Saturday, October 29, 2011


I've mentioned before that there's been a lot of negativity swirling about the Shoup House.  To say it has taken its toll on us would be an understatement.  With each new letter from the HOA, the focus shifts away from us as a family, the good work we do, the awesome daughter we're raising and brings hate and discontent to the forefront.  We, as a family, are going to be facing some stressful and uncertain times in the coming months. 

I don't want to get into too many details as my blog is, and will stay, public and those who are bringing the negativity to the Shoup House certainly have access to what I say.  They are looking for reasons to villify us, and I refuse to give them any ammunition.  The next few months will require us presenting a united front and trying to stay positive in the face of tremendous adversity.  I really do appreciate your counsel and considerate support.  It's very hard because I know that if I do the one thing that in my heart feels wrong, much of what we are dealing with would go away.  However, as we are dealing with living creatures with feelings and not furniture to be discarded, I feel my moral responsibility goes deeper than appeasing those who can't appreciate our efforts.  This has decidedly caused friction and sadness within our own ranks that we hope to rise above.

I would appreciate your thoughts, continued support and even prayers, if you're so inclined, so that we may defeat those who are trying to keep us defeated and so that we can get back that which was so unjustly stolen from us - peace in our own home. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Day I Met the President - A (Not So) Live Blog

Some of you who read this blog may know who I work for.  For reasons that I can't fathom, it's taboo for me to say where I work.  I'll give you a hint:  it rhymes with "Smite Mouse."  Before you get any high falutin' ideas about my connections or how I can get you an introduction, my coworker said it best when he said we "work for the paeons of the paeons."  I participated in a work project where the "potential" reward was attending a ceremony honoring people who commit themselves to helping others several months ago.  Last night, I was shocked, SHOCKED when I received an email telling me I had been selected to attend. 

So that I don't forget, and in case you were interested, here's how I was able to meet my big boss.  Or not.  You decide.

9:30 pm:  Arrive home, dog tired from a long day of work and shopping, to a ginormous package in the hallway.  Ridiculous, toddler sized box contained the new black suit I requested for my birthday.
10:30 pm:  Check work Blackberry.  Find out I won the work equivalent of the lottery.  Squee and dance until I'm able to tell DH.
10:31 pm:  Try on new suit, coordinate blouse, hide suit from masked pee'ers known as the Chaos brothers (Take note, Havoc and Mayhem:  The Head Zookeeper is not pleased).
10:35 pm:  Stomp upstairs to roust DH and tell him of good fortune.  Stomp back down when he is not appropriately impressed.  He's impressed, just not impressed enough.
11:30 pm:  Go to bed early so I can look my best for the C-Span cameras which will most assuredly film the back of my head.  Realize this and wonder if I can call the hair stylist for an emergency hair cut.
11:31 pm:  Fret about which side is my good side.
11:32 pm:  Realize I have absolutely NO makeup not related to Halloween.  Resolve to purchase make up in the morning. 
11:35 pm:  Rearrange ENTIRE schedule in my head to accomodate the 1:15 pm start time.
11:36 pm:  Resist urge to start sending emails on work BlackBerry to show just how dedicated (excited) I am.
11:40 pm: Finally fall into fitful sleep.

