Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Blink and it's passed you by. Faster than you can imagine. 1,825 days in seconds. Time compacted to memory and One Perfect Day.

And at the same time, it's hard to remember life Before - what things were like in those years when you didn't know him, when he wasn't there to hold your hand or kiss your face, when his wasn't the voice you listened for on the telephone or the warmth you looked forward to at the end of the day. Life with him has been blissful and rewarding - exactly how it should be when you're married to your best friend.

Happy fifth, love.

Monday, November 24, 2008

the one where i compare The Creamery to Val Kilmer


I clicked on this link on MSN's hotmail page, and read about the Was Hot, Is Now Not celebrities. It's just so sad. And then I started thinking about my recent descent into Less Than Stellar Blog Posts (so says I) and realized that a big ole picture of The Creamery could accompany the smarmy pics of Tom Cruise and the horrific mug shot of Nick Nolte (OH THE HUMANITY).

How does one rescue a Blog Gone Wrong? Is there some kind of Blog Life Coach I can hire? A new diet of tomatoes and lemonade? How about yoga? Is pilates a little too passe? Should The Creamery be training for a marathon? Or should I be considering more drastic measures like Blog Plastic Surgery?

Help me, internets. I'd hate to have to consider a career in boxing.

(And in other news - I am doing Pre-Thanksgiving Stressing, with the turkey! and the stuffing! and the yams! and the salad! and the pie! and the gravy! and the entertaining! and the table setting! and the house cleaning! Tell me: how do you handle stress? I tend to get very very very irritable --it's really fun for Chip-- and then I force him to stay up late into the night with me as we clean like mad. Being married to me is FUN.)

Friday, November 21, 2008

who knew?

Apparently, if you stop worrying about a cat's dreadlocks, they will eventually all migrate from her wooly body to various parts of the house. I found one on the kitchen floor yesterday that was the size of Boston. Later I checked to see if Phoebe even had any hair left on her thigh and as I ran my hands down her fuzzy body I realized that the colony of dreadlocks had just up and gone. At that time she still had three or so, but after a recent petting session (just a few minutes ago), she's down to ONE. Who knew?

Apparently, it's not a good idea to attempt a ill-timed Dye Job on your friend Kate's hair while both children (one hers, one mine) are still conscious. Doing the dye job during this ill-conceived threat zone called "should be nap time, but isn't" will result in two children crying their eyes out and literally PAWING AT THEIR MOTHER'S PANT LEGS while the mothers (both quite occupied, thankyouverymuch) go from Concerned and Reassuring Cooing to Concern with a Hint of Rising Stress to Absolute Bedlam to Hysterical Laughter at the Sheer Absurdity. The laughter was cathartic but no less helpful to the crying infants. At one point Kate was standing in her living room, hair smooshed and covered in hair dye, holding both babies (one under each arm) as the kids cried, Kate's mouth a perfect O. I was in the kitchen at the time, maniacally trying to get those stupid gloves off my hands so I could rush to help. Proper hair maintenance and motherhood are mutually exclusive. Who knew?

Apparently, an 8-month-old baby defies the laws of physics and gravity, especially when said infant is having her diaper changed. Who knew?

Apparently, a cat who is told to stay off the bed because the husband is having some wicked kind of freak allergy attack is incapable of staying OFF the bed. I kicked her off no less than twenty-five times in a half hour. (Yes, that means she tried to jump back up as soon as I pushed her off. The memory of a gnat, that one.) Who knew?

Apparently, a wonderfully freakishly fabulously Good Day requires an equally horrific one for balance. Who knew?

Apparently, measuring cups are the most coveted toy in the house (second only to the cell phone). Who knew?

Apparently, a freakish rush to make baby food that results in a freezer crammed with tiny towers of ziploc storage containers will not encourage your husband to agree when you say that you're going to be buying more of those ziploc containers. Who knew?

Apparently, it's Friday. Who knew?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

thursday thrift: holi-daze

There's something about these Thursday Thrift posts that is very clinical. I know they aren't very entertaining... they feel like my own personal Public Service Messages, and to be honest I don't know how to make them anything other than that: something you sit through that's sandwiched between the Kleenex and the toilet cleaner commercials, before Eli Stone comes back on. YES, I just likened my weekly blog entries to those The More You Know things. The More You Know: less literacy and mentoring tips and more discussions of holders/goers and questions about high school. Huh.

