Tuesday, January 25, 2011

diamonds may be forever, but unfortunately the prongs holding them in are not

Have I ever told you the story about the time I lost my diamond?  No? Allow me to share.

My husband asked me to marry him in March 2000.  He gave me a gorgeous diamond ring which I treasured instantly as most every new bride-to-be is sure to do.

Fast forward to that fall, October to be specific, when we were at the Dixie Classic Fair with tens of thousands of other people.  I was walking into the Annex building when I noticed something felt a little funny on my finger.  Sure enough, I looked down and the center diamond - setting and all - had fallen off of my engagement ring.

Fortunately, I retraced my steps and found the ring - setting and all - about ten steps back amidst the crowds of people walking down the aisles in the Annex building.  There it was lying on the floor, sparkling away in the middle of all kinds of dirt and filth from all those people's footsteps.  I quickly closed it up in a small container I had in my purse and we got it repaired by the jeweler that weekend.

In that ten minutes though?  In the ten little minutes that my diamond was lost I was about to have a heart attack. I wanted to shout to everyone to FREEZE!  I wanted to cry (in fact I think I did shed a tear or two in my anxiety-panic-stricken-overwhelming-thoughts of never having the precious ring that my fiance had worked so hard for me to have).  I wasn't even married yet and I'd already lost [part of] my engagement ring!!!

I suppose I am fortunate that I was newly engaged and still getting used to wearing such a piece of jewelry on my hand at all times.  I was so conscious of it that I immediately noticed when something was "off" so that was a blessing.

Have you ever lost something valuable to you?  What did you do?  Were you able to find it?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

there once was a good reason i called him Booger, but now i can't remember what it was

I've been up since five this morning with a sick little boy so if you don't want to read this incoherent rambling, I totally understand.  I'm actually pretty fortunate because Jonathan stayed up with him until five.

Jonathan's going to Japan for work in a few weeks and I've been thinking a lot about how different it will be around here without him.  I know it's going to be an amazing trip for him and yet, I dread him going.  He does so much to help around here.

For instance, right now he's with Julianna at The Children's Theater watching Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  I keep wondering if Jules has been pronouncing it The Very Hungry Call-a-pitt-er or if she's finally figured it out by now.

After they go to the show they're hopefully going to go by Lowe's and buy us a new dishwasher. We've known ours has been on it's last leg for a year or so now, as it has gotten to where it makes the most heinous sounds that reverberate all over the neighborhood as it is running. Last night it finally bit the dust for good and I've done one load of dishes by hand today and that's about my limit.

Anyway, we've been doing a "Staying in Love" Bible Study with our Journey Group and I'm sure I haven't been doing a good job of it, but I've been trying to focus more on our relationship than I have been in the recent past.  I've been trying to schedule date nights and babysitters so that we can have some alone together time. 

When we went out last week he cracked me up when we were seated at our dinner table at a local restaurant one of the first things out of his mouth was, "All this glitter on the walls is kinda freaking me out."  The restaurant walls were painted with some sort of metallic paint that had glitter in it.

Well, the family is home from their Sunday afternoon outing so I better get going.  Julianna just told me while she was hugging on Jonathan's neck, "Mama, I love Daddy thhhhiiiiiiiiiiisssssssssssss much." stretching her arms out wide. 

Me too, Doodlebug.  Me too.

Nevermind that she then turned and really looked at me and said, "I only love you this much" holding her hands only a few inches apart.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

fifteen months

Dear Joshua,

Woooo boy! You're already fifteen months old and yet it seems like only a couple of months have passed since your birth.  On the Labor and Delivery floor at the hospital not too long ago I was flooded with memories of your birth just last year.  I thought, "It can't possibly be that that was two Octobers ago." And yet it was.

At the same time, it seems like you're three or four already.  You run, run, run right after your sister. You hunt for her on the playground, yearning for someone to follow.  It's torture when she shuts her bedroom door in your face or you're kept downstairs by that awful babygate that blocks your ascention to your beloved sister.  You can keep up with her in almost everything she does -- not fully, but you can stay pretty close.  You want so badly to do what big kids can do.

You love Julianna's shoes.

