Thursday, August 22, 2013

Random Musings Friday: Fair-ly Fun

Happy Friday, y'all! Blue is now in "school" (which is what we call it in front of him and "daycare" after he goes to bed and we are discussing what we need to do next in his very bumpy transition) 3 days/week for 90 minutes/day. You would think that after 2 weeks, a child would understand that, in the grand scheme of things, 90 minutes a day is a blink of an eye. But perhaps I'm asking too much of a 12 month old. This is what happens when a Virgo and a drill sergeant procreate.

At any rate, we rewarded Blue after his first 2 days of school with a trip to the Kentucky State Fair last Friday. We went, we saw, we ate a funnel cake, we watched some baby chicks hatch, and I saw a prize cow. All in all, a rockin good time. Here are a few pictures I snapped right before my phone died. (Note to self: your iPhone will never last all day and all night. Not ever. Buy at least 3 more chargers for all of your various homes and cars.)

Blue meets a donkey. Well, an ass. Well, the ass of an ass. 
 This is probably the closest I'll ever get to Lil' Sebastian. And I didn't even get a hoof print.
I lose my mind over the leaping chicks...cuter than a birthday sloth. Neal sees it as a cruel game created for our entertainment. I say they are chicks and their brains are the size of my mole. Somewhere out there, someone is holding food just out of my reach and laughing as I hurdle myself for it and then tumble into a pool of dirty chick-pee water.
I know it's easy to get caught up in the cook-off event held today that seems to revolve around butter, but let me draw your attention to the one that was last Monday. For Spam. How did I miss that? Next year I vow to get a fair schedule well in advance.
This is a cake. A second place cake. Someone got royally screwed out of a blue ribbon. Or they don't know the right people. Or they were screwing the wrong people. I don't know...but something is not right here.
Yes, Blue is walking and holding a pen. He also walks and holds forks, mini baseball bats, and scissors. The phrase "you'll put your eye out" holds no water with him.
So this is the 1st place cake. Granted, it's pretty good. And there is a wee bit of defying gravity with that whole right angle made of cake. But still...someone sat and hand-rolled a bunch of "gumballs". That has to trump a right angle and a cake suspended upside down. Maybe not.
 The FFA would like to take this opportunity to remind you not to let your children of the corn play in the corn.
We didn't bring enough cash to the fair. Apparently, Life Takes Visa, but not the guy selling chocolate-covered corn dogs. So, I missed out. But there's always next year. Or this weekend.
There is a song on Toddler Radio called "Chicks Hatching in our Classroom Incubator" and it's really quite a catchy little tune. He sings all about how they got the eggs from a special farm in Idaho and they've made a sign for the chicks and everything, but now they wait...And I had that stupid song stuck in my head for the rest of the night after seeing these little guys. But really, when does a city girl get to see a chick hatch? It makes me want to buy an incubator.
If you will look under the cow's front foot, you will see a small sign that reads "milk me please". I was holding Blue and in a dress so squatting 2' off the ground for longer than it takes to pick up a pacifier up off the floor was never going to happen, but Neal refused as well. And he claims he's part country boy. When would a country boy ever pass up the opportunity to milk something?
We got up close and personal with the cows. The fine folks who bring these cattle to the state fair camp out with them. Right next to them. It's a whole lifestyle that I know nothing about. But it makes me wonder...after you've shared stall-space with a cow, don't you feel the least bit guilty about sending them off to be slaughtered? Or do they just look like little 4-legged house payments with a bell around the neck?
And speaking of milking's a goat being mechanically milked. This is kind of how I looked during my 6 weeks of pumping. And usually someone was sitting there, watching.
A cow getting sheared. At one point, I said to Neal, "when we retire, we should be farmers!" and Neal, in all of his wisdom, advised me not to let the state fair romanticize the difficult manual labor it takes to be a farmer. Apparently, he can tell when someone's got "it" and I ain't got it.
I really only took this for my 3 readers who are avid Twilight fans. This bunny has red eyes and is from the Twilight Bunny Brewery. I'm pretty sure that's not a coincidence. Bella? Are you in there? Blink once for yes and twice for "I am a pathetic excuse for an actress."
If anyone decides to make the asinine move to get Blue a bunny for Easter (read: DON'T), at least make it this one. He makes me giggle every. single. time. I think it's because he knows how ridiculous he looks. And yet I really just want to smother him with Eskimo kisses.
On the opposite end of things is this guy. He has that "I will murder you in your sleep" written all over his beady red eyes.
Apparently, prize-winning pigeons are a thing at the state fair. I took several pictures for Shana because who better to be entertained by this than someone who lives in a city that's got 1:1 ratio of pigeons to people? But this girl has ruffles. I'm pretty sure she doesn't hail from Queens. I still think they are nasty, aggressive little beasts, but at least she has a ball gown to show off.

