Sunday, August 31, 2008

Another Food Snob in the Family?

Big Daddy and I have been talking about making peach jam for a while, and I finally picked up some gorgeous looking peaches at Costco. The plan was to make freezer jam, as I wanted something quick and easy. At his urging, I started the process tonight - peeling these bad boys, slicing them and pureeing in the food processor. I had a little left over, and gave it a taste - delicious! Being that it was almost bath time & I hadn't fed Big J any solids today, I thought it couldn't hurt to try a spoonful. He LOVED it. After a tentative couple of bites, he gobbled down about 4 tablespoons of pureed peaches. This is about as much as he's eaten in the last 6 weeks of sampling solids.

It totally changed his attitude. He had a good bath, with no fussing at the end. I wrestled him into his PJ's with a minimum of fighting back, and he was even mellow while he waited for me to finish up my stuff and settle him down for the night. Maybe he's been fighting solids because he wanted the fresh stuff all along. The fresh peach puree was definitely tastier than the baby food version. I may be spending this week pureeing and freezing various fruits & veggies for baby food. Anything to get him to move towards eating solids (or at least to stop the battle over breakfast). And PS - the jam is awesome!!
This is what he looked like after eating dinner tonight.
The reason I call him Colonel Doctor.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Updates: Training and No Spending

Training: I survived the first week of the Couch-to-5K program. It was actually not bad. I'm glad that I've been working out with Baby Bootcamp over the last 2 months, as I think it gave me a good foundation of strength and endurance. I don't think I can run a 5K tomorrow, but I believe that as long as I keep up with the workouts, I'll do just fine in October. This was my week:

Monday - running workout
Tuesday - Baby Bootcamp
Wednesday - day off (meant to run, but day was crazy busy)
Thursday - Baby Bootcamp
Friday - running workout
Saturday -running workout

No Spending: Well, I made it through the week, but I'm a little embarrassed to say that I did spend. On Monday night I went to the store for powdered sugar - $1.65. And on Friday night I ran out of flour - $2.49. I consider it a 'win', as these were unforeseen shortages. I also didn't shop as carefully as I should have, and discovered I was lacking several ingredients needed for meals on my list. I substituted other items & it was no big deal. There was no way around the sugar & the flour. Both were necessary for stuff I made for church activities. I stayed away from the mall & Target & was so busy this week that I didn't really feel the pain of no spending. It was a good exercise & one I will repeat.

Betrayed

I used to be a fan of the TLC show Jon & Kate Plus 8. Used to be. I used to watch it off and on, always shaking my head at the chaos that is a house with 2 sets of multiples. It was entertaining to watch them wrangle the kids and to see Kate act like the tyrant she is. Every time I tuned I always had so many questions.

"Jon must make good money as an IT guy, because we can barely afford to feed 4 people, much less 10 in family."

"They're going on another vacation? Man, I know it's probably subsidized by whatever resort they're at, but seriously......"

"She really only averages $150 a week at the grocery? When I just watched her buy 12 gallons of milk and 25 loaves of bread? AND she 'shops organic whenever she can'???"

"They must stay up really late to film these one on ones with just Jon and Kate. No way they could do it with the kids up and running crazy."

"How much laundry does she do every day? I do at least one load a day. How does she keep up with it?"

Well, I seem to be finding answers to my questions. I have found a few websites that contain some interesting information about the Gosselins. I don't believe everything I read, but much of this makes sense. First, they may have struggled financially at the beginning of their journey with parenthood, but they are doing just fine now. It's been rumoured that they receive about $50,000 PER EPISODE of the show. And they shoot about 40 episodes a year (far more than my favorite sitcom). You do the math. They also have speaking gigs at various churches across the U.S. Apparently they charge $25,000 per gig, and request first class airfare, all expenses, and ask that a 'love offering' be done during the event. A love offering is where a donation is requested to assist them with expenses associated with so many kids. And yet they're raking in about $2M a year from the show? What the heck?

They have several big name sponsors, including Gap and Gymboree for the kids' clothes, Disney, and Juicy Juice.

