Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Here there be Monsters...

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

Halloween is here - when cute little boys and girls get dressed up as goblins and ghosts, Buzz Lightyear and Fancy Nancy. When getting candy from strangers is actually expected and being able to walk around an unknown neighborhood is par for the course.

Growing up in Australia, kids didn't really have 'Halloween' - it was more of a grown ups excuse to let loose, wear a costume and 'get down with your bad self'. Although, thinking back on it - we didn't really need a holiday to encourage us to do that, most people I know would put on a costume and go out drinking without any prompting. But that's beside the point.

Halloween was a little anti-climatic for me this year. I'm not sure if it's because we did so much stuff prior to the 31st, or the fact that I started working this week or if it's just because the whole 'Trick or Treating' deal doesn't really happen in our neighborhood, it was just kind of 'Oh, it's Halloween?'

Don't get me wrong - I'm a huge fan of Halloween. This year, it just didn't do it for me.

We had grand plans of going to Town Square after I finished work, but I finished late, got stuck in horrible traffic and by the time I picked up Little P from daycare, I was pretty much over driving. I then found out from a friend that it was crazy busy there anyway and they were leaving, so I pretty much just decided to head towards home and play it by ear.

Fortunately our neighbors had a prime spot out in their driveway, with chairs surrounded by carved pumpkins, so Little P and I helped hand out candy to the small amount of Trick or Treaters that came by. I have to admit, I was kind of surprised by a) the age of the kids (most seemed to be at least 11 or 12), b) the types  of costumes they were wearing and c) by the fact that every single one of them was carrying a pillow case as their 'bucket' - me thinks they had high hopes for a large amount of candy. Whatever was in the air tonight, it just didn't feel like Halloween to me.

I'm hoping come this time next year, that Little P will be more aware of what it is, that we will have more Trick or Treaters and that it feels a little more 'Halloween-y'. But now that it's over, bring on 'Turkey Day' (aka Thanksgiving). Cause after that, it's Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year, and even Little P knows who the big guy in the red suit is.

Till next time, eat, drink and be scary.


Monday, October 29, 2012

And then....

Little P is a talker. I know I've said it before, but it bears mentioning again because of what happened this morning.

My baby girl likes to have conversations - doesn't matter who with. Me, Daddy, her friends, her toys... complete strangers. They don't make any sense, at least not to me, but she enjoys them, so I play along. There are, of course, times when I wish she wasn't. Those times when we are driving and she insists on doing a running commentary on what she sees. Or asks questions on where we are going and who will be there. And then repeats the whole series till we get to where we are going.

Today however, I met a little girl who has her beat. Big time.

Having gone through a bit of a growth spurt, and with the weather getting cooler, Little P was in dire need of long pants that actually fit her. So off we go to try and find some for her. We have some success at store number one, but I was determined to get enough to get her clothed through the winter, so to store number two we go. And this is where we meet Miss Ana.

I heard her before I actually saw her. We were in the same area where her and her Mommy where. And all I could hear was 'What's this?' 'Oh, this is cute. I really need this.' 'Mommy! Look. It's Mickey.' Times this by about 100 and you get the idea. I swear, the entire time we were there she didn't stop talking, and I don't think she once drew a breath.

Looking at her Mom, I understood that this was just another ordinary day for them. I ran into them again in the Halloween section of this store. About ten minutes had passed and it looked like it had been a very long ten minutes for her Mommy. Eye contact was made and I said 'Long morning?' She looked as me, sighed, and said 'Long year.' We started talking and it turned out that Miss Ana had a twin brother, Master Adam, and he too was a talker. Apparently they haven't stopped talking since they learnt how to verbalize. That was about four years ago.

While their Mommy is glad that they are both happy kids (they were premmie babies) and that they are far from shy or introverted, there are days when she would love it if they just sat quiet every once and a while. From the time they get up, to the time they go to sleep (and even then they are apparently making noises) there is a constant stream of chatter going on. The only time they are quiet is when they are at school (she can't hear them, but the teacher tells her they are quiet and attentive until called upon) - she swears it's only because someone else is louder than them. Reading stories, they have to speak the words out loud. Watching a movie they comment on just about everything that is happening, so much so that they sometimes have to watch a movie two or three times just to understand the story.

