Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Morning ARGH!

This seems to be one of those weeks, so I thought I need to do a little thought on mornings so far this week. Well, it’s Wednesday, so just a few mornings, but still.

Monday I had to drop the munchkin at my in laws as my husband was working. So I got up at 6 (well, that was after getting up at midnight for teething, 4 for the dog puking and again at 5:30 for the baby), got ready and woke the baby around 7 (who was none to happy about being woken – she’d had such a long night of waking me up!) to bring her to their house.

We were running late. Shocking, I know. But traffic was actually pretty light (I forgot it was spring break here), so we made it there early and I headed towards work. As I was early, it occurred to me… I could go to church this morning before work if I wanted. Now, this isn’t something I normally do. But a few weeks ago was the anniversary of the day my Dad died and always try to go that day to pray for him / remember him. When I went to mass that day, I realized – this is totally on the way from my in laws to work and the timing is actually perfect to get me to work on time. And it is Lent… I only drop her to their house once a week – I could go one extra time a week. It’s an 8 am weekday mass – it never lasts more than 30 minutes.

I really didn’t feel like going on Monday. I mean, really just wasn’t in the mood. But I also was thinking – today’s not too busy and I really do have time for this. And it is holy week. And that darn Catholic guilt got the better of me and in I went.

I left thinking I was glad I went as the priest had had some really good insights and I’d learned a bunch of stuff I didn’t know. Then midway across the parking lot I started to focus on work and realized – Oh God, I have an 8:30 meeting (it was 8:26) at the other building that I’ve only been to once and don’t quite know how to get to – but it’s at least 10 minutes away from my office (which was still a good 5-10 mins from where I was). Then I uttered a string of expletives (oh, I get so much from religious experiences), as I ran towards my car.

My husband always says no one drives as poorly as a Catholic late for mass. It’s that mad rush of speed trying to get there on time (he knows – this is us nearly every week!) and it seems to flow into the really poor driving coming into and going out of the parking lot. I sort of combined the poor driving of “late for mass” with poor parking lot etiquette with totally late for a meeting with a colleague, my boss and his boss’s boss (or maybe 3 levels up). Oh crap.

Yes I made it. Yes I was late. But not too bad and life goes on.

So let’s move on to today’s mad rush… My Mom arrives on a flight about 3 this afternoon. I have done SO LITTLE to prepare for her coming. I did do some mad vacuuming at lunch on Monday (yeah, Monday was just one of those days), but I hadn’t gotten around to cleaning toilets or just tidying! My husband did a little of the tidying yesterday, but he had the munchkin, so bathroom cleaning was not hitting the agenda.

He left this morning with the munchkin to take the dog to the vet at 7:30 (this did follow some really nice morning cuddles with her!) and I realized – I actually had the house to myself for an hour and if I rushed getting ready, I could get some of this stuff done. So after throwing myself together, there came the mad rush of wiping off bathroom counter tops and throwing some cleaner at the toilets – maybe the scrubbing bubbles will really scrub all by themselves… Then I rushed around with the swiffer trying to hide all the errant dog hair. Threw things in the dishwasher! Threw papers in recycling! Hid things in closets! And squeaked into work a little later than intended, but not too bad.

When did I become this person?

Today’s prompt – how much cleanup do you do before your parents or in-laws arrive? How much is real cleaning and how much is hiding? What are your best secrets for the “fast” clean? Do your significant others help much (or hinder!)?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dating and the Married Mom

It’s true. I admit it. My husband has said he looks at my blog sometimes and he’ll see it right there in black and white. And what will happen then? Well, he’ll probably ask me how my dates are going and if I’m making any progress breaking into the Moms groups around here.

Yes, you see! Not nearly as tawdry as you thought. I’m not dating men. I’m dating other Moms! Wait… now that sounded a little tawdry too… Let me try again. I’m “play-dating” other Moms!

The longer I've been trying to find other moms – people with kids my daughters age, people I can hang out with, people I have something in common with! – the more it begins to feel like the old dating game. Worse, actually. See, I’m shameless now. I’ve tried “e-baby” (ok, not really – my husband says that there should be an e-baby or maybe baby-harmony to meet your Mom mates) - checking out all the meet up websites and groups. I’ve tried the Mom version of 8 minute dating. The real dating version was so much more fun… But then again, I think I was less desperate in my single status than as a Mom! I’ve tried friends of friends (or wives of friends). And I’ve gone with the old standby of straight up pick up lines! It’s just now I’m doing them at the back of church rather than a bar. And they sound more like “so how old is your baby?” rather than “do you come here often?” (Disclaimer: I think it’s important to note that I’m almost positive I NEVER actually used that line. Almost… Well, maybe ironically…)

You know, now that I think of it, I’ve really even done personal ads… web based personal ads, but still… Oh God, I’m starting to feel like a loser… How did I get here...?

In those early days of mommyhood, my Mom stayed with us for a few weeks and she was NEVER more welcome in my home than then! When she left I cried and wondered how I’d make it through every day, as my husband was working crazy hours. I started to feel lonely, so I started to reach out to look for moms groups, but by the time I found them it was nearly time to go back to work anyway.

I kept looking for groups, but it seemed hard to figure out around my work schedule (and his!) and now we were thinking of moving – maybe I should just wait for our new neighborhood… And I put it off. The truth was I think I was a little scared of the moms groups. The only woman I knew who was really involved in one from a prior job was … oh gosh, how to describe her? I’ll go with a little narcissistic and a bit ditzy. I had this vision that the groups would be filled with clones of her.

But once we moved I started to notice again how VERY long those days off at home alone with the baby could be. So I started looking again. And this time with a vengeance. One of my problems on this front has always been my husband’s work schedule. I really want to find groups when he’s at work. Because if he’s home, we really like to have that family time together. The problem is – everyone else feels the same way! And their schedules are totally different than ours. So, where I may want to be home when he is on Thursday and Friday, they want to be home with their families on Saturdayor Sunday when my husband is at work. I started to realize I probably needed to compromise on this to establish the friendships. (Then, once they saw how awesome I was wouldn’t they all want to change?! Ha!)

