Shana Tova

Thursday, September 29, 2011

It has been a *rough* couple of weeks in our household.

Last week, Jack was down with the enigmatic "fever virus," which gives your toddler a low-grade fever for days.  I like to call it the "daycare slayer," because said fever means they cannot go to school, even though they look and act pretty darn fine.  He went back to school for one day last week, Friday, and was super psyched to be back.  Phew, breathed us, the parents.

Then, last Saturday, as we were enjoying a super fun weekend with our besties in from DC, Jack decided to make one of my deeply rooted parental fears come true.  He projectile vomited.  On our couch.

I have been afraid of the projectile vom day since he was born.  Sure, babies spit up, but that's no big deal.  However, maniacal toddlers eat everything that grown-ups eat, yet cannot control when, where, or with how much force they vom.  Enter:  My fears realized.  (Post on couch cleaning will be on the way soon.)


As it we weren't busy enough, and stretched thin enough, my body decided to go down for the count.  On Tuesday night, the eve of a Very Important Day at My Job, I got the projectile vom bit of Jack's plethora of illnesses.  Oh, crappity.


What happened?  I was sick. I missed The Thing at work.  It was okay, but definitely not great that I wasn't there.  I felt like doo doo, on both physical and professional levels.  Yes, it happens, but don't you remember?  I'm SuperMom.  It's not supposed to happen to Me.


**SIGH**

It is also Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year.  We are not Jewish.  However, I have always had a sincere fondness for this holiday.


In order to shed some light on the meaning of this celebration, I am going to let the (credible on many levels) website for Jdate step in:

Serving as the Head of the Year, The Day of Judgment, and The Day of Remembrance, Rosh Hashanah is a Jewish Holiday for reflecting upon the past year, and looking forward to the blessings of the new year to come. The Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah leads to the Ten Days of Penitence culminating on Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement. Rosh Hashanah is the Day of Judgment where the inhabitants of the world come before G-d to be examined, as sheep pass for examination before the Sheppard. According to the Talmud, three books are opened on this Jewish holiday. The book of life is where the names of the righteous are inscribed, the names of the wicked are removed from the book of the living, and those in middle class are allowed ten days to repent and become righteous until the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur.

In the big picture?  You get to stop.  Reflect on what you've done well and done poorly in the past year.  You get to fill yourself with hope and new resolve for the good things to come in the next year.  And if you need to repent (and who doesn't?), you get ten days to work through it until the next High Holiday.

Uh, that's awesome, people.

And so, as I felt all trudgy and meh and sorry for myself heading back to work today, a friend reminded me that this is actually the perfect time to start fresh.  Get the ick out.  Say the sorries.  Kick this past year to the curb, because a new and totally awesome one is coming.

And so, I say to you, Shana Tova.

Here's to a sweet year,
Heather

SugarLips

Last weekend, we rocked a super fun time with Kristina and Jamie.  In fact, it was so fun that we barely took any pictures, the fun-making was so all-pervasive.  We shopped and talked and laughed and ate and relaxed and caught up, in that way you do with your besties that makes you *really* wish they lived in the same city.

Le sigh.

One thing we had to do last weekend was Operation: Get Kolaches.  We introduced these Czech breakfast treats to Kristina and Jamie last time they were in town, and they made quite the impression.  So, on Saturday morning, Kristina, Jack, and I went to Shipley Donuts to procure the goodness.

Jamie calls them "hot dog donuts."  Which is not that far off.

Of course, Kristina and I were hungry.  She's eating for two, and I had been up since like 5 AM without eating breakfast.  We were ready to throw down.  And Jack, well he's always ready for breakfast.  On a normal day, he eats "first breakfast" and "second breakfast."  If there is a "third breakfast" on the weekend, so much the better.

So, we planned to take kolaches home for the guys, but that did not stop us from enjoying some ourselves, while fresh and warm at the bakery!  And, we treated Jack to a cinnamon twist.  Did I mention that cinnamon twists are sugar-coated?


And that sugar-coated twists make for sugar-coated toddlers?


Of course, I'm not nicknaming him SugarLips.  He can earn that one himself when he's ... 25.

Oh, how quickly they grow.

Kolaches up, people.
Heather

BoosterMania

Monday, September 26, 2011

In a parenting move that was probably long overdue, we got Jack a booster seat this weekend.  No more high chair -- it's been moved to the garage.  

No more high chair means several things.  It means we have a lot more room in our kitchen.  High chairs are big.  It means that Jack is using plates, bowls, and utensils at every meal.  The messiness of a meal has some sort of inverse ratio to sitting at a table.  You can't just wipe yogurt all over your face when you sit in a booster seat and eat at the table, right?  I thought not.  That's for *babies*.

