Monday, June 29, 2009

Lost tooth lost then found

Peanut lost her first tooth today.


Her loss of the tooth was followed by much drama when she actually did LOSE the tooth in the backseat of the van. I spent a good 30 minutes out there tonight carefully combing the floor mats with my fingertips thinking how ridiculously gross and weird it was to be looking for a TOOTH on the floor of the family car.

I found it under her booster seat and the Tooth Fairy is planning to swing by the homestead later tonight to make the drop.

Look how cute and proud she is:


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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Rub the bible and get three wishes

Scene: Sitting on the couch last night.

Loaf: Do you believe in God?

Me: I do.

Loaf: Does he live in New Jersey?

Me: Um. No. Definitely not. He is in heaven.

Loaf: Is that in the sky?

Me: Yes.

Loaf: Can he see me?

Me: Yes, he can.

Loaf: Can he see my bones?

Me: Yes, he can see your bones.

Loaf: Can he see me if I hide under the chair?

Me: Yes, even then. He can see you anytime.

Loaf. Oh. ::pausing:: Can he see if I don't eat my dinner?

Me: ::trying not to laugh::Yes.

Loaf: Can he help me find my lost dinosaur?

Me: It doesn't really work like that. I'll help you find it.

Loaf: Is he magic?

Me: Well, not exactly. He can conduct miracles though. He is all powerful.

Loaf: ::pausing to consider this:: Kind of like the genie in Aladdin?

Oy. OK. I get it. Time to focus on some sort of serious religious education. Which is going to fall entirely on me.


Like I don't have enough to worry about.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Just call us Typhoid Mary (and Mark)

This has been a bad week.

When Mark picked me up from the airport on Saturday night, he was sick. So sick, that on Friday he actually passed out at a friends’ house shortly before puking all over their bathroom.

Fortunately, they are very, VERY good friends and not only took care of Mark by driving him home, they also stayed and put the girls to bed so he could rest.

When he picked me up on Saturday, he was pale and weak. Mark never gets sick, so I knew it had to be bad.

By Sunday, he was feeling a bit better. We actually had pizza for dinner and then a little nookie, because after all, it had been a while. I missed him while I was in California. And he was feeling better, so I figured I was safe.

Big mistake! By Monday night, I was feeling queasy. I didn’t eat dinner. I went to bed with stomach cramps and chills. By Tuesday afternoon, I had a fever of nearly 103, chills, aches, a headache, nausea and I was unbelievably tired. I napped on an off all day.

Mark took care of the girls. He was still tired, but feeling better.

Until Wednesday when he came down with a fever. And chills. And aches.

Since then, we’ve spent the majority of our days in a prone position either on the couch or in bed. We’ve tagged teamed with childcare. Last night, his fever was 104. ← Not a typo.

Our house. Ugh. You probably don’t want to know. Half-filled glasses of water everywhere. Unmade beds. Toys that haven’t been picked up since Tuesday night. Dishes piled up by the sink. Blankets and sheets and pillows all over the living room. Floors unswept.

And of course, this has been one of the nicest, non-rainiest weeks we’ve had all summer. And we’ve been trapped indoors more or less the whole time.

My poor, poor kids.

They’ve played more computer games and watched more movies than, well, probably ever. They’ve been read to and played with less than ever before. They’ve had very little outside time – no bike riding or trips to the park.

On the very, very, very high upside, they also (so far) show no signs of getting sick themselves.

:::knocking furiously on the wooden table at which I’m sitting:::

Please send good thoughts that they stay well, because no child should have to feel as bad as we’ve felt this week. In fact, I can’t possibly see how they’d get through this without a visit to the ER. It’s been that bad.

Today, I’m feeling a bit better. Less achy and only a slight upset stomach. I’ve started reintroducing food (very bland food, but still, food -my first in days) with fair results.

Mark’s fever this morning was still over 103.

I don’t know if this is all related to the illness Mark came down with last Friday, or if I brought something more ominous home with me from the plane. Whatever it is, I’ll be glad when it’s out of our home for good. The first thing I'm going to do is take my kids to the park.

And if that goes well, I'm going out for a cheeseburger.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I left my blog in San Francisco

Or something like that.

Last week, I went to visit my "little" (26-year-old) brother and his girlfriend in San Francisco. My mom and step-father were also there.

We had a great time and crammed so much into the trip.

Tuesday, after I landed, we had lunch in Sausalito, then went to Muir Woods and Muir Beach. At Muir Beach, we hiked way up onto the bluffs, which offered an incredible view of the coast:



Wednesday, we drove up to Truckee, CA, an old western, gold-rush town with lots of cute shops. Then we went sight-seeing around Lake Tahoe, which is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen:



Thursday, we explored San Francisco. We went to Lombard Street ("America's Crookedest Street"):



We also went up to Telegraph Hill and then downtown to Market Street, where we grabbed a cable car ride across town. We also explored the shops in Haight-Ashbury.

