Thursday, January 29, 2009

No, Seriously, I Was Just Walking

A while back I wrote a guest post for IMommy in which I stated to the world that I was not a funny person, however I do possess a rare gift for physical comedy. Unfortunately for me the physical aspect of physical comedy involves me walking in to something and injuring myself. Its less Jim Carrey and more Chevy Chase playing Gerald Ford tripping down the stairs of an airplane (or maybe just Gerald Ford falling). And yes I am sure that there are many of you saying What? Who?

I am a clumsy person. Its not my fault, its genetic. I'm not casting blame but the person who I inherited it from knows who they are, and thank you so much.

I have good balance so I rarely fall on my arse (although I have in the past and it is hilarious). My clumsiness, unfortunately, involves something much more basic - the inabilty to walk with out injuring myself.

I'm sure you are saying to yourself "Renee, how can you injure yourself walking if you don't fall down?" Trust me its easy. Walking often involves passing stationary objects like tables, chairs, desks and doors. Most people can avoid those objects while they are walking. Not me. These seemingly inanimate objects magically spring to life when I walk by jumping out at the last second causing me to run into them.

I cannot tell you how many times I have had bruises on my shin (thank you, coffee table), hips (thanks tables, desks and door knobs) and arms (shelves, cabinets thanks so much). I have even managed to break bones while walking. Not once but twice. Yes, I've broken two toes while walking.

The first time I tripped over a raised portion of the sidewalk while wearing flip flops. My big toe slammed right into the offending piece of concrete causing it to jam and the joint attaching the toe to the foot to fracture. I figured I broke it but it hurt so bad for so long that I actually went to the doctor and had x-rays. All I got was confirmation that it was broken and the there's nothing we can do for you speech. I'm sure the doctor was thinking "Congratulations, you're an idiot!"

The second time was yesterday and was just as embarrassing. I had taken Bunny to an open gym. I spent the better part of an hour and a half making sure that she didn't injure herself. And the second we decided to leave, I injured myself. Brilliant!

We were heading toward the exit and I was walking past the balance beam. Apparently I didn't realize how close I was to the beam and how far out the beam foot sticks out because I walked right into it. Again, brilliant! I hit it hard with the tops of my toes.

I knew right away it was broken. I started seeing stars and kind of screamed. Lucky for me I didn't let loose with a stream of obscenities because Bunny was right next to me saying "What's wrong momma?" "Nothing sweetie, momma broke her toe. Like an idiot."

I managed to put my shoe on without passing out from the pain and drive us home. I thank my stars that it was the left foot or I don't think I could have driven the car. It hurt that bad. When we got home and I removed my shoes and socks I was treated to a wonderful site, a swollen purplish toe. The purple almost exactly matched the reminants of my last pedicure so I at least was color coordinated.

So now begins the long and slow recovery process where I have to watch that I don't stub my toe again. Which as you can see is pretty difficult for me not to do.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


When I was in school (Catholic school) I wore a uniform. Blue pants or skirt and white shirt in grade school and a plaid skirt and white shirt in high school. I hated wearing a uniform. I didn't want to be like everyone else, I wanted to be an individual. So I tried to push the boundaries. I was out of uniform almost every day, not a lot but just enough to make me feel like I was being myself.

More often than not my little transgressions were not noticed. I rarely got in trouble for it. But I still felt like a rebel.

Now that I am older, I understand the value of uniforms. They are easy. You don't have to think about it, you just slip it on and go. I can't tell you how many times I would stand in my closet while I was working and throw reject after reject on the bed. Some days it took me an hour to get dressed. Not good, especially when your boss is a man who can't possibly understand.

I don't have the same worries now that I am home. I don't need to impress anyone. I'm not dressing for success, I'm dressing for comfort. My uniform consists of jeans, sweaters and t-shirts. And if I'm being honest, sweat pants.

But those sweat pants, however comfy they are, are not allowed to cross the threshold of my house. I swore I would never be that mom. I would not wear my sweats in public (unless I just left the gym and that rarely happens anymore). So I'll be in the house in sweats and even if I'm running out to the store for 10 minutes I have to put on my jeans. I just do.

Maybe there is still a little rebel in me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Seeking Balance

Lately it seems that I cannot find time to do everything that needs to be done. Its not that I have taken on too much, I haven't. Its more that I do not have the energy to get things done.

