Thursday, October 30, 2008

Half-Pint. Full price.

Today I opened the newspaper and read jaw-dropping news. The entire series of Little House on the Prairie is being released in one giant DVD set. It has 60 discs and includes every episode and all of the made-for-TV movies. Anyone remember the movie where Baby Rose gets kidnapped in Mankato on Christmas Eve? Aw, yeah!

Then I saw the price: $300. I guess I will have to Netflick it.

As soon as I read about this, I had to run to e-mail my sister. Then all of this thinking about Little House got me to reminiscing about my lunch box in first grade. It was the Most. Awesome. Lunch box. Ever:

The lunch box has disappeared. I think in some unwise fit of "I'm too cool for this now", I must have sold it at a yard sale or thrown it away. I think the same fate befell my Hangin' Tough Live VHS tape. How could I have been so foolish? How?

I discovered I can get the lunch box on ebay. If I want the one in pristine condition with the thermos, it is $115. Scratched and thermos-free, it's $40.

Hmm. $40. I could get eight Little House DVDs for that.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Which old mommy? The wicked mommy!

WCK had a rough morning. I think nearly a month of pacifier-free sleep deprivation is finally catching up with her, because she was just not herself. She was misbehaving terribly during our trip to the pumpkin patch, and she was picking on smaller kids. I don't really have a Discipline Plan for these types of situations, as she is usually very well behaved out in public. (Really! She is!) She usually gets along very well with other children. (Really! She does!) Today, however, we had to have several Serious Talks about throwing rocks, pushing people, etc., and she was pretty annoyed with me by the time it was all over.

Later, I heard her singing softly to herself: "Ding! Dong! The mommy's dead!"

Nice. Nice. I think I'll go lie down under a nice, quiet house for a while.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A good day.

I had a good day today. It began with my child completely behaving herself at church. Shortly after communion, she did ask loudly, "MOMMY, IS IT TIME TO GO HOME NOW?" but, c'mon, you know everyone was thinking that. My child was the only one who was brave enough to admit it.

After that, I went out to lunch and got a pedicure with some friends. My toes are now bright blue. I base my toe color purely on what will entertain WCK. My toes were purple until today.

When I got home, it was time for family pumpkin carving. The photo is a little blurred. I get a little nervous about using actual candles inside pumpkins these days, so I was very excited when I found these awesome electric tea lights at Joann's Fabric. They're orange and they flicker; you can't even tell they're not real candles. WCK picked the designs: Kitty, "nice ghost" (as opposed to "scary ghost"), and bat.

After the carving, we had crock pot chicken from this recipe I found online. It was insanely easy, and WCK actually ate her entire portion of food, which is almost unheard of in our house. Usually when I cook something for her, she eats, like, one molecule of it and says she's full.

A good day.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A lesson in homonyms

Several months ago, I found a dinosaur matching game in the one-dollar bin at Target. This is probably my best Target-one-dollar-bin purchase EVER. WCK and I play the dinosaur game almost every day. After we match up our dinosaur cards, I tell her that we'll each count up how many pairs we have.

Yesterday, I forgot to say that we'd be counting the pairs.

"Mommy," said WCK, "aren't we going to count the peaches?"


I have an ever-evolving relationship with McDonald's. I used to eat there now and again and never thought about it too much. Then, about a year or so before I had WCK, Jay and I watched Supersize Me, and it scared us out of our wits. We did not set foot in a McDonald's until WCK was two years old. We were driving to Iowa and couldn't find anywhere else to stop. Since then, I've realized that McDonald's is actually a really good place, if it is used responsibly. For example, I don't think WCK realizes that they serve fries there, as we always order apple slices with her Happy Meal. I always get one of the big salads, which are exxxxxxcelllent.

We only visit McDonald's for the following reasons:

1. When we need to bribe our child. I know this is wrong, but McDonald's made last week's flu shot a completely painless ordeal.

2. When we travel. This also goes hand-in-hand with the bribery, because sometimes the promise of McDonald's on the road is the only thing that can convince WCK to leave her grandparents' homes. Also, we've discovered some interesting locations. The McDonald's just outside of Rochester, Minnesota, is really fancy and has a reading area, video games, and a giant Happy Meal that kids can climb in. A McDonald's in Mitchell, South Dakota has a robot Ronald that sings to you.

3. When it is a cold and/or rainy day, and I feel like I'll go insane unless I take WCK somewhere she can run and climb for an hour. McDonald's play areas are amazing things.

