Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yay! New Year!

I would stay up late and do this right, but my daughter still went to bed at 7 and will still be up some time around 6 AM or so.

Yeah, I'm lame. I also didn't have a babysitter so while I would really like to be partaking of Iron Bartender with friends this year, I am at home, in half of my jammies.

So, I'm off to bed so tomorrow I can get up, go grocery shopping, and try to catch up on my house work. Um... yay?

Happy New Year! May the next one be so so much better than the last, cause 2008 sucked for so many people I know.

PS. If you totally all of a sudden had a little bit more money, money you were supposed to mostly spend on yourself, what DSLR camera would you get?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Why you should care deeply about CPSIA

When I was a kid growing up my dad regularly participated in craft fairs. He would sell his hand carved spoons, I would barter away his hand carved spoons for toys. I had a soft box, an apron that held all of my crayons and many other things. To say that I have been supporting handmade all of my life is no understatement.

It goes well with my commitments to buy local, fair trade and support women run businesses. After the major toy scares of last winter, I made a point this year to buy more American, more from small companies and more handmade. For my niece I got a rockin' cape from Ellie Bellie Kids. For M I got a sweet little frog from Crabtree Studio. (who is local and hand made) I also got a couple of great shirts from Harrilu, amazing people who gave me a discount for being a volunteer at the No Coast Craft Show. (because every little monster needs a little monster shirt).

M's birthday is coming up in April, and I had planned on further stocking her kitchen with a collection of crocheted fruits and veggies and other food from Etsy and local artists. Unfortunately if the big toy manufactures and their organization get their way, I will be supporting law breakers to get anything made by hand, by caring and wonderful small businesses owners, here in the US. (and some imports as well)

After the scares last winter everyone overreacted. While the recalls involved Chinese made toys from large corporations, now every person who sells something intended for children under the age of 12 must do major testing on their products. Testing that in nearly ever case costs far more than they would ever dream of making selling it. ($4000 per item) It also virtually kills artists who reuse things like old sweaters and vintage fabrics.

You can help though. You can contact your congress person, you can learn more about it, you can write your own post. You can help save handmade. No one wants less safe for kids, we just want the focus to be on the right things, and not put the important small business owners out of business (since everyone seems to agree that they are the heart of a good economy).

Save people like My Friend Jess, Plushroom Soup, Wild Oats, Hazel & Melvin's Room, Critterbee and so many others.

Help? Please?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Redux

I survived! Hot damn yeah! Here is a little summary of how things went:

This year was likely the best year I've spent with my in-laws since A and I started dating. For so many reasons, it worked out great. M handled transitions, and lots of new people like a pro. She danced around the kitchen with her Nana and cousin, and people barely caught on to just how tired and cranky she was. (we can tell thankfully and left right before it got ugly) I know there were some issues (the least of which was me turning crazy right before we left because it was not happening fast enough) but overall it was great. I hope they think so too.

M loved her presents. She got two babies, (one from A's cousins that was unexpected and perfect) and she now will not lay down without at least one of them. She also got some great accessories for them including a baby stroller from my mom (which tears around the house regularly now. sometimes even with a baby in it) and clothes and a diaper bag sewn by one of my MIL's friends. Other highlights are her kitchen (with seriously all of the stuff to go with it), more Lego's, and a super awesome pink tutu that was made by my SIL at the direction of M's cousin who requested it for her, and picked out the color.

I got pretty much books and music for Christmas, which was just what I wanted. They are things I have a hard time buying for myself, and I save up all of my desires for the holidays. The music has all been imported, and my iPod synced. I just need to finish the cleaning and reorganizing (to fit all of M's new toys in) and I will have time to read.

My brother loved his new Shuffle and having him here is great. We've taught M to say "uncle" and she's really warmed up to him. She even ran to give him a hug last night.

Last night we had beef stuffed with blue cheese and walnuts, tonight is the hottest green chili in the west. It is also a good year for food. We even got some seriously swanky eggnog that I am practicing restraint with. I will not drink the whole half gallon.... I will not drink the whole half gallon...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

My secrets to good cookies

I regularly get compliments on my holiday cookies. I have heard that there have been fights over who gets the last one. So, here are my tips. Totally stolen from other far better bakers.

1. Start with a good recipe. Yeah, Joy of Cooking has some good ones, so does Better Homes and Gardens. However, the best come out of church anthology cookbooks. Or in my case, Red Wing Shoe 100th Anniversary cookbook. The one I use has no instructions, just ingredients.


2. Get a little geeky. Knowing the science of baking helps. What makes things chewy, what makes them crunchy (oil/shortening vs. butter not telling which is which). Best resource is Alton Brown's I'm Just Here For More Food.


3. This goes with being geeky, but don't skip out on the creaming. Creaming butter & sugar well makes for a very different and fluffier cookie.


4. Don't overmix.


5. Stand mixers make everything better. Give the baker you love one. I would loose my mind if I had to use a hand mixer.

6. Give it a rest. I saw a special about cookies (or maybe I listened to it on Splendid Table) but nearly every professional chef that adores cookies says the secret is to rest the dough. At least overnight, if not for days. It may be part of the reason that the stuff in a tube is sometimes better than what you do.

7. Stainless steal icecream scoops are the best. Perfect portions every time. Great for any type of drop or shape cookie.

8. For cutout, roll out the dough warm between two sheets of wax paper and put in the fridge on a cookie sheet. Chill (it happens quickly) then cut out. Easier than rolling out cold dough.

9. Only take on what you can. Seriously. My cookies are best the years I admit what I am capable of. If I try to take on too much, the cookies suck.

10. Don't forget the love. I'm convinced that anything I make turns out good because I care about it and the people it is for. If I half heartedly do it, it sucks.




Sunday, December 21, 2008

Oh, right I have a blog

Sorry for the absence. It was my on call week for work and I spent a good portion of last week working in the evenings for that. It leaves me drained and out of energy usually. I also had a lot of holiday things to get done. Some last minute shopping for stocking stuffers, in store returns of things ordered online that didn't fit, and trying to spend time with my husband (who really just wanted the laptop).

There was also the Macy's field trip for daycare (really should go see it), the holiday party at daycare, dropping off my adopt a family gifts. Oh yeah, and lots of snow, and the near blizzard yesterday.

We (I) got M out in the snow yesterday before it got too cold. It was worth it, even if she did want to shovel more than play in the snow.



I have all kinds of things I want to write about, but right now they are all escaping me. Maybe I will have more energy after I bake more cookies (yeah right...)


Or maybe after the super simple gingerbread house is done...



Monday, December 15, 2008

Really, it is a dry cold. It isn't that bad.

For those of you not in Minnesota, lucky you. It is cold here. Colder than it should be in December. Which is sort of a cruel joke because the weather is all messed up and last weekend it was warmer than it should be in Minnesota. Global warming sort of sucks. And we might lose all of our moose because of it. Which is too bad, because M now says "moose" but it comes out more like "mooshe".

I actually like winter. It is one of the reasons I moved back here. I really do like the seasons. However, I can't help but think that mother nature just likes messing with us here. It is silly hot and humid in summer, and in winter your snot freezes halfway up your nose. Sure, there are all kinds of fun winter things to do like ice skating. However, by the time it is cold enough to actually skate on any of our 10,000+ bodies of water, you don't want to be outside because more than your snot is freezing. Then it warms up enough to be comfy but you may fall through the ice. Those wonderful western European/New England scenes of girls wearing fifteen skirts and skating around the lake with their hands in a muff just don't seem possible when the high temp is somewhere around -15.