'After a while, it just becomes white noise, and I only respond when they actually ask me a question.' Talk about a coping mechanism. And she has two other kids. The older two are much quieter - she thinks it's because there's already enough noise in the house, there's no way they could compete. And why add to the confusion?

Hearing her talk about her day to day life, I empathized with her, and felt a little relief that at least Little P isn't that bad. She enjoys quiet time just as much as I do.

Till next time, well, you know, enjoy the quiet time. You never know when it's going to end.


"Nailed It' - Halloween Art

My wonderful mother-in-law sent me this cute little picture a while ago,

and thought it might be a fun thing to do with Little P. Not long after I got that, I found this on Pinterest (of course):

(Credit - Miner Moments)
 And I thought, 'Cool. I could totally do both of these with Little P'. And guess what? We did.

So, all you need is a couple of these 

(which I already had on hand from other crafts we had been doing),

Add some paint (and brushes),

And you turn them into these:
Orange you glad I did this?
Black is always in.
Then you take one of these:
That's my girl - always camera ready.
Add a little music (just for fun) and this is what you get:

City Ghosts

Happy Spider
See? Easy and fun Halloween Art to do with your little one.

So, did I 'nail them'?


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's a Fine Art

Having a few friends who are expecting their first child, I have all of a sudden become 'the guru' that they are seeking answers from. I don't think it's because I am any better at being a Mom than anyone else, I just think they know I will tell them the truth - warts and all. So, when they ask me what they should be ready for, I tell them the stuff that most people (and books and websites) have already told them. Then I get down to the nitty gritty.

There are some things you know you will have to face when you have a little one. Being sleep deprived for months on end. Not being able to eat a full, hot meal... again, for months on end. Being a member of the walking dead because you are sleep deprived and haven't been able to eat a full meal for months on end. It's almost a right of passage. But one of the things people don't tell you is that you very quickly have to develop a skill for moving a sleeping babe from one place to another, keeping said babe asleep. 

And it's not a skill comes easily either. Some parents never master it and simply leave it to the other parent to do the 'maneuver'. 'No way. I'm not picking him up. I'll just wake him. You do it better.' And while this may be a fact, it's still a bit of a cop out - it's not something you can just do - it's a fine art that you have to practice at. And believe me, I know.

When you have a little one fall asleep in your arms, it's all sweetness and light - for about 30 seconds. Then you realize you have to either a) put them in their bassinet/crib or stay that way with them till they wake up or b) risk falling asleep with them in your arms only to wake up with either a sore neck and/or back or have your arm fall sleep and then try to do the weird one limbed shuffle to get them into their bed. Neither of which is a fun option. Been there, done that.

Little P was always pretty good at getting to sleep - it was the keeping her asleep that we sometimes had trouble with. So much so that when she was a baby, if she fell asleep in her swing, that's where we left her - tip-toeing around her while she slept. And falling asleep in the car - most days that was a piece of cake. Moving her from the car to the crib, that was the tricky part. Somedays we would just take the car seat up to her room, and let her sleep in it. I'm not saying that's a perfect scenario, but when you have a little one, you take what you can get when it comes to them sleeping.

As she got older, it became apparent that I would have to take her out of her car seat and get her into her crib to ensure that she would get a decent sleep. This is where the 'art of transference' came in. You have to get their straps off them, get your arms under them, move them into your arms, carry them into the house (and in our case, up stairs), get them into their room, and gently, ever so gently, ease them into their crib. Usually while holding your breath and trying not to step on anything that would make a noise.

And, if you were lucky, you would get them down, get out of their room, close the door and (praise the gods) they would still be asleep. If you weren't, then the minute you shut that door, the crying would start.

I won't lie - I have gotten pretty damn good at it. So much so, that if there's any doubt as to whether she will stay asleep, M will look at me and go 'She's all yours'. Thanks babe. There are of course, some days when I'll think I nailed it only to have her wake up the moment I put her in her crib. And the little bugger will then be wide awake till it's time for bed, regardless of how much time she slept in the car.

As she's getting older though, it's getting harder to maneuver her into her crib. She's longer and heavier, so it can take a lot of twisting and turning on my behalf to get her down without waking. Some days it's too easy - other days, like today, not so much. But, hey, that's what parenting is all about. Taking the good with the bad, and having the ability to still laugh about it at the end of the day, even if that day started at 3am.

