Friday, February 27, 2009

My own adventure weekend

So, after freaking out more times than I can count, I finally made a decision about BlogHer. I'm going. My pass is already purchased. I decided this even though A suggested that perhaps the universe was trying to tell me something with the whole wallet thing. Apparently if that is the case, I am not listening very well.

What sort of put me over the edge was Jen's comment.

c) It's an experience. New experiences are always worth the time/effort/money.

You see, Jen (I know her outside of the blog) is the queen of adventure. She's downright inspiring about it in fact. I play it safe a lot, and I used to be the person who was adventurous. I moved out east by myself, moved to NYC by myself (with jobs to go to, but still). I took off to Europe with no plan other than a plane ticket and even though I may have called my mom freaking out the first night, eventually, I just took off and went where I wanted to, with people I barely knew. I even had a random border guard run in because of someone I was with having a Peruvian passport.

I miss that person. I miss going out of my comfort zone. It is winter, so I'm a little more blue than usual, but I think that maybe this is just what I need to get me out of the funk I've been in. I spend a lot of my time these days caught up in being M's mom. Even at work, because of being a working parent of a small kid, everything I do is influenced by being M's mom. I don't travel, I don't work as late, and outside of work, I don't take any risks. (unless getting pick pocketed for the first time in your life counts)

So, this is my adventure this year. Last year I was jealous of the people who got to go, because I wanted to. This year, I'm lucky I can go. If you're not going, feel free to live vicariously through me, I'll try not to let you down. If you are, you better come and say hello. If I'm freaking out, I'll be the one knitting in the corner.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Invading my little world.

If you're local, you know we're having another big snow storm. Since the ones that hit in the afternoon and run through the evening commute have been bad on the commuters this year, my manager suggested that we all leave as soon as was possible. I chose to leave when M got up from her nap at daycare. Since it was only 3:15 or so, I decided to go to the grocery store. We're running low on a few things since I decided to shop the fridge this week instead of the store. Great chance to get something fun for dinner and some staples.

We took the back streets and made good time getting to the store. I grabbed my wallet, put it in my pocket with a reusable bag, thinking that I would be so good. At some point while shopping, M mentioned my purse. I said yes, people have purses at the store. Lately she's been talking about purses, so we talk. I guess I should have listened to her. When I got to the checkout, my wallet was missing. A quick check confirmed it wasn't on the floor anywhere. It had been stolen.

I am relatively sure I was pick pocketed on purpose, and it didn't just fall out of my pocket. I think the reusable bag made my pocket bulky enough that I didn't notice it was missing right away, and having M with made me distracted. I feel like a dolt.

I apologized for leaving my things, and headed home quickly to cancel my cards. Before I had made it home, my check card had already been used at a gas station across from the grocery store. A common way to check if a card is active, according to a woman at one of the places I had to call. I canceled all of my cards, then filed a police report. (the officer said often people call before canceling anything, I did it in the right order)

The things I can't replace/recover are an iTunes gift card, three fifty in cash as in 3.50), and the wallet. It was a very nice Coach one, a gift from my friend who I performed the wedding for this summer.

The worst part, other than feeling like an idiot for breaking my routine and putting myself in this position in the first place, is that this person has my address. Credit cards have been left at stores, canceled as a precaution. That I can deal with. However, this is the most personal a theft has ever been for me. I had a tape deck (yeah, I know, idiot though it was a CD player I think) stolen out of my rusty Honda when we lived in South Minneapolis, but this unnerves me more. I'm hoping the license was tossed out with the collection of receipts and other junk in the wallet.

Tomorrow I visit the DMV at lunch, replace the license. I just don't know if I can ever replace my feeling of relative safety in my own home.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

WW - What to do with the Fido jars

Use them to organize your child's art supplies so that said child can see them, but can't get into them and scribble all over the walls.

