Thursday, December 29, 2011

Well that explains it

I thought about taking Paul to the doctor for his pink eye yesterday, but his 6 month well check was already scheduled for today, so I waited. (Normally I’m a fan of letting pink eye run its course since it’s usually viral, but the particular strain our family has been passing back and forth for a month seems especially vicious when unmedicated and clears up really fast with antibiotics, so I think it’s bacterial.)

The nurse asked me how Paul was doing and I was all breezy “Oh, just a little pink-eye, no big deal! Otherwise, he’s good!” Then the thermometer beeped and she shot me a look and said he had a temperature of over 100.

Oh.

It got even worse when the doctor came in the room. He checked Paul out then asked how long he’d had pink eye. I babbled on about how he got it right after Meg did two weeks ago, so I just gave him ointment we had left over from when he had pink eye two months ago. It went away, then my mom caught it and now Paul has it again.

He said (in a nice way) both the eyes and ears were infected and by only treating the eye I did no good, because the untreated ears would just re-infect the eyes.

Excellent. So do you have mother-of-the-year awards in the office or do they get mailed? I asked. (Or just thought. Whatever.)

What I actually said was Meg has the same pink eye and she IS looking a little flushed/feverish, so could you look at her ears, too? He took a quick peek and determined she also has an ear infection.

So. Meg is not just cranky because she’s overstimulated from Christmas, she has pink eye and an ear infection.

Paul is not just refusing to sleep because he’s going through a growth spurt, teething, a wonder week, a physical developmental leap, and pink eye, he ALSO has a double ear infection. And a cough. And a mystery rash on his chest that’s “probably viral.”

I'm guessing he'd probably say he's having the worst week of his life. Man, six months is rough.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sleep, or the lack thereof

I’ve thought about posting several times over the last few days. We have tons of Christmas pictures. I want to post about the presents I gave my mom. I have a couple other half-written posts.

But oh my goodness, I am so unbelievably tired. I’m at work this week and I’ve spent the last hour doing pretty much nothing but fighting to keep my eyes open. I want so badly to lay my head down and go to sleep. Paul has been sleeping terribly and is so cranky when awake it’s almost impossible to enjoy having a baby. Or anything, really.

He does have a lot going on. I’ve been blaming most of this on the six month growth spurt and teething. Due to the growth spurt, he wakes up in the middle of the night absolutely starving and has shot right out of size 12 months, which he just grew in to last month. My mom bought him size 24 month bodysuits and they fit. There’s some room to grow, but not a lot. Twenty. Four. Months. At six months old. Then, in addition to waking up every 3-5 hours round the clock to eat, he also has trouble falling asleep because his gums are hurting so badly.*

Today, just for the heck of it I went and reread Moxie’s sleep regression post and realized week 26 is a wonder week, which also disrupts sleep. Apparently his little brain going through a mental developmental spurt and is learning “the world of relationships.” This reminded me physical developmental spurts disrupt sleep, too, and guess what…he’s been working hard at figuring out how to crawl. Oh yeah, and he has pink eye (again). It’s a wonder this kid ever sleeps.

As if this weren’t all enough, tomorrow is his six month checkup and I’m sure they’ll be giving him shots. If you’re looking for me, I’ll either be rocking myself in a corner and mumbling incoherently or on plane to somewhere far, far away. I haven’t decided yet.


*The only thing that’s helped for the teething is this vibrating corn teether my grandparents gave him for Christmas. He loves it. I’m thinking of ordering 12 more.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I take it all back

You'll never guess what's getting me in the Christmas spirit.

It's the Christmas cards I was so cranky about! I am loving checking the mail every day and tearing into new cards. I wish I had a place to display them (I KNOW). I cried when I read our close friends’ Christmas letter saying they’re moving to California – even though I already knew. I even thought the card that included a crossword puzzle you have to solve to read the letter was fun, not annoying.

I also love sending cards. I’ve been meaning to ask all of you for your addresses (by email, if I have it, then here if I didn’t), but kept forgetting to do so. Even though the cards won’t get to you by Christmas now, I’d still like to send them! If you’d like one, send me your address at jesabes.blog(at)gmail(dot)com.

P.S. We’ve also gotten SEVEN cards for the people we bought our house from. Over three years ago. It’s kind of annoying.

P.P.S. I might still send emails asking for addresses, so don't be surprised if you get one.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas spirit

It seems a lot of people aren’t feeling the Christmas spirit this year. I’m not really in the mood for it. It’s not a “Bah Humbug, let’s cancel Christmas” mood as much as “Christmas? Meh.” This is distressing me, as I loooove Christmas. It’s my favorite time of year. I’m afraid I’ll wake up in February thinking NOW I’m ready for Christmas, then realize it’s 10 months away. I keep going through the motions and trying to force myself to get as much out of it as I can, but so far it’s felt nothing but forced. I don’t know if it’s because rather than baking cookies and buying gifts and wrapping packages I’d rather be sleeping (SO TIRED) or because there aren’t really any gifts I’m looking forward to or because there’s no snow (it is NOT beginning to look a lot like Christmas).

I guess as a kid I didn’t realize how much work Christmas is (kids never do, do they?) It was easy (and enjoyable!) to get it done when we didn’t have kids, then got harder with 1 kid, and now with 2 there’s just no way to get it all done. I’ve think been up until at least 11, often 12, every night since Thanksgiving. That probably doesn’t sound too late, but when I have to get up with the baby during the night then be up sometime between 5 and 6 for work it’s just not enough.

Between work and buying gifts and having two kids (including a baby) we’re so crazy busy there’s no time for Christmas movies or other Christmas-y activities to build Christmas spirit. I’m sure I could have somehow forced time for Advent activities into our schedule, but it seems I have to choose a focus and this year it was baking. I’m bringing cookies to every potluck party, including them with gifts, giving them to all the teachers, etc. I’ve made so many cookies just the thought of them is off-putting. I stopped eating them sometime last week.

At this point I see Christmas as a finish line. I just have to last a few more days. Then maybe I can collapse in a heap and sleep for a week. Except no, I still have to take care of those kids. And clean the house for our annual New Year’s Eve party. And host a party where the whole point is to stay up past midnight. Whose idea was THAT?

Friday, December 9, 2011

On our tree

After last nights post in which I basically said I don't want to put up any of the ornaments we've accumulated over the years, I started really looking at them (I, uh, didn't put them on the tree. Thomas and Meg did that while I fed the baby.)
This is me, age 4 or 5ish, I think. Preschool ornament!
Meg, 4 months (she was 7 months at her first Christmas, but the ornament was ordered in advance)

My MIL brought this back from Mexico. On one hand, it's fun every year to say ooh, remember the starfish ornament? On the other hand, it doesn't exactly scream "Elegant Christmas."

While looking at all the ornaments I realized probably half of them are Iowa State ornaments. We have enough to do an entire ISU tree and, now that I think about it, I think that's what we did our first Christmas. We didn't have a big tree, so we put all the Iowa State ornaments on a little tree and didn't get the others out.
I kinda think that's what I want to do next year. We can do the big tree with red balls, gold beads and/or garland, and our Iowa State ornaments. Then maybe put up the little tree for the rest of them. Of course, that would require me buying red balls and gold beads after Christmas this year, because I refuse to pay before-Christmas prices. We'll see if that happens.

Am I the only one who has ornaments from my childhood on the tree?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

So who is going to PAY for this decorator?

