Saturday, May 31, 2008

It's like...nature man.

The other day I was sitting on our deck when I watched a robin go flitting by and land in a bush on the side of our house. I went inside to the window and sure enough, there was a nest! I don't know if this is mom or dad, but he or she was checking me out checking him or her out. We have a pretty good vantage point, so I think we will be able to see the babies when they hatch. COOL. Cooper may not totally get what he is seeing but it will be fun to document.

The other picture was a random shot I took of him the other day, chilling on the couch watching one of his shows. We are not an anti-TV family. I watched TV growing up and managed to become a productive, tax paying, law abiding, creative and contributing member of society with an IQ above the average bear. We will of course keep tabs on what he watches over time, but I don't think it is realistic or necessary to ban it from his or our lives.

My child, literally the easiest kid to put to bed EVER has decided this week he will fight going to bed or taking a nap. Out of the blue. He is tired, and he knows it. If you ask him if he is ready to go to bed he says yes, gets off the couch and heads to the stairs. But once the diaper has been changed and the PJ's are on, he wraps his arms and legs around me like a boa constrictor and cries if I try to put him in his crib. Today for his nap I held him for just a bit, not even a minute, and hummed to him, and he seemed to decide that was good, and went down without a fuss. Perhaps it is just a phase but it is startling. He has always been so good about bed time or nap time and I have thanked all the gods and goddesses for it. So I hope it is a phase. Like the crying for no reason business too - we were in Target today and I was trying to get him some new shoes. "Shuzzz" in Cooper talk. He lost it. Wanted nothing to do with it. "Why is he crying" asked a little girl walking by. Good question. I don't know. I think he was tired and not in the mood. I know the feeling. At times I do wish it was socially acceptable to throw a tantrum wherever and whenever I wanted. Like if my boss asked for a report, and I am tired and cranky from answering the same question 12 times on the phone with crazy parents and I don't want to run the report - I would stamp my feet, put my head down on my desk, pound said desk with my fists while wailing "nononononononooooooooooooo I don't want to do a report and you can't make me". Or I would lay down on the floor of my office and roll back and forth and whine, then take a nap. Ah that would be good.

Well, as the Bob says, we have had a very easy time of it with Cooper, so if he wants to throw a tantrum once or twice, we can deal with it.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tag you're it

The lovely Oz Spies of the blog Knocked up on Babble, tagged me today with this task:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.
6. Let your tagger know when your entry is up.

Six random things about me:

I like to make jewelry. Chunky jewelry with beads and gem stones. I tried selling it on ebay but didn't get very far. I think the problem was my photography and the fact that I couldn't find an appropriate jewelry classification for it. I like to make necklaces or earrings as gifts but of course am never sure if the recipient really likes it or is just being polite. I hope they really like them.

I hate lima beans. They are pasty and not very tasty.

I played the viola for 9 years, but haven't touched it except to move it from one house to another since 1986. I should sell it on craigs list, but for some reason keep it around. Perhaps this weekend I will put it on the list.

I am really bad at blogging. By that I mean I don't know all the technical stuff that I should know to make this blog snazzy and get more coverage. My software engineer husband is no help because he has never done a blog either.

I randomly got involved in the theater when I was in college and loved it. I have found trying to be involved in theater work since disappointing. Too many people taking themselves WAAAAY too seriously. And then there is the problem of my inability to stay awake beyond 10pm most nights. Theater work is notorious for attracting nocturnal people. I tried community theater when I lived in Middletown NY once. They had a "professional" director come in. She was trying to make a career of directing only Jesus Christ Superstar. Seriously?? Of all the great plays in the world, of all the great MUSICALS in the world, just the English speaking world even, that is the one you are going to pick? And by the way, there are two, count them TWO named roles for women in that play. Every other woman gets to be in the crowd singing the same 6 notes over and over again. I want to do plays like Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in those old movies - in a barn, with the cows as props.

And to follow up on Oz's random thoughts about herself and things that make her cry, there was this McDonalds commercial that used to get me all the time. An elderly man gets all dressed and walks down the block to work at the local McDonalds as a greeter or something. I don't know why, but that commercial would turn on the water works every single time.

