Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Photo Update

Chilling in the pool. With her ice pop, spray bottle, and too small hat.
Baby Dee, growing up.
Now THIS is what I'm talking about.

Chatty Cathy

Many moons ago I wrote about how I would like more information on what LP does with her days when she is at day care. During the past year or so the notes from the teachers have had more details since the kids are more interactive and actually partake in activities, as opposed to cry, eat, sleep or hang out like little lumpkins.

Most recently LP's daily reports have included notes of what she talked about all day. It just cracks me up to think of my little munchkin giving monologues to whomever will listen. Some examples:
  • All of the kids in her class know "Baby Dee". Whenever they see me come in with Dee they all run over calling her name because LP talks about her little sister incessantly.
  • Two weeks ago the teachers asked me what LP calls her grandparents. My in-laws are "Saba" and "Savta" (Hebrew for grandma and grandpa). Apparently LP chatted about going to the beach with Saba and "Sassa" all day and they couldn't really figure out what she was talking about.
  • Last weekend LP had "water play" with her cousins at their house. This included a sprinkler, slip-n-slide, and kiddy pool. Everyone had a great time, especially LP. The next day when I picked LP up at school the teachers asked me what her cousins names were. Again, since their names are Hebrew and not common English names the teachers weren't really sure WHO she played with but they definitely understood that she had a great time.
  • Yesterday the note remarked that LP talked on and on about the "baseball game." Saturday night we took the girls to their first Bridgeport Bluefish game. Dee slept the entire time, and LP freaked out any time she saw the mascot, but I guess it made an impression.

I just can't believe how grown up LP is getting. Now, not only does she have experiences that I am not a part of at day care, but she has conversations that other people can understand and appreciate. Amazing.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Whole New World

When I was on maternity leave with LP we hadn't lived in Norwalk even a year. I didn't know many people and suffice it to say my leave was tiring and really really boring.

The good news on the exhaustion front is that so far I have found it to be more manageable the second time around. Dee is a good sleeper - going for four or five hours for the first stretch of the night. This really helps. I am not napping at all - which I did frequently the first time around, although that could have been a result of boredom too.

This maternity leave has been different. Even though I don't like to take Dee to enclosed public places yet (August 4th and her shots can't come soon enough) I have still been interacting with other adults quite a bit.

I have had at least two visits and several phone calls with friends from work in addition to frequent emails. And, on two separate occasions this week alone, Dee and I hung out with other moms from LP's day care at their homes. We also hung out with my parents and my mother-in-law. In addition, most days when I pick LP up from school we go and hang out on the playground and usually end up chatting with LP's classmates and their parents.

Thursday I found myself driving around with a big smile, despite the drenching rain. It suddenly dawned on me: I have friends. Wow. Awesome.

An amendment - not to say that I didn't have friends before, but they just didn't really live locally. I am not forgetting about you folks in NY, VA, DC and everywhere else! - I hope you don't forget about me either...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Summer Project

A full seven weeks in to my maternity leave and yesterday I finally started my summer project. Yes, a project other than the adorable one that is starting to smile and is all cute and mooshy.

I am creating a book of my blog. No, not the kind of book I am going to sell for millions. Just a printed archive of my blog in a semi-snazzy layout. I am more than 400 posts into this blog; I would hate for Blogger to implode and lose the entire thing. I also think this book would be a nice memento for my girls when they grow up.

So far I worked on it for a few hours yesterday, cutting and pasting into a layout program starting with posting #1 from mid-January 2007. I got up to the beginning of March 2007. This is a tedious process, and I haven't even been adding pictures or jazzing up the layout. And it is already 30 5.5x8.5 pages.

This could go from being my Summer 2008 project to being my 2008 project.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cuteness: A Defense Mechanism

How many times a week do you find yourself thinking, "It is a good thing s/he is cute!" about your kid? More times than you can count probably - especially if you have a toddler. Take, for example, yesterday's incident.

LP greeted me in the kitchen when I returned from the grocery store. She noticed a box of cereal and deftly removed it from my reusable 'Solutions for Life' grocery bag. While I put the other purchases away, she managed to tear open the box and bag and dump all of the contents on the floor. Apparently, she was attempting to pour some into a bowl she had set up alongside it. After making some noises of exasperation, I sent her to the Hoos so I would not injure her.

Five minutes later she returns to the kitchen where I am now cleaning up aforementioned cereal, stands in front of me and holds her hands up in a questioning manner and asks, "What you do, Mommy?"

Friday, July 18, 2008

Procter & Gamble is the Devil

This post has been a long time coming. Since LP was born we have always used Pampers diapers and wipes. We have spent lots and lots of money on Pampers - more than I would want to calculate or admit to. I buy them knowing they are the expensive brand because I believe they work better than other products. Despite their current UNICEF campaign and attempts to be goody-goody, I am starting to feel as if their marketing and product development people are solely focused on charging more money for less product with every new product and box size.

