Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cuteness Overload

Ok, if this isn't the world's cutest Halloween costume, I don't know what is. Note the very authentic locket. It's even got an "A" (for "Amy," but it happens to work for "Annie" too...).

My little diva. She's totally ready for a career in musical theater.

And in spite of my misgivings, the Yoda/Luke Skywalker combo was super cute, and was a big hit with the neighbors. Especially with BJ's very realistic light saber.

Halloween's a lot more fun when you've got kids!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

WFMW: GCal for Menu Planning

I know, I've gone on and on about my love of Google Calendar before. I even suggested today's tip in that post, but it was kind of a drive-by. I think this idea has enough merit to rate a post of its own.

I'm using and Google Calendar for menu planning, folks, and it's revolutionizing meals around here.

The first thing I did was set up a secondary calendar within GCal. You don't just want to use your own event calendar, because the color coding will help, and you want to be able to toggle it on and off. To set up a second (third, fourth...) calendar, just click "manage calendars" (under you calendar list) and then click "create new." Easy peasy.

So, first I did breakfast. I figure that I'm good for about four breakfasts - cereal, oatmeal, eggs & toast, and pancakes. So, I just set up each one to repeat weekly (cereal happens on Monday and Friday in this house). Poof. All set.

Lunch was the same way. Our rotation is cold meat sandwiches and chips, soup and grilled cheese, quesidillas (easy to make, hard to spell), and then I work Thursday and Friday so we don't do lunch at home. Repeat weekly. Good to go.

Now for the fun part. Dinner. I headed over to and used their grocery list maker to create my shopping list for the week. Then I put the items on the calendar. I copied and pasted the recipe into the "comments" on the GCal event, so I don't have to worry about finding the correct recipe a second time (even though I can totally save those recipes to my recipe box and find them easily, rate them, etc.). If you have recipes that you use all the time, upload them to Allrecipes and then you can add them to your grocery list (and share them with the world). Or find something that's similar that's already there and save yourself the typing. Either way. You can even set those recipes up to repeat weekly, monthly, whatever. We usually have pizza on Friday nights, for example, so that would be one that I can set up to repeat every week. Now I only have 4 nights to plan for that week. (Weekends are free for alls, and if we're home we can eat leftovers!!).

I'm just in the beginning phases of this, but so far it's really Working for Me!

And, in honor of Halloween, here's today's bonus WFMW tip, courtesy of my husband, BJ:

Don't open the Halloween candy until the first trick or treater shows up at your door, or you're just going to have to go out and buy another bag.

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

How to save yourself time in the kitchen with a hot water tap.
How to tie your shoes if you have lollypop thumbs like me.
How to feel good about spending insane money at Christmas.
How to prevent dryer fires.
How to use Google Calendar to organize your family.
How to save a zillion dollars with the Magic Bullet.
How to quickly cool Mac & Cheese.
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!

Poll Results

Hey, thanks for participating in the poll. It was really interesting. I'm feeling a little less pressure, now.

I wanted to address one comment I got about taking MG to the potty every 10 - 15 minutes. I was trying to establish a baseline for how often she peed. My thought was that I'd take her every 10 minutes, and if she stayed dry then I'd up it by a minute, and keep increasing by a minute every time until I got to the point where she was wet in between, and if that was at 22 minutes, great, then I know to take her every 22 minutes. Does that make sense? But we never even got to that point, because she was wetting her pants every time I put a new pair of Big Girl Panties on her. Oh well.

I also wanted to address the person ended up here by doing a Google search for "Mommy's Pretty Panties." Seek professional help, and don't ever read this blog again. Seriously. Ugh. (No, I am not happy about the fact that I come up on a Google search for "Mommy's Pretty Panties." It's sort of ironic, considering that I am a total Granny Panty wearer.)

And this concludes tonight's episode of Too Much Information.

AllRecipes just cracks me up. People are so funny. I'm looking at recipes for pumpkin cookies, and the reviews are hilarious:

"I added 1 cup of pumpkin puree. Blah blah blah. The dough was WAY too sticky!"

Well, duh! What did you expect??

I want to find a recipe for something like Beef Stroganoff, and post a review like this:

"I substituted raisins for the beef, used gluten free rice flour noodles instead of egg noodles, used flour and water instead of full fat sour cream and Pepsi for the half and half. I didn't like the flavor, I think it needed more salt and pepper. I don't think I'll make it again."

just to see if I can get someone to say, "Honey, you didn't make it in the first place!"

We got the kitchen put back together, somewhat. Jim and Karen came back to finish it up and put the fixture up. Let there be light! There are a couple of new holes in the walls, but that'll be ok. I told my mom that this is sort of our practice house. We're going to figure out what we're doing, and make all our mistakes here, so that when we buy our "real" house we'll know what we're doing.

