29 June 2006

scratch one possible name off the list

Two Dogs and a Baby is taken.


It looks like I celebrated a year of blogging by taking a three day break. Not entirely true. I worked on capturing a little video yesterday, and it's something other than Oliver. Stay tuned....

Now that he's getting a little older I decided it was time for Oliver to start pulling his weight around the house. Might as well start young, right? I am hoping that by the time he's five he will be scooping the dog poop in the backyard. Now you know the REAL reason I had a child...kennel help! But I digress....

Oliver now has the responsibility of putting his bib into the laundry chute after meals. This involves climbing four steps to get to the second level of our house and toddling down the hall to the chute. He seems to relish this important responsibility, and is only occasionally distracted by the cat or one of the dogs. As I'm writing this it is becoming clear that video is required. Maybe later on tonight.

As I look around at the sorry state of the house, I am starting to plot additional jobs for Oliver, but I will have to work fast. In a twist of amazingly bad timing, CD's brother arrives tonight and the house cleaners come tomorrow. He scares me enough as it is without the problem of the house not being "company-ready". (I know all the parents out there are giggling to themselves about that one....) I predict he arrives in a navy blue suit, which will be covered in white dog hair within minutes, and I will spend the next two days apologizing for everything. Sounds like WAY too much fun.

26 June 2006


It seems I have been ranting and rambling here for an entire year. When I started I expected to lose interest in a few weeks or maybe months but Oliver's addition to our household has proved to be a source of endless blogging material.

I know I'm not the most skilled writer or the funniest blogger out there (though I think I could safely pit my son and dogs against any other child or dogs in a cuteness contest) but I have tried to be as honest as I can be in a public forum while remaining married. Here are a few of my favorite posts. Your mileage may vary, of course.

I hope to get better at this in the coming year. I know there won't be a shortage of blog-worthy (at least in my mind) stuff happening for me to practice on. At the moment our nearly 17 year old cat is feeling poorly, Chewy's backend isn't always communicating with his front end, and Oliver has embarked on a full-fledged vegetable strike. There's World Cup now, Tour de France starting soon, and Project Runway too. And let us not forget the possibility that the household may at some point in the coming year return to having "three dogs and a baby" (plus a toddler!).

25 June 2006


Brilliant. That's the only word for this idea for Boozy Bears. I wonder if it works with other kinds of booze. Rum doesn't always work for me.

I'm not drinking now anyway, following the "pretend you're pregnant" advice, but damn these look yummy.

23 June 2006

daylily with fly

My daylilies are starting to open. They were a housewarming gift from a wonderful clumber buddy. Thanks Chris!!!

I'll be posting more pics in a Flickr set as each variety opens. No promises about capturing additional flies.

22 June 2006

bigger thinner hotter

I've been playing with a 15" MacBook Pro this week, a test drive of sorts, courtesy of Apple. I currently use a 12" PowerBook G4 and I love it, mostly because it is so little and light. When I was taking the bus to and from work, hiking up three large hills to get home, this was crucial. Now it's just what I've grown accustomed to using. Unfortunately, it's no longer an option in the current product line. I can get a 14" MacBook or a 15" pro. Dilemmas dilemmas.

Since turning 40 my vision is going to hell in a handbasket so the 15" screen is very nice. (Bigger, as referred to in the title of this post) Not sure it's worth the increase in weight but look at the photo...it's soooo skinny, unlike me. (Thinner)

The test machine goes in the mail tomorrow but I've already placed my order, despite being tempted to try frying an egg on a few spots on the loaner. (Hotter) The area between the top of the keyboard and the hinge were practically smokin' the other day.

I will eventually get used to all the things that are different, of course, especially the speed. It seems a little wrong that I should get one before CD. Seems like his employer might find a way to get him one, especially with all the travel he will be doing in the next few months. (Will rant about that another day.) This is just one of those times it's nice to be in control of one's department budget. It's a tiny little kingdom but it's mine.

I know I don't flash my geeky side on the blog much, but she's always there.

bring on the tray

tray beds

This week Oliver transitioned from a crib to a tray bed at school. (Sorry, no picture yet. I tried for days to find one but the Internets have failed me.) A tray bed is a little wooden cot (in the American sense, since a British cot is what Americans call a crib). Barely off the ground.

Most of the children around his age moved to a tray bed months ago but due to space constraints, Oliver continued to nap in a crib. The nap room is an L shaped space, with tray beds on one leg and cribs on the other (and two changing stations in between). As the children get ready to move up from the Infant Wing to the Young Toddler room, they are slowly transitioning to the Young Toddler schedule, which includes one nap per day, after lunch, on a mat. The older Infant Wing children have moved from their tray beds to mats, thus freeing up tray bed space. It's all far too complicated, I know, but it seems to work.

