Friday, January 30, 2009

Early - picture

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7:50 am car appointment. We have great babes, because this meant that we had to actually wake them up. I have moved us to a garage that is downtown in the nice area because it is owned by a woman and is right across the street from a fabulous coffee shop and also the baby consignment store. Games and caffeine - win/win.

We arrived at Gimme Coffee so early that we scored the horseshoe-shaped bench in the front window. People kept arriving dressed in clothing so inappropriate for winter it must be cutting
edge hip. They clutched their laptops as they scoped the cafe for a place in which to hunker down with a big mug of French roast to pretend to work on their thesis while really procrastinating and reading blogs. They actually glared and scowled at us ensconced in the prime real estate, our table covered by child-friendly lukewarm hot chocolate, wet Play Doh molded in the shape of Elmo, and the kids busy quietly (relatively) applying stickers to the vinyl booth and singing
their version of the ABCs. Bugger 'em. We stayed a full 10 minutes longer than we needed to just to wait for a venomous and pinched woman to fully unpack all her accoutrements so she wouldn't want to bother to move to our table when we left. We got to offer our table to a lovely woman swathed in hand knits and wool clutching a year's worth of receipts and statements looking for a place to do her taxes. She told the kids how cute they were, and how her dog shared Pequita's

We dashed into the consignment store for a quick scan of toys and scored a Playmobil pirate ship for my nephew and some super bamboo stacking shapes for us. I'm always trying to replace our plastic stuff with natural materials, I just won't do it for full Haba or Plan price. Later this weekend I'll drop off some of our lesser quality blocks at the donation center in an attempt to keep clutter down.

We then met up with our friends at the science museum and played HARD for a couple hours until Monito was so beligerent and defiant I couldn't ignore how tired the kids were. We're now parked outside the nursery that we'll go but a big ficus in once they awake from their nap. We still have our Christmas tree up, and as much as I'd like to say it is because we don't have time to take it down, it is just that we so love the twinkle lit tree in the corner of the living room at night. Our new ficus will fill the void, since the pine needles are starting to really pile up.

A really good morning, all around. The only dark spot is the $300 part we'll need for the car next week.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


The kids are a little young for mind-altering states, but surely do love to spin and spin until they fall down.

I offer for your viewing pleasure a video that maybe only my mother will enjoy, but here is how we spend our afternoons when playing with puzzles, clay and quieter work has become impossible. They prefer ABBA to all other music - they are my babies, after all - but the Waterboys will do in a pinch.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Usual Suspects

Monito, Pequita and some of their posse waiting for permission to lunge for the pool.

Obama Nation

We were graciously invited to an inauguration party at a friend's house. It was a lovely place to be - spill-proof radiant heat floors, lots of toys and excited people with whom to share the event. The kids toasted their juice boxes as Obama gave his inaugural address. They love a good excuse to toast.

We followed up a lovely morning of toddlers playing and adults glued to CNN coverage with a frolic in the pool. Monito had a second nap on the way home he was so tuckered out.

I was the only person there hanging on to two kids. What in the world do people DO with a third young one? Stay home, is all I can figure. It must be very limiting; two is already challenging in risky areas like playgrounds and around water.

Upstate Trip

We spent the past weekend visiting Homestead-Mama's father and wife. The house was not childproofed, so we had long forays into the wilds of the Adirondacks shopping malls to burn off energy. At Wal.mart, Pequita and Monito each selected a princess couch to call their own for an hour or so, and used them as the center of their operations.

Pop-Pop was very excited to give the kids actual ride-on, battery powered motorcycles. They really loved them.

This Land Was Made For You And Me

My heart is light today. My country is finally on a course that gives
me hope and makes me feel like our government can have a positive
effect on our own country and the rest of the world. It seems like
much of the world is excited right along with us.

I was raised with Pete Seeger, singing his songs, feeling his voice
wash over and through me at folk festivals, listening to my dad sing
us to sleep with his songs. Pete's messages and beliefs have informed
my politics, my lifestyle and the way I try to approach the world. He
hasn't sung in public in years because his voice has suffered in his
old age. Nonetheless, he came out and sang in front of millions of
people to lend his history, his hope and his soul felt words to
Obama's presidency. His presence moves me to tears. See for yourself:

And yet the day is bittersweet. Obama is another person who does not
believe that I should be able to marry the love of my life. Lesbians
and gays are among the people still waiting for equality.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009


I know, I know, you can't believe your luck - another update about my cervix. My doc just called to tell me that after 4 months my post-LEEP PAP check is wonky. The cells are registering as if they are still healing. Four months after a procedure to remove cells that were pretty far along the continuum towards cancer. Yeah. Not good news. They'll run a test for HPV; if that is negative, they'll assume its a PAP aberration and rePAP again in 4-6 months. Sigh. If I test positive for HPV, well then this will be the year of the radical hysterectomy instead of the year of the third baby.

