Tuesday, June 30, 2009

catching up and giving away

The visit with my mom was very nice. She’s definitely stronger and has put on eight pounds in the last six weeks or so. She lost so much weight over the past several months that we cheer when she gains weight. We had a very nice time and made it to the Dairy Queen (ahem) more than once so it’s possible I put on eight pounds much faster than she did.

We saw lots of her friends and some of our relatives. I spent part of the weekend responding to “Mary Ann,” which always takes a second to realize it's directed toward me. It’s my real name but after I was four years old only my father and a handful of relatives called me that.

Hey there, I have a giveaway! I’m a big fan of Darling Mummy. Do you wear those tees? If not, you should…they’re so comfy and cute. I got my first one as a gift and immediately went back for more. Anyway, I was on the site looking for a new tee and noticed that the MOOD SWING tee is being retired. So...I exchanged emails with the founder and mentioned the name of my blog and she gave me a tee to give away! Don’t you love nice people?

The tee is black, 100% soft and snuggly cotton. Because this tee is being retired there are limited sizes left. I have an XL to give away. No rules (it is summer, after all)...just leave a comment here and IF you feel like it follow me. Pass it on to others...really, the tees are scrumpdillyicious (ah, the DQ, again!). The winner will be randomly selected on July 6. My camera is a bit funky at the moment so I'm using the image below to show the tee. It's a little fuzzy but you get the idea...

Okay, now I'm off to catch up on all the things I missed while I was gone.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Happy weekend

Don't you love weekends that start mid-week? I'm off to South Dakota to visit my mom for a long weekend. She's in a nursing home but we'll get out for a few fun things. We'll drive to my hometown so she can have lunch with some friends. We'll go out to her favorite restaurant for dinner (and maybe breakfast) and spend a bit of time shopping. If there's a baseball game around, we'll probably watch it...little league in person or major league on TV. Most of all, we'll chat. (And, yes, she still has Jim Nabors' CDs but currently that's not on the agenda.)

Her life has changed so much over the past few months. Chemo knocked her for a loop and she's never fully recovered. She's no longer strong enough to walk but she and I managed the wheelchair on a previous visit so we'll be fine. She's still got a great attitude and feels luckier than a lot of people. Courage and sense of humor: check and check.

I plan to read as much as possible on the planes and maybe sneak in a nap as well. When I leave the nursing home, I plan to play with my niece and nephews, have some wine and maybe a little cry. These trips often surprise me with their emotional jolts...sometimes they comes later. I've learned there's no pattern. This is Bug's shirt but I'm thinking it might be appropriate for me in case one of those jolts hits me on the flight home.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits

I took piano lessons when I was a little girl or at least I showed up for lessons. My teacher didn't really make me do anything--she gave me chocolate while she played piano.

When I was in the 5th grade, I played clarinet. By the end of the year I had to switch to the flute because my fingers were too small to cover the holes on the clarinet.

My mom's favorite singer: Jim Nabors. She played his albums ALL. THE. TIME. She wanted me to belong to his fan club but I refused.

Our family went on a trip to the Minnesota State Fair to see Jim Nabors perform. I didn't tell my friends. The good news: we had funnel cakes!

Several years from now Bug will probably tell his friends that his mom played Springsteen ALL. THE. TIME.

I met Bruce once and IN MY HEAD had a very intelligent conversation with him about his music. In reality, the only words that rocketed out of my mouth were, "I need to touch you." (Oh, I'm so eloquent.)

Donnie is not so much a Bruce fan...he likes tolerates about four songs.

When company comes over I purposely play other music so people think I'm well-rounded.

