Thursday, April 30, 2009

Doing Some Sussing

Finally got done Sussing Out last night's episode of Lost. Come check it out!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Easy Rider

I have officially graduated from BRU. That's Babies R Us for the unitiated. While I poke my head in from time to time, the days of weekly visits have passed. Now it's T(oys)RU. Sophie hasn't yet learned how to beg for toys, however her mother is a little less restrained when it comes to deciding her daughter should have something. I see something on TV or at a friend's house and she MUST have it. I swear it's not about keeping up with the Joneses so much as keeping the girl occupied. If it works for someone else, it could work for us.

This past weekend I decided it was time to look into an outdoor wheeled vehicle for the Bean. Whenever we go to the park, she always gravitates towards the trikes, big wheels and scooters that the older kids leave laying around. So we bundled into the family wagon and set off for TRU. When we arrived in the bike/trike section, Sophie practically jumped out of the cart in her excitement. She ran right over to this pink Radio Flyer, dragged it off the shelf and jumped onto it. We had a match.

Now she loves going outside to hop on her new ride. She can't reach the pedals well enough to move herself yet, but she loves being pushed around on it. I am sure it won't be long before she can propel herself.

I swear just yesterday she was a tiny bundle in my arms, where did this KID come from?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


We've had an unexpected and not entirely desirable development in the Land of Bean. Despite adamantly turning away from them for the first 18 months of her life, with an eye only for her thumb, Sophie has developed an affection for pacifiers.

We have a bunch of them. Some were given to us at my shower, some we purchased during those first hard, hard days when we would have done ANYTHING to get her to stop crying. She wouldn't have anything to do with them. So they were pushed aside with the thought that maybe our second child (if there is one) would like them. One found its way into my diaper bag, where it sat at the bottom for a year, another was in the top drawer of her dresser, back behind the socks, yet another was in one of our bedside tables. They were one of those ubiquitous items that kept turning up all over the house, but you never get rid of because you think maybe someday we'll use them.

I'm not sure which one she found first, but find one she did. Now, she is maniacal about them. She even goes so far as to suck on it between bites of food and attempting to drink her sippy cup while the paci is in the corner of her mouth. That's a loud and messy proposition, let me tell you.

It took practically nipping the end of her finger off to cure her of thumbsucking, I am not looking forward to breaking this habit.

Monday, April 27, 2009


I'm not going to talk about Sophie's 18 month appointment on Friday. I'm not going to talk about how there are some concerns about her hearing and that we have an appointment in a couple of weeks with an Audiologist to check it out. I'm not going to talk about how frustrated I get by pediatricians who use charts and statistics rather than getting to know their patients. I'm not going to talk about how helpless I feel, how I always feel like I'm giving the wrong answers. I'm not going to talk about the absolute MELTDOWN my daughter had when any of the nurses, doctor or the researcher for the study we're participating in tried to touch her. I'm not going to talk about the computer my daughter somehow pulled out of it's anchoring on the wall in the exam room.

I'm not going to talk about any of that unpleasant stuff, because the weather we've had the last few days has been too beautiful to be down or negative.

Instead let's just focus on the good quality play time we had outside and my beautiful little darling waving at her daddy while he mowed the yard.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I put on a pair of pants this morning that I bought last summer. Last summer they were tight. Today? They were loose.

You may now worship me.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Power of Music

This amazing video was taken by a good friend of mine last fall while she was at the Mayo Clinic with her mother for the last of a series of reconstructive surgeries. You can read her inspiring story here.

The couple, Fran and Marlow Cowan, have been married for 62 years. I challenge you not to smile at their antics.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Come Back Tomorrow

Sorry, I don't have anything today. It might be because I got to sleep through the night for the first time in two months! So this is what (mostly) well rested feels like. Ahhh. Not to worry, Sophie has turned into the nightmare version of my child, so I'll be back later with tales of her misadventures.

I'll leave you with a photo I snapped the other day while Sophie and I were out enjoying the weather. It took me about 20 pictures to get one that showed this beauty clearly. It's hardly fit for National Geographic, but this amateur is pretty happy with it. This giant bumblebee has taken up residence at the corner of our house. It just hovers in this spot all day. Staring at the wall.

