I Heart Vampires

“Vampires have never been so hot” was the way my friend Megan described the book, Twilight. She asked me if I had read it (read it? I hadn’t even HEARD of it. I am so out of the loop.) But she highly recommended it, so I logged on to the library’s website and added my name to the queue of 80 or so other patrons waiting for the audio book. Audio books have been my thing lately because I can listen to the books while cooking, cleaning, driving in the car, or whatever else I am suppose to be doing around here. So I figured if I was ever going to “read” (can I really call if that if someone reads it to me?) it, that would be the way. But then Megan gave me the book for my birthday. Since we were leaving to go camping later that week, I figured it couldn’t hurt to have a book to read while Ana napped and I might get around to reading some of it.

Oh how wrong I was.

Once I started the book, I simply could not put it down. I was instantly addicted. Obsessed even. I craved the book. Every chance I could get, I had my nose in the book. When Ana napped in the tent, I curled up in my bed near her, thoroughly engrossed in the story. But eventually (two days later to be precise) I finished the book. And I wanted more. When we took a trip into town I insisted Sim take me to the nearest store so I could pick up New Moon, the next in the saga. I practically skipped down the aisles of Target, giddy with my luck at getting the last copy on the shelf.

Then our camping vacation took a turn and after a horrible storm of thunder, lightning, rain and even hail the size of gum balls knocked over our tent, soaking every single item inside, we packed up and headed for a hotel. Never has electricity been so welcome. I could read….at night! Not being able to put the book down, I read into the wee hours of the morning until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. As the weather forecast predicted more of the same thing for the next couple days, we headed back to camp, packed up our soaking gear and decided to head to Bend for a few days and stay in a hotel.

Never have I stayed in a hotel room and not even thought about turning on the TV. Neither did Simeon, as he wanted to know what the fuss was about with the book and started reading it himself. He was a book behind me and reading it with the same excitement and fervor that I did. And it was fabulous. Before I knew it, I finished New Moon and instantly picked up my iPhone to find the nearest bookstore. We drove over and bought the final two books in the series: Eclipse and Breaking Dawn.

I finally finished the last book two days ago, a mere ten days after I started reading the series. I read FOUR books in TEN days. I honestly don’t think I have ever done that before. At least not since high school. The books were that intense. Part of me is sad that I am finished reading them, but the other part of me is relieved that I can get back to my normal life! But now I remember how much I LOVE books and am having a hard time doing much else. Plus I have other book-lover friends who are only fueling the fire (I am looking at you, Ciara!).

So if anyone is looking for a great read, I highly recommend the Twilight Saga. Just be warned, you won’t be able to do much else once you start, so clear your schedule. What are you waiting for? Go. NOW.

Typical Morning

Ana is sitting in her highchair enjoying some Trader Joe’s veggie chips while I busily prepare her breakfast. She has managed to eat all the larger chips, but her highchair is still covered with a smattering of tiny or partially broken pieces. She looks up at me with her pleading doe eyes and says ever so politely, “More chips please.”

I look at her tray, then back up at her and say, “Thank you for asking correctly, but you still have chips. Can you eat the ones you have first?”

She pauses. Maintains eye contact and repeats, “More. Chips. Please.” This time breaking it down for me, just in case I didn’t understand what it was she wanted.

I breathe slowly. “Sorry, but your tray has to be empty before you get any more.” And with that I turn my back to finish preparing breakfast. Indicating that this conversation is clearly not to be debated.

As I finish cooking I walk over to Ana, this time her tray is amazingly clean…and the dogs are frantically scrambling to pick up the pieces of chips she swept to the floor. She practically bats her eyelashes at me and sings, “More chips please.”

A Letter: Twenty Months

Dear Ana,
Over the weekend you turned twenty months old. We happened to be on our annual camping trip to Cove Palisades in central Oregon. I was a little apprehensive about how you would react to this camping trip, and therefore had really low expectations. Preparing myself to possibly drive the three hours or so out there, only to turn around and head back home as soon as you realized we would be somewhere….dirty. You see, you are not a fan of dirty. So much in fact that if you happen to be walking around bare foot and get something on you, you promptly lift up your foot and say, “Dirty!” holding out your foot until I come and remove the offending speck. This is also problematic during meal time when your food as the audacity to stick to your fingers. Let’s just say, the baby wipes are never more than an arms length away.

