Monday, January 31, 2011

Breathing Optional

I was almost certainly born in the wrong era. By about 150 years. Because the Victorian fashion era and I were just made for each other.

I could totally rock wearing dresses like these every weekend or two for the next 15 years.

And would be more than thrilled to dress my adorable little girls in them!

(The one on the far left is an absolutely precious Kristina sized little one standing on a chair!)

And to teach them how to loathe wear a corset.

Actually, I've never worn a corset, but trying to keep up with constantly expanding lopsided lactating boobies of doom and conventional milkable undergarments (read: cheap nursing bras) was a pretty uncomfortable experience in of itself (and a little embarrassing when getting measured and the Motherhood sales lady making pity clucking noises after declaring I'd been trying to fit 38E's into a 34C cup, which also shows that I'm a bit of moron for not being able to grasp that my previous stock was too small for the last month).

I mean, how much worse could a corset really be?

It's interesting how every time I think "how much worse could it be?" it suddenly gets much, much worse than I ever imagined possible. That was one of my main arguments why going from one child to two wouldn't be such a big deal. You should feel free to start laughing sadistically right now. 

But I digress, for I wanted to ramble about my love for fancy dresses, not my boobies and questionable long term planning skills.

(I swear, if this is the post somebody chooses to repost all over the internets and it makes me blogger famous for my random bloggy ramblings about my boobies, I am going to... um.... well, first I'd be totally ecstatic about people reposting my bloggy ramblings regardless of what they are. But then I'd be cranky about it being for my boobies. And I'd probably write long and involved blog posts about how my boobies should not be making me blogger famous. Which would probably only serve to make me more blogger famous for my lactating skillz and boobie awesomeness. And then I'd want to kill something.)

((With my boobies.))

Alexandra and Marty, circa 1880
So I look at my life now, and figure that it would be about the same, except that instead of dressing up for a fancy dinner out by wearing non-sneaker shoes with our jeans and maybe even remembering to wash off the paint on my elbow from doing water colors earlier that day (if it's a really special occasion, we might even put on jewelry), dearest Alexandra and I would wear dresses like these.

And we would totally rock the formalness of those bustles.

Granted, I'm also fully expecting a dashing pirate version of Johnny Depp to show up at any moment for when we faint from our inability to breathe, where we would then set forth on a grand high sailing adventure across the oceans and being seriously kick-ass with some fancy sword skills against undead zombie pirates, sea monsters, and corrupt politicians.

(Did you hear there's a new Pirates of the Caribbean movie coming out in May??)

I wonder how hard it would be to use a sword in one of those dresses.....

Sunday, January 30, 2011

January Hymn

January Hymn by the Decemberists

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Paper Bag Princess and Other Awesome Books

I've been meaning to do this post since I first started blogging, but just hadn't gotten around to it yet.

So, without further ado, some of the lesser known but still awesome picture books we read a lot

The Paper Bag Princess was by far one of my young childhood favorites. Kristina's a big fan of the dragon, and it has some nice female empowerment subplot going on.

The Napping House, King Bidgood is in the Bathtub, and Heckedy Peg are all by the talented Audrey and Don Wood. The details in the illustrations are just phenomenal, and the text is equally captivating. Heckedy Peg is geared towards a slightly older child (3-4), with more text and plot development, but all three have been big hits with both girls.

Click Clack Moo Cows That Type and Llama Llama Red Pajama are both fairly new (read: since I was a small child) publications (and I'll fully admit, I have no idea how well known they are), but they are both incredibly cute, witty, and will charm the pants off of any two year old (and parents too).

The Relatives Came was gotten for the girls to help with our frequent extended family travels, and it really is sweet little tale. There's one line in it, about all the hugging and how you had to go through at least 4 hugs to get from one room to the next, that always makes me think fondly of visiting Peter's side of the family.

There's a Nightmare in my Closet, There's Something in my Attic, and What Would You Do with a Kangaroo are lesser known but excellent (if also older) Mercer Mayer (author of the Little Critter "just me and ___") books. The last two star cute little girls, and were favorites of mine back in the day.

Knuffle Bunny (and sequels) is Kristina's current "must read" on a nightly basis. Done in a very unique art style, with cartoon people imposed on top of photographs, and with lots of humor sneaked in for the parents (it's greatly appreciated). The third one is on our "wanted" list.

God's Dream by Arch Bishop Desmund Tutu is simply beautiful. Exceptionally well written with ideals of kindness and acceptance of diversity interlaced throughout the sweet pictures.

Side note- Anyone have suggestions for a good pirate picture book? Better yet, one with a cute little girl as the star?? Kristina's been big on pretending to be a pirate recently, and we sadly have no pirate books.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Spelling Morals of an Armadillo

Spelling was never my strong suite in school.

