Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Happenings

Hope your Advent was blessed and your Christmas season is peaceful! It's been a busy couple of weeks at our house so here's a recap...

We went to a gingerbread house, well, more like gingerbread structure, party the Sunday before Christmas. Here are our "masterpieces." My creation is the candy covered box. Not so creative...I'll blame it on pregnancy mush brain. (Notice the empty pile of frosting glue on the left? Yes, Kevin ate my lime slice.) Kevin's aircraft carrier isn't too shabby, eh? I like the sharks and surfacing submarines (bottom left).

Here's Monica in festive PJs on her "new" rocking horse. That beauty was Kevin's when he was little.

Christmas was fun and crazy...a chipped tooth, a sewage backup (which necesitated a group excursion to restrooms at an alternate location), and mulitple extended family events kept us busy.

A couple of pics...The fam on Christmas morning. This might be in the running for the 2010 card.

On Christmas night, we went to an outdoor light display downtown. This one is definitely vying for that 2010 card spot.

The days after Christmas brought quite a bit of snow. In fact, the evening we were supposed to drive home looked like this:

...so we stayed at my mom's house that night and had a little par-tay. Some of us got crazier than others. Maybe we should have just given her a lampshade.

Now we're home and no worse for wear. A safe, happy and blessed New Year to you all!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Shoe Trauma

Monica is nearly running now, so about a week ago, I decided it was time for *real* shoes. Up until recently, she's been toddling in Robeez, which just don't cut it outdoors, in stores, restaurants, etc. So, because she's little and we spend so little on clothes, (Thank you older cousins!) I decided to get her some quality footwear. Off to the mall we went.

When we arrived at the children's shoe store, Monica was her usual jovial self. She toddled about, picking up shoes, playing with little toys, and just enjoying herself. A sales woman soon approached and offered to measure Monica's foot so we could be sure to get a good fit. Right before she brought out the foot measuring plate, she warned me, "Some children really don't like this." I didn't respond, but thought to myself, "Eh, Monica won't be a problem. She's not the cranky type."

As soon as her little heel hit the plate, she let out the loudest, highest pitched scream I've heard in a long time. As long as she had a foot on that plate, she was bansheeing. It.was.painful. I was so surprised it took me a while to get my wits about me and shove the pacifier into her screaming mouth. That improved the situation somewhat while the sales woman went to the back to retrieve the requested shoes in the appropriate size, but as soon as the woman came back into view, Monica started to full out cry again. Even as the saleswoman kept her distance, the sound of her voice was enough to cause wimpering and high speed toddling for the exit. Another customer who was apparently shopping for older children was really sympathetic. She assured me her children did the exact same thing. So, apparently, this is a real childhood phenomenon? Is there an official diagnosis for pediatric foot-measuring-plate phobia?

The other circumstance that made the ordeal more painful was the fact that half of the shoes were out of stock in Monica's size so the saleswoman had to keep coming back to us with shoes only to listen to Monica's pitiful cries. Once I finally reached my decision on a pair of shoes, I made sure to apologize to the poor saleswoman. She was very gracious and assured me it was not the first time, nor would it be the last. I thanked her for her assurances and said that it was comforting to know your child isn't a freak. She replied, "Well, I didn't say that..." Then it was my turn to assure her that every parent, at some point (or many points, really) wonders if there child is a "freak," and it's always comforting to know you child is not the only one screaming at foot measuring plates.

That will be our first and last foot measuring/shoe store experience for a while. I was a little nervous that Monica would hate the shoes, but she really likes them. Sometimes she'll bring them to me so she can wear them around the house. Apparently, no permanent scars were made, and she has a cute, functional pair of shoes. Trauma survived.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pregnancy-Induced Aphasia

Most days, I just don't have the words to blog. The energy drain that is the first trimester has taken its toll on my productivity. The house is just messier and my nap is just as crucial as Monica's. There are days when 9pm rolls around and it is almost too much to even hold a conversation. I just start blubbering about "tired," "bedtime," and "I just can't (fill in the bland of whatever Kevin has asked about/wanted to do)".