Sleep has been fleeting for me lately. When I call for it to come, it ignores my pleas. Instead it waits just out of reach. It will come when it is ready. But more often than not when sleep finally comes my way, another calls demanding my attention. I cannot ignore her cries. I can sleep another time.

The exhaustion spills over into my waking hours. Sometimes its all I can do to make it through to nap time so I can rest. But nap time has been a struggle lately. It appears that only one resident of this house believes that nap time is a good idea. Unfortunately, if the hold out does not agree, there is no nap. No rest for me again.

Certain things must be accomplished during the day - we must eat, we must brush our teeth, we must . . . Well maybe that is it for necessity, the rest is just optional. We should get dressed, mom should shower, we should leave the house, we should play silly dino games, we should read books, we should paint masterpieces, mom should write in her blog, mom should do laundry, mom should clean, mom should . . .

Or we could just sit on the couch in our pjs tucked under blankets.

That last option is always the most tempting. But I feel like I should get somethings done off the earlier list. I just can't figure out how to get the mom stuff done. The Bunny stuff is much easier to accomplish as she is often demanding a certain activity take place at a certain time. If the activity is not commenced right at the moment she feels it should be, her demanding will be come more forceful. If need be she will forcefully pull me away from whatever I am doing.

So my things fall to the wayside. I add them to the list in my head. I don't dare write the list down for fear that it would be too long, too overwhelming. I will get back to the task or project later, eventually. Unless something more pressing takes over and it usually does.

Unless sleep finally beckons me to join him.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Xin Nian Kuai Le

Today is the Chinese New Year, the first day of the Year of the Ox.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change, Inspire, Hope

Today I sat with my daughter on my lap and watched Barack Obama take the oath of office to become the President of the United States.

I listened to her say "President Barack Obama" as I had taught her, knowing that she could not possibly fathom the importance of the words she was saying.

I listened with tears streaming down my face to his speech about the challenges we as a nation are going to face. My daughter looked up at me and saw me crying. She said "Its okay momma, its gonna be okay." And she was right.

I wanted to share this moment with her. To know that she will grow up in a world where all things are possible. To her it will be normal that an African-American man can be president of the United States. That is amazing to me.

Right now my heart is full of hope for the future for both the new president and for my daughter.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Creating a Mess

Bunny is very creative. She loves to draw and color and paint. It makes her happy.

And seeing her happy makes me happy. I love that she loves art. As some of you know, I've taken a challenge to create something everyday for one year over at my new blog Juniper and Coffee. It makes my life so much easier that I can sit down and create along side my budding Picasso.

And her approach to art is very inspirational. She just dives in. She doesn't care what people think. She only wants to put the paintbrush, crayon or marker on paper and see what comes out. I love listening to her little comments as she is going along. "Oooh Daddy's gonna to love this." "Isn't it pretty, momma?" "When I'm done its gonna be so nice."

She's all about the process. She doesn't sweat the details because its going to turn out just fine. She doesn't agonize if there is a mistake because there are no mistakes. Every stroke belongs on the paper just where it is.

Now she and I have received about the same amount of artistic training, which is to say none. However, I often freeze when it comes to the output because its not what its supposed to be. Its not "art". I've seen art and what I produce isn't art. So I get frustrated and scrap project after project because its not perfect.

That is why I am loving the challenge created by my other blog. I have to throw caution to the wind. I have to get over my preconcieved notions about what is or isn't art. I have to let go of the hang-ups I have over my abilities or lack of abilities.

In other words, I need to get in touch with my inner three year old.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Wow. Three is huge. You are not a little baby anymore. You are no longer a toddler. You are a little kid.

You are learning new things every day. You can spell (and write) your name. You can count up to 20. You love the letter game and know what letters start a lot of words. You rhyme everything. When I ask what you want to learn in school, your list is so long. You want to know everything, right now. Pretty soon you will be smarter than me.

You love to laugh. You love to make up silly dino games. You make up the most wonderful stories. You love to sing and dance. Right now your favorite songs are the Bushel and a Peck song and You Are My Sunshine. But I've also caught you singing along to the Beatles and that makes me happy.

You are growing up. You are now tall enough to ride the dino ride at the fair all by yourself. But I love that you still want your mommy around. Your beloved dinos have fallen out of favor lately, replaced by horses and puffy glitter stickers. Crayons have been replaced by markers as the preferred method of artistic expression.

