Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Officially a toddler....


Birthday party celebrating from a couple weeks ago aside, my little man OFFICIALLY turns one today. The hubs and I took T down to the Children's Museum to "celebrate" the big day - which was fun until he got fixated on eating his Cheerios and we had to leave. No really, he played hard and wore himself out (and ok, the Cheerios fixation probably had a little something to do with it) - and despite his slight cereal-eating obsession, it's still amazing for me to watch him in action these days.

Getting ready to play hard for his birthday!

It's hard to believe how fast the year has flown. He's gone from a little mushy bundle of snuggles to a little guy that only lets me cuddle with him in the morning because he's got too many places to go and things to see any other time of the day. The days of "date nights" with him perched in his Bumbo on the table are long gone. These days, T likes to share his meals with the dog (yes, sometimes even the very same piece of food....gross, I know). He used to jut out his lower lip as a 10-second warning before belting out the loudest screams ever. T doesn't use his amazing set of lungs much anymore (though I'm sure that will change as we get closer to the 2s!) and instead, these days he gets his way by giving me a little smirk that looks just like his daddy's -- or a big crooked grin that somehow shows off all 7 1/2 of his teeth. He went from cooing to babbling to actual words, even if they are in a language that only I can understand at the moment. And even though he says "dada" a zillion times more than he says "mama" (SO unfair), every once and awhile, I'm lucky enough to get a big slobbery open-mouthed kiss from him, and that more than makes up for it.

I can go on and on, and on and on. I have a feeling that this is not an unique feeling - anyone who has kids that might be reading this probably feels the same about theirs. To me, there is nothing better than life with this sweet little boy.

What a year it's been! (And yes, mommy obviously likes stripes)

Happy Birthday to my Mr. Man. I love you, Munchkin.



Friday, December 23, 2011

Travel

The big day is finally here!  Our first international trip with Audrey.  I wish I could say I were excited but truthfully I've been dreading this day since we booked the tickets 2 months ago.  This is a long trip.  3 flights.  2 layovers.  Pretty much 24 hours in total.  And a 10-hour time difference on the other end.  And Audrey came down with a nasty cold this week and has been up every night screaming from 10:00 pm to 3:00 am, so that's awesome.  I'm writing this post to avoid figuring out what to bring for her on the plane.  Because it really doesn't matter what I bring, she'll have zero interest in all of it and want to run up and down the aisle instead.  The last time I flew with her I made the mistake of packing every "quiet" toy and book I could find, only to have my carry-on stuffed so full the attendants made me store it in the overhead bin rather than under the seat.  And with Audrey on my lap the whole time and my hands full that meant I could get things out of the bag, oh, pretty much never.  So that was a huge fail.  Instead I ended up passing her off to the Indian woman sitting in the row behind me who gave her a smurf toy and made origami cranes.  Since I can't locate that woman to bring her along this time, I'm trying to be more realistic in my packing.  And since it's the holidays I'm going to stop being negative, stop complaining and remind myself  that I'm lucky we get to travel at all.  Somehow we'll get through this, right?  How much alcohol can you buy on the plane? 

Just kidding. 

Sort of.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A birthday's in the works

This past weekend was T's big first birthday celebration. His actual birthday isn't until next week, but I'm trying to prevent years of therapy for making him share all his birthday attention with Santa, so we celebrated this weekend instead. Since this was my first foray into hosting kids' parties, I'm pretty pleased with the outcome. There were no kid meltdowns or boo-boos, my pets didn't break free from their "safe zones" and attack or be attacked by any random toddlers, and my little man actually ate his cake, as you can see from his nicely dyed face and my permanently stained carpet.

The kid takes after his mom in one way...he likes his sweets!

The way Saturday morning started though, it wasn't looking good. T tends to be a super predictable little kid. I don't know if his super-duper internal clock is due to the fact that I'm a bit anal and we live and breathe "the schedule" - but you can set your watch by the time he wakes up, wants a meal, needs a drink, and goes to bed. Every day. Or, should I say, every day except Saturday. Go figure. Party day, he wakes up a little later than normal and refuses to nap. The timing of the party was chosen for no other reason other than the fact that he is always up at that time, always rested at that time, always happy at that time, and always ready to go down for a nap by the party-end time. Perfect right? Ahh, the best laid plans. Party finally starts and Birthday Boy is zonked out in his crib. Yup, the guest of honor is fast asleep. Which is actually fine by me, because happy...he was not. Nope, my typically happy little guy was turning into more and more of a crankpot as the minutes, then hours, past his nap he got, so I was envisioning full on grizzly mode in time for cake.

But once I stopped worrying about the lack of sleep and the random runny nose he woke up with (the jury is still out on if it's teething or daycare germs, since he's fine now...but what a lovely way to start party day, no?), momma managed to settle in and have a good time among all the crazy kiddo chaos. And T ended up having fun "playing" with his little friends.

Now I'm getting the hang of this birthday fun stuff...

"Why, thank you, A, I will gladly take that toy from you."

So, you ask, how did I celebrate surviving not only my first kiddo birthday party but my first year as a mom? That night, with the kiddo fast asleep, right on schedule, a good ole glass of vino (or two) and some Elmo cookies in hand. Gotta love it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain

After a year of no rain, we are currently being inundated with the wet stuff here in Texas. It's supposed to last another zillion days. And it's really cramping my style.

