31 December 2007

no resolutions

And so it ends, this year of living rejectedly. There was a bright moment just before Christmas when I was actually asked to join something, rather than being asked to go away quietly. I am still feeling stunned by the phone call. We'll see what happens when the work begins. I'm looking forward to working with people who want me around and to contributing to an important cause.

So, just a little retrospective. In 2007:

  • I left a job, not of my own choosing
  • We moved to a new house that is fabulous and in a great neighborhood
  • We had another baby, our last baby
  • I learned staying at home, full-time, with two kids is no good for any of us
  • We didn't sell our other house
  • We didn't sleep much

And we hope in 2008 that:

  • I'll get a job
  • The other house will sell
  • We will add another Clumber to the family and I will get back to doing fun dog things
  • Our kids will continue to thrive and make us laugh more than cry
  • The smallest kid will sleep better, learn to walk, wean, and grow a little more slowly

30 December 2007

son-day at the playground with Oliver

I had great plans for the holiday, eleven days of CD not going in to the office (note I did not say "not working"). Our office room was going to be cleaned out, the basement was going to be organized, we were going to the Aviary, the Zoo, the Children's Museum, maybe a couple of other museums that are so close and yet rarely visited by us, storytime at the library, etc. It's probably pretty clear where this is going.

We haven't done squat. Well, that's not entirely true. CD spent parts of three days organizing paper and filing, and I spent a few hours clearing and organizing in our office room. We did go to the Children's Museum last Friday. We planned to meet one of Oliver's buddies but they bailed at the last minute (with a really good reason). It was just as well. Oliver napped until 3:30pm that day and the museum closes at 5pm. I think we got there at 4:06 and shut the joint down.
Children's museum - the Garage
I took a lot of photos and this is the only one that is close to in-focus. Both boys enjoyed the Garage room. Oliver sat in the driver's seat of a mini cooper and looked like he was in love. And Oliver and I made it to the library for storytime once, the Saturday before Christmas.

Our problem, it seems, is mornings. If we don't do something in the morning, the day is pretty much shot. What seems to be happening is Oliver and I get up around 7:30, with Eleanor joining us soon after. CD makes his appearance around 9:30. Eleanor nurses and goes down for a nap, and I take a shower. What should happen is that one of us takes Oliver somewhere. What usually happens is the daily viewing of Cars or Finding Nemo. Eleanor wakes up around 11:45 and it's lunchtime. Then Oliver goes down for his nap right after lunch, and the day is essentially gone.

Today I decided we needed to break the cycle. Eleanor woke up at 11am and I said we should go to a playground. We have lots of choices in playgrounds nearby, and our first choice was closed. That was okay, since we tried a new playground a while back and had to introduce it to CD and Eleanor. CD took lots of pictures but hasn't shared any with me yet.

We also went out for lunch so there was fresh air, followed by social interaction. Oliver was wearing his Steeler's shirt, along with half the other people in the restaurant, so he took the opportunity to let everyone know he loves the Steelers. He also informed everyone that in football you "run and fall down." He really is in his element when out in public. I have a feeling he's not all that different from how I was as a kid. Sorry Mom! Precocious, I think it's called. So far I haven't felt the need to hide under a table but I know the day is coming.

The naps that followed were glorious. It's been quite a while since both kids napped at the same time. Oliver slept from about 1:15 to 3:30. Eleanor was out from 1:30 until just after 4. This is how I managed to work on cleaning up the office.

Side note: This is post #502. As usual, I intended to pay attention to the 500th post milestone. Oops. Probably just as well, since #500 was just a couple of links to Christmas photos.

28 December 2007

FFF - don't call it fruitcake

Had all gone well, I'd be writing about afternoon tea at the Frick museum cafe. Alas, no reservation meant no tea. Fortunately, I have a fall-back position in the form of Christmas pudding. Pre-CD, it's something I never would have tried. Now I have to scour the stores the day after Christmas, hoping to find one more for us to have on New Year's day so we can use up the ginger and brandy butter sauce. This year I really did get the last one. As I prowled my local Williams-Sonoma, three sales people told me they didn't have any left. As I went to check out, there was one lonely Christmas pudding on the counter. The cashier assured me it was not being held for anyone and I could have it. Not wanting to wait for her to change her mind, I checked out immediately.

We did share a slice of pudding with our a British neighbor who forgot to order one. He said it was no big deal, since the rest of his family didn't care for it. Problem solved...we delivered some pudding to him on Boxing Day.

It really is nothing like the fruitcake I remember seeing as a child. No strange brightly colored fruits to be found. I always thought the green bits in fruitcake were scary. All alone they were reason enough not to touch the stuff.

27 December 2007

more photos from Christmas

I'm just the pretend family photographer but my pictures from Christmas are on Flickr.

Better ones, taken by CD, are on our family site.

It's not hard to guess who has the PowerShot and who has the Rebel XTi, or who uses iPhoto and who uses Aperture.

26 December 2007

siblings

hair, please, hair




Siblings that get along? In my family? HaHaHaHaHa!!!


These are the photos I'll use on them later in life.

24 December 2007

the stockings were hung...


And the cookies were decorated and left for Santa, along with the obligatory glass of milk. (As we decorated I kept having flashbacks to a junior high experience. I was supposed to bring cookies to some holiday event and my sister and her friend Cory came to help me decorate. At least half of the cookies ended up "anatomically correct," thanks to Cory. Definitely not safe for junior high....)

The Night Before Christmas was read, though likely processed by Oliver and Eleanor.

The last drawer of the countdown calendar was opened (and chocolate star consumed).

And Santa was tracked through part of Europe, courtesy of NORAD.

We are trying to pace ourselves with traditions and hoopla, since there is only so much Oliver will remember, only so much that will really stick. Only time will tell how successful we are.

More tomorrow, when all the craziness really lets loose.

23 December 2007

not to be outdone

It may be son-day but Eleanor proclaimed an adamant "me too" by crawling for the first time. As we've come to expect, she's doing it differently from her big brother. Oliver's first attempts at crawling resembled an inchworm, and he moved backwards for a couple of weeks before he figured out forward motion.

Eleanor has opted for the military crawl, forward all the way.

Photos or a video to come.

'twas the Son-day before Christmas

and all through the house, not a child was stirring since it was naptime. I should be following their lead since the attack of the head cold. The kids have had runny noses for a few weeks now but I had avoided it until yesterday. Now it feels like my head is completely plugged up, just in time for Christmas. The good news is I really could get an extra nap since CD is technically off work until January 2. (I say "technically" since you know he's still spending most of his waking hours looking at his laptop. In case you missed it, read this.)

Oliver is getting pretty excited about Christmas. I don't think he has a real grasp of why he's excited, but he senses it is something special. He knows there just one magnet left to put on the Winnie-the-Pooh countdown calendar, and two more drawers to open on the other one. (We do the magnets in the morning, and open the drawer after dinner.) He's pretty sure Santa Claus will bring him a guitar. We have talked about Santa and the reindeer and stockings and the chimney but I think he's just doing his best "smile and nod" for his mum.

Last year he was entirely puzzled about Christmas. We were in Maine with my family, there were presents, but none of it really sunk in. This is the first Christmas he might remember later on so I have been trying to start a few traditions, like making cookies and putting them out for Santa and the reindeer, and the countdown calendars. We may add more next year, depending on what he remembers and seems to want to continue.

I can tell his eyes are going to pop out of his head on Christmas morning, but I don't think I have worry about him not wanting to go to sleep in Christmas eve or getting up too early the next morning. Only a matter of time though.

CD was doing kid nail clipping today. It's the only thing I don't do. I'll do nails when he starts breastfeeding. It seems like a reasonable trade to me. One of Oliver's former teachers used to do them for me when CD was on long trips. Anyway, while his toes were being tended to Oliver announced, "I love snails." He "loves" a lot of things lately, but "snails" was something new. I asked him to say it again, which he did. I was still puzzled and he must have been able to read my face because the next thing he said was, "Daddy clip snails, Mum!"

21 December 2007

FFF - chocolate vs granola

The annual deluge of chocolate has started to arrive, from parts far and near. Way too much chocolate. That's probably why my favorite holiday food has become granola. Tika makes the most amazing granola. I have the recipe but mine never turns out as well. She always sends a bag for Christmas and another for my birthday, about a month later. The rest of the year I have to make it myself or buy it, though neither option quite measures up.

