Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hitting the Yellow Brick Road

We were in the mall recently, and making the rounds of our usual stores: The Disney Store, the food court to see the carousel... and stopped in the pet store to see the puppies. Daniel looked over at me and said: Grandpa has a puppy too. Grandpa has Sophie.


I hmmd and agreed with him and quickly changed topics. I have yet to address the subject of loss to my three year old, and this one blindsided me a bit. Grandma and Grandpa are 1,200 miles away so it was easy to gloss over. But I can guarantee that this one is going to come around to bite me again. Anyone out there with some tried and true angles/methods/recommendations for talking to little ones about losing a pet?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Part of living in so many places means that I have friends spread out all over the country, as well as overseas. Kim and I met in fourth grade - Mrs. Lindburgh's class, if I'm not mistaken. We went all through school together, mooning over 80s bands and listening to Duran Duran LPs in the sunroom of my house. Kim snuck me into basketball games with the band, and I dragged her into working on drama productions like Hello Dolly.

Even as I've bounced from Michigan to France to California to Massachusetts, Kim and I have kept up. Visits, phone calls, email... through six kids (yep, five of those are hers!) and countless ups and downs of life we've kept up with each other. She stood up in my wedding, and when I was trying to sleep train Daniel she was the one I called sobbing: I can't do this.

I haven't seen my friend in person in eight years. Ever have a friend that no matter how long it's been, the years just melt whenever you reach out to each other? Like you'd never been apart? Kim is one of those friends for me.

She emailed this week asking for prayers for her family. Her husband has been quite unexpectedly laid off. They have options, and they're doing OK. She is one of the most faith-full people I know. Friends are at the forefront of my thoughts of gratitude today, especially her.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Zoom Zoom

Drove my parents to Logan airport today. Daniel was a trooper in the car.

I've lived for many years in a separate state from my parents and brother. For the most part I do OK with it. We talk on the phone a lot, visit as often as we are able and last year even acquired a web cam to do some video calls (ain't technology wonderful?).

The hardest part was/is always the parting company at the end of a visit, whether it is us in Wisconsin, or the folks out here. And it's magnified a bit with Daniel thrown into the mix. We were climbing the stairs back at home when he asked: Where's Grandma? I imagine it will be tomorrow before it really sinks in that they've gone back to their home.

The speedy trips to the airport can actually make it a little easier on all of us to leave, as it is a screech to the curb, dump the bags as fast as possible, kisses and hugs all around and peeling out again to not block traffic. It will probably be tomorrow before their absence sinks in for me as well.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Grandma and Grandpa are still in town, but are winding up their visit. It's just after our 8th anniversary, and so H and I took advantage of the babysitting to use a positively ancient gift certificate that I had to a very nice restaurant.

I love my little guy more than anything, and of course he was a big topic of conversation. But it is such a gear switch to have a leisurely meal with attentive waiters. Conversation without having to ask the three year old to get back into his chair or to stop mashing his potatoes between his fingers. And to take a browse through the local Borders bookstore - not to buy anything, just to look - without the constant refrain of "Where's Daniel?" pitter-pattering through my brain.

Wasn't there an old slogan - The pause that refreshes - for Coca Cola or something?

Tonight was a refreshing Mommy and Daddy pause. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Right place, Right time

Growing up in the Midwest, lobster was always a real treat for our family. Several times I've had some packed to take with us when we visit Wisconsin. A visit from my parents often prompts a little look-around to see if there are any good deals out there. The local Stop and Shop got rid of their tank awhile back. The usual spot that H had picked out a lobster or two from was a Shaw's. After some shopping and driving, we were mightily disappointed to be greeted at Shaw's by an empty tank.

I started calling around, discovering that a local Hannaford's carried lobster - and so we headed in that direction. Mom chatted with the elderly gentleman in front of us about the best way to cook lobster. He handed the deli-guy a slip which I took to be some sort of rain check for his lobster. Dad took his place in line and requested four of the beasts from the large tub that had just been brought out for transfer to the tank. We continued with our shopping, and headed home.

Dad remarked on the way up to our place that the price seemed really reasonable for four lobsters and a few other assorted items. Upon closer inspection, we discovered that we had been given the elderly gentleman's "rain check" price of $4.99 a pound!

Sometimes the deals just find you!

I am off to take my butter/lobster-soaked self to bed.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Basking in the Balance

Days of butting heads, screaming tantrums, preschooler fish-flopping on the floor in frustration... me firmly securing my place in the boy's eyes as "Chief Squasher of Dreams."

Daniel: I want marshmallows for breakfast!

Me: No.

A visit from Grandma and Grandpa affords some much-needed breathing space. Daniel scooted me out of his room this afternoon because he and Grandma were reading a book. I happily went off to read a magazine.

And I quite enjoyed H's report of a smile on our little guy's face as he slept late last night. Sweet dreams my little one.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Even though we currently do not have any pets, I have found myself thinking of past furry friends today. My parents are in town from Wisconsin for a long-weekend visit. It's a happy time, touched by the sad news that their German Shorthaired Pointer Sophie passed away just yesterday, apparently in her sleep.

Sophie started life as a bit of a mischief hound. Tales of the pup who was eating all the Handi-wipes out of the kitchen, and running out with a knife clamped between her jaws started filtering back to me from my parents home in Iowa. She was boisterous and headstrong and excitable - and an adorable thing. She went off to doggie boot camp, learned her manners (mostly) and became a working hunting dog accompanying my father on many an outing.

