Wednesday, February 29, 2012


After the debauchery of the holiday season this past year, I made a personal vow that I was going to be a Responsible Adult and spread out the purchases throughout the year, you know, so that pain would be less acute and more...chronic.  I should also probably make a personal vow to write down said personal vows so that I actually remember them but where's the fun in that? I like to live dangerously.  Anyway, we are heading full-bore into birthday party season for Noelle so there have been/are/will be lots of opportunities to visit the last vestige of Babylon, Toys R Us.

Saturday's visit was simple; get her friend a birthday present, head to the mall to get her and Noah new picture clothes for next week and finish up with grocery shopping.  This plan was derailed almost immediately as she has become obsessed with the Selena Gomez song 'Love You Like A Love Song' ('turn it up Mommy! is a common refrain in the van) so I had this idea to see if we could find the CD while there.  After wandering up and down every. aisle. twice, we passed by the book section where I surreptitiously scanned the shelves for a copy of 'The Lorax'. They have been reading this at school and she talked about Wunstlerz (?) and Hummingfish almost as much as 'The Lion King' (shut up, it's been a good 30 years since I last read it).  Lo and behold, a single shining copy was on the shelf.  The little man in my head who mans the filter must have been on his happy hour bread because I picked it up and beamed at her 'Noelle! Here's 'The Lorax'! Would you like to get it?'  What five year old on earth could resist this offer especially as I had turned down earlier requests for a giant stuffed Hello Kitty doll and various princess Lego's?  Not mine I tell you so into the basket it went. 

We got the birthday present and the bonus of the book when we turned the corned into a far, hidden aisle and came upon the world's smallest music display.  The little man must have eaten too many nachos at this point and I picked it up and with great fanfare showed it to her, 'Honey, look!  It's the Selena Gomez CD, you know, the one with the love song that you like.' Then, my doom: 'Did you want to get it?'  Well DUH woman.  Plus we picked up a 'Penguins of Madagascar' movie for Noah because you CANNOT come home with a prize for one child and not the other.  Never did make it to the mall that day; maybe we'll go more avant garde with the Rainbow Brite look for them this year....

I should have just scouted the items, distracted her and returned later to get them and hide them away but it gave me so much joy to see her so excited and happy that her mommy looked for something special for her.  I LIKE doing special things for my kids; they are good kids for the most part and I remember my parents and grandparents giving us special treats from time to time.  We don't try to buy their love or indulge their every whim but every now and then when the timing is right and the money is there, well, I can't think of a better way to spend it than on something that will bring them delight right then.

Now back to square one: what the sam hill are we going to get her for her birthday?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Boy did life get weird

Whee! If I'm going to jump back into Random Tuesday Thoughts, I'd best start with the important things first:

So, how exacty does one add one of those nifty link/graphic buttons to a post?  I keep getting a 'Do Not Pass Go/Do Not Collect $200' message every. damn. time. I. try.

Noelle started joking last night that wouldn't it be funny if we talked out of our butts?  Naturally Dylan and I started with the lines from 'Ace Ventura: Pet Detective' because we are awesome parents and are way mature though we did decide that she is still a bit too young for that movie so score one for us!  What? It's a classic in my head.

I received an email on Monday reminding us that spring pictures are this week at the kids' preschool.  The parting shot?  Kindergarten Readiness students will be taking their GRADUATION PICTURES.  No matter that it's still winter and the chances of finding anything nice in the stores that they won't freeze their little talking tushies off in are remote at best.  On the bright side, I don't have to get her anything special to wear now.



(And I totally went out and got her something special to wear anyway.)
We now have a dance routine to accompany 'Farty Girl'.  It's gonna be such a hit in the clubs.

Noah really likes Phineas and Ferb.  This explains so, so much.

Dylan and I managed to stay awake for the entire Oscar telecast last night which was amazing as A) it was not very good, B) we had seen precisely ZERO of the nominate films and C) could not have possible been less invested in any of the outcomes.  I think we deserve some sort of endurance award.

I opened my gmail listing on my phone and one of the ads from Brad's Deals had the heading '$7 for 2 Set of Baby Boys...' which I thought was quite reasonable given inflation and all. (Full disclosure: it was for PJs but much more funny how it looked on my display. Anyone? No? Very well, carry on then.)

No, seriously, how do you add the fun linky buttons?  Help a girl out!

Now head on over to Stacy Uncorked and link up for more random!

