Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Who Am I Doing This For?

I have a mini soapbox today.  It has to be brief because I am on coat number four of silver spray paint on angel wings.  You can imagine how much help Cordie is with the painting process.  The weather is also being super cooperative as it is and has been raining all day long.  The painting came after the dying of a previously white, now sort of gray/blue, dress.  Why am I doing all this?  Halloween.

At this age (Cordie just turned one), Halloween says way more about me than it does about her.  She can't pick her own costume.  This is one of a precious few years that she gets to be what I deem cute or cool.  However, because I am a suburban SAHM people start asking in August "Oh are you going to make her costume?"  Because that appears to be part of the job description.  In August, I blithely replied "Yeah, I probably will.  No sense spending money on something I can whip up myself!"

Oh the optimism of August.

Now it's October though and I am in throes of a post-birthday craft funk.  I'll make a little confession to you, oh Internet, great keeper of secrets...I looked for a pre-made costume.  I know, I know!  I stay at home, what else do I possibly have to do with my scads of free time?  Costumes are expensive though!  Especially for being such cheaply made bits of nylon that will inevitably rip when I put her in the car seat.  It's not like she's three or four and into dress up yet.  That, in my opinion, is the time to go pre-made.  Then just chuck it in the dress up box on November 1st.

The cost and the fact that there seem to only be insect costumes for one year olds made me revisit making my own, I mean HER own, because Halloween is about the kids after all.  Eye roll.  I decided Cordie would be a Weeping Angel from Doctor Who.  This checks the box of "hip costume that reflects well on parent's interest" as well as "not a bee, butterfly, or ladybug" and "crafted not bought".  I am winning at Halloween.  So I bought dye, wings, and spray paint.  Suddenly this costume was not necessarily cheaper than store bought.  What's so wrong with a butterfly anyway?  Everyone loves butterflies!

I have now somewhat successfully dyed the dress, painted the wings, considered different methods of face painting, and found a silver hair bow.  I'm looking at the costume and thinking, "Yep, those wings will be lucky to stay on long enough to get a picture."  The arms of the dress may be short.  She can't, or shouldn't, eat that much candy so is trick-or-treating even an option?  So why I have done all this?

Over compensation for not seeing her on her first Halloween when she was Cinderella in interim care.  Not wanting my kid to be the only kid without a cute costume.  Getting to influence her to like cool things like Doctor Who.

And because I get to eat her candy.

Friday, October 23, 2015


Cordie is beginning to transition to solid food.  We have FINALLY found a sippy cup that she can and will drink from, but she does not like milk.  Because of that we aren't rushing it.  Still, Cordie loves food and she is getting more independent by the hour and wants to feed herself.  It's the strangest thing though, I suddenly don't know how to feed my child!  I remember when she went from laying down in the baby bathtub to sitting up in the big tub.  I called Mom and told her "I don't know how to bathe my baby."  Cordie was about six months old so Mom said "Um...okay?"  I could not figure out how to get the backs of her legs clean!  She was sitting in the water, so how could I scrub her without practically face planting while lifting her slippery, soapy body with one hand and simultaneously fending off her vicious grabs at the washcloth and actually wash her little thighs with the other?  Eventually I figured it out, but that was my first glimpse at how transitioning from one thing that you know so well to something new kind of throws everything for a loop.

The weird transitions are one of those things about parenting that I didn't really expect.  I sort of thought there would be concrete mile markers.  She doesn't eat solid food, then she does.  She doesn't drink from a sippy cup and then she does.  I knew I would have to wean her from a bottle, but I didn't appreciate the full spectrum of she eats purees and I eat feed her, she eats soft things that I feed her, she eats soft things she feeds herself, she refuses to let me feed her and eats more or less independently.  There is way more gray here than black and white.

Evidently this is a thing for lots of moms because the baby food aisle at Walmart is chock full of foods in different levels of independence.  We are somewhere between the regular baby food that I would feed her, (Heaven forbid that I should feed her instead of her doing it herself) and the squeezeable pouches.  So basically every meal is a combination of these

Part of the issue is, let's be really honest, me.  I am first time mom-ing this up.  Seriously.  You should see the size of the bites I put on her tray.  They're infinitesimal.  You know the cups of fruit that you might pack in kid's lunch boxes for school?  I cut those pieces in half.  Yesterday, for the first time ever, I gave her a roll to take bites off of instead of picking it apart for her.  Well, not a WHOLE roll of course.  Half a roll.  Half a tiny crescent roll.  

The thing is, I KNOW this is ridiculous!  I know that with baby #2 I'll be tossing them a chicken leg at 8 months and being like "go to it kid!"  And yet I still do it.  I try to comfort myself by watching Dad who breaks Cheez-its in half.  I'm not alone in this realm of craziness!

