30 September 2007

Door Sign for Eleanor

Door Sign for Eleanor
Originally uploaded by clumberkim
As with Oliver's sign, Aunty Tara did all the heavy lifting.

When we first bought the new house, every door in the place (and I do mean EVERY door, except for the closets) had a bizarre brass door knocker. I should have taken photos. They were all different, and equally odd.

I have been enjoying my pristine doors but saw these lovely door signs. Then I choked on the price. I consulted Tara and she concurred we could make something similar for a lot le$$. That sent me on a trip to the craft store, where my ideas morphed into something entirely different. Tara improved my ideas further and I am thrilled with the end result.

Door Sign for Oliver

Door Sign for Oliver
Originally uploaded by clumberkim
I am not at all crafty. Thus, I needed a great deal of help from "Aunty Tara" to accomplish a little sign for Oliver's door. I am responsible for selecting and procuring the raw materials and painting the background only.

28 September 2007

one is silver and the other gold

Oliver completed the week at his new school in fine style. I got a glowing report (written, daily reports! including how lunch went and how long he napped) from his teachers, noting the smooth transition into the class and how much the teachers and other children are enjoying him. He isn't talking about his new friends yet but he clearly likes everything about his new school.

We had a great afternoon with some friends from his old school. I didn't tell him they were coming until I picked him up, mostly because I didn't know exactly who would appear. He was bouncing off the walls, to the extent possible when strapped to the baby barcalounger, the whole drive home.

It was great to see the kids and their parents (and a baby sibling and a grandma too!). In spite of my best efforts to the contrary, a few of my martha-esque tendencies reared their ugly head and I made cupcakes. There was a small, unfortunate incident while I was trying to decorate them involving a faucet but the cupcakes mostly survived and I was reminded, yet again, that I am not Martha after all.

26 September 2007

yep, she's a house

Eleanor went to the doc for her five month weigh-in and a shot today. We're a little late but the stats continue to be impressive. After being just over 17 pounds at 4 months, she is now tipping the scale at 18.7 pounds. She only grew a centimeter and a half though. Depending on which chart you consult, she's around the 96th percentile for weight and 73rd for length.

As for the shot, she whimpered for about two seconds and never got to full-fledged crying. She'll be giving her brother a run for his money very, very soon.

Speaking of her brother, Oliver has spent two shortened days at his new school and is settling in nicely. All reports from his teachers and the boy himself have been positive. Tomorrow he will stay for his usual day, including lunch and nap. By far the scariest thing for me is having to pack his lunch. The school provides snacks in the morning and afternoon but not lunch, unlike our previous school. He always ate well there. Vegetables even. The variety and quality of the food was most impressive. Now I have to worry about him eating, since his favorite thing yesterday is likely to become loathesome tomorrow, and about his teachers scrutinizing what I pack. There are practical problems as well. They will refrigerate, but not heat. They do not cut food. And perhaps most worrisome of all, the kid has yet to master the straw. He blows instead of sucks. (That should send my hit count into overdrive.) Apparently this is completely different from what all the other two year olds his lead teacher has encountered do. He isn't getting the concept that he should do just what he does with a sippy. I am sending a milk box (thank you Trader Joe's, for putting 2% organic in shelf-stable boxes!) and a cup, with the hope they will encourage him to try the straw, but put it in a cup if that doesn't work.

Since we are going for full-on intimidation, as I was poking around for lunch ideas and containers and lead-free lunchboxes and such, I found way too many sites showing off insanely beautiful bento box lunches. It just took me over half an hour to pack up hummus, pita chips, carrots sticks, and melon. I can't begin to imagine how long it takes to pack something like this. Shoot, there's even "BentoTV". I'll take a picture if I ever pack anything worthy of a photograph. Don't hold your breath.

25 September 2007

lost and found

Love, love, love my little bluetooth gizmo. (Had to do something with the $100 peace offering from Uncle Steve.) I don't always have a hand available for the iPhone so it's really useful. That is, until I realize it was in my ear a few minutes ago and now it is not. And the only things I have done in the previous fifteen minutes are play football with Oliver in the backyard and put Eleanor down for a nap.

After spending half an hour searching the backyard, all the while fearing it was underneath Eleanor in her crib, I finally got my answer. My fear was correct. Fortunately she didn't eat it.

moi? uber cool? not in this lifetime

These things are clearly not to be trusted. Found at So Anyway.

NerdTests.com says I'm an Uber Cool High Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!

24 September 2007

piling on

As the year of living rejectedly continues, I was not selected for yet another job I interviewed for. It wasn't a full-time job, and frankly wasn't going to be enough money to warrant being terribly upset, but it's just.one.more.thing.

I'm hearing back from a few of Oliver's buddies about our invitation for Friday. Four no, one yes, and one maybe. (UPDATE: Five no, two yes, three maybe.) Some folks are traveling but it still makes me a little sad. He won't care. One buddy, eight buddies, it's all the same. The more the merrier, but one friend is fine in his book. Less cupcakes to bake for me. Since I am a total glutton for punishment, we may have to try again during the October in-service day at his old school.

