Friday, December 28, 2012

My Box

I don't know how many people saw my Facebook post earlier this week.  Morgan accidentally spilled the beans on my Christmas present when she said, "Mom, Dad made you a box for Christmas. It's not a secret, it's just your present, okay?" I didn't actually put too much stock into what she said. Really, who's going to give their wife a box for Christmas.  My husband, that's who. And I love it.
Because our wedding anniversary falls on Christmas Eve, David and I have always been committed to finding inexpensive, unique ways to celebrate. David built this box for us to use as a time capsule. Each year, we will place a bottle of wine and letters to each other into the box. The following year, we will share the wine, read the letters, and reflect on the year that has passed. Genius.


As soon as I figured out what he had made, I was a hot mess. Nothing like spending Christmas morning looking like a blubbering idiot, complete with puffy eyes and a runny nose. But you know, I'll take it. If the gift is going to be this good, Morgan can rat out her dad every year.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Five Golden Rings

Every year, Morgan's class has a Christmas recital. Last year was a total train wreck. Kids were crying, wandering around, and no one knew the words to anything. Granted, they were all three, but it was safe to assume none of them were American Idol contenders.
This year was a completely different story. Morgan had made props, was excited to sing, and belted out Rudolph like no body's business. Unfortunately, I was at work and missed all of it.

So at dinner last night, I asked Morgan to sing Rudolph again. She declined. Instead, she offered to sing the complete rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas, complete with a side ponytail and a lisp. Yes, this video is five minutes long, but if it doesn't make you fall in love with Christmas, I don't know what will.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I wasn't going to write about Friday.  I wasn't going to try to understand. I couldn't talk about it or even think about it without breaking down. I just wanted to go home and squeeze my daughter like every other parent did that night.
I am not quite sure when I realized that Morgan wasn't the only person I should be holding on to a little more tightly. Maybe it was when we talked to Morgan about what to do if she ever saw someone holding a gun. Maybe it was when David called his principal to see how she was holding up. Or maybe it was when my sister asked David if he would be willing to die for a student. 
I am grateful my little family is still intact. My heart forever hurts for the families that are not.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Big Girl Bed

I have decided that watching your child grow is not for the faint of heart.  We recently transitioned Morgan to a full-sized bed, an event that made her giddy and not surprisingly, made me cry.
I was immediately brought back to 2008, when David was so proudly assembling Morgan's crib in her new nursery and I was so proudly supervising. 

In what seemed like just a blink of an eye, there we were again, only this time David was taking it all apart.

And I was putting it back together for our little girl, virtually erasing any memory of the tiny newborn we once laid in that crib.

I was a little concerned that Morgan would be unhappy with the new look. I don't know what I was thinking.  Morgan immediately called my mom, climbed into her new bed, and proceeded to tell her all about her big girl room.

Of course, I stood there blubbering, dumbfounded at the realization that she'll be 15 before we know it. I just hope my heart can take it.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Big Ole Pile

Last week, we finally did the fall clean up in our yard. Our yard was a mess - the grass was too long, leaves were everywhere, and nothing had been pruned for months.
To make this more of a family activity, we handed Morgan a rake and had her help put leaves in a pile. That lasted about three minutes. She was running around using the rake as a spear, which I was sure it was going to result in her losing an eye.  Rather than risk a trip to the ER, I told her I was going to let her do one of the things I had always longed to do.  I don't have any memories of jumping in leaf piles and I thought that would something sweet to let her try. Girlfriend was immediately all in.


At one point, Morgan asked me to cover her in leaves. I was happy to oblige...anything for the sake of a cute picture.
Morgan suddenly shot out of leaves, grimacing.  When I asked her what was wrong, she said "Mom, this pile smells like poop.  Like dog poop.  I think I'm sitting in dog poop."

Unfortunately, she was right. Looks like the neighbor's dog had beaten Morgan to the pile. Nothing like turning a lovely afternoon into yet another childhood trauma.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I don't normally post about people outside of my family, but we recently lost someone very special to us. Last year, one of our good friends was diagnosed with brain cancer.  After a hard-fought battle, we lost him last month. I know we didn't visit enough, or call enough, or spend enough time telling Marv how much we loved him. But we tried.

Earlier this fall, David and Morgan stopped by to see Marv and Kitty.  Marv was in a wheelchair in the driveway, too weak to walk or stand. As they approached him, Morgan stopped and gasped, "Oh Marv, you look like you're almost ready to go to heaven." Marv looked at her and smiled, "Well, I'm working on it."  Two weeks later, he was gone. After 47 years together, Kitty will spend will spend her first Thanksgiving without him.

As we sit down to enjoy our turkey and stuffing, I will be thankful.  I will be thankful that I have a family to share the day with, thankful that we are all here to gather together, and thankful for the wonderful people who are a part of our lives. And I will be just a little bit heartbroken that Marv's not at the table this year. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

And A Dollar Short

I'd like to tell you I intentionally waited three weeks to post Morgan's pictures from Halloween but I would be lying.  I actually forgot about Halloween right about the time I ate Morgan's last bag of M&Ms and hadn't thought about it since. 
Halloween was different this year for two reasons. One, it was the first year I didn't buy Morgan a costume that was some pre-made fabric tube with fur and a tail (which you can see here, here, and here). Two, I decided to let Morgan pick her own costume with only a moderate amount of strong arming on my part.
Me: Morgan, what do you want to be for Halloween?
Morgan: A princess.
Me: I hate princesses.  Everyone is a princess.  Can we pick something a little more creative?
Morgan: Fine, I'll be a ballerina.
Me: Morgan, the point of a costume is to be something different than you are in real life.  You take ballet.  You're already a dancer.
Morgan: Mom, you can't make this decision for me.
Ballerina= 1      Mom=0
Once I admitted defeat, I was hell bent on giving her costume a little homemade flair.  Since I don't know how to sew, my options were limited.  However, with a little bit of help from Pinterest, I was able to tie the shit out of some tulle.

