Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The New Sexy

So while Garry is off playing basketball with the boys tonight, I am catching up on a Project Runway marathon and thinking about the term "sexy". What is sexy on a woman or what makes a woman sexy gets a lot of attention, but what about men?

I must admit that my definition of sexy would not be accepted by Hollywood. I do not care what Garry wears. I have to admit that I do not pay much attention. And most of the time, I do not even care what he smells like. There are some times of obvious exception -- for example, when he gets back from basketball tonight, I might care.

So what's sexy in Alicia's world? Unloading the dishwasher. I HATE unloading the dishwasher and so when Garry takes care of it, wow, that is really sexy to me. Or when he takes both girls to the grocery store. Now that's sexy. One Friday night, he came home with a chick-flick ON PURPOSE. Sexy.

So, designers, do your thing in your efforts to win Project Runway. But when you're done there, go home and unload the dishwasher.

Mrs. Independent

Garry and I met in the fall of 2000, when I was 24. It was a good time in my life. I had a job that I really enjoyed and though law school at night was a struggle and draining, I learned a lot and appreciated the experience. I was independent. I had my own car, shared a townhouse with some lovely ladies, had my own bank account. Crazy independent.

Garry and I were married in 2003, and I think that I have become lazy in my dependence. Case in point: the dog zap-zap. A few months ago, Garry bought a sensor to keep Quincy, who loved to go searching in the garbage can for treasure, out of the kitchen. If he gets too close, he gets a warning signal (beep! beep!) and if he proceeds, he gets a little zap-zap. The device sat on out kitchen floor for weeks and weeks and even more weeks. I'd ask Garry, from time to time, to please hang it up on the wall so that the kids would not play with it, bump it, and just plain old try to destroy it. And it just never got done. So finally, I broke down, found a nail, a hammer, and put the darn thing up myself. I think that the process took all of ten minutes, and that included the time it took to find a nail in the black hole that we call the garage. And I wondered, why did I wait so long? Where did Ms. Independent, conquerer of all, go?

I don't know where the line is between making Honey-Do lists so I do not feel overwhelmed in my responsibilities and just taking care of the things that I know that I can take care of. But I think that I discovered a line today. I am trying to move Macey into Emma's room, and I need to move Emma's dresser approximately eight inches. I cannot get it to budge, and I am sensitive to the fact that I am pregnant and should not be trying to make it budge in the first place. This one just might have to wait for Garry.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Christmas in July

If you were a visitor in my house, you would probably be surprised by how much Garry and I are talking about Christmas -- what the girls need, want, and more importantly, what they do not need. When we planned this baby, I really wanted a holiday baby. It just seemed like the perfect time.

And I got my wish -- my little end of November baby girl. But now the reality is sinking in, and I have to admit that I am worried about how it is all going to happen. When are we going to get a tree? When will we send out Christmas letters and birth announcements? Will I be able to decorate or just be overwhelmed by a newborn and recovering from a c-section? How in the world am I going to be able to still have a Christmas recital for my piano students?

So that's why we are having Christmas in July. . . planning things little by little and trying to remember to enjoy it all! So far, so good. I bought the girls a game already: Lucky Ducky. And my parents have their plane tickets purchased. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Woman, Just Be Quiet!

So I am 21 weeks along in my pregnancy, and I do not have a functioning thyroid. Which means that I get to see a lot of doctors. And sometimes it feels like I see a lot and lot of doctors. I walk this crazy schedule where I try to schedule appointments where Garry does not have to take off too much time from work so he can watch the girls and so I can make it back in time to teach piano. Sometimes, it stresses me out. And I do not behave my best.

Take today. My appointment was for 2:45 and I showed up at 2:40 hoping, hey, early in, early out. (Never works). I sat and sat and sat. I even heard the receptionist call back and say, "You know Mrs. Cunningham is here, right?" Yes, they knew. Then these two older gentlemen came in to the office and, well, they may not have realized it, but they began talking to each other very loudly. And I was trying to read my magazine article on Lindsey Lohan's new relationship and I was worried about the time and then the one older gentleman turns to the other older gentleman and asks, "which doctor does your wife see?" To which he responded, "The woman." Now, that was just annoying. And the clock ticked on.

And then one of the older gentlemen was called back. And I was still there. And I was angry and stressed and so I said (stupid me!) hey, I've been here for 30 minutes!! To which I was informed that my doctor was with a "new patient" and was wrapping things up, she promised. I scowled but was relieved that the other gentleman was at least gone and I could read about Jennifer Garner's pregnancy in peace.

