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Showing posts from January, 2014

Kiddie Videos

Since Jane climbed out of her crib I have been wary of exercising during her naptime, mostly because I don't want to be surprised and I want to be able to hear her at all times. So I've altered our routine and do the exercises in the morning (I tried doing them at the same time and letting her stay up, but I ended up rage-filled trying to do something I didn't like with the added hindrance of a needs-to-be-napping toddler).

Working out in the morning after breakfast has been working out so far -- maybe a week and a half? She's less clingy (hard to do push-ups with an extra 30 lbs on your back), and she likes to pretend to do some of the exercises and read or play the rest of the time. I still get mad when she climbs on me but we're working on sorting that out.

After my exercises she wants to do "toddler exercises," because I showed her a Mickey Mousercize video once. It snowballed from there to watching the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Hot Dog video and a Jimmy…

Car Seat Shuffle

Jane's car seat is still installed rear-facing, even though she's nearly 27 months old. The law used to be rear-facing until age 1 and 20 lbs. (both had to be true), but just before Jane was born that was changed to recommend rear-facing until at least age 2.

Her main car seat, a Britax Marathon, has a sticker on the side with the old rule, something like "use rear-facing only for children younger than 1 and less than 20 lbs." But looking at the seat's manual it says "Use rear-facing for children 5 – 35 pounds, and forward-facing 20 – 65 pounds." Jane still fits into that rear-facing category (weighs less than 35 pounds).

There are also new car seat rules for 2014 about how the seats should be installed. (Awesome explanation here at The Car Seat Lady.) We use the LATCH system now, and from what I can tell that is still fine. Basically the new recommendations say that the seat plus the child's weight should be less than 65 pounds if the seat is to b…

Clean Bird and Random Ice Updates

I can't stop thinking about this Jezebel post about showering and how often is normal. The comments are as interesting as the post. They are mostly about not showering daily. For what it's worth I shower every night but wash my hair every third or fourth day. I can't imagine not using soap, but then I've never given it any thought. We bathe Jane every other day and use the mildest soap imaginable, for which I'm ever grateful to my friend for introducing to us.

We had another snow day (or faux sneaux), which was good because the roads were icy and dangerous until the afternoon. I don't understand why the mail didn't run, but whatever.

This stay-at-home for multiple days in a row has coincided with my second cold of the year. This one has hit me like a freight train, as opposed to the last one that crept up on me and lingered. I can only hope that this one will just go away as quickly as it came.

Also for the first time in more than three years I can actually…

Goodbye Open Diary

Starting in December 2000 until about May 2013 I wrote somewhat regularly at Open Diary, an online blogging site before blogging was cool. I had written a bit before that in a self-coded website (geocities or tripod or both), but the ease of OD -- and the included anonymous audience -- made writing much easier and more satisfying. I stumbled upon the site after looking at bored.com in my dorm room while procrastinating school work. It was quite the happy -- and long-lasting -- find.

After I started this blog, linked to my own name, I backed off writing on OD, except for when I wanted to write something that just wasn't right for this blog -- i.e., could hurt feelings or was too personal to be publicly tied to myself. Not that my OD was untraceable. I'm sure if anyone wanted to they could have figured it out, and there are people from OD who know about this blog too. So the trail is there. But somehow it felt safer, more anonymous.

Now it is closed. The home page doesn't e…

Crochet on a Dime

I really like to crochet, and I also really like to look at crochet books. Of course a great way to get new pattern ideas is through the library, and even better for me is loan access to digital crochet books (made possible by my Christmas gift Kindle Fire that allows me to see the photos in color!). Here are some of the favorites I've checked out recently:

Crocheting School is a nice big book with lots of pictures. It covers basic stitches, plus many I've never tried (afghan/Tunisian, hairpin lace and using a loom for example). Published in 2004 its yarn examples look outdated in color combinations (hard to believe 10 years is enough time to do that!), but the techniques are so great. I have made the three-layered Irish lace flower, thinking I'll make some hair clips for Jane, and I tested the interlocking rings in Christmas colors just for fun.

Uncommon Crochet: Twenty-Five Projects Made from Natural Yarns and Alternative Fibers is one I checked out electronically. A bit …

Wintry Mix

On Friday we had a bit of a wintry mix weather situation, and the town SHUT DOWN. The bridge over the river was closed -- the only reliable way to cross was via the slow and overcrowded ferry. We stayed home all day, although Shawn did go to work. It was cold, but it didn't snow. There was icy rain and some sleet/ice pellets. Nothing like the beautiful snow I remember from NYC.

