughter is now old enough to start creating permanent memories. My first memories date back to the time I was around four. My maternal grandmother, after whom I am named, died when I was three and I have just slivers of her, like faint Polaroids that never quite developed, in my head. My middle sister was born when I was four and a half and most of my memories are pretty solid from that time on.

This past Friday night, the moon was said to be the closest, brightest full moon I'd ever see again in my lifetime. So, at around 9 p.m. I called the kid outside onto the deck, making sure she had on a pair of slippers to go with her princess nightgown. The temperatures were in the single digits. We shivered on the deck for a few brief moments, ooh-ing and ah-ing over the spectacular sky. She then ran into the house and made her daddy come and look, too. He complied but then grumbled about how it was too cold to be outside. I asked, "But what if this is the thing she remembers when she is 30? What if she says, 'Remember the time we saw the brightest moon?'"

Sometimes I find it a little depressing that she won't remember all the fun stuff we've done up to now: the road trips, the flights, the festivals. We took her to Texas when she was two and all she could remember from that trip was that we'd had eggs for breakfast one day. This is exactly the reason we have not taken her to Disney World yet. Well, that and the fact that I'd have to sell a kidney to afford it.

I suppose all we, as parents, can really hope is that our children are left with the sense that they were well-loved in the early years, even if they have no specific recollection of that time. In our case, our daughter will have plenty of photos she can use to confirm we didn't lock her in the basement for the first few years. In fact, I have over 4,000 photos on my hard drive that were taken from her birth until now. She has been on the planet fewer than 2,000 days so I'd say that's . . . pretty obnoxious. What can I say? I waited a long time for the privilege of irritating friends and family members. Thank goodness for Facebook, which allows me to annoy everyone simultaneously.


Nothing too life-threatening, just paint colors.

Ahhhhh!!!! Always seems like it will be so much fun to paint until the swatches start going on the walls. Then the confusion sets in. The way it looks in natural light vs. nighttime light, this wall vs. this corner that gets more shade than the other wall, etc. How is really going to look when the whole room is painted that color. One accent wall, or all the walls. Do I want a color that's slightly more neutral so that I'll like it longer, or should I just go with the one I love, that may be totally trendy and I will want to repaint in 1-2 years (and based on Shad and my moving record....we move anyway every 1-2 years, which means new paint...which means it doesn't matter if I pick the too trendy color).

Right now, I have 8 different blue-gray-green paint swatches on my family room walls. I have a painter coming Saturday morning at 6am (yeah, I think I'm going to pass at doing it myself 5 days before I deliver a baby), which means I need to buy the paint tomorrow.

Opinions? More neutral blue-gray (specifically Restoration Hardware's Silver Sage) or a bit more trendy, vibrant, blue-green. It's for this room in my house:

We spend most of our time in here....it connects to the kitchen and has the tv/computer/music in it. My kids pretty much eat the majority of their meals and play with their "army guys" and princesses on the brown ottoman or at the mini green table. Kate's "babies" take their naps in here while she talks to them, we read books in here and most importantly this is where Shad and I will grow wider, together...on the couch eating cookies and watching our shows after the kids go to sleep. We are always in this room. So it needs to be a color we love.

Below is my friend, Kodi's home. She has the paint color I'm leaning toward. (hope you don't mind Kodi)

This happens to be the "more vibrant" color....which on her walls, I LOVE, but when I look at the swatch I painted on my wall, it looks super bright.

So now that I've analyzed this all on paper (okay, computer), I think I've decided. The "more vibrant" color it is. Thanks for listening.

By the way, can you tell I'm in nesting mode? It's like this with every baby. I can hardly sleep at night anyway because of how dang uncomfortable it is, but when I am able to sleep, I can't, because my mind is racing with projects I want to do.

The demon I cannot slay

It’s official. I’ve lost control.

I’m not meant to be a genuinely thin person, this I know. But I’m not necessarily willing to be fat, either. I joined Weight Watchers in 2005 and hit my goal weight at the end of 2006. I continued to struggle with the same ten pounds or so for the next two years. I'd lose a little, I'd gain a little. In the fall of 2008, I decided to get a bit more disciplined with counting points and tracking what I put in my mouth. By December of that year, I was back at my goal weight. I then fought hard to maintain it for the next ten months. I was genuinely proud of myself. I knew I wasn’t cured of my compulsion to eat more than my body needs, but I thought I had it mostly under control. Then, in September of 2009, the stress in my life overtook me. Our team was cut in half at work, and I was left with an impossible workload. I gained four pounds that week. The last four weeks at my new job have left me grateful to be gainfully employed, but struggling to learn new systems, new software, new procedures. I have steadily gained weight with each passing day.

Believe it or not, I have continued to exercise pretty regularly. I bought one of those weighted hula hoops and use that sometimes at night. I go to an intensive step aerobics class every Tuesday. I now belong to the gym and hit the treadmill when I can. However, nothing can really counteract the sheer volume of calories I have been consuming.

