Friday, August 29, 2008


I might have mentioned before that I just adore the Backyardigans. I think they're super cute and their songs are so catchy. I have them in my library on Rhapsody. I began my love affair with all things Backyardigany when Sophie was small enough to sit in her exersaucer. She would play while I did blog stuff. Oh, I miss those days. I would put them on and we (meaning me) would sing and sing. Now, we've graduated to watching them on TV, although much like earlier days, I'm the one that usually winds up actually watching the shows. Sophie loves the opening song and bounces and sings (meaning she sort of hums and squeals) along, but then she loses interest and will go about her business spreading toys all over the place so that she never has to go more than a couple of feet without encountering something to chew on. This video mixes my love of Pablo, Uniqua, Austin, Tasha and Tyrone AND Fergie. Sophie actually likes Fergie, too, but since there's cursing I don't let her listen to it much. Because she never hears curse words around the house. Not from my pristine lips. Right.

By the way, she let me sleep in until 8 motherbleeping o'clock this morning. Yaaahhhhooooo!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

You Like Me, You Really Like Me

A couple of days ago, the wonderful Christy of Heavy on the Caffeine bestowed upon me this fabulous award:

Kick Ass Blogger Award

Although she couldn't possibly have known it, because I generally veer clear of the heavy stuff around the Land of Bean, it couldn't have come at a better time. Ever since returning from our trip to Kansas, Sophie's sleep has been unpredictable. Her formerly regular naps, are no longer regular, she's waking up two to three times a night (usually just as I fall asleep) AND she's teething her molars. Put all this together and you've got one very sleep deprived and therefore stressed out mommy. Not to mention, the cracked skull she gave me the other day. She hasn't been her usual happy self either, so where normally her waking hours are a relatively enjoyable experience, now they are marked by extended crying jags. Her cries are little daggers in my heart, part painful, part annoying, they cut through me. I've been trying to get out of the house in the morning, when I am the most tired and cranky, leading to a lot of walking and our trip to the Fair the other day. However, at some point you have to come home.

Everything came to a head this afternoon, when after the third day of less than 4 hours of sleep and weeks of not much more, I was mentally and physically done. Neil called to check in, and as I sat on the floor holding the baby, both of us crying, I begged him to come home and watch her so I could get a couple of hours of uninterrupted sleep. The kind of sleep I can only get when he's around, because when I'm alone I'm only half asleep, listening for the baby. I felt like a failure for not being able to cope with one cranky baby, for needing help, but I was stretched too far. To his enormous credit, he left within minutes of that conversation and was home shortly to relieve me.

And I slept. Three sweet, healing hours of unconsciousness. There were no dreams. I awoke to the sound of silence.

Back to that award. As you can see, I needed a pick me up and somebody thinking that I'm special, and not just special, but KICK ASS, was a salve on my shredded psyche. So, thank you again, Christy. You don't know how much I appreciate this. Per the custom, I am to pass this along to 5 bloggers that I think are great. This was a tough decision because I know so many great bloggers, but choose I must. In no particular order, they are:

MEP - My first "blog" friend, MEP is smart, insightful and funny, NTB. We seem to be living parallel lives, not sure if that makes her very unlucky or super cool.

Maternal Mirth - M&M never fails to bring a smile to my face. Her "Why I'm Cranky Post" is still one of my all time favorites. I go back and read it whenever I need a good laugh.

Merecat - One of the best writers around, she tackles life with twin toddlers with grace and humor. Her post on the effect of kids on your brain is beautiful and touching.

Lula - Sweet, charming southern gal. All obvious descriptors, but she's also quirky and funny with a hint of a dark side. She also has a little bit of a thing for Jason Statham and Twilight. I love reading her posts everyday.

Damselfly - She's been something of an award magnet recently, but she's a wonderful writer and her son has the cutest blond curls EVER. I love all of her posts, but her "What I'd Wear Wednesday" is always so much fun.

Thanks to each of these ladies for providing me and many others with interesting and entertaining reading and for all of the support and kind words you've given me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Aged Cow

We went to the Maryland State Fair today. It was alright. (Note a tinge of disappointment?) I haven't been in a long time, so I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it was a lot more exciting when I was a kid. And much bigger.

