Thursday, December 31, 2009

…And a Happy New Year!

It appears that through all my complaining about getting ready for Christmas, I forgot to actually wish you all a Merry Christmas, like I had intended to do when I started writing that last post. So, Merry Christmas Everybody!!! And Happy New Year!

We had quite a wonderful few days visiting family and taking the new truck on it's maiden family voyage. I'm pleased to announce that the heated seats work VERY WELL, and we were able to fit all of our luggage, Gracie's bag full of stuffed animals that must travel with us at all times, AND 8,000 presents (give or take a few) into that beautiful new truck.

And speaking of 8,000 presents, I must say, I've been royally spoiled this year. I'm going to make us very fat baking all the super yummy looking things in the Farm Chicks Cookbook, and then work it all off with the Wii Fit! Then I'm going to collapse into bed and read Dooce's book. Although I can tell that one will be a one-night special. Like, I'll start reading it at bedtime, and at 5 a.m. I'll put it down, finished.

Also, did I forget to mention the part where I spent most of the week leading up to Christmas worrying that Gracie was going to be disappointed because she wanted a Kanga and we couldn't find one? Luckily, she opened up her big stuffed Roo and declared THAT to be Kanga, and all was right in the world.

Can I also say how impressed I was that her Go Diego Go Animal Rescue Center only took about 5 minutes to put together? Because I was really afraid we were going to spend much of the morning with her asking me ARE YOU DONE YET MOMMY? ARE YOU DONE YET MOMMY? ARE YOU DONE YET MOMMY?????

Anyway…time to end this very disjointed post (that's what happens when you type each paragraph a few a hours apart I guess), and wish everybody a very wonderful 2010. Cheers!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I think I can, I think I can…

Okay, I'm a little bit freaked out right now. It is (stops to launch iCal) December 22, and I have not finished my Christmas shopping. Or done all my baking. Or wrapped ONE SINGLE PRESENT.

Where did December go, exactly? The last thing I remember it was the first week in December, and I was feeling pretty good about getting everything done. Then the freaking deep freeze blew in (I've said it before and I'll say it again: global warming my ass!) and I found myself couped up inside with a sick kid and -30°C temperatures outside. You don't have to be mother of the year to know you can't drag a sick kid out in those kind of temperatures, so inside I sat, waiting for the weather to get better.

So, I'm a little bit behind. Okay, a lot behind. But I'm going to finish today. TODAY! So that tomorrow I can wrap presents (instead of doing it all on Christmas Eve, after everyone goes to bed, like a usually do), and finish my last batch of baking, and be able to sit and relax on Christmas Eve.

I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. Do you think if I say it enough times, it will actually come true?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

God I love that man.

See that super hot guy sitting in the back of the truck? He's the sweetest man in the whole wide world.
Why? Well, see that truck he's sitting in? The very cool black truck that he bought last year, that he loves more than anything in the world (except maybe that little girl sitting next to him)? Yesterday, he sold it. For us. Me and the little girl. Because we didn't fit in it anymore.

Now, the new truck is a very, very nice truck. It's absolutely loaded, and has a huge back seat that will fit Gracie and theoretical baby #2, AND all of our many bags of things that seem to need to go with us everywhere we go. But it isn't HIS truck, the little black truck that he loves, and I feel both guilty that he had to sell it and absolutely full of love for the man who gave it up for us.

I'm sorry honey. We'll have lots of fun in the new truck. I promise!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Deck the Halls with bows of holly

'Tis the season to be jolly

Thursday, November 26, 2009

For your information, I've NEVER been high young lady!

Actual conversation I had with Gracie yesterday:

Gracie: "Mommy, are you high?"

Me: "What!?"

Gracie: "Are you high? I'm too low to reach this. Can you help me get high so I can reach it?"

It was so hard not to laugh, but I managed it. Barely.


I also want to thank everybody who left a comment about the play school snack. Gracie and I are going shopping this afternoon, and tomorrow morning the kids at Airdrie Stay and Play will have their first taste of goat cheese. This is going to be fun…

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And it only took 20 minutes to go two blocks

"Can I ride my tricycle to the park Mommy?"

"Do you think you can ride it all the way there and all the way back? Because you and the tricycle are too heavy for Mommy to carry all the way back from the park."

"Yes, I can do it Mommy!"

"Look Mommy! We're here! I rode my tricycle all the way to the park all by myself!"

Honestly, I didn't think we'd make it when we left. I figured we'd get part way and I'd have to carry the tricycle, and maybe even her, for the rest of the way. But it's only 2 blocks and I could use the exercise. And it's been my experience that when she tells me she thinks she can do something by herself, she usually can.

I'm so proud of her.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Everybody likes Goat Cheese, don't they?

