Saturday, April 29, 2006

at the library

I have to say, I love our library system. It seems they are always having some storytime, special guest, or activity for kids. Today, it's Dora the Explorer at both the Thomas Library (11a.m.) and the Byron Library (1:30). All summer long, it's a great series of things. Nora Brantley hosts trivia nights for older kids, the fairy tale lady has been, and Dr. Seuss' annual celebration draws the Cat in the Hat. You've gotta give a certain amount of respect to the people who work every day to encourage reading in our kids.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Can she read my mind?

My husband insists he can be just thinking about giving our dog a bath when the dog will slink away and hide. Daniel the dog hates getting a bath. While I'm not yet convinced we have a clairvoyant canine, I'm beginning to wonder about our daughter. I remember one time when she was about three years old, she volunteered the location of a stuffed animal that I hadn't even told her I was searching for. Then the other day I really felt like she was reading my mind. On the way into a movie, I gave her some coins to buy some trinkets from the machines in the lobby. As we took our seats before the film started, I told Faith I would give her the rest of my quarters when we left the theater so she could try to get a "Princess Fiona" figure to match the "Shrek and Donkey" she purchased on the way in. About half way through the movie, I was
wondering whether she would remember my promise. The thought had barely left my consciousness before she spoke up and reminded me that I promised to hand over the coins. Coincidence? Let me think about it for a while and see if Faith has anything to say about it.
- Liz Fabian

'round and 'round

Daniel has always loved thaat roller-coaster feeling. "Spin me!" he'd hold his arms up and want to play helicopter. "Upside down!" he'd lay on the floor and present me with his feet, waiting for a lift. Up and over my shoulder, around my back, ending up cuddled against my stomach. And oh, the games he can play with dad!
Well, lately he's discovered he can get that feeling all by himself. He dot down from the table the other night and left the room - not walking or even running - turning circles! He progressed through the kitchen, across the living room, and down the hall, arms straight out and walking in spinning steps. Crazy kid.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Outlets galore

So how much do you really save at those outlet stores? Whether you're going to Byron for toys and books or Tanger for clothes and linens, it turns out you can do pretty well. The May issue of Consumer Reports actually put OshKosh and L.L. Bean up at the top of their "best deals" list. Carter's and Nike also made the report. It turns out the Carter's outlet will sometimes have new lines before high-end retail stores, and even discounts the lines they market in retailers such as Wal-Mart. So the next time you're looking for a real deal on the kids' wardrobes for the season, the drive will probably be worth it. *Helpful hint* if you're going on a sales-tax holiday, measure the kids and get a babysitter. Outlet centers become a madhouse.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Picture Day

What is it about picture day that brings out the Master of Disaster? They are taking the photos today, so Sunday Daniel scrapes his knees to bits. No problem, he'll wear jeans. Last night he falls and smashes his glasses onto his eyebrow, cutting the heck out of his face. Nice. That was his last pair of undamaged glasses, too. Argh!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Best idea I've heard in a while

A friend of a friend just held her baby shower. While the ladies were having a good time at the godmother's house, her husband hosted a poker game at their place. The buy-in: a package of diapers.

Buying as little as possible

Babies don't acually come with all the stuff they need. Bummer. So there are baby showers and hand me downs and Freecycle (a Yahoo! Group everybody should check out). But how much "stuff" do you really need?
Remember that backpack you had in college that you could stuff with all your books, a water bottle, a jacket, and still find your keys at the end of the day? Dig it back out. It's your new diaper bag. Even a manly man will carry a backpack.
I have a lot of peoiple ask me about high chairs. I can't for the life of me, see why anyone would buy the free-standing high chair if they already own a dining table and chairs. Opt for a booster seat. They strap to almost any chair, come with a tray table, and fold up so you can take them to Grandma's for dinner. Added bonus: the baby gets to sit at the table with the family, which means fewer demands for attention, a willingness to try "adult" food like asparagus, and early table manners. Hallelujah.
Cribs/bassinets/"big kid" beds: I will admit to using a bassinet for Daniel's first couple of weeks. Chances are, there's one sitting in a family attic they'll be thrilled to loan you (or again, see Freecycle). But once I got past the need to feel him breathe every five minutes, into his own crib he went.
And as far as the crib went, we bought one of those new convertible do-dads, which means Once he learned to scale the crib sides we turned it into a toddler bed. And now he has a "big boy" bed with a headboard and footboard that will last him through the teenage years - barring mass destruction. Plus, the sides are headboard and footboard for the guest (twin-size) bed. One purchase. Added bonus: the matching dresser doubles as a changing table.
End of sermon.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

