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:

New Orleans
Green Bay
San Diego

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.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'll Do It Later

Or why I should never be allowed in a craft store.

I am a professional procrastinator. My skills are amazing actually. I can put off doing anything until much much later. Sometimes I may never even do it all, I'm that good at procrastinating.

When I was in school, I'd start to study and then get distracted by something more fun. Like laundry, or cleaning, or doing the dishes, or making cookies or sleeping or watching TV. At work, I would return phone calls and e-mails, or file or research rather than working on that big project.

Everything would get done and get done well. But it would never get done early, it was always at the deadline. I do some of my best work under pressure.

Take right now for example, right now I should be cleaning. We are having guests staying with us this weekend. In fact they will be here in something like 60 hours. I need to pick up, vacuum, clean the kitchen, clean the bathroom, do some laundry (so they'll have sheets and towels) and move some stuff we've been storing in the guest room.

I've known they were coming for a long time. I could have done this a while ago, but of course I didn't. It rained all weekend, I could have done it then. But I didn't.

What did I do instead? I decided we needed to get new kitchen chairs and recover the dining room chairs we've been using in the kitchen. So I went shopping. They didn't have the chairs I wanted at World Market so I bought a scarf, some halloween decorations and some Christmas ornaments.

Then I went to the fabric store to get some samples for the dining room chairs. Ooooh they have yarn at the fabric store. I decided to crochet myself a new sweater. So I bought all sorts of yummy yarn and new crochet hooks (because they were purple and mine aren't).

So right now, less than 60 hours from our guests' arrival, I have not done any cleaning or laundry or anything. I have not gotten new chairs for the kitchen. I have not recovered the dining room chairs. But I have crocheted half a sweater.

(And did I mention I started this post yesterday? I have a problem.)

Friday, September 12, 2008

The (Play)Dating Game

As I've said before, I'm kind of a dork when it comes to making friends. I'm nervous. I get tounge tied and say stupid things, so I don't really talk. Your basic social anxiety.

I'm fine once I get to know you or if we have mutual friends in common. But its that initial meeting that just kills me.

In the past I've met friends on-line. I formed a cooking club and a playgroup with people I hadn't met before. But because we had already "talked", I was fine.

But if you meet me on the playground, you may think I'm a little strange. And of course I am but in a good way.

Which brings us to yesterday. Bunny and I were at the park playing in the sand having a grand old time. I saw a mom I had met on a couple of occasions. Her son C is Bunny's age, which meant that they were playing near but totally ignoring eachother. K and I got to talking and were having a nice time.

But then it was time to go home and eat lunch. I had Bunny say good bye to K and C, which she actually did. I said we'll see you at the park again, blah blah blah. I figured that was that.

But K whips out her business card and gives me her phone number and e-mail. She said they are always looking for new things to do so we should get together.

Inside I was totally freaking out "Oh my goodness. She likes me. She wants to hang out. That's totally cool." But I tried to play it as cool as is possible for me, "Oh yeah, we are always looking for new kids to play with. I'll call you and set something up." All the time praying she wouldn't figure out that I am a total dork.

So now what, internet friends? What do I do? How long do I wait to call to set something up? And I should probably e-mail so I don't say something stupid, right?

See I told you I'm a dork.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Big Girl Words

If you are the parent of a toddler, you have on more than one occasion asked said toddler to "use your words" instead of screaming incoherently. The reason being you can help them if you know what the heck is going on.

If the tantrum is because they can't find a favorite toy, great. Why don't we both look for it together.

If they are hungry, that is easily remedied.

If they are tired, you can move them towards a nap or bed (hopefully).

If they want to do something they are not supposed to do, well hopefully you can distract them with something else.

But the key is having them verbalize their emotions to let you know what is wrong.

Lets look at how we at the But Why Mommy household have put this theory into action. Bunny is an incredibly verbal child and we have encouraged her to verbalize her emotions.

Exhibit A:

"Frustrated. Momma, where baby lizard?"
"I don't know baby, let's look."
"Frustrated, momma."
"He's not here. He's not over there." Now momma is getting frustrated.
"Frustrated, momma. Where baby lizard?"
"Let's retrace our steps. We got up, got the lizards out. You played with them. Momma vacuumed . . ." Has sickening realization, runs to vacuum, pulls out bottom half of small rubber lizard. Oh no.
"FRUSTRATED!" Real tears streaming down her face. "Fix him momma. Fix him."
"Momma can't fix him, baby."
"Would you like to watch Dora?"
"Yes." Tears subsiding, no longer frustrated.

