2017 total: $12105.73


He Claims it's My Fault

The Toddler has taken to referring to her father by his first name. He says it's my doing because I say his name in front of her too much. I paid attention all day and the ONLY times that I used his first name was when I was nagging him, fussing at him, yelling at him, or arguing with him. In other words, it's 100% his own fault.

It's game time, folks. Go Steelers!

(And go giant, tacky inflatable thing! You can do it! Blow up already!)


It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

My cheeks are rosy, my fingers are stiff, there are bits of tree branches tangled into my hair, and a power circuit just blew. All good signs--Project Light Up the House So It Can Be Seen from Two Miles Away has commenced. Over 4000 lights are strung, which I think puts us at 25%. We should have been there weeks ago. Better late than never, I guess.

As I was stringing lights in the yard, I couldn't help but notice that the process really doesn't change from year to year. I start by wrapping candy cane stripe lights around the big Oak tree in our front yard. Every year I walk around and around the tree, draping the lights as I go. For some reason, I always find myself singing All Around the Mulberry Bush as I wear a circular path around the perimeter of the tree trunk. Although, my version goes a little bit differently than the one you're probably familiar with. Here's how it goes for me:

All around the mulberry bush
The monkey chased the OW!
The monkey thought it was all in fun
Pop goes the OW!

Over and over and over again. Did you know that there is a big copper bird feeder hanging from the tree? Did you know that it's at exactly the right height for me to smack my noggin on it? I know it's there. I knew it was there last year. I knew it was there the year before that. That has never stopped me from banging into it every. single. time. I like to say I'm just testing it for sturdiness, but really I'm just trying to knock myself unconscious. The lights look extra purdy when you're woozy.

Once I've given myself a minor concussion, I move on to the bushes all around the perimeter of the house. Don't think I didn't plant them specifically so they could hold Christmas lights this time of year. I totally did. My favorite bush to decorate is the one behind the pond. Some genius thought it should be planted there, wedged tightly between the four foot deep water and the house. The same genius that planted it there was fully aware that she has never met a piece of shrubbery she didn't want to make glow, and that its location would make that a very difficult task. (Hint: the genius' name starts with 'M' and ends with 'E'--you don't really need any of the letters in between because, oh yes, the genius is ME.)

So I teeter at the edge of the icy water, praying silently that I won't 1.) Fall in. 2.) Drop the live electrical cord into the water. 3.) Fall in. That water is freakin' cold this time of year. There is a whopping four inches of solid ground that I can step on that allows me to actually reach the bush. To make it more interesting, there's a weeping peach tree right next to it that likes to attack my hair, so I have to bend over at the waste while balancing on that little balance beam of dirt. All the while, I usually have the Jaws theme song running threw my head as the Koi stalk me from side to side, glaring at me and just waiting for me to join them in the icy depths. I'm pretty sure they would eat me alive if I were to fall in and they would have plenty of time to do it as there is a wondrous green net over it all winter intended to keep the leaves out of the water. Someday that net is going to do a fabulous job of holding me hostage while Arnie and Sydney have their way with my tasty flesh.

This year I made Olympic light stringing a little bit more interesting. I discovered a brand new and very fancy extension cord/multi socket/timer that I must have bought on clearance last year. It is, by far, the fanciest of its kind what with it's digital clock that I could set to the hour/minute/second if I so desired. Instead I prefer to utilize the auto on feature that tells the contraption to start allowing electricity to flow through it out to all the pretty little sparkly lights once the sun sets. I turned it to on then began my teetering. Suddenly, all my lights went out. I figured I had blown a circuit which is absolutely a normal part of the process. A few seconds later, the power came back on. I resumed stringing the lights. Then it went dark again. Then the power came back on. It took me at least twelve rounds of this to realize that my husband was not playing elf and resetting the circuit every ten seconds but rather the light sensor on the timer doohickey was reacting to the Christmas lights themselves.

Christmas lights on = It's daytime! Turn off!

Christmas lights off = It's dark! Turn on!

Christmas lights on = It's daytime! Turn off!

Christmas lights off = It's dark! Turn on!

My first clue should have been the fact that my dear husband wasn't screaming obscenities out the window at me. But really is was the speed of the reset that finally led me down the path to enlightenment.

I can't wait to do more tomorrow. Next up, icicle lights on the gutter above the pond where absolutely no ladder on planet Earth can reach. Yippee!

Alexis and her cousin Tyler at Chuck E Cheese (thanks to Ashlee for the photo)


Does this Mean More than Two People Read this Blog?

Let me share with you a short excerpt from an email I received today:

"It is extremely irresponsible of you to allow your child to place dog bones in her mouth . . . No wonder she's always sick."

Go ahead, go back up there and read it again.

Now I'll give you a second to think about that one.



Sorry, but that's seriously what happened when I first read it. I laughed and I laughed and I laughed. Anybody that has kids could probably figure out why. "Allow." That little word is just so darn funny. I mean, of course I "ALLOW" her to chew on dog bones. Actually, I encourage it. I search all over the house for one that's nice and slobbery and just shove it in her mouth. I "allow" her to chew dog bones just like I "allow" her to climb on the kitchen table, eat baby wipes, bite the cat, and tell me "no way" when I ask her to do something.

News flash--Babies are born with minds of their own. They will do what they want to do when they want to do it. It takes a while before they begin to actually understand the concept of no. Frankly, I know some adults that still don't understand it. I would say that Alexis is beginning to understand it. She has to be endlessly reminded that some things aren't allowed, but she still will try to do them just to see if the rules have changed. Given the fact that she's 22 months old, I find that behavior to be pretty much expected.

You know what behavior isn't to be expected? The Bulldog's. You see, Alexis stole that bone straight out of the Bulldog's mouth. That video clip was an excerpt of a longer clip showing Alexis trying to steal her bone, me fussing at her to leave the dog alone, and Meg happily giving the bone up. A split second before the dancing started, I was praising Meg for being so patient. If I had been the one taking the bone from her, I would have had to leave a few fingers as a deposit. Praising her was more important at the moment than keeping track of what the Crazy Toddler was planning to do with her bounty.

(Now that I'm thinking about it, it's a good thing Alexis stole Meg's bone and not Jasmine's. Because of her build, I can guarantee that Bully Baby can't lick her own butt. So her mouth and bone are theoretically a million times cleaner and less gross than the fuzzy one's. I've seen what she does in her spare time.)

As for the remark about her always being sick--no she's not. She is right now thanks her re entrance to daycare. I think it's reasonable to expect that dunking her in the petri dish that is daycare will have germy side effects. I don't like it, but I figured it would happen. Actually, she's been pretty skilled at dodging the illness bullets in her short life. A little over a year ago, the flu tore through our daycare. She was the one and only baby that didn't catch it. Not that it matters. After all, all kids spend a decent portion of their lives with colds. That's what happens when you put them in rooms together, playing with the same toys, breathing the same air, and rubbing their grimy hands on one another.

It happens just like this:

I think this photo captures the exact moment when Alexis passed her germy goodness on to her cousin Tyler. I know, I know, how dare I allow her to give her cousin a hug goodbye.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go see if I can convince Alexis to stick her tongue in the Bulldog's mouth. Again.