Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Baby T is having a developmental spurt right now:  she's clapping, pointing, pulling up, cruising (a little bit), and has a word ("gook" for book).  All of these things happened in just a few days.

Baby T has entered into a sort of pre-toddlerhood that I had previously not realized existed.

Pulling up!

Here's some of what's happening:

  • Baby T can pull up now!  She's been using the low windowsill in T-ville for this, which is kind of cheating.
  • My husband is working on a cardboard shield for C, gold with a coat of arms with a unicorn in it (from my MIL's side of the family).
  • C is going to have missed 3 out of 4 days of swimming lessons this week, due to low fevers.  Boo hoo.  D will be able to go back to swimming today, we hope.  Good thing I signed C up for two 2-week sessions.
  • I've been using my new Inglesina Swift stroller.  I like it a lot--it's like the old Maclaren Volos I used to own, except with a lot of recline positions and bigger wheels.  It's kind of tempting to just use it rather than the big jogging stroller but 1) it wouldn't be so good for off-roading and 2) I need to move it to the trunk and part ways with my stroller frame.  Baby T is probably 20+ pounds at this point and the stroller frame is making alarming squeaking noises.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sewing table done!

Here's some of what's happening:

  • We think Baby T is saying book (or "gook" in her pronunciation).  There is pretty strong contextual evidence that that's what she is saying.  The book that first evoked it is "Are You My Mother?" and she also seemed to use the word of my husband's Fr. Dowling mystery from the library.
  • The kids were sick today and missed their swim lesson.  Bummer.
  • I had a long late morning/early afternoon at the dentist's today.  I was kind of enjoying the "me time" but at $251 for all the work, it's kind of expensive. 
  • The door for C's sewing table came and my husband finished assembling it.  It's quite a lot for our $110.  We are waiting for C's rearing Arabian horse poster and some sewing and quilting books.  Once C has demonstrated familiarity with the sewing books, we will look into getting her a machine.  
  • She's doing very well with her stuffed horse sewing project (cream felt with chocolate felt accents).  
  • We have one week left of swim classes for both kids, one huge week of sewing class for C (a dress and a quilt--it's sweatshop camp!), and then one week for tidying up odds and ends before school starts.  
  • D is enjoying the cardboard shield (spray-painted silver) with coat of arms that my husband made him.  I think it would look fantastic on plywood as room decor.  

Saturday, July 27, 2013

C's bath done

Here's some of what's happening:

  • We finally did C's bathroom today.  There wasn't a lot to do, but it required my husband to line shelves, C to explain what she did and didn't need and me to move stuff around.
  • My husband hung up stuff on the kids' walls and corkboards.
  • C put up a bunch of horse decals on her walls.
  • We are waiting for a part for C's sewing table and some sewing and quilting books for C.  Once the table is assembled and C has studied the books and we've studied some reviews, we will order a sewing machine for C.  (She's doing a very serious sewing camp in just over a week--she's been doing sewing camps for years now.)  
  • We are also waiting for some more decor:  a rearing Arabian peel-and-stick for C's room and a photo of a Spanish castle for D (they're both removable).  D builds a lot of block castles and loves his Crusader action figures, so I figured that a moderate castle theme would be something he would enjoy (he had previously resisted the idea of a room theme).  D eventually warmed up to the idea and now wants a coat of arms on a shield as part of his decor.  My husband is working on it (he does in fact have a coat of arms).      
  • C would also like a Swingasan from Pier 1, although my husband wonders if our glider rocker (which is currently loaned out to some new parents) might not work as well.  I don't know when the glider rocker is coming back, though.
  • C is sewing a stuffed felt horse from a very complex set of internet instructions.  So far, so good.  It is cream with chocolate brown accents, which will look very nice with her horse bedding.      
  • The kids' rooms still are being worked on, but they are unpacked.
  • As of right now, we only need to unpack the master bedroom and the garage.
  • I see that Michael's has real knitting classes for 12 and up.  C has expressed interest on a number of occasions.  It's a 2.5 hour class for $25, which is pretty intense, but a reasonable price.  (I realize that the materials is where they really bite you.)  Next summer?
  • The summer is almost over.  Time to plan next summer!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

C is 11!

