Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Another foot and a half of snow today! I called off work today thereby marking another week in which I fail to make as much money as I should. Someone is always sick or canceling or fired from the program for canceling too much or it snows a tsunami of fluff to where I'm not even sure I can get out of the driveway, let alone across town.

However, despite the expense, the break is sorely needed. I am so wiped from being mommy, wife, and the finest tutor education has ever known. I'm only paid for 7 hours a week, but I end up working almost 20 as I spend a lot of time devising games and activities and figuring out lesson plans.  Ahhh. Smell that? That's new tutor smell.

I plan to scrub it off today and enjoy some down time. (Of course the babeola just took the shorest nap ever. Sigh.)

Anyway, I have some cute babeola stories to share.

First, she is obessessed with my bras. Probably a primordial nursing association. She manges to filch them somehow and likes to sling them over her shoulders or put the strap over her head. Today she was 'styling' the bra around her shoulders while watching herself in the mirror and then she started teething on the underwire. At which point, I promply died from laughter.

I have pictures, but I'm not sure they belong on the internet. You don't want to see my bra, right?

Yesterday, we attended our first music class. It is not your typical music class. There are no words, not even a hokey pokey. It reminds me of those modern dance interludes in movies from the 60s. Incongruent razzle dazzle that captures your attention by being bizarre.

Exhibit to the first, I think the teacher, short and round with a wooden flute, might be a hobbit. Exhibit to the second, the babeola was underwhelmed. She actually retrieved her shoes, tried to put them on (and failed)and said 'bye bye' while toddling to the door as fast as her chubby legs could carry her.  When that did not make the weirdos go away, she resigned herself to wandering the room, shoes clutched tight in her hands while the rest of us drummed and sang things like 'ba, boo, bi' in a round. Whenever the teacher attempted to interact with her, she would turn on her heel, refusing to make eye contact.

Despite her disdain, I think the class will be good for her. In a psychedelic kind of way. I mean, it's no Old McDonald. More Gregorian chant meets hobbit with flute. But it's probably good for her, like a vitamin.

At least I am amused. They do a greeting and farewell song that singles out each child by name (the only time words are used). The kids are utterly shocked that these strange people know their name. The surprise is stamped all over their faces in little slackjawed 'o's of doubletakes. We are totally messing with their minds.

I love it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


In order of appearance:

1. The eye. Is fine. Some red scrapes, a few burst blood vessels all handled with good cheer by the babeola. As for the Y? Not even a follow up phone call from the head office. I may be calling them.

2.Bank Account. Closed. I have completed the descent into parenthood poverty. I am now officially poor and we are living from paycheck to paycheck. Eh. At least the pantry is stocked.

3.Tutoring. Going well, even though I am still poor re:#2. Some of the more difficult students were 'fired'  as there are more students than tutoring funds so if kids don't show up or appreciate the tutoring, they give it to someone who will. Score.

4. School/Career Change. Dead in the water. No money and no time. I'm not sure what to do next. Perhaps set my sights on something to do for now? Medical coding? Billing? Unit secretary? And go from there? I don't know.

5. Scaring new parents. I don't mean to scare them, I'm just trying to pass on what I wished someone would've told me; That daycare germs are evil and they make you miss work when the baby is sick and then again when you are sick. That mastering 4-5 crock pot recipes now will keep you fed and will be all that you have time for. That you will be up longer, work harder, and do more than you ever have in your life the first year. That the first year is a dynamic blessing, it comes with joy and challenges and you just have to kind of get through it however you can.

6.Obama. I don't care what your politics are, yesterday was a historic moment for every American. I am so disappointed to see that there is still bitter partisanship everywhere I look and that so many people are working to undermine what is actually a moment of triumph. It is time to set aside partisanship (i.e. childish things) and be an American. It is time to get to work. We aren't Republicans or Democrats or Libertarians, we are American and each of us has the ability to make a difference. Local actions lead to national change. Our greatest hope is not Obama, it is us. I'm afraid of what will happen if we don't figure that out.

