Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Run, Run, As Fast As You Can

Today's art class was all about the Gingerbread Man.

First we read a couple of stories, then the kids made stick puppets and acted out the story.

Peeper hard at work on her puppet.

Putting on the puffies.

Then she took the strip of paper from the glue dots, wrapped it around his waist and said, "He have a belt!"

Running, running, as fast as they can!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


This evening was MOMS Night Out, so we dropped Peeper off with Shrike's parents around six o'clock, and headed over to the bar lounge. It didn't officially start until seven, so we had time to have a drink and a little one-on-one conversation before our friends arrived.

We had a nice visit, some dinner (Ladies Night special menu) and drinks, and then Shrike - because she is wonderful - left and picked Peeper up around nine thirty, before her parents turned into pumpkins, and let me stay for another hour or so until everyone else was ready to call it a night.

When I got home, I discovered that Peeper had fallen asleep in the car on the way home, and stayed asleep when Shrike brought her in.

This is what I found when I peeked in on her.

Shrike was brave enough to get her shoes off, but not stupid enough to try to get her out of the coat.

We'll see how long she lasts like that.

Update, morning: Holy crow. Didn't hear a sound from her until 8:45 am! Of course, the bed was wet by then, but I'll happily wash pee sheets if it means she'll sleep almost eleven hours without a wake up. My boobs were perhaps a little less thrilled that she went from around 5 pm until almost 9 am without nursing. That's the longest she's gone since she was NPO for her heart surgery and by far the longest I've gone without either nursing or pumping since she was born. I wasn't hurting, but once she did nurse, I sure could tell it had been a while!

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Day's Adventures

This morning, Peeper and I joined our MOMS Club buddies for a craft, led by T. The big kids made advent calendars using bubble wrap, and the little ones made ones with a clean-shaven Santa, onto which we'll glue cotton balls each day, to build his beard.

Because she is a genius, she began by giving the kids (and moms) scraps of bubble wrap and letting them us pop as much as we wanted, before she handed out the carefully cut-out pieces for the calendars.

Then we got to work. No photos of Peeper actually doing the project, because I was busy helping her, but here's the final product.

Then we came home, had some lunch, watched a roofer take measurements for an estimate, and finally got ourselves ready and out the door for some shopping.

First we hit a consignment shop, where Shrike got a couple of pairs of jeans, I got a winter coat and Peeper got an adorable snowman sweater, a cute Christmasy turtleneck and a couple of Christmasy, but not exclusively Christmasy dresses.

They are nice, but didn't quite match up to my fantasy of her all dressed up for the Nutcracker, or for church on Christmas Eve.

After that, we went out to dinner, and over to Target to pick up a few things that we had coupons for, and then forget to use the coupons. Ack!

While we were there (on the complete opposite side of the store, of course) Peeper told us, "I need to pee-pee!"

This is the first time that she has actually said that, completely unprompted, so there was much celebration - and running to the bathroom.

She had already gotten four stickers for making progress toward this major milestone, the most recent of which was earlier today when she was trying to come in the bathroom while I was using it. I asked "Are you trying to get in because you need to pee-pee?" and she said yes. Maybe, maybe not, but she did pee, so that counts.

She's now two stickers away from getting her Nutcracker DVD, and has just now actually accomplished the skill that we are supposedly stickering for, but I figure it's like how when you're training a dog to do a trick, and you start by giving a treat when he comes anywhere near what you want, then require more and more as he gets better at it and starts figuring out what it is that you're looking for.

I want to reward her for progress in the right direction, and I want her to be successful with this. I think it would be very counterproductive if it took her several days to get any stickers. I think she'd just figure she's never going to see the DVD and blow it off.

Speaking of the DVD, it shipped on Friday or Saturday from the town where I was working right before Peeper was born. I made the drive in forty-five minutes every day. Don't know why it's not here yet. It had better hurry, because she's going to expect to pop it in the player as soon as that last sticker hits the paper!

I think that after we give it to her, I'll make another chart, and come up with another prize (probably something that we've already actually bought for Christmas) and have her get ten or twelve stickers to earn it.

Hopefully by then, she'll have it down. More or less.

While I took her in to the bathroom, Shrike was waiting outside with the cart, so when she was finished, she ran out to tell Mommy that she'd pee-peed. She was running, full-tilt (in the wrong direction), when she tripped over something and went flying.

Within about one second, I went through, "Oh no, she's falling!" to "Oh, she's landed and seems to have caught herself, whew!" to "Oh shit" and I heard her head go "thud" on the floor.

