Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Boo From Our Zoo

There's nothing like Halloween on a week night to put you into total Trick-or-Treat panic mode.  First, I had to get Morgan ready.   
Whoops, wrong Zebra.

Then I had to throw some sort of costume together for myself, which was complicated by the fact that Morgan insisted on "helping" me with my make-up.  Whatever I did to her, she needed to do to me.  Let's just say I am grateful there wasn't any eyeliner involved or we may have both ended the night with a visual impairment.

We were then briefly interrupted by some random trick-or-treaters, which fortunately just turned out to be Nana and Grandpa, who didn't actually want any candy. 

Once we finally got Morgan ready, the only way I could get her to stand still was to convince her our barberry bushes were the jungle.  In hindsight, that was pretty misleading.  Zebras live on the African plains, not the jungle.  So much for that teaching moment.

And here we are - ready to hit the neighborhood haunt and rock it hard on a Monday night. Morgan was the perfect girl for the job.  Her little legs carried her from door to door in lightening speed and each precious "please" and "thank you" got her just enough candy to share with Mom and Dad.  Way to be a team player.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Crayola Chaos

Playdates are relatively recent development at our house. They all start out the same -- everyone sits at the table, ready to create beautiful, artful masterpieces that will mislead their mothers into thinking I am providing quality, culturally enriching experiences at my house. Not surprisingly, it doesn't take long for things to completely unravel-

 All it takes is for one of them to get distracted.

Markers become swords,the lids become claws, and the whole crew goes berserk.

Not that my child has anything to do with it.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

And She's Off

It started innocently enough.  My mom was in town for a few days, so we took Morgan to a little Fall Festival.  After the debacle a few weeks ago, we decided to go during the day.  We let Morgan choose her own activities and have a little freedom...oh yeah, and the whole thing was fenced in so the stakes were really low. Ultimately, she opted to ride a pony, feed a goat, and even watch a pig race (we're in Idaho, cut me some slack).

As Morgan gets older, we are often trying to find opportunities to give her a little more independence.  She doesn't always have to ride in a cart at the grocery store and she occasionally gets to sit at the table (rather than tightly safely strapped to a high chair) when we go out to dinner.  The outcome is generally a catastrophe, but we're trying.

This little outing was no exception.  As we wandered through the pumpkin patch, Morgan got that crazy look in her eye.  You know the one, it's the one that says, "Hey, I see you.  And I also see that you're too far away to stop me from what I'm about to do.  I'm about to be naughty and there's not a damn thing you can do about it."  
Exhibit A:  Crazy Look
And so she started running. She ran through the pumpkins, stopping only long enough to make sure I wasn't gaining on her (I wasn't).

Exhibit B: The back of my daughter's head.
Then we got to the corn maze.  My worst fear.  I had just read an article about a family who called 911 when they couldn't find their way out and I was not ABOUT to make my own mortifying headlines.  So I chased her. And she kept running.

Exhibit C:  Still the back of her head.

By now, our little adventure had turned from funny and slightly sweaty (don't forget, I was also running), to absolutely petrifying. The whole point of a maze is that you have the potential to get lost.  Not very promising when your daughter appears to have inherited your husband's sense of direction (David regularly gets lost in our neighborhood.  We've lived there for 6 years.).
Exhibit D: Again, the back of her head... just REALLY far away.
I eventually caught up to her, but only because she had gotten distracted by some corn stalks.  She looked up at me with those big brown eyes and it took everything in me not to have a holy come-apart.  I wanted to yell at her not to run away, that the world is scary and I don't want to ever lose her.  But I didn't.  Instead, I remembered that she's three and her life should be joyous.  It's my job to worry...and to learn how to run faster.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Beauty School Drop Out

My father-in-law raised two boys. There was football and lacrosse, prom dates and rusty Jeeps.  Never were there any daughters.  In fact, when we found out we were having a girl, his first words were, "I hope she likes camouflage."  (for the record, she does) -

Now that Morgan's three, life is all about tea parties, imaginary friends, and a whole lotta bossiness.  Somewhere in all of that, my father-in-law developed some serious skills, not the least of which includes some impromptu beauty parlor action.  Looks like he's doing just fine having a girl around.

