Sunday, August 29, 2010

I'm sure you don't need me to tell you this, but..

When you're trying to pay bills online, do be sure that you check the numbers as you type them in. There is a big difference between paying a $20 utility bill and a $200 utility bill.

The good side is that we won't have to pay that utility for a few months. The bad side is that we will be having spaghetti and water for the next 6 weeks.

Garage Sale Sunday

I have a lot of miscellaneous videos, so I thought I'd make a collection for your enjoyment.

Oliver eating Kiwi.

This is how hard it is to get pictures of two babies smiling.

This is Oliver just enjoying some play time with his daddy.

This is Oliver on the plane ride to Oregon last July.

This is Oliver & Jess after a dip in the pool.

This is Oliver, laughing one more time. Because he is happy. :)

(Once again, if you're viewing from email, you may have to visit the actual site to be able to watch the videos.)

Cheese is like Beggin' Strips for babies.

With fall coming Oliver has been working on his new fall sports. I imagine him at a track and field facility with a ton of other babies in sweat bands, waiting to compete in the bottle throwing discus and/or choking hazard treasure hunt. I'm pretty sure he'd place, if not go for the gold in most events. Possible events he would be good at:

-Competitive eating. The kid can throw down a container of puffs like it's nothing. Every morning, he eats more than I do for breakfast.
-Consecutive butt bouncing. Put music on and watch him bounce on his butt so high that you think he'll fall over.  Always a crowd pleaser.
-Speed dropping. Set him up in a high chair at a restaurant and give him things to play with. Time how fast he can throw them all down. Bonus points for distance.

Lest you think I am so absorbed in my child, I admit that there are events in which he would fail. Like sitting still. Having a predictable nap schedule. Diaper target shooting. (Let's just say his accuracy leaves something to be desired.)

We are working awfully hard these days on walking. I tried to discourage him from crawling because I liked that he would stay put so I could go get a glass of water. But walking? Walking is different. I figure if he's already mobile, he may as well be walking. It'd save his pants a lot of wear and tear. It'd save my back from having to carry him when we're on cement or other unforgiving surfaces. It'd save his hands from getting (as) dirty. It seems like a winning situation for all parties involved, so Jared & I sit on the floor and help him practice.

All of the necessary skills are in place, but he lacks the ambition and bravery. If we can distract him he will walk a couple of steps before dropping down to his hands and knees. If he is staring open mouthed at a TV screen, I can let go of his hands and he stands on his own. But the second he realizes we aren't helping him? Nope. No way. Do you even realize how scary it is to be that tall, MOM?! Gosh.

And then, almost always, I resort to something stupid. I try to reason with him. I'll bribe him. He'll be standing and cruising along the couch and I'll say something ridiculous like,

"Hey, Oliver! You know, since you're walking by the couch.... well, you could walk over here to me. It's practically the same thing. It'd be fun, I promise. I'll give you some cheese if you can walk to me!"

I don't know why I do it. Why I try to reason with a baby. Its like trying to teach a room full of golden retrievers to fold hospital corners on the beds. They're just so darn happy that you're paying attention and talking to them that the most they can do is wag their tails with that stupid happy expression on their faces. They want so badly to please you, really they do, but, What!? A treat? FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD.

It's sad to say, but as intelligent as Oliver is..  He is still, after all, a baby, and his reaction is no different. He usually sees my enthusiasm and starts doing his little booty shaking baby jig. Hey, mom! You're playing with me! You're trying to get me to do something, so I'll dance for you! How is this? Do you like this mom? Huh? Huh? DO YOU?! DO YOU LIKE THIS MOM!!?! I AM DANCING FOR YOU, MOM!

And then by the time I start bribing him with cheese and he hears that magical CH word he starts furiously signing "more! more! more!" - just to be sure that I understand that he does, in fact, like cheese and wants to eat some right this very second.

I make a few more (unsuccessful) attempts to get him to walk. And then I get up, and start slicing him some cheese.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Oh pickledog, your intense flavor is still haunting me...

