Saturday, December 19, 2009


Jambuca found e-baby's old ride-on cart and is cruising around the house behind it. I don't see much of him, but I know where he is by the SQUEE-guffaw-Yaaa! noises.

edited to add one more video. Those times when I'm feeling completely overwhelmed and haggared by the demands of 2 demanding children, I just need to watch this:

Friday, December 18, 2009

Australia Recap, part 1

In order to keep my dad from hacking into my blogger account and writing a recap himself, I'm putting some words to disk and starting out the story of our Big Adventure.

For starters, that was One Fun Trip. Every time we've done vacation with my parents (Colorado, France, Quebec, Marquette, Australia), it has been better than the last. I'm not sure whether it's because we're getting more accustomed to each others' ways, or we're getting better at planning activities we all enjoy, or we're better at making a liveable home-base for eating/sleeping/socializing, or we're getting older and mellower, or the kids are such a distraction that no one has a chance to notice anyone else's quirks. Whatever the reason, we had a better time than the last trip, which I thought was one of the best trips ever.

The trip to Australia was long. But really, we planned for the worst, expected misery, and were pleasantly surprised most of the time. When it was difficult, it was status quo. The only thing seriously stressful was the chance of missing connecting flights (twice).

As a shout-out to the best airline ever, we flew V Austrrlia from LAX to SYD and back. Otherwise we flew American and Virgin Blue. V Australia were awesome. Best airline I've ever flown, and I wish they'd fly everywhere I ever go. If you have a chance to fly them, do it. Don't bother with anyone else. Even if you don't get any points.

We had (expensive) internet access in Melbourne, and so I was able to post during that part of the trip. The hotel there was a 3-br, so the kids had their own room and everyone slept really well. Jet lag wasn't even a problem. To keep our health and our budget, we cooked our meals in for breakfast and dinner, and had lunch out most days. That means we had the best of local produce, lamb, seafood, and even kangaroo. Melbourne is a food destination, whether you shop at the markets or eat out at restaurants or go to the cake shops on Ackland St in St Kilda. Which, by the way, were walking distance from our hotel. Hee.

I assumed we'd have internet in Sydney, it being a modern city and all that, but no. We were at the only million-dolloar-view luxury apartment hotel with no high speed internet access in Sydney. We also only had 2 bedrooms, so the kids were divided among us and no one slept very well. Still, the hotel was terrific and it was worth paying extra for a view of Lavender Bay from the 15th floor. At the bottom of the street our hotel was on was the harbour bridge and a perfect view of the Opera House. Everything was accessible from a ferry that picked up right there and took you to Circular Quay.

I pretty much worked in Sydney all except for a couple of days, but everyone else had a grand time sightseeing. I did get to see some of the key points, though. SNG and I took the kids to Manly, a beautiful peninsual with a popular Pacific surfing beach. We went on the "Manly ferry"-- Go on, say that out loud and try not to laugh. I actually preferred Watson's Bay, which had protected harbour beaches because there was no riptide, shark, croc, or jellyfish threat to worry about. E-baby preferred that beach too, since I actually let her get into the water there.

I think that Sydney was a cleaner city, and strikingly beautiful. Melbourne was a more casual city, with very interesting architecture. It would be more fun to walk Melbourne and more fun to ride the ferries of Sydney. Taxis in Sydney are unreliable. Trams in Melbourne are brilliant. Either city is a great place to take children.

If I have the chance to go back someday, I want more time. I want a kitchen again. I want to go in springtime again. And I want to fly home without children.

Next time: The end of the Sydney trip, and the trip home.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Home Again

We're back from Australia and it was AWESOME. The best part of the trip was Sydney, and our hotel had no internet access. So I have a lot to catch you up on. But first, here's a random find...

Steamed broccoli and baked apples, mixed together to make a lumpy baby food,







The kids will be lucky to get any of the leftovers.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I Blog From the Land Down Under

OK, this is just a copy-paste from Facebook, but here's an update on Melbourne so far. First, here are pictures.

The trip here was LONG but uneventful, with a flight from RDU to DFW to LAX to SYD to MEL, with a long layover in LAX (6 hours) and 2 very, very short layovers that made us nearly miss connections (DFW and SYD). The kids were as good as you can expect a 9-mo-old and a 3-year-old to be. Better, really. Each of us got between 4-6 hours of sleep in that 36-hour period. The first day in Melbourne was a walking dream with sea legs.

Melbourne has more interesting architecture than I've seen anywhere. Even Barcelona doesn't really compare. I will take lots of pictures of the buildings and bridges and post them later.

The adult people are outstandingly friendly, and the teenagers are outstandingly surly. Must be some sort of caterpillar-butterfly thing to go from kid to adult here, because it's hard to imagine that these cursing, spray-can wielding, angry-looking people will eventually turn into the jovial and welcoming people who are just a few years older. But that's adolescence for you and that's why someone's teenage record shouldn't be held against them when they run for office someday.

Yesterday (today for you!!) we went to the Healesville wildlife sanctuary and pet some real kangaroos. We saw some of the world's deadliest snakes and got a lecture that made them sound sort of sweet and lovable. We also saw a birds of prey show, allthough I think that the birds of prey in the US are at least as interesting. We saw giant monitor lizards (Goannas, NOT Iguanas) eating giant possums (possums, NOT oppossums) for lunch. We saw platypus eating yabbies (yabbies NOT crawfish). Reptiles here are way cool and creepy.

We also went to the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere (Queen Victoria market) and I would believe that it is the biggest one in the whole world. The fishmarket section smelled like clean water. It was absolutely gorgeous. So far we've tried local snapper and basso. Australia also has TONS of free-range sheep, so the sheepmilk cheese is cheap and delicious. I hanker for some giant prawns. We will have lamb tonight. I love having a kitchen.

The hotel is a 3-bedroom apartment with 2 bathrooms, a balcony, and lots of space to spread out. Kids share a room. Life is good.

We cooked up giant prawns and a hostile alien species called Moreton Bay Bugs for dinner. Google those. They're delicious, and ugly. No surprise, they don't have Zatarain's crab boil here. We made do with a bunch of salt and green Tabasco sauce.

I am continually surprised at what a foodie's paradise Melbourne is. The food porn here is unreal. E-baby just had some of SNG's almond croissant from the bakery downstairs and said "it's so good, I couldn't believe my mouth!"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Updates so I don't forget

Jambuca climbed the staircase at home today-- the whole thing, by himself (I was supervising, don't worry). It was hilarious because he, e-baby and I were playing in the foyer when he got this mischief-look on his face and went up the first step and then he really did laugh maniacally and went up the 2nd step, and he guffawed to himself, and then he roared up the next few, laughing his head off, and e-baby ran up the stairs to coax him from above, and he laughed and guffawed and squealed with delight as he made his way up, up, up. When he reached the top he belly-flopped onto the landing.

E-baby had her 2nd-ever dentist visit today and she was a CHAMP! They did the whirly toothcleaning, scraped her molars, everything except x-rays (she's too young for those still). She didn't even flinch. Afterwards we had the traditional celebratory Frosty from Wendy's and there was an excellent hook-and-ladder truck in the parking lot, just like the last time, so she's forever going to associate the dentist's office with Frosties (Frostys?) and fire trucks.

That's all. I just wanted these recorded for posteriority.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Last Sunday I joined my cousin in doing the Fat Flush diet-- partly out of solidarity, because she wasn't ennjoying it much and partly because I need to lose this baby weight, and heck, I'm game for a new diet.

It was pretty UN-fun the first few days, but once I got into the swing of it, it's been fine. I actually really like the cran-water regimen, but I put stevia in it to make it taste better. I think it has helped to keep my blood sugar in check. The scale has only changed by a pound and a half, but my clothes tell a different story- I'm down one full pants size after a week. That's refreshing. I'm also really glad I went to the state fair last wekend and PIGGED out on all my favorite fair foods, because now I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything.

This weekend, the fall colors are really getting turned up. I love this time of year- it is my absolute favorite season in North Carolina. Out my back window there's a riot of orange, red, pink, yellow, purple and green. Flowers could never compete just for the sheer visual real-estate those colorful leaves occupy! The weather is nice and cool, too, which makes me more inclined to play outside with the kids. THis morning, e-baby and I practiced riding her pedal bike She still has a long way to go, but there's a mtivating factor-- if she learns to ride it by Christmas, then she can ask Santa Claus for a pink-and-purple princess pedal-bike. Yes, I know, I am the LAST person you'd figure would have a princess for a kid, but there it is. Evidence of the inevitability of princess-infusion. It's OK, she can be a princess and still win the Nobel in Chemistry someday.