Once my weight starts to get out of control, the voice in my head gets ever louder. "You won't ever be pretty, no matter what you do, so why not eat?" And so, I eat. It's powerful, that voice.

I have not attended a Weight Watchers meeting since early December. I kept thinking that I would get my weight back under control on my own and then go back. Clearly, my ill-conceived plan is not working. There is nothing left to do but . . . go back. And so, I shall lumber into the meeting on Saturday and hoist myself onto the scale. Perhaps I shall regain my motivation. I've done it before, I'll do it again.

On a lighter note, the longer commute to work has left me more time to catch up on podcasts and listen to music. I have over 1500 songs on my iPod and yet some days I can't seem to find anything I want to hear. Here are two songs that never fail to get my toe tapping.

Bought a sweater for his Weimeraner, too! [clap clap]

Holiday Letter from the Ghelerter’s 2009

Hello family and friends!! As many of you know, I did NOT get a holiday letter out this year! BUT, had I this is what I would’ve said. I hope your and yours, had a wonderful year! As I sit and reflect upon our year, I want to give thanks to all of you for being in our lives. This year we saw many changes, some special and some sad. Hang on as I step you through the past year with the Ghelerter’s! It could be a bumpy ride.

January was a special month for us. The world cheered as we elected our first black President! For me this would mean many things, one of which was having my sister, Val and her family in town to celebrate the inauguration with us! They, unlike some “party crashers” received the gold engraved invitation from Mr. President himself!

Our beautiful Au pair, Mai and her fiancĂ©, Wes, were married in our home, and “daddy” as she fondly calls him, gave her away. As you can imagine, I was a blubbering mess. We were so excited that Wes’s family was able to witness the nuptials, as well as “The Nana”!! The newlyweds will be traveling to Thailand this summer to be married in a traditional Thai wedding, and for Wes to meet her parent’s. I do hope they approve, and hope he has his dowry in order. *snort* …
Due to (so much) time on my hands, I decided to return to school. I won’t kid you; I was so scared I nearly talked myself out of it! I have a hard enough time trying to remember what I did yesterday, yet now I'm trying to memorize dates in history, way before the caveman was born! I am hopeful though, that I will be finished long before the girls start college although, Jeff believes this is just a ploy to follow them to college. Hmmm, I never thought of that…really.
February was a tough month for us. I too, joined the ranks of the 2.8 million(or is it zillion now?!) Americans who were unemployed! Unfortunately, for Jeff I was thrilled beyond, beyond! (Sorry, babe). But sadly, the following day we lost our beloved German Shepherd, Maggie tragically. My heart still aches….R.I.P. my love.
March was a busy month for us. The chick’s started swim class and gymnastics! They are coming along nicely in the water, and their Gymnastic's coach is an Olympic Gold Medalist! Carrie Scruggs, you’ve got nothing on the fearless duo!

Meanwhile,I decided to take up cake decorating. Surprisingly I discovered a stirring for the flour deep within, which prompted me to start baking sweets and goodies for neighbors and friends. That could account for the excess baggage I’m carrying around like a "747"! Note to self: Check into fat farm!! June and July was a wild month for us. We had plotted and planned our trip to Florida for almost a year. We hit the east coast of Florida, from top to bottom and then swung back around and topped it off with a visit to Disney. Jeff and I were able to re-live some of our favorite “haunts” from when we lived in Lauderdale. Alone! Thanks to Nana. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and weren’t able to see some very special friends – but not to worry; we’ll be returning this summer with the “U-Haul”! Run Forrest, run….
Home and barely unpacked from Florida, I was off and running again, this time to south eastern Ohio for one of two high school class reunions. I had such a great time re-connecting with old friends, and was thrilled to see my high school crush (he never knew) was there too. Funny, he married a girl just like me. Well, almost like me…she’s a doctor, (I know medical terms) he is too....and she's blonde (me too) and has beautiful blue eyes (me too - although mine are baggy) yeah....we're so much alike!
The annual "girls" trip this year was spent in southwestern, Virginia at my life long friend, Diane's “Mansion in the Hills”. Her hospitality was so gracious, I reserved the "Presidential Suite" and returned two weeks later with my "klan"! I do hope we get to indulge them with our presence this summer…. What could be better than hanging with the Ghelerter's?!?! lol.

Labor Day weekend I celebrated yet another class reunion in Westerville, Ohio. It was a fancy schmancy affair that required us to wear “grown-up” clothes! Lol. We partied like it was 1979 and we were all sorry when the evening ended. I still think we’re the coolest people I know!
My babies are growing up all too fast!! In September they started school at our Synagogue. I couldn’t believe what an emotional day it was. They each ran into their classrooms excited for me to leave. It was me who cried!

The chick’s and I ended the summer with one last trip to the beach. Unfortunately, Jeff could not get away to join us. With car packed we headed out for four days of fun in the sun in the Outer Banks. Nothing spells “relax” to me, than a beach outing and digging my toes in the sand......