But as with all things, this too shall pass, and I'm going to enjoy my naps while I can get them. I'll be back to the blogosphere some time soon...

Book Worm

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Food Drama Rama

Monica has always had her share of feeding drama, and the past week has been no exception. Here's the latest on Monica and her nutritional drama. I found some blogs of moms dealing with this particular issue to be very helpful, so I thought I'd share a bit of our story.

A few weeks ago, Monica broke out in some wicked evening rashes. I hadn't seen anything like it before, and was a bit concerned. For a week, I thought it might be heat rash due to teething. As the rash grew worse and spread to her legs, looking more and more eczema-ish, I knew deep down it was something dietary. Since we hadn't really added anything new in a while, my first suspicion was soy.

I was a little dubious at first since Monica was drinking soy formula without a problem for months, but kids develop allergies/intolerances so it was not out of the question. We went to the pediatrician for her one year check up and the rash was in full force. It wasn't hive-ish and hadn't really flared with one specific instance or food, so there was not much to do but start eliminating things. I pulled the soy from her diet and within 24 hours, the rash started to improve and has continued to improve with each day. So, here we are with what I am pretty sure is an MSPI toddler.

We've known that Monica has been milk intolerant since she was 4 months old, and the soy intolerance is not a total surprise, though I really thought she'd miss out on that since the soy formula was good to go for so long. But, regardless of the past, here we are.

The most challenging thing in eliminating soy was finding protein and fat sources. A lot of the failure to thrive suggestions are dairy based, heavy cream, cheese, whole milk, butter etc, and not an option for Monica. So, after some internet research, I started giving her rice yogurt with rice protein powder and canola oil mixed in. Not the most appetizing thing, but she likes it. The rice yogurt has a whole lot of sugar, so I think that's what keeps her happy. I also put the mix ins in applesauce. I tried enriched vanilla rice milk with the mix ins but she was less than pleased with that in the bottle. After three tries, she screamed when she saw the bottle at all. So, bottle weaning was rather abrupt in our house!

Monica has never been good with a sippy cup (more of a toy than a drinking tool) so we tried the regular cup. To our surprise, she picked it up and started gulping watered-down juice. I tried the rice milk in the cup but she just shoved it away in disgust. At this point, we're just looking for any fluid intake, so juice it is. There has been a learning curve with the cup (i.e. no shoving food in the cup, keep your hands out of the cup, don't dump the cup), but all in all, I was really surprised at how fast she picked it up.

I'm also going to give Monica a multi-vitamin, but I have yet to find a good source for calcium, since I'm not sure she's ready for a lot of citrus (calcium fortified OJ) and gobs of leafy greens do not make their way into her diet. Keeping Monica soy and dairy free is not easy. We have to bring food wherever we go, and I read labels like a hawk. I'm just remembering that for her to grow out of these intolerances, she needs to be free of the offending foods.

I had been preparing two meals much of the time since Monica can't have dairy, but with this new development, I decided to do some research for meals that we can all eat. I found this great blog, MSPI Mama. She has an MSPI little guy and has TONS of recipes for families with this dietary issue. She even has a dairy, soy free recipe for S'More cookie bars!

So, a no-dairy no-soy life is possible. I must admit that when I faced this at first, I thought it would be the biggest pain. However, now that we're in a routine, it's just part of life. Here's hoping that Monica will be able to eat ice cream on her next birthday!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Oops...Almost Forgot. Trick or Treating!

Here are two pics of Monica as a chicken/duck...whichever you want it to be.

I think the one of her standing is pretty funny because you can really see the funny-ness of the costume and she's missing a slipper.

Lounging in the stroller, chomping on the Precious is just classic Monica.

My Two Excuses for Lack of Posting

While it's not unheard of for me to go long stretches without a post, nearly two weeks is a long time! The time I normally would have spent writing/reading/blogging has been taken up by the unavoidable urge to sleep whenever possible. There are two reasons for this:




That's right, Baby 2.0 is on the way. I'm just over eight weeks now. It's funny, with Monica, I never would have dreamed letting anyone but family and close friends know until at least 12 weeks. I was so nervous with Monica - nervous that she would be unhealthy, that I would miscarry, that something, anything, would go terribly wrong.

