High Heels and High Chairs as Art!

The hubby really did a great job on the gifts front this year. Lots of little things that were total luxuries. But one of my favorite gifts was a piece of art work he created, had printed and framed based on this here blog.

The hubby entered a month’s worth of text from the blog to Wordle and it created a “word cloud” – a grouping of the words that appeared in the text, their size based on the frequency with which they appeared. The hubby was able to customize it with my banner colors and voila, a unique piece of art based on my own words:

The sweetest part came later, when I was studying it and feeling a little conflicted and a little lost when I noticed the biggest word is “peanut.” Where was I? The hubby responded by telling me peanut might be the biggest word right now, but it isn’t the only one.

To every season, right?

Add this to the book my sister had printed of the blog from the start date through the 30 Days of Thanks in November (complete with book jacket, author info and added photos throughout) and it was a blog-filled Christmas. It’s kind of weird to go back and read the last two years in real print.

Hope you all had a lovely holiday. I’m still digging out from our nine days away and hope to get us all back on some kind of schedule before the New Year…we’ll see!

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Happy Holidays!

We are packing up and heading north (well, more north than here) for the holidays. When we decided to travel home for Christmas, I was remembering how quiet, sad and lonely it was after we had opened presents Christmas morning. Now, as I’m waist deep in wrapping paper scraps and laundry; trying to organize how to pack suitcases, gifts, a pack ‘n play, cooler, snacks, toys and a portable DVD into the car (leaving room, preferably, for a driver); and resisting the urge to pack more than three pairs of “real” shoes in a limited amount of suitcase space, I’m beginning to remember why we decided to stay home last year.

YIKES!

I know we will have a great time once we get there. I know it will be lovely to sit by the fire at my parents’ house after Christmas Eve mass, sipping cocoa (or something stronger). I know it will be lovely to celebrate the holiday with the in-laws in my brother-in-law’s family’s new home and with my sister-in-law’s new hubby. I know it will be joyous to watch peanut open presents with his family this year now that he’s finally getting it. And by getting it, I mean he is excited about presents – what’s not to love about bows and paper and ribbon and ripping?! I don’t think he quite realizes that there will be a toy INSIDE the present. I can’t wait to see how excited he’ll be when he puts one and one together!

But today? Right this minute? Just not feeling it. Well, I’m feeling it, but not in any positive way. I’m a nervous wreck for no reason. I’m running around the house like a chicken with my head cut-off. The hubby is being a total rock and putting up with my mood swings and crazy freak-outs. I don’t know if some of it is flashbacks to our last week-long trip, knowing that I can’t go through that much mayhem again or just the holiday stress all being projected onto the trip.

Truly, I have nothing to stress about. All the presents have been purchased. The ones that weren’t ordered online and delivered directly to my parents’ house have been wrapped and boxed up for the car trip. We’ve worked out all the family plans for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (a huge accomplishment this early) and the laundry I’m immersed in is actually all clean right now, it just needs to be sorted into the suitcase.

So I’m here venting, knowing that all you other women of the world are also in the midst of cookie exchanges, visits to Santa, meal planning, Christmas shopping, babysitting bartering, changing sheets on the guest beds, and packing suitcases of your own all in the name of creating Christmas memories for our children.

And oh, what memories they will be, right?!

Okay, I guess I just had to remind myself why I was doing all this. For my family – me, the hubby and peanut:

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

High Heeled Mamas UNITE!!

High Heeled Sis called me this afternoon on her way back to the office after grabbing lunch. She said she needed to tell me about a sad story she just witnessed:

She was standing in the sandwich shop line waiting to order her lunch. A mom was sitting at a nearby table eating with her three-year-old daughter. The daughter took a look at High Heeled Sis and said:

“Mommy, do you have shoes like that?”

“Like what? High heels?” The mom responded.

“Yeah. They are pretty.” (NOTE: High Heeled Sis does have some pretty sassy shoes) “Do you have shoes like that?”

