Rammidy Rammity

I really like being Bowser on Mario Kart. He is a big character so when I drive I get to just go wherever I want and ram other people off the road. I like ramming. This makes me a bit of a hazard in the team games but I just really like that if anyone runs in to me, it is their fault.
You might ask yourself why this is important. believe me it is. I think it means I need a bigger car mainly. You see maybe the same thing could apply to driving. What kind of car would I need? I think I should blame the video game for my desire to sometimes ram the other players, like the people who cut you off then slow down 20 miles.
We have done a lot of driving this summer- and I have learned that the enemy of cruise control is the competitive driver. These are the drivers that really make me crazy. You set the cruise and come up on them and they speed up just so you can't pass them. Then you give up and they slow down again. Like it's a race. As soon as they realize they are about to lose their spot they freak out, then stop paying attention and slow again. Competitive drivers want you to maintain the status quo- where they are ahead. They want you to know that they were always going fast and your passing is an insult. Maybe they don't have cruise control- and I wish I had some kind of car sign that says- you are the one with the crazy changing speed jerkface. My favorite thing? A competitive driver that gets pulled over when they are trying really hard to establish their dominance.
The other day I was at the grocery store and the strangest thing happened. I met a competitive driver in the aisle. I was trying to look at things and she kept getting in front of me- slow down, speed up, she was just following me. Even though I didn't need anything in the aisle we met in, she was not going to let me pass her. I didn't realize how effective people could be at blocking a shopping aisle where really two carts could fit comfortably past. Normally you can ask people to move to the side but not really when they are still moving and you just want to pass them. She had two whining kids and a shoulder length brown hair with a tight perm. I never did pass her.
The other day at the park Danielle was playing and a kid wanted her to get out of the wooden boat- a competitive driver in the making. Too bad there aren't more adults around to tell those people to let the kid who got their first stay in the fast lane.


Tagged. Finally.

Hello everyone I got tagged by Annie- I am happy to be tagged and welcome other tags. so here it is.

3 Joys:
  • Shoes
  • Gossip
  • Chocolate
3 Fears:
  • abandonment
  • being fat forever
  • having no money
3 Goals:
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • finish my business plan
  • work out 5 days a week

3 Current Obsessions/Collections:
  • board games
  • strawberry whoppers
  • sewing
3 Random Surprising Facts About Me:
  • I learned how to make a believable fart noise with my hand last week
  • I have published a paper or two about linguistics and German
  • I am a licensed German teacher.
I tag - Rachelle, Heather and Jen



We had lots of fun this weekend visiting Claire and Steve. Danielle especially liked the fountains at the Farmers market and PF Changs, which is her favorite restaurant. They have huge kids portions and she eats lots of Shrimp Fried Rice whenever we go there. We didn't get to play tennis (I was feeling like too much of a bum) but we did get to play lots of Mario cart.
I have been informed that there aren't very many pictures of me on here- sorry! I take most of the pictures and sometimes I just feel too chubby so I don't post them! Anyway Claire is learning to quilt and I was excited to sew with her. Baby girl was excited to find a permanent marker and color all over her dress and neck. I think baby girl has shut the door to her room right now. She likes to go into a room and shut to door. Then I am supposed to open the door. The process continues from there. I occasionally wish she wanted to play a different game after about 20 minutes of this. It is amazing what Danielle will do if someone is playing with her. She could throw the ball for a few hours. We let her play this game a lot, but then she doesn't understand why she shouldn't throw the bowl. Kids are funny that way. Now she forgot that one of the important aspects of the door opening game is mommy, who is the one who opens the door. She just wandered down the hall and I am writing about Boise. How long are you supposed to wait before freeing a child from a room they have shut themselves into? I am not quite sure but I will probably go get her.
Boise was great fun. It made me realize that I am really dreading driving with her anywhere- especially back to Philly. Oh dear. I also think that working full time must be easier than school, because I get to spend to much time with John. I will miss it. So will Danielle, who starts running all around the house whenever daddy comes home.