I feel completely different about this pregnancy. Yes, the possibilities for loss, etc. are still there, but I am willing to accept those possiblities more readily and rejoice in the baby here and now...even through the sickness and exhaustion!

With Monica, the First Trimester Yuck extended way into the second, so I'm hoping for a bit of a reprieve this go round.

Here's to another baby and many more adventures!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Birthday, Miss Monica!

a day late, but here it is...

Dear Monica,

Today is your 1st birthday, and I am happy to say that we have all, officially, survived the first year of your life! This is no small thing for me and your daddy. We have learned a lot about what it means to be selfless, gentle, playful, and persistent. And you have learned the most of us all! In the past year, you have learned to smile, make many noises, wave bye bye and hello, sign “more”, crawl, stand, walk a few steps, feed yourself, and say dog (dah). Wow!

Tonight, as 7pm came around, I was drying you off after your bath and putting your pajamas on. You were laughing and playing with such incredible joy. When I realized that this precious moment was at the time you were born, tears welled up in my eyes because it was a year ago that you entered the world crying. Now, you go to sleep for the night, laughing. What a gift we have in you!

I am so glad that God brought you into my life. I love being you mother, and I am looking forward to growing with you through all the years we have together. You are best first born daughter I could ever ask for.

I love you!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Obituary of the Late Mr. Common Sense

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I'm A Victim.

Apparently, this has been circulating around the internet for years. I just saw it, and thought it was worth posting. I miss old Mr. C. Sense.

Note from original author, Lori Borgman: This piece was first published March 15, 1998 in the Indianapolis Star. It has been "modified" and "edited" by others and circulated on the Internet, even sent to me several times. Imagine my surprise to see it attributed to some guy named Anonymous. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I take having my work circulated on the web as a compliment.

Dinner in KobeTown

Here's a little narrative about Kevin's latest evening meal:

So I had my first eel experience. For appetizers, there were what I might call “eel chips”. Basically, it was just dried eel bones. There was also eel liver for an appetizer. Dinner included meso soup, which had some kind of eel part in it. Then the main dish was grilled (or blackened, I’m not sure) eel on top of rice. The flavor was mostly soy sauce based, so not too bad. The flavor and texture were not too much different from fish. However, the thought was what killed me. I kept picturing the eels slithering around in my head and my brain kept telling my stomach to reject it.

I forgot to mention that it was a lot of eel too. A couple pieces would have been no big deal, but it was a lot. Like maybe twice the size of [a] tilapia [filet]...I survived, thank God for beer. Afterwards, we stopped at a coffee shop for dessert. I was very glad to eat some pastries to get the eel flavor out of my mouth. I am also chewing lots of gum. I would say this was my biggest challenge yet. But I feel good about it because halfway through, they offered to eat the rest of my eel, but I finished it all.

Way to go, Kev. If someone would have told me when we got married that my donut/pb sandwich/pringle eating husband would be feasting on various eel dishes in a few years, I would have wet myself for laughing too hard. Miracles do happen.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Photos from the Far East

Kevin is in Japan again, and he sent some pictures, complete with captions!


I don’t even think its (eating octopus) strange anymore, just chew, swallow, and chase with beer

The Shinkansen (bullet train) with old design (foreground) and new design (background).

Himeji Castle

Sunset behind Akashi Bridge, the world’s longest suspension bridge.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Failing A Test With Dignity

I got an email with these little beauties today and I couldn't help but share. I think my favorite is the rogue elephant.

At the bottom, there's a little story from Kevin's graduate student instructor days. I wish he had a picture of that one.

When I was teaching an undergrad class at Michigan, one exam problem asked the student to calculate the power output of a reactor given a host of information. One student had a bunch of calculations, ultimately crossed them off, wrote "1.21 jigawatts", and drew a picture of the Delorian from Back to the Future.

I gave them some partical credit due to the high quality of the Delorian drawing which included a driver that looked somewhat like Michael J. Fox.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Baby Tunes etc.