Friday, we went to the Japanese Gardens in Golden Gate Park, saw a bit more of Haight-Ashbury, and went to Fisherman's Wharf, were we saw the famous sea lions of Pier 39:


Then we grabbed a ferry to Alcatraz:





Alcatraz also had some spectacular views of the city and bridges:


Saturday, I flew home to my husband and kids, who I missed terribly! Next time, they must come with me.

* * *

Oh, and I also celebrated a milestone birthday. On the 15th, I turned 30, 35, 40.

I know.

Mark threw me a surprise party on the 13th, which was a blast. A great group of friends and family came by to celebrate with me. I was so honored and excited and genuinely surprised because typically my husband, God bless him, can't plan more than four hours ahead. So kudos to him.

All in all, life's been busy, but good.

And now that my blog is back from San Francisco (or whatever), I be back making regular entries.

What's been new with you? Did I miss anything?

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Terror at Target

Wednesday afternoon, I took the girls to see Pixar’s Up and we all loved it. I highly recommend it.

Peanut wanted to bring Blanket to the movie.

I hemmed and hawed about it. Blanket has been with us since Peanut was an infant. We’ve had a long-standing policy that if Blanket comes with us on an errand, she (Blanket is definitely a she and Peanut is highly insulted if you suggest otherwise) must stay in the car.

But over the last few months, Blanket has been slowly fading in importance to Peanut. Many a night I find it crumpled in a corner of the living room hours after she’s gone to bed. Once it spent an entire weekend in the van. When I change Peanut’s sheets, I often find it shoved deep down in the bed, apparently no longer sought in the night for comfort.

So I decided to let her take it to the movie. Blanket’s sinking social status is just one more reminder to me that my sweet baby girl is slipping away from me – growing up more and more each day.

Throughout the film, I’d occasionally glance over to see Peanut holding Blanket up to her face and I’d smile, happy again to see Blanket loved and needed. When we left, I checked three times to make sure we had it. I checked again when we were in the van.

Then we went to Target.

We made our way slowly through the store, lingering in spots and hurrying in others. When I shopped, the girls poked around nearby.

We finished, paid, loaded up the car and drove home.

Well, almost home.

Target is about 25 minutes from my house and with just 8 minutes to go, Peanut spoke up from the back seat.

“Mom,” she said quietly. “I don’t have Blanket.”

It’s a good thing we were at a red light, because I turned my head practically all the way around. It was nearly a scene from The Exorcist.

“What?” I said. “You what?”

“I don’t have Blanket.”

I pulled the car over and did a thorough search and sure enough, Blanket was not there.

Baffled, I looked at Peanut. “Where is she? How could she be lost?”

Of course, I already knew the answer.

“I took her into Target,” Peanut said. “I stuffed her in my shirt and took her in and now she’s gone.”

I felt white hot anger flash before my eyes. She snuck her in. She knows she’s not supposed to do that.

Then Peanut started to sob. “Blanket,” she moaned. “Blanket.” Tears ran down her face and her shoulders shook with grief.

There was never any question that we were going to drive back to the store and search for her, but that sealed it.

But first, I called Mark.

“Look the store up on the web, please,” I said. “And call them. Tell them if anyone finds not to throw it out. I mean, it looks like a cleaning rag. It’s so old.”

Blanket was once white as new snow, her thick woven cotton gently ending on all four sides in a border of short fringe.

Now? She is sort of grayish and threadbare. The fringe is non-existent on one side and unraveling on the other.

In frank terms, Blanket looks pretty much like something you’d wipe a dirty table with.

I drove as quickly as possible back to the store. The traffic was thicker now and it seemed to take forever to get back to the store. And matters weren’t helped by Peanut, who sobbed violently all the way there.

Once parked, I raced inside, a girl in each hand, and stopped immediately at Guest Services.

“My daughter lost her blanket,” I sputtered. “Did anyone turn it in?”

The man and woman at Guest Services looked at me blankly. After several seconds a small, dim bulb seemed to go off in the man’s head.

“Ooooh. Yeah. Did your husband just call about this? If that was him, I told him we don’t have it.”

OK, first of all, how long ago could Mark have called? 10? 15? 20 minutes tops? And it took several seconds before BrillantGuy remembered the call?

And second, how many people lose blankets in Target on a daily basis? Chances are pretty good that the guy who JUST CALLED is probably related to the case at hand.

“I’m going to look through the store,” I said, “and I’m going to check back here before I leave. If anyone turns it in, just hold on to it. Don’t get rid of it.”

I felt this should have been obvious information, but given the less than auspicious start, figured it was prudent to emphasize it.

