Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Toddler play

Charlotte loves dolls. She calls them "baby", and loves to take care of them, like a little mommy. Her interaction with her baby dolls is quite a lot of fun to watch. I remember the day I first saw her trying to feed a baby--by shoving a pretzel at it's mouth. I've tried giving her empty cups and clean spoons to feed the baby with, and have to watch her or she'll "feed" her real food to the doll.

Its' very cute when she picks up one of her baby blankets, shakes it out, and swaddles her baby up. She'll then pick it up in a cradle position, and patted it on the back. She must have learned the swaddling at daycare, where there are a couple of little babies. Charlotte's baby goes for many walks in a doll stroller (some more like jogs, with vroom-ing sound effects) , and sleeps in an adorable little wicker cradle (complete with Charlotte telling us "Shhh" with her finger to her lips).

In the last two weeks, she's developed two new games with her baby. First, she has mastered climbing into my rocking chair and rocking in it, and she's learning to sing "Rock-a-bye baby" She actually will say "rock - bye - baby". She's also apparently potty-training her baby doll. Charlotte likes to take her own changing pad out of my bag, unroll it, and put her baby on top. Last night she also pulled out the wipes (which she used to blow her doll's nose), and a diaper, and asked for help in diapering the baby. Her size 3 pampers are way too big for the doll, but that's not a problem for a toddler. After the diaper was on, she carried her baby into the bathroom, lift the lid to the toilet, and sit the baby down on the seat! She also tried to sing the ABC song, which her daddy and I sing to her when she's sitting on her little potty--It came out sort of "b-b-b....b..b". Once I figured out what she was up to, I helped so that the baby didn't accidentally take a bath in the toilet.

If all of the images of a toddler "mothering" a baby doll don't make you smile today, then surely the picture of a grown woman holding a doll on the edge of a toilet seat while her toddler sings will :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Secretary's day

I'm grumpy today. I have no real excuse, since Charlotte slept soundly from about 11pm until we woke her up this morning at 7. She actually went down around 8:30, but my husband had to go in and comfort her once or twice before 11. In anycase, she slept and I slept, and yet I feel like a zombie. Since I'm in such a chipper mood, I thought I'd pose a very grumpy question.

Why on earth is there a Secretary (Office Administrator, whatever your title is) day? Why do people feel the need to buy these people flowers? It's not that I don't appreciate the work they do--They coordinate meetings, make travel arrangements, and probably a lot of other things that don't impact me directly (since I'm not any sort of executive, no one answers my phone or mail or helps arrange my schedule or anything like that). But that's their job. These people (mainly women, but not always), are paid to do these things. I'm sure that there are secretaries, sorry, office administrators who run personal errands for their bosses as well. And they are reputed to keep track of things like their (male) wives' birthdays.

I guess the old stereotype is that a secretary is much like a wife/mother, except that she takes care of the office and employees not the house and the kids (I did mention "old" stereotype here). Is that why people buy flowers for them? Because you buy flowers for your mom once a year, and your secretary works just as hard? Except that you don't pay your mom, but you do pay your secretary. It's true that secretaries don't usually make as much as some other professions (like software developers...yes, that's me...I am fully aware of the hole I'm digging right now), so they get compensated with a card instead? Hmm...

I can't think of a single male-dominated field (or traditionally male-dominated field, no matter the modern male:female ratio) where employees have a special day including gifts and cards from their coworkers. If there is one, please let me know :) Feminism and women's lib and all that are supposed to be so, well, part of our mother's and grandmother's generation. Modern working women are supposed to expect equal pay and equal treatment for their work, and there shouldn't still be "women's work" that is somehow inferior to "men's work". Why, in this modern era, then, are we still need a Secretary's day?

Or at least, why isn't there a Software Developer's Day? Accountant's day? Postal Worker's day (note I did not say "mailman")? Doctor's day (there is a Nurse's day, another traditionally female profession).. Where are the flowers and cards for the rest of us, in thanks for doing our job? Oh wait, last Thursday was payday....

Monday, April 24, 2006

Google Searches

After seeing MyPetRock using Site Meter to find out who's reading his blog, I thought it would be amusing to try the same thing. It looks like some people have found me with some rather creative searches....

