Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Resolutions, Shmesolutions

I've never been big on New Years resolutions. I make them all the time but I've never been really big on keeping them.

Maybe its because I make grand, life changing resolutions that aren't very concrete. This year I'll get more organized. Well considering that I have the organiztional skills of an amoeba its not that hard to do. But its also not quantifiable. How do I judge if I'm more organized? Does there have to be a place for everything and everything in its place? Do I have to develop tricky new systems for organization? Because I can come up with ideas with the best of them. The follow through not so much.

So I won't be getting organized this year because I don't know what it means.

This year I'll get in shape. Oh that is a great one. What shape would I like to be in? A square, a triangle, a dodecahedron? And how do I decide when I am actuall in shape? Who measures that?

I could say I'll lose x number of pounds. But by when? Is it okay if I gain them back? Probably not. For me this is a hard one. I'd love to lose weight but I if I don't then I get down on myself and feel worse. So I don't make this resolution anymore. If it happens then it will be a happy surprise.

None of these grand life changing resolutions for me. No my resolution is much more simple. I am going to make something every day. I am going to indulge my crafty side. I am going to be the old me every day even if its just a few minutes.

But as I've shown I'm all about this being quantifiable. The former lawyer side of me wants proof. How can I show that I have made something everyday? Why I'll blog about it, of course. Not here. Here is just for Bunny and my mommy life.

My crafty life deserves a pretty new blog of its own. So starting tomorrow I'm launching a new blog Juniper and Coffee. I plan on sharing my creative endeavors (or lack there of) and the cool artists that inspire me. I want to make it the kind of place that not only inspires me but inspires others to do stuff too. Maybe that is too grand, maybe its not but that is the plan for 2009.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Welcome to the Dollhouse

Or should I say Dinohouse.

Bunny received a lovely doll house for Christmas. It has 4 rooms, furniture and a little doll family. While she has in the past stated that "dolls are no fun" she has appeared to change her tune when it comes to doll houses. Everytime we see a doll house at a store or someone's house, she stops to play with it. She plays with the occupants of the house and seems to enjoy it.

So when Santa offered a doll house for Christmas, I agreed. Maybe my little girl would play with dolls after all.

I should have known better. After all, the residents of the zoo, barn, fairy house, plane and bus have all been displaced. These animals and people no longer reside in their original homes but in a big plastic bin. The dinos have taken over everything and with 31 dinos they need a lot of space.

And they took over the doll house as well. It was mass chaos in the doll house yesterday morning. The furniture was turned over and at times ejected from the house as the dinos took over. The poor family took to cowering under the staircase so they wouldn't be trampled. The dinos hung out the windows, lounged in the beds and ripped the roof right off the house. And Bunny could not have been more pleased.

When asked where the people were going to live. She looked around the room and said "the shopping cart". But when she got to the cart she realized that was where the lizard family lived. Hmm, maybe in the pink bin? No that was where the instruments are. The doll stroller? That would make sense. No. The stroller was currently occupied with a ball of yarn stolen from Mommy.

With no logical place to put the doll family, they were uncerimoniously dumped out of the house. They are no laying in a corner looking stunned and forelorn. Sorry dolls, I'm sure you are a nice family. Its just that dinos rule the roost here.




Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to all

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Hanukkah to all

We here in But Why Mommy land celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah. We want to teach Bunny about both tradtions, however, this year FAIL.

You see last year when I was putting away the decorations, I dropped the menorah and it broke. Rather than finding one during the post-holiday sales, I figured I would get one this year. Which of course I didn't remember until I got it out last week. Now I can't find one to save my life. I've looked in several stores and asked the manager if they have menorahs. They don't.

I could try to jerry rig it with duct tape and glue but I don't think that would be very safe. What with the lit candles and all. That is if I could find the candles that go with the menorah. You see if they don't sell menorahs, they probably aren't going to have candles.

So for all of you celebrating this year, Happy Hanukkah. We are with you in spirit.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snowbound


We are in the midst of a huge snowstorm here in Wisconsin. It started snowing late last night and has not stopped.

Everything in town is closed. Bubs' office is closed too. None of the neighbors have even tried to shovel out. It doesn't make sense, its just going to keep snowing.

So we are hunkered down in our living room, cuddled under blankets in our pjs, drinking hot chocolate and tea. And you know what? Its pretty awesome.


(by the way that is Bubs' car directly outside of our side door which we can't open because of all the snow)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Gift That Just Keeps on Giving

Warning this post contains references to bodily functions, both mine and those of a certain feline whose exploits have been referenced here before. If you would rather not read about them, I understand. Please come back tomorrow when I will regale you with stories about the cutest, smartest toddler ever. I promise.

I suffer from IBS. Most of the time I don't have any issues. However, the condition tends to be aggrivated by hormones so there is one day every month on which it hits.

Let me tell you this is a lovely day to be me. The cramps, the moodiness, the cramps, the "issues", the cramps. So fun. Today is one of those days. So if you see me in person today I am likely to bite your head off. I apologize.

When I awoke to cries of "Mommy I have to go potty" I knew that today was the day. I could feel the cramps kicking in full force. I was not happy. I wanted to stay tucked into my warm bed with the covers over my head and wait until the bad stuff had passed. But you can't ignore the cries so I got out of bed. Luckily it was a false alarm (thanks in part to an earlier call at 4:30). I asked if she wanted to come in my bed and she said she'd rather stay in hers.

Great, I have a few more minutes in bed to curl in the fetal position and try to rock away the pain. As I was reaching for the bottle of Advil, I hear "what you doin' momma? Can I have some?" Um, no this huge bottle is just for mommy and when you get older you'll understand why.

So no rest for me. I got up and stumbled downstairs where I handed off Bunny to Bubs. I told him I needed to take care of a few things and he should occupy her. As I headed in to the bathroom, I heard her singing the Wonder Pets theme song and knew she wouldn't bother me. Privacy, glorious privacy.

Or so I thought. The door was soon opened by Tabasco. At first I thought he just wanted some attention and for me to turn the water in the sink on. As I reached down to pet him I saw that he was in the midst of a butt waggle. For those of you who don't know, the butt waggle is the tell tale sign that a cat is about to spray. And Sir Pees-a-Lot had aimed the spray directly at me on my throne. (Now I love this cat unconditionally despite the peeing and the puking but if you pee on me then we have a problem.)

What happened next was like a movie where the hero sees someone about to shoot and it goes all slo-motion. He screams "Noooooo" and jumps in front of the gun to take the bullet for the victim.

I couldn't move. Really, I couldn't move because I wasn't finished. I screamed "Nooooo" and did the heroic thing. I stuck my hand down there in an attempt to block it. I pushed his butt down and redirected the spray to the tile floor instead of my leg. Crisis averted.

When he was finished there was a rather large puddle of pee right next to the toilet just waiting for me to go all Anti-Icky Poo on it. All before 7:30 a.m.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Drive-Thru

The drive-thru is the ulitmate in convenience. You can get what you want without ever having to leave your car. No fuss, no muss.

Just place your order into the speaker, drive forward, hand your money to the person at the window and drive off with your food. In my estimation, this is the only way to do fast food. I don't eat it very often but when I break down and make a run for the border, I don't feel as bad about it if I go to the drive thru. I'm protected in the car, no one can see me ordering my tacos. Yes I am aware that someone could see my car but I pretend they can't.

Now the drive-thru wedding, I don't really understand. Are you in that much of a hurry to get married, that you can't get out of the car? Are you like Bonnie and Clyde, on the run from the law and need to be prepared for a get away at a moments notice? Or is it the kitsch value? I just don't know.

When I heard that Starbucks had installed drive-thru windows on some of their locations I didn't really understand that either. I mean I get it in theory. If you are a commuter and are in a hurry you can pull into the drive thru and get your venti, non-fat latte faster than if you went into the store.

But I never really needed coffee that badly that I couldn't get out of the car for it. My commute was only 15 minutes and there was a coffee shop in my building, so I could wait for my morning cup. Or if I really had to have it before I left, I'd make a pot when I first got up. It just seems easier.

Plus to me the best part of coffee is savoring it. I like the ambiance of the coffee house. I like to see the people. I like to smell the fresh coffee. Coffee just tastes better that way.