Kate has help! She downplays it to the point of nonexistence, but it's there. She has a cleaning service for the house, a nanny, someone who does and folds all the laundry, a lawn service, AND a full time organic chef. Yet the only person you see is the 'part-time' nanny. Hmmmm.....

There's also a repeated rumour online that they are building an 8,000 sf home in North Carolina. This will allow them to be closer to their production company. It's been said that they are paying for nothing associated with the house - not the land, the buildout or the furnishings.

I can't watch this show any longer. I know reality shows don't often show real-life, but if the above is all true, I feel so sad. Sad that this family continues to do the 'woe is me' act. Sad that Kate is such a shrew to her husband and children. Sad that Jon has no spine. And sad that these kids are being exploited by their own parents so they can make an easy buck. How traumatized are they going to be when they realize that their potty training was captured for the world to watch? That their Mom threatened and terrorized them on cable TV? That Dad mocked their childhood foibles for the camera?

And PS - the fact that they wanted to try "for just one more" after having the twins?? They had TWINS after using IUI! What did they think was going to happen when they did it again???

Jon & Kate, you just make me sad. Sad that you don't seem to even enjoy your children. Sad that you're nothing more than the man behind the curtain - presenting the world a created view of your life. And shame on me for buying in to the myth.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Paging Colonel Doctor

Big J is at the stage where he is discovering all the wonderful things his mouth can do. In the space of a week, he's begun doing fish lips and a modified raspberry. When he does the raspberry, he tucks his bottom lip all the way into his mouth. This results in an overflow of spit down his chin, usually accompanied by froth or actual bubbles. I caught him doing this last night & started calling him 'Colonel Doctor' because it looks like the white goatee worn by Colonel Sanders and Colonel Doctor on Scrubs. Good thing Big Daddy still outranks him at Admiral. Oh, I crack myself up.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

If the Poo Fits...

Wear It.

Big J is a growing boy, and is growing far more rapidly than Big Sis did. As such, his expanding body is using every ounce of milk and every bite of solids, with little left over as 'waste'. When this is the case, he doesn't poo very often -maybe every 10 days or so. You can imagine the results when it does happen.

Well, yesterday was the lucky day. He woke up bright and early at 5:30am, and while snuggling in bed, I heard the near-forgotten sounds of rumbly intestines. I figured I'd wait a few minutes and be sure he'd gotten it all out before changing his diaper. I didn't want to be surprised on the changing table (Moms - you know what I'm talking about. No one needs to start their day off with a veritable fountain of poo). After a few minutes, I heard round 2, and thought it was safe to begin the cleansing. As to be expected, he had quite a present for me, and soiled his sleeper too. It was enough to warrant a bath, so I ran the water, rinsed him under the faucet, then plopped him in the tub. I turned around for a minute, then turned back and saw he had executed round 3 in the tub. I popped the drain, ran the water again, rinsed, and cleaned him as best I could under the running water. I got him dried and dressed and we were good to go for the day.

A few hours later he was hopping around in his jumper and he started fussing. I let him go for a few minutes not thinking much of it. Big Sis suddenly yells out "EWWWWWW - MOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!"

I look over at him, and he's got poo running down both legs, dripping onto the carpet. Clean-up the Sequel began with another rinse off, another bath, and a second set of clothes. It continued with carpet scrubbing and Jumper cleansing. And it finished with bathtub scrubbing due to the fallout from the bath and cleansing (not to mention a change of clothes for me due to residual poo runoff).

That was a lot of poo for one day. I'm sort of glad it will probably be at least a week before I have to expect it again. Ain't kids grand?


Other updates:
With the help of my friend Robyn, I finagled ballet slippers for Big Sis. I appreciate all the other offers of help, too.

I made chocolate cream pie and key lime pie for the event on Tuesday night. Not my finest efforts. If I had known it was a contest, I would have pulled out all the stops. The chocolate cream was a first for me, and a semi-failure. It needed to be thicker & I should have used better quality chocolate. Something to work on for the future.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Oh, what have I done to myself?

