Thursday, August 30, 2007

New Header!

My header has been bugging me ever since someone else said that they had the same one (minus the pictures, of course). It just felt like showing up to the prom and seeing someone else in your dress, so with the help of the super cool new Fotoflexer I have designed a brand new header for September. What do you think?

One of these days I'll figure out how to make them the right width.

Have you seen those greeting cards that have the distorted pet pictures? Cats with huge eyes, dogs with over-skinny faces and extremely long tongues, etc.? Well, I had a lot of fun using the "distort" function in Fotoflexer and making Mary Grace and BJ look like that. I gave them giant noses, then I gave them big puppy dog eyes. It was highly amusing. Too bad it was before I figured out how to save images!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Things I keep forgetting to share

Ok, so we're getting MG tested for lead exposure, so I'll keep you posted. I'm going to see if I can get BJ to take her, because I don't do well with sticks. My poor baby.


A few days ago, some people came to the door wanting to talk to me about the mayoral election this fall. They were wearing shirts for the guy who is running against the incumbent. Noticing the shirts, I said, "Oh, your people called a couple of days ago, but I hadn't heard of John Smith," (or whatever his name is... clearly he made an impression!) And the guy says, "Well, it's a good thing I'm here then. I'm John Smith!" and I felt really stupid.

Then I called up the stairs, "Honey, John Smith who is running for mayor is here and wants to talk to us. Can you come down?" Smart alek calls back, "A politician is here? Well hide the money!" and Mr. Smith calls up the stairs, "Don't worry, I'm a cop." And it turns out, later, that my darling husband almost yelled, "Well, in that case, hide the drugs!" but fortunately he thought the better of it.

We do not have drugs. The hardest stuff in the house is the Tylenol 3 that they gave me after I had Claire, and I didn't even feel right about taking that. He's just a smart ass.


We had a fun day today! Monty stopped by with his Mom, Jenny, and then Karen, Owen, and Cameron came over. I tried to bully all of them into staying longer, but they just wouldn't cooperate...

For future reference, I love drop bys! If you're in the neighborhood during the day, feel free to stop (assuming that I actually know you and that you're not some crazy internet stalker). If it's a bad time, I'll let you know. We generally take nap from about 1 until about 3, but otherwise, if the van is here, we're home. Seriously. Jenny felt all bad about dropping by, and I can't emphasize enough that spontaneous visits make me feel super popular, and there's excellent motivation toward keeping the house clean, getting me dressed, etc. Some days, I need all the motivation I can get.


I'm sure I'll think of eleven other things to write as soon as I hit "post," but I can't remember what they all were. Oh well...

WFMW: Chill out!

This is kind of stupid, but by the time I've finished making mac and cheese for my daughter (either the stove top kind or the microwave kind), she's jumping up and down in the kitchen yodeling, "I want my nooooooodles!" She has no patience for blowing on noodles, she wants them now. So, one day I threw in some frozen peas, straight out of the freezer and stirred them in.

The macaroni cooled quickly, the heat transfer was enough to thaw the peas, and I snuck a veggie into her lunch! Works for me!

If you're here for WFMW, don't miss my other WFMW posts:

How to soothe a teething baby without whiskey - oops! I mean Tylenol.
How to do Time Outs correctly.
How to improvise a changing table.
How to get a baby and a toddler into the car.
How to keep your house decluttered with an old waitressing mantra.
How to find a great baby sling.
How to manage your grocery list online.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope to see you again soon!

Visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer for more WFMW tips!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lead - this time, it's personal


We have one of those. One exactly like that, only the paint is all worn off of the beak on ours because Mary Grace chewed the crap out of it.

Cuss word, cuss word, cuss word!

I am so pissed off. China needs to go directly to hell.

Who's going to file the class action lawsuit? I am so in.

Giveaways rock

They're giving away a photo printer over here, but don't enter because I want it!!!

Monday, August 27, 2007

I Can't Sew

For some reason, I had an urge to make something today that wouldn't be destroyed 10 minutes later (cleaning, cooking, laundry, all of these things stay "done" for approximately 10 minutes before they need to be done again. It makes me crazy. I feel like a hamster on a wheel, sometimes, running my little heart out, but not getting anywhere).

I have a real thing for bags, so I thought I'd make a tote bag. How hard can it be? I was aiming for 18" x 18" x 6" deep. Um... Yeah. It's really more of a rhombus than a square, and I totally f*&^ed up the handles (as in, I didn't put them on before I assembled the bag, and now I'm not sure what to do with it, because it's too big and rhombussy to be a clutch.