“I used to,” the mom replied with a sigh. “I used to.”

I think starting in the New Year we’ll need to have a few designated “Wear Your High Heels to the Playground/Grocery Store/Target/While Folding Laundry” days to keep us High Heeled Mamas sassy! Stay tuned for details!

A Disturbing New Trend

Let me start by saying this is a post about poop. I know. I try hard not to air any dirty laundry here (haha, get it? Okay, sorry. It’s a lame attempt to make this distributing new trend humorous…), but this is just something I need to put out into the world and hope you brilliant mommy minds have a solution.

My kid is throwing poop.

Specifically, he’s taking off his clothes, then his diaper, apparently pooping in the crib and then throwing it out of the crib – because, really who wants to sleep next to a pile of poop, he seems to be asking me when I ask him why the poop is on the floor.

This happened Friday during nap time. Disgusting, but slightly humorous considering what else we were dealing with that day. We cleaned it and peanut up and had a good laugh at peanut’s poopy party.

Last night, I went in for my customary pre-mommy-bedtime check around 10:30 and found peanut sleeping peacefully, completely nekkid. No jammies. No diaper. Nada. The hubby and I managed to get a diaper and a shirt on without actually waking peanut up all the way and it did not appear that any bathroom activity had taken place up to that point. Then, the hubby went to get peanut out of his crib at 7:15 this morning and he was nekkid again. With a pile of poop on the floor. Again.

Really? Come on. It’s bad enough I have to clean it up in a diaper, do I really now have to pick it up off the floor? Not to mention the amount of laundry I’m doing to wash the sheets, the blankets, the stuffed animals. Not to mention the extra bath this warrants before my coffee’s taken affect.

So, you wise mothers of the Internet…ideas? I’m going to try putting his diaper on backwards like a mother suggested today and try putting his zip-up jammies on backwards, too so he can’t get at the zipper – although that will have to wait until it’s cool enough to actually warrant fleecy, footie jammies (today we’re in short sleeves and sitting under ceiling fans). Any other thoughts?

Should make next week at my folks’ house interesting. Good thing they’ve got the tan carpet upstairs!

Cookie Monsters

I feel like I should post something, but I’ve got some kind of holiday brain freeze. I am sitting here trying to clear my mind and think of something funny peanut’s done or some recent activity that gave me pause to reflect on this stay-at-home-mom gig, anything that I can write about that has some semblance or nugget of wit or honesty. Unfortunately, the only thing coming to mind is a laundry list of holiday to-dos: Buy that one-last gift, wrap the items on my dining room table, mail that package, and what shoes should I pack for our holiday festivities?

Instead, I’ll simply tell you that this morning, I had a great time making cookies with the pre-school set! We had a small group of peanut’s buds and their mamas over to cut out and decorate sugar cookies. I set them up on the train table (covered in parchment paper to reduce the clean-up), they all chose cookie cutters and sprinkles to use and had a great time making their creations. We popped them in the oven and enjoyed the fruits of our labor about 20 minutes later.

So…in lieu of a witty post, consider it my holiday craft idea for you — have a play date and make some cookies with your little ones. It’s a great way to let go, enjoy the season and make an acceptable mess – not much compares to the look of pure joy on peanut’s face when he was clapping flour all over the kitchen this morning.

Inviting others also meant I wasn’t left with a dozen cookies to eat on my own, because those suckers would have been gone before peanut could say “ginge-a-bed man.”

Perspective

It’s been a rough week around here.

Our little kitty is a pretty old gal. We found out yesterday that she’s in kidney failure. We brought her home for some goodbye time, but she’s not well. It’s obvious she’s dying. It’s so obvious that I’m a complete mess. We’ll be calling later today to make the appointment to do the unthinkable, to put her down so she won’t suffer. I know this is the right decision and the most humane, but it’s horrible, sad and painful. And I would give anything for her to be the lard-butt cat who puts my legs to sleep when she sits on my lap during movies again.

Ugh.

