Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Some like it hot

We're experiencing a little heat wave here in the Pacific Northwest.

And by "little," I mean it is literally hotter than it's been in Seattle EVER.


I've had several people mention that it must be nothing to me, seeing as I'm from the steamy Midwest. True, I've seen this temperature before, and with MUCH higher humidity. But still, 100 degrees is 100 degrees. HOT! Thankfully, unlike most people, we have air conditioning courtesy of the previous owners of our house. Apparently, they are wusses too and don't buy that "but it's only hot for one week out of the year" bullcrap they sell out here.

God bless them.

Meanwhile, I've been attempting to keep us as busy as possible without Bean getting heatstroke. On Monday, we met Coffeegrl and her daughter for the next stop on our Cupcake Tour of Seattle '09. (To be followed by the Donut Tour of Seattle '09.) She also knew of a lovely shaded playground nearby, so the kiddos could throw dirt at each other burn off the sugar. Tuesday we went with some friends to a local park that has a water play area. It was packed, naturally, and Bean was so nervous that he clung to me desperately. I was covered in sweat and toddler the entire time. But I haven't been this tan in probably 10 years. Today we canceled our plan to take a safari tram ride at Northwest Trek with our preschool pals, and instead I hosted a playdate at our house (see above reference to air conditioning). I kid you not, Bean slept the whole time. He fell asleep 5 minutes before the first guest arrived, and he woke up as everyone was leaving. So much for socialization!

Tomorrow we were supposed to meet IF Optimist, then... for some outdoor fun, but because of the heat, she suggested that we go to the mall instead. Which I'm pretty sure means we are going to be soul mates. Then on Friday is blueberry picking with the MOMS Club. If it's still too hot, we'll be going to another water park instead. I'd have more fun if I could get in a bathing suit. But trying on my pre-Bean suit evokes memories of the "fat man in a little coat" scene in Tommy Boy, and all that's left at the stores are hot pink leopard print bikinis and grandma styles with skirts the size of winnebagos.

I've been trying to let Bean play outside only in the morning when it's not too warm and our entire backyard is shaded by the house. He's been pretty good about not torturing me with plaintive cries and banging at the sliding glass door. My parents bought some outdoor toys for him -- one of those red plastic car things and a green wagon -- which have been serving as a wonderful indoor distraction until it cools down a bit.

I've also been trying to help Bean with some of his new skill development. Last Friday, one our preschool friends watched him while I went to the doctor. I was only gone an hour and a half, but when I returned, Bean was sitting in a high chair eating yogurt with a spoon. By himself. He also had learned to ride a trike and added another word to his vocabulary. I'm hoping if I keep having "doctor appointments" that eventually she will have him potty trained. And in college.

Today I put some yogurt in a bowl and handed a spoon to Bean, hoping for a repeat performance of Feeding Oneself with the Appropriate Utensil. Indeed. As a reference, Bean has written and illustrated a handy guide for those little ones out there who are on the cusp of this development as well.

Step 1: Use your creativity! Make fun designs with yogurt on your tray. (Don't forget to spoon some on your lap too.)

Step 2: Food is fashion! Drip yogurt all over your bib and rub it in with your fingers.

Step 3: Pour yogurt onto your hand. Just 'cuz.

Step 4: Bowls are for sissies! Dump yogurt directly on tray.

Step 5: Wait, what was the point of this again?

Step 6: Be polite. Always share with others.

Step 7: When you've mastered the first six steps, try advanced applications such as painting crackers with your yogurt.

That should do it!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Seven years... and no itch!

My dearest DH,

Seven years ago today, we uttered those two simple words, "I do," joining us in marriage for the rest of our lives. And in doing so, I became the luckiest woman in the entire world.

To celebrate this year, I have picked out the seven things that I adore most about you, to share with you and the entire world the few people who actually read my posts on their Google Reader.

1. Your sense of humor. I love that there is always laughter in our house. Even during the darkest of times, you can whisper a well-timed quote from Monty Python to make me giggle. Although our comic relief does not seem to be appreciated by our doctors or car salesmen, that doesn't deter us from finding ourselves absolutely hilarious. You make my life such a fun place to be, and I know our future will be filled with much laughter and happiness.

2. You are incredibly hard working. I am truly inspired at how much care you devote to your career. You are so passionate about your work, and you believe in what you do. It comforts my heart to know that you spend your days doing something meaningful and rewarding -- I always want you to have the freedom and confidence to achieve your dreams. You support our family with unwavering devotion, and I am the beaming wife who couldn't be more proud of your accomplishments.