ETA: In case you missed it (as I failed to properly highlight it) my winter pic of the babeola made post of the day over at Worth a Thousand Words.  It was this pic by the way:

Monday, January 19, 2009


I put myself through my senior year of college working for the before-care and after-care school program sponsored by the YMCA. I started as an aide and worked my way up to Director. Although, I have to say holding that job and having mono simultaneously was not a great idea. I recall catching six upper respiratory infections in a row despite using hand sanitizer and ushering everyone to the restroom to introduce them to soap and water. (I never missed a single day of work either, which is amazing as I remember being quite miserable!)

Anyway, I know what it is to try and supervise the chaos that is a gaggle of kids. One kid even managed to break his nose under my watch. Who knew a basketball could be a deadly weapon?

So I am full of empathy for the brave women who staff the child care at my local Y. These women allow me to walk away from my daughter and sweat out some of the stress of motherhood.

However, the limits of my empathy were tested today.

"What happened to her eye?" I asked the second I walked through the nursery door.

What?" was the response.

"What happened to her eye?" I repeated gesturing to the glaringly obvious injury to my daughter's eye.

"Her eye?"

My jaw clenched, I picked up my daughter to inspect the damage. A large, puffy you'd-have-to-be-blind-to-miss-it welt extended from her eyelid into her temple and a blue-gray pallor underneath promised to shine later.

"Oh, wow, her eye! Ummm, we don't know! I think she may have butted heads with one of the other kids."

Not only did they not see or know what happened, I had to prompt them to do an incident report. I mean, if it had been a simple bump on the head, no biggie, but this is an eye, a fragile area, and we have no way of  judging how serious the injury is or isn't because no one saw what happened. So, yeah, you fill out a freaking incident report!

Fortunately, the babeola is in good spirits, but I'm not sure how long that will last, especially as the bruising comes to the fore. I gave her some Motrin, then called the doctor and talked with the nurse trying to sort out what to do. We have an appointment later today to assess the damage.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


We got another 5-6 inches of snow last night! Can you believe it? Crazy. The plow piles on our street are now taller than a car!

And, of course, today is the day I volunteered to cook a meal for a family bringing home their second baby. Luckily, I was able to wimp out on the driving and have the husband deliver the food. I have been cooking for the last four hours. Two batches of chicken paprikash with dumplings (one for us, one for the other family) and I threw a roast in the crockpot. If I manage my leftovers carefully I won't have to cook for most of the week (although there has been a request for homemade pizza and calzones that could send me back into the kitchen).

Yesterday the babeola had her first play date with my friend's kids. She loved it, although all she did was run around with a piece of foam board in her hand saying 'hi' and 'bye-bye'. When we got home, she radiated such satisfaction and contentment with the world that I hope we'll do a play date again soon.

And that's it. Nothing exciting, just lots of snow and happiness. If you'll excuse me, I have to go tend to the dumplings.


ETA: Damn. I burned the pizza! And the husband unplugged the crockpot while the roast was cooking which was a major inconvenience.

Oh, and I meant to say that I only sing Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes ten times. After that, you're on your own kid. I would die for the babeola, but after ten rousing renditions of HSKT I want to contrive a situation that involves me being crushed to death by a semi.

And, by the way, does Britney Spears know about HSKT? It's just begging to be a pop hit. There are millions of babies just waiting for someone cool (i.e. they don't have to bend creaky knees to touch hammertoes) to remix HSKT. I can hear it now; a chorus by a famous rapper, preferably one who has done jail time, and Brit-Brit in a skimpy outfit gyrating like a belly dancer in a blender while touching herself. If that wouldn't sell a billion records, I don't know what would!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Nothing much new. Still bummed that I was possibly hot and didn't know it. That's a lot of free stuff I missed out on.

Question. What comes first? The beauty or the mercenary need to swindle people out of things?

Anyway, I'm trying to cook while I type this. It will be a miracle if I don't burn anything.

The babeola is a billion different kinds of adorable. Since the New Year she's been bringing books to us and asking us to read. Although she's a fickle audience, if we bore her, she climbs off our laps and leaves. Which happens a lot so we must be really sucky readers.