Monday, February 27, 2012

She'll kill me for this one day

There is so much I love about Noelle; her sweet nature, her inquisitiveness, her creativity, all make her such a joy and a delight to be with.  I could spend hours with her sitting on my lap, reading her a book and smelling her hair...until she farts.  And she does. A lot.  She's always very polite ('Excuse me, I farted' (giggles)) but she does it so much that I was forced to adapt a song in her honor (yes, forced.  Believe me, you would feel that way too once the Grand Dame of Gas unleashed one ON you.)

To the tune of 'Barbie Girl':

I'm a farty girl
In a farty world,
My sphincter's spastic,
Gas attacks-ick.

I pollute the air,
I fart everywhere;
Pull my pinky,
It's so stinky.

Come on Farty,
Let's go potty.
Fart fart fart

Come on Farty,
Let's go potty.
Fart fart fart
I really hope that she gets this under control someday or her social life will be pretty barren...oh...wait.  Nevermind.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

And then I almost died. The end

Things to NOT do on a Monday night: open any correspondence from the pediatricians' office.  Or any time really but we finally cleared out the mailbox after a week so in a fit of adultness (is too a word), I opened it.  And found a bill for $790 for Noelle's five year old well child checkup in January that the insurance company had declined to pay.  I believe that OMFG and WTFH were dropped.  (The kids were in bed.  My filter gets turned off at 8:30 pm. Compromise and all that.)

This could not be happening as we most assuredly do NOT have $790 available to pay said bill and OH MY FUCKING GOD, WHAT THE HELL?!  Fortunately I remembered that we had recently received an EOB from the insurance company that I hadn't opened yet but had filed with other paperwork.  (And by filed I mean put in a pile with other papers.  I've got this adult thing down cold.)  It was the explanation of what was owed ($790), discounts applied (none) and what we owed (nothing.)  Um, what?  So, the bill, which both parties agreed was $790, was not paid but we didn't owe.  Yeah, I got nothing.  So I called because that is what Responsible Adults do.  And after fighting with the voice activated system (with a pretty nasty cough so it gave up on me right quick) got through to an actual live person in less than 5 minutes.  (Key to customer service success: call after 8:30 pm apparently.  The more you know.)

I explained the situation and that we had recently began a new coverage, an open choice with a HSA.  My understanding (confirmed by the literature AND the representative visit to my building) was that annual check ups/well child exams were covered at 100% and everything else was as-is until we hit our deductible of $2700.  Trust me when I say that we would never have agreed to this plan had well child/adult visits not been exempted from this deductible.  It turns out that they didn't 'refuse' to pay, they were withholding payment until additional information was received.  What information you ask?  I'm so glad that you did for I shall tell you.  They wanted to know if we had any other medical/health insurance.  That was it.  No, no we don't.  All of our coverage is through my work.  They updated our information and gave me a confirmation number which I will provide to the pediatrician's office in the morning with the expectation that the bill will be paid, by the insurance, in 15 business days. 

Now once my head stopped spinning, the real magnitude of the episode hit me:  a single well child visit costs almost $800.  Think about that.  Eight. Hundred. Dollars.  Fortunately we have health coverage and pretty decent coverage but what about those who don't have that.  And I've always known that the insurance companies negotiate with the providers the amounts that will be paid but it was sobering seeing it in black and white.  The more that I think about it, the more that I am convinced that every person deserves health coverage.  The Republicans who are so fond of quoting the Bible when it's convenient for them seem to have missed the part where Jesus talks pretty clearly about helping one another and taking care of the poor and the sick in our midst.  It was kind of a theme of the entire book.  Good health shouldn't be reserved for only those who can afford it; I'm just thankful that we have options available to us but that is a topic I'll beat to death in another post.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Colonel Sanders, Prepare for De-Hippiefication

I found out today that school pictures for Noelle and Noah are a bare two weeks hence so the decision last weekend to tame the wild tresses was almost prescient. 

Isn't he adorable?  And he makes such a pretty pretty princess.

Now this is a pretty pretty princess
The trouble is, her hair is like mine, thin and fine so longer than shoulder length tends to look scraggly.  Plus she was looking through a forest of bangs and as she put it, we couldn't see her 'pretty blue eyes'.  Which was completely true.  Yes, attentive parents would have taken them long before being able to put their son's hair into a Pebbles' pony tail but when you practically get thrown out of the salon because he is absolutely LOSING HIS SHIT over sitting in the chair, you tend to become gun-shy.  But we girded our loins and laden with the Leapster Explorer (alternately the bane and savior of our existences) and the promise of more Dora, off we set with great trepidation.