Luckily, she was right by the entrance, the only carpeted part of the entire store, so it was a little better than it could have been, but she smacked it pretty good, and cried for a few minutes, and it was bruising before we even got her settled down enough to start heading over to check out.

This is my excuse for forgetting about the coupons. I'm not too worried about them, though. They don't expire until the 26th and I'm quite sure we'll be buying more cereal and Hershey Kisses before then.

After we checked out, we turned in our cart cup holders (does your Target have these?) to Starbucks and got some ice for her head. She put it on there for about two seconds and said, "Oh, my head feels much better now!"

After Target, we headed over to Kohl's, because I thought maybe they'd have some Christmas dresses on sale. Indeed, they did.

The one we bought was 40% off, and still about $30, but it definitely matches up with my fantasy. I can't wait to see her in on Saturday, for The Nutcracker.

She'll definitely wear it for that and for church on Christmas Eve, but I'm debating whether to put her in it for every slightly formal occasion over the next month - visit with Santa, singing at the retirement home, etc - to be sure we get our money's worth, or to let her wear the consignment dresses some, since we did pay a few bucks for them, too. (Like $4 and $3.50, I think.)

While we were at Kohl's, we had to stop and look at the big display of nutcrackers, and Peeper especially liked these two guys.

Then home and pretty much straight to bed. It was a big day.


After I finished making the wreath yesterday, I left a ziplock full of the rest of the ornaments sitting on my desk. Today, Peeper picked it up and said, "Oh! What colorful* balls you have here, Mama!"

I said, "Yes, they are very colorful," but evidently that wasn't good enough, because she looked at me and said, "Say thank you."

Oh. Thank you.

*Yes, "colorful." This is a word that she uses - appropriately - all the time. I'm not sure where she got it, but I love it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thirty-Seven Months

Dear Peeper:

You are thirty-seven months old today. Yeah, yeah, I know. I don't actually say that, I usually just say that you "just turned three," although I suppose the time limit on that one is getting close.

This has been a huge month for you, developmentally.

A month ago, you were wearing panties at home when we remembered to put them on you, and you slept nice and cozy in the middle of our family bed.

Today, it's been a month since you've worn a diaper in the daytime, you've not had one on - even at night - in three weeks, and it's been a couple of days more than that since you've slept in the big bed (except for one nap with me this week, which was quite an accident).

I am so proud of you, and so glad that both of these things happened on your time-table, but I am also a little sad about them, because - Hello! Who stole my baby!?!

Actually, I don't have too much ambivalence about the potty thing, except that it was easier to stick a diaper on you and go than to stop at every potty we pass and make you "try," and now that you seem to be committed to the big girl bed, a couple of times when you seemed to be wavering (both were when you weren't falling asleep in there and you got back up) I found myself really wanting you to get okay with staying in your bed, because I was a little worried that if you went back into our bed for a night, you'd be there to stay.

Of course, you usually aren't all alone in there all night long, nor are you usually holding it all night. Generally, you wake up once or twice, and I take you to the potty before lying down and nursing you back to sleep. Sometimes I fall asleep with you and stay until morning. That's not so bad, now that we have a real twin bed for you (well, a mattress and box springs) instead of that damn youth bed.

Morning stull comes kind of early, though. No matter what time you go to bed, it seems that you're up and ready to go at eight. When you were in our bed, I could usually get you to nurse and sleep a little longer, and that works for a little while if I'm waking up in bed with you, but if I'm running in from our bedroom, you're too awake by the time I get there.

A couple of nights, you have actually slept all the way through with no wake-ups and no pees. That was very nice.

In other news, your latest obsession is with the Nutcracker, and we are enjoying watching you fall in love with something new. We listen to the music in the car all the time, and you can now identify at least three or four of the songs by name, and can sing a couple of them.

You have a Nutcracker and a Mouse King, and a couple of different things that you've called the Sugar Plum Fairy - a beanie baby bear, dressed like a pumpkin, wearing your tutu wrapped around it several times, and a panda bath puffy (when you saw it you said, "Oh! She is a ballerina!"), as well as two different Nutcracker books.

I've also ordered a DVD, but I don't know when you'll actually get it, because I made a deal with you last night that when you finally fill up the Elmo column on your Sesame Street potty chart - which is for "Uh oh, gotta go!" you can have it.

That's seven times that you have to tell us that you need to go potty.
I've given you the first two of the seven stickers for progress toward what we're really looking for - 1- I asked and you said yes, 2- you were trying to get the bathroom door open, and right after that you pooped in your panties - but at some point, I have to hold out for an actual "Mama! Pee-pee!" before the pee-pee starts flowing.

