Monday, June 30, 2008

I laugh when my child cries

Before you call the Mommy Police, let me explain.

I really hate to hear my baby crying. Thankfully this time I'm blessed with a little guy who is pretty darn content and very easy to soothe. But when he's tired and we're driving somewhere, he often just loses it in the car. This is very frustrating to me, because I certainly can't hold him while I'm driving. I find myself getting so tense and stressed listening to this poor little boy cry his heart out in the seat behind me.

As he was wailing on the way to the library Friday, I thought, "He's crying like he's dying!" And then it hit me how silly that is. I'm not killing the poor kid; I'm just driving, and he's not happy about being stuck in his car seat. The ridiculous nature of the crying hit me, and I was able to see even a little humor in it.

That got me to thinking about all the silly things my kids will cry or otherwise protest about as they grow. Not getting the toy they want, having to go to bed, not being allowed to wear whatever inappropriate fashion is in style when Chickie hits middle school, having to turn off the TV and find something creative to do.

And when they grow up, will they be resentful of me for forcing them to ride in carseats, refusing toys, enforcing bedtime, helping with clothing choices, and turning off the TV? I doubt it. I mean, let's be realistic--I'm a normal, imperfect mom, and I'm sure I'll find plenty of genuine ways to make my kids resentful of me!

As I drove along, I found myself able to smile at all the silly things kids get upset about. And smiling about it was a lot more fun than stressing (and probably had a better effect on my driving).

So...I do hate to hear my kiddos cry. But whether it's an infant who wants to be in Mommy's arms instead of the car seat, or a teenager who is learning that the world doesn't revolve around them, kids will cry about ridiculous things. That's part of growing up. And maybe learning to laugh at it is part of me growing up, too.

Friday, June 27, 2008

2nd coolest 2nd child product discovery

I've made a few cool product discoveries with Zoodle--things that make my mommy life easier, that I didn't know about when Chickie was tiny.

The coolest? The Miracle Blanket. But I've already raved about that.

Second coolest? Sensible Lines Milk Trays. These trays would make a great gift for a breastfeeding mom who pumps and freezes her milk.

Sensible Lines has created these great, BPA-free, trays that freeze milk in one-ounce tubes. Once a tray is full and frozen, the milk can be popped out and thrown in a normal, zippered freezer bag.


There are a few benefits to this type of storage:
  • Normal breast milk storage bags can really add up, cost-wise, especially for a mom who is pumping multiple times a day. These trays only need to be bought once, and a lot of the little "milk tubes" can be stored in one inexpensive freezer bag. Easy on the wallet and the landfills.
  • According to the Sensible Lines Website, freezing milk in smaller portions may preserve more of its nutrients since it freezes faster.
  • It's easy to thaw exactly the amount of milk needed--instead of searching for a bag of frozen milk that just happens to contain three ounces, the caregiver just thaws three little milk tubes. Simple.
My biggest complaint is that pretty quickly the lids of the trays get loose and the milk tends to slosh about a bit. (The literature that came with the trays explained that the softer, BPA-free plastic tends to loosen.) We haven't had any spills but I could see that being a potential problem. It still isn't enough to turn me away from this fantastic product; perhaps it's something they could improve in a future design.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

How long will it take for Chickie's soup to get cold?

Chickie is still content with the "trade" we made--nursing traded for Llama Llama Red Pajama. I'm definitely happy with it...and a little suspicious about how easy it's been for her. My question is...

At what point did Esau look at the bowl of soup in his hand, slap himself in the forehead, and cry, "I made WHAT deal?! Aaaaaaaaargh! Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!"

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Growing up

For the last 29+ months, since January 14, 2006, there have been only two days I haven't nursed Chickie. Those two days have both been within the last couple of weeks, since I've been gradually weaning her.

A few minutes ago I finished nursing her for the very last time. While I've really been wanting to wean and have been looking forward to it, after almost two and a half years of daily nursing, it's also sad to see her hit this "big girl" milestone.

