Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Let It Mellow

My parents, products of strict and stifling home environments, brought up in urban cities, did what all good parents did in 1970. They became hippies. My dad took a keen interest in house plants of the non-medicinal variety, my mom sewed her own floor-length patchwork gauchos, and when they started a family, they eventually moved to a dilapidated farm so that they could have an enormous garden and embrace vegetarianism (at this point, you should be starting to understand why I drink Lime Kool-Aid and still refuse to eat the crusts of my Wonderbread Nutella sandwiches). My mom baked her own bread, my dad got a few animals and did his own castrations and slaughterings. It was a grody, interesting, creativity-encouraging way to grow up.

I tell you this because, despite finally embracing the joys that are steak and Old Navy, my parents are still at heart hippies. They love living in Canada, with its liberal views and recycling Nazism. They have a rain barrel and my mom still sews her own curtains, and my dad performs gay weddings. They talk about the US like it's a crazy abusive embarassing relative who is no longer welcome in their home, despite the fact that they were both born and raised there and that Jellybean and I live there still. They sign petitions and write letters about injustices in the world, and cook with tofu. There's still a bong or two somewhere in the house.

And if I have to feel someone else’s pee splash on my downstairs one more time, I am going to lose my mind.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Safe and Sound and Sore

This was originally meant to be just a quick update that we made it safely over the river and through the woods to Grandma and Grandpa's house. Surprisingly, 18 HOURS in a car with a 13-month old was just fine, and so I had to tell you all about it. I'm pretty sure it went so well only because there was a Jelly involved. There were definitely some ups and downs, and my right knee is stiff and achy from doing all that driving myself, but it's nice to be here and see Jellybean with her excited grandparents. And to have my car and all my stuff (as opposed to when I fly).

Top 10 Trip Highlights

1. The DVD player. Man, this is the best thing ever. EVER, I tell you! If you are trying to get pregnant, start a little penny jar or something so you can get one of these things. Also, train your baby from a young age to enjoy television. I don't know how I would have made it through some rough spots in the mountains, or in the traffic in pouring rain, with trying to tend to a screaming child. Instead, I was able to pop in a movie and Jelly was a happy gal.

2. The wrapped toy trick. Interestingly I didn't really need to pull this out except for once, and it was because Jelly had been sitting in poo and had a cracked bleeding butt and was in horrible pain and was overtired and hungry. Poor boo boo. The tissue paper distracted her for 15 minutes easy, and the toy made her laugh again. Yay!

3. Pouring rain. This is the part with the sarcasm. Saturday morning we left the hotel in a drizzle, and the rain didn't stop. ALL DAY. Sometimes it was light and terrifyingly foggy and I was sure I was going to hit something, sometimes it was thunderous and copious and it was all I could do to keep the car in the right lane. It was awful. But better than snow or ice, so, well, there's that.

4. DUDES. Seriously. How do you keep a baby in a dry diaper without stopping every 11 seconds?! The worst part was when she poo'd, and I stopped and changed her, but she hadn't gone very much, so I waited and waited and finally she went some more and I changed her again and got her and the stroller and everything back in the car, and back on the road. And then she poo'd again, 15 minutes later. So I stopped again, and changed her again, and then as I was strapping her back in to her car seat SHE POO'D AGAIN. ARRGHHHHHHH. When I do a trip like this by myself, keep in mind I only stop when I'm out of gas, and that's when I get food and use the restroom. I never stop otherwise. It was tortuous watching my estimated arrival time on the GPS inch upwards constantly.

5. The Garmin. OMG I love that thing. I was totally wrong about GPS, it doesn't make people less adventurous, it makes them MORE adventurous! I was willing to try different routes and stuff that I wouldn't normally have done because I had that safety. Need a GPS of my own.

6. Jellybean working the Duty-Free women. She was all smiles and waves and cuteness, and everyone fell all over themselves to adore her and give her free stuff. Seriously! They were like, 'I think we have some little teddy bears in the stock room, can we give her one?'. I was like, 'Sure, if it comes with a bottle of vodka for mommy' (no, of course not, I was like, 'yes, thank you, that's very nice of you'). So Jenny scored this cute little bear wearing aviation goggles or something, that comes in this little backpack. Must be nice to be a cute baby.

