Friday, November 28, 2008

Sleepless Nights

Happy Thanksgiving, Peeps! We had a fabulous feast with Ouiser's family, followed by naps, and brought to a perfect close by a game night at Ouiser's house. We played a game that was new to all of us...I can't remember the name. Perhaps Ouiser will mention it soon, otherwise I'll ask her for it, because I highly recommend it to you gaming types out there. I seriously laughed harder during this game than I have in years. It was one of those laugh-fests where you're laughing so hard you're not making a sound. At least half of us were in tears. It was great.

We had a little Papoosekin experiment, too, whereby we put her to sleep in a spare room (okay, it was a bathroom, but a really nice one! And warm, and quiet, with some white noise to sleep by. Really, if you ever have to sleep in a bathroom, I highly recommend Ouiser's. It's very clean.), planning to try putting her in the car when it was time to go, and back in her crib when we got home. We knew this had the potential to end in disaster with a wide awake toddler just as we wanted to go to bed, but you have to try these things at some point.

Honestly, I think it would have been fine. We turned off all the lights in Ouiser's house between the bathrood/nursery and the front door. We had he car running and warmed up. Ouiser held the flashlight as I smuggled the Papoose down the stairs, out the front door, and into the car, where the Husband was sitting in the backseat, ready to buckle her up in record time. I drove us home without a word. The Husband and I were a dream team of perfect parental synchronicity as I unlocked the door at the exact moment that he approached, followed him down the hall turning on exactly the right light to illuminate her room just enough for him to see where he was going without waking her up further. He tucked her in, I turned on the white noise, and we exited, proud of ourselves for our parenting prowess.

Not a peep. She went right back to sleep. Life was good.

Until I was getting ready for bed, half an hour later, and heard her up. This never happens. I figured she was just settling herself after being moved, and told the Husband to turn down the volume on the tv.

I was tucking myself into bed, turned on the baby monitor, still hearing minor fussing from the Papoose, but secure that she sounded like she was trying to get back to sleep. Then I hear,

MRRREEEEEOOOOOWWWWW?!?!?

MMMMRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW?!?!?!?!?!?

"Puck?" That cat's meow is unmistakable. But I couldn't hear exactly where it was coming from. It almost sounded like it was coming from the baby monitor...but no, he never goes in her room. But I didn't see him in the bedroom either...

MMMRREEEOOWW?

OMG, that was definitely coming in over the monitor. That F*$#ing CAT was in her room! I ran downstairs, yelled at the Husband to hold the dog so I could wring the cat's neck unobstructed, opened the Papoose's door about two inches for about two seconds while the Menace darted out.

Those of you who aren't parents may not understand why that's such a big deal. You. Don't. Mess. With. A baby's. Sleep. Period. But especially when you have a baby who's been known to get up at 4:30 am.

To make a long story slightly shorter, this catastrophe (CATastrophe. Get it? Heh.) was followed by a tragedy of errors (not comedy, tragedy, I assure you) including the Husband going to bed without letting the dog in, resulting in much barking and scratching at the door; the baby waking up every 45 minutes and not getting back to sleep, necessitating the Husband going into her room and getting her back to sleep while he held her for an hour; pulling her into our bed around 5:00 am where she eventually fell asleep, crowding the Husband into a sliver of his side of the bed and kicking him every so often, just to make sure he couldn't go back to sleep...

She made us pay for yesterday's fun.

So now I'm sitting on the couch, giving thanks for coffee and peppermint mocha creamer, and doing some Black Friday window-shopping from my couch. Here are my favorites:

  • RETEEZ: a company that takes old t-shirts and turns them into tote bags, lunch totes, baby bibs, dishcloths, and a whole host of other things, using recycled fabrics. (via The Tranquil Parent)


  • Coffee Cozies: I have been seeing these everywhere lately. Just hand your coffee cozy to your favorite barista when ordering your next Grande, 2 pump Vanilla, Non-Fat, Extra Hot, Latte, and save the landfills one extra coffee sleeve. Your barista will thank you. Styles and colors abound on the Internet, and even in my local caffeining hole, but this one, by newgreenmama, is one of my favorites.