So the theory doesn't work quite as well in practice. But at least we all know how we are feeling.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Knocked Up

When I was in high school and college, I knew some girls who got knocked up. Almost to a one they said it involved drinking copious amounts of alcohol, losing their inhibitions and "having some fun."

I too am expecting a baby but my story is not like that. There is no fun. And there are a whole lot more people involved.

We've begun what is called in the adoption game, the paperchase phase. And just like the book The Paperchase about law school, there is a whole lot of stress and work involved.

Our social worker runs a background check on Bubs and I, asking the state and local authorities for any dirt they might turn up. They check 5 references.

We have the home study. A social worker meets with Bubs and I together and separately. They ask us all about our past, how we were raised, what our parenting style is, and do we have any skeletons in our closets.

Then they come to our home and "inspect" it. They say they don't use a white glove to check for dust but it sure feels like it. Our home must meet certain criteria laid out by the state before we can have a child placed in our home.

Once we are done being poked and prodded, we have to be poked and prodded some more. This time by a doctor.

We also have to do a complete financial disclosure. We have to compile our birth certificates, marriage licenses, copies of our last three federal tax returns. All of these documents must be notarized and then sent to the Secretary of State and certified.

After they've looked under the hood and kicked the tires a few times, the social worker puts all of this together to compile our home study report. Which we then have to send to the State and the Feds for approval. We also have to be fingerprinted. And once the State and Feds have given their approval, our dossier is sent to our agency to be translated.

After all of this, which could take a few months, the dossier is sent to Ethiopia. And that is when we are officially expecting a referral for a baby. Officially knocked up.

And then we wait some more.

Monday, September 8, 2008

An Exercise in Humiliation

Fall is my favorite season. I love the crisp weather. I love to watch the leaves turn colors. I love to watch football. I love to sleep in a cool room covered in blankets. I love to bundle up in warm sweaters. I love almost everything about fall.

In anticipation of the cooler weather, I took a look at my fall wardrobe. I was doing pretty well, lots of sweaters, lots of long sleeved shirts. However, one area I was lacking in was jeans.

You see I've lost some weight since spring. Not enough to fit into my old skinny jeans but enough that some of my fat jeans don't fit so well. Jeans are my basic wardrobe in cool weather. I wear them every day and I can't get by with just one pair that fits. So I had to get another pair.

Normally, having to go shopping would send me into fits of joy. I love to shop. I love to buy new clothes. But I hate buying jeans. I hate it almost as much as I hate buying a swiming suit, which I hate a lot.

So I went to the mall. In each store I'd grab several pairs of jeans of different styles and washes. And unfortunately different sizes as I am currently between sizes. Then its off to the dressing room where the unplesantness begins.

Dressing rooms are evil places. The lighting and the mirrors are all designed to make you look bad, awful, horrible. And then you have to take off your clothes. Yuck.

So I kick off my old comfortable pair of jeans and struggle into the first one on the pile. Of course they don't fit. Sigh. One down, many more to go.

When you finally find a pair that "fits", you have to engage in some dressing room aerobics to see if they truly fit. You bend, you stretch, you kick. Richard Simmons would be proud.

If the jeans pass the Sweatin' To the Oldies test, there is one more important test to pass. How do they make your arse look? So you stand in the dressing room and shake your arse like you were in a George Michael video. You look from behind. You look from the side. You gotta have faith.

If you are truly lucky you can find a pair that actually makes your arse look good (or at least doesn't make it look bad). So you run, no sprint, out of the dressing room with these jeans and plunk down your credit card. All is right with the world, until you take them home and wash them. And then it begins again.

Ni hao li shu

Shen Lao Shi said "Ni hao."*

Li shu said "Ni hao lao shi."*

Does she remember? Do the tones evoke memories of the nannies, of her foster family, of her first mother?

Was she too young to remember? Or has she become too American over the past two years that she cannot remember China?

These were the questions running through my mind as we walked into the Cricket Academy. Bunny was there to start Mandarin classes along with nine other two year olds.

