Thursday, March 29, 2012

Let's Hear it for My Main Man!!

My stronger-than-Hercules hubby hasn't had a cigarette since last Sunday!

But don't mention anything about cigarettes or not smoking, his head might explode. I try my hardest to never bring the subject up in any context whatsoever, and will only say something unless he does first. But, of course, I have to tell him how awesome he is and how proud I am of him.

Him not smoking wasn't really intentional. We talk about him quitting, but it's a pretty stressful subject. At the same time, it's expensive, and only going to get more so as they discover more and more things tobacco will do to your body. So, the end of last weekend came and we didn't have the money for a pack so he just shrugged it off and said, "oh well."

When he was able to buy some I said, "Aren't you going to buy a pack of cigarettes?" I suppose I thought since he hadn't declared he was going to quit, that wasn't the case. But he proved me wrong when he answered, "No. I'm not buying a pack of cigarettes. I haven't had one in 3 days and I'm doing good." I was so proud!

So in order to keep from thinking about wanting a cigarette, he's turned into Super Husband; I mean, Super-er Husband. Our daycare lady's son developed an ear infection so Jacob had to stay home with Zoey on Tuesday. By the time I came home the floor was mopped, carpets vacuumed, laundry done and folded, jackets washed and hung, linen closet organized, sock drawer organized, then he made dinner. On Wednesday, he came home from work, washed the sofa cushion covers, loaded the dishwasher, and rotated the tires on the Jeep.

I offer to help, or, at least, I think about it, but I don't want to take away his distractions. So send encouraging thoughts his way so he can keep it up!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

On My Soapbox: People Edition

Back on my soapbox to talk about people. Ugh, people! Sometimes my mom would come home from her clothing boutique and say, "ugh, people!" That's how I was feeling on Monday and, apparently, so were a lot of others.

Despite my overall demeanor, I'm a very upbeat, happy, positive person. I'll wait until you stop laughing.......

Ok, I try to be a happy, positive person; especially positive, because I realize no one else is going to be. Monday was a typical don't-want-to-get-out-of-bed-and-get-ready Monday, the only bright spot being the unseasonably warm weather we've been having, but I tried my best to make the best of it. For one thing, Mondays always seem to fly by for me, so that is always a positive. The morning was at its usual pace when my office phone rang and it was my bank. DUN DUN DUN!

The nice lady at our local bank was calling to ask if it was us trying to make a purchase the other day at Wal-Mart in Florida City, FL with Jacob's debit card. They stopped the transaction from going through because they suspected fraud, now were calling to verify that it was, indeed fraud. I was stunned; I literally babbled and said things that did not make sense. I told her that I knew the last time he used the card and I was almost positive it was at a gas station, and it hadn't been for a few days. I said, "maybe online," thinking he was trying, as he sometimes does, to surprise me (can't surprise the person who looks at the bank statement, heeheehee). She said, "no, it said it was swiped, so that means someone has a counterfeit of Jacob's debit card." Well, hell. It's good to know the bank is on such high fraud alert but it would be really nice if these hacker people would go pick on someone else. Jacob said, "Man! Why does everyone have to steal from the poor!"

This is his third time dealing with this, the most memorable when his checking account was wiped out by someone at Boot Barn two days before he was to be flying for the second time in his life, across the country to Orlando, Florida, no less, and then spending three to four days in the car with me and Louis driving back to Montana. The bank refunded the money and, this time, they didn't even allow the transaction to go through. It would just be nice if they didn't have to practice their anti-fraud techniques on us.

A few phone calls later.....

"Good morning, thank you for calling Bladdy Blah Law, this is Breanne."
"Excuse me?"
"Good morning, thank you for calling Bladdy Blah Law, this is Breanne."
"I don't know if I have the wrong number, I dialed [rattles off a toll-free number]. I just need to know if I dialed 1234 or 1235. Just my luck I find someone with half a brain to tell me what number I dialed, don't you know what your number is?"
I was busy pulling up the website, my quickest access to our toll-free number, not saying anything besides, "uh huh." Then it dawned on me what he had just said and that it was directed at me, about me. Startled, I just said, "Did you mean to call Bladdy Blah Law Firm? What number did you dial?"

