Monday, March 31, 2008

Comic Relief

I survived my first weekend of real estate school. In this course, they try to cram as much information they can in back to back days. There's a lot to learn and, basically, at the end of the second day my brain was tired.

The class was made up of mostly women, several know it all's, and a couple of men. There were a few of us, that pretty much knew nothing. At all. I was just glad that I wasn't the only one that was clueless.

There is a particularly funny man in the class. He is hispanic and speaks with a heavy accent. He has a way of asking questions that takes 3 times and 3 different ways of asking them, to actually ask them. Usually, his wife would jump in and ask it in a way everyone would understand. His name is Rene. Remember this. It will come in handy in a minute.

It was during the second day, that the instructor had been going on and on about what an agent should and shouldn't do. What is morally and ethically wrong. There is not much room for humor, in this chapter, and everyone was getting antsy and ready for a break. He gave this example on the need for actual facts, and not opinions:

"Let's say Rene is my agent and I ask him if the house is in a safe neighborhood. He tells me that it is safe and I buy the house. Two weeks later, my house is broken into and vandalized. I call Rene and ask him why he told me that it is a safe neighborhood."

Rene interrupts him and says,

"Hey, I'm from Mexico. Of course, I thought it was safe."

Everyone loves a comedian. Especially one that can make fun of himself.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Power Of A Cute Outfit

It was the day I had been putting off for way too long. Maddie's first trip to the dentist. I know, I should have taken her a year ago, but I wanted to, um, find one that she would like. No, I mean, I wanted to give her a chance to mature. Wait- I wanted to find one that our insurance covered.

Who am I kidding? I procrastinated. An entire year.

So, to make up for it, I dressed her in her cutest outfit, sparkly princess shoes, and hoped that I would be forgiven for being a year late in scheduling her appointment.

The hygienist was great. She let Maddie play with all of the tools, so that it wouldn't scare her. She was hip to what the cool 4 year olds are into, and could talk princess with the best of 'em.

Maddie handled it like a champ. She followed instructions and both the hygienist and dentist ooh'ed and ahh'ed over how well behaved she was. I have to admit, I felt a little smug when they told me that she did better than a 10 year old did, the day before.

I answered the questions they had. For the most part, pretty honestly. I mean, really, did they expect me to tell them that I sometimes forget to brush her teeth? Especially in the morning, if we have nothing planned for the day? And, that it took forever to teach her how to spit, and she has probably swallowed more toothpaste than is safe? And, that she doesn't know how to use dental floss ?

I'm hoping, no.

When we were done, the dentist told me that her teeth were spaced pretty well, and she probably won't need braces. Then, she told me something that had me doubting myself as a mother. I felt myself shrinking into the chair. Oh, God, she knows I'm a great big fake. Who am I trying to kid? I'm no good at this "being responsible for another being" thing.

"We'll need to see her in a week or so. She has a cavity."

Didn't she see her cute outfit? She CAN'T have a cavity. Ugh.

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Friday, March 28, 2008


Tomorrow, I'm going to do something that I haven't done in over 8 years. And, to be honest, I'm a little nervous.

I'm going back to school.

It is a real estate school that holds a course every Saturday and Sunday for five weeks. And, one really good part about it is that I didn't have to pay for it.

Justin's best friend is a builder. He needs someone to write out the contracts for the houses that he sells. So, he asked me if I would be interested in it. Ummmm, yeah.

I had been worried about what I would do, job-wise, when Maddie starts school full time. This would be perfect if I can make it work. And, I really pray that I can.

There are some main differences in my going to school this time, as opposed to when I went to college.

I don't think I'll be boozing it up before class. I won't be worried about what I'll wear to the next party. I won't be more concerned about guys than grades.

I will study. I will make this work.

I do have a few concerns, though. Math is my definite weak point. I tend to stop listening if something doesn't interest me. Will this interest me?

My biggest concern right now, though, is the time of day that the class is scheduled.

It cuts right into my nap time. And, that could mean trouble.

For everyone.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Least Favorite Part

It was a beautiful day that just screamed for the zoo. So, my best friend, Christie, and I packed up the kids and went.

We let Maddie and Ethan run ahead of us, only calling out if they got too far ahead of us, while we leisurely strolled behind. They had a blast. Life was good.

As we were getting close to finishing the loop, I started praying. Please don't let them see it. Please send a squirrel or something for them to chase, so they run right past it. Just LOCK the gates.

