Friday, January 27, 2012

Snack obsessions

I am a snacker.  This is good and bad since I do think it keeps your metabolism up but I'm not usually snacking on healthy things like chicken or hard-boiled eggs.  Oops.  Anyway, I've recently become obsessed with two new snacks:

Simply 7 Chip Lentil Sea Salt 4 oz (Pack Of 12)

and Peeled Snacks much-ado-about-Mango, 1.40 oz bags (pack of 10)

I tell myself that the chips are somewhat healthy since they're made of lentils, but I don't really think anything with the word "chip" in it can be considered healthy.  Audrey also hates these - she is a Lays potato chip girl, through and through.  Another oops.

The dried mango is healthy, it just costs a small fortune.  I first tried it at Starbucks where it's about $2 per single-serving bag.  Ouch.  I've sinced ordered it from Amazon for $1.50 a bag and could save some money if I signed up for subscribe-and-save...but doesn't "subscribing" to regular food delivery seem kind of crazy?  Or do people really do that?  Maybe I should worry less about whether or not food delivery makes me look crazy AND lazy and worry more about the fact that I'm addicted to (and writing a post about) lentil chips?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I don't know if I'm alone in this observation, but it seems to me that there is a fairly recent trend that equates becoming a mommy with becoming a pseudo-professional photographer. Don't get me wrong. I absolutely LOVE when I have friends that are talented behind the lens. I am majorly spoiled by a sister-in-law that basically takes professional photos of T whenever she is around him. But in general, I would say that it's safe to assume just because you have a kid, you haven't all the sudden acquired some artistic gene that will allow you to turn pictures everything he does into a photographic masterpiece. At least, that's my experience.

Not a masterpiece? I mean, really, I deserve some credit, I tried.

Me, well, I was originally planning to do the whole "buy a new camera because I'm having a baby" thing also. It was a good excuse to go shopping for me and the Hubs to feed his slight obsession with buying electronics. Only, T came early and I didn't have a chance. Good thing it worked out that way because the incident I will call Madame Tussuad's Camera Experience would have been a whole lot less "funny" if it was with a fancy-schmancy spankin' new camera instead of my good ole stand-by. What's the Madame Tussuad's Camera Experience, you ask? Picture a BBQ where a little kid with a liking for fire allegedly decided it would be cool to see what happened when he mixed a camera - mine - with a lit citronella candle and blow out the flame...Fast forward to discovering a camera fully encased in hardened wax a few hours later at the bottom of the tub of citronella. Yes, I kid you not.

Because I have a hard impossible time making decisions. I bought the latest version of what I already owned. It was just easier. No thought really required and I was hoping that I wouldn't have to crack the owner's manual. Because let's face it, it wasn't gonna happen. To my delight, several years of technology made it smaller and better (go figure) and it still has the "kids and pets" feature that at least lets me attempt to capture T doing cute things on film. Or try to. So maybe pyro-kid did me a favor after all. Now I just need to work on the creation of my first photographic masterpiece. It's due to happen one of these days, right?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Preschool: Part 1

This past week I officially entered what is apparently the cut-throat, competitive, nuts-o and expensive world of...wait for it...Getting Into Preschool.  Yes, you read that right.  And this isn't even fancy, private preschool.  Heck, it's not even really preschool, it's "early preschool" or "Mother's Day Out" as they call it down here.  It literally consists of 2 half-days a week and all of the churches around here run them.  Apparently if you live in a cave like me then you mistakenly think you can just call up the program of your choice, pay the deposit, and start your kid the next week.  (You can stop laughing now).  Instead, here is how it really goes:

- First you talk about all of the different schools with the other moms at the gym who always know way more about these things than you do. 
- Then you do a lot of online research and make Excel spreadsheets comparing the different schools if you're just a wee bit control-freakish and type-A (who me?).  You try to discuss the pros and cons of each with your husband over dinner every night but oops, he doesn't give a crap and is watching the game.
- Next you go to "open houses" where preschool reps sit at tables and watch as your kid runs wild around the room and sends peoples' laptops crashing to the floor and suddenly those people say, "oops, sorry, we're coincidentally out of info packets and registration forms."  And as you're getting embarrassed the Baptish Church folks come over and tell you their preschool will teach your kid about Jesus and Spanish - apparently the two most important survival skills in Texas - and you remember the last time you were in church and your kid swiped the altar candle, flashed the congregation, and was sent to the 'crying room' for the rest of mass.  And that was her own baptism.  Hmmm.