So, till next time, flex those muscles, warm up those arms, because you are going to need all our strength for this one.


'Nailed It' - Glitter Skull

Glitter makes everything better don't you think? Just ask any dancer....
For Halloween this year, I wanted to tie everything in color wise. Not really sure why, I guess maybe I am seeking a little bit of, um, unity? Heck, I don't know. I just decided that I wanted everything (well almost everything) to be black and white. Hence my 'Boo' Pumpkins, and the 'Ghost Blocks', and all my printables are black and white (with just a dash of orange)... it's kind of a theme. So, when I thought that maybe we needed something a bit more, well, Halloween-esque, I figured a skull would do the trick. But when I went looking, they were all very ordinary and a bit blah. No oomph. And then I saw these great glitter pumpkins at Michaels. But there was no way I was spending $15 on something that I knew I could do myself. I had glitter at home and Mod Podge, so it was just a matter of finding a skull. And wouldn't you know it, Michaels had a bunch of them on sale (woo hoo!). And with my 20% off everything including sale items coupon, I was out the door with a $2.50 skull. Yes Ma'am, I am nothing if not a bargain hunter.

So, with my ordinary skull (kind of like this):

And some black paint, some super fine black glitter (thank you Martha Stewart) and the every versatile Mod Podge I set to work.

First, a healthy coat of black paint (I would have spray painted it, but if you remember my experience with spray paint and Styrofoam on the Boo Pumpkins you know why I used acrylic instead).

(Ah, poor Yorick, I knew him.... well?)
Looking better already.

And now the fun part. If you have ever used glitter (and who hasn't?) you know that this stuff gets everywhere. So to prepare for that, I put newspaper down pretty liberally in the vain hopes that I wouldn't have much to clean up afterwards. Talk about an act in futility (I'm still finding glitter everywhere - it's kind of like can still find that stuff in your house in August!). 

So, apply a little Mod Podge, and sprinkle on some glitter. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. Till it's fully coated. 

Master Yorick has a couple of bald patches, but that's okay - it gives him character.

So, my wonderful readers, what do you think? Did I 'nail it'?


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Are you NOT entertained!!

Um, in a word, no.

Why is it, that even with enough toys to start their own toy store, enough books to shame even the best libraries and a multitude of paint, crayons and paper (not to mention other craft supplies) to make even the most hard core of artists blush, are little ones always looking for something new to do?

When the one thing they always wanted to do (with Little P it's tea parties) now seems so 'passe' to them? Is it because their little brains need 'more input'? Is it because new experiences help to shape their little personalities? Or is it simply because they hit a phase where nothing, and I mean nothing, entertains them anymore?

Little P isn't quite that bad yet - although there are days I swear she wants to do something different every few minutes just to see how much running around she can make me do. A girl friend of mine swears it's because they are testing boundaries - how many times can I change my mind before my Mom loses it? Another says it's because they are like goldfish - the whole three second memory deal. Me? Buggered if I know. 

A friend of mine's little boy (at the grand old age of three) has decided that unless he chooses what they are going to do that day, they don't get to do anything. This is because, apparently, Mommy is boring. Ouch. She want's to go to the park. This illicit's a huge sigh and the comment 'Again?!'. She suggests the museum. He does a raspberry and says 'boring'. Okay, how abut Chuck E Cheese? 'That's for babies'. It's no wonder she's getting grey hairs. 

But, you ask him what he wants to do, and he will pause for a moment, go 'Hmmm. I think.... we should (insert thing you just suggested here).' It's beyond frustrating for his Mommy - if she suggests it, it's not worthy of his time, but if he decides that is what he wants to do, well, then move out of the way because he's on a mission. She's gotten to the point where now she gives him three pieces of paper which each have a different thing to do, tells him to make a decision, and she walks away. By the time she gets back, he has picked what he wants to do. What she has noticed, is that the one she puts on top nine times out of ten tends to be what he wants to do. So she's started putting the places she wants to go to on top, and what do you know, he usually picks that one. He feels like he's made a big boy decision, and Mommy gets to go to the museum. Win/win situation don't you think?

Till next time, well, you insert the witty comment here - I'll let you make that decision.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Attack of the Zombies....

