December 8, 2014

It won't be long now ...

Sometimes, while sitting by the Christmas tree, I try to envision what our home is going to look like when we bring our newest little Leach into it. I look at the pictures on our wall and imagine rearranging them to make room for the face of a new family member. I see our classic 'family of three' photos - where our heads fit nicely into the frame - and wonder how we will cram our fourth into them. In the brief and seldom quiet moments I cherish the sound of silence, or peaceful Christmas music, knowing that very soon there will be a new yet familiar buzz in these rooms. And I'm excited. I'm not ready, but I'm excited.

With just four weeks to go I realize how many loose ends need to be tied up. When I was pregnant with Scarlett I was thorough in my preparations. There were outfits in my hospital bag, the baby's room was finished in its entirety months before the due date and the bottles were washed and ready to go. If you look in my hospital bag right now I have a t-shirt and slippers. I did buy some travel size items but everything else is going to be a last minute grab. Which, if you know me at all, will surely make me spin into a maniacal frenzy. I am the planner to end all planners. As organized as one can get. The idea that I'll be grabbing at least fifteen to twenty things just moments before heading to the hospital makes my pulse race. It's going to be like some terrifying game show. I also need to pack up Scarlett for her stay my mother's house. Gregg is busy making wooden wall art and figures for the baby's mobile which I need to get painted. I did wash all of the clothing, blankets, bibs, burp cloths and bedding. Bottles will be next. Car seats need to be ready to go - their pads need to be washed. The swing and Pack 'n' Play need to be set up. I realize a lot of these things can be done after the baby comes but that's not how I roll. And throwing in Christmas shopping, decorating, cards, calendars, wrapping and festivities ?? I'm a lunatic.

You think I'm overreacting with a month to go? Well, my grandmother told me she has a feeling I'm going to have this baby early - and that is ALL I needed to hear. For some reason, Gram is a little intuitive when it comes to my pregnancies. She even had a feeling I was pregnant before Gregg and I had told anyone, and it had just been one week since we'd found out. So naturally I'm terrified.

I've been feeling pretty good though. I do get very tired from doing very little and am in bed by 9:30 every night. I like to get in there early and get two to three good hours of sleep upfront before usually tossing and turning for the remainder of the night. I have had this issue with both pregnancies where my heart begins to race and I become short of breath and need to change positions immediately before I pass out. It starts around four or five months and continues throughout. It happens while walking, lying down or sitting and it's been worse with this baby. I think it's her position and the position of my whacked out uterus pressing on a main artery blocking my blood flow. It kinda blows but it could be much, much worse! Scarlett sometimes mocks me huffing and puffing by the time I get to the top of the stairs to her bedroom. Kid's a wise ass. Other than those issues and my constant foggy state of stupidity everything is pretty good. The stupidity is cracking Gregg up. I'll share my most recent ridiculous example. I put on my iPod and was listening to some Christmas music with Scarlett and she said, "We heard this song on the tv too!" To which I replied, "Yes! We did! And I think I may have it on my iPod too!" Stunned silence from the crowd. Then Gregg let me know that it was my iPod playing and we laughed and laughed. Ugh. I'm a complete moron these days. Jumbling up words and barely able to complete a sentence - I actually give up a lot of times midway through. Not worth the effort. Ha!

Tonight we have Gregg's company Christmas party and it should be interesting wearing those heels one last time. So, think of me when you get comfy in your pajamas and slippers tonight. I will be tugging and shifting in my dress and tights while trying not to walk more than five paces at a time having jammed my Flintstone feet into ankle booties for the occasion. Oh well! 'Tis the season!

October 20, 2014

Fall, into the third trimester...

Let me start by saying, Hooorayyy for cooler temperatures! I am finally feeling the lovely, sweet relief that used to be brought by September and is now barely swept in by October. Time to start lighting my dozens of adorable Halloween candles without having to put the central air on. And, while this will quickly turn into a ho-hum challenge, I am enjoying the task of choosing a jacket, sweater or hoodie for Scarlett each morning. It really is the little things.

Right around this time of year I start to get antsy for all things Christmas. I know! I KNOW! I wait all year long for Fall and am practically daydreaming it away when I see so much as a candy cane candle in the stores. Red and white and silver and green ... it's commmminnnnnng. Hee Hee! I just hope I'm able to enjoy all of my favorite things as I always do ... while being nine months pregnant. Waddling around the tree farm will most likely result in a You Tube video.

I'm into my third trimester, folks. It may seem like it came quickly - and it sorta did once those pesky first fourteen weeks were behind me. I did regain my energy for the most part in the second trimester but lately am back to feeling tired and already getting uncomfortable. My belly now, at twenty-eight weeks, is comparable to my belly at thirty-six weeks with Scarlett. I'm in good health, thank God, and just have minor complaints. Mostly, the numbness/tingling in my hands and arms, the four hour gaps in overnight sleep and the crazy heart-racing and shortness of breath when the baby is pressing on a main artery. I remember the same with Scarlett, I got way less sleep in the third trimester than I did once she was born.

I had Scarlett in late September and wore flip flops throughout the entire pregnancy. It's a different ball game heading into the cold weather - I have just one option for footwear these days, a pair of brown boots. I can't squeeze into anything else, so any upcoming events require a trip to the shoe store. I have just two sweaters and one long sleeved shirt so you can get used to seeing them because I refuse to spend any more money on maternity clothes. (It's tough when your husband wears a size medium shirt).

I'm having fun these days working on the baby's room. Finally getting some ideas and it's starting to come together. I've sorted through Scarlett's old clothes and, although the seasons are a little off, I think we'll have a pretty good head start. It's nice to see all of my old favorites that I'd forgotten about. Even Scarlett is enjoying looking through her old shoes and things - I think she's getting excited! (I'd be more excited if she slept more than nine or ten hours a day).