I suppose I could add a little chocolate and call it trail mix, but that would just lead to my eating it at times of the day other than breakfast. It would be gone even faster, though my efforts to make the December shipment last until January never work anyway.

Tika's Granola

5 cups rolled oats
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup chopped almonds or cashews
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup dried fruit

  • Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Warm the oil and the honey together.
  • Pour the oil, honey, and vanilla into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  • Put the mixture in a large, shallow roasting pan. [Two cookie sheets with edges work well. The larger the pan, the crisper the granola.]
  • Bake at 250 for 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes.
  • Add dried fruit after the granola cools.

20 December 2007

for my geek readers

Just a little something to warm your heart this holiday season. This is v1.1. I missed it entirely the first time around.

18 December 2007

the uterus, she is closed for business

I had my hsg this morning, following up on the Essure procedure I had back in August. It was not nearly as horrible as I had been led to believe. A tiny bit of feeling crampy, but pretty much nothing compared to labor. It was even faster and less painful than the two CVS I have had. It was over in five minutes and the results are all good. My tubes are closed. Thank you and goodnight.

As mentioned previously, I opted to take one for the team when I learned that Essure was a permanent form of birth control that required no incisions. To my male readers, what would you do to thank your wife for keeping you from having to endure the snip, including the smoke and smell of things burning in your nether regions? I can certainly live without the "push present", though I did at one point suggest a hemorrhoid present (clearly a topic for blogging all by itself...) but this, this deserves some sort of recognition, don't you think?

17 December 2007

sleepy son-day

Son-day is on Monday this week. Better than Tuesday, I suppose. Today's topic is sleep. No, not parental sleep. That would be (oxy)moronic. We're talking about kid sleep, how much they need and what happens when that doesn't happen.

Sleep has been a hot topic in my little circle of parents. The conversation usually goes like this. First, when they hear about Oliver's bedtime, their eyes pop out of their head. Then they say, "You have it easy. My kid won't go to bed before 9pm (or 10, or in at least one case, 11)." If you moved four months ago there is no way your kid is still in the former timezone(!) if you haven't been the enabler.

I try not to be judgemental about parenting in general but sleep is one area where I sometimes can't keep my mouth shut. I really believe that good sleep habits can be learned by kids if the parents are committed and consistent. Have people forgotten that sleep deprivation is a torture technique? Or that mice DIE when they don't get enough? Quit whining about it and go read a book like Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, The No-Cry Sleep Solution, or any of the many others on this topic. You'll find one that works if you stick with it.

A recent post from The Blogfathers (what? you don't read them? go check them out. we'll wait.) inspired me to comment, something I don't do as often as your average opinionated, loud-mouthed blogger. It also came up on ParentDish, a blog where I do comment pretty regularly (and think about applying to write for about every other day). That author cited a recent study of sleep needs of 2 and 3 year olds. Any talk of so-called "experts" usually gets my attention, since my mileage typically varies, sometimes wildly. In this case, Oliver seems to be pretty darn close to the experts' recommendations. I don't find that comforting or re-assuring. If Oliver was wildly divergent from the study, it wouldn't matter. He needs what he needs and doesn't read the expert studies.

It hasn't always been easy in the sleep department. Oliver was a horrible sleeper for at least the first year of his life. (I can't remember exactly when it got better. It's still a blur.) He was the master of the 20 minute nap, and often would not go more than 2-3 hours at a time during the night. Then we (finally) established a pre-sleep routine and things improved markedly.

Oliver now goes to bed around 7:30pm (sometimes 7:45, just about always by 8) and wakes up around 7am. If he wakes up any earlier I tell him to go back to sleep and he does, though that is easier in the winter when it is still dark. He naps after lunch, usually for about 2 hours. He goes to bed generally without complaint, so long as we do the routine, including PJs, tooth brushing, and a few stories. To my continued amazement, he frequently asks for nap when he's done with lunch on the weekend.

When things go awry, as they did last night, the results can be ugly. Oliver is 32 months old and that by itself can be challenging, but he is usually a pretty happy kid and I haven't met anyone who minded having him around, so far. We spent last evening at CD's office party and the kids did not see their beds until about 9:30pm. Oliver was having such a good time playing with a little girl his age that we couldn't get him to eat any dinner. I knew we were going to pay.

Here's the laundry list of consequences:

  • Oliver woke up 4 times during the night. And not your garden variety wake up. He woke up and was very upset each time.
  • He was grumpy this morning. There were no less than three meltdowns, one that I would rank in his "top ten".
  • His teacher said he was a bit off his game all day. Small things bothered him more than usual but he generally held it together. (I did warn her about what was going on.)
  • After holding it together at school, he was grumpy and touchy when he got home. Everything still had to be "just so" or else. I need a crystal ball to get things "just so"!

Needless to say, he went to bed as early as we could manage it, given that he needed a bath. Still he was out by 7:45pm. I am hopeful he is himself again tomorrow. This would be a pretty impressive recovery from what for us is a major disruption.

We have also had recent occasion to learn that if he sleeps too late in the morning he has trouble going to sleep at naptime. And if his nap is shortened is shows in his behavior for the rest of the day.

I think I can live with being chastised for being too rigid with his sleep schedule. As I said in my comment on ParentDish, if keeping your kid up late so you can have more time with him works for your family, go for it. If I did that with Oliver it would not be fun for any of us. I love my son and like him a whole lot better when he's had the rest he needs. He might as well be wearing a blinking neon sign that says "Sleep Deprived" when he hasn't.

Next year, we are leaving the party early. Lesson learned. The party was fun, but not enough to blow up the sleep schedule. Now I just have to get a little more of that sleep thing myself.

14 December 2007

behind the lens

Here's the long-awaited guest blog from Andrea. Or there would be a guest blog, if it were possible to get tech support from Blogger. Andrea ends up in an endless loop when trying to get help with logging in. When she tries to log in Blogger says her email address does not exist. When she tries to create a new account, it says there is an account for her email address already. When she tries to access help with this problem Blogger tells her to go to the help center, which cannot be accessed without logging in. Lovely. Thanks Blogger. I will renew my efforts to choose one of your competitors and move my blog. If you can't solve the easy stuff I know you won't be around when I have a more serious problem.

the winner

Meanwhile, here's what Andrea has to say about being the photographer for our Christmas photo:

One rarely gets to see the inner workings of a family. I had the pleasure of taking Kim and family's holiday card photo. All of the clich├ęs that you read are true... the dog and babies always steal the show. Look at the picture she posted as the "not" holiday card...now, imagine the dog licking the baby, Oliver whining because he wanted to be on mommy's lap and CD very prim and proper. (I think he was just terrified that I might drop his camera!) That is the sight that I saw as the true spirit of the holidays. Fun and family.

More of the photo shoot at Flickr.

FFF- basted eggs?

Eggs are on the menu here at Fabulous Food Friday. The aforementioned cancelled breakfast finally happened on Wednesday and we went to Pamela's in Shadyside, one of five branches around the city. It followed a mind-numbing hour of signing my name, in BLUE pen, at our lawyer's office so I was ready for a serious diner breakfast. with. bacon.

I ordered a poached egg and was informed they do "basted" eggs. I've never had anything bad at Pamela's. Their California French Toast is something everyone should have at least once and their pancakes are bigger than your head, yet light and fluffy. They probably know their eggs too, I assumed. Yeah, sure, basted egg.

They should have just said, "We don't poach. How 'bout over easy?" I would have said yes and known what to expect. Instead, I spent 10 minutes trying to figure out what, exactly, was "basted" about my egg. Even Google didn't enlighten me, when I compared what I found there to what I saw on my plate. Wikipedia claims no knowledge of the basted egg.

Fortunately, the bacon alone was enough to qualify the meal for FFF. Mmmm. Bacon. If you are looking for a bacon gift, and frankly, who isn't, Zingerman's has a few nice choices.

13 December 2007

elvis has not left the building

Courtesy of Mr Big Dubya comes this music meme. iTunes, iPod, Media Monkey, whatever you've got. For me, it's iTunes since both my iPhone and video iPod have a subset of what is on the computer.

