Friday, September 28, 2007

Nature Up Close

Upon returning home from a brief trip to our local Penzeys spice store, LP and I noticed that we had a visitor knocking on our back door. He may not look that big and ugly in the photo, but I assure you, this praying mantis is about 4 inches long - not including his legs - and even though I wouldn't squish him (are they still considered endangered?) I bet he would make a loud-ass crunch if I tried too.

PS - Since I was uploading this ugly picture, I added a picture of LP to the post below too.

PPS - A note on Penzeys. I used to get my spices at CVS for 99 cents each. I didn't realize until I started buying spices at Penzeys that you truly to get what you pay for. The cheapy ones do not even compare to the real stuff. Seriously. If you live near a Penzeys go and check it out.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Me and My Shadow

Lately LP has become very clingy. She throws herself at my legs if she wants me to pick her up and once I pick her up she refuses to go back down. I try to place her down and she pulls her little legs up as far as they will go and wraps them around me like a little koala bear.

Yesterday I was trying to make meat sauce to accompany our spaghetti dinner. LP battered my legs insistently and when I finally picked her up she was determined not to be put back down. In fact, she wanted to help. So, I gave her a wooden spoon and put her to work. After a short time the meat was browned and safe for consumption. So, as we stirred the sauce together, LP would periodically remove her spoon and lick the tomato sauce off of it. She then ventured on to picking up small pieces of ground turkey, and after a quick check that they weren't too hot, slurping them off the spoon. I think she ate more protein last night then she ate in the last three days combined. My right arm is sore from holding my 22 pound dumpling on my hip, my kitchen floor is spattered with sauce, but the sauce was better than ever.

To top it all off, last night I had to run over to the grocery store after dinner. LP got so upset when I went to leave that she tried to steal my pocketbook and hide my keys. The Hoos has to pick her up and take her out of the room so I could sneak out. When I returned, I swear she said, "Yay!" as she ran into the kitchen to greet me. I definitely don't want to encourage her to be dependent on me, but I have to admit, every once in a while it feels really good.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Setting Limits

I just looked at the Dunkin Donuts Web site and discovered that my favorite new treat, the white hot chocolate, has a whopping 13 grams of fat per serving when you get a medium. I guess if I replace breakfast with a beverage this might SlimFast...but with chocolate....

Wenderina, you don't want to look up the Mocha Frappuccino on the Starbucks site....

Snark Attack

I will admit up front, this posting is catty and mean. But really, I can't help it.

Yesterday we received a memo in LP's school bag. I was so busy getting dinner ready and playing with LP that I didn't get a chance to read it until the Hoos and I sat down for dinner. Since I didn't want to be rude to him (see, I am just rude to other people), I read it aloud. Below is the note verbatim in italics with our actual commentary in brackets.

Dear Tumble Bugs' parents and teachers:

Next week we will be launching our biggest fundraiser ever.
[Hoos: We pay them, right? Why do they need a fundraiser?] The fundraiser not only returns a huge profit, but it is so simple to do and is a win win opportunity. Each family and staff member will receive only ONE scratch off card. [Me, turning the paper over: Did we miss a paragraph - what the hell is she talking about?]

How it works:
Again every family and staff member receive only one card. [Me: I still don't know what she is talking about. But are they really making teachers participate in the fundraiser?!] This card has spaces that will be scratched off and a booklet of coupons. Each sheet of coupon has a value up to $100.00 dollars. [Me: Is this making any sense to you? Also, I want you to note that it says 'dollar sign one zero zero dot zero zero DOLLARS.'; Hoos: People have to give $100?!]

Each person who has the card will have his or her family, friends and/or co-workers scratch off a space. The person who did the scratching will then pay the amount that is revealed. The amount can range from nothing to $3.00. [Hoos: So we just make people scratch off and then force them to pay? That doesn't seem very nice.] In return the person will receive one sheet of coupons (up to $100.00). [Me: So coupons are their reward for scratching? What are these coupons for? Why would anyone want them?]


