Monday, December 30, 2013

White Elephant Gone Wrong

I don't like white elephant (WE) gift exchanges. Yes, they may include laughter and good-natured teasing (I prefer bad-natured teasing), but they include the stress of finding the perfect gift. Plus, I don't believe in re-gifting trash. A box full of old magazines is not a good WE gift. No one wants it. Therefore, you are done with the exchange if you pick this gift, which is what happened to Husband.

My viewpoint is not shared with most people. One of those people is my stepmom who in recent years has included WE exchanges at our family Christmas. 

However, this year I was excited. If you have read my blog, you will know Husband is a saver. (We do not use the word hoarder.) We're also trying to get rid of stuff we no longer need. Husband also has friends that give him funny, ridiculous items that he saves. You can see how all this would add up to somehow already having the perfect WE gift. 

So there was hope. I'd already identified it - the velvet picture of a matador killing a bull. It is on the wall in my workout/yoga room, which somehow seems wrong to meditate in front of a sad, dying bull. Getting rid of it would be a double score. 

My request was denied. 

Find something else then, I told him. It shouldn't be difficult. He checks the attic and brings down some items - a broken incense burner, old golf clubs and some sort of rustic, bark-covered mallet. Hmmm. Then I notice the mallet has the words "Women Getter" etched in the handle. This will work. 

It would be even funnier if it's picked by my stepbrother Ryan. He is nice, handsome, gainfully employed, forty and not married. You can understand why Ryan needs a drink at our family gatherings surrounded by woman asking him personal questions.

So I wrap up the mallet, excited that we may have the best gift. And we do, except no one picks it because my nephew Alex decides to lay on top of the mallet for the entire gift exchange. When Husband or I try to coerce him into offering it up for exchange, he only wants it more, wrapping his body around it like a snake. Of course, no one is going to be the jerk who rips a gift away from the sweet five-year-old. And of course, there's an extra gift in the mix so no adult has to take it from him. 

As the exchange winds down, Husband is not pleased. It's a combination of anger at even offering the "Women Getter" combined with the fact a child is going to take it home. He tries to reason with Alex, but to no avail. His frustration is evident, but fortunately he realizes he's on the edge of looking like a jackass so he backs down.

We drive home, having wrapped up another chaotic, over-indulgent holiday with my family. I think we're done with the disappointing WE exchange. 

We are not. Husband's frustration is evident the next day. 

"What's a five year old going to do with the Woman Getter?" (Well, our daughter plays with squirt bottles, so I'm sure he'll figure out something.)

"Frank gave me that as a gift when I was single!" (Well, you shouldn't have put something you're emotionally attached to in a gift exchange.)

Though he didn't verbalize it, the insinuation was that it was pressure from me that caused him to offer up such a prized possession. 

"I hate white elephant gift exchanges." (Finally, something we agree on.)

So there you have it. My dislike of WE gift exchanges will continue. I hope if you participated in one you ended up with something awesome like a boob mug or bad toupee that you can regift at the next exchange. Sadly, I did not take a photo of the Woman Getter, so I can't share its awesomeness. I can, however, share the fine piece of artwork that remains upstairs. Don't be jealous.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Holiday Homestretch

Two weeks off, people. After today, it will be sixteen lovely days until I return to the world of meetings, projects and deadlines. Sixteen days. Christmas break is such a lovely perk to working in higher education. Those in the corporate world, feel free to brag about bonuses, profit sharing and the like. On your own blog, of course.

There are no big plans, other the the normal holiday family visits, which suits me just fine. Initially, I thought a few days would be spent painting the living room. It's embarrassing how long there have been drywall patches showing, but whatever. We have a baby. Nothing gets done. I've accepted it. However, Husband surprised me by having a painter take care of it last week. Hallelujah! Two days of freedom regained.

Now the home improvement snowball has started. New mantle for the fireplace. New vanity for the bathroom. Paint the hallway. Tile the backsplash. We'll be lucky if we get one done before spring.

We're also contemplating new furniture. With a 17-month old. We're idiots.

Chit chat aside, I'm really excited to watch Bean experience the hoopla. Yes, she was around last Christmas, but still in that loaf of bread phase. My expectations are higher now. Last night she finally noticed the presents and was enticed by the glittery ribbon. Husband was able to redirect her before she tore anything open. (I'm finding that's pretty much life with a toddler -- a "no" followed by redirect. All. The. Time.)

Above is this year's Christmas card. Happy holidays.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Star Wars Costume -- Strike Two

So this was the second year we attempted a Star Wars halloween costume and it was the second time Bean was not having it. In an attempt to appease Husband, he has been allowed to select the costumes until she is old enough to have an opinion. As evidenced by the photos, her opinion is clear.

2012 - Princess Leia

2013 - R2D2 (or R2TUTU)

2013 - pre-meltdown

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Wasted Saturday

I had a glass of wine last night while gabbing with a girlfriend. Then I had another. Then I lost count. As I heard the slurred speech coming from my mouth, my brain berated me -- Stop it. You are fine. Your nickname used to be Fun Jen, for god's sake. Two glasses of wine is not going to bring you down.

It brought me down. Hard.

Then it kicked me in the chin when the Bean woke up wailing at 5:15am. The super little sleeper decided this was the morning to lose it. Of course.

So Saturday expectations have downshifted. An early morning swim? Um, no. Yoga? Head still spinning, thanks. A large plate of cheese and crackers? That I can handle.

Bean and Trudy are napping. Husband is at the office. I'm drinking a Fresca and blogging to document how being hungover with a small child is worse than 8 a.m. econ class on Fridays. Yes, that bad.