I made it out of fabric remnants (chocolate brown polyester outside, light pink satinny stuff inside) so it's not like I spent a fortune on the thing, so that's good. I'm kind of happy with the pockets inside. The cell phone pocket, in particular, came out just right. I had intended to put a zipper on the top, but I royally screwed it up somehow, and the zipper is too short. I've never put in a zipper, anyway, so I don't know what made me think that it was a good idea. Maybe I'll steal a couple of MG's magnetic letters to make it close.

I need to think of something for the handles, though. I had intended, also, to put pockets on the outside, but I got ahead of myself and ended up sewing the lining to the outside before I put the pockets on, so I either need to seam rip it (and damned if I can find my seam ripper!) and take it all apart, put on the pockets and the handles, and then sew it back together, or I need to leave it and cope with not having exterior pockets. Since I'm pretty sure that, rhombus or not, any efforts to disassemble the bag, at this point, would destroy it, I think I'm just going to have to cope with not having exterior pockets. There are enough inside, anyway. Maybe I could do something by hand? I don't know. It's very sad to be this close to having it finished, and to realize that I don't know how to finish it!

What kills me is that talent for the creative arts totally runs in my family. My mom is the only person I know who can take a sheep and make useful things out of it. She can sheer it, card the wool, spin it, weave it, dye it, and then sew it into something. She doesn't need Walmart. She is the only one of us who will survive the apocalypse. She can also make dinner out of the sheep, so she'll survive the apocalypse well dressed and well fed. I'm going to be spending the apocalypse naked and starving under my bed, thank you very much. My aunt Julie is similarly crafty. Grandma Betty made Martha Stewart look like, well, look like me. Great-Aunt Carolyn's sewing room is better stocked than most fabric stores, and she makes these gorgeous quilts. Grandma Shank quilted and painted...

I can write. Occasionally I can cook, but the brisket tonight was really tough. I can't sew. I can't knit. I can't crochet. I can't even spell crochet. I can't do cross-stitch, or spin, or weave (even though the loom does most of the work). I can't choose fabrics and colors that "go" together. This is why I am nearly always in jeans or khakis, because I am absolutely without fashion sense. I can choose clothes for the kids that are cute because kid clothes come in outfits - there's no mixing and matching involved. It's when I mix and/or match that I get in real trouble.

I kind of feel like I'm letting my foremothers down, by not carrying on the tradition of being able to make things with my own two hands and my creativity. I mean, maybe I'm ascribing a little too much weight to a rhombetical tote bag, but how on earth am I going to teach my daughters how to survive the apocalypse if I can't even sew a square?


I'd better go to bed. I can do sleep.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


We had such a wonderful day yesterday! We drove up home for a party - Jenny's husband turned 40. First we stopped by Mom's to see the new stained glass in the chapel. It is absolutely stunning.

I am so proud of my mom. She has really created something. Generations will go there, and will see what she has made (maybe not with her own hands, but with her imagination, her guts, and her checkbook!) and they will have the same, "Wow!" reaction that the rest of us have had so far, and I think that's so cool. To have built a place where so many happy memories will be made is so special.

Then we went to the party! Holy cow, do Jenny and her husband know how to party!! They threw it jointly with their neighbors, who have a pool, so the pool and the hot tub were open. They had karaoke (Son of a Preacher Man by Dusty Springfield, and I'm pleased to report that I didn't humiliate myself) - a real DJ set up with real karaoke, not one of those ones you can get at Toys R Us. They had the pool and the hot tub open. They had a TON of food and drinks (chocolate martini! Pomegranate martini! Some lemon thing of indeterminate ingredients and name that tasted like Kool-Aid and kicked my butt!!! Kegs! Capri-Suns for the kids!). They had a bounce house and a huge inflatable slide for the kids (MG loved the bounce house, once we talked her into trying it, and she loved the balls at the bottom of the slide). The kids had a ball playing with all the outdoor toys - the sandbox, the play structure, the Power Wheels jeep, etc. And at the end of the night, a fireworks show that was better than a lot of the Fourth of July municipal shows that I've seen. Jenny's husband is a professional fireworks-setter-offer, and his friend who lives in their neighborhood (out in the country, of course) put on an amazing display. It was incredible. And Mary Grace was so good. She didn't cry at all. She sat in my lap, and covered her eyes, but she was so brave.

