Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Repulsive

Dear Remington,

Why do you love to chew on Norah's nose suctioner? Don't you know that it goes in her nose and sucks out all her boogers?!

You are so sick.

Love,
Mama

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Iron Chef America-Perkins Style

On Sunday night Iron Chef America took over in our kitchen.

The secret ingredient:
Cherry tomatoes and green chile. (Because we are amateurs and not really Iron Chefs ((and because we were very hungry and The Beast only has limited patience for our silly games)) we only made one dish each.) (Are you totally impressed with my over-use of parentheses?) (I am.)



The competitors:
Sadie--specializes in microwaved cheese burritos, chocolate chip cookies and making very pretty omelets.
Rusty--specializes in making up new dishes, scrambled eggs, and macaroni and cheese.



The dishes:
Spicy Southwest Salmon with Green Chile Cheddar Quesadillas







Breaded Chicken and Wilted Spinach with Green Chile





The winner:
Plating--Spicy Southwest Salmon for its perfectly towering avocado and pleasing colors.
Taste--Breaded Chicken with its wonderful textures and combination flavors
Originality--Breaded Chicken because Rusty actually put thought into his meal whereas Sadie simply threw things together.

Overall, the Breaded Chicken won in a close race. Had Sadie not over-seasoned her otherwise perfectly cooked salmon, the competition would have been much closer.





Norah says "Psshhh. Who needs Salmon and Breaded Chicken? I love me some plastic toys and stuffed lions!"

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sort of Like a Bug Zapper

Great. Just when I was becoming immune to the pull of precious and scrumptious summer baby clothes, they start coming out with all the precious and scrumptious fall baby clothes.

Pants!
Hoodies!
Fleece!
Jackets!
An actual reason to wear socks and maybe shoes!
Poufy fuzzy slippers!

I am at the mercy of those stupid baby clothes makers. I cannot help myself. I cannot walk into a store, not even Wal-Mart, without walking through the baby section. And then when I do walk through I suffer temporary amnesia and sleepwalking and suddenly I am sitting in my car with $90 worth of pink clothes and I have no idea how I got there.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wondering

Why don't we just accept our fate as non-cooking people and spend more grocery money eating out?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Missing the Music

The other night as I tossed and turned in bed, unable to sleep for the heat, I started thinking about music. It has lost it's place in my life much like reading has lost it's place. I spend so much time sitting in front of the television that I have made a permanent dent in my couch. I use the excuse that I am home with a baby, that I need the voices and the talking, but there really is no reason for the TV to remain on in my house from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed at night. That is just pathetic.

I was thinking about how I missed music last night, how I miss the power that it can have. I miss hearing a song that is so perfect that it wraps me up, makes the hairs on my neck and arms stand up, takes me out of myself and the drops me back on the ground too quickly so I feel compelled to play it on repeat for days. I miss feeling lyrics line up exactly with my insides. I miss the way my fingers tap out beats and follow notes without me realizing it, a habit that keeps me awake if I try to listen to music while going to sleep.

I don't want my daughter to grow up and know the tune to What Not to Wear but have no idea who Modest Mouse is.

Yesterday afternoon I was listening to Frou-Frou, something I listened to over and over again last September. As soon as the first notes played I was shot straight back to my first trimester even feeling that same strange feeling in my stomach. I do that, assign certain soundtracks to certain times in my life. Everytime I read The Hobbit I hear The Cranberries playing in my head and everytime I read All Creatures Great and Small I hear the Blues Brothers. Apparently Frou-Frou is the soundtrack of my first trimester.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Ongoing Saga of the Cars

I was inspired by my friend Jasmine's post about her car breaking down, inspired and reminded that I never updated on our car situation.

Last Saturday Rusty and I took a trip to a land I have never, not once ventured into before: The Land of New Cars. We loaded ourselves and The Beast (Norah's new nickname since she has taken such a liking to SHRIEKING all day long) into the camry and headed to the Toyota dealership. We chose the Toyota dealership because our chiropractor brother, Philip, knows the manager and thought we might get a deal. When we were getting ready to leave I was wearing a mid-calf skirt, but moments before we walked out the door I ran and changed into shorter shorts. I came out of the bedroom and told Rusty, "What was I thinking? How can I expect to get us a good deal on a car without showing a little leg??!"