Enjoy your Saturday, folks.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Bottoms Up

Is it really August 1? Seriously? Where has the summer gone? It's passed by exceptionally fast as I have taken on extra duties at work and now truly know the meaning of busy. (I know, I know, we're all busy, Jen. Quit bitching.)

August 1. Six weeks since I last blogged. Not that there haven't been stories to share. Husband's first father's day, the bean's first swim and yesterday - the major milestone of all first-time parents - birthday #1. My brain replayed the reel of the day she was born - how terrified I was, how I didn't feel an instant connection, how Husband initially took to diaper-changing much quicker than I did.

Now here she is, almost a full head of hair, scooting everywhere, eating mac 'n cheese (organic, for those who might judge) and drinking wine. We're so proud. (Of course the glass was empty, people. I hope you would already know that, but since this will be on the internet forever, I need to clarify.)

It's bittersweet when you're 99% sure you're only having one. I constantly remind myself to just stop and pay attention. Enjoy the experience. I may never play with blocks again, but dang if we don't have fun doing it now. I bought bubbles yesterday and am giddy to see her reaction.

Earlier this year a friend told me not to worry about when to start something, pay more attention to when it ends. The last bottle, rock to sleep, time she wears the ice cream cone pajamas. (She may have "fat man in a little coat" working, but she will at least wear them one more time.)

Because I hate to be sappy, I'll end with a Trudy story. 

One of Husband's friends came by the other night with his five-year-old son who was fascinated with Trudy. He wanted to pet and love on her. Trudy being Trudy, I felt the need to chaperone.

Joe pulls out all of T's toys while asking, "Does he like this one?" 
Me: Yes, SHE likes that rubber chicken. 
Joe: Can I pet him here? 
Me: Yes, SHE likes to be pet there.

This continues on for what feels like an hour until Joe grabs her tail. 
Me: You know, that's one place she really doesn't like to be messed with.

He lifts her tail up. 
Joe: Is that his bottom?
Me: Yes, that's her bottom.

Joe: Where's his penis?
I desperately send telepathic waves to his dad, trying to get some help.
Me: Well, she's a girl so she doesn't have a penis.

Joe: Then how does he pee?

Dear lord. 

Me: Girls can pee without a penis, Joe.

Joe: Oh. Where does she pee from then? (Now simultaneously lifting Trudy's tail and hind leg.)

Me: All business happens under the tail.

Joe: Everything happens under the tail?

Me: Yes, everything happens under the tail.

Body part explanation with another person's kid avoided. Realize I need to get out while the getting's good. I alert Husband that he is now on Trudy patrol and I'm going to fold laundry. And by fold laundry I mean have a popsicle and enjoy the fact that Bean can't yet ask questions.

Monday, May 13, 2013

A little celebratin'

So much to write about; so little time. I'll take the easy route and cover my first mother's day. 

Crap folks, had I known this was such a big deal I would've had a kid years ago. Mother's Day is better than a birthday - equal celebration and no aging up. Fantastic. And I should be celebrated. None of this demure "oh you shouldn't have" attitude. Bring on the compliments! Bring on the gifts! I'm happy to receive them all.

Here are a couple reasons my mom-ship should be celebrated:

1. I let my kid chew on her report card every day when I pick her up from school. Husband does not allow this, but I don't care. Pink paper for everyone, I say.

2. In an effort to keep her occupied so I could prep for dinner, I let the Bean eat mail. It was just a credit card solicitation, but that envelope gave me 20 whole minutes. (Are we detecting a paper theme here?)

3. Sometimes I rotate between Tylenol and Advil just because she's fussy. Her liver will thank me later.

4. She has learned how to share her Mum Mum with Trudy, meaning she takes a bite, gives Trudy a bite, then she takes another. While proud of her sharing ability, the fact that Trudy also eats goose poop makes this disgusting.

5. Speaking of poop, the Bean finally did what I've been anticipating for months - went in the tub. So I took her out, rinsed her off and left the poo-filled baby tub for Husband to clean.

Husband and Bean did particularly well on gifts -- a Ninja Blender (insert Kung Fu noise here) and new bike shoes. We've been blending everything and it's amazing the difference a good blender makes. We also bought Charley her first bike helmet which is so cute it makes my heart hurt.

Now if we could just find time to ride.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fishing, Botox and the Cupig

This weekend was Husband's eagerly anticipated fishing weekend with the boys. I don't know the details of what goes on - besides fishing, obviously - but it seems to include a lot of meat. The grocery list he gave me included sausage, which we rarely eat, and previous trips have included meat wrapped within another meat wrapped within another meat. It makes me throw up in my mouth a little just thinking about it. He did take Trudy which left the Bean and me to hold down the fort.

It was a fairly uneventful weekend, which suited me just fine. The Bean loves the BOB stroller, so we tool several long walks around the Nelson. I did actually run with the Bean a few weeks ago and for the next week my calves reminded me how out of shape I am. Then I tried to run with Trudy last week and it was not a success. Maybe someday I'll actually get back in run shape. Sigh.

The Bean continues to amaze us with the most trivial of actions. She now purses her lip up to her nose and then blows out her nose hard while furrowing her eyebrows. It's really funny, but I'm not sure how to tell her there will eventually be a correlation between this expression and a need for Botox.

She also has figured out how to activate the Cupig. The what, you ask? The Cupig. It's one of those Hallmark dancing animals that sings a song called the Cupig Shuffle. It's also the best crying diversion we have. Last night she reaches out, squeezes his paw and watches him dance. Is it normal for an eight month old to know how to do this?

Just when I think she may be advanced, she begins knocking her head against the giant toy piano keys, which makes me think of the movie Parenthood. ("He likes to butt things with his head." "How proud you must be.")