Saturday, July 31, 2010


Penelope is so funny! She's interacting with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She thinks the correct way to say, Shhhh is to stick the tip of your finger up your nose while pressing the rest against your lips!

She did spontaneously yell, "Pete!" and point to Pete, standing guard. (Mickey almost missed him.) And she also said "star" much more clearly than usual. Normally, she says, "Aara," to mean star.

Zoe Wanamaker's Revenge

Sigh! I was so satisfied by these lists, and this is a disastrous mess! I don't know how I forgot to move KST over to the middle list when I created it. I am, however, excited that we're going on a scouting trip to do research for my new book tomorrow. I'm very excited about that book.

This has been a pretty good day. Derrick worked all morning and afternoon (it's quarter end), so Nell and I spent the day at Grandma and Grandpa's house. They picked us up about eleven, bearing doughnut holes. On the way home, we stopped at Barnes and Noble and bought Penelope three Little Golden Books, including one called The Fuzzy Duckling that she loves beyond all measure.

Anyway, here are the revised lists:

Top Ten Actresses 40-59
1. Jodie Foster
2. Jennifer Connelly
3. Helena Bonham Carter
4. Frances McDormand
5. Michelle Pfeiffer
6. Tilda Swinton
7. Nicole Kidman
8. Emma Thompson
9. Holly Hunter
10. Tie: Julianne Moore & Kristen Scott Thomas

Top Ten Actresses 60 or Over
1. Meryl Streep
2. Judi Dench
3. Maggie Smith
4. Vanessa Redgrave
5. Sally Field
6. Glenn Close
7. Helen Mirren
8. Kathy Bates
9. Diane Keaton
10. Zoe Wanamaker


I just realized, reading over these lists, that Kristen Scott Thomas is NOT 60! Originally, we had an over 50 and an under 50 list, but that left out too many people! This is a disaster!

Zoe Wanamaker

We're over at Grandma and Grandpa's house, and for the past several hours, we've been narrowing down a list of Ten Best Actors and Actresses working today. Somehow, this turned into three lists of best actresses. The actors are such a mess that we're saving it for another day. Derrick pointed out that it started to stress me out, which means that it's not fun any more.

Here are the actresses we came up with. (It was a compromise, and I'm not sure this list is perfect. For one thing, some of us have slightly unreasonable biases against certain performers. Also, Mom campaigned loud and long to put Zoe Wanamaker on all the lists. I certainly have nothing against Zoe Wanamaker. I'm grateful to her dad for reopening the Globe, and I think she's a great actress, and I love My Family. Mom was having lots of fun, voting for her like crazy and making Penelope vote. Meanwhile, Penelope was trying to steal my pen and paper. She's such a little maniac.

Here are our lists. I'm thinking of doing something more with them in the future. (Certainly, it is too late to do something with them in the past.)

Top Ten Actresses Under 40
1. Kate Winslet
2. Cate Blanchett
3. Angelina Jolie
4. Marion Cotillard
5. Penelope Cruz
6. Hilary Swank
7. Anne Hathaway
8. Emily Blunt
9. Amy Adams
10. Maggie Gyllenhaal

Top Ten Actresses 40-59
1. Jodie Foster
2. Jennifer Connelly
3. Helena Bonham Carter
4. Frances McDormand
5. Michelle Pfeiffer
6. Tilda Swinton
7. Nicole Kidman
8. Emma Thompson
9. Holly Hunter
10. Julianne Moore

Top Ten Actresses 60 or Over
1. Meryl Streep
2. Judi Dench
3. Maggie Smith
4. Vanessa Redgrave
5. Sally Field
6. Glenn Close
7. Helen Mirren
8. Kristen Scott Thomas
9. Kathy Bates
10. Diane Keaton

Friday, July 30, 2010


Penelope has had the pretend hiccups on and off all day. She actually had the real hiccups, a very mild case, in the bath tub. When I asked her about them, she came down with an exceptionally prolonged and noisy case right in my face as I was drying her off. Hers kind of sound like, "HIP! HIP! HIP!" And then she kind of jolts and grins.

Just now, Derrick finally came down, and I was recounting her earlier fit of hiccups to him. Wouldn't you know it, this prompted a relapse. "HIP! HIP! HIP!"


Penelope continually finds new ways to impress me.  Yesterday afternoon, she dumped out a matching game of zoo cards from Jack in the Box.  Who knows when we acquired this.  Anyway, several minutes later, she brought me a pair of matching gorilla cards and proclaimed proudly, "Twooo!"


The more I think about Inception, the more I think it is the most brilliant movie I've ever seen.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Anyway, when we got to Katelyn's house, everyone else was getting ready. Christina was in the bathroom getting her hair done. Nicole and Heather were in the bedroom that adjoined the bathroom, fixing their hair and make-up. Valerie and Katelyn and Abbie were already ready and off helping someplace. Jen was also there getting ready.

I helped Nicole finish the ends of her hair, and then she curled my hair (an impulsive, last minute decision on both our parts).

"I don't know if I should do this. I'm not good with hair," she warned me uncertainly.

"I don't care at all," I said.