Here's some of what's happening:

  • My husband hung up a bulletin board in D's bedroom and has started putting together a sewing table for C.  The sewing table, unfortunately, is missing one large piece, so it can't be finished as is.
  • C's birthday party was at a rollerskating rink.  I invited every single girl in C's 5th grade class last year, plus some siblings, plus a family that helped us move our kitchen when my husband was sick.  The adult contingent that stuck around through the whole party was 5, counting me and my husband.  I'm not totally sure how many kids there were, although I think it was probably around 15.  We had pizza and Black Forest cake (chocolate cake with cherry pie filling on top) supplied by the HEB bakery.  Baby T had a fine time.  C loved her gifts and I was able to write out her thank you emails just by typing out her exclamations over the stuff as she opened it at home.  
  • Thanks to birthday checks, C is nearly half way to getting a sewing machine.  
  • D is loving his new Papasan with the fuzzy chocolate brown cushion.  It's like a big nest for him.  C is torn between the Papasan and the Swingasan, although she feels like she would regret not getting the Swingasan.      
  • I've somehow wound up with prepper type quantities of baby food at home (an entire cupboard shelf devoted to little tubs and jars), which is funny, because I haven't been feeding Baby T much baby food at all.  I'VE GOT TO STOP BUYING BABY FOOD!!!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Progress report

Here's some of what's happening:

  • Baby T has almost 8 teeth--four on the bottom gum, 3.5 on the top gum.
  • I gave her a raw banana last night.  She didn't consume it exactly, but she got the idea.  (I offered her one a month or so ago and she didn't do anything with it.)
  • Baby T sits up nicely and my husband thinks she would like to stand up.
  • D got to ride at horse camp yesterday and by the end of it, he was doing some independent riding.  C's dance camp will be doing a show at the end of the week and I got a list of make up from camp (they're going to be working on stage make-up application tomorrow).  C and I visited the makeup aisle at Walmart (a foreign country for me) and picked out what turned out to be nearly $49 in cosmetics (foundation, powder, blush, lipstick, eye shadow--I passed on mascara for C).
  • I took some photos of finished rooms in the house while Baby T was sleeping yesterday and I would like to post them to the blog, but we were experiencing technical difficulties last night.  We'll get them up eventually, with commentary.  
  • I decided that we weren't going to be able to do much with C's room without the sewing table (which will double as a desk for C) so we ordered the sewing table from Walmart a couple nights ago.  C's room needs the following:  sewing table (ordered), corkboard (we have it--we just need to find the right spot for it and install it), horse decals (she may get them as a birthday gift from a friend), horse poster (C needs to choose one--we'll probably put it over her bed).  I'm definitely getting her a sewing machine as soon as the money appears and C would love a Pier 1 Swingasan.  Oh, and she needs to finish unpacking.  I think it's going to be a very pretty room when we're finished.   

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

D complains

D said (complaining to his dad):  I waited for you an infinite number--too many--moments.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Back from CA

Here's some of what's happening:

