Friday, December 14, 2012


I hosted a little party for my two baby girls today, noteworthy because it is the first successful party I've ever hosted. There must be something helpful about the presence of toddlers that enables people to socialize more freely. Adult parties these days seem so stiff when compared to baby bashes.

Our Christmas party featured a felt Christmas tree with felt baubles the kids stuck on and moved around, plus red and green  home-made play dough and a big pile of Christmas books.

They had a ball!

Not one temper tantrum was to be found; Santa would be so proud.

It wasn't until after the last parent had packed up the last kid, and I sat looking at the scattered nativity figurines and cookie crumbs ground into the carpet, that P came in and told me the terrible news today.

A mass murder. So near our community.

In a kindergarten.

I was in middle school when the Columbine murders happened (and these are not just shootings, they are murders) and, my God, the impact on me is different. Is it my age? Is it parenthood? I just keep thinking about my babies walking into school one day and not coming back out.

My precious babies.

A few weeks ago I had a serious struggle with the decision to introduce formula into K's little life and body. My brain knows that formula is healthy and fine for babies. In many cases, it saves lives and we are blessed to live in an age when things like formula are readily available for women and babies who need it.

But my heart feels so defeated.

There was something so special about looking at her perfect, strong, adorable little body and knowing that every single atom of her literally came from me. That fat roll on her thigh. That full-face smile. That intelligence when she watches us talk. God created her, but I made her, every piece -- and it hasn't been all that easy.

As it turns out, I'm one of those women who needs formula. There isn't enough of me to go around and once Hurricane Sandy wiped out all of our frozen food, including more than 60 oz of breastmilk, something had to give. Honestly, I'm still struggling with it, even though K is also eating baby food and taking great joy and interest in tasting many new things. Rationally, formula is just a food that she needs and I have the luxury to offer her. Emotionally...that's another issue.

That's one child.

The other child amazes and amuses me with two-year-old intelligence. I remember a couple of months ago when she used the term "kind of" for the first time.

"That one looks like a ducky, Mama."

 "Oh, you think it looks like a duck?"

"Yeah...kind of."

I was blown away. I mean, this is a girl who can't count past 9 with much accuracy, who says "nugget chickens" instead of chicken nuggets, who didn't know what a "party" was until today (and even now I suspect she just thinks it is synonymous with "cake"). She still struggling with the concept of "tomorrow" and yet she understands the subtle use of "kind of."

No wonder she needs naps. I can't even imagine the number of brand new things she learns in one day -- and the only way I have even the slightest idea is because she is so verbal. Presumably K is learning at the same incredible rate (or even higher) but she just can't communicate it to me.

And then I imagine them, my brilliant babies, made by me, walking in to school one day and not coming out.

Not. Coming. Out.

I have deliberately avoided the news. I got a few of the basic facts from P, and beyond that I'm repulsed by the interviews of child witnesses and victim parents. This is not entertainment.

But one thing keeps circling back around in my mind with greater and greater resonance: homeschooling.

Fear is not my only reason, but today it is a very compelling one.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's The Little Things

Sometimes, when you child wakes up 8 times a night, and the other one has discovered the meaning of terrible twos, the only thing that gets me through the day is other people telling me how adorable my little ones are.

Which, let's be honest, happens like every five minutes.  :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Never Again.

" In preparation for takeoff we ask that all seat backs and tray table are fully secured in the upright position. Please fasten your seatbelts and secure all items..."

It doesn't matter how delayed your flight is, the explosive diaper knows its cue.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Today I spent the entire day with only my two babies and no one else in the house, something I've never done before. I have two observations.

The first is that K has gotten so adorably fat that I'm tempted to upload a picture of her chubby legs and bottom just to prove it. Seriously, it's so cute.

The second is more involved.

F is going through a really needy phase for some unknown two-year-old reason. Whereas she is normally enthusiastic about all kinds of people, the last few weeks have seen her more reserved and even resistant when it come to interacting with people other than Mama. She's even treated HC with never before seen nonchalance. I don't really know what to make of it.

At any rate, today she got my full attention from morning to night.

We had a busy day: I took both the babies to Target and then we did a lot of chores around the house. the whole time she and I had a steady stream of conversation. Often, I was holding her in my arms and when I wasn't she was walking behind me with one hand hanging on to each of the back pockets on my pants. We got dressed together, we ate together, heck, we even went to the bathroom together.

