And There Was Much Rejoicing

Posted on 11/30/2007 03:11:00 PM In:
Ha!

Am done! Am done!

Am done scraping the bottom of the barrel for something to write about, posting pictures, and just generally pandering to the lowest common denominator. How low can you go?

NaBloSoLo

Oh wait... that's what I did before I started this thing.



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Gift Horses

Posted on 11/30/2007 07:16:00 AM
In the last of my unoriginal blog posts for the month - in which I steal someone else's idea and use that to make myself appear contemplative and analytical - I'm participating in these folks' blog blast, sponsored by these folks regarding this subject:
What makes a gift memorable for you.

Whether it was good or bad, whether you were a child or an adult, whether you were the giver or the receiver - which gifts have stood out in your mind and why?

I like this subject... and not just because I've been the lucky recipient of such mammoth benefactions as a potato gun, a Powerpuff Girls watch, and a rubber chicken among others, but also because I've given as well as received. Some gifts are memorable simply because they are bad. Rotato, anyone?

One of my favorite gifts as a kid was a Bouncy Rocking Horse. This one looks a whole lot safer than the ones that were available when I was young though. I remember it occasionally tipping over when you got a little too enthusiastic with the galloping. There's nothing quite like a safety hazard to make any kid appreciate his mortality.

The most used and reused gift I've ever received was an iPod knoc
koff. It was before Mac cornered the market and there were still digital audio players on the market that did not begin with a little "i". I immediately put almost all of the then 600 selections from the CD Collection That Is A Monument To My Mental Illness on it. To this day I use that gift Every. Single. Day. In fact, I'd even welcome another one because mine is full and I've acquired some new CDs since then. With the new high capacity storage drives, I could put on every CD I own or might ever acquire. It was a great gift, not just because I've managed to use it every day since then, but because my husband really thought about what I'd need and use in my professional as well as personal life.

Another memorable gift was a reproduction of the Hope Diamond in a necklace, not because of the necklace itself (although my husband has great taste in jewelry and always makes good choices there), but because of how it came about. We were at a Smithsonian museum shop with a friend and we saw these cool miniature replicas of the Hope Diamond. I said to my friend, "You know, I've always thought the Hope Diamond was kind of tasteless and gaudy, but when it's miniaturized, it's kind of pretty. I would actually wear this." We browsed a little more and while she and I were looking at African art and instruments, I happened to notice through my peripheral vision that The KingofHearts had wandered off and was standing near the checkout counter. Usually, I'm the one who does that.

My girlfriend said, "Hey where did KoH go?"

Me: "He's over there buying the Hope Diamond necklace. But he's trying to keep it a secret, so don't tell him I know, OK?"

The rest of the day as we walked around the City, he had a giant box-shaped item in his pocket.

A few weeks later on my birthday, he presented me with the necklace. I never let on that I knew it was coming all along... at least, that is, until now. (It's a good thing I didn't have a blog back then. Sorry dear!) It was a great gift, though, because he had caught on to something I'd said and acted on it - without my having to drop not-so-subtle hints or just write a list outright.

I think that's my big pet peeve about gifts and gift giving these days. It's so often a chore for so many. The expectation is that you tell someone what you want and they buy it for you. I know many people who make lists of what they expect for Christmas and then even go so far as to assign friends and family members specific items from the list. There's no thought, no consideration, it just becomes an expensive grocery trip. It's a chore, not a mitzvah.

We're trying to instill this idea in The Dormouse now... that gifts are wonderful because they are thoughtful and unexpected. More than once this year, one of the two of us has uttered the phrase, "You know, honey, Santa doesn't always bring you every single thing you want. Sometimes he brings you things he knows you need or things that you might not even know you would like." I don't want Christmas to turn into some month long shopping assignment for her and for our family. I want there to be surprise and wonder.

I refuse to tell the KoH what I want for Christmas each year, instead invoking Wily Wonka, "the best kind of prize is a SURprise." If I know exactly what I'm getting before I open the box, I could have just gone out and purchased it myself. It drives him nuts because when he asks me what I want, I always say something like, "A hammer. No... just a hammer." So he never feels like he knows what to get me. But he always gets me great gifts. Even the spud gun was something I loved because it was fun and unexpected and he thought about it.