M can actually tell that the lake pond we drive by regularly is actually still water, despite it being frozen. That she remembers and makes the connection pretty much amazes me. It makes me a little sad that I can't let her out to play on the ice or anything. It is just too cold. Because of that I'm thinking about taking a class with this winter. Either the Y or maybe Little Gym. Anyone local have anything they've liked? If I don't find a way for her to get some exercise this winter, you may find me in the loony bin again come March. (which is when it turns out she'll be moving up to older toddlers at daycare. *sniff* so fast...)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Enough with the excuses.

2008 has really been a wonderful year for me, but I've let a number of things slide. All for good reasons. See, there was the major project at work, the second job, the nursing baby, the now toddler, the list goes on and on. However, I'm running out of excuses. Here is my list for next year.

Work one job, and do it well. (more on that later)

Figure out why I could do a mean bearded lady impersonation. That means likely a lot of time off for going to the Dr, getting tested, and trying new medications. I don't tolerate meds well usually. However, I would like to look at myself in the mirror and have my picture taken again.

Spend more time my with toddler. She's going to be two(!?) in April, and I keep forgetting that there are more things all the time that we can do together.

Be a better wife. With two jobs, I haven't spent much time with anyone other than my computer.

Lose weight. This may relate to the facial hair issue, but it is also just excuses on my part. I quit nursing, I'm going to cut down on stress and time sitting, so I need to just suck it up and commit.

Improve my writing. Hopefully if I write less I can spend more time making sure what I do write is awesome.

Spend time on my hobbies again. I've really gotten into doing photography again, I miss knitting, and I keep meaning to sew things. I also want to take some classes again. M's steady bedtime of 7 PM means that is possible if I'm not spending all of my time writing.

Be more organized. If you only knew the state of my desks (home and work).

Spend more time with extended family. The more we talk about it, the more it seems that M will be an only child. I need to make an effort to make sure she spends time with her cousins. Some day, they may be all she has.

Be a better me. Yeah, I know...



This list and post are part of a blog blast by Parent Bloggers Network, sponsored by Big Tent. If only writing it meant that I would actually do all of it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Because It Is Easier

A fun little holiday meme.


1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?

Wrapping paper unless it is something that is either too large or too pointy. Then it gets either a gift bag or a big bow. I love wrapping stuff enough that I have often wrapped my own gifts (given to me in nondescript boxes). I also love ribbon over bow because bows are too easily removed or squished.

2. Real tree or Artificial?

I won the fight, artificial. A likes it because we can leave the lights on a lot more, and it really does look good.

3. When do you put up the tree?

When we have time. This year it was last weekend. Now that we have a fake one, I think it will go up earlier.

4. When do you take the tree down?

By New Years, but now that we have the fake one, maybe I will procrastinate more.

5. Do you like eggnog?

Love it, especially with a little extra milk and some real nutmeg (fresh grated of course)

6. Favorite gift received as a child?

Hard to say. I love the scarf my grandma made me but there was also the year I got a fake Cabbage Patch doll that I named Mary Lou (1984, the year after the Olympics).

7. Hardest person to buy for?

My MIL. I hate feeding her accumulation of stuff, but the other more non stuff gifts I have tried to do never get met with the kind of response I want, even though I have put a lot of thought into them. No matter what, I always feel like I am letting her down, and I want so much for her to appreciate me and like me.

8. Easiest person to buy for?

Easily M or her cousin R. I she is going to love playing with all of her toys this year.

9. Do you have a nativity scene?

No, us heathens usually don't.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?

I am going to post a card to my private family blog, and then actually attempt to mail cards this year.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

I don't think I've ever gotten a bad gift. Maybe the year I got tea because someone heard I liked tea, but I was pregnant, couldn't have caffeine, and herbal tea made me want to puke.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?

Love Actually (and I have to fight every year to watch it, but it is just so... awesome)
White Christmas
A Year Without Santa Claus

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?

I try to hold off until November/December. Usually because my work bonus isn't until mid December.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

Only very honestly. We do it occasionally with duplicate gifts. It isn't recycling, so much as repurposing.


15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

Cookies. I finally think I am healthy enough to make them now.

16. Lights on the tree?

Yes, multi colored or single colored. Not such a fan of white.


17. Favorite Christmas song?

All of them? I really like Christmas music. My favorite album is without a doubt A Very Special Christmas.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

Yes, but I bounce around the list and have to count them off on my fingers.

20. Angel on the tree-top or a star?

Star. We finally found one we like.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?

I'm with my SIL on this one. Santa won't come until you're asleep, so Christmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?

Parking lots. That and how it always leaves me feeling a bit empty. This year though, that seems to be changing. Could be the extra adopt a family I took on at work.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?

I tend towards the non religious and I love snowflakes, especially the ones my grandma crocheted. The only thing I really hate are gold balls. HATE them.

24. Favorite food for Christmas dinner?

The beef roulaude stuffed with blue cheese and walnuts I made last year.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?

To not have any hard feelings, and to get to see my brother. When I wrote about Santa before my mom said she didn't remember when I quit believing, but that when I did it was still really important to me that my brother still believe. He has always been important to me (despite the fighting) Other than my parents, he's all I have for family, and I haven't seen enough of him lately. I would also like a DSLR camera (a Canon) and Photoshop Elements.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Open Letters

Dear Shutterfly,

I adore that you offer print at Target as an option. I especially love that last year I was able to print my holiday cards there. Sure I never sent them, but who's counting that. However this year that wasn't an option no matter how hard I tried. Franky, not amused.

Dear Target,

What's up with not having the easy printing of holidays cards from Shutterfly. Not sure who is to blame here, but I am not liking it. Sure I could go into your store and actually pick out and assemble a card design and have it printed. However, I am busy, and I like the use of an actual mouse for cropping and editing as opposed to the silly track ball thingy. I still managed to print something, but it was not what I originally intended. Not so sure I liked that it required buying actual cards from you to get what I wanted.

Dear darling Picnik,

You are my new BFF. You have collages, you never mess with my emotions about printing. My only request, please make your collage layouts come in standard photo sizes. It didn't quite fit perfectly and I had to crop out the cute border I had put on. Also adore that you have direct interface with Flickr now. Mrrrow!

Dear friends and family,

Umm, sorry about no Christmas cards since M was born. I promise this year I'll try harder. It is just that I don't mail much of anything. However there is a post office by M's daycare and I'm going to make more effort this year. You may get them for New Years however. (or you can check the private family blog and see what I post there)

Oh, and if any of you want to comment about how A and I aren't in the picture, I'm shoving my bearded lady face at you and asking if you really want to remember it forever.

Thanks,

Me.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Who could it be... could it be Santa?

When I was little, I sort of believed in Santa, but I never hung on to it for that long (I think, maybe mom can correct me). By the time I was older, I firmly believed in the spirit of Santa Claus. I got into it enough that I filled the stockings, and when I lived out east and made good money, I still enjoyed do extra "Santa" work.

With M, so far, I'm just not feeling it. Maybe it is because I realize that she won't really remember this holiday season, or because she's reached the point where stranger anxiety hits extra hard, but I don't feel the need to push her into the man in the red suit. I agonized over what we should do about taking her to see Santa this year. After all, are the crowds really worth it?

Thankfully for us, daycare brings in Santa for the kids. A really really good Santa with a real beard and an amazing calmness about him. It was great, and a steal at the three buck "field trip" fee. Especially since M screamed the entire time we were anywhere near him. I thought the issues with getting her to stand next to her cousin who is barely taller than she is were bad, try a six foot tall jolly old elf...


Maybe next year...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Whew! Now that that is done.

Well, the grandparents pictures are done, and not a moment too soon. Saying we survived would be an understatement. The good news is, we have good pictures. Pretty sure that while we didn't get either girl's best look ever (together at least), we got pictures that I will have no problem with being blown up to an 8x10.