There is a part of the zoo, that every parent dreads. I always try to avoid it, but Maddie smells it, and I have no choice. No- it's not the concession stand. It's the petting zoo.

Home of the best groomed goats in Nashville.

Christie muttered under her breath, "This is my least favorite part of the zoo." "Mine, too."

And I felt a little bad about lying to her. Sure, the petting zoo is bad. And gross. And full of stinky goat pellets. But, it's not nearly as bad as what we were about to do.

Take two four year olds to the ginormous (yes, that's a word) playground. 66,000 feet of playground. I've been to this playground before, with both kids. And, something bad happened.

But, that was last year, and I had another adult with me. Surely, the kids will stay together, and we can keep an eye on both of them.

You guessed it.

Hearts pounding, eyes searching, mouths screaming ETHAN!!

Bless his heart, he was just as scared as we were when his mommy found him. Crying and walking alone.

But, not so scared, that he didn't do it again.

I think the second time really got to him, though.

As we were leaving, Christie told me that Ethan is banned from the zoo playground, until he is eight.

I think she may have a new least favorite part of the zoo.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

If She Could Read And Write (And We Communicated Through Letters)

Dear Mommy,

I'm really hungry. I want a snack, okay? Umm, some cheese cubes and crackers, please.

Love, Maddie

Dear Maddie,

No. When I asked you what you wanted for lunch today, you told me a peanut butter sandwich. That's what I fixed you. You didn't eat it. Our new rules are if you don't eat a meal, you don't get a snack an hour later. You will wait until the next meal to eat. I hope you remember this tomorrow, at lunch.

Love, Mommy


I'm so, so, so, so hungry. Please feed me. I learned my lesson. I promise.

Your starving child, Maddie


I'm glad you learned your lesson. No food until dinner. That's after I leave to go to work in an hour. Daddy will fix you what you want.

Your guilt ridden Mommy


I think you should go to work early today.



I'm outta here. Tell Daddy what you want.


I hate enforcing new rules. Especially when they involve withholding food. But, dang, I don't really know what else to do. She will tell us what she wants, doesn't eat, then wants a snack. The cycle starts again because, then, she doesn't eat dinner.

I'm so open to suggestions.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

When I Get Old

I wanna be her. . .

Who wouldn't?

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

What They Mean To Me

Two of the most important people in my life have birthdays tomorrow. Justin and Mom. Over the years, they have given me so much more than I could ever give them.

My mom gave me, well, life. She taught me how to enjoy it. She gave me some of the best friends a girl could ever want- sisters. My mother laid the foundations in my life. I think I am a better wife, mother, sister and friend because of her. Sometimes I do exactly what she would do. Others, I do the complete opposite. Either way, I know that she will respect my decision. I hope.

As wonderful as a mother she is, it is even more fun to watch her be a grandmother. She has 6 granddaughters and 1 grandson that love to call her "Gram". Or "Gray-um", I should say. There is no place that the kids would rather be. The cabinets are stocked with their favorite snacks, the newest kiddie dvd is already in the player, and a craft is just waiting for them.

Justin has given me everything.* He is the one person whose opinion I respect the most. There is no one with whom I would rather speak. Which is why we talk about 5 times a day, I guess. When I think of my future- 5, 10, 20, 50 years from now- he is always right there with me. He makes me laugh, he makes me mad (not often), he makes me- a better ME.

Justin also gave me Maddie. I have watched this small little girl transform my husband. He knows every Disney princess. He plays "tea party" with the best of them. When I tell her that she has done a good job, she automatically wants to see what her daddy has to say. His opinion means so much more than mine. I love that. I love that she loves her dad and wants to spend time with him. Even if that means counting baseball cards.

I don't think I tell either of them how much they mean to me, often enough. I can't imagine my life without them. And, I hope I never have to.

*Here it is, Justin- your birthday present. The post where I don't talk about how you are a snoop, your need for more friends, or how you made me mad. I know you think that I only write about the bad things, but it's just because I don't want everyone to get jealous. Dang!- that sounded good. Go get some cookies that Maddie and I made specially for your birthday. They are on the table. Love ya.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter





I'll be away, doing the family thing this weekend. I hope everyone has a great Easter.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maddie's Version Of Easter

Maddie's Easter egg hunt was today. If, by hunt, you mean throwing a ton of plastic eggs in the gym, and letting 20 three and four year olds run around like maniacs, trying to fill their baskets.