We then retraced our steps through the store, carefully looking in, over, under and around every single display. We looked in shopping carts that were left in aisles.

And through the store, I kept asking Peanut, “Do you remember having Blanket at this point.”

For about 1/3 of the store, she answered a confident, “yes,” but for the final 2/3 she was less certain – couldn’t remember – couldn’t say.

That helped, but still left a lot of store to search. When we reached the checkout area, we retraced again.

About halfway through the second search, Mark showed up. Thank GOD I have such an amazing husband. He’d found the manager, who refused to make a store-wide announcement.

He grabbed Peanut’s hand and went back to find the manager.

“I want him to explain to her why he can’t make an announcement,” he said. Meanwhile, Loaf and I continued searching.

I stopped every red-shirted employee I could find and explained the situation to them. A few were helpful but the majority were ridiculously unsympathetic.

Loaf and I went outside and I check the garbage cans. Then I checked the garbage cans at the front of the store near the checkouts. I checked the garbage cans in the ladies’ room.

Nothing. And still, no store announcement.

We retraced our steps AGAIN.

And then, from behind me, I heard Peanut’s laugh and I turned to see her up on Mark’s shoulder’s BLANKET IN HAND.

He’d found her in a waste basket under one of the price scanners. A waste basket used primarily by store employees.

Now, like I said earlier, Blanket is pretty worn, but if you took more than 2 seconds to look, it is still clearly a child’s blanket. Last summer, to prevent further unraveling, my mom sewed pink stitching through her in the shape of little connected hearts.

And someone put it in the trash.

I don’t know what I expected. I mean, someone throwing it out was my biggest fear – that’s the first thing I thought of. That’s why I asked Mark to call the store ASAP. But somehow, I guess, I hoped no one would actually do it. That someone would realize it was a child’s cherished possession and take one minute to turn it in.

Later, back at home, Peanut snuggled Blanket against her face.

“Mommy, Blanket does not think she looks like a cleaning rag,” she said defensively.

I heart sank.

“I don’t think that either, honey. I know Blanket is old, but I also know how much she’s been loved. But someone who doesn’t know how much she’s been loved might not see her that way. They might just see her as an old cloth.”

She considered that for a moment, then shook Blanket and raised her voice to mimic her talking.

“I don’t like that someone put me in the trash. Whoever did that was thoughtless.”

And that’s one statement I couldn’t really argue with.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tiny dancer

Sunday was the big day. Peanut's dance recital.

Despite concerns that she would do little more than stare at the ceiling, she did great. She knew all the steps and, most importantly, had the biggest, widest, most proud smile on her face the whole time she was on stage.

Ballet recital

My little ballerina

In my biased opinion, she was tutu cute (sorry, could not resist).

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Friday, June 05, 2009

One more time, with feeling

Peanut graduated from preschool today, this time for real.

Yes, I cried.

But I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that she is ready for kindergarten. Pre-K was the best thing we could have done for her. She has truly blossomed this year under the direction of one of the most amazing teachers I’ve ever seen at work.

Does this look like the face of a kid who is ready for kindergarten?





Yes, I believe it does.

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Over the hills and far away

The plane rises off the runway and the ground rapidly falls away. I look out the window of the smallish, propeller plane bound for Buffalo and look down at urban New Jersey below me.

There’s the NJ Turnpike, and the “1 and 9.” I see the junkyards and the vast lots of now-empty shipping containers brought here from China.

Up, up we go until the cars below look like fleas racing on strands of black shoestring licorice.

My eyes move west – to the rural mountains that roll gently to the horizon. Somewhere out there is my home.

I think of my daughters, both so sad to see me leave – neither happy about the disruption in their weekly routine. I think of my husband and his soft kiss goodbye.

It is a short trip. I will be gone only about 56 hours.

Yet I already miss them.

I close my eyes and picture the girls. I see rosy cheeks and mile-long lashes. I think of their giggles and the silly jokes they tell that make no sense. I see them running toward me, arms outstretched, dresses bouncing around their knees, smiles across their faces.

I think of my husband’s thick hair and gray-blue eyes, his strong limbs and tender ways.

The plane has turned west – toward those mountains - and I sit forward in my seat, nose pressed against the plane’s tiny window trying to decipher any familiar landmark from the terrain below, but there is none.

Finally, I realize, we’ve been flying too long and are long past my hometown. I sit back and exhale.

Fifty-six hours. Or so.

I’m coming home. And I can’t wait.

I’m home now. I arrived Tuesday night to a cavalcade of hugs and kisses as if they were all trying to make up for all the missed ones while I was gone. I wrote this partly in the hotel but didn't get to finish it until just tonight. I've been busy catching up with my family, so forgive me for being offline these last few days.