When Bug gets in the car, he asks to hear Bruce!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Mommy on Father's Day

I explained to Bug that today is a special day for Daddy. Bug announced that Daddy gets to change all of his diapers because it's Daddy's Special Day. Nothin' like a little gift for Mommy on Father's Day!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Three Rs: Reading, Reading and Reading

One thing I miss since becoming a parent is my reading time. I still read and have already finished more books this year than last but I think I’m a long way from hitting the 50+ books I used to read in a 12-month period. I keep journals of what I’ve read and an ever-growing list of what I want to read. Of course if I added all of Bug’s books that I've read several times over to my journal, I would break all past years’ records combined!

Years ago I dated a non-reader. One night he came to my apartment, looked at my book shelves and said, “WHY do you keep books you’ve already read?” I think I knew then it wasn’t going to work with us but I explained that part of the reason I worked in publishing was that I loved books. I told him that I could look at almost any of the books and know what was going on in my life when I read it. He shook his head more bewildered than before. A year later when we were no longer dating, I ran into him and one of the first things he said to me was, "Hey, I'm reading a book!" He was so excited to be reading and even a little shocked when I guessed which book he was reading.

When I moved cross-country, I was fine selling my furniture and parting with many belongings to start over but my books came with me. I even enjoyed packing the books because they were reminders of so many friends who were in my life for 384 pages or so.

Next week I’m heading out to visit my mom again and I’m traveling solo, which means my carry-on won’t be filled with diapers, wipes, extra clothes and snacks for Bug but books (and snacks!) for me. I’m currently reading Four Corners of the Sky and so far it’s living up to all the reviews.

I expect to finish Four Corners while I’m away and haven’t decided what other book(s) I should take with me. The top ones on my list are:

The Story Sisters; Alice Hoffman
The Help; Kathryn Stockett
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie; Alan Bradley

Thoughts or recommendations? What's on your list?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Toddler Tummy

I mentioned Bug doing sit ups the other day. Perhaps it wasn't our workouts that inspired him...maybe he saw this picture of his tummy (I love baby/toddler tummies). I took it last week after an afternoon of running around and playing with the garden hose (he's soaked):

I had to sneak the picture. Unlike Clara, Bug shouts "no pictures" whenever he sees the camera. I guess he's practicing in case he grows up, becomes famous and needs to ward off the paparazzi. Although with that tummy, they might not need a zoom lens.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits

For years I didn't eat blueberries because of the commercials from my childhood where the blueberries stained the dentures soaking in a cup.

I'm eating blueberries right now.

Favorite summer fruit--cantaloupe.

I water skied once on a dare but was terrified because I can't swim.

I took summer courses in college when I changed my major to nursing. The class I most remember was chemistry because I think the professor stopped washing his hair the last two weeks of the session.

My dream of being a nurse ended when I took bio & organic chemistry and microbiology.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Drop and give me...whatever you can

Over the weekend Donnie was doing sit ups. Apparently Bug had never seen him do sit ups and was somewhere between amazed and concerned. In between sit ups—when Donnie was lying flat on the floor—Bug ran over and kissed him (think: prince waking sleeping beauty or something) and continued to do that until Donnie was laughing so hard he couldn't go on.

Yesterday I went downstairs to run on the treadmill. Donnie and Bug came down to play shortly after I started. Instead of getting his toys Bug picked up his chair and plopped it in front of the treadmill. He became my little cheerleader along my non-existent route. He waved and blew me kisses as I ran nowhere. I was shocked at how long he stuck it out just planted in front of me. Once he tossed Winnie-the-Pooh in my direction but other than that there were no sideline distractions.

I did some sit ups and then while doing other stretches Bug politely tried to push me lower than my body was willing to go. I think he has a competitive spirit because I was beginning to fear he wasn't giving up.

Later in the day Bug abruptly took a break from playing with his pseudo-Lego toys and lay down on the floor. I quietly watched him as he lifted his head and upper body and then lowered himself with legs bursting off the floor. He repeated it a few times, counted a bit and then stood up and announced he was done with his sit ups. Not bad--counting and working on his abs.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Clara isn't exactly a dog who listens. Sure, if she's getting a treat, she'll sit but really it's more of a curtsy just to be polite. She will, however, sit--and pose--if there's a camera...

