Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bouncy Balls - Always trying to escape

We're in that stage of the "threes" where Daniel is arguing with me about everything. The food list is shrinking (Hello carbs!). He's too busy to use the potty, and no he really doesn't need a nap. The one plus to the recent ice storm and the current snowy weather is that he has finally stopped resisting the idea of long pants, long sleeves, coat and occasionally boots and a hat on his body.

No amount of coaxing, cajoling, redirecting (misdirecting) or smoke signals on my part seems to move us from an impasse on the other items however.

A recent tantrum on both our parts regarding the afternoon nap found me hoisting him under the arms, hauling him into his room and settling the two of us on the rocking chair in his room that has been sitting idle for awhile. I was a little amazed as the tension seeped away, and he laid his head on my shoulder and within ten minutes was asleep. We might have stayed longer, but my arms had started to ache holding up his 30+ pounds. I rolled him and his blankie onto the bed for his afternoon nap.

I resolve to make more space for "cuddle time" in 2009 and beyond.

Friday, December 26, 2008

It's All in the Attitude

Christmas Day, Daniel has just played the animatronic dancing bear, and dancing penguins for the umpteenth time while ping-ponging around the room in harmony with the music. His big cousin Robert managed to turn down the volume on the creatures in between songs.

Daniel, having noticed asked Robert to turn it up. After which we got this exchange:

Oh, I don't know how.

Daddy: Poor Daniel...

Daniel: No, I'm not! I'm happy!

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Push Me, Pull You

Meals are something of a loosey-goosey affair around our house. H works very hard for long hours, meaning he is out a good portion of the time. All the physicality his job entails also means that when he gets home he is hungry. For me, left to my own devices I tend to subscribe to the eat when you're hungry, stop when you're not routine - one not governed so much by the clock.

Enter the three year old. The three year old who is currently surviving on crackers. He's steadily shrinking his list of acceptable foods, and it's driving me a bit battier than I already am to begin with. Days often start with a request for warm juice (not sure where the warm trend started for him, blech, but I'll run with it). Then it's a request for crackers. How about some peanut butter on those? Nope, just crackers. Crackers and cheese? Oh, Okay. Only to have me discover a plate full of cracker crumbs and a mound of cheese not long after.

I recently nixed a breakfast request for marshmallows.

And oh, the wailing and screeching at not getting his way! Well then, I'm not hungry and he marches away from the table.

And we all stage a repeat of this scene, center stage, at the next mealtime.

This tug-of-war is getting to me. Thank goodness for Flintstone's chewables!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Well, this has been fun...

H woke me around 4:30am last Friday to let me know that our power was out. Really out - as was the rest of the area. To further add to the complications he had left his car at the mechanic the night before to have it looked at... If he went to work I was facing no electricity (no heat, no cooking) and with no way to leave, having no car. With a three year old.

Needless to say, H called in to work and we drove out to find a town with power to grab something to eat. Stopped at Gram's to meet her new kitties, and headed back home. Rather disheartening to have the power still out when we arrived. You know those shows like Survivorman? Adventure expert gets dropped into the wilds with a Swiss Army Knife and is expected to make it out alive? I would so be toast.

The three of us were cuddled under a mound of blankets on the sofa, candles lit, listening to Christmas music on a battery-powered radio and musing about our limited dinner options when poof! Power back on. It had been a total of 12/13 hours for us. I'm very aware that we were pretty lucky and many people went much longer with no power. I'm saying many small prayers about the approaching snowstorm.

Following our no-electricity adventure very closely was my developing a rather nasty sinus infection. Antibiotics seem to be kicking in, and this is the first day that I feel like my head isn't going to come rolling off my shoulders anytime I bend over to do something. I have started to realize that there is a lot of bending involved in the daily life of chasing a three year old around.
Stay tuned over at Relishing the Dirt for a giveaway!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


There are days where I'm still looking for the instruction manual for this Mom Gig. I mean, as soon as you start to feel you have it figured out, it changes up on you. First it's the sleep deprivation, and the breast feeding and the endless marching line of diapering while you try and figure out the wants and needs of this little being who is so totally dependent on you for everything. No sooner do you settle into a routine when...

It's walking and solid foods and talking up a storm and potty training. My formerly dependent little being has become a decidedly independent boy who has found his voice. And his opinion. On everything from what to wear and when - (He's now in his Fall coat. In December. At this rate the Winter coat should be on his body by mid-February or so...) to what to eat, and firm opinions on the decided injustice of having to take a nap when there is so much to do.

And there are the days where Mama wants a do-over and I have to remind myself that my boy is no longer just that cute, cuddly little thing that I brought home from the hospital and that maybe he is just having a do-over day too.

Then the bed time routine rolls around. These days it involves pajamas and story time with Daddy. I really don't mind, as it gives them a chance for some "boys time." He comes to say goodnight, and I get open arms and a Mwah (kiss), and an I wuv you.

I love you too, my baby boy.

Friday, December 05, 2008


It's finally happening. A week or so ago Daniel walked up and handed me a handful of yarn. When I asked where he'd gotten it, he gave me his impish grin - Blankie.

My Aunt Anne had made him a baby blankie, fleece, with a crocheted, sort of scalloped edge and whoosh, Daniel was in love. Blankie is our go-to-sleep item, calming-down-in-a-crisis item, snuggle on the couch, all-around cuddler. Luckily he hasn't needed to carry it everywhere a la Linus, but it has been a fixture at our house for quite some time now. If he's asleep, a corner of fringe is stuck in his mouth or the blankie is at least within arms reach.

