Sunday, August 31, 2008

It's too late for a Hankey!

J and I decided that we'd jump into the world of potty training without much regard to the other circumstances in our lives, as we felt there would always be something going on to make it a less than ideal time, and I think it would be embarrassing to pack pull-ups for H to go to college. So far, it's been mildly successful in that H has peed in the potty about four times, total. It's been wildly unsuccessful in that he's pooped the same number of times...on the his bedroom.

Following a morning of poo clean-up with carpet shampoo, hot water and Clorox Anywhere spritzed on the door that was unfortunate enough to be leaned against, I left J in charge and went for pedicures and lunch with two of my girlfriends...Best three hours I've spent in a long time.

Which leads me to this afternoon. H was playing quietly in his room, and C had just fallen asleep. I grabbed the sling and rounded the hallway corner to tell H the good news that we were heading out to the playground...until I saw it...
H was standing by the window, his pants in the corner with an empty Easy Up (should be called Easy Down). My eyes quickly scanned the room, and my first thought "When did we get a dog?" Followed by "And why does he keep crapping on the floor?!" Riiiiight, we don't have a dog. My child has decided that pooping on the floor is preferable to doing so in the toilet, and a close second to doing so in his pull-up.

I put him in the bathtub (empty) and asked him to stand there while I cleaned up the mess. While I was fuming over having to clean my second deuce of the day, I was wracking my brain for how to explain 'the rules' to H without confusing him and stopping him from making progress in the training process.

I went into the bathroom, where H immediately roared at me (apparently it's Pooping Tiger, Hidden Dragon in this house), and I asked him to look at my face. I have always had a hard time getting H to make eye contact with me when he knows he's in trouble. He will look everywhere but at my face, making it harder for me to remain stern as his eyes are rolling all over the room and his dimples get deeper with his grin.

My 'talk' with him was largely a failure because I was trying to lay down the law that 'we only take our underwear off to go to the bathroom in the bathroom, while he was pursing his lips, gawking his eyes around and squirming...several nervous titters escaped from me, serving to completely undermine my message.


Later as he was washing his hands for the 400th time that afternoon (which I'm convinced is the only reason that he tries to go at all...flushing privilege and hand washing), I asked him when he's supposed to take off his pull-up. Without missing a beat he said "To go potty." I guess what goes (Easy) Up, must come down. I just hope that next time it's in the bathroom.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


I love this clip, because it just embodies exactly how ridiculous it is that there is so much talk that Hillary supporters will be moving to the McCain camp. Yeah, because being a feminist and hoping to see a female leader equals voting for a woman, period. I'm pretty sure that it comes down to voting for a person who will ensure that the ideals and values that you feel are most important are represented, period. (And, surprisingly, that doesn't mean they have to have a period.)

I Like to Move It, Move It...

Today I started the Couch to 5K program (well, I started exercising regularly period, really) and knew that I'd need an awesome soundtrack, so quickly prepared my Sally's Funky Fresh Fitness playlist, which included such classics as Back in Black and Nuthin' But a G Thang. Since it was J's iPod and I've never uploaded to it before, he quickly showed me how to add my playlist and I popped in the earbuds as I was putting on my shoes. C was sleeping and I had my widow of opportunity before the feeding frenzy began all over again.

Imagine my surprise as I was lacing up my tenny runners to hear the opening strains of Desperado...and I don't mean some funky rave re-mix. Yes, my Vulcan husband listens to the adrenaline-inducing Deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesparaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaadoooooooooooooooo whyyyyy doooooooon't you cooooooooooooooooome to your seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeenses while running!

What?! I pulled the earphones out and said, "This is not my music! The upload didn't work!" He explained that I didn't have enough songs, so his 400 ballads remained and mine are just mixed into the "shuffle" somewhere...awesome. As if I don't have a hard enough time getting my ass in gear.

