Friday, November 30, 2007

Flu - 3, Amy - 1

Well, it got Claire too. Poor little puddin' has been vomiting for about 3 hours.

The only reason the title isn't "...Amy - 0" is because my super fantastic mother in law is here taking excellent care of us. She is battling the laundry monster downstairs and keeping my spirits up.

Fortunately I haven't gotten as bad a case of it as my girls. I'm woozy, but hanging in.

We are so lucky. Some families battle constant illness. I'm grateful that this is the exception around here. For so many families, it's a constant way of life. And I'm so grateful for our family and friends, who bless us in so many ways.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Oh no...

My head hurts, and I'm hot and nauseated.


I lost count at 12...

I'm not sure how someone can get sick so many times, and still be vertical. Good grief.

I will spare you the details, and share what I have learned.

Grandmas are smart. Giving her fluids an ounce at a time, per Grandma Diana, helped. And the sucker, per Grandma Denna, got her to stop begging me for breakfast. (I couldn't take much more of that, "Please Mommy, I'm hungry. Please? I'm sorry Mommy. I want some eggs. Please?" Why not just rip my heart out, that would be faster.) Grandma Susan provided invaluable moral support, as usual. The tea helped.

Friends are priceless. A good friend will run to the store and get Sprite, Gatorade, and crackers for your sick kid, when your husband is out of town. A great friend will also bring flowers, wine, cheesecake, and a box of individual molten chocolate cakes. Once I get these kids to bed, I am going to toast myself for surviving this day. Thanks Karen!

There's a book called "How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?" that has been really handy today. The sick dinosaur in the book gets "sick in a pail," so Mary Grace knew what I was talking about when I told her to get sick in the pail. That made the laundry heap a little more manageable.

I am so sick of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Charlie & Lola, though, I could scream. Thank God for the internet.

Thanks for all the support, everyone. Knock on wood, we're on the mend. She hasn't been sick for a couple hours, and has kept down liquids. Phew.

(Of course, I'm holding my breath now, because every time I've said that today, she's vomited).

You Play, You Pay

They ought to have that in 3 foot high letters on the door to the McDonald's PlayLand.

Germ tubes on Wednesday; puking on Thursday.

I woke up at 6 am to the sounds of retching. Miraculously she kept it off the bed and on me, the first time. The second time we had casualties - one of the new pillow shams, and one of the new throw pillows.

I should've known better than to get new bedding during flu season.

She's been sick three times already. And you know that Claire and I are next, no matter how religiously I wash my hands. Did I mention that Claire and I are leaving Wednesday for a wedding in St. Thomas? A wedding that I'm the matron of honor in, and therefore can't miss?


Maybe if Claire and I come down with it today, we can be over it by then.

Did I mention that BJ left on a business trip last night, and we don't honestly know when he's going to be back? Probably Sunday or Monday. So, I'm going it alone.

Thank God for our Digital Video Recorder, Playhouse Disney, and the internet. At least I can keep her happy.

I almost forgot...

I finally did something today that I probably should've done more than two years ago.

I bought a diaper bag.

I know. I've had kids for a while now. You'd think I'd have gotten around to this sooner. But a tote bag or one of those "healthy back" bags has always been just fine, until recently when Claire started using a sippy cup. Now I find myself carting around two sippy cups all the time, instead of just one. One I could manage, but handling two sippy cups and two small kids has become a bit much, so I bought a diaper bag for the fact that it has elastic loops in it that will hold our sippy cups upright.

There are three elastic loops, too, so maybe Mommy's coffee can fit in there.

I guess I've been assimilated. As if the minivan wasn't proof enough. At least I bought a nice, simple black bag with pink piping - nothing with cartoon characters and pastels. After all, I have to carry the thing, not the kids!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Is it still Wednesday?

Maybe it's because I stayed up until 2:30 am (too much caffeine) last night and got up at 8:30, or maybe it's because I talked to my mom and BJ a lot less today than I normally do (Mom - you are NOT allowed to forget your cell phone again. It screws up my whole day!), or maybe it's because we went shopping this morning, or because I never did get both the kids to nap at the same time today, but this day has been at least 72 hours long.

BJ has been working a ton, and as I write this is headed to Durango, Colorado to deliver some stuff to a client. I'm not sure when he'll be back. The girlies and I will probably head to Grammaland this weekend so that Mommy doesn't lose her tiny mind.