I've been anticipating this moment, but not really sure what to do. My Aunt was kind enough to make a Blankie #2 awhile back - but with a shake of his head, Daniel dismisses it. It's not the real deal. Even today we came home from the library and he rolled onto his blankie on the floor, curling up and declaring how much he'd missed it. The look on his face when a clean, warm blankie emerges from the dryer is a thing to behold.

He couldn't have pulled this when his crafty Grandmother was in town a few weeks ago? I don't crochet. Some of the fringe is being held by safety pins at this point, while I hunt down a yarn/craft store that might point me in the direction of someone who could do some work on it. If Daniel lets it out of his hands that is. Wish us luck!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hitting the Yellow Brick Road

We were in the mall recently, and making the rounds of our usual stores: The Disney Store, the food court to see the carousel... and stopped in the pet store to see the puppies. Daniel looked over at me and said: Grandpa has a puppy too. Grandpa has Sophie.


I hmmd and agreed with him and quickly changed topics. I have yet to address the subject of loss to my three year old, and this one blindsided me a bit. Grandma and Grandpa are 1,200 miles away so it was easy to gloss over. But I can guarantee that this one is going to come around to bite me again. Anyone out there with some tried and true angles/methods/recommendations for talking to little ones about losing a pet?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Part of living in so many places means that I have friends spread out all over the country, as well as overseas. Kim and I met in fourth grade - Mrs. Lindburgh's class, if I'm not mistaken. We went all through school together, mooning over 80s bands and listening to Duran Duran LPs in the sunroom of my house. Kim snuck me into basketball games with the band, and I dragged her into working on drama productions like Hello Dolly.

Even as I've bounced from Michigan to France to California to Massachusetts, Kim and I have kept up. Visits, phone calls, email... through six kids (yep, five of those are hers!) and countless ups and downs of life we've kept up with each other. She stood up in my wedding, and when I was trying to sleep train Daniel she was the one I called sobbing: I can't do this.

I haven't seen my friend in person in eight years. Ever have a friend that no matter how long it's been, the years just melt whenever you reach out to each other? Like you'd never been apart? Kim is one of those friends for me.

She emailed this week asking for prayers for her family. Her husband has been quite unexpectedly laid off. They have options, and they're doing OK. She is one of the most faith-full people I know. Friends are at the forefront of my thoughts of gratitude today, especially her.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Zoom Zoom

Drove my parents to Logan airport today. Daniel was a trooper in the car.

I've lived for many years in a separate state from my parents and brother. For the most part I do OK with it. We talk on the phone a lot, visit as often as we are able and last year even acquired a web cam to do some video calls (ain't technology wonderful?).

The hardest part was/is always the parting company at the end of a visit, whether it is us in Wisconsin, or the folks out here. And it's magnified a bit with Daniel thrown into the mix. We were climbing the stairs back at home when he asked: Where's Grandma? I imagine it will be tomorrow before it really sinks in that they've gone back to their home.

The speedy trips to the airport can actually make it a little easier on all of us to leave, as it is a screech to the curb, dump the bags as fast as possible, kisses and hugs all around and peeling out again to not block traffic. It will probably be tomorrow before their absence sinks in for me as well.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Grandma and Grandpa are still in town, but are winding up their visit. It's just after our 8th anniversary, and so H and I took advantage of the babysitting to use a positively ancient gift certificate that I had to a very nice restaurant.

I love my little guy more than anything, and of course he was a big topic of conversation. But it is such a gear switch to have a leisurely meal with attentive waiters. Conversation without having to ask the three year old to get back into his chair or to stop mashing his potatoes between his fingers. And to take a browse through the local Borders bookstore - not to buy anything, just to look - without the constant refrain of "Where's Daniel?" pitter-pattering through my brain.

Wasn't there an old slogan - The pause that refreshes - for Coca Cola or something?

Tonight was a refreshing Mommy and Daddy pause. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Right place, Right time

Growing up in the Midwest, lobster was always a real treat for our family. Several times I've had some packed to take with us when we visit Wisconsin. A visit from my parents often prompts a little look-around to see if there are any good deals out there. The local Stop and Shop got rid of their tank awhile back. The usual spot that H had picked out a lobster or two from was a Shaw's. After some shopping and driving, we were mightily disappointed to be greeted at Shaw's by an empty tank.

I started calling around, discovering that a local Hannaford's carried lobster - and so we headed in that direction. Mom chatted with the elderly gentleman in front of us about the best way to cook lobster. He handed the deli-guy a slip which I took to be some sort of rain check for his lobster. Dad took his place in line and requested four of the beasts from the large tub that had just been brought out for transfer to the tank. We continued with our shopping, and headed home.

Dad remarked on the way up to our place that the price seemed really reasonable for four lobsters and a few other assorted items. Upon closer inspection, we discovered that we had been given the elderly gentleman's "rain check" price of $4.99 a pound!

Sometimes the deals just find you!

I am off to take my butter/lobster-soaked self to bed.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Basking in the Balance

Days of butting heads, screaming tantrums, preschooler fish-flopping on the floor in frustration... me firmly securing my place in the boy's eyes as "Chief Squasher of Dreams."

Daniel: I want marshmallows for breakfast!

Me: No.

A visit from Grandma and Grandpa affords some much-needed breathing space. Daniel scooted me out of his room this afternoon because he and Grandma were reading a book. I happily went off to read a magazine.

And I quite enjoyed H's report of a smile on our little guy's face as he slept late last night. Sweet dreams my little one.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Even though we currently do not have any pets, I have found myself thinking of past furry friends today. My parents are in town from Wisconsin for a long-weekend visit. It's a happy time, touched by the sad news that their German Shorthaired Pointer Sophie passed away just yesterday, apparently in her sleep.