  • My husband is back from five days on the road to a seminar in California.  Everybody was very excited to see him back, particularly Baby T.
  • On his return, he assembled the IKEA Poang armchair and ottoman that had been sitting in a box.  They have moved to the playroom and we are already enjoying them (we REALLY needed the ottoman).  He also had a look at the two 3' by 4' corkboards that had arrived (one for C's room, one for D's) and discovered that one was broken.  Annoying.  The size is good, though.  
  • I'm thinking that we will be adding a corkboard, a sewing table, a sewing machine and a chair and some stick-on-horse decals and murals to C's room (Amazon has lots of wall decals--Wallmonkeys seems to be the big vendor).  I think C may also want a Swingasan (a suspended wicker chair), but I'm not sure that will fit.  I'm not sure about D's room.  I've told the kids that we will start decorating once they are unpacked.
  • I got a shipment of coffee stuff and unpacked it last night (Torani sugar-free syrups, the pumps that go with the syrups and some K-cups for my Keurig coffee machine).  I installed some of the pumps.  During my nap today, C unwrapped a pump and a raspberry syrup bottle and installed the pump, spilling some syrup.  She needed the raspberry syrup to make raspberry lemonade.  C tried microwaved milk with chocolate syrup and almond syrup tonight and it was amazing.       
  • This coffee nook thing is getting a bit out of hand, but I'm also thinking of getting a milk carafe for company (like they have at Starbucks). 
  • By the way, as far as I can tell, there are two different economical ways to buy syrups on Amazon:  1) get a three pack of a single flavor 2) get a variety pack with six flavors.  I'm not ready to commit yet, so I'm mostly going with a variety pack.  
  • C made cinnamon rolls with the bread machine earlier this week.  They weren't perfect (they got baked too long and needed more icing), but close is pretty good with cinnamon rolls.  
  • Dreyer's no-sugar-added low-fat triple chocolate ice cream tastes like chocolate sand.  Not kidding.  Blue Bunny, on the other hand, makes a very nice Turtle Sundae no sugar added low fat ice cream.    
  • I gave Baby T apple blueberry baby food and she ate nearly the full tub.  I had the rest and it's really good stuff.  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The plumber came!

Here's some of what's been happening:

  • A friend, her big kid and baby came over this morning and I got to show off my new Keurig machine. I had hazelnut!  I'm also waiting for a shipment of coffee paraphernalia:  a bunch of decaf K-cups, a pack of Torani sugar-free syrups (vanilla, hazelnut, etc.), some amaretto sugar-free syrup (I think) and  some pumps for the syrup bottles.  How much did all that cost?  A lot, but you don't need to skip that many Starbucks lattes to break even.
  • The plumber came and fixed our sink for $86.96!  So happy.
  • We went to the children's museum and then to Panera's for dinner.  Afterwards, we went to Pier 1 and to Petco to visit the kitties, rats, hamsters, lizards, fish, etc.  D is firmly settled on getting a Papasan with a fuzzy chocolate brown cushion.  C is likewise firmly settled on getting a Swingasan.  The kids have been told that we can start getting them decor after they are finished unpacking.  I would like to get a wicker settee, but am waiting patiently for end-of-season sales.  I even ventured to ask the staff when that might be.  The manager said that the Papasans go on sale regularly and that the wicker stuff should go on sale by the end of the month.  The kids LOVE Pier 1, which is funny.    

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Baby T update

Here's what Baby T is up to:

  • She falls asleep generally around 11 AM (briefly) and again around 2 or 3.
  • She sits up nicely.
  • She has been trying to pull up (for instance, on her bath today).
  • She crawls well.
  • She is scared of the exercise balls when she is on the floor.
  • She is starting to be unhappy about being passively spoon-fed.  We were having a tussle in the Barnes and Noble cafe today where I was trying to spoon-feed her sweet potatoes, and she was trying to wrestle the spoon out of my hand.  Hopefully, not too much sweet potato hit innocent bystanders.  (Normally at home, it's more amicable.  I give her a bagel, Cheerios or Chex on her tray and a spare spoon and she tolerates spoon-feeding.  I need to remember the bagel.)
  • We're working through the fruit and veggie purees in the cupboard.  I'm working toward giving her pureed meat, Stage 3 baby dinners and table food, but it's an awfully slow process introducing her to new foods.   

Waiting for the plumber

The very same day we finished unpacking the kitchen, water started leaking from the base of the kitchen faucet.  Fortunately, there's a water filter spigot that isn't leaking, so we can use that in the kitchen, but it's a huge nuisance.  I'm hoping for a plumber tomorrow morning.  This will be our first big fix as homeowners.  