Sure, I have moments where I think, how the hell am I going to pull this off? Another child? A BABY?? That needs me constantly for at least two years?? The bottles?? The bibs and spit-up rags? The witching hour/s??? The teething?? The extra laundry?? The poop?? The "Don't Touch That!!" stage?? The extra gear?? Getting out of the house with two instead of one??

Then I think, YEAH. I think I'm ready for that, I can do it.

We've had our struggles and we've waited a long time to create our family. I feel very, very blessed to be harboring another feisty little girl. I know it will be a challenge and I just hope I can keep my head about me, be as patient as possible and love my girls in every moment. As always I pray for a healthy full-term baby who is sure to become another beam of sunshine in our lives.

October 6, 2014

age three is bullshit.

She's napping! She's napping!! She's napping!!!
(She hasn't napped in ages)

Oh thank God! If that child doesn't wake up with a more pleasant demeanor I probably won't make it to 8 pm.

She has been soooo difficult lately. I choose the word difficult because I don't want to call her names like "witchy" or "heinous". Yes, she turned three at the end of September. Yes, I've heard all about how age three is worse than two, (pretty much anytime I was venting about how tough she was at two. Thanks). But I mean, come ON. Everything is a fight! Every ridiculous teeny thing is a gigantic challenge. Right down to which stories we read at bedtime. I understand that she wants to control everything - as do I. I understand it's all about her growing and changing and developing her personality, blah blah blah. Just cut the shit already, kid! And speaking of shit - use the damned toilet will ya? As my ever-expanding pregnant stomach presses harder against the changing table, your flailing arms and legs punch and kick just as hard. You're too big for that table! It's meant for dainty little pea pods not thirty-five pound, thirty-nine inch long children. I can barely hoist you up there, it's getting out of hand. And your diapers don't come any larger and if they DID I couldn't carry a box that large. Any WHY are you awake already!!??!?!?!! 

Ugh. My joyous quiet time has ended. But first, a story before I go...

This morning I brought home some new pink cowboy boots for her. She immediately started to try them on. I saw her struggling so I let her know there is velcro that allows for easier access. She threw them across the room. She asked if they are rain boots. I replied that they are cowboy/girl boots. She said, "Humph, well IIIIIIIIIIII wanted rain boots." Umm, no. First off, Veruca, there was no mentioning of a new boot of any kind coming into this house today. I took it upon myself to purchase a product that I thought you would like as a kind surprise. You threw said product across the room. I gathered the friggin boots and put them away stating that I would give them to another girl who would love and be grateful for them. One hour later she put the boots on and paraded around in them happy as a clam.

And THAT, my friends, is age three... barely two weeks in.

September 23, 2014

The Scarlett Letters: The Third Birthday

On September 24th you will officially be Three Years Old.

Man alive.

It really is insane how quickly time passes when you're watching your baby grow up.

This past year has been filled with some amazing moments... and some incredibly challenging ones. So, Scarlett, here is a glimpse of YOU becoming a three year old ...

1. You love to play outside and get FILTHY. And I mean  F  I   L   T   H   Y.  Like, 'dumping dirt over your head, scraping what's left of your fingernails deep into the earth, filling your shoes and socks with pebbles and sand' filthy.

2. You're kinda fresh. You love the word, "no" and will use it as many times as you see fit. If I say something is black, it's white to you. You're stubborn as the day is long. Your mind is made up about everyyyyyyyyyyyyything and there's no changing it. You cannot be fooled. You cannot be bribed. You're a know-it-all. If I say, "go put on your shoes" you come back with, "they're not shoes, they're sandals." Your personality is incredible. You're a funny little character. You always have people laughing... you're my little scamp.

3. You watch a little too much Peppa Pig and may or may not be developing a British accent. You say things like, "This is an ice-lolly" when it's clearly a popsicle. You call a flashlight a torch and vacation a holiday. I'm trying to rectify the situation but you just love that show. Meanwhile you're turning into a mini Madonna with that accent.

4. You repeat things that your pregnant mommy shouts in anger at the dog. Most begin with the letter F.

5. Bedtime is a big ole game to you. As you settle into bed you love to have your routine which goes something like this:
I grab a tissue and we blow the noses of five of your stuffed animals. I then kiss those animals. I kiss and hug you. We do Eskimo-noses. You ask me a question. You tell me a secret by whispering nothing and then I have to come up with some crazy statement that you may have used as a secret. Sometimes my statement is unacceptable. We do that about seven to ten times as I inch my way out the door trying to distract you with, "ok, goodnight, love you"s. IF you are satisfied with our ritual you will play with your little animal friends for about an hour to an hour and a half before falling asleep. If our routine was unsatisfactory you will cry, whine and scream for the same amount of time.

6. You still have your favorite foods: Peanut butter and jelly, scrambled eggs, fruit, yogurt, cereal and soup. You are branching out more by saying, "surprise me!" when asked what you'd like for a meal. Chicken quesadillas are becoming a fast favorite.

7. You absolutely LOVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVE kitties. All things kitty. Your hands are kitties at times. You meow all the time. You become a kitty when you're threatened (which by the way is going to get you nowhere).

8. You get pissed. A lot. You're way of dealing with being frustrated is to cram your hand down your throat until you gag, blow your nose in your hand and bang your head on the floor. Daddy and I basically tell you how ridiculous you look and you get over it.

9. You love story time and are currently obsessed with The Little Critter Collection. I read all seven stories pretty much every night.

