Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Shout Out to MacTroll

Two months ago, MacTroll (above playing at the Orpheum with X-man) came off of a 5-month long road show where he traveled to 3-4 cities each week for 3 weeks out of the month. On the 4th week sometimes he was home and sometimes he had to travel to other places to do actual work and not marketing work.

It was a really, really long road show for him and for us. And when he came back, there was nothing that MacTroll could do right because I was at my limit between school and X-man's jump into the bipolar 3-year-old mania stage and regular life stuff. A few weeks ago, he got the word that he was going to get to hire a few more people to his team. Anyone who knows Mactroll knows how much he travels, so the first question is always, "How bad is it really?"

When MacTroll was hired it was supposed to be a 10-day travel average. He realized that doing any more was pushing our family to the brink of badness. And for the last two months, he's kept it to 10 days a month. He travels for a week and is home for a week. And can I say I've noticed a huge difference. We communicate rather than just running around sending e-mails or IMs at each other to check in. We talk. We go to lunch. We have friends over for dinner. He helped me mulch the gardens. He offered to dethatch the yard. He's watering plants and grilling dinners and doing his own laundry.

And he never, ever complains about me having friends and a life and needing time out of the house. He fixes dinner for himself and X-man since I'm on my medically supervised diet. And he's understanding that when I go to maintenance -- there are certain foods that will be banned from the house. He's a good guy, my spouse. We love him very much. And I notice that since he's around more for longer stretches of time, X-man doesn't ask where he is any more. He knows that Dad is at work (he thinks he actually flies the planes) and that he'll be home as soon as he can to make him pancakes and go for walks and play catch. 

So a big thank you to MacTroll for everything he's doing. It's nice to know that it's the travel that makes us all grumpy and not actually each other.

Everything I want to get done today

1. Drop X-man off at Next Generation. (done)
2. Work out for an hour at the gym. (40-minute work out -- but done)
3. Shower and take the baby seat out of my car. (done)
4. Go to my Infant/Toddler class and turn in my last two lab write ups for the year (hooray!) (done)
5. Pick up my Contorta tree from Prairie Gardens. (Moved to Friday due to rain.)
6. Put babyseat back in my car. (done.)
7. Vaccuum and wash all hard flooring surfaces on the first floor. (Um, not done)
8. Scoop cats. (done)
9. Find a home for everything on an open counter. (not done)
10. Go to post office. (done)
11. Pick up X-man. (done)
12. Play with X-man. (done)
13. Drop X-man at neighbor's house. (done)
14. Go to my last Thursday night CPR class to take a quick quiz and fill out the teacher's evaluation. (done)
15. Pick up X-man and play with him. (done)
16. Give X-man a bath. (done)
17. Put X-man to bed. (done, but not asleep until 10:23 p.m.)
18. Do some laundry. (done)
19. Fiddle on the internet. (done)
20. Go to sleep. (working on it)

Other stuff:
21. Cleaned toilets. (done)
22. Did dishes. (done)
23. Pick up living room toys. (done)
24. Wrapped birthday gifts that need to be mailed. (done)
25. Called in 2 favors from 2 different neighbors. (done)
26. Made a grocery list. (done)
27. CARE planning. (done)
28. Studied for quiz. (done)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pushing the Buttons

X-man has been obsessed with pushing buttons since he was around 9 months old. He pulled himself to standing for the first time trying to get at my laptop that I left on a chair when going to the bathroom. When I came back, there was my infant trying to figure out how to reach to the very back of the deep chair to get at the computer.

Things haven't changed. He pushed the dishwasher on/off button at our old house to hear the beep all the time. He is a pain at the doctor's office trying to figure out what the scale buttons do, if he can give himself a hearing test, if the red button on the phone really does call an ambulance (if your kid is similar, we recommend that you unplug the phone line cord from the phone in all hotels and waiting rooms). 

Several months ago on a complete impulse buy we purchased X-man a Sesame Street computer game. Then we got tired of him trying to figure out how to use the trackball on the desktop and put it away for a while. I pulled it out today, on a cloudy dismal day, to see what would happen. He sat on my lap for a little while and then pushed me away. "Go away Mommy. I do it all by myself."

Okay. I've got laundry to do anyway. 

So now he's in there playing games, listening to songs, doing painting on the computer... 

In other news, at lunch today X-man announced he needed to go pee pee in the potty and off we ran to the bathroom. He stood up to pee, which was awesome because we lost the Charlie and Lola bag with his travel potty seat sometime after our return from Indy over 4 weeks ago. Of course, 15 minutes later he pooped in his pull up, but you know, I'm still calling it progress. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

On the way home...

"No Six Little Ducks. I am scared of ducks!"

2 seconds later

"No numbers. I am scared of numbers!"

2 minutes later

"Stop at the stop sign, Mommy!" (Note, I did stop and it wasn't a sharp one.)

5 minutes later

"Mommy, you're old."

Two minutes later.

"Mommy, I dig big hole for planets!" (He meant plants.)