So I've never felt the need to visit a drive-thru for my coffee fix. Until yesterday. Yesterday there was no nap and there was a cranky toddler to deal with. I figured we'd head to the store to pick up a few things. As most parents know, the car has magical sleep inducing properties so I was also hoping for a nap.

Of course she fell asleep within 10 minutes of being in the car. We didn't make it to the store but that's okay because Bubs could pick up the stuff on the way home. But now what? If we go home, she is likely to wake up on the transfer and that would be bad. It was snowing so I didn't want to aimlessly drive around. I wanted to go somewhere, but where?

Then it hit me, the Starbucks drive thru. Genius. I could get my salted caramel hot chocolate and kill some time. (If you haven't had a salted caramel hot chocolate you must run to your local Starbucks and get one. Its that good. No its better than good, its amazing. But I digress.) This was the perfect use of the coffee drive-thru and I was glad there was one when I needed it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Its A Hard Life

Actual dinnertime conversation:

Bunny: "I'm done. I'm done. I'm done. Let's go play."

Grampa: "Now is when we sit and talk. How was your day?"

Bunny: "Well I had a very long day. I played silly dino games. Then I played silly tree games. Then silly dino games again."

Grampa: "Did you go to a party?"

Bunny: "Yes. Mr. Panda gave me Curious George stamps. Let's go play with them now. Let's go, let's go, l-i-t-s g-o."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Don't Tempt Fate

Say you are having a conversation with your friend where you say you are surprised your daughter has not been sick at all this year, save for an occasional runny nose, what would happen?

What would happen if you write a blog post about a problem your daughter had sleeping one night?

Well you would spend Friday night cleaning puke off of your daughter, her bed, her floor, a teddy bear, her bedding and pjs. Not once but twice.

So lesson learned, you don't tempt fate.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Definintion

decheese
dee - cheez
verb

To remove cheese from a person or object. (After Bunny fed baby T-Rex a snack, mommy had to decheese him.)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sleep

When you become a parent, sleep is like a long lost friend. You promise to keep in touch but you never really get together. You have great memories of solid a solid night sleep. And who can forget all the times you slept until noon in college. But they are only memories.

Bunny is a pretty good sleeper so we've been very lucky. But with the advent of potty training has come a new sleep issue, waking up at all hours of the night to use the potty. "Mommy I have to use the potty" can come at any time 11:00 pm, 2:00 am, 4:00 am. And of course after its over its hard to fall back asleep.

We've also encountered another problem. If Bunny doesn't wake up in time and actually goes in her diaper, she freaks out. Diapers are not for peeing in anymore, they are only for peace of mind. If she has an "accident" she sobs uncontrollably. While this is a good sign that she is potty trained, it is a bad sign for sleeping.

We had one such accident the other night. Daddy went in to comfort her to no avail. She was still wailing after 30 minutes. So we decided to bring her into our bed. We've never really done this but we were desperate. Everyone needed sleep and this seemed like a good option. It wasn't

When she arrived in our room, she flung herself into my arms and continued to cry. She finally managed to settle down and began to fall asleep. It warmed my heart to see her peaceful, to feel her heart beating as she curled up against me. But then my arm fell asleep. When she finally rolled off of my arm, I got to look at the most perfect face in the world looking so angelic in sleep. Until the most perfect foot in the world kicked me in the ribs. Hard. Twice.

And then there was the polar bear. She started mumbling about something or other. Then she sat up, looked me straight in the eyes and asked "why aren't the polar bears in the house, momma?" Um, what? Excuse me, polar bears? Oh right, I forgot she talks in her sleep.

Well the polar bears were enough to wake her up and she started tossing and turning and poking and kicking mommy some more. So it was back to her room. "Mommy don't go. Sleep on the floor with me mommy. I'm scared of the dark." And in my sleep deprived state, I agreed. I grabbed blankets and pillows and hunkered down on the floor. Where she proceeded to toss, turn, and kick me some more. Fun.

She finally got in her bed and fell asleep. I guess I did too because I woke up two hours later with an aching back and shoulder. I crawled back to my room for another hour of fitful sleep before being greeted by the cries of "I have to go potty momma" at 6:30.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Scattered

Well scatterbrained is more like it.

Lately I've been having a hard time focusing. I've got eleventy million things racing around in my head. I come up with an idea and its the most brilliantest idea ever. I embrace that idea with full force until the next most brilliantest idea comes along.

And lately these ideas have been coming fast and furious. They all sound great. Any one of them would be something worth pursuing but I clearly don't have the time to be doing eleventy million things at once.

I've been trying to come up with a path. Where do I want my life to go? What do I want to be when (and if) I grow up. And my brain has been working overdrive on this. I could start a new blog/magazine with one idea which I've been thinking about for a while. I could write a book with a newer idea. I could ... I could ... I could ...

But if I can't focus on just one thing, I won't get anything done. And I'll just sit where I am swimming in the worlds greatest ideas wishing that I could pursue them.

I need a big bottle of Focusin* and a focus group to help me focus in on where to go next.

*A big shout out in the next post if anyone gets this reference.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Family Fun with Cleaning

I've said it before that I really don't like cleaning. I can find a million and one other things to do instead of cleaning. I do it but I'm not happy about it at all.

But there are times that cleaning is a necessity. Over the weekend I rearranged the furniture in the living room to make room for the Christmas tree. As we are still without a functional basement (its only been 8 months) we had a lot of stuff to move. Well moving created dust and exposed areas that had previously been covered. So it was time to bust out the supplies.

I grabbed the swiffer first to sweep up some of the dust. Bunny freaked out. "I wanna do it momma. I can do it all by myself, momma."

Hmmm. Perhaps she can. It would shorten the cleaning time and it would also occupy her for a while. So we tried it. And you know what? She is pretty good at it. She got most of the spots I was going for freeing me up to vacuum.

I wonder if I put the wet swiffer on if she could wash the floors for me? The answer is yes she can. Pretty sweet.

So I got a fairly clean living room out of the deal and Bunny had loads of fun. We may be on to something here. Do you thing she is too young to . . . ?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Happiness

For the past few years my father has been sending me weekly letters. I love this tradition for a variety of reasons.

I love that it is a letter sent through the mail not just an e-mail. In the day where you can instantly communicate with someone half way around the world, it is so nice to recieve a letter in the mail.

I love that my dad takes the time to write even though he sees me several times during the week and could share the information with me at any time.

I love that he shares poems and articles that he thinks are important or that I would enjoy. I have been saving them for years and its nice to go back to them from time to time.

Recently he sent me an article entitled "Be Happy Anyway". The concept of the article is that the economic boom didn't bring us any real happiness so maybe there are ways to find happiness now. Since you can't buy happiness, you have to find other ways to be happy.

So I started thinking about what it is that makes me happy. Some days its hard to be happy, the weather is grey and yucky, there are bills to pay, errands to run, chores to do, cranky toddlers to attend to. But even then if you really stopped and thought about it, there are a bunch of things that could make you happy.

Here are just a few of the things I've come up with
1. Family. I'm pretty lucky to have the family I do. I love my husband and my daughter. I have a great relationship with my parents and with my in-laws.

2. Friends. Even though most of my friends don't live close by I know that they are always there and it makes me happy.

3. Making Stuff. It doesn't matter what it is, I just love to make stuff. I make jewelry, I crochet, I sew silly dino toys for Bunny. Just put something in my hands and set me loose and I'll be as happy as a clam.

4. Books. Before Bunny came into our lives, I could spend hours in a bookstore browsing. I've even read entire novels over the course of some of my visits. I love looking at all the art and photography books. I flip through cookbooks drooling at all the yummy goodness inside.

I don't get to bookstores as much as I would like but I've rediscovered the library and am loving it. We have library day every Tuesday. Bunny gets a stack of new books and I've started browsing for me too. I may not be able to find the latest or newest thing but I've discovered some real gems. And that process of hunting for treasure really makes me happy.

5. Writing. Somedays I don't know why I do it. I complain that no one is reading and I just ignore this blog. But sitting here at the computer, putting my thoughts out there for anyone to see does make me happy.

So there it is, just a few things that make me happy. What about you? What makes you happy? Feel free to post links if you'd like.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Slow

Everything is a whirlwind of activity this time of year. Rush to decorate the house, to buy the presents. Run off to this activity or that commitment.