10. You are finally letting go and allowing yourself to be more silly. I used to call you "Scarlett P. Keaton" (remember Alex from Family Ties? Really showing my age here). You would never dance around with me or Daddy, you'd look at us like we were nuts - kinda the same way an eighty-seven year old man might look at a saggy-jeaned wanna-be thug. Lately, however, you've been dancing around with us - or by yourself, it's refreshing.

You are really a delightful little girl, so very special to all who know you. Sure, you are very challenging, but I don't think there's a three year old out there who isn't. You are smart as a whip and funny as they come. We are really looking forward to seeing you slide into the 'big sister' role.

May God bless you, sweet Scarlett. Happy third birthday to you!

August 22, 2014

The Scarlett Letters: Scarlett's Big Girl Room

Upon finding out that we are going to be blessed with a new baby, we knew we had lots of decisions to make. One being the issue of bedrooms. Scarlett's playroom was larger than her bedroom so we chose to combine the two, giving her the bigger room - since she is a big girl now. I knew that I wanted her to be out of the crib and into her big girl bed in her big girl room by the end of the summer. I wanted to allow for plenty of time for adjustments and I absolutely did not want her to feel like she was being kicked out by the baby.

We started by emptying out the playroom. We had lots of clunky dark furniture in there: chairs, a desk, a television and stand, bookcase - etc. The carpet was a disgusting gray, walls were painted dark gray and dark red - well, it was a movie room/office before Scarlett entered the scene. I had always wanted to paint the walls and brighten the place up but we were hoping to have another baby so we kept putting it off.

Once emptied, we went paint shopping. I knew I wanted pink and aqua walls after getting the inspiration from my friend's daughter's nursery. And I knew I wanted white furniture and a large bookcase and lots of storage. Gregg and Grandpa started by painting the walls and ceiling, immediately improving the room by a factor of ten. Next up, Gregg ripped out that horrific carpet. The crappy plywood floors looked ten thousand times better than that decrepit rug. Soon after, the contractor came and set up an  appointment to install the new floor. Once that floor was down I was in heaven. I could not believe how enormous and pretty it looked !! I was actually a bit envious. I would have killed for a room like that growing up. Scarlett, you're a lucky gal!

Once the cosmetic jazz was complete we shopped for new furniture and accessories - my favorite part! We decided to go with a twin bed for Scarlett and skip the whole toddler bed phase. We bought pool noodles to place under the mattress pad to keep her from rolling out of bed. I had a hard time deciding on bedding but ultimately chose Hello Kitty and it's really cute. Gregg and I spent a very long day shopping for last minute pieces and putting it all together and the result is just lovely. I am so, so happy with it. When Scarlett saw it for the first time she was so excited, her face made my heart melt!

Here are some pictures...

Scarlett LOVES her new room and has easily transitioned from the crib to the bed. We feared that she would be up and down all night until she was used to it but she hasn't done that once! She waits, as I asked her to, until I come in to get her each morning. She even took a nap in it twice! Seeing her happy makes us happy and it makes all of the hard work well worth it.

Now, onto the nursery! Eeeeeeeeeek! :)

August 21, 2014

second baby girl on the way ...

Yes, it's true! It feels so good to finally share the news. Sharing great news always feels good though doesn't it?

It's been a long road. But no longer or more challenging than the road traveled by so many others. And so many others have been robbed of the joy of sharing news like this. So, I first acknowledge them - my dear friends and strangers alike - my heart is with you.

Gregg and I have had our troubles in the past. After a year and a half of trying to conceive, I became pregnant and had a miscarriage. Three months later I started a healthy pregnancy and had my darling Scarlett. When Scarlett turned one we decided to start trying again. A year and a half passed once again and my hopes dwindled as each page of the calendar was turned. And then it happened. And we began another amazing chapter. And here we are - grateful, excited, elated and anxious.

It was May 7th when we learned of the happy news. Gregg had the day off, the weather was beautiful and I had planned for us all to go to the playground. After breakfast I told Scarlett she needed to try to use the potty for five minutes before we headed out. She furiously refused, (she still does). After twenty minutes of crying, whining, tantrums and my growing frustration I headed back downstairs to unpack our bag. I sat in my rocking chair and my eyes filled with tears. After dealing with too many stress factors that week I had finally reached my breaking point. Wait, what? Tears? So not like me. I immediately went to take a pregnancy test and within seconds I saw the plus sign. In disbelief I went upstairs to show Gregg who was still trying to coax Scarlett. We were both in total shock. After eighteen long months we were finally looking at a positive result! It explained so much - like my inability to cope with certain situations over the past week. My emotions had been all over the place and my patience was worn clean through. I took a second test later in the day to be sure and that's when I read the word pregnant - and THAT was a great moment.

For the next three months I battled constant, relentless nausea. No vomiting but the kind of nausea that makes you beg for a quick puke to feel some relief. Every smell made me sick. I couldn't think of a single thing I wanted to eat and had to force myself to eat anything at all. I spent my mornings hovering over a can of ginger ale at the kitchen counter while Scarlett had breakfast. I gagged down oyster crackers and lemon drops to kill the horrid metallic taste in my mouth. I was exhausted. I became the worst playmate ever for Scarlett. Basically, I was in my first trimester. (Nobody likes to hear a pregnant woman complain because we all know what a blessing pregnancy really is ... but man alive, it can get pretty nasty).

Fast forward a bit and you'll find me feeling better. Gregg and I were in a mad dash to get Scarlett's big girl room started and completed within a month. We decided it would be best to move her out of her (smaller) bedroom to the (bigger) playroom. We spun it in a way that made her very excited and proud - I didn't want her to feel booted for a single second.

