titles of the last ten posts I haven’t had time to write and probably never will

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1. The Joys of Motherhood Mitigated not Insignificantly by the Fears of Motherhood

2. How the Super-loud Clicking, Clanking and Clonking of our Baseboard Heating is Killing Me Not-so-Softly Despite 64,000 Attempts at Quieting It

3. The Spreading Crop of Grey Hair on the Right Side of My Head that Can No Longer Be Denied or Plucked

4. How Keeping up with Other Blogs at this Point is Kind of Like Trying to Walk up an Icy Hill: Fun yet Impossible

5. Squirrels

6. Neglecting Your Child while Looking at Photos of Your Child

7. To Christmas Tree or Not to Christmas Tree? How to Celebrate Safely with a Curious Toddler Underfoot Or: How to Keep Your Curious Toddler Underfoot as opposed to Under…tree

8. The Challenge of Catching that Perfect Holiday Card Photo of your Extremely Wiggly Worm Child

9. Learning that Food is Meant to Go in the Mouth, and not on the Floor, in the Pocket of the Bib, or Hidden Stealthily in the Little Crack Between the Highchair Tray and the Highchair Seat

10. And finally: An Ode to the Swiffer accompanied by An Apology to our Extremely Patient and Good-natured Kitchen Floor

falloween 2013

fall grasses

Some crazy things are going on at home tome headquarters this Falloween. For one thing, our decorative grass, above, has turned a pleasing shade of brown and sprouted fancy, fall-ish tufts.

Six friendly ghosts are calling our pergola home…

ghost lanterns

Boo!

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After several years of searching/hoping for/dreaming about weird white mutant pumpkins, we finally found some…and a bale of hay as bonus. All I have to say is that you know you have an awesome husband when he comes home one day with a bale of hay…

white pumpkins

In our travels, we stumbled upon a pumpkin patch with one very unique pumpkin.

The most delightful news is that we got a new garden gnome!

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(In case you are wondering, he is an expert at taking off his hat and beard, but did not master this skill until after the photo was taken.)

While this photo shoot this was going on, our original gnome shed single tear across the yard…Was this pride? Jealousy? Maybe he just wanted a pumpkin of his own? Well, he got one.

gnome with pumpkin

Happy Falloween!

what to do when a rabid bat is flying rapidly around your living room

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1. First, it’s important that you sink into a deep, contented slumber, trusting that all is well with your shelter: the security alarm is set, the baby is asleep, and your tall, strapping husband is in a nearby room viewing yet another Sci-Fi thriller (a predilection of his that you love and love to not be a part of).

2. When your husband emits a high-pitched scream, bolt upright.

3. When he calls out your name with panic, resist the urge to angrily shush him. (After all, you have requested that he not speak louder than a whisper once the baby has been put to bed.)

4. Check the video monitor to see if this ruckus has woken up the baby. Gaze momentarily at your sleeping bundle with unspeakable adoration before running out to see if your husband is okay.

5. Screech to a halt at the end of the hallway when he tells you that there is a bat flying around the living room. Assume the same duck and cover position he is in. Then peek furtively through your forearms to see a blurry brown creature flying erratically around the room. Though tiny, its pointed wings and sharp fangs make it seem like a gigantic alien monster created by sci-fi fiends.

6. Sprint to the linen closet to grab sheets at your husband’s request – he is going to try and catch it.

7. When catching it proves impossible due the the bat’s flying prowess, crazy flight patterns and evident use of narcotics, run to get some tape so that the sheets can be hung across the hallway entrances. This will hopefully contain the craziness.

8. Since both of your computers are in the living room with The Beast, shimmy back to the bedroom in order to consult google via your e-reader.

9. Though most of your information and most of your life decisions are based on knowledge gleaned from google searches, do not believe what you read when it says only one percent of bats are rabid. Or: tap into your readily available pessimism to decide that even if this is true, this bat is definitely, with your luck, part of the “one percent”… a different kind of one percent. Gloss over the part where it says that bites from rabid bats are usually fatal, since this is far too terrifying to process.

10. Read aloud from an informative website that instructs you to put the porch light on, open the front door, and make clicking or scraping sounds furthest away from the front door. Bats are so sensitive to sound waves that they will basically surf their way out.

11. When this method actually works, hug each other long and hard, thankful that you have your living room back and that you are still alive. Be even more thankful if the baby is still asleep. Be extra thankful that you were able to remove the bat without re-enacting this horrifying scene from The Office:

***

We have no idea how this scrappy little bugger got in. We fear that where there is one bat, there are more…which is lending an extra spooky mood to our Halloween season. Has this ever happened to you?

