A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life

(which was a regular work/school day during tax season – so apologies in advance for this being both the longest AND the least interesting post yet…)

5:55am – Wake up (no alarm – we don’t use alarms).  Bathroom trip. But then I crawl back into my warm bed. Usually, I’d just get up and start my day, but today the siren call of my duvet was too strong.

6:25am – Plum (age 5) visits. Good morning!  She actually climbs up onto our bed (a rarity!) for a cuddle.  We chat and wake up Dad.

Head downstairs.  I allow a TV show pre-breakfast and pre-getting dressed (never a good idea).  Pack three lunches because Pickle (age 6) has opted out of school lunch, because it is “Cook’s Choice”.  Lunches include some combo of yogurts, cucumbers, apples, Cheez-It, baby carrots, string cheese, and sandwiches.  The littles get a special treat – ½ of a leftover birthday cupcake each!

While I make lunches with Tyler (he was helping with lunches, making coffee, packing bags for the day and doing dishes) Pickle arrives downstairs.  A 6:30am wake up is late for him!  He wants to take a shower because his hair is unruly.  I agree, on both counts. I de-fat, de-bone, shred and sauce the pulled pork I had cooked in the crockpot overnight.  That will be dinner tonight.

7:08am – Upstairs to shower.  And brrrrrr, it is a cold one.  All thanks to the hair-obsessed 6-year-old who used 94% of the hot water.  Thanks a lot. Step out of the shower to hear Pistachio (age 3) bellowing for me.  Wet and half-dressed I go see him. “Is it wake up time?” he asks.  Indeed it is.  As I had suspected the night before, this guy was tired and/or growing because this is a very late wake-up time for him, too. He wanders downstairs, and I finish getting dressed.  I run a brush through my hair and yell down to Ty to let our neighbor in (we are giving her a ride to school today).

7:30am – Time to get Pickle and the neighbor to school.  I go downstairs to find Plum screaming and naked on the love seat (reminder to self to talk to her – and my husband? – about being naked in front of non-family members), Pistachio is eating an English muffin in his PJs and chirps happily, “Bye Mama, have a good day!”  I leave him and naked Plum in the competent and patient hands of their father.  He will get them dressed and off to school.  I have my usual argument with Pickle about the need for warm outerwear, which delays our exit, but eventually I get him out the door.

The thin fleece he believes is appropriate for 15 degree temps.

7:45am – Drop Pickle and his classmate/our neighbor at school.  Stop at the local corner store for an iced coffee and bagel – a treat, and only $3.50! Sit in my car for a second to update my Moment app and sign up for “Moment Boot Camp”.  Moment is an app that analyzes how much time you spend on your phone each day.  I’ve been using it for a few weeks and have determined that my numbers are too high (yikes) so I sign up for their Boot Camp, which sets daily goals for using your phone less.

Drive to work listening to CD 15 of 16 of Bruce Springsteen’s Autobiography “Born to Run”.  Bruce reads it, and I’m a fan, so I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having him read to me during my commute.  It is a fun history, and some of the writing is just fantastic. I’ll be sad when the last CD is done.

Park in the garage (I should park in the lot, but today I just don’t feel like it) and clock-in at my desk.

8:28am – Work. The regular stuff.  During breaks in the day I pack up and send a toy I sold on eBay, and fill out a kindergarten registration form.  We have our yearly benefits meeting at work (open enrollment – yippee) and I lament the brokenness of our health care system and its costs while simultaneously being thankful for pretty good insurance coverage.

Lunch – I had texted my husband that I was craving shrimp and he told me to go get some at lunch.  So I do.  And what a nice treat!  I go to the (fancy-ish) steak house next door, sit at the bar, have a lovely lunch including some shrimp, and read a little bit of my newest book – The Atomic Weight of Love.  It is a great break in the day, a delicious meal I didn’t have to cook, and some time alone with my own thoughts.  Awesome.

4:30pm – Work done.  Head out.  Call my mom on the way.  I call her most days during my commute home.

5pm – Pick up grumpy oldest.  He often complains about pick-up time, being too late or too early.  Sigh.  Mostly he complains because he is hungry.  Thankfully he tucks in to his uneaten packed lunch because he had, indeed, opted for the “Cook’s Choice” which happened to be calzones. Blood sugar and mood improve.