Time is flying by at such an alarming rate. The holidays are almost here but it seems like only yesterday my leopard dino cat and I were trick or treating. How did that happen?

She is moving so fast too. Growing like a weed, advancing by leaps and bounds. She wants to learn everything now. She wants to master every new skill. She wants to grow up, fast. She knows she will be three in January. She is not sure what that means, only that it means she is getting bigger. And getting bigger means she can do more.

One moment she will be sitting on the floor reading a book, the next she is up and moving like a blur. She is spinning, running, jumping, dancing. Doing everything and anything she can.

All of this movement is scaring me. I don't want to move fast. I prefer to take it slow. I want to curl up on the couch with a blanket and hot cocoa, turning in on myself. I want to pull her in my lap. To hold on to her, to who she is now for just a little while longer.

I want to dive into the pool that is the present time, swiming in and soaking up the beauty of the now until my fingers get all pruny. I want to live in this moment. I want to be present in this time and this time only.

So I move slowly, deliberately. I reach out grasping at this moment and that flash holding them to my breast. I inhale deeply trying to memorize the smells. I scan the world around me, taking millions of mental pictures to capture the now.

The future does not matter. What is around the bend will come in its own time.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Automatic Flushing Toilet is Evil

We started potty training Bunny during Bubs' staycation and it worked. She is basically 99.9% trained (crosses fingers, knocks wood, hops on one foot in a circle and spits). Accidents have been few and far between. She even made it through an entire week dry (overnights included). And yes I'm bragging just a little bit.

I'm glad we waited until she was ready. All in all its been awesome . . . that is until we encountered the automatic flushing toilet.

Now I know the automatic flushing toilet was invented as a convenience. It exists so that we don't have to touch the germy handles, too keep things cleaner. It just exists and I never gave it any thought. As far as I was concerned, it was a good thing. Until now.

We had a lovely day at the zoo on Saturday. It was 45 and sunny. We were enjoying it because we knew it wouldn't last, the snow was due to hit on Sunday. Trips to the zoo would stop for the year. We hit all of our favorites including the baby orangutang, Mahal, for mommy and the snakes, jellyfish and bats for Bunny.

But then we had to hit the bathroom and it was not so nice. The automatic flusher went off while Bunny was sitting on the potty and she freaked the heck out. She wouldn't go. We tried the potty at the giraffe house. No. The lion house. No! The visitor's center? No, no, no.

She took one look at the potty and made up her mind, if she didn't see a flush handle she wasn't going to go. I tried telling her that we could cover up the automatic flush so it wouldn't go off. Yeah that didn't work so well.

"No momma, I don't like these potties. No flush. I want to go home and use my potty."

You can't really argue with that logic. And I really didn't want to mess up all of her hard work becoming potty trained so we went home. She was a trooper. She made it home without an accident.

But of course you don't want to have to leave every place you are to use the potty at home. We may not be so close to home the next time. We have to solve this before it becomes a huge problem.

So I did a little research on the issue and you know whats supposed to work? Post-it notes. You just put one over the red eye on the potty and it won't flush until its removed. So simple, so easy. So now mommy is going to buy a huge stack of post-it notes and never leave home with out one.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful



Monday, November 24, 2008

Snow Day!

Today we awoke to the first snowfall of the season. After last year's 100+ inches I wasn't that excited to see it but it was pretty.

When Bunny saw it she went crazy. She stood on the couch jumping up and down clapping. "Lets go play momma. Lets go. Lets go. L-E-T-S G-O." (yes we taught her that stupid cheer where you spell out lets go and she says it all the time.)

If I would have let her she would have run right outside in her pjs. But because I am a mean mom, I made her wear clothes, inclulding a sweater, snow pants, boots, jacket, scarf, hat and gloves. Afterwards I wasn't sure she'd be able to walk but she did.

We headed out into the back yard where we discovered about 2 inches of packing snow. Mommy made a very lame attempt to make a snow man but with only 2 inches of snow and a small yard it didn't quite work. Its more like a snow pillar. I also tried to throw snow balls but I throw like an uncoordinated girl (which is fitting because that is what I am). We headed to the park for awhile and then it was time to go home for hot chocolate.

It was the perfect day.



Sunday, November 23, 2008

Shoo x 2

So apparently Kate was right and we had two flies in the house.

I'm not happy.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Shameless Self Promotion Saturday

Today is the Second Annual Blogger Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair hosted by Neil over at Citizen of the Month. It is an awesome virtual fair highlighting the work of some very talented people.

Because I am one of the participants, I've decided to offer a discount for my lovely readers (all 6 of you). But Why Mommy readers will receive 20% off of everything in my Etsy shop this weekend.

Here is how the discount works:
Mention But Why Mommy in the notes to seller and I will send you a revised invoice to pay.

Be sure to visit Citizen of the Month to check out all the other cool shops.

Happy Shopping.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shoo

We have an unwanted visitor in our home that is slowly driving us all insane. A fly has found its way inside and has been tormenting us all for the past few days.

As I may have mentioned before I am not a fan of bugs. And my budding entimologist hates flying insects. So it hasn't been fun.

At any given moment during the day you are likely to stumble upon the following scene in our house:

"Momma a fly. I don't like flies. Go away fly." While uttering these words Bunny will sprint towards me grab my leg and bury her head into my knee. Of course I am clutching a rolled up magazine looking to go all Carl Spackler on the fly. So there I am hunting the fly with a crazed wild look in my eyes while dragging a 30 lb. toddler on my leg.

Needless to say that doesn't work. The fly continues to buzz happily around our house while "I'm All Right" plays in the background.

Hoping that a different tactic would work, Bubs got all zen like a Fly Whisperer this morning. He tracked the fly to the back stairway. He calmly asked the fly to fly closer to the door. "I'm going to open the door and you are going to fly outside," he told the fly, expecting it to listen.

It did not listen. Why would it want to go outside into the cold when it could stay in our nice warm house.

The cats are no help either. When they were younger, they would have at least tried to catch the fly. There would have been flying leaps off of furniture at the fly. You would have seen them standing on their hind paws stretching up to pluck the fly out of the air. But alas they are in their golden years and they are content to lay in front of the heater curled in a ball while the fly buzzes around their ears.

So now I am developing a nervous tic. I imagine the fly is everywhere. I can hear his buzzing but I cannot catch him. Bunny is no better. She stops what she is doing every so often to scream "go away fly" and duck her head.

Go away indeed. We can't take much more of this.

Note: That sound of manical laughter you hear is me. The fly is no more. Ding dong the fly is dead.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Back to Reality

The staycation is over. Bubs went back to work this morning. And we are back to our old routine. Well actually the staycation was a preview of our new routine, staying indoors.

The weather has turned cold. The leaves have fallen from the trees. The tundra is ripe for freezing. Winter is coming to my part of the world.

There will still be occasional ventures outside if the thermometer registers above 40. But it will not be the same. We will be bundled up in heavy winter coats with hats, scarves and gloves. Battles will be fought over the clothing options. Sweaters must be worn despite objections.

We will no longer ramble freely in the parks in search of squirrles, chipmunks and deer. There will be no more hikes looking for the perfect leaf. We will not stand on the banks of the river communing with the ducks.

Our journeys now will be ones of imagination. We will build magical castles in the dining room. Our living room will become dinosaur island. We will take our tea next to a volcano with all sorts of wild creatures. Lizards, snakes and parrots will be our companions. Bunny will be the queen of this magical mysterious place and I will happily join her on her adventures.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Way of the Gunn


Tim Gunn that is.

Now this may be interesting to no one but me, but yesterday I got to see Tim Gunn. I may have mentioned this before but I love him. So this glimpse of the man made my week.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Let's Build A Word

Words are magic.


The process of putting letters together to build words and words together to make sentences is very powerful. It allows you to express a need, a desire, an idea or a thought. It allows you to communicate with the outside world.


The right words put togehter the right way have an even greater power. Words can create poetry and art. They can make you laugh or cry. They can make you fall in love. Or they can inspire you to take action.


As a writer I struggle with words every day. I have an idea in my mind that I want to express. I could just use the basic words to describe it.






Bunny jumped in a pile of leaves.