THIS Thursday I'm talking about dialing down the holiday insanity, and to that end, I'm going to make these thrift posts a more slightly more occasional Thursday thing. (I'm playing with my own stubborn streak, if you want to know: as soon as I tell myself that I don't have to do it, I'll be a hundred times more excited about doing it. Annnnnd that's how a person uses reverse psychology on HERSELF.) So there you go: my first tip for reducing holiday stress: give yourself permission to say no, to do something else, to walk away.

It sounds like a lot of people are trying to reduce their buying this Christmas, and I'm all for that. When I look around at the sheer volume of STUFF we have--- it's embarrassing. Chip and I have agreed that we're not giving each other any gifts that aren't handmade. This year we're focusing on Alice, and the best part about that is that she has no frame of reference (or for that matter, real memory) for what Christmas is supposed to be. I have a sneaking suspicion that she's going to be awfully excited about the boxes and paper strewn around the living room come Christmas morning, and all too willing to ignore any actual GIFTS.

For quite some time now, we've alternated who we give to and who we receive from among the siblings in both of our families. There's a little chart that shows each year - who gives to whom, and boy it helps to simplify the gift giving.

When it comes to stockings, I've long believed that they should contain a lot of everyday items that you need anyway: each Christmas Chip has been greeted with a stocking full of toothpaste, deodorant, gum, maybe the occasional matchbox car or something else fun and inexpensive. We usually get an orange in the toe. This comes from my childhood Christmases.

It sounds like a lot of you are trying to reduce the holiday expense and consumption using these types of ideas. I talked to someone on Sunday who is going to a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving with her family: when we have so much, doesn't it make sense to help some folks who are making do with far less?

What I want to call for is a return to enjoying this time of year for it's magic, it's wonder, it's warmth, it's ability to bring people together for no other reason than we're family. I don't remember what I got for Christmas last year, but I can tell you who I was with, and I can tell you that it was wonderful for just that reason.

In the end, dialing down Holiday Crazy is probably one of the easiest things to do, even if it isn't easy to write about. It's a whole bunch of stuff that everyone already knows: give thanks for your loved ones, enjoy the bits that you have and don't worry about what you don't, be grateful that you are here, show someone else that you care, take time to give back, feel the magic of the season and know it's a reminder that we can have peace on earth, good will to men (and women)-- if we let it, if we live it, and we can have it all year 'round.

Enjoy the holidays this year, my friends.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

holders, goers, this is the way the world turns...

As I'm writing this I'm fighting the great and terrible desire to PEE. I have a theory that the world can be divided into two groups of people: Holders and Goers. I, my friends, am a devout HOLDER, which was severely tested when I was pregnant with Bean. For nine months I wondered how all those Goers do it all the time - all those trips to the bathroom, all that time spent trouncing up and back when they could just as easily (so say the Holders) group four trips into one. As any good mother will tell you, however (and listen up to this one, my never-been-pregnant-readers), it's not like the Holding Muscle returns immediately after you give birth. Nope. I wondered for a while if I was going to have to start listening more closely to those Depends commercials. But like so many things, the Holding Muscle returned in due time (cue rising Angelic Choir) and I'm firmly back in the Holding Camp.

Yes, still holding.

Today was a Good Day. A Good Day that should be capitalized because it was so Good. I love those, by the way: the Good Days, when things seem to be exactly as they should be (or at least close enough). Alice and I didn't do a ton of errands, which was nice, and we stayed home and baked cupcakes for the delightful Angela (birthday). We were supposed to go out and deliver the cupcakes after Miss Alice's afternoon nap, but guess who slept a marathon TWO HOURS??? (And to show proper gratitude for this blessed event, I won't be expecting it again for about 53 days.) I've trained myself to get absolutely everything that I can get done in thirty minutes because that's the Magic Window for Alice's naps: if we pass by the Magic Window and sleeping is still occurring, we quietly approach the Hour Magic Window. If we somehow (miracle, miracle) pass by the Hour Magic Window, I know we're in for a very long and restful nap. So. After I put Bean's sleeping self in her crib, I usually RUN: to the bathroom (holder!), to the kitchen (eat!), to the living room (clean up!), to the dishwasher (load!/unload!), to the computer (check! email!/check! blogs!), to some task (laundry! cleaning! cooking! working!).... and then... I don't know what to do with myself. Well, that's not exactly accurate. I am NEVER bored. I always have something to do: I can just spend a half-hour figuring out WHAT I want to do. Like I think: knitting? sewing? reading? brushing the cats? writing a blog entry? contemplate world peace?... and then it's been 30 minutes and I haven't done any of those things. Today, however, was magic because I not only got all my stuff done in the 30-minute-window, but I also knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do with any time left over, which was to do some serious knitting. Yes, I'm making another hat. It's an addiction, I tell you.

