Monday, December 29, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
A mere three hours later, I heard what I thought were the rumblings of a distant DV incident, but were really J explaining to H quite delicately that it was nowhere close to time to wake up. A cry of "I peed!" brought J jumping out of his bed, rushing to the bathroom with H. A quick change of the diaper and pj's and we were ready to fall back into blissful slumber.
3am Pacific is 6am Eastern, so H had technically fulfilled his sleep quota. He was up for the day. I thought that we (and in this case I must mean the royal we, as J was already drifting back into dreamland...oh, to be a man.) may be able to eek out a few more minutes of sleep by just turning on the TV and 'resting my eyes', but C chose that moment to announce that he wasn't really all that sleepy anymore either.
I tossed back the covers and jumped in the shower, (Tag! J, you're it!) welcoming the warm spray and the sloughing away of airport grime. There's nothing like cross-country travel with kids to make you feel fresh as a daisy. After I was done getting ready, we decided to go get breakfast, and my heart sank as imagined the local IHOP when one of the things I'd been most looking forward to was all the great breakfast places; Cadillac Cafe, Mother's Bistro, Rose's Deli (just to name a few)...a far cry from the offerings of White City. When you're traveling on a budget, it just felt so sad to spend you first vacay money on airport food with a chaser of Denny's. I had a sudden resolve to not eat crap food for breakfast. Driving away from the hotel, J remarked that we were like fugitives; checking into a hotel at midnight with our little kids and then slinking out again before 6am.
After double-checking the business hours of one of our fave restaurants with no dice, we remembered The Reedville Cafe, which has a great breakfast menu, awesome french toast and other specials and is really family friendly. As providence would have it, it opened 5 minutes before we pulled in.
I loved every morsel of my eggs Florentine and three cups of coffee, then rushed to my best friend's house as it was now the every-parent decent hour of 8am. And we'd already been up for five hours.
Did I mention that I'd failed to sleep the night before leaving? Apparently, I was so excited, I forgot to go to bed. I kept looking at the mountain of clothes and diapers, the over to the three suitcases and it just seemed like too much to commence, so I knit more of the socks I'm working on, watched a little Law and Order while doing laundry and just generally procrastinated the task of packing. Before I knew it, it was 5am and I'd yet to hit my head to the pillow. Three hours of sleep is paltry on its own, but when it's all you get in 72 hours, it leaves a little to be desired.
Yesterday, I made it through a busy day of meeting with old friends, touring the new building of my old job, lunch at Burgerville (Sweet Potato Fries, yum!) and a dinner at Cafe Mingo with my best friend, her family and another couple with their kids where I was barely able to hold it together while H cried loudly after being awoken on the short walk from the car to the restaurant. Luckily, we'd had the foresight to inquire about their private room, so it was almost like having dinner at one of their homes without the work of cleaning for and preparing a meal. By the time the calamari came out, H was sleeping on a bed of coats and I was happily finishing my second glass of wine.
At home, with all the kids asleep, we got to stay up and visit hitting the sack at about midnight. It's now 5am, and I've been up for over an hour. What? What's that you're asking? Where's my husband? Right. He's upstairs. Asleep. And I'm not one bit bitter. Nor did I make any snarky comments about his level of helpfulness as I awoke. And I won't be rude to him when his well-rested ass finally makes it downstairs. Or hold it against him the rest of the day. I. am. Zen. Mother.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Tonight, I was baby-sitting for another mama and I was greeted by the scent of a live Christmas tree, tubes of wrapping paper stored in their Rubbermaid containers waiting to wrap gifts and the Cindy-Lou Who-esque four year old I was watching was dressed in her pj's awash in the glow of the lights and tinsel from the tree.
I was hit with a strong sense of nostalgia of being that Cindy-Lou Who in my pj's, so excited for Christmas to come I could hardly stand myself. As time marches on, the magic of Christmas gets overshadowed by the craze of buying, making, wrapping, shipping, buying some more...