My problems with this are many-fold. 1) Clearly, someone has serious issues, enough to get so worked up over the fact that THEY dialed a wrong number. The situation really warranted the rude comments and screaming profanities at me through the phone? Aren't we over-reacting just a bit? B) What part of your - one can only assume - ridiculously small brain actually thinks that if you treat people in such a manner they will help you in any way, shape or form? I just hung up on him, his question left un-answered. I guess we'll never learn what number he actually dialed....

I understand everyone having off-days, or being grumpy on a particular day of the week (we all still loved Garfield), but what is with the rampant negativity?! What baffles me the most is that people actually have the audacity to create a fake debit card in someone else's name and try to actually buy shit. I worry enough about my own card being declined, let alone trying to use a stranger's. And, like I said, I couldn't believe how rude Mr. Wrong Number was, the audacity of him to yell at a complete stranger over something completely insignificant. So maybe people's problems aren't actually problems, just a rabid case of look-how-big-my-balls-are.

Well, assholes, look how big my balls are, I choose to be positive when that seems to be the more difficult choice.

Off my soapbox now, thank you, and have a wonderful day!

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Daddy Code

Written in The Daddy Code, somewhere between diapering bottoms and threatening first dates with firearms (or in my case, dismemberment of member), is that the father must, whenever beckoned, turn into a horsey.

This was taken last weekend, but yesterday Jacob was sitting on the floor and Zoey walked up to his back and said, "ride?"
(Sorry about the underwear shots. At least we didn't charge you for them)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How We Do

I haven't written lately to discuss how much I love staying at home with Zoey.

The end.

I kid, I kid. But now I totally understand the biological instinct to love your child unconditionally, because that other instinct to sell them for a nickle kicks in right about the time they learn to make that really awful high-pitched whining noise when they don't get what they want right exactly when and how they want it. So now I get it; the terrible-twos start right around 1 and a half and last until 25.

But that is a very small portion of what goes on, it's just very obvious given her otherwise sweet and playful nature. She's at a very fun age where she loves to play with other kids and they love to play with her. She loves to repeat everything, and copy what we do. She rushes into the bathroom if the toilet seat cover is up because she is convinced putting it back down is an integral part of the routine. It feels like we're getting closer to potty-training, the other day she looked at me, said, "poopy," and then did it, so now I just need to get my ass in gear to get her to the toilet. In the meantime, she's discovered her toilet also serves as a stool.

 And loves more than anything to brush her teeth, and will ask you twelve-million times a day if she can brush her teeth. Then wash her hands.

Somewhere in between brushing her teeth and washing her hands, she'll settle in with a bowl of Cheerios and PBS morning programming. She loves Curious George, The Cat in the Hat, and especially SuperWhy. They just wouldn't be entertaining for children if they didn't make parents want to blow their brains out.

 Although it was determined that I haven't actually gained any weight, that I've in fact lost 2 pounds, I still want to do Yoga. And I get the added bonus of doing it on a bed of Cheerios.

 So then she starts doing Yoga of her own since playing in the lower part of her bassinet is the best thing ever, but she's just a wee bit big.


 Our mornings are pretty low-key. Well, she has tons of energy but she doesn't seem to mind that I don't, and she's content with running around the house using her vibrant, little imagination. She loves books and loves to pull out and look at Mommy's books, even if there aren't any pictures.

 Next activity: hauling her horsey out from her room, snacking on crackers and Yo Gabba Gabba-watching.

Greatest picture ever. She's starting to get the idea of the camera, when I pulled it out to take this she gave me this grin and said, "picture."

Sometimes she'll run in her room just to give her stuffed animals a snuggle; specially as it's getting closer to nap time. She naps on a set schedule now, 2 hours a day. She knows exactly when it's coming and when I say, "Ok, nap time," she gathers her beloved sleeping necessities and hauls them to her room. She even throws them over the crib rail into the crib and tries to climb in (which sucks because soon she'll start to try climbing out).

