Monday, May 31, 2010

Coaxing Kitty

Yesterday we went over for barbecue at Grandma and Grandpa's. At first, Penelope cried and clung to Grandma and me because Aunt Merry and her friend Courtney were there, but she warmed up pretty quickly.

After dinner, she really wanted to play with Kitty (Merry's cat), but he had other ideas. He went and hid under the end table in the front room, behind a box and out of her reach. Penelope, however, had a clever idea. She took her Kitty and stuck him out where Merry's Kitty could see him.

"M'ow m'ow," said Penelope's Kitty alluringly, hoping to lure Merry's Kitty out into the open. Then Penelope played with Grandma and Grandpa for a long time while Derrick and I talked with Merry and Courtney (which was really fun). I didn't realize how much I miss talking to people who aren't one or my parents.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mommy T

I dreamed last night I was in the new A-Team movie--like I was on the team. I was Mr. T.--or I guess he's B.A. Some robbers tried to steal stuff from us, and I parachuted into their hideout and made them give it back. The guy who stole it had red bloodshot eyes and was wearing a dirty undershirt. He said, "I just wanted to buy flowers for my wife." I insulted him, but then I started to feel sorry for him. "We'll try to help you," I said. "We're good sports." A few minutes later, one of his accomplices ran after me and said, "You're good sports, right? You know what sport I like? Pole vaulting," and he through this pole at me and it hit me in the head, and I fell into the counter.

Later in the night, I dreamed I was supposed to be defending my dissertation on a stage in an auditorium in front of thousands of people. I was like, "'s strange that I signed up to do this when I haven't finished." All I had was one chapter that described how to assemble a toaster. I was like, "This will never do." On stage, I was really on the spot. Finally, I told everyone, "I was in the new A-Team movie," and I started signing autographs.

Meeska Mooska Mommy's Going Nuts

I was so glad when Penelope started to want to watch more than those two episodes of Sesame Street, but now Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and even Winnie-the-Pooh are starting to seem a do I describe this? Many nights, I catch myself trying to fall asleep, grinding my teeth to the "Hot Dog Dance."

She is so cute, though. At the beginning of the show, when she sees Donald, she makes a Donald Duck quack sound. I can't even do it. She's so funny. She loves to quack like Donald. We just got back from our walk, and now she's wallowing on her butterfly, glad to be in the cool house. My foot is steadily getting better, though I made the mistake of bending to pick something up while holding her and putting too much weight on my toes. It still seems to be getting better, though.

Daddy just mowed the lawn. He may die.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Trapped in the Bathroom

Earlier this evening, Derrick had to go up to his office upstairs to send an e-mail for work. Meanwhile, I put on an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and prepared to have some cuddle time with the maniac. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of going to the bathroom first. Penelope shut the door.

When I swung it open, it went, SMACK.

"Penelope?" I cried.


I finally saw her hovering in the doorway, but she did not seem upset. I could not, however, get her to back up. I tried for at least five minutes, possibly ten. Finally, I yelled loudly, "DERRICK! DERRICK!!!!"

This freaked Penelope out totally and she started crying hysterically. But she still wouldn't back up. I didn't know if Derrick would hear me, but fortunately he did. Penelope's so theatrical!

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Screaming Hippo

Jean Valjean and the Cannibal Bread

I'm about to throw that hippo out the window! Every time we start to play with our toys, the hippo immediately heads over to the couch, turns himself upsidedown and starts to scream. Daddy can even hear it up in the office. Currently, Penelope is having a fight with her balloon. She gets upset if I tie it to a stuffed animal. But then she gets even more furious if I don't because it goes away. I weighted it down with the holdy thing from her shoes (which we tried on today), and that lets it fly up a little if you toss it. Then it slowly comes back down again. The trouble is, she refuses to grab the balloon by the ribbon. She only wants to grab the balloon itself.

**Breaking News**

Apparently, Penelope was hungry. She just came prancing in from the kitchen chewing on half a loaf of French bread, which I surmise she stole from the bag on the table. I ran and got the camera. Meanwhile, the hippo started eating bread crumbs and then the loaf also started to eat the crumbs. Um mum!

Poor Hippo

Penelope is asleep on my lap.  I just texted Derrick, "Penelope likes to play this game where the hippo turns upsidedown on the couch and cries."  He wrote, "That's funny." 

"Not really," I texted back, "because there's no way to console the hippo."  I have to say, I don't really get the appeal of this game.  Maybe the hippo hurt his foot and is worried he won't be able to walk in Disneyland.

Actually I think he might be squishing the little red birdie who sits on his back because once I heard an anguished "teet" amidst all the carrying on.

The hippo has become quite the trickster figure in our games.  He likes to climb the giraffe, gobble down all the ark food, and drive the train engine in a very reckless manner until he crashes it.  So maybe smushing the birdie is just his idea of a good time.

Playing the helpful "Wuh wuh" (which is supposed to be a lioness, but in Penelope's defense looks far more like an extra in Lady and the Tramp), I try to help the hippo stand up, but he just flips right back over and starts carrying on again.  Crazy hippo!

My Daughter, Donald Duck

Penelope just stole the frozen water bottle I'm rubbing on the arch of my foot and dropped it on her own foot. Fortunately, she seems okay now. Last night, we were playing duckies in the bathtub, and the three babies jumped so far out of the tub that I couldn't get them. The mother was hysterically sad, and moaned, "KAK! Babies!" but there was nothing I could do. Finally, she jumped out of the tub herself in despair. Penelope leaned very far over the tub after her in concern.

"Sit down," I told her. "You don't want to fall out, too, do you? Are you a duck?"