We're looking forward to Spooky Halloween tomorrow. I'm going to make pumpkin pancakes for breakfast. Then I think the kids and I will continue the theme and make pumpkin cookies tomorrow afternoon (because you know there won't be enough sugar in the house just with trick or treating). Holidays are all about the food for me. Be sure to check back for pictures of super cute Halloween costumes!

Toy Recall Bingo

Ok, so I got the Toys 'R' Us catalog in today's mail, and I came up with a great game. Tear one page out of the catalog. As toys are recalled between now and Christmas Day, X out any recalled toys on your catalog page. The first person to get five Xs on his or her page wins a home lead test kit.

I'm really not kidding. I'm so serious, I'm posting this on the Fall Y'all Bloggy Giveaway.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A better day

Thank you so much for all your sweet e-mails and stuff. I'm doing better. It was just "one of those days." One of those "Mama said there'd be" days.

My MIL came down today to watch both kids while I went to the office. It was really spectacular to have a break. I got my last piece of new furniture put together, and unpacked about a dozen boxes. BJ said that we might actually have to start doing real work again if I finish setting up the office. Uh oh, I hadn't thought of that!

And both kids were in super moods when I got home - the kind of moods where it's actually a lot of fun to be home with them. No colds, no teeth, no hysterics - just fun, giggly, happy kids. Jim and Karen and their boys came over to help with Kitchenfest 2007 again, so the kids played and the Mommies ate burnt cookies, and the Daddies put more holes in the walls, and it was much fun. I'm glad I decided to re-paint the kitchen *before* all the holes got put in the walls, or I would've been a bit freaked (I don't have any more of this paint).

I am so lucky to have friends and family who will come over and put holes in the walls (or walls in the walls, even!), and who will call me and cheer me up when I'm down, and who will come watch the kids for eight solid hours so that I can finally, finally get something done.

I don't tell you often enough how much I appreciate you. Thanks.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


We went and saw the Mythbusters at Purdue this afternoon. They had a Q&A session. We were in the nosebleed section, but it was really interesting.

I'll tell you what, reading a book about the plague makes it really hard to enjoy public events. The kid behind us kept snuffing his nose, and I thought I was going to come unglued. The people next to me were rude, too. They were talking the whole time to the people in front of them (their kids, I think) and the daughter, a teenager, was laying over the seats like she was in her living room. It was extremely annoying, and made it hard to concentrate. Still, it was nice to get out (away from our kids, even if we were a little too close to other peoples' kids) for a bit.

I'm not sure what's wrong with me today. I have no patience at all. The kids are driving me crazy. Claire's not sleeping well, preferring to practice her crawling instead of lying down and going to sleep. I've yelled at MG more today than I ever have before. For example, I had just folded up some blankets and put them on the quilt rack in the nursery, when she came upstairs. I asked her to go back downstairs. Then she pulled all the blankets down and I yelled at her to go downstairs and stop making messes. I just get so tired of cleaning and cleaning and literally having her come right behind me and screw it back up again.

I think it goes back to this business of having the house and the office in shambles. I just can't take it. It's like fingernails on a chalkboard to me, only it doesn't stop until things are in order again. We're doing the best we can, but there just isn't enough time in the day to take care of the kids and do everything that needs to be done with all these "projects" that keep coming up. Sometimes it's all I can do to keep everyone fed and in clean clothes. I finally got the summer stuff put away and the outgrown clothes pulled out of the kids' room tonight. That project only took 3 weeks.

Anyway, who would've thought that I'd become a neat freak? My room was always a disaster area growing up. Even in college, I used to drive Amanda nuts because didn't keep things as clean as she did. BJ must have hypnotized me or something.

I took a nap this afternoon with the kids (long night, Claire's teething and still fighting this cold, so she's waking up more than usual), so I'm planning on staying up late tonight to straighten things up. BJ's mom is coming tomorrow to watch MG so I can work (thank God for Grandmas!). Maybe if I can get on top of some of this stuff I'll feel better. If not, I think I might have to go see Dr. Joel about upping my Zoloft. I can't go on feeling like this. And Christmas always makes me nuts - I need to go into the holidays healthy, not feeling like a crazy person.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Jack O'Lantern


Did anyone else's kid say "Happy Birthday!" when they lit the candle?


The only way to take a photo of the punkin with the candle in it was to use the timer and to set the camera on the stove, so that it was stationary while the photo was taken. I think it turned out pretty well, don't you?
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I've never been a sports fan, so Homecoming has never been a big deal to me. Today, however, they dedicated the new Aerospace building at our alma mater, so we went to see Neil Armstrong speak (they named the building after him). Gene Cernan spoke, too, as did the president of the university. The director of NASA was there, but he didn't speak. It was a nice event. Mary Grace liked the balloon release best.

Afterwards we walked around a bit. We saw the alumni band and the alumni cheerleaders, as well as the current band and cheerleaders as they were lining up to go to the stadium for the game against Northwestern. We tried to find a balloon for MG, but the best we could do was a temporary tattoo for her cheek.

