Friday, August 31, 2012


This is the 21st Century. We have put men on the moon and robots on Mars.

Why can we not make a bathroom floor that can survive getting wet? That won't rot from repeated / continual moisture and won't allow water to pour through the ceiling below.

It's a bathroom. Bath. Room.

A room whose entire reason for existence is to house the water-based activities of the home. Is it really such an unforeseeable situation that some (or occasionally, a great deal) of that water might end up on the floor?

Especially if you have an almost-four year old in the house?

I suppose it was my fault, because I've been lulled into complacency by Peeper's habit of always letting me know when the water is "up to the face" in the tub (you know what I mean) and time for me to turn it off. And because I somehow let time get away from me, and didn't think to check on the depth of the water. (I'm right across the hall and I can hear her narrating her play, so I know she's fine. If she's quite for more than a few seconds I call to her.)

It's a teeny bit her fault, because she didn't tell me when it was up to the face, OR when it was pouring over the side, or when it was a fucking inch deep in the floor. Then she came in and said, "Mama, look!"

And as I threw every towel we own on the floor, she was stomping around in it, saying "No! I like splashing in puddles!"

And then had the nerve to say, "I need a towel to dry off!"

Well, honey, look around. There are no more towels!

(I found a towel in a basket that had just come out of the dryer. See, if those clothes had been put away, I would've thrown it in the floor with the rest of them. Good job, with the never putting away the clean clothes strategy!)

But mostly my fault because I am 44 years old, and she is not-yet-four. Guess who was supposed to be the responsible one in this situation.

Dammit, I hate when that happens.

Looking on the bright side, at least it wasn't poop water this time. And maybe if flushed (so to speak) any residual poop from last time out of the basement ceiling as it flowed through. Yeah, that's a comforting thought.

All of which is to say that I got a little distracted this evening, so this is the only photo I got.

(I do realize that this is no excuse for not getting photos earlier in the day, but just go with it.)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I Love You, Spatula!

Yes, she did kiss and hug them goodbye. And notice that she also has the fruit-shaped cutting boards in her lap. We have to visit them every time we're there.

Backyard Visitor

Staycation August 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sick Flamingo

Peeper's latest thing is that someone is sick, and she has to take them veggies to make them feel better.

(I think this comes from Little Red Riding Hood, and a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode loosely based on that story. I think.)

Today, she I was looking for her basket of veggies, and she was saying, "I have to take some veggies to my friend Galoot, he doesn't feel well."

When I wasn't finding them quickly enough, she said, "I guess I'll have to call my friend Galoot and tell him I don't have any veggies."

Seriously, kid? With the guilt-tripping already?

Later, it was Flamingo who wasn't feeling well.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sunflowers (Again)

I am 5'4". There's no weird perspective thing going on here, they really are about twice as high as me.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Forty-Six Months

Dear Peeper:
You are forty-six months old today. By the end of the week, we'll be able to say that you "will be four next month," which is just insane. (Granted it will still be almost two months away, but. . . .)

Actually, you've started saying (both prompted and unprompted) that you "will be four in October," and when prompted, you can even say the date!

Tonight we were at the grocery store and ran into Papa in the produce section. We were talking about your birthday, and I asked you when it is, and you laughed and said, "The eighteenth!" and then some other date, also with an ordinal number (_th). I didn't realized that you knew "eighteenth" and such!

You're still planning to start Mother's Day Out in a couple of weeks, and I try to talk about it as often as possible. Today was the first day for the local public schools (and a variety of other schools in my Facebook feed), so I showed you lots of "First Day" photos and talked about how "In two week, you get to go to school, too!"

I sure hope it works.

After the incidents at the MOMS Club meeting a couple of weeks ago, we've been working on "using your words, not your body, to tell people how you feel." This morning we were playing with some friends at McDonald's, and you tried to hug another girl who is about your age. She wasn't into it, and you weren't stopped when I told you to, so I had to go over and physically get you off of her.

When I asked you to use your words and tell her what it was that you were trying to say with the hug, you said, "I love you."

If you would just say that to your friends instead of putting them in a headlock, it would be so sweet.

This month's greatest hits:

Mommy: And maybe monkeys will fly out of my booty.
Peeper: Can we count the monkeys?
Mama: What?
Peeper: From her booty.