Not surprising, the weather doesn't have me looking my finest at the moment. I have the drizzle-frizzies in the worst way and have pretty much given up on the ability to pull off any look besides the ponytail for the time being. It's also completely halted my ability to exercise. Sure, I could try the treadmill after T goes to sleep in the evenings, but since the yet-to-be-used treadmill is upstairs, I can only imagine the reaction my not-quite-laid-back dog will have when it sounds like the ceiling is about to fall on his head.

The worst though, is what the rain is doing to my house. My poor floor. Because we haven't had rain in an eon, our backyard was looking pretty barren. But now, it's a giant mud pit. Yay*. And while the Pups has stayed inside since it's started monsooning, he still does have to get outside sometimes (you know, to do his business). And each time he goes outside, he tracks in about an acre worth of dirt. It's so bad that I've actually mopped multiple times since the weather took a turn for the worse**. And I don't think it's helping. Nope. I'm pretty much just spreading the dirt to a wider area. It's fabulous. And tomorrow, our cleaning lady comes. And it's supposed to rain, again. So the dog, since he's of the protective "I don't like people in my house when my owners aren't there" variety, needs to be outside. In the rain. A disaster in the works.

I wonder if the poor cleaning lady is going to walk inside my house and cringe? Ask for a raise? Run away screaming? Let's face it, we all clean for the cleaning lady. But I wonder if I should spend tonight deep-cleaning extra-hard in preparation for our cleaning lady to come clean so I don't have to hide from her in embarrassment?

Darn rain.

Thought I might die. He needed to go out the second I cleaned for the cleaning lady tonight....mopping rendered useless.

*One of the joys of home ownership. I am not looking forward to the pretty penny that resodding our yard is gonna cost in the spring after this year's draught caused its lovely deadness.

**Not a fan.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pinterest wreath

I finally made something that I saw on Pinterest!  (Woot woot!)  Since I couldn't afford the wreath I really wanted from Ballard Designs I decided to make this one since it sounded pretty much idiot-proof.  Here's what you need:

- 13 or 16-inch foam wreath form
- about 200 push pins
- 1/2 yard muslin or plain white cotton fabric
- 2 yards of red canvas (or whatever color(s) you're doing)

You cut the muslin/white fabric into 4-inch strips, wrap them around the foam wreath form and pin them into place.  Then you cut the red canas into 4x4 inch squares (whoever 'pinned' this neglected to mention what a huge pain-in-the-ass this part is, especially when your toddler is jumping all over the fabric - just fyi).  Next you fold the red squares corner to corner twice, making a triangle, then pin each one to the wreath.  I pinned them in rows leaving the back empty so the wreath would lie flat against the wall.  One side ended up a little "thicker" than the other - oops - but overall I'm pretty happy with it.  Here's the wreath just before I finished:

Here's the finished product:

And here's my attempt at creating a holiday mantle with all of the kitschy decor I've been gifted over the years by well-meaning people:

Yes, we only have 1 stocking for 3 people.  I don't know how that happened but we're going to my parents' house for Christmas this year so I'm not even dealing with it.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday night and the weekend's here

Ah, what a difference a few years makes. How the reasons for loving Fridays have evolved over the years....

Circa Late 1990s - The college life. Getting dressed up in our black TAPS (that's tight-assed-pants, in case you're not familiar with 1990s teenage lingo) for a night of frat parties was all the rage...Fridays rocked because the next morning, breakfast was available til 2pm. And make no mistake, I got my meal in at 1:55.

Circa 2001 - Living in NYC with my roomie, Friday nights were all about what "all in CAPS" bar we hadn't yet tried in the Zagats guide (and checking it off) and getting our bop on (that's dancing, in case you're not familiar with early-2000s City girl lingo). Getting free drinks didn't hurt. (And I ended up marrying the guy that picked up the tab on most of my free drinks...go figure.)

Circa 2011 - These days, I love Friday nights for three reasons. (1) Mommy happy hour followed by (2) ice cream for dinner (hopefully T doesn't ever catch on to my diet habits) and finally (3) uninterrupted laundry time, ahead of the game! Yea, I'm totally in my Snoozies (an obsession discovered on maternity leave, thanks to Hoda & Kathie) by 7pm these crazy Friday nights. Life is good.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tabata

I've started taking this class at the gym called Tabata and it just about killed me the first day.  I'm that person in class who makes everyone else feel better about their own fitness level and skill, you know what I mean?  Even worse is that I took the class with a new friend who's been going for a while and I think by the end she was thinking, "um, can I have a new partner?" as I could barely crank out one push-up, let alone 8 sets of 20!  Apparently I missed the part of the class description that said "advanced" and "not for wimps like you."  I'm also now officially old since I could barely get out of bed the next morning.  It's sad when you start to understand what your parents meant when they complained about getting old and now you're knocked out for 2 days after a 1-hour exercise class.  The good thing is that this experience has motivated me to get into better shape because I'm vain and don't want to keep getting my butt kicked by the 50+ year old dads in class.  And secretly I need to keep up with the other moms who are in great shape and only feed their kids organic food while I ply mine with Goldfish and Goya cookies to keep her from getting kicked out of childcare.  And yes, some days that counts as "lunch."  Shh, don't tell.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Elf on the Shelf