That's all for the state fair. This weekend is the Annual Buttermilk Festival in Bardstown, complete with the crowning of a Miss Buttermilk. And also a Buttermilk After Party. I'm not sure what that is but Neal just told me he doesn't want to go because it might go sour. Yes, folks...he'll be here all weekend.

Cheers to you! May your fairs be filled with fried burgers on a doughnut bun and your beer line short!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday...Because there are no words

 If you're offering me a "colonic cleanse"...perhaps spell it correctly. I would feel better about that.
I don't know that I want crabs of any kind from Skeeter's, but they do have the selection.

Thank you, Petersburg, VA for always making me smile.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Random Musings Friday (or why you should never park your car at the public library when you are having an affair)

Happy State Fair Friday! And by that, I mean the KY State Fair has come to Louisville and the last time I was there, Alex the Butcher from Kroger was out front signing autographs. Remember him? That was when Kroger was puttin' on airs that they were THE place for all of your choice meat cuts. Now there's Whole Foods and dedicated, locally-owned meat delis around town. And Alex is long gone. He was probably fired and went sulking off into the night, in search of a deer or a groundhog to carve up. I'm sorry, Alex.

Out of delayed curiosity, I wikipedia'ed "Alex", whose real name is Larry Cedar. Apparently, he has been a busy little beaver, starring in many independent roles opposite big celebrities. He was also the creature on the wing in Twilight Zone Movie (which is what I think about EVERY TIME I get a window seat on a plane) and he played Chevy Chase's dad on Community. He's actually doing quite well out in LA. I'm so glad he isn't skinning and sauteing woodland creatures in his basement. 

Anyway, Alex was one of the main attractions that year. This year it's Duck Dynasty. I'm not so sure this is progress. But we're going to load up Blue anyway after work tomorrow and check out some funnel fries, a blue-ribbon cow, and the ugliest lamp contest. I'm irrationally excited about the whole thing. And then Saturday we will clean the garage and hang our flag (which, for whatever reason, makes me think of that Cyndi Lauper song about my grandma and your grandma...). I will not at all be surprised if you wish you could party with us. Here are a few tidbits from this week and last. I had forgotten about all the folly that good ole Kentuckians can offer up. It is good to be home.

1) Blue and I went to Meijer on the south side of Louisville a couple of weeks ago. I firmly believe that the only place to buy quality produce is at Meijer. This makes it worth the 30 minute drive. I usually park way out in Scooby Doo row G because there is a post-drive diaper change involved and I consider everyone I meet in a parking lot to be some kind of sexual deviant. As I was changing his diaper that day, who should pull up beside us but at an actual criminal...complete with ankle cuff. God love her heart, she was so proud of her new bling that she climbed out of the minivan wearing nothing but a cami, the shortest jean skirt I've ever seen in public, and some flip flops. Well, also the tracker strapped around her leg. I'm so glad that if I am ever convicted of a crime, at least I will still have access to fresh fruit and vegetables.

2) The short version of this long justification for our decision is that Blue is now 1 and needs some socialization and some time apart from Mama & Daddy. He needs to understand that there are other adults who we trust to care for him in our absence. We are using the on-post child development center for this purpose. It's hourly care and we are starting him at 1-hour but will only put him in for 3 hours/day max, 3 days/week. It's not even part time. It's part part time. But it is long enough for me to run down to the gym for a spinning class and some crunches before it's time to pick him back up. Today was the first day of daycare. I've been a wreck for almost 4 days but Blue didn't fall apart until I walked out the door and left him in the care of total strangers. One of the strangers introduced herself as the full time staff worker for that room. I believe the words she used were "this is my room" and "I'm always here." Then she proceeded to tell me about how she has been doing this for a long time, how she's really good, and how the gut-wrenching screams of a child left behind didn't unnerve her. OK, I thought...we are on to something. She's got this. Until I was sitting in my car after I dropped him off, recounting the last 15 minutes to Neal on the phone, and I saw her leave. Like with a purse and keys and everything. And she didn't come back until I was standing in the room, picking Blue up for the day. I'm still confused about the whole thing. How can you sell yourself as the best person to leave him with but then leave for the entire hour that he's there? It was a rough start to this particular journey. Maybe it will smooth out some.

3) A couple of months ago, I enrolled Blue in the Babies and Me program at the library. It's 30 minutes of Old MacDonald Had a Farm and finger plays and reading, but Blue eventually came to love it. The only downside is the class ends right at his lunchtime so we always end up eating lunch in his carseat after class. A few weeks ago, we were finishing up his fruit when I saw a full size truck with dark tinted windows pull up behind an SUV. A sharply dressed woman in treacherous high heels bounced her way out of the SUV and into the truck, kissing the driver as they sped away. I mean sped away. In the public library parking lot. OK if this doesn't sound exactly like an affair, I don't know what does. They weren't a married couple rushing off to the deli for lunch...the library in E-town is in he middle of the bypass. Not a restaurant or deli for miles. BUT there are lots of neighborhoods. Neighborhoods where a man with a full size truck and tinted windows might live...where he may take his secretary for a nooner at...well...noon. Pssst....we see youuuuuu.

