Occasionally you encounter a work of such literary genius that you know, after reading it, that your life will never be the same again. Recently I have read just such a work, and although it has no official title, I like to call it BE ADEQUITE, written by Lindsay Lohan.


Tutorial: Making Fabulous Framed Prints Using Your Child's Art

I shocked myself by bringing one of my ideas to fruition this afternoon. I guess I'm not all talk! I really like how these turned out, and Simon will be proud to give them as gifts to his grandparents and teachers.

What you need:
-cheap frames. I got these 50% off at Hobby Lobby.
-mats, pre-cut to fit your frames. These are also from Hobby Lobby, about $1.50 a piece.
-wildly abstract paintings done by your child (or art in another medium)

Grab your mat and move it all around the paper until a pleasing composition strikes your eye.

Then, simply trace around the mat lightly with pencil, and use scissors to cut out your selection.

Now all you need to do is put the mat and the painting in the frame. An optional final touch is to "sign" your child's name. Turn the piece around in your hand, studying it intensely, until you decide on the most pleasing orientation. Write your child's name in small print in the lower right hand corner. I also added the year (SIMON '06).

Again, I think these are so cute. I may be biased as the artist's mother, but I really think that grandparents and teachers will love these. Perfect for the office, the windowsill, or, what the hell, above the mantel.

One idea down, sixty-three to go.

Sure, this turkey looks harmless enough...

But make no mistake, he has a fierce gobble.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. Posted by Picasa


Ridiculously Early Birds

On Friday Simon and I put up the tree. I used to have a firm policy of waiting until after Thanksgiving to put up the Christmas tree. But the policy was softened after much pleading from this boy. The few hours we worked on this project were some of the sweetest we've spent together in recent memory. Simon was so excited to see each and every ornament, and he would tell me so, with an enthusiastic, "Oh, this is beautiful! Oh, Mommy, thank you for bringing this ornament!"
This is the first year he is really into the holidays as they roll around. His excitement is contagious, and I suddently find myself bursting with ideas of how to make this time special for him. If I can get these ideas out of my head and into real life, we'll make cookies, put together paper chains to decorate the house, and craft some cute gifts for Grandmas and Grandpas. I don't know if all this will happen, realistically. I'm just happy to have someone spurring me on toward creativity and joy. This will be the first year in a long while that I don't experience the holidays as a jaded adult. Should be fun. Thank you, Simon.

 Posted by Picasa


"Ladies and gentlemen, the gangsta Yankee Hotel Foxtrot has finally arrived."


New Obsession and Sheer Exhaustion

Since I am basking in free time, with so little to do on a daily basis, last week I decided this would be a good time in life to learn to embroider. I've thrown myself in with zeal typical of a new convert. This was my first project. It's a teatowel, and the bird's banner says "tasty," which is a term we have been known to employ. It took maybe 3 evenings to complete; I'm not sure how many hours. There is a relaxing rythym to stitching that I have come to crave. I especially love my new hobby because it can be done while watching crap tv. Now that I have started stitching I do not want to stop. Every chance I get, I grab my hoop and needle and go to it. This means that I am embroidering instead of emptying the dishwasher or vacuuming renegade gangs of dried playdough off the rug. It remains to be seen how my new hobby and my house are going to get along. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a blogging hiatus brought on by this pasttime.

For my second project I decided to throw beginner's caution to the fucking wind. I am working on a huge (relative to the teatowel bird) wall-hanging for a friend's wedding gift. All I have completed so far is the date of their wedding, which also happens to be my deadline for this project. It is far more intricate than the first pattern I worked on... I hope I can finish it in time. If I continue with the same frenzied pace as I am working at now, it should be no problem.