Seven of the nine, plus nine more from another class, were girls just like her who were born in China and had come to live with their forever families 7,000 miles away in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

These girls are all so different. Some are shy, some are outgoing. Some are short, some are tall. They are from different regions all across China.

But they are also the same. They share a common bond. They will all know what it is like to grow up half way around the world from where you were born. They will all know what it is like to not look like your parents. They will all know what it is like to live in a culture so different from that of your birth. They will all have questions. They will all face obstacles and difficulties.

But they will be sisters. Their shared experiences will bond them. They can turn to eachother. And that in some small way will help them through.

Bunny is lucky. One of her new sisters is from her same orphanage. They share the same early history. They were cared for by the same caregivers. They had the same experiences. They are sisters.

This is one of the greatest gifts that I can give my daughter. To let her know her sisters. To learn the language and the culture of her birth country. To let her know that she is part of our family but also is a family with her sisters. She is not alone.

*Teacher Shen said "Hello".
Bunny said "Hello teacher."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Cat Scratch Fever

We have two cats in our house. His and hers cats if you will.

Bubs adopted Detroit before he met me. And if you must know Detroit got her name from some stupid bet thingy with his ex-girlfriend, and yes it is a stupid name.

I adopted Tabasco when I was in law school, after I had met Bubs. And since we are telling how our cats got their names, Tabasco was named after a race horse, Tabasco Cat (because I'm all original and stuff).

Not long after I adopted Tabasco, Bubs graduated and moved back home for a while. Since his mom was allergic to cats, I took guardianship of Detroit. So she has been my cat for about 12 years now. But she is still Bubs' cat and always will be.

My cat is awesome. He's cute. He's cuddly. He is basically a dog in cat's clothing, he comes to the door when you get home. He'll follow you around, just waiting to get petted. Yes he's a bit dumb, a condition which I know to be genetic because my friends have his siblings and they are dumb too (hello Oliver!). But he's a cute dumb.

Now if you've read this blog in the past, you are probably saying to yourself "Isn't he the cat that pees on your stuff?" Yes, yes he is. But the traits I've listed above make the peeing tolerable because he's just so darn cute.

Now Bubs' cat is the devil. Well not the actual devil but pretty darn close. She's mean. She's nasty. She doesn't like people. She bites. But she is a beautiful cat.

Every so often she will come to you and let (demand that) you pet her. Yesterday was one of those days. I apparently forgot that she was evil so I decided to brush her. Everything was going along swimmingly, she was purring and seemed to be enjoying herself. But then I caught some matted fur and it was game over. She reached over and bit my hand. Hard. So hard it drew blood.

See I told you she was evil.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Growing Pains

My baby, ok my little girl, wants to grow up so badly. She wants to be a big girl. And not just in the give me your credit card and your keys kind of way.

No Bunny has much more specific goals in mind. She wants to go on the inflatable dinosaur slide at the State Fair. Some days its all she talks about.

You see when we went to the fair, a month ago (hello elephant-like memory) she saw this huge inflatable slide with a T-Rex on the outside. Like any other dinosaur obsessed child this was nirvana, the holy grail of rides.

But she was too small to go on the ride. She did not meet the You Must Be This Tall requirements. She was "too little" so she had to settle for the carousel. Well Bunny decided, right then and there, that she needed to get "big" and get big fast so another opportunity to ride the dino slide would not be lost.

We told her that if she eats her food (and vegetables) and drinks all of her milk she will get bigger. So she eats (most of the time) and drinks like she is supposed to.

While eating she will put down her fork and say "I'm getting bigger." Yes, sweetie you are. "I'm big now." Oh yes, you are so big. "I wanna go on the dino ride." Next time we're at the fair, honey.

Then she'll finish off with this grand pronouncement, "I'm jumbo."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Broken Hearts and Bee Stings

Let's just get this out there, I do not like bugs. Insects, arachnids and their bretheren just creep me the hell out.

I can admire them for the engineering marvels that they are. I mean how the heck do those bumble bees fly and the spiders spin those amazing webs? But that is the extent of my good feelings towards the creepy crawling, hopping and flying little buggers goes.

But yesterday my feelings towards bugs took an interesting turn.