I intended to rise with the dawn this morning, waking fresh faced and energetic, ready to pack up Baby J into the BOB and stride like a gazelle through my first workout of the Couch-to-5K program.

Not.

I haven't been sleeping well, so despite heading to bed at 10:30, I didn't really fall asleep until after midnight, and then I crashed. When the alarm went off at 7, I was in no mood to peel myself off the mattress. Plus, Big Daddy was oddly unsupportive of my plan to run before he leaves for school. I know his schedule changes from day to day, but I also generally count on him to be home until 7:30... so I didn't (don't) understand why he was hesitant to sign off on my idea to work out in the morning. A puzzler....

I thought Plan B might work. But Big Sis was grouchy and wanted nothing to do with a bike ride this a.m. (while I run), and proceeded to whine and moan about it. I coulda forced her, but I too was in no mood to subject myself to such torture on a Monday morning. So Plan B was scrapped.

I finally came up with Plan C, and we headed to Raccoon River Park at 3:00 this afternoon. With a clever mix of bribery and iTunes, we all managed to work our way through the first workout. I felt pretty good while running, especially after the first few intervals of walking and running. I even felt good while stretching and watching Big Sis splashing in the fountain (water feature? what do you call it?).

Now? Not so much. After making 2 pies and sitting on the floor for an hour while catching up on The Pioneer Woman's Q &A... I am stiff. I am sore. I am creaky. Should your knees creak? Should your back pop? I didn't think so. Let's hope the Motrin of unknown dosage (and age) kicks in soon. I am so glad I don't have to run tomorrow.

Update on no spending

Well, I may have picked the wrong time to begin no-spending week. Upon on reflection, the week before school starts was NOT the time to launch this little experiment in terror. I have just discovered that her ballet slippers are too small (who knew her feet would grow a size-and-a-half in 6 months?!). I'm trying to cajole her into sucking it up for the 30 minutes of class on Wednesday, but the whining and moaning has already begun, so I see myself on the losing end of this battle. Payless is even doing a BOGO this week, so I could pick up 2 pairs and probably squeak by for the rest of the dance year. Anyone willing to take pity on us? She wears about a size 10 right now...

Anyone?

Anyone?

Bueller?

No takers? I understand.

But it doesn't count as cheating if my sweet Big Daddy reads this, takes pity on me and his ballet-shoe-less daughter, and rolls into Payless to buy 2 pairs of size 10 PINK ballet slippers. Before Wednesday. Does it?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

No Buying Week

I'm trying an experiment this week. I've been rolling this idea around in my head, and decided it's time to go for it. I am not going to purchase anything from Sunday-Friday. No McDonald stops for Big Sis. No buying a Diet Coke while at Target because I'm bored. No running to the store because we ran out of milk mid-week.

I know I CAN do it. I have at least a modicum of self-control, even if it doesn't usually seem like it. I'm just curious how challenging it will be. I made out my menu for the week & did my grocery shopping yesterday (I forgot to buy water, but we still have a few gallons at home). I filled the car up with gas. I even bought what I need for the pies I have to make for Tuesday night. I should be good to go.

There are a few rules, including the obvious one: Don't buy anything. I also can't call Big Daddy and ask him to buy something for me (ex: running out of milk); I can't make exceptions for anything but an emergency. And finding something on sale at Gymboree doesn't count as an emergency. I CAN pay bills. Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Good Stuff

Along the lines of Seriously So Blessed I have found a new blog: What Mormons Like, with a classic assessment:

"If there ever was one, Mormons are a mayonnaise-loving people."

Another of my favorite quotes, in reference to Mormons loving sign language:

"Perhaps sign language is held in such esteem because it allows Mormon children to talk without making noise. Particularly in church, Mormons like quiet children. This is why Mormons make quiet books, lug kids out into the hall, and even bring baby heroin (aka Goldfish Crackers) to church." (The bold is mine, all mine. If we don't have a stash of Goldfish crackers packed in the church bag, Sunday may as well be all over by 11:10).

Check out the blog. Of course it's tongue in cheek, but we all know there is always a grain of truth in the mockery around us.

And PS - I Heart Mayonnaise.

