Friday, December 21, 2012

The things I need to do before the world ends.

I don't believe that the world is going to end today. I believe in Jesus and the Bible (and Christmas) and that the end of the world will be a surprise to everyone. Even the Pope. I also can't help but wonder this - where are the Mayans now? I mean, they were clearly an intelligent bunch, developing all that art, architecture, and written language and so forth. But, if they were so expert at predictions, why stop there? What have they done of note lately? No disrespect intended, but I just don't buy it. I can't. I can't because I don't have time. I don't have time to worry about something that may or may not happen. I need to get shit done. Here are the things that I need or really really want to do before 11:11pm tonight, in no particular order:

- Snuggle with my baby.
- Snuggle with my puppy.
- Snuggle with my husband.
- Eat a fried chicken sandwich for lunch.
- Finish drinking this cup of coffee.
- Buy Audrey some snow boots.
- Force Audrey to wear said snow boots.
- Force Audrey to frolic in the snow so I can take pictures.
- Finish wrapping the last of the Christmas gifts.
- Snuggle with my baby.
- Finish a project at work.
- Eat the leftover spaghetti in my refrigerator for dinner.
- Finish off the box of chocolates my assistant gave me.
- Get a manicure.
- Finish the laundry.
- Clean out my inbox.
- Talk to my brother about his weekend plans.
- Finish reading the magazine on my nightstand.
- Clean out the DVR.

And that's just the next 14 hours. There are about a million other things I need or really want to do before the end of it all. But, just thinking about it, I sure will surely appreciate those snuggles and fried chicken sandwich more than usual.


Monday, December 17, 2012


I don't have much in the way of words that can express the intensity of the heart ache I have felt since Friday over the tragic school shooting in Newton, Connecticut. I also know that I am far from alone in my confusion and sadness. In my feelings of helplessness and fear. When I think of those scared children, their brave teachers, and their devastated parents, and my heart feels like its going to drop out, two ideas help me to hold it in.

1. Someone posted something on a blog or facebook or something that keeps running through my head...

In every tragedy, look for the helpers.

So I have been looking for the helpers. The first responders, who never in a million years could have imagined that the scene at Sandy Hook Elementary would someday be their responsibility. The teachers who somehow kept their students calm as gunfire rang through their school. The neighbor who took in a handful of kids who had somehow escaped the classroom. It really does help to focus on the people who, in the face of such terror, managed to be brave, and kind, and professional, and generous. As long as those people are among us, there is hope. There is goodness. There is a God. There is Hope

2. Like the parents at Sandy Hook, 911, Columbine, Aurora... The Virgin Mary lost her own Son to cruel, violent, crazy people who killed out of their own fear and inability to grasp reality.

And she is the most elevated of saints. She is the most perfect intercessor to God the Father and to her Son. She understands the pain of mothers everywhere who have lost their children too soon. She understands the pain that I feel even just imagining ever having to say goodbye to my Audrey. As Jesus welcomes children to him, holds them close, and cares for them in Heaven, Mary holds their parents who must live on without them. She is helping me to hold my heart in. Through her, I think I can embrace every day as a parent with joy and happiness, rather than with fear. And as long as we can each find joy and happiness in our own lives, and do what we can to spread it to others, there is a reason to go on each day.

Peace to all of you tonight. If you are a child, call your parents. If you are a parent, hold your children tight. Look for the helpers. Be a helper. Pray.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

An 18-Month Old Wants Cheese for Christmas

I was going to push out a post on my recent panic attack and wax and wane philosophical about how anxiety makes me who I am. Blah. Blah. Blah. But, then I decided that there was no use in telling everyone what they already know about me (i.e. that I am a stress-case). So, instead, we have a useful post about Christmas-gifting an 18 month old girl. Here goes...

It's hard. I mean, it's hard to know what to buy an 18 month old for Christmas. If I ask her, "Audrey, what do you want for Christmas?" Likely responses include, but are not limited to: cheese, woof, night-night, bye-eee, baby, moo, cereal, mommy, dada, go-go, and beans. So, yeah. Not going to wrap up a block of cheese or a can of beans. And no baby, real or otherwise. Not this year anyways.