Peeper: Mama, do you know how to say "hello" in Spanish?
 Mama: Hola!
 Peeper: Do you know how to say "hola" in English?

You have decided that you want to be an astronaut for Halloween. You also want Mommy to be an astronaut. I have been assigned the role of "skeleton."

"I have a really old version of the Mickey Club. Go like this: M-I-U-S-E! K-Y! Mickey Mouse! Hi! Hi! Mickey Mouse! Hi! Hi!"

Mama: Okay, Peeper, I need you to go with me to the board meeting at two o'clock. Peeper: I have *my* board meeting at three o'clock.

Mama: Ellie, stop eating dog food!
Peeper : I ran out of people food, so I started eating dog food.
 Mama: You can ask for more!

Things I never thought I'd hear myself saying:

"Peeper! There will be no vegetables for you this week if you don't get in the car! Right! Now!"

(I wasn't actually threatening to withhold your veggies. The farmer's market was closing in about 20 minutes, and I was telling your that we would miss it if she kept messing around.)

But it worked.

During bedtime stories one night, we were listening to your "Grandma books." At the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas, the kids all sing: "Hark the herald angels sing, Glory to the the newborn King. . . ." at which point, you belted out, "He's gone where the goblins go, below, below, below!"

The other day, you were a baby puppy, pretending to be a flamingo, dressed up as a zebra.

Yesterday evening, we drove through Sonic for drinks.
 Mama: I got you an apple juice.
Peeper: What did you get?
 Mama: I got a coffee drink.
Peeper: Will you share your coffee with me?
Mama: Well, I can't really get it to you in the back seat.
Peeper: What are friends for?
Mama: Okay, I'll park over there and give you some.

Happy starting-to-get-kind-of-close-to-your-birthday, Girlie!

I love you!

Love, Mama


Peeper had a rather traumatic experience this morning.

We were at the McDonald's playground with some friends, and I was drinking an ice caramel mocha (of course I was). She kept coming over and stealing sips of it, until she took one sip and immediately spit it out on the ground.

I was about to fuss at her for that, when I saw a fly in the spit-out coffee. Just as I was thinking "Ew!" she started crying.

And then I noticed that the "fly" had stripes on his booty.

And had stung her "tooth."

At least that's what she kept telling me. I assume it was actually her gum.

I scooped her up and went to the counter and told them "I need ice water fast!" I gave  her   some ice to put on it, and told them what had happened.

As I was talking to the girl behind the counter, I could just see "risk management" going through her head, as she ran over and made  her  a cup of shaved ice, which worked a lot better.

Then I figured it would help if she had something yummy and cold to sip on, so I ordered  her  a shake. Did you know that they no longer serve shakes at McDonald's? Since when?

So, I got  her a strawberry-banana smoothie instead, and they didn't even charge me for it.

By the time we got outside and talked to our friends for a while, she was talking and laughing and re-telling the story, and reporting that, no,  her mouth did not "feel funny," and it was not visibly swollen at all from the outside, so I declared that she would be fine, and she is.

Shrike gave her some Tylenol when we got home, and she seemed perfectly normal after that.

After McDonald's we went to get our hair cut. On the way, I asked if she was going to tell Mrs. D. what happened, and she said, "No, she might be scared."

We did tell her, though, after telling her not to be scared.

Later, we were at the grocery store and when I stopped to get myself a coffee, she told me, "I gonna tell them man what happened," and then did.

How bad is it, that she's not-quite-four and has already had three bee stings?

Panda Pics: 46 Months

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Shrike had to work this evening, but we managed to get in a couple of hours at an "Augustoberfest" celebration not too far from her work.

Peeper enjoyed the oompa-pa band and the kids' tent.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mini Minnie

When Shrike got up this morning, I went back to bed for a while. When I got back up, Peeper was wearing this, and declaring herself to be Minnie Mouse.

"Do you like my beautiful bracelet? Mickey gave it to me when we met.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Dance Party

The MOMS Club had a back-to-school dance party for the kids today, and Peeper had herself a ball.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of her kinda sorta following along with the Wii dancing game, but I did catch a few of her playing with the balloons that she was hoarding the whole time.

