Thursday, November 05, 2009

Cowgirl Vest

So, I got a request for further details on how I made the cowgirl vest for the Papoose's Halloween costume. There's really not much to say... I didn't use a pattern; I just sort of free-hand cut the fabric after looking at a fleece hoodie of hers in her current size. The fabric was from my stash, some kind of faux shearling-type stuff with a suede-look on one side and fleecy texture on the other. The fringe I picked up at JoAnn's a while ago, planning to do something with it for this costume, though I had no idea what at the time. I just topstitched that on before sewing the vest pieces together. And the stars are just felt, machine-appliqued on. Really, everything was just very free-hand and completely winged, which I NEVER do, but I'm very much glad I did this time. It's nice to step outside your comfort zone and have the results be so satisfying.

Anyway, hope that helps.

Monday, November 02, 2009


Holy cow, November! Hi! So...I thought I was back in the blogging world, and then...well, October kind of got away from me. The way a raging bull on a shoestring leash would get away from me. There is so much I need to talk about here that I'm almost too intimidated to even start. So, let's just go with some distractingly cute pics of the Papoose from Halloween and call it a day.

She was a cowgirl, of course, since the Earth revolves around all things "horsie." No, I did not make the skirt, but I did make the vest. And I was extra proud of myself for totally winging it with the pattern, no plan, no trip to the fabric store. It fit perfectly and totally made the outfit. She wouldn't wear a cowgirl hat, but she was wearing cowgirl boots. And she had a horse, she just refused to carry it.

Oh, and the green frosting? Wasn't aware of it until I saw the pictures. The pink nose? Leftover face paint from a Halloween party at Verizon that morning where they painted her as a cat. Cute, but she later looked like she had a cold!

I'm pretty sure this was the only time she held Biscuit, the horse, all night. It mostly rode, inexplicably, inside Mr. Ouiser's shirt all night. Don't ask me; you'll have to take that one up with the Ouisers.

A good shot of the back of the vest.

Another good shot of the back.

We handed out candy across the street at our friends', Ouiser's aunt's, house for a while before trick-or-treating around our neighborhood with the Ouisers. The Papoose gave some candy out herself, after much pep-talking. She very clearly wanted to do it, but when confronted with a big kid right in her face...well, we were proud of her.

Our neighborhood is a MAD. HOUSE. on Halloween. It was last year, too. Like no place else I have ever seen in all my 31 years of Halloweening. It's probably the nicest, safest neighborhood in our area, so I understand why, but criminey. I bought even more candy than last year and we still ran out. The Papoose learned to say "Trick or treat" by the third or fourth house, and also said "Thank you" and "Bye-bye" with minimal prompting.

After we put the girls to bed, the Husband and I and Mr. Ouiser hung out by the fire pit at the aunt's house for a while, relaxing and talking. It was great. That fire pit is great. It has a chimney so you don't smell too much like campfire afterwards and it's just perfect for pulling some chairs up to, roasting some hot dogs, and having some drinks.

The only thing missing was costumes for me and the Husband. Dude, I just CANNOT get the Papoose's costume and birthday party AND costumes for us planned all at the same time. But after three years of no Halloween parties to go to and no costumes for us, I'm done. Mark my words, next year, I MAY throw my own party, and we WILL have costumes because I WILL start planning earlier. Consider that my Feast of Samhain resolution. (Is that the right feast for this time of year? Dad?)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

My Child Genius

I got so excited this afternoon: she counted to four all by herself for the first time. That little voice going, "One, two, three, four!" with such triumph!

Until I looked over and saw that there were only two sheep and one horse.

Then, she added another sheep and declared, "Ten, four, five!"


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

She's Got Mad Potty Skillz, Yo!

I expect props to go out to our girl, Papoosekin, for some very appropriate potty usage this morning. After peeing all over both me and the couch, she later completely redeemed herself by not only announcing her intent, but carrying out said action in its entirety, and in the potty. After much applauding and rejoicing, she rejected the proffered sucker and instead demanded a fifth reading of A Mud Pie for Mother. Bless that child's little bibliophilic heart.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Potty Power

Why I've decided that today is a good day to start potty-training, I have no idea.