The cervix formerly known as Superstar now goes by *@"?+# (pronounced 'Squeaky Wheel).
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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Comments answered

I never know if commenters are emailed if I reply. The color questions deserve answerring, since I spend weeks deciding on colors.

The living room green is Benjamin Moore #2144-40, Soft Fern. I'm very happy with it, as it adds vs. sucks light from the room. The only reason I'll change it is if I paint the room orange, which H-Mama is iffy about. Can't say as I blame her. The rest of the first floor is shades of Martha Stewart. The upstairs will get a complete overhaul, I suspect, but not this year.

Day for night

Now that the carpenter is on leave for a few months, I've been napping the kids at home. We all get into the master bed and nurse, and if they doze off in less than 10 minutes we stay put. If not, I tuck each of them into their cribs, give them each a book and go downstairs. Usually they sing, chat and then conk out. Today, Monito cried for about 15 minutes, so I went up to calm him down. He had pooped, so one clean diaper and lots of reassurance about how mommy is just downstairs, along with promises of exciting shopping at Home Depot! once he woke up and I was back lying on the couch blogging. Quiet as a sleeping toddler upstairs. We've come a long way, baby.

I was talking recently with H-mama about getting them the hell out of our bed* and we kind of agreed that it would be a good idea to transition them to sleeping in their cribs IN THEIR OWN ROOM fairly soon. Then we'll shift them into big kid beds once they start endangering their lives by climbing out of their cribs on their own. You know, one big change at a time. *IF* we decide to have a third kid, we'll need the two we have out of the master bedroom anyway, but that is at least a year away since I wouldn't start trying until the spring.

*Pequita is, and has always been, a better sleeper than Monito. He sucks at it, waking frequently, dreaming loudly and with physical thrashings to accompany his noises, waking - still, at almost a year - every 2 or 3 hours to nurse. He's just started refusing his pacifier at night, preferring to wail loudly until I let him nurse. Pequita got through all this by herself, but clearly I'm going to be stuck training Monito. This is the main reason I'm willing to chuck the family bed and H-Mama is still pushing for it; her nighttime charge is pleasant, polite and warm to sleep next to, while mine is like a bear cub with a thorn in its paw trying to escape from a gunny sack.
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Homestead Glimpses

I am constantly, as motivation, spare time and children allow, trying to get our home to a 'finished' point. [I say this knowing that for me, no home is ever 'done', since I am always reinventing, reorganizing, and refreshing the vistas I surround myself with to stimulate my mind. Can anyone say Gemini?] So for me, finished means that there is minimal ongoing construction, clutter, visual mayhem and squalor. It is an ongoing battle. We had our carpenter Dave here for a few months, during which time he almost finished the pantry, kitchen, baseboard trim, etc. Nothing is done, but we are a far sight further along than we were. I was going to wait until the homestead looked like House Beautiful before posting pictures, but since that may not happen, I'll do what I can in the short run.