So, we decided  to ask Santa for a few other really great other options that we think she will like, even though she didn't specifically ask for them.

Little Tykes Basketball Goal

Little Tykes Golf Set

Toddler Backpack

And, of course, a library's worth of books and enough puzzles to totally drive me crazy when Toby hides the pieces under the bed. She'll also be enjoying some new pjs, art supplies, and hopefully some new socks (if Santa can find a good deal on toddler Trumpettes).

Can't wait to see her little face on Christmas morning when she seeks the boxes stacked under the tree. Also can't wait to see her tote her little golf set around the house. We're going to teach her to say "fore!" but it will sound more like "foe!"And then, when she wants more golf, you'll hear her shouting "moe foe!" Oh, I cannot wait to catch that on video. Can. Not. Wait.

What is Santa bringing your big and little nuggets?

Not stressing about Christmas this year,

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What I'm Most Thankful For

For the last, oh, 25 days or so, Facebook has been overwhelmed with daily posts about all of the stuff that people are thankful for. Family. Friends. Health. Good music. A warm November day. Sunshine. Pie. Puppies. Babies. A Colts win. Democracy. The list goes on. And on. And on.

I am thankful for these things too. Duh. Of course I am. We would all be fools to not be thankful for the things in our lives that are obviously God's blessings bestowed on us and our families and friends. And we are not fools. [Not all of us anyways.]

But, what I think just about all of us fail to be thankful for on a daily basis, or ever, is God's help in our lives. For some, this may be because they simply do not recognize God in their lives. That's fine. For others, it may be because they do not thing to ask God for help. Those people struggle through it alone. And for the rest of us, it is probably because although we are constantly asking God for help, we are unable to see, or hear, or feel that help when it arrives. And if we don't notice it arriving, we can't be thankful and we certainly can't say "thank you, God."

So this Thanksgiving, and as we move into the Christmas season, I am on a mission to see God's help in my life. Because as much as I need my friends and family, my little girl, food, my job, my house and car, good music, and heck, even pie, what I really need and truly could not live without is God's help. It was God's help that enabled me to continue putting one foot after the other when my mom died. It was God's help that deployed the airbag at the right time when was in that head on collision a few years ago. It was God's help that let modern medicine intervene during my labor with Audrey. And it is God's help that is now giving me strength to push through perhaps the most stressful month I've had in a long time.

If I can recognize and be thankful, truly thankful, for God's help in my life on a daily basis, then I will never feel alone and I will never despair. So, God, please help me to recognize your help in my life. And thank you, God, in advance.


In memory of my Grandpa Bob, a person of great faith, who passed away on Friday. After his only great grandchild  (who may or may not be my daughter) jumped on his hospice bed. Okay, not right after. A few days after.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

No. Way.

Yes. Way.

It's been two months since I've posted. Wait. It's been TWO months since I've posted? What the hell have I been doing? Here. Let me tell you. That's what this blog is for. Since I last waxed poetic about Audrey's bubbly mornings I have, in no particular order:

Just about completely avoided raking leaves.
Driven to Chicago (twice), Terre Haute, Cincinnati, and Hartford City.
Overhauled Audrey's wardrobe with size 18-24 month clothing.
Flown to Omaha (once was enough) and California.
Taken Toby to the vet no fewer than five times.
Taught Audrey that an owl says "hoo".
Been to Audrey's 16 month wellcheck appointment.
Gotten a flu shot.
Not gotten said flu.
Gotten hand-foot-and-mouth disease instead.
Gotten lost in a corn maze.
Walked the Santa Barbara boardwalk.
Gawked at the wonderfulness of God's creatures at the Sand Diego zoo.
Started a kettlebell regime with Blake.
Unsuccessfully tried to get Christmas photos of Audrey on the beach.
Suffered for backspasms for a week as a result of said kettlebell regime.
Took Audrey trick-or-treating as an owl. The "hoo" came in handy.
Seen a great friend get married.
Played (and drank) at a winery.
Been promoted.
Surfed (or tried really hard to surf) in the Pacific.
Not gotten my hair cut.
Read a million stories with Audrey at bedtime.
Cried at Sea World.