It's just disappointing when you're expecting the lyrical stylings of David Bowie (Under Pressure) or Iggy Pop (Lust for Life) and you get The Beatles (Yesterday). God, I almost fell asleep on the treadmill trying to find the skip button for that one!

I was treated to a variety of songs ranging from Chubby Checkers' The Twist to, waaaait for it, We've Only Just Begun by the Carpenters. I could do nothing but laugh, as I thought of my cute husband trucking along in his TINY ranger shorts to Sonny and Cher, The Carpenters and Air Supply. As much as I'm loathe to admit, The Twist kind of got me going, but I had to find the skip button when the Carpenters came on because, Bitch, Please! That is just ridiculous.

I had spaced my songs appropriately for the time I'd be working out so that I would have ended with the soothing sounds of Ingrid Michaelson, but instead got the sphincter-releasing bass line of Dr. Dre. As if by comic timing, the following songs came from J's line-up during my workout:

1. (While sweating a ridiculous amount for 20 minutes of jogging on a treadmill) Loser by Beck
2. (During the last interval) Push It by Salt-N-Peppa
3. (As I was walking the cool-down) I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor

It wasn't until I was walking back to the apartment that the song I'd been waiting for came blaring into my head...yes, my boy Eminem may come late to the party, but he always shows.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Daniel X

Check out my book review of The Dangerous Days of Daniel X on Knitty Reviews

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

9021-Oh Really?!

With all the new developments in pop culture, I'm being forced to continually reveal what a dork I am. I was so excited when The Hills started back up again, and was even more excited when I was saw the ad for the 'sneak peak' at the new 90210, but I remember watching 90210, Party of Five and Melrose Place when I was in middle/high school, and just have a feeling that it won't be the same...was that a flash of Lori Laughlin (Becky on Full House) playing the new Mrs. Walsh?

Along those same lines, I was saddened and deeply troubled when I read this post on my sister's blog In Search of Balance. Yes, that's right, they're re-releasing the Sweet Valley High series. At first, I was stoked! I am just pathetic enough that I would willingly dive back into the lives of Elizabeth and Jessica with their peaches and cream complexions and perfect size 6 figures. That was, until I realized that it was not a simple re-release...the tomes have been updated with lingo and accessories to appeal to today's teens.

The following excerpt is taken from #1 which is entitled Double Love.

Old Version: "Oh, Lizzie, do you believe how absolutely horrendous I look today!" Jessica Wakefield groaned as she stepped in front of her sister, Elizabeth, and stared at herself in the bedroom mirror. "I'm so gross! Just look at me. Everything is totally wrong. To begin with, I'm disgustingly fat..." With that, she spun around to show off a stunning figure without an extra ounce visible anywhere."

New Version: "Okay, when did I get so hideous?" Jessica Wakefield groaned. She leaned in toward her bedroom mirror as her twin sister, Elizabeth, rolled her eyes. "Seriously, Liz, it's like somebody snuck into my room last night and whacked me with the ugly stick."

Why, Why, Why? Oh, and even better; the girls are now a 'perfect' size 4. Aparrently 4 is the new 6...which leads me to another gripe.

I was on vacation with my oh-so-cute niece who dresses Abercrombie perfect (read: skinny jeans and even skinnier shirts). She was appalled when I suggested that she may need to go up one size in a certain cut of jeans from Hollister, as they appeared to run small...with a look of horror, she exclaimed that she could not wear 'fat jeans'. Hmmmm...last I checked a size 7 pair of Hollister Skinny Jeans would not in any realm be considered fat pants. For her birthday, I told her I would be happy to buy her a pair of pants, but that I would only buy them if they fit. Standing outside the dressing room at Abercrombie, I approved of her choice (which were the 'skinny' size), proving that the other brand really does run small.

I remember always thinking how 'fat' I was in high school, and now I look at those pictures and would give a lot to be that thin again. But, I feel like even in comparison to my self-image then, kids (especially girls) today are being held to an impossible standard of thin. As I was paying for the pants, the clerk saw what he thought was an Abercrombie employee card in my wallet, and asked about it with a chipper smile. I dryly replied that I was fairly certain I didn't fit the size requirements to be employed at the big AF, and his smile quickly faded as he went about busily finishing the transaction.

