Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Top Ten

Nursing a Thanksgiving food hangover, this Black Friday Top Ten is going to be short and sweet. I spend way more time each day cruising the internet than is good for me. I am making efforts to make it slightly healthier, though. I've got the laptop on top of the DVD cabinet, so I have to stand while I blog. I'm doing butt clenches as I type. I've now burned off one bite of dinner yesterday. Woo!

Anyhoo, here are some of my favorite time-wasters:

1. Go Fug Yourself Charting the hits and misses of celebrity fashion, these guys are fun-ny!

2. Cake Wrecks You will be amazed at just how bad the cakes are that some stores are willing to sell.

3. Engrish They say English is one of the toughest languages to learn. This website proves it is one of the easiest to have fun with.

4. It's Lovely, I'll Take It Real estate, with a twist.

5. Itty Bitty Kitty Committee These kitties are so cute, you won't be able to stand it.

6. Beauty Snob My resource for all things beauty.

7. Overheard in New York They said what??

8. Television Without Pity A confirmed television addict, this site is a must.

9. Facebook. Yeah, I'm that girl.

10. The Onion All the "news" that's fit to print.

For those of you not out fighting the crowds, check out one or two of these, you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!














As we begin to celebrate this day of thanks, Sophie says to remember the words of the great John F. Kennedy:

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."

I am inexpressibly grateful to have all of you in my life. May this day bring you the the comfort of a warm home, the company of family and friends and the satisfaction of a good meal.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Black Friday

For anyone with thoughts of partaking of all that is Black Friday, here is a website that lists the sales that the big retailers are running. Worth checking out!

Lunchtime Observations*













  • Grilled cheese must be cut in twain to be truly enjoyed. And you must say, "cut in twain" while you're doing it.
  • One slice of cheese is good, two slices, much better.
  • Turning away for just a moment to make googly faces at baby makes a grilled cheese burn.
  • A slightly burnt grilled cheese makes a lot of smoke.
  • When eating a slightly burnt grilled cheese, burnt side up is best.
  • String Cheese must be eaten in strings, somehow it doesn't taste as good in bites.
  • Sophie starts crying after approximately three bites of a grilled cheese sandwich.
  • I can do two "hard" Sudoku puzzles while eating a grilled cheese sandwich, a handful of chips, a string cheese and one pickle spear.
  • Sophie can be counted on to throw her sippy cup on the ground approximately 58 times while I eat lunch.
  • I'm starting to think the cat likes being squirted with the water bottle, he gets up on the table so much.
  • Whoever said that two cookies is a serving clearly did not like cookies.
*Some of my longtime readers might recognize this post from the early days of the blog when it was still B of B. I'm in kind of a funk right now and instead of pouring out more of my negativity, I thought I'd replay something a little more lighthearted.

**Sorry for the picture quality, but oh. my. god. Is that kid cute or what??

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cue The Broken Record

Last Friday I had to take Sophie back for a follow up visit to the pediatrician. She's petite, my little bean, and that has the doctor worried. Me? I go back and forth. On your average day I can tell myself that she is healthy, happy and smart. She's meeting her milestones and is one energetic little thing. Plus, I was a small baby. Heck, I was a small kid. At 11 years old, I was five feet tall and 65 pounds. Think about that for a moment. That means I was just five inches shorter than I am now and roughly 1/3 the weight. (I don't actually weight 195 pounds, but I'm closer to that than to 130, which is double. HUGE sigh.)

But then I go to the doctor and I see the words: Failure To Thrive on Sophie's chart and I lose all my confidence. My eyes fill up and I have a hard time saying all of this to the doctor. The doctor says she just wants to run some tests to make sure there aren't any obvious problems because she has only gained 5 ounces in the last month and she should have gained more like a pound. She wants to make sure there isn't something wrong with her thyroid or anything. She says she would love to send her to a pediatric nutritionist but that the only one in the area is full of kids that are overweight and it would be six months before we could get her in for an appointment.

