Saturday, February 28, 2009

Come back! *UPDATE*

*Thank you to several kind friends who assured me that indeed, my blog was still in existence.

It appears that others are having problems posting/commenting in Blogspot, so I'm not alone. Even MckMama's site is having glitches, so I'm hoping this is totally fluky.

Ha... you thought you could get rid of me so easily??? :)

~

Blogger is going nutso on me right now... anyone else noticing that lately?

It seems my blog has disappeared.

(Pause while I only slightly FREAK OUT).

I can see no posts... no nothing on the main screen except the header.

I'm hoping this is just our internet connection, and that y'all can let me know if we still exist?

And I really am trying to reply to all the wonderful comments on the recent posts... but just can't access them right now. Sorry friends. Hope we're back in bloggy business again soon.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Kid photography... and other impossible adventures

I know I've posted about this before. Actually, maybe even here too. (If you can get past the I-Can't-Believe-That-Stuff-Happens-In-Real-Life part of it).

But seeing all the amazing photos on iHeartFaces has convinced me that successful photographs of children are underrated. Seriously, do you realize all the factors that must be perfect in order to get a great shot?

Sure, there's all the technical aspects, but there's all kinds of things that you just can't control.

Like umm... the lovely confused weather here in the Pacific Northwest. Which lends itself to lovely confused lighting.

And of course, you cannot forget the mental status of your subject. Is he hungry? Is he tired? Is he grumpy? Is he TWO?

The staging elements play a part - especially when your props break, a puppy runs nearby, and your toddler licks the window he's standing next to.

Whatever the scene, you're gonna get a whole lotta nothing when your kiddo won't even look at the camera.

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After reading some tricks about how to get your child to look at the camera... I tried one out. Thanks
Stacy, but the whole, "look honey, there's a bug in the camera" thing didn't work.

It led at first to a very concerned kid:

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(I know... too old for a bottle. Don't judge - he's got that kidney thing and we'll take liquids any way he manages it for now :)

Who quickly turned into a very curious kid.

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Or when you can't slow them down enough to capture anything but a blur.

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And when you finally get a less-blurry shot... you realize that he's pulling a Michael Jordan.

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Or the sun makes an appearance and triggers this face:

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So you work on expressions, and he finally gets the BIG SMILE part down. Only, now he's squinching his eyes shut.

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And you've worn the poor kid out and he finally cries in frustration: "No more mamarazzi!"

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(either that, or "I'm blind! I'm blind! Turn off the flash you rookie!")

But every now and then; even if the technical aspects aren't right... you wind up with a shot that somehow captures how you felt in that moment.

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(All of you fellow iHeartFaces addicts... I am totally open to suggestions on shooting and editing. I'm loving the awesome forum for learning!)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hey, I know you!

alternately titled: How to freak out someone who doesn't know she's your friend

You guys know that I feel badly when I don't keep up with everyone's blogs, right? So I really shouldn't add any new ones to the list. But I can't help it. I'm doomed... I Heart Faces has sucked me in.

I can't just go look at pictures - I get pulled into the stories and I end up wandering to older posts and marveling at the unbelievable amount of goodness and diversity in our lives. It's like the anti-news. You turn it on for the good stuff.

Keep in mind I've been hitting up some I Heart Faces links and learning as much as I can from photographs I admire.

So... we're downtown Wednesday night. A half hour away from home and hungry.

Itty Bit is all about the french fries, so we pull into the Red Robin parking lot. We head in, get our names on the list, and hang out with Itty Bit in the arcade.

Then it happens.

I squeal and grab Mr. Daddy's arm. I gesture toward the family that has just walked in and excitedly say, "I know them!"

Okay, go say hi.

No, hon... I mean I know them from their blog.

What???

Yeah, their son is Aidan and they put pictures up on I Heart Faces and the dad won the favorite photo last week - you know, with his face looking up in the snow.

(By this time I'm speaking near gibberish speed and trying to keep my voice down).

Yes... it felt totally surreal.
I mean, I get it when MckMama gets recognized. I mean, she has four little ones and a huge following. Odds are a bit better for her.

But me? This happened to ME?!

