Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
Six years ago today, I was diagnosed with myeloma. Doctors -- including some of the country's best myeloma doctors -- have been unable to tell me why I ended up with this rare, almost-never-strikes-anyone-under-50 disease. Dr. H said it was "bad luck." Dr. GPO told me it was a "biological accident." Still, every day for the past six years, I've wondered to myself what I possibly ate/drank/breathed in/exposed myself to/did to anger God or the Universe or the evil gypsy woman who put a curse on my blood.
Then, just a couple of weeks ago, my aunt was diagnosed with myeloma.
Oh. OK. Thanks, Universe! Thanks. So it's nothing we ate/drank/breathed in/exposed ourselves to/did to anger God or the Universe or the evil gypsy woman who put a curse on our blood. Apparently, my family simply has poisonous genes. It's either that or an evil gypsy woman put a curse on our ancestors back in the 1800s, which is entirely possible.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
A few years ago, I started a Thanksgiving tradition. On November 1, I draw an outline of a tree on a piece of poster board. I write, "We are thankful for ..." on the trunk of the tree. Then I cut out a whole bunch of leaf shapes from construction paper. Every night before WCK's bedtime, Jay, WCK, and I sit down and each write one thing we're thankful for on a leaf, and we stick it to the tree. We do this every night until Thanksgiving. Here's our list from this year, in no particular order.
We are thankful for ...
Grandkids (my mom wrote that one when she was here)
Bob (the guy who fixed some wood rot on our house)
Living in Kansas City
Sisters and brothers
The Kansas City Chiefs
Grandmas and grandpas
Little House on the Prairie
Aunts and uncles
Good food together
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
Ralph, our family's Elf on the Shelf, returned to our house sometime last night. I'm not sure how he got into the house. He's up on the mantel, keeping a solemn vigil over us, reporting any misbehavior to Santa. I guess I'd better stop stealing WCK's Halloween candy if I want to get something good this year. Jay is still convinced Ralph is going to murder us in our sleep.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
It's a beautiful day here in Kansas City! Jay and I ran the Turkey Trot 5k this morning in short sleeves. Last year, it was so cold that the cups of water for the runners turned into cups of ice. Afterwards, we had a chili feast (prepared by Jay), because we're having another Thanksgiving gathering on Saturday and we didn't want to cook two turkeys in a row. WCK, however, made these place cards for everyone:
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
When I post a "music break" video instead of writing something, it might seem like a big cop-out. Wrong! I fully intended it to be a cop-out, but really, I probably spend more time looking for videos than I would spend writing. Of course, I have to view each video several times in a thoughtful, intelligent, scientific way to determine if it's the right video for my blog. For example, yesterday I was going to post a video of the Backstreet Boys singing "Get Down" at the Kansas City concert. After several thoughtful, intelligent, scientific viewings of "Get Down", however, I thoughtfully added up the number of times various Backstreet Boys grab themselves and scientifically determined that I probably shouldn't put that one a family-friendly blog.
If you don't care about family-friendliness, here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LKZhEcs9t0
I'd better go watch it again, just to make sure my scientific theory was correct.
Monday, November 21, 2011
After WCK goes to bed on Halloween night, the Great Pumpkin comes to our house, takes about half of her candy, and leaves a toy in its place. Where does the candy go? I'm not sure. According to ancient legend, it might get magically whisked away to Jay's office for his co-workers to eat. No one really knows for sure.
Anyway, even with half of the candy Great-Pumpkined away, there is still a ton of candy left in that Halloween bucket that we keep on top of the fridge. Today, WCK made an announcement:
"My goal is to finish all of that candy by the end of the year!" she said.
