Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas Bug

We have a family tradition around here on Christmas. Every year, at least one member of the family must be sick, sick, sick. On especially good years, we are all sick, like the year my ailing wheelchair-bound grandparents came to visit, and the entire family came down with the stomach flu. We had six very sick people, and only three toilets. Fun times.

This year, it was my turn to catch the Christmas bug. The day before my sister and her family arrived, I came down with a horrendous head cold. The bonus of being pregnant with a nasty stuffy head is that anything that even barely touches your gag reflex (like the stuff draining out of your head) makes you very sick, in an unmerry, Scrooge-riffic way.

We've done all the traditional Christmas things - we made a Yule Log and had a huge Christmas Eve feast of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and more green bean casserole than you can imagine. (I prepared the food, but couldn't really taste it. No sense of smell = no sense of taste.) We attended a candlelight Christmas Eve service where I couldn't smell the melting wax of the candles. We had an extravagant Christmas morning brunch and opened stockings and gifts for something like 4 hours straight.

We have gone snow tubing, ice skating, bowling, Christmas lights looking, to museums, national parks and the ever-popular Ikea.

It has been a very, very good time. But I wish this Christmas cold would vanish before 2007 shows up.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Home for Christmas

Guess who is supposed to be coming home today???? Zoe, my beloved laptop. Hopefully, she has a new, super duper screen. (Preferably an ubreakable one. Ha ha.)Hopefully.

If everything works the way that it is supposed to, this will mean more posting on my part! Yay! More pictures, including some of our tree, and the massive number of gifts that will not fit under the tree.

It will mean being able to make shirts for my nephews after all.

This would be a Christmas dream come true.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Life's a Gas, Literally

During this pregnancy, I have had more (excuse me) ... urrrrp ... gas than I thought any human being could produce. Homer Simpson, with his lips vibrating, wavelike, while he belches, would be a good comparison to how I look most evenings after 5 p.m.

We've been joking that the baby wants to learn to burp the alphabet. Precocious boy that he is, he's having mommy learn now, so that she can teach him later. Tom is learning his alphabet the old-fashioned way, but not this baby. Nuh uh.

It seems that I will be out testosteroned in the Wishful Thinking household, with a male dog, two sons and a husband.

Our technician yesterday was absolutely wonderful, and took her time poking around to get excellent shots of all the important things - the cerebellum, the arms, hands and fingers, the eyes and mouth, the four-chamber heart. Baby's spine and femur were measured, and she even took a peek to make sure his kidneys were where they were supposed to be.

It took a couple of passes between the legs before anything was visible. For quite some time we didn't see any boy parts, and we all wondered if this would finally be the first granddaughter. But then, with the wizardry that is ultrasound, we saw the unmistakable sign that we would be having another son.

Our littlest man did not like the ultrasound wand, and kicked like crazy whenever the tech tried to focus in on him. I thought this was great, since my anterior placenta has kept me from feeling much movement to this point.

He is healthy, and sound, and likes to suck on his fingers. I can't wait to meet him, and at least I won't have to worry about Bratz dolls.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


A busted computer really cuts into your Internet time.

Sorry I've been gone for so long, brave and faithful readers. But I'll be back, and soon, I hope. Still no word on when Zoe will make it back home, but I'm hoping before Christmas. I really, really miss her.

On the good news front ... today is the big ultrasound! I am hoping this baby will be less modest than the Tominator, and I will be able to share with you what variety of baby we will be expecting in the spring. If you read this before 1:30 EST, think PINK please. (Boys are lovely too. But healthy is the most lovely, really.)

Ok, I hope to have something interesting to tell you in a few hours.

Monday, December 04, 2006

When Toddler Met Laptop

It doesn't end as well as When Harry Met Sally.

In short, our laptop has been Tominated.

Our brand-spanking new super-computer, Zoe, once looked like this:

Now, thanks to a toddler who is 1/3 monkey, 1/3 destructo bot and 1/3 highly energetic boy, it looks like this:

I have spent two days on the phone with Dell trying to figure out where to send the thing to get it fixed. I learned that our lovely four-year warranty doesn't cover the LCD screen. So, while it will be fixed, it will cost us a pretty penny. Merry Christmas.

On top of that, Tom's biting habit has resurfaced and become really bad.

Things are not looking so good in the Wishful Thinking household right now. Anybody have some happy stories they can share to cheer me up? (Or suggestions for dealing with biting?)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Christmas Decorations No. 1

I've finally gotten all the decorations up - well, except the tree. We'll wait on the grandparents for that. Can't wait to try to keep the Tominator out of that. Ugh.

This is an olivewood musical creche that my grandmother brought me from Israel when I was a little girl.

Our new stockings and the Advent calendar.

Front door wreath.

Evergreens over the mirror in the family room.

Our advent wreath. I can't find purple candles this year, so white will have to do. Trader Joe's used to sell the best purple candles this time of year; now it seems they only sell white. Bah Humbug to them too.

My mom's Santa collection. It doesn't show up well in the pictures, but it's really neat.

