Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

Grumble, grumble

Today I'm cleaning my kitchen floor. Every time we stay home and eat and cook, it requires almost daily maintenance to keep socks clean or shit from sticking to the bottom of our feet. Hence is the life with a crazy messy toddler and a crazy messy man.

But it made me wonder if I was the only one with this sitcho... let me know -- poll to the right.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Invisible Umbilical Cord

After I gave birth to X-man, I assume someone cut the umbilical cord. I can't remember if it was the Doctor or MacTroll when it happened. I remember feeling a big relief after 23 hours of really hard labor of finally being able to push. I remember finally feeling useful rather than a big, loud mess that was moaning so loudly I'm pretty sure I was scaring other mothers up and down the delivery area. I couldn't help it. I was in a lot of pain. I was delivering a baby that was over 10 lbs. I'd been working on it for a whole day. And I was doing it without an epidural -- and that wasn't my choice.

Anyway, you're about to put me in a the category of "weirdo" when I tell you my whole agnostic life (from the time I was 10) until now, I've always believed there was a method to the chaos of life. Patterns, really. I'm not sure that one or multiple gods actually controls the patterns. I just think that they exist. It makes me a bit superstitious. It makes me believe that sending good vibes out in the world does make a difference, even if it doesn't directly affect your life.

I didn't know my child before he was born. I didn't know who he was when they wrapped his bloated body up in a blanket and put him on my chest. I had no idea, but now, as I pay attention to the things he does (like I think he's so snowing me on the potty training as a candy earning devise some days and others, I realize he's actually happy to go out of his way to do it even if he doesn't get candy -- like after he brushes his teeth at night) I know things about him.

I see with that secret parent eye in the back of my head when he's about to do something stupid like leap from the arm of the couch onto a blanket on the tile floor -- that he thinks is carpeted under it. 

I feel when he's pushing a chair over to the kitchen counter that hasn't been cleaned up from dinner yet and has a bread knife on it as I carry the laundry basket downstairs, so I can intervene before there's an incident. To be honest, there are physical signs -- like right before the storm of trouble -- I recognize that it's eerily quiet. Quiet in a way that my son, who I compare to a monkey, a rhino or a bull, isn't capable of -- unless he's about to cause some trouble.

What I have been ignoring in all of my faux zen Mommy intuition is that he's my kid. The talent of observation works both ways. 

I couldn't sleep last night. MacTroll kicked me and my clicking laptop out of bed at 1:15 a.m. I went to the guestroom and within 20 minutes there was a child at the baby gate panicked and calling out for me. MacTroll went to him from his room first. He wasn't having it. He knew where I was for some reason. I didn't call to him. I didn't move. There was a vacuum cleaner and a locked door between me and my toddler at the gate. And it hurt to listen to. But at the same time, I've been making an effort to step back and let Daddy provide the comfort. 

But when that didn't work. Daddy opened the baby gate. I opened the guestbedroom door. X-man ran into my arms and I carried him to the bed.

"Scared Mommy! Scared."

"What are you scared of?"

Silence.

"Were you afraid because you woke up alone?"

"Stay with me, Mommy. Big Hug. Kisses. Big Hug."

So we slept in the guest bed, where he had more dreams. Dreams where he wanted me NOT in bed with him. He kicked me and pushed me. "Move, Mommy, Move!" He'd say with his eyes still shut tight. I switched sides of the bed. 

In the morning, when it has obviously been light for a while, X-man will bolt upright and exclaim, "It's light out. The sun is up. Get UP Mommy!"

This morning was no different. Except rather than a headbutt or a knee to my chest, I got a hug before he jumped off the bed and ran back through the open baby gate to the room he was too afraid to sleep in. He greeted his goldfish, Gordie. He greeted his Thomas the Tank Engine train set. Then he sat down and played with his town of Little People. 

I'm not quite sure how he knew I was in the guest room. I haven't slept there in over a month. 

And that is why I believe in the invisible umbilical cord. He has intuition about me, the same way I have intuition about him. We're connected in ways I could never understand or really ever explain. Order to the chaos, through biology and love.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Perpetual Chatter

I was at home with X-man for 10 months before I went back to work. It was long enough for me to create two habits that I have yet to break.

1.) It is impossible for me to stand still without doing the Mommy rock, even though it's been a long, long time since X-man was an infant.

2.) I chatter to/with X-man all of the time. 

Since MacTroll got the week between Christmas and New Year's off, I've been spending some time up in our room resting while MacTroll hangs out with X-man. A lot of it is playing with the TV in the background. Some of it is just watching TV. But what I notice is that X-man will start chattering things like, "More cereal! More cereal!" and he'll say them between five and ten times before it registers with Joel (wherever/whatever he's doing in the room -- dishes, computer reading, laundry). And sometimes it never registers. Like right now it's raining. "Raining! Raining!" I would think that he's waiting for acknowledgement.  But maybe he's just stating a fact. Does it really matter if he gets acknowledged? Is he initiating conversation?

These are things I wonder about.

Ahh, the TV has been turned off and play has moved to the basement. I really should get dressed.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Foodie Christmas

I'm pretty sure both MacTroll and I are going to be in our "fat pants" tonight. Thank goodness for elastic waisted pajamas. 

This morning, I treated the boys to a couple new breakfast recipes from a cookbook I got last year for Christmas from my stepmother. It's a Stonewall Kitchen edition. The breakfast was Huevos Rancheros with bacon chive biscuits (I don't have a biscuit cutter, so I used a star cookie cutter). 


Basically it's sauteed onions with black beans and cumin on top of a baked tortilla. Then you sprinkle it with monterey jack cheese and put two fried eggs on top. Put some pico, sour cream and guacamole (or just avocado chunks) on the side and taaaadaaaah!

For dinner, I made the side dishes and dessert. The veggies are a bunch of green beans, with a cup of freshly chopped tomatoes in the middle. I lined the outside with sliced kalmata olives and then put on a balsamic vinegar, oil, dijon mustard and scallion dressing. Then I topped them with toasted pine nuts (which I used my new giant toaster oven to cook). 

The mashed potatoes were nothing special. But MacTroll whipped out his new cookbook and made us the pork chops with an herb butter on top. 


For dessert, I did chocolate cakes in my ramekins. They had raspberries in the middle.

Now I'm thinking we won't eat at all tomorrow... well, except for X-man. Who decided none of this was good for him and instead lived off of two bowls of grapes, some popcorn and the whipped cream from his chocolate cake. 




Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Big Hugs to All and All a Good Night!

We made a deal with X-man that Santa would NOT come to our house tonight. That instead, Santa would send our presents to us via the mail. And true to our word, while X-man was playing in the basement the doorbell rang. 

MacTroll went to answer it. And X-man came running up the stairs calling out, "Santa, Mommy! Big Hug. Santa brought the presents!"

So I hugged him and showed him that it WAS NOT Santa in person, as we had agreed, but instead was the UPS man. An hour later the Fed Ex ground woman showed up with another package, so we had the same event happen.

Then, of course, he wanted to open them. We explained that tomorrow was X-mas. And he got sad. But then we let him open one package from my friend CD in D.C. She sent him a Cars sticker book and a Cars Read and Find book. (Kind of like 'Where's Waldo'). X-man rocks at finding things (this is definitely a Mom-trait). 

So now we're sitting here in the living room. There's a fire in the fireplace. The tree is lit up. Curious George is on the big screen. MacTroll is reading the Economist and X-man is playing with his slinky from my Dad and Barbara. 

Happy Holidays, everyone. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Review of Coco Key Resort in Rockford, IL

Don't hate me because I'm stupid. I didn't get any photos of the water park... so the one I have I stole from the web.

This weekend we stayed for three nights at the Clock Tower Resort in Rockford, IL, while we visited my parents for the holidays. X-man has an easier time doing nap/quiet time in a hotel and it had an indoor water park and a MASSIVE arcade that we could play in for gross motor time.

The Clock Tower is older than I am. I don't remember ever staying there as a kid, but our relatives would. Mostly we just swung by to pick them up or to get on the bus that goes to O'Hare Airport. 

Our room (2110) had been recently refurbished. Things were still old (manual thermostat), sliding glass door that was leaking cold air (the high for two of the days was like -3) like crazy, the heater was pretty noisy and I'm pretty sure the TV won't be compliant with the change over to Digital in 2009, but you know... it was clean, it had comfortable beds and brand new soft sheets and towels. 

The water park wasn't very big, but it was full of fun stuff. It had a third party vendor (Pizza Hut) that provided food on the premises, as well as a bar area for eating that had burgers and fries (yeah, eating healthy was really not possible). There were two hot tubs for parents. Kids 5 and over were welcome with adult supervision. One had an indoor outdoor gate, but since it was so cold outside, it was closed. The indoor-outdoor hot tub also had a large TV so we could watch the Patriots kick Arizona's butt in the middle of a blizzard from our warm hot tub. 