We had an absolute blast. It was terrific. Thank you so much, Monkey Family, for inviting us!!!

And the best part? Mary Grace and Claire slept until 9 am! Woo hoo!

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Last night, lying in the "big bed," nursing Claire, and trying to coax Mary Grace to sleep. Claire lets go and turns over to look at her sister. Her hand reaches out, and Mary Grace holds it, laughing a little. They hold hands for a moment, and then Claire turns back to me to nurse. Mary Grace, laying beside her, gently strokes her hair as she falls asleep, and then falls asleep herself.

And I realize... I am so grateful that we were able to give them each other.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Don't go breakin' my heart...

Sorry I've been quiet lately. There's been drama. It doesn't help that Blogger has been all hosed up today. Every time I've tried to post, I've gotten a Google error message. And now it's not letting me do pictures.

Stranger and stranger.

The girlies are doing just fine. We went to the park with a picnic tonight for dinner. It was HOT. The heat index here was around 100. When are we going to get back to the nice weather we had in July?

My God, I'm talking about the weather. Most Boring Blog. Ever.

Allison is coming back tomorrow! Happy days are here again!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Getting Things Done

This is a response to Jennifer at Parent Dish's article on Getting Things Done.

I could've written this when my oldest daughter, Mary Grace, was small. If you don't read anything else that I'm about to write, read this - "Never" is too strong a word. You will get things done again. They may not be the same things that you used to do, and the things you used to do may not get done at the same speed you used to do them, for a while, but it will get easier every day.

Here's the thing about being a first time parent - you don't know what's coming. When the baby is teething, you don't know that it's just a short term thing. You have no experience to tell you that these 3 am wake ups with lots of shushing and hall walking and Tylenol are temporary. That's why you feel like you're "Never" going to sleep again, "Never" going to be able to make dinner from scratch again, "Never" going to be yourself again.

Well, ok, that last one is a little true. Having a baby changes you forever. No doubt about it. But the rest, nah. You'll get things done again.

You and your husband are still learning. And just when you get one thing mastered, like taking a shower without the baby screaming his fool head off (hint: nap!), the baby changes on you and you have to now figure out how to keep the baby who doesn't take naps in the morning anymore entertained while you take a shower (hint: bouncy seat!). Just when you figure out how to make your baby organic pureed vegetables from scratch, he's ready for non-pureed food. Just when you figure out how to change diapers without breaking his delicate little bones, he learns to roll over and tries to break his own bones falling off of the changing table!

It's my understanding that all of parenting is like this - just when you figure out how to hide spinach inside a meatloaf so your teenager won't die of vitamin deficiency, she decides she's going to be a vegetarian, and you have to learn to hide the meat! (Hiding meat is very difficult in meatloaf, by the way).

One of the biggest adjustments, for me, regarding getting things done was learning that I had to be productive in small bursts. It's probably true that you'll never, ever have an entire day to yourself again to fritter away, writing and drinking cappuccino. Or, at least, not for a good 15 years or so... But you will learn to write in short bursts. You will learn to grab 5 minutes here and there, and it will be almost enough. This post, for example, has taken me all day to write. I started it around 9 am. Here I sit at 5 pm, still writing. It was hard to learn to do housework this way. I used to wait until the house was awful, then spend an entire day getting it clean again. Now, with the help of FlyLady, I've learned that you can keep a house clean in 15 minute increments. I've developed patterns, or routines, that allow me to keep the house cleaner. Not spotless, (that's like trying to rake leaves during a tornado with a 2 year old and a 5 month old!) but clean.

You will learn the tricks. Necessity is the mother of invention, but mother's invent due to necessity! You will figure out how to read books. My trick is that I nurse lying down in bed, and I read a book behind my daughters' heads! Ha! I actually read MORE now than I used to. I mean, babies have to eat, right? If the older one isn't interested in nursing, I can keep her busy, or she reads too! See, I'm being a good role model!

As for lists, and not having paper, I have two suggestions - put a white board and marker on the fridge, so you always know where it is. Or you could carry a recorder in your pocket and just tape yourself saying, "Buy milk," or "Pick up dry cleaning," or "Write great American novel," or whatever.