How Many Total Songs?

There are 1546 songs in iTunes. 4 movies, 3 tv shows, a couple of podcasts.

Sort by song title - First and Last
Accidents Will Happen - Elvis Costello - Armed Forces
'92 Subaru - Fountains of Wayne - Traffic and Weather

Sort by Time - Shortest and Longest
Mary Mary - 0:10 - Susie Tallman & Friends - Classic Nursery Rhymes
Beyond the Sea - 28:15 - Robbie Williams - Swing When You're Winning

Sort by Album - First and Last
Acoustic - Everything But the Girl
40 Years, A Charlie Brown Christmas

Sort by Artist - First and Last
First - Aaaardvarks (from Philadelphia Chickens - Sandra Boynton)
Last - 10,000 Maniacs

Top Five Most Played Songs
For Oliver:
Six Little Ducks - Susie Tallman & Friends
Ten Monkeys In the Bed - Susie Tallman & Friends
Winnie the Pooh - Ralph's World
The Hoppity Song - John Ondrasik
Marching Medley - Ralph's World

For me:
Accidents Will Happen - Elvis Costello
Out of Reach - Gabrielle
Brilliant Mistake - Elvis Costello
And She Was - Talking Heads
Every Day I Write the Book - Elvis Costello (are we sensing a trend yet?)

Find the following words. How many songs show up?
Sex: 1 (Sussex Carol!); Death: 0; Love: 98; You: 179; Boy: 53; Girl: 45

First five songs that come up on Party Shuffle
This Must Be the Place - Talking Heads
You Couldn't Have Come At a Better Time - Luka Bloom
Man Out of Time - Elvis Costello
Solsbuy Hill - Peter Gabriel
A Kiss To Build a Dream On - Louis Armstrong

Your turn!

11 December 2007

PSA - dogs are not for christmas

Since I don't see the AKC putting forward their usual campaign, I want to do my part to remind readers that puppies make lousy holiday gifts. Kids should not view a dog like any other toy that can be discarded when the novelty has worn off. It's a 10-15 year committment, longer for some breeds.

Take this opportunity to get a book about dog breeds if you haven't decided on a breed already. If you know what breed is a good match for your family you can pick up some supplies like a leash, bowl, or bed. And take some time during the holidays to research breeds and breeders. The AKC website can point you to contacts for the Parent Club of each breed (for those breeds recognized by AKC). Parent club websites usually have information about breed traits and characteristics, a link to the breed rescue group, and a breeder referral contact.

A better time of year to add a dog to the family is when someone will be home for a few days to help the dog get acclimated to new surroundings, not when there are parties, lots of visitors, and other sources of commotion.

AKC does have a great page of suggestions on how to be a responsible dog owner. Skipping the holidays is down there at number 11.

And one more thing: holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias are poisonous to dogs. Keep the chocolate well out of sniffing range too.

Remember, a dog is for life, not just for Christmas.

09 December 2007

get down get funky

Son-day, once again. And on Sunday for the second week in a row! Woo-hoo! Today we're all about things Oliver is saying, and I'm translating. Mostly. Sometimes. When I can.

This morning, as our daily viewing of Cars began, Oliver instructed, "Get down and DANCE, Mama!" He said it very clearly, no need for a translator.

The same cannot be said for what he was yelling during the DVD previews. "Bogasteekers" had me completely stumped. It took a while but I finally figured out he was saying "bonus features." I think we may have to find a way to lay off the DVDs for a while.

He's been singing a strange song for a couple of weeks now. I can't even begin to figure out what the words are. If the song continues to stump me it may require an audio blog.

07 December 2007

FFF - beans and greens

It's Fabulous Food Friday again. Not much of a week for eating, with CD on the road and breakfast with a friend cancelled due to crappy road conditions. I love going out for breakfast. Brunch is my favorite meal, with breakfast a close second. Alas, nothing new I ate this week bears mentioning.

I have blogged about the beans and greens at Pino's Mercato before. My love for them grows every time I am lucky enough to have them. The more time that has passed since I have had them, the more I think about them. I have been scouring various recipe websites looking for something that looks like it would come close to the garlicky loveliness of Chef Pino's version. I have come up empty all the way around. I guess that means I will have to find a way to convince the chef to share his recipe. It's not like we won't have a reason to go there anymore. The pizza is also tasty and I look forward to trying some of the other dishes on their menu. They are an easy walk from the house and we are likely to be frequent visitors. So Chef Pino, if you're listening, share the Beans & Greens recipe with a grateful diner.

06 December 2007

forklips


You know, Luigi Guido from Cars, the things that change the tires. Forklips.

05 December 2007

cd, explained

Okay, so it's not exactly "CD - the definitive guide" but some parts are spot on. [click the title]

I miss being "the project". Fortunately, I still have all the emails from that time. And I now realize I'll probably never have my own work space in our office room. It's really "the cave".

nsfw?

My niece decided to "elf" the family. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

04 December 2007

sick things in my kitchen

And I'm not even referring to the trash can, which invariably contains a poopy diaper, or the fridge, which I'm proud to say contains nothing that is growing fur at present.

No, the appliances are dropping like flies around here. My steamer, my beloved steamer, steamer of all things wonderfully tasty and boiler of pasta extraordinaire, is dead. It was dead in a flaky sort of way, but now that the technician has visited it is, of course, completely dead. And, of course, they don't have another one in stock. They claim I'll get a call "soon" and should see a new one next week. Sometime. Maybe. I should have realized this would be a problem when they told me they only have two guys trained for Gaggenau (and I learned today they are brothers) and they have been alternating weeks of vacation and illness.

The other dead appliance is my espresso machine, after giving me twelve years of faithful, flawless service. I was waxing poetic about it just last weekend. Shows what I know. As I was steaming some milk for cocoa I detected a slight, but unmistakable, scent of sulfur. Shortly thereafter, steam ceased to be produced. I have emailed a service company in Seattle and await their reply. They will probably say, "Look, lady, you got twelve years out of the thing. Be happy and go buy a new one." Unfortunately, I want another Saeco Estro Vapore. I know how to use it, after seeing Korby Kummer demonstrate on a Martha Stewart tv show eons ago, a show I saw at least five times. They are no longer available, not even the silly Starbucks-branded version. I can probably find one on eBay but I want a brand spanky new one. The last thing I want to do is research a new machine. A sharp stick in the eye, or perhaps a mammogram, would be more pleasant.

02 December 2007

new and old territory

New territory: We finally got the first offer on the old house that has been on the market since April. Unfortunately it's not even in the right ballpark and the buyer isn't likely to get there. Our counter is essentially "go away". That said, it's nice that someone wants to live there, even if they probably can't afford it. Maybe there will be a surprise but I am not going to hold my breath.

Old territory: I'm flying solo this week, with CD away. He hasn't traveled in a couple of months and I am way out of practice with juggling both kids, especially late in the day when everyone, myself included, is hungry/grumpy/tired. I realized it had been a very long time since I have done bath time with Oliver and it was easier than I remember, a pleasant surprise. CD has helped him through a lot of his bath issues, like hair washing. Still, it's going to be a very long week.

Son-day: I hear a polka and my troubles are through

It's son-day again, and on Sunday this time. CD left for Vancouver at oh-dark-thirty this morning so it's just me and the kidlets for a few days. (Unless United never finds a plane to take him from Chicago, where he's been waiting for hours, in which case he's going to bag the whole thing and come home.)

Just when I get comfortable with leaving Oliver alone for a few minutes to feed Eleanor and what not, I am reminded this is just never going to be a good idea. As I was changing Ellie's diaper upstairs this morning I heard the sliding door to the backyard open and close. I foolishly assumed Oliver was letting Penguin go outside. He's good at this, and is also good at noticing if she wants to go out or come back in. What I didn't consider is that it's pouring rain and Penguin would rather hold it than go out in the rain. A few minutes later, Oliver appeared upstairs, using his tee-ball bat as a guitar. He spent the next hour dancing around the house, singing a lot of "Hoop De Doo" and generally paying no attention to where the guitar was swinging. The bat is now banned from Ellie's room, as he came much too close to whacking her in the head. I was in the line of fire a few times too. He's so absorbed by music that he doesn't think about anything else.