It's times like these that I'm glad I have boys so far. It must be hard for my sister to see this absolutely gorgeous girl tear herself down when she's inherited genes from my brother-in-law that allow her to be thin where we all struggle with our Swedish cankles!

I just hope that she sees pictures of herself at this age when she's 30 and says "Damn! I was fiiiiiiiiiine!"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

the gift thatll have everyone talking

That was the title of the craigslist ad that had the following text "gret gifts chose custom made or pre made.. 2, 3 or 4 tier diaper cakes for boy girl or neutral diaer wreaths towel cakes sock bouquets you will be satisfied" followed by the above photos of diaper cakes, sock wreaths and something for a wedding (I'm assuming based on the bride and groom teddies and champagne flutes crammed on the sides).

Yes, I am a hag for even blogging about this, but I read the post as I was looking for g diapers and had one of those you-weren't-prepared-to-laugh-so-your-mouth-was-closed-and-you-snorted-out-your-nose moments when I saw the pictures of the 'gret gifts'. Seriously, if I got this at a shower I don't know that I'd be able to maintain my composure. I've seen some lovely diaper cakes before, but they did not look like this. It reminds me of carnival prizes all tacked together.
I am the first to admit that I would most likely not do a whole lot better were I to pursue the diaper cake enterprise...but that is why I will not be pursuing the diaper cake enterprise.

To the baker of the cakes; I apologize if by some cosmic twist of fate you happen to read this and I hurt your feelings.
That said, seeing the photos reminded me of the episode of SATC when they go to their friend's 'purse party' and, after seeing a clutch made of her cut-up fuzzy bedspread, Samantha commented "Somebody better tell Crazy that owning a hot glue gun does not make you a hot purse designer."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Golly G

Today, I opened the cupboard in the bathroom to get a diaper for H and remembered that I'd packed them all with me to Iowa. I got the remainders from the suitcase and then pondered again whether I should just start potty training while my friend is here from out of town as she would be more of a support than a hindrance in the process, even though we'll be busy. H is now three, and is showing more readiness and excitement about being potty trained.

My friend Alex called to see if I'd like to meet her with coffee and said that her YS had a surprise for us. Yes, he's a year younger than H and he showed up in big boy underpants. After two weeks of balancing H's gigantic body on the 'baby' changing stations in public bathrooms, I'm feeling a little self-conscious about his diaper-wearing status, but am nervous about the whole process, and don't want to do it 'wrong'. I think I need to just jump right in. The cost savings of buying diapers for just one baby instead of two will be significant and I'm ready to have only the breast milk poo to change...seriously, when you change a diaper that has a deuce as big as your own in it, it's a little sick. But if all goes well, he'll return the favor when I'm elderly, so there you have it.

Along that same line of thinking, I've decided to try G diapers on C. I got an email from that had a coupon for $10 off, so bought the starter pack and a package of refills, which were waiting for me when I returned.

The good news is that even though they're about 1.5 times more expensive than disposable diapers, I will still see savings because I'll soon be buying diapers for only one child. I know that I've been rather snobby about global conservativism in the past, but I've started to realize that my cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face approach to all things green really isn't the most mature;and I am nothing if not mature.

I'll be reviewing G Diapers on Knitty Reviews in about a month and a half, giving myself enough time to really try them, as I've heard they take a little practice. I knew for sure that I wasn't going to be a cloth diaper mom, so this seems like it might be a happy medium.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Geek Love

What do you get when you mix four sisters, one fifteen year-old niece a crazy mother and one wedding looming large? Blog fodder, that's what.

Well, it's Sunday which means that it's the day after the wedding. (collective sigh) Over the last week with my family my sister's and I were continually commenting on how long it's been since we were in that know, the one where someone ends up crying, leaving, resulting in Marvin throwing up his hands and commenting "Why can't you girls just get along?!"

