Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"Home" for the Holidays

Well, it's official; I've now spent my first holiday season away from my family and friends. I've always been the kind of person that can throw myself into enough things that when I talk to everyone, it sounds like I'm really busy, and there are just no problems adjusting to whatever new life change has come my way. Truth? I'm homesick! I think I called my parents' house at least four times yesterday, just to check up on the progress of the gift-opening, dinner preparation, and general mayhem.

That in mind, I looked at the calendar and realized that I've already been here six months...maybe there's something to that whole must keep busy mantra. Being pregnant has certainly made the time go more quickly, although I say that having Henry has made this pregnancy go more quickly, so whatever it is, time is going quickly. We get to find out the sex of the baby on Monday, and I can't believe that I'm already almost half-way there!


H and I seem to be getting into a groove together; having little craft projects on most days has seemed to break things up enough, and the quiet time is not such a stuggle. The overalls with double shirts has also made life great, as there has not been a single diaper off incident since.


The un-home for the holidays went far more smoothly than I thought it would. J had the two days before Christmas off, and then didn't have to go into work until 1:00 on Christmas Day.


A friend of mine whisked H and I away to her home in the later afternoon, where I enjoyed a dinner of cheese and meat fondue, followed by a to die for yule log by Harry and David...YUM! Of course I came in sweatpants because my two pairs of maternity jeans that fit were in the laundry, and, who wants to do laundry on Christmas? Not Me! Luckily, she didn't mind.


J gave me the sewing machine that I've been eyeing and my sister-in-law gave me two quilting books from my wishlist...coupled with the boxed set of the Jason Bourne movies from H (who doesn't love Matt Damon?), I'd say the holidays were a total hit, and I did feel surprisingly "at home".


I know this post is all over the place, but that's kind of how I feel lately. I've made a couple of friends here, who have kids H's age (lifesaver!). So, even though I miss my friends, I'm starting to realize that the time will come when I'll have to leave the friends that I'm making here, and that I'll feel the same way about leaving them that I did about leaving my Oregon friends...but that's a worry for another day!

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Results Are In!

Here is a sampling of some of the crafts I created this holiday season...
The poem on the quilt


The infamous "hand" quilt..


Earrings made of sterling silver and strawberry quartz


Earrings made of Sterling Silver and Glass Beads



Earrings made of gold and Glass Beads


Coin purse that I knit and then felted...it's my first experience with felting and it was pretty fun, so look for more in the future!

Karlee'sKreations

I just wanted to do a quick plug for my friend Karlee Fuchs and her great fabric bags. Not only are they maticulously hand-crafted from great fabric, they are very reasonably priced, and she gets them to you in no time flat. All of her products are made with durability in mind, which means they are washer/dryer safe...a huge bonus for us moms who carry sippy cups whose seal is not always fool-proof and other unsavory items on a daily basis.

Karlee has a goal other than financial freedom in making her bags and other fabric crafts. She'd like to raise awareness for Pallister Killian Syndrome (PKS), which is a rare disorder with which her daughter has been diagnosed. Claire loves to draw and is quite the arteest, so Karlee and Claire are pairing up to create a fun line of fabric crafts based on her drawings. A portion of the profits from that line will go to PKS-related causes.

The photo above is of the kit that she sells for her Fancy Drawstring Bag. It comes complete with the pattern and even the thread for only $15.00. Karlee's no fool...she knows that you can either give a man a fish, or teach him to it for himself! For those of you who would prefer the hand-out, she sells the completed version too, of course ;)
Her name is hyper-linked above, and she maintains a store on both Ebay and Etsy, under Karlee Fuchs. She is very open to custom orders and has great customer service. Her studio is both pet and smoke-free.

How to Make an American Quilt?

Well, you have your mom finish it, that's how.

Several months ago, I got the genius idea to replicate a quilt for my parents that my aunt had made for my grandparents. Forgetting that my aunt had been sewing (professionally) for several years. I had my sisters all trace their hands, and the hands of their children, leaving a space for as yet un-born/un-conceived grandchildren, as I had always thought it a little sad that I was the end of the line on my grandparent's version, although several were born after me.

I faithfully cut out the hands from brightly colored fat quarters, bonded them onto muslin and embroidered them on. I then used fabric dye pens to write the names and dates of birth of each person on the squares, as well as writing the poem on the large square in the center. I printed all text from the computer, giving the script that extra professional flair.

I felt such a sense of accomplishment. I was going to get this puppy done and in the mail in time to have them open in on Christmas day. I had envisioned a tear trickling down the face of my dad as he saw that this was a replica of the quilt given to my grandparents just before my grandfather passed away.

I should have known better....

Big J took H Christmas shopping so that they'd be out of my hair while I completed the quilt top, and I could use what little space we had to sit on the floor controlling the foot pedal for the sewing machine with one hand and guiding the fabric/taking out pins with the other. A ha! Done! I then attempted to lay it out (as evidenced above) and realized that there was not a single space in our apartment that would accomodate a queen-sized quilt. Sweet...how was I going to get the layers together?

Not only that, but I unrolled the batting (Quilter's Dream, of course...which should have been a hint...in my dreams I'd get this done correctly) to find that it was much larger than the dimensions of a queen quilt...for errors maybe? All I know is, it was NOT helpful!

I then got the genius idea to layer them on my own bed...it's a queen right? After several attempts, that did not work either.

I then called my friend, whose much more experienced with quilting and got several tips from her.

I sewed the quilt top and backing together as if to make a duvet cover. It was genius! It worked perfectly. Now, all I had to do was get the batting inside...yeah, all I had to do.

Suffice it to say, it was a disaster which resulted in me giving up at 1 am (I had started at about 6pm), calling my mom, and explaining that I'd made her and dad a quilt for Christmas (not telling her what it was), but it looked like poop and wasn't getting any better. Before I ruined it, I told her I wanted to just send it to her as is to see if she could fix it, because I just did not have the space to line up all the layers, and that wasn't going to change.

She was very nice about it, but my vision of them opening their beautiful quilt was quickly replaced with the reality of them opening up a balled up blob. Merry Christmas! A quilt that you have to quilt yourself! Cool, I guess my favorite daughter status is shot to hell for this Christmas...I'm sure the other sister's didn't provide labor-required gifts.

To make it even better, I went to Target in order to get a plastic gift bag to put it in, because the last thing I needed was for it to be a soggy balled up blob. I made my purchase and headed to the car to put the quilt in, as we were headed straight for the post office. I started unfolding the bag and realized it was the size of bag in which people place BIKES...awesome, now it was a huge platic bag with the quilt in the bottom, rolled up and shoved in the box. Merry F'ing Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ginger Spice

I dropped my sister off at the airport yesterday morning, and said a sad good-bye to a fun week of Christmas baking and having someone else to help out with H. Sherri Poppins is the kind of person that just can't be idle, so she has to empty the dishwasher, run a load of laundry, etc all to my half-hearted protests, because it really is nice to have the help.

We made about 5 pounds of fudge, several dozen sugar cookies and chocolate coconut macaroons, and then had to make time to consume a good portion of them. Suffice it to say, I'll have to eat oatmeal for the next year to make up for the cholestoral from the (at least) stick of butter that I ate...but it tasted so good!

We got to watch some Sex and the City after H went to bed, and also had fun entertaining him with making sugar cookies, and letting him frost and decorate them. Pictured above is a gingerbread man that I bought at a grocery store and let H decorate. I have no comment about his placement of sprinkles, other than it brings new meaning to the ginger in Gingerbread Man.
He had so much fun with Sherri because she's game for anything. She was "the dog" giving him endless rides, and she also was not the cold, heartless person his mother is, so he did not have an iota of quiet time while she was here...which is going to be fun to reverse when she's gone.

All of my Christmas crafting was completed in a timely manner, and all packages have arrived at their new owner's homes. My Christmas cards are out, and the plates of goodies delivered. So why am I spending today searching for H's stocking? For the same reason that I just put up our ghetto silver tinsel tree two days ago.

I love the idea of decorating for the holidays, but it somehow falls to the wayside. So, now we'll have his stocking out just for Christmas Eve, and the tree is up for like two days. Each year I get a little better, but I contend that it has to do with the fact that we've always lived in small apartments and I don't have any room to take down the regular decorations and put up the seasonal. Of course, that's a lame excuse, but that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Christmas will be here tomorrow and I'm so excited! We will have a white Christmas, which I actually haven't had for a couple of years, and it's H's first. When my sister arrived home safely (after crossing our fingers she'd actually get to leave O'Hare), she was surprised with an engagement ring! She's the happiest she's ever been, which makes all of us happy...congrats Sherri Poppins!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Door #1 or Door #2

"Only Mommy and Daddy can take off your diaper!" I repeated this mantra to H, who had taken his diaper off for the 6th time in one day. Three times, he had a #2 inside, and twice he peed on the carpet or his little table as he was "driving" his car.

