C'mon, ride the train.

(Yes, I'm going to ignore the fact that I haven't posted in 6 months and just get right to the good stuff. Hi Amber!)

Earlier this week we went to a local fair that I spent a lot of time at as a kid. It's your typical fair with farm animals, good homecooking by old ladies, other fried fair food, parades, rides and carnies. I love it. I have so many memories of this thing, it's ridiculous. So I wanted Stella to experience the magic. And boy, did she.

Stella took her first-ever carnie ride. When we got over the ride portion of the fair, I didn't think she'd want anything to do with them. Nor did I think they had stuff for kids her age. But the minute we walked past this train, she says, "Train, peaz? Train, peaz?"

"Oh really, you want to go on that? Um, ok, let's get a ticket. I guess," says me feeling trepidation at my 19-month-old wanting to ride one of these notorious death traps/germ factories. "Look! Candy!" No luck, she was repeating the word "train" about 27 times. We (I) weren't getting out of this one.

So I get her a ticket to ride. I tell her she has to wait in line until it's her turn and she stands at this little gate like she knows exactly what to do, like she's done it a thousand times. I looked at her from behind and just couldn't believe it. My little girl was suddenly a big girl, waiting her turn to ride this exciting multi-colored train that was assembled by some random traveling carnie clown, who I'm sure didn't consider what awesome cargo it would be carrying and therefore put it together half assed, because what does he care? He doesn't pay the insurance on this thing and his kid isn't riding it. He just wants to push the Go button and get back to drinking his beer. Not that I'm a paranoid generalizer or anything.

I asked him if I was able to ride with her, because she's only 19 MONTHS OLD, SHE CAN'T RIDE THESE THINGS BY HERSELF! He gave me a pursed smile and shook his head.

Fine, but I'm buckling her in myself so that I know at least someone took precaution in the safety of my baby. My FIRST BORN. Remember that when you hit "Go", carnie face, REMEMBER THAT."

I thought that after I buckled Stella in, she would start to cry because she saw that she was getting on alone and would be frightened. Uh, as if. She stretched her arms out to relax and was ready to enjoy the ride. I stood off to the side and waved like a moron because that's all I could do. She was out of my hands. My Mom told me to tell the guy to stop the ride if she start crying, but I didn't. I knew she wasn't going to cry. I should have told him to stop the ride if I started crying, as that was the more likely scenario. Ugh. She just looked so big. So little, yet so big. It was a moment for me.

She laughed the entire 5 laps around. Every second from beginning to end was the experience of a lifetime for her. It was like a hot dog, ice cream, blueberries, wagons and shoes all rolled into one giant ball of awesome. Look at her:

My little big girl. Riding the rails.

She got to take two rides on this train. And when they were over she ran to me and said, "More train, Mama, more train!?" And then again with more feeling. Complete with tears. The softie in me could have spent $45 watching her ride this train the rest of the night. But then some kid walked by giving away balloons and saved me.

It was such a fun experience. I loved seeing her get so excited about something. She was so ready to tackle this. And she didn't just tackle it, she took a big 'ole bite out of it and went back for more. And came out with the biggest grin on her face this fair has ever seen. It was delicious.

UPDATE: we went back to the fair again tonight. This time she rode the carousel. You can pretty much forget everything I just said about the train. The carousel is where it's at. She told me the train is for babies and is soooo two days ago.


Stella - month 13.

I feel like Month 13 has been the month of all-of-sudden learning. It's like everything is clicking and I feel like Stella would score really well if she took the ACTs right now. She's becoming a functioning human being who says things and responds to things. She's a yummy little sponge, mimicing everything we do.

When I use hand sanitizer or say " gotta go wash my hands", she'll wring her little hands together just like I do. And when Nora goes outside to go to the bathroom, Stella will stand at the door and wait for her, and then when she sees her, she'll pick up the towel by the door to wipe the snow off of her feet.

She's been picking up the sign language like nobody's business. A couple of weeks ago one of her teachers told me that Stella was sitting at the table and wanted more food, so she gave the sign for "more" and then immediately gave the sign for "please"! She said "more, please!" She's polite to boot! And last night we got home from work/school and she gave me the sign for "eat". Food is very important to this child, especially when it comes in the form of blueberries, raisins and meatballs.

She knows what sound cows, ducks, lions, owls, horses, and microwaves make. We feel it's important that she know animal and appliance sounds. You never know when they might come in handy. Just say the word microwave and she'll beep. She even knows what buttons to push on the microwave to make it turn on (yes, I'm quite the gourmet chef, she's learned from the master).

But she's also getting a little temper. Her favorite way to get you to pick her up is to sit down and throw herself backward so that her little noggin bounces off the floor. Which is less than delightful, especially when done on the kitchen floor. Mike and I have learned when she's about to do it, so we'll grab her shirt and pull her forward. Is there anything worse than hearing the sound of skull meeting tile? Please let this just be a phase. I also wouldn't be mad if she would stop dropping her food on the floor. Nora+broccoli = unpleasantness for all. It wouldn't be so bad if she didn't look you right in the eyes and then drop it, just to spite you. She knows she shouldn't do it because she'll drop it and then shake her head no. These little things are smart I tell ya.

