Friday, November 30, 2012

Busy Day

Peeper and I left for school a little after nine this morning, and it was pushing nine this evening before we got back home!

While she was in school, I drove out to. . . Oh wait, have I mentioned this? No, I haven't!

Okay, sidebar:

A few weeks ago, DoulaK texted and told me that the college (a local branch of a big, well-known state school) where she's taking courses to work toward becoming a CNM is looking for a tutor for their anatomy and physiology courses, and would I be interested?
Heck, yeah!
So, yada yada, I interviewed right before Thanksgiving, and on Tuesday, they offered me the job! I'll be a professional tutor (they also have peer tutors, who are students) and I'll work with students taking both Anatomy and Physiology (two different classes, which is unusual). I'm only dealing with the lecture portions of the classes, not lab. (No re-memorization of cat muscles! Whew!)
They've budgeted for 10 - 15 hours a week, and it will involved leading two weekly large-group tutoring sessions for each course, plus small-group and / or one-on-one sessions. I will also be working with the professors to stay up on what they're covering, communicate back and forth about how various students are doing, and so on. I think that I don't have to actually attend the classes every week, but I should probably attend some. I need to find out more about exactly what's expected there. 
Anyway, so I drove out there (about thirty minutes from home, that part's not super-great) to do my HR paperwork, then back to town for a quick trip to Michael's and a much less quick trip to Target.

Then I picked up Peeper, we stopped at the bank to deposit a couple of checks (Meanwhile, another was being delivered to my mailbox. Of course.) and then went to "The Farm in the City" for their Christmas Open House, with involved some sales and a lot of free samples of yummy things. All I bought was some apples, but Peeper and I both enjoyed the samples, and she particularly enjoyed feeding the goats and bunnies, although we were a little bummed that the donkeys, sheep, miniature horses and alpacas are on their "winter diet" and not allowed to have special treats.

From there, we grabbed a coffee at Starbucks, then Mexican food for dinner, followed by ice cream. (The Mexican restaurant is across the parking lot from Baskin Robbins / Dunkin Donuts. There's always ice cream afterward.)

Then to the library for story time, and then to the children's art place, where they were having open art and play in conjunction with some downtown festivities.

And finally, home, where we each collapsed in front of a computer and I finally got up the umph to get her to bed around eleven!

Crafty Little Fella

Looks like Christopher has left his perch in the tree.

And has been rummaging in the stash of construction paper.


What's he up to here?

I don't guess elves spell very well.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Double Dance

Peepers dance class was cancelled a few weeks ago, the day that Hurricane ("Superstorm" WTF?) Sandy was blowing through, and tonight was the scheduled make up.

Yay, twice as much fretting and freaking out about "I'm gonna miss you!" but on the other hand, twice as much fun when she actually gets in there, and after thirty seconds, gets over missing me.

Here she is, all dressed - with warm street clothes on top - ready to go.

New Heights

I was setting up the card display on the cabinets, like last year, and I left the ribbon, duct tape and scissors out on the counter. I guess we're lucky all Christopher noticed was the ribbon!

This morning, Peeper came in our room and crawled in bed for a while. Then she declared that she was ready to get up, and left. Moments later, she came running back, saying "Mama! Christopher's not up on the shelf anymore!"

I had to help her find him - once again, she "looked everywhere" in about two seconds - but eventually she spotted him in the Christmas tree.

Later, she went in the kitchen and exclaimed, "Look what he did to the cabinets!" I felt really bad when, without thinking, I said, "No, I did that," and she said, "Oh." all sad and disappointed. So, I showed her the tape and scissors that were still on the counter, and told her he'd found the ribbon I left out, and so on, and that helped.

I'm thinking maybe we should ask him to do some decorating at some point . . . .

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

But I Have a Good Excuse

Yep, yet another Peep Asleep photo, because I can't get my shit together enough while she's awake to take one.

But give me a break, I'm siiiick. Officially, and everything.

Peeper and I have been dealing with cold symptoms for a couple of weeks now, but almost all better. Then Sunday, my throat started hurting. It didn't develop into a cold the next day, as usual. Instead, it hurt worse, and yesterday, it started feeling swollen back there, so I took a look with a flashlight and mirror.

Now, I don't spend a lot of time looking at healthy throats, so I'm not certain what it's supposed to look like, but I'm pretty sure that ain't it. If I had to give a description, I'd go with red, swollen and white patches.

So, into the doctor I went, where the nurse swabbed me for the Rapid Strep test, and the doctor walked in a few minutes later and said, "Guess what?" and I said, "I have strep!" and she prescribed antibiotics, after some discussion of drug allergies and breastfeeding.