I suppose that getting rid of the high chair could make me feel sad -- like it's another milestone that means he's not a baby anymore.  But he so loves eating at the table, that it makes me not think that way.

I mean, look at this face.


Hope there's a toothy grin in your Monday,
Heather

From Jack

Tuesday, September 20, 2011



I like yogurt.

I eat yogurt with a spoon.

Mom keeps taking pictures of me.

Don't you eat yogurt with a spoon?

-- JACK

Biscuits

Monday, September 19, 2011

I fully embrace my Irish heritage.  I think a misty morning is heavenly.  I think a cold(ish) pint of Guinness is divine.  I think a curse word here and there is not only appropriate, but required.



There is a problem with that last one.  

Jack is a sponge.  And when I say "sponge," I mean little walking, talking person with no filter who likes to repeat every word you say that he can make his mouth form.  

He has not cursed, yet.  To avoid this unfortunate occurrence, I have cut way back on my cursing.  This is hard for me.  So, I had the *brilliant* idea -- or maybe Durel had it -- that we need to replace our curse words with another word that's innocent.  We didn't want anything that sounded too close to the offending word (as in, "fudge" is not an appropriate substitute for the "F" word because it's too close).  

What did we choose?  Biscuit.


Why?  Because!  How can you hate a biscuit?  With all of its buttery carbohydrate loveliness?  You can't.  Even if you hear your parents saying things like this:

  • Don't be such a biscuit!
  • Oh, BISCUIT!
  • I'm telling you -- that butters my biscuit.
  • That guy is a rotten old biscuit.
You get the idea.  So far, it's working pretty well.  And we're cracking ourselves up in the process.  

What do you think?  Are you more virtuous than me, so stopping cursing was no problem for you?  Or have you done something creative?  Do you think we're nuts?  (Maybe don't answer that last one.)

With butter and jam, even,
Heather

Our Green Friend

Friday, September 16, 2011

Yo Gabba Gabba has introduced a lot of good lessons and fun catchphrases into our lives.  I mean, who doesn't want a party in their tummy? (So yummy!  So yummy!)  And who doesn't like a good dancey dance from time to time?  (Let's be real.  I do.)  

And who doesn't love the green, striped little guy named Brobee?


For the uninitiated (who are still reading), Brobee is a little kid.  He gets scared of stuff.  He isn't sure he wants to try new snacks sometimes.  He plays the drums.  And when told he needed a shampoo, he asked, incredulously, "A Magic Shamu?" (Maybe you  had to be there.)

Dude.  He's popular.

You can be him for Halloween.


No matter how old you are, it appears.
He can top your birthday cake.


Or he can *be* your birthday cake.


Or, he can be your veggie tray.
(Though it does sort of look like he's pooping green beans.  Sorry.  Doesn't it, though?)

Or, he can be your best friend.

That's what Jack opted for.


We found Brobee at Target, and he came home with us after Jack stoically received his 18 month shots earlier this week.  (And by stoic, I mean, he did the silent scream until his face turned purple, and then when he reached the level of sound that human ears can hear, it resonated inside my skull for several minutes afterward.)  We're good.  

May there be no silent screams and many parties in your tummy this weekend,
Heather

My New Boyfriend, Borax

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I had no idea that you can make your own dishwasher detergent.  Until a few weeks ago, when I saw this:




And I thought, "Wow.  That is damn crafty.  And you know what?  I bet it's cheap as hell."  (I curse a lot in my thoughts since I have begrudgingly but responsibly stopped cursing around Jack.

As I've mentioned before, I'm a busy lady.  But the thought of doing this kept buzzing about in my busy brain.  How hard can it be?  Wouldn't that be cool to try?  Dishwasher detergent is pricey stuff.  And you know I like the liquid, and that's even more expensive.  So, if I could make my own dishwasher detergent, that's more lattes at Starbucks that I can justify.  (Evidently, my new rapture at home economics hasn't impacted my raging addiction to overpriced but so amazingly awesome coffee.  Stay tuned.)

I started reading recipes.  The first one I found, on a very cool website called DIY Natural called for:
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
I thought, "I've heard of this Borax stuff for my whole life.  Four ingredients?  I'm in."  Until, that is, I read further and was advised that you can purchase citric acid in big, $27 bottles from your local brewing supply store.  Suddenly, this seemed harder than I cared for it to be.  (Yes, that is lame.  But it's true.)