Kevin and I recently noticed that Monica is starting to respond more to music. Singing songs has always had a claming effect on her, but now she does the "baby dancing" which consists of rocking side to side or bouncing up and down when she hears a melody she likes. It's very cute!

Thinking this would be a good time to start playing children's music for her, I went to the library and found some classic playtime songs, lullabies and even some traditional african music. We've listened to most of them, and to be honest, she hasn't shown a real clear preference toward any of them. Even more honestly, there are some CDs I can't stand but for more than two minutes. But I have rediscovered a love of Raffi. I still remember the lyrics to "Baby Beluga" and "Down By the Bay." Classics. It is so great to have an excuse to sing and dance around to them again.

I also realized that my mom may still have a bunch of music on cassette from when Beth and I were wee ones. I wish I could easily transfer the music to CDs or even better, MP3s. What kind of equipment would you need for that? I bet people do it, but it probably costs an arm and a leg.

Speaking of cassettes, the audio of my sister's baptism is on cassette. You can hear her screaming, pretty much the whole time, and the minister says, in between wails, "Whoa, she means business." I think I should have that immortalized on MP3...

Maybe Monica will have a lot in common with Auntie Beth.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

Gathering More Evidence

A while ago I posted about a suspected alliance between Monica and The Dog. Well, let's just say the suspicion is confirmed, or at least there's quite a bit more evidence for it.

Last week, Monica and I went to lunch at a friend's house. They have a dog, and while we were there, Monica poined at the golden retriever and said, "Da! Da!" a number of times. It was most exciting because most likely, she was saying "dog." (Monica has said "Mama" and "Dada" a few times, but has not been quite so pointed as she was with the dog.) Since then, she has continued to say, "Da!" and there are many times when that obviously refers to Buck.

Fast forward to Wenesday. Monica is eating lunch in her high chair. Toward the end of her feeding frenzy, she grabbed a chunk of potato, threw it on the floor in a very purposeful manner, pointed to the ground (where the dog usually lies, waiting for such an event) and said, "Da! Da!" My first thought was, "Nah. She's not calling for the dog." But then, she did it again. The dog was outside at the time, so I let him in and he careened over to the high chair and inhaled the potatoes. Monica just grinned.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Swaddle Sense

Interesting infancy tidbit for you...

Last week, I had lunch with a friend who is expecting her first baby. Very exciting! Naturally, we talked a lot about baby care and newborns. The topic of swaddling came up, and she recently heard (via her husband who is an orthopedic surgery resident) that swaddling can contribute to hip dysplasia in infants. Wah? I had never heard that before from doctors and nurses at the hospital or my pediatrician. We swaddled Monica for 8 months! Had I done some kind of hip damage unawares?

When I got home from the lunch date and put Monica down for a nap, I Googled the topic and came up with this letter to the editor from the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics and this article on the NY Times website. Basically, it says that swaddling is not harmful as long as you have the right technique. A lot of references to swaddling that causes/contributes to hip dysplasia originate in cultures that swaddle babies to hard boards. I was really curious what this would look like and I found this:

I wonder how long that little guy stayed like that?!

So, I thought this was good info to pass along. If God blesses us with another babe, I think I'll make a point to ask about swaddle technique. Gotta take care of those hips!

Look Ma! No Hands!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fabulous Fibers!

This week's featured Etsy seller is...

The Pumpkinhaus!

I found this little gnome hat ticking by on the Etsy home page Gift Guide and could not resist letting you all know about this artist's fabulous fibers.

The Pumpkinhaus also sells fun hand-dyed fibers with seasonal names like

Monster Guts

and Go Go Godzilla

To complement the hat, consider these gnome balls. Too fun!