She had slowed some in recent years, but was never happier than seeing Dad pull out his hunting gear and knowing an excursion was in store. Or getting to ride in the tiny back of Dad's "cool car" green MG with the top down. And as bullish as she could sometimes still be, Sophie was gentle as anything with Daniel. A favorite spot was parking under the kitchen table in hopes of any dropped cheerios.

Goodbye "Ga-Ga" from all of us.

So tonight I'm thankful for God's many creatures. If you have a furry friend in your life, give them an extra squeeze and a pat from me today.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Bunny Hell

Our cable has been out for the past few days. Only on one of the two TVs, but it means there is NO WAY OUT. My Spiderman-obsessed, GI-Joe, Incredible Hulk, Darth Vader superhero action figure kid has discovered the bunnies Max and Ruby.

And Mommy has discovered what must be one of the newer circles of hell. It's an adorable cartoon, but we're on the eleventy-billionth viewing. Cable guy comes tomorrow, and we are high-tailing this one back to the library ASAP. Luckily bedtime went down without a hitch and I've gotten in some computer/quiet non-"Max and Ruvee" time this evening. Sanity to resume tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


A three year old boy and a Mommy with PMS makes for a twosome with short fuses today. This whole daylight savings time thing has messed the boy up a bit. We've been up at 6am every day, and absolutely positively refusing to take an afternoon nap. (Even though he could really use it. Come to think of it, so could I!)

It took me half an hour to get out of the house to vote this morning. Socks, shoes, whups not those socks, well OK those socks, THOSE shoes? On the plus side we could walk right in to the elementary school/polling place, and I was outta there in minutes. Waiting in line for any amount of time was SO not going to happen with the three year old in tow.

The school was running a bake sale, so Daniel scored a cookie out of the deal and we traveled on to a local park as it was a gorgeous day. Tearing around outside is always good for expending that preschooler energy. It's the arguing over every. single. thing once we step inside the front door that is wearing me into the ground today. I'm off for PJs and a drink of something warm and soothing. And bed before too long. New days in many ways tomorrow.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Mmmm... Chocolate

We're finally seeing some relief at the gas pumps. (I saw gas for $2.39 at one stop in town!!!) Grocery prices are still a pinch, as they are for so many people. There are some very talented ladies out there blogging about how to save on your grocery budget. Some current favorites are $5 Dinners and Money Saving Mom.

I'm cooking challenged, even without a picky preschooler. It's always a struggle to balance convenience and ease with creative cooking with fresh ingredients. Daniel is big on chocolate milk, and rather than replenish our supply of store-bought powder I remembered writing down this recipe for some make-your-own syrup/sauce. I ought to be chocolated out, this close to Halloween and all, but this sounded pretty good and certainly fits the "easy" requirement I have of recipes.

1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla

Mix cocoa and water in saucepan. Heat and stir until dissolved. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Boil exactly three minutes. Remove from burner. Add salt and vanilla. Keep in refrigerator.

I'll amend this post as soon as I can with the source citation, as well as a "taste test" report!

Sunday, November 02, 2008


When Daniel was tiny we fought the battles that many new parents fight regarding sleep. He wouldn't sleep except on one of us, then he wouldn't sleep unless he was in the swing. We tumbled backwards into co-sleeping for awhile, as it smoothed out some of the night-time routines with feedings and such.

Eventually, and with many tears, he was sleeping in his own crib in his own room. Our compromise being that one of us usually laid down with him until he was "out." If we tried the bedtime routine, and simply leaving he cried. Endlessly. If one of us laid down with him we could sometimes be out of there in 15 minutes with a minimum of fuss. Seemed like a fair trade off to me! Then, a few months ago, Daniel suddenly asked for lights out and asked us to leave. I guess we'd been dong this wrong, silly me!

Recently we've been getting night-time visits, however. It feels a bit like backsliding, but I'm trying not to make a big deal out of it and hoping it will pass. The funny thing is, as an infant Daniel woke up loud. We always heard babbling coming from his room well before he was really ready to be up. Now I roll over in the middle of the night only to discover my three year old curled up on the foot of the bed asleep. And I have no idea how long he's been there!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

My Trooper

We've dressed Daniel up for Halloween before, but this was the first year that he "got" the whole trick or treat thing. Our usual Friday storytime at the library consisted of a trek down the street to the local town hall for some office trick or treating, a stop at the senior center, and a Halloween story once we got back to the library.

In the afternoon we hooked up with his buddy Marisa, and Alexis and we all trooped through the local mall for some additional treats. The Star Wars obsession continues, as he came to an immediate halt and stared when a Darth Vader passed us. That little boy got into the spirit when he turned to Daniel and said: "You're on MY side!" And Daniel is still talking about the two other stormtroopers we saw. (Well, and the Hulk, and Wonder Woman, and "the scary guy!") It was a bit of a zoo, but all in all a good trick or treating alternative. Otherwise we get zero kids coming by, or opportunities to go out as we live in a condo... My brother told me about an interesting variation. He said that where he lives they have "trunk or treating" - people park around a local church parking lot and have candy in the trunks of their cars.

The funny thing is - for a kid who loves his treats, he has eaten surprisingly little. There is a lot of "sorting" going on. My little pirate with his loot! It makes it a little harder to explain some "disappearances" though!