I kept looking.  And found another recipe on another very cool website, Domestic Cents, that didn't require the home brewing store.  This one called for:
  • 1/2 cup Arm &  Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • 1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 4 packets lemonade flavor Kool-Aid powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup salt (Kosher salt recommended)
  • Extra:  Lemi-Shine, to use as a rinse aid

Kool-Aid?  HUH?  I read on.  Of course, the thing that makes Kool-Aid sweet is the heaping cup of sugar that you pour into it when you make it.  So, it would seem that the actual beverage powder is all sorts of citrusy goodness for your dishwashing needs.  Hmm.  I was intrigued.  And with four ingredients that I was pretty sure I could get at one store, I was back in.

One of these informative blogs recommended that you make the detergent in a container that you would have thrown away or recycled, to make it a truly frugal endeavor.  That made sense.  So, I gathered my ingredients and was on my way.


And, just because I found it in the grocery store, I bought the Lemi-Shine, too.


And then I, uh, put it all in a container that I would have recycled.  Which took about 60 seconds.


Considering that you use one tablespoon per dishwasher load, this amount would have lasted a long time.  But, you know, since I'd chosen a large container, and Borax comes in big old boxes, I decided to make another batch.  So, in 60 more seconds, I had twice this amount.  

If you want to really crunch the numbers on this, other websites will tell you.  I am not a mathematician, to say the least.  So, here are my approximations:

  • Borax:  Cost like $3.50 and the box is huge.  Still have WAY more than half left.
  • Washing Soda:  Cost like $3.50 and the box is huge.  Still have like 3/4 left.
  • Salt:  That container cost like $1.50.
  • Kool-Aid:  10 packets for $1.00.
  • Total cost of those supplies:  $9.50.
  • Amount of dishwasher detergent it made:  My guess is that it will last us through the end of the year, if not longer.
  • Amount of supplies remaining:  No Kool-Aid (not that we drink that, so whatevs), but a ton of Borax, washing soda, and a good amount of salt that I will cook with.
How were the dishes, you ask?  Awesome.  I used one tablespoon of my new detergent, and put another tablespoon of Lemi-Shine in as a rinse aid.  The dishes are crystal clear and perfectly clean.  

That's not the end of the story, though.  Making the detergent was sort of anticlimactic because it was so damn fast.  When I was done, I stood there and pondered this magical stuff called Borax.  And then, I got an idea.

I shook some into my dual stainless steel sinks that are never as clean as I want them to be.  After a couple minutes of moderate scrubbing, they were cleaner than they've ever been.  I stood there like a dork, grinning. I shared this revelation with Durel, who was watching football and was all like, "Huh?  What's Borax?"

I was on a mission.  I proceeded to SCRUB our master bathroom, on a random Monday night, with my new best friend, Borax, until it was completely gleaming.  It took all of my self-control not to tweet this:  "Just discovered Borax.  May be up all night cleaning."

I didn't, though, because you would have thought I was nuts.  Oops.  Anyway, I highly recommend this magical Borax stuff, and this recipe for dishwasher detergent.  And maybe I am a little nutty.

But at least I'm nutty enough to admit it,
Heather

Dudes

Monday, September 12, 2011

After eating key lime sorbet in Key West.
I grew up with sisters.  My brother was a freshman in college when I was born, so I didn't have the benefit of ever living in the same house as him. And, with three daughters and a wife at home, suffice it to say that my dear, amazingly patient and generous dad was outnumbered.

These days, I hang out with dudes.  I'm outnumbered.  In fact, I'm still outnumbered if you factor in the dogs, because then it's 3:2, in favor of the guys.  

What have I learned, living with dudes?

  • No matter how tough you are, hugs are still good.
  • It is all about football.
  • And cookies.
  • So, it's all about cookies and football.
  • I love my dudes beyond words.

Someday, if we're lucky enough to add to our little family, maybe we'll even up that ratio.  Or maybe not.  Either way, I know how lucky I am to spend my days with these dudes, and I treasure every moment.

If only I gave a shit about football.

Heather

Surf's Up

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Without a leg cast to crimp his style, Jack took to the beach like, well, a fish to water.

Is that the water?  I should go check it out.

Ooh, Dad's going!  I have to go with him!

Dad time on the beach is the double best.
More to come.  Hope all is well where you are.

Heather

What Would You Have Done?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Durel and I just got back from a fabulous long weekend at the beach with my parents.  We had a gorgeous beach house, yummy seafood, an infinity pool ... in other words, it rocked.

The other thing that rocked about it was that Jack could actually get into the water, be it Gulf or pool.  If you cast your memories back to our other (lovely) vacation in Florida this summer, Jack was doing his best Peg Leg impression a cast on his broken leg.  That meant that beach, pool, and bath (all forms of water, in fact), were off limits to him.