But that really doesn't do anything for you or for me. Kids jump in leaf piles every day in the fall. Why was it special? Why should you care? The right words will set the scene. The right words will make you understand the beauty of the moment. The right words will make you wish you were there with her, laughing, dancing and experiencing pure joy.


Often for me, the right words don't come. I can see them in my mind. They are there just out of reach. If I stretch far enough I can reach one or two. Maybe I can grab enough for a good post, maybe not. I have enough posts that I've started with a good idea only to be abandoned because the words did not come.


Every day I sit at this computer and write. I try to write better. I try to write more. Sometimes its not enough, my words have failed me.


But the true magic in words is in their discovery. The discovery that certain letters and sounds make words and those words mean something to someone. The discovery that even if the words you make don't mean anything, they are still magic.


I will sit on my living room floor and close my eyes just to experience that magic. I hear words like dog followed by bog, fog, log, hog, jog, nog, mog and frog. Cat is followed by bat, hat, sat and mat. A newly built tower will be cristened a rockstack because there is no other word to describe its magnificence.


Words are placed into action to describe play. The dino went here, he did this. Then they are streched into stories describing events that can only take place in her imagination.


It is in those times that I am remineded of the magic and beauty of words. I remember that even the simplest words have power and I am inspired to try harder.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Are You Going to Work, Daddy?

This is a question that gets asked daily in our house. 5 days a week the answer is always yes. But not today. Today is different. Today is the first day of my husband's staycation.

What is a staycation, you may ask.

According to the Urban Dictionary, a staycation is "a vacation that is spent at one's home enjoying all that home and one's home environs have to offer."

My husband has a few things planned for his staycation. He wants to golf (its November in Wisconsin, even my golf fanatic dad has his clubs in the basement, but whatever) and he wants to go to the casino to check out the new poker room. No problem, those are reasonable requests.

But he wants to spend the rest of the time hanging out with his girls. In order to enjoy all that home and one's home environs have to offer, Bubs will be spending the week doing the following:

1. Going to music class (with me)
2. Going to swim class (without me)
3. Going to the park
4. Helping me potty train Bunny - you know I was saving that one until I had help
5. Cleaning
6. Working around the house

So in other words he will spend his staycation doing my job.

Which is pretty sweet for me. With his help, I may even find time to go to the grocery store without a toddler, to go to the gym which is actually open days other than Saturday (or so the sign says), to sleep in, to shower on a daily basis (which is also good for everyone else).

So it appears that a stay at home mom can in fact have a staycation.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Did

Yesterday was one of those once in a lifetime moments. I wish I could bottle how I felt then and how I feel now. I am filled with hope for the future.

It was the perfect example of what I strive to teach my daughter. If you want something and you work hard, you can achieve it. It doesn't matter who you are or where you came from, here all things are possible.

Yes We Can became Yes We Did.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Voted, Did You?

I remember it like it was yesterday. I stood in line in the basement of Ogg Hall on the University of Wisconsin campus for three hours. I was 19 years old and I was waiting to cast my first ballot in a presidential election. Finally I reached the head of the line and I entered the booth. I reached up and pulled the lever for Mike Dukakis.

I was thrilled. I felt energized. I had been involved in politics since I was a child when my mom took my brother and I to hand out pamphlets for George McGovern in 72. I had been involved in local elections, handing out match books for a judicial campagin. My mom also worked on a local assembly race in the 80s. I had a Mondale-Ferraro bumpersticker on my backpack in high school. I worked as a page in the State Assembly in college. It was in my blood.

I was dissapointed when Dukakis lost but I was happy that I had voted.

Since that time, I have continued to exercise my right to vote. I have made my voice heard. I've voted for the winner and the loser, but I've voted.

My faith in the political process took a hit in the 2000 election but it survived. I like knowing that I count, that my voice means something. I have called and written my congressmen and senators to let them know my stances on issues. But to me, there is nothing like casting your vote for a candidate that you support.

So on October 23rd at 4 pm, I went to City Hall to cast my vote in this historic election. There was no one waiting, I was able to vote with no problems. I placed my ballot in a sealed envelope which will be counted on election day. In a way I was sad to have voted early, I love the energy of election day. But I knew there would be high turnout today and I had visions of standing in line with a cranky toddler. Voting early made the most sense for me.

I voted for Barak Obama. I believe that he will be the best leader for our country. But even if you don't believe the same way I do, you need to vote. You need to have your voice counted.

So stand up for yourself and for your country. VOTE! There is nothing like it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Door Is Never Really Shut

This is a lesson you learn when you live with cats and children, there is no such thing as a closed door. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen a little paw reaching under a door trying to pull it open. Or how many times I have heard the sound of a little hand trying (albiet unsuccessfully) to open a door.

Doors are not meant to be shut. There are rooms behind those doors. Maybe the room is really messy and you just want to shut the door so no one can see the clutter and chaos. Maybe the room is empty, just waiting for someone to come along and live in it. Maybe its the bathroom and you just want a few minutes of peace.

There are things on the other side of those doors that are part of our lives. We can't really shut them out.

I tried shutting a door recently. I proclaimed to the wilds of the internets that I was no longer reneedesigns.



But the second I tried to shut the door, there was something trying to push it back open. I felt an overwhelming urge to create. It didn't matter what it was, I just had to make something. During my toddlerless times, I found myself in the car driving to the craft store or to the bead store. I found myself holding beads in my hand imagining what they could become.



I've been searching for inspiration too. Looking for something, anything to ignite a spark in my soul. Things like the colors of the leaves, the doodles of my daughter have lit a slow burning fire. I've got a million ideas in my head trying to find a way out

I am reneedesigns again and it feels good.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Love You Happily Ever After

We entered the Office of Civil Affairs in Nanchang, Jiangxi, China on October 30, 2006. Two long years of waiting were over and we were going to finally be a family.

I had some idea what to expect when I walked through the door. I had spoken with a few families who had done this and I had seen a video of the process. What I thought was going to happen is that our group would be in a conference room. They would bring in the babies and call each family forward to be united with their child.

That is what I thought would happen. But in reality I can best describe it as crying and chaos, chaos and crying. Babies were crying. Parents were crying.

We walked into a large room and there were several groups of families waiting for their children. Nannies and babies sat on one side of the room. It seemed like no one was running the show.

I looked all over for Bunny. I had only seen a few pictures but I was sure I would recognize her. And I did. She was sitting on a nanny's lap staring out into a sea of unfamiliar faces. While some of the babies were crying, Bunny was not. She seemed nervous but calm.

I wanted to run to her, to grab her in my arms and never let go. But I couldn't. I had to wait my turn. Our guide located the orphanage director and they had to match the babies to the parents. Several other families in our group got their babies but we were still waiting.

Finally they called our name. Bubs manned the video camera and we handed our new camera to someone we didn't know. I walked up to the director and finally was able to hold Bunny in my arms. I just stared at her. She was so tiny and perfect.

She was wearing a bright yellow shirt and yellow pants with electric blue split pants. Most of the other babies from the orphanage were wearing the same thing. She was holding a stuffed bear that we had sent to her in a care package. It was the only familiar thing she had at that moment.

She was 9 1/2 months old. She had spent about six months living with a foster family. She went back to the orphanage when she was matched with us. She was leaving the only familiar home she had to go with these strangers. They didn't look like anyone she had seen before. They didn't sound like anything she was used to. She could not have understood what was happening to her but she really didn't cry.

Being first time parents we had no idea what to do. We had brought bottles from the US and we were given formula and rice cereal when we arrived in China. But of course we didn't bring any of this with us. We only brought a bowl of Cheerios. It wasn't enough. She had left the orphanage early in the morning and traveled for 3 hours on a bus. She was tired and hungry and her new parents didn't have any food for her. Poor girl.

But we were finally together. We were finally a family. We would figure this all out together. We would figure out what it meant to be her parents. She would figure out what it meant to be our daughter. What it meant to be our forever family.





This Is It ... Well Almost

Today's the day we finally meet Bunny. Two years of waiting and anticipating is finally going to pay off.

But first things first, there is business to take care of. Our camera, which we brought to record the moment we first meet Bunny, is broken. It doesn't work. It is D-E-A-D! How can we do this without a camera?

The camera broke the night before. We thought we would walk to Wal-Mart to buy a new one. That is what we would do at home. You have a problem, you seek a solution to the problem. You have a broken camera, you buy a new one.

