Sunday, January 31, 2010

Getting Schooled

Last Thursday was the first day of school for Ava and Nate. Ava is starting Year 1 and Nate is going to preschool two days a week this year. It's funny that most of our summer vacation was spent in the northern winter, but we did get a bit of a summer break in over the last couple of weeks. And now, we're back at it! After much hustle bustle, they were ready to go!

I must admit, they are pretty cute. Look at Nate! Don't you just wanna put those cheeks in a tortilla and gobble them up?

Going through these pictures, I realized I have a picture of them in the same pose and in the same clothes from a year ago!

Ava was off to her first day of kindergarten and Nate to his very first day of preschool. The clothes haven't changed, but they have! Those cheeks-even more cheekier! I think I'll go cry my eyes out now.

Back to the present. Ava was really excited to see her friends again, and it seems like she's eased right back into the routine. A year ago, I wasn't sure about this whole uniform thing--I wondered if it would get boring and I thought, "Where will she wear all her cute clothes?" Ha! I love it now. It's so much easier and straightforward. Once last year, she asked me what my school uniform looked like, and I told her that we didn't have them where I went to school. She felt sorry for me that I didn't "get to" wear one. Anyway, she will get assigned to her new class this week--they spend the first couple days with their old classes while the school sorts out new enrollments. So hopefully it will all go smoothly! And I will have to get back into the routine myself--she's been late the first two days! Supermom? Yes, over here! That's me.

Anyway, we celebrated that afternoon with back-to-school cupcakes. Baked by me? Ahem, no. Freshly baked by the local pastry shop. Supermom? Here I am!

I say, any day that ends in an inch of frosting is a good day.

P.S. Not to leave Grace out, here's what's been on her to do list this week:
Getting immunized
Wanting to be held
Having a stuffy nose
Putting her feet in her mouth
Crying to be picked up whenever she sees me walk by
Laughing at Nate
Eating (I am using air quotes here) a banana.

Not being totally sold on the banana

And that, along with me causing grief and injury to my husband, brings you up to speed on life around here.

Friday, January 29, 2010

This just in: I am selfish. And lazy--don't forget that part.

At about 4 this morning, I was lying in bed, vaguely awake. I think I was stirring cause I knew Grace would be waking up soon to eat, and my body has this annoying habit of waking in anticipation of that. Anyway, there I lay. There I lie? Lay. Whatever--there I be.

Then I heard Ava calling for us. She has been waking some at night since we got back from our trip, complaining about bad dreams. I think it's the residue of jet lag and overtiredness. I waited to see if Jason would wake up. He didn't. She called again. I thought, I really don't want to have to get up with her now and then again with Grace in the next 20 minutes or so. So--and tell me if you've ever done this, I woke Jason up. My soundly sleeping husband, who is always willing to get up to the kids. I was already awake--but I just didn't feel like moving. So I called his name till he awakened. Awoke? Whatever--he done opened his eyes.

Being the total mensch that he is, he immediately got out of bed and staggered down the hall. Any parents reading this are familiar with the 4am Stagger. You are unsteady on your feet, not fully awake, weaving back and forth. You would totally bomb a roadside sobriety test at this point.

In his weariness, he kicked the you-know-what out of a wooden box sitting in the hallway. It's a box of Grace's clothes that I'm sorting through and had temporarily left there. I heard him kick it--hard. Then I heard him go check on Ava. Then he didn't come back to bed. I waited. Five minutes went by. I got up and went downstairs. Jason was sitting on the kitchen floor looking through our first aid kit. He had totally split open his big toe on that stupid box! It looked nasty.

I felt awful. I'd been awake, I could've gone to Ava instead of asking Jase to, and I probably wouldn't have kicked the box. (Jason has a tendency to run into things--a story or stories for another post.) He asked for some pain medicine. I gave him some and then went back to bed, with him following soon after.