Mr. Daddy finally convinces me to walk over and introduce myself.

Note to fellow bloggers: When approaching a totally unsuspecting known person who assumes she is unknown... do not start out by saying her kid's name.

Do not then follow that with a barely coherent stream of facts you know about them.

See, I walked up to Heather from Adventures of Aidanpod and said, "Is this Aidan"?

She looked at me with an expression that was equal parts surprise, confusion, and maybe a bit of "are you a stalker?"

Can you blame her? Here I am talking about her like I've just read all her recent blog posts (oh wait... I did), and going on about I Heart Faces and what a small world it is.

I saw her eyes widen when she realized that I truly was one of her blog followers, and not some crazy psychic who knew her son's name. We both were amazed that we managed to bump into eachother and it was all because of her photograph of Aidan.

(Turns out she's linked to a bunch of other bloggy friends too, so it was bound to happen sometime, right? Seriously, check out how many links! He & Me + 3, Dinkypops No More, All These B's and Me, and A Wrinkle in Time!)

We barely got a chance to talk... the restaurant was busy and Itty Bit was... well, he was TWO.

But it was so nice to meet someone in person and see the living versions of the amazing photographs.

Let me tell ya... I coaxed a smile out of little Aidan and *sigh* I was melting.

Hoping to "bump" into them again soon!

The update is that we have both been featured as the Fans of the Week!!! Thank you so much I Heart Faces!

(speaking of photography, please check out Mr. Daddy's post below for some amazing pictures from a viewpoint not many people get a chance to shoot from!)

Not a typical day at the office..

I was going through some archived photos at work the other day, and came across some pics that my brother and I took awhile back on a typical day in our line of work. Since that day I have moved back to the shop and office more, but it's still a thrill and blessing to get out and see our beautiful state from these perspectives.

First thing you have to do is convince yourself that it's worth the effort to go vertical for 250 or so feet. (can you see the tips of my shoes?)

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Then not get sidetracked rigging the tower for the job!!!
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Then tie off, and not get zoned into looking down :o) and you will be rewarded with this stunning view!! Kinda makes the trip worth it.... Eh! (Thats the Queets river flowing into the Pacific)

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Or this look at the Olympics.

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One last look before we begin for the day.. (looking back up the coast towards Kalaloch Lodge)

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That, my friends makes a day at the office SO worth it...

have a great day :o)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Heart Faces

So... do we all love I Heart Faces or what?!?

It's exciting to see bloggy friends joining in and some familiar names and faces on Mr. Linky!

We thought last week's theme was pretty darn WONDERful! (wink, wink), and this week's theme has so many great entries already! Try your hand at black and white!

Does anyone else actually have angst over choosing a favorite picture??? I love this one because it tells a story in one picture.

This little guy is ALL BOY. Here he is caught in a moment of playing in the dirt outside the shed. You know, the shed with all the boy stuff. A ton of hay that is stacked to the roof, an old red tractor, shovels and wheelbarrows, rocks... any and every thing worth getting dirty for :)

I'm not even gonna show you the pictures from a few minutes later when he discovered a bucket of water to add to the mix.... but I love how the dirt all over his face tells the story.


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And here's my entry for the adults' side. The ever serious Mr. Daddy right after beating my mother in a round of tetherball. Yes, we are all so grown-up aren't we?

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(Again, many thanks to my sweet friend Dana who is a saint when I ask too many questions and bug her about Photoshop! But check her out and you'll see why I bug her :)

See all the fantastic shots at I Heart Faces!


Say What?

Just a quick clarification from the Not Me Monday post...
I'm with ya peeps... I am not sure why there was Clorox in the carwash water, but I believed my sweet mother-in-law when she said there was.

(Plus the purple spots on Itty Bit's brown pants convinced me).

You have to understand one thing. This woman's cleanliness/godliness is legendary. I mean, she irons her pillowcases... talk about putting me to shame! If my clothes are wrinkly, I throw them back in with a clean wet towel for another round.

So, I guess Clorox must be a trick for an ultra-clean car. Umm... just not mine.

~

In other news, my dear husband stepped into view this morning as I was drying my hair. I was confused and looked down at my shirt toward where he was pointing.

