Welcome to my less than perfect life!

Embracing the imperfections that make my life practically perfect in every way.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

November is Prematurity Awareness Month

I have been blessed in my life to know lots of premature babies.  Many of my friends have had premies.  I  have had two premature babies myself.  Many of these children have flourished under the care of experts who worked tirelessly to ensure a happy, healthy future for them.

Many do not.

Our son, Phoenix Jude, was born on April 11, 2008.  He was born in the 27th week of gestation.  He and I had already been in the hospital for several weeks by that point on a long term maternity ward (something I didn't even know existed until this point in my life).  I had developed extremely high blood pressure and eventually my son had to be born in order to try and save both of our lives.

Phoenix weighed one pound and 12oz.  He was on a ventilator and a feeding tube and catheter and every other supportive device you can think of.  He was just 12 inches long at birth.

He had a lot of challenges and, after three days, he succumbed to these and died on April 14th, 2008.  I still love him and think of him every single day.  I know that his life had meaning just as it was and that he taught me and so many people who met him the power their love could have.  And he helped teach his medical caregivers more so that they could help better care for other premature babies.

Just under one year later on March 23, 2009, our daughter, The Nugget, was born.  She was born at 35 weeks gestation after several months of bed rest.  Though she was five weeks early, she was already seven pounds.

While she needed to be in a special care nursery for close monitoring, she thrived and was able to come home with us when I checked out of the hospital myself.

Because of these two beautiful children, I support the March of Dimes.  In their own words:

Every year, more than half a million babies are born prematurely in the United States. The rate of premature birth has risen by 30 percent since 1981. 

Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death worldwide. Even babies born just a few weeks too soon can face serious health challenges and are at risk of lifelong disabilities. Premature birth costs society more than $26 billion a year. 

In 2003, the Prematurity Campaign was launched to address the crisis and help families have healthy, full-term babies. In 2008, the March of Dimes Board of Trustees extended the Prematurity Campaign globally, and in 2009 the March of Dimes released the first global estimates showing the serious toll of preterm birth worldwide. 

The March of Dimes works different channels of influence to reduce premature birth rates. One way is to raise public awareness of the serious issue and to invest in education of moms-to-be and health care providers. We also support medical advances and knowledge. Every year, new promising research studies are funded through our Prematurity Research Initiative. Advocacy efforts have opened the door to more federal funding for prematurity research and education. 

The campaign is already showing signs of success, including a recent 3 percent decline in the premature birth rate. With more than 1,400 babies born too soon every day, much work is still to be done. 

Find out how you can get involved by visitinghttp://www.MarchofDimes.com/Fight.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sweet Dreams are Made of This

Recently The Mister and I have had a shift in our schedules.  He got a promotion (go baby!) and I continue to work my normal schedule.  This means The Nugget has entered daycare for about 3 hours a day because The Mister works afternoons/evenings and I work days.  The Nugget goes to daycare from 1:00PM-4:00PM four days a week.  The entrance into this setting caused the cursory gnashing of teeth, wringing of hands, tears and anxiety for all, but she has actually settled in quite nicely and very much enjoys her outings to see her friends.

Our big problem is that The Nugget's normal nap time falls about 2:00PM.  When I say "normal", I mean this is the schedule that she has set for herself over the course of time.  She just tends to get tired about that time of day.  With the daycare schedule as it is, she is now arriving for a play date when she would normally be napping.  Knowing this going into the situation, I attempted to plan accordingly.

Our first plan of attack was to have a snack upon returning home and then take a short nap (30-45 minutes).  WRONG.  She kept waking up a whining, fussing wreck.  Okay, we'll try for an hour.  WRONG.  If possible, even a whinier, grumpier mess.  Okay...I guess I'll try letting her sleep as long as she feels like (which, up to this point in her life, is what she is used to).  WRONG.  Is it possible that she is an even WHINIER, fussier child than ever?  FRICK!

