Thursday, August 29, 2013

Five Things I Couldn't Live Without: The 10-13 Months Old Edition

1. Bathtime Alphabet
The Product: Babies R Us 56-piece Foam Bath Set
Where we got it: Babies R Us
What it is:  A package of light colorful letters/number/animals that stick to the walls of your bath or shower.
Why I love it:  Penny LOVES these letters and numbers and fishies.  She would play in the bath/shower for HOURS by herself with them if I let her.  Easy to wash and store.  And educational.  Great for different phases of babyhood. Winning!

2. Curious George Season 1 on Amazon Prime
Why I love it:  He's such an endearing little monkey and the clever stories in each episode don't make me want to ralph like some other kid shows do.  Penny loves George and all his friends, and stays engaged watching this show more so than other things, I think because of the upbeat jazzy musical score and incorporation of lots of different animals.  The episodes are short so you can turn on one for just enough time to make breakfast etc.

3. On-the-Go Healthy Snacks
The Product: Plum Organics Pouches
Where we get them:  Local grocery store. Some Targets have them in value packs. Also available from Amazon Subscribe and Save.
What they are:  Pureed organic fruits and vegetables in a conveniently portable pouch.
Why I love them: Plum Organics is my favorite variety of these pouches (there are lots of other brands) for three reasons: 1. I like the food combinations they have in the mix (and Penny seems to like them also).  2. I read the labels of oh-so-many pouches and this brand had the most impressively simple ingredient lists.  3. OK, I admit it, I like the packaging and the branding.  Note* I don't recommend the "Just Fruit" or "Just Veggies" -- get the combo's, they are much better!

4.  Eat Seat
The Product: Phil and Ted's Lobster
Where we got it:  Buy Buy Baby registry
What it is:  high-chair substitute that clips onto your table
Why I love it:  Penny goes in it every morning for breakfast and every night for dinner and is happy as a clam.  It's inconspicuous, doesn't require storage (like a high chair), and super easy to clean (machine washable and the tray is dishwasher safe). And it's portable, we take it up to the cabin, easy as pie.  Not compatible with all tables.

5. Ball Pit
The Products: Balls and an Inflatable Single-Occupant Swimming Pool
Where we got it:  Amazon
What it does: provides endless fun for young kids of various ages.
Why I love it:  see above.  Plus opportunities to teach about colors and hand-eye coordination.  Pool is not for rough-housing or children over the age of about four.  This was also a big hit at Penny's birthday party last month.

Honorable mention:

Baby Crocs.  The first (and some days the only) shoes that Penny will wear.  They are easy to clean and easy to put on -- and they stay on!  They must be comfortable.  And their ridiculousness is so cute.  [She's in size 3-4 right now, and growing.]

Twilight Turtle. we have been using this ever since she started sleeping in her room but I've never mentioned it.   It's fantastic. We got it as a gift [didn't register for it] and at first I wasn't quite sure why I would ever need it... then Penny started sleeping in her own room and we use it every night.

Bibs. I have one on me at all times.  My favorites are some hand-me-down ones from my sister-in-law, which I can't find anywhere online to show you, but they are made of towel material and they go over the head like a t-shirt.  My husband has been known to carry one in his pocket...

There's more where this came from... Five Things I Couldn't Live Without:

Nobody paid me or gave me anything for free... I wrote about this stuff on my own volition because I couldn't live without it!

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tuesday Ramblings

[made possible by Blogger mobile app]

The F word at work: Filing.  I've been filing almost my entire day in the office and I'm getting a little stir crazy.  Please, phone, please ring.  The good part about catch-up-on-filing days is that I make lots of trips to the water cooler.

Now I'm pumping [see photo].  See my little pumping cubicle at work?  I only pump about three ounces total these days. I hope that's normal.  I haven't seen the same dip in production as I've read is normal for nursing a 13-month-old, but I still worry that weaning is going to come at us before we [I] are ready.