Oh how I love the Interwebs.  Seriously.

You may also recall that our trip to Florida has gone down in the annals of history as Toddlerpocalypse.  This is because, well, just read about it here.  I can't even bear to recap except to say:  We flew.  It sucked.

For this trip, we drove.  We tried to outsmart Jack, based on our last experience.  We worked full days at the office.  We came home and fed Jack dinner.  We got him ready for bed, including overnight diaper and jammie jams.  Then, we loaded his (tired) little toddler butt into the car for the four hour drive to our waterfront destination.  

Needless to say, our thought was that after a full day at school, rollin' with his homies, a dinner and his pj's, he would sleep.

Did he sleep?  No.

What did he do?  


Did I stop him?  No.

Why?  Because he wasn't crying.

What would you have done?

Have you read about the Toddlerpocalypse yet?

If not, go back, read it, and then ask yourself again:  What would you have done?

I thought not,
Heather

Beach Boys

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm not usually wordless, even on Wednesday.  But I think this speaks for itself.


Don't you?

Heather

Ten Things

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Recently, I took the Mom Pledge.  To me, the Mom Pledge means that I am dedicated to creating a safe and informative space on the Interwebs for moms to share their experiences without judgment, with support, and with creativity and freedom.  Since then, I have posted pictures of Jack eating cookies and being a butterfly.  And while that's nice and all, it doesn't have much to do with the substance of the pledge.

Yesterday, a friend on Facebook posted that her four(ish) month old Little Dude doesn't like pureed peas.  It made me smile, and I commented to suggest that she try pears and/or sweet potatoes, both of which Jack loved.  The speed and ease of my response took me aback a little bit.  

It was as if I read her post and immediately thought, "Oh, right.  Peas are tricky.  She should try other things that are a little sweeter, but not rely entirely on the orange purees, so that he never eats anything green.  I should suggest pears and sweet potatoes.  How cool that she's making her own food."

And with that thought, I felt like Such.A.Mom.  And it was awesome.

So, I jotted down my list of Ten Things To Share.  That means these are ten things that I was told, or learned the hard way, or figured out, but think are useful to put out there.  Feel free to like, dislike, borrow, or ignore. It's all good.

1.  Swaddling works.  We swaddled Jack like it was our job.  Because making him happy and sleepy was our job.  And it totally worked. We really liked the Kiddopotamus.  Miracle Blankets are cool, but the Kiddopatamus is EASY.

2.  Breastfeeding is not easy.  Forget all of those fuzzy, sepia-toned visions of nursing your baby while your endorphins surge.  Or don't, because that might happen.  But if it doesn't happen to you, it's OK.  Not all breastfeeding situations are created equal.  I'll leave it at that.

3.  Making your own baby food is smart, cheap, easy, and rewarding.
Baby food is cheap, but making your own baby food is cheaper.  And free of preservatives.  And fresh and delicious.  And it sort of makes you feel like SuperMom.  I recommend it.

Not gonna lie.  I enjoy a pea from time to time.
4.  Trust your instincts.  You know more than you think.

5.  Trust Dad's instincts, too.  He knows more than you think.

Look at us!  Just trusting our instincts.

6.  Reading is fun.  We've been reading to Jack every night since he was born.  Because it's part of our routine, and it's fun, and reading is important.  For all of us.  

7.  You are tougher than you think.  And you will slog through that poo-splosion to get to the other side.  Because it's your kiddo, and you just will, that's all.

Poo-splosion?  Who, me?

8.  Some days suck.  Because they involve non-stop crying/pooping/puking/throwing/no-ing/dog tail pulling/nerve-fraying/etc.  Dude, mama said there'd be days like this.

Really, Mother?  Now is the time to take pictures?
9.  Some days rock.  Because they involve non-stop cuddling/cooing/smiling/nursing/sleeping/playing/tummy time/etc.  

Around 4 months.  He was home sick and we did a photo shoot on the couch.
I'll never forget this day.

10.  Just when you learn something, all the rules change.  Numbers 1-9 are based on Jack's first 17 months of life.  But guess what happens on Sunday?  He turns 18 months.  Guess what else?  We are currently on a fast track into the unknown, which involves talking, potty training, cup-drinking, utensil-using, disciplining and other scary things like that.  So, my guess is that in a while, I'll have another list of hard-fought truths learned from doing hard Toddler Time.

Waiting in the orthopedist's office for his cast.
Riiiight.  Things are changing, people.
I guess...stay tuned?