My fears were realized to a point. M doesn't know her cousin really, and so she didn't want to stand next to her and have her picture taken. She can be a bit of a ham, but rarely on cue. We used bribes, silly faces, chairs (she loves to sit) and a pretzel in a box. It was hard work, but we did it.

We've learned lessons for next year including that SIL and I need to shop for outfits together to prevent any conflicts (and next year there will be three to coordinate, so it will be that much more important). We also learned that it is worth it for me to take time off from work so we can do it on a week day. If we had less pressure because they were already late, we could have spent more time working on getting them warmed up. The biggest lesson is that while I work two jobs, and SIL is a busy business owner and work at home mom, we need to make sure the girls see more of each other. M is likely going to be an only child, so her knowing her cousin is important to me and I haven't been doing a good job at making sure that happens.

Now to find the perfect frame for the pictures, and birthday & Christmas gifts for my niece. It really is less than three weeks until Christmas isn't it?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

On a cold winter's day



M is a snow bunny. She loves to be outside. It didn't matter that the wind child was somewhere around zero degrees, she just wanted to be outside.

This morning when I went to the store to buy our tree (yay!) she came running out with a jacket and hat begging to go outside. I took her with even though it meant the tree nearly didn't fit. I promised her after her nap we would get properly bundled up and go outside.


Her cheeks were very red, she was shivering a little, and she still cried when I had to pick her up to go inside.

She likes licking the snow off of her mittens, she wanted to walk up and down the sidewalk, and I think she looks like a purple marshmallow.




Friday, December 5, 2008

Shameless Plug for the People I Love


If you are local to the Twin Cities, go here this weekend. Say "Hi!" to Trish from Crafty Planet and show them some retail love.


Happy Shower Antigone!

Along the way while reading the blog of one of A's friend's wive's (keep that straight), who was going through some tough fertility issues (and is now pregnant, Yay!), I happened upon this wonderful blog written by the most wonderful and courageous woman. She's seriously an inspiration. And she's having a baby! Congrats Antigone and Perseus!



And, in the spirit of all good baby showers, some advice:

There is no such thing as too many kisses on the top of a soft baby head.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

OMG! Have you heard I have a girl!

My has one cousin, on her dad's side, 16 months older than her. She is M's opposite. M has brown eyes, brown hair that will likely only get darker. Her cousin, R, has white blond hair and stunning blue eyes. M is pale, R is even more pale.

To make my MIL happy last year we got pictures of them together. This year we're doing it again, this coming Sunday. With everyone trying to get less for the holidays, some professional pictures of the girls together will be the perfect gift.

It takes a little work, and a little wardrobe coordination, but we got it all planned out. So far my only two fears are that since M hasn't seen R in awhile that she might all of a sudden get shy and just what to do with M's baby mullet.

So tonight, just for fun, we tried out some pigtails. It was like someone all of a sudden made my baby into a little girl. There is a slight issue with evenness when trying to work with such fine hair. I think it is going to require more practice. Good news is, she likes them. Especially when I put in a matching set myself.




Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Real vs. Fake

Well, M is definitely recovered from her convalescence. She's back to being a non stop kind of kid. The first two days so far this week have included things like "full of energy" and "She did lots of running and dancing today. She LOVES to move! :)" on her cards from daycare.

Now if A and I were just feeling better.

Total topic change:

We're having a little argument in our house about our Christmas tree. A wants a real one, I want a fake one.

I grew up selling Christmas trees with my family, I thought fake trees were horrible things. However, I've had a change of heart. Here are my arguments:

1. We have a small house with a small living room. We can get a fake tree that is narrow, and while it may not hold all of our ornaments, it will hold most.

2. I don't think M will want to eat a fake tree, or be able to easily get parts off like she could needles on a real tree.

3. Since we will most likely have to protect/fence in whatever tree we have, might as well be a narrow one.

4. No one else waters the damn thing, and I'm a wee bit scatter brained these days. It almost always dries out and since I'm the only one that takes it down, I'm sick of dealing with the cleanup.

5. It will pay for itself. A quality real tree runs around 50 bucks, a fake one (the one I like at least) 130. Three years, paid off. (ooo, and they appear to already be on sale)

6. Seriously, no needles to clean up.

7. We can always buy a wreath to get that nice fresh tree smell.


See, makes total sense, right? Fake trees look nothing like the pipe cleaners on steroids thing that my grandmother had. The one I really really love is pretty much this one I think. Isn't it pretty? And no clean up!

Are you real of fake tree people? I'm curious (if it will help my argument).

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Snow Always Saves My Holiday Spririt

The snow that we woke up to today was perfectly timed. Yesterday we did some holiday shopping for M, and A called his parents and cleared up some of the confusion about our plans this year. It was a perfect weekend (except for the sick thing)

I think I'm ready to take on the next three weeks. The day job promises to be pretty darn busy, but I think if I can just get over this bug, I'll have things pretty under control.

The gift we got for M was her other big one. We had been trying to figure out if we should get her a kitche. We decided yes, she would love it, but then I went back and forth on which one. I knew I didn't want a plastic one, but the all natural wood ones were too expensive, and we don't have much space to work with.

My SIL sent me this great one, and I fell in love, but I was still worried about the space. We went to Costco this weekend to see it in person, and we realized it was the right choice. It will fit the space we have, and the color will work if we ever have another kid (specifically if it happens to not be another girl).

We had to renew our membership, but with the 30 bucks off, it pretty much paid for itself to go this route.

So that, along with the baby doll I already got her, means that shopping for M is very nearly done. Now all I need is a list for my niece and I should be able to finish up with plenty of time left to do some baking.

As a random aside... A ride on dinosaur? Really? A says he would have gone crazy for it when he was a kid, but I guess with our small house, I just can't see any way it would make sense. I'm also not entirely sure that it wouldn't scare some kids.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I give up.

I'm taking the day off tomorrow, well.. maybe. It is the last day.

By the time I have time to blog, my cold meds have worn off, and I feel too crummy to want to write. However, it is still too early to take anything before bed, when I need it to sleep.

I may try to go to Urgent Care tomorrow. My swollen throat is bad enough I'm having trouble talking when I'm not taking something. I held out on seeing an ENT this summer hoping that this winter it would be different, but we appear to be off to the same start as last year. I'll make the call Monday, see how long the wait is, and hope that once the damn things come out (my tonsils) that my recovery is quick.

Oh, and that they don't mess with my already fragile tooth in the process. If it didn't hurt so bad, I'd reconsider wanting to have them out to spare the risk to my dental work...

Oh, yeah so I have defective tonsils. They swell up with any little cold I get, then won't go down. Swell up enough that it changes the shape of my neck. They were always annoying, but since M started daycare (or well, was born, depending on how you look at it) I can't sneeze without it requiring antibiotics and steroids to get the swelling down. Yay immune system! Whee!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Very Nearly Done

What do you know, I think I may make it to the end of the month. Even with all of the sicky sick.

While I adore having my mom around, and seeing my brother was awesome, I'm pretty glad they're gone. A and I are still sick, and M is well, other than some sniffles. We're going to watch her run around the house all weekend while we work on getting better.

I think our most adventurous plans involve doing some measuring in her room to make sure that the kitchen we want to get her will actually fit. (Maybe I should have done that before...)

The next major thing I need to have taken care of is figuring out what our Christmas plans are. Then it is surviving them.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

The Christmas music may now begin....

Things I learned this year:

It is fun to do family Thanksgiving with my husband, daughter, mom and brother. Much less stress.

A makes the gravy. He's been telling me for years he is an expert, but this year he proved it. I still have to start it, but he makes it the perfect thickness.

Potatoes are just a vehicle for gravy. But only the perfect gravy will work.