I finally did see the doctor and was then getting ready to have my lab work done. In walked the nurse with the huge needle. It was the same nurse I had just barked at. All I could think was, "Alicia, woman, when are you going to learn to just be quiet." I wondered, should I apologize and beg for mercy before she accidentally misses my vein a few times or just hope that she's heard it all before and wants me out the door more than getting a little revenge.

Luckily, she was very professional and hit my vein the first time. But hopefully the lesson will stay with me for a few months. Woman, just be quiet! 'Cause they keep big old needles in these places.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

This Early? Really?

So the benefit of having an older sister constantly by her side is that Macey has learned to talk a lot faster than Emma did at her age. But some of the things that are coming out of her mouth I really hoped to not hear for. . . say. . . about another 13 years?

For example, the Battle Over the French Toast. Macey loves French Toast and it is one of the few things that she will happily eat. Until last week. She just did not want French Toast. I think that she wanted Whoppers. I told her absolutely no Whoppers until after she finished breakfast. But there can be no negotiations when she has made up her mind. She stood up on her chair, folded her arms, and yelled, "It's not fair." Then she stamped her foot. Really? At age two?

Among her language abilities, Macey's other talent is smelling out chocolate. Wow. She's good. Last week I had a few M&Ms and then went to go talk to Macey about getting ready for bed. She sniffed the air and then asked, "Momma, you have chocolate?" Wow, I had to give her a few M&Ms as that skill should be rewarded. Today I had a box of Junior Mints on my nightstand (okay, I have a lot of chocolate around the house - - a lot) and Macey came in this morning, sniffed out the box, and asked, "Momma, can I have a chocolate?"

She's amazing.

Friday, July 25, 2008

In The '80s. . . Or New Jersey

One of my favorite parts of the classic love story, While You Were Sleeping, is when Joe Jr. tells Phyllis that she looks great because her hair looks mighty big that day. Man, where can I get a neighbor like that? Because he would be crushing on me. I thought that I had severly treated my hair with gel this morning but tonight, I looked in the mirror, and I thought, good heavens, how did it get so big?? Did I enter a wind tunnel sometime that day that I did not notice?

The problem is that the bigness has made me turn to a fashion no-no on a regular basis, the scrunchy. You see, I cannot put a rubber band in my hair -- it would never come back out. It would be lost forever due to die a curly death. And so I turn to the scrunchy and wither the critics, which, thankfully, hey, I live in Southern Maryland, there are not THAT many critics out there. There are not that many people in Waldorf Maryland looking to make a fashion statement.

So please, ladies, let's bring back the scrunchy. Tell Sarah Jessica Parker to mock not what she does not understand. I need a scrunchy like someone with a broken leg needs crutches. Sure, I could hobble along, but really, can't I just have my scrunchy?

And while I am bringing greedy, anyway that we could bring back the banana clips? Man, I looked AWESOME with my hair in a banana clip. The glory days of the banana clip were way too short.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Adventures of a House Wife

So I have been a "stay-at-home" Mom for nearly four years now. And I have found myself stressing over things that I really never paid much attention to before. And I have questions. So I thought I'd open it all up for discussion and see if someone can help!

Alright, the water line around the toilet. Now, this is an East Coast thing. The line there is just indestructible. It laughs at bleach and 409 and some concoctions I try in desperation that I will probably get cancer from later. How do you get rid of that thing???

The dishwasher and my glass glasses. Will they never be friends? It seems like I buy these glasses and within a few months they are scratched up and sad looking. Must I handwash these things? Isn't there a happy medium?

My bathroom sinks. Oh, my bathroom sinks! The water spout -- I just cannot make it shiny and new. Soap scum moved in a few years ago, and it just isn't budging! Is there a mystery cure?

Now, unfortunately, I seem to be passing my concern over neatness to my girls. Today Emma and I were having a very serious conversation about how the baby was going to get out of my stomach. She was very concerned that it was going to have to come out of my mouth. I said, no, (it's a scheduled c-section) the doctor will make a cut on my stomach and help the baby out. Emma looked at me, my tummy, and the couch where we were sitting, and suggested, very seriously, 'but maybe not on the couch, Mommy.' No, Emma, not on the couch. Mommy has enough stains to worry about.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Doggy Envy

So we have a dog. Quincy. Before we had kids, Quincy had a great life. He was walked three times a day, went to doggy day care once a week and just lived it up. And then along came Emma and Macey and he's fallen down a peg or two. Or three or four. He doesn't get the yummiest of food -- he has bad teeth and so he gets old man food. And the kids like to play in his water. And sometimes when it's darn hot outside, we still make him go outside for an hour or two. He tries to lay down on the vent in the living room and gets in a lot of trouble. It's tough.

