Thursday, December 31, 2009

My New Year's Resolutions

I'm not one for resolutions, but this year, I've got a couple of goals in mind that I figure it's a good time to share.

1st - Learn to Cook
I can cook. I can follow a recipe. But I'm not patient and I get more frustrated by playing the "What should we have for dinner?" game than anything. And I surely wouldn't say I'm a "good" cook by any measure of the word "good". What I'm really trying to learn is how to:
  • meal plan
  • stock a pantry to give me more options and make grocery shopping less of a burden
  • cook things I haven't cooked before but enjoy
  • branch out and try new foods
  • eat healthier
  • freeze foods so we have quick and easy meals
  • have a basic food knowledge I can pass on to my kids so they form healthy habits
2nd - Join The Compact
I'm all about saving the environment and doing my part, and then some. Coming out of this ridiculously materialist and consumer driven holiday season, I've decided I'm going to try The Compact. What's The Compact? It's a group started out in California by some friends who pledged to "buy nothing new for a year". It excludes food and toiletries, but for the most part, whenever possible, you either need to go without or find it used at a secondhand store, handed down from friends or freecyclers, or get creative.

This means goodbye Target, Gap, DSW shoes and cute little clothing boutique on the corner, hello freecycle. I'm not one to shop much, but I shop enough for this to make a big impact on my habits and give a real boost to our savings. I'm already plotting creative ways to make gifts for friends and I even have a solution to giving gifts for the 2010 holiday season as well. Rick's not altogether on board with this holiday solution or this little commitment of mine but I think he'll be more willing as it gets started. Not that he's against it. I guess I don't really know what his opinion is on the matter all that much yet. Anywho, that's my goal. Wish me luck.

Moral of the story: New Year's is a time for reflection, to be thankful for what you have and identify ways you can grow as a person. Here's to growth and a wonderful year to come.

The Holiday Aftermath

It all started with Ada's birthday party on the 19th (actually with Granny's celebration of birthdays at Thanksgiving but I'll get to that next). We must not have put the "no gifts necessary" in bold enough print on the Evite. Next time, that will be the title and will be inserted in between every line in every possible location. And I'm going to strengthen the wording to "No gifts please." Or, "In lieu of gifts, please consider making a donation to one of the following:" and listing a few charities. This is the same issue I struggle with every year. We have so much when others go without. It might not be so noticeable if it wasn't compacted into about a two week time period.

Here's what I mean:

November 21st - we went to Granny's for Thanksgiving and Ada got her bounty of gifts since that's when they celebrate December birthdays.

Ada received:

  • Clothes
  • Dr. Seuss Books
  • a wooden food set and knife to learn to chop foods
  • bowling pins and a bowling ball
The 19th - we had 50 people attend Ada's birthday party. 9 kids, 1 baby and 40 adults -more of a fun adult holiday party with a play date in Ada's room, but she's still a bit young to have the party focus on her the whole time.

