Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Zoodle and Uncle Becki

My sister Becki has always loved kids, and they've always loved her. So I think it was somewhat disappointing when Zoodle didn't automatically take to her during our Boston trip. Here's what she wrote on Facebook:

My 1.5-year-old nephew keeps staring at me, really perplexed. You can just hear the thoughts in his head: "Who ARE you, you Mommy imposter? You look like her, but I know you're not her!" He hasn't let me hold him yet. :( I think it really freaks him out.

He really was giving her the oddest looks. It wasn't that he couldn't tell us apart--if that had been the case, he might have been more attached to her than she would have wanted! He could tell the difference, but seemed personally affronted that she'd stolen Mommy's face.

When Becki pointed out that she hadn't yet held Zoodle during our visit, I tried to find excuses for his behavior. When Becki wanted to do me a favor by changing Zoodle's stinky diaper, she asked him, "Do you want me to change your diaper?" He adamantly shook his head "NO." I assured her that maybe it had nothing to do with her; he just didn't want to be changed. Zoodle disproved my theory by happily nodding when Becki and I both asked him if he wanted Mommy to change him. Little twerp!

But Becki continued to work her kid-loving charm on Zoodle, and before bed on Monday, our last night there, this sight greeted my eyes:


Hooray! Let's hope it's the beginning of a loving, life-long auntie/nephew relationship! And let's hope that next time we see Uncle Becki, he'll let her change his stinky diaper.

(By the way...when Chickie saw Becki two Christmases ago, Chickie was not yet two years old, and didn't get the "aunt/uncle" thing. She called my sister "Uncle Becki," and it stuck.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A's to your Q's (part 2)

More answers to the questions you asked in this post!

Which of my boys do you think Chickie should marry?
Whichever one is the richest, of course. That's a vital part of MY retirement plan.

Do these pants make me look fat?
Okay, here's the thing. The pants came to me the other day and asked me, "Does the person wearing us make us look fat?" Not wanting to interfere in what may be a codependent relationship between you and your pants, I'm going to let the two of you work that out on your own. Communication is key!

How do you get to the end of the day without posting one of your children on freecycle? (Can you tell I'm having a bit of trouble adjusting to having 2 kids?)
Well, right now they're watching Dora, so that helps. Oops, did I really say that? Seriously, I try not to force myself to live up to some arbitrary standard of perfection. I'm not going to be the perfect mom to either of them, so we do what we have to, even if that involves turning on the TV. (And as that baby grows, it really does get easier! Also, since you live close to me, you could always call me for a playdate....)

Where does the green go when the leaves turn color?
It flies on the autumn winds to the southern hemisphere of the globe, just in time for their spring.

If Santa lives at the North Pole, does the Easter Bunny live at the South Pole? Where does the Tooth Fairy live?
No, the Easter Bunny lives in a cushy little addition to my house, where he watches all the Netflix he wants in exchange for providing me with year-round chocolate. (No, I'm not sharing.) The Tooth Fairy lives in the sewers. (Just as Santa comes down through the chimney, the Tooth Fairy comes up through the tub drain. This fact is not well-known, as it might decrease her popularity.)

If you could move to any US state (not including the one you currently live) what state would you pick?
Oh, definitely Arizona. I'd really like to live closer to my parents.

If you could swap lives with some one for a day, who would it be, why and what would you do?
President Obama. Sorry to be so generic, but I think it would give me so many insights on how the country works. I don't think I'd use the day to make drastic changes; anything I did could be undone. But while it might not be country-changing, I bet it would be life-changing for me.

What are the kids doing right now? Describe their activity, the sounds they are making (or not). Are you joining in? Why/Why not?
-Crazy Mo
Chickie is watching Dora, very quietly, while laying on the couch. I didn't have her take a nap today; I'm hoping she'll go to bed early since we have to get up early for our flight back home tomorrow. But the poor kiddo is tuckered out after walking around Boston half the day. Zoodle is stomping around the house, doing something fun. Being in my sister's house has been really entertaining for them; all my niece's toys and books seem so much more exciting than the ones they're used to at home!