He laughed and pointed again. Only he said, "pull my finger".

I rolled my eyes, but was shocked when he pulled his own finger and laughed riotously.

Come on folks, it's 6am and I haven't even seen coffee yet. And my husband is standing in the doorway laughing his butt off, saying between gasps, "ten years ago, did you ever think this would happen?"

When I agreed that I hadn’t, he said,
“It’s kinda homey though”.
“Homely?”
“No, HOMEY”
“Oh, you think it’s homey…"

"This is SO a blog post, hon”.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Not Me Monday!

It’s Not Me Monday again!

Come join MckMama for some free therapy!

~

After picking up a sleepy Itty Bit from his nap, he did not loudly sneeze on my cheek, burp in my face, and footchie on my arm all within five seconds of opening his eyes. It was quite a rude awakening for both of us.

~

After the kiddo doused himself with half a bucket of carwash soapy water, it was not me who ran him to the house to throw his clothes in the wash after Grandma said, “you better rinse that out, there’s Clorox in there”.

In the panic of dumping his cute outfit into the washing machine, I did not also include the carwash-water-soaked diaper in the load and return to find a very clean albeit shredded diaper.

~

While showing the house to a potential renter, my son did not choose that moment to fill his pants. That would have been rather suspicious timing, wouldn’t you say?

~

I did not SO appreciate all the comment love this week. I did not love that my bloggy friends were willing to commiserate with me on my hard day, then celebrate the I Heart Faces win. You guys totally do not rock.

~

I did not get slightly annoyed when I looked back through our picture files to find all of these taken within a couple of days.
Honey, we need to talk. I thought we were past that whole, “Baby Got Back” episode
Please, no more cracks about it, I'm still recovering from being the butt of so many jokes. And no, the tow truck driver never did come after us.

(Why, yes, I do only have one pair of jeans that fit and they are FALLING APART… why do you ask?)

~

It wasn’t Mr. Daddy who had been snacking next to me a few moments ago. And I kid you not, just two seconds ago, I did not see Itty Bit intently pluck something from my sock and immediately stick it into his mouth. When I asked him what it was, he did not nonchalantly say, “popcorn”. EWWWW.

~

So… go check out what everyone else didn’t do this week!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I Heart Faces *UPDATED* WE WON!

*UPDATE*

Ohmygoodnessgracious (as our friend Linny says).

WE WON!

This adorable kiddo gets first thanks (thank you to Mr. Daddy who always said we'd make cute kids), and HUGE thank you to Dana who made the photo a zillion times better with her Photoshop help. Thank you to Rob Miracle (don't you love his last name?) for his very kind comments and unenviable task of judging the week's entries. And thank you to I HEART FACES, who coordinates this great website that so many parents with cameras have gotten to learn from.

Whoo-hoo! (yes, I startled poor Itty Bit when I screamed upon seeing his picture on the page as first place!) Have a great weekend y'all!

**********************


It's I Heart Faces time - and the theme for this week is WONDER.

(I know, awesome theme, right?)

Our little guy was playing by the window and I can only guess that he suddenly realized the horses were in view. He turned to me with such an expression of awe and wonder... you can bet your sweet bippy I was glad the camera was handy!

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Many thanks to my sweet and amazing friend Dana (aren't Photoshop savvy pals great?)

Check out I Heart Faces for more terrific photos and the stories behind them!


Friday, February 20, 2009

Ever have one of those days?

The kind that drain all your energy without a visible accomplishment.

Where you’re left at the end of the day wondering just what you got done for all that effort?

Struggling to capture the simple and joyful moments, because they’re awfully hard to find?

~

We’re in a period of transition at work. And it seems to create its own kind of stress.

A morning at the office went suddenly and inexplicably wrong.

Things went from Point A to Point Z without a chance to figure out what was happening.

I found my hands shaking. Not from anger or fear, but from anxiety.
In a position where decisions had to be made, and quickly.

It was one of those days where work life spilled over into home life.
Where Mr. Daddy had to bear the emotion-laden boatload of words and offer his advice.

It was a day of choices that didn’t feel rewarding. One after another that were the lesser of two evils.