"That sounded very sincere," Nicole decided, "so I'll do it."

At first we were sort of horrified at what she did to the first side, but that gave way to a pleased feeling (at least on my part), so I asked her to do the other side, too.

Christina was very focused, periodically thinking of last minute things and delegating from the bathroom. At one point, she asked us to find some food, and Nicole did her best, but wasn't really sure what we ought to eat. I spent lots of time chatting with Heather as we got ready. We were warned that 35 was like a parking lot again, so Heather found us an alternate route.

I rode with Nicole. We weren't 100 percent sure we understood the directions, so we followed Heather and Christina, but we got there very easily.

The first person I saw when Nic and I got out of the car was Suzanne, but she was across the street, so I didn't have a chance to talk to her at that point. Inside...

Penelope wants to read a book. She is yelling, "Book!" and jumping onto my lap, trying to shove the laptop out of the way. I'd better read before someone gets hurt.

Wedding Thoughts, Part II

Well, we made short work of those razzleberries! (The chips are going fast, too, now that Penelope has discovered how to sneak the bag off the table and figured out how to get it open. Now that we've given up our walks, we've kind of given up on lunch, too. We pretty much just eat little bits of stuff all day long until dinner. Oh, and my nose is fine.)

Oh, excuse me, the camel is knocking at the door.

Wedding Thoughts, Part I

Now that Penelope is happily watching Pooh, I think I can spare a few minutes to blog about Christina's wedding.

I was very nervous with all my coughing, agoraphobia, and sinus pain, but it turned out to be a lovely event and lots of fun. I wish she'd get married every weekend (though that would probably be impractical for several reasons. I guess I could just get out more).

Christina asked all the bridesmaids to be at Katelyn's house by 1:00 (or 2:00 at the very latest). We were free to come as early as like 10:30, I think, but the way our schedule works, it was a miracle I made it by one. I just went ahead and got dressed before going (though that defeats the purpose of getting ready) because it seemed much easier logistically than trying to find a safe place in the car for the dress and somewhere to stash all my other clothes.

For some reason, I had the mistaken impression that Katelyn and Paul lived farther north than they do (based entirely on my not-quite-expertise with zip codes), so we got there just in time. Of course, as soon as I put on my dress at home, Penelope burst out of Derrick's arms and careened toward me, face covered in milk, intent on snuggling. Trying to dissuade her made me feel like a cruel fashionista. (No one who's ever seen me would believe at least half of that, though. Even the blog doesn't believe it. I must have spelled it wrong.)

Then I stood up and discovered to my horror that there was a huge stain on the front of my dress. Derrick and I both started freaking out, but as we were searching for its exact dimensions, it disappeared. We learned gradually that any moisture at all makes the dress appear horribly stained until it evaporates five seconds later. Weird fabric! I mean, literally, you could breathe heavily in its general direction and get that result. Anyway, after standing up and being relieved that the stain had vanished, I realized to my great alarm that I had been sitting on a blueberry! Fortunately, frantic examination revealed that I had not stained the dress, and that I had, in fact, squished the blueberry just to its absolute breaking point and no further. It was almost flat, but the skin had not popped open.

Hold on.

Penelope just accidentally crashed her face into my nose, and that hurts quite a bit, so I will have to make sure it isn't bleeding. (I doubt it is. But she is also showing me a peep peep book and smelling suspicious, so I may need to stop here for now.)


Penelope is in quite a little snit because I told her to be really quiet and we'd see the Easter bunny in the back yard, and she did what I said, but the bunny had already hopped away. She's really irritated.

A few minutes ago, she did something so funny. She ripped my glasses off my face, and I helped her put them on. "Hello, Mommy!" I said while she grinned. (We do this constantly.) Then she found a small bottle of eye glasses cleaner and ripped the spray nozzle thing off the end, so just a little clear tube was sticking up. She promptly stuck that up her nose and began snuffing. Then, smiling with antic glee, she switched to the other nostril. Since the surgery, I have to moisten my nose with saline mist four times a day. Clearly, this was her impression of Mommy. She laughed and laughed, finding her joke truly hilarious. But was she laughing with me or at me? I will never know for sure!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hot Dog!

Penelope is so cute doing the Hot Dog Dance. I love the way she yells, "Ahhdog!" just over and over again as fast as she can. It's amazing how quickly she stomps her feet. She's just adorable. We've got to find a way to sneak a video. Derrick and I were talking, but I had to take a break from our conversation to read her a story about Mickey's camping trip. I wasn't going to, but then she looked at me angelically and said, "PEEEEEEEASE??"

I guess she learned that word because I always beg and plead for her to give my glasses back when she steals them. (It's a little game we play. First I get mad and call her a sneaky, but when that doesn't work, I start to plead.)

Meanwhile, I'm excited thinking about Inception and rereading the last Harry Potter book and working on a prequel to Sebastian's Mark.


I've been looking for Winnie the Pooh all day and couldn't find it anywhere. Penelope was very mad. She kept demanding to watch Pooh all afternoon. Finally I told her, "Well, Mommy can't find Pooh. Can we watch Bugs? Maybe we can watch Pooh after the hugabug."

