Thursday, January 31, 2008


THIS is one of the neatest ideas I've heard of in a while!

You can lend as little as $25 to developing world entrepreneurs. Microloans make a huge impact not just on borrowers, but on their communities! The best part is that you'll get your money back, so you can lend again and again!

Please, check out Kiva's website!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Random MeMe

I thought this was a nice meme:

Tomorrow: is Tuesday. Very uneventful, like most of our days. We'll probably just go to the library.

Feeling: Lethargic, for no apparent reason.

Happy Because: my 20 month old FINALLY says "mama" as of last week. Woo! Hoo!

Today I: will not act cross about my son's latest favorite activity, bonking our heads together to hear me say, "Ouch!" He thinks it is a super fun game. This morning he headbonked me and split my lip. Not. cute. But I will react with loving patience, even though that isn't how I feel!

Laundry: is not my best subject. My husband usually ends up doing most of it, sending me into a shame cycle.

Something I know: Being someone's mommy is the world's greatest job! Family housekeeper? Not so much.

Something I don't know: For whom to vote in the presidential election.

Currently reading: Discipline of a Godly Woman, by Barbara Hughes

Wanting: Another baby. Who comes with a maid.

Favorite gadget: Don't really have one.

Thankful that: My husband is a good egg.

Wondering why: kids like kid food (hot dogs, chicken nuggets, those wretched cheese-flavored crackers)... ick!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New Years Resolutions

Mine are:

1. To get up earlier.

2. To quit Diet Cherry Coke.

3. To exercise six days a week.

4. To be more consistent with my daily "quiet time."

So far, I'm having the most success with numbers two and three.

1. Nicknack hasn't been sleeping well for the past two weeks (ever since he was sick), which has made goal number one less doable. But, hurray! He finally slept through the night again last night. So I have no excuse now. Tomorrow morning, up with the sun. Well, not quite. But up early.

2. You may be wondering why a person would feel the need to stop drinking diet soda. Well, I suppose there is always the caffiene, but that isn't my motive. I've heard/read from more than one source that the body doesn't know what to do with diet soda - it's so artificial it doesn't recognize it well - and treats it like regular sugar soda. So it can have a similar effect on blood sugar/insulin, apparently.

I don't know if this is true, but I have blood sugar issues, so I've decided to quit. But not cold turkey. I've cut back (from four+ a day) to one a day, until the supply in our garage is wiped out. At which point I'm going to give my DCC habit the boot.

3. I've been rocking my treadmill. And I'm working my way through my library of workout DVDs. Yoga Booty Ballet... Windsor Pilates... Cheeracise... I think I have them all. I also DVR workouts that look fun.

4. I have no excuse for not tackling this resolution with more gusto. Must. get. back. on. track!

How about you? Do you set resolutions? If so, what are they?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Dear Seahawks,

Thanks for an awesome season! I'll see six of you at the Pro Bowl and the rest of you next fall.

Your friend,


PS Good luck Green Bay!

Friday, January 11, 2008


Hey, guess what?

Nicknack seems to have forgotten that he knows how to get out of his crib. He's quit escaping, cold turkey. We've set up a sort of landing pad by his crib (using Euro Pillows) just in case. But it looks like we won't have to deal with this issue right this second, so we're doing the happy dance around here.

Also, we remembered (duh!) that N's crib is one of those convertible types, so when the time comes we'll just convert it to a toddler bed and add a bed rail. It's been so long since my mother purchased the crib for us that I'd completely forgotten about that handy dandy feature.

Thank you all for your comments regarding my Pediatrician complaints. I have the name of someone two of my Bible study/small group ladies recommend. So I'm going to call asap to make an appointment to discuss eating/swallowing.

Now on to something really important...



That's the totally orinthologically accurate seahawk-like shriek Penn and I make, which we are teaching Nicknack. He does know to throw his arms up to make the touchdown sign and say "Woo Hoo!" when Mama and Dad jump up and hoot and holler and yell "Touch Down!"

We'll teach him about the other important duties of a football spectator when he's older. Like saying "Plack-e-mei-errrr!" in just this certain school-principle tone of voice, whenever the announcer says his name. And saying "Josh Scobie kicking to Josh Scobie." Because that happened once, three seasons ago. Or chanting, "no flag no flag no flag," when you're hoping the officials won't throw one. And always demanding that the team "go for it!!" on 4th and 1, even when they probably shouldn't. And never ever booing anyone, especially someone on your own team. (I didn't know people actually did that until I attended a home game that we lost.)