She replied by making this crazy Donald Duck noise in her throat.

"Oh, you're Donald Duck?"

She grinned at me, until I told her, "Well, you still have to sit down."

Being cautiously optimistic about my foot, I am about to attempt a short walk. We'll see how this goes. I figure at least some increased blood flow to the area will promote healing. And if it hurts, I'll come back.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

No Numb Spot

Ever since my back surgery in June 2006, I've had a numb spot on the bottom of my right foot, close to the inside. Now I have feeling in the entire foot. This makes me wonder if I've been injuring the foot without knowing it, and now suddenly I can feel it. Great timing.

Pulling Pictures of Cutie

Wow! I took a lot of pictures in September 2009! I'm trying to keep from going crazy by going back through the blog and rescuing all the pictures. I lost all my pictures from May 2009-present when my computer crashed.

Penelope is so sweet. We're over at Mom and Dad's again, and my foot is still bothering me. I hope I can walk in Disneyland. I know it would still be fun in a wheelchair, but I really don't want that to happen.

She loves to play with toys so much now. Yesterday, she was making a horse say, "Wuhwuhwuh!" I told her, "No, that's a horse. Neighhhh Neighhhh." So she also neighed--like a long, high-pitched, drawn-out, shaky neigh. Only her horse said, "Noooooh Nooooh!" It was really cute. She also mooed the cow, but for some reason, she wanted to meow the pig. We found this little star, a plastic yellow star that looks like it fits into a shape sorter. Grandma kept setting various figures in the star. For some reason, Penelope did not want that to happen.

"NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" she would yell frantically, and throw the figure out of the star and over her shoulder. She did it with like twelve little toys. It was kind of funny. We have no idea why she was so against someone sitting in the star.

On the way to Grandma's today, we stopped at the grocery store to get some food for lunch. Taking three Advil, I should feel no pain, but I still felt quite a bit of pain. I don't understand why this had to happen right now. I don't even know exactly what happened. I kept saying, "I have pain in my FOOT," because that word amuses Penelope. She was rather annoyed with me that I wouldn't let her eat the apples in the produce section, but then Grandma got her a balloon, so she decided she was happy after all.

She really loves walking lately. I've told her many times, "Pretty soon you're going to walk around just like Mommy." When I said that, I meant that her walking would improve. Sighhhhhhh.....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Gingerbread Man

I knew no good would come of reading Penelope The Gingerbread Man so often. Last night, halfway through a diaper change, she suddenly ran away with her little toodle butt hanging out. I chased her all over the living room. She'd crawl, then jump up and try to run, toddling forward several steps. When I'd get her back on the changing back, she'd pretend to cooperate--then bolt with tons of crazed giggles. She kept this up for at least ten minutes. It was hilarious but exhausting.

Suddenly (as of this week), she is getting to be an expert walker who loves walking. (She also loves eating with a fork, although she uses her fingers--and other people's, sometimes, too--to put the food on the fork, and sometimes also to take it off if she's having trouble.) Every day, she walks farther and farther, more and more. She clearly thinks she ought to be able to run a marathon. She goes faster and faster all the time.

She also really loves playing with toys and gets very imaginative pretending to be all the animals and people. Grandma found her my old Minnie Mouse and Goofy finger puppets, but she can't find Mickey still. She asked Penelope, "Where is Mickey Mouse?" and Penelope widened her eyes and shook her head and shrugged her shoulders with her palms turned up. She's so cute.

I'm trying to relax about the foot. Maybe it will heal in time for vacation. I truly hope so. The injury does not appear to be that severe, although it is still uncomfortable.

Rescuing Pictures and Foot Update

Derrick fixed my computer by reimaging it, but he was unable to save my pictures. I have so many photos, I hadn't moved them all to the external hard drive yet. That means from mid-June of 2009 to the present, I only have the pictures I uploaded to this blog, Kodak, and Facebook--still quite a few. Almost all of my favorite pictures are on the blog, but I'm having to go back through and save them one by one.

It's actually really fun. I just finished July, 2009, and it's making me realize how unbelievably lucky I am to have Penelope. She's so wonderful and beautiful. I'm also really lucky my foot isn't broken. It's not even really sprained. The podiatrist twisted it a funny way, and there was a huge pop--even my dad heard it (and he was in San Antonio). Just kidding. His trip got cancelled, so he was at the podiatrist with me while Grandma and Penelope were at her house playing and eating eggs.

Anyway, after the pop, walking felt less precarious. The X-rays (taken after he squeezed and moved my foot), all showed no fractures. He said there is probably some inflammation in a tendon but decided not to give me a walking boot because I can walk without limping. He told me to take three Advil, three times a day and to roll a frozen water bottle under my arch several times a day for fifteen minutes at a time.

After he messed with my foot, it seemed kind of swollen to me, but now the swelling has gone down. For the first time since Sunday afternoon, however, the second toe hurts a bit. The water bottle always makes it hurt, and I think it connects to one of the sore places on the foot when it bends. I was considering taking the walk tomorrow (especially when I found out I've lost 26 pounds since February!), but then I decided to go ahead and rest for the remainder of this week because it still feels sore and odd. I want to be able to walk in Disneyland. The constant anti-inflammatory is really helping. (Earlier I freaked out. I was like, "Suddenly, my foot looks more bruised than ever!" My dad was like, "You don't have a sock on that foot now, and your new Crocs are dark blue." Brilliant man!) I'm supposed to wear the running shoes in Disneyland, not the Crocs.

I think Penelope and I will try to scoot down the stairs tomorrow to avoid bending the toes that much.