But it wasn't enough. It's like her desire for my attention is bottomless and I can pour and pour and pour all my attention into it, but there's still room at the top.

Luckily, baby K was really quiet today and didn't need much beyond the occasional change of scenery. In the later afternoon, however, she finally reached a critical crossroads where hunger and tiredness meet and she got pretty cranky. So, after about 9 straight hours of my undivided attention, I finally told Felicity she needed to entertain herself for a few minutes.

We were standing in the kitchen, at the end of the long hall that connects the kitchen to the nursery.

"Stay here now, please, and play with your puzzles. I need to go rock K for a minute so she can take a nap and I need the nursery to be very quiet. I'll be right back."

This wasn't much to ask; F has been able to entertain herself for hours on end for as long as she has had motor control. This time, I guess, was different.

As soon as those words came out of my mouth, she stopped dead in her tracks and stared at me with dread and disappointment. I acted as if everything was normal, gave her a smile and walked down the hallway. At the door to the nursery I reached for the nob and looked back at her. She was frozen in place, watching me from the end of the hall.

Needless to say, a flood of guilt came pouring out of every one of the folds in my brain, but the other baby, the screaming one in my arms, kept me on my mission and I smiled again at F before going into the nursery.

Two minutes went by. K was calmer now, feeding some before her nap.

A tiny tap on the door was followed by a hesitant blond head peeking in.

"Hi, Mama." she whispered.

"Hi, Baby."

She looked at me pleadingly for a long moment. "Could you read me a book?"

"Ok, Baby. As soon as I finish with K I will read you a book. I'll be finished in just a minute."

On the verge of tears she quickly left the nursery.

Two minutes went by and there was another tentative tap on the door and a cautious two-year-old came quietly in.

"Could you play puzzles with me, Mama?"

"Ok. As soon as I finish with K I will come play puzzles with you and read a book. She's just eating right now and then I'm going to put her in her crib for a nap. Then, I will come play with you."

On the verge of tears she quickly left again.

Another two minutes went by and there was another tentative tap. This time, when she came in, her voice quavered.

"Mama, could you hold me? You need'a hold me!"

By this time, K was dozing off anyway so I put her down and picked up F, who wrapped her arms around my neck and put her head on my shoulder.

She quickly recovered, but I'm left wondering: what is she struggling with?

If it is just being two years old that is the issue, I shudder to think how children with both parents working cope with the little scraps of attention they receive. Either they are forced to bond with someone who is paid to spend time with them and will likely not have contact with the child for much of their lives, or they just don't get the attention they so desperately crave.

If, on the other hand, this behavior is some kind of delayed reaction (jealousy, insecurity, etc) to K's presence, I'm amazed at F's self control. Is it possible that she had started to pick up on my ignoring her when she throws tantrums? Is it possible that she knows I respond more positively when she asks politely for things? Is it possible that at two years old she is purposefully trying to control her emotions and act rationally?

I don't know. I think adults routinely underestimate children, even very young ones. But I also know that parents tend to see the most remarkable things in their own--even unremarkable--children.

In this case, maybe it's a little of both. All I can do is pay attention.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy gave me a little gift this week. 

Five days without power! Woohoo.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: This is a joke. Being without power for five days with a four month old and a toddler, plus a home office must have been horrible. For one thing, it’s getting cold here, in the 20s at night. And the dog fence doesn’t work without electricity. And neither does the vacuum cleaner…

But it really wasn’t that bad. Unlike last year, we weren’t out of town when the storm came in so I was able to stock up on the necessities, like fruit that is happy at room temperature, potatoes that can be cooked in the fireplace, bottled water, and whiskey. 

Yeah, that’s right. 

The wind was already blowing and fat rain drops were whapping my windshield when I ran my final errands, but it wasn’t so bad that I didn’t notice that while most of Litchfield was a ghost town, the liquor store had a parking lot so full there were two cars waiting in line for a spot. They had their blinkers on and were just hangin’ out in the middle of the road. 
The main problem with no power is that we’re on a well that requires electricity to pump. No showers, no toilet flushing, no drinking water, no way to clean Chef Boyardee Dinosaurs & Meatballs off the sliding glass window. But so what? We lower our standards and move on. 

