Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Fun Day at Target with Llama

On Wednesday, Llama and I went to Target for a few last minute purchases (we hosted Thanksgiving dinner for 17 people). It was mostly successful, until I realized that I'd forgotten the very important Wii accessories that were actually the real (and secret) reason for the trip. I mean, how would I entertain people if I only had one wheel for MarioKart and one motion thingy for the Sports Resort game? So I took the stuff that I remembered to the car and we went back in. I got distracted when I noticed Yankee Candles. (Sidenote: I'm often distracted, in case that's news to you.)

So I stopped to investigate these candles and sniff them to see if I wanted anything new, because I'm ridiculous in the candle-buying department. I dropped a lid, and Llama said... FUCK. And my first response was to laugh, but I managed to keep a straight face as I came up from the ground, and I looked at her and said, "That is not a nice word. I'd like you to use a better one." Yeah, yeah, she's 19 months old and she doesn't understand logic. Well, whatever, she'll never understand if I don't work with her.

So she again says, "Fuck." And I repeat that it's not a nice word. She starts pulling at the buckle on the strap keeping her in the seat, and yelling, "Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!" I hustled out of Target with no candles. I got the Wii accessories later.

And do you know what Bucket pointed out to me yesterday? She was saying "STUCK." She does not like to be strapped in anywhere, and she proclaims that she is "stuck" all over the place. In the car, when she's being held against her will in places like church or time out... and in Target.

Good thing he translates for me.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Contemplating mortality

My brothers lost a really, really good friend last night. He was only my friend by extension - I didn't talk to him regularly, his number was not in my cell phone, and we didn't email. We weren't Facebook friends. But he was family to my brothers, and so I grieve for him, his mother, and my brothers.

He was the first guy to talk to my youngest brother when we moved to a tiny little town. He was the kind of guy who literally would do anything for you. As I've mentioned a couple times, we didn't have the best childhood, and we cobbled together our own families as we could. This guy was part of theirs.

I'm comforted by believing that there is a Heaven and that he is there. I'm comforted by believing that God will bring his mother and my brothers and all of his other friends and family strength and peace. I believe that there are people who are too good for this world and they get called home too early, and that he is one of them.

Vaya con Dios.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Part Two: It's all fun and games until a random guy tries to convince you to get B12 shots

This is the second part of the story of our trip to Great Wolf Lodge. Part One is here.

Okay, so Llama was bathed and ensconced in bed with Bucket, all nice and snuggly warm, so my brothers and I went to the Meijer store next door to find laundry detergent. I'd never been in a Meijer. It's like a super Wal-Mart, with food, car parts, clothes and all, but with the added benefit of having beer, wine, and liquor because it's not in Pennsylvania.

So we found the laundry detergent and I thought we were in business, but then Wolfman decided that he wanted to check out the alcohol selection. It was not great. It was the kind of liquor that poor, underage college students without any good friends drink. I'm talking about a gallon of vodka for $5. Even Vladimir costs $13 for a gallon - I should know, I drank enough of it. The Army Guy and I were just poking fun at the knock-off names, like John Danvers and Admiral Nelson (but there was no Jack Daniels or Captain Morgan), while Wolfman inspected the offerings.

Wolfman made the mistake of saying that he wanted Red Bull. A nearby man took that as an invitation to start telling us about his brother, the ER doctor, who regularly takes shots of B12 in order to stay awake. He talked at length about vitamins and how mega-doses of vitamins will provide energy and stamina. He also told us he had been awake for "days." Wolfman just kept nodding and providing more and more personal information, like "We're not from here," and "We're staying right over there."

At one point, I looked at The Army Guy and said, "Is this really happening?" and he nodded, so I guess it was.

Finally, I said, "We have to go, thanks for your time!" and started walking away. The Army Guy followed, and eventually Wolfman did, too. I guess I wasn't clear enough when we were little - you do not talk to strangers! You certainly don't tell them you're traveling! And so we laughed about it because nothing bad happened to us.

Part Three: It's all fun and games until your daughter sticks her hand in a strawberry margarita will follow soon.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's all fun and games until someone throws up in the bed.

A few weeks ago, we set out for Great Wolf Lodge, with the intention of meeting The Army Guy, Frenchy, Z-man, and Wolfman for a great weekend of swimming and waterslides and family bonding. Bucket was less than thrilled, because he's usually busy on weekends and he does not take time out to go on waterslides. We left right after he got home from work on a Friday afternoon.

We drove for about an hour and a half, and Llama was super-starving. The kind of starving that causes her to shriek at me and throw her snack trap, because a snack trap is just not going to cut it. There is a dearth of resources on the Ohio turnpike, so we ended up at a rest stop McDonald's. (Note: I am not opposed to Happy Meals.) The line was incredibly long, they had about 3 people working, and nobody was happy. There was a man who said he'd been waiting for a chicken sandwich for 40 minutes. Nevertheless, we got some food and hit the road. (Another note: I used to be opposed to eating in the car, but when needs must...)

Llama ate nuggets and fries and fell asleep. The next hour or so was pretty nice. I started to doze off and... Llama woke up, angrily. So we stopped for diaper changes and running, but it was pretty dark and I don't like to let her run in parking lots in the dark. So I wrestled her little angry self back into the car seat with promises of swimming, which were met with smiles and, "Swim? When swim? Swim swim?"

The next hour or so passed uneventfully. Llama was sleeping again, and I called to let my brothers know that we were arriving shortly so they could meet us and help us carry everything in. It was fabulous. Llama woke up and was very, very, very excited, so we let her jump in the bed and run around even though it was 10 o'clock at night.

And then she threw up in the bed. All over herself, the bed, the pillows, and her blankies. Then she tried to run away from it because she's never thrown up like that before, and she continued to throw up. I finally caught her just in time for her to get it all over me, and got her into the bathroom where she got it all over the bathtub. Bucket, that very smart man, was already on the phone with the front desk getting new bedding and asking about laundry facilities.

There are more parts to this story, but I'm pretty sure Llama is calling Tokyo, so I should probably be done with it for now. Part Two: It's all fun and games until a random guy tries to convince you to get B12 shots, will follow shortly.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monsters are happier than octopi

Last year, Llama was an octopus for Halloween. She was very unhappy about it. There is photographic evidence, but I'm too lazy to go look for it. I'm sure you've seen it before. She was alternately angry and tearful, and her mobility was restricted. It was an issue for her.

This year, nothing could have stopped her. She danced on the tailboard of a firetruck before marching through town with all of the other monsters, grim reapers, and iPods. (Some costumes were more imaginative than others. There was also a pregnant Ben Roethlisberger. Someone should congratulate him. Her? Whichever.)

I had to be that mom and take her picture in front of the fireplace.

