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Entries from February 2008

Trials and Tribulations

Oh, what a day. WHAT. A. DAY.

The one positive thing today was that I at least remembered to put Chloë's absentee note in her folder. I forgot Jack's note, and I forgot to send along the big tote bag full of supplies I bought for his classroom. Well, there's always tomorrow for that.

I had to get into the shower earlier than usual this morning, to make it on time to my psych consult for the gastric bypass. When I was just stepping into the shower, Jack's AM bus driver called to see if he was going to school today. She hates to come out for nothing; I suppose I don't blame her, even if it is her job. Anyway. I didn't realize that meant she was going to come twenty minutes early, when I had just stepped out of the shower, was dripping wet, buck nekkid, and hadn't even packed the boy's lunch yet. Aghhhh!

So what did I do? I calmly went to the bathroom and combed my hair. Don't ask me why. I looked out the window and she was still there, so J and I raced downstairs (at least I had the presence of mind to throw on a robe, although I didn't tie the cord around my waist...), I opened the door and held up my "just a minute" finger at the driver, and threw a jumble of quickie foods into his Cars lunch box. (I know there was an applesauce cup and a box of raisins and a granola bar; I cannot for sure say there wasn't a tin of cat food.) Then I hid behind the door in my half-open robe and shoved him out the door. Whew! She waited. At least my hair was neat.

Then I ran back upstairs and put my contacts in (because no one can tell I've put make-up on when I'm wearing my glasses, and I wanted to wear some to feel more put-together, more confident for this interview), got dressed, did my hair, and put on said make-up. I looked good. Better than presentable. Fat, but otherwise decent. On with it, then.

We got there, like, an hour early. Huh? Wasn't I in a hurry? I know I drove to Portsmouth at warp speed, but I didn't expect to have so much extra time. I had a ton of paperwork to fill out, so that ate up a half-hour. Then Dr. Hain came into the kiddy-friendly waiting area and told me that I couldn't do the appointment if I couldn't find someone to watch "the baby." Um, yeah, let me just drive a half-hour back home and leave her with some random neighbor and magically get back in time. Why didn't I think of that?! So I re-called the Childcare Waiting Center that had turned her down three days ago, there at the hospital, and they accepted her. Okaaaay. I raced her down there and rushed back up, trying not to have an asthma attack from still being so congested and, you know, fat, and I had five minutes to sit down and watch CNN on mute (I hate that; why tease people with TV in the waiting room? Let them at least listen to the program you force on them!).

So Dr. Hain came and took me back. She, like many others in the shrinky profession, is weird. Thin and wiry, she wore her skirt up to her boobs, constantly tucked her hair behind one ear or the other, made odd facial expressions, and just generally fidgeted and seemed uncomfortable in her position. I tried to pay attention to her words and not her mannerisms.

Things were going swimmingly. She seemed to make this connection with me because of the Ph.D. work I'd done. She kept asking about it and did that thing that people do, the head nodding and gesturing as if to acknowledge that we're a couple of intellects here, so we can talk smart talk. I have to admit, I like being in that club, even if I do find it amusing.

Then she asked about 'the cancer thing' as it has become known in our household. I was fine one moment and then tearful the next. Shit. She handed me two tissues. I recovered just long enough before she asked about Robby. Then I really started boo-hooing. She handed me two more tissues, and somehow, I recovered again.  Then she got into things from college that I really don't want to think or talk about, and more things from my childhood that I really, really don't want to mention, and I couldn't stop crying. Let's just say I've been through some ugly stuff in my life. Two more tissues.  I accidentally rubbed one of my contacts out, and I kept unsuccessfully trying to stick it back in my eye until finally it fell on the floor. "I don't recommend you put that back in your eye now," she said. Duh. I asked her if I could throw it away in her garbage, and by doing so I had to reach across her. She seemed totally taken aback by this. I mean, it came out of my eye. How gross.

So by this point, I keep dropping tissues, sniffling into this one or that one, coughing, and am acutely aware that Dr. Hain seems to have germ issues. I am totally freaking her out.

She thanks me for being completely honest with her about everything, tells me I have nice skin (I don't know why this was mentioned, it was out of the blue, but I'll take it) and then says, "I'm not saying no, but I'm saying not right now.  Come see me again in the fall and we'll see how you're doing then."

And then she tells me that she understands the death of my son is always going to hurt, but the pain shouldn't still be this raw. I don't know whether I accept that or not. It seems to me that someone who probably doesn't even have kids - let alone held one while he shuddered his last breath - shouldn't be telling me how to feel about one of mine dying, whether it's been five days or five years or a lifetime.

So I left, dropping and picking up tissues the whole time - to her horror, and went to pick up Sophia, trying not to cry even more about just being rejected for surgery. I failed a little. People were looking at me, so instead of hiding my face, I just stared at them as well as I could with only half the world being in focus. (Maybe I should take out one of my camera's contact lenses...?)

I went into the little playroom to collect my Baby Bubba, and she was nowhere to be seen. The caretakers and the other kids were all over the room, but no Sophie. "Sophia? Sophie?" They pointed out an easel and told me she was behind it, still unaware I was in the room. I tiptoed over and got to watch her for half a minute, coloring away at her masterpiece. Then she looked up and saw me there, hollered, "MOMMY!! YOU'RE BACK!!!" and flew at me with all the force of a three-year-old-to-be. Which is a lot when you've been missed, and the load got a little lighter. We collected her coat and her juice cup and her picture, and she told me that she drawled it for me, and the load eased up some more.  Walking to the van, she burst into song, her own special version of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," and she kept getting the words wrong and saying, "I can't, Mommy, I can't," and the load lightened even more.  Kids. Just when you think nothing can go right, they show you what really matters.