Maybe it's because we're going to NYC in a couple weeks. Helping a newly trained toddler figure out how to go potty in airports, on planes, and who-knows-where-else in the city sounds delightful.

Maybe it's because we're about to be exiled to a hotel as our kitchen gets ripped out, asbestos and all. After we came back from Austin and found that the floor had been soaking in overflowing dishwasher water the entire week we were gone, destroyed down to the subflooring, had contractor after contractor come in and go, "Aw, hell. This whole floor's gonna hafta come up. These cabinets aren't gonna make it. And that wall's probably gonna hafta go, too," we're very thankful for homeowner's insurance.

Maybe it's the fact that it's the middle of the week, so there's no husband around to help me clean up the puddles.

Whatever the brilliant reasoning that led me to the conclusion that today is the day, the end result is the same: my leg has been peed on. The floor has been peed on. But the potty has also been peed in, a little bit, and I'm not holding down a screaming toddler trying to slap a diaper on her, so maybe it could be worse.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Aaaaand....We're back.

Alright, summer vacation's over. I'm back. I couldn't stay away from y'all forever. Plus, I sense that I'm one step away from receiving threatening letters from certain readers.

The feathernesters have had a heck of a summer. Most recently, we were in Austin for a week visiting Toddler Tamer and brood. Baby S is even cuter in real life than in her pictures; what a happy, easy-going baby. My Papoose loved her and asked for the "Baby" first thing most mornings we were there.

Cont'd five days later...

The Papoose is still talking about J and the "baby."

She's talking up a storm in general. Tonight, she got ice cream down her dress inadvertently that neither of us realized was there until I peeled her dress off of her, saw the bright red spot where it must have been freezing her, and it started dripping down her belly. "Oh, MAN!" she exclaimed, repeatedly, to much hilarity from her parents. She's awesome.

I have so much more to update, but I'm going to go ahead and post this very random and jumpy entry. I've gotta ease back into this bloggy thing, y'all.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Our Month in Pictures

So, declaring a hiatus seems to have relieved enough self-placed pressure to finally spur me to post. At least some pictures, if not much text. Enjoy.
Pool time

Wading in the creek

Figuring out the intricacies of water fountains
The robin family that hatched in the nest in the tree in our front yard. They've all flown away now, though we still see the parents around.
My future's so bright...

Rockin' out at the Farmer Jason concert

Typical conversation these days: "Papoose, is that a hat?" "No..." "What is it then?" "Not-a-hat!"
Happy Fourth, peeps!
Too cool to ride in the stroller these days

We use big, emphatic hand gestures these days. Especially when talking about horsies.
Getting up the nerve for a pony ride
Petting zoo...yes.

Pony ride...not so much.

Monday, June 29, 2009

I'll Be Back.

Hey, strangers. I know this is going to be shocking news, but I'm taking a little blogging hiatus. I assume you'd pretty much drawn that conclusion on your own by now, but I just thought I'd spell out the obvious in big, black letters:


I'll still try to throw some pics of the Papoose up now and then, since I know the baby eye candy is what really draws in the hordes of readers I enjoy. I'm just taking a little time, thinking about going back to work sooner rather than later, spending more time with the Husband, getting my butt to the gym a LOT more (read: at all). I fully expect the blog to regain a spot on my priority list at some point because I've loved having it. But even good things need to be changed up a little now and then.

Keep me in your google readers; I'll show up again soon.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

North Country

Two weeks ago, the Husband and I drove from my parents' house in Upstate New York to our ten-year college reunion. The Papoose and I spent the week and a half prior to that hanging out with them for a little country vacation. We played in their giant yard, drove around looking at cows and horsies (the current faves around here), and spoiled the Papoose with cookies and popsicles.
On the shore of the Saranac River. Before she fell in.

My parents kept the Papoose for us for the two nights we were at Reunion. I think she surprised us all at how well she did for her first nights away from us. And we were able to enjoy the first morning since she was born that we were both able to sleep in. We had an amazing time with all our friends, proved that we were, in fact, not still 20 years old, and that Slices is still the best food one can find after midnight.