And last but not least, Frosty. Tom insists he's a bird, because of his pointy carrot nose. I have not been able to convince him that Frosty is, in fact, a snowman.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Back On

Ok, so clearly I fell off the NaBloPoMo wagon. Eight days without a post. Arrrgh.

But I'm back, and ready to post. Thanksgiving week really threw me for a loop, and although I had plenty to write about, I just could not make myself do it. But I'll try again.

We returned from our weekend at the in-law's last night, and I finally started decorating for Christmas. The few decorations I have up look really nice; I'll post the pictures later today.

We're going to wait to do the tree until my parents arrive in a couple of weeks, but that should be fun.

The only thing I don't have any of is decent Christmas music. Any suggestions? My enitre collection consists of two grocery-store CDs from the early 90's called Christmas with the Stars, which may have a track by Mariah Carey (the only name I recognize) and Country Christmas which is just really, really bad.

Save me people! Tell me where to find some good music to put me in the holiday spirit.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Movie Review Monday

You must see this movie. Seriously, get thee to a cineplex tonight. SuperHubby and I went to see it on Saturday night; I laughed until the tears ran down my face. I never quote movies, but I am constantly quoting this one.

Will Ferrell plays Harold Crick, an extremely boring IRS agent whose life is suddenly turned upside down when an omniscient narrator (Emma Thompson) begins describing his daily life. When the voice tells of his impending death, Crick embarks on a journey to find the voice and change his fate.

On his way, he meets Professor Jules Herbert (Dustin Hoffman.) Lit majors will enjoy Hoffman's scenes - he steals the show with his portrayal of an eccentric lit prof. The inventive quiz he gives Crick to see what novel he is in is one of the best scenes in the entire movie.

Although the ending is too neat, it really doesn't distract from the excellence of the rest of the show.

Go see this movie!

Wishful Thinking rating: 5 big, sparkly stars

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Name Game

I know, I know, I have months to come up with a name for this baby. But I've got nothin'.

So I'm petitioning my tens of readers out there for some of their favorite names. Give me boys names. Give me girls names. Keep them in first/middle combinations if at all possible.

Give me names that I absolutely SHOULD NOT use.

And to help you out, our last name is Duck. Yeah, like the bird. Fantastic, mais non?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Happy Face

My baby has a face. It's a little sad that I just realized this yesterday. Until that point, in my mind she was still a little bean, a little lump of cells without any real definition.

She's been growing inside of me for 14 weeks now, persistently asserting her independence by telling when to eat, what not to eat, and when to bring everything I've eaten back up again. When her brother was this age, I knew everything there was to know about his development. I knew when his heart started beating, when he grew eyelids and ears, when his fingerprints developed.

But things have been different with this one. I've been so busy keeping up with life that I haven't thought much about the life that is growing inside of me.

So yesterday, when I realized my baby has a face, with eyelids and a nose and a beautiful mouth, I was surprised and ecstatic. How did she grow so fast? I wondered. She would nearly fill the palm of my hand if I could hold her, but I hope not to do that for many months yet.

She has ears and fingers and toes and if I could see her, I could confirm for you that she is, in fact female. Or maybe she's really a he. It will be a while until we find out.

She is beginning to be able to hear, a feat SuperHubby was glad learn last night. "I should be singing to her," he smiled, as he pressed his mouth close to my belly. "Hi baby, this is your Daddy. Be nice to mommy."

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ma Barton's Christmas Cookies

Ma Barton's Christmas Cookies

These are by far the very, very best rolled Christmas cookies I have ever tasted. They freeze beautifully - baked or unbaked - for later decorating. The icing included in the recipe is the best sugar cookie icing ever. This recipe makes a lot (about 8 dozen, depending on how big you cut them) of cookies, and is easiest to make in a stand mixer.

Preheat oven to 400.

1 c butter, softened
2 c sugar
3 eggs
2 Tbs. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

5 c flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Sift together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar in mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add milk and vanilla, mix well. Gradually beat in dry ingredients. Divide the dough into two or three smaller balls. Roll out on a floured surface and cut into shapes using cookie cutters. Bake 6-7 minutes, or until edges are just golden and cookies are set.

(Purists only roll the dough out twice, however, I roll and re-roll the dough until all the scraps are used, and the cookies always turn out beautifully.)

Once the cookies are cool, frost with Butter Cream Frosting.

Butter Cream Frosting
(this may be tinted for really colorful decorations)

Beat together
6 Tbs. Butter
1 lb. confectioner's sugar
1-2 tsp. vanilla
add milk 1 tbs. at a time until creamy, but still stiff enough to decorate with.

Once you have the cookies decorated, let them sit at least 2 hours to dry completely before storing in a covered container.

Monday, November 13, 2006


This song is stuck in my head.

The Tominator and I were busy making chili this morning, when I noticed he had gotten a hold of one of my spice jars. The lid was on, so I let him play.

When I looked over a minute later, he had removed the lid and liberally shaken the herb all over the kitchen floor.

"Oh no!" I said. "Let's keep the thyme in the bottle."

And there it was.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Mothering Advice

Owlhaven asked: “What advice or information do you wish you had received to prepare you for motherhood? Or, on the contrary, what advice do you think women soon to become mothers should not be given?”