You'll get more efficient. You'll learn that if you're making dinner, you might as well make two and stash one in the freezer for a bad day. You'll learn that it is much easier to clean the house once and keep it clean than it is to clean weekly. You'll train your husband to clean up after himself (and for $99.95, I'll tell you that secret!). You'll buy groceries for a month, and just run to the store occasionally for fresh things like milk and fruit, rather than shopping a few times a week. You'll figure out exactly how many errands you can run in a morning before your baby has a nervous breakdown, and you'll maximize those errands to be as efficient as you can - you'll go to the grocery store and the dry cleaner on one side of town one day, and the pharmacy and the hardware store that are on the other side of town the next day. Your expectations will change to accommodate this new little person who has taken over your life.

And he will get easier every day, too. As he grows and changes, his capacity for entertaining himself will increase. His capacity for helping will increase - Mary Grace can go get me a diaper for her little sister Claire! And here's the secret of large families - the kids will increasingly entertain each other! Of course, their capacity for getting in real trouble also increases, so put the guns, knives, and explosives out of reach now, while he's not paying attention to where you've hidden them.

I said a lot of "nevers" when MG was little, and I've been proven wrong on all of them. My house is clean, my kids are happy, and yesterday I baked three new recipes (Irish soda bread, ham and cheese scones, and chewy granola bars) and boiled a chicken for supper while Claire was down for nap and MG was playing. Today I made an entire dinner for myself and for a friend who has a newborn, from scratch (well, I fudged the brownies, but who makes brownies from scratch?) I've figured out how to get around with the two of them, and we've been all over together.

Give yourself time to figure it out, and you will. You'll have good days and bad days, but eventually the good will outweigh the bad. Never say never. Be well, Jennifer. This too shall pass.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday Randomness

Claire is going to roll over any minute now. It's so odd, it seems like she's compelled to try. She doesn't really want to roll over - she gets pissed off when she has to lie on her stomach - but it's almost like some instinct is telling her that it's time to roll, now, or else! So, she exhausts her little self trying.

It seems like she's growing up so much faster than her sister did at the same age. Maybe it's because now we can see the progression in hindsight - once she rolls, it won't be long before she sits up (she can sit for a few moments, now, if she's put there, but she topples over eventually), and once she's rolling and sitting up she'll crawl, and then she'll cruise along the furniture (and we can put her in the walker, which Mary Grace just LOVED), and then before we know it she'll be walking, and running, and dancing, and graduating from college with a Ph.D., and winning the Nobel Prize, and finally settling down and having a slew of brilliant grandkids for me. *sniff* They grow up so fast.

I'm very much enjoying two things this weekend - being back in touch with Becky, who wins the prize for my oldest friend (not that she's old, but I've been friends with her longer than anyone else I know - since I was 5, I think. Maybe 6. Yeah, I think I was 6 and she was 7 when she moved to our neighborhood); and Pandora. Oh, three things - I'm reading The Myths of Innovation (which my mom gave BJ for his birthday, but I'm totally stealing because I'll be done with it before he's done with chapter 3).

Oh! Newsflash! While I was writing this, BJ called me into the other room. Claire rolled! She's such a biggle!

(This space intentionally left blank because my
computer ate the picture I was going to put here. Nuts.)

So, I'm working on a thought experiment. I'm no longer looking at things I do to take care of the kids as "chores." When I start to think things like, "My God, how many weeks has it been since I had two hours to myself?" or "How many diapers have I changed today?" I remind myself that taking care of my kids isn't a job, it's a pleasure. They deserve better than to be lumped in with cleaning toilets and doing laundry! I've been thinking this way for about 2 days (and thank God, because there was an Incident on Friday, involving a dirty diaper and Mary Grace, and I'm not going into details, but there was a call to the doctor's office and then to Bonus Mom and Dad when I couldn't get the doctor on the phone, and another one to my mom, just to verify that MG wasn't going to die... Ugh. The whole thing ended in a bath, and thank God Karen was here at the time. That's all I'm saying. I can't have the details of the incident made public. I mean, someday she's going to have to get a job... It wouldn't look good.) and it really seems to be making a difference in my mood. We'll see if I can do it for 30 whole days, and make it a habit!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Tonight's Giggle

MG: Whatcha doin' Daddy?

Daddy: I'm working on the bathroom, Sweetheart. What are you doing?

MG: I'm working on the blocks.

(and here's a completely unrelated, but still cute, picture:)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Don Pablos

Our story opens with four kids pulling their two mothers in seven directions, while the waiters draw straws in the back to see who gets the short one and has to wait on the party.