We went to The Minnesota State Fair today. We want to go back to eat more ridiculous food. I am especially itching to try "hot dish on a stick." Because that just sounds great, right? Of course it does. We didn't get to experience as much of the fair as we'd have liked. We had that baby along with us (who happened to want to eat all of our food) and it was hot and we couldn't maneuver well. If anyone wants to babysit our baby we'd like to go back.

The things we did get in were pretty great. I would like to introduce you to my friend, Pickle Dog:

Don't be deceived by the ol' gal's plain appearance. Pickledog is wonderful. I was scared to try her, but I have been working hard to try new things lately so... well, Pickledog was an exercise into the unknown. She is a pickle spear (or spicy pickle spear, if you prefer) rolled up in pastrami and cream cheese. Top notch! I assure you, it is wayyy better than it sounds. Even Oliver enjoyed it.

Then we had a deep fried Milky Way, because, well... you have to have a deep friend candy bar at the fair. It was okay, but next time I think I'd go for the deep fried Oreos instead. (Or the Reese's, but then Jared wouldn't share with me.)

After that we were quite thirsty and we had a malt and some water. Jared ate a Pronto Pup. Oliver had some tomatoey fake cheeto type things. We toured the Miracle of Birth barn to enjoy all of the cute baby animals. We were minutes too late to witness the epic calving, however. (Which, I was bummed about but Jared was glad for. Birthing = not his idea of fun.)

The MoB barn is really quite interesting. On one hand, it is cuuuttte. Baby animals abound. There is even a place where you can get your picture taken with your choice of cute baby animal. But then, on the other hand.. it is a little sadistic and a lot disgusting. There are any number of super pregnant and/or laboring animals in stalls being prodded and stared at by fair goers. Any number of animals are giving birth at the same time, bloody placenta and all hanging out of their rear ends and what not. A very very creepy thing.

Above everything else, we did plenty of people watching. The state fair is just about the only place where hicks and city folks rub elbows. We almost witnessed a fistfight between a bunch of bros and some FFAs. (I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before on other posts, but FFA FREAKS THE SHIT OUT OF ME. Seriously. No lies. No exaggeration. Just scary.)

There was: Man with seriously impressive mullet and RC Cola fanny pack. Man with beard that would put ZZ Top to shame. (Several) Fattest woman I've ever seen. (At lest 3) Persons wearing pants or a shirt made up entirely of the USA flag. (Too many to count) People in outrageous cowboy hats.  (A disrespectful amount of) People wearing cropped and/or sleeveless (sometimes tie dyed) Tshirts.

The list could go on for days.

If you've never been to the state fair, you're really missing out. And we didn't even get to see the State's Largest ______ (fill in the blank with a fruit, vegetable, or farm animal)______, or the Butter Princesses. (What, you don't know what the butter princesses are?! They're likenesses of real life dairy farmers' daughters, carved into 90 pounds blocks of butter. What else would they be? Duh.)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cheeky literal bastard.

It occurred to me today that maybe Oliver is what is considered in some circles to be a trouble maker. I was busy online when I watched him (out of the corner of my eye) crawl over to the gate and begin his long process of opening it. He was dancing while he did it, possibly because he just likes to dance, but more probably because forbidden objects bring him so much glee.  He didn't think I was paying attention, so he had to go for it. As I spied on him from behind the bookcase, I caught a glimpse of a smile as the gate swung open. He dropped himself down from standing, and poised himself to crawl through the gate and into the forbidden wonderland that is our kitchen. But first.. FIRST he had to pause and have a good clap for himself. No matter that no one was watching, clapping was in order for that fantastic feat of baby genius. I thought it was so cute that I let him get all the way to the fridge before I went and picked him up. I set him on the carpet, and left him there thrashing and wailing, all his hopes and dreams shattered.

I can be so cruel.