Okay, so that is six random things about me. I am supposed to tag six random blogs. How they can truly be random I don't know, because I am going to purposefully pick them but here we go:

Susie Felber at Toddler Tube
Anne Nahm
The New Girl
My Three Ring Circus
Secret Agent Mama

Ugh. Now I have to go tell them they have been tagged. I usually lurk on half of them.

In other news, we went to this working, organic, sustainable farming farm, Drumlin Farm, in Weston MA. It is lovely, they do educational stuff, it is part of the Audubon Society, you can get up close and personal with the animals. Which was such a great idea, in theory. Cooper FREAKED. He is not a fearless kid, but generally moves through life with this little tiny sense of confidence that I admire. One look at the goat with a deviated septum (I confirmed this one of the workers - the goat wheezes and groans like some strange bagpipe) and he screamed and grabbed my neck. When we saw cows, he would bury his face in my neck, then turn around and yell a little "booooo" which is what he believes cows say, and then bury his face again. So there was bravery, but then the security of mom's embrace. I am not sure if this is when I should start the fund for his therapy. "My mother forced me to look at, and SMELL, livestock doctor. I have never been able to forgive her".

Friday, May 23, 2008

On saving pandas, or polar bears, or taking a nap

I subscribe to More magazine. It is targeted, written for and generally embracing of women, aHEM, over the age of 40. There are articles about sex, cooking, weightloss, fashion, the stuff you would expect. But they also like to throw in articles about reinventing oneself or inspirational stories about women who have "made a difference" with their lives. This is where things get funny for me. Do I find these stories, these women, inspirational? Well, I find them remarkable certainly. To say they inspire me is maybe pushing it. They often inspire me to take a nap.

In the last few months I have read the following articles: There is this woman who had her children, triplets no less, later in life like moi, but shortly after bringing them into the world, like 8 weeks later or some ridiculously short period of time, she left them for a month to go on an expidition across Antarctica. On a dog sled. Sleeping in tents. In the COLD. And she does it regularly now.

Or there is this woman who had been a major player in the software industry, was one of the top dogs at Sun Microsystems, who decides she needs a change. So, because she has enough money socked away she decides she will leave with no plan in mind. She can afford to live without working for three years at the most, but she planned to have a plan by the end of year one for what she would do with the rest of her life. She became an award winning novelist two years after quitting her job.

Cooper is 18 months old, and is ONE kid nevermind three, and yet I find sometimes just getting out the door and to the mall, where I manage to buy the thing I went there for to be a major accomplishment. And between day care and child support for the step sons from Bob's marriage #1, we couldn't survive for three months without a paycheck much less three years. And that makes me crazy, since almost every time I turn on the TV, assuming we are not watching endless episodes of Barenstein Bears or the Hoobs, I see that Suzi Ormond or whatever her name is, chick, on TV telling me how much money I should be saving for my future and how much to have for those emergencies. ACK. And since the only writing I do is either in the form of email or this blog, I don't imagine I will be winning any awards.

I like that there is a magazine geared toward woman over the age of 24. And that it gives consideration to all sorts of issues, not just the fluffy stuff about how we look or whether our sex lives are up to snuff, but they focus on real women achieving major things, at an age when most of society thinks we have taken up knitting or shuffle board. Not that there is anything wrong with either of those activities. Every so often though, I find the stories intimidating. I would like a few stories about women who balance having the kids with a job I can actually identify with. I don't have the luxury of quitting my job to take classes to reinvent my life, again. I think having Cooper actually was major overhaul of my life. Talk about reinvention. I am not sure I can do justice to being his mom if I were to try to focus on some momentous, world saving agenda. I think I will be happy being me, being a good wife and mom, whose house is not spotless (we have a beagle after all) and trust that that makes a difference in the long run even if I am not saving pandas while living in a hut in China.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


These azaleas grow in a bed right in front of my house. They have gone KaBLAM in the last few days.