So, I have a little question for you all today. But it's going to take me awhile to get there. Please hang in there.

Gracie and I go to a small parent-volunteer run play school every Friday morning. Parents can bring kids from newborn to five years old, and there is free play time, a teacher-led music session, a new craft to make each week, and most important to my question today: the teacher reads a story while the kids sit and eat a snack.

Each week, parents take turns bringing the snack. Two parents bring half of the snack: one parent brings cheese and crackers for the kids and a snack for the parents, and one parent brings fruit and a treat for the kids. Next week, it's my turn to bring the cheese and crackers. (Some of you know where I'm going with this, I bet.)

Now, on the official snack list, it just says you have to bring cheese and crackers. Nowhere does it dictate WHAT KIND of cheese and crackers you have to bring. But for some reason, every single week, the parent whose turn it is to bring cheese and crackers brings cheddar cheese and Goldfish Crackers. Which, I totally get. Every kid likes cheddar cheese and Goldfish Crackers, so nobody is going to complain and not eat it. Plus, they're cheap and plentiful. I totally get it.

But Gracie and I are allergic to BOTH of those things. We don't do cow's milk, or anything made with cow's milk. So, every week, I just pick those things out and let Gracie eat the fruit, then I pull out the snack that I packed for her. I certainly don't expect the parents to bring a dairy-free snack for everybody when mine is the only kid who doesn't do dairy.

But…since it's my turn to bring the snack next week, do you think it's okay for me to bring a snack that my child can actually eat? Say, her favorite goat milk mozzarella, and some whole-grain crackers? Or should I bring the cheddar cheese and Goldfish crackers like everybody else, and pack another snack for Gracie, like I do every week?


Monday, October 26, 2009

And the prize for the most obvious answer goes to…

I woke up this morning feeling even more crappy than I have for the past two weeks. This morning my chest hurts, and it hurts to breathe.

So I decided perhaps I should actually call my doctor now. I mean, it's been more than two weeks that I've been sick, and it's getting worse instead of better. Maybe this isn't just a little flu that's going to go away on it's own.

So I called my doctor's office, and I told them the long story and that now that my chest hurts when I breathe. And the nice lady on the phone asked: "Can you still breathe?"

"Um, yes, but it hurts when I do," I replied.

"Well, unless you start to not be able to breathe, there's nothing I can do for you. If you can't breathe, go to the hospital. Otherwise, just stay home so you don't spread it, and try to get some rest."


What I really said was: "So, there's nothing you can do? You can't check to make sure it's not pneumonia or something?"

She was wholly unsympathetic. She said that they were getting lots of calls from people whose chests hurt: it was just what was going around.

So, there you have it. If I die of pneumonia, you know who to blame. I CALLED THE DOCTOR.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Up to my armpits in kleenex

Well, it's been quite the month here at the denice-isms household. We saw a bunch of houses, found one we liked, put in an offer, and totally got rejected. As in, the realtor wrote REJECTED in big block letters on the fax she sent back. So, it's back to the drawing board on that front.

Also, (and probably most important to me) I'm sick with some sort of plague that just doesn't seem to want to go away. I cough and I hack and spend the day just feeling tired and miserable, and it's been more than a week now and I just want it to go away. Gracie doesn't seem to have caught it from me, which is a bit of a miracle, but I must admit that I have had brief, fleeting moments when I wish she HAD caught it from me. Like, when she's running around the house at breakneck speed and begging me to play with her, and I only have enough energy to sit on the couch and vegetate. That way, maybe we could vegetate together, right? (Is it child abuse to hope your child gets a miserable cold from you?)

It doesn't help that this virus arrived at the same time as the cold and snowy weather around here. So we went from spending almost every afternoon outside running around, to being couped up inside, and Gracie's getting a tad grumpy with me. Yesterday, after an entire morning of temper tantrums and fights, I took a whole bunch of cold medicine, lined my pockets with Kleenex and took the kid to the park.

You’d have thought we'd gone to Disneyland, she was so happy.
"Oh, I missed you swings! And I missed you slide! And I missed you rocks! And Brown Horse missed you too!!!"

We need to find a place with a back yard.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

My favorite part of the day

Every morning, as the sun filters through the blinds, I am awakened by the sound of footsteps thundering down the hall. Slap! Slap! Slap! Her little bare feet make contact with the laminate, and by the time she reaches my bedside I am fully awake but my eyes remain shut: I am waiting for her to say the magic word.

"MOMMY!" She yells, inches from my face. My eyes snap open and my mouth wears an instant grin. "Good Morning Sweet Pea!" is always my response. "Do you want to cuddle with us?"

"Yes!" she will say, already climbing in. She snuggles herself between hubby and I in our suddenly small bed. And I think to myself, "This is my favorite part of the day."