Hmmm...maybe because it's been five years since the last Edvalson girl got married. J's family has successively married off the siblings one per year for the last three drama. My family has one little wedding and...

I think it didn't help that I'm only ten weeks post-partum, but today I just snapped and ended up with H and C in the double stroller, pushing them around the hot Iowa afternoon vowing to not stop until I either dropped of heat exhaustion or H fell asleep. Let me just tell you that it's really hard to maintain your dignity when you're returning to a porch-ful of people who've already 'moved beyond it' when you're dripping in sweat and bright read.

We all just needed to go to our proverbial corners before coming back together and regrouping for the ride to the airport where Sherri and I would say good-bye to everyone else before heading back to IC for my final night.

Unfortunately, the looming departure of family always makes us all extra tense, increasing the chances that someone will do something to make someone else cry, no matter how innocuous.

Note to self: The best, most productive, way to ease your future husband (who was raised virtually as an only child) is most likely not bringing the Edvalson family circus to town and letting them perform in your home. Especially when our personal space threshold is exponentially higher than most peoples'.

There's nothing like a slice of tension spiced up with a little dash of awkward to make everyone feel right at home.

**10 points to you if you got my nod to the novel Geek Love, which is about a circus family in which the parents did 'experiments' with each pregnancy to see which deformity would result...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

That Takes the Cake!

The fam got together to celebrate the fifteenth birthday of my memorably adorable, but currently surly, (well, just normal teen-angst to the nth degree) niece. Because we are all congregated to celebrate the marriage of my sister, it was important that we commemorate her birth first thing so that it didn't get lost in the wake of all the nuptial excitement (read: drama).

We let her pick the restaurant; Buona Festa to you, too. All was quiet as we dug into our salad and bread sticks and when she left the table we made sure to notify the wait staff of the occasion so that she could be ultimately annoyed. Not only was she with her lame family, OMG, but she was in Iowa at a restaurant where we'd publicly humiliate her...YES!

On a side note; I thought I was fairly fast at texting, but apparently there's a reason for all the shorthand they use...those kids go through their track phone minutes in nothing flat. So much for the 'emergency contact' phone, eh?

After the entrees were completed and we'd picked out the desserts in which we all wished to indulge, the employees came to the table with a mini chocolate lasagna (the very dessert I'd been lamenting was no longer on the menu) that would feed all of us; if we had small pieces...

My sisters and I were commenting that the OG must take a hit from the cost of their complimentary birthday desserts, as it was way more than we'd expected or had received at other restaurants.

As they were passing out the checks, the waitress informed my sister that her check would be brought out by the manager. At first, Sherri seemed bewildered, but we started to conjecture that she must have been selected for quality control purposes or something. Her check was brought out with great fanfare by the formally dressed supervisor and presented Vanna White style with a flourish. And what was the dealy yo? Well, she'd been selected to participate in an online survey, for which she could receive four whole dollars off her next meal if she completed it within the next twenty-four hours...WHAT?

We sat around the table trying to contain our laughter until after the manager left. We're a small-town family of people pleasers, and we don't make waves in restaurants. I've still got the image in my mind of sitting at a table when I was about 10 and having the waitress top off my soda with water as she got the glasses mixed up...and nobody said a word...but she made it up to me by giving me a 2-liter of Sprite at my high school graduation as she is one of Sherri's dear friends.

But what was the best part? Learning the hard way that there really is no such thing as a free lunch...or birthday cake apparently, as they charged my sister for the cake we did not ask for!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Unspoken Truth

Yesterday, at the Iowa City Public Library, my sister and I were sitting in cushy leather chairs enjoying our lattes while H played at the train table and rocked on the upholstered dragon. It was my idea of the perfect outing...I got to sit and visit with my sister without worrying that H was bored and would thus misbehave, interrupting my adult time.