How we will use the money raised:
The money raised will be used for big-ticket items like listening centers, library furniture, dramatic play furniture and toys (depending on the age group). [Hoos: How about air conditioners or refrigerators that work? Maybe if they put some of the tuition toward that stuff I would be less annoyed about this fundraiser.] We have also decided with money left over we will create financial incentives for the staff to further their education and to further promote employee morale. [Me: I support the idea of rewarding the teachers, but how about getting {the director who wrote this memo} a writing course?]

I am so very excited...

At this point I stopped reading. I was all snarked out. Now I am trying to decide if I should be kind, and offer my "expertise" as a communications professional to aid the center in its memo writing. I am guessing that based on our track record with the director this offer will not be received kindly.

I am embarrassed and a little shocked that this is the caliber of the "administration" at LP's day care. Granted, her teachers are great and they sincerely care about her; and, even more fortunately, she will not be learning to write extensive paragraphs while at this school...but still....

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dirty Girl

My housekeeping isn't what it used to be. And even that wasn't much.

Considering LP regularly dumps bags of Cheerios or goldfish on my living room rug and cries at the sound of the vacuum cleaner, I don't vacuum as much as I should. And somehow the unwanted food that she flings off of her high chair tray finds a way of hitting at least three pieces of furniture before landing on the floor. Again, this is very difficult to stay on top of.

Five years ago, I had a conversation with a colleague on this topic that still sticks with me.

She was complaining about her sister-in-law's housekeeping practices and asked me incredulously, "Do you believe that she doesn't wash their shower towels daily? Isn't that disgusting? It must be a cultural thing." Well, her sister-in-law happened to be South American, but obviously the one with the problem was my co-worker. I remember thinking, "Who washes their towels everyday? Who has the time, energy and that much laundry that they can do a load a day?"

Well, I now I have enough laundry that I can do a load a day; except I can't and I don't. First, it wastes way too much electricity and water to run the washing machine and dryer so frequently. Second, WHO HAS THE TIME OR ENERGY TO DO A LOAD OF LAUNDRY A DAY?

Have I just outed myself as a dirty person? Do other people seriously only use their towels for drying off after the shower once? I thought that was a luxury afforded in fancy hotel rooms. And even they are asking people to hang up their towels and consider not getting new linens every day.

Thank goodness the aforementioned colleague no longer works here. I can only imagine what should would say about my cleaning practices! Or maybe with two kids of her own now she has more important things to worry about than lightly used towels.

Monday, September 24, 2007

No More Mrs. NiceMommy

LP is now almost 16 months old. I thought it would be a nice mommy thing to do to introduce her to juice. Up until now she has only imbibed on milk and water. Since she doesn't drink as much as I would like, I thought that adding a little bit of apple juice to her water would make satisfying her thirst more satisfying.

I was absolutely right. For the last couple of days she would drink 8 ounces of equal parts juice and water at least once a day. The Hoos and I were thrilled that LP was getting more hydration.

Nothing can ever be that easy...

Apparently LP likes apple juice, but apple juice doesn't like LP. Or maybe it likes LP but it likes to torture the people that have to change her diapers. I won't go into details, but I think we will be cutting back on the juice. Maybe three parts water to one part juice and even that will be limited.

I guess the moral of the story is, even if mommies are supposed to know best, they need to do research too. Trial and error counts as research.

Dilemma Update

The comment from TheMommyKelly to my ethical dilemma was the extra bit of motivation that I needed to take action.

Rather than calling the actual store, for fear that the cashier that rang me up WAS actually the manager, I went to the Carter's Web site and found the 800 number for their customer service.

Armed with my receipt, I made the call. I didn't have to leave my name or number, and I got an "oh, gosh" from the lovely mid-Western lady that answered the phone when I explained the situation.