Other places to find Pumpkinhaus:
Blog: http://pumpkinhaus.blogspot.com
Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/people/pumpkinhaus also ~ http://www.ravelry.com/yarns/brands/pumpkinhaus
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=logo#/pages/Pumpkinhaus/56961145328
Twitter: http://twitter.com/pumpkinhaus
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmntddoll/

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pope Benedict's Divine Mercy Mandate by David Came

In David Came’s brief but persuasive book, he shares his discovery of “a papal program” for sharing God’s Divine Mercy with the world. Mr. Came traces the theme of Divine Mercy throughout the papal writings and addresses of John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, beginning with this statement from the first World Congress on Mercy in 2008:

Yes, dear friends, the first World Congress on Divine Mercy ended this morning with the Eucharistic Celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica. I thank the organizers, especially the Vicariate of Rome, and to all the participants I address my cordial greeting which now becomes a mandate: go forth and be witnesses of God’s mercy, a source of hope for every person and for the whole world. May the Risen Lord be with you always! (Regina Caeli message, April 6, 2008).

Mr. Came took this mandate seriously and the book gives overwhelming evidence for the urgency of this mandate. There are many instances of Pope Benedict XVI mentioning and invoking Divine Mercy for a world in desperate need of God’s divine and perfect love. The reader cannot help but be overwhelmed by all of the connections between Pope Benedict, John Paul II, and the evidence for their devotion to Divine Mercy.

A very helpful feature of this book are the sections entitled “Fulfilling the Mandate" which help the reader to put the information into the context of a daily relationship with Christ and people around us. In “Fulfilling the Mandate,” Mr. Came exhorts the reader to receive Divine Mercy, to focus on Jesus’ saving work in our own life, and to leave a legacy of Divine Mercy in the world. Jesus’ command of “go and do likewise” shines through so that the reader may be inspired and filled with grace in order to love all people unconditionally and graciously.

Pope Benedict’s Divine Mercy Mandate is a book full of information and nuggets of wisdom from the Catholic Church’s most recent popes. Mr. Came fulfills his mission of sharing his discovery of the papal program of witnessing to God’s mercy, and his enthusiasm is contagious. Surely, upon reading this book and reflecting on and receiving God’s Divine Mercy, you will never be the same.

This review was written as part of the Catholic Book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company . Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Pope Benedict’s Divine Mercy Mandate.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Oh, Chicken Soup

I'm bringing dinner to a friend who just had a wee one, and chicken soup seemed like just the thing. I used this recipe (plus veggie bouillon, random seasonings, and egg noodles), which is by far the best because you boil the whole chicken which makes rockin' broth. Naturally, I did not have a whole roasting chicken on hand, so I had to go to the store. Monica and I braved Kroger at 8am. It was awesome. No lines, no carts to weave around. We were in and out.

As soon as we got home, I threw my whole chicken into the pot of water and put Monica down for a nap. The pot took foreva to boil, so I thought I would have time for a quick shower before any boilage would occur. When I went to check on the bird after my shower, 1/4 of the pot's water was all over the floor and the stove. Fabulous. Salmonella water all over my kitchen where my baby crawls and licks everyday. So I got some bleach water and washed everything down, in a fluffy robe with wet hair, and added more water to the emptying pot. I don't know if that floor will ever be that sanitary again. I also took another shower because I got all sweaty during the cleaning process.

The rest of the venture was uneventful, except for the grumpy baby who just wanted to be held while I pulled meat off a chicken carcass, the dog under my feet begging for scraps, and the fact that I had to go back to the store during my outing to pick this up from the library since I neglected to check my list during the previous trip and so forgot the bread and salad for my friend. Now, I'm at home with a huge pot of soup and a kitchen full of dishes. So goes another cooking excursion with Andrea. It never is a simple endeavor.

Since the baby is playing with sharpened pencils, this post is over. At least she's safe from salmonella.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cheers to Martin and Beth!

Over the weekend, I acquired a brother-in-law! My sister, Beth, married Martin, and it was a grand time, to be sure. Here are a few pics.

Congrats Martin and Beth! We wish you all the best as you begin married life together!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rock Blox Rock My World

This week's featured seller on Etsy is....

Suzanna Anna!

I happened upon Suzanna Anna's shop when I Googled some lyrics from Elton John's "Your Song", and I fell in love with her Rock Blox. This is fun and fabulous pop art. Check out her Etsy shops here and here.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Domestic Victory

I have a baby...
...who likes to make messes
...who really likes to eat blueberries.

