Yard Sales and Other Deadly Sins

There's a church with a reader-board sign across the street from the entrance to my neighborhood. The church likes to put little witty and thoughtful sayings on it, and I like to read them as I'm pulling out of my neighborhood. That is until the other day, when they put this one up:

"He who thinks he is without fault has another yard sale".

And I was like, "Hmmmm. I'm not sure I get that one. Are yard sales spiritual no-nos? Yard sales are of the devil? Or do they mean that people who have yard sales have faults? Is yard sale metaphorical? Do they mean that the junk cluttering up our lives is a fault? Or that trying to sell your junk to other people is a fault? I was just telling Tony the other day that we needed to get rid of some of our miscellaneous flotsam, but I'M CERTAINLY NOT GOING TO HAVE A YARD SALE NOW!"

Anyway, this sign bothered me for days. DAYS! And maybe you're all smarter than me and you've already figured it out, but I was completely clueless until Tony called me on his way back to work today.

Tony: You know that church sign that's been bothering you?
Me: You mean the yard sale one? Why? Did you figure out what it means?
Tony: Yeah. It needs a period.
Me: A period is a fault or a period is a yard sale?
Tony: No. The sign reads "He who thinks he is without fault has another fault, as in his fault is that he thinks he has no faults. Then a period. End of sentence. New sentence: Yard sale. As in, the church is having a yard sale.


Well yes, I suppose that makes sense.

Maybe the yard sale is to raise money to buy some punctuation.


ZB gets a "Jeep" walker for racing around in the kitchen. General mayhem ensues. Luckily, I caught it on video:

An Egg-cellent Question

I have a conundrum for you, Internets.

See, the Noble House of Quirk was officially out of food and diapers and shampoo and dishwasher soap and diapers and cat litter and diapers, so the ZB and I made a trek out to the local Walmart to procure these much needed items. (I know all two of you are out there going, "So you went grocery shopping. What's the problem?" but I'm not to the sticky part yet, so just hold on. This here's what we like to call "setting the scene"). Anyway. We shopped, and shopped, and shopped, and finally, once our hunting and gathering was complete, made our way up to the checkout lines.

(Sidenote: Why is it that whenever I enter a Walmart, the cashiers are all waiting hopefully at the front of their conveyor belts for some happy shopper to come along, but by the time I finish my shopping, all the lines are 12 people deep with two overflowing carts apiece? Doesn't matter if I'm in there 30 seconds or 3 hours. As soon as I point my cart towards the checkout, the floodgates open and these people materialize out of nowhere. How does that happen? Can anyone tell me?)

By the way, that's not the conundrum either. That's just an example of my inability to stay on topic. The conundrum came when I got home and started unloading the groceries and discovered I had a pack of hotdog buns and 18 eggs.

This is alarming because I did not purchase hotdog buns or eggs.

As near as I can figure it, the woman in line ahead of me purchased the buns and eggs and left them in the little spinning baggie thing. And when I checked out after her, the stuff got all intermingled and I grabbed the bag thinking it was mine. So now the question is, Internets, what do I do with them?

My first reaction was to take them back to Walmart and explain what happened. I mean, obviously anyone who buys 18 eggs at one time really likes them. But would the woman come back to the store for them? Do you drive back to walmart over a missing bag of eggs and hotdog buns, or do you just write them off as a loss?

Also, Tony pointed out that because they were food items and had left the store, Walmart might not give them back even if the woman did come asking for them. They would probably just throw them away in case I poisoned them or whatever. (Not that I would ever do that, but Tony is in food safety, so he thinks about these kinds of things. And I have to admit that if the shoe was on the other foot, I might be hesitant to eat something that had gone joyriding for several unsupervised hours with a stranger).

But on the other hand, this is this woman's food. They are her groceries. She bought them for a reason. Keeping them would be taking food that she rightly paid for out of her and her family's mouth. Maybe they NEED those eggs. Groceries aren't cheap, you know.

So this is my quandary. I don't want the food to be wasted, but at the same time I don't want to keep food that is not mine. And yes, we would use it, but we don't need it, and she might. So what's the call here Internets? Take the food back to the store and hope she returns for it, or keep the food and eat lots of omelets and hotdogs in the future? My gut is saying return it, but I just don't know if that is practical. Anyone ever been in a similar situation? What did you do?

Interview With A Baby

It's been six months since ZB made her world debut, and so far she's been taking it by storm! We here at Quirky is a Compliment managed to snag an exclusive interview with everyone's favorite baby to see how the last few months have been for her, and what she's up to now:

Good to have you here, ZB.

Thanks. It's good to be here!

Let's start with an easy question. I understand you've just started solid foods. Do you have a favorite?

Well, I'm still pretty new to this whole solid foods thing, but I'd have to say Pureed Sweet Potatoes, followed by Green Beans, followed by Carrots. Although rumor has it that there is fruit on the horizon though, so I'm keeping my options open.

How about a least favorite?

I have to go with oatmeal on this one. I mean, I eat it and all, but it's pretty plain. If I'm going to have it, I like to have it mixed with sweet potatoes or something.

What's the hardest thing you've done so far?

Oh man! Right now, I'd say getting this crawling thing going! You have no idea the arm-leg coordination that is involved! Move this arm! Scoot this leg! Hold your tummy off the floor! Maintain balance! It's exhausting! I've only managed a step or two so far, but the rewards are totally worth it. As soon as I get going, the freedom is going to be unbelievable!

Any freedom in particular?

Let's just say that there are some kitty cats that better watch out! (Laughs) I'm just kidding. Cats, if you're reading this, I love you guys!

Other than crawling, what other projects have you been working on lately?

Jumping! I just discovered jumping a few weeks ago, and now I make it a point to try to jump on anything. I also like kicking things. These new-fangled feet things are amazing! The other day I shredded a magazine just by gripping the paper with my toes and pulling!

Is that how you spend the majority of your day? Ripping magazines?

Oh no. The magazine thing is just a special treat. Most of my day is spent eating, or napping, or playing with my toys. I tend to rotate between my doorway jumper and my exersaucer. Or my rocket car walker. Or my jungle mat. It just depends on what kind of mood I'm in.

What's it like being so famous?

Well it was a little overwhelming at first, but I'm used to it. My fans are great. They'll like, come up to me in grocery stores and whatever and be like, "You are so adorable!" and I just give 'em a big smile.

Some babies struggle with that kind of notoriety. You seem to do really well with it.

Yeah well, I owe it all to my managers. Mommy, Daddy, Granny, Grandpa...they put a lot of work into keeping me on schedule and looking my best. (Laughs) It isn't always easy, you know! I don't go anywhere without one of them. Plus all my gear. I have a whole diaper bag that has just about everything I need for any situation.

I understand that you've recently been diagnosed with a painful medical condition. Can you talk about that?

Yeah. I've got this thing called "teething" going on now. It's a condition where teeth erupt through the flesh in your mouth. It's totally harsh. But I'm getting help for it. I'm doing physical therapy with teething rings, and I'm on a low dose of Baby Oragel for when it gets really bad. Other than that, all you can do is just take it one day at a time, man. Just one day at a time.

Words to live by. So what's next for America's favorite baby?

All kinds of exciting things! I'm starting my sippy cup work this week, and wearing shoes, and like I mentioned earlier, we're going to introduce fruits to my diet in a couple of weeks. Your readers should stay tuned to find out how all of that goes!

I'm sure they will! Anything else you want to add before we wrap this up?

Yeah, I just wanna do a quick shout-out to my homebabies in the gym nursery. You guys rock!

It was good talking to you, ZB.

Anytime! It was fun!

There you have it readers. An exclusive interview with up-and-comer Baby ZB. If you have any questions for ZB, you can leave them in the comment section below and she has promised to answer them next time.

Cell Phone Mafia

I think my phone company is messing with me.

See, my cell phone is almost a year and a half old (and no, it is not a smart phone, because I am the only person left on the planet without a smart phone. I had the opportunity to get one, but at the time I was picking out my new cell phone, I was all like, "Nah, apps are just a passing fad. That whole iphone thing WILL NEVER CATCH ON". So I picked out a regular phone, and somewhere Steve Jobs smirked.) Anyway, my phone is still okay, despite being of the non-app variety. It does the calling and the texting just fine, and it holds my music, and it has a camera that I absolutely never bother to use, so it meets my needs.

Anywho. For a year and a half I've had my phone, which means that for a year and half I've been paying the $8/month "insurance" in case anything ever happens to said phone. (I'm rough on my phones. They get beat up, they fall down stairs, and after losing the last one by dropping it in the toilet, I said that as God as my witness, I will never be without phone insurance again! *Please insert dramatic fist shaking here*). But Tony does not feel this way. Tony thinks paying the $8 is silly. According to him, nothing has happened to the phone in the last year and a half, so obviously it isn't defective.

So he cancelled the insurance.

And two weeks later, my phone broke.

I figure that somewhere, buried deep in the basement bunker of the Sprint home office, sits a guy with a list of all the people who cancel their phone insurance. And as soon as he sees your name on the list, he goes over to the big red button labeled "self-destruct" and types in your phone number. Then he punches that bad boy and viola! Suddenly your phone goes dead 100 miles away.