I don't see The Nugget a lot on weekdays.  The first time I see her Monday-Friday is when I get home at 4:00PM.  She is in bed by 8:00PM.  I don't want to spend the little time I have with her yelling, "Cut it out!  You're pissing me off driving me crazy!"  Whining is just one of those behaviors I have very.  little. tolerance for.  It's like everything reduces her to a puddle of goo with the tears and the kicking and the wah wah wah.  The kid is quite verbally astute, so the whining is even more superfluous because she knows the words for anything she wants or needs.

So, I'm trying to drop the nap.  I, like many parents, was hoping she would nap until at least age 17, but it's just not working for us anymore.  Last night was our first trial, and she had such a great night!  It was clear she was a bit tired, but SO much more pleasant and easy to be with.  I liked hanging out with her again.  I adjusted her bed time earlier to help make up for any lost sleep, and she went down without a hitch and did great.  We'll keep trying this approach; it sure makes us both a lot happier!  Of course, I'll miss my nap time to get projects done while she naps, but this trade off will save my sanity.

And now, gratuitous cuteness from Halloween:

My pumpkin fairy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

HAZMAT to the bathtub

So I am giving The Nugget her bath the other night.  All is right with the world; she is splashing and playing and having a fine time, which she usually does while bathing.  A few minutes in, though, I hear a little "toot".  And then she says, "poop."

I will remind you all that The Nugget is not potty trained.  She appears to be able to make some sort of loose association with the word poop, but she has never once gone on the potty or accurately alerted me to her need to (or completion of) poop.

So, I say, "Do you have to poop?"  Those of you who read this blog will know that her response was, "Okay."  She then went on to continue splashing and playing, so I assumed that she had probably just had some gas and continued watching her play.

Bad decision.

Pretty soon, The Nugget is making what can only be described as a "poop face".  I go into overdrive, grabbing the potty seat and latching it onto the toilet and whisking her out of the tub and... realizing that I was too late.  Amid the thousand toys that were floating in her bath water, we had the unmistakable reality of poop.

Prior to encountering this situation, I had somehow imagined that if the child ever pooped in the tub it would be no big deal.  I would just scoop the offending poop out of the tub and we would commence with the bath.  Clearly, my imagination left a lot to be desired.  In reality, the poop immediately starts dissolving in the water.  It is touching EVERYTHING in the stupid tub.  I have a sopping wet baby standing in the bathroom (who also takes this opportunity to pee on the floor) and I have to stick my freaking hand into the now contaminated tub water in order to drain it.  Grrrrr!

Lucky for me, some time ago I bought the nugget a tiny toy fishing net for the bathtub.  It did not at all occur to me at the time, but this little baby came in quite handy in this situation.  At least for the big, nasty pieces I could readily scoop them into the net and flush them away!  Now that just left boiling and bleaching and scrubbing, oh my.

Of course, the more pressing issue was my freezing, wet daughter who was by now standing in a puddle of her own urine.  Super duper.  So, I grabbed the babe in a towel, threw another towel down to sop up the pee and shut the bathroom door and didn't go back in there for two days.

Don't judge.  You'd be in no rush to tackle this task either.  Besides, I eventually got to the boiling water and bleach part of the operation.

In the meantime, the big lessons learned from this experience were:

1.  My imagination and reality have little to do with one another.
2.  I need some sort of HAZMAT team on speed dial for these situations.  I am ill equipped to handle them.
3.  I will believe The Nugget the next time she tells me she needs to poop.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tip. The Sippy. Up.

Okay, those of you who are fans of Young Frankenstein, go back and read the title to the tune of, "Put.  Zie candle.  Back."  Couldn't resist.

Now, welcome to one of my most perplexing issues with The Nugget.  The child appears to be incapable of tipping her sippy cup.  I know some of you are already reacting with, "it's because you are doing it for her."  I admit that we do it for her, but it is because she will. not. do. it.