The "best" part about all of this is the sleep regression.  Cordie isn't getting full enough in the evening to sleep all night, so she's waking up for a nighttime feeding.  Oh goody.  I'm caught between how sweet it is to snuggle her and promising myself that the next day I am going to feed her until she has chipmunk cheeks and can't possibly hold one more bite of anything.  One day this week Cordie ate in her high chair for an hour and half!  I did not sit and stare at her the entire while making "helpful" comments like "take a sip of juice, not that much juice, nom-nom-nom".  She slept the whole night that night and it was glorious.  Blissful sleep!  

We're growing together.    Eventually she will drink milk (our pediatrician is suggesting going cold turkey on the formula to "encourage" her to drink milk, yikes).  One day she make take smaller bites off of a bigger piece of food!  Until then, I just continue to eat the other half of the roll she can't handle that my insanity says she can't handle.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

On This Date 365 Days Ago...

...My family was driving home from the beach.  We had gone to Myrtle Beach and it was great.  We had an awesome time.  Mom had asked, as she had previous two years, if I thought we'd have a baby with us next year.  This time, unlike the previous two years, I said no.  I said that the process would most likely take longer than that, but hopefully by 2016 and almost certainly by 2017 we would have a baby at the beach.  

As we were driving, I was struck with the need to pray for our birth mother.  This wasn't unusual, after all I had been praying for her since I was sixteen and felt the first flutter of a calling to adopt.  I prayed and prayed, but the urgency of the need wasn't letting up.  Finally I told Josh that he needed to pray for our birth mother and we prayed together.  I think I even texted Mom in the other car and asked her to pray.  Finally the pressing feeling went away and I asked Josh what, if anything, he thought was going on in her life.  We wondered if maybe, possibly she had found out she was expecting.  How cool would that be?  We would have a June baby!  I was hoping.

Then we got home and found the official approval letter and I cried.  We were a waiting family.  I changed my cover photo to this.  We were so excited.  We were FINALLY getting close after years of seeming ever further away.  We just had no idea how incredibly close we were.

At 11 that night, Cordie made her sudden and slightly unexpected entrance.  It blows me away, truly even a year later, at how active and present God was in that entire situation.  I could not believe it when our adoption worker told us her birth date and I realized that I had been praying so hard for the birth mother That Day!  And yet, why should I have been surprised?  God's hand was all over our adoption start to finish.

There is no comparison between the screaming, colicky, barely a handful of a baby that we brought home almost a year ago and the happy, active, growing toddler we have now.  There were nights that felt so long in the moment that I thought I would never see the sun rise, but now I can't believe that the time has gone.  I was here for practically every second and yet I still feel like I missed it somehow.  I blinked and she was big!  It's amazing and breathtaking and heartbreaking and joyful and so many emotions that I can't help but cry.

Even as I experience the bittersweetness of her outgrowing clothes and toys, becoming super independent, and growing into her huge personality, I'm so excited about the next year!  She's going to add a lot of words to her vocabulary.  She'll learn to walk!  We're so close on that.  She's taken about half a dozen steps, but they're accidents, she doesn't even realize she's doing it.  She'll probably pick a thing she loves to sleep with like a doll or bear.  She may transition to a toddler bed.  She'll dance a lot, that girl loves to shake her thang!  Maybe learn work a puzzle or color.  Definitely master the iPhone.  It's going to be great.  I'm so glad I get to be here to see it.

Happy birthday my sweet pumpkin!  Mommy loves you more than you'll ever know.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Magician King

Yesterday I finished The Magician King by Lev Grossman.  It is the second of a trilogy, preceded by The Magicians and followed by The Magician's Land.  I wasn't wild about The Magicians.  It was okay.  Okay enough that I went ahead and picked up the second, but not so great that I was eagerly anticipating it.  I really really thought I blogged about the first book, but I can't find it which is now making me feel sorry for my friends and family because I had a LOT of feelings about the first book and if I didn't share them here I must have shared those feelings with them...in an endless stream of "And THEN do you know what happened?  I didn't think it was a respectful way to handle a reference to a greater work.  The characters are hard to root for!" Etc etc etc.

I'm really making you want to read this aren't I?

I say all of this to say that I was very pleasantly surprised by the second book.  Not only was I not hyped because the first book fell short of the intended goal, I dreaded the almost inevitable Second Book Syndrome that occurs in trilogies.  However, I was pleased to find that The Magician King did not suffer from SBS in my opinion.  Hooray!  The pacing was good and the story felt like it had merit and worth on its own instead of solely to move the reader from the genesis of The Magicians to the final conclusion of The Magician's Land.  There was an actual story that was worth telling and reading in this second book.  It also succeeded in making want to finish the series.

Grossman leans heavily on parallels to other fantasy works like Harry Potter, the Narnia books, and The Lord of the Rings.  The first book felt almost mocking of the other worlds, but this book tied in the elements of those stories without the mockery and with more original imagination.  The story felt more lived in, like the author was comfortable with the places and mythology he had built.