The kids and I hit Barnes and Noble this afternoon and I got D Martha Stewart's Favorite Crafts for Kids.    It looks good--really!  D gave it a good look in the book store and said it looked "inspiring."  He is planning a huge popsicle stick house.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Kitchen done

Just before lunch, we finished the last messy countertop in the kitchen.  The kitchen is now unpacked.  The following are now unpacked:  living room, play room, kitchen, laundry, entry, powder room, T's nursery, the master bath and D's bath.  We still need to finish unpacking the master bedroom, D's room, C's bath, C's room and the garage.  

Saturday, July 6, 2013

On a spree?

Here's some of what happened today:

  • We got a late start, but very efficiently managed some errands on a plaza.  My husband got a haircut while the kids and I got C ballet slippers, tap shoes and tights at Payless and then ordered a birthday cake for C for her 11th birthday (a half sheet of Black Forest cake).  C is going to be doing a dance camp soon and I think she will enjoy it more if she has the appropriate clothing.
  • We then set off for a long-awaited buffet lunch at an Indian restaurant about an hour away.
  • We noticed a big box sporting goods store and we got 1) some dance clothing for C 2) goggles for D and 3) two exercise balls for the kids (in two different sizes).  One of the balls has diagrams showing different exercises, which I think the kids will get more use out of.  
  • We returned to our home town, went to confession, returned some books to the public library and got some more books.
  • We had dinner at the cafeteria and then at home, my husband and the big kids got to work on the packs of foam matting that came in the mail.  They are creating a black-and-white checkerboard floor in Baby T's play room (the former formal dining room).  I had initially wanted grey foam matting but they didn't have enough for the whole floor, so it's a relief to see that the black-and-white is not as stark as I expected it to be.  
  • C's room is slowly progressing.  I have told the kids that once their rooms are unpacked, we will give them a decor budget to work with.  Both of the kids are interested in improved seating.  Last I heard, D wanted a Pier 1 Papasan chair (both kids LOVE Pier 1) and C wanted a Swingasan.  
  • My new Keurig drink machine has arrived (I put all of my birthday money into it), but the kitchen counter where I am planning to put it is not free yet (I am also planning to get some sugar free syrups from Amazon, as I have been disappointed by the availability of sugar free K-cups).  That's a very high priority now, but it will probably be another two weeks before any more unpacking happens as we've got a big academic whooptydo ahead, as well as a very busy week of camps.  We've got an IKEA Poang chair and ottoman coming in the mail and I also plan to eventually buy a Pier 1 wicker settee and cushion as additional seating for the playroom.  I'm kind of waiting for Pier 1 to have some deeper end-of-season discounts (it's already 20%, but I think they can do better).  Our family name for the playroom is T-ville, but I suppose Mommyville is an equally good name for it.            
  • As you can see, I'm kind of on a spree, but we have the money, and it's all being carefully prioritized to yield maximum improvement in quality of life.  

Not a fluke

When I opened Baby T's room this morning, she was sitting up!  So cute!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Settling in

Here's some of what's happening:

  • Baby T can sit up!  Yay!
  • We are on a spree with home improvements.  We are waiting for the arrival of some foam matting for the play room and some cork boards for C and D.  We also finally made up our minds between the Maclaren Volo and Inglesina's Swift as our umbrella stroller for the car--we ultimately went with the Inglesina.  I've never laid hands on one, but that was one of Stroller Queen's top recommendations for me.  We shall see.      
  • We've been languishing with only a desk lamp in our master bedroom, but today my husband bought and installed a light fixture on the master bedroom ceiling fan.  Yay!
  • C made it to swim class today and graduated from the Minnow group.  Yay!  She and D will do a two-week course together later this summer.

