Tag Archive | children

Mini Monday: Smiling

It has definitely been a Monday. Instead of letting this hectic day get me down, I thought I’d take a moment away from the grindstone to reflect on some of the things that have made me smile the past few days:



*If you click on the picture, the caption text becomes much larger.


Mini Monday: My First Mother’s Day


Here are the highlights from what will no doubt be the most relaxing, quietest mother’s day weekend I experience for quite awhile:

• Saturday I took a great prenatal yoga class with lots of other mamas-to-be. It was a wonderful practice and afterward I found myself relaxed and more in tune with the hippo.

• Bright and early yesterday morning my hubby gave me this sweet card (note the birds are made of actual feathers — it’s super cute) and my mom and dad had sent me a card too. It made my morning!

• The baby has apparently launched a VIP rave in utero. He’s been dancing around in there the past few nights in the wee hours of the morning (we can neither confirm nor deny that there are glow sticks involved…). Since I am awake anyway, it’s fun to feel him kick, punch, wiggle or whatever the heck he’s doing! He’s been so active the past two nights that my husband has really been able to feel him moving which was a fun Mother’s Day treat for both of us.

• We picked our first three strawberries yesterday. Whatever will I do with such a haul?!

• After church we strolled over to the local bakery and indulged — a coffee milkshake for my honey and an apple poptart and decaf iced mocha for me.

• Post-treat I took a nap and may have even gotten a little sleep! Yay!

• As a bonus treat, my husband gave me his free birthday drink at Dunkin Donuts, so I headed over there bright and early this morning to get a decaf iced mocha and a maple donut. The trek home surely burned off all the calories, right? At the very least, it helped lessen my case of the Mondays!

Sweet Dreams with Snoopy

This past December my Aunt Vicki handed me a Hannukah gift for us with the cryptic caveat, “This is a joke. Well, it’s kind of a joke.”

It was a pretty big bag and fairly heavy, so I was intrigued. I tore into the bag and unearthed possibly the greatest gift I’ve ever gotten: FLANNEL SNOOPY SHEETS.

Joke?!? What ever did she mean this was joke?

[Note: Per an earlier blog about “our children” it’s pretty clear I am a huge fan of Snoopy and the Peanuts.]

Although we couldn’t fit them in our luggage, my dad was kind enough to ship them to us. I waited with bated breath for the package to arrive on the east coast. When they did, I quickly ran them through the wash and got them on the bed. This is normally a task I assign to my husband, who can put the fitted sheets on much easier than I can, but I didn’t want to delay creating my Snoopy dream bed. He also had made some comments about not needing flannel sheets in during the warmest January on record… I was not going to let him get in the way! (Besides he’d wait until my teeth were chattering to switch to flannel sheets.)

Of course I had to share their adorableness, even if it is a bit delayed. As you can see they’ve not only got Snoopy, but the whole gang: Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, Pig Pen, Lucy, Linus and Woodstock. Plus — and clearly most importantly — Snoopy really loves them!

Meet Ian

About a month ago I posted an update on the blog which covered a bunch of different topics including the possibility of getting a dog. As soon as it went up, my dad called to let me know how much work a dog is, they take up a lot of time, and have their own expenses. My dad’s advice—and I’m not even kidding (love you, dad)—was, “Have a baby.”

Babies aren’t any work, don’t take up your time, and cost virtually nothing, right? Ha!

After I stopped laughing about my dad’s ridiculous appeal to be a grandparent right away, my husband and I made our first move toward becoming dog parents. In order to determine what age pup would be best for us, we decided to try our hand at fostering with a local labrador rescue. The day after Thanksgiving we brought home our first pup, Ian.

As Ian lays next to me in the office, snoring away, I have to admit he’s seriously one of the best trained labs I’ve ever encountered. He’s 18 months old and during the time that we’ve had him he hasn’t eaten anything other than dog food and treats, had any accidents or even barked, and he’s learned to sit and to lay down (almost). He also willingly goes into his crate if we need to leave or if he is just looking for a new napping spot and walks very well on a leash. He loves the cow we had waiting for him, but isn’t as fond of his dog socks.