Appropriately, I ate enormous quantities of food, all of which was extremely unhealthy and therefore quite tasty. We saw lots of animals, especially the little babies, which made we want to be a vegetarian. Only, after I eat the BBQ pork roast that's in the crock pot right now. So maybe I'll start that tomorrow. Oh, who am I kidding. I've already got this week's menus planned and they're all about meat. Unfortunately, we missed the pig races (featuring Olga, the fastest pig in America!) because they had the location wrong in the guide book and we spent too long ogling the goats which were housed where the pig races were supposed to be. I love goats, stinky, cranky things that they are. I think they're cute. I didn't have funnel cake. That might be some sort of State Fair sin, but I just didn't have room for it. We didn't play any games because I didn't want to win and then have to carry some ginormous Tweety Bird all the way back to the car. I'm not the type to play just for the fun of it. Either I play to win or I don't play at all. Competitive much? Neither did we go on any rides, because Sophie is just too small. So basically it was just us watching the fun. And the people. At a place like that, you realize that it truly does take all kinds. After walking around for 3 hours, the babe was tired and my legs were weary, so home we came. My little bean was asleep before we got out of the parking lot.

I'm not sure exactly what "Aged Cow" is, sounds a bit prejudiced to me, but after all of the food and walking around, that is exactly what I felt like.

Update on the condition of my noggin: Despite Sophie's attempt to do me in with a floor lamp yesterday, I came through with just a small bump and a headache.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Snow Globes

We're in the living room. I'm sitting on the landing at the bottom of the stairs and Sophie is about 5 feet away from me playing underneath one of the end tables. The front door is open and a summer rain is gently pelting the glass door. As usual, I'm composing a post in my head.

My rambling thoughts: Having a child is nice. You have someone that automatically loves you. But. It's not really automatic. It requires enormous amounts of time and work to help this little life grow and develop. In truth, it is months before you get any reaction from the child and even longer before you really start to feel some reciprocation of feelings. At 10 months, I get glimpses of what she'll be like as she grows up, but I really have no idea what our relationship will be like. Will we be close? Will we fight a lot? Will she look and sound like me or more like her daddy? If we have another child, will she get along well with him or her? Like many mothers and daughters throughout time, we will likely have a few rough years in there where she is finding her voice. How will I deal with that? Do I have it in me to be patient and understanding but firm? How will I take it when she goes through her "daddy is the most wonderful person in the world" phase? Right now, my little girl is a snow globe of questions, swirling around. In time, each will settle to the bottom, but there will always be more, still floating around her. Waiting. The answers yet to come. That's a good name for the post, "Snow Globes," suitably esoteric yet appropriate. I feel like sometimes I'm too literal, that there's no mystery. I'll probably need to cull down that middle part. The questions get a bit rambling. Where am I going with this post, is this just another one where I talk about how great it is to be a moth...

Boom. That's when the 6 foot tall metal lamp next to the table Sophie had been playing under comes crashing down right on my head. Through the blinding pain, I see my darling baby girl with her hand still on the base of the lamp. The only question swirling around now is how big the lump on my head is going to be.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Letter to the Makers of Baby Clothes

To Whom It May Concern,

I want to thank you for making some seriously cute clothes for my little baby girl. It is one of my great joys to dress her in the variety of colors and styles that are available. She is my own little doll baby. I just have a few requests that I think might make life better for everyone involved.

First off, what's up with the sizes? I know that not all babies are the same size, but does that mean that you have to make clothes in various sizes for each age to accommodate all of them? My 10 month old daughter who is 26 inches tall and 16.5 pounds wears sizes ranging from 3 months to 12 months. If these were different brands, I might understand the discrepancy, but there is almost no consistency from one outfit to the next even within the same brand. This makes it very challenging for me to select outfits for her. I never know if they're going to fit, so I generally buy big so I know that, if not now, they'll fit someday. Can we work on some sort of standard for baby clothes? I don't mind putting my child in a size that doesn't correspond to her current age, as long as I know that a size 9 months, say, will always fit.

Moving along, can we talk about material? Getting babies into clothes requires no small amount of limb contortion. Any material that doesn't stretch, as least some, is darn near impossible to get onto their little bodies. I'm not saying I want outfits made out of spandex, but lets forget about any material that doesn't have a little give to it, 'kay?