I hate this. I hate feeling like I need to shove food down my daughter's throat. I hate keeping a journal of everything she eats. I hate trying to find the most calorie-laden food to give her so she gets the biggest bang for her buck. I worry that all of this will have a greater effect on her, that she'll wind up with some sort of eating disorder because I was stuffing her like the witch in Hansel and Gretel.

Mostly, though, I pray that nothing really is wrong with her. That the bullet I feel like I dodged when she came out perfect won't catch me now.

Monday, November 24, 2008

If Wishes Were Checks...

I was out wandering the interweb and I came across this image. Boy howdy, do I wish this check was to me:



Google Adsense check for $132,994.97! Just $132,990.02 more and I am THERE!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hoity Toity

Would it be too much to hope that her recent infatuation with the toilet indicates my diaper changing days are coming to an end?


















Eh. Probably not.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Top Ten: Thanksgiving Edition

I know it's still a week off, but I've already got the Thanksgiving spirit. Thanksgiving has always had a special place in my heart. My grandma always put out such a great feast. Her mashed potatoes are to. die. for. Plus she had a complete ensemble of Thanksgiving china: pilgrim shaped salt and pepper shakers, pumpkin platters and a turkey gravy bowl. Festive! (That's me, circa 1978. Clearly my love affair with Thanksgiving began later. How about that dress!)

There is so much to love about Thanksgiving. The entire top ten could be my list of favorite foods but I'll sprinkle some other aspects in as well.

The Ten Bestest Things About Thanksgiving:

1. Turkey! This might be the perfect food. Dark or white meat, it's all good.

2. Napping. There's just something about a tryptophan induced nap. I have spent many a Thanksgiving afternoon stretched out on the floor in front of the fire.

3. Football. Whether you just watch it or have a family tradition that includes throwing around the old pigskin in the backyard, this sport defines the season.

4. Pumpkin Pie. Topped with real whip cream or cool whip, its spiced goodness is hard to resist.

5. Family. Bellying up to the table with loved ones that you don't see nearly often enough. Priceless.

6. Four day weekend. Although some chintzy companies require their employees to work on Friday (like my husband's) most people still take the day off and have a nice long weekend.

7. Shopping. Okay, this one scares me a little bit, but the deals just can't be beat. I will NOT be out at 6am on Friday, though.

8. The beginning of the holiday season. The lights start going up around town and the Christmas decorations come out in force. 'Tis the season to be jolly!

9. Leftovers. Turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, all piled on a day old roll. Yum.

10. Giving thanks. Even in the worst of times, we all have something to be thankful for, I know I do.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Back From The Edge (again)

Thank you all for indulging my self-pity party yesterday. Last night I took a full dose of Sudafed PM, went to bed at 8 and then slept ALL night. I woke up twice, once to go to the bathroom, because I can't go all night without peeing anymore (sigh), and another time when Sophie was moving around at about 4:30. I did NOT get up then. Evidently she went back to sleep because I didn't hear her again until her normal time of 6:30. I feel much better. In a lot of ways. Which is a very good thing, because I have to get a cavity filled today and if I'd still been all whacked out, that might have been really ugly.

On another note, just one more day until Twilight comes out. I'm so curious to see what they've done with the book. I will not be attending a midnight showing tonight, but I plan to see it this weekend. Me and a million brazillion other people.

Can I just say: what the heck is up with Robert Pattinson's hair. He's on the Today show right now. He doesn't look stylishly mussed, he just looks disheveled and dirty. He's a goodlooking guy and I'm sure this is a calculated look, so what is the intended effect? Is he trying to make himself look bad? I'm sorry folks, I don't get it. Let the hate mail ensue.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Frustration and A Little Cuteness

So, I've got nothing today. The cold that has been taunting me for the past week came back in full force last night. Luckily, Sophie decided to sleep a little better, thwarting my plans to begin the Cry-It-Out method. I think she might be on to me. As I told my mom in a VERY tearful conversation last night, I am just done. I haven't had a good night's sleep in so long, I don't remember what it is like and although the naps help me get through the day, they are no substitute for a solid 8 hours of sleep. I am increasingly on edge. Quicker to cry, quicker to yell. I am less concerned and more frustrated when Sophie cries. I mean, it almost makes me angry and I don't think that's the best attitude to have towards a child that is absolutely not doing it on purpose. Which is what I say to myself over and over when I am trying not to throw my shoe through the window in frustration. I need to go meditate or something.