Pick up the littles, who are just down the road. Our elementary school and preschool are really close to our house – like a mile.  What a win!  The littles were not required to wear snowpants on this day, which makes my life easier because there is far less schlepping of KID STUFF.

5:20pm – Home!  I pick up the mail, get all of the kids and all of their stuff in the house.  They are in good moods, and are happy to play for a bit.  I unpack lunch boxes, then convince Pistachio to take a quick bath. The big kids agree to straighten up the toy room with minimal whining.  After bath the kids continue to play while I empty the downstairs trash cans and take out the kitchen trash.  I open a package for me from a cool Instagram group called This Is My Fav.  Basically, there is a theme each month, and you are assigned a group member to send a $10+ gift to.  It is fun – and a little bit chain letter-ish.  This month’s theme is Spring Cleaning, and I’m thrilled to open a box of Scrub Daddies.  I laugh because I sent Scrub Daddies to my gift recipient this month, too. They are great.

6pm – Get dinner ready.  It comes together quickly since I prepped it this morning.  I mix up some coleslaw (for me and Ty).  And we have pulled pork sandwiches on Hawaiian rolls with sides of green grapes, carrots and cukes.  I typically insist on dinner at the table, but tonight, I allow dinner in front of our first pre-bed TV show.  The kids choose Johnny Test, which is really not my favorite.

After dinner and the show, the kids get into their “cozies” (our family word for pajamas).  This always takes longer than it should.  I put on their second and final show, and they get to pick their dessert/treat.  Usually they each have little bowls of ~20 chocolate chips.  Tonight, Plum and Pickle choose to have a leftover birthday cupcake each.  Pistachio sticks with the chocolate chips.  While the kids watch their show, I unload the dishwasher, reload with dinner dishes and straighten up the kitchen.  As show ends I realize that Pistachio has gotten a melted chocolate chip smeared on his cozies and the couch, so I do a quick clean up and rinse out the cozies so the chocolate won’t stain.

7:20pm – I declare it is time to head upstairs for our nightly routine and bed.  Major protests from all, but they know I mean business.  The big kids brush teeth (with help from me) and then state that they want to take showers (Pickle would shower 4 times a day if we let him).  It is pretty late to start showers now, but I relent.  While Pistachio uses the potty pre-bed, I wash Plum’s hair.  Pistachio walks off to his room to sit in the big brown chair and wait for me.  Plum finishes up, puts her cozies back on and climbs into my bed to look at a book.  Pickle takes his turn, and his time, in the shower.

Pistachio and I cuddle up in the big brown wing chair.  We brush teeth, which is still a bit of a battle, and then read some strange lift-the-flap book about two sisters, Madison and Ashley.  He loves lifting the flaps, but the story – mostly about girls playing dress up, gardening and cooking – is pretty awful.  I make a mental note to “lose” this book.  We chat a little bit about our days.  He declines a song.  He typically tells me “Mama, please put me in my bed,” when he feels he’s done enough chatting, but tonight he tells me he has to poop.  We truck off to the bathroom, and I find Plum and Pickle in my bed using the iPad, instead of reading books. Blargh.  I sit Pistachio on the potty, and take the iPad away (tears).  Pistachio decides he does not have to poop after all (poop is one of the most effective bedtime stalling techniques when you are newly potty-trained – he figured this out quickly, smart kid).  I plop him in his bed and go back to dealing with the big kids who are tired, and still complaining about iPad removal.

(Photo below is what they were supposed to be doing…)

8pm – I alert the big kids that it is now 8pm and since rules haven’t been followed, they have to get in bed without me reading books tonight.  Much sadness.  Many protests.  But they do get in their beds in their shared bedroom.  I leave them for a minute to attend to a hollering Pistachio who needs me to cover him up with his blanket. I do. And say a final goodnight to him.

I sing songs to the big kids, This Land is Your Land and some others I’ve made up.  And I agree to let Pickle read for 10 minutes.  He is reading Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit, a great book, with fun big words, and he’s feeling very proud of himself.  I spray Sweet Dream Spray (some sort of linen/room spray that I have repurposed) and give kisses.  I retreat to my bed for a few minutes while I make notes about my day for this post and text a bit with Tyler, who is still at work.

Randy is terrible at baseball, but really good at other stuff. The guy with the brains saves the day!