Next, crotch snaps. As my daughter gets older and more agile, changing her the umpteen million times a day that she requires becomes more and more challenging. Every single changing session involves flipping, wriggling, rolling, standing, kicking, screaming and tears(those are generally mine, in frustration). When there are no snaps, I must pull her pants off, which isn't necessarily a problem. It's getting them back on. My little bean fights me with everything she has. It becomes a battle of the wills, not to mention a feat of Robin Hood-worthy aim to get her legs correctly into the pants legs. In order to preserve what little sanity I have left, please put crotch snaps in all diaper-aged children's clothes. I don't care if it's a skirt, find a way. While we're on the subject of snaps, less is definitely more. Any onesie or shorts outfit that requires more than 6 snaps at the crotch is going overboard. It is difficult enough just to hold her down for 3 or 4. If pants require a couple more, that's okay, let's just keep them down to no more than one every couple of inches. We're a pretty modest bunch around here, but I really don't mind if you can see a little diaper or leg in the gap between snaps.

Finally, buttons. Please refrain from using these miniature instruments of psychological torture in anything other than a decorative manner. As I think you might have surmised from the previous paragraphs, dressing a toddler is, shall we say, troublesome. I have a hard enough time lining up and buttoning those tiny little buttons when she's not even in the outfit, let alone when she's trying to make an escape. I don't think I'm alone in this, so let's just stick to snaps.

I think that about covers it. Thank you so much for your consideration.

Befuddled Mother in Baltimore

PS - Can you tell the women's clothes makers that I'm coming for them next? Thanks!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Another Milestone

Updated: Thanks for all your tips and recommendations! I'll let you know what we decide.

The time has finally come. My daughter's little toes are hanging off the end of her bucket car seat and it is becoming increasingly hard to buckle her in. We need to get a toddler car seat, or as they called it when I was a toddler, the back seat. We're behind most of our friends with babies because Sophie Bean is small and I've kind of liked being able to carry her in the bucket if I was going somewhere, like the library, that required she be under control. And under control is something she is increasingly NOT. She's crawling like the wind and has a gift for finding that one thing in a room that I don't want her to have. She also has very poor spatial perception as evidenced by the fact that she keeps getting wedged in between things in her quest to get at those forbidden things. As she spends more time standing and cruising, I just know that she is on the cusp of walking. That's what we call trouble with a capital T.

Here's the thing. There are about a thousand different car seats. You can spend anywhere from $75 to $400, and probably more but I'm not even looking at anything that goes over that amount. Knowing that they all must meet certain safety standards, how do you pick one? Or do you basically just pick an amount you want/can spend and find the best one for the money? Part of me wants to keep up with the Joneses and have a fancier one but the other part of me wonders if we really need to spend the extra $200 so Sophie can sit her tiny tush on a memory foam seat that perfectly conforms to her contours. I also got to looking around to see what fun seat covers were out there and I ran across this beauty. Yikes. And it's $195 to boot! Which is exactly what should be done to anyone that considers putting this monstrosity in their car. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for fun kid prints and I even enjoy a good animal print from time to time, but the sides appear to be adorned with what looks like mini zebra pelts. No heads or legs. That goes into the area of creepy that I prefer to avoid.

So here's where I call out to my peeps out there in blogland because I need some help. Do you have any recommendations? What seat did you use? And does a 10 month old really need two cupholders?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Welcome to Bawlmer, Hon!

Welcome to everyone coming over from Blog Around The World! It looks like there are just two of us from the Free State, which seems impossible, but there you go. I believe Kathi at Tales from the Homefront has done a superlative job of introducing you to our fine state, but let me tell you about that Bawlmer wonder, the Hon!

In Baltimore, a Hon is not just a charming endearment but a way of life. Anyone who's seen a John Waters movie (Hairspray 1988 is the best!) has some idea of what a Hon is about. They're hard working, high living, animal print wearing, big hair having, loud laughing, bright makeup kind of women. They're no nonsense and down to earth. Don't think you can get anything by one of these gals but once you've found a place in their heart, you're there forever. Each year the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore hosts an event called the Hon Fest. Among the many treats that await visitors to the festival are the Hon Beauty Contest (the bigger the hair, the better), great music, progressive art (lots of flamingos and velvet Elvises...Elvii?) and lots of food. Come prepared to laugh. A lot. It's campy and crazy and tons of fun.

So without further ado, there's lots to see here at Land of Bean, feel free to poke around. Browsing is definitely encouraged. Here are a couple of recent posts that you might enjoy:

Something Spooky This Way Comes

Primal Nature

I Hear the Secrets That You Keep

Thanks for stopping by!