So ZB and I headed into the Sprint store, which surprise surprise, was FULL of people who had something wonky going on with their phones. (Basement bunker guy must be having a banner month). So we're all hanging around, waiting for our phones to get diagnosed. (And PS? Babies generally do not care for just sitting around in a phone store. Especially when they aren't allowed to touch/slobber on/eat any of the display phones).

Finally, after an hour, it's my turn to talk to the phone repair guy, whom I have secretly nicknamed the great and powerful Oz. I describe the symptoms, Oz takes the phone apart, fiddles with it, and announces that not only is my phone super-duper broken, but it has broken in such a way that Oz has never seen anything like it before. Oz decrees that I need a new phone. Thank you bunker guy.

Sadly, without insurance, the diagnostic is $38 and the new phone is $300. With insurance, it all would have been free. And you say that your husband only cancelled it two weeks ago? Gee. So sad for you.

But wait! Says Oz. It just so happens that during the month of September, they are running a special where they will let me sign up for insurance for the low low price of...$8 a month! And if I sign up for this insurance again, I will get a new phone for free! And the diagnostic for free! And the honor of meeting the great and powerful Oz for free! (Well, not free free. $8 a month free). And I was like, "Wait. You'll let me re-sign up for my insurance, and replace my phone for free, and we'll all pretend this ugly lapse in insurance judgement never happened?" And Oz said, "yup". And I was like, "Sold!"

So now the $8 is back on my bill. And a new phone has been ordered (they don't carry them in stock because, hello, ancient year and a half old non-smart phone here). And they'll call me in one or two business days when the phone arrives.

But here's the funny thing. 24 hours after they re-signed me up for the insurance plan? My old phone, the one that Oz was like, "Whoa! You broke the crap outta this thing! It's toast!" just mysteriously came back to life. Totally fine. Almost like my name appeared on the "has insurance" list again, and the guy in the Sprint bunker took his finger off the destroy button. Coincidence? I think not.

So I think there's a conspiracy going on with the cell phone people. They're like the mafia offering "protection plans". Get the plan and nothing happens to your phone. Quit paying for the plan and all of a sudden your phone is mysteriously fire-bombed in a middle of the night drive-by. Oz isn't Oz...he's Don Corleone.

And he made me an offer I couldn't refuse.

The Case of the Kitty Cat Karma

So I was feeding ZB some pureed green beans and oatmeal today for her lunch. (I know, I know, you wouldn't think that oatmeal would go well mixed with green beans, but she seems to like it, so who am to judge?) Anyway, as you can probably guess, green beans and oatmeal is a very messy experience. It was on her face, and her bib, and her hands, and up her nose, and possibly some in her ears too. Plus I was the one holding the spoon, so I was up to my wrists in it, with a spot in my hair for good measure. (What can I say? Lunch is a full contact sport for us). So we were eating, and dribbling, and generally enjoying the way green oatmeal squishes between our fingers when Mason jumped up on the table so see what all the fuss was about.

Now, Mason knows that cats are not allowed up on the table. Not anytime, but ESPECIALLY not when we're eating. He knows this. But he also knows that when I have my hands full of green beans and oatmeal and a baby who is convinced that she should be the one to hold/fling the spoon, he can get away with being on the table, because I can't spare a hand to toss him off. So Mason wandered over to investigate the intriguing culinary delight that is green bean flavored oatmeal.

And I did what every good Mom does whose hands are covered in green oatmeal- I yelled, I made shooing gestures, I blew in his face. No avail. Mason knew I wouldn't touch him and risk getting oatmeal on him and cat hair all over my hands. And if you've ever seen a cat smirk, imagine it happening here. You could practical hear him going "Neener neener neener!" in his little cat voice as he danced out of the reach of my nudging elbow.

But what he didn't count on was ZB. ZB who delights in seeing the kitty so close. ZB who has no reserves about grabbing a handful of fur. ZB who had also used my momentary distraction with Mason to grab a handful of oatmeal mixture out of the bowl when I wasn't looking.

She got him just behind the right ear. Big gloopy glob of green oatmeal, straight to the back of the head. (Perhaps this was his plan all along? A little sharing of the oatmeal with the kitty cat? Do cats even like green beans and oatmeal?) Regardless of whether this was his plan, he got some, although in the one spot that he would have trouble licking it off.

I called an official end to lunch time and literally washed my hands of the whole thing. I extracted Mason from the tiny baby fingers that had a death grip in his fur, got the largest blob of oatmeal off of him, and tossed him unceremoniously off of the table. Then I wiped green bean/oatmeal/cat fur off of ZB's hands, and face, and ears.

And in case you don't believe in karma for getting up on the table when you aren't supposed to, know that as I type, Mason's normally white fur on the back of his head is currently arranged in stiff, bright green spikes, (can we say punk rocker cat?) and the rest of the cats are chasing him around, trying to lick the dried oatmeal off that he himself cannot get to.

So, moral of the story: Stay off of where you are not supposed to be, get down when someone tries to shoo you away, and beware the baby with the green oatmeal hands.

Otherwise the Kitty Karma will get you, and tonight is pureed sweet potato night.

You've been warned.

Confessions of the Vain and Lazy

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I'm lazy. And vain. Lazily vain. I want to look pretty (who doesn't?), but I don't want to put any effort into it (who does?) . Usually this just takes the form of me wearing jeans so I don't have to shave my legs as often, or only wearing clear nail polish so it's harder to tell when it chips, but every now and then I come across a treatment that truly takes my quest for lazy vanity to a new dimension.

Enter: The Keratin hair treatment.

Are you aware of this, Internets? Have you heard of magic that is Keratin? Because I had a treatment done last Friday, and IT WORKS! By Jove, it really works!

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, Keratin treatments take the curly frizzy out-of-control hair and transform it into the straight, sleek, smooth-as-glass hair. I'm not exactly sure how this happens other than the stylist paints some goop (technical term) onto your hair with a paintbrush and then blows it dry and flat irons it. And the keratin proteins surround your hair shaft (shafts?) and bond to it or something and then blah, blah, blah you have beautiful straight smooth hair for the next three to six months. (If you want to know more than that, google it. I admit I wasn't really paying attention when the stylist explained how it worked. Instead, I was stroking a lock of my now straight hair and humming the I feel Pretty song from West side story).

I'd heard rumors about keratin treatments before, of course. Anyone who has frizz-prone hair and lives in a high humidity state like mine keeps an ear out for the latest in frizz-fighting technology. But when I read about it, it was still a new process and expensive out the wazoo, so I filed that particular dream under "things to do when I win the lottery and need to look nice for my date with Orlando Bloom".

And then I forgot about it.

But then! Then, dear Internets, the gods of good hair took pity on my frizzy tortured soul because all of a sudden Living Social had a half off deal for keratin at one of the local salons. And I had some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket, and what's birthday money for if not to spend it on yourself in the never-ending quest for smooth shiny hair? Right?

So right!

The entire process was deceptively simple. (I admit I was a little worried because when the keratin stuff first came out, it was all full of formaldehyde and other such fun stuff. So much so that the salons would make you wear a mask while putting it on. Yikes!) Luckily, they've come a long way since then, and now the stuff is more natural and less toxic and involved nothing more than a shampooing, then painting some white lotiony goop that smelled like vanilla onto my hair, then blow drying and ironing to a glossy smooth sheen. Easy peasy.

Okay, maybe not that easy. It is true that I wasn't allowed to wash it or get it wet or pull it back in a pony tail or even put it behind my ears for the next 48 hours while the proteins set up (or whatever it is that they do up there), and I had to get some special keratin shampoo and conditioner that doesn't contain sulfates or sodium chloride, but hey, for smooth, straight, frizz-free hair? I'll do it.

(Actually, I don't really care about the straightness. I mean, it's fine and all, but I don't mind my curls. What I want is to kill the frizzies. Kill them dead! Dead I say! I just want the smooth hair, and the salon stylist assured me that that is exactly what I would get..."Victoria Secret hair" I think she called it).

Oh Internets, you'd be amazed how easy it is to brush through smooth hair. No snags, no curls wrapping around themselves, no frizzies standing at attention, no small forest animals or writing utensils or graphing calculators getting lost in your hair. I feel like Marsha Brady, brushing through my smooth shiny hair and going 297, 298, 299...

And it only serves to confirm what I've long suspected: People with straight hair do have it easier, and when they all say things like, "Oh I wish I had curly hair!" they are liars liars pants on fire! It is all an elaborate ploy to keep the smooth straight hair to themselves. Well I am on to you, sneaky straight haired people, and now due to a little keratin help, my hair is smooth and fabulous too thankyouverymuch.

People of the frizzy hair! You do not have to live in hair purgatory any longer! Put down your hot iron and your smoothing cream! Do away with the confining pony tails! We may not have been born with the beautiful smooth hair that others have long since enjoyed, but what nature has denied us, keratin proteins have supplied us! Shout Hallelujah, for it is a proud day for all of us fighting the war against frizz 'fro head!