The end result… no one is happy with. There is no winner, and still much work to be done. The same issues will be waiting for me the next morning at the office.

Late into the evening I am still writing correspondence, still sorting it out. And my troubled mind is interrupted by one sweet little boy who silently stands in front of my chair with outstretched arms.

Do you know how quickly my heart turned from being overwhelmed, to grateful?

As he snuggled into my shoulder, the transition was complete.

We went through three of his favorite books – completely from memory. And it felt significant, like an accomplishment. GOOD.

Guess what? Those 15 hours a week of his awake time that I miss while I’m in the office??? That’s my second job.

The moments I’m cradling this adorable boy and reciting “Putt-putt-putt said Little Red”… that’s my calling. And the job benefits are better than any career.


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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Not Me Monday!

Seriously - this week has just zoomed by. Time for some free therapy, courtesy of MckMama!

Sooo... all the stuff I didn't do this week? Where to start?

~

Mr. Daddy did not cement his Knight in Shining Armor status with a beautiful Valentine’s Day card, a delicious grilled dinner, and a quiet evening on the couch watching Fireproof. At midnight, Itty Bit did not somehow wind up in the big bed kicking both of our spleens. Romantic, no?


~

Not Itty Bit who got me back for last week’s toothpaste fiasco by spitting all over my freshly rinsed toothbrush. And I certainly haven’t caught him cleaning the (ahem) toilet seat with it either.

~

Not me who laughed my way through saying grace when Mr. Daddy asked Itty Bit to pray. Itty Bit did not immediately start with “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!” then yell "AMEN" while pumping his fists into the air. That would have been a bit sacrilegious, right?

~

I did not have an entire conversation with Mr. Daddy while at the playground (yes, the same playground from this adventure, and this one) about the scary looking goth guy sitting across from us. It did not center around just how painful it had to be to get his lips tattooed (oh it was permanent). Mr. Daddy did not also notice that he had fang dentures.

During the non-conversation, I did not find my heart pounding out of my chest when Itty Bit ran right up to the guy and stopped and stared. After ushering him to a safer more respectful distance, I did not then decide I was not going to feel a teeny bit remorseful over his staring. You won’t talk me into believing someone does that without wanting or expecting attention.

(And before I get any hate mail, let me tell you that my adorable and bighearted little sister has numerous piercings and has sported some wild hairstyles and I love her to pieces…but a kiddie playground is probably not the right place for fangs).

~
While leaving the above playground, I did not feel wickedly vilified when I saw one of my obstetric nurses. This would not be because she had said some stinker things about my 30 pound pregnancy weight gain at the time - and she is now obviously heavier than I.
Mr. Daddy did not roll his eyes as I recounted her comments. Men just don't get that kind of stuff.
~

I did not snort, then guffaw in Itty Bit’s face when he struggled to separate my head from my neck (don’t ask). He did not loudly then proclaim, “STUCK!”

I kinda like it stuck, kid.

~

My son is NOT able to break wind at a volume that shames grown men. After a particularly impressive demonstration, Mr. Daddy did not promptly forget and nearly pass out when he ventured nearby.

~

So, what did you all not do this week? Would love to hear!


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Faker Pro

Awww... you guys are so sweet for making me feel craft-worthy with your comments on the last post.