In fact, I down right sucked at it.

(My deepest and sincerest thanks to whatever powers that be who came up with spellcheck, and then put it both on my internet browser and cell phone.)

And because spelling was such a horrible ordeal for me, I worked exceptionally hard at avoiding it. During the later part of elementary school, when I had pretty much resigned myself to being completely unable to do it, I would hide in the bathroom during the weekly spelling test time so I didn't have to take it.

In middle school it was even worse, I was failing my English class on account of my low spelling test scores.

Up to that point, I really had been trying on the weekly spelling exams. Granted, one could argue not as hard as was needed, since I was still scoring miserably on them (and having managed to skip out on them for the previous year probably helped to shoot me in the foot), but I was trying.

And trying was worthless unless it produced the expected results. 

So I cheated.

Because all anyone ever seemed to be able to teach me was that the goal was to score well on the test.

At any cost.

(Full social commentary of where standard academia fails to come another time.)

So I sacrificed a little personal integrity, passed English, and made everybody happy.

And then, this amazing thing happened. I got into high school (and the horrible cruel torture of spelling tests, flash cards, and unhappy parents went away) and I did GREAT in English all on my own.

Far and away some my consistently best academic grades (minus that one section where we had to do in class oral reports, as I think making you stand up in front of your petty judgmental overbearing peers to attempt to do a presentation that you have no idea about what you're doing with it in the first place is even crueler than flash cards), not to mention my top scoring (and higher level to boot!) IB exam.

(That particular English class made fun of me for how I pronounced "kitty" one time, and mocked me for months (well, at least the rest of the period, my memory of the events in question might be ever so slightly jaded on account of the adolescent brain being easily traumatized) about it.)

I excel at reading, I can compose rhymes to match whatever requested meter on the fly, creative writing couldn't be easier, and I can even manage to follow standard essay forms when required.

But I can't spell worth shit.

And it totally doesn't matter! Booya!! Take that 7th grade English Teacher!!!

The moral of the story:

Ummmm... I would say 'the ends justify the means', but I'm not really sold on that bit of cheesy objectionableness. And aren't there stories to show how that's totally untrue (just apparently not featuring me and spelling)? I think something along the lines of 'the misapplication of reasonable intent is a dangerous thing' is more poetic. And makes 13 year old me seem a teensy bit nobler and less like I had the morality of an armadillo. Or maybe I can fall into the 'too smart for your own good' category, because not only did I interpret the goals of academia far to literally, but I also worked the system to my whim without difficulty or a second thought. But then I sound like a cocky smartass, and I'm fairly certain my mother didn't start calling me that (to my face, at least) until I was in high school. Oh wait, I know! 'Don't take life too seriously, nobody gets out alive anyway.' Ok, it might not be the MOST applicable in this particular happenstance, but it's a great saying! Any takers? Alright fine, lets see you do one better.....

The moral of the moral:

I don't really understand how morals work and find them highly subjective. And armadillos are the shady lowlifes of the animal kingdom.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Life's a Song

Kristina singing 'Five Little Ducks' with a few verse enhancements. And Adrianna's pretty cute wandering around too (especially when she starts dancing at the end).


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pouring Lemonade

My father likes to mix up Crystal Light lemonade into The Drink Container of Doom.

And as I, on occasion, like to drink Crystal Light lemonade, I get the pleasure of attempting to pour from The Drink Container of Doom while futilely trying to not cover the entire counter in low calorie Splenda.

Part of the problem, I think, is my ridiculously small hand size in comparison to the small giant they used to size the hand holder part of this evil container. So as I have to use both hands to lift it up, I have no hand to hold the glass anywhere near the spout.

And on top of that, the little sealer spout part refuses to sit anywhere besides 'very nearly shut' for me. This certainly exacerbates the tendency for the lemonade to go everywhere besides into my glass. But, being the creative problem solver that I am, I recently made a valiant attempt to hold it open while pouring with my cheek. It was a mixed success, the sealer part did stay up, but I also got lemonade splashed in my eye.

And it still didn't pour into the glass very well.

I think my father may need to receive a new drink container for Valentine's Day.
Artist rendering of the events.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Baby Meets Roomba

Moving in with my parents has allowed for the girls to have all sorts of new and exciting experiences.

Like Adrianna meeting the Roomba.

She was watching it from a distance at first, just fascinated by it's seemingly random movements and strange swooshing noise.

So we turned it off so she could check it out. After all, this is something that could only end well, right?

At first, she was questioning of this new device.

But inquisitiveness quickly turned into excitement.

And an in depth exploration of this strange new creature was in order.

