Saturday, December 30, 2006

Post-Christmas blues

On a dreary Saturday, my mood matches the atmosphere on the sixth day of Christmas. Something just seemed off this year. Maybe it was because this is the first year without my mother, or that the holiday came WAY before I was ready for it, or that we weren't here to open presents Christmas morning. After spending the night Christmas Eve at my brother's, Faith stayed the rest of the week with her aunt and uncle and returned last night. In a matter of minutes, she made her way through our gifts for her and those left by disappointed relatives who missed her while she was away. Bang. It's over. I didn't even get all the decorations out and now many folks have already packed theirs away for next year. I shouldn't be so blue. We're about to celebrate Christmas with my husband's family. It's beginning to look like Christmas all over again and I should be happy my husband didn't get me six geese-a-laying.
-- Liz Fabian

Thursday, December 28, 2006

mall madness

I thought BEFORE-Christmas shoppers were intense until I went to the mall today and encountered the AFTER-Christmas shoppers.
The orthopaedic surgeon says the best thing for me is walking, but I can't lift anything. My neighborhood is full of hills, so I thought I'd head to the mall for a litte flat-surface spin. A neighbor had a Bath and Body Works gift card, so Daniel and I tagged along. Well, apparently $3 body wash is a massive draw. I confess to getting five bottles, and standing in line to pay. But I don't think I've ever seen a store so crowded! Fortunately, Daniel has been clingy lately and wanted nothing more than to hold my hand!
So I walked, Daniel carried, and now I'm sore and ready to call it a night. Kind of sad when just a turn through the mall wipes you out - and you only went to one store!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ready or not

The question kept coming up every where I went. "Are you ready for Christmas?" The answer was, "No." If asked today, the answer would still be, "No." Although I shop year-round, getting the packages wrapped and under the tree is always a challenge. Here is one of the times I really embrace my Catholic upbringing. Ahh, the 12 Days of Christmas. We are now on Day 3. Perhaps I will have all the gifts ready by Day 12, which is January 5th. I've been sorting the presents by priority. We won't see my husband's family until next week, so I'll be ready for them. Because we missed our first deadline of having the cards out just after Thanksgiving, we'll have to really hustle to get them out before the dozen drummers come calling. Thank goodness the wise men are on the front of our cards. The feast of Epiphany, which celebrates their coming to see the baby Jesus, is on January 6th. Of course, historians say Jesus was really about two years old when they came - sooo, I guess if I get the cards out by 2009 I'll still be OK.
--Liz Fabian

Saturday, December 23, 2006

no slowing him down

Daniel and I have been home together for three days now.
Three days in which I'm still moving at half-speed from my surgery and he's moving at twice the speed of preschooler, it seems. How many times can I yell "walk!" as the thundering of small feet carries down the hallway? Haw many times do I have to say "STOP!" just prior to full disaster?
This morning, my young man learned the hard way that I'm not chastising him to walk, not run, in the house. He had just finished writing a thank-you note and I told him to get his shoes so we could walk it down to the mailbox. He pivoted and sped away - right into the corner of the kitchen counter. I was sure we were headed to the ER for some x-rays.
But once the sobbing stopped and I checked his eyes, I decided the eye bone was still in place and he just had a giant goose-egg on his forehead. And now he's off and running again. *sigh*

Christmas weather

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas - at least the Christmases I remember as a kid!
Because even though I was born in Michigan and still claim that snowy state as my home state, my family spent six years in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, while I was growing up. And I remember getting things like roller skates for Christmas, which I promptly put on and tried out.
So 75 degrees and sunny feels just like Christmas, to me!

Similar stories

When I read Liz's post about the angel ornament, I was reminded of my granddaddy's pecan tree. It was the only thing off-limits to us grandkids growing up. No climbing on that tree! And each year, it produced plump fruit - enough to fill grandma's freezer. Twelve years ago, when grandaddy passed, so did the tree. The first time we went to grandma's and that massive pecan tree was missing from the yard, it was like losing him all over again. I think there are tangible items we associate with the people in our lives, and more than any headstone, they remind us of those we have loved and lost.

The lost angel

She's gone. After writing my Christmas column in the paper last week, I've been eagerly anticipating finding the tiny angel decoration that adorned one of my packages at my first Christmas. I was a little more than two months old, but as the years went on, my mother made sure I knew the significance of that two-inch celestial being fashioned of chiffon and pipe cleaners. She always found a little perch on my tree, although the years were beginning to take their toll. Her gown needed a little freshening up to mold her back into shape. I can't believe she's gone. This morning, I still had another box of ornaments to sort through and I was sure she was there. She wasn't. The star of my story, the ornament that started it all, is missing. I don't think there's much of a chance I'll find her. She's likely swimming with the fishes now. The only thing I can think of is that she was left on the tree last year when we took it down. She's so small and is usually nestled on an inner branch. Perhaps she fell down into the tree and was overlooked. The tree is at the bottom of Lake Sinclair now as a fish haven. I hope they enjoy her. Of course she only meant something to me and my mother - and Mom's gone too. I had anticipated crying over some smashed ornament that might have slipped out of Faith's grasp, but I never imagined grieving over my angel. It seems so silly to be crying about something so small. Only Mom would understand.
- Liz Fabian

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Timing is everything

As I went to bed last night, I was delighted to switch off my alarm clock. Today is Faith's first day of Christmas vacation. When I was getting into bed well after midnight, I thought about how nice it would be to wake up when my body was ready instead of when an electronic beep roused me from my sleep. What a joy it would be to get a little extra rest, I thought. Well, Faith's stubborn internal clock had other plans. Before the sun was over the horizon, she bopped into our room and woke us up. The same child who has to be pried from her bed on school days, was bouncing around telling us to get up. When I reminded her she didn't have school, she did climb into our bed for a little bit. But now she's ready to go-go-go. Some vacation. I wish she had a snooze button.
--Liz Fabian

Monday, December 18, 2006

life insurance for your babies

Just after Daniel was born - and I mean like within a month - I had a small life insurance policy on him. It's like $10 a month, and just carries enough to cover the exorbitant cost of a funeral.
Morbid? I prefer realistic. And why, a week before Christmas, am I telling you this?
We've had a tragic death in the family. My favorite uncle's only daughter passed away - we think of natural causes - at her college in Eastern Michigan. (
And now her parents - business owners, smart, funny, loving people, are faced with not only the loss of their daughter, but at least a week of having their small-town business closed and having to deal with the cost of an autopsy and funeral. For anyone living paycheck-to-paycheck (what family with kids isn't) this could be a back-breaker.
It's certainly been a heartbreaker.

Friday, December 15, 2006

No Bounty this holiday?

Is is just me, or did the holiday paper towels and napkins come and go already? It seems as though I saw some and thought, "I'll get that later." Are designer holiday napkins the latest Elmo tease for adults? That got-to-have item that quickly sells out and creates a furor? Please paper-products cartel, don't do this to me. I have too many deadlines to meet to add advanced paper-product purchasing to the list. Maybe I'm a little weird about my paper towels, but I like to pick out the pretty little prints. Light bulbs, holly and my all-time favorite - the Peanuts gang. There's just something about those little faces that can even brighten up cleaning the kitchen. Well, I've stocked up on another 9-pack of Bounty holiday designs and my husband is budgeting-out the rolls. Snowmen move to the back of the line. They last through the winter, he thinks. I've got news for him. The rolls won't last through the four calling birds of the fourth day of Christmas. (We celebrate all 12 and I'll tell you about that later.) Anyway, I keep looking for holiday napkins. I'm splurging on the high-dollar stuff this season. Holly Bounty where art thou?
-- Liz Fabian

Gentle with mommy

When I got home from the hospital yesterday, we showed Daniel "mommy's owies." HE has done well - better than I have - about respecting them and being careful. I think it helps that his aunt kim is here to wrestle and play with him.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Barbie stoops to a new low

While decorating my Christmas tree, I got quite a surprise - doggie doo all over. There was some under the tree, on the floor under the table where I wrap presents and even on the table! "BARBIE! Your dog is pooping all over the house!," I should have exclaimed. Lucky for me, I'm talking about odorless tiny capsules that serve a dual-purpose in the fashion doll kingdom. Yes, moms and dads, Barbie has a dog and the dog does what dogs do-do. Lucky for the blonde babe who walks him, the package includes a pooper scooper to remove the brown ovals from the floor and put them in the doo-doo bin that funnels them right back into the "treat" box. Yes, there's a new concept of recycling at work here. Take that, Barbie's dog - "Eat treats and die." The doll and her doo-doo dog were one of Faith's favorite birthday presents. "Mommy, Barbie's dog really poops," she proudly noted. Although my 6-year-old loved it, be careful gift-buying people. Barbie is a little slack about the scooper and I'm worried about younger siblings swallowing the treats - think brown tic-tacs. They are probably too small for a choking hazard, but who wants their child eating fake doggie doo?
-- Liz Fabian

Christmas Chaos

If you haven't finished you Christmas shopping, I'm saying a little prayer for you.
I listen to my coworkers commiserate with each other about the crowds at the mall, and hear my roommate's story about finding a parking space and I am grateful I was forced to be finished early this year. Most years, if I'm not done by Thanksgiving, I finish up online.
See, every year I tend to pick a theme and everyone gets something from that company. One year, I actually wound up with a discount from because I ordered so much. This year, it was Tastefully Simple. Everyone got a gift pack or a soup and bread bag. In years past, I've done candles (PartyLite, of course), scrapbooks or photo frames with pictures, and then there was the year everyone got clothes. That way, I kind of remember what I got everyone, so when I talk to them, I can say something intelligent - like "well, there's your New Year's dinner!"
Of course, now the cat's out of the bag, I'll have to come up with a new strategy.

calling in the reinforcements

So my surgery is tomorrow, and we're all as ready as we are going to get. The house is clean, the laundry is done, there is food in the house. Daniel has been told about mommy's neck and doctors and hospitals - he even remembers the last time daddy took him to the hospital when he was sick - two years ago! And I've alerted my support system.
My mother and sister are on the road as I type. They left Virginia at some unGodly hour this a.m. Mom is amazing - I learned everything I know about cleaning and organizing from her. And Kim is a paralegal/office manager/nanny by profession. She's awesome with kids, and will some day have half a dozen to call her own. So Daniel is taken care of for at least a week. Beyond that, I've alerted my Phi Mu sisters, my coworkers, and Daniel's teachers of the proceedings.
So as I go into the operating room tomorrow, I'll at least know that my little family will be taken care of - and that's the biggest concern a mom has.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Gifts for Grands