Lost in Transition

Two months ago I made arrangements for a photographer to come to our house on Saturday, May 2 to take a family photo. I had images of our tulips being up and the sun being out. But if the week so far is any indication of what this weekend will be like, we're going to have to do the photo taking inside... 

Not only that, but I want to expand my gardens this year. Since my diet consists mostly of fruits and vegetables now, it make sense to grow more than I did last year. The problem is that underneath my sod is a mixture of clay and rock that is unfriendly to the eye and to plants. How bad is it? So bad that I've enlisted professional help. They're going to dig out four separate new garden areas around the house, amend the soil and then install edging for me. When do they start? Saturday, May 2. 

I also have two garden boxes sitting in my living room in their shipping containers waiting for me to set them up in the backyard and mount the herb planters I got against our fence. 

In addition, the sod we got appears to have a high thatch issue. It's late to come up because of it, doesn't really green up very well in early spring and is overall annoying, particularly since SuperShawn has grown himself some amazingly soft and vibrant green grass. So, on May 9 when X-man and I go up north to see Thomas, MacTroll is scheduled to de-thatch our yard. We're also going to have it aerated.

But what am I doing today? I'm trying to get over a headache while madly cleaning the interior of our house so that if the photographer does end up inside, it doesn't look so much like MacTroll and I have been blatantly ignoring our chores. Which we have, but you know, we've had our plates full this year. 

Hopefully my summer off will not entirely be composed of household crap, but I am looking forward to spending a lot of time out in my gardens. 

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Quick Update

We had a heap of fun this weekend and a few surprises. Our biggest surprise came after X-man took a shower on Sunday. Then he watched as MacTroll brushed his hair and his teeth. He got his comb and imitated these self-care habits.

When MacTroll went to use the toilet, X-man ran down the hall to his bathroom, shut the door, made a ruckus, flushed the toilet and came out smiling like crazy. "I went poopy, Mommy!"

"You mean pee, pee?"

"No, poopy!"

And being the Mom I am, I took a wipe to his bottom and sure enough he'd used the potty.

Later that night, he broke the side tabs on his pull up, so I took them off and then put his shorts over them. We were in the neighbor's front yard chatting and delivering them some Jarling's. Suddenly, X-man said, "Have to pee -- now!"

I yanked down his pants and he peed in the front yard. It was like five drops, but his brain seems to kind of start registering the process. 

We'll see what happens. 

In other news, I have started to have fantasies of being alone. So, I booked my annual Loosey-only vacation to Montreal. I'm going up in August for a long weekend. Hopefully, I'll get to meet my friends' son, get a visit from the Kellys and get some sleep. I'm also hoping I'll be done with my Carle Weight Management program by then, so I can eat a little more freely. But in case I'm not, I skipped the hotel and rented an apartment on the plateau. 

Now I have to go back prepping for my activity that I'm teaching to the Turtles at 3:30. 

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Early Morning

I woke up with the sun this a.m., which is not like me. So now that it's 7 p.m., I feel really tired. So tired, I'd like to crawl into bed and go to sleep for the rest of the night.

MacTroll is outside in the gusting 35 mph winds with X-man, who for some reason wants to just sit in his sandbox. 

As soon as they come in, I know I'll have a big, snot-covered, sandy face screaming for me to wake up. 

But still my eyelids are so heavy.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Assumptions and Stupidity

Yeah, I'm going to rant here and send probably the seven people who read my blog into cardiac arrest because I'm going to use the non-identifying, yet all accusing "you" in my sentences... and I'm going to do it as a list, so I don't forget anything.

1) Relationships are not all the same. What happened in your relationship isn't indicative of what will happen in others'. Just because you spend every moment of every day with your significant other and think that your relationship is healthy does not mean the fact that my husband travels extensively for work is unhealthy. It's just different. That's all.

2) Just because you know everything about your significant other's work life from the minute he or she punches in, to where the car is parked in the lot, to the major clients the company works with and like to parlay this information as if you, too, are employed by the company, doesn't mean that every employee's significant other is that involved, too. I have no idea what company my husband is visiting or sometimes even what state he is in. He has a habit of visiting 3-4 cities at a time in 5 days -- sometimes 2-3 weeks out of the month. I don't have the brain power to do that while I'm trying not to burn down my house as I cook dinner. 

3) Don't assume I have any power over where my significant other goes or doesn't go. People for some reason think I'm this complete control freak who bosses MacTroll around. I have no control over what he does or doesn't do for you. I only have control over what I do. Don't IM me and ask me what he's doing or if I can ask him to call you. If you have a grievance to file, do it with him... but I gotta tell you, I've got about 17 years worth of grievances filed ahead of you for him to address when he gets a free moment to focus on that kind of stuff, so you better get used to waiting. MacTroll goes where MacTroll wants to go. He says what he wants to say. He is the controller of his calendar. If you don't get what you want -- go talk to him and leave me out of it.  

4) If someone loves you enough to try and help you function when you're not functioning. Don't freaking take her head off. I don't care if you've had a shitty day. It makes her much, much less likely to want to do anything for you in the future. No matter how much she loves you. 

