Friday, December 28, 2007


It's been so nice having Sister home from school lately that I found myself idly thinking about home-schooling her today just to have her around more. But that's because today she's chosen to be in her awesome big sister mode. In this mode, she does things like freely offer Bean piggyback rides to coax her out of a store we're running an errand in. She'll ask if she and Bean can share a smoothie when we're picking up a snack at the soft pretzel stand, and then she'll share it without minding when Bean demands very close together sipping turns. She'll try to engage Bean in noticing interesting things on a walk. When she feels like it, Sister is a ROCKIN' big sister.

It's 60 degrees outside today, warm enough to be outside at the duck pond with only long sleeves and no coats. It was just me and the girls since Husband is gone back to work now. The ducks had a damn fine treat--a freezer baggie of guglhupf cubes. The birds snarfed it, but Bean got at least a third of it. Why is it that I can serve that child delicious, perfect toast dripping with honey and butter in the morning and she'll only deign to lick a bit of honey off the top before pushing back from the table, but if I hand her some stale bread for duck-feeding she'll eat most of it? Not just stale pastry either, but hard, whole-grain bread heels that I've been accumulating in the freezer for 2 months? Anyways. It's best not to question why my middle child eats or doesn't eat the way she does. I can only hope that the baby will follow in Sister's eating footsteps someday. Sister, who requests Manchego and aged Gouda snacks without prompting...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Over it

Christmas is over and I, for one, am relieved. Not too sound all bah humbuggy or anything but the best part of Christmas for me is the day afterward. The girls (and Husband!) played with the new toys, I played board games with Sister and helped her mix potions from her new spa kit, started a sewing project, did a little laundry, nursed the baby, relaxing. After dinner we went bowling which was not so relaxing since Sister finally hit her post-Christmas meltdown mode. But still, a lovely day.

Anyone out there making New Year's resolutions this year? I'm thinking about some, one of which will definitely involve my fat ass. Nothing specific yet, though...

Friday, December 21, 2007


Alright, this just happened. I caught a whiff of poop-stink wafting my way from Bean's direction. I asked her, "Bean, are you poopy?" She replied gleefully, "Yes, Mama, I have a giant poop!" I plopped her down on the changing table and her feet are propped up on the wall, she's so big. She held her nose the entire time I changed her, asked me, "Is the poop all gone now?" before daring to unpinch her nostrils, and then complained when she still smelled poop in the air around her.

What do you think? Time to potty-train this 2 years and 8 months old girl? I mean, if she's using adjectives to describe it and all?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

No time for prose posts!

I'm still here, living large in baby world. Actually, it's more like all toddler/all the time at our house these days. Was Bean always this attention grabbing, or is it just in stark contrast to her new baby sister sleeping through most of the day, crying only if her diaper is wet or if she needs to nurse? I'm too tired to remember just now. Bean is busy, but at least the baby is still easy. And I must spare some mental time to come up with a blog alter ego name for our new little angel...

In the meantime, here's what's new:

1. Utter disgust with my post-pregnancy body. At my 2-week check-up yesterday, I learned that I still have 20 pounds to lose. My friends are all like, "Oh, nursing will take it off. You'll be fine." And Husband is like, "Hmmm, that'll be challenging. Wanna go for a walk tomorrow before I go to work?" Maybe my ass looks worse than I think...

2. Christmas madness, but it hardly merits any detailed explanation. I will say that I managed to make a few batches of goodies over the weekend, if not my usual vast quantity and selection. And I did manage to ship a couple of packages in time. Other than that I've got a fair amount of shopping to do. But if it doesn't get done, no one will know that I intended to buy them an autoharp, or a Webkins, or what-have-you.

3. Back to my horribly slack body. I bought a Pilates video at Target a few days ago just because I happened to walk by them and because a couple of rushed walks per week in the mornings ain't gonna take off 20 pounds anytime soon. I feel like a total dork doing fitness videos all by my lonesome at home, but at least it's something. I guess. I just hope no one sees me through the living room window.

4. Off to haul Sister, Bean, and new baby out the door to piano class. It starts in 30 minutes, but I've recently learned how FRIGGING LONG it takes to get three kids out of the house and into the van. Oy!

Hope you're all well. I'll catch up one of these days.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Getting out

Today wasn't my first trip out of the house with both little girls, but it was my first attempt at a major excursion. We went to the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, about half an hour's drive away.

The hardest part? Just getting out the frigging door! I was shooting for 9:30, was feeling our departure was imminent enough to say so to Husband and the water company guys dropping in for a repair at 9:55, and was shocked to see the minivan's clock reading 10:25 by the time we were backing out of the driveway. Two sets of diapers must be freshened now. Two changes of clothes must be packed (and appropriate for the 75 degree day we're having). The baby must be tanked up with milk. Bean must be not too far past her famously meager breakfast or snacks will be in order. Who am I kidding? Snacks are always in order for Bean these days, so last minute tangerines must be peeled for the car, tissues must be stuffed in any available pocket for Bean's runny nose, and I need to not be too hungry or it will all go to hell.

Phew! Fortunately, the museum itself was just fine. I'm a mama who firmly believes in bribery, so butterfly and dinosaur stickers from the museum shop, conveniently located next to the exit, plus gummy fruit snacks for the car ride home made leaving in time for a nap amazingly easy on everyone.

One point for me!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

It is NOT gas

Winner, originally uploaded by salutor.

Can you honestly tell me that this giant baby grin has anything to do with gas like Husband says? And why would a baby be grinning because of gas anyways? I say my baby is smiling on purpose because she's on her mama's lap with a belly full of warm milk.

So there.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

New little sweetie

IMG_0367, originally uploaded by salutor.

Our sweet little girl finally decided to make her grand entrance! She was born at 1:11 pm on Monday, December 3rd, six days after her due date.

Labor took 9 hours and was made weird and fitful by the baby not dropping til the midwife broke my bag of water and I was totally dilated. Then toward the end she got stuck crowning, which felt just as awful as it sounds. After a gigantic push, the stuck half of her head, the rest of her, and a deluge of amniotic fluid, blood, and poop--the baby's, not mine--came out all at once. It wasn't pretty, but she got born!

Turns out that she weighed a chunky 9 pounds 7 ounces and had a 14 1/4-inch head circumference. Also, her shoulder was sorta torqued sideways which the midwife said was probably why labor progressed which such strange timing and why she was so hard to push out. I would definitely say this was my hardest birth, but she was my biggest baby so it's maybe not so surprising.

Things have been fairly relaxed around here today. Sister is at school, and my mother came to pick up Bean for the day. I've had a shower and found something that both fits and that I can nurse in, both of which seem like minor triumphs all on their own. Husband has been so solicitous and sweet and has said all manner of complimentary things about my labor. Our new little one is nursing beautifully, and I get the distinct feeling that she's happy she's here.

It's so nice to have another baby girl in the family!

Sunday, December 02, 2007


December 1st would've been a lovely, easy-to-remember birthday, but alas, that was NOT the birthday of our baby. December 2nd doesn't appear to be shaping up as her birthday either. This baby is officially 5 days late, and I'm feeling pretty damn down about it now. The waiting around trying to come up with busy work is hard. The pelvic pain, waddling, hormonal grumpiness, and water retention make it suck.

Husband and I thought she might be coming Friday night. I had pretty intense contractions starting at 9:45 pm, and since the midwife had stripped my membranes that afternoon it felt like things were happening down there. The contractions were 9 minutes apart and about a minute and a half long for two hours...and then just stopped. At the time, I was sorta grateful because I'd been up since 3:30 that morning, just unable to go back to sleep. I was exhausted, thinking it probably wouldn't go well with me that tired. I decided to lie down to rest and started falling asleep between contractions. Finally they must have just stopped coming and I stayed asleep. I woke up the next morning thinking, "Shit! I shouldn't have lay down! Maybe I could've kept it going!" But maybe I couldn't have. Probably I couldn't have. If I had any control over labor I would've had this baby a couple of weeks ago.

Anyways. It'll be exciting to meet this new little girl and see what she looks like and all. But really all I can think are more selfish thoughts about how much I want not to be pregnant anymore.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Something completely different

Still no baby. Dammit.

It's a dreary day outside, Bean is indulging in a brutal new temper tantrum phase, and I'm in need of some novelty to take my mind off my enormity and sore pelvic bones. A friend is bringing over her 2 kids and some empanadas in a couple of hours, bless her, and Bean and I whipped up a (ahem) congealed salad just for kicks. That's Jell-o salad for you non-Southerners out there. Got the recipe right out of my local garden club's cookbook which lists about a dozen different Jell-o salad options.

I don't know why the prospect of Jell-o has been lurking in my mental periphery lately as something delicious and desirable, but it has. I haven't made Jell-o since I was about eye level with the kitchen counter and it was a big deal to help my mom make it. Chalk it up to nesting, I guess. Once it sets up, it's going to be such a fabulous afternoon snack, though!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

No news

For those of you checking up on me, I still haven't had the baby. Today is my due date, so my hope is that within the next 10 days--which is how late Sister was--I will have had her. But not yet. And absolutely no sign or feeling that it will happen soon. If anyone says to me, "No one's ever been pregnant forever," one more time I'll reach through the screen and slap them.

I've been trying to keep myself busy with plans each day so as not to obsess too much. On the agenda today: a trip to the grocery store for some things we don't really need right this minute and a drive to Raleigh to pick up some Girl Scout badges ordered for a meeting on 12/7. Woo-hoo! the PTA's pizza and bingo night is happening tonight at Sister's school, so we're planning to go to that, too, though I dread enduring the "why-are-YOU-still-here?!" themed repartee I'll be hearing from all the other parents there (who should know better anyway).