And long live the vain and lazy!

ZB Uses a Spoon

From the producers who brought you "ZB's First Cereal" comes the amazing new video, "ZB uses a spoon". Watch as ZB wages a war against oatmeal with a spoon that cannot be trusted and a heart made of gold. Critics give it 4 stars. "Amazing!" says Daddy. "Two thumbs up!" raves Mommy, "ZB's oatmeal performance is some of her best work yet!" This is the finest spoon work you will see all year! Opens everywhere today. This film has not yet been rated.

Now playing at a blog near you.

Often Imitated, Never Duplicated

Hola Internets! I'm baaaaaaaaaack!

I'm sure that for the last month you've noticed the gaping hole in your life that is Quirky is a Compliment. And no doubt you have spent the last bit of summer gripped in the deepest depths of despair because of it, right? Of course. Mea Culpa. I took the month of August off from blogging to work and play and have grand adventures with my little family. And instead of trying to blog it all, I just concentrated on being "in the now" as they say.

And I know that some of the more excitable among you might have been worried that I would never come back, but rest assured that that is not the case. At the risk of damaging my imaginary street cred with outdated MC Hammer references, I am too legit, too legit to quit.

Hey. Hey.

Speaking of legit, apparently someone else has started a Quirky is a Compliment blog on blogger. (I KNOW! THE HUMANITY!) There is exactly one post on it, and the person calls themselves Quirky, which we all know is just wrong! wrong! wrong! because I am the original Quirkster, and it is MY compliment. Now, I'm sure that it was a total case of great minds thinking alike coincidence and not deliberate, and I'm just pointing this out not so that you will flame that poser with burning poop in a bag, but so that you may be on your guard against possible confusion.

Another reason why bookmarks are your friends.

So to recap: I'm back, I missed you guys, and be sure to insist on the original Quirky is a Compliment. We'll get back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

The Laughing Game

Well, it's official. ZB is her Daddy's girl. Sure, Mommy may feed and bathe and diaper and dress her every day, but Daddy is the one she can't wait to see. He only has to walk into the room and her face lights up with the biggest smile. In fact, they have their own little game that they play every day as soon as he gets home from work. It's called the Laughing Game. The rules are simple: Face each other and laugh. He'll laugh (somewhat evilly in my opinion) then she'll laugh (like an angel) and then he'll laugh and then she'll laugh and on and on and on until the Mommy comes downstairs to find the both of them in the living room, laughing like loons. (Sure, sometimes Mommy tries to join in and laugh too, but nobody ever laughs at Mommy's laugh. It's a Daddy's world, I tell ya).

Anyway, I've tried several times to capture the Laughing Game on camera but ZB has a sixth sense about these things. As soon as the camera comes out, the laughing stops. But this time! This time the Mommy got sneaky! This time she hid the camera behind the couch cushion in advance and waited for the unsuspecting Daddy and ZB to start the game. Sadly, you don't get to see any of Daddy's crazy faces that he makes while he laughs, but you do get to see ZB's, and what sweeter sight is there in the world than a baby laughing?

And so, for the first time ever caught on camera, I present to you: Daddy and ZB's Laughing Game. (Mommies not included).

Click here to view this video

8/2/11 Bob Seester the Builder

So the Seester and Stubby are up to something cool - in November they are going to Chitwan, Nepal to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity's Global Village to build houses for families that desperately need them. The people of Chitwan are especially poor, and due in large part to a decade-long rebel insurgency, many were chased out of their homes and now live in crowded, substandard houses - some of which are little more than lean-tos.

With the insurgency finally over, Habitat is working to provide safe, simple and decent housing for the people of this community, each of whom have demonstrated a commitment to paying it forward by contributing "sweat equity" to building their neighbors' houses before qualifying for their own.

It costs about $1500 to send someone overseas for these kind of projects, so Seester and Stubby have made it a goal to raise $3000 to pay for the cost of their trip to keep Habitat's good work going. Check out their webpage here , and if you are able, please consider making an online donation while there. All donations are 100% tax deductible, and go to a great cause. So like I said, check it out, because any donation, big or small, will help. (Go on now, click that little blue link). I thank you, the Seester thanks you, Habitat for Humanity thanks you, and some well-deserving families in Nepal thank you.

That's a lot of warm fuzzies, don't you think?

Surfing on Brain Waves in the Baby Pool

It's official! ZB has brain waves! This is the EEG cap that she wore today during a psych research experiment at the University of Tennessee's Neuroscience Lab. We were asked to be part of an experiment to study infant recognition, and I thought, Why not? It isn't every day you get to have your brain waves measured. (Well, we don't anyway...I can't really speak for what goes on at your crazy cocktail parties).

Anyway, they put the cap on ZB and showed her a video clip of a woman talking. Then they showed the same clip over and over and over. When she would get bored or distracted and look away, they'd cut to clips of Sesame street until she looked back at the screen, then go back to the clip of the woman. (I'm not sure what ZB's brain waves were doing during all of this, but after listening to the same 3 second clip of the woman for the 1000th time, my brain waves shut down completely). I was actually giddy with relief whenever ZB would turn her head and trigger a clip of Ernie singing "Rubber Ducky, you're the one".

Honestly, I think ZB was most interested in the tiny cape (think the ones that salons put on you for hair cuts) that they made her wear so that she wouldn't reach up and mess with the sensor wires. Woman on the screen? Pah. Dancing puppets? Eh. Momma bleeding from the ears after listening to the same clip over and over again? Nada. But a little black cape that covers her arms? Baby jackpot!

So that was our fun outing for the day. We made some grad students happy, and ZB got to play with a cape. And I got this hysterical picture:
More ammunition to mortify her with when she decides to start dating...

Think Twice Before Coming Between A Woman and Her Doctor

I'm sure by now you've heard about the thing Netflix is doing with the whole charging for DVDs and streaming separately? You used to be able to get the DVDs and streaming together for one low price, but as of September 1st, Netflix is charging for each service separately. Well, Tony and I were talking about it when we heard the news, and after tsk-tsking at the extreme selfishness of Netflix, Tony was like, "Well we don't use both DVDs and streaming enough to warrant paying for both of them. It's obvious which one we should keep". And I was all, "Exactly. The streaming". Only at the exact same time I said streaming, he said "The DVDs". And then we both stared at each other in horror.

Here's the thing. Tony likes to watch movies. He has an entire queue set up with movies that he wants to watch. I however, like the streaming. I rarely have time to watch an entire movie what with the baby needing near-constant attention, so I use the streaming to watch tv shows like Dr. Who and Numbers and Firefly and Wings (and yes, MacGyver). And in the event that I do find myself with 2 hours of free time, I need a movie right that second, not three days from now. So I want the streaming. Only he pointed out that the new movies almost never go to can only get them on DVD. And then I pointed out that if he really wanted a movie, he could get it at redbox for $1, but where was I supposed to find the past 50 years of Dr. Who? And he said that I could probably find them online somewhere, and then I pointed out that if I did that, I'd have to watch them in Chinese with translations, and not to mention the computer viruses that those sites hit you with, and by the way he only watches 4 or 5 movies a month anyway, so it'd be a much better value just to get the streaming. And he was like, "why should I pay for each movie at Redbox when I can get unlimited number of movies for roughly the same price? And besides, Doctor Who is dumb". And then I was like, "OH NO YOU DIDN'T!! NOBODY BASHES DOCTOR WHO!" And, well, let's just say the conversation deteriorated from there.

So we're at kind of a stale-mate at the moment. We're both frantically trying to get through as many of our shows/movies as possible before the September 1st deadline. And yes, we could just pay the extra $8 a month or whatever and keep both, but that's just letting Netflix win.

Anybody else trying to decide what to do about Netflix? Do you have any suggestions? Be sure to leave a comment if you agree with me. If not, then please take a moment to re-examine your motives and ask yourself why it is exactly that you hate good programming, you anti-Whoite.


In other news, our garbage disposal is broken. Apparently, one of ZB's baby washcloths fell down the disposal and got shredded into tiny pieces, which then fatally wrapped themselves around the blades and the whole thing went kaput. (Who knew baby washcloths were so dangerous? They are the kryptonite of disposals). And since I'm the one who regularly "fixes" the disposal (read: knows where the reset button is located), Tony has decided I'm in charge of finding a new one. So here I am last night, doing an internet search on the benefits of In-sink-erator vs Kenmore vs Waste King when I come across this late-breaking news story about the woman who cut of her husband's, er, man-part and dropped it down the disposal. I'm reading the article out loud to Tony when I suddenly get the giggles. I don't know why. Surely such a crime is no laughing matter, but I just can't help it. It's like laughing at a funeral. You know you shouldn't but you just can't seem to stop. (And in my defense, the victim did refuse to comment, siting that the whole thing was a "private" matter. I mean, c'mon!) Anyway, I'm laughing, and Tony is looking rather disturbed and telling me that such things are not funny, which only makes me laugh harder. Long story short, my husband now thinks I am a crazy woman who thinks that dropping man-parts down the garbage disposal is hilarious.