Despite this droll existence, I envy my dog. You see, if Garry takes a nap on Sunday afternoon, he pays dearly for it on Sunday night. He'll toss and turn forever because he took a nap earlier. But the alarm goes off Monday morning, regardless, so it's a wicked, wicked cycle.

Me, now I have a big problem with pregnancy insomnia. If I wake up at 4:00 to go to the bathroom, and I do, I'm up. Sometimes for an hour. Sometimes for nearly three. I'm just UP.

Now, Quincy, it doesn't matter if he took a nap 15 minutes ago -- he's willing to take another one if nothing exciting is going on. He doesn't pace the halls at night or stare at the TV Remote wishing he knew how to work that thing so he could watch Animal Planet. He just sleeps.

It'd be nice.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Baby Names

The battle over baby names has begun. Garry and I are keeping our preferences secret 'til the end because we do not want to hear about how someone had a dog with that name or an evil ex-girlfriend. Now, the funny thing about this is that it's exactly what Garry did to his very own brother. His brother was going to name his son Cooper and Garry gave them a hard time because it was the name of the dog on Fox & the Hound. Which is inaccurate. The dog's name is Copper. But there's some poor kid out there that does not have the name Cooper.

But Emma said that I could blog about her choices. She likes Shanna, Cindy, Dinado, No-No, Goo, Reifa, Tannah, Tananino and Missstephanie.

The debate continues.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Enchanted, I Am Sure. . .

So today Garry was off to the races to race his very own Pinewood Derby car. It was blue with stickers. Very flashy.

So the girls and I had a girls night in and borrowed Enchanted from a friend. The girls were dismayed that Giselle did not stay a cartoon and pretty much gave up on the movie when she was banished into New York and became "real". Thank goodness for the musical numbers -- they liked those. And I thought, as we danced and twirled around the living room to "How Will She Know" that maybe, just maybe, I am destined to be the mother to girls.

Friday, July 18, 2008

We're Having A. . .

This morning as I was desperately praying for the ultrasound to tell me that I was having a boy, I realized something. Garry's Grandfather had three boys. Garry's Dad had three boys and then finally had a girl. Genetics were against me. Apparently, streaks are hard to break.

And the streak continues. We are having what looks to be a very healthy girl.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Thoughts On Ultrasounds

The 20 week ultrasound is coming up, and I am getting more tense by the moment. Garry says that he has "resigned" himself to another girl and thinks that it might not be that bad. After all, we have little girls somewhat figured out and heaven knows we have the clothes. But three girls, all teenagers, all at once, wow, the thought of all that crying and moodiness and sulking makes me a little nervous. My own moods seem too much at times, and I just cannot imagine it multiplied three-fold! But, getting ready for the impending news, Garry has even started picking out some girl's names that he likes. And some of them are not that bad.

The silly thing is, I feel responsible. I feel like a wife of Henry the VIII, desperate to conceive a chosen son. I am sure that even if it is a girl, I will get to keep my head. And the silliest thing is that I realize, on a rational level, that I never had control of the situation. But still, what is it about not having something that makes us so desperate to have it?

Here's the eight week ultrasound and the twelve week ultrasound. It's amazing how quickly things develop!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Confession Is Good For The Soul

So in my life I have done many bad things, but I have done three really bad things. First, a few years ago while I was working in the Senate, I had a habit of going into the restroom and using the handicap restroom at the end of the stalls. Now, you should see the bathrooms in the Senate. They are all marble and nice and the doors are made of heavy, dark wood and it can be a really heavenly experience. Now the handicap restroom was nice and spacious and so it was my favorite. And one day I walked out of the stall, and there was this lady in a wheelchair waiting to use the bathroom!! And, to be honest, she just may have been waiting awhile, if you know what I mean. I was horrified and never used that stall again.