Entertaining a one-year-old is hard work. It's a 'tween' stage, between baby and toddler. They can do so much, but know so little. The motor skills are only half developed so things that a eighteen-month-old can do are often beyond their reach. Worse, the baby toys are boring (or outgrown physically) and the toddler toys are too hard, and, at least in our case, are only good for starting tantrums born of frustration.

Oh, hey, look at that! I just bounced the laptop off the kitchen floor. And it still works! Yay! Probably should not try that again.

Anyway--yeah, I'm a little scattered today--it is not uncommon for message boards to feature calls for help when it comes to keeping 1yo babies busy. Even I have a hard time keeping us from climbing the walls with boredom, but here is what is working so far and what I plan to try.

1. Some kind of push toy. The babeola has a hard time finding the angle for pushing some of the toys, but, with momma's help, she loves to zoom across the carpet.

2.Beginner puzzles. The fine motor skills aren't there yet, but everyone has to start somewhere right? The babeola happily takes the puzzles apart and puts them together, a little less happily, with mommy's help.  A variation on this is hanging toys on the drawer pulls to the dresser in our living room--and she'll often do this one by herself.

3.Something to ride on. The babeola has no idea how to push herself on her riding toys, but she loves to climb off and on and try. Because she hasn't figured out how to propel herself along, this toy is only good for about 30 seconds of fun. Not enough to fill your day with. I currently have the neighbor girls trying to show her how to ride it in the hopes she'll imitate them.

4. Knocking down towers. Actually, I encourage her to build them, but she has zero interest in construction, she is all about destruction. We use the cardboard blocks that are big and chunky, yet also lightweight.

5.Playing ball. At this age, babies can begin to learn the concept of rolling or throwing a soft ball. Except, they can't catch so this activity really ends up being more 'mommy bounces balls off baby and then chases the balls around while baby looks at mommy like 'WTF did you just bounce off my head?' This activity only lasts as long as mommy is willing to chase the balls around, which, for me, is not more than a couple minutes. We only do this every few days because it seems kind of pointless and a little sadistic to hit my kid with balls.

6.Taking things out of bigger things. The babeola loves to find a bag and empty it, so I try to stash sturdy gift bags around the living room with random assortments of toys inside. Sometimes this keeps her busy for a half hour, depending on how much she likes the toys inside. Other times, she's underwhelmed. I have yet to figure out the key to toy selection for this activity.

7.Go to the mall. Since they aren't usually very fast at this age, take them to the mall and set 'em loose. The babeola loves to run free at the mall, which, in retrospect, I see how this could be a problem later on, but it's worth it. The most important thing is to go off-hours when the mall is not busy.

8.Ripping magazines and catalogs. The only downside, the babeola is a paper eater so I have to really watch her with this, but paper ripping will keep her occupied for a half hour on a good day.

9. Some kind of climbing toy and slide. This is on order and I hope the babeola will enjoy it. She needs a more challenging gross motor activity than just walking. Also, she wants to climb, but our furniture is too tall, the climbing toys at the mall are difficult for her as well, so she needs a climbing activity that she can do as a bridge to skills like getting up on the couch.

10. Rhymes and songs with accompanying motions. Sometimes I feel like motherhood is one long interperative dance set to nursery rhymes, but the fact is, babies love this shit. At a minimum, all good mommies must learn the following songs/rhymes and the movements that go with them;

--Eensy Weensy Spider
--If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands
--Three (or Five) Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
--Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
--This Little Piggy
--A horse rhyme that lets baby bounce on your knee (sorry, I don't know any titles)

Really good mommies don't mind singing and acting out these songs over and over again.

I am not a good mommie.

Anything I missed? I wouldn't mind expanding my repertoire!

Please, someone save me!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I watched Inner Beauty last night. That may not be the actual title of the show. Just in case, so we are clear, it's the show that tests 'hot' people on their inner beauty only they don't know that, they think they're in a real beauty contest. Meaning all sorts of public stupidity ensues. And it may or may not be called Inner Beauty.

Folks, I am a mommy. I have no brain. It dribbled out sometime after the six month of no sleep. So don't quote me!

