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Entries from November 2008


Some nostalgia:

Rob and I first "met," online, in November of 2000. So we've been together for eight years now.

That first year, he had just come to meet me in person (and asked me to marry him!), and then he flew home to Missouri to have Thanksgiving with his mom and stepdad. I missed him like crazy already.

The following Thanksgiving, we were already married with our first baby, newborn Chloë. I had found our awesome turkey recipe in the Parade magazine, and we've used it ever since save one time. We were really proud of our little feast. It was just the three of us, but you would never know it because the little girl in the house napped almost the whole day in her pretty little blue dress. We were a small but very happy little family, so in love with our little life.

The next year was 2002. By then, we had moved to Guam, and I was pregnant with twins. Very emotionally pregnant. We had been invited to the squadron Thanksgiving dinner and, since all of our household goods were still in transit from Florida and we had nothing with which to cook, we decided to go. I forget what dish we made, but when we got to the destination, no one greeted me. No one told me where to put my dish. No one said hello, no one introduced themselves, no one smiled. I felt utterly snubbed and was extremely disappointed. And pissed! I put the dish down somewhere, grabbed my toddler, and headed back to the car, sobbing. Rob ran after me, and we went home.

Instead of a big Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings, at a huge table with tons of people, we hunkered down in our base housing unit and made do. We had some chicken pieces, opened cans of corn, had bread, and that was about it. We had no table, so we sat 'round the coffee table, us balancing our plates on our knees and Chloë sitting in her small blue rocking chair at the coffee table, to eat our dinner. And I was much happier, alone with my little family.

By the following Thanksgiving, we were here, in Virginia, in our new home. Our twins had been born, and one had died, and we were now a family of four. I was an emotional and mental wreck from the loss of our little boy, but it was good to be together, good to have our turkey recipe back, good to cook ourselves a little feast.

We've grown since then, added another little girl, but most things have stayed the same. We'll never use another turkey recipe as long as we can find that one. It's always just been our nuclear family for the day. And we remain very much in love with our little life.


Dinner Bell


Sophia's already getting practice being photographed on the hood of a car. Great.


Daddy and Jack, cuddling on the couch, and both fell asleep. Sweet. (Chloë took this picture!)


The Odettelette trio, anxiously awaiting their feast. LOL I gave away our bread basket, so ignore the one I used today!


Jack wanted to be sure and get a picture of the pies. (TheDutch apple cream pie was in the fridge.)


So of course, Chloë had to insist on getting a picture with the bowl of fruit.



What Are You Thankful For?

Chloë: My friends and family!

Sophia: Candy. And Halloween.

Jack: Pie. And Rolls. And mashed potatoes.

Chloë: Oooh, yeah, and cranberries. And corn!

Mommy: I'm definitely thankful for pie! (I added more, the usual stuff.)

Jack: I'm thankful for the battery in my truck! (Which had been disconnected for a week or so, until Daddy reconnected it today and let them outside to drive it around the driveway.)

Daddy: I'm thankful for my job...etc.

Jack: I'm thankful for firefighters!

Chloë: And I'm thankful for veterinarians!

Mommy: Amen. Let's eat!



Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

I am so thankful today. I'm thankful for my little family, so warm and loving. My husband, who works so hard and rarely complains, ever. My three little blessings, who drive me nuts one minute and make me laugh until I cry the next. I would be nothing without them.

I'm thankful for our extended family, and our friends, who round out our lives and make it so much the sweeter. Thank you, all, for caring for us and letting us care for you.

I'm so thankful we have enough to get by and have some extras, cars to drive and gas to put in them, a roof of our heads, clothes on our bodies and food to eat. It's so easy to take those things for granted, but we are so fortunate and need to remember it.

I'm thankful for pie in the oven, potatoes to be mashed, and soon, a table full of our little feast for all of us to enjoy.

I hope you have a wonderful day and a delicious dinner with your loved ones.




Despite the emotional high from finding out about Stephanie's impending motherhood, I managed to get everything on my checklist finished today.

I woke up around 0530 (thanks to Rob making a ruckus while getting ready for work) and couldn't get back to sleep. So I farted around online a little, crocheted a little, watched TV a little, until it was time to get the Bigs up for school.

While they dressed and ate breakfast, I cooked the stuffing for Chloë to take to school for her Thanksgiving feast. (I found out later that the gym teacher was a guest at their feast and ate it all!) Bundled them up, and off they went.

I slept for a couple hours, until Jack returned from school. Then I sat with him, watching TV and crocheting until Barbara came in, set the dog to barking her head off, and woke Sophia up. Which was fine; it was 1100 by then and she'd have woken up on her own about then anyway.

Barbara was a little earlier than I'd expected, so Jack and I cleaned up the rest of the living room toys, and the three of us went upstairs. I made some phone calls (No, my insurance hasn't sent back approval yet for the surgery; Yes, I'm in our dance studio's craft show; No, the dentist office isn't open to make our appointments), picked up the bedroom a bit with the Littles' help, and took a shower.

We dawdled up there until it was time for Chloë to come home (they only had a half-day today, so it wasn't long) and then met her out by the van. Rob was on his way home from work, too, so I thought we'd go run a few errands and then meet him back here at the house.

