Friday, May 29, 2009

To Grandmother's house we go

If you were at our wedding or if you have seen the photos, you know that we were married among one of the most amazing landscapes, my in-laws 400-acre farm.

Though not a working farm, it once was the homestead belonging to my husband's great-great grandfather. It is an amazing gem tucked in the hills of southeastern Ohio.

To be married there was beyond beautiful. And now to watch my son romp and roll and play there is pure bliss.

It's a sure bet that my son will one day be begging to go to Grandma & Grandpa's house, and I have a feeling he'll go into major tantrum mode whenever it's time to leave.

It's like a scene out of a fairy tale, dontcha think?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Non-Maternal Instincts

Originally published in December, 2008

Nonmaternal Instinct

The very heavy cost of leaving the house (if you dare)

I'm not one of those sit-around-my-house-and-watch-soap-operas kind of moms. Nothing against you Susan Lucci followers, but that's just not my thing. I need, I mean really NEED, to get out of the house everyday, at least once. It's my sanity, plain and simple. And because I have a seven month old, he tags along.

When we I leave the house (let's be honest, my son is merely being lifted from point A to point B - I'm the one trying to catch some fresh air), I resemble one of those street performers who balances a truckload of items on his head, hands, and feet while dancing a jig. Except I don't have a tip jar in front of me. I should work on that.

Getting out of the house isn't what is used to be. Before the baby, if I wanted to run out for a frozen slushy, I could be in my car, down the street, and slurpin' away in a speedy eight minutes.

But venturing out with my twenty pound companion ain't what I thought it'd be. Because venturing out with a twenty pound baby actually requires venturing out with an additional fifty pounds of crap very important and delicate baby things.

Like at the airport, there should be a weight limit to what my son can take with him on our little outings. If he goes over, than he must sacrifice something. The problem is, how do I make my son sacrifice necessities like food and hygiene? It's not like when I go over the 50lb. suitcase limit and have to find a creative way to carry-on eight pairs of but-I-must-take-these-with-me designer shoes (BIG joke - designer shoes are a thing of the past, back when I was running out for slushies, you know, the good 'ol days). Not to mention, getting out of the house with this twenty-pound dumbbell now requires as many trips to the car as I take to the bathroom in a day (It's important to note that I have a small bladder).

And it's inevitable that I'll forget something. Actually, several things. Have you ever forgotten an extra set of clothes and wound up on the other side of town with a baby who, um, had an explosion and is now wearing an overflowing diaper with poo down his legs and up his back? Yeah, that's fun. That's called learning a lesson. A major lesson.

So I suggest creating a checklist. Type it out, copy it a few dozen times, and have it handy the next time you are crazy enough to leave the house.

Heck, don't create a checklist. Let me do it for ya!

Here's the how-to-survive-an-afternoon-out-of-the-comforts-of-home checklist (I'm starting to think staying at home watching Days of Our Lives is a much better alternative after all):
  • Diapers. Lots of diapers.
  • Booty wipes. Just keep a stash in the car. I use booty wipes for a lot of non-booty issues.
  • Booty cream. Butt paste. Whatever you call it.
  • Purell. Keep this in your pocket at all times. And if you don't have a pocket, stuff it in your bra. You never know when one of those strange smelling old biddies is going to insist on touching your child.
  • Pacifiers. Yes, I mean multiple pacifiers. You will drop one, and you will lose one. It's universal law.
  • A baby bottle. Unless, of course, your baby is breast-feeding. I lasted four months. I tried to last longer, I really did.
  • Baby formula. Again, unless your baby is breast-feeding. And PLEASE, if you are a member of the La Leche League, I don't want to hear it.
  • Snacks. Lots of snacks. Snacks for baby and mommy, because snacks make baby and mommy very happy.
  • At least one extra baby outfit, but why not pack two while you're at it?
  • Baby blankie. Because babies need blankies. They just do.
  • Sling for wearing your baby. Unlike what the Motrin Ad proclaims, we momma's wear our babies out of necessity, not fashion (okay, and for bonding, but let's be real, being able to "hold" baby while hands-free is a Godsend).
  • Stroller. For strollin'.
  • Lovey or soothie or whatever it is that your child MUST have OR ELSE . . !
  • Tylenol. You will get a headache. That's part of motherhood. Deal with it.
This certainly is not an exhaustive list. So then why am I so exhausted?

Dear Lord of all things primitive,

How did we go from simplistic cave dwellers to stuff-infested creatures of stuff, stuff, and more stuff? How did we go from Baby Moses floating across the river in a basket to Baby-give-me-more floating across the sea of junk apparently required for baby's survival?

I sure have no idea.