It's the long, dark night of the pregnant woman's soul here, y'all.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pop quiz

Does a pair of testicles, the internet, a long weekend, and a 1966 copy of The Handyman's Book make you a plumber? Please discuss, offering at least two examples to support your argument.

'Cause I can't discuss it.

Friday, November 23, 2007


The baby was not born on my best friend's from high school's birthday, not on Thanksgiving, not on the last day of Scorpio, and not with her moon in either Aries or Taurus. In short, the baby is still not born. I'm now entering the voodoo part of my pregnancy, in which I wake up every day thinking of bizarre and utterly antilogical reasons why the baby must have been waiting til THIS particular day to be born. She clearly has her own vision of when her best birthday would be, but so far I have no frigging clue what it is. Perhaps my stepfather's birthday in 3 days? My deceased aunt's birthday on the 28th? A moon in Cancer? The full moon on Saturday? Pizza-and-bingo night at Sister's school on my due date, fer chrissakes?

Well anyways. I do hope that everyone had as pleasant and relaxing a Thanksgiving as I did. My mom did all the cooking and even cleaned up afterwards, insisting that I was way too pregnant to do anything but eat and watch her. My little brothers were charming and solicitous. Though my stepfather got worked up debating with Husband about how great Rush Limbaugh is, and my brother called in to wish us happy Thanksgiving from jail, it was all still very restful. I couldn't have asked for it to have gone better,

Though it would have been nice for the baby to have come.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Yet more pregnancy whining

Earlier today, Bean and I were waiting in line at Target behind another mama with her 1-1/2 year old son. He began squalling about something, prompting Bean to scowl at him and boom fiercely, "NO! Settle down!" And prompting me to think to myself, "Jeez, do I sound like that?" And I have to assume that I must, especially lately as my self-pity at being so massive and uncomfortable deepens.

My newest pregnancy symptom is genuine pain down around where I imagine my cervix to be. The baby puts herself in some weird position--like with an elbow inserted into the middle of that little internal donut--and wiggles there, causing me to suck my breath in through my teeth and stop whatever it is I'm doing to very theatrically clutch my lower abdomen. It's not just twinges here and there either, it goes on for hours at a time before it pauses a little while. I assure you, I am neither a wimp nor a drama queen, having acquitted myself damn well through two natural childbirths. But this frickin' hurts and I don't want to have to go through this for the next 2 weeks before going through labor, fer chrissakes! (Insert big, whiny, ugly mama temper tantrum here.)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

How NOT to have a baby, or tried and untrue DIY labor induction methods

No, I still haven't had this baby yet and am trying hard to be patient, knowing that this one will likely be late like my others. Sister was 10 days tardy and Bean, 8 days. With a due date of 11/27 this time around, I'm trying to resign myself to having a large-ish Sagittarius baby rather than a nice, petite Scorpio. It's hard not to hope that somehow things will go differently this time.

Just for laughs, I thought I'd put out there the different things I've tried before to get my late-lingering infants born already. This is partly to remind myself of what not to bother with and partly to fend off any well-meaning readers who have tips that may have worked for them, but which did not provoke my previously reluctant uterus to just get on with things. Here goes:

Castor oil
: Supposedly works by stimulating bowel contractions and thereby sympathetic uterine contractions that turn into labor. In reality? Castor oil is some nasty ass shit that makes you have...well, nasty ass shit, actually. It's a powerful laxative that tastes foul, even in the peach ice cream milkshake recommended to me by whatever moron I was listening to when Sister was persisting in my belly. I'll never do that again!

Enemas: Was I butt-obsessed back then? I don't think so, but somehow I thought that trying an enema a few days after trying the wretchedly unsuccessful castor oil was a good idea. Again, just a lot of poop and no baby, with the added humiliation of having to stand in line at the drugstore with an enema box.

Nipple stimulation: By me, I mean, not by Husband. If you're using this as a labor stimulating measure, it's supposed to be for a long time--like, 15 minutes out of every hour for several hours per day. Who has the time? Not me, not anymore. I remember trying this when pregnant with Bean, on nights when we were watching movies. Husband could be absorbed in the movie and I could feel less self-conscious. Yes, it produced pretty intense contractions, but who knows if it contributed anything towards uterus readiness? An unmistakably late baby seems to indicate it didn't.

Blue and black cohosh drops
: Recommended to me by my midwives when pregnant with Bean. I seem to remember they had me on a regimen of several drops per night, alternating the type. Icky, but seemed harmless and wasn't too expensive. Probably won't go out of my way to use it this time, though. Again, a late baby seems to indicate it just isn't worth even the $15 or so I spent on the drops at Whole Foods.

Sex: Semen contains prostaglandins, which are cervix-ripening hormones. A handy fact that husbands of pregnant women love, have you noticed? Sex is still nice if I can conjure up the mental fortitude to forget about my enormous belly and now perpetually engorged nethers. But doing it to stimulate labor introduces mental pressure that sorta kills the fragile mood. I'll do it for love, but not for labor.

Long walks
: I walked A LOT toward the end of my pregnancy with Bean, briskly, up and down the hills around my neighborhood til my hips hurt and I wore myself out. It did nothing but make me tired. Oh, alright, I suppose it's just good to be getting some exercise in, but who wants to walk briskly when you're 40 pounds heavier than you're used to and there's a head rolling around among your pelvic bones? I'd rather rest on the couch and twiddle my nipples.

Evening primrose oil: This is something that my midwives are recommending to me this time around. I'm supposed to be taking 1000 mg orally and 500 mg inserted as a vaginal suppository every night. I was told not to start this til after 37 weeks which sounds promising, right? Like something might happen too early if you do go ahead and take it? But so far, after almost a week and a half, nothing. I suppose it's early enough still to say that the verdict is still out on this one. At least it also falls into the seems-harmless-and-not-too-expensive category.

That's all I'm remembering now, but isn't that enough to have tried and failed with before? I think so. This time, I'll just try--try hard!--to skip the angst, cultivate patience, and enjoy all the things I can do without a newborn on the scene just yet. Things like not having two sets of diapers to change, getting sleep interrupted only by two 30-second trips to the bathroom rather than a few half-hour-long nursing sessions, getting showers roughly when I want them, that sort of thing. I mean, I'll miss this when it's gone, right?

Friday, November 09, 2007

Near the end

1-1/2 centimeters dilated, 39 pounds gained (so far), 2 wakings in the middle of each night to pee, and 18 more days til my due date. But I'm ready NOW.

I may feel differently in a few hours when Husband leaves town to go run the Richmond marathon. Richmond is only about a 3-hour drive from Chapel Hill, and when Husband originally sounded me out about leaving on a trip this close to my due date I thought I was okay about it. But my dreams 2 nights ago were all about me going into labor while Husband wasn't here to help me, so perhaps on some level I guess I am worried about the possibility. Still, now that my rational, daytime mind has taken over, I think I could almost welcome this if I could only get my non-pregnant body back. Tonight would be just fine, whether Husband is here for the first few hours or not. Bring on the sleep deprivation from waking every few hours to nurse a newborn! Bring on three needy, clamoring kids instead of just two! Bring on soreness, difficult labor, stitches, and blood!


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I want out

I have been laid low by life lately. This whole month has been busy with various events, and even the fun stuff leaves me utterly exhausted. A trip to the pumpkin patch and picnic with friends, an evening potluck with interesting people, a playgroup kid's birthday party, dinner out with Husband for our anniversary--everything is tiring to me now. I'm 36 weeks pregnant now, enormously fat, and I don't give a shit how dirty the house is, how much food I have prepared in the freezer, or what sort of labor I might be looking forward to. I

Pregnancy is not for those of "advanced maternal age" like myself, apparently.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blessed rain

Okay, I know the weather is the most boring topic in the world to blog about, but I just took the dog for a spin around the block IN THE RAIN. The glorious rain! Fellow Southerners out there will know exactly why this makes me rejoice. We haven't had a drop of rain here in Chapel Hill since September 14th and our city government has been talking lately about how the town reservoirs will run dry in a matter of a couple of months if we don't get rain. Plants have died by the hundreds, whole trees have died by the dozens in my neighborhood, and even if you're not a gardener, it's the topic on everyone's lips around here.

Yay for rain!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Blogger meet up

Know what I got to do today that was so cool? I got to meet a fellow blogger in real life! Has anyone done that before? I haven't. Beth was down in NC visiting her lovely daughter--who I also got to meet today--and we 3, plus Bean, converged at Pullen Park in Raleigh on a deliciously cool morning. Beth was just like her blog, easy to talk to and funny, and it was like I'd known her for longer than...well, anyway it felt like I already knew her. Beth's returning home on Tuesday, but her daughter, Rae, I'm hoping to have over for dinner at our house before this baby is due. They're so nice.
Maybe Beth will post some pictures when she gets back? I was too slack to remember to bring my camera along this morning, I'm sorry to say.

State Fair

One ostrich burger, 2 roasted and lavishly buttered ears of corn, 2 foot-long hot dogs, 1 apple dumpling, 1 ice cream cone with sprinkles, 1 orange slush puppy, 1 giant basket of fries, and $100 later, Husband and the girls and I have completed our annual NC State Fair pilgrimage.

It was a little tricky this year with Bean so insistent on being independently mobile. Despite renting what we thought would be an irresistible car-shaped stroller to push her around in, Bean had to walk like a big kid and furthermore had quite strong opinions about where she did and didn't want to go. Hence, many kiddie rides and prize-every-time games, but no gazing upon prize-winning pies and quilts and amateur wedding cakes for mama. Still, after 5 hours of waddling around, I was happy with what we had done and seen. The girls were happy, too.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Rough return, but then more nesting

Ugh. It took exactly 2 hours on Monday for the afterglow of the annual ladies-only beach trip to wear off. This week has been so busy again, though, that it already feels like ancient history. So I guess there's no point in wallowing here in Husband's obvious crankiness about my being absent from little girl care for 3 days and nights, about the house-wide infestation of dust bunnies, the empty fridge, the mountain of dirty laundry....Nah.