We arrived at The Land of New Cars and spent a few hours in the beating sun. Twenty minutes into the car show I started sweating, sweating because the hot hot sun was piercing my backside, sweating because I was toting around a 13 pound Beast, sweating because Holy Crap! Do you have any idea how expensive cars are? Not just new cars, USED cars! They cost thousands of dollars!

Toward the end of the visit we had our hearts sort of set on a little Yaris, small and shiny and boasting an impressive 35MPG, a number that made my shop-a-holic little heart jump for joy. Oh the shopping damage I could do with that fabulous gas efficiency. So we told the guys that we would think about it and be back later.

We left, headed to the church to unwind, cool off and feed The Beast, and crunch some numbers. Rusty did the crunching (obviously) and even though the number he came up with, the number of dollars we would have at the end of the month if we bought a car, a number that did not take into account my hefty school bill, was terrifyingly tiny, I still believed we could buy a new car. Clearly I am insane.

A short time later, when The Beast hit the wall of I Am Not At Home In My Bed Where I Want To Be! I was confronted with my insanity. For clearly, only an insane person would take an infant to a car lot in the beating sun and only an insane person would think buying a new car without actually having the money to buy it would be a good idea. So on the drive home we chose not to buy a new car and when we got to Taco Bell and were sniffing the beany goodness I said, "I suppose I would rather have a junky car and be able to eat out than have a new car and have to eat dirt".

So. We don't have a new car, we still have two old cars that Norah should be embarassed to be toted around in, but at least we have Taco Bell. And strangely, I felt a deep sense of relief when we chose to keep our free cars, however ugly. Now I am lusting after a Vespa, and guess what? We can afford a Vespa...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Brazil: Thank you!

I finally bought a coffee press. It looks like this


And bygolly, it does make my coffee taste better.

I remember the first time I had coffee made in a coffee press. I was a freshman in college at the University of New Mexico and that drink was so delicious it completely changed the way I think about coffee. That was also the night that Bryant showed his uncanny ability to distinguish between coffee brands simply by looking at the grounds. Since that night I have pined for a coffee press of my own, which is a little silly considering that they only cost about $14.

I feel like a new woman, a woman with a yummy coffee making device that is all her own.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Morning Glory

Norah woke up at either 2 or 4 this morning, I can't remember which. Then she woke up again at 7:30 and was totally unwilling to lay in bed and peacefully drift off to sleep. Instead she wanted to get up, and she made that known by her hysterical screaming, screaming that would only stop when I either held her or put her on the floor so she could talk to the ceiling fan.

Since Norah's birth I have been compiling a list of things that are acceptable to do as a baby that would never be acceptable to do as an adult. For instance, when you are a baby it is entirely acceptable to leave the house without any pants. Just last week I took Norah to WalMart and she was only wearing a onesie and her bunny slippers. If I tried to go to WalMart in a crotch snap leotard and my puppy slippers I would probably be arrested or make small children cry, or both. It is also acceptable for babies to poop while eating. For an adult to do that it would require either pooping at the table or eating on the toilet, neither are good choices. Added to this list is talking to the ceiling fan. For a baby this behavior is endearing, making mamas run to find their phones in order to record the babbling. For an adult this behavior could land you in a psych ward faster than you can say 'delusional'.

So, as I was saying before I interrupted myself, Norah woke this morning at 7:30, ready to play. Who is ready to play at 7:30 in the morning? NOT MAMA! I am rarely awake this early, so I rarely see Rusty before he goes to work, except in that bleary second it takes me to tell him goodbye. But this morning I was awake. He came out of the bedroom in his lizard boxers, the ones I bought for our honeymoon, and asked me if I had seen his cargo pants. I squirmed a bit inside because yesterday I was ambitious and thought I would do some laundry, which means I did three loads. One was in the basket, one was in the dryer and one was still in the washer. Guess which load his pants were in? So I told him I had washed them and forgotten to dry them and he said it was fine he would just wear something else. A few minutes later he came back out of the room, still in his lizard boxers and asked me where his jeans were. Guess where they were? At this point I started to worry for him so I asked what he was going to wear to work since his wife had washed all his pants and dried not a single pair, to which he replied "Umm...lizard boxers?"