Keeping it real in list format,
Heather

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Shana Tova

It has been a *rough* couple of weeks in our household.

Last week, Jack was down with the enigmatic "fever virus," which gives your toddler a low-grade fever for days.  I like to call it the "daycare slayer," because said fever means they cannot go to school, even though they look and act pretty darn fine.  He went back to school for one day last week, Friday, and was super psyched to be back.  Phew, breathed us, the parents.

Then, last Saturday, as we were enjoying a super fun weekend with our besties in from DC, Jack decided to make one of my deeply rooted parental fears come true.  He projectile vomited.  On our couch.

I have been afraid of the projectile vom day since he was born.  Sure, babies spit up, but that's no big deal.  However, maniacal toddlers eat everything that grown-ups eat, yet cannot control when, where, or with how much force they vom.  Enter:  My fears realized.  (Post on couch cleaning will be on the way soon.)


As it we weren't busy enough, and stretched thin enough, my body decided to go down for the count.  On Tuesday night, the eve of a Very Important Day at My Job, I got the projectile vom bit of Jack's plethora of illnesses.  Oh, crappity.


What happened?  I was sick. I missed The Thing at work.  It was okay, but definitely not great that I wasn't there.  I felt like doo doo, on both physical and professional levels.  Yes, it happens, but don't you remember?  I'm SuperMom.  It's not supposed to happen to Me.


**SIGH**

It is also Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year.  We are not Jewish.  However, I have always had a sincere fondness for this holiday.


In order to shed some light on the meaning of this celebration, I am going to let the (credible on many levels) website for Jdate step in:

Serving as the Head of the Year, The Day of Judgment, and The Day of Remembrance, Rosh Hashanah is a Jewish Holiday for reflecting upon the past year, and looking forward to the blessings of the new year to come. The Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah leads to the Ten Days of Penitence culminating on Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement. Rosh Hashanah is the Day of Judgment where the inhabitants of the world come before G-d to be examined, as sheep pass for examination before the Sheppard. According to the Talmud, three books are opened on this Jewish holiday. The book of life is where the names of the righteous are inscribed, the names of the wicked are removed from the book of the living, and those in middle class are allowed ten days to repent and become righteous until the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur.

In the big picture?  You get to stop.  Reflect on what you've done well and done poorly in the past year.  You get to fill yourself with hope and new resolve for the good things to come in the next year.  And if you need to repent (and who doesn't?), you get ten days to work through it until the next High Holiday.

Uh, that's awesome, people.

And so, as I felt all trudgy and meh and sorry for myself heading back to work today, a friend reminded me that this is actually the perfect time to start fresh.  Get the ick out.  Say the sorries.  Kick this past year to the curb, because a new and totally awesome one is coming.

And so, I say to you, Shana Tova.

Here's to a sweet year,
Heather

SugarLips

Last weekend, we rocked a super fun time with Kristina and Jamie.  In fact, it was so fun that we barely took any pictures, the fun-making was so all-pervasive.  We shopped and talked and laughed and ate and relaxed and caught up, in that way you do with your besties that makes you *really* wish they lived in the same city.

Le sigh.

One thing we had to do last weekend was Operation: Get Kolaches.  We introduced these Czech breakfast treats to Kristina and Jamie last time they were in town, and they made quite the impression.  So, on Saturday morning, Kristina, Jack, and I went to Shipley Donuts to procure the goodness.

Jamie calls them "hot dog donuts."  Which is not that far off.

Of course, Kristina and I were hungry.  She's eating for two, and I had been up since like 5 AM without eating breakfast.  We were ready to throw down.  And Jack, well he's always ready for breakfast.  On a normal day, he eats "first breakfast" and "second breakfast."  If there is a "third breakfast" on the weekend, so much the better.

So, we planned to take kolaches home for the guys, but that did not stop us from enjoying some ourselves, while fresh and warm at the bakery!  And, we treated Jack to a cinnamon twist.  Did I mention that cinnamon twists are sugar-coated?


And that sugar-coated twists make for sugar-coated toddlers?


Of course, I'm not nicknaming him SugarLips.  He can earn that one himself when he's ... 25.

Oh, how quickly they grow.

Kolaches up, people.
Heather

Monday, September 26, 2011

BoosterMania

In a parenting move that was probably long overdue, we got Jack a booster seat this weekend.  No more high chair -- it's been moved to the garage.  

No more high chair means several things.  It means we have a lot more room in our kitchen.  High chairs are big.  It means that Jack is using plates, bowls, and utensils at every meal.  The messiness of a meal has some sort of inverse ratio to sitting at a table.  You can't just wipe yogurt all over your face when you sit in a booster seat and eat at the table, right?  I thought not.  That's for *babies*.

