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Showing posts from October, 2006

Which End Up?

Last Friday I was supposed to work from home, but I encountered technical difficulties with my laptop. I called our Support Staff and a guy walked me through some steps to fix the problem, but none of his suggestions were working. After ten minutes of trying a certain thing over and over again I realized that part of the problem was that he was telling me to type “something something forward slash something else” and I was instead typing “something something back slash something else.”

That was kind of embarrassing, because I am after all a web designer and also somewhat intelligent, and you’d think that I’d know the difference between a forward slash and a back slash. But here’s a secret: I don’t! I mean: you have \ and you have /. I don’t understand what makes one forward and one back. I guess I can see that this one leans forward: / but doesn’t this one slope forward: \ ? So how do you tell which is which?

My slash confusion is part of a larger problem with my brain. I can’t think v…

Good Dental Hygiene is Particularly Important for Lions

Phoebe is, as you can see, going to be a lion for Halloween. She's going to be a lion because Mallory said for two months that she wanted to be Dorothy for Halloween, and we thought it would be cute to have a theme going on.

Of course this weekend Mallory decided that she did NOT want to be Dorothy, how dare we even SUGGEST the wearing of the Dorothy costume, any mention of her being Dorothy was cause for tears and shrieking.

So now she's going to be a ballerina. "I'm going to be the kind of ballerina who has a pet lion!" she said, helpfully.

In preparation for Phoebe's lionhood, we taught her how to roar on cue. It's very cute. But you should also know that last week it rained a lot, and so Phoebe has also learned to say "rain" when we pull her jacket hood up. I'm sure you all know where this is going: I put Phoebe's lion costume on, pulled up the hood, and said, "Phoebe, what does a lion say?"

And Phoebe said: "Rain!"

This was fun

HowManyOfMe.comThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.
How many have your name?

Clearly this isn't exactly right; obviously there is one person in the US with my name. It's just statistically unlikely that there is anyone in the US with my name, which is actually kind of cool. Same goes for Mallory and Phoebe; I think there were four Chris-es. There are three people with my maiden name, by the way.

Go try it for yourself!

A very special...Always Remember That

On Sunday, Mallory said to me, “I want to get a box and put stuff in it that I don’t want and give it to some other people.” Coincidentally, I had just read about a US soldier who was collecting stuffed animals to pass out to children in Iraq, so I found a box and we started filling it up. Because if there’s one thing we have too much of, it’s stuffed animals. (There is something way off, grammatically, about that sentence, but you get the idea.)

Mallory was not at all discriminatory about which stuffies she flung into the box. “Hold on,” I said. “You don’t have to give away any that are really special to you.” From that point on, she very earnestly said, “Well, this one isn’t special!” of each one before she consigned it to the pile.

It was on the tip of my tongue to protest. Not special? The ducky I bought when I found out I was pregnant? The doggie I bought for her when she had her first ear infection? The floppy bunny that sat in the corner of her crib? The bear with “2001 Baby” emb…

Busy, busy, shockingly busy...

...much much too busy for you!

(That's from a Veggie Tales song. I hereby admit that I find Veggie Tales really, really charming. Mallory was never much into them. Oh well.)

Anyway, really busy at work this week but I can't neglect my adoring public. Ha! So here's something for you: You must go see The Prestige. Such a wonderful movie, the best I've seen in a long time. So good that I had to run right out and buy the book. Not, you know, that it takes a great deal of encouragement for me to run right out and buy any book. But -- excellent movie. Highly recommended. (Now you will all go see it and hate it and wonder what I'm going on about.)

A Picture Post

A poster Chris drew for the annual Harvest Day Bake Sale, proceeds to benefit Mallory's preschool:

A poster Chris drew for Mallory's class. What did Phoebe say when she saw it? "El-mo!" She's good at spotting that little red monster, even when he's not red.

Our beautiful new chair! Which actually matches our beautiful new couch!

Phoebe looking pretty.

Mallory looking goofy.

My girls.

A Hodge-podge. A mish-mash, if you will.

Words Phoebe Has Learned To Say Since The Last Time I Made Such A List:

Elmo (pronounced correctly)
Nurse (“urse” – yeah, I know, once they’re old enough to ask…)
I’m stuck
Who’s that?

Two Reasons Phoebe May Not Be My Actual Child

She doesn’t like doughnuts.
She does like raw onions.