After reading her a few bedtime stories, I was getting a drink in the kitchen when I spotted Baby-Sitter Kryptonite. Yes, it was the classic shirt box with tin foil peeking over the edge that could only mean one thing...cupcakes leftover from a party. As I peeled back the paper and savored the chocolate frosting and sprinkles, I started thinking more about what it was that I really loved about Christmas growing up.
My mom decorates for every holiday, so you can't help but be swept up in it; although we tease her endlessly for her lawn that is now littered with blow-mold snowmen, but really we didn't ramp it up until the nativity came home...Baby Jesus, in plastic blow mold...lit up? And you wouldn't let me watch the Like a Virgin video because it was sacrilege? hmmmm. Do as I say, not as I do, right?
We always had a wood stove in the kitchen and my mom and dad would have us write our Santa letters then they would put them in the fire so that the ashes could fly out the chimney and make their way to the North Pole for Santa to piece back together. He's really quite amazing, that jolly old guy.
Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember (save for the last couple years when I lived further away) is spent at my aunt and uncle's house where all of the aunt, uncles and cousins get together for a Waffle Feed...I have 36 first cousins on that side, and the feed is open to extended family, and really anyone who wants to come in the community. After we get fat and happy on waffles smothered in strawberries and whipped cream or maple syrup, fried eggs and sausage, it's off to Midnight Mass.
Christmas morning was the only time we got pre-sweetened cereal, so it was all about picking your own little mini box of trix or frosted flakes and then it was off to open gifts with my dad in his sweet navy velour track suit (of which J has a frightening duplicate) divying up the gifts, making sure we opened one each in order of age and the handed him the paper to be tightly wadded and promptly disposed of in the garbage bag he had at the ready. We're a 'rip and tear' family. Ironically, now my mom makes home-made sticky buns after gifts are opened, because cold cereal is the last thing we want.
The cost to fly home and spend time with family was J and my gift to each other; we agreed to doing only stockings for each other, and by that I do not mean that there will be a diamond, or whatever the male counterpart to that is, nestled in it. The harried pace at which we've been living for the last year-and-a-half, well really last five-and-a-half, is making this vacation all the more appreciated.
I've mentioned before that we agreed on a home-made Christmas this year in my family. I couldn't help myself in looking at the gifts as I'm preparing to mail them ahead of us and feeling like they're a little paltry. Nevermind that I've spent several hours making them, I keep thinking 'What else should I add to this?' 'What if it's not enough?' 'What if they get me more?' I called Milly, who was having the same internal dilemma for Sherri's gift, as that's the sister she drew. We ended the conversation with the agreement that the whole point of going handmade this year was to spend less and still have a gift that's personal.
Thanks, Cindy, for reminding me of the simple joy of being excited for Christmas' sake. Because, in the end, that's what I really want for my kids.
Friday, December 12, 2008
I don't even have an official diaper pail yet, as I was just using a mop bucket by the washing machine with baking soda in the bottom for a dry pail. With a potty-training toddler and a baby in cloth diapers, there's really not ever more than a day without doing laundry, so the smell that I was worried about hasn't been an issue at all. The diaper pail in our bathroom that holds H's disposables smells like something died in it, which I guess it technically did, but the cloth pail is fine.
Now that I know I can do it, I've ordered a WAHMIEs diaper pail liner, which fits in a standard garbage can and also ordered a couple of hemp/microfiber liners from Emily's Little Treasures (Which I really like, especially compared to having the bulky Chinese pre-fold in there) that fit into the g's ...the up-front investment has been pretty negligible so far.
In my slow surrender to 'becoming a dirty hippie' as Lynn at Family Style Love termed it, I've found that I'm getting kind of excited about all the positive changes. Using Earth Friendly Orange Plus for most of my cleaning, regular white vinegar and baking soda have made a happy little addition to my repertoire.
After being a complete brat about the high price of organic living, I've found that there are so many ways to go green on a budget. Full Circle has a huge natural and organic product line that is carried at Roche Bros (others as well, but Roche Bros is where I shop a lot) and is actually cheaper than a lot of the generic regular items. From free-range chicken stock to vegetarian refried beans to toasted oats, I've found a grocery brand that's inexpensive and really good. Their website also has a menu and recipe database.