We then walked through the new building to warm up, and ran into a bunch of our friends and colleagues. Unfortunately, Mary Grace chose that moment to melt down, so we had to leave to take care of nap. It was an enjoyable morning, and it made me regret all the Homecomings that I've missed.

Next weekend is Fall Space Day, so we might return for that.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we have a major renovation going on in our kitchen. Unfortunately, it's a completely unscheduled renovation, and we really can't afford it right now. However, the lighting fixture in the kitchen fell apart. We thought it was because the upstairs sink was somehow leaking into it, but that turned out not to be the case. (The plumber I called when things started sparking and sizzling, and lights started to flicker, said that it wasn't leaking - he said, "You need an electrician, and seeing as you have small kids, you need one today." Eek.)

The kitchen light is all rusted inside due to condensation. All the moisture came from the dryer vent, which runs through the soffit above the cabinets in my kitchen. BJ had to make 4 holes of various sizes in the wall to find the break (right at the lowest elbow, of course, in the last place we looked). At one point he hit a live electrical wire with the saw (what was THAT doing there? Holding up the dryer vent, of course! We just love this house...), which caused sparking and scariness. I mean, the dryer has been blasting that wall full of lint for years (it has been a problem since we moved in, but we didn't realize that it was affecting the wiring until recently), so the sparks fell onto dryer lint. No... That's not at all flammable!

Long story short, I've lost two kitchen cabinets to this project, there are holes in my walls, my overhead fixture still doesn't work, and now we have to re-do the floor because BJ scratched the crap out of it when he moved the fridge. So far, I've managed to limit the chaos, but it's not pretty. I get a little anxious when I have to live in a mess, and now the house and the office are all messed up (the office still hasn't recovered from the move).

I'm trying to figure out how I can score a little more counter and/or cabinet space out of this. If we leave the fridge where it is now, we could add about 4 ft. of counter and another upper cabinet or two. We'd need another corner cabinet. It could be done, and it would seriously improve the tightness of my kitchen's triangle, but I don't think we can do it. I also think that it would be a P.I.T.A. to match the kitchen cabinets we already have. Knowing this house, some crazy person custom made them (out of particle board) in his basement, and they don't exist anywhere else in creation. That's just kind of how things go around here. Ask me about trying to match the pattern of the texture on our ceiling (can't be done, because the guy who did it was left-handed! We need to find a left-handed drywall mudder who knows that particular pattern in order to match it! Sheesh...) or the random centers on the ceiling of the family room - not a single one of them was a standard 16 inches. *sigh*

Of course, none of these projects are easy to do with two babies around (that's why the office is still in chaos, too, incidentally). And meanwhile everyone still needs 3 meals and 2 snacks a day, so I have to figure out how to maneuver around the work-in-progress that is our kitchen, while keeping the babies from injuring themselves on tools, and making sure that no one eats the dryer lint that is falling like snow from the ceiling. Fun, fun, fun.

Sometimes I want to go back 4-1/2 years and meet myself when I said that I wanted to buy this house, and I want to punch myself in the face.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blog Action Day - Post Partum Depression

Today is a Blog Action Day for the MOTHERS Act. Read this essay on post-partum depression.

BlogHers Act: Blog Day for the Mothers Act

I've written about my PPD before. To be honest, today is a bit of a mess and I don't have time to write about it again, but it sucks rocks, and there is help, and Zoloft is your friend if you feel like you've lost your mind and you've had a baby.

As I said before, this too shall pass. Don't be afraid to get help.

WFMW: Hot Water Tap

One of the best gifts BJ has ever gotten me is a hot water tap. Do you have one of these? If not, how do you manage?

You might be thinking, "I don't drink tea, why would I need that?" Oh, honey, you have no idea...

Of course you can make tea, cocoa, or instant coffee with the 190 degree water that comes out of the tap, as well as those instant ramen noodles (yuck). You can also save time on recipes that call for hot water (anything with real yeast, for example, as well as a bunch of convenience side dishes), by using your hot water tap.

It's wonderful for thawing. I've used the mine to thaw frozen breastmilk. You can warm bottles using the hot water, too. Much more convenient than heating a kettle.

One of the best uses, though, is disinfecting. My kids haven't been big pacifier users, but when guests have dropped their pacis, a quick rinse under the hot water tap and I know it's clean. When MG leaves a sippy cup of milk lying around, until it has become cottage cheese, I'll put some of the hot water in it and shake it up, rather than putting all that crud in my dishwasher, I get most of it off in the sink. It's also great for loosening baked on food - I'll fill a crusty pan up with hot water from the tap, and let it soak while I finish the rest of the dishes. By the time I'm done, the hot water has loosened the food and it's easy to clean.