This is an awesome waterpark for kids ages 5 through 14. The Parrot's Perch was a whole plastic climbing and sliding arena made for kids 40" tall and above. It also had plenty of water guns and wheels to turn to shut off/turn on water. X-man had a ball with the moveable water table (the different levels could be moved around easily). But he was scared away from the Perch when a bells starting ringing and he had like 8 seconds to get away before a GIANT bucket of water was dumped over the whole thing.  And man, it sprayed the place down.


X-man's favorite area was the Dive-in pool. It had two larger water slides for kids 40" and over. X-man went down them a couple of times. But he LOVED the basketball hoop in the zero depth pool. We played catch and made baskets for a long time. There were also water cones that filled up and dumped over occasionally (like at Sholem).

For bigger kids, there were two body slides and one tube slide. The slides went OUTSIDE of the water park. There wasn't a time where I was away from the little one to try them, but the slides emptied into a pool that then flowed into the lazy river, which we did ride on. The water there was 10-15 degrees colder, plus, it backed into the emergency exits that were NOT weather stripped. Cold air just flew into the humid pool area at the lazy river and left both X-man and I shivering while we watched the cold air turn to steam.

It is definitely worth staying at the resort and getting a package that adds tickets onto your room. You can do it so that you pay an extra $40 a day and get 4 "free" tickets a day. Admission to the park is between $25 and $30 (more expensive on weekends) and daily admissions are limited (i.e. hotel folks get first priority). We included my sister and got 4 tickets for $10 each for the one day.

I wouldn't have paid the $30 per person to just go for the day.

There is also an arcade filled with fun stuff: Guitar Hero, Pac-Man, Skeeball, Whack-a-mole, Car racing games, Star Trek games... X-man and I played for an hour and a half the second day while MacTroll was off doing some work and getting the VW a new battery (long story).

I put $20 on a card (like Dave and Buster's) and we had a ball. We traded in all of our tickets for a slew of lollipops for the potty candy bag, which was very convenient. 

Overall, I think for longer trips, we'd be willing to do this again. It wore X-man out enough that he napped 3 out of the 4 days we were in Rockford. Plus, it got him pool time, which he hardly gets any more (well, at least until we start swimming in January). 


Friday, December 19, 2008

Kids are animals

So, it's a known fact by any animal owner that if you clean it your pet will either puke on it, poop on it or knock something over all over it.

I've been witness to this apparent fact for over 10 years. I cleaned our first apartment kitchen thoroughly when I was 22. I was so happy with the Ikea metal baker's rack we purchased to put our new microwave on. I splurged that day and bought "cat grass" for Clawdio and the old gray. They showed no interest in it whatsoever -- until I was done scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees. 

I grabbed a beer and went into the living room. Joel and I were watching TV and then I heard a scratching noise. I ran into the kitchen to see our shy cat, Clawdio, straddling the 9"x4"x4" planter THROWING the wet watered dirt and seeds across the room. 

Now most people would start screaming and throwing their arms. But I was fascinated. Mostly because our cat never acted this enthusiastic about anything. I got Joel to tiptoe over and he said, "Ooooooohhhh, Clawwwwdddddiiiioooo!"

The cat stopped in it's tracks, dirt all over its paws. Then it ever so slowly turned to face us with a "oh shit" facial expression that transcends species. We laughed, he ran by us, I handed the broom to Joel and went to watch more TV. 

Similarly, we celebrate "Clean Sheet Night" in our house. It happens every week. I shuck the old sheets off and put on new ones. And it's as if the pied piper led all five cats and our dog to our room. They all wait until we get settled and then curl up with us. Because, damn it, those sheets don't have animal hair on them! I think they think this is what they get paid for...

Well, my kid is a complete animal. No matter what I spend my day cleaning and picking up, he zeroes in on the space and undoes all the cleaning I do. Today, I did a lot of laundry. It was all X-mans, mine and household (sheets and things). I scooped the cats. I picked up and vacuumed the basement. I vacuumed the basement stairs. I did two loads of dishes, picked up X-man's room and packed for our trip tomorrow. 

This was no small feat with a 2 year old under foot. I even served the little man hot lunch. Sure it was only grilled cheese and chicken noodle soup. But he's into cooking, and he helped butter the bread and I let him stir cold soup for a bit until I was ready to warm it up on the stovetop.

Anyway, right now, I'm upstairs in the living room listening to X-man "rediscover" the playroom downstairs. And I know when I go down there it will be trashed, and it'll take me 20 minutes to convince him that he should be the one to pick it up. 

Sometimes I think he forgets he has toys down there. He only seems to remember when we have friends over. But I've been rotating the toys in the living room a bit, so he was excited to see the music toys come up. We've been jamming a bit today, in between building towers and garages for Mr. The King (from Cars).

I'm off to watch the IT Crowd. If you haven't seen it, it's a British sitcom. I believe they want to make a U.S. version and carried one of the guys (Moss) over the pond for it. 

But Roy reminds me of a certain IT friend I have. So I find it particularly entertaining.



MacTroll's travels

MacTroll is currently on a flight from Seattle to Dallas.

He is supposed to fly from Dallas straight into Willard at 8:30 p.m., so we can leave for my parents' houses in Rockford tomorrow.

I'm hoping that things are okay for him by tonight... and am glad he wasn't on the East Coast this week!


Movie Day

Yeah, so as the Central Illinois world knows -- school is closed today. I ventured out to salt down my front walk in case some poor UPS employee has to come up it later and watched the dog skid out every three feet (I walked on the grass.). 

So, I think we're going to try and watch Short Circuit, an early holiday gift from my friend, B.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"No! No Santa! Please!"


Today was the Turtles' holiday party. I got there a little early to ensure I had a parking spot close to the door in case the possible ice storm suddenly swung in from nowhere. I also had to drop off my cups. (Yeah, I've had so much potluck stuff this month, I've given up cooking or buying food for them.) 

Anyway, the Turtles sang the first part and danced the second. X-man didn't want to sing. He wanted to sit in my lap and have me sing the songs instead. But I didn't know most of them. He got up and danced so excitingly to the dancing part that both Ms. H and I had to tell him to slow down and watch where he's going. 

This is the first time I've gotten to see ALL of the Turtles stand up next to each other. And oh my. There are two boys as tall and as broad as X-man. And I know one of them has a Dad that is like 6'7" or such. But EVERYONE else looked so much smaller than he did. And even though they're all just as frazzled and crazy as he is at 2, one elbow bent the wrong way could have taken out someone else's front teeth in that toddler mosh pit of death. 

After the dance, it was food time. I made my way over to get his plate ready. When I put it on the table I noticed Santa had snuck in the room. My kid RAN as far away from Santa as possible -- crying. His friend R retreated too. As did D and K. In fact, so many friends were fleeing, Ms. H asked Santa to go stand in the hall for anyone who wanted to visit with him. 

We already have the whole stranger danger going on with the man in the big red suit. Santa is not allowed in our house this year. Instead, X-man was comforted that Santa respected his fear of home invasion and just sent us his gifts. 

He likes Santa in theory. But in actual presence -- Not at all. Not even for presents. :-)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Evolution of Fine Hair





Crazy Kid

There are obviously too many things going on in my child's head these days. He can't seem to figure out if he's coming or going. 

Put potty training, speech development and figuring out the idea of "you" and "me" and you have one bipolar, confused, often grouchy, often elated little guy.

This morning I was getting dressed to take him to school. I saw him wander into his bathroom, turn on the light and shut the door.

I pulled my shirt over my head and walked down the hall to his bathroom. I knocked. 

"Come in!" he said.

I opened the door to find him naked, sitting on the potty (not even using a step to get up there) and pushing his penis down as he went pee pee all by himself.

My mouth dropped open.

"Look, Mommy! I did it! I did it!"

"Awesome job!" I looked around for his overnight diaper. "Where did the diaper go?"

"In garbage in MY room!"

I helped him off the toilet. He flushed and washed and then I gave him his monkey sticker for his chart. He ran out happily and made his way down the stairs. I retreated to get his clothes for the day.

And indeed, in his garbage can was one wet overnight diaper. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Turn the page!"

X-man's favorite books this month:

1. Go, Dogs, Go! by P.D. Eastman
2. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
3. Mars Needs Moms by Berkeley Breathed
4. B is for Bear by Roger Priddy
6. I Spy a Candy Cane by Jean Marzollo
9. Teeth are Not for Biting by Elizabeth Verdick
10. Airport by Byron Barton

What are you or your family reading?

