Monthly Archives: June 2011

This mom’s mid-June letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

You owe me one.

OK, in the grand scheme of things, you don’t actually owe me anything.

This is both because you have been far too generous in the past and – hope this confession doesn’t come back to haunt me –  I am not sure I should be on the good list 100% of the time (might be more like 99%, or something…)

But I did do you a favor this week…

My 4 year old E continues her obsession with the 101 Dalmations movie.  This has manifested itself in a variety of ways, including using every dandelion in our yard to blow the same wish.  She picks the flower, holds it in both her hands, closes her eyes, and says, “I wish, I wish, I wish for . . . 101 Dalmation puppies!”  then blows as hard as she can.

Recently, she decided to hedge her bets by stating that in addition to making the live puppies her dandelion wish, she was also going to ask Santa to bring her the dogs.  Yes, Santa, 101 of them please.

No, no, no, Santa.  I had two house plants die this week and am not sure I can keep anything other than the children alive.  So E and I had a talk, and I told her that dandelion wishes, and requests to Santa, are great for all sorts of wonderful things, but only parents can bring live animals into the house.  That means when the Christmas season rolls around, she can write you a letter requesting toys, candy and even a drum set (oh, right…you brought that for S last year…thanks again for that, by the way…)

But it will be me she asks for the 101 Dalmation puppies, which means your status as the King of childhood magic and wonderment will remain intact (just like I want it to…), and I will look like the Christmas morning chump.  No worries there, as I have become a master at distracting the children, and that should be particularly easy on Christmas.  But still, you owe me.

So for Christmas this year, I would like an all-expenses paid vacation to someplace that feels tropical (I’m not picky).  Please don’t forget to include childcare.


The Mom

Penalty for excessive celebration…(alternate title: T’s first steps!)

Written Monday, June 27:

T took his first steps!  He has been furniture walking for a while, has stood on his own a few times, and today – two steps!

It actually happened at church (walking with God already, that T!).  This week is Vacation Bible School for E&S, and several of us are volunteering in the nursery all week so that the amazing VBS teachers have a place to leave their infants & toddlers while they work.  T is always in the nursery with me, and today he was furniture walking around the big bin of blocks when he let go of the side, raised his arms in my direction, then started walking toward his mama!

I think he would have made it all the way (about 4 steps), except when he saw the happy, surprised look on my face and heard me say, “Good job, T!” he started applauding for himself, lost his balance and fell down.

That’s the penalty for excessive celebration, I guess.  But I am always secretly entertained by the players that just can’t help but pander to the crowd after a touchdown.  And in my book, two steps is a touchdown and certainly worth celebrating.  So from your mama (and the president of your fan club), “Way to go, T!”

Not on my “mother of the year” application, even if they request photos

OK, since the last post was about my kids playing on the back porch and at least being offered a vegetable at mealtime (read: it is not always this bad…), I feel more comfortable showing this photo I took last week.  I snapped the picture after E exclaimed, “Mom!  Mom!  Come look at what I spelled with my snack!”

Here it is:

Cheetos - TV (DSC_0668)

In case the image isn’t coming through clearly on your computer, it is the word “TV” spelled with Cheetos.  You may decide for yourself whether you are less impressed with my mommying due to: (1) the activity referenced or (2) the snack that I served.  Either way, I am thinking a museum tomorrow afternoon and then alphabet soup for dinner.  I have to get a better picture than that!

The hairy hula

A conversation between Mom, E & S earlier this evening, while all were on the back porch shucking corn:

Mom [holding an unshucked ear]:  “Look at this green present God made for me.  I wonder what’s inside it…”

E & S:   “It’s corn!  It’s corn!”

Mom:   “I don’t know…I’ve unwrapped it now, and it looks like something else…”

[mom makes the corn dance a little, and hums a Hawaiian song…]

E:   “It’s a hula dancer!  Look, it’s a hula dancer!  Look at the green skirt!”

S: [looking skeptical]    “It’s a really hairy hula dancer…”

[thoughtful pause]

S:   “…and I’m not eating it.”

Oh well.  At least we’re feeding her imagination!

Shucking corn

photo included to show you how much it actually looks like a hula dancer! Silly (dare I say "corny") humor is just a bonus... (image & dialogue bubbles from

Note to self… (re: T & toilet paper)

Note to self:

T’s obsession with unrolling toilet paper in our house bathrooms does not mean that giving him a roll to play with on our 25+ hour road trip is a good idea.