She tried to pick it up.

And to climb on top of it.

 And then she accidentally turned it on.....

I am seriously bummed that I didn't manage to capture her reaction on video. Because it was pretty epic. Almost cheesy youtube viral video worthy. You will just have to do your best to infer her levels of hilarious freaking out surprise from the photo.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Congratulations, You May Proceed to the Next Level.

I've been applying for jobs with the local county governments, and it's proving to be quite the trial jumping through all the bureaucratic hoops.

First off, you have to fill out the online application process with enough of the right answers that you might be considered for the next step.

Then comes the WTP testing. There are 50 questions set up to get progressively harder, ranging from reasoning deduction to algebra to vocabulary to reading comprehension. And you get 12 minutes to do as many as you can.

I got a score of 27 on the one I took last week, for a position of a records technician at the sheriffs office. The guy administering the test said the cut off was 20, so at least I managed to meet that minimum.

Congratulations, now I'm being reviewed by the records manager to see if I make it to the next stage.

(Yep, nothing like being laid out like a slab of meat to be scrupulously compared to all the other applicants to boost ones self confidence.)

If the records manager likes my application, I get to go in for an "integrity interview" next week.

And if that is sucessful, I get a polygraph test. Then a background check, conditional job offer, medical/psychological examination, with a final job offer the end of March.

It's a long process, to say the least. And this is the farthest I've gotten on any of the three dozen government ones I've applied to so far.

(I checked.)

But it's hard, with each step being another pass or fail point of anxiety.

And the time line.... It's a long time in my condensed world, the two months of levels of waiting for the next point of contention.

Ah well, hope for the best and don't stress about what is out of my control.

And wait......

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Blogger Love

Guess what I got!

And AWARD! For my blog! From an awesome beyond awesome fellow blogger!

This totally means I'm successful, popular, and easily equated with strawberry pound cake.


And so does Brandy over at Consequently Slapdash for awarding me with it (but we already knew that)!

However, in lieu of an acceptance speech gushing about how I've been eagerly awaiting this great honor for the last 5 minutes that I have known about it's existence, I am supposed to list out 5 guilty pleasures and pass it on to three other Irresistibly Sweet bloggers. I think. I don't really know how the whole social blogger world works yet. Other than getting awards is about the coolest thing ever!

1.) Entenmann's frosted devil's food donuts (soooo good, soooo butt expanding, soooo bad)
2.) TLC television (I can feel my brain metamorphosing into goo after a few episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, and yet....)
3.) Craigslist and Ebay (dude, you can find anything between the two of them)
4.) Little girl clothes shopping (I know their dressers are overflowing with perfectly serviceable hand-me-downs, but __[Gymboree/Hanna Andersson/BabyGap]__ is just so cute!)
5.) Diet soda (I totally should be drinking water, but I just wuv my wubbely bubbles and fakely sugars)

And now, on to the Irresistibly Sweet bloggers to receive the award next.

(Hehehe, I have power! Meaningless blog awards today, taking over the world tomorrow!)

First up, Rachel over at Grasping for Objectivity. She is just the most wonderful person, and was the reason I started this blog in the first place. Plus she's had a bit of a rough past month, if anyone could use some surprise strawberry pound cake it would certainly be her.

Dean over at Exploding Doughnut (not Dough, as I had originally named it when discussing his awesome mail art, who then emailed me about it and made me feel rather blogger-faux-pas-ed, but then was nice about the whole thing anyways) has such a beautiful soul, it most definitely qualifies as irresistibly sweet.

LauraJean on Sheep go to Heaven and On a Journey. Because she is the kindest and most actively caring person I have ever met. 'Nuff said. 

The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Headline News

When I was glancing through the paper the other day, I noticed this article headline:

Abortion doctor charged with murder. 

It's certainly the attention grabbing sort of sentence the news likes to put out, along with one of the top hot topic debate points.

But the article itself isn't quite as revolutionary as the headline makes out. 

The doctor is being charged for the deaths of several women who were given an overdose of painkillers and for delivering full term babies and then disposing of them post-birth. 

It has nothing at all to do with any of the moral facets of abortion itself. 

The fact that he is an abortion doctor makes the headline true, but an orthodontist who habitually overdosed his dental patients on sleeping drugs would also be similarly charged. 

And then, when I went to find the original article to link to, I noticed something. 

The Associated Press had given the article a slightly different headline than the Daily Camera.

And the full article is more than a little different. Much longer, and focused substantially more on the complete lack of oversight (proper or otherwise) by health care officials for the last 30 years.

It also talks about Pennsylvania law, and little details like abortion in the state being illegal after 24 weeks. 
Which would make one wonder what, exactly, the charge would be for violating that particular law. 