Do you display the holiday cards you receive? I think it’s a lovely thing to do, but I just…don’t want to. I like things neat and homogenous. Dozens of cards with different colors, shapes, styles does not appeal at ALL. I look at every card we receive and read every letter. I keep them in a pile and sometimes look through them all again. But I can’t bring myself to put them up. We put photo cards from immediate family members (parents & siblings) on the fridge, but that’s the extent of the displaying.

I’m not sure why the cards annoy me the most, since our tree ornaments aren’t any more homogenous. Although...it has been kind of bugging me that (it seems) everyone who has tweeted a picture of their tree has a 'decorative' tree (as opposed to a 'personal ornament' tree) and I don't. I'm jealous! I’m the kind of person who would rather have a pretty tree with red and silver balls only than one with mismatched ornaments from special occasions, vacations, preschool crafts, and so on. So how do people do it? Do you have two trees? Do you put the mismatched ornaments on the back of the tree? Do you just not have many ornaments that don't fit into the color scheme? Do you have lots, but refuse to display them? I know my aunt wanted a tree with white ornaments only for years before she finally just did it one year. What I really would like is for a professional decorator to come and decorate my house with no personal touches. Does that make me a Christmas grinch?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Good enough

I wrote two days before I found out I was pregnant with Paul. I didn’t have internet access at the time and didn’t realize I’d forgotten to post it until I already knew I was pregnant. At that point, it seemed like instead of talking about a hypothetical situation I was saying I didn’t love the new baby as much as the one I already had (hormones may have been involved…) But I saved it anyway and this week I came across it and decided to post.

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

Every time a mother talks about breastfeeding her child past 1 year, especially if the child is almost 2 (or older), I wonder what that must be like. My original goal with Meg was to breastfeed until she turned 1, then wean her off daytime nursing (so I wouldn’t have to pump at work), but continue to nurse first thing in the morning and before bed. It didn’t work out. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get her to nurse at all past 11 months. It was a combination of going out of town for work and decreased supply because Meg preferred bottles and the pump wasn’t as efficient as the baby. She decided it wasn’t worth her time and nothing would change her mind.

At the time I was disappointed (an understatement – I wrote a LOT of angsty blog posts about it), but now I feel like it was the best thing that could have happened. She’s only 16 months old and breastfeeding is already a distant memory, which has made my life a million times easier. It may be selfish, but I love that all I have to do is hand her a bottle and she drinks it while I get ready in the morning or read her a book at night (or do nothing while Thomas reads her a book). I LOVE that I don’t have to think as much about what I put into my body. I love that I can go for a run while Thomas puts her to bed. (I do miss the calories burned by making breastmilk)

At this point, while future children are purely theoretical, I don’t think I’ll have any desire to breastfeed past a year. I know it would be good for them, but it just worked out so well this way for our family. I’m very, very happy to not be breastfeeding anymore (and it’s not because I didn’t like it – I also wrote posts about my love for breastfeeding.) Maybe it’s because near the end it was such a huge hassle. I had supply problems that started when Meg started eating solid foods and just kept getting worse, so it was a BIG relief to stop struggling with it.

I suppose my feelings might change once I have another child. Maybe even when I get pregnant. But right now I’m not even opposed to the idea of weaning at 9 months – it would have saved me so much heartache to just stop when the supply issue became a huge, all-consuming problem rather than fighting it unsuccessfully for 3 months. Basically I’d like to go back and tell myself to stop freaking out – both my baby and I turned out just fine. Because the fight took so much out of all of us, I’m not interested in fighting at all next time. When Meg was born I thought convenience was never worth it if the harder way was even a little better for my girl. I don’t think that anymore. Good enough is good enough.

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How I feel now: I love breastfeeding, but I no longer consider formula as something to be avoided at all costs. I did very much want to make it to six months of exclusive breastfeeding, if possible. I’ll definitely accomplish that since we only have a couple weeks to go and no supply issues. After that, though, I don’t know. I’ll keep breastfeeding, but will probably drop from pumping 3x/day at work to 2. I suppose the rest depends on Paul. Once Meg started purees, she had very little interest in breastfeeding. She drank bottles just fine, but didn’t want to work for food. Paul is more snuggly, but seems just as interested in solid food (read: very) as she was. Also, our deep freeze is being overrun by frozen breastmilk and I’m getting a little itchy to start using it. On the other hand…I’m not sure if I’m ready to start scaling back. Pretty soon I’ll have to decide whether to pump an extra bottle after the morning feeding over Christmas. I didn’t with Meg and it killed my supply. Right now I’m leaning toward still doing it, which probably means I’m not as ambivalent as I think. I’m still not opposed to weaning at 9 months, but I’m not exactly in favor, either.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

They are the SAME SIZE. Seriously, why do they not fit?

Does anyone have any experience with returns/exchanges at DSW? I bought a pair of black boots online two weeks ago.
I love them. They fit perfectly and are the most comfortable shoes of any kind I've ever worn. I want to marry these boots. One of the reveiws said "I feel like I'm wearing slippers all day" and they are so right. So on Cyber Monday, I decided to buy a pair of the boots in brown. Except they were out of those exact boots, so I bought a very similar pair.
Same size. Same brand. They came today. I excitedly put them on and they were way too small. Painfully small. I checked the size. I wore them for an hour hoping to stretch them out. They were so tight my feet went numb.

I'm wondering if this is a thing with Born? I checked my pair of brown Born flats, which are also pinchy and tight (and bought on some last-chance clearance site so they were non-returnable), and was surprised to discover they're the same size as my black flats, which are very comfortable. Do they use different kinds of leather or something? Am I a different size in brown and black? Weird.

Anyway, DSW will let me return the boots no problem, but I just want a different size. Per their website, they offer "free" exchanges, but that just means you don't pay return shipping or shipping on the new pair (which is very nice). However, the actual exchange consists of a return and an entirely new purchase. I used rewards $ and a Cyber Monday discount on the boots, making them $65 instead of $100. The returns part of their website says when you return something paid for with a rewards certificate, the certificate isn't reissued. It's gone. So what I'm getting from this is if I "exchange" the boots for the next size up they'll credit me my original $65 and charge me $100 for the new pair. Can someone tell me if this is right? I looked for someplace to email a question, but couldn't find anything. I really want a different size for the same money. It looks like you might be able to do this in-store, but I checked and my store doesn't have the boots. Do you have any experience with this? Any ideas?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Thank goodness for the bell-ringer.

We’re going to an impromptu MOPS steering team get together tonight. Plans for it were finalized on Monday and I’ve obviously worked every day since (13 hour days, no less), so there’s been no time for grocery shopping. Our regular MOPS meeting took up the whole morning today and afterwards we usually rush home so Paul can nap and Meg can eat. I decided to try to run to the store quickly, though, so we’d have something to bring. Paul fell asleep on the way there. I figured if I snapped his seat in the stroller and pushed it around (while carrying a basket for the groceries) I could keep him asleep.

I went to the closest grocery store. We don’t normally shop there, but sometimes go for lunch. When we pull in the parking lot, Meg yelled I WANT PIZZA. I told her she could have some (yay! I don’t have to make lunch!) We got unloaded and up to the door (baby still asleep!) There was a Salvation Army volunteer ringing a bell and I thought Meg might like to put a dollar in the kettle. Ok, I thought, where’s my wal…CRAP. I didn’t bring my wallet. No money.

I turned around and walked back to the car. Meg through a fit when I tried to strap her in and kept yelling “I want go shopping! I want pizza! I hun-gy!”

The baby woke up.

By the time I got home, both kids were wailing because they were hungry. Meg refuses to eat anything I’ve offered and is still whining about pizza. Paul is cranky because he didn’t nap. I have nothing to bring to the party tonight.

