Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 -- A Review

Later I have a great story about everything that happened today, but first I wanted to take a look at the past year. It has been a crazy year in our house. Next year is not going to get any better, either. It seems to me that each year I expect things to 'settle down' and each year they get progressively crazier. Maybe I'm just getting older and unable to roll with the punches. Maybe I am turning into the mole my husband is and am beginning to enjoy holing up in my house with the blinds closed, watching movies and hanging out with my family. But then again, maybe not.

January. Ahh, January this year we moved into our new home. It was also the year the hurricane hit California and toppled every tree on base and in the RV park we were living in at the time. We were lucky that the trees stayed far away from our rig, but others weren't so lucky. There is the good, the bad and the ugly attitudes I had about moving in. But then, most of those things have changed.

February was less eventful, we were getting settled. But it was the month of the giant baby poop incident.

In March, Not the Momma tried to kill us. Apparently we don't worship Disney enough, because shortly there after we ended up in Mickey's Hell House. March was also the month that Not the Momma nearly drove us off of the road after having one of his startling revelations.

April was the month I was a fool and tried to clean my keyboard with bad results. It all ended happily enough, but it could have been avoided. We also visited the Sequoias near Fresno.

May (I always want to type Mary when I am typing May) was totally insane. What between the remake of Caddyshack going on in our backyard and the purchase of one of those things I said I'd never buy. The gophers have run away for now, and I am really enjoying Schmitty now that we've had him for a while. I know I'll love him even more come next June when Baby #2 makes its appearance.

In June, the dogs didn't get the memo that it's never hot here. They decided to do some backyard renovations to include installing a new swimming pool. Little Monster began really living up to his name. I also reached the landmark 300 posts. How I'm not famous like Dooce or The Pioneer Woman or anyone else I don't really know. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the spelling errors, grammatical faux-pas, or inconsistent posting.

Are you bored with the month by month recap of the year yet? Really? Because I see that you're still watching that stupid thing on VH1 that recaps the year. I think I'm a little bit more interesting than Britney's balded head and the election. Okay, Maybe not. Who cares. I'm finishing this up if for no other reason than I'm having fun reading my posts from the last year.

July. The hottest month of the year. The temperatures here on the lovely Central Coast of California actually got warm enough to defrost my toes, set up the pool and play outside for hours and hours on end. Of course, we were in Nebraska soaking up the heat there, relaxing at the lake, running between our parents houses and eating lots of good food. And then there was the time where I almost went to jail. Okay, so there was no jail, but there was a ticket. It was shortly thereafter that Not the Momma decided that Someone upstairs has it out for him.

August was pretty lame around here. Except for this. Seriously, if you only click on ONE link to previous posts, you should totally click on that one. Little Monster singing Itsy bitsy spider? He wasn't even 2 yet people! HOW cute is THAT?? Look at his little sun! We watched this the other night and we both almost died because the amount of cute that was coming out of my computer totally filled the room, pushing the oxygen out. It's a good thing it's a short clip.

September was the month that Not the Momma decided to try to prove that at any given moment the molecules in a solid object could align themselves so that another solid object could possibly pass through it (it's called tunnelling). He had a one in some number of trillions chance. But there's still a chance. He still has a scar from the incident, and Little Monster is now obsessed with 'boo-boos' and thinks everyone needs one on their knee. We also visited San Diego despite mice taking up residence in the fifth wheel and my bad attitude about the whole ordeal. It turned out to be a good trip, especially considering the good news we got the day we left. (Keep reading).

October was when I announced that there's going to be a Little Monster: The sequel. It's also when I began really feeling the symptoms. Little Monster also turned two. How sad is that? He's such a big boy now.

November was the month the sequel tried to kill me with morning sickness. I am NOT complaining. I am very grateful that I am pregnant, and that is has stuck around. Not the Momma and I only had a short time to conceive so that he would be home for the birth. That time was about up. Thanksgiving was awesome. We had some friends over and did tons of touristy stuff and just spent time at the house. December has been a great month as well. The morning sickness has subsided, everything is seemingly going well and the year is over tomorrow.

