Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Not So Sweet Dreams

Last night I had the weirdest dream. I've had it on my mind all day. I was in college again, oddly, and I was going over to a good college girlfriend's house. Only I was driving up these creepy hills, straight out of a horror movie, and it was not where she lived in real life. When I got there, it was a huge spooky mansion, decked out in old velvet drapes and furniture. Then I ended up in a weird bathroom of some sort figuring out how to pee on some elaborate throne of a toilet and there was a bathtub with all this blood in it. Then the doorbell rang and it was a couple of detectives and we were trying to cover up the bathroom with the blood by distracting them. It felt like I was in a movie.

What was all that blood anyway? I can't stop thinking about it.

Throughout the day I also started remembering other fragments of the dream. Or perhaps a different dream all together in the same night. My favorite high school teacher - I ran into him in this huge lecture hall/auditorium, which had an open ceiling and we could see the stars through it. For some reason there was loud music blasting and people were in it like a party, but I swear it was supposed to be a college class of some sort. Not dance party music, like KOIT 96.5 soft rock kind of music. That's all I could remember of that one.
Yeah, I have the STRANGEST dreams. Always been the case. Some nights it's me having a secret affair with Usher (yeah, Raymond. That is the only recurring dream I have.). Once I gave birth to cupcakes. I've been stabbed and woke up screaming. I fall a lot and wake up with a kick, but I think a lot of people do that. I've actually died in my dream and woke up, so don't believe that you can't.

So that's been on my mind. Weird dream. Especially since my friend's house is nothing at all like that. She does live in the hills kinda, but it's in the suburbs, in the most WASPY community you can think of. Not at all creepy. I'm also trying to remember if maybe there was a dead body involved, but I can't recall. I do know that my friend seemed strangely stoic throughout it all, with me frantically trying to lead the detectives to another part of the house.

Anyway, I hope you had a great Christmas and have a fun and safe New Years! May 2009 bring you more love, laughter and good fortune than you know what to do with!

From our family to yours . . .

And if you have a moment, you have got to see my little tantrum thrower in action. I anticipate tough days ahead . . .


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The happiest place on earth

Who needs Disneyland when you have a doorway jumper?

I doubt her Christmas gifts are going to live up to this one.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Crying it out, Part II & some happier thoughts

So I guess HP has been talking to all his parent friends and learning their CIO and sleep training methods. He comes home tonight saying he knows how to "do it" now and is ready to let her cry it out again. But we will not skip her feeding, just make sure not to play with her in any way. Feed and back to bed.

I wasn't so sure, but I was planning to go out shopping anyway, so he was on his own to try it. Turns out he actually managed to let her cry, for an entire hour he said. She was going crazy in the crib, going "MA, MA, MA" as she normally does when she cries, exhausting herself to the point where she would fall asleep for a few seconds then wake up and start wailing again. Then he feeds her and she ends up pooping so that takes another 20 minutes to get her all clean. I arrived home at that point.

Miraculously, she only cried for about 2 minutes and went right back to bed again. So cute, arms spread eagle and limp on both sides.

I am so glad I wasn't here to listen to her. But this CIO thing only works if you're consistent. And tomorrow I'm designated baby watcher as HP goes out to the city. Can I stick with it? Guess we'll find out.

On a happier note, I thought I'd talk about something other than baby for a bit . . . It's the holiday season! Ever since I met HP, and now more than ever with Tylo, I have really learned to love this time of year.

Here are my top 3 favorite reasons to love the holiday season:

1. The lights! I am in love with our xmas tree. It's decked out with a couple hundred dollars worth of ornaments, but there's something very special about picking out that beautiful ornament when I take a trip somewhere and the anticipation of putting it up in the tree that year. This year, I splurged on some Hallmark Keepsake ornaments, all for Tylo's first christmas. I also love seeing the lights in malls and on homes. Around here, only one in like 20 homes are decorated, but it still lifts your spirits a bit when you see it.

2. Mint - Chocolate Combo. I don't know how they decided mint and chocolate should only go together during the holidays, but that's what makes it extra special I guess. I love seeing the Mint Mocha Latte up on the chalkboard "Specials" menu at Starbucks, the mint M&Ms on the shelves. Oh what a wonderful flavor combination. My favorites include mint malt balls at Harry & David (available year round actually), Brachs mint nougats and Minty Bells (which must be retired, because I haven't seen them in like 8 years. Yes, I check for them every year.). I also learned how to make peppermint bark this year - sooo worth it to avoid paying $27 a box at Williams Sonoma. Except I can't figure out how to layer both white and dark chocolate without it separating.