3. You are compassionate and generous. Sometimes in conversation, we'll describe someone as, "He's just a good person." And that, my darling, is exactly what you are. Every bit of you, down to the deepest little corner, is absolutely beautiful. You are so caring and giving, to me and our son and our families and strangers who are in need. I love how you can be both vulnerable and strong, and you have the intuition to know exactly which one I need at any given day.

4. You are so personable and fun. I have always struggled in social situations, feeling anxious and awkward. But you are so great at putting people at ease with your friendly disposition and comfortable manner. It comes so naturally to you, and others seem to sense and appreciate that just as I do. And when we are out, you always honor the fact that sometimes I am just DONE -- time to leave, no argument, let's go home and watch Monty Python on the couch. Thank you so much for that.

5. You respect me and our marriage. You have no patience for people who complain about what a drag it is to be married. I truly feel that I am part of an equal partnership, even throughout the challenge of transitioning away from my career and into full-time motherhood. I love that we both feel empowered in the marriage instead of weighed down. I am behind you 1000% as I know you are for me.

6. You are smart. You love to tell people that I am the brains of the family. Which is very sweet, but fortunately, also untrue. You always think things through, you are careful, and your decisions are well founded. It's such a relief to know that I can trust you to make good choices for yourself and our family. Plus you can be the one to help Bean with calculus in a few years. (I hear they start learning that in second grade these days.)

7. You are an excellent father. Obviously all the qualities I've listed above make you an amazing role model for our son. I couldn't be more satisfied that you will be his main influence as he grows into a young man. (Not an accident, obviously!) You are very hands-on, always ready to play and explore the next adventure -- but then you can also whip up an incredible meal or mop the kitchen floor when needed. Bean never laughs more than when he's with you. And since that's true for me too... well, that's why the best times are when we are all together.

8. You are adorable. Okay, I know I was going to list seven things, but it's my blog and I'm adding one more. You are a total cutie pie. It had to be said.

Seven years ago today was the happiest day of my life. I didn't care if it rained on our outdoor ceremony, if all the flowers died, if the cake toppled over, and the band played only country songs. I awoke that morning with the knowledge that I would be waking up with you for the rest of my life, and that's all I needed to grin like an idiot all day.

I loved you on our wedding day (since our first kiss at 16, really), but I had no idea it was even possible to love you as much as I do today. We have been through some difficult times, but having you to hold my hand, I always know that I will be okay in the end. We are, simply put, made for each other. I can't imagine being myself without you, and I never want to try.

I am grateful for every moment of my life that has you in it. And... I don't think "until death" is going to be long enough for me.

I love you, sweetheart. Happy anniversary.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It looks better with the boobs

So you know how most kids have a blankie or stuffed animal? A comforting "transitional object" that they drag everywhere, collecting dirt and slowly disintegrating in the wash until no one can remember what exactly it was in the first place?

Well, my Bean doesn't really have one. He does love his Sleep Dog, a stuffed animal that he cuddles during naps and nighttime. But it never leaves the crib and serves only to keep him company while he sleeps.

Instead, during his waking hours, he uses the collar of my shirt as his object of comfort. He grabs it with one pudgy fist and rubs it on his face, on his eyelids, under his nose, or on his other hand.

Which means all my shirts have giant stretched-out neck holes, and if I dare to wear a v-neck in public while holding Bean, someone's going to get an eyeful of Victoria's Secret nursing bra.

As if that weren't annoying adorable enough, he has a new thing. He likes to rub the collar of my shirt on his toes.

Logistically, this presents some problems. My neck and his feet are generally not in proximity to one another. But does this stop him? NO! Because he is a toddler, and anything is possible. The world conforms to him, not the other way around.

I don't really know where I was going with this, other than to explain why the next time you see me, you may suddenly be able to imagine what Elvira would look like without the cleavage.

It may seem that I am neglecting this blog this week, but I've actually been super busy designing my new layout. Okay, that's a lie. It's actual April who is working on it. But I'm anxiously awaiting the final product, and that keeps me really busy, too.

Don't judge.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday snapshots

If there's one thing that I love more than a caramel fudge brownie frappe on a hot summer day, it's getting a mani and pedi having a happy Bean. And lately, despite the fact that we are all fighting colds, he has been one smiley, energetic little man. He'd better be careful, I'm going to start thinking I'm a good mom or something.

