Hello 2019!

You’re looking fabulous!


I hope you had a wonderful New Year’s. We certainly did. It was downright peaceful, even though the dumpling was home with us for a four-day weekend. I honestly can’t even complain about yesterday because we had the best day, just relaxing on the couch. We watched Daniel and the Dinosaur Train* and read books and played with trains. Great day!

For our NYE celebration, we went to our neighbor’s house for games and food. Had an impromptu black-out party when a transformer blew around 6pm. Thankfully, power was restored pretty quickly. We also discovered that the dumpling LOVES those popper things. You know, those little “firework” things that you throw at the ground? Our friends had some for the kids and I didn’t think too much of it. The dumpling, however, thought they were hilarious and just laughed and laughed – big, deep, belly laughs. It was precious.

Speaking of the little dude, holy cats is he ever talking now! Just last night, he told me (and I literally quote) “no PJ’s mama, I playing in the water.” This morning, he helped me make breakfast and told Luffy that he was “making eggs.” It’s so precious right now, because he’ll be doing something or spot something and he has to show Luffy, so he’ll be like “dada! a turtle!” It’s too cute, I tell you. TOO CUTE. And just yesterday, he told Luffy “I don’t know” when Luffy asked him to identify a tractor. I was floored, as was Luffy. We were amazed that the dumpling has the capacity to respond with “I don’t know.”

Honestly, that’s about all I’ve got because we had a pretty low-key four-day weekend. I baked some cookies. We took walks. We snuggled** with the dumpling. We had a really cozy New Year’s.

*This is the dumpling’s latest craze. Considering it has both dinosaurs AND choo choo trains, it’s pretty much the pinnacle of preschooler programming in his esteemed opinion. I’m just hoping that I’ll stop singing the theme song by the end of the year.

**WAIT. I do have to elaborate here. Do you remember all of those times I said that the dumpling is not a cuddler? Well I think he’s finally coming around to it as his current favorite activity is sitting in either mine or Luffy’s lap while he watches TV or reads. When he’s on your lap, he just completely relaxes and positively melts into you; it’s the sweetest thing. He’s probably watching way too much TV right now, but I’m enjoying the snuggling too much to care.

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Post Merry

Hello again! I hope your holidays were happy and merry and all that jazz! Ours were fantastic, thanks for asking.

We had a really good Christmas this year. No one was sick and my parents’ cats behaved, thank goodness. The dumpling was delighted to find grandma and papa in our kitchen when he woke up from his nap on Monday. We basically just all hung out until I made breakfast for dinner (giant cinnamon rolls, eggs, bacon, and asparagus – FTW!). I opened the champagne as soon as they got there. Because of course I did.

Christmas morning was lots of fun! The dumpling seemed to know what presents were and was all for opening them. His first was a book, that he promptly sat down to read. His second was a Duplo train, which distracted him long enough for the rest of us to open some presents. He ended up doing really well because he made it through everything except one present and his stockings. I’ll gives some props to us as well because we definitely limited presents (he had two from us and technically three from my parents, including the aforementioned book). Then Luffy’s parents arrived and it was off to lunch at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants.

It honestly didn’t go very well, for a couple of reasons. First, I think there was just too much going on. Luffy’s parents got delayed coming over, so they were at our house for a hot minute before we piled into cars and headed back out. Because of that, we had Luffy’s parents ride with me and the dumpling and Luffy rode with my parents. The dumpling screamed the entire car ride because nothing could convince him we hadn’t abandoned his dada at home. So asking him to sit politely at a table for lunch wasn’t a great idea. Then, as if we weren’t making enough of a scene at this restaurant, I fell on my way back to our table. Just completely wiped out. I really don’t have a clue as to what happened except that I think I ever-so-slightly stepped on the outside of my heel (I was wearing boots with a chunky 2.5″ heel). Maybe the floor was kind of slick too? I don’t know. One minute I was walking and the next I was on all fours in the middle of the dining room. It was lovely! There was literally a gasp – OHHH! – from the other patrons as I went down. I bounced back up, assuring everyone I was fine, then booked it back to my own table to cry a bit over my painful palm and knee. One of my knees is a delightful shade of purple now. Lovely.