There are some up-sides. No electricity means no computers, which means no guilty pleasures like facebook and pinterest and no do-I-even-know-you-how-could-you-watch-this-trash pleasures like Couples’ Therapy. (I can’t help it. Courtney Stoddard is my Honey Boo-Boo.) As a result I’m SO PRODUCTIVE. Seriously. With no electricity I had three options: 

1.       Do productive stuff
2.       Read
3.       Rest

During the daylight, I did productive stuff with the occasional rest for a few minutes while I played with my baby or just took in the view of our river. Once the sun went down, I read. I finally finished The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman that I’ve been working on for four months and got a got a good 60 pages into Maugham: A Biography, by Ted Morgan with the help of a candelabra that was a wedding present. Sixty pages may not seem like a lot to you leisured classes, but when you claw away at a book one paragraph at a time the way I usually do, it feels like finishing a marathon.

I feels so great, in fact, that I had a vivid dream in which my purple, bold-face type banner that reads “I GAVE UP FACEBOOK FOR LENT” featured prominently except without the “FOR LENT” part.

Maybe this sans electricity living was a real possibility. 

It wasn’t until today that I gave up. The restaurant bills were starting to add up (thank you dearest brother twin-law for feeding us so much!) and I was struggling to keep the babies warm enough at night. A call to the power company resulted in the demoralizing news that we weren’t estimated to get power until Sunday night at 11:30pm. We booked rooms at a local motel, although it took several calls since most everywhere was full of New York and New Jersey refugees. 

Disheartened, I let the 2 year old choose our restaurant for the evening and packed up the car with luxuries like shampoo and baby monitors. At dinner, P and I shared a bottle of wine and talked about how adorable our babies are. On our way to the hotel, we stopped by the house to make sure Ulrich von Dog was snuggled up in his dog bed alright. We turned into the driveway and gasped. 



Electricity is a beautiful thing. And while I’m sure the thrill I get at turning on the dishwasher will wear off in less than 24 hours and the candelabra will be once again relegated to the Christmas decorations box, I’ve resolved one thing: less pinterest, more reading. 

I hope that means more writing, too.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Haircut Pt 2

 Old Hair:

New Hair:

Bloglings, you will never understand how much I have suffered to appease your curiosity.

In the process of trying to get this after picture, I discovered not only that I am doomed never to take an even mediocre "selfie" but also that there is no such thing as a simple snapshot when it involves P an my hair.

The above picture is the result of one bicker, three wardrobe changes and at least 10 other attempts at a reasonable picture.

I know. I'm amazed myself.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Whoever first said "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result" clearly never ran a house.

To me, that's the definition of laundry.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Stress does funny things to people. Some get skinny, some get fat. Some cut off all their hair.

And by that I mean, I just cut off all my hair.

It's not just stress, though. I'm also incredibly cheap and I discovered that if I agreed to donate my hair to Locks of Love I could get a free haircut from a fancy shmancy salon where it usually costs $70. Using Benjamin Franklin's logic, that's like me getting paid $70 for hair I didn't have time to wash anymore anyway. It's a no brainer.

To me, at least. P's reaction was less enthusiastic.

For the record, now, after cutting off 12 inches of hair, my hair is still a couple inches past my shoulders, which is to say, longer than most people's.

And don't worry, P. It'll grow out.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Oh, Sugar Sugar

Tonight I finally got around to making the diabeedus-inducing brownies of heaven tonight and I might add, they are delicious. They are brownie on the bottom, a Ferrero Rocher candy in the middle and caramel cream cheese frosting on top.

Ferrero Rocher Brownie Bites with Caramel Icing photo
Let's all take a moment of silence to appreciate this dessert in all its glory. 

Shortly thereafter, the mess it created in my kitchen had to be cleaned up and the responsiblity fell to HC. Halfway through, she came and flopped herself down on my bed.
HC:What do you want me to do with the leftover caramel sauce?

Me: We could keep it for apples if you want. 

...HC doesn't respond...

Me: Or if you don't want, then just throw it out. 

HC, suddenly sitting up: ARE YOU ON DRUGS?!?! 

I'm pretty sure she's taking her lunch to school tomorrow.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Lost In Translation

In the week preceding baby K's birth, there was a lot of down time. Everyone just sort of hung around.