Ok, I guess my kid is still too young for me to understand what the Elf on the Shelf is all about. Some 21- year old salesgirl at Nordstrom (yes, she did tell me her age while she was telling me how much she loves the toy) was trying to tell me all about it and I didn't quite get it, but I do understand that my house is the last house on the planet not to have one. The Nordstrom Youngin', as I will call her, was filling me in on all the "fun" activities they can do, like make snow angels in powdered sugar (Really? This sounds like a disaster in the making to me) or turn water in the toilet green (Uh, ok? Sounding more and more like a great toy to me...). I can only imagine my blank stare in return. But it looks cute. And I guess it's a pretty convincing way to get bigger kids to behave. I'd like to have an Elf watch over me -- especially if said Elf helps bring me presents! (Is that how it works?) And I admit it, I'm seeing pictures everywhere of people's Elves on their Shelves...and I'm jealous. I want to partake, even if I don't get it. Kind of like Kentucky Derby (yea, not really, but go with it) - I want to wear the big hats, drink mint juleps, and participate, even if I don't quite understand the point.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Knight in shining armor

So ok, it's been well established at this point that I'm a softie. The word "goosebumps" was basically invented for my use because everything gives me them. Much to my hubby's dismay, I am pretty much a constant cheeseball and am trying my darndest to make T into a snuggler (which is not working, FYI).

But the Hubs? Not so much. He’s pure macho. No feelings on the sleeve for this guy! So how can I tell that he loves me? The random phone call while out on my nightly walk with T. He’s called to tell me that he sees a helicopter, possibly a police one, circling the nearby vicinity with a "searchlight" on. He suggests that I cut my walk short because he doesn’t know why a chopper would be circling, or who they must be looking for, but he thinks that it can’t be good. I kid you not. So, while I might have nightmares for the next few days about the random psychopath that **may** have escaped from prison and is now evading police, hiding in my neighbor’s driveway and waiting to attack me & T as we stroll on by, the mush in me has also gotten all warm and fuzzy that the Hubs called to protect me from the prison-break crazies out there. That's love, Hubs-style.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

WTH Nordstrom?!

Why why why did you get rid of your maternity stuff?!  I was just about to refer a newly-pregnant friend to your website for awesome deals on cute maternity stuff only to see that it's all GONE.  You are the only reason cheap poor people like me were able to wear semi-cute, non-mumuus during our pregnancy and now you've gone and left us high and dry (sniffle, sniffle).  And it's not like you didn't do good business since I often had to stalk your website during the wee hours to score coveted Olian stuff once it finally went 60% off.  I'm not even preggo again and I'm so bummed about this :(  So Nordstrom peeps, since I know you're reading this, you need to reverse this lapse in judgment and get your maternity sh*t back in gear.  Please don't leave preggos to fend for themselves at Old Navy and Target - you know that won't end well.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

YMCA

So, now that I'm not working full-time I'm officially trying to get back into some sort of shape.  The main hurdle most moms face is not having anyone to watch the baby while they work out.  And yes, you need someone to watch the baby.  People will tell you, "oh, just do a workout DVD in the living room."  Um, have you tried that yourself?  Pre-baby I too thought that was a no-brainer solution, until I bought a bunch of DVDs and gave it a whirl.  Concentrating on yoga poses while your baby rips leaves off the fake plant and throws CD cases at your head is not exactly relaxing.  Now that Audrey is a toddler she's figured out how to turn the TV on and off as well.  And when she isn't doing these things she's eating the dog food or sticking things in the toilet.  I could go on, but the point is there's really no working out at home while she's awake.  And when she finally takes a nap and I have a few minutes to myself I usually want to do something that I used to take for granted -- like shower.

I did make an attempt to run outside with her in the jog stroller but then we moved to TX and encountered the HOTTEST.SUMMER.EVER. and that plan was shot to hell too.  So, we decided to join the YMCA because they have...drumroll...free on-site childcare!  Score, right?  I immediately started fantasizing about the precious "me" time I would get at the gym, taking yoga and pilates classes and maybe even making a mom friend or two, until of course our first visit when the reality fairy showed up.  I met new-friend Amanda, who has two kids of her own, for a quick workout.  We dropped all the kids off at the childcare and started working out.  I expected some tears from Audrey so didn't think much of it when she started wailing as I walked out the door.  Fast forward 30 minutes and I look up to see a Y employee walking toward us.  "Who's baby is Audrey?" she asked.  "Mine," I replied.  "Okay," she says, "she's been crying since you dropped her off so it's time for you to come get her."  Is it bad that my first thought was, "can't you just keep her for 5 more minutes?!"  Don't get me wrong, I don't WANT Audrey to scream and cry and be miserable while we're there, but I'm also DESPERATE for some "me" time, even if it is spent on a treadmill watching reruns of Who Wants to be a Millioniare on mute.  So, our first visit was a bust.  Subsequent visits over the past 2 months haven't improved too much.  Audrey has been kicked out twice more for excessive crying and the hub is telling me to give.it.up.  Since this was my get-back-in-shape grand plan I'm not ready to throw in the towel quite yet.  What do all of you in-shape moms do?!  (And don't say 'personal trainer' or' nanny' because we're poor, okay?)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A plug for charities

I've always been a sensitive, cry-at-the-drop-of-a-hat kind of gal (just ask the Hubs...I doubt he'd mention a steely personality as one of my primary traits). But nothing pulls at my heartstrings more than needy kids (and animals....and old people...ok, I'm a bit of a mush).

The Salvation Army Angel Tree went up the other day and I have to make a little plug for it. This is my fourth year to participate in it through work - and I completely love it. Basically, you just pick a needy kid and buy their Santa's Wish List. How cool is that? Not only can you satisfy your own shopping compulsion but you get to make a random kid happy in the process.

