Dear Kid: 2 Years

Dear Kid,
Quick update: you’re two now.  You turned two on October 27.  Yes, almost two months ago and BIG SURPRISE!  - I’m late getting this note to you.  Sorry. I’ve been busy limiting your iPad time and trying to convince you that what’s in mommy’s cup is the same thing that’s in YOUR cup.  Someday it will be.  Unless you start drinking white zinfandel.   

Let’s get back to it.  Today I have loved you for 770 days, not counting the days you spent occupying my torso.  Here’s proof we gave you a party:
You with Auntie Kat.  Thank God someone
normal joined our family.  Thank Uncle Eric.

These last two years have brought many changes your way, including the addition of two cousins, - both boys - who will, in a moment’s time, be crawling around their parents’ house, causing them the same kind of general mayhem and destruction you do for us.   I will watch from the sidelines, laughing, as many of my other friends (with children) likely did with me.  (My friends who don’t have kids are understandably questioning my parenting skills.) It’s all fun and games until my brother catches your cousin creating an impressionistic piece of art on the living room window curtain using Chobani yogurt as his medium, enthusiastically exclaiming, “Look what Semisi taught me to do!”
Mastermind of trouble.

Master of not getting your way. 
(No baby, no cry.)

I sometimes wonder how you interpret our presence in your life.  Like, do you think we are just total buzz kills because we don’t let you swim around in the utensil drawer, pull all the clothes out of your closet, stick my finger nail polish brush inside the light socket, and wipe your nose with my hair?  Probably.  But I think if we’re doing things right, we’ll continue to cause you this kind of disappointment on a daily basis, with what I hope will be spurts of awesomeness in between.


What?  You've never seen anyone
dressed up like Einstein before?

Awesome.  Until we had to get off of the ride.

There are some things you enjoy doing that don’t involve our intervention on a second by second basis, however.  They are as follows:

1.       Hauling around all of my old purses and putting random things in them.

2.       Playing with the iPad.

3.       Trying on my shoes – the sparkly silver ones are your fave.  Dad is pleased.

4.       Playing with the iPad.

iPad selfie.

5.       Helping dad shovel and rake leaves.

6.       Taking a bath and farting in the tub and then side eyeing me with a coy smile to see if I notice.

7.       Kitchen utensil mayhem.

8.       Ordering Chinese with the iPad.

Yes.  You have an iPad addiction. We now only let the iPad “surface” after bedtime, but you haven’t forgotten about its existence.  The other night you woke in absolute hysterics.  While lying in our bed with a pillow over my head (hoping to God you could “work it out” and fall back asleep) I began listening to your wails only to realize you were desperately shouting “iPaaaaaaaad…..”  It was 2:00 a.m. Looks like I can toss out that “How not to get a girl pregnant” outline and replace it with a “How not to act like Rainman on your first date” outline.  Because, you know, kids and technology.  NO SOCIAL SKILLS.  Unless of course you are helping someone with technology:

Your GM 2's mom (honorary gramma.)
She's pretending to let you show her something
because she is actually quite tech savvy.

Actually I shouldn’t say that.  You have great people skills.  Recently you’ve lovingly begun to refer to point at and openly refer to strangers as “bodies.” This is hilarious for me but really, really creepy for the strangers. 

You do have a girlfriend and her name is Julia, though you have another girl on the side up in Alaska too (I won't tell Julia).  Luckily you call Julia by name rather than referring to her as "body" too.  That would be inappropriate for a whole different reason.  She is a bit younger than you but she could take you in a fight which I can only assume is part of the reason you love her so much.

Other than that, you have great verbal skills.  You pick up on things we don’t even realize.  The other day your dad sneezed and you said, “Bless you, Daddy.”  I mean, your Dad and I really aren’t that polite, so GOD ONLY KNOWS who is teaching you those kinds of niceties. 

You still eat pretty much everything in front of you.   Sushi?  Don’t mind if you do!  A bowl of salad?  Yes, please!  We lucked out.