Jambuca really wants to walk, really wants to talk, but hasn't got the hang of either. He will be walking soon, but the talking? He does a lot of rhythmic LALALA! but so far, no hard consonants. He did sign "Milk" a few weeks ago, which was cool. He also recognizes a few other signs but I think he'll probably talk on a more "normal" schedule than his sister did. He can pretty much get whatever he wants by smiling at people. Which is just fine with me. My dad calls him Cheerful Charlie, and he really is just that.

SNG is not faring as well as the rest of us. This terrible cough he has is turning into a bear. He seems to have torn a muscle in his ribcage, making it painful to laugh, cough or sneeze. I am trying to make him go to the doctor, but he isn't having it. If he's not better by Wednesday, he'll go.

And me? I feel fabulous. Just getting over another cold, lost my voice, but HEY! I lost a pants size! Nothing's gonna get me down.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

All About Being Three

e-baby is three. She reminds me at every opportunity. She also reminds the checker at the grocery store, my colleagues, our neighbors, the mail carrier...

Being three means being able to DO IT MYSELF, DAMMIT, SO BACK OFF! (OK, those aren't exactly her words, but they're close) But really, she has a point. There are a lot of things that she can do and should be encouraged to do by herself. It's all good.

With three comes pre-school. She has moved up to the Children's House and within a day or 2, I could see changes. It's as if something clicks in a child's mind when they switch environments and bazillions of new connection form. I saw it when she moved into the 1- and 2- year old classes at daycare as well. The first and most dramatic clue I had was her artwork.

Exhibit A: Original e-baby art created maybe a month ago:

Exhibit B: Original e-baby art created after a week at Children's House:

Um- WTF? Wow, kid. You've been holding on me?
I don't suppose you really need those labels I put on the pictures, but I wanted to be sure I remembered which was whom.

So far, three is fun, but then that's no surprise. Every age has been fun. I'm looking forward to this next year.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Angels at the Altar

Today was Baby Wisdom's baptism. I love baptisms. I love the little gowns, I love the Pass-the-Baby-Round-the-Congregation for blessings, but most of all I love the smell of a freshly-baptized baby. Makes me misty, every time. Peace was sweet enough to wipe a little of that anointing oil from Wisdom's head onto a cloth for me to put in my baby keepsake box. Because I was too drunk on baby-high to remember to do it when either of my kids were baptized.

Now, I shouldn't say so aloud, but we haven't been very consistent about taking the kids to church. E-baby pretty much thinks that church is for weddings, funerals and baptisms. Oh, and going to church is a HUGE treat to her. At the beginning of mass today, she caught my sleeve, looked up at me with wide eyes and whispered "Look! There's angels! Mommy, angels up there!" Being a little spook-able, I half-suspected that she was seeing some supernatural vision that only children can see (any of you with babies will KNOW what I mean when I say that it seems like small children see ghosts-- darn imagination makes the hair on your neck stand on end). So I looked at where she was pointing, and saw 2 altar girls, about 10 or 12 years old, flanking the priest. The girls in their robes and sandals made e-baby think she was seeing a heavenly vision.

It was so poignant, a moment of pure belief, from a mind that has no limits on what can be. The super-sentimental in me likes to think that what e-baby saw were, in fact, angels singing for Wisdom on her baptism day. Happy grace-day, Wisdom!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009


In case I've forgotten to mention it, we're getting ready for a trip to Australia in November. Work is sending me to teach for 2 weeks, so I'm bringing the whole family (the 4 of us plus my parents) to Melbourne and Sydney for 3 weeks. We are all very excited. I told e-baby that we would be going to the land of koalas and kangaroos, and she said "Are we going to the zoo?" and I said, "No, it's better than that!" and she said "We're going to AUSTRALIA?!?!?"

And so those of us with passports got visas and we applied for Jambuca's passport right away. I've been fretting ever since about its timely arrival. Thankfully, I just saw that the State department mailed it to me yesterday, so it should be in my hands next week. I will feel better once all of us have all the paperwork in order. Coolest planning thing-- we will have 2-BR apartments with washer/dryer in both cities. That'll make traveling with small children much easier.

Speaking of small children, Jambuca has been crawling all over Raleigh, and showed us 2 new tricks yesterday:
1. FIRST SIGN! He signed Milk to me yesterday. He was kind of signing to me, kind of to himself, but it was definitely a sign associated with milk. He got very upset with me for not making with the milk fast enough, and signed milk at me as he started to cry. I was so proud and excited that I totally interrupted someone else's friendly conversation to tell them how great it's all gonna be, I mean, to say that he had just signed Milk.
2. Peek-a-boo! Hee has taken to playing peek-a-boo with us. He was hiding behind some long curtains at PIC and LeBon's house last night and playing peek-a-boo, and he was doing it again at home today. E-baby used to play peek-a-boo with blankets on her changing table, but for the life of me I can't remember how old she was. I was thinking around 4 months or so, but I have to be remembering that wrong.

E-baby and SNG went to the international festival this evening while I stayed at home to cram a ton of work. One condition of going to Australia is that I have to wrap up 4 BIG deadlines before I can leave. So I will be putting in some overtime between now and mid-November. Ah well, small price to pay.

Oh, and today was basil-harvesting day. This year we planted 6 basil plants that grew to about 4-feet tall, each very full-and-bushy. I made 2 quarts of pesto, and I still have half a grocery bag of picked leaves, plus about 23 more gallons of on-the-stem basil waiting for someone to cart some of it home. If I can get some more pine nuts and parmesan tomorrow, I'll make another quart or 2 of pesto. And, the bushes in the garden are still reasonably large that I might have a full 2nd harvest before the first hard freeze. Good times.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Three of the Best Years Ever

Today is e-baby's THIRD BIRTHDAY!

I love you than you can ever imagine, honeybunch!

I will write an update post later. Right now it's bedtime.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Beatles Rock Band, tomato sorbet, "Rosie" from Caillou, sweet pickles, Miracle Whip, the red-headed spokesmodel for Progressive insurance. There are a lot of things I have talked about NOT liking lately. To balance all that negativity, here are some things I like.

The sound of a good glockenspiel
Hugs from tiny children, pretty much any tiny children
Rain without thunder
Creamed tuna on toast
The first crisp day of fall
The "oyster" in a chicken
Making crafts with pipe cleaners and pliers
Watching George Hincapie in a bike race

OK, that's enough to bring the tao back into balance for now.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Random e-baby Quotes

Yesterday at work, e-baby called me on the phone from daycare. She talked for about 10 minutes straight, and I had a few chances to say "Oh, wow" and "OK, that's nice" while she rambled on. These one-sided conversations always make me laugh, and I had the presence of mind to transcribe about 30 seconds' worth of it for posterity. I'm blogging it here so I will be able to look back at it someday.

Make sure the rattles are clean enough for Austin to play with to introduce his playful mouth Oh. Oh. And make sure the pecils are opened up so I an finish the paperwork. Mommy, can you make sure the lamp at home is off and DOTi [dog we're dogsitting] is in her bed so no one can take her and give her a treat. Something is not defined in the matrix- the matrix is not defined. The matrix is locked up in our door and ice cream is good to eat...

And now I'm siting in the bathroom while e-baby takes a bath and I'm going to transcribe what I can from the current ramble...

Today, Lucy and Bananas the Gorilla are coming over today. Sally cat is sick today. Hmm. So umm, Huckle has to stay home with Sally Cat. But their mother is coming over today, since she's not sick. She's gonna make dinner for us. She loves broccoli mixed up in drinks. Huh. And when she'll put that on our plates, and we'll eat it AAALL UP with a spoon .Oh! She's at the door! Oh. You can be her, if you like, and I can be Huckle. And umm, uh, and after, then Austin can be Sally Cat, if he'd like. Mom! Mom! Something is not right with Lowly. And I think Sally Cay is asleep and I'm done with my bath.

That was so much fun, I might turn this into a Stuff my Toddler Says blog.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Big, Big, Big, Big World

The past few weeks have been a blur- I can hardly think where to begin to talk about what's been going on. I've got three big things going at work, and they all have deadlines during 4th quarter which also happens to be our busiest time of the year for teaching. This week I'm teaching and preparing materials for a new class, so keeping up with anything else is a challenge. Blogging is kind of last on my priority list now.

To help with the heavy lifting, SNG has been picking up the kids from daycare all week, which lets me stay at work until 6pm. It's surprising how much more work can be done in one hour- particularly if that hour happens to be after everyone else has gone home for the day. You don't realize how much those little interruptions get in the way of productivity until there aren't any interruptions. Maybe working from home wouldn't be so bad ater all...Naaah, I like my coworkers too much.