This has been a lovely long weekend in Boston. We'll head home tomorrow (well, it'll be today once this is posted on Tuesday morning), and then Friday I'll fly back here by myself with Daddy taking kid duty for the weekend. Saturday morning my sister, brother-in-law, and I will drive into New York City, and we'll stay there overnight. I'll come home on Sunday, ending this manic, fantastic season of travel.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Micro: Boston Pics

Fun at the beach...

Making a sand angel...

First time on the subway--so exciting!

Cousins and FRIENDS (Molly & Chickie)...

Me & Becki...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A's to your Q's (part 1)

Recently I asked you to submit questions so I could do a Q & A post. Well, you came up with so many questions that I'm going to do the post in two (or more) parts! Here's part 1:

When you are having a bad day, what do you do to get through it??
Sometimes I just get totally worked up and stressed out and don't handle it well. But on days when I handle it better, it's often because I find time to be quiet for just a short time.... Closed eyes, prayer, and deep breathing work wonders.

More of a DO than a Q...
When you look out of your window, describe what you see in 30 words.
(I am doing 30 Word Thursdays now at my blog...try it!)
-TesoriTrovati (Erin)
Water from the roof...drip...drip...drip. Old home. Windows are new, some of the trim is not. Cedar siding, needs painting. Someone on the porch, smoking in the cold.
(That was fun!)

What do you wish that you had known about raising a child with Chickie that you have now learned with Zoodle?
-TesoriTrovati (Erin)
Be less concerned with "correctly" following a particular parenting philosophy, and more willing to just do what works, as long as it's wise and loving.

If you could have any profession in the world (other than your current one!) what would it be and why?
-TesoriTrovati (Erin)
I'd love to write for a living. I don't want to write eight hours a day, but wouldn't it be cool to get paid enough for my writing that I get a full-time income from it? I guess I should actually try to publish something instead of just dreaming!

Is there anything that wouldn't taste better drizzled in chocolate?
-TesoriTrovati (Erin)
Mushrooms. See below.

What is your definition of success?
-TesoriTrovati (Erin)
(Not just from a book.)

Think back on your wedding day, what would you have done differently?
I would have paid someone to do my hair and makeup. (It says a lot about how great that day was, that hair and makeup are the most serious things I would have changed!)

Okay, speaking of mushrooms, I have long-known that you hate them... and now I'm curious, where did this hatred stem from? (pun intended). I think they're delicious and I don't know how you can't see them for what they really are- FABulous! :) So where did it all begin??
I could say fungus isn't meant to be eaten. But that's not true; I love bread, and yeast is a fungus. I could say I had a traumatic experience with a mushroom as a child, but, as interesting as that sounds, it didn't happen. Really, it comes down to this: mushrooms taste completely, nauseatingly disgusting.

I think that's enough for today! More to come Tuesday!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The key to flying with small children

If you've never flown with small children, it can be very intimidating. You can find all sorts of practical advice online, and if you'd like specific advice about the things that work for us, just ask.

But to me, the biggest key is my attitude. Sure, flying with a 3 1/2-year-old and an 18-month-old, without Daddy to help, can be tough. But here are some things I know to be true.
  • It's not that big of a deal. (Really, it's not, even though it's very possible as a parent to make it into a huge, stressful deal.)
  • Even if the kids are fussy, the fussiness will end.
  • Even a long day eventually comes to an end. Time doesn't stop or slow down just because we're traveling. A day of travel is just as long or short as any other day.
  • If other people on the plane are annoyed that I have kids with me, I can't do anything about that. And most people are okay with it anyway.
We've been on six flight segments over the last two weeks. On all but one, there were two seats to a row, which meant the kids and I got a row to ourselves (with Zoodle on my lap.) On one plane, there were three seats in each row. A lady found her seat next to us, and before takeoff, she quietly spoke to a flight attendant, and then got up to move to a different seat. As she left, she said, "I'll give you guys a little more room." Well, we all knew the truth--she was moving because she didn't want to be stuck in a crowded row with two small children! And, you know, that's okay. Just as we do what we have to, to make our travel work, travelers around us should politely do what's necessary to cut down on their own stress.