"knifty knitters" I have a set of these and have made a handful of hats, scarves, and baby booties. They're a lot of fun! I haven't managed to post any photos, though. If you're thinking about buying a set, I say to go for it! If you find any good patterns, let me know :)

"didn't have to exercise" I actually quite enjoy most forms of exercise. There are days that I wish that I didn't have to, but I'm usually glad I did.

"urine sample paper towel" I guess someone found my post about collecting a urine sample from a baby....I don't know what the paper towel was for, but good luck to you with whatever you're up to here...

"Caffeine amounts in Cadbury Cream Eggs" Hmm....I don't know about most people, but the caffeine is the least of my health worries when eating a Cadbury Cream Egg...

2 new additions to our "family"

We are slowly but surely growing our family. We started out with a lone gal, Mabel. We then added Bruce and Clifford. Around that time, we brought home Larry, Darryl, and Darryl. Clifford, Larry, and the Darryl's have unfortunately passed on to the next world. We think Clifford drowned, though I'm of the opinion that he also got a little over-exposure to the sun. One of the Darryl's was brutalized, and her two siblings died of grief the following winter.

Friday, however, we brough home Jon and Chandler. Chandler is a little short, but promises to be a fast grower. Jon is tall and spindly (taller than I originally thought, actually, luckily he bends under pressure and springs back nicely).

If you thought my daughter's name was Charlotte, then you are probably very confused. I'm not talking about children, or even pets (well, pets of the sort that run around and make noise). I'm talking about trees. Mabel is our maple tree, planted by the builder in our front yard. Bruce is a dwarf spruce who seems to be thriving on the south side of our house next to Clem (the clematis). Larry, Darryl andDarryl were a trio of ill-fortuned holly bushes--one of the 2 female (Darryl) bushes expired when we planted hostas around her--we must have cut a root or something, and the other female and the male just never came back this spring. Clifford was a red dogwood that we planted on the north side of our house, where I thought it was shady enough for a understory tree, but I forgot to count on the afternoon sun that hit him directly (and the St. Louis summer sun is brutal), plus a little over-watering from our rose bushes.

Our two new additions are a bing cherry (Chandler), who is starting off short (about 5ft tall, including the pot), and Jon (an apple tree..I thought he was a Jonathan, but he's actually a Fuji..but I kept the name). I found the two of them, along with some raspberry bushes and annuals for our hanging baskets on Friday afternoon at Lowe's. We've had the perfect spot for an apple tree picked out since our deck was built--a sort of divet between the deck and the stairs where we'll have good access to pick the fruit right from the stairs. Chandler is at the "ridgeline" of our backyard hill--our back yard is about 1/2 flat-ish (contoured for draining but basically level), and 1/2 a 45degree slope downward towards the neighbors. The cherry tree went right before the slope, where he has plenty of sun and space to spread, and won't cast any shadows on my attempt at a veggie garden.

Friday night, we (mostly my husband), planted our 2 new trees, 2 raspberry bushes, 2 grape vines that he'd found earlier in the week (bought with a pair of lilacs that have already replaced Larry/Darryl/Darryl). I built a very poor-loooking enclosure for our compost pile out of tree supports and a plastic mesh (like chicken wire, but not as ugly)--We will probably need a more attractive enclosure soon, but we'll see how well the $5 variety works for us in the mean time. I also got our hanging baskets planted and hung--with Portulaca, petunias, and one with cherry tomatoes. Hopefully this year we'll keep the momentum going and whip the rest of the garden and the yard into better shape!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Can you potty train by peer pressure?

Last night we got together with our friend A., whose husband was out of town, and her two kids Connor and Shannon for dinner and kiddie romping time. The kids are 5 and nearly 3, respectively, and both are potty trained. Charlotte is always excited to see them, and tries to do everything they do. We ended up at Steak and Shake for dinner, and Charlotte would not sit still until she had a little paper hat to color and wear, just like the big kids. When Connor decided to "take our orders" using a crayon and a comment card, Charlotte had to have a comment card to scribble on as well. After dinner, we went back to our house to let the kids run off some of their chocolate shakes, and all three danced to my husband's guitar, and took turns helping him to play it :)

One of the funnier parts for me, was when Connor had to use the restroom a little while before we left for dinner. He went right in to the powder room and shut the door behind him, just like he was supposed to. Charlotte is not used to being shut out of the restroom (we either get to pee with an audience, or listen to her scream on the other side of the door...), and besides, she wanted to do *everything* the big kids were doing. She actually stood outside the bathroom door whining and trying to reach the door handle (lucky for Connor she's still too short to turn the knob) and saying "potty". When she reached down to grab at her diaper and then tried to pull off her top, I decided to take her upstairs to her little potty chair to see if she actually had to go. She was thrilled for me to unsnap her pants and take off her diaper, and sat proudly on her little potty chair and....did nothing. However, less than 10 minutes later as we were getting ready to leave for the restaurant, she did have a wet diaper, so maybe she had to go, but doesn't quite get the whole picture yet.

