My princess

My princess

Originally uploaded by MichelleCamille

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Relationship meme, found via Linda.

What are your middle names?

Camille and William. I’ll let you guess who is who.

How long have you been together?

Almost ten years: started dating in the summer of 1999, and got married in 2002.

How long did you know each other before you started dating?

This is kind of a complicated question. We met in April of 1999 when I arrived at his workplace for a job interview. I accepted the job, but didn’t start until June. Ten days later, he asked me to go for a drink on a Thursday night. Is that a date? It was about six weeks (and three dates) before I’d say we were actually “dating.”

Who asked whom out?

He asked me out. I later found out he totally had to psych himself up to make the call. I find that adorable.

How old are each of you?

Dave is 34. I am 32.

Whose siblings do you see the most?
Dave’s: my brother lives in CA, my sister in PA. I do have some step-siblings in IL. But we definitely see Dave’s sister most.

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?

Being parents.

Did you go to the same school?

No. Dave went to Eastern Illinois. I went to Illinois.

Are you from the same home town?

No, Dave is from tiny-Olney, Illinois and I am from Aurora – almost opposite ends of the state (north and south).

Who is smarter?

Smarter is relative. I got high ACT scores and Dave graduated with honors from EIU. He has street-smarts, I have people-smarts.

Who is the most sensitive?

I am 100 percent more sensitive. I cry at television commercials and Alzheimer’s documentaries.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?

Just the two of us? Gee… we like to try new places all the time. But we do like this Italian place called Mama Carrolla’s. But I don’t know that we’ve ever been there just the two of us.

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?

Italy. It seems like that is one of the last things we did just the two of us. Maybe because that’s where he knocked me up, and I was pretty much throwing up until R was born 38 weeks later.

Who has the craziest exes?


Who has the worst temper?


Who does the cooking?


Who is the neat-freak?

David is ultra-neat. It drives me crazy. I feel like I am constantly failing his expectations re: housecleaning. But I just don’t care as much as he does. Sue me.

Who is more stubborn?

We are a stubborn bunch in our house. Which is odd, because I am very flexible in the workplace. I like to tell Dave that I am just more comfortable with him and therefore feel safe enough to be my totally rigid and unyielding self at home. He should be glad about that, right?

Who hogs the bed?

He does, though he would deny it. I’ve often threatened to get a camera in the middle of the night and take a picture to show him just how much of the bed he really does consume. I’ve also threatened to audio record his snoring, though now that his cold had finally passed I think that might be taken care of.

Who wakes up earlier?


Where was your first date?

We went to the Fox and the Hound in Evansville, Indiana and drank 23 ounce beers on a Thursday night. I tried to keep up with him and ended up having to drunkenly ask him to take me home after three. We discovered a mutual affinity for the Beastie Boys and Miller Light.

Who is more jealous?

Him. He still refers to a good friend of mine as “I Love You Mike” because Mike confessed his feelings for me about a month after Dave and I started dating. It’s been ten years, man. Let it go.

How long did it take to get serious?

I knew within six months that we would get married. It took him a little longer.

Who eats more?

He does. Unless he has a stomach bug.

Who does the laundry?

I would say I do 70 percent of it, 100 percent of the putting-clothes-away. He will occasionally wash and dry a load or two and almost always helps with the folding if he’s around. But I am incredibly anal about sorting. And he seems incapable of putting clothes away. Sometimes I go on strike and will just leave his clothes on his pillow or something.

Who’s better with the computer?

He is way better on the computer. Though I am learning because of my job.

Who drives when you are together?

He always drives. I’m not a good driver in most situations, though I kick ass at big city driving, when aggression is pretty much a requirement. I also have such terrible road rage that it’s generally better for my blood pressure to not be behind the wheel unless necessary.


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The best and the brightest


Lorin died in a plane crash last night. I am proud to say Lorin was my friend. We hadn’t talked in months. But every time I got a diet cherry coke out of the vending machines here at work, I thought of her. See, they didn’t have diet cherry coke in our vending machines until Lorin pestered the operations staff for weeks. She was so charming and funny and could make you feel at ease even if you didn’t know anyone else in the room. I will miss you Lorin.

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Baby book

R would like to go to the store, purchase an egg, bring it home and hatch it into her baby sister.

She would also like for it to be a penguin.

R likes to introduce me to her friends as, “my Mommy, her name is Michelle.”

R is concerned that her grandfather will grow a moustache. He hasn’t had a moustache since the mid-1990s, nearly 10 years before she was born. However, she recently saw some pictures of her grandpa with a moustache and now, every time he is mentioned, she also expresses her desire that he not grow a moustache.

Last night, R and I made music with wooden spoons and an old Christmas tin. It was awesome.

I think Snow White is the scariest of the Disney Princess collection.

I miss my nephew.

While I was in Washington D.C. for our annual convention last month, R began making a weird noise. When I asked her dad what she was doing, he said she was kissing the phone. And my heart broke into a million pieces and I cursed that I had four more days until I came home.