She acquired two treat bags, ate Nerds and Cheez Doodles, and was generally enthralled by all of the flashing lights. When the streets are closed by police cars, firetrucks, and volunteer firemen's personal vehicles, there are a lot of flashing lights. Llama likes them. She also likes candy. It was a good night.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Lesson in Animal Sounds

Llama and I went to a baby shower today. Of course, she tried to steal some presents. One of them was a barn shape sorter with animals, so my friend was doing animal sounds with her.

E: What does a cow say?
Llama: Moo.
E: What does a duck say?
Llama: Mwack. (Llama speak for quack.)
E: What does a pig say?
Llama: Shit.
E: I don't know that kind of pig.
Me: Laughing hysterically.

I have no idea how she made that connection. Of course, I do know where she heard the word "shit," and it was from me. It's time to clean up the ol' vocabulary.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I just can't seem to get it together.

Once I get it together, I can't keep it together. If you've known me for a long time, then you know that I used to have a memory like a steel trap. I didn't forget things. I was able to keep a complicated schedule, including assignments for six different undergraduate classes, a work study job, and an internship, straight in my head. No forgetting. Only random use of my planner.

And now I seem to have lost all ability to do that. I have a planner. I live and die by it. If it's not in there, then it doesn't exist in my world. So since I never wrote, "Lock the car," and, "Hold on to your driver's license and debit card," in the planner... I didn't. I did not lock the car and I left it unattended on a medium-size public college campus for eight hours. Luckily, all that was missing was my grey jacket and the mail. Strangely, the Sirius receiver was left. Maybe they don't care about satellite radio. But I really liked that jacket, and it was so old that I can't get a new one to replace it because nothing new is as good as something old. Plus the mail... well, taking my mail sucks, because I had written checks for bills and such, and it's clearly an issue to have such important things missing.

And the driver's license and debit card. I put them in my pocket and I walked to the drugstore for some cold medicine. Somewhere after my purchase, I lost both of them. Of course, I didn't realize this until I was at the grocery store getting milk for Llama. (A day that ends without milk does not end, in case you didn't know.)

And so, I have money in the bank but no way to get it. And I'm a little scared of the whole identity theft issue. AND if I see someone wearing my great grey jacket, I'm going to jack them up. You just watch.

But really, all of this could have been avoided if I still had a memory like a steel trap. How do I go about getting THAT back?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Photo Montage from Summer 2009

Set to music. Not actual music, because 1) I don't know how to do that and 2) it irritates me when I open a page and the music scares me and I have to scramble for the volume button. I'll just illustrate some lyrics.

The song is "Daughter," by Loudon Wainwright III, and I first heard it at the end of Knocked Up, while I was pregnant, and I sobbed.

Everything she sees, she says she wants.
Everything she wants, I see she gets.

That's my daughter in the water, everything she owns I bought her.
Everything she owns.
That's my daughter in the water, everything she knows I taught her.
Everything she knows.

Everything I say she takes to heart.

Everything she takes, she takes apart.

That's my daughter in the water, every time she fell I caught her.
Every time she fell.

That's my daughter in the water, I lost every time I fought her.
I lost every time.

Every time she blinks, she strikes somebody blind.
Everything she thinks blows her tiny mind.

That's my daughter in the water, who'd have ever thought her?
Who'd have ever thought?
That's my daughter in the water, I lost everytime I fought her.
Yea, I lost every time.

And now that I'm crying, I'll end this for tonight. The promised photos have finally arrived.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tomorrow I will post a kajillion pictures.

Today, I want to ask you for a favor. Go here and vote for which hospital you'd most like to see win a gameroom from Microsoft. You could win an Xbox 360, but I don't care about that. I care about sick kids having something to do with their time since they can't, you know, go home and play with their siblings and friends. If you don't have a favorite hospital, you can vote for Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Thankfully, we've only needed them once and it was a very minor issue, but I am happy they were there.

Thanks. And pictures really are coming, either tomorrow morning, or possibly later tonight. But please go vote.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Blogging about blogging... again.

This is just a short update in list format. You know I like lists.

1. We went to Erie for a couple days before my semester started. Llama had a great time. So did we. Llama learned that she really likes to swim underwater and that she likes to jump into the water from the side of the pool. I signed us up for swimming lessons.

2. The new semester started. I'm a stress ball.

3. Llama and I are going on a long weekend with Bucket's family. Bucket's not going. There will be an "Adventures of Llama and Tuna Roll" upon our return.

4. I have pictures. Lots of pictures. But they're on my camera and not on the computer. The situation will be remedied after we return from the long weekend.

5. I know I'm a bad blogger and I keep promising to be better. Sooner or later, I'll get it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

True Confessions

1. I am a lazy blogger. I know, I didn't have to tell you that.

2. I'm drinking wine. Alone. Bucket has a class on Wednesday nights, Llama is cutting SEVEN teeth, and I need this glass of wine. I love it. Carl Reh is my best friend.

3. I got a B in my Tests and Measurements class and I have not even jumped off a bridge. I no longer have a 4.0 GPA of which I am proud, but instead a 3.83 GPA that I do not deplore. I won't say I'm proud, though. I'm angry, both at the capricious grading system and with myself for slacking off even a little bit this summer.

4. I not-so-secretly think that Llama and Bucket are in a conspiracy to kill me with messiness. If Bucket leaves something out, Llama takes it and hides it. If Llama takes something and hides it, Bucket picks it up and puts it on the kitchen counter. I will make a list of things on the counter: 4 black beaded bangles that I wore once, the >. key from this laptop, two pairs of my sunglasses (one now broken), a remote to one of the electronic devices in the living room that is obsolete, and Oreos. The Oreos were already there.

5. My seat in the mommy handbasket to hell is assured. Llama is getting SEVEN teeth and I didn't even know it for sure until tonight. She didn't want to nap today, only wanted to chew on me, so I gave her Motrin and waited for it to take effect, and then put her sleepy self down for napping. When she woke up, she looked like a sweaty, limp dishrag, and she had a fever. Even through the Motrin. And she finally let me in her mouth to see what was going on in there, and it was all bad. Poor little Llama.

6. Aunt Dots is going back to New York and we will sorely miss her. It is much easier to accomplish things when someone else is wrangling the Llama.

I know, six isn't a nice even number, but I'm stopping here. :p

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Heather's Cardinal Rules of Mom-ing

1. Do as I say, not as I do. When I tell Llama to touch gently, I am feeling less than gentle. Probably because she just whacked me in the face, the chest, or (Bucket's favorite) across the butt. When I say, "Inside voice, please," I am often screaming over her so she can hear me. As she's running toward the street, I'm chasing her, saying, "No running! No street!"

2. If there is an inappropriate place to poop, Llama will find it. Bathtubs, pools, church, a road trip on which there is not one clean bathroom for three hours. Those are the best places.