I don't know what I'm going to do now. I'm not going to give up and eat my way through this, I know that. I'm going to keep working on trying to lose weight and gain more protein. I'm going to see about going to a civilian provider for the surgery, if they'll pay for it (Dr. Hain indicated they would.) We'll see.

After we came home (a bit of a hellish drive, with one functional eyeball, especially in the downtown tunnel), collected the other two from school, and had a nice, big lunch together, the kids went down for naps and so did the Mom. I canceled my evening engagements and slept off the disappointment. Along with my good hair and face day.


My Microcosm On Macro

[Note: If you missed it, there was another post last night before the Works-For-Me Wednesday post - a rather unfortunately-titled one for guests to find!]

Today, I am pitiful. I didn't go to the doctor, but I should have. It was my only day this week when I didn't have something going on, but... I was too sick to go! Chloë and Jack stayed home from school today, too, but they're doing so much better that I'll probably send them back tomorrow. We didn't go out today while Barbara cleaned, though; I just wasn't up to it.  We stayed up when she was down and we went down when she came up.

As she was finishing up, gathering her things, I was trying to make a video of Chloë, who wanted me to tape her doing her new monologue. Let's see how that came out with Soapus Interruptus underfoot:

Yeah. No.

100_5825Anyway, Babs wanted to hear Chlo do her monologue, and Chlo wanted to hear Babs do the monologue! Poor Barbara kept trying to get out of it, saying, "Oh, I don't think I'd read it as well as you..." but Chloë kept begging. Finally Barbara just stood up and said she had to go be somewhere else! Kids! They are so persistent!

After that, I was fiddling around with the camera some more and trying to use the manual focus and stuff. Here are a few pictures from today's photo shoot:

100_5818 100_5830

100_5835_3 The mail came shortly after that, so I asked who wanted to go across the street with me to the mailboxes, and they all piped up. Great! More picture time. Only I didn't know it was freezing out. We raced across the street, I took a dozen horrible pictures of freezing and underdressed children, and then we raced back - but not before a lady in her car stopped to tell us how cute Sophie looked in her "ballet"! Here's the "best" one, if you can call it that:

100_5839_2I'm finally getting a small amount of blur. Not much, but better.

Today's mail brought some more packages!

100_5848_2Ruby in California and her friend made and sent these items for CARE Package, with more on the way. Thank you so much, Roob!! I'm so excited y'all are doing this - and tonight I had to send Rob out to buy another bin! We're a six-bin charity now, folks.


And this is my prize from the Bloggy Giveaways! Originally, Shannon (the link to whose blog I cannot find right now, sorry Shannon!) was supposed to just send me the "no soliciting" vinyl lettering, but she sent me a ton of other vinyl signs, too! Wow. If/when we move, I am going to have lots of fun things to play with for the walls!

Welp, I have finally cast on a new knitting project (I only knitted 7 rows before I fell asleep earlier, so I'll show something when I have something to show), and I'm gonna go work on it.


WFMW - Organizing My Grocery List

Wfmwsmall I am insane list-maker, and I like to be organized. Before I was married, I was one of those annoying neat freak types. A place for everything and everything in it's place. Then I married, well, a slob, and my standards lowered ever so slightly, as they have done with each additional child until the point where I am now, which is harriedly cleaning up the house in time for my cleaning lady to come in and rescue me from insanity every other week.

Anyway, maybe that's why I so steadfastly cling to my little "systems" for getting things done, one of which I'll share with you this week: the dreaded grocery list. (And you know you must have a list!)

First, start with the coupons. I don't understand why everyone doesn't use coupons. C'mon, it's like free money, people! I don't know anyone who wouldn't want free money. A dollar here, a dollar there - it adds up! I save an average of $30 every biweekly grocery trip.

So, collect them from the Sunday paper and any other source, cut out the ones you'll actually use, and save them in a box organized by category such as "cereal, dairy, hair care" and so on. (If you want my complete list of categories, comment and I'll get back to you.) Go through them at least once a month to get rid of expired ones and to be familiar with what you have. If you're feeling philanthropic, check here for a list of military bases where you can send expired coupons for overseas troops.

Next, keep a magnetic dry-erase board on your refrigerator, and continuously add to it as you run out of items or come across new recipes to try. Write on it as soon as you run out of something!

Make sure to keep the sales flyer for the store(s) you frequent, so you can match it up with your needs and the coupons you have. There are many things I won't buy unless it's both on sale and I have the coupon.  Add to your fridge list as needed, according to what's in the ad.

Get a small notebook with pockets in the front (Walmart sells Mead ones), and a pack of good, different-colored highlighters. Transfer your fridge grocery list to the next page in your notebook, and then go through all your coupons to see where you can save. If you're really good, you can list your items in your notebook by aisle and department, but I don't bother with that anymore.

This is what I do instead:

I use a dash (-) in front of each item on the grocery list. If I have a coupon for it, I use an asterisk (*) instead of a dash. If the item is on sale, I underline it. Sometimes I'll put a tiny note next to it so I can remember what brand/size/etc. is on sale if I know I'll get confused at the store. Then I highlight each kind of food a different color: non-food items get yellow, dairy and freezer items get blue (get it?), meat, seafood and deli items get pink, and produce items get green. I don't highlight regular grocery shelf items at all. 