advice and advisers

It's funny now, while listening to a friend tell someone she's pregnant, to hear the immediate onslaught of advice she recieves. When I was pregnant, I had a firm "nod and smile" policy. I'd nod and smile until the adviser ran out of steam, then do whatever I was going to do, regardless. The sole exception was women who tried to advise me, even though they had never had a baby of their own. Those women just irritated me. Apparently, they still do.
I mean, I'm sorry, but unless you have a medical degree or have been through what I am going through, shut up. You don't know. You are not a member of the club.
We, mothers, members of the mommy club, have the stretch marks, the sleepless nights (both before and after child birth), the heartburn, the morning-afternoon-evening sickness, the bladder-the-size-of-a-teaspoon and someone sitting on it, to testify to our worthiness to give advice. And most of us (grandmas get special dispensation) remember what it is like when well-intentioned people give us advice well enough that we aren't going to advise others unless we are asked.
Now, I'll pass along what worked for me. And I'll pass along my best resources. After all, I do have the credentials.
End of soapbox.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Plans change? Opt for a "Meltdown"

When I realized Faith was off from school Monday, I planned to take her along on a lunch date I had already arranged with a friend. Faith was so excited because she loves "Miss Laurie" as much as I do. Early that morning, Faith started planning her outfit with matching shoes and purse. But, plans changed and Laurie had to cancel. So, we opted for a "Meltdown." When I told Faith we could catch a matinee of the sequel to Ice Age, she was thrilled. I had enjoyed the first movie, but I do believe I liked "Ice Age: The Meltdown" even better. Manny the mammoth finds a mate,which is great news for Ray Romano, who does the talking. The plot gives the "Everybody Loves Raymond" star an opportunity to do what he does best, spar with the opposite sex. In this case, Ellie the mammoth is played by Queen Latifah. The high-energy film is punctuated by Scrat the squirrel, who is still hillariously hunting that elusive acorn. Plus there are some big Hollywood productions numbers in this film. While Roger Ebert didn't think grown-ups would like this movie as much as the kids, I wasn't the only adult in the audience who found it humorous. I guess we had the last laugh, Roger.

- Liz

Tip O' The Day

You love your digital camera, and your sister in New Jersey and aunt in Mississippi love getting pictures of the kids. But grandma in Texas doesn't have a computer. What to do?
Log onto Fuji film's Web site: Enter the ZIP code to where you want the photos to go, and up pops a list of developers. You can upload your digital images and pay for the printing. Then, all proud grandmas have to do is pick them up! No shipping and handling, no trip to the post office. Say "easy!"

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

When boo-boos need more than a kiss

Daniel's always in a hurry. And like the rest of him, his feet are growing so fast you can practically watch it happen. So he trips a lot, and falls. Yesterday, he took a pretty spectacular spill down the driveway and left most of the skin from his right knee on the concrete.
"I need a Band-Aid!" he wailed. Not "Mommy, kiss it better," but a Band-Aid.
Mom's kisses, it seems, no longer fix what hurts. Luckily, Daniel's kisses still fix mommy. "Hug and kiss and goodnight, I love you!" he calls at night when I turn his light off. And that just makes my day.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Hopping down the gluttony trail...