To add insult to this very raw injury, my bank card was somehow compromised and someone has racked up a lovely Christmas on my dime. Luckily, they were stupid enough criminals to actually send one of the items to be delivered to my house. That’s how we found it – a nice Playstation 3 arrived yesterday. Not sure if it was a mistake or a thank you from the thieves for all the other gifts they purchased on my card. Either way, I’m fighting with the merchant to convince them I didn’t order it, closing accounts and opening new ones.

Ugh. Ugh.

But in the midst of the chaos, I’m feeling lucky. Lucky because another mother I know is fighting for her two-year-old. Imagine going to a specialist one day to find out why your toddler can’t shake a sinus infection and watching him wheeled into surgery less than 36 hours to remove a baseball-sized malignant brain tumor. Imagine the doctor’s visits, the words chemotherapy and neurosurgeons becoming part of your daily vocabulary. Imagine the fear, the fight, the love.

I can’t. I can’t even imagine how she’s surviving. But she is. She’s fighting. She’s fighting hard for her beautiful, happy little boy. The power of a mother’s fight should not be underestimated in the battle for her child’s health. If the size of the fight and the amount of love and prayer for their family is any indication, this kid is going to beat this thing. And beat the hell out of it.

So this week, as I pray that all cats go to heaven – or at least somewhere with lots of tuna, soft blankets and sunshine – I’ll also be praying that all two-year-olds stay right where they are. As a safety on both counts, I’m gonna hug peanut a little harder and a little longer.

Toddler Tidbits

Between the holidays, taking a mental break after posting 30 days in a row and a visit from my folks this weekend, I have, unfortunately, neglected this space. I apologize.

As a reward, here are some funny scenes from my little comedian from the past few days:

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The hubby has been chuckling about the last post since last week. So, at dinner last night, he started a little teasing…

The Hubby: I eat like a man.
Peanut: I eat like a man.
Hubby: I burp like a man.
Peanut: S’cuse me like a man.

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This weekend, peanut was all about Grandpa. Where is Grandpa? Need to squeeze Grandpa. Want to hold Grandpa’s hand. Need to wake Grandpa up. Sit next to Grandpa. After they left, we asked peanut what his favorite part of the visit was…

His response: Grandma!

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In an effort to teach peanut gratitude, we include him in grace before dinner. It used to be he would just listen, but now he likes to list things to say thank you for. It usually includes a litany of whatever is for dinner, the silverware, milk, napkins, whatever friends we saw that day, etc…

During breakfast Sunday morning, we were discussing Christmas music or something and I was telling my mom about a performance of Amazing Grace I had seen on TV recently. As soon as the words “Amazing Grace” were out of my mouth, peanut put down his fork and said, “We didn’t say grace” and grabbed our hands. I have to say, in that moment, I was certainly thankful for a lot more than the scrambled eggs!

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We eat occasionally in our dining room so that peanut can adapt his developing table skills to “nicer” settings. Because he’s two, however, we enjoy the majority of our meals at our kitchen table where it is safer to make a mess and much easier to clean up. Now that peanut eats at the table in his own chair, we ate our meals this weekend with my parents in the dining room so that we’d have the extra room that our large dining room table provides.

Somehow, peanut heard something a little different than dining room and he’s now calling it the “diamond room.” I kind of like the fancy spin that puts on it!

"Walk Like a Man, Talk Like a Man, Walk Like a Man My Son"…

Peanut and I stopped today at a local restaurant for a bite of lunch while out doing some Christmas shopping and Georgia run-off election voting – you know, typical Tuesday activities. He insisted on sitting in the big boy seat – no high chair, no booster – and was actually doing a commendable job of sitting still and not bouncing off the walls. I was enjoying my chicken pesto sandwich in relative peace.

Suddenly, peanut announces to me:

“I eat like a man.”

Considering he was eating with his fingers, had tomato sauce all over his mouth and was licking his fingers instead of using his napkin, I couldn’t argue. The only thing missing was a huge burp.

He did that once we were in the car.