Monday, February 28, 2011

As The Saying Goes

There are two common expressions I'd like to discuss today: first, "Misery loves company." I suppose this is based in truth. I suppose, just theoretically, that if I were sick with a head cold, I'd much prefer to have various sizes of kids with varying kinds of disgusting coughs and colds climbing all over me/nursing from me at all hours of the night than to be, say, left alone to sleep in peace. And I'd much rather have Kleenex strewn all over the mother loving house, and snot and germs on just every surface imaginable, than to handle my own cold by myself complete with frequent hand washing and proper tissue disposal. I'd much rather have to fetch people juice and snacks and take temperatures and dole out chewable Tylenol than to lie on the couch motionless. Who would want to be ALONE when one is physically miserable? Goodness no. Bring on the COMPANY.*

Next expression: "Familiarity breeds contempt." Oh, certainly not! Certainly being shut inside a relatively small house with one's sick, cranky family for days and days on end only endears them to us further! One's family never does away with all niceties or compassion and just stalks around the house growling at each other in mutual discomfort! One certainly never texts their neighbor in desperation, threatening to send their kids to school even though they DO still seem sick! What are they going to do, sue us? Except that last night it rained and stormed and thundered for hours- lightning and thunder over SNOW COVERED ground!- and this morning all the roads to GET to the school were flooded.

I may have cried just a little.

*I do think being sick with ONLY another sick adult might be kinda-sorta fun, if we could lay on the couch and watch TV and moan together and have someone fetch us food and drink. However, throw three sick kids into the equation and it quickly goes from fun to some kind of anthropological experiment to see how long it will take us to EAT each other.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day 20

A hobby of mine. Let's see... I used to scrapbook, until Adelay turned from a crazy-low maintenance baby into a toddler with needs and opinions, and then her baby brother was born and then it was all I could do to remember to TAKE pictures, let alone crop them and paste them into albums with coordinating taggies and stickers and whatever.

I used to work out, and even enjoyed it somewhat, until I got pregnant with Jamie and it was high risk right from the beginning because of that subchorionic hematoma business. So I wasn't allowed to from then on, and I haven't gone to the gym in over a year. I plan to get a gym membership again when Jamie is six months old/the germy winter is over, and I will feel ok about leaving him in the daycare for an hour at a time. Until then, you lose, body. I did do fifty squats and sit ups the other day, randomly, and my thighs have been protesting ever so slightly. It seems a year of being more or less sedentary (unless you count the housework and the schlepping kids and laundry and groceries around all day) causes you to lose muscle tone. So unfair! Interestingly, my thighs are a bit thinner than they used to be, due I suppose to lack of muscle, but trust me they LOOK way worse than they do when I'm working out. My pants do fit better though. Trade off I guess.

So where was I? Hobby? I do still read a bit, though it's certainly tapered off drastically. That was the one part of bedrest I enjoyed... catching up on reading. So I guess my only hobby right now is blogging. Unless you count baking and eating copious amounts of lemon bars while watching Big Love as a HOBBY. I personally do not. That's just a survival mechanism.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 19

A fun memory... Well I had one in mind but realized it was before we had a digital camera (forescore and twenty years ago) and so the story alone wouldn't be that exciting. Well ok, it's still cute, but... WELL. HERE IT IS ANYWAYS. You get two for one, then.

The August of 2005, so about two months after Jim and I were married, my oldest sister got married in South Carolina. Jim and I drove there, along with my youngest sister Laura and my parents, and on the way back Laura rode with us instead of the adults. Because we were all still KIDS and wanted to have fun and drive fast and stuff. Hee. Anyways, on our way through North Carolina I suddenly saw a sign for the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, and realized it would only be about forty five minutes out of our way. After much begging and coercing, I convinced Laura and Jim to make an impromptu detour and we spent the afternoon touring the mansion, the grounds and the winery. I'd been there before, but it was really really fun that time, partly because of the company (we were a bit rowdy for the Biltmore tour people, I think) and partly because it was just such a fun, unexpected break in what was otherwise a super long road trip. The weather was beautiful, the gardens were in full bloom, and I don't know why, but I still remember that as one of the most fun afternoons of my life.

Now, the real story with accompanying pictures is of a trip Jim and I took to a b and b in Holmes County (i.e. Amish World) just a few weeks before I got put on bedrest during my first pregnancy. Again, this was a place I'd been before, but going there as a real grown up with Jim was new and unexpectedly fun. It was also unexpectedly hot, as I recall, and I remember almost fainting once walking into an Amish restaurant (I was quickly revived by sweet tea and gravy.) Note in the picture below how even though I was seven months pregnant, I was still carrying mainly in my THIGHS. That was definitely my least attractive pregnancy.