Coming soon: A Guest Blogger! The person behind the camera for our Christmas card photo would like to tell everyone what it was like to try to capture the craziness.

01 December 2007

not our Christmas card photo


So much for taking a day off from blogging.

This shot makes me laugh but was not our final choice for Christmas card photo. I may post the winner after I get the cards in the mail.

30 November 2007

FFF - this sandwich is no turkey

Once again, Fabulous Food Friday is a no-brainer. Since I didn't make pie for Thanksgiving, and thus was unable to have pie for breakfast, the clear winner this week is a series of turkey sandwiches. I only made a turkey breast but we still had plenty of leftovers and I was lucky enough to have three great sandwiches, mostly the same but with slight variations as I perfected the "recipe". I will credit brining the turkey with it remaining moist and tasty through last weekend.

The first sandwich was very simple: Ciabatta roll with leftover cranberry sauce and spring mix lettuce from the farm. On the second I added a thin layer of reduced fat goat cheese spread with herbs from Coach Farm, and replaced the cranberry sauce with cranberry-ginger chutney from Trader Joe's. The final sandwich was just like the second, except I put it on onion ciabatta.

Three days, three turkey sandwiches, each a little better than the last.

Here ends NaBloPoMo. I may take a little break. I may not. We'll see what tomorrow brings. This post from Mary P is making me think. I even emailed the link to CD. We are not yet on the same page with regard to Oliver's eating (or not eating) dinner.

29 November 2007

blog til you drop

It's the penultimate day of NaBloPoMo and I was afraid I had nothing to say. (Maybe my use of "penultimate" will boost the reading level of this blog!) Then I looked at the pile of flattened empty boxes in my garage and I realized I have been doing way too much shopping, Christmas and otherwise. Sharing some of my finds seems like a reasonable thing to do.

A Magnetic Skinny Strip from The Container Store arrived today and I put it up immediately. It's in the kitchen, next to the fridge, nearly invisible unless one is standing in just the right spot. Seems like the perfect place to hang the shopping list and other such things. It is just as sleek as it appears. And the magnets are WAAAAAY strong.

These decals were an early Christmas gift from my mom to Eleanor. I have moved them around a bit since this photo was taken. They are easy to move and leave no marks on the wall. You'll find them at Pottery Barn Kids.

I fell in love with everything at Tiny Sprouts. I managed to hold myself to a shirt for Oliver and a hoodie for Eleanor. When I ordered there was a deal to get a free bag so I got that too. The items are just as cute in person as they appear.

My current favorite site for browsing is Etsy. If you haven't checked it out, go there now and expect to be completely sucked in for a good hour or three. What could be better than handmade goodies for Christmas? I love Sarah Jane's illustrations, especially this one. It will be hanging in Oliver's room sometime in January. It's perfect since he's been "my little bunny" since the day he was born. He recently informed me I could not call Eleanor by this name because "Olver ittle bunny". I hope he likes this print as much as I do.

Also in the handmade realm, here's a plug for a friend. If you like handmade cards you need to see Tara's handiwork. I am hoping she gets so much interest in her cards that she needs a grunt to help her. (Ooooh, pick me, pick me!)

If you need a plate for those cookies you're leaving for Santa, visit the good folks at Mudpuddle Designs. I gave one of their plates a few years ago and it was adorable. Now that our family is complete, I ordered one for us. Their birthday plates are terrific too.

Just to be clear: No one paid me or asked me to post this info. No one sent me any freebies, except the bag from Tiny Sprouts, which was a bonus with purchase.

28 November 2007

christmas tree


What I've been doing tonight instead of blogging....

27 November 2007

Son- Tuesday

Behind again...how the heck did that happen? Son-day was supposed to be a regular feature, on SUNDAY (duh!) and dammit, it is going to be a regular feature. You'll just have to forgive me if it sometimes happens on Tuesday.

After nearly four days of all Oliver, all the time, I coughed up one of the items that was probably going to be a Christmas present, the Curious George tea set.This one was quite a find. Have you ever looked for a tea set that isn't pink? And doesn't have flowers? And isn't made of porcelain? Apparently tea sets aimed at little boys are not big sellers. This is the only option. Fortunately, Oliver is a huge fan of George so it worked out perfectly. So sorry if your son prefers Power Rangers.

A tea set for Oliver was suggested by one of his teachers. His morning arrival ritual includes finding the teapot in the kitchen area of the classroom, putting it on a wooden cutting board (tray!) and taking tea to some of his friends. About once a day he asks me to open one of our kitchen drawers at home to look at the teapot.

Needless to say, the tea set is a big hit. Getting him out the door was a challenge this morning, mostly due to his need to properly arrange the tea set before departure. I'm guessing the tea thing is genetic, and probably from my side of the family.

Here's where I need some help, internets. I picked up a really cute advent calendar at Starbucks. This is the first year Oliver will know what is happening at Christmas so I thought it would be fun to count down with him. We will leave out "advent" part, since we tend to ignore anything even slightly religious. The little drawers are all of 1.5" square. I don't want him to have chocolate every day but what can I put in those tiny drawers? I have some jelly beans but I'm not sure he will like them. I am hoping to find some tiny ornaments for the tree. Any other ideas?

26 November 2007

I have a master's degree, honest

cash advance

I'm going to blame this on the fact that most of my conversations are with people who are 36 inches tall, or less.

25 November 2007

a potty for me

Well, not just for me, but I have a brand new little potty. (Can you tell what kind of books we're reading at our house these days?) The first floor half bath is nearly functional!! CD worked so hard on it. Anything that pries his hands off the laptop keyboard for an extended period requires immense effort and is thus considered "hard work", but this would surely qualify under any circumstance.

This week CD removed the last of the wallpaper, followed by much patching and sanding of the walls. I must say they were smooth as a baby's bum before he primed them, and since I have a baby I know exactly what a baby's bum feels like. I'm talking smoooooth.

The color choice was simple. Which paint can containing one of the three shades of beige in the house is the closest to full? Oatmeal it is! It's the lightest of the three shades so I was trying to convince myself it will make the tiny room look bigger. Then, in a flash of shower brilliance just before CD started to paint, it hit me. The room should be the light green of the dining room. It ties in with the entryway rug, and the rest of the first floor, and looks great with the brushed finish accessories. And most importantly, we had plenty of it.

He put in the tile a while back, but it still needed grout. We didn't have enough so that accounted for one of many trips to Lowe's and Home Depot.

Now there is a new toilet, sink, and light fixture. The other necessary little accessories will be installed this week. The only thing left to procure is a mirror. Oval, square, rectangle? I just want a plain mirror. No little flowers etched on it, no fancy scrolls. I think I want oval but that may not be the best shape, since the light fixture is not completely lined up with the center of the sink. An oval may draw attention to that little defect.

CD ran into a small plumbing glitch with the sink but two little parts will solve it. We had plans for dinner with friends tonight or it would be done. If Home Depot didn't close two hours early on Sunday it would be done too.

One last rather important thing will be the door but it just needs a coat of paint on the bathroom side, and a little shaved off the bottom due to the thickness of the new tile.

Though I was annoyed we didn't finish it prior to Eleanor's arrival, as being able to pee without negotiating a large staircase would have been lovely, I'm glad it is just about done now, and I will overlook the fact that CD doesn't think the pedestal is there to hide the plumbing. Really. I will overlook it and stop googling pictures of pedestal sinks and noticing that the pedestals always hide the plumbing. Any time now, I will stop.

It will be immensely useful to have another loo when potty training begins in earnest. Maybe the novelty of a new place to "go" will hold some sway with Oliver. Yeah, I know, more wishful thinking.

It's been a long project, a lot longer than we anticipated, but that's par for the course.

I just hope when the new window arrives next week the installers will not undo any of the nice work.

24 November 2007

g-whiz

Once upon a time, I won a starter kit of gDiapers. The biscuits Jason included were yummy too. (I won various things on four blogs during the second half last year. Two of the prizes never arrived, alas. DaddyTypes and NinjaPoodles made me kinda sad, but ever so happy and appreciative of the things that did arrive from JavisDavis and gDiapers.) I was pregnant and really excited to give the g's a try. Once Eleanor arrived and reality set in, thoughts of gDiapers went out the window. Then she was too big for them (size small) I passed them on to someone else about to have a baby. I just found out tonight that they didn't use them either and will be passing the kit on to someone due in January.