I think the thing we use ours for the most is iced tea. I'll take a plastic gallon sized pitcher, put in four regular tea bags and one Constant Comment bag (all decaf, unfortunately - I miss caffeine!!), and about 1/3 cup sugar, then I'll fill it from the hot tap. The hot water brews the tea and dissolves the sugar. A half hour on the counter and some ice is all it needs for perfect iced tea. I always get compliments on my tea (it's the Constant Comment, that tip is free this week :) ).

So, my tip is to ask your significant other for a hot water tap this Christmas. You can spend anywhere from $100 - $300 for them, so shop around. We installed ours ourselves, which was an adventure. It still works 4 years later, though. That's one of the many benefits of being married to a rocket scientist!

Hot water on demand Works For Me!

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

How to tie your shoes if you have lollypop thumbs like me.
How to feel good about spending insane money at Christmas.
How to prevent dryer fires.
How to use Google Calendar to organize your family.
How to save a zillion dollars with the Magic Bullet.
How to quickly cool Mac & Cheese.
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, October 23, 2007

Potty Training

What was I thinking? This is a horrible idea. It's a wonder we're not all still in Pampers, because this is seriously the worst parenting day of my life.

I have faithfully taken MG to "go potty" (read: sit on the throne and make faces at herself in the mirror) every 10 - 13 minutes all day long since I got the panties on her around 10:30 am when we got dressed. She has gone through five pairs of pants. Sometimes she'd have an accident 30 seconds before the timer went off (the "it's been 10 minutes, let's go sit on the potty," timer, that I stopped setting 1 minute later after the first accident - so we were at 13 minutes for the rest of the day). Sometimes she'd wet herself just a minute or two after we came back from sitting on the potty for 10 minutes making faces. I put a diaper on her for nap. We got up at 3:30, and I changed her back into panties. We tried the upstairs potty (trauma). We came downstairs, I set the timer for 13 minutes, and at t minus 30 seconds, she had an accident.


In spite of this, exactly 1/2 tsp. of actual urine made it into the actual potty today. It was greeted with much fanfare.

She doesn't like the sensation of being wet in the panties. She tells me right away when she has an accident. Then we go sit on the potty while I clean her up, throw the clothes in the washer, and get a new outfit. Then she pees herself again 12 and a half minutes later...

But when I take her every 10 minutes, she just sits there for as long as I let her, and then pees at 9 minutes, 30 seconds.

I'm trying so hard to keep it positive, to not make it a big deal, but after the 5th accident of the day, my patience is wearing a little thin. She's running out of weather-appropriate clothes. I'm running out of hair to pull out.

To quote her, "I'm all finished done." I give up. She's not ready. Forcing her is stupid. Maybe Santa will bring her a trip to Potty Training Bootcamp for Christmas.

Monday, October 22, 2007


While I was folding laundry tonight, and BJ was reading to the kids, Claire said her first word...


Moments like this defy description. It's like my heart cracked open.

If she's anything like Mary Grace, she'll say "Mama" for two days, and then say "Dada," exclusively, for 3 months. :)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Death and Taxes

Sometimes when I should be sleeping, I find cool stuff on the web instead.

Sleepy Baby


She tucked in all of her "guys," laid down on the floor, and fell asleep.

There are advantages to having a cold. I really needed a day off from bedtime today.
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Punkin' Pickin'

We took the girls to a pumpkin patch located about 30 minutes west of town today. We had a ball! It's a farm owned by a family, but they have quite the operation going. They had refreshments, a bounce house, pony rides, a "train" made of 50 gallon drums, a petting zoo, a maze of hay bales, and a hayride out to the pumpkin patch.

It was a beautiful day, too. Low 70s and windy. Odd for this area at this time of year, but still nice for the babies.

Open Letter to the TV Guide Channel

My family turned on the TV guide channel briefly at 3:45 pm ET on Sunday 10/21 to see if there was anything on. At that time, there was a program on above the listings about sexy rock stars or something inane. During the five minutes that the program was on, we heard the phrases, "so damn hot," and, "shake my ass..." as well as enough sexual content (talk of Playboy bunnies and men and women showering together) to make us shake our heads and turn off the TV.

We are not prudes, but we have children. While we understand that they're going to hear these words and be exposed to these themes, I didn't expect it to be on the TV Guide Channel. I didn't realize that the TV Guide Channel was one that we would have to block their access to in the middle of the day. It seems to me that a channel like this should have benign, "family-friendly" content, since you have no idea who will be watching at any given time - especially during daylight hours.

You have the right, I suppose, to show whatever trash you want to show on television, within the boundaries of the law. I also have the right to turn it off. I'm just writing to let you know why I will be turning off the TV Guide Channel from now on. I will also be copying the FCC on this e-mail, as well as posting on my personal blog: about this issue.

Perhaps if you hear from enough former viewers, you will be inspired to clean up your content during the times when little eyes might be watching.