Little does she know I am secretly helping her reach her goal, day by day. I'm just trying to be supportive.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
This afternoon we had about a dozen kids over for a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving party. If it's been a while since you've seen A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, it goes like this: Peppermint Patty calls Charlie Brown and rudely invites herself -- plus two other kids -- over to Charlie Brown's house for Thanksgiving dinner. Charlie Brown can't say no to Peppermint Patty, but he panics, because he doesn't know how to cook anything except popcorn and toast. Linus, Snoopy, and Charlie Brown go to work cooking up popcorn and toast for Thanksgiving dinner, only to have Peppermint Patty freak out and yell at them for not making a "real" Thanksgiving dinner. Charlie Brown is crushed; Peppermint Patty realizes she's been horrible and apologizes. Then they all go to Charlie Brown's grandma's house for a real dinner.
It kind of makes you wonder about the parents of everyone in the Peanuts gang, particularly Peppermint Patty. Maybe they're all drunk. I mean, you've heard them talk. Whaaaa whaaaaa whaaaaaaaaaa!
Anyway, at our party, all of the kids made turkey hats, and then we all sat down to watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Afterward, we had Charlie Brown's feast of pretzels, jellybeans, popcorn, and toast. I figured the toast tower would be more for decoration than anything, but they all devoured the toast!
It was a lot of fun, and I love throwing these parties for the kids, but I think WCK has come to expect a lot from my party-planning abilities. "At the end of our next party," she said, "we'll make confetti fall from the ceiling!"
Hmm. I'll get right on that.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Yesterday before I picked WCK up from drama club, I got an e-mail from her homeroom teacher, asking all of the parents to give the kids extra practice on their spelling words. Apparently, everyone's test results this week were, well, less than ideal. WCK missed four words, which was very upsetting to her, since she's used to getting 100 percent and a sticker. She did not get a sticker this week.
As soon as we got home, WCK exclaimed, "I have to go straight to my diary and write all about this HORRIBLE DAY!!!!" She quickly disappeared upstairs.
Apparently, she is still learning all about drama in drama club. It was a very Jan Brady moment.
Again, I'm just dying to see what she wrote in there. Dying.
Friday, November 18, 2011
The half cake was a big hit last night! I also bought WCK a little gift: A little diary with a lock on it. She had been asking for one, and she thinks it's the coolest thing ever. I told her that whatever she wrote/drew in the diary would be top secret just for her, unless she specifically brought it to Jay or me to look at. Last night and this morning, she spent time "writing in her diary", and, OK, I admit it, I am dying to know what she is writing/drawing about in there. It's not that I think she has any deep dark secrets, it's that I'm sure it's extremely cute.
Oh, I want to go look at it so much.
But I won't, because I know diaries with locks on them are sacred. At least, mine was until my sister figured out how to pry open the lock in third grade, but that's an entirely different story. Besides, WCK announced that she "hid" both of the teeny-tiny keys where I would never find them, and I'm wondering if she will ever find them again. The child often has trouble finding things that are in plain sight. We once had the following exchange:
WCK: Where is my granola bar??!?!?!?!
ME: It's in your hand.
And this morning we had a huge drama because she could not find her purple barrette and was forced to wear a blue barrette, like an animal. But that's an entirely different story.
So there's a very good chance that neither one of us will see the inside of that diary, at least until my sister comes to town and can pry open the lock for us.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
WCK learned about the concept of "half-birthdays" in preschool and kindergarten. To make sure that kids with summer birthdays aren't left out of the bring-a-treat-to-school-on-your-birthday tradition, the teachers let them bring in treats on their half-birthdays over the winter. WCK kept asking me why we never celebrate her half-birthday, because we never have. Really, it's not because I'm a mean mom. It's because I always forget until a few weeks afterward, when somebody at the park or McDonald's Playland or wherever asks me how old she is.
ME: She's five and a ha...
MY BRAIN: Oh, crap.