Anyway, I decided since we have the worm bin, and the compost bin, and we are recycling everything our city will take, even the stuff they don't take curbside but take at drop-off stations, it really was high time to give the gDiapers a try. The fact that Eleanor poops marbles, not mudslides, also made the idea slightly more palatable, so to speak. This decision had nothing whatsoever to do with this week's revelation that Julia Roberts is a gMum.

So far, so good. No leaks, no runs, no errors, and no complaints from the plumbing.

UPDATE, Saturday afternoon: Still no leaks but I did have a scary clog in the toilet today. Took over half an hour with my plunger friend to clear it. No doubt pilot error. Will compost more and flush less, I think.

UPDATE, Sunday morning: We had a leak. I'm experimenting with overnight placement of a second insert. What happens is half the insert is bone dry and the other half is soaking and squished so it no longer fills the liner. I will have to search the message boards and maybe call the gTeam for advice.

23 November 2007

FFF - gobble gobble

Welcome back to Fabulous Food Friday. It was just the four of us for Thanksgiving so I didn't exactly go all out but the usual suspects were on the table (all at the same time! and nothing was cold!). There was a roasted turkey breast, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, stuffing (not cooked with the turkey and I confess, from a box), carrots, parsnips, and cranberry sauce. Oliver was especially taken with the 'snips, as we called them. I could not get him to try the potatoes or stuffing (he is perhaps not my child after all) but he liked the cranberry sauce and asked for seconds of 'snips. He ate exactly one bite of turkey.

Eleanor had turkey too, but from a jar. She did not seem at all disappointed. (Photo of Eleanor in her turkey bib will be posted later on.) Here she is in all her turkey glory.

turkey bib
Originally uploaded by clumberkim

I made a classic Weight Watchers recipe, pumpkin fluff*, for dessert. Not exactly traditional, but light and tasty. I used more spice, fresh ginger, and less pumpkin than when I made it for Halloween. It was a big improvement over that batch.

As good as Thanksgiving dinner was, I look at it as just a prelude. What I really look forward to is a turkey sandwich with cranberry chutney. And a little stuffing. I may have to break down and enter a store today to get bread. With my Christmas shopping nearly done, I was hoping to avoid all retail establishments.

Not food related but I have to send a Happy 33rd Anniversary shout out to my sister and her husband. Though she's only 10 years older she's got me beat in the marriage department by 29 years, not to mention three grandchildren, two of them older than Oliver. Wow.

* Pumpkin Fluff - Whip together 1 box of sugar free/fat free vanilla pudding mix, 2 cups of skim milk, 3/4 of a can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling), and 1 container of fat free cool whip. Add pumpkin pie spices to taste and mix well. Chill at least an hour.

Last time I made this I used the full can of pumpkin and the texture suffered. I also added a tablespoon of fresh ginger this time. Both seem to have improved the final product.

It is easy to find alternate versions of this recipe. Fire up a little google and go crazy. Some even call for a mix of vanilla and butterscotch pudding mixes. I'm a little suspicious of the ones that don't call for milk but I haven't tried any of them.

22 November 2007

catching up with the neighbors

I planted 65 tulip and narcissus bulbs this afternoon. In the rain and wind. My back hurts. Unfortunately, I have 25 more to plant. Tomorrow. In the snow.

a day without brown

Brown isn't doing it for me today. How will I get through the day without a UPS delivery? Perhaps the kitchen frenzy will keep me sufficiently distracted.

I am almost done with Christmas shopping, in an effort to not re-live the panic of two years ago, so the lovely brown truck has been visiting regularly. Let's just say I know my UPS guy is having varicose vein surgery, such are the in-depth conversations we have while I sign my name for him. He notices how big Eleanor is getting too. And thinks it's pretty hysterical that the diapers come from Amazon.com.

I've had great UPS guys before. When I was living in Massachusetts in the early 1990s my UPS man delivered to the whole (very small) town. He knew where I lived and where I worked, and always delivered my packages to the office. He brought only the small packages in to my building though. If a box was even a little big he would come get me and then load it into my car. And he was downright cheerful every.single.day. So is the guy who delivers to my neighborhood now, even with the varicose veins.

(At least one loyal reader is now horribly disappointed that the "brown" reference wasn't for her delightful Sussex spaniels. Sorry JT. Give those brown dogs a hug for me.)

21 November 2007

sitting pretty



It's a whole new world now that Eleanor is sitting up on her own. Clearly she's enjoying herself. This was taken right before bed time, usually a very fussy time.

We are planning a quiet Thanksgiving at home this year. The cranberry sauce is made and the turkey breast is brining in the fridge (because it's much too warm for the garage).

I'm hoping to get my tulip bulbs planted in the morning, then cook. It's hard to imagine a life more exciting than mine. Blame it on NaBloPoMo. If not for that, you would have been spared this post.

20 November 2007

splish splash

Major breakthrough tonight in the bath department. Eleanor had a happy bath time, the first one in many weeks. Now that she is sitting without support I turned her bath tub around and it seems to have made all the difference. She played with Oliver's bath toys (now officially "their bathtoys" but don't tell Oliver just yet), splashed, and generally enjoyed herself. Not a single tear was shed. I hesitate to say a good time was had by all but we seem to be moving in the right direction. Next bath, photos for sure.

In other bathroom news, CD is making great progress on our first floor half bath. Though we had the professionals do the three full baths in the house, we decided to talk the two half baths ourselves. And by "ourselves" I mean CD. I do the shopping and he does the heavy lifting. He has all the wallpaper removed (that was a joint effort and we have been working on it for months) and the walls patched and sanded. Tomorrow he will probably prime and maybe paint if we get an early enough start. From there it's relatively simple installations of the toilet and sink. After the wallpaper removal it will seem like a walk in the park. Photos of this too, soon.

19 November 2007

princess of cups

After "son-day" it's only fair to follow up with a post about Eleanor. At seven months she is changing and growing and learning new things at a rapid rate. She is sitting up without support now, babbling like crazy, and sporting four teeth, with two more poised to appear any day now. Her hair is totally out of control. a bad hair day if ever there was one. It's not long enough to cut but just long enough that it never looks neat or even "organized".

Her latest giant leap forward is using a cup. I think we might be done with bottles, though she hasn't been seeing more than one a week for a long time now. Yesterday, after her late day meal of solids (I hesitate to call it "dinner" just yet), I had a few ounces of breastmilk in the fridge and decided to give it a try in a sippy cup. As usual, she took the introduction of something new in stride. Tonight was the same story, except she got excited as soon as she saw the cup, and she tried to help me hold it with one hand. Since she was holding the bottle sometimes already it may not be long before she is managing the cup all by herself.

In other food news, Eleanor had a small mid-day meal of yogurt today. I had been thinking about it but she kept trying to steal my spoon when I was having some so it seemed like a good time to give her a little of her own. That makes three meals of solids a day. Fruit and cereal in the morning, yogurt at mid-day, and veg and cereal (and sometimes chicken or turkey) in the evening. She also likes rice cakes and usually has one in her highchair while the rest of the family is having dinner.

Experienced moms will nod their heads at this cliche, but it really is going by much too fast. I knew it would, and as much as I want to meet the toddler and young girl she is going to become, I still want to hang on to her babyhood as long as possible.

18 November 2007

his many colored days

It's son-day again and Oliver has provided me with plenty of material this week. Two of his buddies visited yesterday and it was great to watch them running laps around the kitchen and playing with trains. These are kids we have known almost since their birth and I have loved watching them grow up along with Oliver. I am also discovering just how much I enjoy having a house full of people, kids and adults. The kids gravitate to CD, and he to them. I'm afraid if we ever started a babysitting co-op CD would be the one the kids would always want to play with.

We are now plotting a possible New Year's eve gathering. Step one is finding a sitter and seeing if he/she will wrangle the children (three 2 year olds -- we'll keep the two wee babies with their), having them sleep at one house. And do it for a fee we can afford. Should that all come together, we'll start to think about what we actually want to do to celebrate the holiday. For me, going to bed early sounds good! I'm kidding, of course, but only a little. Champagne, then going to bed early....