When I first got to the classroom, all of the children were sitting on the rug, listening to the teacher. She had the resurrection eggs, and was calmly going over the Easter story.

And, in my opinion, getting 20 kids to sit and listen to a story is a miracle, in and of itself.

I was not sure how much of the Easter story Maddie actually comprehended. I have been somewhat hesitant to go into full detail about it, but recently, she has asked a lot of questions about Jesus, God, Heaven, and what happens when you die. So, I asked her what Easter is all about.

Instead of hearing about the Easter Bunny and chocolate, she told me her version of the real Easter.

"Well, some people were mad at Jesus and hurt him. They put a cactus thing on his head and made blood come out. Then, they hurt his back. Bad. He died on a cross and they put him in a cave. Some ladies tried to find him, but he was gone. Angels came and told them that he wasn't there. He must have become a light, and flew to heaven, I don't know. Can I have some cheese?"

I think for a four year old, she's got it pretty well covered.

I just hope she remembers it on Easter morning, while she is hunting for eggs, and stuffing her face with chocolate.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What's The Point?

Justin and his friend were looking at something on the computer, when Justin said, "This is Chelsea's blog. Have you seen it, yet?"

I smiled a little, because it makes me happy that he looks for the comments, almost as often as I do.

Then, I hear something from his friend, akin to fingernails on a chalkboard, "What's the point of a blog?"


How could I explain it? I racked my brain.

Umm- entertainment? That's a start, but it is so much more.

Do I tell him about the friendships that I've developed with people across the country? What about how it sometimes just feels good to write it all down? And, when you do, the knowledge that someone else has probably gone through something similar, and is there to offer support or advice. How about the need to brag or complain about your child?

I read blogs because I like to- whether it is a parenting blog, cooking blog, or whatever blog. I write because it makes me think. I try to write about things that other people can relate to, and if they laugh at my expense, all the better.

And, that thing called "comment crack"? Totally addictive.

There was no way that I could explain all of this to Justin's friend. He was too busy getting his fantasy baseball team ready.


Fantasy. Baseball?

What's the point in that?!?!

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Monday, March 17, 2008

And The Winners Are. . .

Just My Type and Amy at Memories and Musings of a Mommy . Congrats! You know who Jeff Galloway is and proved my husband wrong. Woohoo to you!!

For those of you who don't know who he is, I'll tell you- although you probably either a.)don't care or b.)already googled his name and now know.

Jeff Galloway wrote the book that convinced me that I could train for a half-marathon and eventually a full marathon. When I first started to get interested in training for long distance running, I read his book Running religiously. His books give easy to follow training programs, and covers every aspect of running. If you are even slightly interested in beginning a running program, I highly recommend his books.

And now for something completely different. . . kinda.

When Maddie and I go to the gym, she always asks me what kind of exercises I'm going to do. One day, a couple of months ago, I told her that I was going to run. She told me that she really wished that she could run with me and asked why she couldn't.

There is an indoor track at my gym that very few people use. I checked with the staff and they said that it was fine if she went up there, as long as I stayed with her and kept her out of everyone's way.

So, that has become our ritual. We make sure there aren't many people on it, and go run/jog. I use that time as my warm-up. She usually runs 1/2 mile without slowing down. We have fun. And, it's something that I hope she continues to like, because it would be so cool to have her for a real running buddy.

Today, she led us in our stretches. There were a few older people on the track, but not too many. She started running. If someone was in her way, she would switch lanes without being told. If someone was coming up behind her, she would move out of their way. All was good. Some of the older people even told her how well she was doing. Some clapped their hands and said, "way to go!"

When we were done, this really old man approached us. I thought he was going to tell Maddie something sweet, cause that's what most 80 year old people do. I was mistaken-

"You know she's not supposed to be up here. It's 10 and up. Only." And, he was mean about it.

"Well, I asked the people at the desk and they said it was fine, as long as I kept her with me."

"NO. 10. And. Up." Then, he had the nerve to point to the rules sign. Yes, there it was. 10 and up.

I wanted to pinch him. But, he was wearing green, and I didn't think I could get away with it, otherwise.

He had just informed my very astute daughter that her mommy was breaking the rules.

And, that's just mean.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Famous To Me

Maddie spent the weekend with my mom, in Memphis. You know what that means, right?


