Saturday, April 25, 2009

Oh, and I used to have a dog, too

MY PARENTS ARE HERE!!!!!!!!!! So of course I don't have much time to post, because I'm busy zoning out and shirking all responsibility. We are all enjoying the visit so far. (I may not be a stellar hostess, but I've got an ace up my sleeve in the form of a cute 20ish lb. giggle monster. Gets 'em every time). I love having the extra hands to entertain the Bean, I could get used to this. My Dad has knocked off more from our house project list in two days than we have in two months, and my Mom is kept busy preparing various yummy meals and desserts. DH made it back safely from his business trip, our recent 'flix (Bedtime Stories) was hilarious, and my current guilty pleasure is soooooo good I can hardly wait to curl up with it at night. All is right with the world!

In addition to hanging giant mirror sconces in the dining room, installing our kitchen cabinet pulls, hanging decorative boxes in the nursery, and redesigning our fireplace surround, my Dad has been busy helping Bean learn how to walk on his own. And read magazines.

Today we went into Seattle to enjoy brunch at our favorite restaurant. Bean was very well behaved as usual, although we had to keep catching the food he was trying to toss down to a service dog in training at the next table. Here he enjoys a fresh orange.

After brunch, we went to Trophy Cupcakes for dessert. Because nothing follows a huge thousand-calorie meal like a few hundred more calories (in chocolate form!). YUM. Although I will say that my favorite Seattle-area cupcakes still have to be Common Ground Coffee & Cupcakes. I do have high hopes for Cupcake Royale though, hopefully I'll be reporting about those very soon. Just doin' my part to spare you from subpar desserts. You're welcome. Anyway, here are the men walking up to the store.

And here's Evey, whom I haven't seen since my parents arrived on Wednesday. She has made no secret that she prefers to cuddle with them all day and night than spare a moment of attention for me or DH. It could be because my Mom and Dad give her treats and play with her constantly, or it could be because DH and I put Bean's bib on her, took a picture, and laughed as she stood there awkwardly. Perhaps both.

Even with naps (for adults and munchkins alike), we are all exhausted by the end of the day. Whew! Good night!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring cleaning

First, a big THANK YOU to everyone who gave me potluck recipe suggestions on the blog and via email. I am armed with some great ideas for upcoming gatherings. Now if only I could get you to come over and make them for me!

Today we are enjoying the most beautiful spring weather ever in the world. If you could lean over to whisper to God and ask for a perfect day, with sunny warm air, clear blue sky, lush green everywhere, and towering mountains to watch over it all -- this is the day he would give you. And yet, here I am blogging while half-watching Seven Pounds, which is very 1. depressing and 2. extremely depressing and 3. slow and 4. outrageously depressing. Or maybe it's just too incongruous with the day that I can't get into it. Either way, Bean is napping, and I'm choosing my computer and television over sitting outside in the sun and reading this:

Clearly my priorities are messed up. But I did have the sense to paint my toenails earlier today -- for the first time in, oh, about 13,000 years -- so I'm still able to think clearly on some level.

We've been low-key around here lately. DH was away on business all last week, and he left again this morning. But the good news is that we won't be alone long, my parents are visiting this week. Hooray! I can't wait to let them wake up early with Bean while I sleep in see them. In preparation, of course, I've gotten reacquainted with my old friends Mr. Vacuum and Ms. Dust Rag. From a phone conversation last week with my Mom:

Me: "We'll be busy cleaning the house this weekend..."
thinking: ...for the first time in seven months.

Mom: "Oh honey, you know we don't care about that."

Me: "I know you don't, but we'd like to do it anyway."
thinking: Trust me, you'll be glad I did. Evey likes to nap on the guest room pillows. And she farts in her sleep.

Wow, the movie just ended. That was sad. Wow.

Anyway, other than the pleasure of discovering that HEY! WE HAVE A NICE HOUSE UNDER ALL THIS DIRT! this weekend, we also firmed up plans for a dog sitter for our Evey girl when we head back to Michigan for 10 days in June. One of the preschool moms offered to watch her, pending a visit on Sunday to make sure she was a good fit with their own family. DH was certain that Evey's hyperactive mischief would show itself and ruin the deal, but we fooled them it didn't. I'm so thrilled not to have to put her in a kennel that whole time, or get a second mortgage on the house to pay for something nicer. And while I took the pooch to visit the family, DH took the Bean to DSW to get some dress shoes and then to the mall to get me some bareMinerals foundation. The thought of them tooling around the mall together shopping for makeup was so cute I could hardly stand it. I wish I could have been there. But then they wouldn't have been alone, and it wouldn't have been so cute. So I'll just keep imagining.