For the record, I flew to NY with the Papoose by myself. The Husband couldn't take that much time off work. About a month before the trip, it started to sink in that I had signed up to take this flight by myself with a toddler. And not just any toddler. An extremely busy, high-maintenance, strong-willed, and impulsive toddler. And I planned to keep her on MY LAP. For 11 hours of travel. Yeah, RIGHT!!!

I bought her a ticket for her own seat. Best. Thing. I've ever. Done.

On the way home, I had the Husband with me, but still no seat for the Toddler. He had restained himself nicely from complaining about the money I spent to buy her a seat on the way out because I was flying by myself and he knows about The Anxiety. But I knew he secretly thought it was a waste of money. The trip home with her, even though there were two of us, was pretty much awful, but with the silver lining that he is now 100% sold on never flying with her again without her own seat. You just CANNOT keep a toddler in your lap for that long. Not ours anyway. It's impossible.

Did I mention that the flight up there, without the Husband, when she had her own seat, a woman from our flight came up to me in baggage claim and went on and on about how the Papoose was the most well-behaved child she had ever seen anywhere, ever? No, well, we'll just be modest then. The secret is that it had nothing to do with her behavior; it was all about having that extra seat.

A word to the wise though: Be prepared to be your own sherpa, schlepping a toddler, stroller, carseat, and two carry-on bags through the airport. It is somewhat of a super-human feat. Making me Supermom? That illusion has a nice ring to it...

500 Pieces of Prudent Advice for My Baby Daughter

via Ohdeedoh

God, I love these. File this under, Why Didn't I Think of That? But at least I can point her to the link.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Darker Side

Okay, in my attempt to distract myself from the copy editing I'm supposed to be doing and wade through the 5,317 items in my Google Reader, I came across this hysterical take on Thomas the Train meets railroad mafia and just had to share. Hysterical. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Baby Gifts

We are back from a FABULOUS vacation and I will try to fill you all in later, but right now there's no time.

I came home to a spotless house (best Husband EVER!!!), but the unpacking and laundry and trying to get back into the swing of things, along with an extra-clingy daughter (who thinks I'm going to disappear again at any moment) and a copy editing deadline looming, leaves me with a full plate.

However, I have a new niece!!! And Scarlet will be delivering her baby in another month or two. In light of all the baby goodness, I thought this was a great post about what families really need in the early weeks following a new baby.

Toddler Tamer, know that if I were there, I would be doing as many of these as possible for you. In the meantime, maybe you can direct your readers here.

(link via ohdeedoh)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dining Room

This is our dining room. Notice I didn't even PRETEND to TRY to pick up for the pictures. We keeps it real 'round here.

This is my new dry bar. I'm pretty sure that it's gray, not black, as I thought in the shop, given that the tag said it was black and the lighting was poor.
I'm also pretty sure that I want to paint it black, but I want to hear what you think, too, Internet. What say you? Also, keep the hardware, or replace with brushed nickel? It's from an antique store, but I don't think it's a real antique, so I'm pretty sure there's no actual monetary value to the current hardware.
Also, cute kid.
The table and chairs are also new. We bought them on craigslist. We're going to resell the table when the Husband finishes the one he made us. The chairs have already been colored on with orange marker. I haven't even bothered to try to wash it out yet. We believe in artistic expression 'round here, too.

So, vote below: to paint or not to paint? That is the first question. Then weigh in on the hardware. Pretty please.

CFLs versus Incandescents

Being the good greenies that we try to be, we have, by now, replaced every single incandescent bulb in our house with a CFL (except for appliances). But I'm noticing a disturbing trend, and I'm not the first to cite it: My CFLs are burning out at the same rate that my incandescents did!

Apparently, the problem is with our well-ingrained and well-meaning habit of turning off lights when we leave a room. The constant on/off wears down CFLs faster than just leaving them on for long lengths of time. Make no mistake, it's not the leaving on of the light that lengthens their lives. It's the lack of switching from on to off and back again. And I can't find any hard data in about 20 minutes of googling on how long is long enough to be gone from a room before the benefit is worth turning the light off: two minutes? five minutes? 30? I don't have an answer.

And how much does this reductions extend the life of the bulb? Are we talking an extra year? An extra couple of hours? There seems to be no way to know.

I've also heard/read that older light fixtures, such as are found in older homes like my own, are not entirely compatible with CFLs and thus result in a shorter life expectancy.