My first stop, naughty me, was the Wendy's around the corner for a Sprite. I was thirsty, craving the carbonation, and happened to have a dollar and change in my purse. Oh, Sprite. Giving up carbonated beverages is going to be THE most difficult thing about having the surgery, for me.

After that, I realized I couldn't do my errands without Rob after all, because I'd lost my check card and had been using his until he needed it for gas today. We drove home so I could check the mail and see if my replacement card was in the box, but it wasn't. I was just getting back in the car when he pulled up. Serendipity! Once he changed clothes, we were on the go again.

We headed to Wachovia to deposit the rest of the Fall Product money due to our council and watch the box go zip-zip through the tubes. The rest of the day, we kept saying, "Hey, there's another Wachovia!" "Look, another Wachovia!" Turns out, they're everywhere around here. Who knew? I have options.

Then we ran across the street to our bank to deposit another mystery shopping check.

Back in the other direction, we went to a third bank to see about getting the new troop leader and myself, as Treasurer, listed as check signatories or whatever. Signals, I don't know. I couldn't do that without the missing letter from the council giving us permission, but Nikki has misplaced that. I could, however, deposit all of the troop's candy money and dues, so I did. I certainly don't want to hold onto the money any longer than I have to.

The kids were sick of banks by this point, so we changed directions again and ran to the Service Unit Fall Product Chair's house to drop off the final report for or troop's sales. That's where I kept having to go, time and again, to pick up everyone's orders - at least 8 times. Jack piped up from the back seat, "How come we keep coming to this house?!" Hopefully that'll be it for a while.

Next, we headed down the road some more to the DMV, to try and get Rob's motorcycle permit. Only, it was deserted, and the office was closed. What the? Guess they took an early hollerday. We'll try again on Friday, mayhaps.

Continuing up the road, we went to Walgreen's for my Side-Effexor rx, and yes, I picked up the highest-dose iron pills they had. I also snagged five Webkinz Cares Lil'Kinz for stocking stuffers and gifts for the kids' various exchanges, happy to have found five we don't already have after being away from Walgreen's for so long.

Way back in the other direction, because it's the only post office location I know, we mailed a couple of packages. Nicole, heads up!

By this point, everyone was starving, so we went and did Barbara-Day lunch at Panera. Everyone got their usual, and mm, as Sophia would say, it was "scrumptious!" Everything is scrumptious lately. Jack, or maybe Soap, complained that we didn't have dessert, but you know what? There isn't always dessert. Especially not at lunchtime. Deal.

Barbara had to be finished by this point, so we headed home. Rob quickly put the Nons down for naps and was sound asleep himself before Chloë and I left for her dance class a little while later.

I was going to do my shopping at A.C. Moore while she was in class, but the day suddenly caught up to me, and I decided to snooze instead. It was cold, though, and I was in short sleeves. I slept fitfully and was glad when the hour was up.

She and I went to the store together afterward. We picked up the rest of the yarn I would need - at 20% off, so I'll make a bigger profit than I planned! - and a few other things. I got a 2009 calendar for a dollar for the office. A bunch of yummy-smelling tarts for the tart burner for 79¢. Notepads to go with those kooky pens the kids will give out for their teacher gifts, for 80¢ apiece. Ornament kits for the online ornament exchange I signed the kids up for, for really cheap. Only Chlo will be able to help me make them, but that's okay. The other kids will still enjoy getting theirs in the mail.

The mail brought a few kids' movies, so the kids have been watching those ever since we got home. Garfield: A Tail of two Kitties was eh, annoying with a few chuckles thrown in, and The Wild, I didn't really pay enough attention to, but they did.

Also in the mail was the huge box of Gymboree clothes I just ordered, some clothes for this season and a lot of clothes, especially for the eldest child, for next year. The clearance sale was really good; I couldn't avoid it.  Jack and Chloë tried on all their clothes so I could see what fits now and what will fit better in a year, and poor Sophie only got one little (but uber-cute) t-shirt that I found for practically free.

Finally in the mail was Rob's latest monthly shipment of his Beer of the Month club. One of the selections is blueberry flavored! That should be interesting. He's about three months behind on drinking all the beer, so we've got tons of it stacked up in the foyer. I'm really tired of it and keep trying to get him drunk, but he's past those days. Darn.

I'm going back to crochet until I either pass out or decide to get up and make the pies for tomorrow.

Have a lovely Thanksgiving, everyone! Even you Canucks, enjoy your day. ;)



... to Stephanie and Tim (togetherly known as "Stim")! They have just discovered they are pregnant after a long, long time of trying, and going through PCOS and infertility struggles.

Please send prayers and good thoughts for a "sticky baby," since PCOS has a high rate of m/c.

I'm SO EXCITED, I can't tell ya! Steph's going to be such a great mom, I just know it!



Back In The Saddle Again

I've taken two sick days off from life.

I've been completely wiped. I've gone nowhere, done nothing, seen nobody except the few people who have come to the door.

I did manage to get the kids to school, get everyone fed (not necessarily dressed unless dress-up counts, for Sophia?), and get a few more dishcloths crocheted. (I've made about 20-22 now and am getting totally sick of them! But the payday keeps me going...)

I have not showered since Sunday and yes, I feel and look as gross as you would think. There are crumbs in my bra, stabbing me in the boobs. I could just take the damn thing off. Yeah. I think I will.

Ahh. Much better.