It was an out of body experience, as I realized that I was being fairly calm...until the fourth time, when I just started crying. Pregnancy hormones are a bitch when you mix them with a little sleeplessness and a dash of frustration. H looked at me and said "Mommy?" I tried to explain the I was just frustrated, but that he wasn't in trouble.

Even though this is the last thing I want, I also don't want him to have a complex about bathroom issues. While some people will suggest to me that this means he's ready to potty train, I contend that a child doesn't pee all over themselves, oblivious to the sensation, if they're ready to potty train. It did not even phase him that there was pee running down his legs as he was sitting on his chair (which he'd placed on the top of his table) pretending to drive his car. Great, potential disease from exposure to pea and the possibility of injury from being unsafe!

That part of the daily drama occurred while I was taking a shower. He had already had one incident of diaperless-ness, so this was a speed shower; only the necessities. No leg shaving or exfoliating, just a quick clean-up. I went to check on him before even putting in contacts, to find him naked and then I blindly picked him up to realize he was covered in pee...mmmm...nothing like a little golden shower to make you feel fresh as a daisy!

I promptly put him in the tub, washed my hands and proceeded to clean up mess #2. The day proceeded in the same fashion, culminating in him putting his diaper on his head (empty, thank God) ninja-style, with his eyes peering out of one leg hole and the side strap across his nose. He was very proud to tell J that it was his hat. I couldn't even contain myself anymore, I just started laughing like a crazy person.

I was talking to my mom on the phone about it, and she just reminded me that bright kids are a challenge to raise. I replied through tears, "Well, here's to hoping that #2 is dumb as a post." (Of course I don't really think that, but it sure sounded good at the time).

That day ended. Today and yesterday, I dressed him in a snap-crotch onesie with overalls, then a sweatshirt over the top. Very non-invasive, but no repeat incidents. Looks like I'll be making a trip to craigslist or ebay to search for more bibs!

Sometimes I reflect on my day, and think; Seriously? This is what my life is reduced to? Inventing ways to keep my child from taking off his diaper and inadvertantly getting poop on the carpet? Awesome!

Because I'm such a genius, I've decided I'm up to the task of doing it all again! (So is that Shame on Me?) On a positive note, the good days far outweigh the bad, and we have a lot of fun together. Sometimes to make it through and not get mad at him, I tell myself, this will be great fodder for future girlfriends!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Goose is Getting Fat

I have found that one benefit of being an at-home mom is that I have, for the first time, completed my Christmas shopping well ahead of time. Not only have I completed shopping, but all of my gifts, save for one, are completed and in the hands of the trusty postal system on the way to friends and family.

I am definitely a procrastinator by nature, so I have been getting an almost giddy high when talking to others about the steps that I have taken toward completion of my goal to have all things Christmas in the mail and to their respective owners by no later than the 20th of December.

In college, I spent the night before every paper's due date desperately researching and typing, praying that there wouldn't be some glitch with the printer at the computer lab as I ran, ink drying, to my class. This is so completely foreign to me, that I'm sure people feel like I'm being smug when I talk about how much I've completed, when it's really that I am stunned.

The crazy crafting came along quite nicely, although some projects were virgin to me, and we'll see how the recipients feel about them. I like to bite off way more than...well, let's just say that the pouch of Big League Chew never lasted long for me, so I am very excited that I've stuck so well to my timelines while still attending fun events such as "The Polar Bear Journey" with my child.

On that note, The Ecotarium in Worcester is one of those New England Anomolies. They have a couple of bald eagles and owls as you're walking to the entrance, and then they have a full-on standing up kodiak bear stuffed in the entrance. In the back of the property, which we travelled to by train today (after having The Polar Express read to us), is, yes, a polar bear.

And I thought I had a hard time adjusting to the heat and humidity here*...they said that she "swims a lot" to keep cool in the summer...uhhhh...I don't think that a POLAR bear is cool, no matter how much they swim, in 90+ weather with 400% humidity, but you can keep tellin' the kiddies whatever you want! It's the same for any zoo, so I'm not saying that I object, it's just funny.

Overall, it was a great day, forgive the biting sarcasm, which was completed with hot cocoa and cookies inside. H was thrilled all day with that train ride, and said late into the evening...chug a chug a chug a All Aboard!

*It was reported to us that this polar bear was born at the Ecotarium, so is adapted to Massachusetts weather, but how much can they really evolve in one generation?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Taxation without Representation

When we told everyone we were moving to Massachusetts, several people joked to us that we were moving to Taxachusetts...I'm starting to see that it's not really a joke.

After several months of successfully crossing our fingers and waiting to register our car so that we wouldn't be stuck with what I'll call the "bull-shit tax" (it is assinine that a person would pay sales tax to one state for an item which was not purchased in said state, while the purchaser was resident of the other state in which the item was purchased, but that's just me I guess), I received a bill in the mail for our "excise tax", due to the City in the beginning of January.

I politely called the City and explained that our car had been registered in our previous state, where we purchased our car as residents of that state, for six months, so we should not have to pay the sales tax. I was using that voice that has a question at the end making them think that you're being pleasant instead of assertive. Being raised in rural America definitely taught me that you get more flies with honey than vinegar.

"Ma'am, do you have Massachusetts plates now?" Me: "Yes". "Okay, that triggers a notice for the excise tax." Me: silence, then "So, this is a different tax?" "Yes, Ma'am. Each year, you'll pay an excise tax of $25 per 1000 of your vehicles valuation." Me: "Awesome, I'm so glad that we fought the revolutionary war in order to get away from tyranny and a government that taxes you at every turn."

Honestly, I thought that the land of Paul Revere would be a little less excited about the whole, lets add tax to taxes thing, but I guess I'm wrong.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Mommy, WOW, I'm a big kid now!

Yes, that is the jingle from the ad for Pull-ups. To potty train, or not to potty train; that is the question. I had been adamant with my husband that I would not potty train H until after the baby is born in May. I have many reasons for it, the most important being I don't feel like he's physically ready.

However, he has gotten out of his bath twice now to pee in the potty, and has been taking off his poo-filled diaper in his bedroom without telling me...luckily, I'm not a complete moron and can tell when he doesn't have a diaper on. At the rate he's going, it's only a matter of time before he gets giardia or something else disgusting from coming into contact with his own fecal matter...awesome. My latest task is having him tell me when he needs a new diaper, although usually my nose tells me before he's willing to admit it.

On a totally different note, my parents sent me a huge stuffed elephant that I loved as a child so that I could pass the love onto H. He flipped out when I got it out of the box and said "I cared, mommy, I cared, elephant back in the box!" Sweet, yet another example of my collosal misjudgment regarding what my kid will think is the best thing since sliced bread. By the end of the night, he was carrying it around and loving it, but I must say, I was pretty sad that he didn't immediately shriek with delight since I'd been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the 3 foot tall stuffed beast for days. He normally loves anything with elephants, so I thought he'd be thrilled.

Lastly, I've been plugging along with the Christmas crafts and it looks like I may be successful after all! I finished ALL of my holiday shopping, and am ready to start wrapping and shipping!

For those who check-in regularly, sorry it took so long to post again. I've decided to set a regular schedule so that I post at least 4 times a week...I'm sure you'll be waiting with bated breath for the next installment. Until then...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Ahhh...the holidays are here! Today I officially started the portion of my Christmas shopping that doesn't include a craft store. I began my crafting bonanza last week, and am always amazed at how much I think I can accomplish versus how much is humanly possible.

Because the crafts are gifts, I can't openly discuss them, but suffice to say there will be photo documentation provided at a later date (read; December 26th). If I can pull this season off, I'll have a whole new respect for myself!

Reasons why I think this year will be different:

1. I've already started my crafting projects.
2. I've made a shopping list, and kept the number of people to whom we're giving actual gifts at a reasonable number.
3. I don't have an outside job, so I can let Henry run wild in our house while I "tie up loose ends" on projects through the first two weeks of December.
4. Finally, but maybe most significantly, I have delusions of gradeur.

When explaining my plans for gifts to friends, they think that I'm awfully crafty...however, my personality, as I've said before, is that I do things "good enough". Any real scrapbooker would cringe at my pages; they are not perfectly measured, and they aren't really even that good, but they're there!

I like creating a project and looking at it thinking, "Wow, I'm pretty awesome!" I mean, who wouldn't like to stare at a chart with a bunch of numbers and shaded images for hours and then voila, you've got an embroidered pillow case!? In case you didn't catch the sarcasm, I was ready to cry after stitching the first stem of the first flower...and there are TWO pillowcases to do? Sweet...I'm glad that I'm always so realistic about my abilities and time frames.