Not the best day.

At least I didn't get all the way through the store before I realized, right?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I made it! NaBloPoMo 2011

I actually liked NaBloPoMo this year. Last year it was rough, but this year it was a welcome kick start. What I liked the most is how much better at coming up with post ideas it’s made me. I’m constantly looking for ideas and pretty much everything makes it into a post. Shopping for toy storage solutions? Put the contenders in a post. Forget your own last name? Post. Writing a novel-length comment? Make it a post of its own. Meg says something cute? Write it down, for goodness sake, I need something for the blog. I even went back through all my unpublished posts and tweaked/finished several of them for posting.



Then, bonus! I have funny stuff Meg said/did saved for posterity. Jen sent me a link to plans for building a toy cubby thing and my husband is building it! Plus, I’ve had way more email conversations with commenters than in a long time (or, actually, ever). I hope to keep posting several times a week, but you know how December is. It’s kind of a bummer NaBloPoMo is in November, because you get on a roll, then the holidays are likely to stop it in its tracks. Hopefully I’ll at least get around to Christmas photo posts!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Vacation Styles

When I was younger, my mom and sister would plan out every second of our vacations. We had at least a half page schedule for each day. My mom can’t go somewhere and NOT see as much as possible. Both she and my sister spent months pouring over guidebooks, picking the sights they want to see, the restaurants they want to try, and the bed and breakfasts where they want to stay. I get it, I really do. Why go to New York City and not go to a couple Broadway shows, a Yankee game, the Statue of Liberty, a helicopter tour, and on and on and on? Plus, they made detailed maps so we (usually) didn’t waste time getting lost or trying to find a restaurant or a place to stay, which was helpful. It sometimes made vacations more like work than being home, though. Yeah, I was seeing great things and I don’t wish I hadn’t seen them, but by the time we were halfway through our vacations I was ready to cry from exhaustion and sensory overload. We’d get up at 7am each day to see as much as possible. I need downtime and lots of sleep and that was not in the schedule.

When I was almost 21, my grandparents took the whole family on a cruise. It was amazing. A vacation where all there is to do is eat, sleep, read, and go to a few shows? HEAVEN. I don’t even like getting off the boat for excursions. I loved it so much, I convinced Thomas we should take a cruise for our honeymoon. He loved it, too, and we went on another cruise this past February. Now that I’m one of the grownups, I finally get to have relaxing vacations! And you know what? Since it’s been almost 4 years since my last sightseeing-packed vacation, I’m kind of missing it. Maybe we need to alternate vacation styles? I don’t know how you would blend them. To me, it kind of feels like you have to pick a style – go-go-go or relaaaaaax – and do that the whole time. Because if we’re going somewhere awesome, like Europe, we should see as much as possible. I feel more comfortable relaxing when that’s what you’re supposed to be doing, so I’m not missing anything. But, pouring over guidebooks is not my thing and I don’t like the planning part of vacations. Maybe I’ll have to travel with my sister and/or mom if I want to see stuff…

What vacation style do you prefer? Does your spouse have the same preference or do you have to compromise? Do you ever mix it up?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Checking in

If you work – or even just use a babysitter occasionally – do you call to check-in every once in a while?  I’m not a compulsive check-in-er.  Most days when I work, even if the kids are at my mom’s - which means I could call as much as I want - I never do.  I know this sounds bad, but I don’t think about them much.  I mean, they’re never really off my mind and I obviously don’t forget they exist, but I don’t worry about how they’re doing.  I know they’re OK.  When I do think about them – maybe if I think one of them might be getting sick and I don’t know if I’ll have to stay home the next day – I obsess about it and barely get anything done.  It’s easier for me if I go into work mode and try not to wonder how things are going or what they’re doing.  I just concentrate on making it through the day.  How about you?  Does checking in on your kids ease your mind or make it harder to keep working?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Two Pumpkin Pies

I got a little ambitious for Paul's infant dedication in October and decided to roast pumpkins to make the pumpkin pie from scratch.
It was an all-day activity and lots of work, but it was also kind of fun. (I'm old and boring.) I pureed the pumpkin and used it to make the pies and a batch of pumpkin butter for the dinner after the dedication. Everyone really liked the pie (and the butter), even the people who don't normally like pumpkin pie. I told them I'd frozen some of the pumpkin so there'd be more made-from-scratch pie at Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately, I couldn't imagine Thanksgiving without the intense pumpkin-ness of pie made from a can. (The from-scratch pie had a more light, fresh taste.) So I decided to make two kinds of pumpkin pie and something that used to be one of the easiest parts of Thanksgiving became complicated.
I only had a big two-pie can of pumpkin puree, so I used half of it to make a pie. Then I got out the frozen homemade puree and made another pie. Then, to use the other half of the canned pumpkin, I made two loaves of pumpkin bread.
The pumpkin pies used to take me 20 minutes. This took 2 hours and dirtied WAY more dishes.
(The little pan in the top middle is pumpkin pie without a crust. My sister can't have gluten, so that was her pie.)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Quick Question Satur...uh, Sunday

Oops, I changed the title of this post right before publishing and didn't realize it then didn't make sense. Sorry! The quick question is: What went through your mind when holding your baby for the first time?

Honestly, the first thing I thought was “Holy s**t, this is an ACTUAL BABY. What have I done? I’m not qualified for this!”

My next thought was “Wow, she’s so much bigger than I thought she’d be!” People (myself included, I guess) go on and on about how tiny newborns are, so I was expecting her to be smaller. Plus, they laid her on my chest, up close to my face right away and all the screaming and wiggling made her seem bigger. I could not believe this much baby had just come out of me. Who knew there was that much room in there? (and she was only 7 lbs 1 oz!)

When Paul was born, my first thought was “It’s over? Really? He’s not in there anymore?” He came REALLY fast and for the rest of the night I had to keep reminding myself I wasn’t still pregnant.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving

Another meme! Lawyerish made this one up Wendesday and, while it is a meme, it's basically what I was going to write anyway (summary of Thanksgiving).


1. Are you celebrating Thanksgiving at home or elsewhere this year? With whom will you spend Thanksgiving Day?


This was our third year of hosting both sides of the family at our house for Thanksgiving Day. We got so sick of traveling to both sides for every holiday (Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas...maybe something else?) that after we bought a house, we convinced everyone to come for Thanksgiving so we wouldn't have to travel. We just do immediate families (our parents and siblings), so its not too huge. I love having one holiday a year that's both sides combined!


2. What do you have for breakfast on Thanksgiving?


Our normal breakfast or whatever we can scrounge up. This year I never got around to eating until people started showing up with the appetizers (around noon). I was starving.


3. Do you go to a Thanksgiving parade or watch one on TV?


My mom loves the parade and it was always on in our house growing up. I don't really care either way. This year we DVRed it and watched it in the evening after everyone left. The ability to fast forward makes the parade much less boring.

4. Do you serve appetizers, lunch, or snacks during the day (i.e., for the men to eat while they lounge around and watch football)?


We have appetizers around 11:30 or noon and lunch at 1:00 or 1:30. Most people obviously go light on the appetizers to save room for lunch, but not me. The appetizers, especially my aunt's corn/jalepeno/cheese dip are my favorite part of the day so I eat as much as I can.


5. What do you wear on Thanksgiving?


We've always been a jeans/nice sweater kind of family for holidays - including Christmas. (We dress up for the Christmas eve service at church, but for Christmas day we wear jeans/sweaters.)