There may be some more weather coming in Tuesday, a 30% chance and definitely cold. I absolutely love it, as being slightly nippy in my warm house is OK by me. But there might be a small part of me turning into a southerner that's looking forward to warmer days ahead. (Who am I kidding, we have warmer days mixed in between this cold days -- it's going to be about 60 today I think!)

Preschool Panicking

It doesn't matter who is talking to me or what their opinion is. Any mention of preschool or Jane's education otherwise is enough to make my insides seize up and my breathing to go shallow. Without being too dramatic I really want to avoid the whole situation.

When homeschoolers ask me about preschool and why in the world I'd think she needs that, I get defensive.

When someone asks me whether she's in a mother's day out or similar program, even if they are just making conversation, I get defensive.

When anyone asks about where we want her to go to preschool I just flat out panic in addition to being defensive!

I can't be the sole provider of Jane's education for sure, and I respect those people who are able to be that for their children. But I know that home schooling isn't for us. I don't know how to work the system in the Baton Rouge education market (and that's what it is, a market) to get into the "right" school, whatever that ac…

Reading Rainbow

I love to read, and with an amazing Christmas gift of a Kindle Fire and access to tons of books via my library's ebook selection I've already started plowing through several books this year. The Kindle is linked to Goodreads automatically, since Amazon now owns it, but gone is any way to simply tweet about the book itself without also posting to Goodreads. (I also have an old school early generation Kindle that I have to decide what to do with, but I could tweet something without linking to Goodreads on it.)

One thing that is neat is to see the books I read in a specific year. I have never fully cataloged my reading on Goodreads, and I don't really keep track of the books I've read anywhere else. The Kindle makes it easy to add any Amazon books -- either Kindle or ordered in print -- by accessing your Amazon account. I didn't do that yet, because really what does it matter?

I will try to record the books I read on the Kindle -- but not every one. I've been revi…

Therapeutic Shopping or Lifting Weights

Today I broke my self-prescribed Target fast. I tracked my spending in December and saw patterns I didn't like. I tend to buy things to make myself feel better, and that really isn't healthy. So I decided to stay away from Target for at least a month.

I didn't quite make it, mainly because of diapers. I had it in my head that potty training *might* happen this month so didn't really count how many we had left before I started the "fast." As we crept ever closer to zero diapers I realized I'd either have to buy non-Target diapers or break the fast.

Obviously I chose a small Target run. (Target diapers work so well for us -- no leaks/no problems/affordable.) I bought bananas too, but was pretty good in-and-out. I looked at some clearance items as I walked by them and checked out the kettle bells, because I think I want to buy one. But I was able to resist any extraneous purchases. Just being in the store made me feel good and happy though. What is wrong wit…

Hello Kitty Crochet Hat

I made this Hello Kitty-inspired hat in a few hours one Wednesday. It's for Jane and turned out pretty cute.

It's the same basic hat that I used to make my toddler Christmas hats with different shapes for the eyes and nose, plus long stitches for the whiskers. I'm still not sure that I'm happy with those, and I almost wish I had edged the hat in pink or done the side braid ties completely in white.

Overall I'm pretty happy with it, although Jane likes to wear it backwards -- maybe more of a Goodbye Kitty look?

The Terrible Twos

After a few months of parenting a two-year-old, I'm starting to think it isn't her who is terrible, but me. She is going about her business, trying to learn new things, but it's me who's resistant to change, and frustrated simultaneously by her lack of independence and her lack of dependence, if that makes any sense.

She's too big to be babied, and I can't physically corral her with any sort of ease -- but she's not quite big enough to do most things by herself. It seems her least favorite thing is to follow instructions or requests, regardless of whether she agrees with them.

I'm sure she's ready for a lot more than I've introduced her to, but I still hesitate. And sometimes when we try a new thing -- like colored play dough from a package -- it goes well for a while, but whammo! One afternoon without a nap and she reverts and tries to take a giant bite of the blue dough. Gross! And no more play dough for a good long while.

Early childhood dev…

Num Nums are Not Forever

This week I said goodbye to an important part of my parenting life up to this point. Jane stopped nursing, after just over 26 months. I'm feeling lots of feelings about it.

I have thought of myself as an accidental hippie mama in this respect, but really I am an intentional lactivist and wholly believe that extended nursing has been a boon to her health and development. It's also been pretty great for me, what with regular releases of feel-good hormones (and you know I need all the feel-good-ness I can get!).

Now that weaning is over I can feel the difference, but at least our weaning was gradual. I haven't had any engorgement or pain issues. When I started drafting this post, everything felt fine emotionally. But a couple days later and the hormonal bottom has dropped out so to speak. I've had a terrible, no-good, horrible day with lots of crying and am trying to regain equilibrium. I'm chalking it up to the hormonal shifts that come with completed weaning, a…

Saying No

Without a regular paying job I don't have a lot of out-of-the-house commitments. So it seems like when I'm asked to do something I should say yes, in part to get out of the house and also because why wouldn't I as long as I can figure out child care?

