Tuesday, July 29, 2008

There Were Three in the Bed and the Little One Said...

Roll Over! Roll Over! So they all rolled over, and one fell off....

Yes, it's all fun and games when it's only a song.

Remember that list of things you said you'd never do when you had kids? Yeeeeah, well, I don't know about all of you, but I swore I'd never have a bed full of people that weren't either my husband or myself.

Well, when it came time to choose between getting enough rest to be coherent the next day at work, or enforcing the law of the land, I chose sleep. While H did not sleep with us every night, there have been definite co-sleeping periods...one of which we seem to be entering yet again.

Between waking up to nurse C and allaying H's fears, I finally said fuhgedaboutit. As we've entered the potty training phase, we can't so much gate H in his room at night anymore. So, for those of you thinking a gate?! Yes, a gate...love it or leave it, sister. That brings us to the last two nights when his sweet self smashes in the middle of J and I.

It's fine until I wake up to take C to the other room to nurse. I return to find my side taken over by Mr. sweaty-two-year old, and have to heft him over only to be left with about 10 inches of space...no, that's no sufficient for me, even when laying on my side. Why, I continually ask, does this child not desire the sharing of his father's pillow? It's a good thing the co-sleeper's there so that my ass can lop over the side of the bed without me worrying about falling.

I see those huge king-sized beds and I think in my head about those who are sleeping peacefully in them all. night. long. I feel the envy that Napoleon felt about the bike...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Busted!

So, apparently H has taken the opportunity to let J in on the secret that I have developed what I am claiming to be a temporary case of Tourette's syndrome. Or, you can just blame it on the sleepless nights since C was born.

H's command of "build!" (he's capable of, and practices, far more complex sentences, but has recently decided that dictatorial utterances get more attention) took J into H's bedroom to play with Lego's. Their general routine is that one of them will build a tower, the other knocks it down and then they re-build, ultimately making a 'house' for all of H's animals that they can leave up.

Later that night, after the kids were tucked away and I was contemplating whether to have a Sam's Summer or cookies, J piped up with a smiley/smirk, the interpretation of which I'm still not clear, that H had said something he'd repeated at a time before I started really monitoring my words (and stopped watching The Sopranos and Sex and the City with him in the room) 'and he definitely knows the context now.'

It seems J knocked down the tower, as was the practice, and H blurted "Don't ever do that again! That is not nice! That is mean! Be Gentle! (and then, almost as an after thought...) God Dammit."

Ah, Shite...I did what any respectable person would do when caught red handed. 'Well, he didn't get that from me because when I say it, I just happen to blurt it and then I launch into the explanation of why he shouldn't throw sand/sweep a glass off the table/throw objects at neighboring diners.'

Yeeeeeeees, I'm sure I cleared that right up. J just rolled his eyes, and I called my mom to relay the story, laughing, because what else can you do? ...she's the only person who would appreciate my position as Marv certainly didn't teach us to exclaim 'Jesus, Mary and Joseph!'. I still can't recall a single time my dad cussed in front of me, that includes the time he was using a table saw and something got jammed causing the wood to come back and hit him in the crotch America's Funniest Home Video's style. His response; "YYYYYYYYowee!"

H, I thought we had a deal...I buy you Munchkins on demand and you don't tell Daddy my shortfalls. J, I warned you that I was way more qualified to protect other people's children.

Congratulations to Alisa and Sherri for winning the Starbucks cards and Preserve Toothbrushes!

Friday, July 25, 2008

New Classics Challenge

My sister posted about a literary challenge that she found on Lost in a Good Story.


I love to read, am in a book club, but still can't get enough...it's great to have a list to build from.
The full list of 'New Classics' is here, and following in bold are those I've already read along with the six in italics that I've chosen to read and review by January 2009. As I read them, I'll review them on Knitty Reviews and then in January I'll write a post about the one that I liked the most. Lost in a Good Story will mail to a random winner a copy of their favorite book. I found it really hard to narrow it down to the six I'll review.

This is going to be such a fun challenge! Come join the fun.


3. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)
6. Mystic River, Dennis Lehane (2001)
9. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier (1997)
11. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer (1997)
16. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood (1986)
20. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding (1998)
25. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan (1989)
28. Naked, David Sedaris (1997)
30. Case Histories, Kate Atkinson (2004)
34. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold (2002)
36. Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt (1996)
48. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
55. The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls (2006)
60. Nickel & Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)
67. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini (2003)
71. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Ann Fadiman (1997)
78. Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)
88. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby (1995)
92. Presumed Innocent, Scott Turow (1987)
93. A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley (1991)
94. Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser (2001)
95. Kaaterskill Falls, Allegra Goodman (1998)
96. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown (2003)
99. Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman (1995)
100. America (the Book), Jon Stewart/Daily Show (2004)

This is cross posted at Knitty Reviews.

If anyone knows how to create a button, Joanna has requested help, so contact her about it.

Veggies and Vodka

My sister went through a vegetarian phase for about 10 years, which was pretty incomprehensible to my Eastern Oregon cattle country family. My mom asked at least once a week 'but you'll still eat chicken and fish, right?' Uh, no, no she will not. Last I checked, you don't plant a seed for chickens and fish and then have them grow in your garden...

Anywho, after attending her high school reunion, she was awoken from her hangover on my parent's couch (my parents house was within walking distance of the infamous Stockshow Grounds where the reunion was held) to see our dad staring down at her. I'm not sure how much you know about the LDS faith, but they aren't really stoked about getting jacked up on Mountain Dew, so alcohol is a whole other ball game.

He asked how she was feeling and then slyly asked her why she was a vegetarian, hoping that she would get on a platform and talk about the health disasters caused by a carnivorous diet. Even with a gallon of HRD Vodka in her system her razor sharp wit didn't let her down. 'Because meat's too expensive' she replied dryly before reaching for some aspirin and a glass of water.

Curses! Foiled again! His attempt to compare giving up meat for health reasons with a night of drunken debauchery would have to wait for another day.

I am the last person who will ever give up the option to occasionally eat a big, bloody steak but for most ethnic cuisines, I tend to opt for a vegetarian meal. I guess I just like my meat simple and tofu allows the spices and other flavors to play center stage.
I've recently committed to making something new for dinner every night for a month. While this may seem like no big deal to a lot of people, we had been in a rut here at the knitty household and I wanted to mix things up so that we wouldn't be tempted to just chuck it all and pull out the delivery menus.

I did my big shop at BJ's (seriously, did the owners not think about the other implications of this name?) and stocked up on some basics that would make experimenting simple.

At about the same time, I was reading this article on SparkPeople, and decided that with the current economy and the potential for the added health benefits, I'm going to jump on the Meatless Monday bandwagon, prompting J's sarcastic 'adding to your Catholic Fish Fridays, eh?' All that it means is we're committing to having a couple of meatless meals during the week, which will save our budget, while shaving away the waistline.

Looks like 'Flexitarians' Are the New Black

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hooded Towels

Are you looking for a great, easy craft that looks harder to create than it is (thus, impressing others)? If so, hooded towels are for you! These are great to give as gifts for summer birthdays, baby showers, Christmas or to just make for your own kiddos for the beach, pool or the good old fashioned tub. H has a grass green one, with black and white polka-dot ribbon that was actually made for C as a shower gift, but was subsequently commandeered.
What you'll need:
2 Washcloths
1 Bath towel (same color or not depending on taste)
Grosgrain or other wide ribbon for decoration (optional)
matching (or not ) thread
1. Place the washcloths right sides together and machine or hand-sew two perpendicular edges. This creates the hood when turned right side out.
2. Fold the bath towel in half, and center the 'hood'. This is most easily achieved by leaving the washcloths right sides together and then begin pinning the long edge of the 'hood' to the towel, unfolding both as you go. (If I had foresight, I'd have taken pictures as I went...sorry!)
3. Machine or hand-sew the long edge of the 'hood' to the bath towel.
4. Add ribbon as desired (there are so many combinations you can do, have fun with it!) You could also create animals, etc, but that's beyond my crafting ambition at this point.
Ribbon on the hood only

Ribbon running down the sides of the towel

No wrapping paper required

Finished product
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

El Fin!

While there was a point when I was looking at the directions thinking I'd never figure out how to attach neck and make it all work, I did! It's done, my head goes through the neck hole and my arms go through the arm-holes...all in all, a success. I even bought different fabric to make a second one!

My only recommendation is to not get discouraged in reading the directions. Once you're actually doing it, they make much more sense. Also, true to my nature, I didn't put in a single basting stitch...isn't that just double the work for the same effect? Silliness.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

ARGH!