Sophie started life as a bit of a mischief hound. Tales of the pup who was eating all the Handi-wipes out of the kitchen, and running out with a knife clamped between her jaws started filtering back to me from my parents home in Iowa. She was boisterous and headstrong and excitable - and an adorable thing. She went off to doggie boot camp, learned her manners (mostly) and became a working hunting dog accompanying my father on many an outing.

She had slowed some in recent years, but was never happier than seeing Dad pull out his hunting gear and knowing an excursion was in store. Or getting to ride in the tiny back of Dad's "cool car" green MG with the top down. And as bullish as she could sometimes still be, Sophie was gentle as anything with Daniel. A favorite spot was parking under the kitchen table in hopes of any dropped cheerios.

Goodbye "Ga-Ga" from all of us.

So tonight I'm thankful for God's many creatures. If you have a furry friend in your life, give them an extra squeeze and a pat from me today.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Bunny Hell

Our cable has been out for the past few days. Only on one of the two TVs, but it means there is NO WAY OUT. My Spiderman-obsessed, GI-Joe, Incredible Hulk, Darth Vader superhero action figure kid has discovered the bunnies Max and Ruby.

And Mommy has discovered what must be one of the newer circles of hell. It's an adorable cartoon, but we're on the eleventy-billionth viewing. Cable guy comes tomorrow, and we are high-tailing this one back to the library ASAP. Luckily bedtime went down without a hitch and I've gotten in some computer/quiet non-"Max and Ruvee" time this evening. Sanity to resume tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


A three year old boy and a Mommy with PMS makes for a twosome with short fuses today. This whole daylight savings time thing has messed the boy up a bit. We've been up at 6am every day, and absolutely positively refusing to take an afternoon nap. (Even though he could really use it. Come to think of it, so could I!)

It took me half an hour to get out of the house to vote this morning. Socks, shoes, whups not those socks, well OK those socks, THOSE shoes? On the plus side we could walk right in to the elementary school/polling place, and I was outta there in minutes. Waiting in line for any amount of time was SO not going to happen with the three year old in tow.

The school was running a bake sale, so Daniel scored a cookie out of the deal and we traveled on to a local park as it was a gorgeous day. Tearing around outside is always good for expending that preschooler energy. It's the arguing over every. single. thing once we step inside the front door that is wearing me into the ground today. I'm off for PJs and a drink of something warm and soothing. And bed before too long. New days in many ways tomorrow.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Mmmm... Chocolate

We're finally seeing some relief at the gas pumps. (I saw gas for $2.39 at one stop in town!!!) Grocery prices are still a pinch, as they are for so many people. There are some very talented ladies out there blogging about how to save on your grocery budget. Some current favorites are $5 Dinners and Money Saving Mom.

I'm cooking challenged, even without a picky preschooler. It's always a struggle to balance convenience and ease with creative cooking with fresh ingredients. Daniel is big on chocolate milk, and rather than replenish our supply of store-bought powder I remembered writing down this recipe for some make-your-own syrup/sauce. I ought to be chocolated out, this close to Halloween and all, but this sounded pretty good and certainly fits the "easy" requirement I have of recipes.

1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla

Mix cocoa and water in saucepan. Heat and stir until dissolved. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Boil exactly three minutes. Remove from burner. Add salt and vanilla. Keep in refrigerator.

I'll amend this post as soon as I can with the source citation, as well as a "taste test" report!

Sunday, November 02, 2008


When Daniel was tiny we fought the battles that many new parents fight regarding sleep. He wouldn't sleep except on one of us, then he wouldn't sleep unless he was in the swing. We tumbled backwards into co-sleeping for awhile, as it smoothed out some of the night-time routines with feedings and such.

Eventually, and with many tears, he was sleeping in his own crib in his own room. Our compromise being that one of us usually laid down with him until he was "out." If we tried the bedtime routine, and simply leaving he cried. Endlessly. If one of us laid down with him we could sometimes be out of there in 15 minutes with a minimum of fuss. Seemed like a fair trade off to me! Then, a few months ago, Daniel suddenly asked for lights out and asked us to leave. I guess we'd been dong this wrong, silly me!

Recently we've been getting night-time visits, however. It feels a bit like backsliding, but I'm trying not to make a big deal out of it and hoping it will pass. The funny thing is, as an infant Daniel woke up loud. We always heard babbling coming from his room well before he was really ready to be up. Now I roll over in the middle of the night only to discover my three year old curled up on the foot of the bed asleep. And I have no idea how long he's been there!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

My Trooper

We've dressed Daniel up for Halloween before, but this was the first year that he "got" the whole trick or treat thing. Our usual Friday storytime at the library consisted of a trek down the street to the local town hall for some office trick or treating, a stop at the senior center, and a Halloween story once we got back to the library.

In the afternoon we hooked up with his buddy Marisa, and Alexis and we all trooped through the local mall for some additional treats. The Star Wars obsession continues, as he came to an immediate halt and stared when a Darth Vader passed us. That little boy got into the spirit when he turned to Daniel and said: "You're on MY side!" And Daniel is still talking about the two other stormtroopers we saw. (Well, and the Hulk, and Wonder Woman, and "the scary guy!") It was a bit of a zoo, but all in all a good trick or treating alternative. Otherwise we get zero kids coming by, or opportunities to go out as we live in a condo... My brother told me about an interesting variation. He said that where he lives they have "trunk or treating" - people park around a local church parking lot and have candy in the trunks of their cars.

The funny thing is - for a kid who loves his treats, he has eaten surprisingly little. There is a lot of "sorting" going on. My little pirate with his loot! It makes it a little harder to explain some "disappearances" though!

Friday, October 24, 2008


Okay, somehow, somewhere, somebody switched my sweet baby for a pod-person. It has been two days of: What is up with you? Then, I remember. I have a preschooler.