It's true. The Zombie Apocalypse is upon us. Actually it's been going on for some time, you just need to look closely to see it. Visit any park early in the morning and you will see them - Mom's and Dad's doing the 'Zombie Shuffle', talking incoherently (they understand what their grunts mean), and moaning 'coooofffffeeeee'. It's an epidemic.


When you are pregnant, they tell you your little one will 'suck all the good stuff out of you' (you know, your energy, your food, your ability to grow hair...). But what they don't tell you is that they keep sucking stuff out of you even after they have joined the world. Aside from being sleep deprived (they seem to manage just fine on a 10 minute cat nap, the buggers), and lacking nourishment (they prevent you from eating a full meal...pretty much till they leave home) and being able to carry on a grown up conversation without the words 'poop', 'milk', 'potty' and 'vomit' from popping up, you loose brain cells too.

It's a scientific fact. I'm sure there have been studies done on it, I just couldn't find one to specifically quote from (actually I found a bunch that say having a baby actually makes you smarter - ha! I'd like to see the research on that one), but it's true. While you may be able to juggle holding a baby, talking on the phone and making dinner all at the same time, if someone was to ask you anything to do with say, the Constitution, chances are you would have to seriously pause, mentally go through your files in your brain and locate the answer. There's a good chance that while doing this, you would have been distracted by your toddler sticking something up their nose and lost your train of thought. You would then realize the person you were talking to is still waiting for an answer, and so as to not look completely like an ass, you would politely say 'excuse me' and make a beeline for your child to remove the equivalent of a small ant farm from their left nostril.

Previously intelligent and witty women (and some men) find themselves sounding like a newly undead person, responding with 'Uuuhhhh' when asked questions. Or worse, being so completely distracted, they provide an answer that has absolutely nothing to do with what was being asked (most likely because they a still trying to digest the last conversation they had). 

For example: I was talking with a Mommy friend the other day whose 1 year old is teething and having a rough time of it. We had been talking about the last movie we saw and she mentioned that the last one she saw was 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter', a movie that surprisingly, I too had seen, and I was asking her about a certain scene, and her response (after a slight pause) was 'Carrots always seem that way. I don't know why. Maybe it's to do with the keratin.' See? Completely off topic. It took her a good 15 minutes to track back and explain what she had been talking about. And this is a woman with a Masters in Education.

It apparently doesn't get any better as they get older. Which is discouraging. I was hoping that once Little P started school, I would start to get my 'smarts' back. But it seems that it doesn't happen that way. *sigh* Maybe there's a pill out there for this....

Till next time, beware the Zombies. We are EVERYWHERE.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Time Flies

This one is compliments of a good friend of mine. Her husband has been very adamant about being very present in his girls lives (they have three) - he likes to know who their friends are, who they like and don't like (favorite singer and so on), what they like to do sports wise, favorite movies.... She thinks it's great (as do I), but she's been warning him that as they get older, he's going to not want to know as much. 'Girls are different.' He doesn't think so. 'Really, how different to boys can they be?'

Little does he know...

Momma of three travels a lot for her job, so, Daddy of three is home with them quite a bit (although the cavalry is only about ten minutes away if he needs them - that being her parents). So it wasn't unusual for her to get a phone call with him 'freaking out' about one thing or the other ('Girls like what?! No. 2 needs underwear and I can't go to the store to buy little girls underwear - people will look at me like I'm some sort of pervert.' You get the picture). However, this conversation was worth sharing.

Daddy: Hi. Quick question. No. 1 is bleeding and I need to get her some 'stuff'. Where do I go and what sort do I get?
Momma: (somewhat confused) Just use the bandaids in the medicine cabinet.
Daddy: No. Not that kind of bleeding. Lady bleeding.
Momma: Oh. Well, you need to go to CVS, go to the 'Feminine Hygiene' section and look for pads. Preferably just regular ones. If you need help, just ask a clerk.
Daddy: (after a small pause) Okay. Pads? Do they need to be a certain color or shape or brand?
Momma: (suppressing a giggle) No. Just basic pads - it's her first one, it shouldn't be too bad.
Daddy: Do I need to put them on her?
Momma: Oh lord no! Just give them to her. We've had the 'talk'. She'll know what to do. And if she's concerned, call my Mom. She'll come over to help.
Daddy: Okay. Love you. See you soon.
Momma: Love you too. Good luck.