Had I realized how much effort it would take to make the 'gathered' effect on the yolk of this shirt, I would have picked a different pattern! Maybe knitting hasn't taught me as much patience as I thought.

I'll steal from Alex Elliot and do a little 'lesson learned'; Cool effects in clothing usually aren't so cool to create.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Knitty Neurons

I knew that learning to knit was quite possibly making me a better person; learning patience and stick-to-itiveness while creating something utilitarian. However, Professor Ruth Grahn has taken it one step further and made a connection between brain function and the physical and mental skills that knitting requires. Because of this, she requires that all of the students in her behavioral neuroscience course at Connecticut College learn to knit.

It was reported in this article on Lion Brand's blog that she had encountered a woman who had suffered a stroke and was told she'd never be able to knit again. Through the woman's persistence, she actually did make a full recovery while her doctor attributed her use of knitting to “rewire her brain” and take back not only her knitting, but all her motor skills.

"She is a bio-psychologist, a champion of student-faculty collaborative research and director of Connecticut College´s Behavioral Neuroscience Program. Associate Professor of Psychology Ruth Grahn is also a popular teacher...

...When we cover the motor system, traditionally the least exciting topic in the course, we relate the function of each motor area of the brain to the act of knitting. For example, the fingers need to convey lots of information about the position of the yarn and needles and the muscles of the fingers need to be capable of very fine, controlled movement. We relate this to how parts of the body are represented in the cortex and how the hands and face take up most of the cortical space devoted to motor and sensory processing, leaving very little brain space for less important body parts. Then we talk about plasticity and how the cortical space allotted to a body part can change with experience. Those students who keep knitting can imagine their motor cortex changing as their skill improves.

Knitting in Behavioral Neuroscience has turned out to be a very useful and fun way to begin the semester." (CC:online Connecticut College Magazine, Spring 2008).

I remember when my dad suffered a severe ruptured brain aneurysm while I was in high school, the doctors recommended that my parents purchase a computer (this was when it was not a fixture in most households) so that he could have daily brain exercise...maybe they could have just plunked down $10 on some needles and yarn-but then my little sister wouldn't have honed her sweet typing skills with Mavis Beacon...and I would have missed out on the repetition of 'a-a-a space s-s-s-s space.'

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

An a-ha Moment

I was looking at my friend Michele's family blog and noted that her profile picture looked super cool so I asked her what software she used.

Turns out, she didn't have to buy any fancy schmancy software, you can just go to 'the cartoonizer' on the befunky website. There aren't a ton of options, but you can cartoonize pictures and video for free, so it's fun to play around with.

Now you might see me on the streets, but you won't know for sure...you'll just think 'Doesn't she look like the human version of the A-Ha video-esque picture I saw on that knitty something or other blog the other day?'

Wait, was I the only one who started humming the tune to Take On Me as soon as I saw myself in cartoon? Yet another sweet by-product of having an eight year age gap between the two sets of children...MTv viewing beyond my years.

And now for your viewing and listening pleasure....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Progress

So, apparently you really do have to read the instructions before pinning and cutting. You know, the ones that say in bold BEFORE CUTTING? This whole crafty thing is teaching me so much. I've always said pre-shrink shpre-shrink, until now when I realized that I'd be really pissed if I completed this shirt only to wash it and have it be a size too small.

Also, when I had already pinned most of the pieces, only to find it told me to pin right sides together I first hesitated to undo it...but then I did. Lastly, I had pinned most pieces and couldn't figure out why the last ones wouldn't fit until I looked closer and realized that there was only a portion of the fabric that was double-folded and the rest was single thickness...argh...out came the pins.

As you can see, however, it's finally all cut out and waiting for me to start piecing together and sewing...that's the simple part, right?! (I'm very excited about the fabric. It has a chocolate background with blue bubbles...my current hip color combo, but you can't tell, because as it's supposed to...the wrong side is facing out.)
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Monday, July 14, 2008

Losing It

I realized about 5 minutes after having my baby that I had totally taken for granted how freeing that giant belly can actually be. When was the last time I'd been completely confident about wearing a shirt that was tight across my torso, or loved it when someone said 'You're Huge!'? I know, it was the last time I was pregnant.

It's a little disheartening when you look down and still feel about 5 months pregnant, even though you gave birth a week ago. I saw a shirt recently that said "Not Pregnant. Just had a baby."