It used to drive my best friend crazy when I'd tell her I could be somewhere in 10 minutes when clearly anyone who had driven there in the last 30 years knows that it can't be done in less than 20 (at best). It's something that I've really worked on, but I have learned that it's due mostly to my desire to be all things to all people, all at the same time. "Yes, I can definitely do that for you. Oh, no, it won't matter at all that I'm currently holding a phone conversation with someone (not hands-free), juggling three bowling pins, diapering a child and preparing a meal...I can do it all!"

Back to shopping; my friends and I went to the outlet malls near our house, and it was so much fun! The air was crisp, and the sales were hot. I love shopping for other people, while at the same time satisfying my love for checking off items from a list. We went sans children, which was fabulous, and everytime I saw the gynormous stroller trying to squeeze through the congested stores, I thought, thank God Big J is home with H otherwise, this would not be fun...wait, otherwise, I would not be here!

There's nothing like having a day out, without kids, so you can talk about all the fun/crude topics that you can't in front of kids without the muted/mouthed words that make a conversation seem like it's being told over a bad phone connection.

Anywhoooo...that's life in the fast lane for ya.

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas (or whichever holiday you celebrate this year!) Also, in case you're wondering...that's the "tree" from our first Christmas as a married couple...pretty swanky, eh? They were supposed to flank a sidewalk, oh well!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Our Lady of Assumption

Over the years, I've become what one might call a "lapsed Catholic". While I still hold many of the beliefs, going to mass on a weekly basis has fallen by the wayside. It started in college when I worked most Sundays/didn't have my mother to force me to go.

I had a Catholic wedding, and my child has been baptized...but that's about it. I decided when we moved here that I would start attending church again, because I appreciated the structure that it provided me through childhood. Growing up, I had great priests. The best being the priest who is still serving, and married me/baptized H. He is liberal in his thinking, and made going to church as enjoyable as possible for a 17 year old brat, with the exception of the man we dubbed Father Speedy, because he said mass inside of 25 minutes without fail...it was awesome!

Fast forward 11 years, and here I am. In order to prepare for my return I purchased Catholicism for Dummies, What Catholics Really Believe and Inside the Catholic Mass. I was not going to be standing there, forgetting the words to the Nicean Creed or the Profession of Faith. I had overheard one of the other mothers in my group talking about her priest, referring to him as Father X (we'll call him) and saying how he's very liberal, and enjoyable to listen to, applicable to today, etc.

I finally asked the mom what church she attends and she said St. X (We'll call it). I was so excited to have found what I thought would be the perfect fit. Yesterday, I got myself ready ensuring that I replaced my wedding rings after applying lotion. As my husband is not Catholic and won't be attending with me, I wanted to ensure that everyone understood that I was not an unwed mother.

I packed H's bag with goldfish crackers, raisins, juice/water mix, and a string chesse, along with three Dr. Seuss board books that make no noices. I dressed him smartly in a brown corduroy suit and a striped button-down shirt. He looked very handsome, and I spent the drive explaining that he would have to sit in his seat through the time we were there, and that Mommy packed lots of fun things for him to do/eat.

I had seen the school attached to the church in passing on the way to another activity once, so didn't bother mapquesting. When I arrived at the school, I did not see the church, but a nice couple directed me, stating it was just around the corner on a different street.

I was feeling rather smug, so I called my oh-so-Catholic little sister (her nickname growing up was Sister Mary Mandy) to let her know that I was on my way to church! My dad answered, and said he would pass on the message, as my sister was at their house visiting, but that they were all happy I was returning.

Ahhhh...I've re-secured my position of favorite daughter (there are four of us).

I pulled up in front of the church, to be greeted with the sign "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You." Great! I have the wrong church. I put the car in gear to keep driving, when I saw the sign "St. X Episcopal Church"....WHAT?!? At a prior time, this mother had referred to herself as Catholic...did I hear incorrectly?

All this time, I assumed that the mom was talking about a Catholic church...all the subtle lingo was there! Growing up in a Mormon/Catholic household (yes, my Dad's Mormon and my Mom's Catholic, and they each attend their own church), I've learned that when people refer to Jesus as Heavenly Father, or talk about CTR or Seminary, they're most likely LDS. (A plethora of relatives from Utah doesn't hurt either, or having more than 6 siblings). I thought that I was going to a Catholic Church...I was SO disappointed.

Please let me state firmly, that I have NOTHING against Episcopalians, I'm just not one...like when Charlotte is converting to Judaism, and her friends say, "But youself is Episcopalian" well, my self is Catholic. I may be lapsed, but I haven't lapsed into another faith...

I called Sister Mary Mandy back, and she laughingly said, "What are you calling to get some coaching on what to say?" I said "It's even sadder!" in the most pathetic voice, relayed the story and made her laugh harder.

Well, I guess when you assume...

Next week, I'll be heading to St. Mary's in my town, as I looked in up in the yellow pages under Catholic Churches, let's hope that one's right.
On a side note, as I was typing, I heard H saying "Bad, Bad Bad!" I asked him what he was doing, and looked over the ledge of the loft, to see him holding a ball point pen. I had him hand me the pen, and asked if he had drawn on the wall. He replied "Yes. Bad! Bad!" I said, "If you knew it was bad, why did you do it?!" He looked at me blankly...I now know the reason that we HAVE to go to church...Catholic guilt kept me from being bad while in my parent's home during the teen years.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The 7 days of Last Week

I have been remiss in posting lately. This has been a CRAZY couple of weeks, with all the joys of toddlerhood keeping me on my toes every second. Let me just give the Cliff's Notes version (the to tune of the 12 Days of Christmas) If you sing it out loud it's more fun:

On the first day of last week, my Toddler gave to me; A crayon that he'd tried to eat.

On the second day of last week, my Toddler gave to me; Two new contusions and a crayon that he'd tried to eat.

On the third day of last week, my Toddler gave to me; Three broken pens, Two new contusions and a crayon that he'd tried to eat.

On the fourth day of last week, my Toddler gave to me; Four laundry loads, Three broken pens, Two new contusions and a crayon that he'd tried to eat.

On the fifth day of last week, my Toddler gave to me; Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive ruined CD's, Four laundry loads, Three broken pens, Two new contusions and a crayon that he'd tried to eat.

On the sixth day of last week, my Toddler gave to me; Six carpet stains, Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive ruined CD's, Four laundry loads, Three broken pens, Two new contusions and a crayon that he'd tried to eat.

On the seventh day of last week, my Toddler gave to me; Seven sleepless days, Six carpet stains, Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive ruined CD's, Four laundry loads, Three broken pens, Two new contusions and a crayon that he'd tried to eat. (The end)
Most of this would not be that big a deal, but I'm in my first trimester of pregnancy and EXHAUSTED ALL OF THE TIME! The new carpet stains that I'm referring to are two days in a row of diaper removal that had a #2 in it. In my former occupation, I used to roll my eyes when people talked about the kind of stuff their kids did when "I only turned my back for about 5 minutes!" Well, I'm here to tell you that it's true.

H game me the "opportunity" to shampoo his carpets and deep clean his bedroom two days in a row. The second day's event involved an entire tub of Boudreaux's Butt Paste, his CD collection, and a naked two year old (wait, he was wearing his velcro shoes). This event was about 15 minutes of poor supervision in the safety of his own bedroom. His cabinet has the magnetic lock on it that you use in the doctor office, but he muscled the door open. I had recently moved most diaper changing supplies to the bathroom, so can be thankful that it was only the one tub of butt paste, and not all of this lotion, etc.

I walked in the room to see him standing there in all his glory, with whitish schmere all over his legs, arms, boy parts and, yes, across his eyes. Little white eyelashes batted up at me, and I thought for sure my lack of supervision was going to lead to his blindness, but it's luckily a very mild product that wiped right off his face. He proudly exclaimed "I put the lotion on the bottom!" Oh honey...that's certainly on more than your bottom! I took him straight to the tub, then let him color while I shampooed his carpets and opened the windows to dry it all by the time his "quiet time" rolled around that afternoon.

Quiet time; what a joke! There are the rare days that he just drops from being so tired and falls asleep in his bedroom on a pile of book like the time shown above...please note the socks on his hands...his newest love.

Through it all, though, I couldn't stop laughing. I felt like I couldn't even be irritated because I can imagine how good it probably felt to put the paste on, and I KNOW that there were quite a few similar incidents in my childhood (bottle of foundation on my sister's white desk anyone?) He is such a curious and funny kid, but seriously, there are a lot of times lately when I think that it was almost easier(I'm not saying that one's easier than the other, only that each has its advantages) to be a full-time working mom.