Not only will she not do it, she appears to be oblivious to the fact that she is not doing it most of the time.  If we give her the type of sippy cup that requires tipping, she will often just stand there sucking on the spout and drawing in air.  She may stay completely content like this for loooong minutes on end.  Until mommy finally snaps and gently lifts it up and explains, for the millionth time, "tip it up."  As soon as I let go, down goes the cup.  Occasionally she will realize she is getting nothing to drink and look to one of us and plead, "help".  But often she just continues to suck the air.

The Mister tells me not to worry about this matter.  And I obsess about it constantly don't, except I find it very odd that she is unable to master this skill.  She never was interested in holding her bottles when she drank out of them and never did.  When we first started cups at age 6 months, I figured she would just grow into wanting to tip them.  I had no idea that well into her 18th month of life she would still be perplexed by this notion.  Of course, we long ago solved the need to be enslaved by her drinking needs by giving her some sippies with straws, but still, I ask you, what is the deal?

The Nugget was born 5 weeks premature.  Sometimes I puzzle over whether this is some kind of bizarre developmental hangover due to prematurity.  She was just recently at the pediatrician who said she was the most brilliant child she'd ever seen developing well.  Her language skills are excellent and she can speak at a two year old level and count to 10 and recognize some numbers and letters.  Her physical development otherwise seems very good, as well.  She walks, runs, walks backwards, holds a crayon to scribble, climbs stairs, uses utensils sometimes and is practically perfect in every way.  Did she just not get the cup-tipping gene?  Maybe it skips generations?

I am already making home school plans because I don't know how I can be sure in the future that she is staying hydrated without my constant attention.  These are the sacrifices a mother has to make.  If I have to continue living with her until she marries, well, so be it.

I am just hoping that she marries someone who is very understanding and will be willing to continue to tip her cups for her into old age.  Otherwise, I don't know what she's going to do once The Mister and I are gone.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Spider Alert!

It's been a couple of years now since The Mister and I moved into our current house.  Previously we lived in a 70 year old bungalo in the downtown area of Indianapolis.  We now live further out in the 'burbs near a lovely park and reservoir.  We have lots of trees and wildlife.  And spiders.  Lots and lots of spiders.

Now, before you spider lovers out there attack, I want you to know that I appreciate the spider for its role in the world.  If I am outdoors and I see a spider, other than possibly shooing it away from my space, I leave it alone.  I want spiders in my garden to keep out the other pests.  Where I don't want spiders is in my home.

In our old house, which had been lived in by the same man for over 40 years, I NEVER saw a spider.  I know that sounds crazy but it's true.  I don't know, maybe we had some spider-eating snake that lived there.  But, if we did, I never saw the snake, either.  I was thinking, old house, lots of spiders and creepy things.  I don't know if the guy before us just sprayed a lot of pesticides or what (we never did), but the bugs were not coming into that house.

Now we live in a brand new house and we are under constant attack.  We see one at least once a day if not two or three times a day.  You open the door to the bathroom and sit down on the toilet, there is one staring at you from under the sink.  You start to run the bath water for the baby, one runs out from behind her tub toy holder.  You think you are going to take the child out to play but one runs in the door when you open it and then goes to hide behind the play kitchen.  They are mostly just wolf spiders, big and ugly but harmless, but I DO NOT want them in the house.  So, I am sorry, but I have to kill the ones that come into the house.  Mostly, I grab some paper towel and squish them as quickly and painlessly as I can (I do have a heart).  Sometimes they are so freaking big I have to get out the vacuum to suck them up.  Then I have to not vacuum for a week because I don't want to clean out the trap because what if they are not dead in there???

The worst one we ever saw, and I ask you to brace yourself, was a spider with babies on its back.  Oh, no, I didn't know this existed, either, until one night when The Nugget was about 3 months old and we sat as a family during the late evening in our living room.  She was resting quietly in her swing.  The Mister and I were watching a movie.  Suddenly, The Mister says, "What the hell is THAT?"

Now, to be fair, The Mister is known to trend a bit toward the dramatic.  I did not initially even move from my cozy spot on the couch.  Glancing around, I saw nothing.  But as his eyes zeroed in, I felt the fear and panic rise as my eyes followed his to this HUGE shadow on the floor.  A big, black shadow right near our fireplace which was just INCHES from our innocent baby girl.