Even with "no gifts necessary" Ada received:
  • a music CD
  • a book and a donation to toys for tots in her name (nice!)
  • a pop-up book
  • a doll
  • squishy cars
  • a toy tea set made of recyclable materials
  • a "My Little Pony"
  • a hard hat and a dump truck
  • a lunch bag, plate, bowl, and silverware
  • Tinkerbell book
  • play-doh with cookie-cutter shapes
  • bath toys
  • college fund money (yeah!)
  • a dog book
  • blocks
  • crayons and a coloring book
  • clothes
  • a shopping cart full of toy food (DD gave this to her a few months early)
Via mail in between
  • two books
  • an ice cream truck that sings
  • 10+ DVDs
  • clothes
The 24th at Granny's
Ada received:
  • a baby doll that makes noises
  • a vacuum that talks
  • They Might be Giants CD
  • a dollhouse
  • furniture for the dollhouse
  • a talking purse complete with jumbo lipstick
  • a set of cars
  • a baby doll in a tub with changeable swimsuits
  • a kite and 5 puzzles (we got that as our white elephant gift so technically, not Ada's)
  • a ballerina puzzle
  • Leapfrog books that have a tool that reads them
The 25th at Grandma Ba's
Ada received:
  • Leapfrog Laptop
  • baby stroller
  • coloring box with crayons on one side and chalk on the other
  • brown boots with fuzzy balls dangling from them
  • a wooden horse
  • the Pig from If you give a Pig a Pancake (Aunt Heather gave this to her the Christmas Tree Hunt weekend)
  • a homemade big girl fleece blanket
  • ABC fridge magnets that sing
The 25th at Great Aunt Connie's
Ada received:
  • NIU Hoodie
  • Gigi the giraffe - as a birthday gift
  • Santa Paws book
  • an ornament
The 25th at DD and Bobpa's
Ada received:
  • a book read to Ada by Bobpa with Bobpa's voice recorded
  • a drum set
  • a guitar
  • a feather boa
  • a doctor's kit
  • a Cubs jersey and a few clothes
  • a noisemaker in her stocking
  • race cars and a track
  • more clothes
  • a hat and gloves set
The 26th at DD and Bobpa's there were some stragglers from "Grandma" Patti
Ada received:

  • If you give a Cat a Cupcake and the corresponding cat stuffed animal

Today, New Year's Eve, I find myself with about 50 thank you notes to write, a house exploding with toys and cardboard packing materials, a kitchen full of dishes, and a trash receptacle with expired cake and cupcakes from a party a week and a half ago. Not to mention about 6 full loads of laundry from all of our travels, and a crisper full of extra beer. The crisper full of beer would be nice if a) I liked beer and b) I wasn't pregnant and could drink the beer that we are assuming I liked.

On the bright side, we were able to get it all back in one trip since we upgraded to the CRV a few months back. And Ada is far from board. And I'm way beyond annoyed by all of the singing/noise making toys. SERENITY NOW!

Moral of the story: Modifications must be made before the holidays next year or I will be overrun. We only need so much stuff, have so much storage, and Ada can only play with one toy and wear one outfit at a time. Plus, where is baby #2 supposed to go?

Bun #2 is in the Oven

At 14.5 weeks, I'm happy to announce that I am, once again, pregnant and quickly achieving a belly. Bye bye skinny jeans, hello maternity wardrobe. Hello aches. Hello restless sleepy nights. Hello exhaustion. Hello stomach aches and heartburn. Hello crazy dreams that make me think I'm being chased, attacked or eaten by a bear. (WTF? Those can just stop.) Hello picky eater. Hello baby.

This seems like a logical followup to my previous "Loss" entry. Unlike the last time, I feel good about this pregnancy. I'm already past the 12 week mark that was so yucky last time. I've gone in for my blood work. I've heard the speedy little heartbeat of this little monkey. And I've had two mini ultrasounds to make sure all is well and I'm not having twins. (Thank goodness!)

I've told our families, co-workers, most of our friends -- unless you're reading it here... sorry about that.

Ada still doesn't have a clue what's coming to rock her world near the end of June. No idea. She still wants to be carried everywhere and jump on my belly and just can't understand why I won't let her. I just hope that #2 is equally good as Ada has been to us. Specifically, a good sleeper, good eater, and most importantly, in good health. Oh, and I hope they get along, but I guess we'll just deal with that when the time comes.

So get ready. That's what I have in store for 2010. And I'm SO excited! I guess I'm really alternating between excited and thinking "What in the heck are we doing? How are we going to manage two little monsters? What have we done?" It's going to be a great year.

Moral of the story: I'm pregnant!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Little OCD

We had a birthday party for our little monkey since she turned 2 on the 19th. That will be another entry all together...

One nugget of knowledge I garnered from the party is that parents that are mildly OCD (Have some level of obsessive-compulsive disorder-- an anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and repetitive, ritualized behaviors you feel compelled to perform) or even more than "mildly" OCD, may have issues with certain toys or items their children own/use/receive.