I'm pretty sure my foot is broken and positive it's injured.   It seems awfully ironic--or maybe just inconvenient like all the stuff in the Alanis Morisette song--after weeks of being extra careful, trying to get new shoes with good support and break them in early.  I even put a bandaid on my left foot, so I wouldn't get blisters breaking in my new Crocs and running shoes.  Seems so ridiculous now.

Sunday afternoon, about 2:00, after our walk, I was getting lunch ready for Penelope.  She was listening to her Disneyland songs DVD.  Just before sitting down, I went to get her water from the living room.  I sprinted forward to the music and accidentally hit my right foot on the vacuum cleaner.  The main point of impact was my second toe which hurt a lot.  I may have also hit the top of the foot, but the toe got the brunt of the impact.

I freaked out and said my foot would be broken the next day.  Derrick tried to calm me down.  I took two Motrin, gave Nell a bath, and held her in the chair while she napped.  After an hour, the pain was completely gone.  Derrick reasonably said, "If it doesn't hurt now, It's not just going to start hurting tomorrow."

We went to Mom and Dad's that evening.  I wore my new Adidas running shoes.  My foot felt fine.  When we got home, I took off my shoes and walked around the house normally, up and down the stairs, getting ready for bed.  I took no more ibuprofen because the pain was gone.  I went to bed at 11:30, no pain.

The next morning, I took Penelope downstairs and noticed pain along the inside of my right foot.  I took the walk.  The pain didn't get worse, didn't get better.  Derrick was working from home.  I told him my foot felt broken.  He said most bones are in the top of the foot.  I felt my bones.  They didn't hurt to the touch but after touching them the pain got worse.

Yesterday morning, I got up and walked gingerly around the room.  My foot felt fine.  I walked normally.  Then I carried Penelope down the stairs and was in agony.

It was worse this morning.  I see a podiatrist at ten.  I'm typing on my phone so I'm going to stop now.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Old Navy and the Jay

Yesterday, Grandma took us to Old Navy, where I bought a bathing suit and some clothes for Penelope, and she bought some more clothes for Penelope. The clothes horse in question found this outing terribly boring, but she perked up when we headed back to Grandma's house to have lunch and play and then went to the park to feed the ducks.

Penelope was slightly more generous with her bread this time. She still crammed it into her mouth the second Grandma gave it to her, but if any hungry ducks looked inclined to wander within her reach, she'd take out a chewed up piece and offer it to them tantalizingly, yelling, "KAK!"

(That's the duck noise she makes now. The other day, when I told her she could take one duckie out of the tub, she grabbed two. "No, I said one," I told her. "Put one back." The duckies immediately started crying, "Kak kak kak!" in very mournful voices, and then they started to kiss each other. Apparently, they couldn't bear to be separated--although that evening, one of them decided he would rather hang out upstairs in Bethlehem.)

Penelope was so vocal and enthusiastic with the ducks that she kept scaring away the blue jay I was trying to photograph, but I finally got a good shot, and it's been killing me that my computer crashed, preventing me from uploading my pictures. I wish my eye would cut it out.

Borrowing Derrick's Computer

Penelope is getting sneakier and sneakier in the bathtub. Today, she threw one of her duckies over the side. Then, when I went to retrieve it, she took advantage of the opportunity to slither around me and sneak to my side of the bathtub, easy for her since I had to position myself strangely to lean out of the tub.

Why did she distract me with the duckie? Simple. She wanted to admire her reflection in that metal circle at the end of the tub--the thing that prevents overflow. She was smiling sneakily at herself, and I asked, "Who is that?"

"Baby," she said, seeming pleased.

The correct answer was Sneaky Baby. I repositioned her to the correct side of the bathtub, but before long, she was up to her old tricks again, vain little thing that she is.

She's also been finding more and more stuff on TV funny lately, and she's getting very interactive with her toys. I have more I want to say, but my eye has suddenly developed a stabbing pain. It was getting kind of itchy downstairs, and now suddenly it hurts unbearably, so this is enough for now, I guess.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Computer Crash

I wrote part of an entry yesterday.  Then my computer crashed three times.  Currently, I am trying to fix it.  The computer completely stopped working while I was trying to upload my pictures from the park today.  I'm frustrated and my phone is giving me neck and finger pain.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Floating Ear Infection

That's what I've got today. My ear is all crazy, popping and full and ringing and hurting on one side. Then it switches to the other side. I give up. I pointed out that the same types of viruses can cause ear infection and digestion issues, but Derrick is exasperated with me, I think, and rightly so.

Penelope was asleep, but she just woke up screaming. I think the issue is that she had a nightmare because she seems confused. Derrick is with her, and is pointedly not giving her to me because she is just fine with him, and she needs to realize that.

We've had a pretty good day despite my ear issues. Derrick now works from home Monday and Friday and part of Thursday. This was his first day on that new schedule, and Penelope was very confused and mopey all morning. She didn't want to read stories or watch any of her shows or play. She just wanted to sit in front of the dining room door and look sad because she couldn't go inside.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"The Throw Up"

"I'm sorry you have the throw up." That's what I said to Penelope all morning long. She awoke early (for her) at 9:00 by kind of urping. Then I gave her a duckie bath, and she threw up towards the end of the bath. She continued to vomit every 15-20 minutes or so (mostly bile) until about 1:00, and she slept most of the afternoon on my lap while we had a Pixar movie marathon (Finding Nemo, Monster's Inc., A Bug's Life). Grayson went home about six, I think, and that's when I decided to take her for a walk. She had a little pedialyte, and a few crackers, so about 7:30, we risked some grapes and bananas for dinner, followed by some milk. She's much better now, and hasn't thrown up since one. She's currently sneaking around and then peeking in my face and laughing.