Stains are imminent. In fact, this morning she got food processed blueberry all over her pajamas. Such a bummer because these PJs are super cute, striped with footies and a zipper. I know that a blueberry stain on PJs is really not a big deal, but still...
I stripped Monica to her diaper after breakfast and applied a paste of OxiClean and water to the stain. Fifteen minutes later, totally gone! I was super excited!

So, in honor of this small, but encouraging mommy victory, here is Willie Mays, pitching the fabulous product that made my day.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Featured Etsy Seller O' The Week

Since starting to sell jewelry on Etsy, I've had the opportunity to virtually bump into a lot of really talented and industrious people. So, once a week I'm going to write up a post on a seller who has caught my eye with something unique, useful, beautiful, or just gosh-darn cute.

For gosh-darn cute and useful, check out deusprovidebit! These folks feature hand knit hats and baby cocoons and diaper covers. Their wares are just precious. They are also located in Up State, NY, my old stomping grounds.

Any baby in this little cocoon is bound to be snuggled!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Etsy News

I'm nearly one month into my Etsy jewelry selling experiment, and I'm about to have my first discount extravaganza! From tomorrow through Labor Day, all Swarovski Crystal jewelry is 20% off. Woohoo!

Check out my etsy shop here.

Back & Bloggin'

There have been numerous days over the past couple weeks when I thought about blogging, even racked my brains, but alas. Here's to breaking the web silence!
Monica is growing and changing everyday. She's recently learned to pull up on furniture and walls so she is currently in the Minor Head Contusion stage. I swear, once a bruise on her face heals, another topple brings on another bruise. There are some days when I seriously consider buying one of these.
Here's a big grin for ya.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Told You So

About two years ago, I was on the hunt for a black desk. A big black desk with enough workspace to work on my crafts and spread out all of my crap, really. I found a reasonably priced piece similar to this one. I was very excited, but Kevin, in his very practical, pragmatic way, pointed out that there was really no place for "stuff." I pointed out that I could get these, and we would be all set. Kevin counterpointed by saying that, while the set up may work in a no-kiddo situation, open trays of erasers, safety pins, scissors, and highlighters was going to be a landmine when any crawling or walking child comes into the scene. We debated stubbornly for a time, but I eventually won and we got the desk and a coordinating bookshelf. We even had a custom glass panel cut to fit the desk. It really was a nice little set up...til about two weeks ago when Monica really got mobile.

I think my favorite part is the grin right before diving into the markers. Obviously, we need to do something about this, stat. I really think we should just Craigslist the desk and look for something more practical. Kevin still has some trouble getting past the "I told you so." Can't say that I blame him.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Partners in Crime - The Plot Thickens

Kevin and I went to a family wedding this weekend. Good times had by all. Monica had her first Bouncy-Bounce experience, though she can't really bouncy bounce as of yet. She smiled for this ridiculously cute picture, but then promptly got rather fussy when Dad-o started bouncing around.

Here's a picture of The Baby-Dog Alliance:

I've definitely seen Monica purposely drop her food on the floor so she can watch the dog trot over and slurp it up. More evidence for the unspoken deal between them: toys for food.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Not-So-Altruistic Gift

Has anyone else ever given a gift to someone, namely their spouse, because you would benefit from it, at least in part? I fully admit that I have. I bought a 1988 Little Caesar's Red Wings Commemorative glass with Steve "Silk" Yzerman and Gerard "Spud" Gallant on ebay in order to get a dog. (See Buck's story) I admit that gift was 80% selfish. The other 20% was guilt from having broke the glass.

One of Kevin's more creative ideas for my 29th birthday was to pay off my student loan. We were a few payments away from being done and he thought it would be "so great" to pay it off on my birthday as some sort of gift to me. Here's an email he sent me today:

Here is a screenshot of your student loan page. Note that all the amounts say “Paid in Full”!!!

Congrats on your college education!

Now that piece of paper is all mine. Ha ha!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thick as Thieves

I'm pretty sure Buck and Monica have formed an alliance against me.

