Friday, April 30, 2010

Wee wildlife can be better than Zoloft

It was a very grumbly day here. Rylee got sick just before we left Michigan and is just starting to feel better. That meant none of our usual activities this week. No gym for me and no Kindermusik, playgroup or Little Gym for her. It makes us both cranky. I'm also having the woe-is-mes because sleep training got set back by travel so she's up several times a night and usually finishes the night in my bed.


Walking past the window today I saw a little quail family having what was certainly one of their very earliest outings. I was hoping to get pictures or video but they hide and camouflage very well. And later when we went outside to play they moved to another part of the yard and the dogs startled them. The video I tried to get of that looks like footage from the Blair Witch Project.

I'll keep trying since I think they're roosting somewhere very close. I did find a blog with pictures that are very close to the ages of the chicks here although our little family doesn't have any head tufts yet.

It's hard to tell how big they are from the photo. But if you imagine the wood chips in the above photo as the fallen trunks of giant sequoias then the cuteness is to scale.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mountains. Molehills. Mommy losing her mind.

I'm a letter writer. I don't mean personal letters; that's what Facebook and email and the phone are for. I mean letters to companies. You know those glowing letters companies proudly display to potential customers, carefully tucked into shiny sheet protectors? Those kind of letters. And also the kind that produce attempts to "rectify the situation" and sometimes include the phrase "my attorney."

I try to write at least as many positive as negative. I even wrote commendation letters for half-a-dozen of the nurses who took care of me when I had Rylee. So I'm not just some fussy old biddy complaining about poor service and my bunions. And the bar for one of these letters - positive or negative - is set moderately high.

This is the kind of thing that makes me indignant these days. And yes, I really did call the office.

auntninn's house

Director in charge of DVD Programming
1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036

Re: The Backyardigans, “Escape from the Tower”

Dear Sir or Madame:

First let me apologize for not addressing this letter more personally. I was unable to obtain the title and name of the correct person when calling your New York office.

I have a 23-month old daughter and she loves the Backyardigans. We own all the DVDs and let her watch the program chiefly because of its high quality music, dancing and storytelling. Her father and I enjoy watching with her, and this is in contrast to a number of other children’s programs available today.

When I saw the latest DVD release, “Escape from the Tower”, on Amazon I pre-ordered it anticipating adding another excellent DVD to her collection. When it arrived I was disgusted to find the DVD included only three Backyardigans episodes and one episode of The Fresh Beat Band. This was particularly irritating since the Fresh Beat Band wasn’t included as a bonus feature, but in place of the typical fourth Backyardigans episode. The only other Backyardigans DVDs with three episodes include one double-length episode.

I have no desire to watch - let alone purchase - episodes of The Fresh Beat Band. I felt like Nickelodeon was forcing me to purchase something I didn’t want to get something I did want. This was especially true since the included episodes of The Backyardigans have not aired on television. If you peruse the DVD reviews on Amazon you will find I am not the only person who feels this way.

I hope this DVD will represent a one-off from the typical Backyardigans four-episode DVD bundling. While I would consider purchasing a DVD that included four Backyardigans episodes and a bonus preview of another show, I will reconsider future Backyardigans DVD purchases if Nickelodeon continues the practice of replacing content I wish to purchase with content I do not.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I just looked at everything that needs to be done since getting back to include but not limited to:

  • Laundry
  • Unpacking
  • Unloading the dishwasher
  • Dusting
  • Repacking my purse for "real life"
  • Etc.
And decided the best use of my time right now is to add the new DVD player to the home network. And blog about it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dear Daddy

Dear Daddy,

I'm having lots of fun at Aunt Kari's. Went to the dark side. See you soon!
Love, Rylee

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Thanks for all the well wishes for our trip! The traveling part went well, but the first leg of our visit home was a mixed bag.  Rylee was a dream baby traveling. She watched her movie for about an hour, ate a lunchable, read some books and was generally a fantasy. Then she stayed awake from 1:30 AM - 4:30 AM EST the first night. This would have been late even in our timezone (10:30PM - 1:30AM) so I don't know what that was about. The worst part is mean mommy is on duty at that time so it wasn't fun for either of us.

The weekend with Grandma and Grandpa was loads of fun and now we're up at my sister's for a week. She has five children ages 14, 12, 12, 9 and 2. Rylee loves it here. Her 9 year-old cousin Jacob has been her BFF every time she's ever seen him, starting when she was 3-months old. It seems to be holding true this time, too.

And the difference between my house and my sister's is something like this (in a good way).

And it's always wicked good for her development. :)

I think I'm going to stop trying to adjust her to the new timezone too much and just put her down late. Here's hoping for a reasonable amount of sleep for both of us, but beyond that I don't fret. It should be a chaotic good time!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wish me luck!

 I'm flying tomorrow from Arizona to Michigan, just mommy and Rylee.

  • Outfits for if the entire trip is warm.
  • Outfits for if the entire trip is cold.
  • A new crayon wallet
  • New Backyardigans matchbox cars (score!)
  • 60 pounds of snacks.
  • Books, books, books.
  • A DVD player and a new Backyardigans DVD, still in the package. Virgin episodes.

