Tag Archives: adventures

Evading cabin fever

I had the best intentions to blog yesterday, but it didn’t work out.  It shouldn’t really be working out today, either, but I’ve bought Simon’s silence with an oatmeal cookie (we baked them this morning.  Pecans, dried cherries, cranberries and blueberries. Yum!)

So here we are.  Better make this quick!

Our weekend was pretty darn close to perfect.  On Saturday we went up to Cleveland to check out West Side Market (I had SUCH a fun time there last fall with Megan and Marin, and wanted to share it with Jeff) and play tourists for a while.

I love that place; it’s well worth the drive!  Of course, it’s completely different on a Saturday morning than it is during the middle of the week (DUH), and crowds are, err…not our favorite thing.  But Simon was snug in the Tula, so Jeff and I dodged the crowds and bought all the pastries our canvas bag would hold:

And fancy olives.  And dolmas.  YUM.

So crowded.  So neat!

Then we walked over to Great Lakes Brewing for lunch.  I had fish and chips; Jeff had a ridiculously good beer, one of their brewery exclusives (I had a few sips) and a really good brat with pierogis (he alleges.  Like hell I’m touching a flesh-stuffed intestinal tube.)  Simon made do with scraps from home, like usual. Poor baby.

We weren’t quite ready to head back to Akron after lunch, so we decided to check out Cleveland’s natural history museum.

And there we saw OMG DUCKS!

Pretty sure this was the highlight of Simon’s little life; he was absolutely captivated.  And chilling there with his sleepy eyes in his little stroller, it was more than a little reminiscent of an old man sitting at a nursing home (and would’ve been sorta sad if it hadn’t been so cute :-P).

We eventually dragged him away, though, and he quickly resumed his ornery toddler-y ways:

Little stinker. He’s my favorite.

As one might expect, he conked out on the drive home and was OK with a quiet evening with Mama Daddy.  On Sunday we just hung out around the house and did some chores; pretty quiet.

Yesterday was “challenging”.  Someone was in full-on Toddler Mode all day, and it wasn’t necessarily the person you’d expect.  By 5:00 I was ready to scream, so we escaped to the post office and the grocery store (exciting!), then picked up Jeff from work.  Jeff made the very wise decision to entertain Simon almost all evening, leaving me free to unwind (you know…do dishes and laundry. :-\)  It was actually a pretty good time for everyone.

He determined earlier today that sleep is for babies and since he is a big boy, naps are completely unnecessary.  See how well that worked out:

We worked on a nap for 2 hours, including a 20-minute intermission in which I took a nice long shower while he stood at the baby gate and talked to me.  I warned him that his days of endless pacifier boob are numbered, but to no avail.  Toddlers are not well known for their foresight or appreciation.

So, bedtime tonight should be interesting. I predict he’ll either  go down in 5 minutes, or 75.  Who wants to take bets?

I’m starting to feel guilty about parking my butt in front of the computer for so long, so I’d best be off.  Simon and I have been reading “Where Is Your Nose?” off and on as I write.  He can now consistently identify his eyes, nose, mouth, chin, ears, hair, tum, hands, knees, and feet.  Even when the book isn’t in front of him.  Big smart boy!  Tomorrow we start calculus.


I should be sewing

I talked to Aunt Judy yesterday and she told me that the quilt tops I’m sending her way are next on her list, which means I need to get my butt in gear and, you know, actually send them.  Which further means (check out my amazing reasoning skills) that I need to finish the one, rather than just gaze lovingly at the stack of fabric on my sewing shelf. But that would be too easy, wouldn’t it?  So instead I’ll just sit here and piddlefart around and eat grapes until Simon wakes up (at which point I’ll kick it into gear and start sewing.  Promise ;-))


I just cut myself a thick slice of that bread from Tuesday’s dough pic, but then completely neglected to take a photo before slathering it in Nutella and cramming it in my gaping maw. So, sorry.  But also yum.  Seriously, go check that out if you want a hearty-yet-soft bread recipe.


Speaking of food (since apparently that’s all I’m capable of at the moment), have you seen the Italian Wonderpot recipe going around Facebook lately?  It really seems too good to be true.  So in the name of Science!, last night I made it for dinner.  Here’s an awful picture just a few minutes before it was ready to serve (you let it simmer down until most of  the liquid is evaporated/thickened):

That’s a horribly unappetizing picture, I know, but the actual dinner was pretty good.  I used whole wheat spaghetti instead of fettuccini, and stirred in some garlic chicken sausage that I’d browned in my cast iron, just before serving.  Our family’s consensus was that it was all right, but grossly under-seasoned (this even after I upped all the seasonings).  Next time I think I’ll used Trader Joe’s diced and fire-roasted tomatoes instead of plain diced tomatoes, will add more salt, and maybe 16 oz of spinach instead of just 8 oz (the benefit of 8 oz, though, is that I could convincingly tell Jeff the green flecks were just herbs ;-)).  I also think it would be good with Trader Joe’s basil linguine.  But all in all it was a good, easy weeknight dinner (with enough leftovers to keep us in lunches for a week!).  Add a side of roasted asparagus and a good salad and you’re set.