In case you are wondering, conference pass not yet purchased. Have changed my mind no less than 20 times. Certain that my mind was made up each time.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quick, before I chicken out

So, I'm relatively sure that I want to go to BlogHer this year, but I have to admit that I still have cold feet a little. Sure, I want to get to see Christina, but do I really want to deal with little sleep and serious social anxiety? I used to be outgoing, and extroverted. Heck, I wanted to be an actress. Age has made me chicken shit. I know I can afford it now, but I'm having a hard time actually committing. I just can't pull the trigger so to speak.

I just want to be able to go and talk to people who don't give me funny looks when I say "blog" or like my MIL think I just write mean stuff about people. (Oh, if she only knew what I held back) I know I'll have an awesome person there that I know who will know lots of people, but crap. Big fat chicken.

Maybe after I've slept on it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

We call her butter butt

After a 1500 emergency vet bill, a new regular vet, and a very sick dog with no apparent cause for the illness, our new vet called Tess an "indiscriminate eater". She has eaten wood mulch, weeds, countless amounts of rabbit poop, dust bunnies, silicon nipples, nipple shields, teething toys, socks, rubber bands, cotton balls, half a loaf of bread, and an entire stick of butter. She weighs 12 pounds, so an entire stick is a measurable percentage of her weight.
After it happened, we knew we were in for something foul, something disgusting. We discussed that she would not be sleeping in bed with us, and what the plan of attack was when she inevitably got diarrhea. What we weren't prepared for was the puking of what by far is the worst smelling greasy disgusting... there just aren't enough words for it. We tried to get her outside, but we didn't make it. What we didn't realize is that a well greased puke is silent. She was nearly done by the time we noticed what she was doing.

The good news was, after that, she seemed to be fine. Unfortunately for us our rug was not. It was a cheap one from Ikea (since she had started to eat the good wool ones a family friend imported from Afghanistan), so it wasn't a great loss. I had considered cleaning it, but soon realized that there was not way the smell was every coming out. We replaced it a few weeks later.

We've gotten better about where we keep things on the counters, and as we always say, at least she's cute.

This post is part of a blog blast from Parent Bloggers Network sponsored by Pledge's Show of Your Shredder contest.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Power of the Green Potty

The past two nights, with little prompting from us, M has peed in her new potty before she went to bed. Talking her in to using her potty before she gets in her jammies has been easy, and it is clear to me that her actually peeing is more than just chance. She's actually trying to go. Her glee in actually doing it is very clear, even if it is just because she gets "emms" * and stickers.

Inspecting the sticker that she put on her tummy.

Only issue is her wanting to put her hand in it. That passes right? Before she starts pooping?
*Special thanks to a number of her classmates who filled up my M & M jar with pink, red and white M & M's from Valentines. The timing was perfect.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chair and booster

Today M and I had the day off. A had to work, but I enjoy bankers holidays. Daycare was closed for training and to move our room across the hall. (no more visibility blocked by large columns, yay!) We started off our lazy morning with a "wuffle" and then watched Curious George while I showered. (normally she eats while I shower, but today our schedule was off) After that we went to the grocery store for a few things. We were early to meet A for lunch, so I decided we would go off to try and find a few big girl things for M.

The last few times that we've been out to eat, it has become obvious that M has outgrown the high chairs. When there is a booster available, we've used it. At home, her feet are hanging over the edge of her molded plastic foot rest, just tempting her to kick at them every day at dinner. I've also noticed that she is becoming a snugger fit. We got her high chair hoping that it would be a long lasting purchase. And because it folded up and we have a very small eat-in kitchen. Given what I know now about tall kids, I would have made a different purchase.

The high chair issues combined with knowing she could handle a booster meant it was time to get her sitting at the table. However, with our space issues, that meant a major kitchen reorganization. We've utilized open storage in our kitchen since it has very little storage space. I've also amassed quite the collection of Fido jars full of dry goods. A collection of good intentions that have by now most certainly gone bad. I am just not that person who cooks nothing but whole grains from scratch. Sunday I got new and different open storage, and with our time to spare this morning, I thought it was time to let M in on our plans.