3. Cheap things are better than expensive things. A Cozy Coupe that I bought off of Craigslist and a diaper box are her current favorite toys. She ignores most of her other toys.

4. Really expensive things are better than anything else. She prefers to play with my cell phone, the cordless house phones, the Wiimotes, the laptop, and anything else with a cord and/or lights. Especially if it cost over $100.

5. Snuggling in bed is not optional. Every morning starts with a cup of milk and Sesame Street while we lay in bed together. Best part of my day, and I hope, hers.

Monday, August 3, 2009

News! And two recipes.

First, the news. I resigned from the job that I started on June 15. It's totally not like me to quit something just because it's hard (and the job wasn't that hard) but when I thought through my priorities and things that needed attention, the job was at the bottom of the priorities but taking up way more attention than that. So I'm moving on. I took a graduate assistantship at school and Llama will go to daycare there. Real daycare, the kind where I entrust her to people I don't really know (wolves, as they're commonly known) and they let her wander freely. Please note the sarcasm. The daycare is actually on the campus of my school and is the only one I ever had a happy feeling visiting, so I'm taking it as a good sign. Llama and I will go visit ahead of time and make sure she's comfortable, but I'm pretty sure she'll like it because she likes just about everything and every place in the world.

And now on with the recipes! I know I'm just showing up to put up recipes these days, but as I've said before, I'm using this blog as a journal, a scrapbook for Llama, and apparently now it's a recipe box too. Maybe you're hungry for a specially flavored cookies and cream cheesecake. Or some marinated grilled chicken. Maybe you're not. But I want to remember these recipes because they were super good.

Marinated Grilled Chicken

juice from two lemons
juice from one lime
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp ground mustard
2 tsp honey
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp "Italian seasoning" (or 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp basil if you don't have the Italian seasoning)
1 tsp rosemary
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper

Mix it up, let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours. About an hour before you're ready to grill, take the marinade and the chicken out of the fridge and brush some marinade on the skin. When you actually grill, brush it again on each side. Add more as you feel necessary. It covered two packages of "Pick of the Chix," from my local grocery store, so I guess about two whole chickens.

**I'm told that the secret to good grilling is leaving the meat alone. Flip only one time. I served this chicken with grilled seasonal veggies (peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and onions) and a rice pilaf.

Super Cookies and Cream Cheesecake

2 cups crushed chocolate cookies (I used chocolate Teddy Grahams)
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/3 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs

Topping #1:
16 ounces sour cream
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping #2:
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine all of the crust ingredients and press firmly into the bottom of a Springform pan. Bake for 5 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until it's all soft and manageable (probably that's not the right cooking term, but I'm just a regular person here). Gradually mix in the white sugar until it's well combined. Add the Bailey's and beat well again. Add the flour and beat well again. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla, continuing to beat well.

Pour 1/3 of the batter on top of the baked crust. Put the cookie pieces and crumbs on top of that, then pour the rest of the batter on top of that. Bake (in your already heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven) for 45-50 minutes. Use a water bath, which is a pan of water in the oven on the rack underneath the cheesecake. It keeps the cake from cracking.

Combine the sour cream, white sugar, and vanilla and beat well. When the cheesecake is done baking for the first 45-50 minutes (it'll still be a little wobbly in the middle), take it out and spread this sour cream mixture on it. Put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Then shut the oven off and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for another hour.

Take the cheesecake out and let it cool all the way on a baking rack. Leave the pan alone. Don't let anyone stick their fingers in the cake. You laugh, but just try baking in my house.

When the cake is cool, mix together the heavy cream and chocolate chips in a small saucepan and cook them on VERY LOW until the chips melt and it's all creamy. Mix in the vanilla. Pour that on top of the cake. Put it in the fridge for as long as possible, which is hopefully 8 hours or so, but was only 6 for us and it was still okay. Put it in the back of the fridge if you don't want people to come by and think they should do a taste test for you.

It should serve 12 people, but it served 7 adults and two babies last night with two pieces left over. That might be because I had iHusband cut it, or it might be because I used a 9" pan.

**I used a 9" pan and the cheesecake was nice and tall, but if you want to serve more people with smaller pieces, use a 10" pan and adjust the times.

**A Kitchen Aid stand mixer would have been really useful for all that beating, but even though I have one, it's in the attic wasting away and making me sad. Small house = small kitchen = no room on the counter for my lovely Kitchen Aid.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Taking a tip from Aunt Dots...

Crock-Pot Triple Chocolate Mess

1 chocolate cake mix (I used Pillsbury Moist Supreme Devil's Food)
1 4oz package instant chocolate pudding (I used Jell-O)
3/4 cup oil
1 cup water
4 eggs
1 pint sour cream (I used fat-free... oh, the irony.)
1 bag chocolate chips (I used Nestle's Toll House Semi Sweet)

1. Spray the Crock-Pot well with regular Pam (not the baking kind) or other cooking spray.
2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix together. I used a whisk, but you can use a mixer. I thought the chocolate chips would get caught in the beaters and be irritating to me.
3. Pour the batter into the Crock-Pot.
4. Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours.
5. Serve with ice cream of your choice. I was annoyed that the vanilla ice cream came in a smaller (1.5 quart) container but cost the same amount as the cookies'n'cream ice cream (1.75 quart container), so I got that. But do whatever you like. :p

I can't take credit for this recipe, I got it from an old colleague. It's super good and super easy. Unless you forget to use Pam, and then it's a big old chocolate mess burned onto your Crock-Pot.

Enjoy. This will be our Sunday Family Dinner dessert.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

So I went missing for a month.

I'm sorry - it's been a little crazy. I'm working full time but just learned that if I bring my laptop to work, I have internet access, and here I am. I'm also still going to school full time and that is, as usual, awesome.

Llama walks, runs, says a lot of things that are hilarious, and does some things that are not so hilarious. For example, on Sunday, Llama and I went to church. I foolishly didn't make sure that I would have backup in the form of Aunt Dots or Grandma, and Bucket was working. So when Llama decided she was going to run, sing, and dance during Mass, there was only me to stop her. I was largely unsuccessful because all of the other parishioners were so amused by her dancing in the aisle that I could not scoop her up and run away. So that was not hilarious to ME, but to everyone else.

Bucket and I took Llama to Kennywood on Independence Day, and she rode her first ride ever. The Turtle Chase, as evidenced in this picture:

And before we left the house, giving me a little bit of attitude:

There's been a lot of whining and crying in the past month, and not all of it has been from Llama. Suffice it to say, I have already found my escape hatch and I am going to work part time at my school.
People have a way of being really crappy when they say things like, "I hate spending more time with other people's kids than with my own," to a mom who has just come back to work and is now spending more time with other people's kids. Or "Why would you work when your husband has such a good job?" Or "If you want to let strangers raise your child, that's your choice." Well, Llama's not being raised by strangers. She spends her days with Aunt Dots and Tuna Roll. And by most accounts, they all enjoy themselves.