This year, though, I actually remembered about a week in advance, and I told WCK about it, so she could remind me multiple times a day, every day, for about a week. Today when she comes home from school, I plan to surprise her with a half cake and a half card. I hope she finds this funny:
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Whenever I bring WCK home from her monthly Girl Scout meeting, I also bring home one of her good friends who lives near us, and who has been WCK's friend since they were both babies. The first time I picked them up and asked them, "What did you do at the meeting today?" they both thought it was hilarious to come up with outlandish Girl Scout activities to tell me about. They rode on purple elephants and giraffes. They jumped in a bouncy castle. The Girl Scout leader brought in a giant merry-go-round!
Now, every time I drive them home, they see what they can come up with. I always pretend to believe them, which they find even more hilarious.
Yesterday, WCK's friend told me that the whole troop went on a field trip to Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun. "And we rode on the really, really big roller coaster!"
Then I heard WCK whispering in the back seat. "Hey, I don't want to go on the big roller coaster! I get carsick!"
Even in her wildest fantasies, WCK is still cautious.
Monday, November 14, 2011
We've had a big spider living in the corner of our garage door for a good month or so. When the weather was warm, he/she would weave really cool webs, somehow allowing just enough room for our car to drive in and out of the garage without messing the web up. When we'd arrive home and raise the garage door, the spider would get really excited (and/or terrified) and wave his/her little arms at us. On days when the weather was colder, he/she would curl up in a little ball and wait it out. Sometimes, we'd get worried that the unmoving ball-of-spider had gone to that Giant Web in the Sky, but then the weather would warm up again, and he/she would come to life again and weave another web.
We got really attached to the spider. WCK named him/her Super Pooper.*
This morning as we left for school, we did our usual check on Super Pooper and found that he** was gone! I like to think that he wandered off to find a warmer place to sleep for the winter; WCK thinks he got squashed. I never found the body, though, so I like to think that Super Pooper is OK and that he'll be back again someday. Godspeed, Super Pooper. Godspeed.
*Why you should never ask a six-year-old, "What should we name the spider?"
**I'll just go ahead and call the spider "he", because isn't Super Pooper more of a boy's name?
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
I've discovered a new Law of the Universe: Whenever WCK has a much coveted, highly delicious, one-of-a-kind food item that cannot be replaced, she will drop that item on the floor before she eats it.
And I will pick it up off the ground and just let her keep eating it, because it is one-of-a-kind.
Example One: The first- and second-grade drama club had a little "cast party" after their last play. The teacher made a point in telling us that there were only 10 cupcakes -- highly delicious chocolate cupcakes with blindingly colorful frosting -- which meant that there was exactly one cupcake per child. After you got your one cupcake, there are no more cupcakes.
And WCK promptly dropped hers on the carpet, frosting-side down.
And I promptly leapt to the rescue, invoked the two-second rule, and let her keep eating it, right in front of some School Parents I'd just met. Mother of the Year!
Example Two: We were at a kids' cooking class at a local grocery store this morning. WCK spent an hour toiling over a homemade Pop-Tart with chocolate filling. The Pop-Tarts came out of the oven. WCK carefully frosted it, and then the big moment arrived: It was time to eat the Pop-Tart.
And WCK promptly dropped it on the floor.
I scooped it up, this time in front of people who I've known for a long time, people who don't judge me for feeding my kid Floor Food. The class instructor did reassure me that the floor had just been mopped right before the class started. If the floor had been filthy, though, would that have stopped me? I don't know. I don't know. I'm not sure if I can challenge a Law of the Universe.
Friday, November 11, 2011
I've never heard of anyone laughing in their sleep, but WCK did it last night. She wasn't just giggling, either. I could hear her laughing hysterically all the way down the hall. I assumed that she'd gotten out of bed and was playing in her room, even though she'd supposedly gone to sleep hours earlier. I walked into her room, expecting to find her out of bed in a pile of toys. Instead, she was tucked in bed, eyes half shut .... laughing out loud.
"WCK?" I said. "What's going on? Why are you laughing?"
"Everything is so funny!" she said. And then she promptly went back to sleep.