I let her pick out the color of her new very own booster. After talking it (and how she would have to sit still) up so much it was all she could talk about on the way home. For snack we tried it out, and by dinner she had her very own place at the table. She's in love with the molded foam thing.

When we got that, I decided to get her input on potties. We looked at a couple and she has serious opinions. We talked about how she would have to use it when we got home if I got it. She picked it out, and aside from a few demands for Old MacDonald, it was the only thing that interrupted the booster talk. All the talk worked. She kept her diaper dry all morning, and even used it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Apple & The Tree

There are things about M that surprise me, not for how different she seems from me, but how much the same she is. How much she is like her dad and I. Two of the biggest things that A and I have in common is a love for books and art/drawing.

I devoured books and had my parents going to the library regularly. A is responsible for us having a library worth of books in the house. The collection just keeps growing with the newest addition of PDF's of books. (less space, same obsession)

When he was a kid, A drew detailed pictures of his gaming characters, and wanted to be car designer. I went to PCAE for visual arts. I wanted to be a potter and art has gotten me through the darkest times in my life.

While we have read to M from early on, and she sees us with books, we haven't really gone out of our way to force books upon her. Despite a room full of toys from dolls to a kitchen that is better stocked than mine, she always goes for the books. Asking to sit and read, asking us to read something while she reads something else. She loves books.

As soon as crayons were OK to give her, we've been letting her draw occasionally. I've known that at daycare they do regular art projects and that she likes them too. At home we don't do as much as we would if I were home with her all the time, but every weekend at some point we get out a sketch pad and the crayons and let her have at it. This weekend in the order of dinosaur books from Amazon was also a Doodle Pro. She hasn't put it down since she got it. By tonight she had figured out how to control it better, and she was upset when we took it away at bedtime.

Her apple is very close to our trees.

The economy sucks!

Sauced, the awesome neighborhood but super amazing restaurant in my hood, that got great views int he Strib and City pages, and that we never went to enough's last day is tomorrow.

We didn't go enough, but like everyone we were trying to eat out less.

I'm horribly sad about it, since he mortgaged his house to open the place, and it is now in foreclosure. They are looking for investors, but I know how hard that is.

So, if you don't have Valentine's Day plans tonight, consider going there. The food will be worth it, I swear. You may just help the owner (and wife, two kids 2 and 10 months) maybe go out on a good note.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Part One:

About a week ago I braved the pain and waxed my chin. Not well, but enough so that I could tell the progress of the medication I am taking. It was time, and I squeezed it in before M and I left the house. A week later, the hair that had grown back was less, and less dark and wiry. (Normally it is more guy like than I care to think about) It would seem that the medication is either slowing down or thinning the hair growth. Maybe even both. I needed to leave work early yesterday to cut down on my hours for the week, so I made a last minute appointment to get my whole face waxed. I figured that even if it cuts down on the growth a little it would be worth it.

It hurt, oh did it hurt. I remember why I don't do this. Then there is the price tag, also not something I could afford to do regularly. But it looks good. I'm already breaking out a little, but I'm hopeful that there is a noticeable change to make it all worth it. I'm planning on maybe doing a flickr set or something to show the progress as it regrows. Maybe help someone else in my same situation, and to remind myself why I am doing it.

The woman who did it was very nice, talking to me to distract me from the pain. She asked good questions, was surprised by how fast it could grow back, and was very sweet overall. She asked what A thought of it. I answered with what I thought was right, and confirmed with him last night. He doesn't really notice or think about it. He only worries about what it does for my self esteem. He's the best. Many guys I know wouldn't react that way.