Bob the Builder -- Vintage?

X-man loves Bob the Builder. Every time we're in the car and we pass a construction zone he shouts, "Bob the Builder, Mommy! Look! It's Bob the Builder!" He waves and gets all excited. 

"What is Bob building?" I'll ask.

"He's building a house! Build, Bob, Build! Can we build it? Yes we can!"

So, like any other mother, I figured Bob stuff would be key this holiday season. To begin with we started potty training over Thanksgiving and unlike folks who might have kids that just click with it. Mine goes back and forth (which I read is pretty normal). When he's home, I have him in a shirt but naked from the waist down. And 50 percent of the time he's right on the money. "Potty!" and off he runs. I follow and help him go pee pee, encourage him, reward him with his sticker and his Tootsie roll and back to playing we go. Other days, he stands up from playing with cars and I see a wet spot. I point it out to him and then, like Sunday, he says, "Yes, pee pee on the floor." And then he shows me two other spots where he peed while he was playing. 

We go sit on the potty for a bit. The last six drops of urine in his bladder come out while we're there talking about what the potty is for and how we need to stop what we're doing and listen to our bodies. He nods. Repeats the line that pee pee goes in the potty.

If he has three accidents in a 2-hour time frame, we stop and put on a diaper or a pull up (his choice). Which brings us back to Bob the Builder. The Wonder Twins have Bob the Builder easy ups. But apparently, Bob has fallen to the wayside and Diego has taken over as I searched two Meijers, a Wal-mart and Target for them. I found some on Amazon but they're not the right size. (I need a size 6.)

I approached Special K for info on where she might have gotten hers. And seriously the woman picked up the phone and called everywhere in town for me. How nice was that? But alas, no Bob. Only Diego.

I had the same problem when I walked into Toys R Us looking for Bob stuff. There was a small Bob the Builder tool set and lots of videos. I couldn't find a set of the vehicles anywhere. So I ordered him two online. Apparently, Bob has been replaced in the building field by Handy Manny and his talking tools.

I know all this character love is fleeting. I know he'll move on at some point (like when he still loved Thomas, but really only wanted to watch Bob for four months straight). But more and more the only places I can find Bob are on Ebay. Or from third party resellers on Amazon who jack up the price (say on plastic, disposable sippy cups that are usually $4 at the store to $12 -- not including shipping -- Yeah, I just said to hell with that.)

So while across the country house values and automobile values may be falling, you can apparently stock up on Bob the Builder crap and squeeze money out of desperate parents -- like me.

Or you can do what Freak recommended -- buy the cheap plain diapers and toys and put a Bob sticker on them. (She is a genius!)




Monday, December 15, 2008

Rec Center Happiness

So, I'm feeling under the weather today. Yesterday, MacTroll was down with an upset stomach and a fever. And today, I have nausea and a low-grade fever too. 

It's really put a crimp in my day. The good news is that MacTroll is downstairs feeling like a million bucks and carrying on with his work day. Me, I still got to take X-man to school and then came home and put myself under my warm comforter.

But I did manage to sign up X-man for some Jumbo Shrimp swim lessons at the Urbana Park District starting on Jan. 31. Terrance, the employee who registered me, was very friendly and efficient. He also gave me the low down on renting the Lake House for X-man's birthday in March. Although they're having some phone issues because the regular registration phone line message says that the building is closed for cleaning and to call the Nature Center. Alas, it doesn't give you the Nature Center's number in the message and if you push 6 to speak with someone... you just get the same message again. Thank goodness for Google. The folks at the Nature Center said they're working with the phone company to fix the problem. But yikes, what a pain in the ass for the week of Early Bird registration. (Get in now and save some bucks for registering early!)

Even easier than the Urbana phone registration was the Savoy Recreation Center's online registration. Sure, I was slightly annoyed at the $2 convenience charge. But I didn't want to go in and write a check. Well, not if there was a chance that I might feel like vomiting on the way there AND that the six spaces in the dance class I enrolled X-man in after he turns 3 would be filled by other folks smart enough to stay in their homes and not venture into the cold.

I'm excited that X-man's getting to the age where he enjoys doing activities. But I also know he values his unstructured free play as much as I love mine. So I'm working on finding him a balance. 





Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pondering my change in personality

For several work places and in college, I've been asked to take the Myers-Briggs personality test. It evaluates you based on several questions and then gives you a description as to what you are.

For the entire time in my twenties and when I had a newborn I was an INFP... 

But I just retook the test, and it says I've changed to an INFJ

If you've got 10 minutes, take the test and tell me what you are.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Fun



I'm Doing It!

Woo hoo! Look at me. I got through my first week of my planned, intensive work out schedule. I stuck to my goal of not eating fast food (much to X-man's dismay) and I avoided cocktails.

Things I did this week:

1. Survived my first 60-minute Turbokick class
2. Attended Stretch classes MWF.
3. Survived 30 minutes of a "non-beginner" step class.
4. Completed a full 60-minutes of strength training. (Sure, I was the biggest person in there with the smallest weights, but ya gotta start somewhere).
5. Walked Thursday and Friday 
6. Wrote down what I've been eating at looseyeats.blogspot.com

I'm very excited about all of this. My goal is to do something like it every week during the work week. But I may have to fill in a Saturday or Sunday here and there just for the hell of it. :-) 

The best part: I've worked out like this and my body has only been MILDLY sore from any of it. There was some light shoulder and arm tightness on Tuesday morning from all the punching on Monday. And I'm guessing on Saturday, I'll be a bit stiff from today's killer strength training (I didn't think I was gonna make it -- by the time we got to the abs at the end my inner thighs were SHAKING as I was just holding up my legs, never mind that I was supposed to be doing scissorkick sit ups.)

But I did it. And I had fun. And I've got no shame of walking into a class with a bunch of gym rats with perfect BMI and pulling out a step and doing something I've only done 2 or 3 other times. Seriously. That says a lot about me this week.

Better yet, I did all of this while organizing a 50-person holiday party, caring for a cat who had his teeth pulled on Tuesday, finishing my Christmas cards, finishing wrapping my Christmas presents AND single parenting. 

Yeah, I'm tired. But I'm proud. 4 hours and 22 minutes until MacTroll's plane lands. :-) 

Tomorrow I think I'll treat myself to a trip to Lincoln Square for the Holiday mart.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

An Update from the Frontlines

I've got 24 hours and 36 minutes to go before MacTroll's plane is supposed to land at the Savoy Willard Airport. In that time, I've got a lot of stuff to get done. But it's stuff I like to do. So I'm really happy about that. 

And I wanted to ask a question to the parents who read my blog. Do you ever feel like your kid is the "bad kid" in his playgroup? If you do, do you just choose to stay home more? Or do you think it's more helpful to have them in social environments, even if you have a terrible time following them around all the time?

I think about that all the time. Mostly because of the physical stuff I go through with X-man. I think about it when he pushes or bites or throws something at a friend. There's this part that just wants to go crazy -- except he can't just run and jump and tackle the other kids -- lots of times because he's so much bigger than they are and other times because when he gets overexcited -- he bites. And it's completely unpredictable. He can jump on and play with Wondergirl and be fine. But then he gets around other kids and chomp! 

So, I keep trying him in a controlled environment where there's other stuff to do. But as he gets older, he starts to get more "rough house" excited. And I'm worried. Really worried. And I swear, I'm waiting for one of the other parents to completely cut me to my knees about it.


Bixby Canyon Bridge

I guess I'm on the meme bandwagon. :-)

1. Put your iPod or whatever music player you have on shuffle. (We own iPods... go figure).
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS!
4. Tag 5 friends who might enjoy doing this as well as the person you got this from. Let them know they've been tagged.

IF SOMEONE SAYS "IS THIS OKAY" YOU SAY?
If She Knew What She Wants by The Bangles

WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
I Want You by Sophie B. Hawkins

WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?
What it Feels Like for a Girl by Madonna

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE'S PURPOSE?
Pinch Me by the Barenaked Ladies

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
It's in the Way that You Use it by Eric Clapton

WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
Everywhere by Michelle Branch

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
Don't go Breaking My Heart by Elton John

WHAT IS 2+2?
Over and Over by Nelly and Tim McGraw

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
Undenied by Portishead

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Everlasting Love by Howard Jones

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
Break Your Heart by Natalie Merchant

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
This Year's Love by David Gray

WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
In The Car by Barenaked Ladies

WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
The Logical Song by Supertramp

WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
All That We Let In by the Indigo Girls

WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Parting Gift by Fiona Apple

WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
Stripped by Depeche Mode

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
Monkey by George Michael

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
Livin' on a Prayer performed by Tori Amos

WHAT'S THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN?
I Alone by Live

HOW WILL YOU DIE?
All at Sea by Jamie Cullum

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU REGRET?
Good People by Jack Johnson

WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH?
I'm a Little Teapot performed by Susie Tallman

WHAT MAKES YOU CRY?
Spies by Coldplay

WILL YOU EVER GET MARRIED?
Why Don't You Get a Job? by Offspring

WHAT SCARES YOU THE MOST?
Don't Cry Out Loud by Melissa Manchester

DOES ANYONE LIKE YOU?
Happy New Year by Todd Snider

IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?
Golden Years by David Bowie

WHAT HURTS RIGHT NOW?
Never There by Cake

WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS?
Bixby Canyon Bridge by Death Cab for Cutie

I'm supposed to send this to 5 people... but, um, I was late to blog. So I'll open it up to five new readers...