I can't claim to have OCD myself, but I married an Architect and I work with Architects so I see what I call mild cases of OCD all the time. I could just be misdiagnosing the situation, but from the above definition, I'd say it's right on. For example, Rick went to grad school with a guy who had to start every flight of stairs with his right foot. Otherwise, he'd have to switch his step on the landing so his right foot would be first. Quarky, I know. Rick tries to avoid stepping on cracks in the sidewalk, among other weird behavioral things he does that I forget currently. And my co-worker today re-organized all of the shelves in our back production room because he's "anal retentive" as he puts it. It's beautiful. Everything in it's place and perfectly aligned. I just don't care that much and am far from a perfectionist (which surely has come here up before.)

The most severe case I've ever seen in person was a fellow Resident Assistant at the University of Iowa my sophomore year. His name was Eric and if you moved anything in his dorm room, even just half an inch, he would re-position it within a minute of it being moved. His phone cord couldn't drape off the desk. His pencils all had to be parallel. Papers all stacked in a right angle to the edges of his desk. It was absurd to me, but he'd just accepted it as normal at that point in his life.

I'd forgot how fascinating people with OCD can be.... until Ada's party that is...
You see, Ada has these interlocking tiles on her floor, called EduTiles, made from some sort of foam stuff. They have the letters of the alphabet and are a colorful alternative to getting her a rug. They clean much easier too. Yes, I know they say they are for children 3+ but... I don't care. The smallest part would be hard for me to get into my mouth--I don't think I could bite off a piece of it-- but a dog probably could rip it apart in less than three minutes now that I think about it. No one has chewed off the corners yet... and mind you, a few of Ada's play date friends have tried.
So, back to the story. My good friend Alex (pictured above sitting on the tiles) came to the party with his serious girlfriend Kim. Kim is a sweetheart. Super nice and friendly and fun to be around. We had 50 people in our tiny condo for Ada's party and at some point, two of the older boys decided to rip up the tile floor and throw it at each other, all while five little two-year-olds were trying to play in Ada's room. After they got busted and we made them put the floor back together, they ripped it apart again. They put it back together again too, but it wasn't square and none of the edges matched up. It was a mess. That's where Kim comes in...

Kim just happens to have a bit of OCD. I'm not sure to what extent, but she dedicated the 20 minutes following the end of Ada's party to re-assembling the floor tiles according to color and alphabetical order. All was fine and dandy until she got to the last four tiles and had to put the corners together. That's when she told me I needed to call the manufacture and tell them where to go. You see, they didn't give me the correct color combinations for a few of the letters and the corner pieces. She's ready for me to pick the whole thing up, put it back in the bag it came in - which shows a picture of the floor and in the photo the color combination is even "off", not to mention different from Ada's actual floor - and send it back to the manufacturer with a note explaining that until they can get it "right", I don't want anything to do with their products. I'm not kidding. She was visibly bothered, and probably still is slightly annoyed (so don't mention it if you see her), by the fact that Ada's floor covering just isn't designed for parents who are OCD. It doesn't balance visually and therefore, becomes extremely annoying to folks like her. Part of me laughed, but the rest of me felt really bad and will have to take her entire pregnancy to find a product for her future children that will meet her high, OCD mommy standards.

Moral of the story: OCD might keep your house tidy and organized (depending on what you are obsessive about), but it can be a real pain when it comes to children's toys. Manufacturers take note.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The "Loss" Entry

I don't consider myself to be on the extreme ends of being a public or private person. I like to think I'm middle of the road and keep most of the gross personal stuff that happens to me to myself. That's why I've debated writing about having a miscarriage since it happened last July. Sometimes you want your personal business to stay personal. That wasn't how it all went down, and even though it's a really touch subject for some people, I think writing about it might give me some closure and more likely, help those of you who may have experience one or more in your past. So here it is... I'll try to spare you the gory details.

