Thursday, March 31, 2005

Like Mama, Like Duckling

So, we've been cooped up in the house for two and a half days now...together...alone…the whole time...without so much as a trip to the grocery...

This morning I had my weekly doctor's appointment and was unsure how Amazing Grace (herein known by her original name: the Duckling) would handle this as she's still a bit under the weather (read: pooping whining mess). As I grabbed our coats out of the closest she got a big smile on her face and toddled over to me.

Apparently, she misses going out on our adventures as much as I do. :(

I feel a little guilty for not bringing her to Target now, like maybe she would have liked to have scoped out the Easter clearance too? Maybe she looks forward to the big red bullseye trips as much as I do? I KNEW it was a good thing to start her off with a trip to Target at three weeks old!

Peanut Update: Head is low (TMI possibly forthcoming...the doctor said it was below the pubic bone...this is good...we're headed toward the "Exit"!) and the FHR was 138...and yes, Melinda, I should be off somewhere giving birth now, but I truly believe that Peanut is in there and knows if he were to debut this week his Mommy would likely have to check into the local looney bin with all the chaos of the last few weeks!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God Almighty, I Was Free at Last!

I escaped tonight for the first time in two days.

That's a record for me. I leave the house at least once a day normally and twice a day on good days, however with the ongoing saga of poop and crabbiness by one, Amazing Grace, I have been kept prisoner in my own home.

But tonight all that ended.

I have been collecting the best list ever for a Target run, here are the highlights of the evening:
* 78 cents for two bags of Starburst suckers for Papa Duck's desk at work
* A really cute teether for Peanut (Easter clearance section...which I cannot describe further other than to say, I actually bought two and depending on what Peanut turns out to be, one of my lucky, loyal, pregnant readers will be receiving the other one!)
* Basket for all of Peanut's baby-baby toys (to keep them separated from the "Big Kid" toys that are Miss Grace's (God I LOVE baskets...organizational things...makes me giddy...stems from my job as a paralegal and the fact that I'm a Virgo I think...)
* New I used to have the $2 kind, but apparently Target doesn't carry those, so I am now the proud owner of the luxury level "oxo" soft handle dish-wand...and I have to say, it's fabulous, I washed up some dishes ASAP when I got home
* In Style magazine NOT to be read immediately, but packed in my hospital bag for the "time off" that I'm about to get

I was gone for TWO hours...all by myself...alone...taking my time wandering the aisles without shoving Kix at Miss Grace and keeping her from reaching around to pull out the treasures contained in the shopping cart.

Heaven, I tell ya.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Amazing Grace, The Poop and The Puke

Once upon a time there was a cute little girl named Amazing Grace who woke up with a fever. As the day went on she didn't feel much better (except for a few times when we blew bubbles on the porch), she had seven diapers with diarrhea throughout the day.

One time as her mommy, The Queen, was picking her up from her nap trying to figure out how she had gotten diarrhea on the sheet of her crib without getting it on her clothes...Amazing Grace puked all over The Queen. The Queen astutely noted that the stain on the sheet therefore was not diarrhea, but puke.

After many attempts to get Amazing Grace to drink Pedialyte and Gatorade (at the doctor's suggestion) The Queen and The King put the tiny Amazing Grace to bed, tired and still not feeling well.

The end.

So, here are a few things to keep in mind at the end of this really great story:
1. Amazing Grace is putting out liquids faster than she's taking them in...any suggestions are welcomed by The Queen.
2. You will notice there was no trip to Target for The Queen this day which means dirty dishes are piling up in the sink due to the lack of dish-wand in the castle.
3. The Queen smelled like puke for the remainder of the day, but has now showered and smells much better, thank you.

Well, come on in guys...look around, make some comments, vote in the's what we were up to last week in photos! Posted by Hello

Behold the Belly, my friends!!! Oh, and you can see the fabulous spring mantle I worked up last week...the painting in the middle is the one I created last year and it's flanked by some great deals on Gerbera daisies and vases that I got on sale at Michael' you care... Posted by Hello

"Hey guys! Check out what I found!!!" Grace finds her first Easter basket... Posted by Hello

Easter morning Grace signs for "help" in opening her new Baby Einstein that the Easter Bunny left...the sign isn't exactly right, but hey, we know what she meanas and it's better than whining! Posted by Hello

The lovely and talented Miss Grace stacks cups while standing on the blanket trunk...not safe, but hey, she may have a future in the circus with this kind of coordination! Posted by Hello

Monday, March 28, 2005

Tragedy Strikes

Tragedy has struck the Duck dish wand cracked tonight.

For those of you unfamiliar with the greatest invention since the bouncy seat and floppy cutting boards, this is a plastic tube that holds dish soap and is connected to a sponge. It makes dish washing a reality for those of us too lazy to fill up the sink with soap and water.

Granted, I've had it since like 2002 and the plastic is probably not meant to last more than a year, it was heart breaking.

Have no fear though, every cloud has a silver lining and this one comes in the form of a trip to Target to buy a new one.

Coming tomorrow: Photos of Miss Grace and my enormous belly...and if you're REALLY lucky, a recap on my findings at Target (including clearance Easter candy!!!)

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Whizzing Puppies ARE Lovable

Because I just love John Hughes movies...I swiped this from Melinda to whom I solemnly promise to post my responses the the literary questionnaire soon! This was just goofy and I needed it! So my interpretation of this result it that I am the lovable yellow lab puppy on speed who pees on visitors' shoes, but no one cares because I'm cute and friendly! Also, the whole swearing thing...NO idea where that comes from!!!! Rigggggghhhhht...I don't drink (mostly because I'm CONSTANTLY knocked-up) or smoke...I have to have some outlet, people!

