Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This Here is Sugar, Y'all

DH has a lot of faults, sigh.  It must be hard for him to live with two perfect beings who are so awesome.  I mean at least the cats should make him feel better with their whole world o' crazy and vomit.  I don't like to discuss his shortcomings on my blog as he does read and it would probably make him feel bad.  There is one small issue that we should discuss for his own good.  I think that we can make him a better person if we ponder and pull together FOR HIM.   If he is talking to someone with an accent, he will imitate it back to them WITHOUT realizing it.  He will start having issues with the English language and STUMBLE over the same words in an attempt to be on their level.  He has absolutely NO idea that he does it. 

DH claims that his mother does it and it MAKES him embarrassed to go to Chinese food with HER.  How do you think I feel eating sushi with HIM while he talks to the sushi chef in his fake Japanese accent and repeated head nodding.  Trust me, no one is safe from his "accents." When we used to travel abroad BEFORE LO was born, I prayed for people to not speak English to us with the fear that DH would try to pull out his Spanglish.  We were not even safe in England as "Cheerio" and "Mate" would get worked into the convo.  I am not even sure anyone under 70 uses "Cheerio" in England.  

So imagine my surprise when I started saying "Y'all" when we were in Texas and EVEN after returning to LA where one could get shot for using that sort of lingo.  "I'm not going to hold the elevator for y'all," and "I'm going to cut y'all off in traffic." 

I feel like I have become susceptible to his kind of crazy.  Also, while in TEXas and after watching The Help, I decided that LO should only be referred to as Sugar but dropping the "R" to keep it Southern.  Somehow, Sugar and Y'all just doesn't translate this far west.  DH and I are going to have to stick with Dude, Homeslice and What Up.  In my mind, she is still Sugar and the rest of you are still y'all.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Baby in the Mail

You may recall from last year, at this time, that I started FREAKING out about the holidays. Holiday gifting gives me the agina. Too many people and too many gifts. I am toying with the idea of giving LO's "art" as gifts. Who is going to challenge baby art as a gift? They would look like crazy, mean people to be upset about interpretive art. We are also traveling to New York this year, so a ton of my gifts need to be shipped to No CA and the other gifts need to be stuffed into suitcases.

The one thing that I do enjoy about the holidays besides hanging with the family and eating is picking out THE holiday card.  Nothing says LOOK AT MY BABY so blatantly like the annual card.  It is hard to casually work shoving LO's pic in people's faces into a conversation.  But I know that all of the suckers my family and friends have to take that moment to look at LO in all of her glory when they open the mail.  Also, they will feel guilty throwing the card away necessitating them hanging her picture in their house.   I know all of this because I feel guilty throwing away their kid's photo and only break down in February to throw the cards away.  

DH and I discussing holiday cards in November:

Me:  Hey, I just spent 50 hours meticulously cropping, resizing and trying out 5 billion pictures in a few different options for our holiday card.  Which of these three do you like?

DH: Are there other choices? I don't like the size of my ham arm.

Me (calmly): Sure, here is the site if you want to scroll through and make another choice.

DH: I like this black card

Me: That is for a black tie party not the holidays

DH: Why do we have to use our picture?

Me (calmly through clenched teeth): We took torturous family pictures for our HOLIDAY cards.

DH: You can use whatever you want for the Hanukkah cards but I refuse to let you send out that card to MY family and friends.

Me: GREAT, SEND OUT YOUR OWN DAMN CARDS

DH: ok, no need to get upset


DH and I discussing holiday cards the second week in December:
 
DH: My mother said that she didn't receive a card from us.
 
Me: You told me that you were sending out your own cards.
 
DH: I never said that.  Can you please try to remember to send my mother a card.  She has been having a hard time with (fill in the blank)
 
Me: I'm going to stab you while you sleep.
 
So, I saw this promo to get 50 free cards if you discuss family traditions or which Tiny Prints card you will send this year and I decided to jump on board.  I really like their non-gaudy Hanukkah selection and will order this card from them even if they disqualify me for using the words "stab" and "ham arm" in my post.  I really fight the tacky gold dreidels that seem to permeate the small "other holiday" sections at card stores.
 
I cut off the bottom with our names so you won't come to my house and try to wear my skin.   You can sign up for the Tiny Prints promo here, maybe you will do a better job at sharing fuzzy warm holiday traditions.