What Mallory Said To Me After I Apologized To Her For Us Having A Rough Morning:

“It was rough because you’re mean.”

My Review Of The Make-Ahead Meal Experience

Excellent! Chris and I really liked the Taco Soup, Marinated Flank Steak, Chicken Enchiladas, and Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole. Chris liked the Cilantro Shrimp Scampi; I thought the seasoning was a bit weird, but it was all right. The Smothered Burgers were good but a lot of trouble to make. The Mini-Pizzas…it was nice to be able to customize toppings, but they didn’t taste any better than Target brand frozen pizzas, so, eh. We haven’t tried the Gruyere Quiche yet. But overall, it worked out real…

Mostly I Never Cry At All

This is one of my very favorite pictures. It was taken in October 2004 at a pumpkin patch farm near our house, just a few minutes after I realized I was pregnant again.

Whatever do I mean by that? Partly it was that – sorry, I hate this expression – we’d just started “trying” and conditions seemed favorable. But mostly it was that there was country music being playing in the background at the farm and I kept getting weepy. At one line in one particular song, something about “living here in Arkansas working at a Wal-mart” I got actual tears in my eyes. Because I’ve never lived in Arkansas, nor want to, nor worked at a Wal-mart, nor wanted to, I wondered at my bizarre sensitivity to this song for a few moments before thinking, “Hey! I must be pregnant.”

Crying at odd moments defines pregnancy, for me. (Although the first warning sign of Mallory was an out-of-the-blue craving for cocktail wienies.) One night when I was pregnant with Mallory, Chris and I saw a segment on a Food Network prog…

Yard Sale. YARD SALE!

Anyone who doesn’t hear Tom-Hanks-as-Woody-the-Cowboy screaming that line…hasn’t spent much time around small children. Or at least around small children who like to watch Disney movies.

We had a yard sale this weekend – we being me, Chris, his sister Amy, and his mom. Yikes, it was exhausting. There was much hauling of boxes and furniture and standing around and chasing Mallory and Phoebe about the driveway all Saturday long. I made a hundred bucks – not too shabby, I guess. Chris made about $75 selling the “dregs” of his toy collection. The main point, however, was to sell our old living room furniture because we’re getting a new sofa and chair today (it’s being delivered as we speak!). We did sell our beat-up love seat for $25, but there were no takers for the beat-up sofa sleeper or the recliner. Alas, but that’s the way it goes.

Most of what I sold was baby stuff – clothes, bouncy seats, playmats, and so forth. It was a relief to see it go. Right after Phoebe was born I had the urg…

Things That Are Bugging Me Today

1. For the past couple of months, I’ve had an extra $175 in my checking account. Every time I try to balance my checkbook, there it is -- $175. I’ve re-added and re-subtracted and re-counted many many times and I always get that surplus. Where did it come from? I guess I should just be grateful for my good fortune but I’m certain that the instant I try to spend that money it will disappear and I’ll be $175 in the hole. So I’ve just been using it as a “cushion” – like when I need a tank of gas on Tuesday night (I get paid on Wednesdays). But it never goes away! I’m so confused.

2. I tried on a pair of khaki pants and liked the way they fit so much that I bought the same pants in denim and black as well. The denim ones are too big and the black ones are too small, but of course I didn’t realize this until I’d already ripped off the tags and washed them. Same pants! Same size! So why don’t they fit the same?

3. My four-year-old’s recent horrible behavior. This deserves a longer post but I…

Lucky baby; poor kids

As you can see, Phoebe found her Christmas present. It was craftily hidden right the middle of our bedroom floor. Is anyone surprised that Chris was able to find one of the elusive and coveted Tickle Me Elmos? I personally think we should just sell it on ebay; I can't stand talking Elmo toys. Phoebe will of course love it. The first thing she does most mornings is sit up in bed, peer over the side, and say, "Mo? Mo?" until someone fetches her an Elmo toy.

On January 19, 2005 (which happened to be my 33rd birthday), my fair city was hit by a freak snowstorm, and the result was a traffic gridlock that paralyzed all the major highways, byways, and boulevards for hours. I left my office at 2:30 p.m. and didn’t get home until midnight. I could’ve driven to Chicago in that amount of time.