4. When they're giving away Wizard of Oz toys in the Happy Meals. These are for me.

Still, I have one big issue with McDonald's. Why is it, whenever I order a Happy Meal, the person behind the counter must ask me if I want the "boy toy" or the "girl toy"? Why can't the counterperson just ask if I want the Hello Kitty or the Batman? The Barbie or the toy car? My little girl honestly prefers the toy car. And if a boy wanted the Barbie, more power to him! I don't think a McDonald's worker should stand in his way.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cycle 18

A handful of pumpkins helps the medicine go down ...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Beware the church van

My last post was about talking to a newly diagnosed myeloma patient on the phone. He had a lot of questions, of course, and one of them was this: "How long do the doctors say you're going to live?" Nobody has ever asked me that since my diagnosis, but in the past few days, I've gotten several e-mails from a bunch of other newly diagnosed people also asking about how long I'm going to live.

No doctor has ever told me, and I've never asked. I don't really want to know. I don't believe in the three-year statistic, because, well, that means I am going to die next month, and I'd be really cranky if I missed the New Kids on the Block concert.

Dr. GPO is overwhelmingly positive about my lifespan. He once told me that I would never die of myeloma. "You'll probably get run over by a church van before you die of myeloma, " he said.

That made me feel a lot better about the myeloma, but now I'm a little bit afraid of church vans.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I hope I helped

A year or so ago, the International Myeloma Foundation asked me to be a "Patient-to-Patient" volunteer. This is a free service where the foundation matches up a newly diagnosed patient with one of us old-timers. (Yeah, I'm an old-timer!) We talk on the phone, and the old-timer is supposed to give the newbie information and advice and support and all of that good stuff.

Anyway, I signed up for this, and then nobody ever called me, until today. I talked to a really nice 69-year-old man who was just diagnosed with smoldering MM and admitted -- understandably -- that he was scared and upset. After you get diagnosed with myeloma, you get all of these horrifying statistics thrown at you. The most common one is that you have three years to live. Why do they use these statistics anymore? Why? They suck. Anyway, I think after this man talked to me and realized that I've been around for almost three years and I'm not at death's door, or anywhere near death's door, he felt much, much better. I felt glad that I could help.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A dream realized

I've been attending Mr. Stinky Feet concerts on a regular basis since WCK was about a year old. Every concert follows the same basic format. Twice during each show, Mr. Stinky Feet goes out into the audience and hands out little paper feet to a bunch of kids. If you receive a foot, you get to come up to the stage (or to the front of the library or gym or wherever we are) and play a little tambourine in his "band" during one song. In order to receive a coveted foot, you must be sitting quietly on your bottom and raising your hand.

It's been my lifelong dream (or at least my two-and-a-half-year dream) to get WCK into the Stinky Feet Band. I'm not sure why, since I would never, ever want to perform on stage myself. In fact, Jay and I both share the same great fear: That someday, without any warning, we'll get pulled out of an audience and forced on to a stage. This is why Jay will not attend Renaissance Festivals, because you just never know. I figured WCK was genetically doomed.

Following family tradition, WCK had no interest whatsoever in joining the Stinky Feet Band -- until last summer, that is. Suddenly, she really wanted to get into the band. I wanted her to get into the band. We both wanted it so much we could taste it. It was absolutely painful, then, when Mr. Stinky Feet would pass us by time and time again, even though WCK was clearly doing a great job of sitting on her bottom and raising her hand. Whenever the subject of a Mr. Stinky Feet concert would come up, she'd tell everyone, "Mr. Stinky Feet didn't pick me to be in the band." It was a very sad subject around our house.

And then. It was Friday night. We sat patiently in the audience of a Mr. Stinky Feet concert. WCK raised her hand. Mr. Stinky Feet raced out into the crowd, just a blur in a Hawaiian shirt. When the dust cleared, we looked down.

WCK had a paper foot in her lap.

We looked at it in wonder. She was Charlie Bucket with a Golden Ticket. Wide-eyed, WCK walked slowly toward the stage, clutching her little paper foot. It took her quite a while for her to get to the stage, but once she got there she did an excellent job with her tambourine and never once got stage fright. Mr. Stinky Feet sang "Buggy Hop." I stood off to the side and took about 100 photos and a video.

When she wins her first Tony Award, I'll post that video on YouTube.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Eye caramba!