Of course, she remembered that the second she woke up. I kept telling her, "I'm sorry, Best Friend. Mommy wants to watch Pooh, too. But I don't know where it is. We can't watch it without the DVD. How else can we watch it?"

Penelope got a sly look on her face. She toddled wisely over to the TV and began pushing buttons on the Direct TV box, with a knowing series of nods at me, like, "Don't worry, Mommy. I've got this."

"But that won't work, Best Friend," I told her. "We have to watch Pooh a different way."

Momentarily stumped, Penelope then crouched down and started playing with dials on the stereo receiver. A few seconds later, she ran over to me in alarm and threw herself against my legs, pressing her face into my body in horror. She had twisted the wrong knob, and suddenly, the room was full of noisy static.

I fixed the stereo, and Daddy found the Pooh DVD! It picked up in the middle of the parade celebrating Pooh's long-awaited release from Rabbit's door. Penelope began marching joyfully around the living room, beating an imaginary drum. She's very pleased.


We finally saw Inception last night. (I'd been dying inside a little bit each day we hadn't seen it.) Last night, I dreamed that I was watching my own dream version of the movie. It was complete with credits. Ken Watanabe was played by George Takei (in my dream). It was kind of funny. The only part of the dream I remembered clearly when I woke in the middle of the night (other than the opening credits) was the rhyme George Takei (doing a very hammy impression of Ken Watanabe) said at the end, but I can't remember it this morning. It was something about a girl in a spinning bed.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More of Mom's Wedding Photos

More Wedding Pictures

I think Derrick looked so handsome in his wedding outfit. The night before when he tried it on, Grayson said, "Wow, Dad! You look different! That outfit makes you look..." He paused abruptly and finished with an inspired smile, "Younger!"

Derrick smiled and told him, "It makes me look thinner because black is slimming."

"Yes," Grayson agreed.

Doesn't he look handsome, though? I certainly thought he did. Penelope, vainest child on earth, was smitten with her own beauty and very happy at the reception (particularly when Grayson was playing with her). We are playing animals right now, so I can only comment a little bit on the pictures.

Christina's Wedding in Pictures

I have every intention of blogging in more detail about Christina's wedding weekend. Penelope recently threw that unicorn and hit me on the fourth finger of my left hand which hurts quite a bit when I type now. I'll upload some pictures, though.

The bridesmaids all got ready at Paul and Katelyn's house, so I didn't take my camera because I wasn't sure I'd have anywhere safe to leave it. I left it in the glove compartment for Derrick to take into the wedding. He and the kids were running late, though, so he left it in the car. (Good thing, really, because Penelope kept me pretty busy during the reception.) I do have some of my mom's pictures, though, and a few I took with my phone.

First I'm posting a few of my phone pictures (and one I took after the reception back at our house of Penelope and her "Toke" and duck).

I'd never met Katelyn before the rehearsal but was pleased to discover that she's extremely nice and certainly has done a fabulous job of decorating her house with fascinating and beautiful things. (Andy's brother Paul may have had something to do with that, too. I'm not really sure.) They have an awesome sign above their door reading "Abandon Hope, all Ye Who Enter Here" which I thought was great. I wish I'd taken a picture of that, but I didn't.

Penelope is getting bored, so I'll blog about getting ready, and the wedding, and the reception later!


That is Penelope's new word.

I've been pointing out how the horse has a hoof instead of toes every morning when we read The Animals of Farmer Jones (her current favorite). Today, she pointed to it and said proudly, "Hoof!"

Then just a few minutes ago when we were playing, the unicorn got horribly upset.

"What's wrong horsey?" I asked him.

"Hoof!" he cried. Penelope pointed to his hoof, and the horsey started sobbing uncontrollably.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Barrel Game

Aunt Merry smiled politely as Penelope showed her the rainbow nesting barrels Grandma has. She smiled politely and dutifully opened them in turn. She clearly thought it was funny that little "open open open" was so excited. And then she opened the last, tiny blue barrel and found the three marshmallows Grandma had hidden inside.

"Ohhhh," Merry said with a much more genuine smile, observing the conspiratorial grin of delight on Penelope's face. "Now I see why you like to play with these!"

Ahhdog! Ahhdog!

Penelope has been singing up a storm lately. Last night, she was dancing around (moving her feet so fast) to the "Hot Dog" song, yelling out periodically, "Ahhdog! Ahhdog!" And in the car yesterday, she sang along to the entire song Bad Romance, although she didn't get the words right exactly. (She definitely had all the important syllables of the chorus down, though.) This morning in bed she was singing a random song she was making up with lots of "dah dooooh daadaaa." I started singing along with her, noting, "What a pretty song!" and that made her so happy!

Maah! Maah! Maah!

Penelope’s new games crack me up. The other day, I made one of her horseys (the unicorn) stomp around neighing angrily. (It’s hard to think of variations on games when your pretending partner has a limited vocabulary and life experience.)

“What’s wrong horsey?” another animal asked him.

“Nobody will give me any razleberries,” said the horsey. (That’s what we call raspberries, for some reason.) He then ate some and was happy.