3. Food Gifts & The Fact that it's OKAY to indulge. Maybe it's just me, but I love gourmet food gifts. So much better than stuff I don't want, will never use, will never wear. I love getting that gourmet chocolately popcorn (think Moosemunch), cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil in a pretty bottle, almond toffee made in Colorado that costs an arm and a leg (Thanks Jen!). All stuff I wouldn't buy for myself unless it was on clearance after the holidays are over because it expires in a week. I'll admit it, I'm the first one to raid the food gift baskets at work. Alright, so I don't want the cheese, the smoked salmon, the pepper jellies or the fruit (seriously, gourmet pears??!!!), but if it is sweet and full of ingredients I can't afford myself, I will love you for it.

And during the holidays people always say "eat more, it's the holidays!" Hopefully, no one is thinking "geez, 6 months and you still have all that baby weight?"


Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Wow, it's been a week since I've blogged. That flew by fast. Interestingly enough, I am at it again, just finishing up two days worth of dishes. This time it's 12:45 in the morning. Not quite as bad.

These days Tylo hasn't been going to bed until very late. Like midnight. Which means me getting to clean up after dinner, showering, getting ready to bed, all gets pushed back until after she goes to bed. So I used to have the energy for a post after midnight when all is done and I'm ready for bed. But now it's like 2 am and I'm too tired. Straight to bed I go. Not that I can fall asleep. There's nothing I hate more than working then having to go straight to bed without the couch potato down time.

The last two days Tylo has been a nightmare come bedtime. She loves to play too much and fights being put to bed, even though she's rubbing her eyes and yawning like crazy. It started maybe a week ago. Usually she goes to bed between 5-6 for two hours, wakes up at 9 for a feeding, and is back to bed in an hour. These days that hour has stretched to three. For some reason, she wakes up earlier too. 5 am, instead of 7 am. I adore playing with her with her daddy around, but she can't be coping well with all that missed sleep.

So her doctor suggested that Tylo was old enough to skip the 9 pm feeding and we should try to let her cry it out. She just turned 6 months and that's supposed to be old enough for the CIO method. I felt bold when I got home yesterday, and was ready to try it that night. Up until this point I pretty much gave in to every peep she's ever made. I rushed to satisfy her every need to eat, be held, be smiled at. Most of the time she was great anyway, and not like I had a job I needed the sleep for. I almost felt like I didn't deserve any normalcy, and I was obligated to make sure she got whatever she wanted. But it must be true - babies need their uninterrupted sleep, and lots of it.

Anyway, to start off slow, I didn't skip the feeding, but put her to bed right away. When Tylo first started crying around 12 last night, it was more like a frustrated yelling. I watched the clock for 5 minutes, amused really. Two more minutes and she was asleep. I couldn't believe how easy that was.

Somehow, she started up again 15 minutes later. Then it got louder and louder. The wailing, high pitched cry. Then came the tears, and the hoarseness. I kept peeping in on her, making sure her blanket wasn't pulled over her face and suffocating her, or that her head wasn't trapped against her crib rail. None of those. It got worse and worse. Babies have this way of crying like they're in the worst pain in the world, completely abandoned and scared to death. I started watching the clock. I told myself to wait 10 minutes. I secretly wished HP would ask me to pick her up because he wanted to sleep. I managed to wait 12.

As soon as I rushed to her crib and started patting her chest she stopped wailing but she was still shaking and sobbing. I picked her up and held her tight and it took a several minutes for her to calm down her sobs, even though she started smiling right away.

When I put her down again, she went to sleep pretty quickly. Probably tired herself out with all that crying. But she woke up several times later, and went to bed pretty easily each time.

Tonight we tried again, and the cry fest happened all over again. This time we rushed to her faster but it took a lot longer to calm her down. And she did not sleep quickly after that. It was probably 3 when she finally fell in a deep sleep.

Sometimes, after I watch a really sad movie, or have a bad fight with HP, I cry pretty hard. I get the worst headache afterward, my nose and ears are completely clogged. When I wake up my eyes are still swollen and the headache is still there. My skin is irritated from all the salty tears. And I'm not even wailing until my voice is gone like Tylo is.

They say the cry it out method can take an hour of wailing, sobbing uncontrollably, even choking and vomiting. But in three days or even less, your baby will sleep through the night. I haven't heard of a single case where it didn't work, when the parents stuck with it.