And to me, that's what gifts should be.


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Smiles

Posted on 11/29/2007 05:03:00 AM
I'm convinced that God makes then cute so we don't kill them in the first year:


Hello, my name is No Sleep.

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In Which I Act Like a True Mommy Blogger

Posted on 11/29/2007 05:00:00 AM
Since I started this little motherhood experiment, breastfeeding has been a mystery to me. I believe, that "Breast is best" (do you like that? I just made that up.) and I never had any plans other than to breastfeed my children, but I never quite could come down on the side of militant, La Leche League Nazis, either. Someone told me a few years ago, "You know, formula is not poison" and I think that's true too.

In general in parenting, I'm a fan of "What works for you, works for you... even if it doesn't work for me."

That being said, I never believed I would struggle so hard to breastfeed. I always thought breastfeeding should be easy and natural. Well, folks it's not. Maybe some out there disagree with me and that's fine, because I'm sure for some people it is easy. But for me and mine: no such luck.

The Dormouse was a horrible nurser. She would fight and fight whenever we sat down to feed - which made that initial awkward period of soreness and how-do-you-do-this-anyway last a LOT longer than it should. I read in all these books how it was a way to bond mother to child and I never got that either. I had a lot easier time bonding with my daughter while she was not bringing tears to my eyes. But despite that, I persevered, believing soon it would get better and that this was the right mothering choice to make.

Then The Dormouse Would. Not. Gain. Weight. I had specifically chosen a pediatric practice that said they were pro-breastfeeding and I hoped I would get some support or at least advice to help in this struggle, but all I got were judgments ("You know you need to wake her up every two hours to eat. You can't just let her miss feedings because YOU want to sleep.") and assumptions ("Maybe your milk just is no good."). None of which were helpful. I never saw a lactation consultant in the hospital for more than four minutes at a time and when I asked the pediatrician to suggest one, they all but discouraged me outright from seeking help.

I wanted to exclusively breastfeed; I didn't want to admit that I couldn't be successful. But I also didn't want to be so selfishly committed to the idea for my own reasons that my child would suffer. So, we supplemented with formula, but a miraculous weight gain did not suddenly occur. "Maybe she needs more formula", "Maybe you should just cut out the breast milk altogether."

Pro-breastfeeding organizations were of the complete opposite opinion. "Your doctor's crazy, she doesn't need formula at all. You're doing her a disservice if you give her even one bottle! It doesn't matter if she's not gaining weight, don't EVER give her formula."


My kingdom for a completely unbiased opinion.

That crazy all or nothing attitude from everyone concerned made me crazy for those first several months. I was constantly second-guessing myself. Let's all remember that I'd already lost one child and we'd had several scares during the pregnancy with The Dormouse, so I was convinced I was going to break this one too. I took her to work and weighed her on the postal scale every day and eagerly clung to every ounce she gained. Let me clarify that she did not ever lose weight; she gained steadily, just very slowly. I was surrounded by competimommies who all bragged about their children, "How much does yours weigh? Mine is in the 98th percentile for height and weight!" like it was some kind of infant SAT test. Here I had a kid who was in the 98th percentile for head circumference and the 10th percentile for height and weight. And because I was a breastfeeding novice, I was convinced either she... or I... or both of us were doing it incorrectly.

Finally, I got some sense and sought a second opinion - really because my practice, which consisted of five or six doctors, couldn't see me in under a week when I had a sick baby. I called a friend's pediatrician who is the only full time doctor in his practice and explained the situation - asked if I could get an appointment any sooner and he saw me the same day. So where we were there, I asked him about the weight gain issues and he looked over the charts then asked, "How tall is your husband?"

"Five, ten."

"How tall are you?"

"Five, five."

"Well, neither one of you is a giant. She's gaining steadily. Maybe this is just who she is going to be."

Something clicked in my head. I immediately went home, fired my other pediatric practice and moved my records.


