Thursday, February 24, 2011

well, that was easy

About a month ago, when Kate turned two, we put the paci away for good.
She'd had it for nighttime only for about a month (minus a few naps where we were desperate)
and it had been naptime and nighttime only for the six months before that.
She sure loved her "bapi," but only asked for it twice after we took it away.
So I guess it's official...
my little girl
is not a baby anymore.

Ages of pics, scrolling back up are: 1 mo., 4 mos., 8 mos., 14 mos., 17 mos., and 20 mos. It was interesting browsing back through pictures, seeing how rarely we saw it in pictures after 18 mos. (once it was naptime only) and how she also didn't have it much before two months--before she learned to self-soothe with it, I guess, or maybe just when she was still helpless enough we could yank it out for pictures!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


A few people have commented that they miss Project Life. I'm glad I didn't commit myself to doing it this year, since I needed to relieve the self-imposed pressure to blog almost every day. But, I admit, I do sometimes miss the opportunity to share the fun little moments that otherwise wouldn't get shared.

So, here are a few snapshots from the past few weeks, and the stories these pictures tell...

Feb. 6: Kate and I played with her kitchen for a while, and both wore our aprons. We have fun making sandwiches and packing picnics with her play food, and having tea parties with her tea set. She is very particular with her imaginary play--if you drink your air before she's ready, she'll say "No!" and refill your cup immediately.

 Feb. 7: Kate put on her fairy clothes to watch some Abby Cadabby with Daddy on his computer...
 ... and to climb on her block table. She's a rowdy little fairy princess.

Feb. 10: Snow days can't slow me down! Well, maybe a little, but I'm still connected even when the office is closed. I never thought I'd be a tech-gadgety person, but now I can get email and Internet 24/7 on four different devices--work and home computers, smartphone, and the (office owned) iPad. I've especially been enjoying the iPad, taking notes on it, reading Kindle books, and exploring cutting-edge apps like The Daily, the world's first tablet-only newspaper. (note: the wine was in the evening, not in place of morning coffee or anything.)
Kate, of course, is drawn to the iPad as she is every other gadget we have. Since she wanted to mess with it, I simply opened a new note, and asked her, "Where's the A?" "Where's B?" and she would look for them on the QWERTY keyboard. As you see, she was able to get A B C D I K M O and R.

Feb. 13: Kate opened Valentine's Day presents from each of her grandparents. I got such a kick out of the tagline on the box of play fruit my parents gave her... "Realistic Produce for Health-Conscious Pretend Play." Those plastic cookies are pretty high-calorie. (just kidding, I get their meaning, and it makes total sense to reinforce healthy foods even in play.)

Feb. 14: Matt and I went out for sushi the night before for our Valentine's date, but Matt did get me three roses on Valentine's Day, and after Kate went to bed, we enjoyed some wine and strawberries dipped in chocolate (melted leftover Halloween candy) and played Scrabble Slam. You start with a four-letter word, so "love," of course seemed an appropriate place to start.

Feb. 18: Kate discovered the joy of playing inside cabinets, which includes the joy of throwing (plastic) bottles of olive oil and whatever else gets in her way out of the cabinet so she can climb in.
... and even though this isn't a "real" Project Life post, I'm going to go ahead and link up on The Mom Creative's weekly Linky. Happy Tuesday!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Peewee the Piggy

Of all the little things I adore about Kate, one of my current favorites is the way she says "piggy." Just have a listen...

(The correct video is up now. Sorry for the confusion!)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cookies! Om nom nom...

Noticing that I had a half-full container of rolled oats in the cupboard and knowing that there's only one thing I ever make with oats, I felt inspired this morning to make my signature Cranberry Oatmeal White Chocolate Chunk Cookies. And I knew that Kate would love to be Mommy's Little Helper. She loves to help with whatever Mommy's doing, and she loves cookies!
As I suspected, she was very into it, helping stir the ingredients and pour in the things I'd measured out. The recipe calls for two eggs, and after I cracked the first one and put it in, Kate of course wanted to do the second. I tried to show her how to tap it and split it, but she just squeezed until the thing shattered. That's definitely another way to do it, and amazingly did not get any shell in the batter!

Finally, it was time to add the best parts--the Craisins and white chocolate!