Amy Austin, mother

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Burn Update

After I was absolutely sure that there was no residual heat left in my thumb (because I'd been holding ice on it for half an hour), I tried butter - figuring that it couldn't make it worse at this point.

Hey, this is science, sometimes we must suffer.

It hurt like crazy immediately. There was no helpful effect at all. I rinsed it off as fast as I could.

What ended up doing the trick was Solarcaine spray. So much for home remedies. Good thing Walgreen's is only a mile from here!

Happy Saturday! I'm headed to The Big City in the Middle with Karen.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Crazy burn remedies

So I nuked the last cup of coffee in a non-microwave-safe cup (oops) and when I tried to take it out of the microwave, I burned the hell out of my thumb.

Luckily I managed to get it back into the microwave without spilling scalding coffee all over, but my thumb really hurts! So, I start googling (because of course I don't have burn cream in the house).

Egg white - felt ok while it was on there, but quickly wears off. Unpleasantly slimy.

Vinegar - takes the "sting" out and lasts for a minute before it comes back, long enough to make you hope that it's done hurting. Smells horrible.

Orange slices - MG didn't finish her orange for breakfast, so I stuck my thumb in one of the slices. This has worked the best, so far. Smells lovely.

Honey - initial relief, but wears off quickly. Smells great. Sticky.

Baking soda and water paste - works as long as you keep your burn in the paste.

Ice - helps the most, but I'm probably doing damage somehow. Portable, but messy.

Chocolate - doesn't help the burn at all, but made me feel better.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I do not want to make any part of you larger...

I was just alerted to the fact that there's a malicious something or another out there, interacting with Internet Explorer 6, which will take my benign little mommy ads (see them over there? I LOVE it when you click on them! Your clicks will send my kids to college!) and turn them into ads for Very Inappropriate Things.

I am unaware of the content of the Very Inappropriate Things, but I imagine that it's the usual stuff you get spam for.

Rest assured that I like you just the way you are, and that no part of you should be larger than it is at this time. I do not want you to take drugs from Mexico that have punctuation in their names, nor do I think that you should enter into any business dealings with anyone from Nigeria. You have not won any lottery, African or European. I do not want you to refinance your debt, nor am I going to give you a gift card for any of your favorite stores or restaurants. None of these things are a good idea, and I do not sanction, endorse, advocate, affirm, recommend, authenticate, or warrant any of them, under any circumstances.

If you're seeing Very Inappropriate Ads, please upgrade your browser (or just dump Internet Explorer and get Firefox, which is vastly superior and a lot less prone to mischief).

Thanks, Jeana, for the heads up!

My first meme!!

Jenny tagged me to do my first meme! I feel like a real blogger now!

Here are the rules which you must abide by if you are tagged.
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

Seven facts about Amy:

1) I have never lived outside of this state.

2) I've known my husband since we were 11 years old (but we didn't start dating until we were 21).

3) I have always wanted to write a book, but I can't figure out what to write about. My dream is to be the next Erma Bombeck, someday... Hence the blog.

4) I have a birthmark that's shaped like the leaf on a Canadian flag on the outside of my right calf.

5) Three separate groups of my friends nicknamed me "Mom" over the years, independent of each other, and before I had kids.

6) I have absolutely no willpower when it comes to chocolate.

7) I went to three different colleges, had nine different majors, and took 5 years to finish, only to finally get a degree in Special Education that I don't even use.

Now I get to tag people, too!

Jenny at Untrained Monkeys

Michelle at The Kidd Korner

Melania at Making Other Plans (because you haven't posted in forEVER!)

Erin at Life of a Spaceman

Becky at Sailing is Funnest of All

Kim at The Darwin Exception


Kristen at Motherhood Uncensored, because she still owes me a t-shirt!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

WFMW: Tie Kids' Shoes

This one is a special request from my sister, Megan, whose thumbs are exactly as goofy looking as mine.

I have a confession to make. I am 31 years old and I can't tie my shoes the "normal" way. No matter how many bunnies went 'round the tree, or whatever goofy phrase someone told me to try to teach me how to tie my shoes, I couldn't do it. I can't knit either. Hand-eye coordination is obviously not my strong suit.

I can tie my shoes, though, thanks to my very clever Mom who taught me to do it the other way. Here we go:

Tie a knot:

Make two loops:

Cross the loops:

Pull one loop under the other:

Pull them tight:

There you have it! This way is much easier for kids' chubby fingers and people with goofy thumbs. Works for me!

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

How to feel good about spending insane money at Christmas.
How to prevent dryer fires.
How to use Google Calendar to organize your family.
How to save a zillion dollars with the Magic Bullet.
How to quickly cool Mac & Cheese.
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!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Say it isn't so...

She had no nap today. She went all day, through two long-ish car rides (to The City in the Middle and the Big Museum and back). Napless. No nap. In Nap Town, even. Ironic.