5) If you've been insulting to me and you go to apologize for your own jerkiness. Don't then follow up the apology with a, "Do you just not feel well?" implying that you really think there's something wrong with me and not your behavior. It completely voids your apology. You were a jerk. And now, you're an effin' jerk.

6) Boys play with dolls. Girls play with action figures. Boys sometimes like to dress up in dresses. Girls sometimes like to run around with their shirts off. Boys can wear pink if they want to. Girls can play in the mud and be gross and dirty. It's fine. There's nothing wrong with it. Just because you were nurtured one way and grew up with all kinds of closed mindedness about such things does not mean you should pick on your children or other people's children and try to shame them into holding your same sexist standards. My kid has a baby. The baby's name is Annika. The baby is a boy. The baby sleeps in a pink bassinet. He gets pushed around in a black and magenta stroller. X-man is learning to love and care for something through the same attachment-based ways he learned to love his parents. Seriously, step off. If I hear one more person say something about how boys won't like or will be embarrassed by having "girl" toys or vice versa, I'm gonna scream. Have you not seen this from 1974? You sound like an outdated moron when you say shit like that.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I'm tired

I've been on my feet all day today, which is not unusual, because I've been that way ever since I recovered from my sinus disease last March. Now it appears as if everyone I know is getting some illness or another. I know germs cause illness, but I'm going to blame the stupid weather and the 40-degree temperature difference between rising at 7:30 and playing with X-man in the sandbox at 4 p.m.

I keep waiting for the end of the spring semester to come. I think when it does I'm going to drive X-man to school, come home and sleep all day. It's been a sprint since the end of spring break. And I owe so much to my fabulous friends who not only keep me sane, but keep my kiddo for me while I go to weight management meetings and to my CPR/First Aid class on Wednesday and Thursday evenings this month. Seriously, it's so nice to know that he's safe and happy playing with his buddies. 

Now that I've got my homework under control and the backyard on its way to being prepared for Saturday's CARE egg hunt (we do things post Easter to get some good sales), I'm finally settling down to get my work done on the CCHS May newsletter. As usual, it's got some fun pet-related info in it. So if you're not a subscriber, go to and sign up for it. 

Tomorrow, I'm going to ship my draft off to the editorial board. They'll return it on Monday and then I'll make the corrections and send it to our awesome designer, Barb. I enjoy doing it, but sometimes I feel guilty when school or illness throw my schedule off a bit. 

In other news, X-man is being three. And I'm learning that being three often is the same as being a hoser. Last night, he eyed his big boy underwear in the drawer, sifted through them carefully and chose a pair. I got semi-excited that he might want to wear them over his night-time diaper. Alas, he thought about it and then shoved them in his mouth and chewed on them like he was a goat. He followed this up by getting himself completely dressed for bed and then announcing he had to use the potty. So off came the pants and the diaper, and to the potty we went. He dumped his urine into the big potty. He flushed. He washed the pee pee out of the little potty and then he wore the clean little potty on his head back to his room.

Sigh. He's having a hard time calming down for bed time. Even with timelines (10 minutes until...) and our regular routine. Tonight it took him until 10 p.m. Last night 10:15 p.m... he napped yesterday at school (they had to wake him up at 2:30 and he went down at noon) but today he wouldn't nap at all. 

It also looks like MacTroll is coming down with a cold. He thought it was allergies, but the Claritin generic was doing nothing for him. He took one of my Cold and Sinus Severe Pain meds and felt some relief. 

Tomorrow is a day to get stuff done. First is CCHS. Second is my house. I'm hoping the large, gusting wind calms down a bit to go picnic at the park for dinner. If it's still windy, I'm bringing my kite.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Waking up Canadian

Um, Rogers... want some universal health care?

Go easy or suck it up?

This semester I was a full-time student in early childhood. Outside of the regular reading, you do a lot of activity and program planning. You also have to do classroom observations and find a focal child to visit every week to complete the appropriate lab work. It's a lot of organizing time and schedules: my schedules, other families' schedules, school schedules, etc. 

I decided I was only going to do school part-time in the fall. But I'm conflicted. Mostly because one of my "required" classes is available online. So I feel like going on campus T/Th for an hour and 15 minutes isn't a lot of time, even though the class may require more scheduling. Right now I'm registered for "Child Psychology" online and "Literature and Language in Early Education." I'm thinking about taking a small 2-credit course, "Math and Science." Because, let's face it, the sooner I get the credits out of the way, the sooner I'll get to my practicum (student teaching) and the more skilled I'll feel about applying for jobs.

On the other hand, I feel pretty pushed to the limit this semester. And I plan on being full-time again in the spring. If I do that -- maybe taking it slow in the fall would be a better idea. 

Either way, I'm filling up this summer with fun family times, and I'm really excited about having some freedom. 

Monday, April 20, 2009

Thomas and the Wiggles

I'm scoping out some fun family field trips for us to take, and it looks like we're going to get a little bit of Thomas and the Wiggles in May and a little bit of both in August. 