The chives grow along my front walk, and the tulips are right by my mailbox. It is a fiesta of color right now and I LOVE it. So that is all I wanted to share tonight. Cooper touches the chives as he walks to and from the car, and sometimes I break a piece off so he can smell it. I have other herbs in back and I do the same thing with those, telling him what they are and what they are used for - chives go in salads, mashed potatoes or potato salad. YUM.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hooraaaaaay for green beans and peas and mama's pasta

In a previous post I was lamenting the fact that Cooper has been slow to transition to real grown up people food. I see other little people in his age group eating all sorts of yummy food, and Cooper still resists new food. Well, we have seen some small but significant changes in that department.

First was pasta cooked by MOI. Not pasta out of a Graduates tub, but rigatoni with honest to goodness (from a jar) sauce. He has reliably eaten it more than three times now in the last few weeks. The fact he eats it without a fuss makes me happy beyond description. It reminds me how stressed I feel that he is not going to eat enough to grow and be healthy. Not that I should really be worried about that - the stuff he will eat is good stuff like yogurt and fruit and cheese. I know vegetarians who call that dinner.

Tonight he ate VEGETABLES. One of his teachers told me he ate a pea at lunch that escaped from one of his classmates' lunch. So I decided to introduce some peas, green beans and corn. The corn he didn't like, but he chowed down on the peas and beans. And last night he ate TOMATOES. I literally did a jig. He still refuses most bread, which I think is weird, but I guess he doesn't need the carb addiction yet.

So as crazy as it makes me some days when he just wipes all the food off his tray and onto the floor for the canine cleaning crew waiting below like piranah in the Amazon, I will continue trying new food and will trust that as he gets older and smarter, he will get bored with the old stuff and be willing to try new stuff.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Celebrate the blessings and shut yer yap

That was then...This is now...

Okay, after reading my last post, when I was in a weather induced brain fog, I decided I have NOTHING TO WHINE about and need to shut my yap. I have been reading another blog, or I try to read this other blog, but every time I try to read it, I CRY. I feel overwhelmed by the struggles this family has faced with their babies, and it makes me want to run over to the day care center where Cooper is on campus and hug him til he pops out of my arms like champagne cork. I feel so completely blessed that when I went to my doctor's office at just under 7 months pregnant, bleeding a bit, having some lower back cramps, that they hooked me up to monitors, saw my blood pressure spiking and said you are going to be admitted to this hospital now and then within a days delivered my little bundle of joy early so that no one would get more sick or die. We have such fabulous medical care at our disposal, and it kills me to read about the medical system she is fighting with over at that other blog and how it is most assuredly killing her daughter. I am not a particularly competitive person, but I am sure I would be nothing short of a mommy Schnauzer with her puppies if something were threatening Cooper.

In case you are unfamiliar with the Schnauzer as a breed, when my family purchased their first puppy the breeder had Schnauzers and Dobermans. The Schnauzers were the guard dogs. They are small but mightily loyal and just a tad ferocious.

Anyway, I read that blog, and I am thankful. I am truly to the root of my toes thankful that everything went from tiny baby hooked to monitors to bouncy toddler with very little drama or residue of his somewhat premature arrival in this world. I have a fabulous husband who is a rock star dad and does the laundry. You heard me - HE does the laundry. I change more poopy diapers, but it is a fair trade off.

I don't even know how the woman who writes that blog holds it together every day, but she has some serious kick ass strength. I can't even READ about her trials, much less live them. I want to move her from Australia to Boston where her baby would see an endocrinologist this afternoon, never mind waiting until September.

So it is with her and her babies in mind that I say THANK YOU to all the gods, goddesses, angels and spirits, the universe as a whole, for the health and well being of myself and my family, for the good life we have. It is with her REAL problems in mind that I look at my annoying little dumb issues in my life and say REALITY CHECK. You have no real problems at all little lady. I am going to go sniff those lilac bushes even though they will make me sneeze, and I will feel blessed for the ability to see and smell them and experience them to the fullest. And then I will give my little boy a big squeeze and kiss when I see him later today. There will be a day when I can't get away with doing that, so I am getting in as many as I can now.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Foggy brain...

This picture was taken by my neice, Erin, who is an almost 16 year old fabulous photographer, and she lives in Oregon. I thought it represented what my brain feels like today.