Cuteness

So yesterday, X-man and I went mini bowling at Jupiters II with our CARE friends.

There were a few exchanges that I just thought were adorable. But this was my favorite.

X-man: (handing a mini bowling ball to Bubba) Here ya go Bubba!
Bubba: Thanks X-man (taking the ball and bowling)
X-man: You're welcome so much!
Bubba: Knocked them down!
X-man: Good bowling, Bubba!

X-man also used the potty all the time when he was home yesterday. He was not interested while we were bowling or at Quigs' house for supper. But I've had him naked in the house, and apparently he's starting to understand when he gets the urge, even to dribble to make it to the potty. Or, he just really has a weird attachment to Tootsie Rolls. 

The cuteness this morning.

X-man: "Apple juice please, Mommy?"
Loosey: "Apple juice or apple cider?"
X-man: "Ooooh, cider!"

I love the way he says cider. Love it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hello out there?

Where, oh where, have my gym buddies gone? Oh, where oh, where could they be?

I saw Cyberchick on Monday in her awesome Turbokick class.
Has illness started to take over your houses? What's happening?

I did 30 minutes of step today. The teacher came up to me and introduced her self and made sure I knew it wasn't a beginners class. I told her that I thought if I could make it through 60 minutes of Turbokick with Cyberchick, I could do 30 minutes of her class. 

The basic stuff I was good at. The turning around on the step or straddling it -- not so good at it. I'm going back next Wednesday again to try again.

As for tomorrow, I'm walking at 9:30 a.m. with Libbygirl at the mall for an hour. On Friday I'll be in the stretch class and then the Team Strength Class. Anyone with me? 

Plus, Special K is up for some walking... maybe on Friday or Saturday... 

If MacTroll's home on Sunday, I might go to the Yolates from 6:30-7:45 p.m....


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It should have been a good day

Today was going to be an awesome day. I was going to get up, spend some time with X-man, get him to school, go have an hour-long massage and then go to yogalates at the gym. I've been dying for that class to fit into my schedule, and it's a bit too late in the morning most of the time.

Afterwards, I had the usual errands to run. I needed gas. I wanted to buy some kids some books from the giving tree over at Pages for All Ages. I needed to mail some X-mas presents, buy some canned cat food, plan the party games for Saturday's CARE party, work on my menu for the party, clean my house and bathe my dog. 

But Monday night, X-man was wiped. He'd had a hard day at school. If anyone invaded his personal space, he pushed them down. My normally very huggy and friend-oriented kid gets moody, particularly when he doesn't nap. And well, he has been refusing to nap so we've been settling for quiet time lately. It obviously doesn't work well. Instead, on our way back from picking up our cat from his dental cleaning/surgery on Monday, X-man fell asleep at 6:15 p.m. in his car seat. He didn't wake up on the transfer into the house. He slept through the diaper change. And he kept sleeping. He's done this a couple times before and usually goes 12-13 hours straight through.

I went to bed by 10 p.m. expecting it to be an early morning. But I have to admit, I didn't think that morning was going to come at 4:42 a.m. with a toddler jumping on my head and pulling the sides of my hair like he was riding me like a horse. I screamed in pain and said, "No!" and "Get off!" And instead he giggled and pulled harder.

I got away, and I was angry. I shouted. I snatched him from my bed, and I carried him to his room, changed his diaper, turned on his bedroom light and told him to play there. It lasted 30 minutes... then he came back in SHOUTING, "MOMMY!"

I sat up thinking something was wrong. He just wanted me to play with him. I said no. I pointed out that it was still dark and Mommy was still sleeping. He didn't care. 

Then he said, "Mommy, tummy hurt." 

Duh -- of course. He was STARVING. He'd last eaten at 2:30 p.m. I begrudgingly went downstairs. He asked for a banana. He ate the whole thing. I gave him another one and some apple juice. I turned on Bob the Builder. I went upstairs to get ready for the gym. I bashed the side of my left little toe into one of the wooden chairs at his drawing table. 

I got dressed. I brushed my hair and my teeth. I washed my face. I went downstairs and let out the dog and fed the cats. I dribbled wet cat food juice on my clean shirt. I made myself an egg sandwich. I ate it. I made X-man one at his request, he ate one piece of bread and dumped the rest onto the table. 

I started to feel sick. I ran to the bathroom. I started retching. Nothing came up. 

I got him dressed. He then wanted to use the potty. "Mommy, Poopy! Potty!" He didn't quite get there. But he sat on the toilet and took the world's smallest pee anyway. It was the first time he registered using the restroom with pooping, so I gave him a car anyway. I tried to put a new diaper and his pants back on. He didn't want it. We struggled. I got them on. He fought me on the socks and then the shoes and then the coat. We got in the car. I dropped him off and realized I'd forgotten to bring the thank you note for his student teacher.

I drove home, got the note, filled my car full of holiday boxes to be mailed. I got some gas. I went to my massage. Lorree Harty at Hair Design at Knollwood gave me an extra 30 minutes on my 60-minute massage for free. Not going to complain about something I really needed. It was too late to make it to yolates. Instead, I dropped off the thank you and did my Pages shopping. I found nothing for my aunt or my husband, but did do my annual giving.

I made a deposit at the bank and then I went home. I ate left overs for lunch. I did the dishes. I ran the laundry. I did some accounting. I hung up all the ornaments X-man yanked off the tree. I cleaned two of the toilets. I wrote Christmas cards. 

I felt tired and sick to my stomach still and achy all over. I took a nap. I woke, still really tired. I took a hot shower. I got dressed. I picked up X-man. The teachers said he napped. We bought cat food. We came home. He's been all over me ever since. It's like he's manic with energy. He screams when he wants something. I'm constantly reminding him to talk to me nicely. He runs up to me when I'm on the phone wanting me to direct my attention to him. When I get off the phone and sit down to play with him. He bosses me around. So I say I won't play with him because he's not treating me nicely. 

I make dinner. He can smell the french fries. He starts shouting for them. They're still cooking and they're too hot. He shouts at me to blow on them while they're still in the oven. When they're finally cooled off, we eat. He won't talk to me. He's mad I turned off the TV to talk to him.

Later, I have to restart the iMac. He freaks out when he can't watch Snoopy on demand. Instead, he gets placated with the Wiggles. Then, he runs up to me while I'm writing something on the calendar and hits me in the back. He gets a time out. Fresh out of time out he dumps the paper recycling all over the floor of the room.

I call an early bath time so we can do an earlier bed. We take a bath in Mommy's bath. We play and smile and I wash his hair and his body. He plays with Salty and the washcloth. I get into my pajamas. I get his pajamas ready. 

He refuses to wear the ones I pull out. He refuses to get his own. It's another struggle. He pulls down his pull up, "Pee on potty, Mommy." He leaks a little down the front of the diaper. I take him to the potty. He tries to rip the shower curtain down. I tell him no and to be gentle. He pees and gets his sticker and his Tootsie Roll. He brushes his teeth. 

Bedtime. I read three books of his choice. We talk to Daddy over Video iChat. He wants to sleep in Mommy's room. So I tuck him in and turn off the lights, but leave the hall light on as a night light. He wants me to lie with him. So I do. He puts his blankie over my head and bites the side of my temple through it. I say, "Ouch! No Biting!" He laughs. 

I decide to remove myself from harm. I tell him I love him and go to his room, so he can fall asleep, which is our norm when Daddy is gone lately. He gets up and follows me. I tell him it's time to go to bed. He wants to sleep in his room... he's still in the hall whining and calling out for me, while I lie in my bed with the door closed feeling like a complete asshole.

Why can't it ever be easy? Why is everything a flipping struggle? 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Kitty

This is our cat Maya. She is 7.5 years old. And she is the first one to get into the holiday spirit. In her attempt to drink from the Christmas tree... she managed to get her entire face covered in sap. Nothing like a cat that comes up to headbutt you for affection and sticks to your hand. At least she has the pleasant pine fragrance.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

HAIRCUT!!