So it's not just an abortion doctor being charged with murder, but rather an abortion clinic not operating remotely within required health care limits (a detail ignored for a few decades by those who are supposed to be regulating that sort of thing) and a few miscalculations of Demerol (probably as a fairly direct result of not having trained nurses on hand) by a doctor preforming illegal procedures without proper training in the first place with and with very marginal staff assisting.

And yet the headlines and information included in the abbreviated articles run by newspapers across the country leave out a fair amount of those details. 

But then, what more could a person need to know beyond an abortion doctor being charged with murder? 

It's so much easier to feel fully self vindicated or morally outraged from such a simple soundbite.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Daddy's Panties

Kristina has been talking quite a bit the last few weeks about our family vacation to the Outer Banks this past September.

(I think the three days in hotels reminded her of the week we spent in a hotel down there.)

And her two favortist stories are of Daddy helping her to swim in the pool, and when she got salt water in her mouth from a wave and threw up while playing in the ocean.

Pretty good memories, if I do say so myself.

(Well, we could do without the throwing up part, but at least she's actually remembering playing in the ocean and not random things that have nothing to do with the trip, like dropping a toy in the toilet or seeing gum underneath the restaurant table.)

Kristina: Daddy was holding me in the pool so I didn't get too wet?
Me: Yep.
Kristina: And Daddy was naked!
Me: No! Daddy was wearing his swimsuit
Kristina: Ooooh... 

[Contemplative silence]

Kristina (giggling): Daddy was wearing his swimming panties!

And that was when I snorted soda out my nose from laughing so hard.

So here are some pictures of Kristina and her Daddy (wearing his stylish swimming panties) playing in the pool and the ocean.

It was such a different world from the bitterly cold wind and snow covered mountains she sees right now, and I think she misses it.

(I sure do.)

So her Daddy just might want to be planning on taking her back every summer!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Parenting Fail: Bedtime Beer

In my room at my folks' house, there is a window that runs alongside the bed with a fairly deep (and as their house isn't 80 years old, level) sill on it. And I have gotten into the bad habit of using it as both a convenient table when I am lounging on the bed playing job hunting on my laptop and where I stash anything I don't want the baby to be able to readily grab.

(The nightstand is completely worthless at this point, as she likes to help herself to any and every object that is set there.)

The other evening I had a beer, and somehow managed to forget about it after only drinking about 2/3rds of the bottle.

(This should surprise no-one who has ever lived with me, as I might have a slight reputation for leaving partially finished beverages of all kinds all over the house on quite a regular basis.)

And of course, as I had been hard at work facebooking writing blog posts, the forgotten beer had been left on the window sill. Now, it was in good company alongside several empty soda cans, a clock, and a plate which had very briefly held a brownie before I ate it in about three bites. And the partially empty beer bottle should have been completely happy to just hang out there for the duration of the night until I got around to bringing it up to the recycling bin.

Except that I never bothered to take into account on cute little itty bitty tiny adorable detail.


That night she had been doing her fairly normal nighttime routine of waking every few hours to nurse and then going back to sleep, until about 4 am when she decided she was totally ready to get up for the day.

As I had been up a little late thanks to a new horrible addiction of There, I Fixed It wasn't ready to get up just yet, I brought her into bed with me (a fairly common coping mechanism to night time wakings around here), got her snuggled down in her own little nest of pillows (big advantage of having a queen size bed all to yourself), and rolled over to go back to sleep completely confident her drifting right back off into peaceful slumber as long as I was providing her my amazing awesomeness of "Mommy" asleep next to her.

Until 10 minutes later when my attempts at slumber were again shattered by some strange clinking noises and happy baby giggling.

And, after about 30 seconds of going "huh, I wonder what's clunking around like glass", my brain managed to click on and I had the horrible realization of "THE BEER!!"

Yep, that adorable little stinker was sitting on the window sill, and had successfully spilled the remainder of the beer all over herself, the windowsill, and my bed.

But don't worry parents dearest, she missed your beloved window blinds.

<------- Good local Colorado beer, which people should NOT let their one year old play with, 2 Below by the New Belgium Brewing Company (which is the same one that does the always classy and delicious Fat Tire Ale).

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mountain Casual

There was an article in the Denver Post a few days back about the new trend in 'Mountain Modern' home furnishing.

Yep, apparently the adulterous love child of Contemporary and Rustic Woods is the current trend for western living.

But this is a trend that can be expanded beyond home furnishing, and right into fashion as well!

So I've been working on putting together an easy guide to dressing Mountain Casual.