Tuesday was an exciting evening of doing something completely new and different. For you who don't know her, Peace owns a business teaching ASL to children, parents, caregivers, and health care workers. One of her teachers had an Introduction to Sign Language Workshop scheduled and had to cancel, but Peace and Fuzzy are out of town this week. Peace asked if I'd cover and I said OK, and Tuesday night found myself in front of a class of 15 or 20 parents talking about the benefits of signing with babies, and teaching a few of my favorite sing-and-sign songs. At first some of the parents were shy about singing out loud and signing, but by the 2nd song, the whole room was rocking with a cheerful chorus of Old McDonald! When we did Twinkle Twinkle Traffic Light, you'd have guessed it was a rave. I haven't had that much fun since the old days of teaching arobics. And I didn't have to wear spandex!

That same night PIC, LeBon and c-baby had a slumber party with us. Due to a scheduliong mix-up, the water and electricity at their new house didn't get turned on in time for move in, and so their misery was our company! The girls had a ball, and I always enjoy PIC and LeBon. It was so much fun I'm thinking we should let the girls have sleepovers more often.

And the news that has been eating at my brain non-stop for over a week is the big trip at Thanksgiving. I got an email that our colleagues in Australia needed someone to come teach a class that I teach, and one thing led to another, and now I'm scheduled to teach 4 days in Melbourne Thanksgiving week, and 5 days in Sydney the week after. SNG, the kids, and my parents will come along and we'll make a vacation of it. Now I'm trying to learn all I can about the where we're going. There are some awesome-looking side trips I want to take. Oooooh we're so excited! Not so much looking forward to that 30-hour trip each way, but the 3 weeks in between should be a blast.

We applied for Jambuca's passport last week. He's such a character! He's quite mobile now with his funny inchworm crawl, and you have to lock up anything edible. The other day he ate e-baby's dinner roll, he has taken waffle fries from SNG, and he will stuff his face with corn puffs. He's still as happy as ever, and a little more fun for his sister to play with.

Aaaaand now, without proofreading, I'm hitting Publish. Good night, blogworld.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Three Disconnected Blog Topics

1) One of my favorite things to do on a weekend is to do an inventory of our produce and make something that uses as much of it as possible at the same time. Lately SNG’s been doing green curry vegetables, but this week was my turn to do some cooking. And I’m proud to report this recipe, which consists entirely of stuff from our CSA farm and stuff from my front yard. A recipe for Creole Ratatouille from Richard & Rima Collins’ (now out-of-print but still most excellent) cookbook provided the general inspiration. Like most of my cooking, I pulled a lot of it out of the seat of my pants.

4 T butter (aww, come on, do it)
4 shallots, peeled and sliced
4 small green onions, sliced
3c. fresh small okra, sliced
6 bell peppers, seeded and julienned (I told you, I have to use up this stuff and the farmer’s gone nvts with the peppers)
2 tomatoes, sliced
large bunch of fresh basil, chopped rough
a pinch each of Konriko/Tony’s, salt, and sugar to taste, or several drops of Tabasco

In a big pan, sautee everything in the order shown above, 5 min on shallots/onions, 10 min on okra/peppers, 5 more minutes on everything else, then cover and cook low heat 10 or 15 more minutes. Serve over rice (or couscous, which is all I had in the pantry today).

2) I want to get some opinions about Moon Sand, as compared to Play-Doh , Silly Putty, and good ol’ modeling clay. I like Play-Doh as a toy, but it dries and since I keep it outside in the gazebo, even sealed cans of Play-Doh sometimes die out there in the heat. So I decided to get some Moon Sand and try it out. It claims to never dry out and be easy to clean up. I trust they’re right about it never drying out, but easy clean up? We only used it outside and it was messy by backyard standards. I also got some Silly Putty, and it has some excellent tactile properties but it doesn’t mold and it REALLY doesn’t come out of wool carpet. And it doesn’t pick up newspaper cartoons anymore! WTF?

So if you have/are/play with kids, what do you think? Moon Sand? Play-Doh? Other toys of that kind that I don’t know about? I vaguely recall seeing something that was like tiny foam-looking balls that could be shaped and molded. Anyone familiar with those? What do you like best and why? What do you hate most and why?

3) SNG is a magician. E-baby is transfixed. He can make things disappear. His magical reappearing trick uses the incantation “Hey, look over THERE!!”

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Seven Month Old Piggy

Today is Jambuca's 7-month-day and poor guy's been sick since Wednesday. SNG and e-baby are visiting the grandparents for a couple of days in New Bern so that Jambuca can be quarantined. It gets boring not going anywhere, so we had lunch at Sonic. What a lovely place, where you can eat in your car, be served by a high school kid on skates, eat tater tots, and enjoy some of the finest cool summer weather ever.

He's been doing the cutest little crawl thing the past few days- it's something like an inchworm, where he pulls his knees up to his chest, and then slides his hands out. Then he does a belly flop to recover, and then he pulls his knees up and starts it all over again.

He's also begun to communicate his food preferences. Last night I was feeding him peas and farmer's market blend. A couple of times, after a few spoonfuls of peas, he indicated his preference by leaning toward the jar of farmer's market blend. Maybe you had to be there, but I thought it was cool.

But mostly this week is about trying to make him feel better. He's lost his voice and so when his fever goes up and he cries, it's a whimper. When he coughs, it hurts, and he looks at me with a pathetic "Why does this hurt, mommy?" look on his face. I wish I could take all that misery from him.

Later this month is e-baby's 3rd birthday. We'll have a party, but I'm not sure where yet. She will also be moving to the pre-school around her birthday, and I can't wait to see how she does in the new environment. The preschool classes are mixed 3-5 year lds, and the Montessori philosophy means there are areas of the classroom for each subject, such as math, geography, language, etc. I'll write all about it once she starts, I'm sure.

OK, off to watch TV. With Jambuca sleeping and everyone else out of town, I can watch all kids of junk TV!! Woo!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Suday Morning Cooking Show

Here is an excerpt from e-baby and Jambuca's cooking show this morning. Dress code is pretty casual around here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bad Blogger! No Cookie for You!

I haven't been keeping up with blogging well at all lately. That's partly, as I said, because work is insane. It is also because once the kids are in bed, it's just a pain in the tookus to get on the computer and write. There's no way I can write while they're awake. Not while e-baby is in this WHY phase, at least.

So when SNG asked me whether I wanted a netbook for my birthday, my first thought was, "What the heck will I do with a netbook? I never use the other computers we already have." But then I thought about it more. Why don't I use them? Because it's too much trouble to USE THEM. A netbook would be something I could leave on my side of the bed, ready to drop on my lap and start writing at bedtime. It is super lightweight and small, so it wouldn't make me feel trapped under a machine. And it would be mine mine mine, so I could leave some things logged in so I wouldn't have to put in passwords on all my webpages which would reduce a good 40% of the annoyance of using a computer when I'm already kind of tired.

So here I am, typing a blog entry with my new netbook (yes, I know, 2 weeks before my birthday), and it's very nice. The only trouble is that they had to rearrange some keys to make them fit. There's no dedicated End key; you have to Fn-PgDn. And PgDn is not in the right place. The touchpad is a poor design. But I'll get used to it, and maybe I'll start posting regularly again.

What is up with the alphafamily?
E-baby is getting close to her birthday and has been pracicing on her bike a lot. She can balance really well and is nearly ready for a pedal bike-- once she gets tall enough. I want to get her a trailer bike in the meantime, but SNG is nervous about her falling off. He wants to get her a teeeeeny custom painted Madone.

Jambuca continues to be fat and happy. He is doing really well with solids. Maybe too well. He dives into his baby food like a heroin junkie, especially sweet potatoes.

I'm looking at the triathlon series for next year and trying to decide which ones to do. I'm planning on a relay with 2 of my cousins (I got stuck doing the run- dangit!:-) and 2 friends from work are going to train with me for another sprint or two as well. No international distance races this time. Sprint tris are like a fun, intense workout. International tris are downright uncomfortable. I can be uncomfortable at home for free, thanks.

Every year since e-baby was born I've said that I'm going to do triathlon again "next year" and I still haven't done it. Wish me luck in getting my schedule in order to do it this time!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Commute Conversation

e-baby: 'What are these strings on my toy butterfly?'
me: 'Antennas'
e: 'Lantana?'
m: 'No, lantana are flowers. Antennas are on bugs.'
e: 'Butterflies eat the pollen on the lantana'
m: 'That's right'
e: 'What are antennas?'
m: 'They're like fingers for a bug.'
e: 'Like spiders?'
m: 'No, spiders have legs. Bugs have legs and antennas.'
e: 'But I'm talking about spiders.'
m: 'Spiders have 8 legs.'
e: 'Like octopuses!'
m: 'That's right'
e: 'Do octopuses eat spiders?'
m: 'I bet they would if they could'
e: 'Octopuses eating the snake with the spider in his mouth! Would that be a good plan?'
m: 'That would be an excellent plan!'

Never a dull moment.