Later, after we all get up, after clothes are found and breakfast is eaten and Daddy's lunch is packed, we go outside, ready to send him off to work. We stand by his truck, and I hold her up to his window. She hands him his lunch bag and leans in for a kiss: "Good bye Daddy! We love you lots and lots and lots!" We go back to the sidewalk and wave to him as he drives away.

And I think to myself, "This is my favorite part of the day."


Now we are alone, my little munchkin and I. We spend the rest of the morning doing housework, taking breaks now and then to read a book or play a game. Maybe a grandma or an auntie will call for a chat. Maybe we'll bake daddy some chocolate chip cookies. At noon I let her watch Clifford the Big Red Dog on PBS while I have a shower. Afternoons are spent at the park or running errands.

The list makes the day sound mundane, but is actually filled with stolen moments of wonderful: a snuggle here, a dance to the radio there. Sometimes, I'm so overcome with her cuteness that I just pick her up and start kissing her all over until she can't stop giggling.

And after each of those stolen moments, I think to myself: "This is my favorite part of the day."


And then I realize that my life is filled to the brim with favorite parts of the day, from the moment I wake up, to the moment my head hits the pillow. I love this new life of mine. I love making sure that my hubby and my Gracie are well taken care of. I'm so grateful that I get to spend my days in a home filled with love, and laughter and so many favorite parts of the day. And I'm forever mindful that these days are going by so very fast, and soon my little sweet pea will be too big to pick up and kiss all over until she can't stop giggling.


So tonight, when I go to bed, I'm going to curl up with my husband, and tell him how much I love him. Then I'm going make sure he knows this is also my favorite part of the day, and thank him for giving me the favorite days of my life.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

At 10 p.m. sharp…

I'm not much of a TV watcher these days. Honestly, when I sit down to watch a little TV before bed, it's more for the cute guy I snuggle with on the couch than for what I'm actually watching.

But here's where I sheepishly admit that I can't wait for the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy tonight.

I've got it all planned out: as soon as I'm done this post, I will feed Gracie some lunch, pack her in the stroller and take her to the park, where I will let her run around for at least a couple of hours and thoroughly wear her out. Then, I will come home, pull out the Pillsbury Pizza Dough and make us some pizza. Not only is it yummy, but it creates very few dishes for mommy to clean up…

Bath time will be 6:30 p.m., we'll get out at 7 p.m., play hide and seek and read stories until 8 p.m., and then it's bedtime for Gracie! Once Gracie is actually asleep, probably about 8:30 p.m., I will get my running shoes and head for the gym, which is 10 minutes away. I'll jump on the treadmill (well, not literally) and run until it is 9:30 p.m. That should give me enough time to come home, have a shower, and have the popcorn all ready for the beginning of Grey's Anatomy at 10 p.m.

If only I could use these organizational skills in the other areas of my life…

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday Words

A few months back, Nate made a trip to Chapters to get the next couple books in the series he was reading, and came home with an armful of books for Gracie too. As she immediately reached for the ones with horses on the cover, he handed me a book called "Tough Chicks" (by Cece Meng) and said this one was sort of for Gracie, and sort of for me.

Boy, was he right. I love this cheeky little story about three chicks who are just a little bit different from the rest of the flock. The story is so much fun, the illustrations are gorgeous, and Gracie loves the part where they go: "peep, peep, zoom, zip, cheep!

If you have little girls in your life, this would be an excellent story to run out and get. Except for you Cheyenne. I may or may not have already purchased this story for your little one. Just saying…

Thursday, September 10, 2009

First Fireworks

Without a doubt, my favorite thing about living in Airdrie is the fireworks. They do fireworks for everything here. Canada Day, Christmas, New Years, and any other celebration in between, there is always a free fireworks show down at Nose Creek Park.

Well, today was Airdrie's 100th Anniversary, and they kicked off the four-day celebration with, you guessed it: fireworks at City Hall! So we packed Gracie up and took her to see her very first fireworks show.

It was a big hit. I think we will be fireworks regulars from now on.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

T minus 31 minutes and counting…

Tonight, I am counting down the minutes until Gracie is in bed. I don't usually do that, but today she's been a really special kind of grumpy. I just like to call it TWO. As in, holy crap, my usually sweet little girl is sure being TWO today.

I've got absolutely nothing done. I start something, and then Gracie commences being TWO, and the project is soon abandoned. And then, because I'm a whole lot older than TWO than I'd like to admit, I completely forget the project I started. And since the house doesn't seem to want to clean itself, I start a new project. And then Gracie commences being TWO, and the project is soon abandoned…can you see the infinite loop happening here?

