31 May 2008


When we went to the dog show a few weeks back I made an important acquisition, an entire case of the world's most amazing peanut butter. I could live on the stuff, and Oliver eats a pb&j (not j, exactly, but usually reduced-sugar strawberry preserves from Trader Joe's) sandwich every day at school. He sometimes requests it on weekends too. It's the only thing I have ever sent in his lunch that guarantees a "Oliver ate all of his lunch" notation on his daily sheet.

Tonight I got an email from the teacher at his "summer camp" program, informing me that he's going to be in a "peanut-free" classroom. This is rocking our world far more than it should but holy moly....maybe mention this BEFORE I write the check for the non-refundable deposit! There are four classrooms for his age group...maybe mention that one of the others isn't peanut-free.

He will eat grilled cheese but there's no way I'm making one of those every morning, and I don't know how he would feel about having it cold anyway. We've tried traditional sandwich meats like ham or turkey but he just takes them apart, eats the bread, and leaves the rest.

I completely understand the safety issues. I agree it is more important for another kid to live than for my kid to eat a lunch that includes protein. I get it. I don't have to like it, but I get it.

I remain convinced the only sure thing in parenting is this:  Just when we get something all figured out, either the kid or an outside force rips the rug out from under us.

30 May 2008

poo. in a bag. from the store.

One of my favorite Marys has a fabulous tale of bare-handed poo (and tots!) on her blog this morning. Go read it. It made me laugh on a day I didn't think I would find anything to laugh about. 

There's not likely to be anything interesting here today, unless we make ice cream later in this.

29 May 2008

preview of coming attractions

This will be brief, something readers may have to get used to. I'm going back to work. More details next week.

28 May 2008

it's not news, but it IS bacon

This is kind of old but grabbed my attention anyway. A 12-year vegetarian, mandydale went whole hog (ahem) and ate pork for 30 days. See her photos of the adventure here:

I wouldn't look if you aren't up for feeling hungry. It's not all bacon, but bacon is very well-represented.

27 May 2008

what little boys are really made of

Snips and snails and puppy dog tails? Not here. For starters, the dogs' tails are docked. I think Oliver might be full of beans...jelly beans.

Yesterday, at the block party, Oliver joined the merry band of neighborhood kids tearing around, in and out of yards and the street. As might be expected, there were periodic outbursts of crying. We parents were remarkably adept at filtering out all other sounds when it was one of our children. 

Eleanor was toddling about under very close supervision so we didn't have any tears from her. Oliver did very well but eventually scraped a knee. CD helped him recover, and we even got him to sit down and eat a bit. And then he spotted the table of sweets....

He had a bite of chocolate cake (source unknown), and a bite of a coconut cupcake that we made earlier. Then he ate jelly beans. Every time I turned around he was into the jelly beans again. I have no idea how many he ate.

I do know he had a great deal of trouble sleeping. We lost count of how many times we were up with him. He needed a drink of water. And another. Then his knee hurt. More knee hurting. I finally gave him some motrin. I think he was only up one more time after the motrin, but there could have been more. I don't remember him having a night so restless in more than a year.

Was it the sugar? The scraped knee? Over-tiredness? I'll probably never know, unless I give him another bowl of jelly beans right before bed.

26 May 2008

such a weaner

Eleanor went from nursing 4-6 times a day to nursing twice a day (bedtime and sometime between 4 and 6 am) mostly of her own accord. There was little in the way of angst for either of us. I recently decided it would be nice if she were done with all nursing before I leave for my college reunion in a couple of weeks, mostly because such an event without alcohol is unthinkable. Entirely selfish on my part, I realize. Sue me.

Oliver spoiled me. Two weeks after his first birthday he was done with nursing. I went away for less than 48 hours and he wasn't looking for boob when I came back. It was entirely painless for both of us. Okay, not entirely, but a couple of cabbage leaves took care of any issues I was having. I then enjoyed one glorious month before we started trying to get pregnant again.

