Monday, June 30, 2008

contest. did you say CONTEST???

Who wants to have some fun? I certainly do.

Thanks to the lovely and luminous Swistle for the ingenius Pay It Forward Contest, Group Effort Edition - I'm hosting a contest for all you beauties (and here's a chance for you shy non-commenters to comment).

Who: You and you and you and, yes, YOU.

What: Pay it Forward Contest

Where: Here, silly.

When: Contest is open until Friday the 4th at 6pm PST. Leave a comment on this post and I'll use a random number generator to pick the winner (read: tiny numbered pieces of paper in a bowl - I'm not very fancy). I will post the winning announcement on Saturday the 5th before 10am PST.

How: If you win my contest you host a contest of your own and require your winner to also host a contest etc. etc. forever and ever thus furthering love and sweetness and all things fantastic on the internet.

Why: Because it's fun. And if your number is picked, you WIN a PRIZE from ME. I do great packages. Really.

Will include (winner can specify which package sounds better):
- A BABY themed package including a handmade taggie blanket made by yours truly. I made one for Alice recently and she LOVES it. And I have to say, I think it looks smashing.
- A NON-BABY themed package including a pack of handmade cards created by yours truly. Also smashing, I promise.

Each package will include some other FUN items, but you'll have to win to find out. Now, leave a comment letting me know which chocolate bar in the bag of Hershey's tiny chocolate bar assortment you eat first. Mine is most definitely KRACKLE. MMMMMM.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


I'm doing some early summer cleaning at The Creamery: moving some furniture around, taking some things out that don't fit, and adding a couple of items that will do nicely. I hope you like what I've done.

In addition to some of the basic updates, I'm also adding a new element over to your right on the screen: currently in progress. For some odd reason I haven't talked much about the other things I do: knitting and painting and sewing and collage and a whole other slew of things that keep my hands busy. I'm hoping I'll do a better job of keeping you up to date on those things.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

the witching hour

I'm writing this entry from the relative safety of the den - out of direct earshot of the Nighttime Crying Ritual. In place of a thousand other things I can post about, I've just got to ask you if this is normal.

The facts:
-Alice falls asleep every night at 11pm.
-She wakes up anywhere between 5:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. and every once in a while blesses us by sleeping until 8.
-This is the child who really doesn't take daytime naps. She does do a fairly long stretch of sleep in the morning, after her first feeding. She sleeps around 2-3 hours and then is up up up for the rest of the day, pretty much.
-She has one shortish afternoon nap around 1pm, and another around 5pm.
-Occasionally she'll drift at 8pm.
-Each of these "naps" is between 20 minutes to an hour long.
-Her doctor has told us that the amount of sleep Alice is getting seems to be enough - she is happy, healthy, and growing. She is just one of those quirky babies that doesn't need 14 hours of sleep each day.
-We have a solid bedtime routine of bath, massage/lotion, pj's, singing, and bottle.
-Every night like clockwork Alice cries, thrashes, fusses, pushes, arches - and generally is very upset at 9pm.
-Chip is normally taking care of Alice during the 9 o'clock magic hour (poor thing).
-Usually I'm able to calm her down by walking walking walking until she settles down enough to take the rest of her bottle and fall asleep, but it can take up to 45 minutes to get her settled enough to eat.

So - those are the facts. As a total First Time Parent, I'm trying to understand what we can do better, and also what is just normal baby behavior. Is this typical? Do babies just have a Hell On Earth period of time before they settle to sleep or are we completely missing out on something?

Give me all the advice, suggestions, and totally presumptuous ideas you have in your arsenal. Let me have it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

after all that

The phone call that didn't happen yesterday is now going to happen TODAY. As soon as I posted the entry, Alice woke up and then the entire afternoon passed in a flurry and blah blah blah these all sound like excuses. So - the phone call? To my boss? Is happening today. (But thank you to the sweeties who wished me luck yesterday. Thank you!)

In other news, I'm sick for the first time in, like, A YEAR. And the bug is seriously kicking my trash. And making me cranky. Aren't you glad you tuned in to read about this?

