Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What I've Been Up To: By MB

Ooooooh, you know...torturing Daddy with my book choices

Demanding Uncle Derby read me flap books that I know good and well I tore all of the flaps out of months and months ago. What? It encourages them to read creatively. I'm all about encouragement.

Feats of daring-do on playground equipment far too big for me. The toddler play areas are for sissies. I am not a sissy.

Making sure Mama never sits down...

You know, the usual.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Buddy Pie

I guess grown up people would call this Peanut Butter Pie. Mary Bullock would call it Buddy Pie.


Cream cheese and sugar. Can't go wrong.

Protein! Healthy!

Vanilla makes everything better. Except maybe...steak? I've never had vanilla on steak.

Cool whip. The bad, all chemical kind. I swear you will not care in the end.

I suppose I could have made my own Oreo crust, but anything that speeds up the transport to my belly is a-ok on this recipe.

If you think I didn't lick this spatula to within an inch of its life, you don't know me very well.

You're not going to be terribly surprised by this, but I didn't get an after picture before I ate it all. But here's one from Tasty Kitchen if you need one more reason to make this someday soon.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oh-bla-di, Oh-bla-da

Yes, life has gone on since Tuesday. Mary Bullock loves school and hasn't so much as shed a tear yet. Thanks for all of your kind comments here and on facebook. It's still a little hard for me to grasp that August just two years ago I had yet to even meet her, and now--well, now she's Mary Bullock, force of nature.

I'm just hoping the next fourteen years go by v e r y  s l o w l y...

This? I'm certainly not ready for. [She did this herself, by the way, after her very first day of school. Can you tell she already thinks she's a big girl? Little does she know that she will not be driving until she is 25 years old. Maybe longer. We'll see.]

We're getting the school routine down more every day. Today we even had time to do a little vacuuming before breakfast.

Me: MB, are you vacuuming this morning?
MB: Oh, yessss. Mama vacuum, too!
Me: Can I have a cup of coffee first?
MB: Oh, yesss.
Me: Thaaaaanks.

As for me, I have been keeping myself busy this week going to stores that do not have race-car carts and staying on top-ish of the laundry and dishes. It's been nice to get all of the boring chores done while she's having fun at school, and then to have nothing to do but play and read books when she wakes up from her afternoon nap.

That's all the scoop for now. I do have some non-MB related posts to share when I have a few extra moments. For now, showering is at the top of my to-do list. If you were here, you would thank me for this.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

First Day of School

Yes, I know it's not school-school. It's play school. And it's only a half-day three days a week. But when you're used to being with your baby all day every day [for the most part], it's still an adjustment. Lee asked me last night what I was most afraid of about sending her. I hadn't thought about that specifically--about being afraid. But I immediately answered two things: That she'll talk and her teachers won't understand her. And that they won't realize what a special baby she is.

And then I was glad that I had already taken out my contacts because I've already over-cried these contacts, and I have to throw them away if they get too salty.

I have been thinking a lot in the last week about my days as a teacher. Of course, I didn't have a child then. I can say that I loved many of my students. But did I celebrate them enough? Did I notice their special qualities? Even the annoying ones who slept in class and cheated on tests and overall tried my patience?  Because once upon a time each of those kids was also somebody's baby going to play school. And that mama was probably crying, too.

Maybe their mamas even had accidents in the children's section at Chamblin like...someone else I know.

It was a bit of literary retail therapy. Couldn't be helped. What was it Erasmus said? If I have a little money, I buy books. If any is left, I buy food and clothes?

We might be naked and hungry this month. Whoooooops.

But I sure do feel better.  And I only cruised by the school playground once.

Monday, August 23, 2010

An MB Primer

You know, for her teachers. Since I can't be there to explain, you know? That's two you knows in two sentences. Can you tell I am nervous about all this? [I think my mother and mother-in-law probably think I'm deranged. I spoke to both of them today in the middle of a very squeaky, high pitched, tearful FREAK OUT about actually sending my baby to school.]

A-hem. Where was I?

Oh yes. A primer.