Potty Training

I realized this week that I am a college educated mom that is a little bit obsessed with potty. Some people call it being busy or doing in your pants. Some people hate to change diapers and some people never go to the bathroom in front of their spouse. One thing that all moms seem to have in common is that they are faced with cleaning up after someone every day. In one of my college classes we studied German fairy tales. One thing that wasn’t really a paper topic since it was over done was German obsession with fecal material. I guess there is a lot of German Literature about going potty. Freud even wrote about what stage in development makes humans obsessed with their own waste. Even reading the material then it was a little bit awkward. I don’t really like bathroom humor because I just don’t think it is funny so why is there so much psychological literature explaining why this type of joke or obsession exists? Germans are much more open about things like an upset stomach or digestive problems. I will always remember the first time someone told me in detail about being sick. I thought it was so strange at the time, why in the world would they share that, or think a lot about that?

Last Thursday Danielle went to the bathroom for the first time on her potty. She has been sitting on the potty every time I go for a while now and finally her moment to really go potty instead of just rip toilet paper up like mommy does had arrived. I am so ashamed at how thrilled I was that my only option was so make a blog entry about it. It has taken me over a week to try to think of what if anything I could write about such a personal topic. Toilet training is just a little bit different than the debate between cloth and disposable diapers. Also what grown adult wants to call everyone they know when someone else goes to the bathroom? I didn’t have to change that diaper. Danielle has gone potty in her potty three times already. She gets M&Ms when she does but I don’t think she has any idea what is going on yet. Maybe when she has more words than ma, da and doggie.

One time someone asked my mother why Danielle wasn’t potty trained yet. She was six months old at the time. Maybe Americans really are on a different time table than others with potty training. I don’t know too much about it but I have heard all sorts of crazy advice, from the people who think a six month old should be potty trained to people who are shocked that I change a diaper before it is full of poop.

How does one end a blog post like this? I still have just as many questions about this as I do about the mysteries of potty.


Secret Dancer

Something about being a mom brings me back to things I wanted to do in gasp- high school. I am reminded especially of dance parties I would have with my friends- Just a few of us, dancing out hearts out. I don’t think that we were particularly good dancers- we weren’t like the girls that got together for dance parties after hours and hours of practice at the dance studio. Danielle and I have private dance parties. The 15 year old discovering movement is excited that Danielle seems to laugh when we get to dance together, and I love dancing with just to two of us. Sometimes when daddy comes home too since he will dance with Danielle, but I guess I am just more of a secret dancer. Two days ago I discovered Danielle is a secret dancer as well. She always likes it when we have music on in the car and on that particularly fussy evening we were trying to find a station that wasn’t too annoying. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Danielle lean her head forward in her seat and start to dance. As soon as I was seen the dancing stopped and she looked out the window, nonchalantly. It almost never happened. Then a few minutes later another of her favorite songs came on and the dancing started again. If she was discovered her audience the fun was over. Now and then Danielle hears the music and is moved, and sometimes she does her spinning dance with no music, but I know she is hearing the call of the secret dance.