My local family network, a lifeline as I began this stay-at-home mom gig, recently held a parenting workshop titled: Why does my preschooler act this way? Do I need to mention that it was a pretty full house? One of the fliers cited a study which said that most 2, 3, and 4 year olds:

Pay no attention to what they are asked to do.
Say "no": refuse to do what is expected.
Are pokey: time wasting dressing and washing.
Leave tasks undone. They start, but don't finish.
Wriggle around. Don't sit still.
Laugh, squeal, jump around much of the time.
Refuse to share with other children.
Grab toys, shove, hit and attack others.
Ask for unnecessary help.
Cry easily, sulk.
Pick their nose.
Stay close to adults.
Seek attention by showing off.
Go to adults with criticisms of others.
Boss others.
Stay awake at naptime.
Refuse food.
Speak indisctinctly.
Are hard to reason with.

One-third to one-half:
Grumble and whine.
Chew objects, twist hair and suck their thumb.
Are shy and fear strangers.
Won't play with other children.
Are jealous.

More than one-fourth:
Bite nails, twitch, handle genitals.
Break toys, tear books and mark walls.
Have temper tantrums.
Wet self during the day.
Fear animals and loud noises.
Secretly take things that belong to others.

Of course, none of the 555 children did any of these things all of the time. But, all of the children did some of these things some of the time. Large percentages did some of them almost daily.
credit to: Exit., Agricultural & Home economics, University of Wisconsin.

Parents at the workshop were able to share tips and tricks that had worked for their families. In a big way it's simply reassuring to be able to think: It's not just me. The mom of a younger child recently asked me about things getting easier now that Daniel is 3 years old. I replied along the lines of: It's a new challenge every day.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Where to start? Serial illnesses, two colds (and counting) for me, one just starting for Daniel. H is running for cover.

Both cars came down with the same problem two weeks apart. After much expensive repair we seem to be back on the road. (On the plus side, if I had to break down, the car picked a perfect spot: in front of our mailbox. I called AAA, handed the tow truck driver the keys, popped Daniel out of his car seat and we walked home. The car went across the street and four doors down to my mechanic. Probably used up .008 of my allowable towing miles.) And in other car news H spent yesterday getting lost in Boston trying to get to court to fight a ticket. Success in the end, but I think they make it as difficult as possible hoping that you just won't bother.

Somewhere in the midst of this I found myself over at Blogher Boston, meeting and getting energized by some of the great people that can be found in the blogosphere. If you've never stopped by, you should check it out for some lively discussion. Stop by Relishing the Dirt to hear about my venture into candy-making, and see if you can help me with a sticky problem.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Mama needs a new pair of shoes...

A dear friend of H's got married this past weekend. It was a beautiful ceremony in a soaring cathedral, with a bustling reception at a local inn. They had a dance for all the married couples - you know the one - where they ask people married 10 years or less to exit the dance floor. Then 15 years, then 20 years. The goal being to get the couple married the longest to finish out the dance by themselves on the dance floor. The winners were the grandparents of the bride: they will celebrate their 62nd wedding anniversary this January. Incredible!

It was a fine night, unusual for H and I to actually get to dress up and have a night out and not to have to keep track of a highly active three year old. You know that thing where they warn pregnant women that their feet might get bigger? I thought I was doing OK as all my casual shoes fit just fine. Dressing up for the first time in a long time meant trying on heels. (Ouch!). Looks like I"m going to be going through the closet and sorting for the donation pile. Never thought that only a certain type of shoe would be a problem. Oh well! Luckily I had some flatter sandals that fit the bill with my dress.

We returned home that evening to find the three year old still up wearing out his Gram with his antics. A fun time was had by all.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


We've finally been making strides with the potty training around our house.

Peeing on the potty. Check.
Pooping on the potty? Go away Mommy (while hiding out in his bedroom).

The thing is: all these behaviours are totally my idea.

Hey Daniel! It's time to use the potty!

But if Mommy shuts up about the subject he will happily pee in a Pull-up any time of the day or night. Any ideas as to how to transition to that "Tell me when you gotta go, OK?" stage?

My favorite was last week when the "potty gremlins" mixed it up with the "I don't want to go to bed gremlins," and he figured out that "using" the potty meant he didn't have to go to bed just then. I don't want to discourage any thoughts of using the potty, but that was just fooling around.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sounds Like...

(beep, beep, beep - insert backing truck here.) Isn't it amazing? Some sounds are wonderful and precious. Daniel's first laughs that never failed to crack us up. We termed them "laugh in a bag" because of the indefinable quality that made him sound like he was making noises with his head in a paper bag. Even though he, of course, wasn't. All this past week I have been listening to the beeping sounds reminiscent of a reversing truck outside our condo. Except that it is some sort of construction crane that just beeps constantly and is making me crazee!

Some sounds you can just tune out. My apartment in Boston came complete with a squadron of bats that flew around outside. Their high-pitched squeaks were oddly comforting. My parents' first place when they moved back to Wisconsin had a pond out back, and night would fall to a symphony of frogs. I'd stay up listening out of amazement. I still get a little thrill out of picking up the phone to find H on the other end. And who hasn't been comforted by the sounds of a crackling fire in the fireplace or awed by the BOOM! of fireworks on the Fourth of July?

Wish me luck. Today we're listening to a wood-chipper outside our place.


My first giveaway! Head on over to Relishing the Dirt. Contest ends October 16th.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Growing Up

There are all those milestones: first smile, first tooth, first solid food, walking, weaning, talking, potty training. All the biggies.

