Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Upgrade. Again.

Gracie's little feet are growing like weeds.

I am finding the same problem in her clothes, particularly shirts. She's so long and skinny, that while the sleeves fit, the hem of the shirt is giving little baby belly and butt crack shots constantly. I've been upgrading her shirts to 24 months and now her feet have gotten in on the action.

After two short months in her Grace shoes, she is once again getting an upgrade. Like I said, growing like weeds.
It doesn't hurt that her polk-a-dot shoes look like they've been though a weedwacker either. Put three of the dots together and you have whole #1. Whole #2 is another solid polk-a-dot's width. Not attractive. Plus she keeps pulling on the material, ripping it more.

*Note to self: If we ever have another kid, don't buy the canvas covered Pedipeds. They rip.*

In fact, they riped just over a week into their new status as Gracie's shoes, thanks to a 70 degree day and her first toddler foray onto the playground. I was told she screamed like hell when the teachers made her go back inside after their 1/2 hour play time.

So the new shoes?
This time we went with the Abigail in Navy & Pink.
I figure the darker color will hide more dirt, the leather will stand up to outdoor play better AND I scored them for half price.
Grace was insanely happy to put them on this morning too. She started squealing and laughing with a "Sues! Sues! Sues!" chant, followed by a happy dance when I put her on the floor.
Definitely my kid.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Birthdays are hard. So hard. There is so much pressure for perfection.

Christmas is a mass celebrations. Everyone gets in on the action on some level. Birthdays are all about an individual. Your one day. Which is so much more special.

This year… today… Matt is 35.

I got my idea for his birthday present during my Christmas shopping.

Oooo! He’d really like this book, but it would put me way over the damn budget we set. Meh, I’ll just wait for his birthday! No budgets there!

So I did and now I am second guessing my choice.

----------------- I bought him this -----------------

And from within the book's pages I bought him this….

------- Sandeman 20 Years Old Tawny Port -------

********************* And this *********************

-------------- Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant ---------------

********************* And this *********************

----------Chateau Ste. Michelle Eroica Riesling-------------

Notice a theme here? Yeah, that's how we roll.

I know he will like it, but all of a sudden it feels so selfish. Not because it is something I bought for myself, but because it is something that I know he will insist on sharing with me. Who drinks wine by themselves? Isn’t the point of this book to taste together??

Oh, well. It was selected with good intensions in my heart.

I guess I should have gone with the Old Style bike jersey though.

While this still follows the booze theme, you could bet every penny that I would never want to put it on my body.
Happy Birthday Matt!

The Big Three-Five

"I mean, what is an un-birthday present?"
"A present given when it isn't your birthday, of course."
Alice considered a little. "I like birthday presents best," she said at last.
"You don't know what you're talking about!" cried Humpty Dumpty.
"How many days are there in a year?"
"Three hundred and sixty-five," said Alice.
"And how many birthdays have you?"
"One." - Lewis Carroll

Today is Matt's 35th birthday. Hope you have a great day my Love!

Friday, February 20, 2009


OK, I'm totally going to steal from for this post.

Most of the time when I get my weekly developmental updates from them (which I've been tracking since since week 3 of her gustational development) they are 'meh'. Sometimes there is useful information. Sometimes they kind-of hit on a trend.

Today, though, wow. Nail on the head. So for all the family looking for updates on the new things Gracie is going. This is it. Written so much mor susinctly than I ever could.

Your 16 month old: Week 2
Hello, Shannon!
Your toddler is learning which of her tricks get a laugh out of you, and which bring your disapproval. He's studying your reactions, so now's a good time to start teaching right from wrong by cheering on "good" behavior (picking up a toy and putting it in the toy box) and frowning on "bad" (throwing the toy across the room). And don't forget to watch what you say and do around your child: Imitation is one of the ways toddlers learn socially acceptable behavior.
>> This Week: Figuring out right and wrong, and toddler chutzpah (Below)

New this month: The toddler connection
Even at this young age, your toddler is learning that she is rewarded with positive attention — hugs, laughter, praise — when she behaves in ways that people around her think are "right," and that she is punished or ignored when her behavior is "wrong." (What may really amaze you is how quickly your intuitive toddler learns that to different people right and wrong mean different things. A behavior that might elicit a frown from you, i.e., pounding a toy on the coffee table or pulling the dog's tail, brings peals of laughter from an older sibling.)