Poor Grayson! He's here so infrequently, and it seems like there's always some Penelope fiasco every time. I kept my cool today, though. Owww! I just bit my tongue because Penelope bumped my chin from underneath. She thinks this is hilarious, of course. Meanwhile, while crawling around after her, my elbow bent the wrong way. I'm just getting old. I thought it was more of a joke that you turn 30 and suddenly out of nowhere fall apart, but apparently, it is completely true.

We've had a pretty good weekend, in spite of "the throw up." Yesterday, Nanny and Papa Harley came to visit us (and to drop of Nanny's computer which is infected with something cantankerous or was). They treated us to Rudy's for lunch, and Penelope was actually quite friendly once she got warmed up. She actually spent much of lunch trying to charm Nanny with her flirty ways.

After they went home, we headed to the Disney Store in the Outlet Mall. We'd been waiting to have Grayson to go pick out matching shirts for our trip this summer. Obviously, from his highly enthused reaction, he was very pleased that we waited for him. "We don't have to go," he pointed out.

"But we're going to go," Derrick said.

"But we don't have to."

"We don't have to do anything," Derrick said.

"That's true," said Grayson.

"We don't have to go to Disneyland this summer."

"No," Grayson said definitely, "we have to do that."

When we got there, he asked if he could wait in the car. Next, he asked if he could take Derrick's phone into the store and keep playing his plane game if he turned the sound down low...or muted it...

The answer was always no. Actually, though, I think that once we got inside the store, Grayson had a better time than any of us. I had a really hard time finding anything for Penelope to wear. Meanwhile, Derrick found a ball for Grayson, and a wall of stuffed animals for Penelope to look at. She quickly grabbed a Pooh. Later, when Daddy put it back, Penelope cried in horror, "No! Nononono!" She was devastated. But then they turned out to be on sale for $5.99, so we let her have the Pooh, resulting in great joy. She also picked out the Minnie Mouse shirt I liked least. (She picked it like five or six times.) And she also liked an Aristocats onesie, with Marie on the front. "M'ow! M'ow! M'ow!" she said enthusiastically.

Besides the ball, Grayson got two Mickey shirts, so he and Daddy will have Mickey, and Penelope and I will have Minnie.

Penelope was so happy about Pooh. She played with him the whole car ride home. Then at home, she crawled off to sit under the table where I saw her from a distance playing with three Noah's ark animals. They were all "talking" to each other, making various animal noises. Then she started clapping her hands and yelled, "Happy!"

She's been happy today, too, at moments, though she was pretty miserable for a while because she didn't understand why I didn't want her to eat and that milk might give her "the throw up." She was kind of scared by Monster's Inc, but she thought the part in Finding Nemo where Dorrie talks to the whale was really funny. She looked at me like, "What??" and then burst out laughing.

"The throw up" has distracted me so much that I can't remember anything else that's happened this weekend. Grayson did something cute on Friday, and I can't remember what it was. But I will...Iwill....

Penelope is Sick

She's throwing up.  She is so confused about it.  Poor thing!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ears Ringing

As soon as I finished typing that post, my ears started ringing. I was like, "What?! Does anybody hear that?"

But then Grayson said, "Yes," so I felt better. "It must be in the game." Then it stopped. "It stopped now," he commented and then (fortunately), when I heard it again, he volunteered, "It started again."

Derrick couldn't hear it.

The Floating Pain

That's what I have. Since I've been using Nasenex, my sinus issues sometimes affect my right eye, sometimes my right ear, sometimes my left eye, sometimes my left ear. It moves around throughout the day. Also, sometimes my neck really hurts, but that may be because my old pillow was so horribly mishapen, so I finally got rid of it (i.e. threw it on the floor).

In other weird news, sometimes my right leg hurts after I pulled the hamstring in a crazy fall a few weeks ago. Then today, out of nowhere, my right leg stopped hurting, but then--my left leg started hurting instead? Why has this hapenned?

Clearly, I have the floating pain. I don't think your sinuses extend into your neck and down your legs. I keep thinking back to the doctor I saw at UT. Maybe I do have MS. (Or maybe that nurse was right and peeing your pants is normal if you're "a heavier gal.")

The Nasenex seems to be helping because the discomfort never stays in one part of my head very long. I keep finding still-green pine-needles everywhere suddenly. I think there were some in a onesie Penelope found underneath some stuff in a remote corner of the room. I keep getting rid of them without touching them with my skin (in case that's what made the eyes red all winter), but then more keep turning up. One unexpectedly surfaced in the middle of my keyboard about an hour ago which has me very nervous about the likelihood of another eye reddening.

In other news, there is a hole in the bottom of my shoe--just from wear. I noticed when I walked across a puddle--kind of inconvenient, but it does solve the mystery of how burrs keep getting stuck in my socks.

Oh well, clearly I'm crazy.

Upside Down Toodle Doo

The Cartoon Hobo Who Came to Dinner

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fun in the Back Yard

Mother's Day Picture

The Cat in the Hat

Although she drowned out all of the fish's dialogue with noisy "M'ow"ing (apparently that busy body fish needs to mind his own business), Penelope really enjoyed The Cat in the Hat this morning. But it was only a one-time distraction. Her current favorite is still The Gingerbread Man. (It probably bodes ill for her future character that she sympathizes with both the Cat in the Hat and the Gingerbread Man.) She loves the part where the wolf tells the wet Gingerbread man to hop on his nose. She laughs and laughs and says, "Nose!" and grabs her nose.