So when you're out shopping to spoil your own kids this holiday season (and by all means, go nuts!*), spoil someone else's kid who wouldn't otherwise get that flying-off-the-shelves Doggie Doo under the tree without your help. (Seriously people, did we REALLY have to invent a pooping dog for kids to play with? And do we really think it has to be a must-have toy?)

Goosebumps.


*Especially you, mom. :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Break out the camera


It's that time of year again! Awkward family photo time! Came across this article on holiday pictures and I couldn't help but relate. Pre-T, I made the Hubs collect our menagerie of animals and pose for a holiday card each year. That was always an interesting one - since the cats would see the camera and think we were trying to torture them (well, maybe we were) and the dog couldn't sit still for more than a minute. And the Hubs, he has something against smiling on film, so getting him to share more than a grimace with the world was interesting in itself.

2009 2010

This year, our original fur-babies (Hubs hates this word, but I can’t help but use it), the cats, were kicked out of the picture. Logistics got to be a bit of an issue – our dog isn’t allowed upstairs and our cats aren’t allowed outside, so the square footage of usable picture-posing space is pretty small. And since we’ve been taking holiday card pictures in the same space for 4+ years now – coming up with ways to make each year’s picture slightly different from the year before is just taxing my creativity (which ok, is pretty lacking to begin with).

So, I managed to dry and straighten my hair for 2 weekend days and the Hubs managed to put on a non-t-shirt shirt for 2 weekend days so that we’d have a collection of pictures (and outfits) to choose from. And the result?
Still totally awkward. Sigh. Nice looking family shots are just not in our cards.

I think we’re just going to have to aspire to be THAT family, you know, the one whose holiday card you just stick on the fridge for the pure entertainment embarrassment factor? Like these people.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Glider

Yes, I'm still here.  Rough week.  Since I like to do things backwards, I decided to finally decorate Audrey's room when she was about 14 months old.  This was because I a) finally had time b) was secretly jealous of the cute room my friend here did for her daughter and c) feeling lame/guilty that my child was over a year old and I hadn't bothered to get even a single piece of artwork for the walls. 


I really need to stop going into Michael's and Hobby Lobby because for some reason whenever I do I get amensia, forget that I don't have a crafty bone in my body, and get the ridiculous idea that I can do things like re-cover gliders or sand and stain IKEA particle-board bookcases.  (And the bookcase has been collecting dust in the hallway for a month.)  Anyway, I decided to push on with re-covering the glider, mostly because it's navy blue and really throwing off my pink, orange and green color scheme.  Us type-A's like everything 'just so.'  I decided on this fabric and of course ordered too little I see, once I spread it out on the floor and started working. 
Nevertheless I forced the hubs to help me re-cover the ottoman tonight since that is by far the easiest part and at least makes me feel like I have half a chance of ever doing the rest.  Here's the before:


And the after:


Not bad, right?  Just don't look underneath :)


Check back next year and I may have even done a cushion or two (*gasp!*).  And who knows, maybe I'll have the whole thing done by the time Audrey's off to college...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mommy's blonde parking lot moment

What's better than getting locked out of your car in the Target parking lot? How about getting locked out of your car in the Target parking lot WITH your cold-symptomy child AND your frozen goods around your baby's typical lunch time while your hubby had plans to spend the day at a football tailgate 30 minutes away? Yes, totally fab.

I meant to take a totally quick trip to Target before lunchtime to try to get a few little things and exchange some baby food that seems to be wreaking havoc on my little guy. SInce I'm very proficient in the art of shopping, I am in and done in about 20 minutes. That's when the fun starts. I start to do the little "walk and dig around" for the car keys dance as I'm getting closer to the car. Hmmm. I don't feel them. So, I dig more and more in my bag in front of the car. Still don't seem them. I empty what is now my mess of a diaper bag into the shopping cart, with T (and some fellow shoppers) looking on curiously. Still. Not. There. So, we take a trip back inside. I go to customer service, where I exchanged the baby food. Nope. The girl was even nice enough to look through the plastic bag trash to see if they got mixed in with a bag I got rid of. No dice. Did I leave them at the check out? No. I retrace my steps through the entire store. Now, T is starting to get majorly unhappy with me. I mean, it's past lunch time and we're doing the same exact shopping route we did 30 minutes before. I check back with customer service to see if in the past 45 minutes, anyone has turned in keys to lost and found. Another no. So I call the hubby to give him a glimpse into my activities at the moment. Every the helpful man, he offers suggestions like "Did you check your bag?" "Check the grocery bags too." Thanks, honey.

So, what seems like a zillion hours later (but actually more like 2), I'm feeding T food I just bought with a random spoon found in my diaper bag (go me!), my aunt is almost to the parking lot to deliver the spare set she got from my house, and the Target security guard who is zipping up and down the parking lanes starts to mosey along by me. (Yes, I'm waiting by the car with a child and melting frozen foods rather than inside because that little cynical side of me was waiting for someone to "find" my keys and plan to drive off in my car. I don't really believe in this southern hospitality stuff) Turns out, security guard man on the segue is my hero! He found my car keys, somewhere in the parking lot. Called them shiny. Of course, he didn't report them as missing because he doesn't seem to believe in this southern hospitality stuff either and was afraid some good samaritan would put the keys to good use and keep the car. So instead of anyone at customer service knowing that the store did, in fact, have my set of car keys, they were locked in his office. I'm thinking that if I hadn't run into him in the parking aisle, there's a pretty good likelihood that I wouldn't have ever gotten these keys back - but the crisis was averted. And within 5 minutes of one another, I had not 1 but both sets of keys back in my hand. Now, mommy just needs some wine for her troubles and all will be better.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Advice for the shoelorn

Why in the world is baby shoe shopping so complicated? And why in the world am I stressing out about what kind of shoes to put on my kid, when he can't quite make it across the room yet on two legs? At this point, he looks more like a drunken sailor when he comes to me in his walking stance, so I doubt he cares too much about what goes onto his feet.