The best advice I can give is to practice patience. As a new mother, nothing comes as quickly as you expect it to. Breastfeeding is worth it, but it's a lot of effort in the beginning. Your body will take a while to go back to its prepregnancy shape. Have patience. Everything will work out.

Plan to spend the first month doing little more than feeding the baby, changing the baby, feeding yourself, and sleeping. Everything else - laundry, cleaning, reorganizing the attic - can and will wait. Be patient with yourself. If you plan on a "free" month, anything you do get accomplished during that time will be a great bonus! Let go of your to-do lists.

Take time to marvel in your baby's smallness. They are tiny and dependent for such a short time - I wish I had spent more time holding my son when he was tiny. At 15 months he doesn't much want to cuddle with momma anymore.

And finally, listen to advice, but listen to yourself more. Tons of people will be willing to tell you what to do and how to do it; some people (family members especially) may have very strong opinions on the "correct" way to raise a child.

Tip: there is no one correct way to raise a child.

Follow your heart. If your mother insists that you should let your 4-week-old infant "cry it out," but you don't agree, thank her for her advice and continue doing whatever works for you. No baby has ever turned out wrong from attention and love.

Believe in yourself; you can do this! And when that 3 am waking is driving you up a wall, hold your baby and pray. It helped me to have a "memorized" prayer to rely on in the middle of the night - like the Lord's prayer. That way I didn't have to get all creative. But it doesn't really matter HOW you reach out to God, just do it. God will not give you a greater burden than you can carry.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Have You Hugged a Veteran Today?

My PawPaw served his country with honor during World War II. He never saw foreign soil, but he trained hundreds of young men who did. During the war, the US arms supply was so low that he trained his men with broomsticks, because they had no guns. Even under those circumstances, he, and the men he trained, made a difference.

This is the flag that draped the caisson when he was interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

I have a dear family friend who is a young marine serving in Iraq right now. This is his third tour, and every night I pray he will make it home safe and unharmed, as he has before. He is on or near the front lines, and I often find myself holding my breath when I come across lists of the dead.

Men and women like my grandfather and my friend spend their lives protecting our nation. Remember to thank a veteran today.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Nine Weird Things

Heth tagged me for this meme a while ago, so now I will tell you just how strange I am. Although I am not sure I can top Chili's number one weird thing. Really. Check it out.

* I edited number 7 after reading Chili's comment *

1. I have a terrible memory, and if I don't write something down, it's completely gone. I frequently forget doctor's appointments, dates with friends and birthdays because of this trait.

2. Having a poor memory makes me an excellent person to hear secrets. I would be the ultimate confessor, because I would never remember anyone's sins longer than a day or two.

3. Before I had children, I walked around with a running commentary in my head, sort of like a voice-over in a movie. I think I was a cross between Walter Mitty and Will Farrell.

4. Since I have become a mother, my voice-over has been drowned out by repeated singing of "The Wheels on the Bus."

5. I have secretly looked forward to wearing maternity clothes again, because most of them are inherited from other people and are in styles that I would not normally buy for myself. It's like 6 months of dress up.

6. If it's only immediate family in the house (myself, SuperHubby, Tominator) I rarely close the bathroom door.

7. I prefer to sleep in my all together (you know, my birthday suit. Also known as naked. Wonder what this line will do to my Google hits?)

8. Some of my closest friends are IM buddies whom I have never met.

9. I get very irritated with people who put on a show and pretend they are something that they are not. With me, what you see is pretty much what you get, cluttered home and all.

And here is an amazingly accurate personality quiz:

Your Five Factor Personality Profile


You have medium extroversion.
You're not the life of the party, but you do show up for the party.
Sometimes you are full of energy and open to new social experiences.
But you also need to hibernate and enjoy your "down time."


You have medium conscientiousness.
You're generally good at balancing work and play.
When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done.
But you've been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it.


You have high agreeableness.
You are easy to get along with, and you value harmony highly.
Helpful and generous, you are willing to compromise with almost anyone.
You give people the benefit of the doubt and don't mind giving someone a second chance.


You have medium neuroticism.
You're generally cool and collected, but sometimes you do panic.
Little worries or problems can consume you, draining your energy.
Your life is pretty smooth, but there's a few emotional bumps you'd like to get rid of.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is medium.
You are generally broad minded when it come to new things.
But if something crosses a moral line, there's no way you'll approve of it.
You are suspicious of anything too wacky, though you do still consider creativity a virtue.

I tag: Mopsy, Jess and Jill, if you haven't done this already.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Itsy Squishy Spider

I crawled my hands across the floor, imitating a spider as I sang "the itsy bitsy spider." The song is one of Tom's favorites, and generally reduces him to a rolling ball of laughter.

But today, Tom had other plans for spidey. With great concentration, he raised his right foot and stomped down, just inches from my fingers. When he saw that he had missed, he picked up the foot and tried again.

Spiders of the world, beware. My son is out to get you.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Kitchen Help

Tired of a fussy toddler pulling at your legs while you try to cook or do the dishes? A nice step stool will generally solve your problems. The Tominator loves to help me cook, and we even get in some math practice when we bake.

