An Unwelcome Visit to Familiar Territory

To address Erin's comment... no, I don't think I am losing steam. For those not in the know, Saturday was the last home BC Football game and being the fans we are we had a strict departure time of high noon. That makes a nice thoughtful post a bit challenging. We might also be losing the ability to keep positive. There may be snow and freezing rain here today, but it is feeling an awful lot like Spring - of 2008 that is.

Our little ear infected princess went home with an RX for Omnicef, which until I saw the actual real name on the $35 prescription I did not recognize as the most evil antibiotic on the face of the earth. The Antibiotic to end all Antibiotics. The one that caused the great rash of 2008. Oh yes. We have all been treated to frequent tearful sessions coping with green/black poop and a diaper area (not isolated to the bum, ohhh no) that is so red and raw that even a slight breeze would cause a terrified flinch. It's been a challenge and we have been so incredibly lucky to have others here to help us, to say a Hail Mary with us, to hold her legs (I wish I was kidding), and to reassure us that we are doing the best we can.

She stopped taking the antibiotic this morning. I phoned the pediatrician and got some advice - Culterelle ($27), Lotrimin ($9 - powder spray), A+D CVS Brand ($4). The antidotes to the evil antibiotics cost more than the poison itself. Go figure. The nurse urged me to continue with the medication - but we laughed at that thought and decided that Motrin would do just fine until our appointment at Children's Hospital tomorrow for the ear follow-up. We aren't leaving there without a RX for an incredible rash cream and some answers regarding the ears. My hope is that the desperation in my eyes or the contents of her diaper will assist us in getting this ear thing wrapped up.

We are thankful for so much this year and today reminded us that our family - both here and on the other side of MA- is the single most wonderful thing to be thankful for.

I am already panicked at the thought of sending her to school on Tuesday with this rash. The knowledge I have of the last go around reminds me that while they do their absolute best, this rash needs constant vigilance to get out of our life. That is exactly where I want it to be. My poor baby girl is suffering right now.

This concludes a post a day everyday. I wish it did not have to be on such a sad note. I hope to have promising news on the ear and rash front on Monday.

The Holiday Season is upon us!

"Reindeer" sighted at Kiki and Papa's house!!!

Caroline asks Auntie K: "Wheredahgo?"

Go BC!!!

Auntie C's favorite Caro-isms

After turkey and mashed and green bean casserole left overs Kerri remembered NaBloPoMo and was quite exasperated, so I suggested a guest post - she was psyched. So here's a quick guest post from Auntie C ... nothing spectacular but here goes ...

Although I didn't get to spend Thanksgiving with the McFam ... (I was over celebrating the holiday with the Soups) ... I have been able to spend a lot of time with Caroline recently. Uncle Hokie and I babysat her a few weeks back and the football games this fall have been a plenty.

Here are a few of my favorite Caro-isms:
Her three favorite words are: Dora, Elmo, and Ariel. They are the most important people in her life and they are all she cares about. (Sorry everyone, you know it's true!) They are the answer to all that is evil and the best way to get a snuggle out of her.

"Dip?" -- Caroline will dip anything in anything and simply suck the "dip" off the chip, cracker, carrot annnd repeat. Dip dip dip ... she ate about a cup of ketchup when I cooked her chicken nuggets while only managing to eat one nugget. Gross.

Circle spinning has become a favorite past time of Caroline, we'll have to get a video of it, she twirls herself like a ice skating queen until she's laughing so hard that she has to stop. And as soon as she gets her balance back she goes at it again. Just laughing and laughing.

Last but not least -- the back rub -- yeah that sounds so weird a baby giving back rubs? It's not your normal back rub ... Caroline loves rubbing her little fingers against your skin in that lower back area just above your pants -- if your shirt is tucked in she will untuck it just so she can get there. She's been doing this since she was a little baby and I hope she keeps doing it. It's so relaxing for both her and whoever is the lucky receiver.

Those are my favorite Caro-isms ... hope you're jealous that she's not your niece.

Happy Turkey Leftover Day!!!
~Auntie C

This year I am thankful for…

… a child who can blow her own nose
… ticklish thighs
… Sunday football games with Daddy – “GO!”
… tiny requests for “hat!”
… Abby
… Tights
Sticksters Cheese Sticks
… two hour naps
… that my touch can make even the biggest bump on the head feel better
… the “helpa cha
… Ariel
… both of our jobs
… Sara and Michelle
… a little girl who loves to brush my hair
… the warmth in our home (both love and actual heat of course)
… the tiny light at the end of the diaper tunnel
… that while gas is affordable again we are still doing as little driving as possible
… the overwhelming generosity and immeasurable love of our extended family
… toddler sized utensils
… new friends
… an amazing partner
… BC football (I can’t believe I am thankful for this, but I really am.)
… old friends… a toddler who reminds me everyday how lucky I am

Buckle Love

For Auntie C - I bring you yet another random video, shot last night during a greater than 20 minute post meal playtime with the most intriguing thing in the house - the booster seat buckle.