The bruise on his head turned green yesterday. It's more yellow today. There's hope for getting a photo done in the next week or so, assuming I get him in for a haircut. It is still very short by nearly everyone else's standards but it takes little for it to become unruly. The kid is cursed with his mother's hair and shorter is definitely better.

School is going well for Oliver. At least he appears to enjoy himself. I remain less than enthused about his teachers but I have to admit he is learning. He has learned his colors since going there, as well as the many rules and routines of the classroom. I rarely had something that tangible before now. CD is spring boarding off the colors with his planet placemat and now Oliver is rattling off the names of planets by matching the names with the colors. I used to be impressed that he could name so many Red Sox players and what they do ("Manny hit da bat", "Papelbon pitch", etc.) but the planets? At two and a half? Such is life in a family of geeks.

17 November 2007

if not for NaBloPoMo I would be sleeping now

Ah, sleep. Not much makes me happier these days. The kids are sleeping reasonably well these days. That means I usually have a fighting chance at five uninterrupted hours, six on a very, very good night. Still, it's not quite enough after nearly three years of operating with a sleep deficit.

I always aim to be in bed by 10pm but it never happens, for two reasons, both of whom are generally snoozing away at that time. It's complicated (like you didn't already know that). Eleanor needs feeding, usually between 11pm and 1am. She's inconsistent. If she hasn't howled by the time I am going to bed I feed her anyway. So if I went to bed at 10pm I would have to get up later anyway.

And reason number two, after a few days of waking up with wet pajamas and bed, I started changing Oliver when I go to bed. 10pm is too early for that to be entirely effective. He's inconsistent too, though. Some nights I remove a dry diaper and some nights it's pretty wet. We try to limit liquids late in the day but that isn't always practical, since he usually has dinner around 6pm and is in bed around 7:30pm.

Right now it's just after 11pm. Eleanor has cried out a couple of times but has settled herself back to sleep quickly. I'll go up and feed her, and change Oliver, and with any luck I will be asleep before midnight. And if I'm really lucky, no one will wake up before 6am.

This morning Eleanor slept in, but Oliver was up at 5am. He went back to sleep until 7am but the damage was done. Penguin and CD were both snoring when I got back to bed and I have always had trouble falling asleep with snoring around me. I can snooze through it if I'm asleep before it starts but once the spell is broken I'm doomed. Even when we had three Clumbers, I could sleep through all four of them snoring as long as I went to bed about an hour before the quadraphonic symphony of snoring began.

Now I have NaBloPoMo to worry about. I suppose it is giving me something to do between 10pm, when I want to go to bed, and 11:30pm, when I actually start moving in that direction.

16 November 2007

Fabulous Food Friday: wildly boar-ed

Welcome to the first edition of Fabulous Food Friday, where I ramble on about the best thing I ate in the past seven days. Not much of a challenge this week, since CD and I were fortunate to have a table at the Late Autumn Beer Dinner at our neighborhood restaurant, Point Brugge. Since it is Fabulous Food Friday and not Fabulous Booze Friday, I won't go into too much detail about the different beers we sampled. Suffice it to say I would be happy to see the St Armand Country Ale and the Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar again. The others were fine, just not over the top.

All of the food at this dinner was very, very good. It was a tough call between the soup and the entree but the wild boar was too amazing not to win out. The soup had a nice subtle kick, no doubt enhanced by the ale. The boar and its accompaniments were well-balanced and cooked to perfection. When I know a tasty dessert is coming I am usually eager to get to it, but not on this night. I was very content to linger over the boar and a little sad when my plate was empty. I managed to resist picking it up and licking it, but only just.

The dessert, by the way, was indeed yummy. The whipped cream was overkill. The only possible improvement might have been a little more ginger in the mascarpone, but then I always think more is better when it comes to ginger.

I was glad to be walking home. I needed the exercise and we had consumed enough beer to make driving out of the question. All in all, a great meal in a great spot.

15 November 2007

magic bullets

Oliver's new school had a small discussion group for parents tonight. The topic was something like "developmentally appropriate discipline for ages 0-3". I suppose I was looking for "if you do a, your child will do b (and smile)". Well, not so much. I know there are no magic wands with this stuff. I just want Oliver to listen, do what he's told, and not laugh in my face or kick and hit me. Is that too much to ask?

The psycho-babble was kept to a minimum, thankfully, but I learned a whole lot of things I should have done before now. Apparently it's not too late, but we have a lot of work to do. I also know I'm not alone, which I nice, I guess. Somehow that doesn't really do it for me. He's still going to laugh in my face tomorrow when I tell him it is time to brush his teeth or get his jacket and shoes. I have to remember I can only control my reaction, not his action. I have to remember to always give him two choices, and not ask open ended questions. And I have to make him clean up after himself when he throws food on the floor. My brain doesn't always work fast enough but all we can do is try.

14 November 2007

taking his lumps


It seems Oliver took a bit of a tumble at school today and landed on his face. He has a fat lip to go with the big lump on his forehead. As usual, he wouldn't allow anyone to put ice on either spot for very long.

Though I ordered our Christmas cards today, the family photo will have to wait a while. My PhotoShop skills are not up to snuff.

I think the smile is due to what I discovered seconds after taking this photo...a poop that was all the way down to his socks. This job really should come with hazard pay.

13 November 2007

Old Navy strikes again

Against my better judgement, I went to Old Navy yesterday, after I noticed their "40% off all outerwear" signs. The signs were huge in the front windows. Once inside, there were more signs, absolutely freakin' everywhere in the store. I had purchased a fleece suit for Eleanor a while back and discovered she's almost outgrown it already. Knowing I can pass it along to someone else, I thought I'd pick up the next larger size. It was priced under $20 so with 40% off, it didn't seem painful at all.

Imagine my surprise when the price extended did not include 40% off. The darn thing is a full body, hooded suit with mitten cuffs and feet. It's fleece. If it's not "outerwear", I clearly don't know what is. What would one put over it? Kevlar?

Too annoyed to even argue, I bought the damn thing and resolved to look it up on-line. Nope, it's not "outerwear" on-line either. Once again, against my better judgement, I wrote to customer service and asked them why. Silly me, I expected a real explanation. This is what I got:

Thank you for your e-mail regarding the Hooded Footed Fleece One-Pieces
for Baby not being part of our outerwear sale. We would like to
apologize for the disappointment you have experienced with our services.
Please know that our goal here at oldnavy.com is to exceed our
customers' expectations. We're sorry that, in this instance, we clearly
did not meet yours, and hope that you will give us another opportunity
in the future.

Sorry Old Navy, but that was your "another opportunity". Don't bother "exceeding my expectations". Try just not pissing me off, for a change. I'm really done this time. Fool me once, and all that.

12 November 2007

my childbearing hips

According to New Scientist, a favorite publication in our house and the only weekly we get now that my subscription to Dog News has lapsed, curvy women have smarter children. The kids were pretty well set in the brains department from CD's genes alone but it's nice to know I am making a contribution. I'm not making much of a contribution to anything else these days, beyind my milk-making superpowers.

11 November 2007

creature of habit


showing off his new mittens
[It's son-day here at Three Dogs and a Baby.]

A few weeks ago, after three mornings in a row of wet pajamas and bed I started changing Oliver's diaper when I go to bed. Though we use night-time diapers, they stopped doing the job. It was surprisingly easy to get him to groggily roll over, change his diaper in the dark, get him put back together and back to sleep. The whole thing has been taking just about 2 minutes and has not seemed to disrupt his overall sleep.

Last night around 11pm I heard some whimpering coming from Oliver's room. I first assumed it was the beginning of the shrieking from Eleanor but when I got upstairs I heard Oliver saying, "Change. In da bed. Change please." (He is very polite lately, even in his sleep. Two nights ago he asked, "George please?" when I went in to change him.)

He was barely wet but apparently this has become a habit. Not sure if this is going to work in our favor when he finally decides he is ready for the potty, but it's clear Penguin and CD are not the only creatures of habit at our house.