At this point, chaos ensued.  The Mister attempted the usual maneuver of grabbing a bunch of paper towels to squish the spider while I ran back and forth across the living room shouting, "Get it, get it, get it!"  I had not yet realized that there were babies on the spider, I just thought it was really huge.  Needless to say, when The Mister hit it with the paper towel, babies went everywhere!  Ack!

Now it occurred to me to get the vacuum (this was the first time the vacuum trick had needed to be employed in our spider wars).  While we both tried to squelch our cases of heebie jeebies, I threw the vacuum at The Mister who began chasing after what seemed like hundreds of babies.  Fearing they had run into the fireplace, we turned that on and then, for good measure, we cleaned the entire house because we were totally freaked out.  We then spent the rest of our evening alternately shivering and saying, "Ewwww".

All the while, The Nugget slept peacefully in her swing.  One day when she is old enough to appreciate it I will Google the photo of "spider with babies on back" and she will know what we faced in order to protect her.  The brave among you may choose to look it up now but, I warn you, it is not for the faint of heart.

Spiders, if you are reading this, I am sorry I have killed so many of your kind.  I would prefer not to do it.  I just want you to live outside and allow my family to live inside.  Alone.  And if you could please stop startling me every chance you get, that would be nice, too.  Finally, if there is any way I can get reimbursed for all of the paper towel I have gone through trying to rid my house of your kind, I would love that because I use the good stuff and it's not cheap.  But, you know, just the leaving alone thing would be great, too.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

18 Months Old

It's The Nugget's year and a half birthday today.   I cannot believe how the time has flown.  I mean, a YEAR and a HALF.  I still look at her sometimes and expect to see this:

And I am sometimes surprised to look into a little girl's face and not a baby's face.

So, in honor of her half-birthday, to The Nugget, I say this:

I am so very blessed to be amazed, challenged and loved by you, my beautiful daughter, every day.
At age 18 months, you definitely have a voice of your own.  We love this about you, though it can sometimes be frustrating.  You know what you want and when and how.  This can lead to tears when we can't understand or can't provide what you want, but these periods are generally short-lived.  Your Daddy and I want you to be a strong, independent woman with your own voice in the world and we  encourage you to use that voice of yours.  To help in that department, you are learning vocabulary at an amazing rate and now use many 3 and even some 4 word sentences.

We have had a busy summer of adventure together.  You have had your first trip to the zoo, joined the Children's Museum and gone there on several occasions, attended your first rock concert at the Children's Museum with Jenny Devoe playing.  Daddy had to stop you from rushing the stage:

We have had trips to the state fair, pony rides with family, long walks on the canal and tons of time swimming, playing in the sand and, in general, playing outside.  You have loved every minute of our adventures!

You love right now:  Mickey Mouse, Elmo, and Barney (not necessarily in that order).  You love to eat tomatoes (you say, "May-nose") and especially like to pick them from the vines in our yard.  You enjoy closing doors of all kinds.  You love to read and will request most books by name.  Current favorites include Poppy and Max (which you call "Mack") and Hillside Lullaby (which you call "Coo Coo" because of the birds saying it in the story).  You also will request most every night that I sing Baby Mine to you after I read you stories and you let me rock you.  There have been periods where you have not wanted to be rocked, and I am thankful that you are currently in a more cuddly mode.

Your best friends are Piggy, your Piglet doll with whom you sleep, and Frolic, our family dog.  You have started to pretend more and more and will pretend to feed Piggy a bottle or make him shout "hooray" and clap.  You stick like glue to Frolic sometimes which makes her a bit nervous, but she adores you and especially loves to wait at your side during meals for the falling bits of food!