You are Clark Griswold!
You are Clark Griswold (from National Lampoon's
Vacation)! You're full of optimism and
boundless energy, and no one loves a good
family trip more. No one else can swear a blue
streak like you either, Sparky!

Which John Hughes Character Are You?
brought to you by

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Sorry I didn't get this out there sooner for you to use. This is my favorite Easter photo of all time. Again it was used as my desktop when I was actually working at a RPJ (Real Paying Job)...I think it shows real professionalism and maturity. Posted by Hello

Saturday Sunshine

It's sunny in Madison, Wisconsin and furthermore, it's supposed to 45 today! Maybe some more of our snow will melt! Yahhhhhhhhhhoooooooooooooooo!!!

Does anyone else have this problem...when you lie down all the problems and worries of the day travel to your head and if you wake up, say to go to the bathroom, you go back to bed and think about a million and one things which prevent you from falling back to sleep?

It seems that a lot of the issues melt away with daylight, but by then it's too late and you've spent some portion of the night thinking and not sleeping.

I think it's a physics thing the way the "heavy" things kind of fall toward your brain.

Anyway, happy Easter to all and be gentle with the chocolate bunnies.
Cheers and love-
Mama Duck

Friday, March 25, 2005

Finally Friday

What would appear to have been The World's Longest Week is finally coming to a close.

My doctor's appointment went well today although it took them FOREVER to call me. We actually got there 20 minutes early and as Murphy's Law would have it they were 15 minutes behind. We finally left our 10 AM appointment at 10:50 (during which we saw a nurse and the doctor for a combined total of 7 minutes). FHR was 150s again.

Grace is now in her crib singing to her pacifier as her nap schedule has been thrown off.

I'm going downstairs to eat something bad for me.

More later-
Mama Duck

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Don't Touch...

Why do strangers feel the need to touch children they don't know? I'm guessing it's the same chemical that's released in their brain that makes them think it's OK to touch a pregnant stranger's belly. NO, NOT OK! I don't walk up to you and pet your beer-belly and say, "How cute!"

We were walking through Copps today to pick up a few groceries and this women petted Grace's arm and said how pretty she was as she passed by.

Ummmm, bad images of the Wicked Witch of the West! ("I'll get you my pretty!!")

It could have been the DALMATION coat she was wearing (which people here thinks is a cow coat...every one knows cows spots are much bigger!!! Geez, and these people think they know cows...) which made her want to touch Grace. Every time we go out people comment on how beautiful of a coat it is. Being her personal Fashion Consultant, I have to agree, but let's not touch, mmmmk?

I do have to add that for the amount of compliments we get on it, some people would die if they knew it was from Wal-Mart (not much of a winter coat selection to choose from in Austin, TX) and not from some ubber-expensive, snooty boutique.

Well, we’re back...

…just the three of us, no baby yet and didn’t sell Grace to any gypsies during our adventures.

We made the two hour drive back to the suburbs of Chicago for Grandpa’s funeral. Despite forgetting the beloved Cashew (teddy bear who goes EVERYWHERE with us) at home Grace made the car ride with little fussing. She would yell, “Da da!!” as loud as she could, to which Papa Duck would volley back, “Grace!!!!” It was a fun game, but probably better witnessed by those wearing earplugs.

The wake was Tuesday night which Grace thought was a blast, tons of people to carry her around and say how cute she was. At one point she made a dash for all the guests’ purses sitting on one of the couches, she’s my girl...natural attraction to purses and shoes! And then got wind of the beautiful floral arrangements, it was at this point that Papa Duck decided to bring her downstairs where she could run around and the damage would be fairly minimal.

That night at about 1:30 upon returning from a bathroom run Papa Duck was greeted by a Pootie sucking, arm waving 16 month old who, by the looks of it, was done sleeping. We tried to put her in bed with us, but as we typically don’t practice co-sleeping, she pretty much interpreted this as party time. Finally after two hours of lots of activities, none of which included sleeping, Papa Duck and Grace headed to the basement to sleep and I, all too willingly, sprawled out in the bed alone.

The church service wasn’t much more successful than the wake. The priest said an opening prayer and then Papa Duck had to go do the first reading. Grace spazzed (have I mentioned she’s Daddy’s Little Girl?!!?) and had her arms jabbing my face (picture the Heisman Trophy…) as we tried to make a quick, unnoticeable exit. Yup, nine months pregnant holding a hollering, flailing child…not much of a spectacle there. After a few more times of attempting to re-enter the service, we asked Grace if she wanted to take a nap, to which she responded by clapping her hands enthusiastically. Mommy and Grace headed home for a nice nappy-poo.

While Grandpa is in a much better place than the limbo he lived in with Alheimer’s, I think the saddest sight for me was watching Grandma view him for the final time prior to the closing of the casket. Even though Grandpa had not mentally been himself for awhile, there still had to be some comfort in holding his hand, touching his face and kissing his lips. I can’t imagine saying a final farewell to the love of your life. The permanence had to be heart-breaking.
I also wanted to say a thank you again for all of the kind words that people have left about Miss Lucky. I truly thought the hardest parts would be making the decision to euthanize her and watch her slip away, but as it turns out, it’s the loneliness that I feel when I see a big, open space at the top of our stairs where she used to greet us for treats and meals. I know I said I would never get another bunny again, but already I’m thinking…someday it would be nice. As such Papa Duck is assisting me in finding a good mental health professional.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

"I've traveled all over this world
And now to another I go
And I know that good quarters are waiting
To welcome old Lucky the Bunny"
 Posted by Hello

Farewell Toast to Miss Lucky

Miss Lucky Duck
1998 (?) - March 21, 2005

Cheers and may you continue to be the feisty and crotchety thing that you were on Earth in the life beyond in Bunny Heaven.

Due to our traveling for the wake and funeral I had to put Lucky to sleep on Monday. I stayed with her the whole time and was able to say good-bye as she slipped into a peaceful sleep dreaming of Craisins, ear scratching and a never ending field of kale. My eyes burn and just when I think that I can cry no more, the tears flow again. Emotionally I am drained, but I know she isn't suffering any longer and pray that she's watching over us...not that she'd lift a paw to help unless there was a payout of papaya treats involved... :)
Posted by Hello

Monday, March 21, 2005

Baby Steps

I made an advancement this weekend in accepting my new home here in Wisconsin.

It’s nothing personal to WI or the people here, it’s just that I rather prefer my old home. Papa Duck asked me one day, “It’s not so bad here, is it?” to which I responded (thinking about the cold, snow, Packers fans, crazy ice fishermen, odd accents (and no Jen, you don’t have an accent!) and crusty hippies I have run into), “It’s not that it’s so bad here, it’s just that Texas was home.”

Weekly we drive to a new town to explore in the hopes of finding a town that we would like to call “home." Usually these trips leave me depressed for any number of reasons…the overuse of vinyl siding, the fact that my husband would be happy living in the middle of a desolate cornfield with nothing but dairy cows as neighbors, the high cost of living or the general lack of hills that I was accustom to in Austin. But yesterday I returned to our happy rental home with an actual sense of excitement about our trip.

And no, we didn’t take a quick weekend back to Austin.

We ventured out west to a quaint little town called Cross Plains. We actually looked at two towns, Mount Horeb and Cross Plains. Mount Horeb wasn’t looking good as I kicked myself once again for not bringing my camera. We drove through a little neighborhood where there was a large piece of wood paneling with the words “Vodka Water in a Tub” spray-painted on it and a large bathtub (complete with hook-ups still attached) sitting in front of it. Seriously, I can’t make this shit up. And this was in what I would consider (for the area) a “normal” neighborhood (my criteria for normal include, but are not limited to: a lack of double-wides, no bars next to or as part of a home and distinct lack of farm animals wandering through the front yards).

Needless to say, I wasn’t holding out much hope for this day’s adventure.

We turned north toward Cross Plains and things got a bit hillier. It was sunny which was a plus. And then we saw an “open house” sign…we decided to stop. It was in an actual neighborhood (no cows within at least 2 miles) with steep hills of wooded city-owned land behind it. The exterior of the house had a perfect union of both siding and stone and the interior (although lacking the white trim which I will demand when we build) was very tastefully done.

As we left the house we looked at other lots in the neighborhood and then proceeded to the local Culver’s to indulge in some of the Flavor of the Day, Cookie Dough Craving. Every little town here has one, there may be no barber, bank or grocery store, but rest assured there will be a Culver’s.

I don’t know if it was the nice lady showing the open house, the cute little “Main Street” atmosphere or the large walking ice cream cone that greeted us as Culver’s, but I found myself actually interested in the prospect of living in Cross Plains. The one downfall is that I would have to grocery shop at a place called “Piggly Wiggly,” but who am I to judge?

Monday Sunshine

I'm thrilled that the sun is shining here because that means it's not snowing.

However, I, who am the LEAST "morning person" in the world, am up at 6:30 AM.

"Why?" you ask in a quizzical tone with your head cocked just a bit to the side like the enthusiastic doggie wondering why you are holding, but not throwing his beloved tennis ball.

Because once again the sunshine has come streaming into my window at such an early hour...I keep waiting for our local news anchors to tell me when Daylight Savings Time ends/begins (I know we "Spring forward!" but can't remember if we do so to end or begin the silly thing) but announcement comes forth.

Is it soon?

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Cute Bunnies = Lots of Responsibility

This is for Lucky and George.

Bunnies are NOT good Easter presents! I noticed that Petland had an ad in today’s paper touting cute little bunnies. It’s just this kind of mentality that leads to hundreds of unwanted pets in the months to come.

For those of you who are thinking about giving a cute, cuddly bunny to your kiddo (or know someone who is) for an Easter gift don’t do it. A rabbit’s lifespan, if taken care of properly, can reach six to eight years. Sadly, that’s longer than most marriages in America last. Many people don’t understand that bunnies are social and litter-box trainable (which they practically demand). Think of taking in this rabbit the same way you would a cat or dog, they can roam around (in chosen areas of the house) to play and interact with their humans. The mentality of confining him to a hutch outdoors imprisons him a life of loneliness not to mention being exposed to the elements (heat in the South and cold in the North).

Finally, consider the following:
VET BILLS: they are considered “exotics” and like a “luxury car” will rack up bills quickly since they require care by specialists who deal with exotics; I know, I know…what’s so exotic about something that I can catch running through my backyard? But really, I swear, that’s how they are categorized
COST OF UPKEEP: no, they can’t use regular cat litter or pine shavings for health reasons…the expensive Yesterday’s News is the best bet plus the never ending amount of fresh veggies they require; and
DAY-TO-DAY CARE: not only the daily feedings and care, weekly cage cleanings, and occasional nail trimmings, but when you go out of town you must have someone to watch them; some vets will “kennel” a rabbit, but the noise and unfamiliarity is very traumatic to them.

Both of my bunnies have been rescues that people did not want. George was my first rabbit and started his life out as an Easter gift. We saved him from being set free by some school kids in Houston back in April 1997…just a few weeks after Easter. Buy the kid a stuffed rabbit or a Beta fish (if you feel compelled to give them the responsibility of a pet). Someday, if you are interested in a rabbit as a pet, please look into the House Rabbit Society as a resource to give your bunny the best life possible.