I am at work tying up some loose ends and getting in a couple hours of work before the McFam heads north for the holiday. Steve is at home with Caroline and he will unfortunately be making a last minute visit to the pediatrician just so we can be assured that this ear business will not put a damper on our (and the rest of the family's) holiday fun. Caroline has been woefully irritable and we'd like there to actually be a reason beyond a diagnosis of "TODDLER."

We are packed up - organized - the cars (we have to take both) are gassed up and we are ready to roll out.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

From Caroline Month 22

frozen turkeys

So let’s talk about the weekend already!

Friday night the McFam hit the SBC for some dinner and we were thoroughly impressed with the children’s menu offerings. For $5.95 Caroline enjoyed an adorable portioned tray of grilled cheese, fruit cup, mixed veggies (which she actually TRIED!), French fries, milk, and a cookie. I think it is safe to say we will be returning to this place again soon – their crab cakes rocked. Caroline’s favorite part of dinner was dipping her fries into my tartar sauce. TARTAR sauce. The condiment queen maintains her reign.

On Saturday we welcomed Marc in from Boston. He and Steve sped off to enjoy some pregame drinks and wings before making it back home just after the BC Wake Forest kickoff. We were also fortunate to welcome the boys of the C3s and the Loban clan. Amanda came with both delish cookies and pigs in a blanket, which the boys devoured heartily. Ethan was such a giggly boy riding Caroline’s horse/giraffe. He is growing so fast, too fast! Christian and Caroline have played together before, but this visit they really seemed to click. Together they went hunting for the “kitty kat.” While I allow Caroline some one-on-one Reese time, all I could imagine was the cat taking a swipe at little Christian and that was all I needed to keep the kids separated from the “kitty kat.” BC did eventually win the game, overcoming amazing obstacles to do so. There was quite a lot of whooping and high fiving.

Later, Caroline sat with Marc on the couch watching her new movie Happy Feet. (THANKS MARC!) She got super comfy, leaning right into him. She would have fallen asleep right there if I had let her. She went right to bed, only to wake up around 11 screaming for us. Nothing like showing Marc all the colors of parenthood in one short visit. I suspect that the fluid in her ears from her ear check last Monday is now a full blown infection, but we are waiting if we can for her Children's follow-up next Monday. Besides that one wake up, all else seems to be normal.

Sunday we caught up on laundry, took a short trip to IKEA to look at toddler beds, and organized for Thanksgiving. I took a last minute ride to my fav second hand store to locate new jeans for our growing girl. There were signs up noting that they would be accepting spring and summer clothes starting the second week in December. EEK! I ran through the 24 month racks ONE MORE TIME knowing that the next time I get back there will likely be little left for winter. My find of the day was a pair of snow boots, which are still a bit too big, but worn perhaps twice. She'll be sporting them this weekend as we sit like frozen turkeys at the BC MD game. I love that place.

This parts for you Uncle Marc. I sat Caroline down in her seat for breakfast on Monday morning and she looked at me, perplexed. She put her hands out to the side and turned the palms to the ceiling in that confused “where’d it go?” kind of way. “Marc?”

Our Little Mother

I sacrificed posting this afternoon at naptime to pack Caroline up for Thanksgiving... so instead of a wordy post enjoy this short snippet of our little Mommy feeding her baby "applesauce." She does this just about everyday now. She asks me sweetly to get her "nummy" which in Caro speak means an empty bowl and spoon. She stirs it around, pretends that it is too hot, feeds it to her dolls and rewards them with high praise when they eat well.

Holiday Spirit

That regularly scheduled weekend update is forthcoming. In the meantime BEHOLD.

Here is the "looney tunes can't believe I got myself into this" advent calendar via Wondertime Magazine. It's far from traditional, but like the original each day is designated for a countdown to the holiday and a daily reminder of our blessings. In our more progressive version we used a tiny gift bag instead of cute little window. I am undecided on whether to open them in normal or reverse order. I spent about 45 minutes this afternoon putting all the pieces together; stuffing the bags with a variety of tissue, attaching clothespins, arranging just so. I am very happy with the final product. I wanted this up and ready to roll for Monday - which seriously is the first of DECEMBER?!?! I left the actual advent surprises in a hidden location to be added as we go, both for weight reasons and for practicality. Our little Santa lover is already curious about what exactly is happening with these bags. When she realizes there are treats...

For those who might want to tackle this crafty project - GO FOR IT - I made it about 100 times harder than it had to be with the glue gun sequinsy action and the tissue stuffing. I won't promise a photo/post a day in December (HA! can you imagine?) but I assure you there will be many little advent calendar updates with what I hope to be many photos capturing the holiday spirit alive in our little girl. Maybe we can spread the cheer and help to minimize the stress?

Truck and Turkey Sightings

Marc has arrived in CT and the boys are off to Buffalo Wild Wings for some pregame snacks and drinks. I have mostly prepared the requested dinner of my mother's meatloaf and Steve's mother's mashed potatoes. Should be a fun afternoon!

