We’ve been searching for diamonds.

Before I tell you this story, please know: Fluid Pudding has absolutely nothing to do with bodily functions. In fact, I like to pretend that my body does NOT function, if you know what I’m saying. Over the summer when I was diagnosed with a condition that has the word Bowel in the name? Um, yeah. I don’t want to talk about it.

Yesterday I cleaned the girls’ room for the first time ever. It took over eight hours, and the final result is this: Three tons of toys have been donated to charity, another ton of (mostly broken) toys have been thrown away. Now? Every Toy has a place. That’s a huge deal for us.

As I cleaned and tossed (and grew more irritable than I care to admit), I came across a little plastic gem-like thing. As I threw it in the trash, Harper screamed.


So, I pulled the gem out of the trash, handed it to her, and said, “I better not ever see that diamond on the floor again.”

Two hours passed, and I took a break from cleaning to fix dinner.

Harper entered the kitchen.

Harper: I think I swallowed my diamond.

Me: What do you mean you THINK you swallowed your diamond? DID you swallow your diamond?

Harper: Naybe.

(Both of my kids say Naybe instead of Maybe. I’ll never correct them. Also, Meredith says Renember instead of Remember. I love that.)

I called the doctor, told her that Harper swallowed a plastic object roughly the size of a nickel, and learned that an 18-month-old baby can swallow a quarter and pass it with minimal difficulty. (Interesting!) She told me the signs to watch for (difficulty breathing, unbearable pain, blood in the stool, etc.) and then said, “If Harper wore diapers, I would suggest you check her output for the gem. Since she’s not in diapers, I’ll just tell you to do whatever gives you peace of mind.”

This afternoon after lunch, the following cry echoed throughout the house:


I ran to the bathroom and looked. I didn’t see a diamond.

Harper: I think it’s in there. Look! That one is shaped like a diamond!

Jeff: What are we supposed to do?

Me: I don’t see a diamond. I’m not sure how to proceed! Should we examine it more closely? I DON’T KNOW!

Meredith: You’re going to touch poop with your hands?!?!

Jeff slowly walked outside, retrieved a stick, and poked each of Harper’s creations to check for diamonds. No luck.

Jeff: I’m really glad I took vacation time this week.

Me: When your team asks what you did, be sure to include Poking Poop with a Stick.

Enjoy your holiday. Here at the Pudding house, we’ll be poking poop and crossing our fingers for diamonds. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

I’ve got a sweet potato in my oven, and nothing much to say.

Every morning for the past week I have found myself dropping Meredith off at school at 8:30, returning home with Harper, cleaning up the kitchen a bit, putting a sweet potato in the oven at 9:30, figuring out laundry, etc., and then eating the sweet potato at 11:00 (with one tablespoon of butter and light on the salt, if you’re wondering). And, yes. My mornings are bland at best. Aren’t you excited about NaBloPoMo? I need to come up with thirty new and exciting ways to report that I have a sweet potato in my oven!

What else is happening, you ask? Harper and I just assembled twelve bags of potato chips and bubbles for her pre-K’s fall party. Meredith’s class has won a pajama/stuffed animal/cupcake party for this afternoon, and her fall party is tomorrow. (It is NOT a Halloween party, people. It is a celebration of the harvest tide! Nothing spooky about that!)

Harper turned 4.5 yesterday, and Meredith turned 6.5 today. I will be 39.5 in a few weeks.

Meredith has a computer class at school, and yesterday she created this:

I love it for so many reasons, but I especially love that she put an owl in the tree and it’s saying “hoo hoo”.

This is completely unrelated to anything that has to do with Hoo Hoo: Tonight I am going all by myself to see the Michael Jackson movie. I never really considered myself to be a huge Michael Jackson fan, but for some reason I’m drawn to the idea of this film. And it better be good, Michael Jackson, because I don’t get out much.