She told me that these were her fruits and veggies: a banana, a pear and an apple. Of course.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Everything Else

Yes, yes, the staycation photos are coming, but first I thought I'd take a minute to sit down and write about all the stuff that I've not taken the time, or made the effort, or wanted to think about enough to write about over the past, oh, month or so.

Basically, we've been stressing here over a variety of issues, starting with the fact that we're about broke. Not can't-buy-food, gonna-lose-the-house broke, but shopping-at-Aldi-and-clipping-coupons, about-to-use-the-second-mortgage-to-pay-the-first broke. Which is way too broke for my taste.

I know we've been damn lucky to have made it this long without a real income from me, and we couldn't have done it without significant help from my parents, and from some lucky timing on a few different things that have come through just when we needed them.

In fact, every time we've been thisss far from having to start using that home equity line of credit to pay for basics like mortgage and medical and oh shit, how much did we spend on groceries this month? we've had something work out just right to save us for a bit, to buy us a little more time.

But this time, we're looking at about three weeks to an empty savings account, and not a lot promising on the horizon.

I am doing some web design work, and at a great hourly rate, for which I am very grateful, and without which we wouldn't have made it this long, but it's just not enough hours to cover what we need.

And, I have the online store, and it brings in some money, but again, not nearly enough.

So, wrapped up in the same stress about what I need to do to bring in more money, is the question about school for Peeper. When we first started really stressing about the money, I was also worrying about whether we were doing the right thing by not sending her to preschool this year, but now that she says she wants to go, I'm worried about how we're going to pay for it, and whether it's an extravagance, given our current situation.

And we're not at all certain exactly what she might be doing in a couple of years, for kindergarten or beyond. We have lots of options on the table, including the neighborhood public school, the local Montessori, and the local school district's co-enrollment virtual academy. Of course, every option has many pros and cons, and many things that we feel like we should be doing now! right now! to get her (and us) prepared.

The school question is very wrapped up in the financial question, because for every option, we have to consider some combination of factors like the possibility of tuition (with or without financial aid), the feasibility of me continuing to not work full time, the limitations on our family time because of Shrike's work schedule, and so on, and of course the answers to each of those questions are in directly conflict with each other!

To some extent, I feel a bit less pressure about that since she's expressed an interest in going back to Mother's Day Out in the fall (in three weeks, actually!), in that at least I'm not worrying that she should be going, and we will begin to get a feel for how she does in a sort of "traditional" (albeit play-based) classroom., and whether or not that looks like a good fit for her, and she will begin to get used to being away from us for longer periods (that's the part we're worried about, of course, given how it went last time around).

But, as I said, it just adds to the financial pressure, because there's another hundred-plus bucks a month (and more next year, if we go to three days, as we probably would) that we don't have.

Oh, and she says that she does want to take dance class again, so that's another thirty-something a month, plus how many pairs of shoes for her feet that seem to be a new size every week these days.

Yeah, I don't think I can clip that many coupons.

So, the best (least unacceptable) "solution" that we have been able to come up with is for me to start substitute teaching a few days a week.

Well, actually, our first choice was for me to do more web design work, so I hit up a couple of different companies, hoping to pick up at least some of their overflow or maybe even a part-time position, and found out that they had both just hired new developers. Day late and a dollar short, as usual.

So, back to the subbing thing. I started filling out the online application, and before I'd even gathered and submitted all of the materials, they called me to set an appointment for filling out paperwork, which I did today.

School starts on Monday, but I still have a few more hoops to jump through before I can actually start teaching, including the drug screen, which I can do just about any time, and a physical including a TB test, which I may not be able to get for a couple of weeks, unless I can grab one of those last-minute appointments that the doctor's office fills at 7 am.

This is far from an ideal solution - hell, it's far from a solution - because even working three days a week, I won't make enough to fully cover what we need (and I really don't want to work more - if I were going to work full time, I'd do something that paid more), we haven't quite figured out how I'm going to manage even that, logistically, because Shrike needs to leave for work around 2:15 pm, and the secondary schools dismiss at 2:50. Even if I were at the one closest to our house, it would be hard to get home before 3 pm.

Shrike's parents say that they can watch her for that hour or so of overlap, but they are pretty busy and it's hard to line things up with them ahead of time, let alone getting a call at 7 am, as is pretty typical when you're subbing.

