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.