While we were there, a man in scrubs walked in with four children ranging in age from about eight to two years old. He had a large stack of books in his hands and said to the eldest "Can you take Katie up to see the comics? I can't because..." and he just trailed off, not providing a reason. After he walked away, Sherri and I looked at each other and said sarcastically...because Daddy doesn't want to. We both thought it was awesome that he didn't even try to come up with an excuse because he had nothin'.

I really enjoy my kids, and I'm happy with my decision to stay home, but I am just not the mom who couldn't wait to be at home all the time so she could get right down on the floor and 'play tea party' or build with Legos all the time. I like to think that I'm 'fostering imaginative play' by allowing H to entertain himself for large chunks of the day. Which is probably why I work so hard to fill our days with one activity after another...not as much idle time for me to really examine what a lame parent I am.

I remember when J had inquired after I first had H if I would ever want to have an in-home daycare...uh no, no I would not. In fact, I would rather be responsible for the smell part of a quality control position at a manure-based fertilizer factory than to have a full-time daycare in my home. I like having kids over to play, and to babysit occasionally, but daily? No thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I have great respect for women and men who can open their homes all day everyday to other people's kids, create crafty projects with them and generally build social skills and esteem in the future leaders of our nation. I am just not one of them. At least I know that about myself, right?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Pedist Envy

Growing up in my town you could walk anywhere your little heart desired. There were even people so determined to be swept up in the roller-blading craze that you saw them bumping down their gravel lane; I most definitely didn't go that far, as even on a smooth sidewalk, I scoot along without picking up my feet.

After the town I grew up in, I moved to Portland (the Portland on the other coast for you New Englanders) which is quite possibly the most pedestrian and bike friendly city in the world...well, I've not been to NYC, LA or really any other major city in the world so it's obviously an exaggeration, but you get the drift. I then moved to Massachusetts, and my visions of strolling along the streets of the quintessential New England small town were dashed. There is no strolling along a 50 mile an hour freeway with no shoulder.

I know I've already complained about this in a previous post, and had kind of made peace with the fact that to go for a walk, you have to pack the stroller in the car and drive to the walking trail, park or other area with sidewalks. Then I went to visit my sister in Iowa.

My visions of Iowa were that it would be a corn-filled, dull and flat expanse with nothing exciting going on. I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived at Iowa City, and my sister took me downtown, parked the car and we headed toward the 'Ped Mall'. It was not even necessary that we drive downtown, as it's just over two miles from her house and has sidewalk access the whole way. Had I been at home without a car, I'd still have been able to go downtown and explore...something that's not even a remote possibility where I live.

In the center of the Ped Mall is a huge play structure, flanked by a Bread Garden grocery store, the IC public library, tons of great shops and restaurants and a mini-splash pad for the kiddies to play in. When I loaded up the kids in the stroller to accompany my sister to her bridal hair run-through, it quickly became apparent that H would not be as entertained by sniffing and testing the various Aveda products as would I, so I headed out and walked over to the PedMall.

We had about 45 minutes to kill, and it flew by. First at the play structure, then heading into the Children's Room in the library where H played at the train table and we read stories. Walking back to the salon in the perfect low-80's moderate humidity weather, I felt really happy. I told my sister that she's so lucky to live here, and that it will be a great place to raise kids. Yep, I have pedist envy.

I realize that pedist is most likely not the right word, but pedestrian envy doesn't have the same catchy ring.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Flight of the Navigator

Expecting to have plenty to blog about I'm shocked to report my solo portion of last night's trip was largely uneventful. I got through security easily, despite having my 'spaceship' as the TSA official referred to the double stroller, my family boarding session went smoothly. H stayed put without the assistance of his car seat, my flight arrived early and the luggage was all there as I stood at the carousel just after 10pm with two sleeping babes; neither of which had made a peep the entire flight.