Your spirit remains one of the sweetest I have known in a child. You lean on everyone to "give them lovin'."  You give the best open-mouthed kisses and at bedtime you eagerly sign "Goodnight" to everyone, always Julianna first.  And you keep on doing it until she looks at you.

We regularly have to check the trash can or keep the garbage closed away in the pantry, else we throw away something valuable like one of your toys.  You are proud of yourself for learning how to throw things away, even if they are things that shouldn't be put in the trash.  I am proud of you for being able to follow simple directions.

Speaking of the trash can in the pantry, that reminds me that we never had to do much baby-proofing in the kitchen or bathrooms with your sister.  We just told her no and she learned to stay out of the cabinets. You are quite the challenge on the other hand.  We have had to put rubber-bands around the cabinet knobs all across the bottom of the kitchen (this was after you broke a Pyrex dish by pulling it out of the cabinet).  We used rubberbands for several reasons, but mostly because we're getting old and we're already getting out of the mindset of having babies in the house.  I dread the day that you figure out how to get those off. Anyone who doesn't believe me when I say we're really in for it, should have seen my face when I got out of the shower one day and found you playing with the bristles on a toilet bowl brush.

Joshua, you're not just a challenge. You are fun! You begin dancing within a split second of hearing music playing. You have the cutest little dance. It's like a tiny bounce-bounce, swing-your-arms-twist, follwed by a gigantic smile and the most adorable little ham-it-up head tilt. These are the things I wish I could capture in my memory forever.

You're communicating better and better these days. You will come up to anyone willing to listen and you sign "please" and then bark like a dog, essentially telling us that you want to go outside and pet the dog. You know how to say many words, but you still have a lot of trouble making them come out when you want them to. Nevertheless, each day it seems you add new vocabulary.

I love to see you with your "Baba." If you are tired you will get your blanket and lie down on it on the floor, smooshing your face up against it and rubbing the satiny edge through your fingers.  That is one of the three words you say most consistently (Baba, ball, and Mama).

You are becoming a better sleeper. You sleep from roughly 8:30 pm until 7:00 am and sometimes you still wake in between, but you can get yourself back to sleep now.  You go down without a fight and you will sleep almost anywhere if the need to take a nap finds you.  You are also what I like to call "transferable."  Unlike your sister, we can transfer a sleeping Joshua from one location to another without waking you up.  It helps get those trips to Target done a lot easier.

Here is your perfect Santa Ho Ho face from Christmas Day. I'm so glad that I was finally able to capture a picture of it to show your girlfriends that you will no doubt have drooling over you in high school.  You are beautiful, kiddo.  Even if people *didn't* tell me that all the time I would know it.  But I'll try not to call you that when you're in high school, OK?

You pretend talk on the phone and you passionately exclaim, "Pop!" if you are ever reminded of talking to my dad on the phone.  You love to push buttons.  Anywhere and everywhere if you see a button, you assume that it was meant to be pushed.  We have to pull you away from the Wii and DVD player all the time and you've even developed a recent fascination with belly buttons.  You'll come up to me or your sister and lift our shirts so that you can stick your finger in our belly buttons.

So let's talk about your eating, kid. It's gotten a little bit better but it's not up to par by any means. Last month you would practically eat nothing. Occasionally, we could get you to eat yogurt or cheese but some days you'd be satisfied with just a cup of milk. We started holding your milk back until after we'd gotten you to eat a few bites because you were basically surviving on liquids alone.

For whatever reason, you're doing a little better now. You're back to enjoying fruit and we've found that you love grilled cheese sandwiches.  We can tell you've lost weight, or maybe just grown taller and not wider, but I'd love it if you could eat a little more of anything. I don't even care if it's a vegetable or not, just eat more, please!

You don't go back to the doctor until April so we won't really have any growth statistics until then. And let's just hope that we don't have many sick visits between now and then either.

Joshua, you've made life so different for the three of us since you entered this world 15 months ago.  Still, I find it hard to remember what it was like without you and I wouldn't have it any other way.  I love you.


Friday, January 21, 2011

an open letter

Dear Toys R Us,

You don't know me from Adam, but anyone who does can tell you that I am a pretty frugal girl.  I keep track of every receipt for nearly every purchase I make.  I monitor sales ads and track prices often returning items for price adjustments if the item I purchased has been reduced.  I clip coupons and shop around to get the best prices.  My point is that I make every effort to NOT be careless with my own (or my friends/relatives') hard earned money.