Proof of at least some of these things:

Until next time. Which will NOT be two months from now.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Audrey's Quick Morning Story

{{hand rubbing tummy}}
{{hand waving in front of face}}
{{head nodding}}
Say "please"
{{hand rubbing tummy}}
{{head nodding}}
Say "please"
{{hand rubbing tummy}}
{{head nodding}}
Say "please"
{{hand rubbing tummy}}
Say "thank you"
{{hand waving in front of face}}
{{jazz hands}}
All done?
{{head nodding}}
{{arms up}}
{{feet on ground}}
{{flipping pages}}
{{pointing to small humans}}
{{hugging the dog}}
{{at the door}}
{{holding keys}}
Bye, baby.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Picking Pinterest Apart: Blake had his doubts...

But I just KNEW that this Pinterest project wasn't to be poo-poo'd.
So here is the Pinterest inspiration.
And here is my version.
 It's not quite the same.
For one, the new brand of balloons and other party supplies at Target is TERRIBLE.
For two, I couldn't find "greening pins" anywhere - I searched Target and Michael's. I even asked for assistance from a store clerk. Which I NEVER do.   
But I did leave the plastic wrap on the wreath as suggested by the originator. Good choice.
And the straight pins I used worked okay (though they kept pushing all the way through the balloon).
 I am going to keep my eyes out for the "greening pin" things and will fix up the wreath as soon as I find them. I think that they will help to hold the balloons on better and I might be able to add more to the wreath. I'm hoping that this colorful fella is a party of many birthday celebrations for years to come!

Also Pinteresty is this newish addition to our dining room... chalkboard paint! I wanted to do the whole wall, but stopped at this good-sized square. It's going to be a bitch to paint over when the time comes to try to sell our house (or maybe we'll just leave it) but I love it!

Both of these Pinteresting things?
Totally worthy.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Beginning of the End or the End of the Beginning

And, it's over.
Breastfeeding that is.
I'm okay with it.
I'm not going to cry (anymore) about it.
I'm going to pretend like Audrey isn't crying (anymore) about it.\
I'm going to remember that
I rocked it.
Multiple times a day.
Early in the morning
Late at night.
For 15 months.
I rocked my baby in my arms.
Multiple times a day.
Early in the morning.
Late at night.
For 15 months.
We rocked it together.
For her health.
For my health.
For mother-daughter bonding.
We stared at each other for hours and hours.
She thinks my name is "mi" as in "milk".
She thinks squeezing her hand together in a pulsating fist means me.
And maybe it did.
For 15 months.
I need a break.
I need time to play with her and talk with her and read to her.
I need time to sleep in the mornings.
I need her to say "mama" when she sees me, not "mi" or "mo".
And she will.
I hope.
It's only been five days.
She loves Dada and Bebe (Toby) more than me.
For now.
She doesn't want to cuddle with me.
For now.
I'm sad.
For now.
But I love her more than ever.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Unframeables

In my last post.
I regalled you with wonderfully cute photos of my adorable smiley Audrey.
One for each month of the first year of her life.
But now.
I give you.
What the other 4,962 photos I took of her look like.

Skeptical baby.

Sad baby.

Over exposed, posessed baby.

Dare I say it - drunk baby.

Followed by, hung over baby.

She's a smooth criminal. Owe!

Ready to launch.

Face first onto the floor.

This DOES NOT EVEN LOOK LIKE my baby, who is decidedly A GIRL.

And thankfully, neither does this. Most of the time.

So done with this.

And now, so am I.
Promises. Promises.
Next time.