Before:
After: 
He even put his t-shirt on himself. Sure it's backwards... but he did it!

Deep Thoughts for a Calorie Counter

So I've been counting calories every day for a few weeks. I even did it on travel. On Thursday, I started out doing it and then I just stopped. I suddenly hated doing it and hated myself for doing it.

I woke up this morning and was supposed to go to this lecture/practice session that a local doctor and social worker were holding on things you can do using  your mind and body to combat depression. Since around the end of January through the first part of the warm season are always kind of hard for me (damn that seasonal distress crap), I thought I'd go. 

I went. I stood in line. I saw people I knew from the community. I saw the acquaintance whose e-mail list I was on. And then two people back from the registration table in the line -- I freaked out and I left. 

Instead, I went to the Dollar Store. I bought table clothes and plates and silverware and cups for the CARE holiday party. I bought X-man new potty rewards. And I sat in my car with my mylar balloons (to tie to my stroller so my friends can find me at the holiday parade tonight) thinking about myself and why I left, and what it was that sounded so good to make me want to go to the seminar that then, in the face of it, made me bail like the building was on fire.

I am extraordinarily self aware. And I know things in my head for a long time before I'll say anything about them and even longer before I'll act on them. Rogers is really knowledgeable about this part of me. I keep stuff to myself for a long, long, long time and then one day, I pick the right person and I let it out. 

And there are words I've been saying to myself for months. But I'm fighting the change that will come as I accept that truth and actually move forward to change my behavior. 

I have a figurative best friend that I lean on. She's there when I hurt. She's there when I'm bored. She's there when I'm happy. Everyone else has this friend too, but they somehow don't seem to consume as much time with her as I do... and even if they do -- their bodies seem to process her much, much better than mine does.

And I have to break up with this figurative friend. I have to rid myself of her the way you would a bad boyfriend or girlfriend. I have to realize she is not the constant in my life -- I am. But the hard part is that I have to see her several times a day. She's everywhere. But I have to look at her as if she's dangerous. I have to stare her down. And worse, even though I love her, I can't have her. But I also can't torture myself by measuring how much of her I consume in numbers and feeling guilty and shameful about it.

It turns out that counting of the calories is just as dangerous as counting of the WW points. I start to get more upset about the injustice that I'm made differently from other people rather than using my achievements as a way to reward myself for trying to take a step toward self-care. The truth is I know better. So rather than whining I just need to do it. End it. Let her go and hope that down the line, our break up pain goes away and it can turn into something more positive.

All I can do is write down my experiences with her in a list and try to fall in love with a new friend. I've already met him. He's much more demanding. He wants more of my time, and he works me into a frenzied sweat every time we're together. He levels out my moods just as well as she did, but my body feels awkward around him. His people are all lean and hardcore. I'm timid and soft. It's like I don't quite know if we go together or not. I enjoy his company, but it's just all so new.

Literal translation: I have to exchange my attachment to food for an attachment to exercise. 

I'm not quite sure how I'm going to do this. I don't do well in group meetings. There's this huge part of me that wants to stand up and scream that it's not fair that I have this issue while plenty of regular-sized people can eat what they want, work out the same amount (or less than) I do and never have to worry about looking like I do.

So I've stopped the calorie count. I'm going to list my food at looseyeats.blogspot.com. But you're going to notice that the exercise there will start to be way more diverse. I'm going to have to kick my metabolism's butt for a while... while avoiding social situations with food and alcohol. That's not at all an easy thing to do during the holiday season, so I'm sticking with the mantra of everything in moderation... 

But like most addictions, I'm expecting a long, ugly fight of withdrawal. So, if you see me out and about. Do me a favor. Don't be my dealer.

If you see me at an event with food and I pick up more than one brownie. Tell me to put it down. I don't care if I get mad. I don't care if I shout. Tell me, "For the love of your body, put the damn thing down." 

And forgive me if I'm a complete crab. It'll get better -- in six weeks. And the three ways I've chosen to begin are this: No fast food. No alcohol. 60 minutes of exercise five days of the week.

Who was it that said -- If you don't take care of your body, where will you live?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Navy Pier and Chicago Children's Museum Review

On Thursday, X-man and I drove up to Chicago with MacTroll. MacTroll had a business meeting at the Omni Hotel off Michigan Avenue, but we stayed at the Conrad Hilton on Rush Street. The Conrad backs into the Mall at Grand and Michigan Avenues, which houses a Nordstrom's and a lot of little stores including the Sanrio (Hello Kitty store) and the Lego Store.

MacTroll ran off at 11:45 a.m. to prep for his 1 p.m. meeting. X-man and I took off on foot to walk the 1 mile from our hotel to Navy Pier to go to the Chicago Children's Museum


It was a really, really easy walk, and I am LOVING our new stroller. He was 2 lbs away from outgrowing the umbrella stroller weight and the material was starting to tear (it was a hand-me down to begin with) under his weight. There was no way he'd ride comfortably in it while all bundled up for 20-degree weather. 


Anyway, everything was open at Navy Pier, including the ferris wheel and swing rides, but NO ONE was there. At the bottom of this review you'll see a small toddler train ride where X-man was the only rider. There were several school groups at the museum when we arrived, so we explored the pier first. The ferris wheel was open but X-man wasn't interested. 

The museum costs $9 a person, but we used our ACM membership and got in free. It's a pretty large museum with exhibits that are friendly for kids ages 6 months to 12 years. Xander loved the building section. There were two building areas. We picked the one that didn't need museum staff. 

It had two carts of building supplies (real nuts, bolts, washers and socket wrenches). Parents could then choose building lumber from a large selection and help build things with their kids. X-man and I were there for maybe 30 minutes of our 2-hour stay. We built half of a house, but then X-man's need to go somewhere else kicked in, so I've given you photos of some of the others that were built when we got there. The building area for older kids allowed them to build a sky scraper out of different plastic pieces and add it to a large skyline they constructed to display the works. 

Most children's museums have climbing areas for big kids. Chicago's is a little fancier in that it has a complete vertical climb that no parent could fit in. Therefore, they recommend it for kids ages five and up, but if you think your younger kid can do it, they're welcome to try with parental consent. X-man just took the stairs.


Our first stop upstairs was the dino dig. X-man got to use a brush and uncover dino bones in recycled rubber. It was a huge exhibit. And like I said earlier, this is a great time of year to go because no one was there. 

Then went into the little town area for toddlers. It's the place with the obligatory CTA bus, the market, the post office and the kitchen play area -- all of that imaginative stuff for toddlers. This one, instead of having a mechanic shop, had a gas station. X-man fueled the same car for 40 minutes. The kids before us had kind of ripped up the market. So while he pumped, I cleaned up after the other kids, so more kids could enjoy the shopping experience. 


Also in the toddler area was a baby zone. It had a GIANT sign that the area was just for kids who were not really walking. It was awesome. It had a 2 foot high soft wall for babies to pull themselves up on, mirrors and lots of fun, short tunnels for babies to crawl through. There were little pull doors in the floor for them to explore and open and see pictures. There were other baby areas like this around the most popular exhibits (like the water table).

From 2-4 p.m. on Thursday they had a special program for toddlers and pre-schoolers called "Taking Care." You walk into a mini set up of a house where there are babies to care for, stuffed dogs to care for and meals to fix. X-man took right to washing every baby in the place. He brushed their teeth and combed their hair. These were anatomically correct dolls, which was awesome because I asked if his doll was a little girl or a little boy -- X-man stalled and then I asked, "Does the baby have a penis?" 

He looked. "No!" 

"That's right, it's a girl. She doesn't have a penis. She has a vagina." He nodded and then handed her to me, so I could dry her and diaper her. Then he pushed her in the pram, read her a story, fed her a bottle and put her to bed with hugs and kisses. He did all of this with no prompting... apparently he's an awesome caretaker.


Overall, I think we had a great time. Two hours was enough time for X-man (he fell asleep in the stroller on the walk back to the hotel) but the truth is that you needed MORE time to actually do everything in the museum. So, if you have older kids who don't nap, you could probably be there for 4 hours or so. The location of the museum is also awesome because it backs into the extensive food court at Navy Pier (Food of every kind and a McDonald's). Although there are big talks about moving it to Grant Park.

There are free shuttles from various places that will take you to Navy Pier if you're not up for the walk. We walked by a "free shuttle" pick up spot every other block down Illinois Avenue on our way to the museum. We saw the shuttle twice on our way there and on our walk back (so every 10-15 minutes they go by). I know they have free shuttle pick ups like this for other attractions like the Museum campus (Adler Planetarium, Natural Science Museum and Shedd Aquarium) from Union Station. But they don't have one to go to the Museum of Science and Industry.