When I first had H, my sister and I were walking into Target and she started to push the stroller. I yelled out "No!" and took over the helm. She looked at me oddly, and I explained that it was not some crazy protective maternal instinct, it was just that if I was pushing the stroller, people would know why I was so chubby. She looked a little relieved as I'd reacted as though she would snatch my baby, and then burst out laughing because, well, because it was just out of control.

Now that I've hit the six-week mark with baby C, I'm very glad that my friend turned me onto a new (and completely free) website called SparkPeople. It's a lot like WeightWatchers, in that it has you log your food, but there are a TON of resources on the site and it's, did I say this yet, completely free! I stepped on the scale at the doctor's office this morning and breathed a sigh of relief...my bathroom scale had not just randomly been 20 pounds light, I really have lost just over 30 pounds since having C!

Thanks to the push from the ole stomach bug, I was able to take a break from my love-hate relationship with sugar and get back on track with my eating habits. It's amazing how quickly you can lose weight when you're breastfeeding and eating a sensible diet...what a concept! I've definitely got a long way to go, since I started out the pregnancy already overweight, but I'm now about 8 pounds from my starting weight, with about 60 to go until I'm at my goal.

Don't worry, this won't turn into a Chicken Soup for the Fatty's Soul blog, but the work it will take to reasonably lose this weight (and keep it off...no Atkin's diet for me) will be a big part of my life, so it may sneak into my posts now and then.

Speaking of Fattys, I am reading a great book right now; Slow Fat Tri-Athlete: Live Your Athletic Dreams in the Body You Have Now and it's HILARIOUS! She's at a size that is not petite, but she's fit and happy after several years of training for, and participating in triathlons upon realizing that her larger self was not making her happy or healthy. She has a great voice, and it's always encouraging to see people who are embracing the size they are now in order to get out there and make the difference they want to see in themselves.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Over the Top

For the past couple of days, I've been recovering from a stomach bug that I had on Thursday. I am not exaggerating when I say that it has not been since H was an infant that I've had a stomach flu, and it was a bit of a shock.

It was fated to happen as I have a newborn and rambunctious toddler to deal with at the same time. I am happy to say, however, that I can take back everything I've said about H's adjustment recently because he was an angel. I laid on the couch under a blanket...which if you know my Sweaty Betty self, that is cause for concern in itself, and H entertained himself until J got home in the mid-afternoon.

The next morning, after showering off my fever-breaking sweat, I decided to step on the scale to see if my lack of caloric intake had any positive pay-offs. As I had consumed only hot tea and ginger ale the day before (even the b.r.a.t. diet made me queasy on sight), it was not surprising that I'd lost a little weight. From an admittedly unhealthy standpoint, I can disclose that I was more than a little excited to see that I'd lost four pounds...even with a wet towel on my head. Hey, when you're trying to lose about 80 pounds of pre and post-baby weight, you'll take it how you can get it.

Fast forward to today, I still hadn't regained my appetite, and it was only mid-way through the day that I realized what the new weirdness in my stomach was...it was hunger pains. I don't mean when your tummy gets a little grumbly, but genuine pain...hmmm I guess there's a reason I have so much weight to lose, I'd never experienced these before that I can recall.

If you're wondering about the arm-wrestling connection...just you wait...

Well, after eating a couple small, easy meals; a slice of cheese here, some grapes there, I felt ready to make a real dinner for the fam tonight. As I was broiling the pork chops, I glanced over the counter to see on the TV in the living room (yes, I know, small apartment) the still image of a dvd's menu screen, along with the words Over the Top. I looked at J incredulously. I knew that this was not just a Netflix pick, as I'd just put our three allotted envelopes in the mail that morning.


That means that my husband bought this horribly cheesy Stallone movie about an arm wrestler/truck driver fighting to get custody of his son. Okay, you may think I'm just as bad for knowing what the movie was about without having to consult J, but it's only because I was subjected to it in 7th grade at my friend's house because her dad was watching it and she was a fan as well; it burned its way into my impressionable mind.


As I began to tease J, he rolled his eyes and said a la Napoleon Dynamite 'You just don't understand or appreciate the arm-wrestling trucker population. You shouldn't be so close-minded to segments of our culture.' Uhhh sure, that's exactly what it is.

Wow, and this is from the man who was going to walk out on the season finale of The Bachelorette? Ugh, maybe I am starting to feel nauseated again after all!