This isn't a book for a new fantasy reader (for those I'd suggest The Night Circus, The Golem and the Jinni, or Neverwhere), but if you are a dyed in the wool fantasy lover, I'd definitely give this a try.  You will enjoy the references and the possibilities set up in this world.  Don't be fooled by the comparisons to Harry Potter though, this is much more mature in themes.  There was scene in the final fifty pages of this book that I'm still internally cringing over.  It has a lot of good reviews by fabulous fantasy authors and that can be a recommendation in itself.  If you give it a shot, let me know what you think!  I'd love to, once again, ramble on about the pros and cons of the first one too!  If you don't want to invest the time in reading it, I learned (from Wikipedia so tread with caution) that SyFy has ordered a 12 episode season of the first book.

Monday, September 28, 2015


This isn't a very uplifting blog post.  I'll just go ahead and throw that out there at the beginning.  I've been wanting to post about some of the minutiae of our life, but everything seems kind of tainted with this gray cloud of worry.  Finally, I've decided, whatever I'm just going to blog about it.

Most of you probably know that I have struggled with depression and anxiety for years.  Looking back on my childhood, I can see that I was a very anxious kid from the beginning.  The depression didn't come along until high school, but when it did, it superseded the anxiety in mind consuming-ness.  I've never been shy or uncomfortable talking about it because I honestly don't see a reason to be.  It's a part of who I am, but it doesn't define me and I get aggravated when others put pressure on me to hide it away like it's shameful.  It's brain chemistry!

When Cordie came along, she rocked our world and my normal routines.  As a result, I wasn't taking my medicine regularly.  I didn't start to notice until I got dizzy, which is a side effect of coming off of it.  So I talked to my doctor and we decided that I was in a place to stop the medication.  I was all for it and I did.  I stopped at the end of January because I figured if I could make it through February, the worst month of my depression, and with a baby who wouldn't sleep, then I was golden.  Sure enough, things were fine.  The rest of the winter, all spring, and all summer were fine.  Oh I might have an isolated incident of anxiety, but nothing major and nothing that would even be considered outside normal.

In the last two weeks though, I can feel the anxiety level slowly creeping up.  Part of it is just that there is a lot going on.  Most of it's good, but it's still stuff that isn't our day-to-day life, like her birthday party, going to the beach, and our upcoming birthparent visit.  Guys, I hate it.  I hate that feeling of tightness in my chest and the pressure in my throat that makes feel like I can't breathe.  I hate that after months of smooth sailing that I'm second guessing my thought out decision to stop the medication.  Heck, I hate the second guessing of everything in my life!  Am I a good mother?  Am I a good wife?  Am I a good Christian?  Am I heading back down this anxiety riddled path that I don't want to be on?  There is the glimmer of logical thought that says things like "This is the anxiety talking.  No one is accusing you of being bad at any of those things." But it's hard to drown out your own hyperventilating internal monologue.

In a few weeks or months, when I don't feel this anxious, some of this will be funny.  Like me being gratingly peppy to Cordie about going to Kindermusik to make new friends, while I wipe my sweating palms discretely on her car seat cover and force a smile that resembles the Joker's crazed grin.  I KNOW it is stupid ridiculous to be anxious over Kindermusik, but I am!  Some of the anxiety has a basis in reality, like the birthparent visit.  I want it to go smoothly and I am concerned that Cordie won't go to her birthparents because of her separation anxiety.  I would hate to hurt their feelings.  But at the same time, I worry that she will instinctively recognize them as her "real" parents and take her first steps running toward their outstretched arms, thus confirming that I can't provide her with all the love and affection that she needs.  Darned if you do, darned if you don't.

Summing up, anxiety sucks.  If you have anxiety, I am silently saluting you Hunger Games style.  The arena is tough and the casualties are many.  Fight the good fight out there.  If you don't, be so thankful that this isn't your battle, but I'm sure you are fighting something equally bad.  We all are.  Support us, even if it has to be from a distance, we don't want to feel alone.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The 11 Swimsuits of Vacation

(To the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas)
For the first swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore: One Orange and Ruffled suit.

For the second swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore: Blue and Polka Dots with Ruffles

For the third swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore: Black and White Abstract Art

For the fourth swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore: Many Scary Sock Monkeys

For the fifth swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore:  A Minnie Mouse Tankini

For the sixth swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore:  Green-Blue Lace with a Bow

For the seventh swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore:  A Floating Pink Monstrosity

For the eighth swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore:  Green and Yellow Pineapples

For the ninth swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore:  Pink, Gingham, and Pineapple

For the tenth swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore:  A Valentine's Day Ruffled Piece

One the eleventh swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore:  A Bikini with Some Stars

11 stars and stripes, 10 hearts galore, 9 gingham ruffles, 8 yellow pineapples, 7 bright pink floaties, 6 pretty bows, 5 MINNIE MOUSE SUITS, 4 awful monkeys, 3 ruffled art, 2 polka dots, and an orange suit to round out the trip!


The beach was great.  Cordie was practically a fishy the entire time.  There were days where we swam three times a day and also got in the ocean.  She loved there being five adults who were pretty much totally focused on her haha!  That is her preferred attention ratio.  