6. What's your Thanksgiving table like -- do you use special plates/silver/glasses, etc? Do you have a centerpiece? A color scheme? Candles?


We generally use our wedding china when we host, but last year my mom bought a bunch of paper plates and cups on clearance after Thanksgiving since we knew we'd have a tiny baby this year. It was nice to not have to wash dishes, but I do prefer using the china. We use tablecloths, cloth napkins (though this year we had paper napkins that went with the plates), and tea lights in the candle holders we decorated with at our wedding. This year, my mother-in-law picked up some flowers when she ran to the store to get the cool-whip we'd forgotten (oops).


7. Do you serve buffet-style or family-style? What do you have to drink?


Buffet-style. We have long-ish counters in the kitchen and they get covered with food. There's a designated appetizer counter, lunch counter (which extends on to the stove), and dessert counter.

8. Once you're at the table, do you say grace or a toast or does everyone go around and say what they're thankful for?


We say a prayer before heading to the buffet line.


9. Do you have dessert right after the main meal or later on?


After dinner, we usually sit around for awhile, then clean up dinner. Washing all the dishes usually makes us hungry enough to start on the pie. After we finish dessert people usually take off, which kind of bums me out. They all just...leave! This year, my sister presided over the leftover-putting-away while I fed the baby, so I didn't get a chance to force people to pack leftovers to take. Some people took pie, but other than that they left everything. We probably have enough food to host another Thanksgiving. On the one hand, SCORE. On the other...that's a lot of food. (But I'm on it.)


10. What do you do with your leftovers?


Thanksgiving bowls. Stuffing, mashed potatos, corn, and turkey all mixed together. LOVE. I get pretty bummed out when we start running out of items. Mashed potatos/corn/turkey just isn't the same. (I actually buy extra boxes of stuffing because that's my favorite part so I don't want to run out of it first.)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

In my experience, people tend to have one of two extreme opinions on Black Friday. They either think it’s awesome and are excited for it or think it sounds terrible and plan to hide at home all day. I go back and forth depending on the year. Growing up, we were two hours away from any sort of shopping area (we didn’t even have a Target), so if we really wanted to get in on Black Friday we’d have had to get up at 3 am or something to start driving. (This was back before internet shopping when people bought things in places called “stores.”)

In college, I didn’t have much money for gifts, so I continued to ignore it. Then, after I was married and had a job and disposable income, I got REALLY into it (much to my Thomas’ dismay). The biggest appeal was getting all my shopping done so I didn’t have to worry about it in December. I hounded him for the week leading up to Black Friday (What should we get your mom? Does she have this? Would she like that? Is there anything in this ad I can buy for your sister? How about this one?) The next year, he was a little more into it and we studied the ads together and made lists of what stores each of us would go to. We even had a schedule, since Meg was 6 months old and we didn’t want to take her, so someone always had to be home. (This was the year I bought 200+ jars of baby food.)

Last year, morning sickness made me pretty apathetic to everything. We halfheartedly looked through the ads on Thanksgiving night, then went to a couple stores Friday. This year was the same. I’m just so tired (two kids, hosting Thanksgiving for both sides of the family…), I can’t muster the energy required to really go for it.

Did you go shopping? Get anything good? Do you have your Christmas shopping done? Or have you not started yet?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

99 things

I found this while reading k's archives.  I know doing a meme during NaBloPoMo is kind of cheating, but I really like this one.  I think the rest of the NaBloPoMo-ers should do it, too, so I can see their answers!  k could even do it again...

I decided to do it today, because you can only read so many people's lists of what they're thankful for, right? I'll spare you mine, because it mainly contains the usuals - family, health, home. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

99 Things I May or May Not Have Done

(Things I HAVE done are in bold.)

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightening storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (does knitting count?)
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (it was closed for repairs when I was in NYC)
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France (the Louve was ALSO closed for repairs when I was in Paris.  I must have bad timing)
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagra Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing (not with actual rocks, but I've been on rock-climbing walls, both indoors and out)
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung Karaoke (not in public, but with the Karaoke machine my grandparents bought us.  I wonder how much my parents hated them for that gift?)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been inside an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain (I think? I can't think of a specific instance, though.)
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching (in Alaska!)
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalum
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible (I've tried the Bible-in-a-year things several times, but never completed it)
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nail polish

How would you dispose of nail polish? In middle school, I liked to buy the really cheap polish at Wal-Mart (the stuff that chips after one day). I’ve been trying to make more room in the bathroom cabinet and decided the cheap nail polish needed to go. It didn’t seem right to just toss the bottles in the trash, so I looked online for ways to dispose of nail polish. Several sites said to pour the polish onto newspapers, let it dry, then throw the newspaper away. So I gathered up newspaper, went outside, and started pouring. It was kind of a disaster. It was really windy and the newspaper kept flying around. My hands got covered in nail polish and I got some on my shirt, the trash bin, the sidewalk... Luckily the stuff on my shirt was plain glitter polish, so at least there’s not a color.

As I was pouring and getting nail polish everywhere I actually thought about the process and it didn’t make much sense to me. The polish bottles were sealed tight. The website said nail polish usually dries out after two years, but these bottles were 10-15 years old and still fine. Wouldn’t the formaldehyde and other chemicals be less likely to get in the ground if they stayed sealed in the bottle, as opposed to poured out? Or would trash compacting break the bottles?

Obviously, freecycle would have been the best option, but of course I didn’t think of that until after I’d poured out half of the bottles (I do plan to list the other half and see if anyone takes them). I’m having fun going through all our old stuff but the actual process of getting rid of things can be exhausting. I feel like everything could be hazardous and its annoying trying to dispose of it all properly.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

iPod sampling

The other day I was listening to my iPod at work and it seemed every song brought back memories – widely varying memories, too. I have everything from Ludacris to the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack on my iPod. Here’s a sample:


Michael Buble, Sway: My husband and I competed in ballroom dance in college (before Dancing With the Stars made it cool). I think this was one of the songs on the practice CD.

Maroon 5, This Love: This makes me think of my freshman roommate. She loved this song and I hadn’t heard it until she started playing it all the time.

Shout: Weddings. Including my own!

Garth Brooks, We Shall Be Free: We have to go to Vegas sometime, if only to see Garth Brooks' show.

Santana & Rob Thomas, Smooth: Our high school show choir did this song senior year. I wasn’t in the show choir, but I was in the jazz singing group. We went to all the same competitions, so after performing, I’d watch all the show choirs perform.

Cotton-eyed Joe: Middle school dances. Was this played at your dances, too, or did we have extremely uncool DJs? I promise it wasn’t a country dance or anything like that. The music was basically all pop (current at the time) and I have no idea why they played Cotton Eyed Joe so much that I remember it.

Also, a much more random memory of that song: hours after arriving in Ireland for a family vacation, my family and I went to a food court to grab dinner. It was late, most of the restaurants were closed (I think everything but McDonalds?) and the only people there were my family and a group of European teenagers who selected Cotton Eyed Joe on the jukebox over and over and over.

Also, do not ask my why this song is on my iPod. I have NO CLUE where it came from. Maybe my husband has a secret side business DJ-ing middle school dances.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Budgets

Thomas and I have never had a budget. Once, when we were trying to decide how much to spend on a house, we listed all our expenses (very roughly) to determine how much would be left over for a house payment slash free spending, but we never used it to actually control how much we spent on anything other than the house. There are two reasons we’ve never felt the need for a budget: we’re both cheapskates and, probably because of that, we earn more than we spend. Over time, our savings account has grown of its own accord, for no reason other than we just don’t spend it.
Still, I’m SURE we could be saving more if we actually came up with a budget. I know we spend more than we need to on groceries – especially if I do the grocery shopping, which I’m not allowed to do very often, because I buy the entire store. We need to cancel our cable (haven’t gotten around to it) and I honestly don’t want to know what we spend on gas (although there’s really no way to reduce that, because we don’t do much, if any, extraneous driving).

Do you have a budget?  Is it strict?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stockpiling

I mentioned I’m big into planning ahead, or at least buying ahead, yesterday, but sometimes I go overboard. I’m a sucker for a good sale. When Meg was starting to eat jarred foods, Babies R Us had an amazing Black Friday deal on Earth’s Best and I bought enough to last her for four months. We did use it all, but I felt a little crazy buying over 200 jars.

Just last week I bought six tubs of formula for the price of four from Target’s daily deals. It was such a good price! Cheaper than I bought formula two years ago! But…Paul doesn’t drink formula yet. With Meg, I didn’t have to supplement until she was 9 months. We went through four cans total. This time I’m pretty certain I’ll have to supplement at some point – the pump just isn’t good enough to keep my supply up for a year – but I really don’t know when or how much. Right now I’m still pumping 1 extra bottle every day. I have four boxes of breastmilk in the deep freeze. And now six tubs of formula in the basement.

Honestly, what I think I’m doing is trying to keep the crazy at bay. When my supply started to go downhill last time, I fought it tooth and nail. Every day I spent my entire lunch break – 45 minutes – pumping, in addition to the two other times I pumped. My mood each day was dictated by how much milk I got. I’m not doing that again. If I start to go crazy and talk about nothing but ounces and how fast the freezer supply is being used, my husband has permission to hit me over the head with a tub of formula.

ANYWAY. I wasn’t really planning to go there. Are YOU sucker for a good sale? How much do you allow yourself to buy? Do you usually end up using it all?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Quick question day: buying ahead

Are you superstitious (don’t buy clothes or furniture until the baby arrives) or a plan ahead kind of mom?


I’m a major plan ahead, be prepared kind of person. We bought a crib and a bunch of other stuff when I was 3 months pregnant with Meg (we knew someone getting rid of all their baby stuff, so it was then or never on this particular stuff). My second cousin dropped off hand-me-down baby clothes all the way up to 12 mo when I was 6 months pregnant. Meg’s room was completely ready, clothes washed and all, well in advance of her arrival.


One of my friends comes from a superstitious family/culture. When she gave birth to her first child, she had 2 onesies. That’s it. She said she wouldn’t be quite as strict about buying nothing ahead (though she wouldn’t buy much), but her mom is very adamant about it. They didn’t buy a bassinet until the child was born. They didn’t buy a crib until he had almost outgrown the bassinet. They do occasionally buy clothes 1 size ahead, but hide them from her mom.


Where on the spectrum do you fall?


(By the way, these “Quick Question Day” posts aren’t an official “thing” I’m getting from somewhere. I just figured I could use at least one day a week during NaBloPoMo where the post was easy and really quick, so anytime I thought of or ran across questions like this I saved them for Saturdays.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Family vacation

I never got around to writing about the cruise we took in February, but I want to make sure I don’t forget it. It was honestly the best vacation I’ve ever been on. (I think its lame when people say things like that and, you have to believe me, I’ve never called any other vacation “the best ever.”) It wasn’t the best because of the specifics of the vacation itself, necessarily, but because it was a whole week of laid back, uninterrupted family time. (I KNOW this is sappy gag-worthy stuff, but it’s TRUE.) No internet. No DVR. No network TV. No babysitters. Virtually no toys. All of us in one room at naptime and bedtime. I thought this would be a recipe for disaster. I fully expected by the end of NINE DAYS where the three of us were never apart for more than an hour, we’d all be so sick of each other we’d be begging them to let us off the boat. Let me go back to work! Anything to get away from my family!

I suppose the low expectations and the hellish week we had before leaving were part of the reason this trip exceeded our wildest imaginations. (The week before we left was the snowpocalypse AND we all got sicker than we’ve been in a long time.)

I didn’t think a cruise was the best choice for a toddler-friendly vacation, but it was wonderful. I’m actually happy Meg was too young for the kid’s camp because we honestly enjoyed being together all the time. There are two things you’re supposed to do on a cruise: eat and relax. I’m pretty good at those things. As I’ve mentioned before, Margaret often eats more than I do and the “relax” part meant that while there were things we could do, there was nothing we HAD to do. The activities available were laid back and it was rarely a problem if Margaret wanted to run around. She loved the pool and so did I (great for a pregnant belly!). Our room had a crib that folded up so we could put it away during the day. There were highchairs available anytime we wanted. We didn’t have to worry about a carseat (we took the shuttle bus from the airport to the boat and back and obviously there’s no need for a carseat for the duration of the cruise). There was even a kid’s channel on the TV. The movies weren’t always interesting to a toddler (they were for kids all the way up to tweens), but we watched The Princess and the Frog and Toy Story 3 several times. I highly recommend it. We’re planning another cruise for the whole family in February 2013.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ridiculous worries

I try to comment on most blog posts I read. There are some I never comment on – style blogs, Cake Wrecks, sometimes blogs that usually get hundreds of comments so what’s one more?, but I do for most personal blogs. However, sometimes I’m away from the internet for a couple days. Or I don’t really have an opinion about the topic. Or it’s an emotional post and I don’t know what to say to be encouraging.

When I normally comment on every single post someone writes then miss one, for whatever reason, I feel super awkward. I worry they’ll wonder why I skipped that post. I don’t want them to assume I disagree with what they said or didn’t like it. In fact, I usually go out of my way to not comment on the next post and sometimes the one after that, too. If I miss two or three in a row, I figure they’ll assume I was busy or out-of-town or something.

Usually, I laugh at myself for being so ridiculous – they probably didn’t even notice I didn’t comment, let alone wonder why. But in case you DO notice, let me say: the vast, vast majority of the time I either got busy and decided to catch up on my reader fast-style OR I was passing time waiting somewhere by reading blog posts on my phone, which makes it difficult to comment.

Annnnd, now I’m paranoid some of the people I’ve added in the last few months will read this and think I don’t like them as much because I only comment occasionally instead of on every post. I have over 150 blogs in my reader now, so I’m just trying to read them all and spread a few comments around. It’s not personal!

Do you comment on every post you read? If someone regularly comments on your blog, do you notice when they miss a post? Do you assume they were just busy or wonder what was wrong with that post? Please tell me it’s the first one.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It IS a tough concept for a two-year-old

I think Meg thinks stretch marks = baby currently in belly. Which I suppose is pretty much what I taught her. When I was pregnant, she’d point to them and say “you have owie?” I’d say something like “no, they’re not owies, it’s just because Baby Paul is in there.” So the other day, after I got out of the shower, she ran up to me and said “Mommy! Baby Paul in your belly!” I said “No, he’s right there” and pointed. “Remember, he came out of mommy’s belly?” She stared at me, then said “um, OK” in a voice that implied suuuuure, mommy. Whatever.

I can’t tell if she doesn’t get it or just has trouble with tenses – like if she meant “Baby Paul WAS in your belly” and doesn’t understand what “he’s right there” has to do with anything. Right after he was born, she was pretty clear on the ‘this is the baby that used to be in mommy’s belly, then came out’ story. I think she just forgot and since she rarely sees stretch marks, her brain defaulted back to what she was told for months: those marks are there because Baby Paul is in the belly. Right now.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wedding Cake

On my wedding day, the bakery dropped my cake.