Of course, when I was in the thick of that, I daydreamed constantly about just staying at home, under the delusion that this would be my big break, as I'd been working at a job (not including baby-sitting and lawn mowing) since I was 15. I guess I forgot to take into account that whole parenting a toddler bit.

Hmmm...seems you can't win for losing. I've been talking a lot with my friends and my sisters about "having it all." In trying to decide whether to go back to school right now, or wait a couple of years, I finally had to make peace with the fact that I am where I am, and I don't want to be going to school full-time, while juggling a toddler and, eventually, a new baby. I hope that I will be able to have it all eventually, maybe just not all at once.

Oh, and if anyone has tips for napping after the transition to toddler bed, please pass them on. I can only shampoo my carpets so much, and I'd really like to go back to napping when he does!



Saturday, October 13, 2007

Fool Me Once...

Argh...I just hate it when I finally allow my "I don't want to upset anyone" attitude to be swayed by a passionate argument, only to later find out that 'the wronged' may have been exaggerating...I read a Post by Expecting Executive in which she questioned the outrage felt by so many over the removal of photos of nursing women from the networking site FaceBook.

The historian in me is ashamed that I did not research the claims prior to writing an impassioned post, as it now seems that the innocent photo shown by the user who was removed may not have been the one that caused her photos' removal.

I am hereby recanting my outrage at Facebook (but not the basic sentiment that mom's should be supported in their choices) of my Babies are Better than Pasties post so you all will know that I am not, in the words of the famous KHall "koo koo la la".

Finally, although I'm pretty sure that I was only fooled once, this is still a shame on me situation.

This Little Piggy...

"This little piggy moved to Massachusetts, this little piggy stays home (with a 2 year old), this little piggy makes chicken nuggets, this little piggy loads the dishwasher, and this little piggy cried 'WEE WEE WEE, I need some time of my own!'"

I don't have the cutest feet, but I always feel better about them when they are painted and callous-free. Pedicures were a regular indulgence for me in Portland. Accompanied by a good girlfriend and a trusty Starbucks Latte, I would sit for an hour and have my piggies pampered.

Since I moved to Mass, I had only had one pedicure, and that was paid for by my lovely Oregon friend as a birthday gift. That means that I have gone almost 4 months with only one pedicure! The other morning, I was dying my own hair (another concession since being a SAHM), and dripped some of the "Warm Espresso" dye on my foot. Now, not only were my toes haggard and sad, one of the nails had a large brown stain, making it look as if I had some rare fungus.

I woke up this morning, after my DH let me sleep in until 10am (this seems to be a Saturday routine for those who read about my perfect day before), in a bit of a funk. I spent almost an hour wandering around Target getting a new shower curtain liner, as mine is riddled with mildew. As a splurge, I purchased four new hand towels, two for each bathroom, as I have not purchased handtowels since I was a Junior in college...my poor EB Home towels were starting to look sad after 8 years of dutiful service.

I then decided that I would do what makes the soul feel good, and visited my local nail salon. As soon as I walked in, it felt familiar, yet different. The pedicures were all performed in a back room, where each station has a sheer curtain that can divide them from the others and a small lamp, creating a wonderfully soothing ambiance. I opted for the Spa Pedicure, and sank my tired feet into the warm, whirling water. I set the chair to perform a lower back massage throughout, and prepared myself for a treat.

My pedicurist did an amazing job, using salt scrub, exfoliating cream, then an invigorating mint masque followed by massage oil. Each treatment was applied using a wonderful massage up to the knee, while the technician wore rubber gloves and used sterile tools. It lasted a full hour, and cost only $37!

I got to sit and read the classics; "Us Weekly" "In Touch" and "People" poring over the pictures of McDreamy, Lauren Conrad, TomKat and all the other beautiful people.

After choosing OPI's Double Decker Red for my nails, I sat and let the shiny lacquer dry before getting in my car to head back home, ready to tackle the fun task of cleaning toilets and doing laundry. H was sitting in his booster eating his snack, and looked at my feet, exclaiming "CUTE!"...ahhh...sometimes two year olds are all the self-esteem booster you could ask for.

If you'd like to replicate my experience go to Creative Nail & Spa, located at 50 Boston Turnpike, Shrewsbury, MA (White City, in the Shaw's parking lot) or call (508) 799-0258...it was worth every penny!

Well, better go clean those other t's (tubs and toilets for those not in the know :) )

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Sun'll Come Out....


Well, it was inevitable...I had my first melt-down as a full-time SAHM. It all started so innocently. You've read the saga about the transition to the toddler bed, and naps were going so well in the pack-n-play...until....

Yes, H decided that he was no fool. If he could climb out of his crib, he could certainly get out of this wimpy mesh-enclosed cave that he was forced to slumber in during the day. This was on Sunday. "Luckily" my husband was home and could share in my frustration as H quietly (or not) refused to nap. This was the child who had been sleeping for a solid three hours in the afternoon...I was NOT willing to forego that time, as it was all mine! Finally, I just layed down with him in my bed as he was obviously very tired, and he and I proceeded to sleep for over 2 hours (guess I was just as tired) while my DH watched the game.

Monday came and I caved, deciding to lay down with him again just this once. Going down was not as easy this time, as he wanted to play on the bed, and screamed whenever I tried to snuggle (okay hold) him to me so that we could settle in for a nice nap. Finally, blessed sleep overcame him and another 2 hours went by...again, I fell asleep as well, so no time for mommy.

Tuesday, repeat Monday's scenario, including the screaming and playing.

Wednesday...Okay, I was done with wasting my time alone by falling asleep with him, and decided that I'd have him sleep in his toddler bed. You can guess how well that worked. he stood at his doorway crying "Go Seeeep!" Translation: I want to go to sleep with you, mommy! Which quickly turned into "Go Seeeeeeeeeep, Mommy beeeeeeeeeeeeed!" So, being the mother of iron resolution, I scooped him up and took him to bed in my room.


Monday's scenario played out again, except no sleep came. I finally told him he'd have to go to his own room if he didn't lay down. He was not happy. After about 30 minutes of him saying "H Tired! Go SEEEEEP!" in his room, I tried the whole go into my room bit again...this cycle played itself out 3-4 times. Each time, his eyes lolled back in his head as I picked him up, and then when we layed in my haven of a bed, his eyes popped open, and he was ready to play and be jolly. I was SO frustrated by the time this was all done (about 2 hours) that I plucked him out of my bed, using all of my reserve will not to smack him on the bottom, and deposited him in his room, put up the gate, and said "I don't care what you do for the next 2 hours, but mommy is going in the other room."

I called my DH at work on his cell phone on the minute chance that he'd answer...no luck... I was breathing faster and faster, trying to choke down the tears of frustration that were threatening to spew out of my throat. I then made the call that I knew would make everything better...

There are four girls in my family; The Big Girls and The Little Girls, as there is an 8 year space in the two sets. I am one of the little girls. I immediately called my Oldest Sister, Myrtle T(who has three children ranging from 9 to 14), hoping that she would answer her work phone.

"Phone Company One, this is Natalie" Oh Crap...must sound normal, must sound normal..."Is Myrtle T there?" As soon as I heard my sister's voice, I could barely squeak out her name. She knew that it was me, as they have call waiting. When she heard my voice, she immediately asked "What's wrong?!" as that voice was generally reserved for deaths and disasters.

The floodgates opened, and I cried out (literally, I was sobbing by this point) "He won't sleep in his toddler bed and I'm SOOOOOOOO frustrated!" silence...

Myrtle: Ohhhh...I'm sorry...that's so hard!
Me: He's just playing in his room! (I then recounted the previous couple of days and the culmination of today, with gulps and sobs and a couple of expletives).

Myrtle: Calculated Silence, and then comforting...Ohhhhh...that is so frustrating. I remember those days well. Why don't you just go in your room and close the door for about five minutes. By then, he probably won't be crying anymore and you'll give yourself some space.

Me: He's not crying, he's just playing in his room!

Myrtle again: Ummmm...he's just playing in his room? He's not crying or doing anything dangerous?

Me: Yeah

Myrtle: Ummmm...I know that it can be frustrating, but he'll probably just fall asleep in his room.

Me: No he won't! He'll just play, and then he'll be exhausted tonight!

Myrtle: Well, maybe that will happen today, but if he's just in his room and being good, don't worry about it.

Me: (Slowly dawning on me that I sound like a crazed loon) Sigh...It's just so frustrating! I've never been this frustrated with him before!

Myrtle: Yep, this is that fabulous time of life when they still really need you, but are also aware of what they want, and aren't afraid to assert it.