Then, when I'm in, say, the produce department, I only have to scan the green items to make sure I have everything before I walk next door, to the deli - time for pink!  I cross out items as I go, and when I have chosen something for which I have a coupon, I move that coupon from the front pocket to the back pocket. Then I just give all the back pocket coupons to the cashier.

I know this sounds like a lot of work - and it kind of is - but believe me, it works! We almost never have to run back for items I've forgotten; short trips are usually for milk and things they were out of in the first place.

Oh - always keep your cell phone with you, so hubs can call if he suddenly remembers something not on the list (and make him use the fridge list, too! Keep a magnetized cup on the fridge for a dry-erase marker).

And don't shop off your list! Unless you have no budget or weight concerns whatsoever.

And always recycle the plastic bags that inevitably end up back your house even though you always, always (right?) use canvas tote bags!

Phew. I totally thought this was going to be a short post. Sorry!


Hey Look! A Blue Vagina!

[Confidential to Stephanie-VA: That thing we ordered from Tabitha arrived today. Wink, wink. And don't forget to call me tomorrow after you POAS!]

100_5801_2Oswald behaving badly

Late last night, I went upstairs to swap loads of laundry and go to bed, when I heard Sophia banging on her door like a madwoman. I opened it up and she burst out, looked up at me plaintively and said, "I'm thirsty, Mommy. I'm so thirsty." Daddy was still downstairs, so I told her to go down and tell her dad. I heard him say, "Oh no, who let you out? Go back to bed!" which is exactly what I was expecting. But he gave her a little drink and then she came toddling back upstairs to me to have her poopy diaper changed, which I suspect is the real reason she was awake.

Afterward, she did not want to go back to bed. She'd had a taste of the midnight freedom and she wanted to chow down on that sucker all night long. Of course, I caved when she started wailing, and begged Daddy to let me take her into bed with me, promising to return her after a while. He reluctantly agreed and was soon fast asleep on one end of the bed, while Sophia and I were snugged down together on the other side. But not for long. She kept standing up and singing her version of the alphabet to me at the top of her lungs, or going over and stage-whispering to Daddy some tidbit or another, or just doing her Chatty Kathy routine (the one that got us kicked out of Mary Poppins in NYC). I found all of it so delightful. Especially when she "loves" everything. She asks what a thing is and then dramatically states that she loves it: "What's that?" "Cat food." "I love cat food!" "What's that?" "Jack's shoes." "I love Jack's shoes!" and so on, all the time, day in and day out. I love that Sophia!

100_5757And this little guy - guess what? He woke up dry this morning! No peepee in the pannies! He wanted to hear none of my praise, though. He was all about breakfast and what's for it?

That picture reminds me, for V and anyone else who's been puzzling over my depth of field/camera issues: I got a response on a board that, well, here, I'll quote it:

I’m reading Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson right now and today I read about this. According to Mr. Peterson a fixed lens digital camera has “an uncanny ability to render a tremendous amount of depth of field” but has trouble with shallow depths of field because even wide open at f/2.8 that is equivalent to f/11 on an SLR.

So that's that. Short of upgrading, I'm screwed. Bah.

Which brings me to my next point: I realized while hacking into my pillow last night and again while trying to take the shortest of naps today that it's about time I went to see a doctor. This is the kind of thing that you can tell isn't going to go anywhere without a little pharmaceutical prodding. I loathe going to the doctor for such things, don't know why. It just feels like I should tough it out. But a fortnight of toughing has brought me no closer to wellness, so begone with that strategy.

{Dennis Quaid is on Leno right now talking about his twin babies. This comes on the heels of a barrage of reports about J.Lo's twins. I've just typed and erased ten things, so suffice it to say it upsets my frame of mind...}

So! Anyway. After the kids came home from school and I had a shower and we rush-rush-rushed out the door to ballet (we are always pushing it right to the last minute on that one, and we almost always are a minute or two late. I hate being late. But you never met a bigger dawdler than Chloë Raine Odette, and that is a fact, Jack), I had a chance to open the bedraggled package that was on my doorstep on the way out to the van. It looked like it had been to hell and back, and I was amazed it actually arrived with all of its contents intact.

100_5795I swear it's not poop! It's actually six hanks of 100_5796some really nice yarn, from Croatia!   

I don't think that caption's going to be right... but here's some more Croatian yarn. Sorry the pictures are blurry; I took these outside and didn't get a chance to look at them until it was dark out, and taking them inside distorts the color. Iva, the girl from Croatia, had requested a swap on Ravelry; she wanted a bunch of my Red Heart Super Saver (nasty, yucky acrylic! Can you believe it?!) in exchange for these lovely wools. She wanted some American stamps as well - the ones from Christmastime with the knitting motifs on them - and in return, I got some Croatian ones for my philatelist grandfather. And apparently there's a second package coming full of hats for CARE Package. That was my first swap, and it was a lot of fun!  Oh no, I lie, my first was the swap with Visty, a dress for her baby in exchange for the totes for my babies.