The show was not that interesting. I favor reality media that allows me to learn something I didn't know. For example, I love it when judges on shows like So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol talk shop; about technique and high art. That is really interesting to me and I wish they would do more of that instead of the crappy singer/crazy dancer showcase. A bunch of narcissists running around proclaiming they are too hot to smell their own shit? Eh. Not so much. Pass.

Frankly, a few of them were not as hot as they thought they were. I get the feeling the production crew took malicious glee in finding bad camera angles for the cast because the one girl looked like she had cellulite on her face, which I don't think is possible...unless you have poor lighting and a mean camera crew. Which I think this show does have. They are probably overstaffed even.

Anyway, I have a point, I'm getting there, stay with me. The episode happened to showcase the contestants premeditating the use of their beauty to get things for free.  I have never done that. Would never do that. Don't even consider myself beautiful or hot (particularly since the mommy bus hit me), but...

Guys have given me stuff for free. On more than one occasion.

So what the hell does that mean?

(And I am usually so bewildered I fail to do anything to stop them or don't even connect the flirty smile they give me with the fact my receipt is missing a few items until much later. If I'm pretty, I'm pretty slow.)

Has this ever happened to you? Maybe we are obliviously hot?

Sunday, January 11, 2009


 Hot Belly Mama gave me an award! And I get to pass on this award, so here are my picks the Lemonade Award...

Life with a Little One and More  because she so warmly welcomed me to the blogosphere and her enthusiasm for blogging is infectious.

Restoring Mayberry is a thoughtful writer on ecological issues, plus he takes gorgeous photos of Ireland.

Potmekin was an exchange student in Russia during the collapse of Communism (or just after) and writes about her experiences with a literary patois that I find addictive. FYI you need to read this one in chronological order, like a book, so go back to the first post.


We are snowbound today, buried under more than a foot of snow. More than a foot!  And I hear that next week, our highs will be something like 7, also known as 'freeze your nose off' temperatures. It's enough to make you think global warming is a Good Idea.

So I am busy entertaining the babeola with her birthing ball (aka yoga ball), an aerobic step, a laundry bin, and laundry. I am nothing if not creative.  I should do a post about that sometime. Gross motor exercises for infants and toddlers with every day household objects. Sounds like I'm going to teach babies how to pick their noses and to go fishing in their diapers.  Heh. I assure you, it's nothing like that!

Another easy and cheap activity? Throw your kid in a snow bank and see if they can work their way free. (Just kidding. We fished her out.)

Saturday, January 10, 2009


The Mozart Music cube seems to be on sale. I suspect they are liquidating stock before the new lead laws go into effect. Normally I see this for $40 on Amazon, it is now $19.99. I'm tempted to buy one as the one we have is a loaner. This toy has been huge hit in our house.

Also, Suze Orman and Oprah have a free financial e-book available here.The title is '2009 Action Plan'. Orman irritates me at times (does she even realize that she is one self-tanner application away from safety orange?), but I have to say that she has been the most honest financial pop pundit I have seen and has been ahead of the curve compared to the rest of the talking heads. I've just started reading the book so can't comment on the content, but check it out if you are so inclined.


Thursday, January 8, 2009


I had to decouple the permaculture/transition town stuff from this blogger account since the permaculture stuff is meant to be public and this blog is meant to be more anonymous. Anonymous because, otherwise, I would not be able to tell you my sordid and tortuous tutoring tales (to follow). I'll give a link to the new permaculture blog once it is up and running. Not that anyone was reading it, but just in case you are suddenly inspired to save the earth along with me, you'll have it.

So, tutoring. Yeah, you would not think it would be a source of scandal or torture. But it is.

First, the tutoring I do is assigned by the school district. It's not a choice of the child or parents. Meaning they have zero, zilch, nada investment in tutoring. Also meaning, they are often no shows or lack interest in anything other than making sure I know how much they hate me and the tutoring I rode into town on.

Two hours alone with a cranky teenager. Oh, I am so living the part-time job dream.

Further, the tutoring demographic I am encountering runs true to stereotype. Broken homes. Welfare parents with big screen plasma televisions and better cars than what I drive. Tricked out state-of-the-art gaming systems, never mind junior and princess can't read the user manual.