The beach is a totally different experience with a kid though.  Forget those relaxing days of meandering between the hot tub, lazy river, and reading a magazine in the sun.  In beach trips of yore, I would pack enough books to read a full sized novel every day plus a dozen or so magazines.  I read about one book on the entire trip and felt good about my accomplishment!  Cords is so busy and wants so desperately to walk.  I think all of our pointer fingers are permanently pulled out of joint from her using them to steady herself while she walks/throws her body enthusiastically toward a goal.  I told her to go ahead and plan on getting a good paying job, because she will be responsible for the back surgery I'll need from hunching over like that! 

When people would ask why I wanted to be a parent or I imagined what parenting would be like (the good stuff, not the lack of sleep and disciplining stuff), the beach was always a mental scene I would paint.  Last year Mom asked if I thought we would have a little person with us next year and I said no because the adoption process would take longer.  Finally, add in that last year we were driving home from the beach on Oct. 13th (Cordie's birthday) and you get one grateful, happy, emotional Sierra.

Best trip ever.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Grocery Hurdle

At Cordelia's baby shower, a sweet friend was telling me that in a few months I would throw Cordie in the car seat and take her wherever.  At the time I thought she had to be lying.  New parents think that sometimes when more experienced parents tell them things.  When they tell you about the sleep loss you think they have to be exaggerating because if it was that bad people would never have second children.  Then you have a kid and the sleep situation is bad and those same parents tell you that one day it will get better and you and the baby will sleep through the night.  You don't believe them (even though they were right the first time) because it seems impossible.  When my friend told me that, I could not see any forseeable future that involved me being able to leave the house.

By December I was so stir crazy that I had to attempt to go out with the baby.  We went to the library and survived!  Over the next several months I took Cordie to church, restaurants, and family functions.  I became comfortable taking her places even if I sometimes I had to leave quickly, but the place I was still afraid of, the last the major hurdle of every day life was still looming:  the weekly grocery shopping.

Normally Mom keeps her while I do the weekly shopping and any other appointments, but she has a life and can't always do it.  I needed to put on my big girl panties and face my fear.  My big fear in doing the shopping was that Cordie would have some sort of meltdown.  The meltdown itself I thought I could handle, but I dreaded the judgmental looks of the plethora of little old women who shop in the middle of the day alongside SAHMs.  Alas, I wanted to make Ree Drummond's tomato soup and I needed ingredients!  So I girded my loins and went to look for pork loin.  And..

It was totally fine!  Who would have thunk it?  Certainly not I all the way back in November.  I know there will be days when she whines and cries for sugary cereal (which I will probably give her because I love sugary cereal more than an adult should).  There will probably be a time when she has a major tantrum in aisle three and I want to crawl under the shelving in shame.  But for right now, this exact moment in time, I am doing a little happy dance.  It's nice to know that we can do these errands together when we must.  I'm calling it a small triumph and what is life if not a series of small triumphs and failures?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My Shadow

This is my shadow:

She has been sooooo clingy lately.  This was an okay day because she wasn't screaming which is often the case when I put her down these days.  Probably the biggest part of the problem is some severe separation anxiety that is going on.  She doesn't want to be left alone and she knows the best way to possibly avoid that is wrap herself around me like an octopus and scream bloody murder if I so much as lean down.

Yesterday I was so busy.  My list was long and my house was a disaster zone.  I needed her to chill by herself in the play yard or walker or in the floor with her toys-there are so many fun options!  No dice.  In this picture I was trying to strip the bed.  I made a pile of pillows to jump on in hopes of two minutes to get the sheets off.  As you see, the pillows weren't as great as hanging on mom's leg like Spanish moss on a tree.  Heavy moss.  Wriggly moss.  You know what, this metaphor is falling apart.  Hanging on like a 16lb nearly toddler.

I started to get frustrated.  It was just a few minutes and she was in the same room with me!  Why was she being all over me?!  Then it hit me, this is the joy, this is the best portion.  I have always empathized with Martha in the Bible who was running around trying to prepare things when Jesus and His disciples came to visit.  I would have been right there and honestly, I would probably been fussing to Martha about Mary not helping.  I have experienced this in my spiritual life of striving and missing just being in the presence of and having an intimate relationship with God, but I think I'm at risk for it at home too.  There are so many tasks that call for my time and attention that I can easily miss the reason I'm there.  I chose to stay home with Cordie to BE with Cordie.

This time is going so quickly.  Next month she turns one.  In a very short time, not only will she not be hanging on me, but she'll be too busy to play with me.  There will be years and years where I can do laundry without any interruption and all I'll have to show for it is clean sheets.  So we went outside and played with water and sang and swang, because I can have a clean house later, but I can only have this for a little while.  I was so grateful that God reminded me of that.   

Friday, August 28, 2015

Edge of Eternity

Last night I finished the third book in Ken Follett's Century Trilogy.  It was a trek.

I wrote about the first book of the series Fall of Giants back in 2013 and I was very positive about it.  I really enjoyed it.  I read the second one in the series, Winter of the World and it was good, but not quite as good as the first.  The third started out okay but really derailed for me in the last third of the book and this book is big so the last third was almost 400 pages.  