We started our weekend on Friday night, with a date after work, to Waffle House. We decided that when the employees are as strung out as most of the customers, at 11:30 on a Friday night, it's not necessarily a good thing. But I'll save that for another post.

On Saturday, we went out to dinner. Just the two of us. It was awesome. No worrying about whether the restaurant will have anything for Maddie to eat. No worrying about disturbing other customers. No 4 year old. At a grown up restaurant.

Real food. Real conversation. I really am an adult.

The highlight of my night was while we were waiting for a table. I spotted him. Is that. . .? Oh, man, I can't believe it.

I turned to Justin, whispered to him, "Look- right over there. Do you see him? That's Jeff Galloway." Please don't google his name- it'll kinda ruin the point of the story.


"Oh, you know. That guy that. . . "

I kept looking over at him, trying to gather the courage to talk to him. He seemed really nice. But, living in Nashville, one thing that we pride ourselves on, is acting like we don't care if we see someone famous. We try to let all of the stars eat in peace. Unless, of course, it's George Strait. Then, I'm all over him. No question about it.

He stood 3 feet away from me. Alone. And I didn't even talk to him. Gah.

So, when I was talking to Justin about him, and all that he accomplished, I mentioned that I was going to put it on my blog. He claimed that no one would know who he is.

Prove him wrong- Do you know who Jeff Galloway is? No cheating. That means no googling. There is absolutely no prize to go to the winner.

We just had a date weekend. I'm broke. But, you will have the satisfaction of proving my husband wrong. And, that's priceless.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

What If?

I have always considered Nashville a safe place to live. I have no problem going downtown by myself. I sometimes forget to lock my door. I read about some of the crime that goes on here, but compared to other cities, it seems far removed from my reality.

Today, Justin and I were on our way to pick up Maddie from school. The two cars in front of us stopped. We heard a loud *pop* and saw a hubcap roll into the street. Two cars were driving through the intersection without stopping. Justin said, "They're shooting at each other." What I naively thought was a car backfiring, was a gunshot.

Then- pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop

The drivers had their heads and arms out of their windows, shooting at each other. It seemed like it was happening in slow motion, but the gunfire was rapid. They kept driving, while every driver or passenger in nearby cars dialed 9-1-1.

This was in a decent neighborhood. This was in broad daylight. This was in total disregard for any innocent bystander, who happened to be in the line of fire. This was scary.

This was 1.5 miles from Maddie's school.

When we arrived at the school, I was still on the line with the 911 operator. Unfortunately, I didn't see the license plate, and the description of the cars was mediocre, at best.

Of course, once I had it through my head that everyone that I love and cherish, were safe, the questions began.

What if they had turned to the right, and drove past Maddie's school? Where all of the children were playing outside.

What if a stray bullet had hit Justin or me? What about the person in the car in front of us?

What if they had gotten out of their cars and randomly opened fire, on all of us?

What if we were on our way home, with Maddie in the car?

What if? What if? WHAT IF?

I know that "what ifs" rarely accomplish much. Today, they made me hug Maddie a few extra times. They made me appreciate Justin, even more. They made me grateful. For life.

As I was leaving for work tonight, I gave Justin a kiss, and in our "let's make everything a joke" way, I said:

"I'm glad you didn't, well- you know- get shot, today." To which he replied:

"Yeah- try not to get shot on your way to work."

Neither joke was very funny. Not today.

Go tell your family you love them. You never know when random crazy people will start shooting guns.

Nope- still not funny.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I Don't Even Like Donald Duck

Today was one of those perfect Spring days. It was warm out, no clouds, just a little breeze, and no one in my house was sick. It was the perfect day for a picnic.

We packed our basket- okay, it was a brown paper bag, b/c we didn't get the extravagant picnic basket we registered for, when we got engaged- and headed to the park. We found the perfect table, right beside the creek that, due to recent rain and snow, actually had moving water. I unloaded the food and we sat back to enjoy our lunch.

And then, I heard it. HONK! HONK! A stupid goose was invading our perfect picnic. I began having flashbacks to my childhood. . . It wasn't pretty. . . It was just plain scary. . .

For some insane reason, my sisters and I convinced our parents that we wanted a pet duck. We got one, named it Ducky Lucky, and lived in fear of it, every time we went outside. He was the absolute meanest animal ever put on Earth.