8:20pm – I’ve given them extra time, and still hear them chatting a bit, so I tell them it is truly bedtime, no more chats or books.  I give more kisses and sing their lullaby.  I close the door behind me and head downstairs.  I fire up my computer and organize photos on Shutterfly until 10pm.  I make albums for each month and for every big event or holiday, and put these on a Sharesite for friends and family.  It takes forever, and I’m behind.  I finish up November and December, and start on Christmas.  My husband’s phone and my phone update to Shutterfly automatically, and I upload the photos taken with my “real” camera there, too.  While I do my photo stuff, I “watch” This Is Us and blackish and drink seltzer with a splash of lemonade.

10pm – I close out of Shutterfly and check Facebook for a bit while I wait for Tyler to get home.  I always wait up for him.

10:20pm – Tyler gets home.  He’s tired. I am too.  I leave him on his own to make pulled pork sandwiches and wind down and I head up to bed.  I decide to read a few pages before bed and end up staying up too late reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  I’m considering reading the series to the kids, and wanted to read the whole series myself first (I had only read the first 4 books previously).  I’m finally on book 7.

11:28pm – Whoops.  It is definitely time to turn off the light and go to bed.

1:11am – Up. Too much seltzer.

2:40am – Up.  Way too much seltzer.

6:09am – Plum appears by my side of the bed, ready to start her day.

 

 

 

 

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All the Things

Things I Know For Sure:

  • When they say that wrap-style dresses flatter every figure, they are lying.
  • Tea and toast can cure any number of problems.
  • These are a terrible idea.

cham

Things I Am Good At:

  • Reading aloud to my kids.
  • Keeping my calendar up to date.
  • Buying good/cool presents.
  • Being silly.

bfg

Things I’m Not Good At:

  • Owning plants.
  • Caring about/for my eyebrows.
  • Writing lunch box notes.
  • Decorating for holidays.
  • Meal planning.
  • Knowing military rank hierarchy.

Things That Make Me Cry:

wonderful

Things I Should Admit:

  • I try not to judge, but I might feel a little bit sad for you if you don’t vote, eat steak well done, or don’t read actual books.
  • I like the smell of skunk (from a distance of 15 feet or more).
  • I have never watched Titanic, or Casablanca.
  • I currently have 6,404 photos on my phone.  And 558 videos.
  • I have a love/hate relationship with all of those beautiful photos of kitchen renovations that don’t include upper cabinets.
  • I’m really tempted to dress my youngest in knee socks like Prince George.
Image from the adorable website "What Kate's Kids Wore" - click on the photo to go there.

Image from the adorable website “What Kate’s Kids Wore” – click on the photo to go there.

Major Award

liebsterawardicon

I am a slacker.

Alison at Please Stop Putting Crackers Down My Shirt kindly nominated me for the Liebster Award. (Thank you, Alison!)  It has only taken me 7 months to get my rear in gear and acknowledge and respond.  Whoops.

The Liebster Award is kind of like a kind chain letter in the blogging world.  And I am a sucker for chain letters – and probably the only person who ever actually participated in the “panties” and “children’s books” chain letters.  (Please tell me that someone besides me recalls these chain letters?)

The award is basically intended to introduce readers to other good, small blogs they might otherwise miss in their interweb travels.  I am supposed to answer the 11 questions Alison has posed, provide 11 facts about myself and then nominate other blogs for the award.  Forgive me for not following the rules perfectly (does this mean my Liebster will be revoked?) but I figure something is better than nothing, especially after 7 months.  I’m not going to be nominating other blogs here, but I solemnly swear that I will link to and mention my favorites as it occurs to me to do so.

Questions Answered

1. Who is the person you admire the most, and in what ways have they influenced you?
First, let me explain… I think born and raised Yankees are reluctant to use superlatives. We’re often warm, but not frequently gushy. Terms like “most” and “best” are hard for me, so this is a tough question for me to answer. Example of my reluctance to name favorites? Even at 14-years-old I never hung up posters of any teen idols, athletes, or actors, because I just didn’t like any of them enough to do that. I’m weird that way. I admire lots of people, for lots of reasons. Here are a few:

Emily, who is so strong, and might not even know it
Betty, who never stopped learning
My sister, who makes me laugh and knows me best
My dad, for always being loving and supportive and saving the day
My mom, whose advice was almost always right
Mira, the most true-to-herself human ever
If I don’t stop here, the list will go on for pages…

2. If you could have one superpower – any superpower – what would it be and what would you do with it?
Flight, probably. Because it would be fun.
Or maybe I’d like to freeze time like Evie in Out of This World. I’d get a lot more naps that way.