Back at the Ranch

Everyone has those blog posts where they tell the world that their child is a phonetics genius.   They have started talking and they are amazed by the cute/funny/sassy things that the child says.   You have not seen that post in these parts because LO is more of a quiet thinker with a sassy pointer finger and a range of grunting sounds.  But someone taught LO "please" and her vocab seems to have "exploded" or did we just start paying attention because she says please?

Oppease--Open please
Upypease--Up please
Papease--Paci please
Hepease--Help please

LO has started testing us especially DH by looking directly at him and doing something like dancing on her chair at the table.  It is hard to be stern when your toddler is doing the river dance while staring you down like a dance face off.  She also knows that feeding chapstick to the cat is a no-no but last night I turned around and she was trying to put it on Mama cat's lips.  Hasn't that cat suffered enough??

All of this fun talking and dancing has coincided with our nanny wanting to work less hours.  She suggested putting her in a morning class and she would work afternoons which would seem perfect in THEORY.  It is more expensive for us to have a nanny for less hours and have her in school in the mornings.  Preschool is so pricey that we can't afford both PLUS I would need to drop LO off at 9 am at any of the schools unless I paid for the full day and could drop her off at 8 am.  What job starts at 9:30? So she is working five less hours a week so I will leave a little later in the am and come home a bit earlier.  I feel that I have been in the job long enough to start working in a little more flexibility so it is not a huge deal but it is giving me agina for when we have to start preschool.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Blathering y'all

Erica and I are friends IRL, that means IN REAL LIFE folks.  I had to be clued in after I heard it a few times.  She is the one who encouraged me to start the blog and the one who clued me into the Blathering and told me to give it a try this year.  In my family, I am the planner, master of the household stuff and basically ruler of the empire but compared to Erica, I can't wipe my own ass.  This made for an AWESOME weekend as she planned our hotel, plane, car rides and EVERYTHING.  I basically followed her around and acted like I didn't know how to tie my own shoes.  Let me tell you, this whole husband thing is the best gig EVAH.  Traveling with Erica is awesome and everyone should try it.

I talked to people but it always felt loud and screamy and I am more of a sit in a chair with my wine and talk to a group of eight ladies and laugh like a hyenna.  I may be hard of hearing as I get in a noisy place and I nod at whatever someone is telling me and pretend like I can hear them BUT I CAN'T HEAR.  I could be agreeing to plural marriage or a ponzi scheme and I will keep nodding. Luckily, I was able to find some time to sit outside or meet for drinks or grab lunch with girls.  Austin made me hungry and I managed to eat my way through the city and discovered migas.  ALSO, there were menus at sit down restaurants where nothing was over $7 and the food was awesome--WTF!  I have been all over Texas but this was my first time to Austin and it is different from the rest of the state.  I didn't experience anything too weird but I live in general unfortunate WEIRDNESS. 

Hillary and Michelle picked us up from the AIRPORT which in my book is on par with birthing a baby for someone.  We had never met them before and we got in the car and it was like, "Hey dudes, what up?" and totally comfortable like you are my peeps.  I felt like we may have scared them a bit at first as Erica and I were a bit excited and basically talked our faces off in the first 30 minutes.   Meeting people that you "know" is strange and then wondering if they "know" you.  I wish that I had read the blogs before I left or looked at Twitter or had a cool phone that could download the app as I was flying a bit blind.  I met Emily who in my mind is like a celebrity as I heart her blog but never comment as she seems BIG TIME. 

So lots of cool stuff happened but I thought I would list the top FIVE TEN ironically awesome things.
1.  Laying in bed crying while watching The Help while drinking white wine and eating Toblerone chocolate with Erica.
2.  Hanging and eating with Michelle, Hillary and Erica
3. Late night at Applebees
4. Ice cream and cupcakes and MIGAS
5. Sleeping in
6. Egg wash
7. Old peeps in jail
8. Wooden vaginas
9. The spa at the hotel
10. When I thought I heard gun shots but failed to hit the floor

Nice to meet y'all!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Girls

Every single time a branded toy comes into my house, I immediately see princess wings, plastic high heels and pretend fainting spells.  I am slowly becoming neurotic and slowly seeming crazy to all of my friends.  I do not have one friend that doesn't let their kids watch TV and I am slowly pulling into the weird station on this train.  I am contemplating the Waldorf preschool in our area but feel like that might be the last stop to crazytown.  I read this blog post on Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood and I am trying for moderation and to feel comfortable with moderation like accepting a Sesame Street toy that my dad brought that screams out Elmo and Abby Cadabby's name over and over again.  Scratch that, that hunk of plastic is getting ditched tonight. 