Yesterday was the most exciting day yet. I had the anatomy ultrasound. I had been praying for another girl for so many reasons and Gregg wanted a boy for obvious reasons. Well, my prayers were answered and we are expecting another little pigtailed spitfire. I'm beyond thrilled. The idea of sisters just makes me smile. I saved everrrrrryyyyyyythinnnnng. We will be upgrading just a few things and buying some new basics but we basically have all that we need. And I'm looking forward to seeing all of those adorable outfits, shoes and sleepers for a second time.

I'm feeling good, feeling blessed and feeling incredibly grateful. And I just cannot wait to see how Scarlett fills her new role as 'big sister' ... it could go either way haha.

Due date: January 15, 2015

April 23, 2014

"this is the strangest life I've ever known..."

Today is April 23. Which means in two days I will be turning 37. Thirty.... seven. How on earth??

I don't actually mind the number at all - I am simply amazed at how quickly I've arrived at it. And at the same time in awe of the long road I've taken.

Roll back the calendar about fifteen or twenty years. You would most likely find me sitting on my bed in my blue-heavy bedroom burning incense and listening to The Doors, writing poetry and chain-smoking cigarettes, wearing a tie-dye shirt with my long hair hanging in my face. While I had several large circles of close friends and was a social person - I was very much alone in my own mind. Oh how I brooded. I was convinced I didn't have a place in this world. I wished that I'd been born decades earlier. And although I was boy-crazy from age four I just knew that I'd never find anyone that would look twice in my direction. Painfully insecure, I trudged through my days with bottles of Captain Morgan which basically acted as fifty pound weights on my ankles, anchoring me in my own hell. I desperately wanted to escape my reality. At age 36 I can look back upon that reality and say it wasn't that bad but going through it without knowledge or experience was a different story. Everyone has to fight their demons, everyone has a path to take.

My path has lead me here.

Sitting in my lovely home that I share with my beautiful family. Not my bed but a pretty rocking chair. Not my bedroom but a cozy living room. Not incense but a meadow-scented candle. Not The Doors but the sounds of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the television. Not poetry but still writing. Not tie-dye but still a t-shirt. Long hair still in my face but the cigarettes have been gone for many, many years. Still insecure but never do I feel alone. My social circles have changed but not entirely - I've just built deeper friendships with fewer people. Perhaps the biggest change is that I no longer desire an escape route. I love what I've built - on my own and together with my husband.

I've accepted that no matter how hard I've tried there are just some things will probably never change like my incredible self-consciousness. And I guess that's okay. Because that's just the way I am...
and ...

March 25, 2014

"just one more and that's it"

Bedtime. It's been quite an evolution.

Naturally, when Scarlett was a baby getting her to bed was a piece of cake. Before the mattress was lowered I was able to gently rest her peaceful body in the crib without waking her. She had two or three plush friends to keep her company but her crib was for sleeping. Those were some short-lived nights.

As time moved forward the crib mattress was lowered. It finally became so low that instead of placing Scarlett carefully into softness I was basically dropping her down with a plop. I explained my challenges, apologized for my height and my T-Rex arms. She didn't seem to care either way. And one day soon it wouldn't matter how she was placed into that crib because she would rise immediately to jump and protest rest.

At present time there are fourteen stuffed friends in her crib. I know this because after placing four blankets on Scarlett (and describing each blankets' origin - i.e. "this is the one that Mama used to take to work" or "this one is from Auntie Kyndra and Gloria") I am to count the plushies as I toss each one in the crib while she makes the animal's sound and gives them a kiss. This comes after reading anywhere from four to eight books and singing up to ten songs. There is always the plead of, "just one more and that's it!" Be it a book or a song. And if I give in to that one there is always another request on deck. This happens every night at bedtime. She tries to incorporate this seemingly never-ending routine at 'nap' time (which, I should mention, is the time when Scarlett puts on a Broadway show rather than sleeps) but I pleasantly refuse. We still launch the blankets and animals but we skip the twenty-five minutes of books and songs. After all, I need to rest my voice for later.

About seventy percent of the time Scarlett still cries when I leave the room. She has been known to cry out, "sing Show Me The Way To Go Home and that's it!" as I'm descending the stairs. Or, "Mama, I need to sing 'funny Frosty'!" (Funny Frosty is a version of Frosty the Snowman where I change the words and she corrects me). I am convinced that she would hold me hostage until midnight if she could just figure out how.

God, I love her.

February 8, 2014

red dye 40 and Scarlett ...

I'm sharing this story because I feel that it may help some other parents out there who haven't heard about this very real issue. The story is my own personal experience, I haven't done a harrowing amount of research on the matter but what I have read, what I now know and what I've seen are enough for me. Listen up...

A few months ago Scarlett began acting out in ways that Gregg and I had never seen. Often at dinner time she would throw fits, flip like a switch and shout and scream uncontrollably. We thought here we go, the terrible twos at their best. But as the days went on I started to feel like these episodes were more than just typical temper tantrums. I remembered an article I had read a year or two before about food dyes causing behavioral problems in children that were sensitive to them. Particularly red dye 40. So I experimented. I checked every jar, bottle, box and bag in the kitchen and the only two items containing red dye 40 were Froot Loops and Flintstone's vitamins. I eliminated them. Almost immediately we saw a positive change in Scarlett's behavior. Less irrational outbursts, less defiance and no more demon-screaming. It was something but I wasn't one hundred percent convinced the dyes and the episodes were related. I know about the roller coaster of the terrible twos and knew we could have been riding the peak at the moment.

Two nights ago the "demon" returned.