Me: Okay...(wiping the last of my tears as the weight lifts off my chest)


Ahhhhh...that was all I needed...someone to let me know that I wasn't completely crazy, but also to remind me that this is what the 2s are all about...assert, challenge, assert! This just reminded me why it's so important for mom's to have a support network. Had I not had someone to call, I would have just cried in the living room by myself, withough bringing things back into perspective. I then peeked in at H to see that he was playing so well by himself in his room, talking to his dolly and "Haffy Feet".


That night, H was asleep by 6pm, wouldn't wake up for dinner, and slept through the night. The next day, I was lamenting to a friend that he was most likely just not going to nap anymore, although that thought terrified me! That afternoon, after H's friend left, I put him on his bed and let him know that it was time to take a "night-night". He promptly said "NO!" So I told him...'okay, you don't have to sleep, but mommy's going to leave the room, and you'll be in here for an hour or two by yourself." I checked on him periodically to ensure that he had a clean diaper and gave him a snack. About 35 minutes later, I peeked in because he was suspiciously quiet, only to find him sound asleep on a pile of books...he's napped most days since!


I struggled over whether to blog about this, not knowing if people would just think that I was a horribly mean mommy, or if they'd relate. At any rate, it's important to note that I just put him in his own room and walked (okay, stomped) away; I didn't spank him or yell at him (which is important to me, but maybe not to everyone). It's also always good to remember that tomorrow (for better or for worse) is a whole new day.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Just Bead It!

Today was such a great day! It started out with H sleeping until almost 8am (from about 5am, he was in our bed, but before that, in his own). I got up, got ready, and left Big J and H behind to attend an Intro to Beading Class at Tatnuck Bead Co. I had so much fun, and found that I really enjoy making jewelry. We made a bracelet and a pair of earrings during the class, and then all purchases made that day were 20% off! I highly recommend them, as they are a family-run business, with three locations, honest and extremely helpful staff, and a beautiful assortment of beads ranging from seed to semi-precious.

I bought enough supplies to make five pairs of fun chandelier earrings. When I got home with my purchases, J knew that he was in for another round of obsessive crafting. While H took a faux nap (aka crawled out of the pack-n-play, necessitating its removal from his room and then just played loudly with his toys), I busted out all five pairs and watched Blades of Glory for intellectual stimulation. With each twist of the pliers, and snip of the cutters, I got more and more excited about the possibilities, and the creative process involved.

When they were completed, I realized that I only had a couple of hourse until J and I got to leave for our first Date Night since moving to Massachusetts. We had a seafood dinner and saw The Bourne Ultimatum...being that Matt (Mr. Damon to you) is from Mass, I feel like we had the quintesential New England experience (others may disagree, but this is my blog).

I am completely satisfied after a meal of scallops and lobster, followed by two hours of Matt Damon in full-action mode. I'm now home, H behaved himself for the sitter, and I'm at the computer in my new uniform of flowy pj bottoms and a comfy T...what more could a girl ask for?

Well, I do have one request...it's almost 11 and H is still sleeping soundly; it would be fabulous if he could remain that way until, ohhhh, 7 tomorrow? I'll let you know how that goes...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Farther Down the Road

As a child, we went on a family vacation every summer. After 3rd grade, our car was always the same...a newer model of the Ford Taurus every 4 years or so.

My mom (who does have OCD) and my dad, who probably does as well, but prefers to be called meticulous, planned great vacations for us, always with the destination being a long, long, long way from our home to visit one relative or another.

I am probably one of the most impatient people I know (prior to becoming a knitter) and also didn't tolerate heat very well...until I moved to the East Coast and just had to embrace it. Fortunately, most of our vacations were road trips to the surface of the sun (translation; Phoenix, Arizona). On the way to our destination were always a plethora of natural wonders, such as the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, The Grand Canyon and The Petrified Forest.

The last thing that I wanted to do as a too-cool-for-school 16 year-old was get out of our air-conditioned car (which finally no longer had 6 family members crammed into it, due to my parent's creative age gap between children) and look at a bunch of chunks of wood that looked like rocks. I said as much to my mother and she, thinking she was punishing me, said "Fine, you just sit in the car and wait for us." Ooookay, I'll wait in the air conditioning while you guys traipse around this place. Man, I'm really sad about that!

One of my most memorable trips, however, was also to Arizona. Every year that we went, we would stop at my aunt's in Salt Lake City, and go to Wild Waters one day and the Zoo the next. I never tired of looking at the elephants and who could pass up a day at the water park?

We generally took three or four days to get to Arizona from our home in Oregon, because our family started out with six members (aka lots o' stops), but there were just five of us on this particular trip. We spent the first night at my aunt's and then would move on and the highlight was getting to sleep in a Motel 6 the next (which was so exciting for us, due to the whole pool and hot tub thing.) However, on this particular vacation, each motel that we went to had no vacancies. My dad just kept driving and driving, and you could sense his building panic.

At one point, he considered driving through the night, but this was back when he was the only person who drove on vacations, so that was out of the question. Finally, my parents came upon Lake Powell at about 8:00 at night, and found a resort there. The only room left was a suite, which was very nice and my sisters and I were so excited, talking about how cool it was that there were pots and pans and stuff already in the room. My parents didn't say one word about how this night at the resort must have put off their budget for the trip, because they didn't ever worry us with money. I still remember how beautiful the sunset over the lake was from the balcony of our room.

Looking back, I know that it must have been tight. I grew up in a very middle class family, with a mom who stayed home with us until my youngest sister was in first grade. Our family vacations were a really big deal, and they were planned and executed to the smallest detail. My dad always mowed the lawn the day before we left so that it wouldn't be too long by the time we got back, and we were all required to have all luggage packed and sitting by the front door before we went to bed the night before leaving.

My dad would then pack an inordinate amount of stuff with Tetris-like precision, fitting all of our "necessities" in the trunk often muttering an "Oh, Man, do you girls really need all this?" Stopping at rest stops along the way, we'd get an orange juice or a pack of gum, but all the real snacks were pre-packed and sitting at my mom's feet in the front seat. It was a treat that we all looked forward to; going shopping for our "trip treats" the day before we left.

We played games in the car, with my mom pointing things out to keep us from going out of our minds with boredom during the stretch through Utah and Nevada. This was long before portable DVD players, and we had the luxury of "walk-mans" only when we were older. Mostly, we listened to the set of tapes that came from the Shell representative; "Farther Down the Road". This was a sweet collection of country music, both classic and contemporary that got played over and over and over. Either that, or Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers and other stars that made appearances on Hee-Haw.

Our trips were definitely about the journey. I still have never been to Disneyland, and can't say that I'm terribly sad about that. My parents made sure that we had a family vacation every summer. For better or worse, we were together for about two weeks of quality time every summer, and I can't even begin to categorize all the memories I have from them.

I can say that, had my parents had a resource such as PickPackGo, I may not have had my first "resort experience", but my mom and dad would have been saved some stress. For those of you that have read my first post, you know that my husband and I recently traveled by car from Oregon to Massachusetts with our toddler, by car. While it was a long trip, it made me nostalgic for the vacations of my childhood, and made me realize that I will definitely be treating my kids to that someday. To make the destination as fun as the journey, I'm sure that PickPackGo will be utilized, so that we don't have to keep driving farther down the road in search of accomodations.

This blog was inspired by the latest blog blast from Parent Bloggers Network, and PickPackGo. For a chance to win an 8 inch portable DVD Player, check out the PBN website for details.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Babies are better than Pasties!

When I got the email from the Parent Bloggers Network regarding a new website that had been launched in the wake of Facebook banning photos of breastfeeding mothers, I was intrigued. The League of Maternal Justice was created in order to help women empower each other, and to stop injustices against basic practices in motherhood.

I know that I am fairly late in the game in blogging on breastfeeding (or not), as friends like Alex Elliot have been blogging about it for awhile.

First, I'd like to say that I feel lucky that I was able to successfully breastfeed H exclusively for about the first 6-7 months of his life, and then only in the morning and at night when I was home for a couple more months.

Granted, I was living in a fairly liberal city (shout out to P-town, OR), where I felt very comfortable breastfeeding in public; restaurants, theatres, you name it. Yes, there were still stories about people who were talked about or gawked at, but I never personally experienced it...that I know of.

At the hospital, a lactation consultant (LC) visited us in the room, and then everyone was automatically scheduled to be seen 2 days after being released from the hospital to see how the feeding was going, and if there were any supportive measures that could be taken. The LC was programmed into my cell phone, and there were a couple of times that she returned my call as late as 9 or 10pm.

I had a very hard time breastfeeding in the beginning, and had to use nipple shields (holy crap, Alex, I know what you mean about the cost) and the whole nine yards. The last thing I would have been able to coordinate at that point (in August, mind you) was to throw a blanket over my shoulder, nearly suffocating my child in the process.