So where does that catchy little title come in, you may be asking yourself? Well, because I was on an organic high from all the good I was doing by washing my little gooey breast milk poo diapers in our front-loading energy-efficient washing machine with dye and perfume-free detergent. And then, C started to eat solid food. Again, the good feelings as I spooned Earth's Best Organic Sweet Potatoes, Plum Banana Brown Rice and Pears with Blueberrry into his gaping baby bird mouth. The best part? These were all free, as another mom's baby had recently outgrown that stage in life. (When they were gone, I went to Target and found that Earth's Best was marked lower than the regular Gerber line.)
And then...yep, out came the solid poo. I tried scraping it off with a wipe because I just couldn't bring myself to dunk it in the toilet...I guess I don't see what that really solves. So, first you have a poopy diaper, then you have a wet, probably still poopy diaper? Hmmm..doesn't seem much better. The wipe route didn't work wonderfully, but it was better than nothing.
I quickly invested in the bumGenius diaper sprayer, which was highly rated on amazon, and had been talked about on several of the gDiaper and cloth diapering e-loops that I'm on. It came in the mail yesterday, and I asked J to install it last night. While I have to call the company because it leaked all over the bathroom floor, I'm confident that there's an easy fix. Out of the 20+ reviews I read, nobody mentioned it leaking; "I don't think I would be quite so excited about cloth diapering without this product. It works great on even the yuckiest poops!"
Music to my ears.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Henry Ford is probably rolling over in his grave.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
I can't remember the last book that really made me reflect on my life as this one did. The Kite Runner made me bawl, but it was such a foreign (obviously) culture and story that it was sad in the way that epics are, but Shelter Me made me think about my life and I identified with the character in the way that she talked about her children and how she interacted with them.
Even us prickly, sarcastic people take in the small, private intimate details of our kids....
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Last year, because I was buying gifts for everyone, I went out in the mad frenzy that is the mall, Wal-Mart and other retail outlets in order to get the good deals. I have to say, I was really disappointed with the 'deals' at the mall, but went to Wal-Mart because they always have several advertised specials and I had PS2 games to buy for my nieces and nephew. Yes, it was busy, but it wasn't out of control.
I was reading Milly V's blog today and read about this incident at a Long Island Wal-Mart in which an employee died as a crowd of customers trampled him during a stampede when the doors were opened. Are you kidding me?! What could possibly be worth ramming yourself into a store so hard and fast that people die?! In addition, a woman's miscarriage is attributed to this incident. This isn't the running of the bulls, folks. There's not a fire. Your life will not end if your child doesn't get the newest gadget at 50% off. But apparently somebody else's will.
"Roughly 2,000 people gathered outside the Wal-Mart's doors in the predawn darkness.
Chanting "push the doors in," the crowd pressed against the glass as the clock ticked down to the 5 a.m. opening.
Sensing catastrophe, nervous employees formed a human chain inside the entrance to slow down the mass of shoppers.
It didn't work.
The mob barreled in and overwhelmed workers.
"They were jumping over the barricades and breaking down the door," said Pat Alexander, 53, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. "Everyone was screaming. You just had to keep walking on your toes to keep from falling over."
After the throng toppled Damour, his fellow employees had to fight through the crowd to help him, police said.
Witness Kimberly Cribbs said shoppers acted like "savages."
"When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, 'I've been on line since Friday morning!'" Cribbs said. "They kept shopping.""
My thoughts are with the family and friends of that employee, and I hope that everyone takes this as a very hard-won lesson about what the holidays are supposed to be; a time to slow down and appreciate each other and what we already have.
With the all-clear granted, I drifted back to blissful sleep for what I hoped would be more than an hour...what felt like about five minutes later but was really 3 hours H exclaimed "Oh no! I peed!"