Ugh. There is a weather front trying to move in, and if I haven't mentioned it before, I am a walking, talking barometer. If I was one of those water filled glass things with blue water in it, blue water would probably be spurting out of the top of my head right now. Which means my brain is on FOG. I could lay down and be asleep inside of 20 seconds and it would be a good deep sleep. Sadly I am sitting at my desk at work, and they would probably frown on me snoring in my office.

Instead, I will blog. About how loud my husband and child can be. Now, admittedly it might have had something to do with my foggy brain, but they seemed REALLY loud this morning. We live in a small house, 1900 square feet roughly. It is your standard cape, with a front to back living room, half bath, kitchen and dining room on the first floor, and three rooms and a full bath upstairs. When you get to the top of my stairs, the landing is probably 10 feet wide and four feet deep. Every room is within 6 feet of the other room for the most part. There isn't a big need for yelling to communicate with another person in the house, generally.

But one of the other people in my house is 18 months old (as of this past Sunday!) and the other is an adolescent boy in a grown up man's body. When the little dude stood at the bottom of the stairs and hollered "Dadadadadadadaaaa" the big dude at the top of the stairs seemed incapable of doing anything but hollering back "COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP". Which made the little dude want to climb the stairs to get to Dadadadadaaaaa. But he isn't really good at climbing stairs by himself yet, especially big wooden stairs that would crack his little skull open if he fell down them. So the big dude is up at the top of the stairs saying "No Coop, don't climb the stairs, no don't do it" but he isn't actually coming DOWN to deal with it. And all the little dude knows is he wants to be with Dadadadadaaaaa. So I have to go and deal with it. Or my kid would be climbing, by himself, up the stairs and possibly falling down the stairs soon after.

All of this of course, was being said in VERY loud voices. Up the stairway, which is very echoey. Oh my head. On top of that, at some point, while I was holding Cooper, the Bob went to hug him and whacked me in the nose. Ouch. Not on purpose of course, but the enthusiasm took over and my nose got in the way.

I really just want to be on the couch with a cup of tea watching the 4 days of the Ellen DeGenerous show I have recorded. By myself, with no one touching me, yanking at me, talking to me, wanting anything from me. Siiiiiiiiiiiiiigh. Instead I am at work, and part of my job is to explain things to students and parents about applying for aid, paying for college and sometimes this means explaining the same thing over and over again. Sometimes to the same people because no one ever reads anything we mail to them, or because they are new to doing this and it can be complicated, or sometimes 10 people call with the same questions so we say the same thing over and over.

I may have been whining. Oh yes, I definitely whined. I will get over myself now and make a cup of tea, and even if I can't be on the couch in the quiet of my living room, it may go a long way to restoring my brain.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

How I spent Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. I got to sleep in - that meant I didn't get up at 5am when the Coop did. I got to sleep until 7am! Jackpot. Then we went out to breakfast at this place our neighbors told us about that is really kid friendly. They have menus, crayons and a kid seat ready when you get to the hostess desk if they see you coming in from the parking lot. Even if you take them by surprise, they are FAST with all of that. They serve coffee IMMEDIATELY to the grown ups, and have several options that Cooper will actually eat on the menu. We fall back on either muffins or fruit. For those who eat more than 5 foods, there are MANY tasty options. The Bob had something called Stuffed Frenchtoast. It was this diabetic coma waiting to happen concoction of bread with apples and strawberries in the middle, all dipped in egg and fried. I had eggs over easy with toast and homefries. And coffee.

I don't think I mentioned that a week ago or so the Bob discovered that for something like two weeks he and I had been drinking decaf by mistake. The stupid Dunkin Donuts bags at Costco look too similar for frazzled parents with a child who is reaching for everything he can get his hands on to distinguish in the three nanoseconds you have to get coffee and keep moving. It is also in the worst possible spot in Costco. That spot is the nexus of all insanity in Costco. It is where the fresh fruit and veggies, cheese, frozen food, the evil rotisserie chickens and most of the freebies they hand out come together. It is the Piccadilly Circus of Costco. You have to jump into the moving traffic, timing your entrance just right or you risk causing injury to yourself and 12 other people. You have to exit in a similar fashion, matching your speed to those around you and use the momentum to swing you out of orbit and into the safety of the paper goods isle.