The social interactions you're most likely to witness now are basic — waving, smiling, playing peekaboo, and following simple instructions — but these are all first steps in establishing her personal social style that are learned through imitation. A 16-month-old is also able to initiate displays of affection and he'll give back what she receives. If you show affection with hugs and kisses, she will likely, too.

Other developments: Developing self-awareness
A newborn isn't able to differentiate between himself and her mother or between himself and any object she sees. Tasting, touching, smelling, and hearing what's in the world around her are ultimately what help her understand that she is a separate being. At about 16 months, your toddler understands that she is her own person, but that she can use you as an extension of himself. For instance, if she sees a toy that she wants but can't reach, he'll push you toward it and gesture until you know she wants you to hand it to her. Or, she may not feel comfortable walking up a flight of stairs, but since he's determined to do it anyway, she'll grasp your hand so you can help her.

At this stage, your toddler knows she is powerful and she is the center of her world. She uses your attention and amazement and appreciation of her accomplishments to attempt even more. She wants to succeed at everything she tries, though she often won't. You'll catch her attempting to carry objects that are far too heavy or unwieldy for her to handle, but she'll be adamant about trying. Rather than help her, admire her chutzpah and let her cry out her frustrations when she can't do something; she'll keep trying and soon succeed.

Giving her opportunities to imitate you at work, such as "cooking" in a play kitchen since she can't really make you dinner, will help cut down on the frustration she feels about being too little to do some of the things she wants to do and will also build her self-esteem. Toddler-sized tool sets, little play kitchens, or grocery carts are great fun for 16-month-olds.

(Hmm... you know what, Gracie would absolutely love a kitchen set. Now where would it reside....)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Artistry of the Sky

I’ve become a morning person.

It’s by default, because of my schedule, but a morning person non-the-less. If I slept until noon, I would still go to bed by 10pm.

Even in college, when the bars closed I was ready to go home. The concept of ‘after parties’ always killed me. Come on people, its 2 am. No good is going to come of this. Just go home and go to sleep. This earned me a lot of ridicule, and probably lost a few friends, but whatever. It was and they were things that I just didn’t need in my life.

Now, my alarm sounds daily at 5 am. Don’t get me wrong; unlike Matt who wakes earlier than that on a regular basis, I truly need my alarm clock to get up. I curse it every morning.

Once I finally gather the bits of my mind spread around the house, along with stuffing Gracie into clothes and her car seat, I’ve come to enjoy the mornings.

In fact, one of the favorite parts of my day is in the 45 minute voyage to work. I hit a certain bend in the road every morning around 6:33 am. (Yeah, I like schedules. What of it?) And for 30 seconds I get to enjoy what I consider to be one of the most beautiful, magical parts of nature.

The sunrise.

I turn the corner, and the sun is just barely over the horizon, peeking through the bare branches of trees. In this instant, there is no traffic. There are no houses. There are no power or telephone lines.

There is nothing in my line of sight but the glow of gold, pink, red, or orange, surrounded by the black of night. Cloudy days are the best. The color is even more vibrant. There is no haze of city light, airplanes and stars to compete with the color.

I sometimes catch myself holding my breath during the quarter mile that I am given this view.

Everyday I wish my cell phone had a camera on it so I could take a photo.

Everyday I wonder if anyone else is looking at the horizon or if it is all mine.

I tend to believe that it is all mine. For those precious seconds, I own the sunrise. Then, as I speed towards the split in the road and the horizon drops, I imagine that I am reluctantly giving it back so someone else and enjoy it.

My focus is returned to the road and its unpredictable drivers and I daydream of what the next sunrise will look like.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Devil's Making Her Do It

For every new word Grace adds to her vocabulary, her comprehension of language seems to expand ten fold. Sure, she can’t speak to me in full sentences, but she certainly understands them.

This is becoming abundantly apparent in her comprehension of ‘no’.

Ahh, the dreaded ‘no’. I’ve talked about this before.