Seriously, how do people get through this stuff and then decide to have another child?














Oh yeah, that's how.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Where the Hell is Matt?

This is one of the most amazing videos I've ever seen. Seriously. I even teared up a little. Okay, actually I full on cried. What? I'm a little emotional right now. I think I was overwhelmed by all of the different places he visited and how so many people joined in his celebration. Despite the global community that has developed in the wake of the technological revolution, we can be very xenophobic. It is easy to feel like we are so different, that we have nothing in common with those in other parts of the world. The truth is, though, that we are all just people and what more elemental activity is there for people than dance. Enjoy!


Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Check out this site to read Matt's story.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Under Construction

When I decided to be a stay at home mom, I don't think I realized what that would mean for me creatively. My last job gave me a great outlet: lots of writing and plenty of Photoshop fun. The first few months after Sophie arrived were so stressful that I didn't even notice the hole where my job used to be. Those days of sleep deprivation, endlessly painful boobies and shredded nethers, not to mention a crying, screaming, pooping oh-so needy baby, were more genuflection than introspection.

But the day came, inevitably, when I could think about things other than the 10 pound attention-suck that I had spawned. Along with it came the realization that after months of tunnel vision I didn't know what to do with myself. I tried my hand at sewing and although I am glad to have it in my aresenal, it will never become a passion. I flitted through a couple of other amusements before I discovered blogging.

When I first started this blog, I saw it as a place to post pictures of our new family for my long-distance friends and family to see. Neil, the god of all things computer, recommended that I write a little something to go with the pictures. Thus, an addiction was born. Since then I have played around with the look and layout of the blog quite a bit. I would like to think that as my blogging style has grown, the look of the blog has matured with it. Of course, I may just be adding more and more stuff that will eventually make it overcrowded and tacky, but as long as I think its purdy, that's really all that matters.

So, the point of all this is that I spent a little time this weekend playing around with things, which is why you may not have recognized the place when you first clicked in. Bear with me as I stumble my way through figuring out html and the finer points of blog design as this will undoubtedly not be the last change. Especially since I already have a new header design in mind.

Thanks for your patience through all of my little changes and if you notice anything particularly wonky, please let me know. Have a great Monday!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Top Ten

According to all of the books, naptime is supposed to be productive time for the stay at home mom. This is when she's supposed to get all those things done that are "challenging" when looking after a baby. Obviously, I have a real problem with listening to that advice because here I am blogging when there are about a thousand things that need done around here.

Among the many, many things I should be doing right now while Sophie is napping:

1. Sleep. Sophie is sick right now, so you can imagine what sleep has been like the last couple of days. That's right. Bad. Tragically, I'm so tired I can't sleep. Woe is me.

2. Vacuum. I just watched some show about all the nasties that live in carpet. Why do I do this to myself?

3. Watch that movie from Netflix that I ordered and Neil won't watch with me so it's been sitting on the TV stand for two weeks.

4. Take the last scraps of nail polish off of my toes, leftover from my last pedicure in August. Really, it's only a couple of largish blobs on my big toes and a few smallish blobs on some of the other toes. Eh, it'll come off on it's own by sandal season.

5. Organize my sock drawer. Seriously, it's a disaster. I only wear the top four or five pairs because the rest are jumbled in the bottom. The good news is that I could go like two months without doing laundry and continue to have clean socks. They may not all match, but who's counting.

6. Tile the laundry room. I did the 12x5 area outside the laundry room a few months back before we had the carpet replaced. I stopped at the door, though, so the laundry room is still bare concrete. This one is going on my BIG list of things to do.