I really hope that the incentive helps, because if you're just not developmentally ready to do that, then I'm going to feel like a real jerk for holding out on the DVD.

You are already quite into Christmas, but you seem to be more concerned with the candy that Santa's going to bring than the other gifts. (That's my girl.)

Today, for the first time, you told "Santa" (I was wearing your Santa hat) that you want "some truck toys and some car toys." He may have to put in a special order to the elves on that one.

Several times, though, you have put on the Santa hat and told me, "I am Santa Claus. What I could bring you for Christmas?"

You're full of the funny these days.

The other day you told Mommy, "I wanna go outside with clothes on Mommy, with you," (turned to me) "and with not you."

You've been all about Mommy lately. If she's home, you don't want much to do with me, until it's time for goody. I just love watching the two of you play, and I don't mind the break, so my feelings aren't too hurt.
She's had several days off work in the past week, so you've had lots of time to play together. She's been giving you most of your baths, and I have gotten quite a kick out of listening in on your conversations.
A few days ago, you declared that your bubbles were "dipping sauce" (ranch dressing, of course), and you lay back in the water, with just your little face showing and say "Oh no! I fell in the dipping sauce!"
I have no idea where you got that, because we usually just talk about "dips" not "dipping sauce."
A lot of times you say something that one of us can't figure out, and then the other explains the Sesame Street sketch that it came from, but you come up with some pretty good ones on your own, too.
Several of which I will remember as soon as I hit the "publish" button on this post, of course.
Which I need to do, and then go get in bed, because either you are going to wake me up before long, or you're going to sleep through the night and I'll be kicking myself for wasting it by staying up late.
So, happy monthiversary, kiddo. Enjoy your big girl bed, and I'll see you in the morning.
I love you,

Panda Pics - 37 Months

Yep, we're still at it.

Peeper Claus

We went for a walk this morning which, as usual, took us to McDonald's, where Peeper got an ice cream cone and I got a peppermint mocha.

She didn't want to put her hair in a ponytail for the walk, so I suggested that she wear a hat, to keep it out of her face. I let her choose which one to wear.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Now This Is Getting Out of Hand

Shrike was digging around in the recesses of the closet, and left some hangers out when she was finished. One was a wire hanger, so of course, I had to steal it and make another wreath.

As I was trying to get started with it, Peeper was suddenly being very, shall we say, attention seeking, so I put it down and asked her if she would like to make a wreath of her own.

She would.

As luck would have it, I had just come across some Christmas tree foamies that I bought on clearance last January, and while we were in the basement finding some things for my wreath, Peeper had picked up a fake poinsettia (from a pen that "she" decorated at art class last year, and then demolished) and asked if she could take it up stairs.

So, I took those things, a paper plate, some green markers and a piece of ribbon from her birthday balloons, and . . .

Voila! Wreath!

I finished mine up after she went to bed.

It is made completely of "found objects." The wire hanger and trimmings from the Christmas tree make up the basic wreath, of course. Then I wrapped it with a braided rope that I used to use for displaying Christmas cards (before we put up all the collages on the living room wall), and added some tiny glass balls that I've used for miscellaneous decorating in the past (especially center pieces for Christmas parties) and some little angels that, well, I really have no idea where they came from. I found them while I was digging around looking for the balls.

I'm afraid I have to stop now, unless I'm going to hang wreaths all the way down the hallway.

Oh, Mama!

(My words, not hers.)

Peeper and I are both thoroughly enjoying the holidays at Starbucks. First it was the skinny peppermint mocha decaf lattes, and this week they introduced (wait for it . . . ) peppermint brownie cake pops.

Dear Santa: I'm thinking I may need new pants for Christmas.

Friday, November 25, 2011


A little before noon, we were all snuggling in the big bed, which hasn't happened in quite a while, and Peeper wanted to nurse. It soon became obvious that she was falling asleep, but I figured that if she could fall asleep that early, she probably needed to, because there was no way I'd be able to keep her up til bedtime, and I'd rather a little noonish nap than one at four or five.

Yeah. We woke up around two o'clock, after Shrike had left for work.

I somehow managed to take another nap on the couch, while Peeper watched Christmas videos and climbed onto me to nurse, then off again to play.

Needless to say, her bedtime was late and long, but she finally went down about the time Shrike was pulling into the driveway.

And then I realized that I'd not taken a photo today.

I risked waking her up for this. I hope you appreciate it.