And that's all for one day. I should be back in full effect now. :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Workin' 9 to 5, what a way to make a living!

Yesterday was my first day of work. I haven't gone to an office or job of any type since February 22, 2008, when I got a blinding headache at work and called my OB to find out if I could take extra Tylenol or maybe even (gasp!) some Motrin. Instead, I got an immediate office visit followed by a trip to the hospital because my blood pressure was insane, and then a note for partial bed rest and certainly no more working.

Then I couldn't leave Llama when she was four months old (and I know people do it all the time, I just couldn't and thankfully didn't HAVE to do it). Bucket's work is lucrative enough that we weren't going to the poorhouse with me being home, even with my naptime-induced shopping issues. And then I started school, so I wanted to spend the first semester just settling in.

But now I'm in my second semester of school. And it's a counseling program, so I want to do some counseling work. Possibly even save a little bit of money because there will come a day when I have to work full time for free (they call it internship, I think they should call it indentured servitude) and we'll have to pay for daycare for Llama.

So for the summer, I'm giving it a shot. I'm working full time, going to school full time, obviously I'm mom-ing full time, and the house is not yet a pigsty. It's only been one day, though. We're lucky enough that Aunt Dots is home from school for the summer and we are paying her to love on Llama. For an added bonus, three days a week, Llama and Tuna Roll both hang out with Aunt Dots, so she'll probably never want to have kids.

Basically, this long-winded post means that although I have pictures, I haven't uploaded them. I will tonight, though. And writings may be sporadic until I get in a rhythm, so forgive me and stick with me!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Perfectly accessorized.

(Not so wordless Wednesday.)

She may look like her daddy, but she wants to be like her mommy.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Zoo Adventure (Go Pens!)

Frenchy and I decided we would take Llama and Z-man to the Pittsburgh Zoo on Saturday. A good time was had by all.

At the gate, we tried to get a picture of them together in the wagon. (Please note that looking at Z-man is like looking at my brother The Army Guy 20 years ago. It's like a time machine for me.)

Both of them were cooperative with staying in the wagon, but not so cooperative for photos.

Z-man was really helpful with putting sunglasses on Llama all the time. He was kind of upset that she wouldn't wear them continuously.

Llama was anxious to show off her walking skills.

But her favorite, favorite, favorite part was the penguins. Since there was a Pens game Saturday night, we stopped to see the penguins for luck. (It didn't work.) And since Z-man has always gotten a stuffed animal at the end of his zoo trips if he was good, we stopped to buy him an animal. Llama first attached herself to a huge stuffed octopus that was as big as she was. I vetoed the octopus - first, it was too big and too expensive; second, we were NOT going to buy an octopus when that's what Detroit fans throw on the ice during the Stanley Cup finals. So I led her over to the stuffed penguins, of course. And she really liked this baby rockhopper penguin that she's carrying. (If I were a better photographer, she'd have her whole head in this picture, but I was chasing her at the same time.)

There's a Pens game tonight. GO PENS!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Adventures of Llama and Tuna Roll, Number 3

It's been a long time since I told a tale of Llama and Tuna Roll. Too long. They've had adventures, I just haven't told them. But I digress.

My moms' group scheduled a tour at a local dairy farm called the Spring House. It's less than 20 minutes from my house, so I signed Aunt Dots (she finally picked a name!), Tuna Roll, Llama, and me up. I thought Llama might like the cows and I thought Tuna Roll would just look around contentedly.

It was supposed to rain, so Aunt Dots and I were waiting to decide if we were actually going until the morning. But I got an email that we needed to be there by 9:45, instead of 10, which I thought. I called Aunt Dots, but got no answer. Turned out she overslept. When she called back, it was 9. Somehow, I was going to have to get from my house to Hawaiian Punch's house (where Aunt Dots and Tuna Roll were) and pick them up and then get to the Spring House in 45 minutes. Safely. Without breaking land speed records, because I don't do that with kids in the car.

I kept trying to print the directions and instructions, but my printer only wanted to print super large gibberish, so I forwarded the email to Aunt Dots for her to print. I also asked her to call the organizer, pretend to be me, and explain that we were running a bit late.

I scrambled to put a car seat for Tuna Roll in my car. Llama's, of course, was already installed in my car. I assembled juice and snacks, because Llama does not roll without snacks.

I made it to Hawaiian Punch's at 9:30, but Aunt Dots was not quite ready. Oversleeping will do that to a girl. We were on the road within 5 minutes, though. We had 10 minutes to make it to the Spring House. Not possible. I called the organizer and explained, and she said that the tours had been split, so we could still make it.

Then I asked Dots for the directions. Which were sitting on Hawaiian Punch's kitchen counter. AWESOME. I knew mostly where I was going, so I just winged it. (Wung it? That's what I say when I'm talking out loud.) Only I turned onto the right road from the wrong side, which I learned when I made Aunt Dots call the organizer AGAIN. Poor organizer.

We finally made it!

Tuna Roll petted a cow named Lilly, who stands there and lets kids milk her over and over again, all day, every day. Lilly is extremely tolerant, apparently.

Llama poked Lilly in the face a couple times and hissed at her. I guess cows are furry enough to be treated like cats. I petted Lilly nicely.

A very friendly calf tried to eat Tuna Roll's sock.

The same friendly calf licked Llama's face and hair. I guess now she has a cowlick in the front, too. (Ha!)

Llama helped feed this baby with a very big bottle. She also tried to take a drink from this very big bottle, but I stopped her.
Then everyone except Tuna Roll got ice cream cones and we went home. For naps. Because after all that, Aunt Dots and I were very tired.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Golf Outing and Llama's Tubes: A Timeline

Sunday, May 31.

