Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I am thankful...

I won't be posting again until after the holiday (i.e. next Monday, I never work the day after Thanksgiving, I consider that still holiday time :) We have dial-up at home, and I'll just come right out and say that it's a pain in the ass to try to anything within a reasonable amount of time on dial-up. So, that's that :) Mike and I are hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our house. I'm nervous, as I always am when hosting an event. I get paranoid about my house getting clean, the food being good and warm, having enough to offer everyone, and generally turning into my mother. The very casual Catholic Librarian suddenly demands that the bread be in a proper basket and condiments in their own special decorative containers. But it will be fun. My sister and brother-in-law are bringing wine, so we're good :) And I'm sincerely thankful for everything that I have. My husband, my son, my home, my faith, a loving family, fabulous friends, a good job that I love, and just life itself.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving craziness...

Busy. No time to post :) How did the girl with batter regularly on her kitchen ceiling get put in charge of Thanksgiving dinner?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Things that make me laugh...

Well, I had a pretty nice weekend. We worked with Hank a lot on the potty, and did have a few successes. Granted, they were successes that took place while we held Hank down onto the potty as he sprayed pee pee everywhere, cried, whined, and went though a series of pelvic gyrations in a desperate attempt to escape. But in the end, we made some progress. By midafternoon yesterday, our living room smelled like a horse's stall. It was below freezing, and we were tempted to crack a window to get a little air circulating. Good heavens. All the Febreze in the world wasn't strong enough to cut that odor.

At any rate, the other day as I was driving home, I heard a Christmas song on the radio that makes me laugh every single year. It's a pretty corny song, but I re-enjoy it annually. I don't even know it's official title, something stupid like "The 12 Pains of Christmas," I think. What it does is mimic "The 12 Days of Christmas" with little holiday disasters instead, and each time the count comes past their number again, things are elaborated a bit. A few really make me laugh, hard.

My favorite is I think number 2, the guy who is putting up his Christmas lights. He has a real porky sounding voice, and for a while just says that his pain is "stringing up the lights." As the song progresses, he starts to get more and more pissed off. It reminds me of Christmases past with my dad putting up the lights, which he always hated :) Eventually, our guys says "What, don't we have any extension cords?!" And "Great, now they're blinking!!" Finally, "Someone get me a flash light, I think I blew a fuse!!"

Other mentionables include the effeminate sounding guy who hates writing Christmas cards. At the last go round, he exclaims "Oh, I don't even *know* half these people!!" I also like the woman who bemoans having to see her in-laws at holiday time. Finally, she flat out says "She's a witch, I *hate* her!!" But the one that I relate to most is the pain of Christmas shopping. On each pass through, a surly toddler demands some complicated and noisy sounding toy. Finally, we hear the toddler exclaim "I have to go potty!!" and then, just sobbing.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I've just received word that there has been potty activity in Hank's day! He's over my parents for today. It's amazing when you have a potty training toddler - suddenly, pee pee, poo, bum, penis, and talk of urges and pushing become a part of your everyday vocabulary. Apparently, there's been some pee pee sighted and promises of poo. We're crossing our fingers. Our weekend has no formal plans, so it's going to be lots of time devoted to potty training for us.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rushed, rushed, rushed...

It's a crazy day, so I don't have time to blog like I'd like to. Oh, the inconvenience of having a job :) But last night I was alone with Hank while Mike was in class, and I was exhausted by the time the evening was over. This is supposed to be my free time? Five minutes before Mike had to leave, as I was rushing to eat so that I could move on the myriad of chores I had to do, we suddenly realize that the house smells like a barnyard. Yes, Hank had pooed right into his Lightening McQueen underpants. And this after having sat on the potty a mere twenty minutes prior and me asking in the interim at least five times if he had to use the potty. Sigh.

After cleaning up the mess (toddler poo is like a whole 'nother entity onto itself), I jumped into the shower while Hank watched a cartoon. I'm furiously scrubbing my hair, hurrying, as Hank opens the shower door.

"Mommy, what you doing in there? Mommy, what's *that*?"

Here's where an R rating comes into play, so read on at your own peril.