Brining a turkey really does help it be more moist, but you still have to cook it all of the way.

Speaking of that, no matter what oven, no matter where I live, I have to learn to add an hour to the cooking time that it should be done at. Dinner will always be an hour late.

M likes stuffing.

The fresh cranberry salad makes M shudder, after she swallows. It is cute.


I'm thankful for everything that I have. My family is wonderful, and I am so very lucky.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I give you... Chicken Dog


















Super Chicken Dog? Maybe she needs a cape. I tried to get the hat on her too, but M was jealous of her. Poor Tess, I only torture her because she's so cute. Just wait for the elf costume for Christmas cards... I even found her Achilles heel for treats. Apples. It's going to be awesome!


As a bonus, curls. They never last past right after her bath, but they are so cute.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blank

I'm sick now with a lovely cold, my house is still a mess, and I have a ton to do.

I keep trying to come up with post ideas, but I'm failing. I blame the fuzzy head feeling from the congestion.

I will make up for it with cute pictures tomorrow.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The benefits of peer preasure

I had a sneaking suspicion that my stubborn little girl would likely be back to her old self if she just got around her friends. (funny how that works)

I think I was right. She was back to her old self, playing, eating?!, napping like normal. All I had to do was mention Max and she perked up on our walk into daycare. She's still asking for her Nuk at all of the wrong times, refusing some foods, but overall, I think she's back.

I'm pleased, though I could use some more of those great hugs from when she wasn't feeling so well.

I could also use to not be sick now myself.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Have you ever noticed...

That Steven Tyler looks a lot like Carly Simon these days.

I'm sure that is more of a Twitter kind of thing, but I couldn't resist...

Much better, thank you.

She's been fever free for a day, a rash has developed (another Roseola twice kind of kid) and she'll be back in daycare tomorrow.

She is drinking, so that is good.

She is not however really eating all that much. She's refusing veggies, (except zucchini with balsamic vinegar...) and proteins, including cheese and chicken, some of her faves. She's still just starting to feel better, so I'm torn about if I should stick to it that she needs to eat the good stuff. After months and months of just eating and eating and eating, she's behaving more like a toddler than I'm used to. I want her to eat something, but the girl cannot live on bread and bananas alone.

Any ideas? How long before I make her actually eat real food? Wait for the peer pressure of daycare to help her get back on track?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Arrived

Mom arrived early last night, M slept Ok, but not great. After a minor last hurrah this morning, it would seem that M's fever has broken. Still not eating so great. Drinking is much better.

Eventually I'll quit writing about her being sick. Maybe when she eats normally again.

We went to Coffee Fest this morning, at the formerly lovely Calhoun Square. They seem to be in the midst of a remodel ala Shoppes at Arbor Lakes. I don't know how I feel, so when I was younger I always wanted to be a punk in Uptown, and now, that seems like such a thing of the past.

There were less vendors, and more people trying to sell me something (not impress me into buying, there is a difference). There was far less coffee overall, no parking, and less other commercial stuff.

However, the company was wonderful, lunch at French Meadow was great, and we've made plans for seeing each other for more than once a year. Now if M would just eat before she goes back to daycare, it would be a good weekend.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Huh. Still sick

Still sick. The fevers seem to be more under control, so I definitely think downward swing. This evening, I took her temp, fully under the influence of both ibuprofin and tylenol, and it was a mere 99.1 degrees. I doubt it would stay that low without intervention, but we're about to find out. I'll only give her meds at night if she wakes up. Sleep is too precious.

The good news is that today she drank a lot of water (comparatively) and even managed to eat more than just cheerios and puffs (though that was mostly what she ate). The majority of the food was steamed dumplings from a local Chinese food chain. At least she has good taste.

My mom's flight gets in in less than an hour, and we haven't cleaned a damn thing. The dishwasher need to be emptied then filled, the garbage need taking out, and I'm just realizing I need to go throw in the sheets I got for her bed so they are dry when I get home from picking her up. Crap.

Oh, the only thing I'm worried about is that M hasn't peed in four hours. That can be normal right?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It continues, and the cracks show

Today it got worse, she's refusing to eat or drink just about anything. We've tried all of her favorites.

On Doctors orders of whatever it takes, Popsicles, jell-o, etc, we've tried everything we can think of to get fluids into her, and she refused it all. What kid refuses jell-o?

Maybe my trying to stick to health food while she's little has backfired. I mean, seriously, I would have killed to get jell-o when I was sick. I got plain yogurt with honey...

Her white blood cell count from yesterday to today has gone down, but so far, her fever has not really. No rash yet, so maybe not roseola. Just a damn virus.

The worst part, I'm tired, and getting short with her. Frustrated and it isn't fair to her, because she's just a little kid who is sick. I've had to walk away more times than I wish... Wishing like hell that "because I say so" held anything with her. I suspect it never will.

I just hope it breaks so, and she isn't so stubborn to not even drink something when she feels better. (we suspect she's refusing to drink/eat because well, she's like her dad)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Under the wire

Illness continues. 105.3 after being given medication.

Long night ahead.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Time out for a sick day

M was up last night crying, in pain, we thought it was just gas due to the adult sounding farts (how do small bodies make so much noise? )

This morning, a low fever, then it just got higher. We're up to 103.9 and I'm calling uncle, and giving her some drugs for it.

A's day to stay home tomorrow, so maybe a real post.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Wa-Wa or The Great Sippy Showdown Take 2

Turns out that post yesterday was a good lead in to what is going on around here today.

M has always had odd issues with what she puts in her mouth if it is something that involved liquids. The nipple shield, she used until the very last time she nursed. I tried to wean her of it multiple times and finally gave up since the battle was not worth it and my supply never suffered.

When it came time to have her drink breast milk from a bottle, I had a heck of a time finding ones she would drink from. Avent wide necks, ok, but not great. The only thing she would take were Gerber Nuk wide mouths. You know, full of BPA. I hand washed bottles for months, purchased every bottle known to man to try to find one that either worked with the nipples, or she would take, and finally after she turned one, found Green to Grow was a passable fit. (I even tested some sealing caps for them too) She never, ever, would take breastmilk out of anything other than my silicon covered boob or a Nuk teat.

Sippy cups, another challenge. They were too big, or too odd, and I bought every BPA free starter model I could get, lined them all up, and finally got her to use the Nuby ones. They were good, since we worried about some of the valve models and her already touchy ears (it was during the months of ear infections)

Now, we've got other issues. She CHEWS on the Nuby bottles, breaks the seal part, and then "washes" everything. Yesterday we caught her washing her books.

We need a new sippy. One that she can't chew on, that she can still get water out of easily (the girl has no problem drinking enough water), but that she can't use to "wash" anything. Oh yeah, and did I mention BPA free? She has thus far resisted straw models because she wants to tip her head back. (doesn't mean I'm not trying)

So tonight I went shopping, and tomorrow we are repeating the sippy cup showdown of last year. This time with all new models.

We have stage three and four Playtex, including straw sippy. I also got a Munchkin straw sippy, for another open/close option. (tried to find the super firends variety, but no luck) I would like her to be able to do that part herself.

Did I miss another option? I've been checking out BPA stuff at Zrecs, but if these don't work, I may need other choices.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A little blast from the past

I meant to post some stuff from my old blog, the one from before I started this more public one and removed even more specific details. I had forgotten about it until I was desperate for something to post tonight. I read through this post and it made me cry. It still makes me sad that before she was even three days old, I already had a day and a half where I couldn't hold my baby. Especially when she now regularly squirms away from me, I work 40+ hours a week, she she will only grow farther from me.

Yellow is not a good color for a...