This is especially true if at any point during the previous hour, he has enjoyed a ring pop, since sticky baby + charmin extra soft = an infant who appears to have been tarred and feathered.

How many wishes can I get out of T’s one little candle?

Written while celebrating T’s birthday on the road: June 16

T has this cool party trick that he learned just in time for his June celebration; whenever you say “Happy Birthday T!” he blows as hard as he can, as if there is a cake and candle in front of him.  Today is his first birthday, and we have been blowing out real and imaginary candles all day.  It makes you wonder what T would wish for if he knew that part of the drill.  Since he is unable to speak at this very young age, I have taken it upon myself to wish some things for him.  So here it goes . . .

T, I wish you health and happiness always.

I wish for you the ability to always love yourself and the assurance that God and your family (including your mama!) will always love you – no matter what.

I wish for you a kind world.

In addition, (forgive me, but I am your mama…) I wish that when you someday choose to leave/expand the happy little bubble that I have tried to create around you, you will be able to create/define your own happy bubble of friends and family (while still engaging with the world in your own real and powerful and fulfilling ways).

Finally, I wish for you to grow as you should (but I must confess my secret wishes that you won’t grow up too quickly, and that even when you are grown, you will still occasionally hug your mama.  But no pressure.)

I love you, T, for everything that you are and for whoever you decide to become!  Thanks for an amazing year!


Your Mom

Happy Birthday T!!!

Happy First Birthday T! (DSC_0556)

Happy Birthday T!!!

You are one year old, and you are one fantastic kid.  You have our hearts forever!

With love (and extra frosting),

Your Mom

Smart *and* charming, this guy

More thoughts inspired by our recent road trip:

The Context:

14 hours into a 10 hour trip; still 3 hours from home.  One kid sleeping, one kid wide-awake, and one kid screaming because he is in serious need of a diaper change (what is with the midnight poop, by the way?).  Massive regret that we didn’t stop at our friends’ house three hours back – but all the kids were sleeping then and we (foolishly) thought they would stay that way.  Cue T’s cough and huge (near midnight on a Sunday?!?!) construction delays…

The Decision:

Head to Marriott for an unbudgeted hotel stop.  Talk to the nicest night clerk on the planet.  Experience the thrill of discovering that we have points, and she has rooms.  We’ll take one…at least we’d like to…Maybe my husband can sort some of this out…

The thoughts:

You think your husband is in trouble when…

despite the clerk’s eagerness to help him, her “hands are tied” since the computer/phone reservation system simply cannot use his points to make an immediate booking because “the system won’t let you use points for tonight’s stay if you’re checking in after midnight”.  And no, it doesn’t matter that he is desperate and standing in the lobby with three children at exactly 12:10am  (yes, 10 minutes after the deadline) . . .

You know your husband is smart when…

he realizes that he could use the computer/phone system to make us a points reservation for tomorrow night, if the clerk could use her generous discretion to let us check in very, very early (read: right now, a full day ahead of schedule).  His words: “if it helps, we’ll be checking out a whole day early too…”

and you know your husband is charming when…

She lets him do it!

Reason number one million and two that I married this guy.

(And not a bad reason to give your business to Marriott…)

You know when…

Thoughts inspired by our recent road trip:

You know you’re in trouble when…

your GPS indicates some traffic problems in the area and reveals that your quickest route out of New York is through downtown Manhattan…

You know you’re really in trouble when…

the entrance to the tunnel it told you to take out of Manhattan into New Jersey is jammed with motionless cars for a half hour before you figure out how to do a city-street U-Turn and find another route…

You know your husband is near his breaking point when…

he ignores every ‘born-and-bred New Yorker’ instinct he has, turns to you in the passenger seat, and says “I never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I am desperate to get to New Jersey.”

And you know you married the right guy when, two miles into New Jersey you pull in for a “quick” stop to get gas and you see this (the real photo, taken with my camera)…

Gas Line (DSC_0665)

Are you kidding me? At least six cars deep at every pump...

And your husband manages to declare the trip “memorable” and keep a smile on his face!

Road Trip Recount

We’re back!!!  I love traveling, and this trip was great, but it is also nice to be home!

To recount our 5 day, 1,000+ mile road trip (prompted by the can’t-miss wedding of our friends), I have decided to organize my thoughts into 2 categories: “shout outs” & “boo, hiss”.

Shout outs:

–  to the bride & groom (what a great weekend!)