A battle we fight daily is how to maintain our living space in a way we like and still accommodate the kids. This means that we are more cramped & crowded than I like, but H-Mama and I have around us what we want and the kids are entertained, stimulated and hopefully not too overwhelmed. Since we have completed some built-in storage, I've been able to start hiding away some toys and games to rotate in and out of the kid's space. So far so good - they are more enthusiastic about the toys that are out, and as interest wanes, the toy elves [who look a lot like me] make magic happen after the kids go to sleep and it is Christmas again with toys they mostly forgot existed.
Yesterday I bought a couple modular shelving units to help make a second play zone in the living room; this ended up creating a space for Pequita that is a bit separate from Monito's. She so very much wants toys with small parts that she can pore over and be finicky with and he wants to use his gross motor skills and bash things around. There are toys for both of them in each area, but doubling our play zones has already made for a more peaceful morning.
The new pine modular units will be primed and painted trim white soon [-er or later]. The big Stickley corner unit houses the TV, stereo and many things that we like to hide. The new play area at the base of it has Pequita's Playmobil horses, a selection of books for both kids, their favorite musical instruments, and in the cabinet with a door a cup of crayons and some coloring books. The tiny wingback chair makes a nice place to read, and doubles as a step ladder onto the couch. Eventually, I'll be slip covering the old blue adult wing back on the left, the kid's wing back chair, and the red velvet couch in linen in shades of taupe. Yes, that is my laundry on the red couch. Folded! Victory! It actually made it upstairs and into armoires before I went to bed, courtesy of a very sick and fatigued Monito not waking at his usual 10:16 pm for nursing & snuggling. Across the room, next to the nice warm stove, is the new toy area. There is a hassock with pillows right next to the stove for curling up on and reading; this also serves as the winter home for our ancient cat. The toys that require baskets and bins to contain the bits and pieces now live on the shelf, in addition to the bigger, bashable toys Monito favors. A crate of Playmobil house and farm pieces, a basket of cars and trucks, some whacking toys, and the barn. In the newly built-in cabinet to the right [that is almost completed] we have baskets of wooden and foam blocks, a basket of Schliech animals, and some extra storage. I never thought I'd utter the words 'extra storage' when referring to our house; almost a dream come true. Eventually, we'll have open bookshelves on the wall above the built in cabinet. The wall is wonky, and will take a fair bit of futzing to get the shelves flush to the wall. I told the kids that there was a surprise in the living room for them as we came down the stairs this morning. They loved the rejuvinated space - I have taken out a platform rocker* as well as bringing in the new cabinets, so there is more floor space and a lot less clutter. They spent the morning playing with their toys and actually played together peacefully for a few short minutes with a toy they hadn't seen in ages with no fighting. Success all around. It will only get prettier as I get everything painted. When the kids are older, the modular pieces will migrate up into their rooms and I'll have a more spare living room.
*The rocker is now in the dining room, since I don't know where else to put it. We'll see where its semi-permanant home will be another day.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


We had a nice visit from Auntie Kiko and her sister the other day. There was much merry playing. It is always more fun with someone other than Mommy.
Ms. Pequita is still manifesting the effects of watching the older girls in gymnastics. She suckered Auntie Kiko into letting her do this:
Its not like I stifle them, though, as you can imagine. We regularly make the old ladies out and about gasp in horror with our running, tossing, wrassling, and rough housing. [In my defense, we also impress them with how carefully we hold hands in the parking lot.] Monito is coming into his own physically. This never-ending growth spurt has had him eating massive amounts of food in order to feed his brain and body. For weeks he has been mostly staggering around, tripping over his own feet and barely managing to not brain himself on the coffee table. It is all coming together now, though, and he is achieving new heights of ability. Bedtime is now officially naked noodle couch jumping time. Please note that he isn't deformed, but that I blurred his ever so cute pink bits to keep the creeps from bookmarking my blog.

Monito's New Digs

He visits his new home several times a day in this new and exciting developmental stage. The time out chair is called the peace chair in this house, or the calm down chair, since that is what needs to happen. He can climb up all by himself.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


I removed the rubber sheets, chux pads and dropcloths from the beds and couches this morning. I think we have weathered the stomach bug storm with only Pequita as a casualty. Monito woke up last night crying in serious distress and I immediately assumed he was succumbing and scrambled to get a basin in front of him. Instead, after 3 wakings, much sobbing and grabbing at his right foot and we decided that he was having leg cramps because his jammies were too short. My 18 month old son has busted out of his 2T clothes, and is mostly in 3T. I guess selecting a donor who would help his gene pool be sturdy worked. After a little quick surgery, he went back to sleep for the night. *

*Heh heh - did you like my little joke? He went back to sleep for 84 minutes and woke up wanting to nurse. Wash, rinse, repeat. Sleep through the night. My son? Oh my, so amusing. He stopped crying, though, so it must have been the problem.

Pants On Fire

My daughter has learned how to lie. So far it seems to be limited to blaming other people for her own farts and diaper smells, but I'm sure it is a slippery slope. It is keeping us in stitches. Grandpa - from 6 hours away - seems to be a regular culprit for toots in our living room. Naughty Grandpa!
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Friday, January 2, 2009

While They Sleep

We've had a toy piano in the shape of a purple dinosaur in the downstairs bathroom for about a year now. It is what the kids amuse themselves with while they attend my toilette. [Becoming a parent means you don't poop without an audience for a few years.] Their interest has waned in banging on the pianosaurus, so I've been pondering what to replace it with [because their interest in being within 3 feet of me even while I go to the bathroom remains strong]. I found a mirrored shelf with metal drawers on the last thrift store trip. I took advantage of their early bedtime and used Modge Podge for the first time to cover up the ugly bar code design on the front of the drawers and hung it at their height on the bathroom wall. Oh, what a hit. They got right to work filling the drawers with just the right items. Pequita selected her wooden people that usually ride in her school bus, and Monito thought that it was the perfect new home for his measuring tape. And I get to look at something that isn't a purple plastic dinosaur. Win win.