9:30am: Bucket and Llama leave me blissfully alone in the house. They go to an antiques fair. I take a shower. It's only the second time I've been alone in the house in 13 months.
10:00am: I start running around like a chicken with its head cut off because I'm chairing a golf outing in just three short hours. It does, however, take my mind off of Llama's upcoming surgery.
11:15am: Bucket calls and wants to know where I am. What the heck, man!? I told you I have this golf thing. You have the baby. All day. There's no passing her back to me. No tag team relay races.
12:00pm: The golfers start arriving and handing me money. I like it. Alas, I cannot keep the money. It's for charity.
1:00pm: The golfers all leave and the pavilion is blissfully quiet. Bucket shows up with Llama because he can't bear to be away from the action for even three seconds. She runs amuck and gets ketchup, grease, dirt, funk, and God knows what else all over her pretty white shirt. I'm not watching her because I'M IN CHARGE OF THIS THING. Bucket's not watching her because he's talking to his friend and thinks that because I'm there, I should be watching her. Why can't I multitask being in charge of 60 adults and one small child? Whispered arguing ensues. I don't want everyone to see me yelling at him. (And yet I'll put it on the internet.)
2:30pm: It's Llama's naptime. Bucket doesn't want to leave. He wants me to make a bed for her in the back of my SUV and convince her to nap in it. Unsuccessful.
3:00pm: Llama is past tired, so she's running back and forth yelling at people and trying to eat rocks.
3:30pm: I tell Bucket to take Llama to his parents' house or our home, or for God's sake to anywhere but this golf outing. She falls asleep in the car, so he comes back with her and keeps her sleeping in the car.
4:00pm: The golf outing is out of beer. Not good. Two of my minions (ha!) go for more. They also bring Kahlua and cream and I partake in one.
5:00pm: Llama is still sleeping, so I tell Bucket he needs to wake her if he wants her to go to bed at all tonight. He is resistant.
5:15pm: Llama wakes up screaming. I would, too, if I had just slept in a car seat.
5:45pm: My golfers start coming back and the pavilion is loud again. And Llama is running back and forth like a heathen child. I decide to ignore it and hope that nobody recognizes that she's mine because she didn't come with me. Plus, I have to give out the prizes and thank people for coming and remind them that this was for a good cause, etc.
6:15pm: Bucket and Llama leave for dinner at his parents' house.
7:00pm: I kick the stragglers out and start packing the rest of the stuff into my car.
7:30pm: I arrive for dinner at Bucket's parents' house just in time to make them stop cleaning up and feed me.
8:00pm: We go home. I bathe an angry, overtired Llama and wrestle her into bed. Then I pass out on the couch.

Monday, June 1.
3:30am: Llama wakes up screaming. I give her Tylenol, rock her, and end up sleeping in the rocking chair for a while.
5:00am: Llama wakes up screaming while I'm holding her. I rock some more. Sing. She goes to sleep and I go back to my own bed.
5:45am: Llama wakes up screaming. Since the surgery instructions seem to imply that she's a Gremlin, I can only give her apple juice or water. No food and no milk. And I have to take away the juice in one short hour. So I bring her in bed with us and give her juice.
6:00am: Llama smacks Bucket in the face with her cup of juice while he's sleeping. I try really hard not to laugh. Unsuccessful.
6:15am: Llama smacks me in the face with the juice. Not as funny this time. Bucket is amused, though.
6:30am: I give up on trying to lay in bed with the jumping bean. The next hour and 45 minutes are spent trying to keep Llama out of the kitchen so she won't see food and want it.
8:15am: We leave. The surgery is not at the hospital, but at the outpatient surgery center near us. Much better for us.
9:00am: We arrive. Llama's finally sleeping, only now we have to get her back up.
9:15am: Explanations, etc. Everyone was very nice. They pretty much only talked to me, though. Bucket was my arm candy. Nobody seemed to think he knew much or could remember things like "She will be a little tired," or "She might be crabby." He didn't like it because he's used to being the big man in charge of everything. I felt bad because he was every bit as nervous as I was, he was just better at hiding it.
9:45am: The nurse came and walked away with my Llama. Llama didn't even care, because she had her bear and a pacifier. Bucket remarked that it might be the last time she goes happily with a stranger. We went to the waiting room.
9:50am: I went to the bathroom to cry and pray.
10:05am: The doctor came out and told us Llama was done and everything was okay. As soon as she woke up, we could go into recovery and be with her.
10:10am: They came to call us back into recovery. She warned us that Llama might cry a lot. She was not crying. A nurse was holding her and Llama was holding her bear with one hand and patting the nurse's face with the other. The nurse was surprised that neither Bucket nor I are blonde. I got out Llama's milk and goldfish, and she jumped on them like she'd never seen food before. She only wanted Bucket to hold her, so he did and they were both very happy.
10:20am: We were discharged.

So far, everything is great. Llama seems to be walking better and she can definitely hear better. And I will, hopefully, get back to my normal self in about 20 years.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The post in which I am neither funny nor happy.

I've talked off and on about Llama's ears, and I've mentioned twice now that she's getting tubes put in her ears on June 1. Which is in five days. It's the best decision, and I will explain why. (I'm going to state, parenthetically, that one reason for this blog is to record Llama's life for her in a much more organized way than the box of "stuff" under my bed. This post is mostly for her.)

In February, Llama got an ear infection. It was her third. It seemed normal. The doctor gave her the same antibiotic she'd taken twice before (amoxicillin). Six days into it, she broke out in hives. We went back to the doctor and he switched her to a different antibiotic (omnicef). She seemed to be much improved.

But when we went back for her ear re-check in March, she had either a new ear infection or the same one that had never really gone away. So the doctor gave her more of the same drug that hadn't really worked (omnicef).

Llama was still running a fever and was still very crabby and messing with her ears. She was inconsolable, but it was Sunday. So we went to Med Express, where they gave her yet another antibiotic (zithromax). She seemed to be much improved.

But then we went back to the doctor in April for her ear recheck and her ears were infected and she seemed to have a sinus infection. The doctor said this was definitely a continued infection, not a new one. And he put her back on omnicef. Which hadn't worked TWICE in the past. And he said if it didn't work, he would give us a referral to the ENT.

But first, we went back for the recheck. The omnicef didn't work. And she was again in a lot of pain, running a fever, and inconsolable. So the doctor decided there were three options and presented them to me. First was to wait and see what happened, which I was not willing to do since Llama was so obviously not herself. Second was a series of possibly three shots of another antibiotic (rocephin). Third was a different antibiotic (vancomycin), which is a drug of last resort and most pharmacies don't carry and most insurances don't cover. So I went with the second option of shots, even though we had to go to the doctor three times in three days and Llama ended up having two shots that were painful for her. In the end, they did clear up the infection. But not the fluid.

I was not surprised when it didn't work all the way. I was not surprised when we got a referral to the ENT. I was very surprised when the ENT was able to see us in less than a week. I guess that's a benefit of living near a major medical center?

The ENT gave me three options. (I really liked him, by the way. He was quick with Llama and he didn't keep us waiting in the exam room forever. That's valuable when you have a curious, nimble little girl.) The first option was to keep treating her ear infections as they come, but her hearing is already impaired. The second option was to put her on a daily antibiotic for several months, but that will definitely mess up her teeth, possibly mess up her tummy, and she's allergic to the antibiotic that they like to use for it. The third option was tubes. I thought for about 5 seconds and asked him how soon the surgery could be scheduled, and it could have been two days ago if it hadn't been Memorial Day. So June 1 it is.

The whole thing will take about two hours, and that's counting the 30 minutes we will spend each way in the car. It's an outpatient surgery and it's in the same building that my OB is in.

I was not okay, but now I am. Bucket is taking the day off from work, as much for me as for Llama, I think. I'm okay with that, because even though she won't remember, we will. And one day, we'll be able to tell her that she's a chatterbox because we took her to get her ears fixed. :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Procrastination. It's what's NOT for dinner.