This morning she had no memory of laughing in her sleep, but she thought it was pretty funny that she did it, and she started laughing again.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
I love Richard Scarry books. When I was in second grade, we had write a letter to our favorite author, and I wrote to Richard Scarry. After about a year, he actually wrote back to me and included a little drawing of Lowly Worm on the letter. I have no idea where that letter is now, but I wish I had it to show to WCK, because she loves Richard Scarry, too.
When I found a Richard Scarry Thanksgiving book used on Amazon.com for about five bucks, I had to get it for WCK:
Now, I read some customer reviews of this book on Amazon, so I knew what to expect, and WCK likes it. Still, I have to say it is the strangest Richard Scarry book I have ever seen.
When you hear "Richard Scarry Thanksgiving book", you think it's going to be filled with the crazy misadventures of animals wearing funny hats. You think Mr. Frumble is going to get a Thanksgiving turkey stuck on his head, take off in his Pickle Car, and crash into Bananas Gorilla! Sergeant Murphy to the rescue! Pure hilarity!
This book is not like that at all. Yes, it has the adorable kitties and piggies wearing hats, but the adorable kitties and piggies wish to convey a deadly serious view of life in the 1600s. Here are a bunch of Native Americans dying of plague:
And finally, Pilgrims dying:
Would you ever expect to see a fresh grave in a Richard Scarry book? I don't think "grave digger" was one of the occupations explored in "What Do People Do All Day", but maybe I need to re-read that one.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
One of WCK's spelling words this week is "just".
"Oh, I just haaaaaaate this word!" she exclaimed. When I asked her why, she said, "Because it reminds me of Justin Bieber, and I haaaaaaaate him!"
Oh, that makes me laugh. It turns out that most of the girls in WCK's class are in love with Justin Bieber, but WCK is standing her ground. I guess I can see his appeal, although, as far as I can tell, he has just one song, and that one song has just one word in it. (Unless you count "oh" as a word. Then it has two.) At the same time, I'm awfully proud of WCK for refusing to get swept up into the frenzy, especially when you consider her high-risk family history with things like this:
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
The results from my race are in. My time was 1:07:37, and I placed fifth in my age group. That sounds really impressive, until you consider that there were only nine women in my age group. Still, that means that there are four women aged 35 to 39 who had to eat my dust! Ha ha ha, you four anonymous 35-to-39-year-old women! Perhaps next year I will make five people eat my dust.
Monday, November 07, 2011
WCK goes to a Catholic school, and for the last few weeks the first-graders have been learning the Our Father prayer. They made a little book where they illustrated each phrase of the prayer. I'm sure you'll agree, no matter what your religious beliefs, that my child has turned the Our Father into the most darling prayer of all time. You will never hear the Our Father again without thinking of the drawings and going, "Awwww!" in your head. Here are just a few examples of the darling-ness.
See how darling?
Even more darling!
WCK explained to me that in the above "Thy will be done" picture, everyone had to draw themselves doing a good deed. Here, she is helping Jay shovel snow, which is certainly a good deed for Mommy, who is most likely inside the warm house, quietly checking Facebook. When I asked her why she always draws Jay with gray hair (because she's done it before), she said, "Because the white crayon won't show up!"
HAHAHA! OK, I shouldn't laugh. Jay is a year younger than I am.
Anyway, the page in the book that really made me laugh was "Give us this day our daily bread." They were supposed to find magazine photos of "daily bread", which I'm guessing meant daily necessities, such as food or clothing:
So, according to my child, daily necessities include paprika, a sparkly shirt covered in sequins, and canned ravioli. But it's not just any canned ravioli, it is "BIG" ravioli. Our God is a generous god.
Sunday, November 06, 2011
This morning I ran my first 10k. It went very well, in that I still felt fairly OK at the end and didn't feel like falling down and dying. "Not falling down and dying" was my main 10k goal. I didn't even feel like throwing up. "Not throwing up" was my second goal. Although I didn't have the fastest time in the world, I did not have to stop to walk, and I did not come in last. I swear there were still a few people behind me! Yes!