You and I both know that Grandparents are difficult to buy for. If they want something, they go out and get it. So here are the best ideas I can offer on a Friday morning:
Family portraits. A couple of Thanksgivings ago, every member of all four generations were actually going to be present at my grandmother's for the family Thanksgiving. So I hired a photographer. $100, and he came out, spen an hour taking group shots. The whole family, each generation with Grandma, each family group. Most photographers will post their shots on a Web site and whomever wants to can order whichever shots they want. The large group shot graces Grandma's living room still.
Memory books. One of my favorite Christmas memories is the year I swiped all my mom's old family photos and put together a photo album of me and my sister from birth on. She cried...But she still has the album, and every now and again I do it again - with pictures of Daniel through the past year.
Story books. A friend of the family spends his spare time typing up his memories from childhood. He tells the stories as though he's telling them to his kids, or his kids' kids. Then he gives copies of the collection to his mom and sisters for Christmas. They look forward to it each year.
Dinner baskets. My husband's grandparents really do have everything they want, so a couple of years ago I bought a bunch of fresh fruit and made a basket out of it. This year it's Tastefully Simple soup, bread and salad dressing. I know it's not going to go to waste, and it seems better than gift cards for dinner out. Grocery stores actually sell whole dinners - turkey or ham, sides and dessert - all you have to do is pick it up.
Gifts to charity. One year I made a donation to charities that were near and dear to each set of grandparents. The charity usually will send out a card letting them know a donation was made in their name. They were tickled.
Got a better idea? Click on "comment" to share it with us!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tacky, tacky, tacky

I was happy to see this morning's edition of the Telegraph address those blow-up holiday decorations. "Tacky or Terrific?" was the headline. In my world, there's not much tackier! I mean, where did these things come from? What happened to candles in the windows, lights on the house, maybe some ornaments hanging from the blue spruce in the front yard or a star on the roof representing the star (or comet) the Wise Men followed?
I was driving around the weekend after Thanksgiving and told someone "It looks like the Christmas Spirit threw up" as I passed one yard where every plastic figure and inflatable do-dad in existence has popped up on the lawn. Think I'm exagerating? Take a drive. Make a list of the tackiest decorations you see and send it to me - or better yet, take a picture and e-mail it to the Houston Peach!

Two to one

As I read Liz's post about Faith and the glue gun, I laughed out loud. Since Daniel learned to walk we've been having those moments with him. "You did WHAT?!?!?" But that's why there are (ideally) two parents. Also why we stopped at ONE kid. Two of us, one of him, maybe we'll be able to keep up.
Some of Daniel's more memorable behind-my-back moments:
He and the little girl next door ran away together. They made it to the next street over. They were three.
He woke up at one in the morning and decided to make eggs. When I woke up, he had the frying pan out and two eggs cracked in the middle of the living room floor. He was two.
He discovered the vaseline jar and proceeded to coat himself and the floor around him. Water in the bath beaded up on the kid for a week, but he had the softest skin in the world. Photos exist of this adventure.
While getting in the car to go to school one morning, he decided he didn't want to go. He bolted under the deck and laughed like a maniac when I crawled under the house to pull him out.
Like I said, it takes both of us to keep up with this one.

Too much information, yet not enough

This is not the sentence you want to hear from a 6-year-old. "I plugged in the glue gun," Faith told her father, who was working in the yard. SHE plugged it in? How did we get to this point so fast? Now that Faith is armed with plenty of knowledge, she's dangerous. Sure it's great she's becoming self-sufficient, but there is still so much to learn. Number 1 - which her father immediately taught her the other day - she is NEVER allowed to plug in the glue gun! It's reminiscent of her impromptu haircuts, but much scarier. Hair grows back, skin grafts can leave scars. She is so misguidedly confident and sure of herself. How do I reel her in without curbing her enthusiasm?
-- Liz Fabian

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tiny tears cut to the heart

My schedule didn't allow me to attend the funeral of fallen firefighter Steven Solomon, but the front page photograph of today's Telegraph took me right there. With sunlight kissing her face, little N'Kya Solomon accepted her father's badge in her tiny hand. The little girl, who looks like she is barely three, will live the rest of her life without her daddy. The same is true for her three brothers and their mother, Kennetha Solomon, who lost her best friend. She spoke of her wonderful husband's love and support for her and the children. "I know he was tough, but that was because he loved y'all so much and he wanted y'all to grow up and be respectful people," she told the children in front of more than 1,000 people who came to honor their daddy's sacrifice. They all have my respect and I will especially pray for strength for that mother, the widow of a good man who died in service to others. Thank you to all who selflessly put themselves in harm's way for the greater good.
-- Liz Fabian

flickr flashes

Have you ever spent time on the flickr Web site? I love seeing what people put up, especially since I know a lot of photographers - both amateur and professional. Best part? it's free.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Is today Christmas Day?

Tired of answering the same question four times a day, Daniel and I made a paper chain this weekend. Every night before bed he gets to tear off a red or green strip. When he tears up the last one, the next day will be Christmas. And stop asking if it's your birthday - that's in June!

early to bed

Another side effect of Daniel's ongoing growth spurt: when he's not eating everything in sight, he's sleeping. He fell asleep right after dinner Friday, and slept until after 8 Saturday morning! Saturday night, he curled up with me on the couch at 7:30 ans we were both in bed by 8 - me with a migraine. Again no one stirred before 8:30 Sunday morning. Nice. Now I just have to hope half the stuff under the tree is new clothes!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Consignment shops

The weather is playing games with us and we're into the post-Thanksgiving shopping madness. So when money gets tight, check out your local consignment shops. Sweetpea's in Macon, Baby Country in the Chick fil A shopping center on Watson here in Warner Robins, and Baby Station of Byron. In fact, Baby Station is having a sale -
Cribs w/mattress – $70 - $105
Strollers – $10 - $25
Swings – $25 - $45
Exersaucers/walkers – $10 - $30
Clothing (Newborn to 6/6X)….All 50% Off
Hard Cover Keepsakes with your child & friends as the main character(s)
Ø GREAT Christmas Gifts
Ø Many Titles to choose from
Ø Book(s) can be picked up from store in 2 days or we offer FREE SHIPPING to anywhere in the U.S.
Baby Station is located at
120 Hamilton Pointe Drive (just behind Wendy’s and Zaxby’s)
Bring in a copy of this post for an additional $5.00 off your purchase of $25.00 or more!

Consignment shops

The weather is playing games with us and we're into the post-Thanksgiving shopping madness. So when money gets tight, check out your local consignment shops. Sweetpea's in Macon, Baby Country in the Chick fil A shopping center on Watson here in Warner Robins, and Baby Station of Byron. In fact, Baby Station is having a sale -
Cribs w/mattress – $70 - $105
Strollers – $10 - $25
Swings – $25 - $45
Exersaucers/walkers – $10 - $30
Clothing (Newborn to 6/6X)….All 50% Off
Hard Cover Keepsakes with your child & friends as the main character(s)
Ø GREAT Christmas Gifts
Ø Many Titles to choose from
Ø Book(s) can be picked up from store in 2 days or we offer FREE SHIPPING to anywhere in the U.S.
Baby Station is located at
120 Hamilton Pointe Drive (just behind Wendy’s and Zaxby’s)
Bring in a copy of this post for an additional $5.00 off your purchase of $25.00 or more!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Christmas shopping frustrations

Guest blog from Angela of Horse pursuits -
Warning: Angry mom...
So I have been looking for this Nintendo Wii thing since the day after Thanksgiving. I've been to Buford, near the Mall of Georgia, and it seems that every place is sold out.
I've also been placing calls to Gamestop, EB Games, Target, Wal-Mart, etc. every day. I had just started calling yesterday when the Wal-Mart on Harrison Road said they had some. I asked the lady to hold it til I got there. She said she couldn't. I jumped in my car and drove out there from downtown. Took me about 15 minutes. And yes, they had some left. There was a gentleman in front of me in line who wanted to buy two. I just wanted the one (although I'm sure I could've sold it for a higher price, I'm not into that kinda market).
The cashier couldn't get the Wii's to ring up. It kept saying No Sell Item. I told the guy (after about 15 minutes of this nonsense) just to put $249.48 on the dang register and let me pay for the thing. So they go through this whole process of calling managers, assistant managers, blah blah. Finally, after about me standing there for at least 45 minutes waiting for them to figure out what was going on an associate tells me that his manager said they can't sell them until Dec. 3.
The manager was trying to walk away when I asked why he was going to hold onto them. He said that there was a new flyer coming out on Dec. 3 and that they wouldn't be selling any until then. I said, well Target just got some in this morning and they are selling theirs (to which he shrugged and told me again he wasn't selling any until Dec. 3) And I said, well I've already been waiting here an hour for you to figure out what was going on, can I get a raincheck so I can get one and he says, no you have to stand in line like everyone else. Can we all say BOYCOTT? I will NEVER go to that Wal-Mart again. The district manager will be getting a nice little phone call from me.
The thing that really irritates me is that I wasn't only going to buy the Wii, but another controller and a game, which puts my total purchase above $300. That I was willing to give them THAT DAY. But they refused my purchase, basically and told me I was outta luck. I'd like to use a profanity there but I will refrain since this is a family blog.
So my hunt for this stupid game system is still on. Two calls this morning and nothing. But I will not be visiting any Wal-Marts anytime soon, you can bet your bottom dollar on that one!

vaccuum, rake or shovel?

Some parts of the house, like the middle of the living room, need only a vaccuuming to make them presentable. Occasional spot remover and the strategic placement of a throw rug keeps the carpet looking clean, if no longer new.
Other parts of the house should be tackled with a garden rake. Daniel's room comes to mind. Legos, matchbox cars and Thomas and Friends make getting from door to bedside hazardous, and cleaning a joke.
Then there are the areas that should be approached with nothing less sturdy than a shovel. The laundry room and kitchen sink come to mind...the socks and dirty dishes have been breeding again.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

a.m. blues

I've figured out why it's so hard to get up in the mornings. Because no matter how good I feel when I put my feet on the floor, two hours later the whole day is shot.
First, there's the fight with Daniel about getting up, dressed, fed and out the door on time. Invariably, we're running late and as I get in the car I know I've left breakfast dishes on the counter and wasn't the laundry crawling up the wall? So that's what I'll be coming home to.
Then there's the clingy Daniel when I drop him off at school. Fifteen minutes of sobbing and hugging later, I'm back in the car feeling like a heel.
I'm greeted at work by the coffe klatch complaining long and loud about their bad night, their illnesses, the general incompetence of their coworkers, and anything else they can think of. The negativity spreads faster than the flu and by the time I sit down at my desk, I just want to crawl back in bed and start over. *sigh.* Can't I just skip right to the part where I thank God I have a job I like and get to work?