This isn't the first time that Charlotte's insisted on sitting on the potty when she sees bigger kids doing it. She's not even 2 yet, and besides buying the potty chair and occaisionally sitting her on it (usually right before a bath, when she's already naked), we haven't done much to try to potty train her. She has actually both peed and pooped in the potty in the past, but I think that was just lucky timing on our part. Every now and then, she tells us when she's wet or messy--by saying "potty", or tugging on her diaper, so maybe it won't be long until we're full-swing into potty training. I keep wondering if she'd be trained faster if she was around older kids all the time--I wouldn't mind a bit if she trains herself by imitating them.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Pet Peeves

Sarahlynn recently posted an amusing list of her pet peeves. Not having anything else to write about today, I thought I'd "borrow" her topic and share a few of mine :)

  1. People who drive 5 miles under the speedlimit so they won't pass a cop who's driving slow (and probably laughing the whole way)
  2. People in SUV's who think they know how to drive in snow, just because they're in a SUV. Ever count the number of big cars vs little ones on the sides of the road in a snow/ice storm?
  3. Receiving the same email forwards over-and-over-and-over again. No, if you add a bunch of new pictures or (worse) music it does NOT make it OK (especially if you attach 5MB of them.)
  4. The way my daughter says "No" to everything lately, even things she really wants. She's entering the terrible two's at 20 months.
  5. The lady who cleans our house does not wrap the vacuum cleaner cord back up neatly--she just loops it around loosely on the handle. Come on, it doesn't take that long to put it back on right!
  6. When I'm doing housework and my husband is playing a computer game. I don't mind if he plays, but I always learned that you have to get your work done first. And, darn it, if I've got housework to do, then he does too!

I think I'll stop there....if not, I could be here for hours!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

March of Dimes

I added a link to my sidebar recently for sponsoring us for the March of Dimes Walk America fundraiser, but thought I'd add a quick plug. My daughter, Charlotte, was born at 36 weeks (full term is usually around 40 weeks if you didn't know). She was actually fine and quite healthy--she weighed in at 6.5 pounds and was breathing and nursing fine from the get-go. Her only complication was jaundice, which kept her in the NICU under bili lights for a day.

My mother has worked for years as a NICU nurse. I grew up hearing her stories about sick babies, and multiple births, and which ones she was taking care of. I got to see her bittersweet days when babies that she'd rocked and fed finally got to go home. I also occaisionally glimpsed the sadness she felt when they lost a little life that she'd been caring for.

We have several of friends with babies more premature than Charlotte. One of Charlotte's closest playmates, Gavin, was 32 or 34 weeks and spent his first couple of weeks of life in a NICU.

The March of Dimes is trying to fund research into preventing and treating prematurity. Charlotte, my husband, and I (and Gavin's mother) walked in last year's event in Forest Park, St. Louis, and at least our family is planning to do so again this year. If you have a few extra bucks to donate, that would be wonderful. If you want to come walk with us, that would be awesome too. If all you have time for is a quick thought or prayer for the littlest ones, then bless you!

Baby signs

Apparently there's been some research that shows that toddlers can learn to communicate with sign language more quickly than some of their verbal skills develop. There are classes that parents can take with their kids to help teach a simplified version of sign language, called "baby signs".

Charlotte is making up her own little sign language. It's not that she's not verbal; she actually says a couple of dozen words, and is starting to work on 2 to 3 word phrases. In addition to her words, she has added a couple of signs of her own.

The first sign she ever made was to point at things. This started well before 1 year, and meant either "I want that" or "I am paying attention to that". I think a lot of babies get this one early. She then learned to nod her head "yes" and "no" early also..only lately has she started verbalizing her "no"'s.