But seriously?  Can't we just do some finger-painting and call it a day?  I think I have a school picked out for Audrey but now I have to go meet the teachers, tour the classroom, and then get up at the crack of dawn on dreaded Registration Day to stand in line outside the school and fight for a spot.  Because we're new we'll most likely end up on the waiting list (which we will have to pay for...) and spend the summer waiting to hear if we get in.  Maybe boring her to death at home with me all day isn't such a bad idea after all.

Note to parents-to-be: this is the kind of crap they don't tell you about in the hospital when they hand you the baby and send you home.  If anyone's going to eff this process up it's me, so take notes.  You can thank me later.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fun with food

Say you're eating and you're done with your dinner and don't want to make your momma feel bad for not finishing everything on your plate. Where do you put the food?

First choice....feed it to the dog.

"If I look really innocent, mom will never know the dog is sitting here to eat my food."

But if he's not there to sneak your scraps, how 'bout hiding it on your head?

"Surely if I can't see it, mom can't either"

He's pretty smart, I tell ya.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The reunion weekend

Finally, some rest. T slept last night. All night long. Sweet sigh of relief!*

It's no wonder! Our reunion weekend at the lake wore him out! College friends, some of their hubbies, and five kids under the age of three all under one roof for three nights. It was great. Maybe Erika will weigh in on the weekend too, since we were there together, but it seemed like a success to me. Constant stimulation for the kiddos meant good naps - and it actually got quiet in the house a couple times a day. The hubbies put together a meal one night. No really, I'm serious. And best of all, no one cracked their head open on the stone fireplace during "group play" (aka running loops around the tiled house again and again and again).

Night times were a little more challenging. We each shared rooms with our kiddos. We've done this bunches of times before and didn't think anything of it, but well, the bunches of times we've shared a room in the past didn't involve day-long football, fishing and beer. So we discovered that T has apparently inherited my inability to sleep through the hubs beer-induced snoring. Not even the usual sound of rain coming from the beloved sound machine (you know, the one I'm obsessed with) could drown out the *gentle* jackhammering. One night he slept great. The other two....let's just say, ouch. Loved the friends, loved the trip....but loved being home in a quiet house in a different room from the kiddo last night! Next time, I think it might be worth it to purchase matching mom and baby earplugs.

Perhaps the lake was a tad dry...but that didn't cramp our style!

*Disclaimer: This might be the most boring post ever. I took a Melatonin (best discovery ever!) a couple hours ago to ease myself to sleep tonight since I'm still a few hours short of actually being rested. I'm so darn relaxed that my brain cells have all gone to sleep already. Maybe I'll try again another day.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sleep deprived

Momma needs some sleep in the worst way. Really needs some sleep. Like another 8 hours to be exact. Let's be honest, I'd even settle for half that. The first of our friends started arriving yesterday for our big "Reunion" weekend (11 adults, 5 kids, 1 lakehouse - good times!) -- and so T chose last night to have a contender in the "Top 3 Worst Nights Ever" in our household. One being the second night he was home from the hospital and was inconsolable about having his days and nights confused. Two being the infamous puking night. And three being last night, where he woke up at 12:45am and had no interest in going back to sleep and wanted to make sure EVERYONE knew it. Way to go, little dude, way to make a great first impression.