You have graduated from a high chair to a booster seat at the table, something you think is especially cool.  You wake in the morning and, once hungry, sit at your seat demanding, "bagel" and "milk".  You really are a great eater though the typical toddler trademark of having some more cautious tendencies is creeping in.  You make Daddy and I laugh by demanding cake all of the time, but your favorite thing to eat in all the world is berries of any kind.  Next up is mandarin oranges.  After that, you'll pretty much go for anything at most times.

All in all, my love, parenting you has been the highlight of my life.  You are an absolute delight who helps me remember to stop and enjoy the small things.  You help me remember that there is value in just playing in the dirt.  I cannot thank you enough for being exactly who you are and for the chance to be your Mommy.  I am looking forward to the years unfolding ahead and hoping that they don't rush by too quickly.  I love you!

Monday, September 13, 2010


The Nugget has found a new way to get The Mister and I to say yes to things.  Or so she thinks.  It's simple, really.  She merely mentions the thing that she wants to do or to have, for example, "cake".  As the parents of a toddler, we are used to repeating what she says in order to ensure that we understand her meaning and praise correct use of words.  She has turned this repeating against us.  When we repeat something, such as the word cake, back to her, she immediately says, "Okay."  In her mind, it's a done deal.  She has requested cake and we have agreed to provide it.  Thanks Mom!  Thanks Dad!

Needless to say, once she realizes that, no, we have not agreed to her demand, there is much gnashing of teeth.  And screaming.  And sca-reeming!  Possibly tears as well.  After all, historically she has only known how to ask for things that we would certainly provide if she requested.  Things like milk, bezzies (that's berries, people; get with the program) or Elmo.  Reasonable things.  Now we have, "outside", called out during the rain or the 95 degree heat.  She calls constantly for cake even though I think she's only eaten it twice in her life!  Not to mention the frequent demand for "Mih Mouh" (again, hel-lloo, Micky Mouse Club House.  Duh.).  Sadly the Club House folks have not consulted The Nugget or myself on their programming times.

Anyway, she's pretty disappointed with this stage in life.  Oh, the grim realization that you actually cannot get WHATEVER you want.  Valuable, but painful.  Imagine, however, if this little trick worked for us.  Want some increased cash flow?  Just head up to the boss and say, "Raise."  She repeats it, wondering why you are grunting in mono-syllables at her and, okay, it's yours!  Tropical vacation in mind?  Hit your parents up with, "Hawaii."  Not only is the trip implied, but baby sitting as well.  Okay!  Wish your lawn looked nicer?  Head over to the neighbor kid and shout, "Mow!"  He repeats and, well, okay, look who's mowing your lawn this weekend!

The kid may be on to something, okay?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Two Be or Not Two Be, Is That The Question?

I know I am not the only parent in the world who wrestles with the idea of whether or not to have more children.  I am in what feels like a constant internal struggle with this idea.  The Mister would be perfectly happy to stay with just one, and I can respect that.  Then again, The Mister probably would have been happy to stay at zero, but I see how he is one of the most wonderful, loving fathers I have ever seen and know that he was meant to do this.

The Mister has a few good reasons why he doesn't think we should at least give birth to another child.  I have had two quite complicated pregnancies.  He doesn't want to stress my body anymore.  He doesn't want to wind up being an only parent.  I get it.  BUT...there is a question in my mind about having just one more.  He has tentatively agreed IF the OB/GYN says he would allow it for his own daughter or wife if she had gone through similar situations.  That seems fair.

Of course, if we don't have our biological child, we could adopt.  I have always been a fan of adoption and know that this would be a great way to expand our family, too.  IF we expand our family, that is.

I am looking to answer the question of whether The Nugget is an only child or not daily.  When I see pictures of larger families I think, "see, they did it.  I could do it."  When I meet only children I ask them, "so how do you feel about that?  Is it okay or do you feel you missed out?".  I frequently ask The Nugget, but she doesn't seem to know what I am talking about.