So that's my current report. Stephanie asked her readers, which is basically ME and whoever else reads without commenting - hey, you there! say hello today! I'm sick and it will cheer me! Please? - to list those we've gone through on the way to finding The One.

I can't do that.

I  really can't do that.

It would be an awfully long post, for one thing.

And much too telling. You think I tell all, don't you? But there is much I keep to myself. I think I will keep that information close to the vest.

You know what? We stil have some aquarium cupcakes! Usually, they are gone in a matter of hours. Which isn't to say that the children didn't love them. Maybe they loved them too much to eat them? Because they seriously oohed and ahhed over them. I think I have just been less "have whatever you want" than usual when I make them. Dunno.

You know what else? Typepad now  has an auto-saving feature. Which is good, for doofuses (doofi?) like me, who are constantly losing our posts.

So I'm going to sleep now, hopefully until morning. Tomorrow is a busy day.


Oh, Ma Darlin', Oh, Ma Darlin'...

Well, I finally zonked out around 0900 today, which sucks, because of course that's when I would have liked to be getting up. But thankfully, Rob was there to take care of everything and let me sleep until 1300 or so.

I  had to do my grocery shopping, but the truth is, I've been sick all week (again, or still, I can't decide) and am now totally worn down. So I dawdled at the computer until I was finally forced into the shower by a Brownie mom coming to pick up her candy order.

I started to head out to the store after that, but I quickly decided I just didn't have the energy to go by myself. So, for the first time in ages, I took the whole family with me, and we handled the Thanksgiving shopping together.

It didn't go fast, but it was nice just being together. Plus Rob got a chance to see why our grocery bill is so outrageous when it seems I'm hardly buying anything, anymore. Of course, Sophie wanted to grab everything and put it in the cart, and as usual, once things were in the cart, she would turn around and mess with it. I hate that. I like order. I put things exactly where I want them in the cart. It's another one of my silly systems. But I didn't get upset.

Instead, we danced to the music. They play good  muzak in our grocery, and when Sophie started bouncing along to it, I joined in. People were looking at us and laughing, but I think it was with us and not at us laughter. Either way, I don't care. We were having fun.

Also, whenever anyone would look at her, she'd wink and give them a thumbs-up. They would laugh and thumbs-up right back. She's such  a character!!

Rob had the other two kids in his cart, so I'm not too sure of their antics. I know Jack kept bugging for a Hot Wheels car, but noooo. Not today, son.


We bought a box of Clementines, and when we got home, the kids and I put away more than a dozen of them. They're so good, so juicy, so easy to peel. I love them.


The Non-Twins, cheeks full of pulpy goodness


Clementines bring back nice memories for me. Every year, my sister and I would visit my maternal grandparents in New Jersey for Christmas through New Year's. Grandma would get some "Clemmies," and we would all sit in the living room peeling and eating, more and more. They were always so good. I remember Grandpa loved them and was always asking us to fetch him a couple.

That was pretty much our dinner tonight, along with some chips and dip for Rob and me, and Smuckers Uncrustables (more about that in a later post) for the kiddos. I shouldn't have let them eat so many oranges, but I hate to stop them from eating fruit!

After dinner, we watched the AMAs awhile and I started on the next batch of cupcakes. The kids went to bed, and I sat down to crochet while they cooled. I ended up snoozing for a half hour or so and when I woke up, Jack was there.

So we cuddled on the couch for an hour, in the quiet stillness of the house, just him and me. I could sense him getting sleepy, so I sent him to his room and then got back to work on the cupcakes.


I still have to finish decorating the other 23; this is the first. Isn't it cute? A little fishy aquarium! I love it, and I think the kids will be so pleased.

Time to finish and then get some decent sleep. I'm ready.


So Much For A Cure

Well, that was fun while it lasted.

I've stayed up all night again, crocheting and watching TV off the DVR.

And, lo and behold, I've got a major allergic rash happening, for the first time since we went to Europe. (Did we really go to Europe?!! I'm still in a state of disbelief.)

I thought maybe Italy cured me.



Some Rare Brevity


  • Rob stood watch, 0600-1800
  • The kids and I slept in 'til 0930, yay

  • We had cupcakes for breakfast and applesauce (2 jars!) for lunch because I need to do some serious grocery shopping tomorrow

  • I was in full-on cleaning mode today and, with the kids' help, cleaned the living room, the office, and the foyer. It took half the day and was totally worth it. To me.

  • Rob made hash browns and mac & cheese for dinner. Told ya I needed to shop

  • I burned my first Yankee Candle tart of the season, but it was "Clean Linen" or something or other scent, nothing Fall-y

  • With help from friends, found a replacement for Jack's old lovey, "Doggy" on eBay!!! Definitely the highlight of the day; maybe the year, for him!

  • Cut a trillion coupons, filed them all in my coupon box, made our Thanksgiving dinner menu, did a grocery list, and am finally ready to shop tomorrow

  • Had free 6 oz Jr. Frosties from Wendy's tonight - they were laughably minuscule but still brainfreeze-inducing!

  • Off to go crochet and watch the rest of What Happens in Vegas with Rob


Feeling Cranky

...and I don't know why. Just am.

I asked Rob to pick up some iron pills for me yesterday, but he didn't.

I asked him to watch the Sex & the City movie with me tonight, but he can't, because he has to get up early and stand watch tomorrow.