We had an above ground pool in our backyard. We would walk down the steps, and Ducky Lucky would wait until we were completely in the grass and would start chasing us. He would bite the backs of our legs and flap his wings. Then, he would circle the pool, over and over again, waiting for us to get out of the pool. He was a nightmare on two legs.

To this day, I can not stand ducks or anything that resembles them. Geese resemble them. A lot. And, this one decided to join our picnic.

It kept getting closer and closer. When it would get to close for my comfort, my heroes, Justin and Maddie, would chase it away. After chasing it 3 or 4 times, the goose finally jumped past the trees lining the creek and landed in the water.

I was relieved, to say the least. That is, until Justin opened his big mouth.

"Now, we have no idea on where it will land when it decides to come back. Or when."

Thanks, honey. Relaxing picnic is now over.

And, Maddie, wanting to join in the conversation said:

"Yeah, Mommy- you should write a blog about this."

She read my mind.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Half- Baked Idea

Most of my friends have more than one child. All of my sisters have 2. I have Maddie. And Grendal.

Most days, I'm fine with that.

But, there are some days, when I really, kinda, sorta think I might want another child. You know, someone that Maddie can share her secrets with. Maybe a little boy, so that Justin can talk sports and have someone actually listen. Even another girl would be fun.

Usually these thoughts are quelled when I hear a screaming toddler or smell a smelly diaper. I start thinking about sleepless nights, diapers, spit up, and mind-numbing screaming. Babies are great and all, but I'm pretty partial to 4 year olds right now. They can talk. They are potty trained. They can watch entire movies at a time, without interrupting my computer time.

My manager asked if we were planning on having any more children. I gave my standard answer, "Right now, we are having so much fun with Maddie, we are waiting to see if we want any more." And then, for some reason, I told her more about how I felt.

We discovered that we were pretty much complete opposites. I loved being pregnant, she hated it. She really likes the baby phase, I love the preschool age. I even told her that I would like to be pregnant and give birth to a fully functional 4 year old. I would settle for a 3 year old, though, if it was potty trained.

And, an idea was hatched.

We decided that I should get pregnant, give it to her for the first 3 or 4 years, then I would take over.

Then, I started thinking about how I would have to UPS my breastmilk to her. And, that I would miss the first time it rolled over, cooing, crawling, pulling up, the first steps, and well- everything fun that a baby does. Would she take pictures of the first time it eats solids? What if it called her "ma ma"? I couldn't handle that.


Someone hand me a baby's butt to wipe- I'm getting that feeling again.

Just joking, Justin.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

The Sleeper

Does your spouse read your blog? Mine does. And, most of the times, I don't mind. In fact, I love to hear him tell me what he thought about it. If he liked it, that is. . .

Saturday night, I really wished he didn't read my blog. At. All. Let's just say, I wasn't too happy with him, and I wanted- no- needed to vent. And, I couldn't because then he would know I was mad and I can't hold an effective grudge if he knows why I'm mad.

We haven't been able to spend a lot of time together. The one weekend that Maddie was with her Granny, we were sick. The next weekend, Maddie was sick. The next, Maddie and I went out of town. He's been super busy with work. And, our schedules just haven't meshed very well.

Saturday, we didn't have anything planned. He had to work during the day, but the night was wide open. We did have Maddie, but that's not a big deal. She goes to bed at 8, so I knew we would have the rest of the night, to just get reconnected. Maybe watch a movie, eat some popcorn, talk, plan the next 10 years, etc. Yeah, I was excited.

I put Maddie to bed. Walked into the den, and there he was- sleeping.

Okay, I thought, I'm sure he needs a little nap. He's been working hard, lately. It's early, yet. He'll wake up soon, I'm sure.

An hour passes. Nope Are you kidding me?! You are 31, not 71. It's 9 o'clock. Wake up!

Two hours pass. Opens his eyes for a second, then goes back to sleep.

By 11 o'clock, steam was coming out of my ears. If he dared to open his eyes, and even attempted to talk to me, he was given the death stare.

This was OUR night! And, he slept right through it.

At midnight, I gave up and went to bed. And, in my passive aggressive way, left on all of the lights, while he slept on the couch.

At some point, he made it to bed. The next morning, when we woke up, he had the nerve to tell me that he didn't sleep well. Then he asked me what we were going to do that day.

I told him that I was going to sleep. All. Day. Long. I had a good mad going, and I knew that if I wanted to keep being mad, I couldn't be around him very much. Less chance of him apologising if I was sleeping.