But on the bright side, I don't think he'll be trying to take away my Dr. Who any time soon.

Four Months and the Living is Easy...Except for Maybe Rice Cereal

Look who is 4 months old now! She babbles! She sits with support! She smiles and laughs at everyone! And she's gorgeous.

Plus we've just started rice cereal, and consider ZB's MIND ABSOLUTELY BLOWN. We weren't sure how to feel about semi-solid foods at first, but I think that by the end of it she was getting the hang of things:

7/14/11 Update about the rice cereal: Apparently it is EVIL! Sure, it seems innocent enough going in, cute even, but it is far from cute on the way out! I just changed ZB's diaper, and let's just say the rice cereal was not kind! Not at all! She didn't seem bothered by it, but my eyes watered and all my nose hair fell out and paint started peeling off of the walls. (Somewhere in the back of my mind, I seem to recall that people mentioned that solid foods would summon the stinky poos, but OH MY WORD! This is not just a stinky poo! This needs to come with a warning label! This causes cancer in California! )

To recap: Rice is not obviously ZB's friend. Solid food is highly overrated. And my new plan is to keep her on breast milk until she is potty trained and able to take care of such things on her own. Sweet Mercy!

The Crib

It's a milestone event tonight. ZB doesn't know it yet, but she is officially moving out of the cradle next to our bed and into her crib in her own room.

It is long overdue, too. Other moms on the BabyCenter board that I follow started transferring to cribs at about two months, but I told myself that she was waaaay too young to be all the way across the hall. She felt secure having us so close, and besides, I liked to wake up throughout the night to check on her.

I probably should have moved her at three months when she started getting too big for the cradle. She likes to flail around when she sleeps, and she was banging her little arms against the sides. So I should have moved her then, but she was still waking up several times a night to eat, and it's just so much easier to pick her up and put her in the big bed next to me to nurse than to get up and go across the hall to her room.

I should have moved her when she cut out most of her night feedings and started sleeping in 6 or 8 hour stretches a few weeks ago. There was no reason for her to still be crammed in that little tiny cradle, and it wasn't like she needed me to be right there. But we were going to Chicago for the 4th of July weekend, and I told myself that it would confuse her to move her to the crib and then take her to a strange bed in Chicago and then come back to try the crib thing again. It wouldn't hurt to wait until after the 4th, right?

And so then we came back from Chicago and I stuffed her back in her little shoebox cradle next to the bed, and curled up to watch her and just listen to her breathe, like I do every night. Only this time, she was like, "Look Mom. We need to talk about this cradle thing. I'm a big girl now, and I need a big girl crib in my own room. I've been patient while you adjust to the idea of me sleeping across the hall instead of a foot and a half away, but enough is enough. Besides...Dad snores like a chainsaw". And to make sure that I got the point, she proceeded to keep me up all night with her kicking and flailing.

So here we are. Earlier today I moved her white noise machine and oscillating fan and movement monitor into her nursery. Then I put her mattress pad protector and fresh sheets in the crib. I moved her cradle from next to my side of the bed to the corner so that we could put it in the attic later.

Then I cried.

It's silly, I know. It isn't like she's moving across the country or leaving for college or anything. She's 15 feet away for Pete's sake. But still. 15 feet seems really really big when you're only 23 inches long. (Or to be honest, when you're 5' 8" and your heart is only 23" long and 15' away). But I kept telling myself that she NEEDED this, and she's sleep better with the quiet and the extra room and I was not so selfish as to deny my child something she needed just so I could lay in my bed and watch her little chest rise and fall while she slept. Putting it like that made me feel better.


So here she is, drinking her evening bottle and getting drowsy. She's falling asleep in Tony's arms while he feeds her, and now he's carrying her up to her room and putting her in the crib. He's turning on the monitor and the white noise, giving her a kiss and turning off the light.

Here I am standing at the door of her room, straining to see her little form sleeping peacefully in the darkness. Listening to the sound of her tiny baby snores though the monitor instead of in person, and watching the little green light blink on the motion monitor that registers her breathing (I deliberately placed the monitor so that I can see that green light blink while I lie in my bed...that little green light is my sanity, and the reason that I'm not in there sleeping on the floor with one hand wedged through the crib bars right now).

And here she is at 6am, safely through the night and wanting her breakfast. I went to get her and she smiled when she saw me, no feelings of abandonment or isolation like I had imagined. No years of therapy needed for either of us. She had some milk and even though I wanted to snuggle with her in our bed, I took her back to the crib when she fell asleep again. Might as well equate sleeping time with crib time. We'll both appreciate that in the long run. (I did, however, get my snuggle time at 8am when she woke up for the day. It was a celebratory snuggle because all three of us had a good night's sleep for once).

So here we are...a big girl who sleeps in her big girl crib, a mommy who learned to let go just a teeny little bit, and a Daddy who still snores like a chainsaw, but with only half an audience now.

Quite the milestone indeed.

Insert Clever Title About Jello Molds, MacGyver and Naked Goat Dancing Here

So hey. I'm back. I don't know if you noticed or not from the weeks of silence followed by three posts in a row followed by more silence, but I'm trying to spend a little more time on the ol' blog here. Not sure how long this commitment to quantity will last, but at least you'll get to follow all the exciting and mind-blowing stuff happening here in the House of Quirk.

(That said, I've decided to package all this mind-blowing awesomeness in a list format so that you can absorb it in small doses. Don't want you to get an ice cream headache from all the excitement all at once, now do we?)

First of all, I've officially gone back to the gym. You might recall that I was a regular there pre-pregnancy, but what with the one kidney and tiny uterus and growing-a-new-human and all, the doctor suggested I not do anything high risk, such as walking fast or lifting heavy things or stepping on and off a step to music, so I had to put a temporary kibosh on the whole exercising thing. But! Fast forward 10 months and I am back, baby!

And boy does it hurt!

I knew I couldn't just pick back up where I left off after almost a year of couch-potatoness, but I was really hoping that there was still some muscle memory left. Alas, how soon muscles forget. And how vindictive and cranky they are when they figure out that yes, you want them to support the rest of you while you hover in a thigh-burning 90 degree squat for the next 15 seconds.

So the muscles are angry, but they're just going to have to get over it because there's nothing like marching on a little six inch high bench in time to music in front of a wall of mirrors to make you realize that since the baby did those unspeakable things to your body, parts of you that never jiggled before are certainly jiggling now. And unless you are one of those fruit filled jello creations that old ladies bring to church potlucks and funerals, jiggling is not good.

(I'm talking to you, thighs).

So to recap: jiggle=bad. Exercise= necessary evil. Fruit filled jello mold thingies= kinda scary.

Another thing that you could possibly care less about but that I am going to mention anyway is that Tony and I have just discovered that the entire MacGyver series is on Netflix Instant! And oh my goodness they are so bad they're wonderful! As soon as we found them we knew we'd have to watch every single episode, in order. We're still on the first season, which aired in 1985, so you can imagine the cornucopia of mullets and bad special effects and "computers" that are just giant gunmetal boxes with rows of random blinking lights on them. Oh, and I didn't realize this when I was seven and watching it the first time, but Mac was totally a player! Seems like every episode he saves some big-haired blond and she kisses him passionately. (Of course to be fair, dude did just disarm a nuclear warhead with a tic-tac, so I can see where women might assume that all of his other skill-sets were equally...ah, inventive.) Still, if you have the instant Netflix, you gotta watch old MacGyvers. Preferably while you're drunk or severely sleep deprived. You'll laugh your jiggly derriere off.

Finally, (because I really feel like this post needs a third thing, even though I doubt anyone has actually made it this far what with my sore muscles and tv watching habits being SO RIVETING AND ALL), you'll be pleased to know that ZB is doing just fine. She's hit the 3 month mark, which means that she's 1) working on her baby babble, which is adorable, and 2) drooling like a Saint Bernard, which is less so. We're also working on our daily routine, because BabyCenter (my go-to baby information website) says that babies need a consistent schedule so that when it comes times to nap or eat or poop they're not all like, "Whoa! Where did THAT come from?" (BabyCenter also says having a consistent daily routine will help ZB sleep through the night, and while I'm not quite sure about how consistently eating at 3pm helps mama get some zzzzzs, I'm just desperate enough to try it. Sleeping through the night is our holy grail, and if Babycenter said that me dancing naked on my roof with a goat would ensure a solid 8 hours of sleep, I'd be up there in a heartbeat with an entire herd). Actually, since we started this whole schedule thing our days have been a little more organized (for instance, I can tell you that she had exactly 15.8 oz of milk today and 6 wet and 2 poopie diapers) AND ZB has been sleeping a few minutes longer each night, so goooooo baby schedule! The only downside to it is that it requires a bit of record-keeping as to when the the above mentioned eating and sleeping and pooping occurs, and so far Tony has been remiss in recording pertinent information. (My part of the official record is documented minute by minute, while the three hour section that he watched her while I was at the gym just has the words "One Poop?" scribbled on a random scrap of paper. It appears that baby training is a lot easier than husband training).