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
We'll see how making the arms goes, I'm more nervous about that.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Fast forward 5 months and there I was, on diapers.com clicking away to get my starter packs of gDiapers. I ordered three kits in order to have 6 of the pants, and my best friend kindly offered to pass two more on to me. This was even after she'd read my post...yes, she's a very good friend! I had to chuckle when I opened the package and noted that one of the pants she sent was the very one I'd bagged on. Yep, the "I Love the Earth" gDiaper.
While I'm known to be incredibly outspoken, I'm also able to take big bites of my slice of humble pie. After several months of using both the g flushable inserts and stuffing the bad boys with cotton pre-folds, I am sold. While I know that were I working outside the home, I may never have ventured to use cloth or a disposable alternative (why? sheer laziness, fear of laundering them, etc) I am so happy I did.
I have saved so much money by using the cloth diapers inside the g pants and it has allowed me to put my money toward other eco-friendly things that I may not otherwise have justified. Likewise, using vinegar and baking soda as supplement to my eco-friendly line of cleaners has allowed those to stretch further so I'm not feeling the pinch.
J and I walked in the house the other day after I'd cleaned the counters, floors and bathrooms with nothing more than Earth Friendly Orange Plus and we looked at each other, inhaling a big lungful, noting that the house smelled, well, clean. I can usually tell when I've scrubbed the bathroom for days with the tell-tale harsh chemical smells, but this just smelled not-like-a-diaper-pail.
On that note, my fears of the cloth diaper pail stinking have been allayed, and I don't even have a good system yet. The bucket in the bathroom that houses the disposables used on H and C at night smells exponentially worse, and I think it's because I use a dry bucket and do laundry every other, if not every, day eliminating a funk from developing. I'm so sold on cloth diapering that I am considering the BumGenius 3.0 for the days I use only cloth, saving the g's for the days I use their flushable inserts (or not at all?). The up-front investment on the g's has already been paid back by using cloth inserts sometimes, so I can only imagine what using cloth all the time would do for the ole pocketbook.
I'll still love my Clorox anywhere bleach spray, but other than that, I feel like each day I'm heading over to the dark side. Dark Green that is.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Have you been to the site Momversation? It's a great space filled with video conversations between a group of well-established bloggers, including the 'mother' of all bloggers Heather Armstrong (of Dooce fame), on topics that affect us on a daily basis. From talking to our kids about the economy to choices in child-birth methods, all the bases are covered for a great conversation.
Even when I ventured forth to baby garments...how much difference would it really make, I argued with myself before surging forward; resulting once in a super cute sweater vest that wouldn't fit over H's toddler melon.
So, while I'm waiting for the right color of Wool-Ease to arrive from LionBrand.com, I decided that it would be a good use of nervous energy to make my very first gauge swatch. I was pretty pleased with myself to see that I was spot on...with needles one size larger. I always thought I knit pretty loosely, but I guess not. Good to know. Can you imagine the tantrum that would result from finishing that knit-along only to find that the yolk I started too small would subsequently effect the rest of the entire sweater...and then not fit over my melon?
Oh, and time 'wasted'? About fifteen minutes. Now, I'm off to practice the cable pattern so I can begin in earnest when the real deal arrives.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Instead of having 5 million sticky notes all over, you can have a central location for all of your wants, needs and ideas, printing only those that you need to take with you at the time.
While it is currently in the testing phase, I'll be using it in some of my posts, particularly those with recipes, so that shopping lists and meal plans can be created from one list.
There is so much to learn about this site, so I'll be posting more information as I become better versed with the functions. For now, when you see something like this Spring the shopping list! you can click on it, and the recipe or supply list for the food or craft I just posted about will be made available to you. It will not only save me time in typing (because I'm lazy) but it will remove some of the tedium from reading the blog for people who don't really care how I made my socks, or what I made them from...not that there's anybody out there who fits that description. Please feel free to leave comments on how the links work for you, as any feedback they get can only make it a better, more user friendly service.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
My sisters and I had already promised each other that we'd be having a Homemade Christmas, so this was an easy pledge to take.