7. Sew. Something. Anything. I have a growing collection of sewing projects that I just can't seem to finish. It might help if I knew what I was doing with the damn sewing machine.

8. Get together a Salvation Army Bag. I'm not going to fit into those size 8s anytime soon. Heck, the clothes are already out of style its been so long. Sigh.

9. Create a Photo Album. We have literally thousands of pictures on the computer documenting Sophie's life, but only a dozen or so printed out. What if the computer died? Yes, we have backups, and backups of those backups, but still.

10. Work on this year's holiday card. I create and print my own. Last year's was actually pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. I'm so last minute, though, it will probably finally get done around Dec. 22. That's enough time to mail it to 100 people, right?

This is what Sophie was doing while she was supposed to be napping:














What should you be doing right now?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Baby Daddy

I'm not feeling so hot today. Actually, neither is Sophie, which is why we were up every other hour last night. Yay. As my stepdad would say, we've got the epizooties. Not sure about the spelling of that one. So to contrast the mood at the Land of Bean, I'm posting a few photos I found on the camera the other day.

On weekends, my beloved husband and I take turns getting up in the morning with Sophie. This allows us to each have a day where we get to sleep in since our girl is usually up before the sun. Almost every week, I will find photos of Neil's time with Sophie. Usually they are just a bunch of photos of the Bean as she cavorts around the TV room, but this time they had a little more zest.















Man, I love that guy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Alone

I am alone in the house.

Let that sink in for a minute. Let the ramifications of that one sentence permeate our collective consciousness.

I am alone in the house.

No baby. No husband. ALONE. For the first time in over a year.

What strange and wonderful feeling this luxury. There is no one demanding anything of me. No cries. No screams. No grasping arms. No pinching fingers. No chasing small legs. No "NO! Don't! Stop!" No "What's for dinner?" No "Do we have ___?" No "Can you take the baby?"

There is silence.

I am alone in the house.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The End Of An Affair


















Dear Reese's Peanut Butter Cup,

We've had a good go of it. I think we both gave it our all. At first, it felt like there was so much of you. It felt like we would never come to the bottom of the bowl. I was certain that we shouldn't, but isn't forbidden fruit always the sweetest.

I cherished every moment we spent together. I savored every nibble. Your allure is easy to recognize. That enticing contrast of salt and sweet. How could I resist you?

But then things turned sour. First, it was a queasiness that just wouldn't go away. Then it was a giant pimple on the side of my nose. I don't even want to think about the havoc you have wreaked on my thighs. But it was when I saw my one year old daughter sucking on an empty wrapper that I realized it was time for this affair to end.

So, goodbye, sweet Peanut Butter Cup. I'll cherish these times we've spent together. I do hope that we can be friends, perhaps we can get together from time to time for a bite.

I'll always love you,

Cara

PS - We'll always have outer space.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nightime Rituals

We haven't really established a complex nightly routine for Sophie's bedtime yet. She doesn't enjoy being read to and singing, at least my singing, doesn't seem to calm her. We do give her a bath every other night followed by a lotion massage, so I guess that's something. The only consistent thing is nursing. Each night, I will turn down the lights and change her into her night clothes and then we will sit down in the rocker for her bedtime cuddle and nursing. She lays down on the Boppy pillow curled up around my waist and settles in for a snack. Every single night, about one minute after we sit down, our older kitty, Potter (her full name is Notsohairy Potter), strolls into the room and jumps up onto my lap in front of the Boppy pillow.

She sits down with her front paws on one of my legs and rear paws on my other leg. While Sophie nurses, I caress Sophie's hair with one hand and Potter with the other. Many nights, although not all, Sophie will reach back with her top arm and ever so gently pet Potter. Potter always rubs her head against Sophie's back and arm, purring loudly.

What is remarkable about this to me is that at no other time would the word "gently" apply to the way Sophie acts towards the cats. In fact, aggressive and rough would be far more appropriate terms. However, the cats are always gentle with her. Gentle in ways that they are not with older humans. I wonder if they know she is a baby. If they understand that she is not just small, but also young. In particular, Potter, who we discovered too late has no maternal instinct towards other cats, or at least to the only kitten she has been exposed to, Gomez. So it surprises me that she is so gentle with Sophie when she grabs her or rolls onto her and further that she seeks her out.

