Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Yesterday, while putting away groceries, I noticed that it had grown strangely silent.  My heart lurched, and I went off in search of the baby, sure that he had learned to open doors and was now in the middle of the road.  

Instead I found him and Freckles, sitting side by side on the living room floor, happily sharing a pile of throw up.

Naturally, the first question is "Whose throw up was it?"*  The answer is that at the time I wasn't sure.  Afterwards I was able to apply some forensic techniques and I'm pretty sure it was Indiana's.  Aren't you impressed that I have enough familarity with everybody's throw up to make that determination?  

Anyway, there they were, the two of them covered in throw up.  I picked up Joseph and immediately gave him a bath, while it slowly dawned on me that I needed to call the doctor. Which is exactly what I did after I rinsed the baby, and she called me back immediately to reassure me that everything was fine and there weren't going to be any stomach pumpings that afternoon.  Yay.

This is my observation base on a year of child rearing:  when things suddenly get quiet, the result is usually gross but not dangerous.  This is because you've already babyproofed the house reasonably well and because hurt babies and toddlers are loud. 

*just one of many sentences I got to utter or hear for the first time yesterday

Monday, September 29, 2008

house arrest

We are under house arrest due to the sleep habits of a certain one year old.  Every playgroup, library storytime, or mothers' group activity seems to occur at 10 or 10:30 in the morning, which is when Joseph takes his morning nap.  I mean, there isn't much I can predict about his sleep paterns (will he wake up at 4:30 am or 6:30 am?  will he want to have his afternoon nap at 1:00 or 3:00?) but I know for sure he's napping at 10:00.   Any efforts to game the system by putting him down at 8:00 in the morning or by acting extremely interesting so he won't be tired until 11ish fail utterly, and I'm left with a screaming, unhappy boy. 

Right now my plan is to find something to do around noon (like something involving other adult humans, which is complicated when you don't know anyone in your city, hence library story time, meetup.com, etc. and I have no control over when these activities take place), because he's almost always awake between noon and one.  This may involve rejiggering lunch so it takes place earlier or later (or more briefly) but I will try.

Friday, September 26, 2008

plants! and other good news

My garden has plants! Despite the fact that the dogs have frolicked through it a few times. I planted salad seeds two weeks ago and they germinated almost immediately. This weekend we'll plant more vegetables in the other bed.

I think our spate of bad luck may be over, if the growing list of fixed and unbroken things around the house is any indication. (I just realized after I wrote that sentence that we had been counting things that work instead of things that don't work, which is probably not what most people do.) My parents have been here for two weeks, so my father has been fixing things and my mother has been playing with the baby big boy so I can do things like take apart the entire sewing machine and put it back together so the bobbin stops jamming, instead of throwing the entire machine through the window and checking myself into a mental hospital.

In other very good news, Freckles is now on Xanax (we knew we couldn't get through another few weeks like we've been having without somebody in the house being medicated, we just didn't know who it would be). We knew the weather had been making her a little crazy so we had been keeping her away from the baby when we aren't right there, but we didn't think to keep her away from Indiana. So when we found Indiana trotting around the house with two tooth-sized wounds in his side, we connected the dots (we don't have any wild cougars, stray bullets, etc., but we do have a large neurotic dog) and brought Freckles to a vet who sent us right home with Xanax. She's been in a much better mood since she's been taking it (we're jealous): she tears through the yard like she used to at our old house and only occasionally looks at Indiana like he would be delicious. This is a major improvement. Indiana, of course, is unfazed by all of this.

So, hooray for sane(r) dogs and salad and fixed appliances. Now, what will break next week?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

crayon roll and deep thought on making things

This is for Scott's niece's second birthday. I really enjoy making these things: mindless straight lines, lots of fabric scraps used up, near-immediate satisfying results. Even though the linen had a fair amount of body, I used cotton batting between the front and back pieces to keep it from getting too floppy, and I'm very glad I did. I enjoy how linen makes everything look kind of subtle and Martha-esque. I totally ripped this idea off from somebody, I wonder who?

The not too badly executed (but slightly off center, whatever) applique H is the initial of Scott's niece, of course.

I think this took an hour from start to finish, which for me is an awesome time frame for anything that doesn't turn out looking half baked and totally sloppy. I've been sewing fairly seriously now for nearly a year and I only recently accepted the fact that seams will have to be ripped on every single project, and that it helps to build that into your expectations. My other recent moment of clarity related to the fact that about a third (if not a full half) of all my new endeavors will not turn out how I had envisioned--including sweaters that took two freaking months to knit, including any new recipes, and definitely including all new patterns. I mean, you can't cut out the fabric assuming you're going to get something fantastic, right? Very liberating. Zen.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I could have used a little more cowbell (and birthday balls)

I've had a few successful sewing projects lately and a few real duds. The duds are due to the fact that I am having issues sewing knit fabrics, to put it mildly, and I think I need to reconcile myself with the fact that non-droopy t-shirts are available for my whole family, ready-made and at a reasonable price, at Target.

Among the more successful projects were these patchwork balls which I made using a tutorial on the purl bee. I pretty much did what they said, but I put some jingly balls in one of them to add some thrills. Joseph likes them, which is a relief seeing as how they're all he got from us for his birthday.

From my parents Joseph got a slew of musical instruments, including a very awesome cowbell which he walks around the house playing. It's definitely the coolest present ever and I don't think we will ever get tired of telling Joseph to explore the space. Along with the cowbell came a set of maracas, a tambourine, some castanets, a triangle, a xylophone and some other goodies. He's fairly thrilled, and so are we.