Monday, November 27, 2006

22 "pinches" of love

Faith will be turning 6 this week. With every day, she's becoming more sure of herself and less the little girl who needed us for everything. While birthdays are happy times, it's a little melancholy for me. In the delivery room as the doctor first said, "It's a girl," I feared the angst that often occurs between mother and daughter. I know the day is coming when we will be at odds over her friends, clothing and curfews. We've already done battle over some little things, so I know the first all-out war can't be far off. I'm also lamenting the loss of the cute little jumbled words that she said while getting a grip on language. She's reading now and soon will be adding new words faster than she outgrows her pants. So it was refreshing the other day when she sought my advice on whether her baby doll needed milk or orange juice. "Milk," I said definitively. "She's too little for orange juice." Faith disappeared and came back and proudly declaring that the baby was "18 feet" long. "That's inches," I corrected her from the next room. "OK, she's 18-pinches," Faith said. I clarified the pronounciation as I chuckled to myself. "That's still too little," I told her. "You were 22-inches long when you were born." How cute, I thought as I had a mental picture of her at "22 pinches." I could see myself lovingly pinching her from head to toe on her soft baby skin. Kind of like the way your aunt grabs your cheek, but nicer.
My baby is almost 6. The first trimester of parenting is over. Let's coast through until 12 when things will get hairy again for the final six years until she's 18. Somebody pinch me.
--Liz Fabian

Friday, November 24, 2006

What else I'm thankful for

There is such a rich abundance of blessings in my life right now, I could blog until Christmas. Here are some of the things that come to mind: A forest full of colorful leaves still on the trees in my neighborhood, the white blooms in the backyard on the bushes that I mistakenly thought were camelias, a larger table for this year's dinner (although there will be fewer loved ones around it), enough pinecones in the front yard for our craft project, the flowers my husband brought home from the grocery store that perfectly compliment the bouquets I bought, a holiday celebrating cooking, eating, family and gratitude, a full stomach that's second to an overflowing heart filled with love for family and friends.

Liz Fabian

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Time to make the crust

Even after arthritis knurled her knuckles, Mom would roll out the pie crust. While she mastered the rolling of the dough, it's one of the few kitchen tasks that still intimidates me. But this Thanksgiving, she's not here to make the pie. In recent years before her death, I think even Mom bought her pie shells at the store. Lingering in my mind like the white puffs of flour clinging to my shirt, is my memory of her and the wooden rolling pin that sometimes squeaked as it turned. Around holidays and any time she wanted to please us, Mom would bake a pie. Each red circle on her rolling cloth marked the circumference needed for different size pans. My task - the first on my list this morning - was to roll the pie dough in a 12" circle. I had made the dough around midnight and then read the recipe's hours-long process of getting it ready for the oven. So, I slept on it. As I looked at that 4-inch lump on the counter, I knew it was either going to wind up cradling a triple chocolate chunk pecan pie or thrown up against a wall in despair. I prayed for the former. Eureka. It worked, even with a nasty fumble on my part in transfering the dough. Thanks Mom. Happy Thanksgiving.
-- Liz

What I'm thankful for

In the middle of rushing around in the kitchen, I asked my daughter if she knew what I was most thankful for this Thanksgiving. "Me," she said with a big smile. Faith is the answer, but I don't mean my daughter's name. For me, the inner peace that comes from above is at the top of my list. That tranquility can often be drowned out by the frenzy of the season, but I'm going to pray for spiritual strength to carry me through. When I feel the tension rising into my throat, I'll stop and take a deep breath. Maybe this will be the year I can practice what I preach.

Liz Fabian

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

To Barbie or not to Barbie...

... That is the question. There she was all in her pink-winged splendor. A fabulously costumed Barbie of Mermaidia fame. Sure Mattell, upgrade Elina just when it's time to buy the TWELVE Dancing Princesses. Thanks a lot. Nope, the Barbie train stops right here, I thought. This year. Already, Faith's room looks like a mess of mass casualties from some sort of fairytale disaster. Dozens of bodies lie about in varying shades of dress and undress as if a twister ripped the clothes from their toned plastic torsos. But still, I ponder whether I'm going to grab one of those bargains - already discounted by more than 50-percent. A true bargain is buying only what you need, so I snatch the Barbie classroom set-up for a birthday gift for one of Faith's younger friends and I'm off. Faith will learn to keep her dolls dressed and tidy, or Elina's sleeping at somebody else's house Christmas night.
— Liz Fabian

worth the trip

One of the things I like best about having a "home" business like PartyLite is that I can work from anywhere. I'm three states from home and I'm taking orders. Guess what that means? I can write off the whole trip! And at 48 cents a mile, 1,200 miles is a nice write-off. Fabulous.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The best-laid plans

Every other time, we drive to Virginia at night and Daniel sleeps. This time,he's going through a growth spurt. We started out at dark and he fell asleep an hour down the road. Great! Then he got up at 10:30. Uh-oh. "Mu tummy says it's time to get up." He proceeded to eat his way through three states, finally falling back asleep for the last two hours of the 12-hour trip. So we're all still recovering.

Friday, November 17, 2006

A matter of life and death

Somewhere between bud and full-bloom, the rose died and dried. Rare are the ones that open fully before the petals begin to wilt. But I wanted this rose to be the most beautiful I'd ever seen. I wish it had lived lived longer. The same is true of my mother, from whose casket the flower came. Did she fully bloom or did the thorns of her life prematurely puncture her dreams? In recent days, my thoughts have turned to her and the life she lived. While tending to the flower arrangements that came after she died, I realized there can be beauty in death. Sure, decaying leaves and stems of once brilliant bouquets can stink and cloud the water. But other flowers barely wither before they die. While my rose lost its color, it kept the shape of a much younger bloom. It's frozen in time with an essence of eternal youth. The photographs I've discovered of my mother in younger days do the same for her. While my impromptu tears still surprise me, there's a deep comfort in knowing my mother died peacefully. There's true beauty in that - and the timeless rose beside her portrait.
— Liz Fabian

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Rough and Tumble Part III

Burns: They scare kids the most, I think, because the REALLY hurt, momma! But how bad is the burn and how do you take care of it?
A third-degree burn is the most serious of the three categories of burns. The skin, which may appear white or charred, is seriously injured — even below the surface. A second-degree burn creates blistering and swelling. A first-degree burn, which is the mildest, can involve redness and slight swelling. For this kind of quickly cool the area by submerging it in cool water for at least 20 minutes. If the burn is on your child's face, apply a cool, clean, water-soaked towel and call the doctor.
If the burn starts to blister, simply apply an antiseptic ointment and cover the area loosely with a clean nonstick bandage. Never try to break a blister. Blisters are an important part of the skin's healing process. Don't put butter, grease, lotion, or powder on the burn. These can increase the risk of infection. And don't use ice, which can further damage the skin. You can give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen to ease the pain. A mild, first-degree burn may heal in just a few days, but a second-degree burn can take a couple of weeks.
If the injury is an electrical burn or if the burn is on the face, hands, or genitals, call your child's physician immediately after providing first aid.
How should I treat a chemical burn?
Burns from lye, acids, or other harsh chemicals may look much like a sunburn. Remove your child's clothing, cutting it away if necessary to avoid spreading the chemical to other parts of the body. Rinse the burned areas with cool running water for 20 minutes, and wash gently with soap. Don't apply lotions or ointments to the burned skin. If your child swallowed or inhaled any of the chemical, call Poison Control immediately for instructions. If the chemical splashed into his eyes, flush the eyes for 20 minutes with water poured from a pitcher. If the burned area is large, cover it with a clean, damp sheet. Call the doctor immediately after providing first aid.

Again, thanks to ParentCenter. Find more information on a variety or topics at


Rough and Tumble Part II

From babies falling off the bed to older kids playing "touch" football (yeah, right), a hit to the head is possibly the most scary of injuries. After all, we're moms, not neurosurgeons.
If a child hits his head as a result of a major collision or a fall from any serious distance — he falls down the stairs or gets whacked with a bat or ball, for example — you should talk with his doctor. She'll want to know the details of the accident and whether your child lost consciousness, is excessively irritable or crying, or is vomiting or lethargic. She may tell you to bring him to the office or to the emergency room. If your child has had a little bump, though — he topples off his tricycle or clunks heads with his feisty sibling — you'll just want to keep an eye on him for a while.
Of course, it's still important to watch your child closely for signs of problems, such as severe headache, vomiting, changes in speech, or difficulty with walking or coordination.
If your child seems overly groggy or lethargic, or if you're worried for any reason, trust your instincts and call the doctor for advice. If at any point you're unable to wake your child, take him to the emergency room.

Again, information thanks to ParentCenter

Rough and tumble play

What's a mom to do if her precious darling gets hurt playing with all those cousins over the holidays? Here's the first part of Misty's Holiday Survival Guide - First Aid for Moms:
To reduce pain and swelling, remember RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Keep the affected area elevated and as immobile as possible for 24 to 48 hours. Apply a cold pack (or a bag of frozen peas) for ten to 15 minutes at a time, wrapping it in a towel first to avoid frostbite. Do this as soon after the injury as possible, and repeat at least three times a day for a day or two. Don't apply any heat for the first 48 hours.
Keep excess fluid from accumulating around a sprained joint by compressing and elevating it. Starting below the joint, wrap an elastic bandage loosely, so the circulation isn't cut off. Elevate the injured area above the level of the heart by propping it up on pillows. Of course, if the injury is bad enough to keep a kid down for 24 to 48 hours, do see a doctor as soon as possible to rule out something more serious.

Information from ParentCenter

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Just a suggestion

Between an article I read recently and the usual uptick of purse-snatchings that come with the holiday season, I've about decided to stop carrying a purse.
Imagine, if you will, the most germ-infested, salmonella and e-coli carrying item in your wardrobe. Now imagine yourself putting it on the table where you and your family eat every day. That's right, it's your purse.
Think about it - your purse goes with you everywhere, from the car to the restaurant bathroom. Most of the time, you tuck it away on the floor - where people are walking and spilling, where animals are walking and doing business! But then you come home and drop it - along with your keys, mail and packages - on the table or counter. Eeew.
So I'm thinking that if I have to go out, my credit card and driver's license tucked into my jeans or shirt pocket will be all I need to carry. Checks have all the personal information a store clerk would need to steal my identity as it is. Plus, that leaves my hands free to carry more packages!