Friday, September 21, 2007

An Ethical Dilemma

LP and I just got back from running errands. Our second stop was at Carter's where I bought long-sleeve white onesies which I found to be indispensable last fall/winter.

Everything went fine until I went to check out. The 4-pack of onesies cost $12. I just happened to have a ten and two ones in my wallet so I decided to pay in cash. I handed it to the older woman that was ringing me up. While I waited for my receipt, I watched her open the register, pretend to put the cash in and pocket my $12! I know it was my cash because I had one of those new pink $10 bills. I accepted the receipt and saw her pocket the cash as I walked away.

I was incredulous. I had no idea what to do. So, I walked out. And I called the Hoos and told him. He said "Well, did you tell someone?". My response, "Yeah, you." My thinking is that this is none of my business. Maybe there were extenuating circumstances that I was unaware of?

What would you do?

Now We're Cooking

Tomorrow, the Hoos, LP and I are going to my Aunt and Uncle's for break fast. This is the meal that traditionally follows the 24 hour fasting of Yom Kippur. It is more like brunch at night.

In honor of this gathering, LP and I baked cookies this morning. LP was in charge of cleaning off the paddle (the mixing attachment to my standing mixer) and she very successfully removed any remnants of cookie dough - although a lot of it ended up on her clothing. Suffice it to say, when I took the paddle away, she was none too pleased with me.

I then scooped her up and carried her over to the sink to clean her up. While hosing her off, we also filled the mixing bowl with warm soapy water to let it soak. This became LP's favorite part of cookie making. She came up with multiple ways to have fun with the resultant bubbles. She would lather them on me or herself, strain them through a mini-strainer, pick them up with a mixing spoon....

She then noticed the real bubbles on the counter and insisted on introducing them to the mix. Not being a total glutton for punishment, I took the bubbles and LP outside. For the first minute of bubble merriment I was too busy making bubbles to notice the beautiful large rabbit in the back of our yard. LP noticed right away and began pointing and babbling. She then made her "rabbit face" (you would think this would be wrinkling your nose, but LP is still learning so instead she squints her eyes and the result is more akin to Clint Eastwood than a rabbit) and crawled into my lap and we both sat on the grass and watched the bunny until he hopped away.

What a great morning.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Counting My Lucky Stars

Today I didn't have any funny stories, new experiences or free stuff to write about. I was about to write about something trivial but I instead decided to just let today be a quiet day from View from the Passenger's Seat.

And then I got a devastating email from a woman I know through work...

My sales contact at an industry association, she is not a woman I know particularly well, but we talk several times a year and she is always friendly and inquisitive about my life. Yes, part of the candor has to do with her being a good sales rep and building rapport with me as her client, but she is genuine and sincere and she always remembers LP's name.

She sent me an email to let me know that her 4-month old granddaughter, the light of her life and always one of the main topics of our discussion, passed away suddenly last week. She couldn't be roused from sleep at day care and the emergency team was unable to revive her.

It makes my heart feel heavy as I try to imagine how hopeless her entire family must feel. It also makes me thankful.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Me Like

This morning as I grabbed my strawberry frosted Pop-Tart and headed out the door, I decided I really didn't want the "toaster pastry" for breakfast. I stuck it in my bag as a back-up but decided that if the line didn't look too long at the Dunkin' Donuts drive-through I would pick something up there.

As luck would have it, the line was short. At 52 degrees it isn't really an iced coffee day, so I decided to try a White Hot Chocolate with my bagel. I figured the "white" part meant it would be less likely to stain should I pour it on myself. Imagine my pleasant surprise when I took my first sip shortly after entering the barely moving traffic on the parkway and realized what I actually had. This was not white hot chocolate it was hot WHITE chocolate. It is like drinking a white chocolate Easter bunny. Life doesn't get much better than that.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

If I Do Say So Myself

I am very proud of myself. Dinner has become a struggle with LP, but tonight I managed to work a miracle.

