Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Surprise cookies

Lately I've gotten into cookies made with some sort of mix. Yesterday I made cake-mix cookies (made with yellow cake mix). I was really excited as I'm a big fan of yellow cake from a box, but I they were rather disappointing. I think the flavor is better when spread out through a fluffy cake instead of in a dense cookie. It was too much.

Today I tried pistachio pudding mix cookies. I didn't have high hopes this time, since I love pistachio pudding from a mix even more than yellow cake. When I tasted them I was shocked. Why has no one ever told me those yummy little green cookies people make at Christmas are pistachio cookies?? For some reason, I'd always assumed they were some variety of spritz cookies. They taste almondy to me, so I was sure they contained almond extract. I looked on the pudding box and, sure enough, pistachio pudding has almonds. They're actually higher on the ingredient list than pistachios.

I've only ever had these cookies at Christmas, generally at occasions where there is a huge variety of cookies. Do people only make them when they need another variety? Are they generally made at Christmas because they're green? Why didn't anyone ever tell me how easy they are?! I'm still stunned 'try a new recipe (don't get your hopes up)' day turned out to be 'bake up some Christmas memories' day.

Anyway. Tomorrow I'm trying pumpkin spice oatmeal cookies made with pumpkin spice pudding mix I may or may not have bought on clearance after Thanksgiving last year and never used. I hope they're good because I have four boxes of it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How many google hits do you think I'll get for the phrase "meth whore"?

Last Friday Thomas and I went to a concert. There was an opening act and two headliners (Maroon 5 and Train), so we were warned in advance it would be pretty long. I brought my breastpump because we were going to be out of the house too long to be comfortable without it (and because it’s SUPER COOL to tote an electric breastpump around at a concert. Or anywhere, really.) I planned to pump in a bathroom stall using the battery attachment, but after arriving remembered I hadn’t replaced the batteries after they died the week before (a realization that was accompanied by a *$#&@**%&%$# ). I ended up setting up shop beside the only outlet in one of the women’s restrooms (a female custodian who was in the first restroom I tried actually advised me as to which one might be best to pump in, which was very helpful). So I stood in the bathroom, pumping under the nursing cover I’d thankfully stuffed in the bag just in case, right next to the line AND the only working hand dryer. I overheard a lot of interesting conversations.

A woman with a group of friends suddenly said “OMG!” and pointed at her pants, which were rapidly becoming wet. “I pissed my pants! DON’T TELL GREG, he’ll kill me!” It seems Greg had advised her she might have gone a little overboard with the beer. She went on and on until the entire restroom (and probably most of the hall) was well aware of the situation. I hope Greg wasn’t waiting outside. Though, unless he was as drunk as she was, I’m betting he figured it out.

Another group of group of friends whose sense of boundaries had long since been drunk away came up to me and told me how awesome they thought it was I wasn’t tying up a bathroom stall to pump because they had to go “really, really bad.” One asked if I was pumping and dumping and when I said no, just pumping, she said (well, slurred) “You ROCK.”

One woman, who was also falling-down-drunk, and the lady behind her in line started making small talk, I think. They didn’t seem to know each other. I’m not sure how the conversation came around to this but the next thing I heard her say was “My husband cheated on me with a meth whore.” “A what?” “A METHAMPHETAMINE WHORE. So I figured I deserved this concert.” Um…OK.

This concert was obviously a people watcher’s DREAM.

Maroon 5 wore all white, which they apparently do every Friday. They called it “Friday Night Whites.” While I was gone, my husband talked to the people in the surrounding seats and one woman mentioned she was there because she wanted to see Adam Levine. He asked her if he’d lived up to her expectations and she said “Well, I prefer him in black, but he was pretty good.”

Oh, and while Train sang “Marry Me,” the lead singer walked around the crowd, then stopped in front of a couple and handed the guy the microphone so he could propose to his girlfriend. It had been arranged in advance – he said “my buddy so-and-so has something to say” – and was way cool.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rookie Mom

Paul had his two month checkup today. I was telling the pediatrician how Paul hates bottles and it's a struggle to get him to take them. He asked a few questions and I said yes, it's bottled breastmilk, yes people other than me are doing the bottle-giving, yes I'm out of the room (usually out of the house), and yes we've tried regularly (we didn't wait too long to introduce the bottle). Then he said "Have you tried different types of bottles/nipples?" How did I miss such an obvious thing? With Meg, I was ready to try every bottle on the market, but she liked the first one we tried (Medela - came with the breast pump) and I kind of forgot other brands existed.

Add to that the fact Paul has an eye infection he caught from me and...yeah. Oh well.