10 topics for new parents to discuss on date night

martini

Though it’s hard to get out of the house when you have an infant, it is extremely important that you go on a date with your spouse and communicate about things that matter. Here are some suggested topics of conversation:

1. Babyproofing and the inordinate number of unsolvable dangers in your home.

2. The physical and emotional complications of weaning.

3. The introduction of solid foods and the subtle science of palette control.

4. This week’s babysitting schedule.

5. The pain you still have in your hips from pregnancy/childbirth.

6. How much you love your child.

7. What educational toys you should purchase and the fine line between providing your child with every opportunity to learn… and spoiling the kid rotten.

8. Your child’s specific and insanely endearing quirks and proclivities.

9. How well-mannered and polite you hope your child will be as he grows up.

10. And finally, your parenting philosophies regarding television, skateboarding, sugar, horseback riding, etc. etc. etc.

If, after dessert, you have some time left on the clock with the babysitter, by all means, swing by the supermarket. Not only is this a romantic finale to your night out, it’s literally the only time you’ll have to re-stock your refrigerator and cupboards without the baby as a distraction.

Do you have an discussion suggestions?

this week’s top 8 food and beverage pairings

coffee and avocado

1. Bagel and Coffee

2. Muffin and Coffee

3.  Peanuts and Coffee

4. Figs and Coffee

5. Avocado and Coffee

6. Cheddar Cheese, Grapes, and Coffee

7. Potato Chips and Coffee

8. Chips, Salsa, and…Coffee

*Not sure if you’ve noticed a pattern here: coffee is a perfect pairing with all foods. This is more a matter of survival than sophisticated flavor profiling.

** Because I am currently breastfeeding I am trying to limit myself to one cup of coffee per day. BUT I drink it in about four installments by filling my small Marimekko Hetkia cup (pictured above) only about 1/4 of the way each time.

*** Yesterday was apparently National Coffee Day. I missed it, but if I’d known I’d definitely would have have paired some coffee with a slice of pumpkin bread. Oh wait, I did do that.

Have you had your coffee allotment yet today?

solids, sort of

home made baby food

Maybe I’m lazy. Maybe I resist change. Maybe I’m seeing the light on this breastfeeding thing (which I did not like at first) and am realizing how convenient it is. Whatever the reason, it has taken me a while to make homemade baby food. Instead, for the 2.5 months that Ian has been eating “solids” (or I should say not-so-solids) I have been relying on baby oatmeal (just add water!), mashed bananas, and these:

Earth's Best Baby Food

I think these jarred purees are great – they’re organic and contain only fruits, veggies and a bit of water. Besides, they’re packed in glass rather than plastic, which puts my mind at ease from a leaching-of-chemicals-and-toxifying-my-precious-progeny perspective. And yet…I felt guilty that I wasn’t actually making my kid’s food. After all, I like to cook, I like to bake, (I have recounted some of my culinary concoctions here) and I want my son to eat as healthfully as possible.

I even got this fancy schmancy baby food maker, the Baby Brezza – it steams the food then purees it all in one place. Sounds easy enough. Nonetheless, this thing collected dust on our counter between the toaster and the bottle warmer for over 2 months, un-used and unloved.

Baby Brezza

The instruction manual daunted. This is hardly rocket science, but it does require about 35 seconds of concentration that I couldn’t seem to muster.

Baby Brezza Instructions

Basically: chop food, put in container, lock it in, push two buttons. Voila. Of course, there’s one other hurdle: PURCHASING THE FOOD, which is not always a simple task.

What if I went to “all this trouble” and my son didn’t like what I made? So far, he’s gobbled down pretty much everything we’ve given him except avocados – for those he’ll take about two tastes before pursing his lips and swatting the spoon away. No big deal – I love avocado – guacamole for me! I’ll keep trying with those. However, I doubt I’ll be tempted to eat his pureed leftovers.

Anyway, the guilt finally got the best of me – mostly because I’d spent hard-earned money on the Baby Brezza – before long he’ll be upgrading to solid foods that are actually… solid, and this machine will go to waste.

So I took the plunge (it was crazy easy) and have been feeling inordinately proud of myself. You’d think I’d cooked a five-course meal the other day, the way I was patting myself on the back and bragging to my husband and babysitter.