What I know now, four years later, is that
is who The Dormouse is. She's a little girl. Stocky... and built like a mac truck, but she's never going to be in the 98th percentile. And there's a reason those charts have a 98th and a 10th percentile... because they're averages. That means that, yes, some of the population will be in the 98th percentile, but some of the population will also be in the 10th.

In the first few weeks with The Caterpillar, we started to go through the same thing. She was a much better nurser and I knew a lot more about what to expect. So that helped. But she immediately lost 13 ounces, which was right around 10 percent of her birth weight. It was right on the cusp... any less and the pediatrician would have been all, "Yawn" any more and he would have been all, "FEED THIS CHILD NOW."

But they didn't write down a weight on the hospital release papers so we didn't really know whether she had started gaining by the first week pediatrician's visit or not - we just knew she was down 13 ounces from her birth weight. Suddenly, my laid-back pediatrician turned into my first doctor: "She should have gained back her birth weight by the end of the first week. On average, they should gain a half ounce to an ounce a day in the first few weeks. Maybe she's not getting enough milk. Bring her back every week and let's monitor her weight gain."

The truth is, doctors hate anything they can't measure and breastfeeding is inherently unmeasurable.
It didn't occur to me until I got home that if she was supposed to be gaining 1/2 to 1 ounce a day, that there was no way she should have gained 13 ounces in 7 days. Egad.

So we supplemented with formula for the first couple weeks even though she didn't do well on it. While she did not spit up much after breastfeeding, after every formula feeding she puked up a big portion and aspirated it into her sinuses, then coughed and sputtered for hours after that, sometimes sounding like she stopped breathing. It was scary. I dutifully went back and paid my co-pay just for the privilege of putting her on a scale and having the doctor write that number down in the chart, then shooing us out the door and telling us to come back next week.

On the second week, she had gained back her birth weight and by the third she was gaining a little over a half ounce a day. That's when something snapped in my head and I invoked my mother's prerogative and eliminated formula altogether, ignoring the doctor's suggestions and hoping that my intuition was right.


We had our two month visit the other day and I'm pleased to announce that The Caterpillar is now just under 11 pounds and solidly in the 50th percentile.

Sometimes motherhood throws you a bone.

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DC Blogs Photo Contest

Posted on 11/28/2007 10:50:00 AM In:

So... DC Blogs is having a Photo Contest.

I'm all about having a real reason to take pictures, it makes me feel more justified in wandering around with a giant camera in my diaper bag and making my husband stop the car on the side of the highway so I can run out and TAKE A PICTURE OF THAT TREE BECAUSE IT IS THE MOST PHOTOGENIC TREE EVER AND I JUST CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT TAKING A PICTURE OF THAT TREE, I DON'T CARE IF THERE IS TRAFFIC! Yeah... I'm a chore to live with.

The theme this year is: What inspires you?

Here are my entries:

By Dawn's Early Light

I'm not sure that the contest requires a description or an explanation, but I'm still working on that NaBloMeSomMo thingy, so this gets to count as a writing exercise too.

Much to my husband's chagrin, because I am not this way in any other context, I am hopelessly romantic when it comes to my nationalistic tendencies. I alternatively believe and want to believe
that America is the greatest place on earth. Sure there are problems... lots of problems, but I still think that this country is one of the few places on the globe where it's possible for just plain folks to get together and solve those problems. If that sounds ethnocentric, sue me. I love my country and I love living in its capital.


Hanging On


When I was a teenager, I took my first photography class and was blown away by Ansel Adams and his nature photography. I desperately wanted to be like him (if only!) and go live in his house for the summer as his intern and camp out in the Tetons all night long to get that perfect shot at sunrise. I am totally and completely inspired, as he was, by things in nature - if it hasn't been painfully obvious from the rampant photo posting as of late. Mostly, nature astounds me in its ability to constantly die off and then regenerate... over and over; its one of the reasons I love Fall and Winter so much. If only we could do the same, right?

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Intent

Posted on 11/28/2007 07:35:00 AM
Driving to work this morning, I passed someone with the following vanity license plate:

SNOFGOD

It took me a minute to figure out that the person probably meant it to be short for "Son of God."