Fall of Giants focused on WWI and covered a span of thirteen years, Winter of the World covered WWII and looked at sixteen years of history, but Edge of Eternity covered the Cold War and spanned almost thirty years.  That kind of time frame was just too much to effectively fit into one cohesive narrative.  Some parts of the history were great, like the section on the Cuban Missile Crisis that I knew next to nothing about.  Follett was able to write it in a way that kept all the urgency and heighten tensions even though you knew as a reader that no nuclear bombs were ever dropped on Russia.  Some parts really suffered for it though, such as the incredibly brief and unnecessary look at the Black Panthers and second wave feminism.  These were both big and significant movements of their day, but were given such flippant time in the book that it would have been better to leave them out entirely than have a sentence about a man not understanding why a woman wanted a career and a child and that she was mad when he suggested she quit work.  It's too complex an issue to deal with that tritely.

Another part of the problem with this book that had been building throughout the series was the shear number of characters.  Each book followed subsequent generations of the characters introduced in the first book.  I lay in bed one night when I couldn't sleep and couldn't the number of characters you needed to know that included extended family members and complicated intermarrying and came up with thirty-five "important" characters, eight major historical figures, and 30-60 minor characters.  That's a lot.  It's just too much to be effective.

The final problem was that the 60s through the mid 70s were covered in fantastic detail.  By the time you got to the late 70s and into the 80s, however, Follett was running out of time and space and so things that should have had more weight were glossed over and major events got a brief nod. This was especially true if those events were at all positive to conservatives who took a beating in this book.  I understand the author was liberal and can write whatever, but his opinions on conservatives in politics and even in the public were handled with all the subtlety of a massive elephant tromping across the pages.  The squish-everything-in policy led to a couple of storylines that had been going on for hundreds of pages never being wrapped up, which is more than a little frustrating when you're waiting for that payoff.

All in all, I finished.  I loved the first, liked the second, and completed the third in this trilogy.  Now on to a very "fluffy" book to give my brain a break! 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

How to Make Seventeen Choices for the Low Price of $1.25

I have a mini rant today.  Here it is:

Can you tell from the picture?  There are SIXTEEN different types of teethers here.  Sixteen.  Cordie used to have a key teether but it got poop on it.  Yes, poop, on a teether.  There is poop everywhere in my life right now.  Anyway, I tried to boil the teether to sanitize it, but I was still a little icked out by the possibility of giving her a previously poopy object back to stick in her mouth.  So I wasn't really sad when the gel in the keys expanded too much and burst.  I wasn't sad until I stood in front of this section and went "are you kidding me??"  Parenting is filled with a plethora of decisions of various weights that you have to make every single day.  This should be a priority level one, but all of these options suddenly make it more complicated than it should be.  Should I get a vibrating teether?  Should I get the three pack with different shapes for different teeth?  Should I get the cheapest thing because we may need to buy a few of these over the course of all the teething?  Then, once you decide that, you're faced with the constant question of should I buy a gender specific or gender neutral color?  That question alone has gender political connotations that get brought up in the Mommy Wars all the time.  It's just too much.

You know what else is too much?  The number of car seat choices and the price of these things!  Cordie is 27.5 inches tall and her infant carrier goes up to 30 inches, so it's time to start looking for a next level car seat.  Hold me, I'm scared.  

I started with a fairly broad search on the Babies 'R' Us website and had forty-seven different convertible car seats to choose from.  Even when I narrowed it down I had twenty-seven.  I don't need that many options!  I want five, five choices with easily distinguishable characteristics.  Instead I have almost thirty that look incredibly similar and yet some cost almost $400.  That's the brilliance of this though, from the manufacturer's perspective, you HAVE to have a car seat if you ever want to leave the house and what price would you put on your kid's safety?  There isn't one and they know that, so they can charge hefty amounts and you'll pony up the cash because you have no choice.  Well, you have choices, twenty-seven choices plus the color choices of each seat.

By the way, I went with the cheap teether in pink.  Judge me if you must.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Outtakes 2

 Today Cordie is ten months old.  Siiiigh.  I'm so not on board with this whole growing up thing.  Eight and nine months old have been my favorite ages so far.  She seems to learn something new every day and is so loving and active and happy and all these great things.  Don't try to tempt me with tales about how great it will be when she can talk to me or when she's potty trained.  I'm standing my ground that this is the best age.

All that said, getting the monthly photo was once again a challenge, so I thought I'd so some of the extras.  Someone remind me with baby #2 not to do very specific clothes, because you might not always have bright pink pants that fit or even white onesies.  I should have done nothing but a diaper. First time mom problems.
"Mom, why is my dress tucked into these pants?  Why are you mooing?  Why are you losing your mind over these pictures?"

 Her app causes temporary, but instant stillness.  It's magical. 

 "Sigh, yes I see you.  Can I get back to my game?" 

 Love that these pants are now capris.  Still fit in the waist though!

 This hair, guys.  This hair is out of control.  She needs to see Einstein's stylist.