Nesting in preparation for our new little daughter has begun in earnest now that my trip is over. Her room--formerly Bean's room--is pretty well set up. Baby toys and clothes stored in the attic have been washed and put away. Cloth diaper service begins on 11/10. We have a new freestanding freezer, courtesy of my friend Suburban Gorgon, in which I'm looking forward to stockpiling food for the baby apocalypse. On the agenda today--4 chicken pies and a large batch of pumpkin muffins.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Catching up

Life gets in the way of blogging. It's the paradox of writing a mommy blog.

It's been a pretty brutal couple of weeks, with Husband and I finally selling my old station wagon, Girl Scouts to deal with, out-of-town guests to entertain for a weekend, and a new, wretched phase that Sister is going through involving a lot of lying and tears. Phew!

Fortunately, there is an end in sight, or at least a much-needed reprieve. Tomorrow at noon, I and 4 of my good college friends are heading to Topsail Island, NC for a long weekend at the beach. No kids, no husbands. I am practically delirious with excitement at the idea that I'll be able to sleep in, make ONE breakfast for myself, sit in one chair as long as I feel like it, and have lengthy, uninterrupted, grown-up conversations with some of my favorite people. Knowing that I can't have any of the free-flowing cocktails that are usually characteristic of this trip doesn't even matter. I.can't.wait.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Today's favorite minivan feature: a cassette player! Even the boom box and stereo in our house don't have cassette players anymore, so I'm digging through all our old tapes to listen to again in the car. There are some practically priceless mix tapes I haven't listened to in years, one of them from my high school boyfriend almost 20 years ago. It's okay--Husband has way more mix tapes from exes than I do, all of them with sweet, lovey messages inscribed inside. Ha! I also found Bettie Serveert, the Breeders, and Mazzy Star. (Steering clear of Suzanne Vega and Kate Bush, though.)

Can't wait til my next errand!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Big mama, big car

Today is one of those days where, when I lay in bed last night trying to fall asleep, I couldn't for thinking of all that I had to get done once I woke up. Mostly stupid Girl Scout paperwork which naturally involves me hounding parents to get me their frickin' forms and checks. Everyone's just too damn busy to fill them out, I guess, but I'm a stay-at-home mom so I've got assloads of time to be making extra phone calls or even driving to people's houses to pick the forms up for them--I'll just skip my soap operas and bon-bon eating and no problem. Love the girls, but many of their parents suck. I always did hate managing people.

But even if I do have to do some driving this afternoon in order to extract the items I need from slack-ass parents, I at least get to do it in my new minivan! Beth asked me for pictures, but as it happens our camera is mysteriously malfunctioning all of a sudden--perhaps from sippy cup spillage in my purse? Who knows, but anyways here is someone else's minivan and ours looks just like it but is dark blue with a few scratches, being already well-used by another family for the past 2 years. We picked it up late yesterday afternoon and were the ONLY people in line at the NC Department of Motor Vehicles, which clearly is a sign that the gods approve of us getting a minivan, 'cause right after we walked in, no fewer than 6 people got in line behind us. See? It's destiny and I can feel okay saying I might love this car.

My favorite minivan features today are stereo controls on the steering wheel, a sliding door that opens and closes all on its own, and 8 bajillion cupholders scattered throughout the vehicle. Bean's favorite feature is being able to stand completely upright in it and also the little cubby spot in the back that happens when you fold part of the back seat down. It's the perfect size for a 2-1/2 year old to curl up in and chat to herself.

Sister loves the "bookholders" in the back--and God knows what the hell she's going to start storing back there given the amount of shit I cleaned out of her side of the old car today--foreign money, index cards with runes written on them, half of a paperback book, marbles, ketchup, a pencil sharpener, a baggie of trail mix...a lot of shit.

Other things about my day: my first purchase EVER of maternity underwear today. Yes, I really needed it because both my belly and my ass are just that huge all of a sudden. Also a pair of black knit maternity pants that I think I'll just plan to live in for the next 2 months since I can't get away with wearing a waistband-less sack. Does the fact that I've outgrown many of my cute maternity pants mean that I refrained from indulging in a sudden jones for a bacon-egg-and-cheese biscuit, hash browns, and Coke for second breakfast this morning? Hell no! I'm gunning for 50 pounds, y'all!

Friday, September 21, 2007

A club that would have me as a member

On Monday, I'm joining a club that I never expected to join. It's not the PTA or my local quilters' guild or the mothers' club in the area ('cause truthfully I already belong to all those, or would like to in the case of the quilters' guild). This club is way more...I don't know, suburban or something. Frumpy. Boring.

Have you guessed yet? I'm joining the minivan drivers club.

Husband and I have finally owned up to the fact that my little Ford Focus wagon simply can't accommodate 2 car seats and a 9-year old kid without the 9-year old kid complaining very legitimately that she is way too squished. So we'll be taking possession of a 2-year old Toyota Sienna on Monday and selling my car.

I'm eating anything bitchy I ever said about mommy-mobiles now, and trying to at least take comfort in the fact that this new Japanese engineered behemoth has the exact same gas mileage as my much smaller but very American-made wagon.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Big girl bed success!

I got to work pretty quick on mitigating my feelings of pre-baby panic yesterday. I decided to get over my angst and confusion about Bean transitioning to her big girl bed and just try it. I decided that she could at least start taking naps there instead of in her crib, so in the morning I moved all the stuffed animals and her 4 blankies from her crib into her big girl bed. I told her that she'd be taking a nap there today instead. "Okay," she agreed cheerfully, to my surprise. I'd tried this before but been met with big resistance. Maybe the blankies and animals moving too made the difference. Haven't done that before.

I kept Bean busy that morning, going out to a local children's museum, then for a pizza lunch, followed by a walk to an ice cream shop a few doors down. By the time we walked back to the car, she was rubbing her eyes and yawning. She fell asleep on the car ride home.

When I transferred her from her car seat to her big girl bed, she opened her eyes, looked around and took note of where she was...and fell right back to sleep for the next hour and a half. After a delightful little nap of my own I peeked in on her and saw that she was still lying in bed, but awake and apparently just thinking about whatever it is 2-1/2 year olds think about. Success!

It went so well that Husband and I decided to put her down there for bed last night, too. Sister happened to be on a 2-hour delayed schedule for school this morning so I figured that even if they treated it like a slumber party they'd still both get enough sleep. (I should mention here that Bean's big girl bed is the bottom bunk in Sister's room.) Indeed they DID both treat it like a slumber party. They chatted together for awhile, with both of them periodically squealing with delight at finding themselves with company at night. But again, no complaints from Bean. While it took them about 45 minutes to get over their glee, both girls did finally settle in and fall asleep peacefully for the rest of the night.

Phew! I hate to believe I'm in the clear so easily, but so far so good! Bean is in her big girl bed as I write this, still chatting to herself and singing, "Winnie Wah Pooh." But it's only been 10 minutes and I'm optimistic.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Not ready

I woke up this morning at 6:00 am with a full bladder and a sense of panic that there was SO much to do before this baby is born. We have to get Bean transitioned to her big girl bed in order to free up the crib (and in enough time to disassociate this event with the baby's arrival). We need to go pick up the freezer that a friend has offered to give us so that I can stockpile it with food. We need to move a lot of furniture around and reconfigure closets. I need to pull down baby clothes from their storage place in the attic and wash them. I need to pack a suitcase, set up cloth diaper service, and figure out some scenarios for who will stay with my girls if I happen to go into labor in the middle of the night.

Suddenly the new baby's arrival seems imminent. While I'm uncomfortable enough now to look forward to the end of my pregnancy, I'm decidedly NOT ready to have her come just yet.

And still no name picked out for her...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Cooling off

NC had a cold front move over the weekend and we've had nights down in the 50's, allowing me to open all the house windows wide for some excellent sleeping temperatures. I almost want to dig out the down comforter, but I'm afraid to jinx it.

My nesting projects are on hold temporarily while I wait for a fabric order to arrive. At that point I'll start on a big stuffed nursing ottoman, but in the meantime I'm planning on doing some hard core weeding in the front yard garden beds. That, plus making molasses-spice cookies and miniature apple-cinnamon cupcakes for my neighborhood garden club meeting tomorrow.

And speaking of baked goods, Bean, Husband, and I enjoyed some yummy pumpkin muffins for breakfast this morning brought over by a friend this weekend. They were perfect in the cool morning house with a cup of hot chocolate for Bean and Husband and some hot ginger tea for me. I love that part of my job as mama is to supply people I love with delicious cozy things to eat and drink.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Husband has taken to calling our unborn little girl, "She Who Must Not Be Named," in Harry Potter style for those of you who live under a rock. We talk a fair amount about names for our new little one, but are having a couple of problems making a decision. One is that we haven't yet come up with any that we both totally love. Or if Husband does love a name he sure hasn't said so, being the kind of man who likes to keep his options open til the last possible second .

Also, nearly ALL my very favorite names that have just the right feeling of retro old-fashionedness plus ease of spelling without being too plain I have heard on other young children within the last 3 weeks. For this reason, Sadie, Ruby, and Ellery are all out for me. Ditto Nell, Nina, Eliza, Maisie, and Phoebe. I just don't want a name that could be on the verge of being used by our whole small town, and knowing there's even one little girl nearby using it makes me worry that it's on the upswing, no matter what the baby name books or Social Security Administration website say. I know this is silly to obsess over, but we all have our must-have criteria, right?