Her due date had come and gone with no action. Everyone was afraid of venturing too far away from the house, convinced that as soon as cell phone signal was lost (that happens in a pretty consistent two mile radius from here) I would suddenly go into labor.

HC was in the middle of final exams anyway, so she was distracted, but the other kids noodled around the house and found ways of entertaining themselves with increasing desperation.

One afternoon, my mother spent a good hour watching youtube videos of donkeys braying. Just braying. HeHAWWWW. HeHAWWWWWW.

An hour.

 She claimed she was doing it to entertain the toddler, but I saw it as a sign that things were reaching a critical point. I opted for an induction.

My Mom has a hard enough time deciphering anything P says, given his dense accent, and her donkey experience turned out to confuse things even further. Once things were well under way at the hospital, the two of them were having a little chat while we all waited for my contractions to get serious. Conversation meandered around, finally settling on the topic of familial characteristics.

"Well, A is really a lot like my brother, don't you think?" P said.

"How so?" my mom asked.

"Well, they're both basically gentle and  burrow loving..."

"What loving?" She looked at me for translation.

"Burrow loving," I said, and when she still looked totally confused, " BURROW, he loves his house and home and doesn't want to be disturbed."

"OHHH!" said my Mom, visibly relieved. "I thought you meant BURRO loving!" 

I mean...who isn't?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Humble (Frito) Pie

(NB: This is an entry I wrote a while ago and never published, so it's chronologically askew. Have no fear. I'm not really pregnant again.)

I felt about as friendly as Medusa in a fit of roid rage all day yesterday, and maybe it was my body telling me I had a bug. Who knows. That's P's generous theory. I think I just woke up grumpy and made poor decisions as a result. Anyway, here's what happened.

On a given day, I eat pretty healthy. A cup of tea in the morning, with milk and a half a spoonful of sugar. Maybe some toast. Lunch I have some kind of veggie-heavy home made sandwich or panini with some fruit and a glass of water. Often, there's a cheese and cracker or chips and salsa afternoon snack and then we always have a family dinner that I make.

Yesterday was not this way. The day's tranquility fell apart around 9:43am and never got back on its feet. We were one car and two brains short of a smooth operation. By the time dinner rolled around, P had just finished his seriously delayed lunch meeting, HC didn't want to go run at the track on a full stomach and F was just generally refusing to eat.

So there I was, faced with eating dinner alone. No big deal. Easy cleanup.

About an hour later, P and I took the dog and baby out for a walk. We saw a family of ducks and some beavers swimming around in the lake and F got obsessed with them. The "Beabers" as she calls them, were so cool, in fact, that the whole way home she pouted and dragged her feet and kicked leaves and muttered "beabers an'a beabers in'a watahr and da ducks, beabers...beabers 'n beabers..." in an incoherent, toddler type way.

P tried to distract her with a pine cone, and she inquired doubtfully whether it was a beaber. It wasn't.

By the time F was bathed and toothbrushed and read to and tucked in, I was feeling really sick. I wallowed around on my bed for a while.. Then, when things got dramatically worse, I called P who insisted I call the doctor. It wouldn't have been a big deal, except I thought I was getting contractions, so the doctor told me to go to the hospital and met me up there.

I hate calling the doctor.

I'd much, much rather just wallow in my own self-pity behind closed doors than let on that I'm not feeling very well. I'm like one of those dogs that sits on it's own broken leg so none of the other dogs notice and challenge his top-dog status. Except, I never wanted to be top dog anyway, I just feel guilty if people have to go out of their way for me. It's sick, I know.

Not only did I not want to call the doctor, but I didn't want to go up to the hospital for monitoring, either. I knew everything would be fine (and it was). It was a waste of time. To top it all off, pretty much as soon as I got off the phone with the doctor, I started feeling better.

At any rate, I find myself in a room with P, the doctor and two nurses. One of the nurses is hooking me up to all kinds of machines to make sure I'm ok. There are beeping machines involved. It was totally silly.

One nurse pulls out a clipboard and starts to ask me about my symptoms.

"And when was the last time you ate?"

"Uh...a couple hours ago."

She marked something down with her thick yellow pencil.

"What did you eat?"