Later,  I was making him a "sandwich" when my motherly senses started tingling and I knew he was about to do something that could possibly a.) crack open his skull or b.) electrocute him. I decided i would play the shady mom role and watch from the shadows to see what exactly he was going to do. He was eying up an empty bottle, and the steely resolve in his eyes told me that he was going to do something outrageous, dangerous, or outrageously dangerous to try to get it. He circled the beanbag (our hip, younger version of a couch) for the lowest corner, and tried to scramble up to the top. After several failed attempts, he was squatting on the beanbag, surveying the lay of the living room from his lofty perch, eyes still on the prize: the empty bottle  perched on top of our short book case.

That is when I captured this video**:

Then I put down my camera and helped him stand back up again, curious to see what he would attempt next. He was, after all, very determined.

He scooted to the edge, leaving the tiniest possible margin between the tips of his toes and the shelves. In a lunging jump, he swatted the bottle off of the shelf and marooned himself there. Legs dangling, holding on only by his fat little arms, he was stuck.

(At this point I decided this was too interesting to interrupt, so I stood behind him ready to catch him should he fall but not ready to end this fun. Feel free to judge me and/or berate me because I weighed my curiosity greater than his possible safety.)

I expected him to cry or panic, but he did neither. The look on his face showed perhaps the slightest bit of consternation, but you could plainly see he was 100% resolved to finish the task at hand. What a trooper.

After maybe a minute of dangling, I worried his arms might fall off so I nudged the bean bag back under his feet. He plopped back in relief, and looked around to see where the bottle had fallen. One second later, he dove off of the bean bag face first. Two seconds later, he had his beloved bottle in his hands, expression of complete unadulterated happiness on his face.

Cheeky thing, that boy. Good thing I have a steely constitution and a strong heart to raise that boy.

**If you're reading this via email updates, you may have to open the actual blog to view the video.

It's better.

I've been feeling better. I probably should have posted nothing because instead of the usual 3 or so people who email in my absence, I got like 900 calls from everyone wishing me well. I mean, it was nice but also way more than I wanted. I do much better healing by myself, usually, but I appreciate your thoughts.

Jared & I went out shopping at the mall yesterday and I feel better. I've come to the realization that:

1.) Many of the things that upset me were minor irritations. The things that were my fault are already done, and either I'm doing something to fix it or I'm trying to figure out how to atone for my wrongdoings. The things that weren't my fault are also already done with, and since they weren't my fault I can't be (rightfully) blamed.

2.) The big issues that are upsetting me are too big for me right now. On top of that, they're very vague, general, abstract things. In my head, the ambiguity piles up and overlaps and makes my problems seem insurmountable. On paper, the list is much shorter than I imagined.  And if it wasn't concrete enough to put onto paper, I decided it wasn't concrete enough to worry about.

3.) We are all healthy, my life is not really ruined in any sense of the word, and for the most part I am okay.

SO! Without further ado, a carefree video of Doobie.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I'm trying.

I've been having a rough couple of days. I'm trying very hard to remember that everything is always okay. No matter what. I suppose deep down I know that, but it is hard. It is really, really hard. I'm reeling from how fast I can go from feeling on top of the world to feeling at rock bottom.

I don't want to get into specifics or anything right now, and chances are I don't want to talk about it with you. I just want to spend a few days trying to figure out where I can start to make my life feel better again. I wish I had some sage words of wisdom about how I'm going to weather this storm well and come out a better person on the other side, but I've got nothing. I'm just going to wake up again tomorrow and put my best foot forward. Right now, that's the best I can do. And even if that's all I do, it will be good enough.

Why am I telling you this if I probably don't want to talk about it with you? A few reasons:

1. I want you to think good things for me. Pray for me if that's what you believe. Be understanding if I'm distant from you. And if I call you and ask to come over for a bowl of cereal, just know that I need it right now.
2. I don't want you all worrying. A few of you email and ask if I'm alright when I'm absent for a while, so I wanted to forewarn you that I might be taking a  little break from my blog. I think. The posts that I'm writing are just too personal to shove out there. At least right now. So they sit in my secret box, published only for myself.
3. I'm hoping that just writing the words "Tomorrow will be better" will make me believe them more. Writing these posts has always made me feel better, so I'm hoping tonight will be no different.