Babies Anonymous

I used to lump children (except the cuties I'm related to, of course) into the category of things that mildly annoy me on good days and downright terrify my on bad ones. My years working in a restaurant did not do much to change this viewpoint. For some reason, many people think that dining in a restaurant gives them license to allow their children to do WHATEVER they feel like, leaving ginormous messes and behaving in ways that would embarrass even the most ill-mannered of Huns. In truth, the blame lies not with the children but with the parents, so my distaste was misplaced. (That rhymes, ha!) That didn't make me like them any more, though, just because their keepers fell down on the job. And I certainly didn't want to invite one into my home. There was actually a very long time in my life where I did not think I would ever want to have kids of my own. The fact that I am now a parent is a testament to the wonderfulness of my husband.

Now with 10 months of mommyhood under my belt, I find myself smiling at small children, and their parents, in stores, libraries, parks, airports, etc with alarming regularity. Not only that, but voluntarily starting conversations with them. Children, as a rule, are not cuter or better mannered than they were before. Therefore, all I can figure is that the months of sleep deprivation have finally caught up with me and unexpectedly turned me into a completely new person.

The really amazing thing is that this doesn't bother me. I had pretty much resigned myself to being the mean old lady on the block who yelled at kids for walking through my yard, talking too loud or any of the other harmless offenses they might commit. I already had two cats, which is the international first step for crazy old ladyness. And when I finally committed myself to having children, I definitely didn't want to be the hyper-dedicated mom who always goes too far with treats and costumes and parties and other manifestations of the job. Yet, I'm the kook that asked for a sewing machine for Christmas so I could make clothes for my daughter. Who is this person that has taken over my body?

But I love their little faces with their big eyes and chubby cheeks. Their little rosebud lips and button noses. The cute little things they say and do. And! Oh. My. Gawd. When they laugh? I just about turn into a twitching puddle of goo. It's almost too much.

My name is Cara and I am addicted to babies. For the record, I am NOT addicted to having babies. I am perfectly happy with just my own little one, for now, and visiting with other people's.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I saw these at Posh Cravings but I had to mention them here, because they are just the most fabulous baby shoes ever. This style is actually called Sophie. I feel like such a bad mother and confirmed shoe fanatic for not getting a pair of these for my daughter. I hope she can find it in her heart to forgive me someday.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Something Spooky This Way Comes

I admit to being something of a paranormal junkie. As critical as I am of reality television, I love me some Ghost Hunters. So, it's not surprising that when something unusual happens around the house, my mind tends to wander in that direction. The events of the past couple of days have me thinking that perhaps I need to call TAPS.

When Sophie is sleeping, I leave the door to her room open a couple of inches. This allows me to hear her and also lets the cats get into her room without causing a ruckus. The last couple of days, each time I have gone into Sophie's room after a nap or in the morning, her door has been wide open. Although creeped out a little, I have attributed this to the cats.

However, this morning between the last time I went in there and when I returned, I knew where the cats were the entire time. And it wasn't anywhere near her room. Yet, the door was open. For a moment, I thought maybe there was something supernatural happening. That the baby had "woken" something up, as seems to happen, according to Grant and Jason. But then I shooed those thoughts away and decided that either I hadn't closed the door or Neil had opened it on his way in to the bathroom.

I decided that whatever the case, it was time for some investigating. So I set up the camera to catch the perpetrator, be it earthly or not, in the act.

Warning: this is definitely not for the squeamish.
(Make sure your sound is on.)

I had no idea she could reach! Sorry the video is so dark, but it was SUPPOSED to be naptime. And yes, this is what I spend my Friday nights doing. Quelle loser.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


(ten) is:

An even natural number following 9 and preceding 11.

The atomic number of neon.

The number of spacetime dimensions in some superstring theories.

The Ten Commandments are considered a cornerstone of Judaism and Christianity.

In Judaism, ten adults are the required quorum for prayer services.

The interval of a major or minor tenth is an octave plus a major or minor third. (I am so unmusical, that this sentence is absolute gibberish to me.)

The title of quite a few albums, including recordings by Pearl Jam and LL Cool J.

In rugby union the fly-half wears the 10 shirt. (Incidentally, this is the position that Neil played.)

In ten-pin bowling, 10 pins are arranged in a triangular pattern and there are 10 frames per game.

The highest score possible in Olympics competitions.

In Baseball there are always at least 10 players on the field at a time (including the batter).