I'd found myself really getting tired of nursing two kids, so over the last few weeks we'd gone gradually from three, to two, to one nursing session a day. She's handled it so well--asking to nurse but taking it well when I say no--that it went faster than I expected. For several days we've been talking about how she was going to get a special prize, a book she's been wanting, when she was done drinking Mommy Milk. Today after nursing she let me know she wanted the book and wanted to be done with the milk. After confirming that today was really the day she'd chosen (since I was planning to wait until later in the week), I gave her the book and started trying to adjust to the idea that my little girl is weaned.

Here she is, my big girl, reading Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney (a fabulous children's book, by the way!)


And another way she's growing up (this one entirely sweet and not at all bitter!) is that she's getting better at using the potty. She's still not nearly pottytrained but she is doing better. Very exciting! Here she is reading at the potty (which has ended up being key to this process; she loves to sit there for long periods of time reading!)


Sweet big girl--I love her so much!

Mommy Multitasking

We often take walks in the morning. Ever seen a one man band? You know a street performer with a bunch of instruments all strapped to him in an intricate configuration so he can play them all at once? That's what I feel like on these walks. Here's what I mean:


That's me with Zoodle tied to me in a front carrier, Hammer (the dog) tied to a belt on my waist, and Chickie in the stroller. Often Zoodle nurses as we walk. A friend sometimes comes on walks with us, and she pushes the stroller, which does make things easier.

(To be honest, doing so many things at once makes me feel a little like Supermom! Though I need Superman's phone booth; it takes me forever to get everything ready for our walks.)

Monday, June 23, 2008

What's for dinner?

Becki (my sister) turned me on to an online bookmarking site--a place where you can store your favorite Internet sites online so they're available on any computer. It's called Becki uses her site to save teaching websites and recipes. In fact, I've gotten lots of good recipes off her site, so check it out. I have my own site that I'm using mostly for saving recipes, and I've got enough on it now that I feel good about sharing it. It's at this link. Once I've tried a recipe, if I don't like it I delete it from the site, but if I like it, I make notes telling you what I thought and sometimes modifications I made.

It's really helped me to organize my menus; I find recipes I like, save them to the site, and then it's easy to make a grocery list and to later go back and remember what recipes I shopped for!

So if you're wondering what to make for dinner, check out what we're having these days. Maybe you'll get inspired. And if you like the online bookmark concept, you can create our own site by clicking this link. It's VERY simple whether you're computer-savvy or not.

"Really?!" "Yes...really."

Yesterday I came across information on the Internet on The International Flat Earth Research Society. I was so interested (and entertained) that I did more searching. I learned from another article that the gentleman behind the particular group highlighted by Talk Origins has now passed away. However, there still are Flat Earthers out there, and they have a forum that proves to be a fun time-waster on a Sunday night when the kids are in bed. So if you want to check it out, click this link.

Just a little tidbit to whet your appetite. This is from the Flat Earth FAQ on the forum.

"Q: "What's underneath the Earth?" aka "What's on the bottom?" aka "What's on the other side?"

A: This is unknown. Some believe it to be just rocks, others believe the Earth rests on the back of four elephants and a turtle. "

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Even if I WASN'T biased...

...I think I'd still find this little guy pretty darn cute.

Ready for prep school at the age of 12 weeks:


This kid's better at accessorizing than his mama is:

And just to prove that he's not always happy:


And a few seconds later:

I wish I looked that cute when I cry!

The Mom Song

I love this song! It's sung by Zoodle's favorite group, Go Fish. The Go Fish Guys are 3 guys who sing primarily a capella music with percussion in the background, and she LOVES them. To all the moms reading this (my mom especially)'re cool.

The Mom Song
Words & music by Jamison J. Statema and Julie Statema
(c) 2007 Found Free Music (ASCAP)

Give me an "M" ("M! M!")
Give me an "O" ("O! O!")
Give me an "M" ("M! M!")
What's that spell?