A few weeks ago you made a fool of me.  You essentially caused me to waste our friends' money.

A few weeks ago, just a week or so after Christmas, my family and I had the pleasure of trying to return two items marked "Toys R Us exclusive" on the very front of the box.  If time is money, we just spent a bunch of it for nothing.  I vehemently wish we had not wasted our time.  The response we received was, "I'm afraid I can give you no credit for these. Would you like them back?"

Despite the fact that both items were sold exclusively (your word, not mine) at your store, we can get no money back or even store credit to return them there because we're too stubborn to ask our friends/relatives for the receipt. This was a gift that they no doubt thought to be an excellent toy for our children.  Unfortunately they are toys that we already have a similar version of at home. I would think that since you "love kids" so much this fact would matter to you, but nope. I'm wrong!  You don't care that we don't want the gift. You don't care that we don't even mind getting store credit instead of cash back. You only care about making the sale and your sales rep even had the gall to ask if we wanted to keep the gifts! Are you kidding me?! I'm appalled!  Not only will you not give us any sort of merchandise credit for two gifts that we do not want or need, but you want to keep them AND the money that was paid for them as well. Seriously?

I have NEVER seen a store with a more pitiful return policy than yours. I don't know why it took you multiple pages to say what can be summed up in a simple sentence: If you don't have a receipt, you cannot return it.  That's the bottom line. Toys R Us stores will not exchange or refund purchases made if you do not have a receipt.

For a company who claims, "We approach our business operations with responsibility and integrity, understanding the trust parents place in us to do the right thing and act as a reliable partner as they navigate the various stages of parenthood," I expect more.  Because I now know that your customers cannot return anything without a receipt, I will no longer shop at your store. Because I know that you not only want our money but also to keep the products to re-sell as well, I will urge my family and friends to do the same.  Shame on you, Toys R Us. Shame on you!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

If you take a mouse to school, he'll ask you for...

Two Saturdays ago Julianna and I went to see a play at the Children's Theater of Winston-Salem.  It was If You Take a Mouse To School and it was really cute.  There were only four actors playing at least seven rolls (but I may have missed one somewhere in there) and that's always impressive to me that actors can just switch characters so seamlessly like that).

The night before Julianna randomly let me roll her hair in curlers.  She never lets me do that so I was pretty excited.  We had the play, a birthday party, and church to go to the next day so that may have been her motivation but who knows really. I just jumped at the chance.

before we left the house we had Daddy take a few pictures
I'm not sure why b/c it's not really like her, but she was excited about dressing up. She wore her new coat and shoes.

Here's a horrible camera phone picture right before the show started.

We've also got tickets next week for another show and this time I think it's going to be a Daddy-Daughter Day.  We are fortunate that we live in a city with so many kid-friendly activities.  I hope someday we'll get to take Jules to see a couple of Broadway shows.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Jonathan and I agreed a long time ago that we would go on a semi-big trip every five years to celebrate our anniversary.  For our five year anniversary we left 1.5 year old Julianna with Mamaw for a short trip to New York City.  Jonathan had never been there before and I was eager to go back.  Here are some pictures from that trip.

outside our hotel

We took a ride on one of those double-decker tour buses and Jonathan took a picture of our reflection in a building as we went by.

This is the church near the Twin Towers where victims were taken during the attacks on September 11th.

This is the World Trade Center viewing site.

We didn't actually make it over to the Statue of Liberty but this is a picture we took of the harbor.

NBC Studios M&M peacock

ice skaters at Rockefeller Plaza

Grand Central Station

our hotel room

Harry Potter made out of Legos!

Our ten year anniversary is in 2012 and I know it's early, but I'm so excited that I'm already ready to start planning it. We know we want to go someplace warm. I don't want to drive, although I'm sure Jonathan wouldn't mind, and we'll be going in mid-October.  I'd like to spend 5 days or more.  Suggestions?

One of my New Year's Resolutions this year was to set aside $300 each month in a vacation fund and end up with a total of $3600 by the end of 2011.  My college loans will be paid off at the end of March and I'm going to roll that payment over to my vacation fund. The hard part will just be trying to come up with the extra hundred dollars each month.  That and figuring out how to save in January, February, and March.