Maybe she has a baby bee back at the hive that doesn't sleep through the night.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

They Don't Call Them Toddlers For Nothing

Her first skinned knee. If she's anything like her mother, which there is every indication she is, she has many, many years of skinned knees ahead of her.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What Comes Around...

The other day I was complaining talking with my mom about Sophie. She said that when I was a baby, she told herself that I was such a pain that she wouldn't even wish me on me. Does that make sense? As in, you know how parents always say, I hope you have a kid just like you so you understand what it was like? Well, even in her extremely frustrated state, she couldn't bring herself to wish me on anyone. I was that bad.

Of course, I got a child who is as feisty as I ever was. Maybe more. I at least slept through the night at some point. Sophie? Still thwarting my every attempt at a good night's sleep.

Here is what she has accomplished so far today, and it's only 11:30:

Climbed up on her changing table via the Diaper Genie and a drawer she pulled open. Ingenious.

Ate A & D Creme (while sitting on the changing table). Sucked it straight out of the tube. Yum.

Dumped out the contents of my bedside table. Including those things that I now realize need to be better hidden. (ahem)

Spread about 150 diapers around her room. Luckily they were clean. I won't tell you about the time she got into the diaper trash can. (shudder)

Threw my hairbrush in the toilet.

Chewed on my toothbrush, then tossed it on the bathroom floor when she lost interest.

Threw a Snapple bottle, retrieved from the recycling bin, into the powder room sink. Huge amount of noise, luckily, no breakage.

Pulled every toy out of her toy box seemingly looking for that one thing...

Tried on one shoe of every pair of shoes she has, a not insignificant number, and carried the matchers to an undisclosed location. I will probably still be finding shoes long after she has outgrown them.

Stripped off her pants and diaper no less than 6 times. (We had a major accident yesterday following one of these depantsings. I still can't even talk about it.)


Pulled out a nearly full box of Kleenexes into a surprisingly big pile. They compress a lot in the box, but when fluffed? Look out!

She is now peacefully napping in her crib. I can see her sweet little form on the monitor. She is on her side, her chin tilted up just so, her little arms stretched out at an awkward angle. No doubt she is exhausted from her morning's activities. I love her so much it hurts, but if she's like this at 18 months, what am I in for when she's older?

Update, 5:15pm: In trying to climb onto the dresser/changing table again, she pulled it over on herself. By some miracle, she is completely fine. I, however, am dead from a coronary.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rearranging The Furniture

Years back, in the salad days of my early twenties, I lived in a tiny one bedroom apartment in a converted old mid-rise hotel in the Mount Vernon area of downtown Baltimore. It's the kind of apartment that would have rented for two grand in NYC, but in Baltimore was pretty low rent. It was a neat building, but was a bit run down. It had the distinction of sharing the block with the Baltimore Cathedral. It has since been torn down and turned into a park, which gives you some idea of the kind of shape it was in.

Anyhoo, my parents came for a visit and stayed in my tiny apartment with me. They slept on the itsy bitsy pull out sofa I had in my itsy bitsy living room. These are the people who think they're slumming it if they're in anything less than a junior suite in a hotel. I left them alone there while I went to work during their visit. I figured they would walk around the neighborhood, grab something to eat and we'd catch up in the afternoon. What I hadn't planned on was my mom. She is a woman with no patience for sitting around. Even a few idle minutes are an opportunity to DO SOMETHING.

When I walked through the door after work that day, I was like, "WHAAAT?!" It seems my stepdad took just a teensy bit too long in the shower and my mom heard opportunity knocking. She had rearranged ALL of the furniture in my apartment. Remember it was a small apartment, but STILL.

Every woman thinks they won't grow up to be their mother. Even the best of mothers have their quirks, their funny sayings or their annoying (what? no!) habits. We all think, "I'm my own person, that won't be me!" And inevitably, we all become our mothers in more ways than we ever expected. I hear my mom in the way I say words and the phrases I say to my daughter and as it turns out the likeness extends to my inability to allow something to stay the same for long.