How about that whole Miley Cyrus thing? I didn't even know what the VMA's were until I read everyone's virtual gasps on Facebook the next day.  Gross. Sad.  The pressure is on for us moms of daughters to teach them that they don't have to behave poorly or dress inappropriately for attention.   And... does anyone else think the guy in the referee suit kind of looked like a child molester?

Speaking of dressing inappropriately, in my efforts to mix up the office wardrobe without buying any new clothes I wore a dress to work today that I haven't worn in a long time -- only to be reminded of why I haven't worn it in a long time.  I forgot that it's super low cut, and the front of it rides down lower and lower over the course of the day.  All day I've been super self conscious, a fly on the wall might have seen me walking down the halls carrying a binder or my breast pump bag in front of my chest.  

I think might be losing my hearing in my left ear.  I say this because I've had a couple of ear infections over the last six months or so, and it regularly clogs up for no apparent reason, and for the last few days I have had about 50% hearing capability in that ear, with some sticking and clicking, but no pain. If it gets worse I will go see a doctor but I'm hoping it subsides on its own and I can wait until the next time it acts up to go do anything about it. 

In other news, I'm late to the party but I've installed Snap Chat on my iPhone.  What a fun time...

And finally, I'm getting to see not one, not two, but THREE sweet little tiny babies in a three day period.  I got to see my BFF's one-week-old baby Jack on Sunday to do some newborn/family portraits for them (will share a few soon)(remember I did their maternity photos?), then last night my friend and rockin' female vocalist brought her two-month-old baby Tonio to band practice (we have some super awesome events coming up!), and tonight I am going to the hospital to see my dear friend Steffi and two-day-old baby Henry. I'm simply giddy to get all this squishy baby time all in one week!  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Fantasy Football Survival Guide [for the ladies in their lives]

One year of dating and 2+ years of marriage means I have survived three seasons of my man being involved in fantasy football leagues. All-Out fantasy football leagues. The draft night. The commissioner. The prizes. The trash talk. The Thursday night "I have to do something on the computer for two hours" lineup ritual. The constantly checking his phone all day every Sunday.

And my husband doesn't even like football. 

Whether we like it or not, ladies, football season is here.  This phenomenon in masculine competitive couch-potato-ness has all the components to annoy the gals in their lives in every way possible... But it doesn't have to put a damper on our relationships.  We just need to have a survival plan. 

1. Ask him to set aside a specific time to do whatever he needs to do on the computer.  This way you won't be surprised every week, he doesn't have to hide it or sneak it, and you can go do something else during that time.  Nobody wins if you hover while he's trying to do his lineup for the week.  Nobody has fun if every move he makes becomes a battle with you.

2. Sunday Safe Word.  Game days can be the worst for fantasy football wives.  Talk to your husband about how it makes you feel when he's cross-eyed at his smartphone all through church or family dinner.  Develop a safe word that you can say to him that means "put down the iPhone or I'm going to lose my flipping mind" and it won't make a scene in front of other people -- but only use it in dire emergencies.  

3. Get involved, to the extent that you can.  There are ladies out there who actively participate in fantasy leagues -- you gals are way cooler than me.  For those of you who, like me, have no interest in being in a league (or aren't invited!) you could do something fun with the other wives/girlfriends while the guys do their draft.  You could help him with research every week or pick one player for his team as a lucky charm.  You could offer to make snacks for all the guys for their gathering -- as a nice gesture and show of support (maybe it will come in handy later).  

4. Be his cheerleader.  If he's going to spend that kind of time managing a fake pro sports team, he might as well do it with gusto and hopefully win some money!  Maybe you make an agreement with him that if you are super supportive along the way, you get a say in how he spends the earnings if he wins.  Sounds fair to me...

5. Be honest with yourself about how many graces he affords you. I might not speak for all of you, but my husband sure puts up with a lot of leisure time-suckers that I participate in -- writing this blog is one of them.  Our men need their guy stuff, we don't have to understand it.  Let him have this one thing.  And if his 'guy stuff' is taking over your life, or he's completely checking out of family stuff, you may have more in your relationship that needs talking about than just Fantasy Football.