December was a huge month for us. We celebrated Chanukah with much pomp and flair. It was so exciting to watch as the girls helped daddy with the lighting of the candles and reciting the blessings.

Jeff had much anticipated good news to celebrate, as he passed the CPSM exam which he has been studying diligently for, for the past year! It’s.A.Big.Deal. That’s what he tells me…. He then heads to NY for what we believe to be the final test to determine what ails him. Unfortunately, the specialist still does not know what is causing him so much pain. Where is “House” when you need him!?!? We are confident the doctors will solve the mystery. Someday.

New Year’s Eve would not be complete without the help of Uncle Rob and Uncle Dex to help ring in the New Year. We cooked, ate and were far too merry!!

Lastly, I want to give special thanks to my amazing husband, Jeff. If it weren’t for him bringing home the “bacon,” the chicks and I would not be able to do all that we do. We love you, babe.

To all of you, here’s hoping to an awesome 2010! If you get over our way, give us a call. We always have a bottle of red "breathing"......

Rony, Jeff, Abbey, and Katie

Do you wanna take a ride on his disco stick?

I picked up a new foster dog on Saturday. I was a little bit nervous about taking on a new pooch because my last foster dog, Fritz, was so easy to have around. I knew I wouldn't get that lucky again. Montana was surrendered because his owners are divorcing and selling their house. Neither spouse could take him in their respective apartments. Montana is a handsome three-year-old white Boxer (not deaf, as some whites are). He's good with kids and dogs. He's really a very nice dog.

There is one major problem with Montana, however: his ginormous testicles. He has been attempting to violate my dogs since his arrival. I've told him, "Take a cold shower! Think about baseball!" All to no avail. After a weekend we are now affectionately referring to as Humpfest 2010, I gave some serious consideration to neutering him myself. I have a basic idea of how it's done and could feel my frustration growing with each thrust of his little white hips. As he is preparing to hump one of my dogs, he does this little cha-cha-cha step where he juts his rear legs out behind him, alternating in quick succession. I called my vet clinic this morning and got him in for next Monday. Gideon is having a minor surgery the same day, so that way I can drop them both off at the same time. I hope we last that long.

In the mean time, we've got six more days to tolerate Humpy McHumperton. I remember learning in school about the Supreme Court's attempt to define obscenity. Here is the definition:

1) A thing must be prurient in nature

2) A thing must be completely devoid of scientific, political, educational, or social value

3) A thing must violate the local community standards

If it meets all three of these things, it is obscenity.

I think we are pretty close with what's been going on at our house. First, Montana attempted to make sweet love to Gideon, my male Boxer. Gideon, who generally tolerates just about anything, turned on Montana and told him where he could put his desire. This scene repeated itself several times until Montana did actually absorb the message. Gideon's actions surprised me a little because normally he is so easygoing with other dogs. As I've often said, "If Gideon doesn't like your dog, your dog's probably a dick."

Gretchen, for whatever reason, has not been as successful in thwarting Montana's advances. She's tried telling him politely, "Hey, no thanks!" She informed him that she signed one of those celibacy contracts in high school. She's tried telling him less politely. But still, he perseveres. He licks her cheek and then does the cha-cha-cha. And so on it goes. As Gretchen moves from room to room, Montana follows along behind her, humping the air as he goes. "And you thought I was bad," said my oft-neglected husband.

After giving my daughter a shower this evening, she started saying how she knows Montana's a boy because he's got a penis. "Does he ever," I thought to myself. I feared the conversation would spiral out of control from there, but she didn't ask any questions. Thank God for small miracles.

Pukey McPukerton

I got THE call on Wednesday. The "your child is sick" call from school that every parent dreads. When I got the call, it was less than an hour before school would be letting out for the day, but I left as soon as I could and drove across town to retrieve her. I parked and then headed for the school office. "Hi," said the lady at the front desk. "She just threw up down there."

I walked down to my daughter's classroom. I'm not sure why she wasn't in the clinic or something, but maybe I'm just not hip to how these things work yet. When I got to the kindergarten pod, she wasn't in her classroom. The whole class was outside. I found the right door to get outside and immediately spotted the kid. She was bundled up in her snowsuit and had her backpack on, and as soon as I called her name and she turned to look at me, I could tell she felt like dump. The class's paraprofessional walked over with my daughter. "I took her to the bathroom, in case she had to go again," she said. Then she raised her hands to her mouth and attempted to pantomime something flying out of her face at a high velocity. Apparently my daughter did a number on the tile floor with the contents of her stomach. God bless the janitor, that's all I gotta say.

A wanted to be picked up so I carried her all the way back across the school and to the car. All the while I was carrying her, I was thinking, "We are breathing the same oxygen here. I will be hurling within 24 hours." I settled her into her car seat and drove her home. She said very little, which is highly unusual for her. When we got home, I de-snowsuited her and got her into some pajamas. I set her up in her bed with her portable DVD player and also handed her a bowl. And then I washed my hands in scalding hot water.