We ran to the store this morning to pick up some last minute items and hopefully the last of what we will need foodwise for this very short holiday week. As soon as we pulled into the BIG Y lot the shouts from the backseat started; "TRUCK! TRUCK!" I said, "that's right, you get to ride in a truck!" - that's what she calls the car shopping carts. Steve could not get over that she knew before we really even pulled into the lot that she knew where she was. Our Caroline is getting to know her neck of the woods.

I also convinced her that during the days our turkey hunts are silly because the turkeys are sleeping. Now instead of getting in the car and whining for a turkey sighting she says "sleeping?" How else can you explain to a 21 month old that the turkeys are not plugged in? I found a second one in our neighborhood and we even ALTERED our commute home to accommodate a drive by. I wish I were kidding. I see many evening rides to look at holiday lights in our future.

ALSO - dear winners of the Pay It Forward - be patient - with one winner in the midst of moving and the holiday this week I decided to hold off and you will understand why the timing needs to be just so when they do finally magically appear on your doorsteps.

In 2007 we were all celebrating Thanksgiving today. Here was a list of what I was thankful for then. Reading this list makes me nostalgic for the baby that used to live with us; the sweaty nap head, a baby who slept through dinner prep, her little squeal laugh. I am still grateful for many of those same things, but mostly that she has gotten so big, that I am still putting away grown out of clothes to make room for new ones - she's here, she's healthy, she's growing and learning everyday. What a blessing.

chowder and lessons

The most exciting thing that happened to us today is Caroline eating chowder. Lately she has been more open to eating whatever we are eating for dinner. She went to town on tacos last night and kept requesting"mo Cheese!" So when I fixed myself a bowl of chowder for lunch and she woke up from her nap before I could eat it I spooned a small helping into a little bowl for her. She gobbled up spoonfuls once I added in the oyster cracker which she called cookies. The other latest obsession - CLEMENTINES.

That was the most exciting thing that happened to us, but that is not the most exciting thing happening on our street. We pulled into the driveway last night to find an ambulance and the bike gang circled around one child. Seeing an adult in the crowd, I ushered my toddler into our house and picked up the phone to see if Ann knew anything. To make a really long story short - the kids were playing on a discarded door left out by you guessed it - The Sucktaculars. The door is only the latest in a long line of oversized trash items to be left on the side of the road for no apparent reason other than laziness. The kids were playing on the door and one of them (our next door neighbor) slammed his foot through the glass, slicing his leg down to the muscle. He lost a lot of blood, he lost conciousness, and he has ten stitches. There were many photos taken of the door, there was a loud conversation between parent of child and Mrs. Sucktacular, there was a police investigation. We might be smack dab in the middle (geographically speaking) of a serious street war.

Frozen pigs

Caroline came home from school yesterday with a head that smelled like baby powder. It was apparently “beauty shop” day because her little pig tails were perfect, the hair in the back was curled to perfection, and when she inevitably ripped the bands off on the car ride home the hair STAYED exactly where it was. We didn’t even have to “rerubberband.” She spent the rest of the night happy for exactly 10 minutes, which is when she wolfed down an entire package of Annie’s Mac and Cheese, several spoonfuls of my rice, and a few apple slices. She was adventurous enough to try Steve’s pork chop, but declared it “yucky” and spit it back out. She said “no” as soon as I mentioned broccoli. We’ll keep trying. Her appetite lately has been astounding. She eats entire helpings and asks for “mo.” The other 120 minutes before her bath were spent whining, clinging to my leg, asking to be picked up/put down, all the while with that terrible I’m not really crying crying. So she went to bed early last night and at around 9 the ringing in my ears stopped.

All was forgiven during tooth brushing when she spotted a break out on my chin and declared, “boo boo” touching my face gently and scrunching hers all up in sympathy. I figure I will return the favor in about 12 years.

Last year we had a terrible night and my eyelid (the same one as a few weeks ago!) had swollen overnight. It was also when I could finally announce the Albenny engagement. I cannot believe that their wedding is this May?!?

penguins and mice

The Today Show is running another ends of the Earth type special this week. The crew are in Australia, Belize (seriously Colleen, I hope you knew this and DVR’d!!), Mt. Kilimanjaro, and Iceland. On Monday morning Caroline and I snuggled in bed watching Meredith in Australia witness the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island. Do you think she loved it? Um, yes, of course she loved it. She started moving in bed, shaking her body back and forth. Thanks to the magic of DVR we were able to rewind and play the penguin parade again and again and well, again. By the time Steve came back from his shower she was out of bed and walking around like a penguin….