I thought I'd run into the drugstore on the way home from work the other night. It was well past Faith's bedtime. This was my chance to get our Easter goodies without worrying about them melting. Sure, I was ready to be home, but it wasn't going to take long. Right? Wrong. Have you gone down a candy aisle recently? My trip to grab bunnies, jelly beans and treats took much longer than I thought.
As a child, my basket always had a bunny, jelly beans and chocolate eggs - usually Hershey's eggs. It was nice of those people who made the bars and kisses to do something special at Easter. We embraced Russell Stover's in later years and that was my game plan. Grab some of their Easter candy and go. But no. Let me see every type of candy imagineable packaged for Easter. All our favorites are there in the cutest little pastel packages. Oh, the Nestle crunch eggs. I remember how good they were the first year I had them. And what about the chocolate cookie ones that Faith's grammie bought last year - but couldn't find this year. Wow. It's hard out there for candies trying to make the lineup for the big Easter show. OK. I over-ruled the sensory overload. As I pondered my egg purchase, I had originally picked up two Doves - one dark - and the Russell Stovers. Nope. Not going to do it. My husband and I have been trying too hard to cut the sugar out. We didn't want to fall right back into it. My resolve kicked in and I was out the door. (I can always see what's half-off Monday.)
- Liz

Friday, April 14, 2006

treating mom right

I got a little treat from my husband yesterday: JT's Madd mobile detailing showed up and washed, waxed, buffed and polished my car! Chris knew I'd raked the overgrown azaleas at the end of the driveway on my way to work in the a.m. My car looked like it had been keyed! Plus, there was that time with Daniel and the sidewalk chalk... . Well, JT's did a bang-up job, the car looks showroom new! So happy day for the mom-mobile, and I'm thinking I know just what to get the next time dad deserves a treat. Yeah, I'll steal an idea, I'm like that.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

No running in the house!

Daniel's at that age (which, I think, lasts until about 17) where he's part athlete, part klutz. He's tall and lean and has energy to burn. So he runs everywhere. And I've been pulling out the momisms - "Don't run with that in your hand, you'll put an eye out!" "Don't run in the house, you'll break something!" "Don't run down the driveway, you'll fall and hurt yourself!"
So earlier this week, he tripped over God-knows-what in the yard, fell on his face, and lost his glasses.
Ever try to translate three-year-old into clear directions? "Were are your glasses?" "Outside." "Outside where?" "Where I fell" "Where did you fall?" "Outside."
So the three adults in the house spent about half an hour scouring the yard to find the boy's last pair of unbroken glasses.
But did we learn anything? Apparently not. Last night Daniel goes racing down the hall to bed and runs smack into a doorknob. And he's at the height now that the doorknob catches him right in the cheekbone. Oh, the howls. Even I know that one hurt.
Fortunately, mom has prescribed to the icepack theory of first aid: If it hurts, slap an icepack on it until it's numb. Also, the bruising and swelling will be not so bad the next day. So Daniel went to bed cuddling his teddy bears and an icepack, convinced that everything would be better in the morning.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Playplace funtime

With Chris' work schedule, he's up and gone before Daniel and I crack an eyelid, and he gets home about an hour before Daniel's bath-and-bedtime. So when he had to work a couple of weekends in a row, I suggested he take the middle of the day, pick up Daniel from Daycare, and take him to lunch. A little dad and boy time, you know? Well, I might never live it down. They had a blast! Two hours at the Burger King on Watson and Daniel talked about "my daddy took me to lunch" for three days. "I ate a cheeseburbur!" he anounced to grandma on the phone. And whenever we drive past now, he's all "that's where my daddy took me to lunch!" And I thought he lived for the times they work on cars together. Turns out the way to a little boy's heart really is through his stomach.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Found my groove