WAITER (while running past table, unsuccessfully hiding short straw): I'll be right back, I have like seven tables, but I'll be with you in just one moment.

Time passes. Crayons are strewn. Chips are broken. Salsa coats tiny fingers. Claires don't like salsa.

WAITER: Okay, all my other tables have left, so your service should improve, now. You're my only one.

JEN (with wry humor): Well, then you should sit down and eat with us.

WAITER (flirtatiously): Oooh, sounds like a date!

Waiter walks away to bring a mop to get salsa off of the ceiling above children. Mary Grace puts corn cake up her nose. Amy looks relieved that Mary Grace put the corn cake up her OWN nose, and not someone else's.

JEN: Sure, if you want to date two old ladies with four kids, be my guest!

And..... SCENE!

Thursday at Grandma's

We came up last night for my mom's birthday, and were treated to a real humdinger of a thunderstorm. There were tornado warnings in effect just a bit south of us.

Somehow the power stayed on at Mom's house, but the power at her business is out. Mom does weddings - usually 3 or 4 a weekend. She has a beautiful ballroom with a bridal shop, and she just finished building a chapel. It's really cool.

Well, Mom's ballroom has no power. And they have food (pork, of course) for 300 people in the coolers - which are no longer cooler, but are actually getting warmer. Uh oh.

So, Pops spent the night at the building, and she spent the morning in crisis mode. She had to leave for work early, which totally put a crimp in our plans.

Happy birthday to you, huh? Poor Gwamma.

So, I'm in Grandmaland, waiting for the girls to get up from nap, trying to ignore Mom's dogs. Then we're going to go see Jenny. Hanging out at Mom's would be more fun if I could find her stash of chocolate...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

WFMW: Frozen Bananas for Teething!

This is a double tip! First of all, when your bananas get too mushy to eat (which, for me, is anything past the first brown spot - I like my bananas underripe!) you can stick them in a Ziplock bag in the freezer (peel and all) and freeze them for the next time you want to make banana bread (or muffins, or pancakes, or smoothies...).
And, when your baby is teething and miserable, you can take one of those frozen bananas out of the freezer, run it under a little warm water until the peel is soft enough to remove, then hold it in a paper towel and let your baby chew on it. Be sure to carefully supervise so that the baby doesn't get any big chokey chunks. I tried this tonight with my 5 month old daughter, Claire, and it helped her settle down long enough for the Tylenol to kick in, and then she went to sleep!

If you're here for WFMW, don't miss my other WFMW posts:

How to do Time Outs correctly.
How to improvise a changing table.
How to get a baby and a toddler into the car.
How to keep your house decluttered with an old waitressing mantra.
How to find a great baby sling.
How to manage your grocery list online.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope to see you again soon!

Visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer for more WFMW tips!


Still recovering from the birthday party. My blood sugar is not yet back to normal. Whoo, boy. Next time I'm going to go easier on the candy.

We sure had a good time, though. It was different from last year. Last year we invited our friends. This year, we invited her friends. My baby has friends! She's growing up so fast.

Grandpa Bob came down yesterday to hang out with the PBs. We went to the park and to the bookstore. He got to ride the train and see the geese.

and play on the Mary Go Round (of course it's a Mary Go Round when MG is on it!)

and help supervise the Frog Races...

And Claire? Well, Claire's just been hanging out in a bucket.

But she doesn't seem to mind a whole lot.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

This explains a lot...

This study just couldn't have come out 3 years ago, huh? *sigh*

Apparently mothers who experience stress and anxiety during pregnancy are more likely to have children with sleep disorders than mothers who are relaxed and happy during pregnancy.

I think I was the queen of stress and anxiety when I was pregnant with MG. On a scale of 1 - 10, I was about a 13. I was convinced that I was going to die in childbirth. When I was on bedrest, during the last week of my pregnancy, I wrote BJ a letter, and gave it to his best friend so that if I did die, he would have a "goodbye" from me.

If that isn't morbid, I don't know what is.

I'm not sure what caused this. Perhaps I have always had a complicated relationship with my body, and I just didn't believe that it could do something like create a person without betraying me somehow. I mean, this is the body that caused me to turn beet red and sweat like a pig in gym class. This is the body that remains overweight. This is the body that can't catch the ball, or hit the ball, or kick the ball the way other bodies can. So how could I trust it to do something so profound as create another body!?