My mother's day weekend is going to be spent in the Chicago Burbs with X-man, Quigs and Bubba seeing a Thomas show and doing some shopping. Then if the weather is good, MacTroll and I are going to head back up north to Gurnee to go to Great America (Six Flags) so X-man can see Wiggle World. We're calling it a warm up for his trip to Disneyland's California Adventure park in June.

In August, the Wiggles are going to be in Bloomington for a show, and Thomas will be up in Union for "A Day Out With Thomas." (We went last year and had a ball!) 

Summer is my time to get a lot of stuff done around the house, which is good because for the last several weeks, everything has been pretty much neglected due to an increase in homework at the end of the semester. So, I'm ready to spend my summer having a good time with X-man, which reminds me, I need to go pick up my pool pass so I can swim laps! 

Little Successes

1. I walked a 5k on Saturday.
2. X-man slept through the night two nights in a row in his own bed (no rushing into our room at 3:30 a.m. after a bad dream. Of course, the last bad dream he had was that Daddy took away his crayon box.)
3. I managed to get my psych paper done -- finally. It was on overt aggressive or negative behavior displays by pre-schoolers (age 3-5) and peer rejection.
4. My floor plan of my Infant/Child room is done for my environment project barring any changes my partner makes. She helped design it, but I drew it on the big piece of paper. Now we just have to make it 3-D before Thursday.
5. I am wearing my size 16 gray jeans, which were my favorites, in 2005. 
6. My laundry is done. Now to do X-man's. 
7. Photos from the last six months are sitting on my desk for scrapbooking. 
8. Social calendaring at CARE is done through May (barring anything that pops up at the last minute).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Blah to 14-hour days on the Go, Go, Go!

I feel like I've been everywhere and done everything today. It was a crazy full day that started at 6:45 a.m. and didn't finish until 9:15 p.m. when X-man and I walked through the door and I could finally have dinner. 

The end of the semester projects and labs are all due. I finished one two weeks in advance the other day, and I'm so happy I did because while everyone else is doing a field trip plan next week, I can continue to work on my 3-D model of an infant room for class. The assignment said to pretend there was no budget. But I kind of think my Dad was onto something when he said to try and do it on the affordable side so that it might inspire someone in a care setting. To emphasize the affordable -- my partner and I are using the leftover recycled materials from my recycled craft assignment that I did in the Turtle Room at Next Generation and with the CARE kids.

After dropping off X-man at school, I worked out to try and meet my goal to burn 2,000 calories this week. It included a 52-minute 3-mile walk with Riley. Then I did my safety assessment of my house for my First Aid class, ran some laundry, did the dishes, drank my meal replacement shakes and headed off to infant and toddler class. I rushed home and ate lunch, did more laundry, talked to MacTroll for 10 minutes, called Quigs to freak out about what he told me (nothing bad, just weird), put away laundry, took a shower and then I tried to get dressed for my award ceremony... and I ran into a good but bad problem.

I've lost 24 lbs in the last 8 weeks. All of my dress pants from teaching at Millikin are too big. So big that they fell to the floor when I put them on, so there was a "woohoo," followed by a "Shit, what am I gonna wear?" I pieced together an OLD pair of Gap black pants and some weird pink shirt I think I've only worn once or twice. I'll be frank. It didn't look good. But all the shirts I have match the skirts and the pants that were huge... and none of them matched any of the smaller clothes I had left over or inherited. 

I rushed off to the Working Women's Expo to receive my recognition. You can check out the pictures over at Quig's place.

From there, I went back across town to pick up X-man from school at 4:45 p.m. Then we returned to Urbana to drive through McDonald's for him. I deposited him safely at the sitters (I hate that he hardly saw me today except for at breakfast and bedtime. It just felt weird.) Then I dashed off to CPR class which went from 6 until 8:30 p.m. tonight.

Anyway, I owe a big thanks to Libbygirl, who ended up having to sort out a gigantic poopy mess tonight while watching my child from 5:30 until 8:45 p.m. while I was in class. 

Apparently X-man went and didn't tell her until after he and Lightning McColin had been playing outside for an hour. When I showed up he was in a spare set of clothes, bathed and his laundry was in the dryer. But the boys had a great time playing together tonight. I took over X-man's tricycle so they could ride around. And they ended up recreating the scene in the movie Cars where Lightning McQueen gets stuck in the cactus and Mater pulls him out. They apparently took turns switching characters, according to X-man.

I shoved some dinner down my mouth and then took X-man up to bed, where it took him a long, long time to fall asleep. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Bike is Back, Baby

Last Fall X-man was trying to "fix" my bike. Nothing was wrong with it when he started, but when he finished, he had apparently loosened the nut and bolt that held the trailer to my bike. They fell off somewhere around Church and Tickseed when we were going over to visit some friends. I managed to find the nut and the washer, but there was a special piece that fit into the attachment to the trailer that was gone. 