A fact about me that I like to think is not well-known, but is probably known to everyone but me? I work best as the deadline approaches. Minor freakouts and caffeine are standard. If I have no deadline, sometimes I never complete projects. The corner of my bedroom that is filled with half-done crafty projects is a testament to that.

Things I am currently procrastinating:

1. Blogging about Llama's ear infections and the upcoming tubes. I can't be funny about it and being serious about it upsets me. I'll get something written sooner or later. Probably later.

2. Finishing the thank you notes for Llama's birthday presents. I'm just lazy. There's no deadline. But I do have manners, so they'll be out sometime.

3. Cutting coupons and making a grocery list. Self-explanatory. That's not fun.

4. Making a list of delegated responsibilities for a golf outing that I'm chairing on Sunday. Sunday! There are a lot of things that can only be done last-minute, and on Sunday, I can't be everywhere at once. There are 18 holes, one registration table, and one picnic pavilion. I have four helpers. I guess I'll make my list when I figure out how five people will cover 20 jobs.

5. Working out. I guess at this point, it's less procrastination and more "skipping my workout," since it's raining and I can't get outside and I've already taken a shower.

6. Buying a bathing suit for the summer. Again self-explanatory. No matter how much weight I lose, how great I look in clothes, etc, I will never like myself in a bathing suit. And yet, I love to swim and can't wait to swim with Llama this year.

Things I'm not procrastinating:

1. Planning our Disney vacation in September. Llama, Bucket, The Army Guy, Frenchy, Z-man, Wolfman, my yet-unnamed brother, and I are all going on our first real family vacation together. Three of us have been to Disney World before (Bucket, Frenchy, me) and I am a knowledgeable control freak, so I'm in charge.

2. Signing Llama up for Book Babies at the library. We needed something to do for the summer.

3. Eating my weight in cupcakes. I need to stop baking as a form of procrastination.

Not related to MY procrastination:

1. I have not yet booked airfare for Disney because I'm waiting on one last person to commit "157%" to going with us. I'm not putting something on my credit card, only to be screwed over.

2. The job offer that I've been dangling on since the beginning of May. I have done everything, they just can't make up their minds whether they want to pay me a salary that I find acceptable. They want me, they just don't know if they want to pay for me. Tomorrow's the deadline.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial Day is near and dear to my heart. It's not just a three-day weekend. My brother is in Iraq for the second time. My grandfather flew bombers over Korea. My great-uncle commanded a ship in World War II. My great-grandfather fought in the Spanish-Indian War. I don't know how many greats back, but Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox from the American Revolution, is my ancestor.

It means something. I try not to be a person who keeps her emotions at the surface, but I will say that I'm close to tears when I think of the sacrifices made by our servicemen.

And on that note, I was in Oakland on Friday with Llama for a doctor's appointment (yes, tubes, June 1, and I'll cover that another day) and as I was walking back to my car, there was a Marine in uniform trying to get directions. Several people ignored him. Pittsburgh is supposed to be one of the friendliest cities. I felt AWFUL, but rather than make apologies for something I hadn't done, I gave him directions and told him to have a great day.

I hope he got where he was going and that he's relaxing today.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

So I've been slacking on the posting.

I have no excuses, just that Llama and I have been having a lot of fun lately.

We went to the playground in Mingo Park (and that link takes you to directions to the Covered Bridge Festival, which you'll hear about in September, but the park doesn't have a website) for the first time. Actually, it was Llama's first time at a playground at all, and she had a very good time, as evidenced by her happy face and climbing skills.

There's a creek there with duckies in it, and Llama jumped up and down on the banks of the creek and pointed at them.

And we went out to lunch with some imaginary friends (the message board friends who live locally), but instead of paying attention to the news, the newspaper, the internet, or the signs along I-79, we sat in traffic because of the "Missing Ramps" project. Llama was mostly not thrilled, but got a lot happier once she took her shoes and socks off and I gave her my Starbucks cup. It was empty, but she wouldn't have cared. She likes cappuccino (thanks, Grandma!).

And the biggest news is that Llama got a haircut. Even though Bucket said it made her spoiled, I took her to the salon where I get mine done. The girl who does my hair is great (both for me and with Llama) and it seemed like she was just following Llama around and taking little snips off, but in the end, Llama's hair is much better. Not hanging in her eyes or straggly at the ends, but there still seems to be as much hair there as there was before.

And I don't have photos of this, but this morning, Llama decided to play in my makeup basket. She does it every day, and I let her because it makes her happy. I didn't think she could open anything. Like every other parenting lesson I've learned, what I think is irrelevant. She decorated the bathrooom with about $100 worth of makeup. It looks like a $2 hooker. You'd think expensive makeup would make my bathroom look like a more expensive hooker.
I guess I'll be makeup shopping in the next week. And finding a more secure way to store it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '99, wear sunscreen.

Remember that?

I didn't heed the warning. I tried to tan my pale Celtic skin, over and over again, to the point of blisters and lobster-red skin. On the days when I wasn't trying to burn myself, I forgot sunscreen.

I had a mole removed a few weeks ago. It was "congenital but with a number of abnormal cell divisions," which basically means I was born with it but due to my failure to appropriately protect it (and the rest of myself) from the sun, it was pre-cancerous. I have to go back in six months and every year thereafter for the rest of my life, because once you've had one mole like that, the odds are greater that you will have more cancerous or pre-cancerous moles.

So, wear sunscreen.

**I was, in fact, part of the class of '99. That song was even DIRECTED at me and I didn't listen.**

Monday, May 4, 2009


Ear infection. Number four or number five, depending on who you ask. I say five, the doctor says four, but that four has been going on for TWO MONTHS. Either way, it's not fair to Llama that she continues to be in pain and have her hearing impaired.

Out of the entire practice, there is one pediatrician that I don't like. He calls me "Mom," instead of Heather or Mrs. Bucket, and he's old and he scared Hawaiian Punch when SHE was a kid, so he's extra scary. He also dismisses my concerns and I feel like he's accusing me of things when he asks me questions. But when you call for a sick appointment, you get what you get and you don't get upset (yep, preschool logic reigns here in the Llama house). Anyway, I again brought up my concern that this many ear infections, or this one ear infection that's lasted for this long, whichever... neither is acceptable and I asked for an ENT referral. Instead, he gave me a prescription for an antibiotic that didn't work last month and said that if it didn't work this time, he'd give me the ENT referral.

Okay, so we're going to repeat something that was ineffective. In hopes that, for some reason, this time it will be more effective? I read once that the definition of insanity was repeating the same actions over and over again hoping for a different result. Well, apparently we're insane.

Llama loves medicine. I guess that's a good thing, since she hasn't really gone a night without medicine in months.