Oh, and did you notice the nightstand beside her bed? It's actually just a little shelving unit that was in the basement, but it works pretty well. There's room for a lamp and an alarm clock on top (both for me, really) and the "new Nutcracker book from AuntieKay" fits perfectly on the shelf below.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


This was my president's column for the November MOMS Club newsletter. I thought I'd share it here, since I don't really have it in me to, essentially, write the same thing over again in different words.

November is traditionally a month for thankfulness, a time to take a moment to be grateful for all that we have, and to count our blessings.

Recently, my family has encountered a series of minor setback and major inconveniences, but we've tried to see the bigger picture, and keep the more important things in mind.

All three of us spent about six weeks recently fighting a nasty respiratory infection, but through it, we knew that we all would recover before long.

We have a roof leak and interior water damage, but our insurance policy is covering all the repairs, and even if our house is falling apart, at least we have one.

Shrike's work schedule isn't always the greatest, but she has a job that pays (most of) the bills, which is certainly not to be taken for granted these days.

And, as you all know, life with a toddler can be trying and frustrating at times, but Peeper is an amazing, happy and healthy kid - something that has not always been a given for her.

I recently heard a song that says it much better than I can:

Noisy kids are happy kids,
And slamming doors just means we live,
In a warm and happy home,
Your long hours and those dishes in the sink,
Means a job and enough to eat.

So I'm gonna thank You, Lord,
For noisy children and slamming doors,
A husband workin' all the time,
Draggin' in dead tired and night
A never-ending messy kitchen.

For my busy little bees,
Begging Mama, Mama, can we please?
Always wanting me to call their name
Loads of laundry pilin' up
Crayons crushed into the rug
And those sticky little kisses,
And dirty dishes.

"Dirty Dishes"
recorded by Scotty McCreery
songwriters Tony Martin, Neil Thrasher and Michael Dulaney

May you all find plenty to be thankful for this season.

Wreather Madness

I finished up my wrapped-yarn wreath a few days ago, which was just a matter of gluing on the snowflakes. I think I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, but I might decide to add a little more oomph. Not sure what, though.

Today, I got really crazy and made a real, honest-to-Santa-Claus, hand-assembled pine bough wreath, complete with ornaments!

I started with a wire hanger, bent it into a circle and then twisted the hanger part down and around, using pliars. (I probably picked up that tip from somewhere on Pinterest, too.)

I then used tie wraps to attach pieces of the branches that were trimmed from our Christmas tree, to allow it to fit into the tree stand.

When the whole hanger was covered, I snipped off the ends of the tie wraps, and various pokey-outy pieces until it looked more or less roundish.

Then I plucked some of the woodsy / campy ornaments off of the tree and wired them onto the wreath with ornament hooks.

I topped it off with a bow made from a ribbon that we saved from one of Peeper's Amazon-gift-wrapped birthday presents, and as she would say, Ta da!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Shrike is working today, as are her sister and her partner, I think, so we're having the big family dinner on Sunday, but the three of us went out to Ruby Tuesday before she left for work.

Peeper dressed for the occassion. Sort of.

Shrike and I shared a crab cake dinner, with baked macaroni and cheese on the side (cakes for her, mac and cheese for me) and several of their amaaaazing garlicky cheesey biscuits, and Peeper ordered the salad bar. Seriously.

I took her with me, and every thing I offered, as we went down the bar, she said she'd take. There were several things that she didn't actually eat, of course, but she did some serious damage to the shredded cheese, matchstick carrots, black olives, croutons, sesame seeds and ranch dip.

And, when we got home, she did a little yard work.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pizza Bake

I'm sure I'm not the first person to make this dish, or something very similar, but I "invented" it on our way home from getting the Christmas tree, I didn't specifically read about it anywhere.

I can't tell you the amounts of anything, but basically I just layered:

Canned crescent roll dough (4 triangles, with a bit of stretching and smushing, fit a 9x9 pan perfectly)

Pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Pepperoni (chopped, so you get some in every bite)
Pizza sauce
Parmesan cheese

The ingredients

Pepperoni, chopped


and baked it for about 20 - 25 minutes at 325 (which is probably more like 350 in your oven).


It probably could have cooked a bit longer, because the dough was still doughy in spots, but we actually kind of like it that way, so it was fine with us.

If I were cooking it for other people, though, I'd probably cover it with foil for about 25 minutes, then uncover and bake until the cheese on top is all melty and brown and yummy.

Like this:

Excuses, Excuses

Shrike is rather understandably gun shy after a traumatic (for her) incident during Peeper's bath yesterday, so this evening, when she saw some extra bubbles in the tub, she suggested that Peeper hop out and try sitting on the potty for a while.