First, she refused to eat the Gerber Graduates Chicken and Carrot ravioli. I don't know if it is the texture or what, but as soon as one of them touches her tongue she scrunches up her little face, pushes it out and pushes the entire container of them away.

Next, I tried to give her a Chik'n Patty for protein. Yes, it is tofu, but they taste good and are healthy than frozen process chicken patties. When she turned her nose up at the patty, I was momentarily stuck without a clue. She had meatballs last night and I really like for her to get something relatively nutritious for dinner...

I decided to boil some water and make her some pasta. At least the sauce has vegetables.

Then, inspiration struck: homemade mac and cheese. I vaguely remember the instructions from Alton Brown on Good Eats and I start melting a tablespoon or so of butter and add in the equivalent amount of flour. When I think the roux is good to go, I add in some milk and stir. It looked a little thin, but I decided to be patient before pouring the mess down the sink, and it works because it starts to thicken! Finally, I mix in the only cheese I have in the house - American cheese. I think maybe Alton Brown said that it was good to use because it melts nicely (she says hopefully). Surprisingly it turned out pretty well.

In the meantime LP ate the Chik'N; when I asked her to taste the macaroni she seemed to enjoy it and actually "asked" for seconds and thirds! This might be my most successful dinner in weeks!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Apathy, My Enemy

I am on a break from my Financial Management class and I am struggling to have any enthusiasm for the content and therefore have very little motivation for a grade.

Work no longer pays for my tuition since I don't work full time, so the Hoos and I are baring the $1695 fee (which doesn't include the $130 book, which finally arrived a week into the class). When work paid for the course, I had to get at least a B in order to get 100% of the cost reimbursed. Not that I ever got below an A- (I even got several A+'s, which I didn't even know was possible until I received them). I don't believe there is a minimum GPA requirement to graduate.

The guys sitting to my right are haggling with the professor over decimal points for their grades on the first quiz. I have questions, but I don't care enough to ask them. At this point I am just getting my MBA because I started the 19 course program and am half way through. Hopefully I will be able to skate along for the duration of the program and graduate.

All of the exams and quizzes are take home. I am trying to take enough notes so that I can solve the problems on my own when required; however, I am not really trying to pay enough attention to learn the content. Yes, I am banking on the fact that I will never really have to apply any of the Financial Management concepts to my current job (or ideally any job I will have in the future); so it could potentially hurt me in the long run. But one concept I have picked up in this class has to do with recognizing, minimizing and accepting risk.

For those of you that knew me in high school or college, you might be wondering if someone has stolen my password and written a blog entry under my name. IN fact, I have a hard time recognizing myself as I write this. I assure you this is me. I have just become a person with different priorities. I would much rather be home with LP and the Hoos right now...

Cue the Crickets

This morning I did something new. I dropped LP off at day care and came home to do work. Once before I brought her to day care and went into the office, and several times before the Hoos has dropped her off on a Monday or Friday when I would typically be home with her; but this is the first time in a long time that I have actually been alone in my house on a Monday or Friday. It feels weird. I feel guilty.

I have mentally rationalized the decision to bring her in: 1). She was home with us last Thursday, a typical school day; 2). I plan on picking her up before 3, so she will only be at school five hours or so today; 3). I have conference calls from 11-12 and 12-1:30, it wouldn't be fair to her to have me distracted for 2.5 hours when she thinks we should be playing; and finally 4). The Hoos came up with this one - yeah, it sucks for her to have to spend the day hanging out with her friends and playing.