I woke up at 7 this morning to find that he'd had a bad reaction to the pain meds (they had codeine in them) and thrown up. While I slept on. Then--and this is the part that we both laughed at when he told me--he felt so bad he lay down on the kitchen floor, knowing he needed to eat something. That codeine on an empty stomach was bad news. But he felt too bad to stand up. So he scooted on his back over to the cabinet and grabbed the peanut butter and a piece of bread. There's Jason--it's 5:30 or 6 in the morning, his toe is stinging and aching, he's puking, and he's laying on his back in the kitchen eating a peanut butter sandwich. Oh, the memories you cherish.

Fortunately, I was considerate and gracious enough to get up with the kids and get them ready for school this morning so he could sleep in a bit. I know. Aren't I so benevolent? He is lucky to have me.

And for the next day or two, he'll remember that with every step he takes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Today in not so few words

1. Today was Australia Day. It's a public holiday.
I say: "Aussie Aussie Aussie!" You say: "Oi Oi Oi!" (But if you say the first part, do not say "aussie" with an "s" sound, please. It's "Auzzie", guys.)

2. Off to the beach we go, at 8:30am. We went here:
It's called Chinaman's Beach. Don't really know why.

3. Lament to Jason about the fact that when we go to the beach, we must bring one half of our house with us. Witness:
Life Jackets
Boogie Board
Sand Toys
3 different changes of clothes
5-6 towels
Extra Drinks
Drinks for Jason (The man has high "Pepsi Max" requirements)
Baby Bjorn
Grace's teddy bear
Beach tent
3 children

4. People laugh at us as we stagger by laden with aforementioned half of house.

5. As the morning passes, hundreds of people arrive, festooned with Aussie flag tattoos, flag banners, radios, portable bbq's, and, one enterprising person: an inflatable kiddie pool filled with ice and beer.

6. Perhaps the highlight of everyone's day: I premiere my new swimsuit. I actually get in the water, which in Australia is rare for me. I usually find the Pacific way too cold. Today? It's perfect.

7. Due to #6, I spend the next hour noticing places I have not adequately shaved.

8. The kids swim, play, and shovel sand to their heart's content.

9. 3pm: We head home, pink from the sun (oops), sandy, and tired.

10. 5pm: Due to our new fitness regimen (I am doing air quotes around fitness here), Jason and I load up the kids and go to the nearby athletic fields to walk and let the kids kick the ball around a bit.

11. I attempt to jump rope. It has been approximately 15 years since I have jumped rope.

12. There is some jiggling. Note to self: Ace Bandage entire body before doing this again.

13. I jump 50 times. My face is now very red.

14. Then I die. In my will, I leave the jump rope to Ava, my West Wing dvd's to Jason, and my new Gap Long and Lean Jeans to Becky.

15. Dinner and Bedtime. Ava is swaying slightly and feels a little sick. I realize that she hasn't had much water lately.

16. Accept "Mother of the Year" award for dehydrating oldest child. Rethink wisdom of playing at athletic fields after a day at the beach.

17. Jason goes to see Avatar. I position myself in front of fan.

That about covers it. Oi Oi Oi!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

There are no further incidents to report.

Of the rodentary nature, that is. (I'm just gonna call that a word, ok?)In my hysterical ramblings, though, I may have overdone it. I was just emoting, y'all! But the other day I was telling a friend (who also reads this blog) how freaked out I was and she was all, "Yeah--you made that pretty clear!" I feel I may have given Australia a bad name. Sorry about that, Australia. You're pretty awesome. In spite of your rats, deadly spiders, and soul-crushing summer heat. We're still friends!

So I'll move on to other topics for now. But know that I am still vigilant! And that the fight goes on.

School starts back this week and Ava will begin Year 1. I can't believe that I have a first grader on my hands! Nate will go to preschool two days a week now, so that means that Thursdays and Fridays, Gracie and I will be flying solo. This week, I need to make sure Ava's school uniform still fits her and that she has everything she needs.

