Dear Kid: Three Years (and Merry Christmas)

It’s two months after your birthday, but I can't procrastinate into the next year, so I find myself delivering this message to you the day before Christmas Eve.  That seems fitting and appropriate, however, because you are just beginning to catch on to just how rad this particular holiday can be.

Today you are 1,183 days old.  This means that even in our darkest hours together, you have brought us 1,183 days of joy.

And this year has no doubt been filled with dark hours.  In the first part of 2014, you lost both of your grandparents on your dad’s side.  Your capacity to process that experience at 2.5 years old was incredible.  Your whole demeanor changed that month.  You knew something had gone terribly wrong; you understood the permanent void that would indelibly exist.  This loss once again reminded me of the incredible impact we as parents have on our children. 

This Christmas, I am thankful for the smiles you bring to your dad’s face on a nearly minute by minute basis, and that we are able to use your presence in our lives to create our own holiday traditions and memories with you. 

Perhaps the biggest change we have seen in you this year is your increased capacity to communicate – both with us and with strangers.  Most of the time this leaves me coyly smiling to strangers, beaming with pride and sharing a knowing nod that says, “Yes, I know my child is gifted - a genius, basically.”

Other times, what you contribute verbally to strangers makes me – and certainly your father - want to self-combust, disappear in to space, or, in dire circumstances, offer your hand to said stranger and say, “I found this young child wandering around with no supervision.  Did you see him with an adult earlier?” 

Costco seems to be your verbal bomb location of choice, where you often kick your volume level up to that of a Five Finger Death Punch concert, and vehemently express your desire for things like chocolate asscream.  Frozen has also taken over our lives, and so perhaps one of your more memorable Costco performances included your rendition of “Let it Go,” where, despite constant attempts on our part to set you straight, you (still) insist that the lyrics sung at the song’s peak emotional crescendo are “The bastard’s in the past!”  (Please note: the correct lyrics are "The past is in the past.").  You sing this line with extra gusto, and the understandable response you receive from innocent passersby only seems to fuel your desire to provide an encore that we're all begging you not to provide.   

But truly, your vocabulary is extraordinary.  You regularly use 3 and 4 syllable words with us and in the right context.

Concentrate on me Daddy.”

“Mom, you are frustrating me right now.”  (This is actually a 3 syllable word but you change it to four.)

And, as if I really need a verbal reflection on everything I say, you often whip out these little gems:

While leaving the house:  “Alrighty then, let’s hit it.”

While picking up toys:  “Ummm, a little help here?”

When we do anything you don’t really want us to do: “Shame on you, Mommy.”  “I’m disappointed in you, Daddy.”

When we ask you to finish your dinner plate before dessert:  “You’re killin’ me guys.”

And my personal favorite, when I am trying to reprimand you: (*Slowly puts index finger up to my mouth*) “Shhhhhhh, Mom.  Listen.” (*Raises one eyebrow*)

Your ability to communicate has also brought to light just how unreasonable you are being when you throw fits, because we finally know WHY you are throwing fits.  We are no longer afforded the luxury of giving you the benefit of the doubt. He’s tired, we’d say.  His stomach must be upset, we’d rationalize.  He is NO DOUBT HAVING GROWING PAINS we would shout over the screaming. 

You also take pleasure in losing your mother loving shit over the fact that I stirred your yogurt.  Or that Gus the Dog jumped off of the couch.  Or that we ran out of lotion.  And to think, I thought we’d just have a little dry skin that evening.

And yes, you’ve used your share of expletives.  I’ll have to talk to your…eh’em…father…about that foul language of his.  Moving on.

You cuddle. 

You think Spiderman and Jake the Pirate are cool but you love princesses – specifically Rapunzel.  You can play the game Memory better than I can.  You love to visit with MorMor and tease Papa.  You are literally witty.  Witty.  At three years old.

You laugh often and unabashedly.  You are a gracious gift giver and receiver and almost always say thank you without being prompted. You know when someone is sad, because I can visibly see you are hurting for them.  You know what it means to miss people.  You know the importance of telling people you miss them.      

You have made it a habit to name all of the people you love before I tuck you in at night.

In so many ways, each and every day, you show me what Christmas is really all about. 

And to think, I thought I would be the one showing you.    Thank you for that.



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The one percent.

I’m about to have a 3 year old on my hands, and lately I’ve been thinking about all the ways that motherhood has changed me…mostly because five of my closest friends have all had kids this spring/summer, including both of my child’s Godmothers.
GM #1's munchie.