Matt was gone most of the day helping a family in the church move, and I was hoping he'd get back in time to take some pics of Kate and I cooking together, but alas he did not, and the arms-length thing does not work as well with a big SLR as it does with a little point-and-shoot.
Fortunately, the auto-timer got a good shot of us, though! I think Kate has a white chocolate chip in her mouth, which is why her teeth look funny.
Time to go in the oven! We have to use creative tricks to get Kate away from the oven when we're putting things in or taking them out. Here, I asked her to start cleaning up. While making dinner tonight, Matt begged her to come sit with him on the couch while I put the eggplant parmasean in, but she would not leave the space between my legs and the cabinets. Finally, I just said, "Kate, Daddy has a boo boo!" and she ran to kiss it. Sweet girl.

In case you're interested, here's the recipe:
(I've been making these for years, but I think I originally got the recipe off a Craisins bag, so I really can't take credit!)

2/3 c. butter
2/3 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. rolled oats
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 6 oz. pkg. Craisins
2/3 c. white chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat oven to 375. Beat butter and brown sugar together, add eggs and mix well. In separate bowl (though I often just do it all together) combine oats, flour, soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture gradually, mixing as you go. Add berries and chocolate. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. (Makes two dozen.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Let's Go to the Movies!

Like most parents of small children, Matt and I don't go out much without Kate, which means that staple of the pre-baby date--the theatre movie--is a very rare occurance. We actually went twice in January, though (well, counting New Year's Eve, which is technically December), and have watched a couple other fairly-recent releases though our TV's On Demand feature. Capitol theatre, Sydney c. 1930s / by Sam Hoodphoto © 1935 State Library of New South Wales | more info (via: Wylio)
So, with the Oscars fast-approaching, I thought I'd share a couple of the movies we've seen recently, in case you're looking for something fun to do after the kids are in bed!

The King's Speech
This is the one we saw on New Year's Eve, and we just loved it. It tells one of the lesser-known stories of modern history, about King George VI (Colin Firth) and how he overcame his insecurity and stammering problem to lead Britain during WWII. I can't help but see Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbosa from Pirates of the Caribbean, but he was still terrific as the speech therapist. The film also gave a glimpse into what it must be like to live in the confines of palace and protocol. This film was interesting, moving, and even funny at times. I really hope it wins Best Picture.

Black Swan
I wrote about this one after Matt and I saw it on MLK Day (when Kate was in day care and we had a little lunch-and-movie date). It's the story of a perfectionist ballerina who struggles to dance the role of the Black Swan because she isn't in touch with her dark side. Her tormented quest to nail the part drives her to madness--paranoia, hallucinations, the whole nine yards. It was good--and I love psychological thrillers--but the horror elements made me cover my eyes at numerous points, and watch the corner of the screen, rather than the center, so I wouldn't be as startled by sudden freaky imagery. I know Natalie Portman won the Golden Globe, and may well win Best Actress, but honestly, I can't really judge how good her acting was, since many of the most dramatic moments in the film were so heavily CGI-enhanced.

The Social Network
AKA "the facebook movie." This was really interesting, since Facebook is such a part of our culture now, it's almost funny to think of how it was really the brainchild of one guy (well, possibly partially borrowed from the Winklevoss twins, who were played by one actor, Hayley Mills-style). The movie tells the story of Facebook's founding, and the subsequent lawsuits against Zuckerberg. Written by Aaron Sorkin, the film weaves the lawsuits and the actual events together very well. Zuckerberg is clearly a neurotically brilliant person--a fascinating character, played by Jesse Eisenberg.

I visited a friend who was in grad school at Harvard just a few days prior to when Zuckerberg did the original Facemash thing in October 2003, so it is just fascinating to think that such a world-changing event was going down in a dorm room across campus. I need to ask my friend if she has any memory of all the drama in the Harvard Crimson or whatnot. Matt and I spent much of the movie reminiscing about our first memories of Facebook, and marveling that--in the great scheme of things--we were pretty early adopters. Matt got on it pretty much as soon as Vanderbilt was added to the network sometime in late '04 or early '05, and while it felt like he was hounding me forever to join, I know I was on it too by summer '05. This is a must-see for anyone who uses Facebook, and even for those who don't.