So I apologize that y'all keep walking into my blog and I've moved all the furniture. I just can't seem to settle on how I want it to look and I keep changing things up. I know that in the interest of branding, you're supposed to have a consistent look, but I just. can't. do. it. I need VARIETY.

In the end, I am my mother's daughter.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sunshine Makes Me Happy

We took to the park today to enjoy some of the sunny weather that came along on the heels of several days of cloudy, raininess. Symbolic for my life this week, no? A little sunshine goes a long way towards improving my attitude. Although, as the beautiful and talented Kristi tells me, those who live in sunny locals long for cloudy days, so it just goes to show you that no one is ever happy.

We enjoyed ourselves at the park, as usual. Sophie was her usual flirty little self. She quickly made friends with a 2 1/2 year old girl and the two of them spent an hour running around together while her mother and I had a nice talk. I keep reading about snobby or snooty moms at playgrounds, and maybe I have just been lucky, but every one that I have met has been super nice.

After our new friends left, Sophie and I were hanging out next to the big kid swings when a little girl came up to me. She was about four years old, with a blond pony tail, and just as precocious as could be.

Little Blond Cutie (LBC): Did you see a little girl over here?

Me: What does she look like?

LBC: She has skin like mine and she was on that swing over there.

Me: When was she there?

LBC: Just a few minutes ago. She's pretend.

Me: Oh, well...wait, she's pretend?

LBC: Yes.

Me: (blink, blink)

Me: I'm sorry, I didn't see her.

LBC: (looks around perturbed and runs off)

Maybe I should have said I had seen her.

PS - Thanks for all of your kind comments yesterday. I had publishing remorse as soon as I hit the button. Sharing makes me feel kind of oogy. A little good, but also a little weird. I don't really like to open up that depressing can of worms, but some days it's all that will come out. It's comforting to know that I'm not alone.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Just Another Day In Paradise

Sleep eludes me this night. She is a fickle tease that whispers in my ear and caresses my brow but will not draw me in to her embrace.

A sinus headache has ravaged my skull since Monday. No amount of painkillers or sinus medication seems capable of getting rid of it. It is a vine that runs through my head. I can cut off the tendrils, but the roots are buried deep. If I could only find the source, I could rip it out. But it hides.

Finally. Finally, the tired wins.

I am awakened after only two hours of sleep by the wails of my daughter. As usual, she wakes with a shout rather than a whimper. She does not go gently. I go into her room and change her diaper and nurse her. Usually, this will put her back to sleep. But this night, it does not work.

When I lean down to lay her back in her crib, she begins to cry. I know my girl, and I know that she will cry all night if I leave her alone. She draws on reserves deeper than mine. So I pick her back up and bounce around on my feet for awhile, cooing and shushing her. We repeat this, I put her down, she starts crying, I pick her up and walk with her, for an hour and a half. If I sit down, she squirms and tries to get down onto the ground, presumably to play, so I don't sit down. I stand. It is 3am. My head is pounding. I have only had two hours of sleep. I can't even sit down.

Finally, she goes back to sleep. It is 4am. I drag myself into bed. Despite exhaustion so overwhelming it is a struggle to put one foot in front of the other, I can not fall right back to sleep. The pounding won't stop. The last time I look at the clock it is 4:42. The next time I see it is 5:58, when the screaming starts afresh. I whimper and pull the covers over my head, but that doesn't drown out the crying so I get up.

Hours later, she finally goes down for a nap. I waste precious minutes doing chores and eating lunch before I go upstairs to lay down for a nap. By the time I doze off, she has been asleep for 45 minutes. When she wakes up 25 minutes later, I cry. I have only had 4 hours of sleep, total. I go straight into the bathroom and start the shower. While it tears at my soul to hear her cry, I just can't take it. I stand with my head under the water until it goes cold. It drowns out the sound of my child's unhappiness.

By the time Neil gets home, I am on the edge. I make dinner while he watches our child. I need those minutes of solitude. My head hurts. My heart hurts.

I finally get Sophie into bed. Mercifully, she does not fight me. But the night is not over. Neil and I argue. I don't know why. I take my frustrations out on him. Who else do I have to blame? I can't stop crying. I can't stop crying. Neil holds me while I shake. I am adrift.