Now I know you all hate when I post pictures... you're always clamouring, "Enough with the photos, we want to hear your brilliant, totally unique observations on life with a toddler!" But today, I am posting some of the backlog of cuteness in my picture folder.

Please forgive me.

This is the reason that I no longer bother to alphabetize our DVD collection. (And yes, I do have a copy of Robin Hood: Men in Tights. The real question is, why don't you?)

Is there anything more fun than undermining mom's authority? Bean thinks not. I sent the dog to her crate for stealing food from out of Bean's hands. Two seconds later, this:

I wonder what they are looking at?

Because two wooden spoons are better than one. (And because I love his jammies.)

He has so much fun playing with his daddy.

Bean pulls his weight by watering our dead lawn.

Gee, didn't see that coming...

Last Wednesday, Bean and I and his preschool friends went to a local beach. Throwing rocks in the water is a lot more fun than throwing rocks in our yard.

He contemplates the meaning of life as the northwest fog rolls out.

I discovered that "waterproof" sposie diapers refer to keeping water out... but not holding the pee in. Which my shirt and the stroller learned the hard way. But luckily you can't tell that in any of the pictures of just him.


Guess I should start shaving my legs more, huh? (And if you actually think those are my legs, I hate you.)

Bean's first bubble bath! (Also: I think it's time to paint the master bathroom. Could there be any more white in these pictures? It's sad when a turtle bath toy is the "focal point" of your room design.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Just this and that

...So I have been dying to blog about this, for, like, EVER. One day I was watching TV and I saw a commercial for Chili's. I wouldn't list Chili's among my favorite restaurants, but it reminded me of the one near our house back in St. Louis. DH and I would go there every now and then, and I always enjoyed their chips and salsa. So I open up my laptop and search for Chili's locations around Seattle. Ahh, here we go, one result. That's odd... it's at Seatac International Airport. CONCOURSE D, GATE 7. I kid you not. There is only ONE Chili's in greater Seattle, and you have to buy an airline ticket to eat there. Can someone tell me why in God's name they would spend advertising dollars here, that being the case? I mean, I can't imagine seeing that commercial and getting such a craving for Chili's that I'd plunk down the cash for a ticket to Portland just to nosh on their Baby Back Ribs before I board my plane. Marketing genius, I tell you.

... Bean loves to "write" with pens on paper, just like mommy and daddy do. When I saw these washable markers for toddlers at the store, I thought they'd be a great first art supply for him to play with. The box advertises that the design fits perfectly into tiny hands. Just what a mom like me is looking for! Into the cart you go! But you know what else fits perfectly into tiny hands? Small balls. Which are exactly what these resemble, although I didn't realize it until Bean chucked the open markers across the room and clapped proudly. So I spent money on the darn things, and they are sitting on a table far out of Bean's reach. Well done, marketing industry. Genius indeed.

... Last month, our dog turned 3 years old. (I know, I didn't post about it. I'm such a bad poochy mama! Not to be confused with hoochy mama, of course. I'm an awesome one of those.) Anyway, the folks at Petco remembered her birthday, even if DH and I didn't, and they sent us a coupon for a free doggy treat. I popped in one day, grabbed the treat off the shelf, and went to the cash register with the coupon. I was not expecting to open my wallet and was shocked when she said, "That'll be 49 cents in tax." Seriously? I am being unreasonable here in finding that totally uncool?

... So I'm on the Consumer Product Safety Commission email list, which means I get a nifty little note every time there is a recall on any products relating to children. I'm sure this has been mentioned by many people before, but I feel compelled to point it out myself. About 25% of the items being recalled are hooded sweatshirts, because the drawstrings are a strangulation hazard. Really, manufacturers, is there a reason you can't think ahead and NOT include a drawstring on your sweatshirt? It doesn't really seem that complicated. I mean, the lead paint problems, sure... you look at the Dora the Explorer doll and can't tell that her shiny coating is just waiting to cause damage to little Cindy's brain and nervous system. But it's not hard to miss that YOUR SWEATSHIRT HAS A FRIGGIN' DRAWSTRING ON IT. It's going to get recalled. Just trying to help.

... Bean is finally drinking a small amount of cow's milk. PLEASE tell me this is a step in the right direction:

... Speaking of Bean, he finally hit that all-important milestone: At just shy of 16 months old, he received his first credit card application in the mail. Way to go, banking industry. You are totally fixing the economy for us now.