Also, remember that I was entering my third trimester of pregnancy, so I was HUNGRY and in Amish county there is a plethora of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and pie. Stomach, meet calories. MMM. I remember most of the places we went on that weekend based on what I ate there. I also remember our fruitless search for a coffeehouse one night we were there, leading us on a nighttime tour of, like, a hundred mile radius of Holmes County before we finally found a place that knew how to make a latte. Oh those Amish!

Do note the gorgeous waterfall panorama papered to the wall around the hot tub in our room. Fancy!

Also note the bonnet and shawl I WILLINGLY modeled. I apparently had no shame whatsoever on that trip. After eating an entire peanut butter cream pie, where else is there to go?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 18

A baby photo! Lord knows we have enough of those! Hmmm... How 'bout three baby photos? These were all taken at approximately four months old. Can you guess which is which?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 17-A Photo of My Family

I'm not sure if there ARE any pictures of just the five of us since Jameson was first born, at least not on my camera. Let me look here...

Ok! These aren't JUST of us, but we are all in them!

This one is at Jim's Aunt Nancy's house, where his extended family on his mom's side meets up every year right after Christmas. Oh look, they put all the cute ones in the front. :)

This was taken at Jim's grandma's house, where everyone on his DAD'S side meets up before Christmas. As I recall, this picture was a little trickier to get taken as a result of a couple of screaming babies, which is why Jim's and my smile might look a bit strained.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


First I have to do my Day 16 post, the topic of which is celebrity crushes, I believe. Yikes. Ok, well, I already discussed my early teenage love of Richard Gere, which thankfully has passed. My celebrity crush of recent years is Christian Bale. I have loved him since he was in Disney's "Newsies" like a hundred years ago. This crush is of the less lusty variety, I might add; I certainly don't find him UNsexy, but there's more to it than that. I think he's an amazing actor, and I think he chooses great roles.

Now. On to my Issue. I'm having breastfeeding problems with Jamie. Enough that it makes me want to give up actually nursing altogether and just pump and feed him bottles. Either that or I'm about to take him to a specialist to see if he has reflux issues or something. Not that he spits up, really, but the kid just hates to eat most of the time. Even when you know he's hungry he yanks his head away, claws at my breasts, chokes and gags, and generally acts like nursing is a torture.

It all kind of came to light a few weeks ago when my sister was here and was watching Laura (my OTHER sister) and I nurse our respective babies. Smith was being quite and had kind of wrapped himself around Laura's abdomen to comfortably nurse, but Jameson had one hand out against my chest, shoving his head away from me while the other was clawing at the underside of my breast. Meanwhile his entire torso was arched away from me. Jeni laughed and observed, "He literally couldn't be further away from you and still be eating!"

It seemed funny until I considered that unless he's half asleep, he ALWAYS nurses this way: simultaneously eating while sort of... fighting me. And he is constantly yanking his head off and grunting and fussing, and has to be re-latched. He's not much better with a bottle either. He'll eat from it, but he shakes his head back and forth and coughs and gags and fights it.

I thought reflux maybe, but he hardly ever spits up. Any ideas/suggestions?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Day 15

A favorite food. Well, right now my favorite food is what I just finished eating- lemon cheesecake bars with coconut and chopped almonds. I started with a Krusteaz lemon bar mix (you could certainly make your own from scratch; I've done that before too, but today I needed my lemon fix FAST) and then followed the cheesecake variation instructions on the back of the box, which is basically to put a layer of softened cream cheese beaten with an egg and a third a cup of sugar on top of the crust before you put the lemon filling on. Then I just stirred some coconut flakes into the lemon filling, and topped the final product with more coconut and chopped almonds before baking.

It was fairly simple to throw together, requiring only eggs and sugar as well as the coconut and almonds- and I think you could also use pecans, or maybe put a berry jam on top instead of the coconut. The hardest part was waiting the forty minutes to bake it and another half hour to cool sufficiently for me cut it and dive in.

Chocolate seems like an easy and obvious pick for a favorite food, and overall it probably is my first love. But I find that by the end of winter I'm always craving tastes that remind me of spring, and lemon does the trick every time.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


In honor of the weekend I interrupt this daily blog challenge thingie (which I am apparently not doing quite daily, but hey! At least more frequently than I WAS!) to gripe about Wal Mart. I know, just what the world needs: another post about how much Wal Mart sucks. But seriously.