7. The video diary. At some point in my stir-crazy state I decided to keep a video diary of the trip. Yes, while driving. And I had ketchup smeared on my face for some of it. I can't wait to get home and post it, you'll love it.

8. The hotel. It was nice, new and shiny and very clean and extremely convenient (and best of all, paid for with Marriott points). HOWEVER... we arrived around 10pm, and of course the crib wasn't in the room, so it was 11 by the time that was brought up. And then Jelly was like, 'Are you f'ing kidding me?! You think I'm going to sleep in this strange bed when you're lying right there, 3 feet away, and you haven't held me ALL DAY LONG?!!!'. And I figured the people on our floor were not thrilled about listening to her scream bloody murder at 11pm, so I pulled her into bed with me. Bad idea. Jelly was then like, 'OMG this is freaking awesome, PLAY TIME! Climb over mama! Beep her nose! Grab for the clock! Try to dive off the bed!'. So it took her almost 45 minutes to calm down, and then I had to wait to make sure she was asleep before I could sleep, so, well, you get the idea. And can imagine how restless she was all night and how that worked out for me.

9. Lessons learned. I learned that, while leaving late afternoon so that baby can sleep for part of the trip was a good idea in theory, it meant that I had the hotel problem above. And, more importantly, that I was then Trapped In the Car. Think about it - it's 9pm-ish, baby is sleeping soundly, you're chugging Pepsi and Red Bull to fight the lull of the road and dark sky and snoring child and soft lullaby CD when, all of a sudden, you have to pee. What do you do?! I ran through all the scenarios (locking the car at a rest stop and paying a stranger to watch her, trying to get her into the stroller without waking her, grabbing one of her diapers and hoping it worked for me). Luckily, I didn't actually have to pee, but I came to the conclusion that I would have pulled off somewhere remote and scary and filled with killers in the shrubbery and peed on the side of the road. Which was not appealing. So, no more late-afternoon-departures for us.

10. Jellybean. Really, is there a better baby in this whole world?! She was totally awesome. Never once, in all the in-and-out, even when sobbing from diaper rash, did she ever fight going back in the car seat. There were only 1-2 times during the trip where she got a little aggravated and strained against the straps, but settled herself back down and found something to play with just fine. She was good in traffic, and for the tough part through the mountains, and despite the rain and the fact she couldn't nap the second day. She was behaved during stops for meals and all 846,000 diaper changes, even the ones where I had to change her on the front seat of the car IN THE RAIN. She was tolerant of my music selections and my singing, and cheerfully ate her snacks without too much mess as I handed them back to her. And I had company for the trip! I was so busy worrying about what she was doing and driving safely and planning the next stop or event that the drive went that much faster. Once again I am finding myself incredibly grateful for my good-natured, roll-with-the-punches Jenny.

Pictures to follow when I'm back home with all my cables.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Our Home and Native Land

Alrighty, folks, this is it. The next time you hear from us, we'll be across the border. Yes, they have the internets there, it's a very LARGE series of tubes. I am in the eye of the hurricane, that ultra-calm after a week of no sleep and freaking out and running around. I was cleaning my bathroom sink last night at 10:30, for god's sake, what the heck?! Now I am just trying to psych myself up for the drive and everything that might happen. I have a sippy cup tucked everywhere a sippy cup could possibly fit, and cousin J made me some mix CDs that I can't wait to listen to, and I've got the sports bra and yoga pants all laid out. Now let's see, where did I put that chauffeur...
The sad truth is, I actually love to drive. There are people who really hate driving, like The Ta and my sister N. If they could be a passenger for every car trip they'd be happy peeps. Not me. I like the games you play with other cars (like, 'Oh, Cut Me Off Why Don't You, Now It's Payback Time', or 'What, You Want to Ride On My A**? Now I'm Gonna SHOW You Slow Driving'). I like the adventure of going someplace. Most of all, I find it incredibly relaxing. Any other time when I'm trying to relax, I'm thinking about what show I could be watching or book I should be reading or laundry that needs done, ad nauseum. In a car, driving, you're forced to just focus on the road and chill and be alone with your thoughts. That is, if you're not singing 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' over and over for a screaming child, so we'll see how that goes.