But that’s ok! We still had a great time. The dumpling went down for a solid two hour nap on Christmas day to recover from the sheer excitement. Other highlights include:

  • I got him foam letters for his bath and that went over well that evening.
  • I drank a LOT of champagne and I have absolutely no regrets.
  • Luffy randomly clicked on a show on Hulu, mainly for background noise, and it turned out to be hilarious. (Superstore, if anyone’s wondering)
  • My mom got us a waffle maker. I’m very excited. Very.
  • The day after Christmas, the dumpling looked up from his breakfast and asked “mama, presents?”
  • My mom cried as she was leaving which is especially adorable because she’s going to be right back here in like three weeks to babysit for us.
  • It’s not really a “highlight,” but I feel the need to memorialize the fact that I cleaned the bathrooms on Monday WHILE I had a preschooler in the house and Luffy took a nap. Go me.

So yeah! That’s about it for us! And since I probably won’t be back here until afterwards: here’s a happy New Year everyone!

That’s a wrap!

Pop the champagne – I’m done with Christmas shopping!

It’s always an achievement, to get everything purchased. Nothing is wrapped, mind you, but my excuse for that is that it’s not a good idea to leave something so tempting within the toddler’s reach. Yeah…

I have to toot my own horn here too because I think I did quite well this year. You know how some years, you’re shopping, and nothing seems to pop out at you? No great epiphanies. No perfect something that stands out. Those years when you end up buying everyone gift cards with the justification that then they can get exactly what they want [jazz hands!]. Those years suck. This year, my friends, was not one of those years. Huzzah!

For my mom, I purchased vanilla beans and I’m making her vanilla extract. Sounds fancy but seriously the hardest part was drinking the wine from the bottle I bought getting the label off the bottle. Now it’s just chilling in my cabinet, getting more delicious-smelling by the day. I also got her a mini knife sharpener because I used her knives at Thanksgiving and had to lecture her on knife safety. Her knives are a menace to society. And thumbs. 

For my dad, I got something a little cheesy. You know those specialty popcorn shops? Yeah, I got him a big tub of popcorn. BUT. (1) He loves popcorn and (2) I’ve had this popcorn because [long story is long] and it’s the BEST popcorn I’ve ever had. Hands down. Even the cheese popcorn, which usually sort of grosses me out, was delicious. So I’m excited to slap a bow on that sucker when it comes in. I’m also hoping he’ll share some before he leaves. 

For both of them, I found these adorable Letters to my Mom/Dad keepsake book … things. The book calls it “a paper time capsule” which, sure, I guess. It is pretty cute though. It’s comprised of twelve pages that fold up onto themselves as letters. Each one gives a prompt like “a special memory I have of you is….” and on the outside you note the date you wrote it and the date they can open it. It’s a cute way to write down a few special memories and thank them for being my parents. That is, it will be cute if I can get all 24 letters written before Christmas.

For my brother, I scoured Redbubble and got him a little wall art for his new house. It’s a black and white abstract guitar. It looks nice; I hope he likes it. His wife was easy to shop for because my bro told me to get her a Google Play gift card. Yay!

For the dumpling, I got him a personalized wooden puzzle with his name and … that’s kind of it. You see, I had plans to get him this block set as well – an adorable little setup that was part puzzle, part block set, part town play. Very cute. And I guess a lot of other people thought so too because when I went to buy it, it was out of stock. Slated for return in January. wah wah. I feel especially dumb over this because I looked it up online a few weeks ago but didn’t buy it because “it was too early” or something. Gah! Clearly I underestimated the Christmas frenzy. I’m disappointed, but the dumpling is still young enough that it doesn’t really matter. I’ll get it for him when it comes back in stock. 

So yeah, that’s a wrap for 2018 holiday shopping! I was super impressed with myself too for having my shit together so early, until I looked at my calendar and realized that Christmas is actually less than two weeks away. So maybe not all that early.