My second horrible moment occurred a few years ago on Highway 301 South. I was in a hurry to WalMart of all stupid things, and suddenly this car pulled in front of me at an angle and forced me to stop, in the middle of the road, and a highway at that! So, annoyed, I honked. In fact, I may have honked twice. Who was this man thinking he was all important and could just pull out where and when he wanted to? The nerve. Now, since the car was at an angle, I did not realize until it was way too late that the offending car was actually a hearse at the beginning of a funeral procession and he was trying to stop traffic so that the rest of the procession could catch up and realize that they had to make a U-Turn at a certain location to reach the cemetary on the other side. Wow, that was just darn horrific.

So I had a streak going where I had not done anything too shameful for awhile. And the streak ended today. I was on the cell phone with my sister, walking into the store, carrying Emma and just ignorant to the world, when I noticed that Garry was holding the door open and the gentleman in front of him was holding the other door open as well. Assuming that it was for me, because everything is about me, right?, I breezed right in through the set of double doors, thanking people as graciously as I could like I was Miss America or something as I walked in. And then I saw it. A lady in a wheelchair, trying to exit, and I realized that the men were not holding the doors for me but for the lady trying desperately to exit until I cut her off.

It was not one of my better moments.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Even A Three Year Old Knows It's Funny!

One of the things that I hate most about being pregnant in the second trimester (I have sooo many complaints about the first trimester!) is pregnancy insomnia. If I get up in the middle of the night, and I always do, I am up for at least an hour. It's a good time to think and reflect, but mostly I just wish that there was something good on TV in the middle of the night. It would help!

Last night Emma came into our bedroom and slept on the floor. I did not realize that she was awake too and watching TV with me. I was watching MSNBC and seeing Miss USA fall down during the Miss Universe pageant again and again. Suddenly, I heard this giggling. Emma was awake and thought that it was very funny. She giggled forever, and then went back to sleep. It's so fun to watch her develop humor and respond to humor and giggle at humor. Even at 5:00 am in the morning.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ode to Macey

I realize that I have spent a lot of time talking about Emma. I figured that it was time for an Ode to Macey.

She's my pudgy-wudgy, huggable, lovable gal. She's my Macey Gracey, but we just call her Trouble. She's as healthy as a horse but her diet consists of french toast, milk, juice, macaroni and cheese, yogurt and more milk and more juice. She's smart. Darn smart. She knows her alphabet better than Emma and can problem solve -- thank goodness -- so Mom does not always have to come to the rescue. But she is stubborn. She is the State Department to terrorists--there is no negotiating. Today we took away her dinosaur but promised that she could have it back if she only ate one little bite of rice. And she even likes rice! There was no pain involved for her -- but for the pain of being a pawn in the system that she has seen Emma already surrender to. She never did eat that rice, but she did have her dinosaur back fifteen minutes later, and I'm still not sure how that happened.

She loves to show off and was DEVASTATED today when a teacher came to the house to talk to Emma about her alphabet and object recognition and did not ask her questions. She insisted that I ask the teacher to COME BACK! She wanted to TALK. Poor thing.

So here's my Ode to Macey Grace:

Ode to Macey

Macey Gracey, Pudding Pie
Apple of Mom and Dad's Eye
You're smart, you're cute, so full of attitude.
You even says 'tanks' to show gratitude.

Every battle it seems you have to win,
And it took two long years for your hair to come in.
But we love our beautiful baby,
You're going to be a great little lady.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Our Little Lady

The greatest benefit of having a girl is dressing her up on Sundays. It's fun. And since we have two gorgeous girls, it is double the fun. Every Sunday morning, unless he has early morning church meetings, Garry goes through their closets and picks out dresses that make the girls all cutesy for church. It's been a fun tradition. That ended in flames today.

Apparently we have a little princess on our hands. Garry picked out a polo shirt and a skirt for church, and little Emma broke down. She needed a dressy dress for church, and this skirt and shirt were just not fitting the bill. She wanted a DRESS. I intervened and picked out a dress (that Garry hated) but make Emma feel dressy and pretty and ready to impress all the boys in her sunbeams class.

While I was getting dressed, Emma snuck into my bathroom and got her hair soaking wet. She then insisted that I help her blow dry her hair, just like I blow dry mine. We were supposed to walk out the door in just a few minutes, and I should have been mad that she was a wet rat, but it was all too cute. Little Emma is growing up so fast.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Journey To Natural History!

Today the Cunninghams ventured out on a great adventure! We stopped at Dunkin Donuts for some, well, donuts, and headed out to the metro, known lovingly to the girls as the "Choo-choo train". I know that one day I will be talking to a group of adults and I will inadvertently, out of habit, refer to the metro as a "Choo-Choo Train." Hopefully they'll understand. This is my world now, and this is quickly becoming my native language.