It is amazing how fast this year has gone. I can only imagine that the years will go by faster as the sequel is born, and everyone gets older. I pray that we'll continue to be happy and healthy. And by we, I mean our family and yours. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Continuation of an Old Tradition...

Remember when I promised that recipe? No? Okay. Good. That means I don't have to give it to you and worry if we'll show up to the same blog party with a crock pot full of the same stuff...

Where was I? Oh yeah, I promised that I'd give you a recipe. I wish I was all cool like The Pioneer Woman and had taken pictures while I was cooking this, but then, my pictures wouldn't have looked as good and I would have felt bad for stealing her 'thing.'

So, As I was talking about earlier, we celebrated this year with a few old traditions. One being opening up new pajamas on Christmas Eve. The other is that in the midst of preparing for the candlelight service at church, preparing for the coming of Santa Claus and wrangling too many children, my mom had a few things on her plate without worrying about some big dinner. So, she always prepared soup. The first few years, it wasn't something we enjoyed so much. (Sorry mom!) But then, we were little, and the soup was clam chowder. After a few years of whining, she switched to potato soup, which was good. But one year, she came up with a recipe that knocked our socks off. It is so good that the last time I made it (before Christmas Eve this year), Not the Momma proceeded to eat the entire crock full. And then he cried when he found out it contained sour cream. Not the Momma + Sour Cream = Not so good. Where was I again? Oh, you want the recipe? Okay. here goes. My comments will be italicized, mm-kay?
Baked Potato Soup
4-6 large potatoes
2/3 cup margarine (I use butter)
2/3 cup flour
6 cups milk
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 green onions, chopped
12 slices bacon, diced
1 1/4 c cheddar, shredded
8 0z sour cream
Wash potatoes and prick with a fork. Bake at 400F or until done. Let cool.
Cut potatoes in half, scoop out pulp and set aside.
Melt margarine or butter, because I use butter in pot over low heat. Add flour, stirring constantly with whisk. It's almost a roux, aren't we excited!? Cook 1 minute. Gradually add milk, stirring until thick and bubbly. mmmm thick and bubbly.
Add salt, pepper, chopped green onions (leave a few for garnish), and diced bacon (again, leave some for pretties on top). Right about now you should begin to smell heaven cooking. No? Wait a few minutes. Cook until boiling, then lower heat to a simmer. Add sour cream and cheese. Serve when the sour cream and cheese are well mixed and heated. Garnish with the leftover bacon onions and a little bit of shredded cheese... MMMM yummy.
Shortcuts and Modifications:
I totally use the pre-cooked bacon that comes in a box at the store. It doesn't even have to be refrigerated until it's open. Because I hate cooking bacon. Hate. It. The boxes come with 15 slices, so I just chop it all up and dump it in. And the extra three slices make it taste that much better. Also, in order to be kind to my husband, who (as I previously mentioned) does not get along with sour cream, I used plain yogurt instead of sour cream. But the sour cream. It does a taste-bud good.
I really wish that I had taken pictures now. Oh well, you'll still love me. And if you don't after you try this soup, there's something wrong with you. Even Little Monster tried it -- and he normally only eats olives and bread with butter.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

It won't be Christmas...

Not the Momma and I have discussed at length what ages we had our first real memories. Little Monster is quickly approaching that age, so at Christmas this year, I wondered as we came downstairs and he noticed that Santa had visited, as we opened gifts, visited Church, had family time and then friends over if he would remember any of it.

I've now come to the conclusion that Christmas will not be his first memory. That would be too nice. His first memories will probably be one of the following:

  • Me opening a Hershey's kiss in front of him and denying him the chocolate, even after opening his mouth and saying "aaaah" like a baby bird.
  • One of the multiple times we've groped him to check his new 'big boy' pants for wetness while harassing him about whether or not he needs to go potty.

If it has to be one of those mean memories, I hope for the first. The second one I hope he can repress until after years of therapy. The whole potty training thing. I'm not sure if it's a good sign that for the past 3 hours, even through dinner and 2 cups of apple juice, wrestling and Daddy torture, tickling and giggling uncontrollably that the child is still dry. We have put him on the toilet at least 6 times in attempts to get him to go. He sits there looking at magazines, kicking his feet, talking and singing the whole time with nary a trickle. Will he remain dry until he explodes? Is he biding his time until we put a diaper back on him? What are parents to do?