She was fine until about 8 pm, when she got fussy, but we managed to reason her through it until we could get her to bed (we were at the office at the time). She was okay. Without a nap. Without. A. Nap. That faint sound you hear is me crying, "Noooooooooooooo!!!!!"

I am not ok without a nap. I need her nap. I can not imagine what life will be like when she gives it up for good.

Benedryl would be wrong, wouldn't it? *sigh*

How old were your kids when they gave up their naps?

Widgie Poo

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We are naughty...

So part of the reason I've been quiet was because we were throwing a surprise party for my bonus mom's birthday, and I was just sure that I'd blow it if I posted too often. I'm not the best secret-keeper, as you all well know. We pulled it off, though, and she was so surprised on Saturday night when we "stopped by" my sister's house on our way to dinner, and all her friends were there. It was great fun.

We spent the whole weekend in Grammaland. Mary Grace and Claire got tons of attention. They were so good. I'm always amazed at how well behaved they are when we're on the road. They really are good little travelers.

Sunday morning after breakfast at Susie's Cafe (I had pumpkin pancakes, YUM! After I finish this post I am looking for recipes!), Megan, the girls, and I stopped at the miniature golf place to see the dragon. It was closed, which was cool, because we weren't going to play, anyway. We walked back to the mountain where the dragon lives, and we pretended to fight him with swords and magic to save ourselves (real princesses save themselves, after all. We don't need to wait for knights or princes). We won, of course, considering that the dragon is fake and has been in the same position since I was MG's age. It was fun to see her use her imagination, though. She's been very into magic, lately, thanks to Charlie and Lola, and spends a lot of time covering things up and making them disappear. Of course, we act impressed. She also says "abracadabra," which is too cute. Any stick becomes a magic wand, and her "guys" are constantly appearing in her hats. It is a fun phase. I'm amazed that she understands the very abstract concept of magic, and is engaging in pretend play already. She never ceases to amaze me.

When we finally got home Sunday afternoon at 5, MG and I left Claire with Daddy and we took a two hour nap. Grammaland is a tiring place! It's probably a good thing that we don't live there, or we'd be exhausted (although the house across the street from Mom's is for sale, and it's tempting! Wouldn't it be funny if all three of us kids lived within 100 feet of the house we grew up in?)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Good fences

We are blessed with wonderful neighbors. The guy behind us plows the entire block's snow every time snow falls in the winter, God love him. We live on a corner, so it's no small amount of snow, either. We are on a frequent-speaking basis with several of the folks who live in our neighborhood. This is as it should be.

Not all neighbors are great, though. My mom, in particular, seems cursed with bad neighbors (perhaps this is why she has talked Megan and Chuck into moving in near her - to thwart further bad neighborism!). She's got this one lady who screamed at her for letting her dog (actually my brother's dog, but whatever) crap in her yard as the dog was crapping and Mom was standing there with a bag in her hand, waiting to clean it up. (My suggestion was that she make a chocolate cake with green icing and green coconut on top, then put two Snickers bars in the microwave for a few seconds on a sheet of waxed paper, then invert the Snickers over the cake to resemble a pile, and then right, "Sorry about the Poop!" in yellow icing, and take it to her. And when she looked at Mom in horror, I told Mom to run her finger along one of the candy bars, and lick it, while looking her directly in the eye. But I digress...)

But I don't think any neighbor I've heard of can top this one.

Leave your good and bad neighbor stories in the comments!

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Grandma Susan, we love you!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Claire - cute suit!

Wasn't Mary Grace wearing this 10 minutes ago? Time sure flies...
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This is what you call "a riot of curls":

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For Mimi

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Oh. Ver. Whelmed.

Hi, sorry, I've been totally silent this week, and that's not cool. We moved the office Monday and Tuesday, and then Wednesday totally got away from me, and here we are and it's Thursday already. Sheesh.

There is like zero food in the house - we have one egg, no bread, about 1/4 cup of milk... I haven't had time to go to the grocery store. I'd planned to do that this morning before I went to get Alison, but then Claire fell asleep, and now I don't know if we'll make it. I may have to go get Alison, drop her and MG off at the house, then take Claire to the store, lest we all starve.

We went to a dinner last night honoring the faculty at The Big School who have gotten patents this year. It was very interesting. We sat with the former Lt. Governor, and neither one of us recognized her. We were talking about the software that was being honored (which sounds really cool - basically it models human reactions to situations, so you can predict how people will react to acts of terrorism, or other major events - really magic stuff, and I haven't had a chance to look it up and read more about it, yet, but it sounds amazing). The former Lt. Governor (FLT for short) was saying how she's taking the software and applying it to political situations. But before she got to the political part, she said something about using it for "design," and I said, "Oh, what kind of design? Interior? Building?" and she was like, "No, stupid, politics." Then BJ said, "You look familiar," and she said, "Well, I've been on TV a lot......" Sheesh! We looked like idiots.