Kind of like this…

From Caroline Month 22

Forget Disney Steve, let’s do the Penguin Parade instead! It is only 12 bucks – after a 14 plus hour flight from LA to Sydney and a 90-minute flight to Melbourne. I mention Disney because we were considering going. I say were because we have more or less decided against it right now. If you say you haven’t seen that new ad on TV where the Mom opens her purse and a Mickey Ear balloon shoots out, you haven’t been watching TV. “Stay 4 nights get 3 nights free!” We thought, “too good to be true.” So to quiet our “wow, that’s amazing” commentary we went online and low and behold it is indeed NOT too good to be true. Our family of three could travel to Disney for an entire week including airfare for just about 1000clams and Disney would be so excited to have us there that they would also grant us a 200 dollar gift card to spend while we play at the parks. It was hard to say no to this. Very hard. If it was "buy 2 nights get 2 free" we would have booked and I would already be singing Bippity Boppity Boo, but 7 nights is 8 days and that is a very VERY long time to vacation with a toddler. Then there is the whole “she won’t remember it” thing, which is true and the riding space mountain solo thing which doesn’t sound nearly as fun as riding with Steve (and Caroline too!). There is indeed tons to do down in Orlando that is toddler friendly – character breakfasts, Sea World - but I think we are taking a pass this time around. We’re making plans for a couple days at Sesame Place in the spring instead, BUT MAN, what a deal. If you have older kids or if you are a kid at heart – seriously go and book it – it is NOT too good to be true!!!

texting for content

There are days when I stare at the blinking cursor on Blogger and sigh deeply that I either have too much to say and not enough time to type OR that I cannot think of anything remotely interesting to say. November really pushes those creative juices. I actually sent myself a text last night because lately my biggest blog blunder is not remembering the cutest or funniest things and focusing on the daily grind. Aren’t writers supposed to keep a notebook for ideas? Should bloggers do the same? Do they?

So this week you’ll be treated to a few particularly cute Caroline-isms courtesy of my text message.

“Yeah, Ok.”

This is the new Caroline Catchphrase. An example. Yesterday we were making hot chocolate together. I was showing her how to stir it SLOWLY, reminding her to be careful because it is HOT, convincing her to try a marshmallow and put one in her mug.

“Caroline, don’t you want to put one of these yummy marshmallows in your mug?”
“yeah, ok!”


“Hey Caroline before we play with the blocks, let’s pick up our crayons.”
“yeah, ok!”

With just over a month until Santa (!!!) comes it is difficult to fight the urge to switch out some of her older amusements for new and much more developmentally appropriate ones. I have retired most of the “baby toys” to a box in the attic in preparation for puzzles and new Little People sets. That is NOT to say that she is lacking in the toddler amusement area, oh no, I think she is just ready for more a few more challenging playthings.

Operation Advent Calendar is nearing completion. I have the burns on my fingertips from the glue gun to illustrate my progress. I thought I was so slick getting all my holiday shopping for Caroline done early… until I decided that she MUST have an advent calendar. It seemed like a nice little tradition to start, but it has become quite a big deal. Now that I am neck deep, I wonder about the let down after December 24th when there are no more daily treats. Will she understand that this was something JUST for Christmas? Won’t she have enough to distract her from the missing daily surprise?

The actual supplies were very inexpensive and I am hopeful I can use the “calendar” I made this year for at least a few more years. It is the contents that I missed the mark on. I hadn't initially considered that the goodies for each day were going to cost a minimum of 24 clams. Thanks be to Target for the $1 bin. I really had fun shopping for those little daily prizes which are incredibly varied (both by price and category); hello kitty band aids (free – we already own them just keep them hidden from her), Cars stickers (dollar bin at Target), big girl Ariel underwear (in case of urinary epiphany), Nemo coloring book, a school bus book in the shape of an actual school bus complete with wheels. I also picked up candy canes, which I figure she can either eat or hang on the tree, and Steve is supposed to be responsible for getting a couple other edible treats for a handful of days.

Oh the tree! We are participating in the Loban Christmas Tree Extravaganza the first weekend in December. I am so excited, but also a bit concerned about the tree this year. We have a curious toddler who will adore hanging ornaments from branches and potentially pulling them off. She will need close supervision from then until New Years to be sure that the tree doesn’t topple on top of her. Yikes! Last year she supervised the tree decoration, but knowing her the way I do the second the box top is off the dusty Rubbermaid marked “XMAS” she is going to be off and running, most likely away, with the most precious of ornaments. It will be exciting and fun and perhaps we will create a new holiday tradition; “Ornament Freeze Tag” while we try to catch her and pry those clothespin reindeer out of her hands. Wow. This is sounding less awesome the more I think about it. My visions of cocoa and carols and sitting together with the lights out admiring our decorated handiwork are quickly vanishing.

Steve isn’t really into the whole deck the halls thing and his participation is minimal. I, on the other hand, look forward to it, pine for the smell of holiday tree, and get nostalgic about each and every ornament I free from its basement hideaway. I am hopeful that in Caroline I will gain a partner in crime for holiday decoration. Steve asked me the other day if I was going to string cranberries and popcorn with Caroline and when I said no HE was disappointed. Perhaps the holiday spirit will catch everyone in our house this year after all, and hopefully none of it will fall on top of anyone.

and in keeping with my November theme: I heart these videos. These are from the JUST crawling collection and they make me teary for my once upon a time baby. Look at her sweet face in the second one and that little voice...and then look at the kitchen - thank god we did the upgrade Steve!