I finally ordered the replacement last week and put it on today. At 3:30 p.m. I headed out to pick up X-man at Next Generation. And the strong wind from the north pushed against the nylon on the trailer, even with the venting system open. But I did it in 30 minutes, about 1/2 the time it takes me to walk up there. When I went into the Tiger room, it was awesome to hear that X-man had had a better day. He's been a mess of emotions trying to get used to the new room and all of the independence and individual responsibility that comes with it. Plus, while he sits next to this amazing little girl on the carpet, he has a few friends who are a challenge to be friendly with... and now that rough and tumble behavior is spreading to others, so they put him on watch, which is fine with me. He got watched in the Pandas and the Turtles from time to time, too. It's how he became friends with the Wonder Twins (they wanted to eat lunch at their own table, too). 

Anyway, X-man saw me in my helmet and jumped up from his seat in Spanish and ran to get his coat and open the door. He announced to Ms. Sonya that he was biking home -- but on the back of Mommy's bike. :-) His added weight in the trailer actually helped with the wind issue, as well as going back with the wind. 

And so now that the weather is looking nice, I think I'll be working up to biking up there to get him as many afternoons as possible. He's getting a little sluggish in the morning to get him there in time for class at 8:45 a.m. Mostly we have our "You have to wear pants" argument, which takes 20 minutes... which would be key biking up there time. 

He also hid my bike lock the other day, so now I have to scavenge the garage to find it! Anyway, if you see me out on the streets, beep at me!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Neil Street Pull Over Number 2

So two weeks ago Mr. Quigs got pulled over on Neil while rushing to have dinner with his family on his birthday. 

Last night coming back from a business dinner at the Beef House, MacTroll also got pulled over. He knew about the speed traps in town this spring/summer, so he meanders along, mostly because he drives a sports car, which means people notice how fast he's going. 

It was a University cop that got him, but the absolute confusion on MacTroll's face when the police officer told him his plate registration had expired last October must have made him show some mercy because MacTroll only got a warning.

But he came home and bothered me about it. I reminded him that my plates are up-to-date, so we'd have to figure out what happened. Did I pay for it and give him the stickers and he threw them on his desk somewhere? Did the bill get lost in the mail? He changed his address on his license when we moved in summer of 2007, and we registered his car then, so why wouldn't we have gotten the bill in 2008?

And then we started remembering that I was annoyed that the DMV notice came forwarded for my car in August 2008, which was also when our 1-year forwarding address expired. I remember that I thought it was stupid that even though I updated my license, that I also had to do a separate address change online for the car registration. Because apparently those two things don't update at the same time. 

MacTroll's registration was after the forwarding order had expired, so it was probably returned to Jesse White's office... and, well, if a bill comes to our house I pay it. If it doesn't... I don't usually think about it.

So now MacTroll's gotta go down to the DMV and figure out his license plate situation. And MacTroll doesn't seem to be on the same wavelength as the DMV. When he renewed his license -- he had to go 4 times to get it right. But that's a whole different story.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Coming Clean

I've been feeling some guilt for the last few weeks because I've been keeping two topics off of my blog. Mostly, I needed some time to myself with them, but as one of them is approaching and well, the other will answer some questions if you haven't seen me in a while or if I refuse a dinner invitation... 

Roger Rogers and Quigs nominated me to be one of the 20 Outstanding Women You Should Know in East Central Illinois. It's a local radio contest through the Illini Radio Group. They based their nomination off of the community organizing work that I do as well as my history of volunteering. I was picked as one of the 20 winners. They're doing the announcements at the Working Women's Expo this Thursday at the Holiday Inn in Urbana from 3-7 p.m. Since I have class that night... they have to get to me by 4:30 p.m., so I can pick up X-man and take him to Libbygirl's before I head off to CPR class. However, for those of you who might be interested in going, admission is free and there's some kind of Bacardi cocktail club hour later that evening.

The other secret is that on Feb. 19, I began the Carle Weight Management program. Things are going pretty well, but the program is very strict. It's a lot like food rehab. Some days I'm a champ and other days I feel like I'm struggling. There are four required components of the program and I usually do 3 really well and just squeak in meeting the 4th. I get free stuff if you decide to take the plunge and tell them I referred you... and it's kind of expensive, but howdy ho does it work (although it's not a walk in the park -- no surprise there). So, if down the line you happen to find yourself to be obese -- think of me fondly when you go to your free informational meeting with Amy the nutritionist to check out the program. :-)

So there, I shared. 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Cute Cupcakes

A couple months ago, my book club met at the Cakes on Walnut. We had a pretty good time, but most of us felt like we could go home and make a dozen cupcakes for what we paid for one at the bakery. 

Today, we went to a 1st birthday party. Our friends from California were in town visiting parents and we got invited to celebrate their son Arthur's first birthday. Arthur's first birthday cupcake wasn't something I had seen before. Apparently, they're from Stone Cold Creamery, so they're ice cream formed over cake and set in a chilled chocolate holder. So the whole thing is completely edible. You can see X-man's pink one on the plate and the other six packs (how they're sold) in the background. 