So yeah...that's the inside look at out lifestyles of the rich and famous. Our evenings now mostly involve us sitting around on the couch watching a tv show from 1985 while Mama complains about her sore glutes and marks down the EXACT second the ZB takes a sip of milk or needs a diaper change. Not exactly world-changing, but I've seen reality shows with worse stuff.

Plus if you're really lucky and ZB has a couple of bad nights, there's a chance that whole naked-on-the-roof-with-goats thing will still happen. And what with the jiggle and all, there's no way you'd want to miss that.

One Score and Eleven Years Ago...'s my birthday today. Actually, mine and Tony's both. We're turning 31. He celebrated by going to work, and I am celebrating by pressure washing the siding on the house and then changing some poopie diapers. Later today we will meet up for a birthday celebration of signing the papers for refinancing the house.

Whoo-boy! Do we know how to party or what?

Remember when you looked forward to your birthday all year long? Remember when it meant cake and streamers and getting your name called out over the PA system at the skate center while they played the Happy Birthday song?

Or that pool party?

Or the giggling sleepover with pizza and sleeping bags in the living room floor?

What about the obligatory Chucky Cheese?

There's nothing quite like being a kid on your birthday. The siren call of too much sugar, a pile of presents, and 500 of your closest friends and classmates playing games and running amok. Birthdays were rivaled only by Christmas and the first day of summer as the best day of the entire year.

So why is it that adult birthdays are never as awesome as what they were when we were kids?

Actually, I can't really complain. While today might be a little humdrum, my extended family will get together this Sunday to celebrate Father's Day and all the June birthdays, including mine. We'll grill burgers and hot dogs, and buy funny birthday cards and pass them around so we can all laugh at the jokes. And I have it on good authority that my new favorite dessert, Chocolate Trifle, will be made. So as far as birthdays go, not bad.

I've heard that the tradition of birthday parties started in Europe because people thought that evil spirits were particularly active on the day of a person's birth. To combat this, friends and family would visit and bring small gifts and well wishes. Toss in some refined sugar and frosting, and viola! A birthday party!

I'm not sure if evil spirits are chased off by pressure washing and home refinancing, so maybe you should leave me birthday wishes, you know, just to be on the safe side. After all, you'd feel horrible if the evil spirits got me on my birthday, right?

Bonus points for singing the actual song.


ZB's baptism was a few weeks ago, but I'm just now getting around to organizing the pictures. I figured that if I was going through them on my online photo album, I might as well share a few.

It was a really great service. Family showed up from as far north as Chicago and as far south as Savannah to witness it. ZB wore the christening gown that my great-grandmother made roughly 60 years ago...the same one that my dad was christened in, as well as all of my uncles and cousins. It's gotten soft and thin from age and numerous washings, but it was neat having that kind of family history.

To augment the family christening gown, (which in addition to being white and fairly unadorned, was a little big on ZB and therefore looked like she was wearing a pillowcase) my mom made a satin and lace over-robe, bonnet, and matching blanket. All together, she was just lovely. (Plus she really enjoyed raising her legs and watching the fabric billow up around her-endless baby entertainment there).

ZB hadn't yet made it through an entire church service without needing feeling the need to express herself vocally, so we were a little nervous about sitting in the very front where we wouldn't be able to slip out easily, but it turned out that our fears were for naught. She was perfect the entire time. Even when the priest poured water on her head. Even when he marked her with oil. Even when everyone crowded around to take pictures afterwards. She was a trooper, and she handled it with grace and dignity. (Well, except for the very very end when we had a minor diaper explosion, but a little bleach in the pre-wash and that gown will live to see another 60 years).

Seester and her husband Stubby were the godparents, and they did a great job. They didn't even drop her or anything.

After the service, we all headed over to Mom and Dad's house (our house is too small for so many people) and had a fabulous barbecue lunch that I'm still dreaming about. (Seriously, we had various flavored trifle for dessert, and the other night I had a dream that I was eating chocolate trifle by the handful. That stuff was sooooo good! It is also a main reason why I'm not back down to my pre-pregnancy weight either).

So a good day. I'm so glad that both the church family and the family-family were able to witness and celebrate with us. How lucky ZB and we as her parents are to have so many people who love her so much.

Only Her Stylist Carpenter Knows For Sure

So I'm tired of my kitchen cabinets. They look old and dated, and they desperately need a makeover. I'd rip them out completely and just put all new cabinets in, but unfortunately I haven't found anyone giving away kitchen cabinets for free, so I suppose I'll just have to work with what I have. (Plus it isn't like there's really anything structurally wrong with the ones I have...they just need a new dye job). So I think I'm going to restain them and maybe change out the hardware. The simplest thing to do, of course, would be to just restain them the same color that they are now. Just cover up the grey so that they won't look quite their age. That way any boo-boo spots won't be noticeable, and they won't come out some weird strange color (remind me to tell you about the time I stained my back deck), and they'll still match the "eyebrows" of the rest of my kitchen. Easy peasy.


But the color of my kitchen cabinets are boring! They're this yellow-y oak color that I swear every early 90's contractor put in every early 90's house and it just screams Update me! Update me! And if I'm going to go through all the trouble, why not get a color I really like? (Like cherry. I've always wanted cherry cabinets.) And while maybe cherry would be too dark with my dark blue tile and my dark blue walls, perhaps a strawberry blond would work instead?

On the other hand though, if I start mixing cherry stain over yellow oak cabinets, am I just going to end up with orange? Because despite living in Big Orange Country, orange cabinets would not be cool. And even if I get a color that's more red that yellow without being orange, is it just going to look like faded knock-off cherry? (Kinda like when you were in college and you and your pals had the bright idea to dye your hair with kool-aid. Does that ever work out for anybody?) I really really don't want kool-aid cabinets.

So what's a girl to do? Ideally it'd be best just to have naturally cherry cabinets, but so few of us are lucky enough to be born with beautiful cabinetry. The next best thing would be to have a professional cabinetry stylist do it, but optional cabinet makeovers are just not in the budget right now. Which leaves the take home, do-it-yourself dye job, which frankly could turn out looking great or looking hideous.

I think I'll go look at some gel stains later know, get a feel for what's available. Check out the home and garden mags to see what the cabinets to the stars are sporting this season, and maybe see if I can find a color that I like.

I'll keep you posted on what I decide for my new look. And ya'll feel free to weigh in also, especially if you've ever done a home cabinet makeover. Or if you haven't. Or if, you know, you have kitchen cabinets at all. I'm a flurry of highlight vs lowlight (vs undercabinet light) indecision, and a girl needs her gal pals to tell her what would look best with her coloring.

Summertime, and the Living is Easy

Have you missed us? We've been out playing at the park!

The Little Miss and I try to take a walk in the neighborhood park a couple of times a week. (Well, I walk...she mostly naps in plush comfort with her sun shade and stroller fan. Such is the life of a baby).
Poor little dear. You see how she suffers.

Meanwhile, I have lots and lots of stuff to share with you and pictures to post, so I'll try to get started on that as soon as we get back from our little expedition. Ya'll stay tuned.

In Which I am Bested by a Plant

Oh Internets, I have contracted the poison ivy.

(I'll give you a minute for the full suckiness of that sentence to sink in).

Apparently, unbeknownst to me, it was hiding out in my hydrangea bed, waiting to ambush me when I planted my newest little hydrangea bush that I had received for Mother's Day. (Which, can I just say, is really heartless and cruel...attacking me on my very first Mother's day like that. But then poison ivy has never really been known as a thoughtful and sentimental plant, has it?)

I didn't even realize it at first because I've never had poison ivy before. I just thought I had a mosquito bite on my wrist. So I ignored it. Then the next day, I had three more itchy spots on my arm. Then two more the day after that. It was about that time that I figured that these were no ordinary itchy bumps. So I studied them carefully and jumped to the obvious diagnosis- a deadly brown recluse spider was living in our bed, and I would have to have my arm amputated immediately.

(Sidenote: I have an completely irrational fear of brown recluse spiders. One, they are spiders. Two, they love to live in things like dark corners and under bedsheets. Three, they have a potentially deadly hemotoxic venom that rots away your flesh when they bite you, and four...did you read that part about the rotting flesh? I rest my case).

Anyway, after stripping the sheets and checking the mattress and having a heart attack over every spider-shaped dust bunny that I came across under the bed, no such arachnid was found (which is good because if I had, I would take my husband and child and MOVE. AWAY. I wouldn't even bother to pack. We would just vacate the house immediately. The end. Spider wins). But there wasn't a spider. (Thank the good Lord in heaven). And instead, the mystery itchy bumps kept appearing.

It wasn't until I was digging around in the medicine cabinet for some anti-itch creme that hadn't expired, (mental note: clean out medicine cabinet. Some of the stuff in my first aid kit is now old enough to vote) when the words "relieves pain and itching due to burns, insect bites, poison ivy, oak and sumac" caught my eye and I thought, "Oh you know what? I seem to recall a nefarious looking three-leaved vine from a few days ago. I bet that sucker got me". And it did. Who-boy, did it ever.