Peeper was not down with that plan, and offered the following excuses:

1 - I not gonna poop, I just tootin'.
2 - I already tooted.
3 - I pooped in the potty last week.

And my personal favorite:
4 - I haven't pooped in years.

We Are Those People

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Okay, so maybe the room still needs a little work before it's Santa-ready.

Here's the part you're not going to believe: This was Shrike's idea. Well, more or less.

More, in the sense that she's been asking about Christmas decorations since Halloween, and I've been putting her off until the fresh trees were available, because I knew I had to do it all at once, or it wouldn't get done.

If we had an artificial tree, we'd have had everything up on November 1.

Less, in that we were tentatively planning to buy the tree on Sunday, but since we're doing Thanksgiving dinner that day (Shrike works tomorrow, and her sister and her partner probably do, too.) that wasn't going to work.

I was the one who suggested that we do it today, right after picking up the truck from being inspected. On the way there, we found our rationalization for having it up so early - a $10 off a $50 purchase "project starter" card from Lowe's, expiring today!

(This was also the rationalization for purchasing a new string of icicle lights, rather than trying to find and replace the burnt-out bulbs in last year's string.)

For at least the second year in a row, we picked the first tree that we took a good look at.

"Can I buy this one, too?"

Creepy-life-size-singing-Santa was a big hit.

As was this musical snow globe.

When we got home, I started on dinner, then brought up decorations (and took down crib parts) while it baked (and Shrike watched videos with Peeper, to keep her away from the open basement door), and then we put the tree and decorations up after we ate.

Shrike took Peeper downstairs to play while I did the garland and tree lights, because her "help" wasn't so much helpful as a big pain in my ass. When they came back up, I had the garland strung, and the tree about half lit.

Peeper walked right up to the tree and said, "Oooooh! Ooooooh! Chriiiiiistmaaaas liiiiights! Oooooh, preeeety Chriiiiiistmaaaas liiiiights!"

Then I realized that she wasn't looking at the tree, but rather the ball of lit lights in my hand that were about to go on the tree.

It really was quite pretty, actually.

While I finished hanging the lights, Shrike and Peeper took a tour of our relationship, in the ornament box. That was fun, listening to her explain where all the ornaments came from, or talking about the pictures of the critters.

Well, fun and a little sad, when we came to all the ones of MamaCat and GirlCat.

And a little funny, because well, because Peeper is Peeper.

She picked up one of GirlCat, and was talking to it, saying "I wuv you, GirlCat," so I said, "We miss you, GirlCat."

Well, she glommed on to that, and when she picked up the next ornament - of BoyCat - she said, "Oh, BoyCat. I miss you, BoyCat."

I said, "You don't have to miss him. He's right here."

"Oh, I miss you BoyCat ormament."

After everything was decorated, we had our traditional Christmas Tree Night snug on the couch - Peeper got ready for bed, and then had goody on the couch, while we looked at the tree and listened to The Nutcracker CD. That's always been our music of choice for this event, but this is the first time we've had Peeper singing along to it!

When it became painfully obvious that she was not going to fall asleep there, I asked her if she wanted to move to her bed, and she jumped right on that plan. When we got there, we read both of her Nutcracker books (as is our routine these days) and she was out.

Nutcracker Sweet

In 2007 - the Christmas before Peeper was born - the Anonyparents gave me a Mouse King Nutcracker, which I really liked, but he's not seen the light of day since then, because first we just didn't have it in us to do more than putting lights on the tree, and then we had a toddler.

We still aren't putting out all the knick-knacks this year, but given Peeper's recent obsession with all things Nutcracker, I thought it would be fun to pull him out. I have explained that he's a decoration and not really a toy, and she has to play with him very carefully, but I'm not sure how that's going to work out, in the long term. He's survived so far, though, and she sure is enjoying him.

I got him out (and the other decorations - more on that in a bit) while dinner was in the oven (more on that, too), and while Shrike and I ate, she wandered off to play.

At one point, she went into the sunroom and came out with her Nutcracker, and at another point, she asked me to find the "Sugar Plum Fairy" (a bear, dressed like a jack o'lantern, wearing her tutu).

Unbeknowst to us, she'd also retrieved both Nutcracker books from her bedroom, and had quite the show going on in the living room.

While I was cleaning up from dinner, Shrike told me, "Come here, come here! I just spied on her, and she's giving the Mouse King goody!"

I missed that, but I did get a bit of video of her playing with them:

And, of course, a few stills: