Month: July 2009

Like A Flame You Must Be Wild (Pictures & Useless Rambling)

I had an awesome day Monday, July 27. The most important thing is that it was my and Adam’s first wedding anniversary. We’ve been married a year! :) A good year! During the year, I learned what it was like to have a husband’s 100% unconditional support. I learned what it was like to be spoiled rotten. I mean, I’ve never come home from work and had a cup of champagne rose tea waiting for me before. (Speaking of that tea, I need to get more. Where’d you get it again, Rosa?)

He indulges my doll habit. He sits through The O.C. with me, and laments about how dumb Marissa is. If I am the least bit irritated or uncomfortable, he does what he can to help me get better. I don’t think I do enough for him. I have to do more. ‘Cause I love him.

I was up pretty early this morning (well, early for me anyway). Adam came in and gave me a package–a thick envelope from M.E.I. Travel! Our Disney travel documents!!! YEA! When those things come… well, you know the trip is soon. And now we’re down to 19 days! But, in addition to the travel documents, luggage tags, etc., Suzy, my awesome travel agent, included some gifts. A Minnie Mouse antennae topper (which I can’t put on my car b/c kids in Chicago will steal it), a Peter Pan slap bracelet, and a lanyard for holding Keys to the World. I was thrilled to open that package!

Then, Adam took me to American Girl Place, and he bought me a doll and clothes for her. Then I talked him into letting me buy a doll for myself as well, so these two lovelies came home with me:

Peyton & Celeste

The one on the left is Peyton Elaine. She’s the one I paid for myself.
The one on the right is Celeste Rayn. She was my anniversary gift from Adam. Aren’t they cute? I could not decide between the two, even back when Adam told me weeks ago that he was going to take me to get a doll for our anniversary. I’m happy to have them both. :)

Spaghetti for dinner (Aidan had Ramen; he’s probably sick of spaghetti even though he cleans his plate and asks for seconds every time I make it), and a brownie/ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins and cranberry wine for dessert while watching Make It Or Break It on TiVo. Yeah, it was a good day.

I’ve been stocking up on pre-Disney stuff. It’s all in a cute little bag I got at The Disney Store. It’s a yellow bag with green seams, and the picture is of Mickey Mouse hugging Earth. In it, there is sunscreen, sunglasses for Aidan (they were $1.62 at The Disney Store!), ponchos, one of those spray bottles with a fan on it, Disney dollars for Aidan’s rewards, and other things of that sort.

Speaking of Aidan, isn’t he cute?

Cutie Aidan

Aidan, Wall•E, and Eve

He’s been doing MUCH better with bedtime stuff. I read him a chapter from Ramona the Brave every night before bed. I give him kisses and hugs. And no more nighttime yelling or crying. He does sleep under his covers, head and all, but Adam said he did the same thing when he was Aidan’s age. It makes Aidan sweat like mad, though. But if that’s what helps him cope, then….

Now we’re back to the regular problem of him wetting the bed at night. Accidentally, but still. It’s a pain in the butt. I have to get one of those waterproof covers asap. When we were in Iowa this weekend, Aunt Cindy gave me an alarm and some info about bed wetting and trying to stop it. I hope to God I put it in my suitcase and didn’t leave it in Iowa by mistake. It’s all great information and will really come in handy… provided I didn’t forget to bring it home! I’ve been taking him to the bathroom–but the problem is that I sometimes don’t get to him in time. And he’s already wet by the time I go to take him. The alarm seems like the best bet–I really hope I didn’t forget to pack it.

And another thing. I’ve been using EyeTV and moving the Disney videos to digital so I can make DVDs of them. It’s a LONG process. And I watch the videos as they’re being digitized. Aidan, at age two, did not listen to direction. There are so many times that Chris told him not to run off, and the next thing you know, Aidan is gone. I’m screaming at the tape “TURN THE CAMERA OFF AND GO GET HIM!!” I yelled at myself a few times, too. Ha. And I’m paying for it now. Adam and I are really trying to drive it into him that he needs to follow directions and do what we tell him. He seems to think that the things we say are optional, or he tries to flat out ignore us. Privileges get snatched away when he pulls that stuff. I can understand being really involved in TV or something, and needing to be called a few times to get his attention… but when he is spraying air freshener and I tell him to stop and he sprays again anyway? Oh hell to the no. I’m not having it. Right now it’s air freshener. What will it be in ten years? It’s best to nip that stuff in the bud right now.

It’s challenging still. Every day there is a new challenge… but every day there is a new joy, too.

ANYWAY, we did go to Iowa again over the weekend. Adam’s high school reunion, even though he officially graduated from high school in Georgia, he considers Urbandale his true class. Most of the people remembered him, too. It was nice to visit family as well. We had a picnic, and Uncle Pat managed to get a kite in the air.

Flying A Kite Flying A Kite
Flying A Kite
Uncle Pat, Turner, Aidan, Adam flying a kite

Aidan’s cousin Turner, who is nine, kept Aidan pretty busy. They pretty much entertained themselves which was really nice. I can see why parents have more than one kid! Not that we’re going to do that or anything. But I can see the advantage.

While we were there, Adam once again entertained the thought of moving to Iowa in a few years. I am on the fence. On the one hand, I didn’t realize how much my eyes crave seeing fields of grass, horses grazing, and tons of trees. When we were on our way to the picnic (and coming back), we’d pass these farms and things. You’d have thought my eyes were dying of farmland dehydration! I forgot how much I liked the country. I guess the grass is always greener, ’cause I bet I’d be craving the city once I moved to the country. Anyway…you can get cherry pies at McDonald’s in Iowa (and probably every other state except freaking Illinois). I love the slower pace, the reasonable cost of living, and the fact that the traffic lights and traffic patterns MAKE SENSE. And 6% sales tax! Such a far cry from Chicago’s 10.25% tax, plus tax on groceries, and the 13.25% sales tax on pop, and the bottled water tax and the breathing tax and the pooping tax and the…what was I saying?

Oh yeah. There are plenty of reasons to think about moving. In addition to the stuff I listed above, in Iowa, we’d stand some semblance of a chance of owning a house someday. In Chicago? Forget it. With properties averaging around $400K, and that’s not for freestanding. That’s for stuff attached to other people. Eff that. I don’t want to be stuck living next to some stark raving moron for 30+ years. No way. I mean, it’s not like we’ll be owning any property for about 10 years anyway unless one of us hits it big somehow, but it’s way more reasonable and feasible there.

However, there are a few drawbacks. I’ve mentioned the job thing before. There are magazines there, but what are the chances they’ll be hiring proofreaders? And it doesn’t seem very diverse, and I would like some diversity. It’s unnatural for me to go a whole weekend and not see any Latino or Asian people. There is always something to do in Chicago. It’s diverse. There is so much food to try and love. There is American Girl Place. And Michigan Avenue.

Oh well. There are years to think about such things.

Getting to Iowa was great. I slept the whole way there. But the trip back was awful. Well, not awful. Just annoying. There’s this long stretch of road on I-88 with NO rest stops or gas stations or ANYTHING. I mean, nothing. There are signs that imply businesses or something, but then you pull off onto the roads and there is nothing. So when Aidan had to potty, we had to pull over and let him whiz into the night air. And I was about to burst until we finally found a grocery store. I was sure they were going to be like “Um, this is for paying customers only. You need to buy something before you can use our bathroom.” But no such thing happened, thank goodness. It took ages to get home, though. Ugh. I do not like road trips… if I am awake for them.

I am trying to go natural with my hair again. It’s been almost 12 weeks with no relaxer. That’s not a huge accomplishment, though. I’ve gone 12 weeks before. I haven’t flat-ironed my hair or used a curling iron in weeks. I just let it air dry. It’s a challenge. But it’ll be nice to be at Disney World and not have to freak out about my hair if we get caught in a downpour. Not to mention not having to spend hundreds of dollars a year on relaxers.

My mom is coming to visit on August 5 through the 12. August is going to be a busy month for us. Mommy visit, Disney World, then Aidan goes back to Ohio. :( He starts school on the 26th! I mean, it’s already less than a month until he goes back. :( No fair. As hard as it is being a mommy some days, it’s harder when he is not here.

I guess that is all for now. I’m off to read and then go to sleep. Well, I’ll have a snack first. And some wine. Mmm cranberry wine. OK, good night.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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The Lazy Days of Summer

I don’t know about you, but for me, the summer is SPEEDING by. Why is it that winter drags and drags but summertime is gone in a blink? It makes me sad. I really do NOT want snow and ice and frigid cold. I am so OVER WINTER it’s not funny. Oh well, I still have at least four months to worry about that stuff.

I’ve been catching up with Kate Brian’s PRIVATE series. I’d started reading them when they first came yout ears ago (Columbus libraries are AWESOME about getting things in quickly) but lost interest in all the murdering and such. But I picked it back up recently from the Chicago library and I am hooked again. I just want poor Reed to catch a break. I finished Revelation today and now I’m reading Paradise Lost. I also have some Disney books to check out. The library had THREE 2009 guides available. That never happens.

Speaking of Disney, I am thrilled because they added another Spectromagic parade. I thought I’d have to miss it this year, but nope. They added on on August 16th and 11pm. During Extra Magic Hours. That means the park will be less crowded, the weather will be cooler and the parade MORE AWESOME. In addition, the crowd level predictions on are 5s and 6s. SO much better than the 7s and 8s I was anticipating. Now our biggest worry is the heat. But plenty of water should take care of that. You should see the spreadsheet I made!

Aidan’s getting really excited about Disney World. I’m tying it into the drama that we’ve been dealing with. I told him for every day that he’s good, and that he goes to bed and stays in bed (except to potty), he gets a Disney Dollar. That’s a potential $31 to spend on whatever he wants at Disney World. He already lost last night’s (we told him that we were using that dollar to pay for the laundry he peed on again), but so far so good tonight. Plus he tried zucchini, so that’s a bonus $1. So now he’s up to having earned $2. I also told him he can earn bonus bucks by doing special things that are extra good. There is a lot of stuff he wants, and I told him it’s up to him to earn the money to get it.

Tonight, I read him a chapter from Ramona the Brave. The chapter is called Alone in the Dark and it describes Ramona being scared to sleep in her own room. I saw so many of Aidan’s patterns in it, and he recognized himself in the narrative as well. I think that I will read Beverly Cleary books for child-rearing advice. It’s like she gets inside the kid’s heads in a way that I just… can’t.

That’s all for now.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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Progress Report

So, tonight (last night?) went a LOT better. Earlier in the day, Adam and I laid down the law. (BTW Aidan woke up dry and happy.) He was going to bed at 9:30pm. He would go potty, get one story from mommy, and a DVD to watch. If he came out of his room for any reason other than to potty, first, the door would get closed. Then the light would go out. And then, no more TV.

He went into his room, no protests, and he was in a fairly good mood. No pouting, whining, etc. I went in and read him SkippyJon Jones in the Doghouse, and briefly wondered WTF the author was on when she wrote that, but went with it because Aidan was entertained and cute and cuddly. I hugged and kissed him and told him goodnight and that I loved him. He said goodnight back and told me he loved me too, and then he was engrossed by How The Grinch Stole Christmas. (Christmas in July, I suppose.) I left and there was no drama. I heard him playing and talking in other voices for a while. As long as he was in bed, I didn’t care. He was making up all sorts of adventures! And again, I can understand that tendency. Making up stories, especially at night? Wonder who he could have gotten that from?

He only called for me once, a little pitiful “Mommy, I’m scared.” I went in and told him he needed to get in the bed, gave him a funny book (Hippos Go Beserk) and told him to read that. He’d already ready SkippyJon Jones in the Doghouse again, and he tried to get me to read him another book (Puff the Magic Dragon). I told him no, we had agreed on only one story. And to be honest, if he’s really all that scared, I didn’t want to be reading to him about dragons, no matter how harmless/cute they are. That’s a middle-of-the-day book!

Anyway, he sniffled a bit, but by then, I was out of his room. Probably not even 20 minutes later, he was asleep. I just took him to go potty, and he was dry and totally out of it, as per the usual. I enjoy telling him about the silly things he does in his sleep when I take him to go potty in the middle of the night.

I’m torn between knowing how far he is playing me and how scared he really is. I remember being mostly scared of demons, devils, anything to do with hell. There are still shows I won’t watch because of it. But this kid was watching that part in Mickey’s Christmas Carol (YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT) at age four, while I wasn’t able to watch it until I was 32! He rode Haunted Mansion when he was two! He and his dad used to sit and watch scary movies every Halloween, and they used to watch CSI together. Hmm, maybe that’s part of the problem now…his imagination is so fantastical, and he’s so jumpy these days. It worries me how much he’ll be able to take at Disney World, where every dark ride has a bit of spookiness in it. He’s even scared of 3D shows. But he likes Scooby-Doo. It’s really confusing.

I was playing the Sims tonight again, and another Sim died. This time he was beside me. He likes to watch it with me, but I now know NOT to go to the parks when he is watching me play, because that’s where all the deaths seem to happen! He immediately knew what was happening even before I did and jumped down. I turned the sound down on the computer and told him to stay away until it was gone. He kept assuring me over and over that he was OK. Adam was all “I gotta see this!” Tonight, three Sims died while I was playing. That’s a record for me.


We also started giving him chores to do. Now, anytime I ask him to help me clean or to pick up his toys, he does a scarily thorough job of it and he’s so agreeable about it. He also does a great job on cleaning his room, which I make him do about once a week, more often if it gets really out of control. I wonder if there needs to be something more, and if so, what?

This is quite the learning experience. If I ever have another child (which is really not likely to be honest), I will refer back to these entries because I’ve gotten a lot of good advice. And also just to remember what it’s like.

The next on the list is the eating habits, which I’ve gotten good advice for as well. Making meal time traumatic or a battlefield is not what I want to do, but he really can’t eat only chicken fries and macaroni and cheese and Froot Loops all the time. That’s not going to fly during lunch time at school when there isn’t really a lot of choice in what you get whether you take lunch or buy it. No teacher is going to be warming up chicken nuggets for him during lunch. He doesn’t seem to get that.

The eating thing is another thing he got from me, I’m afraid. I have very weird eating habits and patterns. Adam is always on me about not eating enough, or eating well enough. You all know my obsession with spaghetti and how I can eat it for two weeks straight. Aidan’s the same way. He knows what he likes and he sticks to it. On the one hand, I can’t fault him for that. But on the other hand, he’s going to have to be willing to try new things. I have my favorites, but I’m usually willing to give something new a shot. You just never know what happiness for your taste buds is waiting to be discovered!

Thanks for reading my entries and for your input. The good little boy I know and love is still here, and I am NOT looking forward to August 23 at ALL, even with these bumps in the road.


(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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The Saga Continues

It is nearly 1am as I begin this post. Aidan is in his room throwing things and being angry because I won’t lay with him. He also keeps coming out of his room. I am trying to finish up some freelance work, and Aidan knows this. He keeps coming out of his room with some excuse or another. He drew a picture he wants to show me. He “forgot” to call Daddy.

He just told me that because I won’t lay with him, he’s never drawing again. Forever. And that is punishing me how? I told him that’s fine, he just needs to go to bed. He came out of his room again, saying he wants to read me a book. Adam already told him that the routine of the night is that he gets to watch a DVD then he needs to sleep.

He’s not sleeping.

Even if he’d just STAY IN HIS ROOM, that would be nice. I mean, he’s a night owl like me so I understand the not falling asleep right away. But he keeps coming out with that “little voice” trying to get me to drop everything for him. And I have work to do. I really should get back to that actually.

Adam made Aidan a certificate saying that there are no ghosts in this neighborhood, and he and Ken (another ghost hunter) signed it. It’s hanging in Aidan’s room. Adam also blocked off all the windows so the blue light from the courtyard, the one that reminded him of the Sims ghost, is no longer visible in Aidan’s room. Aidan is no longer saying he’s scared. He’s just resisting bedtime big time. Pushing boundaries.


I got a lot of good advice today. I’m hoping that by the end of the week, bedtime is back to no longer being an ordeal. He did have to do his own laundry today. Well, Adam helped and watched him, but he did have to do the bulk of the stuff. He also had to remake his bed.

I know it’s not a punishment for him as it is a lesson in responsibility and taking consequences for his actions. For growing up and being a big boy instead of a baby. But it’s still hard. I feel bad. I keep telling myself NOT to feel bad, that this is good for him. Why is that so hard to believe, though?

Tough love. Why did no one tell me it was tough for the mommies, too? :(

And he just came out of his room again. I was warned that tonight was going to be exhausting.

*tries to get back to work*

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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The Challenges of Mommyhood (Picture)

Aidan at the Playground
Aidan at the Playground 07.13.2009

As the summer goes on, the challenges of having Aidan around all the time are really starting to rear. Ever since he saw that ghost on The Sims, it’s been a fight to get him to bed at a reasonable hour. I used to let him stay up until 10 or so, and then send him on his merry way, with a snack and a hug and a kiss. Now, what happened in his room was a different story. I’d hear him jumping on his bed, yelling at the TV, and even yelling out his window to the neighbors in the back. Adam and I had to go in and tell him to close the window and go to bed. We don’t mind him talking to the people in the back, but we DO mind him being up past midnight!

Anyway, it doesn’t work like that now. Adam and I have to tell him about 50 times to go to bed, and no matter how firm we are, Aidan still manages to stall about it. He cries and says he is scared. We go and reassure him, and then he cries again, or he calls us for a snack or a drink or just to tell us that the guy upstairs is stomping around. He always wants me to lay with him for about an hour or so before I can go, and I’m just to the point where I don’t want to do that. I mean, an hour? Especially if I have freelance work to do that I couldn’t work on because of Aidan constantly asking me questions or showing me stuff. So, I’ll read him a story (or more accurately, make HIM read to me while I help him figure out the more challenging words), but he’s a classic example of give an inch, take a mile. If I stay with him for five minutes, he wants me to stay for 15. If I stay for 15, he wants me to stay for 30. And so on. I eventually just have to push him away and tell him I have to go. Then I feel bad all night. :( I’m not sure if I’m doing the right thing–I mean, will he feel rejected? And God forbid if he cries. Even if it sounds fake, I still feel bad.

Tonight was (and still is) especially challenging. After we sent him to bed, he stood by his door and “sobbed” for about 15 minutes very loudly. Adam went in and gave him the “first graders don’t act like this” talk, but Aidan rebutted with “I’m not in first grade yet.” He called for me several times after, and each time Adam went in and talked to Aidan and answered his random questions. Then, after Adam had fallen asleep, instead of calling for me, Aidan started calling for Adam. THEN he started calling for me again, and I just finally went in. Again, he just wanted me to lay with him. He’d wet the bed on purpose because he was “scared” to go to the bathroom, even though I’d seen him go in the middle of the night plenty of times before.

I don’t know if all of this is resulting from that brief incident with The Sims, or if this is something deeper. All I know is that it is exhausting. I love my little boy, but sometimes I just need a break. I do know that he has definitely inherited my night owl tendencies, which is nice when I want to sleep in, but not nice when I am ready for him to go to bed so I can focus on work (or just screwing around on Facebook) or just turn my brain off for a while. I don’t think 10 or 10:30pm is an unreasonable time for a six-year old on summer vacation to go to bed, especially if he knows that he can watch a DVD or read a book to help him fall asleep, but I still feel guilty. Like I’m being a bad and self-indulgent mom because I make him go to his room at night so I can have a few hours of quiet and ME ME ME time before I crawl into bed.

And then there is the picky eating! He has some foods that he’ll eat: chicken nuggets, chicken fries, French fries, oranges, apples, grapes, bananas, turkey breast (oven roasted only), chicken breast, beef Ramen noodles, almost ALL candies (of course), bacon, oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, Malt-O-Meal, Froot Loops, Trix, Fruity Pebbles, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, KFC, macaroni and cheese, cheese pizza, spinach, peas, mashed potatoes (no gravy), rice (yellow), and spaghetti. Actually, that seems like quite a lot, but really, it isn’t. He will barely choke down a peanut butter sandwich, will not touch any other type of sandwich. He won’t eat ketchup or gravy. Or any kind of beef. And some of it is pretty normal, I mean, I don’t recall being that big on beef when I was little unless it was a cheeseburger–but Aidan WILL NOT TOUCH ANY KIND OF BURGER. Or hot dog. Or grilled cheese. Or just about anything that most people have for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And even that is OK, but his reluctance to even try stuff is very impatient-making. I TRY to be patient. I don’t want to traumatize the poor boy when it comes to eating. Lord knows that is never a good thing. We want him to just TRY things. Just one bite. I don’t give him food I don’t like. It’s obvious that he’s made up his mind that he will NOT like certain foods no matter what. I’m not a cabbage pusher or anything like that… but sometimes I just wish we could go to a Mexican place and he’d eat a taco. And I know that is NOT going to happen for a long time, if ever. I feel like he is missing out on so much because he’s so used to having his own way when it comes to mealtimes. And I don’t know how to fix that without causing a major battle at the table.

And I’m sure all the parents know about the “whiny” voice. I’m pretty sure every child has this ability to make their voices strike the perfect chord to DRIVE PARENTS CRAZY. And his whiny voice really makes me crazy. It is hard not to lose patience when he does that, especially if it’s for something he is perfectly capable of solving or taking care of. He has shown us his independence many times. He gets dressed himself. He bathes himself. He can make his own chicken nuggets, and mix his own strawberry milk. He makes his own cereal in the mornings. He can change DVDs. He can get games out of the Wii and put in new games. He can do SO MUCH that I am often in awe of it. But sometimes, he’ll just NOT do it and turn on the whine. I don’t understand that. Is it laziness? Wanting attention? To be babied? I don’t know. I just don’t know.

I love my little boy. Very much. He is generally a very sweet and amazing person. He’s super smart. He’s super friendly and his world is all happy and bright (most of the time). He goes up to babies on the playground and can win over every single one of them and their moms. Today, a little boy had fallen and was crying. Aidan went over to him and held his cheek and told him everything would be OK. Then, there was a cute little baby in a swing. Aidan went over to help the baby’s grandmother push him, and the grandmother was so appreciative. She told us that Aidan was very sweet and to definitely bring him back tomorrow (today). People constantly compliment me on Aidan’s behavior, his politeness, his general AWESOMENESS. And I don’t want to squelch that by being a hardass, but maybe part of my being a hardass is to make sure he STAYS that sweet and amazing. I don’t know.

I just want to be a good mommy (and Aidan often tells me that I’m the best mommy in the world, but I always wonder if/when he’s going to decide differently), but I don’t want to lose myself in the process. It’s a hard balance to strike.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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