Pretend Soup

I gave the book Pretend Soup to Homestead Mama for Christmas. She is REALLY looking forward to doing concrete activities with our kids, and cooking is something she loves and wants to share with the babes. I also bought the kids a veg peeler to start learning with, and yesterday the boy and his Mama made carrot pennies. Monito needed help to peel the carrots, but very much wants to participate so Mama helped him hold the peeler and apply enough pressure to do the job. Then Mama sliced and they both steamed them. He was so proud, and the kids are still eating them by the handful. Below, I asked him to show me the carrots, and he opted to show me the ones he was chewing in stead of the ones in the bowl. That's my boy.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Party Like

Party, party. Homestead Mama and I celebrated the end of 2008 sitting on the couch with wonky stomachs, a sick kid upstairs and DVR on the TV. Rock on! 1999 was indeed a very different kind of party. I remember quite a bit more champagne was involved.

Monito woke me up at around 5:30 am to nurse, and I couldn't fall back asleep due to stress. It was most sad, as I had been dreaming that I was a member of an erotic yoga troupe. No kidding - I haven't had that much night time excitement in quite a while. I usually spend an hour or two each night awake and reading because of anxiety, but oy. It is so annoying when the kids actually sleep in a bit and I'm awake, exhausted, and reading a book trying to distract myself long enough to fall asleep again. My brain has always manifested night stress badly and in an excitingly different way than daytime stress. I can be dozing peacefully, almost asleep, and suddenly I'll sense my mind searching for the stress hook. Once I remember whatever is the most stressful thing going on at the moment, my mind replays the worst case scenario over and over and over, just like when your Shawn Cassidy record has ended and you hear the same circular scritch-scritch-scritch as the needle hits the paper label until you turn off the record player. [I've just lost half the readers, who have never played an actual vinyl record and can't relate. And hey, Shawn was cool there for a while.] This thought process is always irrational, and morning brings calm and perspective, but who really cares when I'm clocking less than 6 hours of sleep a night? I have developed a couple replacement thoughts that override the process if I can insert them before my brain locks onto the anxiety. One is of floating down a river that is warm and pebbled with beautiful stones, another good one is harvesting gorgeous home grown veggies from a huge garden in the hot sun, with bees buzzing, birds chirping, etc. Anyway, these failed me last night and I was awake; the only escape is to read. Perhaps I'll try anti-anxiety meds after I'm done breastfeeding but for now I'm stuck with my own unquiet mind.

Monito fell back asleep after nursing. Pequita sat up alert at 7ish, and I took her downstairs so H-Mama and Monito could sleep in. The first thing she saw was the new picture cube I made for them - another thrift store find. I bought it to put letters in it, so they could spin them and spell 3-letter words, but they just aren't ready. So pictures of all the grandparents and some cousins are there to spin around and admire. She loved it. She helped me make a pot of coffee - they both love to measure the grounds out and pour the water in the machine - and then began the complicated ritual of setting up her horse farm. Many Playmobile horses and riders, some Schleich draft horses, and some food and water. All was well until her brother made his first peep upstairs. Then the horrifying prospect of having to share her horses caused a complete pack up. By the time I had zipped upstairs to fetch the boy and brought him back downstairs so H-Mama could continue sleeping in, this was all that was left. I can't say that the sharing process has gone perfectly, but they do fairly well except for their favorite toys. For Pequita, that is her horses.

Monito's affections lie in different areas. His deep and abiding love for Noo Noos of all shapes and sizes continues to be totally annoying and quite sweet. We scored a huge coup yesterday at the thrift store when we went to drop off the first of several batches of items purged from our crowded house; it would seem others have had a similar idea, as there, on a shelf, was a dust buster Noo Noo for only $2.99. Could no one else see the value? Apparently not, as we had no competition for it. It charges up beautifully and he can vacuum with it for about 25 minutes before it has to be plugged in again. He isn't allowed to use it when anyone is sleeping, so this morning my 18-month old sat patiently, lovingly, next to the new Noo Noo we call Buster for a full 15 minutes waiting for H-Mama to wake up. He melts me sometimes.