GM #2's munchie.

When someone shares the news of a pregnancy with those around them, responses are typically always joyful.  We offer huge smiles and hugs and tell the person or couple just how happy we are for them.  We do this universally.  If you’ve had a child of your own, and the person sharing the news with you has ever judged your parenting style in any way, your elation is equally as genuine…just for different reasons.   You know what they’re about to face – both good and bad - and if you’re human, you’re damned happy about both.  

One of the five new momma friends!

A good friend of mine once told me that the first few years of raising a child is 49% misery and 51% joy.  Very rarely do we recognize anything in between those two feelings.  It’s like playing golf.  The good shots keep you playing through the back nine.  Hell, a good day followed by a couple of martinis and before you know it, you’ve got yourself a decent foursome. This is why I don’t drink and parent.

Okay fine, I drink all the time. This is why I have an IUD.

I digress.  What I’m trying to say is that the 1% of parenthood “joy” tips the scale in an extraordinary way.  When I told my mom I was pregnant, she told me I would become a better person because it would build my character in a manner that wouldn’t be achievable any other way.  At the time, I was actually pretty offended by that.  Frankly I thought it was a pretty asshole-ish thing to say– not just for me personally – but for everyone who hasn’t had a kid, either by choice or by chance. 

Mostly I was offended because I hadn’t had 3 years of character building in that 49% yet. Now that I’m on the other side of it, I get what she was trying to say. 

Don’t get me wrong.   I recognize that people can build character and strive for betterment in countless ways.  For example, I know people who've built character by working in an orphanage in the Congo, or by saving someone’s life because they put themselves though 8 miserable years of med school and fellowship training.  Cripes, I know people who've built character by running an iron man.  Some would argue I took the easy route!  All I did was have some sex and now look!  Here I am! Building character for the rest of my life! 

And dammit, I hate to admit it, but my mom was right.  Ever since my kid came along, I can’t seem to get through anything that elicits any sort of emotion without becoming one big, blubbery ball of tears – especially when it comes to other people’s kids.  Suddenly I feel empathy for people.  I'm confident that if you could measure my niceness pre and post kid, you’d find that having a kid has definitely made me less of an asshole.

One thing about having kids “later on in life” (30+, rather than 20+) is that you’ve had more time to enjoy your freedom.  You’ve had time to make a little money, to travel, to do nothing but watch America’s Next Top model on a Sunday afternoon, only leaving the couch to nurse your hangover with a Taco Johns run.  Not having kids is a frickin' blast.  And when you’ve had a few extra years to not have them, the transition to having them is a bitch.  And the effects of that 49% can be a bit exacerbated the longer you wait.  And when you finally do have a night out with your friends…especially friends who ALSO happen to have kids…it looks something like this:

A recent baby baring momma to my left.  Her 3rd, which makes her the smartest and nicest of all of us.  When we took this photo, all we'd had at this point was an uninterrupted dinner without kids.

But you know what? That 1% makes it worth it.  And that 49% makes you better.   And when your kid is running away from you, naked, clenching his butt cheeks, screaming at the top of his lungs, all because you simply want to PUT HIM ON THE TOILET SO YOU CAN SHOW HIM HOW HIS POOP CAN GO HANG OUT WITH ALL THE OTHER POOP FRIENDS IN THE TOILET…well, what else can I say?  It builds character.  


Dear Kid: 2 Years

Dear Kid,
Quick update: you’re two now.  You turned two on October 27.  Yes, almost two months ago and BIG SURPRISE!  - I’m late getting this note to you.  Sorry. I’ve been busy limiting your iPad time and trying to convince you that what’s in mommy’s cup is the same thing that’s in YOUR cup.  Someday it will be.  Unless you start drinking white zinfandel.   

Let’s get back to it.  Today I have loved you for 770 days, not counting the days you spent occupying my torso.  Here’s proof we gave you a party:
You with Auntie Kat.  Thank God someone
normal joined our family.  Thank Uncle Eric.

These last two years have brought many changes your way, including the addition of two cousins, - both boys - who will, in a moment’s time, be crawling around their parents’ house, causing them the same kind of general mayhem and destruction you do for us.   I will watch from the sidelines, laughing, as many of my other friends (with children) likely did with me.  (My friends who don’t have kids are understandably questioning my parenting skills.) It’s all fun and games until my brother catches your cousin creating an impressionistic piece of art on the living room window curtain using Chobani yogurt as his medium, enthusiastically exclaiming, “Look what Semisi taught me to do!”
Mastermind of trouble.