Does the brand matter? Popular Mechanics seems to think so.

Personally, I'm a big LED fan and can't wait until LED production is mainstreamed and I can replace all my CFLs with LEDs.

What do you think? What's been your experience with CFLs? Any tips on maximizing their performance?

Monday, May 11, 2009


Last Monday was one of the best days of my life. I feel mildly guilty saying that, like it has something directly to do with the fact that the Papoose wasn't with me. It does. And it doesn't. It's not so much an absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder thing. I couldn't get any fonder of anyone. "Fond" is, in fact, a ridiculous way to speak of your child. It's a balance thing. A wholeness. Reclaiming some of my life.

I am tempted to suggest that it's akin to when I started my PPD treatment. My overwhelming emotion then (well, one of them) was that I should have done it so much sooner. But putting the Papoose in day care was not like that. I did it at the perfect time. She went when she was ready.

I had truly forgotten that a bathroom could be cleaned so quickly without a toddler's "help." What usually took me a week (no joke) took about 15 minutes. I spent all of last Monday in a flurry of productivity. I have slowed down to a more sensible and sustainable pace since then, but Balance is the feeling I keep coming back to. It's pretty awesome.

My two days of Balance, while she was at day care, were followed my one of our best days together ever. We went to the zoo on a semi-rainy day and it was nearly empty, so I let her out of her stroller and she quite literally had the run of the place. She loves the cows, but is inexplicably scared of goats. She also loves the meercats, and is quite sensibly scared of the tigers. By the time we got to the giraffes and elephants she was exhausted and let me know by pointedly saying, "Bye-BYE, giraffe!"

That day was followed by one of our worst ever. All I can say is that I was in tears before it was even 8:00 am and that I don't know what happened. The clinging, the hanging, the was all just too much; I couldn't take it. I haven't felt that way since before my PPD meds, but it seems to have been a fluke, so I don't know what to make of it. I feel fine again now.

In completely unrelated news, the Husband has MRSA, which, frankly, sucks. He feels like a leper and I'm doing unending laundry and imagining our skyrocketing utility bills with all the hot water we're using. It's in his leg and he has a followup appointment tomorrow, so we'll see if there's any news. For now, he's being medicated within an inch of his life with antibiotics.

I have no way to wrap up such an all-over-the-place post except with promises of future pictures. I've got all kinds of projects in the pipeline now that I have some time to get things done. Two sewing projects coming up next post...

Monday, May 04, 2009


  • "The kit-uhn-us [kittens] are drinking their milk" (while looking at a picture of just that). Okay, brilliant though my child may be, I don't necessarily think she's mastered the participle, so let's presume that my brain filled in some of those words without me realizing it, but I swear that's exactly what I heard.
  • "No way!" All the time. Especially during tantrums. Ask Scarlet.
  • "Yiyi" [Lily]
  • "Get down"means both "I want to get down" and "I want to get up."
  • "Mum-mum" still is in vogue for food.
  • "gi-gi" (with a /g/ like in "giggle") means tv.
  • "My cell!" while pointing at her toy cell phone tonight before bed. Last night she insisted on going to bed with that thing. I immediately called Mr. Ouiser and warned him that I suspected our daughters were planning to try to sneak out that night. He confronted S and she admitted it was true. I think she's grounded now.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Letting Go

We passed a major milestone here, peeps. The Papoose had her first day of "school" on Monday. I keep calling it that - school - and the Husband keeps correcting me. Rightfully so. First day of day care is what she really had. Her first (and second) day without either of her parents all day long.

We'd been looking at different day care centers around here for a while now. We got to a point a few months ago where the Papoose suddenly blossomed socially. She was bored at home with me. The constant refrains of "Go? Go away?" while grabbing her stroller or diaper bag or my keys definitely got the message across. As did diving from shopping carts when she'd see kids in the stores. Or the way she'd run into crowds of children at play areas without a backward glance. The kid was 100% ready for day care. That we knew.

We also knew that I was not ready to return to work yet, so we were looking for something for only two or three days per week. I tell ya, there was one place that we went to visit...we didn't even get out of the car. We didn't even stop the car, actually. Porta-potties across the street, no grass in the just wasn't for us.