Ha! That man is funny in the morning. Maybe I should wake up early more often?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sleepless

Normally Norah goes to sleep at nighttime without a fraction of the fuss that it takes to go to bed in the daytime. Normally it goes down like this: I pull out the jammies, the diaper, the powder, and the lotion. Norah gets to lay naked for a bit while I lotion her up, powder her booty, put on a fresh diaper and then jammies. Then she eats on one side and I'll read her a book (maybe) and then she'll eat on the other side. And then, I put her in her bed and she talks to herself until she falls asleep. She prefers to put herself to sleep but if I had it my way we would go back to snuggling until she falls asleep.

But oh. Oh. Oh. Oh. My. The past two nights have been excursions into the deepest, darkest levels of mama-hell rivaling even the bawling session of our first night at home.

The past two days Norah has refused to sleep in the afternoon, choosing instead to stay awake for 5 hours straight. 5 HOURS! A baby should not stay awake that long. I tried to put her to sleep for 2 whole hours yesterday and SHE. WOULD. NOT. SLEEP. So when it comes time for bed Norah is so tired she can't eat and she can't sleep and all she does is scream.

For the past two nights Rusty and I have walked all around the house with varying degrees of bouncing and swinging. We have hummed and sung and shhh'd until our mouths were dry and chalky. We have put her in bed only to hear her scream and turn red in the face. I tried to feed her even in the fail-proof lying down and feeding position. I gave her Mylicon drops to help a tummy ache I wasn't even sure existed. I even resorted to the pacifier. And all Norah did was scream scream scream. The only time she was quiet was when she was eating. FROM A BOTTLE!

Finally, completely exhausted from all the SCREAMING, Norah accepted her bed and lay there talking to herself, crying a few times until she fell asleep. At least I think she is asleep.

Midway through I was so frustrated and tense I thought I was going to throw up. I had a ball in the back of my throat, my jaw was tense and aching, my shoulders were full of knots and I was too wound up even to cry. And I really wanted to cry. Mostly because my baby was upset and I didn't know how to fix it. Mostly because I felt so absolutely helpless.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Delusions of Grandeur

I was fairly naive about most things regarding how a baby would change my life. I don't mean my life in large, like how much I would love the baby or how much I would worry about the baby or how having a baby would change the very fibers of who I am. Those things, I knew would happen though I did not know to what large extent. But I was naive as to how having a baby would change my day to day life, and in some ways, how it wouldn't change my day to day life.

I had a pretty clear picture of what I would be like after having Norah. I imagined that I would wake early, mostly because she would wake early and be ready to start the day. I thought that by this time, 12 weeks later, I would be a certified morning person who was ok with getting up at 6am. Instead I have this baby who is fine with sleeping in as long as she is sleeping in with me. As a result we have a hard time getting out of the door before noon. And I am still a certified morning hater. I imagined that I would be a great housewife. This delusion is similar to one I had in the time before Rusty and I were actually married and one I had when we were preparing to move from a nasty apartment to a nice house. I imagined I would enjoy spending my days cleaning the house, organizing, decorating, taking care of errands, gardening, and above all cooking for my husby. Clearly I am insane. I will clean (don't you laugh Rusty!) but only when the house becomes nearly unlivable or when Rusty makes me. I actually do enjoy organizing and decorating but I lack the energy and drive. I loathe running errands, I will only garden if the weather is perfect to my sensitive self. And cooking. Oh cooking, how you torture my soul. You'd think that I would have learned this delusion of housewifery is indeed a delusion, but no, I still believed it.

And reading. Oh reading how I miss you. How I miss laying in bed reading and eating cereal and drinking coffee until late in the morning. How I miss laying in bed reading until late in the night. How I miss reading in the tub, or curled up in my chair, or at the pool, or in the car. But it is so hard to read when you have an infant in the house, an infant who sleeps an average of 3 hours during the day, 3 hours that I need to shower and eat and go to the bathroom and cook (haaaaaa!) and clean (haaahaaaa!). I have read one full book this summer, read it while Norah was still teeny and slept more. But the non-sleeper, she does not let me read.

I had high hopes of reading Anna Karenina, of reading Sex and the City, of reading...anything. Turns out reading was another one of those naive delusions.

And just wait until I tell you about the delusions I had about the transition from young marrieds to young parents.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Baldy

Back when I was thinking about what my baby would look like, before I actually had a baby, I imagined the spawn would have blue eyes, very light skin and blonde fuzz if any hair at all. Instead I got a baby with blue eyes, fairly tan skin and fuzzy brown hair. Much much much more hair than I ever thought would live on my newborn baby's head. I was so proud of Norah's hair that it was the second thing I would tell people about her, right behind telling people that she was a girl. I love her fuzzy head, and everytime I give her a bath I put lotion on her head and give her a mohawk simply because I never thought I would have a baby that could have a mohawk.