I have been getting antsy for a couple of months now, pestering the teachers for this transition to take place. Even Oliver seemed to want it. While I checked the diaper and nap log book in the nap room he would bolt to the tray beds and look at them longingly.

It all seems to have hinged upon them procuring a unit for mat storage. I tried not to let this piss me off but I pay them about $1250 a month and that seems to have had an impact on my expectations. Lack of a big box is holding back my son's development? Oy vey. Get over yourself RIGHT NOW.

The actual transition has gone remarkably well. I expected Oliver to be the kid who refused to lie down but the teachers tell me he goes right to sleep. His naps are longer now too, around 90 minutes, sometimes longer.

And while we're on the subject of sleep, a few changes at home seem to have improved night time sleep. We take a family walk when we get home in the evening, including Chewy and Penguin (5:30 pm). Then play for a little bit (6:00). Then dinner (6:15). A little more play time (6:40 - 7:00). Then bedtime (7:30). Oliver is now sleeping until 6:30 am, sometimes a little longer. It's a much better schedule for everyone. I'm getting close to 7 hours of sleep most nights, especially when we don't have very loud thunder storms like we did last night. After over a year of very little sleep, I'm starting to feel a bit more like a human again.

20 June 2006

first music, now art

Oliver's dad finished the chairs that go with his little table so we thought drawing a picture for his Granny in England would be a good way of taking them for a spin. He's getting pretty good with the crayons, and displaying a bit of a pointillist bent.

19 June 2006

time for a change

CD and I decided not to get gifts for each other on our anniversary this year. We agreed it was time for a new bed, including mattress. For me, this is an absolute condition of bearing child #2, not yet conceived. Our mattress is shot and my back reminds me of this every morning. We foolishly bought an IKEA bed and even more foolishly believed them when they told us it didn't require a box spring. I have started looking around and can't seem to find anything I like. I hope when I see "the one" I'll recognize it but so far nothing has called my name.

I am starting to think we need to go beyond just the new bed, perhaps re-arrange the bedroom, or possibly even moving house. Every night when I try to sleep I am reminded that it was there, in that very spot, that I was told on the phone in the middle of the night that Piper was gone. I miss her terribly and the loss is haunting me. I don't get enough sleep as it is, with Oliver's current pattern of waking at 5:20am. Reliving the night we lost Piper is more than I can take.

which one are you?

This has been a huge topic of controversy in my office, and it's been going on for months.

I'm all about the quality. Good stuff can be folded. Bad stuff can't.

Go check it out. You know you want to.

18 June 2006

father's day

On this Father's Day, I am reminded that Oliver is growing up without his grandfathers. One of the perils of having older parents, I suppose. He looks a little bit like my dad, who passed away in 1982. And he will probably be a bit like CD's dad, since many on his side of the family say CD is nearly a clone of his father. He does have a step-grandfather who adores him but it isn't the same somehow.

He does have a dad though, and one who is a pretty terrific parent, despite having no prior experience with babies. I knew CD would be good, as he is with everything when properly motivated, but he has surprised me over and over during the last 14 months. I underestimated him and for that I have to apologise. As far as I can tell, he's flying on (really good) instincts but where it comes from really doesn't matter. He's good. Really good. I consult books, blogs and any other resource I can find and still feel like I haven't got a clue.

So to CD, I say, "Well done." And "We love you. Enjoy the Crunchie bars."

17 June 2006

he's bookish on his mum

Oliver has an adorable new habit (until it becomes annoying, but not yet). When he brings a book to me he also takes my hand and opens it by pulling on the thumb so it will hold the book to his satisfaction. I have tried hiding my hand and he always "finds" it, insisting on putting the book directly into my hand. I know I'm not describing this very well. It really needs a video.

He is also trying very hard to say "yellow". It sounds a lot like what he says when he wants to read Moo Baa La La La, but not exactly the same. We've been putting a little extra emphasis on colors for about a week and it seems to be sinking in. He hasn't had any new words for a while but seems to be just about to explode with them. Maybe he'll even say "mum" someday....

14 June 2006

bad mummy, bad bad

Yesterday I noticed the base of Oliver's thumb was red. Upon closer inspection, it is chapped, from being in his mouth half the day and most of the night. I put some vaseline on it last night and this morning. It's better but when I said something about it at school his teachers said they had been talking about it a while back and just assumed I noticed. UGH!!! I feel like the world's least observant mum. Makes me wonder what else I have missed. Once when he was a month or two old I was horrified to discover his belly button was cruddy. I was a wreck. So much for that being enough to scare me into being better.

