Showing posts from November, 2013

Thanksgiving and Black Friday

Oh, four-day weekend . . . you make all my dreams come true. Well, except for the part where my husband screams at various football games on TV. And the part where his greatest contribution to our list of household chores is to lift his feet when I come through with the vacuum. But, other than that . . . it's all good. Our Thanksgiving was basically a repeat of last year. I cooked dinner and then we went to a friend's house for dessert.  I picked out a couple of cookie recipes from a kids' cookbook and tasked my daughter with the job of making dessert - under careful supervision, of course. In anticipation of indulging in said dessert, I worked out four days in a row, including a yoga class on Thanksgiving morning. It was free if you brought a canned good. At this time of year, I keep extra cans o'food on hand for just this sort of thing. Food drives galore. Although I don't actually prepare a turkey (I bought some roasted turkey breast for my husband from the H

I can keep a toddler alive (and other tales)

You probably thought I forgot to tell you about the rest of my east coast trip, but fret not! I got home (well, to my sister's house) from the wedding at 11-something p.m., at which time the babysitter went home. I knew that I needed to get my nephew (the nine-year-old) out of the house at 7:45 a.m. for a robotics competition of some sort. So, I set my phone to wake me up at 7:15.  I then took the baby monitor (for my two-year-old nephew) downstairs to the room where I was staying. I figured I should probably be aware of it if he woke up during the night. At around midnight, I was all set to go to bed when I received a text from my brother-in-law. "Can someone walk Bess?"  Doh! I forgot about the dog. See, my dogs maul you as soon as you walk in the front door. It is hard to forget about them. Bessie Mae is a very peculiar but sweet hound dog. She just sits silently in her crate and doesn't make a peep. Anyway, I went back upstairs, retrieved Bess from her crate, an

The big day

I can't begin to tell you how honored I felt to be a bridesmaid in my sister's wedding. I mean, I had a horrifying blemish on my face and she still let me be a part of the festivities. The day flew by and I'm struggling a bit to remember details. Saturday afternoon was a complete blur. I was at my sister's house and there was quite a flurry of activity. The kids were running around like crazy. A make-up artist came and went. My sister had her hair done. I picked up my mom from the hotel where she was staying and brought her back to my sister's house. Oh, and I also picked up my nine-year-old nephew from a Lego club meeting. We all needed to be at the winery by 4:00 p.m. for pre-wedding photos. My sister headed over at 3:00 to get her gown on while the rest of the bridal party got ready at her house. The limo that was shuttling us to the winery was a 1964 Rolls Royce, which was very cool.  My youngest sister and I got dressed downstairs.  The main goal was to keep

Wedding: Mission Accomplished

My sister and her guy are now officially hitched. Now that I've got my bridesmaid's duties all checked off, I am just hanging out and enjoying a couple days of vacation.  I've barely seen my kid. As you'll recall, the best man died two weeks before the wedding. His daughter is here and she and my kid seem to be getting along famously. They even slept together on the top bunk in my nephew's room last night. My nephew actually gave up and moved to his sister's room because the girls would not stop talking. Anyway, A has been so busy hanging out with her new friend and her cousins that I only see her periodically when she needs food. To back up a bit, my daughter and I arrived late Thursday night. My dad and his girlfriend picked us up at the airport and drove us back to their house in Maryland. I went to bed and the kid stayed up and partied with the grown-ups. Typical. On Friday morning, I left the kid with my dad and I drove to my sister's house (in Virgin

I can't win

I had an appointment to get my hair cut and highlighted on Monday. I've never had highlights and I was really looking forward to doing something a little different. My hair is very fine, thin, and fragile, so this was a once-in-a-blue-moon sort of thing for me. I wanted to look cute for the wedding. I asked for red highlights and picked a hair swatch out of a book. The stylist and I agreed that the highlights should be noticeable but not overly chunky. She did her thing and then spun me around so that I could look at myself in the mirror. I could see nothing. Nothing. My hair was exactly the same as when I color it myself with a box from Clairol. "You might see it better, when you're outside in natural light," she told me. I thought to myself: "It's November, it's 29 degrees outside, and it gets dark at like 3:30. But I'm supposed to stand outside until someone spots my invisible highlights?" I know I shouldn't make a big deal out of so

A wedding toast!

