A few months after Meredith was born, our computer crashed and we lost all of her baby photos. I was absolutely devastated. The End.

The only photos we were able to recover were the tiny files I had put up on Fluid Pudding, Volume One. (That was the version done in Microsoft Publisher. When I put a post up, I had to manually move all of the other posts down the page. Heh. It was ridiculous, Sisyphus.)

Anyway, here is a photo of today’s birthday girl taken less than 24 hours after she was born:

That’s a big baby!

Here’s another taken when she was two days old:

She was almost crawling!

Today Meredith is Seven. And for some reason, Seven is very difficult for me. My theory? It’s the first age with more than one syllable. (Thank God we have three more monosyllabic ages before we move up to that dreaded eleven!) Seven is not difficult for Meredith. She is very wise for her age, she is clever and creative and has good taste in music (despite her current Justin Bieber fascination). She is thoughtful and considerate and when she grows up she wants to be a rock star scientist. (When I was seven, I was sent to the principal’s office for standing on a toilet.)

Happy Birthday, Meredith Claire.

(Jeff gets full credit for the video. I absolutely love how her bike sounds like the record album has reached the end of its side. I married a genius.)
I’m drinking lots of juice and diving into the Tropicana Juicy Rewards Program. (AND giving away a $50 Visa gift card!) You can follow along by following this link!

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Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I’d have the facts.

Five years ago today I underwent a surgical procedure during which a low transverse uterine incision was made and a baby was removed.

First Glimpse of Harper

The first light that baby saw was not that of the sun. It was the harsh fluorescent light of a cold sterile room in which everyone present wore gowns and masks. (Except for me. As you can see, I was (mostly) naked. Welcome to my humble abdomen!)

Because we went with this cruel and seemingly harum-scarum method of introducing Harper Rose to the world, she has chosen to retaliate by refusing to eat most vegetables, and nary a bean shall touch her tongue.

Boxing's been good for her.

Happy Birthday, Harper Rose. You’re the coolest five year old I know.
(Happy Birthday to you as well, Harper Lee. You are the knees of the bees.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

My first due date was exactly seven years ago.

First off and most importantly, thanks for all of your kind words on my floundering post from earlier in the week. Deep down, I think we all know that I can’t really quit Fluid Pudding. I’m really great when it comes to quitting full-time jobs that involve ergonomic chairs, town hall meetings, and filling out forms in order to obtain a really good pen. (Hence, my complete lack of success when it comes to being a winner of bread.) I’m not so great at quitting the thing that voted on the name of my second child and helped me decide how to proceed with my current form of birth control. (No IUD for me! Ya ya!)

By the way, seven years ago today I was eighty pounds up and looking exactly like this:

Meredith’s eviction papers were being written up, and I was eating gooey butter cakes faster than Dierbergs could make them. (Cindy was based on me.)

Fun Fact: That’s not a stretch mark you see climbing out of my pants, it’s an appendectomy scar! (The appendix was taken out during my tenth week of pregnancy. Luckily, my surgeon scored high marks on “Take Appendix Out and Leave Baby In.”)

Today I’m concentrating on brownies (once again, thanks for the ideas and recipes!), prayer shawls, and Jamie Oliver. Also, how to get a strapless bra this afternoon without leaving the house, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and why this song has been in my head for the past two days.

Enjoy your weekend. I hear it’s supposed to rain. But that won’t stop us.

Jeff's Head

I’m drinking lots of juice and diving into the Tropicana Juicy Rewards Program. (AND giving away a $50 Visa gift card!) You can follow along by following this link!

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Despite the hiccups, we fluttered.

This morning Harper and I put on our glad rags and headed to the Butterfly House where we took about fifty photographs of butterflies eating rotten bananas, landing on top of each other, doing what butterflies do, etc.

When we got home, my computer decided it would no longer communicate with the camera, and the memory card within the camera decided it would only retain seventeen of the photos we had taken.

Toni at Creve Coeur Camera saved the day by recovering those seventeen photos (and one video!) onto a CD for us. (We then reformatted the memory card, and all is well. I’m boring you so much right now. Do you want to hear about my new eyebrow gel? I bought it with Blackbird in mind, and now my brows look much less anemic. Sleep tight, my friends. I’m eating Ritz crackers.)

Anyway, here is my favorite photo of the day.

The Oldest and The Youngest

I’m wearing a penguin necklace! Harper is wearing one, too! AND, according to Harper, when we both wear our penguin necklaces, we’re BFFs!