People offer up lots of pros and cons: "Don't put all of your eggs in one basket" is a good one.  Like if The Nugget becomes an enormous screw-up I won't care because there's always number two?  Or the ever-popular "You don't want to leave it all to her to care for you when you are old".  I work with the elderly.  First of all,  you cannot count on your kids to take care of you at all when you are old.  You can hope, but you cannot count on it.  Secondly, I find that the majority of responsibility falls on one child anyway.  Not having more kids will just save the resentment she would otherwise feel toward less than helpful siblings.

Then there are the more altruistic advice-givers.  Those who suggest we should be decreasing the world's population and therefore one is plenty.  Of course, we could look to simply stabilize the world's population.  In that scenario, two is perfect.  Plenty to replace ourselves on the planet but not grow it.  And others would argue that if we are good parents (and I think that we are), we have some sort of civic duty to have more kids and try to balance out the not-so-good parents out there.  That's a lot of pressure!

Finances play no small role in my tortured thought process.  One child is oh-so affordable compared with two or three.  We are barely paying the bills now, let alone with another couple of years of diapers to look forward to.  Yes, we would figure it all out just like we did when we plunged forward into baby number one, but do we WANT to struggle for years to come?

And one child is just so darned PORTABLE.  On days like today, I think that this toddler stage might kill me (she's taken recently to shouting at the top of her lungs when even mildly irritated).  I can't imagine having TWO of these little people to wrangle.

Then, of course, I see baby bedding and nursery decor and I just MELT.  I have to tell you, I already have a second nursery decorated in my mind.  AND another name picked out for the second child.  We talk about that second child by name.  Another friend told me she perceives signs like that to be the little spirit tapping on your shoulder saying, "I want to come home."  So, if we DON'T have baby number two, was there never a spirit?  Did the spirit pick another family?

I don't have any idea where this one is going to shake out.  I do wish there would be some BIG sign in my life to tell me what to do about it.  A crystal clear, no room for interpretation sign.  Cue the booming voice from the sky any time now...

I'll let you know if the voice calls out and, if so, what the voice says.  For now, I will spend my days alternately planning the nursery and getting rid of baby stuff.  And being exhausted with the discussion.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Best Day of the Month

My favorite day of the month is whenever this baby arrives in my mailbox:

It makes my heart go pitter-patter just seeing it lying there in my mail box.  I begin each reading with great debate over whether to plow right through it in one self-indulgent evening or savor it, stretching the reading out over the course of a week or so (I don't think I've ever made it last longer than that, save for possibly during those early, sleep deprived days of parenthood).

I was lucky enough to marry The Mister whose father and step mother had been getting this magazine which I somehow NEVER KNEW ABOUT for many years.  My first visit to their home became an opportunity to read as many back issues as down time would allow.  It was fabulous!

Lucky for me, those same wonderful in-laws got me a subscription to this magazine after seeing my zest for it at their home (and possibly wondering about this strange new daughter-in-law who would rather read magazine after magazine that interact with her family).  They thankfully accepted the introvert in me and have renewed this most awesome gift every year.

If you have never checked out Real Simple, I highly recommend rushing to the store to purchase one or heading straight over to the website: www.realsimple.com where you will find proof of its divinity.   There is a bit of something for everyone to savor in here.  Recipes, practical tips for every day living, fashion advice, organizing and human interest stories.  Just a few things I have learned to do (or do better) due to Real Simple's advice: cook on the grill, shave my armpits and throw easy get-togethers (not necessarily in that order).

Plus, I so love curling up with a magazine.  For me, on a quiet evening while The Mister is at work and The Nugget is in bed, there is little that tops curling up on the couch with a blanket and a Diet Coke to relish my magazine time.  The next best thing is the Pottery Barn catalog, which I feel counts as a magazine as it is so large and beautiful that it can often take me more than one sitting to pore over.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Smack Down

Oh, how my toddler taunts me with her rapidly changing emotional currents!  And so early!  I thought it was the terrible TWOS, but we are clearly in the one year old range now at 16 months.  Is there no mercy?