And tomorrow will be better.
Tomorrow will be better.
Tomorrow will be better.
It just has to be.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I could go anywhere.

I've just found that I could buy an unlimited pass to fly wherever I wanted on Sun Country airlines. How sweet is that? For $500 I could go anywhere Sun Country could take me for 37 days.  Think how cool it would be to take Oliver's pictures in all the random places we could go... Neat neat neat. That would be an awesome adventure.

Not much has been going on around here. Oliver's destructive genius has expanded exponentially since he figured out how to open our baby gate. For a few days I thought I was going crazy. I'd look over, see Oliver in the kitchen and think... Dang. I was sure I closed the gate. But no no. Oliver can open the gate himself and now wanders where he pleases. I spied on him through the bookcase yesterday and watched how he does it. He stands on his tip toes, reaches up for the lever, lifts it and slams his body against it to swing it open. Cheeky little thing that boy is. When we first put the gate up it crossed my mind that maybe we shouldn't open it in his sight. Then I thought, nahhhh! They're baby gates. Meant for keeping out babies! Surely he won't be able to open it for some time. I was wrong.

Good thing we have no stairs or Oliver would have been in the ER 5 times over by now. It's one of those "if I had a nickel..." situations. He naturally gravitates towards the off-limits no matter where we are. I've mentioned his propensity for electrical cords and knives before, but do you know what else he loves?

Eating rocks. Trying to bite the outlet covers out of our outlets. Taking leaping dives off of the couch. Pulling the bar stools down on top of his head. Falling headfirst into the toy box. Sticking his fingers in doorjambs. Finger painting his crib sheets with his own feces. Crawling into the tiniest possible spaces, getting stuck.

The list goes on. The kid is a crawling disaster waiting to happen. It makes it difficult to watch him in any non baby proofed areas. It's not that he means to be bad, but he just... gets into stuff. It's this magnetic attraction to danger that he has. If I'm there to catch him in time and tell him no, he does a decent job of letting things go. But let's be honest. I can't be watching him directly for every moment of every day, and he gets into things. I can turn around to grab a paper towel and look back and, hey! wouldn't you know it! He's got a pair of scissors in his mouth and he's smiling like the cat with the canary.

It is at once terrifying and adorable. What do you do with a baby like that?

Is that a pair of jumper cables I see over there?

Get out of my way! Those are mine!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

People out there...

FYI, if you people out there on the internet machine are looking to buy Oliver a birthday present, he needs/wants:

-Oliver sized silverware (plasticware?)
-Oliver sized plates and cups (not spill proof)
-Jammies, size 18 & 24 months
-Robeez or similar soft soled shoes/moccasins, size 5.
-Toys that incorporate some of his favorite features:
doors that open/close, 
little plastic animals/people to eat and throw, 
buttons to push, 
keys to turn, 
obnoxious music to bounce to
(He would probably love something like these classics: Little People Animal Sounds Farm or  Busy Poppin' Pals but really, a lot of toys would do.)
-Pop up or lift the flap books without too many words
-Crib mattress sheets (He's sent several sheets to an early grave after repeated poopings and washings)
-Coat (How adorable is this one!? But it doesn't have to be that exact one.)
-A frostie from Wendy's.
-Electrical cords
-Airline tickets to any destination
-Good sized rocks
-Any Stihl chainsaw with a decent horsepower
-A kitten

Of course, if you aren't looking to buy him a present, disregard this! All are welcome at his party regardless of their present bearing status! Also, feel free to shop garage sales and your older child's closet for him. He doesn't know the difference and I can appreciate a savvy shopper! :)

There's a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.