One of us really needs to be better at names. We're both awful, and we're never going to be movers and shakers if we can't remember who's who.

So, that was last night. It was a nice dinner that I didn't have to cook, and an open bar, which is always a bonus. The girls stayed with Marie, who is a sweetie, and they had a ball.

I've been away from MG more than a little this week - she stayed home with BJ's mom Monday and Tuesday so I could help move, then I was away last night, and now she'll be with Alison this afternoon and tomorrow afternoon. It has been really tough on me. I don't like being away from her that much. I am not sure what I'm going to do when she goes to school!

We went to the Halloween store that has popped up in the former Hobby Lobby's space to look for a costume for Claire. They had all these scary mummies and witches and stuff set up for display (I didn't expect that, or I would've gone alone!). MG kept saying, "What's that?" and I just said, "It's more spooooooky Halloween stuff!" rather than explaining what zombies are, and so on. So the last couple days she's been saying, "I want to go to the spoooooky Halloween store, Mommy!" Cute.

As we were leaving, her marshmallow fell on the ground, and she said, in a British accent, "Oh NO! It's an absolute disaster Mommy! What are we going to do?" Thank you, Lola. She also says "toe-MAH-toe" instead of "toe-MAY-toe" and "cahnt" instead of "can't." Little goofball. I'm sure that someone is going to stop me, with my Midwest accent, from taking my little British child out of a store, someday, thinking that I've kidnapped her.

Are there any Scottish cartoons? I think it would be funnier if she started talking like Groundskeeper Willie from the Simpsons.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Fun with Legos

"Mommy," she said, as she handed me a large yellow block and a large red block, "You can build shunshy."

"Mommy can build what?" I asked?

"Sunshine," BJ translated. "Mommy can build sunshine."

"Um..." I said, looking at the blocks, "Sunshine is round, and Legos are square, so Mommy can't build sunshine, honey."

"I think the hard thing," BJ said, "Is to represent it as both a particle and a wave."

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Oh, my achin' fingers!

You might think that my fingers hurt because of all the typing, but you'd be wrong. For some reason, I got it in my head that I needed to get out my old guitar, today, and learn to play. I got the guitar for Christmas back when I was in college, and I never sat down and learned to play it. I know a few chords, and because of my cello experience I can pick out a few melodies here and there, but that's it.

I have always wanted to play the guitar. I've always wanted to be that person who is begged at every party to pull out her guitar and play a few songs. I have visions of myself sitting with a bunch of friends and loved ones around a bonfire on a beach, singing folk songs and bringing people joy through my music.

You really can't do that sort of thing with a cello. It's just not practical. You do not want sand in your F holes. (Yes, F holes, get your minds out of the gutter).

I also can't play the piano. I took lessons for eons. I still suck. I lack discipline. I get frustrated that I can't play as well as I want to right now, and so I quit.

This is honestly one of the things I like least about myself. I really lack follow through. I buy all of the equipment and gear for a project, and I'm all excited about it for about 11 minutes, and then I get bored and move on to something else. Consequently I have a whole lot of stuff (sewing machine, scrapbooking accouterments, musical instruments, gardening supplies - and those are just off the top of my head) lying around, and I still can't do anything useful with any of them (ugly totebags notwithstanding).

I love the idea of sitting down with my kids, after the fashion of Maria von Trapp, and belting out "Let's start at the very beginning..." as I teach them to love music by singing "Do Re Mi," so this time I'm going to try to stick with it. I got out the guitar, and the cheat deck for chords that I bought one year at Toys R' Us, on sale, and I got online to figure out how to tune it (hint: you don't want to tune it like a cello, for one thing, there's no B on a cello. For another, cellos only have 4 strings...), and to look up the tabs for some of my favorite songs.

I really need someone to show me how to hold my wrist, because I'm doing it wrong. Maybe I need a neck strap. Maybe when Claire gets up we'll go to the music store (is there one in town? I'll look online...) and buy one. I know I'm holding it wrong, though, because I have a lot of tension in my wrist. That's bad. I need picks, anyway, so we might as well grab a strap while we're there (where? I don't know yet, maybe that place over by Steak and Shake?).

I plan to spend 15 minutes a day until my fingers toughen up, then 30 minutes a day, until I have achieved some respectable level of prowess. Then I will be able to say, "Why yes, I will play a few songs!" at your next Christmas gathering, or at your bonfire, or on Mom's porch while drinking wine. I probably won't be any good by this Christmas, but I'll try. Hold me to this, internet. Don't let me slack!

But I'm done for today, because my fingers are killing me.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Just in Time for Christmas!

Hey Kids!!!

PrettySarcastic Toys, Inc. is proud to introduce The Lovely Lead Lump!