Anyways, at almost 30 weeks I'm down to hoping that we'll at least have one picked out in time to put it on the birth certificate while we're still at the birth center. Any suggestions out there, y'all?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Season change, menu change

I hear that the upper Midwest has freezing temperatures heading their way this week. It was 96 degrees here yesterday and I'm SO jealous of 30 degree nights in mid-September! Still, I'm joyous at the prospect of temperatures in the 70's come Friday here in NC, with nights in the mid-50's. Finally, a break both for me and all my dying plants! I'm so frigging tired of being hot.

Cooler temperatures aren't all great news, though. This morning I made the girls and I some oatmeal for breakfast. (Husband was out on another of his daily morning runs, in training now for a marathon in early November.) Oatmeal sounded like a cozy, wholesome idea but doesn't oatmeal always sound way better than it actually tastes, no matter how much brown sugar and cinnamon you sprinkle on it? And as far as I'm concerned, that goes for all the rest of the food in season this time of year. The tomatoes, corn, watermelon, and berries that I gorge on in the hot months are of course still available in the grocery stores but are mushy and mealy or sour and seedy, all around unappealingly yucky not to mention expensive all of a sudden since you have to pay for their air fare from Costa Rica or wherever the hell.

So 'tis the season for kale, winter squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, cabbage, and cauliflower. All good for you but...meh. Maybe summer isn't so bad after all.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Swaddling blanket

P1000607, originally uploaded by salutor.

Another new baby blanket, though the picture isn't showing it off too well here. It's pretty in person, though. This butterfly fabric is one I fell in love with a few years ago at our fabulous local quilt shop and bought 4 yards of it. In going through my stash recently, it inspired me all over again for the new baby's room. Hence this blanket, backed with tiny yellow plaid flannel, some baby bibs, and soon a 24" stuffed cloth ottoman once I get some matching turquoise polka dot fabric in the mail. The ottoman is from Amy Butler's pattern here.

Oh, and I should mention that the scalloped edge on this blanket was from Amy Karol's pattern out of Bend the Rules Sewing. It wasn't easy, I must confess, but I'm very happy with how it turned out.

Monday, September 10, 2007

New baby's new quilt

P1000605, originally uploaded by salutor.

Meant to post this picture of the new baby's quilt before I left town this past weekend, but somehow didn't get around to it. Here it is, though, made only of 100 scrappy half-square triangles so that it was surprisingly easy and fast to make, especially since I learned a nice cheat for this particular block. For those of you who don't sew, please skip this next paragraph.

You take 2 equal-sized fabric squares and pin them right sides together. Then you draw a diagonal line from one point to another. Take it to your machine now and stitch 1/4" line on either side of the line. Then cut along your drawn line, open up your newly pieced squares, and press! Very easy.

I'll post more nesting related pictures soon for those of you who are interested in this sort of thing.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Big fat toad mama

I knew it was going to be bad when I noticed my thighs rub together now when I walk. But a 10-pound weight gain in the 6 weeks since my last prenatal appointment?!

And I thought I'd be gaining LESS than the 40 pounds that I gained with Bean!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Laid low

Sister's first week back to school and then transfer of Bean's little 24-hour stomach virus to me yesterday...let's just say it's been a busy week. But nothing that a nap and 10 hours of sleep on top of that couldn't cure, because I am cured, energetic and optimistic all over again. Especially because it got down in the 60's last night here in Chapel Hill. I could open my house windows to some fresh air and now I get to sit here on our back porch with my cup of tea. How I love love love fall temperatures when I'm a big fat pregnant woman!

I managed to finish the new baby's crib quilt this week during Bean's naptimes. It's a bit puckery because I quilted it quite inexpertly on my machine rather than by hand, but still looks damn good if I do say so myself. I'll post pictures if I can figure out how to do it on this new computer which hopefully won't be too hard for this very tech-unsavvy mama. I also made 8 flannel-backed baby bibs from this book, which my friend Pie Eater turned me onto and which is full of many projects I want to make now. (Although I'm kicking myself for not thinking of making bibs before. They were ridiculously easy and I got to indulge myself in some rick-rack trim!) Nesting has been fun during this horrible 100 degree weather, but now the garden is calling me. I've got some serious weeding to do before they all go to seed and make new baby weeds for next year.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Today I'm trying to...

...prevent many dying garden plants from completely giving up.

...maintain my equilibrium in the face of very interrupted sleep and a very cranky and still somewhat sick Bean.

...find a happy mama place before Sister gets home from school.

...determine where the hell the ants all over my kitchen counter are coming from and what they could possibly be after. There are no crumbs! The cookie jar is empty! quilt the new baby's blanket on my mysteriously uncooperative machine.

...plan the meeting for Sister's Girl Scout troop parents at my house tomorrow night, made difficult by the fact that half of them STILL haven't responded to a couple of emails now. (I wish everyone checked their email as often as I do, dammit.)

...make a delicious dinner of cheese-coated fried pork chops with madeira sauce, mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli.

...feel unconcerned that I still have between 13 and 15 weeks to go of feeling this uncomfortably pregnant. (It will only get worse.)

This mama is trying.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Home is where the barf is

Sister and I are home from Savannah now after a lovely time spent walking the historic district together, eating really fantastic Vietnamese food, and enjoying ghost stories on a nighttime horse-drawn carriage tour. We had the best time in each other's company that we've had in I can't remember how long, nearly completely free of complaining and temper tantrums on her part and bitchy mama-ness on mine. Until we got to the airport, that is. Then Sister began to decline rapidly, not handling the transition back to regular life very well. While she'd managed being on her feet for seven hours straight with only a lunch break walking around in Savannah, standing in line for 10 minutes for a burrito in the Atlanta airport was just more than she wanted to do. At least I had some good sleep behind me so that I could handle it well--10-1/2 hours the first night and 9 hours the second night. Just that alone would've made it totally worth it for me.

We got home yesterday to a house that wasn't nearly as trashed as I'd anticipated it would be with Husband and Bean on their own for a few days. Clearly Husband had made an effort to tidy before I got home, which I appreciated a lot. But the transition back home wasn't all smooth. Bean woke up feverish in the middle of the night last night to vomit up her skimpy dinner. She's still feverish today, though thankfully the barf hasn't made a reappearance. She's definitely feeling pretty bad, though, and doesn't want to do anything more right now than curl up under a blanket next to me on the sofa to watch recorded episodes of Sesame Street. She's eaten only 2 slices of watermelon and a grape popsicle today, and as far as I'm concerned she can eat nothing but watermelon and popsicles today if she wants. Mild, slightly sweet stuff that will keep her hydrated and cool and that contain some calories at least. My poor girl.

So I'm in for a quiet day today, catching up on emails and trying to plan the meeting I'm holding for the parents of Sister's Girl Scout troop on Wednesday. (Why am I already not surprised that fully half of the parents haven't responded to the email I sent out early last week?)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Last few days of summer

It's been awhile....

Things have been busy here at the cave, but I've also been a bit too sad and overtired to blog. I started the week off with a stupid fight with Husband over Bean's wretched sleeping habits and what we could do to fix it. It ended badly and Bean's still not sleeping worth a damn. However, now she appears to be getting Sister's cold so at least there's an excuse. If there's a reason for sleep-deprivation it's somehow a little easier to be patient about it. I at least have the illusion that it'll be over once the reason no longer exists. (A mama can dream, right?)

The good news is that I'm taking Sister for a big girls only trip to Savannah today. We're using up some free business class plane tickets to get there, staying in a B&B in the historic district with a small pool in its lovely, lush private courtyard, and planning to do fun, hokey things like going on a horse-drawn carriage tour of all the haunted spots in the district. And did I mention that I'm going to sleep A LOT? 'Cause my fabulous 9-year old child really needs her nighttime sleep in uninterrupted 12-hour chunks, bless her. I can't wait!

After that school starts and the Girl Scout year starts and it'll be back to getting up at 6:15 to get a few quiet minutes before the girls have to be gotten up for the day. But I still have a few nice days of summer...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

It's starting again

Sister's return to school as a fourth grader is imminent now. Suddenly the summer is over and there's a lot to do to get ready for the school grind to begin again. I need to take Sister shopping for some new clothes--for jeans specifically which she has always spurned before as too uncomfortable but which now she's dying to wear. Well, that and a suit on her first day of school. I'm afraid I've been letting my dear child watch a bit too much "What Not to Wear" with me lately. A suit, she says!

But it is funny how her tastes are starting to change. She and her friends spent all last year spurning all things "girly-girl," as they phrased it. This included anything pink or Bratz, Barbie, or unicorn-related. This year, suddenly pink is o.k., and even desirable. She chose a pink parka for herself out of a catalog, along with a pastel pink shirt with floral trim and a pink-flowered skirt to match. She wants to grow her hair out long again and also chose a pink backpack this year--though it is in fact hot pink with black polka dot trim and nothing too sweet.

Still, I'm interested to see where this might be heading this year.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I'm still here and blogging on my cute, new MacBook from the sofa--woo-hoo! Husband felt the need to go out and purchase a swank and tiny little computer to tote around in London while he was gone last week, but justified it as my home laptop to replace my very old, refurbished dinosaur of a laptop. I get the sense that it's way fancier a computer than I need or can really appreciate--mainly I'm just psyched that it has enough battery power to enable me to use it somewhere other than our desk.

I managed to make it through last week and Husband's absence, but just barely. By Thursday I was beginning to lose it from all of Bean's night wakings and Sister's attitude. He got home Friday, so I don't think I had too much time to be an absolute bitch mama. I still don't feel entirely caught up on my sleep, but I think that may be because I'm getting on in my pregnancy. I'm at 25 weeks now, feeling suddenly large, and beginning to slow down a tad.

Since I've now finished the last Harry Potter, I'm going full steam ahead with sewing projects. I need to finish a rug I'm making for a friend, and after that it's baby quilt and flannel blanket-fest. Also, cute, doll quilt wall hangings and new pillow covers for the baby's room-fest. Oh, and new baby bib-fest. Plus some hand-sewn toys.