It's been clear for a long time that Eleanor is much more attached to her mum and to nursing than Oliver. I chalk it up to going back to work when he was 8 weeks old and not working at all with her. All mum, all the time, and boobs on demand. But she's been on solid foods for months and whole milk too. She doesn't need my milk for nutrition. (As Michael said in The Big Chill: I don't know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations.)

Anyway, on Friday night I nursed Eleanor before going out. Our babysitter then completed the remainder of her night time routine. On Saturday I once again nursed her at bedtime but separated it from the night time routine. She was pretty tired and conked right out. Sunday night I put her to bed without nursing. She cried off and on for a couple of hours. Nothing sustained, but she was clearly restless. Then she slept until about 5:30am. I woke up having leaked all over the bed for the first time in many months. 

Tonight I asked CD to put her to bed. He didn't want any information on her usual night time routine so I have no idea what he did, though I know there was a cup of milk involved. She was quiet for a while but then fussed much like she did last night. Oliver was upset so I don't know if he woke her up. It's also hot and humid. She's been quiet for an hour or so now.

I'm feeling pretty guilty but I also think it's time for us to be done. I know we will both be fine very soon.

And in other "weaner" related news, Eleanor had her first hot dog at the annual block party in our neighborhood. Tasty.

25 May 2008

sunny son-day

It finally stopped being cold and rainy!

Oliver's baseball prowess continues to develop. At least today CD and I could split the pitching duties. The only thing missing from this clip is his rousing rendition of Take Me Out To the Ballgame. I'll work on that.

A day without baseball is truly a day without sunshine for Oliver.

[Head on over to Flickr for more video, including some of Eleanor walking!]

24 May 2008

unearned hangover

In spite of not drinking anything but fizzy water and decaf last night*, I have felt hungover all day. Kids got up way too early. Then we had a crazy double-bill of a birthday party in the park. After naps (a rare two-fer) I dragged kids, one of them exceedingly grumpy, to a playground. After much whining to go home, the mr grumpy-puss made a new friend and suddenly could not imagine leaving. Once I dragged him home there was baseball and dinner. To cap off the night, we made our way to the airport to fetch CD. I generally make him take cabs when it's too early or too late but this was on the edge of bedtime (would have been closer to the edge if his flight had been on time) and it's the weekend. This meant kids got to bed close to 8:30, about an hour later than usual. We'll see if we end up paying the price tomorrow, or are granted a very rare lie-in. Place your bets.

* For more comprehensive coverage of the bloggers' night out you will want to check out these blogs:

My Very Last Nerve
Our Piece of the World
The Rocking Pony
Burgh Baby's Mom, our intrepid organizer

Present, but not yet accounted for:
From Here to There and Everywhere
One Woman Show
Allison Says

23 May 2008

It's the blogging 'burgh moms!

This was before burghbaby's mom ate a piece of carrot cake bigger than her head.

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22 May 2008

yep, this is our mayor

The mayor of my fair city can't figure out how to get a hockey ticket by himself. Perhaps he should BUY ONE, like the rest of us. This is a boy man who is going to be a father soon. Will he have the same dilemma when it comes time to assemble the high chair or replace the batteries in the monitor? The mind boggles.

I don't think we can blame this latest boneheaded maneuver on simple immaturity. Even teenagers can handle this one, especially if they have access to a credit card. It's just plain stupid, not to mention silly. As usual, PittGirl says it better than I ever could.

Fool me once.... You know the rest. It's embarrassing to admit I voted for him. Excuse me while I go find the nearest brick wall and commence beating my head.

21 May 2008

more wearable bacon

For a change, I was prepared for Bacon Wednesday. I had planned to tell you all about a really informative article that appeared in the local rag a few years back, but then this landed in my feed reader, courtesy of Slashfood. Irresistible, I'm afraid. If you're still recovering from the bacon bra, it's probably wise to just skip this one.

20 May 2008


So my 20th college reunion is coming up. It's one of those things I can't wait for, and find scary as all get out at the same time. I spent four years trying to fit in and, for the most part, failed miserably. Yet it was an incredible time in a beautiful place I still love (and would move back to in a heartbeat if the opportunity ever presented).