If you have a stroller
But you're still a rock and roller
You're a mom
If you're tired of doing dishes
And you know who Elmo's fish is
You're a mom
If you have a lot of fun
But your work is never done
You're a mom

You're the boss, the driver
The ultimate survivor
A doctor, a cooker
Your man thinks your a looker
If you work all day
But you never get paid
You're a mom

If you need a sick day
But instead you're gonna play
You're a mom
If your first occupation
Sounds like a sweet vacation
You're a mom
If your living room floor
Looks like a toy store
You're a mom


If you mean the whole world
To a little boy or girl
You're a mom
The Bible that you hold
Can shape these little souls
You're a mom
If you have the most important job in the world
You're a mom

Friday, June 20, 2008

Our tax dollars hard at work...

...creating law and order.


(Picture taken out the front windshield of my car with my camera phone.)

The Binky Files

Chickie is born.

We give her a binky (pacifier). I sing its praises because she likes to overeat and then projectile vomit (lovely, I know), and the binky helps satisfy her sucking needs without giving her an overly-full tummy.

Chickie, at 19 months old, says bye bye to her binkies and is rewarded with an Elmo DVD. I am immensely relieved as by this time I feel the binky has been running my life. From months of having to replace it in her mouth while sleeping (before she could put it in herself), to emergency "binky runs" to Target when we couldn't find any, to stretching my arm to twice its normal length trying to replace it in her mouth with her sitting behind me in the car, to having a permanent binky-shaped indentation in the pocket of my jeans, to just being sick of seeing a toddler's mouth constantly invisible behind a plastic device...I was sick of the things and SO glad to be rid of them.

Zoodle is born.

Zoodle is crying. The Engineer asks, "When do we give him a binky?" I reply that I'm not sure if I ever want to use one--"We'll see." (Mommy code for "Hopefully never.")

The Engineer suggests the binky when Zoodle is crying. I say I don't want to use it.

04.04.08, 04.08.08, etc.
Repeat of 04.03.08

I tell The Engineer I think it would be okay to use the binky while Zoodle is swaddled, since he can't get to his hands to suck on them. But that's IT, no other times. Zoodle easily starts sucking on the binky. In future weeks I occasionally realize The Engineer has "sneaked" Zoodle a binky when I've been out of the house, but I figure if the guy is being a good enough dad to watch his son, I need to let him bend the rules a bit.

Chickie is sick, and I give Zoodle the binky in the car, not willing to deal with a sick toddler and a crying baby.

Zoodle is sick, and I tell him since he doesn't feel well he can have the binky as much as he wants, all day long. I clip it to his shirt.

I give Zoodle the binky on our four hour trek to and from south Austin and when it keeps the in-car crying to a minimum, I consider sending flowers to the genius who invented these things.

I type a blog with a content, binky-sucking baby on my lap. Then I sign the contract to sell my soul, once again, to the binky manufacturers. Sigh....


Thursday, June 19, 2008

How far is it from my house to yours?

I'm involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters. It's a great organization; they match up kids with adult mentors. My Little Sister (who we'll call Sis) is 14.

When we were matched 4 1/2 years ago, both Sis and I lived on the north side of the Austin area. It took about 20 minutes to drive to her house. Then she moved to south Austin. Then we moved further north. Ugh. Between my family doubling in size in the last 2 1/2 years, and trying to time our visits around rush hour, seeing Sis is more challenging than it used to be. But we do still get together; we shoot for twice a month.

Sis has been asking to spend the night at our new house, and now that she's out of school for the summer I thought it would be a good time. So I picked her up Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday she asked me, "How far is it from my house to yours?" I told her probably about 40 minutes in non-rush hour times. When we got into the car for me to take her home I said, "Okay, it's 3:11; let's see how long it takes!"

A couple of hours earlier, Sis' mom had called. She has been sick this week, and it had gotten bad enough to warrant a visit to the ER. As we drove toward her house, I asked Sis if she'd prefer to go to the hospital to see her mom instead of going straight home.

