Monday, August 29, 2011


A thing I thought I'd love but don't

My mom has a pair of off-brand Croc-type clogs that I wore the entire week we lost power in an ice storm and stayed with my parents. I love them and have wanted to steal them ever since, so when actual Crocs went on sale on zulily a few weeks ago, I snapped up a pair. Everyone I know who likes Crocs swears on their comfort, and I even have a friend who only wears Croc shoes of various kinds. Anyway, my Crocs came in the mail and much to my dismay, I do not love them. They pinch and there's some weird texture on the insoles that kind of bites into the soles of my feet. So they're going back and I shall remain sadly free of ugly but comfortable shoes.

A thing I thought I'd hate but don't

I finally decided to try the Diva Cup and even though I was immensely skeptical, I think I might end up loving it. It's too early in our relationship to say for sure, but I'm optimistic.

A thing I like but don't know why

I've started watching Mad Men on Netflix and though I cannot begin to explain why, I really like it. Nothing even happens, and yet I continue to watch. A mystery.

A thing I read and liked

It took me a long time to read it, but I ended up really liking The Mermaid Garden by Santa Montefiore. I also enjoyed Laurie Notaro's new one, which I ripped through in about three days.

A thing I watched and liked

MB and I had dinner with friends this weekend and watched Guillermo del Toro's The Orphanage afterward. It was really lovely, satisfying creepy, and had a nice twist ending that I liked a lot.

A thing that makes me wistful

Two people I know with kids almost exactly Nico's age are expecting another baby. Part of me feels sad and wishes we ready for that step. Part of me is saying For God's sake, woman, you haven't even weaned the first one yet! For all his gangly limbs and newfound independence, Nico really is quite a little guy yet. I suppose I'll know when it's time to try for another, right? But still...sigh.

Reading:  Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Playing:  Sublime, but only when Nico's not in the car

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I'm gonna start calling it Win-terest

A week or so ago a friend of a friend posted on facebook that she was going out over the weekend to buy an oil drip pan to use as a kid's magnet board. MB and I had decided only days before that we wanted to buy a magnetic dry erase board for Nico's playroom so he'd have a place to play with his letter and number magnets (we have a stainless fridge). Intrigued, I posted to request more info and she replied with a Pinterest link to this. My love for Pinterest is assured, now, because of how great this turned out:

We got the pan at Walmart for ten bucks. Ten bucks! The white board we considered buying last weekend was eight dollars and was only 16x20. The installation was a bit tricky because none of our drill bits were sharp enough to drill through the pan. MB ended up punching a starter hole with a nail and then tapping the screw in with a hammer to make the hole big enough.* He put a hole in each corner and then one at top and bottom center. We attached it to the wood paneling in the playroom, so we were able to just drive the screws directly into the wall. If you're attaching one to an actual drywall wall, you may want to look into drywall screw mount thingies or Velcro or hanging hooks or something.

I am totally pumped about this and so pleased that it worked out pretty much exactly as I envisioned. Nico seemed quite excited, too, and thus all the other photos I have of him trying it out are a little blurry:

Reading:  It Looked Different on the Model by Laurie Notaro

Playing:  The King is Dead by the Decemberists

*that's what she said

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I'm posting as part of Ramble Ginger's typical day link-up dealie. My typical Tuesdays - Fridays go something like this:

5:20 AM  MB's alarm goes off and he gets up to shower (he reports to work at 6:00 AM). At this point, my life becomes a nested set of if / then statements: If Nico stays asleep (or wakes up but is happy to play quietly in his crib), then I get to go back to sleep. If Nico wakes up fussing, then I get him and bring him back to bed with me. If he falls alseep on my chest, then I get to nap with him (my favorite). If he doesn't, then his choices are to hang out on the bed or to go and play with his toys in his room. If he chooses the play in his room option, then sometimes I get to go back to sleep for a while (second favorite).

7:13 AM  my alarm goes off

7:30 AM - 7:45 AM  I actually get out of bed, with varying degrees of speed depending on whether or not I'm late.

7:45 - 8:00 AM  brush teeth / wash face / put on work clothes / change Nico's diaper...there are immense benefits to being a girl who wears her hair in a bun every day and doesn't own any makeup.

8:00 - 8:15 AM  Put Nico in his high chair and give him a bowl of Kix, goldfish, and rice puffs. Throw lunch items I assembled the night before into my lunch box. Give dog his "family is leaving, you are staying" slice of cheese (He used to be crated during the day, and he got a slice of cheese as a treat if he went into his crate when he was told. He came to associate the cheese with staying behind and behaving, so we still give it to him so he knows he's supposed to stay behind and behave. On the rare occasion that I forget the cheese, he shames me with the force of his mournful expression.) Let Nico pick two trucks to take for the day.