Legends of the Fall

Here I sit, alone on a Thursday night, and Legends of the Fall is on cable. I've probably seen it a dozen times, but I still find it captivating. It's definitely in my top 10. I think Brad Pitt is totally underrated as an actor. Everyone seems to focus on his looks (I'm not a statue, of course I think he's foxy), but he really is talented as an actor. He makes the movie.



A few years back I read the novel by Jim Harrison. I then read every other Jim Harrison story and novel the local library had. I don't recall all the details, but he's a superb author. Despite being a contemporary novelist, he can make you feel like you are in the time and place he is describing. You can feel the breeze floating off the South Dakota plains and the sun beating down as you gallop back to the ranch house. His characters are complex and imbued with the foibles and flaws found in all of us. If you come across his works in the local library, I highly recommend taking a peek. Tell me what you think.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oh, It's On!

Well, now I've gone and done it. I signed up to run the Des Moines Race for the Cure. I'm part of Team Baby Bootcamp, and I even pledged to raise money - which is a first for me. See the sidebar - it'll be up until October 25th.

I've been doing a little running as part of the BBC classes, and have ventured a jog or two on the Jordan Creek Trail, but 3.1 miles is a whole different animal. I've got the Couch-to-5K-Plan, which says you can do it in 2 months. I've started the plan before, and it does work (last time I built up to 2 miles before I had to quit), but let's see if I can go all the way this time. I'm also worried that it will take me longer to build up, as I am a very slow runner (more of a plodder if you will) and even slower when pushing an extra 40 lbs of baby + stroller.

So who wants to run the Race with me? Just you, me and 20,000 of our friends, neighbors and countrywomen (and -men) all for a great cause!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Iowa State Fair





We had to hit the Iowa State Fair one last time (while we still live here). We were fortunate to visit on a Friday afternoon with a cool breeze blowing and temperatures in the low 80's (with low humidity too - at least for Iowa). We packed up the BOB and enjoyed the afternoon. Big Sis had to have her 'farm' experience, and loved picking her vegetables and riding the tractor. She then had to see the baby chicks, pigs, cows and goats. After that it was off to the rides. She's been talking about the Ferris wheel since she rode it last year. Mama got roped into riding with her, as Big Daddy gets motion sick (shhh..... don't tell anyone he has a weakness in his super-powers). We also rode the Strawberry Spinning Ride (like the teacups at Disneyland). And the carousel.

That was about enough spinning for Mama, so we headed off to feast at the Fair. I got my gyro, she had cotton candy, and BD even partook of some deep fried cheese curds. All good stuff. We saw the butter cow and the butter Shawn Johnson (only in Iowa), walked a bit, and called it a day! It doesn't sound like much, but I think it took about 4 hours to do all of the above.

The Butter Cow

It's a great Fair, and if you get the chance to visit it, you should. Lots of history, lots of animals, and LOTS of junk food. And of course, all the pork makes me giggle. Seeing people munching giant pork chops on a stick is just hysterical.

Sprinkles

For my birthday my Mom was kind enough to support my cupcake madness with 2 cupcake cookbooks, 150 cupcake wrappers, a decorating kit, sprinkles galore, and 2 boxes of cupcake mix from the semi-famous Sprinkles cupcake shops. They are Red Velvet and Lemon - 2 of my favorites. Here's the container for the Red Velvet. Nice packaging!

The instructions were straightforward, but I thought it was a little weird that it called for vinegar in the mix. Here's the result: Nice red color, decent flavor, much more batter than needed to fill 12 cupcake cups (I filled them to the top and still had batter left over).


I made the recommended cream cheese frosting (delish!) and frosted them.


Here's the setup before I ate the first finished cupcake. The dot is part of the Sprinkles experience (at least that's what the instructions said). They were included with the mix.