I'm sure we have friends who would offer to help, and if it were a one-time thing, I'd take them up on it, but it's going to be multiple times a week (assuming I get as much work as we need me to) and I wouldn't feel right about that unless I were paying them and, oh hey, there's even less money that I'm bringing home.

I'm also just not thrilled about the prospect, in general, because I hate the idea of being away from Peeper three days a week, even if two of them are the days that she's in school. Of course, it makes sense to try to work those days, rather than when she's home, but I feel like I'm going to miss out on a lot if I'm not there for the drop-offs and pick-ups on most days.

And then, there's that whole thing about how I taught for nine years and quit because I kind of hated it. I love teaching people things (which I was reminded of when I was at the Learning Center), but I really did not enjoy pretty much everything else about being a public school teacher.

Some of that will be better as a sub (if one kid is a little shit, you don't have to see him day in and day out, and no preparation or grading to do) but some will be worse (all the kids are little shits for a sub, and walking into a classroom completely unprepared every day).

Right now, we don't really see any other solution, though, so I guess that's what we're going to do for the time being. I have to keep reminding myself that subbing is not like a full time position, and I'm not committed for the entire school year. If something else works out, or if we just can't make it work for our family, I could quit at any time.

So, I'll start subbing (although I still don't know how we're going to juggle that hour in the afternoon), and Peeper will go to Mother's Day Out (and hopefully handle it better than she did in the spring), and in December, we'll apply for financial aid with the Montessori school, just to see if that is an option, and I guess we'll just have to use some of the line of credit to cover our expenses, as needed, and hope that we don't get in too deep.

If I do go back to work full time in a couple of years, our first order of business will be to put any leftovers from my paycheck into paying that back down, and then worry about building back up some savings.

So that was the big stress from a few weeks ago, which has certainly not been eliminated, but is a little more
resolved-ish now that the subbing and MDO issues are sort of decided, but over the past, well, I don't know, forever? it seems that between those sorts of things, and my web design work and my MOMS Club responsibilities, and Peeper and trying to keep the house from getting too out of hand, and trying to put food on the table a few times a day with a variety of fruits and veggies, and shopping for said food, and hell, I don't know, breathing, it just seems like everything, every. damn. thing. is just so fucking much.

I have too much to do to even see where to start, and even when it's clear what needs to be done, it's just so overwhelming.

A couple of weeks ago, I talked to Dr. T about it and asked her, "Is something wrong, or is this just me? Can I just not handle all this, am I just that lazy, or am I depressed? I don't feel sad all the time, and I'm not unable to function, I'm just completely fucking unmotivated, and unproductive and overwhelmed. Should I consider an anti-depressant? How bad does it have to be for medication to help?"

Her answer was, "I think you're there."

So, as soon as we got home, I called my doctor's office and, would you believe, she was able to see me that afternoon. I had to take Peeper with me, so we didn't get into too much discussion, but she did agree that I would probably benefit from the medication, and by evening, I had a dose of Wellbutrin in me.

The next day, I set only one goal: To get the sink emptied. Several hours and four dishwasher loads later, it was finally done, and I have been able to pretty much stay on top of that, which is great.

It's only been a couple of weeks, so I don't know that I'm really feeling the effects of the medication yet, but it has helped somewhat do just know that I am officially "not just lazy" and that "help is on the way."

During our staycation, I felt better than I have in ages, I think because I was completely ignoring all those responsibilities and commitments, not even answering the phone or checking emails, so all I had to think about was Shrike and Peeper and what fun thing we were going to do next. It was wonderful, and as much as I loves mah Interwebs, it was actually kind of hard to turn that computer back on, knowing that all those things would be waiting for me.

Over the past couple of days, I've been so-so. The house is a big mess (but not the sink, so that's something, right?) and I just finally got a big MOMS Club thing taken care of that I probably should have done a few days ago, but I've also been trying to limit our (Peeper's and my) screen time (although I've cheated a bit with my phone today), and not had "computer time" until right before dinner.

Amazingly, she's taken it pretty well, and both nights she chose a half-hour Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and actually got up and walked away when the episode ended, rather than that "I told you one more!" (after already watching way too many) that I was getting last week.

So that's meant a bit of a reprieve from the pressure of feeling like a have to respond to and deal with everything immediately, and also it's meant that I'm actually spending more time interacting with Peeper (even if it's just hanging out reading or something while she plays independently), rather than both staring at our respective computers.