What I did Today

Today I lost at Settler's of Catan. Again. Oh well. I love playing with the cities and knights addition but I haven't really figured it out yet. I like to play a game again and again until I feel like I have a good strategy.
Also I noticed that Danielle is so cute- she took all my ribbon out of the container and was running around with as much of it on her head as possible. Then she would yell and spin. She does this thing where she stomps her feet now and was dubbed "godzilla baby" by one store clerk. This is the first time I found myself laughing about child comments rather than rolling my eyes. The man remembered us from before when Danielle chased the store dog around and tried nonstop to pet it. She cried when the dog got to go behind the desk and threw a baby tantrum, which means she screamed for a few seconds until she discovered there were other things to look at and do. She was yelling and tromping around last night at that same game store where she finally discovered the way to get the shy doggie to play with her. She shared her crackers with it. Suddenly all her hopes and dreams of making a doggie friend were realized and she made a few victory stomps. This lifelong joy only lasted until Danielle discovered it was much more fun to run from mommy and throw books on the floor. That was almost two minutes of pure baby/doggie joy. Then she realized another thing that keeps her from real happiness. You see I won't let her rip the pages out and that is rude. Danielle also needed her security dinner roll today. it was sitting on the counter but she wanted it. She didn't eat any of it but carrying it around for a few hours must have been quite therapeutic. I also decided it was finally time to make all those boy sets that people have been looking for- are there only boy babies these days? I was shockingly low and people needed them so I decided to work on the supply. I made a set that I am going to call "Janelle's Gift Set". It has monkeys on it and has a 20 inch blanket and 3 burp cloths. I like the idea of the 20 inch blanket because then the kid can carry it around without taking every piece of dirt with them. Also they are the perfect size for a car seat which I like.
My cousin Janelle is having a boy. She actually didn't find out at the ultrasound so everyone in her family knew but not her. It was a surprise and she found out at her shower. I don't know how she had so much patience. At Paul's wedding it somehow came up- someone went up to her and said they didn't know she was pregnant. When they asked if she knew what she was having I almost blurted out- she's having a boy. I wasn't even thinking and almost ruined a surprise that tons of other people had maintained. How does this happen? It was my dad who asked and I am glad that I was cut off by someone else answering before I blew it. That was a close one. As was Danielle's attempt to sneak off and play with scissors this morning. Oh the joy of finding your daughter in the same room you are in, only with the rotary blade and shears. I guess that marks another shelf she can reach. And another mommy win against baby suicide attempts. 24 burp cloth sets later I am ready for business again.


Coupons. The Real Issue.

One of my most vivid and negative memories from student teaching was a fight over coupons. Over lunch the teachers would get together and talk about students and life and sometimes how hard it was to pay for things. One librarian had to find new childcare after her brother in law was reported to child services for letting her kids play in a leaf filled gutter. With some people this evolved into complaining. I was warned that as soon as I had children my husband would no longer do anything nice for me. There is always a deadline associated with husbands failing- birth, second child, married a year… every person with their free advice wants you to understand that they are helping you out before the inevitable strikes. And so I was introduced to coupons. One teacher had an elaborate coupon system that her group of friends maintained. She expressed shock that I didn’t like to use coupons and outrage that I shopped at an expensive place like Albertsons. She told me that Wall Mart was the only place to shop and when I was teaching I wouldn’t be able to afford such an expensive grocery store. Shocked, I never contributed my less than stellar review of what I know as the evil empire. I was branded as the fancy student who ‘gasp’ shopped at Albertsons. Not that I don’t love a sale. I feel almost commanded to buy things on sale, including the 5 for a dollar cards from Hallmark I bought yesterday. They weren’t all birthday cards and they promised but my grandmother is probably grateful for the happy birthday great grandson cards I gave her and I got at least 4 cards I could use (out of 15- 2 of them are a stretch but I think my dad has an odd sense of humor). I also now maintain a coupon book thanks to my friend Judi who does a better job maintaining one. I love finding great deals and I like to look online for coupons. I print them out and store them in case I need them and my pretty pink coupon binder lives in the car. Another acquaintance asked how I could afford to shop at a store with coupons- they are only on ‘gasp’ name brand items. Once again, I was doing the wrong thing. This week our Albertsons is having a sale- if you buy five boxes of Post Cereal you can get them for 1.19 a box. I have a coupon. I also have all the cereal for the rest of the time I am in Washington, and I am showing real restraint- I will not buy it even though at 60 cents I box I feel almost commanded. Wouldn’t you want to bring it home with you? I have decided I cannot win the coupon war, even if I have signed up for Bed Bath and Beyond coupons for everyone in our household including our dog. Sometimes when I am walking down the aisles in the grocery store with my list of what is on sale that week I feel as though I have abandoned my values. I am not really one of the true coupon zealots and I still hate Wall Mart. No one told me that this was going to happen on the summer after my 27th birthday. Why wasn’t I warned? They were probably holding out on me. I guess that’s what you get when you shop at Albertsons- with coupons. Maybe I will just start getting my food delivered- I wonder how that works with coupons.