The next one she made up was for brushing her teeth. She takes her index finger and sticks it in her mouth, imitating the motion of a toothbrush. She was probably 14 months or so when she started doing this one--until then, she had no teeth and we weren't really brushing her gums much. Usually she says it in response to us talking about brushing teeth, though she's been known to hand one of us a toothbrush and make the sign--she's starting to take care of us like we do for her--feeding us, and brushing hair and other various tasks.

Most recently, she's come up with a quasi-sign for Cookie Monster--she puts her hands to her mouth and makes a gobbling sound like Cookie Monster does when he's eating cookies. If you mention a frog or a rabbit, she bounces up and down and makes a growling sound that's vaguely a low, toad-like "ribbet" (which must sound a lot like rabbit, and they both hop, so they go together I guess). She's also learned how to motion "shh"--Especially when someone's lying down like they're sleeping, she puts her finger to her lips. Of course, while she's there, she also tends to pick her nose. She's nothing if not opportunistic....

Monday, April 17, 2006

Little artist

Saturday night we colored Easter eggs. I had bought a tie-dye egg kit a couple of years ago when my baby sister was really into Scooby Doo, but had never used it. It came with the standard set of coloring pellets and the little wire egg tool, plus an egg-shaped plastic mold , a dropper, and a couple of pieces of fabric. The idea was that instead of (or in addition to) the regular dyeing method, that you would wrap an egg in the fabric and put it in the mold. You then take the dropper and squirt dye through small holes in the plastic mold. The wrinkles in the fabric surrounding the egg would transfer the dye in a sort of tie-dye pattern.

We stripped Charlotte down to her diaper, so that we wouldn't tie-dye her clothes in the process and sat down in the kitchen to try this. First, I tried to have her help put eggs into the coffee cups of color. She doesn't understand "gently" yet, and tried to shove the eggs in, cracking a couple in the process. Next I set up one of the white eggs in the little tie-dye mold and tried to show her how the dropper worked. She took to that immediately. She concentrated very hard and was able to pick up dye with the dropper (a flimsy plastic thing that's smaller than a regular crayon), insert it into the holes (that I'd poked with a screw driver and were barely big enough for the dropper), and squirt the egg. I had to keep rotating the colors in front of her so that she would use a variety of them, and occaisionally turn the egg over so she would dye both sides, but otherwise she did all the work. I had to convince her to stop long enough to take the egg out so that we could see her handiwork--it turned out great! She was thrilled, though it got an extra color wash when she dropped it into one of the color cups on the way to the drying rack.

At one point she had a bad tumble off the counter stools we were sitting on--I'd only turned away for a second and somehow she knocked the thing over backwards. Once she got over the scare (and I was sure she hadn't broken anything), she immediately wanted back up to keep working on the egg. Her daddy took a video of the last egg that she worked on (from the safety of my lap so that she wouldn't tip over again).

Charlotte constantly amazes me. She had better dexterity and concentration than I would have expected from a kid several years older than she is. Charlotte dyed 3 eggs in all, spending a good half an hour carefully squirting dye into little holes. She's only 1.5!!!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Easter candy

The priest at our church said once that for lent you should do something that would be a daily reminder of what the season was about. My huband gives up shaving. (Actually, the first year or two he gave up shaving and had a full beard by Eater; Now he has a full beard within a week, and has to trim it to look presentable for work). I usually gave up chocolate for lent. Yes, I probably have a little bit of chocolate almost every day--either as candy or hot cocoa or a chocolate creamer in coffee (I don't drink much coffee anymore, but I used to).

Easter season is a bad time for me to give up chocolate. First of all, my birthday is usually right in the middle of it, and I *love* a good devil's food cake. Girl Scout cookie season is in the spring around here, which means Thin Mints and Tagalongs. And, worst of all, the stores are filled with chocolate bunnies, Reese's peanut butter eggs and Cadbury Cream Eggs. Those things are the creation of the Devil himself--yummy chocolate with a sugary, frosting-like filling. (Have I mentioned my love of frosting? That's a whole 'nother post...). I would buy a stash of cream eggs to save for Easter morning, and drool over them for 40 days and 40 nights.