Evie
3. If you could live out your life in a fictional universe (movie, television or book setting), which one would it be and why?
The Wonka Chocolate Factory (Wilder, not Depp). With the Oompa Loompas. I’m not a candy fiend, but I like the innovation, whimsy, privacy, and nifty singing.

91U0TwNG23L._SL1500_

 

4. What five music albums could you not live without?
I love music. I’ve seen Springsteen 50+ times, and a lot of his music has served as a sort of soundtrack to my life, so a few of his albums would be on the list. The Rising, maybe a live recording of a show I attended, maybe Born to Run or The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle. And Paul Simon’s Graceland. I might add the “Stand By Me” soundtrack too.

btr

 

5. Do you think you’d survive a zombie apocalypse? What would be your weapon of choice?
Nope. Not a chance.

 

6. What is your favorite thing about the area in which you live?
I have so many favorite things. It is safe, beautiful, close to lots of fun things. It is home.

 

7. You’re an adult now, but if you could send a letter back in time – to yourself at age 16 – what advice would you give?
1. If a boy says he’s over you believe him.
2. Let yourself make more mistakes. Speak up.
3. Go abroad in college.

 

8. As a child, what did you want to be when you became a grownup? Did you eventually become that thing?
When it was my special week in 4th grade, I drew a life-sized picture of myself as a veterinarian. I was wearing a lab coat with a mouse in the pocket. I did not become a vet. I think I had changed my mind within a few weeks. I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I still don’t.

 

9. What’s on your pizza?
I like most toppings, except hamburger. If I’m not sharing, I’ll choose sausage, onions and mushrooms.

Hot_pizza

 

10. What’s your favorite vocabulary word?
I don’t have one. I love a good pun or clever turn of phrase. And my favorite French word is “gaufre” (waffle). Also, I just read a lovely article about favorite lost words.

11. What is the thing you like most about yourself?

Oh goodness, there’s that “most” word again.

I like that I’m still learning and curious.  I like that I try to look for the good in people.  I like that I try.  I like that I’m silly.

 

 

I think this might just be long enough.  I’ll save the 11 facts for next time.  Again thanks to Alison at Please Stop Putting Crackers Down My Shirt!

Fa la la la blah.

I have carved out a little cozy place in my house where I can sit and not see the mess.  The mess is overtaking everything, as Christmas and all of the stuff that comes along with it explodes.  And it is only going to get worse before it gets better.

Tonight, I can’t look at it, and I can’t think about it.  Would it make me feel so much better to just take some time and clear the clutter?  Probably.  But I just don’t have it in me tonight, so I’ll sit and write and clear the clutter in my brain instead.

I need to figure out how to enjoy Christmas.  All of it, or at least more of it.  Not just that one magical moment when my children realize that Santa visited, in the twinkly tree light as the sun comes up on Christmas morning.  I need more cuddles, more cozy, more gratitude, more calm.  Come to think of it, I probably need more of those things all year round, but I digress. I also need more hot cocoa – preferably with Baileys in it. Because it’s the most wonderful time of the year, dangitall!

Mad Rudolph

When someone tells you “You will eat your broccoli and you will like it!” it doesn’t actually make you like it.  So telling myself, “You will be cheerful and enjoy the chaos!” doesn’t seem to be working.

Then again, people tell me that the more you exercise, the more you love it.  And while some part of me thinks they’re crazy people trying to sneakily share their exercise-induced misery, I bet on some level that they’re right. So perhaps if I just wrap more, clean more, carol more, decorate more, and bake more, I will love all of those things more.

Probably not.

So instead I’ve developed a plan for bringing back the cheer…

  1. For me, gratitude is is harder when sleep is short.  So that will be step one. Eight hours of sleep. A lofty goal, but Christmas is all about miracles, right?  Mama will settle in for a long winter’s nap, once I find that silly kerchief.* And once I can get the kidlets to bed – a task that is getting more and more difficult by the week.
  2. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” by Bruce (Springsteen – I figure my regular readers will know who I’m talking about when I refer to him only by his first name).  It isn’t Christmas until I hear it. And I haven’t heard it yet.  Ooh, now that I think about it, perhaps I’ll dig up some “Merry Christmas, Baby”, too.  That one always improves my mood!  Horns make me jolly.
  3. Ask Pickle about all of the people he will get to see in the upcoming week.  Because when I do, he excitedly lists off the names of family members like reindeer. And his pure joy at getting to see aunts, uncles, and cousins is a great reminder of the love and family that we are surrounded by.
  4. Clean up the living room only, and sit with my husband – on the same couch! –  in the quiet of the twinkly tree (with all of the non-toxic, chewable ornaments on the bottom). Maybe we’ll reflect on our year a bit. Maybe we’ll have a glass of wine.  Maybe we won’t do either, and we’ll just be.
  5. Take a few quiet moments during my commute home to send good, loving thoughts to people I know and people I don’t know who are lonely or hurting or sad.  And I’ll try to take an opportunity at some point to do something unexpected and loving for someone I don’t know.  Because I still believe that good will, kindness and love are contagious and more necessary than ever.