Dan's 2011 FF trophy, among some of his other guy stuff.

This football season, my goal is to never utter the words "Fantasy Football is the bane of my existence."  And I admit, if I succeed, this will be the first.

Good luck ladies!

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Bus Stop

I've done quite a bit of traveling to the east coast in my professional life, and I've always especially loved taking the Metro in Washington, D.C.  There's something kind of awesome about being in transit with hundreds of strangers.  The people watching. The relaxing.  The not having to pay attention to the road or the route.  The multitasking.  The crowd of people all unrelated to one another but with a common goal, with somewhere to be.  The rumble.

We don't have a vast public transit culture here in the Valley of the Sun.  We have a new-ish lightrail that's probably convenient for people who live at one end or the other, but doesn't cover enough ground to help most Phoenix-area residents.  And we do have a bus system, but there's a general stigma attached to using it.  That's what brings me here today.

Do you know anyone who rides the bus?  I do.  My dad surprised us all when he started riding the bus to work on a semi-regular basis last year (long before he retired).  A top executive with his own parking space, riding his bike to and from the bus stop. 

"Just doing my part," he would say. 

Now four months after retirement and patiently recovering from last week's shoulder surgery, the pops can't use one arm for six weeks (thus can't drive).  My mom takes him most places, but he's an independent guy... so what does he do? He takes the bus, like a boss.

"It gets me where I need to go."

Those of you who know my dad might think this is pure platinum-covered awesome.  Those who have lived in places where public transportation is more common might not think it that big of a deal that a regular successful guy would take the bus. But in my world over here, it has really made me think.   And it's made me notice how many bus stops there are... I never realized it but there is a bus stop pretty much every half mile on every street I frequent Tempe and Scottsdale (my route to my folks' and to work).

Truth be told, my only experience with the bus system in Phoenix has been avoiding them like the plague during rush hour, or clenching my knuckles at them when I'm stuck behind one in the right-hand lane stopping all the time and never turning right.

Truth be told, I've always been a snob about city busses and anyone who would ever want to ride them.

What I rarely do is look inside the windows to see the people actually inside.  Not just people who take the bus because they might have no other option for getting from A to B, but folks who choose to take the bus for whatever reason, like my dad.

If someone needs to get somewhere... why shouldn't they take the bus?

Examining what we really need, the solutions and options we have, and making choices without pride or prejudice.  That's what it's made me think about.  What other areas of my life am I a snob for no reason? Are there other things I have unfair preconceived notions about?  How might I get past these things and maybe save some money and maybe have new experiences I wouldn't have otherwise.

I would like for my children to know what public transportation is like.  Maybe some day that can be a special thing she does with her Grandpa.

Or maybe I'll go with.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Good Eater, Bad at Eating

Penny, no, don't give that to the doggies.  lick lick, gone.
Put your water on the table, please. plop.
Let's eat them one at a time. cram. cough. choke.
You want to try the spoon all by yourself? splatter.

Minding Manners

Tables manners and eating techniques are not my daughter's specialties.  She can't really manage her portion sizes, meaning, whatever amount of food put in front of her... that's about how much she'll put into her mouth for the next bite.  And we are waiting a little while to try the fork and spoon thing again.

As for me (or Dan), these days "meal preparation" means "cutting things up".. and cutting more things up.  And then cutting more things up.  Sometimes I'm not sure how much I eat in one sitting because as I'm eating my food, I'm cutting up bits from my plate for Penelope, or as I'm cutting up food for Penelope, I'm taking bites of hers and calling it my food.  All this seems pretty uncivilized and borders on rude if we were dining with etiquette police.

Chop chop chop, rip rip rip, peel peel peel.  I can hardly do this fast enough to keep up with her double fists.