There are days when I question...

What the HELL am I doing?

I mean, I'm in school full time. I have an interview for a job on Thursday that will, in all likelihood, be my new full time job. I'm obviously Llama's mama on a full time basis. Our house, because it is so small and has such a dearth of hiding places, always seems to be a pig sty. My husband is an awesome guy, the best dad, and incredibly supportive of my educational endeavors. But when I'm on break, as I am right now, he feels like HE is on break from the full time dad gig. Friday, he and Llama and I went out to dinner by ourselves, like a nice little family. Then on Saturday, he went to his fun second job (it was opening day at Kennywood!) and then came home to go to a wedding with me. (More on that in a second, Llama had her first sleepover!) And on Sunday, he went to a pinball show four and a half hours away and came home just in time to eat dinner at his parents' house.

Did I get the bathroom cleaned while he was on his happy fun weekend? No, I did not. I can't clean the bathroom with Llama in it, because she wants to taste the toilet brush and "help" me by grabbing the sponge and the cleaner. It scares me. Remember the vanilla debacle? The kid will drink anything.

This morning, I decided that the bathroom HAD to be cleaned, even though Llama was at my feet. I figured I would just keep redirecting her, right? Wrong. She is not a child who is easily redirected. Tampons? Loves them. Used razors in the garbage? Loves them too. Will she switch her attention from the unsafe razor to the safe (albeit not my perfect choice of toy) tampons? No. Will she sit in the hallway and play with some other, safe and approved toy? ABSOLUTELY NOT. So I had to close the door on her, leaving her in the hallway and me in the bathroom, because there was already cleaner sprayed around and I had to rinse it off without Llama's interventions. Screams and door pounding ensued. And I said, "What the HELL am I doing?"

I went through my closet and pulled out all the dry cleaning, because I have to get one of my suits cleaned before this interview. As I laid all the stuff on the bed (and Llama played in my shoe mountain at my feet), I thought, "What the HELL am I doing?" My life is crazy stressful NOW. It will be worse when I work full time. I have control issues (who would have guessed? :p) and the thought of leaving Llama in someone else's care kind of makes me a little nauseous. But I did it on Saturday with absolutely no ill effects. Hawaiian Punch was so awesome to offer to keep Llama for us while we went to the wedding, and when it was over, Llama was sleeping, Tuna Roll was sleeping, and Hawaiian Punch was already in bed when I called, so Llama just slept over. She had a great time, and I could tell that because when I got there to pick her up, she didn't care about me and only wanted to hang out with Hawaiian Punch. Knowing me, you'd think that would make me a little sad, right? Strangely enough, it made me happy. My little independent girl.

And as promised last time, pictures of Tuna Roll's baptism:

The happy parents (iHusband, Hawaiian Punch, Tuna Roll):

The actual baptism-ish... I couldn't get a shot of the water:
What a cute little Tuna Roll:
Oh, and Mother's Day is this Sunday. If your wife has already handled all the stuff for YOUR mom, it might be a good idea to do something really nice for your wife. Bucket reads this blog, and that's a not-so-veiled hint. Since I'm a mom AND I take care of all of Bucket's cards and gifts, with the exception of the ones he gives me...

Be nice to the moms in your life. Not just on Sunday. :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tonight is my last class.

For this semester, anyway. I start again on June 8. So for the month of May, I'm making it my own personal Blog Posting Month (since November is the National one, and I kind of screwed that up). There will be copious pictures and even more copious words.

Short update with no pictures:

My sweet, sweet Llama is teething and crabby. Tuna Roll was baptized on Sunday and I have pictures that are not yet uploaded. Llama walks, but not very steadily.

That's about all, even though that's quite a lot when it's in real life. Until tomorrow...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

You can't pull the wool over my Llama's eyes.

Because her hair is already hanging in them. My solution? A fountain of hair atop her head.

Or you could call it a handle, it's just as appropriate. Useful, too, for a walking baby. I mean toddler. I'm so kidding, I haven't picked her up by her hair.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A cautionary tale

We went to Bucket's great-aunt's house for Easter dinner. It's always interesting there because there are too many people in a too small house, and everyone is just drinking away the social awkwardness. Good times are had by all.

So, there is a plate of what appears to be nut roll, all sliced up and ready to eat. I grab a piece, because who doesn't love nut roll? I take a big bite. It tastes like... meat? What the hell is that? Hawaiian Punch suggests that I give it to Bucket because he'll eat anything.

So I give the rest of the piece to Bucket and say, "Finish this for me." He shoves the whole thing in his pie hole, because again, who doesn't love nut roll? And then I tell him, "I think it's meat." He managed to choke it down and not spit it out, because he has manners.

As we're eating the (dry and oddly flavored) ham dinner and discussing this meat roll, my mother-in-law asks Bucket's great-aunt about it. Apparently, 40 years ago, the aunt's mother made this "veal roll" for Easter and she liked it. But then her mom died and she never got it again (that is the sad part). So this year, she ground up some meat and rolled it up in nut roll dough in hopes it would be the same.

It was not the same. I ate meat roll for no reason. I'm lobbying for labels on all the foods at Christmas Eve dinner (at the same house), lest I get tricked again.

The cautionary part: Don't just eat things because they look like things you have eaten before without incident. People are tricky.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Baby Llama!

Just 365 short days ago, I was lying in the hospital, bored, and watching Good Morning America. I was waiting not-so-patiently for this sweet little girl to be born.

We've gone from this:

To this, taken yesterday:

And though we have over a thousand pictures of this year, I'll just show three memorable moments.

The happiest one-month-old I've ever seen:

And five months later, the unhappiest octopus I've ever seen:

And last but certainly not least, Little Miss Ladylike at her birthday party on Saturday, showing off her prizes from the Egg Hunt and wearing a dress that her grandma made her:

The more I say about this, the more likely I am to cry (and you all know that I cry a lot), so I'll just say that I'm grateful to have the family that I was born into and the family that I married into. I'm so lucky to have this little Llama to kiss and call my own. And I have learned so, so much in the past year. I can't wait to see all the other April 17ths for the rest of my life.

"If it all falls apart, I will know deep in my heart the only dream that mattered has come true. In this life, I was loved by you." ~ Collin Raye

Happy birthday, little girl.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pictures. Better late than never, right?

Last weekend, Llama and Tuna Roll went to a family birthday party with their Grandma (who is not to be called Grandma VaJayJay for the obvious reasons, despite all of our protests) and Hawaiian Punch. Tuna Roll on the right, Hawaiian Punch in the middle, Llama on the left. Coordinating outfits, of course. Provided by Hawaiian Punch. It was a luau party.


Things headed downhill from there.


New attempts to take pictures of them together after returning to our house were slightly less successful:


And things only deteriorated from there:


Tuna Roll got a little spicy when Llama smacked her in the face while trying to escape:


Llama could not understand what the problem was:


Then everyone cried and we gave up.