Anyway, Penelope thought this was the best game ever and proceeded to make the cow get mad and moo around angrily smashing into everything. Only it was much harder to figure out why the cow was mad because, turns out, she was much less verbal than the horse.

Then Penelope took the puppy’s temperature and showed me the thermometer. (I’d been taking mine recently. She knows exactly how to swipe it across the forehead and look concernedly at the numbers.)

I looked at the thermometer and exclaimed, “Hundred and seventeen!!!!”

Penelope dropped her mouth open in alarm. Then she made the puppy cry very noisily, “Hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo!” I gave him an Easter egg full of medicine, and he drank it very noisily, but when I’d check on him, he’d just start crying theatrically again. He kept this up for half an hour, the whole time I was making macaroni. We finally had to put him in one of her socks (because he had chills) and let him lie down in the back of the carriage to rest.

Since then, she’s delighted in making her animals have outbreaks of either temper or sadness. When this happens, they are absolutely inconsolable, and it is pretty hilarious. Usually, I take charge at some point and reveal that they want either something to eat or a kissie (from another animal who is being perversely withholding). Sometimes this resolution isn’t good enough for her though. Her fairy and angel took turns sobbing uncontrollably through two episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse this morning. I think they were having a falling out of some kind that left both of them heartbroken, but I am not completely sure of the details even now.

Usually, when her animals are mad, instead of making an angry noise appropriate to the animal, she makes them stomp around yelling, “Maah! Maah! Maah!” (The camel also spits.)

We spent the better part of the day today at Grandma’s. Mom picked us up and dropped me at my dentist’s appointment at 2:15. (Despite all my mouth pain, my teeth look fine and healthy—even in X-rays—and I have no cavities or tooth damage.)

I’ve had the worst headache ever all afternoon (and still). And I’m having the bothersome pain between my Eustachian tube and tonsil like I did on vacation. I don’t know what makes it come. I hate it so much. My cough seems much better, but it is still there sometimes, and of course, the sinus drainage hasn’t stopped.


Penelope has been so funny today! She's been pretending to be a monster for most of the afternoon. She sounds just like Grayson when she growls. I think her dinosaur act was a way to stave off sleepiness and flirt with Aunt Merry.

She desperately wanted Kitty's company, but he did not care for her method of asking for it.

She was so loud. "M'OWWW!!!"

I tried to get her to be soft and gentle. "M'ow m'ow," I whispered alluringly, stroking her cheek with a sweet smile.

She smiled sweetly back at me, whispered, "M'ow!" and stroked my cheek. Then she turned back to Kitty and screamed, "M'OWWWW!" at the top of her lungs.

More later. On my phone.


Someone is mad and it's not just the horsey. Penelope got mad when I stopped playing for a minute to look at something on Facebook. She climbed up onto the couch and started sullenly drinking some milk. I brought her angel and a fairy up to play, and she threw them on the floor.

"Don't you love mommy?" I asked manipulatively.

She eyed me stonily and pointedly hugged her stuffed Mickey Mouse.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Christina's Wedding

Penelope is sitting in her pretty wedding dress in the middle of the living room floor, pouting because I won't share my "toke" with her. Meanwhile, we just got back from Christina and Andy's wedding which was really lovely and a lot of fun! I'm dying to see my mom's pictures. My stupid eye is being stupid, and it looks like I blew a gummy bear out one side of my nose just now, so I'll blog more later.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Crazy Penelope

On the way home from the rehearsal dinner in the car, Grayson taught Penelope a trick. "Crazy Penelope!" he'd yell, and then she'd shake her arms and legs and open her mouth and wobble her head, carrying on in a crazy fashion, you might say. It was so funny.

The rehearsal dinner was lovely, albeit very long. Both children were very well behaved, but Penelope got stir crazy after about two hours and spent the remainder of the evening in the parking lot. Derrick and I took turns taking her out. At first, she was fascinated by the moon. She got very disappointed when she couldn't get it because for a while there, she thought she was really closing in on it. Later, she found a "bug." It was actually a cricket. She chased it across the entire parking lot, saying, "Hop hop! Hop hop!"

We had trouble getting to the rehearsal. For some reason, south bound 35 was like a parking lot. And then we got lost trying to figure out which part of Fiesta Gardens was the right part for us. Chuck called me, and I was like, "Do you know where the rehearsal is--because I don't." He was lost, too, but we both found the place about the same time.

It's actually quite a lovely venue, and I was glad to see lots of people. I had a very nice time catching up with Nicole and Heather, and (briefly) Christina's friend Craig (who showed Grayson cool tricks at dinner). Everyone was quite nice, and I wanted to talk more, but it was kind of tricky to watch Penelope and chit chat and be sick.

Grayson was very relieved to find out we were going to get food at It's Italian!

"Oh, I thought we were just going to rehearse having dinner," he said, after we explained in the restaurant parking lot.