Of course, when I came home, she was not happy to see me because she had been playing at a friend’s house and Dave made her leave to come pick me up at the airport.

She thanks me for making dinner almost every night. The best is when she adds, “This is really good! Yummy in my tummy!” Rare, but unmatched praise.

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Ruler of the universe

We have this constant struggle, R and I. Who is really in charge?

Of course, she doesn’t intellectually acknowledge this struggle. In fact, if you ask her, she will tell you – Mommy is the Boss. While that is nice (and ego-boosting) to hear, it is not, in fact, the God’s-honest truth. Sometimes, frankly, R is the Boss.

There are days when I am Not. In. The. Mood. There are days when I don’t want everything to be a fight: the getting dressed, the eating breakfast, the getting out the door, the watch-television dilemma, the snack after school, the eating of vegetables, bath time, bed time, number of stories, number of minutes spent watching her lie there with her eyes open refusing to sleep, drinks of water, light level, OMG START AGAIN TOMORROW.

These are the days that I will bend, compromise a little. The days she eats macaroni and cheese for breakfast or gets two cookies right before dinner or skips her bath or stays up 20 more minutes to watch the end of “Jungle Book.” For the thirteen millionth time.

I try not to feel bad about these little lapses in principle, the gentle ebbing away from my greater goals as a parent. Everybody deserves a break once in awhile, I think. But are these breaks getting too frequent? Am I raising a child who does not know limits and will constantly expect her every whim to be fulfilled?

When I have thoughts like these, I frequently sway the opposite direction – toward a rigid standard of parenting. When we were on the cruise, we were eating dinner with the whole family – all 14 of us – when R started acting a little squirrelly. The joviality of the evening, and the fact that she and her 8-month-old cousin were the centers of attention, went straight to her head. She threw a fork. I immediately grabbed her and carried her out of the restaurant into the hall, sitting her on the steps in timeout.  Oh the wails. The tears. The self-pity.

Dave thought I over-reacted a little bit. And perhaps I did. But I don’t want her to ever think that throwing things was acceptable behavior. And we were already so flexible we were going to fall over with the next whiff of a Caribbean breeze – the child didn’t use the toilet for six.straight.days, for goodness sake. I wanted to show her firmness and boundaries and consequences.

But the problem comes the next time she throws a fork, and the reaction isn’t as sudden, swift and serious. It’s so difficult to be consistent when the same behavior could occur immediately after I spent 20 minutes cleaning up poop or immediately after a spontaneous hug and kiss.

But I guess this wasn’t meant to be easy.

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Awesome, with caveats

I am very tan. I am actually pretty relaxed, which is an epic achievement for me, the most high strung and anxious person you may ever meet. I have visited the Dominican Republic, U.S. and British Virgin Islands and the Bahamas. I went parasailing. I racked up (with my husband, and the addition of a massage and shore excursions) a $1,347 bar bill. I had a seaweed wrap.

Seven days on a cruise ship in the Caribbean were incredible. The water was so blue, the islands so lovely and the drinks so cold that I stopped thinking about the fact that we were likely to miss our flight back (made it by the skin of our teeth and the jump to the front of the security line) and just CHILLED OUT for a little while.

We did run into some stumbling blocks. R, after being potty-trained-except-at-night for nearly five months, had a terrible experience at the kids club on the first full day of the cruise. Because of staffing, they can’t send someone to the bathroom with the kids, so they sent her alone and closed the door behind her. She was terrified. And refused to use the toilet for ANYTHING the rest of the vacation. I’m glad I brought lots of extra clothes. And apologies to the restaurant in Samana.

I have also somehow retained the dizziness often felt for a few hours after disembarking, a condition known as Mal de Disembarquement Syndrome, common among women in the 40s (NOT) who are prone to motion sickness (definitely) and migraines (for sure) and take hormone supplements (like the birth control pill?). It’s like vertigo could last for years, something I am not excited about.

Enjoy the pictures, I am off again to our annual convention, this year in Washington, D.C. I get to fly instead of taking the bus. Weather better not delay my return to my family on Sunday!


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We said goodbye to a lot of things in 2008.

Bye-bye to “boon” – now it’s “balloon.”

And last month, she announced that she would no longer be calling it “Happy Donald’s” Mommy, she’ll be calling it McDonald’s.

No more crib. No more rocking to sleep in the glider. No more footie pajamas (too hard to use the potty). No more diapers.

But we got a lot too. For example: entire conversations about how R wants Mommy to teach her letters when R gets bigger. And about how her poop looks like a snowman. And how she wants to turn her daddy into a prince and marry him.

She gets regular haircuts. And paints her own toenails. She can dress herself. And sometimes she’ll use the potty all by herself.

It was a good year. And I know 2009 will be another year of letting go and watching her grow more independent, witty, beautiful and contrary. I can’t wait.

Happy New Year to all!

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