Master of not getting your way. 
(No baby, no cry.)

I sometimes wonder how you interpret our presence in your life.  Like, do you think we are just total buzz kills because we don’t let you swim around in the utensil drawer, pull all the clothes out of your closet, stick my finger nail polish brush inside the light socket, and wipe your nose with my hair?  Probably.  But I think if we’re doing things right, we’ll continue to cause you this kind of disappointment on a daily basis, with what I hope will be spurts of awesomeness in between.


What?  You've never seen anyone
dressed up like Einstein before?

Awesome.  Until we had to get off of the ride.

There are some things you enjoy doing that don’t involve our intervention on a second by second basis, however.  They are as follows:

1.       Hauling around all of my old purses and putting random things in them.

2.       Playing with the iPad.

3.       Trying on my shoes – the sparkly silver ones are your fave.  Dad is pleased.

4.       Playing with the iPad.

iPad selfie.

5.       Helping dad shovel and rake leaves.

6.       Taking a bath and farting in the tub and then side eyeing me with a coy smile to see if I notice.

7.       Kitchen utensil mayhem.

8.       Ordering Chinese with the iPad.

Yes.  You have an iPad addiction. We now only let the iPad “surface” after bedtime, but you haven’t forgotten about its existence.  The other night you woke in absolute hysterics.  While lying in our bed with a pillow over my head (hoping to God you could “work it out” and fall back asleep) I began listening to your wails only to realize you were desperately shouting “iPaaaaaaaad…..”  It was 2:00 a.m. Looks like I can toss out that “How not to get a girl pregnant” outline and replace it with a “How not to act like Rainman on your first date” outline.  Because, you know, kids and technology.  NO SOCIAL SKILLS.  Unless of course you are helping someone with technology:

Your GM 2's mom (honorary gramma.)
She's pretending to let you show her something
because she is actually quite tech savvy.

Actually I shouldn’t say that.  You have great people skills.  Recently you’ve lovingly begun to refer to point at and openly refer to strangers as “bodies.” This is hilarious for me but really, really creepy for the strangers. 

You do have a girlfriend and her name is Julia, though you have another girl on the side up in Alaska too (I won't tell Julia).  Luckily you call Julia by name rather than referring to her as "body" too.  That would be inappropriate for a whole different reason.  She is a bit younger than you but she could take you in a fight which I can only assume is part of the reason you love her so much.

Other than that, you have great verbal skills.  You pick up on things we don’t even realize.  The other day your dad sneezed and you said, “Bless you, Daddy.”  I mean, your Dad and I really aren’t that polite, so GOD ONLY KNOWS who is teaching you those kinds of niceties. 

You still eat pretty much everything in front of you.   Sushi?  Don’t mind if you do!  A bowl of salad?  Yes, please!  We lucked out.

Our most recent frustration with you comes at bedtime, where, for a time, we required the assistance of a young priest and an old priest (as your Uncle Eric describes it.)  Your most recent trick, however, is one of silent protest.  You bathe, have a nice bedtime story, and then you calmly let me lie you down and tuck you in, where you sweetly offer me kisses and a “Love you, Mom.   Night Night.”  I then proceed to walk out of your room and down the hallway, fist pumping the air while silently mouthing “WINNING!!!!!” 

You can only imagine our surprise when, hours later, your father and I quietly tip toe into our bedroom to turn on the bedside lamp, praying we won’t wake you only to find you passed out in the middle of our king sized Temperpedic mattress, feather duvet up to your chin, blanket and bear in hand, and a pink satin ruffled eye mask perched atop your sweet little nose.

Once we put you back in to your own bed, I sneak in a few episodes of The Walking Dead, which I continue to find parallels our life with you perfectly.  You walk like the dead, we tip toe around the house to avoid waking you in a fit of rage, and your father and I often scream HAVE YOU BEEN BITTEN?” to one another.  That, combined with our continuous battle for control of the household, leaves us all exhausted and wondering WHY LORI HAD TO DIE.
And yet, I LOVE having you around.  When I walk through the door at night, you typically act like you’ve just won the grand prize on Minute to Win It.  A river dance and a few hugs later, you’re back to destroying everything around you (but you’re smart to lead with that welcome).  You give great kisses and hugs and the joy for life you exude makes my heart swell and my soul happy.   