Friday, September 19, 2008

vegetable success story

This is the week's haul from our local organic produce delivery service. It's not a CSA but rather a man who buys from local organic farmers and then delivers to your house. It's $35 a week for about nine pounds of produce, which is really more food than I thought it would be. Part of the excitement is having vegetables in the house that I might not have chosen for myself at the store, and finding out how to cook it. The (enormous) spaghetti squash for example--I cooked it up and then hid it in everything (pizza sauce, quesadillas, pasta, pesto, etc.).

I actually feel so good about this that it's balancing out some the breakages and failures we've been having lately. Also, my father fixed out dishwasher! I celebrated by dirtying dishes with careless abandon.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

not wounded, sir, but dead

Our casualties since moving into this house less than two months ago:
  • dishwasher
  • cell phone
  • corded phone
  • stove top
  • dining table
  • bathtub (shattered enamel)
  • lawn mower
  • computer
  • washing machine
  • juicer
  • iron
  • assorted crockery (including a glass baking dish that exploded in my hands)


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

no babies here

We celebrated Joesph's first birthday yesterday with cake and a visit from his grandparents. He wasn't altogether thrilled with the cake (neither was I, for that matter--whole wheat cake flour was not a great idea) but he's very happy to have my parents around.

Friday, September 12, 2008

first foray into pattern drafting

Using the awesome swedish tracing paper I heard about here, I attempted to draft a pattern for shoulder-buttoning overalls. I think I came close--it's a bit snug on the bottom (considering the big cloth diaper) and too wide on top, and I think the top gingham part should have extended further down to the waist, but otherwise it's pretty close. I lined the top part instead of making a facing (I hate facings on baby clothes, they just wind up sticking out all over the place) and made tiny little french seams for the pants, which means the whole thing looks pretty fine from the inside but is a pain to alter. I don't think he'll be wearing this (unless he is going to join the circus) but I'm pleased with it as an experiment and a learning experience.

Best of all: this cost nothing. The top and bottom fabrics are from a friend's stash and I used an old torn sheet for the lining. Even the buttons were left over from some project or another.

I can deal really well with sewing failures/learning experiences when they're free.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

this room is ugly just like my mood (and my quilt!)

During the infamous week before our furniture arrived, while were were sleeping and eating on the floor like a couple of hobos and swallowing fistfuls of muscle relaxants and washing them down with wine coolers (because we had no glasses! classy!), we decided it would be a good idea to paint the spare room orange. Scott was like "I live here too. I'm tired of dirt-colored rooms" and I was like "orange is fresh and modern." So now we have an orange room.

Instead of admitting right away that it was a failure and repainting before the tape was even peeled off, I decided to make a quilt that would somehow make the room less of an eyesore. I'm not sure this is going to work. Anyway, I feel committed to this color at least until the quilt is done.

Also, because Scott doesn't want to hear about it anymore:
1. Our dishwasher stopped running.
2. We spend eleven million dollars on groceries every week.
3. Our new high efficiency washing machine can't seem to get the diapers clean.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

new teeth and I made a mei tai

Joseph now has six teeth, which I feel is plenty so we can stop teething already. Usually he is all sweetness and light but he has the disposition of a serial killer when he's teething. Last week was devoted to crying, rocking, holding, biting, whimpering, fussing, etc. I really need to remember that when I'm ready to scream and want to start smashing things into the wallI should look inside the baby's mouth and see what's going on there, because that's usually the explanation for a crummy day.

One relatively sweet aspect to this process is that he's regressing a bit into tiny babyhood when he needed to be rocked and held all the time. It is nice to have him fall asleep in my arms, something he hadn't done in a while. However, since it really isn't comfortable for me to carry him all day in our old pouch-style sling, I made a mei tai.

I used the pattern from this site and it came together very quickly and easily. Most of the patterns I stumbled across online made me want to cry. This one was like: print this out, cut here, sew there, enjoy your new baby carrier. I appreciate that. My goal was to make something that Scott could/would use also, so I made it as plain as possible: army green canvas with soft brown corduroy lining for the cuddle factor. I think stylistically it's working, the only problem is that I can't get comfortable in it--it digs into my shoulders and pulls my shirt out of shape. I think my shoulders are a little on the narrow side. I need to spend some more time viewing the many YouTube videos on proper mei tai usage, in which people throw their babies onto their backs with one hand, like circus folk. Very impressive.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

wildlife death watch and why I have a map of the hospital in my car

The other night we had a frog stuck (as in "affixed" not "trapped") to the sliding glass door. At least I'm assuming it was a frog, since it was green and tiny. My knowledge all comes from those frog and toad books. (What were they called? Frog and Toad? Probably.) And this is a far grosser picture than I intended to take of the event:

Yech. It was kind of cute in person, but this is disturbing in a biology class kind of way. I suppose it will not be long before we have some actual frog dissection, courtesy of the dogs. If it isn't frog guts I'll be cleaning up, it will definitely be a dead lizard. Our yard is teeming with critters, and a lizard has already made it inside.

And in more "this cannot end well" news, this is our new trick and why I did a test run to the hospital yesterday:

Every time you're wondering "why is my child not whining right now," there he is, standing on the couch, ready to take a nose dive onto the floor. We're weighing the pros and cons of surrounding the couch with pillows (con: the pillows will just make it easier for him to climb up).

There you have Freckles stalking away, angry at having to share the couch.