So what say you? Got any specific ideas for an anniversary vacation for us?  Please give me as much detail as you can, like hotel or resort names, things to see and expense amounts.

Friday, January 14, 2011

finally Friday

We've had the week off from school pretty much.  Well, we had Monday through Thursday off and today is delayed.  It's been *difficult* to say the least.  I think parents everywhere in the county are going crazy.  The funniest Facebook status I've seen to date was my friend Julie's.  She wrote, "Dear WSFCS: If there's no school on Friday, plan on sending DSS to my house. Just a head's up."  I think that sums it up nicely.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for being out of school. As a teacher I think I'm programmed to like snow days at least somewhat. And I'm definitely all for keeping our kids safe and taking every precaution possible to make sure our students aren't injured or even killed.  Quite honestly, I'm pretty sick of hearing and reading people's comments and complaints about how they can't believe we're out of school again and how pathetic we Southerners are for canceling school for one or two inches of snow.  I am thankful for those people who made positive remarks about the whole situation.

At any rate I'm still glad to be back in a semi-routine this morning.  I actually got up and ran today for the first time since Sunday.  Yay me!  There's just something about knowing that school is canceled that makes you want to sleep every minute as late as possible and made me stay in bed Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

I also spent last night with a child so stir-crazy that she's misbehaving like you wouldn't believe.  We spent a good 30-40 minutes sitting in the car in the driveway freezing our "knees" as she put it.  You see, we had to wait for her to pick a bunch of stickers off of the inside of our car window.  Somehow she got the wild idea to decorate the window with a handful of stickers and they were stuck pretty good.  I was so mad at her I could have screamed for days, but instead I just had her scrape them all off bit-by-little-stinking-bit with her fingernails.

So yeah.  That's how my week has gone. How was yours?


Thursday, January 13, 2011

do you shop at Target?

Here's a new site that is offering new signups a $5 credit. It's called Daily Pulp and their deal of the day is a $10 gift card to Target for only $7. If you are a new signup and cash in your $5 credit then you can get a $10 Target card for only $2.  Sign up quickly because they will soon be gone!

Monday, January 10, 2011

lazy snow day

"Mom, can you put my robe on me?"
"Jules, you can stand up and put your robe on yourself."

Friday, January 7, 2011


In no particular order, a list of the words fifteen month old Joshua has said:

ball (ba)
dog (he said this once but mostly he just says woof)
bye (and bye bye)
WaWa (aunt Whit)
gone (and all gone)
baby (he says it like beebee)
Pap (he says it like Bop)
Seth (he says it like Seh)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

we interrupt this program to bring you this message

We were riding in the car the other day and Julianna said, "Mama? Oh nevermind." I said, "What Jules?" and she replied, "Well, I just need to tell that to Daddy." 


After a few minutes she said, "Mama, do you want to know what it was I was going to say to tell Daddy?"  She said, "I was going to ask him 'Do you get tired of leaning over to clean your bathtub? You need Kaboom! You spray it on and wait a minute and it wipes right off and your bathtub is clean."

Almost five must be the age of believing everything you hear.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

eating green

Should I be worried that my child will not eat?  He basically only eats fruit now.  He would survive on milk alone if we let him, but we try really hard to give him food before we offer him milk.  It is hard though, when he's furiously signing milk and please and it's always a constant battle to get anything in his mouth. Or if you get it in his mouth it comes right back out. 

I know that he'll eat when he's hungry, but seriously? Can he just subsist on fruit and milk?  He used to eat yogurt and a few veggies willingly. He would always eat a chicken nugget.  Sometimes he'll eat a grilled cheese, but for the most part he rejects all food now unless it's fruit.  Tell me how I can not worry.

In Target the other day Josh was begging for something to eat and of course I had nothing in the diaper bag. I did have a bag of Goldfish in the cart that I was planning on buying and I never do this, but for some reason I opened it and handed him a few right there. Well, these were those colored Goldfish and he ate all of the ones I gave him and handed back the greens ones. Yes, apparently he can't even taste green Goldfish! Goldfish for Pete's sake!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

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