I suppose that getting rid of the high chair could make me feel sad -- like it's another milestone that means he's not a baby anymore.  But he so loves eating at the table, that it makes me not think that way.

I mean, look at this face.


Hope there's a toothy grin in your Monday,
Heather

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

From Jack



I like yogurt.

I eat yogurt with a spoon.

Mom keeps taking pictures of me.

Don't you eat yogurt with a spoon?

-- JACK

Monday, September 19, 2011

Biscuits

I fully embrace my Irish heritage.  I think a misty morning is heavenly.  I think a cold(ish) pint of Guinness is divine.  I think a curse word here and there is not only appropriate, but required.



There is a problem with that last one.  

Jack is a sponge.  And when I say "sponge," I mean little walking, talking person with no filter who likes to repeat every word you say that he can make his mouth form.  

He has not cursed, yet.  To avoid this unfortunate occurrence, I have cut way back on my cursing.  This is hard for me.  So, I had the *brilliant* idea -- or maybe Durel had it -- that we need to replace our curse words with another word that's innocent.  We didn't want anything that sounded too close to the offending word (as in, "fudge" is not an appropriate substitute for the "F" word because it's too close).  

What did we choose?  Biscuit.


Why?  Because!  How can you hate a biscuit?  With all of its buttery carbohydrate loveliness?  You can't.  Even if you hear your parents saying things like this:

  • Don't be such a biscuit!
  • Oh, BISCUIT!
  • I'm telling you -- that butters my biscuit.
  • That guy is a rotten old biscuit.
You get the idea.  So far, it's working pretty well.  And we're cracking ourselves up in the process.  

What do you think?  Are you more virtuous than me, so stopping cursing was no problem for you?  Or have you done something creative?  Do you think we're nuts?  (Maybe don't answer that last one.)

With butter and jam, even,
Heather

Friday, September 16, 2011

Our Green Friend

Yo Gabba Gabba has introduced a lot of good lessons and fun catchphrases into our lives.  I mean, who doesn't want a party in their tummy? (So yummy!  So yummy!)  And who doesn't like a good dancey dance from time to time?  (Let's be real.  I do.)  

And who doesn't love the green, striped little guy named Brobee?


For the uninitiated (who are still reading), Brobee is a little kid.  He gets scared of stuff.  He isn't sure he wants to try new snacks sometimes.  He plays the drums.  And when told he needed a shampoo, he asked, incredulously, "A Magic Shamu?" (Maybe you  had to be there.)

Dude.  He's popular.

You can be him for Halloween.


No matter how old you are, it appears.
He can top your birthday cake.


Or he can *be* your birthday cake.


Or, he can be your veggie tray.
(Though it does sort of look like he's pooping green beans.  Sorry.  Doesn't it, though?)

Or, he can be your best friend.

That's what Jack opted for.


We found Brobee at Target, and he came home with us after Jack stoically received his 18 month shots earlier this week.  (And by stoic, I mean, he did the silent scream until his face turned purple, and then when he reached the level of sound that human ears can hear, it resonated inside my skull for several minutes afterward.)  We're good.  

May there be no silent screams and many parties in your tummy this weekend,
Heather

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My New Boyfriend, Borax

I had no idea that you can make your own dishwasher detergent.  Until a few weeks ago, when I saw this:




And I thought, "Wow.  That is damn crafty.  And you know what?  I bet it's cheap as hell."  (I curse a lot in my thoughts since I have begrudgingly but responsibly stopped cursing around Jack.

As I've mentioned before, I'm a busy lady.  But the thought of doing this kept buzzing about in my busy brain.  How hard can it be?  Wouldn't that be cool to try?  Dishwasher detergent is pricey stuff.  And you know I like the liquid, and that's even more expensive.  So, if I could make my own dishwasher detergent, that's more lattes at Starbucks that I can justify.  (Evidently, my new rapture at home economics hasn't impacted my raging addiction to overpriced but so amazingly awesome coffee.  Stay tuned.)

I started reading recipes.  The first one I found, on a very cool website called DIY Natural called for:
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
I thought, "I've heard of this Borax stuff for my whole life.  Four ingredients?  I'm in."  Until, that is, I read further and was advised that you can purchase citric acid in big, $27 bottles from your local brewing supply store.  Suddenly, this seemed harder than I cared for it to be.  (Yes, that is lame.  But it's true.)