I checked on her periodically and when "Bolt" was over I said, "What would you like to watch next, baby?" And her response is how I knew she was truly sick:

"You pick something for me, Mommy." My daughter would never relinquish control over even the simplest decision in her life, so the fact that she wanted me to choose something for her told me that she was definitely down for the count. Or, that the apocalypse might be imminent.

Later, I took Gretchen to obedience class (yes, we are still doing that) and while I was gone, the kid vomited multiple times. However, she hit the bowl every time and I have to give her a lot of credit for that. I was missing the toilet right up until my teen years (you can ask my mother if you need to validate this information).

P stayed home with her on Thursday. She'd stopped puking by then, but was not eating. On Friday, we sent her back to school. She fell asleep at 6:30 p.m. on Friday evening and slept 12 hours. By Saturday, she was back to normal.

As for her parents, so far we haven't caught it. I washed my hands at least a gazillion times between Wednesday and Saturday. I didn't feel particularly great on Friday night, and when passing one of those scented "Wallflowers" in my bedroom induced a wave of nausea, I thought sure the plague had come for me, too. But, I felt fine Saturday morning and even dragged my fat ass to the gym, so there you go.

Stay tuned for the adventures of Humpy McHumperton, my new (intact) foster dog who arrived on Saturday.

skirt projects...

I made the skirt with pockets this morning and the other one a couple months back. I told Kate if she let me take a picture of her in the skirts, I'd give her a brownie. You can see the results. Kate is not in the picture.

**the pattern for the pocket skirt I got on MADE. It's a free, very detailed, great tutorial.


Kate and her potty chair. She wears panties some days, diapers on others. Sometimes she'll wake up and say, "I want to wear panties. I'm a big girl today." And then the next day she'll say, "I think I need my diaper on. I'm a baby today." I just roll with it. Also, notice she's in a tank top with no pants on. It was 67 degrees in the house when I took this picture. It's pouring rain outside and she is still hot.

Here I am...38 weeks. My cesarean is scheduled for 2 weeks from today. I'm excited to have the baby, but the realization of surgery and healing from that while getting no sleep and having raw nipples while nursing with my uterus contracting at the same time...I'm not quite as anxious as I was a couple of weeks ago.
Came across this great idea for packaging up Valentine cookies (or any other special occasion) ....got it off of Long Thread blog, who got it off of Martha Stewart. You make gigantic cookies, pop them into a white CD sleeve, and stick on these cute labels you print out on your computer with adhesive paper. I showed Tanner and we decided to make chocolate cookies with pink m&ms for the cookies. He was pretty excited...although, I think he's more excited about eating the cookies, than delivering them to his friends.
Shad and I have been in a concert mode lately.
  • In December we went to Andy Williams (click to play one of his songs). It was incredible. We absolutely loved it. It was all Christmas music and really put us in the spirit of the season. We were probably the only people under the age of 75 in the room, and I was one of the few women who hadn't had plastic surgery, and definitely the only one who was pregnant and stripped her boots and socks of mid-show due to being so dang hot, but still, it was so fun.
  • Last week we went to Disney's Rockin' Roadshow. Total disappointment. We've always loved everything Disney. We've seen two Disney musicals in NYC on Broadway, we have season passes to Disneyland, and have a huge stockpile of Disney movies from old-school to new, but this was again, way disappointing. Boring, the kids couldn't see (and I bought really good tickets...5th row), the cotton candy was 10 bucks each (yowsa...Shad went took Tanner to Disneyland the day before and it was only $4 there), the princesses LIPSINCED. Can you believe that? Most of the show was the MC, who I did not blow a small fortune on to tell jokes for a couple of hours. Anyhow, it was a bummer.
  • This weekend Shad and I have tickets to see Harry Connick Jr. I am way excited for this. I heard he is amazing to see and puts on a great show.
  • And lastly, the one I'm bummed that I won't get to go to because I will have just had a baby....Bon Jovi. I bought Shad tickets for he and his buddies to go next month. Most of the concerts Shad goes to (the latest...Metalica) I am thrilled he has friends that want to go, so I can stay home, but this one, I think would be fun as couples. Maybe even be super cheesy and dress-up in Bon Jovi-like attire.

I'm totally in the nesting mode and started a bunch of projects, and then got tired. I'm sure after the baby I'll be feeling better and have tons of time to finish them. = ) I bought fabric for these projects, but never finished (okay I'll admit, some of them, never started...just bought the fabric and patterns for):

I also bought this wallpaper 6 months ago to put in my kitchen nook area, and still haven't put it up.

I also have 4 samples of paint on my family room walls, none that I'm in love with, which means another trip down to the paint store, but I'm too tired. Shad's less than thrilled with the grafiti-ish look we have going on .

Kate, Tanner and I all had birthdays last week. Kate turned 3, Tanner turned 5 and I turned 30. The pictures below are the only pictures I have of the birthdays. Kate let me snap pictures of the cake and then Shad snuck one of her opening a present. After every present she opened, she'd exlaim, "I always wanted this!" Tanner screamed and yelled at me when he even suspected a camera was near him. It's so frustrating. I'm excited to have a new little one who won't care how many pictures I take of her. I'm hoping Kate will get jealous and let me take some more of her. We gave Tanner the choice of a birthday party with friends or Disneyland with Dad for the day. He chose Disneyland and I was ecstatic.