Oh! One more thing! Yesterday afternoon Meredith told me that she had lunch with a new friend at school. When I asked what the new friend had brought in her lunch, Meredith answered, “She eats The Lonely Sandwiches.”

Me: What is a lonely sandwich?

Meredith: The Lonely Sandwiches! You know, with the round pink stuff inside. And cheese and mustard.

Me: Baloney sandwiches?

Meredith: No. The Lonely Sandwiches.

I kind of like the idea of sharing lunch with the lonely sandwiches. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Next year we’re going to fill the back of the car with fake dead people.

Tonight was Trunk or Treat at the girls’ school. To prepare, we signed up for a parking spot (#29! Because you’re only as old as you feel!), I hemmed Harper’s Sleeping Beauty dress, I purchased treats for 200 kids, I cleaned out the back of the car, and I carved a pumpkin. (I’m proud of my pumpkin. Full disclosure: Yes. I used a pattern.)


Because our neighbors are not very enthusiastic about Halloween, this is pretty much it for the girls. And they were a tiny bit excited.

Sleeping Beauty and the Dancing Diva

Harper, as I mentioned earlier, is Sleeping Beauty. Meredith? Meredith is a Barbie Dancing Diva. Yes she is.

Sadly, I had No Idea how seriously some people are about Trunk or Treat.

Notes for next year:

  • Bring more candy. (We left with three Tootsie Roll Pops to spare. That was a close one.)
  • Make a Spooky Song CD (although Jeff’s last minute Tom Waits iPod blast was quite impressive).
  • Hang streamers and/or garbage bags in the car.
  • Bring a live camel.
  • Floss.


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Nothing to see here…

I’m sort of updating this as I go, until I end up doing an inadvertent impression of Glenn Close crying in the shower.

Breakfast: One cup of Earl Grey with (perfectly legal) honey, one half cup of cherry gelatin, one half cup of beef broth, one iced coffee with Splenda.

Mid-morning snack: One cup of apple juice, and one apple Jolly Rancher. Yeah. Seriously.

Lunch: One watermelon Jolly Rancher. More beef broth. Whee! I’m shaky!

Mid-afternoon snack: Chicken broth, because I like to Shake It Up. Two watermelon Jolly Ranchers. Iced coffee. Water. Cherry Jolly Rancher. Blue raspberry Jolly Rancher. Viva la Jolly Ranchers!

4:00 CST: Time for the purging of the innards. La la la la laaaaaaaah! Ouch.

Dinner: Beef broth. No more Jolly Ranchers. Two 32 oz. bottles of Gatorade, each spiked with half a bottle of Miralax.

9:12 CST: Hating it. The end.

Mood: Irritable. Don’t look at me. No. I mean it.

Frown upside down/scar into star/etc.: The tooth fairy had to make an emergency trip to Walgreens last night.

Also, we went bowling yesterday. Meredith tends to throw the ball and then twist her body around in an attempt to alter the atmospheric pressure just enough to attract the ball to the pins.

Harper handles the ball like a hot potato and follows every throw with a victory dance.
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Care to relive our weekend?

Meredith had her first soccer game on Saturday.

Goal Tenderrrrrr! (Sung to the theme of Goldfinger, obviously)

Afterward, the team celebrated their loss with amazing amounts of sugar. (Not pictured, but definitely devoured: A massive doughnut.)

Patron Saint of Sugar

On Saturday afternoon, we went to The LOT, where the girls met Fredbird and I admired Courtney’s TwIsTeD creations.


Also, Harper was inked by the St. Louis Symphony.


Finally, we went to the Arch. (I’m convinced that it’s impossible to take an interesting photograph of the Arch, as it’s already been photographed (and photographed, etc.) from every possible angle.)


There was also a graduation party that contained the best corn bread corn casserole thing I’ve ever tasted. Also, I made turkey burgers flavored with crushed spicy pretzels. Best of all? We experienced sweater weather, and I drank a chai outside. Things are getting good.