***Update*** Apparently, 3 1/2 hours is the amount of time that a 2 year old can control the contents of his bladder before he has to empty it on the carpet.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Old Traditions

Sorry about the interruption, there. We're still dealing with the aftermath. But this is about Old Christmas Traditions.
If you can remember being little, and thinking about Santa Claus coming on Christmas Eve, munching down on some cookies and bringing presents, you remember how terribly exciting it was. It wasn't bad enough there were usually gifts under the tree anyway. You'd been watching them for weeks (and if you were smart like me, you'd probably tried to sneak peaks at them), waiting for Christmas Day to come so that you could open them. At one point there were four children five and under in my house growing up. I can't imagine being the parent to four kids, so excited they couldn't sleep on Christmas eve. In order to alleviate some of the craziness (at least I assume this is why), my mom allowed us to open ONE gift on Christmas Eve. She picked them, of course. We always got a pair of pajamas. To this day, I fondly remember going to bed on Christmas Eve in a brand new snuggly pair of PJs each year. I am continuing that tradition in our home. This year, things got a little crazy. My mom sent Little Monster a pair of Pajamas:

Thank you Grami!

Excited about the new Jammies

New Superman Jammies

Little Monster loves his new pajamas. So much, in fact, that we have to trick him into wearing actual clothing.

As for other traditions, we had a light (ha!) meal of bread and soup for dinner Christmas Eve. The soup is delicious, and I'll post the recipe soon, but alas, it has been more than 10 minutes so I must annoy my child until he relents and sits on the potty again.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Interrupting Christmas...

I have an "Old Traditions" Post that I am going to put up soon, including a yummy recipe, but first I have an interruption.

The past few days have been rather interesting around here. Little Monster is on the cusp of needing to be potty trained. But I'm lazy and don't want to deal with the mess of wet pants and loads and loads of never-ending laundry. We already have never-ending laundry. I can't imagine what a potty-training toddler and a new baby are going to do to this household's laundry piles.

I have not been very gung-ho about the whole potty training thing at all and Little Monster has NO desire to actually use the toilet. However, he certainly has the desire to remove his pants and diaper if it gets too wet. We've been lucky so far **rapping on all the wood I can find nearby** that he hasn't felt the desire to remove poopy diapers, but I'm sure that day is dreadfully near. I guess it's a good thing we have two full weeks of not many places to go. While we're home, he'll be wearing the new underwear and ruber pants he got for Christmas and diapers while we're out. Otherwise that duct tape I've been thinking about strapping him to the wall with is going to end up wrapped around his waist to keep his diapers shut.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A New Christmas Tradition

Christmas traditions are hard to establish when you're constantly moving. This year, we're home, but next year who knows where we'll be. We could be in Nebraska, hanging out with the Grandparents, travelling across the country to some other state. I try to cling to traditions that we can do whether we're on the road, visiting family or at home.

A new tradition we started this year was a Gingerbread Tree. People do gingerbread houses, but we couldn't find a decent kit. In hind-sight, that was okay. Little Monster is waaay too little to decorate a house, but a tree is right up his alley. I found a kit that contained a bunch of gingerbread star cookies and frosting mix, got everything out that we needed and made sure to get Little Monster all ready for some possibly messy kitchen fun.

I'm not sure he's excited. What do you think? We laid out our star cookies so that we would be ready to stack them. I laid the first cookie down, gluing it to the foil-covered plate and turned my back to grab another. What would any two year old boy do?

He grabbed it off the plate and ate it. It ended up being a good thing. He "helped" by munching down on a probably-stale pre-baked gingerbread cookie while I attempted to assemble the tree with the frosting. It leans a little. But then, it was supposed to be assembled by a two-year-old. Once the tree was mostly together, we decided to add a little 'green' and some decorations to our tree.

Of course he took some time to taste test the little balls that went all over the tree. And he decided that the Star didn't go on top, it went at the bottom with the presents. Fine with me, it was his tree.