Mary Grace was funny tonight. She was pretending to talk on the phone, picking up the mouse for the computer and holding it between her cheek and her shoulder, and saying, "Oh hi. Yeah. I'm watching Happy Monster Band. Uh huh. Okay. Bye!" in a perfect imitation of me. When I asked her who she was talking to, she said, "Grandma." I guess she feels a little lost when Grandma leaves her cell phone at home, too.

She has also learned to order my coffee at Starbucks, which is no small feat. I can't do this justice in words, and I will try to get it on video, but Mary Grace can now order a "grande, decaf, non-fat, white chocolate mocha with no whip!" She gets particularly excited about the last part, and will dance around, yelling, "No whip! No whip!" which is probably going to be really hard to explain when she's in preschool.

Claire's top two middle teeth are coming in, but she's having a terrible time learning the song. She can't whistle, either. Poor kid.

I'm reading a book that takes place in the mid-1980s in the town where I live now. It is not very complimentary, to be honest. In fact, I disagree 100% with the author's perspective on this area. But even so, it's completely bizarre to be reading a real book about the town where I live. She mentions going school clothes shopping at the Kmart that used to be about 5 blocks from my house. She mentions, by name, the main road that you take from my house to get to town. She talks about her sister's apartment overlooking the river. I'm pretty sure it was 4 blocks from here. She talks about the two local high schools extensively. She mentions the local funeral home, the mall (by name), the Big School... everything.

It is totally freaking me out.

I guess it's because it's not a big town. I mean, people in New York or London don't probably feel this way when they read books set in New York or London. But our town's population is only about 25,000, if you don't count the students, so it's a little bit different. I'd be surprised if half a dozen books ever published had taken place here.

I'd tell you what book it is, but A) I don't want whoever keeps searching for "teen p@mpers" and ending up here to know where I live, because, eeewww... and B) it's really not that good a book, anyway.

Oh, duh...

Hey, it would help if I'd post the URL of my Cafepress store.

If you want a different color, let me know and I can make it for you. Cafepress only lets you do one design per shirt (unless you pay for your store).

If there is any interest, I may work on more complicated, more artistic designs. This was the best I could do with two screaming babies yesterday. You'll note that I posted about it very, very late.

So, let's start a "You can be happy" movement for Christmas!

You can be happy...

I've been thinking about what Mary Grace said. "You can be happy, Mommy." I have come to the conclusion that this is a profound statement. In fact, it could be the catch phrase of 2008 (think "Don't worry, be happy," and "Where's the beef?" Am I dating myself or what?).

So, I decided to make a logo, and sell some stuff at CafePress. If you would like to buy them, it would make ME happy. Ha ha...

If there's someone in your life who needs a boost, try a "You can be happy" t-shirt. Who knows? Maybe I'll be the next Bobby McFarin.

And remember, nothing says "Christmas" like a "You can be happy" thong.

WFMW: Christmas Organization

Good grief, is it Wednesday already? Again? Where is the time going? It really seems like time speeds up during the holidays.

So, for the nth year in a row, I'm using a spreadsheet to organize our Christmas gift giving. My spreadsheet has the following columns:

Name ///// Gift Idea ///// Gift Bought ///// Charity ///// Notes

This year, I took last year's list, put "2006" over the "gift bought" column, added a new column for 2007, and my list was ready to go. I even had a couple of leftover ideas from last year that I didn't end up using.

As I'm surfing, reading catalogs, and shopping, I'll note "ideas" for various people. Under notes, I'll put things like "on sale at Best Buy" or "www.(this is the name of the website where I can buy this).com" or "allergic to peanuts" or whatever else I need to remember.

This year, we're giving charity donations to some people in lieu of gifts (at their request) or in addition to gifts, so if I come across something that would be especially meaningful to that person, I'll put it under the charity column as a suggestion to myself. Later I'll put in notes like "$50 to Habitat for Humanity, 12/10/07" so I know what I gave, when, and to whom.

In years past, I've been known to keep track of how much I spent on each person, but that gets overwhelming, so I quit doing it.

Of course, you know I'm totally Googlified, and I'm keeping my spreadsheet in Google Documents, and my husband has access to it to, right? That goes without saying at this point...

Spending a little extra time each year to keep things organized prevents me from accidentally giving someone a similar gift two years in a row (that desk set scene in Dead Poet's Society really stuck with me), and helps me keep my sanity (ha) during the holidays.