Actually, I do have an idea. Remember the time you turned that fish into a meal of plenty? Let's try that again, but instead of a fish, I'll bring one baby item and you can turn it into everything baby needs in that moment. Wouldn't that be fun? Because not only would it make my job as a mother more efficient, but it would really save me a trip to the chiropractor's office.

But if I must lug around 20lbs of baby plus 50lbs of his junk everyday, can't I at least lose a pound or two. I mean, would it be so terrible if I actually used this baby lugging as a form of exercise so that I could stop feeling guilty about the dust accumulating on my treadmill? Okay, fine, I lied. I don't have a treadmill, but you aren't going to hold that against me, are you?

Ah, forget it. At this point, what's a bit of junk in my trunk on top of all this baby junk?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Welcoming Summer

Oh, to be young again!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Practically Green Vlog: Single Stream Recycling

In lieu of today's Practically Green Vlog, I would like to share a video with you about Single Stream Recycling.

Single steam recycling allows you to commingle all of your recyclables in one receptacle rather than sorting them.

For instance, Rumpke is an example of a waste management service that provides single stream recycling.

Single stream recycling is made possible by Material Recovery Facilities (MRF). To better understand MRF, please watch the video.

It is important that individuals who use single stream recycling know what materials are recyclable by MRF. Not all recycled materials are processed by MRF. Therefore a material that is not MRF acceptable can slow down the entire process causing MRF to operate inefficiently.

I recommend that you go to your recyclers website to find out what recyclables they accept (Rumpke offers a list and a video to help people make the most of Rumpke's services. Additionally, here is a great visual that offers general info about single stream recycling.)

Finally, watching the MRF video helped me to realize how important the first 'R' of the Three R's is - REDUCE! MRF uses a lot of energy and manpower to operate, thus if we all thought twice about the materials we throw away (recyclable or otherwise), we would be doing our beautiful earth a huge favor.

The classic-vintage-antique-retro rocking horse

One of my favorite toys that we have for our son is this rocking horse.

Not only are rocking horses classic, but this particular rocking horse is classic classic. In fact, it's vintage. Or is it antique? Or retro? Frankly, I don't know the difference.

This rocking horse was my rocking horse when I was a child.

It brings me such joy to see my son laughing and giggling as he rocks on my classic-vintage-antique-retro horse.

And how talented is he? Performing "so big" while "look-ma-no-hands" on the horse.

Could this kid be having anymore fun? 

I love this face.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Grandpa's Buddy

Pretty darn precious, dontcha think?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Non-Maternal Instincts

Nonmaternal Instinct

Because Honor Student bumper stickers make me batty.

We are women. We compare. Everything.

And it only gets worse when we become mothers.

We pretend it doesn't, but oh-does-it-ever

We've all heard the advice from pediatricians, counselors, friends, relatives, websites, teachers: "All children are different and develop differently at different rates. They have different strengths and weaknesses."

But we let that advice go in one ear and out the other. We see the freak show one-year-old prodigy on Oprah - a mere baby who can name and locate all 50 states and capitals while balancing Tiffany china spinning on her head.

Admit it. You DVRed it and had it ready to play for your husband when he got home. And then you rushed out to the bookstore and bought a mural-sized map of the United States so that you could immediately start teaching your lil' smartypants a wealth of good for nothing knowledge. Seriously, when's the last time you referenced the location of Cheyenne, Wyoming? (My deepest apologies if I offended all seventeen people living in the Western frontier.) 

So why do we do it? Why do we compare?

I'm terribly guilty of it. There is a little girl at our church who is two weeks older than my son. She can sign and sing and dance and speak and skip - on command. My son can grunt. And grunt some more. I'm learning that "uh" means more and "eh" means more, please. So technically my child can communicate quite well, thank you very much, but dang it's hard not to speed dial the pediatrician for reassurance that my son is not actually a caveman (my son's ped has the number three speed dial slot, second to my son's shrink and stylist - you know, just in case the little dude is having a bad day and needs to reconnect with his happy place or look good to boost his confidence).

Honestly, I wish I could bottle up my son's innocence. If he could talk, he would absolutely tell you that he wants to be a garbage man when he grows up. My son is fascinated by trucks. Every Wednesday morning we stand outside waiting for the garbage truck to come, and when it finally does, my son is captivated. I can see it in his eyes, "Holy moly, flinging trash in a giant abyss behind the back of a humongous truck is COOL!" 

But at some point my backward influence and society's flesh-eating ways taint him and he begins to believe that it's not cool

But does it really matter if my son is a garbage man? To whom? Not to God. I've looked. The Bible doesn't say a darn thing about job rankings or salary scales. God doesn't care if your child makes a dollar or one hundred thousand. All He cares about is intent. Is he/she glorifying God as he flings garbage or performs a heart transplant?