First up, you need a good boot. Cowboy boots have a nearly endless assortment of variation these days, from true blue work boots to things that are so fashionable they will never touch unpaved ground nor be worn by anyone with an annual income less than 7 figures. For the general populous, I would recommend investing in a high quality pair that will comfortably take you everywhere from grocery shopping to (line) dancing to church. Some aesthetic detailing is fine, but keep in mind that you will get to slosh through at least a little snow and mud, if not "fertilizer", in these. So don't start sacrificing function for style. After all, these boots were made for walking.

As we work our way up the body, we come to the jeans. Again, a few nice pairs will take you through anything and everything life throws at you (although you should at least try to be a little classy and not wear the pair with holes to church). Might I also recommend some exciting diversity by having several washes? Nothing says dressed up for a nice date out on the town like a pair of dark denim boot cut jeans.

(Don't forget the boots on the date, depending on the definition of "local town" you just might need them.)

Next we come to the belt. Belts are a must, especially if you can coordinate it to match your boots. Also, belts are an excellent place to go hog wild on the embellishments. Since apparently nothing says vintage cowboy wannabe like rhinestones mounted on leopard print cowhide imported from China.

[Editors note: I wrote the sentence about going hog wild on embellishments before searching for some fancy belts to put in. Some people may have already taken it a little too hog literally.]

You just can't get a better western feel than a nice flannel plaid shirt. And since plaid is all the rage this year, you should have no trouble finding some lovely pieces to deck out your wardrobe to the Mountain Casual teeth.
Also, if you're feeling particularly brave, you might try a dress that's a cross between little house on the prairie and, umm.... little house on the prarie. After all, nothing says sexy like plaid ruffles, right? However, under NO circumstances is it ok to wear this little number. Absolutely none. End of discussion.

Jewelry is where your individualism can really shine through. Feeling classy? You can totally rock that little string of pearls with denim. Or really want to get into the western spirit? Try some dangley beaded earrings or dream catchers adorned with feathers (I'm fairly confident that they're of authentic Native American in design... right alongside their fireworks and casinos). And one never can go wrong with some diamond studs. Ever. Unless you're a guy. Then diamond earrings aren't going to help you a whole lot in achieving the modern cowboy look.

(However, if you're feeling like a gold hoop, you could totally do a little modifying and go for the pirate look instead. Almost as cool, and allows for much more drinking of rum.)

Add a denim jacket for summer and barn coat for winter and you will be set. Unless of course you want to make sure there is absolutely no doubt what-so-ever in ANYBODY'S mind that you are sporting some western flare, in which case you'll need to add a hat. Straw in the summer, felt (black is a good classic choice) in the winter. And for the love of all that is sacred in this world though, please don't try to match your hat to your tacky leopard print belt.

(I rather dislike leopard print in general, and it's down right stupid to think the Indians were riding around on leopards in the Rocky Mountains (unless, of course, you're talking to the Niwot HS cougar mascot who lives in 'the jungle', but that's a whole story in of itself). Thus leopard print cowboy fashion is just a total fail.)

Be forewarned though, wearing a cowboy hat is harder than it looks. Also, when the hat is paired with plaid, you start to creep from Mountain Casual into all out Western, so exercise caution or else be thought a stock show poser. And if you're going all out, you may want to make sure you have a pick-up truck to drive. Because you just look silly getting out of a minivan (or mini-cooper!) wearing that cowboy hat.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Oh, The Irony: Wedding Edition

The first night we got to Colorado, I started to feign an attempt at unpacking by opening up the closet and surveying the space. You know, so I could mentally prepare myself as to where my clothes needed to go. And then ponder it some more (to make sure the closet had good feng shui, of course) while sitting on the couch watching tv and not emptying suitcases.

And on a shelf in the closet I found a stack of old magazines.

Bridal magazines, to be exact.

Which, judging from the dates on them (and my memory, once I managed to make my brain turn on enough to count back the years) would have been gotten over the Christmas holiday I spent home from school right after getting engaged.

I was rather amazed by my level of organization and highly notated sticky note usage. Apparently there was a time when I was actually meticulous about wanting to keep track of thoughts and ideas and plans. Interesting how that was exactly a year before I got pregnant. But moving right along....

I was also surprised by some of the things I had marked and notated, which I had completely forgotten about when I actually planned our wedding a year and half later and several states away.

Like the do-it-yourself party favors.

Well, I did do do-it-myself for our party favors, in the sense of I went to the store and bought miniature Chinese take-out containers (I was pregnant, what can I say... I was probably craving some lo mein right then) and put chocolates in them. But I totally could have made these cute little guys too. And probably would have, had I remembered. After all, I did spend ridiculous amounts of time making 160 chocolate roses to use as table decorations which then none of the guests took with them like they were supposed to which then hung out in our freezer for a few months until I needed the space for breast milk and sent them into work with Peter.