Ack! So many ideas! But it IS fun to nest, isn't it?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Too hot

As a big, fat, 24-weeks pregnant woman, it's hard for me to think of anything else this week but how awfully, uncomfortably hot it is. The weather forecast is calling for a high of 103 degrees today, the second day in a row that it'll be over 100. Same for tomorrow, too. Our AC unit hasn't shut off in the last 48 hours, I don't think, provoking much liberal guilt about what I'm doing to the environment. Not enough to make me turn it down, though. It was set at 74 and the downstairs was still 80 degrees at dinnertime yesterday. At 10:30 pm, it was decidedly hotter than 80 degrees upstairs and my legs were sweating as I was climbing into bed last night.

I'm going to take the girls to the pool here in a few minutes since it's already 87 degrees at 9:15 am, and we'll leave before it gets too unbearable. Fortunately, it's going to cool off to a relatively delightful 92 degrees by Saturday.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Real summer

I managed a little bit of outside time yesterday--once to ask the neighbor's gardener what she'd charge to weed all the crabgrass out of our big front bed (an affordable rate! and she can do it this week!)--and a bit of time spent potting up my new plants on the patio, taking lots and lots of breaks from the heat.

It is brutally hot this week in NC. The kind of hot where when you walk out the door, the temperature and the humidity hit you in the face like a wet wall. I waited til 7:30 in the evening to walk the dog around the block, and just that little bit of exertion walking very, very slowly had me dripping with sweat all over. Even my exposed calves were sweating, not to mention the thigh sweat and boob sweat--yuck.

I'm working on some sewing projects with the girls today and staying the hell indoors.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

New resolve

With Husband gone for the week, I've had a bit of spare mental time to make some resolutions. Well, okay, not resolutions in the new year's self-improvement, habit-altering sense, but resolutions nevertheless to get some things done this week that I want to do. So, yes, resolving to have fun. Not that I don't have fun with him home, but I do feel more obligated to fix regular dinners, be sensitive to whether he's trying to get things done himself, keep him company, that sort of thing.

Baking. I'm going to bake some different cupcakes this week, starting with the recipe that Bean and I made this morning for Upside-down Sticky Pecan Cupcakes. They're sorta like a sticky bun, but with sour cream cake batter holding it all together instead of a yeasted dough. They came out beautifully and are so delicious I may have to give them to my neighbor to keep from eating them all myself.

Sewing projects. I mentioned last night that I was working on the border for Bean's big girl quilt, and once that's done this project will be finally over. I finished Sister's last year and just got tired of working on them. Bean's on the fast track for a big girl bed now, though, so this is incentive for her, to have a bed just like Sister's.

I also thought I'd try making Bean a Pointy Kitty from this great blog that a crafty friend turned me onto. You should go check out Wee Wonderfuls if you're at all sewing-minded. She has other free patterns, too, as well as a store with even more cute kid patterns. I already started helping Sister and her friend make pointy kitties last week, prompting Bean to ask me, "Where's mine?" I may try to make up a bib pattern, too, since Bean's used her supply pretty hard and it would be nice to have cute, fresh ones for the new baby.

As for gardening, there isn't a whole hell of a lot I'm willing to do with the weather forecast predicting temperatures close to and at 100 degrees this week. I ought to do battle with the crabgrass in the front beds but...nah. I will, however, be working on potting up some plants for the patio since most of ours died during our trips to the mountains and then to the beach. This morning, I took Bean out shopping and got a hardy banana, some variegated cannas, and some ornamental grasses, among other things. I'm going for tall things with interesting leaves this time around so I don't have to deadhead anything.

What else? I need to clean the house since I've been putting that off for awhile and Husband invited some of his friends over for dinner Saturday night. But since that's so far away, I'll put it off awhile longer maybe. The toilets don't have rings yet, so I can live with it. Heh.

Hope you're all doing things you love right now, too.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

One solo bedtime routine down...

...and just 5 more to go. Sister is at her dad's for the long weekend, so it was just me and Bean tonight. It all went very smoothly, with a lot of time spent outside before dinner, taking turns watering the garden and chatting. Dinner went fine--a lot of fresh veggies from this morning's impromptu trip to the farmer's market--and even the dog got fed on time. Then a cozy shared bath during which I got a taste of what it's like to be Bean. She wanted to help me wash my hair and face, and the way she kept coming at me with the buckets of water and the big, dripping washcloth and I could just barely fend her off after it had gone on awhile...well, it must be how she thinks baths are supposed to go, huh?

She's sleeping now and even the dog is sleeping, though with a rather more sullen attitude than either she or I have at the moment. I'm looking forward to the rest of this quiet evening with mint chocolate chip ice cream, some comedy movie on cable, and diligent work on the border of Bean's big girl bed quilt.

Nighty-night, y'all!

More sleep deprivation, more bitchiness

It's been an exhausting week both because I've had trouble sleeping through all my incredibly intense pregnancy dreams and because Bean has taken to waking up a couple times a night again to scream that someone needs to come "Fix my bankits!" Last night was no exception. I woke up at 6:45 this morning with a sense of dread because Bean was awake for the day and because Husband is leaving the country this afternoon.

For 6 whole days.

I was not at my best with either of the girls this past week. Sister is in a stubborn and argumentative phase, and since I am also both stubborn and argumentative--and sleep-deprived on top of those lovely qualitites--I'm just hoping I can manage to be not quite such a bitch mama with her this week, too.

Wish me luck, mamas.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A little bitchy

I just got an email from a neighbor of ours who's got 2 kids, one of whom was a classmate of Sister's last year. His email was short. He basically wanted to know when was a convenient time for his daughter to come to our house this week and play so he could take his son on an outing.


There was no "please," no "Would it be okay if...." Just, his daughter would like to come play at our house this week and when could she do that. I like this family fine, but his email just rubs me the wrong way.

Reminds me of trying to be one of the co-leaders of Sister's Girl Scout troop last year and getting almost zero help from the girls' parents. Is it just the fact that I slept so poorly last night and am feeling particularly cranky, or are there lots of people out there who think that stay-at-home moms have nothing better to do than to run a free, drop-in babysitting service for their kids?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Big stinker

Sister had her last day of week-long sleepaway camp yesterday. I was so excited to pick her up. While I'm used to her being away at her dad's for a few days at a time and even on longer vacations with him occasionally, it just felt different to have her be gone on her own big girl adventure all by herself.

When I walked in, Sister ran right up to me with her face all lit up which is a lovely sight for a mama. Bean and I grabbed her into a big group hug and my next thought after the warm fuzzies was, "Damn, this child's head stinks!" Turns out Sister brushed her teeth only once while she was gone and didn't wash her hair at all, so it's no wonder her entire head was enveloped in a cloud of funk you could almost see. I've gotta get that girl a book on personal hygiene soon or something. I don't want classmates making fun of her for being stinky and unkempt--'cause don't you remember the weird kid in your class who smelled bad and everyone made fun of?--but the more I say anything about the subject, the more I get the feeling she's deliberately "forgetting" to keep herself clean so that she can have some form of control over things.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Proud mama

While Sister is away with her buddy at Girl Scout camp for the entire week, Husband and I took advantage of her absence to rearrange the furniture in her room. She and Bean are going to be sharing a room in the next month or two once Bean makes the transition to a big girl bed. Yes, Sister goes ballistic if Bean messes up something she's working on or gets into something really special, and yes, I've warned Sister repeatedly that this is likely to increase if she can't kick Bean out of her room anymore, but Sister is adamant that she wants to share her room. So we made the first steps towards freeing up more space last night.

Today, I've put everything back on shelves, made the beds, arranged stuffed animals, and all the smaller tasks that I could do without Husband. I also purged a bit of Sister's stuff, hoping that she'll be so distracted by the new arrangement that she won't notice. And if I ever needed confirmation that come fall I should continue my policy of underscheduling Sister for afterschool activities and lessons, I got it. Actually, I get this every time I purge Sister's room because one of her very favorite afterschool activities is to sit up in her room and write stuff. I found two particularly interesting pieces of paper this time around.

One says only: "She likes adventures. She always sees Fred. Her mother died. She isn't glamorous." I'm dying to know what character she was imagining that day.

The other one is an advertisement for: "Lip sick! Only $100,000 per stick. Now in poop brown, booger green, and in 1 new smell of chunky barf! Poop there it is!"

Yeah, no soccer practice, dance lessons, acting class, and horse-back riding for you, girlie! Well, okay, maybe one or two of those things now and then. But you're genius all on your own!

Monday, July 23, 2007

What are people thinking?

While we were at the beach, my uncle's bitchy wife said something that made me realize I was potentially in for 18 more weeks of rudeness from random people who think other people's lives are their business to freely comment on.

What happened was, we were all sitting around in the beach house living room chatting. Someone asked Husband and I if we'd decided on a name for baby girl #3 yet. We told them no but we'd welcome suggestions if they had any. My mom tossed out a few, another aunt suggested something, and then the bitchy aunt said, "How about, 'Oh no, another girl'?"

I yelled back at her, "What the hell's wrong with girls?", surprised that she, a mother of a girl herself and--hello! a former girl!--would say such a thing. Fortunately, she didn't pursue it any further.

This isn't the first time with this pregnancy that people have acted weird or said stupid things to me. Having a third child--and a third girl--has meant I've received several rude comments that I didn't get the first two times around. People were all dewy-eyed when I was pregnant with my first and second, but seem to feel that I'm just going too far, being too decadent or something with a third. For the most part, people are just stopped short and frowningly say, "Oh!" when informed that this is my third baby. And no gooey congratulations, needless to say. If they find out it's another girl, then they also express sympathy for me that it's not the boy that they assume we were trying for. We weren't. We just wanted a third kid.