Up all night

Burglars casing our house would give up pretty quick. There are too many people coming and going and we're up pretty much 24/7. Case in point: I know Chris was up until at least 12:30 this morning. Our roommate was probably up later than that. Daniel got me up at 4 and I couldn't get back to sleep, so I cleaned the kitchen. Chris got up at 5:30, and the roommate was getting up as Daniel and I left. He'll go to work about the time Chris gets home from his morning shift. Chris will leave again between 2 and 3 and Daniel and I come home around 4. Is it any wonder my light bill is high? That house is rockin' all day (and night) long!

Friday, November 10, 2006

On the stands now

If you haven't seen the November issue of Parents Magazine, it's worth your time. Not only does it include their picks for best toys of the year, but there's a full section on cold and flu remedies - home and OTC. What works, and why (BRAT diet anyone?) And for those of us who've just been through that experience, it was quite informative. So get it while you still can.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Theft is never charming

Shopping can be a sport, and I just lost a game. Throughout the year, I try to find gifts for people during those rare occaisions when I venture into a store for something else. My daughter's 6th birthday is coming up, and I found a perfect gift while recently buying trouser socks. The girl's answer to Legos is Clikits, little jeweled adornments that girls fasten to a variety of things. This package happened to include winter greeting cards. Great timing for her late November birthday. It was made even more perfect that it was on clearance and rang up even cheaper than I expected. Boy, was I proud. I'd bagged a big bargain. Well, as I was getting ready to wrap the gift, I noticed the tape on the bottom of the box had been slit. Never a good sign. Now I know why it was clearanced so low, all of the charm pieces were missing! Not charming at all. Hell hath no fury like a bargain shopper scorned.
-- Liz Fabian

Have you lost your mind?

Regular readers will remember me saying that parents are a pretty self-policing lot. Case in point - to the mom in the red Blazer/Explorer on Skyway this morning: Have you lost your mind? Put those kids in the back seat and buckle them up!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

No longer leading a charmed life

Beside my daughter's cereal bowl was a cluster of colored clumps. "I don't like the marshmallows," Faith said after removing the "Lucky Charms" from her breakfast. She doesn't like the marshmallows - is she crazy? The marshmallows were all I wanted to eat when I was a child. I dug out all the hearts, moons, stars and little clovers, but wanted to leave the bits of grain behind. Because I had to beg my Mom to buy that magical cereal, I had to agree to eat it all. Boy, have I changed. Faith wouldn't have even gotten to taste them had the box not been a mystery penny-coupon item. But when I recently tried the little pastel shapes, I realized my daughter had a point. They had a styrofoam-like texture when dry and a gummy-gloppy-gooey consistency in milk. Have my taste buds matured or did the little leprechaun lose the old family recipe?
— Liz Fabian

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Thinking long-term

I always take Daniel with me when I vote. Not only does he get a sticker out of the deal, I'm hoping that when he's older it will be one of those memories that sticks with him. You know, when he turns 18 and votes for the first time on his own, he can say "I've been doing this with my mom ever since I can remember."

Monday, November 06, 2006

don't turn your back!

I have a laundry mystery - and it's not the missing sock.
Yesterday, I did seven loads of laundry. Seven! And there are only three of us! And yes, I had done laundry mid-week. So where did it all come from?
I think it's multiplying behind my back.
Good morning, Monday.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Making fun of the weather

Okay, I know this is Georgia, and it's only the first bit of November, but it's chilly out there, people! As I dropped Daniel off at preschool this morning, I saw toddlers in t-shirts, teachers in flip-flops, and a mom with her belly button ring on display. These people are just making fun of the weather. I, for one, was happy to pull out my favorite light sweater to get going this morning! Must be those Michigan roots showing.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Everywhere a sign

Just in time for our annual pilgrimage north, a few signs popped up to let us know 12 hours in the car with a four-year-old will be well worth it.
First, if any of you caught "Jeopardy" last night, Liz is the hostess with the mostest. We make the trip for three reasons: my dad's birthday, Thanksgiving with my parents, and Liz's alternative thanksgiving. I've been going since the second year, and Chris and I have missed only one year - and we moped about it all day. So seeing her on TV was just one hint that we had better not miss this year!
Second, Parent Center sent me an e-mail this morning about making family vacations the best they can be. While they didn't offer MY favorite advice - travel at night while the kiddies sleep - they did offer some tips I'll pass along:
Make an emergency list - It's not what you think. It's a sheet listing your name and address, your child's name, your doctor's information and health insurance provider. Also list any allergies your child has and next-of-kin information. While it seems scary, filling something like this out, it's one of thoes things that if you need it, you'll really need it. Like my "Medic Alert" tag. While I hate wearing it, the only reason I'll need it is if I really need it. You know?
Plan activities that will give your children time to play - While historic Yorktown and the Revolutionary War and Civil War battlefields are amazing to see and awe-inspiring, they are also wide-open fields - perfect for running off a 4-year-old's energy. Also, we stay close to both a huge city park and an elementary school, so playgrounds are a quick trip back to sanity for both mom and boy.
Plan a mom-and-dad night. In our case, we're going to see Grandma, who is only too happy to babysit one night a year. So Chris and I can slip off to the IMAX or downtown Hampton for a date night. But if you're going off as a family, be sure that when you come back, you build in "decompression time" away from the kids.
Come home early. No, really. If you have to back at work on Monday, come home Saturday. That way you have a whole day to do laundry, lay around the house, and go to bed early so you DON'T feel like you need "a vacation from your vacation!"
What are your best travel tips? Click on "Comments" below to send me (and the other moms) what works for you.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Caught "Misty-eyed"

Misty must have been looking in our windows when she wondered whether anyone broke into their candy for trick-or-treaters before Tuesday. Last year, I found discounted candy a few weeks before Halloween. The store was clearing stock to make way for prettier-packaged stuff that was made especially for costumed kiddies. Problem was, it didn't survive. When I went looking for my stash, I learned my husband discovered it shortly after I bought it and had devoured it in nibbles along the way. This year, I knotted the plastic bags, but he still got into it right before Halloween. "We never have trick-or-treaters," was his excuse. Well, we didn't have trick-or-treaters, so now we have the replacement bags to eat, too. I couldn't resist a $1 Reese's multi-pack and a bag of $100,000 bars. Just in case we did have kids, I'd hate to give them power bars. Besides, the $100 Grand find was really pennies on the dollar. A girl's dream - a really big bargain AND it's chocolate. But Misty inspired me. I'll take the leftover candy to work. (But, I'm holding back a couple of $100,000.)
— Liz Fabian

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

And tomorrow everybody gets a new toothbrush.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Run-ins with the law

What is it with me and Daniel and Georgia sheriffs deputies? First it was Macon County and the window-tint incident, now it's Henry County and what I'm calling the Speedway incident.
I'll start at the beginning. Saturday was Daniel's preschool Fall Festival. But dad procured box-seat tickets to the truck races in Atlanta. So we made a brief appearance at the festival, Daniel picked up some candy, and we headed north.
We got to the box, and Daniel was jazzed. My fault, he ate the candy in the car and was high as a kite on sugar, which isn't a normal part of his diet. So he's bouncing off the walls. And the chairs, and the floor ... you get the picture. But the box wasn't crowded, and there were a bunch of other parents and kids there, too. No one seemed to mind as we kept the Boy in our little corner of seats. But he'd occasionally get too out of hand, and require a little discipline.
So he got warnings, spent a little time in the corner, and finally was tucked between our feet on the floor. Then he got mouthy. Dad stepped in, and was in the middle of a stern talking-to when Daniel mouthed off to him. So he got a two-finger tap on the cheek. You know the one - "I mean business, and I'm your dad. There will be no more warnings young man, so you'd better pay attention to what I have to say right now!"
Well, the Henry County sheriff sitting in the press box next door saw the tap. And you'd have thought we'd taken a wire coat hanger to the Boy. He LEAPT over the back of his seat, and the seats behind him, came charging into our box, and called Chris out in front of the entire room. I thought for sure we were all going to jail.
So Chris follows the sheriff out of the box onto the balcony. Where he receives a stiff dressing down from a man with his hand on a gun. And God bless him, Chris held his temper better than I would have. He explained about our attempts at discipline leading up to the attention-getter. He explained that if the officer had been actually watching, he would have seen the lack of force behind the slap, and he would have noted that Daniel wasn't even fazed by it. In fact the kid was more scared by the officer's actions.
Back in the box, I'm surrounded by people talking among themselves. "What happened? I didn't see anything" and so on. I finally announced to the room in general that we got caught disciplining our child. And you could have heard a pin drop when the sheriff came back in the room. Nothing quite like a room of hostile parents when one of their own has been done wrong!
Chris received the support of the room, Daniel continued to misbehave, and I'm still fuming over the whole incident. Is it any wonder our teachers have no control in the classroom, that our pre-teens are going to jail for heinous crimes, and that our children are out of control when we, as parents, are not allowed to exact discipline? There's a wide wall between discipline and abuse, and when public officials can't tell the difference we as a society are in a heap of trouble. Further, parents are a self-disciplining lot; if we had been out of line with Daniel, you had better believe one of the other parents in the room would have stepped in. Families are just like that.
So I'm still wondering if a phone call to the Henry County sheriff's department will net me a formal apology or not. At the very least, the department needs a little training, I think.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Halloween candy confessions

I deliberately buy the candy I don't like to pass out for Halloween. That means no chocolate. That way I'm not tempted to eat the leftovers - or to break into the bag early!
Of course, Halloween night all bets ate off. The "inspection" of trick-or-treat bags includes a healthy amount of confiscation!
Tell the truth - have you opened the bags you bought for trick-or-treaters yet?