Part Two:

I had a little time to kill before my appointment to get tortured, so I went down to Target. The new jeans I got had almost immediately gotten a little big. Maybe I should have tried on a smaller size when I got them, but either way, I could now remove them without unbuttoning them. I tried on the smaller size, and they fit great. So great I got two pairs. The best feeling about having lost weight this time is that I've done it through small changes and it hasn't felt like work.

That doesn't mean that work isn't coming. I got test results back from the endocrinologist. (follow up to check potassium levels and a few other things) If I am reading things right, I'm becoming insulin resistant. Nothing serious enough to get me in earlier than my six month follow up. (her note said we could talk about it then) However, I know what it means. It means I need to spend the next six months continuing to make progress. I know for me doing it slowly means I will stick with it, but now that I've cut down on fried things, sugar needs to be next.

She loves you, she loves you not

Other than birthdays, which were relatively a non issue in a rural area, there is nothing that drove home my status as a social misfit more than Valentine's day. It was something that came every year with equal parts dread and hope. Hope that maybe this year would reveal that maybe I wasn't as much of an outcast as I thought I was, and dread in knowing that my box would be filled with the last choice valentines. Every store box of valentine's had them, the ones that were backhanded, and not so subtlety mean. They always seemed to end up in my box.

The challenges of parenting are many, but my own upbringing has left me feeling prepared for just about anything. Anything except the trials and tribulations of social status and popularity. I have nothing but fear that she doesn't end up where I did, bottom of the social food chain. Seeing and interacting with the other parents at daycare brings it all back. Is she liked? Is she nice to other kids? Do the other parents want their kids around her?

I thought at least that we would be able to avoid Valentine's Day a little longer. Maybe do some pink and red crafts, but that was it. Little did I know that it starts in the older toddlers room. Boxes needed to be brought in from home, decorated to receive Valentine's. Items on the schedule for the week included "card factory". Sure, it is a little more involved than I was ready for, but I could handle that. They would cover the making of the cards. Easy. But then, a list of names of all of the kids in her class showed up. Are we expected to bring them in? Will she get any? Do I need to get candy? Should I be the mom who gets the healthy snack? Should I go for the chocolate?

I am nervous, anxious, and scared about this. I know it doesn't make sense. I know she'll be fine, she isn't even two. She won't even remember it. But I will.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Very nearly two.

For the last few months when someone asks me how old M is, I say almost two. When they look like they don't believe me I say, but she's very tall. It is hard to try to explain to people why you're kid who is taller than the three year old's in her class is still two months away from turning two (as of tomorrow). Why she isn't acting like she looks isn't always easy to explain.

To me though, even though she is more than half my height (which means I'll like look up to her one day), I continue to be amazed at how much she's changed from my snuggly little bean. Since she moved up rooms at school, she's changed so much.

She asks for what she wants to eat. She can put on her shoes (even on the right feet sometimes). She can pull her pants on and off (not quite to potty yet). She asks questions, talks in sentences, and is developing a wicked sense of humor. She talks in funny voices to get a laugh, makes funny faces to get a laugh, and while she hates getting her hair rinsed, she loves splashing in the tub. It cracks her up endlessly.

She used to eat and eat and eat and ask for more. She would eat enough that it shocked my dad, and I worried about our ability to feed her as she grew. Now she doesn't eat as much, fights what we put in front of her, and I'm OK with it. I make sure she eats the stuff with the most nutritious bang (veggies, legumes, fruits), and let it go. I'm trying to make sure I'm not the "cafe" mom. I know she's a thriving kid, and eating less than she has won't hurt her.

I feel like I'm really starting to get a feel for what kind of a kid she's going to be. More than just a baby or a toddler. The best part is, I really like her. I hope she likes me too.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I'm having a hard time coming up with a coherent post, so instead I am just going to list off all of the things that are keeping me from making meaningful post.


I am moderately obsessed with the arrival of my new niece. Depending on how you look at it, my SIL is either a week overdue, or about to be a week overdue (conflicting due dates). Either way, the kid needs to show up so I can get a baby fix.