That’s my PSA on rabbits as Easter Gifts…over and out.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Life Beyond

When it rains, it pours I suppose.

We were saddened to get the call this afternoon that Papa Duck's grandfather had passed away after complications with pneumonia. His grandfather's health had been steadily declining during his battle with Alzheimer's so while this was not totally unexpected, not much time had lapsed between the call for hospice and his death.

Some odd part of my brain has this vision of Grandpa and Lucky with their health and happiness finding one another in the after life. Just enjoying each other's company and keeping an eye on their loved ones...

The view from my window yesterday morning...doesn't look much different today I'm afraid. Lovely for January, not so much for March. Ho hum... Posted by Hello


First of all thank you so much to everyone who e-mailed and posted comments regarding Lucky. I do believe that I am solely responsible for keeping the Kleenex folks in business for the last 24 hours. We have an appointment with the vet for Tuesday afternoon which I'm sure will be about the most painful thing I've ever had to do. Childbirth at least yields a productive and tangible result.

On a much, much, much lighter note, I've closed the scientific poll on which tattoo you would choose. Here's how the results break down:
The Trix Rabbit: 1 vote
Tony the Tiger: 2 votes
The Honey Nut Cheerio Bee: 4 votes
Fruit Loop Toucan Sam: 3 votes
Dubya: 1 vote
Count Chocula was shown no love...but Dubya? I don't get you guys...Anyway, congrats to the Honey Nut Cheerio Bee for being cute enough to be put in a private place by so many! ;)

Finally, the snow. Yes, it just keeps coming. For the moment it has stopped, but on the night of St. Patrick's Day (Lucky you, Jody and Doug, for being lucky enough to spend it in the best city in the country!!!) we gained 4.5" in addition to the plethora that already sits in our yards. Last night it snowed again....arghhhh! Seriously, when does it stop?!?! Anyway, I went to a Girls' Night Out with some new ladies I met here on St. Pats and wound up staying WAY too late...we left at nearly 1 AM. I would just like to insert this shameless plug for how much I LOVE my new car. I am, as you might have guessed, not a snow-driver. The roads were TERRIBLE and I really was glued to the conditions surrounding me, but I felt safe the whole time. Thank God for "4-wheel drive for idiots" as Papa Duck calls it! And no, I take NO offense to that comment seeing as I'd have to remember which button to push in to get low-gear or high-gear or whatever going in addition to remembering to keeping my eyes on the snowy road. I will freely admit I am an idiot when it comes to driving in the snow.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Playing God

I will continue to my perpetual rant on the freakin' snow that just continues to fall here later, but for now, I humbly seek advice.

At what point do you call it "time" to euthanize a pet? Lucky's medication seems to be doing nothing for her. This once voracious eater and enthusiastic seeker of attention just sits in her cage now. She will happily gobble up fresh produce, but not eat pellets or hay (which is VITAL to keeping their digestive tract in working order) and I'm not sure when the last time she drank water was but her litter is pretty dry.

I had her in here with me yesterday to allow her to have some space, but her hopping was, as previously mentioned, very sloppy and her legs wouldn't stay underneath her. Additionally in a last attempt for ultimate defiance, this meticulously potty trained rabbit whizzed on the floor (don't tell Papa Duck...I Resolved the carpet and the stain is now merely a memory) which I would never expect of the "normal" Lucky.

I think that her quality of life is poor and not being able to even take her out of the cage (for fear of her hurting herself in hopping or Papa Duck killing her for peeing on the floor) seems even more cruel. She's lost a considerable amount of weight and shakes almost constantly (similar to Parkinson's patients). Is sending her to Bunny Heaven with a lethal injection the humane thing to do?!?!?! When do you KNOW that you can't do anymore....?

Thursday, March 17, 2005


That's all I have to say.

It's the middle of March...stop it, just stop it.

When does spring start around here?!?!?!?!

Greeting and Salutations...

OK, I see there are lots of people visiting lately. Welcome, welcome...come on in, read awhile...if you're new and looking for a good laugh I recommend "Betty Crocker I am Not" or the undies on the head photo .

I'd love to hear your comments, but since there's a slew of wild cats that appear to have gotten ahold of your tongues, how's about at least voting on the rather stupid and juvenile tattoo poll? (grin!)

And really, don't feel pressure to make your comments brilliant or even previously mentioned I still think farts are funny. Junior high humor always welcome!

Things that Suck

Lucky, the rabbit who seemingly would never die but actually outlast even the post-nuclear cockroaches, seems to be making that long journey to Bunny Heaven. While Brandon will continually say, "You said that last time and I'm not holding my breath," as if it were a promise more than a realization made by a rather sad and sobbing me, I think this is it.

We are trying one more round of antibiotics, but even from the time we left to pick them up yesterday to the time we returned she had decreased rather dramatically. She is unable to hop and has little to no balance although her appetite for turnip greens still seems strong.

So the topic of last evening was what to "do" when the time comes. We can't bury her here as we're renting and I don't want her left in some yard we'll never see again. I thought about burying her in one of our parents' yards, but we don't have a deep-freeze to keep her in until we can make that trip. Brandon has nixed the idea of getting her formally cremated due to cost (something about the cost-benefit outweighing the something or another...), but in his normal show of love and affection for Lucky, he has offered, for the low price of "a couple of beers" to put her in a shoe-box and have a cremation ceremony in the backyard.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

For the Grandparents...

Since this site was originally started as an Ode to Grace from our Home in Far, Far Away for the Grandparents to keep tabs on her growth, I thought I'd go ahead and get some World's Cutest Baby Pics up!