To make things worse, it took Google to remind me that a little Lansinoh would be the best thing for this problem. Shoot me now.

13 June 2006

12 step group for cribbage obsession?

This is kind of fun, in a sick sort of way.

This is downright dangerous. Can't. Stop. Playing. Though if I want to look on the bright side, if I'm playing cribbage I'm not eating Nutella off a spoon in my kitchen. And while I'm in pseudo-tangent-land, weigh-in today was just full of surprises. 2.4 pounds worth of 'em. Woo hoo!!

11 June 2006

world cup dilemmas

The World Cup presents a few dilemmas, and not just of the "which country do we root for?" variety. That's easy, unless the US and England face each other, which isn't possible for a few weeks.

No, we have more fundamental problems, like what to do when the Tour de France gets underway. Remember, we STILL don't have TiVO or any of the alternative services. This could be just the thing that pushes us over the edge.

And at the risk of sounding hopelessly American, I have always found this brand of football a little bit boring. Golf, to me, has been more fun and exciting to watch. Then today, as I watched Trinidad and Tobago, the smallest country ever to qualify for a World Cup, take on Sweden, the favorite to win it all, I found myself getting entirely sucked in to a nil-nil draw. We went out before the match ended and I couldn't wait to get home to find out what happened. I hardly browsed at Target....something was clearly wrong. I may be hooked (just in time to fulfill my future as a soccer mom) and that is going to present a problem once the Tour starts.

I don't remember seeing any of the last World Cup, but I have one vivid memory of 1998. It was the first time I ever heard CD swear. England wasn't doing well, obviously. Come to think of it, that may be the ONLY time I've heard him swear. Let's hope Oliver follows in Daddy's footsteps, not his potty-mouthed mum's!

10 June 2006

now with extra woo woo

We have guests for the weekend, of the white and furry Clumber variety. Luka and Sherman (pictured) are visiting. Oliver isn't sure this is a good thing. They bark a lot and don't sound at all like Penguin and Chewy. They try to push him over and drown him with Clumber drool. It's getting better as everyone gets used to each other but last night was kind of rough (see below). Oliver continues to be very unsure about Sherman and generally bursts into tears if Sherman gets close. This is odd because it is Luka who most wants to push him around and lick him. You'd think Luka was a herding dog, not a flushing spaniel.

The boys, especially Luka, are not accustomed to retiring to crates in a room by themselves. They were not shy about sharing their feelings. I tried letting Luka be loose, then Sherman, but they tried to scratch through the door and the gate. Finally at 4am, after they woke Oliver, which happened at 3 but it took me an hour to get him back to sleep, I joined the boys in their room. Somehow this seemed to make it all better. Luka snuggled up to me on the bed and Sherman went in one of the crates (go figure!) and we all slept peacefully for two whole hours. It's a good thing I really love these guys...and that in our neighborhood sending them out to play in traffic at 4am was a pretty futile proposition.

Sherman is Piper's half brother and a number of his traits are reminiscent of her. He quickly found her spot on the couch. He too seems to be a bear of very little brain, but incredibly endearing. He barks at the drop of a hat, mostly at people walking by the house, just like she did, but frequently I see and hear no reason for the barks at all. Perhaps someone in New Zealand dropped a breadcrumb? Luka always joins in, though if I didn't know better I would think he'd been de-barked because his bark is very quiet (relatively speaking). Penguin can't resist making it a Clumber Chorus. Chewy, of course, snoozes through all such doings. Deafness has its virtues.

I think tonight I'll just head for the guest room and snuggle up with the boys. It's kind of chilly...a two Clumber night.

And Tara, if you're reading, Sherman ate his whole meal TWICE today. I think that may be a record!

09 June 2006

Happy Birthday Mr Chew

After catching some grief in the comments about "too much baby, not enough dogs" last year, I blogged about Chewy. He's 12 today and it's time to once again wax poetic about the Chewman. I've said it all before though. Even though he's slowed down significantly, he's still a really fun dog to have around. Since I never expected him to make it to 10, I try remember every day we have him is a gift.

I'll be thrilled if next year I can tell you all he's turned 13 and is still doing fine. I won't mind repeating myself at all.

08 June 2006

mullet be gone

Oliver doesn't have a ton of hair, except in the back of his head. With the warmer weather up on us, CD and I decided to have Oliver's mullet removed. The curl was cute, but it was also hot and yucky sometimes.

We probably could have done it ourselves but Joann, the miracle worker who cuts my hair, wanted to do it and I couldn't say no.

She did a great job, not just with the mullet but also cleaning up around his ears and the little wispy pieces in front. I think it looks like he has more hair now that it has been trimmed. And he definitely looks a bit more like a boy.