At 7:45 I take two Excedrin PM and go to bed. I am asleep in minutes and do not wake until Sophie does at 5am. Despite 9 hours of sleep, I am still hopelessly tired. Luckily, the usual tricks work and she goes back to sleep until 7. While I am not whole, I am better. Sleep is my fix.

A new day begins. This one must be better. It must. It must. It must.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Parenting Fail

We spent a good chunk of yesterday working on the back yard. We finally got the trench filled in from when we had the sewer line replaced two years ago and we're working on turning the area where the above ground pool used to be back into lawn. We got a lot done despite Sophie's best efforts to distract us. We chuckled when she climbed into the bucket we were using to collect rocks. And because I will allow no moment of her life to pass by without documentation, I ran in for the camera and snapped a few shots.

Later that evening, once the bean was in bed, Neil and I watched Dirty Jobs while we nursed sore backs and arms. Mike Rowe was using a bucket to clean up dog poop that was fairly similar to ours. It is Dirty Jobs after all. He commented on the warning on the side about children. Neil and I just looked at each other and laughed. We hadn't even noticed.

Parenting Fail:

Monday, April 13, 2009

Anyone with a penis should stop reading now...

When I was a teenager, I had terrible periods. Flo's visits were long (7-9 days) and fraught with horrible cramps, nausea, migraines, exhaustion and, ahem, heavy flo. You know the old joke, how can you trust something that bleeds for a week and doesn't die? Yeah, that's me. There is just no way I wasn't anemic after that.

I went on the pill at 16, largely to help control these horrible monthly experiences. And it worked. All I can say is thank goodness for Gregory Pincus. With just one wee little pill a day, Flo's visits were shortened (3 days) and, frankly, a real breeze. No more pain. No more pads and tampons. (Yeah, it was that bad.) And it did good things for my skin.

I was on the pill for the better part of 17 years. Obviously, I stopped taking it when we decided to have a baby, but then I didn't have periods during that time, so it was no biggie. After Sophie was born, I began taking a mini pill. I didn't have my first period until Sophie was 8 months old (breastfeeding ROCKS!) and even after that it was another 3-4 months before things really got back to normal. Unfortunately, the mini pill didn't work for me, so I stopped taking it when Sophie was about a year old.

Now, we're 18 months post-partum and my body has finally gotten back into the swing of things. Unfortunately, despite the fact that no other part of my body in any way reflects my teenage self (sigh), old Flo has reverted to her teenage ways. I can't go back on the full pill until I am completely done with breastfeeding, which will be in the next few months, until then I have to live with the pain, mood swings (poor Neil) and cravings (I came home from the grocery store yesterday with a dozen donuts, cake mix, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and a Hershey Bar - so much for the diet). Not loving it.

It's almost enough to make me want to get pregnant again. Almost.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Add to the long, long list of things I thought/said I would never do as a parent: Doing ANYTHING to get my kid to eat.

That would be Sophie. Eating an Eggo. In her Ikea tent. In front of the TV.

Does it make it better that the waffle is whole wheat?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Boy Crazy

It's official. My girl is boy crazy. I've noticed it when we're out and about. She makes eyes at the fellas in the grocery store. She coyly bats her eyelashes at the guys at the gym. She can be found hugging the other boys during play dates. This girl is going to be trouble with a capital T when she gets older.

The last few days, since the weather has been nicer, I've been taking Sophie out to the Back 40 (actually it's more like Back .25) to do some yard work. We have a fenced in yard, so she can run around with her ball or whatever while I do my thing.

The first day, the two boys that live behind us came out and we started talking. They are 7 and 9 and very eager to tell me all about their lives, sometimes in embarrassing detail. It's especially charming when they give me little details about their 12 year old sister, like how she put her new training bra on backwards or how she cried on Sunday because she couldn't get her hair to work. I am quite certain she would be mortified if she knew they were spreading this information, and I always tell them to mind their sister's feelings. On the inside, I'm roaring at their candor. The boys stayed on their side, but spent the entire time playing catch with Sophie over the fence and patting her head while she cooed, giggled and babbled for them.