The age, in years, I was when I got my ears pierced. Also likely the age Sophie will be, although her Pinni and Amamma are chomping at the bit to spirit her away and bling her up.

Ten-codes are commonly used on emergency service radio systems. Ie. 10-4 good buddy.

The number of theatrical Star Trek films that have been released so far. (The Wrath of Khan is still my favorite.)

The number of Provinces in Canada.

Number of dots in a tetractys.

A decapod crustacean has ten limbs.

The age in months Sophie Bean is today!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Primal Nature

This morning, after a couple of hours of play, Sophie began exhibiting her usual tired signs: eye rubbing, thumb sucking and hair pulling. I cuddled her in my arms and carried her upstairs to her room to put her down for her morning nap. As is our habit, we sat down in the glider in her room to nurse. Her little face was so serene and beautiful as she suckled. It truly is an indescribable feeling, this connection I feel to her during these moments. Her little body was curved around mine with her free hand resting on my wrist as I gently stroked her head. As I drew little curlicues with my finger, I noticed a spot where her hair was clumped together and I suspected that she had gotten a bit of baby food there when I was feeding her earlier. And for one strange and surreal moment, I had the strongest urge to lick her head clean.

Clearly, I've been spending too much time with the cats.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Summer, Summer, Summertime

I realized that I've been pretty hard on summer lately, what with all this godforsaken heat. The cool down in the past couple of days has softened my attitude, though, so I have decided to instead focus on some of the things that I actually like about my least favorite season. Here, in no particular order, are a few of them:

1. Fireflies. I don't chase them anymore, but I still love watching them drunkenly weave their way through my yard.

2. The smell of new rafts. I think this originates in the beginning of summer ceremony of buying a slew of new rafts and that plastic smell as you blow them up. There might also be some sort of chemical involved that provides a slight high. Either way, yum.

3. Sno-cones. Roadside variety are the best. I prefer the ambiguous red flavor, but will go with green in a pinch.

4. Cannonballs. The quintessential summer aquatic maneuver. There's a sensation when you're hanging in the air, balled up and tensed for impact, that exhilaration of just how big of a splash can an overweight 34 year old woman make.

5. That wha-wha-wha sound in the evenings. I think it's crickets. It's hypnotic.

6. Not having to put six layers of clothes on my child. Closely related to this, not having to take off and put back on six layers of clothing every time she needs a diaper change.

7. No pantyhose. Not that I'm wearing much of those these days, but even back in my work days summer meant BARE LEGS!

8. Flowers. I know that springtime is when you generally think of flowers, but really a great many of them bloom throughout the summer. I defy you to be unhappy looking at flowers.

9. Flip flops. These seem to be a controversial topic, particularly among the anti-feet crew, but there's something so nice about just slipping on a pair. Makes me think of the beach or pool every time I put them on.

10. Coming in to an icy cool house after being outside in the stifling heat. That first gust of cool air that almost takes your breath away is so yummy.

This one never fails to put a smile on my face because it pretty much defined the summer after my senior year of high school. That was back when Will Smith was still the Fresh Prince. We would go cruising and play this song over and over. Kids actually do that in small town Kansas, what the heck else is there to do?

This is the fresh prince's new definition of summer madness.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Travel Tales: Part 3 - Water babies and Fried Fish

One of the best parts about going home to visit my parents during the summertime is hanging out in/around their pool. They have a great house with a beautiful pool which backs up to a golf course. So, peeping golfers aside, it's pretty idyllic. ( Did I use that word in yesterday's post, too?)
And bonus, the pool has a diving board so we get to have flip contests. This picture is as close to seeing me in a swimsuit as we're going to get. And yes, I was wearing one of those skirt suits. Since we started swim classes when she was about four months old, Sophie is pretty comfortable in the water. She doesn't actually swim, but at least she doesn't freak out. This floaty makes life a lot easier for everyone and she seems to enjoy it. I wish they made one grown-up sized. I also wish I had someone to push me around in it.

Since so much of our trip was spent driving all over the state of Kansas, we only actually had one day of just lounging around the pool, although I snuck in swims other days, too. To make the day really special, we had Long John Silvers for lunch. I love LJS. LOVE IT. There aren't any in my neck of the woods, probably because Maryland is thick with REAL seafood places, so the only time I get my fix is when I visit Kansas. I always get the two piece fish and more and totally douse it with malt vinegar. I love the little crispies that fall off the fish. (Hint: If you ask, they'll give you extra crispies. Wee!) And the hushpuppies. Oh. My. Garsh. I'm surprised I didn't have someone take a picture of me as I rapturously shoved bite after bite down my gullet.