So what made me smile today, was that instead of my usual 6 am preschooler wake-up call I rolled over in bed, checked the clock and it was 8am. I got a little nervous when I started hearing these vigorous scratch scritch scratch noises coming from the living room. Only to discover the little guy sitting at his table in his PJs happily and energetically coloring away at some pictures.

Does this mean I need to actually start setting an alarm clock when I need to get somewhere early?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The SciFi Legacy Continues...

In 1977 my whole family took a jaunt to the local movie theater to see this little movie called Star Wars. So began my love affair with all things science fiction (and a huge crush on Harrison Ford). I began reading and watching anything and everything I could get my hands on... these ran the spectrum from watching The Twilight Zone and Star Trek, and reading any book by Harlan Ellison (I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream). Even, (I shudder now) watching Buck Rogers in the 25th Century... pickings were sometimes slim.

It tickles me that Daniel has now discovered Star Wars. I think it started with the release of the animated movie recently, but instead of jumping on that bandwagon I showed him the original Star Wars. Having my three year old run around the house talking about Artoo and Chewbacca and how he really has to find Darth Vader's helmet has brought me no end of chuckles lately. If you check out my "reading" and "watching" sidebar items, I still gravitate towards things fantastical. I wonder if Daniel will continue to take after his mother...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

To Nap or Not To Nap...

The little guy woke up this morning at 6am and crawled into bed with me. Is it possible for a three year old to be more on the move than mine right now? He's currently jumping on my bed and watching Caillou as I type this. The Nap Issue has become a special bone of contention lately.

We've worked our way to one (usually very necessary) sleep session and skipping it has usually led to a Code S - shrieking meltdown. Or crashing at suppertime and totally messing with bedtime.

Lately the daily Impending Nap (insert VOICE OF DOOM here) has been met with cries of, "No nap, I said NO NAP!" And much struggling.

On Tuesday I experimented with no actual nap, and he actually did OK. Although I was met with a bit of a wild-eyed, bouncy - obviously overtired child by bedtime. Yesterday I went back to trying for a regularly scheduled naptime. I had a nice sleep. The kid dug in his heels until 4pm, and then crashed for an hour on the couch.

Naptime provides a great break for me. But in some respects I would gladly give them up if I could have a happy, well-rested kid and be able to plan my day.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Kick Butt Mama is Back

Some days I wish this title referred to me personally. Lately I've been contemplating posts titled: Resources low, but rising... In any case, one of my favorite shows from last season is back tonight. Don't miss it!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fight Club

Stressed. Standard operating procedure of my current week. I've come to the conclusion H and I don't know how to fight.

There are very few things that we really disagree on, and the biggie reared its' ugly head this past week. Details, details... I won't say they're unimportant. I'm just too exhausted to hash them out here.

I wish I were a screamer, a thrower, a blow-my-stack tantrum-er. We might actually get a resolution to this issue... Instead we both withdraw to our separate corners and the tension is permeating, deafening. Can you learn to be a yeller?

I wish this was a drooly post over Brad Pitt, but... there you go.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dear Daniel

Three years ago I had hauled my pregnant self out to the couch, unable to sleep in my bed for the aching of all my joints. I had just begun to doze off to the last dregs of a 2am MASH episode, when I felt a strange Whump. Turns out you had just head-butted me. It would take 12 more hours, but you finally made your long-anticipated appearance - three years ago today.

We treated you a bit like a porcelain doll in those first days as I learned to breastfeed, and your Dada and I got used to the sleepless nights. It's hard to reconcile those days with the three year old who is constantly whacking me in the knees (if I'm lucky) with foam swords, driving race cars through the kitchen and flying Spiderman or the Hulk across the table.

Where did three years go? That question keeps jumping out at me as we've done things this summer, like the swimming lessons with your best bud Marisa. Birthday #3 is turning into a birthday month: a little mini-celebration last week with Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Andy in Wisconsin. Hanging out with Mama and Dada and your new tank and Star Wars soldiers today... and another party with Gram and the rest of the New England family (and Marisa) in a week or so when Auntie June is free from her singing gigs.

You've grown up so in just three short years. I certainly realized it this week when you walked into our bedroom one morning at 3:30am and turned on the light. Way to use your stepstool, but Dude - rude awakening. It's also been the best times of our lives. Happy Birthday little man!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Smooth is Smooth Baby

Summer TV can seem like a bit of a wasteland. And not only ain't there much to escape into on the Tube, but many of my favorites (LOST, Battlestar Galactica) have vanished for awhile and have already projected their series end dates.

A glorious exception is USA network's Burn Notice. Jeffrey Donovan plays Michael Westen - a former spy, under a "burn notice" - for all intents and purposes pink slipped out of the business. Stuck in Miami with no credit, no job history and not much information to go on he spends his time helping people and chasing down who did this to him and why. Season 2 recently started, and I am thoroughly enjoying this little Thursday night jaunt into sun, sexy scenery, engaging characters and witty dialogue.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Relishing the Dirt

My little review site is back up and running again. Head on over to Relishing the Dirt via this link, or the tabs above. Today I'm checking out a new planner, and hoping to up my Mom-organizational skills just a bit.

More to come!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sand in my dryer

Daniel has decided that he loves the water. Well, make that the beach as not only do you get to splash in the water, but dig in the sand to your heart's content.

We've had several trips to York, Maine. It's a wonderful area and a great beach. I'm always left a bit nervous around strong waves and undertow and the like, but the kid is jumping right in. The favorite headgear of the moment is his army helmet. I've seen more than a few grins as my pint-sized soldier has run screeching across the sand looking for all the world like he's storming the beaches.

The local Memorial Beach has been the scene of some "Tiny Tot" swim lessons this past week. They play games and work on getting used to the water... no problem there, although I occasionally have to do a redirect if he decides to head for some digging in the dunes when he should be listening to his instructor.