Seriously... I'm almost embarrassed (okay, I am) to admit just how easy it was. And I'd say it was foolproof too, except that nothing ever is when you involve an almost-2-year-old.

~~~~

First off, go to your nearest craft store. Go back to the section that has those thin wooden letters. Get the biggest ones you can - those will show up best in pictures.

I picked black spraypaint because I figured as long as I dressed the kiddo in light colors, the letters would show up even if I messed with the photo tones.

So... head to the paint department, but do not, I repeat, do NOT get distracted like I did. Do not start to browse through the colors while the liquid craft paints are within your toddler's reach. Seriously, check to make sure he's strapped in (he was), and that he can't lean over to grab bottles of paint (he couldn't... I have no idea how his little body stretched 4 feet across the aisle).

Do not let the aforementioned child hold a bottle of paint, even if it is sealed in a wrapper. Those things are insidiously deceptive!

And 1.14 seconds later, do not screeeeeeam when a fountain of gooey white paint spurts from the said "sealed" container and covers your child.

Do not waste any time freaking out about the actual outfit he is wearing (and the possibility that he has just ruined an adorable matching shirt and pants that he is wearing for the first time). Just get the child to the bathroom quick.

While racing through the store with a cart that has 3 squeaky wheels and one stuck one... do not let the little darling touch you with those ooey-gooey hands. Stand three feet back and push the cart with your index fingers if you have to.

And when your child looks down at his hands and says, "MESSY!", by all means scream hysterically when he begins to run his fingers through his hair.

This may or may not startle him into stopping (or freaking out and crying), but by this point you should be pushing the cart fast enough that he has to hang on with those messy hands anyway.

Find the single-stall bathroom and wait 4 long minutes for the employee with the newspaper to exit. Do not pay any mind to the line of people around you who are gasping and staring at the child who now looks like some kind of tribal mascot.

Claim the bathroom and try to figure out how to unbuckle the sticky mess without actual contact. Also try to figure out how to pull the slimed shirt over his head without sliding it all up his nose and in his mouth. This is the part where you kick yourself for not carring those little folding scissors in your purse. (No Mr. Daddy, I do not need a Swiss Army knife :)

Get the kiddo stripped down somehow and stare in horror at the stuff that leaked under his shirt. Like all over. And on skin, this stuff dries like nobody's business. Those pieces of brown paper that they like to pass off as paper towels... grab those and wet them down. Seriously, you'll have to scrub and the kid will scream. He'll end up with a pink tummy and face and white streaks in his hair.

Now this part is important folks. I cannot stress how imperative it is.
Whatever you do... do not look in the mirror.

I guarantee you that you cannot clean up a disaster zone like this without taking some collateral damage. I cannot describle the devastation. It is sealed away in that special little part of my brain labeled "TRAUMA".

Get the kiddo dressed in his spare outfit and throw away the 32 pieces of wet paper towel. Try to exit the bathroom quickly and quietly and find the nearest checkout line.

Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts.

Have exact change ready and beat feet to your car. If you must, reapply lipstick for a semblance of normalcy, but avoid looking at your hair or the white handprints on the front of your shirt (yes my friends, they looked quite obscene and rather deliberate).

~~~~

Here's the easy part. Unload the kid and immediately put him down for a nap. Take the spraypaint can and go over the letters with a couple coats. You can seal them if you plan to use them more than once. If you're really crafty, you could do patterns with scrapbooking paper or ???

But you know, I'm not really crafty - I mean, I can't even go to the craft STORE without some kind of fluke drama that only happens to me.

~~~~

Find a spot with good natural light, and consider putting your kiddo on top of something they're too afraid to get down off of. Like a blanket chest or something. Umm, not like I did that or anything. But if I did... it would have at least kept the kid in camera range.

Start clicking away. Thank the good Lord for digital and the increased odds that you'll get a decent shot without spending $26.97 on prints.

~~~~

Folks, I tried everything to keep this kid's attention. Do what you must. For two shots, making monkey sounds worked. One was playing peek-a-boo with the letter. For another one I told him it was a phone. Yeah, it didn't make sense to me either.

~~~~

Be prepared that the letters may not survive unscathed. As you can see, Itty Bit was in a snacking mood. As well as a launch-them-across-the-room-and-giggle mood. So the "E" is currently an "F". *sigh*

~~~~

Trust me, this doesn't work in just 5 shots. Take a look at a few of the ones we DIDN'T use!

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Somehow... don't you just feel so NORMAL after reading this??? :)

Happy V Day!

A quick little flashback from last year.

Our little guy was hardly cooperative and was having an out-of-control hair day. We still managed to put together some Valentine's Day pictures for Mr. Daddy on the sly.

He's grown, but that darn hair hasn't changed a bit!

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We love our bloggy friends! Happy Valentine's Day!
Especially to our sweet followers:
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Friday, February 13, 2009

Grounded

otherwise entitled


"Why I am Not Allowed to Make My Own Valentines Anymore"


Many moons ago, when yours truly was in second grade or thereabouts, she insisted that she could do all of her classmates' Valentines by herself.