I was midway through Scarlett's bedtime routine, past book-reading and onto song-singing. When I started to rest  her in the crib- as I do nightly- all hell broke loose. She stood up ferociously, back against the crib rail, eyes bugged out wide and screamed from her gut at the top of her lungs in a gravely sound that I had never ever heard before. I was honestly scared. For a split second I wondered if my child was possessed - I'm not kidding. This episode continued for close to forty-five minutes. I was able to calm her down for short periods of time but as she was calming and trying to focus on a song or just talking to me she would spew out those horrid screams intermittently - it was as though she had no control over them. That's what I kept thinking, She isn't in control of her emotions/actions right now. And I wondered what was in control.

Gregg finished the job by tagging in, rocking her and placing her back in the crib. While she did scream and cry for a few minutes, the horror show was over.

The next morning my mother sent me a text, horrified by the fact that she may have unknowingly caused that drama. After wracking her brain trying to think of what Scarlett had eaten at her house the day of the episode, she realized she had given Scarlett Jello after dinner. Red Jello. She remembered me mentioning the red dye article months before. We were in shock. For me, that is plenty of proof that my little girl is absolutely "sensitive" to artificial bullshit dyes that shouldn't be in foods in the first place.

I read a few more articles and I'm not going to quote or link to any here - if you want to do the research you can. I know people have very strong views on matters like this. I've seen enough to know the deal. While I give Scarlett mostly organic foods as it is, I am making even more conscious decisions at the grocery store. Eyes are wide open. The fact that we have something like seventy-five percent of children diagnosed with ADHD in the country always sounded bizarre to me. I think we all need to take a look in our cupboards and do some experimenting before we pull the 'hyperactivity' trigger. These dyes are found in nearly everything! Pudding, frozen treats, fruit snacks, juice, fruit punch, yogurt, cereals, chips, crackers, processed meats, candy - just to name a few. The change in Scarlett's behavior was frightening. She became a different child. To think that parents go through these episodes on a regular basis not knowing that there may be a simple way to turn it all around - it's mind-blowing.

If you suspect that your child's tantrums or fits are out of the ordinary, I urge you to look into this. I am just so thankful that I made the connection early on - before we got into more dangerous situations.

January 26, 2014

new level of comfort...

We finally, finally, finally got our new chairs! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... I almost forgot what it feels like to be comfortable. (I know I sound like a jerk when we have soldiers overseas sleeping on sand... if they're lucky). But it's truly wonderful to just sit down - without having to arrange a variety of pillows behind my back or prop my feet up on a decorative suitcase. (I'm not kidding).

Here are the little (and big) darlings...

We ordered our chairs from Jordan's Furniture on our anniversary, December 4th. He chose a giant, brown leather rocker, recliner that swivels. I chose a sweet little white and indigo patterned seat with a beautiful wooden rocking chair base. We were soooo anxious for them to be in stock and delivered. They finally arrived yesterday. As I was conditioning the leather on Gregg's recliner I noticed a small amount of damage on the arm of the chair. I called the store immediately and they sent out a tech within two hours. He was very friendly, he fixed it on the spot and it's like new. Fantastic customer service. I am pleased.

Our old recliners lasted nearly eleven years, we are hoping for a great stretch with our new chairs. Don't they look purty?

January 24, 2014

15 randoms

1. It never fails when in the morning, after initial chores, the very second when I sit in my uncomfortable chair and fix the three awkward pillows behind my back just so and reach for my coffee to have the very first sip while it's hot - Brody barks from outside for me to get up, go into the kitchen, obtain a cookie and hand it to him through the slider door.

2. I hate having to walk past people looking for donations when I come out of (or walk into) a store. I mean, I get it - most of us have had to do it at one point or another for school or what not... but I've come to realize that it's easier to just give a buck rather than awkwardly fooling with keys or sunglasses ... or pretending that a seagull is chasing me.

3. Much to my surprise, I absolutely love Instagram. I am such a fan. I love looking at creative photos from strangers across the globe. I find that my favorites are mostly from the Netherlands and Australia. I participate in blogger Fat Mum Slim's photo-a-day challenge and I love it. It's not easy to fit the prompts on a daily basis - but it's a great creative outlet. {I'm @sherib0bbins by the way}.

4. I've created a little Chapstick-loving monster. Scarlett sees me apply Chapstick and lip gloss routinely and is naturally intrigued. She now has her own special Hello Kitty lip balm and is not afraid to apply it all over her face. Liberally.

5. I tip well for a person of limited means. I can thank my harrowing days and nights as a waitress for that. For those of you who don't know this - servers rely on their tips, their paychecks are usually laughable. They are ordered around and often treated poorly on a daily basis. It's not a glamorous job, it's by no means an easy job and just think about what your world with be like without service workers. TIP them. And tip them well.

6. I really love watching old episodes of Who's the Boss. I'll tell ya, that Mona, she's a hot shit. And I love the dynamic between Tony and Angela. It's both funny and a little sad to watch shows that I enjoyed as a kid and now side with the "older" characters.

7. The foods that I seem to eat the most of are: eggs, whole grain bread, chicken breast, beans, greens, turkey, dark chocolate, pizza, cheese and frozen yogurt. Quite an odd mix there.

8. Soon, our new living room chairs will be delivered! Gregg and I each picked out a new seat back in early December, on our anniversary. My old recliner was shown the curb in November and his is on its last leg. We bought those when we moved into our first apartment ten years ago, it was a good run. We are planning to break them in by spending a very comfortable night watching movies by the fire.