I asked him to clean up the kitchen for me so I could make cupcakes... and he did! And behold, it was clean, until the children got ahold of two different boxes of cereal and spread frosed flakes and fruity pebbles (yeah, I buy junk cereals, sue me) all over the table and kitchen floor.

My solution to that? "Wipe everything onto the floor! We'll sweep later!"

I have no intentions of sweeping anytime soon. Crunch, crunch.

Hm, I wonder why I saw that cucaracha the other week?

The Nons were also playing upstairs - I thought in their rooms, with their damn toys - while I mixed the afore-mentioned cupcakes. Then I started smelling a very strong, clean smell.

Oh, no. What now?

Then Jack started shrieking and wailing.

I put down the cupcakes and bounded upstairs, all the while the smell getting stronger and more nosey-burny.

Somehow, they were locked in Sophia's room together. I whipped open the door, and they were both standing there, howling, and clutching at their eyes. "We got it in our eyes, we got it in our eyes!"

Fantastic. Got what? Then I spied the cap for the small bottle of essential oil that came with the laundry soapnuts, for making smelly good clothes. No bottle in sight.

I grabbed a Non by each hand and dragged them into the bathroom, hauled them one at a time up to the sink, and instructed them to look down at my hands, while I flushed their eyes with copious amounts of H20. Flush, flush, flush, rinse, rinse, rinse, dry, dry, dry.

They stopped crying. Their eyes stopped being burning red. They could read the number of fingers I was holding up. I thought about calling Poison Control or something, but ... they seemed okay. Really okay. And I take eyes seriously.

I instructed them to give me the bottle NOW, and alas, it was completely empty. If you know anything about essential oils, you know that it is extremely concentrated and you use it drip by drip, like food coloring. That was a lot of drips, and it was all over them and their clothes.

I mean, thank God it was smell-good stuff and not, say, poo, so I could stand to be in the same room with them, but barely.

Needless to say, they accompanied me back downstairs to finish the cupcakes and did not leave my side for the rest of the day.

Nons! You can't live with 'em and you can't send 'em into the woodchipper!

I kid, I jest.

Our errands today were trifold:

First, we went to the Fall Product cupboard and picked up the last of the orders. I suppose I should run out there and make sure we have everything we were supposed to; I forgot to bring the list with me.

Of course, right away, the kids started begging for candy. Never mind that it's not our candy. Do you think you deserve candy? Huh? Essential-oil roasting tots? I do not think so.

Then we went to Wachovia, to deposit the first batch of money for the Fall Product sale. Four of us mothers are all paid up; four mothers to go.The kids like that bank and other drive-thrus like it because they just adore watching the box zip up through the tube and then come back down again. I admit, I like it, too.

And finally, we went to our own bank, to deposit a wee mystery shopping check of my own. No fun box there. The kids wanted to know why we had to go to two banks. No fun! No fun at all!

Oh, and next time you have to go for a drive with little ones, don't say, "C'mon guys, let's go for a ride in the car!" Because driving around in carseats in a minivan apparently does not constitute a "ride" for small children. Sophia wanted to know when we were getting to the rides. Jack wanted to know if there would be animals there. I just banged my head on the steering wheel and explained, for the trillionth time, that this is the ride, and I'm sorry it sucketh so much.

Oh, the cupcakes. When we got home, they were cooled, and it was time to frost.



Nothing too fancy this time; I just wanted to use up the remainder of the huge tub of Wilton icing. And I did! I went right down to the last drop, but it covered all two dozen of them. I just rolled the edges in some pink sugar I had left over from something else, and voila! The kids thought they looked great anyway.

Next time, I hope to do something more exciting from the cupcake book I just bought - which is awesome, by the way - but I didn't have all the candies and ingredients I would have needed for any one of the designs.

When Chloë came home, while I was decorating them, everyone seemed to disintegrate at once into fights and tears and meltdowns. Ho-leeee-cow. I sent them, one by one, up to their rooms for a nap. Chlo threw the biggest fit of them all about it, which is exactly why she needed one.

After an hour or so, she came down, and I had her lie down with me on the couch. I lay on my back, with her on her tummy on top of me, and we just snuggled under the blankets and chitchatted until Daddy came home and Steph showed up to pick up all our sippy cups and a cupcake. It was nice holding my baby.

Then she got up just as Jack woke up and came downstairs, and he snuggled up on top of me. He really burrowed in, too. It was nice. He's such a sweet, small baby when he wants to be.

So that's it. I'm off to watch my movie, all by my lonesome. Have you seen it? Was it good?


PS There is a chance Chloë may be in a movie, a small student film for a film festival, out in Charlottesville, VA. We'll meet with the director in Richmond the weekend after Thanksgiving, so he can determine if she's right for the part. I can tell he's excited about her.

Tell Me A Story

The busyness didn't start, really, until Chloë came home from school. I was still tired and weak-feeling all day, so it was defintely a Noggin day for the kids. Finally, I pulled myself up and got into the shower, which I should do earlier, because it helps wake me up.

Today was Brownies. Fall Product money is due, which is why it's slightly irritating that three mothers called in orders today... but on the other hand, I'm glad the troop will be making more money. As long as they have their money in on time (but judging from the way ordering has gone...), I don't care.