The video is worth the cost of file recovery. (Which was five dollars, if you’re keeping track of my expenses.)

Aren’t you glad I went with Paganini instead of Butterfly Kisses?

I need to tell you a weird story about my milk man. (I now have a milk man.) Meet me here next week?

I’m drinking lots of juice and diving into the Tropicana Juicy Rewards Program. (AND giving away a $50 Visa gift card!) You can follow along right here! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

I’ve been poking pretzel sticks through bunny-shaped marshmallows.


Yesterday afternoon, Harper went to school and wrote a note to me on funeral home letterhead.

Obviously, I love this note for many reasons.

I plan to stash it away in a light-fast, non-bleeding, and acid- and lignin-free box to heighten the chance that my great great great great granddaughter will discover it while constructing some sort of branchy Pudding family tree. I picture her asking my great great granddaughter how old Great Great Great Grandma Harper was when Great Great Great Great Grandma Angela passed on, and what are the chances that this note was actually written at the funeral?!

Ahhhh. It’s been a long day.

Time is running out!
I spent a week driving a Lincoln, and if you check out my review you could win a $500 Visa gift card! (And more!) This is a really great giveaway!

On Monday, I’m giving away a $200 Visa gift card, and it’s all about pizza. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Jeff told her that it looked like cobbler. He’s so brave.

My calendar this week is filled with words, and most of those words have something to do with freelance work.

(Thursday contains the words Stendhal Syndrome. I’m not sure why I wrote that, but I do love the concept.)

Sadly, today features the following phrase: MC home sick.

Did you know that Meredith has GERD? She had it when she was a baby, and then everything seemed to clear up when she started walking. Last April, she started complaining of stomachaches. After a few weeks of complaints, she started throwing up every morning. Her doctor put her on Prilosec for six months. When six months passed, Meredith was going through a challenging time at school and was scared to death to stop the medicine, so the doctor signed us on for another three months.

A few weeks back, the prescription ran out, and Meredith was cool with that. Onward!

We noticed last week that she was hoarse.

On Sunday afternoon, she had a really awful cough.

Last night at 9:45 she yelled out and was wiggling around her bed in pain.

Me: Do you think you might need a puke bowl?

Meredith: Yes.

Seconds later (before Jeff was able to deliver The Silver Bowl), Meredith unloaded a pile of blueberries onto her bed. And I thought I could handle cleaning it. I totally did. Jeff took Meredith to the bathroom to clean her up, I approached the bed with the intention of removing the sheets and wiping up as much as I could. And then I started in with the gagging and bending over and saying a lot of things like, “Yeesh! Um, I can do this. I can do this. Blergh. Yes. Holy holy holy. Oh. Boy.”

Once again, Jeff came to the rescue and dealt with the sheets while the girls and I watched a bit of Olympic figure skating. (Did anyone else catch the Canadian skater who fixed her partner’s hair during The Way We Were?! It was just like Streisand and Redford! I don’t care that she fell down and repeatedly stumbled. That subtle move should have clinched the gold for them. Go Canada!)

So, anyway. As I sit at my computer and type, Meredith is sleeping off her rough night (we now have more Prilosec), Harper is at school, and there are at least 20 more chapters on reptiles that need to be templated.

If I have time later this week, I want to talk to you about the crush I have on Bobby Flay.
I spent a week driving a Lincoln, and if you check out my review you could win a $500 Visa gift card! (And more!)

I’m giving away a $200 Visa gift card, and it’s all about pizza. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Everyone is invited, Mr. Dangerfield.


Lately, Meredith feels she is not getting enough respect.

After much consideration, she has determined that throwing a party will be the best way to gather her housemates and confront them in regard to their general lack of respect.

Therefore, a Give Meredith Respect Party is being thrown. (Gifts are appreciated, but not required.)

If the proper amount of respect is not shown, attendees will be evicted from the party.

(And, yes. I’m now teaching her the difference between Your and You’re. It’s a difficult but important lesson for a six year old who gets no respect.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

I will cut off my hair and spite the mite.

Harper is still coughing.

This morning I sat down with her doctor (in a room painted bright red. I felt very uneasy in that room for some reason. Who wants to explore that with me?) and we discussed the possibility of a dust mite allergy. (The doctor brought it up. I would never bring something like that up, because I know the obvious solution would be for me to, well, DUST. I don’t want to talk about it. Don’t look at me.)