But I've been told that winter is coming, so the boy needs some shoes to keep his socks on. T loves to pull off his socks. And eat them. Shoes might prevent it. Everyone suggests Robeez. The early ones, that have elastic around the ankle to keep the shoes on. Sold. Now if only I could find them. I'm on day 5 of the hunt for these stinkin' shoes and everywhere I look is sold out in his size. (His size being what his squirmy foot kind of looks like measured against my hand. I know, bad mommy, haven't actually taken him to an actual shoe store yet.) And yes, the thought has not escaped me that I'm spending more time looking for shoes for my barely-walking baby than I have for myself lately. Momma needs some shoes too, you know.

So I get to the KID shoe store (oh well, next time) today, all ready for my purchase of Robeez Soft Soles. Alas, shoe man, AKA the foot expert, convinces me that those will actually be a "step back" for him, since he's already taking steps*. Now, the idea that I could be hindering my baby's mad skillz = quelle horreur! But none of my friends who've sworn by Robeez have mentioned that I'm going to make my kid a slow poke in the development arena by having him wear them. The nice shoe man did not seem to realize that he is giving advice to the most INDECISIVE WOMAN ALIVE and he has inadvertently thrown a wrench in her carefully formulated plan. Now what? Stick with the advice of friends? Or follow the advice of shoe man with lots of supposed foot experience and many "foot doctor friends"? What to do? I don't know. I've never had a kid before, I just don't know!

End result - the kiddo got some super cute overpriced shoes based on my handprint on the foot measuring machine (which among other little known facts I learned today, is called a Brannock Device) and I am back on the internet browsing some early Robeez with the ankle elastic.

Sigh. Indecisive me strikes again.

*10 steps at the moment, to be exact.



Sunday, November 13, 2011

New mommy list

I just got home from the second stop of the meeting-newborns East Coast tour today. I am once again (1) amazed at the itty-bittiness of these little ones and (2) convinced that there is no possible way T could have ever been so tiny. It wasn't even a year ago that he was born - yet it seems like an eon ago - and it really is hard to remember what life was like when he was so new to the world. (Ok, maybe a sleep-deprived haze has something to do with that).

Anyway, if you're anything like me (which may or may not be a tad anal), I collected lists of newborn must-have items from basically all my friends for every new-mom situation. Of course, I learned really quickly that every baby and every mommy are completely unique, but there are a few things that seemed to be universal baby-pleasing tools. Since I have newborns on the brain from the weekend, I thought it might be fun to dive into the depths of my memory and list what I remember as my top ten must-haves for the first few months.

  1. Cradle Swing
    Some of T's best naps were in this contraption. I'd pay a million bucks for it, that's how amazing it was for us.
  2. Fisher-Price Rock and Play Sleeper
    Because T moved around way too much in his sleep I needed to confine him so I wouldn't have to wake up every 2 minutes to make sure his swaddle wasn't suffocating him. We tied a string to it so that we could rock it from the comfort of our bed when he seemed like he was stirring. Plus, it was really easy to move this sleeper everywhere we were, so he wasn't more than 2 feet from his brand spankin' new parents at any given moment. A new parents' dream.
  3. Soundspa Sound Machine
    I heart this thing. I admit that I might have a teeny addiction to it since I'm so used to hearing it on the baby monitor - and I might just travel with one for myself these days.
  4. The Sleep Sack
    Once we realized our swaddling skills were no match for T's acrobatics, this blanket gave us some peace of mind with the suffocating fear too. Not that he didn't break out of it, but at least we wouldn't fear it getting stuck over his cute little nose in the process.
  5. Happiest Baby on the Block and On Becoming Baby Wise Two of my favorite sleep books. Do you sense a sleep trend here?
  6. Baby Bjorn
    Sometimes you just need a little break from holding the little munchkin.
  7. The Kindle
    I know this is a mommy-tool and not a baby-tool...but momma needs something to do during those late night feedings when HGTV gets old. And Castle. And NCIS. And Bones. (And mommy loves herself some Bones). Holding a book AND flipping the page with one hand = pure awesomeness, especially at 3AM.
  8. Probiotics
    These wonderful little drops came directly to my door on some excellent advice from Erika - and I couldn't sing their praises more. They really seemed to help T's sensitive tummy - more than the standard Mylicon and Gripe Water did.
  9. Burp Cloths
    One of those things I didn't really understand the importance of until T was born and then I really couldn't have enough of. My little man was a happy little spitter. All. The. Time.
  10. Desitin
    New baby tush. 'Nuff said.
So whatcha think? Am I missing anything?