I kept looking.  And found another recipe on another very cool website, Domestic Cents, that didn't require the home brewing store.  This one called for:
  • 1/2 cup Arm &  Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • 1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 4 packets lemonade flavor Kool-Aid powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup salt (Kosher salt recommended)
  • Extra:  Lemi-Shine, to use as a rinse aid

Kool-Aid?  HUH?  I read on.  Of course, the thing that makes Kool-Aid sweet is the heaping cup of sugar that you pour into it when you make it.  So, it would seem that the actual beverage powder is all sorts of citrusy goodness for your dishwashing needs.  Hmm.  I was intrigued.  And with four ingredients that I was pretty sure I could get at one store, I was back in.

One of these informative blogs recommended that you make the detergent in a container that you would have thrown away or recycled, to make it a truly frugal endeavor.  That made sense.  So, I gathered my ingredients and was on my way.


And, just because I found it in the grocery store, I bought the Lemi-Shine, too.


And then I, uh, put it all in a container that I would have recycled.  Which took about 60 seconds.


Considering that you use one tablespoon per dishwasher load, this amount would have lasted a long time.  But, you know, since I'd chosen a large container, and Borax comes in big old boxes, I decided to make another batch.  So, in 60 more seconds, I had twice this amount.  

If you want to really crunch the numbers on this, other websites will tell you.  I am not a mathematician, to say the least.  So, here are my approximations:

  • Borax:  Cost like $3.50 and the box is huge.  Still have WAY more than half left.
  • Washing Soda:  Cost like $3.50 and the box is huge.  Still have like 3/4 left.
  • Salt:  That container cost like $1.50.
  • Kool-Aid:  10 packets for $1.00.
  • Total cost of those supplies:  $9.50.
  • Amount of dishwasher detergent it made:  My guess is that it will last us through the end of the year, if not longer.
  • Amount of supplies remaining:  No Kool-Aid (not that we drink that, so whatevs), but a ton of Borax, washing soda, and a good amount of salt that I will cook with.
How were the dishes, you ask?  Awesome.  I used one tablespoon of my new detergent, and put another tablespoon of Lemi-Shine in as a rinse aid.  The dishes are crystal clear and perfectly clean.  

That's not the end of the story, though.  Making the detergent was sort of anticlimactic because it was so damn fast.  When I was done, I stood there and pondered this magical stuff called Borax.  And then, I got an idea.

I shook some into my dual stainless steel sinks that are never as clean as I want them to be.  After a couple minutes of moderate scrubbing, they were cleaner than they've ever been.  I stood there like a dork, grinning. I shared this revelation with Durel, who was watching football and was all like, "Huh?  What's Borax?"

I was on a mission.  I proceeded to SCRUB our master bathroom, on a random Monday night, with my new best friend, Borax, until it was completely gleaming.  It took all of my self-control not to tweet this:  "Just discovered Borax.  May be up all night cleaning."

I didn't, though, because you would have thought I was nuts.  Oops.  Anyway, I highly recommend this magical Borax stuff, and this recipe for dishwasher detergent.  And maybe I am a little nutty.

But at least I'm nutty enough to admit it,
Heather

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dudes

After eating key lime sorbet in Key West.
I grew up with sisters.  My brother was a freshman in college when I was born, so I didn't have the benefit of ever living in the same house as him. And, with three daughters and a wife at home, suffice it to say that my dear, amazingly patient and generous dad was outnumbered.

These days, I hang out with dudes.  I'm outnumbered.  In fact, I'm still outnumbered if you factor in the dogs, because then it's 3:2, in favor of the guys.  

What have I learned, living with dudes?

  • No matter how tough you are, hugs are still good.
  • It is all about football.
  • And cookies.
  • So, it's all about cookies and football.
  • I love my dudes beyond words.

Someday, if we're lucky enough to add to our little family, maybe we'll even up that ratio.  Or maybe not.  Either way, I know how lucky I am to spend my days with these dudes, and I treasure every moment.

If only I gave a shit about football.

Heather

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Surf's Up

Without a leg cast to crimp his style, Jack took to the beach like, well, a fish to water.

Is that the water?  I should go check it out.

Ooh, Dad's going!  I have to go with him!

Dad time on the beach is the double best.
More to come.  Hope all is well where you are.

Heather

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What Would You Have Done?

Durel and I just got back from a fabulous long weekend at the beach with my parents.  We had a gorgeous beach house, yummy seafood, an infinity pool ... in other words, it rocked.

The other thing that rocked about it was that Jack could actually get into the water, be it Gulf or pool.  If you cast your memories back to our other (lovely) vacation in Florida this summer, Jack was doing his best Peg Leg impression a cast on his broken leg.  That meant that beach, pool, and bath (all forms of water, in fact), were off limits to him.