The Basics:
1. My baby is very curious. This translates into her asking "Uh-DAT???" [What's that?] around forty times an hour. Once you tell her the answer, she may just keep asking. Usually she will stop asking if you say, "It's a [pterodactyl]. Can you say [pterodactyl]? Or whatever she may be asking about. Just a hint. You know. Because I know you have a lot of baby questions to answer.

2. She answers Ya! or her more formal Yessss to almost everything. Don't take her word as truth unless you have double checked her diaper for poops.  She is especially sneaky about her diaper contents. She gets this from her father.

Honors MB:
3. Telling my baby no ma'am is just inviting her to sass you. But she is really cute when she sasses, so you might try it some day when you're feeling low. You know, just for kicks.

4. Good luck changing her diaper. You might want to keep your running shoes handy.

5. Oh yeah, and she darts. You know that cute little rope thing with the circles that you use to get 10 toddlers from place to place? She will toss her little head back and laugh: Not me, suckers!

Advanced Placement MB:
6. Just don't break her spirit, you know?

It's my favorite thing about her.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Love is Patient

Happy 6th Anniversary to my best friend!

Inside our rings is the inscription Love is Patient, and every day has been a lesson in that very subject.
Patience with each other, patience with Mary Bullock, patience with the house, patience with the daily messiness of life in an imperfect world...we're not experts yet.

But I'm glad to have you as my study partner.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Part V: New Bern

[If anyone is still reading, bear with me. This is the last of these posts! But I promise lots of pictures on this stop for all the MB stalkers!]

Our last stop before heading home was a little jaunt east over to New Bern to see Kirby and Monnieeeeee [as Mary Bullock so charmingly called her over and over and over and over. It's really quite annoying after a while, but she only does it to people that she loves, which is the charming part.]

We picked up Lee at the airport in Raleigh, and MB scarcely let him out of her sight the rest of the day. He had to pry her little arms from around his neck just to put her back in her car seat. I think we both cried a little-- it was so sweet.

Then we headed out on a tour of Eastern North Carolina [more farm land, more crops I can't name] before arriving in New Bern.

MB quickly familiarized herself with Kirby's gear before I sent her to her rack for the night. She needed her rest for her big day at Tryon Palace!

[This is the back of her new back-to-school outfit, which she found in her bag and insisted on wearing. I am already beyond arguing with her about her clothes. The girl is stub-born. But I'm saving a picture of the front for her first day of school. Stay tuned!]

Ever since our trip to the mountains, Mary Bullock believes that flowers are grown for the sole purpose of being picked and put behind her ear. Again, we don't argue.

This is Tryon Palace, the first permanent capitol of colonial North Carolina. I came here on a tour when I was in fifth grade and have always wanted to go back. It hasn't changed much, although the tour guides no longer wear the huge whale bone skirts, which was kind of a bummer.

We toured the kitchen garden, which inspired Lee to start dreaming of our next big project, which I promised him we could start right after we figure out what is going on with the house AND finish our last project--the headboard. So, I figure this buys me at least until 2012.

There was no photography allowed inside the house, so you'll have to visit yourself if you want to see all the good stuff.

The effort involved in keeping Mary Bullock from swinging from the palace rafters sent us all home in need of a nice long break. We spent the afternoon in the backyard watching Mary Bullock explore [i.e. get really stinking dirty] and being devoured by mosquitoes. Needless to say, she was super psyched.

When we thought we'd pretty much been eaten alive, we went inside for Mary Bullock's first tumbling lesson.  Luckily, Uncle Derby has a room with one big rug and very little other furniture. The perfect tumbling spot.

She was thankful for her lesson and didn't want to stop to go to dinner. Who would, though, really?

It's safe to say we were all pretty pooped after that. It takes all of the effort of four adults to keep up with my one enthusiastic toddler.

God help us all come December. 

No really. I mean it. 