8:15 - 8:30 AM  Drive Nico to my parents' house, where he'll eat breakfast and be dressed for the day. Drive to work.

8:30 AM  Eat some kind of portable breakfast at work (banana, leftover biscuit, granola bar, etc). If I don't have a morning program, I usually check my email, voicemail, and facebook before starting whatever tasks I have on my list for the day. If I do have a program, I make sure all supplies and paperwork are pulled and get ready to start at 9:00

9:00 - 11:30 AM  Present program or do miscellaneous work stuff

11:30 AM - noon  Eat lunch. If I was on time, I eat in the kitchen and read. If I need to make up some time, I eat at my desk.

12:00 - 2:00 PM  Usually miscellaneous work tasks, rarely a program, sometimes a meeting

2:00 - 3:00 PM  the slowest hour of every day, often spent bullshitting with the guy who sits across from me

3:00 - 5:00 PM  If I have things to do, this portion of the day flies by so that I barely get done. If I don't, it's not too slow and I try to finish up odds and ends for the next day.

5:00 - 5:30 PM  Pick Nico up, head home (Unless it's Wednesday. On Wednesday we eat at Mom & Dad's, go to swimming lessons, and get home around 7:30.)

5:30 - 6:30 PM  Dinner, setting up Nico's play yard, changing clothes, etc

6:30 - 8:00 PM  time we try to give pretty much exclusively to Nico, though sometimes there are chores that have to be done

8:00 - 8:30  Nico's bedtime - brush teeth, pjs, bedtime stories, nursing, songs, into the crib

8:30 - midnight  pick up Nico's toys, do laundry or dishes or other chores, pack lunch for the next day, watch Netflix with MB, footle on the internet, maybe write a blog post, possibly fall asleep on the couch, eventually realize I've stayed up far too late

12:00 - 12:45 AM  shower!

1:00 AM  go to bed, for the love of God

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ho ho ho

My message board girls did a Christmas in July exchange for the second year in a row, and I got my package today.

That cupcake pouch is the cutest tiny manicure set of all time. I suppose I could've taken the silica pouch out before I took the photo:

Nico got a present, too! I loved the frog wrapping paper:

Hilarious levels of toddler skepticism:

I have about six photos of him, and in all of them he's wearing the same expression and is removing a teeny shred of paper. Eventually he got it open:

Secret Santa is always fun, but something about it being in the summer, in a season that's usually without random giftage, makes it even better. If you have a passel of awesome internetty friends (or even local friends), I heartily recommend it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mostly house-y stuff

An old friend gave Nico a really amazing gift this past weekend:

She created this freehand after receiving a bag of colorful scraps that reminded her of the wings of the butterfly from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. (I keep telling her she needs to start an Etsy shop, because this is just one of the many amazing things she's made.) I posted an admiring comment on an early in-progress facebook picture, and she later surprised me by deciding to give it to Nico upon completion. Since Nico doesn't use blankets yet (and won't even tolerate a sheet across his feet when he's in my bed) and since, hello, this thing is AMAZING, I think I'm going to hang it on the wall above his crib. Does anyone have any tips on hanging a quilt as art? It's pretty small as quilts go, only 37" across the top. Some cursory googling indicates that I should probably stitch a pocket onto the back to slide a dowel through, and then use the dowel as support for the hanging mechanism. My friend Rachel suggested using a hollow rod so that I can run a ribbon or invisible nylon line through the center and have the rod completely hidden behind the quilt. Would a piece of small-diameter PVC pipe work? I love this idea because it wouldn't require a lot of hardware on the wall, and because if Nico wants to use it as a blanket someday, it'll be simple to remove the pocket.

Advise me (again), internets

MB and I have been talking a bit lately about what room we want to redo next, on the hypothetical future day when we have a little bit of money set aside. I think we're going to address the living room first since our current couch has a spot the size of a loaf of bread where the upholstery has worn through to the stuffing, but I've also been daydreaming about redoing our little half bath off the kitchen. It's got the fantastic original 1940 tile and sink, which we aren't going to touch, but the wallpaper with pastel blue seashells must go. So what color would you paint a very small bathroom tiled in white, black, and a very light gray? What curtains would you put in there after painting?

Here's the best photo I have of the tile, since I'm too lazy to go take and upload a new one at the moment...the tiles are pretty small:


I can't remember who, but one of my facebook friends posted a video the other day with a tutorial on how to fold a fitted sheet so it doesn't look like a big wadded-up ball. I tried it tonight, and damned if it didn't work like a charm. I love that the first comment under the video is "Shit...he's already married."