Recently, she has begun to ‘no, no, no’ us with her index finger stuck out, accompanied by the appropriate waggling back and forth hand wave. She does this as she looks over her shoulder to see if we are watching and systematically inches towards the off-limits target. You know, the dogs water bowl on the floor (which then promptly gets a hand stuck in it), the garbage cans (whose lids are attempted to be pried off), the fireplace (with its dirty hearth that makes for grand play surfaces).

Then we have the ‘no, no, no’ when she realizes what my exclamation of ‘all done’ means after 30 minutes in the bathtub. Completed by the wiggling screeches of a wet child being forcibly removed from the tub.

Or my new favorite, the ‘no, no, no’ to the prospect of a diaper change. Despite my best efforts to start introducing her new potty training toilet (in the middle of the living room), this new battle makes it quite clear that she has not reached that point yet. Instead, we are tasked with chasing a toddler around the 2nd floor until capture, then enduring kicking/ squealing/ flipping/ fighting (in no particular order) of Grace perched on top of the changing table. God forbid that there is then anything more than pee...

It is so hard to really be mad at the exploration of boundaries though. Sure, it’s annoying, but it is so cute too. The look of curiosity. The look of tenacity. The look of determination.

It’s the draw of the forbidden. The draw of the devil.

And it leaves such a satisfied smile on her face, and a smile that Matt and I seem to be increasingly forced to hide.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Curse of the Coupon

Attention Target Customers. The Lady at Register 4 is Buying Lube.

Do I have your attention?

Yeah, I had quite a few people looking at me. I was mortified, but was proud that instead of running away (which I might have done had I the $12.00 I needed in cash to throw at the cashier) I instead held my head high and smiled.

Oh my God did I smile. I had to. It was either smile like a crazy person or cry.

We are not big Valentine's Day people. Maybe it is a leftover self-defense mechanism from childhood, but I've never seen the importance of it. Matt and I tell each other that we love each other every day. We do things out of the ordinary for each other regularly. We've never needed Hallmark to prescribe when these activities should take place at an exaggerated price.

Sometimes it is hard not to get caught up in the hoopla of the day.

I always try to send my mom something, because I know my dad won't buy her anything. Hell, he probably won't even utter the words "Happy Valentine's Day" and I know it hurts her feelings.

This year, I purchased the little kid tear-apart Valentine's Day cards for Grace to give out at school.

That morphed into the creation of a homemade Valentine's Day heart card, complete with crayon scribble and hand prints, for her to give Matt. Then I decided to add a package of heart shaped peeps to the card as her gift to him.

From there I thought, well, I guess I should give him a card too.

Then I started going through the coupons in the Sunday paper. Guess what I found? A $5.00 off coupon for the new KY His & Hers lube. He he he, I giggled. That would be a funny present for me to give Matt. And so the idea was in my head and the coupon in my purse.

I marched into Target with the single purchase on my mind. For the first time ever, I didn't browse one bit. Straight to the section withe the condoms and lube, under the watchful eyes of the pharmacy staff.

I was bold. I took every single box of the stuff off the shelf to inspect the corners for the best looking one. This was a gift after all. Sure, I got looks from the old ladies looking for laxatives, but so what. I'm an adult. I'm even married with a kid, so keep your eyes to yourself.

Satisfied I had found the best box, it was straight to the registers. The line I picked only had 2 others in front of me, but the lines were building in the lunch hour rush. Within 2 minutes I had 5 people behind me.

At least I'm only getting one item, I thought. I'm everybodys best friend in this line!

I get up the front of the line, and the older woman with the thick Caribbean accent working the register grabs the box and scans.

I swear to God, this is how the next few minutes when, word for word.

That will be $16.92 Miss.
Oh, I have a coupon!
OK. Hmm. It's not scanning. It is for KY lubricant. Is that what your bought?
Umm. Yes.
Oh, OK. OH. OH. I understand. Well, the coupon says it isn't good for trial size. Are you buying a trial size?
Umm. No. I don't think so.
(My nervous giggle starts and I am starting to think I should tell her to forget about the coupon.)
Oh, OK. Well, let me call a manager.
(My face is turning red and the line behind me starts to grumble.)
(She picks the box up and holds it up in the air, waving it back and forth wildly.)
Mike. Mike. MIKE! This lady is buying some KY His & Hers lubricant and the coupon she has isn't working! Mike. Mike!!
(Everyone is now staring at me in the line, and the grumbling is getting louder. I however, figure that the entire store now knows that I am buying lube, so I might as well stick it out for my $5.00 off.)
(Mike now comes over, a early 30's white guy, and is clearly also uncomfortable with the scene too. He quickly works some magic with the register and his managers card. My $5 coupon now works.)
OK, we're all set. That will be $11.84 Miss.
(I hand over my debit card.)
Thank you and have a nice day!