It's almost 4pm. I'm still in Shad's t-shirt and sweatpants. I suppose I should get dressed.

What's that? You want a double helping?

My other (younger) half turns 38 today. He requested a chocolate cake and our daughter and I set out to make him one. However, she demanded a much higher level of involvement than in the past, which is how we ended up with this:

Yessirree. I'm just waiting for the lady from Cake Wrecks to knock at the door, wanting to see for herself the least appetizing cake of all time and space. Or maybe one of those "kitchen disasters" shows.

Although A has known the alphabet since she was 18 months old, she affixed several of the letters upside down. She then dug them up out of the chocolate, turned them around, and poked them into the sugary goo once again. You know she licked her fingers in between, right? Thank goodness this cake is just for the three of us, because I'm pretty sure she also licked the spatula she was using to apply the icing.

Happy birthday, husband o'mine. I hope this cake isn't an omen of some sort . . .


In college I learned of the concept of a sensory deprivation chamber. I've been intrigued with the idea ever since. I want to know what it is like to stop the flow, to know momentary peace. I've been struggling to manage my stress in recent months, and the idea of floating in a lightless, soundless box seems oddly appealing.

Anyone who's been acquainted with me for more than five minutes knows that I love my daughter more than life itself. When my first baby died in utero, I willed my heart to stop beating. I did not know how I could go on. Now, my heart beats for that curly-haired hurricane who lives in my house. But, that doesn't mean I don't want the occasional day to myself. So, that's what I did over the weekend, when I traveled out of town for the rescue's annual meeting.

I got to town at about noon and had lunch. I read The Onion, drank a glass of Pinot Grigio, and played with my new Blackberry. It took me almost a full day to realize that the reason it wasn't ringing when someone called me was that I hadn't set it to ring. Now it plays the theme song from The Office when someone calls me. Yes, I'm fancy like that. After lunch, I did some leisurely shopping. I didn't buy much, but it was definitely an odd feeling to be able to look at a display case for more than thirty seconds and without hearing, "Mommy. Mom. Mommy! Did you see this? Guess what's in my mouth. Can I have this?" all the while.

I checked into my hotel room at around 3 p.m., read a magazine, and then headed for the meeting. As luck would have it, I won a basket full of fruit, wine, and cheese at the meeting. I have to confess that I do not know what some of the fruits are, even though I have been on this planet for nearly 40 years. If anyone knows what a red pummelo is and how I should go about consuming it, drop me a line.

When I returned to the hotel, I decided to take a bath and watch a movie. I had brought along A's portable DVD player, so I was able to set it up on a chair in the bathroom and watch "The Soloist" while in the tub. Somehow it has always seemed to me that watching TV while bathing is about as decadent as decadent gets. (I know, I don't get out much.) I was actually under some pressure to watch this movie, as I had requested it on Netflix and then didn't have time to watch it for several days. My other half has no tolerance for unwatched movies. He wants me to watch my movie and return it so that the next 1/2 star movie (of his choosing) can arrive. A sampling of the movies currently on our Netflix list: Book of Blood, The Midnight Meat Train, and Trick R' Treat. I wish I were making these up. I have to admit that The Soloist was not that great. Robert Downey Jr and Jamie Foxx deserve better material.

After the movie, I decided to check out the "sleep sack" that had been on the bed when I first arrived. It was a small satchel containing some pillow/linen spray, an eyemask, and a set of ear plugs. I decided it would be fun to see if I could actually make use of these items. I doused my pillow with the lavender spray and then hopped into bed. I smooshed each ear plug between my thumb and forefinger and jabbed one into each ear. I actually had no idea how they were supposed to go. I almost called my mom for advice, because she wears them nightly. The tragedy is that the woman didn't discover the wonders of ear plugs until two of the three kids had moved out of the house. I spent 20+ years unable to run the dryer in the morning because, and I quote, "ARE YOU KIDS DRYING ROCKS IN THE DRYER EVERY MORNING?!?! WHAT IS MAKING SO MUCH NOISE?"

After plugging my ears, I put the black mask over my eyes. Then I turned out the lights and quickly fell asleep (could have something to do with wine + Tylenol PM, but that's just a guess). I woke up a few hours later. No mask. One ear plug. I never did find the other one. My apology to the cleaning crew who probably happened upon it later. Although, when it comes to "gross stuff found in hotel rooms by cleaning staff," I'm guessing this ranks pretty low.

All in all, it was a quiet, relaxing weekend. I still find myself wanting to float in a sensory deprivation tank and to quiet my roiling brain, but this was enough for now.

In closing, I'll leave you with this hotel-related bit from Gary Gulman.

Gary Gulman - Hotels
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

Yes, I'm conscious

I'm sure my reader was wondering where I'd gone, but fret not. Je suis ici.