These last few days the cutting and peeling has been in overdrive because I've been juicing at least one / sometimes two meals per day.  That means washing and preparing this many fruits and veggies to smash down the juicer for my meal.   [Left: breakfast of one whole stalk of broccoli, three large leaves of green chard, one orange, one cucumber, three carrots, two nectarines and a handful of strawberries]
But I digress.

I welcome the task without complaint because my child is a great eater.  She loves food and she eats even the healthy stuff (although she prefers peaches to broccoli if you ask my mother).  She'll even gladly sip on a kale smoothie for breakfast or guzzle some mean green from a straw when I drink it for dinner.  And that ain't no milkshake.

Always On My Mind

There's a certain preoccupation that I can't shake whenever I'm eating.  Even if I'm not with my daughter (like on days I'm at work and she lunches with the grandmas) I think about her little tummy -- what's going in it, how much, is it the right stuff? is it enough? is she choking on it?  Mother's instinct, probably.

As I cut cut cut, and constantly monitor her food intake procedures, I sometimes find myself wondering: When do babies start eating in a civilized fashion?  When can she manage her own plate?

I smiled last month as I sat with some of my favorite kinfolk at a wedding and watched as my cousin cut up some of his chicken and fruit and put it on a plate for his sweet baby girl, now age two-and-a-half.  He negotiated every other bite with love and patience.  The pieces were bigger but the routine the same.

Guess I've got a little while to go.

P.S. I'm hoping to interview a family-friend and pediatric nutritionist for a post later this month or next. Stay tuned!

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Penny Goes to the Dentist

Other than loosely following my friend's recommendations from earlier this year, I have not devoted much time or effort to my child's oral hygiene.  The time had come to get these seven pearly whites looked at, and establish a relationship with a local pediatric dentist.

In addition to meeting the guy our pediatrician referred us to, I also wanted to talk about pacifiers, drinking cups, what to use and how to brush for this age, foods and other habits like gnawing on things, grinding, drooling, sucking her fingers, eating shoes, etc.  The appointment was around lunch time so Daddy was able to be there too to hear everything doc had to say.

How it went: Great. We were very pleased with Dr. Culp's chairside manner and Penny responded very well to him (although she didn't like the brief exam too much).  We learned a lot about how little mouths work and what puts them at risk for the bad stuff.  He spent a lot of time with us and answered all of our questions, which I really appreciated.

And as of tonight, we will be brushing Penny's teeth twice a day with a "big girl" toothbrush and kids' fluoride toothpaste.  [I know there are two camps on the topic of fluoride for kids... I'm not getting on either bandwagon, just going with what our dentist recommends].  Bye Bye Baby finger-brush!  And we'll be back in six months! 

Woke up from a car nap in Daddy's arms and a strange waiting room.
listening intently to everything her dentist had to say
"I could climb this"
She didn't want to let go of her new toothbrush.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

That's what it's all about

I read a news snippet about an app that removes all baby-related status updates and photos from your Facebook news feed.  Afterward, I did a quick census of my Facebook posts, tweets, Instagram photos and Vine videos... And sure enough, 'bout 95% of them are about my daughter or motherhood, with the rest falling into the categories of the hubby, the dogs, the band, some current event that really got me riled up, food or scenery, and other people in my life or the occasional selfie. This is not counting the blog.  

I bet quite a few folks would like to use that app to filter my posts. 

Do I need to adjust my social media postings to more accurately reflect my thoughts and my life?  I mean, is 19 out of 20 absurd?

Then I thought about what actually comprises my independent thoughts and how I spend my life, and I realized... Yaa 19 out of 20 for the baby is about right. I'm that mom.  

Everything I do, I do with my family in mind.  Everything I see or think about, I process in the context of my baby girl growing up in the world that we live in.  Penny is the joy of my days and being a mother is worth every trial that she brings me.  I want to talk about her all the time. I want to tell strangers in the grocery store all about her entire week's accomplishments when they just ask me how old she is.  I want to tell Dan the second he walks in the door after work about the funny face she made earlier in the day

To those who might utter: Gosh that lady's so obsessed with her baby. I hope if I ever have them I can still have a conversation with a grown up where I DON'T talk about my kids...