Our most recent frustration with you comes at bedtime, where, for a time, we required the assistance of a young priest and an old priest (as your Uncle Eric describes it.)  Your most recent trick, however, is one of silent protest.  You bathe, have a nice bedtime story, and then you calmly let me lie you down and tuck you in, where you sweetly offer me kisses and a “Love you, Mom.   Night Night.”  I then proceed to walk out of your room and down the hallway, fist pumping the air while silently mouthing “WINNING!!!!!” 

You can only imagine our surprise when, hours later, your father and I quietly tip toe into our bedroom to turn on the bedside lamp, praying we won’t wake you only to find you passed out in the middle of our king sized Temperpedic mattress, feather duvet up to your chin, blanket and bear in hand, and a pink satin ruffled eye mask perched atop your sweet little nose.

Once we put you back in to your own bed, I sneak in a few episodes of The Walking Dead, which I continue to find parallels our life with you perfectly.  You walk like the dead, we tip toe around the house to avoid waking you in a fit of rage, and your father and I often scream HAVE YOU BEEN BITTEN?” to one another.  That, combined with our continuous battle for control of the household, leaves us all exhausted and wondering WHY LORI HAD TO DIE.
And yet, I LOVE having you around.  When I walk through the door at night, you typically act like you’ve just won the grand prize on Minute to Win It.  A river dance and a few hugs later, you’re back to destroying everything around you (but you’re smart to lead with that welcome).  You give great kisses and hugs and the joy for life you exude makes my heart swell and my soul happy.   

It’s December now, and you’re just now starting to get an idea about how awesome it all is.  You shout “Santa” when we drive by our festive neighbor’s blow up lawn decorations at night (which also doubles as a Christmas massacre scene during the day.)  What you don’t yet realize is that Santa brings you TOYS.  I mean, you’re already a fan of the guy and you don’t even know the BEST PART yet.  I hope you view everything in life that way…for the rest of your life.
So Merry Christmas, kiddo.  And don’t worry; you don’t have to get me anything. The best gift I ever received was closer to Halloween, anyway.  You'll never be able to top it.


P.S. Stay little.


Winner, winner turkey dinner!

Hey y'all!  Sorry about not posting yesterday!  I was still in a turkey coma. 

Buttttttt...as promised, I did pick a winner to my Bella Bag give-a-way using random.org: 

As you can see, I included all 55 comments in the generator, but then took out the "removed" comments and the comments that were added to *original* comments when I counted down to see who left comment number 35. 

Then I counted twice with my mother present to make sure it was accurate. 

Then I had my step dad count to make sure.

And it pleases me to announce that the person who happened to submit comment #35 is someone I've known since birth!  So congratulations Lisa Fabian! Wooo hooo!

Lisa, shoot me your addy via facebook or at meganithappen@gmail.com and we'll get you this bag!!!

Didn't win?  Don't forget to check out all the other AMAZING bags over at Stitch and Swash.  A HUGE thanks to Angie for donating this bag.  You da best.  

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everybody - and thanks to everyone who entered my "bribe to subscribe" (I'm looking at you, Katie!).



You say Oprah, I say Opera...

Here's the deal:  I used to teach English, so when I notice a snafu typo in a blog post - specifically MY blog posts - I dwell on it for a good month and a half before I finally feel like I can move on.  The problem is this: I know no one cares as much as I do (except maybe my mother) - but if I have someone PROOF read my blog posts, I suddenly find myself TRYING TOO HARD.  And when I TRY TOO HARD I start not to like blogging.  I also start to not sound like myself. 

Don't start sentences with AND.  SEE!!!  It never ands.  ENDS.  It never ends.

Therefore, every time I post, you're likely to see sentences like this: 

And even though I try to convince her that we need to contact Opera, she simply shakes her head and tells me that sewing and touching every bag that leaves her doorstep is just too important to her to ever go that big. 

See, yet another sentence starting with AND.  But also (SWEET JESUS NOW I'M STARTING THEM WITH BUT!), you'll notice that I said we need to contact Opera. 