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Monday, August 3, 2009

Half a Year and a Half Bithday Party

Jambuca is 6 months old today. Six months is an important milestone-- he got to have "real" food for the first time (baby rice cereal) and everyone else had some half-birthday cake.

Since I've been so quiet in blogland lately, thanks to an insane amount of stuff going on at work and at home, there's not much record of what he's been doing the past few months. So in honor of the big half-birthday achievement, here are some highlights (nothing here is unusual for a regular 6-month-old baby, but I like to have a record of these things, and the blog is a good way to do that).

Jambuca is a very different kind of baby than his venerable big sister. Both of them are perfect to me, but I am glad that I had her first and him second, because he is one of those babies that fools people into thinking they're baby-whisperers. He's a parent-whisperer. I'm pretty sure he will get away with a lot more than e-baby will.

He's a very jovial fellow and laughs at everything, especially in anticipation of something funny or a tickle. Anticipatory baby laughs are the best. He likes to see himself in the mirror and busts out in belly laughs that seem to say "Damn, looka' me! I'm a HANDSOME little fella! WOO mama, look at me workin' it."

He's interested in toys, where "toys" are anything that can be grabbed and shoved into his mouth. Examples include straws, coffee cups, my hair, e-baby's hair, a nose, a shirt, a washrag, a teddy bear, a carseat strap, the railing of the crib... you get the idea. If he can see it, he'll mouth it. That reminds me-

He's trying so hard to be mobile. He can easily push up onto hands and knees, but for now getting to stuff is mostly a matter of rolling around. He rolls around a lot because while he can sit upright, and he can play with a toy, he cannot, it seems, do both at the same time. He ends up rolling on the floor eventually anyway.

He is also very, very interested in eating. When he got to try cereal for the first time this evening, it rocked his tiny little world. He made some faces that suggested he had NO idea WHAT had just happened or how to take the news, but he kept coming back for more food, so it wasn't all bad.

I've included some pictures of the shin-dig on Flickr here.

And here's a bonus video of e-baby singing to her baby brother and helping him with the candle.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Yummy Dance!

SNG picked up salmon on his way home from work today. He also got a pint of Ben & Jerry's and a box of neopolitan tofu ice cream sandwiches. E-baby and I opted for the sandwiches and both of our heads are about to explode from delicious delirium. E-baby is running around like a maniac doing the yummy dance (kind of like a happy dance, I think). SNG tasted mine & realized he chose wrong in picking the Ben & Jerry's.

If you haven't tried tofu ice cream sandwiches, you will have difficulty imagining just how delicious they are. Go get some and report back. I'll wait.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

In My Absence, Life Goes On

I haven't blogged in about an age and a half. I wish I had more time because there are a lot of things I am behind on (including one little girl's 2nd birthday present getting into the mailbox and I don't know how many thank you notes that aren't yet written). I haven't even really been on the computer for fun in a couple of weeks, because work has gone mad-crazy and home is crazier. Tonight the kids are asleep, my parents are in town but out visiting a friend, and SNG finally gave up the laptop to go watch the TDF. So I blog.
Jambuca's 5-month-day was yesterday! Here are some highlights on him:
*He's rolling (and rolling and rolling) and most of the time when I go in to wake him up, he's on his belly.
*He's getting good at recognizing some cues for things like eating (well, mostly just eating). If I say "Want some milk?" he makes this cute "heh-heh" laugh and cranes his neck as if trying to reach for milk.
*His favorite color seems to be purple. Anytime he sees something dark purple, he gaaaaazes at it, sucks his thumb intently, and then wrangles the thing into his mouth. "Puuuuuurple. Give me the puuuuurple."
*He is really interested in watching people eat. If I eat while I'm holding him, he tries to snake a bite from my fork. Any day now he'll end up with a mouthful of chicken or apple pie. Yes, I will be starting him on cereals on his 1/2-birthday. Not any sooner that that, though, because, well, he is a CHUNKER and doesn't really need to put on more weight.
*He's in size 3 diapers, and Huggies are too tight around his belly. It's the cutest pudge-gut I've ever seen.
*He is easily the happiest baby on the block. He's cheerful most of the time, and really just cries for food and when he's tired. He sleeps like a champ for usually 10-12 hours a night. When he's awake, he's looking for someone to laugh with.

E-baby and Jambuca are so obviously going to be best buds, and she's taken to calling him "little man" which is so funny coming from her. We let her stay up late last night to see 4th of July fireworks. It was her Granny's birthday, too, and she's kind of got Independence Day mixed up with Granny's birthday, resulting in this interpretation of the fireworks show:
"Granny is the angel, and she flies WAY up in the sky to spark the fireworks. She puts the pink one over where the green one is, and moves the green one to where the pink one is. Then we say, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! FIREWORKS!"

Here are some pictures, for your viewing pleasure.

At the Festival for the Eno (look at that boy's legs!)

E-baby and some roses


Happy baby

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Boring Post-Pardum Weight Loss Post

OK, I am really frustrated with the fact that I weigh a few pounds more now than when I returned to work two months ago. WTF? Isn't nursing supposed to make you LOSE weight? Well, it didn't with e-baby, and it hasn't with Jambuca either. Really, it just makes me hungry and a little bit lethargic. When I was pregnant with jambuca, I said that the best I'd expect is to maintain my weight until he is weaned. But this is ridiculous and I have to do something because darn it, I am almost at SNG's ideal weight (!!!) (No offense, sweetie). So here I am, setting out goals, and setting out plans for achieving them. You are lucky enough to have clicked onto my blog to read about it. I won't be offended if you take a nap.

I realize that putting it in big, overarching terms doesn’t help at all, but so what, here is the big picture:
Lose 15 pounds (putting me at my pre-e-baby pregnancy weight)
Eat less, exercise more (duh)

Now, here are the specifics in bite-size chunks (heh. heh.):

Goal: Lay off the snack foods.
Explanation: e-baby has snacks between (and alongside) meals, and while most of the snack foods are reasonable as toddler snacks go (goldfish crackers, whole grain saltines) most of them are irresistible to me (the crunchy little iced oatmeal cookies, cheese, dried fruit). I don’t mind if she has calorie-dense snack foods, but I shouldn’t be snacking on them, too.
Plan: Buy her snacks that I don’t care to eat. Nutri-Grain bars, for instance, are not my taste at all but she loves them. Trouble is that there aren’t a lot of things like that, unless they’re REALLY unhealthy, like ice cream and gummy bears. And of course I’m not feeding her ice cream and gummy bears for her between-meals snacks.
Plan: Stock up on raw veggies to crunch after work while I make dinner. Stop buying the snack foods that I have trouble resisting (although I like for her to eat dried fruit, so those will have to stay).

Goal: Intake fewer calories overall
Explanation: Duh. I eat too much. Not rocket science.
Plan: I’ve been cooking with butter more than I used to for certain things, particularly leeks. I like the butter because it makes the leeks taste SO good, and olive oil is a poor substitute. I could cut that amount of butter way down and substitute a little olive oil and salt, but bring the total fat down to half.
Plan: Keep a food log (FLOG) of everything I eat. It’s easier to say no to that second biscotti if you have to write it down. Shoot for 1700-2000 C a day, which should be plenty to sustain milk supply for Jambuca.

Goal: Stay hydrated
Explanation: I am often so busy that I forget to drink water. Breastfeeding and dehydration-- a bad combination.
Plan: Fill and drink a 1-qt Nalgene bottle at least twice a day at work. Then it's easier to keep track of whether I'm drinking enough.

Goal: Improve core strength and posture
Explanation: I can carry around 2 children a lot, but my posture is paying for it.
Plan: Do Pilates every evening before bedtime, but do the push-ups and planks in the morning because I’m usually too tired for them in the evenings. Gee, I wonder why?

Goal: Improve cardio fitness
Explanation: I just feel lethargic a lot of the time.
Plan: Walk to work 2-3x a week (already doing this, most weeks). In the summertime, SNG will have to pick us up because it’s usually too hot and BUGGY to walk home (yes, Buggy. The biting flies are ferocious)
Plan: Get in one 1-hr bike ride each weekend (NOT already doing this-- oh, how I miss my bike!). Could take e-baby in the trailer if she wants to go.

Goal: Eat at least 4 superfoods a day. (If you don't know what superfoods are, you can Google it)
Explanation: I can feel that I am in needs of anti-inflammatory foods. My carpal tunnel is as bad as ever.
Plan: Stock up each weekend on enough for the week, and get everything cleaned/cooked/prepared on Sunday.
Examples: Frozen broccoli, fresh leeks, fresh spinach, strawberries, frozen cherries, garlic, sweet potatoes, greens (the farm provides these), zucchini

Goal: Coordinate with SNG so we BOTH get more exercise
Explanation: SNG needs to get more exercise, too. Not that I’m saying he’s fat. But, um, perhaps I have already said too much. Anyway, he wants to bike to work once a week and bike at least once on weekends.
Plan: He should ride on days that I am not walking to work and I should walk on days that he isn’t riding. We can watch the weather and our calendars and plan his bike day in advance. Whatever day I ride on weekends, he will ride the other day. He might tag along on rides with the neighbors. SOON, Jambuca will be big enough for the trailer and we can actually ride together (YAY!).