Sis liked that idea, so we called her mom's cell to find out what hospital she was at. Unfortunately her cell wasn't working. There was no answer at her house, so I called The Engineer to see if he could look up hospitals for me. He wasn't available. I called information to see if they could tell me the nearest hospital to Sis' house. They couldn't. This was getting frustrating. I pulled into a parking lot and found a map in the back seat, and we found a hospital near Sis' house. I called information to get the phone number, and they couldn't find it; then we got disconnected. We decided just to head to that hospital since that was the most logical place for her to be.

We got there, parked in the back of the parking lot, put Chickie in the stroller, strapped Zoodle to me in a carrier, and started sweating our way to the ER. The friendly young man at the desk told us Sis' mom was not there. We headed back toward the car.

I got in touch with The Engineer and had him look up the phone number for the hospital we agreed she'd probably visited. We called. She wasn't there. I called The Engineer to get more hospital phone numbers. The next ER gave us great news--she was there. We were already in south Austin; it was rush hour by now; and the hospital was downtown, but we headed back north on the bumper-to-bumper freeway.

We arrived at the hospital, found the correct parking garage, packed up the kids in the stroller and front carrier, and made the trek to the ER. As we walked, I smiled and told Sis, "If we get in there and they tell us she left ten minutes ago, I'm going to just die!" We arrived at the ER and asked for Sis' mom at the desk.

The lady at the desk couldn't find the name in the computer. Keeping a friendly demeanor (over thinly-veiled frustration), I told her what I'd just been told on the phone, and told her the number I'd called. She confirmed it was their number. She did a bit more searching and said, "Well, she's just been discharged." Our hearts sank. "But," the lady continued, "I don't think she's actually left yet. Let me check." She called the discharge desk and assured us that Sis' mom was still on the premises and would soon be exiting into the lobby through nearby doors. Relieved that I wouldn't need to go back to south Austin and would be able to send Sis home with her mom, I waited with Sis and the kids, our eyes on the correct door.

We waited. And waited. And waited a little longer.

After 15 or 20 minutes, I asked at the desk again. The guy now manning the desk said he'd walk to the discharge desk and check for us. He came back a few minutes later. "She left about 30 minutes ago," he said. "Sorry."

So we trekked back to the parking garage, loaded up the kids, and headed back into downtown rush hour traffic. A few minutes before we got to Sis' house, Zoodle started screaming, hungry. We got to Sis' house where I dropped her off. I checked the clock and managed not to say what I was thinking....

"How far is it from my house to yours? About three hours."

After an in-the-car nursing session with Zoodle in front of Sis' house, a quick stop at Sonic for dinner for Chickie and me, and a trip home (without too much traffic), the kids and I arrived home almost exactly four hours after we'd left.

Sis' mom was well enough to go home, which we were thankful for. I, on the other hand, was left hot, grumpy, and hanging by my fingertips on the edge of the "Crazy Cliff". One of these days I just might let go and enjoy the descent into insanity!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Roly poly

Zoodle tipped the scales at 13 lb. 10 oz. today (fully clothed). He's well on his way toward doubling his 7 lb. 8 oz. birthweight.

So, I think it's high time to share a picture of those pinchable, kissable rolls!


Daddy says Zoodle's "developed" enough that he needs a bra. Well, you THOUGHT they sold everything imaginable online, but apparently infant bras are still an untapped market. The URL is still available...just in case you're interested in a new venture. And you know those Victoria's Secret scented lotions? The baby version could be infant cellulite cream (in popular scents such as creamed peas, smooshed banana, and breast milk). Good ideas like these don't often come along, folks.

On an unrelated note, we're still dealing with illness here (and it's getting old). Zoodle woke up with a fever and it stuck around most of the day, but is thankfully gone now--probably the same random fever virus Chickie had last week. Now Daddy's got it. Mommy is still healthy and plans to keep it that way!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Daddy Day!

I'm not sure how NOT to make this a sappy post, so I guess I won't even try!