So Daddy was home when we got back from ballet, and he took over the childcare while I went food shopping. We were about two weeks overdue and down to the dregs. We were completely out of cat food - which does not sit well with Tinkerbell, needless to say - darn near out of dog food, out of lunch items for both the daddy and the school kids, the pantry had entire shelves empty... it was a bad, bad situation for me, the chubby one who the others start eyeballing when their bellies are hungry. 

When I came home and opened the door, a strong smell of straight-up diarrhea hit me in the nose (great time for my sense of smell to return). But it wasn't diarrhea. It was the dinner I'd put in the crockpot this morning. Yes, I ventured to cook again, and I still put too much pepper in it, but nowhere near as much. I threw some frozen BLSL chicken pieces in the crock, with yesterday's bowtie noodles, some salt, some pepper, some garlic powder, some bay leaves, and some water. It actually wasn't too bad - tasted like canned chicken & noodle soup - except for that God-awful smell. Really, you don't want your dinner to smell like liquid taco. Jack and Soap refused to touch it. Yes, even Soap, the human garbage disposal. Chloë did, though, and Rob and I agreed it was much more palatable than his creation of a week or so ago with mushy breadcrumbs in it. Hopefully now we'll get back to more deliciousness.

100_5800 And finally, when I got home from the store, my big giant box of Jafra goodies was waiting for me. I got some Royal Jelly, some Royal Almond, some Royal Ginger, some spa stuff, tons of make-up, and TWO microdermabrasion kits. Why two? Stay tuned to this page to find out!

All right, it's time to get a few last-minute clean-up things done before Babs visits in the morning, and then I'm ready to get my snooze on. G'night!



Oswald_2 This new toy came in the mail today. [Note that I did not take this picture, else that would indicate I had figured out my camera problems, and I have not.] It's an Octopod tripod, a small little thing that can grip on to anything and take the picture. It's a little smaller and a little wimpier than I expected, though. But, you get what you pay for. I probably won't use it that much after all.

I didn't do a thing today. Well, I folded a couple loads of laundry. I cut some coupons. But I didn't actually wash any clothes, I didn't go grocery shopping - I didn't even knit anything. I haven't touched any yarn. I just cough and sleep, sleep and cough.

As for my haircut, when I actually have to go somewhere that requires me to shower and do my hair, I'll try and get Rob to take some pictures of it.  Today was not that day.

Ipop_angels I keep forgetting to share this picture with you. I had to buy it. The taller guy is not attractive, IMHO. Look at all those gums!

Oh, I know what I can tell you! I got a call today from Chloë's acting school. They want her to act and model in a performer's expo next month at the Old Dominion campus. There is an audition at the school this weekend to participate, but she was already selected as a performer without auditioning. So that's exciting. I'll have to see if I can get a refund on the Brownies activity I had signed up for her to do that day, but that's no big deal.

Jack is peeing in his pants every time he goes to sleep. We tried putting pull-ups on him, but that's just making him regress even more. I make him go pee before bed and nap each time, but he still does it. It's gotten to the point where I'm having dreams of him walking around, awake, just peeing in his pants all the time. I don't know what to do anymore. I don't want to yell (but I have), I don't want to be angry (but I was) - I just want him to wake up to go potty. He just sort of grins when I tell him he has to do that, like he is doing it out of spite. I know that's not true, but...

I'll leave you with a Soapism: "Look, Mom! (I look up to watch her twirl around in a circle.) And that's how you do it!"


No Country For Old Socks

It hasn't been the most productive weekend. Yesterday, after going out Friday night and staying up until about 0500 reading my divorced, knitting cat lady book, I woke up early and took Chloë to do her booth sale for Girl Scout cookies.  It was chilly and rainy out, and two of the four mothers got into a slight argument about where and how to sell the cookies (no, I wasn't one of them, but I was an intrigued bystander). Thankfully, our intrepid Leader won out, because it's very interesting when the other mom doesn't get her way.  Fun to watch.

Then I rushed over to Ambiance to get my hair cut. My stylist, Debra, hasn't cut my hair since last May!! After that, I'd decided to grow out my hair for donation again, but then Stacey (my sister) visited in August and I let her cut it.  I've been reluctant to let anyone else touch it since then because I liked the cut so much. (Phew! We've come a long way since I was her model for the cosmetology license test  that she failed!)  But I was definitely in need now, six months later. (I'm not one of those who keeps standing appointments for hair and nails, you understand. I have had my nails done exactly once, as a college graduation present to myself, and since half of them fell off before the actual event, I consider it a waste of time and money.)

Where was I? Oh. So I kept telling Debra I like the angle of my hair (shorter in the back, longer around the face) to be sharp. No, sharper! And we would go shorter and shorter as she kept deciding it didn't lay the way she wanted it to. In the end, an inch off  turned into about four, and she could tell I was a little nervous, to say the least. But then she blew it try and styled it, and oh my. I LOVE it! Love it. It's very cute. And she mentioned again that my hair is getting very wavy in the back and that the style would look good "sprunched" as well as straightened.

She took me up front after that and helped me pick out some Curls Rock products for Miss Chloë's hair. Another stylist, herself the possessor of curls, came up to tell me how to use them for maximum spiral oomph.

Why am I going on about hair so much? Because I have absolutely nothing else to tell you. I went home after that and slept until evening. I woke up, ate a few bites of food and then felt sick and went back on the couch until 10 this morning. I woke up, checked my email and went to the bathroom, and didn't wake up again until 6 at night. I think being sick for two weeks has just completely wiped me out.