 She loves this toy I just happened to find at Ross. On the other side is a telephone. I showed her how to spell her name with the writing utensil and she's completely fascinated by it, bringing the toy up to me and saying, "Zoey." She drew this all by herself then brought it up to me and said, "Foofy (aka dog)."

 Durby knows when it's nap-time, carving out a little space for himself. He is so good with her, he loves it when she climbs all over him. He's even shared his ball with her (something we try to strongly discourage). He just needs to work on not getting so wild with his feet.

 Late one morning, but not necessarily nap-time, Zoey just wanted to hang out in her crib. I brought in some books for her, the ones she likes to [have me] read and/or flip through the most - Ladybug Girl and Peekaboo Baby.

She's also recently discovered the art of jumping on (or in, as the case may be) the bed.

 A lot of times after her nap, she's still in lounge-mode for awhile; until she realizes she doesn't have any food in her hands. Looks like horsey is pretty tuckered out too.

I'm a complete worry-wort, paranoid, nut-job of a mother so I swore I'd wait until my kid was 10 before allowing them anywhere near a peanut. But then I did what any rational, information-seeking individual does - googled. Turns out, if either the mother or father have a family history of peanut allergies, you're supposed to wait until they're 3 years old. As in our case, if no one in your families are known to have a peanut allergy you can introduce it after a year. So we did and, of course, like any red-blooded American child, she likes a good PB&J now and again (although I can't for the life of me understand why she doesn't like macaroni and cheese).
 The first heart I drew for her in a new Skippy. I don't know how it started (maybe my grandmother??) but my mom would always open a brand-new jar of peanut butter - creamy or chunky - and use a knife to carve a heart in the top. I'd do it when I was a teenager and always try to maintain the heart shape as I dug out peanut butter. It never worked.

 After - or during in this case - lunch it's often time to go outside; it's time for you to get tired, baby!

 It only dawned on me after I gave her the sandwich that the moment you give your child their first PB&J is the moment Jelly is on everything, like Christmas tree tinsel or Easter basket grass.

 Of course we can't go anywhere without first putting on some socks! Both of Daddy's girls like his socks (wearing a pair myself as we speak).

 I told her to stand there so I could take a picture of her in her socks, and she did! :-)

 Since it's been such a mild winter - to say the least - I've been able to take her to the neighborhood playground more often than I thought. These pictures are old, back when a day actually called for coat, hat, and mittens, unlike our 75-degree day today.

 There are three main things she likes to do at the playground that are on repeat: have me help her go down the slide, swing for hours on end, and climb up the giant step (as pictured above), then climb back down the other side of the giant step (as pictured below) over and over again.

When we get home from the playground we usually go out in the backyard for a bit as well. The dogs cry and carry on like we've just come back from space travel so we let them out and watch as they play. All of that crap behind her isn't ours, but that doesn't really make it any better, does it? There is an outside storage/porch thing that is technically ours but we let our neighbors (the Santas-in-March, two-bags-of-toys-giving neighbors) use.

She loves to play with her toy balls and the dog ball while she's outside.

By then, we're pretty pooped and ready to wind down the rest of the day with some moo.

Besides being court-side to all of this adorable-ness, I get things done around the house, and I bake. Just call me June!

 These are chocolate chip chocolate cookies that tasted like balls of dirt.

 I got the recipe from the all-cookie-all-the-time cookbook my mom sent me for Christmas, which is not a testament to the recipe or book as much as my baking skills. I follow the recipe, are things just designed to taste like the inside of packing material?

 From this other cookbook my mom gave me I made a chocolate apple cake. It was pretty good but still lacked in the indulgence department. It ultimately didn't end up satisfying my late-evening chocolate craving; something only dark chocolate can cure..... *Homer drool*.... so I forgot about it.

