Best Parenting Advice I've Received...

When you are pregnant and right after the baby is born, everyone and their brother is giving you advice or telling you how your life is about to change. The best advice that Moo and I received however, came to us via our internist. He said:
Remember, she came to live with you, not the other way around.

I think of this advice on a daily basis. I think people put way too much emphasis on their children and I don't think it does the kids any good. Now, I am doing the stay at home mom thing but beside being good for everyone involved, it's the result of a financial decision too.

If you live for your children, what will you do in 18-20 years? Can you go cold turkey? Can you let them go?

Obsessive Compulsive - or how our family travels...

Moo and I have been getting ready for an upcoming trip to Walt Disney World (henceforth to be referred to WDW) for about 3 months now. The trip itself is mostly paid for - our package included hotel, park admission and dining - so we have only to pay for getting there and miscellaneous stuff.

Over the next few weeks, I'll show you some of our preparation, but I'll start with the food packets. Little one is on solid food for 2 meals a day and is doing great with nibbles from mine and Moo's plate.


















To begin with, we thought of everything we might need in a day and then started breaking things down into activities and from those activities, we determined where we could start making kits. The food kit was born of this brainstorming.

This is the kit as it will be packed each day. Moo and I spent a while last weekend putting these together so they are already to go. We'll just put this in our diaper bag and we'll be ready for a meal with little one!
















Here you see the contents:
2 baby spoons
2 handy wipes
1 disposable bib
1 container of food - this is a container of carrots
1 biter bisquit
3 paper towels
and the zip top bag it was all stored in, this will be used for trash at the end of the meal.

Here's another view of the carrots, biscuit and towels...













And another view of the bib - now unfolded, the spoons, handy wipes and zip top bag.





I'll let y'all know how these work on the trip...

Look at me!

This is what I saw as I was surfing the internet this morning:


Beauty

I have never thought of myself as beautiful.

My husband thinks I am. And my mother thought I was. But I have never thought of myself that way. When I look in a mirror, I see only flaws. My face is crooked - my nose is slightly crooked, my ears are crooked. I've always thought my eyes were too intense.

It's not that I believe that I am ugly. I just don't think that I am beautiful.


How is it then, that I believe that this child is beautiful?













When the truth is that she looks a lot like this child?




















I didn't think my parents were ugly. I thought they were very attractive people. My mother always had her hair done and I rarely saw her without makeup. My father was a very handsome man.



In the face of my own child, I see my parents. The same serious eyes of my father (although she's got Moo's Mom's eye color) and I believe that she'll have dimples like my mother.

Why can I see the beauty in my child's face when the beauty I see is much of what I see in the mirror? How can I teach her to see her own beauty when I am unable to see my own?

Things I wish someone had told me...

I wish someone had told me about:
  1. Baby poop - nuff said.
  2. How nasty baby meat in a jar is... Phoebe won't touch it. It's absolutely disgusting and I'm not even trying to feed it to her anymore.

Friday Cuteness


Just a couple of pix.. you can see her new upper front teeth in the first one..












With the biter biscuits I refer to as "vanilla mud" - because that's what they turn into...

Time Marches On

My daughter turned 8 months old earlier this week. In the last few days, she's managed to cut her top two front teeth, learn to pull up and break my heart.

She's babbling a lot. Ma-ma, ba-ba, bwa-bwa, squealing, screaming and misc other noises are her favorites. I don't think the sounds mean anything to her but are just fun to do. However, when she's standing in baby jail (the pack and play) crying and screaming MA MA just breaks my heart and I can't help but talk to her.

She has a love/hate relationship with baby jail. She's got toys in there that she only get to play with in the pack and play. And I don't put her in there a lot - maybe a total of 10 minutes a day. She's only there when I can't watch her every minute or I need a break. The rest of the time, she's on the move.

I'm babyproofing the way my mom did - very minimally. She only believed in using common sense and socket plugs but otherwise she said that keeping close watch over kids and removing or distracting the child when they got in trouble was the best way to do it. She always believed that kids should be able to go to anyone's house. She said that most folks don't need to babyproof their home as they had no baby! So it was better to teach a child to leave stuff alone rather than put the pressure on the host to babyproof their house for this one child.

My mother often told a story about taking me to see an elderly aunt when I was about 18 months old. The aunt starting removing her knicknacks from tables and low shelves and my mother stopped her. "Amanda will leave them alone." Then she told me to look but not touch. She would laugh at this point, because I primly placed my hands behind my back so that I could look at the pretty things around the house without the temptation to touch them. "Temptation get behind me" my mother would always say.