He's Just Not That Into You
This may be the best movie to have a horrible ending that I've seen lately. It had brilliant insight into the psychology of males and females, dating and mating, which makes sense since it was based on a non-fiction book. I'd never really thought about the fact that the whole "he's mean to you because he likes you" thing parents tell children really just sets girls up for a lifetime of thinking bad treatment is really a good sign. And women just play into this as they comfort each other by making excuses for men, perpetuating womens' delusions. I would hope that single girls seeing this movie would get the reality check that if he doesn't call, it's not because he lost your number; that he's not going to leave his wife for you; that he isn't going to finally decide to propose after living with you for seven years. That's the message of the movie, and that's why I thought it had such an awful ending, because after 90 minutes of reality check, for a couple of the characters, the improbable does happen, and girls who see it and get their heads on straight then walk away with hope that they too are the exception to the rule.

I'm a sappy romantic myself, so I'm not against a happy ending, but in this case, it felt like someone came in at the end of filming and said "no, wait, it needs a happy ending," and they undid their whole message in the final two minutes. Nonetheless, still worth seeing, as are all four of these movies (except Black Swan if you're squeamish). Don't forget the popcorn!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

My Snowy Valentine

This week we experienced our fifth or sixth snow of the winter (I've lost count). Thursday was the second time they actually closed the office, and Friday morning marked about the eighth time they've opened late or closed early due to icy conditions. It took me three hours to get home Wednesday night. It usually takes about one (or, with no traffic, a little less than one hour). It was crazy, and since Matt was also down in Nashville when the snow hit, it took him two hours to get back up to Clarksville and get Kate, whose day care closed two hours early, and one hour earlier than he was actually able to get there. It was bad. And yet, I have heard stories from people who usually take only 20-30 minutes to get home taking three hours as well (more surface streets) so I guess I was lucky at least to be on the interstate and traveling at least part of the way before dark fell.

Anyway, I'd say we in Tennessee (and the whole South, really... what's that? the Northeast too? yeah, everybody) are quite ready for this snowy winter to be over!

While we are under no delusion it's the end, today feels remarkably spring-like! There's still some snow on the ground, but it's about 50 degrees and sunny. Kate and I even went outside to play without any coats on. Enough of the yard was snow-free that Kate could play on her swing and slide, and we sat for a while on the driveway and sang songs. (For the record, "Twinkle, Twinkle" is the first song Kate actually sings along with me, not just doing the hand motions.)

Decked out in a pink, ruffly sweater dress for Valentine's weekend, Kate enjoyed the sunny, snowy, pseudo-spring day (and I did too).

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011


If you ever come to my house, I will want you to look through my most recent scrapbook pages, but I realized I haven't shared any here in a while! (Added bonus: you can X out of the post if you want to, without hurting my feelings, whereas on my living room couch--you're trapped!)

This page commemorates a family carnival we went to on Labor Day at Southeast Christian in Louisville, when we were up there visiting my parents. We played games and Kate got her face painted. I like the little ticket and hang-tag detail on the page, as well as the multi-colored mishmash of letters.

This layout is all about Kate's Halloween costume. I made the pumpkins using my paper crimper.

My Thanksgiving layout this year focused on all the second cousins we saw as we were together with Matt's cousins and all their kids. Kate and Lexi were especially buddy-buddy, and we met the new baby twins for the first time.  

The last time I blogged about scrapbooking, I mentioned finding some tiny ladybug stickers in my supply stash, and how I needed to remember to use them when Kate left the Ladybug Room at school, to commemorate that time. So, I did. I never took a big class pic or anything, but I did have this, my favorite photo of Kate at school--hugging her little friend Amy, who should be turning 2 very soon and joining her in the Bug Room! (The rooms there are not all named for insects. It's just a coincidence.)

I've had that grass-printed paper as long as I've had the ladybug stickers--I think I got both those things for a picnic layout in 2001. I'm definitely purging some of my stash next time we move!

Are you a scrapbooker? What pics or events are you scrapping about now?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Confessions of a Salon-phobic

I overheard a conversation the other day about Dental Bliss, essentially a dentist-spa hybrid that caters to dentalphobics who have avoided getting dental care for years due to their extreme anxiety about the dentist. (They spoke highly of it, by the way, so if you live near Nashville and have that problem...)

"Wow--imagine neglecting a basic component of hygiene and personal care because of fear," I thought, sweeping my split-ended, under-conditioned, layer-less, product-free hair away from my face. I had been in need of a haircut for over a month, and that is even according to my own lax schedule of professional hair care.