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The pink stuff is red grapes and pears. Ian ate that as if it was liquid candy and probably would have ingested about four bushel-fulls if I’d offered it. The yellow stuff, i.e. uber-healthy yellow squash/carrot/parsley concoction? Well, this was his initial reaction:

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I’d like to report that he eventually became ecstatic about this vegetable medley, (the truth is that he only tolerated it). So the joy you see in the next pic is just a reaction to me performing his favorite trick, the fake sneeze:

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A-choo! Hey!

***

Any baby feeding tips? What have you been serving lately? Any suggestions on how to make your kid a well-rounded eater?

boon, swoon

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What did The Hubs and I know about baby products before I got pregnant? Of course, absolutely nothing. Zip. Maybe even a little less than zilch. Like most new parents, we’re figuring all of this out on the fly. Gradually, we have amassed a collection of goods for our little guy, both necessary and not-so-necessary, and we’ve started to figure out what we prefer as far as function and style. One brand that has checked off many boxes for us is boon. Their products are modern, simple and functional.

For example, we are loving the Flair Pedestal High Chair with Pneumatic Lift, pictured above. Not only does it roll smoothly from place to place in our house, it cleans up well.

Ian in boon Flair

It’s easy to get Ian (now 8 months) in and out of this commander chair and he must be comfortable in it because he’ll sit in it long after he’s finished eating his banana, avocado, or squash: he’ll sit there gnawing on a cracker or pouring water from the sippy cup all over himself for a good 15 minutes. From this seat he’ll also watch me perform the ever-captivating Unload the Dishwasher show. Now I’m putting this blue dish in the cupboard…

When I put the boon Grass Countertop Drying Rack on our baby registry I assumed I was being silly. When bought the Twig Accessory I figured I was being waaay too whimsical. Note curious pig in photo below:

boon grass countertop drying rack

But these have turned out to be some of the most useful products in our cache. This little lawn keeps Ian’s bottles, pacifiers and now sippy cups organized and away from our other dishes. The twig holds all kinds of bottle and pump paraphernalia.

Finally, this boon GLO night light has been shedding the perfect amount of light on Ian’s nursery for the last few months:

boon GLO night light

I first saw this on Pinterest and became enchanted – it definitely seems like something the Jetson’s would have had. Though this can “glo” through the whole rainbow on repeat, we keep it orange-ish red. This creates the perfect amount of light for so-called “dream feeds”: enough light for mommy to see what’s going on but it’s not so bright that baby fully wakes up. Get this: the illuminated balls are removable, and stay lit for 30 minutes, a feature we haven’t used yet, but if all goes as planned, we will enjoy this quite a bit in the future.

***

Have you swooned over any of the boon products?

For another modern baby brand we have enjoyed, you can see my post about babyletto furniture here.

(BTW, boon did not compensate me in any way for writing this post – I just like the goods.)

breastfeeding while waiting at the Mavis Discount Tire

breastfeedingimage source

So it’s National Breastfeeding Month. I have been celebrating by…well, breastfeeding. And pumping. Breastfeeding some more. Then pumping again.

My goal was to make it to six months. I am now at 7.5 and plan to keep going until we hit the one year mark. I am an advocate for nursing and believe women should be able to do so whenever and wherever they please, BUT I am somewhat bashful about it myself. For the most part, I have been able to keep the activity to the confines of our home, or our car.

Of course, not every day lines up exactly how you want. Like, you might come out to your driveway one morning to discover that you have a flat tire. You might have to call AAA to throw on the spare and then you may have to head over to Mavis Discount Tire with your six month-old to pick up a new set.

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The one hour predicted wait-time may gradually turn into two hours and there you are: you need to get your kid back home because the babysitter will be there soon, you need to rush to work, and your kid? He needs to eat. This means you have no choice but to “bust” out the breastfeeding apron, pull down your shirt, and get your latch on.

Well, this is how one of my days played out last month. While I perched on the quaint bench provided by the kind people at this tire franchise, I began to wonder the following things:

  • What’s with the abandoned sneakers? Did someone spend the night here? Or did an athlete have an epiphany and suddenly decide to become a barefoot runner?

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  • Exactly how harmful are the exhaust fumes coming from the cars on the nearby road? (And is it just my imagination or are some of the vehicles slowing down to catch a peek?)

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  • Maybe I should be more concerned about the overpowering scent of highly-processed rubber wafting from the bowels of this supposedly cost-effective establishment?

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  • Did the cashier really need to walk up the sidewalk and hover over us so that I could sign the paperwork right then or could that have waited until I settled up at the end?
  • How effective are these breastfeeding aprons from a privacy standpoint if my son has decided it is far more fun to swat, pull, and kick at the fabric than to peacefully feed underneath it?
  • And, finally, is the friendly gentleman sitting on a nearby bench hard of hearing or is he just ignoring the fact that his car is ready? SIR, I THINK YOUR CAR IS READY.