  • Racking your brain trying to come up with the perfect gift for Feather Nester this year? Look no further! ReadyMade magazine sounds like my dream come true! I haven't seen a copy of this in person, but Amazon describes it as a DIY for young people, often using household items repurposed. LOVE the concept.
  • This ultrasonic aromatherapy diffuser is what I would buy everyone I know, if I were made of money, which, I assure you, I am not. Or this lower-tech, but equally desirable, version. (both via The Tranquil Parent)
  • Project Peanut Butter: for the socially-conscious loved one on your list who has everything. From The Tranquil Parent: "Want to share your good fortune with others? Consider this amazing cause for kids in Malawi and Sierra Leone, Africa where 70% of children are malnourished. Project Peanut Butter is a therapeutic feeding program which uses a peanut/dairy/vitamin food which provides a 95% recovery rate (!) for severely malnourished children. Did you know that half of all child deaths worldwide are caused by malnutrition? $15 treats one child."
  • These play food items from LillyBean are inspiring me with a whole host of crafting possibilities, next time I have infinite time on my hands.


Any big recommendations on your holiday shopping list?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Giving Thanks


A week ago, I lost my wallet somewhere between exiting the grocery store and driving home. The Husband and I suspect that I probably set it on top of the car as I was loading the Papoose into her seat and then forgot about it.

Fortunately, I realized it was missing pretty much the second I got home. I searched everywhere in the bags, the car, then drove back to the store, making the Husband come with me. We searched the parking lot about five times and asked inside whether anyone had turned it in. They hadn't.

I was a wreck with tears, anxiety, guilt...we've started a new budget around here that involves carrying a lot of cash to reduce reliance on the plastic, so I had close to $100 in the wallet.

Not to mention: how many times does a girl have to cancel her credit and bank cards in one year due to theft? I realized that this was the fourth time as I called up my friends at Visa, AmEx, etc. to go through the rigamarole once again. Then we headed for Ouiser's where she handed me a glass of wine about 30 seconds after walking in her door.

The next morning, we swung by the grocery store again. The Husband recognized it as a slim possibility, but a possibility nonetheless, that we may have gotten back to the store too fast the night before. Someone could have found the wallet on their way into the store and proceeded with their shopping, figuring they'd turn it in as they checked out. Then it would have to get from the cashier, at the end of his or her shift, to the people at the customer service counter, etc. Anyway, it was worth a shot.

I went up to the counter expecting the same routine as the night before:
"I lost my wallet here. Has anyone turned one in?"
...quick rifling through the drawer...
"Nope, sorry."

But this time it was different (you saw this coming, right?)!

"I lost my wallet last night. Do you know if anyone turned it in?"
"What does it look like?"
"Um...(!)...black leather."
...rifling through a different drawer...
"What's the name?"
OMG!!! "Feather nester."
And simple as that, she handed it over.

A Prada wallet. Yeah, right, a fake Prada wallet, but still, it says "Prada" right on it. And someone turned it in.

All the cash was there.

All the cards were there.

Someone in my neck of the woods has a heart of gold and my faith in humanity felt another huge uplift, honestly, comparable to how I felt when I went to bed November 3 knowing that when I woke up the first black president would have been elected. I know the significance of my situation hardly seems comparable. It was just a wallet for crying out loud. But that election restored a lot of my hope and faith in humanity, on a very large, grand, and symbolically meaningful scale. The returned wallet did the same on a very small, personal, and symbolically meaningful scale.

I have a lot to give thanks for this year. But today I'm thinking of that individual whom I'll never be able to identify. That person who did one really nice thing for a complete stranger that they would never meet. Perhaps they did it without a second thought; perhaps they were tempted and struggled with their inner morality before doing the right thing. Either way, I'm so touched and it has been eating at me that I had no way of knowing who it was so I could bake them some brownies, at least.

Today, the perfect thank you occurred to me. I am hereby pledging to make a donation to a charity in honor of that good Samaritan. I haven't chosen the charity yet, and I'm going to wait a few weeks to do it (the Husband's company has announced that there will be upcoming layoffs; so for the sake of caution and his blood pressure, I will wait until we are in a more secure position before doing this), but I'm announcing it publicly, not so I'll get any credit from all of you, but so all of you will HOLD ME TO IT! Please, don't let the mommy brain delete this thought from my head along with everything I ever learned in kindergarten. If I don't update you all in a couple months, someone remind me! You may think I'm kidding, but I'm not. I've lost at least 50 IQ points since the Papoose was born.

Anyone want to suggest a charity?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Honey Almond Cookies

Made these cookies for my book club meeting tonight. We read The Secret Life of Bees, so I did a quick search last night for something honey-themed.