And there were several things notated about ideas for fall weddings. Since apparently I had thought of having it in the fall. Funny how I totally didn't remember that part. I think it was mostly just because I was being stubborn and not wanting it during the month of June when everyone and their mother (well, at least mine) gets married. Also never liked the idea of a winter wedding, to cold....

Obviously two weeks before your first child's due date is the PERFECT seasonal compromise there.

I was also impressed by my sticky note cleverness to mark two halves of an article by tearing the sticky note itself in half. And then writing on it about the first half and second half, just in case I didn't remember what I had been doing there (which I totally wouldn't have when I found these last week, so it's really a good thing I was a little anal about all of this back in the day).

I think I was trying to convince myself that the family heirloom crown/tiara/headpiece was trendy. Or at least authentically vintage.....

A few things I know I completely disregarded as a result of being, oh how should we say this, of rounder shape(?) than previously anticipated. Like the gowns. Yeah, that whole "dream wedding dress" thing kinda flops when you're pregnant. Also, the "get married in Colorado" part, as I was on restricted travel orders by then.

(Can't imagine why.....*cough cough*.......)

And then there were some things which I most definitely remembered and FULLY integrated into the wedding, despite the magazine where I got the idea from being many miles away.

Because really, chocolate wedding cakes just might be the best. thing. EVER.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Artist in the Making: Flower Stems

Kristina was busily painting away at water colors. It led to an interesting dialogue...

Me: "How pretty! Is that a flower?"
Kristina: "Nooo... it's a... a.... a..... um, I just don't what it is."
Me: "Oh ok. It's still very pretty."
Kristina: "Help me draw a flower?"
Me: "Sure!"

*I guide the paintbrush in her hand to the Crayola pallet*

Me: "What color do you want the petals?"
Kristina: "PINK!!"
Me: "Ok!!"

*We pick a smear of drippy pink paint and start liberally applying it into a lumpy blob on the paper*

Me: "Alright, there are some nice pink petals! Should we get some green and put a stem on it?"
Kristina: "YEAH! I like stems!"
Me: "Ok."

*We pick up some green and place a line leading down from the pink blob*

Kristian: "I wanna make some more!"
Me: "More flowers? Ok, what color-"
Kristina: "NO! More STEMS!! 
Me: "Uh...."

*Kristina picks up some blue and paints more lines coming out in every direction from the pink blob*

Kristina: "And here's a stem! And here's a stem! And here's a stem! And here's.....
Me: "Alrighty then."

*I back away slowly as Kristina continues happily stemming her pink flower blob*

I'm not sure whether we need to have a detailed botany lesson or should submit her work to galleries under Modernism.

NOT Kristina's pink flower.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Laws of Adorableness

There are a few universal laws of adorableness concern babies.

Most recently we explored the one regarding wings:

A baby's cuteness is increased a factor of +10 by wearing wings. 

(That's why so many of their Halloween costumes are bugs.)

Seems pretty straight forward to me, lets try it out!

 Hmm, certainly cute. But we can do better.
Scenic background? Not enough...
 Toy in mouth?? Still not enough....
Ah yes, we need to add SUNGLASSES!

Perfect levels of adorableness achieved, if I do say so myself.

Now if only I could put some pigtails on her.....

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I enrolled Kristina in the local Nederland preschool, and although she's quite the pro at going to preschool, there are a few differences from her old one.

The one that affects me the most (other than it starting two hours earlier) is the need to pack her a lunch.

This wouldn't be such a big deal for parents of normal complacent children, but mine likes to be difficult when it comes her dietary intake. Packing lunch for her involves much staring into the refrigerator and mentally weighing what she might actually consume and the need to keep up the illusion of her being fed a reasonably balanced and healthy diet.

(Since when left completely unsupervised, I (apparently) have rather low dietary standards for her.)

So I asked my mother if I had selected a reasonable assortment of food items, and showed her a lunch box containing a bowl of pasta, couple slices of summer sausage (that she probably won't eat), two little clementine oranges, a box of chocolate milk, and one small square of dark chocolate. 

To which my mother suggested I take out the candy.

And after I looked at her blankly for a moment (what candy?!), she said: "The chocolate. It might be an issue of 'well she has it and I don't' with the other kids."


It's not my fault the other parents are granola crunchies and think their children should only be fed organic arugula and okra tofu casserole for lunch.

The teachers there are good, they can totally handle whatever tiffs a little piece of chocolate might bring about. It's not like the same thing couldn't happen with Kristina being upset over someone else getting a banana on the day I only send her with carrot sticks. And I'm sure it will happen at least a few times during the school years with things like the other kids having fruit snacks/gushers/fruit-by-the-foot that I refuse to get for her on the principle of them being absolutely nothing but tooth rotting sugar.