Speaking of uniforms (or clothing), I spent my time this week (when I wasn't standing on chairs in fear of rats) cleaning out the kids' closets to make way for the Christmas/America avalanche of clothing. In Ava's drawers, I found a pair of Mossimo capri jeans that she'd never worn. The tags were still on them. She is not big on jeans, and just never really wanted to wear them. I noticed that the tag described them as "Mid-Rise". This disturbs me. Does this imply that Mossimo is making "Low-Rise" jeans for 6 year olds? Of course, I don't know if they are. But if they're not, why differentiate, know what I mean?

Anyway, in a world of differing opinions and political hot button issues, I feel certain that we can all agree that this is a bad idea. In fact, low rise jeans are currently a bad idea for me, too. In my day-to-day life, I am forever sitting on the floor and bending over and if I wore low rise? Let's just get real: no one needs to see that.

It's Sunday night, which as I've told you, means that Jason and I are brain-fried. So I'm off to put kids to bed and watch a few pointless dvd's. Have a great day, wherever you are!

--Update: During bedtime stories, Nate informed me that Jesus has "lemon powers". I guess this means he disinfects? Or adds a certain zestiness to seafood or iced tea? Who knew? The things you learn from 4 year olds.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cripes! It's Like Freakin' "Wild Kingdom" Around Here

Check out the visitor we had on our front balcony this morning:

A sulphur crested cockatoo. They've perched on our porch before. I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but these are big birds--about the size of a smallish cat. Today when Jason cracked the door to get a picture it went a little nuts, as you can see. Jason jumped cause it was so loud and jerked the camera a bit. I think that's why our porch rail looks so curvy. Cool, eh?

As an update to life here at Rodent Central, I am sad and freaked out to report that there was another victim of our trap last night. Ew. Ew ew ew. Jason called the agency again this morning and they said they would call someone about it tomorrow. Apparently, they do not understand that this is a pressing and very serious issue. I do not want to have to go over there and key someone's car or anything, but if the situation requires it, I will. As always, you'll be the first to know. Meanwhile, Jase says he knows how they're getting in from the outside, and that he'll block it off or something. I think we should be more drastic. Can you shrink wrap an entire house? Just typing all this out makes my heart beat faster.

Oh! And last thing. I forgot to tell y'all that also on the day we got home, my friend Amy texted me. She stayed here some while we were gone. "I thought you might want to know that I saw a Red Back in your laundry room." That would be the poisonous red back spider, featured previously. Awesome! We've searched thoroughly and can't find it, which makes it more awesomer. But the funny thing is, I am bothered way, way, WAY more about the rat(s) than about the poisonous spider. Aren't we humans illogical and inconsistent creatures?

Apparently while we were gone, nature has been trying to reclaim the house. She must. not. win. I will continue to fight valiantly toward this end. Or really, Jason will. I will mostly whine and obsessively disinfect.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Let's just call this our welcoming committee.

It's taken me a few days to recruit the strength to write this post. I am in the midst of major heebie jeebification.

After we got home on Saturday, Jason went into the kitchen to get a snack for the kids and noticed a large amount of rodent droppings around our stove.

Hang on a second while I go breathe into a paper bag.

I'd left a (sealed) packet of oatmeal by our stovetop and *whatever* it was had gotten into the package. Judging by the poop left behind, there was a serious partay. "Ain't no party like an oatmeal party", as the song says. Anyway. As soon as Jason pointed out the evidence to me, I fled the room and left him to clean it up. I've mentioned my irrational fear of rodents before, and the thought of mice and or rats in our house fer real freaks me out. We've had rats in the attic a few times over the years, but I was always able to tell myself that they weren't able to get into the house. Ha! I say again, ha!

So, of course, we boiled the kitchen in its entirety, and called the agency that manages the house (we're renters, you see). As freaked as I was, I had to laugh listening to Jason's side of the conversation. He told the lady that we'd been away and found rodent poo in our kitchen when we came home. Then she must have asked something about what kind of rodent he thought it was cause he goes, "Well, I'm not sure. I'm not really an expert in, um, droppings." Hee hee. Jason is many things, but he is not an expert in scat.