Today you are three, my dear Bunny. You fill our lives with such joy and love it is hard to believe what our world was like without you in it. I wish that your days are filled with laughter, sunshine, love, silly dino games, glitter stickers and whatever your heart desires.

But today my thoughts also go to a family half a world away. Even though I don't know you, I want you to know that the little girl you brought into this world, who has entered our family and our hearts, is happy and healthy. Thank you. I will never let her forget you.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Computer Trouble - Help

So my eyboard has decded to drop some letters. They just don't wor anymore.

These are the ones we have:


Do you now how many tmes you use the mssng letters? Alot.

'm pretty sure ths wll not fx tself. Can you just buy a eyboard to hoo up to a laptop to fx the problem?

So now there are two computers on the frtz. So broe down and made an appontment to fx the other computer so at least one wll wor. But 'm not sure how long that wll tae.

f there are no posts for a whle ths s why. No e-mals for a whle ether sorry. Because typng le ths s embarrassng.

Edited to add New keyboard installed and working. We have I and K again and I am so happy. I still want to get the Mac fixed and maybe replace this one too. But at least we are working again!

Monday, January 12, 2009

I'm Never Leaving the House Again

Lately I've noticed that Bunny is perfectly content to stay at home in her pjs all day. She wants to play with the horses (the dinos haven't come out of their cave in a few days), dance to the Bushel and Peck song, paint and color with markers. If this were the sum total of her world she would be content.

Of course there would be the occasional forays to Ama and Baca's house and to Starbucks. Because that is fun. If I mention we have music class or play date. She says "no I wanna stay home". We still go out, but she's not really happy to leave. She's fine once she's out, its just the leaving that's hard. This is probably due to the influx of new stuff from Christmas, Hanaukkah and her birthday. There is so much to play with that she really doesn't get bored.

But some of it is also that new kids hold no interest for her. She will play with the kids at music class and play group because she knows them. But story time and other activities don't really go over too well. She even wants to skip her beloved open gym time because there are too many kids.

So what's a mom to do? I am considering forcing the issue and sending her to pre-school/day care one morning a week. This is something I never would have done a year ago but I think she needs to be around other kids on a more regular basis. It would help prepare her for pre-school in the fall.

But this decision is causing me some anxiety because I know it will cause her some. Trips to the gym daycare have resulted in so much crying that I have been summoned from my work out to comfort her. While I know this would only be temporary, that she would get over it, it still makes me reconsider the whole plan.

So faithful readers, what would you do in this situation?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Just Shoot Me Right Now

If I ever invite you to a party at my house, please suggest that you hold the party at your house or better yet a bar.

If I tell you not to bring anything, please for the love of all that is good and holy bring lots of wine and preferrably an IV so the wine can go directly into my blood stream.

If I suggest that you bring your children to the party, please hire a babysitter and then come to my house and take my child to your home with the babysitter.

Today we had Bunny's 3rd birthday party and holy shit it was a nightmare, for me. Everyone else had a lovely time. Me, not so much.

The party fell on a weekend right after my husband was out of town for work. Even though he was only gone for one night, it seemed like days. I decided to do all the heavy cleaning on Thursday night after Greys. I moved furniture, I washed the floor, I cleaned all the cobwebs. Heck I even cleaned the heating vents. I cleaned like a crazy person until 12:30 am. And there are two things you should know about me: 1. I hate to clean and 2. I need to be in bed by 10 in order to function.

Then Friday morning I cleaned some more. I got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed the bathroom floor. What!? Who the heck am I?! (Luckily for me Bubs came home in time to clean the kitchen. Thank goodness.)

And then I got the bright idea that I would make Bunny's cake from scratch. All of a sudden I've turned into Martha Freaking Stewart with all this happy homemaking stuff. Now don't get me wrong the cake was the best darn tootin' cake I have ever tasted. I mean seriously it was awesome.

But I made it too late in the day. It didn't have time to fully cool before I had to frost it. So the cake fell apart. I had to spackle the darn thing together with the most awesome frosting ever. Seriously it rocked. So the cake was all crumbly and wonky. I was afraid it would fall apart when we put the little horses on it.

Horses you say? Why would you put horses on a dinosaur obessed girl's cake? Because that is what she wanted. She did not want dinos on her cake. She wanted horses because now apparently they are her most favoritest animal ever.