But, I did finish the second Sockotta sock while watching the Oscars. It's, uh, not the same size as the first. It's bigger. And I stuck my hands in that first one and tried to stretch the hell out of it to no avail. Oh, well. I just folded them together and hoped no one would be the wiser!  And hey, it's my first pair of socks, so I'm just glad they both look like socks to the average observer.

That's all I got, folks. Hopefully we'll actually have something of substance tomorrow.


Are We There Yet?

I still feel like crap. My head is killing me, my throat is sore, I have a horrible cough, and my stomach is upset. Wah, wah, wah. Only now, Rob is sick, too. And the kids may or may not all have pink eye. I give up!! And my house indicates my having given up, because it is an absolute mess right now. Stephanie can confirm this.  Barbara is coming on Wednesday, thank goodness, so we'll be out of this pigsty nightmare soon. As for the rest of it, wake me when it's over.

At least there's been a bunch of good packages in the mail. UPS brought my first Jafra order. (Psst, don't tell Rob, there's a second one coming.) You should see all the crap I have just to put on my face now. But I think it's worth it. Like the commercial goes, I don't want to age gracefully. I'm going to fight it every step of the way.

Then the mailman brought two packages. The first was my CD order. Each one is fine on its own, but together, they make me laugh a little bit: Rihanna, The Killers, Bon Jovi, and Timbaland.  I guess it makes sense for anyone who listens to BOB FM, though.

The second was from MIL. In addition to an enormous stash of Box Tops for Chloë's school, she sent several things for CARE Package: 100_5732

100_5733 100_5735

100_5737_2 Cute sets and blanket, Mom! Thank you! As always, we so appreciate all the contributions to the charity.

Friday night, despite not feeling so great, we went to see Definitely, Maybe while Steph watched the kids. It was really good. I'm not allowed to tell you, but I will: even Rob cried during it. And that Ryan Reynolds is hot. I've thought so ever since he was on Three Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place. It was a good date movie.

Thanks for all the votes for the bootie/sock dilemma! Since the votes are even, I decided to go with the Sockotta and have started the ribbing for the cuff. I think I'll go work on that now and try to feel better, finally. This bug better hurry up and quit me so I can be up to delivering Girl Scout cookies.


I Am Knitter; Here Me Roar

All right. This is my third time trying to make this post, so forgive me if I sound a little grumpy!

Moving right along...

100_5727_3 This is my first attempt at using DPNs (double-pointed needles) and also at making socks. I hate socks and never had the interest to make some for the others - what's the point if they're just going to get stinky, smelly and worn out?

But when I paired the blue set with Saartje's booties, I thought the booties were just a little too small to fit right. I thought I better finally take the DPN plunge and try to make Sockotta (the real set) socks.

100_5728_3 Tremulously, I cast on for them last night while watching my boyfriend, Larry David, on our Netflix DVDs of Curb Your Enthusiasm. (Shame on Cheryl for leaving him for the underwear guy!)

It was interesting, to say the least. I've cabled, bobbled, done Fair Isle and intarsia, used tiny straight needles and circulars, but I've never had to contend with four needles at once, much less on such a small working area.

But I managed to finish them today while making only a few mistakes, and I know what they are so I can correct them for next time. If I may say so myself, I don't think they're half-bad for a first effort:

100_5729_3Cuff up (and doesn't it look weirdly narrow for such a big foot? but it's uberstretchy and maybe I don't know what 'normal' baby feet look like since all my kids' piggies are tiny);


Cuff down. I think they look a little more balanced that way.

So my question for you is, which one should I use for the set? These (Sockotta) or Saartje's booties? Here they are all together for your reference:

100_5731Sockotta is on the left; Saartje is on the right. Thanks for helping me decide - please vote in the poll below!


Over The Shoulder Boulder Holder

Well. Today wasn't the greatest of days. I feel more like shit than I did yesterday, just the hacking and gagging and general blah-i-ness.  I haven't showered, my hair is greasy and nasty, and I darn near didn't even bother to put on a bra before taking Chloë to Brownies.

If you know what I look like, you know I can ill afford to leave the house without a brassiere. I mean, I take Chloë to the bus stop in whatever the hell I have on and no bra, but that's different. Before 0800, no one should be able to see you anyway. I pretend I'm invisible.

But evening bralessness is no good for me, unless maybe I were wearing two or three thick layers - which I would never do. I don't wear socks, I don't wear anything but whatever the hell kind of shoes I wear (they're not really sandals, not really flip-flops and no, Rob, they're not freakin' slippers), I don't wear turtle necks and I can't stand it when I have to wear my coat. I just hate the constrainment. Is that a word? Constrainment. No, that's not what I mean. Confinement, that's it. I hate to be confined. My movement is restricted, it presses on my skin, it's just ilck. Beyond ick - it's ilck.

So I wore the bra. I've been liking this past sickly week of not wearing it, though. Pshaw on the bra. The ladies are comfy in there, all free to bounce around or flash at my husband whenever they feel like it. But the Brownie moms don't need to see my nursed-three-babies-and-that's-a-lame-excuse-because-they-looked-like-that-before-pretty-much nipples pointing down to my slippersandalflipflops. And it's cold, you know, so nothing to hide there.

Dude. This is totally not the direction I planned for this post to go. But that's how I roll, take it as it comes into the brain, no filter, just typey-type. All for you. I do it for you.



