Tuesday, December 29, 2009

And the winner for most annoying toy ever goes to...

Elmo Tickle Hands



Why, oh why, Dear Gawd, did anyone think this would be a good idea? Nonstop maniacal Elmo laughter or Elmo and Cookie Monster doing gangsta rap. Seriously. I mean, seriously?

Much to my dismay, SchmoopyBaby LOVES this toy. It is his favorite Christmas present. One thing I'll say for my sister-in-law - she knows what toys little boys like. The wooden blocks I bought for him and the Lego Duplo set my cousin gave him sit untouched while I am tormented by the sounds of Elmo's diabolical laughter and "Yeaahhh, Boy".

I may have to accidentally "lose" the tickle hands, lest I lose my mind.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Green Books Giveaway!

Check out The Eco-Friendly Family Blog for your chance to win 2 children's books on living green! There will be 10 winners selected, but the giveaway ends December 24 so hurry up and go! Here's the link. Good luck!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

RIP Fabulous Boots

I am in mourning. The most fabulous item in my wardrobe is no longer. My boots, my Fabulous Boots, are in taters, thanks to my dog, Mojo. Summer is hard for poor Mojo. He doesn’t like loud booming noises, and summer here in the desert southwest is full of them. If it’s not July 4th fireworks, then it’s summer monsoon thunderstorms. Every summer as soon as the sun starts to go down, Mojo grows distraught. He anticipates the loud thunder booms that herald the end of the world in his mind. So he finds the smallest, darkest corner to spend the evening and night hiding. This year, the chosen corner of safety was in my closet, behind my laundry hamper, on top of the shoes that I seldom wear. I didn’t think much of it, other than, “Gee, that can’t be very comfortable on top of my old shoes, but he seems happier there so ok”.

Recently I went into that corner, looking for some item that I thought had dropped behind my hamper instead of landing inside of it. It was then that I discovered the carnage. I wanted to bang my head against a wall. How many times have I seen and heard this dog walk around in circles, clawing at the ground or his pillowy bed before plopping down!? Why didn’t I think of what he was actually clawing in the corner of my closet!?

So there you have it, my Fabulous Boots, torn to shreds by Mojo’s claws, in the effort to make them into a comfy bed in his den.

“What’s the big deal?” you ask, “It’s only shoes.”

No. These are not just shoes. These are a symbol. A symbol of a former version of myself. A self that went out late looking Fabulous. A self that was infused with sexual power that inspired grown men to get on their hands and knees at my feet to worship and make love to The Boots. (OK, just one man, who admittedly had a major foot fetish to the point that he referred to himself as BootBoy, but still you get my point.)

I remember when I was pregnant and my feet were so swollen I couldn’t fit into any of my shoes. I wondered to myself if I would ever be able to wear The Boots again. I wondered furthermore if I would ever have occasion to wear them again. Would I ever again have the energy to go out somewhere deserving of The Boots? Would I ever again have a desire to go anywhere deserving of The Boots? How would being a mother change that part of me that was so significant in my 20s and to a slightly lesser extant in my early 30s?

Teresa Strasser wrote on her blog about remaining badass after motherhood:
When I think “mom,” I don’t want to think haggard, beleaguered “mom bloggers” telling Oprah about their crappy, sit-com sex lives and zany diaper mishaps, I want to think of women being exactly who they were before kids, only better…I know I would trade the frightful notion of Ann Taylor knits covered in crumbs for even the illusion of ass-kicking motherhood in the form of skin and ink.

I have not gotten rid of any of my badass, skin showing ensembles. All my leather and lace, velvet and vinyl remains intact if not covered in dust in the corners of my closet - except for The Boots, of course. They are reminders of the fabulous, sexy, powerful woman that I once was. The passing of The Fabulous Boots feels like a passing of an era. Now I know I will never wear them again and I mourn. I mourn for The Boots and I mourn a little bit for the badass woman that may still be lurking under this always-tired skin, still covered in jeans that have dried baby pee from this morning’s leaky diaper, because I lacked the time or energy to change into clean pants.

Sometimes I wonder if I should get rid of my stash. In 10 years, what will I tell SchmoopyBaby if he should stumble across a leather mini corset dress? How much of my mildly sordid past will I share with him? Should a boy know that his mother was ever anything other than the vanilla, stuck-in-the 80s, slightly embarrassing old lady that he thinks of her as? I haven’t decided yet. I’ll admit to being in procrastination mode as far as that is concerned. I have no desire to lie about anything in my past to him. If he ever asks, “Mom, did you ever (fill in blank) when you were young?” I will answer him honestly. A direct question deserves a direct answer, and he deserves to know about my experiences and what I learned about myself and the world through those experiences. And if my experiences can help him avoid any pitfalls and help him make good decisions based on sound judgment all the better.