In Target I overheard a mom talking to her daughter. The daughter was upset about being sent to a high school with uniforms. She was throwing a big pouty fit, whining over and over again about how she was going to hate high school. The mom said, over and over again, you won't hate it. You can't hate it.  High school is the best time of your life.
I was told that a lot too. High school is supposedly the best time in everyone's life. Why?

I cringe every time I hear somebody say that. I hated high school. I hated the institution. I hated it's forced religion. I hated most of those fakey people. Over and over again, usually when I was in trouble, people within those walls reminded me that those were the best years of my life, so I shouldn't be doing ____ or hanging out with ______.  The message sent in a nonstop loop to my brain was, "You should be happy. Enjoy these times. These are The. Best. Days. Of. Your. Life."

What a terrible thing to tell young people - that life doesn't get any better than high school. It doesn't give much hope to people who are like I was - people whose high school years sucked. I hated myself in high school. None of my friends went to the same school as I did. I hated how I looked. I felt like a total outcast in my tiny school. I didn't like what everyone else liked. I didn't want to go out for sports and I didn't care about computer club or anything like that. Middle school and high school were definitely the darkest times in my life. I thought several times,

Well, if this these are the best years of my life, then  I guess the rest of my life will really suck. It's all down hill from here.

It isn't. It wasn't. My life is so much better now than I ever thought it could be. I wish somebody would have told me that.

Never in a million years would I have guessed that by August 2010 I would be raising a perfect son, planning my wedding, and feeling 100% at peace with my life.  I never thought I would ever look back on my life and feel like it is just right for me.

But here I am, 21 years old, and I feel comfortable with where I am today. My life is good. My life is perfect for me. Not perfect, but perfect for me. No one else could be living my life better than I am. No one else's life would be better suited to me. I belong here. I fit in here.

Each evening I close my eyes and go to sleep knowing that I am in a good place. Every morning I wake up next to the love of my life. Every afternoon I feel so much joy as Oliver reaches up for me, smiling, refreshed after his nap. There are still bills and bad hair days and parking tickets and rainstorms. But everything is perfect. Just because I say so.

"High school is the best years of your life."

Bullshit. I've changed that.  From now on, I am going to say:

"Next year will be the best year of my life."

So far, it's been true.

(Sometimes all you need to be happy is an empty thread spool.)

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Jared has convinced me to try running. If you know me, you know I'm not what people would consider physically fit. My idea of exercise is getting the Kitchenaid down from above the fridge. That is about as intense as I get.

Wait. Allow me to correct myself. That was as intense as I got. Note the past tense. Note how "get" was turned into "got." Because as of last Thursday I am a runner. I may be slow. I may be weak. But damnit, I am going to run. And eventually, I will not be slow and I will not be weak. (Okay, so I may still be slow, but I will not be weak. Eventually.)

 People 'round the 'hood will probably come to know me as "The Flash" or "The Expeditious Contender." Other possible considerations could be "White Beauty" or "SheBiscuit." I will be known throughout the lands for my defined calves and impeccable form. I'm sure of it. I can picture it and I will make it be so.

But anyway. About this running thing.

Why is it so hard? The morning before last I barely made it out of bed. When I squatted down to use the toilet I fell the last 10 inches. So loathe was I to get up again that I just sat there, perched on the royal throne, reading the HEPA filter manual cover to cover. I poured myself a glass of water, sat down on the couch, and looked over to see my drink about 20 inches away from me. I sat psyching myself up for at least 5 minutes, only to decide in the end that I wasn't thirsty enough to move that far. The skin on the inside of my thighs looks and feels like I tried to use steel wool as a loofah. The binding, the chafing, the sweating... it is all so gross and intense that I TOTALLY get why professional runners put duct tape over their nipples and on their heels. And I totally am going to have to invest in some proper shorts and shirts.

But aside from all that... after the first initial why-am-I-killing-myself-like-this runs, I started to hurt less and less. I would liken it to The Polar Plunge, something I've done many times.