Here's cute little baby Vivian again. Isn't she just precious? Little Miss Bright Eyes, with her older brother Donovan. She's just so tiny, and if I weren't all nasty and unshowered and coughing and gross, I would have eaten her up. Seriously, chewed her right to bits. I just want to SQUEEZE her. Babies, babies, everywhere, and not a drop for me. 

100_5712  My little lion. Sort of. It looked cuter before the camera was grabbed.

I still can't figure out my damn camera and the depth of field issues. I've done every frigging thing to that aperture setting that I can think of, and everything else, but I just can't get the job done. The camera is, like, compensating and always focusing everything in the picture. I don't want that! I want blur!

Nobody cares. I know. So g'night.


Baby Season

It's Baby Season in my life, but for once it's not our kid coming into the world (sniff, sniff).

My best friend S just had a baby boy, Connor, a few weeks early! I knew she was pregnant, but I never believed the blessed day would actually come. I just can't believe she had a baby! For years, it was no, no, no babies, I'm too scared, blah blah blah. And now she's gone and had one. She's a MOMMY! I'm so excited, so happy for them.

Another best friend, L, as well as Rob's brother, also had babies in December, so we are aunt and uncle to three new wee ones (and four older ones).  And so many friends and acquaintances are pregnant or new parents right now. I am at the point in my life where almost everyone I know is reproducing. I guess we got it out of the way early.

Last night, I took Chloë to her make-up acting class, and there was a first-time mom there with her three-week-old daughter. I was insanely jealous and covetous.  There is absolutely no way either Rob or I could have another baby, but I want one so badly. SO badly.  People keep telling me, "but yours are still babies!" No, not like that. Not tiny and nursey-nursey and brandy-new and show-offable.


I can't think of another thing to say, for once. I'm just soaking in the new-baby love.


Son of a B-- GUN!

Frickin Fracken Ferris Wheel!!!

Lunar_eclipsea I was all set to make a set of time-lapsed pictures of the lunar eclipse tonight. I've been studying my photography lessons, my camera manual, and playing around with it for days.

Tonight's the night. It's coming. It's a half-hour away!

So I step outside, and first, the ol' sniffer detects the smell of smoke. Then the ol' peepers spy nothing but big, thick, gray and white clouds plastered across the entire sky, where an hour before there was nothing but streetlamps and moonlight.

No moon. No nothing.

Did some asshole decide to burn his house down tonight? MY night?!!! Just kidding about the selfishness. I sincerely hope everything is all right.

But, maaaaaaaan. I wanted to see it.


WFMW: Dinner Help For Picky Kids

Wfmwsmall_2 I think I have mentioned this elsewhere before, so forgive the redundancy! It's been a while, though.

I have one VERY picky eater (Jack) who often makes mealtime a huge hassle for all of us. One thing he loves, though, are crescent rolls. He adores those.

So one night when Daddy - who usually does the cooking - had to work at night, I was scrounging around for meal ideas that would please all three kids.  Sophia'll eat anything. Really, anything. And she'll eat hers, mine, yours, and the dog's. Chloë's pretty good about trying anything, so it was mostly Jack I had to worry about.

We had a stash of crescent rolls in the back of the fridge, and I got to thinking - I can roll stuff up in there! So I finely - and I mean finely - diced up some chicken breast and sautéed that in some olive oil, and I cut up some cheese (use either Velveeta or American slices for yummy meltiness). I put a little bit of the cooked chicken and a blob of cheese onto each triangle - oh, I cut each one into three smaller triangles for easy kid manageability, too - and rolled it up. I baked it according to the directions on the rolls.

Guess what? He ate one and asked for more! Now I keep crescent rolls on hand all the time and try to find lots of interesting things to add to them. Cooked broccoli is a great addition!

Head over here for more great ideas!


Almost Everything is Boinga Here

...just in case you hadn't heard!  We are obsessed with that song from the Backyardigans. We've all been watching entirely too much Noggin lately. Not that I'm endorsing the idea of TV as toddler babysitter, but when you need one, Noggin is a great toddler babysitter...  I really need to find the CD with that song on it.  Alicia Keys sounds wonderful on "Boinga"!

Product Review: Ayr Saline Nasal Gel

My MIL suggested this product to me after my much grousing about the various tissues and my sore nose. Rob picked it up at Walgreen's for me the other day. PROS: It really works to soothe your sore nose. CON: It's wet, on your nose. I don't like that. Makes it feel like it's runny. It stays wet.

Bottom line: If you don't mind a wet spot on your face, it's worth the six bucks.

And how cool is this??! It's like Netflix for toys!  I might try it for the non-twins. Birthdays are coming up.

I can see Sophia needing speech therapy in the future. She speaks really well, is easily understandable by strangers and ourselves alike, and has a great vocabulary. However, she has an odd pronunciation style ("block" instead of "black," for instance) and mispronounces a lot of words ("perthect instead of "perfect" or "thor and thive" instead of "four and five"). I'm not worried about it, and I know she'll possibly grow out of that before she's school age - and I find it absolutely endearing. Actually, I find darn near everything about her adorable. She is my little love. Today I nicknamed her Baby Bubba, and she came back with a nickname for me: Mama Bubba! We went back and forth all evening, with her checking in, "Mama Bubba?" and me cooing back, "Baby Bubba!"  This produced many giggles on both our parts.