We finished it off with my mom's homemade ice cream. Another one of my favorite things in the world. Probably
because it is about a thousand calories per bite. When I take a bite of homemade ice cream, I am flooded with memories of summer days from my childhood: laying in lawn chairs trying to find satellites among the stars; chasing down fireflies with my sister; watching fourth of July fireworks at my grandparents' lakehouse; skiing at Lake Kahola and not wanting to fall down because the water was so cold; going to the community pool and jumping off the high dive; and so many more.

Much like LJS, it is probably good that these are once a year treats, because my scale already groans when I step on it. It is certain, though, that their rarity makes them that much more special to me.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Travel Tales: Part 2 - Why do people have outdoor weddings in August?

The primary reason for our visit to Kansas was my cousin's wedding. It was scheduled for 5pm on the veranda of her soon to be father-in-law's house. For those of you unfamiliar with that season we like to call Summer, it's generally pretty hot. In Kansas, substitute always and extremely for generally and pretty and now we've described the setting for this gathering. In truth, extremely hot doesn't even really begin to cover it. You see, in the Southwest, you get hot but there's no humidity, so it's that "dry heat" which everyone says isn't so bad, but is in fact still really hot. In the east, it's muggy as hell but not quite so hot, so you're dripping wet but somehow not quite miserable. But in Kansas, it's muggy AND hot so going out of doors with any destination other than water or more air conditioning is just plain crazy.

The temperature as we pulled up to the site of the wedding was a steamy 97 degrees. When we opened the doors of the car it felt like we had just stepped into a sauna. My glasses steamed up to complete the effect. I would like to tell you all about the beautiful home of my cousin's in-laws but I was far too distracted by the sweat pouring down my face to see anything clearly. The inside was an oasis, though. Like cows clustered under the lone tree on the prairie to shelter from the burning sun, the guests crowded in the house looking out at the beautifully landscaped yard dreading the moment when we would have to go back out into a heat that rivaled the Sahara Desert. At the prescribed time, and with more than one audible resigned sigh, we trudged out to the folding chairs that were set up under tents in between the pool and the pavilion that would serve as the altar, each praying that it would be brief. Mercifully, the ceremony WAS short. My cousin looked absolutely beautiful. Especially since she was wearing practically the same dress I had worn for my own wedding. Although it is unlikely she knew that, since she wasn't there. I'm not bitter about that. Maybe a little, but I'm working through it. I digress.

After pictures of a very sweaty bunch of people, we all headed to the reception, which was held at a nearby church. When I first read the invitation, I pictured the usual church meeting hall with few frills. Boy, was I wrong. This hall was fancy schmancy. It was made to look like the piazza of an Italian town including building fronts, a grand staircase and lots of twinkly lights. Upon arriving at the church, I stayed in the car to nurse Sophie, so we were a few minutes behind most of the guests. This gave us the opportunity to make a grand entrance. And we did. Approximately 12 seconds after walking through the door, while we were still standing in the lavish entryway of this opulent hall, Sophie puked all down my arm as well as a nice sized puddle on the floor below us. Never let it be said that we miss an opportunity to be a spectacle.

The rest of the reception was lovely and, thankfully, puke-free. At least at our table. I can't speak for the other guests, since there was an open bar and people were certainly enjoying that fact. The food was tasty (is anyone surprised that food is the first thing I mention?) and I got to spend time with extended family that I don't see nearly as often as I would like. As usual, Sophie was the belle of the ball, smiling and flirting her way into everyone's hearts. Our evening came to a close around 9pm (can we kick it or what?) when Sophie ran out of nice. As we left, I was saddened by the conspicuous absence of my grandpa, who died just before my own wedding nearly three years ago. He was a smart, funny, gregarious fellow who had a laugh that filled up a room. I just know that he would have enjoyed the party.

Here's to you, Grandpa, we miss you!

Travel Tales: Part 1 - The Friendly Skies

I was never really one for kids. This is really much less about their unappealing aspects than it is about my own inexperience. I never spent much time with babies growing up and until recently didn't even have any friends with kids. Given this, it is not surprising that I would avoid them on airplanes. Their crying and irrationality unnerved me. Ironically, I have always felt comforted by their presence, as though bad things could not happen to a plane carrying little babies. That didn't mean they annoyed me less when their screaming kept me awake so I always tried NOT to sit anywhere near them.