The guest room that our poor jet-lagged friends were in shared a wall with my insanely screaming and hysterically crying little guy. He’d stop crying when we took him out of the crib and would even fall asleep when we rocked him – but the moment we tried to ease him back into his bed, the world started falling apart again. Again and again, until it was time to leave for daycare. So basically, I’ve been awake since I went to bed. Not a fun way to start a work day.

And to add insult to injury, some massive cold front came in last night via the wind (I swear these things just didn’t “blow in” up in NY) and totally did a job on our patio. So in between the Hubs and I switching off on chair rocking duty *all-night long* we were taking turns up-righting the brand-spankin’ new grill as it crashed over in the wind, trying to keep the patio umbrella from ending up in the neighbor’s yard, and moving patio chairs into the kitchen to keep them from going through the windows. All at 3:30am. I know you’re thinking it…Being our houseguests rock!!

I’m currently powering through the day on sugar from M&Ms because I deserve them and contemplating sitting in my car at lunch with my head on the steering wheel. Is it bad that I’m thinking that Benadryl might not be such a bad idea for tonight? Possibly for us both?

Monday, January 9, 2012


how many drinks does it take to get to Oman with an 18-month old in your lap?  Not sure actually because the flight attendants cut me off after 3.  Kidding.  But a fun experiment, no?  To give some back story my parents currently live in Oman, in the Middle East, next to Saudi Arabia.  This is their last year there and we still hadn't visited them so we sucked it up and blew our savings treated ourselves to a trip there for Christmas.  There are a couple of different ways to get there but the gist of it is:

- Dallas to Chicago
- Chicago to Abu Dhabi
- Abu Dhabi to Oman

Or you can go out of New York and stop in Europe, but there's no getting around taking 3 flights which means 2 layovers and lots of line-waiting, security check-pointing, and other pain-in-the-ass airport stuff.  I'll be honest, I was terrifed of this trip.  For months.  A year even.  It kept me up at night and probably gave me a few ulcers.  This may sound ridiculous to people without children but I think other parents understand...toddlers, lack of sleep, jet lag, line-waiting and "rules" such as "buckle your seatbelt" don't really mix.  Add to that the fact that we couldn't afford to buy Audrey her own seat so we (um, that means me) were either carrying her on our laps or praying there was an empty seat on the plane that she could have. (Yes, I am naive.  Out of 6 flights she got a seat on 1.  #HugeFail)

Things went smoothly enough until we got to Chicago, a mere 4 hours into our adventure.  And here I learned lesson 1.  When you shove milk in your kid's face for 3 hours to keep them from screaming, they pee.  A lot.  Like, more than normal.  And if you don't change their diaper more frequently to accomodate, well, then they pee all over themselves, the stroller, you, and the airport floor.  And they throw a tantrum at the same time so that everyone in the terminal stops to stare.  And you are then THAT PARENT with THAT KID.  And you'll have to sit in your pee-soaked clothes for the next 28 hours.  And then you'll finally get in line to board the plane for your 13-hour overnight flight and the following exchange will occur:

Gate Agent: (super excited) "Okay!  Let's see where you're sitting!  Oh no...(frowny face) have the 2 worst seats on the plane...Have a good flight!"

Me: (reeking of pee) "Are you effing kidding me?!"

(Are we having fun yet?)

The next lesson I learned is that international airlines are way better than American airlines.  It's true.  They actually give you a menu and let you choose your meals.  Unless of course you're us and you're sitting in the last row (see "2 worst seats on the plane" above) and they run out of food by the time they get to you and the toilet is over-flowing 3 feet away, but who's counting?  And the flight attendants take your kid on a tour of the plane for 30 minutes so you can scrap together the last threads of your sanity.  And they give you fun stuff like toothbrushes, eye masks and socks that you use to entertain your kid during hour number 1,304.  Sadly we flew American Airlines coming home and Alec Baldwin was right, the flight attendants are old battleaxes that don't think your kid is cute and don't give 2 craps if you want to get up and stretch your legs after the plane has been taxiing on the runway for TWO HOURS while the pilot keeps getting on the intercom and saying "5 more minutes!" because he doesn't have the balls to give it to you straight. 