The last couple of years I haven't been quite as devout. Two years ago I was pregnant, with nasty morning sickness, and my husband's appetite. For those of you that don't know my husband, that means that all I felt like eating was meat, meat, meat. And french fries. I lost my sweet tooth for the most part (he almost never eat sweets unless we're talking about sodas), and chocolate gave me heartburn. So I didn't give it up, but I wasn't really eating it either. I remember eating a yummy slice of chocolate cake on my birthday, and then losing later that evening :( Last year, I was breastfeeding full time and *starving*, so I didn't give up any food substances. Seriously, I I pumped and nursed the 40+ pounds I had to lose away, while devouring snacks and steaks without restraint. Those were good days :) I had just started being able to add dairy foods back to my diet after giving them up to help my daughter's reflux, and wasn't drinking alcohol or caffeine, so I still felt a little deprived .

This year, I'm just lazy I guess. I didn't give up anything. I've been munching away on chocolate all season. I have the occaisional caffeinated beverage (not many, they give me headaches). I drink wine every now and then. We haven't even been great at church attendence, between illnesses and travelling and just needing a break from the routine.

The one indulgence I haven't partaken of so far is Cadbury Cream Eggs. I bought a 4-pack a couple of weeks ago, and they're waiting patiently in my cupboard. I keep thinking that maybe I'll break one out, but I haven't really had the urge to. I guess it's just not time yet.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Strep again

Charlotte has strep throat again. Supposedly, it's uncommon for children under 2 to get it at all. Apparently not for us. Neither my husband nor I are sick, and we don't have a dog, which the pediatrician said can be carriers. Other than her occaisional fever spikes where she wants to be cuddled, she's acutally in a pretty good mood today. I even took her for a walk this morning before her Dr appointment, and she played briefly on the slides at the park. At least if I'm going to use up another sick day (only 1 left for a while!), it's a beautiful day--80ish and sunny. So how am I spending her nap time? Sitting inside on the computer, of course...

Thousand dollar sweater

I am finally getting a photo posted of the sweater I made for my daughter Charlotte. It is mostly crocheted, with knitted ribbing cuffs and bottom band. I started it right after Christmas, so it took me the better part of 4 months to make. It might have gone faster if I spent more time watching TV (where most of the crocheting took place). Also, I believe I had all of the big pieces done by President's day, because starting to figure out the cuffs when visiting my inlaws that weekend. I don't know how many hours I spent working on this, but probably easily over 40 hours, which at my current salary comes out to, well, waaaay more than I would have spent just to buy one in the first place :)

(4/14) P.S. I just checked out my blog and the second picture looks really dark, and makes it look like Charlotte is crying. She actually has a very goofy grin on her face. She gets excited over new clothes, and that night in particular she wanted to go for a walk, so she was thrilled to be putting on a jacket.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Good Job, Daddy

Charlotte is learning to talk in phrases instead of just single words. This morning, as I was getting her dressed, her daddy came in to say "Good morning." Charlotte immediately hopped into his arms for a giggly hug, and he tried to put her shoes on. She kept trying to help, by sticking out the wrong foot and curling her toes under and squirming. Finally, I pulled her into my lap and my husband went to work on one of her shoes. He managed to get the shoe onto the (correct) wiggly foot, and Charlotte clapped her hands and said something that sounded like "Good Job, Daddy".

My husband probably doesn't hear enough of that phrase. He is a responsible adult and is expected to balance work and family life and do half of the work around the house, just like I do. But he always has a smile and a hug for his daughter, and she loves it when he plays with her and tickles her and reads her stories. If we get home before he does in the evenings, she walks around the house calling for him, as I try to explain that he's not home. When we hear the rumble of the garage door opener, she will run to the back door and laughing out loud when he walks through the door. She still wants me for snuggles when she's hurt (or hungry), but there is no doubt how much she loves her daddy. So, "Good Job, Daddy".

Monday, April 10, 2006

Comments Away

I just found a nifty setting in blogger called "moderate comments". Apparently when it's set a certain way, all the comments that people post end up in a bucket for me to approve. Apparently that's been set, and the bucket filling for a while. Now that I flipped the switch, the comments that people had posted may have gone away. Oh well. Feel free to post more. They might even show up this time...


We had another busy weekend. I was actually hoping for a slightly quieter one, but you get what you get. We at least were home this weekend, which meant that we had a lot of catching up to do from last weekend's trip to my cousin's wedding. We had piles of laundry to go through--clean and dirty. The clothes we'd managed to get washed over the last week end up in a clean pile in front of the couch in our bedroom--where they're supposed to be folded. The dirty ones just overflow our various hampers (is 5 hampers too many for 3 people? hmmm..).