Bunny is in love with Miss Spider's Tea Party by David Kirk. She requests the book all the time and even "reads" it in bed. Needless to say she was over the moon when we discovered the Miss Spider show on Noggin. As far as she is concerned this show should be on a constant loop at our house.

I like the show too. Good animation and the cute little bugs teach good stories about how to treat others. As far as I am concerned these cartoon bugs are the only bugs I like.

Until yesterday. Yesterday I was cursing David Kirk and whoever green lit the cartoon. They caused me to break my daughter's heart.

Bunny was over tired at naptime. She did not want to sleep, all she wanted to do was watch Miss Spider. And I wouldn't let her until after she took a nap. But she wouldn't sleep. All I heard were repeated requests to watch Miss Spider over the monitor.

After listening to this for over almost an hour an a half, it was clear there would be no nap. So, begrudginly, I retreived her from her room. Bunny thought this meant she could watch Miss Spider. But I did not want to give in so I put my foot down and said no.

This caused a major over tired breakdown. Bunny started sobbing with tears streaming down her face. "Please momma. Please watch Miss Spider momma. I said please momma." Her heart was breaking and so was mine. She asked so politely, it was all she wanted. But I was mean and would not give in.

I know this was the best thing for her but her tired little brain could not wrap itself around this. All she knew was that her mother was denying her the only thing in the world she wanted. I felt terrible.

But her heartbreak was short lived, mine was not. She was diverted by grapes and juice and the promise of the pool. As I watched her splashing in the pool and running through the sprinkler I thought about how I'd let her down. I thought about the many times I would let her down in the future and my heart broke some more.

It was about that time when I saw a wasp buzzing around the backyard. I started freaking out. Of all the bugs, I hate the stinging kind the most. I had these terrible visions of Bunny being stung, of having to take her to the emergency room, of, well, even more horrible things than that.

I knew I couldn't let her get hurt but I didn't want to drag her away from the pool and disappoint her once again. So I kept an eye on the wasp. I even positioned myself between her and the wasp, thinking he wouldn't come near the water. Right? Wrong. Apparently he was thirsty and thought the puddles near the pool were a nifty place to hang out. Yikes.

So I, in my bug fearing brain, knew I needed to get her out of there. I knew she'd see the wasp and want to go in for a better look. I was afraid her movements would spook the wasp and . . . well not good. So I wrapped her in a towel and took her in the house.

After a few squawks of protest, she was happily watching Miss Spider in the living room. Her heart was content. And mine was healed by a icky stingy wasp who reminded me what was important.

The Littlest Consumer

There is no doubt that we live in a consumerist society. We are conditioned from a young age to buy what we need and what we want. You try to sheild your children from the media blitz, the commericals for the latest game, toy or movie. But it is difficult.

We try to limit new toys for Bunny to special occasions. Right now I am stocking up on little presents for when we start potty training. Nothing big just coloring books, crayons, little dinos (shocking I know) etc. But she doesn't get toys on a regular basis. We have enough here that she doesn't play with, she doesn't need any more.

I will however buy new books for her. I want her to love reading as much as I do. We check out books regularly from the library but we also like to have a variety of books at home. So she gets new books.

So we try not to spoil her. We try not to expose her to the consumer blitz. But she is not immune.

She has learned the words "Buy it." She knows that if she wants something we don't have, we can go to the store and "buy it." Yikes!

Luckily for us, her consumerist wants only center around food. She wants a pear, we only have apples. "Lets go to store to buy pears, momma." She wants chocolate milk, we don't have any. "Lets go buy some." No juice, "lets go buy it."

We don't give in to her demands but I blame myself for this behavior. I take her to the store with me all the time. I tell her we have to buy food for dinner. We need to get more milk because we've run out and so on.

Its because of me that my daughter knows the words "buy it." I've created another little consumer monster.

Monday, September 1, 2008

What Do You Think

Last night Bubs watched one of his "favorite" movies for what seemed to be the 100th time, which led to this conversation: If you could watch one movie right now what would it be?

After some deliberation and debate we came up with this criteria for our choices: it doesn't have to be what you consider the best movie ever, just one that you really enjoy that stands up to repeated viewing.

Bubs chose Pirates of the Carribean, Curse of the Black Pearl. I chose The Princess Bride.

How about you? If you could watch one movie right now, what would it be?