At least I hope so, because the only other interpretation I could think of was the imperative, "Snof God!"

And that just seems disrespectful.

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Icing on Top

Posted on 11/28/2007 06:23:00 AM

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Fresh Eyes

Posted on 11/27/2007 07:50:00 AM
I have a friend who's an artist and had an exhibit of his paintings downtown last year. He introduced me to this concept of finding the beautiful in otherwise mundane things... telephone lines, street lights, highway signs, a construction crane, etc. I love that idea of redefining beauty... looking at things with fresh eyes.

I never particularly thought of the parking lot outside The Dormouse's preschool as a great place to photograph before, but almost every one of the pictures I've posted in the last week has come from there.

Here is the parking lot at sunrise.


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It's Suprising I Didn't Become an Electrician

Posted on 11/26/2007 07:12:00 AM
The other day I caught The Dormouse playing with her dolls:

Mock phone call: "Sam, can you come over and watch my daughter? I have to go to music therapy. And my daughter will cry, so I can't take her with me."

She went to the door and pretended to open it. "Oh Sam! You came so quickly! Thanks for watching my daughter. I have to go to music therapy. Give her a bottle if she's hungry and a bop if she cries."


She walked over to the piano and played a few notes.

Then walked back over to where the baby doll lay. "I'm back from music therapy. Did you miss me? I hope she wasn't any trouble, Sam. Thanks for watching my daughter."


Is that what she thinks I do all day?


I suppose we're all indoctrinated into the things our parents do and their interests. Here's a sound byte of me at around two or three years with my father:

Transcription:

Me: Ah. Now, tell me, what is this?
My dad: That's a resistor.
Yeah, resistor! (unclear)
What's that?
Umma.... (unclear)
No, that's a Potentiometer.
Potentiometer!
What's that?
Um... hmmm... umma... holder.
Fuse holder.
Fuse holder, yeah!
Umma Fuse holder.
What's that?
Potentiometer.
Yep. Let's see, what else have we got? What's that?
(unclear)
No.
Umma... resistor?
Capacitor
Capacitor, yeah!
And what's that?
I don't know.
That's a resistor.
Yeah!
The enthusiasm for this stuff astounds me

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Getting a Late Start on Fall

Posted on 11/25/2007 05:23:00 AM

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Going Out in a Blaze of Glory

Posted on 11/24/2007 07:23:00 AM

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There Was a Crooked Squash...

Posted on 11/24/2007 07:07:00 AM In:
Listen closely, children, for I am about to impart the secret to a great Thanksgiving Day dinner for next year:

Pumpkin choice.

The end.

Seriously, that is now key in my mind to a successful Thanksgiving dinner... well, that and fried turkey, but for a whole different reason.

When we were picking out pumpkins last month, someone told The KingofHearts that these beige-colored crook-necked pumpkins made really good pie. So he insisted on picking one up. It sat as a decoration on our front porch until yesterday morning, when I decided to put it to use before it became a big moldy mess hanging from our banister.

It made the absolute best pumpkin pie I've ever had in my life - and I am quite a connoisseur of pumpkin-related products.

Not really knowing anything about the crook-necked pumpkin (and for some strange reason, not having it occur to me to consult my in-home dietitian and cook, Chef Google), I made it up as I went along. In no way do I consider myself a cook and as such, I seldom use this piece of the web to share recipes but I've benefited on more than one occasion from the recipes and tips my fellow bloggers post so there's a first time for everything. Here goes:

I first cut the belly in half. I highly recommend getting one of these automatic seed scooper and pumpkin cleaners, which promises to make any pumpkin-related job a snap. For two hundred easy payments of $199.95, one can be yours. There are only two problems with such a device: one, the difficulty in storing it when you're not using it - it requires quite a large space commitment; and two, the device tends to squeak and creak after extended periods of use. While most kitchen products in this condition might respond to a squirt of WD-40, lubrication does not appear to get rid of the familiar "Momma, you HAVE to HELP me!" whine that emanates from this device.

Then I cut the neck into two pieces and cut each piece lengthwise in half.