Since we have to teach him about good sportsmanship I guess we'll have to stop hexing the other team. This is when we wiggle our spirit fingers in whatever direction the game is being played and say, "hex, hex, hex" during their field goal attempts, etc. I don't mean to brag, but I have a startlingly good record when it comes to hexes AND willing a fumble or interception to happen. In fact, during the Wild Card game against the Redskins I totally called so many things it was freakish. Maybe Coach Holmgren has our living room bugged and I'm some sort of Seahawks secret weapon or something.

So I will be extremely busy tomorrow. And all weekend. Don't you just love the playoffs? It's so neat to be able to watch four games in one weekend and not feel guilty about wasting the weekend in front of the television watching football. You have to, because it's the playoffs!

At least Green Bay is our second-favorite team. It's always nice to play against someone to whom you wouldn't mind losing. Well. Wouldn't mind THAT much.

Good luck to your team, if they are playing this weekend. Unless you are rooting for Green Bay, in which case... Good luck next season, okay?

PS I feel compelled to tell you that we have become very good about muting all the commercials, so that Nicknack (at least for the time being) ignores the ads, which are full of beer and b00bs. At the end of the game Penn always says something like, "Now let's go buy a new truck!" because truck commercials are so prevalent. We aren't sure how to handle this in future. We could just DVR the game and fast forward through the commercials, like we do on the Sundays when the game is scheduled at the same time as church. But that really gets in the way of all our hexing and other forms of assistance that we give our team. It's a real dilemma.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Prison Break

A couple of days ago I put Nicknack down for his nap in his crib. A few minutes later we heard him crying, in the hall. WHAT?!

We checked the crib. The rail was up. The small bookcase next to the crib was undisturbed. There was nothing inside his crib to climb up on.

"I guess he can climb out of his crib! Maybe it was just a fluke?" We couldn't believe it!

Penn stayed to rock N while I made a quick call to my mother.

Several minutes later Penn came out and quietly asked me to hang up. I assumed he wanted my help with Nicknack - maybe he'd thrown up or P needed help giving him a dose of medicine.

But he handed me the cell phone and said in a low voice, "We're checking the house for intruders."

"WHAT?! WHY?!"


With trembling hands I dialed 9-1-1 and had my finger at the ready to press the send button. On both the cordless and cell phone. Just to be doubly ready. Then I followed him down the hall to Nicknack's door.

Penn conducted a thorough search beginning with both of Nicknack's closets, then our bathroom, closet, and bedroom, then the hall bath, guest room, study room, powder room, laundry room, and garage. I never realized how closets we have in this house until we searched each one as my heart pounded.

The whole time I was thinking, "Penn must have heard someone talking or a very distinctive noise. He must have some reason to be very certain someone is in the house." Penn is not the paranoid, anxious type. I am!

I'm always hearing noises and asking "What was THAT!?" I'm scared of the dark. I can't sleep alone. Each night I drill Penn about every access point to our home.

Is the back door locked?


Even the deadbolt?


How about the front door? Did you lock both locks?


Is the alarm set?


Is the alley (garage) door double locked? And Is the lawnmower pushed in front of the door?

Yes and yes.

Did you open any windows today, and, if so, did you close and double bolt them?

The windows are fine, honey.

Sometimes even when he's answered all these questions in the affirmative I still have to check myself.

Penn is is usually very patient and puts up with my tendency to worry. But he never participates. So I was certain that he wouldn't go through all this without some good reason to think it necessary.

Finally, when the house was thoroughly searched and every door and window was checked, I put down the phone. Maybe he'd heard someone in the alley (side yard) between our house and the neighbors.

"There is just NO WAY he got out of that crib all by himself!"

I let out the longest sigh in the world and then started laughing. "Honey, sometimes toddlers figure out how to crawl out of their cribs! It's very common!"

"It IS?"


He says he was just sitting there, rocking Nicknack, when he started looking around the room and thinking about it. How could he have gotten out? Nothing in the room showed any sign of him climbing or falling out. It was then got a horrible sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach and convinced himself that someone had taken Nicknack out of his crib.

I just think it's so funny that my husband, of all people, would have such a silly and illogical thought. Never mind the fact that he almost gave me a heart attack!

As he likes to point out, he's new at this.

And, just in case you are wondering, I have now witnessed our son climb out of his crib several times. So it 100% for certain, was not an afternoon cat burglar who specializes in removing children from their beds, leaving them in their hallways, then hiding.

So now we are stuck with the age-old question. Mattress on the floor or one of those crib tent things?

It took me over two hours to get him down for his nap on his temporary bed today, so I'm considering the tent solution.

What do you think? How did you handle the crib to bed transition? And how old were they? Nicknack is about 19 months.