Yes, I am a salonphobic. I blame it on the full time job, the toddler, the long commute...and that is certainly the reason I don't bother even trying to schedule an appointment until I am so desperate for a haircut that I wear a ponytail even on the days I wash my hair. But deep down, I just plain hate going to the salon.

I am intimidated by the super-stylish stylists. Their cute clothes, perfect makeup, unchipped manicures, and trendy haircuts make me feel like I'm in middle school again. Only this time, rather than bodysuits and stone-washed jeans, it's skinny jeans and loose (yet somehow slimming) tunics. I would use actual hair-examples, but I don't know what stylish haircuts are called--then or now.

One thing I'd liked about my Clarksville salon was how normal my stylist seemed. I didn't feel intimidated by her clothes or hair, and she is a toddler-mommy herself, so she doesn't judge if I go twice as long as I should between appointments. But,  I'd had trouble finding an appointment time lately, and since Matt and Kate were both out of town last week, I decided to bite the bullet and make an appointment with a salon closer to work. That would negate the excuse of needing to call weeks ahead for a weekend appointment in Clarksville (or, more commonly, calling a few days before the weekend I want the appointment and having to settle for a time slot three weeks out).

So there I was, trying to look confident and non-chalant while waiting on a cushioned cube for my turn. I had felt reasonably good in my cardigan and gray slacks, but felt dowdy compared to my stylist, who wore black leggings, black high-heeled boots, and a sheer black tunic. Not surprisingly, perhaps, she had relocated to Nashville several years ago with the hope of becoming a singer.

I love having my hair shampooed for me--so relaxing!--but all I could think about was how she must be analzing my huge pores and unwaxed brows. My stomach churned as I sat in the chair, face to face with my own reflection for a half hour. That's an uncomfortable thing to do regardless of the circumstances, and no one looks their best with a drape over them and wet hair flopping in their eyes.

Another girl dressed all in black approached as my hair was being blow-dried. "What products did we use today?" she asked my stylist. My stylist named two French-sounding products (which were probably manufactured in Honduras or somewhere else far from France), and the lady returned carrying several bottles in a little metal tote in one hand, and a leather-bound planner in the other. "Let's see... eight weeks would put you at March 29. Is 2:00 okay?"

"Ummmm...." I replied. It would probably be May before I would even start to think about getting another cut. "I'll need to look at my schedule," I responded.

My stylist finished with the blow drier and went to work with a paddle brush that probably cost $45. I waited nervously for her to put one in the basket of things I would be pressured to buy. She finished up, and fortunately didn't ask me "does it look okay?" It did look okay--and usually does, when freshly cut and styled--but I'm typically so overcome with relief that the ordeal is over to really care. Besides, what do they expect me to say... "no, put those two inches back on"?

My hair looked good, and I was glad to have it shorter and cleaner, with my layers renewed. I know I shouldn't get as worked up about this as I do, and it really wasn't that painful... in the great scheme of things. I thanked my stylist, gathered my things, and headed to the desk to pay. Along with my wallet, I got out my planner.

"So you do want to schedule your next appointment?" the lady asked.
"Yes," I replied. "... let's go with mid-April."

Sunday, February 06, 2011

More Birthday Fun!

Obviously, Kate and Becca had a lot of fun with those balloons! Birthdays are great, and we actually had a double-dose of birthday fun that weekend. Sunday was little friend Emery's birthday. (Emery and her mommy Tearza are seen briefly in the video above--we're so glad they came to Kate's party too!)

Check out the fun at Emery's adorable owl-themed first birthday party. (Her mama was a Chi O :)

And yes, there was even more fun with balloons at Emery's party! Pardon Kate's inappropriateness, but I love her exuberance!

Saturday, February 05, 2011


Kate learned to say a new word this week... a result of Mommy and Daddy's sappiness at being all back under one roof after being scattered for the early part of the week.


"Yay! We're all home!" we declared as we put Kate to bed Wednesday night.

"I'm so glad you're home, Kate," I told her as I changed her first diaper of the day on Thursday.

She draws it out, and it's just heartwarming. It's been a strange week--very busy and schedules all out of the ordinary, but now it's Saturday and we're back to our usual routine. Saturday = chillaxin' and grocery shopping. Matt and Kate have both been a bit sick today, but Kate managed to go Krogering with me without making any messes, while Daddy--who was much worse off--recouperated at home.