She told us that we needed to put a trap out--that if it was just one "animal" that didn't justify sending an exterminator. Huh? In my mind, one animal justifies putting on a haz mat suit and moving to a hotel. Perhaps I overreact.

But you see, I am a student of popular culture. And here is a short summary of what popular culture has taught me about rats and mice.
  • Mice will chew your hair and take it back to cushion their nests. (Little House in the Big Woods.)
  • Rats will perch on the edge of your baby's crib and look down at her menacingly. Thinking mean, devilish thoughts. They have green, glowing eyes too. And if you think I'm joking when I say that I laid in bed visualizing this scenario in Gracie's room...then we should get to know each other better. (Lady and the Tramp)
  • Mice will steal away into your stepdaughter's attic bedchamber and sew her a ballgown while she does your housework below. They will also wear tiny clothes and sing. I will admit this doesn't so much apply to me as I do not have a stepdaughter. But those of you who do? Watch your backs. (Cinderella)
  • Rats will raid your spice rack and stare at you while you sleep. They will also watch your TV. (Ratatouille)
  • Mice will go on covert missions of goodwill. Okay, that one does not sound so bad, I guess. But do your dang missions in someone else's house! (The Rescuers)
  • Rats carry the Plague. (Hello! Ask anybody!)
Am I boring you? Oh, what--like you don't have any irrational fears? How nice for you. I'll get to the point. Jason gets a trap and baits it and sets it out after the kids go to bed on Monday night. I told him that he would have to be the one to check it in the morning. "I can't handle that--you know that, right? I can't do it!" He sighed, "Yes, I know that." He is a good, patient man.

I am able to fall asleep that night only because I am still pretty jet lagged. Our house is laid out in such a way that most all the bedrooms are a good ways from our kitchen, where the trap is. So, as I go to bed, I'm thinking that there's no way I'd be able to hear the trap if it goes off.

Ha! I say again, ha! At five in the morning, I'm feeding Grace in her room, which is closer to the kitchen. The house is quiet. The light outside is grey. I'm half asleep. Then, snap! I jump and startle Grace. I crept back to bed and lay there awake for an hour till Jason had to get up. "I heard the trap release." "You did? When?" "An hour ago. I haven't been able to go back to sleep since." Then my husband, who wasn't even fully conscious, started laughing at me. "Babe, seriously?" he says.

Yes, babe. Seriously.

So Jason dealt with *it* and later informed me that it was "bigger than a mouse". I am not kidding when I tell you that this made my heart beat faster. We left the trap out again last night and there was nothing this morning. We'll do it again tonight. What do you guys think? Rats are smart, right? That's why they're in all those psychology experiments. Do you think they watched their buddy get whacked and avoided the trap the next night? Or do you think we got the only one there was? I am also not kidding when I tell you that this is the debate I've been having with myself all day. Over the intelligence of rats. And if they can learn from the mistakes of their little disgusting rat friends.

I think I am going a little nuts. Any advice is appreciated! (About the rodent problem, though if you have advice about me being nuts, I'll take that too!)

Monday, January 18, 2010


My Lord at the luggage. When we left for the States, we took empty bags with us. I took almost no clothes for myself or the kids, cause I've learned from experience that going home at Christmas necessitates alot of packing space on the other end! Here's some of our bags when we got home on Saturday.

We had seven big bags in total, packed to the brim with Christmas presents, clothes, shoes and various items that we can't get here. I confess that it often feels excessive to me, but when I look at what we actually are bringing home, I don't think it's really extravagant. However as Jason and I sat in his parents' living room on Thursday, packing the last few things I looked up at the TV coverage of the earthquake in Haiti and thought, Wow. It just made the boots I bought on clearance and our favorite BBQ sauce seem so silly and frivolous, you know? We are doing our part to give to relief efforts, but I was just overwhelmed at the gulf of difference in circumstances! It's staggering.