Of course, wasting precious days looking for imaginary spiders instead of immediately washing everything that could have possibly had the ivy oil on it means that I am positively COVERED in the stuff. Apparently I had it under my fingernails or something, because I have transferred it EVERYWHERE. (Either that or I temporarily took leave of my senses and rolled around naked in the side yard, but I do not recall that, so I'm going with the oil under the nails theory). As a result, I have scrubbed the top three layers of my skin off, cut all my fingernails back as far as they go and transferred every piece of fabric that I have come in contact with into the washing machine using a pair of salad tongs, which I then boiled for good measure.

But here's the kicker! Because I'm breastfeeding, I can't take any sort of antihistamine like Benadryl, because it can get into my milk supply and affect the baby. So I'm limited to crappy 1% hydrocortisone cream, which is so ineffective that I think the poison ivy actually looks forward to me smearing it on each a hydrocortizone massage. Other than that, all I can really do is wait it out for the 14 to 21 days that it takes to run its course.

So feel sorry for me, internets, for I am one giant ball of itch. And by my count, I still have roughly 9 days to go.

I may not survive.

Trumpet for the Lord

So we're sitting in church on Sunday (in the last row in the back because our church doesn't have a cry room and the Quirklet hasn't quite mastered volume control yet), and the priest is in the middle of the scripture reading. And we're right in the middle of the book of Matthew, and the whole church is quietly listening to the reading about Jesus on the road to Jerusalem, when the Quirklet lets out this massive MASSIVE wet baby fart.

It was classic.

And you know the whole church heard it. A couple of people in the row in front of us did this kind of quarter turn thing like they were going to look around but then caught themselves and stared straight ahead instead. The priest did this started throat clearing thing. And a 7 year old boy four rows over was turning purple from the effort of not laughing out loud. (Actually I was pretty impressed by his stoicism, because my internal 7 year old self was snickering like crazy).

But what can you do? Babies just don't hold it in. I wanted so badly to yell, "That wasn't me! I was just holding her!" or something along those lines, but alas, it could not be done. Instead, I just made a big production of gathering up her diaper bag and heading to the changing area. Let the people put two and two together.

And then I ran home to blog about it because 1 )baby gas is adorable, even in the middle of church and 2), I'll need something to mortify her with when she's about 14 years old.

This story ought to do nicely.

Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. - Acts 2:2

The Trial of the State Vs Yours Truly in the Unlawful Barbecuing of Her Husband

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I beseech you today to listen to my tale of woe, for while it is true the I am culpable in the spontaneous combustion of my husband, there were extenuating circumstances that, if you only knew, would no doubt help you to understand why I did what I did.

Now granted, my husband is a wonderful person. He works hard to bring home a paycheck, he is good with his daughter, and he is kind and loving to me. Sometimes he even helps out around the house. Any woman would be lucky to call him her own. But occasionally, just occasionally, he forgets his wonderfulness and reverts back to his base nature- being a man, and therefore clueless.

Plus you must also understand my state of mind. It may or may not have been a certain "time of the month" as they say. I'd cut down on my chocolate intake in an effort to drop the rest of this baby weight. And on top of that, I had just taken the baby for her 2 month vaccinations earlier that day, and she was fussy.

Very fussy.

As in, she had been crying for the last NINE HOURS.

(I'm sure anyone who has had to console a crying baby for nine hours will sympathize with me. But that is not why I fricasseed my husband).

I did not do it because he was late getting home from work. Or because he had a hockey game and couldn't relieve me of mommy duty for 5 freaking minutes so that I could go to the bathroom and wash the spit-up out of my hair.

It was not because when he did come home, he didn't say anything about the house being cleaned and vacuumed, even though I had to do it all with only one hand while the other one held his inconsolable child. (Although a "Wow honey, the house looks great!" would have been nice. In fact, I would have even settled for an "Oh good. You cleaned the house. Another day or two and the health department would have shut us down"). I didn't even roast him when he came in, kicked his boots off in my nice clean foyer and tossed his bag down on my nice clean table.

Although he may have begun to smolder at that point.

Nor did he notice that all the dishes had been gathered up from where he leaves them scattered around the house, washed, dried and consequently put away. In fact, I did not say a word when pulled one of those nice washed, dried and put away glasses down from the cabinet, fixed himself a drink and then left the empty glass sitting on the counter AGAIN.

I did not burn him to a crisp when he failed to mention all the clean laundry that had suddenly and magically converted itself from crumpled heaps of dirty clothing into nicely washed and folded stacks of clean clothes.

Or that I had changed and washed the sheets on the bed.

Or put away the 60 billion towels that he uses when he insists on showering two, sometimes three times A DAY.

(Okay, I admit that the towel thing may have had him smoking like a chimney as he entered the bathroom for his second shower, but I swear there were no actual flames yet).

As I recall, the flames may have come when I asked him how his day was and he forgot to return the favor by asking me about mine.

And he was certainly ablaze when he didn't notice that I had run all the errands, done the grocery shopping, ordered more flea medication for the cats and written a thank you note to his mother for some outfits she had sent for our daughter.

(Does he think this stuff happens on its own? Magical fairies with to-do lists live in the basement?)

But ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you may be saying to yourself, "So he neglected to notice all the hard work his wife had done. And all he's really guilty of is taking off his shoes, having a glass of water and taking a shower at the end of a long day. Is that really so bad? Did he deserve to burst into flames over that?" And I say to you, no. No, he did not. But none of that was why I barbecued him.

Sadly, it was when the phone was ringing, the cat was throwing up on my clean carpet and the baby had a dirty diaper that he made his fatal mistake. I handed him his screaming child with the simple request to change her diaper and he said...

"Jeez honey, isn't it your turn to do this? I had to work today".

And that, honored members of the jury, is when the laser beams shot out of my eyes and turned him into instant charcoal right there where he stood.

I knew you'd understand.

Things I've Learned in the Past Seven Weeks

My apologies for being so sporadic with the blogging. As you may have guessed, the little one takes up all my time now. (My hope is that eventually she'll be able to amuse herself long enough for me to sit down and actually write it stands now, I just have to hold her with one hand and type with the other).

But in the 10 minutes or so that it will take her Daddy to put her to bed, for her to wake up crying, for him to shush at her for a few seconds, for her to ignore him, and for him to bring her back downstairs to me with a shrug and a "She wants her Mommy", I'll try to relate some of the things this new motherhood deal has taught me.

For instance, I have learned that:

  • She changes every day. Every morning I wake up and she's longer, heavier, and her face has changed a little. It blows me away. I can almost sit and literally watch her grow right before my eyes. She looks totally different than she did when she was born, or when she was a month old, or even from what she looked like last week. Clothes that fit 3 days ago don't anymore. Of course, she becomes more beautiful by the day, so all this changing is nice, but shocks me how quickly she grows. Do all babies do this? I never noticed before.

  • Babies have no concept of time. Come to think of it, no patience either. The bottle warmer takes exactly 90 seconds to heat up her 3am bottle of milk. You wouldn't think 90 seconds would be that long. But to her, there's only RIGHT NOW, and the bottle is not here RIGHT NOW, despite you saying, "Seriously, just 20 more seconds! Enough with the screaming already!" Seconds mean absolutely nothing to her. The world is ending! The world is ending! The world is-oh hey, the bottle's ready. Cool.

  • In a similar vein, she can also go from happy to screaming like someone has amputated both legs in nothing flat. There doesn't seem to be any in between with her. No sniffling, or trembling lip, or cranky warning noises. It's happy smiling (or sleeping) to tortured screams in an instant. Then, just as mysteriously, she's back to being fine again, and you're just left standing there going, "what the heck was THAT?" Tony and I have actually taken to calling these sudden little fits her alter ego, which goes by the name Fussy McFussypants. Thankfully, these visits by Fussy McF are few and relatively short lived, but they're still enough to send your poor nerves reeling if you aren't expecting it. (I know, I know, the same mad crying means I'm hungry, I need a diaper change, I'm tired, I'm bored, my tummy hurts or I just want to be held. Then as soon as she sends the message, she's back to being a happy camper. I will be so glad when she's able to add a few more tricks to her bag of ways to communicate.)

  • Also? She melts my heart. She has just learned to smile back at me in the last week or so, and every time I walk into her field of vision and she smiles at me, it's like I float three feet off the ground. I am totally addicted to it. I would walk for days, wrestle mountain lions, and leap tall buildings in a single bound for one of those smiles. As it is, I am giving up sleep, changing poopie diapers and completely foregoing chocolate (which apparently I have an unhealthy devotion to since I can't stop thinking about it, and yet it gets into the breastmilk and gives her a gassy tummy, so it's off the menu for the time being). And the crazy thing is I'm happy to do it for her! It's baby mind control, and I don't mind a bit. (Well, except maybe a little for the chocolate).