Share your best Christmas tips in the comments!

Are you here for WFMW? Check out my other tips:

How to breathe new life into your lamps with spray paint.
How to use calling cards to give the illusion that you have it all together.
How to use GCal (again) for menu planning.
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!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tree Pics

The tree is up. If Mary Grace had known there was a train involved, she would've made us put up the tree months ago. She loves her trains!

We spent the whole afternoon Sunday putting the tree up. We had cocoa and listened to Christmas Carols on XM radio (LOVE XM radio!) and then ordered pizza for dinner. BJ made a fire in the fireplace. It was a super day.

Then, at Walgreen's, I found these little ceramic houses for 99 cents each, that are perfect for a little village around the train. Sure, they're ceramic. But if she breaks them, who cares? They were a buck! I actually broke the first one. Oops. Anyway, she's had lots of fun arranging the little houses and shops and people. Yay for cheap Chinese decorations! And they taste awful, so she won't be eating the lead paint.

Confidential to the Disney Channel - Happy Monster Band has finally won me over, they're cute, even if the animation is totally cheap. But I still want to beat the snot out of Captain Carlos, Lou and Lou Safety Patrol, and that blonde headed brat on Little Einsteins. If you could please arrange for a fiery animated demise for all four of them, I'd appreciate it.

Remember back when my kids were Never going to watch TV. Yeah, I was cute, wasn't I? They weren't going to eat fast food, either.

Speaking of B.C. (the era Before Children), I have now been pregnant, nursing, or both for three full years. I think there should be some sort of merit badge for this or something. You know that Chili's commercial? Well, I'm singing along, only my lyrics are, "I want my body back, body back, body back..."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Oh! Christmas Tree!

We're putting up our tree, our train, and our decorations today, so there will be pictures later. MG is a big fan of the train!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Shop, shop, shop

Today's the Big Shopping Day. I've been boycotting this day for as long as I can remember - preferring to stay home with my family in lieu of fighting over bargains with a bunch of strangers. But this year, was advertising HUGE HOLIDAY DEALS, so I thought I'd leave all the stuff I have in my cart for the kids in there, and then purchase everything today, hoping something would go on sale.

The only product that changed price was the Fisher Price Alphabet Zoo that I've been wanting to get for them - and it went up $5! I think is punishing me.

Anyway, I thought I'd offer a small, modest holiday gift guide here at Pretty Babies. I can remember my life B.C. (before children), and how impossible it was to buy gifts for kids. I still have a hard time with the kids in my life who are older than mine (although I like to believe I'm getting better). So, below, please find a helpful list of gifts for the significant babies, and moms, and maybe even dads, in your life. Hope you find something useful!

Do you have a friend who has a baby, but who is not the type to carry a diaper bag emblazoned with fuzzy ducks and bunnies and bears? How much would he or she love one of these?

Sure, it's for "tech," but if it can hold a magazine, it can hold a couple diapers, some wipes, your lipstick, your cell phone, and hide a couple of essential baby toys. Then you've got your hands free for shopping (or holding the baby, or whatever). I think it's super. I don't have one (hint, hint) but I got one of the mens' styles for B.J. a couple of years ago, and he wears it a lot. He uses it for tech, although I have been known to stick diapers in the back wall, where you're supposed to carry a laptop (!!).

If you really want to give the parent in your life hands free ability, give them a sling. The good people at Kangaroo Korner really need to start paying me a commission. Seriously. Anyway, you put the sling on under your tech jacket, then put the baby in your sling, and you are ready for any parenting adventure. I have the adjustable pouch, in both fleece and mesh. I love it, love it, love it.

But what about the babies? Pretty Babies don't read the internet, so it's safe for me to tell you that I'm getting them the newly-more-expensive Fisher Price Little People Zoo. Mary Grace loves her Little People, and she loves animals. I figure most of the zoo animals will end up in the farm that she already has. Maybe the lions will eat the cows. It will be very exciting.

I found this Jumpolene Castle at, and I am so excited to get it for my kids. MG has a really bad bed jumping habit going on, which I'm hoping to curtail by giving her a place where she can safely jump. Of course, it will also work as a play house, or a castle, or a fort for pretend play. I love something that's multi-use. I may regret it, because it looks huge and it will take up a large corner of the playroom, but I think they'll have a lot of fun in it.