More later.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

around the bend

I'm feeling introspective today - especially in this moment, when I have a rare minute of quiet time. Alice is asleep upstairs, Chip is at work, Fergus is sleeping in Alice's room, and Phoebe is THANKFULLY padding around the house, taking a brief break from the horrid hairball vomitfest (last night was a treat, let me tell you).

Why the introspection, you ask? (Or maybe you don't ask - but you're here, and you're reading, so there's some level of curiosity... right?) I've been thinking about my Current State of Affairs. I am grateful that I'm able to stay home with Alice, that we've been working on making it possible for me to stay with her permanently. For so long, this stay-at-home gig has been something we were hoping for but wouldn't commit to completely. I have woken up every morning, grateful to be here, but with the unsteady gaze of someone who couldn't promise tomorrow would be the same. A few weeks ago my paid leave from work ended. And we faced yet another milestone, another choice, another fork in the road. I called my boss and told him I needed more time. He was amazing and sweet and said Yes, of course. I'm on unpaid leave until July 22nd. And we are hurtling toward that date with rocket speed.

We've had some wonderful conversations about this next choice, this next step. We are so grateful that some opportunities have arisen to make a stay-at-home-Whimsy possible.

Wish me luck. I'm going to make a phone call today that will change everything.

If I Don't Laugh About This, I'll Cry

Let's give it up for the Universe with a Sense of Humor: how funny is it that the Massive Hair Exodus (wherein all but three of my hairs flee my head) coincides with Bean Dexterity 101? I have found her clutching Mommy Hairs and CHEWING on Mommy Hairs so many times I don't even get weirded-out anymore.

Go ahead, kid: eat my hair. YUMMY.

And seriously: I know it's all normal and such, but DUDE HOW CAN ONE HUMAN BEING LOSE THIS MUCH HAIR AND STILL HAVE SOME LEFT? I wake up in the morning fully expecting to find little bald patches. When is this madness going to end?!?!

Friday, June 20, 2008

a photo essay entitled WHAT WE'VE BEEN DOING AROUND HERE

So. There was some of this:

Some of this:

And also some of this:

There was a sneaky peanut:

There was some bad picture-taking:

Or I've just been really interested in the empty laptop box I've been using as a footrest:

Someone had a bad face rash:

That made us very cranky:

It's possible that we have been torturing our child:

Or just seeing how much she'll stomach before she's had enough:

I don't know about you, but I'm tired.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

the truth about chip

Edited to add: the link works NOW. Am huge typing loser.

I've got to tell you something about Chip. He doesn't like monkeys. I know. I KNOW! The dude just doesn't like monkeys. Says he doesn't trust them. That they might bite you as soon as you turn your back on them. Says that they probably smell. He can't STAND baboons because of their bright red bare bums. That stuff just freaks him out. Chip has no desire to ever hold a chimpanzee's hand, or to look into the eyes of a tiny capuchin. He has something against every single monkey.

So you can imagine why I haven't shared this post from Stacie with him. Though as far as I'm concerned, I think it's just FANTASTIC.

Let's get that chimp a star.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

keeping score

I do best when I'm not keeping track. When I'm not counting the minutes or the instances or the examples. I do best when I'm living in the moment and embracing it for what it is - whether it's a long session of nursing Alice, or when Chip and I are ever so slightly FRUSTRATED at each other over something totally insignificant.

Being the slightly (HA) methodical person that I am, it can be hard not to keep track of things. Somehow having a baby intensified this for me. I don't know if it's the same for other people, but once we had a baby there was a very palpable feeling of W-O-R-K around the house, and I'm ashamed to admit how easy it is to attempt to measure how many times a bathroom should be cleaned with soothing the baby - or doing the laundry with cooking dinner. I know, I know: THERE IS NO COMPARISON. How can there be? We can argue long and hard about importance or time or sheer physical strength each item requires, but still it leaves us feeling jilted, slighted, and (in the end) so horribly irritated that we're just working so much HARDER than someone else when the truth is... you might be. And you might not.