... I imagine between the scandals and the economy, the Catholic Church doesn't quite see the revenue they used to. But really, is it so bad over there that they have to rent out the Pope-mobile? Because I swear to God (heh) that it is delivering ice cream in my neighborhood this summer. I tried to get a picture, but as I thought my neighbors might frown at me running frantically down the street with Bean in my arms, trying to snap pictures of their kids licking popsicles, I decided instead to do a little mock-up of what it looks like. Weird, huh?

... I worked at the MOMS Club booth at the town fair on Saturday, handing out info and talking with families about our chapter. During the lulls, I would sit down and people watch. Which is normally a great way to pass time. Until it dawned on me that there was a disproportionately large segment of freaky people who apparently live in our town. Not like good, diverse, interesting freaky people... but like... freaky freaky people. Hopefully they were bussed in.
... Can someone please give me a pep talk to finally watch The Curious Case of Benjamin Button? It's been clogging up our Netflix queue for almost two months now. It just seems so long and dramatic -- like the serious version of Jonathan Winters playing Mork and Mindy's baby on Mork and Mindy. Fully grown adult pops out of an egg... he's young but he's old... wow, how interesting. Usually I'm not one for dramas anyway, but I've heard so many references for this movie since it's come out, I figure we should watch it just to keep up with pop culture. Please, tell me something to make me watch this movie so I can get on to gems like "Confessions of a Shopaholic" and "Paul Blart: Mall Cop."
... I love quick and easy lunches. Many of those are of the frozen variety. Something I've noticed recently, all of the boxes instruct me to use a meat thermometer to check on the internal temperature of the chicken I just nuked in my microwave. I mean, are other people really following this direction? Bringing a meat thermometer to work to check on their Healthy Choice chicken parmigiana before they eat it? I bought a meat thermometer three years ago and have yet to take it out the packaging. I refuse to do that. I hope I don't die.
... I have been lusting after some Blueberry diapers on my favorite cloth diaper web site. Tell me his buns wouldn't be adorable in these:

So I asked DH pleeeease could I order them? And he sighed and looked at me and said, "Honey, if Bean needs them, of course you can get them. But we don't have the extra money if you just want them." CURSES! I guess technically I don't need them... we are surviving with what we have. But in all honesty, it would be easier to have a few more, as it relieves the pressure of having to wash them all every other day. So I thought and thought and thought. How could I come up with the extra cash? What can I sell? Legally, of course, which is very limiting. I could go through the boxes in the loft or garage to find stuff, but we haven't had the motivation to do that in the past year that we've lived in this house, and three cloth diapers ain't gonna do it. So I'm thinking of posting my resume writing service on craigslist instead. (Remember, I am a Certified Professional Resume Writer! For reals!) And I'm throwing this out there to you, too, bloggy friends. If you would like your resume spruced up, drop me a line! Or maybe you are just so moved by the udder cuteness (snicker) of these diapers and just want to send me money. Either way, you know where to find me. I'm right here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

July 4th and the Dish of Death

It all started innocently enough. DH loves to experiment in the kitchen (with COOKING, for those of you with dirty minds), and he's often ripping out recipes from his subscription to Men's Health that my dad gets for him every year. One of the latest: Chile Chicken and Basil. We love flavorful cooking, it sounded perfect. On Saturday, DH gathered the ingredients and set to work. We knew it'd be a little too spicy for Bean -- although with all the salsa and hot food he's been exposed to since his womb days, he does enjoy it -- so we set him up in his high chair with a little milder fare.

DH finely chopped the garlic and serrano chilies, making a "rough paste." He added it to the oil on the hot saute pan, and POOF! A sizzle and some smoke... and DH coughing up a lung. We should have known to stop right there, but we pressed on. He added the chicken, soy sauce, fish sauce, red-chili paste, and sugar. Soon all of us were hacking away without relief. Except the dog, because I guess dogs don't cough? Anyway, Bean stopped eating and choked on the air, he was crying intermittently as we tried to dissipate the smell by turning on the fan and opening the sliding glass door.

"Take that *cough* outside *cough* IMMEDIATELY!" I yelled at DH.

*cough* "Almost done!" *cough* was his reply.

Before I could grab the saute pan and chuck the contents into the yard (and then presumably hit DH over the head with the pan for not stopping sooner), he finally finished. He dumped it on a plate and put it on the patio table outside while I comforted the Bean.