So we walked the 5 blocks from our hotel to Wal-Mart. Navigating a strange city. Trying to survive the walk, trying to survive the traffic. There are no traffic laws, it appears to be every vehicle, bicycle, motorcycle or cart for themselves. The only rule for pedestrians is don't get in the way. So we stepped off the curb, started to run and prayed that we would make it to the otherside. We did.

We made it to Wal-Mart without any accidents and managed to find the electronics department. It looked fairly similar to one we'd see at home. I recognized the camera brands. I saw one that I wanted. I managed to communicate with the sales clerk enough to let him know we wanted to buy it. Bubs handed over the credit card and . . . it didn't work.

What! I can't buy the camera. I can't record the memory of meeting my daughter for the first time. I tried hard not to lose it. I mean what's the point.

By that time, a crowd had gathered around us. We were quite the attraction. They do not get many foreigners in this city. But alas, none of them spoke English so we could not find out what had happened and we had to leave the store without a camera.

But this story does have a happy ending. Our guide, Grace, took Bubs to an eletronics store where he was able to successfully purchase a camera. An employee of the store came to our hotel to make sure the camera worked with our computer (that would never happen here). And two short hours before meeting Bunny we were the proud owners of a functional camera.

Stay tuned tonight where I promise I will finally tell the story of how we met Bunny for the first time (I tried to tell her the story today but she didn't really seem to care. She wanted to watch Ni Hao Kai Lan instead. "Stop talking momma. Kai Lan momma." Well alright then.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Almost There

The days blurred together. We were racing the sun. It was dark but it was never night. Today became tomorrow. Almost time but not quite.

You spend your whole life trying to find north on your compass. Looking for your true north, the path which you are supposed to travel. And here I was finally setting out on that path on a plane traveling from today to tomorrow to my future. Staring out into the vast nothingness of the North Pole waiting to turn south, waiting to head to my true home. The home I would find once I held my daughter in my arms.

The plane landed. Planes always do. In a city full of buildings and lights and people, so many people. It was in Hong Kong but it could have been New York, or London or Rome. I was not home yet, I might as well have been half a world away.

Night became day again. Another plane ride, one step closer to home. The plane landed. Planes always do. A smaller city full of buildings and people, so many people. And in one day it would hold yet another person. The most important person of all. In one day the city would hold my daughter. In one day, I would hold my daughter.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Its a Leopard Dino Cat

Ah the joys of asking a two year old what they want to be for Halloween when they don't really understand what it means. For weeks Bunny said she wanted to be a kitty. Great, we've got the black clothes so we just had to buy ears and a tail. Done and done.

But I wondered, wouldn't she want to be a dinosaur. She's obsessed with dinosaurs. Should I just buy a dino costume? So I asked her and she said no, she wanted to be a kitty. Ok I'm holding you to that.

Then she said she wanted to be a tiger. I can work with that. I could buy a orange sweatshirt and some black felt. I could do that, but I was feeling kind of lazy. How would you like to be a leopard? You've already got the coat. Ok, leopard it is.

Then Sunday rolls around and we are getting dressed for trick or treat. Come on Bunny, lets put on your ears and tail. "Why, momma?" Because you are going to be a leopard kitty. "No I wanna be a dino." What? Why did I listen to you? I should have just bought the dino costume and been done with it.

But Bubs swooped in to save the day. You are going to be a leopard dino, he proclaimed. "Oh ok, daddy. I love leopard dinos."

Bet you've never seen a Leopard Dino Cat before.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day One

It was two years ago today but I remember it as if it were yesterday.

Bubs and I checked and double checked everything. We set the timers for the lights. We made sure the cats had enough food and clean litter until my mom could stop by and give them more. The house was okay.

The suitcases were loaded in the car and we were off to the airport. I was so anxious I could hardly control myself. I reached out to grab Bubs' hand to make sure that this was real, that it was not a dream.

We arrived at the airport, the sun was shining. I was sure there would be no delay. We would be on our way in no time.

But when we arrived at the gate, we were told our flight to Chicago was overbooked. They offered to send people to Chicago via a bus arriving at 10:10. Our connecting flight was at 10:48 so we chose not to take the bus. We did not chose wisely.

We boarded the plane and it pulled back from the gate. This was it, we were on our way. And then they told us there was a delay in Chicago so we would have to wait on the tarmac. So we waited, for an hour. There was still a delay in Chicago so they allowed us to go back to the gate and wait for the ok to fly. So we waited at the gate, for another hour.

We had already missed our connecting flight. I was in a panic. We were supposed to be on our way, not sitting in the Milwaukee airport.

We were finally allowed to takeoff and after 45 minutes arrived in Chicago at 12:15. We didn't know what to do. I tried calling to find out what plane we were re-booked on. But I could not get through.

So we, along with countless others who were delayed, got in line and waited to talk to a customer service agent. After waiting for another hour we found out that we had indeed been booked on another flight, the 12:18 flight. Which left 3 minutes after our flight had landed. That didn't quite work. So they rebooked us on another flight for the next day.

I had been waiting for this day for two years. I knew that one more day would not kill me. We would arrive in China. We would meet our daughter. Soon.

Friday, October 24, 2008

An Open Letter

Dear Varmints:

Do you mind if I call you varmints? Because that is what you are. Everyone else may think you are cute little squirrles, but I'm not fooled. You are varmints.

Now we go back a long way and I've put up with a lot from you. You built your nest in my exhaust fan in the upstairs bathroom. I don't know how long you lived there but one day would be too long.

You've made a few uninvited visits into our home. You caused some destruction when you were chased by our cats (hopefully they chased you and not the other way around). While the image of Bubs trying to get you to run out of the front door instead of under the couch was freaking hilarious (I wish I had it on video so I could put it up on YouTube), I really didn't appreciate the visit.

I thought we'd gotten past our problems. I know you were a bit (ok majorly) peeved when we evicted you but you seemed to let it go. The creepy garage seemed like a nice alternative living space for you. You frolicked in the yard, eating the bird seed we provided. And you really seemed to like the apples falling from our tree.

But then as these things go, we decided to evict you from the garage too. We are trying to get it into shape and frankly I was scared to go in there. I never knew when one of you would jump out at me. So out you went.

I know that you are upset with all of the changes we've made to your living arrangements. But now you've gone too far and its upsetting Bunny. I cannot let this continue.

A few weeks ago we took a family trip to the pumpkin farm. Bunny was excited to pick out her own pumpkins. When we got home, we proudly displayed said pumpkins on our porch along with several gourds I picked out.

The first day all of the gourds disappeared, seven total. I couldn't be sure who had done it. Maybe it was one of the kids down the street. So I didn't get too mad.

The next day one of the pumpkins had been completely disembowled, leaving seeds everywhere. I began to suspect it was you. My suspicions were confirmed the following morning when I saw you tearing into another one. One by one the pumpkins went down, only their tattered carcasses remained.

Bunny was horrified. "Momma, what happened to the punkins? The punkins are gone." I had to act fast. We headed to the local farm stand to buy more. These we carved. Bunny enjoyed it so much. She loved the faces we made. She was so proud to put them out on the porch.

I was a bit hesitant but thought since the seeds were gone you might leave them alone. But no. You started in right away. There are teethmarks in every one. The tops are totally gone from two. I know they won't last until Halloween and I'm not going to buy more to fuel your sadistic games. You haven't bothered the 10 pumpkins on our neighbor's porch. None of the others in the neighborhood have been eaten. Only ours.

That is it. I'm drawing a line in the sand. This ends tonight, one way or another.

BFL picks

Last week I tried something new. No smack talk, only picks. And it worked. Well almost worked. I almost won. Almost. I finished second. And I tied with Bubs.

So no more smack talk, just picks.

Tampa Bay @ Dallas
Washington @ Detroit
Buffalo @ Miami
St. Louis @ New England
San Diego @ New Orleans
Kansas City @ NY Jets
Atlanta @ Philadelphia
Oakland @ Baltimore
Arizona @ Carolina
Cleveland @ Jacksonville
Cincinatti @ Houston
NY Giants @ Pittsburg
Seattle @ San Francisco
Indianapolis @ Tennessee
MNF score - 52

Here are Bubs' picks:
oak @ BAL
ari @ CAR
tb @ DAL
WAS @ det
BUF @ mia
stl @ NE
sd @ NO
kc @ NYJ
atl @ PHI
cle @ JAC
cin @ HOU
NYG @ pit
SEA @ sf
IND @ ten

And don't forget to head over to the lovely Insta-mom for the rest of the BFL picks.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

An Essay on My Life

Right now I am working my way through the paperchase phase of our adoption.