OK, so that was a boring post. But it's out there, and I'll hopefully continue to feel motivated enough to stick to my plans.

In other news, SNG, e-baby, Jambuca, Dianaverse and I are heading to IKEA in Charlotte tomorrow! Woohoo!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

It's an ABBA Kind of Day

This is a belated video birthday card for my mom, but everyone else can enjoy it, too.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Post-Partum Hair Club

One of the few perks of pregnancy is that, for many of us, your hairs stop falling out of your head. So there you are, fat and tired, but with fabulous, thick hair. For me, my legs also got super freckly, but the freckles go away after a few months (which is really weird when it happens).

And just like the proverbial free lunch, the hair is temporary. I've estimated before the amount of extra hair. Figure a person loses ~100 hairs a day. In pregnancy, say you lose (conservatively) half that. Forty weeks of gestation and that's in the neighborhood of 14,000 extra hairs waiting to take the leap. When the kid is 3 mo old or so, BOING! Hairs everywhere. And now you've still got the normal 100 a day popping off. Over a few months' time, the house, the car interior, and the office become abstract hair sculpture.

SNG won't store his hairbrush in the same drawer with mine. Because the hairs leap onto his brush. I just thought someone might want to know that.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


You want 'em, you got 'em!
Here are pictures of our front garden that we worked on for most of April and May.
Here are pictures of e-baby and Jambuca doing what they do best.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Party, Party Weekend

It's no wonder both children behaved like orcs this morning: that was one seriously busy weekend. It was also seriously fun, so the orciness was worth it.

Friday night we went to see and play and dance along with my friend as he played blues guitar followed by the Raleigh Drum Circle's monthly Rhythmicity. Both my frind and the RDC are celebrities to e-baby now, and she was over-the-moon when she was allowed to play the guitar afterwards.

Saturday morning we went to see Elmo live in concert (do not laugh, I can throw you for distance and will not hesitate to do so). The four of us went with PIC, LeBon, and c-baby. E-baby loved it, c-baby liked it, Jambuca thought it was a bunch of noise for no good reason, and the rest of us thought it was a little too long and way too expensive. Still, I'm glad to have had the experience. I saw at least 3 other mothers I know there with kids e-baby's age, so I felt a little better knowing I wasn't the only one with SesameStreetSucker written on my forehead. I agree with PIC that the most fun part was having lunch together afterwards.

Sunday afternoon was our Joan of Arc day bonfire, also known as the semi-annual burn-stuff-in-our-backyard party. That was super duper extra fun. I would love to throw a party every single weekend, if I could be sure someone would actually come to it. Maybe SNG and I should open a nightclub when we retire. A nightclub with a firepit.

I forgot to take pictures at any events this weekend, but I do have some awesome shots of e-baby and Jambuca doing what they do best that I'll upload to Flickr soon.

Next Friday and Saturday we'll be picking blueberries for the first official weekend of blueberry season, and Sunday we'll be eating blueberry pie, blueberry cobbler, blueberry muffins, blueberry bread, blueberry jam, blueberry pancakes,...If you're hungry, you know I love guests!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Like A Kick to the Chest

I just realized that I have been back at work for the same amount of time as I was out of work on maternity leave! Wha?! It feels like I'm still unpacking into my office. People are still asking "Are you back at work ALREADY?"

In the scheme of things, three and a half months really isn't a very long time, but it's a lifetime in baby years. When every day sees new developments, and every interaction seems significant, and multiply that by two kids, time goes on the log scale all of a sudden.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Nearly Perfect Day

This morning, SNG & I slept until 7:15, the kids slept until 8, and we cleaned up the house really well. Then we cleared out the pine straw from the last section of our garden and repotted the last of the seedlings. We also installed our new silly frog-playing-a-horn fountain.
At lunch, SNG took the truck to get 2 trellises and 17 bags of pretty pea-gravel, while I took the kids to Sonic (our Sonic won't let you keep the tray on your window. WTF?). E-baby loves their grilled cheese. I like having the children in a confined space where they can't hurt themselves or each other. Jambuca likes to be fed in the car. Everyone's happy.
After lunch, it rained like mad, so the kids & I watched SNG shovel pea gravel into the just-cleared section of the garden, now known as the zen garden. We put in all the plantings & the trellises, the weather cleared up, and the yard was a glorious spectacle of red, yellow, purple, orange, white, pink, and green. Later in the afternoon, our cul-de-sac hosted a big neighborhood street party, and e-baby 'sold' every single flower from our garden to the other neighborhood kids when she set up a florist shop behind the gardenia bush. I heard her charging anything from forty cents to 200 dollars. Our garden is just green now, but that's ok. What's the point of flowers if nobody's going to enjoy them? Jambuca was passed from neighbor to neighbor all evening until he was pooped from all the attention. I know I've said how much I love it here, but I'll say it again- I love our neighbors.
Both kids went to bed without any argument and now I will, too. Good night!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Learning about Laryngitis

I caught a cold last week and lost my voice (again!!), which was bad timing because I also had to teach all this week. Luckily, my co-instructor could cover for me when I couldn't go on for all the coughing. Oh, and extra bad timing because Thursday night I was scheduled to give the speech at the Teacher's Appreciation Dinner for e-baby and Jambuca's daycare.

So yesterday, desperate to get my pipes back, I did some Googling on laryngitis. From all the reputable websites I read, I learned that it's a really, really bad idea to whisper through laryngitis. You're better off either croaking (if you can) or writing things down. Or, presumably, signing, but if you're the only one in the room who knows a little ASL, it may as well be Mandarin. I was really surprised to read that whispering is as hard on the larynx as shouting. It doesn't feel that way to me. But I tried not whispering at all yesterday, and whaddaya know, I am starting to sound better today. Ordinarily, I'd have another day or 2 without a voice.

I croaked through the teachers' speech, everyone laughed at the right times and smiled at the right times, although I suspect that everyone really just wanted me to shut up so they could dig into their dinners. Still, it was fun.

I still have to teach all the next 2 weeks, so hopefully this voice thing will be completely healed by Monday. This weekend we're going to a birthday party, trying to get a visit with my aunt, uncle and cousins who are in town, and experimenting with pre-cooked frozen breakfast sandwiches. As in, making them from scratch, freezing them, and having quick, easy breakfasts all week. Has anyone ever tried to freeze cheese or scrambled eggs? Any advice before I ruin a bag of groceries?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

E-baby sings for all the Mommies.

Happy mother's day all you moms!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


One of the great fringe benefits to living in North Carolina is the fact that pretty much everything grows here, and in spite of what you may have heard about hog lagoons, we really do have a booming (non-livestock) agriculture business here in the north. Since we moved here in 2000, we've spent from May-October visiting the NC state farmer's market (it's freaking HUGE!) almost every weekend. It's where I get my strawberries and blueberries for jam-making, and the only place that has eggplant I'll actually eat (and 8 or 10 varieties of it). They have dozens of different kinds of everything. Corn picked within the hour, $5 for a big paper grocery bag full. Fresh baked pies, fresh goat's milk cheese. And then there's the peanut guy. He always has boiled peanuts and he always flirts and he has about 4 teeth and I love him.

But since e-baby was born, we've been to the farmer's market maybe 4 times. It means that the last 2 years' jam were made with non-local berries from the grocery store, and our veggies were waxy, shipped in from other states, and sometimes other countries. That won't do.

Fast-forward to last fall. Here in the woods, everyone knows everyone and one of the neighbors wanted to get a group of us in on a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm. With a CSA, you buy a share of a local farm and everyone takes their share of the produce for 6 months. If it's a good growing year, you have lots of goodies. If it's a crappy year, you don't get so much. It's still cheaper than what I spend on pproduce at the grocery store by a LONG stretch. Another neighbor wanted to learn about sustainable farming, so he took an internship at a local organic-growing farm, and so choosing the farm was a no-brainer. I still didn't know what I'll do with radishes or beets or arugula, but all the other stuff we'll get is going to be great.

Today was our first shipment. It's early days, so all we got was lettuce, greens of unknown origin, and strawberries. We also got arugula flowers-- the crop bolted in the recent hot weather, but the flowers are sweet and nutty. Perfect on a salad. I had lettuce wraps for dinner. The lettuce was as good as any tortilla I've ever had.