Anyway, Brownies. I had to bring the receipt book and a money envelope and wear two hats, both as Fall Product chair and treasurer, as we're finally getting around to collecting some troop dues. Only two moms have paid dues and our leader doesn't seem concerned about getting the rest to pay, so I guess that will fall on my shoulders to chase everyone down, too. Oy. Well, whatever, we have enough money in the account, so it's good.

Geez, I didn't realize I was just going to come here and bitch. Sorry!

So the Nons and I stayed in the far end of the room while the Girls did their thing. Jack brought a car along, as he is wont to do, and Sophia just chased him around and giggled. I sat and crocheted on a dishcloth, as I've only gotten about 7 or 8 done out of the fifty!

When we were leaving Brownies, another mom reminded me that tonight was Family Night at the school Book Fair. Oops, I'd forgotten to check my Palm all day and would have completely neglected to go. Of course, both Jack and Chloë chimed up about how they just had to go, that it was Chloë's homework, and Jack wanted a toy (not), so there was no avoiding it. Not that I would have, it just threw another wrench into my plans to get back home and do nothing. ☺

The Book Fair was packed, but somehow I managed to find the perfect parking spot near the sidewalk. We ran into lots of people we knew, and the art teacher who signed us in told me what a great job Chloë is doing in art class this year. As a scientist, it's not my number one priority - although I definitely support the arts - but I'm always thrilled to hear that sort of thing! Not that I'm trying to turn her into a scientist; she can be whatever she wants, but it pains me to see her struggling with math!

Where was I?

Right, books. Jack was all about getting a toy, until finally I stopped and said, in the middle of the library and crowd, "Jack, I am NOT here to buy toys, I am here to buy books!" Lots of people looked over and smiled, so I knew they understood my struggle.

Our first goal was to buy a book to donate to each of the kids' classrooms, as we do every year. We quickly found those, and then I decided to let each of my kids pick a book. That turned into two books, as they all found lots they wanted, and how am I going to turn down books? After they picked theirs, the first door prize drawing was held... and the winner is... Chloë O! Yay, she won one of her books for free! Too bad it was a $5 limit or I'd have bought her the really cool $20-something raised atlas book she was hankering after.

Finally we got around to the adult books (I'm talking cookbooks, people, not p0rn), and I quickly spotted a cupcake decorating book. Hello, color me happy! I snagged that but nothing for Rob. I just couldn't find anything I thought would be up his alley.

Eventually I managed to wrangle my brood and get us over to the cashier to pay for our, oh, 9 books. I guess that's not so bad; I spent less than $50, and it is books. They were all ringing bells whenever anyone donated to Relay for Life, and since my children were dying to ding the bells, I had to pull out some change for each of them to put into the bucket. Ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding! Everyone knew my kids were there, that's for sure!

Principal T (see how I'm getting savvier about not using everyone's name, so they can't Google my blog and see what I said about them? Hee) was there, and greeted Jack and Chloë. He loves Chlo, and she him, but Jack seems to be oblivious to him and his function in the school still, at this point. I know him enough to joke around with him, from my PTA Board days of last year, so it's always nice to run into him.

The third order was being rung into my phone as we were leaving, so I hustled the kids out into the chilly air and back to the van as quickly as I could.  Called voicemail for the message, called back and took the order, called the "cupboard" to place the order, all the while the kids were actually silent in the back. Never happens. They have terrible "be quiet while Mom's on the phone" manners. I was thankful.

I remembered Jack needed to bring in canned carrots tomorrow for his class feast next week, but I really didn't feel like going to the store with three kids in tow at this point, so I called Rob to do it. Check that off my list.

Only he didn't go. Bah.

We drove to the Post Office next, so I could ship the little sockies I made for my friend C.'s baby J.  Off they go! Back to crocheting.

Then we went back to our neighborhood to deliver the last five packages of Fall Product. I prayed that everyone was home, because tracking them down was getting old. They were! Rob found us and took Sophie home, but he left Jack with me because he was sound asleep.

All of our money is now in, and I'm glad for that. Now it's just a short two months until we start selling cookies. Oy. But at least I've had good practice for how things will go, and I think I've done a pretty good job of running things and keeping on track. I'm nervous about the money collections, but it's not entirely on my back if they don't pay, so...!

We went home, and then finally Rob went out to the store (the whole point was for him to go earlier while we were both out, so I could get a break when I got home, but whatev) and to Subway for dinner.

I fell asleep at the beginning of ER and woke up during Conan, so now I'm wide awake. Guess I'll get back to my stitching until I can doze again.



Photo Shoot

The only thing on our agenda today was the Dollar Tree photo shoot. Sophia slept late, so I slept all morning after getting the big kids off to school, until Jack came home. It was a fitful sleep, though. Lately I can't just fall asleep and stay asleep for one big stretch.

Oh, and now I remember, I was up past 0500, watching TV and crocheting dish cloths. No particular reason, other than I was wide awake from having some sips off Rob's Coke. Dummy.

After Jack came home and everyone's belly was filled, we made our way upstairs to get ready. I had to shower, of course, and get the little ones dressed. Then I had to rush like a madwoman, tearing through Chloë's drawers and the laundry to get her wardrobe together for the shoot. They wanted lots of choices, the more the better, in pinks, reds, khaki, tan, brown, and black! The ad is for Valentine's Day, so I made sure not to bring all the red and pink stuff with Christmas icons on them.