I will try to get one more post out before the official vacation begins, but it not, I hope everyone has a nice 4th holiday/Canada Day and I look forward to catching up with everyone when I return!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday Again Already? But We Just Had One!

Hi, fans!
Wow, did the morning ever just DISAPPEAR today. I guess time flies when you’re FREAKING THE FRAK OUT ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING TOTALLY CRAZY TRIP.

I couldn’t sleep last night because I got a great nap yesterday after our hijinks at the awesome Pullen Park. I hadn’t been to that park in like 14 years, since way back when I did daycare (because, why the heck would I go to a park with a carousel and swings and a train without a Jellybean?), and I’d forgotten how cool it was. The weather was gorgeous, warm and sunny but with a nice breeze and lots of shady places for our picnic. The only downer was that the pay-for-play stuff (paddle boats, carousel, TRAIN) didn’t open until later in the afternoon, and we weren’t going to stay forever. So we’ll just have to go back, because we all know about The Bean and trains.

I got some cooking time in this weekend, which was nice. I think I’m finally on the road to recovery in the kitchen. It’s been too long, I realized. Even before I had Jelly, like, the nine months before, I was too busy barfing in the sink and eating nothing but cake to do much cooking. So I figure it’s been two YEARS since I really put some effort in, and it felt good. The Ta let me ravage her basil plant, so I started off with a beautifully fragrant pesto. I do it the way Alton showed me, making sure to add the olive oil over a period of like 7 weeks so that it properly incorporates. Then, since Jelly was playing nicely, I made gnocchi. I like Martha Stewart’s recipe, and it’s the only reason I bought and keep a stupid ricer around. Yup, I did the whole potatoes-through-the-ricer thing even, aren’t you impressed? I took pictures, because I always think it’s cool to look at other sites where people have pictures of what they are cooking.

However, I do not have a professional studio or good lighting or lots of talent, so my pictures mostly look like an ad for the Wal-Mart flour I used.

The Bean keeps an eye on me to make sure I am working hard on her dinner

You can tell which ones I made at the beginning, when I had totally forgotten how the heck you were suppose to make them the cool gnocchi-shape, and which ones I made after I had the 'oh yeah! moment. Anyhow, Jellybean seemed to enjoy it with some nice fresh crusty warm French bread and butter, and as usual I ate a nickel-sized portion before I felt like I’d eaten bricks (that stuff is sooooooooooo darn heavy!). But it was freaking delicious. Probably better tasting than the dish washer tablet that Jelly took a bite out of. No, I did not call Poison Control, hell-o, I was too busy panicking. Luckily she barfed all over the place so the problem resolved itself. Now I have to go find some sort of anti-Jelly locks for the cupboard that she can't She-Hulk open.

The MS ‘Living’ I got this weekend has an entire section of stuff that I want to make that is all summery and fresh (roasted cherry tomatoes on zucchini wheels, for example), so when I get back from Canada hopefully I’ll be up for it, and will let you know how it goes.

Look, my plate and cup and entree all match! Mommy is compulsive!

So right now I’m trying to review a few documents for work, while panicking about a new project my Engineering team has been tasked with that will totally pull them away from my important release work. I’ve got a load of laundry in, and two more that absolutely have to get done today. Jelly’s room needs to be cleaned up, because now that Nanny brings her upstairs to her room for her naps she gets to see my previously hidden Upstairs Disaster Areas (seriously, I don’t think I’ve vacuumed upstairs since I bought this house, I’m terrible). I absolutely have to go get the documents for Jelly’s citizenship certified and sent off, because the awesome pics I had taken of her have an expiration date. And I’ve still got to get thank-you’s from her birthday party mailed out, so a trip to the post office is on the list. What else? I wanted to get some hair bows made for my niece, and need diapers (for Jellybean, not me, although that WOULD be handy for the drive, crazy-astronaut-style). Phlergh, phlergh (that’s what it sounds like when I am breathing into a paper bag).

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Good Movie Weekend

Like my snazzy hat?