The food was really good once it came, but there were a lot of us, and it took a long time to get anything out, so (exemplary mother that I am) I kept Penelope happy by feeding her a packet of Imperial sugar on a bread plate, followed by a pile of grated Parmesan cheese out of the shaker, and several Hershey's Kisses from the little gift netty things. Andy's family decorated the tables with Star Wars action figures, and for some reason, Penelope was convinced that Yoda was a sheep. She kept baaing at him. For most of the meal, she was very well behaved. After a while, she sat on my lap and ate my bread and salad--and then started feeding me big pieces of lettuce. Heather kept trying to make conversation with her, but Penelope was feeling a bit shy. Maybe she will open up a little more at the wedding tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I am not sure if my cough is really in my chest, or if my chest just hurts from coughing. Also, I always think it is worse than it is because I have bad chest pains on the left side, but I think it's really from holding Penelope after a week off.

Earlier Grayson said, "Penelope, you are the messiest girl I know! And, Sarah, you are the craziest girl I know!"

M&M Madness

Yesterday I told Penelope, "You can't have a pretzel M&M because you might choke." Apparently, she heard, "You cannot have M&Ms unless you choke!" Her theatrical choking was Oscar worthy, so I caved in and let her try a few M&Ms. As you can see, to say that she enjoyed them is an understatement!

(PS Why is my foot all screwed up? It is getting sore in that same spot as before and numbing up weirdly.)

The Ugly Duckling???

Penelope just brought her duck over to me to play, but to my eye, something seemed amiss...

The stupidest person alive

So coming down the stairs this morning, I accidentally dropped my phone on my toe--the same toe I banged on the vacuum cleaner. Ironically, just before this happened, I thought, "I hope my voice gets better, so I can pull off the reading at Christina's wedding tomorrow." After a coughing fit about 1 a.m. last night, my voice is sounding very--insufficient.

So I am feeling like the biggest idiot alive. My toe hurts, and the nail is all deformed, but hopefully it is not broken. Penelope is throwing faeries at me, so I guess I need to play.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Crazy Pirate

"Someone stole our dishes."
"They ain't stold. They're hid in the cupboard!"
--Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Penelope and I are watching Snow White, and some lines are really hitting home. Meanwhile, I feel lousy and very sick. Penelope is being a slight hoodoodle. She doesn't want to eat anything, and she's just snooking around. We had fun this morning, playing with her Fairy House (although it has now become a horsey house--the horses kicked out those uppity fairies and invited their rowdy friends Sheep and Giraffe to come and chow down on plastic raspberries. "Um mum!"). Earlier, she had the fairy pulling the horse and the cow in the cart. She's so funny.

I've been trying to brush her hair just now. She has the weirdest hair. It's pretty, but it's so poofy in the morning. It has the most unusual texture.

I'm trying to convince her to watch Bewitched. I'm also trying to teach her that eating with silverware does not mean attacking a banana with a plastic fork and a pirate sword! Meanwhile, I got nose saline in my eye and it really burns. Penelope whacked me right between the nostrils last night, which was not great either.


Surprise, Mommy!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fun at Home

Penelope was so excited to get home last night. I was relieved. She was so happy! She played with all her toys and rolled around on her butterfly. She also grabbed Grayson's sword by the plastic blade and used the hilt like a fly swatter (a somewhat dangerous game for everyone else).

Even better, Aunt Merry sent her a present while we were gone--a Fisher-Price flower tree house with swing, fairy princesses, two horses, and a carriage. I had a terrible time trying to get it open. Every piece was fastened with about seventy gray twist tie things. The first horse got very impatient waiting for his trapped brother. He whinnied and cried and sobbed and carried on. They both did. It was rather moving and very noisy. Penelope doesn't like the horse to pull the carriage. Every time, she rips the harness thing out of the horse's back and makes the horse stomp on it and throw a fit. Apparently, he's full of unbridled independence.

When I tried to change her diaper, she ran away naked onto the butterfly.

"Come back here, toodlebutt!" I yelled.

"No," said Penelope in that cute little voice of hers.

We are back at Grandma's for the day, though, because I am feeling so awful. I'm taking some Advil cold which does make it possible for me to sleep, at least, but the sinus cavity on the left side is giving me lots of trouble and the cough is horrendous! I personally find it quite disconcerting that I am spitting up so many clumps of black blood.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


After my friend Tricia told me I should blog in a Facebook comment, I reread the first several entries of this blog and noticed that I described a dull ache through all my teeth, a bad taste in my mouth, and a bad smell in my mouth among my symptoms around the time I went into premature labor. I've read that asthma can trigger premature labor. Maybe the deviated septum coupled with the rhinitis of pregnancy gave me a sinus infection and made it impossible for me to breathe at night while sleeping. Perhaps respiratory distress that I wasn't aware of put me into labor early.

Right now I have a stabbing headache behind my left eye. I hope I don't pass out and die during Christina's wedding Saturday. It would be entirely justifiable if she viewed such behavior as grandstanding and held a grudge, particularly because I'm in the wedding party and would attract lots of attention by collapsing to my death.