We decided to make it extra special by grabbing lunch together. We went to Wendy's so that I could have a baked potato and chili (I'm not really that into fast food, but didn't want to spend the time, money, or energy doing a sit-down restaurant with Kate). Kate had a hamburger and mandarin oranges. She had her sippy of milk while I drank the kids' meal Sprite, but she wanted a taste because she likes drinking through a straw. Her face was priceless, like "what the heck is this stuff?!"

 At home, we're still enjoying the aftermath of Kate's birthday. All her cards are set up on her bookshelf...

And we're enjoying playing with new toys like her Little People Farm...

 And--would you believe it?--one of the helium balloons from the party is STILL floating. They pumped some substance into the balloons before inflating, and they have lasted longer than any latex balloons I have ever seen. They all lasted about four days, and then have been gradually descending since Wednesday, but now--more than a week after their inflation--one is still going strong.

It's been a miraculous week in that we haven't had any snow! Local kids literally had not had a full week of school since the beginning of December. Today, we were supposed to get some, but didn't. So, if we went out sledding, it would look similar to how Popi and Kate looked a week ago, when they went "grass-sledding" before Kate's party. (Popi had been hoping the snow would stay for their visit--it didn't, but he didn't let that spoil the fun!)

Ordinary days are the best!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Working Mom Wednesday: Workaholic

Working Mom WednesdayThroughout my childhood, my father would leave for work even before I got up, and would return home promptly at 7pm for dinner. Then he would work on the computer for a while longer in the evenings. I don't know if that counts as bonafide workaholism (my mom would say it does) but I know my dad swells with pride whenever I display similar behaviors.

I don't work extra-long hours or anything, but I do fetishize productivity--my self-esteem rises and falls on it every day. I'll work from home in the evenings, sometimes, but I can't focus as well at home. When the "official" end of the workday rolls around (what my colleague and I call "yabba dabba doo time," after our boss commented on how so many people in the company are out of there right at quittin' time that "It's like the opening scene of the Flintstones!") I often wonder "where did the day go?" I worked all day and yet there are more things on my to-do list at the end of the day than there were at the beginning, and I barely made a dent. Still, I usually leave within 30 minutes after yabba dabba doo time because I want to get home to Kate.

I think about how, before she was born, I would stay late almost every day, and despite the hour-long commute, it didn't bother me. But now, that evening time is precious, and as the aphorism says, "at the end of one's life, no one says 'I wish I'd worked more.'"

Matt has been out of town the last few days, and my mom suggested that they take Kate back to Louisville with them after her b-day weekend for those few days. Now, I am more than capable of taking care of Kate without Daddy's help (as awesome as he is) but of course Mom, like all the grandparents, craves as much Kate-time as possible. I don't think she expected me to agree to this plan, but with the website launching in just a few weeks, it's an extra-busy time at work, and a few days of staying late to get more done at the office kind of appealed to me.

Monday morning, I bid farewell to Matt, my parents, and Kate with a very nervous stomach--a mixture of fear and guilt. Fear because even though the probability of accidents and other things is the same whether I'm with Kate or not, I still worry that something could happen to her when I'm not there to protect her with the tenacity of a mama bear. And guilt because I let someone else take care of my daughter when I could have had some nice one-on-one mommy-daughter time... especially since I let someone else take her in part because of work.

This is a working mom's dilemma.

So now it's Tuesday night and I've had two evenings of staying late at the office, running errands, and working more from the laptop or iPad at home.Now that I have Outlook on my phone (which initially I'd heard was not possible with Android, but now is) I even answered an email this morning while still laying in bed. Fortunately, I only sleep with my phone by the bed when Matt's away, so I won't make a habit of that, and soon I'll be back to leaving within a half hour of yabba dabba doo time, rushing home to my sweet girl, and working more only after bedtime, if I need to at all. 

I miss Kate and Matt, of course, but it has also been nice to indulge my workaholic tendencies for a few days. I'm glad we'll all be back under one roof tomorrow night. I'm thankful to have a job I enjoy. I'm even more thankful to have a loving family to come home to at the end of a busy day. The word "balance" often comes to mind in discussions of working motherhood, but I think I prefer the word "full." Life is full--of joy, of challenges, of to-dos, of love. Life is good.


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