Whenever he's being particularly difficult, I ask him to get his stool and help me cook. He always runs right out to the sun porch and tries to bring his stool in, even though it's much to big for him to do. Once we get him set up, he is happy as a clam. He has helped me make pizza (although he ate all the olives off before it got to the oven,) brownies, cakes, apple pie and a million other things. It's a great way to keep him entertained and educate him at the same time.

For instance, if we are baking from scratch, I let him help me scoop out the flour, baking soda and spices, counting as we go. Then I let him help stir the dough or batter. Sometimes he makes a bit of a mess, but that is cleaned up easily enough.

Don't forget to check out more Works for Me Wednesday tips over at Rocks in My Dryer.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Confessions of a Bad Mom

Today was not an easy day in the Thinking household. My sweet fetus apparently did not get the message that she is supposed to stop torturing me after the first trimester; thus I spent most of my day on the couch or hiding in bed, attempting not to lose my breakfast.

The rest of the day was spent battling a screaming, biting, tantrum-throwing toddler.

By the time dinner rolled around, I had just about had it. Tommy said he was hungry, I set him in his high chair and dished up some ham and navy bean soup. Two bites in he started screaming. Just screetching. I could not figure out what was wrong. He was still eating, but every bite was puncutated with high pitched shrieks.

I threatened time-out if he didn't stop. I yelled. I ignored him. But after about 20 minutes, I decided I'd had enough and it was time for dinner to be over. When I picked him up out of his high chair, I noticed his diaper felt like it needed changing. So upstairs we went.

Imagine my surpise and shame when I discovered that Tom's endless screams were not the result of temper, but the result of a horrible, bright red diaper rash. A new diaper and a little cream turned my screaming boy into a sweet thing once again.

I feel like such a bad mom.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A New Phrase

When I came home from the grocery tonight, the full moon was so beautiful. I came inside and bundled Tom in his coat, then took him outside to see the moon. SuperHubby came too, but somehow in the exiting procedure, SuperMutt escaped. Off he ran through the moonlit streets, stopping only long enough to lift a leg here or there.

Tom and I said, "Goodnight, moon!" and strolled along the sidewalk, while SuperHubby and SuperMutt had a Benny Hill-style chase through the neighborhood. When the dog finally gave up the chase and allowed himself to be caught, I scolded him.

"Bad Dog!" I said. "Bad, bad dog!"

Coltrane went to his kennel. A few moments later, Tom followed. "Ba dog, ba ba ba!" he said, standing outside the dog's kennel. Then he turned to me and made the signs for dog eat. "Cookie?" he asked.

Explaining to a one year old that naughty dogs don't get cookies is harder than you would imagine. Tom was adamant that the dog should have a cookie. He stomped. He pleaded. He screamed.

Ah, for the love of a bad dog.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Big Sentence

Today, the Tominator uttered his first sentence. He has been signing in sentences for weeks, letting us know, for instance, when the dog is eating, but he has never so much as uttered more than one word in a row.

Until this morning.

He had dumped out a carton of toys, and carefully placed each one back in the container. When he had finished, he closed the lid and said, "all done."

How cool is that?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Me me

Stole this from Mopsy. What should I do next, do you think?

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain

04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree

10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game (and survived the crush afterwards)
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg (no, but I touched a glacier. Does that count?)
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper

21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight

28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb

33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk.
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales

45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe.
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach

50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke

59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater

66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites

70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice (been there, didn't ride a gondola. How lame is that?)
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage

85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication

106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart

111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet

121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper

129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about

130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey

135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Are You Prepared?

Elections are in 5 days. Do you know who you're voting for? Do you have good reasons for voting for him/her? Have you looked at your candidate's stance on issues across the board, or have you narrowly focused on one issue? Are you voting strictly on the fact that you think the person is moral?

Before you vote, make sure you know where your candidate really stands. I love this ad from AARP that I saw this morning. It actually made me laugh out loud.

If you don't feel that you know enough about the candidates in your local races, check out before you hit the polls Tuesday. (Hat tip to Heth for the link.)

And no matter WHO you're voting for, head to the polls Tuesday. The people need to be heard. All of us.

This advertisement was approved by Goslyn. Please don't vote for me.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Love Songs for Tommy

Last night, as I relaxed in a warm bath, I listened to the music drifting up the stairs and wafting under the bathroom door. SuperHubby had caved to Tom's demand for guitar music, and was singing away to our son. I heard Tom's favorite If You're Happy and You Know It, and then I think a rendetion of Wheels on the Bus.

SuperHubby tooled around with a few other melodies before breaking into Pure Prairie League's Amy, What Ya Gonna Do? Tom's laughter bubbled up through the steam in the bathroom, and I smiled.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

An Eyeful of Sympathy

Q: What is better than having someone stand outside the bathroom door and laugh hysterically as you vomit?

A: Having someone stand beside you in the bathroom and watch you vomit because you didn't get the bathroom door closed fast enough. It's really good when, tired of trying to catch the stuff coming out of your mouth, that little someone decides to stick his little razor-tipped fingers in your eyes each time you retch. So helpful.