9. I watched that Lifetime Movie Network remake of Flowers in the Attic. Hoo Boy. I mean, the original had a cheese factor too but at least it was haunting and kept me nervous. I assume when someone "remakes" a film their intention is to make it better than the original... right? Definitely fell short on this one. Nine times out of ten I watch movies like this just to see the creepy old house. {One of my many obsessions}.

10. Pet peeve #23: I greatly dislike when I'm in line in a store and the customer in front of me is being super friendly and smiley and is truly pleasant - only to be met with the grumpiest of all cashiers. I feel like I always have to chime in and intercept their friendliness so they don't feel badly. I know some cashiers aren't thrilled with their position... but kindness is kindness. We take it where we can get it. And we should always give it back.

11. I love Valentine's Day decorations. I know the day itself is corny and a big money-making scheme but I enjoy pink, white and red and I LOVE heart-shaped everything. Gregg and I don't do flowers or candy (okay sometimes candy), we don't go out to dinner or anything but you know I'm scouring the shelves for clearance items to pepper my home with for everyday enjoyment.

12. I like Maxwell House Master Blend. There I've said it. I grew up on it. I used to brew it in a Farberware percolator for the best piping hot cup. When the Keurig came along I still chose MH. I just use the refillable K-Cup everyday. Of course I like Dunkin and Starbucks. But at home I'm a Maxwell House girl.

13. Even though Scarlett isn't a baby anymore I still sometimes tear up when singing her lullabies. Baby Mine? Did you ever try that one? "Rest your head close to my heart, never to part, baby of mine" ... ugh.

14. I feel like I can never see another movie in a theater and be fine with it. I don't know, the big screen somehow lost its luster for me when HD TVs came out. I'm happier watching in my living room draped in fleece with frozen yogurt.

15. "Drunk Uncle" is currently my favorite SNL character. I get the whole "Make it a treat" thing but I wish he was on more often.

January 20, 2014

Another horrifying scenario...

A nightmare seems to lose its terrifying luster when you try to explain it to someone else. I toyed with even writing it down but it was so vivid and so real and when I shot out of bed at ten of five this morning I prayed to not go back to sleep.

I dreamed I was at a little country store and saw a scrap of paper pinned to a board. The paper read something like this: "Curious about all the noise at the farm? Wondering about the dump trucks and backhoes? Come see what all the fuss is about, we'll be there to answer your questions." Now, in real life I wouldn't even be glancing at that board let alone mulling over the decision to go to that farm.

Sure enough - I was headed to the farm. Walking along the dirt road I heard the buzz of the big engines and knew I was almost there. Without hesitation I walked up the "driveway" to this gigantic dirt farm. Right away a man met me, he came out of the shadows of the tree-lined property. He was grimy and weathered. I figured from years of tending a farm. There were no other curious townspeople around - only me, Grimy and the men in their machines. Immediately, Grimy said, "You're only about five feet tall, aren't you? That's perfect. Just perfect." (Very Buffalo Bill from the van scene in The Silence of the Lambs). I was confused by his statement and when I looked behind me two other men had joined us. Fear. Horror. Panic.

The next scene had me dragged into an underground cell where I was met with dirt and darkness. Hopelessness punched me in the face and I woke up.

My heart raced for a good twenty minutes. I got up and walked around, I DID NOT want to get back into that dream, into that cell. I was able to keep from falling asleep for over an hour and the next dream was a pain in the ass but manageable. (Tornado was coming and the ceiling of my living room was leaking rain and plaster - it was a holiday, Gregg was working and for some reason nobody was available to help. Bah, child's play compared to most of my nightmares).

When I have these frightening dreams I immediately think of the people that have actually been in these situations in real life. I know the feelings of fear, despair, hopelessness - but only for a moment. I have such admiration for people that endure these horrible happenings, they live through them, the survive and they move on. Holy Sh$#.

January 17, 2014

Scarlett's first emergency visit ...

Well, I guess very few parents escape the horrors of the emergency visit. We got ours out of the way on Wednesday night. Lucky and thankful that it wasn't very serious.

Scarlett is known for her rough and tumble ways, her defiance and her flailing. She twisted away from Gregg when she didn't feel like cleaning up the aftermath of a potted plant incident... and she hurt her arm. She was holding her wrist and crying in pain so she needed to be checked out.

The trip to the emergency walk-in center was a bit rough. Luckily, Gregg's mom was able to take care of Scarlett and keep her as comfortable as possible while Gregg filled out all of the paperwork. I met them there and when I arrived she was having x-rays taken. The x-rays showed that the bones were fine and the doctor figured it was a dislocated elbow (nursemaid's elbow) and did the proper "adjustments" to her arm. We felt so badly seeing her in pain like that. Grandma rocked her and sang to her until it was time to head home. Scarlett wore a makeshift sling and got to stay up extra late and watch her favorite television show on the couch.

If you read my last post then you are already aware of Scarlett's new attitude and defiance. Just last week she decided she will no longer take medicine. Perfect. So, the doctor prescribed Tylenol with codeine and we weren't able to get that down her throat after trying several ways. She basically went to bed in pain and woke several times each hour - crying for a few seconds and falling back to sleep. Poor lil thing.

Thursday was very challenging. Gregg worked from 9-7 and I basically spent the day trying to keep her comfortable - and sneaking her regular Tylenol into different foods. It easily went down in her morning yogurt smoothie. Lunch was tough - had to resort to using yogurt again. After dinner we had frozen yogurt with meds mixed in chocolate syrup - I thought that was clever hehe. She held her arm up as if it were in a sling all day. She used only the good arm. I had a feeling that half of her reluctance was due to fear of pain. I kept testing her. Almost tricking her into using her bad arm. By 6 pm she was 'forgetting' from time to time and picking up toys with the bad arm. And by the time Daddy got home from work she was rolling around on the floor and putting her weight on it. YES!!!!!