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Lighter Shade of Green

When I was about six months pregnant with C, and was scouring the tub, I realized that I don't love the smell of the bathroom cleaners that I'm using. Or the fact that I feel like I have to leave the vent fan on for several hours after completing the job...or that I felt slightly light-headed, which could have been the pregnancy alone.

I decided that it was time to start investigating more earth (read: small children) friendly cleaning products. After asking the opinion of several of my amigos verdes, I came home from the market with a bagful of replacements. I did not, however, toss my others, I used them first...sorry, it's the new fiscally conservative Sally HP.

I kept asking people if they would work better, since they were generally more expensive, but then just settled with the fact that as long as they worked as well, I'd be happy with it.

I was watching the documentary King Corn the other night, and the cattle rancher being interviewed stated that if people wanted only grass-fed beef, they'd be happy to supply it, but the demand for cheap corn-fed beef is outrageously high.

I started to think about it and (now, I am not a business major, so please feel free to comment if I'm wrong) I realized that if more and more people buy the green products, then it may result in an eventual decrease in price. Obviously this isn't the case for all things, just look at our outrageous fuel costs right now, and demand has certainly not decreased. However, if it's a domestic product (like beef or cleaners) over which we maintain control, my little purchases may someday make a difference in the eventual price.

In this same vein, I was recently offered the chance to try Recycline Preserve toothbrushes, which are made from high quality pre and post-consumer recycled (BPA and pthalate-free) plastics. In addition, to help keep the cycle going, Recycline will provide a postage paid label on their website so you can send the used product to be made into recycled plastic lumber...pretty cool. The good thing is that they really aren't more expensive than normal brushes, coming in at just over $2 at Target.

If you'd like a chance to be the proud owner of your very own Preserve toothbrush, leave a comment for me with something that you do to be a little more 'green'. In order to have a real test for the efficacy, I'll add a $5 Starbucks card (nothin' like tea and coffee stains) to each of the two winners who will be selected on July 25th.

If you don't win, click here and you'll be taken to MomCentral, where you can find the full Recycline information, along with a coupon for $1 off the purchase of two brushes.

This blog was cross-posted on my review blog; Knitty Reviews. After August 1st, all reviews will be posted on that blog only.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bachelor-nyet

Last night, I told J that I was so excited to finally have my final blog fodder from the Bachelorette, as it was the season finale. Well, turns out I would have even more proof that he doesn't read my blog. He turned to me and asked incredulously "You watch that show?!" I explained that I had never watched a full season, so my sisters had convinced me and it had turned out to be a great example of awesomely bad TV.

Our usual routine of television-sharing is that one person picks a show that's to their liking and the other picks up a book or leaves the room, as our tastes are what one may call polar opposite. A couple of the exceptions are The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. I was feeling like I needed some J time, so said that we didn't have to watch it, but he ensured me, he'd stay in the room and watch with me. After about the five hundredth time that they showed a lead-in where both male finalists are at DeAnna's family home at the same time, I exclaimed in disgust "This is how they make it a two-hour finale, they just show the same crap over and over...there's only about twenty minutes of original programming here!"

"TWO HOURS?!", exclaimed my faithful husband. "I'm definitely leaving the room!" I'm guessing the phrase for better or worse didn't pop into his head at that point. Knowing that he wasn't kidding, I flipped through the guide to find something more suitable and there, of course, was our old stand-by Jon Stewart.
Today, I logged onto abc.com and found the "OMG moment" from this week was the proposal of Jesse to DeAnna. I tried to embed it here, but am not techno-savvy enough, so you'll have to click on over. Needless to say, it was fairly anti-climactic, and I'm glad I didn't waste two hours to see something it took me 5 seconds to do today. Good luck Jesse and DeAnna...hope the drama of reality TV didn't lull you into a false sense of luuuuuurve...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Simplicity of It All

Today, I will finally replace the needle on my sewing machine in order to make the hooded towels for my nieces' birthdays (yes, they already came and went in June). This was all inspired after I met my friend for coffee yesterday and wore the denim skirt that I'd love all last summer. I forgot, however, until I was already there that I had ripped the split (in the front) when climbing over the baby gate last year. Don't worry, it wasn't obscene or anything, just a couple inches higher than intended. Because I knew I'd be wearing the skirt a ton this summer, it was time to mend it, along with the ripped side of H's laundry basket (how he ripped it, I'm not sure).