Here's what you missed:
  • A parent-teacher conference wherein the teacher used the word "social" multiple times to describe my child. You don't say!
  • I bought a Blackberry. I held out as long as I could, but it happens to the best of us. There are two main reasons I didn't want a smartphone. One is that I wasn't sure I wanted to be connected to my email no matter where I am. I tend to get a little obsessive about checking my in-box as it is, and I didn't want to be one of those people who are connected every second of every day. The second is that I'm too cheap too pay the additional monthly charges that come along with such a phone. But, I got paid out for my accrued vacation time from my old job and this seemed as good a time as any.
  • I joined a gym. Believe me, I didn't want to do that either. I go to step aerobics with my neighbor every Tuesday and it's never been a problem for me to go as her guest and pay a flat fee every time. I have a lot of stress in my life and didn't want a gym membership hanging over my head. But, the gym enacted a new policy under which the member and the guest must arrive together. Finding that nearly impossible to do for various reasons, I decided just to get a membership. I chose the lowest level, the bare bones. As the lady at the front desk was showing me the different plans, I noticed that the word "tanning" was on the sheet about half a dozen times. I was mentally daring her to tell me I could get unlimited tanning (and seeing as how I have no pigment cells, a hundred tanning beds would be as worthless to me as one). She didn't go for it, though.
  • The new job is keeping me very busy but is going well in general. I'm learning a ton, haven't set off the alarm system recently, and only walked around with food stuck in my teeth once.
  • The old job threw a happy hour for me and the other employee who were part of the acquisition. And hoo, did I get happy. Happier than one should get on a Wednesday night, really.
And, that's about it. I'm headed out of town for the weekend. The rescue has its annual meeting tomorrow and since it's a couple hours away, I decided to stay overnight. The kid and her dad are staying home. This means that I will be sleeping in a room all by myself. No dogs, no kid, no husband. I know, it's crazy talk!

Speaking of dogs, Fritty Cent is doing well in his new home. He turned 10 on Thursday, the same day my mother turned . . . way more than 10. I will probably take on a new foster dog soon. I have some apprehension about that because I figure that since Fritz was so easy to have around, my next foster dog will be the type to eat his own poop (and his friends' poop) and jump my six-foot fence.

I'll try to post more frequently for the rest of the month. You know I hate to let my reader down.

3 comments I heard this weekend

  1. Friday.....A Trader Joes worker, cute boy, maybe mid-20s, looks at me wide-eyed, and asks, "Wow. How many do you have in there?" I tell him, and he just shakes his head, unbelieving, saying "wow" over and over.
  2. Saturday....2 women whispering to each other, one says to the other, "She has got to have more than one in there."
  3. Today....A little kid in Primary , VERY wide-eyed, exclaims, with hand-motions, "You just keep getting, bigger, and bigger and bigger and bigger!"

Yeah. I think I'm staying home until the baby arrives.

kate reading to her babies

I had to do this in secret....hid the camera so she wouldn't be suspicious. It worked. However, Tanner is watching a movie in the background, so you'll have to really listen for Kate. = )

If you can't tell, here's the convo:

me: What are you doing Kate?

kate: Reading mines books to my babies.

me: Oh, I bet they like it so much.

kate: Well. How 'bout they sit by us. You and me.

me: Yeah.

kate: Hey, let's both read it.

me: Both of us read it. Hey, do your babies have names?

kate: Probably, that one Miley.

me: What's her name?

kate: This baby? Oh...this baby? Two Mileys. And I have another baby in mine tummy.

me: you do?

kate: cuz I a Mom

Week 1

I made it through my first week on the job (I knew you were concerned, so I wanted to let you know). I realize that a new job isn't that traumatic for most people, but I was at the old job for 13 1/2 years. Normally, the most profound change I can handle is taking a slightly different route to the mall. Trying a new brand of cereal, maybe.

The biggest challenge so far is getting out of the house at 6:40 a.m. My old job was literally a stone's throw from my house (and from my daughter's school). I was pretty spoiled with that situation, I know, but I told myself it was some recompense for the nightmarish traffic I used to encounter every day when I lived in the suburbs of DC. Now I have to drive considerably farther. The main hurdle I face in getting out of the house is roughly 39 inches tall. Phrases like "please get dressed" and "you can't eat breakfast if you're still naked" and "for the love of God if you don't get moving right now I am shaving your head" have no impact on her. So, I make it to work on time every morning, but by the skin of my teeth.

Speaking of arriving at work, I set off the alarm on the second day. Booyah! I thought I knew how to disarm the system but apparently not. On the first day I learned that most of the company's eating utensils have wandered away from the kitchen over time, so I had to eat my Weight Watchers lasagna with a spoon. Yeah, I'm classy like that. I remembered to bring a fork from home thereafter.

Other than a few minor glitches, I have to admit that the new job is actually kind of exciting. The other employees seem to be genuinely nice. The company offers a lot of technical services that I'm anxious to learn more about (I'm a project manager in web development, so that's been my little corner of the world for the past several years). Despite my considerable trepidation at the outset, this new gig may just turn out fine.