So, step 1. My church stalking / desperate card distribution! One of my friends insisted that staying home, you’d start to meet other people “naturally.” If you are in the grocery store at 10:30 am on Tuesday, a good number of the other people there are probably stay at home moms too. You’ll see babies your daughter’s age and just start talking. I have yet to find this to really be the case. Instead I tried the crying area at church. The key was to try to find a Mom who looked reasonable / like someone I could get along with, who had a child my daughter’s age and ideally did not have other older kids. If she already had kids, she’d totally already be in the playgroup circle – and, man, are those Moms circles ever hard to break into!

I started flinging out my card with a vengeance! Oh, your son likes trucks, my husband’s fire station participates in “truck day” in the county. Here’s my card. Why don’t you send me a message and I’ll find out when it is? Oh, your daughter is just a little older than my little girl? Hey, here’s my card! Oh, your son is so cute – why don’t you take a card?

And here I have to turn to the great wisdom of Jersey Shore to say – “it’s a numbers game. If I give out my number / call 30 different girls, at least a couple of them will be into hanging out with me.” (No, I didn’t memorize Jersey Shore. I’m paraphrasing.)

And, as it turned out – ONE mom did respond! And we actually had a play date. And it was fun! No, she’s not my new best friend. But she’s a cool person who I could hang with again.

Desperation – 1, Dignity – 0.

As this is getting very long, I’m going to do separate posts on other “dating methods.” But I’m hardly done with my pursuit! So I turn it to you – what have you done to meet other moms? Find playgroups? What were your most desperate moves? Your most successful?

Monday, March 29, 2010

In the spirit of Easter - UPDATED

Quote of the day

We were talking about potty training and my husband looked at me and said:

“Do you think it was hard to potty train Jesus?”

How does milk not come out your nose at the randomness of THAT thought?!

I hate to pick favorites as all the comments were awesome, but this one made me laugh out loud, so I HAD to add it. FromGrace's Mom:

Perhaps, once we are addressing potty training, I should get Grace a WWJD bracelet for guidance?

Friday, March 26, 2010

This is why we became parents

This morning, the munchkin started crying a little before 7, so my husband when in to attempt to cuddle her back to sleep in the chair for a bit. This is something that only Daddy can do (at best it works for 5 minutes for me), but which he LOVES to do. See normally the little monkey isn't much of a cuddler. There's so much to do and see! She needs to be on the move! But in her half asleep state, she's a champ!

The dog argued with me for awhile in the other room about why I should get my butt out of bed to let him out (it's raining. He doesn't really want to go out anyway!) and then once I'd done that, why it was NOT OK with him that I went back to bed instead of feeding him right away. He's very pushy... Anyway, around 7:30 my husband brought the munchkin in and she did something she NEVER does when he handed her to me in bed - she cuddled! Usually, when brought to our bed in the morning, she's a wiggle worm who is quite mad that we're not on the move to get her breakfast (Man, they are ALL so pushy!). We could sort of get away with morning bed time when I was nursing, as I could take care of breakfast there, but she'd still wiggle and squirm and we had to be on top of our game to make sure she didn't take a header off the bed.

But not this morning. This morning, she cuddled and did her great drooly baby kisses. She did still squirm a lot, but she also gave hugs and kisses! Even the dog got into the mix - he jumped up and the two of them interacted better than they ever have. Normally, he's a bit wary of her. It started out as scared - my 50 lb dog ran away from my 8 lb newborn and hid behind me. Then eventually it grew to a somewhat resentful tolerance - although still when she's coming at him, he tends to run! Now, he likes her when she's in her high chair - she's sure the finger foods I give her are meant for him - but gives her a wide berth most other times. But not this morning - this morning, he liked her face (her reaction was awesome!) and was very tolerant of her petting.

Then he jumped off the bed again to say - um, hello, FEED ME! And she cried! Where did he go? And then - well, this is one of those things that as parents we think she might have grasped a concept, but are willing to consider that maybe it was coincidence. Outsiders would say this was unrelated. Her grandmother would call Mensa to let them know about their new member. Anyway, then she started hitting the bed / my leg, the way that we do to say "come up" to the dog (you know - we'll pat the bed / chair / etc. next to us and say come. Yes, he's got his run of the house and is on everything. And we wonder why he thinks he's the Alpha... As an aside, my husband got him as a puppy in college. There was NOTHING in his college apartment that was (or should have been) off limits to "keep it nice." There were things he should have been kept out of to prevent him from catching some sort of disease... but that's a different story).

But, this morning, as our "puppy" (whose 10) was licking our little munchkin's face and she was squirming away giggly to cuddle into me, my husband looked at me and said - this is the payoff. This is what we signed up for.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

One small year for baby sweetness, twenty five big years for dotcom - Should I thank Al Gore?

Ok, I know this is a bit random - not to mention a week late, but I can't help but write a small post on this milestone...

I started using the internet "for real" in 1996 to get some background data for a research paper in college. My roommate had recommended that their might be some good stats on the web and when I looked at her blankly (crickets), she offered to show me how to use it. I can't believe I just had to write that... But it's actually true. I know I should 1000 there. But, um, you've been to my site - you have a good sense of my "natural computer ability" here. (note - I can absolutely LEARN computerese! Given years of practice, I'm actually really good with excel and access and can do just a little bit of sql - none of which helps in web design. And one more plug for delinquent designs here who has promised to fix the ugly for me! But I digress.) I think she was probably showing me how to turn the d@mn thing on as much as anything else! Also - remember - this is 1996. Google doesn't exist (again - can you imagine?), so God knows how I even found the information I was looking for.

But thus began my relationship with the internet. I'd had email before that, but let's not get into a pre-internet email description of vax machines - it will make all our heads hurt (no, I honestly can't remember how it worked - yeah, I'm not only that old to have used them, but also to have alz heimers). That relationship has grown and grown (to an obsession!) and here we are now.