The Amazing McMansion Diet

Some years ago, I posted on "The Amazing Jane Austen Diet," which involved me going to the gym and listening to Jane Austen novels on audiobook and losing 15 pounds.  I have a new entry:  The Amazing McMansion Diet.  As I may have mentioned earlier (or not), as of March of this year (that's about five months post-partum), I was nearly 20 pounds lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight.  This was largely due to the diabetic diet I found myself on during my third trimester with Baby T.  My weight loss had leveled out at that point, oscillating a couple pounds back and forth.  We moved into our big new house toward the end of May.  We've settled into the house (we're about 75% moved in, more or less) and the cafeteria has re-opened, which is helpful (the cafeteria has a vast array of veggies, helpfully cut up).  Also, I did some blood sugar tests that my primary suggested and thought the results a bit iffy, so I've been re-adopting some of my diabetic diet measures (although by no means all).  The house is the biggest one I've ever lived in and it has stairs, so I've found myself spending a large portion of the day just walking back and forth, up and down in the house.  The house itself is surprisingly good exercise (as my pedometer demonstrates).  

Anyway, I'm down at least 5 pounds since the move.  As of this morning, I am 25 pounds lighter than before my pregnancy with Baby T.  We have lived in TX for six years now.  I have literally never reached this weight in those six years.

How far can I go with this?  I don't know.  We'll see.  

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Sick days

Here's some of what's happening:

  • C and D have been running fevers for days and C has missed two Red Cross swim classes.  C is finally well (I think) and should be able to do one more lesson this week.  Both kids will be doing another two-week Red Cross swim course later this summer.
  • The kids have about a week and a half of more or less no planned activities and then they'll start getting really busy, especially C.  
  • I regret to say that I've been so busy quarantining Baby T and spooning baby food into her and cleaning her up that I haven't really had a chance to do more than just feed the big kids.
  • I'm finally kicking into gear with solids.  I'm trying to follow this schedule for feeding Baby T:  milk, solids, milk, solids, milk, solids, milk.  I'm not sure if Baby T is getting exactly 3 solid meals (it's more like 2.5), but there's a lot of wiping and shoveling.
  • A miracle happened today.  After days of my offering her tiny spoonfuls of pea puree and having her make a terrible face and stopping after less than a teaspoonful, Baby T finally seems to be enjoying pureed peas.  She was agreeably slurping down pureed peas this evening.  She ate an entire tub of the nasty stuff as well as an entire tub of pureed carrots over the course of two feedings.  
  • I've been giving her either Cheerios or part of a bagel to work on while I spoon in purees.  She usually seizes the first spoon and then I have to continue feeding with a second or third spoon.  Good thing I have a lot of baby and toddler cutlery.  I have also been starting with the less favored item (for instance, peas) before offering more popular purees (fruit and yellow veggies).  I'm giving her water in a sippy cup.      
  • Coincidentally, we have finally ordered a new Diaper Genie.   
  • As usual, I have a doomsday store of baby food, but hopefully we'll get through it faster if we use two tubs a day.  Up until very recently, she was eating at most one tub a day.  In a week or so, she can start eating pureed meat baby food. 
  • I'd like to get on to the Stage 3 baby foods (the lumpy ones with several ingredients) and I'd also like to give her yogurt and cheese and soft fruit and table foods, but first we need to get through my supply of purees.  I've also got a long list of things to try on her.  It's going to take forever.  Oh, and we need to start moving her onto cow's milk at around one year.          
  • C found a recipe for an ice cream pie in her 1950s kids' recipe book (Thanks, Pru!).  We decided to make some changes.  We did a crust made out of crushed chocolate graham crackers, butter and sugar (on reflection, we should have skipped the sugar).  You spoon that into the pie pan, cool it, and then spoon ice cream on top, pat it down and then freeze it.  C did a lot of the work herself, with suggestions.  
  • We did 15 minutes of unpacking in C's room tonight.  My husband ordered 3' X 4' cork boards, one for each big kid.  We really need the boards for the next phase of our unpacking.