A few weeks ago, Grandma Kathy gave us some mini-muffin tins. I realized they'd be perfect for Creepy Eyeball Cupcakes. We took them to an early Halloween party today, and they were easily the creepiest-looking food item there. Mwa ha ha ha HA!

WCK didn't really get what they were supposed to be, but I suppose it's a good thing that my three-year-old is not familiar with disembodied eyeballs.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I'd been putting off calling for my latest test results, because I was convinced they were going to be bad. This is a very mature attitude, I know. I decided today that I'd better just call; I mean, I have plenty of candy pumpkins to turn to in the case of bad news. It turns out that my M-spike has gone back DOWN to 1.6! Woo hoo hoo hoo! I'm nice and stable -- at least for this month.

I think I'll have a candy pumpkin anyway.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Every October, they take over my life ...

Safe Place

WCK's classroom has something called "Safe Place." Safe Place is a cozy little nook with a bean bag chair and some soft toys. The kids are encouraged to go there when they feel overwhelmed and need a break, or if they're acting up and need a time out. Yesterday, WCK got into the car after school and cheerfully informed me that the teacher had sent her to Safe Place because she'd been hitting her friend Charlie. What? Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

We had to have a Serious Talk about how you don't hit your friends, blah blah blah, but all WCK seemed to care about was the fact that there are puppets to play with in Safe Place.

This morning she was still talking about Safe Place and asked if we could have one at our house. As naive as I am, I thought this sounded like a good idea. She already has a little pink chair and a basket of books in a corner of the living room, so I told her that could be her Safe Place. She then proceeded to hit me and say, "I just hit you! I get to go to Safe Place!" She gleefully ran off to sit in her chair and read her books.

Hmm. I have a feeling the Safe Place method of discipline is not working. Remember in Shawshank Redemption when the released inmates would purposely try to get back into prison because they couldn't handle life on the outside? It's exactly like that.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I found the pumpkin. It was in WCK's playhouse in the back yard.

I feel so much better. Losing a giant vegetable outdoors is much more socially acceptable than losing one inside.

YouTube is trying to kill me

Emotionally, that is.

Only a month to go in my NKOTB vigil, and I've hit a snag. Apparently, Sony has taken over most of the NKOTB videos on YouTube and disabled the links, so I can't post them to my blog. I had to search high and low to find just one that would work.

We've been together for a long time, YouTube. Do you hafta leave?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Here's how disorganized I am ...

I have managed to lose an entire pumpkin.

Not a little toy pumpkin. Not one of those teeny little pumpkins that you use for decorating. It's a real, full-size Halloween pumpkin that WCK's grandpa got for her at the grocery store a couple weekends ago. WCK had been playing with it and lugging it around the house, and now it is gone.

I suppose we could also file this under "Here's how lax I am with rules", because, really, wouldn't most sensible mothers make "Don't lug giant vegetables around the house" one of their top household laws? I don't have many household laws. As I write this, my child is staring at the TV and she is not, technically, wearing any pants.

The pumpkin is somewhere in the house, but I don't know where. I'm hoping it'll turn up by, say, Fourth of July.

Life lessons

Perhaps you have a child who claims she has to go potty every time you are out in public. This child never, ever actually uses the potty out in public; she simply likes to go look at the potty and then wash her hands. You remain vigilant and dedicated, however, taking her to the potty every single time she requests a potty trip, even though you know full well that the child is not going to actually use that potty. You have interrupted multiple restaurant dinners multiple times to go look at potties. You have made long treks across parks and maneuvered through Barnes and Noble displays and walked out of church to locate a public potty, only to have your child refuse to use said potty. Still, you remain cheerful and optimistic.

The very first time in your child's life that you decide to ignore your child's pleas, the first time that put your foot down and declare that you are not walking across the park one more time simply to go look at another potty, your child will pee her pants in public.

Or so I have heard.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Bottomless peck

Jay, WCK, and I picked apples at an orchard over the weekend. I had never been apple picking before. It was very fun, and we ended up with a peck of apples. I never had any idea what a "peck" was, other than the amount of pickled peppers that Peter Piper picked.