So what was my point? I was actually a little late to the internet. It had actually been around since... March 15, 1985 (yes, that's 25 years this month) when the very first .com domain name was registered (in case you're wondering, it was And, as I am writing to you in this blog on that funny little interwebby, I thought - why not give some props? A happy birthday message, if you will.

And, why not also back up that I am actually THAT big a geek to know this stuff.

So for today's prompt... do you remember when you first started using the internet? I know for a lot of people reading, it's been there your whole life, but you probably weren't logging onto symbolics (via aol dial up?! ;) ) on that first day, so where did you begin?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Working Mommy Wednesday recipes

So, Lisa at This Mommy Works had a great meme today - easy 30 minute weeknight recipes -

Working Mommy Wednesday

She already took chili! (that's our big one) And I suppose takeout can't REALLY be my answer... I'd like to say pasta, but I don't think that even counts as a recipe...

OK, here goes:

Baked chicken
Take boneless skinless chicken breasts, spray with pam and add garlic and herbs de provence. Bake at 350 and I'd say check after 15 minutes.
Frozen veggies on the side and then the starch of your choice (7 minute microwaved baked potato or sweet potato, rice, etc.)

Make extra chicken and you can cut it up and mix with non-fat yogurt and low fat mayo (2 to 1 yogurt to mayo), dijon mustard (I prefer the coarse grain), apples, walnuts and grapes for a great, low fat chicken salad. For tomorrow's dinner!

And now for my Wednesday morning reality check..

Oh wow - talk about Queen for a day! That was AMAZING! Everyone was just SO kind and the comment love gave such a warm fuzzy glow to an overcast day in NoVa.

And now... um, so, wait, do you mean that a couple hundred people won't be coming by my blog to say hi and comment EVERY day? Huh? Is this my SITs day hangover? ;)

Just kidding! But it was awesome - I felt like a celebrity for a day! And it was just great to get a chance to get that exposure to try to make some connections. (I don't think I quite appreciated what a good idea sits was before! Now I want to start 5 more sites like it - to combat the sits hangover!) And I've already started to find some great new sites and kindred spirits - though I still have a lot more visiting to do!

Hmm - I usually like to have a prompt, but I've been so "all about me" the last couple of days, I haven't set myself up so well. So, I admit this one is random, but I'm feeling a bit inspired by our first taste of spring this past weekend (which has been so callously ripped from our hands by cold rain this week!). What are your favorite things about spring? Your favorite springtime activities? Or, if not a fan of spring, what's your favorite season?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

MY SITS Day – I’d like to thank the Academy

Hello and welcome all! It is finally here! My SITS day! For those of you who don’t know about SITS – it’s a group of bloggers that supports each other through blog visits and comments. You can check them out here.

I feel like I’ve been waiting for this day for such a long time and yet I can’t believe it’s finally here! I don’t know what to say. I feel like I should thank the Academy… and by that I mean “sits”terhood! And my wonderful husband and daughter – my inspiration and support in so much of this. But if I’m thanking my inspiration and blog “fodder” … well, I should probably thank the bugs, mice, and the snake (!) in the basement that have provided so much for me to talk (read: complain!) about. Yes, you read that right – it’s been feeling like a full house here recently. My husband argued that I shouldn’t mention all that as you’d think I live in a tenement! But really, we’ve just bought our first house and are dealing with all the joys of home ownership (I never realized that my parents weren’t just born boring and adult – it was thrust upon them. Seriously, now I could have a twenty minute conversation on landscaping, paint colors, how to clean up after a toddler (or husband! Just kidding, babe… ish) or whether the trees will likely fall in the next storm. But I haven’t been out to that cool martini bar in I don’t know how long and I don’t know the name of that new sushi place downtown. We’ve become so suburban! How did this happen?!)

Oh sorry – did I lose half my audience on that last paragraph? Let me try again. Let’s start with a little bit about me. I’m a first time Mom of a 13 month old baby girl in my 30's. I work part time in Finance and really love the balance that this gives me – a decent amount of adult time out of the house where I very rarely discuss whether anyone’s pottied today mixed with a decent amount of baby time, so that I feel like I really get to be a part of her life and see her grow up. My husband is fire fighter / paramedic, so he also has a non-standard schedule which means that between the two of us, we can mostly cover child care. On days when both of us work, my mother in law gets some grandbaby time (usually one day a week). Of course, this doesn’t always work out perfectly and sometimes she goes to some “interesting” places like court.

I started blogging last summer and… ok, I admit it, I thought maybe I could take the blogging world by storm and even make money this way. Yes, yes, feel free to laugh at my naiveté. But, truthfully that wasn’t my only motivation (I promise!). I’d had a bit of a tough time of it working out the balance at the beginning and adjusting to my new life. I wanted to put down some of those thoughts to help me sort it out and because I thought it might help others to know that they weren’t alone. So in that spirit, I wrote this on adjusting to my new role as well as this and this on breastfeeding.

So there you have it – a little bit on me. For my regular followers, thanks so much for this trip down memory lane (it’s like the clip show on sitcoms when the writers just don’t want to write new material… except this was just as hard for me to write!). For those new to the site – thanks so much for coming by! I hope you have some fun and will come by to visit again – I look forward to “meeting you” through your comments and sites!

And last… while you’re stopping by, I’ll make my ongoing request for baby food recipes or suggestions to get a picky toddler who doesn’t like solids to eat ANYTHING!

Monday, March 22, 2010

For the first time ever…I am in favor of springing forward!

OK, my title is a little misleading. See the whole time change thing has pluses and minuses every time, so each time it happens I celebrate my pluses – in spring, hey it’s light out an hour later and in fall, hey I don’t have to get up in the dark – complain about the minuses – in spring, jeez, I HATE getting up in the dark! Why do I have to do this again? And in Fall, man, it gets dark SO early! But always in the past, Fall would win out because you get to sleep an extra hour / get an extra hour of weekend. So Monday comes along and you feel like you get to sleep in and all is right with the world. And in Spring – the opposite and damn those time changing bastards.

But this year! This year! It is different as I have a toddler. Someone explained to me Monday that this time next year I’d learn that toddlers don’t follow the time change and that would be such a pain. No, no, my friend! That is a pain in the fall when your toddler insists on getting up at o’dark o’clock well before your alarm and is raring to go. I cursed whoever came up with this entirely stupid idea then.

But Spring! Oh lovely spring! My 13 month old has no idea that the clocks have changed. So whereas before I’d been desperately trying to push her bedtime back to 8pm so that she’d stop waking up before 7 (sometimes before 6). Now, oh sweet gods of the time change, she is cured! (It’s a miracle – can I get an amen?!) She easily stays up till 8:30 and, dude (DUDE!), she has slept in till 7:30 – or even 8:30 when that last hour is spent sleeping on Daddy! (Admittedly, the morning snooze bar of sleeping on daddy has started the night time waking cycle a bit again and we are back to some sleep training, but I am choosing to ignore this.)

I’m wondering how long I can keep this going for… Keeping in mind that it does mean that I have to stay up till at least 8:30 and therein lies the problem…

What time do your kids go to be / get up? How do you shift the needle on that to get a few extra z’s in the morning? When was the last time you actually got to sleep in? And what’s the secret on that?!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Just a little nip and tuck

Some of you may have noticed (or even commented!) that the ol' blog design here is looking... well, a wee bit shabby. Really? The original blogger layouts? Come on! My sad attempt to get some backgrounds from The Cutest Blog on the Block that went so awry (by the way, I'm not dissing that site at all. It is a verycool site with lots of free stuff that has helped a lot of people. I am clearly too dumb to blog, though, as I can't seem to get it work for me.) It's been suggested (mostly by my inner voice these days) that maybe it's time I stepped it up. I've got over 200 posts - I guess I can no longer claim that I'm new to this and I'm doing content first and will make it pretty later...

So finally, to the rescue has come one awesome fellow blogger who will soon be giving us a little facelift! So stay tuned! And go visit Krista for some ideas for you - I believe she has a favicon giveaway this week.
Check out

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Erin Go Bragh! In celebration of St. Pat’s day, I decided the wearing o’ the green meant cabbage leaves in my “bragh.” Not really.

I believe I mentioned that as my daughter turned one last month we had begun weaning. As she’s a bad eater (yes, still looking for any and all ideas on how to get her to eat more solids), I was pretty slow in the weaning process – waiting nearly a week between cutting feedings / replacing with foods. But about two weeks ago I finally finished. Well… she finally finished. My body was not so aware of that and thought it’d just go right on producing.

I talked to some friends about this before I weaned and most said that if I just did it slowly (they suggested about 3 days between cutting feedings), I should have no issue with engorgement. I wish they’d told that to my left boob. Sorry – is this TMI? You might want to stop reading now. Last week I noticed a big solid lump there – not the whole boob of granite as I’d noticed with engorgement before, but just sort of a ball of it in the center – that hurt like anything when the munchkin would bump into it (which she did often – how does she know?!). I decided to call my doctor. After I got past the receptionist’s attempt to web MD my problem (have you tried a warm compress? Um, could I speak to someone with a medical degree of some sort about this? I just want to make sure this is normal.), the doctor told me that this sometimes happens. I can try ibuprofen and a warm compress (ok, receptionist, you win this round!) and I should come in if it doesn’t go away in a month. I’m sorry – let me repeat – A MONTH. Argh!

The warm compress wasn’t doing much, as I soon discovered I didn’t really seem to have a blockage per se (there’s not delicate way to put this so let’s just be blunt – when I tried to massage out the “blockage” in the shower, I sprayed all over.) – just more engorgement. So I decided to go back to the old wives tales my friends had told me to use in case I experienced engorgement when my milk first came in (I didn’t. I felt like I was waiting for enough milk FOREVER). Note – now that I think of it, some of those ideas include icing the swollen area – exactly the opposite of what you do for a blockage, but I digress. Anyway, the main one had been cabbage leaves in the bra. Even her pediatrician had suggested this for weaning. And heck, as it was almost St. Patrick’s Day, what good timing… (I wish there were a sarcasm font.)

The first night, I put them in for a couple of hours. The small amount of remaining milk on the right side seemed to respond (that hadn’t really been a problem anyway), but not so much the other. So now… well, I’d have to say I was uneven. Just call me leftie. Southpaw? On second thought – DON’T! Great. I’m pretty sure this was only obvious to me and not something other people were really noting (as we’ve gone pretty far down the TMI path already, I’ll just go ahead and note that my chest is usually pretty un-noteworthy so no one is staring anyway). Regardless if that is true – I’m going to tell myself that.

So the next night, I tried going to bed with cabbage in the left cup. As a side note, my friends who’d suggested doing this when my milk came in had been very clear that I should NOT leave the cabbage in for very long – I think their suggestions were along the lines of half an hour – as it was very effective and could dry up supply too much. So I’d thought the couple hours the first night should be more than enough. Sleeping with it I thought might dry up supplyso much it'd make breastfeeding impossible if I ever decided to have a second child! But, um, no… At least not right away.

A day later it did seem like maybe things were on the mend. And now that St. Pat’s day is actually here, well it’s possible that I won’t even need to get “festive” and wear any green in my bra all day! Wouldn’t my ancestors be so proud…?

Did anyone else have trouble weaning due to engorgement? What did you do? How long did it take to fix? What’s the weirdest suggestion you heard – actually, let’s not limit to engorgement on that and go with any nursing suggestions?! And, as always, please send along any ideas for getting the baby to eat solids and/or recipes for making baby food. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Not really a giveaway - but some coupons

I generally don’t do giveaways or much along the lines of schilling, but I happened to have gotten a good offer so I wanted to pass it on. Here’s my full disclosure – no, I’m not getting paid or free tickets or any sort of prize or remuneration for doing this. But I love coupons! And this, my readers, is a coupon for you! I don’t think too many live in the DC area, so I’m not sure how useful it is, but I thought I’d pass it on just in case. I’m including the info (exactly as sent to me) for 30% off for the Big Apple Circus in case it’s of use to anyone. Here it is:

Information regarding the promo code is as follows (please do not edit):
To purchase your discounted tickets to the Big Apple Circus:
Online: and submit the code POP10 in the Promotional Codes box
By Phone: CALL 888-541-3750 and mention code POP10
In Person: Big Top Box Office 10AM–6PM daily. No service fee. Bring a copy of this blog post
*Offer good on select seat locations and performances. Must present this blog post to receive discount at the box office. Performance schedule subject to change. Offer is subject to availability; not valid on prior purchases; cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions. This offer can be revoked at any time. Discount amount varies. Limit 8 tickets per order. No refunds or exchanges. Telephone and Internet orders are subject to standard service fees.

OK, that said. We went to Big Apple Circus a couple of years ago – yes, before kids. I don’t know… we’re masochistic that way? No seriously. My husband had mentioned he thought it would be fun to go to the circus, so I got him tickets for his birthday. So my thoughts – I can vaguely remember going to the circus as a child and my recollections were of the “lions and tigers and bears (Oh my!)” variety – you know, a total spectacle / show. While the Big Apple Circus is fun, it’s a much smaller scale than that – the animals include horses and dogs rather than the full scale wild variety. However, that said, it’s WAY cheaper than Barnum and Bailey! I mean, I think it’s about half the price (and less with the handy dandy coupon). So for a more economical fun way to introduce your kids to the circus, I think you might enjoy – just don’t go expecting Barnum and Bailey or you'll be disappointed. Hmm… with this review I’m thinking they might not send me the coupon again when the munchkin is old enough to come along with us… Ah the risks I take for full disclosure for you.

And, as long as we’re going down the coupon path, why not totally sell out? OK, just kidding. Once again – here’s the whole story. I learned about this service via an email a few weeks ago and thought it was kind of a cool idea, so I forwarded it to a bunch of friends. I’m including “my” link so if you sign up and use the service at all, I will get a $10 credit on my next purchase. (If you sign up, you’ll get a similar link you can forward to friends for your own credit.) But you can also sign up without my link and that’s fine too. I just think it’s kind of cool and if I’m going the coupon route, why not throw this in?

The site is called groupon ( Basically it uses the internet to take advantage of the group discount concept. So each day they negotiate a deal with a local vendor (you set it for your geographic area) and if enough people sign up for the service, you get a group discount rate. If not enough people sign up, there’s no commitment to buy and no discount.

Sorry for schilling today, but really this is not the sign of sell outs to come! Both just seemed like useful discounts to me so I wanted to pass them along. As the type of person who tends to do a search on “Quiznos coupons” (or name the restaurant of your choice) before going to lunch, I had to pass them on.

So for today’s prompt – let me know if you consider this too big a sell out or too annoying. I probably won’t do many of these promos, as I only want to pass on things I find useful or would use myself, but if you as the readers hate them, consider this my last one. Or let me know if you find this at all useful or like it – or, better yet, if you have any good discounts to share! ;)

Monday, March 15, 2010

It’s like wild kingdom in here.

You want to know where the wild things are, Maurice Sendak? Well, I’ll tell you - they are in my basement!

Some of you may remember my story of the snake skin (unfortunately, I can't get the link to work today - basically there was a VERY large black snake skin the basement which we found during walk through. Its owner was likley 6 feet long or longer), when we did the walk through on our house. I refuse to say more on that as I will start convulsing – let’s just say HUMONGOUS and it is amazing we still bought the place and leave it at that. You may also remember (from my constant complaints on the subject) that we have ants. I would say that is enough. We have a baby, a dog, a whole bunch of bugs and the remnants of a snake. That is a full house, my friend. No more.

But apparently not.

Two weeks ago, my husband and I were both home and I went downstairs to move some laundry. He was videotaping the baby doing her little “dance” routine (she turns on the music in her play yard and wobbles about in her unsteady stance and says “dance!” – as first time parents, we think this is the cutest thing in the history of the universe). Midway through the video, I believe you can hear a scream from the distance and my husband yelling – what? Apparently, you can not hear my somewhat quieter – “Mouse!,” as he came running down to see if my arm had been bitten off (by the anacondas that frequent our basement!) only to laugh at my reaction to the tiny little fur ball stuck to the bug trap.

Yeah, let’s go back a minute. So when the exterminator came, he put out ant bait/poison all over the first floor and then put these bigger traps in the basement and garage to figure out what other bugs we might potentially have. Pretty quickly I noticed a few of the hopping spiders (I think they’re actually called spider crickets – they have a bunch of legs, hop about a foot off the ground and will attack you if caught off guard and/or suck out your brains in your sleep. It’s possible I made the last part up. But it’s also possible I didn’t!). OK, good. He could see we had those and figure out what to do about them. Some time passed and I noticed – those hopping spider corpses stuck to the trap didn’t appear to be there anymore… As they likely hadn’t just disintegrated, they’d either found their way off (because they’d been storing their energy laying there for a few weeks waiting to pounce… clearly) or … something bigger had come along and removed them for dinner. Yes, logic told me there was something else going on. But logic is never my friend in these circumstances, so I told logic to take a hike, I prefer ignorant bliss.

But I would go look at the traps periodically. To see if they’d magically reappeared? OK, I’m not that blissfully ignorant. I wanted to know if there were new ones. This particular Monday morning, I looked at the trap and saw something bigger on the other side. Excellent housekeeper that I am, I assumed it was a big piece of lint or dirt (in my defense, this is the unfinished side of the basement). I went to move the trap to see what it was and… it moved! SO YOU CAN SEE WHY I SCREAMED!

Hubby was sent to dispatch with this. We agreed that we couldn’t kill it (dude, it looked at us! I mean, I wasn't inviting it for dinner or anything, but I couldn't personally be the one to kill it), so he went to release it into the woods – all the while threatening that he would take my car to do this – the mouse could ride shotgun. Yeah, and then I’d find a shotgun too… He drove his truck to the wooded area a mile or so away, sang a chorus of “Born Free” and let Mickey go.

I checked the other traps and noticed some distinctive bite marks in one – which my husband insisted must have been from the same mouse (he just doesn’t want me to refuse to go into the basement, as he’d have to do all the laundry!). But then he did admit that, as it turns out, they did pull a mouse out when they cleaned out our ducts. In the ducts? Like they could be anywhere all over the house? I’m sticking my fingers in my ears and shouting IGNORANCE IS EFFING BLISS as we speak!

A few days later I’m back in the basement and take a look at another trap and – yup, Minnie must have been looking for her mate. Oh God help me. Hubby was called in again – with extra force as this one wasn’t stuck on so well and was trying hard to escape (the efforts looked sort of like a little kid trying to learn to jump – you know, when they stand on the ground and try to pull their bodies upward by sheer force of will without bending their knees?). When he came up with the whole trap in a plastic bag – as he didn’t want to get too near it – there wasn’t so much laughing at me this time… (As a side note, no I didn't scream this time - as I was LOOKING for mice and wasn't surprised by it.)

I had been planning on saving mouse traps for a birthday gift for him (later this week – here honey, here’s something for the house…), but decided it could NOT wait. We were off to Home Depot. We started with the sticky strips – these were just like the bug ones, but my husband noted that the bugs ones seemed to be getting too much hair on them (from the mice) to be effective. (Scream suppressed) And one catch and release baited one (which I REFUSE to check as it involves touching it). But we also got these plug in repellant things that my coworker recommended. She lives nearby and said she hasn’t seen a mouse since she put them in several years ago. So far, so good, but we’ll see.

So what about you? Any domestic interloper horror stories in your house? What’s your best remedy for mice? Or, God forbid, snakes? I don’t want to talk about snakes…

All about MEme - Pretty or not, here we prom

So today's question is on prom. Pictures have been requested, but "unfortunately" I don't have them with me to upload. Oh yeah, that's a bummer... Shucks and darn... I'd need the witness protection blackout for my face on at least one - which would then hide the hair and ruin the point.

We should start with - I went to an all girls' high school, so it was up to me to ask a guy to prom and pony up for tickets and whatever else. Junior year I didn't have a boyfriend - nor did I yet have my license (you have to be 17 in NJ and I had a December birthday) - so my major requirement for a prom date was a license /car. I didn't live near any friends where it would make sense to do a limo together (nor did I really feel like shelling out for that for my non-date) and I certainly wasn't going to have my Dad drive me! Kill me now... And let's be honest - I'm sure my Dad would totally have wanted to drive out to God knows where to pick me and my prom date up at 11 or midnight (can't remember) to hear me say - but Dad, there's an after prom party at... To be honest, a drivers license was essentially my requirement for any semi-formal. I did go to one (where I was the date to the boys' school) where someone's Dad drove. It sort of hammered in my original thought / point...

So junior year, I went with the pale pink, tea length, off the shoulder Jessica McClintock number with matching shoes and purse. (Molly Ringwald, eat your heart out.) I think I wore enough of those off the shoulder dresses in the early 90's to convince me never to do this again (works well when you're short and dancing with your much taller the date. The fabric strip that fell below your shoulders sits attractively around your ears then and you can't raise your arms high enough to hit his shoulders.) It was very 1992 - though thank God, I'd at least put my hair in a French twist for this (this year...).

My prom was (stupidly) on a Thursday night. It was Ascension Thursday and we had off Thurs and Fri. But really - none of our dates did. A brilliant money saving scheme there, school admins... I asked a friend of mine to be my date, platonically - probably a better move than drooling over a secret crush and trying to assess his every action (I was also a fickle teenager, so there's a good shot my crush would not have continued from the time I asked him till the time of the dance - I say this with confidence because it happened once for a Christmas dance - in that case, his school not mine. So when we essentially weren't talking to each other and I was refusing to dance with him because he kept poking me and tickling me when we danced, it was a LONG night...). He was a decent date - good enough that he was my stand in date for senior prom as well! His fatal flaw was the complete lack of desire to dance - which, when I did convince him to dance, was because of the complete lack of skill in dancing! My favorite line was when he stood still on dance floor and said - "I'm vogueing. This is my position." (I still use this to cover my own bad dancing.)

Senior year was the year of bad prom hair. No conservative french twist for me. Instead I went with spiral curls and pushed all my hair to one side of my head with the stream of curls hanging over my shoulder. Grab the what not to wear people now... I remember thinking - this either looks really cool or really awful and I'm not sure which. As it was NJ in 1993, it was probably OK then. In retrospect - let's burn those pics before my daughter asks to see them. The dress was Jessica McClintock again (yes, there was an outlet nearby. Why do you ask?) - but this time short and white and strapless. Think the original Jamie Gertz Jersey Girl movie... I am so proud. (I'm sorry to say that I can not find an image online to do this justice, so you will just have to use your imagination.)

Yes, there was many a bad dress, bad hairstyle, bad date, bad - everything in those early years of the 90s. But thank God it ended then... Until I was a bridesmaid - I think I'd have a hard time picking a worst dress there. It's between the green satin skirt and white blouse (that looked like you threw your Dad's shirt on over your dress) that the groom (yeah, not even the bride here!) insisted made us look like "Irish lasses" for the St. Pat's day wedding - God help me. And the barbie pink number that my fellow bridesmaid calculated had 10 YARDS of fabric around the bottom (and enough crinoline to support that - and make you have to turn sideways to walk between the tables). But I suppose that is a story for another day...

And you? Worst prom or bridesmaid dress? Or did your fashion sense fail you elsewhere?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The other side of the coin. Those days your mother didn’t warn you about.

Some days I can be good at living in the moment. Noticing and appreciating the little things. Just being and being happy. I think those days are easier when I’ve had some sleep. When she is not teething. When the moons align correctly! Recently... I did not have one of those days.

My husband looked at me one Saturday afternoon and said – I think maybe we’re both just a little stressed. And I think I know the cause – while motioning in the physical equivalent of a stage whisper to the car seat in the back seat. Hmm. Yup.

I hate to admit it. I hate to admit that there are days like this. I HATE when parents go on and on complaining about their kids (kids they WANTED! Heck, why KEEP having them if they’re so hard?!) all the time. And because I wanted this baby so badly. Well – wait, I still do! I’m just tired.

We'd had a bad night that Friday. We were trying to do more sleep training as she was almost a year and I would soon stop nursing making night time feedings a lot harder. The problem is we’ve waited far too long for sleep training and she’s getting mobile (another reason to do this NOW! Before she starts getting out of bed when she wakes up). So we put her down and she cries and screams and stands in her crib. She gets more and more tired. But she’s standing. So she can’t fall asleep. So cries more and louder. So there’s no crying it out. We’re on modified Ferber – where one of us has to go in and “knock her over!” Ok, not knock. Not really. We don’t just go push the kid around! But we do have lie her down. Which pisses her off. And breaks our hearts. She’s standing there and sees us come in. She puts her arms up in the air to be picked up looking all sad and pathetic. And then we lay her down in the crib! The screaming that follows is… Oh man, how to describe it. I feel like I’m going to be brought up on war crimes.

Now usually, she goes to sleep within a couple minutes of that. She’s exhausted and really just needs to lie down to go to sleep. But not Friday. We had two hours of listening, going in and lying her down, even rocking and cuddling. Till finally we realized – oh man, she’s teething! Even after the motrin, she cried for a bit, but finally went to sleep.

But despite the two hour intermission on sleep till 2 am, she was still raring to go in the morning. Not just awake early, but wanting lots of attention and no plans of a nap in sight (in fact, she wound up napping later than normal). So when that baby alarm clock started going in Saturday morning, it was all we could do to drag ourselves out of bed. The day just loomed. Does this happen to anyone else? Your sanity has entirely left you and you wonder how you will make it through today? You start to think all the days look so much alike - an unending desert of days. I know that this period is fleeting. Soon she won’t be a baby. I will miss these days terribly and insist that they flew by. One day we’ll watch her graduate and maybe get married and all those adult things and we’ll wonder what happened to our little baby. But today. Oh today. Just let me make it through today.

But we did make it through. And she slept reasonably well on Saturday night. I thought Sunday would be very rough as my husband was working – and these sorts of moods should not be handled alone! But I wound up meeting some friends and hanging out with them. The munchkin napped in the car on the way to their house at 10 then another friend came with her 6 month old and we stayed through the early afternoon. She even napped on me again at their house. And I felt human again! I’d seen people! I’d been social! Sure, I spent a lot of the day chasing her around as she attempted to remove all the books and movies from the shelves – and show them where else they’re not baby proofed (they are expecting in a few months), but still.

Please, tell me I’m not the only one! Do you have those days where you question your sanity in motherhood? Where you wonder why this job doesn’t come with just a few days of vacation / paid time off each year? And what do you do to cope (especially if it’s not a day that you can take a vacation)?

Her Sweet Baby Breath

Some days you just notice the little things. She’s finishes nursing and is laying in my arms and sighs and I smell that sweet baby breath and think – she is mine.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Her first real cold. AKA My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?

Note - this one was actually written a couple of weeks ago and I forgot to post it... So yes, the muchkin is just fine now!

Last week I started to notice the munchkin had a bit of a sniffle. OK, not a big deal. She’s had the sniffles before. Of course, the last time was when my husband had the swine flu, so I took her to the doctor anyway, and the doctor looked at me like I was totally crazy because she really wasn’t sick at all (but everyone else on the planet was in the middle of flu hysteria!).

This time, though, she was starting to really actually get sick. From a bit stuffy on Saturday to full on coughing and snotting all over on Sunday. Now, as we’ve just moved, we’ve just switched doctors for her. We’re actually still with the same overall practice, but have switched the office we go to. Actually, maybe that’s not exactly true. This place seems more like a chain that’s franchised out offices in both places – like they’re not that closely related, as it turns out… We’d chosen the first office because they had really great hours – open till 8 most nights, Saturday morning hours and Sunday morning emergency hours (i.e., they are open every Sunday morning, but won’t do regularly scheduled appointments then). We figured this decision was paying off when we called at 9 on Sunday. Except the new office does not actually have Sunday hours. Ugh. Well, we thought about it and we haven’t actually gone to the new office yet (her next appt will be there), so why not just call the old office?

My husband called and spoke to the nurse there. Once she realized we had switched offices, she attempted to blow him off as fast as she could and suggested we didn’t need to come in. This annoyed him. He cut her off to say – why don’t you let me finish telling you the symptoms before you tell me she doesn’t need to come in? So he did. And having some medical training, he sounded all professional when he explained it – I listened to her chest yesterday and it was clear, but this morning her congestion seems to have moved into the lungs, though she is still afebrile (doesn’t have a fever). His concern was that these types of things can progress really rapidly in babies (and it seemed to have moved so quickly from yesterday), that he wanted to catch it fast. Anyway, I can’t remember all the terms he used (I would never get away with this), but he pulled it off and the nurse asked, ‘Can you hold please, Doctor?’ Now while he never actually said he as a doctor, he didn’t disabuse her of this notion. Instead he said, I think she’s probably fine, but I’d really like to have her checked out as I generally see adults, not children (note – this is an entirely true statement. It’s just that he sees them as a paramedic, not as a doctor.). And, in the spirit of “professional courtesy,” they fit her in.

We arrived at the office and Dr. Dad continued to use proper medical terminology as he explained what was going on to the nurse checking us in. She looked at him and said – ‘oh, are you a doctor?’ Now, he obviously wasn’t going to lie outright (and hey, we were already there anyway!), so instead he said –”No, but I play one on TV."

Yes, we are THAT old that we’re quoting that ancient commercial! But it was always one of my favorites – I mean, how ridiculous? I’m not a doctor. Actually, I’m an actor on a popular soap opera. But let me give you medical advice.) Anyway, apparently our nurse was not old enough to catch the reference, so she instead said – really? You do? Oh gosh… (OK, if you haven’t seen that commercial, I can see how you would probably take that statement at face value and assume he was serious, but it was pretty funny to us.) He explained, no, not really. And then reiterated, but I deal with adults, not children. (So again – the impression that maybe he is a doctor is still sort of there, but he’s never said he is.)

Anyway, the doctor finally came in (I wonder if he would have gotten our reference!) and checked the munchkin out. It turned out that luckily the congestion hadn’t moved to the lungs – what we were hearing in her lungs was actually an echo of the congestion in her head/throat (but her body is so little, it sounds like it might be in the lungs). He said – the good and bad news is – it’s a head cold. She’ll be a little miserable and very snotty and coughing for awhile, but she should be just fine. And if she’s not fine in a few days, bring her back.

And that was that. Thank goodness! The baby will be fine, but we are truly ancient and decrepit parents who make bad 80’s commercial references. It’ll be just a few years before the munchkin is driving us to our gerontologists and reminding us to put in our teeth first.

I know this is only the beginning. Once my child gets older the moments where I feel 104 will only increase, but I guess I should be prepared. Tell me your stories of those first times your kids made you realize you weren’t a kid anymore and made you feel a bit outdated. (If it’s happening already, I’m sure her teenage years are going to be a real blast!)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My thoughts on snow

In a break from the CONSTANT snow, yesterday was a nasty day of cold and icky rain. Until sometime in the evening... when I noticed the rain had become cold, wet snow. UGH! I called my husband and told him that if it stuck to the ground, I was considering euthanasia (with this much snow, we're up to "putting us out of our misery and constant pain" status). This reminded me that I had a few pictures to share on the subject.

The first comes from Eva at Wresting with Retirement.

The second a friend sent me with the note that Summer is almost here - we can see the dear moving around in the backyard, so it won't be long now...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Post it Note Tuesday

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

OK, yes, as promised I am FINALLY catching up on the munchkin’s birthday – more than 2 weeks ago! (February 12th – I like to say she’s exactly 200 years younger than Lincoln.)

So following ALL the snow!, my Mom arrived on Thursday for the munchkin’s first birthday celebrations. We initially planned to just have a small dinner with my Mom, my husband’s parents and his sister. But then, one of my Mom’s cousin’s emailed and said – hey, I saw on your Mom’s facebook she’s headed to VA for the birthday celebrations. Thanks for inviting me! He went on to explain that he and his son would actually be in NoVA that weekend visiting his Mom and would love to see us if we were free. So I invited him to the shindig and after getting approval from his Mom (whom he refers to as “she who must be obeyed”) and his son, they were able to come. And I have to say – I was so excited! See, most of my family is in NJ. Growing up, with everyone close, birthday parties involved grandparents and a plethora of aunts, uncles and cousins. Then those cousins started having babies (most are 15-20 years older than me), so their birthday parties were huge family events too – and family events with BABIES (my 10 year old self could not have been more excited!). They were too large for sit down dinners and were always what I’ve learned since moving is NJ (or NY) buffet. No matter what we were having, there was always a big tray of ziti (lasagna would also be acceptable here, but I think my Dad preferred ziti). So it’d be ham, mac & cheese, fried chicken and a tray of ziti – an incongruous meal for sure, but what the heck!

Anyway, as I prepared for the munchkin’s birthday, I realized that inviting cousins 200 miles away was just probably not appropriate. They really couldn’t likely come, so setting up any expectation that they should seemed wrong. We would just have a sit down dinner with close family – the 7 of us. It would be nice. The munchkin would never know the difference and only I would feel the ache of what was missing in it.

So when we added 3 other guests – more distant family who we don’t see all the time – well now it felt like a party! Sure, we still did a sit down dinner – and used every chair we had at the dining room table (well, there WAS one other broken one in the basement). But I get a little ahead of myself as the party was Saturday.

I’d decided to try to make a cheesecake for the munckin’s birthday. As she won’t do solids, (see that blog post for details if you have ANY ideas on combating that one – note this will probably be my ongoing plea), I thought maybe a cheesecake would be “mushy” enough for her. So I tried a recipe for “real Italian ricotta” cheesecake – and wound up with flan. Sure, it was fine. But it wasn’t cheesecake. And it wasn’t creamy. We tried it out on her Friday night (her actual birthday) and it was a no go! We’d gone to the doctor that day who told us – as she was thriving, we just needed to start weaning to get rid of her back up plan and keep offering “real food.” He made us feel better by telling us his daughter had been the same (could gag on a grain of rice), but got over it and became the human vacuum cleaner who ate everything for several months (till she hit the terrible twos and went totally picky).

So Saturday, as we tried to prep and clean the house (and put away those last boxes – most are actually emptied, but a few are shoved in our closet…), we ran back out to the store to buy a birthday cake!

Everyone came over in the afternoon and I really think it was a good time. We had a fire in the fireplace with lots of snacks/appetizers. Dinner was delayed – of course… and then overcooked (but my husband is taking the blame for this one!), but it all turned out fine. We got to dessert and the munchkin spurned the store bought cake as well. Guess she’ll just go with the strained green beans instead… Should I worry about teenaged eating disorders now? ;)

So no pictures of a baby covered in cake. She really wasn’t even interested in the tiny dab of icing that daddy stuck to his finger. I was surprised she didn’t even want to mess with the cake (guess it left more edible dessert for the rest!), but alas. Maybe we’ll take that picture next year…

Please tell me about your children’s first birthdays and/or any family traditions you have! I’d especially love to hear about family traditions for small families or those whose families are far away, but I’d like to hear all stories! Also, as always, does anyone have ideas for getting a baby to eat more solid foods? She’s getting hungrier as we wean, so she’ll go through several jars of baby food in one sitting, so it’s getting a little crazy! And I am worried about her nutrition, as she’s picky on which she’ll eat. Thanks!