Clearly I have nothing interesting to blog about today, so I'll stop. I also don't have any cute pictures, because Bean has recently come down with another cold, and snot-nosed toddlers are decidedly uncute. Even one like Bean who is usually outstandingly adorable. But my parents will be here soon, and hopefully they'll take some fun shots to share. Because I'll be upstairs sleeping.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Just my (pot)luck

I get the purpose of potlucks, they sound like a good idea... but I loathe them. I am not big on cooking, that's no secret. But the annoyance of potlucks is compounded when you have toddler. Bean, like most little ones I imagine, does not give a crap that I need to cook something, and that it has to turn out edible lest I be shunned and whispered about suspiciously by the mothers from whom I am seeking acceptance. He wants me to hold him while I prepare the food. He wants to grab the knife. He wants to touch the burner. No forbidden treat or tantalizing television show will distract the kid from what mommy is doing. Because whatever mommy is doing at a given moment, it's the awesomest. thing. ever.

Last Friday, Bean and I had an Easter potluck with the moms club. There were about 45 moms and kiddos there, the majority of whom I do not know yet, so it was a bit overwhelming. But I chatted with a mom who recently moved up from Cali, and she seems like a good potential friend. So now I will keep an eye out for her responses to the moms club event evites in the hopes of attending another activity with her soon. (Internet "research" is a favorite hobby of mine, when I'm not blogging or lip synching to Prince on my iPod. It's different than stalking, because I'm not creepy. Or so I like to think.) Anyway, before the potluck, I spent hours trying to find something to bring that fit the criteria 1: easy to make, 2: inexpensive, 3: could be prepared in advance, and 4: easily portable. I even called DH at work, whining in desperation and trying to bait him to tell me just to skip the event. (My life is so hard already!) I eventually found this, which we made together the night before. Yummy, it was delish. And the best thing is that the final product is ambiguously white and lumpy, so most people passed it by. (Those that didn't, for what it's worth, came and found me to rave.) As the dish flew under the radar for the most part, I ended up with leftovers. Which I may have held in my lap for the ride home so I could eat it out of the bowl with the serving spoon at red lights. And I may have dripped some on the seat belt and my sweater. But then again, maybe I didn't!

So anyway, I was extremely proud of myself for coming up with a good solution for the dreaded potluck, and tucked my recipe away for future parties. Then I got the evite for the New Members Potluck with the same moms group... for next week! GASP! I obviously have to bring something else, right? (Another mom already signed up to bring something similar anyway, grumble grumble.) And then in preschool today, we were told about the Family Night end-of-the-year celebration in two weeks, which is -- you guessed it -- another POTLUCK! Making this one more tricky, it needs to be a finger food that can be shared with the munchkins, who are 11-months-old to 19-months-old. I beg of you, readers, please share any recipes or links to recipes that you like bringing to potlucks. It will save me hours of searching, and I'll be forever grateful.

Now, some random pics...

I don't know what it is about being nakey that gets Bean all fired up, but there's nothing like stripping him down to his diaper to give him a burst of energy.

Bean loves the Easter present that Grandma M. and Grandpa J. sent to him. DH is already counting down until he can turn Bean loose in the yard with a real mower (another five years or so, right?).

DH and I dyed eggs after Bean went to sleep on Easter. (Poor DH, he always humors me.) It was good practice for next year when Bean can help -- I've lost a bit of technique over the years, as is evidenced by my egg holder getting caught under the shrink wrap stuff when I put it in hot water.

Previously confirmed that Bean doesn't have an egg allergy, the next morning I gave him some of a hard boiled egg to try. Before even taking a bite, he stared at me with this face for a solid two minutes (which is one-and-a-half minutes longer than his normal attention span -- he must have really wanted to make his point!).
Tonight I have come to the hard-learned realization that spaghetti should ONLY be a post-nap lunch item, and NOT a pre-bed dinner course. My tired monkey rubbed the sauce all over his hair and eyes as he began giving his "I'm sleepy" signals in the high chair, which then led to an impromptu bath. (The only reason his tummy is clean in the pics is because I had a bib on him. Not sure what the point of that was, exactly, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Potty mouth, or More evidence I'm a bad mother

Scene: The bathroom

Mom has to go. Opens bathroom door.

Toddler and pooch rush in.

Toddler leans over open toilet.

Mom reaches frantically for Toddler's hand as he dangles binkie over the water.

Binkie plunges into water as Mom screams "NOOOOO!"

Mom doubles over in laughter. Runs to grab camera.

Mom snaps picture.

Toddler reaches in grabs binkie while Mom is busy with camera. Pops it in mouth.