Overall, I'd rank this children's museum number 2 on my list because it offers more interesting and well-maintained exhibits, even for the higher price, than most of the others we've visited. Plus, it gets big points for the ease of getting there from anywhere in the city, having easy access to kid-friendly food and indoor/outdoor stuff to do at the location and for being friendly for kids of all ages, particularly the little ones.

1. Betty Brinn Children's Museum in Milwaukee, WI.
2. Chicago Children's Museum.
3. Children's Discovery Museum in Bloomington, IL.
4. Discovery Center Museum in Rockford, IL.
5. Children's Museum of Illinois in Decatur.
6. Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, PA
7. Orpheum Children's Science Museum in Champaign, IL.
8. Exploration Station in Bourbonnais, IL.


Drinking and Shopping

So, I'll admit I've never really been on a date. But I've had dinner with folks I didn't know very well. Folks where having a drink or two really, really helped get me through an hour and a half dinner. It made the sense of awkwardness dissipate. It took the edge off. It made me more likely to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Yesterday night, I left MacTroll and X-man alone in the hotel room at 7:40 p.m. and went to meet my friend Curly for drinks and we took an impromptu shopping trip to Nordstrom's (it was connected to our hotel building so we didn't have to go outside). And good god, Nordstrom's is desperate for Christmas shoppers.

They were serving drinks. Hot chocolate with dabs of white chocolate at the bottom and peppermint sticks, Cosmo holiday drinks (with floating cranberries), chocolate chip cookies (still warm) with shots of milk. It was insane. Get people all liquored up and chocolate happy and watch them spend their money.

And it worked. I picked up one pretty bra and a dress. Me in a dress -- doesn't usually happen. But it was pretty, and it looked nice. And it made me feel -- feminine. And it was 60% off the original price (part of the bending over backwards was that everything was on sale). 

Now I just gotta find somewhere I want to wear it. :-P

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More Insomnia issues: Babies, babies and more babies

So, a while ago, my friend Lavender wrote a post about being one of the few parents she knows who has three kids. What I am starting to notice is that I'm quickly becoming one of the few parents with only one child. 

I have a number of co-parents who said that they had only planned on one, but in the end biology and sex drive took over and now there are two. 

When MacTroll told people he'd been to the urologist within six months of X-man's birth, people looked at him cross-eyed. "Are you sure you're done?" 

And the answer is and always has been -- from both of us -- yes. I was a lousy pregnant woman. Lousy. I was excited about X-man, but it was the worst time in my whole life -- and truthfully, I've never quite recovered (physically or mentally) from the trauma. 

But as most of my close friends become or are already mothers of 2.2 kids. I find myself in a weird place. I went shopping a couple weeks ago and ran into a very, very nice woman I knew from my old gym. Loved seeing here there. She is a great woman. And we talked and inquired about each other's kids. And after she asked me how old X-man was, she immediately said, "Well, it's probably time to get to work on another one." The implication that by only having one my life would be missing something.

As a mother of 2.2, I know it seemed like a rational thought to her. Like if you love the first one so much, why wouldn't you want to have more? And the truth is there are so many parents out there who are WONDERFUL at having multiple children. They handle five with an amazing ease. 

Me -- I'm pouring all my love and energy into the one I have. I worked really, really hard to get him and keep him safe and healthy. And it takes all of my energy and mental capacity to raise just him. I would not be one of those parents who is great at multiples. But I feel like for some reason to the outside world where 2.2 is the social norm, I will always have to justify my choice. 

And I think that sucks.

Off to the city

The family and I are running up to Chicago tomorrow a.m. Hence the three posts today! :-P 

Smell ya later.

Calorie Count

I blew it trying to control myself around the baked goods Tuesday night. Sigh.

2070 total 

Rolling Stone Rocks

A while ago, Rolling Stone moved from the big-sized magazine that I grew up with to a regular format. It's slimmer as well as smaller. It made me sad.

But today, because I forgot my book (again) and spent 1 hour on the bike, I needed reading material. And there, lying on the coffee table in the lobby of my gym was the new Rolling Stone with -- blah -- Britney on the cover.

It was the usual stuff. I skipped the cover article on Britney, because really I don't care about how much pressure she's under or that her parents keep her under lock and key so she doesn't fall into the deep end of the pool. But what made me keep pedaling was their review of what was hot in 2008.

When I was a teenager, my room was COVERED in advertisements, Rolling Stone pictures, Articles from RS, Spin, and Details. I grew up loving words and images and I plastered the things in every space I could. When my walls were full, I taped things to my desk drawers, my headboard, everywhere. The pictures are actually awesome. It was a room of collage. And I guess it was some kind of teenage angst art therapy for all the thoughts bouncing around in my head. (Now in those circles it's actually called Life Mapping -- who knew? -- but if you haven't done that before but are interested in spending 4 hours alone in a room with about five other people collaging a map of your interests while eating healthy snacks let me know... I know someone local and can probably hook you up.)

Anyway, if you want to know all 35 categories, you'll have to read the article. Warning: Most of them are only going to be funny to a certain group of people others will find the language and topics offensive.

For your enjoyment are sections of the ones that made me laugh out loud:

Michael Cera
 — "If the Volkswagen Jetta was a human being, it would be Michael Cera: smart, cute, reliable and yet a little too impressed with itself. Sometimes, you just want a Camaro — a Camaro that drunk-dials Ellen Page and hates the Moldy Peaches."

Robert Pattison — "But, Edward-mania will be hard to forget. Says Pattinson, 'A mother recently gave me her baby and asked, 'Can you please bite his head'?"

Winona Ryder — "Meanwhile Ryder, after a brief detour through shoplifting ignominy, is sticking to the future. She'll be in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek prequel, playing Spock's mom. Shit, we're old."

Beta Alpha Dogs — Remember how alpha dogs kicked you in the balls just for a laugh? George W. Bush was one, right after 9/11. So was Tom Cruise, before he went nuts. Now it's all about beta macho: being a tough pushover. Brett Favre is beta macho — no alpha would have sobbed his way to the Jets. Madonna loves beta machos: Alex Rodriguez, Guy Ritchie. Nicolas Sarkozy is beta macho. So are Todd Palin and Tim McGraw. We're not sure about Obama yet — but Rahm Emanuel will cock-punch anyone who thinks he is.

Green Efforts/Recycling — "When your teacher told you, "Reduce, reuse, recycle," he or she probably wasn't talking about butt plugs. But retailer Dreamscapes has launched one of the country's first sex-toy-recycling programs. "I know our industry is taboo, but we want to save the environment too," says CEO David Kowalsky. The way it works: Box your toy ("Clean it first") and mail it to Dreamscapes, who'll ship out the components. Your toy may be reincarnated as a tire retread or playground mulch (Mommy!) — and Dreamscapes will send you a $10 coupon for your next purchase (vibratorshopping .com)."

Mickey Rourke — "The more Rourke talks, the more agitated he becomes. On cue, his manager arrives with a white pill and one of his pet Chihuahuas, Taco Bell, to soothe him. Rourke swallows the medication. 'I have panic attacks when I talk about this stuff,' he says. At his lowest, he says he was sitting in a closet with his favorite dog, Beau Jack, 'doing some crazy shit, but I saw a look in Beau Jack's eyes, and I put the shit down. That dog saved my life. There's still a little man inside me with an ax — but I keep that little fucker quiet'."

I find really funny is that apparently Mickey Rourke, Rogers and I have the same kind of disturbing people in our head. Mickey's is a little guy with an ax, mine screams at me and smacks me around until my self-esteem is in the toilet, Rogers has a woman in an apron with a rolling pin that looks like a cross between her mother and Donna Reed wagging her finger and telling her how perfect things could be if she was only a better "good girl."

Now I'm wondering what anti-anxiety drug the white pill was and I'm pretty sure my cat Luke wouldn't mind if I changed his name to Beau Jack and referred to him as a chihuahua. Hey, whatever works to stay positive, right?

Naming Rights

X-man woke me up an hour ago with his 3:30 panic. He's back to sleep now, but I can't seem to keep my eyes shut. So I thought I'd blog about the stupid thing in my head that is keeping me up -- Naming children.

One of MacTroll's three older brothers and his very cool wife had a baby this week. (Congrats!) It's their second and probably the last baby on MacTroll's side of the family. The baby's name is Emmett Steven. There are four other boys on that side of the family: Nathan Michael, Owen Kenneth, Samuel Frederick and Xander Cruz. 

Everyone except Xander has a middle name named after their father or grandfather (or father's middle name). Xander's not named after anyone. Plus, he has my last name. 