The finished (crooked but cute) Product:

The kid when he was done:

You can tell by the green on his face that he had fun tasting everything. And if you look in the bottom left corner, you'll notice I was a very nice mommy and left a few of the candy balls for him to eat when we were done.

I was very glad that we hadn't attempted a house. I don't think that would have went nearly as well. The whole experience was wonderful. I also had to get over the fact that the tree wasn't going to look beautiful like the ones on the box, because Little Monster was going to be putting it together. It isn't about the end product, it's about the fun getting there. It did take me a few minutes to get to that point as we were scrambling for water, mixing the icing, and getting things ready. In the future, I'll be more prepared for disasters and laughter and be more willing to let things get a little crazy. I'll also make sure I have EVERYTHING out and ready to go before I let Little Monster in the kitchen so that he's not dumping water on the floor while I search for the mixer beaters.

Thanks Little Monster for a great time. I loved laughing because you were sneaking cookies, taste testing the candy, and making general messes. I hope that you'll enjoy doing stuff like this with me every year. Merry Christmas and thanks again. I am excited to continue this tradition year after year -- at Grandma's house, in our fifth wheel as we travel from duty station to duty station, or in our home. I love you.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Plans

This year we're kickin' it at home. We've kindly told out-of-state relatives that if they want Christmas with us, that they can come here. And they did or are.

We aren't going anywhere else, either. This will be the first school break that we haven't gone somewhere. We've been to Morro Dunes, San Diego, and Nebraska for the other three breaks we've had this year. We're moving next year, so we'd like (read: Mommy Mary would like and if she doesn't get her way it is not a good thing) to have one relaxing year at home. Unfortunately, relaxation is something Not the Momma doesn't do well. He fidgets and gets bored easily. He's already beat one video game this break. And it hasn't even been a full week yet.

We do have some family crafts planned for the next few days since it will be extra cool and rainy. We're going to bake cookies, decorate a gingerbread tree and a Rice Krispie House (no gingerbread house kits to be found!), watch Christmas movies and hang out. Christmas Eve we'll have soup and go to Church. Christmas morning we'll have breakfast, maybe go to Church again and make some dinner. I've invited our new neighbors over. Who knows if they'll come.

After Christmas, who knows what will happen. We've got a whole additional two weeks before he has to go back to school. Pray we don't all kill each other after an overdose of Christmas Cheer -- especially because my egg nog remains un-spiked this year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Reasons I am a certifiable Grinch - sort of.

I am a Grinch in that we are not doing a big "gift-give" this Christmas. Little Monster is getting some "big boy" underwear, a book about potty training, a potty chair, some pajamas and a few small toys. Not the Momma is getting -- well, I'll tell you about that later. As for the rest of you, I can't afford anything. And I don't feel remorseful. The lack of remorse bothers me a bit.

I am not doing Christmas cards this year. If that makes me terrible, so be it. I'm sending out an email with a picture of Little Monster. I may even take the time to write out a dorky letter and photo shop a Santa hat onto Little Monster's head.

We have not (and might not) take Little Monster to see Santa this year. Ever since the burn, his eyes and face are all gross, green, and/or broken out.

I am pregnant. And Crabby. And I don't like it when people touch me. Or breathe on or near me. The only exception is Little Monster when he says "Mommy, Hugs" hugs me then says "More Hugs!" and repeats that.

Someone has figured out how to take off his shorts and diaper. He does so when he's in his playroom by himself. Hopefully he didn't pee on anything.

I lost a $200 key fob for the minivan. I finally got around to having the dealer program the new one I ordered to find out it didn't have a right "piece" or some other baloney and I would have to come back later.

It is day one of a very long break with my easily bored husband who owns no property to maintain, fix or update. It could be a long, long break. And he's started complaining about the lack of blogging going on over here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My week in moments.

My week was full of moments that made me laugh and cry all at the same time. Some of it was pregnancy hormones, but others, who knows.


You know the day might not go so well when your child wakes up, you look at his green, weepy eyes and he says:

"Mommy, Eyes. Boo-boo."