Yes, yes, I know...she's totally adorable and looks just like her Mommy...but go ahead and post comments to that effect anyway. It's not like I can get sick of hearing it and I'm so modest anyway.

Cheers & love-
Proud Mama Duck

"Hello in there!!!!!" Miss Grace loves to say "hi" to the baby and give him kisses! Posted by Hello

Grace, who was temporary traumatized by a large plastic watering can, has now returned to her love of bath time! Posted by Hello

Throroughly enjoying the spaghetti...not so fond of green beans which she showed her distaste for by launching them over the side of the highchair. I LIVE to pick food off the floor and scrub our grout! Love it! Posted by Hello

Busted! The Leap Frog Alphabet Pal (aside from being the single most annoying toy we EVER purchased for Grace) has a built-in feature that will not allow you to put dirty words together. For example, you cannot string together the sound "f"-"u" (uh)-"k" (hard k)...the little bugger sits there and laughs and says, "That tickles!" Smart people those Leap Frog programmers are! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Here is my letter which was in VIOLATION of Rule was a square letter. No one likes a square you naughty, naughty letter!!!! Posted by Hello

Going Postal

I frequently laugh that my friend Andrea (which as you can see from my really crappy cut and paste job is NOT her real name) and I keep the United States Postal Service in business with our long-distance friendship that we keep up through letters. Check out your mailbox any day of the week and you’ll actually see the credit card and mail order companies are actually the ones paying the electric bill at your local post office. But for the sake of argument, most people would agree that the majority of people don't use written letters as their primary source of communication anymore.

Last week I dropped off a card to good old Andrea, which in my normal fashion is a response that’s about three weeks overdue. I too am a creature of the internet now and while we maintain this friendship through the mail, much more of my free-time is wasted spent on the internet.

Imagine my surprise yesterday when that same envelope magically appeared in my mailbox with a sticker attached to it stating I needed extra postage! True, the envelope is a non-standard 5.5”x5.5”, but I’ve been working out of the same stationery box since I purchased it in 1996 at Half Price Books. Never has the USPS returned one of these letters, today though, they wanted 12 extra cents to mail it.

Perhaps it was because I’m too lazy to take the card out, steam off the stamp, fold the card, put it in a standard sized envelope, find a glue stick and reattach my 37 cent stamp or more likely because I was just being a cynical bitch, I decided to affix the 12 extra cents. In one penny increments.

That’s 49 cents to mail a card domestically weighing less than one ounce…and people wonder why the Postal Service has such financial problems. I can e-mail for free, make a long-distance phone call for 3 cents a minute…why would I waste the time to send a letter and risk being slapped on the wrist by some postal worker who is too lazy to hand-cancel my letter? I'm glad that sometime between 1996 and 2005 the post office has spent time and money to pass this rule, print these stickers, pay someone to watch the auto-feed machine, remove the non-compliant letters, attach the sticker and put it back into the mail to be redelivered to the sender.

Maybe the cost of postage wouldn't keep skyrocketing if they'd just deliver the freakin' letters.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Stop me before I shop again!

Anyone else have this make a list, do your weekly Target shopping and by the time you walk in the door with your red bullseye bags you already have three items for next week's list? Like an ottoman, floppy cutting boards and plastic Easter eggs...just for example.

It is an addiction, isn't it?

I knew it.

Think I can find some kind of legal grounds to sue on? Is the red and the bullseye some kind of hypnotic symbol that makes me want to take me credit card out and spend? Surely if people can sure McDonald's for getting fat for eating their food, I can sue Target (or the whole Dayton-Hudson Co.!) for making my wallet skinny when I shop there.

I might have something here. I'm calling John O'Quinn to talk about my case.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

My Weekend in A Nutshell

Again, for those of you keeping track...Peanut's FHR was in the 150s on Friday...Lucky Lum, who just had her beautiful baby boy on Thursday, said that his FHR was in the 150s the whole time, so who knows? We'll soon see if you have a "Kack" or "Eh"! For those of you who missed the prior posting, that's how Miss Grace says the names of her potential sibling.

Speaking of...a big old CONGRATS and a bottle of Motrin to Miss Lucky Lum for delivering her 8 plus pounder without an epidural. Not by choice, mind you, but still. I'm under the assumption that any woman who has just delivered a kid without drugs probably doesn't like him/her nearly as much as the doped up mum who hardly felt a thing. At least right away. Just a thought.

In other news my folks were up for a visit yesterday which was fun. We went to lunch and enjoyed all kinds of healthy foods, like burgers, hot dogs and fried cheese curds (a WI thing). I also managed to finish an entire Lucky Leprechaun Shake before our food arrived and it was gooooooood. Peanut thought so to based on his enthusiastic aerobic routine.

Lucky has been a very thankful bunny and good patient as I've been giving her meds for a week now (note the presence of distinct sarcasm). She's still about as graceful as a drunken sailor, but due to the bacterial infection she had this will now be part of her life. Our vet here is just as delusional as any when it comes to the reality of giving animals medication. The vet explained that the serum was Pina Colada flavored and that Lucky would like it so much that she would actually think of it as a treat. Apparently my rabbit isn't one of the Parrothead, beach-bum rabbits that the vet was used to working with because she still cowers in the corner when I bring the syringe up to her. Or perhaps she is more of a margarita type girl? Anyway, Brandon has very humanely suggested drafting a DNR (do not resuscitate) on Lucky's behalf pending any more medical issues. He's always looking out for her best interest by way of the checkbook you know.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Belly Shot as described below...we're almost there!!! Posted by Hello

Belly Shot

So here’s my most recent “belly shot.” We’re down to a bit less than a month which is good as my nights are becoming more and more uncomfortable and rolling over in bed has become an aerobic activity. As you can see I’m using a bit of self-tanner to conceal my pasty white skin in hopes of feeling a bit more attractive. I’ve been enjoying ice cream and chocolate covered raisins, which apparently has caught up with me.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Thursday Thoughts

Random thoughts and tid-bits for the day:

* I washed all the 0-3 mos. clothes this morning and cannot believe how TINY Miss Grace once was and that soon we will have another small one in the house. T-I-N-Y…

* I slept through my morning Blog/internet check while Grace was napping. An hour and 15 minutes. We got up at 7 AM and the nap started at 10, I shouldn’t have been that tired after only three hours. Sad.

