30 September 2012

Chop Chop

Hard to tell but you can see all my hair in
this picture from the day I got it cut.
About a week ago I got my hair cut, continuing my search for a place to match the hair cuts I received in New York as a Bumble & Bumble hair model (shortish curl cut, please!). I still get blast emails about the model calls ... sad sad sad.

Initially I was really happy with the cut, because the girl was so nice and she styled it beautifully (which is a step up from when I raged immediately after my Rage salon haircut that was an expensive Super Cuts snip). She kept saying "I can't believe you're not freaking out" because of all the hair she was cutting, but really I was unfazed, in part because it wasn't cut as short in the front.

And therein lies the problem. I specifically asked for the hair to stay long enough for a ponytail, given Jane's proclivity to grab and pull hair and realistically knowing that I would wear my hair up as often as not. TECHNICALLY I can get my hair up but the very back is so short it stays down, making the perfect "handle" for a certain someone to do a little grabbing.

Curly triangle webcam snap -- easier to see
the forward angle here
The hair looks awesome straight. I was able to get it straightened myself pretty well, and because there's so much less hair now it is pretty quick to dry and flatten. But curly -- whoo boy. That's another story. It's triangle city up in here, since there aren't any defining layers to help remove the weight as it puffs (she did use thinning shears so I can't imagine what it would be like without that).

Hair grows quickly, and in any case this is just temporary. I might go back to the same salon/stylist. The cut was the cheapest I've had since moving here, and the experience was a good one. I'm just not sure how I feel about the end result.

24 September 2012

Weird Meeting

Let's just stay home, Mama
Still processing the Mothers of Preschoolers program I went to today.

Jane stayed in a strange, new-to-her nursery for two hours. She was absolutely fine -- she went willingly with the workers (whom neither of us knew) when I dropped her off, but she was a little manic looking when I picked her up. I think part of it was no morning nap -- program started at 9:30 a.m., which is when she usually starts snoozing. She still needs that nap.

I also think she was probably shell shocked from lack of doting (which she gets when she stays in our church's nursery on Sundays). There were probably 8 babies in the room with two workers, and she wasn't crying/needing attention all the time like some of the other babies were.

I don't know if we'll go back. Not only does the schedule not really work for us nap-wise, but it's also kind of expensive mostly to pay for the child care (today was a free try out). I might want to spend my money on something else -- like a Mother's Day Out or gym membership (although many of the moms at the program seemed to do all of those as well as stay home ... hmmm).

The meeting is only twice a month, so I have a couple weeks to decide.

16 September 2012

Homemade Saline Wipes

You want me to pay how much for saline wipes?
Jane caught her first cold when we went to the mall last week. She had the time of her life playing in the soft kids area, but she was no match for all the kids' germs. There weren't any (visibly) sick kids with us while she was playing but something was around because she was a snotty mess by that evening.

A seemingly gimmicky kids' cold product is Boogie Wipes -- these saline wipes that are supposed to be softer on the nose and help de-crust things (affiliate link). Sounds good and they do work, BUT they are expensive and mostly scented (I did find a pack of unscented at a Target and the Amazon affiliate link above is to unscented, but it's hit and miss what's available).

I decided to try to make my own saline wipes at home and see how they work. I couldn't find a how to for homemade saline wipes or homemade boogie wipes, although there is a tutorial for cloth boogie wipes and she actually makes her saline solution herself. But being the ultimate lazy mom this is what I did:

How To Make Saline Wipes at Home

1 roll Viva paper towels (these are very soft and cloth-like)
1 new spray bottle of saline spray (the stuff that says safe for infants -- not nose spray, which has some kind of drug in it)
  1. I washed my hands -- because what's the point of making saline wipes covered in mama germs?
  2. I tore off a few paper towels, cut them in half (that's another gripe about boogie wipes -- they're way too big for me and leave a lot of valuable real estate clean and trashed).
  3. I stacked them in a sandwich size Tupperware container (although you could probably do it in a zip top bag or anything sealable -- maybe even an old boogie wipes container!)
  4. Then I squirted the saline solution until they were damp.
My fake-out saline wipes seem to work just as well as the name brand, and Jane wiggles/fusses just as much when getting her nose wiped so I know they don't hurt her nose any more than the boogie wipes (she does NOT like dry tissue).

I'm not sure if they keep well (someone in the comments of the One Good Thing post mentioned cloth diaper wipes molding if you leave them in the diaper bag too long), so probably just make as many as you think you'll need for the next few days.

PS Be glad I didn't go with the snotty nose shot to illustrate this post...

PPS If anyone can tell me this is a BAD idea let me know. I don't want Jane to get any sicker (although she's almost all mended now).

04 September 2012

Duct Tape Diaper


During the storm some of our diapers were failing. It was a sleeve of our favorite Target Up & Up brand and each diaper would separate at her right hip without fail after she had it on for a few minutes. Instead of abandon the diapers I wised up and pulled out the duct tape (the same tape I carted to Berlin and back). Seems like something for There I Fixed It.