That’s right. Dog socks. I am totally ridiculous and I bought dog socks to help keep him from sliding around like a maniac on our hardwood floors (and to help minimize dog toenail damage). Despite how silly he looks, it really has helped his traction. I swear!

We’ve already heard from folks who are interested in visiting Ian and adopting him. I can’t imagine anyone coming to meet this adorable guy and not wanting to take him home right away so we will probably be saying goodbye to him this weekend.

It’s going to be hard to let go even though we’ve only had him a short time, but if we can focus on the positive, I’m sure there will be more lab fostering (and a possible adoption) in 2012.

The Great Cupcake Caper

Today my husband is celebrating his 30th birthday. In honor of that, one of his rowing teammates brought cupcakes to practice for him Thursday morning. This meant that he came home all hyped up on sugar and happy as a clam to have started his day with a cupcake. It also meant he was feeling extra sneaky, but I’ll get back to that. He told me with a smile on his face that he had a surprise for me — a cupcake of my own!

As you may recall from an old post about “the children” we tend to joke around with giving the stuffed animals personalities. Although both Snoopy and Eeyore expressed their desire to have a cupcake, my husband said that the cupcake was for the puppy to share with me. As the puppy doesn’t tend to have a lot of luck getting downstairs, I was pretty confident I would get the entire thing to myself.

I went for my morning walk and came back to find this — the puppy sitting on top of the cupcake container with only a used wrapper inside. I was stumped. And dying for my cupcake. I called my husband in a panic to see if he could let shed some light on where my missing cupcake might be. Instead he just said he wasn’t responsible for the puppy’s actions when she is left alone…

Thankfully, after a bit more searching through the salad spinner, dishes and cupboards, I found that my cupcake had been relocated to a pretty secluded spot in the fridge. We had a joyous reunion as I downed the chocolate-frosted, marble-cake cupcake along with an iced mocha and got back to my day.

Speaking of cupcakes, there are about 65 downstairs begging to be frosted for the 30th birthday bash tonight. I suppose when a cupcake calls a girl should answer!

Guest Blog: Let’s Couch this Decision

I have been trying to get my good friend, The Reluctant Housewife, to contribute guest posts about her crafty homemaking adventures for awhile. It is with great pleasure that I post her first of hopefully many contributions to The Housewife Challenge.

Lately I’ve found myself struggling with the issue of materialism when thinking about my couch. Big ticket items are much easier to debate the necessity of in my household. Here is the back story — my husband and I used some of the money we received on the occasion of our marriage (that’s right, I recall it being a rather Victorian-sounding event) and purchased a couch. A grown-up couch. It had never been in someone’s parent’s basement, it didn’t have beer stains on it, it sported no awful patterns. It was a real, adult, brand-new couch. And red. That is a very important detail for no real reason. I’ve been married now for over five years. The front of the couch looks great still, it’s a little small but at the time we were newlyweds and we wanted to snuggle up together on the couch. Now with five years under our belt, I lay out the entire length of the couch and my husband sits on the reclining chair. We are clearly no longer newlyweds and a bigger couch might allow us to once again sit next to each other. But I make no promises, I like to stretch out.

Back to the point, of which I assure you there may be one. The front of the couch is fine. It’s the back of the couch that harkens back to the days of having a couch with floral patterns and beer stains and smells of musty basement. We have two cats, two clawed cats. They prefer the back of the couch to any fancy-pants scratching post we custom built which our child now uses more than the cats — although she doesn’t use it to sharpen her claws I assure you, what kind of parents do you think we are? Did I mention our child reminds me of a cat with thumbs? Now, you say, why not just hide the back of the couch against the wall? Great idea! Except our adorable little house doesn’t have a wall space to fit the couch. The back of the couch has to just hang out there, like a very medicated hospital patient going for a stroll with their untied gown. It’s amusing but embarrassing. I fold a blanket and drape it ever-so-nonchalantly over the worst area. I’ve even toyed with the idea of buying a blanket that matches the living room, instead of the rainbow striped-blanket from my childhood that currently resides over the couch corner. And the cats do love to sleep on the blanket that covers up their handiwork. But we dislike the blanket. And sometimes we say silly things like “why don’t we dip into savings and buy a new damn couch?” (that’s right, this conversation gets real enough to use the “d” word). And then we say more practical things like “what a waste, this couch still looks great from the front — that is, if you look away from the slightly sagging cushions)” or “but it was our first major purchase as a married couple” or lately, “but our daughter is just going to be smearing sticky hands and spilling staining things all over the couch, why get a new one?” That last argument could buy us another 5 years or more with this couch. Neither my husband nor I grew up around small children so we have no idea how long her hands will be sticky. I suppose it could be another 20 years with that couch. We don’t know. Sometime my hands are sticky after eating too, it’s just that kind of a crazy household.