He apologised before we even got out of bed. Dang it! I was kinda looking forward to giving him the silent treatment, that I'm so good at. Once someone apologises to me, I can't be mad. I'm kinda a stickler for the whole forgive and somewhat forget thing.

We ended up having a good Sunday. No hard feelings, and only a few scathing comments, on my part.

But, I'm letting you know, here and now, Mr. Justin Lee-

I have high hopes for this Saturday night. Take a nap before dinner if you need to.

Got it?

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

One Lesson At A Time

If you park in the side parking lot of my gym, you will see a way that you can cut across and save, oh- I don't know, 30 whole seconds. You can just shave off one entire corner, and cut through the grass.

So many people have done it, it has caused the grass to turn brown and die. In one straight line. It looks terrible, so the gym administrators erected a small fence to prevent people from walking in the grass.

Maddie wants to cut through, every single time we go by it. I never let her, even though people still do it. All. The. Time. I'm getting tired of explaining why they can do it, but she can't.

On Friday, we were casually strolling on the sidewalk. A lady brushed past us, and almost knocked Maddie down. She was talking on her phone, and obviously, didn't have time to glance down to see the 3 1/2 foot person in front of her.

She decided to ignore the fence and take the shortcut- like I said, it does save a whole 30 seconds. It had been raining. You know where this is going, don't you?

Her 4 inch heels got stuck, and she twisted her ankle. She let out a squawk, and went flying. Landed right in a big mud puddle. Her once beautiful, green suede, knee-length coat was now brown. Mud brown, I would call it. Her Louis Vuitton bag was emptied into the puddle. Her perfectly styled hair, now had streaks of mud decorating it. Her dignity was spread all around her.

I stopped and asked her if I could help. She actually started screaming at me. "NOOO! THIS IS DISGUSTING! NO. DON'T. TOUCH. ME. WHY ME?!?!" Um, look, you crazy woman, this is not my fault. Stop yelling at me. I might have wanted to push you down, but I didn't. And, I haven't passed the course in moving objects with my mind, yet. . .

I didn't think it would help matters by telling her that it happened because she was in too big of a hurry and tried to walk through mud in 4 inch heels. I offered one last time to help. She got up and shook the mud off of her phone. Opened it up and strode away. Yelling into the phone, the whole time. Nice lady.

"Mommy- That was disgusting."

"Yep. That's what happens when you walk through the grass."

And, the light in her little head went off.

"You aren't supposed to break the rules. Right, Mommy?"

"That's right. Never break the rules. Bad things happen when you do. Remember that."

I'm going to keep brainwashing my sweet little girl, for as long as I possibly can. At least until she figures me out.

Hopefully, it'll be when she has kids of her own.

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Scrolling Saturday

I've had lots of questions about Maddie wanting to play in Johnny Cash's band. Why does she like him so much? Because she recognizes good music, I guess. How does she know who he is? Because we have brainwashed her. Does she really know the words? Oh yes, Ring of Fire is even her dad's ringtone. And, she sings along with it.

So, in honor of these questions, I'm reposting this post. And, as soon as I can borrow a video camera of her singing Ring of Fire, I'll put it on here. I promise.
For more Scrolling Saturdays, click here. Thanks to Melissa and Manners and Moxie for this easy way to get a post done on Saturdays. . .

She Really Is A Nashville Girl

I think Maddie's love of music began when she was around 1. She couldn't get enough of The Wiggles. She would stop whatever she was doing to watch them sing "Fruit Salad" or "Hot Potato". And it was cute. For a while. Until I began fantasizing about how Dorothy the Dinosaur and Wags the Dog would get revenge on all of the camera- hungry, tummy rubbing, salad stirring men and their friend, the pirate, and take over the show.

So, Justin and I began the campaign for good music. We would let her listen to her kiddie songs, but only after she listened to Bruce Springsteen, or The Floating Men. We tried our hardest to listen to a wide variety of musicians, while subtly teaching her the lyrics to the songs. This ranged anywhere from The Clash, to George Strait, to James Taylor, to 311, to Gnarls Barkley.

It is music (literally) to my ears when I can listen to my favorite music and hear her singing along. I really have to watch myself and not laugh, when she butchers the lyrics. One day she came into the room and sang her version of "All Mixed Up" by 311. What was once "all mixed up, don't know what to do. . ." became "all dressed up, got my purse and shoes."