In the end, I may not be able to make a long travel day into a fantastic experience. But by choosing to look at logically and choosing not to blow it out of proportion, the day usually goes okay. It helps knowing that the travelers around us have the same choices, and I hope most of them decide to go with the flow...even if that "flow" includes my children who occasionally cry loudly, poop stinkily, and giggle enthusiastically.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

When 4 + 3 + 2 = 1

4 airports
+3 flights
+ 2 kids
=1 tired mom

From the time we left my brother's house until the time we got back to our home, yesterday was a 14 1/2-plus-hour day. I knew, going into this whirlwhind period of travel, that 9/23 promised to be the most grueling day. Considering that, it went pretty well.

But this crazy traveling mom is tired, and considering that I'm writing this at 12:01 a.m. after the crazy travel day, I need to get some sleep. I gotta make sure we have enough energy for our Boston trip on Saturday!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Jumping in leaves (Chickie-style)

We moved into a brand new house two years ago, and like most brand new houses in our part of the country, the trees in the yard consisted of three sticks with leaves. They've grown a bit, but they're still small, and they don't have many leaves to shed.

So you'll understand when I tell you that yesterday Chickie asked me enthusiastically, "Mommy, can I jump in this pile of leaves?" and this is the pile she was so excited about....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

You know you're a Portlander if...

Portland, Oregon is a really cool city. I can see why my brother and his wife wanted to move here. The weather this week has been close to perfect; natural vegetation is lush; and the residents are almost unfailingly friendly. The Pacific Northwest definitely has a culture of its own, and I've found myself smiling at it this week.

You know you're a Portlander if...
  • ...your recycling bin is a dumpster, twice as big as your trash bin. (So cool!)
  • ..."doing your hair" means putting it in a ponytail.
  • ...a "fancy up-do" means brushing your hair and then putting it in a ponytail.
  • ...vegan is totally in--and not just vegan food; vegan belts, earrings, and shoes--because we're all striving for less eco-guilt.
  • your wardrobe, fleece is an all-season fabric.
  • see a small, 1950s home for $400,000 and think, "What a bargain; we'd better snatch it up before someone else does!"
  • go to a park and have trouble finding an open swing for your child since the whole population of the city is outside.
This is a great city, and I could get used to leaving my hair straightener unplugged. Thanks for the cool weather and the warm welcome, Portland!

Chickie and Zoodle with my awesome brother and sister-in-law

Chickie and I enjoying cool morning weather (with Zoodle on my back in a carrier)

Chickie playing in the sprinkler/wading area at Saturday Market (Portland's artisan market where my sister-in-law often sells awesome homemade candles.)

Zoodle enjoying the water

Tomorrow we head home for a couple of days before our Saturday flight to Boston.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday Micro: Smart grammy

My mom and I were playing the dice game Yahtzee the other day. Chickie, Grammy, and I had this conversation:

Grammy: "Chickie, can you say, 'Yahtzee'?"

Chickie: "No, I can't say that."

Grammy (referring to an earlier conversation): "Well, you can say, 'Boston, Massachusetts.'"

Chickie: "Um, I don't think I can say that anymore."

Grammy (with a gleam in her eye): "You can't say what?"

Chickie: "Boston, Massachusetts."

Me: "Chickie, you have a very smart Grammy."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Scariest flight ever (well, for me, anyway)

When you're flying and your plane lands, it's gotta be a bad sign when this is waiting for you:


That's an airport fire engine. Thankfully it was not needed. And I, along with other passengers, was very relieved.

On Friday, we had a mostly uneventful flight from Long Beach, California into Portland, Oregon (where my brother lives). When the plane was over Portland, I was ready to be there. The kids were getting extra-antsy. So it was frustrating when I realized we were circling...and circling...and circling some more. Portland is beautiful from the air, but I was ready to see it up close.

I figured we were waiting for an available runway, until the polite captain's voice came over the speaker. He good-naturedly joked about us getting tired of flying over the city; then he explained what was happening.

"The wings have flaps that are supposed to open to help us slow down," he explained. "When we tried to open those flaps in preparation for landing, a set of them wouldn't open." About this time, my blood pressure must have gone through the roof. The captain continued. "We've been troubleshooting to try to figure out what is wrong, and we haven't been able to get them to work. We're going to have to land without them."