I am a little OK with the kid being late, since the longer they wait the greater the chances I will see them soon. We are getting healthier by the day around here.

My checking for updates involves the Internet, which is funny because we will likely find out by phone call first.


Work has been rough, and yesterday I saw M in the morning, but she was well asleep by the time I got home. She's also been all about the daddy lately, and with not seeing her, it has been hard on me. All was made up when I picked her up from daycare today (awesome coworkers took on a little of my work so I could see her) and she ran to me, hugged me multiple times, and insisted on kisses. I have had to drag her out of there a lot lately. Play-Doh is better than mommy (and Papa) apparently.


It was silly warm her today, and while I love winter and cold and snow, I'm officially done now. It shouldn't have warmed up this early. Now I have cabin fever.


For Valentine's day, I think we are going to a romantic brunch (with the kid, so well, not so romantic) at neighborhood restaurant Sauced. They do brunch now!!! Look at the Irish Toast and tell me that wasn't a super idea to go there. If you are local, you need to go there and support them so I don't lose the best thing in my hood.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Putting the contents of my fridge where my mouth is.

So Julie's posts and my own reaction to it made me take a good hard look at what we're feeding M (and ourselves). This weekend I started to go through my fridge and remove things that had HFCS, transfats, or higher cholesterol (recently updated physicals resulted in that being a slight concern for someone in the house).

I admit that while I may have written about making my own meatballs, I haven't been very good about sticking to my guns on the whole food thing lately. We are eating out less, but some of that eating out has been replaced by convenience foods. Especially since I'm not home for dinner much these days because of work.

The first thing I found that had to go was barbecue sauce. The first ingredient in nearly every brand (including local brand Famous Dave's) is HFCS. That part sort of shocked me. Since M is your average toddler, we've used "sauce" to help encourage her to eat her meat more than once (less of an issue with veggies). "Sauce" includes dressing, mustard, the sauce from some other food, and barbecue sauce. Yeah, not any more. I couldn't find anything acceptable at the store. So I went looking a ketchup. A tangy tomato option as well. You'll be happy to know that this Regan "vegetable" is full of the stuff too. The exception being Heinz organic and a couple of other organic/natural brands. I got the organic stuff for now.

Also on the list (and now in the garbage), light salad dressing. I bought it for a recipe and haven't used it since, so I have no problem tossing it. Not so easy to get rid of, the yogurt that A takes to work every day. I'm leaving that one up to him to deal with, since just getting him to find an option for breakfast was hard enough. M doesn't get near the stuff, she gets the low sugar kids stuff when she does have yogurt. However, I know that a number of other "kids" yogurts are well known for their content of lots of bad things, including HFCS.

So, that is my start. I should have done this ages ago. It will help with my quest to lose weight and hopefully about Type 2 diabetes. Now I just need to start on M's school....

Friday, February 6, 2009

HFCS and the Angry Blogger

After reading parts 1-4 of Julie's posts about obesity and HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup), I was all prepared to tell you how awesome they were, how you should read them because it was stuff every parent needs to know. You still should because it is still good stuff, but I feel the need to comment.

In her conclusion she says some stuff that while I can see the point of, I think is personally pretty hateful, and more than little misguided. In fact my first response was to say "f@#$ you". So, read her stuff, it is good, but read this too when you're done. Now is fine.

OK, done?

First, after getting angry, I realized that I have something in common with how she feels, but it is about smoking. I am extremely frustrated about having to pay for the health care (both through tax dollars and group health plans) for people who willingly continue to pollute their bodies by smoking. We're not that different, but I still think she's missing something when it comes to her frustrations about universal health coverage.

Here is what I think she is missing. What I feel is short sighted and elitist (and well, Republican) on her part. Yes, paying for health care for all in the short term means paying for conditions that are preventable and caused by the owner of said condition. BUT the long term benefits of preventative care should reduce those costs over the long term. Parents of the children suffering from these conditions often times are under educated and sub-litterate themselves. Getting them in front of a doctor regularly can often times put a stop to some of those behaviors through education.