May I vent?

We're on day five with a poor, sick little guy.

We took him to the Pediatrician yesterday. If we hadn't been able to get him in early in the morning, I was considering a trip to the hospital. He was so lethargic, feverish, and miserable. Leave it to me to overreact. According to the Pediatrician, he just has a cold.

This visit confirmed our conviction that we need to find a new Pediatrician. We've been trying to speak with Nicknack's doctor about what we perceive to be an eating/swallowing issues. As in, he chews up and spits out most food and only swallows a few bites a day, and only things that are mushy. As an infant he went through several months of dysphagia, and we had to give up nursing and thicken expressed milk, and eventually formula. Our Pediatrician pretty much dismissed our concerns with those feeding issues because Nicknack continued to gain weight. Of course, he wasn't in our home, in the middle of the night, as our baby cried from hunger but was unable to eat. It was the most stressful time of our lives and he was absolutely no help.

So we weren't surprised when he dismissed our current concerns about Nicknack's swallowing problem when he started eating textured foods. At his nine month appointment. Twelve month. 18 month. As long as he gained weight from appointment to appointment, there was no need to be concerned, he told us.

Well, yesterday we were shocked when the nurse weighed N and the scale read 24 pounds. At his 18 month appointment six weeks ago he'd weighed more than 26 pounds.

The doctors response? The scale was probably just off. No need to check. He was sure Nicknack was fine. We reminded him about N's eating issues. No problem. Toddlers are very picky. No, he isn't picky. He'll taste anything - broccoli, whatever. He chews and chews and chews and then spits it out. Both church nursery workers have seperately asked us about it because they've noticed he can't swallow the little animal cracker cookies they give out at snack time. He just chews and chews and chews.

Also, he has never learned to drink out of his sippy cup sitting up. He lays on the floor to drink it. Perhaps this has something to do with the gag/swallow issues he had as an infant, with his bottles?

"I'm sure he'll outgrow it. It's probably nothing. There's no reason to worry."

Which really seems to sum up his philosophy of Pediatrics. No matter what concern we share, what symptom he has, what question we ask. "I'm sure it's fine/okay/normal."

And maybe it is. But I would just appreciate a little more concern. Some follow up questions. A sense that these appointments aren't a total waste of time.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Terrible, No Good Day

Yesterday was the first day back in our usual routine. Daddy wasn't home. We weren't visiting anyone. No one was here visiting. Just us two - Nicknack and Mama. We didn't go anywhere or do anything special. It was just a quiet day at home together.

It wasn't pretty. N was SO cranky and whiny all day. Tons of tantrums. He absolutely trashed the house. By the end of the evening it looked like a monkey had supped in the dining room and then done some kind of toy-flinging dance on top of crackers in the living room. Nicknack's new molars meant a clammy, sopping wet chin/neck/pajama top, he had dried apricot smeared in his eyebrows, and he'd removed his PJ bottoms and one sock.

I temporarily forgot that my evening-time mantra about housekeeping is "this is what raising a toddler looks like" and sank down in defeat on the sofa, ready to count down the minutes until bedtime o'clock. My nerves were strained and I succumbed to a "poor me" pity party.

Just then Nicknack ran over and demanded "UP!" He loves sitting on the sofa. Except there isn't actually any sitting involved. Bouncing, yes. Running, yes. Climbing on mommy, yes. That's when the hair pulling started and the evening really went south.

I started with a gentle, but firm "No." No reaction from Nicknack - just more pulling. I tried "No!" He wouldn't let go. "NO." Then "NO!" Then "NICHOLAS LANE, NO!!!!" while pointing a finger at his face. I felt like I was shouting. Did I mention that I am against parental yelling? I don't remember my mother ever hollering at me and I don't want my kids running around yelling at each other or at other people, so I am just not a big advocate of the raised voice. My mother actually did the hushed, low voice when she was displeased with my behavior. However, I haven't found that to be effective with Nicknack.

So, since he was totally ignoring and semi-laughing at my words, I moved my body (and hair) to Penn's easy chair. N followed me, scampered up onto my lap, and yanked on my hair again. It really hurt!!

"Ouch!" I said dramatically, and removed his hand from my hair for the dozenth time. I was getting really annoyed. He was smiling and enjoying himself.

I tried taking him to his room. As soon as he came out he was laser-focused on getting hold of my hair. I tried pushing his hand away. I tried squeezing his hand. I tried slapping his hand. (Don't worry, not very hard.) I even tried tugging on his hair, to show him that what he was doing hurt, so he should stop. None of these tactics had any effect whatsoever and left me feeling like the worst mother in the world. I really wasn't using these techniques because I was angry - I was just trying to communicate that I wanted him to stop!