Braggy McBraggerson

Nico "reading" a picture book:

And now, bedtime!

Reading:  The Mermaid Garden by Santa Montefiore (Yes, still, OMG.)

Playing:  Sublime

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Beware the cantaloupe!

My boss drives about 200 miles of middle-of-nowhere highway on the weekends and has been bringing back great roadside produce for a couple of weeks now. He gave me this HUGE cantaloupe this week, since Nico likes them. We hadn't finished the last huge roadside cantaloupe he brought, so the new one was sitting on the shelf unit by the fridge, uncut. It was fine when we put it over there on Tuesday. To my knowledge it was fine Wednesday. It seems either Wednesday night or while we were at work Thursday morning it went horribly, aggressively bad and leaked awful rotten cantaloupe juice all over the shelf and the floor. I was unaware that cantaloupes are actually evil, but it seems that they are.

There's no polite way to put this: when Nico and I got home from nursing group at 3:00, our entire kitchen smelled of unwashed crotch. After eyeballing the dog with great suspicion, I realized it was the cantaloupe. And Nico had passed out asleep in the car and he only stays asleep on someone's lap in that situation, so I ended up sitting on the couch with him for like 2 hours, smelling this horrid crotch melon smell. MB wanted to go out to dinner, and once he was home and Nico was up I only had time to throw the melon out and wipe up the juice, but not to clean under the shelf thingie or mop the floor. So when we got back, the house still smelled like crotch. After Nico was in bed I spent 45 minutes moving everything off the shelves, wiping them down, cleaning stuff from the shelves that got splattered, and sweeping / swiffering / steam mopping the floor. Then I burned incense and a candle with the kitchen window open.

Okay, you're thinking, no biggie...everyone encounters a rotten melon every now and then. But oh, my friends, it gets worse. Friday at work, I went to get my lunch out of the fridge. I moved a cantaloupe on the top shelf while looking for my apple, and discovered that it and its identical buddy had both turned semi-liquefied overnight. Apparently it was a suicide pact of some kind. And thus, for the second time in 24 hours, I got to mop up nasty crotch-y rotten melon juice. It seems I have done something to anger the cantaloupe gods. I'm not sure what I did but I assure you, I wholly regret it. Beware the cantaloupes, y'all. BEWARE.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

I think I might have ADD, but -- hey, a squirrel!

Okay, lame joke. And possibly offensive, except that I actually do have ADD and therefore feel like I'm entitled to a few jokes on the subject. Usually it's not that big a deal, except for nights like tonight, when I go to the grocery to pick up a few things and don't realize until the cashier has scanned my wine and ice cream and baby wipes and tomatoes that I don't have my wallet. Because it's in my bag. At my house. Gaaaaah. Luckily I live about five minutes from the store, but still. The whole debacle resulted in a grocery trip plus medicinal Starbucks after-trip that ate up an entire hour of my life. The M&M blast blondie was almost worth it, but not quite.

Pretend this is a cute segue

I signed up for this local playgroup message board a few months ago. I'm not sure why, other than I guess I like the idea of a playgroup. I probably should've known this was not my style of playgroup when the lead mom repeatedly referred to the members getting together to "share our most precious possessions...our children!" But I've been trying to give it a fair shot, despite rolling my eyes at their slightly over the top momthusiasm. They keep planning playdates only for 11 AM - 1 PM on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and then reminding everyone that we have to participate at least once a month to stay in the group. I replied to one of the reminder posts with a note that I supposed we'd be booted out of the group since I am always at work at those times, and the lead mom was nice enough to book a playdate for Monday morning. So of course I said we'd go, even though it was at a local version of Pump It Up, which I fully expected to be on par with Clara's recent Chuck E Cheese experience. Then all the playgroup people bailed on going, but I had psyched myself up for it and thought Nico might really like it, so we went anyway. (Are you laughing at me? I can hear you laughing.)

It wasn't circle-of-hell bad, though it was at this random murder-van warehouse in the middle of an industrial park out in BFE with no official signs or anything. And come to think of it, it was pretty hot in there with all the motors running on the inflatables. Really, though, not as bad as expected. I was on my guard against other people's shithead kids since a friend of mine had posted on facebook about two ridiculous encounters with other people's kids just this past weekend alone, but that also went better than expected. At one point, Nico was playing with these three random balls he'd found lying in the middle of the floor and an older toddler came up and took one of them right out of his hand. My poor sheltered solo-childcare-flyer only child, he literally watched the little boy walk up and looked curiously at his own hand as the child removed the ball from his grasp. Then the other kid took off and Nico pointed after him incredulously and shouted, "Ball?" Before I could think of what to say, the child's mother hustled him back over and made him return the pilfered item, informing him that "We do not take toys away." Mental high five, other mom! Later on a bossy little shithead kid did steal one of the balls while I was tossing them to Nico and ran around with it (not even playing with it, just carrying it around with him), but since we already had two, I decided to let that one go. I did keep my eye on that kid after that, though.