All I have to say is this crap better be worth it. Happy Valentine's Day Matt. This story is now your true present.

Happy Valentine's Day all!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Mmmm. Chicken.

Drool is again a circumvent topic of my blog today.

Do you have a dish or restaurant that makes your mouth water when you think of it? I am visiting mine for lunch today.


El Pollo Rico.

This is a whole in the wall Peruvian chicken joint in the metro-DC area that you would never know about (or dare to step foot into) if someone didn't force you for the first time, or you were in fact from the neighborhood it is settled in. It's easy to find though once you locate the strip mall ... just look for the line of people half way down the block.

The only time I've ever heard it talked about during all the food-TV shows that I watch was an episode of Bourdain, where he fully admits to being dragged to the Virgina location.

Oh. My. God. is this place good. At least it used to be, before the restaurant got shut down for tax evasion and hiring illegal immigrants. And then burned down. So hears hoping that the new location is an good, with hopefully better seating as its predecessor. Things don't look very promising right now though.

They sell chicken. That is it. Chicken. If you don't like chicken, your screwed. You can play with the sides a little bit (fries, coleslaw & two sauces) but chicken is what everyone is waiting in line for. 1/4, 1/2 or a whole chicken. Those are your choices. Dozens of them are strung up whole on a big rotating fire spit. When you order, they slide one off and hack it apart with a giant cleaver.


The flavor and seasoning on these birds is out of this world. They give you a fork, but the only way to eat it is to pick the chicken apart with your fingers. Which in turn, turns your hands into a wonderful, greasy, Peruvian chicken scented memento of the afternoon for at least 24 hours.


What a wonderful way to start the weekend.


Well, we went, we saw, we gorged.

No, there is no more billows of smoke blasting you in the face as you walk in the door from the open spit as before. Sure the fries aren't quite as crispy as before. But I do think that part of that charm is what caused the grease fire to begin with in the old place.

It will eventually get back there.

The chicken was still amazing. Sure, some of the 'flavor' of the old place was the crowed, run-down, perpetually dirty looking seating, but it is what it is now. Our official taste test is complete and Pollo Rico is 95% of what it used to be.

Which is pretty damn good.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What Makes You Drool?

Matt has realized a dream come true. Like a centerfold jumping out of the pages of Playboy, Matt is in the throws of his bike porn come to life.

The object of his affection?

----------2009 Felt B16 - Full-Carbon Tri Bike ----------

It has been his since this past Saturday, complete with a few upgrades thrown in for free. Does it look expensive to you? Yeah, I don't think it does either, but guess what? It is. Oh boy it is. It is cheap for it's kind though, and this isn't a passing fad for Matt so I was supportive of it's purchase.


It's new presence in our garage has gotten me thinking. If I had $2,000.00 magically fall out of the sky, what would I blow it on? No, not what do I need. What ridiculous things do I WANT.

- SO -

Some dream about owning Jimmy Choo's or Manolo Blahnik's. For me, it's always been Christian Louboutian's.

Christian Louboutin Spring Collection Mary Jane Pump $875.00

Tiffany & Company. Nothing is timeless like Tiffany's. To be honest though, I would be happy with an empty blue box from Tiffany's. Naw, I'm lying. I would be mad because and empty box would be mean. So how about a with a blue box with this pendant or a heart locket?

---- Tiffany & Co. Elsa Peretti Round Pendant $625.00 ----

-------------Tiffany & Co. Heart Locket $425.00 ------------

The new Banana Republic Monogram line has some beautiful clothes in it's collection. Click on the link below and check out the back of this dress.