There is usually a time during an Exceptionally Long Nap when I start to wonder if Bean is actually still breathing - and then I'll contemplate for a few moments, thinking OH MY GOODNESS WHAT IF SOMETHING HAS HAPPENED AND I LOOK BACK AND THINK HOW I WAS JUST SITTING ON THE COUCH KNITTING WHEN MY BABY WAS HANGING BY HER ANKLES OUT THE SECOND STORY WINDOW? and then I go check on the baby. I went through this cycle twice today, and both times her little body was crammed up against the side of the crib with her face buried into the crib bumper. My, that little girl likes to have her face buried, let me tell you. We usually end up bringing her into bed with us in the wee hours of the morning and nine times out of ten she rolls over to Chip and buries her face in his pillow. Or his armpit. Whatever's handy. I've also caught her sleeping ON HER FACE, which, meh-- I'm not so new of a parent anymore to worry about it. She is usually chugging away at her paci during those faceplant times, and that gives me some comfort, like--if she needs to breathe she'll roll herself back to a more breath-friendly position.

When Chip came home tonight we were STILL having a Good Day, which turned into a Good Night and all is right with the world, let me tell you! Laughs were had, baths were given, bottles were consumed, and now Chip and I are doing our nightly ritual of computer laptop stuff until we both turn them off and have Us Time. And can I tell you how much I love Us Time?

Good night, dearies-- please tell me: Are you a Holder or a Goer?

(Yes, still holding - but not for much longer!)

Monday, November 17, 2008


First, an introduction: This is the result of daytime cold medicine when I really only needed sinus headache medicine. I'd had a WRETCHED sinus headache all day Sunday, well into the evening, with the POUNDING and the ACHING and I could barely see out of my left eye it hurt so much. So then I go to take something and we have ONE PACKET of Tylenol Sinus Nighttime and it expired in May 2008. (I didn't know medicine really had an expiration date, but there you go.) So I look at Chip and go, "See you later, dude." And I take the pills. Three hours later, I am woken from a dreamless stupor by Alice's crying. I stumble out of bed, to Alice's room, and sort of cram her paci back into her mouth and walk away. I am back in her room (much less sleepy) just 20 minutes later when she is crying again. I spend the next 30 minutes rocking her back to sleep. Why didn't I just bring her back to bed with us? Because I LOSE ALL NORMAL SENSE AT NIGHT. I have absolutely no decision-making, no problem-solving, and no logic at night. I don't know what happens, but things that are so easily figured out in the daytime are like LOGIC PUZZLES FOR THE CRIMINALLY INSANE at night. I just have this ginormous mental glitch once the moon is out and I should not be held responsible for the crazy things I do! Anyway. So I rocked Alice for an insane amount of time, got her back to sleep, then stumbled (much much MUCH less asleep) back to bed. Where I then enjoyed my sinus headache rearing it's ugly and VERY painful head. In my head. Oh my head. My poor aching head!

By morning I was all, I NEED SOME TYLENOL SINUS, LIKE, RIGHT NOW. So Chip valiantly scoots himself over to Walgreens this morning to buy me some (requested) Tylenol Sinus Nighttime, and Tylenol Sinus Daytime. Guess what? THEY DIDN'T HAVE EITHER ONE OF THOSE. So he had to get me some cold remedy instead--- WITH help for sinus headaches. I got all kinds of crabby with Chip for that one. BUT I WANTED TYLENOL SINUS! I took the other stuff anyway, because I have to actually function and care for a child today. And now? The result? ABSOLUTE CRAZINESS. I can't focus on much, am feeling terribly woozy, and stumbled across a list I made last night with (what I thought were) TERRIBLY IMPORTANT QUESTIONS:

Why does a very tender eyebrow pluck make a person sneeze? I've gotten my bathroom mirror very, um, sneezey, from this practice.

If the PedEgg (EWWWW), Space Bag, ShamWow, or other FANTASTIC PRODUCT THAT YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT work so well, how come everyone doesn't have one? (And quite seriously, that ShamWow has me very nearly salivating with DESIRE when I see it on TV. THEY DON'T HAVE TO USE PAPER TOWELS ANYMORE! THEY CAN DRY THE DOG WITH ONE TOWEL! YOU GET LIKE FORTY OF THEM FOR $20! We spent $17 on paper towels on Saturday and I kept thinking

Have you recently (or ever) had a dream where someone did something that made you SO MAD, you were even mad at them in the morning? Did you do anything to get over it, or are you still mad at the completely fictional thing that a real person did IN YOUR DREAM? (So far, I'm still a little mad.)