And as an aside - sorry about those annoying white boxes. In my need to try to be helpful and show you visuals for my Top 10....I added an annoyance factor. Oops. Pretend you don't see them.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Baby genuis

Everyone thinks their kid is a genius.  But mine really is, and let me tell you why:


1.) She waves "bye bye" when we flush the toilet (crucial social skill)
2.) She intentionally farts, looks around the room for a reaction, then bursts out laughing (comic genius - 'nuff said)
3.) She's renamed all animals "gongahs," and really, why do we need "bird," "cat," "dog," and so on?  This is SO much easier.
4.) Yesterday I found her digging the remains of a strawberry out of the trashcan and eating it (#momfail, although she could be the next [female] Bear Grylls, right?)
5.) She thinks Sonic tator tots are awesome.  AND THEY ARE.


Harvard, here we come!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Toys for the tot

It's getting to be that time of year. Time to figure out what Santa will bring T on his very first Christmas and what sort of goodies we should get him for his birthday AND for Hanukkah. (Poor kiddo's present-getting opportunities are condensed into 2 weeks of the year.)

I'm thinking this.



Or this.


(both gift ideas care of petsmart.com)

Yes, they're pet toys. But T seems to gravitate towards anything that the cats and dog might carry around in their mouths. He literally runs (ok, crawls) with a purpose directly for the cat toy collection (which incidentally, is at his eye level in the family room).

But who needs bikes and trucks when he can have squeaky toys and feathered catnip?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Body after baby

If you're the mom of a toddler like me then in order to take a shower you likely have to lock yourself and baby in the bathroom and give her things like makeup brushes to play with while you shower as fast as you can and periodically check to make sure that she's actually playing with those brushes and not guzzling hand sanitizer instead (oops).  And then you get out of the shower and try to avoid glancing at the WALL OF MIRRORS that your bathroom randomly has so as to avoid looking at your post-baby body.  And then your toddler sees you naked, stops what she's doing, stares at your mid-section for a really long time and gives you this "WTF is THAT?!" look and it's all for naught.  And then if you're me you find yourself telling her that actually those handfuls of sagging stomach skin are from her stretching your stomach out for 10 months and that scar is from her not managing to find the exit on delivery day and that you DIDN'T ALWAYS LOOK LIKE THIS.  And then you realize you're sounding kinda crazy and wonder if your mom had this conversation with you when you were little and maybe someday you'll win the lottery and spring for one of those "mommy makeovers."  Am I right or am I right?  And after all that you give her a kiss and remember that it's all worth it.  Until she grabs a handful of that stomach skin and bursts out laughing.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mommy shakes her groove thang

Ah, the endless quest for balance. It's so much easier said than done. Between trying to spend quality time with my little guy so that he doesn't think our daycare lady is "momma," having some grown-up time with the hubby so we have things to talk about other than baby poop, working full-time, and oh yea, trying to still be the same ME I was pre-baby (what's with the guilt associated with this part?!) -- I decided it was high time I got my butt back to the gym.

Now, full disclosure. It isn't just the baby I had 10 MONTHS* ago that has kept me from the gym. No joke, I broke a bone in my foot from the sheer weight of trying to look cute in heels when prego (lesson learned). That little faux pas has kept me from jumping around on my feet for months. In the meantime, I've been attempting to keep my muffin top in check with stroller walks around the neighborhood after work every day. While I'm probably not burning the Halloween candy calories, these strolls do help me kill a few birds with one stone on the balance-quest - I socialize with a fellow neighbor-mommy-friend, spend time with T-man, AND get some exercise in.

However, I miss the gym. And the classes. And the cute yoga pants I had a good excuse to wear. It was definitely time. This was the week to take the plunge. It's a little embarrassing to think of swiping my membership card and seeing ZERO historical attendance in the past, uh, year - but hopefully they didn't judge me too much.

Finding a class was harder than you might expect. I wanted to time it so that I could manage to pick up T at daycare, get him home before the Hubs got home from work, and be back home again before bathtime. My old step class? Gone (yes, I know this fad went out with the 1990s, but I'm still a holdover, ok? Shoot me.). My old cardio kickboxing class? Gone. Zumba. Hmm...now this is something I figured I could work with! I danced for years and years and took exercise classes pretty consistently - so a dancey aerobics class is right up my alley. Or was. It appears momma's got no rhythm. And she's limping today from tweaking her knee while trying to shake her booty. I'm not sure how the two are connected either. Don't judge. Obviously, momma needs some wine to get her groove on aerobics practice.

*Uh, that means my little newborn is 10 months old already. How does that happen?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oh, crap

WHY does my child poop in the bathtub?!  I mean, seriously.  It doesn't get any less gross the more she does it...and then she sits there pointing at it and screaming, "she-shaw!!" (she only speaks Chinese, in case you're wondering).  Of course the hubs grabs Audrey out of the tub and calls "not it" so I'm stuck w/the mess.  (Yes, we have a very mature decision-making process in this house).  Parenthood.is.awesome.


And let me just take this opportunity to say "yay" we have zero blog readers!  And I think we've accidentally been tracking our own page views and thinking we have followers.  Awesome.

Stuffed heads

You know you've lived in Texas for too long when...you start decorating your child's room with animal heads. Stuffed ones. Sort of as if grandpa was hunting stuffed animals and chopped the head off his prize "find" to bring back home to his grandson.

To be fair (and ok, a little proud of T's -- aka my -- New York bloodlines), I did discover this precious wall decoration in my personal Mecca, Bloomies. And this retail visit to the Most Wonderful Place on Earth was on my last trip to New York*, so it can't really be a style choice attributed to a "I've turned country" thing. However, I also admit, that the two friends I was on this shopping trip with might have looked at me like I was a little bonkers when I was fawning all over these stuffed animal heads on the children's level of our dear store. I assure you this stuffed fauna is totally and utterly adorable. In a non-redneck way.