This brings me to lesson 3.  I am not one of those germ-a-phob parents that disinfects everything or is crazy about cleaning or what have you.  This would come back to bite me in the ass.  After we finally made it to Oman and started my Dad's non-stop-tour-adventure-extraordinaire, Audrey got sick.  Really sick.  At first we tried to roll with it and keep up the hectic pace of fort-touring, boating, and palace-seeing but by day 2 she was a mess.  Add to this some serious jet-lag (it's a 10-hour time difference) and you have a recipe for insanity.  We finally broke down and found a clinic where the doctor told us she had some combo of an ear infection, strep throat and bronchitis.  He didn't actually know what she had but gave us some meds and thankfully they worked.  But it was one hellish week.  Lesson learned - when stuck on a plane with 200 Pakistanis who have each carried a 40-inch flat screen TV on board (don't ask - culture difference), rather than fretting over whether or not the plane is going to crash into the Atlantic because surely it exceeds the weight limit, you should instead be watching where the heck your kid is sticking her pacifier and what nasty germs she's contracting so you don't ruin your vacation before you even get there.

I'm happy to say that the rest of the trip was pretty uneventual - fun even.  The weather was beautiful, we stayed right on the beach and I didn't have to cook a meal, wash a dish, or do laundry the entire time (score!).  And now I can look back on the flight I took with Audrey to Baltimore last summer and laugh about how nervous and stressed I was then - ha.  Suddenly domestic travel is looking like a walk in the park.  But someone please slap me if I utter the words "international travel" and "Audrey" in the same sentence any time in the next, say, 10 years.  Thanks.

Friday, January 6, 2012

We survived...

the trip.  And that's honestly all I can write about it at the moment since I've slept about 7 hours out of the past 48 and have another long night ahead of me with a jet-lagged toddler.  *Sigh*  But what's a "vacation" if you don't come back needing a real vacation, right?  Oh, and it appears that our dog came down with pink eye in the kennel.  (Can dogs even get that??)  I probably should be doing something about it, but I'm too damn tired and trying to get boogers out of his eyes keeps Gonzo occupied.  I am a mean pet parent.  But call me after you've spent 31 hours on a plane with an 18-month old in your lap and then we'll talk.  After you finish counting the blood clots in your legs.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Year of the toddler

Happy New Year, Peeps!

Three days into 2012 and I've learned that there is lots that I don't know about life with a toddler. Yeah, I know that T hasn't even been a year old for a week yet. I guess I'm getting a jump-start on my clueless stage.

So, I've already decided I need to read up on parenting the little dude. Since I thought the Happiest Baby on the Block was pretty darn helpful back in the day, I just ordered the Happiest Toddler on the Block to see what the guy has to say. Considering that T seems to be wanting to talk in the worst way, yet doesn't quite use his words too well yet and thinks that the sign for "all done" (or his "princess wave" as the Hubs puts it) is the universal symbol for anything and everything, I think I'll take any communicating tips the man has for me.

I've learned in the past few days that there really is a purpose to mattress protectors. For the past year, I have been spoiled by zero nighttime messes, except for one major puking incident. (Not fun.) I was starting to doubt the reason that those waterproof thingys even exist. Enter my new toddler. This past week, T has woken up drenched from head to toe in pee each morning (gross), totally quadrupling my laundry load (Voila! Mattress protectors purpose discovered!) and negating any yummy baby smell that the nighttime bath provided.

This leads me to my latest toddler discovery --

That there are such things as nighttime diapers. Who knew? Everyone but me, apparently, since I am the only one in the world that has never used them. Which might just explain the recent overabundance of nighttime pee.

So, three random toddler learnings led me to three toddler purchases in three days. Sorry, Hubs, I think this next stage is gonna be expensive.