Before she left the room, I said, "Oh, can I show you something else?" and told her about the top of my foot (and maybe into my ankle?) that's been hurting since I twisted it in, oh, June.

Usually, if I'm just sitting around, I don't feel a thing, but there are ways I can move it that alway hurts, and if I do much walking at all (like around the grocery store, not like a 5K) it hurts enough to want to limp a bit.

I've wondered if it's a bit swollen, compared to the other foot, and Shrike agrees that it probably is. The doctor took one look at it and said, "You know it's not normal to have a bump there, right?" and then "Yeah, I'm going to send you over to get this X-rayed," and on her way out she said, again, "That's quite an impressive bump."

As luck would have it, the pharmacy and the lab are in the same building, just up the road from the doctor's office, so I was able to go take care of both those things and still have time to pop home for a few minutes before going to pick Peeper up at school.

When we got home, I  took some Tylenol and the first dose of antibiotics, then pretty much pointed her at the computer and pointed myself at the couch, where we both stayed for a good while. I felt better when I woke up, but certainly not all better.

She let me sleep for a while, and then after a bit of a melt-down over not being able to find the right Wizard of Oz app on the iPad, she became Ms. Super Helpful Girl.

I was "cooking dinner" (preparing boxed mac and cheese) when she ran into the kitchen saying, "Oh! I want to set the table! I'm Galoot, and I don't have any thumbs!" She did an amazing job for having no thumbs.

She even got drinks for both of us, which is quite a procedure: Get a cup from the low cupboard, open fridge (that's an effort for her), fill them from the Brita dispenser, turn it off turn it off turn it off, clean up the water with a dishtowel, and close the fridge.

She brought me the veggies, and helped me serve them up (salad for me, a la carte for her), and carried her plate to the table.

Then she cleared her dishes - even putting the spilled mac and cheese back onto the plate, and helped me empty the dishwasher and put a couple of pieces of silverware in to be washed.

Of course, I had to ask her to do each of those things, she didn't know they needed to be done, but "Galoot" was perfectly agreeable about it all.

It occurred to me later that if we were doing the Elf on the Shelf in the "traditional" way, where he's a spy reporting back to Santa about the kids' good and bad behavior, Christopher would have gotten all the credit for that, and she would've gotten none.

So, point being, I didn't take any photos of her during the day. So, here she is asleep. Again.

Shhhhhhhh . . .

Filmstrip Fun iPhone 4/4S 1 Piece
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I don't think the recipient comes here. I will risk it for a $10 off discount code, though!

Elf Report

No shenanigans yet from Christopher the Elf. This morning, we just found him hanging out on a shelf, next to a snowman. Seems appropriate.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Preliminary Panda Pic: Forty-Nine Months

This is the best I could do today, with my phone at bedtime. She was pretending to be Christopher the Elf, and was hiding behind Mr. Panda.

I'll try for something better tomorrow.

Forty-Nine Months

Dear Peeper:
You are forty-nine months old today. I'm still getting used to you being four, but you seem to be doing a pretty good job with it.

Our only concern lately is this crazy pee-pee thing. Your urinalysis checked out fine, but you're still going really often and having some accidents.

First, I'm going to do what I should've already realized needed to be done, and switch back to only decaf coffee, and see if that helps. Lately, I've been making way too many cups of Cafe Mocha and Dark Chocolate Cocoa in the Keurig, and we both love it, but neither of us needs the caffeine or the sugar.

I should clarify that your "cup of coffee" has less than an ounce of coffee in it. Mine is about one-fourth to one-third skim milk, then I pour a little bit, maybe an ounce or so, into a sippy cup and fill it with skim milk. So, you're probably getting as much or more caffeine from my milk than you are from the "coffee" you're drinking yourself, but if you're peeing all the time, it seems like a reasonable place to start.

When I told you about it, you were not thrilled, but I promised that I would make the change myself, too (I explained about the caffeine in the goody milk, too) and that I would order some "squirts" as you call them (flavored syrups) and we can still use the Keurig to make decaf, and then add the (sugar free) syrups.

While you were in the tub this evening, I ordered a bottle each of chocolate, caramel and peppermint, so we can make caramel mocha or peppermint mocha, or just plain old mocha-mocha.

If things don't settle down after a few days, maybe by the beginning of next week, I'm going to check with the doctor again, and see if there's anything else we should be looking into, or doing to help you.

In the meantime, we'll just keep sending you to the potty, and watching for the pee-pee dance, and cleaning up pee.