Maybe it would save me some sanity, and some much needed time to sleep and to myself. But I am definitely not ready to subject my baby to that.

To be continued . . .


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's 1:15 AM and I just finished washing a sh*tload of dishes so I started thinking . . .

Remember those days when you spent hours of your plentiful time just to save a buck? I'm reminded of photocopying pages off of borrowed textbooks to avoid paying even the used price, or driving to three different grocery stores in one day to get the best prices at each. Or how about eating at home first before going out to birthday dinners so you could just share an entree when you got there? Some of us also remember taking shots of vodka, tequila, whatever, in the parking lot outside the club to avoid paying for drinks once inside.

Well, somewhere along the road time became money. Anytime I bought something or did a chore, I thought about what that time meant in terms of hourly salary and how it just wasn't worth it anymore. Should I pay a shipping fee, or spend an hour and a half driving to get that book? Should I spend two hours washing my car, or eight bucks for someone else to do a better job? And, now with baby and all, should I bite the bullet and get a housecleaner, or torture myself with a dirty house 28 days out of the month?

I know several people that have already gone that direction. Maybe getting someone to do the deep clean once a month or so. Most recently, I even know of someone that had a dinner party of 12 and had someone come and wash the dishes while we were eating! (Yeah, that was a bit awkward. The guests didn't know if the Chinese lady in the kitchen was their mom or what, we were never introduced.) It certainly makes sense - having the time to spend with my husband and child is well worth it, instead of driving HP crazy making him take full responsibility of Tylo while I run around like a mad woman, trying to dust, organize and disinfect every surface of my home every two weeks.

But of course, there lies the deeper reason behind me not wanting someone else to clean my home, touch my stuff. I mean, even HP doesn't get to touch some of our things without me checking that his hands are washed first (I'm sure he does anyway when I'm not looking). Yes, yes, you already know. And of course, I'm working hard to reverse the mind workings of the germaphobe in me, and I've come a long way, but I'm not sure I'll ever shake it to the point where I can trust someone else to do my cleaning.

Let me tell you, I know someone that cleans houses for a living. They don't come with an arsenal of washrags, one per surface. That same towel goes from toilet to kitchen counter. And it sure doesn't get washed out or even disinfected first. I mean, I don't even use the same duster for the tv as I do for Tylo's stuff. Can you imagine? I'm reminded of HP's Taco Bell employee story. He had the lovely job of cleaning up the blow-out mess left in the men's restrooms on certain occasions (and I'm sure you've all walked in a public restroom and seen that before), and he had no idea how to go about it. Well, he took his trusty mop and swished it around the toilet, the rim, inside the bowl. In and out of the mopping bucket it went. Same mop that later goes to mop the restaurant floor. So don't you even dare think about letting your kids eat off the floor. ANYWHERE.

I guess I could go the route of providing all the supplies, require the use of paper towels versus cloths, listing my expectations clearly, then watching the cleaning person like a hawk as they went about the cleaning. But yeah, they would last about 5 minutes before declaring me crazy and annoying as hell. Or I could ask HP to help more, but then we'd have that same conversation again of "why don't we just hire a cleaning lady?". Not that I like the results of his "cleaning" anyway.

And I suppose there are some isolated cleaning chores that can be done without worry of too much contamination. Like taking apart the stove and cleaning all the grooves (I can just surface disinfect afterward) or maybe scrubbing down the shower. Cleaning the leaves and dirt from our neglected balcony. But those items would last, oh 30 minutes, and I doubt anyone would come out for that.

So, it's back to square one. And I should quit complaining about all I have to do because I just brought it upon myself anyway. I am jealous of those of you out there that have other people cleaning for you.

I gotta go fold the laundry because I promised myself I'd be in bed by 2.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Baking a Warm Home

I've been baking up a storm the last two days. I decided that baking 1) keeps our place warm, 2) is relatively cheap to do, depending on the recipe, and 3) satisfies my intense craving for carbs during the cold months. And, as much cleaning as I have to do afterward (muffin pans are a b*tch to wash!) it is very theraputic for me. I would love a career as a baker. Except that for some reason you have to bake in the wee hours of the early morning to have fresh goods for the day so that may not work out so well for a night owl like me.

Yesterday I made blueberry muffins, oat snack cakes, and bran muffins. I'm supposed to help HP lower his cholesterol and I thought he would hate the "healthy" muffins I made him. I love bran but the oat cakes weren't my style. Turns out he really likes them! Ate way more than he should have, which kinda defeated the purpose. I think on the next batch I'll sneak in the applesauce instead of butter and see if he even notices. If not, victory! These are great to freeze and have on hand when there is nothing else to eat.