Now I've just got to start living in it.
A lot of my motivation in starting this blog was to not so much write about my kid (though bragging is my right - and yours) but to write about ME. My experiences as a mom, compared to your experiences as a mom, with the end goal that we all feel a little less alone and more sane.
I, like a lot of Warner Robins women, live far away from my mom, and while I used to call her four or five times a day ("Is this normal?" and "You won't believe what he's doing now!") I need someone local to tell me - "hey, this restaurant has the best play area." Or, "stay away from this park - there's a massive bee's hive." So while I share my experiences, I also want to know that I am not the only one who's four-year-old is too busy playing to stop and go potty, and I'm not the first mom to pull a nutty when her kid locks his bedroom door and stands on the other side giggling as she threatens his young life unless "you unlock this door NOW, mister!"
So I started writing. It's something I did before I was a mom, and it's something I enjoy. So in my quest to get my groove back as a woman, I am doing more things that are less "mom" and more "Misty." That includes painting my toenails, indulging my obsession with rings, and writing. And you know what? I'm better able to deal with the constant needs of my son when I've met a few of my own needs.
Because they're not luxuries, these little parts of me, they are necessities. A happier, more relaxed mom is a better wife, a better friend, a better mom. And while that's not a revelation to any of us, the first time you make the time to put that thought into practice, I bet you'll be as shocked as I was.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Mom's little helper

I forget sometimes how much Daniel is learning every day. So much is still new to him!
This weekend I decided to tackle the side yard. Our new house is great, but I think no one so much as mowed for the last two years. Certainly no weeding or cutting back has been done. And since our neighborhood has basically been carved out of a forest, there are a lot of trees and underbrush that need to be constantly monitored, lest they creep over the house itself! So far I have reclaimed the front yard, planting the things I want and getting rid of a number of other things. The side yard was a bigger challenge; the space between my and my neighbor's property had been taken over by vines, ivy, and a number of large bushes - "volunteers," if you will.
So I got what I could with the mower, then started pulling and hauling by hand. And here comes Daniel. "I want to carry sticks," he announced, holding out his arms. "Okay," I picked up the dead shoots I'd been pulling, avoiding the ones with thorns, and loaded him up. While they weigh less than paper, most of the shoots were taller than I am! But he dragged them out to the curb, added them to the pile I had going, and came back for more. Five or six trips later, we were done! So my little helper got a long ride on the tire swing as a reward, I learned I might have a gardener on my hands.

Swimming lessons

I was plesantly surprised to discover how reasonable swimming lessons through the rec department are. $28 will get me a two-week "mommy and me" session, which will hopefully teach Daniel the basics. The best part: there are a number of sessions throughout the summer, so we can take more than one. Plus, that's two hours of guaranteed "mom and boy" time.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Meanest Mother

Whenever Daniel is pouting "I don't want to" or sulking because I won't let him do something, I remember this poem my mom has on her wall:

I had the meanest Mother in the world.  While other kids had candy for breakfast, I had to eat cereal, eggs and toast.  While other kids had cakes and candy for lunch, I had  a sandwich.  As you can guess, my dinner was different from other kids' dinners, too.
My mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times.  You'd thind we werre on a chain gang or something.  She had to know who our friends were and what we were doing.
I am ashamed to admit it, but she actually had the nerve to break the child labor law.  Sh made us work.  We had to wash dishes, make the beds and learn how to cook.  That woman must have stayed awake nights thinking up things for us kids to do.  And she insisted that we tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
By the time we were teenagers, she was much wiser and our llife became more unbearable.  None of this tooting the car horn for us to come running; she embarrassed us to no end by insisting that friends come to the door to get us.
I forgot to mention that most of our firends were allowed to date at the mature age of 12 or 13, but our old fashioned Mother refused to let us date until we were 15.  She really raised a bunch of squares.  None of us was ever arrested for shoplifting or busted for dope.  And who do we have to thank for this?  You're right, our mean mother.
I am trying to raise my children to stand a little straighter and taller and I am secretly tickled to pieces when my children call me mean.  I thank God for giving me the meanest Mother in the world.  Our country doesn't need a five-cent cigar.  It needs more mean Mothers like mine
Blessings on that wonderful woman.
Author Unknown