The coolest thing is that e-baby loved all of it. Normally she dislikes strawberries. But who can blame her-- they have to get here from Florida or California, so of course they taste like crap. But local, organic strawberries picked this morning? Oh yeah-- that rocks her world. So does red leaf lettuce dipped in ranch dressing.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Three Months Old

"My sister picks my outfits"

My tiny new baby is three months old today. He's 15lb 8oz. where does the time go? How did this happen?

A little over a week ago (at gestational age of 2 months) a bunch of things happened:
Jambuca quit his nonstop slow poop in favor of several days between poops (as many as 8 days) without any apparent pain, so I interpret it as his gut maturing (yeah, I know there's a joke hanging right there- like fish in a barrel).
He seems to be bothered less by what I eat. Maybe I'll venture a cup of coffee in another week?
He is awakened to play several times a day so he can't just sleep away the day between feedings, which leads to...
He sleeps all night. Hallelujah, can I get a witness! AAA-MEN!!!

We moved him to his own room Friday night and he sleeps even better there than in our room.

For a milestone of my own, we crossed some threshold where 2 kids is no longer 4x harder than 1 kid. Now it's more like 1.5x as hard. That came faster than I expected. I don't figure it'll always be that way.

I'll add a picture or two to this post later when I can get onto a real computer (this is coming from my phone-ouch, my thumbs!).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Where's a Camera When You Need One?

Today, e-baby had her first trip to the dentist. She was cautiously optimistic about the whole thing, and sat on my lap on the chair at first, watched a little Barney, rode up and down, and took a little tour of the "treasure box." After that, she sat in the chair by herself while the hygenist counted her teeeth, looked at them with a mirror, and brushed/flossed them. It was very, very exciting, but she was a little shy. When the hygenist put on her mask, it was "Oh, no, lady-- keep your face right where I can see it, thank-you-very-much."

After her checkup, they let her pick a toothbrush and a prize from the treasure box. She chose a shiny-silvery plastic set of fairy jewelry: a tiara, a wand, a ring, and a bracelet. She tells me that now she is a real fairy.

After the dentist, we continued an old family tradition of going to Wendy's for a frosty. They serve the same delicious frosties and apparently they also play the same music as they did in 1979. Fly Robin Fly, Slow Ride, the disco version of Beethoven's 5th symphony. We spotted not one but TWO fire trucks out in the parking lot while we were eating. On our way to the car, we stopped to look at one of them, and a REAL fireman came out, gave her a sticker, let her sit in the driver's seat and turn on the lights, showed her around the inside of the fire truck and (ahem) admitted that no, they don't *really* have a fire dog named Sparky, he's just a dog on the sticker. Still, it was teh AWESOME. The fireman's name was David. He was probably just waiting for lunch. He is our hero.

It was so much fun that she didn't even cry when I took her back to school for nap-time. When I left, she was bragging to her teacher about the fireman and the truck.

If you'll pardon the cliche, seeing so much stuff through the eyes of a child makes the whole world seem like it's coated in sugar and spice.

Oh, and the title of this post? I didn't have my camera or my phone, and there were probably a hundred Kodak moments. So instead, I got a picture after we got home so you could all see the fairy jewelry. And e-baby's latest shoe-fashion statement.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weekend gardening projects

A few weeks ago, e-baby and I planted a ton of seeds: sunflowers and clover from her & Jambuca's Easter baskets, 2 packets of columbine (one is a double columbine, which I'd never seen), a packet of black-eyed susan vine, and a packet of shasta daisies. We used the peat pellets in a little tray-greenhouse thingie, and all but the columbines are sprouting. The columbine will take another week or 2.

Today I transplanted all the seedlings (now clover & sunflowers- they're already potted in their final home). And since the greenhouses are empty, I got more seeds: 2 kinds of nasturtium and 2 kinds of sweet-pea, both good for salads. They should sprout in about 2 weeks.

SNG took down all the boxwood shrubs out font, so we can till and replant with azaleas and, well, flowering plants like columbine, black-eyed susan vine, daisies, nasturtiums & black-eyed peas. He also fixed up my bike with a crazy new handlebar, which I love in spite of it looking dorky.

Us: Why, sweetie?
E-baby: Because I have a question
Us: OK, what's your question?
E-baby: Why?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's the little victories: walked to&from work, did a lot of work, got both kids bathed in peace, did pilates & arranged tomorrow's jogging clothes-before 10pm.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Purpled for Maddie

This is the first I've been logged in from a real computer and so I have finally purpled up my blog the best I can figure out (I am still HTML-challenged). If you don't know what I'm talking about when I say I'm purpling for Maddie, it is to honor the memory of a beautiful, sweet baby girl who left the world much, much too soon. I have enjoyed reading her mother's blog for the past year or so, since Maddie was a few months old, and it feels like I knew her in a way. I had told people about this blog I liked to read with the adorable, itty-bitty little girl who endured against all odds. It was an unthinkable tragedy that no parent should ever have to go through.

In a few weeks, PIC and I and our families will be walking in the March of Dimes' March for Babies, in memory of sweet Madeline. We are raising donations for the cause, if you want to help. No pressure, just figured I'd put it out there.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Just Some Pictures

The latest pictures, especially of my new wheels for commuting to/from work and daycare, are here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Because Blogging from my Phone is the Only Way to Blog

Thank you Mail-to-blogger feature! The only time I can steal for myself is while feeding Jambuca, so i'm typing with one thumb while the fingers of my other hand tousle the little guy's hair as he gazes at the lightbulb behind me and gulps like he hasn't been fed in 2 hours (which he has).

Last week went really well, and (except for still being sleep deprived) I feel pretty much back to normal at work. I've been able to walk to work a few times, and I have a mat in my office to do pilates at lunch. It's the right combination of crazy-busy tight deadlines and going to daycare twice a day to feed the baby. Big yen, big yang.

In e-baby news, Big Headline, girl is starting to eat vegetables besides canned whole green beans (no other kind will do. (Knock wood) Recently she has eaten corn on the cob, asparagus tips, baby bok choy, and spinach. Here's the catch- she will only eat these foods raw. It's a little odd to see a 2-yr-old with a raw corn on the cob and a tiny head of bok choy, but meh!

Actually, I inadvertently tricked her on one of those- she thought I called it Baby Bop choy (Barney the Annoying Dinosaur reference) but why correct her? Frosty the Snowman also had a corn pop pipe, or so I'm told.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Here are some pictures of the kiddos and our Easter morning antics. I tried to post a picture from my phone and it was all stupid because of Sprint's picture mail thingie. I'll repost it later.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Last Weekend Before Working

This was the last weekend before my maternity leave ends-- never to have another week of maternity leave again, ever. Since we're sure that we've got all the children we want to have, I keep getting sentimental about the end of each thing: the last size NB diaper, the last time the fleece snowman footies will ever be worn...I know it'll go like that until they're off at college-- the last kid out of my house. I'm already getting empty nest syndrome, and the oldest isn't in preschool yet.

This weekend has been rough. If you're following my tweets, you know that e-baby caught some sort of terrible stomach bug with a fever, vomiting, diarrhea, the whole nine. So far she's the only one with it, but I don't discount someone else catching it in the next couple of days. My mom has taken to calling e-baby Typhoid Mary (in an affectionate way, of course) and I catch everything she brings home from daycare. Stay tuned, I might be doing the lose-weight-quick food expulsion diet.

Other than that, we got an Easter Tree today and decorated it. It's white and hairy, about 14 inches tall, and sort of spindly. Any excuse to make ornaments and trim a tree with a toddler is a good one, and since the Easter Bunny leaves treats under it, we decided to get a fur tree.

I guess the only other things I did this weekend were address the baby announcements (watch your mailbox!) and finish up the taxes. It was a near-perfect tax year with the amount due to the feds almost equal to the amount due back from the state less the cost of Turbo Tax. Those little victories keep me going.

SO I'll be back at work next week, part-time for a week and then full time again. But if e-baby doesn't start looking healthier, I might not be there so much after all.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Two Months? For Real?

I just can't believe it's been two months since Jambuca was born. It feels like it's only been a couple of weeks. Maybe a month.

At the same time, though, it's as if he's been here forever. I can't quite imagine the world without him, any more than I can imagine the world without e-baby (Was there ever a world without e-baby? Must've been boring).

With 2 months comes reluctant independence as my parents went home on Tuesday, and I'll return to work on Monday. I feel more prepared to return to work this time. But I also feel like I could do this baby thing all the time if I had to. But, um, I think e-baby would have to keep going to daycare. Two-year-olds. Heh.

Jambuca is changing daily and right now is getting more interested in people. He smiles and laughs, and is ticklish under his chin. He coos to me in baby conversations, in addition to his usual grunts, squeaks, and moans. He is still the noisiest baby ever, but he doesn't cry very loudly. Now if he'd just sleep longer at night.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Comfort Food

So, to pass the time waiting for a baby to be born, I have a discussion question. I was thinking about what makes 'comfort food.' So leave me a comment with your idea of the ultimate comfort food meal (regardless of whether you could actually eat it).