While I'm here, I wanted to complain a little about how tired I am. This baby is now five months old. According to some experts he should be sleeping all night now. But is he, you ask? Is he?
Oh, no, my friends, he is not. He's done it a few times, 5 maybe, but for the last month, a "long stretch" of sleep for me is 3 hours. Just to give you an example, here's how our night generally goes. This was last night's schedule: Theo wakes up at 11 pm, just as I'm heading up to bed. We nurse. Up again at 2:30. Nurse. Up again 3:30. Nurse. Up again 4:30. Nurse. Up again at 7 am. During that last shift, though, Simon woke up at 5:30 to pee. He went into the bathroom himself, but I swiftly followed in order to shush him so the baby didn't wake up (Theo's room is right by the WC). Then Simon got up again to poop at 6:15. I was so tired. I found myself dozing off while sitting on the edge of the tub waiting for him to go. When I started awake, I snapped at Simon to "hurry up and push it out!" What??? This is what exhaustion does to a mother. By this time it was 6:30 am, a time when most normal parents are probably starting their days. Instead, I am yelling at my kid to finish shitting so I can stumble back to bed for 30 more minutes.
You may have noticed that I nurse a lot. I know, I know. I understand that he surely isn't hungry all those times. I nurse because it's the easiest way for us both to get back to bed. Some people might say I'm huring myself in the long-run, that I should just try to comfort him or let him cry. But the comforting sans nursing doesn't work because you better believe he knows exactly what's underneath that tank top I'm wearing. The crying doesn't work because I can't sleep through it. And at 3 am MUST SLEEP are the only words I hear.
I honestly think I'm doing everything right... he sleeps great during the day. I take great pains to keep him well-rested, and the night sleeping is supposed to naturally follow. Since it isn't, I of course start feeling like I must be doing something wrong. Where have I failed as a mother? This is one of the things I can ponder while I pull my embroidery needle to and fro.
In the midst of this excrutiating exhaustion, I'm supposed to be shedding the 50 pounds gifted to me by Theo upon his arrival in this world. Losing weight means exercise, of course. I don't mind working out at all. In fact, I rather enjoy it if I have an ounce of energy. With the current sleeping situation, I don't have any.
What I want to know is this: how many calories can I burn by lifting my right forearm while pulling a needle and thread? Can somebody figure that out and let me know? Thanks. Posted by Picasa



My Child, Evil Genius and other random stories

-----A few days ago Simon was drinking some water and purposely dribbled about 1/4 cup down the front of his shirt. He then asked me to change his shirt, a request I refused out of sheer irritation with the previous act. Simon proceeded to beg for a clean shirt. I assured him it would dry shortly. Ten minutes later, it appeared the incident was behind us.

Simon told me he had to go potty and went upstairs to go by himself. Soon I heard a whiny voice beseeching me: "Mommy, change my shirt! My arms are wet!" Yes, indeed, his arms were very wet.

"Simon, where have these arms been? How did these arms get wet?"

"I put them in the potty."

So, Simon got his clean shirt. Simon - 1, Mommy - 0.

-----I think I mentioned that I'm doing Weight Watchers online. So far it's going pretty well. I've had some good weeks and some bad. I struggle a lot with the snacking bug. One obvious solution would be to stop buying snacks. Trouble is, now that I have a boot-wearing, constantly-hungry working man for a husband, the snacks are a must. For this reason, I went to the store yesterday with a mission: I wanted to buy snacks that Nate likes but I do not. Among other things, I bought some pork rinds.

Nate used to eat pork rinds when we were first married. I found the sight, the smell, and the very idea of them thoroughly disgusting. I belly-ached enough, and he stopped buying them. So when he saw them in the cupboard yesterday, he was understandably surprised.

"Pork rinds? Whoa. What's that about?"

"Well, you know, I wanted to get stuff that I knew I wouldn't be tempted to eat."

"This might be the nicest thing you've ever done for me."

So there you have it: pork rinds as sentimental gesture.

-----Today at Target there was a woman in front of me at the service desk arguing with the cashier about her return. Despite the large sign behind the desk declaring the need for a receipt, she was miffed about receiving her return in the form of a gift card for $5.60 instead of the cash she had paid. She said there wasn't one thing she wanted to buy in that store (really? you don't use toothpaste? toilet paper? deodorant? bread? milk?) and demanded to see the manager.