Oh, and guns.

Now, I am not a shrinking violet and I've spent my share of time in inner city environments. In fact, I have been attacked, followed, avoided gangs, avoided drugs, directed addicts to the current location of their dealer,and watched the po-po fish murder weapons out of my backyard. It's not like this is news to me, but it's been a while, so I'm surprisable.

Last night I tutored one of my more likeable students (i.e. they show up and have a decent demeanor). Turns out the other day, a gang came through and shot their pet because they couldn't get to another member of the house. The pet is massive and survived, at least judging from the cacophonic snoring I heard while I was there (although no one took it to a vet, just fished the bullet out with a dinner fork, or so they told me).

I don't know. The whole thing took me aback. I haven't been ghetto fabulous in eons, I'm more like a dorky yuppie these days. A soft, easy target. Not what you want to be. Not what I thought I was going for either in signing up for this tutoring gig.

I've tutored before. Mostly for wealthy families with learning disabled kids. Talk about motivated. Those people value education, and their kids come to the table ready to learn. That's what I'm used to, hungry minds. Not this apathy punctuated by bullets.

The job pays well, but the working conditions could use a lot of improvement.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


There's a reason why adult 'preacher's kids' say they are 'recovering preacher's kids.' A reason that allows me to identify with Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan or even the Obama girls.

Why yes, moi, the dumpy stay-at-home-mom who no longer bothers with make up, actually shares life experience with Britney Spears and her ilk. Particularly the Obama girls who started a new school this week while the world watched. I've been there and done that albeit on a smaller scale.

Everyone knew who I was before I knew them.

All the teachers knew my father.

Everyone watched me, curious to know what I was like.

And then they gossiped about me.

The expectations assigned to me were very high.

No matter what I did, I was never good enough or bad enough.

I was on T.V. In the paper. Attended weddings and funerals of people I didn't even know.

My grades and my life were pulpit fodder.

Sometimes for a congregation close to a thousand people.

People went through my room and home without notice because it was church property and they wanted to change the carpeting. Or the drapes. Or paint. Or they were just being nosy.

My spotlight was smaller than that of Britney Spears or the Obama girls, but it burned nonetheless. The legacy of my childhood is that I'm an odd mix of introvert and extrovert. I can work a room like a seasoned politican...or hover at the fringe, jaw clamped shut in discomfort, terrified that people will look at me.

I remember once I botched a hymn solo and was so mortified I hid behind the swinging doors to the chapel instead of doing the post-worship receiving line. I also remember choreographing a church musical and receiving a standing ovation for my work.

And the time my father took a private family power struggle to the pulpit and I walked out, mid-sermon, in protest while people gaped in shock. To make it worse, I had been sitting in the very front row, so everyone saw me leave.

I am so glad I am not famous. That my childhood is not the babola's. To be sure, I had some unique life experiences, but now being normal is unique enough. So the paparazzi can stay in Hollywood, I'll take dumpy mother without makeup any day.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


So basically, the babeola is the size of a small three year old. Or a very large two year old*. She's in size 6 Pampers (even though her weight makes her technically a size 5, something about her proportions demands a bigger size). However, we've recently noticed she has red, irritated marks in her thigh creases from the size 6. Meaning, it's time for *gulp* size 7.

In case you are not raising a giantess, size 7 is 1)hard to find and 2) not sold in bulk at Sam's Club thereby making diapers more expensive than ever before.

After size 7, I think we have to venture into Depends territory. Which, yikes! Even more expensive, not to mention weird.

I did look at cloth diapers and ordered some samples, but guess what? They are not made for giantesses. The samples have ended up on her stuffed animals, because we certainly aren't going to get any use out of them.

Given that the babeola's growing out of her diapers and that we can usually tell when she's making a deposit, I picked up some potty training/learning books. Not that I'm looking forward to potty learning. I'd much prefer student services at her college handle the whole thing, because potty learning is a huge pita. Huge.

But as it turns out, potty learning doesn't fit either. She's not ready for anything but what the experts call 'pre-potty learning.'