I went there rather than my usual grocery store because we were out of Pull-Ups (yes, THAT'S still happening,) diapers, wipes and toilet paper, and there is just nowhere around here to get those things as cheaply. I also had a bunch of coupons for free half gallons of 8th Generation brand soy milk which I won in a Swistle contest a few months ago. I hadn't been able to find that brand at any of our local groceries, but remembered that I had seen it at Wal Mart a couple of times. So, to the big box store I went.

First of all, they didn't have that kind of milk in stock. Yes, they still CARRY it. They just don't HAVE any. Ditto for like three other specific brands of items I was looking for. You could see the price sticker and the shelf space reserved for that product, it just wasn't there currently. Sorry! So then I went to the regular milk section, and it was five dollars a gallon. WT? That is WAY above normal price around here.

The terrible, dim lighting was flickering the whole time I was there, making it feel like shopping in the twilight zone, and once I reached the registers there were only two cashiers working, despite the FIFTEEN check out lanes. After finally getting rung up (after waiting behind all the people out shopping with their toddlers at ten o' clock at night, buying nothing but Mountain Dew and generic Cheez Puffs) I realized that I hadn't actually spent any less than I did last week at my usual grocery. And the produce I had purchased was far inferior.

So! No more, evil Wal Mart. I feel like an abused spouse who's finally had enough. Yes, I kept venturing back despite terrible experiences, believing that there was still a redeeming quality in our relationship worth salvaging (in this case, cheap bulk diapers) but I am DONE. So not worth it. I get a terrible, unpleasant shopping experience, a dirty, understaffed store, inconsistent brand/product selection, and in the end a not much smaller at all, IF at all, price. Not to mention the guilt about "voting with my dollar" for one of the most unethical corporations in the country.

Anyways! On a related note, I have I think twenty vouchers for free half gallons of 8th Generation soy milk that I apparently won't be using, so if any of YOU can use them, let me know in the comments and then I'll choose a random winner and send them to you!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day 14

I have been looking forward to this one! And you KNOW you're getting more than one old photo, so no complaints. I'll try to keep it to a minimum.

This was taken during a very difficult phase in Eli's infancy. Perhaps it's a phase you know... a phase when he never ever EVER wanted to sleep anywhere but in our arms, a phase when each night as the sun set I could feel myself growing physically tense in preparation for the inevitable battle we would face before both our kids would finally be asleep in their beds. And yet there were those sweet spots, during the endless rocking and walking sessions, spots when I would be able to get all zen and in the moment, and appreciate the luckiness of having a baby in my arms.

This was Addy the summer before she turned three. When I think about her being a toddler, this day is one of the images that always comes to my mind, with her fine, golden halo of hair everywhere and her fairy costume and her clunky sandals and socks coordinating just so. She always seemed to be kind of floating and flitting everywhere, so she always looked the most herself when she was outside in the sunshine. My little butterfly.

Those eyes- from which I apparently forgot to remove the red, oh well!- always astonish me. I might have to keep having babies forever so I can always get my fix of giant blue eyes.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 13

First- the pans! A couple of you requested info. I got them at TJ Maxx, actually, just on a whim, and they are two different brands. My favorite one is red, and the brand on the bottom says IPAC, and then the little slogan is in Spanish. The other one is just gray with a metal handle, slightly larger than the red one at ten inches, and is from Well Equipped Kitchen. They both work great, I just like the size of the red one a little better- it's mediumish and perfect for making an omelet. And it's prettier. :)

So today's topic is something you'd like to buy. And I'm not sure if this counts as a thing, but all I can think about today, as I kick random cars out of my path and load the washer with the third load of kids clothes this week, is that I would give a year of my life if I could in exchange get free housekeeping services until my kids are a little less messy and a little better able to help out around here!

Excluding that fervent wish, however, I think what I'd like to buy is shutters for our house. And a new garage door. Wow, I am the most boring person on the planet. But those were the first things that came to mind. This is kind of how I've always been though. I don't care a lot about clothes and shoes and bags. But I do care very much how my environment looks, and it really affects my mood. There's a certain local restaurant, for instance, that I don't enjoy eating at even though the food's pretty good because the decor is so dreadful it actually distracts me. Is that... shallow?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 12

Something I bought recently... This is really boring, but I recently bought a couple of eco-friendly pans that are nonstick but don't release any bad chemicals when they're heated. They are seriously the best nonstick pans I've ever had, and since Jim's been on his diet/health food kick I've been stir frying veggies in them just about every day. But this is so BORING it's killing me.

How 'bout this? I recently, in a fit of extravagance, bought myself a new mascara!! Revlon something or other, which I will undoubtedly wear about once a week and which will go bad before I finish it, but oh well.