Net/net: Well, for something from a cupcakery that has received as much press and accolades as Sprinkles has, they were not awesome. The cake was dry and flavorless. Red Velvet cake should taste chocolate-y, but it really didn't taste like anything at all. The batter said it would make 12 cupcakes, but I filled them to the top and they overflowed, creating a big overhang that wanted to tip the whole cupcake. The frosting was incredible, but wasn't enough to salvage the cupcake itself. And the dot? Rock hard, shattered when I bit into it, and made me afraid a tiny candy shard was going to embed itself into the roof of my mouth. Total Bummer. I hope the Lemon is better.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fall Fever

I have other things to blog about, like our 2008 Iowa State Fair experience and the Sprinkles cupcakes I recently made, but due to my extreme laziness and my lack of desire to move from the couch in order to actually download the last round of pictures, these subjects will have to wait.

I feel like I'm in Fall planning mode. I'm constantly thinking about cool-weather things. Winter boots. Mittens. Cozy, snuggly, fleece lined jeans. Fuzzy hats with ear flaps. Warm, filling Fall foods like stew and baked chicken and mashed potatoes. And steamy soups with hot sandwiches. Yum....

I love summer, especially a summer like we've been having. But around mid-August I begin to yearn for cooler weather. I think Fall is my very favorite season of the year. The leaves changing on the trees. Sunny days with cool temperatures and that nip in the morning air which warns of colder days to come. Hot apple cider and crackling fires. Picking out pumpkins for Halloween.



Corvallis, looking west to the Coast.

Fall planning has also been supplemented by Holiday Obsession. We're going back to Oregon for Christmas and New Years (I almost hurl'd when I bought the tickets. That was highway robbery), and once I got over how much it was going to cost, I started daydreaming about the things I want to do while there. Like visit Saint Cupcake Bakery. And go to our favorite 'Breakfast Place' in Salem for a Breakfast Burrito. Do a little tax-free shopping. Visit Courthouse Square and see the Christmas Tree. Have dinner at American Dream Pizza with my husband. Drive out to the coast and see if we can spot some whales. Visit my friend Aaron at the new design studio where he works in downtown Portland. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I didn't realize how much I missed Oregon until now. I still don't think we'll ever live there again, but I'm looking forward to visiting. 4 months is a long time to obsess about this trip, but I'm going to need that much time to prepare to stay with my in-laws for 2 weeks.

Friday, August 15, 2008

5 Months Old!


Time for my monthly update on Big J - he's 5 months old now! Babies don't change that much from month to month, but when I think about how much he's changed from birth to 5 months, I am amazed.
What he's doing now: He likes to grasp and grab, and will reach for favorite toys, grab and yank hair, and can pull his paci out and put it back in. He can roll over, but doesn't like to very often (he's a modest boy). He's eating solid foods, but does not like it at all. He enjoys hooting, cooing and squawking, especially first thing in the morning. He loves to ride in the BOB, be worn in the front carrier, and even allows me to put him in the sling carrier once in a while (in the side hip carry). He enjoys longer periods in the exersaucer, especially if he can see me while in it. He LOVES to lay down in the tub & 'float' with the water up around his face (just like Big Sis did!). Overall, he is a very happy, laid back and sweet baby. He's showing signs of longer, more restful sleep at night - hallelujah- and I only wish he would nap a little longer during the day.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Snip Snip Snip


I was looking at Big Sis today and noticed that some of her hair was much shorter in the front then in the back. Like 8 inches shorter. She has waist-length hair, as the only time I've ever cut it was last September, and it was about a 1" trim. But apparently the 'practice cutting' she was supposed to be doing only on paper somehow morphed into practice cutting hair. I mentally freaked out, as we've had a few playdates in the last several weeks. I have yet to receive any panicked phone calls of the missing hair variety, so I figure I'm safe there. And Big J is pretty bald, so she couldn't really cut his hair if she wanted to.

After much cajoling and assurances that I wasn't mad, she 'fessed up to giving herself a little trim. She agreed to let me cut it to even it out. Seriously, the front pieces of her hair were up around her chin. So cut I did. She's irritated with me now, as she doesn't like her "short" hair. I cut about 4 inches off, and angled the front, but overall it's still about elbow length. Hardly short. It looks much cuter, and isn't ratty on the ends like before. I'm certainly no stylist, but I think I can hold my own in the home-hair-cutting Olympics. Of course, Big Daddy might not agree. (And BTW, despite the picture above, it IS even on both sides. She had a funky wave on one side that I couldn't even blow dry out).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sleepy McSleeperton - Here!