I'm having a hard time blogging because Penelope is throwing a fit since she wants to watch George. Her little "hoo"nannies are becoming extremely annoying. I'm also disliking her habit of throwing everyone out of the stroller and the bathtub all the time. I spend more time rescuing duckies than I do washing Penelope. In our bath this evening, she threw two of her little duckies out of the tub with the most wicked smile on her face you have ever seen. Then she turned to me, threw one arm across her head and looked absolutely stricken as she cried in distress, "Oh no!!!!"

"I'm onto you, sneaky," I told her, which elicited a sneaky smile. She really is sneaky. Now she is pretending to choke because I won't let her use the computer. I think what I need to read her next is The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

That reminds me, my little wolf gnawed several little teeth marks into the top bar of her crib (which is wooden, not metal, lest you think she's some demon creature). We were playing zoo after her bath, and growling back and forth through the bars, and pretending to be various animals. I didn't realize the toll this was taking on the crib.

Penelope just threw a Golden Book version of Snow White at me. Now she's hitting me in the arm with it making squawky noises. I'm no rocket scientist, but I think she might want me to read her a story. I found several good Golden Books to try with her in Grayson's room today (and Penelope found Legos and then got mad when I wouldn't let her eat them).

The version of Snow White is very confusing. On the second to last page, it shows the witch offering Snow White a poisoned apple. Then on the last page, it shows The Prince kissing Snow White surrounded by dancing dwarves. Narrating for Penelope (who was quite thrown), I said, "But the apple was poisoned...but then it all worked out somehow! Hooray!" and then I started singing Snow White songs and she smiled. It was like the ending of one of those MGM musicals from the 30s and 40s. Suddenly, all conflict is magically resolved and everyone comes together to perform a big song and dance number.

Now she is eating my keys. Her face is covered in chocolate because a few minutes ago, she found the Oreos on the table.

Derrick and I got the new Rick Riordan book last night, but he had trouble reading it to us because Penelope kept wanting his attention. Then she got very mad when the book didn't have any pictures.

Now for videos of George. Penelope is so funny. She thinks Derrick made Jackson's firetruck birthday cake. She always smiles up at him, like, "Oh, that was so nice of you to make that cake, Daddy." Also, when Mitzi tells Jackson to make big splashes under the elephant so Daddy can see, Penelope always looks up at her daddy to make sure he is watching.

She's so crazy! And now she's eating the laundry hamper!

PS While I was proofreading this, Penelope got very excited when she saw a "baah bet ball" on Daddy's phone. Good luck getting your phone back, Daddy!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Gingerbread Man

Penelope's new favorite story is a Disney version of The Gingerbread Man.  She found the old Golden book on my dresser while we were smiling into the mirror after she woke up this morning.  It was one of several of my old books that I pulled from the shelf in Grayson's room to read to her while I was pregnant, though I ended up reading My Little Golden Book about God exclusively.

She liked it initially because Donald and Goofy were on the front cover and Big Bird was one of the people on the back, but she turned out to love the story, too.  She especially loves his song, partially I'm sure because I bounce her while I sing it.  She also finds the part at the end where the Gingerbread Man keeps complaining about getting wet and moving closer to the wolf's mouth absolutely hilarious.  She laughs out loud.  I'm not sure if it's the Gingerbread Man's high-pitched complaints or the wolf's big round nose, but something really amuses her.

The book also tells the story of the Golden Goose, but as soon as Penelope got a look at the goose, she honked aggressively and slammed the book shut, so we just end by singing another rousing chorus of the Gingerbread Man's song!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pie Cake and the Pick-Up Duck

We're starting to get so excited about going to Disneyland this summer. I'm trying to figure out clothes, and Derrick's trying to figure out money (so we may be working at cross purposes). I'm so excited.

My sinuses are still bothering me, but hopefully, I'll be able to get them to go away by then. I had a crazy dream last night that my dad had died, and for some reason, we went to stay for a week with my Grandpa Ernie and his wife, Merle. Grandpa Ernie had us try two desserts he had made himself. One was angelific cheesecake pie (which was so delicious) and the other was double devil's food dirt pie cake (I know, sounds a little overboard). That was pretty good, too. It had tiny M&Ms in it. We were at the table, and suddenly I realized, "Oh, this is your new house. I've never been here before. I thought it was smaller than your old house, but it looks exactly the same to me."

"Yes, but it only has three walls," Merle said.

I looked out and realized that people in a theater audience were watching us eat dinner.

"Oh," I said in surprise. "Well this angelific cheesecake pie is really good."

"It's my favorite one," said Dad. Suddenly I realized that my dad was sitting right there at the table with us.

"Well, why did I think you were dead?" I asked him, taking a bite of the chocolate pie cake.

Grandpa Ernie smiled at me in kind of a creepy way, like I wasn't in on some inside joke. "But you know what happens now that you ate that pie, don't you?"

I took another bite. Then I realized, "Hold on! You're the one that's dead!"

"And now that you ate the devil's food, you have to stay here forever," he told me, his eyes looking very weird and supernatural. In the audience, crazy demon guys started dancing closer. Now, most people would have stopped eating the pie cake at this point, but I had already finished my cake pie, so I kept on eating it, anyway. I forced my eyes open and saw Penelope's crib against the wall in the distance. "This is just a dream," I said boldly, "so I'm going to eat this pie cake, anyway, because it's good."

Grandpa Ernie didn't know what to say to that. I can't remember what happened after that--except at one point Mom and I tried to escape in a canoe, and then we realized we were in Time's Square, and I'd left my camera on the other side of the lake because I didn't want it to get wet, so I couldn't take any pictures.