German. Today.

People are always asking me if I am going to teach my daughter German. We speak German a few hours each day- mostly I speak to her and she doesn’t speak back since she doesn’t talk yet but maybe she will benefit from it like I did as a child. My father taught me the really valuable German phrase “Morgan Morgan nur nicht Heute, sagen alle faule Leute.” Or “Tomorrow, Tomorrow, not today, that’s what the lazy people say. As a child it was frustrating and I felt a little trite. This is also the man who foolishly quoted the scripture scout line “Whine Whine..” thinking he was encouraging us to stop complaining when we simply finished the phrase with the next line; “...dad, we think you’ve lost your mind.” Despite some misguided quotes and advice the German stuck with me. There is no excuse for putting off the things you have to do. I always knew how to tell people I loved them and a popular idiomatic expression compelling us all to work hard. Except yesterday I read an article that made me realized I didn’t believe in my treasure of knowledge from childhood. It was about dieting. Many get caught in the trap of procrastinating the day of their eating repentance. I will start eating fiber one and salad tomorrow, we often think. I will give up ice cream forever starting tomorrow. But tomorrow doesn’t ever come. The German phrase would have us let go today and get on with life already. The only problem is that I have no intention of letting those things happen tomorrow or today. So I have decided not to give all my favorite things up. I like to store up candy in case I need it someday. Every day I want that candy and I am secretly happy when my friends eat it even though I haven’t. It is security. I know that I want it today but I also know that I will want it tomorrow. And the next day… really every day I guess. I intend to eat it, just like so many other intentions I have. In some cases though, procrastinating really is the way to go. I might call my dad up and complain about a bunch of things I need to do, just so he’ll l give me the same old advice and I can get him. I finally thought of a comeback- only a quarter of a century later. Right now though I think I will go eat a brownie. Today.


Baby Wars

This Sunday we trudged home with screaming child in hand after one hour and 39 minutes of Church. A parent loss, even though her three hour nap as soon as we got home was her consolation prize to us. Danielle isn’t one of those children who really likes to learn or wants other people to be happy. I don’t know if any 15 month old is really altruistic so sometimes I feel like we are in a war. With a toddler. And there are losses. It started when she was a baby and she wouldn’t eat unless John used the “persistent bottle.” With the medicine it started as her turning her head to spit out medicine and became her holding it in her mouth and spitting it in our face as soon as the dropper was finally removed. The mommy win came when I discovered you could hold the dropper under her tongue and wait until she screamed so hard she swallowed. Well that mostly worked. The other night we came to find Danielle standing in her travel crib which is her only crib for the summer and discovered another Danielle win. She was happily awake, without a diaper. Danielle has discovered that it is fantastic to remove diapers- and not very hard if we forget long pants. Any time she can get a diaper she is thrilled- up comes mommy and out runs Danielle. A Danielle win if ever there is one involves running with a diaper in the middle of changing. Or pulling all her hair out of the back of her head and trying to pull mine then laughing. My weapons for the war? I used to have a valuable corporal named Austin that could distract my daughter who refused to eat or help her get over the pain of mommy stealing things from her like a box of tampons or daddy’s scriptures. I also like using things like drawer locks and blankets and baby toys. The other day I tried to enlist the help of a movie called Babe with a live pig. This trick earned me all of 10 minutes before I belatedly realized she could reach that third shelf on the bookcase and was emptying it of all its contents. Her height is becoming an enemy. No longer all the counters and kitchen table safe. I’ll never forget the day when Danielle happily handed me my ginger sewing shears and I put them on the table, only to receive them again 10 minutes later-Just another baby victory. Every day she doesn’t do what I call “commit baby suicide” I count as my victory, like when she brought me my opened medicine bottle or tries to get to the open oven before mommy takes anything out or when she tried to run in front of cars or in general always tries to run away. I know Danielle would love nothing more than to destroy all of my hard work, because those are her baby chores. More than that it is her destiny her part of the war. I think that the war is actually just parenting. I will keep fighting and I will win. At least I hope so.