So babyproofing for my little one has included moving my laptop from the living room (she loves the velcro on the cord and the little reel I use for my mouse), being extra careful with beverages, and making sure that small things like beads and eyelets are kept off the floor. My kitchen floor has never been cleaner.

Easter Card


I made this card for my card making group. Too cute, huh??

Pan full of sunshine (recipe alert)

Last night I hosted my local Mom's club card group. This is a bunch of ladies that get together once a month to make cards and have fun. I'll post my card tomorrow, but I wanted to share the cake I made with you.

INGREDIENTS

* 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
* 4 eggs
* 1 cup vegetable oil
* 1 (11 ounce) can mandarin orange segments
* 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
* 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
* 1 (3.5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix


OPTIONAL

* 1 capful of Vanilla extract (not optional for me, but might be for you)
* 1 (11 ounce) can of mandarin orange segments to garnish cake

DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, oil and mandarin oranges with juice. Beat until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.
  4. To make the topping: In a large bowl, beat together whipped topping, pineapple with juice and dry pudding mix until blended. Spread on cake.
  5. You can serve this cake immediately after icing, but it's really better after sitting in the fridge overnight.

Yes, it uses a cake mix. If you are cake snob who only makes your own homemade concoctions, then you'll have to figure out how to adapt this to your needs.

The secret to cake mix success is, however, VANILLA EXTRACT. Seriously. If you want to add richness and a homemade flavor to a cake mix cake, add a capful of vanilla extract - NOT VANILLA FLAVORING.












The finished cake is quite pretty. Sorry for not getting a photo before we dove into it. I also had a piece of this cake this morning with coffee and whoa buddy it's tasty.

'Movies with an 8 month

We went to see Watchmen. With a baby. Yeah, it didn't go well. Within 20 minutes I was pushing the stroller out of the theater. 5 minutes later, this happened.

Random Funny



Brain dump

Can't think of any one topic, so here you go:

  • I'm hosting a small get together Monday night. The first thing you need to know is that I LOVE being the hostess!! I want to serve something yummy to nibble on so I'm going through ALL of my appetizer recipes. This doesn't sound too bad until you know that I've literally got hundreds of recipes and then when you add the countless recipes that look good online - well you see my problem.
  • daylight savings time has made the baby's sleep schedule... um.. interesting. She's waking up earlier, going to sleep earlier, naps are of course earlier... I gotta work this kid to the normal times.

Reader

I am a huge reader. I read everything from religous books to political to humor to vampire fiction.

I got this hunger for books and reading from my parents. I don't have many early memories that don't involve my parents and books. My earliest memories of bedtime is settling down to my own book while my parents read their books. I asked my mom about this memory one time and she said that I was about 3 at the time. In fact, I don't re
member NOT being able to read.

Mom read romance, mystery, and what she called "Love in the Family" - true crime type novels. She read Janet Louise Roberts, Stephen King, James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, Ann Rule, etc. She always had a book going until her brother passed away in 1990. She said after that that she just couldn't concentrate anymore. She eventually was able to read magazines and Reader's Digest and towards the end of her life, she could read books again. At the end, she loved Janet Evanovich and I got her a cd player so she could listen to the Stephanie Plum books.

Dad was a different kind of reader. He read everything from Winston Churchill's History of the English Speaking Peoples to James Bond to Philip Jose Farmer to James Michner. He loved EVERY kind of reading material. Another thing: he was reading at least 3, if not more, books at any given time. He had one in the bathroom, at least one next to his chair in this living room and at least a couple in the bedroom.

I'd go to the local used bookstore with him a couple times a month with a bag of books to trade in. He'd carry in 10-15 books and come out with 6-7 books as well as a couple for me.

Like my dad, I generally have at least 2 books going. Generally, one of the books I have going is an old favorite. I tend to read my favorites until they fall apart and then I get another copy. Among my favorites are:


Interestingly enough, I also love audio books. When I was driving back and forth on my commute from Hell at my last job, audio books helped save my sanity. I've got a number of favorites that I have in audio and paper versions.

The reason I'm writing about all this besides to let you in on how my brain works is because my husband got one of these:


It's called a Kindle 2 and it's a digital reader. I want one, but I can't tell you why and these things are NOT cheap. Furthermore, I don't know that I need one.

Hubby can justify it. He rides public transportation to and from work. It could save him a lot of time and energy. Additionally, he's a writer and wants to publish some of his work for Kindle so in that way, I think he needs it.