The real truth is that it doesn't matter. There is no point system for household duties. And even if there was, I don't think anyone would be happy with the outcome (you mean to tell me that cleaning a toilet is only worth 20 points????).

So I've been working on not looking at the clock, not counting, not measuring. It's made cooking somewhat scary (ha ha), but it's made life around here so much better.

Friday, June 13, 2008

making mummification work for you

I really need to be writing this as a thank you ode to the Little Brother and his wife M. They gave us the Kiddopotamus Swaddle Me blanket (two of them) a few months ago and we've just recently put them into the bedtime rotation.

Bean has developed, over the past few weeks, a nervous bedtime energy that can only be described as FRANTIC. The little girl thrashes and wiggles and squirms until her arms are flying willy-nilly over her head and regularly smacking herself in the face. It's not a pretty sight. I was so frustrated and distraught over the behavior after a while that I started to actually hold her arms down so I could soothe her to sleep. The problem with this answer, of course, is that she'd wake herself up in the middle of the night with a nice swift arm to the noggin.

Enter the Swaddle Me. I don't mean to do this much laughing on my daughter's behalf, but there is a LIMIT to the contraptions we can put this girl into without busting a gut. The Swaddle Me is fantastic, don't get me wrong. Since we started using it, she is sleeping an average of 7 HOURS, which is the kind of thing that I shouldn't even talk about, for fear that it will go away. The
seven-hour stretch of sleep is absolute heaven, but it comes at the price of making my baby look like this:

(Can I just add that they totally PHOTOSHOPPED THAT BABY'S HEAD ONTO SOME OTHER BABY'S TORSO? It kinda makes me wonder what the original baby's face looked like. Was he screaming? Totally unimpressed? Was there maybe NEVER a baby in the swaddle? Hmph. This is the same image included in the Swaddle Me's packaging, and it just kills me every time I look at it.)

So yes, since you asked, we have been mummifying our baby every night. Works like a charm.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

weekend fun... no ifs ands or buts about it

Stacie's visit this past weekend was a blur. We laughed. We cried (the baby contingent, at least). We remembered too many stories to ever tell (and no, Little Brother, we will NEVER STOP TALKING ABOUT YOU). Ha ha!

How can you deny a weekend of fun when it has things like this:

And this:

Stacie's winner for Who Can Find The Smallest Peanut at the Roadhouse Grill (sporting a hairbow from Alice):

And then there was a ferry ride:

Alice is going to miss Auntie Stacie:

We had a wonderful time, no buts about it. Okay, maybe there was one BUTT:

Friday, June 6, 2008

alice at 12 weeks... better late than never

Even though Alice's twelve-week anniversary of life was nearly two weeks ago, we at the Creamery have this:

At twelve weeks Alice is...

Funny. She makes faces at us and laughs at herself.

Sociable. She loves talking to her stuffed froggy. Recently she also began chatting to the little giraffe that hangs over her swing, but their friendship is still in the early stages, whereas she and froggy are clearly soul mates. We're convinced that she tells froggy about her day, her dreams, and every crazy thing her parents have done.

Sweet. We don't think there is anything better than a kiss from Alice.

Loud. Without being delicate about it, she has the loudest diaper situations known to man. We can hear her TWO ROOMS AWAY. Her burps aren't all that ladylike either - but quite frankly, we couldn't be more proud of the little bruiser.

Sensitive. She loves to be around us and can tell if we're not paying enough attention to her. She makes her desire to be noticed quite clear.

Expressive. We've been able to identify quite a range of Alice Noises, including her different cries. We had the misfortune to get to know her pain cry after her 2-month shots.

Observant. She is starting to really love looking at herself in the mirror.

Growing. Check out those cheeks!

Strong. She's holding her head up pretty regularly when she's loo
king over my shoulder now.

Beautiful. We have no idea where she gets if from. She's certainly far better looking that either Chip or me.

Talkative. She has a whole range of vowel sounds, and she's slowly developing some consonants.