Someone want to send me a faster camera?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Year in 12 Flashes

No points for creativity on this one.
Monthly number stickers.
On a onesie.
 In the same chair.
With the same toy.
Of course you can see from photo to photo how big Audrey grew in the course of her first year.
And they aren't even very good photos.
But I love them all the same.
And I remember each time I slapped that sticker on the onesie and sat her in the chair.
Shouted "Don't move, baby!"
And snapped away.

 Nevermind what happened to month 9... it is a mystery to all of us.

And then, with this photo, we were done.
She climbed down from the chair on her own.
12 whole months just flew by.
In a flash.
My baby is not so much a baby.
But a little girl.

And she can choose which item of upholstered "furniture" she prefers for our photo shoots.
Not a bad choice here, little girl.


Friday, July 13, 2012


Audrey is walking.
Like really walking.
This video is not proof of that.

It is proof that she may someday be a zamboni driver.
Or a professional dog herder.
Either would be fine.
But, please, God, don't let her get into Nascar.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Great Experiment: Cloth Diapers for A's A

If you thought that me still nursing at 12 months was unreal, then this is really going to knock your socks off. Or your Pampers, depending on who you are...

I'm trying cloth diapers.

Now, before you get all hot and bothered, start patting me on the back for being such an amazing mom, and think I'm better than I really am, I have to admit that I have not totally committed to this. Really, this adventure is still in the experimental phase. It could go either way. Only time will tell. But here's the thought process (and the math)...

Disposable diapers (we've been using Target brand during the day, Pampers Sensitive at night) are wonderful for many reasons. They are super absorbent and, if you know your kid and change them on time, almost never every leak. They are also thin and fit comfortably under most of Audrey's clothes - even the 6-month-sized pants she is now sporting as capris. You can buy them just about anywhere. They come in easy-to-choose sizes and the velcro-ish tabs make them adjustable. They are probably the one invention that single-handedly created the stay-at-home dad phenomenon. And that made it possible for the Teen Mom moms to survive.

BUT. They are not all rainbows and unicorns. They are horrible for the environment. They do not biodegrade. At all. Ever. Okay, maybe in 500 years they will be gone. But that's a long time for my baby's poop to be hanging out in a landfill. They are also filled with chemicals (hence the super absorbency) and give lots of kids diaper rashes. Plus, they are pricey. Even if you buy the biggest boxes possible and even if you use Target brand most of the time, you will probably spend close to $2 a day on diapers, if not more (especially when they are really little and poop all the time). $60 a month. $720 a year. Yikes. We don't spend that much on her food (because remember, I'm a pureeing genius.) And, the real kicker, a lot of disposables are horrendously ugly. I do not care for Sesame Street or Dora characters on my child's undergarments. (That's what sold me on the Target brand and the sensitives - they have unoffensive designs...) My daughter can only wear cute diapers. Really.
Our stash of cash.
So anyways, taking all of these pros and cons of disposables into consideration, especially my loathing for Whinnie the Pooh on Audrey's poo pants and all that cash spending a millennium in a landfill, I got to thinking. And I thought to myself - "I'm just going to give this a try. I will spend no more than $100 on some of the essentials for cloth diapering and see if I can do it. Even if I only do it on the weekends (our daycare will cloth diaper, but it's a LOT of extra work for us and them), I could make that $100 back. And, if we have more children, I can re-use the same cloth stuff and start making cash money for my family. And, besides, I can definitely afford to be a little more earth-friendly. I'm just going to give it a try."
And the I did some research. And I almost gave up before I got started. If disposables made it possible for dads to stay home and care for kids, cloth will send them (or at least Audrey's) back to the office asap... There are a bunch of options when it comes to cloth and it has its own lingo. I still don't have it all down. And if I ever start talking about stripping in my laundry room, it's NOT what you think. Making it even more difficult is that every cloth diaperer has their own opinion on which is best and there is no clear winner. I just wanted one that was easy. And cute. And that I could just go buy at one of the big box baby stores. I'd lose my nerve if I had to wait around on Amazon or eBay (the used cloth diaper market is raging on second-hand sites).