So the party rolls around and the family arrives. Oh man I have never wished that my basement was fixed more that that moment. We had 7 adults and 4 kids (a 7 yr old, 2 3 yr olds and a 1 yr old) in our living room and dining room. It was mass chaos. I thought to myself, I want to have another kid? Why?!

All the toys were brought out. Even the ones that Bunny never, ever plays with. Towers were built with the cardboard blocks and then promplty knocked over. My nerves were shot, I was exhausted. They were screaming and running and jumping and . . . And I seriously contemplated going up to my bedroom with my wine and my cake and locking the door.

And then the boy cat noticed the balloons. He loves balloons because they are attached to ribbon. Which he loves to eat. So we spent the entire party chasing him out of the room and closing the door. But with that many people, you can't keep the door closed. So he got in and sure enough he ate some damn ribbon.

Do you know what happens when cats eat ribbon or string? They poop it out. Only sometimes it doesn't come all the way out and you have to remove it. By hand (preferrably while wearing gloves). But the cats don't like it when you try remove it so they run away with the ribbon hanging out of their butt. (Now some of you are wondering why I own this stupid ribbon eating, puking and peeing cat and right now I don't really have an answer for you).

So now the party is over. Bunny is on her way to bed. I am about to pour a glass of wine and head to bed myself. And I vow with the internets as my witness never to have another party at my house again (until the next time).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Is This What A Mother of a Teenager Feels Like?

Today, Bunny's cousin A "called" to see what Bunny would like for her upcoming birthday (the answer - a pony). Well actually her mother called but A and Bunny spoke on the phone for 10 minutes.

That is if you can say that a three year old and an almost three year old can have a conversation. It went something like this:

Bunny: Hi
A: Hi
Bunny: Hi A
A: What you doing?
Bunny: Playing with water dinos (puts phone down runs to get one of the dinos) See.
A: Hi
Bunny: Hi
A: I play with make up.
Bunny: What make up?
A: Bubblegum
Bunny: What?
A: You come sleep over.
Bunny: Yeah.
A: You can sleep in my bed.
Bunny: Hi
A: unintelligible
Bunny: Hi
A: Stop saying hi
Bunny: Hi
A: What?
Bunny: (puts phone on mute) Where A
A: Bunny you hang up?
Bunny: Hi
A: (hangs up phone)
Bunny: Hi

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Misty Watercolored Memories

(Sorry to put that song in your head, well not really because its been in mine for a while now.)

When we become new parents we take photo after photo of our children. We document their every move. Each new stage is greeted with a production worthy of a Hollywood movie. We need to record it. We want to preserve these moments for eternity.

Why do we do this? Is it so we can show our children, when they are older, what perfect angels they were? Is it so we can embarrass our children, when they are older, by showing their friends and dates all the cute bath pictures? Is it so we can, when they are older, remember that they were small and cute and loved us unconditionally, not just when they want the car? Is it so that we can, when we are older, remember that we were once young and had no clue what to do?

Whatever the reason we cherish these photos (and videos). But the advent of the digital camera has created a problem. Sure you can take tons more pictures and you don't have to wait a week to see them. You can download them to your computer and share them with friends (and virutal friends) around the world with just a click of a button.

But what about when the unthinkable happens? What if your computer hard drive crashes before you've had a chance to back up your photos? They are gone, gone, gone. Sure you could spend a few thousand dollars to try and recover the photos but there is no guarantee that it will work.

This horrible problem happened to me. My computer crashed last spring. I waited and waited to get it fixed thinking that someone could help me recover the photos. I had a year and a half worth of photos of Bunny there. My heart broke.

Sure I'd printed out a few, but not enough. I was also lucky that my father has taken a bazillionty photos of her since she's been home. So we do have a record of most of the major events. But I don't have that many pictures of our trip to China. The trip where we became a family. That killed me.

I blogged our trip in real time and posted a few pictures of each day there. Another family had sent us a disc with pictures of her. So that was something. But was it enough? Will she be upset or angry with me if I don't have a photographic record of the trip? Will the video, the blog recollections and the few pictures be enough? I just don't know.

So here I am still waiting to get the hard drive replaced. I am leaning more and more towards replacing it. We need to have that computer back. I know that is the right thing to do. But still I wonder, should I make another attempt to recover the photos?

What would you do in my situation?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Trouble With Cats

You're probably thinking "Great another post about her stupid peeing cat." But no, this is actually not about cat pee at all. If you would like to read about cat pee, check the archives. I'm sure there's one or two posts about it.