Oh. My. Gosh. Big J slept for 5 hours+ last night. I put him down at 7:30, no pacifier, and he did not wake up until after 1am. We both got up at 7am. Oh happy, happy day.

I probably shouldn't be celebrating yet, but I will take even a single night of good sleep as proof that better things are coming.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Paging Sleepy McSleeperton

I've been debating on posting a sleep/ general-Big-J-update. He'll be 5 months old in a few days, so I'll do some gushing then, but for now....

We've regressed since I last posted about Big J's progress (or lack thereof). We spent several weeks crying, screaming, and struggling through cry it out, sleeping in the crib, and breaking off the pacifier. After much discussion, Big Daddy and I decided that we were not improving anything. J had become moody, quiet, a little withdrawn, and hardly ever smiled anymore. He'd give me a little grin in the morning, but was definitely becoming a different baby. I adore my happy, talkative, smiley boy, and it was breaking my heart to see him changing so much. And not for the better. So he's back to bed with us again. And he's sleeping for 3 hour chunks, and he's happy again. He also gets the pacifier, but only when I know he is tired. I struggle with my fear of seeing him with a plug in his mouth at age 4, but it's balanced by the magic of it all. When I know he's really tired, I can pop it in and he'll be asleep in 60 seconds. I temper my guilt over the Great Regression of 2008 with the confidence of knowing this is MY Family, and I feel that I know what works for us. We're not giving up, we're just delaying until he is more ready.

Much of this is also tied into nursing. I'm not ready to wean him, and I know that if I were, he'd be sleeping more soundly in his own crib (it just wouldn't be worth it for him to wake in the middle of the night). Selfish? Perhaps. But leche is the best food for him, and until he hits 6 months, we're sticking to it. We'll reevaluate in another month or so and see what changes have occurred. He very well may be my last baby, and I am in no great hurry for him to grow up even faster than he has in the last 5 months.

A quick update

I've been trying to blog less and do more, and this will continue for the next week or so. I have been busy with my birthday, finishing BBC, writing a lesson for Church, reading Breaking Dawn, and trying to pick up around the house while wrestling two maniacs every day. So here's how everything is going:

1. Birthday - see previous post. My final gift arrived on Saturday (cupcake stuff from Mom). Can't wait to try out some of the fun designs from the Hello, Cupcake book. Depending on how obsessive/ crazy I go for Big J's first birthday, he will likely end up with the crocodile cupcake cake on pg. 87. I don't have time to scan & post a pic, but I will soon.

2. BBC - I'm done with the summer session. I don't own a scale or a tapemeasure, but I can tell you that I am much stronger than when I started. Due to the intense ab exercises, I might actually have functioning ab muscles again. I highly recommend the class to all moms. Saturday classes are still going on, are free, and will meet at Raccoon River park @ Biddle shelter from 10-11am. I'll be there, and hope you will too. Ok, I might skip next Saturday. I really want to go to the Fair or the Farmer's Market.

3. Writing a Lesson for Church - Let's just say I am glad it's over. I sweated and stuttered my way through it, and at the end I wanted to shout "I'm much more articulate in real life."

4. Breaking Dawn - Big Daddy was so good, and bought me 2 of the books on my birthday list. I actually took 3 days to read Breaking Dawn, but that was because I just didn't have an uninterrupted block of time to read it in one go (oh yes, I could do it, too). Net/net: SO good, but I am a little sad that we won't be hearing from Edward and Bella any more. I really hope she continues the series in some way. I want to read more about their world. I heart Stephenie Meyer.

5. Picking up around the house - It's a mess. I have to do a quick sweep through the kitchen and living room as the Elders are coming for dinner tonight. I'm trying 2 new recipes, found on The Pioneer Woman. Love the blog, hope the recipes are just as good. Big Sis is going nuts waiting for school to start. Big J is now eating solid foods (sort of), but still dislikes it intensely. I feed him in the morning now, and it's going a little better, but he never finishes the little bit of food I make him. We'll try green beans tomorrow but I can only imagine how disgusted he'll be. He's also getting a little more vocal, with little hoots and monkey screeches added to his vocal repertoire.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me


Alrighty, so this post comes a few days too late, but I've been immersed in birthday-related madness, so I am excusing myself. Wednesday was the big day, and it was really, really nice.