However, on a less than rational level I feel guilty. To compensate for this I have tried to fill every minute of my day so I am not "wasting" my time away from LP:

9am - Drop off LP
9:15 - Go to Stew's to buy milk
9:30 - Eat breakfast and check email
10 - Return dressy shoes I bought LP that she won't wear enough to justify the cost. Besides, I found them cheaper online.
10:15 - Return books to the library
10:45 - Prepare for conference calls
11am - 1:30pm - Conference Calls
1:30 - Eat lunch and get ready for class
2:00 - Prep LP and Daddy's dinner
2:30 - Pick up LP

Am I nuts? Or is this a genius move that will convince me to bring LP to day care and work from home every Monday?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Welcoming Committee

LP is a very friendly kid. She will wave and say hello to everyone she encounters. One caveat, she won't say hello when I ask her to, e.g., when we are out for a walk and someone waves to her first. Typically she says hello after the person has passed us and is no longer paying attention.

An odd thing about greeting strangers - if I say to LP, "Say Hi, LP" in a sing-songy voice, usually the other person will exactly repeat what I said, including the tone. I feel sort of like a ventriloquist or a hypnotist, getting all of these people to do what I say - even if I am not really trying!

What is great is that just about every time she says hello to someone she leaves them with a smile. You really can't help but feel good when a little munchkin wiggles her little fingers and clearly says one of her only words to you.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Today was the first day of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. It officially started at sundown last night, but today was the first of two days that we go to synagogue to "celebrate."

Last year, LP was only a few months old when the holiday rolled around. She was immobile and relatively quiet so the the Hoos and I were able to stay in the sanctuary for the majority of the service. This year LP is an active, happy little girl; and despite the fact that she doesn't have many words, she certainly has sounds. Shortly after settling in to the way back of the sanctuary and opening our mahzor (special prayer books for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur), LP started to make her presence known. The Hoos quickly scooped her up and carried her out to the hallway. I stayed for another half hour or so before discretely making my way out as well.

Because we were not able to observe the entire service, I am determined to reflect on the holiday's meaning on my own. In all honesty, that is what I typically do anyway. Sure, I follow the service, but as with most things, it is important to connect it back to you, your life, and your experiences to make the recitations tangible.

In some respects Rosh Hashana is pretty similar to the secular New Year, a time to consider the events and your actions of the previous year and make resolutions for the future. Looking back over the past year I keep coming to a single conclusion: I am extremely fortunate. I have a wonderful husband, an awe-inspiring daughter, a comfortable house, a good job and a supportive and loving family. There is really nothing that I could possibly want for. And if there is anything I want or need, for the most part I am fortunate to have the means to take care of it. Basically, despite all of the things I find to complain about on a daily basis, I have nothing to complain about.

This makes it painfully clear that I need to be more charitable, more patient, and more positive. I am hereby committed to being more appreciative of what I have and taking responsibility for improving/enhancing/upgrading myself and whatever small part of the world I can impact. While it certainly sounds pat and cliche when looking at it in black and white, all I can do it start today and remind myself to look back often.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I have what can only be described as an over-sensitive sense of empathy. This is especially apparent when I am watching movies. I can find a reason to cry during the course of most movies. Last week the Hoos and I watched literally only the last five minutes of the movie Hardball and I bawled the entire time. True, I have seen the movie before and we did come in at an especially moving part (poor G-Baby), but still, most people wouldn't necessarily breakdown.

Crying while watching sad movies is generally accepted in our society; unfortunately I don't stop at crying. There are actually some movies that I can not watch because I can't tolerate characters setting themselves up for embarrassment. I refuse to watch any movie in the Meet the Parents franchise and I had to leave the room several times during American Pie. Borat, which features real people, not actors, in embarrassing situations is on the top of the verboten list. Maybe some people find it funny, but I can't get past what I perceive as the cruelty of the situation. Just anticipating the humiliation someone is about to experience makes my heart ache.

Talkies are not the only medium that bring out my empathetic side. There are even some books that I have to put down and walk away from because I get uncomfortable (e.g., She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb). Maybe this is a sign of a well-written novel? I just finished a book, Nineteen Minutes, that took me much longer than usual to get through. It focuses on a bullied teenager who unleashes a Columbine-like response on his school. The fear and rejection experienced by this poor, tortured kid was palpable. I could almost forgive him for his "transgressions," except, of course, that he murdered 10 of his classmates as a response.