When the manager arrived, the grouchy lady got the exact same answer. Upon hearing the predictable, "Unfortunately, our store policy is blah blah blah," ol' crochety asked for the phone number of someone higher up. Then she added, "And you'll be hearing from my lawyer about a civil suit."

I think I may have laughed out loud. I love the thought of this woman being unwilling to lose her $5 cash, but willing to pay lawyer's fees to stick it to Target. I'm sure she'll carry through with that threat, and when she does she'll get 'em good.

It's nice to be next in line after someone like that because damn if you don't seem like the sweetest person in a cashier's life at that moment.

-----Every night after Nate gives Simon his bath, they come downstairs to put on jammies. He's nearly always wrapped in a blue hippopotamus towel and, if he is, he'll tell me, "There's a hippo in your house!"

Then we try to put on his pajamas. For whatever reason, this is a real squirrelly time of night for him, and he tends to try to run away from us, in all his naked glory, squandering countless minutes when he could be in bed and we could be vegging in front of the tellie.

To trick him into standing still, sometimes we try to tell stories, stories we make up. It can be difficult, but it helps to involve Simon in the process. That way he is engaged more fully and it gives you a place to start. Last night we asked him what our story should be about.

"About puppies. About big and small puppies."

"Okay. Where do the puppies live?"

"In a basket."

"Do you know their names? Who are the big puppies?"

"Scooby Doo and Scooby Ront."

"Okay, and who are the small puppies?"

"Scooby Pbbbt P. and Scooby Pbbbt Music and Scooby Pbbbt Pants."
note: Pbbbt is a sound made with vibrating lips. sort of like a horse-blowing-flies-off-his-face-noise. you know what i mean, right?

The rest of the story was pretty decent. It involved the puppies being scared by and then befriending a T. Rex. But the best part were definitely the names.

After three times of saying all those weird, spit-shooting names, we were all in stitches. Especially Simon. It was gold, pure comic gold. And maybe one of my most fun parenting moments ever.


Zoom In

I had to post this cropped version of a photo I posted earlier. Check out that expression. Very cowboy, don't you think? I half expect him to start spitting tobacco. Posted by Picasa

Thursday Morning Picture Post

At the now infamous Taylor-Seeley-Hartrich breakfast, I tried, unsuccessfully, to describe this little seat. I thought some clearer pictures would help. It's supposed to help babies learn to sit, I guess, through its supportive structure. Theo really likes it, but not for too long. His little body still gets worn out rather quickly. Overall, the effect of this chair (besides extreme cuteness) is to make babies look older than they actually are, causing parents worldwide to lament the swift passage of time.
Our Halloween was big fun. We had a pumpkin...

...and a cowboy. I don't know if you can tell from the pictures, but Simon's legs are inside the two rear horsey legs. So he's really half-cowboy, half-horse. Sort of a wild-west variation on a centaur.

His costume was a big hit, and Theo also looked cute as a button, though he was seen only by the family. No gallivanting about in 30 degree weather for him.

We traveled over to the grandparents' houses so the boys could be ogled, first to my parents' and then to Nate's, where we spent the night.

At first Simon wasn't keen on the idea of trick-or-treating. But I think he changed his mind once he saw all the hubbub in the neighborhood. He's always been one to want to do whatever the big kids are doing, and this was no exception.

Once we got out there, he had a fabulous time. We tried to coach him on the proper things to say, first "Trick or Treat," then "Thank you." Most of the time he got too excited to get it quite right. Sometimes he would flip the order. Other times, after he got his candy, we would prompt,"What do you say, Simon?" And he would yell, "ANOTHER ONE!!! ANOTHER HOUSE!!!"

I have heard tales of children who systematically organize and save their Halloween candy, making last until next month or next year, depending on the size of their haul. I was not one of these children. Instead, I'd usually empty my huge bag in a day or two. Time has not changed me, and last night I couldn't keep my hands out of my son's stash. I went to bed with a guilty-conscience and mild heartburn from all the chocolate.

[Insert wry closing comment here.]

I put a lot of pressure on myself to end each post with something quite witty. I don't know how successful I am. Anyway, this morning I don't have time to try. You understand.