I meant Oprah.  

For the record though, I DO think someone should make a rock opera out of Angie's story.  It shall be called, Angie and her Twilight Smothered Dream Bag.  It would be glorious.  (Please note that titles call for italicized font rather than "quotation marks" unless we're referring to the title of a song or a poem or a chapter.)

Another time, I said that my son turrets, when I meant this kind of tourretes).  Now this one actually worked out, because as times my son really does act like a small tower that projects vertically from the wall of a building.  Still though, I meant the other kind.

In other words, blogging - which requires, in my opinion, a deliberately impromptu, raw, unedited word vomit - can be hard on a former English teacher.  Please ignore these types of dumb mistakes and know that I am smarter than my blog posts make me look. 

Also, if you have not entered in to win this awesome bag...

...you best get on that right now. 

Kisses and sunshine,


Cinderella story. And my very first give-a-way. So, you know, happy Friday.

Well, the moment has finally come.  Internets, we’re having a give-a-way. 

Why?  Well, because I like to feel popular.  And I've kept my son alive and thriving for 1 year.  And Christmas is coming.  And my best friend and son’s General Manager happens to one of the most generous and talented individuals I know.  

No really, she is – and multifaceted, if I may say so.  In fact, let’s list a few things that make her the president of club awesome before we get right down to the give-a-way.  This will be fun because I like lists and she dislikes people bragging about her.  I’m hoping this incites a series of awkward twinges that I’ll feel all the way from Washington.  Right now I’m guessing she has her hands on her cheeks as she peeks through her fingers, squinting more and more with each sentence of this post.  (SMOOCH!)

In any given day, you might find my best friend doing any number of the following things:

1.)    Cooking ridiculously good meals:

2.)    Winning arm wrestling competitions:

3.)    Adopting abused animals:
Love the shirt, Nic.

4.)    Taking incredibly cute pictures with her husband

5.)    Or designing handbags used by famous people in famous movies. 

Whew!  That’s a multitalented bitch, right there.
I could go in to detail about each one of the items listed above, but for the purpose of today, let’s focus on #5.
Here’s the deal.  While I spent my summers by Ft. Peck Lake, listening to mixed CD’s of No Doubt and Oasis and doing everything within my power to drive my mother bat-shit crazy, my best friend was elbows deep in fabric and thread, learning to craft her talent in domesticity.   (In comparison, my mother was understandably disappointed.   I would argue however, that if it weren’t for those summers, my mother would not OWN a mixed CD.  Think about it, mom.  Your car rides would be filled with a full hour of songs from THE SAME ARTIST.  Can you even imagine?)  

But alas, under the fine direction of her mother, who to this DAY sews the best hair scrunchy this side of the Mississippi, Angie learned to craft a talent that now makes her a living.  And also makes her kind of famous.

And also makes me feel popular.

And will, in a week’s time, make you cooler.  
Fine.  I’ll get down to it.  (Drumroll!.....)

Friends, I’d like to introduce you to THE BELLA BAG:


Why is it called the Bella bag?  Maybe these pics will help clarify:

What?  What’s that you say?  You recognize the person holding that purse?  You recognize the movie?  Twilight, you say?  The final movie of which opens today, you say? 
Huh.  How timely.

This bag, hand made by my bff, Angie, was picked up by a prop designer for the Twilight series in a boutique in Seattle, where Angie’s rent payment was, at the time, dictated by whether or not she would sell a bag that week.  The prop designer bought it for herself, but then decided to use it to round out Bella’s wardrobe for the movie – so she called Angie and asked her to make a replica.  Angie complied, and a few months later Twilight came out.  And Angie was all, “You don’t suppose???” and then she watched the movie and I suppose you could say she supposed right:



Rob Pattinson is holding Angie’s bag, you guys. Do you see that?
The year that the movie was released resulted in so many orders that Angie worked hand over fist, day after day, rarely taking even one day off - pumping out bag after bag.  And from there, she’s managed to make a good living doing what she loves to do.  And even though I try to convince her that we need to contact Opera, she simply shakes her head and tells me that sewing and touching every bag that leaves her doorstep is just too important to her to ever go that big.  And there is just something so. damn. admirable about that.    