Wednesday, 18 April 2007
Breastfeeding is hard. And there is not guarentee that its going to work the way you want it to, no matter how hard you try. Not to mention, there are like a million different "right" ways to do everything. The worst part is, sometimes its hard to get the support you know you need.

I knew that breastfeeding wasn't going well. I knew because I've seen it actually work, I took the class, etc. I knew it wasn't working, and I kept asking for professional help. I didn't know they won't give you help until you've been there for a day. Then I got ignored, and given at least six different things to do by nurses, none of which worked. By the time the M was a day and half old, while she was peeing OK, she wasnt' pooping, and she was really badly jaundiced.

Problem was, no one really noticed. I noticed she wasn't feeding right, but see two paragraphs above. Then we had an angel. A month and a half ago when I fell during the snow storm, I was sent to Abbott to get monitored for 6 hours. They gave me a delivery room to hang out in (beats a gurney any day), and a really cool nurse to look after the M and I. Friday night she was covering post partum, and came to visit. She noticed that M was really yellow, so she asked to have us for her next shift. She took M to the nursery, ran tests, and found out how bad her jaundice really was. Then she came and actually listened and closely watched me feed, and figured out what the issue was.

M is pickey, and my nipples weren't doing it for her. M got put under photo lamps, and I got a nifty little piece of silicon to help make M notice that she's got something to suck on. Now I know that there are plenty of people out there who think I should have tried harder, that I just didn't give it enough time... but my daughter was sick. Sick enough to get her another day in the hospital where the only time I got to spend with her was when I was feeding her (which ta-da, actually felt right and was working).

For a day and a half, every 2-3 hours, I fed for as long as she could stand it, and then had to pump for another 10 minutes while she was naked under lights, all alone in an isolette for 1-2+ hours at a time. Now tell me again that I just didn't try hard enough. Since she went home Sunday (I was discharged on Saturday, and then hung out in a very very small room for the extra day so I could feed and pump), we saw a lactation consultant in the hospital who thought that the nipple shield was a good thing. As did the lactation consultant at her Pediatricians office. She is gaining weight like well.. a weed. Yeserday, only six days old, she was up from 7 pounds 14 ounces to 8 pounds 2 ounces.

The nipple shields a pain, but if it helps her get what she needs, the lacatation nazi's can bite me. Eventually she should be able to get the hang of it and not need it. If she doesn't, I don't care. She's getting the benefit of breast milk, and time with me, and she's perfect. We've even figured out how to feed and not get both of us entirely covered in milk. (Trickier than you think)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Family & Holidays

I'm desperately trying to come up with a really important and special post today, but I just can't. It was a lazy day (with some work getting done too) and it just feels like too much effort. Especially since I recently found out I am hosting Thanksgiving at my house and I am going to need all of the energy I can get.

We were supposed to go see my brother and his fiance this year. Then their house wasn't going to be kid friendly in time. They were replacing nearly all of the windows in a nearly 100 year old house and the inside trim wasn't going to be done.

So we were going to my in-laws. Which I was less than thrilled about because well, I'm having a grinchy holiday season again already, and I'll save that for the basement or something.

Then my brother calls me at work on Thursday, which he never does, to ask about Thanksgiving. Color me confused, I thought we already decided. He then outs to me that he split with the fiance a couple of weeks ago, and he can now travel to our house. Yay, but not yay because I now need to order a bird (free range organic from the best co-op ever).

Then my mom, who was coming for a quick weekend visit because it has been really long time since she visited, decides that since she will NOT be moving back to Minnesota (wah!), she will now stay for a week, through Thanksgiving so she can also see my brother.

So, I now need to clean, plan a dinner, and deal with a husband who hates house guests, but tolerates my family, but still really doesn't like hosting.

Bonus though, I'm totally going to tell everyone how my first attempt at brining a turkey works. And I get to make the kind of food I want for the meal.

Sorry about the English abuse.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A scarf, a ball, a doll blanket

If I think back to when I was a kid, I am hard pressed to remember many gifts I received that were not home made. Both my grandmother's sewed and quilted, and my grandma Marie knitted, crocheted, dried flowers, and just generally crafted. Our tree is still decorated with tiny crocheted snow flakes that she made (and starched) when we were growing up.


A scarf crocheted for me by Grandma Marie, a ball she knit for my brother (stuffed with pantyhose) and a scrap quilt from my Grandma Lila. All were Christmas gifts. All of them M now plays with.

As an adult, I've managed to try to continue the traditions. I remembered a few things they taught me. I've added to my skills by taking some classes and teaching myself to knit out of a book. The year after I learned to knit, in my loneliness living in NYC all alone, I knit 25 hats in a period of two months. Everyone I knew got a hat that year for Christmas. I've given away hand knit mittens for a family adoption at work. I even knit my husband a scarf. (It only took two years to do it)
This year will likely be the first year that we'll attempt the home made gifts with M, but I already have some ideas of how to do it with our budget. I've researched paint your own pottery places (local suggestions would be appreciated if you are familiar with them), and I'm going to dig out the Shrinky Dinks.

Even if this year isn't a huge success, I know that homemade will always be a part of our gift giving. I hope that M grows up to appreciate it as much as I do. She certainly loves the scarf... and the ball... and that blanket has never been used to much to wrap up and rock dolls.


This blog post is for a contest at the Parent Bloggers Network, sponsored by Klutz. I've always been a huge fan of Klutz, so I'm kind of hoping I'll win the big prize. Even if I don't, I now have an incredible urge to make some potholders.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm so glad he didn't live to see this

My uncle John was gay. His being gay was always a non issue for me because he was always accepted by his family. My catholic grandmother who said my mother was a witch and should be burned at the stake, loved her son and supported him. It really wasn't a surprise, since my grandparents had always set a great example. Long before their youngest son came out, my school teacher grandfather tutored kids who had been kicked out of school for being gay. In that environment I don't think he could have been anything other than proud of who he was.

He came out of the closet around the time he graduated from high school in the early 70's. After that he moved to California and lived there most of the rest of his life. He lived his life out and proud before many did. When I visited California for his memorial service I heard a number of times from people who had been his friends for nearly all of the time he had lived there that he was braver and more honest than they could have been. (they also said that he was brave enough to take on guys twice his size in a bar, but I think that was a height thing)

He would have celebrated when gays finally were able to marry. Some of his friends had been in relationships for 30 or more years so he knew that they had the power to last where many hetero couples did not. However, if his heart hadn't already been broken from losing so many friends to AIDS, and his addictions hadn't already taken his life, this surely would have done it.

I've always been extremely sad that neither of the uncles I knew will ever get to know, or be known by one of their great nieces. They were both wonderful men who died long before their time. I hope that when I'm telling M about her gay great uncle some day I can tell her about his wild life, the pain he experienced, and that California some day came through for him. How hate lost and love won.

We won't be able to make the march this weekend, but I encourage you to go if you can. Whatever you believe, hate shouldn't win.

The photos are part of the family photos my dad gave me as the keeper of the family memories. I wish I had some more recent photos of him, but I never thought he would be gone so soon, or that I would miss him so much.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

WW - Chicken Girls


BOCK!

Sometimes it amazes me what you can get for a few bucks at Ikea.

Also, behold, the most I am allowed to show you of my daughter's face. Like the adorable Star Wars shirt? Why can't they make them for girls, or why can't she grow more than a bad mullet.

Next week, we try putting it on the dog. Either that or the flower pot one I also got.

Well, maybe not so wordless.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I blame the green goo

Pink eye is going around daycare, I caught some green goo in the corner of M's eye today. Spent our evening getting her to eat, getting her to Dr, getting her home and to bed just in time. (while singing every song we knew on the car ride home to keep her awake) A went out to fill the prescription and hunt for the elusive Reeces Peanut Butter, while I tried to write my post for Savvy Source. The dog, the building company from Iowa who doesn't know how to use a freaking fax machine, and the neighbor's dog all had other ideas.