Plus, this week a friend brought over a ton of her daughter's outgrown clothes that we had to sort through. I enjoy getting these because they quickly fill Charlotte's closet with cute clothes--many are in excellent condition, and the ones that aren't will just go to daycare, where she'll add more paint and red jello stains anyway. Plus, there are always a handful of adorable dresses that are in near perfect shape. I also love shopping for Charlotte, and it's nice to be able to buy her a couple of slightly more expensive outfits. I don't buy anything too outrageous--no $200 baby dresses--but $50 total for a jumper, sweater, shirt, and matching tights is way more than I would spend if I were supplying an entire closet full of clothes in every size. Anyway, the buckets of new-to-us clothes got added to the piles of laundry on the floor.

Our laundry process goes something like this: 1) Decide on the next load to be done(i.e. is someone out of jeans or underwear or towels or is the pile of red's overflowing into the hall...) 2) Extract the clothes from the appropriate hamper(s). There is one in our room, one in Charlotte's, and 3 hanging ones in the laundry room that's right off the kitchen--one for towels, one for Charlotte's things (mostly dirty bibs), and a third for everything else. 3) Wash and dry clothes, preferably within the same 24 hour period. If things sit in the washer longer than that, they probably get a second washing. Yes, this happens fairly frequently. 4) Carry dry clothes upstairs to our room and dump them in a pile on the floor. 5) Fold/hang and put away the laundry. Ideally this happens within a short period of step 4, but generally there's a small hill of clean clothes on our bedroom floor.

The best I can say for this system is that generally the clean pile is larger than the dirty pile. And, thanks in part to the generosity of friends with older daughters, we all have enough clothes in our closets to make it through the average 2-week cycle time of our laundry.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Charlotte was bitten on Tuesday at school. Another kid got her on the face. Luckily, it didn't break the skin, just left two teeth-shaped red marks on her cheek. It sounds like she and the other kid were going after the same toy. The teacher I talked to didn't actually see it happen, as she was supervising other toddlers doing crafts, but reacted when she heard Charlie scream. I don't blame the other child--biting is a bad habit that many toddlers develop, but it is one effective method for them to vent frustration. As long as the parents and teachers are working with the other child to make sure it doesn't become a dangerous problem, then I am not upset.

I know that toddlers are not quite capable of playing well together, nor of communicating with each other. They also utterly lack patience and think that they're entitled to immediately play with any toy they see. Scuffles over toys are to be expected. My husband and I have been less than impressed, though, at the daycare staff's handling of the baby wars. We have noticed Charlotte taking toys away from other kids, and pushing kids to get to coveted items. At home, we immediately tell her not to push or take toys away. We re-inforce taking turns, and try offering different toys to one or both parties to tide them over until their turn comes up. If all else fails, then the toy in question is put away and both kids have to find something new to do. She actually responds well to being told to share, and will (usually) willingly hand another child a toy when prompted.

I know that the daycare workers try to do some of the same things, but I'm not sure that they're all convinced that it works. With teacher-child ratios up to 1:4, it's also a chore to supervise all of the children that closely all of the time. And at craft time, when one teacher is helping a single child or small group of children, the effective ratio is even worse for the other teacher.

I wish there were a better solution (besides me quitting my job and pulling her out of daycare, which would be a little extreme). Charlotte will need to learn to get along with groups, and group dynamics can be frustrating even for adults. I guess for now, we keep reminding the daycare teachers that we expect the children to be reprimanded for bad behavior, and we will continue to re-inforce good behavior at home.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Personal Development Plan - Part 2

I already made note of my accomplishments, such as they are, for the past year. Now on to my plans for the next year. The following things are in no particular order, but I have identified 5 major areas that I'd like to improve this year, some more serious than others.

Exercise. I'd like to work on a better exercise routine. I've been doing ok with a few exercise videos and time squeezed in between Charlotte's bedtime and everything else I have to do. I'd like to expand that a bit. I have a bicycle that I can ride, and have considered signing up for a gym membership or aerobics classes at the local community center, or at least expanding my workout video library so that I have more variety. Or maybe a combination of the three. But, I'd settle for at least doing one of them. I'd also like to bump things up to 4 30+ minute workouts a week--I'm averaging 2-3, and some of those are pretty short (15 minute segment of a yoga tape for example).