...I say I hope you can't. 

I hope you are so in love with your kids that you can't help but exude the pride and joy of your parenthood in everything that you do and say (and post).  I hope every moment of your life from the moment you find out you are pregnant, is in some way focused around that child that you love. 

That's what being a parent is all about. 

I don't talk about my faith or my relationship with God very often on the blog.  But thinking on this, in the midst of a very exhausting motherhood week, I settled into such comfort and peace on the realization that the way I've loved on my daughter this week, through her misery and sickness, and would do anything for her even when it means snot all over my clothes -- or not brushing my hair for three days -- or waking up every hour to nurse her even though she's not a newborn anymore -- or to reposition her in my bed all night long so she doesn't roll off because she doesn't want to be in her crib alone when she's sick-- or clean up spilled medicine after every dose -- or take three days off work and not be on vacation... doesn't even compare to the way that God loves each and every one of us, His children.  He loves us so incomprehensibly much. 

So that's a nice thought to end the day with.  Sleep in peace. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Party Props

Penny's First Birthday was July 28th, 2013.  
Here are the juicy details of our family's celebration, and credit where it's due!

No matter how good you are at throwing parties, having help from a professional brings another set of eyes, fresh ideas and added sanity.  I had so much fun working with Jordan from Jordan McBride Events.  Most of the inspiration (and much of the craftsmanship) you'll see below came from her.

Hiring a professional with a camera is my number one piece of advice for those planning their child's first birthday party.  It's worth it to make room in your budget.  Cut out the bounce house or send an electronic invite instead of putting custom invitations in the mail.  Package the party photography together with some family photos or "first year" photos to solidify your investment.  I did not take a single photo that day, and I was able to rest assured that our memories would be preserved perfectly.  So totally worth it.   I loved working with Josh Snyder.  All photos in this post came from him.

We are blessed to live in a neighborhood that has a fantastic community center available to us.  I booked it a few months in advance and got the keys the Friday before the event.  Thanks, Agritopia!  We love living here.

Good old-fashioned balloons and streamers, with a DIY touch of homemade tissue tassel garland.
There are dozens of online how-to's for making the garland, we liked this one from Hostess with the Mostess Blog.  We also taped white butcher paper up behind the high chair to optimize the smash-cake photos, and used the rest on the tables for guests to doodle on with washable crayons.  Thanks, Mom, for the butcher paper (and for the use of your high chair)!   Party City rents helium tanks, very cost effective if you need a ton of balloons, and super convenient.  Party City also sells those giant round balloons you see at the top of the centerpieces.  Thanks Dan, Uncle Justin, and the nephews for blowing up all those balloons.

I wanted to have a mix of Penny's favorite snacks and kid-friendly foods, and munchies for the grownups.  Jordan dreamed up the rest, including the adorable milk bottles with doughnuts on top.


It was important to me that I make my daughter's first birthday cake.  It was important to my husband that it be from scratch.  He was right, and it was good. Penny dove right into her miniature cake, and especially loved sharing it with her mom and dad, smashing it right onto our faces and delighting in everyone's reaction when she did.  Easy Homemade Funfetti Cake Recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction Blog.

We had a play room for the little kids, and a couple games & things for the young-at-heart.  Penny jar guessing game and Penny Toss were the only "penny" themed games, and we also had an anagram contest using the letters of Penelope's full name (not pictured), trivia about the birthday girl, and crayons on the tables for butcher paper doodles.  Thanks to all my family members who helped schlep all the toys from the play room back to our house after the party.  P.S. miniature kiddie pool filled with 200 ballpit balls... best investment ever (also our official birthday gift to Penny, the gift that keeps on giving)

So many folks helped with the party in so many ways.  Jordan, for, everything.  Jordan's hubby for letting me borrow her for almost a whole week and for your help the day of.  My sister for letting me borrow your earrings.  My mom for cutting up hundreds of pieces of fruit.  Dan's cousin for picking up a crate of school-sized milk cartons directly from the Shamrock Farms Plant (which you can't buy in stores!).  My cousin for taking video for me and driving your whole family up from Tucson for the festivities. Our extended family members for stepping in with conviction when it was time for cleanup.   Everyone who blessed our family with your presence.  WE THANK YOU ALL FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS! 