The plane was quiet; for once the captain had the attention of the passengers. He then assured us, "I've been through this a few times before, and it is not a big deal. Everything will be okay. There will be emergency vehicles when we land, just in case the brakes get too hot."

Well, I was glad the captain had assured us everything would be okay (though, as I told the lady sitting across the aisle from me, I wish he'd started with the comforting part of the message.) But I have to admit, I was scared...really scared. I was thinking about how far back in the plane our seats were (almost halfway) and hoping that would be far enough if the plane ran into a building because it couldn't stop. I worried about whether or not we were descending at a faster speed than usual. I prayed and got a measure of peace from that...but I was still really afraid. I think plenty of others were too, though the atmosphere in the plane was calm.

The landing was uneventful. When the captain successfully touched down and brought us to a stop, the passengers burst out in spontaneous applause. I smiled and joined in the applause. As soon as it died down, my throat and eyes surprised me; I realized my body wanted to cry. I avoided that, and settled for an immense feeling of relief; and I could sense that the other passengers were feeling the same thing. The extra-hot brakes didn't start any fires, and after a few minutes we were able to taxi to the gate.

I know this experience could make me more afraid of flying. Instead I'm trying to frame it this way, in my mind: A plane is a complicated piece of machinery. But it's designed and built in such a way that when one thing goes wrong, the plane can usually still function in complete safety. The captain was right; we had nothing to be afraid of. Hopefully if I'm ever in a situation like this again, I'll believe that!

(By the way, here's a great article on airplane wing flaps--I liked the last paragraph especially.)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Six Word Saturday!

It's that time again...Six Word Saturday! To find out more about 6WS and to participate, check out Call Me Cate's simply splendid blog by clicking the button below.

My six words...

In Portland after scariest flight ever.

(Thankfully everything was just fine, and I'll post details tomorrow.)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Q & A! (But I need some Q's)

Today my dad will drive the kids and me from Yuma, Arizona to Long Beach, California, to catch a plane to Portland, Oregon, where we'll spend several days with my brother and his wife.

I've been keeping up with blog posts on this trip, but I'll admit when I'm on vacation I feel a little lazy. So I want your help coming up with a future Q & A post.

This is your chance to ask any questions you have about, this blog, the meaning of life, why mushrooms are disgusting, etc. In a couple of days or so I'll post the questions and my answers. Just click that handy dandy little comment link below the post, and give me your Q's so I can write some A's. Thanks!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Little People, young and old

Fisher Price has a line of toys called Little People. It's a large line--small plastic people and animals that fit in everything from a Little People school bus to the Little People Noah's Ark. Here's one example of the merchandise (Little People Lil' Mover SUV):

But I was thrilled when my mom got out the Little People that my siblings and I used to play with, so that Chickie and Zoodle could play with them. I get a warm, happy childhood feeling when I see the old-style Little People and their accessories.

As I examined the old toys, I realized they tell a story, a story about how toymaking has changed. Some of the Little People (presumably the oldest) are made mostly of wood, with just a bit of plastic (such as hair.)

Others have wooden bodies, but plastic heads. (You can see the wooden body on the dog which, appropriately, was chewed up by one of our dogs years ago.)

And some are entirely made of plastic, such as this handsome cowboy, and the Sesame Street characters.

Today's Little People appear to be plastic and/or rubber, depending on the character. They are cute and made with lots of detail...but seeing our old toys, I miss their simplicity. I suppose that's just nostalgia...and I suppose Fisher Price is counting on lots of nostalgic parents who grew up in the 70s and 80s, because they've come out with some old-style Little People that they're currently selling. (The Little People are bigger these days, even the old-style ones...probably to prevent choking.)

How long do you think I'll hold out before I buy the old-style schoolhouse? We'll see.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The failure of Dr. Google

Last month when we went to visit The Engineer's parents, Strange Mamma (who blogs at Strangers in a normal land) wrote a very sweet guest post about her super-adorable son. Today I returned the favor.

So today instead of writing a post here, I'm sending you there.... Be sure to check out my guest post, The Failure of Dr. Google!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Video: Zoodle on the phone

I took this video of Zoodle last week. He's talking on his play phone.