Oh, I also bought a bottle of rum. Regular rum, not 151, for the record. THAT will not go bad before I finish it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 11

It was almost impossible to find a recent picture of me without a kid on my lap, so I decided to just go with it. This is one that Adelay took of me about a month ago, mid-snuggle with Eli. She's quite the little photographer, I think.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day 10

Picture of me ten years ago. I was sixteen here, apparently working on some embarrassingly elementary art project in what appears to be my school choir room. Also, apparently it was before I discovered a) eyebrow tweezers and b) that almost no one looks good with their hair pulled back as tightly as possible from their foreheads.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Yikes, it's almost been a week since my last annoyingly earnest post! (Yes, I do realize my writing lately has taken a turn towards the honest-bordering-on-over sharing. I feel like I keep writing personal manifestos instead of blog posts.)

My excuse is that my out of town sisters were both IN town last weekend, and then the really really out of town one, the one I haven't seen for a YEAR and who had never met Jameson, stayed until Thursday, so, my priorities were elsewhere. We had a ton of fun, but man, I was exhausted by the end. I felt like I needed a day to recover from so much togetherness! There was shopping and eating and movies and eating and talking and eating and drinking and eating! Hah.

We also made cookies one night, Jeni and Adelay and I, and Jeni and I decided we'd like a little wine while we baked. However, we couldn't find a wine we wanted, so I dug up some rum from my parents' pantry and made us some rum and Cokes instead. Except, it wasn't regular old rum; I accidentally made us a pretty stiff cocktail using two fingers of Bacardi 151 for each smallish tumbler. I was, if you'll pardon my French, kind of drunk off my ass there for about fifteen minutes. And totally without intention, in front of my CHILD, and my PARENTS. Worst buzz EVER!

Ah, and now I have to go because Adelay is calling that Eli "poopeded somewhere." Fantastic. I'll get back to those thirty blogging topics any day now, promise! Mwah!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Day 9: Pet Peeves, Or, Ferber And Kevin Bacon

So today's topic is pet peeves. But first I must note, from the previous comment section, that it seems all of you are the normal type who focus on things like putting the heaps of toys where they belong rather than shoving them out of your way with your foot so you can vacuum yet again. I still hold out hope that one day I too will be more able to focus on the big picture rather than the details. I am getting better, though, and by better I mean, more practical re: a household with three small children. I do try to focus first on the kitchen and bathroom, as those rooms are always the first to deteriorate into frat house conditions, even if what I'm really in the mood to do is get out the furniture polish. (Um, that sounded a little weird. I promise I'm not running around in a tiny maid's costume with a feather duster and a suggestive smile.)

Ok, well this post derailed pretty quickly! Back on topic! Day 9 is pet peeves, so, ok, obviously one of my pet peeves is not being able to clean due to lack of time and/or energy. But here are two other biggies:

-People who are Nazis about trying to sleep train tiny babies or put newborns on a strict feeding schedule. Now before you break your scrolling finger rushing to the comments to tell me how babies NEED schedules and your children THRIVED on the Ferber method or whatevs, let me say that I don't mean you! I'm thinking of like two specific people that I've met in my whole life. In general I think most children DO feel better with some kind of a routine. I just think, especially if you're breastfeeding, that trying to put your newborn on some kind of feeding schedule based on your OWN needs (here's where the few specific people come to mind) is both selfish and unhealthy for the baby.

I could go on and on, but half of you already agree with me and the other half can refer to any pediatrician or lactation consultant for info on the needs of breastfeeding infants and when and how it is appropriate to attempt to implement some kind of feeding or sleeping schedule. And I'm sure you HAVE. AGAIN, I am not talking about you. I'm just talking about people who get their hands on some random, over the top book that appeals to a certain kind of controlling personality, and then kind of run wild with it, taking it as the absolute GOSPEL of child rearing and ignoring their own instincts and common sense. Some of the best advise I ever got was to parent by the baby, not by the book. And, I think most people DO, whether they know it or not. You can agree with certain schools of thought, but ultimately you're using your own head and you're learning from your child what their needs are, not from some book.

Sorry, I know I'm on a soapbox here and probably annoying about half of you. It's just something I've encountered recently and I nearly BIT MY TONGUE OFF trying not to lecture. So... you get to hear it instead, apparently. My apologies.

-Pet peeve the second: Kevin Bacon. Yep. That's probably even more controversial than the first topic, but there you have it. He creeps me out. You're free to disagree of course. But you can't win me over on this one. I've tried, I really have. I've seen Footloose. I even LIKE Footloose... I just don't like Kevin Bacon.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Day 8- Craving

Today's topic is something I crave. Well, sugar, definitely, but let's think of something a little less obvious. I crave cleanliness. Like, literally it's as serious a need for me as eating or sleeping. If I go through a whole day without having done a deep cleaning-type chore around the house, something besides just laundry and dishes, I feel irritated and like I'm drowning in filth and it's only going to be that much harder to dig myself out the next day.