Drum roll please:


I know, right?  How cute are they now?  Also, please to be ignoring the Cheetos, traumatic events required neon orange processed cheese type snacky foods. Integrity, she be gone.

Of course, the lack of the mop top makes Noah's recent battle scars so, how shall we say, noticeable?  Even giving their school a heads-up on his injury, I'm kind of almost expecting a visit from CPS any day now.  Captain Chaos, you are rightfully named.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The day my heart almost stopped

Poor Noah.  This really hasn't been his day.  First on Thursday morning was the Great Bloody Lip Popsicle Incident of 2012 and then Thursday evening was the Terrifying Goose Egg Raising of 2012.

While getting the kids ready for their baths, everyone hangs out in my and Dylan's room.  We clean Noah's (usually) poopy diaper, get them undressed and herded into the tub.  Noelle gets silly in the evening and tonight was no exception.  She likes to basically kick her legs out and fall backward.  We have a Queen sized bed and two large children so space gets tight and have had many a near miss; I should probably start bringing the Near Miss Root Cause/Corrective Action Form home from work.  Anyway, Noah is lying back on the bed and I'm just getting his diaper undone to wipe him down when WHAM! The back of Noelle's head slams into his forehead.  All of her weight plus the force of her jump concentrated on the center of his head. 

The reaction was loud and immediate and I thanked God in that second that he could cry.  Noelle is crying as it hurt her too, Noah is wailing in pain and I sprint down the stairs to grab the ice packs, leaving Dylan to comfort our injured children.  Racing back up the stairs, I throw one at Noelle, scoop Noah up to apply the ice and rock him panicking the whole time, praying as hard as I can in my head "Please don't die baby, please don't die." (Morbid? Overreacting? Yes but I've read The Hunger Games and have an overactive imagination to begin with so let the good times roll.)  Noah's crying and shaking, Noelle is crying, Dylan's white as a sweet and I'm trying to comfort Noah and not lash out at Noelle. 

We were both trying to keep ourselves under control, she had a bump and was scared too.  And it was hard.  Hard not to yell at her for her carelessness.  Hard not to yell when it was clearly an accident.  Hard to not scare her by lashing out and cutting her with our words.  But we did it.  Some of our fear leaked out but not the words that I would regret.  Not the words that would wound.  Not the words that she would carry with her the rest of her life.  We did tell her that she could have seriously hurt herself and her brother.  We told her that there was a very good reason why we say not to do something.  But we also told her that we knew that it was an accident, that she wasn't trying to hurt anyone, that she was being the silly, goofy, funny little girl that she always has been and that we love her very much. 

We got off lucky; Noah has a big goose egg on his head that nicely complements the cut lip from earlier.  Noelle has a bump that is tender but isn't as visible as it's under her hair.  But after the kids were in bed, I confessed my thoughts to Dylan, that if something horrible had happened to Noah, I didn't know if I would ever be able to not resent her, to not blame her in some way.  I don't like feeling like that.  I really didn't like thinking that but it was there.  Noah's eyes seemed a bit dilated so to be safe, Dylan will stay with him tomorrow to observe him.  I'm sitting here typing with the baby monitor on, the one we haven't used at night in ages as the 'what if' scenarios play tag in my mind.  My poor poor little boy.  He's had such a rough day, it just doesn't seem fair that this all happens to him in one 24-hour period.

Hm, maybe the Mayans are right after all.

Friday, February 17, 2012

That really wasn't the lesson I was going for

Ah, parenting.  A world chock-full of wondrous teachable moments in which important life lessons are demonstrated and internalized, never to be repeated. 

*Please, take a moment to compose yourself. No really, I'll wait*

Parenting Noelle so far has been relatively easy, the incident this morning regarding whether more colors are boy colors or girl colors dissolving into tearful sobs notwithstanding.  Parenting Noah has been more...difficult.  Not that he is difficult, no, but his behavior and way of interacting with the world is.  He's a strongly stubborn child and does not like to be thwarted and when thwarted, expresses his displeasure by hitting.  Well, we've used time outs, talking, relocating to his crib (aka baby jail) and have now moved on to 'loss of privilege', a pretty radical thing for a 2 year old.  He is currently obsessed with the Penguins of Madagascar game for Noelle's Leapster Explorer (video game).