I suspect it has to do with how calm Sophie is during these quiet hours of the evening. Potter can curl up next to her warmth and just enjoy her smell (she is so yummy, mmmm) without fear of eye poking, ear pulling or whisker tugging. I know these are special times for me.

But who knew that me having a baby would bring out the mothering instinct in my cat?

PS - For all you kitty lovers out there, go see this!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sophie's Super Saturday Spectacular!!*













Spooooooooooon!

*Am I overselling this picture just a tad?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Top Ten - You Were Looking For What?

When we installed Google Analytics on the Land of Bean, I was at first most interested to see all of the states and countries represented. It was months before I started looking at some of the other criteria. When I began paying attention to the search criteria that brought visitors to my little corner of the internet, I got a pretty good chuckle. Now, that's one of the first things I look at. I just don't understand how Google or whatever thought, "Hey, I'll bet someone looking for info on Cava Beans would love to read an obsessive mom's rantings about an underweight baby in Baltimore!"

But the strangeness continues:

1. Lindsay Wargner Feet - This isn't so crazy, since I have a post loosely related to Lindsay Wagner, but not sure how her feet play into the scenario. And that was their typo, not mine, btw.

2. Brazilian Wax - Not sure if they were looking for a definition or visuals. Either way, they came to the WRONG place.

3. Gooey Poop - Why on earth would someone search this??

4. Rutger Hauer Lookalike - Not a shining day for me.

5. What Language Do Wookies Speak? - I understand this, sortof, but how could I possibly have made it to the top, oh, 100 search results for this? There must be a thousand Star Wars sites, blogs, etc that have more and better information.

6. All Season Gnome - Oh my sweet little Toby. But really, are there seasonal gnomes?

7. Alleviate Inner Thigh Chafing Pain - I don't have the answer, but I've had the problem and it ain't pretty.

8. Buying Hillbilly Beans - Who knew this was actually a dish? True to its name, its primary ingredient is canned pork and beans. Um, yum?

9. Donna Tartt Secret History - I have absolutely no idea on this one.

10. Massage Naked Spa - I'm betting the person who typed in these search terms was not looking for a mommy blog.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

When She Grows Up...

I often wonder what my darling bean will be when she grows up. A couple of months ago, Oz posted a list of the professions her son's behavior indicated a predilection towards. Which got me to thinking. I know it's a little early yet, but I have a few ideas for potential careers for Sophie.

1. Nanny. She loves pushing around her little dolly in her stroller. Round and round the basement she goes, where she stops, nobody knows.

2. Cable Installer. My girl loves a remote control more than just about anything. She will cross great distances and climb tall sofas to get at them. She doesn't often throw tantrums, but she has been known to shed a tear when denied the remote. We have several dummy remotes which we hoped would take the place of our current remote in her affections, but no dice.

3. Animal Trainer. She adores the kitties. She likes petting (okay grabbing) them, she likes playing tag (chasing them around the house) and she loves helping out with their food and water (splashing in their water dish and dumping their food out). Not surprising her first word outside of mama and dada appears to be kitty. Unfortunately the way she says it, it sounds more like a part of a woman's anatomy. You get me?

4. Exotic Dancer. I would say nudist, but she has a flair for the dramatic that leads me to believe there's more than just a preference for fresh air on skin. When we met some friends out for lunch the other day, she greeted them with a smile and a flash of her baby belly. (I am less supportive of this career choice.)

5. Supermodel. I don't think I'm being preferential when I say that she might be one of the most attractive babies. Ever. Nope, not biased at all.

Whatever she decides to do, I will support her. When I was a kid, I said I would be the first female president. It seemed a fantastical idea, one that I wasn't sure I would see. Well, we're not there yet, but this election has shown us that dreams can come true.

