Thursday, January 24, 2008


Tomorrow I send the 'ole laptop off for repairs and then wait 5 business days for it. So, it will be a vacation from computer stuff. Spent the whole night last night deleting old files and backing up the rest of it in case it comes back wiped.

And speaking of wiping, and vacations...Lauren's had a diaper rash, so we've had a vacation from cloth diapers for awhile. Can't use the FuzziBunz if you have lots of diaper rash cream, it will make them not able to soak up liquid and void their warranty. She doesn't seem to be allergic to the Pampers Ryan bought at all. The danger is that she likes them TOO much. They have Elmo on them. (rolling eyes). But it's been a treat not having to do as much laundry.

And the real upcoming vacation-my mom & I & Lauren are flying into Albany on Feb 19th. Lauren has never seen real snow and she's very excited about it. Not to mention all of the aunts & uncles & cousins to see. One of the sad reasons we're going is that my mother's cousin Jackie is dying (of lung cancer) and she wants to see him one more time if possible, or otherwise attend the memorial service. I haven't seen him since I was very small so I don't really remember him.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Lesson learned

This morning Lauren was doing her usual sorting of spoons in the silverware drawer ("ma 'poons, ma 'poons") when she decided to explore the drawer next to it. You know, the junk drawer. Everyone has one, the place where you throw miscellaneous stuff. This drawer happened to contain a small condiment cup full of hot pepper flakes that come when you buy a pizza. As I saw Lauren lift it up and shake it, I formed the word "no" too late, and she broke it open, spilling little pepper seeds all over the kitchen.

I grabbed the dust-buster and started cleaning up. As I did so, I warned her "do NOT eat the pepper." Of course, she ate the pepper. Tears welled up in her eyes as she tried to spit out the seeds and she said "I so SO sorry, I SO SO SORRY!" over and over again. I wiped her mouth, gave her some milk to drink and say "nah, nah, I told you so!". No of course, I didn't do that. But I did remind her that if I tell her not to eat something, there's a good reason why not.

Oh, and as she was drifting off to sleep, she said one more time, "Mama, I so so sorry about peppas!"

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

Keeping up with the Joneses

Kate got one so now we had to go and copy her. Seriously, though, our vacuum broke a short time after she replaced her own. She'd done a lot of research and friend-polling to figure out the best one, so I just called her up and picked her brain about it. We got a Dyson DC14, which we've had almost 48 hours. It's fine, it's a vacuum, nothing to get orgasmic about but hey, it works. The customer service seems nice. I called them up because the box advertised "5 year warranty" and then the paperwork inside said "2 year warranty". It turned out it was just a packaging error and we do have a 5 year warranty. The man was kind enough to register it for us over the phone and email me confirming this in writing.

The funny story about getting the vacuum: I will try to shorten this and not go on and on like I will if I tell you this in person! Anyway, we bought it from Target, using 2 gift cards and the remainder on Ryan's Discover Card. Ryan paid for it and lugged it back to the car while I got Lauren settled in the carseat. Got home and discovered a giant "spider" alarm on it, which the store forgot to take off. It was such a hassle parking at Target and waiting on lines that I decided to call the manager to see if there was some trick to it, where I could take it off at home. She told me, "oh, just cut it off, it's fine, nothing will happen". Like a fool, I listened.

The alarm blared at piercingly high decibals while I called her back and she told me "oh, umm...sorry, just put it in the trash can, it will stop eventually.". It might have, but not before my neighbors shot me. So, I drove back to to Target-picture this one-with the blaring alarm in my hand, marched past security and straight to the front of the line at customer service, asking for the manager by name. She took the alarm, apologized, and ran to shove it in a drawer in the back room until someone could deactivate it. I then asked her if I could have some kind of discount for my trouble. After all, I did have to drive all the way back to the store, park, and suffer a headache of hearing the thing for half hour.

She said, "sure, I'll give you 15% off" and then rang up the purchase again, so that the 15% could be refunded to Ryan's credit card. Only it accidentally went onto the gift card instead, which the cashier had thrown in the trash. Another half hour later, the cashier eventually found the gift card in the trash. They could not figure out another way of doing the transaction other than voiding the earlier purchase and ringing it up again on one of my credit cards. But to thank me for waiting so patiently, they volunteered to give me 30% off the Dyson.

Sweet, except when I got home, Discover card had called Ryan. Apparantly instead of voiding the purchase, it charged his Discover card twice. And now it's also on my Visa. Grrrrr....
I hate sorting out these sorts of messes. Something like this happened to me in the 90's once at Radio Shack with an AmEx card and it never did get fixed, I had to pay for something twice that I'd returned. Anyway, I have all of the managers' names, who helped me, and I'm sure given the uniqueness of the situation, they will remember me when I have to go down there in person yet again to straighten this out once Ryan's paper statement arrives.