On a more cheerful note, your pre-reading skills are really taking off. You have some sight words and as the past couple of days, you're starting to try to decode (sound out) words on your own!

Bless your heart, though, the first two you tried were "Abby" and "time." I explained about "and sometimes Y" but didn't even attempt "silent-E" yet.

The site words you know (that I can think of) are:
Your name, of course
My real name
Mommy's real name
Both dog's real names
and possibly on and no

You can also spell several of them; you particularly like e-x-i-t and s-t-o-p and n-o.

Mommy and I were just discussing that this might be the last Christmas that we can spell about your gifts around you, and I may need to password-protect the "Xmas2013" directory on my computer!

Your math skills are coming along, as well. You've been counting to twenty for a while, and now you don't leave out any numbers. You can keep going from there with a little bit of prodding, but you usually say "twenty-eight, twenty-nine, twenty-ten!"

I need to get you a big hundreds chart and put it on the wall or something, so you can see what's going on with the whole 20, 30, 40 . . . thing.

But the biggest news, developmentally, I think, has been your fine motor skills. I discovered recently that you can write your name! Neither we nor your teachers had seen you do that before. You are also suddenly very interested in trying to write letters, as well as making more representational drawings.

Granted, when you say "Look! I wrote a P!" it might look more like a lollipop, and I strongly suspect that a lot of your pictures start as scribbles and then you declare what they are, but at least now you're saying that they're something they actually do look like, not just "That blob of color is Mama, and that's me and that's Mommy."

A few days ago, you drew me, with two legs and some eyes!

The downside of this sudden interest in writing and drawing is that you're doing a great deal of it on your own body. You are totally inked-up pretty much all the time these days. It's not so bad with the washable and dry erase markers, but the ball point pen is there to stay for a while.

This evening, I looked over, and you had little circles all over your tummy. When I asked, "What is that?" you said, "It's a face!" and when I took away the pen, you said, "Uhoh! I forgot the ears!"

I gave up and let you draw ears before running you off to the tub for a scrub.

Other than that, the main thing going on here is the beginning of the Christmas season, which you're very excited about. You can't wait for December 1, when we can start opening drawers on our advent calendar, and getting the candy out. (Note to self: Buy candy, print notes and fill calendar in the next three days!)

And you are really looking forward to Santa coming. As soon as we decorated the tree and hung up our stockings, you were checking yours for candy!

Maybe our new friend Christopher the Elf will bring back a little sneak preview from Santa one of these nights.

You're old enough now, and yet still young enough to really enjoy all the fun Christmas activities we have planned, and I can't wait to enjoy them with you.

Merry No-It's-Not-Christmas-Yet, little Pooky!

I love you.


Look Who Popped In!

After much discussion and debate, between and amongst ourselves, Shrike and I decided to ask Santa to let a Children's Elf come visit Peeper this year, and I guess he figured we were ready for him, what with the tree and decorations and all, because he was here when we got up this morning!

He brought a book, and a letter of introduction from the Big Man himself!

(Click to embiggen.)

It took Peeper a little while to notice him, because she was pretty distracted by the first (minor) snowfall of the season!

Can you see the elf, not being noticed?

After she came inside, Shrike told me, "You know, she was checking her stocking for candy last night," which, of course, made Peeper say, "I should check it again!" and that's when she finally saw him.

We read the book, and explained everything, and talked about her friends who have elves visiting their houses, and "You know, I hear that sometimes they do silly things!" and so on. She was sort of unimpressed at the time, but this afternoon, when it was time to go to dance class, she asked me, "Is he going to still be here when we get home?"

She was having a lot of trouble thinking of a human name for him this morning, and I was a little worried that he was going to end up being called "Pillow Nose" or "Pillar" but this evening, after reading the book again, she told me, quite emphatically, that he is Christopher, the elf in the book, not one of Christopher's elf friends.

So, Christopher the Elf it is.

Monday, November 26, 2012

It's Beginning To Look . . .

We picked out our Christmas tree today, and put up our inside decorations.

Once I realized (after four years) that a baled tree does not spread all over the car and smush the child, we decided to just all go to Lowe's in my car, instead of Shrike following along in her truck as we've done the past couple of years, or leaving Peeper at home, like the first couple of years. Of course, leaving her home for such a momentous occasion is not at all an option any more!

We found a tree that we all liked pretty quickly and then went in and looked around at the Christmas decorations for sale inside.

As soon as we went in, Peeper told me, "I want to see that Santa Claus that talks when you bonk into it." She was referring to the sort of creepy, life-size, singing and talking, motion-sensitive Santa that she played when with we bought our tree last year. Holy crow. Unfortunately, while they do still sell them, they didn't have any on display.