So she might as well get a forward edge on the other kids by having a (very small, mind you) yummy treat in her lunch box.

Besides, my money is on Kristina having that piece of chocolate unwrapped and inhaled before anyone else even gets around to noticing it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Stages of Illness

Denial- I am totally fine, it's just a little runny nose. Do I look like a wimp to you? I can handle a stupid cold.

Anger- Fine Life, just say "fuck you" why don't you, I didn't want to be able to breathe anyways. Here, let my hack up a lung on you to show my thanks before my head explodes.

Depression- I really think I might be dieing. From a sinus infection. My tombstone is going to be so ridiculously lame.

Bargaining- Ok, I actually might be legitimately ill over here. Time to call in a sick day? I don't get those in motherhood?? No fair......

Acceptance- Alright alright, I'll just go to the doctor and get some drugs already.

(But they had better be some really good drugs, no more of this wussy "amoxicillin only" bullcrap.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Culture Shock

There's a bit of a difference going between a military community and the Nederland/Boulder area of Colorado.

And I notice things.

Like the guy in his 40s in line ahead of me at the post office with a ponytail longer than my own.

Or the shop worker at the little mountain co-op who is telling me all about his friend who is a professional mandolin player with the same last name as my folks.

(I didn't even know you could be a professional mandolin player!)

Or the waitress at the local cafe sporting quite the head of blond dreadlocks and some stylish henna hand tattoos.

Yeah, you don't see to many of those characters on an Army base.

You also don't see 40% of the kids voluntarily un-vaccinated and with names like Aspen, Willow, Lake, Sierra, Forest....

You don't see little boys dressed in tie dye with hair down to their waste.

You don't get asked if it's alright for your child to share some whole grain all natural mixed oat crackers and organic dried cranberries.

(Really, you could have just given her an Oreo, and I wouldn't have cared.)

And you don't have the problem of google search results for the local clinic turning up a dozen local pot dispensaries instead of the family medicine facility you had in mind.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day: Sledding

I have been very negligent thus far in my parental duties of teaching the girls to play in the snow.

I'll admit, much of it comes from laziness (do you know how much time and effort it takes to get two little monkeys girls into full snow gear??) combined with the tendency of where we happen to be only having snow when there's also sub-zero temperatures.

But, they have managed to get out for some (brief, so they don't turn into little child popsicles) snow fun this season.

And although we haven't shown them the true thrills of sledding (you know, the part where you go careening out of control and crash into the bushes/trees/lamp post/parked car, back in the days before you were supposed to wear a wussy helmet for everything), we were handed down an adorable little wooden sled which is just perfect for pulling along. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pink Room Fishies

I would just like to say that you all ROCK with all of your fabulous suggestions to help create the perfect pink room for Kristina!

(I'm sure she will thank you as well once I have magicked it into existence.)

But being the obsessive doting mother that I am, I continue to scour the interwebs and take meticulous notes of little things that pass during daily life that just might make the room over the top for her.

And by take meticulous notes, I totally mean write rambling blog posts.

(You're welcome.)

So, Kristina has been asking me for a new pet for about as long as she has been able to talk.

Most recently it was for a snake.

This clearly is a NO as it most certainly violates the kibble-only-food-source AND the I-find-snakes-kinda-creepy household pet rules.

(Although not as creepy as excessively large spiders......)

And before that it was a giraffe.

I think that one's a no as it requires special paperwork.

However, she has also asked for a fish on several occasions. And you know what? I think we could handle a fish.

And by handle, I mean maybe not kill it in the first 24 hours.

Ok ok ok, I really mean we will have gotten the most generic looking cheap guppy in the store for easy replacement every time it meets an untimely demise. 

"Look Mommy, Fishie is practicing her favorite trick!" "That's nice dear. I think Fishie will be done 'floating' by the time you get home from preschool today, won't that be exciting?!?" "Why does Fishie only swim after I've been at preschool but not when I get up in the morning?" "Uhh... who wants some chocolate chip cookies?"

By the way, you may want to take out stock in cheap generic looking goldfish sometime soon.

And I found the cutest little pink aquarium! Adorable! Precious! Perfect little mermaid friend included! Must remember to buy fish separately!!

Wait, I can't just order a goldfish or two online??


Ah well, I suppose greatness such as this might be worth actually going to a store to buy something.

Although it had better be a really damn convenient store if I'm replacing that stupid goldfish every time it gets over fed or brought out to play or 'accidentally flushed down the toilet' by mommy because it started smelling rancid and growing green stuff after 'floating' for a week and nobody telling me.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Parenting Fail: Dinner on the Road

After spending a couple of days cross country questing on the road driving out to Colorado from South Canada upstate New York, I started to get a little disenchanted with my children.