But back to the Dyson, it's got pretty good suction but the attachments are a bit cumbersome. We got the big honking one, not the light little one Kate has. It did suck up a lot of Jake hair from the carpet. It had been a week since the last vacuum (a Kenmore cannister vac) broke, so the carpets really needed it. It will be nice not to have to buy bags. I was worried that it would be a hassle dumping the cannister but it was quite easy.

Okay, now I'm bored of this subject and I assume all of you are, too. So if you have vacuum questions, ask me, otherwise, end story. Or better, yet ask Kate! :)

Best Buddies

Lauren & Alexa Saturday at a playdate at Alexa's house, which Lauren kept insisting was a party.
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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Adventures in Cloth Diapering

This post is going to bore and even gross out most of you. Feel free to move on to other, more interesting pages in this great big internet world. Anyway, back to bodily functions in the very young.

Imagine, you are a mother, about to have a child, considering your diapering options. Suppose that you think, in consideration of the environment, that it might be good to use cloth diapers. But, people convince you, you shouldn't undertake this adventure while still under the weepy influence of pregnancy hormones and while the child is soiling her tiny self every hour. In other words, go with disposables. And let's further suppose that you were thrown 3 separate baby showers, at which people generously donated hundreds of disposable diapers. So, you went the path of least resistance and embarked on the disposable diaper path.

Let us further suppose that this hypothetical you went for a year and a half using disposable diapers, spending [once you ran out of gift ones] ~$20 a week on them. Occasionally, due to procrastination and poor plannning, you run out and have to throw a swimming diaper on the child while the two of you dash to the store. Feeling mildly guilty about the pollution to the landfill, but nevertheless continuing to buy and toss ever more of the stinky things. Vaguely interested in the possibility of cloth diapers but not able to find them in stores so letting the urge pass.

Fastforward to age 18 months, when said baby develops a sudden and severe allergy to the latex in the band of the diapers and/or the crystals used to turn pee into a kind of gel that doesn't leak out (gross, I know). Now you experiment with a few different brands of diapers, spending even more money because now you can't buy whatever's on sale, but have to go to Whole Paycheck Foods to buy the special chlorine-free, latex free, natural ones. Suddenly cloth diapers are looking more interesting.

Hypothetical you goes to Toys R' Us to see what the options are, and they only have Gerber brand cloth diapers, which are those white rags which were our parents' only option. You buy a pack, plus some diaper pins. At a resale store, you'd picked up some Gerber diaper covers. You try this and realize that you need to change the diaper every hour or else it will leak. And the diaper pins are a pain. Then you remember that this is 2007, you have access to the internet, and there have to have been some improvements. And you are shocked to see how expensive diapers are (some as much as $20 each!)and how many of them you need (up to 30), not to mention, they may not even fit your child and then how would you return them?

Luckily, some lady you know tangentially from a message board you're both on, is selling her stash of used diapers. At first, this seems gross. Eww, you would never buy used underwear for yourself! Let alone the princess of your heart. But then you think you could bleach everything, disinfect it, and at least get some questions answered and look at it all in person before buying. So, you end up spending $100 on a bunch of covers, diapers with snaps, and "doublers", and getting sent away with some of the lady's special washing detergent and advice. You bleach everything, wash on hot a bunch of times, let it dry in the sunlight, and later learn that bleaching was a big no-no. You try it and some of it works pretty well, but not the covers (latex! horrors! the diaper rash is getting worse, not better!)

Eventually, you decide to try the "AIOs", or all-in-ones, which are also sold only online (or maybe in stores in say, Woodstock, Vermont but not Los Angeles!) and look a bit confusing. But luckily, another woman on the message board who lives nearby is selling some used ones which her kid never even wore, or at least, only "tried a few times". Confusion on that point. Anyway, you try these Fuzzi Bunz, spend $120 on 10 of them and like them much better than the other cloth ones. No pins, no latex covers, no leaks.

After a few weeks, though, a strange smell. Not unlike the odor of seashells brought home from the beach. After consultation with a diaper sales lady, one who sells brand new diapers and another person met on the same parenting message board, she told me that the previous owners of the diapers had accidentally washed them in Tide or some other not-recommended detergent. (Supposed to use Purex Free & Clear.) It was necessary to "strip" the diapers by washing them repeatedly in hot water with no detergent until the water was clear with no suds. This took care of the smell.

Hypothetical you is now doing laundry at minimum every two days, but things are going well, until a few leaks occur and suddenly, your pants are wet along with baby's, on your lap. Yeck! You learn about diaper doublers and life is okay again. Now life progresses with laundry every 1 or 2 days, to wash diapers as follows: 1 load of about 8-12 diapers, with inserts removed, on medium wash level with cold water and 1/4 cap of Purex Free & Clear, followed by a hot/cold cycle with no detergent. Then in the dryer (or very occasionally hung to dry on a hot day) on medium setting. When reassembled (put insert and doubler inside of diaper, line with disposable "hygenic cloths, pieces of thin foam from Denmark, to catch "solids") stash in diaper bag by changing table and all systems good to go!