The stuffed animal head wouldn't fit into my suitcase to take it back home, but lucky for T, his Great Aunt just moved down to our neck of the woods from the City** and was looking for an excuse to spoil him. She knows a good purchase when she sees one.

Check it out - cute right?


*Don't even ask how much I miss Bloomies. Instead, ask about joining my personal email campaign to the company suggesting why the retail operations of the Most Wonderful Place on Earth need to expand to Austin. I've been stalking the biz dev team since I moved here, people.

**Which now means that my entire family of New Yorkers calls Texas home. Pause for the enormity of that statement. It's pretty darn awesome.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What's for dinner tonight

My in-laws were visiting over the weekend so the hubs and I decided to whip up some lasagna since it's great for groups and really, who doesn't like lasagna?*  We went all out and even made the sauce from scratch, rather than using canned tomatoes and paste, but it tastes good either way.  Our only "oops" was forgetting that the sauce had onions AND the lasagna recipe had onions, so, it was a bit heavy on the onions...nevertheless, I think it came out pretty well.  I know there are a million lasagna recipes out there but I'm partial to this one.  We used sausage but you can do any kind of meat, or spinach for the vegetarians:


Preheat oven to 375 degrees


Ingredients:
12 ounces ground beef, ground pork, or sausage
1 cup chopped onion
2 gloves garlic, minced
1 7.5-ounce can tomatoes, cut up
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed (optional)
6 dried lasagna noodles (I use 9 and do a third layer)
1 beaten egg
1 15-ounce container of ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
3 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley (I leave this out because I'm cheap and fresh herbs are expensive)
6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese


Directions:
1.) For the sauce, in a medium saucepan cook the meat, onion, and garlic until the meat is brown.  Drain the fat.
2.) Stir in the undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, oregano, fennel seed (if using) and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.) Meanwhile, cook the lasagna noodles for 10-12 minutes or until tender but firm.  Drain the noodles; rinse with cold water.  Drain well.  (I lay them out on a cookie sheet so they don't get all stuck together before assembly.)
4.) For the filling, combine the egg, ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan or romano cheese and the parsley (if using).
5.) Layer half the cooked noodles in a 2-quart rectangular dish.  Spread with half the filling.  Top with half the meat sauce and half the mozzarella cheese.  Repeat layers.  If desired, sprinkle additional parmesan cheese on top.
6.) Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.  Makes 8 servings.


You can also make this ahead and refridgerate for up to 24 hours, you just need to bake it a little longer.


*So who doesn't like lasagna?  That would be Audrey, who gave it one sniff and promptly chucked it off her highchair table and onto the floor for the dog to eat.  Sigh.  And so she remains in the 15th percentile for weight...


Sunday, October 23, 2011

A roarin' good time

In preparation for the Little Dude's very first Halloween, the Hubs is trying to teach T how to roar. Like a dinosaur. His costume looks a little alligator-like, but we've determined (by Googling it) that we did, in fact, buy him a dinosaur costume. So now the pressure's on. He's got a little over a week left to learn how to roar like a T-Rex.

And he's trying. Of course he is. I've said it once, I'm sure
I'll say it until he's at least a pre-teen and his parents are no longer "cool." Daddy does it, T imitates it. Only, of course, it's his own take on the "dinosaur roar." Instead of an adorable little-kid-copying-animal-noises sound, T makes the universal sign for "I'm choking." We had to warn our daycare provider that when T isn't making crazy faces, he is now crawling about looking and sounding like he's gagging on marbles.




Why can't the Hubs teach T to do something cute...like give his mommy hugs?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wagons

Yesterday we ventured out to the Fort Worth Zoo and it was crazy-packed.  I should have figured as much but for some reason I thought going at 3:00 p.m. would spare us the crowds.  That would be a no.  Audrey spent most of the time running wild, getting knocked over by strollers, and generally ignoring every animal we tried to show her.  I made the hubs chase after her while I tried to soothe my migraine with over-priced water ice (#fail).


Anyway, as we were enjoying all this family fun I noticed that every other person at the zoo was pulling their kids around in a wagon.  As in, those big plastic red wagons, you know the ones I'm talking about?  Or the more traditional wooden ones with slats and a metal base.  I thought I was having deja-vu after seeing the exact same thing at the Aquarium about a month ago.  What is up with that?  Is this some kind of TX thing?  This is definitely not something I remember seeing on the East Coast, except maybe here and there on a sidewalk in a cul-de-sac.  And I couldn't help thinking - is it really practical?  I saw several parents trying to maneuver them up and down stairs (usually by asking all the kids to get out, walk up/down the stairs, and then pile back into the wagon) and in general they just look heavy and bulky.  I'm thinking I'll stick with a stroller but feel free to enlighten me, fellow Texans.    

Monday, October 17, 2011

He wants them...I know he does...

T might not be able to use his words yet, but I know he's got his Momma's fashion gene. He wants these. No doubt about it. He's looked at me and his eyes said "Please Mommy!"