4) Lastly, I sliced the top of my hand shaving my legs last weekend. Absolutely no alcohol was involved. And I wasn't terribly sleep-deprived. And I was just as surprised as anyone when it happened. I still don't know what went wrong. But that skin on the top of the hand? Tender. Maybe that's why people don't normally shave it.

OK I have to go see a man about a Tilt-a-Whirl and a deep-fried twinkie. Enjoy your weekend! Cheers!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Letter to Past Me

Dear August 2012 Ally,
As of today, you have been a mother to a crying, pooping, sleeping, (and yes, occasionally) smiling baby Blue for 1 week. You have lost sleep, your keys, absolutely no weight, some of your sense of humor, and a fair amount of your mind...but you and Neal are continuing to trudge through. Neal has one more week of paternity leave, but you are already sick with anticipation over how you will make it through the day...every day. Your biggest fear...what if he starts crying and you can't get him to stop? August 2013 Ally thinks that's pretty funny because she knows that he has already been beaned in the head with a cell phone (which is 100% your fault), gotten choked on food, and fallen off of a bed onto a concrete floor (again, 100% your fault). But that's your concern right now and it's absolutely valid. The past 375 days have taught you a lot. The learning curve has been steep. The nights have been long and sometimes they have been incredibly short. Let me share with you some insights from the past year...then maybe you will actually be able to sit back and enjoy the ride.

  • Jess will give you a copy of The Happiest Baby on the Block. Just watch it. Quit being all "I don't know if we are really going to have a baby...I don't want to get my hopes up and then lose him." You are having this child. And he is going to be a little beast from 4-8 PM everyday so study up. Then, perhaps, you will not daydream of driving away...far, far away. 
  • Speaking of driving should do that much sooner. You should not wait until Neal goes back to work before you give yourself an hour to walk through Target alone. Or even to sit in your car, in the driveway, and listen to country music. I know you are soaking your 20 million stitches in salt water 4 times a day and pumping breast milk another 8 times a day and trying to prepare dinner not from a box the rest of the time, but seriously...step away. It will make it less tempting to strangle your husband with breast pump tubing.
  • Speaking of strangling your husband with breast pump will have a much finer appreciation for how hard a marriage can be. You will feel the least attractive you've ever felt, you will be exceptionally annoyed every time you have to put on a pair of maternity shorts because nothing from life before fits (you probably need to go ahead and buy 6 more pairs of those black yoga pants you've been living in for a week), and you will butt heads over your very different parenting styles. It will actually be liberating when Neal goes back to work and you can do it your way all day, every day. And there has yet to be a time when Blue is crying and you are unable to get him to stop. 
  • It may serve you well to find a highly qualified babysitter. You will be starting him in daycare right after his first birthday, but it promises to be a flood of tears....for both of you. And you will be that mom that they whisper about in church...the one who gets called back to the nursery every single Sunday
  • You will beat yourself up about your inability to feed him breast milk after about 10 weeks. It's not worth it. It really wasn't worth all of the stress, worry, exhaustion, and aggravation for the last 4 weeks. He will be formula-fed for most of his first year and he'll be fine. His immunity will be fine and you'll start making his baby food around 6 months, which is how you'll make yourself feel better about the breast feeding thing. 
  • Stop worrying about your business...about your clients. Everything will derail...sometime around November. The train will shoot right off the tracks and land in a dense jungle for about 7 months. You'll lose clients and orders and creativity. There will be a 10-gallon bucket of tears cried over whether you should scale it back or shut it down. In the end, you'll do both, only to bring it back up and start it rolling again...because it's what you love and there is enough room in your life for more than 1 love. 
  • Baby Blue is incomparable. When you see babies younger than him and they are eating table food, speaking in complete sentences, and performing in Circque du Soleil, it does not mean Blue is destined for failure. It may mean a lot of other things (all of which have nothing to do with you), but it is not directly proportional to where he is developmentally. 
  • You should probably avoid introducing him to your iPhone. Also...remote controls and power cords. Trust me. 
  • It's worth a second bullet point to, once again, say do not strangle your husband with the breast pump tubing. Neither one of you really knows what you're doing, but you both have superhuman parental instincts. Trust those and trust each other. And trust that it won't always be this hard or this exhausting. Try to laugh more and hug more. Show Blue that he has 2 parents who love each other unconditionally. This will be the hardest year of your marriage. But in one year from today, you will watch your baby boy shove shredded cheese and chicken down his gullet and you will lose your breath just thinking about how far he has come. And how you did it together. It won't always be 4 oz bottles at 3 AM. In the grand scheme of things, that's just a blip. And August 2013 Ally doesn't really even remember it now. 
  • Enjoy the ride. You will always be anxious over changes and developments, but don't forget to appreciate where he is at this very moment. Because it's going to get harder. No matter where he is developmentally, this is the easy part. You will think things are hard at 4 months...wait until he's 8 months. You will wish he was more mobile, until he starts digging through the trash and reaching for the toilet brush while you are getting dressed. You will want him to eat what you all are eating, until he has to learn how to chew by choking on some bites. This moment is always going to be the easy part. Love it. 
You are a phenomenal mom. You spend hours at night preparing meals for him. You fill a baby pool with water and put it in the office so that he can splash around without getting too hot or sunburned. You read to him incessantly and memorize "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" so that it can be recited at any necessary moment.  He will be a blessing and a delight. And sometimes he will be a disaster. But each day will be perfect and it's all gonna be alright.