  • Tony has learned that he REALLY REALLY hates getting up to give her the 3am bottle. He's tired, he's cranky, he's annoyed that I'm still laying in bed even though I get up for EVERY OTHER FEEDING while he sleeps. But still, he does it. Every night. Because he's still dependable, even when sleep deprived. But oh how she has him wrapped around her tiny baby finger! He comes home every day at lunch so he can see her. And you should have seen them reading a story together last night on the couch. I'm not sure who enjoyed it more. So he may really hate 3am, but he's absolutely crazy about that little girl.

  • Finally, I've learned it isn't about me anymore. For instance, today she spit up all down the front of my top. (I know...gross, right?) Gallons and gallons of spit-up right over the burp cloth (I'm still not sure how she managed to get around it), hang a left around my collarbone and right down the front of my shirt. Now before, I probably would have ripped the shirt off, run screaming from the room, and spent the next 30 minutes scrubbing off the top four layers of skin in the shower. But now? It didn't even register. Because she needed a bath, and she needed a change, and she needed to finish her lunch, and there just wasn't space in my brain to give it any more thought other than to stuff a paper towel down my front and keep on going. (I did remember it hours later when I stripped off the shirt and found the paper towel still stuck in my bra).

So yeah. This motherhood thing is kinda like being in a cult. I used to think it was a little obnoxious the way parents would go on and on and on about their children, but I totally get it now. They can't help it. I see the whole world through baby-tinted glasses. My life (right now at least) revolves around this little person. A tiny, demanding, wonderful little person. And right now, I'm okay with that. I'm totally drinking the koolaid.

Happy Easter

For your viewing enjoyment, some pictures of the most adorable baby ever in her Easter dress and bunny hat...

Hope you and yours have a wonderful Easter holiday!

Sibling Rivalry

A lot of people ask me how the cats are getting along with the new baby. I get the feeling they expect some kind of baby vs cat shenanigans. (I blame this on Disney's Lady and the Tramp, which cruelly and erroneously showed Siamese plotting to steal the baby's milk).

But this is not true. The cats have been very good about the new baby.In fact, I they have been the perfect little helpers.

Dixon keeps an eye on her while she sleeps.

Magellan warms her bouncy seat for her.

Mason helps me feed her.

Bella helps burp her.

Now, it is true that they all run away when she cries (Dixon runs to the top of the stairs and cries too, so that both the baby AND the cat are raising a ruckus), and they do like to sleep on her changing pad when they get into the nursery, and sometimes they will abscond with a pacifier or two to bat around, but other than that they've been the perfect big brothers and sister.

Well, at least until she gets old enough to get a death grip on a tail or two, anyway.

Bed Check

Today when I was changing the sheets on our bed, I found the following:

3 burp cloths
2 baby blankets
1 boppy pillow
1 waterproof changing pad
1 pacifier (on my pillow no less)
1 baby nose snot sucker bulb thingie (under Tony's pillow)

Next to the bed was:
2 empty baby bottles
1 bottle of baby gas drops
1 bottle of gripe water (for upset baby tummies)
1 gripe water dispensing syringe
2 tissues, contents unknown
and another pacifier

It's like a Babies R Us in here. It's a wonder we have any room in the bed to actually sleep.

One Month

So we're one month old today! Honestly, I don't know where all the time went. It seems like just yesterday they pulled her out of me and held her up over the OR curtain like some kind of baby puppet show. Then someone hit the fast forward and suddenly it's been a month and I'm not sure what has happened between then and now other than she's grown waaaay too fast. (One month and I'm already sniffling into a onsie and singing "sunrise, sunset").
Speaking of growing, Tony's been calling her kudzu because of how fast she's shooting up. In one month, she went from 5lbs, 10 oz at birth down to 5 lbs, 4oz when we left the hospital and now a whopping 6lbs, 13.5 oz at her one month checkup last Thursday. She's also grown from 18" at birth to 20.5" now. We're officially out of the preemie clothes and diapers and into most newborn clothing now.
She can hold her head up for ever longer stretches of time, and she's really good about making eye contact and following movement. She recognizes my voice, Tony's voice, and Granny CC's voice and will look for us when we're talking nearby.

In short, she is a brilliant baby.
As for me and Tony, we're doing okay. Tired, of course, and still working through those times when she's screaming bloody murder (she gets horrible gas bubbles in her little tummy, and it's next to impossible to get them out. Babies are the only people in the world with whom you are are ecstatic when they burp in your face). But it's okay. We have a schedule. She tends to eat every three hours, with Tony taking the 3am time with a bottle and me taking the 6am, 9am, noon, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm and midnight feedings. (Hmmm. That seems slightly unbalanced now that I look at it...must speak to my mommy union rep about this).

Finally, in totally awesome news, I am back in my pre-pregnancy jeans! (Well okay, maybe just my fat pre-pregnancy jeans, but still...they count!) I'm hoping that at my next doctor visit they'll clear me for light exercise so that pretty soon I can wear my skinny day clothes too. This year's swimsuit season may be out of reach, but I'm hoping that a nice fitted summer skirt isn't too much to ask.

So that's us. Life sure is different now than what it was a month ago, but I wouldn't change it for anything. This little person just lights up my world. I can't wait to see what the next month brings!


So yeah. Still here, doing the baby thing. Eat, sleep, poop, repeat. But while I'm still operating on about three minutes of sleep, things are getting better. We're slowly learning each other's schedule. Every day, we get a tiny bit more in sync.

Little Bit: I'm hungry!

Me: I just fed you! In fact, you still have milk on your chin!

LB: Oh yeah. Well then, what do you want to do?

Me: I have an idea! Why don't we take a nap? Wouldn't that be fun?

LB: Eh. I already napped for five whole minutes fourteen hours ago. Why would I want to do it again?

Me: Well, how about you sit quietly while I nap?

LB: Sounds boring. How long did you want to do this?

Me: Three hours?

LB: No way! How about ten minutes?

Me: How about two and a half hours?

LB: A half hour, with an option for a ten minute cry in the middle in which I will be absolutely inconsolable.

Me: An hour, and no inconsolable cry.

LB: No deal. I need the cry. The cry is non-negotiable.

Me: Fine. How about forty-five minutes, with a three minute cry?

LB: Eight.

Me: Five.

LB: Right in the middle of your REM sleep?

Me: (sigh) Okay.

LB: Throw in a twenty-five minute nurse and a full wardrobe change after my diaper leaks and we'll have a deal.

Me: Anything.

LB: Sweet. Do your nap thing then. The clock is ticking.

I feel like maybe I got the short end of the stick on this one, but I don't care. Little Bit is better at this negotiation thing than I am.

Sleep is Overrated

It's been two weeks now since we've arrived home from the hospital. Tony stayed home for a few days, and Mom stayed with us up through last Friday to help with the transition, but today is officially day one of just me and Little Bit. (By the way, to answer your questions from last week about Baby Girl's real name, I've decided to respect her future privacy by using an alias...however, I haven't decided which one to use yet, so it may change from post to post. As I learn her personality, I hope to pick a permanent nickname that suits her. In the mean time, to avoid confusion, just assume that any reference to someone described with the words Little, Baby, Munchkin, Love Muffin, or Cutie Pie Snuggle Bear refers to the baby).

Anyway, like I said, we're home, and we're adjusting, and it's been...okay. She's sweet and adorable and I can't imagine life without her. She is priceless and perfect and I cannot describe my love for her. On the other hand, she's slowly driving us insane through sleep deprivation torture. You know the new parent stereotype about being exhausted and wearing a bathrobe with baby spit-up on it for three days in a row? Not an exaggeration, my friend. Oh, I thought I could handle it. I was cocky. I told myself that I'd pulled all-nighters before and been fine. So I'd be a little tired. What's so hard about that? But she wears me down. Steadily, methodically, night after night. Interrogators working in questionable forms of "information extraction" would be proud. I would gladly confess to anything if I could just get two uninterrupted hours of sleep.

(By the way, you know that phrase, "Sleep when the baby sleeps"? Well meaning people take one look at my new Night of the Living Dead look that I'm sporting and dispense that little jewel of advice. And it sounds smart. But you know what? It doesn't work. Because Baby Girl likes to nap mid-feed and mid-poopie and with a tummy full of air, and just because she fell asleep doesn't mean your job is through, for if you leave any of that undone the full furies of baby Hades will rain down upon your head when she wakes up and realizes you were slacking instead of wiping baby poo off of her delicate rear end while she dozed. And did I mention that she only sleeps for an hour at a time? So after feeding and burping and rocking and changing diapers, you throw yourself into bed knowing that you have exactly 14 minutes left before she wakes up and the cycle starts again).

But she is worth it. And there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Eventually, I know that she will sleep through the night. (Or at least for a couple of hours). Luckily. Tony and my Mom have been fabulous. Literal life-savers. Because they aren't getting any more sleep than I am, but they're happy to take her at 3am when she wants you to know that the wipes are not warmed to her usual standard.

In the mean time, we take it moment by moment, clinging to those random times when she smiles or makes eye contact or, blessed salvation, actually does sleep in that beautiful angelic way that only babies can. And it's those moments that remind you that there are things that are even more precious than sleep.