Pretty Daddy reads the internet, so I can't talk about what I'm getting for him, but that's okay because I have no idea. He is extremely hard to shop for. Suggestions welcome in the comments. In fact, if Pretty Daddy would like to leave anonymous comments with a detailed list of exactly what he wants, that would be super. One year I got him a case of mint flavored Snapple iced tea, which they no longer sell in this market. Another year I got him that tech jacket. Last year I got him an astrolabe. After 10 years, though, I'm totally running out of ideas. Thank God the good people in silicone valley keep coming out with new toys, or I'd be sunk. What is the hot tech gift for 2007?

I admit that I usually do a search for "holiday gift guide geek" to find his present. I'm not finding anything that moves me this year, though.

Another gift that would be super for moms with young kids is an mp3 player with a gift subscription to I've gotten into the habit of listening to audiobooks when I'm putting the kids to bed, and it has been really nice. Those first few bleary months when it feels like all you do is breastfeed and complain about how tired you are would go by a lot faster with the addition of audiobooks. Because lets face it, babies are wonderful, but they're really crappy conversationalists.

The other tech gift (can you tell we're complete nerds?) that has saved our sanity as parents has been the ability to digitally record TV shows and play them back when it's convenient for us. We don't have a TiVo (BJ actually built our digital video recorder - that's a whole 'nother post), but I've seen some super deals on TiVos in the past around the holidays.

That's all I can think of right now, and I'm also ruminating a post about the book I'm reading and how it's going to change the way the PrettyBaby family eats in the not-distant future, so I'm going to go write the outline for that right now (yes, I put that much time, effort, and thought into the posts here at the blog for all of y'all. That is how committed I am to quality!). So stay tuned...

And if you have great gift suggestions, leave them in the comments. I'm particularly interested in ideas for grandparents!!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Posh Prettybaby

Oh, check this out... Too fun:

Victoria Beckham has nothing to fear from me:

And so it begins...

This time of year makes me freaking crazy. I think I managed to put it off for three weeks this year - normally I start losing it around Halloween. I think the unseasonably warm weather had a lot to do with it. I could maintain Holiday Denial. But now, with The Holidays looming, I find myself losing my mind.

Tread carefully, and try to be gentle with me. I don't mean to.

WFMW: Spray Paint

One of the things that shocked me when we bought this house was how expensive lamps can be. We had always lived in apartments with ample overhead lighting. When we moved into this house (with its 6 overhead lights, two in the bathrooms, two in the hallways, one in the kitchen, and one in the dining room), we had to buy a bunch of lamps.

I'm fortunate that I don't like super-ornate lamps (or anything for that matter - I like things simple and masculine, mission style, etc.), but even the plain ones cost a fortune. I didn't want those college-dorm torchieres, either. What's a girl to do?

Here's what I did. I hit up the family (and local garage sales) for lamps with good shapes. I got two avocado green lamps from Aunt Juile, and two mauve ones from Mom. I got two off-white ones at a garage sale. Then I hit the spray paint aisle of Wally World.

It took me longer to buy the spray paint than it did to paint the lamps. When Julie came down to visit, she didn't even recognize her lamps (and I could totally tell that she wouldn't have given them to me if she'd thought of painting them, first!). I just finished the mauve ones to go in our new chocolate brown and blue bedroom. I think they're going to look fabulous. New shades help, too.

So there's my tip (that I can share, now that I have enough lamps!!) - get cheap or free lamps, spray paint them, buy new shades, and save hundreds of dollars.

How to use calling cards to give the illusion that you have it all together.
How to use GCal (again) for menu planning.
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!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I can't connect to my own blog.

I can't connect to typepad.

I can't connect to to download iTunes.


But I can get to Blogger (so I can post).

This stupid Windows firewall... And I'd make BJ fix it but he's still at work, and I already took up 5 minutes of his time dealing with the stupid IP address.

Crazy, crazy, crazy. You know, I used to understand computers.

This is totally going to make me late for WFMW, and I had my post all written and everything! Nuts!!

Anyone else watch "Heroes"?

Today I got junkmail for the former occupant of this house. I would scan it and post a picture, but that would totally give away my address, which is Top Secret.

Anyway, the former occupant's name was Hiroshi Nakamura. How funny is that?

Ok, it's only funny if you're a nerd, like me.