So my current insomniac wonder is why boys are more often named after the males in their family, while girls usually aren't named after their mothers. For example in the same family, only one girl out of three shares a name with a mother/grandmother (at least that I know of). 

Had X-man been a girl, he would have been Kady Cruz. Kady was kind of a combination of my first name with my best friend's first name, but he would have had MacTroll's last name. 

I was apparently expected to be a boy before I was born. Had I been one, my name would have been Daniel Grant. Daniel is the name of my father and my paternal grandfather. Grant is the last name of my mother's favorite grandfather (and technically my maternal grandmother's maiden name). They kept the Grant when I was born and shortened the Daniel to Dana. Soooo, I guess I'm a girl named after men. (A shout out to others with gender neutral names, who might have been put in the wrong gender dorms when she/he entered college on an "oops.")

Anyway, I just wondered what it was in culture that made us label our boys with the names of their forefathers -- but not label girls after their foremothers. I mean, you just don't meet a lot of Carol Marie Smith III out there, ya know?

P.S. I know there are exceptions: I have a friend who is Karen Ann (Ann is her mother's name) and the name Ann has rotated between first name/middle name in her family for daughters for a few generations. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Night-time discoveries

X-man has been off and on going to bed at night in our bed and then getting transferred to his when he is asleep. He thinks there are monsters in his room and no amount of reassuring, sign posting or creative monster removal seems to make him think differently about that. 

Apparently, MacTroll is the only one who can keep him safe until he falls asleep. Then at 4 a.m. he wakes up for some reason and comes running into our room to lie with us for another three hours. 

This is okay -- except when MacTroll ain't around. For the last two nights, I just didn't mess with transporting him and let him sleep in our bed. And for two nights he has been talking in his sleep around 3:30-4 a.m.

"Mommy! Come back! Mommy! Don't go."

He wakes up just enough to hear me saying, "I'm right here. It's okay." And then he lunges for me, falls asleep on my chest and in the morning he has no memory.

What if this is a repetitive thought that wakes my kid up every morning at the same time? And really, the only time he's away from me is the six hours he's at school... So, really, why is he afraid I'm walking away? 

Mmmm. 

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mmm, fine washables, what?

Awhile ago, Quigs and I went bra shopping together. We ended up in the upper-end bra store in town where the check out person was telling us how washing our bras with Tide would ruin them. Apparently there is special bra washing detergent...and that we're supposed to wash our bras in a special lingerie bag. 

I scoffed. Quigs looked ready to bolt. We'd been wearing bras for longer than we hadn't been wearing them. And no one, no one had ever told us anything about what has developed into I guess a whole bra science exposed by Oprah and other talk show hosts.

To be clear, I don't buy bras that cost a lot of money. I buy them on sale. Buy one get one free. They're not flashy. 

But after X-man was born, my body shape changed drastically. I find that it's still changing and things that fit right 6 months ago don't now. They're tight in some places and loose in others now, where they might have fit just fine then.

Anyway, I went into Nordstrom's to get sized when X-man was 10 months old and had my own creeped out bra buying experience. It was a shockingly unpleasant experience, even for a woman who'd let it all hang out during birth.

I've never taken anyone into a dressing room with me. Hell, even my mother stood outside. So to have her be behind me, measuring my naked chest and then holding the bra in front of me so I could put my arms in the holes and she could latch me up was insane.  Then she put her hands in front of me, inserted them into the bra and "scooped" my breasts into place.

Besides the emotional scarring,  I found my size, bought some insanely expensive bra that she showed me (like $59) and got the hell out of there. 

I still have that bra. It still looks decent. It still fits okay, even though I've washed it with Tide.... but all the other cheaper ones I've bought since have stretched out or become uncomfortable. And now I'm wondering if I should dig in deep into my pockets and buy a set of the more expensive kind to see if I can get more wear out of them. 

Maybe it's gravity of my ginormous ta-tas weighing the material down. I've known other people who have worn the same bras for years. Or maybe my body is just randomly changing... 

But maybe I'll even spend a few extra bucks on the prettier ones... Is that completely silly? I guess I just haven't been feeling very pretty lately. And I wonder if I got out of my "mommy" clothes if that would change?





Calorie Count

For Monday:
1360

Calorie Count

For Sunday, Nov. 30:
1750 calories

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Savoy Hillbillies R Us

This weekend was a weekend of sitting around and doing nothing. And we tried to stick to that theme as well as we could.

We enjoyed a low-key playdate with awesome food over at Special K's house. X-man loved playing with the Wonder Twins. I met their three cats and we agreed to do the "sit around eating watching the kids play" thing again soon.

My mom was here and wanted to go shopping on Friday, so I took her downtown to Wind, Water and Light and Ten Thousand Villages. 

Then we sat around watching Top Gear -- for hours. X-man can't get enough of that show OR any documentary Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond or James May do outside of Top Gear.

Saturday was similar, except that we took 20 whole minutes to put up our Christmas lights. Then we realized we needed a magnetic screwdriver for some new house numbers we put up because we lost 3 tiny screws on the ground while trying to do it without one. None of us had showered. X-man came off of two days of successful pottying to waking up on Saturday and reorienting himself so that his manhood wasn't covered and he was peeing all over his t-shirt. So, he smelled like urine, even after fixing the diaper situation and giving him new clothes. I wore my slippers. MacTroll had a hat on. We looked pretty scary.

So off we went to Wal-mart, cause no one cares at Wal-mart if you're scary -- wrong choice. Too many people. We went to what MacTroll calls the "back alley" ACE at the Windsor at the Crossing. No one is ever there. And when we walked through the door a team of four people led us to the magnetic screwdrivers, which were sold out. Then they found us some magnets so we could magnetize our regular screw drivers. It was one of those errand trips where everything was funny to us. 

Suddenly MacTroll realized he needed some equipment for his Monday trip to Boston. To my dismay, we found our way to North Prospect. X-man and I stayed in the car until he was done at Staples. Then we grabbed lunch at the sandwich shop near Meijer... when we left I called, "Family Bath Time!" Only to get home and find X-man fluttering his eyes for a nap at 3:30 p.m.

He made it inside, grabbed his blanket and asked me to sit with him on the couch. Then he fell asleep. MacTroll carried him upstairs and we let him go until 5 p.m.

Today, MacTroll was going to take X-man to the Orpheum or the library this afternoon while I went Rollerskating with the parent group. It was a big kid outing, but since I scheduled it (and wanted to rollerskate) I was going. X-man found out I was rollerskating and got really upset. He wanted to go and skate too. He was sad that he was too little. But he did like playing skeeball an the other video games with MacTroll. They even won a jackpot. I'm depressed that MacTroll didn't get any snapshots of TB showing his friend J Cool how to skate on the wall. They were very sweet, and I love how well they get along together. 

But he did get this:



Calorie Count

Sorry that some of these are so late!

Wednesday: 1515
Thursday: 2345
Friday: 2200
Saturday: 2312

Yes, I ate. And I didn't exercise. Tomorrow I get back to the norm.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Days off

I am not going to blog this weekend. I'll be back on Monday. But right now, I just need a break from doing anything but enjoying my guys and my fuzzies... 

Giving thanks... with less drama.

Giggles and Groans

Last night we had a great dinner over at Libbygirl's place. She threw a cookout for the playgroup, which was a lot of fun. I had a selfish reason for leaving early, I wanted to watch the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special on ABC. 

X-man has never really seen Snoopy. And he didn't understand until I turned it on, how fun it was. Snoopy gets in a fight with an unruly lawnchair in the middle and X-man almost fell over giggling. It was very, very cute. By the time it was over he was asking for "More! More Snoopy!" We own the Christmas special, so we'll probably watch that this weekend while we're trying our hand at potty training.

We're exploring our options. X-man has used the potty every time to pee (on a schedule) at school this week. Plus, we've gotten him to go before bed and in the morning at home. He still hasn't pooped on the toilet, but we're taking this as progress. It is highly possible that he'll suddenly want nothing to do with the potty again (he's been flirting with it on and off since August). But since we have 4 days with pretty much nothing to do, we're going to wear nothing but a t-shirt and underroos with plastic pants and see if we can get him to go every time at home. If we can get the pee pee down that would be awesome.

If he decides it's too early. No pressure. We'll go back to the diapers. But we might as well try. 

In other news, I'm having one of those resentment weeks. I'm hoping it passes. 

Right now I have to look for a dessert recipe that I want to make today for Thanksgiving tomorrow over at Special K and the Wonder Twins' house. We're very excited. 

Tonight MacTroll is going with RF to the movies to watch British people blow things up. Hopefully Mr. Quigs will get free from work to join them.

Calorie Count

For Tuesday:
1712 Total

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Just (Bleeping) Do It!