Never mind the one in his hand. It was ceramic with an LED candle in it. He was obsessed with turning on the candle, singing happy birthday and then turning it off. :-) 

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Friends, Felines and Fun Frolicking

Right now I'm sitting on my bed covered in cats. Nyssa is at my feet. Clawdio is at my laptop headbutting my hands as I type, and Maya is in my lap sprawled across my left arm. Luke's not too far away. He's sleeping, belly up, on a pile of Joel's dirty laundry. 

Downstairs, my pre-schooler has passed out on the couch at 5:30 p.m. We'll have to wake him up at 6:30 to take him to the planetarium to meet up with our friends and see a movie. 

I'm not sure why the cats are so sleepy, other than the fact that they're geriatric. But X-man has had a full day of watching marathoners, playing outside (he loved climbing our pile of mulch as well has helping me spread it, cut the weed barrier with his tiny scissors and using his little shovel to put the mulch in the wheelbarrow) and watching Word World. (iTunes is having a sale where Kids TV eps are 99 cents instead of $1.99 right now). 

We've spent most of the day outside, which is pretty much how our lives go when the weather is warm. Even Riley is worn out. We've spent the last two days surrounded by our friends at some planned and unplanned adventures. Since it was cold, Special K and the Wonder Twins met us at the Mall yesterday, where we ran into a slew of kids from Next Generation at the car area. Then Harley showed up with WW and JB. X-man was excited to eat lunch at Subway in the food court. It took him an hour to finish a ham sandwich since he was so into people watching. He didn't nap. So by the time CleverC came over to hang out while her parents went to dinner, he was running on manic fumes of energy. 

At the marathon we cheered on our friends and saw a few people we knew that were running. MacTroll caught up with his friend Vonda, who is a photographer for the paper. Quigs and I went shopping at One Week Boutique. I told her my experience at OWB was 50/50. I either bought quite a bit, or I didn't buy anything. Today I didn't buy anything. But we did have the pleasure of seeing Make_up_girl while she was volunteering. She got in early as a volunteer and got loads of great stuff, which is awesome.

Afterward, Quigs and I went to All Things Kids, where we have store credit from things we've sold. Well, I had store credit. Until I found some used Melissa and Doug Puzzles for X-man, a swim suit and some other things. Quigs found out she sold her double stroller and was very excited about shopping for "free."

Then I made her get me a diet soda, and we sat in her car for an hour chatting about life. Usually when we hang out we have the kiddos or we're in a large group. We've had so much going on that it was nice to be face to face and to chatter for a bit. 

I can't believe there's still one more day to my weekend. I have to dye some noodles tonight after the planetarium meet up for an activity I'm teaching on Monday in the Turtle Room. I'm on my own this week, with lots of stuff to do and not quite sure how the timing on everything is going to go. But it always figures itself out. :-) 

Friday, April 10, 2009

Let's Hear it for Urination and Elimination!

Yesterday, X-man used the potty three times. This is hardly a record, but there was something very different about it. HE  TOLD US HE HAD TO GO, rather than us just leading him to the toilet. He even pooped one of the three times.

I'm hoping all those little synapses in his brain are getting stronger because it would be awesome to be potty trained!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Seriously, WTF is Wrong with Pants?

I know I've talked about MacTroll's family venting issue, which I'm considering a biological attribute. But X-man has also picked up a particular die-hard environmental behavior from his father. 

He hates pants. 

Every morning since he learned to say, "no" we've had a struggle over wearing pants. Any kind of pants. He only wants to wear a shirt, a diaper and his socks -- maybe -- if his feet are cold. He even tries to get away with it in the Tiger room.

As you can see the dislike of pants is well documented: 

So, if you see X-man around town and he's in pants. Could you tell him  how awesome his pants are? Maybe he'll be more likely to want to wear them, if he knows other people appreciate that he's dressed.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Thank You, Illini Pundit

One of the things I find most annoying about living in Champaign-Urbana is that none of the local media update their websites enough. For example, last night I wanted election results... and there was nothing at the three TV stations, the newspaper and the April 2009 election blog thread wasn't working at our county clerk's office. (Remember I don't have TV.)

Apparently, I'm not the only blogger that this frustrated, and Illini Pundit, a neighbor and friend, went down to the county building to report the returns -- making him more useful to the community than any of the local media. Still at almost 7 a.m., no articles are printed anywhere -- they have to be reporting things in their morning news shows, right?

Anyway, if you want to see the voting break down check out Pundit's site. Oh, and yes, the school district is going to get some cash. :-) So, get ready to start stimulating our local economy...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Yeah, I voted but I hated it

This morning I walked into my polling area in Savoy and placed my vote. I found this election particularly annoying because besides voting for school board members and voting whether or not to increase the county-wide sales tax to support the schools the rest of my ballot appeared pointless.

Most people ran unopposed. There's really no one to vote for in those situations. It's not like you have a choice. You're getting that person (or those people), so what's the point in filling out the bubble unless you're really gung ho for that candidate? I found it annoying.