What do you tell the woman behind the counter when she puts her finger on your egg roll? (Chip's suggestion: Um, I'd like a different egg roll, please.)

For that matter, what do you tell the egg roll touching woman behind the counter when she asks if she can help you? (No, I want to be helped by someone else, thanks?)

the murry's

If you could meet and have the opportunity to befriend one fictional person (or persons), who would it be, and why?

This is what Chip asked me about two months ago. I didn't come up with an answer until last week. It took me this long because the more I considered it, even my most favorite characters in fiction are just too important, too weird, too messed up, too bizarre, or way too smart for me to actually hang out with them. Every time I stopped to consider someone, I immediately felt this rush of stupidity over what I'd say or how I'd react. (In case you didn't know, we take our hypothetical questions very seriously at The Last Homely House.)

Last week I finally answered the question when I reread Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. (Have you read this book? If you haven't, you must stop what you are doing right now and go check it out at the library. You will find it in the children's section, possibly young adult. It's a Newberry Award Winner. And it was one of my absolute favorite books when I was a little girl.) Where do I start about A Wrinkle in Time? It's about the Murry family, a family of geniuses - and more particularly, it's about Meg Murry, a girl who doesn't feel like she fits anywhere. Oh how this book spoke to my 10-year-old self! How many times did I reread it as a balm to my savaged and misunderstood soul. I journeyed countless times with Meg and Calvin and Charles Wallace as they crossed the universe to rescue Mr. Murry from IT. I have imagined the Murry's house in the country, their big country kitchen, Mrs. Murry's stone lab, the pot of stew bubbling on a bunsen burner. And I longed to journey up to the attic to Meg's bedroom, to sit with her on her bed and talk.

My original copy of the book has long disappeared. Its pages were yellowed and dogeared, its cover creased with age. I bought a new one last week and devoured it in two days. I had planned to read it aloud to Alice, but couldn't stop after the first few pages. I love this book and I love the characters that inhabit its pages. If I could meet and possibly befriend (oh please, oh please I just know we'd be great friends) a fictional person or persons, I'd choose the Murry's.

How about you?

Friday, November 14, 2008

seven 7 seven 7 seven 7 seven

I am bowing to peer pressure. Pressure, I tell you!

I was tagged by Amanda at Four Molnars for this thing. It's the seven random things meme, and in case you aren't ALREADY tired of my bits of random, you're getting this, NEW AND IMPROVED RANDOM.

1. I collect salt and pepper shakers. I have an already extensive collection that I inherited from my dear Jackie (almost a grandma, except for that tricksy blood relative thing). Most of the pieces were collected in Jackie's lifetime: specifically the 20's through the 40's. I've added a few pairs, but they have to be pretty darn special to join the others. My favorites are the so-called go-togethers (a turkey and a roasting pan, a frying pan and an egg, the sewing machine and the thread). I also love the miniature ones.

2. I have the salt and pepper shakers on my mind because I've been getting them out of their many boxes to actually, you know, PUT THEM INSIDE THEIR CABINET. We've lived here for three YEARS and the poor S&P's have been living in boxes under the stairs for that entire time. Chip has asked me to NOT put them in their cabinet because as soon as I do, we'll move. Why does he believe this? Because we went through this rigamaroll at our last place: the S&P's sitting forlorn and sad in their boxes, we finally get a cabinet to put them in and I unpack them and enjoy their presence for exactly 41 seconds before we moved. (Okay, so that was a Chip quirk, but it's still quirky.)

3. The cabinet we bought lo those years ago at our last place? Is still unpainted. It has sat empty in our dining room for three years because I kept meaning to paint the thing. And I was all, "I don't want to unpack the S&P's and then have to pack them again to paint the cabinet! I'll wait until I'm done painting!" Annnnnd three years LATER... still unpainted.

4. I decided to bite the bullet and just UNPACK THE SALT AND PEPPER SHAKERS WITHOUT PAINTING THE CABINET, hoping that Murphy's Law would come and kick my painting skills in the fanny. GET PAINTING, WHIMSY.