According to the pediatrician there is still a bit of fluid in Caroline's ears, but at this time with our follow-up appointment at Children's looming just three short weeks away we aren't going to treat this fluid with more antibiotics. With the combo of those dang eye teeth still making their entrance into the world and a really drippy nose, he felt that any irritability could not be blamed soley on ears. SO - no antibiotics but from my discussion with him he thinks that if we did move forward with tubes it might make for a much easier winter for Caroline AND her parents. We're going to wait and see what they say up in Boston, but he suspects we will be getting a green light for the procedure. So stay tuned for that exciting update. har har.

We did manage to get to the grocery store, our appointment AND the library toddler group this morning. I forgot our shopping list at home and had to wing it which meant a couple off the list purchases including turkey stickers for Miss Sticker herself. I had been aiming for a really light shopping week, but with few snacks present in the house, a juice sale, and a jelly roll meatloaf this weekend per request - our light week was in actuality a bit like a regular ol' week.

Caroline and I had some yogurt at her little table and shared an apple watching the end of a Pooh movie playing on Disney before her eyes got sleepy and she went upstairs with Abby for her nap. I feel like I have a million things to do around here today, so instead of procrastinating here I suppose I should roll up my sleeves and clean the tub. Fall has been fast and FURIOUS with the perpetual pack on Friday come back Sunday football routine and this house shows it. I almost don't know where to begin. Steve would say it is fine, but it is cluttered with remnants of this and that just about everywhere I turn. I know that the tub alone will not make me feel as if I have corrected the balance, but it is a start and I need a start right about now before I lose my mind.

I suspect my cheeks will still hurt tomorrow

We're recovering from a really enjoyable Saturday spent with friends. Steve and I needed to take Motrin before bed because our cheeks and heads hurt from the non-stop laugh fest. My personal fav of the night - Jim Breuer. I've been calling Steve a ferret all day. =)

Extra special thanks to the amazing auntie k for taking over the Caro duties in our absence. Not only was she brave enough to take on the Mall Playspace, but she also splurged on dinner out and NOT Mickey Ds - CHEESECAKE FACTORY. What a lucky little girl! We owe you one k. It was such a full fun afternoon and evening and it was all made possible by you!

We've got our ear follow-up on Monday at 9:30 followed by the flu shot. I suspect we'll be relaxing at home most of the day after that appointment.

No time for small talk - I'm busy packing up my "FWI" bag full of amusements for Caroline day with Auntie k.

Last year I offered not one, but TWO posts. First I marveled at Caroline's blossoming independence and then later I announced that Auntie K was going to be tackling the most amazing feat ever - the Boston Marathon.

I hope today brings everyone lots of laughs and if not, then I will do my part to laugh for those who can't at tonight's show.

Sharing Wisdom Kiki Style

After Caroline's 2.5 hour nap - thank you Caroline - we gathered ourselves up for a quick run to Big Y for weekend provisions and Chili must haves (tortilla chips, sour cream). I had to pick up a prescription that was supposed to have been called in mid morning, so we dashed into CVS on our way home. It was that annoying drizzle rain and Caroline declared "wet!" I love it. We waited for our prescription, which annoyingly had not been filled yet and I couldn't help overhearing a discussion at the "consultation counter."

"So use this and then Nystatin how often?"
"And the Balmex?"
"There has to be something else you can do - she's bleeding!"

Sound familiar? It does to me. I was standing not 3 feet from this mother grasping an arm load of diaper creams, Aveeno oatmeal bath, sensitive wipes and my heart broke for her. When the pharmacist walked away, presumably to fill the Nystatin I made eye contact and said "have you tried Triple Paste?" Thankfully I received many recommendations for this Miracle in a jar when we were in similar dire straits last spring.

"No, what's Triple Paste?"
"My daughter gets ear infections and the antibiotics affect her (no way to put it lightly) bowels, which gives her a diaper rash, and then if it gets really bad a yeast infection."
"That is exactly what happened? What do you do?"
"Oh, it's awful! We had the hardest time getting rid of it. It hurt so badly that she couldn't sit in the tub."
"She's bleeding!"
"She was too - it makes you cry too doesn't it?"
"Oh it's terrible!"
"She was raw from front to back"
"Same here, where is that paste?"

I say I offered this Kiki style because somehow Steve managed to marry a girl that enjoys starting conversations with random strangers and sharing her battle scars as much as her mother-in-law. I hope that this woman and her baby get some relief soon. I suggested she slather in as thick as possible overnight and promised she'd see results soon.

I never did get that prescription, they offered to check the voicemail, but clearly with Caroline in tow we weren't going to manage that wait. Maybe we were supposed to be waiting around to help this poor family get rid of the evil yeast infection?

Remind me why I do this again?