It's understandable that she would think after this conversation took place that he would be fine - and if he wasn't he would just ask her Mom. Yeah, um, not so much.

When she got home, she was greeted by her husband (Thank God you are home!) and her eldest daughter (Mom! Dad has been so weird.) and proceeded to find out what all the concern was about. 

Apparently, being the kind of guy who, if he's not sure of something, does everything, when he got to CVS and found the right aisle, he was confronted by millions (his word) of options. Different brands, sizes, shapes, definitions (Wings? What do they need to be able to fly for? Super absorbent. Regular, long, maxi, overnight....). It was a little too much for him to handle. So, he swallowed his pride and asked a clerk for help. Unfortunately, the only person around was a teenage boy, and he was a perplexed as Daddy was. 'Man, I avoid this aisle like the plague. It's like, too much information.' So, in desperation to do the right thing and to get pads for his little girl, he picked a couple and off he went.

However, his idea of 'a couple' and ours is probably very different. When I say 'a couple' I mean two, maybe three items. His 'a couple' turned out to be three different brands, four different sizes, ones with wings and ones without, thin ones and maxi ones and even ones that were called 'tween pads'. When she saw them all lined up, she burst out laughing. What else could you do. Her daughter was obviously mortified by what Daddy had done, he was freaking out because he didn't know what to tell his daughter and Momma jus thought the whole thing was hilarious. 

Thankfully, her daughter had just picked the ones she wanted and done her thing, but he was determined to get the okay from Momma before he returned any of them. 

So, $100 later and enough pads to provide 'security' to a small female army, Daddy has decided that he most definitely does not want to know everything about what goes on with his girls.... some things are best left to the female species.

Till next time....well, I think he said it all. Some things really are best left to the female species.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

'Nailed It' - Ghost Blocks

A little while ago, I was bouncing around on Pinterest, not really looking for anything, just killing some time while I waited for Little P to go to sleep (it's amazing how much time you can waste looking for nothing on Pinterest), and while I was looking for nothing, I saw these:
(Credit - My Repurposed Life)
And I thought 'how cute'. And then I thought, hang on, I have everything to make those, right now! Which, is kind of a rarity, as usually I need to pick up at least one thing for a craft I want to try. But not this time.

Granted, I wasn't real keen on doing the whole whitewash deal (looked really messy and I didn't have white house paint on hand anyway), and I don't have one of those fancy pants vinyl cutting machines, so I knew I was going to have to wing it - but I kind prefer doing that anyway.

So, while Little P was taking a nap, I grab my pieces of wood (which I had left over from when I started doing baby blocks), my white paint (which I always have on hand), my black paint (same deal) and some paint brushes and away I went.

I gave the blocks a light sanding, just to get rid over any potential splinters - I wasn't looking to create a perfectly smooth surface - I kind of like them to be a little rough. Once that was done, I painted them all white. I am guessing that by hand painting instead of white washing it probably took a bit longer, but I kind of find the motion of painting a monotone like that to be almost zen like.

And dressed in white and no where to go...
Anyway, once they were dry, I grabbed a pencil and sketched out faces for the ghosts (I also decided to add 'boo' to the opposite side, should I want to change things up a little bit). You couldn't really see the picture I took (full sunlight and pencil outlines do not a happy partnership make),  but below, you can see where I did the outline in Sharpie - I did this partly because it was easier to fill in that way with paint and partly because I suck at doing free hand painting.
My Ghosty Buddies

'Boo', I says.
Once the outlines were done, I filled them in with paint, tidied up the edges a little and boom, Ghost Blocks are done.

And viola! Ghost Blocks!
I also sprayed them with a sealant - not because they are going to get handled a lot, but because it will help them keep their color over the years.

So, super easy project anyone can do.

What says you - did I nail them or what?


No autographs please...