If Harper doesn’t stop coughing in the next five days (as the antibiotics are realizing their potential to destroy any existing infection in her sinus cavities (Whee!)), I’ve been told that I should consider dusting and vacuuming three times each week for as long as we all shall live. Amen.

I’m crying. (I’m not really crying.)

For the first time in my life, I’m really hoping Harper has a sinus infection. I have a lot of knitting goals that will suffer if I have to devote so much time to cleaning up around here. ((You know I’m joking, right?))

Oh! Speaking of which, I have decided that Time is more important than Hair. I know most of you told me that I should grow my hair out, but the fact that I am spending ten minutes each morning blowing my hair dry is really bringing me down. (I’m clearly exaggerating on the emotion, but not the time.) If this keeps up, I will be spending roughly 52 hours each year (TWO stinking DAYS!) standing in the bathroom shaking my head around with the Conair Supreme 1500 in my hand.

The woman who cuts my hair will be returning to town in three weeks. I’m looking forward to seeing her.

By the way, did you know that 100,000 dust mites can live together on one square foot of carpet, and each mite drops waste at least 20 times each day?!

Sweet dreams. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Mashing the Mish

First off, and most importantly, thanks to all who commented this week regarding homeschooling. So many opinions. So many things to think about. I appreciate your words.

Secondly? We went to church on Christmas Eve. At the end of the service, the entire congregation circled around the church and sang Silent Night by candlelight. And I know some of you think that’s the silliest thing ever, but it’s one of my very favorite Christmas moments. This year we found our place in the circle next to a mom who had her little boy with her. As we sang in German (I’m telling you! We sang in German! Bitte sehr!), the little boy let loose with the most explosive wet cough I’ve ever heard. I immediately stopped my German and nervously noted that the boy is the exact same height as Harper. He coughed again, this time extinguishing his candle flame with the gack that was flying from his mouth. He actually blew his own candle out by coughing Three Times during the song—and I believe we sang only three verses.

Less than 48 hours later, both of my kids were coughing the coughs of hard core smokers. (My uncle had to have his larynx removed. I know the cough.) Anyway, I suppose I can’t really blame the boy and his cough, but Hhhmmmmm. Four weeks later? Harper is still coughing that ridiculous wet explosive cough. Mucinex does nothing for it. The cough suppressant prescribed by the doctor hasn’t touched it. She’s now on Day Two of antibiotics. If she’s not better by Wednesday, we have to go back to the doctor. We’ve been back to church once since Christmas because I tend to not take my kids out when they’re coughing like maniacs. This past Sunday I noticed that Hacking Boy is no longer hacking. This gives me hope.

I finished Middlesex, and I really can’t remember the last time I was sad to see a book end. Nothing but goodness. Next up? My Life in France by Julia Child, and when the book club meets, we’re each to bring a dish from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Also, on the side, I’m jumping into The Pickwick Papers. 2010 is a good year for reading. (And that reminds me: I have a fifty cent library fine, and that fine is prohibiting me from requesting books online. I really need to stop by the library and toss some quarters around.)

Meredith approached me earlier this week and told me that she has made an important decision. She wants to get her ears pierced. We’ve talked at length about how much it hurts, how it’s a big responsibility for a six year old, how you can’t undo it once it’s done, et cetera. She still stands firm. If all goes well, tomorrow I am allowing my little girl to alter her body for the first time. Mir ist schwindlig.

And for the sake of Pete, don’t forget about the eggs! (I’m giving away a $100 Visa gift card partnered with Six Months Worth of Eggs!) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year

It seems that Meredith is the only one around here who really embraces the “It’s the New Year, So Party Like You Mean It” attitude.

(Please know that I’m not requiring her to balance her glasses like that. Ten minutes after this photo was taken, the drops of Super Glue had set.)

((Yes. I glued the glasses right to her face.))

(((Not really, but the thought of it makes me smile. I used to joke about having glasses tattooed onto my face. Luckily, I’ve never had a night in which I drank myself into a really bad decision involving needles and ink. Georgia O’Keeffe’s hands on my left ankle is more than enough for me.)))

As I type this First Post of the Year for you, please know that I’m digesting a warm salad (one of my favorite things! it’s a salad, and it’s warm! bonus: apples mixed in. WARM apples.) and am getting ready to bolt off for a George Clooney movie.

I hope you’re doing well.

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