Sunday, November 28, 2010

Last Call for Thanksgiving

A small confession: In my excitement for Christmas, I may have sped right past Thanksgiving without feeling very thankful. I didn't host dinner. I brought five side dishes made by a local catering company. They delivered. I literally spent 2 minutes thinking about what I have to be thankful for and used that time to write a quick Facebook status update that included the fact that I'm thankful for wine. At least I'm honest.

I read a book a while back called "29 Gifts." The author, a woman diagnosed with MS, makes an effort to give a gift every day for 29 days. These gifts range from charitable donations to spending time with friends. She journals about her experience and begins each day by writing down something she is thankful for. I began November with high aspirations to do the same -- It seemed appropriate for the month of Thanksgiving. I made it to Day 4. Shoot. Supposedly if you miss a day you're supposed to start over. I hate starting over. Then I got sick. And now there are only a few days left of November and I'm feeling a little guilty about the whole not-feeling-thankful thing.

There are certainly things to be upset about. A teenager was just arrested for plotting to set off a bomb during a crowded holiday ceremony. Houses in our neighborhood are selling at prices that make our house worth less. Bristol Palin made it to the finals on Dancing with the Stars!

There are, however, many more things for me to be thankful for. When I was in the scary early stages of diagnosis, Jason and I went to OHSU for a 2nd opinion. We rode the elevator up to Neurology, but it stopped one floor short -- Oncology. I squeezed his hand while a woman exited. The doors closed and I told him, "I'm lucky. That wasn't my floor." Multiple Sclerosis isn't fun, but it doesn't scare me the way some other diseases do. I'm still able to do a lot of things others with MS can't do and I'm thankful for that.

I have the sweetest, brightest and most lovable little girl I could ever ask for. I'm thankful for her health, her sweet kisses, and the time I get to spend with her. My husband went to four different restaurants today so he could come home with the sandwich I told him I was craving. Not only is he the funniest, smartest, most handsome man I know, he's willing to go out of his way to bring me a turkey sub with guacamole! I struck gold when I met Jason.

I couldn't ask for a more supportive family, I love my job and the fact that it allows me to work as little or as much as I want, my volunteer work is fulfilling, my friends are there for me when I need them and I have a beautiful home on a perfectly landscaped corner of Suburbia. What's not to be thankful for? I hope all of my friends and family are feeling as blessed as I am this holiday season.

P.S. I'm still thankful for wine.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Musical Taste Test

Bedtime song requests are finally becoming more diverse. I've lost count of how many nights I've been asked to sing "Ariel" and "Jasmine." Then there's "Cinderella" followed by "The other Cinderella." (I keep putting that one off since I have NO idea what she's talking about!)

Tonight Emily asked me to sing "Back to Sember" ("Back to December" by Taylor Swift). Really?! I kind of like that song, too! Before I could get too excited about her taste in music, she requested "The Hannah Song" -- The theme song from her potty training video. I'll spare you the lyrics.

At least she's branching out and today she gave us proof that she has an ear for music. Not only can Emily sing on key, she gives decidedly accurate reviews when shown music videos on YouTube.

In response to "Whip My Hair" (Willow Smith), Emily said, "That's not music." So true.

Jason then showed her Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" and how it sounds remarkably similar to "Eye In The Sky" by The Alan Parsons Project. Emily, Is that the same song? Our 2-year old says, "YES."

OK, so we may have asked a leading question on that last one... But how many toddlers do you know who like to sing Lionel Richie's "Say You, Say Me" or belt out, "Blinded By The Light" when she's supposed to be napping? Thank you, Jason, for teaching her those great ballads along with the theme song from "Cheers."

For anyone concerned that we may be robbing her of toddler favorites, you'll be comforted by the fact that we end every night with "Stay Awake" from Mary Poppins and the last of our hugs (bear followed by every other possible animal) is always a Barney Hug. You guessed it... I have to sing that ridiculous "I love you, you love me" song with a very dramatic "great big hug" and kisses "from me to you" all over her face. This gets wild giggles every time. I know, I know... That's not music. But I'll do anything for that laugh!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mind the Memory Gaps

I spent two hours reading a college journal the other day. I didn't do this because I was feeling nostalgic or wanted a reminder of how dramatic I could be (seriously?!) I read it because I wanted to be taken back to a particular time -- a semester I spent studying abroad in London. I remembered the major things, of course, but I knew my journal would have all of the details I might have forgotten. As it turned out, it also had play tickets, pictures, and terrible poetry (ugh).

My friend, Taryn founded a summer travel program for high school and college students interested in traveling to Ireland called the Irish Life Experience. It's an amazing opportunity for young people and Taryn asked me write something for their blog sharing what I gained from traveling at that age. I wasn't sure where to start!

It was the first time I'd traveled that far from home alone and my first experience abroad. It was... incredible. I saw history in a new and exciting light, met truly wonderful people I still call friends, and left with a special place in my heart for London. Everything about it still makes me smile and I loved re-reading all of the experiences I had while I was there.

Interestingly, the things I wanted to write about were the things I already remembered vividly even without opening my journal. The people I spent time with in London shaped my experiences there and made it the great semester that it was. I'm thankful for all of you.

I think all students should study abroad. I've returned to Europe a few times since college, but it's an entirely different experience at that age. I was thrilled when my brother decided to go to Australia for a term and am positive I'll encourage Emily to travel at some point while she's in college.

College! Can you imagine!? At some point this little girl is going to go away to college! This is so surreal to me. I was thinking this while changing her diaper today. She looked up at me and said, "Mommy, poop is brown and pee is yellow." Yup. College-bound. Just not quite yet.

Thank you, Taryn, for letting me relive my study abroad experience by writing about it! It was a fun way to spend an afternoon and a great escape from my usual psych testing, toddler tunes, and diapers. For anyone who may be interested, my guest post is called Trip of a Lifetime. Cheers!

Friday, November 5, 2010

No More Nose Jokes

I'm fairly certain I traumatized my daughter last night. What seemed like a funny joke turned out to be not so funny and I spent the rest of the night wading through Mommy Guilt. Yet again we thought we were hilarious coming up with creative antics to curb Em's habit of putting her finger in her nose. I told her, "That's yucky!" and she found my reaction hilarious enough to repeat the action over and over again. We were sitting at the dinner table, of course, which made the behavior that much more gross.

Daddy: "If you pick your nose, we'll have to take it off!"
Mommy: "That's right!"
(Emily proceeds to smile and dig)
Mommy: "Uh-oh! Look! I've got your nose!"

Emily... freaked... out. You know the joke -- Thumb between index and middle finger, awe-struck child wondering how on earth that's possible... Except that's not what happened. My kid looked up at me with sheer terror in her eyes then immediately touched her face with a deep look of concern regarding her missing nose! I panicked and pretended to put her nose back. "Here! All better! Just pretending!!" Too late. At that point Emily was on the verge of tears repeatedly telling me, "NO! You DON'T take my nose!"

Bad mommy. Apparently 2 is a little young for that joke. Who knew??