She worked hard at them, carefully addressing and putting a personal message on each one.


She was excited to hand them out at school the next day!


The next day dawned and she walked through the classroom, depositing her cards into the construction paper heart envelopes attached to each chair.


By the end of the day, trouble loomed.


Her mother was called to school to explain just why her daughter had filled the cards with personal (albeit a bit honest) messages to each student?



"Happy Valentine's Day. You look funny."

"Happy Valentine's Day. You smell."

and her personal favorite:

"Happy Valentine's Day you big monster."


What could have been wrong with those? She never quite understood why Mom only let her sign her name on them for the remainder of her school years...

Oh come on... does this look like anything except the face of an innocent 2nd-grader?

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Breathe

It sure felt like the 8 months I was pregnant went by so SLOW.

It was like weeks and weeks of Christmas Eve... the total anticipation before the big day.

In spite of being given a very scary diagnosis for our son while he was still growing inside me; I felt a peace that was really unexplainable.

Oh I worried... don't doubt that. But I felt a constant reminder that this time of expecting that I had waited all my life for, would be so short that it would be utterly wasteful to spend it borrowing tomorrow's troubles.

Tell me moms, did it drive you absolutely insane waiting to meet your child? Waiting to find out if they were a boy or girl? Who they looked like? Whose monkey hair they had? (Oh wait, that might have been just our kid, sorry).

I like to think that part of Itty Bit's miracle was to teach me to appreciate. To drop my busy-ness and set aside the things that won't matter when he's grown. To breathe in the moments because life is now.

Because all those moments that I had imagined and assumed would be mine someday... became all the sweeter after the years of waiting. It might seem simple (and it is) but I absolutely cherish the delight on my son's face when he realized I was encouraging him to jump on the bed with me. Then to crawl into the laundry basket and consider falling asleep in it (him, not me).
He'll be too big to do this for long - that was not lost on me. Talk about trying to take it all in.

It was perfectly ordinary. Perfectly.
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I Heart Faces

It's time for I Heart Faces! Come play along!

This week's theme is SILLY.

Can you just imagine? In our household?

No way, jose. Silliness just doesn't happen around here...


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~

And for the adults... not a moment of goofiness to be found!

All year long, whenever I use eggs, I painstakingly break tiny holes into each end (my husband thinks I'm crazy for the effort) and carefully blow the eggs empty. I rinse them and save them to decorate for Easter. We hide the hollow eggs and let the kids and adults loose to find them. Pretty soon you hear squeals and screams and see people running past unsuspecting victims and smashing the eggs on their heads. Even Grandma gets in on the action.

I love this picture because my poor aunt had NO CLUE what her son was doing behind her. Take a wild guess what happened a split second after the shutter clicked? ;)

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Go check out all the other (ahem) not silly stuff! :)


Sunday, February 08, 2009

Not Me Monday!

Come join MckMama for some free therapy!

Just to start the day off right... it was not me who snuggled with a sleepy Itty Bit this morning. When he stuck his "big owie" on his hand in front of my face, it was not me who automatically kissed it. Without realizing that a big ugly blister had just burst. Gross and uber-gross. Of course that wasn't me... I would have checked, right?
~

It was not my kid who destroyed an entire display at Baby Gap. It was not me who was more than a little weirded out by the headless mannequins. It was not me who really struggled with whether to blog about it… I am not still dying of sheer embarrassment.

~

It was not me who Itty Bit intentionally body-slammed today. After a less-than-earnest “sorry” was thrown my way, Mr. Daddy did not say to the little offender… “You say ‘sorry’ like you MEAN IT”.

I did not then lose it and start giggling madly when Itty Bit imitated him perfectly with a genuine “Sorry, MEAN IT!”

~

It was not me who was totally excited to have a Mom’s Night Out with my friends. Not me who gleefully fired off a text message to Mr. Daddy that said “got a guy drooling on me, want to come pick me up?”

It was not Mr. Daddy who arrived to find us girls having a fabulous time on our “wild night out” with a little heartbreaker who was all of 34 days old and cuter than the dickens. And uh yeah… he was not also drooling all over my shoulder. I do not have baby fever, I do not have baby fever, I SOOOO do not have baby fever.