I’ll let you know how it all goes.

– Sarky Claus

* I do believe that this is only the second time in my life that I’ve ever typed the word “kerchief.”

Gr8ful.

50 Days of Gratitude

Days 21-30

97. Chapstick

98. GPS

99. Incident on 57th StreetThis is a Springsteen song – the favorite of many long-time fans.  He doesn’t play it in concert too often.  But my sister and I got to see it in Hartford.  She has been to about 20 shows, and has never seen it live.  The energetic fan next to us was so excited to hear it, he cried.  No really, he did.

100. Hotel points – I used to take surveys online for hotel points which I then traded in for airline miles.  It was time consuming and annoying, so I stopped.  Besides, I don’t fly with small children if I can help it. But I just happened to have enough points for an overnight stay with my sister after the Springsteen concert.  Win!

101. Water

102. Linemen (and women)

103. Lox – It must be the Swede in me.  I love me some smoked fish.  Speaking of… have you ever been to Barney Greengrass?  Go.  It’s yummy. And hysterical.

104. Dogs

105. Reconnecting

106. Leaf piles

107. Scalloped potatoes

108. Cousins playing together

109. Quiet drives

110. Blessings – Miss Plum was baptized a few weekends ago.  It was lovely to be surrounded by family, and Plum sure did look cute in her puffy white dress.  She screamed every time the priest came near her.  I couldn’t help but think, “That’s my girl!” (Says Sarky, ducking from the lightning…)

111. Onion dip – I made this for a party recently and it received rave reviews.  Was it fancy and gourmet? Nope.  It was the recipe on the back of an envelope of Lipton Onion Soup Mix.  Mayo + sour cream. How can you not love it?

112. Zito and my BTX friends – BTX is a Springsteen ticket exchange, where fans sell their extra tickets to other fans at face value. Scalpers be damned!  Back in 2003 a magical little community of friends was created through this ticket exchange.  It was a very interesting way to meet lots of great folks from all over the world.  And while it is strange to count my interwebs friends as true and close, that is what many of them are.

113. Floss

114. Power

115. Helpers

116. Luck

117. Morning

118. Gatherings

119. Creating new traditions and memories – This Halloween, the grandparents came to us.  We had dinner, handed out candy, and did some trick-or-treating around the neighborhood.  It was great. I hope the tradition continues.

120. Fresh eggs – In New Zealand, “eggs” is pronounced “igs”.  An American friend asked a supermarket employee where she could find the “eggs” (they are in the baking aisle and not refrigerated) and was told that the store carried no such thing. Ha!

 

121. Letterpress – Old-fashioned, luxurious and lovely.  Do I have 35 letterpress studios bookmarked? Maybe.  My wedding invites were from Bella Figura.  They were perfect.  Did I spend too much money? Yes.  Did my guests likely not notice the detail and end up throwing them away? Probably.  But do I regret my choice?  Absolutely not.

122. Pepper jelly

123. Cannoli – In the Mike’s v. Modern race, I’m voting for Modern. Every time.

124. My neighborhood

125. Manners

126. Bag Balm – Diaper rash? Chapped lips? Hangnail? Have a cold and a sore, raw nose from too much blowing? Dry feet? The name is unfortunate, but the stuff is a miracle.  You know the father in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”?  The one who thinks Windex is the cure for all that ails you? Yeah, I’m kind of like that with the Bag Balm.  Opa!

127. Health insurance

128. Leftover Halloween candy

129. Food delivery (have I ever used it? No. But I like knowing that I could!)

130. Feather pillows

131. Clean babies

132.Good books – Who has some suggestions? The stack on my nightstand isn’t speaking to me.  