Speaking of school, we had the home visit from his new lead teacher. It was fine but she doesn't like dogs. This bothers me, no doubt more than it should, but I am not at all sure I can entirely trust someone who doesn't like dogs. I don't trust all "dog people" but this is a woman clearly VERY uncomfortable around dogs. Can't wrap my head around that at all. Let's hope Oliver loves her and thrives in her care because it's going to take all that to win me over.

23 September 2007

y'all come

I may have lost my mind but I just sent an email to all of Oliver's friends from his old school, inviting them to stop by on Friday afternoon. The school has an in-service half day so we hope to reconnect with lots of his buddies. We have seen a few of them since the new school year started (without Oliver) but he misses all of them. Now I just have to make sure the house is in order, some cupcakes are baked and frosted, fruit is cut, etc. Nooooo problem. Yeah, there is no "may". I have lost my mind.

I can now refer to the "old school" since Oliver has a new school! We visited on Thursday and accepted a slot on Friday. He will start sometime this week. The lead teacher is coming for a home visit tomorrow, and I'm finishing up the paperwork tonight. He loved the school, due in no small part to the big pink dinosaur out front and the view from his new classroom, which includes a gas station that in the process of being torn down. All it takes for this kid is a digger and a crane. He's hooked. The big slide on the playground didn't hurt either.

Nothing for Eleanor yet but she naps a bit more than Oliver and gives me some better blocks of time to spend on looking for a job. I may even squeeze in a bit more blogging. I have a somewhat grand (for me) plan to do more product reviews. Can I call that "looking for a job"? I know, it's a stretch. I really should just suck it up and apply to one of my favorite "big blogs" like ParentDish or Strollerderby. 2007 is shaping up to be the "year of living rejectedly" so one more round really should not scare me.

screwed, for the very last time

I really should know better than to try and shop on-line at Old Navy. I have had problems with them before, though I never have issues with The Gap's site. They must not have the same web wranglers working on both sites.

So on Friday night I was trying to place an order before midnight, when the 15% off sale and free shipping offer were set to expire. I had my cart filled by 11:55pm and was set to check out. Then I logged in and my cart was suddenly empty. Argh....okay, so I refilled my cart and it was 12:05. No discount and no free shipping. I was too tired and probably not thinking clearly because I decided place the order anyway and send an email to customer service. I was hoping they would fix the problem, thus not screwing others in the future, and perhaps, out of the goodness of their hearts or their desire to do the right thing, extend to me the discount and free shipping I would have received if their site was working properly.

Here's the response:
Thank you for your e-mail. We apologize for the difficulties you have
experienced on our site. Unfortunately, we have been unable to recreate
the problem you described. Please know that we are unable to apply any
discounts or promotions to orders placed after the offers have expired.
Please accept our sincere apologies for any disappointment this may
Yeah, well, please know I will be unable to shop at sites that don't work or with companies who don't believe in making things right when their systems fall short. Fortunately there are plenty of alternatives.

21 September 2007

bed head, Eleanor style

Like her daddy, she's not exactly a "morning person".

19 September 2007

wild wild life

It's been an interesting few days. Friday it all fell apart really really badly and since then I've been putting it back together, a little bit at a time. Once or twice a day it falls apart a little again. Then I stop crying and move on. There's a nose to wipe, a boob to whip out, someone (besides me) needs a hug or something else only Mum can provide. And Mum is there. All.The.Damn.Time.

There have been plenty of opportunities for me to gain perspective lately, should anyone think I am pissing and moaning about my own problems a bit too much. Two friends have had loved ones pass away, much too young in both cases. My next-door neighbor, who I had not had nearly enough time to get to know, also died this week. It turns out we shared the same birthday but I had to read that in the paper. And just in case you happen to be in need of a little perspective in your own life, go read this. Keep the tissues handy. Things could definitely be worse.

So onward and upward. We're on to plan B, or maybe H, but we'll call it B for now. For the first half of the plan I started calling schools and day care centers on Monday morning. Our first choice might have a partial-day spot for Oliver. I have a tour scheduled for tomorrow so I will know more soon. They don't take anyone younger than two. Our second choice, a place that could take both Oliver and Eleanor, is completely full. I dropped off waiting list applications today and toured their renovated infant/toddler space. They said "keep in touch."

The second half of plan B involves trying to find a job. Tough to do while caring for two children full time so that's why the first part comes first. Ideally, some part time child care and a part time job will fall into place and mesh perfectly. Yeah, I know. Stop laughing. Let a girl dream a little. It's been a rough week.

It would help if I had a clue what I want to do. All I know for sure is what I don't want to do. It's a start, I suppose. I have a friend who is interested in jumping into the crazy world of starting a business and has mentioned doing something together. I would absolutely love to make this leap and get a little giddy just thinking about it. Stay tuned....

CD is in Boston this week, returning on his birthday and with luck, in time for dinner and a little time with his children before they go to bed. May the airline gods be with us. The kidlets and I will try to bake a cake Friday morning but I'm not optimistic that will work out. Fortunately, there is no shortage of bakeries around here.