Yeah, I rocked it.  Next year I might even break out the hot glue gun.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

For Granted

David and I met in Washington, DC.  For three years, I passed by our nation's capitol every day. We took family and friends to museums and monuments, sharing with them fun anecdotes about secret tunnels and speculating as to whether George Washington really did have wooden teeth (Wikipedia says no).
Very rarely did we talk about the significance of where we lived or the immeasurable sacrifices so many people have made to give us the freedoms we so easily take for granted. But every once in a while, we would take the time to visit the places that symbolized much of what makes this country great. Places that evoked fear, despair, hope, and most of all, pride.
The flag that hung at the Pentagon on 9/11-
Arlington National Cemetery -

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier-
Vietnam Veterans Memorial-

Despite living in the midst of these powerful reminders, I will be the first to tell you I don't often think twice about how fortunate I am.  I have never served in the military and rarely thank those who have. Today, however, I am thinking. And I am grateful.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Morgan has been attending the same daycare for the last two years.  I have noticed recently, however, that I have started referring to it as "preschool" to people who ask.  I am not sure why I switched it up. Maybe it's because she really does have a little curriculum and knows how to properly hold a pencil or maybe it's because calling it preschool makes me feel less judged about being a working mom.  Or maybe it's just my way to justify the check I write each month. 

Morgan's "preschool" had their Back to School pictures last month. Just prior to having her picture taken, Morgan got a horrible bloody nose all down the front of her shirt.  After a frantic call from her teacher, I had the ridiculously brilliant idea to put her shirt on backwards.  I assured the teacher that the stakes were low and that I wasn't too worried about whether the pictures turned out.  Then I saw them-

Just waiting for the call from Gap Kids. Someone needs to pay for all the 8x10s I bought.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Patch Job

When we took Morgan to pick pumpkins last year, it was on a whim.  It was almost dark and we had to use the headlights on our car to see what the hell we were doing. We ended up spending $19 on a bunch of random gourds and some Indian corn, half of which had been eaten by mice.  I was not going to make the same mistake twice. We set out right after dinner; David actually took this picture out of a moving car as evidence we left while there was still light - not too shabby, huh?

But when we got there, I immediately realized we'd screwed up again. Although there was plenty of light left in the day, there wasn't a single pumpkin any bigger than a grapefruit. Total fail.

So we tried to make the most of it.  I am not sure why anyone feels compelled to stick their faces through these tiny little holes and pretend their heads are attached to those little particle board bodies, but we got right in line with everyone else. Frankly, I think David looks like someone is poking him with a cattle prod.

We then convinced some little hoodlum who was stealing Halloween candy to take our family picture.  I was totally expecting him to ride away with my camera, but he actually did an okay job.

I realized in that moment that I didn't have any photos documenting Morgan's own adventures in the pumpkin patch.  There were lots of spooky things to explore, like a motion-sensored witch and a '"graveyard" full of skeletons. Morgan got super brave and even tested the hand poking through the ground to see if the blood was real. She assured me it was not.  I was actually a little disappointed that nothing had even remotely freaked her out.

Just as I was about to call it a night, we started to hear a weird rustling in the trees behind us.  At first, I thought it was another prop but then it started to get much closer and much louder.  And there they were. Three mutha clukin' chickens - clueless about Halloween, looking for a little food, scaring the shit out of my daughter.

Friday, October 26, 2012


I was born and raised on Barbies. I made them clothes, set them up on hot dates with Ken, and may or may not have pretended Skipper was an illegitimate love child.  Don't judge, my mom let me watch The Young and The Restless.
When one of my friends offered to give Morgan her Barbie collection, I was over the moon. She has two boys and was worried the dolls may end up decapitated or dismembered - I assured her that Morgan would take the same pride in her new toys as I had and that another generation of little girls would fall in love with the Barbie Dream House.
Then I found this -

Which soon became this -

And eventually this.

If you look closely, you can see Morgan's Polly Pocket hanging by her ankle, as if Morgan decided to punish all her Barbies in some plastic torture chamber.  The next generation of Barbie fans might be a little twisted.  Maybe I just need to let Morgan start watching a few soap operas.  Yeah, that'll do the trick.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Old Habits

When I was in college, I had a fairly bizarre habit of occasionally eating in my sleep.  I wasn't one of those people who ate raw eggs in the middle of the night, but I did wake up with part of a hot dog bun on my pillow on more than one occasion. 
Anyway, this post has nothing to do with that.  David and I have been carrying a dark secret about our parenting.  Until last month, Morgan got a glass of milk in bed while reading books.  Every night.  Sometimes, she got two. Both our pediatrician and dentist would be appalled. But we were desperate to help our our daughter become a good sleeper and milk before bed did the trick.  Until she turned four and I realized she was totally dependent on milk.  Like some kind of milk junkie. 
So we decided to quit the habit that had been a part of our lives for the past 1460 nights (yes, I calculated it).  I told Morgan we were cutting her off, and she actually took it like a champ. Until I went in to check on her that night and found this.  Total death grip.

Since then, I have found her in bed on more than one occasion clutching some random item for comfort.  It's usually her teddy bear, and once in a while, I find her with her flashlight.

But when I  found her the other night desperately clutching three tiny pretzels,  I realized this transition might be a little harder on her than I thought. Maybe I should start sending her to bed with hot dog buns.