5. The cabinet has other issues, besides being unpainted. It has glass shelves. And for some mind-blockage reason that is beyond me, Chip and I have also taken FOREVER to get additional shelves cut for the thing. This says a lot about our weird spotty ability to totally GET SOMETHING DONE IN NO TIME FLAT and our other, darker, not so fun HORRENDOUS PROCRASTINATING. There was a lonely glass shelf just living in the back seat of my car for MONTHS, just WAITING for me to stop by some glass place to get more shelves cut. It never happened.

6. Instead, Chip surprised me and went to the glass cutting place and had shelves cut for me. But because yours truly had the sad glass shelf model sitting in the back of her car? Chip brought home a wonderful package of newly cut glass shelves... that were the wrong size. We now have to go BACK and get more shelves cut. (Do you want to know how long it took me to find out they were totally the wrong size? Here's a hint: they were wrapped in a newspaper from 2006.) I was sitting on the living room floor just a while ago, just DREADING putting that stupid lonely shelf BACK INTO MY CAR in order to MOTIVATE me to go to the glass cutting place.

7. I should be clear on this painting thing because I have REASONS for not painting the cabinet in three years and it's this: I couldn't decide. I've gone through many many different ideas. First it was to paint it green, then it was to stain it a natural color, then it was to stain it a dark brown, then it was to stain it black. I've come full circle and now I'm thinking I'm going to paint it red. (Chip: Red? Really? Are you sure? Whimsy: Yes, I'm sure. It'll look fantastic! Chip: mumble mumble mumble Whimsy: What was that? Chip: I said Please don't paint it. I don't want to move.)

At this rate, I'm going to be "unpacking" and "painting" and "setting up the cabinet" in FORTY YEARS.

And for yet more of this madness, I'm tagging:
1. The Wife at Burnstopia
2. Wendy at Fireflies, Frogs, and Mosquitoes, Oh My
3. Emily at Celebrating the Mayhem
4. Heidi at My Crazy World
5. Kimmie at The Importance of Being Allen
6. Samia at Sibley Saga
7. Angelalois at go2la

And now, for the seven of you, here is your mission:
1. Link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Share seven random facts about yourself.
3. Tag seven people and list their links in your post.
4. Tell those seven people by commenting on their blog.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

thursday thrift: holidays, interrupted

Written (badly) last night...

Well, I was going to talk about dialing down the Holiday Crazy this week, but the week itself sort of got in the way - which means that I'm typing this late Wednesday night. Which means that I don't have the energy to write what I'd like to write about Holiday Crazy. Which means that I'm sitting here, staring at the screen, and wondering WHAT HAVE I DONE THAT IS THRIFTY? IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN TALK ABOUT THAT'S THRIFTY THIS WEEK?

Here's what I've come up with: Whenever I set myself on a new track - be it a new way of eating, a new way of exercising, a new way of washing dishes, whatever, I always reach this point - it's about 5 or 6 weeks in - when I find myself stalled. More often than not, the stalled motion eventually (and quickly) becomes NO motion until I'm sort of rolling around in the intersection and eventually I get distracted by the pretty colors in a completely different direction and I wander off all La La La, forgetting my New World View entirely.

I think we're staring at this here Thrift intersection right now and I'm NOT going to get distracted by the pretty boxes down the road. NOT.

Don't get me wrong - I am continuing in my Increased Zeal to clip coupons, to painstakingly research and cost compare at the handful of grocery stores available to us (it's a pain in the REAR but I'm doing it). I am still doing some of the other little things I began a few weeks ago. It's just... even the best intentions can get sidetracked by brightly colored paper. Two weeks ago, Chip and I saved 40% off our grocery bill. Not kidding: we should have paid over $100 but the bill was $60. Now THAT'S a nice savings. But this week... we went in with a hasty list, shopped hungry (SUCH a no-no), and bought things without coupons that I'd left at home. Our savings? A measly 25%. Shameful!

So here's a call to reset, re-resolve, rededicate, and refocus on thrift.

Now for the cool thing this week: this link from the state of Washington. It's a month-by-month guide to emergency preparedness. How cool is this? By performing one task a month, you will be all up and prepared in a year's time. Beauty! (And I know - what does THIS have to do with thrift? As far as I'm concerned, if we all perish in some heinous volcano eruption, all the thrift in the world won't matter.)