Monday, October 30, 2006

I Dreamed a Little Dream of You

Yes, you. If you are a regular reader (and commenter) of this blog, chances are good that you have recently appeared in my dreams. I think I am jealous of all the blogging ladies getting to meet their blogging buddies in real life, like Chili and Shannon did this weekend.

This morning, our featured player was Mopsy from Lifenut. I was supposed to be helping her put her children to bed, as her husband was busy at work. In real life, she has six children, but in my dream ... she had 10. We did ok. The kids went to sleep, eventually.

Ok, this sounded much more exciting when I woke up at 5:30 this morning.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Birthday Boy

Today, my wonderful Daddy celebrates 68 years of living life to the fullest. This is a man who has been a teacher, a firefighter, an EMT, a school principal, a stained glass artist, a handyman of the highest order and now spends his retirement renovating churches, schools and homes on a volunteer basis.

My Daddy is a quiet man. He's never had much to say, but he's also never missed a chance to lead by example. He works hard and plays hard, and has never, ever made me feel like an afterthought.

When I was a little girl, too young to read, he would read the comics to me over breakfast, describing the pictures and then telling me what the word bubbles said. Later, in high school, he and I ate breakfast together every morning. I don't remember what we talked about, or even if we talked at all, but he was always there.

In middle school, we rode the Cycle Across Maryland tour twice - once on separate bikes and once on a tandem. Even though he was (and still is) an excellent bicyclist, he never left me behind so that he could ride with the faster guys and finish at the head of the pack. He rode beside me every minute of every mile, encouraging me when I was tired or walking beside me when I had to push my bike up a hill. The year we rode the tandem we had these really fun tie-die bicycle shirts, and we made quite a pair. I think riding across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on the back of that tandem is still one of my favorite memories of all time.

A couple of years ago, he rebuilt my kitchen for me, including making custom counter tops. Let me tell you, it was so much fun to see how he did that. I had no idea how counter tops are made. It is not easy or quick. My kitchen is now perfect and amazing, and there is no way I could have done it without him. (Or mom, or SuperHubby, or the rest of the team, for that matter. But Dad did most of the manual labor himself.) Here are some before and after shots of the great work Daddy did in the kitchen. (Note: the decorations in the before pictures are not ours - they are what the house looked like when we purchased it, with the previous owners' stuff still in it.)







So, happy birthday, Dad. You are a fantastic dad and a wonderful Pops. I love you very much.

Breakfast Blessing

Yesterday, I bought eggs from a market I don't usually frequent. I am not brand specific, so I buy whichever eggs are a good price.

As I cracked an egg this morning to make my goat cheese omelet, I noticed a strange message inside the carton.

It's silly, but suddenly my gray, dreary rainy day looked just a bit brighter. So, thanks, Mr. Heister at Lewistown Valley Egg Ranch. The ranch is a locally owned farm, and if they had a website, I would link it. Since they don't, I'll ask any of my readers in eastern central PA to make a beeline to your nearest Valley Farm Market and support these guys. I love it. (PS, the eggs are good, too.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I have three new favorite reads that I hope all of you will check out.

Scribbit is an amusing Alaskan who has wonderful stories about her family as well as gorgeous photos of thier adventures. Her recipes look fantastic, too. Take a second and go say hi. She's worth it.

The Wallpaper of My Mind is a great site that I only recently stumbled across. She has decided to spend more time Mommying and less time blogging, and thus only updates on Fridays. But she's worth the wait.

Total Mom Haircut is a funny, funny lady with great stories about her impossibly cute offspring, Sam. Don't miss her story about strollercizing.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Random Photos and a Pumpkin Patch

We had visitors last weekend, and in a celebration of all things autumnal, we decided to take a trip to a local pumpkin patch. The weather was perfectly crisp, and I had visions of Tom tromping through the pumpkin patch as happy as could be.
But Tom had other ideas. If you click on the picture, you should be able to see him bawling his little head off in the middle of the pumpkins. My kid is not all about squash.

I did, however, get a pretty shot of the orange pumpkins and blue, blue sky.

He had a little more fun with the petting zoo - he really liked the llamas. But he was still more interested in the wheels on the big tractor parked next to the petting zoo than he was in the animals. I wish we'd gotten a picture of his face when he saw the tractor.

Even if Tom didn't have the best time at the farm, the adults enjoyed ourselves. We had planned to pick apples in the orchard, but the line for the buses was very long, and we didn't feel like sitting through all that with an infant and a toddler. So we just bought apples at the fruit stand instead. Samantha assured me the apples were just as good as if we had picked them ourselves.

And this is what Tommy likes to do for fun on our french door.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

14 Months of Sympathy

Last night, just as I was about to pull dinner from the oven, I was overcome by a sudden urge to worship at the porcelain throne of St. John. I dashed to the loo, closing the door behind me.

I retched, I kecked, I moaned. And from the other side of the door, I heard lilting laughter. He chortled. He guffawed. At me.

I hadn't had much to eat, but that didn't keep my stomach from trying to revolt, again and again. And each time, the laughter followed me. Apparently listening to your mother throw up is

Oh the love.