Finally, I had a big bag stuffed full of clothes. I grabbed everything we needed, the kids, and off we went to get Curly Girl from school.

I'm glad I had requested that she be out front and ready to go at 1415. I showed up at 10 after and waited another 10 minutes for her to come up. Gah! But I had built in plenty of extra time, so it was all good. Especially since we got lost a little bit once we got downtown, and I drove onto the college campus by accident. In a place where cars aren't supposed to go. Oopsie.

The shoot went well. Chloë and another girl, B, were the models, sitting at a table and coloring and playing with flash cards and stuff. Their biggest issue was getting the angle right, to show both the models' faces and the Dollar Tree stuff on the table. B was older than Chloë, but Chlo took direction better and IMO behaved more professionally on the set. She stayed put when she wasn't told she could have a break instead of stomping off every five minutes for a drink. Not that B was a brat, but she wouldn't stay still and wait between shots.

Jack and Sophie behaved well, too. Thanks, in large part, to the giant jar of pretzel sticks someone had brought along to the set. They ate lots of those and were kept quite content by them.

The drive home was long and arduous. The traffic in downtown Norfolk was thick and impenetrable, no matter which side streets I tried to duck down to avoid the snarling mess. Finally, we were able to break out onto the interstate, and the flow wasn't too bad. Except I was having major touch-and-goes and nearly rear-ended the car in front of me when it stopped and I didn't. I "came to" at just the right moment to hit the breaks. Thank God for car seats.

Once home, it was all I could do to make it inside, rather than just falling asleep right behind the steering wheel and making the kids sit out in the cold with me. It was a struggle, but I made it. If I have to go buy iron at the drug store and take multiple dosages, I guess I will, because I obviously need it. Soon as I can get to it...

Rob woke me up when he came home, but I don't remember. Eventually I woke up again on my own, and we went to Cici's Pizza for the school's cashola (fundraiser) night. We were definitely the stragglers, but there were still some people from school to recognize and welcome us. It's our first cashola of the year, and the kids were dying to go, so we did.

I dozed off again when we got home, when I was supposed to be crocheting dishcloths! Oh, well. Think I'll just take my meds and go down for good. Hopefully tomorrow will be more wakeful for me.



I've got something to say. Perhaps I shouldn't say it. Perhaps it'll enrage a few of my readers, or at least discourage them from coming back here. That isn't my goal, and if you want to have a discussion about it, please, I'm all ears.

But this is my opinion: Babywearing doesn't make you a better mother.

And it doesn't make for a happier baby, either.

I'm not saying this because I wasn't a babywearer. In fact, I was. When Chloë was a wee lass, I had her in the carrier all the time, except for when I slept, and even then when I was so completely exhausted I could overcome the discomfort (for me) of sleeping that way.

Was she a happy baby? Sure, for the most part. But I also had to wear her, to keep her upright, because she had severe reflux. If I needed a nap, or a shower, and couldn't wear her, she was in the swing or the bouncy seat, but then strapped right back in again when I was up. I wore her to cook, I wore her to clean, I wore her everywhere.

With Jack, I honestly don't remember. That first year, after the twins' birth and Robby's subsequent death, is largely missing from my memory. I can't remember a lot of things I should remember about parenting Jack as a baby. I hate it and it's sad, so let's move on.

I didn't wear Sophia. I barely had her in the carrier. Why? Because my back was all but destroyed in my surgical delivery of her. It still is, and gets worse as time goes on, so less and less is the time that I'm actually able to hold any one of my children, unless I'm sitting down.

That makes me sad, of course, but it doesn't make me feel guilty, because there is no rule that says you must wear your baby to be a decent mother, and there are no facts to back up any claims that constantly-slung children are happier children.

If I had to pick my happiest kid, in fact, it would be Sophia.

In fact, if I had to go out on a limb, and here's the part I probably shouldn't say, I would venture to guess that wearing your baby 100% of the time could actually be harmful. 

There. I said it.

Why? Because it certainly doesn't foster independence, and it certainly doesn't help with physical development. A worn baby isn't getting essential tummy time, to learn to roll over, sit up, crawl, and eventually walk. And I would further venture to say that losing out on that time affects verbal skills as well, as children learn to talk by identifiying the things they encounter, and what are they going to say about seeing Mom's neck 24 hours a day?

There came a point in Chloë's early life where I had to fight the urge to never put her down and actually let her lay on her belly, apart from me. She absolutely hated it at first, but then, after just a day or two of these attempts, something amazing happened: She started chattering away, for the first time! We got to hear what we called "her little piece of voice" which, until then, we'd only been witness to for a split second in the middle of a tiny sneeze! It was wonderful, and we loved it.

Maybe I'm grasping to say that constantly worn babies (and please, do notice my dichotomy here between babies worn ALL the time and babies worn SOME of the time, with which I have absolutely no issue) will be slower to develop physically and verbally, but I seriously don't think you can argue that it won't affect independence.

And I'm aware that I'm somewhat unusual among mothers, who tend to be less likely to foster independence in their children than are fathers. I've always been about that, though. I'm proud of it, too. My kids have a very healthy level of attachment (yes, I know all about those child development phrases, I took the courses in college, too) to both their daddy and me, and I'm not concerned in the least. We love them, and they know they are loved, without a doubt. They are comfortable, and they are learning to be individuals. They do not look to us every moment for approval. Yes, they come to us for comfort when they are injured, either physically or emotionally, and we absolutely give it to them.