Yesterday, I knew all of the brainwashing had finally paid off. It may actually be my proudest parenting moment, yet. We were in the car, and she said to me:

"Mommy, can we listen to Johnny Cash?"

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Rent Is Due

I'm sure most of you have seen this, but I laugh everytime I see it. Sure, I know a child shouldn't be saying these things, but to hear it come from a little girl that is so cute, just cracks me up.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Another Awkward Moment Featuring Me

I love going to the zoo. It's one of my favorite things to do with Maddie. It's also the perfect playgroup meeting place. We've had some scary moments at the zoo, but we always go back for more.

The last time we met at the zoo, I had an intensely awkward moment. I'm bringing it up because of Lindsay's recent posts about moms and dads having playgroups together. I have no problem with moms and dads having playgroups together. However, our playgroup started out with only moms, and we kept it that way. Mostly because we are good friends, and the group is as much for us, as it is for the kids.

There were several moms that couldn't make it to this particular playgroup at the zoo. The three of us that did go, made our rounds through the playground and to see some of the animals. We were on our way to the carousel when we saw the husband of one of the moms that we usually meet with. He told us that since his wife couldn't make it, he decided to bring their daughter.

This dad, in particular, is a super nice man. And, interesting in a slightly weird hippie way. Has long curly hair, wears beat up Birks, and has the smell of perpetual incense. Nothing against any of that, I'm just trying to give you a visual.

We all thought it was great that he would do that. We, as a group, made small talk, rode the carousel, and decided to walk to the elephant pavilion. Halfway there, the other two moms bailed. Decided they wanted to go eat.

Maddie and the other little girl were the only ones that really wanted to see the elephants. So, the dad and I started walking. Maddie and her friend were in the middle. Maddie grabbed my hand, then her friend's. Her friend then grabbed her daddy's hand.

We looked like a little family. But, we weren't.

It was a strange feeling, knowing that other people probably thought we were the parents. I tried to wiggle my hand from Maddie's, but she wasn't having it. I tried to get her to stop, so they could walk ahead of us. Nope.

We were walking along, the four of us still holding hands and, Is that. . . Oh crap, it is. Does it look like I'm on an illicit play date? Yep, I'm pretty sure it does. Great.

"Hey, guys! Funny seeing you here. . . Yeah, we're here with some friends. . . See ya later."

It was my husband's best friend and his family. They walked away, with his friend glancing back curiously at us. Yeah, good times at the zoo.

I did what any wife would do. Covered my tail. Quickly. I called Justin as soon as I could, and told him that no matter what Marc said, I WAS NOT having an affair with one of Maddie's friend's dad.

Especially not the hippie one.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Shattered Dreams

Growing up, I had lots of ideas about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I would have the ideal career lined up in my head, and the first time someone told me something negative about that particular job, I quit even thinking about it.

Here are some of the careers I had picked out, and the questions/comments that made me change my mind:

Veterinarian- "You know how they have to take cows' temperatures, don't you? In their butts." I was 10. Thanks Kim

Professional ballerina- "You really don't have the body to be a dancer." Thanks Ms. Curran, former dance teacher, for essentially telling a 17 year old that she is too fat. I still have a complex about my weight.

Elementary Teacher- "You are responsible for their education. You are responsible for teaching them how to read, add, and become normal human beings." Thank you, to my professor in college. No really- THANKS.

The list could go on and on. For some reason, I'm a quitter. If it seems like it might be difficult or too challenging, I quit without even trying. I turn tail at the thought of being a failure. I listen to others' negativity, without seeing the silver lining.

I don't like that about myself.

I'm afraid that I see it in Maddie. If she is playing a game and it becomes too hard, she gives up. But, then again, she is just about the most stubborn child I have ever seen. I'm hoping I can teach her the right way to use her stubborness and to go for her dreams. I want to encourage her to be whatever she wants to be.

If you were to ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, her answer is instantaneous. "I'm going to be a singer and play the piano. In Johnny Cash's band."

That's right. Not Hannah Montana's or the Cheetah Girls, but Johnny Cash's band. She's got big dreams, all right.

I'm all for encouraging her. She has a keyboad that she bangs on while singing "Ring of Fire" and "I Walk The Line."

When, exactly, do I tell her that Johnny Cash is well . . . dead?

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Monday, March 3, 2008

Maddie's Nana

Saturday night, after a day of driving 200 miles, a birthday party with 22 kids, and dinner out with my family, I was trying to regain my sanity by taking a nice, hot, long bath. With lots of bubbles. And a nice glass of wine.