I don't know why exactly I am so empathetic. I was not picked on any more than usual as a kid. I certainly wasn't in "the popular crowd" although I do regret treating others with even lesser status than me poorly. I particularly dwell on elementary school, since I think at some point in junior high I started to be more sensitive. I only hope that Barbara, an overweight girl that was in my first or second grade class, has forgiven me for going along with the crowd and isolating her.

In order to redeem myself, my goal is to help my daughter be strong and confident, so that she can stand up to bullies, not only for herself but for others. I hope that she is the rule and not the exception in this regard and that the world of school becomes less cruel in this post-9/11, post-Columbine world.... A girl can hope, can't she?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Old Lady

Last night was the first session of my Financial Management course. And boy, do I feel old.

Contributing Factor 1: It has been about a year and a half since I attended class in person. In the 16 months since I last visited the UCONN-Stamford campus, it seems that everyone I knew graduated. I did not recognize a single person in my classroom. And the average age of the students appeared to be about 25.

Contributing Factor 2: Class is held from 7-10pm. To sit rapt and pay attention at the end of the day is difficult for anyone; I feel especially at a disadvantage after having spent the day running around (and thoroughly enjoying it!) after LP. Typically by 10 o'clock I am dragging myself up the stairs in our house to get ready for bed. I didn't even get home until close to 10:30 last night. And without time to really talk to the Hoos or wind down, I had a really difficult time falling asleep.

Contributing Factor 3: Last night the MBA program had pizza and soda available during the break. The pizza was cold by the time my class got its break (our professor apparently likes to talk) and it looked completely unappetizing. I used to eat pizza at 11 in the morning that had been ordered the night before. Our group was also being used to test a new drink, The Switch, which is 100% carbonated fruit juice. My only question for the poor woman standing there handing it out was "Does it have caffeine? Because it is way too late for me to have caffeine."

All of these factors, coupled with the dreary weather, definitely has me feeling my age. Which, as of today, is officially thirty-one.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Weighing on My Mind

At least once a week when I am out running errands with LP someone will comment, “what a big girl you are!” Invariably they are not saying this because she is doing something that makes her seem wise beyond her 15 months. Every time I respond with “yes, she is very healthy”. And each time I wince on the inside.

Let’s get something straight, LP is perfect. And she does have rolls on her arms and beautiful, soft pudgy cheeks. But she is not overweight, obese or bigger than average. In fact, we had her 15-month check up today and she is exactly average in both weight and height, falling at the 50th percentile.

Babies come in all shapes and sizes. And by definition they have baby fat. They need fat for their brains to develop and so they can grow up big and strong.

LP weighed 7 lbs, 15 ounces at birth and had gorgeous round cheeks and chubby little arms and legs. She was (and still is, really) the most amazing thing I had ever seen in my entire life and not a day goes by where I do not remark to the Hoos about how gorgeous she is. I am tired of being questioned about her weight and from here on out I am going to make an effort to stop letting it be a topic of conversation.

And people wonder why teenage girls have complexes about their weight...

Friday, September 7, 2007


I try to clean out my wallet and pocketbook monthly. It actually needs to be done weekly, but I never seem to find the time to do it. Whenever I receive receipts or coupons I tend to just shove them into my wallet or purse and run out of the store on to my next errand.

LP has decided to take on the responsibility of cleaning out my wallet. As I type this she is sitting on the floor of our home office removing every last item from my wallet and scattering them about the floor.

In fact, despite the fact that I only recently moved stuff into this wallet, she has found items in it that I didn't even know existed. For example, she discovered a purple piece of paper that says "Appt. Jan 19, Dr. Moxley" I don't know who Dr. Moxley is, but considering there is a 703 number, which is Virginia, and I haven't lived in Virginia for more than 5 years, my guess is this thing has been hidden for quite some time. Maybe she will be a private investigator when she grows up...or the host of the 2030 version of "Clean Sweep"...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Is this a Sign?