Halloween candy confessions

I deliberately buy the candy I don't like to pass out for Halloween. That means no chocolate. That way I'm not tempted to eat the leftovers - or to break into the bag early!
Of course, Halloween night all bets ate off. The "inspection" of trick-or-treat bags includes a healthy amount of confiscation!
Tell the truth - have you opened the bags you bought for trick-or-treaters yet?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Saying goodbye to grandmother

The tiny brown insect shell clung tightly to our front pine tree. Faith inspected the old skin left by a cicada that moved on to enjoy its adult life free from confines. Just a few days later, I used that image to explain my mother's death. After months of declining health, Faith's "Mia Mia" went to sleep one afternoon and didn't wake up. When I found her lifeless body, I calmly called for my brother in the kitchen as I didn't want to alarm Faith. She was first at the bedroom door anyway, so I sent her back to get her uncle. It turns out I had nothing to worry about. While I went to the kitchen to make the necessary phone calls, my daughter slipped unnoticed into her room. She emerged moments later after changing into a black skirt and top. I chuckled at her wardrobe change, remembering how Faith had seen Shirley Temple put on a black dress when she got word of her father's death in one of Faith's videos. My kindergartener took death in stride. She was more worried about my coming sadness. Faith knows her grandmother awoke in the arms of Jesus. After 76 years in her earthly body, she is now living the life of her destiny. Faith will help me through my tears.
- Liz Fabian

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Witching Hours

They are aptly named, those hours between when the kids get home from school and when they go to bed. During that time, moms are supervising homework, approving or disapproving play time, cooking dinner, feeding the dog, and saying "no" more times that it seems they've said it all day.
So what to do? There are only so many hours in the day, and so much, it seems, gets crammed into the five hours after 3 p.m.
My mom kept a routine: Homework got done first, supposedly while the lessons from school were fresh. That was hard as a kid, especially when the days got short and it was dark before I was finished. But she stuck to it, and it usually meant I didn't fall aasleep doing the homework. Other parents let their kids wait until after dinner, which I think is a good idea if only so that the kids get some playtime during the day.
I say moms can take it a step further by releiving themselves of the dinner burden. Have dinner in the oven or crock pot by the time the kids get home. Try it at least twice a week, and see what a difference it makes.
By reducing the number of things you have to do during the witching hours, you can spend more time putting out the fires caused by the tired, hungry and cranky that come at the end of the day.

Friday, October 20, 2006

THE place to be Saturday

As promised, here I am to tell you about the best Saturday stop for you and the kiddies this weekend. Sacred Heart Academy here in Warner Robins is having their Fall Festival. It's free, open to the public, and promises to be a ton of fun. Fair booths, baloon rides and games, the works. If you missed both the state fair and the national fair the laast four weeks, here's your chance. So get out of the house and go, go go!
I won't be there, I have the chicken pox.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Halloween poll

Never before have I seen so much anti-Halloween sentiment. Yes, it's a pagan holiday. But carving your pumpkin with a cross? A local magazine actually suggested that, and I thought: What's the point? Either celebrate the day for its intent, honor your dead on All Saint's Day and glory in the harvest, or forget it!
The trunk-or-treating some churches do I understand. It's a little (a lot) safer than knocking on a stranger's door. And I'm all for being as safe as possible on Halloween night. Lock up your cats (especially black ones) and if you don't want to celebrate, turn out your lights. I also avoid Halloween TV, because Winnie the Pooh's Halloween is about as scary as I can take.
But what do you think? "Trick or Treat will rot your teeth?" or "All's fun for a night of let's pretend?"

I love Fall

As much as I love Spring - the warm weather, the blooming plants and flowers, the fresh air after being cooped up all of January and Feburary - I love Fall more. After all, with Spring comes pollen and - all too soon - summer. But Fall is sweet relief after those hot, hazy dog days, and with it comes the smell of falling leaves, warm soups and holidays.
Plus, it's possibly my most active season for yard work.
Digging out the old, preparing the ground for the new; planting bulbs and taking cuttings; raking all those leaves! It's a great workout, and since Daniel LOVES to help...
Of course, leaves can be done with a blower; you still get a pile to jump into!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

quick hits

I gather up a bunch of mom and family oriented publications every month. Here's the most interesting items from the bunch:

At what age do you start getting your kids' teeth cleaned? There are pediatric dentists in both Macon and Warner Robins, and those of you who have been with me from the beginning remember my trials with Daniel and the dentist. Sounds like a song...

Curious George is coming to PBS! Hallelujah! 8 a.m. weekdays, right before Clifford.
Also, if you haven't caught Little Einsteins on the Disney Channel, give 'em a shot. Daniel was fascinated last Sunday morning.

When did birthday parties go over the top? Dose it have anything to do with those awful MTV shows "My sweet 16" and the like where spoiled little girls fly to Paris and still can't find the perfect dress? Give me a break. Cake, ice cream, party favors and an afternoon playing games with your buds - that's all most kids REALLY need - and more than some kids get. If your pre-teen wants something special, try Bead Me Up or the new Amphora Pottery studio on Zebulon - where guests can create something special to remember the event and the birthday kid can get something to remember each of their friends. Kangaroo Bob's, the Children's Museum, and the Ga Bear Factory (by Kohl's) are also reasonable options.

Keeping active in the winter months - without committing to a sport. Not every kid is going to be an athlete. Heck, most parents aren't athletes. So when summer playtime is over and your youngster is spending eight hours a day sitting at a desk (ask your child's teacher if the school still has recess - you might be surprised!), how to you keep yourself and junior active? Think about trying on a karate uniform. Classes seem to start between $35 and $60 a month, plus uniform. You commit to a month of movement at a time, which means if you're going to be on vacation or something, you can skip a month. Also look at gymnastics (boys need to retain their flexibility, too!) and horseback riding. Or do what Daniel and I do - "work out" together in the living room. He handles my yoga tapes without the grumbling and keeps me from cussing at those perky aerobics instructors. Plus, the first time I saw him do a sit-up beside me, I couldn't stop laughing for five minutes. For older kids, skateboards appear to be back in fashion, so think Christmas present.

Coming up: yard work, a Halloween poll, and THE place to be Saturday.


Monday, October 16, 2006

tween bloggers

Like we really need to introduce our pre-teens to MySpace, the compay has set up a site specifically for kids ages 8-14. While I'm not a big fan of kids spending that much time on the computer for non-homework purposes, at least requires parents set up the account, emphasizes safety, and supposedly blocks spammers. Parents can drop in on the "clubhouse" anytime to see what junior has going on. So if your tween just has to play like the big kids, try supervise, supervise, supervise.

Friday, October 13, 2006

when mommy can't

I've got a ruptured disc in my neck. And while I don't mind avoiding heavy lifting for some time (hello - no laundry!), I miss being able to pick up my "baby."
After all, he's fast approaching the stage where cuddling is no longer cool, kisses are "yuck, mom," and he'll be able to pick me up instead of the other way around. So when my doctor said I couldn't pick up anything heavier than so-many-pounds, I was a little heartbroken. And when I drop Daniel off at school in the mornings and he doesn't get the great big hug to last us both through the day anymore, we're both a little sadder.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Marketing just a dozen years too early

Faith hasn't turned six yet, but the political advertisements have already turned her head. During a family conversation with cousins about the Georgia governor's race, my husband was talking about the current governor, Sonny Perdue. As he referred to him as Sonny, Faith kept trying to interrupt. I couldn't figure out why she wanted to chime into the conversation about gubernatorial politics. "Daddy, it's not Sonny, it's 'Sonny-do-list,'" Faith said. Where in the world did she hear about the governor's to-do-list theme in his campaign? On television AND the computer, she said. Wait until she sees challenger Mark Taylor, the "Big Guy," playing with all those diapered babies. She loves babies.
— Liz Fabian

Living in real time

One of Faith's favorite questions of late is - "Is that soon?" It usually follows another question, such as, "When is the fall festival?" While Misty is explaining the frequency of holidays to Daniel, I'm trying to teach my daughter the concept of time. We used to equate the length of car trips to "Barney" episodes. For the record, it was six Barnies to grandmother's house. Her festival at school is Oct. 27th. That's 752 Barnies away from this very second. I need another guide.
— Liz Fabian

No, it's not your birthday

Daniel is learning about holidays - most recently Halloween. But he doesn't yet "get" that they only come once a year.
"Is it my birthday?" He asks almost daily. "No, it's not your birthday."
"Is it my Christmas?" he asks. "No, it's not Christmas."
"Is it Easter time?" "No, it's not Easter, either."
"Well, what is it then?" he demads, sure there must be some occasion for presents.
"It's Tuesday."
"Oh, well is tomorrow my birthday?"

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

the only-child blues

"Mommy, can I have a sister?"
It's not the first time he's asked, but it's also still a surprise when I hear those words. Saturday, he wanted to get one at the fair. I told him we could get a lot of things at the fair, but a sister wasn't one of them.
Fortunately, Daniel is easily distracted. But the question remains: What's best for him - only child, one of two, or one in a a full house? My vote: whichever makes mom and dad happy. The kid will adjust.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

watch out for parent traps

We were doing so well at the fair; I'd gotten my new gardening calendar and Chris had turned in a decent showing at the Krystal contest. Then we walked into trouble.
The model train enthusiasts had a huge display. Along with the Cherry Blossom train, there was Thomas, Annie and Clarabelle. They made one pass, then got taken off the rails for work (or play - I'm not sure). So we stood at the exhibit for another 30 minutes, hoping Daniel would get his fill of the trains. No dice. When we finally dragged him away, he cried. But we were in good company; there were a number of parents and grandparents having the same problem.
So, while there's mich to see and do at the fair, watch out for the parent traps.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Goin' to the fair

When it comes to full-on family entertainment, nothing beats the fair. We're going tomorrow, and we all have our agendas.
Dad stops at the Krystal eating contest and anything with wheels, so Daniel will be with him for that. It'll be my opportunity to check out the crafts and art shows and drop in on the Master Gardeners.
Mom will then take the boy and head to the barns. Sheep, pigs, cattle, horses and whatever's at the petting zoo. Prime picture-taking time, and Daniel loves to pet anything that will sit still long enough.
We'll meet back up at the playset vendor, where Daniel can climb slides and swing to his heart's content while mom and dad catch a breather at the picnic tables. Then it's off to the midway.
There are a few rides Daniel is tall enough for, and even fewer he's brave enough for. Anything mom can get on with him is cool, and if it spins, well so much the better. It's a sure way to finish wearing him out so we can all get a good night's sleep.
So if you're headed to the fair, look for the Middle Ga Moms - next weekend I'll be manning the Telegraph booth from 11 to 3. Come share your stories and show me your baby pics!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

sugar and spice and everything nice

It's amazing to me when I visit homes where little girls live. Last night at a Tastefully Simple party the 4-year-old "hostess" of the show passed trays of dips and breads for tasting like a perfect princess. Considering my young man made a beeline for the swing set and only made it inside as we were leaving, I was awed by the contrast.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A mix-up mess-up

A couple of years ago, I remember a child safety advocate demonstrating the simularities between child-friendly products and potentially deadly products. It was an eye-opener back then, but I have some real-life experiences to share. The other day, Faith was "cleaning" my mother's room. The problem is, she picked up some sort of air-freshener or cleaning product and sprayed it on the furniture. It did not deliver a wax-free shine, but permanently marred the finish of the cabinet. We're still trying to figure out what she used. I only got the shrug of the shoulders. I'll have to do some more detective work. Refinishing the furniture seems the only solution. Then comes the horror I discovered in the bathroom. A container of bleach wipes was left open on the tank of the toilet. If you don't close those pop tops, the sheets will dry out. As I was questioning Faith about whether she was using them, she readily admitted it. I told her to make sure she closed the top. "What were you using them for?" I casually asked. "I was using them to wipe," was her response. "OH NO. Not WIPE," I thought. Yes, she had WIPED. Thank goodness she didn't seem to burn herself. We had a long talk and hopefully she will NEVER do that again.
- Liz Fabian

he's got the look

A photographer coworker of ours is a new dad. Of course, we received photos right away. One of them was of the new father's first moments holding his son. And you know what? He had "the look." You've all seen it, you've all felt it. That "wow, look what I did. Oh, my God, look what I DID! God, don't let me screw it up." Isn't that every new parents' prayer?