Much Love,
2013 A

Friday, August 9, 2013

Random Musings Friday: All the Random

It is 5 minutes to 1 AM and that is pretty standard for me nowadays. I have cleaned the kitchen, put away the toys (as of this weekend, I am taking that off my to-do as we teach Blue how to put his own damn smart phone in the basket at the end of the day. I think a 1-year old should know how to properly store his smart phone, yes? before I get hate mail, it's not a REAL smart phone. It's Fisher Price. And because we are drones for all things Fisher Price/Melissa & Doug/VTech, he has a smart phone which then allows me to re-gain control of my iPhone. Absolutely #FirstWorldProblems), and worked for little while on some custom jewelry. But if I don't start blogging again on a regular basis, my head is going to explode and when the hazmat crew comes in, they are going to find tiny bits of ideas and half-written stories where my brain should be. So, time to get on it. Even if it is 5 till 1.

This week's Random brought to you by several different events...

5. When I was in the 8th grade, I went on a weekend trip to Chicago with Mama Virgo. Although Navy Pier was incredible and the Sears Tower was breathtaking, what caught my eye and stole my heart was the 5' tall stuffed giraffe in the FAO Schwartz window of the Water Tower. I begged. I pleaded. My cries fell on deaf ears (which I now realize was quite the feat now that I am also the mother of an only child and someone who has a hard time walking out of Sam's without a new book or child-sized piece of equipment simply because I want him to have it). For 19 years I have pined after the giant stuffed giraffe. I saw it once at a consignment sale in Georgia, but Blue was just a few weeks old and was beginning to overheat in the non-air conditioned building. So, I walked away from a $15 giant stuffed giraffe. My precious.

Fast forward to Blue's birthday party last week. In an effort to make it easier on my friends without kids and my friends who have kids who now drive cars, I made an Amazon wish list for Blue. Lots of books (many of which I want to read myself...Aliens Love Underpants, Dragons Love Tacos, Lyle Lyle Crocodile...I'm not saying they are classics, but they certainly capture the imagination more than Kittens Are Like That). Apparently, Melissa & Doug now make a giant stuffed giraffe. I added it, half-joking...half-wishing with all of my heart that someone I knew would make the leap of faith.

Someone did.

Blue is more intimidated than anything. But I...I am in love.

Never ever again will I take curbside recycle pick-up for granted. Never. Ever. Ever. Again. (yes, the seats are down. Yes it was full all the way up to the back of the passenger's seat. Seriously never again.)

I saw these at Target a few weeks ago and fell irrationally in love. We don't even have a dog and I wanted them....simply because they are quintessential American. I'm fairly certain that balloon animals originated somewhere in middle America. Not Greece or Paris. But like Boise. But we don't have a dog. Or an empty light socket. So I walked away. But sometimes we go back and visit them. 

These are my new wheels. Yes, it has a bike bell and hibiscus flowers painted on the side. It has 3 speeds and the basket holds my purse and my wand. But Blue hates his helmet. I mean hates it. As in, tugs at the straps for about 10 minutes, whining the entire time, before finally slumping over in the seat and resigning to look at his feet for the rest of the ride. We're working on it.

If you have found yourself saying to yourself, "Self, I really wish I knew where to find an R2D2 drink cooler," well...look no more. Your search is over. It was in Shepherdsville, KY all the while. It was, in fact, at

*that says The Most Awesome Flea Market in the World*
Another little known fact...this is not the most awesome flea market in the world. Or, really, even in the tri-state area. But at least they didn't charge for parking, so at least there's that. But I'm pretty sure I owe Shana a frosty in a waffle cone for going with me on the maiden voyage.

More Shanally Adventures to post, plus a year in retrospect...all next week. Probably at 5 minutes till 1.
Happy Champagne Friday, everyone! I raise a glass and toast my bubbles to you!