I wore a nursing tank so by the time my shirt was pulled up (with the tank down) and the baby's head was there, you literally couldn't see ANYTHING. I've seen far more just visiting a local dance club...not a strip club...a dance club. It is amazing to me that when breasts are used in a manner that is objectifying, or sensual to others, it's perfectly acceptable (in fact encouraged, hello Girls Gone Wild) but when they're put to their designed use, folks must cast their gaze aside and secretly whisper about that brazen girl who's nursing at the table....GROSS! Then, there are certainly women who don't feel comfortable breastfeeding in public, and that is also their prerogative.

I could go on and on about breastfeeding, and how difficult in can be in the beginning without the appropriate support, etc. I could also go on about a woman's right to choose how she nourishes her baby. Some women are devastated when their bodies don't produce enough milk, or their design is simply not conducive to feeding, and the last thing that they need is grief over formula feeding. Last I checked, they don't put arsenic in formula (or any other damaging chemicals.) I certainly supplemented with formula after I returned to my extremely demanding job, whose schedule sometimes did not allow multiple pumpings (although there was a very nice lactation room with a rocking chair, refrigerator and magazines galore at my work)....but I digress.

The bottom line is that women are put in the position that we can't win for losing. If we breastfeed, it seems that some would be more comfortable if we did so cloistered in the corner where nobody could see us. If we choose formula, we are made to feel that we are depriving our babies of the ability to have a healthy and successful life. We need to support one another, which starts with the basic right to feed our children, and also acknowledging that a photograph of a women in the act of nursing is NOT pornographic.

When a baby is properly latched, they are covering as much as a pastie would...are people really taking the position that a BABY is worse than a PASTIE?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Saga Continues

So, it's been about a week since the Toddler Bed was introduced into our realm. The rocking chair was moved out of H's room, and the pack-n-play rapidly made it's debut as a permanent fixture.

Most nights H goes to sleep in his toddler bed just fine, but takes naps (and sometimes sleeps at night) in the pack-n-play. Lately, he's been waking up every night at 2am wanting milk and to sleep with us, to which I gave in a couple of times because I was just too tired to deal with it.

Well, since we reap what we sow, I decided night before last that I did not want that Toddler in my Bed every night. While I love cuddling with him, a queen bed with two not-small adults and a sideways sleeping toddler is not conducive to a good night's sleep. Lack of sleep rapidly turns me into "Mean Mommy."

The first night of my resolve to change, he awoke crying, which led to screaming...first I brought him some milk (save it, I already know I'm not supposed to). I rocked him back to sleep and gently placed him back in his bed, at which point his eyeballs popped open and he started screaming "Go nigh' nigh'!" Which translates to "I want to go to sleep in your bed. He was clinging to me like a spider monkey and screaming. I told him that he had two options; He could sleep in his bed like a big boy, or sleep in the pack-n-play. He said no to both, so I chose for him. Once settled in his light mesh cage, he was still howling like a wild animal, which I'm sure our neighbors love.

I told him that he had two more options (life's all about choices, eh?) If he would stop crying, I would sit next to him until he fell asleep. If he kept crying, I would leave the room. Well, Old H just kept on yowling, so I left the room, and sat in the living room, going over in my head all the reasons that I'm a crappy parent as my son's pathetic mewling in the other room continued.

After about 4 hours in "crying time" (translated to 10 minutes on the living room clock) he finally settled down, and there was blissful silence coming from his bedroom. I walked to our bedroom, and opened the door, which creaked painfully, and H's hyper-alert "mom's in the vicinity" spidey-senses activated, which resulted in a renewed bout of crying.

I nudged my DH and asked how long we should let him cry, to which he replied "about 10-15 minutes." Ohhhhhhkay, that was about 40minutes ago...thanks. So, it was decided that he would go get H and bring him to our bed.

Great, now he thinks that his crying is rewarded with coming to our bed...I know Ferber, wrong choice. I know, in my logical brain, what the experts may say but at this point I need sleep more than a junkie needs their next fix, so my emotional, 2 am, brain wins out. Of course he slept soundly until the next morning, once he completely took over the bed, no wait, my side of the bed forcing me into a reverse c-shape...mmmm...comfy!

Fast forward to last night, H awoke just after midnight crying for milk. I did not give in, I did not give him soothing bovine sustainence. I held him on the couch until he fell back asleep and then put him back in his bed, where he slept until 6am today.

I acknowledge that I did get him out of his bed, but he did not get milk, and he slept in his own bed the rest of the night. I'll take the small victories. While I would not have had this race to run had I not made certain choices before, those decisions are made, and I am where I am. So, I've chosen to take the most apartment-neighbor-friendly route, while still having the end goal of a child that sleeps in their own bed the whole night.

For me, slow and steady will have to win this race.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Son's Doody

Today, a shining moment came...Little H was walking around the house saying, "Poop. Poop." I checked his diaper and found nothing. I told him as much, and continued to put his clothes away. About 10 seconds later, I saw him get into his business pose...he then said it again "Poop." I jumped up, looked in his diaper, and it was there...I cleaned up, and then let him sit on the potty (the adult toilet...YES! No cleanup!), and he pooped on the toilet for the first time!

Sorry I couldn't come up with a more clever post, but if I'm using this blog to talk about parenting, what's more momentous than this occasion?!

I felt bad that I hadn't listened to his first statement, but I think that I'd had it in my head that he wasn't going to really do anything until he was much closer to turning 3. I guess all that repetitive viewing of Elmo's Potty Time is starting to pay off after all.

Stay tuned for the continued adventures of Henry and his toilet. (click here for photo link)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Patience is a virtue according to who?





In reading over my posts to date, I realized that I have talked a whole lot about parenting, not a lot about sex, and nada about the knitty. So, hope you enjoy some of my first attempts at being a knitty.
The top Sweater is the Presto Chango , and the sweater on the bottom is based on the Presto Chango Sweater by Valerie Wallis. The only difference is that the panel on the bottom sweater did not follow the pattern, as I didn't know what ssk meant, and was doing it wrong, got frustrated, a common theme you'll see, so did it whatever way I thought would be fine.
When I put the top version of the sweater on little H (doesn't he look thrilled?), my husband and I laughed hysterically while he asked "Is he the newest member of the Von Trapp Family Singers?" It was a touch more feminine than I had hoped because of the front panel. It was then that I realized the designer had made it for her little girl...duh! I love the sweater itself, and would make it again...I'm sure my neice will love it (hee hee.)

This blanket is one of the projects that I started while I was still in Oregon, working full-time, blah, blah. It's the Big, Bad Baby Blanket which was created by Lisa Shobhana Mason and featured in Stitch-n-Bitch. I felt like I was NEVER going to finish this blanket, but once I got to Mass and really started working on it, it took no time at all, was very simple, and looks GORGEOUS.

Knitting has become a haven for me, and has forced me to grow if you will. If you ask people who know me well (or not well at all) patience has not been my virtue. Prior to being a knitster, I would never have sat in one place long enough to see this many craft projects through to the end.

Growing up, my mom could get a 5 million piece puzzle for my little sister, and she would patiently work on it until the very last piece was perfectly in place. I, on the other hand, got bored after finding the corner edge pieces and was off to call a friend or play outside.

Sitting in my boss' office one day, I was showing her a sweater that I was knitting for a friend's shower that was as stiff as if I had placed cardstock in the middle and knitted around it. The baby would have looked like Randy in his snowsuit on A Christmas Story. So, at her suggestion, I uraveled the whole back panel. Because I was knitting with two strands together, it wasn't long before it was one flaming mess of yarn.

I sat patiently in her office (What? It was the end of the day and we weren't really working anyway) and unwound that yarn. Several times I looked up and announced that I was just going to cut it and start over, but she insisted that it was a good lesson for me, so I plugged away. Eventually I got both strands wound onto their respective balls, and I must say that it was the biggest sense of accomplishment I'd felt in a long time. How often to we have the opportunity to problem solve in such a short period of time? It was amazing.

Recently, darling H (formerly called Charlie for whatever reason I chose that day) has begun to have temper tantrums that are almost always the result of frustration that a task is not getting accomplished to his liking. He will start squealing and grunting like a feral animal. When I calmly say, "Are you frustrated? Do you need help?", he stops crying and lets me help him. I see myself in him so much these days...he's dramatic, stubborn, willful...it's okay, I'm a third child, aren't we allowed to be self-deprecating? (On a sidenote, when I was in third grade I wrote a short-story for my parents entitled Middle Child Nothing...my mom kept it for a long time in the cookbooks so she could have a laugh...nice, real nice.)
Anywho, in dealing with his oh so frustrating outbursts, I think back to sitting in my boss' office that day, when I really just wanted to throw the yarn across the room and stomp out in a blaze of glory. She was calm and gently teasing, but was able to talk me down. I think we all just need to be treated like two year-olds every once in a while.