I try and tell myself that princess toys are not gateways drugs to this but I can't help myself.
I see her absorbing every single thing these days.  I walk in the door and she takes my purse so she can look for the chapstick and put it on and walk around with my purse.   She helps me pick out her outfits and she wears my jewelry.  I am fine with her being girly but how do I prevent the peer pressure that is sure to come? How do I prevent stupid? 

The only issue is that I was STUPID and may still be a little stupid.  I took this picture yesterday in the dressing room at Zara for a possible Blathering dress.  When I was younger and tanner, I rocked every skimpy clothing item and loved to party it up. Oh wait, I still like to whoop it up. Where does rocking the skimpy clothing instinct come from? It wasn't promoted at home as I grew up with very little TV, NO CABLE, no skimpy clothes and no exposure to alcohol.  I am trying to raise a commercial free child so I can postpone the early sexualization of my daughter and promote creativity and imagination without her screaming that she is Cinderella.  Am I missing the boat and focusing on the wrong things? Am I setting the wrong example and not even realizing it?



Sunday, October 16, 2011

Schweaty Fall

Fall is definitely in full swing even if it is hotter than August and I am sweating like I'm nine months pregnant in July.   Friday night we celebrated Sukkot at the Jew baby school that we took a pass on.  They had a camel and a pretty awesome petting zoo.   I feel really good about my decision and we will continue to go to their school gatherings to get a flava for the school.  This is the toddler witch that I referenced in my post.  She is the queen of preschool and school and a celebrated author for parenting.  Sometimes too many resources is not a good idea.

Grandpa came for a quick visit this weekend and he may have been more excited to see The Edge at lunch than to see us.  I'm just saying.
I snapped a quick shot of DH and Grandpa chilling out.
Sunday, we headed to the infamous Mr. Bones for some horses and general pumpkin patch fun. This model was there when we were leaving.  It was about a million degrees so I spared LO the costume but did get some shots before we left.  I am hoping to find some orange leggings as LO seemed to freak herself out with the chicken pants because of the attached feet.  It made her question her walking abilities.  We are attending a Halloween party in two weeks and I am really feeling the chicken.  There will be a photographer at the party so we don't have to bring a camera--SCORE!

LO dug the petting zoo but was a little iffy on the horses and their jerky movements.  DH has been gracious enough not to use that as another reason not to have the pony party.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Free Eyebrows

An IT guy had remote accessed my computer and was running "scripts" for a bug from all the porn that I look at while working and I ran out to get a burrito and then THIS HAPPENED.
Two ladies waxed my eyebrows for FREE and then painted some eyebrows on my face for an Anne Frank/Groucho Marx look.  Somehow emphasizing the space between my two front teeth.   Between my office and Wahoo's Taco is a spa that I wandered into to maybe get my lip waxed for the first time in three years and was offered a free eyebrow wax.  There was a lot of crazy talking that sounded like borscht, zeee, FREE, borscht, zee, da, EYEBROWS, da borscht.  Then a loooong consultation about my wimpy looking eyebrows and suddenly I am Kyle Richards from RHOBH.

These eyebrows do NOT say pony rides and petting zoo but I am terrified to touch them to end up in an eyebrow situation at work. ALSO, what if there are no eyebrows underneath there anymore.  What if suddenly I am going to have to draw on my eyebrows every day in purple? Do you automatically have to get multiple piercings and wear acid washed jeans with extra hairspray? Let's pray that I take these bad boys off and there is some semblance of an eyebrow left.

And Then I Consulted a Toddler Witch


This is my all time favorite sleep shirt that is worn when big decisions need to be made. Is there anything not awesome about this shirt?  DH gave it to me for the holidays a few years back before we were married.  I was feeling a bit indecisive about this whole toddler all day program.  I am a big believer in day care and LO would have gone straight to daycare at three months if they had been willing to administer medication and feed her a certain way for her respiratory and reflux issues.  Not to mention a large scandal involving accusations of child abuse at the center four weeks before we were going to start.