Grrrr... I can't even blog this bitchfest. 

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Touch of Tired

I woke up this morning at 7 a.m. to a rainy and dreary morning. I didn't want to get up. X-man was curled up between MacTroll and I. He had wandered into our room shortly after 4 a.m. 

I forced myself awake, brushed my teeth, went to the bathroom, washed up and got dressed for the gym. Then I went and got the boys up. I fed the goldfish, fetched X-man's clothing options for the day and went downstairs to feed the cats and the dog and let the dog outside. 

We dropped the baby off at pre-school, picked up/dropped off the drycleaning and headed to the gym. MacTroll and I were running side by side on ellipticals. We were watching the Daily Show (does anyone miss the election yet, poor Jon milked a thing about pirates way too long.)

And suddenly I was really tired. So I stopped at 1 mile/15 minutes and went into the stretching room and worked on a stability ball doing sit ups, push ups, bridges, inner thigh squeezes. I did a brief shout out hello to Cyberchick in her class. Then we had to run home for MacTroll's 10 a.m. conference call. 

I started in on preparing the guest room for my Mom to come on Thursday by washing the guest bed bedding (which is where I spend 1/2 the nights MacTroll is home due to the snoring.)

I ate my lunch while watching the IT Crowd.

Then I felt really, really tired. My throat felt a bit scratchy. I made it upstairs, answered a few e-mails, read a few blogs and fell asleep at about 12:45 p.m. I woke up at 3 p.m. not really feeling rested. My throat still felt scratchy. I have had a sore/stiff neck for two days and even though I sat in the hot tub last night and felt pretty relaxed, today it was stiff again.

So here, I am at 7:30 p.m. ready to go to bed early. I don't feel sick. But I don't feel right, which is never a good sign.

Calorie Count

Monday's Total:
1688 calories

Calorie Count

Sunday:
Mmmm, we ate a restaurant with no nutritional information... and I'm not a guestimator...

1337 + whatever lunch was. 

It's bound to happen from time to time.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Review of Exploration Station in Bourbonnais, IL

Today, the family went to meet my sister at the Exploration Station. It's a 1.5-hour drive from Champaign (so a good middle point for relatives in the Chicago area for a meet up).

The outside of the building showed a lot a promise. It is relatively new with great little kid shaped windows that were low to the ground. MacTroll and I forgot the camera, so you'll have to visit the web site for photos.

What we can tell you is that this children's museum would make a great stop by place if you happen to be in the area, but there's nothing about it that stands out as a reason to seek this children's museum out. They have a giant castles the kids can run through. It has a dress up area, and a gate you can raise and lower. But inside the castle there isn't much to do besides go up and down stairs. 

There's a pirate ship, but similarly, it's just a ship with a really wobbly steering wheel. The play table of castle toys are from several different collections and really don't work together. 

There are plenty of play vehicles for toddlers to climb in. X-man was partial to the fighter jet. He liked to pretend it was a rocketship and blast off. But there was also a tractor and a fire truck. Two exhibits -- the commercial airliner and the soda shop were recently redone by 17-year-old Eagle scouts. The soda shop had cloth ice cream to scoop from a cooler and then some puff balls to sprinkle on as topping. X-man enjoyed scooping it up for us and his Aunt Melissa, but I really enjoyed when we went back later and the soda shop was staffed by 2 big girls and a bigger boy. He took 3 minutes to pull himself onto the stool at the counter. Then, they asked him what kind of ice cream he wanted and X-man was able to say, "White with cherries please!" (His favorite.)

There was a post office where he got to learn how to put a letter through a sorter (he liked that) but he wasn't interested in picking up or delivering the mail. The museum is pretty short on safe areas for kids under 36 inches tall. There is one soft matted area especially for them, but the stuff in it is all well worn.

Also worn out or in disrepair were the art table, the water table and this weird giant 6' doll that you unzipped his belly (actually the zipper was broken) and take out his insides (anatomy lesson). Educational, sure. But dude, he was ratty looking.

What I'm finding is that most children's museums get the funds to build exhibits but don't build in the budget to maintain them. And as they fall apart teenage boy scouts use them for Eagle scout projects. I also usually find that most children's museums that are part of park districts are usually better at upkeep (like Bloomington's and Decatur's) but this isn't the case for Bourbonnais.

The admission was $5 for adults and $4 for kids over the ages of 12 months. There is also an animal room for $1 per person entry that has salamanders, newts, a chinchilla, gerbil, iguana, etc. They are also NOT members of the Association of Children's Museums.

But I think I've been to enough Children's Museums now that I can rank my favorites:

1. Betty Brinn Children's Museum in Milwaukee, WI.*
2. Children's Discovery Museum in Normal, IL.*
3. Discovery Center Museum in Rockford, IL.*
5. Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, PA.*
6. Orpheum Children's Science Museum in Champaign, IL.*
7. Exploration Station in Bourbonnais, IL.

* - designates members in the Association of Children's Museum membership.

I'm taking X-man up to the Chicago Children's Museum on Dec. 4. I'll let you know how that one goes.

Todd Snider at the Murat Review

Last night MacTroll and I drove to Indianapolis to see Todd Snider. Todd was introduced to us a few years back by a friend and colleague of MacTroll's. Todd is a folk/rock/country/blues singer. And he's a lot of fun on his records, particularly "Near Truths and Hotel Rooms" and "East Nashville Skyline." He warns everyone at the beginning of the concert that he plays short songs, long songs and that he might talk and tell stories between songs that can last up to 18 minutes. And since Todd's stories usually put himself in the first person, he's living a colorful and interesting life (that of a drugged out hippie musician). But MacTroll said that he was always better in concert. 

So, we hired a babysitter and grabbed some Sonic and booked it over to the Murat, a large concert hall put up by the Shriners in downtown Indianapolis. Given the time change and the two hour drive, we arrived at the intermission between the opening act and Todd. The whole walk-in process was kind of strange. 

1) We paid $15 online to park at the Murat. When we got there, no one was in the booth to take our proof of paid parking. We drove on in and ended up parking about 20 feet from Todd's POS tour bus, i.e. parking would have been free. More interesting, however, was that on the ground, parking at the Murat was posted as being only $8, but they sell it on Ticketmaster for the $15. 

2) We waited in line for some really old ushers to scan our tickets and then give us directions to the "Upstairs" room. Where we past like 20 security guards in a 100 foot walk (no lie). 

3) The Murat Center had multiple rooms and may have multiple events going on. They had A LOT of security and assistance personnel watching us like hawks. I found this strange since the parking lot had been abandoned. 

4) When we got upstairs, there were a legion of white folks between the ages of 21 and 65 (no lie) with Bud Lights in their hands talking up a storm. To the left was the t-shirt seller. To the right was a large former ballroom with a stage up front. Several hundred battered event chairs were lined up in a concert formation. 

5) MacTroll and I immediately went to the bathroom. Most of the users were dressed in jeans and t-shirts holding their cans of beer. Some of them were already pretty buzzed and were about to break the seal. But two or three were dressed -- differently. Like the 50+ old woman in the long navy blue sweater dress and the tights and the high heels. She looked scarily like Cruella DeVille. She also looked uncomfortable surrounded by the hippie/cowboy crowd. Then I realized that the OTHER main event that night was "The Lion King." Crowds of well-to-do musical lovers and their children versus the left-wing, pot smoking, heavy drinking crowd made an interesting mix in a state that just recently went blue on Election Day.

We found our seats, which were pretty good, about 8th row to the left. Todd played a lot of my favorites, "Incarcerted," "Lookin' for a Job," "Playing a Train Song," "Tension," "Fortunate Son," the lighthearted, "Beer Run" and "Statistician's Blues." We all sang and danced in and out of our seats and had a good time. We made Todd smile a lot with our carrying on and screaming out requests. 

Todd makes it clear that although his songs have gotten more -- um -- opinionated through the years (usually politically to the left, and telling stories and songs about injustices and how the world is often broken). He swears that he doesn't sing the songs to change anyone's mind or to preach to them. Instead, he sings them to ease his own mind... regardless, he says, he really sings them because he's happy that the words rhyme. 

He's a simple artist; usually it's just him and a guitar. This time around he brought some musicians with him, another guitarist, a bassist and some dude on the mandolin, that was really pretty awesome, but when he sang back up, he sometimes sang over Todd, which was a annoying. As a band, they were having a great time, and, as a crowd, we were eating it up.

It was a great night out, and MacTroll and I got something we usually don't get: four hours alone together, on the drive there and back, to sit and chat about life. We really need to do that kind of stuff more. 

Plus, we paid $1.55 per gallon for gas in Crawfordsville, IN. What is that all about? Crazy.