I think one of the best parts about running a race is the free t-shirt. It's a nice, obnoxious-yet-subtle way to tell everyone, "Yes, I ran a race." You get to wear it casually to the grocery store or wherever and hope you run into someone you know. "Oh, this old t-shirt? Yes, I ran a race." I don't understand the people who wear their free race t-shirt to the actual race. You're here! We already know you're running a race! You don't need to impress us! You're getting your obnoxious-yet-subtle piece of advertising all sweaty and gross! Because, really, the very best part of running a race is coming home, taking a shower, and then putting on your nice, clean, comfortable race t-shirt and wearing it for the rest of the day and feeling all cozy and satisfied that you ran the race. I'm wearing mine right now. Ahh. I think I need to go to the grocery store.
Saturday, November 05, 2011
Back when I was in college, I thought Disney Princesses were The Cause of All of Society's Ills, and I vowed that if I ever had a daughter, I would never let her within 100 yards of a Disney Princess. I was 10 years away from having a child, and I therefore knew everything there was to know about having a child.
Fast forward about 10 years to when I actually gave birth to a daughter, and I realized that there are more important things to worry about when raising a child, such as keeping said child alive on a day-to-day basis, blah blah blah blah. I decided that Disney Princesses have never turned anyone into a deranged psychopath, as far as I know, so I relaxed a bit. Now the princesses can pretty much do whatever they want with my child. I don't care. Mother of the Year!
Now, compared to some other little girls, WCK isn't usually a huge princess fan. She has a bunch of princess dresses and some dolls, she thinks princesses are OK, but she'd rather play with her toy dinosaurs. Sometimes she does put tiny princess dresses on the dinosaurs, though.
A few months ago, though, she got invited to a princess-themed birthday party. Rapunzel showed up and gave all of the little girls makeovers. I dropped her off at this party, so I didn't get to see everything that happened. According to the birthday girl's mom, WCK had the time of her life and would not stop talking to Rapunzel and -- according to several other eye-witness reports -- dancing for her. Fortunately, Rapunzel was a good sport and put up with my child pestering her. I wonder if Rapunzel is available for baby-sitting.
Anyway, when I heard about a "Meet the Princess" event at our church, I signed WCK up right away. The girls dressed up in their little princess dresses and got makeovers from Belle and Cinderella. Apparently, a makeover -- featuring large quantities of glitter-- is a requirement for any princess meeting. Do these princesses go around making over everyone they meet? "Really, officer, I wasn't speeding. Here, have some glitter hairspray."
After the makeover, the girls got tiaras, and they got to have a little tea party with pink cupcakes. It was very well-done. It was so well-done, in fact, that I didn't really realize that WCK thought she had met the real Belle and Cinderella until we got home. She showed a photo to Jay, and he said, "Oh, she looks really familiar. Does she go to our church?"
"Oh, maybe she does," I said, studying the photo.
WCK looked at us like we were both morons. "What are you talking about?" she said, "That's Belle. Maybe she looks familiar because you saw her when you went to Disney World!"
Oh, of course. I must have had glitter hairspray in my eye.
Friday, November 04, 2011
Each week, WCK's teacher picks one kid to be the class comedian. Every day for a week, the comedian tells/reads a joke to the class at the end of the day. Last week was WCK's turn, so the teacher e-mailed me to let me know WCK would need to bring in five jokes. We spent some time searching the Internet, and these are the ones we chose:
What did the boy ghost say to the girl ghost?
You sure are BOO-tiful!
What is a scarecrow's favorite fruit?
What does a bird say at Halloween?
Trick or TWEET!
Then, WCK made up two of her own original jokes:
How does a frog carry his library books?
In a TOAD bag!
When do reptiles fall from the sky?
During a bil-LIZARD!