As you'll recall, Monica and Buck have taken to sharing toys, much to my chagrin. While I've resigned myself to the fact that a baby playing on the floor usually means a baby eating things off the floor, I just can't handle her mouthing Buck's nasty licked and chewed stuffed animal. I made a pact to prevent it at all, well, most costs.

Yesterday, I was cutting watermelon in the kitchen and keeping the occasional eye on Monica (who is very mobile now) when I saw the dog skitter through the dining room. I peeked around he corner to see what was going on and caught a glimpse of Monica with her hands all over the mangy Garfield. Her little tongue was about to make contact when I yanked the slimy, crusted thing away and put it in the dog toy basket on our raised hearth. I knew she couldn't get it there, at least. She was less than pleased but soon scooted off to other amusement.

I went back to my watermelon and saw the dog streak by. I peeked around the corner and found the mangy Garfield in Monica's mitts, again! That crazy dog went to the basket, got the Garfield, dropped it on the floor in front of Monica, and fled the scene.

Now, I really hesitate to believe that this was premeditated, but you have to wonder. Maybe I should just give up my quest. I am outnumbered, after all.

Monday, August 10, 2009

No One is Immune

Kevin forwarded me this article on Mommy Blogs and the ethical concerns over product reviews and disclosure of blog/product affiliation. I think this is interesting for a couple of reasons:

1. I used to read a few other Mommy Blogs than those on my little roll call, but when they became more interested in blogging about their books and business travels, I got irritated and moved on. It also seemed that some of these blogs were digging for posts by using some stories about their children and husbands that were less than charitable and rather embarassing. When I read about "the latest horrible thing my 4 year old did today..." for the 5th time that week, that was all I could take.

2. The PR folk and marketeers go after everyone! When they see an opportunity to reach a large sector of consumers, they find who they can use to do it and pounce. In the article, one very famous blogger states that she gets about 75 PR offers a day. Wow.

In my opinion, the best Mommy Blogs are those that share funny stories or difficult situations in an honest, compassionate manner. I have found support through these women who are willing to share their experiences. It helps you to remember that you're not alone in the grand task of raising children, even when you are quarantined with the never-ending illness or the third day of snow falling on 3 feet of accumulation.

But when a so-called Mommy Blog turns into a ticker tape parade to celebrate the latest speaking engagement or a constant stream of product reviews, it loses the identity that brought the blog to the forefront in the first place.

So, keep on bloggin' Mommies, but remember where you came from.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Big News!

As many friends and family know, I have been making jewelry for many years. Now, I am selling on Etsy! Wah! Please visit my shop and do not hesitate to spread the word! I love to do custom work (bridal parties, children's jewelry, other special events, hard-to-find and/or match pieces, etc.) so don't be shy!

Click HERE to see my shop!

(By the sheer number of exclamation points, you must be able to tell I am rather excited! Oh, what the hey !!!!!!!)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

You Always Want What You Can't Have

Monica is getting better at crawling/creeping, and her main motivation has been Buck's toys, namely this mangy thing:

That is Buck's Garfield toy that gets mauled and licked on a daily basis. As you can see...

...it is a toy coveted by those who get around the house on all fours. At least they're sharing I draw the line at food and drink, though.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Preserving a Relic

I am at my mom's place this week since Kevin is jetsetting. On Thursday morning, my mom announced that one of her coworkers is looking for bowling balls so that she can do this little craft. "Hm, interesting," I said.

It got a little more than interesting when my mom said she thought it would be a great opportunity to get my dad's old bowling ball of her hands. My father passed away about 15 years ago, and we still have many relics of his old hobbies hanging around the house. At first, the idea of giving away my dad's old bowling ball that had not been used since the early 70s seemed pretty benign.

The next morning, my mom brought the ball upstairs, and once I saw it, I just couldn't let it become a dippy ladybug lawn ornament! That bowling ball is heavy and black and polished. It even has my dad's initials emblazoned on it! It seemed a total insult to his memory to allow a prized, if little used, possession of my beloved father to be turned into something so sissy. So, the bowling ball is still around. If anyone knows of someone who needs a bowling ball to use for actual bowling, leave a comment. I think I could let that slide.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Real Purpose

A beatiful reflection from this post that I had to share...