~


My kid does NOT have a thing for chapstick. He knows exactly where it goes and uses it sparingly.

He does not place it anywhere it doesn't belong.



~

It was not Itty Bit who ducked his head into the sink faster than I could react. Not me who spit toothpaste all over the back of his head.

It was not Mr. Daddy who just read this and started chuckling… “you spit TOOTHPASTE all over his head?!?”

Yeah, it’s NOT been that kind of week…

Come on… play along!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Unleashed!

(I apologize in advance - it’s a long one. But I guarantee that the ending probably isn't what you expect!)

My mother used to say that male Labradors are great; but until they’ve outgrown their two-year old bouncing up and down for hours phase, they will drive you out of your ever.loving.mind.

I have firmly decided that the same holds true for those of the human species.

Upon realizing that Itty Bit’s stroller was unusable, I opted for the only other thing that would somewhat contain him during a shopping excursion.

Anyone tried one of those child security leashes?



I know, I know… I used to think that only terrible parents use them. You know, the kind who can’t control their kids and end up saying stuff like, “honey, you need to stop playing swords and give that nice old lady her cane back”, and “sweetie, quit picking your brother's nose”.

I never thought I’d resort to a leash, but hotdog… my kid is FAST. A couple of frantic (for me) and giggle-filled (for him) dashes through the clothes racks was enough to convince me that I’d be in deep trouble if I lost sight of him.

(Anyone else see the irony in the fact that he could be standing behind a mannequin yelling his head off, and I’m the only one in the store that wouldn’t be able to find him because I can’t hear him? It’s okay to laugh, I am.)

Sooo… out came the Elmo leash today. He put it on just fine and immediately tested it. Uh-huh, and fell flat on the floor at JC Penneys. He started figuring it out and was fine as long as he could swipe whole piles of clothes off the shelves. After the last stray sweep of his arm, I hauled him off to the shoe department.

By hauled, I mean: I alternately got yanked through some displays, or ended up pulling him out of them.

“No, no no!” he didn’t want to look at shoes. Until he discovered the little SALE tags on some of them and helpfully removed them and stuck them on other shoes.

He even struck up a conversation with an older gentleman. It went something like this:

"Hey there fella, is that Elmo?”
(disgruntled) “Yeah”

“You like Elmo?”...

“Thomas the Train!”
“Oh, you like Thomas the Train?”
“Yeah, Thomas get stuck in the mud! Off the tracks! Push him out!”
Then followed by a bunch of apparently random utterances:

Dump truck!
Mommy do it!
Around and around!
Grandma bullseye!
Big one!
Rise and shine!
Bye-bye horsies!

Yes, with exclamation points all. The poor gentleman didn’t stand a chance with the emphatic Itty Bit. He stood there through the barrage, then smiled and walked away in confusion.

Sorry… got off track.

Pay for the shoes, say “wanna go see the playground?”

Man, was that a dumb thing to say to a motivated 2-year old whom you have TIED to your arm?!? What was I thinking? Oh wait, I wasn’t…

He takes off like I’ve given him Mountain Dew intravenously and I am plunged into a mixture of tank tops and other shoppers. (Tank tops? Come on people! You try to sell those in the Northwest in February and you wonder why profits are tanking? No pun intended)

We somehow navigate the myriad of shoppers at warp speed. I catch fleeting glimpses of disapproving grandparent-age couples. I actually spot one of them saying, “I cannot believe she…” and I shoot her a look before getting dragged through.

We make it to the playground (yeah, remember the one?) and he gets a good 45-minute reprieve. Then off to look for Valentine’s Day cards. His path of destruction is only as wide as the leash allows. Which apparently is too much as he destroyed a card (yes, we paid for it, and yes, someone is going to get a really weird dinosaur card). He turned on the charm for the salesgirls and blew them kisses.

That charm lasted all of 3.1 seconds upon exit. He wanted to tear through the mall thoroughfare. I spent the entire trip to Gymboree dodging strollers and goth teens (trust me, I was glad Itty Bit was running at that point. It’s far worse when he starts to stare, the pointer finger goes up, and his mouth opens… YIKES!)