And Penny, for taking such a good nap right before the party, we are so thankful.  We know you won't remember this party, but we hope you never forget how much you are loved.   

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Friday, August 9, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Lonely

[Mission Week Possible: day six]

Click the icon for more information about this amazing exercise in writing and invitation to community!  Here goes...

 Five Minute Friday


I spent the all day Wednesday cuddling my baby on the couch as she pressed through a fever of 103.  It's been a week of whiney drool and restless dogs, tylenol and cuddles.  A week of so much to complain about, a week of trying not to complain. When it rains it pours.

A week of general by-myselfness as my love sleeps in a hotel across the country.  A week of starting out on track, then being derailed by unexpected phlegm and boogers from little miss grumpelstiltskin.  Lonely, sometimes helpless in the darkest hours of night, I've counted down the hours until he returns from his week away.

Still.  The house is still.  The baby sleeps.  The house hums.  The fans turn.  I think back on earlier this evening when my little girl took a break from the ick and took three steps on her own for the first time.  I had looked around the room to see if anyone else saw it, but no one could verify that I had just seen what I thought I had seen.  I told her dad in a text message.   I think about all the things I was going to do this week.  How I was going to be a rock star.

Desperate, scratchy cries call from the baby monitor.  I tiptoe downstairs dutifully, lovingly.  She will not be alone in her room, in her misery.  I am not alone in this house.  There is no room for lonely.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Penny Jane: Twelve Months Old

dress: Baby Gap;
headband: handmade by yours truly;
chalkbaord: My Primitive Boutique custom ordered for our wedding;
professional photography: Josh Snyder
Oh what fun, Penny is one!  Couldn't resist...

Stats of 18 pounds 7 ounces and 30 inches long put her in the 14th percentile for weight and the 90th percentile for height.  She's a tall one.  

Her hair is growing into somewhat of a pixie and she looks like a flapper sometimes when I put headbands on her.  I love the way it comes down in front of her ears sometimes to a point, like a little elf. Is that a weird thing to say?

This month she started doing the baby bounce dance whenever music comes on.  She especially loves the theme song to the Curious George television series that we stream from Amazon Prime video for her.  She's not walking yet, but she can stand up from a squat without holding onto anything.  Other babies we know who are her age or younger are walking already, but I'm not sweating it.  I think first steps are coming soon, but I'm happy the longer she waits to walk!

One time she climbed all the way up onto the couch from the floor and yelled "up!" when she got to the top.  Another time she strategically climbed Luna (our grey dog) to get onto the big couch upstairs. 

It's offial, ear-grabbing is her "tell" for being tired, and she tugs and rubs them like a security blanket as she sleeps.  

Every morning first thing she gets to come into our room, all groggy-eyed and cuddly, to nurse and fall back asleep if she likes.  As soon as she fully wakes up, her number one priority is saying good morning to the dogs.  She pops her head up and looks for them, asks for them, greets them when they come to the side of the bed.  

In her speech, there is a distinction between "Da Da" (Daddy) and "Dhadhaa" (Doggies).   She says a few other words sporadically, but those two she says every single day.  

New favorite pastimes: ripping napkins or papers, unraveling toilet paper, opening and emptying cabinets, removing tissues or baby wipes from their containers. What a mess she can make. 

Her bedtime routine and sleep habits are finally what I would call 'normal'.  She goes to bed without a fuss and she sleeps all the way through the night 90% of the time.  We're still working on the napping thing.