I am reminded of all the opportunities I didn't take advantage of. I could have learned to play golf for free, even earning PE credit, on a gorgeous course. But no. I was such an idiot. I could have studied a lot more. The beer would have always been there. Some of the faculty I had are no longer with us.

Though I can't imagine any of my classmates would be interested in this blog, should you happen to be a member of the Williams College class of 1988, please go check out our class' reunion website. You can request a song for the dj to play at the dinner dance, see who is coming and when they plan to arrive, and get lots of other updates. And if there's something you would like to see that isn't there, drop me a line, kim at daboo dot name.

19 May 2008

a good day for bad news

First comes this news about the Dove "Campaign for Real Beauty" ads. It just made me sad.

Now I get word that LL Bean is discontinuing its relationship with Bank of America, thus ending the steady stream of $10 LL Bean coupons I've been getting every month. I was already sad so I don't know what to make of this news. A very quick check of a few forums leads me to believe I am likely better of without BofA in my life (though I have had no problems with them).

Then, to top it all off, I came within a couple of feet of hitting a very large deer with my van. Urban jungle, indeed.

I should probably be glad I didn't hear anything on the job today.

Two down, three to go

We have two chrysalids!

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18 May 2008

a little rain must fall, but this is ridiculous

May Market was this weekend. It's been cold and rainy for days so when it looked like there was a break in the weather this afternoon, I loaded Eleanor into the Ergo on my back and headed over there. The break didn't last as long as expected. About five minutes after we arrived it started to rain again. We managed to get home without getting soaked but it was a challenge. We did a lot of sprinting towards tree-canopied spots in the sidewalk when downpours intensified. A brolly would have been very, very useful.

While at the May Market I spotted two Phil & Ted sport doubles. I have been searching for a used one for about a year now. While I would love the new Vibe, I would settle for any model that has, or can take, the doubles kit. If the kids in the ones I saw had been older I would have made them an offer on the spot but in both cases, the younger child was younger than Eleanor. Someday I will find one, and with any luck it will be before Oliver hits kindergarten.

Since I arrived at May Market on foot with exactly $8, and everyone seemed to take cash only, my purchases were minimal. After a bit of searching, I found the Pittsburgh Iris & Daylily Society's table. I have had daylilies for a few years, thanks to a Clumber friend (the one who is also a wonderful artist). She sent me a few when we bought our last house and I was hooked. They are the perfect plant, blooming beautifully and thriving on neglect. I moved some to the new house, planting them the weekend I went into labor with Eleanor. Though they were mostly sold out, I found one I liked and bought it. It was a little scary though, choosing one all by myself. My friend has chosen all the ones I have for me, and they all look great together. This one will stand out as it is a little bolder in color than my other ones, but I have decided that no garden decision is irreversible, and I can always move it to another spot later (like I did with the hostas I planted last spring and moved last fall).

If you think you can't grow anything, give daylilies a try. Nothing could be easier and the show is delightful.

To come: Peonies! My peonies are starting to open. I may have one ready to photograph tomorrow or the next day.

17 May 2008

one of those posts

When I have nothing interesting to say I ramble on about whatever we've been up to. (I fear twitter is getting my best material.) This kind of post is incredibly boring. If not for blog365 I would fold up the MacBook and go to bed. 

Oliver and I headed out this morning for the library to see a puppet show. He's a big fan of Anansi and that was on the menu. During our stop at Starbuck's we ran into the mom of one his buddies. It seems she was waiting for her husband, kids, and another friend with his two kids, also heading to the puppet show. These happened to be two families that missed the insanity of the birthday party so it was nice to see them all again. As we were leaving, the kids got balloon animals and we walked back to one of the family's houses for lunch. The kids had a blast, I got to talk to adults and eat a great lunch...a good time all around.