Jack was particularly snuggly today. He is so warm and small, I love when he is feeling in the mood. Normally he is Daddy's Boy, probably because I put my foot down with him more often and don't give in to all his little whims and whines. But today he was for me, and he'd put that sweet soft head on my belly and let me rub his cheek and his arm and his back.  At least until Baby Bubba came up and said, "I want to see the boobies!" before lifting up my shirt and smacking at my guzoongas. Owie! Good touch, bad touch, Baby Bubs.

Chloë. Well, she comes home so tired from school most days that, even when she seemed to be in a good mood upon arrival, it doesn't take much for her to take a downward spiral into the Big Mean Crankies. Today, it was over not being able to find her leotard and being in a hurry to get to dance class since the bus was delayed 10 minutes (causing major panic on my part, now that she walks home with the 5th graders; I was tapdancing at the end of the driveway, looking for my Curly Sue).  After she dissolved in tears, insisting it was not on my dresser as I'd indicated, I had her change into clothes she could dance in and off we went. When we got to ballet class, I unbuckled her carseat and she fell into my arms, murmuring, "I'm sorry I was a pain in the butt, Mom." Oh, Sweety. [I certainly don't call her that,  not to worry.]

No pictures today. I'm having issues figuring out depth of field with my camera (the aperture only goes from 2.8 to 8), and I was going to bring it along with me to ballet so I could take some pictures, but I forgot it in the leotard commotion. Ah, well. Always tomorrow. No FOs today, either; I've been alternately crocheting a hook case for my steel hooks and knitting on the blue baby hat, but doing neither very quickly.


I'm Just Sayin'

I really don't understand the popularity of the name "Guy." I mean, I know it's popular in France and pronounced "guee," but does it mean the same thing there as it does here? Guy? Really? You'd think our generation would have changed it up to "Dude" or something.


Your Best Friend Larry Had A Brother Harry

Well. I've barely gotten off the couch for the past several days, let alone showered, and I'm  not looking forward to Rob going back to work tomorrow. Of course, he worked yesterday and I managed, but he got off much earlier than usual. Tomorrow will be a late one, and I still feel like she-ite.

Although, Rob woke me up at 11 this morning with some of the most glorious words you can hear when you feel like crud: "Go back to sleep, the kids and I are going out..." and that's all I really cared to hear. I did go back to sleep, and I did have some crazeh crazeh dreams, and I did accidentally wake up and call Rob about them, thinking they were real, and I was very confused. As was he. "You're walking Larry's pig...what?" But anyway.

100_5510_2Where did they go, you wonder. Welp, Rob's best friend Larry is in town from Washington, and they haven't seen each other in years. Like, twelve of them. So they had to do some catching up, and the kids went along because... my husband is wonderful and knew I needed that. So they went exploring Norfolk's Naval Base (NOB), and Rob took a bunch of fun pictures with the kids and the planes. More of those in the end-of-the-month reel.

I finally woke up for good, and then I sat here for quite some time doing nothing before the boneless skinless chicken breast wasting away in the fridge started occupying entirely too much of my brain, and I had to get up to do something about it. My plan was to marinate it all day in my Pampered Chef stone baker and then shove it in the oven around dinnertime. So I decided on a lemon pepper marinade, which called for fresh coarse ground pepper and fresh squeezed lemon juice and minced onions and minced garlic and EVOO and fresh rosemary. I had the olive oil. I had some decidedly not fresh lemon juice in the little lemon-shaped plastic thingy, and far less than was needed, so I added more olive oil to make up the liquid difference. No onions, so I threw in some onion powder. No garlic, well, none that wasn't limper than overcooked asparagus, so I threw in some garlic powder. No rosemary. And we had a big can of pepper that we bought at Sam's Club in, oh, 2002. I opened the lid, went to shake a little in, and whooosh! Out dumped approximately 100 times the mass of pepper that I was expecting. Oh, shit. I had already dumped in all the other ingredients and had no more lemon juice. Well, now what? So I did what any chef worth their salt (heh) would do (not) and added a ton more olive oil  to soak it up. This was not a pretty mixture, folks. But I proceeded, congratulating myself on not getting upset, and washed my chicken, cut out the fatty bits, and then doused it with my do-you-want-some-lemon-with-that-pepper marinade.

It was not pretty. But I figured, hey, it'll just be that much more flavorful and besides, Rob will eat pretty much anything.



After it came out of the oven, it was so moist and flavorful and hot and delicious - and then a second later, my eyes were screaming and my taste buds were wailing and holy cow, was it spicy. I do not do spicy. To me, "hot" is a Cajun's bland. Maybe less spicy than that. And Sophia took a bite, and maybe the other kids. We were all hollering at daddy to get us a drink now, now, now!!! Rob laughed and shrugged, "So what do you want from Taco Bell?" Here is the offending party:

100_5551 I know, it looks pretty innocuous sitting right there in the pan, but believe-you-me, it is evil. But like I said, Rob ate it. One breast for him, the other three in the freezer for... him.

This is why he does the cooking, and I do the baking. It's a safety thing.