6:00 am:  Wake up fearing I've overslept.  Realize I have not, relax and get ready for morning.
xx:xx am:  Arrive at work and handle fires, rescheduling and catch up on blogs news of the day.
10:00 am to 12:45 pm:  Day flies by and I wonder where the time has gone!!!
12:45 pm:  Sprint from office to White House.  Realize I'm not expected until 1:15 pm, break out into all out "mass murderer is after me" run for no reason other than I MUST BE EARLY!  (those of you who TRULY know me...laugh it up, chuckles.  Sometimes I'm early.)
1:00 pm:  Informed by intern, whose outfit I was coveting, that the presenter was running late.  Take time to mop up lather of sweat I have worked up.
1:25 pm:  Head over to reception area where beverages flow freely.  Wish I liked champagne.  Squeeeeeee and take pictures like a total tourist.
1:26 pm:  Cornered by woman who lays out her ENTIRE business plan now that she has won not one, but two prestigious awards.  Get concerned by crazed look in her eye, spittle forming in mouth and her easy access to children.  Wonder if she's eating them as opposed to teaching them music.  Abandon coworker and look at cool artifacts.
1:27 pm:  Take pictures near cool presidential painting.
1:29 pm:  Take pictures of staircase president comes down.
1:31 pm:  See music lady bearing down, devote rapt attention to Marine Corps quartet (they were fabulous).
1:32 - 2:10 pm:  Make small talk with coworker who SWEARS he doesn't do small talk.
2:15 pm:  Move into awards ceremony.  Resolve to cease and desist with touristy cell phone pictures.  Knock people out of the way to be in the center of the back row.  Nobody puts baby in the corner.
2:16 pm:  Quickly abandon previous resolution.  Fully engage cell phone camera.
2:20 pm:  Award recipients file in.  Big boss man follows closely behind.
2:21 pm:  Audience rises and claps when big man enters.
2:25 pm:  Start snapping away trying to get photo where it looks like big man is looking right at me.  Realize he probably IS looking at me as I keep lowering and raising camera.  Wish desperately for fancy SLR camera left at home.
2:25:45 pm:  Got it!  Promptly put camera away.
2:25:55 pm:  Take camera out, send MMS to friends, post picture on FB.  Yup, I'm a dork.  Big man is talking and I'm Facebooking.  What's your question?
2:26 pm:  Devote full attention to the ceremony (not really.  The press corps was right behind me and man, are their cameras loud.  I mean like defeaning plague of locusts loud.  And when there's a photo op???  Fugedabboutit.  I couldn't hear my own thoughts!).  Count number of mistakes made during speech (proud to say there was only one!!) to report back to mother.  It's a thing.
2:50 pm:  Wait for big man and recipients to exit ceremonial hall.  Wonder if I'll get to shake hands (answer is no).  Sorta stunned by how warm and electric his smile is. 
2:55 pm:  Snack time!!  Load up plate, minus icky salmon and soba noodles (regret not getting soba noodles).  And yes, I AM that girl who took a picture of the plate of food she was about to eat.  #noshame
3:00  - 3:10 pm:  Make small talk with previous year's recipient.  That's right, people, I was HOBNOBBING!  Realize her smarts are well beyond anything I can ever hope to achieve (neurobiologist who has discovered that brain cells regenerate in Alzheimers patients.  Way cool.)  Impress her anyway with my job helping to create, in her words, "boutique applications."  Wonder how I can work "boutique applications" into my every day vernacular.
3:12 pm:  Start the trek back to the office.  While leaving, notice room that is usually blocked off is now open.  Find out said room has a ladies room.  Take advantage of the access and go into ladies room.  Take obligatory "in da club bathroom" photo.  And I am ALSO that girl who takes pictures in pretty public restrooms.  #stillnoshame
3:20 pm:  Arrive back at the ranch (ie my office), thoroughly exhausted from the day. 

And that, my friends, is how I didn't meet my big boss.  HOWEVER, it's the closest I've ever come, and closer than many ever will, so I consider the entire day a HUGE success.

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's all lies, I tell ya!

I've come to realize that in order to survive as a parent, one must master the technique of the well crafted, only slightly damaging lie.  Examples:  "Yes, honey, there really is a {insert seasonal character of choice}."  "Noooooooo, Mommy and Daddy didn't buy that for you, {seasonal character of choice} did."

What I wasn't prepared for was the fact that I have raised a rather jaded child.  Ain't no pulling the wool over this girl's eyes.  Well, unless you say "Uh Oh" but I think every kid falls prey to that trick.  Here are some examples from the weekend:

Post flu shot (which my tough girl cried for roughly 2 minutes before being distracted by the ladybugs painted on the mural):
Me:  "You were such a brave girl today."
KIC: " Yeah (duh, mom)."
Me:  "I know Minga (her grandmother) got a flu shot and I bet she wasn't as brave."
KIC:  "Really?"
Me:  "Yup, I bet Minga even cried when she got her flu shot." 
KIC:  "If you say so."

To be fair, I DIDN'T know Minga had gotten a flu shot, but still, I thought I had sold that who scenario very well.

On the way to bowling:
Me:  "We're going to go bowling today."
KIC:  "And see Allie and have birthday cake??"
Me:  "Well, no, we're just going bowling to go bowling.  It's not Allie's birthday.  Her birthday was a couple of weeks ago."
KIC:  (with sarcasm DRIPPING from her every word)  "Really, Mom??  REALLY?" 

Now, I could have retorted with "Not every occasion requires cake and a party!!!" but I didn't.  I chose, instead, to shoot her father a dirty look and say "YOU did this!"  The impact of my glare was lost on him as he giggled like a schoolgirl at the fact that my THREE YEAR OLD CHILD is well on her way to accomplishing something he has always had trouble with - seeing right through me!  Isn't there supposed to be a ten year grace period where she believes everything I say???