This morning things were moving along fine albeit much slower than I wanted.  He ate breakfast, brushed his teeth (and by he I mean I did it for him) and got ready, the two of them sharing the video game back and forth.  The collaborative effort continued the duration of the drive in to school even with Noelle shouting instructions at him "NO Noah!  The OTHER button!" We pull into the space and as usual, get Noelle out first.  Going around to Noah's side I say (also as usual) "Okay buddy, we're here.  Time to turn off the video game." Transitions and all that. Normally not a problem, he'll turn it off, hand it to me saying 'Okay, Mommy' and on our merry way we go.  Today, however, "Noah, time to turn off the video game, we're here." "NO!"" Come on bud, time to turn it off and go inside." (Louder) "NO!"  Now, we dislike taking things out of the kids' hands because really, how can that teach them to not grab from others but after a gentle tug of war, he relinquished control and I started to put it in the seat pocket. Right. In. Front. Of. Him. So he kicked my hand and I dropped the game which remember, belonged to neither of us, picked it up to put it away again, was kicked at again. 

At this point, we are very late and my patience is at a breaking point so I pick him up to carry him inside, sort of like a laundry basket. When an attempt to have him stand and walk ends with him melting to the parking lot, I pick him up again and carry his incredibly pissed off little form into the vestibule of the school.  Putting him down to check them in, he melts in an even more dramatic fashion flowing from his knees to a respectable face plant onto the hard wood floor.  It will come as no surprise that the crying/wailing changed at that point from 'I'm angry' to 'I'm hurt' because he indeed was having bit into his lip.  He's bleeding, I'm trying to comfort him and get him to his classroom to clean him up when the assistant director asks what I think is if he needs an ice pack.  Yes, he indeed does so through the door we all go, him crying me trying to comfort him and find something to clean him up with and also check out the damage.  We get him set up with the ice pack from the classroom when the assistant director shows up with two popsicles for him to choose from.  I...ah...oh crap.  That was what she had asked, if he needed an ice pop.  To which I said yes.  I'm not heartless, I let him have it and lo it was good.  Noelle of course saw that he had a treat so asked to share.  He was very willing to share his ice pop and back and forth they went until Noelle bit the end off of it and the rest fell off of the stick and onto the ground. So what did we learn today?
  1. We can't always get our way.
  2. When in doubt, complain. Loudly.
  3. For maximum effect, throw oneself to the floor.  Bonus points for blood.
  4. Popsicles for breakfast. Mom = PWNED.
I shall be over here rocking back and forth with a drink firmly in hand wondering when, exactly, it was that I lost control.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Opportunities Denied

I had a cute post planned for today showing the kids before and after the de-hippiefication but something went down today that got my dander right up so fun pics of the kids will have to wait until my blood pressure has dropped down to it's normal range of 'I really couldn't care less to Are you fucking kidding me?!'  Last year we in the Quality organization received the good news that there was going to be a partnership with a local university to off quality systems and strategic training as there is no development plan for the organization and the higher ups (rightly) want to be able to 1) promote from within and 2) have those 'within' possess some of the necessary skills/experiences that would make it worthwhile to promote from within.  Oh happy day!  There might be some way out of this appendix of a job. 

When the winter schedule became available, I signed up for everything right away - limited slots, everyone would have the opportunity to apply for them and was not playing around with this.  So over the course of three days in January, I took four classes and looked forward to the next round of classes to be scheduled.  And two weeks ago they were.  So I requested permission to attend them all again.  Now, these classes are in April, June and August and would take roughly three days in a row to do.  You know, to minimize disruption to the routine.  Plus, I already had the prerequisites from the January classes which, at the most, held 10 people.  To recap: training was offered, classes were less than capacity, not exactly an overly high interest level.

Well, the next week, my boss informs us that she can't possibly continue to work in a place where she is unvalued and unwanted (you reap what you sow but that is another story altogether) so she had given her two weeks' notice.  My thought, okay, she'll approve these class requests as a last second 'screw you' to those who had wronged her.  At least, that is what I would do.  I'm petty and vindictive like that. Anyway, I received the electronic enrollment confirmation notifications and much to my surprise, three classes were denied, one from each month.  Naturally, I questioned this as, like I stated before, there wasn't an overwhelming response from the quality masses and oh yeah, they are cumulative.  The reason? She and the plant manager "tried to prioritize the classes to be taken the first half of this year verses what could be taken at a later time. You can request these others later in the year when a new schedule comes out."  Again, let's recap: classes are cumulative, not a tremendous amount of interest thereby not guaranteeing more will be offered and oh yeah, she is leaving in two days.