I know we all hate non-Caroline posts, but this one just has to be written. I am working with a family whose only son lives in Italy. He is doing what he can to ensure they are cared for from abroad and if you want my opinion (and who doesn't?!) he is doing an amazing job. I was asked to attend a meeting this morning between his father and a respresentative of a state program which may be able to offer some additional help. This meeting was one of the most difficult one in my short career. My presence was startling and apparently an imposition for the case manager sent to complete the assessment and she proceeded to project her anger and aggression towards me onto this poor memory impaired 92 year-old man. She asked him questions rapid fire, dismissed his attempts to engage her, and when he responded that the current President of the United States was Carter she quickly replied, "NO!" I had tears brimming for most of the interview and though I had never met him, it was me who reassured him, offered a smile and my hand. When she finally left he was tearful, asking us if he was in some kind of trouble. He said he felt like a criminal, that he had done something wrong. It was unbearable to witness and I did my best to assure him that she would never be back after he said "she scares me." I don't understand how people like this woman get involved in social services. I did what she should have done and explained that she was here to determine his eligibility for a program to get him some more help at home. There were many lost opportunities in her interview and I capitalized on one at the end of my visit to help him understand why she had been asking him questions. He told her he was an avid photographer. This interview, I explained, was an attempt to capture a snapshot of his life to determine what his needs are. I felt so incredibly bad for him, this wonderful sweet man who still refers to his wife with advanced dementia as his bride. He offered but one piece of advice: Don't get old.

A year ago I wrote about how I shouldn't take a nap. That hasn't changed. I am the world's worst napper. I am grumpy and out of it for the rest of the day. Uncle Hokie how do you do those 5 minute power naps? Without reading ahead I coincidentally planned the same meal (crockpot chili) for tonight, but I think it will be leftover lasagna tonight and chili tomorrow since in my rush to get to an early morning meeting I neglected to toss it together. I love her little onesie in that shot. She definitely still is a selective listener.

Caroline is prepping for an overnight with Auntie k while her parents go to Comics Come Home. So excited about it - almost as exciting is the opportunity to spend the afternoon with some very missed friends over beers and burgers.

Day 12 of 30

I picked Caroline up yesterday afternoon with an amazing properly blown out hairdo. She was waiting with her coat on. Her little friend Julianna got to work on her zipper and refused help twice before letting me assist her. It was the cutest thing and Caroline seemed to love all the attention her little friend was giving.

Later as I unpacked her lunch bag from school I discovered a little surprise and I gasped. Sara and Michelle had put copies of some photos they had taken of Caroline in her bag for me to discover. It was surreal to look at my daughter in photos that had been taken not by me, a friend, or a family member, but by these wonderful ladies. They are literally little snapshots into the life she has without us; eating lunch, holding hands with Hannah after a manicure session, posing with Julianna wearing face paint kitten whiskers. Her life, without me. She's smiling and so I do too.

Last year we weren't feeling too well, but I love looking back at all these cute outfits. They are all packed in old diaper boxes stacked in the attic. Look at her hair here, did she even have any???

Day 11 of 30 - Today was all about Moi

Posting for the sake of posting without much content because I am off to pick up the little miss. My day was filled with advent calendar supply shopping (boy, that project is sounding intense isn't it??), salon self spoiling, clearance rack browsing, laundry loading, and lasagna noshing. It's been a nice day. Wish things could have worked out to have had this day yesterday and had my parents here today, but there is always next time!

In 2007 I was able to recognize that we sort of got this whole parenting gig. It was sinking in that not only were we getting through, but that we were actually capable and sometimes even excelling at caring for our baby. That's an amazing feeling. Last year we were also hard at work on our holiday cards, but this time around the sun we are already done with that holiday to do. They arrived on our doorstep just before dinner yesterday and I think they came out exactly as we had hoped. Looking at last year's card it is hard to imagine that our family has come so far. Another card to tuck away and save to recall another amazing year with our silly and sometimes bossy sweetheart.

Day 10 of 30 and still stuck on those dang turkeys

Big thanks to Auntie C and Uncle Hokie (now known only as Hokie) for spending the afternoon and evening with Caroline on Saturday while her parents enjoyed the BC win over ND. Not only did they give up their Saturday night, but also their game tickets! That is dedication to their niece. From what we heard she had a fabulous time, except for her bath, and went to sleep without a hitch. We can't thank them enough!!!

We hit the road in search of the newest obsession - turkeys - on Sunday afternoon. Caroline slept for just 45 minutes - EEK! - and then it was all I could do to entertain her for over an hour from the front seat. Books were dismissed, toys batted away. Caroline wanted one thing and one thing only; turkeys. Not real turkeys, oh no, those blown up lawn ornament turkeys and now she even says her own version of gobble, gobble when she spies one. It sounds more like double u double u.

We made it all the way through the library music hour this morning! There were a few moments early on when I thought we were crashing and burning as she began rifling through my bag for "fishies" and then "joosh." We played for a bit afterward before heading out to pick up some supplies for an advent calendar I saw in Wondertime's December issue. Once it is done I will post the results. I am going to let Caroline help me make them because they involve stickers!

Caroline is sleeping, I am getting ready to assemble a lasagna, clean the house, and take a shower. After her nap we are making a fistful of snowman sugar cookies that we scooped up on sale at Big Y this week. I will do my best to save one for Steve, but no promises.