If you have a story to tell about when your child caught you in a lie, I'd love to hear it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

All Grown Up

I recently won a photography session from a local photographer named Jennifer Sprague of Fingers To Toes photography.  KIC is not the most natural around strangers (read: hates them and avoids them like the plague), so I kept my expectations low.  I wanted natural, outdoor with her 'BoTino and if we only got two shots, then so be it.  For one, free is free, and for two, I know in my loving heart how beautiful my girl is (read:  mother's bias). 

We did the "shoot" on Sunday and Jennifer said she'd have the photos to us by the end of the week.  Much to my delight, we got some preview photos today.  I am thrilled to share them with you and hope that you too will contact Jennifer.  She was super patient as we worked through KIC's shyness and captured exactly what I wanted her to capture:  a cute little girl having fun with her dog.  Check 'em out.

KIC and 'BoTino

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Conversations I never expected to have with my almost four year old

Topics include:

* Menstruation - I'll spare you the details

*  Why the color blue is far superior to the color pink - Since one of her favorite books is "Pinkalicious", you can probably guess which side I'm on.  Her hatred for the color blue is so intense, she was protesting even putting on a blue winter coat so that I could check the fit.  That crashing sound you hear is my dreams of us wearing matching blue outfits crashing to the floor.

*  One should either choose to eat or wear the candy necklace - After several encounters with a sticky necklace and the tender hair at the nape of her neck, KIC is a convert.

*  Boyfriends!!!!!  This one is going to send Uncle Chris into heart palpitations.
Me:  KIC, do you have a boyfriend?
KIC:  Yes.
Me (shocked):  Who is your boyfriend???
KIC:  Adam, on the days he makes me happy.
Me:  So you really have a boyfriend??
KIC:  I sure do!

While I think all women could benefit from having her boyfriend philosophy, "Only on the days he makes me happy, so he better make me happy every day", I can honestly say I wasn't ready for her to have a boyfriend.  I thought we'd be able to wait until at least the age of 5.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Childlike Enthusiasm

I was all prepared to discuss the Quidditch craze sweeping the nation (forgive the pun), but then my kid had to go and be all cute, and well, there you are. By the way, don't believe me about Quidditch? How bout these NPR apples??

Today, on our way to school, the infamous birthday topic came up. We are blessed with an especially active birthday season right now. Five parties in four weekends make for a very busy, but very happy, Shoup House. KIC does not yet know it, but she's going to get gyped in the birthday department this year as I am treating our vacation to Disney as her birthday party. Before you cry "BAD MOM!", home girl is getting dinner with the Disney princesses as part of the package and that perk ain't cheap! Anywhoodle, we were discussing her birthay on our way to school and her ego made a special appearance. To wit:

Me: KIC, for your birthday, we're going to go see Mickey.
KIC: YEAY!! I LOVE MICKEY! When I see him, I'm going to give him a great big hug.
Me (shocked by my suddenly demonstrative daughter): You are?
KIC: Yes I am! I love him the most of anyone in the whole wide world!!
Me (thinking of the potential crushing disappointment when she sees him hugging other children): Well, you probably love him a lot, but other people in the world love him too.
KIC: Okay, but I love him LOTS!
Me: Sounds good, bebes.

On another note, KIC's school is raising awareness and funds for St. Jude's Children Hospital. She will be riding her trike in a trikeathon on Friday, October 7th.

After an overwhelming initial response, KIC and I have raised her fundraising goal. St. Jude's hospital is important because not only do they do extensive research to combat cancer and other catastrophic childhood illnesses, they treat everybody, whether you can afford the treatment or not. KIC's new goal is $500. $500 provides two red blood cell transfusions for a child battling cancer. We found out recently that the funds KIC's school raises will go towards two local children who are currently battling cancer, one of whom is a three year old little boy named Luke. We are working to help Luke kick cancer's {redacted}.

Huge thank you to everyone who has donated. KIC and I appreciate it very much. Please check your inboxes for a very special thank you note from KIC. And for everyone who donates, we will send you a very special picture of KIC in full trike regalia! For those who are interested in donating, here is KIC's personal donation page or you can contact me to make a donation by check. I mean it when I say that KIC is excited about her trikeathon and helping children get better. Thank you for your support!