(TCOB: Last call for t-shirts. If you didn’t receive an e-mail from me, I’m not aware of your t-shirt urges. If you received an e-mail from me and you didn’t respond, I’ll assume you’ve changed your mind. Either way, I drank a chai outside this weekend. And that, coupled with the tattoo and the goal tending and whatnot, is really all that matters.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Shiny things! Babies! Diversions!

Many of you have requested this video, and I figured today would be the perfect day to put it back up.

It moves the FAFPBPA shirt down a bit! It shows a kid with great (sweaty bedhead) hair! I’m sort of singing!

Anyway. Enjoy.

(I removed the related videos which all featured actual snakes biting actual babies. You can thank me later.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

We saw the writing on the wall as we felt this magical fantasy.

As you know, Giuseppe Zangara, because of the fire in my belly, I did NOT go to BlogHer. I was actually 42% fine with my decision until early last week when people began writing their “I’m packing for BlogHer!” posts. Then my 42% swooped down into the teens. I immediately called Jeff and told him that we need to go “camping.” (I added those quotation marks for you, Coffee Lady! My definition of camping really IS very loose. No television, people in the dining hall are wearing swimsuits, and I didn’t even pack eyeliner? Camping!)  When I saw on the news that Trout Lodge’s adjoining camp had to evacuate because of an E. Coli scare, reducing the entire camp’s population by one half? Well, I turned that scar into a star! (I don’t handle crowds very well. You’re a pal, E. Coli!)

We arrived at Trout Lodge on Sunday afternoon, and immediately hit the ground running. When you check in, you’re handed a fairly hefty list of options and times so you can fill your schedule with as many (or as few) activities as you want. I’m still a bit amazed at all of the things we crammed into a 48 hour period of time.

One of the 3,584 photos I took of the lake. Why do I do that?

On Monday morning, we went on a fishing trip with Robinson from Colombia. As he pulled the boat away from the dock, he talked a big talk about how we were going to catch a huge fish. We fished for an hour and caught nothing. As Robinson prepared to lift the anchor and take us back to the boat house, Meredith caught a fish. Robinson actually squealed and confessed that he has been taking families out on fishing trips all summer, and NO ONE has caught a fish. Meredith was a hero. (And, seriously. Wouldn’t it suck a bit to fly out to Missouri from South America and spend three months taking families on unsuccessful fishing trips? It almost smells like some sort of punishment! Anyway, because of Meredith, I’m almost positive that Robinson now whistles The Star Spangled Banner as he pulls the fishing boat away from the dock!)

MC caught her first fish!

On Monday afternoon, the girls rode ponies. This goes down as their favorite part of the trip. (It was super hot outside, yet all of the ranch employees were wearing Wranglers, long sleeved shirts, and hats. I was actually walking around in a bikini fashioned out of frozen bottles of Gatorade, and these guys were dressed for November. God Bless the Cowboys.)

Learning the Ropes

On Monday night, the girls tie-dyed shirts. And everything about that was great, except for the family of seven that shared the activity with us. They spent nearly half of the evening speaking in fake British accents, and the other half was spent taking cheap shots at the presidential candidate for whom they clearly did not vote. Later in the evening, I noticed that instead of leaving their shirts wrapped in plastic (as we were instructed) to allow the dye to set, the Annoyingtons hung their unwrapped shirts out on their balcony. Confession: When I saw this, I secretly hoped their shirts would lose more than a bit of vibrance. I know. I’m the devil.

Meredith created her Dead tour uniform.

On Tuesday morning, we fed gigantic fish. And many of the fish had huge goiteresque humps growing out of their sides. We determined that the goiter fish were the pregnant ladies, and we soon found ourselves aiming the food at them. Can you help me out, fish people? When carp get pregnant do they sort of look like they’ve swallowed a human skull? (Actually, I sort of like the skull theory. It’s possible that I don’t really want to know the truth.)