So it was with some trepidation that I approached flying with my own little one. I contemplated getting some Benadryl, but just couldn't bring myself to unnecessarily dope my child. Our flight was scheduled for 6:30am, which meant we had to leave for the airport at the unholy hour of 4am. We let Sophie sleep until the very last minute. She dozed on the drive and was chatting and happy as we checked our bags, went through security and awaited our plane at the gate.

Finally, they called our flight and we boarded the plane. Sophie was curious and enjoyed watching the other passengers. I got her settled and nursed her on takeoff. Although she was drowsy afterward, she was far too interested in her new surroundings to go to sleep. She spent the next hour or so standing on my lap smiling at anyone who looked her way. About an hour before we were due to arrive, she sat down and fell asleep in my arms. She was so peaceful and beautiful. She awoke as we began our descent into Kansas City. As we got off the plane, everyone commented what a sweet, happy baby she was and we thought, "piece of cake."

Fast forward five days to the return flight.

Everything that went right on the first idyllic flight went horribly wrong on this one. She cried and fussed and generally made us, and the unfortunate souls that sat near us, miserable. She circled my lap, like an ornery old dog, until she found a comfy spot and would then settle for a few moments only to pop back up and resume her wriggling. My mommy-strong arms were tired from wrangling her. From time to time I would try to cradle her and get her to sleep, but the result was agonizing screaming and crying. The cherry on top of this ordeal is that I had woken up that morning with a sore throat, stuffy nose and headache which had only gotten worse as the day progressed. By our 8 pm flight, I was in no shape to be dealing with a cranky baby. And unfortunately said cranky baby only wanted mommy.

After two hours of her squirming, screaming and crying and me nearly in tears because I was so tired and worn out and frustrated, that little turd sweet child of mine finally fell asleep with just fifteen minutes left to go.

I don't think we'll be flying with her again any time soon.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Vacation Hangover

We've returned from the land of gently rolling plains and big blue sky, which as it turns out, is the land that Bean conquered. To say she was a hit would be understating the power of her smile. She was a rockstar and I was lucky to be holding her because otherwise no one would have talked to me. I have a ton of stories and pictures, including: the flight that made me wonder why I had been so worried about flying with a baby, the wedding in Hades, the wedding reception in heaven, lazy days by the pool, Long John Silvers, family, family, family, the electric Beetle and finally, the flight that made me realize that flying with babies was, in fact, worse than I ever imagined.

So while I'm composing my thoughts, I'll leave you with this gem from the

It should be noted that this is the only time that we were able to get the sunglasses on her that she did not immediately rip them off.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

In a Mommy Moment Redux

Originally posted about four months ago, this episode haunts me. Every time I go to the store I check my purse about 25 times on the way, just to make sure. OCD, thy name is Cara.

I had my first truly ditzy mommy moment yesterday. Mondays are generally grocery store day, give or take three days, and so I bundled the child up and off we went. We have four grocery stores within about 2 minutes of our house and I go through phases where one is my favorite and I will go to it all the time. But then something will happen, they stop carrying Campbell's Supper Bakes(gasp!), for instance, and we will break up. Amicably, of course, because I might want to take them back. Safeway is my grocery store du jour.

Sophie had just woken up from a nap when we left, so I knew we had a good solid hour, maybe even two, before the cranks set in. We wandered through all of the aisles, grabbing things we didn't need and generally had a pleasant shopping experience. Sophie looked around, wide-eyed, and gurgled the whole time. When we got to the check-out, I politely let both a man and a woman, who each had only one or two things, go ahead of me. I was feeling terribly magnanimous, sort of like that give it back commercial. You know, where people do something nice and someone sees them do it and they do something nice and so on. I wanted to start that chain.

I finally get to the conveyor belt and laid out all of my food. The checker starts ringing things up and I reach into my purse to grab my wallet so I can scan my Safeway card, but its not there. And that's when I realize that, horror of horrors, I have forgotten my wallet. I stand there sheepishly for a moment, watching him run items across the scanner, and then I check my purse again. Maybe I've overlooked it and it is in there. But, no. Plenty of diapers, but no wallet.