Friday, June 12, 2009


Our carpet is dry/fixed so now the basement is a family room again. It took longer than planned because the day we were to have the new padding installed there was another storm and MORE water in the basement. Ugh.

As I was getting things (somewhat) back in place yesterday I started thinking of all the things we could/should do to the area to make it a better hanging out room...new paint would be a good start, less junk, get rid of some of Bug's toys that he's no longer interested in, donate some of the books to a hospital or library, etc.

Today was the first day for Bug to go downstairs since it's his playroom again. We were walking downstairs to play and as he got to the step where he could see the room he exclaimed, "it's PERFECT."

So, I decided to play rather than plan.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

chocolate goes straight to my ass

And now, sadly, I don't even have to eat it. Yesterday I sat on some and there was a trail of chocolate on my khaki pants...at work. Nice.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Picnic with some whine

We recently attended our adoption agency’s picnic. The last few years we couldn’t make the picnic so this was our first time to go since we adopted Bug.

We went once before we were parents and found out (on arrival) that the picnic is really geared for those who have already adopted. While it was encouraging to see so many families who had adopted through the agency, it was just another reminder that we weren’t yet parents. This year, I was looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and meeting new people.

As soon as we arrived, we saw one of the women we worked with at the agency. I was on my way to say hello to her when another woman stopped me and told me that she and her husband appreciated the talk we gave at a waiting parents meeting more than two years ago. Shortly after we adopted Bug, were asked to speak at a monthly meeting for families on the waiting list and share our story.

While every adoption story is unique, the agency wanted us to talk about our wait (it was a bit longer than usual) and that we met the birth father and not the birth mother (we’ve since met her as well). We agreed to speak but told the agency that we wanted to be very honest about some of the frustrations along the way. One subject that we handled as delicately as possible was the lack of communication by the adoption agency. We’ve spoken with other families who felt the same way.

After a chat with the woman and playing with her baby (!!), I said hello to the woman we knew from the agency. We greeted one another and this was our conversation:

Agency woman: Oh, hi Maggie, I’ve been meaning to call you.
Me: Oh??
AW: Yeah, nothing’s wrong but wanted to tell you that Bug’s birth father contacted us and he wants to see Bug again.
Me: Oh.
AW: It’s obviously your decision and I’ve been meaning to call you but I’ve been busy. I’ll have someone at the office get in touch with you this week.

I find this interesting for a few reasons…

She’s been meaning to call, which, to me, sounds as though the BF’s request didn’t just happen. So…she’s just been sitting on the request by the birth father? For how long? Does he feel he’s being ignored by them—or possibly by us—since he hasn’t heard back? I’ve got to think the ask by the BF wasn’t an easy one to make so shouldn’t the agency move a bit faster on this?

She’s been busy? Um, maybe I’m wrong here but isn’t this part of the stuff that keeps her busy (and employed)?

I realize that it was convenient for AW to tell me this news in person but the picnic was a social event and it didn’t seem the appropriate venue to me. While everyone there had adoption as a common denominator, it’s still personal and shouldn’t have been told to me with others present.

Did I mention we feel the agency’s communications skills need work?

Monday, June 8, 2009


My in-laws visited this weekend, which is always fun. (Really.) They arrived on Friday afternoon after an 8-hour rain-filled drive so we kicked off the weekend with happy hour. Bug loves happy hour particularly because he gets to do ‘cheers’ with his sippy cup. He quickly picked it up last year while on vacation and some things just stick with a guy…we’re convinced he was the only kid raising his cup at snack time!

My theory when having company over for dinner is/always will be to get some liquor in them before they sit down and eat my cooking. Works every time—twice this weekend, in fact.