I am now totally tired and out of ideas. I still have to do the dishes and clean up from dinner too.

Tomorrow will be better, there are fine feathered things to see. They are good.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Well, that will teach me.

The previous potty post may be the last you hear about potty around here for awhile. I also haven't given a sleep update for fear of jinxing it. Today I tempted fate by posting a comment over at Cribsheet about how great of an eater M is. She got me back by proceeding to have a major temper tantrum (really, her first of many I am sure) about eating dinner. Bad timing, she was off a bit all day, and it all just went horribly wrong. A and I have agreed that he will be more involved in things, since she seems to respond to him more me sometimes. I am a far greater pushover than I had hoped I would be.

In any case, though I am sure that this will come back to haunt me, M has been sleeping much better lately. We discovered that footy jammies are a must, since she is a squirmer and getting cold seems to have been part of the issue. Now the hard part is finding cotton ones since synthetic fibers make her sweat. I think we're good for now, just hope she doesn't grow out of them before the end of winter.

Of course, now I am sure that she will be up all night. At a minimum sleeping next to me and making my back go all wonky.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Big things, big things

A couple of weeks ago at M's conference, her teacher mentioned that she had asked to sit on the potty. * It apparently came as a surprise to her as well. Her room is all under two, and while she sees some older kids use it in the morning for the hour or so that the rooms are mixed before the day starts, we haven't made a very big deal out of the potty.

Then last week here at home she asked to sit on the potty again. I took off her diaper, and held her on the regular toilet, because of course we still haven't bought her a potty. Maybe we should, right?

So during a weekend organizational spree and subsequent visit to Ikea, we picked up a potty. You know, the four dollar no risk variety.

We took it home, we sat on it. That was yesterday.

Today, before bath, we sat on it again...




And peed!!!!

I know, at 18 months most likely a total fluke. I may have trained early, but I'm totally realistic. I resisted the urge to take a picture to show her when she's a teen and being horrible.

It does however bring up another small issue. And by small, I mean small.

Knowing that my tall girl is going to outgrow onesies before the end of winter, and that potty training may be coming eventually, I bought some little 2-3T camisoles when I was at Target. Thinking that they would be the thing to layer under her shirts, you know, tuck into her jeans. Except they would maybe make it to her bellybutton if she was lucky. I suspected this, so I also got some boys undershirts, but they may be a little wide (and of course three inches longer, wtf?). They also seem slightly short.

Where do you find toddler undershirts? Long ones? There are other Minnesotans reading this, so I am hoping that someone has some ideas. Because the poor girl has no fat, she gets cold easily.

* It is one of the itty bitty porcelain potties that is just too cute, and if I ever won the lottery, had lots of kids and a nursery, I would totally put one in.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I can haz musik?

Between not having any money since my career started over, and paying for daycare, I haven't really felt like I could afford to buy much music. However, Christmas is coming, and CD's are one of my favorite ways to fill out my wish list. I recently realized I loved The Decemberists, but there has to be more out there.

I also really like locally connected The Hold Steady. However, I'm massively out of touch. Any good suggestions? The Current hasn't been very fruitful lately (and I'm sort of on strike about the whole Morning Show cancelation).

Speaking of the Decemberists, here is my new favorite song, Valerie Plame.




Friday, November 7, 2008

Super secret pumpkin bread recipe

I have always dreamed of hosting big family holiday dinners. Unfortunately my in-laws already have trenched in family traditions (that nearly everyone complains about, but no one changes) and I have a small house, and small family. (though you know, we're working on that, my brother is getting married next year) That doesn't mean that I don't aspire to cook legend worthy meals when I get the chance. Last year it was a beef roulade stuffed with blue cheese and walnuts. Seriously spectacular, if I do say so myself.

For the firmly entrenched family plans at the in-laws I bring one small dish, and all the good ones are taken. You are also required to make the same thing, every year, made exactly the same way. The year I tried to branch out and make a really awesome Brussels sprout dish, the only one who really got into was A's cousin's English husband. While I adore him, I'm not so sure about having my food compared to beloved English food. The track record over there, not so good.

So, my one dish is my pumpkin bread. It is based on the pumpkin bread recipe from the Joy of Cooking. Here are my changes/additions. I'm not going to print the entire recipe here for fear of copyright infringement. I'm sure you can find the cookbook at the library for the details, or you know, contact me.


Replace the 1 1/2 c. all purpose flour with 3/4 c. whole wheat flour (I like a pastry flour, but any is fine) and 3/4 c. all purpose flour

Replace all of the spices with 1/2 to 1 T Chinese Five Spice (I get my from Penzey's who has a number of local stores, and does catalog and internet) powder and a small amount of fresh grated nutmeg. This is the secret part that no one ever figures out. Unless of course they are familiar with 5 spice. Which not nearly so many are in the Midwest.

Reduce the amount of sugar (using the brown sugar variation) to 1/2 cup (that makes it 1/2c packed brown sugar and 1/2 cup sugar) And seriously, use cane sugar. The stuff made from beets just isn't the same.

Unless you like lots of work, use canned pumpkin. I use the big can, and make a double batch. (have to have some to save for home) Watch your cans or you'll end up with the presweetened, preseasoned pumpkin puree. You want the pure stuff which usually is actually sqaush, not pumpkin

To butter/flour the pan use Baker's Joy. That stuff is amazing, and I'm only sorry I didn't discover it until it was in a basket I won at a work event.



This post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by Butterball. I consider myself a pretty knowledgable cook, but I've actually called their hotline. It so rocks. Raw turkey does not. So pay attention to those thawing instructions and cooking times.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Building a dictionary

I'm always so amazed and when something with M seems to happen quickly. There are days and days that drag on endlessly it seems, then all of sudden she explodes. It happened when she first walked. It happens every two weeks it would seem with her growth. (I am buying 3T shirts for my very tall girl since while 2T fits, I am afraid she'll outgrow them too quickly)

The most recent explosion is her language. She still babbles incoherently most of them time, but she has started to put words together.

"My shit" - My shirt (don't even get me started about her using MY all the time)

"Shoo bus" - School bus (emphasis on the S on bus that she recently started pronouncing)

"Teth baa" - Tess's ball

"Mo Pwease" - More please - she signs both words of as well

Words that she had the first letters of taken care of have ending consonants.

It all seems to have happened overnight. Of course, it was a night of very bad sleep, like most of her big jumps seem to include.

Last night I was at the store buying her more footy PJ's for winter (again with the 3T because the other ones are giving her a wedgie), looking at the little itty bitty ones (not even preemie or newborn, since she never fit in those) and realizing that those were the ones she was wearing less than two years ago. Now she is nearly three feet tall. A year and half from now, she'll be asking questions like "why" and "how". She'll be telling me about her feelings, her dreams, her hopes. She'll even be making memories that she'll remember when she is my age. I wanted so bad for the sleeplessness, the unknown crying (reflux) to all be over with, and now I just want to slow it down, a little.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

WW - Hey Mr. Postman


I was going to try and write some great post about how I'm not regretting bringing a child into the world anymore, that I have a lot more hope for people thinking about someone other than themselves, and that McCain's concession speech was so very lovely that I remembered why I did kind of like him 8 years ago.


But it is Wednesday, and I need to shut my trap.




Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Her first act of rebellion

Today at daycare, M's young toddlers class "voted" on the candidates for president. Most for McCain, one for Obama, three undecided.

I regret to inform you that M voted for McCain. We suspect it was the "grandpa effect".

I may not entirely understand her choice, but we did work on her saying Obama (mostly came out as Bama, but we'll have another discussion about colleges later) on the way home.