I'm trying to shake everything out, but a fine coating of sand seems to be coating everything. Any tips for getting it out of a clothes dryer?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Priceless? I think not!

Hmm. Let's see. Car back in the shop? Check.

Computer intermittently on the fritz? Check.

H coming down with the flu? Right - o.

Off to buy a big container of hand sanitizer/lysol disinfectant and try to keep the kid from getting too close to Daddy. Regular blog entries to follow...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Apologies my downstairs neighbor for the late night clothes washing noise. It feels like there are few alternatives when the little guy barfs on the blankie that he can't sleep without.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Looking to exchange my "Grumpy" hat...

Sleep drama continues at the house of Dirt Makes Fat. Daniel has begun fighting his nap, and he is one persistent kid. After a few days of struggling to get him down for the nap, I finally picked a day to just... go without. Maybe he doesn't need it anymore, I reasoned. He got a tot crabby and frustrated, and we were butting heads more than usual. He also crashed around suppertime which made bedtime more of a bear.

The next two days he napped of his own accord at 11 and 11:30am, setting up a nice amount of space to get him off to bed in the evening at a reasonable time and without too much ado. The next day a nap struck at 2:30pm, and today held off until 1:30pm. Once he goes down, the kid also power-naps until I decide enough is enough and I start trying my darndest to wake-im up.

No matter what time he gets to bed in the evenings, he is up at 6/6:15am. Lately I'm woken by him draped across my bedroom doorway, kicking his feet against the jamb while he waits for his parents to rise.

I am starting to give up on the idea of schedules for him.
In the car report, after replacing the fuel assembly and spending much moolah, the frakkin' light was off on the dashboard of my frakkin' car for almost exactly 48 hours. And it's baacck! I suspect there will be additions to this report very soon. (Stupid deer.)

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Remember our encounter with Bambi? Turns out when a deer smacks your car the ripple effect lasts LOONNG after.

A month after the accident and my lovely red jeep is finally in the shop for repairs. Much haggling has ensued with the insurance over just what is really covered. There is the $500 deductible (naturally)... the remanufactured bumper that the insurance has insisted we use (can't make the car better than it was - just back to it's pre-accident state) even though the body shop says that the insurance people know that no such "remanufactured bumper" exists for my model car. And we're supposed to eat 25% of the difference in cost.

Once the car was in the shop and being deconstructed they found an additional $1k worth of damage. Good news - covered by insurance. Bad news - it means ordering new parts, and not getting my wheels back until middle of next week instead of Friday. Which means out more money on the rental car unless I take it back and do without for a number of days. With a 2.5 year old to wrangle.

And none of the above includes the new light on my dashboard (vapor leak) and the squeak from the front suspension. Insurance is of course insisting that this has nothing to do with hitting a deer. Funny thing, though. None of this came about until we smacked into the *(&^&%(_*! thing in middle of the road.

Monday, June 09, 2008

SuperMommy - 0, DestructoKid - 1

Our condo can be a tight space. It has been great for a couple, and even worked pretty well for a couple plus baby. Now that we have a 2.5 year old in our midst I despair over ever catching up with the clutter cleaning.

How is it that toys can be strewn from one end of this place to the other, and the only help I can muster up from the little one is if it's a "grown-up" chore? Move the laundry from washer to dryer, and I've got a little assistant. Sweep the kitchen, and I've got an extra pair of hands. Don't get me wrong, I love that "little helper" part! But the rest of his time is spent leaving toy bits in his wake as he moves from room to room. I've started working the ol' vanishing act on some particularly pesky items. So far we are missing one set of legos and several Little People sets. The tool bench went MIA for a few weeks, only recently reappearing - and is in danger of going poof once again. Nothing seems to work about picking up toys, so I'm resorting to a little Mama Magic.

If only that could have saved our kitchen screen. Three weeks to get the re-done frame back from the local hardware store. It does make for a convenient way to get rid of any toys that Daniel decides to drop through the hole in the door...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Toddler Fashion

So my hair is finally long enough to be put into a real pony tail this summer. This has resulted in screeches from the toddler of: No Hair! NO HAIR!! ...until I pull the pony tail holder out.

And the kid who spent all winter taking everything off his body now hands me the following assortment of items when he wants to get dressed: sweatpants, long-sleeved tees, sweatshirts, his fireman rain coat. Stand back! Commence with the meltdown when I try and talk him into something just a tad bit on the cooler side.

And the kid who wouldn't wear a hat all winter now won't leave home without one. I'm a little more relaxed on this, as at least it gives him some sun protection. I do try and talk him out of the plastic Fireman helmet, however. The last time he took it off his head he looked as though he had gone swimming. Grandpa's fishing hat looks very cute!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Itchy and Scratchy Show

H's family has a cottage up in York, Maine. York has beautiful beaches, although the water is just too cold for me. I grew up dipping my summer toes in Michigan and Wisconsin lakes (not the Great Lakes!) that are bath water compared to York. The cottage has been in need of some attention, and so several weekends so far have had Sundays devoted to heading up there to work. Today's excursion was combined with Uncle Bruce's birthday. It made for a generally happy chaos of yard and house work, cousins chasing each other through the yard and a cake and ice cream celebration.

It is also a big tick area, which makes it very hard for me not to get a little paranoid. Between skeeters and potential ticks I was finishing up the day itching and smacking at bugs. And Daniel is as twitchy about an inspection for ticks as he was about the splinters in his feet. We finished up our evening with showers and baths for the whole family. Begone bugs!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mama's New Challenge

We went to a small barbecue yesterday afternoon, hosted by a friend at her parents' place. Everyone had a grand time, especially Daniel. Our friend's parents have grandkids of their own, so it was a new space full of all-new toys and even a yard to explore. There was good company, and hamburgers and hot dogs never taste better than hot off a grill.