I have a meeting this afternoon that requires me to look presentable. In fact, I should probably look somewhat more presentable than usual. Of course, as soon as the universe figures out that I am looking for a good karma day, things start to go wrong.

First, LP started crying this morning approximately 2 minutes after my alarm went off. We typically count on her sleeping until at least 7:30 so that the Hoos has time to shower and get his basic morning routine under way. It is really rare for her to cry at all, so of course I get up and drag myself into her bedroom, locate the pacifiers that have jumped ship and strategically place them near her head i.e., hopefully where she can see them but not me.

Shockingly, this did not work. She sat bolt upright and continued to cry. I am a sucker, I admit it. I pick her up from the crib and carry her over to the glider in her bedroom and sit and rock her. She immediately quiets down but as soon as I try to put her back in her crib all of the success from "mommy soothing" goes out the window. So, I bring her into our bedroom and lay down in the bed with her, hoping that she will curl up and fall asleep next to her daddy. Again, not happening. The Hoos tracks down some Orajel, thinking maybe it is her teeth that are bothering her (she now has about 11 teeth, including three molars with more of those bad boys coming in). She relaxes, but she won't stay still and I need to get in the shower to prep for work.

I return LP to her crib and leave her crying while I go to get ready for work. According to the Hoos she quiets down until I turn off the shower; apparently me turning off the shower is a sign to start laying on the guilt trip. I fight the urge to go to her and go about my business getting ready for work and leave the house tired and only a few minutes later than usual.

I decide to treat myself to a decaf coffee and a bagel for breakfast and stop at a bagel store on my way to the parkway. As I walk out to my car juggling the coffee, bagel and my wallet, I set my car alarm off by inadvertently pressing the panic button on my key chain. This startles me enough that I splash coffee on my boob. Lovely. And it still takes me a few seconds to remember how to turn the alarm off (do I repress the panic button or hit the unlock button?).

Fortunately, I remember that I have a Tide to Go stick in my bag. I have been bombarded with information about how effective it is from VocalPoint, the P&G mom's focus group program and decide to put it to the test. I follow the instructions and start rubbing it on the coffee stain, forgetting that my alarm had drawn the attention of the entire bagel shop which is mostly full of men on their way to work. Let's just say that they were all very happy with the free morning show.

On a positive note, by the time I arrived at work the stain disappeared. I am hopeful that this is the turning point of my day and only good stuff is on the horizon.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Bumper Cars

About four weeks ago the Hoos and I took the bumpers out of LP's crib. We know that you are supposed to take them out as soon as the baby starts rolling, but we didn't see the need. They were removed in anticipation of LP starting to try to escape from the crib. She hasn't yet, but the removal of the bumpers have lead to numerous other challenges.

For instance, the bumpers played the integral role of keeping stuff inside the crib. Yes, this may sound counter to the idea that they can be used as a tool for escape, but it is true. LP still sleeps with a pacifier. We try to limit her access to pacifiers the rest of the day, but we continue to rely on them to help her self-soothe at night. Well, as you might guess, the pacifiers are much smaller than the space between the bars on the crib and they have a way of escaping. Especially since LP rolls around a lot at night. Baby girl now wakes up several times a week and gets upset when she can't find her pacifier. Some nights we ignore her and she will eventually fall back asleep; other nights the sounds are too disruptive to our sleep patterns and we sneak in, search on our hands and knees in the dark, and return the pacifier to the crib as imperceptibly as possible.

The pacifiers don't only sneak out in the middle of the night now that the crib is naked. If we are playing in LP's room she will surreptitiously coax a pacifier out from behind the bars and pop it into her mouth. Occasionally the Hoos and I do not notice for quite some time that she is sucking away while playing. LP finds it hilarious when we do eventually discover her ploy.