I know I shouldn't really complain, because most of the time she is a very, very good kid who listens to me and does what I ask of her. But today -- today the TWO sure took over. I wonder if I have any wine left in the fridge…

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Like spring cleaning, only fashionably late

So, what do you think of the new digs? I was feeling like it was time for a change. I started out wanting to do this really ambitious re-design, but after a few minutes of trying to do it, I remembered that I was a PRINT designer, not a WEB designer, and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. So…I spent a very large number of hours figuring out how to make a pretty heading. It's nice, don't you think?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

And I celebrated by making Rice Krispie Squares. No, really. I actually did.

Alright everybody. I want you to ignore the dirty bathroom floor that needs vacuuming, and the chipped toenail polish, and the really weird sandal tan that I have developed this summer, and take a look at those red numbers. Those wonderful red numbers.

Because, my good people, that is the nicest my bathroom scale has been to me since Gracie was born. And I'm so happy that instead of being a normal person who keeps things to herself, I'm actually putting a picture of how much I weigh on the internet FOR EVERYONE TO SEE.

I know, I know. I've gone a little nuts. But I'm just so damned proud of myself I could burst, and I feel like doing a little bragging. I lost the first 10 pounds baby! I'm halfway there! Just 10 more to go!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Update Day

1. The triathlon is in 3 DAYS people! And I am happy to report that in the 7 short weeks that I have been training, I have gone from barely being able to go a single kilometer, to being able to complete 5 kilometers in 30 minutes or less. (Some days I'm a little slower than others). My sister Erin has been swimming and biking her little butt off, and I think we're going to kick some ass! Mostly because there are only 7 teams we are competing against……but still! Go Team Graham Girls!

2. I now brush my teeth eleventy billion times a day. Ever since the "your mouth smells bad" incident, Gracie has decided that it is her duty to inform me every time my breath is less than minty fresh. Which, I guess is better than wandering around with breath so bad it makes small children cry, but we are going to need to buy some shares in whatever giant company makes Aquafresh before this is all over.

3. Speaking of wee Gracie, have I told you that she now reads to me? Okay, not really. But she does have several of her favorite books memorized WORD FOR WORD. She brings me the book and says "I'LL read YOU a story Mommy!" Then she sits down, and reads me the book, word for word, from start to finish. She's even got about half of Harold and the Purple Crayon in that little brain of hers. Did I mention that SHE DIDN'T EVEN SPEAK until about 3 months ago?????

I think that's it. It's been a whole 20 minutes since I last brushed my teeth, so I guess I'd better go and see if I pass inspection.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Why didn't someone tell me??

One of the very best things about having a kid who goes from not speaking, to speaking full sentences in mere weeks, (besides "OH MY GOD, I CAN'T BELIEVE SHE'S FINALLY TALKING TO ME!!!) is that you can ask her about the little things she used to scream about but couldn't explain.

For example, for a very long time now, Gracie has not let me give her a kiss. (Or greatly protested when I managed to land a stealthy smooch on her cheek, which was often). Before she could talk, she would let out a howl and push me away, which, I have to admit, hurt my feelings just a teeny, tiny bit. And then, once she started to talk, it turned into NO THANK YOU MOMMY! And finally, ended up NO KISSES, JUST HUGS PLEASE MOMMY!

So yesterday, curiosity got the best of me. I just HAD TO KNOW why the kid didn't want me to kiss her. I mean, there had to be a good reason, right?

Me: "Can you tell me why you don't like it when Mommy gives you kisses?"

Gracie: "Your mouth smells bad Mommy."

Me: (Blink. Blink.) "Does my mouth always smell bad?"

Gracie: "No, just sometimes. Well, lots of sometimes."

Me: "If I go upstairs and brush my teeth, then can I give you kisses?"

Gracie: "YES!!!"

So, there you have it. Apparently I've been walking around with buzzard breath for years, and all of you wonderful people have been too nice to tell me to go and get a breath mint before the stench coming out of my mouth kills you.

Now if you will excuse me, I'm going to brush my teeth.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I help you mommy!

I swear to God, I didn't put her up to this. She was happily playing in the living room while I was in the kitchen washing the floor, when she suddenly came running into the kitchen yelling: "I help you Mommy!" So, I decided that if she was going to offer to help me, there was NO WAY I was going to turn her down. I handed her a cloth, and ran for the camera.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The first of many, I'm sure…

Nate took Gracie on her very first horsie ride on Sunday. She grinned the entire time, except for the moments when I was trying to take her picture. So, when it was over, we plunked her on the saddle all by herself and it was there that I best captured the grin.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

I may have altered my very DNA…

So, I tried a little something new this morning. I got up before everyone else, went outside and ran 5 km.

(I'm going to pause for dramatic effect here, because anyone who knows me is staring at their screen with their mouths agape, unable to comprehend what they just read. "She got up EARLY? And then went RUNNING? DENICE?!?!")