Monday, October 09, 2006

My Fetus is Trying to Kill Me

I had planned a wonderful, happy, babyriffic post to tell the world about the next duckling in the queue. The one who will arrive sometime in May.

The one who is currently running a full-court press for matricide.

Early life with the Tominator wasn't this bad. I wasn't 100%, and I was absolutely exhausted, but at least I could eat. In fact, there were foods I wanted to eat. Fried mozzarella sticks, primarily. And beef. And chips with french onion dip, which threw SuperHubby for a serious loop, since I never eat potato chips.

But this baby? Oh no. Apparently this baby feels that anything in excess of half a cup of wonton soup is too much to handle. Maybe she's planning to be an itty-bitty string bean of a ballerina. I dunno, I just wish she'd let me eat something.

Anyhow, so that's my good news. Whoopee!

Friday, October 06, 2006

What My Weekend Was Not

Well, our weekend away was not the cable TV gorge-fest I had anticipated, but it was still a great weekend.

I guess after so many years of living a cableless life, I had forgotten just how pointless most television shows are. SuperHubby said my standards have become much higher, and I was sorely disappointed in the selection, even though I had upwards of 70 channels to choose from.

But cable TV was not the point of the weekend. The point of the weekend was to get away and visit with our friends, and that part was lovely beyond lovely.

The wedding was gorgeous, and the bride was one of the prettiest I have ever seen.

The reception was lovely and the food was delicious. Catching up with our friends was the best part, though. I had real adult conversations, not punctuated by "hold on just a moment" while I ran frantically after the Tominator. I sat through a whole meal, and only had to feed myself. Oh, the joy.

The purse I carried? Tiny! So small I could only fit a tube of lipstick and a compact in it. No shoulder-pulling diaper bag for me! I was a liberated woman for 48 whole hours.

After the wedding, SuperHubby and I crashed in our hotel room for a late-afternoon nap. When we woke up (of our own accord, not to the baby cry that is our standard at-home alarm) we decided to dine out at a local Italian resturant. We lived on the edge and ordered brick-oven pizza with spinach and tiramisu for dessert. Yummy. The resturant served water in mason jars with long tubes of pasta as straws. That part kind of creeped me out, because by the end of dinner, my straw was melting into my drink. Plus, as a veteran straw-chewer, I was thwarted in my attempts to gnaw on the end of the pasta without biting off nasty soggy raw pasta.

But other than that the meal was good.

On Sunday, we got up and went to church, and I got to sit through the WHOLE service and actually listen to the sermon. I did not have to read The Very Hungry Catepillar in an undertone, or entice a wiggly 14 month old behind to sit on the pew beside me. I did not have to leave church while the priest blessed communion, because I did not have someone sitting on my lap who wanted to loudly "help."

And then we went home, and what a homecoming we had! The Tominator's grin nearly split his face in two, and I wasn't sure he would ever unlock his little arms from around my neck. Can't beat that with a stick, I tell you.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Weekend for Two

In approximately 36 hours, SuperHubby and I will pack the car, wave goodbye to our adorable progeny, and head west for two delightful days and nights all by ourselves.
We are singing at a wedding of some dear friends, and decided that we should turn it into a romantic getaway destination, even if it is to the middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania.

Grammy and Grandpa have volunteered to come and sit for the Tominator for the weekend, so we know he'll be in good hands.

Let me just tell you, two whole nights of uninterrupted sleep is sounding very good right now. Especially since I haven't been feeling very well.

But do you know what I'm looking looking forward to the most? Not 12 solid hours of uninterrupted snuggle time with my sweetie. Not restaurant-prepared, planned and served meals. Not even using a bathroom with a full-sized tub.

It's the cable TV. It's sad, but true. We don't have cable, by choice. But man, the cable is the best part of going to a hotel. I get my comedy central/Jon Stewart/HGTV fixes, and I'm gold. I do love to vegetate.

Ahhhh. TV.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Cross-Country Dreamin'

Ok, so turns out it's not only Daring Young Mom who gets to be featured in my dreamlife. Apparently Chilihead wanted in on the action, since she showed up in a classic convertable last night.

We had our very own Thelma and Louise moment, except without the shooting and murdering and the cop chases. Yeah. It was just like that, only not at all.

But we had a really good time driving across country. You may not know it, but Chili is very funny. She should totally have her own stand up routine.

You may be pleased to know that Miss Chili, although stunning in her Groucho Marx glasses, is also really good at keeping her secret idenitity without them. Throughout the entire dream, I only saw the back of her head or the side of her face, so I still don't know what she looks like. Crazy.

So, as much fun as I'm having meeting some of my blogging idols in my dreams, I would love to meet some of them in person someday!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wednesday Joy

This morning, just shy of dawn, I heard my son stirring in his crib. He was chattering sorrowfully to his stuffed duck. I cracked open my heavy eyelids and prayed he'd go back to sleep.

"Just 30 minutes more," I silently begged. "Just 30 minutes more."

But his pathetic conversation continued, and I there was no way I could leave him in his crib when he sounded so sad.

I hauled myself out of bed and down the stairs to his room. He was laying on his stomach in his crib, running his hand along the rails like a prisoner runs a tin cup along the bars of his jail cell.