This of course pissed me off royally mostly because if it was a scheduling issues, I should have been informed and been given the opportunity to choose.  Wouldn't have liked it, but hey, that's how things go.  As it stands, someone who will no longer be here and someone who knows nothing about my career plans took it upon themselves to decide what I should take when and in what order.  THAT I have a huge problem with. But wait! There's more! When she came by to 'explain' the denial, she brought a whole new angle into the discussion: but they want others to take advantage of this opportunity too!  Right, those 'others' who so eagerly awaited their chance to go, so eagerly that that the only other participants in the January session were forced to attend should be given preference over those of use who have shown an interest and eagerness to learn new skills and apply said skills to our line jobs.  And lo! behold the rise of the martyr: "I really don't need this my last three days here" she wailed with tears in her eyes.  And like that, she made it all about her.  Calmly I pointed out again that those who showed willingness and enthusiasm were being put off to 'encourage' a  greater audience to participate.  In a group of classes that are cumulative and oh yeah, have prerequisites.  But no matter! Our initiative was being! seen! By whom? She was unclear on that and yes, oh so very condescending.  I cannot wait to be rid of her and Friday afternoon cannot come soon enough. 

And they wonder why we all try to hard to escape this place. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

She Was Published Before I Was

Since the beginning of the year, Noelle's class has been talking about emotions and working on their Book of Emotions which is not to be confused with the Book of Mormon though equally desirable.  In honor of her writing and illustrating debut, I present to you Noelle's Book of Emotions

Make sure it's eye catching to grab attention.  Jokeresque makeup is always a good plan.

Jazz hands really help to sell the happy.
It was eye-opening to Dylan and I to see what drives her emotions.  She isn't always the most forthcoming, defaulting to whatever situation is at hand for what she is thinking.  I love getting see how her mind works.
Sad and contemplative.  Nailed it.
I really like this drawing that she did.  Sad isn't always about tears and I think that she captured the loneliness of being sad perfectly.

Not only is he not sharing, he is taunting.
And it does make her sad when her little brother doesn't share.  Especially when it's her toy that she generously shared first.  No one likes being taken advantage of and she tries to be very logical and rationale. It's one of the things that I admire most about her but even better is when they work it out between themselves with minimal interference from us.

This is actually what I look like when I'm frustrated. Might need to work on that.
This is clearly a payback for not getting her yet more princess dolls. Immortalized as the devil  in two dimensions.

Angry preschooler is angry.

You know, I can't really argue with her about this one.
Not only is she growing as an artist with her skills in drawing but she is really communicating ideas, complex ideas with her pictures.  That is hard to do even when you have the words but the eloquence of her drawings, her emotions, herself is what makes this truly special indeed and I for one am honored and priveleged to be allowed such a peek into her soul. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go track down the rat-bastard who would dare to kick my girl.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Curses, Foiled Again

In what is certain to be only the first in a long (long long long long) list of times where I have my words thrown back at me by a very sincere and almost annoyingly cute five year old, Noelle *almost* bested me last night. She was in the game, nay she had the game in the bag except for my super secret surprise ultimate weapon.  Behold my stumble....

"Noelle, remember what we talked about on the way home from Sunday school the other day? About us giving you more grown up foods to try at dinner?"


"Well, we're going to be starting that tonight.  Don't worry, I will only give you a little spoonful of each on your plate.  All you have to do is try it.  Got it?"

"Okay Mommy."

Because I just can't leave well enough alone, "Just little bits and soon you'll find lots of other foods to enjoy beyond chicken nuggets, fish sticks and tater tots."

"But Mommy, chicken nuggets and fish sticks are healthy for me!"

"Um, no sweetie, not really."

"Oh, and then I'll turn into a giant chicken nugget or a fish stick."

"Exactly! And I can't hug a giant walking chicken nugget."

Giggles. "Okay Mommy, but then you need to eat some tater tots."

Whaaa? "Noelle, I really don't care for tater tots."

Impish grin. "Well you need to try them Mommy.  You need to eat more different foods." Zing!

"Well played, my dear. Well played indeed."

(Unbeknownst to her I actually don't mind tater tots as long as they are called by their proper name: potato poopies. And I ate my tater tots, she however, passed on the lima beans.)

And here we go.