Yes, I did. Now, I should reveal that getting up before everyone else in my house means getting up at 7:30 a.m. and not at the crack of dawn or anything. But still, for me, it might as well have been 5 a.m., because I am NOT A MORNING PERSON. Usually, it takes a good hour of wandering around aimlessly and A LOT of caffeine before I feel like a human being. And even then, I don't really have enough brain cells firing on all cylinders to be a fully functioning human being until at least 1 p.m.

But, I needed to make a change. I prefer to do my running at night, but lately there have just been too many obstacles getting in the way. Either Gracie goes to bed too late, or I have work to do for the paper, or I'm just busy having fun 'cause it's summer and there are places to go, people to see! Which is great, but I wasn't getting any exercise. And there's this little promise I made to my sister about the Fort Macleod Triathlon, and it's getting closer every day, so… I got my butt out of bed and went running.

And I didn't die! In fact, I kinda liked it. It was cooler outside than when I run in the evening, and hardly anyone else on the path I like to take. I let myself walk for a little while first until I woke up a bit, but as soon as the Black Eyed Peas started telling me to "Pump It!" I was off and running.

The only problem is, usually, when I run at night, I give it my all. 110% and all that cliche crap. I work as hard as I possibly can, then come home and collapse on my couch until my heart stops trying to jump out of my chest. Then, (and here's the important part), I GO TO BED. Because I'm exhausted! I have the best sleep in the history of sleep, and I wake up in the morning all rested and refreshed.

But people, here's the thing I had not considered when I left the house this morning. When you give it your all in a 5 km run first thing in the morning, you don't get to go home and go to bed when you're done. YOU HAVE TO MAKE IT THROUGH THE WHOLE REST OF THE DAY!

It took my body awhile to accept that. It was all "Are you kidding me? You want me to like, DO STUFF now? You got me out of bed at the crack of 7:30 a.m., made me run 5 km, and now you want me to go about my day as if nothing happened? I DON'T THINK SO!"

But I got it to keep going by promising it that if Gracie had a nap today, it could nap too. Don't know what I'm going to have to promise it tomorrow…

Friday, June 26, 2009

Found my shoes!

Okay, I'm back from my second 5 km run…gasp…cough…wheeze… and I really think I can do this. Not tomorrow or anything (oh, I would be in big trouble if the race was tomorrow!) but I've still got 7 more weeks before the race. That's lots of time, right?


I'm only on my second run, but I'm already making progress. Tonight I made it 3 km without stopping. Which is waaaaay better than the first run I did last night, which was spent intermittently jogging and walking, and thinking that I had made a very, very, VERY big mistake.

I'm just so excited. I can do this! I can totally do this! I certainly won't be winning the race or anything, but I really only have three goals for this race:
1. Have a fun day with my sister
2. Lose some of those last 15 pounds that seem to be holding onto my body with a titanium grip.
3. Not embarrass myself by coming in dead last.

I can totally do this!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Better find my running shoes…

I have either done something very smart, or very stupid. I'm not sure which.

I have agreed to run the 5 km part of a half triathlon, for my sister who can no longer run. She will do the swimming and the biking, and I will run. Fun sister bonding, right? Except that I have yet to run one single step this year. And the race is August 15.

I have been doing A LOT of step aerobics in my basement for the last couple of months, including a super kick-ass interval workout that has whipped me into much better shape in a pretty short period of time. So I'm confident that my newfound fitness should fairly easily translate into a decent run time.

I also really need an excuse to push myself a little bit harder so I can lose that last 10 pounds. I find I do much better when I'm working towards a specific goal. I enjoy exercise so I do it anyway; but I push myself just that much harder when I'm working towards a goal.

I can do this, right?


Somebody tell me I'm right!!!

I'm going to go for my first run tonight as soon as I put Gracie to bed. I'll update you on how stupid this idea is tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What have I been up to, you ask?

So, things have been pretty boring around here lately. Boring, boring, boring. Nothing new. Nothing new at all. Zip, nada, nothing.

Oh, wait. Come to think of it, there is this one little thing that happened. Gracie started talking. But you know, no big deal or anything.

Hee hee hee.

Oh My God you guys!!! She's talking!!! And not just words -- whole sentences! Like, a month ago she was pointing at things, and today she is saying "Yes Please" and "No Thank You" and "Chicken and Rice for Supper Please!"

This morning, I said we were out of milk and she said: "Shopping At Superstore?" Seriously! I'm so excited I could explode. No, I'm so excited that there are not enough exclamation marks in the world to properly convey it.