The weekend was low-key and relaxed but Saturday we opted to go out for breakfast. Dining out with Bug is always a bit of a nervous adventure and we don’t do it on a frequent basis for a couple of reasons:

1. He’s 2 ½ and often acts his age.

2. With his allergies I can’t safely order off the menu and don’t feel I can trust a server when I ask whether there are eggs or nuts in __________ (insert any menu item here). Plus, there’s a chance that if I were to order something, Bug’s food would be prepared on the same spot where the guy-sitting-at-booth-in-the-corner's eggs were just being scrambled. We're trying to avoid that happening again.

We take Bug's food with us when we go to a restaurant so I packed his (already made) bacon, (previously toasted) English muffin, yogurt and grapes and put them on plates at the restaurant. He loved it because his plate looked similar to what everyone else was eating...and, yes, we did cheers at breakfast, too.

After we left the restaurant, I took the opportunity to add another item to my list of reasons why we should move to the Boston area: the law that was passed this year to make restaurants safer for people with food allergies. Even though my list keeps growing, I think we're staying put but I'll keep trying. And if we do ever decide to move I'll raise my glass--maybe even at that bar where everybody knows your name.

Friday, June 5, 2009

It's Summer

Bug attends a little neighborhood school for a few hours each day that's free--I know, FREE, crazy, huh? It's a one-room building near the elementary school in our neighborhood and it's affectionately and appropriately called the Little School. Today is the last day and they're celebrating with a picnic (fingers crossed that the rain stops).

It's been so great to watch his progress this year. He now knows his numbers and the alphabet. He sings the ABCs and loves to "spell" by pointing out letters on signs, books, TV or pretty much anywhere he can see a letter. (As I'm typing this he's reminding me he doesn't get the idea of colors at all by handing me a brown crayon and confidently stating it's purple or holding up a blue one and saying orange.)

I'm going to miss Bug showing me his daily art projects with a proud, "I made at school that!"

I'm going to miss hearing new songs the teacher taught him.

I'm going to miss Bug's responses when we ask who was at school. "Hi Noah, Hi Michael, etc."

I'm going to miss his school stories (even if we seldom understand them).

I'm going to miss his excitement of carrying a lunch box each day (he doesn't have lunch at school but it's the perfect size for his EPI-pen and snacks).

I'm going to miss the honesty of his answer to "How was school?" "I did time out...no listen."

I'm going to miss the anticipation in his voice when he would ask, "is school today?"

At the same time I'm looking forward to summer and all the fun things to do together. I'm sure before I know it he'll be back at the Little School in the fall...and sooner than I want it will be January and he'll start preschool and then, among many other things, we're going to miss the tuition at the Little School.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Snug with my Bug

It's been a handful of nights since Bug started sleeping in a big boy bed. We put a mat and pillows next to his bed for those inevitable falls. The first night was more eventful than I had hoped for and I ended up sleeping on the mat, which meant I was a good landing when Bug fell out of bed. (Have I mentioned my little guy is 2 1/2 and people often ask if he's 4? Um, ouch!)

Bug slept through the next few nights and managed to stay in his bed, thankyouverymuch. A couple of mornings he was bleary-eyed as he made his way to our room to snuggle with me for those few minutes before I had to get ready for work. This morning he woke up with energy and pushed open our bedroom door like a Broadway star making an entrance.

So, I guess my worries of him jumping out of the crib will now be replaced with worries of him figuring out the 'push/slide/lift' combination of the baby gate at the top of the stairs. Fun stuff...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Magic 8-ball answers toddler style

I think Bug is channeling his inner 8-ball...

Me: Should we go outside?
Bug: I say yes.

Me: Are you ready to go inside?
Bug: I say no.

Me: Can you share a cookie with Mommy?
Bug: Maybe tomorrow.

Me: It's time to get ready for bed.
Bug: No yet...later.
(I realize that's not a question but in our house we quickly learned THAT topic can't be addressed as a question.)

Me: Should we read a book?
Bug: Yeah, sure, okay.

Me: Did you go poops?
Bug: I no think so.

Me: Do you want to sit on the potty?
Bug: In two minutes.