Not bad. Not great. They're a nice, light cookie that was great with coffee, and would probably be even better with tea, but I wouldn't make them for a special occasion.

Personally, I felt the almond flavor was too weak, though you could taste the honey. If you like a really subtle cookie, these might be just the thing. They were certainly easy and quick to make.

I'm hoping to make time this holiday season to share some more cookie adventures. As long as my waistline can take it...

Hurts So Good


The Papoose's second taste of ice cream


At her party, Mr. Ouiser fed her the first ever taste of ice cream. Her first bite went down with no response. The second bite was immediately followed by some wicked head shaking (brain freeze?).

We decided to try again the next night, her actual birthday, at a dinner celebrating the coinciding birthdays of my mother and Mr. Ouiser. Mr. Ouiser again had the honors and the results were equally dubious...

Or not? Maybe it's something in his delivery.

Top Ten Reasons I Deserve a Second Pot of Coffee

  1. Papoosekin decided that 5:45 was an appropriate time to get up this morning.
  2. Once up, NOT A SINGLE BINKY could be located in the house, despite the manic searching of two parents. Before 6 am.
  3. Unidentifiable substances are starting to make regular appearances in my daughter's diaper.
  4. Bob the cat is tangled in the blind cords. Again.
  5. I drove all the way to Wal-Mart for a gross of new binkies before remembering that I'm out of cash and have no credit cards at the moment. (That's a whole other post.)
  6. Papoose fell asleep on the way to Wal-Mart the second time, after driving back to retrieve the cash.
  7. Papoose FREAKED OUT when she saw the packages and packages of dozens of binkies at Wal-Mart, but couldn't get through the plastic packaging to ANY of them. At 7 am.
  8. Allowing a toddler to feed Cheerios to the dog to distract her from the two minutes of binky-boiling that must occur is a good way to delay the binky gratification.
  9. I've been shrieked at for apparently reading Brown Bear WRONG, ALL WRONG before the morning nap.
  10. The dark circles under my eyes are proof enough, only I'm not quite exhausted enough to think it's a good idea to post a picture of them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No-poo

Scarlet tagged me for a meme on favorite beauty products. I love a good meme as much as the next girl, but this one's a toughie for me since it's pretty much all I can do these days to shower, never mind use beauty products. Also, I'm in the process of greening up all my toiletries and makeup, but that requires a lot of using up a lot of ho-hum products that I already have, and that are too boring to blog about. I'll try to remember to spout off about lots of green products as I trial them, but I can share a little experiment I started this week. I was planning to wait until I was further along to mention it, but why not let the cat out of the bag early?

I'm trying to give up shampoo. And conditioner. It's called no-pooing and you basically wash your hair with baking soda and rinse with vinegar. My main motivation is saving money, followed closely by saving planet. There are a gazillion websites out there about how to do this. Most of them are very vague and say things like, "Mix baking soda and water. You'll have to play around with your ratios to figure out what works for you." So there's no point in me linking anything for you.

The point is that baking soda supposedly strips out all kinds of residues that shampoo and conditioner leave behind. You also avoid exposing yourself and your environment to all kinds of chemicals that you really ought not to be exposed to.

I've tried this once so far and already think I did not use enough baking soda. It doesn't help that I dragged a Costco-sized bag of baking soda into the bathroom with me and a glass bottle of apple cider vinegar from the kitchen. I then tried to dump baking soda into an empty shampoo bottle while standing in the shower. I'm not going to save much money with half the baking soda going down the drain. Clearly, I need to get my containers prepared before getting in the shower next time (tonight).

I will say this: My hair did not feel squeaky clean like it does after shampooing, but it did feel clean. It was strangely...thicker? I don't know. It felt like there was more of it. The texture was a little off, but I haven't had my haircut since March, so it may have more to do with that. It did not smell vinegar-y.

Anyway, I'll keep y'all updated. I know the status of my hair and hair-cleaning rituals is keeping you on the edge of your seats.

Haiku Mama

I didn't have the time or sanity to mention yesterday that the little haiku I tapped out on my keyboard was totally inspired by a book that the Husband's Aunt L bought while visiting last weekend. The four of us (Papoosekin included) were hanging out at our local caffeine refueling station, which also carries some of the best little gifts known to man. L and I were laughing riotously at this book. Thankfully, they also make one for papas because the Husband was missing the Mama jokes entirely.