This was a nightmare. Here I was, in a room full of people who I am inconveniencing over something totally silly, and they're all listening to me answer this question. I wanted to curl up in a ball and hide under the gurney. I looked at the nurse, wishing she would get distracted by something, anything.

"I'm a healthy person, I promise." I said.

"I know,  I can tell by looking at you." She looked right back at me. I was definitely not off the hook.

"...a bag of Fritos and two jelly doughnuts."

The nurse put down her clipboard without writing anything on it. The other nurse stopped fidgeting with the wires they were fastening to little listening devices around my belly. They both looked at me and laughed. LAUGHED.

"Well I think we found the root of the problem, Doc," the first nurse said.

Yeah, I guess so.

The thing is, I don't even like jelly doughnuts.

Especially not the second time around.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Long Summer

It's been a summer of highs and lows.

I made a rule for myself when I started this blog never to write about being unhappy, at least, not if I couldn't give it a positive spin. The trouble with this summer has been that for every unhappy moment that has stayed my hand as it hovered above the keyboard, there have been overwhelmingly wonderful ones to match. They're so overwhelming, in fact, that they're a challenge to write about, even when they were quiet enough to give me time.

Baby K is a most beautiful and perfect baby, and it was she, arriving after a short and simple delivery in the middle of June, who gave sweet relief to my long and uncomfortable pregnancy.

K looks nothing like her big sisters, with huge eyes and a head of dark brown hair.

But, God, is she beautiful.

Handling two little ones has been the challenge everyone warned me it would be. It also came with a dose of guilt more significant than even my Catholic upbringing had prepared me for. A lot of my lows stem from realizing that I'm just not enough to go around -- the babies, the big kids, the house and gardens, the work, the husband, the extra house we're trying to sell -- everything needs full and undivided attention that I can't provide.

I hope in the coming months to work out a system for organizing my life, and I'll try to keep you posted on my progress. In the meantime, I'm going to keep looking at this beautiful baby in my arms and trying to think it's all just sort of amusing.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bumbling Through Domesticity (and Domestic Help?)

I made the mistake a couple nights ago of visiting a self-help website about how to make and achieve goals, forgetting that it is intended for normal people who aren't full of hormones, inarticulable fears, feeling like a blimp full of monkeys with an inability to bend over to even reach my knees.

Somewhere between the "write out your goals for the next 90 days" and "what one word pops into your mind to describe yourself?" I found myself in tears. (Bedraggled? Terrified? Irrational?)

I talked to my Mom on the phone later and she attempted to reassure me. "It's the second baby that hits you," she said."The first one is like 'I got a pet baby!!' and the second one really makes you a parent."

Good to know.

The problems are several-fold. I constantly contradict and reprimand myself. I go from feeling like I don't have any help to feeling like there are too many people around getting in my business. I go from panicking about my lack of planning for next several months to the realization that there are too many unknowns to plan for. I go from waking up ready to accomplish great things to needing a nap after just walking to the kitchen for my breakfast.

The main issue that bothers me is this: MEN.

Let me explain. Generally speaking, I like men. Prefer them, even. However, in this situation they've doomed me.

First, there's the inevitable father tangle. My Dad was both a present and an active part of my childhood and beyond. One could say he loomed large (and not only because he's tall enough to play professional basketball). He was a...let's say...toughening influence on my life. There was no prissiness tolerated in our house, and while I was raised in a decidedly conservative environment, there was little distinction made for gender differences when it came to personal interaction, manual labor and discipline. During particularly difficult phases of my life, I have vivid memories of my father taking me aside, clearing his throat, and giving me speech along the following lines:

"Remember L, that you are very smart and very capable, and you come from a long line of tough, smart, capable women. Your female ancestors didn't need feminism to liberate them. Your great grandmother studied math in college before women went to college, and she earned a reputation as a glutton from her dates who didn't realize that she was so poor that when they took her out it was sometimes the only food she'd eaten that day. Another of your great grandmothers raised four children and ran a rice farm, including care of a large number of dependent laborers, by herself after her husband died. Women you are descended from were on the frontier of this country, working side by side with the men to establish homesteads, birthing children in the wilderness and chasing down smoke-house thieves on horseback, so that they could reclaim their stolen food (and use the horsewhip on the thief to boot). With that kind of blood in your veins, and with your talents you can accomplish anything."

No pressure.

Secondly, there's my darling husband, P. He's a horse of a different color.