So aim high, baby girl!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Conflicted

I've been struggling all day about what, how, if I would write anything about the election. Emotions have been so high. Now that the campaigning and voting is done, I find myself no less conflicted than I have felt throughout this election. I am a riot of emotions. Not all bad, but certainly not all good.

I am optimistic that President Elect Obama can restore faith in our country and return us to a place of respect in the eyes of the world. He is most certainly a charismatic and energetic leader and I have little doubt that he will prove to be an effective diplomat.

I am doubtful because he is one man, one man who has made many, many promises. He is not the first to win his way into office through promises of prosperity and comfort, nor would he be the first to fail to follow through, but his failure will be so damaging to the collective psyche of all those who have pinned such expectations on him that I worry for the fallout.

I am happy that the racial barriers that have plagued our country for so long have at last fallen such that a black man can aspire to AND reach the highest office.

I am saddened that the women of this election who struggled for a similar accomplishment have been met with such unequal treatment. Hillary Clinton was a bitch for being tough like her male counterparts and Sarah Palin was a bimbo who was alternately abandoning her family or using them for political gain. No such treatment was hurled at the males in this election. While we seem to have cleared a hurdle in the racial issue, the gender glass ceiling is still very real.

I am worried that just as a Republican led house, senate and president were bad for our country, so too will be the Democratic trifecta. We NEED balance. We need cooperation. I have seen none of this in a long time, from anyone.

But mostly, I am just relieved to have this all over. I have been in knots for weeks, no, months. I have read and heard so much anger and hate. So much hyperbole. So much finger pointing. I am glad to be done with it.

So. Let's move forward. You say you can. Now prove it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What Do You Do?

This past spring and summer I spent a good deal of time walking at the park. I fell off the walking wagon a couple of months ago, though. I can't say for sure why. I think in part it was because I had been walking several times a week for months and seen absolutely no change when I stepped on the scale. I'm not one to go strictly by weight, though, so with great enthusiasm I took all of my key measurements at the beginning of my foray into the postpartum exercise world. After six months, I hadn't lost an inch. NOT ONE SINGLE INCH. After what was probably hundreds of miles walked, I was in no better shape than before. Talk about disheartening.

But really, that wasn't the point of this post so much as a tangent that I veered off on to explain why I haven't been walking lately. I would like to get back into going more often, even if my behind isn't any smaller for my efforts. Which is why, despite less than ideal weather, Sophie and I were there today.

The park that I go to has a wide, paved, 3/4 mile path that goes around the circumference of the park. People walk and bike in both directions. I will generally walk 3 or 4 laps depending on Sophie's temper, the weather, etc. As I pass each person on my first lap, I smile, make eye contact and say hello. Even as I see people for the second time, I will still look them in the eyes and smile. But what are you supposed to do after that? I pass each person two times each lap, so that could be 8 times for any one person. Am I supposed to continue looking them in the eyes and smiling every time I see them? Although the scenery is pretty, there isn't much to truly distract me from looking straight ahead.

Every time I go, I think about this and I always feel weird. So what do you do when you're approaching someone down a long hallway or sidewalk?

Do you:

A) Look at the them the whole time, smiling. Perhaps a nod when you walk past.

B) Look around awkwardly until the last second and then look up and smile?

C) Never make eye contact or acknowledge their presence, pretending there is something terribly interesting off in the distance.

D) Pretend you just got a text message or phone call.

E) None of the above. You avoid walking down hallways and sidewalks at all costs.

On another note, after walking, we spent a couple of minutes at the playground. Sophie loves the slide and can now go down all by her big girl self. I recorded this video on my phone (which is why it's so grainy) and sent it to Neil, who has been walking around the house saying "Weeeee, Yaaaaay!" ever since. In my defense, it didn't sound goofy at the time, but the more times I see it, the goofier it sounds. Meh.

video

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Customer Testimonial














"I love Direct TV. It's not just about the hundreds of channels, with like 30 for kids. And don't even get me started on HD. You haven't lived until you've seen the Backyardigans in HD. Mostly, it's because they have the yummiest remotes."