No, not the actual, layered wedding cake. To save money, instead of having a tiered wedding cake that would serve 200, we had a three-tier cake that served 80-ish? I think? and three sheet cakes that served 40 people each. The wedding cake was two layers of white cake and red velvet for the top layer. The sheet cakes were white, chocolate, and chocolate raspberry. My husband and I both dislike any sort of “filled” pastries. No jelly doughnuts, no cream-filled doughnuts, no raspberry jam in a cake. The chocolate raspberry cake was to be chocolate/raspberry flavored. That one, and the red velvet, were the cakes I was most looking forward to trying.

The morning of the wedding, as I was getting my hair done, the bakery manager called.

Manager: We have a small problem. Not a problem, really. I just need to run something by you.

Me: oh-kaaaaaaay

Manager: Your cake. Not the wedding cake!!! One of the sheet cakes. The chocolate-raspberry one. We dropped it. I’m so sorry. But we can fix it! We have an extra chocolate cake. We can slice the cake and add a layer of raspberry jam. This way, the cake is chocolate-raspberry. It’s actually a more expensive cake. Obviously, there will be no extra charge.

I agreed - what else could I do? And, the morning of the wedding, cake flavors actually didn’t seem all that important. I just said OK and kept getting ready.

Of course, for the rest of the day, I milked it for all it was worth. Every time I told someone the story I started with “The bakery dropped our cake!” (It’s not my fault if people automatically assume it was the wedding cake!)

The most talked about item at the whole reception was that cake. Everyone LOVED the cake. They went back for seconds, asked what flavor it was, asked where we got it. Maybe the cake place put in some really fancy expensive jam or something, I don’t know. Neither Thomas or I liked it. But that was OK, I guess. We had our red velvet cake and all the compliments from people who loved the other cake. I STILL want to know what that chocolate-raspberry (no filling) cake would have tasted like, though. I’ll have to order one someday.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Kids' gifts

As I said, we're planning on getting Meg a toy storage thing as her big gift for Christmas. I realize this isn't the most fun gift ever and probably is more of a gift for us than her. But she's two and she doesn't really need a big gift, anyway. I think she'll love it, though.  She's proud of things that are "hers" and I bet she'll drag anyone who comes over back to her room to show off HER toy bin.  We are getting her a few other things, too, though.

She already has and loves If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, so I got her these (at Half Price Books for $4.99 each, yay!)


We're also getting her the new Winnie the Pooh movie.  She has a stuffed Pooh bear she loves and takes to daycare every week. She loved going to see the movie in the theater and asks to watch the trailer over and over at home.

For Paul, all I have is this Melissa & Doug wooden first vehicles set so far, but I probably won't buy much else.  Maybe some more bottles. A six-month-old doesn't need much:)

Do you know what you're getting your kids for Christmas?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

While we're on the subject of names

I didn't like giving up my last name. But I was a Pharmacy Technician for 8 years (random, but I’m going somewhere with this). In a pharmacy, prescriptions are filed by last name. Often, everyone in the family would be on medication (routine stuff, like allergy meds or something) and if the mom had a different last name (which included hyphenated names, since the maiden name comes first), her prescriptions were filed separately. I don’t know why, but this always struck me as a very sad visual. The dad’s and kids’ medications were all together in a nice happy group and the mom’s was off on her own, all alone. It just seemed like she deliberately singled herself out (which is absurd, because it doesn’t have to mean that). I didn’t want there to be anything that made me separate from my family. I wanted us all together (The X Family, not the W/X Family).

But really, this is just a very weird personal issue of mine. Did you hyphenate your name? Did you consider it?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Quick question day

Do you have things that seem like something you should never get wrong, but often do? Mine all center around my married name.

My middle initial: when I got married, I made my maiden name my middle name. I’ve been married 4 ½ years, but I still really have to think about it if asked what my middle initial is.

Pronunciation of last name: our last name is not pronounced anything like it’s spelled. I obviously know how to say it, but sometimes if I’m reading it off a piece of paper I’ll accidentally say it like it’s spelled. I feel really dumb correcting my own pronunciation of my name.

Name on credit card: Right after we got married, I tried to change the name on my credit card. It didn’t work. I tried again, then gave up. My credit card is still in my maiden name. I keep meaning to try to change it again, but haven’t gotten around to it…for four years. At the Blathering, I told the bartender my tab was under [married name] and he couldn’t find it. Oops.

Friday, November 11, 2011

So many words to learn

The other day when Meg was at my mom’s, she pointed to a bathroom scale.

“What is that?”

“A scale.”

“Why?”

“You step on it and weigh.”

“Oh, OK”

So she got on the scale and started waving (or weigh-ving). Apparently she doesn’t know what weigh means. It entertained her for 10 minutes. She’d step on, wave, step off. Step on, wave, step off…

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Seasonal food items

We were talking today at work about seasonal food items. Fast food mainly, they were advertising the McRib on the radio. I haven’t had one in years, but if I remember correctly, I thought the McRib tasted exactly like the barbeque rib sandwiches served in school lunches. It seems weird to me people are so excited for what I think of as a hot lunch sandwich. Thomas says there’s actually a website tracking where McRibs are currently available. Apparently, even though they’re only sold nationwide for a few weeks a year, they’re sold in various locations on a rotating basis and the website will tell you where you can get one.

Are there seasonal food items you get excited for? Like, maybe a Pumpkin Spice Latte? Pumpkin pie? Egg Nog? Peppermint mocha creamer?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Giveaway boxes - contents revealed

I wrote this post while preparing the boxes to send to the winners of my back to work giveaway in September.  I was planning to post it after giving the boxes enough time to get to their destinations, but forgot! I have more of most of this stuff, so if you enter a future giveaway you might get some of it.

The coffee that started it all.  Unfortunately this is something I don't have more of.

Cute tiny gift bags.  The original plan was to put some of the stuff IN the bags, but then they wouldn't fit in the box, so that was scrapped.

Index cards. I love index cards and want to use them for everything, but always feel like I should use some of my freebie notepads instead. I was a pharmacy technician for 7 years. I have LOADS of drug-rep notepads.

Frames

Sample/travel packets of body wash

Self-adhesive ribbon

I have a cabinet FULL of various kinds of tea.  I hope y'all like tea, because I am a major over-purchaser and will likely include tea in any giveaway I plan.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

If only names

Princess Nebraska wrote last week about her kids “if only” names. Both Thomas and I have one for Paul. I wanted to name him Luke. Thomas wouldn’t agree, because he has a cousin named Luke. He lived with his aunt and uncle the summer after Luke was born and felt like he was too close to that part of his family to use the same name. Plus, even though Luke is my husband’s cousin, he’s closer to Paul’s age (he’s five). My argument was that it’s not going to be a big deal to have the same name as your second cousin. How often do you see your second cousin?? But, regardless, the name was off the table. I don’t regret it – Paul’s name fits him perfectly – but I’m still kind of bummed I’ll never have a baby Luke.