I love that Daniel is a sociable kid. When he wasn't occupying himself with all the new trucks and cars he was getting pushed on the swing by our friend's father or hopping up on the porch swing to sit next to her grandmother or showing her fiance something in a book.

Unfortunately his habit of removing his shoes at every possible opportunity has caught up with him: splinters in his feet. We got home late last night and he was completely exhausted. Any attempt at removal of the splinters only got me a shrieking, thrashing kid. I finally left it alone, and he crashed in his bed. I'm off to try a warm bath (for him, although I may need one later...) and another attempt. Wish me luck!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mommy Doesn't Ride Again

This weekend was reminiscent of those early-baby days of endless feedings and diaper changes - I dipped a toe back into the pool of sleepless nights courtesy of Daniel and his severely stuffed/runny nose. He wasn't shy in letting me know just how unhappy he was about the whole deal. Any tricks for teaching a 2.5 year old how to blow his nose?

Saturday night, er, Sunday morning at 4am found the two of us out in the living room watching Herbie Rides Again, which was preferable to listening to the screaming about My Nose! My Nose!

The attack left as quickly as it came on, so unless there is a 24-hour cold I am now pondering the idea of allergies for the poor little guy.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

You've done it again, Mr. Magee

We got back from a trip to a local farm/ice cream place yesterday afternoon, and Daniel was chattering on at the dinner table after H got home. He was talking about statues and flags and I realized he must still be thinking about our long weekend trip to Wellsboro, PA. There was a small park with lots of cool statues and fountains to look at and grassy areas to run on and tulips to see. Then he popped out with: John Magee, and I about fell off my chair.

The first time through the park we saw the monuments to soldiers, and the fountain with Winkin Blinkin and Nod as the centerpiece. We missed the bust statue, and went back to it on our next go-round to the park. To no one in particular I remember reading the name John Magee, and a small piece about his founding a railroad.

Apparently my kid is even more of a little sponge than I thought.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Deer, Interrupted

H loves to travel. Make that H LOVES TO TRAVEL. With company or without, near or far... it seems the gears are always turning for him about planning some sort of trip. I like to travel too - it's something we have in common. But that "gear" is not so much in the on position for me since Daniel's arrival.

Our most recent outing involved a trip to Wellsboro, PA. It's beautiful country, and a prime fishing target for people like my father and brother. My parents and brother met us out there for a little fly-fishing down-time for the guys, and lots of togetherness planned for everyone to see Daniel and all. The trip began with a bang when our car met a deer about 6 miles outside of Wellsboro. We're all OK, and that's the important thing. But my car has a damaged front driver's side grille, the left front fender clean off the car and a busted front left turn signal. A little prayer of thanks that we're all OK. But damn, this was my first rather nice car...

Daniel basked in the family time. It makes me happy that he is so excited to see my extended family since there are large gaps between visits. We ate in restaurants like the Wellsboro Diner and Timeless Destination, mostly successfully since getting Daniel to sit still is sometimes a challenge. Adjoining rooms meant extra space to roam, and while Daniel's sleep schedule was pretty much a haphazard-whenever-you-feel-like-slowing-down bedtime, it was still a fun/successful trip. And we seem to be getting back to normal routines without too many bumps.

Now, on to fixing my jeep so I can stop muttering stupid deer under my breath.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Not a Wonderful Thing...

Daniel and I spent a good chunk of yesterday with some friends. They are having their flooring redone, and so it was a perfect excuse to get together and let the kiddos chase each other around town. Their kitchen is pretty much out of commission, and so we accepted the invitation to a local restaurant for dinner. This restaurant is trying to get more kids/families to stop in, and on Wednesday nights there is a roaming magician, a guy who does balloons... and a guy in a Tigger suit.

We weren't there five minutes when Daniel spotted the Tigger - and freaked - big blue eyes welling up, face scrunched, mouth open in sobs. Lots of folks have stories about their kids and their first experiences with the animal-suited characters. Surprised the heck out of me, though, as Daniel has been pretty fearless. He's even started watching (and requesting) The Wizard of Oz lately, complete with the scary witch, the flying monkeys, and in my opinion the pretty fearsome looking floating-head Wizard.

I briefly debated staying, but decided that there was no way he was eating a meal in that state. When I asked: Do you want to go home? He nodded vigorously and said in a meek little voice: Yes. Go home. We were outta there. I think there aren't any trips to Disney in the near future for us...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Living Large

H and I are, um, dare I say it? Quiet people. We're much more at home traipsing through old New England graveyards than boogie-ing on an earsplitting dance floor.

My sister-in-law likes to chuckle about how we've been blessed with a little guy on the opposite end of the spectrum. I still remember the first trip to the Midwest to see the grandparents, and the delighted shriek of Ma-MA! when Daniel spotted me through a crowded rest stop plaza, as I returned from the restroom. Feeding Tilly the Bunny some cheerios at the local Family Network is bound to produce similar delighted shrieks of laughter, Daniel fairly dancing on his toes with happiness.

The din around our place lately has had an opposite tone as well when Mama thwarts his quest for More Juice! or his plan to carpet every square inch of living space with the pieces-parts of various toys. Or the tooth-brushing wrestling match we engaged in tonight.

I think there's a little lesson here for me somewhere, as I realize that I don't want to constantly be the "No-Stop That!" person. I'd like to soak up a little of my baby's "living large spark" in the time to come. As exasperating as it can be - I do admire that about the little guy.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Dear Daniel

When you were born, I never thought that I might be measuring you in the state of your hair. You arrived with a bunch of the stuff that was sort of dark and a little wavy, and it had your father and I scratching our heads and saying: Huh? Where did that come from?