RIP Fabulous Boots. We had a hell of a ride.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Home for the holidays

Last Wednesday I was starting to compose some comments on my last post when all of the sudden John comes limping into the room hyperventilating. It turns out he went outside to get the mail at 9pm and noticed that our neighbor had his sprinklers running. This might be a "yeah, so?" moment, but considering (1) it was 9pm at night, (2) it was about 30-something degrees outside and dropping, and (3) it was Wednesday and with the current water restrictions our neighborhood can only water lawns on Mondays, John was looking at the neighbor's yard all like "WTF?!" instead of looking where he was going and he stepped off the sidewalk in just the right position to feel a loud SNAP in his foot and end up on his hands and knees in the street.

So once we got him warmed up, and got his foot wrapped in ice and elevated, we agreed that I would take the morning off work to help get him crutches and whatever else he was going to need in the morning. Come Thursday morning, with John unable to bear any weight on his foot, it became apparent that he was not going to be able to take care of SchmoopyBaby unassisted, so I took the rest of the day off.

Now, we had been planning for a few weeks to visit my family in California for the holidays this weekend, and I had already arranged to take Friday and Monday off already. So, given that I was taking Thursday off as well, and as much as I hate to "waste" a vacation day, we decided to leave a day early.

It was kind of a stressful morning running around. I had to go to 4 places before I could find a set of crutches the right size, SchmoopyBaby was cranky about having his morning routine thrown for a loop and being forced in and out of the carseat a bunch of times, and John wasn't much help (understandably so) with packing for our trip.

We finally got to my parent's house on Thursday evening, later than we would have liked, but not too bad considering we weren't even planning on leaving for another day. Between the stress of taking care of 2 "babies" and the dog as well as the whole "home for the holidays" business with a family of average dysfunction, I was a little on edge the first couple of days and couldn't help but fall back into my old pattern of snippiness. John and I had a conference the second night and that seemed to help.

In all it was a decent trip. SchmoopyBaby had an absolute BLAST playing with his Grandma and riding on his Auntie's shoulders and I ate more than my fill of potato latkes. Here are a couple of pics of the merriment.


Don't look now, there's a monkey on your back, Auntie! (Please ignore the diapers drying on the fireplace in the background)

Auntie's head is a drum, hehehe

Not the best pic I've ever taken, but sadly it's the only one I got of SchmoopyBaby playing with Grandma and Grandpa. Watch out for your glasses, Grandma!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My new favorite parenting blog

I just discovered the PhD in Parenting blog and I LOVE IT! I love the way she writes, so articulate. Here are a couple of posts that really resonated with me. Check out her post on why there's no such thing as the perfect parent and her discussion on whether or not opinion = judgement for a small sampling of great stuff. I don't have time to write a coherent commentary on those posts right now, although there are tons of ideas jumbling around in my head that will probably keep me awake tonight, so if a have a chance to put any of them on paper I will get back to you on this.

It's so good, and her points are so important, it deserves to be revisited and discussed.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cookbook Givaway!

The fine folks at One Frugal Foodie are giving away a cookbook, The 30 Minute Vegan! To enter, just click here and enter a comment.

"But wait," you say, "I'm not vegan, I'm not even vegetarian, what am I going to do with a vegan cookbook?"

Well, given that I am vegetarian and John is vegan, and well, if it takes more than 30 minutes to cook it probably isn't going to get cooked around here anytime soon, I guess I would be willing to take it off your hands. I know how annoying extra clutter around the house is, and I certainly wouldn't want to burden my family or friends with the burden of a useless book laying around your home. ;)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

House of Sickos

I think all three of us are pretty much better now. Fortunately nothing serious, just the first cold of the season. Copious amounts of snot making it impossible for SchmoopyBaby to sleep horizontally. So guess who spent a night sitting in the rocking chair cradling a sick toddler so he could sleep? Hint - the same person who had to go to work the next morning on maybe 3 hours of sleep total, and who got sick herself 2 days later. sigh.

Hey wait a minute, did I just refer to myself in the 3rd person? whatev. I've been really tired lately so forgive me if I have the grammar, punctuation, and general writing style of a seventh grader. I'm having a hard time mustering up the energy to care.

Thanksgiving was fairly uneventful. I made a super yummy apple crumble from The Joy of Vegan Baking and a sweet potato and pumpkin side dish. John made my quinoa stuffed acorn squash recipe that I came up with a couple of years ago. It is turning into a Thanksgiving tradition now, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy because in general I don't think I am a particularly good or creative cook, so whenever I come up with an original recipe that's a keeper I get excited.

I really got the shopping bug this year, but I had no time to do anything about it. Probably better for my pocketbook, but I can't help but cringe at all the good deals I missed out on. Oh well, there's always the after xmas sales if I still have the bug by then. :)