Oh how I love the Interwebs.  Seriously.

You may also recall that our trip to Florida has gone down in the annals of history as Toddlerpocalypse.  This is because, well, just read about it here.  I can't even bear to recap except to say:  We flew.  It sucked.

For this trip, we drove.  We tried to outsmart Jack, based on our last experience.  We worked full days at the office.  We came home and fed Jack dinner.  We got him ready for bed, including overnight diaper and jammie jams.  Then, we loaded his (tired) little toddler butt into the car for the four hour drive to our waterfront destination.  

Needless to say, our thought was that after a full day at school, rollin' with his homies, a dinner and his pj's, he would sleep.

Did he sleep?  No.

What did he do?  


Did I stop him?  No.

Why?  Because he wasn't crying.

What would you have done?

Have you read about the Toddlerpocalypse yet?

If not, go back, read it, and then ask yourself again:  What would you have done?

I thought not,
Heather

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Beach Boys

I'm not usually wordless, even on Wednesday.  But I think this speaks for itself.


Don't you?

Heather

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ten Things

Recently, I took the Mom Pledge.  To me, the Mom Pledge means that I am dedicated to creating a safe and informative space on the Interwebs for moms to share their experiences without judgment, with support, and with creativity and freedom.  Since then, I have posted pictures of Jack eating cookies and being a butterfly.  And while that's nice and all, it doesn't have much to do with the substance of the pledge.

Yesterday, a friend on Facebook posted that her four(ish) month old Little Dude doesn't like pureed peas.  It made me smile, and I commented to suggest that she try pears and/or sweet potatoes, both of which Jack loved.  The speed and ease of my response took me aback a little bit.  

It was as if I read her post and immediately thought, "Oh, right.  Peas are tricky.  She should try other things that are a little sweeter, but not rely entirely on the orange purees, so that he never eats anything green.  I should suggest pears and sweet potatoes.  How cool that she's making her own food."

And with that thought, I felt like Such.A.Mom.  And it was awesome.

So, I jotted down my list of Ten Things To Share.  That means these are ten things that I was told, or learned the hard way, or figured out, but think are useful to put out there.  Feel free to like, dislike, borrow, or ignore. It's all good.

1.  Swaddling works.  We swaddled Jack like it was our job.  Because making him happy and sleepy was our job.  And it totally worked. We really liked the Kiddopotamus.  Miracle Blankets are cool, but the Kiddopatamus is EASY.

2.  Breastfeeding is not easy.  Forget all of those fuzzy, sepia-toned visions of nursing your baby while your endorphins surge.  Or don't, because that might happen.  But if it doesn't happen to you, it's OK.  Not all breastfeeding situations are created equal.  I'll leave it at that.

3.  Making your own baby food is smart, cheap, easy, and rewarding.
Baby food is cheap, but making your own baby food is cheaper.  And free of preservatives.  And fresh and delicious.  And it sort of makes you feel like SuperMom.  I recommend it.

Not gonna lie.  I enjoy a pea from time to time.
4.  Trust your instincts.  You know more than you think.

5.  Trust Dad's instincts, too.  He knows more than you think.

Look at us!  Just trusting our instincts.

6.  Reading is fun.  We've been reading to Jack every night since he was born.  Because it's part of our routine, and it's fun, and reading is important.  For all of us.  

7.  You are tougher than you think.  And you will slog through that poo-splosion to get to the other side.  Because it's your kiddo, and you just will, that's all.

Poo-splosion?  Who, me?

8.  Some days suck.  Because they involve non-stop crying/pooping/puking/throwing/no-ing/dog tail pulling/nerve-fraying/etc.  Dude, mama said there'd be days like this.

Really, Mother?  Now is the time to take pictures?
9.  Some days rock.  Because they involve non-stop cuddling/cooing/smiling/nursing/sleeping/playing/tummy time/etc.  

Around 4 months.  He was home sick and we did a photo shoot on the couch.
I'll never forget this day.

10.  Just when you learn something, all the rules change.  Numbers 1-9 are based on Jack's first 17 months of life.  But guess what happens on Sunday?  He turns 18 months.  Guess what else?  We are currently on a fast track into the unknown, which involves talking, potty training, cup-drinking, utensil-using, disciplining and other scary things like that.  So, my guess is that in a while, I'll have another list of hard-fought truths learned from doing hard Toddler Time.

Waiting in the orthopedist's office for his cast.
Riiiight.  Things are changing, people.
I guess...stay tuned?

Keeping it real in list format,
Heather
 
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