Now that Norah is becoming more mobile we have a hair disaster upon us. She loves to play on her playmat and is getting really good at grabbing her toys. She will lay there for a long time, pulling her legs up to her belly and rolling back and forth, kicking her legs and squealing. But because of her rapid head movements she has a verifiable bald spot on the back of her head. No no, not just on the back of her head, but also all the way up the side of her head. She has a line of bald from the back of her head to her temples.

Bah!! She looks like she is preparing for monk-hood. Do they make Rogaine for babies?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sometimes it Takes More of a Shove Than a Nudge

On Wednesday night around 10pm Rusty called and told me his car had broken down about 20 miles outside town. He told me he was driving home from work and he felt his car lose power so he coasted into the McDonalds parking lot. His car wouldn't start so he was going to call his dad and see if his dad could come get him since Norah was already asleep in her bed.

And do you know what I did in response? I laughed. Because I am a mean person who delights in the troubles of others.

Well, that and because I have been trying to explain to Rusty that we really need to get a new car because one of these days one of ours, probably mine, is going to break down and leave someone, probably me, stranded. I have been trying to tell him for weeks that it doesn't make sense to put money into a car that we know is only going to last a few more months (if we are lucky), a car that has only one mirror, three working doors, a barely functioning hood and a front bumper that is tied on with rope. I have been trying to explain to him that I do not trust my car and that I would like a newer one, one that does not shake when it hits 60 miles per hour. I even went so far as to explain to him that I am not going to drive my car out of Siloam unless I absolutely have to because I just know that one of these days it is going to break down and leave Norah and me stranded at the McDonalds in Tontitown. But, the man did not listen to me because he is frugal and thrifty, which I do appreciate except when it keeps me from getting a new car or ice cream.

So on Thursday when I drove Rusty to get his car towed and taken to the auto shop he started talking about looking for new cars and I looked at him and said, "I like to think this is God's way of telling you to listen to your wife."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

12 Weeks

Dear Norah,

Your dad and I both have kind of junky cars. My car has such a long list of ailments that trying to list them all would only end in boredom. Suffice it to say, if you knew what kind of car you were riding around in, you would be embarrassed. But don’t worry, by the time you get to the point where you are mortified by your parents we will (hopefully) have newer cars that are not as crappy and that will be one less thing that you will have to cringe about when all your cool friends find out what dorks you live with. On with the point of the story: Your daddy’s car is not as clunky as mine, the most notable being the door handles. The outside handle on the driver’s side is broken and the inside handle on the passenger’s side is also broken. Getting in and out of his car is always a struggle. I used to not be able to get out of the passenger’s side because you have to pull on a metal hook with your finger really hard and it hurts and I don’t like it when things hurt. So I used to make your dad come around the car and let me out. But then one day I opened it by myself. That day just happened to be April 8, 2008, the day after you were born. I’ve had a baby. Now I can do anything.



Recently lots of people around us have been having babies. There have been two babies at church and one at my work. All these people had baby boys and they all appeared around the same time. Seeing those tiny babies with their skinny limbs and sleepy eyes, still curled up in the fetal position has brought back memories of your first days with new freshness. You know Norah, I loved those days with you, the awe and overwhelming love, your precious fragility, how absolutely teeny you seemed to be. But these days, these days of jabbering and smiling, of definite opinions and screams of indignation, these days of swatting toys and almost rolling and newfound strength, these days are great. I used to be sad that you were never going to be a teeny newborn again, but now, after seeing those newborns, I am just so excited to continue experiencing growing up with you. We have a long road ahead of us.



Also of note, seeing you next to those newborns was like seeing a giant watermelon next to a puny squash. You Are Huge! The other day I measured you to see how you were growing, and after mis-measuring your head and freaking out that your brain wasn’t growing correctly and then forgetting to change the age on the calculator and getting back results that said you were some kind of gigantic mutant, I finally got what I was looking for. You are 25 inches long which places you in the 90th percentile for length. You weigh 13 pounds which places you in the 50th percentile for weight and your head is 16 inches around which is also in the 50th percentile. I would like you to pay particular attention to your length. Norah, you are in the 90th percentile for your length. That means you are longer than most babies your age. Where did that come from? This is bizarre because your dad and I have probably never been taller than most people our age, and somehow we created this super long spawn. It must has to be the great-grandpa genes kicking in.