Okay, seriously, I can't tell you how nice it is to have a conversation with my Gracie. I can ask her a question, and get a real answer! I don't have to play a reeeeaaaallllyyy long game of charades to find out if she wants water or milk to drink. Or what part of her is injured when she comes running to me with tears streaming down her face. Or where she put that damn brown horse…

It's also really intriguing to find out what has been going on in that head of hers. For example, there's this game she has been playing for months that goes like this: Two horses climb up to the top of a chair, one falls down to the seat, and she lets out a series of squeals. Then the other horse comes down to the seat and she kind of mumbles something while they hug each other. But the other day, the squeals turned into: "Help! Help!" and "I'll save you!" and the mumbles turned into: "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" And NOW I understand what the game is!

I'm just! so! excited! that I am beside myself with glee. And no, I don't think I'll ever wish that she would just shut up. At least not yet, anyway.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Figurative vs. Literal for the 2-year-old

Lesson for the day:

DO NOT, under any circumstances, tell your 2-year-old that there is a frog in your throat when your voice goes a little funny.

It will lead to looks of fear, a very long discussion about how it's just something people say, and will end with you digging out a flashlight and opening your mouth very wide so the 2-year-old can see for herself that there is no real live frog in your throat.

Learn from my mistakes people. Learn from my mistakes.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

She can't talk, but…

I don't let Gracie eat much junk food, but these multi-grain alphabet pretzels are just so much fun, I make them a regular treat. She's still not really talking, but she can PICK OUT THE LETTERS OF HER NAME from a pile of alphabet pretzels, and help me put them in the right order. Now, I'm pretty new to this parenting thing, but I think that's pretty impressive for a kid who's just over 2 years old.

She's also getting really good at spelling Horse. Only she's quite sure there needs to be another E at the end of horse. I asked her if that made it a Horsie, and she said "uh-huh". But then, I could ask her if we should go get a root canal tomorrow, and she would probably say "uh-huh" to that too.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Conversation with a Non-Verbal 2-Year-Old

You may think that it's impossible to have a real conversation with a two-year-old who only speaks three words, but you would be wrong. Behold, an actual conversation we had today:

Me, talking to Gracie while folding laundry in my bedroom:
"What would you like to do tomorrow sweet pea?"

Gracie: Runs to her bedroom, brings me her bathing suit, gives me the sign language signs for "more", then "please."

Me: "You want to go swimming tomorrow?"

Gracie: "Um-hmm!"

Me: "Okay! That sounds like fun! I was hoping it would be warm enough by now that we could go for your first visit to the zoo, but it just keeps snowing, doesn't it?"

Gracie: Brings me her stuffed elephant and holds it up.

Me: "Yes, that's right! There are elephants at the zoo. What other animals do you think we'll see there?"

Gracie: Brings me a book with a picture of a hippo, flips to that page and points.

Me: "Yes, that's right! There are hippos at the zoo too. What other animals do you think we'll see?"

Gracie: Holds up her very beloved brown horse.

Me: "No, I don't think there are any horses at the zoo. There are zebras though. Zebras are like horses but with stripes…"

Gracie: Has now thrown herself down on my bed and started to yell while kicking her legs and flailing her arms.

Me: "I'm sorry sweet pea, but there are no horses at the zoo. You can yell all you want, but it's not up to Mommy which animals are at the zoo. That would be a fun job though…"

Gracie: Looks up and notices that I'm not paying any attention to her fit at all, and am instead daydreaming about the animals I would have in my very own zoo. She gets up, gets off the bed, hugs my leg, looks up at me, then holds up brown horse.

Me: "You want to go see the horses at Grandma and Grandpa's house instead of going to the zoo?"

Gracie: "Um-hmm!!!!!"

Me: "Well sweet pea, I'm sure we can do both."

Gracie: "Um-hmm."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

Tomorrow is my birthday. My 35th birthday, to be exact.

Don't worry. You aren't going to have to listen to me whine about getting older. 'Cause I'm not really one of those people who worries about getting older. I look at the number 35 and think "holy crap! where did the time go?" but I don't spend any time worrying about getting older. That's life! And much better than the alternative, I don't you think?

No, I'm one of those people who, even though I should have outgrown getting excited about my birthday, I really have not. I guess that's why I don't feel old. Inside, I'm still a little kid who's excited that it's ONE MORE SLEEP UNTIL MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!

Anyway…I've kinda planned a Denice's Day Of Fun for tomorrow.

I'm going to get up early (read: before Gracie does) and have a shower so I'm all ready for the day. Then, when Gracie wakes up I'm going to get her dressed, put her in the Jeep, and head for the Tim Horton's drive-thru, where I will be purchasing some of their yummy Trail Mix cookies for our breakfast. Yes, I know that I probably should provide Gracie with something more nutritious for her breakfast. But, it's only one day, right? And there's lots of dried cranberries, and nuts, and oatmeal in there……

Then, we'll head to my favorite-est place in the whole wide world. IKEA!!!!!! There's a couple little things I'd like to buy, but mostly, I want to wander through the kitchen stuff and pick out the cabinets I'd like to buy for the house in the country we've been talking about building in the not-too-distant future. (More on this soon.)