"Honey, don't worry about that, it's just part of mommy's body. Why don't you go watch Spider Man until I'm done?"

"But Mommy, is that your penis? How come it has hai..."

"ok honey, please don't worry about it. Remember, mommies have different body parts, they don't have penises." (peni? Anyway, for whatever reason we have no difficulty telling Hank that he has a penis, but the word 'vagina' completely freaks me out).

"But Mommy..."

The evening continued with yet more fun from there. I went to bake my Amish Friendship Bread and realized that I didn't have the required pudding mix. A vicious stream of expletives ensues. With soaking wet hair, in my pink panda bear flannel pajamas, I bundled Hank up and ran to the convenience store. We get back and put the bread in the oven. I embark on laundry. I start the water in the tank and open the lid. A load of clothes is *already* in the washer, and they stink. Another expletive. See a trend here? I have to re-wash those first. When I later move those to the dryer, and put my original load in the washing machine, things really get interesting. It's about a full ten to fifteen minutes later, and I make an important realization: I forgot to put detergent into the washing machine. I run downstairs, Hank clinging to my leg the whole way, and find the clothes in the spin cycle. I won't write what I said, because it was BAD. I mean, BAD. I should go to confession just for this particular statement. I yank open the lid and force the cycle back. I swear it, the machine formed a little bubble over it's lid that said "dude, wtf?!" It was just one of *those* evenings.

This morning at work, I had a meeting at 9 am that can only be characterized as absolutely excruciating. I hurry back for my 10 am reference shift to find a student *waiting* at the reference desk for someone to arrive. As I helped her, *three* more people piled up, one of whom was a student with a paper due in two hours and needed help "finding topics." It was like an episode of the Twilight Zone.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Survivor: Potty Island

Well, we're persisting and Hank is still complaining. But I'm hoping (please God) that the consistency will have a stinky end result sometime soon. That's really all the new news with me. Sad, huh?

Oh, well, I suppose it's noteworthy that I've fallen happily back into listening to a nauseating amount of Christmas music like I do every year. Mike is already rolling his eyes. I've created a new holiday playlist for my beloved iPod Nano, Max, and am populating it with much enthusiasm. I've taken a real liking to Enya's new holiday album, And Winter Came. I chose not to download the whole album (cost cutting, sigh) but a few of the tracks are excellent and I bought them, specifically the title track and O Come O Come Emmanual. iTunes has a new Essentials list that I'm really digging (I totally fall trap to their devious marketing plan, don't I?) called Melancholy Winter. It's not depressing, honestly, it's really good stuff. You should check it out :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Outwit, Outplay, Outlast

Yes, this is potty training a toddler. Only the strongest will survive. Hank is now 3 years old. We introduced him to the potty back when he was about two and a half. He wasn't too interested, just thought the flushing thing was pretty cool. About two months ago, we started sitting him on his little potty a bit. Bought him some big boy underpants (Spider Man, that really sweetened the pot), and gave it a go one weekend. I think it was about the time that I was mopping up the sixth river of pee pee on our wood floors that I decided that he just didn't seem ready yet for full scale underwear trial. So, we bought some Pull Ups thinking that he would feel it more when he went, and gave it some time. Well, I'm afraid we got a bit complacent. Because, to be frank, potty training sucks. I work full-time, so I tend to want my off-time at home to not suck. Keeping the suck factor low is a high priority in my world. So potty training got pushed to the side.

Mike and I talked about it the other night, and we agreed that Hank seems to be getting a bit too big for his Spider Man britches. He's started to take advantage of our complacency, and has become even more obstinate than usual. When I tried to get him to sit on the potty the other day, he flat out refused and threw a noisy fit. Thus, the big guns had to come out. Hank is king of the roost no longer... :)

Starting yesterday, Hank has to sit on the potty first thing in the morning, after school, after he eats, and before bed. Or anytime he needs to or otherwise appears to have to go. But he was really used to us not making a big deal about this potty business. So, yesterday morning, the following transpired:

Hank: I want to watch Blues Clues!
Mike: You can, but you have to sit on the potty.
Hank: I NO WANT to sit on the potty.
Mike: You're going to anyway. Otherwise, I'm unplugging the tv.
Hank: *shocked silence*
Mike: What's it going to be, Hank?
Mike: Fine, the tv is unplugged.
Hank: WAAHHHHH! I want MY MOMMY!!!!!