When the preparations for my sister's wedding got underway, I was so happy for my sister that I felt like I had some stuff I wanted to tell her. Mushy stuff. I thought maybe I could give a toast at the wedding so I started to write one. Later I learned that tradition dictates that only the maid of honor and best man give toasts at a wedding.  I guess I've been to some non-traditional weddings that didn't follow etiquette or something. I remember going to the wedding of one one of my husband's childhood friends several years ago. Abel (the groom) stood up and said, "I know that the bride is supposed to be the center of attention, but I need everyone to pay attention to me exclusively."  If you know Abel, this will make sense to you. Anyway, I still have some stuff I want to say to my sister, so I'll share it here. I'm going to go ahead and use my brother-in-law's name because it's a common one and I don't think it will give you a way to trac

How do you know?

Sometimes I worry that my daughter will think her middle name is Focus. I'm constantly saying, "A, focus. Just try to focus." How do you know when your child's personality quirk is actually a medical issue that needs to be addressed?  This topic has been weighing heavily on me lately. Everyone who meets my daughter finds her to be very charming and engaging. And she is!  I know I'm biased but she is just downright likable. Everyone at church says, "Oh, she's such a free spirit!" She is a free spirit but even free spirits need to get dressed every morning.  People have no idea how hard the mornings are at our house. I think they believe I am exaggerating or that I am too hard on her. No one ever says, "I can't wait to be a mom so that I can yell at a short person all day long."  No one wants to be that kind of parent. And yet, I find myself turning into some crazed harpy every morning. Her dad ends up yelling, too, and he is not a m

You'll wear a shirt with a kitty on it AND YOU'LL LIKE IT

I went shopping with my daughter last weekend. She needed some new boots. Not snow boots, but fashion boots.  In the past I have seen some cute boots at Gymboree so I took her in there.  They were having a sale and I had a coupon. Woot!  I started poking around and spotted some adorable pants with flowered appliques on them.  And, there were brown boots that matched! "Look at these, baby girl. Aren't they cute?"  She shrugged. I poked around some more, determined to find some article of clothing on which we could agree. And then, finally, I heard this: "Mom, I just don't see anything in here that I like." Whaaaaat?  No more Gymboree? "Are you sure?" I asked, frowning slightly.  I held up a skirt.  She shook her head. We left and headed to Old Navy. Later this month, Sesame Street Live is coming to town. I used to take her every year. Now she is too old.  This morning she left the house in skinny jeans, high tops, and a tee shirt with her sc

And so we move forward

 My heart was so heavy on Friday night, after the news of the best man dying, that I didn't know what to do with myself. I decided to go to the gym. Did you know that you can have the place to yourself if you go on Friday night? 'Tis true. Well, there were three other people there. So that makes four of us with no social life, apparently. I've noticed two young women who come pretty regularly. I think they've made some sort of pact to get fit together. However, as far as I can tell, they just walk very slowly on the treadmill and run their mouths.  They'll probably quit soon because the gym "did nothing for us!" But, I shouldn't judge. I thought I was killing it on the elliptical one day until I happened to glance at the settings on the elliptical next to the one I was on. This woman's settings were basically double mine - higher incline, higher resistance, etc. She probably thought I was a colossal pussy. Anyway, normally I go to the gym on S


As I was driving home from work yesterday, I got a call from my middle sister. As you know (because I blather on about it constantly), she is getting married in two weeks. She is currently in Puerto Rico on a short vacation with her best friend. I could tell right away that something was wrong. She'd gotten up in the middle of the night to catch a freakishly early flight, so I also knew that she was probably wrecked from a long day of travel. But I also knew from her voice that it was more than that. A bit earlier, she had initiated a FaceTime chat with her fiance, who was back home taking care of the kids. She could see something in his face but wasn't sure what. Maybe he was just irritated with her for some reason. She asked him what was going on. He didn't want to tell her the news he'd just heard, didn't want to ruin her trip. She pushed until he finally, reluctantly, agreed to unburden himself: his brother Brian was dead. He'd been found by his young daug