I am sure this will not be the first time that we don't entirely agree on politics. (sorry about that time I nearly became a Republican mom)

My daughter's first election

I have voted! It took two hours! It would have been closer to 1-1 1/2 if I hadn't had to register again with my new name. Can I tell you how awesome polling place registration is? I actually think it is more accurate, since they check your info right there at the polling place. Thank you Joan Grow.

M went with me, and was pretty good, but I didn't have water or food for her, since I didn't expect it to take that long. We even showed up early. Unfortunately I couldn't leave the polling place to get stuff from the car either, so that pretty much sucked. We made it though.

I live in North Minneapolis, and our precinct has usually had OK turnout, but it was amazing. Two hours in, based on registered voters, 16% had already voted. That is amazing! The only lines were waiting to register and waiting for a booth. I actually voted at a table with other people since I didn't mind if someone saw who I voted for.

It is a great feeling to know I did everything I could. Now the hard part... waiting on everyone else.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Voting and some fluff

Today I'm doing my daily post to remind you to vote. There are two things I really love about this country. One is that we have free speech. I may not like everything I hear, but it beats suppression of speech any day. The second is free elections. Something we all need to make sure actually happens. I've heard two different international reactions to our election process over the years. The first is that we don't allow for outside international observers, something that really came into question in 2000.

The other is that we have peaceful elections and a peaceful transition of power. That for all of the things we say and do during an election, that in the end, power is handed over without guns, or weapons of any kind.

That being said, this year has scared the crap out of me. I've done more head in the sand maneuvers than I care to think about. I knew who I wanted to vote for, and I've been trying to ignore what is out there. What I have heard has terrified me just a little. I certainly hope it has just been the adrenaline of the moment, or someone trying to get ratings, and that no one acts in the incitement that has happened should things not go their way. I'm talking about both parties really.

See, I've always thought that leaders should lead by example, and if we want to the respect and following of the rest of the world, we need to show them how it can work, even when we don't always get along.

So, this is my plug for getting out there to vote, and if something goes wrong, if you see something that isn't right, call someone who can do something about. (1-866 OUR VOTE)

Before you go out to vote, make sure you're going to the right place. You can even be a citizen watchdog. Vote, encourage the people around you to vote, make sure your employer knows the laws about letting employees take time off to vote, and oh yeah, VOTE.


--------------------------------------

And now for the fluff. Tonight I used spinach to bribe my daughter to eat her meatballs and bread. I'm taking that as a sign that all is right with the world, and Wednesday I will wake up to a day with a clear winner, and peace. Lots and lots of peace.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A little fall cleaning.

Both A and I come from families with at least one major pack rat. Sometimes more than one, even in multiple generations. (I'm nearly positive that it is genetic) That means that the tendencies are strong, and we have but one small house, with a single car garage. (detached of course) We fight it, and we are getting better.

After our adventure this weekend, I think our resolve to keep doing something about it has strengthened. Nothing like seeing the packratting at it's worst to make you realize that you really need to work on it yourself. Especially when one of the major reasons for all of the tension was us trying to exert some control over how much new stuff enters our house. If we can't do it ourselves, then how can we hope to reasonably ask anyone else to respect our choices.

So far, not much of it has actually left the house, but we've sorted through M's room, removed the "baby" toys, and gotten rid of any of her clothes that are either too small or out of season. It is a start, but just that, a start. There is still so much to do, and it would be nice to do it before it gets much colder out.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Halloween That Was Not

Well, we managed to make it down to see the in-laws for the big day. It was a success in that it was a surprise. Unfortunately we had failures on multiple counts

One, M had a major blowout either before we got there, or right after. Something she ate (apple cider, oreos?) or her teething cause some major... issues. Right down to her socks. So, there were no trick or treating photos, because she made it to one house, theirs. They hand out pop (to toddlers even) so there wasn't even chocolate to make it better for her parents. I can't even recreate it because I left the whole mess there, and it will be thrown out. (wings and antenae survived and may be recycled)

Another was that it was a happy passive aggressive Minnesota thing... None of the details I should disclose, at least this close to the situation. I'll just say that I have had my fill of family for the time being. Except the ones who actually live in town, those I wish I saw more of.

The rest are nit picky and involve bad beds, horrible sleep, and a toddler who is too tall for a pack and play.

All other details will have to wait, while it may be NaBloPoMo and I felt I should participate, I've also committed to try to find more balance. Crazy, no?

Friday, October 31, 2008

A special place...

There is a special place, complete with numerous spa treatments and regular massages, in heaven, or whatever you believe in, for toddler teachers.

Today I was a parent volunteer at M's daycare for trick or treating. Her daycare is in a building downtown, and some of the businesses in the building like having the kids come around for trick or treating. Since they are not all the most compliant bunch, they do it in their buggy and large strollers. However, that only seats 12, so parents help out with the other two, and keeping everyone happy. M rode in her own stroller, and we hit seven or so offices, the kids elicited oo's and awwws. When it was done, the three parents left, and the teachers had 14 hungry, tired, somewhat dramatic about taking costumes off, kids. And we didn't even let them have any candy.

Wow. I... could not do what they do, sanely. Now I understand why they gush so much over how M is a mellow and easy going kid. Sure, she still seems to not always hear what they say, but... they're saints.

I never really had an overwhelming urge to do much for M's other teachers, but now I'm trying to figure out just how much I can budget for. I wonder how much hiring someone to do chair massage for a couple of hours is...

PS.

Best costume of the day, one of the boys was a cave man. Complete with an animal print diaper cover... and nothing else. Apparently his older brothers are dinosaurs.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Changes abound

When I agreed to start working for Savvy Source, I really had no idea what I was getting in to. It was a lot more than I ever imagined. It is stressful, it has hurt some relationships, and it has complicated many things. I do love doing it though.

One of the things I knew I needed to do when I created this blog to go along with my new more public persona, was try and make it worth it for me. You'll notice that little thing over on the left, and a few text ads. They're mostly just an incentive to spell check. Well, and stress relief seeing what the text ads sometimes show, so very funny.

As part of those changes, I've also started a review blog to go along with this one. I call it A Sprout Reviews. Clever, no? Right now it is just a shameless plug for my favorite kids shoes in the hopes that someone would give me some free ones. However, watch that space, because soon there will be an actual real honest someone actually asked me my opinion review.

Yeah, I know, who would have ever thought I would be opinionated.

Please forgive that it isn't pretty right now, I'm working diligently on that. Just waiting on the perfect photo.

WW - Warm Fall Day


It was really nice when we got home today, so I decided to try and take some pictures to take advantage of the leaves from our gigantic (it dwarfs our house on google earth) silver maple in the front yard and get a nice fall pic. M decided to run around the tree, which combined with the fact it was starting to get darker, meant fuzzy pictures. I tried a couple of effects on Picnik to mitigate it.

More Wordlessness.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Now all we need is a size 2T leather jacket

Today we had M's first parent teacher conference. I won't go in to how impressed I am that in the 16 or so months she's been in daycare, that this is the first time we've had a chance to actually have her evaluated and sit down with a teacher.

I won't go into how happy I am that after concerns because she didn't roll over, was just starting to crawl by the time many of her peers walked, and we had to delay her starting her new daycare because she wasn't walking, that her gross motor skills are all right on track.

I won't go into how our babbly baby went from "talking" all the time, to not making much noise and that one month, turned two months, turned four months of ear infections turned into her barely hearing and that tubes, along with a new environment means that her verbals skills have caught up and then some.

I won't go into how smart she is, how clever was used to explain her, how she plays well with others at an age when most play best alone, how she's always willing to comfort and hug her friends. How her sense of humor is one of her best qualities. How the word advanced was actually used in regards to my child that I had so many concerns about. Because no matter how many times you hear that they are within the range for something, when you worry about the care they get, you can help but wonder if it is hurting or at the least not helping.