How blessed I am...four awesome daddies in my life.
  • God...the One who is always there.
  • My dad...wise, kind, and loving--I couldn't hope for a better dad.
  • My father-in-law.... I love him as if we were related by blood.
  • The Engineer.... The time he spends with our kids--reading to, teaching, cuddling, and playing with them--is so precious and valuable, and I love him for it.
I love all four of you so much.

Zoodle and Chickie both wore special shirts for Daddy. Here are a couple of pictures:

With Chickie ("My dad is the MAN"):

With Zoodle ("Cool just like Daddy"):

Thursday, June 12, 2008

About Me...

Thank you for all the votes! Check out the right hand side of the page for the winning poem!

Sittin', Smilin', and Scootin'

Time for a few photos!

Zoodle likes his Bumbo Seat. (Poor kid, having to use his big sister's lavender-colored hand-me-downs. Think he'll look good in her white and pink Easter dress next year?)


Enjoying a bath.


Chickie and her new (well, new to her) scooter.


Daddy's Girl

First things first--Chickie's "tempy temp" is back to normal, no more fever. WOO HOO!

Chickie is currently somewhat obsessed with anything to do with construction since she's been watching houses being built in our neighborhood. The other day we went to visit Daddy at work. She pointed above her at the ceiling of the parking garage.

"Dat's concwete, Mommy!"

"That's right, Chickie, it's concrete!"

"Dat's concwete, Mommy!"

"That's right, it is!"

Pause, then as we're walking out....

"I wike da concwete."

She likes the concrete. Hmm...her daddy is a civil engineer, and Mommy's background is in theatre. I have a pretty good guess who she's taking after!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A very important milestone

Chickie can now...

...drumroll please...

have her temperature taken ORALLY!

(Insert sound of mad applause and cheering.)

This is a big deal because neither I or a variety of doctors have ever been able to get accurate temperatures by putting the thermometer under her arm. I'm afraid she may have some terrible armpit mutation...but don't tell her I said that; she'll be scarred for life! So, to get an accurate temp we have to resort to the dreaded rectal method.

Chickie was fine with that until the last few months. I guess it's not all that unreasonable not to want a thermometer shoved "up there" even though it only takes our rectal thermometer a few seconds to give us a reading. I'm tired of holding her down and repeatedly promising, "If you cooperate, it'll go fast! Really!"

So today I asked the doctor when we can start doing oral temperatures. She said as soon as Chickie is able to hold the thermometer under her tongue with her mouth closed for long enough. So a few minutes ago we tried (with a different thermometer used ONLY orally, of course!) and I got a good, seemingly accurate temperature reading.

WOO HOO!!! (We celebrate the little things around here!)

Oh, yeah, and the reason we were at the doctor is because apparently we are still the House of Germs over here. Chickie spiked a very high temp in the middle of the night. Thankfully it's been lower today, but if it spikes again we've been instructed to go to the ER. (The doctor couldn't find anything specifically wrong.) So prayers are appreciated. The Engineer has also been sick with the same cough Zoodle has had, and while he's mending, it's not been a fun time for him either.

Monday, June 9, 2008

About Me--vote for your favorite poem!

If you'll scroll down the page, you'll see a little "About Me" blurb on the right hand side of the page. Unfortunately, my "About Me" section is nauseatingly boring. So I've decided to replace it...and you get to help me choose what to replace it with! I've written three poems in various styles. Read them, then vote for your favorite in the Comments section below.

1. About Me: A Haiku
Chickie and Zoodle
daily convincing Mommy
it's fun to go mad

2. About Me: A Limerick
With my toddler, and infant, and dog,
No wonder my brain's in a fog.
So do you have the guts
To come see me go nuts?
Take a seat, get online, C. Beth Blog!