Monday, October 02, 2006

good junk mail

If you receive junk mail and find it useful, is it still junk mail?
Someone who lived in my house before me must have been a teacher. Because I opened my mail box the other day and found a Frank Schaffer catalog. Now, for those of you who aren't home-schoolers, Schaffer is a popular producer of learning materials. Workbooks, practice tests, flash cards, science project books, posters and more. And it covers all ages, pre-K to high school. In fact, I'm considering ordering some of the spanish materials to teach myself the language.
So whether you're interested in giving the kids a head start or need to offer them some at-home practice, visit to check out the tools available. They are reasonably priced and can help fill those long fall break days next week.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

back to normal?

Daniel's sleeping pattern this past week might have been an aberration simply to make me pay attention. This morning, slept until 7. Yesterday, 6:30. Thank God.

Friday, September 29, 2006

got caught

Daniel's lack of sleep caught up with him during dinner. Serves him right.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Pay-back time is funny

I'm usually not weird about my age. I would never lie about how old I am - but that doesn't mean I can't be a little sensitive. On Mother's Day, Faith presented me with a laminated crayon drawing of the two of us with a computer-printed list about "my mom." It was a precious picture with the two of us wearing purple dresses and holding hands. But I couldn't get past the first line - "My mom is 56 years old. FIFTY-SIX? I know we are older parents, but FIFTY-SIX??? Although the gift was appreciated, the first line still stung. My husband laughed, but my mind was troubled. Did the teacher really think I was 56? Do I look 56? Do I act 56? Not that there's anything wrong with being 56, mind you. I will be there in little more than a decade. The picture is hanging in the kitchen, but it's been out of my mind until now. Faith just found the one she made for Father's Day that she stashed but forgot to give him in June. In crayon, there's an adorable drawing of Faith and her dad watching television. "My dad is 60 years old," it started. Now, that's funny.


Per my earlier post about Daniel getting up earlier and earlier: This morning it was 3:30. After going to bed at 8:30. Mom's about at her wits' end.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bus stop safety - one more time

Two weeks in a row now we have told the sad story of a child who dies while waiting for a school bus. So perhaps it's time we all sat down with our kids and reviewed the bus stop safety rules.
1. Bus stops are not playgrounds. No running, playing, bouncing balls, throwing things, or other horseplay so close to moving traffic.
2. Cars are bigger than kids and don't stop on a dime. If you get hit, you're going to get hurt.
3. Drivers can't always see you. Foggy windows, bright morning sunshine, other traffic, all require extra focus on the part of a driver. Not to mention cell phones, breakfast and passenger distractions. So it's up to kids to watch for cars, not the other way around.
4. Stay five or six giant steps away from the curb until a bus pulls up right in front of you. Do not move until all the traffic stops.
5. Look both ways before stepping off the curb. Even if the bus is right in front of you, check traffic.
Moms - it might be a good idea to take turns waiting at the bus stop with the kids. And bring your phone. Even if you can't prevent an accident, you can call for help and administer first aid until help arrives.
Let's have a safer rest of the year.

grown-up babies

Sometimes I think we forget that everyone was once someone's baby. And whether they are 2 or 42, no child should pass before their parent.
I am sad to report that our former managing editor and former wine blogger, Mike McQueen, lost his adult son this week. In the time I've been here, that makes three grown children of coworkers who have died. And each time, my heart breaks a little for the parents left behind.
We are confronted often in the media with children who pass. Illness, accident, or even intentional death is tragic when it happens to a child. But we don't always stop to think when an adult passes, that somewhere a mother is mourning.
Say a little prayer for the McQueen family today.

the crabbies

Most mornings, Daniel is up, ready to go and hopping out the door without so much as a whimper. But every now and then...
He didn't want milk in his cereal (after I'd poured it). He wanted to watch a movie. He didn't want to wear that shirt momma. And then it's just a downhill slide into tears and frustration.
And his teacher says it comes in little batches: the mornings he's cranky, so are three or four others. What gives?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

sleeping sweetly - I wish!

Daniel has never been big on sleep. Or as I call it, "recharging."
When he was a baby, he'd catnap - 20 minutes here, 30 minutes there - regardless of the "routine" I enforced, the soothing baths and lullabys, the crib-side ocean waves. More often than not, I'd find him playing happily with his toes or his teddy bear.
As a toddler, he rarely took the usual nap. He might lay down with me, but 30 minutes later, he'd be up again - just as I was finally dozing off. And he was still waking at 1 a.m.! No longer for a feeding, but many a night I'd come home from work and he'd be playing in his room, or he'd have slipped out into the living room in search of toys.
When he was three, he decided to make eggs at one in the morning, and proceeded to turn on all the lights he could reach, get out a pan, and crack two eggs on the living room carpet before I woke up and caught him! I was mostly glad he hadn't decided to go for a drive - once I got over my shock and got him tucked back into bed.
We've finally broken the 1 a.m. wandering - for the most part. Now, he will wake up, talk to himself for a while, then fall back asleep. But he's making up for it by getting me up earlier and earlier!
Most of the summer, it was 7 a.m. Then, 6:30. Lately, it's been 5:30! And no amount of "Daniel, it's still dark out," or "It's the middle of the night, little boy," will get him to snuggle up with me and go back to sleep. Saturday or Tuesday, it doesn't make a difference to him! Bedtime is 9 - not too early, I thought, especially since he doesn't fall asleep without a fight. So I'm at a loss.
Any advice?

Monday, September 25, 2006

I can't hear you

Daniel has taken to speaking very, very softly. The lips are moving, but if sound is coming out, I can't tell it. So I have trained him to speak up.
When he mumbles or whispers, I reply, "I can't hear you, speak louder please." And he does.
I don't know what brought this on, or whether it's a phase he'll snap out of. But it was a quick trip from "use your indoor voice" to "speak up."

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Morning time = mommy time

I like that it's just me and Daniel in the mornings. We have our little routine, and we each have our jobs to do. Roll out of bed, he feeds the dog while I prep our breakfasts. I walk the dog and get the paper while he starts eating. I come in and we split the paper between us; he gets any page with cars on it. I polish off my cereal and go load his toothbrush. He's brushing his teeth while I dress and then I supervise his dressing process while I put my makeup on. Then out the door we go. The whole thing runs like a clock and takes less than 45 minutes. Because mom's like that: smooth, efficient and no playing around. Of course, if dad's home, the morning starts with a 30-minute snuggle, so never let it be said there aren't perks to chaos.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My "homey" girl

Move over Martha Stewart. Watch out Mark Ballard. Faith is creating something beautiful - at least in her eyes. I love to have fresh flowers in the house and when the garden is bare, grocery store bunches do nicely. Since putting my old furniture into Faith's room, I've tried to put flowers in her room, too. Well, she's started doing a little decorating of her own. She wants to make her room more "homey," she said. The other night I noticed she'd placed a flowered headband around the base of her lamp. Then she moved the vase of flowers from her bureau to the little chest that doubles as a coffee table in front of her love seat. She needed a cover for that table, she said. Later, I found an old eyelit doily that used to grace the top of my dresser and put it on her table while she was at school. Not to be outdone, she upstaged me. When I went into her room last night, I discovered a book covered in a flowered shirt that was placed on top of the doily as a base for the vase. Around the vase, she fashioned a thin elastic head band that had every hair clip from her drawer attached to it. What will she come up with next?
— Liz

A derby for the clothes horse

Just when Faith's closet is bursting at the seams, there's another big consignment sale this weekend. The Mothers of Preschoolers at Martha Bowman Memorial United Methodist Church kick off their big sale Friday at the Hephzibah Children's Home on Zebulon Road across from Lake Wildwood. One of the organizers, Laura Stewart, tells me they have nearly 300 consigners this year.
You'll be able to pick up great buys on fall and winter children's and maternity clothing, plus all kinds of accessories and toys. It's perfect for grandmas looking for play things to keep at her house. The brochure says to bring a large shopping bag or laundry basket for shopping. The sale runs Friday from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon when most items are half-price. Such a deal on such a deal.
— Liz

Monday, September 18, 2006

life lessons part II

I'm secretly thrilled whenever someone calls me a good mom. Especially if they do so behind my back.
I overheard Daniel's pediatrician talking to his intern one time and he called me a good mom. I floated for a week. And Friday, Daniel's pre-K teacher said to me I had done something she wished "more parents would do." Here's the story:
Daniel was a real handful Thursday night. Whined and wailed and generally threw a fit until 10:30. Would not be consoled, cajoled or threatened into going to bed quietly. And when he woke up Friday, it was more of the same.
Well, as we all know by now, Firday is show and tell day. So when he came out of his room clutching something with wheels to take to school with him, I cut him off at the pass. "You ahve been a very bad boy last night and this morning. Mommy will pick the toy you take to school today."
You should have seen his face.
But he was good in school and good that night at home. So life lesson learned: bad behavior will likely come back to bite you in the butt.

life lessons taught gently

Whenever possible, I try to teach Daniel the realities of life before "life" does. What am I talking about? For example: "You can't have everything."
Between his dad and myself, Daniel got three new toys last week. He had been so good on his field trip, then while I took him grocery shopping, that I let him pick out a new toy. "Lighning McQueen!" he cried.
But on our way to the car aisle, we passed the Thomas trains. "I want James!" he said.
"If you get James, you can't have Lighning McQueen," I replied in my best mommy voice.
"I want James!" he insisted.
"Okay." So we got James. But knowing my child as I do, I also slipped a Lightning McQueen into the cart and managed to smuggle it home without him seeing it. Because sure enough, two hours after we were home, "I want Lightning McQueen!"
We had a talk about how he had made a choice between James and Lightning at the store and now he had to live with it. And so we made it through the night.
But the next morning, Lightning resurfaced in his little heart's desire. I calmly said, "If you want Lightning McQueen, you have to give James back." So he brought me the little red train. And I handed him the racecar.
Throughout the day, he'd periodically "swap" with me. But he understands that if he wants the one I have, he has to give up the one he has.
Like I said, Life Lessons in baby steps.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Scared of the "Skeleton Man"