I won't go into my amazing abuse of run on sentences, nope, not me. Not even the made up word.

Nope, here is what made my day. They called my daughter a ringleader. But not in a bad way. She's a leader my girl. One of the more advanced kids in the class who is willing to lead and show the other ones how it is done. Her and some kid named Max.




Saturday, October 25, 2008

Twelve pounds of Terrier(ist)


Astrologically speaking I am a Leo, so it would make perfect sense that I love all things feline. I grew up having cats, and when I finally was adult enough, and living on my own, I got a cat.

When I moved to MN, he stayed with my parents. I never lived with him again because I met A, who is seriously allergic to cats.

I never liked dogs. I really had only ever know farm dogs, and well, manners aren't their strong suit. However, love does strange things to you.

So, after A and I got married, we started looking for a dog. Somehow he managed to sell me on a Cairn Terrier, since he had grown up with one. He said they were good with kids, had attitudes, but also personality. Our obedience trainer called them terrierists.

We had seen a dog at a pet store that I went to for my fish supplies, and pretty much fallen in love. While I had wanted to go with a breeder or rescue, when we saw her, we knew that her chances of being bought were slim, and she would likely end up in a bad situation. We were willing to deal with her. (and the judgment from people about where she came from) Around the time our wedding was supposed to have been (we went to Vegas to avoid... stuff), A was on a business trip, and I went to get her. She peed in my car on the way to get her supplies. and that was just the beginning. Having never owned a dog, I had to call A in panic to see if she was having a seizure when she started yelping and running her sleep. He still hasn't let me live that one down.
She was obviously the runt, had bad skin, not much in the way of hair, and loved licking your ears, neck, and up your nose. We indulged her and loved it.

We got her training, she obeys reasonably well. She will poop in the house if she is mad at your for ignoring her. Despite having been on a diet for years, she didn't really lose weight until we started feeding M table food, which doesn't make sense since she gets all of the left over veggies.

She loves a warm lap, down blankets to sleep on (preferably with a person underneath them), sleeping under the covers, early mornings, frozen green beans, and riding on your shoulders while in the car.

She charms nearly every one she meets, including self professed dog haters like my dad, who is by far her favorite sitter. He even calls her the "All in One Shredder Vacuum Love Machine".

She tolerates a surprising number of silly things I have done to her. That includes silly parkas, pumpkin hats, antlers and making her sit still endlessly for two calorie treats.

She is our first child, who has bonded incredibly well with the second (first). M's first word was Tess. Part of her nightly routine is to kiss her goodnight (which means she gets licked). The other day, she put her dolly blanket over her and put her to bed, and Tess just stood for it. She got sick when she was younger (most likely had something to do with why we go her in the first place) and we paid a small fortune to get her well again. She was worth every penny, despite the fact that at night she sleeps next to A, and not me, despite me being the cold one who could really use it.


This post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by Burger King Corp.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A little reward for making it.

Tonight I braved the world of not having to nurse and worked late. Something I haven't done since I got pregnant and started going to bed at 6 PM. It was supposed to be OT, but my little plumbing adventure earlier this week sort of killed that one. Instead it was just making up time so I don't need to take more time off. Bah! I would have rather had the cash.

In the old days, pre kid I would have headed to the bar afterward. After all, a long night of moving computer equipment is perfectly ended by a night of drinking with your coworkers and making inappropriate comments. As the lone woman in many an IT departments, and having been a theater geek in high school, I can hold my own in the raunchiest of conversations. Not at my current company though, oh no, I'm the model of professionalism here.

Tonight after finishing up, I debated going out. After all, M was already asleep, so I wouldn't be rushing home to see her to bed. I'd called before bedtime and said night night. However, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. The new crowd at work is younger, and I am that old lady with the kid. So instead I headed home, and decided to celebrate my new ability to drink without consequence and head to the liquore store first.

Man, am I ever glad that I did. I'd seen Fat Tire on tap at some bars recently, but since I hadn't been to a liquor store in a couple of years, I didn't know that they were actually distributing locally. Yay! Yahoo! Sweet! Yipee! That gives at least six good Belgian style beers you can get, including all of the Blue Moon offerings. I picked a six pack of Fat Tire and one other, and when I got home realized someone had been mixing six packs so I actually got three different kinds of beer. This would be me doing the happy dance... and drinking.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Maybe a little sadder than I thought...

There are I am sure a number of people out there who were under the impression that I had already weaned M. See, I didn't say I hadn't on a number of occasions. The fact that I did it, and did it past the age of 1, meant I was some kind of sick person. Little did they know that I exclusively breastfed (there was this one little formula incident when I lost my freezer stash), pumped at work (until 14 months), and well, just keep going up until... yesterday. Tonight was our first attempt at bedtime without anything extra. Tomorrow night I will miss bedtime when I have to work late for the first time in a long time, and at 18 months, I figured it was time.

I've been putting off calling back the endocrinologist about getting a solid diagnosis for PCOS, been putting off travel assignments at work, and well, putting it off. I know we could have gone longer, and that it would have been a good thing, but it was time.

She finally started drinking cows milk, something she refused to do until about a month ago. Last week she even almost even forgot it was part of the bedtime routine. (though tonight she tried to run away from me when I said it was bedtime) I am sure it has helped her immune system, especially with being a daycare kid. I know she didn't get a couple of nasty bugs that both A and I got, and that was a good enough reason for me.

I know it had to happen, I guess I just didn't expect to be so sad about it. I fought hard to make it work despite the failings at my hospital. I even used a nipple shield long past when she should have given it up because it was the only way she'd nurse. (I hope she doesn't have any lasting nipple issues. You know being a teen and thinking hers should have little plastic hats) I made it work, I beat the averages, and now done.

Maybe some new bras will make me feel better.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

WW - Butterfly, do you need your ears cleaned?

When you are the puppy, you must inspect everything, especially the ears. Who knew little butterflies had ears.


What do you know, today is my 100th post. More Wordless Wednesday.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

At least I'm used to the poop.

Today my father celebrated his "senior" birthday (62) by fixing my toilet. While I was cleaning off the old wax ring, and the included "slime", I noted that it wasn't all that different than what I usually do each day. At least having a child means that you're used to being elbow deep in crap.

It wasn't what I planned on doing for his birthday. I love having an older house (something I got from him), but it comes with it's own share of issues. The least of which is that usually something has broken at least once before and someone took a half assed approach to fixing it. That was the deal with our toilet, and we took at least one of those half assed attempts at a fix. It finally failed, and just in time for dad to be in town. He is about to leave for six weeks, so the timing was amazing. What would have no doubt required the services of a plumber, who would have wanted to charge me a lot to do something more involved, cost me 50 bucks in supplies and some time with dad. I think I got a great deal.

While I haven't always gotten along with my dad, having M has really helped. It has made me stick with it when I would have rather told him to stuff it. It also helps that with age he's been willing to get help for some issues and clear out that dark cloud that was following him around. It also means I get help with my plumbing issues, and M gets to know her grandpa B.

So, happy birthday, Pops. I've emailed you the link to the blog again, maybe this time you'll check it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Maybe we should look into private schools...

... but for right now I am going to be happy that we aren't in the Anoka school district. Apparently their history lessons are severely lacking, or at least they were when a certain 6th District Congresswoman went to school there. Somehow she missed the lesson on McCarthyism. I realize that some teachers kind of gloss it over, but she obviously never learned it. I've never been quite so frustrated about how my state appears to the rest of the country, and that includes when she nearly molested the President after the State of The Union.



In case you missed it.