Now. Your turn. Tell me something that you're rededicating yourself to do this week, this month, today, whatever.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

on being small

I am not a tall person. By most measuring tapes, I barely reach five feet. I am a small person living in a large world. I've often thought that my personality makes up the difference. I can be very loud. Chip says that I have the power to cause earthquakes (when combined with the right force, namely, THE WIFE). Regardless of these large things about me, I feel small. And many times, I worry that the thoughts I express here, in this small space, are also very small. I don't have grand ideas or expansive plans. I don't talk politics. I don't expand horizons or renew anyone's faith in anything. My blog description could read: Small thoughts from a small person.

This small stuff worries me. I worry about what I should be telling you. What I should be sharing. I worry that my small posts will slip in and out of minds like the airy little bits that they are, and will never affect change in any way. That's sort of the problem with small, I guess.

I was meditating on small thoughts tonight, and visited a blog I've been reading since August: this one, which... I don't know where to start. There is beauty there - intense, ragged. It comes from real pain, real sacrifice, and true grace. This woman - this family - is one that I admire beyond telling. But I simply can't hope to live life on this big of a scale because: oh dear - have you seen what this woman writes, HOW this woman writes? She is beyond inspirational. As is often the case, when I've finished reading one of her entries, I feel even smaller than before. As is also usually the case, I vow to change. I vow to live more intentionally, be more outspoken, beautify and magnify my life, allow myself to grow beyond these small walls.

Tonight, though, I am sitting here at my computer and reconsidering this concept of small. I think I've been unfair to small. I overlooked small's ability to affect change. I forgot about the smallest grains of sand, and their journey to becoming pearls. I forgot about the smallest speck of life that Alice was on those first few days of her existence, and the beautiful girl she has become - the woman of grace I hope for her to be. Small is how we all start. It's the building block of every living thing. Small is a beginning. Hope grows from a small seed. As does faith. Small is the first few rays of the rising sun, the night light in my little girl's room, the wish we make when we tell each other good night. We have small hopes, small dreams, small desires to see the new day, to grow old with our family, to see each other through even the darkest times. I'm giving new credit to small.

When you witness something big, it can be too much-- too easy to overlook and say that it was a miracle and therefore not intended for you. A Big Life is like this, I guess. We are drawn to Big Lives because they are so wonderfully vibrant, so incredible, so much beyond what we see for ourselves. There's a reason people use the phrase larger than life, because that's how Large feels: something that I'll never be, something I'll never achieve, a person I'll never become because it's just too... BIG. But small... small is achievable. Small is one step. Small is doing something different today than you did yesterday. Small things-- they are here in our everyday lives waiting for us to notice them and witness that this is how God tells us every day I love you - open your eyes - I love you this much.
Tonight, I'm grateful to be small in a big world. I am giving thanks to my Heavenly Father for this small gift.

Monday, November 10, 2008

saturday night

...in which I share a recipe, give you tales from 30-minute napdom, set the record straight about my mad knitting skills, explain why it takes me a few days to respond to your gmail emails, get all preachy about eating meat loaf my particular way, and talk about how BLOGGER HATES ME.

You guys are sweet. So sweet, in fact, that you gave my mad knitting skills far more credit than they deserve: I didn't knit the adorable brown cherry hat. That was a gift from (ready for this relative craziness?) Alice's second cousin, A. Okay, it really was a gift from Alice's first cousins once removed (that would be A's parents, K and T), but doesn't it sound all cute that Alice's second cousin gave her a gift? Yes, I thought so too. A is also the giver of the most adorable green mary jane shoes that Alice is sporting in the brown hat pictures. I put them on her as much as possible because I LOVE ME SOME MARY JANES, and these are just too cute for words. I'm saying that you'll see them again.

I really need to check gmail more often. I usually get in there every couple of days, but when things reach a certain level of RED ZONE, my visits drop off. The last few days have been rife with more of that irritating (and boring) NAP MADNESS. I've been futzing with Alice's nappage to see if I could orchestrate at least one long nap into our days. Around here, 30 is the new 45 for a girl who used to limit her shut eye to 45-minute increments. 30 minute naps are the Chinese water torture of naps. Just long enough for someone to walk downstairs, fold a small stack of laundry, make a sandwich, sit down to eat the sandwich when HELLO AWAKE AWAKE AWAKE annnnnnnd sandwich sits uneaten on the counter for another good long while. After doing this twice a day for the last couple of weeks I am good and fried. So far, I have tried keeping her awake longer, tried rocking her longer, tried letting her sleep with an article of my clothing, tried swaddling her, tried unswaddling her, tried napping with her, tried limiting her to one nap (oh that was fun), tried tried tried just about anything. In case you were wondering, so far nothing has made a major difference, but it seems like some of the small things are combining to move the dial at least a bit-- like extending the afternoon nap by 20 minutes or more, which is a miracle in and of itself.