Saturday morning arrived with unseasonably cool and cloudy weather, so despite my best attempts to create good mojo by making homemade lemonade and baked beans at 6 am, the trip to the lake was off. Instead, Aunt Jen came over to Casa de Jelly and we had a little cook-out, and then she offered to baby-sit while I took a little nap and went to a movie. Huzzah! This meant I got to see ‘The Hangover’, which, due to their incredibly successful marketing skillz, I had decided I needed to see RIGHT NOW or else I WOULD DIE. Dudes, it was awesome. True, it was aimed at 12-18 year old boys, but that’s my exact demographic for movies and video games and web sites (really, I am loving ‘Fail Blog’ right now, it’s very sad). So then yesterday I decided to make the weekend perfect by finally watching ‘Role Models’, and it was everything I’d hoped it would be. Plus it had the same little Asian dude who was naked in ‘Hangover’, so that was a bonus. And it made me miss that whole LAIRE/LARP scene a little bit, because I am a loser.

The Bean was bit by something other than Cade this weekend, which resulted in two raised, hard, red, warm-to-the-touch bumps on her leg that I was totally at a loss how to handle. I finally applied some ‘Bite MD’ despite the directions, which clearly warned that applying it to a baby would result in enormous lesions or lead poisoning or acid reflux or something. On second thought, the warning really wasn’t all that clear, which was why I felt it was the best solution. Today she seems to be ok, and when I poked the spot she didn’t scream or try to bite me or faint, so I figure she’s going to pull through despite having me for a mother.
I finally got her 1-year photo taken, the one I’ve done every month in her little pink chair, which neither of us were in the mood for. We were both tired, and surly, and sweaty, and wanted to be somewhere else. She wanted to be in the bath tub, since it was That Time, and I wanted to be on a beach with a plastic cup of rum punch. So now I just have to take the pictures yearly until she’s five, and I’ve satisfied my totally arbitrary rules based on a magazine article I read before I got pregnant.
Just leave the bow alone... please... look at mama

Sit down... look at mama... just one freaking picture, please, for the love of...

Speaking of That Time, Jellybean has figured out the daily schedule and likes to stick to it. If Nanny is 5 minutes late, Jelly is scurrying into the kitchen and pointing frantically at her bib babbling 'Buh-buh-buh' and booster seat, because OMG baby is STARVING TO DEATH waiting for breakfast. When it’s nap time, she finds her blanky and grabs a pillow off the couch and lays down on the floor if you are too slow. At around 4:30, she will start waving ‘bye-bye’ to Nanny, and will crawl over to the front door and point at it. It’s hilarious. ‘Thank you very much, Nanny, for all you have done today, but you are dismissed now. Have a pleasant evening, and please send down my mother to start fixing my dinner at once’. Have I mentioned she’s a bossy little thing?

The other cool thing I got done this weekend was to pick up some little toys from The Wal-Mart. Little toys? you may be rightly asking. Why the heck would The Bean need MORE TOYS? Well, as you know we are preparing for our Canada 2009 Summer Road Trip – The Great Mistake, I Mean, Northern Adventure. I read something somewhere that had a tip for taking long trips with toddlers. Buy some small items (like, Altoids and straight pins, only more fun for children), wrap them up, and then when you get to That Point on the trip when the kid is screaming and you’re lost or sitting in traffic or between two semis in the mountains or out of gin, you can magically pull out Ta-DA! A present for baby! What is it?! How exciting! The ribbon and tissue paper alone should make her go out of her mind in delight, and make her forget the sodden diaper and car seat strap rash and extreme anger about the injustice of a stupid road trip which she certainly didn't get a vote on. I picked up items that are guaranteed to amuse and delight a Jellybean for at least 10-15 seconds, which should buy me enough time to find a lake to drive the car into and end my pain and suffering. There’s a toy remote (which, for some reason, has a ‘Hello’ button that I find oddly amusing), a clamshell phone, a key fob with plastic keys, a faux MP3 player, and the piece de resistance – a ‘Fur Real’ doggie. When you pet it, it lifts its little furry head and opens its little eyes and makes little cute puppy whimpers. I may never get Jenny out of a car again.
For me, I got Smart Food (it’s the only time I ever want it, I’m surprised they still sell it) and Red Bull. And two Yo Gabba Gabba DVDs. Really, I think Jelly is going to like the trip more than hanging out at the house with me.