Our Day

We had an exciting time at the outlet mall this afternoon. (By exciting, I mean Penelope narrowly missed getting locked in a store room, and I almost died from not being able to breathe.) But I did get shoes and a bra for Christina's wedding Saturday (thanks Mom and Dad) and Penelope got the cutest dress ever and Little Mermaid panties. Even though she's too little to pee pee in the potty, she needed something to appease her in the underwear store, so Mom gave her those to look at while we waited in the check out line.

Penelope sat in her stroller, staring reverently at the Mermaid panties and singing, Ariel-style, "Aah-ahhh-aahhhhh!" over and over again.

She left her sippy cup of water in the store, however, so I had to go back for it. Meanwhile, Mom took her to the Disney store to keep her entertained. I caught up with them with the sippy cup just as Mom was taking a rubber ball away from Penelope who had been trying to chew it on the sly. Penelope had a complete meltdown, so I picked her up and carried her around the store while Grandma bought her a pair of sunglasses. We walked along the back clearance wall where we found a plush Mickey Mouse on clearance for $5.99 (originally $19.99). He was wearing a dumb Chicago T-shirt, but it could be removed. I finally found one with a Hawaii T-shirt that was more attractive.

Buying this plush toy took about three hundred years, and I felt like I was going to die. I barely slept last night. I can't stop coughing. It is awful. There were like five employees in the Disney Store. Only one was working a register. The others were walking around in circles. The woman at the front of the line wanted to pay in cash, and for some reason wanted to pay with huge bills. Then at the end, she wanted to make an exchange using her Visa, but she couldn't speak English, and the cashier couldn't speak Spanish. I was very concerned about this situation because a) I was dying and b) the woman had with her a baby in a hospital dinosaur blanket who could not possibly have been a month old. I tried to breathe as little as possible because I know I have a cold or something.

Yesterday, I was convinced I had a cavity or exposed nerve, but Derrick had me swish ice water in my mouth, and we were able to confirm the pain was not coming from an exposed nerve in the mouth. Probably, it was just sinus pressure. No more mouth pain today, but I have a horrible, stabbing headache behind that left eye. I am having trouble breathing.

Penelope, meanwhile, has developed a taste for curly fries and "tock ick." You would think 72 percent would be too dark for her, but she thinks "tock ick" is delicious no matter what. (She looks so cute in her dress for the wedding! We had to take her out of the stroller to try it on, and she had so much fun exploring the Carter's outlet.) In the car on the way home, she shook Mickey by his ears, grinned and said, "Mimi!" for several minutes until she accidentally dropped him, threw a fit, and fell asleep.



Monday, July 19, 2010


Penelope has a mind like a steel trap and the memory of an elephant. This afternoon, Mom put in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for us to watch. When it was about a third of the way through, Penelope started complaining. "After this, we'll watch Pooh," Grandma promised her.

Penelope smiled over at the DVD box. "Pooh!" she cried excitedly.

But then when Derrick got finished working and joined us, we decided just to go ahead and watch Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Penelope played around doing other things (sometimes with me, but usually with Grandma). Then at one point, we paused it so Mom could take Penelope upstairs for a bath.

When the movie was over, Mom went upstairs to bed. As soon as the credits stopped and Mom turned the DVD off, Penelope toddled over to me. Pointing up at The Breakfast Club already in progress on the TV, Penelope yelled, "Nonono!" Then she almost glared at me and yelled, "Pooh!"

"Oh, do you want to watch Winnie Pooh while Mommy takes a shower?" I asked her.

She was overjoyed. "Pooh!" she yelled enthusiastically with a huge grin, running toward the TV.

As I put in the movie, I suddenly remembered Mom's earlier promise and said to Derrick, "You know, my mom did tell her she could watch Pooh as soon as Harry Potter was over. She was probably like, 'Man! This is the longest movie ever. But at last it's time for me to watch Pooh!'"

The Magic Present

Penelope loves finding the present. Mom has what appears to be a red package wrapped with a ribbon. It's just this little plastic toy, about an inch and a half square. (She thinks it came with a Santa playset. It's surprisingly difficult to describe. It's very easy to see.) Anyway, Mom fills the present with yummy things (e.g., an animal cookie, raisins, crackers). Then she leaves it around the house in places that Penelope can find.

Clearly, Penelope thinks it is magical. As soon as she eats whatever she finds in there, she closes the present, and then brings it to me to open again, as if something else will have appeared. This last time, she found raisins. Although she did eat one, she was obviously hoping for something different since she opened and closed it several times in a row (saying "open" and "tose" each time), always checking to see if the contents had changed. She's such a lovely little lovee.

Meanwhile, I went to the ENT this morning and got clearance to pick up Penelope again. He said my nose looks good and free of infection, and thought the red spot I on the right side of my throat was probably the result of a ruptured blood vessel. He said cough (which I've had since yesterday) is not typical of the healing process, but that I don't have any infection, so perhaps I caught a cold. I'm just supposed to keep an eye on it. He also cleaned out some scabs from high up in my nose, but he says the nose has healed beautifully

Good thing I'm allowed to pick up Penelope again because as soon as Derrick and I got back from the ENT, Grandma decided to turn on that demon vacuum cleaner. Penelope ran to me, screaming frantically, "Up! Up! Up!!!!!"