The child is a master manipulator. Well, most toddlers are, I suppose. When I came down and reinforced the potty thing, he looked dazed. Within two minutes, he was unhappily sitting on the potty, sniffling as he watched Blues Clues. Nothing was produced, but we're determined to stick with a routine. Day after day after day. Eventually he will have to submit.

This morning started off similarly. The announcement that he must sit on the potty was met with stunned and righteous indignation. A multitude of hostile protestations followed, concluding with a tearful plea for mommy. Mommy too turned against him, and he was forced to realize that his morning was going to be cartoon-less unless he complied. He did, with much huffiness and bum squirming. No production, but we are far from deterred, much to Hank's chagrin.

This is a battle we're determined to win. He's ready; he knows when he's going now, and he has the control to hold and release. He actually told me - triumphantly, I might add - a few weeks ago: "I pooing in my Lightening McQueen Pull Up!" I'll keep reporting in, beleaguered, from the battlefield, and update on our progress...

Monday, November 17, 2008

OSHA for belly dancers

This was my favorite line from my class Friday night. It is referring, of course, to our ever present nemesis, the veil:

"now remember, ladies. Arms with moving veils are always above your head, or in second position. It's like OSHA for belly dancers. 'Arms above this level for job safety!'"

We learned a few new combinations, and are going to start a new routine after Thanksgiving. Excited :)

In other news, we're upping the ante with potty training Hank. It's really not possible for it to be going any worse. Well, I suppose it could, if Hank were perhaps throwing human waste across the room and dancing in it. But aside from that, it's going as poorly as could be. It takes a lot of convincing to even get his bum to approach the potty, and then after a lengthy session, no production. This has been going on for months, and the convincing is getting more and more difficult. He's now at a point where he's downright obstinate and refuses to sit on the potty. Well, last night, Mike and I made a decision: Hank will become potty trained whether he likes it or not. He's three: we are the adults. We can handle this, right? Well, of course, you know that the answer isn't quite so easy. But that notwithstanding, we've seized some control over the deteriorating situation. Hank was told this morning that there would be no Blues Clues unless he sat on the potty for a few minutes upon waking up. The look of shock on his face was priceless. We mean business now. There was a series of protestations, which we weathered, and in the end, he sat on the potty. He didn't go, but I figure, if we do this every day (no more diapers at home except overnight) eventually he's going to have to produce. The kid can't hold it forever. I'm certain that he's going to test that theory, but we're prepared. Well, as prepared as parents who have never done this before can be :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Feast of St. Cecilia

Her feast day actually isn't until November 22nd, I just realized that I misread my calendar :) But still! Her feast is approaching, so I thought she'd make a nice blog topic. St. Cecilia is my own patron saint, the name I took on at confirmation. She is the patron saint of musicians, and lived in the early, persecuted years of the church. Impressively, she is one of only seven women (excluding Mary, mother of Jesus) mentioned in the canon of the mass during the eucharistic prayer. She was fairly young when she died, though her exact age is unknown. She desired to live a single, religious life, but was coerced into marriage. Her husband belittled her faith, but was eventually won over to Christianity by her example. Her husband's own brother was also baptised, and they developed a ministry giving proper burials to martyred Christians. Eventually, as always seems to be the case in these sad stories, both men were martyred for their activities. Cecilia too was arrested, and when she refused to revoke her faith, she was also martyred. When her tomb was examined centuries later (*yuck*! but that's what they always do with saints) her body was found to be incorrupt. That's a Catholic thing you hear about a lot. Quite intriguing.

Ok so, there's a lot going on here. I think it's a touching story, to be sure. I like her powerful example in difficult times, and the fact that she was just a regular girl. Many female saints were nuns. Also outstanding examples, but since it's a different vocation than what I'm called to, I don't relate as much. That's why I picked her.