The Hubs might think it's a slightly crazy purchase, but I know deep down (ok, really really deep down) he must love that T dresses like his Mini-Me. Even if he'll grow out of them in a month.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Yum

It's finally (and probably temporarily) fall here in TX today - 67 degrees! Fall is my favorite season so still dealing with temps in the 90s and no foliage here (yet at least) has been an adjustment for me. The funny thing is that the stores are decked out like it's the middle of winter with sweaters, heavy coats, and boots for sale. There's just something strange about drinking a Pumpkin Spice Latte in 90-degree weather but I suppose I'll adjust.

Anyway, to celebrate I decided to make pumpkin bread, one of my fave fall treats. I wish I could say I used raw pumpkin that I carved myself and organic cage-free eggs...but canned by WalMart is more like it. For anyone interested, here is the recipe:

Ingredients:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 Tbs baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger or ground cloves (I used ginger)
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup shortening
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour, the brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, and ginger or cloves. Add pumpkin, milk, eggs, and shortening. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed till blended. Beat on medium to high speed for 2 minutes. Add the 1 cup flour; beat until blended. Fold in the walnuts and raisins.  Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove loaf from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

And yes, I will likely eat the entire loaf by myself. Don't judge.



Friday, October 14, 2011

A stink face only a mom could love (sort-of)

So, it's true.

Babies really do take note of everything we do. And every reaction we make because of what they do. I'm pretty certain it's gonna be real interesting when T starts to learn to talk!


T watches his dad. Like, uber carefully. I don't rank nearly as highly in terms of the "must copy everything this cool person does" but that's ok, I'm not holding too strong of a grudge. The Hubs doesn't seem to quite realize the power he holds, so he's not always the most careful with his baby interactions. Case in point is his version of a laugh. He makes this funky looking squashed-up nose thing. It's endearing on a grown up. It might be a little funny looking, I know, but hey, it's not like the Hubs is laughing hysterically very often. (Surprising right, because he's married to me and I constantly remind him that I am the best joke-teller of all time...riiight). So anyway...all of the sudden, voila! T is making this weird imitation of his dad, complete with funky sound effects and everything. So we laugh at him. How could we not? He's downright funny looking when he does it and it's pretty obvious what he's trying to do. Parenting A-ha#1: BIG MISTAKE. Don't laugh at what you don't want to encourage! T is now convinced that the way to our hearts is through this terrible looking and sounding expression. He does it and does it and does it. NON-STOP.

Did we permanently block his chances of being voted "best smile" in high school at the tender age of 8 1/2 months? Is my future daughter-in-law going to cringe at her otherwise completely perfect husband's wedding pictures? How in the world can we unteach this damage to his cute face?!

See for yourself....It's bad, people!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mothergoose Storytime

Since I'm relatively new to this stay-at-home-mom thing (I was previously working full-time), I'm continually looking for things to get me and Audrey out of the house that are a) within our nap schedule b) relatively close by and c) not insanely expensive. This led me to the local library where I signed us up for Mothergoose Storytime last month. The class meets every Monday for 30 minutes and basically we sing songs, read stories, and the kids run around and play. Although in Audrey's case she refuses to participate in the "free play," instead waiting until we are supposed to be quietly reading before taking off across the room screaming "da da!" Awesome. She also cries during parachute time which makes no sense to me since that's the most fun part if you ask me! Anyway, despite these little bumps we keep going back because Mommy needs to get out of the house sometimes :)

Now comes the funny/awkward part. Because we live in a heavily Indian part of town, 99% of the other parents/kids in the class are Indian. Nothing wrong with this, however, as part of every class we go around the room and sing everyone's name out loud. Guess who can't understand anyone else's name and has to mumble through them all under her breath? Uh, that would be me. And it doesn't seem to get easier as the weeks go by. Although this past week I discovered that the misunderstanding runs both ways when one of the other parents asked me, "Is Audrey a boy or a girl?" (Um, for reals?) Maybe I need to up the girl factor with her or something. I thought the hot pink pants and matching onesie were a dead giveaway but said parent seemed rather shocked at my reply ("Oh!"). Time to dig out the barrettes? Well, judge for yourself.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

No sneezing allowed

I got back from my long-awaited trip to NY last week and promptly came down with a cold. Darn airplanes and recirculated air. (Oh, and darn sharing of an entire tube of cookie dough with friends who recently had colds...but the eating of the cookie dough is a long-standing tradition so I will ignore that part. I digress.)

Not only did this cold make its rounds through my entire family (wonderful), it also led to the discovery of a strange little kiddo quirk. T is TERRIFIED of me blowing my nose. ABSOLUTELY, completely, what-am-I-doing-to-this boy scared to death of nose blowing...Tissues might as well be tools of torture, they are such hysterics-inducing things.
I can admit it, it's a tad strange. He'll grow out of it eventually, right? You don’t hear of too many (any?) grown-ups with tissue-aphobia, so I’m counting on the likelihood that T won’t be one of them. At least I can be assured he won't be the kid in school who sits at his desk and eats his snotty tissues for fun (oh come on, we all had one of those sitting next to us growing up...I sure did anyway).

Saturday, October 8, 2011

So....Here we are...

We're two college friends who seem like we've been friends for eons. Even though we've never lived closer than a few hundred miles apart since college (real life is SO inconvenient sometimes), we've learned that life is better when shared!

Happy or sad, embarrassing or mundane, our circle of friends hears (and shares) it all. (Lucky or not for our hubbies?) We count on each other to entertain, support, whine to, and advise, so we thought it would be fun to share our little "adventures" in a blog!

Happy reading!

Vickie & Erika