Next I covered all the pieces with foil and baked them for about an hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


When the pumpkin was what I deemed "read
y" (basically when the meat became soft and scoop-able), I pulled them from the oven and scooped out the meat with a spoon.

I used a food processor to mash it up. Much of the rest of this recipe, I pretty much stole from these nice people.

Measure out 1 1/2 cups pumpkin mash (drained of as much water as possible) and add to it:

1 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp vanilla
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs

Mix it all together until smooth and let sit for about half an hour.


Mix once more, and then pour the whole mess into an unbaked 9" pie crust. I used regular store-bought pie crusts (because I am LAZY, that's why) and got tw
o very full pies from this. I prefer, and usually buy, deep dish pie crusts, but the grocery store was out when I went shopping a few weeks ago and one of my cardinal rules is I don't go into a grocery store the day before Thanksgiving or on Thanksgiving morning. It keeps the peace.

Place the pies on a cookie sheet to guard against spilling while baking - or if you're me - while pouring the mix into the pie shell. Then mop up what you spilled onto the cookie sheet - of if you're me - don't, and let it all burn into a hard, cakey mess which will make the house smell like a chipmunk was stuck in the oven when you turned it on. Then curse your dishwash
er because it will not come off after running it through two cycles and you will actually need to wash the cookie sheet by hand.

Bake for an appropriate period of time in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven. I say "appropriate period" because I almost never remember to put on the timer when I bake and either obsessively check it every two minutes, or forget about it and let it burn. (I recommend the former rather than the latter.) In this case, I think that it baked between 30 and 45 minutes, but who can tell? I just took it out when it looked done.


Top with real whipped cream, none of that Cool Whip nonsense:
Take a small container of heavy whipping cream, add 1 tbsp. sugar and beat until it's stiff
and forms peaks. [Alternatively, do not add sugar to the whipping cream before beating and instead pour melted/slightly heated honey over the whipped cream on the pie slice just before serving.]

Here's where I fell down on the job photo-documentation, because we ate the whole thing before it even occurred to me to take a picture of the finished product. But trust me, it was yummy. The cook-neck pumpkin gave the pie a whole different texture and flavor; my main objection to traditional pumpkin pie is the baby food-like texture. This was more of an applesauce-like texture. If you like pumpkin at all, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. If you don't like pumpkin, well.. then why are you still reading a post that's entirely dedicated to pumpkins?

By the way, this one pumpkin yielded about six times what you need for this recipe so a much smaller fruit would do. The remainder of what we have will be frozen and eventually become baby food, so I was happy with the excess for once.


And there you have it. Serve with a liberal helping of Thanksgiving dinner, presented on the china you have only used half a dozen times in your ten year marriage, over the tablecloth you purchased in South America in 1989 and have never had a chance to pull out of the cedar chest before because this is the first year you've owned a real table. Give the extra pie to neighbors. Then realize how much you like it and curse yourself for not giving them the crappy cheesecake you always make instead.

Serve remaining pie to family, friends and hungry missionaries
.


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Fall Spectrum

Posted on 11/23/2007 05:04:00 AM

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Setting the Record Straight

Posted on 11/23/2007 05:00:00 AM In:
One of the things that having a second child in the house has hurt the most is my ability to write. I start with all kinds of great ideas and end up getting distracted and just throwing up unfinished thoughts or some such crap that never ends up being what I intended for it to be in the first place. This post was one such example. The idea started when I was telling someone the story about my uncle and his false teeth joke and laughing about it and the person was all, "Hey, that's weird." and I was all, "Maybe, but don't you think it's funny?" and she was all, "Ummm... no, it's gross."

Then a few days later, my father sent some .wav files of recordings he'd run across and I listened to the refrigerator one. It was a mini-sized fridge made to fit in a mobile home trailer, but this has been a story I'd told The KingofHearts for years and he never really believed me. Finally, I had proof. I think the part he was most incredulous about was that while all this was going on, my father would say, "Wait, we've got to record this for posterity" and then take time to go set up the reel-to-reel tape recorder. We all got a laugh about that.