Monday, November 19, 2007

In a Meeting

Last week, at the office with Owen and Pete the Bear. Videoconferencing with Lola.
Posted by Picasa

Four, encore

This is just stupid.

Both the kids woke up at 4 am. I got them both back to sleep, then I settled in to go back to sleep myself, and... no.

I realized that I was thirsty, so I got up, got a drink, etc. and went back to bed.... no.

Mind racing. Thinking, of all things, about decorating the bedroom, for God's sake. Thinking about going all HGTV and getting some pretty decorator fabric to make a headboard for the bed, maybe cutting up and stapling the foam mattress topper that we don't use anymore (hazardous when sleeping with babies) to a piece of plywood, and then covering it with fabric... Gonna need a staple gun. Have been wanting one, anyway, because apparently that and some paint is all you need to decorate, if Trading Spaces is to be believed... Could use strips of the same fabric to tie back new curtains.... Liking that idea, how long? Maybe 2 ft. long and 4 in. wide? No, that would be too long. 16 inches. Yeah, ok. Paint? Maybe. Then get a light blue roller shade to go behind curtains. That would block light and insulate, and oh shut up already, mental voice, it's 4:30 am!!!!!

I mean, really! Thou shalt not decorate before 8 am. My inner Martha needs to go to freaking sleep, already.

I read a chapter in my book. Mind still racing. Now I'm mentally blogging. I'm mentally blogging about how I can't go back to sleep. How am I going to make this funny? Oh, for God's sake, if I'm going to mentally blog, I might as well get up and blog.

Did I tell you I had a dream the other night where something funny happened, and I found a computer lab and said, "Look out, people, I need to blog this,"? That's how committed I am to bringing you all a quality blog - I'm now blogging in my sleep.

Then Claire woke up, again, at 5 am. After I got her back to sleep, again, I decided to just get up. Maybe I'll do some online Christmas shopping or something. At least today's Monday, and I can take a nap with the girls this afternoon.

But seriously, this is ridiculous.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Sun Has Gone to Bed and So Must I...

4:00 am.

Someone, who shall remain nameless, decided that 4:00 am was an appropriate time to get up.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Procrastination and Progress

I just can't face the kitchen. We have all the stuff to do the tile, but finding a time to drag it all out and do it is just overwhelming. So, instead of making progress on the first project, we're doing what we always do - starting a couple dozen other mini-projects that will make us feel better about the fact that we're procrastinating on the kitchen, while still allowing us to procrastinate on the kitchen.

So, the new stuff came for the bedroom, and we rearranged the furniture, put up the new curtains (not wide enough, DAMN!) and put the new linens on the bed. We ditched one dresser (out of four) and relocated it to the guest room. Of course, the guest room was an absolute disaster, so I got it all straightened around so there was room to put the dresser in there. I have two boxes plus for Goodwill, and a bunch of stuff to return to people. We also moved some furniture around downstairs. I think my grandma's old sewing cabinet will make a sort of cool makeshift nightstand for BJ, and it matches the new chocolate/blue thing I have going on up there. We put the huge coffee table in the living room instead of the toy room. I packed up some "guys" for Goodwill.

I can't remember the last time every room in the house was clean, probably because it was before we lived here.

I have been Extremely Productive, in spite of the fact that I'm a shameless procrastinator.

This is especially remarkable, considering that both the girlies have colds, and BJ has been at work all day.

It seems to be going around. My mom was re-doing the whole upstairs of her house when I talked to her this morning, and my sister was hating her bedroom and wanting to repaint. Is it something about the impending holidays, or the cold weather driving everyone inside?

I know one thing for certain - my kitchen may be a work in progress for the next year or so, but the rest of my house is going to look fabulous.

Friday, November 16, 2007

My Favorite Internets

Along with "Dear Amy," WFMW, and other specials here at Pretty Babies, it occurs to me that I ought to share some of my favorite websites with y'all (or you-uns, take your pick). Between StumbleUpon and my penchant for reading every parenting blog ever written, I often discover really cool stuff. (I found someone's Christmas present yesterday, and it is just killing me that this person reads ye ol' blog, so I can't tell you what it is, because it is too cool!)

So, behold, the first in a series entitled "My Favorite Internets..."