Since then, if I even point myself in the direction of the back door, she goes running to it, hollering in Russian or whatever it is she speaks, banging her little hands on the door. I'm pretty sure if I had a Toddler to English translator, it would be something along the lines of "Take me to the BOYS!" When we go outside, she heads straight for the back fence, ya-ya-ya-ing the whole way.

Today, the boys came over the fence to play with her in our yard. The three of them ran around and the boys took turns picking her up, swinging her in circles and trying to make her laugh. They were especially delighted when my delicate little flower tooted while one of them was holding her. The 9-year-old tells me he loves babies and he can't wait to babysit. Cute, yes?

Meanwhile, her speech has been kind of slow to develop. She says a few words fairly clearly: Mama, Dada, Kitty, Hi, Bye; but hasn't really begun to mimic words back to us yet. Today, the older boy, as he was swinging her around, said "My name is Nick, say Nick!" And I'll be darned if she didn't say Nick.

Yep, we're in trouble.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Moral of the Story

It has been suggested to me by a few people, including my husband, that giving up Dr. Pepper would make a significant difference in my dieting efforts. For you, I have a little story.

We got Macgregor when I was about 7 years old. He was a West Highland White Terrier. My sister and I loved that dog. He moved with us from town to town, even coming with us when we moved to Germany for a year. He was the sweetest animal, if not the smartest.

One spring day when Mac was about 9, or 65 in dog years, he was sunning himself on our front lawn. I was in my bedroom in the basement when I heard screaming. It took me a minute to realize what I was hearing before I ran upstairs to investigate.

When I got to the front porch, I found my mom on the front lawn screaming while a large Pit Bull pinned our beloved Mac to the ground with his massive jaws around our little dog's neck. The woman who had been walking the Pit Bull stood on the other side of the dogs, yanking on the leash and yelling. To this day, we're not sure what Mac said to bring on the ire of that Pit Bull, but clearly it was something pretty bad.

Anyhoo, we all stood around yelling and waving our arms trying to get the dogs apart. At some point my mom ran into the house. She reappeared a few minutes later with a shotgun in hand. I'm not sure if she planned to shoot the Pit Bull or what, but what she wound up doing was hitting him over the head with it. That Pit Bull didn't even flinch.

About this time, one of my mom's friends, a burly fellow by the name of Red, came walking by. He quickly assessed the situation, picked up what had to be a 50 pound rock from the top of the retaining wall in our yard, walked over and dropped that rock right on the Pit Bull's head. The pit bull released poor little Mac and trotted off like nothing had happened.

Not surprisingly, Mac was in pretty bad shape. He had four nasty puncture wounds in his neck and was just laying on the ground, looking like Doggie Heaven might be calling to him. We rushed him to the vet for emergency care. After several hours of surgery and a gazillion stitches, we brought Mac home. Despite his seemingly life-threatening wounds, Mac made a full recovery and went on to live another 6 years before he left us for the great dog park in the sky. He was a tough little guy and I still miss him.

So, I bet you're thinking that the analogy here is that like Mac, I need to be tough. If that little dog can survive a brutal attack by a trained killer, then I can overcome the hurdle of giving up Dr. Pepper. That's not it, though. The real moral here is that just like that Pit Bull, it would take a big fucking rock to knock the Dr. Pepper out of my steely grasp. I've given up a lot of my favorite addictions in the name of "health," I'm keeping this one.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I'll Start My Diet Tomorrow

Right about my birthday, six weeks or so ago, I decided that it was time to buckle down and get serious about getting in shape and losing weight. As everyone knows, the key to making this happen is through diet and exercise. Although I wish it could be as easy as just skipping dessert, the fact is that you really do need to tackle both angles.

I know myself, and I know that I am prone to getting whole hog into something and then losing interest after a few weeks or months. I decided that to be successful, I needed to approach this a little differently than I have in the past. My plan was to begin with the exercise. Do it for a couple of months and then once it was an established routine, I could start working on my diet.

After six weeks of working out four times a week for about 1 1/2 hours each time (1 hour of cardio plus 1/2 hour of strength training), I am now able to go longer and harder on the cardio machines, however the weight loss has been SLOW. I am only down about 7 pounds. I need some faster results, so it's time to enact phase two of Operation Smaller Cara.