Last year I was finally able to announce that Tasha and Tony would be welcoming a new family member in the spring. TJ is now sitting up, dressing as a dragon for Halloween, wearing reindeer antlers, and delighting his Mom and Dad.

Day 9 of 30

It was nine month stats a year ago. She looks so tiny in her little bathing suit.

We'll undoubtedly be heading home at some point today and getting organized for the week. My week is a bit altered and for once it's a good thing. While I will need to work a few extra hours in here and there to make up the time, I am officially off in observance of Veteran's Day on Tuesday. Those keeping score - that's 5 days off in a row. Caroline has school on Tuesday and mysterious forces somehow arranged for my next salon appointment to also occur on Tuesday. I'm planning on dropping her at school, getting some things done around the house (perhaps an hour or two of work) & indulging in some me time. Caroline will be at home early afternoon after we do something together - I just got an ice cold tip that Baskin Robbins is Buy One Get One on Tuesdays.

Seems like we're always in Boston

Like last year, we are in Boston, but for a game this time. The Holy War (Notre Dame/BC) is on the adult members of the McFamily's itinerary. Caroline will be hanging at home with Auntie C and Uncle Hokie, unless it is raining steadily. If that happens I might just have to ask them to babysit me too. I think we are looking forward to Caroline having this special time with her Aunt and Nearly Uncle almost as much as they are.

365 days ago Caroline was crawling over to me in the kitchen asking to be picked up. Today she drags her "helpah chair" over so she can roll up her sleeves and get in on the cooking action.

and the winners are...

Last year seems far less interesting than PRIZES!!!

I used an internet "RANDOM NUMBER GENERATOR" and am happy to announce the three winners of the Pay It Forward Contest:

Terri from the Beanie Board of Part Time Days aka Raggedy Ann

Matt's Mom Liz a onetime Stetson West resident, Auntie Em watching, vegetarian turned meat eater aka Football Player

Rylan's Mom and expecting DOS Aimee aka Monica Lewinsky

Ladies, these packages won't send themselves without your mailing addresses, so please email your info so they can magically appear on your doorstep!

I enjoyed laughing out loud at your responses! You people are certainly creative!

My best costume: A Playboy Bunny. In elementary school (Maybe 4th grade?) I could not decide what to be. I hemmed, I hawed. I gave my parents grief in the costume shop. So my father, yes Dad it was you, suggested I be a Playboy Bunny and when I seemed interested and excited about it (what's that?!?!) off I went with all my Playboy Bunny accesories. I had a black leotard, fishnets, a bunny tail and ears, and oh yeah a stuffed undergarment. I carried a cocktail tray with two glasses glued to it and I wore a silver mask to hide behind. I was the talk of the school Halloween Party. Little did I realize that the stares and open jaws were probably not in awe of my creative one of a kind get up. Seriously, Mom and Dad... great costume... about 10 years too early, but a great costume. I wish I had remembered to get a photo from you to scan in and post here.

Congrats to the winners and thanks to everyone who played!!!

Oh and last year we were also on the tail end of some antibiotics that turned into a "nasty" rash which brought us to the pedi at 8pm. Let's hope tonight is completely uneventful.


Steve picked Caroline up from school on Election Day and the whole ride home she whined “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy.” He even called to put me on speaker she seemed so upset. Yesterday I picked her up and the whole ride home she cried for “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.” Um, WHAT? I distracted her by asking her if Daddy was at home, if we were almost there, and if she was excited to see him. “Yes!” Then we busied ourselves driving extra slow by the blow up lawn turkeys that appeared overnight. We even saw HOLIDAY lights. It's just too early for Holiday lights.

While Steve cooked us a delish taco dinner (I love taco night!) the girls raced off to Home Depot to pick up some ant spray. It seems the change in seasons have somehow alerted a nearby colony that the welcome mat was out in full effect at the McHousehold. I sent them a stern message via a can of Raid on the threshold to the kitchen that there is no room at the inn. Wouldn’t you know that Home Depot already has their FULL display of holiday lawn ornaments, trees, and other paraphernalia up and whirring full blast. There were many an exclamation of “SANTA!” and then she spotted Holiday Mickey and Holiday Pooh and she completely freaked. She spent the whole ride home practicing who she had seen so she could tell Daddy all about it.

This morning at breakfast she had refused to drink her milk, so I taught her how to "cheers" our cups together and that was so enjoyable that she finished the whole cup. She is so ready for holiday dinners…or frat parties.

Last year Caroline nearly enjoyed lunch ala Reese. Parents currently thinking about babyproofing – don’t forget the pet food!

It's been a crazy week hasn't it?! Not just me, is it???