So. Compounded with the nap-induced anxiety, I had a bad day on Wednesday. I was all, NO COMMENTS? NONE? and then I felt a little, um, dumb, as a person is wont to do when they post an entry about their lovely husband's birthday and no one says anything, not even DUDE I DON'T EAT MEATLOAF. I was even ready with a meatloaf disclaimer, which I will share with you now. Ready?

Meat loaf. I know. It doesn't even sound good. Anything with "loaf" attached to it just sounds icky. But mom's meat loaf? Is AMBROSIA. It's the kind of good that gets even better when you combine it with other things on your plate: green salad with blue cheese, sour cream mashed potatoes, steamed carrots. This is the meat loaf that will convert the most ardent meat loaf hater. This is the meat loaf that will have said meat loaf hater actually request the meat loaf for his birthday dinner. Yes, it's that good.

The meat loaf was amazing, and is amazing, and I will share the recipe here - and I will also tell you that it's not for the calorie faint-of-heart, but as far as I'm concerned, when you're going for a birthday dinner, you're not exactly trying for low cal, you know? I have made this recipe with ground turkey and didn't see any problems, so there's that. Also, I had a friend who substituted some of the ground meat with chopped mushrooms - but I don't personally know how that affected the cooking time. Can I make a suggestion? If you do decide to chance my fantabulous meat loaf, please don't go crazy and put any sauce on it. Chip will occasionally try to urge me in the direction of having sauce available, and I'm all ARE YOU CRAZY? THIS MEAT LOAF IS TOO GOOD FOR SAUCE! And of course I think I'm right. So try it without doing any ketchup or red sauce or gravy or any of that nonsense. Either that, or just don't tell me about the sauce because I think it's insulting to the poor meat loaf. This meat loaf is man enough to stand on its OWN, my friends. (Though the earlier plate content mixing I mentioned is different than a SAUCE. Like you can take a nice forkful of meat loaf and then brush it into the mashed potatoes and then take the whole thing and sort of run it by the salad with the blue cheese dressing and oh MY I'm making myself salivate just thinking about it.)

Without further delay:

Mom's Meat Loaf

1 lb ground burger
3/4 cup sharp cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup oats

Mix ingredients well. Place in baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour in 375-400 degree oven.

Try it. You won't be disappointed. In case you were all, WOW WHIMSY YOU MADE THAT ROCKING MEAT LOAF AND THAT CAKE? YOU'RE A DOMESTIC GODDESS. You should know that I AM a domestic goddess (HA), but the cake was totally a box cake: vanilla cake with milk chocolate frosting. However, I do think I should get some extra credit for the fact that it was a THREE LAYER CAKE made in the most adorable 6-inch cake pan but because I only had one pan I was baking for over an hour and a half which is quite extensive when you're also watching a baby that will not sleep for longer than HALF of The Price is Right. Oh, but where was I? I was talking about Wednesday and how it was a no-good day. So here I am, having a terrible nap day, and I haven't eaten a decent lunch and I go to check on Blogger and it's all, NO COMMENTS. And I'm all, Really? And Blogger's all, NO COMMENTS. And I check back later and Blogger's all, YOU REALLY DON'T HAVE ANY COMMENTS. And I'm all, Okay, sniff... So I check back again that night, and Blogger's all, LISTEN LOSER YOU DON'T HAVE ANY COMMENTS SO STOP ASKING ME ABOUT IT. And then I told Blogger that it was a big stupid bully.

Imagine my intense pleasure Saturday night when I read an email from Shelly (see I'm actually getting back to my ORIGINAL POINT ABOUT GMAIL AND MY SAD EMAIL CHECKING SKILLS) - and I see that Shelly* has kindly let me know that she tried to comment on Wednesday and wasn't able to because Blogger HATES ME. Okay, maybe she didn't say it exactly that way, but don't you think? Blogger hates me and wants me to go eat worms.

Instead, I'm thinking another meat loaf is in order.

* And here's my second disclaimer of the day: I'm going to just ASSUME, for the sake of my SANITY and WELL BEING and also SELF ESTEEM that Shelly represents, like, FORTY OF YOU who tried to comment and couldn't - and that she wasn't (as is most likely the case) just the ONLY PERSON that tried to comment about the husband's rocking birthday bash (can I say it was a rocking birthday bash when there were only three of us? Yes, yes I can.).