Another "NOOOOO!" from Mom as she snatches it out of his mouth.

Toddler is confused.

Pooch is jealous.

And Mom is horrified. But thinks it's still pretty hilarious.

.... and scene.

It's okay if I sterilize it and give it back to him, right?
Bad mother.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Email to DH

Sent: Tues 4/07/09 1:42 pm

Subject: this day ROCKS

... and not just because it's BURRITO NIGHT! (But it IS burrito night, yippee!)

So I was at the library checking out a classic work of fiction by [insert respectable author's name here] when I noticed a yellow flier next to the computer. On Saturday May 2, our library is hosting a "Romance Extravaganza" event with various authors. The keynote speaker is none other than AMANDA QUICK!!!!!!!!!!!!! She is going to give a speech and then sign her new book that comes out on April 21.

I AM SO THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (have I used enough exclamation points yet?) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I also just heard back that I am going to be the Vice Chair of Fundraising at the preschool starting in June. And the MOM'S Club asked me if I would be the Mom's Night Out Coordinator next year and organize one event each month for that. I think I'm going to do it. I'm so ACTIVE in the community!

Miss you!


Yes, yesterday totally rocked. The foundation for such a great day was that we have been granted a temporary reprieve from that teething bullcrap, and the little munchkin is happy again! No clinging to mommy all day, he played and giggled and danced and explored. As a mother, I don't think there is anything better than when your child is smiling. That in itself would have been enough to make an awesome day, but no, it got even awesomer!

As you read above, it was indeed burrito night at our household. A weekly event that usually occurs on Monday, we pushed it to Tuesday this week because we had pizza for the big game on Monday (which we will just gloss right over, thanks). I look forward to dinner from the moment I roll out of bed on those days, it keeps me motivated. You have not had a burrito until you've had my DH's burrito.

*ahem* Moving on...

My amazing library discovery. Amanda Quick is hands down my favorite historical romance novelist. I have read every single one of her 25 releases. She just so happens to live in Seattle (because like my day, Seattle ROCKS) and she has a new book coming out this month. Now I get to meet her in person and have her sign a copy for me. !!!!!!!!!!!! I am almost as excited to meet her as I was Columbo!

And of course my new positions at the preschool and in the MOM'S Club. Although both activities are still mom-focused, I'm looking forward to building stronger relationships out here and doing something outside of the usual daily duties. Our list of local friends with young kids is still pretty thin at the moment (although quality above quantity, right Jen?), and DH has informed me that I am currently our only hope for a social life. I guess there's slim pickin's among the enginerd crowd at the moment.

Let's talk TV. This was the only disappointment in my day. We had DVRed "Surviving Suburbia" with Bob Saget. I know what you are thinking, "How could a sitcom starring BOB SAGET be a disappointment?" I was shocked myself. Especially when the main character is a grumpy, defeated suburban Dad whose wife patronizes him and whose kids don't respect him. Super fun, right? But it was so horrible, I stopped watching and deleted it after 15 minutes, which I never do. Heck, I've even made it through two whole episodes of "In the Motherhood." Yep, that show is terrible too, I've removed it from my DVR list. If you believe the writers, stay-at-home moms are more concerned with appearing to be good mothers than actually being them, and working moms only see their kids on weekends and are completely out of touch with their needs and preferences. Let the hilarity ensue! As parents in suburbia, DH and I really appreciate having sitcoms to remind us just how miserable we really are. Because wow, I thought we actually liked our life! *gasp*

At least I still have the "Parks and Recreation" premiere tomorrow, although my hopes are mediocre at best. Oh, and there is always this show to look forward to. Because there's nothing more entertaining than watching people's lives crumble as they are stripped of their livelihood on national television, in a recession no less! I'm snickering right now just thinking about it. Speaking of television, did you happen to catch my man Adam Lambert on American Idol last night? (You might be able to see a video clip of it here.) It was so amazing, and I almost lost it when Simon gave him a standing ovation. *sniff sniff* Go Adam!!!

And now on to the pics.

Our hands-down favorite Bean pose is when he puts his hands behind his head. He does it at various times, often when I put him down in his crib to sleep or when he takes a pause to chew during a meal. I was finally able to capture it on film.

I don't remember why he was nakey, but he was definitely feeling the freedom. He rocked out to the music of his activity table, complete with hip shakin' and leg bouncin'.