– to the family who helped watch the kids so we could enjoy the grown-up events (Grammy, Grandpa, K & C, you were awesome – and you brought so much great energy and fun stuff for the kids!)

– to late-night Grammy (who helped make a nest of pillows to soothe a sleepless S at 3am)

– to the friends who also made the trip (such fun hanging out)

– to the friends who offered to let us stay in their home while they were traveling (would have made our journey infinitely easier, if we had managed to get there…more on this travel disaster later)

– to the friend who loaned us her DVD collection (you could have named your price)

– to our kids (who spent 25+ hours in the car and were absolute champs)

– and to my husband (some quotes from him coming soon)

Special shout outs:

– to T (Happy Birthday! see note written on the road and posted here soon…)

– to my husband (who wore his paper Father’s Day tie proudly and protected it from the rain with his paper Father’s Day umbrella)

– to grandpa (who brought tennis rackets for the kids, and whose Father’s Day card from E included images of (1) family and (2) the little-known, but very well depicted “Father’s Day fairies”

Shout outs to strangers:

– to whoever decided that the VA welcome center should have a play structure (you saved us…twice)

Welcome to VA, indeed (DSC_0601)

Welcome to Virginia, indeed

– to the clerk at the random campsite (who violated policy and let us picnic, play and potty break there even though we weren’t camping…you saved us too)

1 of 4 play structures at the campground we crashed (DSC_0606)

1 of 4 play structures at the campground we crashed (can you see it through the trees?)

– to whoever decided the petting zoo on Long Island should be free to the general public (how awesome is that?!)

"Petting Zoo" (DSC_0639)

OK, the hotel called it a "petting zoo", but let's exercise some judgment. That is a bear.

– to the Holiday Inn worker (who *tried* to help soothe the sleepless S in the lobby) and

– to Marriott (who let us use points to stay at hotels along our route on both legs of the trip – once in violation of policy…shhh – and gave us a free upgrade because it was T’s birthday.  Hello, jacuzzi tub.)

Boo, hiss:

– to that Friday night glass of chocolate milk (prompting a S puking episode which E recounted in great detail when introduced to a very gracious bride on Saturday morning – yes, her wedding day)

– to night terrors (up with a screaming S for 2 hours the night before the wedding, from 1:30-3:30am…saved only by infinite sympathy for a terrified child and an amazing Grammy with her nest of pillows . . .  and yes, S slept in, but the other two were up as usual every morning of the trip, which meant mom or dad in the lobby with them three hours after finally getting to sleep that night.  Hello, 6:30am)

– to the idea that popped into the brain of the nice hotel worker who *tried* to help S – bless his heart, but he just made it worse by showing the screaming S the sprinkler heads he had installed to keep monsters out of the hotel lobby (we were just starting to settle a little, and are now terrified of the monsters that must be lurking just outside the window…and why aren’t the sprinklers on???)

– to New York traffic (really? on a Sunday?)

–  to our GPS (more on this later)

– to the NJ gas station that had 6 cars – no exaggeration- waiting at every pump (and not 10 minutes after we had finally gotten out of the New York traffic)

– and to whoever designed the tiniest bathroom stalls ever at this same NJ gas station (since, while my husband was in the gas line, I had to take all 3 kids with me into a disability stall so I could pee – with the door just slightly open – since that is the only way E,S,T – in his stroller – and I could all fit.  Note to self: if you must keep the door slightly open, lock the stroller wheels, since it will be T using his feet to propel himself backwards off your knees that will put the stroller in reverse, send the door flying open, and attract the attention of fellow travelers.  Good thing I had already lost my dignity while talking to the bride about brown vomit a mere 48 hours before)

– and finally, boo hiss to the cough that T developed during the drive which woke him up every half-hour from his bedtime on, finally prompting us to make an unscheduled post-midnight stop at a hotel 3 hours from home.

But… (I try to avoid leaving you on a low note!) that is where things turned back around.  My amazing husband charmed a hotel into letting us stay using points (this was the violation of policy…see future post…) and we settled into a great rest of the trip.

To summarize: Amazing trip to NY, amazing wedding weekend, amazing friends and family, (brief blip: not-so-amazing 14 hour first leg of return trip), then a super fun last leg home (complete with Chick-Fil-A, a stop to play, and a DVD so engaging the kids wanted to stay in the car even after we pulled into our garage).

Don’t you just love road trips?!?!  And to think we get to do it all again in July!