It was a long, challenging week, however. On Tuesday night I went to step aerobics with my neighbor. I thought this would be a good opportunity to work out some of my stress. Well, the instructor (I don't want to call her out by name but it starts with a B and rhymes with Sri Lanka) had it in for all of us. I think even my fingernails were sweating. The good news is that my neighbor knows CPR and feels reasonably certain she would revive me if needed.

After class, I wanted to take a nice hot shower. And I wanted to do it alone, so I locked the bathroom door. For five minutes straight, I heard tiny fists pounding on the door and a shrill voice shrieking, "MOMMY! I HAVE TO TELL YOU SOMETHING!"

"TELL YOUR FATHER!" I bellowed back. Suddenly, the pounding stopped. A few minutes later, I heard the voice again, but this time it was right on the other side of the shower curtain. "Mommy, I said I have to tell you something!" My little ray of sunshine had gone into her room, grabbed her plastic IKEA chair, dragged it down the hall, through the kitchen, and across the dining room. She set it below our key rack and then stood on the chair and grabbed a set of keys. Then the little bugger JIMMIED THE LOCK on the bathroom door. I don't know whether I should be horrified by that or vaguely proud.

update on...me?

How egocentric does that sound? However, I absolutely love reading about my sisters and their lives and Danielle requested, so here goes....

I don't talk about me, because I'm a huge fat complainer. I meant "fat" as in really big complainer, but after I typed it I realized it's sort of true the other way too. I feel like a hippopotamus. Sometimes when I'm feeling down about myself, I check my backside out in the mirror to raise my self-esteem (somehow I manage to stay looking non-pregnant from behind....so I really like that angle). BUT, about 3 weeks ago, the normal picture I got in the mirror shifted. My a** is getting big. There's really no other way of putting it. When I look at my face, it's chubby. My thighs rub together. My bum sags so low that it rests on my upper thighs. My feet are gigantic as well as my tubular shaped legs. I almost always fix my hair, get dressed and put on make-up before Shad comes home...but lately, I just don't see the point. There's no way to hide what I look like. So I know this sounds really negative, but it's just the way I feel lately.

My body feels horrible. Bodies just aren't meant to have extra weight on them. I feel really bad for obese men and women. Honestly. With the added weight, everything just hurts more....joints, bones, muscles. I had this horrible pain on the bottom of my foot for two days, I vaguely remember reading about this pain that happens on the bottom of your foot when you get too large. Another thing....it's really really hot. I feel so bad for women who get hot flashes. And I feel really bad for Lillie who is just constantly hot. It's horrible. It's 66 degrees in our house at night, Shad is under a down blanket and quilt, and I have no covers or sheet on me. If I dare to put something on top of me, I wake up all sweaty. I can't walk to the store that is 1/2 block away without getting contractions and feeling like my insides are going to fall right on the ground.

And then there's the part I'm not saying....that I eat horrible. It's no wonder I'm so large. I ate my normal meals today, as well as an insane amount of treats.

I'm sick. The kids and I have had colds for a week and a half now. We can't breath or think straight. I already feel like pregnancy has depleted numerous brain cells and now I have a cold that multiplies the feeling.

See why I don't blog about myself? I'm so negative. I know I have soooo much to be grateful for and I AM, but to really blog honestly, this all must be included.

Then there's the part about totally and completely NOT feeling like this is the last baby. There's another one out there. So knowing that I'm going to be feeling like this all over again in the future, just isn't super comforting. (to my dear sisters who haven't been pregnant before....the first baby wasn't like this at all, I actually enjoyed being pregnant. The second was more uncomfortable but I still liked being pregnant. This one...well...it's worse)

The kids do not nap anymore. At all. Period. Yet, they still consistently get up at 5:30am. I do not like to wake up when it is still pitch black outside with stars in the sky. It just doesn't feel right. It reminds me of seminary days and I thought those days were over.

I try to put the positive stuff about the kids on here. I mean they're going to read it someday. But honestly, Kate is a monster lately. I don't understand what has happened to her. She is constantly yelling at me and cussing me out in two-year old language. The other day she glared at me and said under her breath, "you're a cootie rat". What?? I asked her what that was and if she was saying it to me and she just glared at me in silence. She has said it to me two more times since then. And where in the world did she get that name?? We played the game "Cooties" that day and they watched part of "Ratatouille" so I guess she just combined a couple of the words?? YET, she still insists that I do everything for her. Sometimes I just want a break from her, and I'll hear her yelling at Shad, "No, I want my Mom to do it."

I avoid most phone calls because I don't feel like talking to anyone. I don't want to see anyone or do anything I don't have to do. Selfish. I know.