3. About Me: A Shakespearean Sonnet
My Mommy resume' is long and dense.
It's filled with all my schooling and degrees--
A Master's in Detecting Poopy Scents,
A Doctorate in Making Great Grilled Cheese.
And then peruse the list of skills I've got,
For I can read a board book upside down.
I can't yet get my tot to use the pot,
But sometimes I can take away her frown!
My reference list is short, but all you need,
And you can contact both if you so choose.
You'll hear a lot from Chickie, yes, indeed;
Good luck translating all of Zoodle's coos!
I guess this mommy job was made for me--
I only wish the pay was more

Saturday, June 7, 2008

$10 off Lisa Leonard Designs, today only

If you liked the Mother's Day Necklace that Jason got me, you may love some of the other gorgeous jewelry on sale at Lisa Leonard Designs. Today only you can get $10 off any order by entering the coupon code ilovesaturday. There's a nifty keychain on the "Something Extra" page that would be perfect for Father's Day though it probably wouldn't arrive quite on time. It's $32 before the discount. Shipping is always $7.

Happy shopping!

Friday, June 6, 2008


I have this nifty little portable diaper changing thingamajiggy...basically something I can take with me if I won't be gone long and don't want to carry the big diaper bag.

Here it is closed:


And here it is opened up, with a changing pad and pockets for diapers, wipes, etc.


Cute, right?

Here's the thing. I just recently noticed there's a little label where you can write your child's name, address, etc. Forget for now the safety aspect of putting your child's address on something strangers might see. The part that weirds me out is the second line.


I have two in diapers, and I may feel like I'll be changing diapers forever...but if I ever have to write Chickie's or Zoodle's GRADE on a diaper bag, I might as well just check myself into a funny farm for good.

If you're happy and you know it...


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Summer treat

The appetite of a nursing mom is a powerful force. It leads her to do strange and daring things. Things like letting her toddler eat a McDonald's ice cream cone in the car because Mama is so hungry she needs food NOW and she realizes she can't eat ice cream without buying some for the munchkin. Yeah, I know, I was risking total destruction of my vehicle, but it is ten years old, and besides, I like to live on the edge. This risky behavior is sort of fun; I think next week I'll take Chickie bungee jumping.

It was a risk that paid off. A lot of ice cream ended up on Chickie's face, but only one large drop fell on her car seat. I think she was happy with the situation, too....

I did learn something important. McDonald's puts these little paper sleeves on the bottom half of their ice cream cones. Well, I guess the sleeve should be removed before handing the ice cream cone to the child. When I did remove it upon our arrival home, it looked like this (the upper edge lining up perfectly with the bite marks in the cone):

So let me get this straight, sweet Chickie. You are perfectly okay with eating paper, sand, lip balm, and baby shampoo, but mashed potatoes and green beans are GROSS. I suppose in some alternate universe called "Toddlerlogic" that makes perfect sense.

Me, this morning

Another blogger (Sweetney) issued a challenge today to take an immediate picture of yourself without any extra preparation or retouching, and post it. (I heard about this on Cheaper by the half dozen which is a totally hilarious blog that is well worth checking out.)

So...thankfully I saw this after I'd showered and gotten ready. Here's me, this morning, still looking suitably sleepy:

I love the interesting angles of the ceiling, cabinets, etc. behind me!

If you decide to participate, be sure to post the link to your pic in the Comments section. (This is super easy if you have a webcam--otherwise I never would have gotten around to it.)

Monday, June 2, 2008

We got a pool!

Before you get too excited and invite yourself over for a pool party, here are some pictures:




Until Chickie swam in a friend’s kiddie pool last week (and LOVED it), I was under the impression that these tiny little pools just aren’t fun. Of course, now that I’ve analyzed that opinion, I realize why I held it—the last summer I used a kiddie pool, at whatever age that was, I’d outgrown it, and it was boring. But every summer before that, it was a blast!

What a great way to spend part of a summer day—Mama on the back porch reading a book with Chickie a few feet away, sliding, straining water through a colander, pouring water out of a bowl, getting out of the pool to play with the dog…just being a kid. Pretty perfect for both of us.