Confession: Unfortunately, my father-in-law actually had very little to do with the final product.  Despite his best efforts, he hasn't quite mastered the skill of rubber bands and barrettes.  We may have to send him back to beauty school.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fall Flop

I love fall.  No, it's not because the air is crisp or there is dew on the grass every morning or I get to pull out every pumpkin recipe I've ever seen and pretend I'm on some sort of homestead (okay, maybe it's a little of those things). The real reason I love fall - it gets dark early.  I don't have to spend an hour convincing my daughter that it's nighttime while the sun is streaming through her window.  I also don't have to listen to her yelling from her bed, "But Mom, it's still MORNING time."  I just get her in her jammies and off she goes.

But early darkness has its drawbacks.  Last week, we decided to head out to a little self-serve pumpkin patch to ramp up our fall decor.  We left the house around dusk, confident we'd have plenty of time to pick out some gourds.  Yeah, that was a poor plan.

We got out of the car and were immediately overwhelmed with piles and piles of multi-colored squash.It was only then I realized my mistake.  We were about to embark on a fun, precious adventure and I couldn't see a damn thing.
That being said, I wasn't going to give up that easily.  I tried to take a few pictures of Morgan digging around for the "perfect baby pumpkin" only to discover that I could barely make her out against the bales of hay. 
I know it's hard to tell, but that is Morgan in the back, not an oversized acorn squash. 
I repeat, my daughter is not a squash. 
Then I had a brilliant idea -- turn on my headlights!  Not only could I capture my daughter as she stacked her little pumpkins, but I could see just what the hell we were buying.  Right then, David hauled over this big guy and asked me if it was a keeper.  Morgan, quick to demonstrate her feats of strength, tried to pick him up.  It didn't work, but we are now getting her checked for a hernia.

Then she decided to climb him, which was also a bad idea.  Turns out pumpkins are relatively round and not so full of flat surfaces. 

By now it was totally dark and my headlights alone weren't cutting it.  In a final, desperate attempt to document Morgan's joy in hunting pumpkins, I turned on my high beams and made her sit on the damn thing.  That turned out totally natural (don't worry, the blindness only lasted a few minutes). 
I am pleased to report the fall field trip wasn't a total flop. We spent $19 on random pumpkins and I had the rare opportunity to spend 15 minutes chasing my kid around in the dark, yelling at her that it wasn't safe to eat the dried corn.   Not surprisingly, she adamantly disagreed and proceeded to show me how you can eat it, "See Mom, just like food!" Yes, Morgan, that's what I want you to remember from tonight.  Your mother, chasing you around like a crazy person while you sucked on Indian corn like it was a strawberry lollipop. Not my vision for this little event.  Not at all.

Oh yeah, looks like the headlights were on for this pic, too. Go figure.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Shallow Gene Pool

While I was going through some pictures from our trip this summer, I came across a series of photos in which a variety of family members were serving as human jungle gyms.  This post initially started as a question to my brother (please note the topless man in the back), asking him why he was the only one of us who managed to evade capture by the feral children.  

But then I noticed something really weird, almost creepy.  I found two pictures of me and my sister, each of us being wrangled by little people, extra arms and legs flailing everywhere.  That's not what bothered me (although it IS what threw out my back). What really took me aback is how similar we look.  Same pose, same clothes, even the same smile.  It's like we're related or something.

P.S. By the way, Shaun, why are you the ONLY one of us who got out of monkey duty!?!?!?!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I am a morning person.  I hit the ground running, ready to tackle the day.  I am perky, and chatty, and totally annoying.  As you may remember, David does not share that trait.  He likes to start his day off slow and then ease it on back.  The fact that I took these pictures at 6:48 in the morning should tell you just how different we are. 