I said yes to a spiritual leadership academy simply because I was asked. It has turned into a pretty big commitment -- financially more than a $100 in the registration fee plus books for each author -- and time, since there are four "weekend" retreats that involve being away a Friday evening and most of a Saturday. And it's not even up my alley/something I'm that interested in. I said yes simply because I was asked. (In hindsight it wasn't even an exclusive ask/important that I attend like I was led to believe. There were plenty of other people who WANTED to be part of the academy and would have gladly taken my place.)

So I was asked (or rather told, obscurely in a mass email) to be part of a leadership w…

Disney Worms Its Way In

Even without regular screen time I've got a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse-loving toddler on my hands. We listen to a lot of Pandora during the day, usually the Toddler Tunes channel. I'd say about 50% of the songs are somehow Disney-related.

I'm not complaining because I actually love the They Might Be Giants songs for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Jane does too. Hot Dog is a favorite, as is the title track (after looking it up seems like those are the only two TMBG songs, although the band has put out some other kids music).

I think I'd actually like to buy the album (affiliate link), but I'm trying to curb my spending as a self-improvement exercise ... and to see if I can actually do it. It's been about 12 days since I've been to Target and even longer since shopping online. And it is rough.

But I digress.

The Pandora listening is also really driving an urge in me to see some of the new Disney movies, specifically Tangled and Frozen. Man, those songs are good. An…

Static Electricity

We've had a bit of a cold snap here, even in the South. And with that we've had really dry air. I know it's drier outside, but also running the heat so much makes is SUPER dry inside. I may have become too acclimated to the humid climate!

We've been sparking it up nonstop here, and I'm not sure how to combat it. It's probably only a problem for 1-2 weeks per year, but it's kind of wild.

I don't use fabric sheets or fabric softeners to stay away from added chemicals or things like that near my daughter's skin (or ours for that matter). But that left us with washcloths stuck to crocheted blankies and static everywhere. And I'm tempted to get a box of unscented dryer sheets to rub over the offending garments and blankets.

The dry air also has given us some crazy spark nightlights when Jane kicks under the blankets. I don't know if it's the zipper of her one-piece jammies or if it just happens no matter what. I was a little freaked out last…

Crochet Eloise Toddler Sweater & Beanie Cap

Using this amazing pattern from Moogly Blog, I decided to attempt another toddler garment. I wasn't disappointed, and the resulting sweater was easy and is so adorable. I made it mostly while re-watching Sherlock with Shawn on our new Roku (thanks, Grandma Dale!).




I also made a matching beanie cap with the extra yarn (and there's still more to play with). I used the beanie pattern from my Little Crochet: Modern Designs for Babies and Toddlers book (affiliate link). It was also easy and cute and took about 20 minutes.

Home is Where The Heart Is

I sort of went down a rabbit hole accidentally while Christmas shopping. My Oklahoma family has started doing a "clean" Santa exchange in lieu of buying gifts for everyone. I decided to try to buy something fun and artisan or somehow support a non-corporation.

While I waited for my chance to go to a local arts market (where I eventually bought a custom wooden cutting board and a tin of Louisiana pecans for the gift exchange) I perused Etsy and found a couple potential things. While I was looking I found a really cool letterpress print of Oklahoma, and I decided I wanted to get it. I had a $5 Etsy gift card somehow, so click-click-click I got it.

I thought I would also get versions for Louisiana and Virginia, but the artist didn't make those states as her prints. I found some other state prints that were cute, particularly the Home is Where the Heart Is series. I ordered that in the Louisiana version with the heart on Baton Rouge (and had a great experience working with …

A Brand New Year

2013 was actually an OK year for me. Professionally speaking I made zero strides, and I'm probably reversing my marketability every day, but otherwise it was a great year. (Actually I have done a couple side jobs that should help me from being completely unemployable in the future.)

Jane continues to develop and amaze me (and frustrate me) on a daily basis. She's a cool kid and so much fun to be around. Shawn's very happy in his career, and we both like our hobbies (woodwork and crochet). All told we're doing well.

We didn't do quite as much traveling in her second year as her first. We began the year with a short weekend trip to Memphis to visit some friends. We drove to Oklahoma twice -- once for Mother's Day and also for Christmas. We did a two-week trip to Minneapolis in July that was a lot of fun (although that's when American Airlines severely damaged our stroller). Jane and I flew to Oklahoma in August while Shawn was overseas. And we were gone for …