Then, forget the fact that I look horrible in orange. Forget the fact that I would need to loose 100 lbs to look good in this dress. It is stunning and this is fantasy, because where else but in a fantasy would I have occasion to wear a bright orange dress?

--------- BR Monogram backless dress $225.00 ----------

That would leave me with a remaining balance of $475.00, but I will keep it and spend that on the miracle diet I would need to actually look good in that backless dress I love so much.

---- OR ---- I could forgo all of that and buy this .....

Restoration Hardware Palladian 18-Drawer Dresser Dark Tobacco $4,395.00 / on sale (ha!) for $2,197.50

Mmmmmmm .... is it wrong that a piece of furniture makes me drool?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Foaming at the Mouth

We have a 12th tooth. Top right, in front of the molar.

With this tooth, Grace now has almost all of her right teeth, and none on the left. It is kind of funny. Luckily, the general public cannot see the imbalance because I am sure that it is just one more thing that every senior citizen at the grocery store would want to talk to me about.

The arrival of the dozenth has been much more pleasant than it’s younger sister, #11, but with 12 we have instituted a whole new routine that isn’t going very well yet.

Tooth brushing.

It’s not problematic because Gracie is fighting it. Oh no. Just the opposite. She L-O-V-E-S it. To the point of not wanting to give up the toothbrush. Ever.

Grace has always been fascinated with tooth brushing. Even at weeks old, she was always fixated on the motion of Matt brushing his teeth. Whenever she is around, he bends over to show her how to make the little circles.

I know we should have been brushing her from birth. Everything you read says to use a little finger nub to brush and massage gums.

Are you kidding me? Really? Really?? Like I don’t have enough going on, I’m going to worry about brushing her gums??

Pediatric dentists say you should bring your kid in by the time their 1 for their first assessment. Normal people say 3. The normal people also have been saying though that you should be brushing baby teeth as soon as they come in.

OK, so we’re a little behind the eight ball on this one too, but give me a break. Better late than never, right?

For all the things and topics that people love to give advice to on, how come I have never heard one peep about tooth brushing?

This battle, our battle, is Gracie’s desire to brush her teeth until the end of time.

I putt a little dab of mixed berry flavored fluoride-free toddler toothpaste on her miniature brush and it begins.

- She smiles and lets me make little circles for about 3 seconds.
- Then she grabs the brush, sucks the toothpaste off and hands it back to me.
- I try and brush the back molars.
- She grabs the brush again and tries to make back and forth brushing motions while chomping on the bristles.
- I get the brush again and try for the other side.
- Grace takes control once more and dips the brush into the tub, picking up some bubbles on the way, and stuffs the brush back into her mouth.
- I am handed the brush and she smiles so I can make little circles on her front teeth for 3 more seconds.

And it goes like this for 15 minutes, or until the pry the brush out of her hand – wherein she realizes that I am taking her beloved toothbrush away and starts screaming – so I then try to distract her with the big, noisy Winnie-the-Pooh bubble blower that is stuck to the side of the tub.

It’s exhausting. It’s only been a week, but something has to change. I cannot do tub battle every night.

Maybe if I find a cute egg timer we can set up a system where she knows that she brushes for 5 minutes and then it is over. Hmmm. That might work. It also might come in handy for when she starts to decide that she DOESN’T want to brush her teeth anymore too.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

We're Wii-ing

So, the story behind the Wii. There is always a story with us, huh? Nothing can ever be simple.

True to form, once we decided we wanted one of the pretties, Matt became obsessed. OBSESSED.

We waited out the delayed holiday season in the hopes that one might be gifted. Nope. We were on our own. Matt pounced. He spent hours stalking retailers for Wii's. Giving how this story ends, I’m not quite sure why we didn’t just buy one off E-Bay, but I guess he wanted the instant gratification of the purchase. I get that.

So Matt called every Target, Walmart, Toys R Us, Game Stop and Best Buy within a 20 mile radius of his work daily for deliveries. After almost a week of this, he found one and sweet talked the electronics lady into holding it for him.

He ran and claimed it. It was his. It is ours. We were now the proud owners of a Wii with the coordinating Fit. I spent almost an hour setting up my character, which he found infuriating. He wanted to play. I wanted to try out hairstyles.