(Just a quite side note: the ad that is now online is different to the one that was on TV - it's been spliced with my interview and is basically just a 'gag reel' now) 

That's right people. Little ole me be famous. Okay, not famous, but I got my 30 seconds of fame in. Yes indeed. This little lady got herself on TV for a Walmart commercial. Don't believe me? Check it out: Walmart Challenge

This all came about as part of one of the Mommy & Me groups that I belong to. Myself and a couple of the other Mommies from the group met the criteria they were looking for, filled in the form, had a Skype interview and two of us got picked. So, here's the deal. They get you to shop at another grocery store (on their dime - woo hoo) and then they take you to a Walmart where they are going to film the ad, stick you in a back room while they add up the 'savings' and then tell you who 'won'. Now, the cool part about this was that I was 'competing' against a good friend of mine (what are the chances of that) so we got to hang out, got a cart full of groceries for free and then got our hair and make up done.

The bad part about it was that I had to be up at 5:30am (ugh), be conherent (for the most part) and kind of do math first thing in the morning (which even in high school, was never a good thing). Plus, they want you to look like a 'real Mom' so even though they did your hair and make up, it was minimal and they stuck my hair behind my ears (which I really, really hate) because they need to see your face. *sigh*

But those were about the only 'bad' things. Once it was time to get 'rolling' it was pretty much non stop from the time we left the back room till we broke for lunch.

So, this is how it breaks down. They have a bunch of your items in a shopping cart and you and the host get to 'ham it up' talking about the savings on that product should you have got it from Walmart instead of elsewhere. Example (one that they didn't show): I had a six pack of Gatorade (the blue stuff) so, the host grabs the six pack, does a bi-cep curl with it (huffing and puffing because it's sooooo heavy), does his spiel about how much I could have saved, and that's it. What you don't get to see is what a bunch of goof balls they all are (well, except for the director/camera man and his lacky - way too serious for a 21 year olds).

We spent the day quoting movies during inappropriate places, doing silly walks (Monty Python anyone?) and doing a running commentary on the actual Walmart shoppers. The make up guy followed me around and kept touching up my make up and hair (and who doesn't like that?), the sound guy had to keep reminding me about my mike (apparently I kept knocking it loose).

I got to 'school' at 20 year old in the wonders of movies like 'Princess Bride', 'Star Wars' and 'Jaws' (can you believe she had never seen any of them?!). Had the chance to talk 'shop' with the host - the guy has got serious skills. Has his own Jazz trio, MC's for events here in Vegas and even has a regular piano gig (did I mention he is a musician as well as an actor?).

For roughly six hours I got to run around and be 'cheesy' and go paid for it. I had the chance to meet some really cool people that I probably would never have met and I got me mug on TV. Not a bad way to spend a day.

So, there you have it. 'Hi, I'm Kelly. I'm a real Mom and I just did the Walmart Challenge' *giggle, giggle*


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My Fair Maiden

I took Little P to her first Renaissance Fair over the weekend, and was actually pleasantly surprised not only by the fair and it's participants, but also by Little P's willingness to 'get in amongst it'.

I have been to 'Ren-Fairs' before, but not since living in Australia, and I have to be honest, I was fully prepared for this one to suck. Las Vegas does a lot of things well, but when it comes to certain aspects of culture, it tends to lack (I'm not saying it's bad, just that when you have lived in Melbourne, and New York City, you tend to get a little spoilt with the diversity and quality of all things cultural). But when it comes to hosting a bunch of people who are happy to walk around in costumes from another era (in the daylight mind you) and put on a show, I was quite pleasantly surprised.

Although, if I am truly honest, I will admit that the whole time I kept thinking 'Sheldon Cooper would be so upset with the lack of true authenticity that the whole fair has' (and again, if you aren't a fan of 'Big Bang Theory' that comment just went right over your head). There were giant beer cans atop of 'Mead Tents', people dressed in costume talking on cellphones and taking photos with cameras - he would have had a field day pointing out the in-accuracies. But I digress.

Prior to entering the fair, while waiting for friends to arrive, we saw Robin and his band of Merry Men (some of them appearing to be quite 'merry'), a King and his entourage including a Little Person dressed as a jester (there's a joke in there somewhere) and a bunch of people who looked like they would be more suited to being in a S & M bar than an Renaissance Fair, but hey, who am I to judge?

Once in the actual 'fair grounds' there were booths a plenty for getting your 'ye old wench's clothing' or for you to drop $200 on a version of a lute or mandolin (although he called it a violin - sorry, but you don't use a crank to play a violin - or a lute or mandolin for that matter), places to buy kilts, viking attire, fairy attire (of course) and so on. Some of the vendors were a little, let's say 'insistent' but for the most part they were friendly and happy to impart some 'ye old' information on you.