I had all kinds of other things I was going to post about, like about how I had a dream that my nephew was my son, and I felt oceans of relief that I didn’t have to fret any longer over a sibling for Jellybean. Or how I don’t like to say the word ‘Daddy’ when I get to that point in a book or song, and I need to get over that and learn to deal with it in a healthy way before she gets any older. Or that any day now the sheriff is going to show up with the summons for the custody hearing, and all I want to do is take a picture for her scrapbook – is that weird? Do you think he’ll do it? That would be hilarious.

Have a good week, everyone! Remember – we’re almost halfway to CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Check Up From the Neck Up, Crap Gets Moved Around and Jelly Wins a Prize

She's so funny. For some reason this picture just cracks me up. Maybe it's the winning combination of nudity/hair bow. Or the slightly abused yet tolerant look on her face. Either way, she was good as gold and cute as a button for her first-year check up with our favorite doctor. She had to get a finger stick (lead test and hemoglobin), and three shots, which she was as indignant as always about. Her weight is right about where I expected it to be (28.7), and she's actually evening out as far as height and head size, which is nice. No weeble-wobble babies here.

I guess the Nanny got tired of tripping over and trying to keep organized the 847 toys in the living room area, because she decided to make the dining room a play room. It was something I had thought of myself when I had first bought the house, since the living room/dining room are ‘open concept’, and therefore the ‘dining room’ was never going to be a formal area. The problem is, the area where we are now forced to put the table isn’t exactly conducive to feeding two small extremely messy food-flingers. Plus there are now reams of toys underneath said table at any given moment, and picking fried rice out of Dolly’s hair is not my idea of a fun Saturday night.
So this means I need to get rid of the ultra gorgeous but equally useless pub table and stools in the small kitchen eating space, and find an extremely cheap but sturdy useful table and chairs to put in its place. We also had to move out the high chairs, so I need to find one more booster seat for Cade (Jellybean thinks she’s such hot stuff in a booster!).
And since a bookshelf was moved into the new play area, I also have to replace what was previously a very nice place to dump keys etc. by the front door in the entranceway. Hopefully selling all the stuff we’re no longer using (*sob* good-bye, beautiful pub table – I knew you such a short time, yet only ever really sat at you twice) will balance out the ‘new’ (Craigslist, of course) purchases.

*Update: CL came through, like I knew he would. I found a round table that comes with two leaves, and three chairs (yes, one chair was broken, and we really just need three anyhow, for Nanny and the two kids, so I talked ‘em down to $45 for the whole set). I also got a booster for $8. And the high chairs sold within 10 minutes of posting the ad – I’m getting better at setting the right price and reeling ‘em in with a hot subject header. They're getting picked up in a few hours! Now, what else can I sell...

So while it’s kinda nice to have a living room back, I’d gotten use to watching TV a certain way and now the couches are too close for that. I have to re-adjust to the television being at a normal viewing level (thanks to my dad, yay dad!), which means mapping out a new plan for getting comfy on the couch. Maybe I just don’t like change, I don’t know, the new layout makes sense and everything but I’m all irritated by it. Maybe I’m just grumpy. I need to give it some time.

Saturday was a crazy fun day for the Jellybean household. Below are some pics for your enjoyment and horror. I'm to exhausted by the thought of that day to write cute descriptions. Yes, I put my baby on a sketchy carnival ride all by her lil ol’ self. Yes, she enjoyed it immensely. Yes, we're both crazy people.
And I think she might have a future counting cards in Vegas, judging by how adept she was at the ‘Ducky’ game. Man, do I ever love me some Fish Pond at the fair.

In just a few short days – Jelly’s first camping adventure! I am hot (and not in a sexy ‘Twilight’ way) just thinking about it.
Also - I watched some of the MTV Movie Awards and MAN! Am I OLD!!! And there's some reality show coming out, 'Dance Your Ass Off' - when did that become ok, to have a swear in the title of a television show? And when did I get so old that I was indignant about 'swears', and refered to them as 'swears'?! I LOVE to swear! I just don't think it's appropriate for prime-time network television show titles, apparently.
Oh, and I saw a commercial for 'Free Realms', a new online MMORPG, and tried it out yesterday. Ehh. Made me miss Final Fantasy some more, if possible. But not enough to go to EQ. I was impressed by the family-friend appeal of it, and the fact you could level up in different jobs instead of just run amok stabbing stuff. Uh, mainly that you could be a 'Cook'.