My half-asleep heart melted.

I bundled him up and carried him and his duck downstairs, where we set up shop on the couch. He promptly snuggled down on my chest and went right back to sleep. And so did I.

What a lovely way to spend my morning - stretched out on my couch, cradling my baby.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I Shake My Fist at You, Blogger Beta

So, I switched. And I really like it. Blogger beta has some great features. But today, all of my links to blogspot sites that have not switched to beta do not work. Which makes me very angry, as I like to read my blogs.


Are any of you other beta bloggers having this problem?


Now it's working. Funky. But at least I can catch up on my reading.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


He used to let me rock him to sleep, so I could catch a faint whiff of lavender when his hair brushed my cheek.

He used to let me rock him to sleep, and I would marvel at the perfection of his hands as his head lolled against my shoulder. We would read Good Night Moon and The Velveteen Rabbit, and somewhere in the middle, about when the Skin Horse is explaining how Nursery Magic works, he would drift off.

He used to let me rock him to sleep, but now he wants to lay down, big-boy style, and toss and turn until he’s perfectly comfortable.

My boy is growing up, and I should have seen it coming, but somehow it snuck up on me. We celebrated his first birthday last month. He decided he’d had enough of the nursing and self-weaned just barely a week later.

He knows more than a dozen baby signs, although clearly spoken words of any variety still elude him.

One day recently we were playing the kiss-kiss game. “Mommy’s gonna kiss you!” I teased, leaning in to give him a smackeroo on the lips. “Mwwwwwwah!”

He laughed. So I did it again. And again. When I went back for a fourth kiss, I was stopped a few inches from his face.

“’Top,” he said, smacking his hands together to let me know that my kisses were no longer welcome. “’Top.”

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I Have Learned ...

to always close the baby gate.

I was typing away at my computer, and I noticed the Tominator's raspberry-blowing sound effects growing quieter as he toddled onto the sun porch. "Brrrbrrrbrrr," I heard. It was quiet for a minute, and my mommy spidey sense began to tingle.

"Clink, WOOOSH, (pause) hahahahahaha," echoed from three rooms away.

I was out of my seat in a flash, fast enough to watch my son tipping the remainder of the water in the stainless-steel dog bowl into his mouth. Most of the water, thankfully, was on his shirt or the floor. The very soggy carpeted floor.

I was fast enough to see him put the bowl on his head, but not fast enough to grab the camera before he'd moved on. So I offer the Babies-Gone-Wild Tominator (spring break babes, watch out.)

to resist the urge to let my strung-out dog help with the KP.

Later that evening, as I was cleaning up the dinner dishes, Coltrane decided to help with the prewashing, by licking the surplus food off the plates already stacked in the dishwasher. Normally, this doesn't bother me too much, since the dishes will be cleaned and sanitized once they are put through the wash cycle.

"Chank, ting" went his dog tags against the silverware. It was a peaceful sort of rhythm to compliment the clinking of the glasses as I stacked and carried them to the sink.

Suddenly, the rhythm changed. Cole began trying vainly to pull away from the dishwasher.

"Chankchankchank, tingtingting," went his tags. And then a screech. A crash. Coltrane bolted from the room.

The lower basket of my dishwasher was sitting in the middle of my ceramic tile kitchen floor. A bowl was upended on the floor. Silverware was scattered in every direction. A single dinner plate was split down the middle, the two halves rattling dejectedly as they settled on the floor.

But I'm not angry. That's what I get for letting the mutt who looks like he stayed to long at a Phish concert help with the dishes.

Under Construction

Renovations, renovations. We all love a little home improvement. While I may not be Ms. Rocks and her amazing paper bag walls, I am working on changing a few things around here at Wishful Thinking. I'm giving Blogger Beta a try. And I'm futzing. So, please bear with me through the construction. This shouldn't take more than a week ... or two.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Surely, This is a Sign

Because Daring Young Mom will not stay out of my bedroom.

No, not like that. Ewww. Go wash your brain out with soap.

Back in March, I posted, rather sheepishly, that the inimitable DYM had appeared in two of my dreams. While I was flattered that such a big blog celebrity would take the time to fly clear across the country to visit me in slumberland, I was a bit perturbed. I mean, she was nice and all, but I don't even know the woman. Slumberland is kind of an intimate place for introductions.

But last night, she decided to up the ante. Not only did I have the prime opportunity to visit with DYM, Daring Young Dad was there, too. (He's cool, in case you were wondering.)

We were hanging out in their new house, looking at photo albums. And they were both really, really nice. And funny. We did not, however, have a freestyle rap battle. My poor brain would have been too self-conscious, I think. I am not so great with the insta rhymes.

And, because I know you are wondering, their house is really gorgeous. At least the one in dreamland is lovely. It had a lot of beautiful blond hardwood in my dream. Very open, with a loft type space over the great room. It was neat.

And here's the weirdest part ... DYM was mother to Mopsy's kids. Or Mopsy's kids were living at her house. I'm not entirely sure, but I think this may be a sign that I am spending too much time reading blogs and not enough time with actual people. At least actual people over 3 feet tall. Hm.