I get morning tea in bed on a regular basis. It upsets him that I don't get more pedicures, massages and spa days. I get asked, "Baby are you ok?" about eleventy thousand times a day, because he really wants to know how I'm feeling. His answer to my overwhelmth is a speech along the following lines:

"Why don't you hire a nanny housekeeper?"

Because, P.    Because.

1. I'm cheap.
2. The idea of having a new person (female) in my house and in my business who looks to me as their boss is stress inducing, on top of all the stress I have about how I need more help. (Nobody said these reasons have to be rational).
3. What about the long line of tough, capable women? What about the labor pains in the back of a Conestoga wagon that can't stop because there are Indians circling and we have to make it to the mountains because the snow hits!? WHAT ABOUT THE FRONTIER!?

Then again...

I was talking to my brother, and he gave me a slightly different perspective. One most accurately categorized as "don't be retarded".

"Look," he said. "Do you think those women did that because they wanted to? Like, they woke up one day and said 'I know! Honey! Let's go west. I think it would be FUN to risk my life for a measly piece of  grassy plain.' No. They're up in heaven now, clapping and cheering every time P tells you to hire someone. That's what they did it for -- so you could have a better life. Plus, who knows, you might find Mary Poppins and she's not annoying and doesn't need anyone to boss her around."

But, I'm still cheap.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Little Advice, or, How to Make a Round Crib Sheet

Greetings Bloglings,

It's been a while, but today I'm offering a throwback to the original intent of my blog, which is to offer some advice on how to bumble through domesticity. The first rule of bumbling is: be cheap. To that end, I present:


I realize this is a rather specific thing to be showing, but I couldn't find any special instructions online so perhaps I've found a niche.

So step one, obviously, is to locate the necessity of a round crib sheet. I found mine by way of a) getting pregnant and b)finding an awesome round crib at a local flea market for $125, thereby fulfilling the first rule of bumbling.

Step 2: Gather materials.

  • mattress that needs sheeting
  • 2 yards of cute, soft fabric for sheet
  • thread of appropriate color
  • pencil
  • about a yard of elastic
Step 3: Spread the fabric out and put the mattress on top toward one end. Enlist help if needed.

Step 4: Trace around the mattress with a pencil, making sure you leave about an inch of space extra for seam allowance.

Step 5: Move the mattress and cut out your circle of fabric.

Step 6: Measure the circumference of your mattress. This is easier said than done in my house, as my helpful toddler squirreled away all the measuring tapes sometime last week and they've yet to resurface. I just McGyvered it and used a long piece of ribbon.

Step 7: You're going to cut strips of fabric from that, when sewn together, will total the circumference of your mattress. So, in my case, (a 42" mattress), that meant three strips. Again, I had problems measuring, so I just divided my remaining fabric into thirds (hot dog style) and cut along those lines. They ended up being about 10" wide, I'm guessing. That's more than enough to encase a 4" deep mattress and allow for the elastic casing.

Step 8: Sew the strips together to make one long strip. Make sure the cute ("right", top or outside) sides of the fabric are touching (facing) each other so that when you open the fabric after sewing it you have matching patterns.

Step 9: Pin the long strip to the circle you cut out earlier, again, making sure cute sides are together.

Step 10: Starting about an inch or two away from the beginning of the strip, sew around the edge to attach the long strip. Stop an inch or two away from the end. This will leave the two ends of the strip unattached. That way, when you reach the end, you can attach them to each other and then finish up attaching it to the circle.

*dislaimer* I know Step 10 is a little wonky, but I have my reasons: because I'm not great at measuring, sometimes the strip comes out a bit long or a bit short, in which case giving yourself leeway is essential. When you reach the end of your strip you can determine for yourself if you need to trim off excess length or add on additional.

Step 11:  Turn the sheet right side out and double check it fits your mattress. It's pretty much done at this point, you just need to put in the elastic to keep in it place.

Step 12: Hem the raw edge of the sheet, I did mine about a 1/4"

Step 13: Pin the hemmed edge under again to create the casing. I did mine about 1" because I wasn't sure what elastic I was going to use and I wanted plenty of room. Sew the casing, remembering to leave a little bit open so you can get your elastic in there.