So during that brouhaha, the Bigs were busily crafting and coloring and otherwise plunging in and out of the craft box (as opposed to the craft drawer, whose overloaded self bit the dust two days ago, argh). I posted a video here. Sorry for the heavy breathing; I'm way congested. Chloë used a cup for a rolling pin for her play clay, which Jack then stole and filled with clay, and eyeballs, and water. Then he couldn't figure out how to get the eyeballs and clay out again. See, Ma? Can you help?:

100_5540And all the while, I was busily studying my online photography course and messing around with the aperture and shutter settings on my camera, and fiddling with the other doohickeys on there, too. I've had it, what? Two years now? And there are still tons of things on there I don't know what to do. With. Mainly because I can't find the manual. Here are a couple cool pictures I liked from tonight:


I've always wanted to take a water droplet picture! Never mind the dirty sink.

100_5567I love the motion in this picture. Note the white spot on the table is where Rob's labtop burned it, and not something else actually moving...

Now if someone who knows anything about photography could help me, I'm having an f-stop/depth of field crisis.  Thanks!

That is all. Back to the daily grind. So don't just stand there, Bust a Move!


Picture Gallery

decided to have a little photo shoot today while Daddy was at work and there was some sunlight, for once. Here are some favorites.100_5467

Sophia in a rare quiet moment.

100_5473 I actually don't know how it got all blurry in a circle around her like that, but I like it.

100_5475 Say wha...?!

100_5476 Please ignore the horrible hair on the blondies. We're in a state of indecision as to what to do with it next. His hair grows like bamboo!

100_5478 Hates having his picture taken.

100_5482Not the most attractive feet in the world!

100_5487 A half-second before she licked the camera...


We Sophia, in her favorite sleepy-time pose.

100_5493 My favorite. It just works for me.

100_5498If you want to take my picture, this is what you'll get!

100_5504Enough pictures. Time for some sun.

And now for a few things we've made this weekend...


Chloë wanted to make something with her play clay, so we decided to make this cup to hold all the marbles that we seem to keep losing.  The eyeballs were a fun addition.  The kids love it!

100_5505 And what, pray tell, is this fuzzy brown creature??

100_5506I got sick of having two fistfuls of crochet hooks to sort through every time I needed to use one, so I decided to make an organizer for them today.

100_5507_2It may not be a real thing of beauty, but it's highly functional and stores all of my aluminum hooks plus a few extras.

That is all.


Odds and Ends

I can totally relate to today's cartoon on my blog. It's especially hard to knit when we get a Netflix movie with subtitles.


My mom was 20 in that picture; my dad was 29.


The Kleenex anti-viral tissues do not have lotion in them and feel about as soft as paper to me, after using my favorite Puffs Plus.


Rob's name is on the short list for those who will be soon going to Iraq. We'll find out March 20th. They'll be gone for about a year. Yes, I'm crying about it, but we'll manage, and thank God he won't be in combat.


Thoughts and Feelings

Momanddad_2  Today would have been my mom's 57th birthday. She's been gone almost 24 years. RIP, Mommy, I miss you.

Also today, Rob and I celebrate our "second" seventh anniversary. After we eloped at the courthouse on Jan 2nd, we had a Feb 17th  wedding on the beach with friends and family. I was already barefoot and pregnant for that! Since we met online, the pastor pronounced us "www dot husband and wife dot com"! Good times.


Show Me The Money

BrownieThe Girl Scout Cookies are in! I'll email those of you who ordered separately, and then I'll ship them out when fundage gets here. Thanks for supporting Troop 276!


V-Day treasures

100_5440We love you too, baby.

100_5445_2Jack, peeking down the stairs to see if it was 'safe' to get up from his nap, not knowing I was sitting there waiting with my camera... he turned on his heel and ran up to shout to Chloë, "Mommy just took my picture!!" Then the two of them came back and I took their picture. But I didn't like it as much.

100_5448_2Her grandpa gave Chloë this canvas to paint. She decided to paint this way, instead. Abstract genius in the making? She also decided to paint the nearby tube of toothpaste yellow.

100_5449I've been busy crocheting some cotton dishcloths for charity. I'm a bit tired of brown now.

That's all for the picture show. I weighed in today but didn't lose an ounce. I didn't gain anything, either, so I consider that still a victory. I did eat a whole bunch of Samoas just a little while ago, probably out of self-pity and defiance, but I'm going to get back on the starvation track now.

And I think I'll go cast on a hat to match the little blue cardigan.


Mint Tissues

Tissues I don't feel very well, and therefore don't have much content for your reading pleasure, so we're just going to do another installment of Product Review. Up this time are those new tissues with Vicks in them. I had a coupon for them when I took nice Japanese neighbor lady to the commissary, so I bought a box. Now that I've got aforementioned horrible cold, I've had plenty of chances to use them.

So what do I think? Well, they're Puffs Plus tissues, which are my favorite brand of tissues because they're so soft and have soothing lotion in them. Great for sore noses - or keeping nosies from becoming sore. But I am so incredibly congested that half the time, I can't even smell the menthol-camphor-eucalyptus stuff. When I do, it feels a little tingly like my nose is burning, or running, even when it's not. It doesn't do a thing toward clearing up my sinuses. And Chloë, who has a very minor cold today, absolutely detests them. She either uses toilet paper or goes upstairs for the new Kleenex Anti-Viral tissues I also just bought (with coupon, of course).  If I ever make it back upstairs to use them, maybe I'll review those, too.

Bottom line: They're not worth it, and your kids might hate them. Do you really want to keep hearing, "Mooommeeeeee, please don't buy these mint tissues again!" 30 times a day?


And now for a little celebration: the CARE Package site has just gone over the 10,000 hit mark! Yippee! Here's to the next 10,000!