Also, that's the walking toy Jane loves best (a hand-me-down from a neighbor) -- she walks behind it like she's mowing or pushing a shopping cart and swings her little hips so happily. Oh, independent bipedal locomotion is just around the corner ...

03 September 2012

ABCs of Berlin



A little project I did while we were in Berlin -- collecting letters in pictures. On my last day there I found a sidewalk keyboard installation where I got the umlaut letters and ß. Y was the hardest letter, and in the end I just snapped one that isn't the best quality.

This is a companion project to my ABCs of NYC, where I took a bit more time and cropped the photos to just the letters (so I could then theoretically spell out a name, say Jane). But for Berlin I didn't do it.

Also there was this picture of a subway ad that had all the alphabet in one spot:

02 September 2012

Berlin with Baby: Getting Home

Note: This series, Berlin with Baby, is being written in real time to be published upon our return to the United States.

August 19 -- Our return travel was about as stressful as our travel to Berlin. We made all of our flights and they left mostly on time, but we had the same issues with Jane's ticket (it took about 20 minutes at every ticket counter to get her a boarding pass).

At the Berlin airport we had to take our stroller to "bulky luggage," even though in its bag it is smaller than our checked bags. The nearby bulky luggage station was experiencing "technical difficulties" (?!?!) so we had to trek across the airport -- and all the terminals are separate buildings so it entailed going outside to drop it off (Shawn did the last leg because I saw this ridiculously long hallway and almost sat down and cried ... and this was less than an hour into our 22+ hour trip!). The stroller made it to Baton Rouge though, so I can't complain too much.

Chuck Doo-Gull was more of the same madness. Lots of walking, wrong lines, etc. Having the baby helps infinitely because they do let you cut lines in Europe. Everything from security to boarding. In America there’s no such thing, but I guess there are trade offs.

On the long 9-hour plus flight Shawn and I weren’t exactly sitting together. We were across the aisle from each other. Uh… It actually worked out OK, and although someone offered to switch with me in the bulk head I didn’t think being away from Shawn was a smart idea so we stuck closer together.

Shawn said he thought the flight went by faster – he watched a couple movies – but to me it was much longer. I guess because the cabin never got dark? I watched three movies (which is three more than I’ve seen in a million months) and three TV shows (I watch plenty of TV). Jane napped a little bit and was generally good. There was another baby on board who cried a lot, and I was glad it didn’t cause a ripple effect.

Touch down in Atlanta and we have plenty of time for our transfer, which is good. My suitcase didn’t make the flight, even though Shawn’s did, so I was all twisted up about that. There was another purple suitcase in the baggage area, so I convinced myself that the owner of THAT suitcase had absconded with mine.

The jet lag was starting to hit me too, with a headache (not enough water on the plane, since we didn’t have time to buy any in Paris and we couldn’t bring any of our German water through security there) and dizziness. At one point I said “I’M DONE” as I kept walking forward.

We checked Shawn’s suitcase and the stroller through to Baton Rouge and waited at the counter while the agent figured out how to issue Jane a ticket. (UGH!) Then we were on our way through security (three countries, three flights, three security experiences) and on to our connecting flight.

There was a downpour while we waited, so we were sure we’d be delayed. Jane crawled around like a crazy person while Shawn was away changing our Euros back to dollars. She was seriously trying to get away from me and into the action of other people, even though at the guest house apartment she’d been kind of clingy and not wanting to be in a room by herself.


20120819_1_Atlanta

I changed Jane into PJs and we boarded our final flight. By this point it was middle of the night in Germany and about 8:30 in Atlanta. Jane fell asleep before we took off and slept until we landed, so that was really good.

Finally back in Baton Rouge, waiting on our luggage and Katie comes to pick us up. I’m hoping against hope that my bag somehow made it without me seeing it in Atlanta. No such luck. Shawn’s bag and the stroller made it though. Shawn files a claim while Katie and I pack up the car. We drop off Katie and go back to our house, which is cool and comfy, thanks to Katie adjusting the thermostat for us.

The house was still standing, although my zucchini plants died a withering death of some sort and some of my window box plants weren’t looking so great either (they live under eaves and don’t get regular rain fall … I forgot to move them to the lawn to remedy that).

Jane fell asleep in the car and stayed asleep after the transfer to her crib. Shawn and I both crashed out, and it was about 10 pm Baton Rouge time. All together we had been up for nearly 22 hours. Not quite as long as the trip to Berlin, but still enough to leave us fuzzy.

My suitcase arrived two days later, after much stressing and fretting on my part. So dumb to be so attached to THINGS, but not sure how to change that attachment.

The jet lag has been killer. Jane is adjusting the best of all of us. Shawn and I both had to start work the day after we arrived. So after about 7 hours of sleep after the 22 hour trip we were up and at ‘em.