I've been seeing these cute flowy summer tops everywhere, but don't have the money at this point to buy a new summer wardrobe, so I did what any crazy crafter will do...I hopped on the Simplicity website and searched for a pattern so I could create one myself. After adding the appropriate pattern to my basket I searched for fabric, and landed on a simple clearance 'linen look' in sunny yellow, and called it a day. Now I just have to wait for it to come, whip it out real quick and, voile! Since I know I'll be a shining success, I'll be able to go to the fabric store and get some cute fabric to make several more and I'll have my summer staples. Here's to hoping that Simplicity really is simple.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Body of Evidence

While you may have caught by now that I'm a sarcastic person, you may not know that I'm also very fascinated by things that would be considered morbid to others. J comments on it quite frequently, as he says it's apparently not normal to pass a black garbage bag on the side of the road and wonder aloud if it had just trash, or a dead body inside. Or to comment as you pass a particularly thickly wooded area if anyone has ever stashed their evidence of homicidal mania inside. What?! Have you not seen enough movies?

In that vein of thought, I realized recently that my outward facade, if found at a time and place where I was not available for questioning, would leave no doubt in the investigator's minds that I am a mother. They would not need to look at the names of H and C on the custom stamped sterling silver necklace and wonder if they were my children; my National Geographic boobs and Rand McNally Road Atlas-esque stomach would answer that for them.

I don't say these things because I regret that I have stretch marks or breasts that aren't quite 'youthful' looking anymore, it's just the reality of where I am. I was prepared for all of these changes when I decided I wanted to have kids. I've been around enough other women who've had babies and are close to me that I didn't have delusions I'd fit into my pre-baby clothes for the ride home from the hospital, nor that I would look like a pin-up in the chest area after the initial nursing phase was over. What I wasn't prepared for, however, are some of the more personal changes that happen to your body. So personal, apparently, that your friends don't think it necessary to bother warning you about them.

Which brings me to what happened in the restroom at the new play center in the mall the other day. After my friends had taken me to lunch, we all decided to head over to let the kids get out their wiggles before heading home.

I was in the private family bathroom changing C's diaper when I felt like maybe I'd need to use the potty myself. Within, literally, half a second the urge was uncontrollable and I started to pee my pants. Yes, you read that correctly. Never have I been more grateful that the stars aligned to make several things happen; a) I was wearing drawstring pants that could be pulled down without delay, b) I was still wearing the post-partum 'diaper', and c) I was at a changing table that was directly across from the toilet so that I could pull down my pants and sit while still having a hand on my baby so I didn't have to make the choice of leaving my child unattended or peeing my pants, leaving me to face public humiliation.

I walked out of the restroom in a state of shock, and immediately told my friend Alex that I had pretty much just peed my pants. I have NEVER had that happen past the age of, say, four. I have a bladder of steel. I worked in a field where I was so busy that I often held it for hours. WHAT had just happened? Pair that with the raging hemorrhoids and the other 'swelling' that's going on down there and I am feeling dy-no-mite about my current self!

Later that night, when I told J about it, he just smiled kindly and said "It's just going to take awhile to get everything back as it should be." Somehow that was not reassuring. I was hoping for a horrified look and the confirmation that, yes, that was very alarming, circumstantial and would most hopefully never happen again.

Oh, and Happy Independence Day, America!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

My New Breast Friends

Yesterday, two of my friends treated me to lunch for my birthday. When they first asked me about it, I was so excited! Birthdays are a huge deal in my family (read: my family of origin), so it's hard to be this far from home knowing that I probably won't have a party thrown for me. I always make sure that my husband and kids are showered with attention, a party and gifts, but it's just the way it goes that darling J will not be planning a party for me. I'm not complaining, it just serves to drive the point home that I'm across the Nation from my family and friends...until now. (Lest you think I'm saying that my husband doesn't properly acknowledge my birthday, he brought a birthday cake home from work with him, in addition to gifts he'd purchased and cards signed by both H and himself before my birthday.)

It's been a year, and this is the second birthday I've celebrated in the Commonwealth. I was emailing my Godmother a thank you for her e-card (that's appropriate, yes? e for e...) and telling her that I was going to lunch with two of my girlfriends and our eight children. I re-calculated that in my head and realized that yes, we were taking EIGHT children to a nice, sit-down restaurant. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, it actually went much better than expected, aside from H tossing my sunglasses over his head, which then landed in the plate of the customer behind us...awesome. I was not impressed with his behavior and I told him as much, but there's only so much physical violence that can be threatened without actually being carried out before your kid realizes you're full of shit.