133. Travel mugs

134. Challenges

135. Cardigans

136. Girlfriends

137. Those rare occasions when my son still wants to be rocked and sung to sleep – I made it all the way through “Puff the Magic Dragon” the other night and only choked up once. “Dragons live forever, but not so little boys…”

138. The approaching end of political ads

139. Fresh mozzarella

Stay tuned for days 31-40…

The Corner of Hope

I live on the corner of Hope.

No, really.  I actually do. Hope Street.  But isn’t that a nice sentence?

So. I’ve been a-pondering hope…

…and I’ve been attending Springsteen shows.

When I tell you how many Springsteen shows I’ve been to (44), your eyes will bug out, and you will think I am weird. See?  Your eyes bugged out and you thought I was weird.  Let me explain.  Or try to.

Springsteen puts on a great show.  He is a rock star musician in the truest sense.  He works harder than James Brown – the hardest working man in show business.  And he writes some damn good tunes.  (And a few clunkers, but I can overlook those.)  And whether it is the lyrics, the melodies, the energy, the rock spirit, the time it entered my life, or the acknowledged messiness of love, life, growing up, getting older – something about his music speaks to me.  It just does.  I know a lot of folks, my dear husband included, don’t get it, or have never had music move them in the way that it moves me. So I understand that this sounds nutty.  But I embrace the nut!

Wait.  That came out wrong.

The songs are old friends and close confidants.  And the live shows are the closest thing I will ever come to a good old-fashioned tent revival with a charismatic preacher/front man. The message is always one of soul-searching, redemption, strength, weakness and togetherness – loud, and all wrapped up in some searing rock and roll.  At the shows I love to turn around – all the way around – when the house lights are up, the guitars are wailing, the audience’s fists are pumping, and our throats sore from singing along – to look at the crowd.  To see the people all there together.  All experiencing the music together, all letting the music touch us together, singing together.

I have always thought that Bruce believes his finest song is “Land of Hope and Dreams.”  I don’t know for sure, but I would guess he thinks it is one of his great contributions to music and Americana – his “This Land Is Your Land.”  It isn’t a deep song.  It echoes old spirituals about the trains to the promised land (which is actually the name of a different Springsteen song – can you sense a theme?).  It is Pollyanna-ish in its inclusiveness – “this train carries saints and sinners, this train carries losers and winners” – and the lyrics are simple, but the thing I like is that it is about us all going together, being together, on a journey to something, to somewhere better.  And when there are 20,000 people singing the lyrics with you, it’s just hard not to feel renewed.  And like you’re in a really big cult.  I joke, I joke. (Sort of.)

I live on the corner of Hope.

Sounds like a Springsteen lyric to me.

****************

In her lovely post “little boy blue and the man in the moon,” Erin at welcome to grace. kindly invited me to participate in the Melanie Crutchfield’s “Hope 2012: A Blog Relay”.  (I would strongly recommend you click on those dang linky-links and visit Erin’s corner of the interwebs. We seems to have similar views on things – she just writes better than I do. And check out Melanie’s while you’re at it.)  I am slightly late getting around to this, but I figured ’tis better to have loved and lost… oh wait, that’s not it… I figured it’s better late than never. (Clearly someone who was chronically tardy made up that saying.)

It’s Tuesday, I’m in Love

I love…

… Bruce Springsteen concerts. Laurel Snyder’s blog post, “On being a serious fan…” sums it up nicely.

…  beets.  They taste like earth smells, only sweeter.  And they’re the most beautiful color.

… my son’s double hair whorl and the back of his soft little neck.

… pedicures.  Sure, this is an obvious one, but truly, I think I should be able to write these off as medical expenses – they’re that good for me.

… going out to eat by myself.  I first got used to this when I was traveling solo.  Now, I use this as “me” time.  I don’t have to cook, I clean out my purse, or write a note to someone, or check out the NYT headlines on my iPhone.

… my new purse.  Even when I’m feeling worn out, my purse makes me feel shiny and bright.  A little tacky?  Yep, probably.  And I don’t care. 

… this contraption: The Fisher Price Rock ‘N’ Sleeper.  Portable, cozy, and better than those little baby bouncy seats.  Why didn’t I have one of these when Mr. Pickle Pumpkin was teeny?

… my grunting, snorting little newborn girl.  She is hysterical. She is noisy, and sounds like an 8 pound elephant.   Must remember to videotape her antics to play for her prom date!