***

New set of wheels, a full stomach and a little commiseration from Charlie Brown:

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What’s the weirdest/most-awkward place you have breast-fed or pumped?

five reasons to not trim your baby’s fingernails and toenails

little toes

1. Because he’s currently more interested in wiggling than in personal hygiene, you are terrified you are going to hurt him. (Talk about “moving target!” And you’ve never really been known for your scissoring savvy, anyway.)

2. You’re waiting to see if this Babies-as-Tiny-Adults trend will sprout any shops specializing in Infant Manicures so that you can be off the hook.

3. Hey, if you want him to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records for nail length, you better get started early.

4. Right now he’s snoozing safely in his crib, but it’s a brutal world out there: claws could come in handy (pun intended) for self defense.

5. You could use some help with all those scratch-off lottery tickets you’ve been buying lately – word has it that college isn’t cheap these days.

a thank you note to our lawn

sewer work

Hey there!

Just wanted to thank you for being so understanding when all those trucks, several workmen, and a back hoe recently tore you to shreds.

It must have been a shock to experience such a violent upheaval – if you were confused, just know that we were too. We didn’t want this to happen to you: after all, Rob has spent countless hours tending to your every need, grooming you, and generally helping you to become the best you can be. And I? Well, I hope you have appreciated my words of encouragement and my heartfelt compliments over the years. Have I ever told you that when we first moved here from the South Bronx (three years ago this week) I gazed out the windows lovingly and with disbelief for hours? “So green,” I repeated dreamily. It was amazing to me that I owned a house with a yard boasting a handsome layer of healthy grass. Crazy!

What happened this past month is still a bit hazy, and more than a little upsetting, but you deserve at least a few details. It started with a wet stain on the cement wall of our unfinished basement. Our plumber had a few theories, but he first outlined the stain with chalk as if it were a crime scene. This was to see if the wet spot would grow. It did.

wet stain basement wall

Next, a sewer expert with a special camera came to perform what was essentially a colonoscopy on our house. (Shout out to friends Ira and Tempeh for this perfect analogy/imagery.) Entering through our guest bathroom toilet, he could see all the plumbing in the house leading to the city sewer lines, EXCEPT those from the kitchen sink and dishwasher. Sure enough, when we ran the sink for a full (and, yup, very wasteful) 20 minutes, the spot actually began to drip. The diagnosis was not definitive, but something was definitely amiss – a pipe leading from the kitchen was broken, or clogged, or was never installed correctly. The upshot was that waste water was pooling under our slab and collecting behind that wall. Those pipes would have to be re-routed out to the street. The good news is that this waste was not coming from a toilet (the thought of this made us throw up in our mouths a few times.) The other good news is that they weren’t going to have to tear up our house. The bad news? They were going to have to dig a long trench about four feet deep and take an XL bite out of our bank account.

We aren’t strangers to plumbing issues – in fact I tried to address one in a former post. As always, we knew to call in second opinions, we researched the issue as much as we could.  We asked around for info and recommendations. We hemmed. We hawed. The spot got bigger. I always thought it would be fun to have a pool – but not under our house.

We finally gave the plumber the green light. We extracted funds from a few select accounts in the Cayman Islands. Then we braced ourselves.

Rob was at work the day of the big dig. He requested photo documentation throughout the day which I provided, until I decided it was best not to.

sewer dig

“It’s just better that you don’t see this,” I said to him over the phone. I knew it would break his heart to see you in this state.

new plumbing

To comfort and entertain myself, I began calling out the phrase, “Torn Asunder!” in biblical tones, referring to both you, and to several thousand dollars of our hard earned cash. TORN ASUNDER! This didn’t exactly make sense but it did make me feel better.

plumbing lawn

Anyway, we are impressed with the quiet dignity you displayed throughout this traumatic event. And even more so, we are impressed with how quickly you bounced back with the help of just a mere sprinkling grass seed. This is only a week later, wow:

grass seed

This little guy asked if I would relay his approval and gratitude as well:

baby bunny

I’d like to say that we’ll never let anything like this happen to you again…but life and homeownership are uncertain and we’d hate to make a promise we can’t keep. Just know that we appreciate all you do – keep up the great work.

Sincerely,

Jocelyn, Rob, and Ian

***

Have you thanked your lawn (or cursed your plumbing) lately?