I'll start.

Fluffy pancakes
Breakfast sausage patties
cheapo Aunt Jemima syrup (better yet- the stuff in the tubs at McDonald's)
Strong coffee

Tag! Your turn.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I finally gt around to signing up for a Twitter account, since sending updates from my phone in 160 characters or less is the most likely way that I'll ever post anything in the next few months. Besides, my 1-handed typing is better on my phone than the laptop, and I never have >1 hand free lately. So, look to the right in the sidebar for my tweets.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Think Warm, Healthy Mommy and Baby Thoughts

Some of you know Peace and Fuzzy, who are expecting their first baby soon. Well, it hasn't been an easy pregnancy (HUGE understatement) and now it looks like they're going to try and get the baby out some time this week-- about 3 weeks early. No matter how the baby comes out, it will come with higher-than-your-average risks, and I guess I should just admit here that I'm scared for my friends. If you pray, or if you meditate, or whatever, please send up a thought for Peace, and for Fuzzy, for their baby, and for her doctors to do everything they can to keep everyone healthy.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Eventually Things Will Slow Down

I can't believe it's been so long since my last post-- sorry about that-- but I haven't slowed down much at all. My mom is going home in just over a week, and then a few days later, I'll be back at work. If things seem hectic now, I dread what they'll be like then.

We've been having fun and getting lots of busywork done. I got the baby announcements printed up (finally) and I might even get them sent out before Jambuca's first birthday. E-baby has adjusted really well to sisterhood, although I am really, really tired of getting up at night to help her get her pants back on when she's gotten up to pee at 3am. Baby brother wants to eat at 10pm, 1am, 3:30am, and 5am every night. To compound the sleep troubles, she is uninterested in her afternoon naps since we switched to daylight savings time. When she's at home, I only get good sleep when she takes a nap and someone else takes Jambuca for a couple of hours. Losing that will be really, really tough to handle. I have been making up for that relaxed, refreshed feeling with girl scout cookies.

Next week my dad comes to town, and the next weekend is Jambuca's baptism. We're all really excited about dad gettting to finally meet the baby, and I'm sure my mom is more excited than any of us.

This is a really boring post because I'm pretty much running on caffeine and sugar, so I'm going to go bury my brain in another terribly scripted episode of Madeline. The lyrics for the songs in that series make me twitchy.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Jambuca's One-Month-Day

Yesterday was Jambuca's one-month birthday, and I didn't even turn on the computer the entire day, so I didn't get this post up until now. Happy monthday, baby boy!

In the last week he has entered positive numbers for his gestational age, and there must be something special about that because he has also just exploded in his growth and in his awareness of the outside world. Remember those pictures from the hospital? Skinny arms and legs, small round cheeks, tennis ball head, no butt at all. Now? HA! Let's just say that SNG has taken to calling him New York Superfudge Chunk. E-baby calls him Chubby-Love. I can't stop gumming his big fat cheeks and tickling his 2nd chin. Even his shoulders are chubby. It makes sense because for the first three weeks of his life, all he did was eat, sleep, poop, and pass wind. He's still passing a lot of wind. A LOT. It's like Ooooooooklahoma in his pants. He's still eating and sleeping a lot, too, but he's spending a lot more time awake and looking around. The most interesting thing to look at is the cabinet full of coffee cups. That's my boy.

Now, I wouldn't want you to think "Oh, no fair, she's getting so much sleep with a newborn!" No, sadly, I'm not getting nearly as much sleep as I did with e-baby. He sleeps a lot, and the entire time he's sleeping, he grunts, yells, groans, makes choking sounds (scares the heck out of me), gurgles on spitup (which also sounds like drowning, and scares the heck out of me), and squeaks. There is no sleep for anyone else when Jambuca sleeps. Oh, and he wants to eat every 2-3 hours. Just like when he was born. The longest he's ever gone for a stretch at night is a hair over 3 hours.

Still, it's no worse than I'd expected, and he's had no signs of colic thus far, so I count myself very lucky anyway. Plus I'm still getting a nap every afternoon, which does wonders for my outlook on life.

OK, OK, enough chatter. I know what you're really here for-- the pictures are here. :-)

edited to add: at Jambuca's Brazelton assessment today, he was 10lb 11.5 oz, and 22 in.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Health Report

edited to add: Oh, well, I spoke too soon-- I got the stomach bug, too. More fun to go around! My house might be quarantined until the end of my maternity leave.

Well, all of the positive healthy thoughts must have helped because so far, Jambuca is in good health, and e-baby is completely recovered. I can't really say the same for everyone in our household, though. My mom caught e-baby's intestinal flu and I caught her cold. SNG hasn't caught anything yet, but I probably just jinxed him by saying so.

In other news, yesterday was Jambuca's due date, so he is now gestationally 1 day old! Woo! So here's an update.

He can roll onto one side on his own. He started doing this when he was only a few days old. Yes, he is a strong little guy, but more than that I think it shows just how badly he wants to be sleeping on his side.

He tracks people's voices in coversations with his head, and seems very intent on listening to everything. Which is really cute, because it look like he's paying all this attention to what everyone is saying. You half expect him to jump into the conversation.

His binocular vision is developing well-- he rarely goes cross-eyed anymore. Too bad, because the cross eyed thing is great entertainment.

He still sleeps almost all of the time, and he is still a very noisy sleeper. He squeaks, hums, and grunts almost constantly. When he is awake, he is quiet and observant.

He is a very different temperament than e-baby, in a lot of ways that make him a crazy-easy baby to care for. He is just more laid back overall. I could tell this difference when he was in my belly, too-- she was a kung-fu fighter, and he practiced t'ai chi. It's the same moves, but different speed and intensity. It will be in his best interest to keep that temperament for the long-term, if he wants a peaceful relationship with his big sister.

E-baby is, by the way, doing very well. She is still completely crazy about baby brother, and seems to have mostly forgiven us for being so lame about making her wash her hands all the time and hug him gently and so on. In fact, looking back, I think all her rage and pestilence was more the result of rocking a cold and a stomach flu simultaneously than the result of our new household member. Having experienced at least her cold first-hand, she felt pretty crappy before we even saw any symptoms. And that was peanuts compared to the stomach bug, a few days later.

But five days of having both kids at home with e-baby sick as a dog reminded me (once again) that I am not cut out to be a stay-at-home mom. Matrix algebra is a whole lot easier than parenthood.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Think Healthy Thoughts

E-baby was sent home from daycare today with a fever, feeling like rot. She went straight to sleep, and an hour later woke up screaming hysterically. I think it was when the fever broke, but then it went back up again. She's been taking Tylenol and Motrin alternately, but they don't seem to be helping much. She hasn't eaten lunch or any snacks all day, but she vomited this afternoon. She just feels rotten.

I hope she can get some sleep tonight, but I don't think it'll be a restful night for anyone. And like some kind of salt-and-pepper-haired superhero, my mom showed up just in time to help out. She arrived this afternoon. Yay!

So please send some healthy thoughts toward e-baby, and especially toward Jambuca, who is still gestationally minus-five-days-old, and doesn't really have the immune system for this kind of bug.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ten-day Update

We've been a family of four for ten days now, and are still kind of getting used to things, but there have been no surprises. A few unpleasantries, but nothing unexpected.

After we got home from the hospital, e-baby was so excited to have her new babydoll toy here in the house.

He's tiny! He cries! He coos! He looks at you! He wees for real! He's PERFECT!

She is the greatest hazard to his personal safety in the whole house. Her intentions are so good, but her execution is something short of gentle. So whenever they're in the same room, one parent has to be watching closely (and physically interfering a lot). As a result, she LOVES baby Jambuca, and is pretty angry with us. She's peed on herself (How does one pee defiantly? Just watch e-baby) three times, she refuses to bathe, she refuses to eat but wants to throw her plate (and mine!) to the floor. It's not always like that, but evenings are pretty rough around here.

Still, none of it is unexpected. I expected her also to be angry with baby brother, and maybe that's coming next, or maybe not. Hopefully it will only be a few weeks before she comes down from her battle horse and decides to eat some dinner.

Our strategy has been Dr Spock all the way-- give her as much attention as is possible (while still meeting everyone's needs, of course), if someone comes over, focus a lot of attention on her, let her "help" with baby brother if she wants to, like baths and diaper changes. That all seems to work, but there's really no way to let her carry him around like she wants to, so she's perturbed a lot of the time. Dolls are simply not an acceptable substitute.