Oh this is too much fun.


Dinner With Schmucks.

Last night the three of us headed to dinner at one of the nicer restaurants in town. We were seated next to two gentleman who I'm guessing were in their sixties. As we sat down I caught a glimpse of one of the gentleman's faces - he looked less than pleased. I'm sure it had something to do with the fact that we had a baby... in a restaurant.

Our Stella is a good eater. She likes to eat (she ate 3 helpings of meatloaf and watermelon at school yesterday! I think she must be stealing other kids' lunches) and will eat just about anything. And as long as she has food in front of her you won't hear a peep out of her. She finds it rude when you eat in front of her and will tell you so. Manners, people! So we come prepared. I brought food, she ate some of our food and nary a peep left her mouth. You would never even have known she was there. I'd say she was pretty close to the perfect dining companion. (However, as Mike said, the floor may have disagreed. Messes, she can make them!)

So the men finish their meal and get up to leave and the one who glared at us stops at our table and says, "You've got a lovely little girl there." I say, "Thank you!" He says, "She's very well behaved." ...

Now, I cynically translate this comment as, "Dude, when you guys sat down I was pissed. I didn't want to hear your kid scream while I ate my dinner. You really shouldn't bring kids to this type of restaurant because you ruin dinners and you ruin lives. I've been sitting over there this whole time waiting for her to start yelling and then I was going to complain to the manager and have you removed. But imagine my surprise when she hardly made a sound. And now that I've finished my steak in peace, I need to apologize to you and your kid because I was a judgmental asshat. I really should stop being a crotchedy older guy and get over myself because I have kids too (he told me so) and I'm sure I wanted to take them to a nice restaurant without fear of jerkfaces like myself. And now I've become one. Shame on me. So, uh, your kid is lovely. Have a nice evening."

I'm sure I'm not too off here. Or am I? Was he just being nice? Am I projecting because I'm afraid of having a screaming baby in public? Or is this a thing? Do people hate to eat next to children? I'm definitely a big eye roller and sigher if I'm sitting near a kid on a long flight, but I don't think I've ever been angry to sit by a kid while I ate? And believe me, I'm pretty sensitive to annoying sounds. It's a cursed gift.

So is this just my spidey oversensitivity? You can tell me.


It's my party and I'll eye stab you if I want to.

This is the kind of picture you get when you have a birthday party during the time that the birthday honoree is supposed to be napping. You get a kid who is overly tired, probably overwhelmed, coming down from a sugar coma, with cake in her hair and on her knee (?), half dressed, clutching her favorite gift of all the 58 awesome gifts that were opened, and still looking as cute as can be. (Come to think of it, I have many "day after college party" photos that are quite similar to this.)

Note: she isn't officially 1 yet. We still have 9 days, but you know, the Holidays.

(Stella, I'm going to make a concerted effort to not make this excuse every year. You most definitely deserve your own day apart from "the season" and we will celebrate your day on your day.)

Another note: 1?

Another another note: No this carpet is not in our house.

Photo credit: Turtle Parade (thanks!)


In summary.

Annnnd... done. I did it. 30 days, 30 posts.

I certainly achieved quantity, not so sure about quality. But it's hard to go from very little to a lot in one month. I was hoping to end this with a meaty post, but I'm not quite finished with the one I was working on yet and quite frankly, I'm spent. Thankfully November is a 30-day month instead of 31. But you know what the best part is? This blog won't blow up tomorrow because it's December 1. Nope, I can still post here whenever I feel like it. So that post can wait until it's good and ready.

Can't say that this has helped me with my writing as I was hoping it would, but it did refresh my attitude about blogging. I should do it more. I love the connection with others and I enjoy writing about my life. So for that, I'm glad I did this. But you don't have to bother checking my blog tomorrow because I won't have anything for you.

Your comments have been fantastic. Thank you for caring and responding. And thank you for every awesome post that you all have written. It's been oodles of fun reading such good stuff this month. I've definitely taken some inspiration from each of your blogs. Meaning, I've taken some of your funny thoughts and will be passing them off as my own. But I'll wait a while so that you'll forget what you said.

Congrats to all who completed the challenge!

(Now, NaBloPoMo, I shall look forward to your email telling me what I've won.)


The One Where I Wrote About a Tweet.

I'm crossing the streams for tonight's post. I took to Twitter to find my blog inspiration.

The next tweet that pops up will be the subject of my blog post for tonight.


And a partridge in a pear tree.

Eight adults.
Four kids.
Two dogs.
One and a half bathrooms.
Four days.
One house.

Seven additional family members.
One Christmas celebration.
Two birthday celebrations.
One pedicure.
Two turkeys.
Ten pounds of potatoes.
Six bottles of wine.
One promotion celebration.
One family cornhole tournament.
Eight-hour drive. (screw you, Cincinnati!)
One large family photo.
A thousand laughs.

Hope your Thanksgiving was as enjoyable as mine!


Breakin a sweat.

Shew! Nablopomofosho... you're really testing my endurance.

We're in the home stretch. I feel invigorated. I feel ALIVE! I'm gonna try and make these last three posts something epic.

How's everyone doing after this holiday stretch? Solidarity, my brotha and sistas. I'm here for you.