If I only had the time...no wait, I mean the motivation!

Just after I had my darling H via cesarean, the best thing that could have happened was a phone call that I received from a fellow new mom. She asked if I would like to go walking with her sometime, although she understood if I wanted to give it another couple weeks. I told her that I'd love to start now, although I was only 2 weeks post-partum. At the time, I was living in Portland, OR, where the Starbucks are plentiful and sidewalks with great stroller access are even more so. (Since moving to New England, I found that were no sidewalks or walking access from my home, and I was a little disheartened.)


Before our first meeting, I attempted to shove my feet into the pair of tenny's that I had prior to being in my last trimester and no matter how much Step-sister to Cinderella style shoving I did, I could not make them fit comfortably.

I packed Baby H into his seat and off to the mall we went. At Lady Footlocker, I found the perfect pair; they were cute Ryka's with pink and silver detailing in a size 9 and a half...1.5 sizes larger than my pre-baby feet, but I was ready and my feet were comfy. I tried on those same shoes about 6 months ago, and they were sloppy and big as my feet had returned to a more normal (for me) size, so I bought a different pair.

That first day, we walked about half of a mile to the first Starbucks, where we stopped inside to chat, have a latte, nurse and relax. Each time we went, we picked a Starbucks that was a little farther from our starting point, and really got to enjoy the early fall weather and each other's company.

Time went on, I returned to work, she returne to medical school, and those walks got fewer and further between as the daily demands associated with being a full-time working mom mounted. I continued to enter into runs and walks, such as the Race for the Cure in Portland, Oregon (pictured above) pushing Henry in a jogging stroller with all my co-workers, but the walks with my friend slipped away.

I think that it's often not the FITting it in that's so hard, it's the getting Fit again and making it a routine. However, when I look back, I was the happiest during those walks because I was doing it with a friend. The most important thing, for me, about an exercise routine is to find something that you really enjoy (I know, you've heard it a million times, but there's a reason for that), and that will make you feel relaxed and happy when it's done. Find someone that's not competetive with you, and makes you feel good, and make a commitment to yourself to always find time to "FIT it in."

This blog was inspired by the Blog Blast sponsored by The Parent Bloggers Network and Ryka. Ryka will be giving away 50 pairs of shoes every day during the month of October! If you'd like the chance to win a pair of Ryka sneakers, or a whole outfit, click on the link to PBN above to find out how. (Or don't, so I'll have a better chance of winning :) )

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ding Dong, the Toddler Bed...

The parenting milestone that I've been dreading more than potty-training has arrived. The transition from crib to toddler bed is proving to be a difficult one. Yesterday, my husband (J)walked in to find H flopping his leg over the crib railing and then straddled it, saying "Motorcycle". This is something he has been doing to everything lately; the arm of the couch, the table leg, the edge of the bookcase. It's quite charming.

We immediately removed the side rail of the crib, as it's touted to be a convertible bed. Turns out, it's not really a very functional toddler bed, it's wobbly and pretty high off the ground with no railing to prevent "fall-out", so it was off to craigslist I went, searching for the perfectly priced toddler bed. Although I had said before that I would never buy a toddler bed out of fiscal conservativism (which I've not shown in any other aspect of my life), it turns out that they're not such a bad idea...shocker! I found a really great toddler bed in less than two hours, and scheduled a pick-up time.

Putting him to bed last night went great, and I really felt like the battle was over....then 2am rolled around. I walked in to find H sitting on the floor, crying for me, with his blankie and quilt beside him. I sat at the edge of his bed and stroked his head for close to an hour, with each time I attempted to creep away resulting in his big brown eyes popping open, and saying 'Mommy, ROCK!"

Finally, out of a horribly selfish need for sleep(not really, because if you know me, my sleep benefits everyone), I did what I know you're not supposed to do and said, "Do you just want to go to sleep with Mommy and Daddy?" The crying instantly stopped and he nodded his head saying "Yeah, yeah, yeah." Well, I may have done long-term damage to his night-time routine, but he slept with me until 8am, so we'll save tomorrow's troubles for...oh yea, TODAY.

Naptime rolled around, and I put him in his bed, then put him in his bed, then put him in his bed...was I having dejavu or was H seriously not staying in his bed?! Finally, I said "Do I need to get your playpen out so that you'll stay in your bed for nap?" "YEAH!"...so I did...and he fell asleep...and now, I'm not sure what to do because he can't just sleep in the pack-n-play forever.

Seriously, these are the questions that make you re-evaluate your education and your prior career, and think, did I learn nothing? Why can't I troubleshoot the little things? So, if you have a great tip or trick, feel free to leave a comment, because I may just end up being the Wicked Witch of the West if this doesn't end.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Ode to Tom...

Mmmm...in case any of you were wondering when the sex, of sex and the knitty was going to enter into this blog, here he is!

Today, my husband and I are watching our first Patriots game as New Englanders. While I enjoy watching football, I don't have a full understanding of all the rules or nuances of the game...just the basics. I was a football cheerleader after all (go ahead, laugh it up chuckles), so I understood that the Defense was supposed to "Push 'em back, Push 'em back, waaaaaaaaay back." And that the offense was supposed to get the ball forward 10 yards, and that they had four tries (okay, "downs") to do so. I will admit that I didn't realize for about three years of watching NFL games that the yellow line on the screen....it's not really on the field, it's digital.

But there has been one constant in my semi-aware, football-watching life; I have always been a big fan of Tom Brady. Back in the day, I was cutting out pictures of him in his college uniform (along with Notre Dame's Ron Powlus) when I was supposed to be clipping current events in Social Studies at good ole UHS. He exudes that male-ness that makes most women (notice I didn't say all, because I try to stay away from absolutes, but it would be a pretty safe statement in this case) stop what they're doing and just gaze a little.

When my husband and I decided it would be fun to start watching football together, I immediately called my recently converted football fan sister (FFS), to ask if I could borrow her new bible; Get Your Own Damn Beer, I'm Watching the Game! by Holly Robinson Peete. My FFS has moved to Iowa, and I don't know if you've heard, but the Midwest is kind of into their college (and high school) football teams. Ms Robinson Peete has written an amazing guide to understanding and loving NFL games.

Of course, there is always the little bonus that the pads continue to get more 'aerodynamic' leaving just enough to the imagination. Watch on ladies, the season has begun, and I've got the best home team advantage!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...

Recently, I received an email from a fellow blogging mama, letting me know that there was a contest being put on by Parent Blogger Network, which was sponsored by Harper Collins' new book Little Black Book of Style by Nina Garcia. The challenge is to blog about your most hideous wardrobe remnant. The prize? A $250 gift certificate to Coach will be awarded to a randomly selected entrant! That's worth any humiliation brought on by openly talking about my ineptness in fashion.

When I first read it, I thought, "I just purged all my nasty stuff when we left Oregon." But then I really looked at my closet and my current wardrobe. I have always been that girl who can put together a killer outfit in my mind, but when it gets on my 5' 10", two-bills-plus frame (thank you Sweden), it just never materializes (no pun intended). Thigh to bra Spanx are a staple for me.

While I was never a fashion icon, I did have a career there and dressed in more than Capri's and T's with semi-coordinating flip-flops. This summer my husband, two-year-old son and I moved cross-country and I became a stay at home mom. When purging in Oregon, I was preparing for a life of sweatsuits and sippy cups. I sifted through my clothes again, and gasped in horror...I am a mom now! No, wait...I am MY mom!!!

Throughout my childhood, and still today, her wardrobe consisted of about 50 pairs of cotton twill-denim-ish pants with an equal quantity of striped and solid T-shirts. My older sister used to laugh and call them her adult Garanimals. She had no muss, no fuss short hair that was permed about every other week, wore no make-up, and used a brush-style curling iron as a blow dryer/comb/styling tool. With that said, I have great memories of my childhood. My mom always got right in with us. Plus, she has OCD, undiagnosed until all of us were out of the house, and so had to have the flexibility to compulsively bend and clean at any given moment.

I have yet to lose my baby weight and my child is two years old. Add to this that this non-style allows me to be a little less of a freak. I would be like Mommie Dearest if I were wearing cashmere jogging suits, or one of the other not-so-practical suggestions that have been offered, and my little darling put his ketchup-smeared hands on it. I don't have the funds to purchase that once, let alone to have it dry-cleaned or replaced.

I kind of like that I wear clothes that won't cause me to have an aneurism when my kiddo wants a hug and then ends up getting muddy footprints on me. In my mind there is always the promise that this is temporary, and that my true sense of style, attempted or achieved, will come back to the forefront when I no longer have toddlers. I do have some good, stylish, peices that I wear to non-toddler functions. I still get my hair foiled regularly at a salon that is not walk-in only, and am an independant skincare and cosmetic consultant. I know how to get dolled up when the occasion calls. I say all this so you won't think I'm a total loser when you read what comes next.