Italians have a word for this lethargic, underwhelming approach to mornings.

Stunad (stew-nod): an adjective usually used to describe the way you feel when you first wake up and can't yet mentally process anything meaningful or when you do something really stupid or a series of really stupid things, not because your stupid but because you're mentally not with it.

I'll give you one guess which one of us Morgan takes after.  Frankly, it's a wonder we get out of the house at all each morning.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

We've Had a Good Run

Everyone has always told me that girls are easier when they are little and boys make easier teens.  Because I only have one girl, and because she is only three, I have no idea if that is actually true.  What I do know is that I've already been fired as a mother.

Today, while enjoying a lovely Sunday brunch, my child looked at me through her bites of egg, stared me right in the eye, and said, "Mom, you've been around for a while.  I think I need a new one." I can't wait until she hits puberty.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Just Average

Morgan had her 3-year check up today.  She's what I like to call "extraordinarily average" -- 50% height and 50% weight...for every appointment she's ever had.  Middle of the road; not too tall, not too short, kinda like a good bowl of porridge.  Wrong story, whatever.  Anyway, no mom wants to hear average, in any category, and so I fish.  I ask the pediatrician about her verbal skills and remark that she knows her colors and shapes.  I refrain from telling him she regularly punches me in the kidney and has dropped an F-bomb on more than one occasion (no IDEA where she learned that). 

And every year he humors me.  "She'll do well. She's done well." he says, smiling and nodding.  He asks for a high-five, tells Morgan he likes her shoes, and politely informs me she's right on track.  This year, however, was a little different.  We got a total shout out.  The nurse came to give Morgan her shots and my daughter barely winced.  She looked right at the nurse and said, " Ouch, that was pokey.  But I really like your necklace."  The doctor, slightly taken aback, said, "Wow, she's really mature for her age." I'm not sure if he was more impressed with her bravery or the fact she knows a good piece of jewelry when she sees it.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Major Life Decision

I am at a crossroads.  I am getting a lot of conflicting advice and I am just not sure how to proceed.  No, I'm not trying to pursue a PhD.  No, we're not moving to Alaska to work the pipeline.  And no, I'm not pregnant (sorry, Mom).  My dilemma is much, much bigger than that.  I don't know what Morgan should be for Halloween. 

The last three Halloweens have consisted of the following:

2008:  Morgan had barely (and I mean barely) transitioned out of the blob stage.  We put her in jammies that said "It's my first Halloween, don't scare me."  She threw up on them 5 minutes later.

2009:  As you can see, I am already having issues making up my mind.  We had a little two-for-one special that year, as I got to dress Morgan up once for daycare and again for trick-or-treating.  Ironically, she also threw up at daycare while wearing the farmer outfit. 

2010:  Morgan was just learning all about the animals and my mom scooped up this little gem in some last-minute bidding frenzy.  In a related note, if you ever need an item on e-bay, call my mom.  She will not let you down.

2011: So where do we go from here?  Apparently, there's this weird thing about child development that I am just now getting used to.  These little people have opinions.  I have asked Morgan repeatedly over the last several weeks what she wants to be for Halloween.  Her answer, every time - "A shoe, Mom.  I want to be a shoe."  Really?  That's all you got?  I think we've set the bar a bit high to start dressing you as an accessory.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Why We Live Out West

Sure, the gorgeous scenery and majestic mountains are breathtaking - 
For those of you on the East Coast, these are what REAL mountains look like.

And you can catch fish so big you have to hold them like babies.

You can spend nights in the woods perfecting the campfire hot dog-

And you can take your daughter hiking to places where you actually see more trees than people.

But the REAL reason we live out west?!?!?  The County Fair.  How many of you can say that part of your childhood included tickling a horse's butt with a feather? Yeah, I thought so. We're buckaroos out here, no doubt about it.