If you're not crafty, you can still committ to this effort by buying handmade gifts from sites such as Etsy (where I'm starting a store under SallyHP!), which is basically a huge online craft fair with both ready-to-order and made-to-order items of all crafting varieties. I am very excited to see that something positive to come from the economic downturn could be that people are taking more time to pick gifts that are meaningful and personal. (Note that I didn't advocate the nixing of gift-giving...gifts are definitely one of my love languages.)
If you want a fun bag or nice fabric, you can shop at Karlee's Kreations , beautiful fabric, quilts, funky hair ties and more can be found at Heather Bailey's Store. For the knitter in your life, you could purchase patterns for original Lisa Shobhana Mason designs (hint, hint).
More than anything, something homemade challenges us to spend time thinking about what we're giving. Hopefully it will turn out as planned, but like last year's quilt debacle, there will be bumps in the road.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Last year, if you remember, I shocked everyone by having all items packaged and ready to go well before the shipping cut-offs and felt rather smug. This year, I'll be happy just to get myself to the airport in time. I did, however, wish to purchase J's gift in advance so that I could have it shipped to my parent's house in Oregon, where we'll be celebrating
I was browsing through the random gathering of obscure 80's music and triple b movies that is J's Amazon Wishlist when I came upon this gem...
That's right folks. My husband wants a machete for Christmas. Ralphie may have held a child-like naivete in hoping for a Red Ryder BB gun, but J is off his rocker if he thinks that a machete will ever be in my home, sheathed or not. I can only guess which wall in our apartment he thought it would grace. Probably the same one he proposed to use as the host of our tiny (read: gargantuan) Yakima Skybox.
Did he watch Indiana Jones too recently? I just can't wrap my brain around this. According to Charles Lummus, who reviewed it on Amazon "You will never find a tool that does as much as the "Woodsman's Pal". It functions as an axe, hatchet, machete, draw knife, spoke shave,camp knife, and hammer. You can fell trees, split kindling, or chop onions, it does it all!"
Just when I think I've got him figured out, he throws in another wrench. Kind of like the time he revealed to me, as we were preparing to move away from my family for the first time so that he could attend medical school, that he would like to become a certified locksmith because "everybody needs a trade to fall back on."
Maybe he's just trying to ensure job security by bringing a machete into a household with a pre-school boy who likes to court disaster. Here's the photo in case you didn't click on the link.
Monday, November 17, 2008
On Late Nite Kitchen, it says that they are a lot of work, but worth it. I drastically cut down on the work by using a shortcut and bought pre-cut butternut squash from Roche Brothers, steaming it in the microwave until tender (nine minutes) instead of roasing a whole one in the oven (one hour). Also, and this didn't save any time, I used Fat Free Organic Vegetable Stock instead of using Veggie Bouloin and water, left out the jicama (love it, but forgot to buy it) and I used EVOO instead of Vegetable Oil.
Filling for the Enchiladas
The sauce after adding the peanut butter...I eyeballed the peanut butter...won't do that again as I got a little too much...not bad, just made the sauce a little thick.
Mmmm...nothin' says lovin' like hot and fresh from the oven.
Dig in! (I made it lasagna-style by layering the tortillas...yep, I'm that lazy!)
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
As I was looking at Late Night Kitchen just now, I realized that I completely missed the post about Chocolate-Covered Bacon...hold the phone, I could have had that bacon with the...no, wait, that would have been way too much. There will be no Homer Simpson bacon-wrapped sausage dinners, but I will be trying that bacon recipe as a fun party food...maybe Thanksgiving since we're entertaining only one other family?
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
After several U-Turn inducing false alarms upon my 'retrace your steps home' route, I came to the point that my logical brain told me would be the only point at which the angle of my car would have caused a hard-bound book to fly of the roof of a car with a rack on it...and an open sun-roof.
Yep, it was at the point that you go from one route to another, curving to merge. I got the finger from an irate man that was following too closely, but I also got this...
Spine up and run over several times, there were no torn pages and my book mark was still securely in its place! The affected pages now just look 'beloved'.
As I opened my door and quickly reached out in a point of traffic that may not be kind and bent to get the book the thought ran through my head 'this would be a really crappy way to die...but it is a good book so far...'