Friday, November 7, 2008

time flies

This is how it happens. You decide that it's the right time to have a baby. You get pregnant. You are elated, miserable, joyous, hungry, not hungry, bloated, emotional, crazy, so so so happy. You are handed a beautiful baby girl. She is wonderous. She makes you crazy. Every little part of you hurts. You never knew life could be so full. You feel like you are split into tiny pieces. You are sleep deprived, an emotional wreck. You are a new parent. You feel like you'll never get it all down. It will always take you two hours to get ready to head out the door. Life stops. The baby smiles. She spits up. She knows your face. Your heart expands so much it is stretching the limits of your ribcage. You settle in. You sleep six hours - IN A ROW. You rush to the baby's side to see if she's still breathing. You learn the new normal. You begin to venture out without a battle plan. You feel good. Naps seem to be normalizing. You are normalizing. Life is normalizing.

And before you know it, it's been eight months.

She is beautiful.
She is crazy, very much like her parents (AND GRANDPARENTS).

She is sweet.
She likes to eat: potatoes, yams, applesauce, apricots, peaches, bananas, peas, green beans, cereal, mango, raspberries, blueberries, carrots.

She loves to feed herself rice crackers and very very very soft bits of potato.
She still has terrible nap habits (30-minute nap, anyone?).
She is smart.
She continues to do the army belly crawl.

She loves to play with her toys (Monty the Bear, Lulu the Monster, her phone, her keys, her chewy dragonfly, and her foam blocks are the current favorites).
She can usually be found either in momma's arms, daddy's lap, in her speedracer (walker to the rest of the world), or on the floor - attempting to reach those wily cats.
Though there have been several distinct signs, teeth still remain illusive.

She is a delight.

Here's to the next eight months.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

thursday thrift: linking without guilt

The lovely Amy sent me a link to her friend's blog, The Need Less Experiment. It's lovely and all the things that I can't be here at The Creamery: all thrift, all the time. She has some great ideas, and she absolutely keeps it real. Love that.

Go on over and visit, I know you won't be disappointed.

Next week I want to talk about ways we're trying to dial down the holiday CRAZY, so please email me and let me know what you're doing: whimsyattack AT gmail DOT com.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Do not post a "politics free" message on the day of one of the most pivotal elections in recent history. You will not get any comments, and your husband might feel bad. Especially when the politics-free message is about his birthday celebration (including adorable pictures of ragamuffin child donning a festive birthday hat).

Do not forget that a blog post about FLATULENCE will garner 10+ comments. Remember: more weird conversations about body functions.

Do not visit the grocery store at 5:30pm on election day. It is inexplicably busy. Like CRAZY busy.

Do not hand coupons to your grocery clerk at the beginning of the transaction. You will make him very cranky and he will tell you I CAN'T TAKE THOSE RIGHT NOW. DON'T HAND THEM TO ME. YOU NEED TO WAIT UNTIL THE END. You will then listen to him repeatedly explain to his fellow checkers that he got his jacket at Urban Outfitters. You will notice that he isn't currently wearing a jacket.

Do not schedule ill-advised grocery store trip with small girl child during her recently removed 6 o'clock nap. Plan the trip for earlier in the day, when she won't fall asleep in the cart and resist repeated attempts to wake her. This, the child that normally wakes up when someone looks at her too loudly.

Do not think about a Lessons blog post at 2am when you can't sleep, reminding yourself that you have six lessons to share. You will wake in the morning and only remember three, maybe four of them.

Do not try to be witty after a sleepless night.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

what we were doing on friday night

Chip's belated birthday celebration.

With special requested meal (Mom's Meatloaf and oh-it's-so-good-even-if-you-don't-LIKE-meatloaf)

And cake

And little girls

And birthday candles

And wishes

And cats that just can't seem to understand NO GET OFF THE TABLE

No really - get OFF the table.


Now get on out there and vote.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Coming down the stairs yesterday morning, Chip is sitting in the living room.

Chip: You just missed what might be the most important episode of Mythbusters ever.
Whimsy: Really? What was it about?
Chip: They investigated the practice of blue-darting. They also answered whether or not lighting a match actually covers up the, um, smell.

Why is this so timely at our house? Because Chip and I had a discussion about just these things the other night. We call them poots, in case you wondered (WHY WOULD YOU WONDER THIS?). At my sister's house, they're known as fluffs. When I was growing up, my mom got mad every time one of us called them farts. She preferred "passing gas".

(This is where you're thinking, 'Nice topic there, Whimsy.') So tell me: what do YOU call them?