So, I put down the internet and just went to the baby stores to see what my options were. The two that I could find were gDiapers (Babies R Us) and Bum Genius (Buy Buy Baby). The difference between them is huge. With gDiapers, there is a cloth outer part and then an inner liner and padding that snap into the outer part. You can reuse the outer part all day long and just change the inner liner and pads. All the parts can be washed and dried with your normal laundry (though I keep them seperate and treat them gently). gDiapers makes cloth pads, disposable pads, and papery liners that can help to dispose of any poop. Bum Genius is all one piece and from what I can tell, you slide the cloth pad into a pocket on the inside. Since the pocket on the inside gets wet or poopy, the entire diaper needs to be changed each time. Based on this assessment, I thought I would try gDiapers. I didn't want to have to buy 5 or 8 of these things and do laundry on Saturday night in order for the weekend-cloth-diapering experiment to work.

So far, I like them. I'm still getting used to putting them on properly and preventing leaks, but they do what they are meant to do. I've saved my family maybe $8. Not bad. And by the end of the weekend, I'll have just about paid for one of the diapers. And hopefully gotten rid of Audrey's latest rash. Not sure where this is going to end, but it's started with good intentions. And I'm not giving up just yet. Every time I use a cloth diaper, I imagine the Pooh poop disposable that is NOT going to spend eternity in a landfill. And the 32 cents I just saved.
No Dora for this exlpora,

Monday, June 11, 2012

Full-Time Pluto, Planet or Not

There are a hundred genres of blogs. There are the scholarly ones where folks debate things like the planethood of Pluto. There are the do-it-yourself ones where people with lots of time and creativity show you how to do stuff. There are those published by corporationslaw firms, and not-profit organizations that promote goods, services, and causes. And then...

There are the mommy blogs. Milions and millions of mommy blogs. Of those, I read about three regularly - checking for updates daily from my desk while wolfing down my lean cuisine lunch. And there are a handful of others that I catch up on from time to time (when I have time). These blogs are as different as the moms who write them. There's the crazy-funny-hippie mom blog, the local-fighting-depression-great-photographer mom blog, and the young-Christian-trite-humor mom blog. The one thing that all of these mom blogs have in common (other than being written by moms) is that the moms are stay-at-homers. In fact, I am having a hard time thinking of one single mom blog that I've ever read that is written by a mom who works outside of the home.

I mean, I know that being a stay-at-home-mom is work. I know that a mom's job is never done. I know that stay-at-homers are, like a lot of moms with careers outside the home, underpaid and overworked. I totally cringed when I heard that Democrat make her tasteless comment about Mitt Romney's wife "never working a day in her life." I was glad that our President (or at least his staff and/or our First Lady) were smart enough to distance his camp from that woman. And I applauded Wendy Goffe, a busy lawyer and mom, for her article that attempted to dispel some of the myths surrounding stay-at-home moms.

But, I'm still jealous and judgey sometimes about stay-at-home moms. I'm not saying that I necessarily want to be one, or that I'd even have the patience or energy to if given the chance. But, on difficult days preceded by super early mornings and middle-of-the-night crying fests, and on days when Audrey is sick and can't go to school, I dream about being a stay-at-homer. When I am searching for pressed dress pants and ironically only finding clean sweats and sports bras, I wish I were preparing to settle in for a long morning of reading Brown Bear Brown Bear on the floor with Audrey rather than case law at my computer in my horribly uncomfortable office chair (in rumpled pants).

But, whatever. My life is what it is right now. A crazy constellation of obligations and opportunities. I know I'm missing stuff that Audrey does and learns. I know that I'm putting a lot of my time and energy into my work instead of my family. That some days I'm out of orbit. But I, like ALL moms - working or not - love and think about my baby all day every day. And, whether I work outside the home or not, I'm a full time mom. There is nothing "part-time" about how much I do for her, think about her, and love her.

And I think that most of us moms just do the best we can with what we have. The key is to not take it for granted. To not wish away the buried blessings. To not live so in the moment that we can't see the big picture. The forest for the trees. The universe for its moving parts.