Eleanor was waking up from a very late nap when I got home so I got Oliver down for his nap, fed the girl, and headed out with her to get a picnic table. We love the teak furniture on our back porch, but it leaves no room for kids when we have friends over. I wasn't sure about the "seating on four sides model" but CD pronounced it acceptable. With any luck, we will get to try it out tomorrow, though the friends we are planning to see did not confirm today. They rarely do. And frequently bail on plans we make, but we love them anyway. If you're reading, I got beer

Other random notes:
  • I am still sweating the job. It really is like deja vu all over again. The last time I spent six weeks checking my email every 10 seconds. It would not be good to do that again.
  • Eleanor's walking continues to improve rapidly. Yesterday she figured out how to stand up without pulling up on something. Oliver did this after he had been walking well for about a month. She is still taking just a few steps here and there, but is a little steadier and more confident every day.
  • Target has some amazing (and cheap) stuff for enjoying the lovely weather (that we are not currently having -- see below).  It's all party of the Cynthia Rowley "whim" line. I could have filled my cart, and then some, in the two aisles they occupy in my store. CD won't believe it but I was very restrained. The battery operated bubble shooter is especially cool. I resisted getting the pink garden hose.
  • I would like it to stop being rainy and cold. That is all.

16 May 2008

get me some....fudge

I'm not sure what sounds best, the fudge, the wine, or the other stuff, but go read for yourself.

15 May 2008

Lunch date

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it only took six months

I'm just another mommy blogger, raking in the cash.

Tissue? I hardly know you!

This is what happens when a 13 month old (tomorrow) is left alone in her room for 30 seconds and she discovers the tissue box.

14 May 2008

chocolate covered everything?

I'm in one of those "not enough chocolate in the world" places. The stresses of interviewing, not having childcare for Eleanor if I do get the job, not selling our house (trying to rent it now), and upcoming travel are all getting a bit out of hand. 

Still, this is too much, even for me.

I bought some Guittard bittersweet chocolate discs last weekend, and some crystallized ginger to coat with it. Just in time, it seems.

13 May 2008

molars and other fun

Eleanor has had all four molars come through in the last 10 days. There has been a lot of interrupted sleep and this is the only cause I can come up with. In most cases, CD has been able to solve the problem but last night she persuaded me to nurse her one extra time, making it 3 times in 12 hours. Daytime nursing is over and done with, and has been for a few weeks now. My body seems to have hit a nice groove. I don't seem to be making much milk between feedings, but when she needs milk, it is there. This aspect of breastfeeding is a bit of a mystery to me, but I am not complaining. Much as I would like things to be otherwise, she is not ready to be done yet. 

I had another round of interviews today, numbers 3 and 4 at the same place. I think that's the end of the interviewing. I hope so. I will have to start repeating clothes if there are more. My mom wardrobe of t-shirts, jeans, and Keens doesn't really cut it. Everything seems to have gone well, but it's hard to tell, unless an offer appears (or doesn't). 

12 May 2008

feeling like a twit

Last night, just before bed, I joined Twitter. Not sure what possessed me but it was clearly a moment of weakness. I poked around a little then, and a little more today. I have my updates automagically appearing over there in the right-hand column. But beyond that, I feel like I must be missing something.

If you are using Twitter and like it, please leave a comment. Maybe if I start following you I'll discover what all the fuss is about.

11 May 2008

the stuff I mentioned yesterday

The anniversary - 5 years. Traditional gift is wood. There's a new lazy susan and a large serving tray in our kitchen now. And more serving utensils to match the really nice silverware we never use.

Spring fair at Oliver's school - It was fun, but I did not win any of the raffle baskets and that means there is something amiss with the universe. I ended up buying all the wrapping paper, made by Oliver's class, that was left at the end. Let me know if you want me to send you some!

Mother's day - Eh. Not much to report.

Our latest science project with Oliver - Butterflies!  The caterpillars arrived yesterday. I thought one of the five was dead but all of them were moving around today and some look bigger already.

Stuff I didn't mention yesterday:

Straightly - "Mum, please fix my cap straightly."

10 May 2008

she's gonna blow

Go here for dinner. But don't eat anything else that day.