But anyway. What I was gonna tell you about was some of the items that we stock up on when we're home. When you live in a different country, you end up being surprised by the things you miss and want when you can't get them. And conversely, it's surprising what you don't miss too. So here's some of our must-get items when we're in the US...

--Crest Vivid White Toothpaste. I've told y'all about this before. This toothpaste is great and it really whitens! Complete strangers stop me on the street to marvel at my blinding smile. Marvel, I tell you. Okay, that is not actually true. But I'm sure they would if they all weren't so shy. Regardless, you can't get Crest here, so we always buy some when we're home.

--KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce. For all the "throw another shrimp on the barbie" talk, we've yet to find a BBQ sauce here that we really like. Any Aussies are welcome to suggest one if you know of any! It's not like this is a top-of-the-line sauce in the States either, but we like it and it's better than what we've tried here.

--A1 Steak Sauce. What can I say? We like our sauces.

--Athletic Socks. Of course, you can buy them here. But Costco has, like, packs of 1500 socks for 8 bucks. You pay more for less here, so we stock up when we're home.

--Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix. Australia, I love you. You know that. But your Ranch dressing leaves much to be desired. It's alright--I accept that about you. Your universal health care, charming people, and gorgeous scenery are fair trades for salad dressing. We'll just bring our own, okay?

--Hershey's Chocolate Syrup. This makes the best chocolate milk, hands down. You can get it at a speciality store here, but I think I would have to sell a child to afford to buy it regularly. Okay, looking at my list makes me realize how obsessed we are with flavorings and sauces. Cause check this next one.

--McCormick Salad Supreme Seasoning. Jason loves this stuff! He puts it on EVERYTHING--eggs, hamburgers, chicken, steamed veggies, grilled veggies, pasta. Actually, I think he puts it on everything but salad!

Jason makes some mean scrambled eggs with this stuff.

--TV series on DVD. We watch a lot of shows on dvd--it serves as our date night on weeks we can't get a babysitter. (Which happens often!) This year, we bought Arrested Development. We've actually seen the series before, but we think it's so hilarious we want to watch it again. I highly recommend it!

As Maria Von Trapp sang, these are a few of our favorite things. What about you? If you've lived somewhere other than your home country, what did you miss? Or if you were to move, what would you have to bring with you?

Now, I am off to finish unpacking and do laundry. Which is totally fun and exactly what I want to do right now. (When I say things like that, Ava now says to me, "You say that like you mean it, but you really don't.) She's perceptive, that one.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

You know you've been in alot of airports when...

...your four year old spends the whole morning pretending to be a drug dog, sniffing you for "somethin' dangerous". This was especially charming in the grocery store today!

Maybe there's a career in Border Patrol in his future.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


We made it! After a relatively painless, though exhausting, flight over the Pacific we arrived in Sydney this morning. Except it didn't really feel like morning--if you're familiar with that jet laggy "this day will never be over" kind of feeling! We all took a nap this afternoon and when it was time to wake the kids, it was like trying to wake the dead. They were down for the night at 4pm! It goes against my nature to wake a soundly sleeping child, but I'm telling ya, it had to be done. Only promises of the park and McDonald's would lure them from their beds. And even then, Nate asked if we were going to go have breakfast! We are going to have to reset their little hard drives over the next couple days.

It's nice to be back in summer clothes and hear the kookaburras in the bush across the street. I was thinking: one week ago today, we were sledding in the mountains and this afternoon Jason and the kids went swimming. Craziness! We had such a fantastic time in the States, and it is always hard to leave our family. Part of what makes it painful is knowing that it's hard for them, too. Know what I mean? I always get a little down when we return home--I love our lives here, but it is hard sometimes to be so far away from family and good salsa. Becky wrote about the kind of post-family fun malaise she's feeling, and hit the nail on the head! It's the way I always feel too, though it takes a couple days to set in, once we've settled back at home.