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Penelope's Walk with Grandpa

Penelope's Back Yard Adventure, Part I

Go Ask Your Dad

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish contains the memorable question and evasion, "Why are they sad and glad and bad? I do not know. Go ask your dad."

I always ask Penelope, "Who is your dad?" I used to answer for her, "Daddy is your dad." But now she knows the answer. At home, when we read that part, she always looks up the stairs wistfully. (Derrick works from home three days a week, so she's always under the impression that he's up there in his office in the guest room, even when he is not.) If he's actually in the room, she always points and grins at him, and then waits for him to answer the question.

He always answers, "Because that's just the way fish are."

The funny thing is, now when I read several pages later, "Not one of them is like another. Don't ask us why. Go ask your mother," and I ask her, "Who is your Mother?" she always points at Derrick again! So lately, I always have to tell her, "No! Daddy is not your mother. Daddy is your dad. Mommy is your mother!" She always thinks Daddy is her Mother, though. He's our go-to guy for tough answers about funny things, I guess.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Larks, Turtledoves, and Starlings

After dinner, Mom's show Lark Rise to Candleford cam on TV. The show opened with a woman in a field, so when we heard a baby crying in the distance, both Mom and I thought Penelope was trapped in the garage. Dad had been talking about hornets, and since he'd just taken her outside, I imagined (and Mom was right there with me) that hornets had stung him to death and Penelope was trapped with his comatose body in the garage.

But really the baby was on the TV (just off camera), and Dad and Penelope were in the front yard listening to the turtle doves.

When they came in, Grandpa was saying, "We heard the turtle doves, coo coo."

"Oh! Coo coo!" I echoed enthusiastically.

"Tell Mommy what the doves said," Grandpa coached Penelope.

But instead of cooing, Penelope made this loud, crazy weird squawky strange noise. It was such a weird noise, so we figured it was a fluke. But every time I asked her, she made an identical noise and seemed very proud of herself.

"Oh," Grandpa realized. "I was listening to the turtledoves, but Penelope must have been listening to the starling. He was out there, too."

Penelope confirmed this by making another very loud noise that did sound almost exactly like a starling. It was kind of funny.

Penelope's Cute Ways

I made this horrible noise trying to clean out my sinuses--well, really, I just wanted to swallow or breathe or both, and something nasty was in the way, but I couldn't seem to relocate it. Penelope thought it was the funniest thing ever! She wanted to make the noise, too, and she kept trying all night to get it exactly right!

She is in top form today, very hilarious. Her newest joke is to open her mouth wide, slam her whole face into the blue bathroom rug downstairs and make a bizarro monster noise. She then lifts her head and looks at me like, "I know! I'm so funny, right?" It's like an inside joke that I'm somehow secretly not in on (unbeknownst to her). I have no idea what this must look like in her head. I'm sure she's pretending something that is truly hilarious, and she just doesn't realize I can't see what she's imagining.

What I can see is her stealing the trash can. It has a duck on it, so she nabs it pretty much every time anyone opens the guest bathroom door for any reason. Then she toddles all over the place quacking until someone snatches it back. Grandma's house is such a den of temptations! A few days ago, she brought me two ceramic bunnies from Grandma's shelf of highly breakable things in the front room. The bunnies didn't know they would break. They were in love. All they wanted to do was kiss. It was very sweet. Then today, she whapped me upside the head with a can of prune juice.

(She loves stealing cans from the bookshelf of cans my mom keeps in the kitchen. I can only guess that's why mom keeps a shelf of cans there in the first place. She knew one day she would have a granddaughter who might like to steal cans. The only other purpose of this shelf is to give her a place to stand when she says, "Now let me see...Don't I have any more peanut butter? I'm pretty there any over here?" I have never seen her find anything she was looking for on that shelf of cans, and I have also never seen any of the cans move off the shelf--except when Penelope steals them.)

I helped Penelope climb up onto the loveseat by me, little suspecting that she was armed with prune juice. Then--whack!--she slammed it into my cheek, missing my nose by less than an inch. When I did not react with the wild elation that she was apparently expecting, she looked disappointed and offered me a second can of prune juice. (You can see I'm not very vigilant. It seems hard to not notice that someone has crept up beside you carrying two cans of prune juice.)

She also likes to get two of something--anything, not necessarily a pair of things--and walk around yelling, "Twooooo! Twooo!!" Another favorite is to make her animals kiss, then to have one jump on the other's back, so they can both hop around together, going, "Hop! Hop! Hop!" She's also been enjoying toodling around in everyone's glasses and reading the "Amen" book over and over again.

Light is shining right into my face, but I'm trying to lure a fly into the hallway. Somehow, this bedroom always gets a fly in it--maybe because the windows overlook the garden and one is missing a screen. (Sometimes I wonder if this room is haunted. The other night, I woke from a dream to hear someone saying, "Bow wow," and see a circle of white, glowing faces staring down at me. And when Penelope was in the NICU, Derrick and I both had the dream a blue guy spun us around at the same time. Of course, I was taking narcotic painkillers when both of these dreams occurred. But that doesn't explain why Derrick had the blue guy dream, too. My grandma did die in here--not that she has a glowing white face or makes "bow wow" noises or hangs out with blue guys.)