I suppose no matter what, people are going to have opinions about how you run your life. Why is it, though, that the sight of a pregnant woman makes them want to say them out loud?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Home again, home again

We're home from the beach now and I feel deliciously settled. I do love home. I know that makes me dull and unglamorous, but what can I say? I'm a Cancer. In the last 6 hours I've unpacked everything but Husband's suitcase, done 4 loads of laundry, picked 3 bouquets of flowers for the house from our busting-at-the-stems garden, gone grocery shopping, and fixed dinner. Cheerfully.

Now I'm just trying to decide what my welcome home baking project will be. I always have the urge to bake something when I've been gone from home awhile. Maybe lemon raspberry muffins for tomorrow's breakfast.

Quickly, some new stuff that's happened with Bean while we've been gone. She now calls Husband "Daddy" instead of "Papa." This is because my 2 little brothers call their dad (and my step-dad) that. From another older kid relative, she's picked up the less endearing habit of periodically exclaiming, "Oh my Gawd!" I've trained Sister very diligently not to say this because, despite being a non-Christian myself, I do think it's pretty ugly coming out of the mouths of children. Still, when Bean says it I find it difficult not to laugh, even as I try to correct her over to "gosh" instead.

She walks out the front door naked to help me pick flowers, feels the heat on her skin and yells, "Oh my Gawd!"

She sees a big bumblebee on a flower and shouts, "Oh my Gawd!"

Her sandal catches a bit on the stair as she's climbing and it's, "Oh my Gawd!"

I'm just glad my mom isn't around to hear her.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Looking homeward

Today is the last day of our big ol' family beach vacation. There's a thunderstorm outside, and most of the party has been out on a boat for the last couple of hours. The rest are napping or watching cartoons in the boys' lair downstairs. It's peaceful then, or will be for as long as the boaters are still out.

I think I finally settled into vacation mode yesterday when I was able to read on a shady, ocean view porch for a couple of hours straight and then nap afterwards. Today, Husband took Bean out to a playground nearby, so I got in some more reading on the beach while Sister hunted shells and tiny shellfish in the surf. I'm all caught up on sleep since Husband has been letting me sleep in every.single.morning that we've been here, bless him. So I'm all vacationed up at this point and feeling just fine about going home tomorrow, even if the drive will suck again. It'll be good to see my garden and my house and my kitties again, and to sleep in my own bed without 2 kids sleeping in the same room a few feet away from me.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

On vacation

I'd intended to post something last week before we left town for our big family beach vacation, but I felt like I could barely keep it together as it was. Sister had her birthday on Thursday and I'd said she could have 3 friends over for a sleepover. Even with take-out pizza as the requested birthday dinner, I still had to assemble a giant birthday ice cream cake for dessert, buy and wrap presents, run to the movie store, run to the grocery store, run to Target, and some other errands on top of that that I'm forgetting. Oh, and pack for our beach trip the day after the party, bed linens, another grocery store trip and all. Vacations are almost too much work.

My birthday was yesterday, which was the day we were packing the car and driving to the beach. I'd originally thought that a beach trip starting on my birthday was a fabulous idea, but in practice not so great. I have said many times since Sister was born 2 days before my own birthday that mine isn't important anymore and I'm thrilled if anyone even notices enough to give me a present 'cause I'm that self-sacrificing. But you know what? I'm NOT that self-sacrificing. I wanted some fuss and some presents and to go out to a special dinner and all the rest, and when I didn't get it I was pissed. Next year, I'll not plan to be driving anywhere on my birthday unless it's to a long stint at the day spa.

Bean has orange-stained lips and fingertips right now because I'm pretending not to notice as she raids the enormous bag of crunchy Cheetos. Better stop her and get on with my dinner preparations. It's my night to cook dinner for the 9 adults and 9 kids here. On the menu tonight is 7# of shredded pork barbecue brought from my favorite barbecue place in Chapel Hill, cornbread, cucumber and onion salad, purple coleslaw, corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes, watermelon, and key lime pies for dessert. I do love summertime food.

Monday, July 09, 2007

About Lisa

I've settled down a bit emotionally and mentally since my friend I mentioned a few posts ago died. She died Tuesday of last week while we were in the mountains. I thought this would probably happen since I knew she was being transferred into hospice care right before we left town. I didn't go see her there, I'm ashamed to say. We were busy trying to get things done before the trip and I knew that she had many closer friends staying with her around the clock. To be completely honest, though, I mostly didn't know what to say to her and knew that she probably wouldn't hear or understand me. I still don't know if that's practicality or cowardice.

I went to her memorial service Saturday evening at the Forest Theater in Chapel Hill. There were several dozen people there, nearly all of them friends who had known her a good long time, too. Several of them got up to talk about Lisa--her loud screeching laughter, her ridiculously complicated ordering habits when out to eat at restaurants, what a stellar cook she was herself, her political activism and unflinching outspokenness about all that she felt was wrong with the world or wrong with YOU, for that matter. Some people cried, but mostly people laughed because there really was a lot you could laugh at when talking about Lisa.

Later at home, I was in a bit of a funk as I thought about one of the last conversations we had together, when she asked me what I was planning to do after I was "done with this whole mom thing." I was kinda pissed at the question then and didn't give a straight answer, in part because I'm not going to be "done" with being a mom for quite some time. But I'm wondering now just who would show up at my funeral if I were to die tomorrow and what stories they would tell. My life is so contained and so very unconcerned with anyone else but my own family and few good friends. I'm not out there advocating for poor women or gays or Latino immigrants like she was. I'm not publishing political 'zines or losing my job standing up for some righteous principle. I don't take other people's recycling home with me if I know they're not going to be recycling. I'm just keeping the house clean, keeping the kids fed, doing a little gardening, a little sewing--a small, private, contained life.

Just another bout of SAHM angst, I guess, not helped by the fact that there's an actual friend's death setting it off. Maybe it'll pass. In the meantime, I'm going to be more diligent about recycling, try to buy much more local produce, support more local businesses, get the damn compost pile started finally...

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Inventory of a vacation

5 days spent away from home in Townsend and Knoxville, TN.

3-4 times per night was about how often Bean woke up while we were gone.

An ungodly number of calories consumed over the course of those few days--mostly sweet iced tea, fried chicken livers, devilled eggs, spoon bread, potato salad, red velvet cake, and some kind of outlandishly good brownie cheesecake praline concoction that I couldn't stay away from. (Two servings about made up for the lack of banana pudding at this year's family reunion.)

7 hours spent on the road yesterday driving from TN back to Chapel Hill, NC.

Approximately 50 creatures riding home in the car--Husband, myself, the girls, the dog, and the difference made up in snails Husband brought from the Little River to reside in our backyard pond.

69 Japanese beetles plucked buzzing from the plants they'd infested while I was gone.

2 hours spent watering our parched garden.

4 bags of liquified vegetables culled from the bottom drawer of our fridge.

We're home now.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Going, going...

Husband and I are taking the girls (and the dog) up to the mountains of Tennessee here in a few short minutes. We'll be staying in his family's extremely rustic cabin for their family reunion. I found myself trying to think through the family relationships last night, rehearsing my response when some little old lady asks me who I'm related to. I know Husband's mother was the cousin of Johnny who was the son of...damn, now I forget. But it's the kind of event where phrases like "second cousin once removed" are ubiquitous and understood by every family member there. Also, phrases like "bucket of fried chicken" and "banana pudding," which is why I'm still looking forward to it.

I'll be gone for the week and maybe without internet access depending on whether the fancy new-last-year coffee shop is still open for business this year. Hope you all have a lovely Independence Day!

Friday, June 29, 2007

What to say

I haven't meant to take quite such a long blogging hiatus. Sister's been at the beach with her dad all this week and rather than her absence providing me with a break, I've found instead that Bean's been requiring quite a bit more of my time than I was expecting. Sister keeps Bean entertained much more frequently than I realize, I think.

But the other thing occupying my mind lately is a friend in the intensive care unit of the hospital. She's got very aggressive thryroid cancer and isn't going to last much longer. She may be moving to a hospice facility today, but I'm still waiting to hear from another friend if that's the case.

I have known my sick friend for about 15 years now, but we haven't been in contact much since our lives diverged. She's an ardent feminist and activist, never married or shacked up, never had kids or even pets. I, on the other hand,...well, here I am a stay-at-home mama, pregnant with my 3rd baby and engrossed lately in another quilting project. I love her, but our lives haven't have had much in common for some years. Even the restaurant business fell away as something we both shared.

Still, I visited her in the hospital the other night and it was devastating to see her just dying right in front of me. I spent that night dreaming dark dreams of her and hospitals. My life isn't on hold like certain of her other, closer friends' lives are right now. She has nearly 'round the clock company from her many other friends, none of whom have children. Nevertheless, I've found myself unmotivated to blog about the trivial details of my life just now. Vacations, summer colds, Bean's new tricks, and even the fact that I learned I'm pregnant with daughter #3 on Monday seem like very light fare indeed compared to an old friend dying in the hospital.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


All is well on the hair front now for those of you who read about my dyeing mishap on Father's Day. Suburban Gorgon's advice to tone down the neon orange with ash brown worked beautifully--after 2 applications, that is. It's rather a darkish auburn now. It's a good thing I have such short hair because while it's a bit strawlike now after so much mistreatment, all the damage will be cut off with a few trims within the next couple months. In the meantime, there's beeswax-based pomade.


Big decision today--whether to take the girls swimming or to the Museum of Natural Science. Probably the museum since it's looking like the sky's going to open up any minute here...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

How not to observe Father's Day

So far I've been a very bad wife today with respect to celebrating Husband's fatherhood. And he's such a very good father, too! I was the one who slept in this morning til 8:15, leaving him to get up with the baby. It's true that since she's a bit feverish she's been sleeping poorly and I got up with her a few times last night while he continued to sleep heavily, but still. I intended to give him a break for a change and do the morning routine so he could lie about.