At the beginning of Summer, I went shopping for some seasonal clothes. Realizing that I no longer have legs that are worthy of either Nair or its short shorts, I decided that I would be most safe selecting a multitude of Capri pants in different prints that I could pair with my plethora of solid T's from Targ-aay.

After trying on about 10 pairs with my child in the shopping cart (yes, I said shopping cart which means that I was not in a Stacy and Clinton approved store) and feeling like I wanted to cry because they were just not fitting right, I saw them. It was as if the store's lighting all went out, save for one rack, with a choir of angels drawing me to the perfect pants.

There they were; available in 5 colors (including 3 shades of khaki). Mid-calf denim-twill-cotton-ish pants with an ELASTIC WAIST BAND AND DRAWSTRING. I'm not talking about the breezy linen drawstring pants that you see in J.Jill or Eddie Bauer; these were full-on mom pants. I bought them immediately in one size too large so that I would be comfortable, although tightening the drawstring to make them fit causes a front butt and other unflattering silhouette issues. But I didn't care because I felt like I was wearing sweats, only slightly more socially acceptable.

And I didn't stop there. A few others, including a pair of butterfly camo Bermudas and Black camo rip-stop cotton capris with drawstring rouching up the leg (don't worry, I haven't worn those out of the house yet), somehow made it to the counter and into my sad little bag of purchases. All of which were one size too large, because "What if they shrink?"

As I flipped through the stacks of my clothes tonight, trying to find some inspiration for this blog, I reflected on the little wooden sign which hangs neatly in my bathroom..."Mirror, Mirror on the wall, I am my mother after all."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Everybody Poops

For those of you who know me, poop is a ready topic of conversation. From the time I was little and my mom was making "Sara's Raisinless Granola" and "Honey Whole Wheat Bread" to ensure good BM's to the days of a malfunctioning gall bladder, my life has been ruled by poo.

How fun, then, for me to discover that it is also a favorite topic for toddlers. Every noise and gurgle elicits the same response from my darling toddler; "Mommy, I poop 'gin." By this point, I don't really pay much attention, because it usually means nothing, and my nose does a much better job of separating the wheat from that chaf than do my ears.

He had become the little boy who cried poop, so I took little notice when I heard that phrase yesterday as I was letting him know that I was going downstairs to check our mailbox.

I looked in his room, and he was making an odd motion with his hands...it was then that I realized what he had on his hands, and had subsequently rubbed on the carpet. It was, in fact, doo doo. I said "Oh No!" Jumped over the gate (yes, I baby-gate my child in his room occasionally to encourage "imaginitve play time"), grabbed his hands together in one of mine, got the lock to open the dresser with diaper-changing supplies with the other, wiped off his hands, covered them with about a gallon of sanitizer, changed his diaper (in which, luckily, the rest of it was contained) changed his clothes, and took him to wash his hands thoroughly with soap and warm water (no, I didn't just use sanitizer and call it good).

I then deposited him in his crib for a nap, for clearly only the desperately tired would stick their hand in their diaper and rub the contents on the carpet of their bedroom.

I cleaned the carpet, then treated it with oxyclean, and all was well.

Crisis averted...I closed his blinds, pushed play on a CD of soothing music from the Island of Maui, and walked out of the room humming a new lullaby to myself "Wash your hands after going to the bathroom, wash your hands after changing baby too. 'Cuz you don't want to get hep-a-titis, and we don't want hepatitis to get you. And YOU!" (You do remember that PSA from the 80's don't you?) Ahhhh, the joys of motherhood!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Step by Step



After moving 3,000 miles closer to New York City, I felt that my chances of being able to see SJP and the girls up close and personal were drastically increased. Last night, just before going to bed, I got a text from a girlfriend back home that said "Just read a sign-Sarah Jessica Parker will be at Wash. Square on 8.17.07 to promote her new perfume." WHAT?! The most random mall they could ever choose and it's within 5 miles of my old home?! Okay, deep breath, surely there will be a whole tour and I will be able to see her in Boston. This is a major metropolis. I flew up to the computer room and used my trusty google, only to find that, horror of horrors, there were only two stops on her tour; New York City (2 days ago) and Portland, OR. I feel ill...I will be going back to Portland the week after she's there. Why? Why? Why? I, sadly, could not click my Manolo's three times to get to Portland for her appearance because, oh yeah, I DON'T HAVE ANY!

Then it hit me...get a grip! What? What would I say? "I'm your biggest fan?" I'm sure she's never heard that before! (Although, I'm sure that she would be gracious, smile and thank me) It was then that I realized that standing in line to have SJP sign a bottle of perfume I purchased would not be the same as my vision of sitting down with "Carrie and the girls" (I put that in quotes so that you understand that I know they aren't real people) to have coffee. She wouldn't set aside her pen so that we could dish for an hour...

I was reminded of 6th grade; New Kids On the Block (NKOTB for those in the know) were my life. It was a time when you could buy every teen tabloid even though they all said the same thing, because it may have a slightly different picture than those already plastered around the room. At the time, my room was painted white, but you wouldn't have been able to tell because Danny, Donny, Jordan, Jon and little Joey Joe were my wallpaper. I would envision them coming to my teeny tiny hometown, seeing me, and realizing that I was the best thing since sliced bread...wait, weren't they at least a decade older than I at that point?

As I came down the stairs and told my husband the disappointing news, he looked at me a little oddly, and it was confirmed. I was being ridiculous...

I was shocked and horrified to realize that I, sensible mother of a toddler and former social worker, was behaving like a starstruck pre-teen! What is it about Sex and the City that can make women forget that they are not Carrie? We're sitting in sweats on our couches in the suburbs, knitting while we watch the show.

Flash to this morning at 9am. I read on Ireland OnLine that SJP had confirmed that filming of the movie would begin (in theory) in six weeks to release as early as NEXT SUMMER! I immediately called my sister, fellow fan (FF) and left a voicemail with the exciting news. We can meet in NYC for the movie premier! Looks like I may have to enter into a 12-step for this one, or maybe I just really miss my friends. You decide.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Let them eat cake!

Watching the Food Channel, I often come across shows where the host is decorating a great cake. To replicate this, they say you only really need to do three things: let the cake cool completely, use room temperature frosting so that it doesn't cause excess crumbs to be pulled up and to layer three sheets of wax or parchment paper under the cake in a triangle so that you can pull them out from under the cake upon completion for a professional and spartan-looking cake plate.

Last night, I was so proud of myself. My son (we'll call him Charlie) turns two today, and I made him a cake with brightly colored layers. I baked the cake at 4pm, and allowed it to cool (first in the pan on a rack, and then turned upside down) for FOUR hours. If you know me, which most of you don't, you will know that my waiting four hours was akin to skipping desert at a big family dinner...unheard of. My cakes are generally "extra moist" because I frost them when they're still warm and the frosting just kind of oozes into the cake.

Not this time! No, this was going to be the most perfect bright blue and green layered cake that was ever frosted with day-glo orange icing. Why? Because I am now an at-home mom, that's why. My entire 'job' as I see it is to make amazing pastries from scratch and host home-made meals to two-income couples so that I can continue to get praise and recognition. Wait, maybe it's to take care of Charlie and ensure that he grows to be a well-adjusted adult who doesn't have mother issues, whatever. Last night, it was perfect pastries.

So, I was literally beaming with pride because my cake looked so great! I neatly pulled out the first sheet, and then the second, leaving only the perfect clear glass of the cake plate. Then, it came time to pull out the third sheet. Somewhere between gently laying the cake onto the waxed paper, and pulling out the other two layers, the third piece had gotten so far under the cake that it would not come out. I had two options; I could just leave the paper there so that all could witness my ineptness, or, I could use my bare hands to dig that piece out...which do you think I chose?

That's right...ten minutes later, my hands were covered in orange frosting (which I had tinted myself using food coloring to achieve the perfect shade), the layers of the cake were sliding apart, and my heart was sinking because I had just failed. My child would have an imperfect cake for his birthay.

As I looked at the pile of cake and frosting with blurred vision (yes, tears of frustration), Charlie looked over at me and said "Wasss that?" He couldn't see the cake, he could just see me, and I realized that it didn't matter. Frosting can fix everything. I scooped it all back into place as neatly as possible, and slapped on some orange-tinted sugary goo. I piped on his name with bright blue icing, and added a decorative border to detract from the now-smeared plate.

So, we'll have a little cake with our icing...I'm sure to him, it will be just as good. So, my first lesson has been learned: Cooking shows are a crock!