Since we are talking about the family genes, you got to meet lots of family these past two months. You met your G-ma and your Grandpa Al and your Uncle Tristan, who upon learning that postpartum women have a hard time with bladder control made it his goal to make me pee my pants. I blame that on you Norah, the peeing on myself and the wide hips I blame on you. But don’t feel bad, you’re worth it. You’ve already met lots of other aunts and uncles, and hopefully you will meet your Aunt Sara soon. Everyone loves you, just in case you were wondering.



Little girl, you are such a joy. Thank you for bringing such a light into our lives. Thank you for your toothless smiles, for letting me nuzzle your fuzzy head, for splashing me while you take a bath, for kicking me with your little feet, for looking so cute in your bunny slippers and for taking a break from your meals to smile at me. And I’m sorry you have to ride around in ugly cars. Also, please stop outgrowing your clothes before you get to wear them. Thanks.

Monday, July 7, 2008

More Letters

Dear Remington,
Please tell me--How exactly did you manage to get your hair in both the microwave and the dishwasher?
Love,
Mama

Dear Norah,
Today is your 3 month birthday, so I am working on your real letter. But I'm not finished yet. Just wanted to let you know.
Love,
Mama

Friday, July 4, 2008

Evening the Score

In case anyone was wondering, the cats are still alive, though they have suffered a serious demotion.

Remington, if it is possible, has become even more psychotic and Squid is still as snobby as ever. They are both well, and most nights get fed.

Last night I was standing in the kitchen waiting for the water to filter so I could fill up my water bottle and Rusty was standing in the kitchen doing I don't know what. I asked Rusty if he would feed the cats because, you know, I was really busy waiting for the water to filter and he was just...standing. So I said, "Rusty, will you feed the cats for me?" and Rusty gave me a look. A look I know well. A look that says, once again, "Dear Sweet Goodness What Have I Gotten Myself Into?" To his look I responded in exasperation, "Well. I have to feed Norah!"

(Now, since you weren't there I will explain this part to you. Norah was already asleep. I didn't have to feed Norah at that moment, I just meant that in general, I have to feed Norah.)

Then Rusty gave me another look, another look that I know well. A look that says "Woman." in a tone of equal exasperation. And so I fed the cats, while laughing and telling him "Look, you have to admit that was pretty good logic."

And it was, wasn't it?

*Edit* I suppose this story would make more sense if I gave you some key information about the thing with the cat food.

Long long ago, I decided that I wanted a cat, and the only way I could get a cat was if I promised that I would feed it and change the cat litter. I got a cat (Squid) and I kept my promise for a solid...2 days. Everyday since then I have been trying to wheedle my way out of feeding the cats.

Make sense now?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Mama's Friends

Dear BabyBjorn Air,
I love you. Oh how dearly and deeply I love you. I love your stylish gray and white with red piping. I love your light and airy fabric. I love your cute little instruction manual that lives in the little pouch. I love your silly name.
But mostly, I love that you have made it possible for me to carry my baby in the only way she finds acceptable (upright and able to look about) while still having two arms to either: a) play Skeeball, b) eat some cookies, or c) walk around WalMart. And as an added bonus, I look very hip while doing all those things.
Love,
Arms Free Mama

Dear Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in Rhubarb,
Thank you for making my lips so delightfully smooth and rosy with such little effort.
Love,
Pretty Lips Mama

Dear Play Mat and Bouncy Seat,
Thank you for helping me take a shower. You keep Norah entertained long enough so that I can take a shower without having to wait until she falls asleep which, you know, could be never. It is because of you that I am presentable and clean shaven.
Love,
Clean Mama

Dear Ben and Jerry,
Come give us a cuddle.
Love,
Still Trying to Lose the Baby Weight Mama

Dear Aveda,
Why must you make my life so hard? You see, I love your plant derived products. I love the standard of your service. I love your prices. I love that I can get an aromatherapy enhanced scalp massage and a free make-up touch up when I go to your salon. But I do not love that your closest salons are in Bentonville. That, I do not love. Will you please move closer to me?
Love,
Needing a Haircut Mama