We quickly discovered that churches have the best day care centers around here, and we signed the Papoose up for one less than a mile away. There are only six kids in her "class," all 18-24 months old. She has her own cubby and hook, she sits in a little chair at the little table for lunch and snacks, and she sleeps on her own little cot.

She SLEEPS on that thing! I was so sure she wouldn't. How would she ever settle down with so many kids around? I think I underestimated how well peer pressure works. Or how well they wore her out.

I won't lie, the first morning I had to drop her off, there were tears. She was fine at first. They were outside playing on their playground, so I went out there with her, but she seemed to right away know that something was up. They settled her on a swing and I went inside to talk to her teacher, but we were watching her through the window and she eventually wandered over to a corner and was sobbing by herself, and I could see she was calling for me. So I went back out, but she just got more hysterical and when I felt myself breaking down, too, I knew I just had to make a clean break. I told her I loved her and that she would have fun and that I would pick her up that afternoon, and just left, feeling like an idiot for crying.

I headed directly for Ouiser's house. She let me cry and gave me coffee and put me back together. And even her daughter, S, who is NOT a cuddler, seemed to know I needed her help. Ouiser told her, "Can you give Aunt Feathernester a hug? She's sad today," and that child let me hold her and squeeze her and kiss her and cry on her and tell her over and over how much I loved her. Oh yeah, I was pathetic. And S had the patience of Job.

Whatever god is out there was helping me out that day because when I went back to pick my Papoose up at the end of the day, I spied on her through the window in the door for a minute before going in. She was 100% content, playing with a doll, talking to the teacher and to another little girl. I opened the door and she was just on the other side. She backed up to get out of the way and saw my feet first. I saw her face light up as her eyes traveled up and she recognized me and gave me this huge, happy, "Hello!"

Ouiser had to drop her off at "school" the next day for me because I was at a professional conference. The report I got was that there were no tears, no fuss. So we know she's happy there, as we knew she would be.

We're just doing two days per week for now and I am SOOO looking forward to the chance to get some things done. Maybe there will even be more than one post every 10 days or so...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Happy Belated Earth Day, Canada!

In a nice, neat follow-up to Scarlet's recent posts and the comment discussions there, I'm happy to report that Canada has officially banned BPA from all baby bottles in that country, and further restrictions of BPA appear likely to follow there, as well as, dare I hope?, here in this country.

Get the details from the Washington Post here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Not So Much

Last weekend we hosted a huge community yard sale to raise money for the American Cancer Society, and I swore I'd take pictures because, Oh. My. We could have opened a thrift store with the amount of donations we had. It was insane. And it was soooo much work. And so many ticks. But it was totally worth it because we raised over $1,600.

We've pretty much recovered from that and now I'm battling giant killer dust bunnies to make the house semi-presentable for the Scarlet Lilies to visit this weekend (okay, that really sounds like a band is staying here).

There is very little else going on here other than a vocabulary explosion in the toddler. Also some major sleep training, which is somewhat exhausting, but could be worse. And she starts day care on Monday, yay! Just a couple days a week for now. And no, I'm not returning to work yet. She's just majorly craving the socialization.

I'm sure I'll be having heart palpitations come drop-off time Monday morning, but I have no fear that she'll get along famously.

And if you think those dandelions she's picking are in my yard, you're crazy. I attack mine with a vengeance. Our neighbors, however...

Monday, April 13, 2009


Moments of Intimacy, Laughter, and Kinship

That's the acronym for the M.I.L.K. Project, a photographic competition originally held in 1999 by a British publisher. It was a landmark event in the photography world, I've learned, with over 40,000 entries, including those from several Pulitzer prize winners. In the end 300 photos on friendship, family, and love were chosen from around the world and published in a set of three books. There was also an international exhibition that kicked off in Grand Central Station in 2001.

To celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the undertaking, they're publishing a new book this fall, with 150 images, titled Fresh M.I.L.K.: Friends, Families, Lovers, and Laughter.

Apparently, it's kind of a big deal.

Apparently, my daughter is going to be in it.

Remember these photos? This one was submitted and chosen.

Wicked, huh? The Papoose is gonna be famous!