And then later this morning, I thought I'd sneak in a quick hair-dyeing session while he and Bean were out in the backyard. I was excited to be trying out a nice, bright red to go with my sassy new pixie cut. While the color was processing, though, all hell broke loose with Bean. Husband tried to take her out for a walk with the dog and she grew hysterical. I was about to get in the shower to rinse the color so I couldn't take either the dog or her. And once I did get the color rinsed out and got a glimpse of myself in the mirror I was horrified at the near-neon shade of orange-red my hair had become. Suburban Gorgon, expert in all matters involving hair color screw-ups, reminded me on the phone that pregnancy hormones tend to produce extremely wacky results with hair-dye, even when you're using your usual shade. So once Bean goes down for a nap, I'm going back out for some nice ash brown to try to tone things down a bit.

Father's Day has been all about me so far. Maybe a homemade lemon chess pie will redeem the day for poor Husband later. I've gotta do something.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Summer begins

Sister, Bean, and I have settled into a lovely summer already. This morning, Husband went for an early run with friends, which left me expecting to get up early with the baby. Instead what happened was she stirred at 6:45. I got up to brush my teeth and put in my contact lenses while I still had both hands free. In the meantime, she'd fallen back asleep and I had the time to make the bed, take a shower, brew myself a cup of tea, putter while it was steeping, and then sit on the back porch by myself to drink it. I had an entire hour and a quarter to myself because Bean and Sister didn't wake til 8:00! The birds were singing, the breeze was blowing, and I could faintly feel my little baby squirming around in my belly. Such an unexpectedly relaxing way to start the day.

For the past 3 summers, the daughter of a good friend of mine comes to stay with us while her parents are at work. She's a year older than Sister and they have literally known each other since Sister was born. They don't attend the same schools and aren't in the same grade, but they get along so beautifully. Yesterday I allowed them to watch "What Not to Wear" and "10 Years Younger" with me during Bean's naptime. (DVR'ed, so no commercials.) Afterwards, they went upstairs to give Sister's Barbies makeovers. Since there were only 2--and one of them lost her head long ago--we decided to go to the thrift store in search of new ones once Bean woke up. We hit the Barbie jackpot there, scoring 8 scraggly, naked Barbies that nevertheless cost only $.50 each. All of them received make-overs once we returned home. The upstairs positively reeked of artificially flavored lipgloss, and the floor of Sister's room was strewn with Barbie hair. For two girls who go out of their way to declare to the world how un-girly they are, this struck me as hilarious and sweet.

I can already see the difference in Sister's face after only a little while of this. She's smiley and unstressed and laughing very freely. I love to see her this way.

Friday, June 08, 2007

I won't really do it, okay?

It's weeks like these that make me feel almost tempted to have a big slug of gin despite the pregnancy. Sister's been an emotional wreck during her last week of 3rd grade, going into even more exaggerated than usual fits of hysteria over the discovery that an old toy found in her grandmother's attic contains lead and she'll no longer be allowed to play with it. Whereas before it was merely an interesting curiosity, now that it's made of lead it's suddenly her absolute favorite toy and she' s going to miss it so much. As she's been crying to me all week.

The Ex picked a fight with me in front of Sister a few hours ago because he wanted to change her summertime schedule to begin effective in 5 fucking days, threatening me with a lawyer when I "irrationally" said no, that was not enough notice for me to change all my plans.

And worst of all, a 42-year old friend of mine who was diagnosed with thryoid cancer some months ago has now been told that it's spread to her liver and pancreas. She has no health insurance. I talked with her on the phone a few minutes ago about bringing her some food and listened to her struggle to talk with paralyzed vocal cords and lungs full of God knows what.

I certainly hope the rest of you have had better weeks.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Not just fat

My belly is definitely expanding now. In the middle of my 15th week, I am very ready for this to happen. I curretnly have only 3 outfits I can wear without looking like I'm either bursting out of my clothes or swimming in them. One outfit is a non-maternity black babydoll dress with short black leggings. One is a big sack of a vintage dress that I've only ever used as an inside the house dress during the summer because it's that shapeless. And one is a linen smock top and pair of olive green maternity capri pants that for the first time this morning did not feel as if I'd have to spend all day hitching them up.

I outgrew my regular pants and skirts a few weeks ago, but what few maternity clothes I have left from my summer pregnancy with Sister are either extremely dated, extremely ugly, or just gone now. I've got a few dresses left that still look like tents on me and a few maternity tank tops that look unacceptably baggy right now.

All in all, it takes me quite a long time to get dressed in the mornings and it's damn disheartening. I'm looking forward to looking really pregnant in a few weeks rather than just really stupid.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Blood sisters...or something

The other day after a playdate with her best friend, Sister informed me that they had swapped underwear as proof of their friendship. Not clean underwear, but the underwear that they were both wearing at the time.

I'm going to pause here while you contemplate that.

I still can't decide which I think is more weird and unsanitary--Sister doing that, or me at the same age pricking my finger with a filthy safety pin retrieved from the bottom of my own best friend's mother's purse so that we could become blood sisters.

Maybe it's best not to think about it.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Spring is over

For me it's over, that is. I don't know what the rest of you non-Southerners are experiencing weather-wise lately, but a couple of weeks here of 90 degrees, no clouds, and no rain means summer to me. I read somewhere once that some cultures regard the solstices and equinoxes as mid-season markers rather than season beginners. So this June 22nd would be mid-summer to some and not the start. Of course, those people probably don't live in places with summers quite this long, where the idea that September 22nd would be mid-fall is ludicrous...

Anyways, I'm tired and just babbling here. What really marks the end of spring for me is finally finishing up all the planting I'm willing to do til cold weather comes again. And of course, I'll be way too fat with child to be digging holes by then, so really it'll be more like next spring before I plant again. In the meantime, though, I've gotta get on the deadheading, and there's a fancy dogwood frying in way too much sun that I should probably move soon...

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Things to do besides gardening

Stay inside where there's air-conditioning, put my feet up, and watch back-to-back episodes of "What Not to Wear" and "10 Years Younger."

Contemplate culling closet and dresser of old clothes for the thrift shop...but don't.

Make tiny peanut butter cookies with M&M's pressed into the tops with Bean to be served on her new tin toy tea set.

Not mind when the neighbor kids come over to play with Sister and Bean and eat hot cookies.

Read blogs.

Make chicken-fried steak with gravy for dinner. (Yee-haw!)

Enjoy the break from the 90 degree heat and only a couple of times peek out the window to see if the 7 potted plants still left are wilting yet.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Still pregnant

I went to my second midwife appointment today and was relieved all over again when she heard the baby's heartbeat without a problem. I had a few hours of paranoia beforehand, imagining that it all would've gone wrong again, but everything's fine. I'm not sure when this will really stop becoming an issue with me. Maybe next appointment?

Tonight, though, Husband and Sister and I perused a book of baby names and had great fun tossing out names we liked and mercilessly mocking those that were stupid. Sister really likes Bert and Maximus. Ahem. These are a vast improvement over her choices of Star Blossom and Sparkles for Bean, however, so I'm going easy on her.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Playgroup dynamics

Amy Sedaris is making an appearance on Sesame Street today! She's acting as a rather sardonic Snow White, but perhaps this is old news to all you other mamas out there? My circle is admittedly limited these days...

I do get out sometimes though. This morning I took Bean to her usual Tuesday morning playgroup and left feeling a little thrill that I'm beginning to make friends with my 2 favorite group mamas. We're the moms with the daughters, whereas the other 2 moms have sons that are several months younger. The moms-of-girls are all meeting at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham in a few days to hang out again while the kids are hopefully engrossed in the outdoor water play area. We made this plan after the moms-of-sons had already left, but no one mentioned getting in touch with those moms to include them.

I've been secretly hoping that for some reason those moms would just stop being interested in the playgroup because one of them talks non-stop about either t.v. shows or what her son will and won't eat that week. Seriously. You can barely get a word in edgewise. The other one is quite pregnant and feeling so low energy that she says she's going to start sending in her mom with her son instead of coming with him herself. No one's talked about this, but I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I suppose the playgroup is meant for the kids. But really, it's at least half for the moms to get together and have some grown-up conversation, enjoying the dynamic we've put together, right? Now, one of my very favorite friends happens to be a childless woman more than 20 years my senior, so I can assure you that I have no problem hanging out with older ladies. But this mom's mom ain't one of my favorite friends. Yes, I have met her.

Maybe playgroup outside of playgroup is the way to work this. It's not worth getting all junior high bitchy and cutting off any little kids just because a couple of the moms aren't my cup of tea.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

It's been a quiet day today. Husband went to work, Sister was at her dad's, and Bean has maybe a little intestinal bug that's keeping her energy very low. I tried to squeeze in some planting during what I was assuming would be a very long naptime, but only got 2 things in the ground before she woke up. We spent the time between 3:00 and 5:30 just idling inside--reading, playing with beads, lolling on rugs in various rooms, and watching DVR'ed episodes of Elmo's World, skipping through the 40 minutes of Sesame Street before it. The whole world seems to grind to a halt when one of the kids is sick. No one called and only a couple of emails landed in my inbox.

Slow time is nice, even if a child has to be sick before I let myself take it. But pretty soon I'm going to have to slow down. I'm getting a belly and it's already getting too damn hot outside to keep planting. (I told myself last week that once I got the last few things we'd already bought into the ground I'd call it quits for the summer--but then went shopping at a super-cheap, huge nursery an hour's drive from my house and got a couple dozen more perennials. As soon as they get into the ground then...)