It’s December now, and you’re just now starting to get an idea about how awesome it all is.  You shout “Santa” when we drive by our festive neighbor’s blow up lawn decorations at night (which also doubles as a Christmas massacre scene during the day.)  What you don’t yet realize is that Santa brings you TOYS.  I mean, you’re already a fan of the guy and you don’t even know the BEST PART yet.  I hope you view everything in life that way…for the rest of your life.
So Merry Christmas, kiddo.  And don’t worry; you don’t have to get me anything. The best gift I ever received was closer to Halloween, anyway.  You'll never be able to top it.


P.S. Stay little.


Winner, winner turkey dinner!

Hey y'all!  Sorry about not posting yesterday!  I was still in a turkey coma. 

Buttttttt...as promised, I did pick a winner to my Bella Bag give-a-way using random.org: 

As you can see, I included all 55 comments in the generator, but then took out the "removed" comments and the comments that were added to *original* comments when I counted down to see who left comment number 35. 

Then I counted twice with my mother present to make sure it was accurate. 

Then I had my step dad count to make sure.

And it pleases me to announce that the person who happened to submit comment #35 is someone I've known since birth!  So congratulations Lisa Fabian! Wooo hooo!

Lisa, shoot me your addy via facebook or at meganithappen@gmail.com and we'll get you this bag!!!

Didn't win?  Don't forget to check out all the other AMAZING bags over at Stitch and Swash.  A HUGE thanks to Angie for donating this bag.  You da best.  

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everybody - and thanks to everyone who entered my "bribe to subscribe" (I'm looking at you, Katie!).



You say Oprah, I say Opera...

Here's the deal:  I used to teach English, so when I notice a snafu typo in a blog post - specifically MY blog posts - I dwell on it for a good month and a half before I finally feel like I can move on.  The problem is this: I know no one cares as much as I do (except maybe my mother) - but if I have someone PROOF read my blog posts, I suddenly find myself TRYING TOO HARD.  And when I TRY TOO HARD I start not to like blogging.  I also start to not sound like myself. 

Don't start sentences with AND.  SEE!!!  It never ands.  ENDS.  It never ends.

Therefore, every time I post, you're likely to see sentences like this: 

And even though I try to convince her that we need to contact Opera, she simply shakes her head and tells me that sewing and touching every bag that leaves her doorstep is just too important to her to ever go that big. 

See, yet another sentence starting with AND.  But also (SWEET JESUS NOW I'M STARTING THEM WITH BUT!), you'll notice that I said we need to contact Opera. 

I meant Oprah.  

For the record though, I DO think someone should make a rock opera out of Angie's story.  It shall be called, Angie and her Twilight Smothered Dream Bag.  It would be glorious.  (Please note that titles call for italicized font rather than "quotation marks" unless we're referring to the title of a song or a poem or a chapter.)

Another time, I said that my son turrets, when I meant this kind of tourretes).  Now this one actually worked out, because as times my son really does act like a small tower that projects vertically from the wall of a building.  Still though, I meant the other kind.

In other words, blogging - which requires, in my opinion, a deliberately impromptu, raw, unedited word vomit - can be hard on a former English teacher.  Please ignore these types of dumb mistakes and know that I am smarter than my blog posts make me look. 

Also, if you have not entered in to win this awesome bag...

...you best get on that right now. 

Kisses and sunshine,


Cinderella story. And my very first give-a-way. So, you know, happy Friday.

Well, the moment has finally come.  Internets, we’re having a give-a-way. 

Why?  Well, because I like to feel popular.  And I've kept my son alive and thriving for 1 year.  And Christmas is coming.  And my best friend and son’s General Manager happens to one of the most generous and talented individuals I know.  

No really, she is – and multifaceted, if I may say so.  In fact, let’s list a few things that make her the president of club awesome before we get right down to the give-a-way.  This will be fun because I like lists and she dislikes people bragging about her.  I’m hoping this incites a series of awkward twinges that I’ll feel all the way from Washington.  Right now I’m guessing she has her hands on her cheeks as she peeks through her fingers, squinting more and more with each sentence of this post.  (SMOOCH!)

In any given day, you might find my best friend doing any number of the following things:

1.)    Cooking ridiculously good meals:

2.)    Winning arm wrestling competitions:

3.)    Adopting abused animals:
Love the shirt, Nic.

4.)    Taking incredibly cute pictures with her husband

5.)    Or designing handbags used by famous people in famous movies. 