Our bucket didn't seem very full at the orchard, but it turns out that a peck of apples is a lot for our little family. It seems like we have been having apples at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, and we've hardly made a dent in our peck. The number of apples in the bag never seems to go down. It's like the apples keep having babies or cloning themselves overnight. Thinking I needed to get creative with the peck, I found a recipe for Apple Pie Pockets. I made those yesterday afternoon and WCK "helped". (Mostly, she kept trying to eat the cinnamon-sugar mixture.) Now we are constantly eating apples and apple pie.

Does the "apple a day keeps the doctor away" philosophy hold true if the apple is inside a pie? I say yes.

Monday, October 06, 2008

I have problems. Do you?

My friend Jenifer has tagged me to write a Quirkiness MeMe. This means she wrote a list of her seven weirdest personality quirks on her blog, and now I'm supposed to do the same thing. (Really, Jen, you thinking liking to clean things is a problem? Can you come over and clean my house?)

At first I didn't think I could do this. I didn't think I had any personality quirks. Then I started to really think about it and I realized that, um, I have some real problems:

1. OK, first there is that whole black jellybean addiction.

2. If I see an apostrophe used incorrectly, I nearly become homicidal.

3. I have a firm belief that "Over the Rainbow" was only meant to be sung by Judy Garland. No other versions allowed. If I hear someone else singing it, I become incorrect-apostrophe insane. I've always said that when I become a billionaire, I am buying the rights to "Over the Rainbow", and I am not allowing anyone else to sing it. Maybe we can bring out Liza Minnelli if there is some kind of Rainbow emergency, but that's as far as I am willing to go.

4. When I buy a brand new book or magazine, I hate it if somebody else reads it or even looks through it before I get a chance. Sometimes Jay will pretend to look at one of my new books, just to see me freak out.

5. I have a really strict Christmas policy. Christmas shopping, decorating, music-listening, etc., cannot begin until the day after Thanksgiving and must end immediately on the day after New Year's. Kansas City radio stations start playing Christmas music on Nov. 1, and it just gnaws away at my soul. One time, I got into the car and saw that Jay had been listening to a Christmas station prior to Thanksgiving. We had to have a Serious Talk.

6. I can't sleep without a sleep mask: You know, those little masks that you'd imagine, say, Miss Piggy or Lovey Howell from Gilligan's Island sleeping in. When we first bought our house, our bedroom was really bright in the mornings. Jay got me a little sleep mask sporting a row of ducks swimming above the saying, "Quack off! I'm sleeping!" I soon became addicted to the duck mask. I've gone through tons of them, too. After a while, they even get worn out and the straps fall off, and you can see imprints of where my eyeballs were.

7. My head is filled with lines from movies and from The Simpsons. Often, quoting lines from The Jerk is the only way my sister and I communicate. This isn't as anti-social as it seems, as lines from The Jerk can be applied to most situations in life. Any time I hear somebody say "St. Louis" in any context, I immediately think,"No! Navin Johnson!"

The next step is to tag other people to post their own list of quirks on their own blogs. I tag these guys:

La Cootina

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Pacifier Fairy

The Pacifier Fairy paid a visit to our house yesterday. She took all of WCK's pacifiers away and flew off, ready to deliver the pacifiers to little babies around the world. She left exciting toys in place of the pacifiers.

WCK and I had been talking about the impending visit from the Pacifier Fairy for weeks. WCK told me that the green pacifier actually belonged to her stuffed frog, so Froggy should get his own toy that he would "share" with her. I discussed this with the Pacifier Fairy, and she agreed to WCK's terms.

The fairy arrived yesterday during naptime, although newly pacifier-free WCK wasn't actually napping. While I listened to her completely destroy her room upstairs, I lay on the couch and watched an episode of Oprah about how all mothers in America are tired and completely overwhelmed. Obviously these mothers have "standards", such as not allowing their children to trash their bedrooms. Obviously these mothers do not have the help of imaginary fairies.

When "naptime" was over, Froggy got a Land Before Time Chompin' Chomper action figure:

WCK got a Snuggle-Kins wolf pup:

WCK was really happy to see the toys. Once the excitement wore off, however, reality set in. WCK realized that she would NEVER SEE THE PACIFIERS AGAIN. The past 24 hours have been rough. Lots of screaming, not much sleep. I've had to explain over and over that once the fairy takes the pacifiers, she can't bring them back. She's pretty tough, that Pacifier Fairy. You really don't want to mess with her.
This is my top parenting rule: Let fictional characters do your dirty work.

The Big 500!

Blogger tells me this is my 500th post! FIVE HUNDRED! I say this calls for a big party: