Monday, December 31, 2007

In Perpetuity

New Years reminds me of time. And how quickly it passes. Did an entire year really just go by in the time it took me to blink?

Thanks to my financial management class I know that perpetuity means forever and ever. This is usually applied to getting dividends or interest (a good thing) for as long as you own the stock or bond. Applied to my real life, there are lots of things that are never-ending, but it doesn't quite come in the form on money.
  1. Laundry. No matter how many loads I do, there is always more. I think this phenomenon has only manifested since LP arrived. Part of this can be attributed to the fact that I used to be able to wear jeans or a sweater more than once before having to wash them and now I can't wear anything more than five minutes without having snot, drool, banana or some other substance smeared on to me.
  2. Dishes. It seems that no sooner do I empty the dishwasher it is time to put it back up again. On one hand this is a good thing, we are eating home more often, saving money on take-out and eating more healthfully. On the other hand we are probably using more water and energy. Thank goodness we got a new dishwasher a few months ago. The other one fit about four dinner dishes and used way more electricity and water to operate.
  3. Housework. Crumbs procreate in my house. I vacuum and no less than 10 seconds later there are crumbs or dustbunnies in the nooks, the crannies, the middle of the floor....
  4. Catching up. I feel like there is never enough time or energy to do all of the catching up with friends that I need to do. I always have someone I meant to call or some information I intended to pass on that never gets to the other party. By the time I remember to call at a decent time the moment has passed, the story is no longer funny or there are a million other things that have happened in the interim.

Happy New Year everyone. May you have more time and energy to do the important things in 2008 - more number 4 and less 1-3!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Finding Coverage

As much as I am sure everyone would love to read a post about my take on universal health care coverage, this post is actually about child care coverage.

This week LP's day care is closed. Fortunately, I only have to get people to watch her for two days since I am typically home on Mondays and Fridays and Tuesday was a holiday that everyone gets off. Even more fortunately, LP has two sets of grandparents that look for any opportunity to help out and watch the energetic little munchkin.

LP spent yesterday with my mother-in-law. Apparently she was "an angel". They went shopping and she spent the entire time calmly standing in the main section of the cart, enjoying the view of the toy store. If I was the one pushing the cart I would have to resort to bribing LP to stay in the cart. They also managed to eat lunch out at a local diner. Again, if the Hoos and I were there she would spend the time throwing food, climbing out of the seat, and running around the restaurant. Typical, right?

Today LP is with my parents. I am sure I will have a similar report about how she was wonderful and angelic and the most perfect little child. I am not going to complain, though. If she wants to be good for our babysitters, that is great, because that means they won't mind babysitting again.

On a more serious note, the week without day care really has me thinking about how parents with elementary age kids do it. My parents were teachers, so growing up we pretty much always had the same vacations. The Hoos and I and most other parents do not have this luxury (although there is no way I would trade my job for being a teacher full-time). Summers become a time of juggling different camps, seeking full-time babysitters, and paying lots and lots of $$$ to keep your kids occupied.

But summers only come up once a year, I am also thinking about the five days a week that the kids go to school!

In our neighborhood, the bus pick-up time is 9:00 am. Well, even with his relatively open schedule there is no way the Hoos could get to work at a decent time (9 is considered late at a lot of offices; I get in at 7:45 currently). Of course there is before and after school care (starting at 7 and ending at 6) which I guess isn't much different than day care, but it seems to me that school-age kids start knowing the difference between kids whose parents pick them up and kids who "have" to hang out at school and do their homework. Ugh.

The good news is, LP is in day care for another three years. That should give me enough time to get my head around all of the craziness that will become my schedule in the not-too-distant future. Just in time for carpools and tee-ball practice.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Not Gonna Lie

I am glad Christmas is over. Don't get me wrong, it was very nice to have four days off to spend with the Hoos and LP, but really the few days around Christmas are such a waste. We couldn't really leave the house for most of the time.

Saturday, the roads were a zoo, with lots of people running out to do their last minute shopping. In actuality, the drivers probably seemed tame in comparison to all of the crazies in the grocery store. I ended up going grocery shopping around dinner time, in the hopes that people would be home eating instead of zooming around the aisles trying to remember what they need for the perfect Christmas dinner. My plan didn't really work as it still took me a while. Unfortunately, with the stores closing early Monday for Christmas Eve and remaining closed through Tuesday it was necessary for me to get my grocery shopping in.

Sunday, the weather was lousy. It was cold and rainy and windy later in the day. I think only the Hoos left the house, and that was to go and get fish for our new fish tank. Let me officially welcome Fred and Wilma to the family. LP loves them. She wants to feed them constantly. She pushes the Hoos and I over to the shelves that hold the fish food every 10 minutes in hopes we will give in and let her feed them again. Anyway, we didn't really want to leave the house anyway.

Monday the weather was better. We wanted to be sure that we all got some fresh air, and although it was too cold to take LP for a walk, we spent a good half hour running around the yard. We also put up our new bird feeder and went out as a family to buy bird seed to fill it. Fortunately the Wild Bird Center is less than a mile from our home. And since we were cooped up the day before everyone was itching for an excursion. Otherwise, we would have skipped buying the food.

Tuesday the weather was clear and cold, but there was no where to go. Literally, everything was closed. I don't begrudge the stores, it is nice that they want their employees home with their families, really. We only left the house to run around the yard for a while. With nothing on TV (I actually watched the local news on News 12 cycle through twice at one point) - can someone explain the channel that only plays the burning log? who watches that? - we were left up to our own devices for entertainment. Fortunately, LP is very entertaining. I also helped the Hoos seat the top of his kayak to the bottom while LP napped. Now I can say that I am helping him to build a kayak - aren't you impressed?

When do you think it will be safe to leave the house again? When will the stores be less hectic, the crazy people sedated and the parking lots less hazardous?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

What Have I Signed Up For?

For the first time in forever, LP woke up at 6. Crying. We ignored her and she eventually stopped, only to restart 2 minutes later. The Hoos drew the short straw (actually, there was no drawing I just said 'Do you want to check on her?') and went in to her room where she was standing up in her crib.


He picker her up to quiet her down, but that was only a temporary fix. We employed Orajel (she does have all four of her eye teeth in various stages of coming in) and when that didn't work, went with the Mylicon (not sure that stuff ever works, but LP likes the taste and when I asked if her belly hurt and she wanted medicine she nodded). Still no rest for the weary.

Even when I let her lay across my head, practically inhibiting my breathing. It quieted her down, but it certainly didn't put her to sleep. The Hoos, who is usually much less open to letting LP sleep in our bed or on him in the wee hours even let her sleep on top of him. That didn't work either.

We turned on the TV and both rolled over so that she could watch and we could rest. This only worked for a few seconds until LP pulled my hair to make me roll over and watch with her. And if I closed my eyes she would poke them, calling out "Eyes!". This child is so lucky she is cute. It is definitely an evolutionary adaptation to help them survive.

Around 8:15 the Hoos removed LP from the bedroom and took her downstairs. I seriously could not even imagine moving. I joined them around 9:45, still looking like a zombie according to the Hoos.

Like clockwork at 11:15 LP fell asleep on me. Giving me plenty of time to contemplate how I am possibly going to survive feedings every two hours come June when LP's sibling arrives. That adrenaline rush that I had the first time around will kick back in, right?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ponytailed Mama

This morning for the first time I put LP's hair in a ponytail. Well, at least the back of it. She still doesn't have enough hair in the front to make a ponytail. Of course I broke three hairbands doing this - they make the children's ones too small to put your fingers inside to open them and I have no idea how else to put them on. Sigh...

Anyway, she looks cute and hasn't pulled it out yet.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mr. Clean No Match for My Baby

So, Monday my Chanukah present arrived. A little late, but that wasn't the Hoos' fault. Her name is Gabby and she cleaned my house. She removed stuck on gunk from my hard-wood floors, sucked ground in cookies out of my living room rug, and scrubbed my bathroom. Honestly, this was one of the best presents EVER.

Unfortunately, LP doesn't much notice when the house is clean. Probably because she is so good at making it messy. Yesterday was a true testament to her ability to be a one-girl wrecking crew.

While I was making her dinner, she was on the floor of our office coloring on flip chart paper (with washable markers) and eating Cheerios from a bag. As soon as I walk into the room to check on her, she picks up the bag and upends it, relishing in scattering Cheerios over the entire floor surface of the office. And, in case any cereal got stuck in the bag, she shook it several times for good measure.

Fortunately, her dinner was done; I picked her up, strapped her into her booster in the dining room and set the mac n' cheese in front of her so that I could go and attempt to locate every last Cheerio and chuck them. Of course, after collecting the fallen cereal I return to the dining room to discover macaroni on the floor, on the table, on the chair and pretty much everywhere except in LP's mouth. ARRGGHHH.

I leave her strapped in the booster while I clean up the dinner and attempt to wipe it off of all of the surfaces before it solidifies into gunk that requires more effort and energy to remove than I have at this point. I then take her out of the booster and tell her to run away before I throttle her. She runs into the kitchen, climbs up on the kitchen chair and pounds on the table yelling out "more!" because apparently she is still hungry after throwing more macaroni than she ate.

Will I ever learn? Probably not because I give her a spoon and some applesauce and closely supervise her as she spoons the sweet goodness into her mouth. After 5 minutes of watching her eat (as you can imagine a toddler feeding herself applesauce is a time-consuming process, she only ate 1/4 of the container at this point), I figure I can turn away to the sink to make some progress cleaning stuff up. Within two minutes applesauce is smeared on the table, the chair, the tile floor... If you are keeping count this is the THIRD ROOM she has "uncleaned" in less than an hour.

As part of my present, we were going to have Gabby return every two weeks to clean the house for a few months. I am thinking at this point that every other day still wouldn't be frequently enough...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I'm a Winner!

How psyched was I to receive an email from Working Moms Against Guilt letting me know I was the winner of Day 2 of their No-Guilt Holiday Giveaway?! "Just a little" would be a gross understatement.

You all know I love free stuff, but free stuff that I totally didn't expect AND that totally rocks? Really, it is just too much. I am really psyched to check out the Wowwee Robopanda (yes, LP has more than enough toys, but a high-tech toy that can read her stories?! Man, I hope she isn't afraid of it.) The Hoos is most excited about the two Carmen Electra's Aerobic Striptease DVDs: In the Bedroom and Vegas Strip In the Bedroom. I don't think it has to do with seeing his pregnant wife striptease...

Stay tuned for more information on these fantabulous gifts. And get your butt over to WMAG to see about getting gifts of your own!

Look Out for the Flying Old Lady!

I spent yesterday in Columbus, OH. Literally, just the day: a car whisked me to the airport at 5:45am and returned me home at 10pm. In between were meetings and airport challenges. Oh, and a fun experience that made me feel like I was over the hill.

Because of issues at LaGuardia airport, I ended up flying home a a puddle jumper. It was a teeny, tiny plane. As I sat down I turned to my seat mate and commented, "Wow, I am relatively small and I feel uncomfortable." She responded, "I am 12, I am just big for my age." Okay, not exactly relevant, but definitely true. She was twice my size. Turns out she was flying to New York to meet her dad for the first time.

A really nice, sweet girl, we talked most of the flight. She told me she was a seventh grader and I asked what books she was reading in English class (I have an 18-month old, I am not used to talking to more mature children, what can I say?). I then told her that we read "The Outsiders" and "Johnny Tremain" when I was in 7th grade. She looked at me blankly. "I guess it was a while ago, I was in 7th grade in 1988." Her response was that she was BORN in 1995.

In case that didn't make me feel like an old fogey, she went on to tell me that her parents were YOUNGER than me. I felt nauseous. And it had nothing to do with being pregnant or on an uncomfortable flight.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Rock the Crazy Happy Dance

I AM DONE WITH MY FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT CLASS!! YIPPEE! Doesn't everyone want to party with me?

My exam is due tonight. Wanting to just be done with it and get the course to go away, I submitted it last night. At least I thought I did. My email was acting screwy, so I sent it again to the professor this afternoon just to make sure he got it and he responded right away:

Hi Amy:

The exam did get delivered. You got an 86 on the final and an A- for the course.


You read right folks, not only is the class over, but I passed! With flying colors! Happy dance, happy dance:

Thanks to my Uncle Joey this video is right side up! YAY!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Baking Cookies

LP and I just finished baking a big old batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Thanks to her help I have a feeling this will be the best baking ever. Note her adorable apron.

Posted with apologies to my friend Kiki, whose daughter hates sweets. Poor thing, we will save you some cookies.

Holidays are "Free" Time

There is something about the holiday season that makes people want to give you things. And no, I do not just mean your friends and family that you normally exchange gifts with. For some reason retailers, mommy websites and a whole host of other places are giving out free stuff. Not that I am complaining.

Here are some of my recent "gets":
  • Two $10 gift certificates to Kohls. I used one to get LP two blanket sleepers for $2 (they were marked down to $6 each). Can't beat that with a stick. It makes taking hours to comb through the messy racks almost worth it.

  • Terralina face cream. This stuff is wonderful. It was a giveaway from ConnectingMoms, and considering my cheap-ass self is seriously considering spending some of my Chanukah gelt to buy another $40+ jar of it it really must have either some properties that make me forget the cost or melt away my wrinkles and hide my huge pores.

  • Kashi TLC Party Crackers. This was from VocalPoint. They send coupons forstuff all the time and I figured this is a great season for party crackers. Boy, was I wrong. These taste like the carboard box they came in. Really, don't buy them. I forgive VocalPoint though, last month they sent me a $50 Target giftcard for filling out a survey. THAT is a good reward.

  • Dawn Direct Foam dish soap. Seriously, I don't remember which mommy site sent this to me. But it arrived yesterday via FedEx. A regular size bottle of dish soap. With Chanukah over I didn't think we would be getting any more packages so I was pretty psyched to get a package at all, even if it was just dishwashing foam.

Speaking of free stuff, check out the Working Moms Against Guilt week of giveaways. They have some pretty neat sounding stuff.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Softy

Okay, I admit it, I am totally the softy in our house.

If we are eating dinner and LP wants to get out of her booster, I am the one to let her down. If she then comes over to me and says "up" I do temporarily resist, but once she says "pease..." I give in and put her on my lap and attempt to eat while fending off her dangerous fingers.

For the last two nights LP has decided that she doesn't like her 8:30/9 bedtime. We put her in her crib and she then cries on and off for a long long time. This is really not like her. She used to go right to sleep. Every once in a while she would howl for a few minutes but eventually she would give up and go to sleep. But not lately. Now she stands up, cries, shakes the bars on the crib, throws things out of it...any form of discontent she can display, she does.

Monday night the Hoos and I both laid down on the floor of her bedroom while we waited for her to relax. The thought was that because she could see us and therefore note that she wasn't missing anything more exciting going on, she would quickly go to sleep. Half and hour later she calmed down, her breathing got regular, and we quietly crawled out of the room.

Last night was the same story. I decided to take a new tact and instead of leaving her in the crib and me on the floor, I tried to get her to lay down on the floor with me. She would lay down for 20 seconds, jump up, rearrange the blankets on her "baby" (a naked Cabbage Patch Kid), and repeat. This went on for 10 minutes. Obviously not a brilliant strategy on Mommy's part.

I then put her back in her crib and promptly fell asleep on the floor. I think she just kept watching me. When I crawled into our bedroom at 9:30, she was still awake.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

School's Out...for the Winter

Yay for me! I had my last Financial Management class last night. Now I just have to get through the take-home final (so far I have actual answers for 13 of the 20 questions). And because I am in a good mood, I am going to ignore the fact that when I told one of my classmates I was expecting the first thing she said was "Was it planned?".

LP's school pictures came in this week. They really have the worst photographer contracted to take them. And, even though no one took a few seconds to brush/straighten my toddler's hair - she is still adorable:Yes, she has a mullet. We have not cut her hair. It just keeps growing longer in the back and not growing as fast in the front. At least her boobies don't look as big as they did last year:
Note that in this picture she is wearing random backup clothes from her bin at day care since she exploded up the back of the adorable outfit I had picked out for her. And yet, still adorable. Although looking back, she was quite, umm...round. I guess it is true what they say - parents see a beautiful kid, no matter what. What can I say?

Monday, December 10, 2007


Now that we are out in the open about expecting baby #2, another common question:

"So do you want a boy or a girl?"

Followed shortly by "I bet you want a boy, because you already have a girl."

Again, people, not really an appropriate question. While it doesn't rub me the wrong way as much as the "planned" question, it still gets my hackles up. I mean, honestly, who really wants to answer this question?

If you say "Sure, it would be nice to have one of each" and then another child of the same gender arrives, people will either do the really wonderful thing of reminding you and asking "Are you disappointed?" or just talk behind your back amongst themselves, "She must be so disappointed, she really wanted a boy." Just the sort of way you want to welcome your wonderful, beautiful, healthy new child into the world.

If you say you want another of the same they look at you like you are nuts for not wanting the full breadth of child rearing experience (but I already have all the clothes!).

LP is perfect. I have no complaints about my daughter and while no two kids are alike, I would have no problem introducing another girl into our family. If we have a boy I will be just as thrilled. I have no experience with little boys (I have really great nephews, but wouldn't consider myself an expert in dealing with males), but I didn't have experience with any newborns until LP came along, so a little more trial and error and getting peed on won't kill me.

Thanks goodness we have agreed not to find out the gender until birth. That way I won't have to deal with people asking if I am happy (because I have so much control over it) for the next 5 months of my life.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Born in a Barn

I was not entirely forthcoming yesterday when I wrote about pregnancy. I do know a lot of women that are pregnant, but I did not count myself in that group. I am just about 15 weeks pregnant with our second child. We are thrilled that LP will be a big sister next June.

When I was pregnant with LP we called her "Bump" since we didn't know her gender and thought it would be odd to keeping changing pronouns or say "it". This baby will also remain gender-unknown until birth so s/he will go by the name of Bun. As in "I have a bun in the oven".

One thing we hear much more frequently this time around is "was this planned?". The first time someone asked me I was astounded by how rude the question was. My mother and the Hoos agreed. We figured maybe this individual was an exception. But then friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances started asking. They ask me, they ask the Hoos, they ask our parents. Not every person, but at least five or six.

To me this sounds like "So, did the rubber break? Did you forget to take your pill one day last month? Do you know how birth control works?"

A. If I didn't know how birth control works, I would have been pregnant a long time ago.
B. This is none of your business. If it was not planned why would I tell random people?

Am I overly-sensitive?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

On Pregnancy

I know about half a dozen women that are currently pregnant. Aside from the obvious wonderful outcome of a pregnancy (which I pretty much talk about everyday when referencing LP) , there are lots of other perks and pitfalls that not everyone may be aware of.

Daily bloody noses
Monthly visits
Beautiful, round, full, achy boobs
Saggy breasts from nursing
Luxurious, shiny hair
Constant shedding and residual PPHL
Elastic waist bands
Constant thirst and bathroom visits
Caffeine and sushi
Feeling pudgy
Caring about looking pudgy
Empire waist shirts that make you look pregnant
Form fitting clothing
People treating you nicely
Getting hit on (like that ever happens)
Rude people in my space/face
Modesty and privacy
Rude questions e.g., "Was this planned?"
Questions about when we will start working on the next one

This is just a start, let me know if you have any additions!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Festival of Lights

Last night was the first night of Chanukah. It was LP's second Chanukah, but considering she was only 6 months old that last time around, this will really be the first one she can kind of, sort of, almost remember. Last year I am not even sure we bought her any presents (that is not to say she didn't get any, all of her grandparents made sure she was well taken care of in that department).

While Chanukah is not a major holiday, any holiday is a good excuse to gather with your family, eat and share some love, so I am all in support of that. The three of us lit the menorahs, sang the requisite prayers (LP chimes in by saying 'Amen', it is very cute) and a few boisterous songs and exchanged gifts.

I was absolutely thrilled that LP was intrigued by the electric menorah that we put in the window (the real one stays far away from curtains). I was concerned that she might be disinterested in the menorah compared to the gajillion Christmas lights our across-the-street-neighbor has on his house. Seriously. Because their home in a corner he felt the need to decorate not just the front, but both sides as well - and the roof - and the trees - and the shrubs running the perimeter of the property. Actually, it is really quite nice that they are so excited about the holiday and decorated their home. I appreciate their enthusiasm, and I know that LP certainly enjoys the lights. However, I do not envy their electric bill.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Who You Calling 'Junior'?!

This morning LP and I went to the mall to buy Chanukah presents for some of her cousins. Wanting to be the "cool, hip Aunt" we went to the Macy's Juniors Department to get a present for my 11-year old niece. I figured Juniors was like a mental and physical step up from the girl's department.

Now, it has been a while since I shopped in the Juniors Department, but I shop at Gap and Old Navy, I figured I had a general idea of what clothing would be on sale there...boy was I wrong.

LP and I had to circle the entire department twice until I could comprehend that we were even in the right place. I felt like a martian. The picture to the right is an actual "sweater" taken from the Macys Juniors Department web site.

The clothes fell into a few main categories: really sophisticated looking (fur collars? sequins? SHE IS IN 5th GRADE), really...ummm... "hoey" (cut down to the navel? SHE IS IN 5th GRADE), or just plain bizarre (those hooded sweaters that double as a cape or something.). Is this really what teenage girls wear?

I found one shirt and a few decorated sweatshirts that I would even consider buying my gorgeous little niece. It is mind boggling to me that I was actually even IN the Juniors department. I though that the average age of a Junior Department shopper would be 12-16. Has the Juniors Department become the place to shop for women in their twenties who think they have the body of a 14 year old? Am I a prude or an old fogey?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Commencing Operation Pacifier

Last night the Hoos and I began implementation of our strategy to rid LP's life of the pacifier.

For the last few months she has only really been allowed to have it in the car and in her crib. At day care she hasn't even had a pacifier for nap time. This happened more as an oversight - we thought they had one, they didn't, so she just got used to not having it.

Despite the limited availability, she is smart enough that she would often run upstairs to her crib, sneak her hand in between the bars (since we don't have bumpers in) and snatch the pacifier out and plunk it into her mouth. We did try to leave the pacifier out of reach, but she would somehow maneuver her blankets so that she could use them as a tool to extricate the little sucker. Kids are really smart, I assure you.

Anyway, after a bath, her milk and tooth brushing, we placed her in her crib, as is the norm. She quickly noticed the lack of her standard soother and began making unhappy sounds. These noises escalated to serious crying, some hyperventilating, and persistent rattling of the bars of the crib. After 10 minutes or so the Hoos had enough and went in to calm her. "I have never seen her so upset," he called, "what should I do?" I had no idea what to do and told him as much. He ended up sitting in the glider with her laying on him until she fell asleep - sans pacifier.

This small victory lasted until around 5:30 this morning. LP woke up and when she couldn't find the pacifier, which usually lulls her right back to sleep, she began making noises. I pulled the blanket over my head, resolved to ignore it. The Hoos got up after 10 minutes, since the volume seemed to be increasing, and gave her the pacifier. She ended up sleeping until NINE!! You can't really complain about that.

Nap time was once again a test of wills. My mother was over and if she had been alone with LP the kid would have had the pacifier at the first whimper. The good news is, baby girl finally fell asleep, again after 10 minutes or so of unhappiness, without her drug of choice. The bad news is, we are seeing that the pacifier challenge is far from over.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Little of This, Little of That

A couple of times a week I park next to the same car in my office parking lot. It is a later model sedan, but that is not what stands out. What stands out is the seat covers. Every seat in the car is covered in what looks like t-shirt material with a picture of Snoopy and the statement "I Don't Have a Girlfriend, but I Have My Dog" or something to that effect. I swear. If you went on a date and someone picked you up in a car with those car seats, what would you think? My guess is that the owner has chosen the path of celibacy.

Today I even brought in my digital camera to take a photo for posting to the blog (yes, I am that mean, and no, I have no idea who the car belongs to). Unfortunately, even after several trips to the parking lot to locate the car, it appears the guy has taken the day off. Bummer.

Since there is no photo to accompany that part of my post, here are some new photos of LP. Yes, it is true, she gets cuter every second. She put the sunhat on her own head while getting ready for school yesterday.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tis the Season

I really can't believe that Thanksgiving has come and gone and we are now on to that dreaded period leading up to Christmas. For me, the next month or so means no desire to go shopping (because only crazy people go to the store this time of year, IMHO) but lots of gifts to give. I have squared away gifts for most of the family, but I have to worry about the folks from work and LP's day care teachers.

I didn't realize people at work gave gifts until my first holiday season here when I received several items and felt really guilty for not having something to exchange. After struggling to find gifts the following two years, I launched my genius idea to just give everyone homemade baked goods. My cranberry-walnut biscotti is typically a big hit. This year I am just not sure I have the energy to bake. I did whip up a batch this past weekend with LP helping, but I think it is a little bit too far from the actual holidays to count as a holiday gift. I am still thinking on what to do here.

As for the teachers, I have taken the bold step of offering to coordinate a group gift for LP's classroom. Another mom took this on last year, and I am figuring I should be up to the challenge - how hard can it be to pick up some Target gift cards anyway? And hopefully it is far enough in advance that I will actually have most of the cash in hand from the other parents before having to purchase the cards.

To be honest, I have never been particularly good at gift-buying. When the Hoos and I go on vacation we are the kind of people that don't bring back souvenirs, instead spending our money on food while there. We then typically end up looking for last minute gifts on the way to the airport or, on occasionally in the duty free shop. On our "honeymoon" to Canada the only thing we bought was a bottle of windshield wiper spray to fight the snow.

Gifts, schmifts, isn't a little love from me enough, folks?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back to Reality

For the first time in at least 5 years, the Hoos and I spent Thanksgiving with my family. We typically spend turkey day with his side of the family, but since it was my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary, we opted to celebrate with them in upstate NY at my uncle's house.

It is always nice to spend a few days with family, especially my family. They are nutty, diverse, silly, generous, loving and kind. You really can't ask for better. Seriously. For example, we spent one night playing the game "catchphrase" - poorly. You have to get your team to guess a phrase by describing it. To truly explain our inability to think after consuming large amounts of turkey, consider my grandmother saying "It is like a hamburger - with cheese" for the term "cheeseburger".

This applies to all of my family, not just my dad's side, who we spent the holiday with. We reserve the entire family gathering for Passover, because more than once a year might cause the universe to explode.

Anyway, we spent Thursday through Saturday at a lovely bed-and-breakfast/spa that my Aunt and Uncle own near their home. A restored mansion, it is spacious and quite wonderful. There is no television, which we didn't end up missing at all. We all gathered around the fireplace and talked, played games, and just chilled. It was great to be able to kick back and relax with no worries.

The situation was even more relaxing because with 12 adults around, LP had plenty of attention and the Hoos and I did not have to be constantly jumping up and down to chase her down. In fact, LP became so comfortable in the house, she would occasionally disappear behind the door leading to the kitchen and return with food. Lots of adults get lost in the 19th century mansion, but LP had no problems finding her way to the good stuff.

The drive home was just as easy as the ride up, but the return to reality was not quite as enjoyable. Well, other than the fact that LP slept like an angel at home and less so while we were away. A new environment and all that. I must admit, it was nice to have lots of extra hands and eyes to chase down my munchkin. The Hoos spent most of Sunday blowing all of our leaves into a big pile on our lawn and I followed LP around and brought her to the grocery store.

Makes me even more thankful for a large, healthy, and loving family...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bumbling Through

Today is a slow day in my office. Probably like most offices. The good news is, I have actually been able to accomplish a lot, the non-work highlight of which was a call to Amazon Germany to unravel the mystery of my order for my nieces.

Earlier today, I got an email notification, totally in German, I think telling me that one of my items was shipped and the other was back ordered. When you are sending gifts to siblings, it is never good for it to appear that only one kid was gifted.

After located the customer service number, I placed my international call. The first time I listened to the automated greeting several times, praying that a non-response would direct me to a person that could help me. This strategy back-fired and I was hung up on. Crap. I redialed and this time I began pressing random numbers immediately following the automated "Guten Tag" greeting. By some stroke of luck, I was sent to a customer service rep who greeted me (shockingly) in German. Crap. "Umm, you speak English?".

Fortunately for me, most other countries realize that Americans are typically not good at linguistics and adapt to accommodate us and this representative was no exception. We muddled through together and I think I selected an alternative gift for my niece that will hopefully be on its way shortly.

I think I should be embarrassed that I can only speak one language fluently. If I try really hard when talking to someone that cuts me lots of slack I can get by in Spanish, sort of, maybe...on a good day. And I can read Hebrew, as long as it is in block print, like in text books, as opposed to script, which is how most things are actually written. Not that I can tell you what it means, and I certainly couldn't have a conversation, but I can read it.

To make matters worse, four and a half of my nieces and nephews are bilingual. Two and a half (the half being my four-year-old nephew) speak Hebrew in addition to perfect English and the other two speak both Hungarian and English like champs. They all laugh hysterically when they try to teach me anything in their alternate languages.

I am sure in a few years LP will be spitting foreign curse words at me thanks to her big cousins. Yet another thing to look forward to...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Little Woman

Yesterday was LP's first day in her new classroom at school. She is now officially a "Young Toddler". I will wait while you cry softly about how quickly time has passed.

Anyway, when I went to pick her up I expected that she would be thrilled to see me and run over and give me crazy hugs. Not that she does this anyway. Typically when I pick her up, she is excited to see me and runs in the other direction. I imagine this must be her way of saying "come play with me." Riiiight. Yesterday was no exception.

For a few minutes I stood there talking to her teacher who told me what a delight she is: "She is like a little woman. We say 'hi' she says 'hi' back. We say 'how are you' and she says 'good'" Me: "SHE SAYS 'GOOD'?!" It is like my baby has a whole other life that I don't know about!

Of course, when I finally bundle her up in to her jacket and force her to leave, she cries. According to the teacher, this is the first they have ever seen LP upset. Which is a good thing, I guess.

Monday, November 19, 2007

My Spanish is Not So Good

Chanukah is rapidly approaching and this year I am making an effort to get my gift-buying act together. Unfortunately, we have family that lives far away in Eastern Europe in a country with a very unreliable mail system. It has taken months for packages to get through, if they get through at all.

This kind of stinks, because we love our two nieces to pieces and always regret not being able to send them Chanukah and birthday presents. To make matters worse, my brother-in-law is so good that he sends us presents from a variety of online sources. None of which appears to ship to Hungary. The guilt at not being able to reciprocate kills me. We do buy presents for the girls when they visit us here in the U.S., but a lot of times those gifts don't fit into their luggage and are left to languish stateside.

This year, my brother-in-law sent us a list of places that actually deliver to Hungary. This was very nice of him and I am thrilled to be able to send the girls gifts. Unfortunately, while they ship to Hungary, the websites aren't exactly friendly to English speakers. I ended up buying presents from Amazon Germany. It took me quite a while to navigate the site, which is essentially all in German, and the only way I got it to work was by using Babel Fish and having the Amazon US website open in the hopes that the sites would mirror each other.

When I sent the Hoos the url asking him how to figure out what the Shipping and Handling charges would be, he referred me to the tab that said "Schuhe & Handtaschen". To him it looked like "Shipping and Handling". When he clicked on it and saw shoes and handbags, he quickly determined that this was not as easy as it looked.

After finally (I think) figuring it out, I was emailed a receipt, which I forwarded to the Hoos. His response: "Great, I'll print it if ever ever need to dispute it." Good lord, I hope their presents are delivered in a reasonable amount of time without costing my thousands of dollars.

Doubt or Denial?

Thursday night the Hoos and I listened to LP cough in her sleep. It was a phlegmy, icky cough. But, she didn't wake up. When she did wake up the next morning, she was pleasant, despite the snot running down her face.

As a parent, I have a constant internal struggle about doing the right thing for my baby. Does she have a cold? Is it something more serious? How would I know? While we try to err on the side of caution, we also have no desire to run to the pediatrician for what could me a minor problem. And since all infant/toddler cold medicines were pulled from the shelves recently, it is not like we have lots of options for treatment other than a humidifier and lots of fluids.

In this case we took the "wait and see approach." LP didn't (and still doesn't) have a fever, the cough only occurs first thing in the morning and over night, other than the usual toddler pickyness she doesn't seem to have a diminished appetite (is it bad that she only ate the olives off of the pizza we ate Saturday night?) and in general she has maintained her pleasant disposition. Granted she has become increasingly frustrated with my efforts to wipe her nose, but I think that has more to do with chapped nostrils than anything else.

Last night, LP's cough wasn't as gutteral, which I think is a good thing. She did wake up at 5 this morning and when I went in to give her a pacifier she was standing in her crib, reaching her arms out to me. I decided to be a strong mommy and resisted the urge to pick her up. Instead I laid her back down and turned off the humidifier, blaming it for scaring the poor munchkin. Fortunately, after 10 minutes or so we both fell back asleep.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I am distracted by thoughts of what I should do next. Do I stay the course and just continue to "treat" her "cold"? Take LP to the doctor to get her checked out? Again, this whole mommy thing, so not as easy as it looks...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bath Time

We still bathe LP in our kitchen sink. It is actually a really big sink. It is more comfortable for us because we don't have to kneel and it uses much less water than if we put her in the tub. We put a pillow thing in the sink for her to sit on so she doesn't slide and so her little bottom has a cushy place to rest. We are starting to think that maybe she is outgrowing this practice though...

Meet Mr. Stupid

I manage public relations for an environmental engineering firm. A large part of my job is securing editorial coverage for my firm. A few months ago I had a huge coupe, getting my firm featured in an article about women in the engineering field. It was to include an interview with one of our employees as well as her photo. Yesterday, I received my copy of the publication in the mail.

After my immediate thrill at seeing our name on the cover, I realized that is was misspelled. Ugh. A PR person's worst nightmare. All that effort, for what could be great coverage, that I can't use.

To set the stage, the firm is named for a person, which can often be confusing. He did exist at one point, but he has long been deceased and his name lives on through the firm. The name may be tricky for some to spell, let's say that is it "Johnny Quest, Inc." Other than replacing the actual firm name with this pseudonym, below is my actual email conversation with the editor of the publication.
Jim –
Thank you so much. I received the copies today and they look great. One problem I notice is that “Johnny” is spelled incorrectly throughout the entire thing. Is there a way we can get a corrected pdf of the article so we can post it to our website?

Thank you,

Hi, Amy:

I also had a question about the spelling of the company’s name, so I checked the Website, which lists the corporation as Jonny Quest, without the h. Please check and advise me if the Website is incorrect. Thanks.


I assure you, the name of the firm is Johnny Quest Inc. If you can give me the url that you saw the incorrect spelling, I will make sure that is fixed right away.
Hi, Amy:

I accessed the website for When I went to, there was no listing. If I have somehow made an error, we can make a correction on the PDF files and in the next issue. Thanks.



It is important to note that the writer we worked with on the interview spelled it correctly, I have a draft she sent me to review. In addition, the article actually has the correct url - which is neither of those he searched ( IN IT and this editor took it upon himself to do this bizarre search (who types in www.Whatever you think the website might be. com to check how to spell a company’s name?) and change the spelling. If he had just done a Google Search for either “Jonny Quest” or “Johnny Quest” the correct spelling would have come up!

Adding to my frustration, is that he doesn’t seem to believe me that it is incorrect! Is it just me, or are there more stupid people in the world today than there were even a few weeks ago?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dang Time Change!

So I know it has been over a week since we changed the clocks. I thought by now my sweet little angel's internal clock would have readjusted, but it appears that she continues to march to the beat of the former drum.

LP used to sleep peacefully until sometime between 8 and 8:30. The Hoos would have to wake her up at 7:45 for day care the three days a week that she goes. And even after rousing her from her peaceful sleep she would rest her fuzzy little head on his shoulder, milking every last second of relaxation she could before having to greet the day.

Don't let the media fool you - only people without young children actually gain an hour of sleep when we turn the clocks back. In my house, since "falling back" we have all lost an hour of sleep. LP now wakes up at 7:15 or so EVERY DAY. And not just waking up and mewling for us - but standing in her crib and calling at the top of her lungs to be released.

On the weekends we try to bring her into bed with us and hunker down, hoping that she will just relax and enjoy the warmth of mommy and daddy. But no. She is up and she wants to play. She may stay in bed with us, but there is no rest to be had. She will poke, prod, smack, and generally make it impossible for grumpy grown-ups to maintain the illusion of sleep. The other day, she pulled my lips back and attempted to force her pacifier into my mouth. She thought it was hysterical. I was not as amused.

Please don't tell me that we have to wait until Spring to regain our precious hour of sleep....

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Am So Lame

This weekend was supposed to be an exciting adventure for the Hoos and me. Mid-day Saturday we dropped LP off with my parents on Long Island and returned home to an empty house for 24 hours. We actually had a concert to attend Saturday night, the impetus for the baby-sitting. I know, it sounds like we are going to have something crazy planned, right? We are going to party like rock stars, relive our second honeymoon (the first honeymoon, Canada in December, was a bust)...

But no. Here is what really happened:
  • 2:30. We return home.
  • 2:35. The Hoos notices that there is water pooling around our less-than-a-year-old boiler.
  • 2:40. We search our disorganized files to find the boiler paperwork and service number. We call.
  • 2:45-3:30. We do yard work while waiting for the service guy to show up. I rake by the driveway and side of the house and he shreds leaves to dump into our new composter.
  • 3:35-4. The composter is full, so I go inside the house and start to clean up, I vacuum, spot clean sticky spots on the tile know, the good stuff.
  • 4-4:10: The service guy shows up, looks at the boiler, closes a valve and is gone is less than 10 minutes.
  • 4:10. I leave the house in search of a "nap mat". Apparently you can only buy these things online, because at all of the stores I go to, all I get is sympathetic looks.
  • 5:10. I return home, peek my head into the basement where the Hoos is cleaning off the kayak he is building, and remind him that we have to leave by 5:30 in order to grab dinner before going to the concert.
  • 5:45. After going through my entire closet to select an outfit, I throw on clothes, grab the directions and we make our way to the car.
  • 6:10. We arrive in fabulous Ridgefield, CT to discover that the town only has 3 restaurants. Since the concert is at 7, we both eat breakfast at the local diner. Fancy.
  • 7:02. We circle the parking lot of the East Ridge Middle School in Ridgefield looking for a spot. Eventually we end up parking about as far from the entrance as possible, illegally, and make our way to the entrance.
  • 7:10. We find seats in the last row of the auditorium and the lights dim.

......In case you thought we were maybe at a rager of a concert, we are watching the Ridgefield Chorale. A local chorus, the Hoos did some pro bono work for them and they rewarded him with free tickets to their concert. They sang a selection of songs from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. We did enjoy the music, but we also found time to be catty, as one woman was wearing a black dress slit up to her crotch. Every time she moved we would crack up. We were thankful to be in the last row. We are horrible people...........

  • 9:05. The concert ends and we make our way back to the car and home.
  • 9:10. I call my parents to check on LP. She in wonderful, had a great time and went right to sleep at 8:30 when they put her down.
  • 9:30. We arrive home and go upstairs to change. I tell the Hoos that I have no intention of going back downstairs and slip into my flannel PJs. He agrees to stay upstairs, but only if I watch TV in bed instead of going right to sleep.
  • 10:00. We watch a very romantic episode of Law and Order: SVU. I fall asleep before the final credits roll.

Are you sick of the play-by-play yet? Because I haven't told you about the grocery shopping that I did Sunday morning...I was at the store by 9:15 since I woke up at 7:45.

Lest you think the weekend was a complete bust, let me reassure you, the Hoos and I actually had a very nice time. We spent some time together, got to do things individually without worrying about occupying LP, and I did even manage to get a manicure...

To be honest, the weekend was reminiscent of any weekend before we became parents. Errands had to be run, things had to get done, they just didn't take as long.

Sigh...I have become lame.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Lessons in Being a Girl

Today I am wearing a skirt and stockings. This is a relatively momentous occasion. Every few months or so I get tired of wearing the same thing week after week and throw on a more girly outfit to mix it up.

As I pulled on the stockings, trying to take special care not to catch them on my really dry hands, I noticed that this particular pair of pantyhose has something akin to built-in panties. I hadn't noticed before because, well, I typically just buy whatever pair of hose is on sale. This got me thinking - are there women out there that wear stockings without underwear? I find the idea highly unappealing and actually quite disgusting. Does this make me not-so-womanly?

I am also not too keen on the idea of thong underwear. I don't really care if people see my pantylines (or my bra strap for that matter). I do care if I have an irritating piece of string up my tush. Furthermore, much to the Hoos' chagrin, it is very rare that I wear make-up and I blow-dry my hair about as often as I wear stockings.

As LP gets older, it will be my responsibility to teach her about these things. In general, I find the task to be quite daunting. Growing up,I was a bit of a tomboy. I played Little League all through elementary school and as much as I wanted ballet and gymnastics lessons to be like the other girls, I didn't last more than a semester in either. In fact, I am about as graceful as an elephant in high heels.

While I hope for her sake that LP is lighter on her feet than me, I also hope that she is a rough and tumble little girl. And not just because I am dreading her asking me questions about boys and the birds and the bees, but because dang it, I don't know if I am ready to learn how to properly utilize cosmetics.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Better than a Post

My mother thought my post yesterday was "random". I guess that means it wasn't her favorite, so I am guessing she won't like my main post today any better. To make everyone happy, here is a picture of LP.

Joie de Vivre

Yesterday I was feeling particularly blah. Over lunch, my good buddy Wenderina commented that I seemed to be shrugging or responding "whatever" a lot more lately. This got me wondering - have I lost my passion? Even more direct - what was my passion?

Interruption - my goodness, the last sentence sounds an awful lot like a reading from a book on tape. Wenderina gave me a book on tape, which is enjoyable but frustrating. For a silly little romp of a book that would take me two hours to read I am investing countless hours listening to 14 cassette tapes.

Back to our regularly scheduled posting...

Obviously of late, as in the last two years or so, my family has been my number one priority. LP is the most wondrous and spectacular thing in my life. I love her to pieces and channel a lot of my energy into all things LP. Just by existing she makes me feel more full, more alive than I even thought possible.

But, I can't think of what else I am passionate about - or have ever been passionate about. I know some people are passionate about their jobs, others about their hobbies.

Unfortunately, I am not a woman that has hobbies. (This is endlessly frustrating for the Hoos who never knows what to buy me for presents. If I just collected something or focused my energies on a particular type of project it would make his life much easier.) I love to read and cook. And, well, I couldn't imagine life without food. But since I am not in any way, shape or form passionate about exercising, I don't see eating as a full-on passion.

Don't get me wrong, my life is full. I am content. But I wonder if I am missing something.

What are you passionate about?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I Got Nothing

As the sole author of this blog, I have certain ground rules for myself:
  1. Nothing too personal. People I know and people I don't know read this.
  2. Minimize the cutesy. LP is cute, that doesn't count. But I am not big on animation, or picking up silly things from around the web or chain letters. Sure, I go with it every once in a while, but looking back, my link to The Onion child care thing was just dopey (IMHO).
  3. Keep it positive. I can be catty, but who wants to read a pissy rant about nothing? Besides, I will eventually get over whatever is bugging me.
Today I am breaking rule numero tres. For some reason, I am stuck in Negative-ville. Maybe it is because I had class last night and it seemed like an absolute waste. Or because I ate so much random crap yesterday that I went to bed with a belly ache and while there is no more physical ick, the mental ick is sticking around. Or maybe it is because it was pouring raining all night long and who wants to get out from under the covers on a dreary day? Whatever it is, today is a blah blah blog day.

I don't even have any super cute pictures of LP to post since I saved them all to our home computer and I am at work.

Monday, November 5, 2007

East Side - Here She Comes!

Sometime in the next few weeks, LP is going to be moving up from the "older infant room" to the "younger toddler room" at her day care. It is hard to believe that my little munchkin is really a toddler.

Obviously, she is a toddler. She toddles around and babbles incessantly and is just so smart that she continues to constantly amaze me. Even more amazing is how much she has changed in the 15 or so months she has been in day care. When she started she was just over three months old. She could barely support her head on her short little neck (she does still have a short neck) and her activities consisted of crying, sleeping, spitting up, peeing, pooping and drinking. She was fed a bottle while being cradled in someone's arms.

Now she runs circles around me, pointing out things that she wants to eat or play with or read. She feeds herself, drinks from a sippy cup and drags chairs across the kitchen floor when she wants to play bubbles.

I know there is a constant debate in the mommy world about child care. Some people prefer nannies, others home care or day care centers. For us, day care has been the right choice, despite the hiccups and challenges I occasionally complain about. LP is a social, outgoing kid. She doesn't cry when mommy or daddy leave her in someone else's care. She is independent and really fun to be around. And, while the fact that she doesn't fear strangers may become a concern in the future, for now it means that she is a happy kid who likes to meet new people, even if she acts coy until she warms up.

Today I had her parent-teacher conference and her lead teacher impressed upon me how sad she was to see LP go. This makes me feel good that my little girl is in the hands of people that care about her. Now we can all sniffle together as we watch her grow up.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Dancing Ladybug

Most of you have already seen this, I sent it to about a zillion people, but I can watch it over and over again.

A few minutes before the Hoos shot the video, I was standing in the kitchen cleaning up from dinner. LP walks in with something stuck to her chin. Turns out to be a small part of a Milky Way wrapper from her trick-or-treat exploits. I remove it and throw it out. Two seconds later, I feel a tap on my leg. She has removed the entire wrapper from the candy bar (sometimes I have a hard time opening packages, I have no idea how she did it) and wants me to take the garbage.

She then proceeds to go into the living room, grab her Bootylicious Turtle and put it on the steps to accompany her fantabulous dancing. My favorite part is when she knocks over the turtle with her spin move. If you listen closely she says "uh oh" as she picks it up. I swear, she was not goaded into a single aspect of this production. She really is that awesome.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

More Guilty Pleasures

My main radio station, WFUV has dedicated today to only playing the DJs' guilty pleasures. FUV is one of those fancy, alternative radio stations that usually plays obscure musicians. I have picked up a lot of new favorites thanks to the station, but who doesn't have some old albums that they pull out when they are looking for comfort music? It is Halloween after all - a day dedicated to achieving and maintaining a sugar high, and what doesn't make one happier than knowing all of the words to a song on the radio?

I am not claiming to listen to these frequently, but I do actually own all of these tapes and probably lots of mix tapes with several of these artists. Sing with me now!
  • Chicago (and no, not the classics like Saturday in the Park, more like You're the Inspiration)
  • REO Speedwagon (I remember doing a performance of Can't Fight this Feeling in Jr. High)
  • Journey (Dude, if you don't know the words to Open Arms you aren't my friend)
  • Air Supply (as she mentally warbles 'I'm all out of love, what am I without you...'
  • Cabbage Patch Dreams (whatever, I admitted this in a previous post)
  • A Chorus Line (Who doesn't like to bolt out a song about T&A?)
  • Saturday Night Fever (this was more to be campy than to actually listen to...really...)
  • Tim McGraw (if Don't Take the Girl doesn't make you misty, you are just not human)
I actually own a bunch of music that other people would think I should be embarrassed about, but I love Sting, James Taylor, Willie Nelson, the Dixie Chicks.... How about you? What music do you barely admit to owning?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Yes, I Call This Work

On Sunday night the Hoos tried to persuade me to sit on the couch for a few more minutes and watch a television until 10:30 by saying, "It's not like you have to work tomorrow." Fortunately for him, this was accompanied by a smirk and laughter.

Before we had LP, the Hoos used to joke that he wanted to be a stay-at-home-dad. He pictured sleeping late, fishing in the middle of the day and having time to complete a myriad of projects he had dreamed up. Since having LP, we have both realized that we have difficulty even accomplishing simple tasks when we are both home - like raking leaves or putting away the dishes. We have to take turns doing things (and not just because we only have one rake) because one person has to constantly be on patrol, ensuring LP doesn't occupy her time with activities such as eating dirt, digging up (and considering consuming) worms, or running into the street.

Most dads and moms of every configuration - stay at home, work from home, work away from home, work part-time, etc. - know that staying at home for any amount of time (other than perhaps time that coincides with nap time) with a child is work. Hard work. Harder than being in the office work.

It takes energy to come up with events to fill up the day that don't involve television or snacking. And with any reserve energy you have after conceiving these grand plans, you have to put into not only executing the activities, but coming up with back-up plans when your child gets bored, or completes your multi-hour project in seconds, or just rejects it out of hand. (Not that I am bitter that LP didn't want to play in the fort I created in the middle of our living room, creatively strewing blankets over furniture.)

Every day is an adventure. And yes, some days the office seems like a vacation. But most of the time, LP's cheeks, laughter, and hugs make the lack of energy, sleep, and relaxation worth it.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Every Day

I often remark on this blog how amazing it is to me that LP learns something new every day. For example, yesterday she was amazed by the fall leaves.
Today, it was my turn to learn something new. My a-ha moment has to do with my big brother.

I (re?)discovered that he is a great writer.

Growing up, he was the science and math expert and I was the more creative one. Or so I thought. A computer engineer by training and trade, I guess I forgot how much he used to enjoy creative writing when we were kids. My brother just started a new blog on one of his hobbies, collecting Israeli stamps. I know it doesn't sound like it would be interesting to the non-philatelists out there, but I found it compelling to read about his collecting strategies and habits. Maybe it is just because he is my brother, but I don't think so.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

ABC Meme

I was tagged by themommykelly to complete a blog post about the ABC's of me. Basically, I tell you a little about me by using the alphabet.

Shari, you said you had nothing to blog about, so consider yourself tagged after me.
  • A - A my first initial
  • B - My middle initial before I got married and my last initial now
  • C - My last initial before I got married (yes, my initials were ABC) and middle initial now
  • D - Daughter, in case you can't tell who my life revolves around
  • E - Energy and lack thereof
  • F - I had a whole blog posting about this letter
  • G - Gidget, you know the show about the girl midget. I can relate. No, I am not a little person...
  • H - Hippy. A word that has been used to describe members of my family
  • I - Itchy ears. I have this thing where the inside of my ears itch way too much...
  • J - Jumping jackal, jaybird, jaguar...thank you Sesame Street!
  • K - Kisses, one of the best gifts from my little munchkin
  • L - LP, who else?
  • M - Marriage. Number 5 in this posting will tell you how I feel about my marriage.
  • N - Now! I am making an effort to live and enjoy the moment instead of worrying about the future.
  • O - OMG! What runs through my mind when I read what some of you crazy people write on your blogs.
  • P - Peaches. What LP's gorgeous cheeks remind me of.
  • Q - Quiet. Yeah, right...
  • R - 'rithmetic. Something I absolutely don't like.
  • S - Stupid people. Man, do I hate stupid people. Why are there so many of them?
  • T - Ta-tas. Their mine, they change size and shape seemingly at will...
  • U - Ugs. A nickname from my brother growing up - short for Ugly. Nice, right?
  • V - Veggies. Now who doesn't like a fresh carrot or asparagus every once in a while?
  • W - Whatever. My response to many many things nowadays.
  • X - x. Seriously, LP has a book for every letter in the alphabet, and wouldn't you know it "x" is one of the three words listed in the "X" book.
  • Y - Yay! I say this a lot. Mostly facetiously.
  • Z - Zippitty-Doo-Da. What a great song...

Boob Tube

I figured it was time for an update on our DVR. We have now had it a couple of weeks and have been trying to put it to good use. For the most part, the Hoos uses it to save fishing and gardening shows that are on at not-so-convenient times. We have used it to tape a few new shows that we have gotten into. Below is an overview of the shows and my review. Let me know if you have any recommendations!
  • Chuck: Chuck is on Mondays at 8, when I am in class. The Hoos caught part of the first episode and thought we might enjoy it. I liked the first few episodes, about an inadvertent spy, but I am falling off the bandwagon. He is screwing up all of his personal relationships because he can't tell anyone about his spy gig. B-
  • Reaper: This show on the CW cracks me up. Basically, a guy's parents sold his soul to the devil before he was born and upon turning 21 the devil comes to collect. The poor guy is the devil's bounty hunter for escaped souls. He has two silly buddies that are in on his secret and help him out. It is on Tuesday's at 9, right about when we are putting LP into bed after her bath. We use the DVR to tape it so we can watch it commercial free. A-
  • Pushing Daisies. This Wednesday at 8 show is on when LP is still awake and playing with all of her noisy toys. Cute and eccentric, we can't hear it with the ball popper going. Ned has a special power where he can bring dead things back to life for a minute otherwise something else dies but if he touches them again after he 60 seconds they die forever. His PI buddy puts his talent to use to solve crimes and collect reward money. It has a great cast (Kristen Chenowith is really really adorable). A-
I am looking forward to using the DVR for Lost when it returns in February and Project Runway when it starts in a couple of weeks. These shows are just on too late for this little mama.

Speaking of TV, this summer my parents went to see a taping of The People's Court in NYC. My mom is a court show junkie. Yesterday they started showing some of the cases my parents were in the audience for. I didn't know and therefore didn't DVR it. Here is the only glimpse I could catch of my mom in the preview posted online.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Yes, I Run

Last night one of my colleagues was at the office until 1am. And I am pretty sure she was not at the office futzing around and doing nothing. I find this impossible to fathom. And not just because I have a daughter that I need to pick up from day care by 6pm.

My job is okay. It is stable, family friendly, and I have a few co-workers that I actually enjoy. It is flexible (I work 7:45-4:30), they pay me well, and I think, for the most part, my efforts are appreciated. It is not, however, worth staying until the wee hours. 99.9% of the time I am out the door at 4:30, exactly.

I can't remember the last time I had a job or a work project that I did whatever it took to get it done, shifting my priorities, even briefly. Are my expectations too low for a job? Should I be doing something that I really want to do enough that I work until all hours (aside from motherhood)? Do I need an attitude adjustment (okay, probably)?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Some LP Moments

Here are some email notes that I dashed off to the Hoos yesterday as well as a few additional observations.

2:00: We stopped by Stew's to visit the animals. Apparently they are already "on vacation" until spring. That was a bummer because LP loves the goats. She didn't seem to mind too much, though, since we shared an ice cream.

2:30ish: She thought the composter was a fort and crawled into it under the door (which I slightly raised so I could get a ball out that I had thrown in). She sat in there for 10 minutes playing with the grass. She didn't even care that she scratched herself up crawling in and out.

3:15: LP just dragged the kitchen chair across the floor to the sink. She started thumping on it and saying "bubbles". Apparently making bubbles is her new favorite thing in the world. This lasted until she turned the cup of soapy water over on to me.

4:40: Now she is sitting on the floor in the office coloring her hands and feet with her magic markers. Good thing the stuff comes off relatively easily, because otherwise it would take an extra 10 minutes for her bath.

Now that you have more insight into my days with LP, I will try to come up with something exciting to write about tomorrow. I have to imagine life is more stimulating that the minutiae of my day. Feel free to request topics.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Red Meat Monday

I don't eat red meat. I haven't eaten it since I was about 14. Nothing religious or noble, I just don't like it anymore. Unfortunately for the Hoos, he does eat red meat. But obviously not often, since I do the cooking just about every night. What he does it is a lot of ground turkey and chicken (and fish once a week). You name it, I can make it with one of those proteins: turkey meatloaf, turkey meatballs, turkey tacos, chicken piccata, chicken fajitas, chicken stir fry, chicken pad thai....

Because I have class on Monday nights and the Hoos and I aren't going to eat dinner together, I have started buying him steaks (and one night I left an "oven beef stew" in the oven for him following his mother's recipe). Amazingly, LP LOVES steak. She ends up eating more of the Hoos' steak than he does. Poor guy eats the grizzle to keep his little girl happy. And in case "Red Meat Monday" doesn't sound manly enough, his side dish is also a microwave baked potato (and occasionally a sweet potato).

At this point, I think the Hoos wouldn't mind not eating red meat on a Monday. BUT now that he knows LP is a fan, he wouldn't think of denying her. What a good daddy. Now I just have to come up with more options for boneless, skinless chicken breasts and ground turkey.

Last night when I got home from class, the Hoos put the kibosh on Red Meat Mondays. "Maybe once a month..." Looks like "my plan" worked and he will be more accepting of the lack of meat in our diets:)...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

What a Whirlwind!

This weekend was chock full of activity. For a family that doesn't get out much, we sure did a lot of getting out.

Anticipating the need for a portable booster seat/high chair for some trips we have coming up, I went out yesterday morning and bought one. After setting it up on a kitchen chair before lunch, we were thrilled to discover that LP loves it. She now refuses to use her high chair. She looks like such an adorable little lady in it:

It was good timing for getting the booster, because LP had her first official playdate, with her friend LS from school. This also involved a light lunch, which required seats for the two toddlers. It felt nice to be prepared for once. Unfortunately, my little LP slept until 8:30 that morning, meaning she didn't nap before her buddy came over at 1. Regardless, they had a wonderful time playing next to each other while the mommies gabbed....until around 2:45 when LP started to hit a wall. The good news is, LP hitting a wall is her coming over, resting her head on my shoulder, and nodding when I ask if she is tired and wants to nap. LS and her mommy stayed a played with me a little while longer, which was nice and relaxing. Of course, as soon as they left the little munchkin woke up and was still exhausted. After much cajoling she fell back asleep and this is what the Hoos saw when he got home from an afternoon of fishing:

This morning our little family went and visited the Hoos' cousin and her partner at their lovely home in NYC. We had good conversation, great food, and a nice walk up to and around Fort Tryon Park. We don't get together very often, but when we do we always really enjoy it. And, despite the fact that their home is not child-proof, LP managed not to cause too much damage.

About 45 minutes after getting home from NY, our friends, the Nelson's came over. This was also fantastic because they have a little boy a year older than LP. After warming up to each other, they managed to make it look as if our toy bin had puked into our living room. Regardless, we all had a great time and LP kept handing her friend, the H-ster, nibbles off her plate throughout dinner. Again the booster seat was put to good use. It is nice to have two toddlers and four adults eating dinner at the same time without sharing chairs.

I am now thoroughly exhausted. And the week starts tomorrow....

Friday, October 19, 2007

All Dressed Up

We have already established that I am not one of those crafty moms. I would love to be better at arts and crafts and sewing, but either you got it or you don't. And I really don't. This means that LP will forever wear purchased costumes on Halloween.

Last year, she was the most adorable flower. She wore a costume that my mother purchased before she was even conceived (my mother was a bit...umm...eager to have a gaggle of grandchildren).

This year, the only costume my mom had on hand was a pumpkin in a size 3T. Figuring LP would not be able to move in a suit so big, I picked up a ladybug costume from Old Navy. Of course, it took half an hour to pick it out, with me on the phone to the Hoos: "Monkey, ladybug or lion." Him: "I don't know, which will she be cutest in?" Me: "Well that is a silly question. She will be cute in each and every costume. Even the skunk."

I guess I did a good job, because LP loves it. I have it hanging on the coat closet door handle and she likes to go over and pet it. This morning when I asked if she wanted to put it on, she did a happy dance. She then wore it around the house, going about her typical activities while dressed as the most adorable little bug ever.

As an aside, I should have known this would be the perfect costume. Ever since our run-in last month with the huge praying mantis, LP has been fascinated by bugs. It takes us 10 minutes to get into the house every day after school because she squats down next to our enormous hydrangea (which we saw the mantis disappear under), pointing and yelling "bug! bug!".