We stumbled through those sleep-deprived first weeks and months, and I don't really remember you losing hair, but suddenly it seems there was a new crop. Early pictures show a grinning blondie with an initial strip of hair focused in the center, prompting at least one email from Grandpa saying: Who gave the kid a mohawk? The mohawk filled in and kept going, and we all marveled at your cherub curls. I occasionally got a scissors to your bangs, to make sure you could see, but we left your lion's mane to bounce behind you as you ran on your many new adventures.

I never thought that it would be at 2.5 years old you would be getting your first official hair cut. You were a trooper, only really crying when the lady got out her spray bottle full of water to wet down your hair. It was time. The weather is getting hotter, and I know that you certainly won't miss brushing the hair out of your eyes or pulling it away from your mouth when you're trying to eat (or my trying to comb a knot out of the back of your head). We think fondly of your long locks... but seeing our new big boy come padding into our room (yes, even at 6am) makes us smile.



Thursday, April 24, 2008

A night on the town...

As a teenager I can recall spending weekend after weekend at Pine Knob in Michigan on outings, just seeing whomever was playing at the time: Huey Lewis and the News, oohh there was that double bill of The Thompson Twins and Berlin... yep, even the Pointer Sisters! (OK, looking back I'm a little agog at that one...)

Even before the baby, and in the days of ever-climbing ticket prices, I'd gotten a lot pickier about an evening out. It just has to be someone I really want to see if I'm going to make that effort.

H decided to splurge for my (ahem) milestone birthday this year and nabbed us some tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld when he breezed through town. I didn't quite anticipate heading into Boston with the rest of the Red Sox faithful last Friday. We made it on time, but the jockeying for position at the **&^%$! tollbooths made me a little nervous. Thanks MBTA. Jerry was in fine form for a (mostly) family-friendly show. Refreshing to have an outing holding hands with my guy and not keeping one eye peeled for: Where did the 2.5 year old just go?

It must be a measure of my TV addiction however, that I kept half-expecting to see George, Elaine and Kramer pop out on stage as well...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A pet peeve, and something stupid...

Our cable service has that lovely on-demand feature. Perfect for when Daniel insists that he really wants to watch Thomas, and Mama really needs to take a shower. My pet peeve is this: When the programming is over, the screen reverts to a menu with a "preview screen" up top. And some of the stuff they are previewing is scary! I can remember points where the Harry Potter films were in pretty heavy rotation, for example.

So yesterday the above scenario happened. And hearing Daniel start to get pretty upset I lunged for the couch where I had last thrown the clicker. And completely crunched my right foot. Life sometimes has ways of asking you to slow down. I'd just prefer they not come with a puffy turning-purple toe and a pronounced limp.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spice of Life

Me - (a trifle, um, indisposed in the bathroom)

Daniel - (barging in, holding out his hands) I spilled it!

Me - (Examining indecipherable dusty substance on hands) ???

Come to find out he had been occupying his time figuring out how to unscrew the top of the salt/pepper grinder and there was salt (and peppercorns) everywhere...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I am a bit of a hovering Mom. Can't seem to help it really, it's a natural tendency that kicked into overdrive when I became one. I try to keep it tempered, but the stay-at-home gig means no daycare, and we haven't done preschool yet so the little guy and I are fairly constant companions. Thank goodness Daniel is pretty outgoing and more times than not will launch himself into whatever class we are doing, park we are visiting, etc. Just stand back and watch 'im go!

I've been spending some time the past few months helping the local family network arrange their annual family fun fair. The event was this past Saturday, and with H working it meant that Daniel spent the morning at his Gram's house sans Mom or Dad. Everything went beautifully, of course, both with the event and with Daniel. He played and played with Auntie, an Uncle, Gram, one of his cousins and was pretty much zonked on his feet from all the activity and no nap by the time I got there. High five for me!

We spent Monday with feet firmly planted in tantrum city. Hauling a shrieking, struggling 30+ pound 2.5 year old into a car and then up two flights of stairs to our condo was an interesting way to end my afternoon. All kinds of strength needed in being a Mom, eh?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Well, that was new!

The toddler wake up call has been averaging around 6am lately. He used to give me until 8am or so, so this has been an adjustment on my part to say the least. While we are still in PJs, and he is settled in with breakfast and Curious George I try to collect myself and get a start on my day.

Yesterday, just a bit into the morning, I found him rolling around on the carpet saying: My leg hurts. My fogged, pre-caffeinated morning brain interpreted this as: pay me some attention Mommy. I murmured something appropriate and kept doing whatever it was that I was doing. When he repeated this a few minutes later, I took a closer look. Why did one leg of the feetie pajamas look all puffy? Further investigation revealed that the diaper had detached, but only on one side, and slid down one leg to puddle around his ankle! Thank goodness that (ahem) puddle was all I really had to deal with at the time.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Everythings rockin' - me - I'm just tryin' to roll...

We had grand plans to get down to the Cape this Saturday to see my sister-in-law sing. If you're ever in the area, check her out - The Somers-Frost Band rocks!

Unfortunately this ended with two parents on the, um, ill side of the street. (Ack! Not the flu! NO!). Ever try to drive hours back home with a 2.5 year old and two feeling pretty punk parents? There was a moment of serious contemplation of paying for an extra hotel room night. It's a good thing we crawled our way home, as the saga ain't over yet. And I've officially lost track of being under the weather this season, which is extremely exasperating. Both H and I hope to get further than two feet from the bathroom soon. Here's hoping you have all managed to stay that way. Because this, is miserable.