The main target of my ire is the Swipers product. These came out maybe a year ago. Supposedly they are thicker than your average wipe. Because they are thicker, fewer are sold in a package. I am sure they have research to say that thicker wipes mean people will use less, so it is break even for the consumer.

P&G apparently only interviewed moms to come to this conclusion. Sure, I try to use wipes as economically as possible. I fold them to maximize usage so as not to be wasteful. For me, thicker MIGHT mean using one wipe where I used to use two.

Unfortunately, this is not the way the Hoos operates. Dare I say this is the way MOST husbands operate. It seems that men are so frightened of getting diaper fluids on their skin that they use as many wipes as possible to avoid any chance of transfer. I am suspicious that the Hoos uses two wipes for pee diapers. And we have two girls so one is not used for protection.

Suffice it to say I am finally using another brand for wipes. Kirkland, here we come! So far, so good. So much so that I am actually considering trying another type of diaper...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mish Mosh

Various thoughts and moments from the last few days:
  • Nursing Dee the other morning, I was propped up in bed with my pillow against the wall behind me. LP, the little mimic, climbs up next to me with her baby, puts the Hoos' pillow behind her, lifts her shirt and feeds her dolly.
  • Do you think he does it on purpose? After being awakened by Dee, as my feet hit the floor next to our bed to go check on her, the Hoos asks, "Do you want me to go get her?" Little late buddy.
  • Last night LP had a meal that was almost entirely protein! Hard-boiled egg white, chicken and steak! Sure it was drowned in ketchup (the protein starts out as a vehicle for getting the sweet red stuff to her mouth), but still! This is HUGE.
  • Dee and I went to a farmer's market today. One of my purchases was zucchini. I grated one up and mixed it in as I made meatballs earlier. I swear they are the best meatballs I have ever made - very moist and sweet! I baked them and will heat them up for dinner in a pan of sauce and serve them on fresh bread I also got at the market.

Finally, over the last few months I have been baking at least once a week. This week Leonard's had blueberries 4 pints for $5. I couldn't resist. I made the Hoos' favorite blueberry cake, a recipe from my mother-in-law. I highly recommend it and it was very easy:

Elaine's Fruit Torte

  • Cream 1 c. sugar and 1/2 c. butter or margarine together.
  • Add 1c. flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, dash of salt, & 2 eggs.
  • Place in 9" spring form pan.
  • Cover entire surface with one of the following or a combination of 1 pint blueberries, 24 halves pitted Italian plums (skin side up), sliced apples, sliced peaches. (In winter frozen or canned blueberries or peaches may be substituted. If using canned fruit, drain and wash off syrup well.)
  • Sprinkle top with sugar, a little lemon juice, flour (if fruit is very juicy), and cinnamon (use a heavy hand).
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or till toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

When You're Smiling

New photos of my babies: The first hints of Dee smiling and LP taking care of her baby.

Spurting and Sputtering

Last week a friend gave me some quotable advice, "If I waited for my house to be perfect I would never have anyone over." Amen to that sister! I am glad she didn't wait. Dee and I had a great time with Rocky and her two daughters and the other moms and kids hanging out. It was nice to be with other people that are sharing the same experiences, even if we do sometimes have different opinions.

In other news, I think Dee is going through a growth spurt. Last night she was up every hour and 45 minutes like clockwork wanting to eat. And she actually did a full feeding each time. The good news is that it only takes her 12 minutes to eat an entire meal and she fell back to sleep immediately after eating all four (during the 1, 3, 5, and 7 o'clock hours) times.

I have discovered that the falling back to sleep bit is the hard part. I don't mind the nursing. Even if it took longer - 30 minutes per side with LP - it is still bearable. It is the post-feeding desperate attempts to get her back to sleep that really take a toll. It is like driving through a dark tunnel with claustrophobia and having no idea how long the thing is.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


LP has so much energy; I wish I could borrow some of it. Although, truth be told, considering I am usually operating on 4 or 5 hours of sleep, I seem to have some energy reserves that I am making use of. But that is to just get by, LP's energy is used for leaping and bounding and causing trouble.

Yesterday I kept LP home from day care because my parents were going to up from LI for the day. To say she was very excited for 'Nma's and Papa's visit would be an understatement.

Shortly before they arrived she decided to clean my bathroom. This involved an empty spray bottle, the bottom half of a Swiffer Sweeper, and apparently, an entire bottle of shampoo. I was sitting on the living room floor pumping when I overheard her say "shampoo". I untangled myself to discover her pumping the huge bottle of baby shampoo onto her hands and lathering it up exclaiming, "Washy washy!" As I attempted to rinse her off she played in the millions of bubbles gathering in the sink thanks to her overly soapy hands. Once done with this she proceeded to paint the walls with the shampoo that missed her hands and coated the floor. Good times.