After I posted that, some people emailed and commented about how cruel this was of my parents to do to me, ones that led my mother to wonder aloud if CPS would be coming to her door soon. I assured her the statute of limitations was well expired; that unless she was a Catholic Priest, she shouldn't worry.

The post should have been much longer. I should have done a better job explaining that these experiences were in no way cruel and in our family, it's all taken in good natured fun. I'm afraid that in the spirit of interesting writing and that damn NaBloOhNo where I was stupid enough to agree to post every day (every day! what was I thinking?), I I didn't do the subject justice. Lately, I miss a lot of details, grammar and spelling errors in my haste because I no longer have two hands with which to do anything and it's hard to write in my normal stream of consciousness manner when you're typing with one hand and a holding squirmy baby - who does not want to be held but wants to be put down even less - in the other.
(Or at least that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.)

I should have included how good natured it all was and how I really did think it was funny. How if you listen to the sound byte closely at the end, you can hear me begin begging to go BACK up on the fridge once they took me down.

I adored my great uncle - loved him dearly - and couldn't wait to see him each time we went to visit. I always laughed about the teeth thing (was grossed out, but laughed!). A cousin recently reminded me how it actually became a game among all the little kids and they'd try to get his teeth and run off with them when he did it. Ha!

I also remember how he'd tell me the same two stories about my mother when she was little. Every. Time. I. Saw. Him. The first one was a sweet story about how they were working on some project together when she was young and when they finished, she looked up at him and said, "Did we made it, Uncle?" Awww.

The second was one in which my mother, who at two or three years old somehow accidentally let the pigs out of their pen on the farm. When they came after her, she went running up to the house, banging on the kitchen door, yelling, "Open the door! Open the door! Damn pigs are gonna eat my baby!" (Yeah, I'm probably going to catch hell making that public, but it's funny dammit! So stay tuned for my disclaimer post follow-up to this disclaimer post.)

I knew these stories word for word but I never stopped him from telling them.

It was my grandmother who used to stick her finger in a hole in our clothing and rip, then announce wide-eyed and innocently, "You have a hole in your jeans." I thought that was pretty funny too, but mostly because I didn't tend to wear old clothing back then. Some of the cousins had less of a sense of humor about it in the eighties, when the style was to wear jeans with holes in them. Many a prized pair of teenage badges of honor were ruined by that particular family joke. I remember that Grandma hated what she called "holey clothing - and not the kind you wear to Church" and was never sorry!

She also hated frayed and worn towels and whenever she helped fold the laundry at our house, you could periodically hear the telltale "riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip" that meant she'd just found an unacceptable hand towel and was tearing it into small pieces so we have no excuse to continue using it. This might sound insensitive or just presumptuous, but she always purchased replacements before her visits were over.

It was also Grandma who sewed all the flies to my uncle's underwear shut while folding laundry one day. When he discovered what she'd done and he confronted her, she frankly told him, "I thought you had enough children."

They weren't the only family jokesters, just the few stories that came to mind at the time. I left out how there was always a race to short sheet everyone's beds when we got together and how my dad put the cat inside the piano one day and then watched me search for her while she howled to get out. (No animals were harmed in the making of this joke; the cat was fine, so don't start emailing about that either.)

Some people, it seems, didn't get from what I wrote last week that I knew it was all in good fun and that those are some of the fondest memories of my childhood. To them, I say simply, "You just don't know my family." I truly miss those times and the people who aren't with us anymore. I also left out how I've turned out to be just like them and how I'll probably do all the same stuff to my children (well, minus the refrigerator gag... because my fridge is not that small and I don't want CPS showing up at my door) - I know I do to my husband.

Sorry honey, it's in the genes.

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In Which I Attempt to Be Traditional for the Holiday

Posted on 11/22/2007 07:23:00 AM In:
Thirteen things for which I'm thankful:
  1. Am no longer pregnant
  2. Do not have plans to become pregnant in the near future
  3. Stretchy pants from Chicos
  4. Do not have to fly anywhere for this holiday
  5. Do not even have to step foot inside an airport
  6. The cheese counter at Whole Foods
  7. Car insurance that covers repairs even when it's the driver's fault (yeah, there's a story behind that one)
  8. Turkey fryers... which get men interested in cooking, thereby taking that job from me
  9. Getting up at three am every morning with a baby who thinks it's party time (oh wait, that belongs on another list)
  10. Diet Coke (you knew it had to show up somewhere on the list)
  11. Thanksgiving holiday television marathons
  12. Do not have plans to go near a mall this weekend
  13. These guys:


Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!