Meaning we need to teach her in/out, on/off, sit, go, come and a whole host of other concepts if we want to start potty learning by 18 months (which is the current goal). Sit and go she knows how to say and what they mean. I think come is in her receptive vocabulary.  On/off and in/out are now priority one.

That and constantly discussing my business, as observing mommy on the potty is considered an important component of potty readiness. It appears that we need to cultivate a certain amount of fetishistic voyeurism for successful potty learning.

Conversations in our home now include such phrases as:

"Is mommy going potty? Yes, she is!"

"Where is mommy. Is she on the potty?"

All said in a squeaky, Elmo-on-speed voice. You know, just in case me pulling down my pants wasn't enough to capture the babeola's attention.

*She never looks all that big or tall to me. Until we run into a two year old that only comes up to her shoulder. Even so, we don't get too many people thinking she's older than she is. She still has a round baby face and an obvious toddle.  Or maybe she just looks shorter than she is. Maybe that's it. People often say I look shorter than I am and I'm 5'10".

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Here are the things the babeola played with the most during her first year and that we got a lot of use out of. Feel free to add your favorites to the list via a comment.

Compiling this list, one thing I noticed is that prices have gone up exponentially making it a good idea to buy used whenever you can (or milk the baby shower for all its worth!). I think that this legislation is what is driving prices up. I'm all for safety, but some of the toys listed below I was able to buy for a 1/3 of the current listed price!

1. Tissue paper of all colors and designs. Cheap and crinkly fun. Just put in a pacifier to prevent baby from eating it. (Save the tissue paper from any baby shower gifts!)

2.  Flower butterfly teether from Haba. It's washable and made of natural, non plastic components. There's also crinkly paper in the butterfly so the baby gets a sound effect when they chew. The fact that the butterfly detaches and can be washed is a big plus.

3. Haba Frog.  Just a fun little guy. The babeola liked to suck on the arms.

4. Haba kaleidoscope discovery blocks. Fun to look through and fun to watch mommy stack for baby to knock down.

5. The stellina by Selecta. A wooden chew toy/rattle. (Unfortunately due to this legislation, Selecta is pulling out of the US market.)

6. A bouncy seat. We have an older version of the Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium Bouncer that we really like. We also have a jungle/waterfall themed one that was fine as well. But the Ocean Wonders bouncy seat was our favorite.

7.Tiny Love Developlay Activity Center.This toy has two sides, one for infants and another side for older babies/toddlers. Allows for all sorts of hand-eye skills to develop and kept the babeola quite busy.

8.Munchkin Mozart Magic Music Cube.
This is a neat music toy that allows babies and toddlers to pick different instruments to play and exposes them to classical music. For us, this toy will get play for at least 1.5 to maybe 2 years so it's a good investment. Initially the babeola just watched the lights and music play when mommy pressed the buttons, now she actively plays with it, chews on the rubber corners and carries it from room to room.

 9. Baby Einstein Crawl Tunnel.  Man I wish we'd had this! I found it at Sam's Club well after the babeola started walking and was so annoyed because this would've been good for hours of fun. This would last from 3 months up to and possibly beyond walking (because hiding and crawling in tunnels is always fun). It is expensive so a cheaper option would be either cardboard boxes taped together or buy a simpler crawl tunnel like this.

10. Playmat of some kind. We don't have a favorite so no specific recommendation from me, but they are useful. I bet you could use the BE Crawl Tunnel above as a playmat.

11.Wee Sing Children's Songs and Finger Plays CD.  This is a great investment. It's hard to fill time with little babies and this CD will keep you busy. Also, you need to learn these songs too, so it's one of the few things that are not just for the baby. It comes with a book containing the words and sheet music and finger plays to all the songs. You will use this for years!

12. Play silks are fun and pretty and a 'formless' toy that allows babies and toddlers to use their imagination. You can buy plain ones and dye your own or buy from the mom-based business I linked to here.

13. A mobile. I can't find the one we had, which was a cheapy thing but had great graphics. Look for bold patterns, ideally in black and white as that's perfect for a newborn. I also bought a mobile attachment clip that allowed me to take the mobile from crib to bassinet to co-sleeper.