I’m sorry Mimi, but doesn’t Gymboree know that we’re in a recession and sale prices would be awesome about now? I love their stuff, but clearance is about all the quality I can afford there :)

Itty Bit is primed for a meltdown when I have the nerve to ask him to leave the cartoons playing there. He throws himself on the floor and we do a highly entertaining program of pick-me-up-drag-me-a-few-steps-until-my-legs-turn-to-noodles-again…of course while the innocent and highly naive parents with newborns are looking at me aghast and probably thinking their kids would never be so ill-behaved. Just wait, ha!

So we head to Baby Gap, where the leash story hits a new low. He decides to start doing that crocodile roll thing. You know, spinning around and getting himself all tangled up? I’m loaded with bags and he’s trying to spin himself out of the leash/strangle himself.

I try to distract him a bit by slapping a pair of sunglass on him and he calms down suddenly… like a dog with that funny cone thing that is afraid to move. He actually starts DUCKING as he takes a few tentative steps.

It is the best laugh I’ve had all day and he’s finally giggling again. I decide to buy the savior sunglasses and a hoodie on sale. I see a cute t-shirt and start heading to the display.


Suddenly “escape mode” kicks in again. I am checking out the size on the mannequin and Itty Bit goes from Zero to Gail Devers instantly.
Me? I’m still checking the t-shirt and suddenly I’m hugging the mannequin and my bags are sliding to the floor as my right arm is being wrenched out of the socket.

The mannequin comes OFF the base, the base crashes to the floor. Itty Bit takes a sharp turn and my balance is again upended… I lose my grip on the friendly mannequin and he drops to the floor headless.

I.AM.MORTIFIED.

Itty Bit is startled by the crash and does a 360. I leverage myself against the stretched leash, put the base back on the display and try to figure out how the boy mannequin fits on it. A store employee (no doubt alerted by the ruckus) starts to walk toward us.

The little guy won’t stay propped up and Itty Bit pulls on me again. I end up knocking the mannequin all over again and it bounces off Itty Bit’s head.

He stands there in total silence as the salesperson gasps and asks me if he’s alright. I’m picking up the kinda-freaky little headless body and I see that Itty Bit is alright. I hand off the cutely-dressed torso and limbs and suddenly Itty Bit whips around and heads the other direction around the display.

The ultra-helpful leash catches the edge of the GIRL mannequin and sweeps her off her feet. She goes flying backwards and convinces her buddy to join her on the floor.

See, I just THOUGHT I was mortified before. I had no idea.

In the ensuing chaos, a couple little kids run over and start playing with the mannequin on the floor, “OH COOOOOL!” Itty Bit wants to play too. Of course, what could make my evening any more memorable?

I cannot get out of there fast enough. I start to head for the counter to pay and Itty Bit plants his feet. All of his skinny little 2-year old weight is no match for my embarrassed determination.

I pay for the items while he is literally laying on the floor trying to claw his way out of the leash. Good times, yeah?

At this point, running through the strollers and goth teenagers back to my car is EXACTLY what I want to do. Itty Bit happily obliges.



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How could you be mad at this for long?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Family resemblance

When Itty Bit was born, I joked that I might need to get a maternity test because I thought he looked so much like Mr. Daddy's side of the family.

Most people comment that Itty Bit got his father's eyes... but truth be told, they are just like mine were at his age.

His expression while concentrating is just like mine (uh yeah... sticking your tongue out helps you think better), while his mischevious faces mirror daddy's.

Personality is definitely like Mr. Daddy's, though I think my mother is a bit crestfallen that the whole "you just wait, one day you'll have a child just like you" thing didn't work out.

Regardless of who he looks like, Mr. Daddy ends up with a kiddo who wants to be like him in every way. I think we both came out winners with this one.

Who do you think he looks like?

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So... who does IttyBit most resemble?
Mr. Daddy, duh!
Mommy, no contest!
I don't know, but he's really rockin that monkey hairstyle!
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Who do your kids resemble? Come on bloggy buddies - you guys are always up for some goofiness. This would be a fun post and I know those of you with children have ADORABLE ones. If you post about it, leave us some comment love and we'll link to you!