This went on an on, me getting more and more frustrated and using a more and more stern tone of voice (in an attempt to "discipline"), N getting wilder and goofier by the minute. Until finally bedtime arrived and I put him to bed.

Instead of going quietly into his crib or crying for, at most, a minute or two, like usual - he cried off an on for half an hour. He wouldn't be comforted by hugs, a song, a prayer, juice or anything that usually calms him. He seemed overtired and overstimulated and everything I tried to do to help just wound him up all the more. So I finally let him work it out on his own until he settled down and fell asleep.

As soon as the house was silent I started feeling like I'd really blown it. Say if the neighbors could see into our windows, or if someone had bugged the house... would they think I was being overly harsh?

When Penn came home I told him all about the events of the evening and how badly I felt. Like an ogre who'd spent half the evening (or at least a half hour of the evening) becoming increasingly "mean" in an attempt to win a battle of wills with a 19 month old. Penn, who always takes my side said, "What are you supposed to do, start wearing a swimming cap around the house all the time?" That mental image cheered me somewhat.

We spent most of the evening talking about our discipline goals/philosopy and doing internet research. We found a really good website called Ask Moxie where parents write in with questions and this woman does her best to give advice. And it is really good advice! Some of the best information is from the comments that her readers contribute to the discussion. She isn't a Pediatrician or Child Psychologist, but the philosophies and ideas that she and others shared on the website were really the most helpful thing we found. Things that they tried with their children, that worked. We got some new strategies for eating issues, potty training (which we are just now starting), and discipline. We also ordered a few books, based on recommendation from the site and Amazon's description/reviews. Parental Effectiveness Training, Playful Parenting, and Between Parent and Child. Also The Toddler's Busy Book.

I now realize that I handled the hair pulling exactly wrong. He was coming over to me for attention. And he found a behavior that definitely got my attention! What fun! The more excited I got about it the more I encouraged the behavior. I should have said "no, we don't pull hair..." then made the behavior that caused the "no" result in as little attention as possible. Mommy goes to the kitchen when her hair is pulled. She speaks in a flat, monotone voice. She doesn't make a lot of eye contact. She is very calm and dull and boring. Yawn. Then when she notices Nicknack doing something positive (playing independently, sitting like a normal person on sofa, whatever), she gets interested/interesting again. An excited voice, praise, eye contact, down on his level, etc.

And I should have thought less about what I wanted (peace and quiet... and a housekeeper) and more about what was motivating his behavior. He could have been acting up all day because his teeth hurt (those darn molars), or because he was going through Daddy withdrawal, or because he was missing all the extra fun and attention from family members and the holidays, or because he was bored being cooped up in the house all day. Or, you know, because he is 19 months old? So he probably needed a little more interaction/attention/stimulation from me - an activity or an outing somewhere. (Hence the purchase of the Toddler's Busy Book.)

By bedtime I was full of hope and determination and excited about starting over, fresh, this morning.

Meanwhile, Nicknack was up off and on all night and ended up in bed with us, which is fairly rare. We love having him with us, but he is so disruptive. He manages to push me off the king-sized bed (how is that possible when he weighs 27 pounds and I weigh... substantially more?) and kicks Pen continuously throughout the night. And, honestly, he seems to prefer sleeping in his own crib. But not last night - he wanted to be with us. Nothing else would do. Which is very out of the ordinary. I could be overanalyzing, but I honestly think that he is isn't used to "conflict" and he was probably worked up because mommy was agitated at him. And right before bedtime. I truly wasn't angry, more like annoyed - but I'm sure my behavior probably SEEMED like I was mad. The "Stop It!" and the finger wagging, and the hand swat.

So last night, every time he woke me up in the night I was so glad to have him there with us. It was a chance to cuddle with him and I felt like all the nighttime family bonding helped him feel more secure after the upsetting evening we'd shared.

And today has been so much better! Not only is he in a generally better mood, but when he made a passing attempt to grab my hair today I handled it well. It didn't magically cure the behavior or anything, but it was just like, no, we aren't doing that, no big deal, let's move on. And I made more of an effort to stop what I was doing and play with him today. Whereas usually I give him things for HIM to play with and then go on about my own activities.

So I dropped the ball yesterday. I temporarily lost sight of my parenting goals because I was too focused on myself. Big shock. But now I have a renewed sense of purpose and am feeling very optimistic about what we three can accomplish during these precious and precarious toddler years.

Which is good because we are both so ready for another baby and I've always felt that if I can't handle one child I shouldn't have another!