A while back I mentioned our other cat Detroit who is kind of evil because she likes to bite. She is half-Siamese and I believe its a Siamese thing, rather than an evil thing. But she bites if you approach her wrong, get anywhere near her face or just generally annoy her in any way.

When we adoped Bunny I was worried about how Detroit would react to Bunny. Would she try to attack her to establish dominance? Would she bite my sweet baby?

My fears were unfounded for the first two years. Detroit was terrified of Bunny. She didn't quite know what to make of this creature that had invaded her home. At first Bunny would crawl after her so Detroit would run away. This became standard operating procedure, Detroit saw Bunny coming toward her, Detroit would run away.

As Bunny got older, we warned her not to pet Miss Troit as she called her. She could pet Tabasco all she wanted but not Miss Troit. So she didn't. You could tell Bunny was curious but she listened and avoided her.

Until last week. Last week there was an "incident". Apparently Detroit had wandered into the living room and was laying on the back of the love seat. Bunny was playing with dinosaurs on the love seat too. I was in the kitchen making dinner and Bubs was sitting on the other couch talking on the phone. No one noticed Detroit at first.

But then Bunny saw her and decided to pet her. She lifted her little hand directly towards Detroit's head in clear violation of the established petting rules. Detroit did not like that one bit. So in an attemtp to protect herself from the "creature" she bit her on the hand.

Lucky for Bunny she had only one little mark (not like the fang marks I got last time). But that was enough for her. Now Bunny is terrified (or at least dramatically scared) of Detroit.

When she sees her, Bunny will scream "No Miss Troit" at the top of her lungs. Or she will let loose with one of those high pitched screams that only toddlers can make. This usually does the trick and the cat high tails it out of there. But if she does not move and dares to remain in the same room, Bunny will stand there whining for us to carry her past Detroit.

Clearly this cannot happen. We cannot have a child so scared of a cat that she will avoid entire rooms because the cat is there. So we hold her hand and march past the cat in an effort to show her that Detroit will not jump out and bite her again. Bunny has now gotten to the point that she can walk on the other side of the room from the cat. But she will not take her eyes off of her just to make sure nothing will happen.

We try and reassure her that Detroit will not attack. That in fact, Detroit wants absolutely nothing to do with her. That she only wishes to go back to their previous relationship of complete and utter indiference.

It may take a while but I hope we get there. I can't take any more trouble with cats.

Friday, January 2, 2009

One Year Later

One year ago today I woke up on in the morning and my world was completely different. I didn't get ready for work. I didn't drive Bunny to day care. I didn't spend all day at a desk helping people with their problems.

One year ago I officially became a stay at home mom. I had no idea what to do. Since I'd been on leave after adopting Bunny, I'd never spent this much time alone with her. Was I going to like it? Was she going to like me? Was she going to miss daycare and being with all of her friends? Was I going to go crazy with no adult interaction?

I didn't really have a plan on how this was going to go. I lost my job and decided not to look for another one. After Bunny came home, my heart really wasn't in the work world. If I would have looked for another job, I would have done my research on the companies, the jobs available and decided which ones to apply for.

But what kind of research can you do to stay at home? I mean its your house, you live there. You know all about it. Also its your kid, you live with her. You should know all about her. Right? Well yes but it didn't mean I was any less freaked out.

None of my friends in town had kids so I didn't have a built in support network. I called a friend in Chicago who stayed at home and asked her what she did? Do you have things planned every day? Do you just hang out? Help! Please. She gave me some good advice.

I found a wonderful music class which we are still taking one year later. I found a play group. I joined a moms' group (which I never really got into and dropped out of). I got a memebership to the kids' museum. And away we went.

Most of the time it was great. I loved the freedom of hanging out in our pjs whenver we wanted. I loved to be able to go somewhere only when we wanted. It was better in the warmer weather when we could run around outside.

I marveled at my daughter, at her ability to learn anything and everything. I found myself learning things too (and not just about dinosaurs and lizards). I fell in love with her more than I ever thought possible.

There have been times in the past few months when I've contimplated going back to work. Not because I want to but because I might have to. But we've crunched the numbers and tightened our belts so it wasn't necessary.

I don't know what the future holds but I know that I have loved the past year. After working for so many years, I can finally say that I love my job.