While Llama and Tuna Roll were partying it up, Bucket, his dad (also as yet un-named), and I were putting ceramic tile in the kitchen. Since then, we've been painting the kitchen while also dealing with the continuing saga of Llama's ear infections (third antibiotic, 20 days of sickness, still not better), which is why posting has been so light. Or non-existent, really.

Before I was someone's mom, I never thought ear infections were a big deal. I didn't think "failing" an antibiotic would make me feel like I did something wrong, either. But here's one nice thing I never knew about being a mom - last night, I gave Llama her bath and was rocking her while she drank her milk before bed (we have a whole routine, it's very nice and she drops to sleep at the end of it without any issues). She laid her head on my chest and started "talking," and I swear she was telling me about her day. Maybe not, maybe I just made that up, but she talked quietly to me for about 10 minutes and then went right to sleep. I never knew I'd want to have a baby talk gibberish to me and that it would make me this happy.

Llama's birthday party is in FIVE DAYS. I have so much work to do, starting with painting the rest of the kitchen and ending with baking a mess of cupcakes. Posting will probably be light until after the party.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

No photos for today.

Sorry, my little Llama broke out in hives and I'm not mean enough to post the pictures. I have them, of course, but I'm not putting them on the internet for all to see.

She's allergic to amoxicillin.

Whenever we're back to normal, pictures will be back, too. :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

My daughter is already planning to leave me.

As I was making her breakfast, Llama was playing in the fridge. She had one of her pink storage cubby cubes next to her. I went to the fridge for cheese (you know she needs cheese on her eggs), and peeked in the cube. She had a bottle of ranch dressing, a bottle of italian dressing, a potato, and a cup of yogurt. I asked her what she was going to make, and she looked in the cube, then back in the fridge, and grabbed the cheese and threw it in the cube, too. I think she was packing her bag.

Then I was standing at the sink, waiting for her eggs to cool, and she grabbed my pant leg and said, "Daddy?" I said, "No, he went to work." And she said, "Noooooooooo!?" I've been demoted and it's not even 9am.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Mobility. It's not just for seniors with Hoverrounds anymore.

On Thursday, Llama stood up and took three steps. She really wanted the remote. (The remote is a big motivator in this house, and now Bucket and I have to learn to share it with someone besides each other, which is a problem. We're not even sure how to share it with each other yet. Maybe we'll have to buy her a television of her own, which was how we solved this problem for ourselves.) (I'm totally kidding about the television of her own, in case you didn't catch that. I'm not really down with babies having televisions.)

Since Thursday, Llama's taken a total of another four steps, but we'll cut her some slack. The poor girl has an ear infection and tonsillitis. Who knew babies could even get tonsillitis?

In any case, the combination of new mobility + hurty ear + sore throat = a real explanation for me of why she's been sleeping so very badly lately. Bad sleep for Llama means no sleep for Mama, and on Thursday night into Friday, it was a very literal interpretation. I sat in the rocking chair (very comfortable, selected for just this situation, thanks very much to my mother in law who knew best!) with Llama from about 11pm until 4am. She couldn't sleep laying down, probably because her ear hurt so damn bad, and she was so very hot that I had her almost naked even though it was cold outside. We keep the house cold at night (saves on the gas bill, and I really like to be cold when I'm sleeping... who knows why) so I felt a little bad taking her pajamas off, but it really did help her sleep. On me.

I had to sing a lot, though, and since I'm sick, too... the vocal stylings were not at their best. The offerings ranged from "Walkin' in Memphis," which is always Llama's song for sleepy times, to "Edelweiss" and "A Whole New World." Don't hate. We were going for songs to which I knew all the words.

But last night... last night was glorious. Llama loves Amoxicillin, by the way. She claps her hands when I bring out the syringe. I hope she always feels this way. Anyway, last night Llama slept for 8 hours, woke up so that I could rock her and sing (badly) to her, and went back to sleep for 4 more hours. And now she's a cheerful, happy girl. Back to about "half-tornado-strength," as I said yesterday. I'm hoping by tomorrow she's back to her normal self. Because as tiring as it is to wrestle my little tornado, I was really scared by how quiet and lethargic she was.

Have a fabulous day! It's the second day of spring and it doesn't appear to be snowing!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday... now with MORE WORDS!

As much as I'd like to keep this wordless... do you know me AT ALL? I can't miss an opportunity to explain this.

Last Thursday, Llama, Tuna Roll, their grandmother (my mother-in-law) and I went to a huge kids' resale event at the fairgrounds. It was a good time. Tuna Roll hung out in a Snugli that I wore, and she just snuggled right in and went to sleep on me for the entire time. Llama was not so calm and loving. She rode in the stroller and used the tray to kick her shoes off about one million times.

During one of the times I was putting her shoes back on, I spotted a Fisher-Price house thing. I don't know the exact name of it, I don't even know if you can buy it in the store anymore. I said to my mother in law, "I'm going to look at this house for Llama's birthday present." As I said that, this giant hosebeast of a woman came along and put her (too old for this toy) kid down in front of it and asked, "Do you want it, honey? We'll get it, then." I know she heard me say that I wanted to look at it.

So she let her kid play with it, despite all the signs saying, "Please do not play with the toys," and I walked away, mumbling angrily about people being deliberately rude.

And then the giant hosebeast's kid had a fit and she had to walk away. She took her hands off of it, so I went back and swiped it. I carried this giant-ass house around with me.

And I bought it, with complete disregard for the fact that I drive a small sedan, with two babies and their seats, bags, and various toys and accoutrements in the backseat. The trunk was full of stroller. Did that stop me? No. Bucket keeps tools in the car, thankfully, so as my mother-in-law changed diapers, I disassembled the house and wedged its pieces in the trunk and backseat.

I drove home with my knees in the dashboard, wedged precariously under the steering wheel. Bucket reassembled the house in the living room. And while I was planning to wait and give it to Llama for her birthday, they (Llama and Bucket) started playing with it immediately. I didn't have the heart to take it away from either of them.

Was it all worth it? See for yourself.

Yes, I think so. I'm again on the hunt for a birthday present, though.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Late again and not wordless at all...

Maybe Wordless Wednesday was a little ambitious. I'll keep trying, but I think it's more likely that what's going to happen is that I will get at least one picture each week of Llama and put it on here.

This is what happens when you walk out of the living room for one minute without properly securing EVERYTHING:

And coming soon to mailboxes across Pennsylvania, New York, and Maryland:

I have to thank my friend Amy, who made the invitations. I'm crafty, but not with paper. Aren't they CUTE!?

Please note that the post for Llama's birthday will be titled, "Ain't no party like a cupcake party, 'cause a cupcake party don't stop." It's been in my head and now it's in yours.