Exactly two weeks later we get an automated phone call from UPS. A package is to be delivered to your home sometime between 9am and 5pm. Someone will need to be home to sign for the package. It cannot be left at the door. A signature is required. Thank you.

Hmmm …. Odd.

Of course we didn’t stay home. Miss a day of work for something that we didn’t order? I don’t think so.

The next night, my mom calls.

Did you guys get a package?

Huh? No. Oh, wait, UPS did try to deliver something today, but it is signature required. What is it?

I can’t tell you. Then it won’t be a surprise.

After about 15 minutes of this she finally spilled. You know what she bought us?

Yep. A Wii with the coordinating Fit.

From a website that overcharged her and had a non-refundable clause in their fine print. Actually, the print wasn’t that fine. It was in bold red letters in their return policy.

After going back and forth for awhile, with mom’s encouragement, we decided to E-Bay it. The night that the package came we pilfered the accessories that came with it that we wanted and put the Wii up. Quick run 24 hour sale. It sold for about what we paid for ours at Walmart, so we are happy. Sucks for my mom, but we are happy.

Now to play. Wii you later alligator.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Crazies

Tonight was eventful. It was dramatic. Not the good kind of drama though. There are no awards to be given out. Well, maybe I'll nominate myself for Most Ridiculous.

1) We just had our 1st Wii (yeah, we bought one- more to come on that) related fight. Stupid, huh? I know. I was upset. I am really hormonal right now, which is what I am blaming all of my other frustrations on.

2) I went to the doctor today and found out I have a cyst that needs to be cut off. I am only typing this out loud because I don't think anyone (outside of a few friends that I would tell anyway) read this blog.
It's not a big deal. It is in a place that rarely sees daylight so it is something that I've been ignoring for years, but finally sucked it up and had it poked at yesterday.
You know when the Dr.'s response is "Oh my!" it is never a good thing. She said she has no doubt that is benign though, so there is no worries.
Just outpatient hacking into my flesh and a referral to a surgical team that seem to all speak some Middle-Eastern dialect. I am freaked out.

3) Given #1 & #2, I am drinking. Box wine. That is our reaction to the economic downturn. And I'm shopping a lot less during lunch breaks. Sad isn't it?

OK, so I've typed a 1,2 & 3, and am realizing that that is all I have. Thank you NES, blogging really is a form of therapy. #1 is because of #2 and is instigated by #3. I feel better already.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Sunday's

Gracie’s tendency towards vomit is a fascinating, disgusting thing.

She pukes a lot. You know this. I talk about it often because, at times, it feels like an all encompassing part of my dynamic with here. It’s a fear that lurks in the back of my head.

Her top three reasons for yacking are: illness, distress/crying and not chewing her food. The last one is the semi-preventable topic that I can’t seem to semi-prevent.

Now *fade into* Superbowl Sunday.

Mmmm … snacks galore. Meatballs, pizza bread, fruit, cheese … it was a baby bonanza fueled by the energy of being in the house of folks born, and somewhat raised, in Pittsburgh.

I guess I just didn’t realize how much Grace was eating. And just how big the pieces were that she was shoving into her mouth.

I kept giving them to her, so I guess I should have, but it was a party. I was talking. Kids were running around. Matt was off in the basement playing Wii, so the supervision consisted of my lax eye and a 10 year old.

About two hours into the party, I chased Grace into the kitchen. She’d reached the wall and could go no further. You could see the flint in her eye, she was not about to be caught. She was not having any diaper changes.

But then, the look changed. I saw the flash. I knew the flash well.

Oh no, Gracie don’t!

Too late. (Not that I really believed my plea would make any difference.)

Blaahh. Blaahh. Blaahh. (She is just like me. I think she is inheriting my OCD. She like things in three’s.)

Now there is all 2 hours worth of said snacks, along with 2 sippy cups of milk, all over their party-prepped kitchen floor and throw rug beneath the sink.

Ahhh…. Michelle? Ummm, I’m so sorry, but my daughter just threw up all over you floor. I think you’ll want to wash this rug.

She gets it. She totally understands. She’s got three kids.

But still. Please, please, PLEASE stop puking Gracie. You have molars! Use them!