God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission—-I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place while not intending it—-if I but keep His Commandments. Therefore I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am. I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends; He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, may my spirits sink, hide my future from me—-still He knows what he is about.

Cardinal John Henry Newman
...pray for us!!

On the Road Again

Kevin is jetsetting...again. To be fair, it's not exactly a joy ride to a tropical isle, or even an interesting foreign country. He's in the desert of Idaho at Nerd Camp. Kevin's going to be a part of a two week class put on by Idaho Nat'l Lab and Idaho State University. Something about modeling, experimenting and verifying - MeV. The nerdy part about the name (MeV) is that it's an acronym for the class and a unit of energy used in nuclear power nerdiness. Oy. I think I'm cool with staying home and concerning myself with naptime, diapers, and preventing Monica from licking dog hair off her hands. (She's crawling now and as much as I vacuum, I will never win the Yucky Black Dog Fur battle.)

Much to some people's relief (and others' disappointment) I will not be posting pictures of strange, raw food. I think Idaho potatoes, even when raw, would be utterly boring...so would stories from Nerd Camp '09 (at least to those of us who are not Nuke Nerds).

Here are few pics from kiddie pool time on the deck. I think Monica might end up being a bubble bath lover/hot tub lounger.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer in the City

Here are a few pics from my sister's bachelorette bash this past weekend in Chicago. That's the bean in Millenium Park. Strangley fascinating, I'd say. It's great when random brown shirt-wearing men pose for your pictures.

I also love the "spitting" video sculptures.

How can you pass up a photo op with Abe and Mary Todd??

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Monica Hits the Beach

She ate a handful of sand, so I would consider her first beach excursion a success!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Who Thinks of This Stuff??

Kevin brought some fun stuff home for Monica and me, but this little gadget is the most interesting.

Here's a good blog review of My Ocean

Friday, July 3, 2009

Warning: Some Content May Be Unsuitable for Those Prone to Nausea

I have the perfect recipe for lowering dinner expectations at the homestead: send your husband to Japan for two weeks. Here's a rundown of the meal to end all meals.

I made the mistake of saying that since it was my last dinner here that I wanted to try other foods. So I pretty much ate a cow from head to tail, literally. Here is the rundown (all parts are cow):

Tongue, Esophogas, Heart, Liver, Stomach (multiple different ones because cows have more than one), Intestine, regular meat, and the finale of Tail.

I forgot to mention, the liver was raw.

Actually, the heart and tail wasn't bad at all. If they hadn't told me, I wouldn't have been able to tell the difference between heart and regular meat. Liver was nasty. And stomach was the worst. It had little flaps and everything.

But I survived, and dessert was actually good. It was like lemon ice kind of thing. So after all that, I will eat anything when I get home, as long as we are together.

I think I could make oatmeal and turkey sandwiches for dinner for a week straight without complaint now. If I made typical meals, I bet I would be dubbed the Best Chef EVER. I'll milk this one for all it's worth.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dessert: Red Beans and Rice!

Here is a typical Japanese dessert. Yes, those are red beans. You'll find them in many desserts...red bean flavored ice cream, red bean filled cookies (fig newton-esque...without the figs), etc. I think this is a tough thing for Kevin to handle. He LOVES sweets. The more sugar, the better, and on the whole, Japanese desserts are not very sweet. It's probably been a rough couple weeks!

More about the food from Kevin..."I am doing ok with the food here, but I am excited to have some “bland comfort food”. My coworkers asked me what I liked to eat and I told them I liked “simple meals”. I think they have a hard time understanding what I mean. Several of them remarked that sashimi is very simple because it is just raw fish, no cooking. I don’t think that is what I meant. I meant more like simple as in bland."

Japanese Gatorade. As Kevin said, "Who doesn’t want to drink something with “sweat” in the name?"

Kevin and his coworkers at a shrine in Kyoto