The Nugget has recently taken to tantrums.  Screaming.  Twisting.  Kicking.  The works.  She has always been a very well-behaved child, and, though I knew tantrums would come, I was still shocked by their arrival and by the ferocity of the things!  She has always had her own voice and an opinion about things, something The Mister and I have encouraged, but this voice is so angry and loud.  And embarrassing, I might add.  Totally, utterly embarrassing.

Some family came to visit the other day with their adorable four month old baby.  He is sweet natured and lovely and super smoochable.  Needless to say, I smooched.  How could I not?  I hold up the below picture as all the evidence you need:

 As you can see, the nugget was enjoying his company.  They  were sharing a moment with Elmo and having what I would consider a lovely time.  I knew to expect some jealousy; after all, the Nugget is an only child.  She is not used to sharing her parents very often.  I took care to make her feel loved, included and involved with me as well.  See:

Smooches all around!  Pretty soon, however, the Nugget thought that adorable little man was smelling like day old fish.  If he so much as looked at a toy of hers, she came and took it away.  Where she had been kissing and petting and showing him things, she now gave him one good WHACK on the head.  At first I thought she made a mistake, saying to her, "be gentle".  To ensure I understood her intent, she gave the poor little guy one more good WHACK on the head.

GAH!  Needless to say, this earned a time out along with much apologizing.  Vanishing cream, anyone?  I could have died!  My cousin handled it very well.  I know I would have been fuming if it was my baby who got smacked!  In the Nugget's defense, she was over-tired, but STILL.  

Maybe I will stop trying to steer her toward math and science oriented careers and start looking toward WWF.  At least the putting the smack down on someone is not only acceptable, but fully expected.  Of course, in the intervening years, I'm not sure how I'm going to channel that energy.  Let's hope adding chores as she grows older will wear her down a bit.  Until then, watch your babies, people!

The Nugget is on the loose!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Writing is on the Wall

I have been pondering what to put on my laundry room wall for...well, I suppose for about two and a half years.  Admittedly, I wasn't putting my FULL attention to this subject up until recently.  The topic has, however, had my full attention for some time.

We got a lovely platter as a house warming gift when we moved here.  It has mostly been in storage as it doesn't really go with most of my other serving pieces and, yes, I get a little nutty about that kind of thing.  I did think it was pretty, though, and it recently occurred to me after reading other blogs and seeing the general popularity of chalkboards that I could make the platter into a chalk board.  So, without further ado, I give you: the chalkboard project!

Here is the platter in question:

Isn't she purty?  Sadly, I realized only AFTER I dug out the platter that it had all of those frilly, scalloped edges to tape up.  In my mind's eye, the platter had been SQUARE on the inside and this project went much more smoothly.  Nevertheless, I forged ahead and attempted to tape up the scalloped edges.  I could not find my masking tape, so I used Scotch tape.  What?  Everybody's doing it!

I then turned to my Valspar fast dry chalkboard spray paint.  I put on about four coats over the course of a 24 hour period.  You don't really need to take that long, it dries in about an hour, I was just sidetracked by life.  Of course, I was spraying outdoors in a well-ventilated area and almost as soon as I started spraying, a moth flew into the paint and got stuck, leading me to cry out, "REALLY?"  I plucked him out and moved on.  The paint covered up his tracks pretty well.

I proceeded with great caution when it came time to peel the tape.  Unfortunately, my caution didn't really help.  Here is what it looked like:

Curse you, curvy edges!  I know it can't have been the tape I used that caused this problem!  Never fear, though, I have a solution at hand.  I will just make my ragged edges disappear beneath a beautiful, decorative trim edge:

I then applied my Disc Hanger http://www.dischangers.com/.  These things are super groovy and pretty affordable.  You do need to let them dry for 24 hours.

And, finally, I used my chalk marker (how sweet are these things?), hung the finished product on the laundry room wall and stood back to revel in my accomplishment!

Do you like her?  I thought the color of the plate went particularly well with paint in this room.  Plus, it was a very cheap project.  I had the chalkboard paint from another project, the platter was free, I had the chalk marker already as well.  Really I just paid for my Disc Hanger and then the cord trim to cover up my ugly tape work.  Less than a five dollar project!  I may hire a friend with better writing to re-do the sign, but all in all, I am pleased.