* You may all rest easy...the search for the white hamper is over! Last night I managed to escape the house alone for a few hours to do some shopping. I found a white wicker hamper with a cute pink striped liner! Not the gingham I had envisioned, but sometimes something different comes up and actually winds up being a better fit design-wise.

* It snowed ALL morning and left quite a bit of accumulation on the ground. I thought spring started in March, what’s up with this weather? It wasn’t part of the deal I made in agreeing to move here.

* As a result of such, today I made history and for the first time in my life and participated in that snow removal ritual called "shoveling". I’m pretty sure that I “helped” my parents shovel when I was little, but this was actual work with the end result being a path to my car so that Grace and I could get out for a bit today. Sadly, besides lugging a 22 lb. Grace up and down the stairs a dozen or more times a day, this is about the only exercise I’ve gotten since we left Texas.

* That path to my car led us to a dangerous shopping destination. Not nearly as dangerous as the dreaded Target, but one that would put a dent in my monthly allowance nonetheless…Marshall’s! We found an adorable Valentine’s sweater/hat set for $5 and a three-piece burgundy velvet holiday outfit (with silver embroidered snowflakes) for $6…both for Miss Grace, of course. I LOVE finding bargains like that! I realize that Valentine's Day is over and the holidays are months off, these purchases will be for the following holidays. Now the three-piece set was originally $16.99 which is still a pretty good deal for most people, but a tightwad….ummmm, I mean penny-wise consumer like myself would have a hard time shelling that money out for a kid’s outfit. But $6?!?! Can’t beat it.

* On the way home I actually had a man yell at me (my car). I had just gotten the green light and was about to turn left when this guy entered the crosswalk. My car was rolling forward (from the stop-line…not even entering the turn yet…) to avoid the angry honking that might have ensued by agitated drivers behind me if my car sat completely still at a green light. The guy, who seemed as if he wasn’t homeless, that is assuming he didn’t believe that my car was an elephant or UFO (I didn’t actually hear the words he yelled) started hollering and waving his arms at me like I had hit the gas and was about to hit him. Interesting.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

I've Threatened it Before

I was doing a quick check on the internet a few moments ago when I heard Lucky's toy bell chime. Thinking nothing of it I surfed on, but wait, what could that have been? Certainly my rabbit wouldn't have been playing with some stupid toy I paid good money for, would she?

For those of you unfamiliar with "Lucky" she is my geriatric, vet-bill-racking-up, crotchety rabbit. She has been threatened recently that she will have a cap put on the amount that her mother is allowed to spend to save her life. She's also been threatened frequently with release into the wild (by Brandon who claims this is humane since it's winter now and she's albino...plenty of time to get used to her surroundings in the snow with the benefit of natural camouflage).

So back to the chiming bell I hear. I walk out to Lucky's area to determine the true source of the noise. There in Lucky's cage is Little Miss Grace and a rather disgruntled Lucky. Grace is investigating the pellets in the food dish and the "chocolate" Kix. I save Lucky from her uninvited guest who, before removal from the cage, puts her hand in the water dish and grabs a handful of hay for the road.

Now Grace is in here with me desperately trying to break into the Ziploc bag of old pacifiers I have saved (why? they cost like $3 to replace) for the new baby. While I've threatened putting Grace in a cage before I suspect I'll have to get her one of her own as Lucky is unwilling to share her space.

Relax, I'm not going to put her in a cage. It's just an empty threat, but chasing her at eight months pregnant would be much less of a challenge if she were confined to a smaller area.

Two Keys

Really, how hard is it to make a duplicate key? No, let me be more specific, how hard is it to make a duplicate key that actually WORKS??!?!!? I have now been to the antiquated True Value Hardware up the street twice now with keys that don’t work. Today the key-making guy told me that this key was the most frequently incorrectly cut key. Ummmm, so why didn’t you correctly cut it I wonder as I stand in the freezing doorway with the stupid key refusing to turn in the lock.

The key-making guy was using a machine, it’s not like he was carving this sucker from raw metal materials and having to notch out each tooth. I’m down to three days before I have to hand these keys over to my dad who has unassumingly agreed to watch Miss Grace when I go into the hospital. I’m about to tell the guy to unplug his super-duper key-making machine, put it in his car and follow me home so that I don’t have to keep driving over there, walking up the single aisle of the store (which, by the way, is lined with about two dozen types of fertilizer thus presenting the world’s greatest touching temptation for one little 16 month old girl) and waiting to have more keys made that will in all likelihood not work anyway.

I will now have to return to this hazardous zone of temptation this afternoon in hopes of getting two keys that work. This is cutting into my white-hamper-hunting time, my friends.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

A Few Bugs for the Day...

Just in the event that you were dying to know about things that bug are a few to ponder.