Step 14: Figure out how much elastic you need by getting hold of some elastic and seeing how short it can be while still comfortably fitting around the circumference of your mattress. This will vary with different elastics. Just hold on to one end of the elastic and pretend your putting on a fitted sheet with the rest. You want it snug but not impossible.

Step 15: Use one safety pin to anchor one end of the elastic to the casing opening. Use another attached to the free end of the elastic to make it easier to thread through the casing. After you've threaded the elastic all the way through, sew the elastic ends together and close the casing.


Monday, April 30, 2012

I Kant Remember Who I Was, or, Blog Entry of a Mad Woman.

I come to you tonight in a haze of motherhood. Lost somewhere between showing my toddler's stuffed otter how to use the baby poddy four times in twenty minutes (at F's insistence) and feeling too large to actually fit in the half bathroom while getting the door closed, is my sense of individuation.

I am my children.

I am the digestion process: the food, the fullness and the baby potty, all.

I am the books; I am one with the not-yet-verbal. 

I am asleep and awake simultaneously. I am both unproductive and reproductive.

I don't think, therefore I am everything.

Which reminds me. Tomorrow, I'd like to be the bed, the computer repair and perhaps the sugar free caramel frappuccino.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Some Comfort For Me In My Time of Beached Whale-dom

The Beautiful

Three things there are more beautiful 
Than any man could wish to see: 

The first, it is a full-rigged ship 
 Sailing with all her sails set free; 

The second, when the wind and sun 
 Are playing in a field of corn ; 

The third, a woman, young and fair, 
Showing her child before it is born.

by W.H. Davies

I don't feel small.

I'm officially ten weeks off from being overdue with this baby, and I already feel huge. That said, twice in the past three days, people have said to me "But you look so *tiny*!!"

The thing is, I don't look tiny. First of all, I'm over six feet tall. I wear size nine and a half shoes. Secondly, I'm quite pregnant. There's nothing tiny about this.

I'm not sure if this is one of those things that people say because they think that if they honestly report what I look like I'll burst into tears or something,  but I won't and it's just wrong.

Even F knows it.

A few nights ago, she and I were working on putting her toys back in the bassinet that functions as her toybox. It's a sysiphian task involving me picking toys up and putting them in the toybox while F quickly retrieves them and replaces them onto the floor.

In goes a ball, a stuffed dog, a xylophone, a wooden block. Out comes a ball, a stuffed dog, a xylophone, a...

"Mama whaddis?!" she waves Millennial Barbie over her head. I know she knows what "dis" is, so I return the question.

"You tell me, who is that?"  I hand her the tiny brush that she uses to stroke Barbie's hair. "Who is it?" I repeat.

She looks thoughtfully at the Barbie for a second, and then "HANNAH!" she exclaims, beaming at me.

So HC is Millennial Barbie. How sweet, seriously.

P is still trying to convince F to call her "Glamorous Older Sister," which, being the mouthful that it is, has not yet caught on, but she clearly agrees with the underlying message.

The last time F identified something as me it was this picture of Winnie the Pooh.

And there was nothing subtle about it. She looked at the picture, pointed to it, and said "MAMA!"

The time before that, I was a polar bear.

Ah well, at least the girl's honest.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Valentine's Day

In my usual timely fashion, I thought I'd share with you how seriously we take Valentine's Day at our house.

Very. Seriously.

P was up late the night before, so he needed to sleep late on the big day. I'd been up for hours when he finally emerged. His expression and demeanor hovered somewhere between Rip Van Winkle and "I eat brains."

Standing unsteadily in the kitchen, he pulled a yellow post-it note out of the sleeve of his robe with a mournful expression on his face.

"I made this for you last night while you were sleeping. I wanted you to see it when you woke up. I was going to put it someplace special. And bring you tea in bed. I guess it didn't work out."

He shuffled over to F, who watched him quietly from her highchair, bottle in mouth.

"There." He said. "Now it's someplace special."

In case you can't see it, it's a cat face hidden by an enormous heart. PRECIOUS.

What did I get P, you ask? A jar of pickled onions, duh.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Doggy Comforts

Normally, F is a sparkling little cannonball of sociability, powering around, campaigning for Most Beloved Empress of the World. She's not afraid of strangers. She doesn't bat an eye at being left with a babysitter. Airplanes and restaurants are just more opportunities to greet her adoring public.