But they are also encouraged to learn to deal with it - whatever "it" is - amongst themselves. To play by themselves. To come up with their own entertainment. To be apart. To be unique. To be individual. To grow up. At their own speed, on their own time, but to do it just the same.

Do I feel guilty that I don't wear my three-year-old preschooler? No, I don't. If you don't wear yours, neither should you. And if you do, well, bravo. But that doesn't make you better than me. And it doesn't make your kids healthier or happier.

I guess I've said a mouthful.


Works For Me Wednesday: Etsy!


It's no secret for regular readers of my blog that I have an Etsy shop. Do you know Etsy? (I always think "Betsy without a 'B'.") is the place to go for all things handmade! From classic artwork to knitted and crocheted items (me) to greeting cards (hopefully me in the future!) to tutus (me again! hi!) to pins and hair accessories to jewelry (oh, the jewelry that can be found on there!)and beyond anything you can think of, Etsy is the place! It's the online marketplace for buying handmade goodness.

As for my shop, I'm doing modestly well but am supplementing right now with local craft shows. Every time an Etsy sale comes through on my email, though, I'm jump-up-and-down excited! It's really wonderful, between sales and feedback, to have something you have created from your own two hands be so appreciated by others.

So whether you're looking to make a buck from your own creativity (you can also sell craft supplies and vintage items on there) or shop for the holidays and special occasions without spending money on what I call "cheap plastic crap from China," consider Etsy. I promise it's worth the look.


No News Is ... Bad News

Well, I haven't heard a thing from California, and today was Callback day, so I'm guessing Chloë didn't get the Zapf Toys commercial. I called her agent out there, and he said sometimes they call a day or two after the callback to let them know, but that it's probably a 'no.' So, that's that. I'm just really glad we got the opportunity to try this time!  If there is any new information, of course I'll share!

On the positive side, she's still doing the Dollar Tree ad tomorrow and will hardly miss any school, since the call time is at 1500. She'll miss the last 45 minutes or so, and she and Sophie will both have to miss dance class, but that's okay.

We missed dance class today, too. I was just so tired. I haven't been taking my iron again - I ran out of the high-dose prescription and haven't had a chance to get to the doctor for more - so I think it's getting to me again. Anyway, the kids and I were upstairs so I could fold that mounain of laundry, which I did, when I decided to close my eyes for 10 minutes before getting in the shower.

I just couldn't wake up again.  The kids went to their rooms for naps, instead, and I stayed where I was for long past when Daddy came home. I had more I needed to do after dance class, too, so I'm highly annoyed with myself. I should have known better than to try and cat nap!

Anyway. I forgot to share this piece of good news, too: My psych eval finally got turned into the surgery center, and that was the last piece of the puzzle!! I'm so excited. Now it's going to insurance for approval, and I hope to know soon whether I'm getting the surgery or there are more hoops to go through, first. Between my current weight and the sleep apnea, I'm praying to be a shoo-in. Cross your fingers for me!

Television: Did anyone else notice that the Russian crime guy (uh, criminal, Melanie?) on tonight's L&O SVU is the same guy who played the Russian mobster recently on CSI:Miami? I guess that's the only role for Russians, these days.

Also TV: Was anyone surprised about the final three couples on Dancing WTS? It was a toss-up for me between Cody Linley and Warren Sapp, skills-wise, but I'm glad former fellow Hurricane Sapp is dancing with the other two couples!

That's it for today. I'm off to work on another dishcloth. Two down, 48 to go. Oy.


Quote(s) Of The Day

This conversation was brought to you by the letter 'J' - as in Jack, for once!

It occurred in the car on the way home from dance class, and it went a little something like this:

Jack: Guess what letter we're doing in school today, Mommy?

Mommy: What letter, baby?

J: "F"!

M: Oh, good!

J: What words start with F?

M: You tell me, buddy! What starts with F?

J: Fire...fork...flower...and what's that word that Daddy says?

M: (knowing full well the word and knowing full well that he knows it, too): Uh, friend? Flamingo? Fornication? Flipper? Frown? etc.

J: No... FUCKIN'!

M: (gasping) Jack!!! You can NOT say that word! Did you say that word at school?

J: Yeah.

M: Did you say Daddy says that word, at school?

J: Yeah.

M: (trying not to die of laughter and excited about relating this story to Daddy later): That's not a nice word, Jack. I don't want to hear you say that again. Yadda, yadda...


Manic Monday


I stayed up last night doing paperwork, catching up on the kids' school papers, and knitting the second of these little socks for my friend C's little baby. It's cold up North where they live, and she wanted something with long cuffs to help keep Baby from pulling them off. I hope these do the trick, C!

The yarn is the super-soft and squunchy KPPPM, aka Koigu Painters Pallette Premium Merino, which I think I mentioned the last time I showed the first sock. It's my first time knitting with it, although I have a small stash of it waiting to be used. Now, I can't wait to figure out what to make with the rest of it!

It's going to have to wait, though, since I have started on my next commission, the pile of 50 kitchen dishcloths for a customer at the big craft show earlier this month. I've only gotten one done today, but they go fast. Which is good, because so does my attention span.