Feeding the Goiter Fish

We also went on a hay ride, the girls swam (several times) in the lake, we walked (and walked some more), we saw a pretty crappy puppet show, we ate ice cream (and biscuits and gravy!), we made body spray (?!?!), and best of all, the girls had crazy giddy fun and no one suffered symptoms of E. Coli. (The entire photo set may be viewed here.)

Lord help the mister, etc.

Okay. This is the part of the post that no one reads because it falls below the final photograph. This part is just between you and me. At night, after Jeff and the girls were asleep, I would sneak out to the boat house and dance with Robinson. Penny, his normal dance partner, was confined to bed due to a botched abortion, and Robinson desperately needed someone to dance with him at the nearby resort’s annual show. When Robinson was accused of stealing a wallet and I covered for him by telling the Trout Lodge authorities about our clandestine (and somewhat dirty) dance sessions, Jeff and the other Trout Lodge campers let their tempers flare. Luckily, everything worked out in the end, and we all ended up having the time of our lives. (Yes, I swear. It’s the truth.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Too bad we’re going to miss Upper GI Wednesday!

Yesterday afternoon we were able to attend a glow-in-the-dark juggling/magic show at the local library. Because we know how these things tend to fill up quickly (We don’t really know that, but we pretend to be knowing. We’re so smug.), we arrived thirty minutes before show time.

As the girls and I waited for the show to begin, Jeff announced that he was going to use the restroom. Ten minutes later he returned.

Jeff: Girls, I think the show is about to begin! I just saw the juggler in the bathroom, and he was washing his balls!!!

Me: Wow. There you go!

Jeff: Yep. So, I guess THAT happened!

Meredith: Why was he washing his balls? Were they sticky?!

Jeff: Well, I’m not sure. I didn’t want to crowd him.

And, Scene.

In health-related news (look away, Eddie), all of my test results are showing that my gall bladder really is a respectable fellow. SO, I’m now on a different medication, and will be having an abdominal CAT scan as well as an upper endoscopy sometime in the next month. Apparently, this is colonoscopy/endoscopy season (who knew?!)—making it very difficult to score  an appointment. (Just in case you’re interested, it’s also groundhog, squirrel, and coyote season! Grab your forks!)

And, finally—because we can’t go to Luxembourg, we’ve decided to go camping at Trout Lodge. We’re leaving tomorrow, and according to the brochure we will be there for Safari Sunday, Blast from the Past Monday, and Wrangler Tuesday. Ponies will be ridden. S’mores will be consumed. AND, during naptime? I’ll be dinking around with a Swirl Shawl, or perhaps a Swirl Scarf. Which size do YOU prefer?

Time to juggle. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

The Sparkling Scrotal Steed

The girls have been playing with the most annoying unicorn purchased by my mother at a garage sale a few years back. (And that sentence is funny, because it now sounds like my mom often purchases unicorns at garage sales. The one in question was voted Most Annoying by the army of unicorns that are currently filling our home with sparkling rainbows and magical happiness and blue eyeshadow and whatnot.) When you press the eyes (or perhaps the ears or the horn or something) the unicorn begins to belt out a song that goes something like this: “I’m a something-cal unicorn something something glowing horn. We’ll have lots of fun today something something something play.” The only part of the song that really intrigues me is the “I’m a something-cal unicorn” phrase. For the life of me, I cannot figure out what the unicorn is saying. Yesterday as we rode to the store, I turned down the radio and sang “I’m a PRACTICAL unicorn” to see what sort of response I would get.

Meredith: No. I’m a BEAUTIFUL unicorn.

Me: I don’t think so. I’m a FUNCTIONAL unicorn?

Meredith: That doesn’t make sense. I’m a FESTIVAL unicorn?

This morning, Harper rode in on the unicorn singing the most perfect interpretation ever.

“I’m a testicle unicorn.”

Harper wins.

Testicle it is.

(Perhaps I should record the unicorn’s anthem and ask you to help us with the lyrics? Also, I’m in the mood to give away some muffins, so we could make a contest of it…) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>