I also discovered the "Bum Genius" brand, which adjusts from birth through toddlerhood. We bought 1 each in white, blue, and yellow. I want to keep them to use on eventual baby #2, and going with the Murphy's Law mentality that if I buy everything pink and frilly to pass on the the next baby, we will surely have a boy. Since I'd rather have another girl, buying more unisex/boy colors tips the Murphy's scale in favor of a second girl. ;)

With Uncle Peach at Christmas

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This is Lauren's favorite lights display, in Cheviot Hills on Club Drive off of Motor. This camera phone pic doesn't do it justice. For one thing, the ones in the shot represent only about 1/3 of the total lights. Santa flies from the roof, there is a movie display with Christmas scenes projecting onto the garage, a family of penguins (Lauren's favorite) and so many other things...Next year you should drive over and see it yourself!

In Papa's Shoes

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Dee-Dad's home!

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Friday, January 04, 2008

New project

I'm participating in my friend Steve's "366" project, where 10 people each take a picture a day and post it. Check it out here. My own personal rules for myself are to upload one picture per day, that I took that same day, myself, with my own camera. My own suggestion to myself is to not post pix of Lauren b/c I have enough of them here. And I might not otherwise think to take shots of say, a lemon on a tree, or buildings I pass in my neighborhood. Hence the joke to myself, "Low Hanging Fruit" as the title of one photo. The real low hanging fruit would be my own baby, right in front of my eyes all day, but that's not my project.

Lately, though, the challenge has been that I forget to take my camera with me while I'm out, so I have to use the one on my phone. The pix I posted today & the day before yesterday were from my phone. Not too too bad, considering they're from a cell phone, but not great either. And take a look at some of the shots other people took that are just breathtaking. I can't do those, so I'll just have to hope mine have somewhat of a sense of humor, or convey visually what I've been up to that day.

To appease the grandparents, I've got a good Lauren pic or two coming up here in the next post...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

21 month Lauren update

This morning, Lauren said "I wish a bath. Please" in a very regal voice. Later tonight she said the sentence, "None of that!" in response to a few foods offered to her. So we are smack in the middle of the vocabulary explosion. She can now voice opinions, mimic people, and even sing songs (she likes to sing "hmm, hmm Thumbkin" to sooth herself to sleep, but then she'll beg me to take over. "Song, please. Thumbkin. Jacques-ah" ("Where is Thumbkin?" and "Frere Jacques" are set to the same tune)

She had a wonderful holiday season looking at "yites" and penguins and "Shanta". By the end of the month, she learned the difference between snowmen and penguins. Previously, she would correct me and say confidently, "no, penguin, penguin!" if you tried to show her a snowman. Now, "snowman" is one of her stuffed animals that she sleeps with. The other 3 are "Amy, Becky, and Penguin". If one is missing, she notices and asks for it by name. She has also give interesting names to her new penguins and teddy bears. TeeBo the teddy bear, Pedro the penguin pillow, Bobby the small penguin, DeeDee, the biggest penguin, and Kenga the stuffed kitten.

She has started to learn about flattery, and often starts and ends the day by stroking my hair and saying "pretty momma, pretty hair, pretty eyes." She likes to say "hand" and take my hand, or her grandpa's, dad's, etc. and lead one of us around to show us something. She is particularly fond of taking us "outshide". If she gets stuck or can't reach something, she politely asks for "hep, please". She likes to get into things she's not supposed to, and sometimes if you ask what she's up to, she'll happily respond- "mischief!" and laugh.

A few nights ago I was having dinner at my parents' house and when I reached over to grab something, the folding chair I was sitting on collapsed and broke. I landed hard on the floor and in a bit of pain. Lauren burst out crying and was inconsolable until I got up and she made sure that I was okay. She also doesn't like to watch one scene in a Baby Einstein video where a bug gets squashed. She doesn't like to see anyone in pain or even (Jake) disciplined or yelled at.

She is still very much a Momma's girl. We giggle and whisper "secrets" while we're getting ready for sleep. Sometimes she will say "happy, happy!" and sigh contentedly. There is always a dramatic pause while she removes her pacifier, pulls my hair and gets right close to my ear, the whispers it and gives me a kiss.

Her legs are getting long and filling out her 2T pants and even sometimes 3Ts. For Christmas from Uncle Pete, she got some light-up sneakers (size 7 1/2, wow!) and she likes to dance around in them so that they light up. Her hair is getting more curly and if I don't brush it while wet, more wild and bedhead-y. She still has the stye on her eye, which we now know is actually a chalazion. The ophthamologist said that she has 3 of them, that they are harmless and can take up to 9 months to go away, and that there is not much we can do for them beyond warm compresses, which she will not tolerate. They don't bother her at all.

She's not making much progress on the potty training front, still wearing her cloth diapers and still not showing an interest in being a "big girl". Babies get all the perks, and she realizes this.