I have this bag, and many of my friends have a version of the bag.  And we all love it.  I’m not just saying that because she’s my best friend.  I can honestly say that I have NEVER owned anything that has received more compliments than this thing.  EVER.  And what’s even cooler is that when she’s out and about, sporting one of her own bags, she’ll get compliments, too.  And do you know what she does when she gets compliments? 

That’s it.  She doesn’t even tell them that SHE MADE THE BAG.

I guess that’s what modesty looks like, but what she lacks in boastfulness I make up for in casual conversations with people I’ve never met.  When anyone compliments me on my bag, I take up half of their afternoon telling them how I have a famous best friend and that she makes these amazing bags and that famous people have used them in famous movies and they should go to her website RIGHT NOW and buy one because she customizes the screen print and the fabrics and uses refurbished leather and you can also pick whatever style of bag you want in whatever color leather you want.

And it isn’t until I gently rub my bag against their cheek so that they may feel the softness of the leather that I sense them pulling away.
And because she is my best friend and she knows how much I like to feel popular, she is donating one of these bad boys to one of you! 

So, what do you have to do?  Well listen, I know there are a number of you out there who silently follow, so I'm just going to ask that you speak up today.  Just this once.  And it only takes two easy steps:
1.        Follow me.  I really like looking popular. Yes, you'll have to have a google (gmail), yahoo, twitter, AIM, Netlog, or Open ID account to follow me.  That's lame and I'm sorry but I don't know how to get around it.  But really, for a bag this good?  Make up and account and then never look at it again.  I'd say it's worth it.  :)  

2.        Comment  on this post after you follow me, and poof!  You’re in. Don't know what to say?  Tell me which bag you like best from her website.  Or ask me a question. Or tell me the middle name of your cat.  I don't care.  Say something!   

3.        Want to get entered twice?  Share this post on Facebook or your blog (or both!) and tell me you did it by commenting again. 

I’ll pick a winner using random.org on Black Friday and post the number that corresponds with the comment.  It will all be fair.  Don’t worry.

And if you don't win - no biggie!  You can still buy the bag - or any bag for that matter - at her website.  Currently I have my eye on this little number, but they're all great.  Seriously.
Good luck!


Dear Kid: One Year

Dear Kid:

Just over a week ago you turned 365 days old. That means we’ve kept you alive for a year. A whole year. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes.

That’s a butt load of time, fyi.

Well, not really. In the great grand timeline of your life, 365 days will seem fairly inconsequential. Especially those first 365 days of your life, because you won’t remember one damn minute of it. I’m not trying to be negative or anything, but it’s true. If you’re reading this, you’re probably at LEAST in your 20’s, because dudes don’t really care about sentimental stuff any time before that. At least, I don’t think they do. (But either way, when your first girlfriend calls I won’t hesitate to say, “Let me go get him. I think he’s in his room reading the love letters I wrote to him that first year.”)

But just so I can put this into a context that’s familiar to you, let’s just assume that if you’re reading this, you’re in your early twenties. Remember a few weeks ago when you drank too many Captain Morgan cokes and woke up not knowing where you were, how you got there or why in God’s name you were wearing a cheerleader’s sweater from 1971? And all you know is that there was a lot of laughing, a little crying (crazy ex-girlfriend alert), a crap ton of stumbling around and you never want to hit the bottle ever again?

Well, that’s how you should view your first year. Except I didn’t feed you alcohol, and I never put you in a cheerleading costume. (That was your father back in 2006.) The similarity here is that there’s been a lot laughs, a few tears, no one else wants you to ever hit the bottle again either, and we all have headaches and are craving the Baconater.

But seriously, it’s hard for me to fathom that you won’t even remember a year of your life, because this year will be so engrained in the minds of your father and I that there is no amount of alcohol that could erase it. Trust me. We just got back from an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, and if there were, we would know.