Here's a sampling from Haiku Mama by Kari Anne Roy (best read, in your head, with a Japanese accent. Or out loud, if you don't think you'll get sent to cultural sensitivity training by your manager):

Flickering bright lights;
sound and stories called "movies."
They still exist, right?

**********************************

Learning the "mom look":
Squint eyes, frown mouth, point finger.
But try not to laugh.

**********************************

Swingset has no brakes.
Revelation to young child
as he's kicked in the mouth.

**********************************

Why the funny look?
Color of baby's poopies
not fascinating?

**********************************

Textured wall upgrade
not really worth the money
filled with finger paint.

**********************************

Hyper-exhaustion
sounds like an oxymoron
unless you are two.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Haiku Tuesday

No pictures. Haven't taken any. No complete sentences. Only this:

Whining on and on
Baby plots with cats and dog
Torture is an art

They're trying to kill me slowly, I swear. The whining is incessant with no apparent cause. The solution is apparent:

"Hold me! No, like, all the time. Yes, I'm serious. I don't care if you need to go to the bathroom. I don't care that you need to wash the dishes from breakfast. I don't care that I'm crying because I slipped on the books that I threw on the floor and won't stop whining long enough for you to pick them up. HOLD ME NOW AND DO SOMETHING INTERESTING THE WHOLE TIME!!! And don't think you can pacify me with the television, even with milk, binky, and your lap. It didn't work the last three times you tried it and it won't work now either. Everything is wrong and I demand you fix it! NOW!!! And, no, Papa is not an acceptable substitute. For anything. Ever."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What Kind of Tree Are You?

A few years ago, I attended a meditation meeting with my parents. We focused on ourselves as trees and were supposed to be thinking about our trunks and branches growing up, while I was overwhelmed with the feeling of my roots shooting down into the earth. I'm not entirely sure what that meant, but the group leader seemed impressed.

This morning I stumbled upon a fun activity at Seventh Generation that reminded me of that experience. Pick your tree shape, type in the ingredients that make you you, and watch your tree grow! You can name it and add it to the forest when you're done. I can't figure out how to show you my tree here, but if any of you are tech-savvy enough to do so, I would love to see yours!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

On Your First Birthday

Well, ahem, NEAR your first birthday...

I have time to right this because you're in the midst of some kind of nap marathon right now. You've been in there for nearly four hours after weeks of 45-minute naps, no naps, half naps, catnaps. You're sleep schedule has been all over the map this month and it's a sign that you're growing, getting ready to drop that first nap, sleeping longer at night. Turning into a big girl.

I know a lot of mamas who cried when their babies turned one. Your Aunt L asked me if I did and was surprised when I said no. I was surprised, too. Your mama is a bit sentimental and this is a huge milestone for us both. You stopped being my baby when you took those first steps almost three months ago. There's no denying your toddlerhood. And this first birthday is the absolute click of that door shutting behind us. And I'm not sad.

Sure, there's a part of me that sees pregnant women or mamas with new babies or pictures of you from your first few months and feels some small longing for that time. And I've been thinking a lot about that feeling because 90% of my brain wants to smack that other part of me upside the head and demand to know what ludicrous brand of insanity it's subscribed to now to even entertain such a notion as a second child for more than a quarter of a second. And that self-destructive 10% has the gall to look offended and defensive when it presents hormonal evidence. But there's more to it's case than that.

The most gratifying thing about being your mother so far is watching your personality unfold. I have no words to describe how amazing and breathtaking it is to watch so much personhood express itself from such a tiny body. We watch your brain develop and are awestruck. The first time your father and I saw you put the cap on your bottle all by yourself, out of nowhere, we wondered, "Who taught her that? How did she know to do that? How is she that coordinated?" The fact that you figure so much out on your own, that you don't need to be taught everything is both obvious and inspiring all at once.

You've recently discovered magnets. You peel them off the refrigerator, slap them back on, pat, pat, pat (presumably, to make sure it sticks), step back, study your work, and start over again. It is hands-down the cutest thing I've seen in my life.

You consistently use your version of the "all done" baby sign when you want to get down from your highchair. Rather than the hand shake, palms facing in, that I've tried to teach you, you hold both hands up, palms out, and shake them frantically to let us know you want down from your highchair. You also have ingeniously employed this sign on the changing table, but to no avail.