Garden. My garden was horribly neglected last year. This year, i'd like to actually grow a handful of veggies in my little bed--lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and maybe some peppers and/or onions. I don't have much room so we're talking 1-2 each of the bigger plants probably. I also want to actually lift out the spring flower bulbs after the blooms die out this year and divide some of them. We have some major re-work to do in the yard, and it would be nice to retain the flowers that are managing to hang on.

Finances My husband and I have talked about different ways to arrange our finances so that we have more time for Charlotte and any future siblings. For me to stop paid work and be a stay-at-home mom is a rather drastic step, since I make nearly 50% of our household income (we both work in the same field). It's not impossible, as M. makes a pretty good salary, but would require some rather drastic changes, likely including selling our house and moving to a less expensive one (smaller or farther out in the 'burbs). We're not ready to make that kind of a move, so we're instead talking about having me go part-time. I work for a large company that would probably let me go part time. I would take a salary cut, but only proportional to my current salary (i.e. 20hrs a week = 50% of my current salary). My benefits would cost more, but health insurance is darnright cheap (free actually), right now, so I think we could absorb that. We still need to pay off a couple of things (cars, home loan we built a deck with..), but we should be able to make great strides over the next year.

Organization. We need some serious work in organizing parts of our house. BC (Before Charlotte), M. and I each had a bedroom for an "office" (mine was more of a sewing room), but one of them has become a nursery, so we crowded all our stuff into the other. The result is a mess that collects additional mess, and that I don't like working in for very long (part of the reason I haven't done much sewing over the last year). I need to clean out my fabric stash (a chest of drawers full of fabric scraps and projects I never got around to), and find a place to store things other than the top of my sewing table (a fancy name for a pair of half-broken folding tables with no drawers for storage). There are other areas of the house that need help, but those fall under joint responsibility, while my sewing stuff is all my own job(fault).

Knitting skills. I have learned the basics of knitting, and have managed to in-expertly knit ribbing sleeve cuffs and bottom band for a crocheted sweater for Charlotte. I'd like to create some sort of project that is mostly knitted. I'm thinking either a sweater with more advanced construction, or something simpler like a poncho but with a fancier stitch pattern. Luckily Charlotte isn't old enough to object to home-made things, and is small enough that projects are cheaper and faster than adult-sized ones. FWIW, I'm not trying to knit to the exclusion of my other hobbies, and hope to work on several sewing projects too, but the knitting is a new skill that I'd like to master.

My least favorite day of the year

Some people dread their birthdays, for fear of growing older. For some it's Tax Day, for fear of growing poorer. Some hate Valentines', for the loneliness, some Christmas because they're eternal humbugs. I hate the Monday after daylight savings. The fall one isn't so bad--you get a little extra sleep over the weekend, and there's a bit more light to help you wake up for work that next day. But turning back the clocks in the spring is just torture. Just when March was coming along nicely--beautiful days, sunny spring mornings, and a reasonably light evening, then BAM. Suddenly we're expected to forgo precious sleep, and start waking up in the darkness again. And, worst of all, fix every d*mn clock in the house (and the car, and that watch you rarely wear...) or risk being late for everything for a week. Add to the mess a toddler who thrives on a consistent schedule that has nothing to do with numbers on a clock, and it just makes for a bad day. Up too late last night, too sleepy to wake up this morning, grumpy because it's a Monday anyway, and I have to deal with a surly baby as well :(

Who ever dreamed up the idea of changing clocks around to fool people into saving energy (or thinking they are) really must have had a twisted sense of humor. After all, the amount of sun vs darkness didn't magically change overnight, and if people are turning their lights out sooner after sunset, well, then, they're turning them back on again earlier than daybreak, so what's the difference?

Saturday, April 01, 2006

18 (19) month update

Thursday Charlotte had her 18 month checkup. She was actually 19 months, but close enough. She was weighed (20lbs 15 oz...nearly a whole pound more than 3 weeks earlier!), measured (31.5" tall), pricked (3 shots...ouchie), and thoroughly examined. It seems as though she's light (6th percentile on weight), short (30th on height), but with an average head (50th). The weight thing is just genetic--both of our families have strains of small people in them.

It sounds as though her vocabulary is a bit above average for her age--she has probably 2-3 dozen words that she says and is just starting to string words into 2-word phrases ("Hi Daddy", "Daddy's shoe", etc). That night she had sore legs from the shots, but we got good news: only 1 shot at her 2 year appointment, and then no more shots till Kindergarden! She might start trusting the nurses again!