Faith might not have been frightend, but I'm scared. Last night she was sitting at the foot of my mother's bed watching "Wheel of Fortune." Great. She's bonding with her ailing grandmother and getting some alphabet reinforcement, I thought. I went to the kitchen to fix a late supper without a worry. As Matt and I were eating, I realized it was past 8 p.m. and the program would have changed. My mother has a tendency to watch super gory cop shows, man-hating Lifetime movies and lurid soap operas - so I thought I'd better check it out. "What are you watching?" I asked. Faith's reply was a shrug of the shoulders. A commercial was on, so I really couldn't tell. "I hope you're not watching anything too grown-up," I told Faith. My mother raised her head off the pillow and said: "There's been a lot of shooting, but I don't know what it is." By the time the program resumed with the Sci-Fi channel logo, I found the Teletime and started looking at the Saturday night line-up. Sci-Fi channel - what's on the Sci-Fi channel? "The Skeleton Man," I exclaimed. "Yup, that's it," Faith said enthusiastically as I reached for the remote. This morning she said she wasn't scared, but I am. I'll be monitoring mother's TV a lot more.
- Liz Fabian

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I'm tired, momma

Me, too, kid.
But on the big day of Daniel's first field trip, I had to drag us both out of the bed to get to school on time.
Which means, of course, that I haven't hit the Trading Treasures sale yet. I'm aiming for after the gym this afternoon. If you beat me there, save me a Thomas the Tank Engine shirt!
911 Bay Laurel Circle, Warner Robins.
See you there.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

new resource

There's a new magazine out from the editors of Family Fun magazine. It's called Wonder Time, and it's only $10 for two years (ten issues). And here's why I'm recommending it even though it is definitely written by yankees (maybe even a Canadian or two):
The articles cover kids of all ages. If there's a recommendation for a pre-schooler, there's a suggestion for a pre-teen as well.
The articles are easy to read. No complicated jargon or medical-speak.
The topics are ones we all have in common. Your kids' friendships, dealing with teasing, getting your kid to want to go to school, easy scrapbooking to preserve those precious moments.
The writers seem to have common sense as well as kid-sense. My favorite article in the premier issue was about what kids really need to know before starting preschool. (How to dress themselves, use the bathroom unsupervised, etc. How to sit still through the lenth of storytime. How to share and play well with others.) The rest will come - after all, it's PREschool!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

plan your week(end)

Here are a few things coming up on the calendar:
For those of you who missed Disney's Cars in theaters the first time around, it's playing now at the $1.99 theater on Russell Parkway. Dad took Daniel while mom was at work Saturday evening and he's still running around the house yelling "I'm the McQueen!" (Daniel, not dad.)
This Thursday, Friday and (half price!) Saturday is the Trading Treasures consignment sale. The only one I know of here in Warner Robins, it will be at 911 Bay Laurell Circle. So look it up on the map and head on out there. I'll try to drop in and let you know how it is later this week.
Saturday - if you're a new parent or grandparent (or will be soon), make time for the Rainbow House Baby Safety shower. What is it? It's a learning party where activities teach you about common household hazards and how to keep babies safe in your home. If you haven't thought about childproofing beyond getting some cabinet locks - this is a must for your weekend plans. It will be at the Toys R Us on Watson from 1 to 3 p.m. There will be refreshments and free gifts. I wonder if they'd have any tips on Daniel-proofing the universe?

Friday, September 08, 2006

instilling anticipation early

I realized this morning that Friday is the only day I don't have to hustle Daniel through his morning cereal and into the car to get to school on time. In fact, he's usually up early, dressed and inhales his breakfast with time to spare. Why? It's show and tell day.
It might be a coincidence, but as I think about the anticipation with which my 4-year-old looks toward Friday, then the anticipation with which my co-workers look toward Friday, I can only think "boy, we teach that one early on!"

a word about fundraisers

You've all seen it: the note coming home attached to a slick booklet and order form. Here we go - it's the fall fundraiser. From $10 wrapping paper to reasonably-priced cookie dough to $20 cases of Coke products (the only one I've flat-out refused so far), you know that as a parent, you're duty-bound to peddle these products to your friends, co-workers, and neighbors. And then when they hit you up, you know you're duty-bound to return the favor. It's a vicious cycle, especially when every kid seems to be selling the same stuff. Candy, wrapping paper, and junk you really don't need.
What if you could find a fundraiser that peddles stuff you WANT? Stuff you already BUY? Let's talk about a fundraiser that sells pens, pencils, notebook paper and those folders your kid has to have anyway. Let's find a fundraiser that sells books - kid's books, teen mystery series, heck, even romance novels and sci fi. Now there's where I could make some sales! And did you know that AVON has fund-raising capability? So does Krispy Kreme - although they usually only sell the plain glazed in their events. So c'mon. Think like the Girl Scouts and make your fundraiser one people wait anxiously for each year. 'Cause I'm out of Thin Mints and jonesing for some Samoas. And I still have to wait all winter. I wonder if they've considered going to twice a year? hmmm.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Kidz Replay rocks

I crashed Grandparents' day at the Kidz Replay consignment sale today. Located in the shopping center behind Wendy's on Riverside Drive, they have a huge selection! These women are also some of the most organized I have seen at any consignment special to date. The clothes were easy to look through, all hanging on store racks. And there was a large selection for 4 and over, which is unusual! Some lucky moms are going to get a steal on some great toys, too. You know all those big plastic sets - kitchens, tool tables, houses and so on? They have a great selection. Also, hard-to-find items like tents, bikes, easels, and so on. Of course, the usual strollers, play mats, rockers and all are very present, but get there early and come prepared to shop!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sonny Bubba, you'd speed too

So on our way home from Alabama, I took a wrong turn. And if you've ever driven some of Georgia's back roads, you know civilization (and gas stations) can be few and far between. So when a voice piped up from the rocket seat in the back: "mom, I gotta go potty!" I started looking for a place to stop.
20 miles pass.
"Mom, I gotta poop!"
I press the gas a little harder.
"Mom, I gotta go!"
About the time I spot a gas station and pull in, I see flashing blue lights behind me. *sigh*
"Mom, can I go potty now?"
"Ma'am, do you know how fast you were going?"
"Well, I really wasn't paying attention. My son has to go to the bathroom."
"Ma'am, are you aware of our window-tint laws in Georgia?"
"Mommy, can I go potty?"
"Sir, I don't care about the tint laws. My son has to go to the bathroom right now."
"Well, in Georgia your tint has to be above 32. Can you roll your window up some for me?"
*AAAUGH* "I bought the car in Georgia, it came this way, I'd assume it's regulation."
"Well, it's at 34, so that's legal."
"MOM, I gotta go NOW!"
"You can take your son to the bathroom and I'll wait for you."
Yeah, I just bet. Dear Sheriff Sonny Bubba Junebug Johnson, if your kid was threatening to poo all over your leather seats, you'd speed too. Either that, or put some outhouses along Ga. 26 between the Alabama state line and I-75.

Sure-fire cure for little fingerprints

Daniel likes to play "blocks" (tetris) on the computer, and as a result, I'm frequently wiping down the monitor. Well, I finally found someone to do it for me:
And yes, I checked for cookies and viruses before recommending you click.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

C.S.I. and the not so big bang theory

When confronting the suspect about clumps of what appeared to be human hair next to her bed and in the hall, my suspicions were confirmed. It was not Barbie hair, as my husband suspected. It came from our daughter's head and it was neatly sheared with some sort of cutting instrument - most likely scissors. As I stared at her head, she wanted to know why. "I'm trying to see where your hair has been cut," I said with a no-nonsense attitude I'd seen on "Dragnet." (Detectives often act like they know more than they do to draw out a confession.) Faith looked up with wide eyes and pointed to the front side of her head. "Why did you cut your hair," I asked. She just shrugged. Obtaining the motive would be more difficult. She knows anything she says can be used against her in this blog. So, after growing out her bangs for about a year, she's set us back several months. We had just gotten to the point where most of her hair fastened in a pony tail. Now we're back to clips. Yesterday over lunch, a couple of days since the confession, she fessed up about the motive. A pony tail holder had become hopelessly tangled in her hair, she said. She reached for the scissors to cut it out. My partner and I told her she never had to resort to violence. Just come to us. Because we could find no evidence she ran with the scissors, we dismissed the case.
- Liz Fabian

Friday, September 01, 2006

Consignmnet sale time

We are lucky to have so many consignment shops and sales in our area. Here's another one coming up next week!

Kidz Replay will hold its consignment sale of children's items and home decor Wednesday from 9am-7pm; Thursday 9am-6pm, Friday 9am-1pm, and Saturday (Half Price Day) 8am-12noon. A portion of proceeds will be given to Covenant Care Services, a local Christian adoption agency. Riverstreet Corners Shopping Center, Riverside Drive, next to Lipson Fabrics. For more information call 746-4948.