Debating packing:
  • Southwest drink coupons

I may or may not blog while I'm there and if so it will be sporadic. So, ta!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Everyone on Etsy is cooler than I am

But I'm starting to be ok with that.

So rather than trying to come up with some great, creative idea on my own. The kind that comes from a mommy who just oozes domestic prowess and who hums along with sweet, chirping song birds while kneading sprouted grain bread in a sparkling clean kitchen and sews perfect, cute clothing from patterns she drafts herself... You know, that kind of idea?

Instead of doing that I'm going to go ahead and shell out the $6 and buy this pattern because how awesome would this be for Rylee's birthday?

And maybe 50 other things from her shop because dang, lady. Rock and roll!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Gearing up to survive my flight

Why, what's this pseudo-book looking thing?

It looks like...a new crayon wallet for Rylee!

I thought about doing a tutorial but a) I wanted to finish during naptime which I (barely) did. And b) this was the most half-a*ed bit of sewing I've done in a long time. I didn't use pins or even get out The Good Scissors.  

I think if I do another one I'll move the tab to the other side, too. I didn't want it on the pad side because I was afraid that would be bulky. But I could have oriented it with the crayons on the right and had it close more like a traditional book.

I would also possibly make these two middle pockets deeper, too. I already had some fabric cut in 5x13 rectangles for "regular" crayon rolls. So I was sort of retro-fitting.

Here's hoping it will consume at least 15 minutes when I unveil it during our 5+ hour plane ride on Friday.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I smell something spoiled

This is my idea of paradise. Eric's too.

This is Rylee's.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I'm going to pretend that I'm really going to finish drafting the Cal Patch T-shirt pattern rather than alternately scowling at and crying about the armhole and breast line.'s the knits I bought. Forgive the poor photo skills. It was too late for natural light today.

Plain blue for my muslin. This also matches my skirt.

A pointelle I bought to match and it does match. But it's so thin it scares me.

Fish and starfish. I bought enough for something for me and for Rylee.

And last but not least. This also has mommy/daughter written all over it.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Three reasons to pee your pants from excitement at my house today!

1. I just got tickets for my sister and I to take Rylee and my nephew to see Nick Jr. storytime live when we're visiting Michigan later this month.

2. We have the first ever non-family babysitter coming by tonight. We've had family babysit at the house and took Rylee to a friend's house once, but this is the first time for a "regular" babysitter. Since our families live thousands of miles away you can see we don't get out much. Dinner reservations at 6:15.

3. I was just searching to find out what date in May the next Charlaine Harris book will be released and it's May 4th, just a few weeks away! AND she posted the first chapter. This actually happened in December and for some reason she didn't call me.

And for anyone who's interested, here's the breakdown.

NameNick LiveBabysitterEric the Vampire
EricIndifferentExcitedNot Excited
RyleeExcitedNot ExcitedIndifferent

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Yoga v. Sleep, Round Two

I mentioned last week that in trying to make peace with Rylee getting up at 6:30 I decided to start taking an 8:15 yoga class twice a week. To make that class we need to leave by 7:45. Here's how that went today...

5:30 am - Rylee wakes up for the first time, I put her back in bed
5:50 am - Rylee wakes up for the second time, I put her back in bed
6:10 am - Rylee wakes up for the third time, I put her back in bed
6:30 am - Rylee wakes up and since it's officially her morning I pull her into bed with me for a quick snuggle. Monday at 6:30 I was desperate for her to snuggle for even 15 minutes so I could be prone for just a little while longer. She lasted 5 minutes. Today at 6:30 she promptly fell sound asleep. Sound. Asleep. Oh, and did I mention on my arm?

6:50 am - I decide to extricate (successfully) but now I can't pack my gym bag or get dressed. But I can pack her a to-go breakfast and get her clothing out so I do that.

7:30 am - She's still asleep. I get my gym clothes and pack my bag without waking her. Dither, dither, dither, what to do?
7:40 am - She's still asleep! This would be a dream any other day. Ok, I decide to call this one for sleep but now she's slept so long that if I want to get a shower I'm going to have to be swift and silent. To keep the dogs from waking her up I decide to shut the bedroom door. I forget I live in an old house. So that goes about like this: "CREEEEAAAAAAAAK...Mommy!" She wakes up happy and I'm thankful for small favors.
7:43 am - Decide to go for it. Worst case I'll be too late for class but can still hit some piece of equipment and get a shower.
7:53 am - Pulling out of the driveway with a dressed baby who is munching on her to-go breakfast. That cuts drop-off time to two minutes, but if I carry her rather than let her walk in I can maybe still make it.

It's worth mentioning at this point that the area around my house currently looks about like this:

So to get anywhere I've got a few nasty intersections to get through. There's literally less than a lane in each direction. Two very narrow partial lanes are all that is available, one in each direction. Today that proved to be more exciting than usual!