I love staying home with my Zoey, I really do. There's nowhere I'd rather be, and there is no the other cranky person I'd rather deal with. And she's the only one who can turn me from mad to sweet in 2-seconds flat. And you all thought that wasn't possible! Miss Z is already breaking those glass ceilings.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Montana Roadtrippin'

When I still lived in Florida, Jacob sent me this book for Christmas (along with Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail: 1972 Election):

(He also did: Roadside History of [Insert Your State Here])

Since Jacob and I love to drive around, see things, and take day-trips in the summer, A Roadside History of Montana is a battered book that lives in our car and we read whenever we pass through some part of Montana we've never been before. Interesting factoid about Billings: People who arrived by train were greeted by people who had been lynched and hung alongside of the train track. It was also littered with garbage so the smell of rotting remains and waste alerted new residents, visitors, and people just passing through that they had, in fact, arrived in Billings. We're actually surprised at how many towns we read about are known for their lynchings.

Last Saturday marked the middle of March and it reached 75-degrees outside. You could say we've pretty much had no winter, and anything that happens now is just considered spring. We decided to take advantage of the nice, sunny day and take a day trip. And since we didn't have a lot of time or monetary capabilities, we decided to check out a few sights around Billings that Jacob has been wanting to see since he was a youngin': Pictograph Caves State Park and Pompey's Pillar National Monument.

 Daddy dressed us in jeans before heading off. Of course, then the posing started:
(Daddy puts her in the cutest outfits; you'd think it would be me who did that but, nope, Daddy is very toddler-trendy)

 Two servings of fruits and veggies in a squeezable pouch with Princesses or Winnie the Pooh on the front, yes please!

 The model's "artsy" shots.


 I tried to make it a picture of the two of us but she's already mastered the art of taking pictures of herself. My brother doesn't understand how I can do it and have the picture turn out relatively ok and non-nasal-invasive. The trick is to have long, monkey arms.

 I look at this picture and think, she looks so much like Jacob! He says, "she looks so much like you!" I'll concede, at a quick glance it looks like similar pictures of Jacob and I.

 It's crazy that just two minutes outside of Billings (literally) is this: nothing (well, ok, except the entrance to the Pictograph Cave State Park).

 The view from the parking lot. There is a walkway that leads to the start of various caves housing pictographs. The walk is nothing strenuous but we were still impressed that Zoey walked all the way up and all the way down and didn't complain one little bit. If you picked her up, however, she'd scream bloody murder to be put down so she could walk.

 All leashed-up and ready to go. Seriously, can't say it enough - greatest invention ever, especially when walking through nature.

 Scenery along the walk-way. I wish things were starting to show signs of life but maybe it's still early; that whole April-showers-bring-May-flowers thing....

Zoey is not a hand-holder so this lasted as long as it took me to take the picture. It's a shame, too, Jacob and I love holding her tiny hand but she'd rather roam unfettered (besides the leash, I mean, which she loves).

 Getting close to our first pit-stop along the walk.

She had - HAD - to stop at all of the pictograph pictures and information signs.

 As we were walking up to the large cave, it lead to various other caves on the left. We didn't explore much else since the walk was a bit long and uphill, but we decided we'd definitely come back later in the summer when everything is (HOPEFULLY!) a wee bit greener. In between the caves is a valley where they've put picnic tables. Aside from having lunch there one day, it would be an awesome place for a birthday party.

 The caves weren't very protected and used to let any Tom, Dick, and Harry into them to explore so it's difficult to see anything besides a deteriorating cave wall.

 The faint red markings highlight the pictographs.

 It's a shame there is little semblance of what used to be here, but it's still a piece of history and that alone makes it cool.

 I love that I get two irritated faces for the price of one. :-)

Our little Magellan, has to explore absolutely every nook and cranny. It's a lot of work to rein her in but her interest in everything is totally worth it.

 This looks like a sweet picture mind. I'll just continue to let you think this is a sweet picture.

 We forgot her baby sunglasses so that was another reason we cut our exploring short.