Thursday, August 31, 2006

C.S.I. - Faith's room

The trace evidence was scattered on the floor by her bed and into the hall. At first glimpse it seemed to be benign doll hair in tiny clumps. Upon closer examination by the trained eye of a crime reporter who happens to be the sister of a GBI forensic chemist, the locks appear to be human. When the evidence was gathered and presented to the suspect's father, he defensively said: "That is Barbie hair, right?" Upon further examination, dad fessed up that he made a similar discovery and interrogated the suspect when he thought he had retrieved all of the hair. "Have you been cutting Barbie hair?" he asked his daughter. "No," she hesitantly answered. Thinking Barbie might have just lost some of her hair during a fervent brushing episode, he went on with his business. Tonight we will get to the bottom of the case of the unexplained haircut. Has Barbie been secretly taking chemotherapy, contracted a rare disease or suffering a vitamin deficiency - or does a little innocent dollface have some explaining to do? Stay tuned.
- Liz

Pulling an all-nighter, (wink-wink)

Waking Faith in the morning isn't usually easy. I remember how tough it was to "rise and shine" as my mother would say. If I didn't budge sometimes she'd return with the cry, "Rise snakes and face the judgement." (I have no idea where that one came from.) I've always tried to be gentle while rousing her by getting into her bed and rubbing her back or lightly touching her head and hair. Because I've worked nights most of her life, my husband normally puts her to bed. While I was anchoring television news in her baby days, I could do much of my script editing and proofreading from my home computer, so I would nurse her before putting her down. Once I started writing for The Telegraph, I couldn't be home at bedtime, but she was weaned by then. Her daddy learned to get her to sleep by rubbing her back. Just when he thought she was asleep, she'd say, "Daddy rubba my back." It was a mantra. And the back-rubbing has become routine. On my days off, I get to be the "rubber." The other night, I climbed into bed with her, we said prayers and I gingerly stroked her back until she dosed off. The next morning, I got back in bed and started rubbing her softly to awaken her. All of a sudden, her eyes opened wide, she sat up and exclaimed, "Mommy, you rubbed all night!" I partially confessed by saying I did have to get up to go to the bathroom. I left out the fact that I watched television for a few hours, slept in my room and then got up for the bathroom before coming back into her room. That's our secret, OK? Wink. Wink.
- Liz Fabian

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"Ah, this is the life"

"Mommy, I love my new room," were the words my daughter greeted me with the other night. While I was working, my husband and Faith rearranged her room to accomodate my childhood bedroom furniture. Faith was already sleeping in my old bed, but the dresser, chest, night table and desk were still at my mother's. As we prepare to sell mom's house, we're absorbing some of her things. My bedroom furniture actually came from my father's mother. Faith is now sleeping in her great-grandmother's bedroom set. Seeing Faith's enthusiasm reminded me of my own glee that erupted when my mother rearranged my room while I was at school. It was so exciting to be sleeping in a new environment. My dream day as a child was coming home to a newly-arranged room, fresh chocolate chip cookies and spaghetti sauce melding in soft bubbles on the stove. The other day Faith was so anxious for me to see her room, she went running down the hall as I stopped briefly in the kitchen to drop off my purse. As I got to her room, she was already stretched out on the bed with her arms raised behind her head. "Ah, this is the life," she said. I agree.
- Liz Fabian

Heavy machinery

Daniel was thrilled yesterday afternoon when I picked him up from preschool and told him there was a bucket truck at our house. Better yet, I told him there might be a Bobcat there. Sure enough, Mike's Tree Service was hard at work in our yard when we pulled up. Goodbye, hazards to our roof and windshields!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

pitter patter of COLD feet!

If Daniel sleeps the whole night in his own bed (which is most of the time), he wakes up at the crack of dawn, or 6:30, whichever comes first. He comes and drags me out of bed with clamors for cereal and raisins and milk and his vitamin. (now mommy!)
But if he slips into our bed in the middle of the night and I don't wake enough to carry him back to his room, he just snuggles in between us, braces those cold little toes against the small of my back, and will sleep soundly until 8 a.m. What's up with that?

making time for a getaway

I think this might be the longest break in the blog to date. But as Daniel complained this morning, "momma you go to work all the time!" And he's right. The last two weeks have been tough, what with AVON meetings, a PartyLite show, a scrapbooking evening, and putting together today's special football section for the Houston Peach, even the dog is looking at me like "who are you?"
When you're four, a nap is all it takes to recharge the batteries. But when you're thirty-something, it takes a little longer. Like a three-day weekend!
So we're making time for a getaway. While Chris holds down the homefront, Daniel and I are going to visit family friends for the weekend. We'll lie around the pool for two days, practice his swimming skills, and generally do nothing. Early-morning cuddles, evening storytimes, maybe a little alphabet writing practice. But most important, mommy amd me time. And when we come back, I'll turn him over for some daddy and me time.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Show and tell

On Fridays, Daniel is allowed to bring a toy to school for show and tell. Most Fridays, it's the only way I can talk him into the car to go see his teacher. Can't say I blame him; by Friday I'm ready to stay home and spend time with my guys, too.
But in some ways, every day is show and tell. Because any mom who doesn't believe her kids' teachers know every detail of the little darlings' home lives is sadly mistaken.
Just as I hear "my teacher said..." and "Ian did..." or "I made a happy plate at lunch!," I know Daniel's teachers hear all about how the dog got in trouble for pooping on the carpet and how Uncle Tony made dinner "and I ate it all!" Or how "Daddy fixed mommy's car and I helped!" or "Mommy wouldn't give me candy!" (bad mommy!)
How do I know? Two ways: First, Daniel's teacher asked him what his mommy's name is and he replied "honey." I never realized how frequent Chris uses his favorite endearment, but Daniel sure picked up on it! And second: in a poll of Daniel's favorite things he said his favorite food was "my mommy said dinnertime!" Okay kid, whatever.

Show and tell

On Fridays, Daniel is allowed to bring a toy to school for show and tell. Most Fridays, it's the only way I can talk him into the car to go see his teacher. Can't say I blame him; by Friday I'm ready to stay home and spend time with my guys, too.
But in some ways, every day is show and tell. Because any mom who doesn't believe her kids' teachers know every detail of the little darlings' home lives is sadly mistaken.
Just as I hear "my teacher said..." and "Ian did..." or "I made a happy plate at lunch!," I know Daniel's teachers hear all about how the dog got in trouble for pooping on the carpet and how Uncle Tony made dinner "and I ate it all!" Or how "Daddy fixed mommy's car and I helped!" or "Mommy wouldn't give me candy!" (bad mommy!)
How do I know? Two ways: First, Daniel's teacher asked him what his mommy's name is and he replied "honey." I never realized how frequent Chris uses his favorite endearment, but Daniel sure picked up on it! And second: in a poll of Daniel's favorite things he said his favorite food was "my mommy said dinnertime!" Okay kid, whatever.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Consignment sale reminder!

Whether you live in south Bibb County or not, make a point tomorrow to stop by the "Almost 2 New" consignment sale at 209 Willoughby Court. Run by two moms, the sale will open at 8 a.m., close at 10 a.m., then reopen after work from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Of course, Saturday will be half-price day, so don't rule that out. If you can't Mapquest Willoughby Court, take Houston Road to Jones Road, then look for Willoughby Drive and Willoughby Court. These ladies have worked hard and really grown their sale this year!
Also to put on your calendar is the "Trading Treasures" consignment sale, which is now signing up sellers. This one will be held in the Hawthorne subdivision, at 911 Bay Laurel Circle here in Warner Robins. Call Lara at 256-9047 or Shirley 218-0632 for a seller's appointment. The sale will be Sept. 14, 15 and 16. So moms, don't let these opportunities pass you by - last year I got Daniel's whole winter wardrobe for $30! Plus, it's amazing the deals you can find on everything from bikes to playhouses. Shop early, shop often!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Thanks Faith - Mom's the word

My daughter just cut straight through to my heart. For too long the tasks of caring for my bed-ridden mother have obscured the bigger picture. When emptying mom's potty chair, doling out dozens of pills, preparing special meals and changing soiled bed sheets, I do remind myself of my mother's sacrifices for me - the countless times she lovingly wiped my baby bottom, rinsed out dirty cloth diapers and fixed my favorite dishes. I willingly accept my role as caretaker. But it took Faith's school assignment to really open my eyes. In her "All about Me" book she colored this week, there is a page devoted to her family - all four of us. There in crayon is a drawing of my mother in her wheelchair. She's not my patient, she's my mommy.
- Liz Fabian

Monday, August 21, 2006

Dear mom: What were you thinking?

Each week, I read with barely-concealed frustration the birth announcements we run. After all, I'm not exactly named "Jennifer" or "Mary." But as more mothers (and fathers) opt for ceativity and individualism in naming their children, the names only get harder to spell - and pronounce. It used to be the only name I could think of with an accent mark was "Cherie," and apostrophes were reserved for select last names only. Now it's almost a contest to see which mother can saddle her child with the most complicated name to both spell and punctuate.
Mothers - don't you know your child will have to learn to spell his or her name? And how do you expect your little darling's teachers to ever get it right? Have you stopped to consider whether standard forms - including driver's licenses, SAT paperwork, and the Social Security Administration - are prepared to handle three apostrophes and an accent mark in one name?
What brought on this step up to the soapbox? Football season. More specifically, the name on one football roster that I still think might be a practical joke.
Somewhere in our circulation area is a poor teenager struggling through life named "Shafton Head." Think about it. Say it out loud. Then you'll understand why I'm concerned. All I can say to Shafton's mother is "What were you thinking?"

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Open wide and the mother of the bride

Here I was in the midst of glazing 166 mini chocolate cheesecakes for the Taste of Music charity benefit Saturday, when I had to stop and go for the camera. Eventhough the icing was stiffening, I was melting. Faith had one of her baby dolls in a rocking chair, she was in a rolling chair and holding a candle snuffer up to the doll's cheek. She was playing dentist. "Three, two, one," she said before taking the baby's X-ray. Faith had on her painting bib which doubled as her lead shield. She had fashioned a bib for the baby out of construction paper. She informed me that her patient was actually her son, who was a twin. His sister and a teddy bear were in the waiting room a few feet away. Her husband was a doctor who worked nights while she worked days so the children didn't have to go to daycare. (That happens to be our arrangement, except I'm the one on the night shift.) What a treat that she had taken a break from the television and computer and used her imagination.
Today was her wedding day. On our way home from church, she informed me she was getting married. After an afternoon cookout at friends' house, she was anxious to begin her nuptuals. Too bad the mother and father of the groom were ready for a nap. I decided to put the nap on hold. We could get her married off then doze off. She had donned all her bride-looking play clothes and gathered a bouquet of silk roses that she had me tie a white bow around. A wedding arbor from a doll set would play the music and I was to press the button on cue. As she came out of the sliding glass door, I hit the music and rolled tape in the video camera. She walked past the fountain on the patio to the lounge chairs. That was it. She was ready to walk out with her imaginary husband. I caught the bouquet, dad caught the garter (a white headband with a bow from a doll outfit). We all had imaginary cake. It was delicious. After the thrill of the wedding, the parents hit the bed. Faith was ready to watch a movie so now was our chance. The couch was her airplane on the way to her honeymoon and "Shrek" was the inflight movie. She had her baby with her, too. Of course inquiring minds like mommy's wanted to know how she had a baby when she hadn't been on her honeymoon. She told me she was married before, but her first husband had died. As I was straightening up before going to bed tonight, I noticed her trousseau was packed in a suitcase under the couch. Apparently it was still in the cargo hold. Too bad she lost her luggage on the honeymoon. I'm just glad I captured both scenarios on video. What a tape for her real rehearsal dinner. It truly was a weekend to remember.
- Liz Fabian