As always, I had spent days building up plans in my head, deluding myself into thinking that I had perfect children who would cooperate with my every whim, and a job that would send no emails and make no phone calls that day. Yes, a dreamer I am.

Big J and I woke early, and were subsequently ordered by Big Daddy that it was time to open presents. The man has no patience when it comes to gift giving. So he woke Big Sis, and I opened my gifts. Good Stuff! We had a quiet morning consisting of cleaning, conference calls, and some good indoor playtime. We got Thai food for lunch (takeout, of course), and hung out at home until BD got home from school. I made dinner at home, then we took a family walk. It was SO nice out. After we got home, my friend Robyn came by with another gift for me (love it!). The kids wrangled into bed fairly easily. All in all, a good day - marred only by the fact that both my Dads didn't call. I expect people to forget my birthday, but not the immediate family. Dad1 left a message yesterday morning apologizing, using the classic line that he didn't forget, he just got busy and didn't remember later in the day ( I can relate). Dad2 did email, but no call. A little surprising, as the only time I usually talk to him on the phone is on my birthday. Ah well, I guess I consider myself lucky that at least he emailed.
And btw - don't even ask how old I am. Let's just say that I'm glad that "30 is the new 20".

Monday, August 4, 2008

Stop, Thief!

Someone stole/ borrowed/ 'found and kept' my sunglasses at church yesterday. They had fallen out of my bag & gotten hung on the outside of Big Sis' activity bag. I was juggling Big J and asked Big Daddy to put them back in my bag, so they wouldn't get lost. As to be expected, he teased me about someone taking them. So I backed down, and we put the bag on the high shelf in the coat closet exactly where I usually leave her bag.

When I strolled over to the coat closet after picking up Big Sis, the bag and its' contents were right where we left it. Sans sunglasses. I grabbed her bag and rooted inside it. Then I patted around the area of her bag. No shades. I thought maybe Big Daddy was playing a joke on me & he had snuck over & swiped them. But no, that was not the case.

There are many things that lower my expectations of human behavior, but attending church is not usually one them. So if you happen to have "found" a pair of glossy black sunglasses with oversize frames and little rhinestones on the earpieces - they're mine. Sure, I could go to Wal-mart and pick up another pair for $10, but so could you. And how gross is it to wear someone else's sunglasses? I hope you at least took them home and cleaned them with rubbing alcohol before you tried them on. And I also hope that if you intend to keep them that they break the first time you wear them. Thanks for ruining my Sunday!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Things I Have Discovered Since Becoming a Parent

1. Everything should have a drive-thru. OK, maybe not everything, but I think the world would be a more manageable place if there were more drive-thru coffee stands, dry cleaners, and video stores. Two areas I find to be sorely lacking are post offices and grocery stores. Wouldn't a drive-thru post office be awesome? I fantasize about this every time I need to buy stamps or drop off a large package. It's a real pain in the rear to have to tote my kid inside just to walk up to the counter and hand over my package. It takes longer to get him out of the car than it does to complete my errand. A drive-thru market would be so awesome too. It wouldn't have to sell everything, just the basics. Bread, milk, eggs, cheese, lettuce, bananas, apples, orange juice, mints, gum, soda, ice cream. That's about it. I'll bet this would be monstrously popular. Seriously, if Arizona can have drive-thru liquor and ammo shops (no joke, and yes, they sell both items at the same place), and Louisiana can have drive-thru daiquiri stands.... I don't think a drive-thru market is asking too much.