As part of this process, I've been asked to answer a Parent Questionnaire. It seems like this questionnaire is designed to give some one who doesn't know you a complete description of you. Who you were, who you are now and who you hope to be.

Its an interesting exercise, trying to sum up all of your experiences. To find out what makes you tick. You look at your past remebering the events both good and bad that shaped your outlook on life. You wonder what would you have done differently, if anything. I might have forgone some forgetable wardrobe choices and hairstyles but that is it. Everything that has happened, no matter how difficult or painful, is etched on my soul. These events have made me who I am today.

Then they ask you about what you want for your child. What experiences you had growing up do you want your children to have. What do you not want them to have. You of course want to share all the really cool things that you did, saw and experienced with your kids. And you want to sheild them from all the bad stuff.

How would you want your children to be like you or not like you? These children do not share your DNA. They do not share that fundamental part of you. They are not going to have your eyes or your height. All the ways that they will be like you will be learned from you, from how you act and what you say. Wow. So this makes you think about what kind of values do you want to impart on your children. What passions and joys do you want to share with them.

These are the questions that parents think about for their child's whole life. These are the questions that keep you up at night. They are the essence of what makes you a parent. There are no easy answers. How am I supposed to come up with an answer and write it down on a piece of paper?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Warning Do Not Try This At Home

Have you ever been so tired that you felt if you let your head start to nod it would snap off your body, roll out the door, down the street and land in the gutter covered in leaves and dirt? Have you ever been so tired that you thought your head had already done that?

All you can think about in your headless state is sleep. Sleep is the only thing that will cure the headlessness. Nap, you need to nap.

Now what would you do if you, in your headless state, were confronted with a toddler who vehemently dislikes naps. If you shut her in her room while you nap, you know there will be no peace. You've done that before.

Would you decide that the only rational option is to have a slumber party in her room? Would your headless body belive that if you made a game out of sleeping she would sleep? If she saw you sleep that she would sleep and you would awake with your head back on your body?

It seems like such a simple idea. It has worked in the past at nighttime. Somehow laying on the floor with a blanket and pillow makes it easier for her to sleep, easier for you to sleep.

So you grab that blanket and pillow and make a big production out of arranging them on the floor. You both cuddle under the blanket and read some books. Then you lean over and kiss her before "falling asleep."

But as desperately as you want sleep, she desperately wants not to sleep. She runs around the room pulling every book off the shelf. "Read this book, momma." "Read that book, momma." Books are thrown around the room, some land on you.

But you continue to "sleep", hoping against hope that she will fall asleep too. You become a jungle gym. You are climbed on, climbed over, jumped on. It does not feel good.

There are attempts to wake you. "Momma, momma, momma" shouted in an outside voice. "Momma are you sleeping?" whispered as loudly as possible. "Momma, no sleep," whispered quietly from a mouth pressed directly into your ear.

You are covered in kisses to wake you up. You are covered in drool from the kisses.

Thwack, thwack, thwack. The sounds of the glider hitting the wall, over and over again. You make a mental note to move the glider further away from the wall to stop that from happening. But not now. You cannot show weakness now. If your eyes open or you change positions, she will have won. There will be no nap and your head will still be lying in the gutter at the end of the street.

This goes on and on. You don't know how long you've been lying there. But all of a sudden it seems quiet. Has she given up? Have she fallen asleep? Have you fallen asleep? You don't know and you don't want to check and see.

But then you hear it, "Momma, this book has a dinosaur in it." Well, duh. All your books seem to have dinos in them.

At that point, you give up. No one is sleeping today. You open your eyes and see a smiling face three inches from your own. You reach out for the book to read it, glancing at your watch. And then you notice its been an hour and a half. You could not have survived the onslaught for that long, you must have slept. She must have let you sleep.

You tentatively reach up to see if your head is attached to your body again. It is. It may be hanging by a few threads but it is there. You can go on with the day. However, you vow never to try that again.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bottle It

I have this ritual when I am feeling sad or down. I pick up my daughter and I tickle her.

Its a simple act. Its a way of connecting to something outside of myself. When I tickle her I know that there is something so much more important than me.

Her laughter has a magical quality. It reaches inside and soothes my soul. I wish that I could bottle it up and carry it with me always.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Silence

The past few days have been pretty quiet around here. And by quiet I mean almost silent.

There has been no pitter patter of little feet, no sounds of toys being played with, no scratches of crayons on paper, no calls of "Momma look at this."

Bunny spent Thursday and Friday night at my parents house, reminding me what this house was like before she came home. Well at least how it sounded, not how it looked because her toys and things are everywhere.

In a way its nice to have the break. It allowed me to get a good night sleep two days in a row. It allowed me to get some things done that needed to be done. Basically, I was able to recharge my batteries.

But in another way, I don't like it at all. I miss seeing her. I miss hearing her little voice. I miss her hugs. I miss her saying "I love you momma." I just miss her.

So I am sitting here waiting for her return, knowing she will be here in just an hour or so. I am enjoying the silence for one last time. When she is here, there is no such thing as silence. And that is good.

Now on to more mundane matters, my BFL picks for week 7:

San Diego @ BUFFALO
Minnesota @ CHICAGO
PITTSBURG @ Cincinatti
TENNESSEE @ Kansas City
DALLAS @ St. Louis
BALTIMORE @ Miami
San Francisco @ NY GIANTS
NEW ORLEANS @ Carolina
Detroit @ HOUSTON
NY JETS @ Oakland
Indianapolis @ GREEN BAY
Cleveland @ WASHINGTON
Seattle @ TAMPA BAY
DENVER @ New England
MNF combined score - 47

And here are Bubs' picks
BAL @ mia
PIT @ cin
no @ CAR
sf @ NYG
min @ CHI
TEN @ kc
sd @ BUF
DAL @ stl
det @ HOU
IND @ gb
cle @ WAS
NYJ @ oak
sea @ TB
den @ NE

If you are interested in the BFL, head on over to Insta-mom to see what all the fuss is about.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fighting

Normally I hate to fight. I hate conflict. It makes me uneasy. I want everything to be peaceful.

I like to live in the little bubble I've created with my family. Here everything is good, everything is peaceful. We have what we need.

But unfortunately life is not like that for a lot of people. They don't live in peaceful little bubbles. They live in the real world. And sometimes the real world is ugly. There is conflict. They do not have peace. They do not have what they need. They live in poverty.

They . . . are not strangers. They live in my town, they are my neighbors. They live half a world away, they are my family.

So today I pick up the figurative sword to fight. I stand with my fellow bloggers to fight poverty.

If we join together to do something, no matter how small, we can change the world for someone. We can help to make poverty history.

My plan is to donate to my community's food bank, to make scarves for the homeless and to donate to UNICEF in Ethiopia to help children like Turtle.

Can you help too?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tag You're It

A while back, I was tagged by the lovely Karen of Mommy I am Home to share 7 random or weird facts about yourself. Since I am all about the weird and random, I thought I would give it a shot.

So here goes:

1. I started this post and then went to save it but accidently hit publish. So if this showed up in your reader with just a blank #1, then I'm sorry. I'm kind of a dork that way.

2. I have some sort of adult ADD. I find it hard to concentrate on one thing so I always have multiple projects going. But my multi-tasking rarely gets completed. I find half-finished pieces all the time. The same goes for books. One day I will finish them.

3. I am a fountain of useless information. I know all of these random facts and I have no idea why. I always win when I play trivial pursuit. But ask me what I did yesterday and I might not remember.

4. I have a great sense of direction and can get anywhere if I've been there before. But I can not give you directions without pointing the way you need to go. If I tell you to turn right make sure you see which way my hands are going. The hands are always right.

5. I haven't had a caffeinated beverage in almost 20 years. But I still drink coffee every day.

6. My porn name (the name of your first pet and the street you grew up on) is Sugar Hi Mount. I think I'll keep it.

7. I did a workout video yesterday and now it causes me pain to walk. This is why I don't workout on a regular basis.

Well that is it. I'm sure I could come up with a million other weird and random things about me, but I want you all to keep reading.