After a fun-filled day with her grandparents, it was time for LP to go to bed. About 40 minutes later I went to check on her and while I could see her laying peacefully in her bed, it was unusually quiet. Being a bit paranoid I crept in to feel her chest to make sure all was well. As I left I didn't shut the gate at her bedroom door, figuring the Hoos would be home soon and want to give her a kiss. Five minutes later, I hear the distinct sounds of a toddler slinking her way down the stairs. Wouldn't you know it? The little stinker was wide awake watching me check on her (my eyes weren't adjusted to the dark) and took advantage of the open gate.

In Baby Dee news, she took a bottle with expressed milk for the first time yesterday. I am attempting to pump at least once a day to alleviate some of the stress to produce when I return to work. With LP I remember begging my breasts to "please please please give up just one more ounce so my baby wouldn't be hungry the next day..."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Cherry on Top

Yesterday I had a real treat. My two best work friends, Kiki and Wenderina, came to visit me and the girls. It was wonderful to see them in particular and just nice to talk to adults in general. I made us some dinner and we were entertained by LP as we enjoyed ziti and chocolate chip cookies.

I definitely felt silly when these two beautiful, well-put together, professional women asked me what I did all day. It is kind of embarrassing to try to put into words that, in essence, during the bulk of the day I do nothing. They knew I wasn't reading books because I asked them to bring me some, they also knew I wasn't watching TV or taking Dee out and about. "Umm, well...I change diapers, and nurse...and uhh...read blogs...."

I admit I am eagerly waiting for Dee's first shots on August 4th so that we can go into stores and the like. But that still doesn't mean my days will have fun-filled adventures. My life does seem to have one exciting moment after the next, but most of these have to do with my fantastic daughters developing. I think perhaps after spending a few hours being entertained by LP, my friends understand this too. After they left she kept asking me, "Where Kiki go? Wenny come back for party?"

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I am a Bad Neighbor

So as I was taking Dee on her first sojourn to "Leonard's," the world's largest dairy store, we noticed a dead squirrel on the street near our house. As we quickly navigated the store (Dee still hasn't had her shots so I kept her close in the Bjorn and moved fast) I pondered what to do about the deceased rodent.

I came up with 3 options:
  1. Leave it there and hope that it got run over and demolished to the point where it wasn't recognizable
  2. Wait until 8 tonight when the Hoos gets home and make him deal with it (this is typically my policy with the mice that a neighborhood cat gifts us with and leaves on our back patio)
  3. Or, use a really long-handled shovel to move it (but where? not into the garbage can, that is for sure!)
Realizing that the neighbors on the other side of the street are out of town today, I opted for a hybrid of 1 and 3. I pushed the rigored squirrel to the other side of the street, closer to their property. I figure for the price of taking in their mail, they (or their landscapers) could deal with it, should it not be obliterated sooner.

In adorable child news, the girls are both doing great. LP was thrilled to receive the "American Girl" catalogue (which she affectionately calls 'the baby book') in the mail yesterday. In it are toy horses. After telling me that she had a horse, I asked its name. She mumbled something unintelligible and I asked her to repeat it. Again, I had no clue. "Mommy, the farmer! Neigh, neigh here!" So I guess the name of her horse is Neighneighhere. Man, the kid is awesome.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Time Flies

Yesterday Dee had her one month check up. And let me tell you, baby girl is growing! She is up to 9lbs, 6ozs and has grown an inch and a quarter. We are still working on getting her to sleep for longer periods at night (it isn't that shew is hungry, it is just that she would prefer to be awake), but she continues to be awesomely mellow.
LP is also doing great. She really enjoyed taking a bath with her sister the other night (cropped for modesty purposes):

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

An Outing!

Today I actually left the house with Dee and spent time with a grown up that isn't related to me and that I don't pay (e.g., doctor, day care worker, cashier). It was great.

I think I have mentioned before that of the dozen or so kids in LP's day care class about eight of the little rugrats are becoming big brothers or sisters this year. As such, at least four of us are currently on maternity leave or home for the summer with newborns. We have been talking about getting together for weeks and plans and timing just never seemed to mesh. Finally, this morning on the spur of the moment, I called Chloekins' mom and asked if she wanted to meet at the beach.

It was lovely. There was a nice breeze and both of our kids slept like angels, requiring neither of us to attempt to nurse unobtrusively in public. And, because we were near the marina, there was a nice outdoor restaurant that she recommended for lunch. I ate real food that didn't (as far as I know) require use of the microwave and had adult conversation about life, motherhood, and work.

If every day was like this I might get used to stay-at-home-mommyhood...But I know better.