Post-Thanksgiving Thoughts

We’re back! We made it! Oh thank goodness and praise the etch-a-sketch gods!

The car ride there actually went really smoothly, all things considered and thanks to the aforementioned etch-a-sketch. Luffy got it for the dumpling, especially for the car ride and he loved it! He, of course, ping-ponged around like a monkey for a while after getting out of the car, but that’s to be expected. And, unlike last year when it took the full four days to even get the dumpling to agree to separate from me for even a nap, he had left me behind and was reading books with his papa within 30 minutes of our arrival. Yay for me! Ahem, I mean him. Yay for toddler independence!

Our primary hiccup was sleep related, not surprising given the dumpling is a very particular sleeper. The first night, we tried setting up a toddler airbed in a separate bedroom for him. He did pretty well going down, but he woke up at midnight and didn’t go back to sleep until I crawled into the bed with him. Since I couldn’t sleep well in the position I was in, I tried getting back out of the bed around 4:30, but he woke up about 15 minutes later and was up for the day basically. I took him to our bed where we dozed for a bit, but never really got back to sleep. The next night, I asked him – where do you want to sleep? Initially, he asked for his bed to be brought into our bedroom, but changed his mind once we laid him down to sleep. (On an interesting note, he was all about the toddler-sized airbed, until it came time to actually sleep in it. Toddlers, amirite?) He requested to sleep in our bed which was shocking since he’s never, ever done that. We did that for the two remaining nights and it actually went really well besides a few kicks in the face and a really early wake time since oh hey mom, you’re right here and I’m up so let’s party

Sleeping aside, we had a really great time. Lots of good food and playing with the dumpling. We took walks* and met my brother’s dog. The dumpling was fascinated by my parents’ cats (all four of them) and delighted in helping feed them. We decorated and baked Christmas cookies. I made a delicious cake. We played in the backyard. We played in the front yard. We looked at Christmas lights. We dug through boxes full of things from my childhood, sorting into keep-toss-donate piles. (And giving the dumpling one of my stuffed puppies.) Lots of fun!

The drive back even went pretty well, up until the dumpling got himself so worked up over getting back in his car seat that he puked. And then he did it again not an hour later for good measure. That part wasn’t so fun. But hey, we at least made it back in one piece! 

I even got a little extra dumpling time on Monday because he vomited twice Sunday, just enough to make me wonder if he had a stomach bug. I’m still not convinced, but he definitely does have a cold, so we just hung out watching Daniel Tiger and eating Cheerios. As we should.

*One adorable anecdote: I took the dumpling for a walk Thanksgiving morning (the day we woke up at 4:30) at about 9:15ish. Luffy and I had already planned to load him up in the car around 10 for a car nap (he loves those and we were not about to try getting him to nap on the airbed). He was tucked away in his wagon under a blanket and we were talking about it being cold outside. I literally turned the corner and looked back to find him asleep. ASLEEP! Sitting upright! In the cold, harsh wind! When we had been conversing not a minute prior! Who is this child? I laughed so hard and was thankful that we were right around the corner from my parents’ house.

Thanksgiving Thoughts

We’re off! Or… we will be… tomorrow… maybe…. as long as I can get all of us packed up.

We’re headed to West Texas for Thanksgiving and I have lists upon lists upon lists for things to pack. A list for me. A list for the dumpling. A list for Jas (who’s coming with us!). A list for the car. 

I truly hope that this car ride goes better, but we’ll see. You’ll have to keep your fingers crossed for us.

… And that’s seriously all the time I have today. I need to workout. And wash the wagon (which is coming with us!). And air up my car’s tires (luckily not quite the fiasco it was this time). Shop for car snacks. Create a Jas car-nest. Pack as many distractions for the toddler as I can fit into our car.

Wish us luck! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

A surprising Halloween

Luffy always says that the key to a great time is low expectations. And that’s exactly what I had for Halloween.

Countless people had asked what the dumpling was going as. An adorable puppy? Perhaps a superhero? Or what about a fireman? My answer was actually nothing. We weren’t dressing up. I had no plans to trick-or-treat or even really do anything to celebrate the holiday with the dumpling. He has no clue what Halloween is. Luffy and I don’t care about Halloween. Why on earth would I go through the effort?