It's not pink eye, but we got drops in case it gets bad. It is most likely a cold combined with irritation from the smoke the controlled burn that they did yesterday.

At the doctor's office he announced "All Done!" every time the doctor finished listening to his lungs.

It nearly broke my heart, when on the way home from the doctor's office, he rubbed his eyes. I asked him if they hurt and he responded "It tickles!"

Daddy says: "Why is it called Pink Eye when the stuff is Green??"


We ran to the mailbox twice -- or rather Little Monster ran while we walked. If you've ever watched a two year old run four blocks, you know how silly and cute it is. Especially when he's yelling songs at the top of his lungs. And stopping to touch the fiber optic snowflakes lining the sidewalk. And trying to read a pamphlet while running home.

Kleenex was barking uncontrollably yesterday. I went outside to kill her because she JUST WOULDN'T SHUT UP and I noticed that Chewie was missing. The door to the garage was open. And so was the big garage door. Kleenex was being a big fat tattle-tale, ratting out the boy dog because he ran away. For the first time in her life, she's had a good reason to bark like a maniac.


The dishwasher that has been broken since Thanksgiving is now fixed. I feel like I have my life back! This after being threatened with having to wait until January to get a new one, Friday to get one stolen from another vacant unit, and coming home from the store today to find the dishwasher in pieces.

My neighbors are moving overseas. As such we inherited a Beta fish, a cactus, and 3000 pounds of snack foods. Little Monster and Not the Momma are in Oreo and Ice Cream heaven.

You know you're hormonally pregnant when you watch a St. Jude commercial and start bawling your eyes out. Not teeny little tears, but Big fat, loud, sobbing tears that are practically inconsolable.

Of course, what person with a heart, can see the little baby barely walking (second 41) with the IV and bald little head and not break up into a million pieces? Wait, you can watch this commercial without being a crazy, bawling, wreck? Okay. Maybe it is the pregnancy hormones.


I'm on day number two being z.ofran and puke free! Yay!! Of course, that makes me a bit paranoid that something has gone wrong. Why should it? I don't know. I'm in the second trimester, but I'm still afraid that something has gone wrong. But that's just the paranoia speaking.


Little Monster demanding pie every ten seconds for the entire week.


How was your week?

Bicyclists are friends, right?

People who ride their bikes everywhere have my utmost respect, awe, and admiration. They are getting exercise, saving gas, and making me feel a teensy bit guilty for driving around in Schmitty, my gas guzzling Minivan. (Yes, I feel guilty, even though I'm so sick with my second child I can barely hold down food most days, and I'd have to lug around my 35 pound two year old in a trailer behind me. I'm crazy.)

I do have a bone to pick, though. The other day, I was driving out of my neighborhood when I noticed a friend of mine was in a car accident. A car accident caused by a bicyclist who ran a stop sign. Luckily none of his three children were hurt, nor was the person walking with her child in a stroller or the the driver of the other vehicle. The potential was there, though. About a month ago, I nearly ran over a man who ran a stop sign on his bicycle. Again, last night, a man on a bicycle blew through a stop sign --after dark no less -- nearly causing an accident.

I get that it sometimes is inconvenient to stop at stop signs. And then you have to work up the energy to get those pedals started again. It's also inconvenient for me to stop. I have to completely stop, wait for pedestrians to cross, other cars to cross and work up the energy to get my lead foot back on the gas pedal. But you know what? I do it. I stop. Because it's safe for everyone. Do bicyclists realize that they are technically on a vehicle and are required to follow all of the same laws that automobiles are required to follow -- including speed limits? Sometimes I'm not sure. Yes. If you are on a bicycle, riding on the street, you are required to stop at all traffic stops, lights, etc. You are not allowed to go faster than the 15 mph speed limit. No exceptions.

We who drive our automobiles do need to be vigilant in keeping an eye out for our friends who are walking and riding their bikes. But you also need to ensure that you are watching out for us, by following all of the stop signs. Really, it's for your own safety. If your bike and my minivan get in a fight, I guarantee the minivan will win. I will escape uninjured, but my mental health will suffer if I hurt you -- even if it is your fault. Please be aware of the laws, and follow them -- it's better for everyone.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Troublesome Tuesday?