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Project Runway 16 Contestant

Posted on 11/21/2007 08:44:00 AM
Now showcasing another of The Dormouse's hand picked outfits:


She claims the pants go with the skirt "because they both have flowers on them."

Perhaps a career in fashion is not something to encourage at this point.

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Why I Love Living in the 21st Century

Posted on 11/20/2007 08:33:00 AM In:
I just did all my Christmas shopping for the entire season over the course of the last fifteen minutes...

in my bathrobe.

I heart the Internet.

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Because We Just Didn't Have Enough Stuffed Animals in the House

Posted on 11/20/2007 04:19:00 AM
Just what you needed from Grandma, an armload of cats:


I suppose it could be worse, Grandma could be a crazy cat lady and these all could be real.


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Trike Force Delta

Posted on 11/19/2007 09:43:00 AM
For the past two weeks, The Dormouse's preschool has been talking up this program: The Trike-A-Thon for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. They got the kids super excited about it and fully indoctrinated.

"Miss Sandy says, I'm doing a good thing for the children at St. Jules' Hospital for Resurge."

OK - maybe not completely indoctrinated, but they're four.

I dutifully took the pledge sheet around at work and got a few people to promise to pay out $1.00, $.50, $.25 for each lap she rode, thereby becoming one of those coworkers you can't stand who expects you to buy wrapping paper, pizza, soap, pott
ed cheese, etc., because their kid has to sell it and they are neither willing to let their kid go around the neighborhood door to door by him- or herself nor are they willing to spend time going around the neighborhood door to door with their kid. And really, can you blame them?

The Trike-a-thon was scheduled for two weeks ago. But then rain and cold weather caused them to postpone it. The Dormouse could not have been more disappointed.

The next da
y, more rain. Postponed again.

The next day was not a school day for The Dormouse, but she made me promise to bring her to school for the riding event because she Could. Not. Bear. To. Miss. It. Even though it was raining and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it would be canceled again, I promised her I'd drive over there with her and ask because I couldn't stand to listen to her wonder a thousand times over if maybe, just maybe they'd decided to hold it in the rain and she would not have been included and that would have been consummate to nuclear holocaust in the eyes of a four year old. I bundled both girls up and dutifully drove over. Surprise, surprise, it was canceled again.

The ne
xt day was a beautiful, sunny day. I assured her in the morning that surely they would have the event that day. Look outside, after all. When I picked her up that evening, she was as dejected as a Jamaican Bobsledder. Apparently, the person who organized the event was not scheduled to be in the school that day, so they postponed yet again.

The next day, more rain. Does anyone have to ask?

Finally, at long last, on Friday, they actually held the long awaited Trike-a-thon. I happened to have a few minutes in the middle of the day, so I drove over to check it out. The entire parking lot was roped off and cones were set up to create the course. It was intended for the children to do laps around all the cones, beginning at the starting point and having some teacher stand at the end and count each child's laps as they circled all the cones multiple times in formation as perfect as a division of Hitler-Jugend.

At least, that was the intent.

They required helmets, so we had to purchase a set of helmet, knee and elbow pads (which The Dormouse now refers to as her "gear") and more preparation than a District of Columbia drivers' test. The Dormouse spent a week learning the rules and etiquette of tricycle riding. She even brought home a coloring book as homework which contained all the rules to review: We don't ride in the street, we don't ride without an adult, etc. . From the parking lot, I watched them emerge from the building; so excited, the group seemed to be vibrating. They spent about twenty minutes lining up all the kids just outside the door. Each kid was appropriately bundled up and donned his or her "gear". Finally, after what seemed like a month of Sundays, they were ready to ride.