Especially their eating habits.

And after watching meal after meal of which Kristina ate practically nothing from, I wasn't real motivated to put forth much effort or money to obtain another food offering for her to refuse.

So one night for dinner when we were all tired and I was getting supremely burned out on deep fried fast food, I just let her eat a bag of M&Ms like she wanted.

And Adrianna ate some goldfish and the M&Ms Kristina spilled on the floor.

(I did actually offer her a container of meal-like babyfood, which she refused to eat, so I don't count as quite as much of a bad parent for that child.)

And I had a nutritiously balanced SlimJim with mini bag of Cheetos.

I'm fairly confident this is an excellent example of why dumb punks with college student era eating habits shouldn't be allowed to care for children for extensive periods of time without supervision.

So it's a really good thing we were headed to Grandma and Grandpa's, where not only will I be scolded for feeding them meals like that, but they'll also feed them salad and actively demonstrate that humans do, sometimes, eat vegetables.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bad Day

Calvin and Hobbes, Very Bad Day

Yep, some days are just like that.

Mine are often realized about 8:30 am.

When I'm still in my pajamas.

And sincerely hoping it's bedtime already.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Artist in the Making: Gingerpoo Man

Kristina's preschool sent home many an art project created by her. Some were simply a few marker lines scribbled on paper. One was a concoction of glue and wooden sticks that was both heavy and very three dimensional (and required half a roll of tape to put up on the fridge). Sometimes there are feathers. Or paint. Or obvious attempts at teaching my child letters, and her blatantly ignoring the exercise at hand in favor of drawing people and rainbows on the backside of the paper.

And the week after Christmas we got a gingerbread man.

Although she did not spend much time on details like the face, she did at least quickly mark the areas as if she really wanted to indicate that he had hands, but was too busy demanding the glue to focus on what her markers were doing.

I was impressed by her seeming to cluster buttons in places where an average human being might think buttons should go on a gingerbread man.

She even got to sprinkle some cinnamon onto the glue for an adorable added sensory touch!

And then, as I gazed admirably at my young child's masterpiece, I noticed something.

There was an interesting cluster of polka dots underneath the teacher's simple outline drawing.

Why, it almost looks like he might be in the middle of some bodily functions......

No! That can't be! I have a sweet little girl who draws rainbows and our family all the time! She wouldn't skip over drawing a recognizable face on her gingerbread man in favor of.....

.....well, she did pull the "smell my finger" stunt on me after she stuck it in her bum.

(By the way, whatever father taught that to his kid who then taught it to mine, I hope your wife gets pregnant with identical quadruplet girls next week.)

And quite a few of her stories which she brings home from preschool do prominently feature the bathroom.

"Cece dropped her bracelet in the toilet! Ethan peed on the wall! Paolo got his water from the potty!"

(Yeah, never ask how preschool was unless you really want to know. I'm pretty sure the kids do nothing else besides hang out in the bathroom all morning. And that the janitor is not paid nearly enough.)

So I asked her about her gingerbread man.

Me: "Did you color the gingerbread man yourself?"
Kristina: "Yeah! And I glued buttons too!!"
Me: "They're very nice buttons! Did you get to put cinnamon on him too?" 
Kristina: "Uh-huh! He likes cimamim! And he's going poops! Hehehehehe!"

Yep, you never should ask about things you don't really want to know the answers to.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Walking One

 Last night was a rough night for you, sweet Adrianna, and as I walked lap after lap around the family room with you in my arms, I was struck by the irony of it.

The same night one year ago, I spent it walking.

My back ached too badly to get comfortable, and the contractions were too painful to sleep.

So I walked.

And never did get around to dozing off.

Eventually I did go to the hospital, just in time for your arrival.

And after all the craziness of birth and nurses and doctors had left, and it was just you and me in that big empty room, I held you close and walked.

With every step I memorized your little face so peacefully asleep, your perfect baby smell, the soft fuzz covering your sweet head. 

And as I walked last night, I thought of all the miles I'd walked before holding a cranky baby.

Most were with your sister, but you have logged your own little share as well.

The swaying walk of desperation, which continues to all hours of the night because it is the only thing that makes the crying stop and brings about the peaceful face of slumber again. 

Someday I will be up waiting for you to come home.

And I will walk.

And I will miss the weight of you in my arms, the ache that settles into my shoulders, the pain of your 22 pounds on my lower back.

But not yet.

For although you have come a very long way in this last little year, today you are still my little baby to walk with.

Happy first birthday sweetheart, I love you.