I'm supposed to tag some people now but I'm feeling rather lazy so I tag everyone who is reading.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wanna Hear A Story, Momma?

A mommy jellyfish and a daddy jellyfish and some baby jellyfishes were swimming. They saw a volcano and jumped in the volcano. They had a good day.

The end.

As told by Bunny to her mother, to share with all of you.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Are We There Yet

Four simple little words. Alone they are fine, but used together they will strike fear in the heart of any parent. Especially if they are repeated ad nauseum over the course of a road trip.

Yesterday was one such day for us. Our cousin who got married in Las Vegas a few weeks ago was having a reception picnic at a park near her house in Illinois. We decided to go so we could see some relatives who weren't at the wedding. We also decided to bring Bunny along because the family hadn't seen her in about a year.

Now we live in Milwaukee which is about 2 hours from the greater Chicagoland area. B.B. (before Bunny) we used to think nothing of driving down for the day. Well we really didn't do it that often but we could have if we wanted to. But adding a toddler in the mix always complicates matters.

We had Chinese class in the morning. We decieded to have lunch after that and then hit the road. This puts us at about noon, which in theory should induce napping. In Theory.

In reality, not so much. We made the mistake of telling her we were going to a party. So the conversation in our car went something like this. "Let's go to the party." "I'm not gonna nap." "Let's go to the party." "I'm not gonna nap." Lather, rinse, repeat. For two straight hours.

I refused to pull out the DVD player to entertain her because I was hoping she would give up and fall asleep. Man am I stupid.

So we finally get to the party to see all the family. It was nice to see people we hadn't seen in a while. The park where the picnic was was on a river and really pretty. It was a beautiful day, 75 and sunny. The food was catered. It was worth the two hours of torture we had just survived. It was perfect, almost.

Almost because the pavillion where the food and tables were was covered with those little Asian Beetles (lady bugs) that are everywhere now. Now I may have mentioned my intense dislike of all things bug. If you get one or two of those Asian Beetles in your house, no big deal. But hundreds, nay thousands, yeah that is a big deal. And they were flying everywhere, getting in your hair, on your face, down your (my) shirt, on your food. Oh yeah and they bite. Not fun.

Bunny lost it. She loves all things bug. Except for flying bugs. Those she hates. So she wouldn't eat her food. She just kept saying "I don't like flies, go away flies. Make flies go away momma."

So in order to fend off a total meltdown, grampy took her for a walk and all was well. She found a bench under a tree where she proceeded to collect acorns, leaves, bark and wood chips. Yeah, that's my kid. If mommy were to venture down to her little oasis, she was told in no uncertain terms to go away. Only grampy and grandma could be there. Well alright then.

When it was time to go, we went back to the pavillion to say our goodbyes. Bunny gave hugs and high fives like a champ. And then she noticed the lady bugs. But this time they were on the ground, and she wanted to stay so she could watch them crawl around. "I love lady bugs momma."

Luckily for the sanity of all involved, she fell asleep as soon as the car pulled out of the parking lot and we managed to survive the trip.

Later that night, I turned to my husband and said "That was nice, let's not do that again."

Friday, October 10, 2008

BFL Week Six

My crafty plan at BFL and world domination is working. I've lulled you all into a false sense of security by making mediocre picks for the past few weeks. I'm 22 and 20. I'm no threat, right?

Wrong! Now is the time that butwhymommy kicks
it into high gear. I'm gonna win all my games. I'm gunning for the winners badge. Its gonna be living here for the rest of the year.

Baltimore @ Indy
Miami @ Houston
Chicago @ Atlanta
Detroit @ Minnesota
Oakland @ New Orleans
Cincinatti @ NY Jets
Carolina @ Tampa
St. Louis @ Washington
Jacksonville @ Denver
Dallas @ Arizona
Philadelphia @ San Francisco
Green Bay @ Seattle
New England @ San Diego
NY Giants @ Cleveland

MNF score - 37

Ok here are Bubs' picks, however, they are completely irrelevant given my stated intention of world domination:

CIN @ NYJ
MIA @ HOU
CHI @ ATL
DET @ MIN
CAR @ TB
BAL @ IND
OAK @ NO
StL @ WAS
JAC @ DEN
GB @ Sea
DAL @ AZ
PHI @ SF
NE @ SD
NY Giants @ CLE

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The End of an Era

Yesterday I changed my display name on my blog. I am no longer posting as reneedesigns, I am now officially butwhymommy.

Now this may not seem like much of a big deal, my blog name is But Why Mommy, I sign my name as butwhymommy when I comment on other blogs. It is who I am right now. I am butwhymommy because I am a mommy.

But it is strange for me. I started blogging in 2006 under the name reneedesigns. I have an etsy store also called ReneeDesigns. For two years it was how I identified myself. I was a jewelry designer and I my name is Renee. The two when hand in hand.

I had made jewerly for years and wanted it to be my profession. I took classes, I learned new techniques. I sold my jewelry at art and craft fairs, at local boutiques. I was even in stores in California and Minnesota for a time. Reneedesigns represented who I wanted to be.

Of course when you become a mother things fall by the wayside. They have to, its only natural. A child takes up so much of your time. But you also want to spend all of your time with them, to see what they will do next, what new thing will they learn.

As Bunny grew, I spent less and less time making jewerly. Occasionally I would have bursts of creativity and make a bunch of new pieces. But they would sit there waiting for me to photograph them and list them on line. Or waiting to go to the my local store. In fact they are still sitting there, except for occasionally when I pull them out to wear them.

I still get compliments on my work and it still gives me a thrill. Like maybe, just maybe I could do this. But I don't. I've taken all of my pieces out of the local store. I barely have any left in my etsy shop. When things expire, I don't relist them. Its like the store is slowly closing itself.

I might go crazy and list a bunch of things for the holidays or I might not. I don't know. But I am okay with that.

The funny thing is being a mom has made me more creative than ever before. I'm drawing and painting on a daily basis (usually crowded in a little pink plastic chair at a kid sized table). I've been crocheting myself a sweater. I've started (and started and restarted) a little cloche for Bunny to wear this winter. I've bought materials to make Bunny a dress. I've made some designs for a dinosaur t-shirt that are waiting to be made.

I'm having fun and enjoying myself in the artistic process. I feel like a kid again because I am experiencing all of this with my kid.

So I may no longer be reneedesigns. I may be butwhymommy. But my name is still Renee and I still design.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Yummy





For more on Wordless Wednesday click here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dolls Are No Fun

There were several moments this weekend that captured the essence of Bunny, exactly who she is right now.

She was looking at some leaves we had found the day before. "What this leaf, momma?" That is a maple. "What this one?" That is an oak leaf. "What this one?" I don't know honey. "Let's go look it up on the computer, momma." Yes, that is right, at 2 2/3 she knows that you can find the answer to all things on the computer.

During the car ride to the pumpkin farm she was telling me everything she and daddy had played with that morning. Did you play with Dinos? "Yes." Did you play with playdough? "Yes." Did you color? "Yes." Did you play with dolls? "No. Dolls are no fun."

Watching me put on lipstick, "can I have some lipstick, momma?"

At the apple orchard, stuffing her mouth with an apple with one hand while picking up all the fallen apples and throwing them away with the other.

While on the hayride, "Are the cows gonna eat this hay later, momma?"

While picking pumpkins, "I don't wanna hold the pumpkin, its dirty."

Another family at the farm found a caterpillar which was passed around to all the kids on the hayride. While holding the caterpillar "its tickly momma. Can we keep him?" No honey he lives at the farm. "I love the caterpillar momma."

She loves dinos and hates dolls. She is fascinated by bugs and science but doesn't want to get dirty. She wants to learn about everything and wants to wear lipstick to look pretty while doing it. That is my Bunny.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My House Is Slowly Killing Me

Seriously. If you read about my untimely demise you can be assured that the underlying cause will be the stupid Crap Shack I am living in.

In the past 24 hours the upstairs toilet has broken, I've seen a mouse and the boy cat peed in the office.