1. Parents magazine had this great helpful tip for dads on keeping the shower clean...put your bar of soap on a sponge instead of directly on the shower ledge. The soap scum goes on the sponge. Voila! No soap scum on the ledge! Brandon went along with this (because I cut the sponge to fit the ledge, put his soap on it and said he had to). But yesterday I see a new bar of soap on the sponge. Where did the remnants of the old one go? In our house there is a serious belief on Brandon's part that the Soap Fairy wisks away his old used up soap bits, but since I know the Soap Fairy personally and that she hadn't been by, I was curious. There, under the nice yellow sponge and bar of new soap, are the remnants getting soap scum all over the ledge. Defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

I told him I was going to post this to let his mother know what a slob he is but he said, "Go ahead, she already knows." Hmf.

2. Grace throwing potatoes, Cheerios, deli turkey, lasagne noodles and any other number of launchable food items at me during mealtime.

3. Pee on the back of the toilet.

4. Scraping aforementioned food out of grout on the kitchen floor.

5. Poopies rolling out of a diaper because a 16 month old girl I know is kicking her legs and flailing about while I'm trying to get her butt wiped.

6. Hippie Dad at Gymboree...I'll explain him later.

7. Finding my hair on the floor, in the bathmats, on my pillow, on the bathroom counter and on the kitchen sponge. Last pregnancy my hair didn't fall out until three months AFTER giving birth...what the heck is going on this time!?!

8. That it's March and there's still snow on the ground.'s spring...

9. Rude people who don't acknowledge that you've requested something of them and then get irritated when you write back to gently remind them of your original request. Yes, I've read "How to Win Friends and Influence People" and yes, I was really nice in the original request. Someone's thong must be lodged in an uncomfortable, dark place.

10. Boogers. Booger in general, but specifically the ones that just won't come out...blow, pick, dig, whatever your booger removal method, those guys are hanging on for dear life up there.

11. Sock lint that has been ground out of one's dirty toes and into my clean carpeting. Black, white, it doesn't matter. Sock ick is gross.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Trend Setter

We just returned from a long trip to the World's Best Wal-Mart which is deemed as such because I frequently get free things due to their employee's scrutiny over my purchases. Yes, scrutiny. They pay TOO much attention to attempting to read the coupons but then proceed to screw it up anyway. Once I got two multi-packs of Orbit gum free because the checker read the coupon was "Buy one SINGLE pack get one SINGLE pack free OR get $1 off a multi-pack." She voided BOTH $1.88 per package that was a savings of $3.76.

The next time I went the girl took no less than three minutes reading over my coupons. One was for "$2 off of 2 tubes of Crest." The tubes I chose from the shelf were $1.97. She asked if I bought two (now she's already scanned them mind you) and I said yes, so she scanned the coupon. When I got home I realized that yes, both tubes were in my bags, but no, she hadn't scanned them both. That time I scored a free tube of toothpaste and an extra 3 cents.

I love this place. I have to say though with Miss Grace putting her hands on everything and squirming around I don't notice their mistakes until later, but you'd think with all the "attention" they're paying to my order that they'd get it right. Also, I was under the assumption that if you didn't purchase an item and then tried to use a coupon it wouldn't validate it. At least that's how it worked in TX, maybe things here are different.

Anyway, my back to my titled post...trend setting.

I really wanted to purchase white furniture for Grace. The crib was not a problem, but when looking for the hutch and combo unit you'd swear I was asking for it to be painted green or stained some awful shade of orange. I consider white to be a pretty basic color in the way of furniture...silly me. We spent no less than three weekends looking for this sucker...the guy at Babies R Us (back in IL because we don't have one in Madison) said it was rare to have a hutch in white. Huh? Apparently white isn't as common as I'd thought.

To prove this, I am now desperately trying to find a white wicker hamper with a pink gingham liner.
Yes, Target has it...on-line only (the shipping makes it a $50 hamper...ummmm, not gonna happen).
Yes, Babies R Us has Illinois.
Yes, Wal-Mart had them a few weeks ago but "Miss Continually Doesn't Strike While The Shopping Iron Is Hot" missed out on that.

You'd think it wouldn't be hard to find a white hamper, no? At this point I'm even willing to make the stupid liner to go inside of it. I've even gone so far as to consider buying a natural colored hamper, spray paint it and then make the liner...that's a lot of work though.

Ask my mom about the green velvet homecoming dress for sophomore year (the year they ONLY made black velvet dresses) or the peach prom dress (the year that brights were in) some time. She'll tell you that I am ALWAYS one season/year ahead of my time in selecting decor or clothing. Seriously I should have gone into interior or clothing design. I'd make a killing since I can "see" into the future!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Are you out there?!?!?! Posted by Hello

I'm pretty sure that's a thumbs up...can you say, "Gig 'em Aggies"!??!!??! Posted by Hello

While knocking stuff over is still #1 in the Fun Department, Grace is starting to learn to actually stack things as well! Posted by Hello

It was pitch black in her room when I took this, so it's off-center, but I feel like I have to capture those precious moments when she's still showing her babyness... Posted by Hello

Friday, March 04, 2005

At least it's courteous enough to leave a note... Posted by Hello

And Now For Something Completely Different...

There are people in the world who feel sorry for every stray, sick or dying animal they come into contact with; they feel the need to take them in and nurse them to health. We, my friends, are the people who feel sorry for sick, neglected, unsellable homes. If it’s got problems, we want it. We want to take it in, love it, dump a ton of money into it making it our very own and then sell it to people who don’t appreciate the home for its “potential.”