You know how some people write to their congress peeps or the president with issues? I wrote to a toddler witch and she came back with a decisive DON'T DO IT.  I am not saying that I base my decisions soley on toddler witches but she had some good points such as keeping a consistent routine and change is the enemy.  I am four months into a new job and LO is four months into a new nanny and new routine.  We may move in the next six months so why make a change now that may not work at our new place.  It is really hard to give up the spot but I think this is the right decision.  We are still attending the school fair this evening, everyone loves a petting zoo and ponies!

Can I also be honest with you, I may have felt differently if she was a boy or above the 15th perecentile.  Is that terrible to say? Would I cast my burly male child out of the nest sooner?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Let ME Do YOU a Favor

I have one of those jobs that I whimsically refer to as a CONCIERGE even though I am supposed to be a prestigious Marketing Director, I usually keep my job by acting as a concierge.  It is my people pleasing personality and flirty charming mannerisms to authority figures.  So we did a last minute sponsorship for an Oktoberfest party last night involving me serving beer from 5-8 on the roof of a building downtown.  I am happy to do it for the greater branding spirit of the company even if I end up smelling like beer and sweating to death.  

When I mentioned to DH that he would have to meet the nanny at 6:30 there was a grumble and a general, "Let me HELP you out by taking time out of my VVIP life."  My first thought was, I didn't know that birthing a baby meant I automatically OWNED that baby.  I thought being involved in the creation of life ya know with two people meant what it implies, A PARTNERSHIP.  I love rushing home to get to LO and spending all of my time with her but sometimes a girl has to serve beer for her VIP job.  So I brushed it off and THEN I had DH's car today as he was supposed to take LO to school in my car and it had NO gas and a box of clothes that he was supposed to return to Gap two months ago.  I returned the clothes to Gap after some haggling over them being over the time limit and accepting less than what we paid for the clothes--argggh.  I mentioned to DH that the were unwilling to refund the money and he said, "Oh you took care of them, right." Yes, I am a ball buster when it comes to money but wth?

Lastly, DH keeps me leaving me notes to call the plumber for a leak under our kitchen sink.  Why can't he call the warranty company for a plumber BECAUSE he wants me to insist that they send a new plumber.  Why won't he pick up my necklace at the jeweler?  Because he knows that the guy will give it back to me with free repairs.  What have we learned from this rant, I am a DAMN concierge at home too.  Should I tap dance while I make the organic blueberry muffins?

P.S. I absolutely adore DH but he is trying to kill me little by little each day.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

And Then I Cried for Gwendelyn

I went to visit a Jew baby school for LO yesterday that has a new 18 month old program with four open spots.  Four open spots to a westside mommy is like sexy time talk.  The program looked pretty good and we had a ninety minute tour which seemed extensive and thorough.  I asked about a strange looking man walking around and she assured me that everyone had been fingerprinted.  When I say strange, I mean that I thought his shoes were weird and therefore he should not be allowed to walk outside the building. 

Then we we went to the Caterpillar room where LO would be and I saw Gwendelyn,* who was crying in fear.  She was standing behind the changing table next to the teacher who was changing five diapers while she whimpered like a puppy.  They explained that she was new and cried when strange people walked into the room.  WHAT DID THAT STRANGE SHOE MAN DO TO THIS CHILD?? I was positively glued to the floor and couldn't stop staring.  Can someone please hug that child? PLEASE! We left the room and stood outside the room while I stared in the window and cried with real tears on the tour.  I am not loving our current school as the process is sllllllloooooooowwwww to separate as in two years where the new school is three days.  Obviously not long enough for Gwendelyn but two years is a bit extreme for working moms.

We discussed how children act differently at school, usually better as they feel like they have to pull it together around people that don't love them unconditionally.  I was horrified but the director reminded me that we all pull it together during the day and relax at home.  Yes, but not some poor little soul that couldn't even hold up her head 18 months ago.  What is the appropriate age where children need to pull it together and go to school? LO got shots yesterday and she didn't cry, I watched her fight the urge to cry.  She turned bright red but wouldn't cry--why does this little soul feel that she has to act so brave? I don't want to put extra pressure on her.  When should I let this child out of the house and into a full day program.  We can't afford to have a nanny and a preschool program for three hours three times a week.  We can do a nanny full time two days a week and a program three days a week for the full day but is that ideal? What is the right answer people?