We arrived at the Natural History Smithsonian. Macey was instantly scared by the elephant and continued to be a little startled as we saw the dinosaurs and other animals. But she was generally a good trooper. Emma, however, reached a milestone today. Up until today, she has been a happy adventurer on our trips. Today was the first day that she said she did not want to be somewhere and continually asked to go outside. Heaven help us when she learns to use the word "boring" in a sentence. Argh! I am guessing that this will last for the next 14 years. But here are some pictures of our adventure!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Rainy Day Bonding

It rained today and so the girls and I had a lot of concentrated together time. We took a break and went to the church parking lot so that Emma could practice riding and riding and riding her bike. When we came home we watched a movie and played with toys and made rice crispy treats. It was a lot quality together time. But soon I got the idea that maybe Emma was on bonding overload.

Remember that song? About the father that was always too busy for his son and then one day when he had time the son just asked for the car keys so that he could spend time with his friends? It's a famous song, and, alas, the title escapes me. But today I got a little glimpse of it.

I asked Emma, who was playing with her stuffed animals, if she wanted to play with the ball with me. "Come on, Emma", I said, "we can sit across the room and take turns throwing or rolling. Wanna play?" Emma was silent. She clearly did not want to, but she does care about her Mama's feelings. "Umm...maybe Macey will play with you," she countered.

Now, I know where she got this. I say it to her 100 times a day. But to hear it back when she's just three? Shouldn't she be a teen before she starts to ditch me?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Truth In Advertising

Why, oh why do they put strawberries on the cereal boxes? Don't they know that one morning a mother would be going about her business, trying to get her daughters to eat, finally get them to agree to cereal, and then hear the cries that in their bowl there is, indeed, only cereal and not the yummy strawberries that are advertised on the box? Supermom would keep a stash of emergency strawberries in the fridge. But this morning I was far from Supermom. I was "eat yor cereal and stop your cryin'" Mom.

And just when I was oh so proud of Emma's negotiation skills, she threw me a curveball. After the miniwheats disaster, she decided that she would prefer Jello Salad. Now, I would have also preferred Jello Salad, and, alright, I sneaked a few spoonfuls when I thought the girls were not looking, but I am determined that my girls will eat better than I do. So I told Emma that she could have Jello Salad after she finished her cereal and if I did not scarf it all down first. She said no, no, more cereal. I said yes, yes, more cereal. She said no. I said two more bites and then she could have jello. She responded with, "not two, three." Well, I was disappointed in her counting and negotiation, but did not stop to tell her so. Instead, I simply yelled, "Deal!"

Monday, July 7, 2008

Her Way . . . Through Any Cost

Little Emma is growing up. And as she gets older, I am reminded that she is the daughter of an attorney. Her skills at such a young age are stunning. Right now, she is on a lemonade kick. She likes herself some lemonade. I am trying to cut down a little bit on the amount of juice they get everyday (a losing battle since I am also a juice addict) and so Emma has had to resort to other methods to get what she wants. Today she walked up to me and said that she was thirsty for something yellow. It had to be yellow. I refused to be baited, and so she connected the dots for me. "Mom, lemonade is yellow. I think that I need lemonade." What could I do? I had to reward the creativity of it all.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Cursed Stripes

On our way to South Carolina, we stopped at the Outlets to do a little light shopping. After all, we had been in the Jeep an entire 40 minutes. One of the stores that Garry stopped at was Nautica where they were apparently having a sale he could not walk away from -- a sale on girls' striped shirts. The sale was so good that he bought Emma two striped shirts -- one pink and one orange. They quickly became Emma's favorite shirts, and every morning she would ask to wear "stripes". At Family Day for Garry's work, both girls got to experience the joy of the stripes as Emma was able to wear pink and Macey wore Orange. Pure bliss. It was a long, hectic, and hot day, and Macey collapsed at the end of it all. Not wanting to wake her, we let her sleep in her orange striped shirt that night. The next morning, Emma woke up and asked for her two favorite things: chocolate milk and stripes. On the way to the kitchen, I explained that stripes were out of commission that day -- they had been worn and needed to be washed. There would be no stripes. Just when Emma was starting to accept the cruelty of it all, out walks Macey, wearing stripes, of course. For little Emma it was all just too much. She collapsed in tears. Another day of loving and laughing and joy at the Cunningham House . . . Through Editing.