Eventually we all calmed down and resumed normal breathing. I was going to crumple up the recipe and throw it away, but DH wants to keep it. He scrawled at the top in red Sharpie: WARNING! Almost killed family. I guess you never know when it will come in handy, like as a practical joke in one of those recipe-exchange chain emails. But you know the most puzzling thing about the whole experience? The result was actually really yummy.

While Evey pooch did escape being choked by the burning hot fingers of the Dish of Death, she did have her own scare. Last June when we first moved into the house (a year ago already, holy CRAP), one of our neighbors warned us about the mad amount of fireworks that people set off in our neighborhood on Independence Day. "It's like Lebanon around here," he said with a hint of reverence. (I thought he meant that our neighborhood was bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, but DH told me there are/were bombs going off there, which makes much more sense.) Last July 4th we were out of town, so we didn't get to witness this spectacularness.

This past Friday, DH was outside in the yard when our next door neighbor pulled into his driveway. He began unloading fireworks from his SUV, telling DH how he had gone to a nearby reservation to get the reeeeeally good (read: illegal) stuff. He mentioned that they'd gotten some doggy downers for their pooch to help with her anxiety, and DH agreed that was a good idea for ours as well.

When we were out running errands later that day, we swung by our vet to get our own. (No, I won't sell them to you, don't ask.) As night approached, we knew there would be fireworks going off, even though it was only July 3rd. The bottle instructed us to give her 1/2 to 1 pill, one hour before the anticipated event. Around 8 pm, we hid one in a peanut butter treat and considered it good.

It took awhile, but boy did that pill kick in! She was so out of it, she could hardly move. In the middle of the night, I heard her whining on the edge of our bed. I was at least with it enough to help her off the bed -- thank goodness, because otherwise I would have ended up with a pile of dog crap on my comforter instead of just in the hall. In the morning, I was terrified when I could hardly wake her. Fortunately, though, all's well that ends well. She eventually snapped out of it (more than 12 hours later) and was back to annoying the hell out of me. Whew! Needless to say, we only gave her half a pill on July 4th, and that was only after she proved she really needed it, by having a constant panic attack as she ran from room to room to escape the noise.

Yes, the neighbor was indeed right, the fireworks being set off in our neighborhood were HARD CORE and unrelenting for hours. The house shook frequently, the rockets let off ear-splitting screams. I would have enjoyed it, if I had not been so concerned about Bean waking up terrified, alone in his room amidst the attack of patriotism. I don't think it would have been any louder if we put his crib in the middle of the percussion section of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. But you know what?

The kid didn't wake up. HE SLEPT RIGHT THROUGH IT.

This being the child who didn't sleep through the night until he was 14 months old. At one point, I actually became overwhelming terrified that he was dead because he made not a peep after 10 rockets blasted off one after another, not 20 feet from his bedroom window (which overlooks the street, I might add). I snuck into his room -- which didn't involve much sneaking, as you wouldn't have heard me if I marched in playing a tuba, considering all the noise of the fireworks -- and found him curled up on his side, cuddling his Sleep Dog and dreaming of those bizarre creatures on Yo Gabba Gabba!, or whatever toddlers dream about. Unfortunately, DH and I didn't have quite as much luck sleeping through it all. But eventually, we all drifted off.

Enough blabbing, it's picture time!

Last Wednesday, I took Bean to the Seattle Children's Museum. Which totally ROCKS, by the way. It was nominated by Nickelodeon as a Parents' Pick for Best Museum, so we knew it would be awesome. When has Nickelodeon ever let me down? I mean seriously, Snick, anyone? So we were supposed to go with three friends from preschool, but they all backed out at the last minute for various reasons. I talked it over with Bean, and we decided that WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' FRIENDS so we went just the two of us. Here he is exploring some of the exhibits.

Bean has this strange (and completely safe!) habit of wrapping the dog's leash around his shoulders and walking around the house. I personally think he looks like a tailor. (And in that second picture, a slightly tipsy one. Watch where you're pinning that, Bean!)

Bean and I have different ideas on how to sort the mail. I rarely find the need to involve the dog.

We went all out and bought Bean a $5 pool from Target. He loves it! He uses his bath toys to splash all the water out, all the more giggles if he hits the dog. But he has trouble keeping it from also splashing his own face, which makes him cry. Karma's a bitch. (Also, do you like the new haircut?)