Baby girl wasn't real keen on the whole 'participation' deal - there were performers who would come up to you and start to interact with you (grabbing the stroller, going to hand you a 'flagon of wine' only to take it away, that sort of thing) - Little P would look at them like they were crazy and then come hide behind me, but for the most part, she was all for checking out the displays and just doing some good old fashioned people watching.
(Little P doing her 'EMO' impersonation in front of one of the camps)
Her favorite parts were by far the horse rides (which she was unfortunately too small to go on) and the Joust. I have a feeling if I hadn't dragged her away to keep looking at other things, she would have stayed and watched them Joust all day. We saw a band of 'Merry Players' performing the entire works of Shakespeare in under 30 minutes (that was my personal favorite) public floggings (who doesn't like a good flogging?) knights doing battle, Merlin performing magic and so on. It really was well put together.
(Take that, you son of a half troll)
(A little Macbeth anyone?)
The food was a little, well, 21st century. Sure, there were places where you could get a turkey leg or 'meat on a stick', but me thinks that Thai food, hot dogs, burgers and fries where not the daily offerings at the tavern. Speaking of which, there were a couple of 'public houses' with their own barbarians as security (nice touch). 

Aside from it being a touch warm and there being way too much to see in just one day, it was a great way to spend a Sunday morning. There were a couple of things that would have made it just a wee bit more enjoyable - having M there and my folks. I just know my Dad would have gotten a kick out of it (one of the things that suck about living so far away from family).

But there will be plenty of time for more fairs (one's that Little P might actually remember) and more chances to expose her to all the wonderful types of people that are out there.

So, till next time, tighten your corset, pull up your tights and get your 'medieval slang' book handy - it's gonna get 'ye old crazy' in here.


Hush little baby...

I just realized how long it's been since I last posted (my how time just flies by when you have kids) and I do apologize for my absence. Having a sick little one tends to make the days meld together and before you know it, it's been almost two weeks since you spent anytime connecting with people.

So, in an attempt to rectify that, and to get a bunch of stuff out of my little red notebook and onto the interweb, I am trying (somewhat successfully) to finish up some posts and get them ready for you, oh wonderful readers.

As some of you may already know, Little P has had bronchitis, which has essentially lead us to being somewhat housebound for about 10 days or so. Partly because she's been sick (and I didn't want to spread it around) and partly because sick baby usually equals sleepless nights for Momma, so I haven't been my usual social butterfly self (actually, if I'm brutally honest, it's because I had a hard enough time dragging myself out to get the mail, let alone going out and being social).

It's funny - I know when I'm sick, the house tends to be the last of my priorities (laundry piles up, the floors go unswept and unmopped, and if we didn't have a dishwasher I shudder to think how many dishes would go unwashed). But who knew that when your little one is sick for an extended period of time, the same thing happens? I spent most of my days soothing Little P (and trying, sometimes successfully, but most times not, to get her to take her medicine), rocking her to sleep, trying to get her to eat and drink and just keeping her entertained and happy. By the end of each day, I was physically and mentally beaten up - I'd be in bed by 8pm (which is even early for me), only to be awake again around 2am because Little P was crying. I'd give her something to drink, change her diaper and then rock her to sleep, before dragging myself back to bed.

It all came to a head the other day, when after a particularly long day (and not a very long nap) Little P went down okay for the night, I crawled into to bed and promptly passed out and M sat up for a little while to keep an eye on Little P and to give me a chance to sleep. At 2am, I heard her stirring, and then she yelled 'Little P's turn!', scaring the crap out of me. I run into her room, and she's lying down whimpering (I figure she had a bad dream), but she's still asleep. I go to leave the room and she says 'Mommy?' Bugger. I go over and pick her up, in the vain attempt to be able to soothe her enough so she will go back to sleep. Not a chance. She wants something to drink - but insists on being held while drinking it. Slowly starts to go back to sleep, I attempt to transfer back into her crib, feel like I'm successful, step back and then she goes 'Mommy!'. *sigh* It's gonna be one of those nights.