Mental Floss

I read the blog daily. I got my dad a subscription to the magazine one year for his birthday. It would make a great gift for anyone who likes trivia, fans of MythBusters, people who enjoy Popular Science or Discover magazine, but have a bit of a warped sense of humor. I can think of about half a dozen people, off the top of my head, who are totally getting this from us at some point in the future (act surprised, okay?).

I especially enjoyed this article this morning. Celebrities. Sheesh.

So there you have Episode 1 of My Favorite Internets. Go forth and surf no more.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Bedtime was kind of funny tonight. We have bad bed habits in this house. Well, bad if they bother you, I guess, but I get enough sleep this way, so it's good for us. Anyway, I always cuddle the girls to sleep. We're weaning off of nursing to sleep, but I'm not sure we'll ever stop cuddling to sleep. To be honest, I'm not sure I'd want to, especially on the days when I've been at work, or when they're sick (and unfortunately both of those conditions were met tonight). So, we're cuddlers. I'm not going to let them cry, so let's not even talk about that part...

ANYWAY, Allison has started telling MG long meandering stories about herself to get MG to go to sleep. "Tell me a story about you," MG will say, and Allison, being the World's Best Babysitter will comply. She told me about this a few days ago. Well, tonight MG made the same request of me. I was sort of taken by surprise, and I had nothing prepared, so I said the first thing that popped into my head... "A long, long time ago, I can still remember how the music used to make me smile. And I knew if I had my chance, that I could make those people dance, and maybe they'd be happy for a while..."

Ok, maybe you had to be there, but I thought it was funny.

Then everyone finally settled down, Claire was asleep under my left arm, MG was falling asleep on top of my right arm, and the damn cat decided that she needed a snuggle, too, and laid down right on top of me. I was completely pinned. I thought I'd never get out of there without waking someone up. Luckily I have no qualms about abusing my cat, so I basically picked up the quilt and launched her toward the end of the bed, where she landed quietly, if miffed, and strutted away. Both the babies stayed asleep. It was a bedtime miracle.

Claire is following in Mary Grace's footsteps with the talking thing. She said "Mama" exactly once, and now she's saying "Dada" non-stop. They're just doing it to mess with me...

Now I have to go clean the toyroom, before we lose a kid in there. It looks like a war zone.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

WFMW: Calling Card

I finally did something that I've been meaning to do for about 2 years, and just never got around to... I ordered calling cards.

What's a calling card? Well, it's like a business card, except it's for the family instead of the business (I have those, too).

They have the following information:

The {Last Name} Family
BJ, Amy, Mary Grace, and Claire
home phone
Amy's e-mail & cell
BJ's e-mail & cell

If you go to VistaPrint you can get them for free (in a limited number of designs - but if you're willing to pay the options are virtually limitless). There's a subtle little advertisement on the back, but big deal, they're free! They have a bunch of other free stuff on there, too, and believe me, I loaded up! We ordered our business cards for the office (new address) from there, too, and we are really pleased with the way they turned out. I also got a free pad of sticky notes that say, "From the desk of the {Last Name} family" on them, and they turned out well, too.

When we're out and we meet a really cool family and want to set up a playdate, I'll look like I am *so* together, handing the other mom my card, instead of searching for a scrap of a receipt to write my number on. And if she wants to give me her digits, I can write them on the back of one of my own cards.

I wonder how many people on my list will be getting custom printed stuff for Christmas!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It's just Tuesday

Nothing is going on today. Nothing went on yesterday, either. We ran some errands for Daddy (namely, sending his harddrive to the people who know how to resurrect it after it drinks coffee) yesterday, and then drove around looking for something to do. The best I could come up with was getting a root beer and heading home. It was pouring, so I didn't want to pack the babies in and out of the car unnecessarily. We did go for a nice drive along the river, and the leaves are really pretty (is it just me, or are the leaves really late this year?).

It makes me wonder how on earth I'm going to not go stir-crazy this winter. I didn't realize how often we were hitting the park until it got too cold to go. Someone needs to open an indoor park.

We can go see the cows, or go to that train place, but those are each 45 minutes north. We can go to the Childrens' Museum, or to one of the other museums in the Big City in the Middle, but that's 45 minutes south. The library is the best I can come up with for local wintertime entertainment, and all she does there is pull the books off of the shelves.

Suggestions for surviving the winter with little ones are welcome!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Retail Therapy

I realized this evening that I hadn't had a break from the kids since BJ's mom babysat last Monday... and since she's sick and isn't coming tomorrow, it was going to be a while before I got a break. No wonder I needed an attitude adjustment!