I've kind of been on auto-pilot. I breastfeed the same way, change diapers the same way, and prepare bottles the same way. I thought "yeah, all babies are different...Paul sleeps even better than Meg did!" and left it at that. Sometimes you forget there are ways of doing things other than the way you've always used!

P.S. Paul is 14 lbs 6 oz - 96th percentile for weight. I guess breastfeeding like I always have is working out just fine!

Monday, August 22, 2011


Thomas has been doing pushups and sit-ups every evening. While he does them, Margaret "helps" him count: "twelve, eighteen, seventeen..." (She can count to ten, but doesn't have the teens down yet.) She  totally messes up his counting and I think it's hilarious she's doing the shout-out-random-numbers-to-mess-up-someone-whose-trying-to-count thing and he can't get mad at her because she doesn't know that's rude.  She's just trying to be like her daddy.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Noticed in the laundry room

Now penetrates faster!


Who at the stain-remover company approved this message?  More interestingly, why?

1.  He (or she) did not notice the "that's what she said" potential.

2.  He noticed, but figured most people wouldn't and/or figured it wouldn't be a big deal if they did.

3.  He noticed and tried to change the phrasing, but couldn't come up with any other way to get the message across.

4.  Of course he noticed, he specifically worded it that way FOR the "that's what she said" potential, hoping people would think its funny and buy it or at least discuss the brand with their friends (or on their blog).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


The other night I was watching The One Where Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs and tweeted  "Don't worry, Chandler, I don't like dogs either."  Then, today, I happened to read two different articles written by dog owners and I've spent all day thinking about my feelings toward dogs.

Basically, its not so much that I don't like dogs, its that I'm afraid of dogs.  Like most fears, telling me I shouldn't be afraid serves no purpose.  Take my brother-in-law's dog, for example.  He's a big dog.  He herds cows.  He's also a nice, well-trained dog.  I've been around this dog on many occasions, as has Meg, and the dog has never behaved aggressively towards either of us.  The dog has never hurt anyone, that I know of.  But I'm TERRIFIED of him.  He's big, energetic, jumpy, overly excited, and he scares the heck out of me.

He IS a good-looking dog, though.
My mother-in-law also has a dog.  A medium-sized dog, who is also well-behaved and even lets Meg crawl around head-butting him.  (I have no idea.)  He is (well, was) a very jumpy dog, too, though, and for years going to my in-law's house caused significant anxiety for me just because I knew this dog would jump all over me.  I met this dog in 2005 and I'm now finally at the point where he doesn't bother me.  I actually kinda, sorta like him a little.  It helps he almost never jumps on people anymore.  And that Meg loves him so much.  However, it should be noted it took me SIX YEARS to grow to like this dog.  
Evidence of the head butting.

My sister-in-law has TWO dogs.  A little dog who once tried to bite my husband, so was banned from being around the kids.  Since my husband doesn't like her, I'm off the hook and am not required to try to like her either.

She also has big dog who was rescued from an abusive situation and therefore was orginally scared of all people.  This worked well, because since I was afraid of him and he was afraid of me, we never got anywhere near eachother.  He slowly grew to trust almost no one wants to hurt him and I slowly grew to trust he wouldn't hurt me.  He's a pretty mellow dog and doesn't bother me on his own.

The problem is when all the dogs get together.  You know how two kids is exponentially lounder than one?  I think its even worse with dogs, because they move so fast and are so oblivious to everything around them when they're playing with another dog.  These dogs go CRAZY with eachother.  Crazy from happiness and excitement, sure, but they run around the house with no regard for humans in their way or small children holding the dog toy they would like to fight over.  They've never hurt anyone and likely never will.  But just sitting here in my dog-free house thinking about them running around makes my blood pressure go sky high.

My husband hates it when I act scared of the dogs.  He thinks it shows I don't trust the dog owners and/or thinks its rude to be uncomfortable when others are doing everything they can to be hospitable.  I DO trust the dog owners and don't want to be rude, so I always try to pretend I'm not scared.  But I am.  I don't know what to do.  I can handle, even like, individual dogs.  But its unrealistic to tell me I SHOULD like dogs or that I shouldn't be uncomfortable around multiple dogs.  I dread visits when I know there will be more than 1 dog around.

There's really nothing to be done about it.  I certainly don't want to tell people to not bring their dogs over.  When everyone is there, there are 7 adults, 6 of whom like dogs and it would be ridiculous for the one who doesn't (ME) to get her way over everybody else.  Also, Meg loves the dogs and I want to encourage that.  I guess just wish I didn't have to pretend.  It's not like I'm fooling anyone.  I'm fairly certain the whole family can tell I don't like dogs.  They know I'm a cat person.  They don't hold it against me.  I truly don't want to make people uncomfortable, though, AND I don't want the kids to pick up on my fear and be scared themselves, so I guess I have to keep on pretending forever.  Even if everyone can tell I'm pretending.

Monday, August 15, 2011

New things I love

I realized today every recipe I've cooked, thing I've bought, or new method I've tried recently came from the internet. I don't mean I needed to buy something or make something, so I went looking for it, or asking for recommendations on the internet. I mean I never would have known about any of these things if it weren't for someone's unsolicited recommendation.

So, here are some things I've been loving lately and/or hope to love all courtesy of blog-land:

The double swaddle: A'Dell mentioned this on Twitter, then linked, and it's amazing. I was thisclose to buying a Miracle Blanket, just to try it, but the double swaddle is essentially the same thing. It saved me 30 bucks! I used it for a couple of nights, to great success (the baby slept on his back in the crib!), but ultimately went back to our old way of doing things. He gets so spit-uppy (and, therefore, cranky) when we lie him down flat I decided to continue having him sleep in his car seat. Since he can't really wiggle when sitting up in the seat, the single swaddle works fine. I'm sure we'll use the double swaddle again when he's a little older and we try to transition to the crib.

Pumpin' pal angled breast pump flanges: Arwen recommended these. I haven't actually tried them yet (they came today), but I am so UNBELIEVABLY EXCITED. My back hurt for the entire nine months I pumped at work after having Meg. Sitting hunched over in a little room trying to juggle pump parts and a magazine was not the best time ever. I want these to work so badly. If I can actually pump while leaning back it will actually change my life. Is that sad?

Nosefrieda:  Another recent recommendation from A'Dell.  I remember when these came out (well, not come out - came to the US, I guess), people made fun of them mercilessly.  I know one blogger I read (can't remember who) bought one, tried it, and said it was the stupidest (and grossest) thing ever.  I never would have bought one if A'Dell hadn't loved hers so much.  There's nothing worse than a nursing infant with a stuffy nose, so I'll try anything.  I thought Paul was catching Meg's cold this past weekend, but he ended up being OK, so I haven't tried it yet.  I know the first cold will come eventually, though, so I'm happy to be prepared.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins:  I was very happy when this popped up in my feed reader since I've been wanting to find something besides banana bread to use overripe bananas, but never got around to looking for recipes.  Oh. My. Goodness.  These are the best thing EVER.  I wouldn't recommend them as a "skinny" food since I've eaten four so far today and am eyeing another, but you should totally make them anyway.  YUM.  It's possible this is just one of those foods that matches my tastes perfectly, not necessarily yours, but I think you should try them.  I love banana bread, but my one problem with it is it's not banana-y enough.  The bananas give it its texture and moistness, but not enough flavor.  These muffins are basically half banana by volume and I love it.  Plus, how can you go wrong with chocolate? 

A note:  the recipe says it makes 12, but it made 19 for me.  I think my muffin tin might be abnormally small, though.  I recently got it as a hand-down from my grandma and I'm wondering if muffins used to be smaller?  Have muffin tins increased in size over time?  The silicone ones I got at a bridal shower are about 1.5 times the size of the pan from my grandma (they're also harder to clean so now I always use the metal one).

Deeleeshoos Noodles:  I've been reading Temerity Jane's archives (she's hilarious, but you all knew that already, right?) and I've made these twice in the last week.  I didn't do it exactly the way she does, since I just used whatever I had around, which did not include scallions, oyster sauce, or sesame oil.  So really, I didn't make her recipe at all, but I never would have made the pretty-good-tasting, though perhaps not deeleeshoos, noodles I did make without the recipe as a starting point.

Is there anything you never knew existed, but bought after someone on the internet recommended it?  Recipes are good, but I'm mainly looking for things I simply MUST buy.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chunky Monkey

This is as close as I've gotten to photographing a smile.
You see this little guy here?  He weighs fourteen pounds.  When I went to my six-week checkup last Thursday, I did the weigh-myself-with-baby-then-without thing on the doctors' scale.  It indicated he weighed 14 pounds wearing a dry diaper and a onesie.  Meg weighed 13 lbs 10 oz at FOUR MONTHS.  I assume, even subtracting the weight of diaper and onesie, Paul weighed that much.  He was six weeks exactly.  Meg's weight is from 4 months 7 days, so about 18 weeks.  Paul weighed almost a pound more at birth, but still!  Wow! By what age are babies supposed to double their weight?  Is it 4 months?  I bet Paul does it by 2 months. (He was just under 8 lbs at birth.)  Using Meg's growth charts to order diapers for Paul seems to have been a pretty stupid thing to do. Anyone need 400 size 1 diapers?*

Who you callin' chunky?
14 lb baby, 26 lb toddler
*Actually, I plan to try using them as sort-of inserts inside my Thirsties diaper covers.  I'll let you know if it works.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

American Wife

I finally finished reading American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld.  I've had it checked out from the library for a long time (since before Paul was born!) and kept putting it off for shorter, lighter books.  It has to be returned by Monday, though, so I decided to give it my best effort.  It starts out slow and I didn't know if I'd be able to make it through (its 550 pages).  I found as I tried to write a review on Goodreads* a lot of what I was saying would fit better in a blog post.

Curtis Sittenfeld describes things so well and in so much detail you feel like you're there. The book is amazingly well written. On the other hand, while I loved the detail, it sometimes took so long it made the book move slowly for me. I skimmed a lot of it. Being sleep-deprived with the new baby, the book couldn't keep me awake unless I skipped over a lot of the insignificant details to keep the narrative moving.

I really liked Swistle's review and found as I tried to write the rest of my review I kept circling around what she said and basically trying to re-write it.  I feel like I know Laura Bush better after read it, not because anything in the book was necessarily true, but because the way the main character's mind works seemed to be so plausible.  I especially liked the parts about fame, which weren't specific to her life but how I imagine every famous person must feel sometimes.

I also agree with the last part of Swistle's review. Was it really necessary to include the sex scenes? I found them icky and overly detailed, and not just the ones between "Alice" and "Charlie."

*I think if you follow this link to Goodreads you can friend me if you'd like:)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Meg's first library trip

On Monday, I took Meg to the library for the first time.  She was a little confused when we picked up a bunch of books, then just...took them.  She approved, though.

I've thought about taking her to the library before, but she has a lot of books and doesn't get bored with them.  Even I am usually only sick of one or two books in her collection at a time, leaving plenty of others to read.  But she loves Clifford right now and only has one Clifford book, so we checked out several others.  I hope she doesn't think we get to keep them - I explained to her how we would give these books back to the library next time and get new ones, but I'm not sure she completely understood.

Meg's bookshelf (and crib):
You'll notice she has a lot of board books, which she is outgrowing, but are HERS, ALL HERS and if her baby brother gets to read them it will be because she's "sharing" not because they should be passed down.

Reading a library book:

And a baby picture, since I haven't posted any since the birth announcement:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

You never know when random knowledge will come in handy

I find cloth diapers fascinating.  I don't own any and I don't intend to buy any (reasons here), but I enjoy reading about them.  Its kind of like how I read most articles on Faith & Family Live! (I got sucked in by Arwen) even though I'm not Catholic.  In fact, being an Evangelical, I'm pretty far from Catholicism, but most of the articles are about family and general Christianity anyway and I find Catholicism interesting.  Likewise, most articles about cloth diapers are basically about laundry and I have unfortunately done a lot of reading about laundry ever since Meg started eating solid foods (and spilling them).

I found out detergent often (always?) leaves residue on your clothes and you could probably toss your clothes in the washer without adding detergent and there'd be enough to get them clean.  And if you use too much detergent it might just leave a film over a stain and trap it instead of removing it.  I started using Charlie's Soap powder (which is not detergent) and was blown away by how much better it has worked for me.

I've also read articles about stripping cloth diapers - you do it when the diapers start to lose absorbancy or retain smells because of too much soap/detergent buildup.  I never thought I'd use that knowledge.  But yesterday I did.

Some clothes we got at a garage sale smelled AWFUL.  You know that perfumed scent smokers often use to try and cover the smoke?  The one so strong it can knock you back 10 feet?  It was like that but without the undertone of stale cigarettes.  Someone washed these clothes in very smelly detergent.  I'm allergic to perfume.  I've bought clothes washed in scented detergent (basically anything except Free & Clear) before and usually all it takes is one spin through the washing machine (with my detergent) to remove the smell.  I tried that this time and it didn't make a dent.  So I washed them with the Charlie's.  Didn't help.  Then I remembered the detergent-build-up theory and washed them twice in hot water with no added detergent.  I checked the clothes during the cycle and, sure enough, there were lots of suds - meaning the clothes had enough detergent residue to create those suds.  Still, the smell wasn't dissipating. 

I was about ready to just get rid of them, which was frustrating me because there were a lot of good boy clothes and I don't have many boy clothes.  Then I wondered if I could apply cloth diaper stripping methods to regular clothes.  I don't see why not, right?  I already kind of was by running multiple hot loads without detergent.  I remembered something about adding a few drops of Dawn to a load to remove oily buildup.  Since I assume most scents are in oils - if you make your own laundry soap you add essential oil or fragrance oil (yes, I've read about that, too) - that sounded like a good idea.  You guys. It worked SO WELL.  The smell is gone.  Who knew diaper stripping tips would be so helpful for someone who doesn't own any cloth diapers?