See those two little cars at the top of the drawing? I'm in the one headed in the proper direction. At the entrance of these little traffic cone lanes there are signs that look like this.

I'm pretty certain that the sign the woman in the top, left-hand car saw does NOT look like this:

In her defense the traffic pattern has only been like this for about five months. But narrowly avoiding a head-on collision is good for my heart rate, right?

Having survived near-death Rylee and I are still on track to make it to the gym with about a minute to spare. Slamming on my brakes in the above scenario did fling her fruit mash-up onto the floor, but she still has dry cereal and milk to last her until the next red light. And please - feel free to cut-and-paste that breakfast description into any letters to the nominating committee for Mother of the Year.

For reasons best known to herself, Rylee has a little tantrum and flings her cereal all over the car. She then asks for cheese as we are just about to turn into the parking lot. She's not allowed to have any food there so I'm hoping she will finish her cheese at her usual quick pace. She doesn't.

I scramble into the gym, now already a few minutes late for class. The childcare workers inform me she'll have to stand in the hallway to eat her cheese. But they're willing to stand there with her so I can get to class. In the cooler light of now I'm blessing them for that but at the time I was irrationally irritated with Yet Another Hassle.

Zip down the hall, four minutes late for class. And so flustered that for most of the class I'm about like this:

Ohm well.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Why I hate Cal Patch

Design-It-Yourself Clothes, p 60

"Take a look at your armpits, and you'll see that they basically are right on the same horizontal line as your bust. [emph. mine]"

Sigh. This shirt is never going to fit.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Eight Years Ago Today

Eight years ago today I married the best friend I've ever had.

I could list literally hundreds of reasons why he is my best friend, the perfect husband for me and the man I love with all my heart.

Even without these, though, I could love him forever just for the way he looks at Rylee.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rylee's Easter Dress

As promised, here's my little super model in training vogueing her new dress and hat. And a few front of the camera pics to go with it.

With the larger print I was hoping for a "little old lady" look. I think I got it...

This picture breaks my heart because it confirms that my baby is all but gone to make way for this kid

Coordinating basket. Mouthful of candy that fortunately came out with stain treatment.

View of the back of the hat ribbon. So glad I changed from gray to cream.

Just about the only mommy/daughter picture prior to her staining herself with chocolate and jelly beans.

Proof for Amanda that I do wear hot makeup sometimes.

The hat had 90% wearing success. I'll take it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter! Love me and mini-me

p.s. More pictures of Rylee modeling her dress coming later, promise. :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Nothing like the last minute!

I finished Rylee's Easter hat during naptime today. I had a too-small pattern cut out and was planning to scale it up, but just couldn't face it. Luckily, JoAnns had $1 patterns this week and I found one with a perfect hat.

I also decided I didn't like the gray ribbon I sewed on at the sewing party. I swapped it for cream and though the picture doesn't capture it well I think it goes a little better. I can't wait to see this on her tomorrow.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hoisted by my own petard ... almost

I didn't know prior to googling for a picture of a petard that one is hoisted by it by having it blow up in one's face. Learn something new every day.

As I wrote about yesterday I finally was desperate enough to throw good decor aside and tack Rylee's curtains down. The results so far are mixed.

Discard as irrelevant to my blocking-the-dawn experiment her awakening at 11:15 pm and 5:45 am. Both times she went back down within five minutes. Night wakings are thankfully no longer the norm, but they aren't rare either. And after hatching the plot to make blackout curtains and because I am crafty I always tell her "It's still nighttime. Time for sleep." when I put her back into her crib.

After going back to sleep at 5:45 she woke up again at 6:15. This is when I decide to see if the curtains that are obviously worthless for getting her to sleep to a reasonable hour at a single stretch might be enough to convince her that it's the middle of the night. I tell her it's nighttime, time for sleep, put her in the crib, leave the room, hold my breath and say a little prayer. Silence. More silence. This is good.

Now last week I decided to make lemons out of my lemonade and started going to an 8:15 yoga class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I need to leave the house at 7:45 to allow 20 minutes driving time, 5 minutes wrangling into the car and 5 minutes wrangling out of the car into the childcare. If I want some zen zoning out prior to class I need to leave even earlier. This class guarantees me some yoga during the week since my plan to get up at 6 to do yoga and shower before she gets up at 7 was shot to heck by her getting up way before then.

Back to this morning. After nothing but silence comes out of the room for a good five minutes I think, Good. Now she'll sleep another hour or so and we'll still make it to yoga. There's no way she can possibly sleep late enough for me to miss my class.  Isn't that cute, what I thought there just then? How precious is an inexperienced mommy.

7:15 rolls around to still more silence. But rather than admit defeat I start packing a to-go breakfast and praying that she gets up by 7:30 so that I don't have to commit the horrible act of waking up the child who doesn't sleep. For extra insurance I make a little noise.

So does this long story have a happy ending? It does! She woke up at 7:30 and with lightening quickness I slammed her into her clothes and into the car. Made it with five minutes to spare. Rock on.