Hope you enjoyed it and would love to see any projects you have to share as well!

Monday, July 26, 2010


A few weeks ago we decided to try getting a dog friend for our current dog, Frolic. We used to have two dogs and one of them died about two years ago. I have wondered if Frolic was lonely as she has started to have some separation anxiety when we leave her. Keep in mind someone is in our home nearly every minute of every day; we only leave her for brief periods. Still, I was worried. What do I have to do other than worry about the emotional well-being of our dog? Plus, I have been in this whole, "embrace the chaos" space, thinking I need to, you know, embrace the chaos of family life.

So, after months of endlessly searching for a dog, I found one listed on Craigslist that I thought would be a good fit for us. Similar size, the owner said she liked other dogs, spayed, shots, etc. I called up and we scheduled for the dog (Zazzy) to come stay for a couple of overnights. Just a trial period to see if our dogs got along. The owner seemed very nice and clearly loved Zazzy and had a hard time leaving her there. It was heartbreaking when he left and heartbreaking to watch Zazzy look out the window after him - "Where ya' going, Dad? Can't I come?"

The Mister and I devoted much of the hour or so to trying to get the dogs comfortable together. Zazzy wanted little to do with Frolic. Frolic, on the other hand, was determined to run, jump and bark at Zazzy until she got her to play. Our daughter found these antics hilarious, and there was soon a very noisy zoo in the house.

I went to cook dinner and left the dogs and my family to fend for themselves in the mayhem. I was hustling and bustling roasting chicken and potatoes and feeling pretty much like the perfect wife and mother when suddenly I heard a shriek and a thud. I look over to see that The Nugget had just fallen out of the chair she was sitting in. Onto her face. Hard.

Yes, people, this is the part where my daughter breaks her tooth. My perfect, 15 month old daughter, breaks her tooth. You can feel free to remind me that I am all about embracing the "less than perfect" in life, and I really, truly am, but in the moment all I could do was have the next several years of my poor, half toothed child's photos running through my mind. So sue me, I can't always be in a zen state! It's cute to me now, just horrifying in the moment.

And, oh, did she cry. And cry. And cuh-ry! Soon, I too was crying. The Mister was walking around proclaiming, "I am a horrible father", because he was the one who put her into the chair. Zazzy peed on the floor. Frolic continued to bark. The cats were in deep hiding and growling anytime the new dog came near. And soon all I could think was, "this dog has got to go." She hadn't been here two hours and I now had her associated with this catastrophe and I knew this was it for old Zazzy; she was heading back to her dad's!

So, the next day I called up the Zazzy dad and scheduled a foreshortened end to her play date with us. Before you get too mad at me, note that she was quite possessive and did poorly with our dog and The Nugget over the next 24 hours, so I didn't feel so bad. And now, Frolic is back to being an only dog. I suspect that she will stay that way.

And The Nugget? She couldn't be any cuter if she tried! She's pretty proud of how she looks now!

Dog. Gone.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


The Nugget is at a point in her development where her vocabulary is just developing at an unbelievable rate. She has picked up on the fact that one of us often says "honey" to her when she needs soothing or to be nice. About 5:00AM, she began to fuss in her crib. I blindly listed toward her room, narrowly avoiding a fall in the hallway in my barely conscious stupor, to find her lying face down with tears streaming saying, "honey, honey" in the saddest way. I immediately scooped her up and rocked her back to sleep, all the while smiling because, if I am being honest, these are my favorite times as a parent. I know many of you are cringing, wanting your sleep back, but with a fifteen month old child, cuddling can be rare. These night time wakings are one of the few times when I am fully able to snuggle her to my hearts delight. Yes, I am tired. Yes, I am delirious. Yes, my hair is standing on end and there is drool on my cheek. But I love it. I. Love. It. This is what makes it all worthwhile.