The pièce de résistance came when Baby C made it very clear he was awake and not going to wait to eat, necessitating the oh-so-awesome nursing at the table. I don't mind nursing in public, but I don't use a blanket over his head, so a little skin does show. (I do have a bebe au lait nursing cover on order, but it hasn't yet arrived.) Just at the moment of latch, the staff of the restaurant arrived at the table to sing Happy Birthday and present me with my oh-so-yummy dessert. I'm sure the waiters were thrilled to see my giant areola. I know all the kids at the table were.

All I can say is that for the number of kids we had, and the adult to child ratio, we did amazingly well. Nobody was injured, no tables overturned, no large fits. And, I was treated to lunch, an awesome dessert, and time with my friends...Happy Birthday to Me!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Strawberry Fields...

Having a birthday so close to the Fourth of July has always been fun for me, both because of the fun pool parties, but more because I love summer. Summer food, summer activities, water sports, everything summer. Although, if we're being honest here, because I'm a very sweaty person (and self-conscious about it) it was not until recently that I've learned to just embrace the heat.

I was shopping at the grocery store the other day, looking for a good dessert as I was hosting the board meeting for my mom's group that night. When I first entered the store, the produce section was calling to me with brightly colored sale signs. The first stand I came to had strawberries; buy one get TWO free! Sweet, strawberry shortcake it is!

I had recently received an email about the plentiful harvest that California growers are experiencing this year, so glanced at the package and noted that, sure enough, they were grown in sunny California. I got home and started slicing away, placing the pretty berries in my prized brightly colored nesting bowl from Crate & Barrel. After adding a tiny bit of sugar and stirring them to get a little juice going, I covered the berries and left them on the counter to 'mellow' until the meeting started.

When everyone came, I had a store-bought pound cake arranged in pretty slices on my Fiestaware bread plate, the bowl o' berries and a can of whipped cream. How is it that something so simple tastes so good? I love that summer is all about simplicity, and when you start with something yummy and sweet like a strawberry, you really don't have to add much more.

Never one to forget about the kiddies, the California Strawberry Commission has a section of their site called Strawberryville full of games, facts and fun. The strawberry 'school' has sections designated to kids aged 5-7 and 8-12.

This post can also be seen at Knitty Reviews

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Summertiiiiiiiime, and the Livin's Easy...

I was watching The Today Show this morning and they had a segment on summer safety tips, in which they talked about the dangers of digging large sand holes at the beach. It was pretty alarming and while they noted that research shows the incidences of sand hole deaths are pretty rare, they are more prevalent than shark attacks. (We still look for sharks, don't we?) For more information you can click here.

I liked that the segment wasn't alarmist, but was a gentle reminder that we need to keep our eyes on the sand as well as the water when our kids are playing. It was good timing because I know that sometimes I'm content to just let H play while I visit with the other moms and when there are several kids together, digging a hole can quickly lead to digging a large crater.

In that same vein, I was checking out the MommyDocs website, which has a ton of great information, including a featured article sponsored by Clorox; Five Simple Summer Safety Tips. They all were fairly common sense, but I guess that's the point. In an era where common sense isn't so common (a la 3rd degree sun burns when a parent or caregiver neglects to apply sunscreen to a child in the scorching sun) it never hurts to be reminded.

According to MommyDocs, a lot of summer woes can be avoided by following these five tips :

1. Have a Sun Protection Strategy
2. Keep Pests off Your Little One
3. Keep the Pool Cool and Clean (with the added Safety must: Always supervise children regardless of age when they are around any water; whether it's a bucket, a small backyard plastic pool, or the local community pool.)
4. High Heat Means Hydrate
5. Rid Rashes and Relieve Itchies

With just a little bit of preparation, you can have hours of fun in the sun, while at the same time establishing good habits for your kids. The days of slathering yourself in Crisco and laying on tin foil are g-o-n-e gone, and it's important for kids to be in the routine of applying sunscreen before leaving the house and during their activity in the hopes that they won't have to (obsessively, anyway) inspect their bodies in 20 years, looking for moles and other signs of skin cancer.

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