Here's the short list of what hasn't been going well since he left, though most of them are largely resolved:
  • Penguin had a bit of digestive upset, resulting in her needing to go outside nearly every hour Sunday and Monday nights, and requiring a bit of a bum clean-up each time she came back inside. She is now over whatever the problem was, thanks to a bit of Flagyl.
  • Eleanor seems to be transitioning to a new schedule and it has taken the last few days to sort it out. That too seems to be working now, though we're still hitting a bump or two here and there. She is loving solid food and has tried sweet potatoes, squash, carrots and apples, in addition to rice and oatmeal cereals. She is always annoyed when the bowl is empty.
  • Oliver has been having fun, tearing around the neighborhood with the big kids in the evening, resulting in two skinned and bloodied knees last night. He was very brave, shaking it off, and taking off at full speed, until he saw the blood all over his shorts. He's fine but this is exactly why I bought red washcloths for the kids' bathroom.
Tonight I hired one of the neighborhood teenagers to watch Oliver and Eleanor so I could have a little break. It was a mostly great two and a half hours, except that during a very nice phone call with a Clumber friend Oliver accidentally bopped Ellie in the head with his plastic tee-ball bat. She cried a little and he cried more, to the point where only Mum could help him down off the crying and hyperventilating ledge. He was having nothing to do with the sitter putting him to bed so I did that, too, before fleeing the house. The sitter will get another chance on Saturday night.

The rest of the time was filled with a trip to Trader Joe's and the gas station, and 15 whole kid-free minutes at Starbucks. As I was driving between stops I switched the radio to WYEP just as one of my favorite Talking Heads songs was starting. (At least one of my nieces will be disappointed to learn it was not Psycho Killer.) I did what any self-respecting 41 year old would do. I rolled up my windows, cranked up the volume and sang along. (Everyone in the neighborhood should be very grateful that I am not yet driving my dream car.) For those few fabulous minutes I was back in college again, entirely unencumbered by children or other responsibilities. Thanks Tania!! The dj happens to be a friend and this was the first time I have caught one of her shows - a very happy accident!

Back to reality now. There's a hungry little girl upstairs in her crib, looking for a late night snack from her Mum.

05 September 2007

catch-up, ketchup, toe-MAH-toe, whatever

Before getting back to regular blogging, a few updates are in order. August wasn't the black hole it appears to be.

I had a job interview in early August and it seemed to go very well. Unfortunately, August is a crappy time to try to get a bunch of people together to make a hiring decision. As of today, I'm still waiting, fervently hoping they are not stringing me along. Why? Because this is week three of being a SAHM to two kids and it is kicking my butt. My patience is shot before Monday is over. Oliver asks about his teachers and friends and it just makes me want to cry. I feel like I have failed him, failed to keep him a school that is beyond amazing, ripped him away from all of his friends and teachers, completely failed as a parent to give him the best start possible. And failing to give Eleanor that same start too.

I've spent the last three weeks glued to phones and email, waiting for word on this job. I'm not sure there is enough chocolate in the world to get me through even more waiting. Though I've been back at Weight Watchers for a few weeks now, losing eleven pounds, that success is now in serious jeopardy.

In one of my many efforts to keep Oliver amused, we've started worm composting.

This is a photo of the moment after I dumped the worms in our bin. Oliver was standing next to the bin, his eyes nearly popping out of his head. When asked what lives in our garage he proudly announces, "WORMS!!!" and will tell you that they are eating our garbage. In spite of my suckiness as a parent, he's an awfully cool kid.

Our other house still hasn't sold. I haven't planted a St Joseph yet but it's becoming clear that I should. Maybe we'll try to rent it if there isn't a sale by October.

We had a great time with CD's brother's family, visiting from England. We managed (barely, due to Eleanor's grumpiness and propensity to hurl) a photo shoot with all four of the kids on that side of the family, ranging in age from 15 to 3.5 months.

Thanks to the smart and pretty Mir and an ad on her blog, I had the Essure sterilization procedure last week. It was so easy! I don't remember any of it, came home very soon after I woke up, and was absolutely fine to take care of two kids for the afternoon. May all the colonoscopies in my future have anesthesia exactly like this. After the HSG test in November, I will not have to think about birth control ever again. Ever. Again.

The trip to Maine warrants its own little retro-blogging post. Maybe tomorrow, if I manage to get two kids to sleep at the same time.

yum, I think

Eleanor had her first taste of cereal tonight. I thought we would wait until she turned 6 months in October but all the signs pointed to her being ready now. She grabs for food, is sitting up with support, and is exploring with her mouth instead of pushing things out of it.

She seemed to like the rice cereal but made a lot of interesting faces. I think the texture on her tongue was what she found most curious.

Like Oliver, she had her first cereal in the bouncy seat but her "meal" was al fresco, on the back porch. I hope she tolerates the rice better than Oliver did. He did better on oatmeal and barley.