First off, what helped me most through this whole process was meeting other moms before I even had Ada who had had miscarriages in their past. Statistically, they say 50% of women have a miscarriage sometime in their lives, but many of them happen before the woman even knows she's pregnant. According to my Doctoress, it's closer to 70% and maybe even higher. The pregnancy books will all tell you that it tends to happen in the first trimester, i.e. the first 12 weeks. Mine was 1 day shy of hitting the 12 week mark.

The other thing that helped me was reading Blink by Malcom Gladwell that taught me to trust my gut instinct above all else. Listen to that little voice within that tells you something isn't right. Something about the pregnancy felt funny to me, so much so that I hesitated to tell my co-workers and bookclub, and several of my close friends. I also kept putting off getting my blood work done. It just didn't seem like the pregnancy was going to stick. Unfortunately I was so excited when the pee stick turned into a plus sign, and I didn't have the funny feeling yet, I immediately told my mom and Rick's mom and they can't keep a secret if it would save the earth from impending doom... they are just way too excited about having more grandchildren -- which I don't blame them for. They are grandmas after all and that's what grandmas do. I'd be ticked off if they weren't excited. So, everyone and their mother (in our families anyway) knew we were pregnant from the get go. Yikes.

For many women, a miscarriage just happens and they don't even know about it until they go in for an ultrasound or an appointment to hear the heartbeat and the Doctor has to give them the "I'm sorry mam, but this pregnancy isn't viable. You've had a miscarriage." or something similar to that I imagine. For people who don't know how common it is and can't name off 10 people they know that have had one, that can be more than overwhelming.

It was different for me, and way more gross. (WARNING: If you're squimish, skip to the next paragraph). I started spotting just a little bit. Called the Doctoress. "Statistically, you should be fine. If you heard the heartbeat at 8 weeks, your chances of miscarrying are about 10% so go home and rest." I tried to be optimistic but it wasn't really helping. I was a basketcase. Really quite worried. I rested. Spotted a bit more a few hours later. Then about 2 in the morning I woke up to the worst cramps I have ever felt in my life. At 4:30 am I called the Doctoress' emergency help line, paged the Doctor on call and he told me "If you start bleeding heavily, go to the Emergency Room and have them call me." Sure enough, not five minutes later, Niagra Falls started, only it was red and clumpy. It was awful. Beyond awful. I kept my wits about me since I knew what was going on and actually had read about something similar in a novel, Luscious Lemon by Heather Swain, about a chef who got pregnant and miscarried while her boyfriend was out of the country. I knew to look for the embryo to pass (or whatever they call a baby at 12 weeks) and when I saw it, I considered setting it aside for the Doctor to look at but that creeped me out and I was bleeding so much I didn't care enough to deal with it at that point. I was beyond the whole "I just lost the baby" and was now into "Holy shit, that's a lot of blood."

Thankfully, we have a neighbor upstairs that goes to work at 5 am and his wife doesn't work. I quickly got my husband to run up to their door and wake her up to come watch Ada while he took me to the hospital. I'm barking orders from the bathroom while he is trying to get someone to watch Ada. He's not the fastest person in the world (at least in my mind when I think I'm bleeding to death) so it took longer than I had hoped. He got me pants and an old bath towel and went to get the car. Our neighbor came down and I explained she should avoid the bathroom carnage at all costs and just feed Ada a banana and some milk when she gets up. Our neighbor was super nice, and sorry for our loss and just said she'd take care of Ada and not to worry. Thank God for the angels in our lives right?

So we get to the hospital. They check me out. Yep, that's a lot of blood. They transfer me up to the baby floor and do a D and C - often wrongly called (by me) a DNC since that's what it sounds like. They go in, clean everything out and poof, you're all better. You just have to wait for your blood work to say your body no longer thinks it's pregnant and "reset" before you can try again. It's a bit like hitting control alt delete on your computer... but not.