Part IV: I'm from a Map Dot

Not really. I don't even think my [technical] hometown is on any North Carolina maps. It's not as beautiful as Staunton, and it's not as urbane as Alexandria, but I still feel the pull back to my home-home. It's a little town made up mostly of old farmland, none of the crops of which I can actually recognize, much to Lee's dismay.
Whenever we pass a field of crops in North Carolina, he points out the window:
What's that? he says.

Peanuts, I say.
They don't look like peanuts to me, he says.
Oh, hold on, I say. I squint harder. OH, duh. Those are soy beans.
And then we laugh. Because we both know I have no idea. Except tobacco. I know what tobacco looks like. And corn. But you'd have to be a pretty big idiot to have grown up in anything akin to rural life and not know what tobacco and corn look like, you know?

Sometimes I worry about Mary Bullock growing up in a time when technology is so pervasive, but I am really thankful for Skype. MB knows and loves my parents even though they live seven hours away.  Even when we haven't seen them for several months, she'll walk right into their house and plop herself on my mom's lap like she just saw her last week. Of course, that means that she starts making demands right away: Book read, Mooooooose. Book READ.

I've already mentioned the disaster that is my mom's sewing room, but sometimes it's kind of helpful that my mom has the tendency to save things. I remember five years ago telling her that she could give all of my old toys to Goodwill. So glad she didn't take that advice. What did I know, anyway?

See? Mary Bullock is clearly thrilled.

Actually, I've been meaning to get a picture of her with a xylophone for ages so that I can make her an ABC photo book. She doesn't have a xylophone of her own yet, which made checking off the X difficult. But now that problem is solved and I can move that back onto my [so far only hypothetical] list of projects to complete.

Next on the road trip in review: New Bern, NC: Home of Tryon Palace, MB's Uncle Derby [Kirby if you pronounce your K's], and the biggest mosquitoes in the history of mosquitoes.

Part III: Pleasantville

Ok, it wasn't Pleasantville. It was Staunton, Virginia. But that's just splitting hairs.

Wish I could say I'd taken these! But no. I'm not that proficient yet.

It was so beautiful, the weather was perfect [at least, it seemed so to someone who'd been sweltering in Florida], and Rachel's house is--ohmygosh--amazing.  In fact, Lee called me to tell me that our plumbing had exploded right after I left her house, and I almost turned back around and declared myself their new housemate.

Mary Bullock and Riley played their little hearts out for two days. MB, ever the early riser, woke up at 5:30 both mornings saying Wake up, Ri-ee, Wake UP!

This was right before Riley tossed her water bottle into the duck pond and I threw myself on the ground in an attempt to retrieve it. Can you tell that I sometimes forget I'm pregnant?

Riley's play room is a thing of dreams. If you read Rachel's blog, you know she made that play kitchen herself out of two old nightstands. She is crazy talented, ya'll. I don't think MB would have batted an eyelash if I had left her right there to play for another week. But I'm selfish, and I'd have missed her. I will give her extra hugs and kisses to compensate for my utter lack of creative genius. Hopefully that will be enough?

It was so good to see Rachel and her husband Paul, too. It kind of broke my heart a little to see how much Mary Bullock instantly loved them, and then to think how seldom we get to see each other. I wish we were next door neighbors.

Plus then I could just send MB over to play in Riley's playroom. Wink!

Thanks for having us, sweet friends!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Road Trip Part II

Part II of our whirlwind road trip last week was a very quick trip to see Jen, Jake, and Baby Bennie in Alexandria.  I drove up late while Mary Bullock snoozed in the car and put her back down for the night when we got there. Highly preferable in terms of toddler + single mama travel, but it meant that Mary Bullock only got to see her cousin Ben for an hour or so in the morning. Luckily, they made the most of their short time.

Note this puzzle is upside down.

You can't actually see the ball here, but MB has mastered the slam dunk. Hanging on the rim didn't work out so well, though.

He'll definitely be wearing #22 in about 14 years, right Jake?

And then we packed the car back up, [plus all the baby boy things that I plundered from Jen's basement!] and headed off again.

I'll take a quick trip over no trip at all!

*Big thanks to Lee for making that handy dandy map/illustration. It does sort of make me look insane, doesn't it? But it was worth it.