My hero through all of this? Shad. He's been an angel lately. Seriously. He's so understanding and when he's home he does EVERYTHING with the kids (at least that Kate will allow him to). He took down all of our Christmas decorations for the 9th year in a row, without me helping. He just does it without being asked and puts all the boxes back in the garage, perfectly organized. And we have A LOT of Christmas decorations. He takes me out on a date every single Friday night, without fail. Dinner, movie, shopping, whatever I want. I eat 3 times the amount of food he does, right in front of him, and he doesn't say a word. I complain and he listens after he's worked his 12 hour day. Hours will go by and I'll think, "wow, I didn't even ask him how his day went." He's amazing.

So that's me. I remember now why I haven't been posting about myself.

And no need to feel sorry for me. I've got that covered.

Oh, Fritty

Fritz, wearing the New Year's party hat my daughter made

My foster dog is being adopted on Saturday. Fritz (Fritty Cent, Fritzenheimer, Fritz-a-Million) has been with us for almost one year. He will turn 10 on January 14th. My most fervent wish was to get him into his own home before his birthday, and it looks like the universe has made it so. A kind-hearted adopter, the kind we rescue volunteers dream of, was able to look past a grey muzzle, a shaky rear leg, and some random quirks and asked, "How soon can he be mine?" Thus, I will drive five hours round trip on Saturday to take Fritz to his forever home.

After ten years of rescue work, you'd think I could pull off this sort of thing without the involvement of tears. Alas, I think this is going to be a tough one. Fritz has been a member of our family for the past year. The hard part, when you are placing a dog in his new home, is that moment when you gather your things and prepare to leave. The dog, too, readies himself to leave. "This is your home now, buddy," I always tell the worried-looking pooch. I'll never know if the dogs understand that I am trying to do right by them, not abandoning them as others have surely done. Sure, Fritz was always welcome to stay with us for the rest of his days, but every dog deserves a home of his own.

I would like to dedicate this song to Fritz:


If you have a small child, you will probably recognize the song immediately. If you are fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to own the DVD, you could probably sing it in your sleep. It's sweet, it's simple.

There is no home like the one you've got, 'cause that home belongs to youuuuuuu.

We'll miss you, sweet boy.

Four Days o'Fun

I'm starting my new job tomorrow and will have fewer vacation days for the foreseeable future. For the past few weeks, I've put in a fair amount of overtime (the free kind, since I'm on salary) in order to get ready for the big transition (being sold to another company). So, I decided to take it easy (as much as a Type A list maker like me can "take it easy") and spend as much time with my daughter as I could over the four-day holiday weekend. Never one to leave anything to spontaneity or chance, I scheduled Four Days o'Fun.

Day 1: The children's museum. I had some free passes that I won in a raffle last summer, so this seemed as good a time as any to use them. We headed down to the museum on New Year's Eve afternoon. Every kid in the state was already there. The museum was throwing a celebration every hour to celebrate the hour itself. The staff led a parade every hour. Picture hundreds of screaming children armed with noisemakers and confetti, marching through the building. Or maybe you shouldn't picture it - I'm still woozy and I saw it in person. The kid had a great time. She got soaked in the water room, threw confetti, boarded a fire engine, and climbed inside a gigantic human heart.

That night, P had to work so A and I had a girls-only party. We played Hyper Dash. We watched Bolt. I built a fire and actually kept it going for once. I painted her toenails. She definitely gave it the old college try, but lasted only until 11:55 before losing consciousness. I carried her to her bed, removed her homemade party hat, and kissed her at the stroke of midnight.

Day 2: The jumpity-jump place. For Friday's excursion, we went to the jumpity-jump place to get our ya-ya's out by jumping on the inflatables, climbing through obstacle courses, etc. I like this place because parents get to jump for free. And yes, I do jump with her. While it's true that I'm getting old and I'm starting to fall apart a bit, I'm glad I can still be the mom who gets in there and plays, dignity be damned.

Day 3: The roller rink. We arrived at the roller rink as soon as it opened. Much like the children's museum, hundreds of millions of kids were already there. Countless birthday parties. Exactly three people working. I think I go to the roller rink more for my benefit than for my child's. I just like to skate. A's friend from church also came (and her grown-up friend Jennifer, who I actually thought was my friend until my daughter advised me otherwise). At the end of the session, I invited A's church friend and her mom back to our house for games. We played Hyper Dash and Hullabaloo, and then ushered the girls into A's room so that the moms could partake of some wine.

Day 4: The final proof that I am the best mom ever: I took her to Chuck E Cheese's after church. When we got there, the girl at the admission station told my daughter that she was giving her some tokens because she liked her smile. That worked out well, because every time we go, we lose at least half a dozen tokens to shit that doesn't work. Putting up an "out of order" sign would be pure craziness, I guess. All told, we won 365 tickets and were able to walk out with two mid-sized pieces o'crap. I tell you, it takes a special kind of person to work the redemption counter at Chuck E. Cheese's. I think I would last about an hour of having kids trying to figure out if they want a Tootsie Roll or a plastic spider ring. Then, everything in the case would become a projectile and I would enact a "you'll get what I give you and you'll like it" policy that would be strictly enforced.

So there you have it. Four days o'fun. Woot!