So in an attempt to teach my son that he really can be ANYTHING he wants to be when he grows up, regardless of status, prestige, or fame (and regardless of what the little church girl grows up to be), I'll have to start renaming these photos in his baby book. 

Chris Spielman in training - Watch out, Michigan!

My future scholarly professor

The next Dog Whisperer

Ty Pennington, here he comes!

Michael Phelps in training (God, I hope not!)

My future economist (hopefully not in this economy!)

A mini Larry Byrd

On his way to win the Kentucky Derby

Because worst case scenario is really best case scenario. My son doesn't amount to one of these, rather he turns out perfectly handsome, respectable, mannerly, and God-fearing, just like his Daddy.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

To a Special Birthday Boy

Just seven weeks after my son entered this world, my cousin and his wife welcomed a son to their family.

It's important to note that my cousin is more than just that. We have lived together on multiple occasions (through various family circumstances), and I am responsible for introducing him to his wife. He is like a brother to me.

We live only a mile apart, and it is highly likely that our sons will be best buds.

The crazy thing is, we are now blessed with pregnancies again - his wife and I are due within two months of each other. It's been such a joy to watch our little ones grow up together (they also have a daughter who is two).

And today is Jake's First Birthday! 

Happy Birthday, Jake! 

Jake & Henry (newborns)

My cousin and Jake at Halloween

The three stooges at Thanksgiving 

In January

In March

At Easter

In May

Jake, I love ya, buddy!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Practically Green Vlog: Breathe

There will be no Practically Green Vlog today.

Instead, I breathe. And you should too.

Monday, May 18, 2009

So sleepy (or maybe drunk?)

There are certainly nights when the lil' guy doesn't make it to bedtime - falling asleep even before he's finished his bottle, and then there are nights when he can't even make it through dinner. Though he wants to eat, he simply can't stay awake to do it. 

Is this foreshadowing late nights in college, munchin' on pizza at 2am after a night at the bars?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Because somedays the dog needs a little tlc.

What are weekends good for if you can't be lazy and lounge around? 

Saturday was just that - a lazy, lounge-around day.

My sister stopped by and made herself cozy on our couch while cuddling with her favorite nephew, and it appears that our 80-pound dog didn't want to be left out. 

Maybe he sensed that another life change is upon us as we prepare for Baby August. Or maybe he was just having one of those I'm-feeling-kind-of-needy days. Either way, our pup proved that you're never too big for a good cuddle.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Non-Maternal Instincts

Nonmaternal Instinct

BMB - Parenting skillz that will save your life.

I'm not above bribery. I'm not above manipulation. And I'm certainly not above blackmail.

I'm a mother and a wife. Aren't these the skills that mothers and wives have learned (out of necessity, of course) to do frighteningly well?

Before you judge me, take this quiz.
  1. Have you ever said to your child, "If you eat the disgusting dinner I nuked in the microwave nutritious meal I graciously prepared, then you can have a scoop of the ice cream that I bought (only because I had a coupon - do you really think this green momma would buy her children ice cream just because? Okay, yes she would; she's not above that either)?
  2. Have you ever said to your husband, "Wow, you really are getting stronger. Is that definition that I see penetrating your beer belly flat abdomen? Oh, by the way, I spent $65 on shampoo, but like I was saying, you are looking so buff these days." (But in my defense, I get my hair done for pennies because my sister is a stylist, so I can splurge on fancy shampoo, dang-it)?
  3. Have you ever said to the members of your household, "If you dare tell a soul about Mommy's little chin hair problem, I will post these pictures across the Internets like nobody's business" {flashes pictures of the boys playing with sister's Barbies}?
If you answered yes to these questions, and you know you did, then you, like me, use bribery, manipulation, and blackmail as a means to always getting your way lifesaving parenting tools. 

So the other day, when my son was a bit fussier than I wanted to deal with, I pulled out a special treat that some might argue is inappropriate for a young child of his age (and they call themselves experts; what do they know).

A bright blue sugar ball on a stick (also known as a sucker).

And boy, did it work!

"Look, Mom, I'm happy now."

You know it's good when you drool blue.

"See, Mom, sugar and sharp sticks in the mouth make everything better."

"That was delicious, can I have another?"

"What do you mean it's all gone???"

"No more? Say it ain't so."

So what I didn't prepare for was the even fussier baby I would have after the sucker was all sucked away. 

I never said that bribery, manipulation, and blackmail never backfire. 

But what I am learning is that when my mad parenting skillz do backfire {swallowing pride}, I simply need to be prepared with another equally deceptive brilliant form of BMB (bribery, manipulation, blackmail). 

Caffeine-laden, cotton-candy-filled chocolate marshmallows, anyone?