Today I made red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and chocolate cupcakes with caramel frosting, to take to a dinner party tomorrow.

You can't tell but inside they're a deep chocolately-red.
Now, I'm not one to pat myself on the back (not in public, anyway) but I made some damn good red velvet cupcakes. The recipe is from Emeril Lagasse on I made a couple of changes to make it more chocolately (they had a wimpy 2 tsp cocoa versus my 1/3 cup) and using ingredients I had laying around. They are rich, dense, moist and have this odd crisp crust that is so yummy. The frosting is simple and goes perfectly on top. I am in love with these cupcakes.

[I don't know if you care but if you make cupcakes, don't spend a fortune on pretty cupcake liners. They just end up taking on the color of your cake (my martha stewart pastel ones ended up brown) so look even worse than the cheap liners.]

So now our home is nice and toasty thanks to my baking. Kitty and Tylo thank me, I'm sure.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The wrong way to put up christmas lights

What happens when you have a few extra strands of lights and a laundry list of chores you are trying to avoid?

Apparently, if you're me, you get a 5 foot tall gaudy as hell neon candy cane.

I didn't want to do any more cleaning. I wanted to "take a break" during Tylo's nap and watch a movie. Usually during Tylo's nap I'm trying to decide if I should get dinner ready, do the laundry, or do some other type of cleaning. But I really wanted to avoid all that, just for a few hours. The tree was already set up (and GORGEOUS, I might add), and somehow I got the notion that instead of stringing the remaining strands of lights around the window, I would create some sort of holiday shape. A candy cane seemed easy enough. I thought I had red and white lights and it would be perfect.

Well, turns out I only had the multi-color and the white. No problem, it would be a colorful candy cane. I knew they sold things like this, pre-made, but I figured it wouldn't be so hard and what else would I do with the extra lights. I got to work. A little over an hour, lots of little strips of packing tape, and many re-dos later, I had a big bright candy cane. I was so proud.

I thought this big giant candy cane would bring so much joy and warm the hearts of all the people that would drive by on their way home from work. I thought HP would enjoy it the most as he got home after a long commute each day.

Well, he got home and called it gaudy. He noticed it right away when he pulled in the complex and was surprised it turned out to be our window displaying what looked like a giant question mark. Not just surprised, kinda embarassed.

He was right. That night we had the blinds pulled up and that giant 5 foot tall candy cane was always bright in the corner of my eye. Then today when out with Tylo on our walk, I look up at our window and realized that the damn candy cane was backward! I didn't think to put it in the direction for the outsiders looking in. Now every freakin person is looking at a backward candy cane. I mean, you don't see candy canes that look like this, do you?

You don't see any multi-colored candy canes either.

Sigh. I haven't taken it down yet, but I am too embarassed to turn it on again. I should have just stuck to doing the laundry.


"It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15"

Wow, I was forwarded this article and I'd like to plaster it on my forehead.

Now I admit it, I didn't get it either. I didn't necessarily complain when I saw friends become mothers and disappear off the face of the earth, I thought we simply stopped having things in common.

Now I do. I think, quite possibly, my overpacking ways make it even worse (see previous Mother = Backpain post).

Every waking moment with Tylo is work. When she's not awake I'm still planning, cleaning, packing. I coordinate my day to make sure she doesn't wait too long for the next feeding, the next diaper change, the next nap. I make sure I don't take her in and out of the car too much because god she hates being strapped in tight. I also have this constant need to teach my baby. Tell her about the world, explain what I do, describe everything around us. So she can pick up language and TALK to me. I want to have a conversation with my daughter and I can't wait for it.

I can't even begin to describe it but it is a lot of work, and it's exhausting. I was less tired when I was working 11 hours a day without a break and planning a wedding. And trust me, and trust us. We REALLY miss our friends. We miss talking about you and your lives. I want to hear about your dates, the loser guys, the work drama. Notice how you ask about Tylo and I quickly change the subject? Sure sometimes stuff happens and I like to tell you about her being constipated or how she started rolling over, but I think your life is way more interesting than mine. I really wish I had time to call everyone I cared and hear all about what's going on. (And if you're thinking about when I have time to blog, it's between midnight and two am. If you're up, let me know!)

But hey, we SAHMs know better than to complain. We know we are getting the better deal.