I know that lots of people feel this way about tidiness, and can't go to bed, say, until all the toys are put away and the counters are cleared. For me it's slightly different. Today, for example, I got the kitchen mopped and did a thorough scrubbing of the counter tops. This makes me feel contented for the day, and it doesn't really bother me that there are still toys all over the living room. I'll probably leave them lying there and go right to bed, unbothered, but I WOULD have been bothered if I hadn't gotten that floor washed. Logical? Probably not, since the floor wasn't yet outright filthy, and since the toys pose something of a hazard as well as being far more noticeably messy to someone walking in the door than a grimy floor.

But tidiness is not my craving. Knowing something is CLEAN is the feeling I crave. So while you might walk into my house most days and assess it, correctly, as being pretty messy with toys and art project detritus, you can bet that underneath it's actually still fairly clean. It's just not TIDY, and that's a significant difference a lot of people don't recognize. Tidy is not necessarily clean, and cluttered is also not necessarily dirty.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Day 7- Favorite (Baby!) Photo. And Also Some Random Reviews

So it seems, upon glancing at my site, that I posted for Day 5 twice. So fun facts was actually supposed to be Day 6. Ah well. I'm betting if I didn't notice you probably didn't either. Right?

Anyways! Moving on! We are now on Day 7, favorite photo, and I really don't think I can whittle it down to just one. But I have a new baby, one whose siblings love to take pictures WITH said baby! Who can blame me?

So I'm downloading all the recent ones, and I'll try to keep it to THREE, how 'bout that? But while they're downloading, I have a few random (UNCOMPENSATED) reviews I've been meaning to do of things I just really love lately.

First of all, the Bumbo chair. We have it in purple with a detachable tray; I'm pretty sure my mom got it at a yard sale for like five bucks. Jameson is the first baby I've had one for, and oh my, how did I ever live without this thing? First of all, he LIKES it and will sit happily and watch us from it as we prepare and eat meals, pick up toys, and generally get things DONE. Secondly, it's so easy to plop him in and pull him out, no buckles or straps or dodging of mobiles. Thirdly, this thing is infinitely portable. You could just throw it in the car with the diaper bag for taking to a relative's or friend's house.

Another benefit is that with the tray it is an excellent stand in for a traditional high chair, at least for a smaller baby. The Jamers will be starting on solid foods in the next month or two, and I am so excited that I can just put the tray on and feed him in this thing rather than pull out the giant high chair, which takes up a lot of precious kitchen real estate and which I always dread getting out.

...AND I just tried to find a screen shot of it and discovered that it is being RECALLED. Lovely. Apparently kids are falling out of it? But dude, I don't see how that's happening unless people are leaving their kids in it unsupervised on tabletops or something, AND the kids are old enough and strong enough to somehow tip it over or launch themselves out of it. So don't tell on me, but I might still use mine for awhile, in the appropriate, intended manner, so as not to injure my baby.

Another thing that I am really loving this winter is the Netflix streaming option on the Playstation. We only have basic cable, so PBS is the only kids' channel we get. And there's only so much eye-wateringly earnest educational programming I can tolerate before I want to wring Sid the Science Kid by his felt neck. Enter, Netflix! You don't even have to insert a disc anymore, it just pops up automatically on the Playstation menu screen. I now have seemingly ENDLESS options for kids' movies and shows, sans any commercials, as well as, you know, tons of options for growns ups as well. (I think Jim is a TINY bit sick of watching Parks and Rec reruns with me, however.)

And lastly, Jim recently purchased the Active Life Explorer game for the Wii, and you guys, we LOVE it. It is easy to use, with lots of game/challenge options, it really gets your heart rate up, and the kids have so much fun playing. It is a fantastic way for them to get some exercise (read: burn off some of the energy otherwise used for making messes and torturing one another) during the winter months. If you have a Wii already, I would really recommend this game for kids ages 3 to... well, anywhere upwards, because frankly all the adults who have tried it had a lot of fun too.

Ok, product reviews over! On to pictures!

You guys, this kid is FOUR months old. And he is probably the least documented of our children so far, both in pictures and the written word, but he may be the most loved one yet. (Not by US, goodness, but in total, given the vast amount of kisses and attention his brother and sister lavish upon him.) He has the brightest, sunniest smile in the world; you can't help but smile back. Which means I spend a lot of the day grinning like an idiot.

Hats! Could you just DIE?