I told her, "Oh, there's one in that box, but it's not put together."

She asked, "Can we put it together at our house?"

No. Not for $129, we can't!

When we got home, we weren't moving as fast with the tree putting up and lighting as she would have liked, but she was about as patient as one could expect. More, actually. Shrike didn't even have to take her away so I could do lights in peace!

Of course, the whole time she was asking, "Can I put the ornaments on now? Now can I put the ornaments on? When can I put the ornaments on?"

And as soon as I gave her the go-ahead to put them on, she took one look and said, "I don't wanna put the ornaments on."

She did enjoy looking at them, though, especially all the ones of the pets.

There are a lot of pet ornaments. It seemed reasonable to make a "Kitty's First Christmas" ornament in 1995, when MamaCat was a kitten, but then it just kept going, and she had babies, and they got old, and we got two dogs . . . .

In 2006, Galoot's first Christmas, I finally started getting wise, and made one ornament with photos of all three cats, and one with both dogs, and in 2007 I was a damn genius, and made one ornament with all five of them on it.

Since 2008, we've had a human kid (and that's also when MamaCat had just gone missing, and as of Christmas, I wasn't quite ready to accept that she wasn't going to wander back into the yard), so sorry, critters, no more ornaments for you.

But if you're keeping score, that's a total of . . . let's see . . . thirty-five pet photo ornaments.

Okay, perhaps that might be a bit excessive.

Actually, as I was looking at a pile of about ten more that needed to be hung, and couldn't find any more spaces on the tree, I promised Shrike that next year, I will be ready to pack them all away, except for the one of all five from 2007.

Of course, we also have couple ornaments from 1998 - 2007, and multiple family or Peeper ornaments since then, plus some other particularly meaningful ones, so it's not like the tree's going to be bare without them!

But I don't think it looks too bad with them, either.

We also hung the stockings on the window with care.

(Beautiful personalized stockings courtesy of Frappa.)

You see the multiple Santas and entire cast of the Nutcracker there?

Evidently Peeper lined them all up on there while I was conked out on the couch. (I feel icky today. Sore throat and although the bastard thermometer says differently, I'm sure I have fever. I have the hot mouth, and the shaky feeling.)

At one point, I heard Shrike saying, "Santa's not coming tonight, Honey. He won't be here for a month. Because it's still November."

I opened one eye and peeked at her, and she was up on the table, looking out the window. Watching for him, I suppose.

It's going to be a looooong month.

Shrike let me sleep while she got Peeper bathed and ready for bed, and tried to get her to sleep, but that just wasn't happening. When I woke up, they were reading in the bedroom, and waved me away. I finally went back in about twenty minutes later when it was clear that there was no night-night going on!

Evidently, at some point in the evening, someone (ahem-Mommy-ahem) came up with the idea of Peeper sleeping in the living room under the Christmas tree.

I relented, and Shrike agreed to sleep in there with her. I told her that "I will goody you in the floor, but I am not sleeping here!" She nursed for about two minutes, and said, "That's all I need," and invited Shrike - who had agreed to sleep in the floor - to join her.

That lasted about ten minutes, and then she came looking for goody in bed.

So, yet another night-night book, and she was finally asleep around 11:30.

At least maybe she'll let us sleep in in the morning. I sure hope so, because after that nap, I'm going to be up a while!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Fairy Pokey

"You do the fairy pokey, and turn yourself around, that's what it's all about! That's what it's all about, Mommy!"

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pie Assistant

I don't know what your calendar says, but at our house, it's Thanksgiving Eve, and that means it's time to make pie! It's actually more of a lemon icebox cheesecake.

And here's Peeper, helping me out. (Why yes, that is green dry erase marker all over her face and body. Why do you ask?)

She's done this a few times before. I'm almost certain that I made one last year and she helped, but there doesn't seem to be any photographic evidence of it.

But I did remember to take photos in 2010 (Christmas, because I wasn't feeling well at Thanksgiving) . . .

. . . 2009 . . .

. . . and even 2008.

That 2008 pie making, I should add, was a major accomplishment. It was probably my second day home alone with Peeper after Shrike went back to work, and I'd dare say the first time since she was born that I'd prepared any food more complicated than a TV dinner. And it was probably the longest stretch, to date, that Peeper had been out of someones arms.

Of course, as you can see here, I had to make it all by myself, pre-Peep. (That link also has the recipe.)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Laundry Music

I was doing laundry, so Peeper played me some "laundry music" on her piano and "drum set." Notice that she even has sheet music!

Merry Christmas

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