Jambuca's been to the doctor twice this week. Monday he has regained to his birth weight plus a little, and between Monday and Friday he gained 8 ounces. He now weighs 7lb, 9.5 ounces. Not exactly a chubster, but he has chubby baby cheeks at last and doesn't look skinny anymore. That last month in utero is really all about putting on layers of fat, which is what he missed out on in coming early. But the kid can EAT. He's making the most of life on land.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Best Article of Baby Clothes, Ever

Of all the baby clothes we have for Jambuca, hands-down my favorite is the man-dress. It's the most practical thing ever.


It's like a sleepy-sack, but completely open at the bottom. When he's tiny, his legs can stay curled up inside like a frog. As he gets bigger, he can stretch out long. Midnight diapering is easy because there are no snaps or zippers to confuse a bleary-eyed parent. It should fit for a long time, too!
We have three man-dresses, and I think I may have to dress him in them until Kindergarten.

Not only are they practical-- they're cute. I just don't know whether the manufacturer intended for them to be called man-dresses. But if anyone can make such a thing look macho, Jambuca can.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A-baby's Grand Welcome Party

First things first, I have birthday pictures of the little dude here.

So, a-baby (a.k.a.Jambuca, not sure which one will stick on the blog) was technically due in another 2 weeks, 5 days. But hey, at 7lb, 1oz and 20.5 inches, my extrapolating skills tell me that I wouldn't have wanted to wait 3 more weeks. He was heading toward outsizing hs big sister, and we just. can't. have. that. So thanks, kiddo!

It all started out just like e-baby's, with a 2am wake-up of little teeny baby contractions that then lasted a long, long time. Around 5pm, when they were still teeny, easy, whatever kind of contractions, WHOOSH! my water broke (in SNG's office, sitting on state-owned property. Ask before you sit in any of his chairs, eh?). My doctor said to get to the hospital stat, but then my contractions didn't get a whole lot harder. I was kind of stalled at 4cm. For those outside this lingo, you start at zero cm. At 10cm, you get to push out a baby. On average, people usually dilate about a cm an hour. Four cm gets boring after awhile, and you don't want to sit around like that all night, so around 10pm my doctor said that I'd be getting pitocin (glossary moment 2-- it's a drug that kick-starts contractions). By the time the IV bag arrived, my own natural contractions had gotten pretty miserable, and I figured if was getting a drug-induced increase in pain, then I'd give the epidural another go. Last time, the epidural wasn't so hot. It kind of, well, wore off. Four hours before e-baby was born. Yuck. But everyone else says they are so nice.

The anesthesiologist was less friendly and more talented this time. Fine with me- I wasn't going to be staying for breakfast, as they say. About an hour of pitocin and still not much had changed. I was at 5cm. The nurse decided it was time to try lying on my right side. She left to eat some lunch or something. Within five minutes, the baby told me in no uncertain terms that he was on his way out, whether I was ready or not.

Five minutes, and I was at 10cm, and kiddo's head was starting to show from across the room. It took another 5 minutes for the doctor to arrive and put on her catcher's mitt. That was, unquestionably, the hardest 5 minutes of the year. Just try stopping a baby from coming out when he's determined-- ha!

One contraction consisting of 5 big breaths and kapow, BABY!

The only downside to having him come out so quickly is that the muck didn't get squeezed out of his lungs, and we've been working to get it out ever since. We are still in the hospital, sentenced to one more day of observation since he got daddy's blood type and is at high risk of jaundice. But in all he's a champ. He knew exactly how to eat from the first glimpse of the Milk Truck, and so far he's very tolerant of his big sister's EXUBERANT hugs. She's helping to squeeze the muck out, I think.

So that's the gory details. I'll post more (less gory) stories later.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


You know how sometimes the stars align, and you get everything on the "To Do" list done on the first day of the weekend? And other times the stars align and you don't get any of it done by the end of Sunday? This weekend has been the former kind. I started with a list that I was sure would take us more than 2 days to get done, but what do you know? We were done by bedtime yesterday! And now I can deal with those 4 freckly brown bananas by making banana bread. That wasn't even on the list! Ha! Take that, stars!

Before kids, we'd do everything on the list and still have time for a bike ride Saturday and Sunday mornings, and have time for a hike on Saturday afternoon, and a nice dinner out on Sunday night. And I'd cook up a dozen or 2 jars of jam, just for fun. In those days, our list would include such ambitious items as "build a new deck" and "plant a few flats of flowers" and things that we just don't even put on lists anymore.

Still, it feels so good to get everything on our measly list accomplished early. It helps that e-baby has been willing to go to bed before 9:30 the last two nights. And, just like that, I jinxed us to have all-nighters this week.

Monday, January 26, 2009

"The Fog Is Getting Thicker..."

and Alphagal is getting larger. I might actually be taller lying down than standing up.

Slightly less than 4 weeks to Due Date. This is familiar. I am so sick of looking like Pappy O'Daniel, and still I am all but in denial about the baby actually coming anytime soon. Do I have my hospital bag packed? Nope. Do I have the babyseat installed in the car? Nah. Fortunately, I can still count on SNG to get the nesting urge. The nursery is painted and decorated, the 0-3mo boy clothes are all washed and put away, and we have an action plan in place for e-baby when The Time Comes. In fact, we have plans A, B, and C.

I have reached a degree of hugitude where it's really hard to drive my car, sit at my desk at work, climb a flight of stairs, sleep, clip my own toenails, or do just about anything else that I'd otherwise take for granted.

I'm not really looking forward to the sleepless nights (and days) to follow when the baby does make an entrance. I worry about e-baby feeling neglected when she's no longer the only kid in the house. And I dread the work it's going to take to lose this baby weight. Nonetheless, I am dying to see what this little guy will look like, what his temperment will be, whether he'll be anything like his big sister, or whether they'll be polar opposites. It should all be a lot of fun, but it is going to get really hectic around here for awhile.

Recent and curious e-baby news...
She correctly identified a glockenspiel by its sound today from her Baby Einstein DVD. That was just... weird. I won't be laughing about those baby music classes at the daycare anymore.
Last weekend, Dianaverse was in the car and asked e-baby what was in her cup-holder. E-baby said it was milk. Diana asked what kind of milk. E-baby told her it was a liquid. Heh. Smart-alec.
I wouldn't want anyone to think it's all roses and bunnies around here, so here's a poopy one. E-baby is a little bit obsessed with seeing what she's "done" in the toilet, especially if it's a #2. This evening, after a particularly difficult effort, she looked inside and whispered, in apparent awe, "it's soooo beautiful." I almost had an aneurysm trying not to laugh.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Don't eat yellow snow!

It hasn't snowed with any appreciable accumulation in 3 or 4 years. We've had little dustings and once had about a half-inch when e-baby was 1-year old, but she has owned a snowsuit since she was born. Um, well, we didn't buy one this year.

When we went to bed last night we knew it would snow. There was a winter weather warning in effect, and the only unknown was how much snow would ultimately accumulate. At 6:45 this morning, the yeard was a winter wonderland with about 2 or 3 inches already accumulated, and the weather forecast was that it would continue to snow all day today. Deciding to sleep in a little, I called the operations hotline at work and the recording told me it was work as usual. Hmmm. Odd. Well, they only promise to update the hotline by 7am, so I waited until 7:02 and called again. Operations as usual. What?! Since when does anyone around here, especially the most family-friendly company in the area, have normal operations on a snow day? All the schools are closed. Most businesses are closed. Why weren't we?

Grumble-grumble-- I showered and dressed and by the time I made it out of the bathroom I could hear e-baby up on the balcony hollering "MOMMY IT'S SNOOOWIING! IT'S A REAL SNOW DAY!" so I bundled her up as quickly as possible and we went into the front yard. She squealed and laughed and ate snow and once her fingers got painfully cold, she instantly turned to misery, cried, went inside, and went back to bed.

I checked my email and got a message saying that the operations hotline was experiencing technical difficulties. We ARE closed today after all!! Woot!

Ten minutes later, e-baby was back yelling "SNOW DAY SNOW DAY I WANT TO GO OUTSIDE!" I insisted taht she eat some food first, bundled her up again, and we played in the yard some more. Same story-- a few minutes of squealing with joy and a sudden turn to crying and misery once her hands got too cold. Back to bed for another half-hour. I wish I had some waterproof gloves for her. All she has are those cheap knitted gloves, and they get wet pretty quickly.

I am guessing the whole day will be like this, but it's OK. I am kind of the same way myself. It's all good until some vital part gets wet. Right now e-baby and SNG are snuggled under a blanket on the couch watching the inauguration and Bob the Builder with picture-in-picture.

Other updates: we had a wonderful time at the prom, and yes, I did buy some tights to wear with closed-toed shoes. Thank PIC for finding them and thanks mom for the fashion advice-- a black dress, black tights, and black shoes with a burgundy sash for an empire waist effect was really cute. Or, as cute as you can be when you're double normal size, glomming down free buffet goodies with all your favorite drunken colleagues.