 From the opening of the cave, or giant hole in the side of the rims would probably be more of an accurate description.

  Zoey and I have started doing Yoga on the days I'm home and on the weekends. I noticed one day that my leggings left a red ring around my waist (yay!) and immediately decided that whatever weight I was gaining, I'd tone and use it to bulk a few things up, mainly my butt. As we walked along, Zoey had a moment of impromptu-Yoga. She also liked to watch the bugs go into the cracks. (P.S. Yes, I also cannot believe that I'm wearing a tube-top dress in the middle of March. In Montana)

 It was time for lunch after our history lesson so we mowed down on PB&J while Daddy tried to figure out how to get us to Pompey's Pillar.

 Can't forget the banana!
 (In case anyone happens to be wondering, yup, she's still a rear-facing child. The Administration that Decides Those Things recently upped the rule to 2-years old for a child to begin facing forward in the car. Rear-facing children are some-such statistic (I wanna say 5-times) safer than forward-facing children and - although this is quite surprising - there have not been any cases of rear-facing children damaging their legs in an accident, whereas forward-facing children have. They recommend children remain facing the back until they can no longer fit in the car seat or have reached the car seat's weight limit. There's my trip to the soap-box for the day)

 Unfortunately Pompey's Pillar didn't get the memo on the incredibly nice day and was still closed for the season so this was as far as we got. Jacob told me that Pompey's Pillar was taken care of much the same way the Pictograph Caves were. It does, however, hold the only physical evidence of Lewis and Clark's exploration in Montana.

 Your history reading for the day.

 About a mile west of the monument is the town of Pompey's Pillar, or what it used to be. At least we assume it was the town since it was just passed the railroad platform. We didn't venture beyond the highway exit where all of the dilapidated buildings sat so there could be an entire leper colony down there, we have no idea. But what we did learn was that Spotted Ass Honey was sold there. A trip to google and I learned this was a bar, and Spotted Ass Honey seems to be the town secret. (Psst. It's not honey)

Any good trip in the car always ends with McDonald's for dinner. We don't usually succumb to our McGurggles cravings unless we want to meet up in the bathroom at 3am, but sometimes it beats cooking and there is at least some part of it that's food. Thankfully they've really taken strides to improve the food for kids and - BONUS - they brought back the old Happy Meal container!

 I haven't seen one of these since I was Zoey's age!

 She likes the chicken nuggets....

 But, of course, is the newest fan of the McDonald's fries.

 This is her 2nd Happy Meal and I learned from my mistake: I give her what I want her to eat first, the chicken. If I lay it all out for her, she'll eat everything but. On a related note, she figured out how to play on our meal-time-stresses by tricking is into thinking she was eating by repeatedly asking for Saltine crackers. Well I flipped the script and when she asks for a cracker first thing in the morning I tell her we don't have any. She must remember and doesn't ask for one the rest of the day and eats her meals like a champ.

Already master of the patented fry-dump.

Yes, I'm a nervous wreck when she drinks the milk that comes with the meal. And she thinks its the coolest thing ever so she has to have it, and there is no hope of me hiding it because she repeatedly asks for it. I have to stop her drinking so she can eat more food. She's very slow and methodical and does a good job. Towards the end, though, she gets a little bit excited and ends up splashing it all over herself.

It was nice on Sunday - as was the rest of this week - but we didn't go beyond the backyard or the neighborhood playground. Our best-ever neighbor gave us two trash bags filled with toys and a bucket filled with blocks that she had for her grandson but was planning to donate. Zoey loves everything, of course, and her and Jacob built the Lego race-car set while I made breakfast so it was like Christmas morning.

It seems like everyone is having unseasonably warm weather - tornadoes, WTF?!? Except for those poor bastards in the northwest, sorry Cousin P.J.! Jacob doesn't think it will snow again but last year it snowed beginning of May. There's still hope! But we'll take advantage of the nice weather while we have it. I want to mini-roadtrip somewhere tomorrow or Sunday.