It's just after 8pm here now, and the children are all nestled snug in their beds. I am right behind them! Fingers crossed that Grace doesn't decide that 2am is a good time for a party. Would you pray for us, if you're the praying type? And if you're not, pray for us anyway--it won't hurt, and it'll make me feel better!

Back soon with more...have a great day! Or night. Or whatever it is where you are.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Down from the Mountain

We are just back from a great week at my Mom and Dad's mountain house in North Carolina. It was a snowy, unplugged week and all the family gathered together. There was some hot-tubbing and some game playing, some nose-wiping and some DVD watching. I also may have eaten more than my share of Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies.

What? You'd be surprised at the things you miss when you can't get them anymore! Here's a few pics of our snowy adventures, courtesy of Becky, who has a way more awesomer camera than me.

Nate and Jason

It's hard to say who had more fun playing in the snow--the kids or the adults! Matt, Jason and Dave put that little sled through some serious runs that I'm not sure it was designed for. But a good time was had by all! Grace didn't really sled though, as the temperatures were a bit low for her. I believe the proper meterological term for the weather we had is "butt-cold". But I'm not sure.

Debbie and Wayne
Our noble parents.


The whole fam. It is a minor miracle that we got this shot. Even if Grace shot her hand up and blocked her face. She was being contrary. Typical!

Tomorrow, we jet to California and then on Wednesday night we are Sydney-bound. If you have been confused by all these travels: California, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina; don't worry--I am too. It has been a whirlwind, but a fantastic one! Tonight we're at Becky's place in Atlanta and when I went to put Grace to bed, she looked at me like, "Seriously? I'm in another different bed?" We are slightly insane for doing all this with three little kids, but I am so glad we did.

(Will you please tell me that on hour 8 of our upcoming 14 hour flight?) Thanks. Now, I'm off to squeeze in one more game of Xbox karaoke with Becky. Someone is about to rock the socks off of "Bust a Move". I'll give you one guess who that will be!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

QVC, we've never really met, but you're starting to freak me out a little.

We are back from Dallas and about to head up to Mom and Dad's house in the mountains for a week before making the long, long, LONG trip home. Did I mention that it is a long trip? But I won't think about that right now. Grace was such a trooper on our trip, being schlepped in and out of the car and all over the city while we visited with everyone. She still has her cold, and Jason is still traumatized by the battery-powered snot sucker. He doesn't want me to use it on her again, but I think I'll sneak out and buy one before we leave. Don't mention it to him.

Jason and I stayed with our good friends Greg and Susan while we were in Dallas. We sat up late one night chatting about books. Susan works in publishing, you see, and handles marketing campaigns for a well known author. So we were asking her about the inner workings of publishing and book retail--this kind of stuff is really interesting to me. Then she told us that next week she'll be presenting a book and being interviewed on QVC. Do you ever watch QVC? For my Aussie readers, QVC is a home shopping channel that is on 24 hours a day--all live, even in the middle of the night. I have never really seen it, except for when I'm flipping through the channels.

Susan told us that QVC has a huge viewership--that during the day there are anywhere from 9 to 15 million viewers, and that even in the middle of the night about 2 million people are watching. I had no idea! That's massive. She told us all about how she had to travel to QVC heaven in Pennsylvania for a day long training and "audition" to be on the air. It's a huge complex there, and while the hosts are on the air, they have live minute-by-minute feedback of what people are buying and what "pitches" are working best. Producers monitor how what the hosts say effect sales and direct them via earpieces on what's working. Susan had to do two taped auditions and then get feedback before they told her she was okay to be on air. And then they give you a window of time where they can call you and ask you to fly in--so you have to be on alert for a time. There's a big list of what to wear and not wear on air, and you have to get a manicure. All those close-ups of hands showing products--I guess they don't want any distracting hangnails!