Maybe it was simply hormones. Maybe it was part of the metamorphosis in becoming a mother. Maybe it was birth anxiety. Maybe worry is just my way of interacting with the world.

Recently I read another article (can't find it) that was talking about ante-partum depression - before birth depression, and I thought, "Oh, yeah... That is so me."

So, it's my fault that MG doesn't sleep. Well, that's ok. Maybe it'll make it a little easier to not get frustrated with her in the night. I can get frustrated with myself instead.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Birthday Party

You can always tell how much fun she has had, by how screwed up her hair is when she's done!

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Thursday, August 9, 2007

What a Biggle!!

Dear Mary Grace,

It is so hard to believe that you were born two whole years ago! In some ways it feels like two weeks ago, and in other ways, I can't remember what life was like before you arrived.

My mind boggles at how much you've learned and grown in two years. You've gone from a tiny, helpless baby to a little girl. You can walk, run, and "tippy toe." You can talk. You sing and dance. You eat sushi. You pick out your own "cute suits." You accessorize...

I have learned so much from you. I've learned so much about myself. I'm sorry for all the moments when I've lost my cool. I'll probably screw up a few more times between now and when you have kids and understand. Try not to be too hard on me.

You are so funny. I love seeing the world through your eyes. I love watching you learn and grow and discover. Your mind is like a sponge - you're absorbing things so quickly that your dad and I can't keep up. Almost every day we're looking at each other and saying, "Where did she pick that up?"

Nothing has changed my life the way that having you has changed me. It's almost as though I was born the day that you were born. I am so lucky to be your mother.

Here's the checklist I started doing when you were a baby:

Your favorite toy for playing is: anything that you can line up, mostly your Crayon Friends

Your favorite toy for snuggling is: Biscuit the Cat, but after you get your new Lola doll tomorrow, that may change

Your favorite food is: string cheese

Your favorite book is: Winnie the Pooh (and it's really long and Dad and I are tired of it, please switch!)

Your favorite activity is: dancing

Your favorite place to go is: the zoo

Your best friend is: Grandma

Something new that you're doing: singing

Something you've mastered: opening the refrigerator door, walking up and down stairs

Something people say about you: "What pretty curly hair!" "What beautiful eyes!" and they never believe that you're your age, because you talk like a 4 year old

Something that you're saying is: What aren't you saying? Your vocabulary is better than some adults I know!

Something Dad and I are proud of you for: you are turning into quite a world traveler, and you do very well on trips. You have been to France, Texas, Florida, Washington D.C., and Chicago, so far, as well as several more local "day trips" around here.

Something surprising about you: how much you're talking!

I love you, Cuppycake!

Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Playing Together

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Truth in Advertising

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Someday she's going to hate me for putting this on the internet. Let's just call it payback for being almost two and still not sleeping through the night, mmkay?

Tuesday Fun!

We were supposed to go to the zoo yesterday with Jenny and her son Monty (who will be one in September), but it was Too Darn Hot, so we decided to hit the Children's Museum instead.

Since gas isn't free, we put Monty's seat in my van, and hit the road. It isn't easy to coordinate the schedules of 3 kids under two, so we figured we'd leave at 11 am and hopefully some of them would sleep on the way down there... Um, yeah.

Oh, the screaming. There were times when all three of them were crying at once. Jenny and I were ready to move to wherever we were, just so that we didn't have to brave the ride back with three babies. Holy moly. We stopped twice on the 45 minute trip (not including the traffic we hit - all those red brake lights in front of us, babies crying in the back, I've never seen a scarier sight!), but we made it.

The kids had a blast at the museum:

(that's Monty in the stripes). We spent a lot of time in the Playscape, which is designed for little kids. Monty had never been there. I think he and Jenny both liked it a lot. When you're a stay at home mom, you worry that your kid isn't getting enough interaction with other kids. You worry that the same old toys, day after day, aren't as good for her as going to daycare might be, where there's a new experience every day. So, it's good to find places where you can provide that stimulation. I've got a lead on a gym here in town that does "open gym" for toddlers on Saturdays - we're going to check that out soon, too! It's all about wearing them out, really. Then they sleep.

Claire even got in on the act this time!

Mary Grace was so good! Even though she had a minimal nap, she was awesome. She is getting to be such a sweet little girl (sniff! She's almost officially not a baby anymore!!). She says "please" and "thank you" and she stays with me in crowds, and she listens... Geez, I guess I might be figuring out this parenting stuff!