Last year, our neighbors brought out a folding table and we combined forces and candy, sticking around to chat long after the last trick-or-treater had come by. I planned to basically do the exact same thing this year. The catch is that our neighbor has an older child (he’s six I think) who was, obviously, super excited about trick-or-treating. Since the evening was pleasant, I figured we’d just tag along with them. We brought out the wagon to put the younger kids in (the dumpling and our neighbor’s 14mo old) and we started off around the neighborhood. It didn’t take too many houses for the dumpling to figure out there were eats at the door. He started tagging along with our neighbor’s older child to get candy. He was very polite about it, taking just one piece at each house and saying thank you when prompted. He didn’t have a costume, but he did have on his orange jacket so he looked somewhat festive.

We ended up having the best time, walking around with our neighbors, trick-or-treating. The last house we went to was passing out hot dogs and chips, so the dumpling devoured a hot dog as we walked back to our house. He’d basically just had candy for dinner, so I was glad he got something solid in him before bedtime. We managed to get him down for bed around the usual time, but all that traipsing around really took it out of him – I’m fairly sure he was asleep before we even closed his bedroom door.

Happy Fourth!

Happy 4th of July!

[Complete side-note: I laughed so hard the other day because a mix of politics and a dash of proper-holiday-greetings culminated in someone ranting on Facebook that people these days aren’t saying Happy Independence Day anymore. We’re being …. cautious? Politically Correct? Squeamish? I don’t even know, to be honest, but their point was that we should say Happy Independence Day rather than Happy 4th. It was funny and I laughed and then I kept scrolling, but I keep thinking about it every time I’ve said happy 4th of the past week. Crazy what people get offended by these days.]

[Ahem.]

I hope you had a fantastic holiday! Little odd, with it being smack-dab in the middle of the week, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. My family came into town, so we hung out with them and the dumpling. In the afternoon, we filled his water table and wading pool and let him play with the water. We busted out the frozen treats – popsicles, ice cream sandwiches and cones, and chocolate-dipped frozen bananas. The dumpling had three cherry popsicles and his skin is still a little stained today. We had cinnamon rolls for breakfast and BBQ for our late afternoon meal. And so much champagne. It was fantastic.

I’m still enjoying my hair. I’m firmly of the belief that I’ll never go back to long hair now. I don’t think I’ll be able to because my hair is so easy now. And cute! I seriously look more put-together now than I ever have before because it doesn’t take much for my hair to look great. I feel more confident too.

In other home improvement news, we’ve finally started on a landscaping project I’ve been working on for weeks. The project has quite the price tag (sorry Luffy!), but they’re doing a lot of clean-up work for us, as well as completely redoing the garden beds around our house. The main reason behind doing the project now is that the existing garden dividers in our yard are metal. Or were metal. They’re rusting away, creating a very dangerous hazard just waiting for little toddler toes. I wanted all of that pulled up and replaced. While they’re out, they removed two old DIY sandboxes. They also removed the drab plants we had in the front and are planting some new things! It’s looking nice, though they aren’t quite done yet. I’m excited to see it all come together.

Also, you guys, I’m prophetic. Remember when I recounted our experience with the wildlife people? And I remembered having to call them back a few times to get something finished up properly? Well you’ll never guess what I’ve been doing for the past two weeks. When they replaced our chimney, they also fixed a few soffits. In one of them though, the one that had the visible nest, they placed a one-way door. It allows anything that’s still in the attic to get out. They said they would leave it for a few days, a week tops, and they’d be back to permanently patch the soffit. Yeah, that was almost eight weeks ago and we still have the one-way door in our soffit. I’ve called their offices numerous times over the past two weeks and each time the receptionist or office manager or whatever she is tells me that she’ll have the manager call me back. I haven’t heard anything from them. I got fed-up this morning and called the guy who came out to give us the estimate directly as he seemed to at least be able to schedule things. He said he’d text me with a date as soon as he could (he was driving), so we’ll see about that.