In other news, Penelope and I had a big fight in the park today while we were swinging. She kept saying, "Duck! Duck!" I was swinging holding her, and she was facing away from me, but I still couldn't believe she saw a duck. "No, Best Friend," I told her. "There are no ducks in this park." Penelope got really mad. Finally, she flung her arm out toward the road behind us and yelled, "Vroom vroom duck!" And then I heard an engine and turned and realized she was talking about the gray truck driving by. So what she had seen turned out to be a pick-up "duck," and I had to beg her pardon (which she grudgingly gave).

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Hole in the House

This morning Mom texted me that she was leaving her house while we were taking our walk. About twenty minutes later, we started making our way back to the house.

"Okay, Best Friend," I told Penelope. "Keep an eye out for Grandma. We're going to see her soon. See if you can find her."

She took me much more literally than I'd expected. Immediately, she stuck her head out of the front of the stroller, looked right, looked left, and yelled at the top of her lungs, "GRA-MAM-MA!" She kept leaning out in all directions yelling, "GRA-MAM-MA!" as loud as she could over and over again. When we got all the way home and Grandma still hadn't shown up, Penelope was very sad. "Oh," she sighed softly. But then she was happy when Grandma rang the bell about five minutes later.

She's been very vocal all day. On the ride home from Grandma's, she kept chatting away. First saying, "M'ow M'ow M'ow Kitty," and then having a long conversation of jabbering and meowing back and forth with Kitty.

She's also been physical today. She walked from Mom to me earlier, and as soon as we got home, I heard, "Heeheehee," followed by hollow stomps, so I knew she was sneaking up the stairs.

It took Derrick a while to get us today because he got stuck in a wreck after dropping his laptop and stuff at home after work. He was on Peaceful Haven about to pull out of the neighborhood when this girl turned into the neighborhood too wide and went out of control, almost hit him, and finally plowed through a fence and crashed into the back wall of a house. He was stuck at the scene for some time because first he had to give a statement and then he was blocked in by an ambulance. Two teenagers and their little sister were in the car, and apparently, they couldn't get the wheel to turn correctly. I felt really sorry for the people who came home to find their house crashed into. As Derrick drove us home later, we saw the woman who lived there in her back yard taking pictures of the hole in the house. (It was easy to see her because, of course, her fence is gone.)

My eye is still bothering me today but looks less red. Since I've been using the Nasenex, predictably, I have a scratchy throat. I hate Nasenex.

Mother's Day!

Last night we went over to dinner at Grandma and Grandpa's house, then watched Death at a Funeral. (That really might be more appropriate for Father's Day--if a bit morbid--but was still very funny.) I'm really aggravated because my eye turned red out of nowhere yesterday, and it's very itchy and I'm having lots of facial pain. You would think that would have happened Saturday when I was out tromping around through fields of pollen, chasing butterflies, but no...

So I'm trying Nasenex again. I guess I'm allergic to mold. So comforting to know that my eye is inflamed but shouldn't be...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Butterfly Creek

We drove out to Cow Creek today to play with my new camera and were blown away by the number and variety of butterflies around! I said to Derrick, "This is like going to the Natural History Museum, but instead, we just went to nature."

I took 307 pictures today, which means the camera should be good for use in Disneyland. We were concerned about the battery. With the memory card, the camera can store 2200 something pictures, so size isn't an issue. I just didn't want the battery to die too quickly since it's the kind you have to charge.

In other news, the new Social Security list of popular baby names updated for 2009 came out yesterday. Penelope jumped up about a hundred spots, but it's still only 252. About 1,200 Penelopes born last year in the US, versus 22,000 Isabellas. Not too bad. Apparently, in 1979 (the year I was born), there were 56,000 Jennifers!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Penelope Freaks Me Out

Penelope freaked me out three times in a row this morning. First, while I was trying to make a short business call, and she would not stop hooing the entire time. It turned out that she was actually incredibly poopy (but still, she was silent the instant I hung up the phone). Then after I came back from throwing her diaper away, I found her chewing a lithium battery! I freaked out and started gmail chatting with Derrick about possibly ramifications. During this time, I kept Penelope on my lap, to make sure nothing else happened. But then I looked at her face, and it was orange! She had orange something smeared on her lips, nose, chin, and hands! And she had been on my lap the entire time!

I freaked out because I was pretty sure it was ibuprofen coating. I was pretty sure she'd eaten Motrin. I was freaking out and couldn't figure out where she had gone a pill, especially while she was sitting on my lap. I tried and tried to get her to open her mouth. I was hysterical. Then finally, I found the pill on the floor. Part of the coating had been sucked off, but the pill was whole and intact and still orangey in patches. I was really relieved. (Derrick suggested that perhaps she found the pill under the couch since I was sitting with my back against the couch on the floor.)

Anyway, our day quieted down a lot after that. Derrick came home early, just as we were heading out for our walk. It was so hot outside! My phone said it was 78 degrees and cloudy, which was blatantly false. I checked five minutes later, and the phone admitted that it was really 91 and sunny. I knew it!

Anyway, lots of other stuff happened this afternoon, but I have to clean my glasses. They're getting weird.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Sewing Machine

We just got back from a short trip to Walgreens. While I was changing back into my inside clothes, I lost sight of Penelope. "Where are you, Penelope?" I called.

"Ahh!" she answered. And so I found her--next to the sewing machine!

Incidentally, the sewing machine is upstairs!

Oh Bother!