This aspect of her personality is truly delightful, even to me, the Mother-in-waiting with decidedly hermit-like tendencies.

I say normally, because we all have our off days, apparently.

Last Tuesday when I got F out of her crib in the morning she was her usual cheerful, bubbly self and we discussed the day ahead of us. I asked her what she wanted to wear and she expressed no opinion but wanted me to understand that her favorite stuffed animal, Aye the otter, should be included in the conversation. On the topic of breakfast, she communicated a desire for an egg, cheese and some cheerios. Then, I asked her if she wanted to go play with the other kids at storytime.

She looked me directly in the eye and said, "No."

F only learned the word "no" a few weeks ago, and she uses it quite liberally, even when she actually means "yes". "No" with F doesn't always mean "no", no matter what they tell you in school.

So I ignored her and continued with preparations for our outing.

Cleaned, fed, dressed and ready, we arrived at the library and slipped into storytime without a second to lose. We sat down next to a little boy F's age and his grandmother, two of the regulars of whom F is quite fond.

Peyton, the little boy, was delighted to see F and ran up to her in greeting. She wasn't having it.

I didn't push her, but hoped that she would warm up when the music rattle-shaking started. We all got in a circle. F got wide-eyed and serious. I ignored it outwardly, but inwardly couldn't help but notice her changed personality; I'd never seen her act this way before.

It wasn't until "Ring Around the Rosy" when the father to our right reached out to F and she literally curled up in a ball, squeezing her eyes shut and covering her ears with her hands, that I realized we should really just go home. It was an off day.

Why? I have no idea. I'd never seen it before and I haven't seen it since. But F knew the moment she got up that she was in no mood for socializing, and she even warned me.

I have three thoughts about this.

One is: Oh Girl, I know. I have that feeling like 5 days out of the week. It's ok. I understand.

Another is, I'm really blessed not to have a temper-tantrum-throwing child. Despite the fact that everyone likely thinks her fetal-position-blocking-out-all-sensory-data is indicative of some sort of abusive homelife, she didn't disturb the library's "Shhhhhhhh!" policy. That would just be rude.

The final thought is: YOU'RE EIGHTEEN MONTHS OLD! What is with this sophisticated emotional life? Don't I get at least another 12 years before I have to deal with this?!

When we got home, she immediately sat down and looked at books silently for about 10 minutes until I let Ulrich von Dog in, and then she made a bee-line for him. He was tired after a long walk with P and flopped down on the floor.

This is what happened next: she laid down on the floor next to him, cheek to the stone and just looked into his soft brown eyes. The two of them stayed in this position for several long minutes.

This must be why families need pets.

Ulrich, you're the only one who understands me.

I'm here for you, kid.

Put On Your Costume

I spent this evening listening to excerpts from the first recording in history to have sold one million copies.

It came out in 1907. That year, Rudyard Kipling won the Nobel Prize. The first taxicabs began operating in London and NYC. It was two years before construction would begin on the Titanic.The Cubs actually won a World Series. The automatic washer and dryer were first introduced. My great-grandmother was three years old, and she didn't die until I was in college.

I was supposed to have spent this evening writing a fundraising piece for a certain non-profit, but somehow...I got distracted. Now I just need to force myself to put on my writing hat.

Vesti La Guibba, translated lyrics:

Act! While in delirium,
I no longer know what I say,
or what I do!
And yet it's necessary... make an effort!
Bah! Are you not a man?
You are a clown!

Put on your costume,
powder your face.
The people pay to be here, and they want to laugh.
And if Harlequin shall steal your Columbina,
laugh, clown, so the crowd will cheer!
Turn your distress and tears into jest,
your pain and sobbing into a funny face – Ah!

Laugh, clown,
at your broken love!
Laugh at the grief that poisons your heart!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Proud as Peacock Chair

January was a big month, mostly because I impulse bought a pair of hilariously gigantic retro peacock chairs at a garage sale that don't even fit in my house. Literally, not decoratively.

Everything fits in my house decoratively because I don't believe in any kind of design consistency.

Eccentric is the new chic.

Just ask my husband. He knows all about eccentricity.

Not to be confused with electricity, mind you, because he knows very little about the ways of muggles.

The point is, here are my chairs. P and I are featured only in the very first picture. The rest are just my friends and neighbors.