14. Unbreakable mirror. Babies love love LOVE to look at themselves. Even now the babeola loves to use this mirror. It can be used as a free standing mirror but also has ties for hanging it in a crib or, like we do, attaching it to our baby gate.

15. A swing. Any swing is fine, but I highly recommend you buy one with a high weight limit (30lbs or more) so you maximize its usefulness.

16. Books! I am a bibliophile and have been thrilled to share my love of books with the babeola. She's been turning pages on her own since 4 months and 'reading' to herself since 8 months. A few of our favorites...

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Peek-a-who? by Nina Laden
Tails by Matthew Van Fleet
Dog by Matthew Van Fleet
Crinkle Books
Cloth Books
Bath Books
Moo, Baa, La, La, La by Sandra Boynton
But Not The Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton
Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton
Eric Carle's books
Dr. Seuss
Shel Silverstein's poetry (i.e A Light In the Attic)
Baby Faces
Tactile Books like Violet's House
Graphic books like Look Look by Peter Linenthal
 17. Some people get drums, we like tambourines. Lots of noisy fun!

18. A xylophone is a great toy too!

19. Blowing bubbles is an easy and inexpensive infant-parent activity. The rumor on the street is that Gymboree makes the best bubbles, but we've been using the off brand el-cheapo ones with no problem.

20. Walker to nowhere. The babeola started using this 'walker' as soon as she could sit and she still plays with the manipulatives today. The manipulative toys are well conceived and entertaining. This is one of the better 'baby holder' toys we have and it allows babies to practice standing and walking not just forward, but backward and sideways (the seat swivels). Crawling and pre-walking babies will use this toy to pull up and 'push' the chair around. The babeola often ran in fast circles squealing with glee.

To give you an idea of how prices have changed, this retailed for $89 last year. I've since seen it go as high as $265 and $199. Insane!

Friday, January 2, 2009


We're redecorating the living room. It was a snap decision, one made after I found these pillows at Crate & Barrel (60% off):
Previously our living room was decorated around these curtains:
(Note: This is the '06 Xmas tree.) 
 These curtains were from Pier 1 Imports and were a patchwork of old indian saris. I loved them, but they faded with age and one panel developed a mysterious rip.  Pier 1 had discontinued the sari patchwork curtains, so we replaced them with curtains from Target, which I hate. 
But it wasn't until I found the pillow that I knew how to fix the shoddy, soul-sucking design disaster my living room had become.
We're moving from plum/beige to a matte blue-gray, similar to the pillow background.  I also decided to change the curtains again and ordered these from JcPenney (on sale--less than $90 for three windows!):
 The nice thing is we'll keep the chocolate brown as our counterbalance color, so paint, 2 pillows, and some curtains are all we need to change the entire look of our living room. Everything else stays the same; the lamps, the baseboards, window frames, and decorative items.
I am pleased.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Life is full of crucible events. One of which is parenthood.

I usually avoid blogging New Year's resolutions as I find it to be a tired blog trope, but this year is different. I'm coming off my first full year as a parent. I quit my job and every day my daughter shows me who I am and who I want to strive to become. 2008 was a crucible year for me.

You can always recognize when you're in a crucible. It burns. It's uncomfortable. The highs are so high you become dizzy and the lows are so low even the sun seems dark. Change, even good change, can be catastrophic chaos. Intentions and outcomes don't always mesh, but sometimes the place you end up is pretty good even if it wasn't the original destination.

In 2008 I was the sleep-deprived parent of a high-needs infant and trying way too hard to please way too many people. In 2009 I will be the parent of a relatively easy going toddler and striving to create a better work-life balance. I am also more aware of the challenges the global community faces and the kind of future awaiting my daughter. Children are powerful motivators. Sometimes they inspire us to frantically crawl on our hands and knees in a mid-night cloaked room in search of a missing pacifier. Other times, they make us want to change the world.

Aside from the usual and sundry resolutions to lose weight, eat right, exercise etc..., I want to 'be the change' in 2009. Like motherhood, I'm not exactly sure how this resolution will manifest itself, but I do know one thing..

It's easier than finding that damn pacifier.