The other less tangible issue is that when a population has for generations had the powers that be not have their best interest at heart, there can be a deep seated mistrust in the helpful information provided. Believe me, that is very real. You can not simplify it as an issue of people not taking care of themselves, when they may not know or trust the information that you have available to you. I don't know how that get resolved, but getting people health care certainly won't hurt.

I think her information, and the conclusions that she comes to are good, but before she starts hating fat people, maybe she should be doing something. Something that gets to the people who really need it. People that wouldn't have access to or interest in her blog. What about starting with day cares? Day cares serving low income families have the option of participating in the USDA food program. This program does not restrict known harmful ingredients such as trans fat and HFCS and those things, along with a host of other less than favorable substances, are ripe in the food purchased with those dollars. Starting the cycle young, and government funded no less. Those same issues continue into school food programs and free and reduced lunch programs. The only way those things change is if we get involved. Taking care of your kids is great, throwing out the Hershey's is good (though I'm torn about wasting chocolate in any form), but if she is that upset, what action is she taking to help everyone?

I am by no means getting a high horse about this. I'm not perfect, but what she said makes me mad. I have risks in my family tree for Type 2 diabetes that existed before the advent of HFCS so I know how serious it is. I'm taking steps to change them for me and my family, but I'm also working to make sure that I'm helping my neighborhood too. Advocating with day cares and pushing the issue while using the dollars that I spend as leverage. I can do more though, and I'm making the commitment to. Right here, right now. Certainly a better use of my energy than anger.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Somewhat Wordy Thursday

First, a question for parents of kids in daycare. Have you ever had to do medications at daycare? Specifically, has anyone ever had to have their daycare do a nebulizer? Any one a parent of a kid with asthma? (M doesn't have asthma but we are prepared that may be in her future)

And now the wordless part of this:

Gratuitous hair bow picture.

I was going to reference Fat Albert and then I realized the character's name is Dumb Donald, and she's not dumb, just silly. Yesterday at daycare she picked out a Play-Doh stamp and correctly identified it as a triceratops. A was incredibly proud. (now I'm off to buy some dino books)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

And then I saw my shadow

Going into this month, I knew it was going to be hell. Work is going to be beyond busy, so I knew it. Six more weeks of crazy and super cold on top of it, but I was prepared for that.

However, I wasn't expecting M to get sick. We already had our one major illness for the winter, but I guess I had forgotten that she was overdue for a respiratory bug. Night before last she was up coughing (well not up so much as sleeping through coughing), and while she had a low grade fever, it was just that, low grade. Totally could be caused by her two year molars which are about to pop through. Not enough to be required to keep her home from daycare. (if it had been a different week, I would have kept her home though)

Last night while she didn't cough, she cried, and fought with me comforting her enough that I just let her have it out with her stuffed animals in her crib eventually. I am more than willing to let her sleep in our bed provided that I feel it is actually helping her. Keeping her from kicking me while hurling herself off the bed is not helping. During the night her breathing sounded off enough I knew she would be home today. Poor A, a Dr. visit, home all day, and bed time alone (fortunately I made it home just in time for bedtime).

I hated being right, especially after we were just at the Dr. on Sunday (for the low grade fever and possible ear drainage), but she needs nebulizer treatments again. You see, M was born three weeks early. While there were no major issues with it at the time, she did have the cord around her neck, and if I remember correctly, wasn't able to be brought right to me because she wasn't crying right. Add to that that both A and either have asthma ourselves or a history of asthma in our families. I fear this will be a regular winter tradition for us. Fortunately (maybe due to us being paranoid and able to pay lots of co pays) she's never had pneumonia. Hopefully it stays that way. A little TV while getting nebs isn't a bad price to pay.

She should be better in a week to ten days. My projects last for another six weeks. I guess Punxsutawney was right.