I'm curious to see what happens with the sales tax this time around. I was uber disappointed that it didn't pass last November. Outside of the presidential race, it was the only one I was really excited to know the outcome. It failed by such narrow margins, mostly in the rural areas according to the News-Gazette. This time I don't have my hopes up. Mostly because the chance of X-man going to a neighborhood school in Savoy when he's in kindergarten in 2011 are basically zero. We moved here six years ago, and the papers have been talking about building a school down here for a decade, but my little community is waiting in line while people in other parts of the city (who have been waiting for multiple DECADES) may finally get their school improvements. 

It's disappointing how this community, situated next to one of the brainiest universities in the world, consistently refuses to take care of the educational needs of its children. 

Monday, April 6, 2009

California, here we come

I am one rental car reservation away from having all of our summer vacation planned. MacTroll is scheduled to be at WWDC in San Francisco June 7-12, so X-man and I are going to go along and have fun in the city, visit some friends and chill out while MacTroll runs around like a chicken with his head cut off. :-)

After the conference, we're going to drive from SF to Morro Bay to visit my friend Robin. Then we're going to drive down to Anaheim and see KTDID and take X-man to the Pixar fun at the Disney California Adventure Land. Our hotel is within walking distance of Downtown Disney and the parks. I'm seriously thinking of taking an empty suitcase just so we'll have room to bring some stuff back from the park and the Lego store. 

The best part is that I think out side of the one night of hotel in Morro Bay, the 4 days of rental car payments and purchasing our food and admissions while we're there, the rest of the trip will be free thanks to MacTroll's hotel and airfare points. Trips like this are probably the one time where his intensive travel schedule is actually a bonus. 

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Saturday that Didn't Suck

Today was an awesome weather kind of day. Apparently some more cold fronts are headed here with some dismal April rain, so our family decided to head out and enjoy it.

This morning I took a walk with SuperShanna across the street. It was just her and I (which should be some kind of red letter date on our calendars) and our dogs. We walked for 40 minutes and then headed back home so she could head out to the Prairie Gardens open house with her madre. 

Meanwhile, the boys were into laying around in their underwear this morning. So, by the time everyone was showered and dressed, it was time for lunch. Then at 12:30 p.m. we headed downtown. I went to see the 1 p.m. showing of E.T. at the Virginia. I was sad that it was the "remastered" 20th anniversary edition (meaning there were parts where it clearly wasn't the original puppet thanks to CGI and they eliminated all the adults drawing guns at the kids). I was surprised at how many people took their really little kids to see it. I saw it in the theater when I was 6. I remember it being really scary, but inspiring. But mostly what I think is that those kids in E.T., with their single Mom, kicked ass. Seriously. They were kind, considerate, resourceful and even in the face of dumb ass other kids -- they got what was important and what wasn't. On that end -- Steven Spielberg did a clear job of making all of the adults (except the Mom) evil. 

I laughed and cried like crazy. 

Meanwhile, MacTroll took X-man to the Orpheum for the egg hunt. It was supposed to start at 1 p.m. but they waited until 1:15 p.m. in case there were any late kids. X-man is not patient. But as it turns out there weren't many kids there. The big kids (over 4 crowd) had their eggs outside. The little ones had their eggs inside. X-man filled his basket with around 48 eggs and was very happy with all of his plastic stampers and gizmos and "Poop Candy" (Tootsie Rolls). 

We did the weekly grocery shopping. MacTroll put away the groceries and X-man and I went outside and roller-skated. He's getting pretty good at the 2 level on his adjustable Fisher Price skates. We also met our new neighbor, T-man, when he was coming back from a run. 

All the excitement and fresh air was followed by a full belly of watermelon and brats -- and X-man was out at 7:15 p.m. on the couch following his first Japanese Animé, "My Neighbor Tortoro."

Me -- I'm heading out to see Adventureland. Yeah, that's right. I don't see movies for months but when I do go, I see two on the same day. I'm unpredictable like that. You can't stop me. I'm a rebel. :-P

This is the first time I've been online all day, and I see I have some work to do for the CCHS newsletter. Hopefully I'll get to that tomorrow afternoon. 

Friday, April 3, 2009

I did good today

You know when you're living your life the exact right way -- when you do something and people are genuinely thankful for your efforts. 

Every year for the last 4, I have organized the March food drive for the Savoy Curves, where I used to be a member. Most of the area Curves give their donations straight to the food bank. But the Savoy Curves wanted to see if any area organizations that serve other women directly needed some help too. I happened to be on the circuit during that discussion while I was serving on the board at A Woman's Fund -- so I stopped my workout and told them about the organization, and agreed to make the fliers and the wish list book marks for members to take with them to the stores. I also agreed to tote the food from one place to the other at the end of the month, or as often as needed.

Today was the end of the annual food drive for 2009. I took my VW over expecting to fill it up -- but what waited for me was 2-3 times the amount of food that I normally carted. The staff helped me load up and then Leann brought her minivan around for the rest and off we went.