I should never have started this Winnie the Pooh DVD for Penelope. She is totally engrossed. She is on her butterfly watching with rapt attention, talking and singing back at the screen. She never really cared about it before. But then this morning, she so much wanted to read a really old Pooh golden book she found. The trouble is, Disney clearly tried to market this book to American children by putting Pooh on the cover, but inside, it's an actual A.A. Milne story about Tigger and Roo that Pooh is in for about three seconds. It's a great story, but not for a sixteen month old. She got so mad when I read it because it wasn't what she wanted, but then when I would stop, she would point to Pooh on the front cover and beg me to read it.

Well, then she found the DVD box, but I couldn't read that, because it wasn't a book. She was so mad at me, but then I put the DVD in, and now she is entranced.

But how will we take a walk?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sunny Days

We took another walk today from 1:00-2:00.  It's so weird because it's quite hot and sunny outside, but I feel better when walking than at any other time.  I hope I am not delirious with sun poisoning.

May the 4th Be With You

Yes, I know today is Cinco de Mayo, but yesterday was National Star Wars Day. It was also a rather crazy day for me. I woke up with a headache and body ache. I took some ibuprophen, and it went away. We took a walk from 1:00-2:00. It was very sunny, but I felt great, so I didn't worry. By the time Derrick got home around four, I felt horrible. My body ache had returned and I felt so weak. We were supposed to go out together this evening while Grandma watched Penelope.

Well, here's the thing: All I really had to eat was three bites of toast, a bit of yogurt (Penelope ate most of it), three chunks of tomato, a gross strawberry, and cheese. (I should have made us macaroni for lunch, but didn't, and lots of the produce I had planned for us to eat had gone bad.) So probably, I was just hungry and tired. I feel fine today, except my lips are sore. I think Derrick cut them up in several places with his whiskery face.

We did have a great dinner last night at Cholah, the Indian place.

Penelope's being so cute lately. Yesterday, she wanted to read her Cinderella book five times in a row, and today we've read it four times already. She gets so upset when the stepsisters tear apart her dress. She also really likes her new Sandra Boynton book, Doggies, which came in the mail yesterday. She still wants to read Happy Easter Corduroy every day, too. I guess I should have ordered Happy Cinco de Mayo, Corudory. Oh and now she answers questions with a simple "no," if she doesn't want something, which is new.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Goose Who Came to Dinner

As we were finishing up dinner tonight, Derrick was eating an orange.

Suddenly, from her high chair, Penelope started making the loudest, ugliest, most crazy honking noise at him, like the ugly noise the geese made at her. We had no idea what was going on. Turns out, she wanted a piece of orange. Once I gave her some, she quieted down--until I gave Daddy some cheddar cheese.

"HOOOONNNNNKKKK!" screamed Penelope aggressively.

"This is my cheese!" Daddy told her. He honked back at her. She looked shocked and outraged.

I gave the goose some more cheese, too, and then she was more friendly.

Crazy Day!

When I woke up this morning, I was so happy. My eye and nose were a little scratchy, but not that bad. I didn't even need to take any painkiller. Then we came downstairs, had a little toast, read One Fish, Two Fish, and were having a pretty good time.

Then I turned on Penelope's show and went to the bathroom. This is gross, but essential to my story. I had some painless bleeding, most likely a hemorrhoid rupturing. It lasted for a long time, which I did not like, and I was puzzled because I hadn't felt sick or noticed any other difficulty. Just blood. And then it kept bleeding for five or ten minutes. Not gushing, but it was troublesome to me.

I wasn't panicked, though, just a bit concerned. I texted Derrick to see if he had any advice. Then when I was in the kitchen, I suddenly felt incredibly hot. I took my temperature, and it was 97.4. I took it several times, and I wondered if I'd found the broken thermometer I threw up on a few months ago and shorted out (nope).

Then suddenly my face started sweating, and I felt really dizzy. I sat down feeling really light-headed and weird. My legs just kind of gave out. I felt really odd, alternating cold and hot. I felt weak and strange, and then my arms started going numb. Both of them were partially numb and very tingly from the elbows to the fingertips. Needless to say, this was alarming, especially because it was so sudden.

I called Derrick and told him to come home. Then I called my mom. I called Derrick back and asked if I should call 911 because my voice was trembling, I was feeling increasingly weak and altered, and I was terrified I was going to pass out. Talking to the 911 dispatcher, my voice was all shaky. Penelope had come over to where I was sitting and was happily vrooming her cheetah across the carpet, giving me one of her scrunch nosed smiles every now and again.

The ambulance got here before Derrick and Mom, despite Derrick already being on the toll road when I called 911. By the time they got here, I was still feeling a little lightheaded but much better, and I had to get up and hold Penelope, so I looked better. They took my vitals. My pulse was 79, and my bloodpressure was 124 over something I didn't hear--in other words, normal.

They said hemorroids are common after you have a child, and that I had gone into shock. So weird! That has never happened to me before. It felt like I was having a stroke or something--those tingly arms!

Penelope was horrified to see them. She freaked out completely as they put the blood pressure cuff on me. She was like, "Aaaaah! Doctors can come to your house?" I told them I'd taken no medications besides Clairitin. They kept asking for other conditions. I said, "I have a sinus infection." They said, "Ongoing conditions," so I said, "Bipolar disorder." She said, "You're not on any medication for that," I answered, "Not right now." I wish I had added that I do have a psychiatrist and that I haven't had a major episode in eleven years, but I was flustered. A while ago, I was worried they would try to take Penelope away from me because our house is messy, but that was probably groundless worry.

Anyway, Derrick walked in just as they were leaving. Then a couple of minutes after that, my mom showed up. Penelope would not allow her to leave, so she took us back to her house, and while we were there, we took a really long walk in the park and fed the ducks. We even saw ducklings. As usual, Penelope ate the bread we gave her herself, even though she tried to use it at one point to lure a duck closer so she could pet it. She was very excited by the ducklings and kept quacking at them longingly.