A Drive and a Cutie

I just finished pulling old pictures of Penelope off the blog from October. (That was quite a project!) Earlier, Nellie, Daddy, and I took a drive through Avery Ranch and Brushy Creek, looking at houses, our old standby pass time. First we stopped at Sonic and got chocolate Cokes.

Penelope enjoyed our outing very much--until she ran out of "feesheee"s (what she calls Grandma's Goldfish crackers). Then she got kind of bored and slumpy looking. Finally she fell asleep. While she napped, I worked up the nerve to take a flyer from a house that was for sale. We saw some we really liked today (not that we're actually looking for a new house at the moment).

While I was pulling pictures off the blog this morning, I saw that last October, I thought I'd be having another baby in December of 2010! I was like, "Wow!" Time flies, I guess! I am definitely not feeling ready for another baby yet. At least I hope I don't have one until after my nose heals.

Hold on...I have to refill the grapies before Maniac goes nuts!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Grandpa's Birthday

Penelope's Bath on Grandpa's Birthday

Facebook Status Updates From the Past Few Days

Sarah Jett Rayburn I was lying down in the bedroom because I didn't eat enough with my painkiller. Penelope wandered in and shut the door. I can't lift her yet, and I could barely see her because the bed is so high. I started to get nervous. "Best Friend?" I called. Suddenly, my camera appeared at the foot of the bed, along with Penelope's eye. "Chee!" she called happily. She's so cute! She always cheers me up.

Wednesday at 12:16pm

Sarah Jett Rayburn Mom has a refrigerator magnet that is basically a giant wedge of cheese with a mouse on a hinge. Penelope keeps holding it up to her face and saying, "Chee!" just like she does with the camera. So apparently, she has learned that either cameras or cheese can take pictures.

Wednesday at 4:42pm

Sarah Jett Rayburn Penelope climbed into her stroller, so Grandma and Grandpa are taking her on a walk--in Grandpa's sunglasses. I hope she doesn't think I don't want to take a walk with her.

Wednesday at 5:32pm

Sarah Jett Rayburn Penelope is back from her walk. She's grinning and toddling my way carrying both her blankies and jabbering about something.

Wednesday at 5:54pm

Sarah Jett Rayburn I don't think Penelope is going to catch many flies by her method--running maniacally through the house wielding the fly swatter and yelling, "SAAT FYY!"

Wednesday at 6:32pm

Sarah Jett Rayburn Penelope just grabbed a piece of gauze and started snuffing it up against her nose. Then she grinned at me. Fortunately, it was a clean piece of gauze.

Wednesday at 9:26pm

Sarah Jett Rayburn Penelope started flapping her arms and saying, "Eee Eee Eee!" as she ran towards me. "Are you a bat?" I guessed. Shaking her head "no," she replied, "Eee! Eee!" I noticed she was holding something as she flapped. "Is that a bat?" I asked. Another "no." Then she showed it to me. It was an "e" (refrigerator magnet). I felt kind of stupid.

Yesterday at 11:26am

Sarah Jett Rayburn I like the way Penelope throws a party. She opens the door for each guest in turn, saying, "Open," every time. Then all the guests (who may or may not be plastic circus animals) hop around for 2-3 minutes saying, "Hop! Hop! Hop!" Then they all give each other kisses and go back through the door again. "Bye bye! Bye bye!" What a great party!

Sarah Jett Rayburn Penelope just blew me away. She found a teeny, tiny, pocket-sized hardback book on the couch. "A book!" she cried, picking it up and flipping through the pages intently. I looked and saw it was a collection of Psalms. "Oh, it's about God," I said. "Amen," Penelope proclaimed, and she continued reading every page by saying, "Amen!" We are guessing that she put those words together from saying prayers.

Sarah Jett Rayburn
And just when I think I've done my job right as a good Christian parent, Penelope starts to point across the room and wave her arms in excitement. Grandma finally followed her into the kitchen--where she attempted to climb onto the broom. We're watching the first Harry Potter movie, and I said to her a few minutes ago during the first broom lesson, "Maybe you will fly on a broom like a witchie!" Apparently, she was paying more attention than I thought. They pretended to fly around on the broom for several minutes while Penelope shrieked with laughter.
15 hours ago

Sarah Jett Rayburn Such a misunderstanding! We thought Penelope was making the outrageous claim that a duck had gone pee pee in her pants. Turns out, she wanted to read the book Chicken Little, the one about the duck and the peep peep.

15 hours ago

Sarah Jett Rayburn Earlier, Penelope said, "Uhh!" so I gave her a cracker, and she repeated, "Cracker." I praised her for saying it, but immediately she said, "Uhhh!" again. "I already gave you a cracker!" I told her. "What do you want now?" Penelope grinned at me and held out the hand that didn't have a cracker. "Twooooooo," she said. She likes one for each hand!

7 minutes ago

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mama Mama

I went to town.

Inside, outside, upsidedown!