I think our second girl name might end up being an “if only” name, too. When I was pregnant with Meg, we had two names we loved. We decided she was a Meg, but that if we had a second girl she’d definitely get the other name. I still love that name, but I’m not sure I’d use it anymore. It’s been rising in popularity a lot and I’d like to use a name somewhere around the same popularity as the other two kids’ names. It’s not that I’m against super-popular names, I just think that since we’ve used two names around #200 on the Social Security list we should try and match that level of popularity with the third.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Frumpiness

Today I noticed about an hour into the workday I’d forgotten to put on any makeup at all and my hair was all over the place. I wasn’t one of those people who thought 'that’ll never happen to me, I won’t be one of those moms who doesn’t care how she looks.' I’m a fundamentally lazy person, so I knew my appearance would slide. Clothes and hair were bound to go downhill. My one thing, though, was makeup. My skin hates me. I always have several breakouts and my skin just doesn’t look all that good in general. I knew I’d never be comfortable leaving the house for the day without makeup. To run a quick errand, maybe. To go to work, church, or really anywhere I’ll see people I know, no. Especially since my skin improved during my pregnancy with Paul (after getting WAY WORSE when I was pregnant with Meg), so I don’t have to do too much to it to look presentable. It used to take me 15 minutes to do my makeup, now it’s more like 2. Suscreen, powder, blush, mascara, good to go.

I’ve come to realize an unfortunate fact, though. It’s not always that those frumpy moms don’t care. Sometimes they just forget to brush their hair or put on makeup or change their spit-up-on shirt before going to work. I didn’t make the choice to let my hair and makeup slide today, I forgot and am rather embarrassed to be sitting here looking like this. This is how it starts. And yes, the sweater I'm wearing today happens to be the same one I wore yesterday, but I only wore it to church and it's still (pretty much) clean. Looks like I was right about the clothes-will-do-downhill thing.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Toy Storage

How do you store toys?  This is our current system and it's driving me crazy. 

The bin was originally used for toy food only (it was way too big, but what we had).  The other toys then migrated in and for at least the last six months it has looked like this. It's easy for Meg to pick up all her toys, so at least they aren't spread around, but it's ugly and she has a hard time finding things that have sunk to the bottom (which is mostly the toy food). Sometimes she'll dump the entire thing out. We're thinking about getting a toy organization shelf/bin thing as her Christmas present and putting it in her closet. She could bring a bin out to the living room if she wanted, then would theoretically be required to put it away before getting another (ha!). Even if that didn't work, there would at least be a place to put things away at the end of the day that isn't the corner of the living room.

This is what our church nursery has and I LOVE it, but I'm not spending $250. (They put clear plastic bins in some of the cubbies.)
We're thinking something more like this, but not this exact one - the reviews say it's really small and doesn't hold much. (The link goes to Amazon, but it's cheaper at Target right now.)

So do you have something similar to these that you like?  Don't like?  Any recommendations on where to buy? Unfortunately, we are not near any IKEAs and their shipping is high enough I'm not interested in ordering from them (the shipping isn't unreasonable - it's just expensive to ship large, heavy furniture).

And just so you know, as much as Meg loves Dora, we are NEVER getting this:


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Quick question

Is your definition of a “cute child” really just a picture of your child (or, if you don’t have children, what you looked like as a child)? Or do you think there are generally accepted standards for measuring the cuteness of a child?

I saw a picture of someone’s kid on their blog yesterday. It’s not a blog I’ve read before and I was clicking through from somewhere else. (It’s not your blog. I promise.) My first thought was “Wow, that child isn’t very attractive, is she?” Then I wondered how many people think that about MY kids. Not all children are as cute as baby Penny, you know?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Google searches that led here

Someone searching for “I keep getting pregnant” found my post I just keep getting pregnant-er, about how huge I was getting while pregnant with Paul. I don’t think that was exactly what they were looking for.

Also in the I-don’t-think-this-is-what-you’re-looking-for category: a search for “disadvantage of blogs” led to this, which is really about how I like reading blogs so much the only problem is I spend too much time reading them/money buying books by bloggers.

A search for “how does a sweater shaver work” led to someone downloading the first picture from this post. I tend to get a little freaked out when people download my pictures (luckily this is only the second time!), but if you want this one, have at it! That post is pretty low on my list of ‘worried it will be stolen.’

Someone who clearly has excellent grammar searched for “im probably be the last to know” and I was the #1 result with this post. I wonder if they were also frustrated with the whole Facebook-fake-pregnancies thing.

At one point in time this post was the #1 google result for ‘pumpkin pudding cookies’ and ‘pistacio pudding spritz cookies.’ MAKE THEM NOW. Yum.

…and I was the #4 result for “crying over pregnancy cravings.” I’m so proud.

You might want to stop reading now, because we’ve come to the obligatory “so creepy I’m shutting down my blog right now” search. Someone in Argentina ran a google image search for “little girl in the bath” and came to this post. There was a picture of Meg covered in pen markings (so covered I needed to throw her in the bath to wash them off). It didn’t show any private areas, or even her face (it was pretty much just her legs), and whomever ran the search didn’t download it, but I’m still majorly creeped out. Talk about “disadvantage of blogs.” I deleted the photo. I know it’s still out there, but at least it’s less accessible.

To end on not such a creepy note, I will add someone did find this post by searching for ‘meth.’ Of course.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Back at work

Most days going to work causes a "sigh, if my cushy life seems this hard, how do people with lives that are actually hard do it?" Some days it causes 'seriously, I have to go to this f***ing job AGAIN?'-type anger. Today is one of the sad days, where I mostly just try not to cry in front of my co-workers. I miss my babies. I miss my BED. I cry when I'm tired. Ergo, I'm spending most of today hoping I can hold it together.

The good news is as much as can go well at work is

My schedule for the next five months (which is as far as has been scheduled now) is great. All but one week I’m working on my favorite jobs. I’m assigned to every one I requested. I don’t travel except for that one week.

Also, I thought we got an extra week of vacation per year after five years. Turns out its four, so a few weeks before I went on maternity leave, my vacation accrual went up. I didn’t even notice until now!

Then, they gave me a new laptop. I’ve had it for a week now and I LOVE it. We’re encouraged to take our computers home if we want to. They gave me a few days before removing administrator privileges from my profile so I could install my home printer and scanner. Yay!

The “should I quit” discussion has been put on the back burner, so I’m happy being back at work has at least been better than I expected.  I try to remind myself of this every day.  Especially when I'm trying not to cry.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy belated Halloween!

What’s your opinion of Halloween costumes for babies? Meg was 5 months old her first Halloween and I didn’t get her a costume. She had a black cat sleeper with a tail and she wore that on Halloween. I figured why spend the money for something she’ll wear for a few hours (or less)?

I wasn’t planning on getting Paul a costume this year, but found an adorable monkey outfit in a consignment shop for $8.50. He did not appreciate being put in a costume and wore it for all of 15 minutes. We only got one picture of him smiling, but it’s adorable. I think it was worth $8.50 to have a cute picture of his first Halloween. I wouldn’t pay much more than that, though. Do you have a price limit?

Meg, on the other hand, was excited to dress up. She had two hand-me-down costumes – a pig and a fairy (it looked like Tinkerbell). She immediately proclaimed the fairy costume pretty and wouldn’t even try on the pig. But the pig costume had little hooves to go over shoes and she loved those. She called them her pig shoes and wore them constantly. As Halloween got closer, every time we asked her what she was going to be, she said “a PIG!” I still figured we’d have to throw the fairy costume on her at the last minute, though.

When the time came to get in costume, I couldn’t find the hooves. I thought the pig costume was definitely not happening at that point, but she put on the rest of it just fine and LOVED trick-or-treating. We just went to the houses of neighbors we know and she was thrilled to get candy. She also loved handing out candy at our house. We let her have the DumDum sucker and fun size bag of M&Ms in the picture and she spent the rest of the night bouncing off the walls.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Let's try this again

Last year, I attempted to do NaBloPoMo, but the morning sickness got the better of me and I spent the last half of the month praying for death. After about a week’s worth of posts about how sick I felt, which was the only thing I could think about, I decided to spare both myself and everyone else and threw in the towel.

Hopefully this year will go better. I haven’t seen too many people talking about NaBloPoMo yet this year. Are you doing it?

Today I'm taking advantage of one of the biggest perks of being a working mom - a paid sick day sans children.  I feel like death warmed over, but at least I'm not taking care of kids!!  It's not as good as a pre-kid sick day, where you call in sick then roll over and go back to sleep - I had to get the kids up, dressed, fed, and dropped off at daycare/Grandma's house (they go different places on Tuesdays). But now I'm home and I get to take a NAP.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Let's go, Cardinals!

My daughter's favorite TV characters:

Clifford the Big Red Dog (and Emma-whee A-wiz-bif)

Bob the Tomato
(Whaddya mean I can't dance? I can dance! What about Uncle Louie's Polka Party? Didn't you see me dancing at Uncle Louie's Polka Party?)

And Tony LaRussa
(Whenever the TVshows him, she says Look! It's Tony! He gonna win!)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More adventures in pumping

Maybe I should make this a series.  Remember all the “fun” I had pumping at a concert?


So.  I'm working at a client's office this week. This morning, this happened:


I was MAD.  I really wanted to stand my ground, but I don’t have access to the room-reservation system, so I wasn’t positive I was on the schedule for the right time and room.  Later, I went to talk to the person who had reserved the room for me.  She checked the schedule and there I was:  conference room A reserved for auditor from 9:30 – 10:00.


When we were having our discussion earlier, the woman asked me “are you the auditor?” yet continued to insist I wasn’t on the schedule.  After seeing the room was reserved “for auditor,” it was quite clear she’d been lying.  I was on the schedule and SHE KNEW IT.  Yet she LIED. 


After confirming all my other times were on the schedule, I thought the whole thing was over.  I was still ticked, but figured if she messed with me again I could deal with it then.  But apparently the person who reserved the room for me went to this person’s boss.  She (the room-stealer, not the boss) insisted it had been a mistake but that I shouldn’t be using that room anyway because I don’t need the computer in there and she does.  I wasn’t aware the issue was still being discussed until several hours later when the head of the department (a man) brought me a “lactation room in use” sign to use and called IT to move the computer out of the room.  And then I died of embarrassment.


This place has two other conference rooms.  Yes, they have a lot of meetings, but I’m sure at least one of them would be open somewhere around the times I usually pump. I’m all for standing up for my lactation rights, but I’m also flexible.  No need to rearrange the office.  I’m only here for three weeks!


(I know Iowa has great lactation laws, but I haven't looked at them in a couple years.  Maybe a designated lactation room is required, so 'whatever room is free' doesn't work? I do think they looked up the laws today.)


Monday, October 24, 2011

What I learned this weekend


  • If you’re thinking about flying with a two-year-old and a four-month-old, DON’T DO IT.  Or at least bring a nanny.  Everything went pretty well for us. There was very little crying on the plane and no disasters.  Honestly, things couldn’t have gone much better.  But it was so unbelievably exhausting I fear I may never recover.  I don’t know how I would have survived it if things had gone wrong.
  • When you squish a baby tightly into a Moby wrap, there’s really no place for poop to go except out of the diaper.  Consider not wearing a white shirt.
  • You can have an amazing time with 50 people you’ve never met.
  • If you insist on taking a breastfeeding baby on a plane trip, throw any hopes of modesty out the window.  Over the course of the trip I flashed a (female) TSA agent, a young (male) professional traveling alone, a not-at-all-subtle man who stared intently as my child ate*, and everyone seated near me on the plane.  Multiple times. 
  • Speaking of nursing, you want to know how I knew the Blathering ladies where “my people” (a phrase used often this past weekend)? There was a semi-designated pumping area at the Blathering house and a small shelf full of breastmilk in the fridge.
  • The outside dining area at the flagship Whole Foods is cutthroat.  On Sunday I walked out of the store carrying a bunch of food, with a baby strapped to me, and trying to herd a two-year-old.  As I was almost to a table, a woman on a bike flew past me and practically threw herself on the table to claim it before I could.  There were no other open tables.  I stood there for a few minutes.  Some people got up to leave.  When I was almost to that table, the same woman ran in front of me and grabbed the only chair, so she could have FOUR at her table.
  • Don’t feed the birds means:  for the love of God, don’t feed the birds.  Enough people evidently ignore the signs the pigeons consider any food in the patio area fair game.  I was sitting on the edge of the rock wall (because I had NO CHAIR), eating a piece of sushi, and a pigeon came flying at me and TOOK A BITE OF MY FOOD.  While it was on the way to my mouth.  The damn bird almost hit me in the face.  I screamed, threw the rest of the piece, and two other birds immediately converged and devoured it.  I ate the rest of the sushi hunched over the table trying to hide it from the pigeons and flinching every time I saw one.**
  • You can have it all – at least for the weekend.  I had a fun family weekend.  I had a girls’ weekend.  I had some down time.  I even read a whole book.  Going into the weekend I was panicking, thinking there was no way bringing my family to the Blathering would work.  But it did.  And I loved it.  My only regret is I didn’t get to hear more mother-in-law stories from TJ.

* Interestingly, the staring man wasn’t leering in an “omg, BOOBZ” kind of way, he seemed perplexed as to what I was doing.  It’s like I was feeding the baby via my elbow or something – he looked like he had no idea what was going on.
** I now totally get why Phoebe Buffay threw the bowl full of lottery tickets when the scary pigeon flew at her.  I think this was the SAME PIGEON.  He’s probably bitter he didn’t grab that $10,000 ticket.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Accent vlog + baby

I wish the camera hadn't been looking UP at me, but I wasn't going to spend a lot of time messing with it.


Untitled from Jessica M on Vimeo.

Say the following words:
Aunt, route, wash, oil, theatre, iron, salmon, caramel, fire, water, sure, data, ruin, crayon, toilet, New Orleans, pecan, both, again, probably, spitting image, Alabama, lawyer, coupon, mayonnaise, syrup, pajamas, caught

And answer these questions:
What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that curls into a ball when you touch it?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you use to change the TV channel?

The best laid plans

Tuesday I took the morning off to go with Meg’s daycare to the pumpkin patch. With the whole I-hate-working thing, this was going to be a much-needed sanity saver.

Then Meg woke up with pink eye.

I called the daycare, hoping against hope they’d let us come anyway – she obviously couldn’t spend the day at the center, but maybe we could drive separately and tour the pumpkin patch with the class?

Nope.

I totally understand that, but it was a bummer.

We ended up having an awesome morning anyway, though. Besides the doctor, we went to the pharmacy, the bank, the post office, the consignment store, and the grocery store. We knocked out my whole errands to-do list. We even crossed a list item off at the doctor’s when they agreed to give her a flu shot while we were there.

Despite the shot, the pink eye, AND the massive ear infection the doctor discovered, Meg acted like she thought it was Christmas morning. She was so happy to be by herself with mommy. I realized since the baby was born, I haven’t been away from him for any reason that didn’t take me away from both kids. Oops. I think it also bothers her that since I went back to work, Paul goes along every time she goes to Grandma’s house (on non-daycare days my mom babysits while I work). She loves her brother very much (and says so often), but I think she’s a little desperate for time with someone’s undivided attention. We’ll have to have some mommy-daughter dates soon.