I do want to clarify something. Yes, that's President Obama in the background, giving his health care speech. No, this video is not intended as a political statement!


Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Micro: Too much of a good thing?

We are big fans of PBS children's programming. Chickie enjoys watching several shows, from Sid the Science Kid to Word World to her new favorite, Dinosaur Train.

But every so often I have reason to wonder if she watches too much. In the bathtub the other day, I heard her say in her 3 1/2-year-old "announcer voice,"

"This show is brought to you by contributions to PBS stations from viewers like you."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The sound of...

Overall the trip to Arizona on Friday went very smoothly. After a long day of flying, we still had several hours of driving. My parents picked us up at the airport in Long Beach, California and drove us to their home in Yuma, Arizona.

Even the long drive went well until, less than an hour from our destination, Zoodle decided he'd had enough. Quiet whimpers transitioned into full-fledged wailing. My dad and I in the front seat listened to the cacophany coming from the back seat. Zoodle's cries were accompanied by desperate attempts to calm him down: Chickie was belting "Little Bunny Fu Fu," and Grammy crooned "Jesus Loves Me." It was dissonance at its best (or worst?)

And underneath it all, the stereo was playing the most inappropriate song possible:

Simon and Garfunkle's "The Sound of Silence."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Six Word Saturday!

It's that time again...Six Word Saturday! To find out more about 6WS and to participate, check out Call Me Cate's nifty blog by clicking the button below.

My six words...

Jet Blue's TVs make mama happy.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Preparation and perspiration

Well, we leave tomorrow on our travels around the world. (Okay, across the country, but "world" sounds so much more interesting.)

It hit me yesterday, "You know, I only have two days to get everything done." "Everything" involves...
  • Getting the house in decent shape since I probably won't be cleaning it again until October
  • Doing some grocery shopping. (The Engineer will be home while we're gone, and he's gotta eat! Plus, we need diapers and snacks for the trip.)
  • Folding a mountainous pile of laundry.
  • Packing for three people.
  • Getting some financial stuff in order.
  • Doing several hours of real estate work.
  • Doing a bit of blogging.
Um, I'm thinking I should have started on all this earlier. As I write this on Wednesday at about noon, I can't yet cross anything off the list.

But I have to say, it's been nice not being stressed out about this trip a week in advance. When the whole family is leaving and we get a housesitter, I feel the pressure to get the house in abnormally gorgeous condition before we leave.

When The Engineer is here instead of a housesitter...well, I want it to look nice, but if it was perfect, he just wouldn't feel at home, right? Besides, I figure most of his time will be spent at work or upstairs playing X-Box, with no wife to nag him with annoying requests like, "Please change Zoodle's diaper!" and "Let's eat dinner!" (In all fairness, I must tell you he is careful to try to keep his video game playing in perspective so that his family is higher priority, and I really appreciate that. I'm also glad he'll have lots of guilt-free X-Box time while we're gone.)

It's kind of like when we were engaged. Our engagement was fairly short, and I remember telling people, "Hey, planning a wedding would stress me out no matter what; might as well be stressed for four months instead of a year." So, I've got two crazy days (one by the time this posts) to get a whole lot done, but I guess it's better than worrying about it for weeks.

And if The Engineer has to fight off a few killer dust bunnies while we're gone, that's just the way it goes.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Our new sleep secret for Zoodle

1 comfy crib
+ 1 homemade panda blanket
+ 6 binkies
=1 happy kiddo who can get to sleep easily and can always find a binky when he wakes up
(and 1 mama who's going to be in trouble when it's time to get rid of those binkies)


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"The only thing we have to fear... fear itself."

Nice thought, Mr. Roosevelt. If only it were that easy! Most of us have other fears--rational (our kids' health) or irrational (monsters in the closet.)

The Engineer has never been the fearful sort. So when he did his first triathlon in May, he was shocked to discover that he feared open-water swimming. He got through the lake swimming portion of the race, but it was completely different than swimming in a pool. Murky water, a slight current, other swimmers bumping into all made for a frightening experience.