So, I made BJ take the kids to Best Buy and I hung out on I re-did my bedroom in chocolate and light blue. I even got a new down comforter (it was a hell of a deal). I can't wait to see what it all looks like when I get it put up! Hopefully the chocolate colored curtains will block more light than the sage ones that are up there now. I think the sage ones might come down and live in the living room. They'd match better. If the new ones block light well, I may get another set for the kids' room.

And maybe if I live with more chocolate, I'll eat less of it. Well, a girl can dream, anyway.

Problem Solver

MG: What are you doing, Daddy?
Daddy: Cleaning out my computer, Mary Grace.
MG: Why?
Daddy: Because I got coffee in it, and now it won't work.

(time passes)

MG: What are you doing, Daddy?
Daddy: I'm still cleaning coffee out of my computer.
MG: You spilled.
Daddy: Yes, I did.
MG: You need a sippy cup, Daddy.

Attitude Adjustment

I really, truly love being a mother. Nothing beats the feeling that swells up inside of me when I see my kids doing something new and/or wonderful. But I have to be honest - for every moment when it feels like my heart is going to beat right out of my chest with love and pride, there are about 500 hours of absolute mind-numbing drudge work.

Three meals, two snacks per day. 12 - 16 diaper changes. Reading the same irritating books over and over and over. Mountains of laundry. Sleep deprivation. Keeping up with the house and my job in 2 minute increments as I am constantly, constantly called upon to meet the needs of two nearly helpless little girls can feel overwhelming and impossible. Sometimes I really can't imagine how we're going to get from this point to their adulthood. It seems, sometimes, like they'll always be small and needy.

So, in a nutshell, it's hard to be Mary Poppins during those other 500 hours. I can bring my A game for the good stuff - the outings, the holidays, the stunning moments of parental bliss - but I admit that I sometimes bring my D game for the rest of it. I do it all, and I hope I do it well, but I don't always do it joyfully.

Lately I've been hearing a new phrase in Mary Grace's vocabulary, and it's cropping up more and more:

"You can be happy, Mommy."

The first time, I was changing her clothes. She had run away from me giggling, playing "get you," making it a game when I was in a hurry. I finally caught her and, in a huff, put her on the changing table. I proceeded to go about my drudge work efficiently and without joy. I didn't say anything. I treated her like a chore. "You can be happy, Mommy," she said softly. "I can be happy when you listen!" I snapped back.

I didn't think much of it the first time. But then I started hearing it more and more often... in the car, at the store, at home. Generally it doesn't come out when she's legitimately in trouble. She says it more when I'm far away in my mind. When I'm just going through the motions. When I'm thinking of the next 499 hours before the next magic moment, wondering how I'm going to get through it all. "You can be happy, Mommy."

I have never heard her say it to her Daddy.

I hear the plea in it. "I need you to be happy, Mommy!" she could be saying. "I need to feel like I'm not a chore, even when I'm not doing something amazing. I can't shine all the time. I need you to love me, and show it, even when I'm boring. I need you to be happy with me, even when I'm just being me."

You're right, kiddo. I can be happy. I'll try harder.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Miss Me? (and lead, again)

Hey, sorry I was quiet - we went to a conference with BJ (well, he did the conference, and we played), so I was too busy to post. Bad Mommy.

So, with the holiday season approaching like a freight train laden with calories, guilt, and debt, it's time to do something about the freaking lead, already. You know about the lead, I've written about it before, and now there's the extraordinarily horrifying story about the date rape drug in the Aqua Dots. Seriously, I thought it was an urban legend when I first heard about it, because I could not conceive of a company so irresponsible that they would allow deadly chemicals into their toys, but I guess I was naive.

Here's what we're going to do about it. First, you need to go here and use the easy peasy "contact your representative" form (you don't even have to know who your representative is - you just need your zip code) to tell your Congresspersons that you think it's insane that there's only ONE toy inspector for the entire country, and that the CPSC needs to be given the means to protect our pretty babies.

Certain Congresspersons (like mine) only accept letters if they're mailed through a specific web form, so if that's the case in your area, as it is in mine, the website will walk you through how to get it to them. You may need your Zip+4 code, which you can find at the Post Office's website.