We'll have lunch in their restaurant, then head home in time for Gracie's nap time. (If I can get her to have a nap that is. She's phasing out the naps already!)

I'm not sure what we'll do in the afternoon. But at 6 p.m. I'll head to the curling rink for a few snacks and drinks with the girls on my curling team before we head out on the ice. We are in the league playoffs, and our next game is on tomorrow.

I'm smiling just thinking about it. Ikea and curling -- what a great day it's going to be!!!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Denice and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

So Denice: Melodramatic much?

I'm sorry about the Drama Queen entry the other day. I was just having a SUPER BAD DAY and I took it out on the old keyboard. I feel kinda foolish now.

I pride myself on being the kind of person who doesn't dwell on things, and picks herself up and cheerfully learns from her mistakes. You know, lemonade from lemons and all that crap.

And up until the other day, I think I had been doing a pretty good job of it. Truthfully? I wasn't really enjoying my job anymore, and quitting was kind of a relief. I was actually starting to get excited about all the possibilities that quitting my business might open up. For example, I'm seriously thinking about opening a dayhome.

You see, I LOVE kids, and I love being a stay-at-home mom. I love singing along to Raffi and reading the same story 12 times. (But 12 times is my limit. You gotta stop somewhere). I love going to the park, and making cookies and doing crafts. I have even been known to enjoy an episode or two of the Backyardigans. So I think running a dayhome could be something I might be good at, and I've started doing a little research.

Plus, I'm pretty sure there will always be some work for me to do at the newspaper if I want it.

And you know what? I love blogging. And I haven't had time to do it in FOREVER! Now, I have time. And exercise! God I've missed exercise! I've been doing my favorite step aerobics DVDs at night after Gracie goes to bed, and I feel great!

But the other day, it just kind of HIT ME, you know? And on that particular day, no amount of blowing sunshine up its butt was going to make me feel better about my miserable failure. So, I blogged about it, then I went downstairs and did some serious cardio work, and felt 800 times better.

So thank you all for your hugs and words of encouragement. It made me feel so much better on a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Big Fat Failure

Well you guys, I'm depressed today. And I need to talk about it, so I'm going to write about it. Hope I don't bum you out too much.

You see, I'm a big fat failure. I have failed to run my business well, and so my business has failed. I'm so sad and mad at myself I just want to cry, and yell, and throw things at the wall. I wanted so badly to do well at this. My whole family depended on it. My husband depended on me to help provide some income, and my daughter depended on me to make my plan to work from home succeed, so that she would never have to spend a day in child care.

And I have failed. I have failed them all.

I made bad decisions, but most of all, I was a bad business person. Because you know what? I can design you a kick-ass logo or a beautiful ad, but I'm not good at the business end of it. I was hoping I would learn as I went - but I had trouble finding enough time to do it all.

Because working from home with a toddler? I certainly didn't think it was going to be easy – in fact I was pretty sure it was going to be really hard, and I spent my entire year of maternity leave worrying about how I was going to do it – and in the end, I was right. It totally kicked my ass.

Gracie is not the kind of kid who will go play by herself. She is my right-hand girl, my helper extraordinaire. She would like to follow me around all day and help me do what I am doing. Which is actually quite fun when I am doing laundry or sweeping the floor. But not so fun when I'm trying to get some design work done and she wants to sit on my lap and play on the computer. And so, I would put her to bed and then sit at the computer all night trying to get my work done. Or worse, I would blow off a night of working when I really shouldn't have, just to have a night to sit next to my husband on the couch, eat popcorn and watch TV.

I was so tired. Physically, and mentally. But I should have persevered. Because now? I've failed, and I have to find some other way of making some money for my family.

Okay, enough of the pity party. I just needed to get it out, before it all came out of me in a river of tears.

Time to pull up my socks and figure out a way to FIX it.

Tomorrow: My plan to fix this stupid mess I've gotten myself into.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Say Please!

So we've been working on manners here at the Denice-isms household lately.

I had originally planned to teach Gracie about saying "Please" and "Thank You" just as soon as some words started popping out of her mouth, but those words are coming more slowly than I might have hoped, and she is getting big enough that her demands were becoming, well, awfully demanding, and just a touch rude.

So a couple weeks ago I decided that please and thank you needed to come a little sooner than the words, and looked into a little bit of sign language. A girl who is a good friend of the family and whose mother taught her sign language as a baby filled me in on the sign for Thank You, but didn't remember the sign for Please, so I just made one up. I figured it didn't really matter what the real sign was, so long as Gracie and I knew that it meant Please; so I told her to clasp her hands together with her fingers interlocking.