She slept soundly all night, I thought we were in the clear. While getting her dressed she was holding her arm again, begging me to not change her clothes. I did it anyway. I moved her arm all around and it was fine but when I twisted it slightly she cried in pain. So I called the orthopedic doctor like we were instructed. We had a quick visit there and the doc said he thinks it is fine but made us an appointment with a pediatric orthopedic doctor for Monday. Ugh.

Scarlett had a miraculous recovery this afternoon it seems. She's back to being a little bull. I decided not to keep the Monday appointment and we are hoping she's all out of pain. I stopped giving her meds as of noon and she's been using that arm for everything. I think we're GOOD !!

You never want to see your child in pain but from the get-go we were so thankful that it wasn't anything serious. The same thing happened to me twice at her age - and is very common from ages 2-5, especially in girls. Once it happens - it is very easy to do it again so we've gotta be diligent. HA! Impossible.

January 15, 2014

The Scarlett Letters: let's get a few things straight...

Dearest Lemon-pie,


Eh, I'm half kidding. Let's just say you've been "testy" lately ... and trying every ounce of patience I have. Some days I'm not sure who's winning. It seems that you believe that I am winning and I believe that you are winning. So we battle harder.

Let's clear up a few things...

You are 27 months old. How is it that you are strutting around the house like you just paid off the mortgage? You're constantly throwing your things everywhere, tossing food on the ground like this is some half-assed diner. Demanding diaper changes, snacks and Mickey videos. Listen up, kid, I run the show.

If I say we are drying your hair post-bath so your teeth will stop chattering - it's happening.

When I tell you to stop using the television screen as an easel - STOP IT.

When I put dinner in front of you which you refuse to eat and you immediately pull the pin on your little grenade - you aren't getting your wish of cookies, your alternate option is yogurt or nothing.

Just because I accidentally zipped your skin in your jacket ONE TIME doesn't mean that every zipper is going to ruin your life. I SAID I WAS SORRY, CRIPES !!! Let it go, kid.

When you flail around like a lunatic during our bedtime rocking/reading session it only makes me shorten the ritual. I feel like Danny DeVito trying to rock Shaq up there. You are clearly longer than my lap and legs, I know it's awkward - I can't stretch out like taffy so please try to settle in and just enjoy it. I'm pretty sure that glider is about to collapse any day now anyway.

When it's nap time and you run into the corner I can still see you. I will come get you, peel you from the floor and carry your arched body to the crib. It's going to happen.

When you decide that you can't handle the skin from the tomatoes or that you don't like blueberries today you needn't hand me every single unacceptable morsel to be taken to the trash that very moment - you can keep them on your plate until meal time is over.

You cannot eat all of the marshmallows out of the cereal canister. Mallow Oats will simply be OATS if you do that. Trust me, it's better this way.

Stop sticking your head through the bannister. Just stop it.

The staircase is not a place to put on a jazz show. Just move your bum up the stairs and don't worry about who carries blanky and who carries bunny. We will all be together again in fifteen seconds.

I always love you. Even when you're driving me mad because you refuse to have your nails clipped and I have to go sit in the other room on the couch for two minutes and breathe- I love you. When you roll over on the changing table like an alligator nailing its prey because I'm trying to get the "floofies" out of your nose and you've got some kind of mental block against tissues and q-tips - I love you. When you throw rocks at the glass door - I love you. When you take it upon yourself to get the chapstick out of the "do not enter" drawer - I love you.

It is apparent that you are going to fight me on everything for the next couple of years and I'm going to do my best to mentally (and physically) prepare myself. (Think: running bleachers and meditation). You're beyond stubborn. Potty training will most definitely have me rocking in a corner somewhere. But I love you. You're my wonderful, smart, adorably funny little girl. You're going to be a huge challenge but it's alright - we will get through it.


January 11, 2014

Pretty Woman - revisited

Alright, who hasn't seen the movie Pretty Woman? I mean, it's ridiculous that I even posted a link to IMDB there because I'm pretty sure everyone that could possibly be reading this blog knows that movie inside and out. I, for one, know it by heart. I first saw it in the theater with my friend Shena and her mother. We were probably too young to see it but we loved it, quoted it, bought it and watched it over and over.

But I never found Richard Gere attractive until last week.

Yep. You read that right. I might have been the only gal in the world who treasured that movie so much without any attraction to the lead male. I just loved everything else. Julia Roberts, naturally because she is just so charming and fantastic (that smile!!) and her character is one of my favorites of all time. The plot, because it's top notch as far as Cinderella stories go. The fashion. The romantic game that is so cleverly played. The hotel manager. The opera date night??? Seriously. All of it. But I never swooned over Edward Lewis.

Last week, I decided to put in the DVD. I hadn't seen it in a long time and I really wanted a nice, fluffy movie - nothing heavy. To my surprise, from the very first scene I saw Richard Gere in a whole new light! It was so strange! He suddenly had that older man/Harrison Ford/George Clooney quality that I enjoy. It totally changed the movie for me. I saw each scene with new eyes.

I don't know what caused the mind-shift - perhaps the fact that I'm older now. Or wiser. Or dreaming of being rich one day hahahaha - no suh. Well, maybe a little pipe dream now and then. Maybe it's because now I had given my full attention to his character and saw his vulnerability and weaknesses. While appearing so powerful and shrewd, he is a bit broken, humble and in need. But whatever the reason - I really enjoyed watching it so much more last week. I think it added a sort of  "dreaminess" that the movie may have been lacking (in my eyes) before. Either way, I'm finally on board with the rest of the world!