10 November 2007

456

Blogger tells me this is post number 456. Seems kind of crazy to get this far and have nothing to say. Chalk it up to sleep deprivation. We had more shrieking last night from Miss E. Between the growth spurt giving her a bottomless pit of a tummy and a top tooth that still has not broken through, she's not a terribly happy camper. And when baby's not happy....CD generally snores right through it!

With the heat on in the house, Oliver's door is no longer sticking. This means he is suddenly able to escape from his room in the morning. For months, he wouldn't even get out of bed until I came in each morning. Now he's getting out of bed and opening his door. Fortunately, we have new gates on the stairs so he can't get into too much mischief.

More about Oliver tomorrow. I'm trying to be a bit more organized with my posting so Sunday will be Son-day. Watch for "fabulous food Friday" later in the week.

09 November 2007

hat trick from hell


You had to know our near-angelic baby had lulled us into complacency that was bound to bite us in the ass eventually. Eventually is here. We've got a triple-whammy going on...teething, growth spurt, and a skill explosion. It all adds up to a screaming-instead-of-sleeping baby, and parents with nerves beyond raw. And just to make things interesting, Oliver's school had an in-service day today.

All of this is theoretical, but one top tooth came through after a night of shrieking last week. It seems like that tooth's next door neighbor is trying to get through next. (Just like Oliver, she is getting teeth two at a time. The difference is teething didn't bother him nearly as much.) The skill explosion is mostly related to sitting without support but she's also making a huge mess of rice cakes and saliva (so she's getting them to her mouth very successfully) and babbling to the point where "da-da" and "ma-ma" are discernible (though we know they don't mean what we want them to mean yet). Infant growth spurts are typically 3 and 6 weeks, and 3 and 6 months, so she's due for one of those too.

Last night she screamed from 4 to 5:30. CD and I both tried to get her to sleep, with absolutely no success. As a last resort I gave her motrin and she crashed. I was close to doing the same thing tonight but she finally relented for CD. I will not wait as long if the shrieking begins again after midnight.

08 November 2007

swinging


Another picture from our visit with Aunt Suzy. Go to Flickr for a few more.

Oliver still doesn't like swings and I decided it was because I didn't introduce him to them early enough. We're not making that mistake again. This was Eleanor's first time in a swing and she loved it. Are we sensing a trend here? She likes just about everything....

long lost relative to the north?

Timmy and Eleanor are surely related.

07 November 2007

bit of a draught

Today Eleanor and I went for a walk in the park with my friend and weight watchers buddy Liz. When I was working these lunchtime walks were easy to organize and we walked whenever schedules permitted. It's been months since we walked and nice to catch up. Eleanor's napping and eating were all out of whack today though, and she got extremely fussy as we headed back towards the car. She was in the Ergo carrier and I saw on their instructional video that it should be possible to nurse with baby in the carrier. Didn't really believe it but I was all out of ideas to distract her so I decided to give it a try.

It worked! However, since it was about 38 degrees and there were snowflakes in the air things got a bit, well, chilly. I had been wishing I had remembered gloves since the beginning of the walk so I was cold anyway. Next time I'll remember to make sure I'm wearing a nursing camisole to minimize exposure. Otherwise, I'd call it a success.

In other draught-related news, we're going to a beer dinner next week. Liz is coming too! Should be interesting, since we have not met each other's spouses. I have a feeling they will get on famously though.

06 November 2007

small victories


There are a few snowflakes flying around today so it was time to break out a warm hat and mittens for Oliver. It was a struggle to get him to wear a hat last year, and never attempted to fight the mitten battle. Not so this year. He eagerly put on both the hat AND the mittens today. The hat didn't last long but the mittens were another story. I had trouble getting them off his hands. He had some initial difficulty with aiming his thumb into the right spot but I think he will master that in another day or so.

05 November 2007

excuse me while my brain explodes

Between having a two year old with more than his share of "moments" the last few days, and a web project blowing up in my face, I feel entitled to a ridiculously short NaBloPoMo post today. I hear the only thing more "fun" than a two year old is a three year old. Will he be human again when he's four?

With any luck, tomorrow will bring better news. And if not, maybe it will at least be more interesting.

04 November 2007

where is the GREEN sheep?

Pittsburgh has been having a little Australia festival for the past few weeks. We had tickets to see The Green Sheep today. It's an interactive theatre production from Windmill Performing Arts, aimed at ages 1-4. It was great fun and Oliver had a blast. Eleanor was not sure what to make of it but she indulged us anyway. If this comes to your city, I highly recommend packing up the little ones to see it.

Tomorrow is our last full day with Aunt Suzy. I think we are going to try a trip to the National Aviary.

03 November 2007

geriatric forest friends


Today Aunt Suzy and I took Oliver to the zoo for a class on "Forest Friends". It was our first experience with the zoo's educational programs but will not be our last. Oliver had a great time. The class was just for two year olds, and was split into two small groups of about six kids each. It last just 45 minutes but they packed it with coloring, making a bird feeder (a rice cake on a loop of yarn to which the kids spread crisco and then coated it with bird seed -- we may try making our own later but with peanut butter instead of crisco), making a bunny mask, reading a story, and meeting some animals. It was an interesting collection of animal senior citizens, including an eight year old bunny named Cecil and a three and a half year old opossum named Maggie. Apparently the average lifespan of an opossum is about one year, two if they are lucky. Maggie couldn't see or move her back legs very well, but we were assured she was not in any pain and liked her appearances in zoo classes.

We arrived at the zoo a few minutes early so we visited a few of the animals. Oliver liked seeing the tigers but really wanted to see zebras (success!) and elephants (too far away from our class location). The male lion we saw treated us to a little "concert". It initially sounded like he had a hairball but the keeper told us he was announcing his territory.

Tomorrow Suzy, Eleanor and I are going to see the Chihuly glass exhibit at the Phipps and in the afternoon we are all going to see The Green Sheep. So much culture, so little time.

02 November 2007

with minutes to spare


I warned you I was likely to get through this by the skin of my teeth!

Here's Eleanor's latest development, sitting! She's not quite there yet, but oh so close. The boppy is there for safety, until she's better able to balance herself.

The poor kid is just one big bad hair day right now. The clips are cute and stay in her hair nicely, but I'm not sure they improve the look. I think we are just going to have to wait a bit for the hair to get a little longer and decide what it wants to do. The bald spot in the back is growing in very, very slowly too.

01 November 2007

halloween


Let's get this NaBloPoMo hoe down started with the obligatory halloween photo of the kids. Eleanor is a lot happier than she looks, and Oliver has.no.idea what is about to happen. He's a trooper though and by the third house he had his "trick or treat" and most importantly, his "thank you" down pat. The most difficult thing was when people wanted him to take more than one piece of candy from their basket and I wanted him to take just one.

All in all, it was a grand success and we had a great time. CD even seemed to enjoy handing out candy to all the kids. Our neighborhood was a popular one. One of our neighbors reports handing out 250 pieces of candy! I know we were over 200 but my records are not very precise, due to some pre-holiday sampling. Just for quality control purposes, of course.

31 October 2007

anatomy of a blogger's panic

OH SHIT!!!! I mean damn! No, that's not it.How about Oh My Stinkin' Heck? Nope, it's been done. FUDGE! NaBloPoMo starts tomorrow!!!

I had this grand plan to have four or five or thirty posts done or nearly so before November 1, so I could avoid my usual deadline scramble. I'll be organized this time, I told myself. How hard can it be?

Less than 12 hours to lift off and I haven't got SQUAT in reserve. With Halloween tonight and my sister arriving tomorrow you know the odds are high I will be able to report a similar condition tomorrow. Halloween pictures will bail me out, but still....

So tell me, internets, are YOU ready for NaBloPoMo? Are you really a glutton and doing NaNoWriMo? Or have you gone completely off the deep end and decided to do BOTH?

[At the risk of sounding like a broken record, if you are a regular reader and haven't got a blog, do it NOW!! Jump in with NaBloPoMo and leave me a link in the comments. You read me. It's only fair that I should know every detail of your life too.]

I'm thinking about doing this too. How hard can it be? Bwaaaaaaa

Thanks Nana!


Oliver really likes the new pillows Nana made for him. They looks great in his room and create a nice cozy space for reading. Click on the picture to go to Flickr for a few more pictures of Oliver and the pillows.