Jane is so happy to be home and see all her toys. And to get a proper bath!
Thanks for sticking with me on this series. I know I haven’t captured everything, but I hope this can serve as a travelogue and reminders of our trip. One day Shawn and I will tell Jane these stories.

20120820_1_NewAuto_sm

Berlin with Baby: Packing Notes

Note: This series, Berlin with Baby, is being written in real time to be published upon our return to the United States.

Two weeks in a foreign land. Jane’s and my first foray into a country where English is not the primary language. Some thoughts on packing that I’ve compiled along the way.

Helping Mama pack.

Things I’m Glad I Packed

  • Ergo -- super great purchase on our parts
  • Stroller -- to think I almost thought this wasn't necessary ... pshaw! ... until she can walk we need to take it with us EVERYWHERE I think. And I ADORE the City Mini. I could collapse it with one hand, carry it by the strap in the seat and then flop it back open easily -- even with some stuff in the pocket beneath the seat. It's small, maneuverable and cute. LOVE, would purchase again. (I saw many strollers in Berlin, but only two other City Minis -- once at Alexanderplatz and once on Oranienburger Strasse.)
  • Moby for flying, I can keep it on at all times after security and it can help cover up for nursing (although I don't really care on the planes at this point)
  • Water bottle -- packed in suitcase and then used tap water for day trips
  • Tote bags -- always carry these when traveling to a city! And I bought a new one as a memento.
  • Laundry bag -- I knew I’d need to do laundry and didn’t want to have to schlep the dirties and cleans in plastic Walmart bags or similar
  • Laptop -- I almost didn’t bring this because it’s heavy, but I’m so glad I did. Since I spent good chunks of time every day with Jane in the apartment it proved invaluable for email/staying connected and listening to NPR (oh, and writing these posts!)
  • Duct tape, which I used to cover up outlets. I wish I'd brought less and probably painters tape would have been better.

Things I Wish I’d Packed

  • Salt & Pepper packets -- egg sandwiches just aren't the same without salt!
  • Laundry soap tabs -- I bought soap here but there’s so much leftover it’s quite a waste … I’m going to pawn it off on one of Shawn’s colleagues
  • Bigger day bag/diaper bag (ideally messenger bag style)
  • Washcloths for Jane -- who knew the guest house wouldn’t provide washcloths? We really need these for cleaning her during showers and her face after meals ... I bought a few but they weren't the baby kind.
  • LAN cable -- who knew there wouldn’t be wifi in the rooms?! Eventually I figured out a way to make my laptop acts as a hotspot so I could use my iPod touch -- Draw Something withdrawals be gone!
  • Paper towels and kleenex -- we had to buy those here, but that could have blocked off some suitcase space for souvenirs
  • More VIA packets -- decaf doesn’t exist here apparently, as I couldn’t find any in the grocery stores although did have a decaf Americano with Shawn’s colleague because he could order it for me
  • A hat for me -- even though the weather has been cool and at times cloudy I've managed to get some sunburn, especially on my five-head.
Disclosure: Amazon affiliate links used.

01 September 2012

Berlin with Baby: Non-Baby Photos

Note: This series, Berlin with Baby, is being written in real time to be published upon our return to the United States.



Here are the photos from Berlin's sites that aren't Jane-centric ... aka BORING! I seriously took a lot of snaps of buildings, and these are only a few of the clear ones.

Berlin with Baby: Toys

Note: This series, Berlin with Baby, is being written in real time to be published upon our return to the United States.

August 18 – I’ve bought more toys here than is necessary and we BROUGHT more toys here than she needed as well. Especially considering that her favorite things to play with are trash.

20120816_6_Trash_sm

We’re packing up now, resting on our last day in Berlin. I took a little solo excursion to a flea market in the Tiergarten and scored a Berlin stein for Shawn. I also went to Alexanderplatz and stumbled across a Vegan Fair and did some final souvenir shopping in the department store Galleria Kaufman there.

It was weird riding the metro without Jane. Despite the language barriers that was one place I felt OK – I can navigate a subway system when left to my own devices.

Post Isaac Shopping

Walking into my familiar Winn Dixie after the storm was weird. It was my store, but it wasn't.

Entire shelves were cleared -- things I noticed were gone: pop tarts, little debbie snacks, fruit (that much I expect had spoiled ... everything else just hadn't been restocked after the run-up to the hurricane). They had restocked the dairy, so we have our milk for the cereal I stockpiled (you can always eat cheerios dry).

There were also a lot of cashiers working -- I guess because they had all missed shifts and they wanted the work? There were also more people there than normal, so that was part of it too. A lot of undergrads walking around in rubber boots.

I didn't have a lot of time, so it was just a quick in and out for some sandwich stuff (not even enough time to bother waiting for the deli versions) and DDP.

I'll be glad when things really get back to normal...