All easier said than done. But, I'm up for giving it a go. I think it will make me happier if I can learn to just be thankful for what I have rather than wishful for what I don't. Want to help me? Two things you can do: (1) send me links to working mom blogs you like so I can learn how those moms wean their babies and manage cloth diapering and daycare and (2) up my numbers and formally "follow" my blog. Both may help me to pursue my Pluto, planet or not.

Thank you,

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Picking Pinterest Apart: Tie-Dyeing Onesies

Back when I had time (for like one day) to Pinterest, I pinned a pin about using RIT dye to color onesies. [Side note: the blog where this project originated makes me want to puke/quit my job and just do-it-myself, all day every damn day.] It sounded like a fun and semi-easy, semi-cheap way to recycle some dingy onesies and add some new color to the babe's wardrobe...

Enter: Audrey's impending 1st birthday.
Enter: her school teachers wanting to throw a princess party.
Enter: me needing something bigger and badder than a princess party.
Enter: the most glorious thing I've done in the creative category in perhaps years...

And you have tie-dyed onesies for Audrey's Flower Power Groovy Girl-themed first birthday party. Sweet. Really. They were sweet. But before you get all excited and start pinning this post away on your Pinterest board titled "Sweet Stuff"... read me out. I'll pick myself apart so that you don't have to.

First and foremost. This was not cheap. I decided I could not in good conscience give old dingy onesies to all of Audrey's friends as party favors. I also looked at the kids in her class (3 boys and 5 girls, Audrey is the youngest and smallest) and decided that they wouldn't fit in her old onesies anyways. So, I bought several packs of new, short-sleeved onesies. I prefer Carter's onesies over all others. And they go for about $15 for a 4 pack. I probably spent a total of $50 or so on onesies. The good news? Audrey now has a weeks' worth of tie-dyed onesies.

I also spent $12 on RIT dye but quickly learned that it is not ideal for tie-dying, so spent another $30 on Tulip kits from Wal-Mart. Do yourself a favor, start with the Tulip kits. The squirt bottles make getting a cool pattern MUCH easier and the die sets better for some reason. One kit of 3 bottles would probably cover about 10 very saturated onesies.

Second. This was not quick or easy. I had to do two batches because the RIT batch didn't turn out as vibrant as I wanted. I spent at least an hour rinsing dye from the second batch and another two hours stressing over whether the dyed onesies were going to ruin my washing machine (they didn't). And, don't even talk to me about the set-up-clean-up stress. I did just about everything in the basement to avoid any mishaps on surfaces of my house that I actually care about and did at least 40 trips up and down the stairs with all the supplies.

But. Third. It was fun. And the finished product was pretty cute.

Here are some photos. And a few pointers.

Conduct project in a place that you don't care about. You will drip.

Wear gloves. That suff stains skin big time.

Wrap the dyed onesies in saran wrap. Leave them for much, much longer than the RIT or Tulip instructions tell you to and don't let them dry out.

Viola! I said, out loud, to myself "SWEET!" when I saw this one come out. Unfortunately, this was phase 1 with the RIT and it didn't last through the wash.

Rinse. Rinse. Rinse. Rinse really well. I used warm water and it worked just fine. I later cleaned the sink with a rough sponge and it is as clean as ever now. The shirts on the right are spiral and the ones on the left, bulls-eye.

I did several types of patterns, but prefer the spiral. To prep the onesie, just lay it out flat, pinch a piece from the center and twist until you have a little biscuit. Use three rubberbands to divide it into sixths. Alternate which section you apply dye to. I learned this from Tulip.

This is my favorite. The Tulip kit comes with three colors in each. I like the two-colored shirts the best though.

Here's the set! I also re-dyed some of the RIT ones with Tulip dye. Some of them came out pretty well, but I don't have any pictures.

Then I put them in plastic party bags, wrote washing instructions on little tags, and delivered them to the kids' mailboxes at school! Big hit!

And Audrey was the grooviest 1 year old you've ever seen.

Now, pin-away, if you must :)