*Lest you think that I am sitting here wasting precious sleep time blogging while whining about not getting enough rest, know that Baby Girl is right here snuggled in the crook of my left arm while I type all of this one-handed with my right. In addition to ruler of my days, she has also taken on the role of editor.

One Week

"It's been one week since you popped out of me,
cocked your head to the side
and screamed I'm hungry"

Okay, not exactly Bare Naked Ladies, but it could work.

So Little Miss is a week old now, and we're busy adjusting to life with a new baby. (Which is to say, life without sleep and regular hygiene). But it isn't bad. In fact, I'd say it's wonderful. Every day with her is like your best birthday party and Christmas morning and the first day of summer and a trip to Disneyland all rolled into one moment, every moment.

Here's what we've been up to the last 7 days:

Mainly, she sleeps. We do not. And if we do manage to get more than an hour in any one stretch of time, we are very VERY excited about it. You'd think we'd won the lottery. We tell EVERYONE. "I know! Three whole hours two nights ago! Can you believe it? She slept three whole hours! In one block! It was heaven!" Of course, the first night we brought her home, the lack of sleep was my own fault. She slept just fine...I was the one who stayed up all night staring at her. Was she hot? Was she cold? Did her diaper need changing? Was the night-light too bright? I think I totalled about 15 minutes of sleep that first night. By the second and third night, I had delegated shifts so that I could sleep only as long as Tony or my mom watched her. Now I just put her in her cradle, kiss her little forehead goodnight, and fall face-first onto any available flat surface for some precious seconds of shuteye. My goal is to one day hit 4 whole hours of REM sleep in a single night. At this rate, I figure it will happen right about the time she goes to college.

It has come to my attention that my new role is that of the 24/7 buffet. Baby Girl has a tummy the size of a cherry, so it doesn't take much to fill her up, and it doesn't take long for her to empty again. So we nurse A LOT. She likes to eat for about 10 to 20 minutes, roughly every hour. On the one hand, I love the closeness we have during this time. On the other, I've started having dreams where this giant open baby mouth is coming at me every time I turn around. I have birthed a tiny piranha.

Amazingly, this is the part that I thought I would hate the most (because c'mon- another person's poop?) but it turns out that it isn't that bad. I get a strange sense of accomplishment whenever I can give her a freshly wiped and diapered tushie. Mama instinct, I guess. Baby Girl does her part to encourage this feeling by wetting her diaper, waiting until she is freshly wiped and changed and re-dressed and swaddled and therefore buried under roughly 600 layers of clothing and blankey, and then announcing that she now has a poopie diaper. Then we get to do it all again! I get lots of chances for that sense of accomplishment.

We have taken more photos of this child in the last week than most paparazzi shoot in a year. She blinks and a camera goes off. She yawns and flash bulbs explode like fireworks. We have 900 pictures of her making the EXACT. SAME. EXPRESSION posted on facebook for all the world to coo over. Of course, she is the most adorable baby in the world, so it goes without saying. You can't bring this level of adorableness to the table and expect not to have it documented. Plus she's the first child and first grandbaby for my mom's side. So yes, there are pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. I'm just warning you so you'll be prepared for the onslaught. We're at code orange for beautiful baby overload. (Which reminds me. We have the professional photographer coming over tomorrow to do her newborn pictures. Ya'll feel free to send me your order selections).

Man, she just blows me away. She's been sleeping right here in the crook of my arm while I've typed this, and every time I look at her I just want to squeeze her and never let her go. I've never really been a baby person (they freak me out to be honest), but she is just...I can't explain it. It's like when the Grinch's heart suddenly grew three sizes when he returned all the presents to Whoville. Only my heart flew out of my body completely and is now making little cooing noises while it blinks sleepily. She is all sparkles and stars and rainbows wrapped up in a tiny baby body and sprinkled with pixie dust (and butt paste and baby lotion).

And she's worth a million dirty diapers and midnight feedings and hours of lost sleep. I will pay that and consider myself the luckiest person in the world because she is here.

Happy Saint Patty's Day!

From the littlest leprechaun!

Baby Girl Has Arrived!

I hope everyone had a chance to pick a date in the baby birth date contest, because the pool is officially closed. In a shocking turn of events, Baby Girl decided to come even earlier than anyone guessed. I'll give you the detailed blow-by-blow later when I'm less sleep deprived, but the whole birth process was easy and painless and quick. It was the next best thing to actually having a stork bring a baby.

At approximately 4:45pm on Friday afternoon, my water broke. I was standing in the kitchen trying to decide what to make for dinner (lasagna or manicotti?) when all of a sudden my jeans were soaked. (They tell you in the birth classes that your water breaking is almost never a giant sudden gush like what you see in the movies. They are big fibbers. Mine was exactly like that. Big gush, wetness everywhere. And thanking my lucky stars that I had made it home from walmart just 20 minutes earlier because nothing says embarrassment like having to call for a cleanup on aisle 4). Anyway, I called Tony and suggested that he return to the homestead posthaste while I tossed a few last minute things into the hospital bag.
We checked into the hospital at 5:30pm, and they whisked me off to the ultrasound room to make sure Baby Girl was still determined to enter this world feet first. She was, so I was prepped for surgery. IV in the hand, spinal block (not that bad, btw), and endless blood pressure and temperature taking. Then at 7:30pm, they wheeled me into the OR for a little slice n dice and Baby Girl was officially born at 7:59pm. I was comfortably numb and hidden behind a curtain, but Mom and Tony watched the entire thing. (I must say that if you're going to have a baby, this is a good way to do it. I never had the first contraction, I was numb from the armpits down, the whole thing took less than 3 hours from the time I walked into the hospital, and Baby Girl managed to avoid that whole alien cone-head look from too long in the birth canal. I'm telling you, I've had dental cleanings that were more painful than this. It was all delivery, no labor, and a precious little girl as the result).
Baby Girl is 18" long and weighs 5lbs, 10 oz. She is tiny and adorable and perfect, and my heart completely melted and dripped onto the floor in a puddle from the moment I saw her.

Memoirs, Moons and When Zombie Cats Attack

It occurs to me that I haven't had an actual blog topic in a while. Mostly the last few months have been baby updates and bulleted snippets of random thoughts. And you may think that this is just me being lazy and not picking a topic and sticking to it, but the truth is that for the last few months my brain has just been baby updates and random snippets, so it's kinda hard to write in a cohesive theme when your brain is going "Baby stuff, baby stuff, baby stuff, I like juice".

(And from what I understand, it's only going to get worse after Baby Girl arrives. So fair warning).

(Although there will probably be more pictures, because who doesn't love looking at a sleeping baby?)

(She is going to sleep some, right? Please tell me she'll sleep).

Speaking of sleep, I think it is a cruel and unusual twist of fate that I can no longer get a decent night's rest. You'd think I'd need it now more than ever to rest up for all those midnight feedings, right? But no. I lost out on comfortable sleeping positions about a month ago, and now even when I do manage to catch a couple of winks, I have weird disturbing dreams. (The BabyCenter articles say that weird third trimester dreams are completely normal, and just my way of getting through any anxiety I have about the upcoming birth. Which I admit makes sense, but I have yet to figure out how my cat secretly turning into a zombie-vampire and attacking the Seester relates to baby anxiety)*.

In other news, I've become completely obsessed with both the weather and the phases of the moon. I have an app for each on my home page, and I spend hours (yes, hours!) checking the 10 day weather and scrutinizing the minute changes of the moon (Currently at 23% of a waxing crescent, if you're interested). Why the fixation on the weather and the moon? No idea. But if any of you have questions about daily rainfalls in the southeast, or cold fronts moving in from the west, or on what day the new moon happened last week, then I'm your girl.

Finally, in an effort to prove that I'm not as boring as this post makes me sound (the weather and the moon phases? Really?) I'd like to mention that I just finished reading Bill Bryson's The Life and Times of the Lightning Bolt Kid, and I LOVED IT. It's a memoir of Bill's life growing up in the 50's and 60's, and even though I've never personally witnessed either of those decades, Bryson tells the story in such a way that you swear you're right there with him for every adventure. (His narrative style reminds me of the movie The Christmas Story in that it has that same 1950's through the eyes of a child feel, except without the bb gun). Seriously, I've never laughed so hard in my life. In fact, I spent chapters 2 through 6 not even bothering to get off the toilet because even though I'd just gone, I'd laugh so hard at the next page that I'd pee a little more. Now, the book actually came out in 2006, so maybe you've all already read it and you're like, "Have you been under a rock or something for the last 5 years?" in which case the answer is yes. But if you're like me and have been under a similar rock, then go get the book RIGHT NOW. I promise that it is worth it. I totally heart Bill Bryson.

So that's it. Baby Girl is expected sometime within the next 12 days (if she doesn't decide to come on her own earlier, the doctors have scheduled a c-section for Monday morning on the 21st), and I'm spending my last child-free moments reading and watching the moon phases and being chased around by zombie cats.

Really makes you look forward to a post with sleeping baby pictures, doesn't it?

*Sorry Seester...and you might want to stay away from Sebastian next time you come visit.