Then I just had to take it easy for a few days. My only side effect was killer headaches, which I solved with caffeine. A coke a day and lots of chocolate and tea. It was totally manageable. Luckily, we were set to go to Lake Geneva for my Aunt's annual birthday vacation at the lake. My whole family was there and was very supporting. I got the best hug from my dad I've ever received in my life - I'll never forget that he pulled me in close, rubbed circles on my back and held me longer than usual. That's big for a guy who doesn't openly show affection. I know he loves me but he isn't one to show it much so when he does, it's really powerful. From that moment on, I knew everything was going to be okay.

Now for the funny part. I'm an optimist, remember? I'll find the silver lining in anything.

That neighbor from upstairs that watched Ada while I was at the hospital, remember her? Well, it turns out that she's never babysat before, doesn't have nieces and nephews, and is pretty much clueless when it comes to kids. I think my instructions upon leaving were to just "keep her safe and alive". Thankfully, she has a wonderful mom and lots of friends who know about kids. My thanks goes out to all of them for answering her calls (I assume most of them are on the east coast so it wasn't that early for them) as she frantically looked for answers as to what to do when Ada woke up. Her mom thought Ada might wake up pissed off and wonder why there was a stranger in her house, but she doesn't know Ada. Here's our neighbor all worried, waiting for Ada to wake up and then Ada starts to stir. Krissie goes in and is met with, in typical Ada fashion, all smiles. Ada's bouncing in her crib, holding on to her Yertle the Turtle and happy as a clam. Nothing like what Krissie expected.

I'm not sure how the diaper change went down, but I assume just fine. Then it was time for Ada's banana. Krissie spent a few minutes mincing the banana into small pieces so that Ada wouldn't choke, just as her mom and her friends had advised, only to be shocked again. Ada grabbed the rest of the banana Krissie wasn't chopping and shoved the whole thing in her face. Gone in an instant. That's my girl! Who needs to chew?

The look on Krissie's face when she told me the story a few days later was hilarious. She told that story for weeks, and surely still does. It was so cute. I'm thankful that she now thinks all kids are cute and wonderful and happy-go-lucky. Boy is she in for a surprise when she has kids of her own.

Moral of the story: Miscarriages are natural, common, and our body's way of protecting us or ending something that just isn't right. Instead of allowing them to crush our spirits, accept them for being a mysterious blessing. It's not an easy view to take, but one that I found to be easier to accept and survive with in the long term. And know that you aren't alone.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ada's First Swear Word

Two is a little young to start swearing, I agree. I'm guilty of swearing more than my fair share. I've never really seen what the big deal is about it. It's just another form of expression. Sometimes I agree that intelligent people don't need to swear since they can express themselves without the need for curse words. Sometimes I say screw that theory because I'm too mad to be smart and need to express myself anyway. So there.

Now I'm trying to really be better about it since I have a mini parrot shadowing me and mimicking my every word. (I secretly think I'm addicted to swearing since I've been trying to quit for several years now and it isn't working, really, not at all.)

It's neat when Ada all of a sudden says something like "outside" after I say "let's go outside". It's not so neat when we are at Granny's house waiting to put up her tree when Ada drops something in the kitchen and says "Oh, shit!" clear as day. Now I must admit, I don't think she learned that one from me. I'm a fan of the more severe swear words and "Oh, shit!" just isn't common in my vocabulary. Grandma DD on the other hand... well, that's really the only swear word she uses and it typically surfaces when she's just burned whatever it is she's cooking (which can be frequent) but she's "a lady" as they say and rarely drops the F-bomb or any other swear bombs for that matter. Something I can aspire to... someday.

To avoid a repeat performance at upcoming family holiday dinners, I've been saying "Oops!", "Uh-oh", and variations on that theme as much as possible, even when not really necessary. And I find myself using more "this F-ing stinks", and "SH--schei├če, damn, it still counts if it's in German, Shoot! I mean, darn!"

Dag nab it!

We'll see how this goes but don't set your expectations to high. I have a long road ahead of me.

Moral of the story: Swearing around children is bad. Fixing that bad habit is worse. Good luck with that.