So now we need to call a plumber. Luckily our neighbor across the street is a plumber, hopefully he can comeover today and fix it. Our house has two full bathrooms, unforunately the upstairs one is currently down to a sink. That is just not right.

And, yes more cat pee. But at least he is not peeing on the furniture anymore. He has decided to pee on the wood floor which is much easier to clean. So I guess I have that going for me.

And finally, a mouse. Yikes! Luckily he was in the dark scary basement. Now we have to search out all the holes in the foundation and plug them with steel wool so no more little guys get in. Then we find all the holes in the house and plug them too. Traps, check.

But I would like to send a little message to the boy cat if he's reading: If you're going to pee in the house, you better start catching any mice that show up. Its the least you can do.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Fall, Glorious Fall

I love fall. I love everything about it. The crisp weather. The leaves turning colors. Picking apples. Decorating for Halloween. Trick or Treating (mmm candy). Football, both the Badgers and the Packers. And for the first time in 26 years Baseball in October (go Brewers, please win at least one game for me, kay).

So it is with much joy and excitement that I present this weeks BFL picks (although I don't know why I'm excited, I've been sucking lately):

KC @ Carolina
Chicago @ Detroit
Atlanta @ Green Bay
San Diego @ Miami
Seattle @ NY Giants
Washington @ Philadelphia
Tennessee @ Baltimore
Indianapolis @ Houston
Tampa Bay @ Denver
Buffalo @ Arizona
New England @ San Fran
Cincinatti @ Dallas
Pittsburg @ Jacksonville
Minnesota @ New Orleans
Combined MNF score 39


Here are Bubs' picks (winner in bold):
ten @ BAL
ATL @ gb
kc @ CAR
SD @ mia
was @ PHI
sea @ NYG
IND @ hou
CHI @ det
tb @ DEN
BUF @ ariz
cin @ DAL
NE @ sf
pit @ JAC
min @ NO

If you are interested in the BFL and want in on the fun, just head over to the lovely Insta-mom.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pause

Three black circles appeared. This is good, I was assured One is good. Three is great.

Three black circles gave me a faint glimmer of hope.

Three black circles allowed hope to take root in my heart.

Three black circles made me believe what was previously thought impossible was in fact possible.

Three black circles began to take shape in my mind. I thought about one. Yes, one is good. Two? Two is good. What about three? Three is insane but good.

Three black circles gave me joy that sustained me.

One red stain ended it all.

One red stain gave me pause.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum




Well maybe it was actually in the Forum Shops or in the Forum Casino, I don't know. In the city of constant sensory overload, I found peace. Amidst the ringing of the slot machines and the flashing lights my mind was still. I was able to let go of everything and just be present.

As far as vacations go, it was brilliant.
  • I hit the spa for a facial and a massage (my birthday present to myself).
  • I had a manicure and a pedicure (another treat for myself).
  • I lounged by the pool.
  • I shopped and shopped and shopped but didn't buy anything even though I had money burning a hole in my pocket.
  • I won then lost money gambling.
  • I slipped some singles to a fine bunch of ladies at the Lucky Chen drag show.
  • I had a meal to die for at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill.
  • I walked until I thought my feet were going to fall off.
  • I spent time with family.
  • I watched two people pledge their lives and love to eachother. I wish them a lifetime filled with joy and happiness.
  • I missed my daughter but was glad to be with adults for 4 straight days.
  • I enjoyed carrying a small purse with just the essentials not a small piece of luggage filled with diapers, dinosaurs, crayons, coloring books, crushed pretzles and random crasins.
Like all good things the vacation had to end. Unfortunately so did the peace and the stillness. When the plane landed in Milwaukee it was almost as if a switch was flipped in my head and my thoughts were back to running 1 million miles an hour. But I am going to try and hold on to that feeling if I can.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Vegas Baby

Live from Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.

I think I'm in love with Caesars and may want to live here permanently. Spa treatments, shopping, mani pedis and time at the pool. This is the life. Do you all hate me? Just a little bit?

Well I just placed a six team parlay bet on the NFL games with my boy Vito and I'm ready to make my BFL picks. So here goes:

Broncos over Chiefs
Bengals over Browns
Jacksonville over Houston
Cardinals over Jets
Saints over 49ers
Carolina over Atlanta
Tennessee over Minnesota
Packers over Tampa
Buffalo over St. Louis
Chargers over Oakland
Dallas over Washington
Chicago over Philladelphia
Pittsburg over Baltimore

Well that's it for me, now its Bubs' turn:

Denver
Cleveland
Jacksonville
Arizona
New Orleans
Carolina
Minnesota
Green Bay
Buffalo
San Diego
Dallas
Philadelphia
Pittsburgh

If you're curious about the BFL, head on over to the lovely Insta-mom for the details.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What Happens If You Don't Blog For Almost A Week?

Would anyone miss you? Would anyone care?

Well I don't know the answer to those questions, but I'm back to let you know what I should have told you earlier. I'm in the midst of a semi-hiatus. Things have been a bit crazy in the But Why Mommy world.

Last weekend we had our best friends in the whole wide world visit us from New York. You see Bubs' best friend from college, M, met my best friend from law school, MamaCarter, at our wedding and they got married. They also have a little girl Monkey who is just a few months younger than Bunny. They are now best friends too. They shared toys, books and even colds. Check out a recap of the weekend here.

After we recovered from their visit, we had to start packing because Bubs and I are going to Las Vegas today for a long overdue vacation. Bubs' cousin decided to get married in Vegas over my birthday weekend so we are going to celebrate the wedding and my 39th birthday. Although it will be a lot of fun, I'm sad about leaving Bunny for that long. I know she'll have fun with my parents.

So I'll be incommunicado for most of the weekend. I may Tweet occasionally. And I will also post my BFL picks on Friday live from the Caesars Palace Sports Book, just like a real live gambler.

Speaking of the BFL, for all my smack talking I pretty much laid an egg. I probably finished dead freaking last with a mediocre 7-8. Bubs kicked my arse with an impressive 11-4 record. But there is always this week.

Friday, September 19, 2008

BFL or How To Make My Husband Love Me Even More

As some of you know I am married to a sports junkie. He loves football and baseball, golf and soccer, and even pro basketball (sometimes). He also loves pretend sports and participates in two fantasy baseball leagues, two fantasy football leagues, fantasy soccer and fantasy golf (yes fantasy golf).

So when I told him I was going to be participating in the Blogger Football League, picking games against my fellow bloggers for glory and bragging rights, he was ecstatic.

He offered to help me pick the games to ensure victory. I told him no way jose I want to do this on my own. I know a lot about football, I don't need his help to crush the other bloggers into submission.

And that is when he got an idea to make this even more fun. We could also compete against each other with the winner to get a date night of their choice.

So I'll be making my picks for the BFL and Bubs' picks will also be listed here so you all can see who's kickin' arse and takin' names in the But Why Mommy household (most likely me).

To quote the Manning brothers, its on like Donkey Kong.

Kansas City @ Atlanta
Oakland @ Buffalo
Tampa Bay @ Chicago
Houston @ Tennessee
Carolina @ Minnesota
Miami @ New England
Cincinnati @ NY Giants
Arizona @ Washington
Detroit @ San Francisco
St. Louis @ Seattle
New Orleans @ Denver
Pittsburg @ Philadelphia
Jacksonville @ Indianapolis
Cleveland @ Baltimore
Dallas @ Green Bay - This should be a great game. Dallas is really good and could win it all this year but it would cause me physical pain to choose Dallas over GB. With the Brewers well into their annual end of season tailspin and crushing my spirit along with it, I have decided to hop on the Aaron Rodgers Bandwagon and ride it for all its worth.
NY Jets @ San Diego
Combined Score of MNF - 49

Now here are Bubs' picks:

Kansas City @ Atlanta
Oakland @ Buffalo
Tampa Bay @ Chicago
Houston @ Tennessee
Carolina @ Minnesota
Miami @ New England
Cincinnati @ NY Giants
Arizona @ Washington
Detroit @ San Francisco
St. Louis @ Seattle
New Orleans @ Denver
Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia
Jacksonville @ Indianapolis
Cleveland @ Baltimore
Dallas @ Green Bay
NY Jets @ San Diego

Combined MNF Score 46


If your still with us and are interested in these shenanigans, head on over to Insta-mom our lovely commisioner and check it out.