I have the worst headache ever right now, but otherwise, I feel fine.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Phone Pictures from Today

Penelope Rayburn, Protector of Duckies

Penelope is so dramatic, and so sweet! She finally has the coordination to manipulate her toys fairly well. In the bath just now, she was playing with her duckies. She loves to take the three little ducklings and put them on their mother's back. I hold the mother duck steady. It takes her quite a while to round all three up, but she's pretty good at placing them appropriately. The problem is, the mother duck slowly fills up with water that makes her not float exactly right. She's not very steady, so of course, as soon as I let go, Penelope happily swims her duck around for a few seconds, going, "Duck! Duck! Duck!" with a self-satisfied little smile, and then suddenly, the mother duck tips under, and all the babies wash off her back.

This distresses Penelope beyond belief. "Oh no!" she cries. "Oh no no nooooo!" Visibly upset, she locates each little ducky, lovingly fishes it out of the water, and gives it kisses, still wailing, "Noooo!"

"It's okay, Penelope," I keep telling her, "duckies can swim," but she doesn't believe me.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Fun with my Nellie Bell

Penelope was so cute this morning! We were out of milk, so I made us a plate of bananas and Baked Lays crumbs to share in our cuddle chair. (Chips seemed safer for upholstery than raspberries.) Penelope wasn't sure she was supposed to be eating bananas in the chair, so I popped some chunks into her mouth for her. She smiled sweetly and chewed. After a minute, she reached out for some of the little pieces of the chips I had been eating.

She picked up a piece and looked at me questioningly. "Yes, you can have some of those," I said.

But instead, she popped the chip into my mouth. When I ate it, she smiled sweetly and patted me on the cheek. We continued to take turns feeding each other until we'd had enough.

Then we tried to watch Peter Pan. Penelope was not very interested, except when the dog (confusingly named Nana) and the father fell all over the blocks. She was playing over by the window (standing, holding onto the sill) when the Darling children and Peter Pan all flew out the nursery window and into the sky. Penelope turned to stare at the TV. Her jaw dropped, and her eyes got huge. She had this incredulous look plastered all over her face, like, "This never happens on Sesame Street!" Other than that, she was not very interested, but I enjoyed seeing the beginning of the movie again.

My mom read me the book when I was seven, and I remember loving Captain Hook. He was so hilariously paranoid and obsessed with "good form." I remember I loved the line, "Was it possible that Pan had good form without even knowing it--the best form of all!?!" I'm quoting that from memory, so I'm probably not getting it quite right, but it was so funny, I laughed out loud.

After "Following the Leader," we took our walk. We had a pretty good time.

As we walked out of the house, I was singing, but Penelope turned around and gave me a furious scowl and said, "Ohhhh!"

Turns out, the Easter bunny had been in our front bushes, but my noisy singing had made him hop away. I got her out of the stroller, and we followed the rabbit around the yard for a few minutes, so she forgave me. When we got to the park, a strange dog started following us and wouldn't stop for a long time because Penelope was actively and very vocally encouraging him.

Watch out for Dragons

Derrick got done working today around one, and after spaghetti and a bath, we dropped Nell off at Grandma's, picked up Grayson, and (finally!) went to see How to Train Your Dragon. Then we went back to my parents' house where Dad treated us to a delicious dinner of pizza.

On the car ride home, Grayson said, "I wish that there really were dragons." At that exact instant, a really bright star I'd been looking straight at as we prepared to enter the toll road suddenly shot downward toward earth, but burned out before it got to the ground and vanished into the night. Derrick and I both gasped and started jabbering about the falling star. "I guess it was a meteorite," I said, but Derrick pointed out that a meteorite would have had to hit the ground. So I guess it was a meteor.

I can't even remember the last time I saw a shooting star. It was so amazing. Derrick and I talked about it during the whole drive home. So uncanny, too, that it fell the instant Grayson made his wish--so watch out for dragons, everyone. We're pretty sure they're coming in 2012.

This "Plants" episode of Life is so fascinating and awesome. Grayson keeps yelling, "Sarah! Look! Dad rewind it! Sarah look!" I'm touch-typing blind, but apparently, he doesn't believe I'm really watching. This is the coolest show ever! Meanwhile, Penelope is driving her cheetah across the room, "Vroom! Vroom!"

Watching this is making me so excited about the Mother's Day Present Derrick bought me today--a new camera. It's so cool. We got it with his Dell discount on our DPA account. (I'm trying to reassure Grayson that most mosquitos do not meet a grisly end by being eaten by carnivorous plants.) It's such a cool camera. It has a 30X optical zoom, and it's 14 megapixels, the Olympus SP800UZ, very similar to the Fuji HS10, but that seemed like it was more for serious photographers (rather than moving children and butterflies photographers).

(Watching these sunflowers is making me remember the bus ride to Assisi. I also remember a dream I had after my great-grandfather died when I was about three. We were sitting in a room, leaning against the ledge of an open window, looking out onto a field of sunflowers. "Aren't the sunflowers beautiful, Sarah? I see them every day now." Then he flew out the window over the tops of the sunflowers, a very vivid dream I have always remembered, odd because I didn't know him well. The only real memory I have of him is from his funeral. It was an open casket. His legs were covered by a blanket (or maybe the bottom of the coffin). When we walked up to view the body, my Dad whispered to me, "Remember, Sarah, only part of him is there," meaning that his spirit had returned to heaven. But I thought they'd cut off his legs. I was most fascinated by that.)

Speedy Butterfly in Our Yard