In reality, we’ve been looking at new couches for years. Back before microfiber was even out there as the miracle couch covering. I don’t like microfiber, it looks sloppy to me, I thought I would spend all of my time petting the couch trying to get it to all look like the material is going one direction. It looks a bit to me like an unkempt pet. But then we bought a fancy reclining chair to nurse my daughter in, and the saleslady convinced us to get microfiber because spitup could easily be cleaned off. I was full of hormones and wanted nothing more than to be able to clean up spitup easily, so we bought it. And really, it does clean up easily. And I rarely pet the chair in front of people. In fact, because I have a child to take care of now — with sticky hands — my chair petting time has been roughly cut in half. So now that we can buy a couch once again, being converted to microfiber, which seems to be the only couch material out there, why is it so difficult for us?

Emotional attachment? Fear of sticky hands? Being ashamed to be embarrassed to be adults who own a couch with a few flaws? Lack of understanding of how to dispose of a flawed couch when one has no basement? We couldn’t keep the couch to later pass on to our daughter as was done with every person I ever grew up with. We have no basement. Where would one keep such a large item with no basement? And why would we pass off a couch to her that has no musty basement smell? How on earth did we end up living in a place with no basement anyway? That is a whole other post. Sheesh.

The couch’s symbolism in my home is myriad and ultimately confusing. It’s a symbol of my constantly undermined attempt to not be materialistic, a symbol of a young married couple — a little worn around the edges but still loving and inviting, and perhaps a symbol of fear of the unknown future. Are there dark, sticky handed forces that would be better off with the comfortable, if not slightly embarrassing old couch? And really, why not just buy a couch cover? That is one I can answer here and now, get ready for me to lay down some insight — that would be way too easy. So for now, the couch remains.

The Reluctant Housewife

Conversations in Amman

During our time in Amman, we experienced a very different culture than life in the United States. I did my best to fit in by wearing very modest clothing, keeping my arms and legs covered most of the time, and having a scarf available to hide my hair if necessary. In public, I let my husband negotiate prices, order at restaurants and talk to taxi drivers. It was during a taxi ride that the most humorous (and disturbing) conversation of our trip occurred.


One evening our taxi driver spoke good English and was excited to talk to my husband. I sat silently in the back seat listening and hoping that we didn’t die since Jordanian drivers do not believe in the lines on the road or indicator signals.

Taxi Driver: How long have you been married?

Husband: Three years.

Taxi Driver: And how many children do you have?

Husband: None.

Taxi Driver: No children? I have four children, I love children, why don’t you have children?!

Husband: Insha’Allah. (This translates to mean “If it’s God’s will” and was what our travel books instructed we answer if anyone asked about children.)

Taxi Driver: Oh, children are wonderful, here, this is my baby daughter, eight months old. (The driver pulls out his cell phone and shows my husband a picture of the baby…and yes, he’s still driving...) You should have children! You’re Christian right?

Husband: Yes.

Taxi Driver: Here’s what you do, convert to Islam and then you can take a second wife.


And there I was, a whole foot away, listening to what a terrible wife I am for not having had any children yet. Despite the advice the driver had just given my husband, I continued to masquerade as a well-behaved wife and didn’t jump into the conversation. Thankfully my husband managed to end that part of their talk by telling the driver, “I think one wife is all I can handle.”