On the way home, all the kids fell asleep! Unfortunately, Jenny and I were dying of thirst, so we had to stop, and then Monty and Claire woke up. We had discovered on the way down that we could buy good behavior from Monty with M&Ms, so we wanted to give him a few, but he was all the way back in the van... So, Jenny starts soft pitching them from the front seat to him in the back. 11 month olds aren't really known for their hand/eye coordination, so she was trying to get them close enough to his hands that he could grab them and eat them. Monty's crying, and Jenny's pelting him with candy, and we're both laughing like maniacs. Monty had this classic, "What the hell are you doing to me, woman??" look on his face. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. Maybe you had to be there, it's not as funny in black and white (or gray and pink, really).

So, almost immediately upon coming home, I started to feel a tickle in my throat, then my nose got stuffy and runny, and now I have a full-blown cold. So, today is a day of lowered expectations. MG is going to watch a lot of Lola, and I'm just going to have to live with it. I figure, we had enough fun yesterday to cover today, too, and since I can barely breathe, it's not going to be a red letter day for this family. Oh well. Pray that the babies don't get this from me. That's all I need, to be sick with two sick kids! I sure hope that I get better by Saturday! This is the wrong week to come down sick. Ugh...

If all goes well, I'll be posting a video later today, so check back.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Things we've been doing...

Hey, look, I finally got the camera back to good!

Mary Grace had her first haircut yesterday. It was ok. She wasn't too thrilled, but the sucker really helped. I only had her take off about an inch, because I thought it would help it curl more neatly. I was right - she's got ringlets again. Too cute!

Bonus points if you can figure out who the stylist reminded me of. I have no idea, but she looked so familiar. I'm sick of BJ making fun of me for going through that whole conversation every time we leave the house, though, so I only do it when it's driving me insane.

Today we went to Barnes and Noble - Mary Grace left her calling card, misplaced cats.

She is too funny. Later, she lined up all the engines and said, "Look at all the trains! Housans and housans!!!" It took me several minutes to decipher - thousands and thousands! We have no idea where she picked that phrase up. Clearly she inherited my penchant for exaggeration.

And here's our Claire, with her customary expression, which I interpret as her way of saying, "Dear God, who dropped me into this looney bin??"

I did about 8 gazillion loads of laundry (see?), and everything that is dry is currently folded, and a large percentage of it is even put away, which is a minor miracle. I also kept the kitchen clean and made dinner, not from a box! I made chicken florentine, and while I did use jarred sauce, I made the chicken from an actual whole chicken, not parts, so they cancel each other out and I can still call it "homemade." (Seriously, I made one chicken yesterday and I got three full meals out of it - I made casserole yesterday, froze half for later, and then saved the other 1/3 of the chicken for tonight's dinner. You can call me Fiona Frugal!)

We're headed to the Children's Museum tomorrow with Jenny and Monty! Stay tuned!
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And today had been going so well...

Claire slept until 10:30 am this morning. If I didn't have the stretch marks to prove it, I would never believe that she and Mary Grace are related.

I am never going to get the house clean in time for the party. How on earth did I let him talk me into having it here instead of at the park???

While I was writing that, Mary Grace BIT MY NIPPLE through my shirt because she was ticked that I wouldn't nurse her. Good God, sometimes a time out just isn't enough. Ouch!!!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Tattle Tale

We were at Tim and Fran's house last night, when MG said the following:

"The bathroom's not clean! The bathroom's not clean just like Mommy's!!!"


Thursday, August 2, 2007

More Freaking Lead Paint!

There has just been another massive recall of toys due to more Chinese lead paint. This is really starting to tick me off. Here's info about the recall:

And, because this isn't just a blog, it's a service, I wanted to share a hack that BJ and I have used, in light of recent lead paint catastrophes with toys:

I bought some of these. They are easy to use, they work quickly, and that company, Professional Equipment, delivered really fast. We had a couple of toys (no, I'm not saying which) that I thought were questionable, and so we took matters into our own hands and tested them. They were fine, but knowing was a big relief. Better living through science!

I guess if the companies that make the toys won't do it, and the government won't do it, we're going to have to take matters into our own hands and protect our kids ourselves. We also don't buy cheap jewelery - particularly out of machines and from dollar stores - because those are recalled often for lead, and they fall apart and become choking hazards.

When it comes to lead poisoning, I don't think we can be too careful. Be well!