Obviously, martyrdom is not funny, but I have to be honest and say that sometimes I find a bit of humor in these saint stories. Especially the ones that are much older, so perhaps some details have been embellished over the centuries. The saint never is simply killed. They are bundled into sharp wire, kicked around, tossed into boiling water, run through the streets while people throw stones at them, and finally, chopped into bits. They had hard, hard lives and deaths, these saints. So, for St. Cecilia, I find this on the Patron Saints Index:

"suffocated for a while, and then when that didn't kill her, she was beheaded."

Wikipedia has it this way:

"At that time, the officials attempted to kill her by locking her in an overheated sweat-house (bathhouse). However, the attempt failed, and she was to be beheaded. The executioner attempted to decapitate her three times unsuccessfully, at which time he fled. Cecilia survived another three days before succumbing. "

Poor thing not only has a hard life, but a sucky death. Relatedly, I have a book on patron saint names for the purpose of naming your child. Mike knows the rules: any child of ours has to have a saint name. Henry has two, Henry and David. This is good. For many entries, a long listing of their patronages is given. Saints are assigned to be patrons of a specific group, entity, or affliction by virtue of having had some exposure or experience to it. Mike and I were literally howling with laughter when we read one entry, which included lots of random things, such as being the patron of lace makers, ship builders and house painters, and also stated that this unfortunate soul was the patron of those " being pursued and attacked by wolves."This guy really drew the short straw in life.

But on a more serious note, I think a lot about the martyrdom of early Christians because our situation is so much different than theirs. Certainly, people are still martyred in the traditional sense, especially in other areas of the world. But in our country? You're much more likely to be ridiculed for simply *having* religious beliefs and going to church. You're looked upon as needing an "emotional crutch" or just not being very intelligent if you hold genuine religious faith. Pope John Paul II addressed this once in a speech near the end of his life, perhaps it was World Youth Day 2002, in Toronto. He called it "white martyrdom." We are all called to be white, rather than red, martyrs for our faith in these times. I think about that all the time. There are many things about me that suggest that I am traditionally religious: the jewelery I wear, the things I put in my office, the rosary beads in my car, etc. And even those small things open us up to public criticism when you least expect it. I still think it's easier for us than it was for St. Cecilia, no doubt about that. But I like to think about modern spins on age-old religious issues, and how they still apply to us, here and now.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I feel like I should post about something deep...

but I got nothin' :) Still too stuffy and coughy to be theological and edgy. I'll try again tomorrow, I promise :) Hank had his school pictures yesterday, and we can pick them up today. I'm SO excited. I threatened Mike with an annullment if he forgets to pick them up later. I love having new pictures of my little muffin. Oh! And, I arrived at his cubbie today to receive a note that in the upcoming Christmas concert, Hank will be playing the part of a snowman. I just about died. Can you even imagine how cute this is going to be?!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Trying to stay warm...

If you can believe it, I'm *still* sick. This happens to me every autumn, suddenly. I've been reduced to wearing fleece indoors and sipping herbal tea at all times. My throat is so ridiculously sensitive, it takes next to nothing to set off an embarrassing coughing attack. I'm actually headed to Old Navy at lunch to buy *more fleece.*

Well, at least I've had more lethargic time on my hands to work on my Christmas afghan. I'm more than half finished. It's very festive and cheery. And it keeps my lap warm in the evenings while I work on it. Every night I'm dressed in flannel from neck to foot, with heavy socks on. Mike swears I should be sweltering, but you know how men are. They're *always* warmer than we are. Why is it? But it's true, isn't it? The only time this was different was when I was pregnant with Hank, he himself a male heat generator. I should have known I was having a boy just based on that. It was like incubating a space heater for nine months. I remember lying in bed one evening, clad in a long maternity tank top and no pants. Mike was beside me, tucked under the covers, shivering. It was a powerful feeling of role reversal :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Christmas is coming...