Suddenly, someone gave the okay and they scattered. It was like watching a pee wee soccer league - just a melee of kids running in a pack from one end of the field to the other, only on tiny tricycles and bicycles. There were no laps counted. Indeed, there were no laps to count, because there was no rhyme or reason to where the kids rode. At one point, I readied my camera to take a picture and a riderless bike came coasting through the frame. The Keystone cops would have been in awe by the capacity for kids to fall over on their bikes from a simple stopped position. It was a riot.

The Dormouse did the equivalent of 25 laps - or at least that's our conservative estimate and what we are telling those who pledged - because using a strict definition of the word "lap" would have netted zero, count them, zero laps for the whole event. She also collected 37 acorns from underneath the hedges around the parking lot and along the way (too bad people didn't all pledge based on THAT!). Afterward, I asked to have the pledge sheet back so I could total up and collect the money.

"Oh you can just give me the check," the teacher said.

"But I don't remember the amount everyone pledged. I need to calculate how much everyone owes for the 'laps' she did."

She stared at me blank-faced and then with sudden realization, "Oh, you mean you got people to pledge per lap?"

"Um, yeah, isn't that what the instructions said to do?"

"I guess so. Most parents didn't get pledges. They just wrote a check for $35 - the minimum they had to raise to get a t-shirt."

I collected over $100. What a patsy I am. We are anxiously awaiting that $100 t-shirt

We also learned that she's more than outgrown her tricycle. Anyone got a cheap bicycle with training wheels for next year? I've got my $35 ready.


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We Have GOT to Stop Talking in Front of Her

Posted on 11/18/2007 02:08:00 PM
The KingofHearts: "You look great today."

Me: "Thanks."


KoH: "No, I mean really great."

Me: "Again, thanks."

KoH: "And I never thought I'd say this about short hair, but that haircut... it does something for me, if you know what I mean."

The Dormouse: "What does it do, Daddy?"




This is kind of my haircut these days, but not my face. Sigh.


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Winter Has Come

Posted on 11/18/2007 04:43:00 AM

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Is That a Face?

Posted on 11/17/2007 08:09:00 AM
One of my favorite things about babies is all the faces that they make without even realizing it:
Now accepting caption suggestions.

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The Many Faces of Bumbo

Posted on 11/16/2007 09:07:00 AM In:
There are a lot of reasons I'm glad I waited until now to have children. One of the best is all the products that are available to ease parents' burdens.

Last week, when the Caterpillar refused to sleep unless someone was holding her and pacing a rut in the living room carpet from 2:00 to 6:00 am, I consulted my parenting expert, Dr. Google (PhD), and he recommended this. Which I immediately went out and bought. (Hey! $29.99 is worth it for even a couple extra hours sleep.) It's not a miracle cure or anything, but I can put The Caterpillar down, turn on the vibration and it's just enough white noise or sensation or I-don't-care-what-as-long-as-it-works to get her to stay down and drift off to sleep if she was so inclined to begin with. It keeps her from waking herself up in three seconds flat after I lay her down.

My new favorite product is this.

I did not even hear about these when The Dormouse was born. I bought one at Monica's garage sale a couple of months ago. But I would never have guessed that a seven week old would sit up in it though. Awesome:


Of course it's not all fun and games... some people aren't so thrilled with the Bumbo:


Oh wait... maybe we like it after all:


Just don't put it on the counter top. (Duh.)

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Bliss

Posted on 11/15/2007 03:53:00 PM
I have work to do.

This is the first day in weeks The Caterpillar has slept more than twenty minutes at a time. The Dormouse is at preschool. This is the first day I've had in weeks, just The Caterpillar and I alone in the house, without the need for constant attention from a four year old.

The dishes need to be washed, the kitchen floor is really a mess, I need to pay bills. I have email, voice mail and work projects to take care of. My bedroom is a mess, clothes need to be washed. I haven't slept more than three consecutive hours in months. Now is my chance.

Instead, I've been sitting in a chair for hours today with a sleeping baby on my chest.


I should put her down in her bassinet and get up.


I need to go grocery shopping and make dinner.

I should put her down in her bassinet and take a nap at very least.

Just five more minutes.


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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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