Oh, and the reason we were playing with balls at a bouncy place? Nico wanted nothing to do with the inflatables. I tried putting him in the special toddlers-only one and as soon as his feet touched it, he was all "What the blue hell is this nonsense?" and "This surface does not seem very stable, mother." He was obviously curious about the bigger slide thing they had, but every time I offered to help him climb it, he flipped out. Now I have an excuse not to go to bouncy houses for at least a few more months. I'll call that one a win, I think, even though I did pay $6 for my kid to spend 45 minutes throwing miniature foursquare balls and crawling through a plastic Little Tykes house. But hey! He did it in the presence of other children, so I can count it as social experience, right?

Wait just a minute, who is that grown-ass child wearing my son's clothes?

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Slightly shiny and new

I don't know if anyone else will notice, but MB overhauled my template this weekend and I think it looks pretty sharp. I toyed with the idea of really having him change it up, but in the end I decided I still really love the original masthead he made for me back in the day. The stuff he did change I like, and he also fixed a lot of backdoor html stuff that was apparently all wrong and so five years ago. If anything doesn't work, please let me know...I've been test-clicking stuff, but I don't usually visit my own blog as a reader, so I might be missing things.

Multimedia, hooray!

I think I mentioned before that we got rid of our cable package when my job situation changed at the beginning of the year. We got an Apple TV and a Netflix account and it has really worked out well. After a long string of mediocre-to-terrible (not-so) scary movies, we have finally hit on a few winners. First we watched this weird little indie movie called Ink which turned out to be much better than expected. It starts out with barely any exposition at all and gets weird right away, but if you stick with it, it pays off. There's one scene I really loved, which you can watch here if you don't mind a slight spoiler:

Then the other night I finally watched Winter's Bone and oh my hell, you guys. Literally gut-wrenching. I am not usually too affected by movies, but about halfway through I started feeling like I might throw up if it didn't end well. (It did, but it got much worse first.) It's an amazing film, but there's really not a scrap of happiness in it. It was scarier to me than any of the horror movies we've watched, just because it was so real and so bleak. Brilliant but possibly scarring, consider yourself warned.

Oh, and if you just want something fluffy and like slightly cheesy dance movies, there's a movie on Netflix instant called B-Girl that's actually highly decent.

Clearance wins

I have been really, really good about avoiding extraneous shopping lately, but I found some things at Barnes & Noble today that I could not pass up. For $2.24 each (75% off plus additional 10% member's discount), I got two 24-piece Very Hungry Caterpillar puzzles (this one and this one) and a small stuffed Max from Where the Wild Things Are to put away for Nico in a year or so, and also a really cool Dover clip art set of 1920s fashion for my dear friend Kate. I wanted to buy the clip art set a few weeks ago but couldn't afford it at 50% off (original price was $24.95), but at 85% off, I could definitely justify it. I can't wait to send it to her. Today's steals made me feel better about walking away from the fifteen clearance racks of baby / toddler clothes at BRU yesterday. I also had a little bit of money to spend on Nico and blew his car-crazy mind with this book, in which he has pointed out every set of wheels at least twice already.

In a bit of reverse-shopping, I dropped off two big boxes of stuff at a very cool consignment shop and got $20 back for stuff they've already sold for me. I could get used to getting paid to declutter my house.

Mayday, mayday, mayday

I am impossibly buried under the weight of my google reader and I don't know what to do. Every time I go in with the intention of culling my subscriptions, I end up wringing my hands and fretting and not deleting any. This is colossally dumb since I'm pretty sure very few of the bloggers I read even know I exist due to the fact that I have less time to comment than I do to read blogs. But seriously, how do you guys figure out who to cut and who to keep? Do you just mark all as read and leave things as they are? I've tried that a few times and I always just end up buried again. First world problems, I have them!

Just because

Today is MB's and my 7th wedding anniversary and also the 11th anniversary of the day we met. I tried to find a non-identity-revealing photo from our wedding day to post, but couldn't find any I liked. I did, however, rediscover one of my all-time favorite photos of Nico, taken a year ago this past week:

He's much cuter than me anyway, even seven-years-ago me. (Good Lord do we look young in our wedding photos, though.)

Reading:  The Mermaid Garden by Santa Montefiore

Playing:  Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes

Friday, August 05, 2011