She was talking about how QVC really knows their demographic, and what kind of people are watching at certain times of the day. So I thought, Oh really? Then let's turn it on right now and see if they know us. Greg turned it on and a man and woman were selling under-eye concealer. Just earlier that day I'd said to myself that I really needed to get some better concealer. Seven months of broken sleep are accumulating under my eyes. And now, here is my new friend QVC giving me what I asked for!

How did they know I'd be watching? Do they have magical mind reading powers? What else does QVC know about me? Maybe they know stuff about me that I don't even know. What if it's stuff I need to know? Like if my butt looks big in the new jeans I bought the other day? Or that I ought to moisturize more often? Maybe they know it and they're telling everyone else. QVC thinks I'm fat and scaly but they won't tell me to my face!

I didn't actually order any concealer, but if I'd been watching by myself I might have! They know that, don't they? I guess lots of tired mothers are watching QVC at 11:45 on a Saturday night. Lots of tired, paranoid mothers.

Anyway, I love learning about how stuff works. Don't you? Good luck next week, Susan! Do you ever watch home shopping channels? Have you ever bought anything? Do they use their mind powers on you too?

Friday, January 1, 2010

This one is mostly about snot. But Happy New Year!

My mom has been on my case about not blogging this week. I know, Ma! I may have seem to have fallen off the wagon (the blogon?) but I assure you, I have been blogging in my heart. In my heart, in my heart. Lord, I want to beeeee a blogger. In my heart. (Did you sing that song in church?)

Jason, Grace and I are in Dallas for a few days to see our peeps here. Tonight, we are spending New Year's Eve with our good friends Joseph and Melissa. Our party so far has consisted of this: eating massive amounts of chicken wings, lighting sparklers at 10:15pm (waiting till midnight is so predictable), and wiping Grace's nose.

Poor baby has a cold and a very stuffy nose. She woke up crying just a bit ago and was all blocked up. I was lamenting this fact and the probable long night in front of me when Joseph asked if we had one of "those battery powered nose bulbs". And I said, "Whoza Whatza?"

These kids today and their wacky baby gear inventions. I tell ya. I hear tell that there are some fancy machines that allow you to actually hear your baby from another room. I know! It's something to do with radio waves. Amazing. But about the snot. So the old fashioned way is to squeeze the bulb and then let go, and it halfheartedly sucks some snot out. It is frustrating cause you do all that and your baby still has a blocked nose. Plus she kind of hates you now.

So we used this fancy newfangled contraption and my oh my. It sucks, y'all. And I mean that in a good way. It really did the trick. I mean, don't get me wrong. She was royally ticked off. It was heartbreaking to have her cry so much but at least this time she screamed with a clean nose! Even so, I have a feeling I'll be welcoming 2010 with a snotty baby sleeping fitfully on my shoulder.

All this snot talk reminds me of something Becky and I witnessed one time. We'd taken Ava, who was a baby at the time, to the doctor. While we waited to be seen we shared the waiting room with another mother and her little girl. This little girl apparently had a stuffy nose, cause Becky and I watched the mother--I promise you this is the truth--lean over, put her mouth over the girl's nose, and suck the snot out. I nearly died when I saw it, I nearly die when I think about it, and I am nearly dying writing about it right now.

I respect her commitment to her daughter. And I have vaguely heard of others doing similar things. Wow. Ava, Nate and Grace--I'm not sure that Mama loves you that much. I hope you understand. Can I buy you a pony instead?

Perhaps I should change the subject? In other news. Just now, Jason, Joseph, Melissa and I went outside on the back porch to light our sparklers. Yes, we did it an hour and a half early, but hey baby--it's 2010 somewhere! Joseph lit something called a "fountain" that hissed and popped and squealed and spewed sparks. It was a little more celebratory than we were hoping for. And uncomfortably loud. We were laughing and cringing at the noise. Having two sleeping babies inside the house changes your perspective on fireworks! Of course it woke them up. So that was awesome. We deserved that.

So from our snotty family to yours, happy new year! It's gonna be a good one, I think.