That's Little Monster. His name is spelled T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Not because he's naughty and disobedient. Because he's smart. And curious. And he really likes juice.

This morning I was in the bathroom when I heard the backdoor shut. Immediately after, I heard Little Monster still playing in his room. So I knew he was inside the house and I wasn't terribly worried. He was inside, the door was shut, life was good.

Fast forward a few minutes when I got out of the bathroom and finished an email. I go check on him, and he's sitting in his playroom with a Capri-Sun.

Hmm. Capri Sun is stored in the garage. Unless... Was there one stashed in here? That can't be possible, we'd just cleaned that room a couple of times recently. We would have found it. Then I remembered that Not the Momma had told me we were out of juice boxes and that I should get some more next time I went to the store. Hmm. Even Odder.

"Little Monster, how did you get that juice?"

He had a stinky diaper too, so while I was changing his diaper, we continued our discussion about the 'boos.'

"How did you get that juice?"

That led me to think. That means the door I heard slam was Little Monster RETURNING to the inside of the house. He had gone into the backyard, walked to the garage door and opened it, found his juice, brought it back inside the house and shut the door, removed the straw from the 'boos' and had tried to get into it.

Trouble. That's what we've got around here. Not so much for Little Monster, but more for the grown-ups in this house. Now we have to figure something better out for the doors. Because, folks, my doors are 'baby-proofed' with those annoying handle covers and dead bolted. And he won't open them when anyone is looking. He's sneaky. Trouble. with a capital T.

Monday, December 08, 2008

What? Who is this?

I am still alive. Even after going a week without posting. I know it's bad when I have to actually LOG IN to my blogger account. It's even worse when Not the Momma who normally whines about the amount of time I spend blogging begins to whine about his lack of online reading material.

What can I say? It has been busy around here. We had friends for Thanksgiving, spent the rest of the weekend decorating for Christmas and being lazy. And I threw up a lot.

Then there were about two days of me throwing up while trying to get the house ready for more guests (I failed at that one), getting as much work done as possible. Wednesday we got up bright and early, hit the gas station, Starbucks and headed out to the airport to pick up my parents. There was a little more Zof.ran and a little less throwing up.

We had a great time hitting tourist destinations, local restaurants, and just playing at home. Little Monster was totally enamored with Maw-ma, and and Paw-pa. He spent the entire weekend holding their fingers, showing off for them, and tricking them into loving him even more than they already did. I think their hearts were ready to burst by the time they left. He was incredibly good the entire weekend, of course, making me look like a liar when I talk about how naughty he is. Although, there was the ONE incident at the donut shop with the screaming and the throwing himself to the floor. But then, he's two and if we only have one of those in five days, then all is well.

Mommy, Daddy and the dogs were spoiled as well. The dogs got to go on a real, honest-to-goodness W-A-L-K. Perhaps we'll have to do that a bit more often. Would it be wrong to leash the child at the same time? It would be easier to handle them all. Mommy and Daddy got to sleep in a couple of mornings (sleeping in means past 6:30) because either Gramma and Grampa were up with the Monster to play with him, or they had tired him out so much the day before that he slept later in the morning. That made us ALL happy. Mommy and Daddy also got to go out on a DATE! It was a short one, but it was fun. And spontaneous. Not to mention, my parents felt obliged to wash the dishes every time I turned around. Because my dishwasher broke. On Thanksgiving. Now we have to train Little Monster to wash dishes, and I'm thinking it might be more work than washing them myself. I'm all about taking the lazy way out.

Little Monster was not very happy to see them leave Sunday afternoon. I'm not sure how much of that is because that they showered him with attention and love, or how much of it is that he was spoiled because Mommy and Daddy let a few rules go lax while they were here. I'm guessing it was 10% lax rules, and 90% missing them.

We have exactly one month to get the family into shape before the next set of Grandparents arrive to spoil us rotten. The month of boot camp is totally worth all of the giggles, belly laughs, and silliness and fun that went on the last week. It was far too long between visits this time. I can only hope that things work out so that there will be lots of 'De-spoil the family' boot camps in the future.