Thursday, July 30, 2009

Friends, it's time to get your witch on

Never too early to try on Halloween costumes. This one is a vintage hat and cape made by my mom, originally worn by my sister in 1979 and known in our family as "The Weenie Witchie."

This year, Audrey ain't no good witch.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Add "pesto" to the list of meals that require an immediate dunk in the bathtub

She loves to eat independently, with utensils, but she tends to eat the pasta out of one fist while waving the fork like a conducting wand in the other. Whatever. I've got plenty of wash-cloths to deal with the aftermath.

Here's Audrey entertaining her parents and Aunt Janna using only her sparkling wit and a greasy rag:

Aunt Janna's in town!

Finally, someone to read Dr. Seuss with a fresh, I-haven't-read-this-a-zillion-times lilt to her voice!

We also made a quick trip to the Museum of Science where Audrey was most enthralled with the "chine" that stamped our hands.

Daddy stretch

As important as working out regularly is doing a proper cool-down and stretch routine afterward. Audrey takes part in Scott's "daddy stretch" after his occasional morning run. It's finally become real summer here so the only time a sane person can run is early in the morning. Not to say there aren't lots of people running in the heat of the day but these individuals baffle me. Who would want to be out there in the sun and the muggy heat, braising in their own sweat? Inexplicable.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


That's all!

Some things are just instinctual

Audrey demonstrates, with no coaching from me, that there is one way and one way only to eat a California olive.

Behold: the double olive throw-down.

Meet my sister-wife... Scott's new iPhone

We have a simple seven-word sentence in our house that is the answer to any question you can possibly think of: "There's an iPhone app for that."

It's true! Ask Scott! There is!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Did I say I'd post California pictures?

I think I made some vague comment about posting photos and an elaborate description of our trip to the Bay Area, where, for any of you who don't already know, we are going to pick up and move our soon-to-be four ring circus here in about six months.

Well. It turns out we just didn't take all that many pictures because it was a really short, and very busy trip. In sum: California is quite different than we are used to, it's so expensive it makes our eyes water, and yet we maintain a steady faith that we are going to like-- perhaps even love-- our new home out there once we get to the other side of the enormous change. I will say that we stood out absurdly in our sun hats and liberally applied sunscreen, in a land where most women my age are starting to look like old pieces of fruit leather.

The photo up top was taken in Palo Alto when I took Audrey for the morning to a playground and water park for toddlers. The one below is at our local supermarket where they keep a few farm animals on hand to distract shoppers who may be less interested in the display of pricey cheeses than they are in "oinks." Audrey is especially a fan of the llama who charms her despite his extremely crooked teeth and bad breath. And she actually does go for the pricey cheeses-- they pair so well with her favorite cocktail olives.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A story about poop, with apologies. You can just be grateful there is no accomanying photo with this one.

This is the kind of story that people without kids never, ever want to hear, and I don't blame them. You may be one of those people even if you have kids. Sorry if this is just too gross for anyone's sensibilities. And don't even bother reminding me that I swore I would never tell stories like this-- I'm so past that now.

This morning I brought Audrey into the bathroom so she could consider the option of using the potty, and as she stood there thinking about it, she pooped on the floor. It startled her so she kind of jumped out of the way, and in so doing, she stepped right into the mess she'd just made. As I scrambled to help her, and to contain the mess, I also stepped in it. Scott (who was trying to catch up on sleep having worked very late the night before) heard me calling for help, jumped out of bed and ran right into the bathroom-- to the rescue!-- and stepped directly into it too. So here we all are, up to our ankles in doo-doo, quite literally, and Scott and I are trying desperately not to scare Audrey or make this a negative potty training experience so we're all like, "Yay! Good for you! Good try!" and smiling like idiots while we try to figure out how to move without getting more of the you-know-what onto ourselves, the wall, the bath mat. It just felt... I don't know. Typical. And crazy at the same time. We all had to have a bath and a number of things had to be sterilized but in the end I think Audrey viewed her performance as a success.

Isn't it a mad, mad, mad, mad world?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Audrey uses the potty once, and our false hopes soar.

Readers, she did it. She went, while sitting on her Elmo potty seat. It was basically just a fluke, and no more intentional than the call she made this morning to the Town of Arlington animal control department (by hitting redial, her favorite button). But still. There was activity, of the right kind and in the right place, and it has made me feel hopeful that one day we'll put the diapers away. I've talked to enough parents and read enough stuff on-line to realize that children quite often reach this stage-- where they think sitting on the potty seat is really interesting-- a good year or more before they are actually ready to be fully trained. And I have heard from my friends almost without exception that I should relax and wait until she's ready or I will guarantee myself a longer wait and a bigger struggle. So. Okay. I'm going to be patient. Or at least as patient as I am able to be, which is to say, not very, but I will try.

Our pediatrician offered not-so-helpfully that most children in Bulgaria are potty trained by the age of 15 months. But unless she's going to send me a Bulgarian nanny to live with us and execute this training, this information is not so useful to me. I am consoled by the fact that our pediatrician just had her first child and will soon rue the day she dispensed tidbits like this. (In fairness, she is a great doctor and I wish her a child who sleeps through the night soon.)

We're still busy unpacking from our California trip but when that's done and we're all wearing clean socks again, I'll tell you how it went.

Three cheers for the Elmo potty seat!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Rounder (including an admission of ice cream defeat)

I'm rocking the elastic belly-panel jeans, if I do say so myself. And yes, I meant for the strap to show. It's part of the whole look I'm working on.

Here's some free and hard-won wisdom for all our readers: you may be thinking that making your own homemade ice cream is a really cool idea, but I am here to tell you that there are a dozen brands-- at least-- of store-bought ice cream that are better, cheaper and less aggravating than the ice cream I made last night. I've decided to come forward with my story in case there are others out there who, like me, might oughta just stick with the freezer case at the store.

I was so determined to use the ice cream maker that's been gathering dust in our basement that I spent upwards of $20 this week, plus several hours and multiple car trips to gather ingredients, cook a custard base, smash ice with a hammer on our back porch (never did find crushed ice for sale in bags), obtain something called "ice melt" from the neighbors in place of rock salt (couldn't find rock salt, anywhere) and finally make this insanely over-billed homemade ice cream. Making the custard base was not a big problem, it was the work of filling this thing full of ice smashed by my own hands, sprinkled with "ice melt" and then enduring an hour of the machine grinding away on our counter. My resolve and excitement were fading hours before I tasted any ice cream. No one can accuse me of exhibiting extraordinary patience-- certainly not Scott, who resisted participating in the ice cream project from the beginning but did come to make sure all was well when he heard the ice hammering...

As we listened to the ice cream maker prepare for take-off I was still thinking the strawberry ice-cream inside-- made from fresh farmer's market strawberries! the best!-- would be worth all this stirring, straining, swearing and sweating. Not so. The ice cream had a kind of soft-serve quality when I took it out of the machine, so I packed it, as instructed, into containers to harden over night in the freezer. No magic transformation. The next morning, the texture was more like frozen cotton candy, or foam insulation, lightly sweetened. Scott suggested that we melt it, add cereal and try to reincarnate it as a giant Rice Krispy Treat. I think by that time he had hidden the hammer.

Others would be inspired to just keep at it, to tweak the recipe and try again. Not me. Next time I get some of those strawberries from the farmer's market-- and they are really, really good-- we'll just eat them straight out of the carton.

Dance of the Scary Frog

More dancing. Sorry. What do you want? This is a baby blog, not the Huffington Post. We're phoning it in today.