More about the anniversary, spring fair, mother's day, and our latest science project with Oliver tomorrow.

09 May 2008

sometimes it comes in a can

After a brief hiatus, fabulous food Friday is back, this time it's the canned edition.

Tonight we had some store-bought angel food cake and fresh strawberries, with a little whipped cream. CHOCOLATE whipped cream. In a can. Now they just need to make fat-free chocolate whipped cream. I totally don't want to know how they make it taste so good so please don't tell me. LaLaLaLaLa (with fingers in ears). I'm guessing there are loads of chemicals and such that would cause me to never go near it if I read the ingredients. 

Denial...it's a happy place to be!

ashes to ashes

This is an anniversary present for CD. Five years ago tomorrow, and this is the wood anniversary. It's a dogwood, so very appropriate. Long time readers can probably guess what went in the hole along with the tree. [Hint: I'm not planting any catnip.]

And to CD, meeting you, without question, was the best thing that has ever happened to me. I'm still more than a little amazed, but also very, very glad, that you wanted to marry me.

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08 May 2008

one down, one to go

We are in the late stages of weaning Eleanor. She has been nursing twice a day for just a few weeks. Though she was showing signs of wanting a bonus boob around midnight two nights ago, I did not give in. Last night, when she got revved up around 11pm, I told CD she was his problem. He let her cry for a few minutes and she went back to sleep. Repeat at 2:30am. I expected to hear from her again around 4am but she slept until 7:15am. I gave her breakfast at that time and didn't nurse. She hasn't complained yet and it's now after lunch.

I am not complaining either. We've been tapering down gradually and it shows. I hope I feel the same about 5pm, as we get closer to 24 hours without nursing. Perhaps we are down to just once a day, at bedtime. That would be lovely. I am ready to be done, though I also have the requisite pangs of guilt and a little sadness that it is coming to an end and there will be no more babies to nurse when she's done. I will probably get over that entirely when I start getting a full night of sleep.

roid rage

This gives "roid rage" a whole new meaning. (You really should be reading about Amy's adventures in Maine [don't let the title fool you] if you aren't already. Bring some good bladder control though.)

07 May 2008

six degrees of bacon

In a slight departure from the standard Wednesday Bacon offerings, I bring you The Bacon Brothers. I'm so timely it is scary. Last week, when I was making a few notes for this post, I had no idea that The Bacon Brothers would be on the Today show this morning, Wednesday, along with a pile of Mommy Bloggers I worship. No, I didn't see any of it. There were too many books to read with Eleanor and nasturtium seeds to plant, but I'm sure it was great. There should be video available eventually. [Update: Here's the video.]

We love The Bacon Brothers here, though our experience was, until today, limited to their work on the Sandra Boynton CDs Philadelphia Chickens (where they do the title track) and Dog Train. A few months ago Oliver was wanting to dance with me to Philadelphia Chickens every night. Poultry in motion is a beautiful thing. Mum attempting to do the twist with a two year old? Not so much.

06 May 2008

may you live in interesting times

A few months ago we had some killer (in a good way) travel plans. The Clumber national specialty in April/May, my college reunion in June, and a whopper to the UK in July/August. Every last one of them has resulted in major deviations from the original plan. For the national, the original plan was for all of us to stay the whole week. CD, Oliver, and Bubba ended up going home early, missing most of the event.

For the reunion, CD's work travel is the primary problem. He's got trips immediately before and after. I'm already taking our favorite sitter for the weekend but I really wanted him there too. And he made it happen. Though it would be much easier for him to fly from Madison to San Francisco, he's throwing in a weekend in Williamstown, just for me.

And then there's the UK. One of us is going and it isn't me. The new plan is for all of us to fly to Boston, then for me to take the kids to Maine to see my family. CD will continue on to Dublin, throw in a couple of days with his family in Surrey, then we will all meet up again in Boston for the return. I keep reminding myself that this means I don't have to fly alone with children and I get to go to Maine. Unfortunately, because we all want to be on the same plane, I can't shop around for something cheap. As a result, Eleanor is not getting her own seat, though she is going to be the largest lap child ever. The flight is slightly less than two hours but I have a feeling it isn't going to be pretty. It's going to take a bit longer to get over not going to Dublin and London. We may go later in the year but I am learning not to plan much until passing my credit card number along to the airline.