I have read that Congresspeople get so few letters that it only takes a few to influence their votes. I don't know if that's true (especially since I just finished reading a novel about lobbying and how Big Business controls everything in Washington, anyway), but it's motivating enough for me.

Next, via ParentDish, are several lists of places where you can buy non-Chinese made, lead free toys:

The Daily Green - 500 non-Chinese toys (hint: Lego)
Viking Toys
Step 2
Little Tykes (that little cottage would be a BIG hit around here!!)

Third, if you're a parent, get yourself a lead test kit, and use it on anything you think might be suspect. (That's just one - there are hundreds - do a Google search if you don't like that one. I just picked the first.)

Lastly, stay on top of the toy recall thing, and be aware of what you're putting in your shopping cart this Christmas. When in doubt, buy socks and underwear. They don't contain lead (yet).

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

WFMW: Backwards Day

It's backwards day again at Rocks in my Dryer...

I'm contemplating Weight Watchers, y'all. Give me your best weight loss tips in the comments.

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

How to use GCal (again) for menu planning.
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!

Monday, November 5, 2007

It's like reality TV...

So on Saturday I went to buy a new winter coat, and while I was pretty happy with the coat I got, I was pretty unhappy with the number on the tag.

...and I don't mean the price. It was on sale, plus I was within the "early bird" hours, plus I had a coupon...

But there is no such thing as a coupon to take numbers off of the size, unfortunately, and I would gladly pay double price if there were.

I've struggled with my weight my entire life. I can't remember ever, and I mean EVER, feeling good about the way I look. I have a pretty face. I have decent hair. I have a good complexion (most of the time, anyway), but I'm fat.

There, I said it. I am fat.

I'm going to be the MOH for my friend Amanda this December in St. Thomas. And I'm going to be the MOH for my sister next October. And I'm really sick and tired of being the fat bridesmaid, and I'm even more sick and tired of wanting to cut the tags out of my clothes so that no one sees how big they are (as if no one will notice that I'm fat if they don't see the size on my clothes. Ha.)

So Jenny has been doing Weight Watchers, and has been wanting to start a blog support group. I told her this weekend that I was in (but to give me a couple more days to pound leftover Halloween candy before I start, of course). She sent me the rules tonight.

She wants me to post a "before" picture of myself and my current weight. Not the weight on my driver's license, but my real weight. On this blog. This blog that everyone I know reads. The blog that you are reading right this very minute. God only knows who is reading this thing. Half of my hometown might be reading this, for all I know. I get a lot of hits from Grammaland.


I mean, even at the Weight Watchers meetings, you don't have to stand up and announce your weight, or how much you've lost. You can sit in the corner and cry over the fact that you were really good and ate nothing but zero point soup and fat free Jello and you gained 4 pounds anyway because clearly God hates you and wants you to be Jabba the Hut, again, for Halloween. They don't bug you if you do that. Believe me, I know.

I don't think my mom even knows how much I weigh.

I don't know if I can do this.

Because, what if I fail, again?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Progress is progressing

Fueled primarily by leftover Halloween candy, we are making slow but steady progress on the kitchen. We had to re-mud the drywall behind the stove, and it's going to require two coats (at least, I suck at mud), and each coat has to dry FOREVER before we can put up the next. This makes things very difficult for people like myself, who want things done yesterday at the latest.

You know the tile behind your stove was bad when you finally get it all off, and you're looking at the bare wall, and thinking, "Wow, that looks *so* much better!"

Here are a couple progress pictures:

Isn't that about the ugliest tile you've ever seen? Ugh! Good riddance!

And since this blog is called Pretty Babies and not Pretty Kitchens, here is a gratuitous kid shot:
Why are the weekends so short?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Bossy kid

We were driving home from dropping Allison off, and Claire began to cry. Mary Grace was reading a book. Apparently Claire interrupted her concentration, because MG yelled, "No Claire, don't cry!"

What really cracked me up was that it worked. Claire stopped crying. This repeated about every 60 seconds until we got home.

I'd write something wittier but I have a sinus infection and bronchitis (went to the doctor today, have good drugs, should be better soon), and I just can't get my neurons to spark today. Maybe tomorrow. Meanwhile, it's a good thing that Mary Grace can keep Claire in line...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Three Halloweens

October, 2005

October, 2006

October, 2007

It's astonishing how fast they grow up, isn't it?
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