A couple of months later he entered a more casual race at a smaller lake and, as soon as he started, he had the same experience--fast breathing and a pounding heart, bumping into other swimmers, and every stroke telling him, "This is too scary." He decided not to finish the race, and he came to me, disappointed in himself, saying, "Maybe open water swimming just isn't for me. Maybe I'll keep training, but won't do triathlons."

I disagreed. "I think you're just finding something athletic that's difficult for you, for the first time in your life," I told him. He nodded, and decided to keep trying.

The Engineer likes to do engineerish things, so he tackled the phobia in an organized manner. He did some searching and found a book online with detailed, specific instructions on how to swim in open water. He ordered it, and started watching online videos made by the author of the book. When we visited his parents recently, he visited a lake in their area four times, swimming in the cool, gentle waves.

And something amazing happened. His fear went away. When we came home, he found a couple of other opportunities to practice at a small lake, and yesterday was the real test--triathlon number two.

He did great. No longer is the cold, murky water a shock to his senses and his psyche. It doesn't bother him when he and other racers inevitably bump into each other. He started his triathlon training with nothing more than a summer of swimming lessons under his belt, and now he can easily swim 700 meters (.43 miles) in a race, and two or three times that distance on training days, with breaks.

Maybe FDR was right. It wasn't the open water swimming that was holding The Engineer back. It was the fear. I'm very proud of him for conquering it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday Micro: Weekend music

Music we heard around our house over the last couple of days...
  • Little Sis laughing at You Tube videos
  • Rain hitting the roof, the windows, and the thirsty land
  • Zoodle giggling at nothing in particular
  • The Engineer's feet walking out of the room, both mornings, so that I could sleep in
  • The sizzle of onions and garlic, cooking in olive oil
What music did you hear this weekend?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Questions and imagination

These days Chickie asks a lot of "What would happen if...?" questions.

"Chickie, don't be so rough with your brother; you'll hurt him."

"And what would happen if I hurt him? Would we have to go to the hospital?"

Some of these questions make sense; others don't. The ones that don't make sense tend to frustrate me, especially when I'm in a hurry.

Recently Chickie was obsessed with a tiny, dead lizard on our driveway. Every time we went out to the car, she'd make a detour to visit the lizard. She was doing this one day, as I (in a hurry, as usual) not-so-gently urged her to get in her carseat. She got in the car, and asked me,

"What would happen if it's not a lizard?"

"Chickie," I responded impatiently, "that question doesn't even make sense." I buckled her in and headed to my seat.

Then it hit me--sure, the question didn't make sense. But maybe she just wanted me to be imaginative.

"If it wasn't a lizard," I said as we backed out of the garage, "maybe it would be a dog!"

Chickie giggled. "No-o-o!" she said. "What else would it be?"

And we went on like that, with me suggesting other animals the lizard could be.

I'll admit freely that I often tell Chickie, "No more questions!" My patience isn't even close to being limitless. But I'm also trying to learn to use my imagination, to sometimes follow the flights of fancy that delight my daughter.

Hey, a few questions and a little imagination probably don't hurt this old brain, either.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Six Word Saturday!

It's that time again...Six Word Saturday! To find out more about 6WS and to participate, check out Call Me Cate's super duper blog by clicking the button below.

My six words...

Mama slept in 'til 8 today!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Short, fair, & adorable

Zoodle will never be tall, dark, and handsome.

Tall? Maybe. We'll see if he's gotten height genes from his six-foot tall daddy, or from me. (It was exciting when I went to my last checkup and the nurse told me, "You're five foot two and a half!" I'd never known about that half inch! But back to Zoodle.)

Handsome? Certainly--doesn't that go without saying?

But dark? No way. His fair skin would have made Queen Elizabeth jealous (no lead-based makeup required.) Thanks to him, sunblock companies should have several good decades ahead, no matter what the economic climate.

His sweet, fair skin is also quite sensitive. We've dealt with baby acne, mild eczema, and cradle cap. But I'd never seen anything quite like the diaper rash he got a couple of weeks ago.

It started as a dry, reddish patch in the front, where the diaper is tight at the top. There was a smaller patch in the back, also at the top. We'd been using Luvs diapers, which are scented. (Side note: I find scented diapers ridiculous. If your kid stinks, that means it's time for a new diaper.) Because of the location of the rash--where the diaper was making the most contact with him--I figured his sensitive skin might not be loving the Luvs. As the rash grew, we switched diaper brands.