Now today there is news that there will be a quick trip to Cupertino week after next. I have been doing this long enough that I should have seen it coming. Add in all the prep CD has to do for the conferences and such and it doesn't leave much time for the wife. Our fifth anniversary is Saturday and a date has been planned, dinner at the same place we went for our first anniversary. Great view and even better food. The glitch is in finding a sitter. I haven't exhausted ALL the options yet, but we are getting dangerously close. If not now, we may have to wait until sometime in July for a date.

05 May 2008


I am having a little email issue today. Use clumber at mac dot com to reach me today, or until CD has time to wave his magic wand work some magic on our email server.

Update at 6:30pm - My email is working again, but it remains to be seen whether mail sent between about 9am and 6:20pm will get to me.

his father's son

He just needs to tuck in the shirt.

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04 May 2008

another son-day

Oliver seems to have changed a lot in the few days I was gone. He's acting older, knows more words, is hitting a baseball even better than before, and gives even better hugs than ever. Every hour or so he reminds me that he missed me and needs a hug. And it really seems like he understands the "missing" concept. 

We went to a zoo class this morning that was different from the others we have attended. It was a larger group, a wider age range, and a variety of activities. We only lasted through half of it. Oliver liked some things but as I suspected, he's not really interested in the crafts they do at zoo class. In the classes we usually go to the crafts are just the filler between hearing stories and meeting animals. He tolerates this part because he likes the other bits so much more. When the crafts are voluntary and free choice, as they were today, he's happy to skip them. As a result, he got bored really fast. It was still good to get out, especially since he spent about 12 hours in the car yesterday.

All things being equal, the kid would rather play baseball. Or watch baseball. Or hockey (go Pens!).

03 May 2008

it's good to be home

CD and Oliver fetched Eleanor, Penguin and me today. They made it out to us in record time and we got home pretty quickly too, about an hour before I thought we would arrive. I am amazed how well Oliver handled spending such a long day strapped in his car seat. Eleanor did her usual amount of screaming for what seemed like no reason. I look forward to her having more tools for self-expression.

Of all the travel I have done, I don't think I have ever been so happy to be home. I missed Oliver and CD, and even Bubba, like crazy. Sleeping in my own bed is looking awfully attractive too.

02 May 2008

head 'em out

Eleanor and I are among the very few Clumber folk remaining at the hotel. People started to leave this morning but many stayed for the regional specialty, essentially what we did yesterday, but with different judges. When it came time to enter I thought we would all be going home today so I did not enter. Then plans changed and we stuck around, but that was okay. Penguin was sleepy and probably would not have shown well anyway. She also had not pooped since Tuesday. (That problem righted itself late this afternoon.)

Once the regional was over the mass exodus really got going. Some people headed to the weekend trailer shows and hunt tests, and the rest bolted for home, some by way of an airport. It made me wish I were leaving too, but we wait for CD and Oliver to arrive tomorrow to take us home.

I have only talked with Oliver once since they left on Monday, and it was a disjointed conversation, at best. This is the longest I have ever been away from him. For the first day or two it was a nice break, but now I miss the little squirt like crazy. I hope he missed me too, and not just my outstanding peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 

01 May 2008


We had a better day in the ring. It's amazing how light on her feet Penguin can be when you take about three pounds of hair out of her. We won the class, but didn't go any further. Still we had to wait until the very end. Madame was not pleased. She napped whenever possible. Then we waited for pictures. Then it started raining. Madame was not pleased. This is a dog who would rather not pee in the rain if possible. 

I managed to hold it together in the ring but when we came out that very last time I sat down with Penguin and had a good cry. I have told her it's the last time before but she knew better than to believe me. I wasn't lying this time. It really was our last lap around the ring. We had a great time together and she accomplished far more than anyone thought possible.