I tell the kid how sorry I am but I've forgotten my wallet and he looks at me like I'm the biggest moron ever. It was obvious even before this that here was a person who was not happy. Whether it was just the job or it extended beyond to a general dissatisfaction with life, I can't say. I ask him if we could just put the stuff to the side and I could run home and come right back. He doesn't say anything, just starts putting everything back in the cart. Despite my urge to tell him where he could stick his bad attitude, I continue to apologize profusely saying I've never done this before, I just switched purses and so on. Another checker/bagger comes by and starts helping us re-load the cart and he tells me that they'll put the cart over to the side for me. He says not to worry, it happens all the time.

The worst part is that I hadn't really dressed up for this outing. I had showered, but had just allowed my hair to air dry, had no make-up on and I don't think my clothes really matched. So I couldn't even be the cute, dumb girl. I seriously contemplated not going back and just moving on to the next grocery store, but my conscience got the better of me and back we went. I wish I could say the kid was nicer the second time around but he wasn't. However, the bagger and the other checker who had witnessed the event were surprised and happy to see me back. I know I'm going to feel goofy the next time I go there, maybe it's time for a switch.

The moral of the story is never forget to wear mascara, because you're going to do stupid things, but its much better to look good and feel stupid than to feel stupid and look bad while you're at it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Never List Redux

I'm out of town this week, so I'm resurrecting a couple of posts from blog days past. I originally posted this when Sophie was about 4 months old and before I had really opened our blog up to the world. I have modified it some, to fit us today. As I reread it, I thought I might laugh at how much I/we have changed since then, but they pretty much all still apply. Oh, yeah, and this is one of those long posts I complain about. Ha.

This morning, shortly after I changed Sophie into her daytime clothes, I brought her downstairs so that I could make myself a cup of tea. I sat her in her bouncy seat which lives in the kitchen and dining room. I use it whenever I am cooking, eating, etc. I had just sat her down and she spits up on herself and the chair. As I am cleaning her and the chair up, I say to myself, out loud, "the chair has at least another puke in it." Meaning, it has already seen at least one and will be okay to continue use through this one and possibly more. And it occurred to me that a) this is very gross and b) this is something I never thought I'd do. So I decided to start a list of all the things I NEVER thought I'd do as a parent. THE OFFICIAL NEVER LIST (in no particular order)

1. Bring the baby into the bed with us. Yeah, broke that one on her first day home.

2. Let the baby sleep in our room for more than a couple of months. Neil practically had to pry her out of my arms to get me to start putting her in the crib at four months.

3. Leave her in an outfit that had been spit up on. Although if there's any significant amount, I will still change her, I would be changing her three times a day if my only criteria were that it had spit-up on it.

4. Leave myself in an outfit that had spit-up on it. Again, I would be changing three times a day if a small amount of spit-up required it.

5. Pick up a chew toy (are those for dogs?) that had fallen on the floor and give it back to her. At first, I faithfully washed each toy the moment it even brushed the floor. Now I blow on it (can you believe it?) and give it back to her.

6. Wear maternity clothes after the baby was born. Um, I hate to admit this, but I still have a few baby pounds to lose and if I'm not going out...

7. Breast feed. Dumb I know, but I was pretty weirded out by the idea pre-baby.

8. Breast feed for more than a couple of months. We're at 10 months now and counting. I would NEVER have thought I would be okay with going this long, but now the idea of giving it up makes me sad. In the beginning, six months seemed like a good length of time to shoot for, now I'm thinking, I can go a year. At a year, I'll probably be like, "well, heck, the rest of the world nurses for an average of two years."

Along those lines...whenever Sophie starts acting hungry, I ask her "Do you want some boobie?" Well, it occurred to me a couple of days ago that she is developing her speech right now and although she probably doesn't understand too many, if any, words, I really don't want her to start thinking of nursing in those terms. God forbid her first words are "I want some boobie!"

9. Not change her diaper when she's wet. This sounds worse than I mean it, but when we first brought her home, I changed her at the merest whiff of pee. Now, I squeeze her diaper and if its not stinky or FULL, its staying on. Those things are expensive and I'm tired of changing her 17 times a day. Although I do admit to occasionally giving her what I call a therapeutic change. Sometimes when she's fussy, changing her diaper seems to calm her. Even if she's not wet or poopie. I'm probably setting her up for some sort of weird fetish, but if it shuts her up and doesn't have any obvious negative impact, I'm doing it.

10. Wear my husbands clothes because none of mine fit. I'm wearing a pair of his pants now.

What things as a parent did you never, ever think you'd do?