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Wardrobe wars and the my "seen" Barbie

My first wardrobe wars with my daugther came about the same time Faith was learning to dress herself. She'd pick out sleeveless shirts in January and Sunday dresses when she was planning to ride her jeep. Now she wants to change several times in one day.
About a month ago, I came home with an armful of bargains from one of my favorite biannual consignment sales. Faith had a field day. She would take an outfit into the bathroom - which was doubling as her dressing room - close the door, change and come out to model. She will likely have a very long, lean body like her Daddy. Pants that fit at the waist are too short and pants that are long enough are way too big in the waist.She likes her skirts long, so I understood when she pulled one down on her hips.Sure, that lengthened the hem, but also exposed her navel. I told her to pull up the skirt to her waist because her belly button was showing. She wanted her belly button to show, she said.
I had already been struggling with the adult-looking attire I was seeing in the stores for toddlers, now I have a 5-year-old who is not the least bit modest about her midriff. It's frightening.Where in the world did she develop an affinity for exposure? Then I saw the new "My Scene" Barbie dolls. "My Seen" is more like it with their halter tops and hip huggers and micro-minis. How can people sew teeny tiny clothes that skimpy? I realize Mattel is marketing to tweens and teens with their Bling Bling Barbie and "my seen" fashions, but what's a mother of a little girl to do? How do you make modesty cool?
- Liz



I knew writing this blog would come back to haunt me, but I didn't know how soon. It was about a year ago that I first noticed my daughter's shyness whenever I was talking about her. She was reluctant to hear me retelling the cute things she had done and said. Her face would flush and she'd try to hide.
Before signing on with Misty for the Moms Blog, I had a talk with Faith.I wanted to ask her permission to write about her because I didn't want her one day resenting her somewhat public upbringing. She gave me her approval and was really excited when I told her a photographer was coming to take our picture.
Faith enjoys looking at the paper and having the "funny papers" read to her. A couple of weeks ago on the way out the door, I grabbed the excerpts from our blogs that were printed in the paper and read it to Faith.
"Mommy, why did you want to tell everybody that?" she asked.It was obvious she was embarrassed. I'm back to square one, but at least I have some time until she can read it for herself.
- Liz

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Little Big Book

It's spring, and that means babies. At least, it seems to be that way in my world. So what do you get a mom-to-be or a new adoptive mom? Try "The Little Big Book for Moms" published by Welcome Enterprises. If you can get your hands on this little gem, you'll find a full-color, 350-page resource on fairy tales, nursery rhymes, songs and poetry that will bring back memories from your own childhood. Plus, finger games like "Where is Thumbkin," recipes for things from peanut butter sandwiches to homemade play-doh, how to make a hat or sailboat out of a sheet of newspaper, and so much more. With so many of us living far away from grandma and great grandma, this is the book that will get us through those precious first years and instill in our children's memories the same songs and games we remember playing with our moms in those quiet minutes before bedtime or on rainy days. The book is the right size (about 5 inches square) to hold in your lap so baby can see and touch the illustrations and is hardbound, made to last and last. I plan on passing mine down someday.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Comfort zones

I was having a hard time getting Daniel to actually play with the new neighbor children. He'd want to go visit, but when we got to their house, he'd just stand next to me, clinging tightly to my hand. Sunday, they were all out riding bikes, and Daniel wouldn't get on one of theirs. So we walked home, got his bike (which it seems a winter growth spurt has made too small) and went back. Bingo! As soon as Daniel had something of "his own," he was tearing around with the rest of them, having a great time. Who knows, maybe he felt he had to bring something to the party, or maybe he just needed the comfort of something he called "his" before he could take part in the fun. Doesn't mean he had to be playing with it, because once he started playing, all the toys were fair game. He just had to have it there.