I should probably revisit some of my other old favorites - I could quite possibly be remastering my entire collection! I've always loved Benny and Joon for Johnny Depp (who hasn't) but who knows, maybe now I'll give a glance to Aidan Quinn too.

January 10, 2014

they wear you out... but it's worth it

Ahhhhhh. Soaking in the moment when I am DONE for the day. Scarlett is in the crib, Brody's gone outside and had his snack, dishes are all done, humidifiers filled and all chores have commenced ... until tomorrow morning.

The rat-race.

It's so funny how you can read a million of those articles/blogs titled something like I may not have a job but I work just as hard as a stay-at-home parent and not realize that it's completely true until you actually become that parent. You get whacked with that realization * omg YUP, so true *... and then you wonder how you didn't see it before.

I really had no idea how consuming being a stay-at-home-mother can be. Year one didn't feel so crazy. Things were moving at a slower pace. Sure, Scarlett was growing and changing rapidly but she wasn't really mobile or terribly demanding. Year two sped things up drastically, leaving me to count on one hand the amount of times I sat down in a day. Year three is proving to be a weird mix. Scarlett can play by herself for longer periods of time and I don't have to watch her as closely in some situations. But she's still in diapers, fiercely stubborn, very energetic and a daredevil. Mealtime can be exhausting. Bath-time can be frustrating. Nap-time has turned into Scarlett's own Broadway show but at least it gives me an hour break. Add in heaps of laundry, swiffering and vacuuming dog hair, preparing meals, paying bills, running errands, cleaning, washing dishes - it's go, go, go until bedtime. We read books each night (she always pushes for 'one more') then we sing songs (again, 'one more') and then she cries when I put her in the crib - for just a minute or two. (She's never ready to rest). I head down the hallway and down the stairs and sigh. That sigh is not because I'm getting rid of her ... but because I'm getting time for myself after a long day. I love her like mad but need to be away from her too. To replenish my patience at the very least. Because let's face it, spending time with anyone for thirteen hours a day can be pretty trying.

I spend the first hour of my day drinking coffee and watching Today (or Roseanne). I need that little wake-up time before I start the grind. Scarlett's up by 7:20 so I am up by 6:20 every day. There are no days off, there are no weekends. She's not going to get up and make herself some eggs. She's not going to change her diaper and get dressed. She needs me. And I love that she does! I treasure that moment when she sees me open her door and announces, "MAMA!" with her great big honest grin.

And I treasure it even more than when I close her door at night - no matter how exhausting the day has been.

My motto to share with new parents (and old pros) everywhere is 'just hang in there'. Every dreadful phase passes and every tiring day/night comes to an end. The amazing thing about being a parent is that for all of the frustrating and trying moments there are countering lovely moments. You just have to be sure you're soaking up the lovely ones more than the ones that wear you down. So the next time you're admiring your little one as they play quietly to themselves - soak it up. The next time they giggle at something silly with their amazing honest giggle of crazy happiness - soak it up. The next time they hug you, kiss you or hand you a soggy pretzel to eat - eat the soggy pretzel, kiss them back and squeeze them tighter. Soak it all up. Those moments will power you through their next meltdown - or yours. ;o)

January 2, 2014

I'm on the couch!

When you become a parent you also become aware of lots of thing that you took for granted before children. Like how easy it was to do errands, how little contact you had with a sandbox and today's favorite: how wonderful it is to lie on a couch for hours when you don't feel well.

I rang in the New Year with a stupid jerk sinus infection. This used to be my calling card but over the past few years I've been quite lucky. In fact I didn't have a single cold in 2013 - until New Year's Eve. It's like a pitcher giving up his first hit in the bottom of the ninth. This one snuck in at the buzzer, started off mildly and showed its true colors on New Year's day.

A sinus infection is pretty manageable under normal circumstances. My remedies are: boxes of tissues, Advil cold and sinus, drinking lots of water and dragging a humidifier around like an I-V. However, the biggest key to my success is rest. Rest is something that is pretty hard to come by these days. And with Gregg training on a week's worth of closing shifts I'm pretty much flying solo. Scarlett goes to bed at eight but it's a long stretch getting to bedtime. She's been really good lately-playing more by herself and enjoying lengthier activities. But all day meal prep and clean up alone can seem unbearable when you just don't feel well. Last night's bedtime stories and songs nearly killed me. Alright I'm being dramatic - but my throat was so raw that I definitely skipped a few pages ... and my heart just wasn't in that last verse of Frosty the Snowman. Not to mention - I sounded like Bea Arthur.

Today, my mom offered to take Scarlett for the night - a sleepover during the snowstorm! So I packed her up and Gregg drove her over there for a slumber party. She's napping as we speak. {Funny, she never naps here}. What am I doing, you ask? I am currently set up on the couch with my fleece blanket, water bottle, box of tissues and Roseanne on the TV. It's so nice to just lounge on the couch! No watching the clock to see if it's time to pluck Scarlett from the crib or caring about what we'll have for dinner. No sitting on the floor playing Memory or hunting down the tiniest bottle of mustard from her Lalaloopsy doll - again. No running up and down the stairs for diaper changes as our hot meal becomes cold. No time table. I can do whatever I want all afternoon and all night. And I get to do it while watching the snow fall. Added bonus!

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind doing those things with Scarlett on a daily basis - I enjoy them. I mean, I do tire of mealtime struggles and cleaning up all day every day - but I love my time with her. It's just nice to have a break when you feel like crap. It's nice to lie down for hours with no agenda. It's nice to only be concerned with what I feel like eating when I feel like eating it. It's nice to run the television. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm long overdue for a catnap.

Thanks, Mom!