*Name changed to protect the poor innocent child

Family Pics

I feel like some people in our family need a refresher on family pics.  A refresher course would go something like this, LOOK AT THE DAMN CAMERA and if you know you are acting a fool, you will HATE the pics.  Also, if you have a zit, cancel the pictures. That one is a reminder to myself.  LO looked great as always.











Monday, October 10, 2011

Fall Fail

LO and I hung with our Mommy & Me peeps this weekend for some good ol' fashioned, let's go to someone's house and tear it apart fun.  The kids are getting bigger and louder and slightly more, "I prefer to throw this toy or carry it to another part of the house."  I love it because it is a baby proofed house and I can stay in one room while LO attempts to start a fire on the stove or go through people's purses as there are a ton of moms around that she knows. 

We also headed out to a pumpkin patch for some train and petting zoo fun.  This is an LA thing and still seems foreign to me after all these years.  The pumpkin patch is in the CVS parking lot, not authentic at all! I have tried the hour long drive to a real farm but it is always blazing hot and everyone seems more irritated with the intense heat than the fun trip I envision.  Last year we went to Mr. Bones with their valet parking and I think we are going again this coming weekend in costume.  LO loved the petting zoo and I even shot a video, please ignore the annoying lady talk-screaming in the background.  We get it lady, it's a bunny.


Just in case, you don't care watch the video, a picture that sums it all up.  The toes on the right are me.
















We also celebrated Grandpa's birthday on Sunday where LO acted like a hellion in the restaurant.  I am usually pretty impressed with her restaurant skills but I am starting to wonder if we should skip the restaurants as her running from table to table to talk to people is a bit intrusive.

















Mini Pony Party Update
I am  rethinking the pony party for her second birthday.  I think a petting zoo with small animals could be fun but mini ponies in costume is still calling to me.  DH is promising a very nice weekend trip in lieu of a party but I am holding firm.  Up the ante DH, up the ante.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Vomit Comet

I feel this blog has been lacking humanly fluids lately.  I bought a new car and was greeted with a pleasant new car smell void of vomit and general stickiness.  It felt heavenly and clean and generally nice, like there was a bit of structure in my life for TEN days.  THEN LO vomited all over the car in her brand new car seat and my BRAND new car.  I just kept driving as I caught a glimpse of vomit on her face.  She gave me fair warning by pointing to her mouth and doing a little whine and then it all came out and she was much happier.  I think the poor kid gets carsick so I have decided that I am going to face her forward, she made it to 18 months and I just can't deal with much more vomit. It also made me question why I bought a new car when I know that it will end up with VOMIT all over it. 

Somehow this trail of thinking also makes me question my very existence of working when I could just stay home with LO and contain the vomit to the couch and carpets.  Then I could clean up cat vomit and LO vomit all at the same time. I have spent endless hours trying to decide how LO should spend her day, more "school" less nanny? But how much less and would the nanny want less hours? Is this the right choice for LO? Am I too motivated by the chance of saving a small-medium amount of money for childcare.  Leaving me feeling very hands wringing, "WHAT IS TO BECOME OF US?"

Anyway, can you tell that I am LIMPING towards the weekend like a dog with three legs. I am also feeling very anxious that there is only one weekend with nothing planned from now until the new year.  I have general scratchy, hair pulling jitters, not comfortable in my own skin. 

Ok, I am just going to level with you, I am anxious to go to the Blathering.  I am anxious to take a day off work that I am not spending with LO and then be away from her for three whole days.  I KNOW that I sound lame but she is little and I don't see her that much.  Also, I don't make the best first impressions on people and I have been called strange and intense in the last week fueling my feeling that the Blathering my not be for my certain kind of crazy.  I don't want you to think that I am insecure and need reassuring, because no one loves me more than me, but I can't help wonder if I will blurt out something completely inappropriate and only hilarious in my MIND.   I mean I don't know what this accent recording thing is or some sort of cuddle card that people are bringing or other people bringing presents? What, do they want to CUDDLE? Do I need to bring a neck hanger that says "DO NOT OFFER HUGS OR DRUGS"? I can only focus on a few things like a decent bottle of sauvignon blanc between the airport and hotel and that the hotel doesn't offer those horrible dark striped bed covers. 