Monday, August 10, 2015

French Kids Eat Everything

In June Cordie had three weeks of sickness, a cold and two viruses.  Because her throat was sore she couldn't eat a lot and feeding was difficult.  After she got well she had developed some very picky attitudes about food.  Bananas, sweet potatoes, and Cheerios-that was the list of acceptable foods on her new "menu".  Big sigh.  Oh goody.  So I borrowed the book French Kids Eat Everything.  I wasn't expecting much, but I needed some practical advice and I was very pleasantly surprised!

The book details the journey of the author, Karen Le Billon, family's one year in France and how she used that time to break old habits and instill a new love of food in her two girls.  The books is focused around ten food rules that define the French way of eating.

Some rules I recognized from my own childhood like #6 "You don't have to LIKE it, but you do have to TASTE it".  Some were fairly revolutionary to the way I think about feeding kids, like #7 "No snacking".  Some of the things that weren't rules made the biggest impact on me.  For instance, research that Le Billon cited said that children need to try foods an average of seven times before they really form an opinion on them, and some kids need to try them 10-15 times.  Cordie didn't like peaches.  Of all things, peaches?  Peaches are great!  After maybe two or three tries, I gave up on them even though I had a huge bag of frozen cubes ready to feed her.  After reading that I tried peaches again-same reaction.  And again-hostile, but better.  And again-success!  Cordie eats peaches now!  There's no fight or fuss and she especially likes them mixed with yogurt, as much as any other fruit (besides blueberries which are a stand out favorite).

For the last chapter or two Le Billon talks about her family's move back to Canada and how the rules had to be modified some because of the cultural differences.  I really appreciated those pages because I found myself saying "yeah that works where EVERYONE is following these rules, but it won't work here."  The snacking rule was the one I saw the toughest time implementing here.  While I am all for not having to pack Cheerios, puffs, and yogurt melts for every outing, I would hate for Cordie to not have goldfish if the rest of nursery class is.  So the rules can and should be modified to your family and cultural situation.  I like that since I don't feel bad if the rules get broken sometimes!

I can say that the book has changed some things at our house.  I make a point to sit down with Cordie for breakfast and lunch (rule #4).  She already ate with us at supper already.  This way we are eating as a family for each meal (albeit without Josh).  It also serves to get her more diversity in her food while I act as example.  So if I'm having cheese on a sandwich, she gets cheese and some bread and I'm yum and ooh over how good it is and how Cordie is eating the same thing as Mommy (rule #3).  I still pack snacks in case of emergency when we go out, but I try not to give them out and we don't snack when we're at home (rule #7).  If Cordie doesn't like something, I put it away, but only temporarily (rule #6).  We will taste the same thing again later that week.  I'm also being more careful about what I eat.  Having her watch me eat makes me more aware of bad food choices that I wouldn't want her to mimic.  Plus I'm looking for things she can eat "just like Mommy" which is always fruits and veggies or yogurts and cheeses.  Sitting down is good for me (and her) because it makes an actual meal, not just picking at whatever catches my eye in the pantry.  

The hardest rules for me to follow are the slow food rule because I have becoming a very fast eater since meeting Josh and the no emotional eating.  Ugh, that one sucks.  I had a quarter of a bag of egg noodles this weekend in one emotional sitting.  I know in my head that is a great rule, but carbs call to me in times of stress or happiness or sadness or celebration or anytime I have an emotion. 

If you made it through this post:  congrats!  I had a lot to say on this subject and it's taken me awhile to even sit down to write this post because I knew it would be long. If you have a picky eater, I definitely suggest giving the book a try.  It may not revolutionize what you're doing, but it's a good, quick read that might give you a helpful hint.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

"So What Brings You Here Today?"

It's soapbox time!!!  Hands in the air!  Woo hoo!

We live an information age.  Technology pervades our existence practically every waking moment.  And yet every time I go to a new doctor I am presented with a ream of paperwork, each page of which asks the same information again and again and again.  How many times do I really need to fill out my name, DOB, address, phone number, and the date??  Can you please refer to the previous fifteen pages where I wrote all that down?  Or, here's a wild and crazy thought, use a computer system that allows you to access this when I'm in the same healthcare group!  Save a tree, save my time.

It all just becomes so much more fun when I'm filling out the paperwork in Cordie's name instead of my own.  It's like all the questions take on an air of confusion that I find difficult to push through.  Least of which is the fact that we still don't have a SSN for Cordie.  Dear heavens.  Have you ever tried to exist without a SSN?  You don't.  You are a ghost, invisible to the great governmental eye.  People look at you like you are a baby snatcher when you try to explain that you don't know your own child's SSN.  I seriously take her adoption paperwork to new doctors to prove she's ours.

At each doctor you are given the list of possible symptoms of interest to the doctor and by "of interest to the doctor" I mean everything that could possibly ever hurt.  Do I have testicular torsion?  Not today, but this paperwork feels like you're busting my balls.  "At last," I mistakenly think, "something worth filling out."