My little Beethoven.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Go green, a messy scene, and getting clean

It was a busy weekend, but a good one! Perhaps to atone for the recent gloomy weather we've been having, the sun came out and temps warmed up. It was absolutely gorgeous both days, we opened all our windows and enjoyed the fresh air. Mount Rainier graced us with its commanding presence... I don't know if we'll ever get used to the sight. Wow! Speaking of Mount Rainier, I have decided that I want to climb to the summit one day. A personal goal for my bucket list, if you'll excuse my use of that annoying term. So far, the farthest I've hiked is one mile (once), and I'm concerned about the lack of hotels on the ascent, so I have a bit of training and preparation to do. But wouldn't that be totally badass? Totally badass. Totally.

So the weekend. To start the fun, I gave Bean some spaghetti, stood back, and let the sauce splatter. And oh boy, did it ever. Even the dog had spaghetti in her coat after it was over. Luckily she was nearby to lick it off the floor and walls, though. As you can see, Bean was pretty pleased with his handiwork.

Then, of course, it was bath time. I tossed both kids in together, and this time had the camera ready to snap. You can see how thrilled the pooch is. Why is it so satisfying to mess with her? Oh yeah, I know. Because she shreds all the kleenex in the garbage and spreads it throughout the house. Revenge is a bitch, pooch.

Saturday was the Final Four game in the men's NCAA basketball tournament, I'm sure you were all watching Michigan State pull out the amazing victory over UConn. We had plans to watch the game at DH's friend's condo on the other side of the city. A half hour before we were supposed to leave, DH took one dog -- our dog -- for a walk, but came back with two. While they were out, he had come across a black mutt that had a collar but no tag. Unsure of what to do, he left Evey with me and walked around the neighborhood to look for the owner and ask people if they knew where he belonged. No one recognized Charlie (he really looked like a Charlie). DH then took him to our vet to see if he had a microchip. No dice. The vet explained that we could either care for the dog ourselves and post fliers -- not really a safe, smart move with a one year old at home -- or they would take the dog and turn him over to the county animal shelter. Heartbroken, DH knew this was the only option. And had we not intervened at all, even though it's possible Charlie would find his way home, it is equally possible that he would get hit by a car, and we just couldn't risk that. The shelter will keep him for two weeks, and if unclaimed, they will put him up for adoption. It is a no-kill shelter, and the dogs are well taken care of, so we hear. We have been thinking about Charlie ever since... I pray that his owners find him. He is such a super sweet friendly dog! Someone mentioned the possibility that his owners couldn't afford him any longer and let him go. If that's the case, hopefully another family will adopt him and love him.
That situation finally being handled, we left for the game, albeit a little late. Bean proudly wore his Spartan sweatsuit. He was a big hit at the small gathering of 20-somethings with no kids, well behaved as usual. And he didn't break anything! (I had my checkbook with me, just in case.)

Sunday we went to the mall so that Bean could meet the Easter Bunny. As I predicted, he could have done without the introduction. Not a fan! I will post the picture another day. We enjoyed lunch at the food court and hit Old Navy for some jeans and shorts for the little guy. At home, the four of us took a long walk, posting fliers throughout our neighborhood and along the main roads with a picture of Charlie and contact information for finding him. (Please oh please, I hope the owners see them!)
Then, after Bean went down for the night, we were going to watch a movie. DH was struck by the sudden urge to fly his Transformers radio controlled jet plane, and he wanted just "five minutes" in the backyard as night began to fall. I got caught up on Google Reader while he indulged his inner child. I heard him call, "CJ, come look at this!" I joined him outside, and he excitedly pointed to the neighbor's roof. One flight had gone so high and far that the plane had gotten stuck up there. I took this picture this morning for reference, if you look closely you can see where I tried to use a red circle and arrow to indicate where it was lodged.

DH asked me what he should do. It was 8 o'clock and rapidly growing dark. I told him, "Well, you don't have many options. Ring their doorbell and ask if you can get it down, or we can see if it eventually falls down and then bury it in a ceremony in our backyard. It's getting late, so if you plan to go over there, do it right now." DH was very embarrassed (I can't imagine why!), so I suggested that he say it was Bean's doing. But he took a deep breath, rang the doorbell, and explained that he had gotten his remote control airplane stuck on their roof. The man's response was, "How are you going to get it down?" Good question! First attempt: throwing one of Bean's balls at it, hoping to knock it down. (We were going for total humiliation here, obviously.) Worth a try, but not successful. Second attempt: DH hauled out our ginormous ladder and leaned it against their house. Because of the sheer height and the unfortunate proximity of a tree, he had trouble getting near the downed jet. He took the long handled tree trimmer up with him, and although I could hardly see now in the darkness, I tried to guide him to it. Eventually, the plane was freed and crashed to the ground (hopefully the pilot ejected). DH and I took what was left of our dignity back home, decided it had been a long weekend already, and turned in early.