Christmas Tree Hunting

A hunting we will go, a hunting we will go, high ho a dairy o, a hunting we will go.

This year was the last year for Sinissippi Farm in Oregon, IL to be open for Christmas Tree hunting. The owners are retiring and their kids all have "real jobs" so, at this time, it's over. We had insider knowledge of the closing so my sister-in-law flew in for one last hunt with the family.

All of these people went to get one, yes only one, Christmas Tree.
The day started with the drive to Oregon, which is about 40 minutes or so. Or it really started with layers of socks and long underwear for me but let's not think about the cold.

We arrived and cuddled up to the fireplace in the gift shop. Once everyone else got in it was time to begin the hunt. Here's Ada getting her gloves secured for the hunt. Rick's parents bought their tree tag and we headed out toward the tree rows. Then we noticed the horse drawn wagons and we were just going to pet the horses when all of a sudden, the next thing you know, we're all on the wagon going for a ride and being delivered at the white pine tree section.

We unloaded from the wagon and began critiquing nature's work in search of the "perfect" tree. After much searching, debating, and judging, we finally selected a tree that was just right. The boys were getting ready to saw it down when Aunt Terri said "Where's Aunt Connie?" "We must have left her back at the gift shop."

Oops! As it turns out, Aunt Connie was going to do some shopping in the gift shop and catch up with us amongst the trees when she was done. Unbeknownst to her, we were on the other side of the river looking at trees since that's where the horses dropped us off.

Out come all of the cell phones with their various carriers and, of course, only one has service but that person doesn't have Connie's number so they enter Connie's number and try to call her and, of course, she doesn't answer. (Come to find out later that she didn't recognized the 312 number so she didn't answer it. Silly Aunt Connie!)

Meanwhile, I'm flagging down the horse carriage as it approaches to ask the passengers to watch for Aunt Connie when they get back to the main tree shaking area and let her know where we are. I give a brief description of her and they say "we'll try." "Thanks!" is my reply.

The guys are now cutting down the tree. Heather and Grandma Ba head back to the tree lodge on foot to find Aunt Connie. And the rest of us wait for the tree march where we all follow it back to the lodge.

While we were marching back with the tree, it turns out that Heather and Grandma Ba had been picked up by the horse carriage and were headed back to the lodge when Heather spotted Aunt Connie, lost among the trees. She says, "Hey, there's Aunt Connie!" and the driver says "Where?" Heather points her out and the driver yells "Hey Aunt Connie! They're over here!" to the ensuing laughter of the entire carriage of tree hunters. All was well with the world again.

Once we got back to the gift shop/tree lodge, the tree was put in line to be shaken and the rest of us headed in for homemade cider donuts, hot apple cider and coco, and a little someone had her first meeting with Santa. And since she's such a social little gal, she thought he was pretty cool and was just a little confused by his big beard.

Moral of the story: Family traditions make some of the best memories. Be sure to create fun traditions of your own to make the Holidays more than just a commercialized, materialistic frenzy.

Save a lock of hair...

This is a weird tradition to me. I don't know why people save a lock of hair from their children. Maybe for DNA testing for some shady unforeseen circumstance these days but where did it stem from? Why does my mom have some of my hair tucked into a little box somewhere in her dresser drawer? And why has she kept if for 30 years? And what the heck am I supposed to do with it?

My Aunt Lin gave me a little container for Ada's first tooth and a lock of hair. Another Mom I know insisted on me saving one of Ada's locks. Since I had the box and strong peer pressure from older, wiser mothers, I did it. I cut a lock of Ada's hair and shoved it into the little box and it sprayed all over the place as I jammed it in -- how long is a lock supposed to be anyway? What is a lock? This is so beyond my basic mom knowledge and instincts. Do they do this for little boys too or is that unmanly? Is Tony Romo's lock of hair in his mom's underwear drawer? I find that to be a little weird.