Finally, bumpers act as a bit of a curtain, blocking of the bottom few inches of the crib from the outside world. The Hoos and I used to be able to sneak in to LP's room without her noticing. Now, if she is laying awake in her crib she is much more likely to notice us. This screening might not sound like much, but it could be the difference between a baby that falls back to sleep and one that starts crying and insists on being liberated.

If you followed all of the advice out there, you pretty much wouldn't even bother to buy bumpers. You are supposed to remove them once the baby is around five months old. For some families, newborns don't even start sleeping in their own cribs until they are around this age!

My question is - when can we put the bumpers back in?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Sock Monkey Works for Me

LP loves animals. She especially loves dogs. In fact, if we are sitting inside and I tell her that I see someone walking a dog outside, she will immediately run to the door and press her face against it trying to catch a glimpse of the pooch.

The Hoos would love to get a dog. Fortunately for me, dogs have one fatal flaw - they poop. Cleaning up baby poop is more than enough for me, and the Hoos is none too fond of the idea of walking around with a bag of dog droppings.

The last pet we had was a Beta fish named Gus who lived a very long and fruitful life. In fact, even after problems with his air bladder which prevented him from getting to the top of the tank, the little guy lived on for almost another year. Before that we had a Beta named Sigmund (for Sigmund the Sea Monster - does anyone else remember him?).

Beyond that, when I met him the Hoos, he had an orange corn snake, Zeus, hidden in the closet in his dorm room. Picture us as sophomores in college, him: "I have a snake." And I still agreed to study with him in said dorm room. Zeus was okay, except I didn't really like when he would lick my neck. Anyway, Zeus was followed by several other reptiles.

When we moved in together the Hoos had Monty, an albino corn snake. Monty is remembered by our families as famously having crawled out of his container on a drive from New England to Virginia and wrapped himself around the Hoos' ankle as he drove. Monty and I survived living together (which included the addition of frozen mice "meals" to my freezer) until we moved back up north. When it took a really long time to find an affordable apartment in spectacular White Plains, NY, I determined that I didn't want to risk being kicked our for harboring a pet and insisted that the snake find a new home. I believe he is happily living with the maintenance guy from the Hoos' old workplace.

We are currently contemplating other pets - most likely fish. Or, I think maybe we should just live vicariously through my brother and his family - they have about ten pets. What say you blog readers? Thumbs up or thumbs down on pets? And if it is a thumbs up, do you want to come over and take care of it?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

You See, We See, DC

We are back from our exciting trip to DC. First, let me say that LP was an absolute angel in the car. Both on the drive down to DC and the ride home she behaved beautifully. I had to read some stories and have a pacifier ready but she was great - even after sitting in a painful back-up this afternoon en route to the GW Bridge.

We had a really nice time. We got to see our friends and show off LP; she was the "entertainment". She showed everyone how she could howl like a wolf and kept doing it when she saw the boisterous response.

In addition to spending some quality time with friends, we also had some time alone to reacquaint ourselves with the old neighborhood. One of the highlights was visiting the sculpture garden outside of the National Gallery on the Mall. It has a huge fountain surrounded by beautiful curved marble benches. The Hoos and I sat back and let LP run back and forth between the raised fountain and our seats on the benches. She amused all of the tourists to the point that some even took pictures of her! Yes, it was a little creepy, but I am confident that they only had the best intentions. We also visited a butterfly garden situated between the Sculpture Garden and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. LP loved sitting up on the big rocks lining the path.

Saturday evening as we returned from a friend's house with LP snoozing in her car seat, we drove through the GWU campus. Some of the students were still in the process of moving into Thurston Hall (the freshman dorm). I can remember moving into Thurston! The Hoos and I figured out that when we were entering college, the current freshman would have been five years old. Seeing how young the students looked and noting all of the new construction and changes on campus made me feel ancient.

I guess you never really can go back. But forward isn't such a bad direction to go either. Onward!