But the excitement doesn't stop there... tonight DH is picking up pizza on his way home from work (and these amazing brown-sugar cheese bread thingies that are sinfully delicious, I've gained three pounds already just thinking about them) and we will watch MSU become national basketball champs. Go Green! Go White!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Lazy Town

It's a lazy day around here. I want nothing more than to curl up in bed and read my latest indulgence, or better yet cuddle on the couch with Bean and watch one of our 'flix. I'm not sure why the low motivation -- I'm actually feeling quite upbeat and happy underneath it. We survived illnesses and DH's poorly timed business trips. Bean has acquired new habits that make us laugh constantly, like giving an appreciative "(yu)mmmmm" when he takes a bite of food, making a thirst-quenched "ahhhhhh" sound before and after he drinks his juice, and clapping enthusiastically when DH walks in the door from work. I blame the laziness on the crappy weather. I have a secret to share: It's not always sunny in Seattle. In fact, it's often gray and rainy, like it has been for the past... oh... six months. But shhhh! You didn't hear that from me.

Despite the draw to stay in my sweats and lounge around all day, Bean and I were starting to get restless, so I had to come up with something to do. First, it was bath time. I decided to make things more interesting by ditching the inflatable ducky and putting him directly in the bathtub. Which then reminded me why I haven't done that before: I never clean the bathtub. After a quick scrub, I ran the water and plopped in the Bean. He seemed to wonder what happened to his ducky, but he liked it just fine. Then Evey kept whining and scratching at the side of the tub. She was still fluffy clean from her own bath last night, and the water was shallow enough that she'd hardly get even her paws wet, so I tossed her in with the baby. Turns out she just wanted to drink the bath water. After a quick taste, she wisely decided it wasn't for her and just stood there uncomfortably while Bean babbled at her and pet her. It was super cute, and I wished I had my camera handy. But despite my many questionable parenting decisions (dog in the bath with the baby, anyone?), I do have the brains not to run out of the bathroom to grab it. Maybe next time I'll be prepared.

Then I called DH at work to complain about my conflicting desires to both do absolutely nothing whatsoever and yet not die of boredom. He suggested that we meet for lunch, but he checked his calendar and quickly made up saw that he had a noon meeting. After we hung up, it occurred to me that what he was really saying was I think you and Bean should go out for lunch, so off we went to our favorite teriyaki joint (of course!). The owner lavished Bean with attention appropriate for his level of outrageous adorableness while we munched on beef teriyaki. Halfway through the meal, she brought out some steamed carrots -- on the house -- for my munchkin. I didn't have the heart (nor the words, she doesn't speak much English) to tell her that I stopped ordering them for him because he suddenly hates them. So instead I thanked her gratefully, shoveled them in my own mouth when she was in the back, and left a tip in the jar on our way out. Heading back to la casa, we passed the library, and I considered going in just for kicks... but I was too lazy. And I also considered hitting Target for a spring jacket for Bean... but again, too lazy. Maybe next week.

I'll tell you one thing we could be doing today but aren't -- seeing the Easter Bunny. When Bean and I were cruising around the mall on Tuesday, I spotted the giant rabbit reclining in his giant rabbit chair and thought, "What better way to honor Jesus's crucifixion and resurrection than putting Bean on some costumed stranger's lap and letting him scream his head off while we pay through the nose to take home a souvenir photo!" DH still hasn't forgiven me for taking Bean to see Santa without him, and even worse, for snipping off the tiny rat tail on Bean's hair while he was at work ("I missed his first HAIRCUT!"), so of course I asked DH if the three of us could go see the Easter Bunny this weekend. His response: "Really? You want to take him to see the Easter Bunny? I didn't even know people did that until you showed me that picture of the scariest Easter Bunny ever. I never went to see him growing up. It sounds like a waste of $25 to me." My reply: "So you don't mind if we go without you during the week, then?" His answer: "No, you can't go without me! If you do take him, I am going too." Me: "So you don't think I should take him, but if I do, you want to go?" Him: "Exactly." Right, and it's women who always get a bad rap for being contradictory. Anyway, maybe we'll go this weekend... if it doesn't conflict with the Spartan game, of course.

As laziness does not breed interesting pictures, I don't have many to share. But here are a few I took of Bean and Evey. My Mom asked for a picture of the both of them for her fridge, and although getting my toddler and dog to look decent at the same moment as the camera snaps is about as challenging as capturing Bigfoot on film, I endeavor anyway. Because I love my Mom.

BTW, to anyone who has seen "Lazy Town" on Noggin... why is that the name of the town? I thought they were supposed to be all active and stuff? And does anyone else have a minicrush on Sporticus?