Sophia and I had a quiet morning, as both of us were really tired. We snuggled on the couch, and she dozed off on top of me for a little while; I dozed right back. I love holding a sleeping child. It's so rare now that they're not tiny babies, I've really got to soak up the warm fuzzies while I can get 'em!

In the afternoon, I tried to get up and be productive, since Sophia had more energy and Jack came from school in top form. He'd had a good day and was raring to go. I didn't really get anything of note done, but we made quite a mess in the living room doing it. It was a busy dress-up day for the girl and still all about the Escalade for the boy.

When Chloë came home, I realized I better get in gear, so I hustled everyone upstairs while I took my shower and got dressed. She dressed for tap class, and then we left. We sat at dance class the whole time, instead of running off to shop somewhere, so I could do some crocheting. I only stitched for the first half of the time, and then I fell asleep for the second half.

At home, Rob was there, so we gave over the Littles and then set off to deliver more Fall Product. {Both kids are behind in homework from being sick and traveling, so I  nixed the skating party. Neither even mentioned it.} Only a few people were home, but a neighbor who we'd delivered to the day before found us and came up to the van to buy more candy from us on the spot! So then, of course, I had to call up and order some more to replace it. Easiest sale ever.

When we hit all the houses, still missing a few who weren't home, we returned home to find dinner on the table. Rob made a hodgepodge of garlicky shrimp, spicy tomato rice, corn, and biscuits. The kids ate really well; everyone was hungry. During dinner, the Schwan's guy who we didn't expect until Thursday arrived. Rob was P-O'd that he came three days early during dinner time, but we accepted the shipment. Half of it was missing, so now I'm annoyed, too.

I went upstairs to tackle the enormous mound of laundry that has once again built up. I manage to fold one basket before I realized I had to go pick up the Fall Product that I'd ordered earlier in the evening. Oops. So that was the end of the laundry, although I'm awake now and may go work on it some more after this. My main objective is making sure the kids have enough undies and jammies in their drawers, and getting together Chloë's wardrobe for the photo shoot on Wednesday afternoon for Dollar Tree. I'm supposed to bring a lot of stuff.

So in my braless t-shirt and shorts - way inappropriate for the freezing weather but, like I said, I'm down on laundry - I ran to pick up the Girl Scouts stuff. I shivered repeatedly while I waited for her to do the paperwork, and then I high-tailed it back home. Hopefully, we can deliver the rest of the goodies tomorrow. She's two away from the next reward plateau, though, so maybe we'll sell some more to get there! (Or, uh, order it ourselves...)

I didn't feel like more laundry, so I sat down to watch TV and crochet, and I've been back and forth between there and here ever since. Rob never came down again after putting the kids to bed, so I'm all by my lonesome.

And I don't like it.

Think I'll go up and join. Even if it does mean doing laundry, tossing and turning in the bed, and using that dreaded CPAP. My insurance apparently covers a change in mask, so I think I'll go for it. Maybe it's the mask that I hate so much?

[Confidential to MIL: Thank you for the card. I cried, of course. You made my day.☻]


The Many Faces Of Eve

I don't know why I called her that. Just go with it.

In an effort to get a decent picture of Sophia's new 'do, I had to take a lot of pictures. She was in a very silly mood. I pretty much struck out. Here are four examples:


She's forever winking at us. Usually this is accompanied by a thumbs-up sign. She's quite the character.


In full-on "Mom, do this!" mode.


Now we're at the "hehe, you can't get me" stage, although the jokes on  her because it shows off the back quite well! And doesn't she have a nice neck?!


And finally, the "I give up and I'm going to start picking up laundry" pose. She blinked, but this is the best shot of her hair. It's cuter in person, especially when it's got a little "product" in it and fluffs up a little.

All of which is to say, I can't wait until it grows back!!! I have two little girls, darn it.

Sunday was pretty quiet. Chloë and I got out there in the frigid air to deliver some Fall Product. I had one lady tell her, "No thanks, try next door!" Um, don't think so, you ordered this sh*t and you're going to pay for it now! She was pleasant enough once she realized her mistake, but it's so annoying to have to keep going out day after day to find these folks at home. I ended up calling half the list to tell them we'd be there tomorrow night, and then I got home to realize that after tap class tomorrow, the kids have a skating party, and I don't know whether we'll be there after all!

I stayed up all night knitting. Can't crash now; I think I hear Sophia.  And so begins another week.


Bloggy Love


My good friend Nadine over at In Blue Ink bestowed this "I ♥ your blog" award on Smellyann Strikes Again! I love knowing that what I'm writing, as blathery as it is sometimes, is being enjoyed by someone!

Part of accepting this award is:

  • Displaying the award.
  • Linking back to the person who gave it to you.
  • Paying it forward & nominating 7 blogs.
  • Leaving comments on their blogs telling them they’ve received one.
  • Enjoying the award.

So let me go peruse my Google Reader for 7 blogs I love to read (I'm going to try and choose people I don't actually know IRL for this one):

  1. Angry Chicken
  2. Armelle - A Li'l Bit of Everything...
  3. Big Mama
  4. Card Felt Greetings
  5. The Gibson Five
  6. The Rinrins
  7. The Crafty Crow

Now to remember how to post the award. Thanks, Nadine!