I hear Maddie talking to my mom, in her bedroom. She likes to sleep with her Gram when we go to visit. Then I hear my mom get out of bed.

"Chelsea," I hear through the bathroom door, "Where's Maddie's nana?"

Maddie has had this blanket since the first day she was born. She has slept with it every night. When she was a baby, she would rub it against her cheek and try to say "night, night". Hence, the name NaNa. It has been a super-hero's cape, flying carpet, and fishing pole. She goes to sleep with it, and when she wakes up, it is still in her arms.

I forgot to pack her nana. And, we were 200 miles away from it.

I took a deep breath, and prepared myself. I cuddled up next to Maddie and tried to explain that I forgot it. I tried to tell her that her daddy was taking great care of it. I told her that a Gram was better than a nana, any day.

She cried. Not the fake tears. But, then, she got over it. She didn't mention it again, the entire weekend.

On the way back home, I started thinking about how much she has grown and matured. It made me sad that she no longer needs her nana, to cling to. What will happen when she no longer needs to cling to me? Figuratively and literally. As fun as it may be, to watch her grow and change, I still need my baby. I probably always will.

When we got home, the first thing she looked for was her nana. There it was, in the spot I had placed it, so I would be sure I wouldn't forget to pack it.

She saw it, grabbed it, turned to me and said, "Mommy, will you hold me?"

Yep, she's still my baby. For today, anyway.

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Saturday, March 1, 2008

My Last Post About Work, For A While- Promise

Last night, the unthinkable happened. I cried at work. That's not me. I can handle myself under the most stressful of situations. I may get flustered, I may get angry, I may ask for help, but I. Don't. Cry.

I had several tables- no big deal. I screwed up a big tables check- nothing that couldn't be fixed. I ordered the wrong food- table never even knew it, again, no big deal.

I lost my server book- REALLY BIG DEAL.

My server book had all of the money I had made that night. It held all of the money I had made for the restaurant, and was expected to turn in at the end of the night. It held all of the credit card slips, proving how much money I had made through credit cards. It held my favorite picture of Maddie.

I first noticed it around 8ish. By 8:30, almost all of the servers knew about it. The entire restaurant staff was helping my look for it. People were digging through trash cans. Others were going through all of the menus, hoping that it had been accidentally mixed in with them. Like I said, it was a big deal.

By 9:30ish, everyone had pretty much given up hope. We were all still keeping our eyes open for it, but didn't hold out much hope of finding it. Conspiracy theories were floating around- Who took it? Probably the new chick. I bet a customer saw the cash and grabbed it. Did you notice the new busser?

In all honesty, I have no idea what happened to it. And, that's not like me. At all. I may randomly wash money in the washer. I may forget the $20 bill in my jacket and leave it there, until the next season. But, I don't lose my server book, with around $300 in it. Ever.

And, then, after I thought I was done crying about it, the manager had another server bring me to the front of the restaurant. Lots of the servers were there, and I thought it may have been one great big joke, and someone had been hiding my book the whole time.


Something nicer. He handed me a wad of money. "Here. This is from the servers. They collected money and wanted you to have it. Consider this your tip money for the night. We'll worry about the other later."

Pretty awesome, huh? What is even crazier about the whole thing is that it came from some people that I can barely tolerate. Don't get me wrong, I have lots of friends that work there. But, some of the people, I don't have anything in common with, and well, quite frankly, they get on my freakin' nerves. And, they chipped in so I would have money at the end of the night.

It was totally unexpected and I'm extremely grateful to each one of them. If it were to ever happen to one of them, I'll be the first one to toss in money. The manager on shift, helped me out and I'll be paying back the money over the next week. Just a little at a time.

I had a hard time sleeping last night. Did someone I work with take my money, without any second thoughts? Was it a customer that knows how to steal identities, b/c it also held my check stubs with my social security number on it? Did I, gasp, throw it away? Oh, crap, I forgot to look through that one trash can. That's where it has to be. I know it.

If someone did steal my server book, I hope the money was well spent. I hope they enjoy the pictures of Maddie on the front cover. They were my only copies of them, and my favorites, so I hope they value them as much as I did.

I hope they have a conscience and return my server book, money intact. So I can give back all of the money that the servers worked their butts off to make.

Because, you see, I cried last night. And, I don't want them to tell anyone.

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