Behind the pillows you can see a little bit of the denim paint effect that is below the chair rail on three of his walls. (Chalkboard paint is on the fourth wall.)

And if you look very closely you might spot a Clumber doorstop!

27 October 2007

let me spell it out for you

Last night, around 2am, I woke up feeling absolutely awful. Severe pain in one breast, accompanied by chills and total body aches. I called the doc, who I adore, and his machine pointed me at the on-call doc. As a solo practictioner, he likes his nights and weekends and I can respect that. I should have recognized the red flag when I had SPELL m-a-s-t-i-t-i-s, for the service. I didn't do much better with mr. on-call doc. His assvice was to take some tylenol and come in to the office on Monday. As an after thought, seconds before hanging up, he asked if I was breastfeeding.

I took some advil and tried to sleep. When I woke up I realized what an idiot I had been and immediately called my OB practice. They called me back a few minutes later and prescribed an antibiotic. It was a doc I didn't know but there was no need for spelling lessons. She asked all the right questions, determining I probably didn't have an abscess, and got right down to business. That probably had something to do with the number of women in labor she was handling, but I really didn't care.

One dose of the antibiotic, a little sleep, and some oatmeal, and I am starting to feel nearly human. Next up is a shower, feeding Miss E, who hasn't bit me in two days despite having a second tooth peeking through, and more sleep. If all goes well, I'll be able to watch some of the Red Sox tonight. Rest assured, however, my live blogging days are probably done.

26 October 2007

10-20-30

Tara tagged me for this meme. It's a tough one!

10-20-30 (you're supposed to write about where you were 10, 20 and 30 years ago and then tag 5 more people to play along)
  • 10 years ago - I was 31 and had moved to Pittsburgh from Walla Walla, WA about a month before, along with my Clumber Spaniel, Chewy. Chewy and I had been together about three months but it felt like a lot longer. My new housemate had just moved in to the house I was renting. He was kind of cute but didn't talk much. His name was CD.
  • 20 years ago - I was 21, and I was about half way through the first semester of my last year at Williams College, a senior at last. Senior year was mostly great. I was surrounded by a lot of good friends and I finally had my academic shit together. Not much else was together, but that was a huge step for me. I was starting to apply for jobs and starting to amass a vast collection of rejection letters. Since I was not applying for investment banking jobs, the whole Black Friday thing was somewhat lost on me. People were playing a lot of REM's "It's the End of the World As We Know It (and I feel fine)".
  • 30 years ago - I was 11. Sixth grade, my first year at middle school. It was hell and I have tried very hard to block most of the memories of the next seven years or so. I seem to recall driving to Connecticut a lot.
I'm not sure I have five readers with blogs of their own, especially since I can't tag Tara! If you are reading this, and you have a blog, consider yourself tagged. And if you don't have a blog, consider it high time to dive in! Use this meme to get started. Please leave a comment and link when you complete this meme.

25 October 2007

live blogging game 2

I'll begin with a disclaimer....I haven't live blogged before. You may wish I never do it again. And I'm really not sure I can stand one more night with Tim McCarver. Has there ever been a more annoying sports announcer? He gives me new appreciation for "Remdawg".

James Taylor singing the national anthem was a really nice touch. Cool guy and a fan. I'll be taking my bathroom break during the seventh inning stretch. Would love to hear Take Me Out to the Ballgame. God Bless America done by Boyz II Men is more than I can take.

8:32 Not an auspicious start for Schilling. I'm really tired of hearing, "He's not the pitcher he once was." Shoot, he's about a year younger than me. So depressing.

8:35 Foul tip by Matsui. When Oliver hits it is either a home run or a foul tip. This is a step up from everything being a home run. I'm working on teaching him about ground balls.

8:39 Okay, Schilling isn't quite as mobile as he once was, I'll concede that.

8:41 Colorado draws first blood, going up 1-0. I could easily slip back into the pessimistic fan I used to be.

8:44 It's too bad we have to see the same commercials over and over throughout the baseball playoffs. If only it could be like the SuperBowl, where the adverts are an event all on their own. Maybe they should call this "live ranting".

8:46 Thanks for the fairly lifeless lineup, Dewey. I kind of liked "Todd My goatee is better than Youkilis' Helton".

8:54 I have such a bad feeling about this. That strikeout makes me feel slightly better. Time for more take out.

8:57 Now I feel a lot better. (It was the out, not the food.) Yorvit named his son Yorvit too. I'll bet that's one we don't see much of on the Social Security list.

9:04 Ouch indeed. I hope Drew can shake it off.

9:16 That's better. Schilling seems to have settled. And I do love that ad with Big Papi.

9:25 Still looking for America's free taco. Why don't they just call it America's free heart attack?

9:27 RISP?

9:28 Ah, Runners In Scoring Position

9:29 Huge foul ball at Pesky's pole from Ortiz. Huge.

9:37 If this keeps up I'll be in bed before midnight. As attractive as that sounds, I really wish they had saved a few runs from last night.

9:44 Drew has clearly shaken it off. That slide by Lowell should be a sign that Ortiz should sit for game 3. Love ya, Big Papi, you know I do, but sitting makes sense. The altitude won't make you run faster.

9:46 Bullpen antics....doesn't anyone remember Bill Lee and his hibachi? This isn't new. I like it, but it isn't new.

9:50 Free tacos for everyone courtesy of Jacoby Ellsbury's stolen base. Knock yourselves out, kids.

10:02 Nice quick inning, walk not withstanding, for Schilling. My kind of boring.

10:07 Not a peep from upstairs. Eleanor is trying to drop nap #3 and it's helping her sleep longer at night.

10:08 Sorry Todd. You're both kind of ugly but Youkilis has the better goatee.

10:10 McCarver can only manage one word of agreement with Buck when he says good things about Schilling. Then he finds a way to remind us, once again, that he's not the pitcher he used to be. Dead.Horse. Leave it alone, for fuck's sake.

10:14 I wish Manny looked happier. Oliver would try to cheer him up, if he were awake.

10:16 Lowell doesn't look happy either but he's Mr RBI and there are two on.

10:17 Thank you, Mr RBI. Goodnight Mr Jimenez.

10:26 These pitching changes are really what stands between me and my bed.

10:33 It bears repeating.....Tim, you never say anything when the Red Sox are playing well. You can't bear to say anything positive about them. Get over it.

10:35 Masks are good.

10:36 Taco bell tacos are bad. I think the CEO of Taco Bell just wanted an excuse to go to the games.

10:37 Schilling to shilling. Tim made a funny.

10:42 I'll go out on a limb and say that is not the last we'll see of Curt Schilling in a Red Sox uniform.

10:46 I really want to hand McCarver a bat and let him try to hit Okajima, since it's all about the head jerk and he has it all figured out. (Head, jerk....Kim made a funny. Or maybe she's just getting a bit punchy.)

10:55 Duty calls. The presence of the boobs is required upstairs. So much for my 7th inning stretch bathroom break.

11:18 I'm back. Just in time to see Okajima smoke another one. Did you miss me?

11:20 Uh oh...now I need to leave again. And let me reiterate, there's only one song appropriate for 7th inning stretching (and Oliver would sing it for us if he were awake).

11:24 If you Google "Jacoby Ellsbury has just won America a free taco" this blog is the second hit.

11:28 Once again the announcers behave as though Papelbon is the only "unique personality" to ever inhabit the Fenway bullpen. The list of nutjobs is long and distinguished.

11:40 Okajima leaves with a smile on his face. His work here is done. On to Papelbon.

11:46 Holy moly. Papelbon dodges a line drive then picks off the runner to end the inning. I really want to be horizontal but this is too good to leave. The guy McCarver picks for league MVP falls asleep at first base...priceless.

11:50 The last time I heard Sweet Caroline was a couple of weeks ago at Trader Joe's. The lead staff must have been imported from Boston. Very similar rendition to that of the Fenway faithful.

12:00 I really should be asleep. A small person is likely to be playing my song in just a few hours. The only mystery is which one. Three more outs.

12:05 98 mph oh.my

12:07 Just one out left.

12:08 97 mph is just as hard to hit as 98.

12:09 Game over. Papelbon for President.