Whew!  That’s a multitalented bitch, right there.
I could go in to detail about each one of the items listed above, but for the purpose of today, let’s focus on #5.
Here’s the deal.  While I spent my summers by Ft. Peck Lake, listening to mixed CD’s of No Doubt and Oasis and doing everything within my power to drive my mother bat-shit crazy, my best friend was elbows deep in fabric and thread, learning to craft her talent in domesticity.   (In comparison, my mother was understandably disappointed.   I would argue however, that if it weren’t for those summers, my mother would not OWN a mixed CD.  Think about it, mom.  Your car rides would be filled with a full hour of songs from THE SAME ARTIST.  Can you even imagine?)  

But alas, under the fine direction of her mother, who to this DAY sews the best hair scrunchy this side of the Mississippi, Angie learned to craft a talent that now makes her a living.  And also makes her kind of famous.

And also makes me feel popular.

And will, in a week’s time, make you cooler.  
Fine.  I’ll get down to it.  (Drumroll!.....)

Friends, I’d like to introduce you to THE BELLA BAG:


Why is it called the Bella bag?  Maybe these pics will help clarify:

What?  What’s that you say?  You recognize the person holding that purse?  You recognize the movie?  Twilight, you say?  The final movie of which opens today, you say? 
Huh.  How timely.

This bag, hand made by my bff, Angie, was picked up by a prop designer for the Twilight series in a boutique in Seattle, where Angie’s rent payment was, at the time, dictated by whether or not she would sell a bag that week.  The prop designer bought it for herself, but then decided to use it to round out Bella’s wardrobe for the movie – so she called Angie and asked her to make a replica.  Angie complied, and a few months later Twilight came out.  And Angie was all, “You don’t suppose???” and then she watched the movie and I suppose you could say she supposed right:



Rob Pattinson is holding Angie’s bag, you guys. Do you see that?
The year that the movie was released resulted in so many orders that Angie worked hand over fist, day after day, rarely taking even one day off - pumping out bag after bag.  And from there, she’s managed to make a good living doing what she loves to do.  And even though I try to convince her that we need to contact Opera, she simply shakes her head and tells me that sewing and touching every bag that leaves her doorstep is just too important to her to ever go that big.  And there is just something so. damn. admirable about that.    

I have this bag, and many of my friends have a version of the bag.  And we all love it.  I’m not just saying that because she’s my best friend.  I can honestly say that I have NEVER owned anything that has received more compliments than this thing.  EVER.  And what’s even cooler is that when she’s out and about, sporting one of her own bags, she’ll get compliments, too.  And do you know what she does when she gets compliments? 

That’s it.  She doesn’t even tell them that SHE MADE THE BAG.

I guess that’s what modesty looks like, but what she lacks in boastfulness I make up for in casual conversations with people I’ve never met.  When anyone compliments me on my bag, I take up half of their afternoon telling them how I have a famous best friend and that she makes these amazing bags and that famous people have used them in famous movies and they should go to her website RIGHT NOW and buy one because she customizes the screen print and the fabrics and uses refurbished leather and you can also pick whatever style of bag you want in whatever color leather you want.

And it isn’t until I gently rub my bag against their cheek so that they may feel the softness of the leather that I sense them pulling away.
And because she is my best friend and she knows how much I like to feel popular, she is donating one of these bad boys to one of you! 

So, what do you have to do?  Well listen, I know there are a number of you out there who silently follow, so I'm just going to ask that you speak up today.  Just this once.  And it only takes two easy steps:
1.        Follow me.  I really like looking popular. Yes, you'll have to have a google (gmail), yahoo, twitter, AIM, Netlog, or Open ID account to follow me.  That's lame and I'm sorry but I don't know how to get around it.  But really, for a bag this good?  Make up and account and then never look at it again.  I'd say it's worth it.  :)  

2.        Comment  on this post after you follow me, and poof!  You’re in. Don't know what to say?  Tell me which bag you like best from her website.  Or ask me a question. Or tell me the middle name of your cat.  I don't care.  Say something!   

3.        Want to get entered twice?  Share this post on Facebook or your blog (or both!) and tell me you did it by commenting again. 

I’ll pick a winner using random.org on Black Friday and post the number that corresponds with the comment.  It will all be fair.  Don’t worry.

And if you don't win - no biggie!  You can still buy the bag - or any bag for that matter - at her website.  Currently I have my eye on this little number, but they're all great.  Seriously.
Good luck!

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