The only hitch in the plan was that my flight arrived in a city three plus hours from my destination, so the trip was not yet over. Having been almost eight months without seeing Sherri, we were both ecstatic and the jokes and ridiculous laughter that is annoying to all but us got us through the drive. At one point, however, I realized that I'd fallen into a coma for about three minutes, my mouth hanging open mid-cackle. Even in the dark, the massiveness of the Mississippi River was again surprising and the star-filled sky made me homesick for Eastern Oregon.

We made it home in time for H to wake up and have a second wind for about forty-five minutes, and then he slept just long enough to reach his normal waking time, leaving me with just over two hours of sleep.

I crept down the stairs at my sister's house and tried to figure out the space-age remote to turn on PBS kids so that I could pry my eyes open while H was entertained by something other than the various ceramic and otherwise breakable items artfully displayed in the living room. Luckily (yes, I am evil) H is still timid around the oh-so-vicious Cooper (a fifteen pound Yorkipoo...I swear that's a real breed) that he stayed on the couch once the Coop made his appearance downstairs, limiting the amount of supervision that I needed to provide.

It was only after Sherri and I had been downstairs for some time, annoyed with H's vim that Sherri urgently mouthed, while pointing at the very child to whom I was speaking harshly about the position that ones body should take on furniture..."Oh my God! It's his birthday!" Yes, I'm such an awesome mom that my sleep deprivation finally led to the ultimate in neglect...I forgot for the first hour of the day that it was my child's birthday. So instead of just feeling like death warmed over, I was death warmed over with a healthy dollop of guilt on top.

After sucking down a large cup of coffee, the morning ablutions began and I finished first, heading downstairs to feed C while H remained with Sherri and Kyle. Kyle, being eager for some toddler bonding time, asked "Can you say 'Whoop there it is!?'" To which H replied, 'Where's the hoop?"

I was so proud to hear Kyle call out in a panicked voice not twenty minutes later to have some help removing the entire roll of toilet paper that H had put in the toilet...which had luckily not flushed down. This was after I had taken H out of the tub due to an unfortunate plunging of his washcloth in the toilet, then in the tub and back in the toilet again. At least I can be assured now that having toilet locks so complicated at home that guests either soil their pants or just break the locks has been necessary.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Batik Mystique and Hippie-chic

Last night, I started making a list of things to pack for my trip to see my sister in Iowa...about 400 burp cloths, clothes for both boys sufficient for a few days, (but not too much since I'll have laundry facilities) car seats, pack-n-play, foam sleep positioner for C...and the list was growing.

I started making a mental list of potential outfits I have for the various functions as the real reason for travel, other than quality sister time and someone to watch Sex and the City with, is Sherri's wedding. There are several outfits that were immediately vetoed as I'm not sure that muffin top is even a sufficient word...maybe a bundt cake?

It was then that I realized I hadn't yet made the second shirt from the pattern I've already displayed. I had planned to wear that shirt with a pair of black slacks, gold shoes and a bronz-ish clutch for my sister's shower. Think urban-chic metallic, not ghetto-fabulous.

No time like the present thought I at 10pm. Out came the trusty pins and scissors as I laid out the fabric and began arranging the pattern pieces. It was a much speedier process this time, as I'd already made all the mistakes...and remembered what they were.

Before long I was sewing the body of the shirt together and creating the ruffled neckline, and two hours had passed. I moved about an inch and realized that my back was cemented into place, so decided I'd call it a night and finish in the I'm going to be gone for two weeks (without J), so there are certain 'business items' to attend to. TMI?

This morning, I was finishing the shirt and realized that batik is quite possibly the perfect mom-of-new-baby-fabric...I would challenge anyone to find a spit-up stain on this one.

It looks like after all those years of mocking hippies, I'm finding they had it right all along. I now own several slings (yep, I'm a 'marsupial mom'), make clothes out of batik fabric and proudly wear clogs and Birkenstocks. Lest ye begin to panic, you can be certain about one thing; I will never wear patchouli or a broomstick skirt.

I'll be posting about my first solo flight with both kids...I'm sure hillarity will ensue.