So, thanks for the visit, DYM. It was fun. But next time, lets meet for lunch, k?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Private First Class Aaron J. Rusin

Pfc. Aaron J. Rusin, 19, had only been in Iraq for a month when he was shot during an Oct. 10, 2004 attack on his military convoy outside of Baghdad. Rusin, of Johnstown, Pa., died Oct. 11. He was assigned to the 44th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, Camp Howze, Korea, and had joined the Army in the tradition of his father, grandfather and three uncles, who all served.

Before joining the Army, Rusin volunteered with two fire departments."He was awesome. He was one of those kids who would do anything. You never had to ask him twice," said Barry Emerson, assistant chief for the Jackson Township fire department.

Pfc. Rusin, we thank you and your family for the sacrifice you have made in service to our country. We will remember.

Sources: The Associated Press; Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

The ladies over at Some Gave All are hoping to have all the tributes posted by Labor Day 2006, but you might squeak one in if you get hopping.

This is especially important to me as a dear family friend is about to start his third tour in Iraq with the Marines. His name is Corporal John Davis; please say a prayer for him if you have a moment.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sandy Boy

Oh Sandy Boy, the beach, the beach is calling ...

Ok, I've got to stop that, or y'all are going to think I'm going to start all my posts with lame made-up verses to famous songs.


A few weeks ago, just after his first birthday, the Tominator landed on the Delaware coast, prepared for a sandy invasion.

I was pretty sure he would like the beach, since his sandbox is a source of endless amusement. What could be better than a giant sandbox? Especially a giant sandbox where you can fall flat on your face, get covered in sand, and get up and keep going? Oh, and in case you aren't sandy enough, I highly recommend a sand sandwich and a handful or two of sand chips. They are apparently delicious.

While my boy loved the beach, it took him a little while to warm up to the water. He wasn't too sure what to make of it at first, and figured ingesting handfuls of the beach in between chasing the seagulls was just more fun than anyone should have.

Pretty soon, though, he headed for the water. I had imagined that he might just play at the edge of the waves. You know, nice and quietly.

Ha ha.

The Tominator LOVES the ocean. He loves it so much that he repeatedly pulled out of my grasp and ran pell-mell directly into the breakers. The water would crash in his face and he would smack his lips and chortle. And try to run farther into the surf.

I knew if I called him "little dude" often enough as an infant he would grow up to be a surfer.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

How Great Thou Art

So beautiful, when from your box you'd risen
to shine your light on blogging worlds again.
I saw the sun, I heard the angels singin'
Thy wide-screen: host to all that man has made.

Then sings my soul, my favorite Dell to thee,
How great thou art
How great thou art
Then sings my soul, my favorite Dell to thee,
How great thou art
How great thou art.

Meet Zoe. She is my new baby. She arrived on Monday, and although she is still keeping me up nights, I am one happy mama. One happy, blogging mama.

And, may I just say, I love Dell.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

An Open Letter to the Tominator

Dear Tommy,

It's so hard to believe that just one year ago, you were such a tiny little guy, so angry at being evicted from your nice warm home under my heart. You were such a strong baby, and such a good sleeper (how I wish we could see that trait again!)

I didn't know how lucky I was the day you were born. I'd been in early labor for a week, and to be honest, I was just grateful to have you out.

Once I actually held you, I marveled at your tiny fingers and your squinched-up eyes. In fact, I was a little worried that you might not actually have eyes, since I didn't personally see them open until you were at least three days old.

Over the past year, you have grown and changed so much. My tiny boy who used to snuggle for hours in the sling now careens around the house, wreaking havoc wherever he goes. I have watched you study everything with careful precision, before learning exactly how to complete a task. The doctor used to comment on your serious expression, joking that you were figuring out a solution to bring world peace. She said you would probably be President some day.

I said you can be anything you want, as long as it's not a politician.

But you're not all thoughtful studiousness. Like your father before you, your smiles light up the room.

Your Aunt Sheryl sent you this ball pit for your birthday, and it is truly your favorite gift. The look on your face when you came downstairs was priceless.

Your MegaBlocks wagon was another favorite gift. Pops has spent hours pushing you around, while you grin and giggle like a madman.

But best of all, even though you are growing up, you still love to give bear hugs and snuggles. Sometimes you cling to me so tightly that I don't even have to hold on to you. I feel like the mother of a very strong chimpanzee when you do that, but it makes me very proud.

I love you so much. Happy birthday, my son.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday: Chore Chart

I'm going to piggy back of another WFMW poster and tell you all about my chore chart. SuperHubby actually came up with the first draft of this after the Tominator was born. SuperHubby had volunteered to take over the household chores for a while so I could get used to being a mommy, and he made a weekly list that he could hang on the fridge. Whenever he completed a chore, he would cross it off so that I would know it had been completed.

I liked the idea so much that I took his list and tweaked it (and, much to his chagrin, added Clip Art) and now I have a great chore list on my fridge. I currently just print a new list out every week, but if I were smart, I'd laminate the sucker and just tic off the completed chores with a dry-erase marker.

Here's the list, and it works for me!