So, from 2am till 5am, she's in my arms - any attempt by me to get her into her crib results in her doing a death grip on my arms and saying 'no, no'. At 5am she's wide awake and ready to play. At that point I knew it was a lost cause, so I filled up the coffee pot and prepared for it to be a really long day.

Four cups of coffee later and we are off to the park, hoping to get her to wear herself out, and for me to be somewhat social. She does surprising well, playing with the other kids and keeping herself entertained. I on the other hand, feel like the walking dead, even after that amount of caffeine is in my system (I feel that after the second cup, it's kind of a reflex action - no more coffee is going to help). We last till around 11am, when I can tell she's staring to hit meltdown mode, so home we go (hoping that she'll fall asleep in the car - no such luck). Around 1pm she's still not ready to nap, but I'm fading fast, so I get her some milk, put her in her crib and tell her 'Nap time'. She appears to go down without a fight, I go into our bedroom, only to have her start crying. 'I'll let her cry it out' says I. Yup - not gonna happen. After five minutes, I cave, go in, pick her up and straight away she starts to become 'floppy baby'. Okay, this might be easier than I thought. I rock her for a little while, go to put her in her crib and  I hear 'Mommy rock.' Okay, in the rocker we go, she starts to really drift off - and so do I. I awake about 10 minutes later with a sore neck, but a passed out little one. Success! Put her in her crib, crawl into my bed and promptly pass out for a solid two hours.

I know it's going to take her a little while to get back into the swing of things, and I have no doubt that she's going to want to be rocked to sleep for a couple more days, but I feel that the worst of it is over. My floors have been swept and mopped, I'm actually pretty up to date with the laundry and I have even managed to knock out a couple of crafts. Here's hoping that we will be back into the swing of things soon and that life will return to normal (or as normal as it gets around here).

Till next time, well, you know the drill. I'm too tired to be witty.


Thursday, October 4, 2012


Do you remember the days when you would just get in your car, pick a direction and drive? When you didn't really have a destination in mind, you just wanted to go and see where the road took you? Stopped when you got hungry or saw a great opportunity for a photo? Yeah, me too. 

It's funny how life tends to change while you aren't looking and the next thing you know, going for a drive is close to cruel and unusual punishment - because it's not just you anymore. It's you and your little one (or little ones). And you now have to take into consideration potential potty stops, places to stop and eat (where your little one won't turn up their nose at everything on the menu), places to take a photo (as proof that you did actually go somewhere that wasn't Chuck E Cheese) and how long you can actually drive in one direction taking into consideration that there is potential for your little one to melt down if they are in the car for too long....

Spontaneity kind of goes out the window, doesn't it?

Well, today I was determined to do just that. Little P has been really sick since Friday last week (poor munchkin has bronchitis) and has been pretty much house bound since then (with a couple of little breaks but nothing like our usual schedule), and my days since Friday have been nuts - I haven't stopped. Between hosting parties for friends, taking Little P to the doctor, filming a Walmart commercial (yup, I got my 30 seconds of fame), dinner with friends and interviews it's been kind of a whirlwind. So this morning, when Little P started to get fussy, I decided it was time to just drive. Hang it all. Let's just go. And that's exactly what we did.

I did of course prepare myself - plenty of water, diapers, wipes, snacks and toys for Little P, and a big all cup of coffee for me - but other than that there wasn't much more planning. I put Little P in the car, pointed it in one direction and just drove. And Little P was all for it. 

We drove around neighborhoods we had never been to before. Stopped at a couple of parks we didn't know about (and will probably never find again) took a different route to a favorite place and just kind of 'winged it'. If we got stuck behind traffic, Little P would be shouting 'Move!'. If we drove past school buses, she'd get all excited and yell 'Big bus!'. We saw trucks of every color, lots of motor bikes (vroom, vroom) and plenty of kids getting ready to go to school. We went on swings and slides, talked to a group of older people doing laps around a park and really just had a good time. And it didn't cost me a thing (other than gas).

It made for a memorable morning - and reminded me that sometimes all you really need is the willingness to just 'drive'. You don't need to go to anywhere fancy. You don't need to spend a crazy amount of money. You just need to pick a direction and go.

Till next time, wind the windows down, turn the music up and just go. Who knows, maybe a great adventure is just out there waiting for you...