When I asked WCK if the kids laughed at her jokes, she said, "No, but that's OK. Nobody EVER laughs at the jokes during comedian time."
Wow. Who knew first-graders were such a tough crowd? I mean, "Toad Bag" alone is comic gold. Maybe they just haven't had enough beer.
Thursday, November 03, 2011
This month's results are in, and my M-spike is holding steady at 2.2. Woo hoo!
I posted a photo of a Bon Jovi tie last month, so I wondered what other Bon Jovi products were out there. After a little Googling, I came upon this t-shirt, which I think is just perfect for me:
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
So, we had a Halloween party at our house for about 20 kids and their parents. The story of the party would probably take up an entirely different post. I remember the party being pretty fun, but I'm wondering if my brain is treating this party like childbirth -- remembering only the good parts and blocking out the messy, painful parts -- so that I will continue to host kids' parties and not let my party-planning gene die out.
It's like my brain is going, "Well, yeah, kids were throwing brownies at each other and grinding the crumbs into our carpet, but it really wasn't that bad. You just breathe through the pain." I've already volunteered to host a Thanksgiving party.
Anyway. WCK was beyond excited about this party, and we spent a whole day decorating. Then Jay got in on the decorating and decided that he and WCK would make a Pumpkin Guy to sit out on the porch and greet our guests:
I love how he's just hanging out and having a nice cup of coffee before he goes to his job as a ... what? He's wearing a tie, so he obviously has some kind of supervisory role, but he also gets to wear jeans, hiking boots, and gloves. I'm guessing he's some kind of pumpkin-patch inspector.
So the party was a wild success. (Sugar cookies in the carpet? Oh, it's the kind of mess you forget!) WCK and Jay brought the Pumpkin Guy inside, and then they decided to change his head and give him a fake skull instead, which made him look quite a bit creepier. I'm not sure where Jay first purchased the fake skull, but it was in his dorm room when I met him. A few years ago, it became one of WCK's most cherished toys. Yeah. The child who thinks "The Tinkerbell Movie" is "scary" keeps a grinning skull in her room. I know that's confusing, but so is the fact that I married a guy who purchased a fake skull. Human beings don't always make sense.
Anyway. They put Skull Guy casually on the couch. Later that afternoon, I went into the living room to get a library book and nearly peed myself. After I complained to Jay about Skull Guy hanging out in the living room, he promptly removed him from the couch. Later, I innocently walked into our bedroom, and ...
Oh, my husband is hilarious!!
Right then, I started quietly hatching a plan. As soon as Jay fell asleep, I would put Skull Guy in his car, ready to greet him when he left for work on Monday morning. MWA HA HA HA!
Unfortunately, shortly after the bed trick, Jay dismantled Skull Guy and put him away.
"Dang it!" I said. "I was going to put him in your car!"
I could tell Jay instantly regretted dismantling Skull Guy.
"Aw, man," he said, genuinely disappointed. "That would have been so funny."
Yes, yes it would have. There's always next year.
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
It's Nov. 1, and once again I've signed up for National Blog Posting Month (or "NaBloPoMo", for those among us who are too cool to say/write entire words). If I post something on my blog every day in November, I have a chance to win a prize. This is the third year that I've entered, and I've never won a prize. For the last two years, the prizes have been a little lame. One year one of the "good" prizes was a zombie doll made out of socks. Still, I really wanted that sock zombie, because it was a prize. I guess am not much different from my first-grader.
This year, however, NaBloPoMo has partnered with BlogHer (whatever that means), so the prizes are actually good prizes. Like, $50-Visa-gift-card good. Now I really have motivation to blog my buns off.
I have many things to say about our Halloween, but I will try to space them out in case I run out of topics by Nov. 3. For now, here is a photo of the pumpkin I carved, which is an evil, giant pumpkin eating a poor, terrified baby pumpkin. It made WCK a little nervous. I shall submit this photo to the Mother of the Year Committee, of course.