I will say, now that I have the lock safely tucked away, that I should have put more thought into this than just making it an item on my checklist to do and check off. You see, I just grabbed the scissors, went up to Ada, trimmed a chunk out of the back of her head and shoved it into the box. It was too long to fit in the box. I likely trimmed off too much. And I took it from the top layer, back right side of her head about halfway down. It didn't dawn on me until after I cut it that maybe I should have taken it from a less conspicuous location-- like from the bottom layer near her neck or somewhere in the middle in case she wears a ponytail anytime soon. Not that she lets me do anything with her hair anyway...

So it's done. It's officially off the list --but mainly so I can answer "yes" when accosted by moms demanding to know if I've saved a lock of her hair. I think it puts me into the "your a good mom" category in their heads for some reason and it seems like a small price to pay for entry into that club. And, some days, I need all of the help I can get.

Moral of the story: Save a lock of your child's hair, or lie and pretend that you did, no one will really know the difference since no one ever checks -- just take it from an inconspicuous location when you do.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ada's Big Day

In preparing Ada for her big 2nd birthday, Rick's Aunt Betsy was disappointed to learn that Ada didn't know how to blow out the candles on her cake. She was tested at the family party we had at Thanksgiving dinner to celebrate November and December birthdays. Ada coughed on the cake and looked at us funny when we sang, but didn't have a clue how to blow out her candle.

Betsy suggested I try to teach Ada how to blow out her candles using a flashlight. Turn the flashlight on and have Ada blow on it, then turn it off when you feel her breath pass the beam. Today I gave that a shot and it seemed to work. I think she got the point. But then I decided to test it out for real.

I grabbed her "1" candle from last year's cake and lit it with a real flame. I was holding it while sitting on the kitchen floor when I finally wised up and said, "You idiot. Use a decorative candle or tea light. Save your fingers."

That's when the fun began.

Picture it. Here we are. Ada and mom lying on the floor in the living room with a tea light candle in a fancy glass candle holder that is low enough to be easy to blow out. I light it, she blows on it as if she's blowing her nose. After making me act like a weirdo for ten minutes, she figured out that I was blowing out of my mouth. And finally, after a dozen tries, success!

Check it out:

Moral of the story: Prepare your child for the birthday spotlight so they are ready to shine.

Red, Blue, Green, Purple

Rick noticed a few weeks ago that the dome light in our CRV wasn't working. We stopped in to the auto store for a replacement. Almost $11 later, we purchased one that fits our car. Great. Check that off the list, right?

Not so fast.

In the parking lot, we install the new light and it is red. I look at Rick, who is by now looking at me as well, and I say "Why did you get a red one? How dumb is that?"

To which he replies, "I thought it was white. The package says something about 7 colors and has a red stripe at the bottom."

"Well what the heck does that mean?" We look at each other, way beyond confused.

Then we look back at the dome light. It's now blue. Now it's green. Purple. Teal. Eventually it glows white and then back to red. Somehow there are 7 colors in all, I guess.

We just looked at each other and laughed hysterically. At first, I was annoyed at having paid almost $11 for this tiny lightbulb that wasn't what we wanted and doesn't shed a whole lot of light on the interior of the car. That all changed once we put Ada in the car for the first time.

As Rick was buckling her into the car seat, directly in line with the dome light, she started squealing with delight. Who knew that a little light bulb changing colors could summon so many joyous noises from one little girl! The oohs, and ahhs, and eekkks elicit laughter from us every time we get in the car now. My hope is that our "investment" will help her learn the names of her colors more easily. Right now she says something like "Boo" which you'd think was "blue" but she says it when the light is red. So we're working on it.

And as an added benefit, we just turn the dome light to "on" whenever she's having a bad moment in the car and she's distracted for a few minutes, which is typically all the time we need to locate her crackers or a blanket or the toy that rolled under the seat in front of her.

Amazing what a little light bulb can do.

Moral of the story: Sometimes screwing up can turn out to brighten your life, in more ways than one, for years to come.