Penny had her first teppanyaki experience this month.  She watched eagerly as the chef chopped and cooked and lit things on fire.  It's so much fun to take her to restaurants and not have to bring any food with us anymore.  She's real grabby at the table, so she has officially graduated from dad's lap to a high chair when the food comes.  Before the meal comes we let her crawl all over the booth and play with spoons and cups.  Other restaurant patrons don't usually seem to mind because she's quiet and she's cute. 

This month she learned responses to "What does the doggie say?" (she sticks her tongue out and pants just like Luna and Apollo do after they come in from playing outside) and "Where's my nose?"  Along those lines, she is pointing a lot to things.  Sometimes she says "that" when she points.  Sometimes she answers affirmatively to questions she is asked -- I assume this is just mimicking because it doesn't really matter the question asked, the answer is always "yeah."

This month she enjoyed her first time at the beach.  Later on, we had a birthday party where all kinds of people who love her came to celebrate with us.  It was a beautiful day for our family indeed.

And, turns out, Penelope likes cake.  

Penny's birthday photography was done by Josh of Josh Snyder Photography. Check him out!
More photos coming soon when I share details about her party!

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013


This is what a random fever of 101 looks like at 11:30 at night.  We did have a great day. I bet she's getting a tooth.  Anyway, this is my blog post for the day. 

The babe sleeps with the momma.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Potty Foul

[Week Mission Possible: Day Two]

Mondays. Working from home. New game plan.  I'm no longer in denial that I cannot get much work done when Penny is awake.  So, rather than kid myself trying to watch my daughter and work at the same time (nobody wins), Penny gets my full undivided attention and we do fun things while she's awake... then theoretically she naps great so I can work like a beast. 

Today, this was a smashing success.

But that's not what I wanted to blog about tonight.

During one of my aforementioned "do fun things" attempts, we found ourselves at this local play place for an hour and a half this afternoon after lunch and between naps.  We practically had the whole place to ourselves, except for a mom with 14-month-old twins + a 4-year-old who left soon after we arrived, then later a woman with her 18-month-old granddaughter and 2-and-a-half-year-old grandson... who also happened to be potty training.

I should preface all this with the fact that I have never potty trained a kid.  I have no idea what's in store, all the methods... how hard it can be... how to handle it when your (grand)kid has an accident in a public place where other children are playing...

Catch my drift.

I felt so bad for this woman.  She handled it very gracefully, gently yet sternly carrying a confused and embarrassed little guy to the bathroom as pee trickled down his leg and onto the floor and all the toys in their path.  I watched and my heart went out to her...

But I didn't have any urge at all to help clean it up.  Is that bad?  Am I a horrible person?  Should I have grabbed some baby wipes?  I wanted to want to help.  But I also wanted to just go play in another area, or pretend I didn't see the whole thing go down.

Maybe this is an unconscious insecurity of mine that I will be a failure at potty training my children and they will all wear diapers to kindergarten.  Maybe I feared it was foreshadowing for me and Penny in 18 months.

 [I did offer to watch the 18-month-old while she handled it]

It might seem small but I've really been thinking about this incident all afternoon.  Was she embarrassed? Did she think I was judging her because I didn't offer to help?   I hope neither.

Anway, Penny and I had a wonderful time playing in a nice, clean (before the pee), air-conditioned space and burning some energy.  And the woman and I had a very nice chat about life while the children played.

My second day of being a pseudo-single mom went off without a hitch.  There are no dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and we even went for a long walk for some fresh air and exercise before dinner. We facetimed with daddy and nobody cried.  Penny was asleep by 8:45pm.  I kind of feel like supermom. 

One great thing about today: 
We went to the park this evening and Penny tried the swings for the first time.  I wouldn't say she liked it, but a first nonetheless.  At only 96 degrees, it was really a lovely evening for the park.  We are so blessed to live in a neighborhood that has abundance of parks and fields and paths.  Hashtag Agritopia.