If you live anywhere these days you know that state budgets are in holy hell, which means social service organizations have no idea what their budgets are, what they'll get money for and what they won't. Or if they'll get it on time or 8 months later... 

When we delivered the two cars worth of food, the staff was in shock. We kept carrying it in, and they took it back to the pantry. They just stood their box after box, bag after bag saying thank you, and "This is just amazing."

After the cars were unloaded, Leann left and I helped carry the items back to the kitchen, where residents and staff were working together to shift things and make room. People were taking things out of bags excited about their contents. 

Food apparently is a universal language of love. So a big thank you to the members of the Savoy Curves for all of their love and help. You did great things this month ladies. You helped some people getting back on their feet know you care. 


Thursday, April 2, 2009


I picked up X-man from school today to find out that he bit a friend within the first 10 minutes he was in the room this morning. Thus ending a 6-month, non-biting period for him.

When I talked to him about it in the car, he said the other child hit him in the nose. He told his friend not to hit. The friend did it again. So he bit back. I have no idea if what he's telling me is true, but to my knowledge he's never openly lied to me. 

Is it wrong that I miss the mechanics of a 2-year-old room? I miss the Turtles where kids didn't call my son an ogre and tell him he was bad or that he ruins everything. He's trying so hard to fit in with a bunch of kids he doesn't know. 

Anyway, I told him that if someone hits him, he should shout, "FRIENDS DON'T HIT!" as loud as he can. I'm hoping it'll draw attention to the situation from all sides and embarrass the bullies. The teacher did say that they have some near 4 year olds who are starting to push around the smaller children. 

I know teachers have their hands full. I just wish things didn't have to be that way for them. But now I know that in 10 months, my kid is probably going to be shitty to other kids too. 

And that makes me sad. 

Getting Things Done

I have a list of things I'd like to do around the house a mile long. And I know that as I get things finished I'll think of something else I want to do around here. It's a never ending process. Stupid home ownership. 

Anyway, today I took care of some business in my basement. MacTroll purchased a cross-training elliptical machine in 2004, and he used it religiously for 6 months... and then kind of flirted with it. I'm pretty sure since we've moved in here in August 2007 that he hasn't used it once. Part of me just wants to Craigslist the sucker, but instead I pushed it into the basement storage area to get it out of the frequented kidzone. I've been meaning to do it for months, but it haven't been able to get to it until now.

Our basement is also where our 19" TV is. It was our only TV since we moved back to Illinois in 2003. And watching Lord of the Rings on it was amusing, since the horses were like as tall as my pinky finger... and we were watching it from 15 feet across a room.  But it's also where our only DVD player is... and it's the in the playroom. Before we got the new LCD and the Apple TV in the living room last November, if we wanted to watch TV, we went to the basement. But now it sits dormant down there.

The basement truly is a place things go to die, except maybe in the case of a tornado. The next electronic recycling day we decided it's time to say goodbye to the TV, which means we'll have a small entertainment center from Target to donate to Habitat for Humanity. See, more stuff to do...

This morning I went to the basement with a mission: Find all the places Looseyfur, who had kidney failure, and Maya, who had a UTI we missed because we assumed the inappropriate peeing was Looseyfur -- and clean any area I might have missed during prior cleaning sessions. Mainly whomever the culprit was kept to one wall on the east side. But I took a few hours and tried to do a thorough job. However, even with the power of Bissell cleaner and Nature's Miracle, I'm afraid that if I reopen the basement to the cats, they'll still smell it and think it's okay to pee there. I think, down the road, when we put the 4th bedroom into the basement, we'll just cut out that part of the carpeting and padding, wipe down the floor and see if we can get that section of carpet replaced. 

After the carpet was dry, I vacuumed and rearranged the furniture. I moved all the seating area into a mini living room-like section and then brought X-man's Melissa and Doug kitchen center and his Workbench into the basement from the family room. I had been saving some food packaging so he could play grocery store in our basement. So now he has a little house set up on one side, and a store area set up on another side. I'm guessing a lot of "check out" play is in my future. 

Then I started pulling toys out for a CARE meet up I'm having at my house tomorrow on sensory growth. I still have to make the signs to put up in various areas and put away all the "non-sensory" toys. I'm quite excited about tomorrow, particularly since I'll get to make my own batch of non-newtonian liquid

If you don't know what that is, it's water and corn starch. When you get the right consistency it becomes both a solid and a liquid. That is, if you put your hand in it and grab some it feels like bread dough, but as you squeeze your hand tighter it slips through your fingers like a water. 

College campuses all over the place make baby pools of this stuff and then run across "water." Science is seriously a good amount of fun.

I'm also having a "what sinks and what floats tub," an area of bubble wrap for kiddos to step on, some flowers to take apart and look at with a magnifying glass, a sensory library, musical instruments and much more. 

It's going to be a fun hour, because at 12:30 p.m. I have to run out the door and pack up a bunch of food to take over to A Woman's Fund from Curves of Savoy. They just finished a month-long food drive with their members and collected over 700 lbs of food that I offered to transport for them.