It's no secret that I love food. I love it a lot. I mean a lot a lot. I love butter and cheese and bread and pasta and Dr. Pepper and so much more. Cutting down/out is tough for me. But that's the only way I'm going to get the kind of results I want. I have said "MY DIET BEGINS TOMORROW!" a thousand times and a thousand times I have not started my diet the next day. This time I mean it. Tomorrow, I am actually starting my diet.

My plan is less about calorie counting than it is about generally eating less and eating more healthily. It has to be a lifestyle change. More fresh vegetables, less processed sugar. We already began this weekend with some interesting new menu items that were good AND good for us. I am excited to get started with this new challenge.

I'm not giving up my Dr. Pepper, though.

Like Mother, Like Daughter

I look much like this when I am watching my stories. Only, you know, much bigger and more drool.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ode To The Dollar Store

I have to confess an unhealthy affection for the dollar store. It's not just that everything is so darn cheap, most of it being, you know, $1, but also the sheer variety of goods they offer. I mean where else can you buy a squeaky rubber chicken, dinnerware, gift bags, tampons (en espanol), wicker baskets AND helium balloons? It's like the circus for housewives.

Whenever I am feeling like doing some shopping, but the old checkbook won't tolerate a trip to Target, it's off to Dollar General I go. I can spend an hour in there, meandering my way down the aisles, getting much of the same junk treasures for about a tenth of the cost.

How do I love thee, Dollar General?
Let me count the ways:

Gallon and quart freezer bags
Kiddie book
Three greeting cards
Coloring book
Two peppermint patties
Apple juice
Two photo frames
Brownie mix*

Total: $10.14

*Despite my love for all things Dollar Store, I am a little weird about buying food there. I made the brownies last night, though, and they were DELICIOUS. Of course, I used a glass dish and it took them an hour to bake, during which time I contemplated eating them with a spoon, but who's counting.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I hear the secrets that you keep...Part II

The sleep issues are back. FML. Although she was sleeping through the night like a champ there for a while, since she was sick last month, she has been waking up at least once a night. Not to mention that the doggamned cats wake me up at least once a night as well. It is killing me. I remember now how tired I was for that first year. ALL. THE. TIME.

Last night, she woke up at about 12:30. When I heard her crying, I moaned and sat up in bed. Neil said, "is this the first time?" I said yes. I got up and walked around the bed and looked over as Neil sat up and swung his legs over the edge of the bed.

Neil: I'm sorry.

Me: It's not your fault, honey.

Neil: No, it is. I left something running in there.

Me: What?

Neil: I think there is something running in there.

Me: What. Are. You. Talking. About. (Getting scared. Visions of gremlins and ghouls scampering around flit through my overactive imagination.)

Neil: I started a program and I left it running. It probably woke her up.

Me: What? (Still not getting it.)

Neil: I started something on the computer and left it running. I probably woke her up. (Obviously there is no computer in her room, nor one anywhere close to it.)

Me: (Finally realizing that he is talking in his sleep.) ...

Me: You're right, it is your fault.

60 Seconds

I decided some time back that I didn't really want to do reviews on here. I get emails from time to time with people asking me to review this, that or the other and to talk about it on my blog. Usually, it is something that is absolutely, positively not of interest to me or my readers, who I like to think have similar (ahem) sophisticated tastes to my own.

But I've gotten a couple of emails about this site 60 Second Break and I finally broke down and visited it. And you know what, it's actually a site that I would frequent. It is full of entertaining tales from women all over the world.

If you have a minute, or, you know, 60 seconds, give it a look see.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Day 91

I am...

...well rested.

...losing weight like I was on Survivor.

...a compulsive cleaner.

...overjoyed that my daughter keeps doing the same thing over and over and over and over after I have told her NO over and over and over again.

...delighted with the goings-on in Washington.

...loving that the cat once again woke me up in the middle of the night.

...pregnant with octuplets.

...enjoying this separation anxiety phase Sophie is going through.


I AM going to go take a nap.