You jump into that hole in the ice and think:

Wow, I am so stupid. Ow. Why am I doing this? Ow. Ow. Ow.

Then, you're swimming/wading your way back to shore and you start to lose feeling in your limbs. You think:

Maybe I'm not so stupid. It's not so bad. It doesn't acutely hurt anymore. It's for a good cause. But actually, if I think about it... this is still pretty cold. Actually, under that layer of numbness, there is still ow. Ow. Stop thinking about it and you won't feel it.

Then, once you're out of the water, you feel this sense of relief. You're done! But then. Then! Then you plop down in the hot tub and feeling starts coming back in your toes and all of a sudden your brain screams:

Ow. Ow! OW! This really does hurt. You are a complete, total idiot. Do not reproduce. Never do this again. You are probably inches from death. Stupid, stupid idea!

Then, as time passes, you forget the pain. You look at photos and think, ha! That's funny! I should do it again sometime. Next February rolls around, you see a flier, and you sign up again.

Just like running.

It hurts in the beginning. The middle is okay as long as you don't think about it. You might even feel a shimmer of pride at what you're doing. You feel relief at being finished, but then realize that the hurt isn't finished with you yet. Time passes, you recover, you think you can do it again... and you're right back to calling yourself an idiot the minute your feet hit the pavement.

I've been told the agony goes away. I believe it will. Each successive run sucks less than the one before it. I am going to run. I've told you all about it. I'm investing in some shoes. I've made running partners. There is no way I can back out now.

P.S. Anyone have a jogging stroller they're not using and would be willing to part with? I'll buy it off of you for a reasonable price. Don't have a jogging stroller? You can watch my baby for me instead while I go out. :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bonus Post! Bouquet sneak peek.

Several people have asked me about my button bouquet, and even when I've tried to explained they still don't get it. So, maybe these photos will help.

These are my raw materials. I spent one whole day sorting through buttons to find these. A woman from craigslist was kind enough to give all of these vintage buttons to me. They were her late grandmother's; I hope my bouquet will make her proud.

Here are 80 stems of button "flowers" that I twisted together with florists' wire. The pictures make the buttons look more orange than they really are. Once I make enough stems, they will all be individually wired to a sturdier, longer stem and fashioned into a traditional bouquet shape.

I still need buttons. If you have any buttons you would like to donate, leave a comment or email me! I will send you an addressed, postage paid envelope if you need it. I'd love to include buttons that are special to you, so even if you have just a few I'd really appreciate them!

Thanks in advance to everyone who will contribute to making my wedding special!

Some of you may have heard, but..

I'm in the middle of planning a wedding. It is very weird. At first I balked at the idea - weddings are stuffy and formal and generally not who I am. I don't do dinners that require precise utilization of different sized forks. I don't care about fanfold vs pyramid folded cloth napkins. Emily Post has no place in my life. And what the heck is handfasting?

So, when we got engaged and everyone asked about our wedding... I just had nothing to say. I didn't know when. I didn't know what or how or what kind. Unlike (seemingly) every other girl, I never sat around and envisioned a wedding in my head. That's just not how I roll. It still isn't.

But then I started looking around on the internet, and there are other people out there who cringe at the idea of petits fours and chiffon.  They still got married. They had awesome weddings. They did things themselves and it turned out cool. I started thinking...

...Well, okay. Maybe I can do that.

I began looking at wedding dresses online. And I took my sisters shopping with me. And I found a dress that is pretty but not stodgy. And I investigated reception sites and imagined  where my brother-in-law will look best making a drunken buffoon out of himself. And I started building my bouquet. And... And.. And...

Now,while  I sit and eat lunch I think, why yes, that would be a good alternative to the traditional guest book.

Somehow I am in 100% wedding mode, and that is alright with me. I'm going to do it my way and it will rock - trust me. If you get an invite in the mail, consider yourself one of the lucky elite few, and remember that no one will be there to judge you if you grab the wrong fork. Come and I have fun. I know I will.