I'm wrong.  I'm wrong because I've already told the receptionist why I needed an appointment when I scheduled, now I'm filling out this interminable questionnaire, and then I will be asked by a very upbeat nurse who will, once again, write down why I'm visiting this doctor.  And yet!  And yet when the doctor comes in he/she will ask again. I would put this down to polite conversation except the doctor ALWAYS ALWAYS says "oh yes, I see that noted here" after I've given the five minute spiel about why I'm there.  ARGHH!!!  Of course it's noted!  It's noted in three separate places!  I've been in this waiting room and sitting on this cold table for half of my life, you couldn't possibly have taken two more minutes of my time and read what your upbeat nurse wrote???  Do you know you employ her?  She does work here right, she isn't just wearing those scrubs and using this job as a front to steal my identity?  Listen to her!  Read the form I filled out!

I think from here on out I'll just pass out in the waiting room, then Josh will rush to my side and I'll weakly open my eyes and say "You know what would make me feel better?  If you filled out this form."

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Outtakes

Yesterday Cordie turned nine months.  She's a doll baby, but unlike a doll, she is very opposed to sitting.  As usual, I tried to take her monthly picture.  Here are some of the outtakes.  Thirty minutes, eighteen pictures, and several  new gray hairs later we got a sort of okay shot.

Sitting's for chumps.  I think I'll bounce.

 Look, Momma, I'm so tired.  I'll just rest right here.

 Just kidding!  I spy with my little eye, Gloworm!

Why do you keep calling my name?

 "Spin the wheel.  How fast will it go?  Round and round and round"

 Winner winner chicken dinner!  The final shot!

Friday, July 10, 2015

10 Lies I Tell Myself

10.  Just one more potato chip.
9.  I will not cry at this Disney movie.
8.  Today I'm going to be productive.
7.  No, I don't have a headache.  Today.  Again.  For the 152nd day in a row.  It's all in my head, but not as an ache, no siree bob.
6.  I'm going to take a quick shower-in, out, no daydreaming, 10 minutes tops.
5.  I exercise moderately.
4.  I'm comfortable with the infertility junk.  No lingering hard feelings about my messed up reproductive system.
3.  Yeah, I cleaned the toilet.  I certainly didn't just pour pine sol in it because I knew you were coming over.
2.  Just one more episode before bed.
1.  I'm not going to GET anything from the new release shelf at the library because I have too many books, I'm just going to LOOK at the shelf.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

New York Trip Summary

If you've seen the pictures on FB, you know that Josh and I went to New York for the first time.  I am just now rested up enough to post this because, shew!  It was an exhausting trip.  We did a bus trip that left from here at 6:00PM on Friday, got to New York about 6:30AM on Saturday, and left New York at 11:45 that night.  Talk about a whirlwind!

I have been trying to go to NYC since my high school graduation.  My parents gave me money for the intended trip as my graduation present.  Over and over I planned trips and over and over they fell through.  It took eight years, but I finally got there!  Because it was such a chore to actually get to the city, I was determined to see as much as possible while I was there.  People kept telling me that I wouldn't be able to see very much in that brief amount of time.  Ha, I say, ha!  They underestimate me!  While we certainly didn't see everything, that would take years, we saw most of the popular tourist destinations.  Here was our itinerary.  I worked on it for a long time to get it as streamlined as possible.

7:30-Arrive in Times Square
7:30-8:30-Breakfast/Stand in Awe/Act all Touristy/Get Broadway Tickets
8:30-9:00-Walk to Central Park
9:00-11:00-Central Park
  South End:
   Mall and Literary Walk
    Chess and Checker House
     Wisteria Pergola
11:45-Lunch-Hot Dog Cart
11:45-12:30-Travel via Subway
2:30-4:30-Ride ferry to Staten Island
5:00-5:30-Dinner @ Lombardi's
5:45-6:15-Grand Central Station
6:45-7:15-Carnegie Deli for Cheesecake
11:30-44th St for loading on bus

We stuck to the itinerary pretty well.  Because we got there earlier, we had more time in the park which was one of my favorite things.  It was cool to see all the park locations that are frequent movie backgrounds.  We also didn't stay in Chinatown very long so we had time to add Rockefeller Center after Grand Central Terminal (no one calls it Station anymore?  Who knew?) and Madison Ave after the park.  Madison Ave never made my first or second tier lists of things to see, but we wandered over there by chance and it was neat to see all the upscale stores.  I did see a Valentino dress that I practically drooled over.  Of course, if I had drooled on it, I would have had to PAY for it and that would have been crazy expensive.

The pros of the trip:  We got to see so much and I checked a box on my bucket list.  I know now that I made the right choice not to go to NY for grad school.  I had filled out an application to a graduate school there, but at the last minute changed my mind.  I've often wondered how my life would have been different if I had gone there, but now I can say that I'm very very glad with the choice that I made and where it led me.  Living in New York is very much not for me.  It was the perfect amount of time for us since we don't want to be gone from Cordie for that long  Finally, it was pretty much the cheapest way to go

The cons of the trip:  Exhaustion!!  We rode a bus for 26 hours in a 42 hour span.  We also walked 14 miles on the day we were there.  Josh had blisters before we even left Central Park.  I was expecting to feel about NYC the same way that I feel about London.  When I went to London it was some odd combination of like I was coming home and going to Narnia at the same time.  New York was not at all the same feeling.  It was much dirtier and more depressing than London.  