The Lump (for short) promises to be the must-have toy of the season! More popular than the pet rocks of the 70s, more versatile than the Cabbage Patch kids of the 80s, and more lovable than the Beanie Babies of the 90s, the Lump will define our decade!

The Lump makes the perfect teether! Stick it in the freezer to cool, then let your baby chew her cares away. It's a soft metal, so it won't get brittle and break off. Moms, you don't have to worry about choking anymore.

Of course, your child's art projects will be more dazzling if she mixes her paints with a little bit of powder from The Lump. Who wants dull, dreary reds and yellows, when the addition of a little neurotoxin can spruce them right up and make them pop?

But wait, there's more! Your child's Lump will shield her from radiation! It will reduce engine knock! It will destroy her vulnerable little brain!

Act now and you'll get not one, but two Lumps! But hurry, quantities are limited! Call today!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Claire Update

Claire's fever is down to a much more reasonable 99, and she's resting comfortably. No worries. It's just the shots.

In particular, it's the rotavirus vaccine, I think. It did a number on her last time, too. However, every time I start thinking, "Gee, maybe I shouldn't have gotten that vaccine for her. After all, I knew it would make her sick again, just like last time..." etc. I remember rushing to the ER with Mary Grace when she was vomiting blood from full-blown rotavirus, and I remember that a mild case from a weakened strain in a vaccine is much better and easier to deal with than the real thing.

It's a little hurt now instead of a big hurt later, which is really what shots are. It's hard to inflict pain on our poor little ones, but it would be even harder to see her get sick with rotavirus, or polio, or measles, and to know that I could've prevented it!

5:30 am

I had a terrible dream, and woke up to a baked potato.

Yeah, that's kind of what I thought, too. "Why is there a baked potato in my bed?"

Turns out that it was Claire, with a 103 fever, all hot and dry and snuggly in the bed next to me. My poor little lamb.

So, since I wasn't planning on going back to sleep any time soon, I got up with her. She's sleeping in the swing, now, thanks to a stiff dose of Tylenol, and I'm catching up on my blogs. It's kind of peaceful and nice. BJ's alarm just went off.

Maybe the answer to "me time" as a Mom lies somewhere between 5 and 7 am.

Or maybe I'm just delirious from sleep deprivation!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

All better

Thanks for all the love yesterday. I finally broke down at 10 am and took the Tylenol 3, and the headache ran away in fear. Good thing I did, too, because the doctor's office didn't call back until 4:30 pm, and guess what they called in? Tylenol 3. I would've felt like a jerk if I'd suffered all day so that I could wait for a prescription for something I already had.

I did learn why they say to "use caution" when taking codeine and driving, though. Woah, Mama. I guess I didn't think it affected me that way because I'd never tried to drive I-65 while on codeine. I found myself zoning out and said, "Oh, wow, this must be what they mean!" so I took some deep breaths and concentrated harder and we were fine. Don't worry - I had the car under control at all times, I just felt a little woogy.

We had a fun time, seeing Grandmas and hanging out. MG was her usual sparkly self. Claire was a peach. Everything went swimmingly, and I got done all of what I'd set out to do. Yay!

Claire had to have her 6 month shots today, so she's in a crap mood. Not much has happened here today as a result. I really need to clean out my car. Those bins I told you about have puked all over the place. There is no room for the babies. *sigh*

Ok, gotta go rock Claire some more. More tomorrow, when we're all (hopefully) in better moods!

WFMW: Opposite Day

Today Shannon is hosting questions, instead of answers. Here's mine:

How do you manage/limit your online time? In other words, do you only use the computer for a certain amount of time per day, or do you only use it when the kids are in bed, or what? (Or do your kids just fend for themselves because Mommy's gotta blog, darn it, and I don't care if you've eaten or not!)


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

How to feel good about spending insane money at Christmas.
How to prevent dryer fires.
How to use Google Calendar to organize your family.
How to save a zillion dollars with the Magic Bullet.
How to quickly cool Mac & Cheese.
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, October 2, 2007

Ring. Please ring.

Why, oh why, won't the doctor's office call back? Don't they know what it's like to have two babies and a migraine? Don't they know that I have a million things to do today? Don't they know that I can't afford to feel dizzy and sick every time I stand up? It's been two hours, Doctor's Office, please call me back...

I thought that my "waiting by the phone, begging for it to ring, already" days were over when I got married. This sucks.

The question - do I wait for them to call, hoping that they'll call in a prescription for something better, or do I take the Tylenol 3 I have leftover from when Claire was born, and get on with things?

This damn headache started yesterday afternoon, and even 9 hours of sleep (not uninterrupted, are you kidding, but still, a good night's sleep) wasn't enough to break it. I've had a shower, and caffeine, and it still hurts...

Even if they call right now, it's going to take some time to get to the pharmacy, get the prescription filled, and get it into my system to help. I think I'd better take the Tylenol 3.