But the most shocking thing happened. You managed to release your inner Pig Pen. Upon noticing the ground here was different than back home, you instantly bent over to run your fingers through the dusty dirt. My immediate reaction was of utter horror, realizing that I did not pack enough baby wipes to last us the entire week. How could I? There weren’t enough in the world to combat this colossal mess. But as soon as I saw your face light up with delight, watching the clouds of dust billow around you, and seeing the swirls your fingers left on the ground, I relaxed. You were actually fine being dirty. In fact, you were acting like a normal child who isn’t consumed with cleanliness and sanitation. I breathed a sigh of relief and knew you were going to love camping.

It wasn’t until much later that the dirt finally offended you. You were playing with your three year old friend Christian (an older man!), and he was showing you how to “wash” his bike with dirt. You would both scoop up handful of dust and rub it all over the handlebars, seat, and wheels. You decided that merely rubbing the dust wasn’t enough, and decided to “wind up” as if throwing the dust before smearing it all over the bike. However each time you did this, half the dust fell out of your clasped hand and coated the right side of your body. It was then that you looked down and realized the dirt was getting on your shoes. The horror! You immediately stopped touching the dirt, ran over to me pointing at your feet, shouting, “Shoes! Dirty! HELP!” So I swooped you up in my arms, pulled off your shoes and simply knocked them together shaking off all the dust. You were instantly calmed and resumed playing with Christian. Wahoo! Mommy manages to save the day once again!

That once again brings us back to your obsession with shoes. I have no idea where you get it from, but it is a strong obsession. One not to be trifled with. You simply love shoes. There have been several times in which I have had to put you down for a nap wearing your shoes because you refuse to take them off. And don’t even get me started on the week where the only shoes you would wear were your polka dot rain boots. Honey, it was the middle of July and 90 degrees outside with zero chance of rain. But I let you wear them because I could see how important it was to you. That and I was really hoping it might, just might, make it rain.

Shoes aren’t your only obsession. Far from it, in fact. Swings would definitely come right after shoes on the list. You are a swing fanatic. It is the first thing you ask for in the morning and the last thing you want at night. Lately it’s getting harder and harder to distract you from the swings because you are starting to reason with me. Several days ago, at 6:45 am, you asked to go on the swing for the first time that day. When I tried to talk you out of it, claiming it was too cold out you raised your eyebrows and offered, “jacket?”

This month we continued with our session of swimming lessons, which has been a little, um, complicated. You LOVE the water, don’t get me wrong, you just don’t love cold water. And the pool we swim at is freezing. But somehow every week you manage to forget how much you hate cold water and actually look forward to the class. One day you saw me gathering up our swimming stuff and you instantly started walking around the house squealing, “Suit! Suit? Suit!” But your tone quickly changes once we get into the water. You tense up your entire body and give me very clear instructions of your wishes: “Steps. Bag. SHOWER.”

Your vocabulary is still a constant source of amazement to your father and I. Both of us like to talk, so I really shouldn’t be that surprised, but I have to admit that you simply blow me away every single day. We have really been working with you on using your words (when we know that you know them) and practicing your manners. And I think it’s pretty obvious:

Me: Ana do you want to pick your snack?
You: Yeah.
Me: Yeah?
You: yes…say please.

More than just the “please” and “thank you” you are absorbing other social expressions as well. I just never get tired of hearing your tiny voice chirp out “b’ess you!” after I sneeze. When I had a bad cold a few weeks ago, I had a mini coughing fit and I heard you shout from down the hall, “Mommy? B’ess you!”

I know you probably get tired of me saying this, and when you are a teenager you will roll your eyes and utter, “Mo-ther” drawing it out into two long syllables to show your embarrassment, but you really are the most wonderful thing in my life. I am not afraid to admit that every time I walk past your room I have to sneak in and just watch you sleep. I’m still waiting for the novelty of you to wear off and I simply do not think that is going to happen any time soon. You are more beautiful that I could have ever dreamed, more intelligent than I could have ever imagined, and kinder than I could have ever hoped. I love you so very much.

All my love,