This morning, in fact, Shrike went to check her email to make sure that it was okay for her to go into work a bit late, because my paperwork appointment was at 2 o'clock, and when Peeper saw her, she said, "But Mommy, all the computers are off!"

I don't know how long that will last, or what rules we'll settle into, but for now, it's been a bit frustrating at times, but probably a good thing, overall.

But still mostly overwhelmed by pretty much all of the above.

I wish I thought the medication were going to put money in the bank, clean my house, or solve all our other dilemmas, but maybe it will at least give me a little better grip on handling all those things.

I sure hope so.


After the non-stop photo-fest that's been going on the past few days, this is the best I could do today. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Apple Picking

We sort of rejoined the real world today, and headed right back over to where we spent most of our weekend (driving past the Elephant Museum, the historic farm market and the winery on our way) and met up with our MOMS Club buddies for some apple picking.

First, we went in "the bee room" where they have several educational displays set up, and the tour guide told us about the bees that they use to pollinate the trees.

Next we took a wagon ride through the orchard, and learned all about the things they grow and how they do it.

Then we got to pick our apples. With the tour, you get five apples per paying customer, so we let Peeper pick all fifteen of ours. She was all over it, and even did the "grab, twist, pull" that the tour guide had taught us.

After playing for a while in the kids' area . . .

. . . we all went out to lunch.

(Photo courtesy of our friend A, who was leading the pack. We are bringing up the rear in the Tweety mobile.)

We're Baaaack!

We are just now back on the grid, after a wonderful, screen-free, responsibility-free, fun-filled family weekend.

I will be writing all about it and sharing lots of photos in several back-dated posts soon, but first I have a bit of catching up to do with those damn responsibilities that we've been ignoring for the past few days.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Staycation Day Three

Of course, today's priority was to get Peeper to the children's museum that she didn't get to go to yesterday.

Mission accomplished.

First she played for quite a while in their really cool backyard. We went back out there for a while, later.

This photo does not do justice to how hidden and tucked away this little table is. It's very cool.

C'mon in, Mama! Come do some checkering!

Another little nook, not quite so tucked away.

With teeny, tiny fruits and veggies!

She loves the "junk band" and musical instruments on the fence.

Gone fishin.

When we finally got inside, she went right to the coat rack and put on a froggy raincoat.

Painting in the art room. She did two paintings and one glitter picture.

In the construction room.

The 1860s room!

Fruits and veggies!

Here, hold my baby.

We stayed until they closed, and then went to Friendly's for dinner. Of course there was "Frank" (monster) ice cream.

Guess where we stopped on the way home? (Why, yes, we did buy more fudge. Why do you ask?)

In the garden, there's a little path through the woods that has statues of Snow White and all seven dwarves.

Or seven wolves, and Peeper insists the story goes. I do not know why.

Heading for home. (That's my bright yellow car in the background. Everyone in town knows it.)

When we got home, we let Peeper skip her bath again, and got her into bed. She was flipping and flopping and then got up to pee. We ran into Shrike and she wanted her to show her the pictures in her room, so I lay down in her bed to wait for her to be ready for goody.

I heard Shrike reading her a book, and the next thing I new, I was waking up as Shrike was sneaking out of the room. It seems they were camping in the floor.

Of course, I had to ruin it all, because I didn't want to stay up long enough to take her to pee in two hours, so I was afraid she'd pee on the floor, so I scooped her up to put her in bed, and woke her up, and had to lie back down and nurse her back to sleep after all.

As I said on Friday, this is the first time that we have taken a family "vacation" with just the three of us, but Shrike and I have been on many vacations in our fourteen years together. Some have been pretty crappy, I'll admit, but there have been some really good ones, too, but I think this was one of the best. It was certainly the most bang we've ever gotten for our bucks - I think we spent, all total including food and the wine, about $150 for the whole three days.

I think the key was shutting down our communication with the "outside world" and really putting ourselves into a "What the hell, we're on vacation!" (something we've actually said several times this weekend) mindset.

I'm so glad that we decided to do this, and we will definitely do it again. There are a ton of things to do and see around us that we never get to; I'm sure we can find enough adventures to keep us busy for quite a while!