I sat on pins and needles watching the election results come in last night. The McFam was very interested in the coverage, but we were interrupted by a 32 inch tall girl calling for Mommy after only an hour asleep. We comforted, went through the usual checklist; ears? teeth?, administered Motrin, comforted some more. We eventually gave up and took her downstairs to watch the poll results come in with us. She sat silently on my lap and for a few minutes we thought she might ralph, but she didn't. At nearly 10 pm, Caroline went back to bed again and made her objections to that idea well known. Eventually she did fall asleep and thinking I might have a long night ahead of me, I rolled over too. I have an amazing husband who woke me up just after 11pm when they announced that Obama will be the next president. I spent a few wakeful moments watching the crowds at Grant Park, soaking it in, falling asleep secure in the fact that I would not in fact have to move to Canada to raise my daughter in a world that makes more sense. Sure, he is but one man, and sure, he can't make miracles happen, but MAN what a wake up call this country had over the last year! I was so happy to see that so many people voted and while I have voted in other elections, this one felt different! I love this nation, I am proud to be an American, but this morning as I smiled listening to the Today Show highlights of his speech I thought this, THIS, makes me feel like not just my future, but my daughter's is more secure than it was yesterday. Maybe that is naive. Maybe it is, but it sure feels good to have hope again.

In other news I woke up with a really puffy eyelid. Something must have irritated my eye, perhaps from my contact lens? It happens every now and then and I feel like I need to explain to everyone I talk to all day that YES, I know my eye is puffy and NO, it doesn't hurt. By the time I got to work I was saying that I got into a fight at the polls yesterday - at least I can find some lemonade in my puffy situation.

As for our curiously up late Caroline... I think the culprit may still be her ears. As I was kissing her goodbye this morning I noticed some dried gunk in her ear of the red variety. I cleaned it out, but perhaps it was her painful ear or one that she scratched that was keeping her from sleep? Who knows...

Last year I was still balancing a half day of work on Mondays twice a month combined with grocery shopping and baby rearing. I must have been crazy to do that. I cannot imagine life with my bereavement group on my day off! How did I do it??

Day 4 of 30 - 21 Months Old

Today Caroline turns 21 months old. We are just three short months away from her second birthday. One year ago today, Caroline officially crawled FORWARDS for the first time and we were reveling in the awesomeness of her ability to ambulate solo. One year ago, little Caroline was just 9 months old and in the 12 months that have passed she is now running, jumping, dancing, making us laugh, hiding from us by closing her eyes, selecting her own pjs & eating everything but vegetable with approximately 12 teeth. At the same time she is still wearing diapers, sucking her thumb for comfort, and she's 100% still addicted to touching people's bellies.

A year ago she first spotted the ham in Green Eggs and Ham. Today she can point to and sometimes name objects in books.

I spent a good chunk of time last night PAINSTAKINGLY trying to capture my daughter saying "Obama!" It sounds more like "Omama." I thought on the day of the most important election of her lifetime (and mine too!) thus far it would be very fitting for the election day post, but she was more interested in playing fetch with Reese. Finally the two of them have arrived at a compromise - Reese will play with her, so long as she doesn't touch her.

From Caroline Month 21B

After fetch concluded we measured our girl on the new growth chart. That's her new "camera smile" isn't it adorable?? She's 32 inches - exactly one foot larger than the day she arrived.

From Caroline Month 21B

If you haven't already done so - get out and vote. It's important.

Day 3 of 30

It's Monday! Our big plans include BigY and our weekly library group. Last week Caro made an escape when some late arrivals were overheard playing outside the music room. She shot me a devilish grin before bolting out halfway through the program. We'll see what happens today...

We made a stop on our ride home in Western MA to visit Granda who appears to be recuperating really well with the assistance of his very own Nurse Nana. Caroline tried kielbasa with mustard while we were there and in between bites demanded more chips. Keep it up Dad - you look great!!!

Caroline was talking on my phone tonight and was having a lovely little discussion. She kept saying "Hello" so we taught her "what's up?" Had to be captured.

And last year we introduced you to the Sucktaculars.

365 days later there was an apparent yard clean up event resulting in barrels (PLURAL) of leaves being placed for curb pick-up last week. I was astonished and then nearly fell over when they participated in Halloween this year. Lights on until after 8:30!! OK, Sucktaculars, I am onto you. Fess up! Either you're reading or your spies are.

Day 2 of 30

A sad loss by BC yesterday, but Caroline the CHAMP took a brief nap, yet still made it through the entire game pom poms waving. She enjoyed the extra hour of sleep thanks to Daylight Saving Time and we suspect with the level of tired she reached, we might be on track for a nice transition to the time change.

Here is Caroline last year en route to her first swim lesson.

November is back...

and with it is a cult classic - "a post a day everyday" aka NaBloPoMo - National Blog Post Month. Clearly the point of this is to get bloggers writing and updating more, but like last year I cannot help but feel the pull of the alluring idea to post a photo each day. It was an ambitious undertaking and I didn't quite follow through, but now with a year to look back on and an opportunity to compare then and now, I simply cannot pass it up. There will be text, but there will also be link backs to the posts from last year so we can all oh and ahh over the baby that was my baby in November 2007. Sure, I know you are all capable of looking back over the archives, but in the name of efficiency and your at work productivity I will link them here.

Starting with this one:

Look at her! Not yet walking, baby faced, top heavy. Coincidentally, we were also on the mend from an ear infection on this very day last year too. Go figure.

Today we are on the road - so this post will magically change to showcase a November 1, 2008 photo at some point!