2. Your kids don't care what the label on their shirt says. I love to shop, and now that I have kids, 98.2% of all my shopping relates to them. Much of what I buy is unrelated to brand, but more focused on a precise mix of price divided by cuteness. Believe me, I love it when I can find something at Baby Gap or Gymboree at what I consider to be a 'good' price ($10 or less, depends on what it is). But that's really for me. Big Sis could care less where her clothes come from. As long as there is pink involved, we're all good. It scares me to recall the junior high and high school days of yore when it was critical to wear Guess? jeans with the zipper at the ankle, or have the latest Esprit outfit. I sweat a little when I think about the level of 'I Want' that is going to invade our house in the next 10 years. Being rather shallow myself, I can totally relate to the impulse of NEEDING the latest phone/ handbag/ sneakers/ jeans in order to be cool. Hopefully Big Daddy will be able to temper some of that. He's never cared about what he wears, as long as it's comfortable. (Will I ever be able to break him of his affection for Wrangler jeans??)

3. Cartoons rock, even if they are 65 years old. When we were in Nevada last January, Grandma & Grandpa bought a DVD set of old cartoons for Big Sis. Not Scooby-Doo or Tom & Jerry, oh no, we're talking Betty Boop, Three Stooges, Popeye and Felix the Cat. And she LOVES them! Almost daily, she will ask to watch her Betty Boop. No, they are not PC (they are racist, sexist, and a bunch of other 'ists' that are too big for my vocabulary), but they are also rather simple and innocent. Better than a lot of the violent or disrespectful shows on Disney (she's not allowed to watch The Suite Life - those boys are very sassy!).

4. Sometimes Mama needs a time-out. Big Sis is at the stage where she asks 5,000 questions a day. Sometimes that needs to be doubled to encompass the number of sentences beginning with 'How come...' which issue from her mouth. Usually I can muddle through them, but she also manages to stump me many times a day. I don't want to lie to her, but I often catch myself thinking "Oh man, how do I explain to her why cheese is orange?" We've begun implementing 5 Minutes of Zip It. This is much more for me than for her, as it allows me to relax and think through her line of questioning. After the 5 minutes, I can usually keep going with questions, but I also give her a warning on when the last question will occur - which coincides with 5 Minutes of Zip It, Round II.

5. Sometimes the parenting books are right, but often it's just hot air. There's a lot of advice out there, especially for parents. Books about sleeping, eating, discipline, raising boys, raising girls, money, childcare, vaccines, intelligence, .... etc. First of all, I wish that someone would write a synopsis of each book by category, giving just the topline "solutions" that each has to offer. I mean, if you're in the middle of any of the above, you probably don't have more than 15 free minutes to 'read' (skim) through one of these lengthy tomes. Next, there's nothing wrong with trying advice, but if it fails, it's not your -or your child's- fault. Not every kid falls into the boxes these 'experts' create. It may be rough going right now, but you don't often see teens who suck their thumbs, or 12 year-olds who sleep with their parents, or even 8 year-olds who still wear diapers. Don't be so hard on yourself - things eventually figure themselves out. Even if your boy is still sleeping with you so that the entire household can catch more than 15 minutes of zzz's at a time.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I Hate It When I Do This

I'm slowwwwwwwwly decluttering my space. Seriously slowly. Like one magazine at a time. I have a horrible fascination with magazines, and since I discovered we can leverage otherwise useless airline miles to subscribe, the amount of marginally intelligent printed matter in the house has tripled. Worse yet, I tend to packrat these niblets of interestingness for months at a time, telling myself that I Might Have Overlooked Something. I flipped through a couple last night, cutting and clipping the few articles that caught my eye (workouts I may or may not execute at home). There was a quote in Shape that I clipped, wanting to save it and refer to it later. As I have now lost this quote, I am irritated at myself and frustrated that I can't find it online. Really, who loses a clipping within 20 minutes of scissoring it out?? The magazines are now gone, and here's the gist of the quote:

"Things Turn Out Best For Those Who Make the Best of How Things Turn Out"
Mull it over. Good perspective, especially with 3 more long years of medical school ahead. Every day is not easy to get through, but I feel relief at the end of each day. I wonder what Big Daddy feels? He's the one actually doing the work, but it is a group effort. I am just grateful that the kids won't be fully aware of how much of a struggle it's been.