Anyway, because the coffee is right on the cusp of this galaxy of insanity, and you have to grab your bag just as you are entering the vortex. So we grabbed the wrong kind. It makes sense now that I think back on those two weekends where we had been drinking decaf unawares. I could barely keep my eyes open. I felt like I was moving through jello. I admit it. I am a caffeine junkie. Addict. That is me. We are a nation of addicts. Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks count on it. And I gladly let them be my dealers.

The other thing I did today was put together the little adirondack chair and matching table we got on Ebay for Cooper. See photographic evidence above. He has been jonesing to get into the adult versions we have, so this has made him pretty happy. He has an odd way of getting into it, even though it is his size, and that is to face it, climb into it on his knees and then try to turn around. We will have to work on his technique.

He also finally got his hand me down turtle sandbox. The Bob bought new sand and Cooper is a very happy sandboxing fool.

All in all it was a very nice Mother's Day. I never expected to be a mom, and Mother's Day was always that day I acknowledged my mom, but didn't think I would be the one getting the kudos. It is kind of cool, I have to say. And I dig being a mom :)

Monday, May 5, 2008

And the award goes to...

I wish I knew to whom to credit for this. I give credit to my brother for passing it along. You have to understand that he lives in Oregon. This is a state where I believe they have genetically bred the gene for appreciating sarcasm and irony out of the local population. It is only by immigrants like my brother and other relatives relocating and polluting the DNA lines with our east coast bred gene pool that it can even be found, hiding in among the eco-terrorists and practicing witches. Both of whom are represented in my extended family living out there I would like to point out.

I watch the burgeoning sense of humor I see in Cooper with pride and affection, but also with a sense of dread. I know how cruel kids can be to their parents, lord knows my parents have felt the pain of having their shortcomings and flaws examined under the microscope of my and my brother's teenage (and not so teenage) glare. It is a rite of passage though in our family, and to those that have mocked, mocking must be given. So I am waiting. It won't be long. His first full sentence will most likely involve asking me about the excessive amount of dog hair on my backside and did I really intend to leave the house that way.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The final act...

Well, here is an example of the switchplates that arrived in the mail - I have to say I was very impressed with both the quality and speed with which they arrived - I can highly recommend as a resource. These are solid metal, no messing around with plastic here. I had to take the picture on an angle because of the glare from the flash.

I had to resolve a problem that was left behind by the tile guy - the glass tile is hard to cut, and his cuts at the top of this wall, just under the fan over the stove were awful. So I came up with a plan to put in a second course over the top of the badly cut tile, and after grouting that and regrouting the whole wall, I think it looks fabulous. I have done tile work before, and in hindsight should have tried to do the whole job myself. Next time I probably will. I am very happy now with the how the tile turned out.

And finally, a picture of this beautiful flowering tree in our back yard. It almost looks like it has snowed, it is so full of flowers. Cooper is going to inherit the turtle sandbox you can see just to the left edge of the picture. Our neighbors have two boys, and their grandfather is going to build them a bigger sandbox. So they have offered to give the other one to us. Yippee! Of course we have had rain for a week now since they told us that. Sandboxes and rain don't go together.

And I am pretty sure that Cooper said "Please" today when he saw me with Goldfish crackers and wanted some. Very impressive. In addition to that he has become the master of getting on and off the couch. This is causing me some anxiety as I wait for him to launch himself over the back and onto the hardwood floor. The couches are not against a wall, so it is just a matter of time I think. I would rather not have to go to the emergency room for stitches. Agh.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

And a cherry on top...

The other day in school Cooper got to play with cool whip. What a Hooberific idea!! (If you watch any amount of Sprout TV you know who the Hoobs are. I am tragically well versed in all things Hoobish now that Coop is obsessed with them). He is quite obviously enjoying himself. I guess at first he wasn't sure what was going on, and since he is admonished regularly not to put whatever he is coloring or painting with in his mouth, it took him a few moments to figure out yes, yes you CAN eat the cool whip.

This is how I look after gardening, only it is dirt, not cool whip, and while I do end up ingesting some, I really don't TRY to eat it. But I think we should all find that activity that lets us get covered in whatever we are playing with, and just embrace that moment. We are afterall, wash and wear beings. There is almost no mess a good hot shower can't take care of.