As I expected, Oliver didn't really enjoy the experience. I am told, by those who have been there, that subsequent haircuts go a bit more easily.

More photos from the haircut are here.

06 June 2006

weight updates

I've lost 10 pounds since starting WW. The last two pounds qualify as miracles. Being away from home, not having constant access to eTools, and available chocolate made things extremely difficult. Weigh in was a very nice surprise. I was quite sure I had gained.

Just for "fun" we put Oliver on the scale Sunday night, before his bath. I managed to do this without a single flashback! I was surprised to find he's not over 25 pounds. Then I looked at the chart and discovered he's maintaining a nice, steady gain. Maybe monthly weigh-ins would not be so bad....and the doc would be pleased. He was a little disappointed when I told him the chart I gave him at the 12 month check up would be his last. Yes, we've come a very long way.

green-eyed monster

I really should be happier for all my favorite bloggers who are pregnant. The announcements have been coming at a fast clip lately. First Melissa had Spuds. Gerah is due tomorrow. Mrs Big Dubya spilled the beans, or rather, Mr Big Dubya did, a couple of weeks ago. Now today it's Mainely Madge with the big news. Shoot, even Metrodad and Bosslady have pulled the goalie.

As sure as I was that I could not possibly do the baby thing ever again after Oliver's birth, here I am, just as everyone said I would be, beyond ready to jump on the train for one more ride. (Exactly one, thank you. No more than that. Twins? No, not so much this time, please.) More like mad as hell it isn't proving to be as simple as last time. How the hell did this happen? I've gone from "the war zone" (aka, episio... nope, sorry, I can't even type the word without a can of dermoplast in my hand) to "hurt me again please", faster than you can say E.P.T.

05 June 2006

for my loyal readers from EphBlog...

both of you....

Oliver scored a new sweatshirt when we were in Williamstown a couple of weeks ago. It's been too warm to wear it until this morning.

Class of 2027, here he comes! He's going to have to get a Herchel Smith Fellowship if he plans to make both his parents happy.

04 June 2006

usable, but not quite done

The bathroom is now usable, though there's still a little bit more to do. We've concluded the wall above the tile needs to be painted and the light switch and outlet will be replaced. I wish I had a "before" picture of it in all its yellow and brown glory. (We still have a pink and gray bathroom, but that's a project for another day, or perhaps another owner.)

For being 4' x 5', it feels remarkably spacious. I think we made some good choices to make the most of the space. The shower and toilet are directly opposite each other, so we opted for an off-set shower door and a toilet that is not elongated.

As usual, there are a few more photos at Flickr.

03 June 2006

bathroom master

I'm trying to contain my excitement but it isn't working very well. CD is almost finished with the master bathroom renovation. This bathroom has not been used since we moved into our house over 2 years ago. (Okay, I barfed in it once, but that doesn't count.) We started the renovation just before Oliver was born. The room is all of 4 feet by 5 feet, not counting the shower...how hard could it be, right?

A few weeks after Oliver arrived we had professionals put in a one-piece shower. Since then, CD has removed the toilet and sink, and painstakingly replaced the old tile on the walls and floor. Unfortunately, he's never tiled before and he's a perfectionist. So we've had a beautiful new shower for over a year, and no showers have yet taken place in it.

Today, CD put in the new toilet (with it's slow-close lid that I didn't know I had ordered...a very nice surprise), sink and vanity. All that remains is to add the elbow joint to the sink, the doors to the vanity, and some towel bars and hooks. It will be done tomorrow!! Not entirely done...there's one little piece of wall that isn't tiled, pending the hiring of an electrician to run a circuit for the wall-mounted heated towel rail, which we haven't bought yet...minor detail. But still, I expect to take a shower, use the potty, and brush my teeth in that bathroom tomorrow.

My contribution to the project has consisted of helping choose the components and ordering the toilet. In other words, not much. Oh wait. I did choose the yellow rubber duck at the home show with my 8 month pregnant fingers, thus giving us a discount on getting the shower installed, but it's really been all CD. He may be a geek, but you really want a perfectionist installing your tile. As usual, the project required one or two new power tools, including a wet saw.

Come back to see the pictures.

02 June 2006

a place to nurse

Though Oliver is weaned now I still keep up on all things related to breastfeeding. I was thrilled to discover a blog with info on places with nursing facilities. (Thank you, ParentHacks) It's like DaddyTypes listings of changing facilities in men's rooms in New York. A brilliant idea....just wish I'd had it first!

01 June 2006


More retro-blogging from our trip to New England. Oliver initiated a game of peek-a-boo with Tika. Of course, I missed the beginning and that was the best part, but this is still cute. I think it shows what an engaging little boy he is becoming, and the sense of humor he is developing.