Our house is regularly filled with the strains of "It's begwinning to wook a wot wike CHWISTMAS! Toys in evwy store!!" Hank is practicing for his upcoming Christmas concert at the daycare. It's adorable. He has accompanying hand gestures and everything. Today is show and tell, and he requested to take in the new toy mixer that nana and papa got him for his birthday. The child loves to cook. He also loves to read, and his book collection is ever growing. He's at a point now where he'll flip through a book and try to recite it from memory, based on our reading it to him (again, and again, and again...oh, the joys of toddlerhood :) He now requests specific books to add to his collection, or borrow from the library. He handed me the flyer he got at daycare for the Scholastic book club, and pointed out a few titles that interested him. A true librarian's son; I'm very proud.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend stuff...

Well, I'm still coughing. It worsened over the weekend to include hacking, scratchiness, embarrassing tickling episodes while eating, and middle of the night spontaneity. I'm managing, but it's not pleasant. On the up side, I'm developing what Mike calls my "sultry voice." He loves that, and is sad when I get better and it goes away :)

Friday night I had bellydancing for the first time in two weeks. I missed it. We're learning some new combinations to get geared up for a new routine. I felt very rusty, though. Claire mentioned a move called "the caterpillar," and my first thought was "those red and black ones I keep seeing on the sidewalk? I bet I could go outside and find one of those." But originating in my hips and incorporating in something about a chest lift? No clue what that is. As we were practicing aforementioned caterpillar, the advanced class gathered in the hall. I could see them all unsheathing swords. I can't tell you how much the thought of balancing a weapon on my head strikes terror in the heart of the Catholic Librarian. Perhaps she'll never advance enough to be asked to be a member of the advanced class. The chances of this happening are pretty good, I'm thinking. Odds are on my side. Every few minutes I'd hear a loud thud, followed by a swear word. So, I guess the advanced class is human too :)

Saturday night was my baby's birthday party, and I get so nervous (this is a polite way of saying 'crazed') about entertaining people and having my house look neat enough. I also had my in-laws staying with us for the entire weekend. To aid in this effort, I downed two glasses of wine before anyone arrived. The evening went smoothly after that. Hank secured his own little set of kitchen appliances, and a big garbage truck. He couldn't be more thrilled. He looks so cute as he intently concentrates, loading the little cans onto the dumping arm. He also got a Match Box cars set of fire engine and police car. He races them around the house, shouting "eeeeeehhhhhhhh" in increasing intensity.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Sickly :(

I'm at work today a half day, and I'm feeling pretty anemic. I'm hacking a lot, and feel run down within an hour of getting up for the day. I have my in-laws here this weekend. House guests always make for extra anxiety for the type-A Catholic Librarian. Plus, Hank's birthday party is at my house tomorrow, so lots of stressful prep work and people to prepare for. I'll make it.

He's so excited for his party. Poor child only gets new toys at one big clump in November/December. He's desperate for new fodder to play with. I could write more (what I hope to be witty) anecdotes, but I can feel the energy draining out of my body as I type. More on Monday :(

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Today is my baby's birthday!

*sobs* He's getting so big! My precious little angel. He was all excited because it was mild enough today to wear his short-sleeved Spider Man shirt. The child is bitter about being forced to be Thomas the Tank Engine for Halloween again this year. He's dropping super hero hints all over the place.

Anyway, we made cupcakes for his daycare class last night. I felt guilty when I dropped them off this morning, and his teacher enthused about how good the cookies were that I made for their Halloween party. Remember the pre-made Pillsbury cookie story? Right, I didn't fess up :) I just smiled and thanked her. The cupcakes too, were Pillsbury. I'm coming down with something, and was way too exhausted to make anything from scratch. My in-laws arrive in town today, so I'll have house guests until Monday, and we're having a small party for Hank on Saturday. It's going to be busy, and I have very limited energy. I'll do the best I can, I suppose...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Coughing, and other sleep problems...

Hank is (unhappily) medicated for his pink eye, but coughing. I'm now...coughing. And decidedly unhappy about it. It's a problematic cycle of coughing when you have kids. First, they get sick more often than we do, but then pass germs to us, so we're now sick as often as them. And then we're either coughing, or being woken by them coughing. It's terrible. I swear it, when I had Hank, I had no idea I'd never sleep normally again :( If babies came home from the hospital trained to sleep 8 hours through the night, I'd already have another child. Or at the very least, if they were like kittens with litter, and after a 6 week training period, could sleep 8 hours though the night.