In other news... it's been a year exactly since I hit "publish" on our birth story from the couch I was still sleeping on because I couldn't lay flat on the bed yet.  Serious stuff.  Seriously incredible that it's been a year.  I can't get over it...

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Week Mission Possible: Day One

Dan is on a business trip for seven days.  Penny and I are here.   I'm far from having a complete meltdown because of help and sanity I will be getting from my amazing in-laws right next door (and the loaded shotgun at my disposal), but it's still going to be an intense seven days being solo in running the house. This is the longest Dan's ever been gone.  Normally I might have sleepovers at my parents' house for a week like this but did I mention my folks are fiesta-ing on the beach somewhere in Mexico (my sister too) on the vacation that Dan and I were scheduled to be on?  [Remember Penny's passport photo attempts?].  I digress.

Rather than stress out or have a pity party, I am determined to have a great week. Blogging about it will help me stay the course.

Bucket List for Mission Week Possible:
  • Read to Penny at least once a day.  I can't do the voices as well as daddy, but I can try!
  • Put Penny's first-year of photos in her photo album
  • Send out all thank you notes from Penny's first birthday
  • Have a very productive work week
  • Buy necessary supplies and finish all the ruler orders we have in queue
  • Pray every day for single moms
  • Watch one cheesy chick flick by myself
  • Take Penny somewhere to play at least twice [I bought this great Groupon for Villari's Play Cafe that I intend to take full advantage of]
  • Exercise at least twice and eat relatively healthily
  • Pick up dog poop once so it's not out of control when Dan gets back
  • Blog every day
One great thing about today: 
This morning we shared a healthy wonderful breakfast. And even though daddy's not here to make us a smoothie, I still incorporated the Baby Kale we have in the fridge, and Penny still ate it!  

Costco staples FAGE plain Greek yogurt and pre-washed baby kale,
with a fruit pouch puree for flavor.
looks disgusting... tastes delicious
yes, please!

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Drinking milk. So much milk. We got a crate of school-lunch size milks straight from Shamrock Farms to serve with the donuts and cake at Penny's birthday party. And neglected to put all of them out at the party. I hate (read: hate) wasting food. I am my father's daughter. So, after we offloaded some to my in-laws with the six kids, I am bound and determined to drink all the rest of the cartons myself before they expire.  It's ok, I love milk. 

Thinking about a stranger mom and kid I saw last night at Makutu's Island play place (we were celebrating my sweet nephew's birthday). This lady was trying to get a good cell phone photo of her kid sitting on a slide, and after every attempt, the kid would run off to go play some more and the mom would call her back to the slide to pose again.  Come back here, I didn't get a good one / it didn't turn out / you were making a weird face / we gotta do it again. This song and dance went on for about five or six attempts, increasingly painful to watch each time.  It really made me think. 

Inking thank you notes, from my one-year-old.  The old-fashioned hand-written kind.  My plan is always to get thank notes out within about a week of the related gifting.  Penelope was showered with love and gifts on her birthday and I am trying to convey our true gratitude in every single one. Writing in the first person as a one-year-old will make any grownup a little loopy. I look forward to teaching her how to write thank you's all by herself when she's older. 

Linking up to some of my carefully-chosen favorite local businesses and service proviers on a new page for the blog. Coming soon. 

Gearing up for baby play group. Getting together with some other mamas whose babies have graduated from the breast-feeding group I went to regularly at the hospital until Penny turned one. Parallel play? Yes, please. Mama chat? Yes, please. 

Procrastinating Garage sale planning.

Thankful for my job. I like my job. I have a job. As of late I known dozens of people, really good people, lose theirs.  I am no different than them.  I am not immune to the business climate of today.  I am thankful to be employed. 

Laughing about my sister planning out her sorority room decorations with her roommates.  Not in a make-fun-of-her kind of way... in an ah-to-be-in-college-again kind of way.  Man I'm going to miss her when she leaves again.  sad face.

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