A traveler. We've taken a handful of longish car trips to see family - add that to our recent Philadelphia trip and she's developing quite a travel resume.

Ours. And we couldn't be happier about that.

Monday, June 2, 2008

letter to myself from 12 weeks

Dear Just Post-Partum Self,

At twelve weeks Alice is sleeping through the night. You can s
ay she is sleeping through the night as long as you define "sleeping through the night" as sleeping for more than 3 hours at a time somewhere in the vicinity of "nighttime". You have grown accustomed to the lack of sleep and no longer complain about it. You can say you no longer complain about it as long as you define "no longer complain about it" as not mentioning the lack of sleep very often. "Very often" being every three days. Anything more frequent than that puts you back into the camp of "disgruntled" and "cranky" and also "complaining".

You have learned that any time Chip calls for you when he is changing Alice's diaper will NOT result in either a toy surprise or a gift certificate to a spa. Rather, it results in an entirely different sort of toy surprise, the kind found in a DIAPER and Chip wants to show off his daughter's waste management prowess. He is very proud.

You now manage, on a quite regular basis, to actually SHOWER. Frequency is still something of an elusive thing.

You have a frightening knowledge of daytime cooking shows. The Food Network is one of the only things you don't mind watching regularly with the baby because you figure she'll pick up some good cooking skills. You will tell her later that the ability to cook well skipped a generation and she has inherited her kitchen prowess from her Grampy R.

Invest in Lansinoh breast pads. They are more expensive than Gerber, but they work better and are much less noticeable when you're wearing them out in the world. Even with these wonderful doodads, you will leak. And you will leak in front of other people. Be gracious and graceful when Chip quietly calls attention to the wet spots on your blouse. Laugh it off.

Practice Public Nursing with Alice when you're in the quiet oasis of your home. You will find that she's not a fan of having things on her head, and even with limited motor skills, can manage to fling the nursing cover every which way. You will expose yourself in this manner in more than one public place - including but not limited to the Philadelphia Airport and church. Be gracious and graceful as you compose yourself and go about the business of feeding your baby. Laugh it off.

Things that you can eat over the baby while she's nursing: hotdogs, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, ice cream, pulled pork sandwiches, toast, and quesadillas.

Things that you should not eat over the baby while she's nursing: cereal, chocolate cake, pot pie, burritos, and pancakes with maple syrup.

Things that you can consider licking off the baby when you eat them over her while she's nursing and you inevitably drop pieces of them on her person: cereal, chocolate cake, pot pie, burritos, maple syrup.

You will pick the baby's nose. Learn to accept it and it will be better for everyone.

You can't imagine leaving her to go back to work. You don't talk about this much on your blog because things are still in transition. You plan to talk about this more at a later time.

You will find that people will have some kind of weird desire to shake your hand while you're nursing the baby. It isn't a conscious thing on their part, they're just being polite. Try to find ways to look occupied (other than feeding your infant) so you don't have to pull your hand away from your boob, shake hands, and then wait patiently for Chip to come by with some hand sanitizer. People just aren't thinking about where your hands have been, and where they are returning to. Don't bother stashing Purel in your bra. It isn't practical.

You have not avoided the Great Shedding of the Hair that happens to every mother. As much as you might think it simply isn't going to happen to you, it will. And it starts at 11 weeks. You aren't going bald. You really do have that much hair. You will survive and you won't require a wig.

Nothing is more satisfying, more magical, more wonderful than when Alice starts to laugh. It doesn't happen very often at first.

Be patient with Chip. He is tired. He is overworked. He is stressed. He is human. He is also wonderful, kind, sweet, and funny. He possesses all of these qualities even when he is being cranky. Even SuperChip can't be charming 24 hours a day. Tell him you love him. Be grateful for his help. Thank him for killing the spider army that was preparing to invade your house. Notice how hard he is working on the lawn so you and Alice can enjoy it.

Get to know Alice. Tell her you love her. Talk to her. Nothing is more important than this time you're spending with her. It is all worth it.

Be kind to yourself. You're doing the best you can.