There are women who tell me that their 6 week old baby slept through the night with no problems. Whenever someone tells me this, I secretly envision binding and gagging them, and forcing them to sleep in my house for a year. And perhaps putting bats in the room with them. And fire ants. A lot of the time though, women who tell me this have an empty nest and haven't handled 24-hour baby care in twenty years. I call it "grandmother brain." Here's a sampling:

"My daughter slept through the night at 4 weeks old. I gave her cereal in her bottle to accomplish this. If you want your baby to sleep, you must do this too."

"Henry still isn't sleeping well at 6 months old? You might be catering to him too much."

"It's the breastfeeding. That's why I didn't do that."

"He's so active, I can never take my eyes off him. You girls were never like this. You used to play in your playpen for *hours* up until you went to kidnergarten." This egregious example is from my own mother. This is grandmother brain at it's worst. We stayed quietly in playpens for extended periods of time until we were 5 years old? What did she do, sedate us?

Anyway, now Hank and I are both coughing, which means my sleep deprivation factor is now multipled by two. I'm certain that Mike is next. It's like a vicious fungus.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy election day!

Hank has pink eye :( Ugh. Mike is home with him this morning, and I'm taking the afternoon shift. Poor little thing. He also has a cough and is generally sickly. Definitely needs some TLC.

In the mean time, though, I'm at work and enjoying the buzzing going on about the election. I'm not a big politics talker, but I do like being informed and keeping up-to-date. Definitely looking forward to vegging with some wine later and watching some good old CNN coverage.

Last night while Mike watched the Steelers game, I watched some WEtv (unsurprisingly). I saw part of a hilarious episode of My Fair Wedding. Our favorite wedding guru, Nick Tutera, visits with a bride who wants a "Cinderella, princess themed wedding." Pretty much the exact opposite of my wedding tastes, but to each their own :) Anyway, Nick asks her to show him what she's chosen so far for her details. They did this cut-away sequence where you would see Nick and the bride, and then just Nick alone commenting on what she had shown him. The bride whips out the fake rose petals, plastic diamonds, and artificial gold and pinkish centerpieces she purchased to place on the tables.

Nick: "I seriously thought I was going to pass out."

Next came talk of "Ben, the balloonatic" who would be transporting pink and white balloons to the wedding. Something about larger balloons releasing smaller ones, a tower of cascading balloons, etc.

Nick: "Ok, balloons should not be used in a wedding *ever.* EVER. Ben the balloonatic is going to have to talk to me, because seriously. He needs to just go away."

The coup de grace was the dresses. The maid of honor puts on her dress, a pink frothy concoction that looked like something out of My Super Sweet 16.

Bridesmaid: *good naturedly* "I feel like a giant birthday cake!"
Nick: *shudder* "That color looked like Pepto Bismol, and Oh God, I just can't..."

The bride's dress was a gigantic white puff ball, complete with elbow length gloves that came to a point and hooked over her middle finger.

Nick: "ok seriously, she's going to thank me for this. Because I just know that this is one of those dresses that she'll look back on in five years and think 'what on *earth* was I thinking?!"

Oh, it was good. Real good.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tough weekend

Well, Halloween weekend wasn't the funfest I thought it was going to be :) Hank came home from my parent's house super cranky on Friday and was nearly banned from trick or treating due to the 30 minute temper tantrum he threw at approximately 6:15 pm. We did end up taking him, but he was the most miserable Thomas the Tank Engine I've ever seen. "Hank honey, say 'trick or treat.'" "Twik or Tweet" *scowl*. The rest of the weekend consisted of so many temper tantrums I lost count, me crying, and Hank getting into everything we've ever told him not to 100% of the time. On Sunday, that resulted in him spilling an entire container of Pumpkin Pie Spice coffee creamer on our kitchen floor; subsequently, irrespective of the approximate fifty freaking times I obsessively cleaned the floor, the thing still felt like the floor of the awful restrooms here in the library. Every time I walked into the kitchen, I let loose a string of un-Catholic like obscenities at the new sticky feet prints on the floor, just as my own adorable fall leaf socks began to adhere to the laminate. It sucked.