A little background for those of you who don’t know us personally, we bought a fabulous unique fixer-upper in Austin back in September 2003. Yes, that would be two months before I was due with Grace. The plumbing and electricity were marginal at best, the doors closed, but the doorknobs didn’t latch, the painting and drywall work were amateur, and the windows allowed any amount of AC we put out to be sucked into the TX heat whilst letting in scorpions and large beetles the size of your thumb. With three months of hard work between Brandon, myself, my poor dad (who, with a halogen light and some insulation, almost set the whole house ablaze…to which Brandon, at the time, responded, “Would that really be a bad thing?) and a handyman named Greg (who frequently reminded us of “what a mess we had on our hands” but that it would be “real purty” when we were done) the house came together and we were able to move in. Albeit, there was a pedestal sink that lived in my fireplace for about a month, it was livable.

I’m not even going to discuss that fact that we had pretty much just completed all the renovations this year when we had to put it on the market. And I’m not going to discuss the potential buyers who frequently complain because there’s no landscaping. Let’s put it this way guys, at least the water is coming out of the faucet, not the handles and there are light fixtures where sad little wires used to dangle out of the ceiling throughout the house.

This brings me to our rental home. It appears that for all practical purposes the same guy who worked on our Austin house (prior to our purchasing of it) worked on this house. Beautiful home, lots of potential, just don’t look too closely at the details. The common theme that runs throughout this house is the fact that the three toilets, while new, are not the most motivated to get waste products from Point A to Point B. (NOTE: For those of you with a weak stomach, you may opt out now and go read someone else’s blog) One small chocolate baby and these suckers are on strike. They take a moment to make you think that everything is on the right track and then….shhhhhhhhhhhhhit….they kind of crap out (no pun intended).

So, the other day I called Brandon at work to let him know that Master Toilet was not performing and he’d need to use his manly skills and plunger experience when he got home that evening. He was thrilled to say the least.

That evening when he completed the task and got the log removed and the toilet working again he looked at me and said, “You know I’m getting kind of tired of unclogging that toilet.”

“Well, short of me squatting under a tree in the backyard, I’m not sure what you want me to do about it. All three of them have clogged at one time or another.”

“Just use a different one for awhile. I need a change of scenery.”

Simple request I think.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

It's A Great Day to Be Alive

Before I was a Mommy, or married (either time), or had a real job or even graduated from college I was famous. I had my 15 minutes of fame. Yup, I was on the front page of the Charleston Times-Courier Newspaper in Charleston, Illinois. Well, truth be told, I wasn’t actually on the front page, my car was on the front page. And it wasn’t on the front page because it was a sweet ride or some super rare collectible. Actually what was on the front page was what remained of my car on the night of March 3, 1995.

I’ll keep it short, which makes the story seem much sexier than it was. Remember that scene in that James Bond flick (I think it was “License to Kill”) where the sporty little foreign car speeds toward the semi and just as you think he’s about to bite it, the car miraculously makes it between the two axles of the semi unscathed? Now picture that scene with a Dodge Spirit and a semi-trailer that wasn’t outfitted for a movie’s special effects and that’s pretty much what happened.

Thankfully no one was injured but me. To this day I don’t think that I would have been able to forgive myself if something happened to that truck driver. Luckily he was a seasoned and skilled driver who was able to safely get his vehicle off the road after the impact. I had less of a role in getting my car to safety, it was kind of flung out of the path of traffic during impact.

I spent awhile in the hospital that night getting x-rayed, examined and poked and prodded to determine the extent of my injuries. I left with staples in my head (which FYI, are not meant to be used on head injuries), a few gashes on my leg from the engine compartment pushing back the plastic gear-shifter-case-thingie and a very bruised abdomen (thank God for seatbelts!).

I was very touched that some of the people in cars behind me had come to the hospital as well to check on my progress. Of course the police came too, but not for the same reason. Despite the police officer’s sincere interest in how I escaped with such minor injuries he still ticketed me, which in all honesty I suppose I deserved. I’m not sure though that “Improper Lane Usage” was the most fitting description, but that’s what he went with. In the many years that have passed since that night I’ve seen MANY drivers who qualified for that particular moving violation (i.e. swerved into my lane because they were answering a cell phone, disciplining their children or just plain stupid), but have not been ticketed. But, I digress.

Anyway, today is my annual “Thank God I’m Alive Day” and I would like to share a things that I am thankful for. First, that my parents didn’t kill me after the accident which I was kind of sure was going to happen. As I mentioned I am thankful that no one else was hurt by my stupidity. I’m thankful for air-bags and seatbelts. I’m thankful for my loving husband and healthy daughter. I’m thankful that I have had the opportunity since then to teach children and learn from them as well. I’m thankful for this extra time I’ve been granted to spend with my family and friends. I’m thankful for Chocolate Cherry Blast ice cream and the smell of fall in the air when the leaves are changing.

I hope each of you has at least one that thing that you are thankful for and don’t take for granted. If you would like to share those in the way of comments I would love to read them. And by the way, Happy Thank God I’m Alive Day!

Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Bargain of the Week

Although it's only Wednesday I feel confident in announcing this as the Official Bargain of the Week.

Monday's doctor's appointment revealed a FHR of 150 which is much higher than the recently charted territory of 120-130. This could be attributed to the fact that Peanut was, at the time, performing a series of flips, twists and turns which was the aerobic equivalent of Kerri Strug's Olympic floor-exercise routine. I panicked a bit.

We've collected a couple boy outfits (just in case), but then there was the "gender neutral" snowsuit Brandon picked up. No pink blanket was going to hide the fact that it was a boy outfit. We stopped off at Gordman's (fabulous place!!!) and I picked this $50 (or so the receipt claimed...) Weather Tamer jacket/snowsuit combo up for...$5.00. Yes, that's five American dollars my friends, and the best part? It's returnable in 90 days...plenty of time to see if we need the big dinosaurs or pastel pink!
Posted by Hello