On the other hand, I could practice hugging this weekend and make cookies for the trip that I would mean to share but probably just annihilate on the plane and with my wine.  Lay it on me, what are you bringing to Texas?  Also, what are your thoughts on Texas as a state in general apart from the Blathering.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mini Horses, Chickens & BBQ

I have started posts and I have stopped them.  I have read articles on being a better blogger and obvs disregarded them as they all have the same fundamental point.  You need to POST and I have been lazy.

Let's call this a collection of short stories. BTW--I HATE books of short stories. Whatever publisher came up with the crap idea needs to give me  call. 

We celebrated the holidays last week and they were awesome, good food and good company.  We had some traditional food and then we went to Korean BBQ where LO chowed down on some kimchi.  She refused to eat the chicken but the kimchi was acceptable.  We came home and discovered the water heater was broken, so no hot water to rinse off the Korean BBQ smell.  This is ONE of my biggest fears in life, smelling like food and no way to get rid of the smell.
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My mom visited on Saturday and we had fun shopping, eating and general merriment.  WITH NO HOT WATER.
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Sunday, we rested a bit after all of the action over the past several days and I went to pick up a kitchen.
I had been trolling Craig's List for awhile as I really yearned for this kitchen.
Does this kitchen not say that I am a happy child that will grow to be a well adjusted awesome adult with excellent taste? Craig's List didn't help much on pricing so I had given up.  I read K's blog about her recent score on a kitchen so I took one more shot.  I found this kitchen which is great and LO loves it. I can't decide what this kitchen says but I am hoping that it doesn't point her towards a life of crack cooking.  You cook crack, right? I have been very impressed with her cooking and mock drinking out of the ice machine.
NO HOT WATER STILL
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The boat in case you thought I was kidding, side by side comparison.  Should a "car" stick out that much?

NO DAMN HOT WATER
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I was inspired by the diaper banks that Emily has been discussing on her blog and that she has agreed to run a marathon in an adult diaper to raise money.  Go on with yourself.  I decided to research a local diaper bank in my area and kept coming up with Baby2Baby which was started by Nicole Richie and Jessica Alba or they are the spokespeople, whatever.  Let me tell you why I don't support charities that have celebrities splashed all over them or that they invented.  The same reason I don't buy shoes with their names on them, that is NOT a ringing endorsement.  I want to know that my money/goods are getting to the right people.  In the words of Suri Cruise's Burn Book, when rich people give away their baby gifts, it is a nice way of saying this junk is ugly and I can buy my own onesies.

In the absence of an alternative, I decided to give their charity a chance.  I went to one of their drop off locations at a high end children's boutique where the receiving person was rude and acted like I was dumping off my garbage.  I had boxes of unopened diapers and barely worn clothes.  She didn't speak to me or acknowledge my presence after she finally agreed to take my stuff.  It was noon during the workweek and I was in a suit with the boat, she had not a single person in the store.  I would have browsed the store and bought while complimenting her store on their contributions and recommending them. Ick! I should mention in all fairness that the Salvation Army drop-off lady is not much better. I don't expect a thank you but treating me like garbage was not in the plan.  If you are in the LA area, can you please recommend a women/children shelter as I know there is one in Venice but I can't find information on donations and need, especially with the holidays approaching.

I would mention my lack of hot water but somehow doesn't seem appropriate when discussing people in serious need.
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Grandpa Irv has decided that LO should be a fireman for Halloween.  DH and I bought her a chicken costume, just in case a back-up is needed.
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I have decided on a theme and party attraction for LO's second birthday.  I ALMOST booked the mini ponies without asking DH as I ASSUMED everyone loves MINI PONIES.  That doesn't seem to be the case resulting in some side eyes and under breath muttering in the house.  They come in COSTUME.  Do I need to spell it out for him??? MINI PONIES in COSTUMES!! DH mentioned that we could go ride a pony on Sundays at the outdoor market.  I "mentioned" that they are not MINI HORSES in COSTUME!
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THE END--I felt like the shortish stories needed an ending.