Yes. We were in Mexico for your 1st birthday. And it was AWESOME. Your Godmother made me go. She was like, “Semisi is turning one. Let’s party.” Just kidding. You can’t party yet. But I will say that your first year’s celebration is really more about your father and I anyway, if I’m being honest. I mean, good job to you, sure. But good job to us for, you know, learning how to be parents. When you’re 18 you can start taking credit for being born, even though I will secretly still credit myself.

But listen, the real reason we were in Mexico was because your Godmother was getting married. Don’t worry though, she’ll make it up to you some day. TRUST. When you turn 21, we’ll send her out for Gatorade and a Taco John’s run the morning after, and I can say from experience SHE WILL NOT LET YOU DOWN. She did that for us after a New Year’s Eve extravaganza one year and 40 dollars and a dream later, she came back with enough potato ole’s to feed the Irish during the famine.

Since we’re talking about her – here’s a picture of her. Now you have proof that we had good reason to be gone:

It was important work. That’s me in the coral dress because I happen to be the one who married them.  So now you have a Godfather-in-law. He loves the Godfather movies so he is totally prepped and ready for this job. He is rad. His name is Albert. You're welcome.

Don’t feel bad though. We still threw you a party before we left:

And you ate cake:

Then we threw you another party after we got back. And you ate cake again:

So see? We really did make it about you.

Moving on.

Here is a progress report on your, umm…progress?

You walk.

Run, kind of. Like you’re drunk, actually. Why do we keep talking about drinking? Quit.

You eat. Everything. Anything. We cannot put food in front of you fast enough. This morning you ate a whole banana in about 2.5 seconds. I had not yet had one sip of my coffee and that banana had disappeared. Then, after taking a long swig of milk from your sippy cup and giving us a good grunt of satisfaction as you slammed it down on the table, you carried your father to daycare.

Speaking of carrying things, you’re very strong. You carry around things that you should not be able to carry. This would be helpful if we could channel it to bags of groceries or the laundry basket, but currently you’d rather pull full gallons of milk out of the fridge and move Gus the Dog’s house around the floor. As if that dog doesn’t have enough anxiety, now he has to re-live Nam.

And you talk. You say dadda, momma (more than dadda, now. Good work.), Papa, and the other day you whipped out a little “ba” after I said “bath.”

But you know what? None of that matters. You could be doing none of those things and I’d still like you just as much, because you’re just, well, damned likable. That hasn’t changed since day one. Yes, sometimes you throw temper tantrums when I remove you from crawling in to the vegetable crisper drawer of the refrigerator, but we promptly ignore this unseemly behavior and you get over it, and then we all move on.

And like I said, even if you don’t remember this year, son, I can assure you that your father and I will hold on to, cherish and remember every moment day of it. On October 26th, just as our plane landed in Mexico, I turned to your father and told him that it was hard to believe that at that moment, one year prior, I was having contractions. Your father, stop watch in hand, would look down at my belly and up at me, waiting as labor progressed throughout the night. We were two people who had no idea what to expect. All we knew is that we were unbelievably excited to meet you. And 32 RIDICULOUSLY LONG, PAINFUL, MISERABLE hours later, there you were. More than fashionably late, but much anticipated. And, as it turns out, worth every 1,920 minutes of labor.

You still owe me for 9 months with no booze though.

But seriously, son, in an instant our lives changed for the better – all thanks to your arrival. Last night, as I was swaying you in your room, lights off, just before bedtime, I caught a glimpse of the two of us in the mirror. Your head was on my shoulder and your body was stretched along the entire length of mine, and suddenly I realized that in the blink of an eye, you’d changed from a small, 7 pound, squishy little baby:

…to a boy:

And let me just say that your dad and I will be forever grateful for the little guy you are today, the kid I’m sure we’re bound to delight in, and the man we’ll be proud to call Semisi Michael Kongaika.

All my love to you, son, one year later, and for every year to come,


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