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


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


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


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


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.