You spent your twelfth month walking heedlessly off every ledge in your path, trusting that I would catch you, until one time I didn't. We were at the playground across from Ouiser's house and all three Ouisers, your papa, you, and I were there. You landed forehead first off a concrete step and had your first real injury. I was actually kind of glad, hoping it would knock some sense into you. The problem with a baby beginning to walk as young as you did is that they don't have the sense to keep up with their physical prowess. Consequence has taught you some caution and you now yell for help at the top of every step. Your papa accidentally left the gate at the bottom of the stairs open the other day. I only knew because I heard you calling for me and found you halfway up the stairs, stuck, yelling for help to get down. (And I'm thanking your guardian angel for that one.)

You love to try on my headbands. You have a Rainbow-Bright-esque cardigan sweater that you love to carry around the house to no end, on the hanger. You splash like crazy in the bathtub whenever you're in there with Ouiser's S or your cousin, J. You stomp your feet when you're mad. You are binky-dicted. You are very into riding your rocking bear, or anyone's rocking or riding anything. If your papa or I rest our heads in your new chair, you possessively shove us out and sit down, reclaiming it. You think it's hysterical if I pull your binky out of your mouth with my teeth. Your favorite book is The Very Hungry Caterpillar and you've pretty much killed it with love and gnawing and standing upon and flipping over and over again to the page where "On Saturday, he ate through one piece of chocolate cake," etc.

You seem to have inherited your papa's daredevil streak, his disregard for authority, his inability to entertain himself, and his high pain tolerance, as well as my sensitivity, low frustration threshold, and high emotional volatility. You're smart as the dickens, determined, strong-willed, and way too pretty for your own good. I'm not going to lie to you, we're scared.

Scared and captivated and spellbound and so in love.

Happy birthday, sweet, sweet girl. I can't wait to spend the next year with you.

Love,

Mama

Squeeky McSqueekers


Have I mentioned that the Papoose has endless nicknames? One she's carried since she was an infant is Squeeky McSqueekers. That one dates back to the first couple months of her life when she slept in the Pack N Play in our bedroom. She'd make itty, bitty, squeeky noises in her crib and she sounded just like a mouse. Then when those teeth started to come in, we felt that the Halloween costume pretty much created itself.

And lest you have the sense of the woman who took our money at the zoo's cafeteria, she is a mouse, sitting in her cheese. NOT an elephant wrapped in a giraffe print blanket.

Our Little Pumpkin

These pics are from Gentry's Farm, here in TN. We had such a great time here. It will definitely be a yearly tradition.

I had no idea one could look so cool in a pumpkin hat. But I guess when your ride is a tricked out SUV of a wagon, anything is possible.

The Papoose was too small to reach the corn in the trough so the Husband just plopped her down right in the middle of it!

Today the Orchard, Tomorrow the World!

Aha, see now the posts come fast and furiously (with no sign of Vin Diesel, I swear). I don't think it should count against me that all I can supply you with is eye candy of the Papoose. At least I'm giving you something now, right? Let's face it, most of you skip the text and go straight for the pics anyway. I could be writing a thesis on my intent for world domination and no one would notice. Well, maybe the CIA.
These are from an apple orchard on the other side of Nashville.

I made the best applesauce I've ever tasted from these apples.
We also bought some peach cider (they were out of apple), by which I was underwhelmed.

Kissing October Good-bye

So, let's just pretend the entire month of October never happened, shall we? Well, okay, we don't need to ignore October, specifically. It is my favorite month, after all. Let's just ignore the fact that I haven't posted for a month. And we'll start fresh with November.

But that doesn't mean I'm not going to fill you in on October. Anyone left out there still following my blog after my long and unexplained absence is probably itching for pics from the Papoose's first birthday part. But you'll have to wait. When we left off last, the Papoose and I were headed south to visit Toddler Tamer et al.
We had a fabulous time. It was so much fun seeing the two little cousins together. J thought everything the Papoose did was HI-LARIOUS, including saying, "Bah!" which he laughed about for 20 minutes straight. No exaggeration. The kid has the best sense of humor of anyone I know.


And, of course, the Papoose wanted to do EVERYthing that J did, including play with whatever he was playing with, read whatever book he was reading, eat whatever he was eating, drink whatever he was drinking. J was such a good sharer, though I think his cousin't grabbiness was wearing on his patience by the end of the week.We also visited a great pumpkin patch near Austin, where the kids pretty much got to run around willy-nilly while Toddler Tamer, Mr. Toddler Tamer, the kids' grandfather, and I tried to keep up. It was great fun.

More local pumpkin patch pictures to come...