I would still like to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade because I'm obsessed with it, but otherwise I don't feel like I have to go back.  I saw what I wanted to see.  Good trip!  I suggest it!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


I just finished a good book, a Really good book.  It's called Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I had read one other book by Gaiman previously.  It was okay.  Good enough that I wanted to read other things by him, but I didn't rush right out to the library.  This book, though, I pretty much want to shake it at a librarian while screaming "I Need All the Books!!!"  I will try to restrain myself.

It's fantasy, but if I were to recommend a book to someone who had never read fantasy, I'd have them start with this (or The Night Circus).  So many fantasy books are either huge tomes or long series.  This is neither.  It's a single book.  I love a series as much as the next person, but I have a lot of respect for an author who can tell the story they want to tell in 300ish pages.  That's a skill.

So what makes this book good?  The characters are good.  Richard is the main character and the reader proxy.  His bumbling idiocy is endearing.  The other characters-Door, Hunter, the Marquis, etc-are all winningly eccentric.  The setting is even better.  Neverwhere is set in London Below which is comprised of the sewers and the Underground.  I love London.  I love it like a fat kid loves cake, or more appropriately for this book, like a rat loves cheese.  I like that the fantasy world is superimposed on the real one.  Not only does it make it easy to picture, it is fun to imagine that there is another realm just barely beyond what we are seeing.  The best part of this book, in my opinion, are the fantasy elements.  I like that Gaiman included so many of the traditional elements (a quest, a trio, specific beasts) but does it in a way that doesn't seem trite and cliched.  It all combines together in this fantastic read that sent me to my computer to learn more...

Where I learned there was a six episode tv series about the book.  Thunk.  That was me dying of excitement.  Aaaahhh!  Also, if mine eyes doth not deceive, the Owner of the Most Glorious Cheekbones Ever to Grace the Planet is in it so I'm practically jumping up and down.  (That's Benedict Cumberbatch if you didn't know.)  I'm a teensy bit hesitant because tv never lives up to what's in my mind, but six episodes has a lot more promise than a single movie, so I'll reserve judgement.

Moral of the story:  Like fantasy?  Winner winner chicken dinner.  Never tried fantasy?  Start here.  Unsure?  Pick it up, read 50 pages, if you don't like it you've at least opened your mind to new things.    

Friday, June 26, 2015

We Survived!

We have been fortunate so far with Cordie's health.  She wasn't sick all winter, then a few weeks ago hit and it hit HARD.  Oh heaven help us.  I didn't know if we'd make it to the other side.  The whining guys, the constant "Uhhhhhhh" and only part of it was from Cordie!  We so busy in the trenches of bodily fluids every-freakin-where there was no time to blog.  So here are some cutesy little Cordie stories.

Cordie has learned to check for our response before proceeding with an action.  So she'll pick up an electrical cord and hold it up to her mouth and look up before biting down.  Occasionally she will actually stop if we tell her "no".  We're still working on that.  The other night Josh and I were talking and Cordie was in her bouncer.  She decided she was done and began to fuss.  We heard her, but were trying to finish the conversation.  She stopped fussing, looked at us, we looked back.  You could see the light bulb go on "They see me and Aren't Doing ANYTHING!"  Llama drama then proceeded.  She literally threw her head backwards and began to wail.  Her outrage was a teensy bit hilarious.  It pretty much looked like this:


We were walking, Cordie was in the stroller.  A man went to pull into his driveway and had his windows rolled down and music turned up.  Apparently she liked the song because she starting pumping one fist in the air and bouncing up and down in her stroller.  It was a combination of shaky her booty and riding a mechanical bull.  White girl can't dance.

Last night Cordie and I were playing a game on my phone.  You were supposed to identify Puppy's body parts.  She correctly picked out his nose and ears!!  She's a prodigy!  She'll be a world class surgeon!  Someone buy us a Doc McStuffins doctor bag.  Or...wait...possibly the screen is 3x5 and her odds of getting the right part were pretty high.  Well being a surgeon's overrated anyway.

Unfortunately the whining has not stopped since the sickness.  I could not figure it out.  I finally have.  She wants to walk.  Like desperately, consumingly, all she wants to do is walk. She understands there has to be momentum so she will fling her torso forward and drag her feet behind.  Mom got us a train table years ago when we first told her that we were trying to get pregnant.  I got it down for her because it is the exact right height for her to cruise on.  It's so cute that we finally got to use it!

Final story-When Cordie was feeling bad, I had her in the swing, getting sleepy before nap time.  When I went to get her she had twin tear tracks trailing down her cheeks.  She wasn't saying anything because her throat was hurting, but when I bent down, I could see her mouthing "dada dada dada".  Oh my gosh.  Broke my heart!  That little girl loves her daddy!