For me, it's like an iPhone. It's cool. It's really cool. But I don't need it. I can't think of a single reason that I can't use what I already have. Also, I really LOVE books. I love the way that old books smell. I love the feel of the paper. I love the ragged edges of a well loved book.

What books do you read and are you considering a Kindle?

Giant to-do list

Over the next month and a half, I have a giant to-do list.

I've got all kinds of stuff going on: an upcoming DisneyWorld trip with an infant, a consignment sale I'm taking part in, a couple of date nights, hosting my Mom's club card club, Spring cleaning, etc.

As such, I've started writing everything down. I used to write all my tasks down every day. But being at home, most days my calendar and task list are pretty simple: set-up bottles and formula, restock diapers, fill, run and empty the dishwasher, make phone calls, etc.

I'll be talking more about this as the month flies by...

Friends

We spent the afternoon with our friends. Their son, almost 20, is in the Navy and about to be shipped off to Hawaii. Life must suck when you have to work in Hawaii.

Baby girl did just great despite not taking much of a nap. By the time we were ready to leave, she would lay her little head down and then pop back up again. There was just too much going on to sleep.

Bonehead

Last night, I did something thoughtless. I'm not going into details because it was really stupid of me and for the sake of the parties involved, I'm not going to get into it.

Because I was a bonehead, I caused my dear husband, Moo, worry and pain.

You are the most wonderful, understanding husband in the world. Even when I could see that you were VERY angry with me, all you wanted to do was hold me close. I never meant to cause you pain. I never meant to worry you. I am sorry and you have every right to be angry with me.

You put up with my vast array of craziness and you rarely complain. I KNOW how good you are to me.

I am sorry. Sorry for not thinking ahead. Sorry for not doing what I said I would do. Sorry for behaving like a child.

You are too good for me and I am thankful to you every day.

Checking in

Random brain dump:

  1. In follow-up to yesterday's post regarding the Bachelor, I can honestly say that I am glad that the Bachelor Jason Mesnick seems happy with Molly. I wish them all the luck. He's still a prick.
  2. I have a giant to-do list for the next 45 days or so. We're going to Walt Disney World next month (!!!!!) and I have meetings and appointments galore before that. So, I'm trying to get a lot of things done like spring cleaning, getting ready for a children's consignment sale, hosting my card club, stuff like that.
  3. I met with the sweetest young woman this morning. Moo and I have been longing for adult interaction. For the most part since Phoebe was born, we've kinda done what we wanted to do when we wanted to do it. My chiropractor told us when Phoebe was less than a week old to remember that little babies are highly portable and will sleep anywhere... and this is true. You can easily throw your newborn into the carrier at 2AM and go to Waffle House and they will mostly sleep through it. However, when your pre-toddler hits the hay, you don't want to move, you don't want the phone to ring, you want to make sure that kid sleeps when she needs sleep or there will be HELL TO PAY with much talking and playing and cajoling. So Moo and I decided we needed a babysitter 2-3 times a month so that we could go out as a couple. I talked to folks around about who they used and I got a lot of "well we don't go out that much" or "we use my/his parents". No one could recommend a sitter. So I went through this website and posted my job. I got 72 applicants. After going through background checks and reviewing references, I narrowed it down to one who I think may be perfect for us.
  4. Went to my local Mom's Club meeting yesterday. If you're a stay at home mom, see if you have a chapter of this near you. The ladies in this group are fantastic.
  5. I'm heading off tonight to a Stampin Up party. This is a catalog party. I will spend money. And it will be GOOOOOOOOOD.
Hope everyone's having a great day!!

The Bachelor Sucks

I have spent the last six weeks watching the Bachelor. I have been rooting for Melissa since the VERY FIRST SHOW. I thought she was just adorable and I could clearly see that she was the best chick there. So, last night, when bachelor Jason got down on one knee, I was pleased and excited that he was proposing to Melissa.

Then my world crashed to the ground. He broke up with her SEVEN MINUTES later only to make up to the girl he sent home.

What a JERK!!

I had personally gotten a little tired of him crying. I mean, we're all looking for a man who can show some emotions, but at least once a show I was screaming at the television telling Jason to grow a pair and stop crying already!

Snow

video

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

It's not often that we get a major threat of snow in Atlanta. The first thing you need to know about possible snow in Atlanta is that we have no idea what we're doing and we've had just enough experience with icy weather to know that we don't know how to drive on it and we might lose power. So we go to the grocery store and stock up on those staples: bread and milk. I don't know what we plan to do with the bread and milk but we by golly have it.

Today we have a possibility of 2 or more inches of snow. If we get any, I'll post some pictures.