But his poor skin was already in that irritated mode, and he developed hives--itchy, red, puffy hives--all over his poor little bottom. It was terrible. He woke up itching at night. He tried to scratch through his diapers. As soon as I took off a dirty diaper, his little fingers were immediately scratching.

He's been gradually getting better. I rejoiced one day last week when I took off his diaper and, instead of scratching, he immediately grabbed...well, what he often gleefully grabs when Mommy is kind enough to uncover it for a minute or two. (Boys will be boys!)

But his skin is having a hard time completely healing, and he still has a minor rash. It doesn't help that he's in diapers all day, and so a couple of times I've followed common diaper rash advice and let him go diaper-free. For airflow, and all that.

The first diaper-free time, he peed twice. Once was on the tile, easy to clean up. The second time was also on tile, while he was playing in the kitchen cabinet full of plastic storage containers. That provided me with a good opportunity to load up the dishwasher with all the containers that had been in Zoodle's general vicinity.

You'd think I'd have learned my lesson. But Wednesday, tired of this rash that won't quite go away, I let him have about half an hour of airflow freedom.

First, he peed on the tile. I counted myself lucky-so far all our diaper-free accidents had been on tile! Not bad, Zoodle!

Until later, when I looked at the carpet next to the coffee table.

And discovered he'd taken the opportunity to unload something much worse than pee. Then he'd stepped in it and tracked it over carpet and other stuff in his path.

So, yes, in the span of four days I cleaned poop out of the bathtub and the carpet.

Short, fair, adorable...and occasionally quite a stinker.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Not quite Supermom

I'm doing some real estate work right now--some old clients (who are also good friends) contacted me to help them with a transaction. It's been keeping me very busy the last few days.

Yesterday was especially busy. I had a continuing ed course in the morning, and in the afternoon and early evening I was working on various details of my clients' transaction, interspersed with tasks like getting kids down for naps and cleaning Zoodle's poop out of the carpet.

You'd think after a day full of parenting and work I'd feel like I could do anything, like I was Supermom.

Nope. Not Supermom. Just Exhaustedmom.

I love being able to work occasionally. It's fun to use the business side of my brain, and it shakes up my normal schedule a bit. It's interesting and challenging. But when I do work, I realize just how hard it is to handle a family and a job.

So this rambling post is in tribute to the moms out there who work out of the home all the time. Who somehow manage to handle it all...or if not all, at least enough that the whole family stays afloat. I'm not sure how you do it...but I think it's pretty amazing.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lost in Austen

There's nothing like the sweetness of a great romantic comedy. And there's also nothing like the horror of a terrible one! I was thrilled yesterday to discover a romantic comedy of the great variety.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Lost in Austen, which was originally a BBC miniseries. The main character, Amanda, is a modern woman who loves the book Pride and Prejudice. She ends up accidentally trading places with Elizabeth Bennett, the main character from the novel. Amanda is suddenly in the setting of her favorite story, trying desperately to ensure the plotline survives her entrance into it.

It's fantasy, and it's messing with an extraordinarily popular, classic author, and it could easily end up being irretrievably corny. But the casting, acting, and writing are all excellent, so instead of being cheesy, it's charming.

Next time you need a girl's night (by yourself or with friends), grab some chocolate and Lost in Austen. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

32 years old

Thirty-two years ago...

(C. Beth on the left, beckiwithani on right, held by our maternal grandfather, "Papa.")

Thanks, Mom, for carrying two wiggly babies for a 37 1/2 week pregnancy, and then for pushing us out without any meds...the day before your birthday! I was happy to discover in looking at old pictures that we were angels from an early age.

(beckiwithani on the left, C. Beth on the right. Our singing career never quite took off like the Olsen twins' did.)

Happy 32nd birthday, Becki! Between 10:54 a.m. and 10:59 a.m. PST, I hope you relish the five minutes of the year in which you're younger than me. (Call me if you need any sage advice; I'd be happy to share some of my vastly greater life experience with you.)

(Oh, yeah, and happy birthday to me, too.)