It took a few tries, not because she had trouble putting her hands together, but because she had to put down Brown Horse, and have I mentioned that she takes that Little People horse EVERYWHERE SHE GOES? But eventually she put down Brown Horse and clasped those cute little hands together with a big grin on her face and we were off and running.

For the last two weeks, we have had 8,234 discussions about saying Please whenever you want someone to do something for you, or give you something. And whenever she was reminded, she always very quickly put her little hands together -- but you had to tell her first. And to be honest, I really didn't expect her to do it without prompting right away. I just wanted to start laying a foundation so that when she got a little bigger it would just happen automatically.

But today she did it! Without any prompting!

We were at Wal-Mart this afternoon to pick up a few things, and I stopped for a minute at the seasonal section right near the front door. I was looking through the Valentine's Day stuff for something that I could put into goodie bags for the guests at Gracie's birthday party next weekend, when I felt a little tug at my hand. I looked down to see my horsie loving daughter hugging the daylights out of an awfully cute pink stuffed horse. She looked up at me with those giant blue eyes, then clasped her little hands together to say "Please?"

Now, nearly every time we go shopping, my horsie loving daughter finds some sort of stuffed animal that she would like to take home, and I almost always say no. She has MANY, MANY animals already (and a great majority of them are horses), and she really didn't need another one.

But today, I totally caved. I mean, I had to, right? I've spent the last two weeks telling her to say please, and today she did it! I had to give her some positive reinforcement, right?

Ya, ya. I know. I'm the biggest softie in the universe.

Okay, 2 seconds before I took this picture, she had the new pink pony tucked her her arm while still holding onto Brown Horse with one hand, but she moved just before I took the picture. And while I am the sort of Mom who will risk waking up her almost 2-year-old to get a really cute picture while she's sleeping, I'm not the sort of Mom who will re-pose her child while she's sleeping. If you look close, you can see 4 horses in this picture.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Back to the grind

I've sort of, kind of, gone back to work at the newspaper.

The guy who took my old job quit, and the new woman they hired couldn't start until three days before he was done. So since she needed more training than that, they asked me to come in and help out for the month of January.

"Just mornings on Mondays and Tuesdays until she gets up to speed," they said.
"Nathan can stay home with Gracie and come to work later," they said.
"It'll all work out just fine!" they said.

They were wrong.

This woman, who is in her late 50s and quite possibly the nicest person on the planet, is not even remotely qualified for the job. Forget about running an entire production department by herself - she doesn't understand how to use a computer. She saves files in the wrong place, doesn't understand the file extensions that tell you what kind of file it is, and email, well, don't get me started on the email.

So I've been there A LOT more than I had originally planned. I get home later than I was supposed to and that puts Nathan behind. Gracie doesn't quite understand what's going on and is getting a little bit grumpy about it. And I'm starting to get behind on the work I do for a client of mine.

Only two weeks to go. I hope.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Good thing nobody from child services was watching…

So, Gracie is fast approaching her second birthday, and is still not really talking. She has two words: ask her what a dog says and she'll say "WOOF!"; and any time she needs to give us a positive answer, she'll very enthusiastically say "a ha!"

I would be more worried about the lack of talking, except that she's really excellent at communicating what she wants, and makes it abundantly clear that she knows exactly what I am saying. We've worked out a little system of sign language and hand gestures that work pretty well, but sometimes it's a little like spending my day playing a really long game of charades.

Some days, though, are easier than others. Like today.

We went to the grocery store to pick up a few things, but the most important thing that we needed, that we absolutely couldn't leave the store without, was diapers.

As I was writing out my grocery list before we left, Gracie came to see what I was doing. She pulled her chair up to the counter, climbed up, and pointed to each item on the list; so I read the list out to her, one by one. When I said bread, she pointed to the freezer; when I said soy milk, she pointed to the fridge; when I said soup, she pointed to the pantry; and when I said diapers, she pointed straight to her crotch. I told her that she was exactly right, that was where all of those items belonged.

Then I packed her up and took her to the grocery store. And left the list sitting on the counter.

So, I'm wandering through the aisles at the grocery store, trying to remember what was on the list. I'm doing pretty well, but I know there's something important I'm missing, and I can't think of what it is. So I say to Gracie, mostly just to entertain her: "What else do we need to get today? Mommy can't remember. We've got the bread, the milk and the soup. What else was on the list?"

She turned around and looked into the cart, then looked at me for a moment; then suddenly she grinned this huge grin, lifted one arm up over her head, then pointed, rather forcefully, at her crotch.

"That's right!" I laughed. "Diapers! We need diapers! Thank you Gracie!"