The worst part (other than the fact that I was pregnant and after three hours on the freeway I really, really, really needed to pee but it was another four hours before I could get off the fre…


This past weekend was a hard one for me-as-a-mommy. I don’t know if it was the constant rain, or that the kids were both getting over illnesses, or just the fact that I haven’t had twelve seconds to myself in, oh, about 15 months (I exaggerate) – but I spent the whole weekend wishing I had a nanny. Or a decompression chamber. Or at least a set of earplugs.

But at the same time, I realized how very lucky I am. No, I don’t mean lucky because I have two (mostly) healthy, bright, funny, sweet kids, although that’s certainly true. (On Sunday night, when Phoebe was finally back to her old self, I said to Chris, “I’m glad she’s feeling better. I was beginning to wonder who took my baby.” Mallory said, “Who cooked the baby?”) I’m lucky because I have help. My inlaws live exactly twelve minutes away, and although sometimes I joke and say that’s twelve minutes too close, the truth is, I don’t know what I’d do without them there. On Friday night when I thought I couldn’t take another minute of my…

Sick Days

My mom's comment last night made me remember my own bout with chicken pox. First, sorry, Mom! I remember we were all sick at once (and that I was the first one to catch it) but I didn't remember it took us so long to get better. I do remember that I was sick on my birthday (my 7th), that my grandma brought me popcorn (I don't know why), and that I was so spotty that I was scared to look at myself in the mirror. Oh, and that Jana brought some schoolwork home from me and one worksheet was about syllables and it took me forever to understand. I'd been reading for two years already but I guess I'd never noticed that some words were longer than others.

I also remember getting strep throat a lot, and that the whole family had to get shots of penicillin each time I did. Am I remembering that right? Because that sounds kind of weird. I don't think that happens nowadays -- the random shooting up of antibiotics, I mean.

My most memorable sick day, however, was in fourth gr…

Mother of the Year

Mallory has chicken pox.

Mallory has had chicken pox, in fact, since last Thursday. In the interim, she has gone to preschool twice and had three separate playdates.

You can pin my medal on my lapel. The trophy can go on the mantel.

We noticed the first spots last week, but chicken pox didn't even occur to me; I thought they were bug bites. She's had the vaccine! (Note: The vaccine is not foolproof.) And she wasn't sick at all. And she did not itch. And I was preoccupied with Phoebe, who is just miserable with her sore throat and hasn't eaten a single thing since Friday. But last night while giving Mallory a bath I noticed that she had more spots, and that they were kind of blistery-looking. So this morning we went to the doctor's (my third trip this week, hooray) and it was confirmed. She has a very mild case (because she has been vaccinated), which is why she hasn't felt bad and why she's not absolutely covered in spots (they're mostly on her stomach and…

Phoebe infected; Mallory in denial

Phoebe update: Ear infection and Coxsackie disease all at once! Poor baby. But she slept from 6:30 last night to 8:00 this morning, which is some kind of record for her.

My mother-in-law, Claudia, occasionally volunteers at Mallory's preschool. Yesterday she was there checking all the kids for lice. (She's a nurse. None found.) On the way home she mentioned to Mallory that one of the kids in the 3-year-old room cried the whole morning. "Why did she cry so much?" Mallory asked.

"Well, why do you think a kid would cry so much at preschool?" Claudia asked.

"Hm. It must have been that mommy thing," Mallory said.

After she stopped laughing, Claudia confirmed that Mallory's guess was correct. "I would never cry just because I wanted my mommy," Mallory said. Which, of course, is a huge lie because she did that very thing all the years she was in daycare and even last year and even a few days ago when I dared to go upstairs without informing he…


I hate trying to decide whether one of the kids is sick enough to warrant a trip to the doctor. On the one hand I want to wait and see if the symptoms go away without intervention; on the other hand I'm convinced that the symptoms will get much, much worse unless someone with medical training examines the child right away. On the one hand I don't need a doctor to tell me that yes, she has a fever and needs some Tylenol. On the other hand I need reassurance that yes, she has a fever but in a few days she'll be okay. And now I've run out of hands.

So Phoebe seemed legitimately, need-a-doctor sick on Saturday morning; she'd been running a high fever since the night before. Since it was Saturday, I had to take her to Urgent Care (double the co-pay, but half the wait). On the one hand (here I go again with the hands! Stop me!) the doctor I got was a real jerk. He took, I'm not lying, three cell-phone calls from his wife while he was examining Phoebe. In fact he had j…