Anyways, school's almost out and Sister and I will both get a much-needed break from the school routine. I'm so looking forward to a lazy summer with my girls.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Spilling it

Okay, it's at last time for me to 'fess up here about why I've really been so tired--not just from sleep-deprivation and gardening--and cranky--not just from SAHM malaise--for the past couple of months. Ready, all 3 of you out there?

I'm pregnant again.

I'm 13 weeks along with a perfect ultrasound, blood test, and midwife visit behind me, so I'm feeling pretty confident that this pregnancy is going to be okay. (Quick--knock on wood for me!) Sister is so excited she went to school the morning after we told her and announced it to her entire 3rd-grade class. Husband is letting himself be excited now that the danger of miscarriage seems to be past, and even Bean has been talking about me having a baby in my belly and how she wants a baby in her belly, too.

I'm settling in to feeling pretty excited myself.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Food meme

Devilish Southern Belle tagged me for a meme today. I have to say I'm not so good at going through with the meme thing lately. (Okay, my readership has dropped and no one tags me anymore. I know, I know.) But I'm supposed to list my top 5 favorite local places to eat and this I find appealing. I love to support local businesses and I do so love to eat. The meme rules are as follows for those I tag below, lifted right from Belle's site verbatim:

1. Link to the name of the person who tagged you.

2. Include the state and country you're in.

3. List your top 5 favorite places to eat at your location (locally).

4. Tag 5 other people (preferably from other countries/states) and let them know they've been tagged.

Okay. I'm in Chapel Hill, NC which is stinking with great restaurants. There are just a lot of great cooks and bakers here, even with no cooking school nearby. It's a nice place for a foodie, and if you're not one you're likely to become one in short order. (Ha! Get it?) I don't get out nearly as much as I used to and would like to, but here's my list.

1. The Barbecue Joint is just what the name suggests, but it's more than that, too. It has hands-down the absolute best barbecue I have ever put in my mouth. Ever. They also have fried squash, duck confit salad, house-cured meats of many varieties, and rockin' mac-and-cheese for the 2-and-under crowd. Plus, it's run by one of my old kitchen buddies, Damon Lapas who's cute, funny, and single for all you single Chapel Hill ladies out there.

2. Guglhupf is a great bakery run by a posse it Austrians? I'm not sure and have never actually met them, but they make great coffees and crank out excellent croissants, danishes, and breads. Rumor has it that their bakers show up for their shifts at midnight and work til 8:00 am. Ouch! They've added on a cafe in the last year or 2 and have things like cheese plates and platters of sliced meats and cornichons. I haven't been there for lunch, but when I do I'm havin' a meat and pickle plate. What I usually do is haul Bean there and let her splash in their outdoor fountains while I have a latte and a pastry of some kind. I feel all civilized and shit when I can manage that.

3. Lantern, and no "the" there please. But forget the snooty articleless-ness. They have phenomenal Asian cuisine made with excruciatingly fresh, local produce. Everything I've ever had there is perfect. Plus, they invent and serve their own equally fresh and fabulous cocktails in the best people-watching bar in town! I never take the kids 'cause I usually have to wait a long time to get a table, but it's so worth it.

4. Carrburritos is actually in Carrboro, just a few miles down the road from Chapel Hill. I seldom make it down the road that far these days if I'm hungry for a burrito, but if Husband and I happen to be in Carrboro we go there. They fry their own corn and flour tortilla chips, and you can dip them in truly excellent fresh salsas. My favorite is this smoky chipotle stuff with little black flecks of charred goodness. Great guacamole, great, uncomplicated ceviche, and lots of food for not much money. Oh, and great decor--weird Mexican clay statuary, oilcloth tablecloths, and tin ceiling tiles. The girls love it, too.

5. One of my long-time favorites is Crook's Corner, so charmingly and ably cheffed by Bill Smith. I must confess I used to work there, but I don't continue to like every place I've worked like I do Crook's. It's good Southern food made with good quality ingredients and everything I've had there is well-made and just what I want. Soft shell crabs in season and "cheese pork" are a couple of my favorites. They also make the town's best margarita, or at least they did 9 years ago when I was fresh off Sister's birth and in need of a bender with friends to take my mind of my slack-ass (now Ex-) husband. On a more pleasant reminiscent note, I remember working the line one very slow Monday or Tuesday night with Bill and Damon (yes, from the Barbecue Joint above). There were steamed oysters on the menu. Orders were only trickling in, so Damon and I sampled a few raw oysters. They were so fresh and briny and delicious that we had a few more. Bill wasn't partaking, but he also wasn't protesting about food cost. He stood there with his hands folded above his Buddha belly like he always did, smiling benignly at our very vocal pleasure. Damon and I ate oysters til we were stuffed and must have polished off at least a few dozen each, adding all manner of little flavorful goodies from our prepped line--lemon juice, hot sauce, scallions, vinegar, bacon bits, and I can't even remember what else. It is still one of my favorite memories of both food and work.

Ah, food. I had no idea I'd spend so much time working on this meme, but it's been such a nice diversion. Husband's dealing with a post-bath screaming Bean now, so I guess I should get my ass off the computer and help him. But I still need to tag folks, so how about Suburban Gorgon, Mama D, Lauren over at Dream Kitchen, Joan in Southern Suburbia, and Blind As a Bat Beth.

I'd feel more guilty about tagging if I hadn't enjoyed doing this particular meme myself. Hope you all do, too.


My calendar is empty today, which is a rare and pleasant occurrence. I just wish I could enjoy it, but I've once again fallen behind on my sleep. And I knew it would be a challenging day when I woke a little after 6:00 before my alarm even went off, hearing Bean beginning to chat to herself in her crib. I really, really need just 15 minutes to myself in the mornings with no kids and no Husband awake yet so I can at least take a peaceful shower and start my cup of tea before being fully jarred awake by the reality of the day and--let's face it--them. It was not to be this morning. Which is perhaps within an hour I found myself yelling at Sister for not getting her tail downstairs fast enough. My blood boils over way too easily on mornings like these.

Bean went down for her nap at 11:00 am this morning, about 2 hours earlier than usual. This was a nice reprieve, but it also means that I won't be napping myself today since there's just no way for me to fall asleep after such recent caffeine consumption. I'll start to crash around the time Bean wakes up and Sister comes home from school.

At least I managed to cross some ancient items off my to-do list already today. Took the dog and his poop in this morning for some tests and a vaccine. Cancelled my utterly unused gym membership 'cause who am I kidding here? If only I could bring myself to "wash baseboards," I'd probably feel so self-congratulatory my whole attitude would turn around.

But nah. Maybe outside for a bit of light puttering in the cool 65 degree air is what I need.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


This week Sister has been bringing home this super-easy math homework--easy because she's done it all before and it is merely intended as review before the end-of-grade tests start next week. Her whole class is worried about these tests, and Sister has been a bit worried about them, too, since last year when she first caught wind of them. I've been assuring her ever since that she has nothing to worry about, that these tests are really testing how well her teacher has been teaching and how well her school is working. Now, I will admit thatI have no fear at all Sister is going to fail third grade. These tests do determine whether a 3rd grader will be promoted to 4th, will have to spend vacation days indoors at summer school, or will fail altogether. But Sister's a smart girl who's practically hung on every word this adored teacher has uttered all year, from what I can tell.

Some part of me feels a bit of guilt that I should really be doing more to help her teacher out here. I love love love this particular teacher. She's done a miraculous job reinforcing my belief of the past couple of years that Sister does not have attention problems requiring medication (as 2 of her teachers have hinted we should look into). Rather, she just hadn't yet found the teacher who could bring out the best in her. Some part of me thinks I should return the favor and drill Sister on this huge list of terms and problems that she's going to encounter in the end-of-grade tests next week so her teacher will look especially good. I got this list last week and what I did instead was asked Sister about a couple of things on it, then promptly stuck it in a drawer where it's still languishing under some more recently-added coupons.

I just can't make myself believe that stressing Sister over an achievement test in third grade is really an okay thing to do, notwithstanding the fabulousness of her teacher. Yes, I'm assuming she'll do well enough because I used to do well on such tests as a kid. Above that, it's just not worth it to me to spend two weeks drilling her in order to up her score by a couple of points. She's only 8! There will certainly be time to stress about tests when she's older and the stakes are higher. But third grade? Pfffttt.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

More on gardening

All of Chapel Hill is hazy today and oddly enough, it's because there's a big forest fire in Georgia right now. Georgia! It's windy, sure, but somehow this is an amazing phenomenon to me. It takes 4 hours to drive to Georgia from here, you know?

Got outside to do a little gardening today despite my post-lunch urge to nap. A nice glass of sweet iced tea stiffened by resolve to get some more damn plants in the ground before it gets too hot to be worth it. It's only May, but it's been in the mid-80's lately and not getting any cooler. The front yard is shaping up nicely. We've taken up quite a bit of our large front lawn and installed a huge planting bed instead, in case I haven't mentioned that. Before you start clamoring for pictures, though, let me just say that it's just not that pretty yet. The shrubs and trees I've put in are nowhere near their bushy, mature size and so things out there look mulchy and sparse to my eye. Maybe next year when it's all filled in a bit...

In the meantime, I'm hoping not to be quite such a landscaping widow to Husband's pond-building obsession soon. While I went through my part of the girls' bedtime routine last night--the stories and teeth-brushing part--he made a beeline for the fully dark backyard to work on the pond. After he put Bean down and sang her a song and wished Sister goodnight--his part of the routine--he practically ran outside again before I could stop him and stayed out til 9:30, fer chrissakes! This weekend's supposed to be nice, too, so I expect we'll be hanging around the house. Again.

Lest I sound like I'm complaining I have to admit here, though, that the pond is beginning to look really lovely, even half-finished and with black plastic pond liner still showing. Can't wait to plant there, too!