Yesterday during the day we made our pilgrimage up to Cleveland for Trader Joe’s, and my total was about 1/3 less than usual (even though I bought the ingredients for 10-12 meals, just like always).  Part of that is because they didn’t have a few things on my list, but mostly I think it’s because I’m a lot less inclined to dawdle and loiter and browse when I have a tiny tornado pushing the shopping cart than when he’s snugly wrapped on my back.  He was OMG SUPER NOT INTERESTED in making the trek home, though, and I didn’t feel like facing a 35-minute car ride of screaming, so we hit up Panera for soup and a bagel (and then a diaper and some boobies) before heading back down to Akron.  He slept in the car but only fitfully: overall, definitely not his most satisfying morning.  I think it may make more sense to do subsequent adventures in the late afternoon (bonus: then Jeff can haul in the groceries when he gets home from work.)


Today was the penultimate storytime of the late-winter session, and it was a little bit smaller group than usual.  Possibly not coincidentally, Simon warmed up a lot more quickly than he has in weeks past.  Today he was actually brave enough to dance with the librarian for a moment, and grab his own shaker out of the music basket.  Progress!  He even pitched a fit when it was time to leave, which was embarrassing but also sort of reassuring.  The librarian is going to be out on maternity leave starting in May, and with Garfunkel coming in July the spring session may be our last.  I’ll miss it!


After a quick stop at Chipotle for a mama-baby date, we went to a new kids’ consignment shop that just opened a few weeks ago (the owner is a young mom who’s been advertising it on the Facebook baby/kids resale group I follow).  She had a pretty large amount of stock, but nothing much that I felt we needed, and most everything was WalMart/Target brands anyway. I got him one little Gymboree shirt for this summer, but think I’ll have to head back down to Once Upon a Child (down in Canton) for a few other things he needs.


Well this one isn’t going to win any “fascinating blog post” awards, is it?  Have a sleepy Simon by way of apology:


And now, of course, he’s awake and I’ve got to get my butt off the couch.  Until next time!

Now it’s official

We told our families last week and posted it on Facebook on Sunday, but it’s not official until The Blog knows:

Simon is going to be a big brother! 🙂

We’re about 16 weeks pregnant (found out on Nov. 21), which means we’re looking at a late July-ish arrival date.  So far this pregnancy is super easy like my last one, complicated only by the fact that it’s about ten times more exhausting to chase around a toddler than to sit at a desk all day.  We found a great midwife who really jives with our philosophy (which is lucky; there aren’t many home birth midwives in Ohio, much less ones who actually bring medical supplies to births and have a friendly working relationship with docs at the local hospital in the event of transfer).  Simon still doesn’t really get what’s going on, but that’s to be expected since he’s so young.  We’re reading lots of books on the topic and I’m going to get him a baby doll at Target, but I doubt he’ll really get it until Hoopling #2 (temporarily called Garfunkel, naturally) actually shows up.

So yay babies!

Our weekend was pretty good.  Friday after Simon’s ped checkup we had lunch with Jeff, then Simes and I went to Canton and got him some clothes for spring at Once Upon a Child, and a few maternity pieces for myself (most of my things from last time aren’t nursing-friendly). We went up to Cleveland on Saturday because Jeff needed some work clothes and I was out of my LUSH face wash stuff.  Definitely not our most exciting adventure, but Simes got some quality Tula Time with his Daddy and I got a change of scenery from Akron for a bit, so it’s all good.  I ran a few errands by myself on Sunday, which was LUXURY.  I missed having someone to talk to as I pushed my cart around Target, but it was nice to browse in peace and not spend my time supervising the wee one as he pushes the shopping cart or tries to wander away.  I treated myself to popcorn and a Diet Coke to make it a real escape 😀  We turned on the football game Sunday night, but we’re not really a football house so it was more about the commercials and halftime show than the stupid game.

I know it’s not quite the same, but I feel compelled to insert this here:

And I suppose that I am Moss in that scenario.  Goody.

Mr. Cuteness was in rare form yesterday morning:

He was rolling grapes all over the high chair.  Apparently it has juuuust a hint of a slant to it, so he was “racing” them, shooting them like pool balls, the whole nine yards.  I made a video but, in true toddler fashion, he stopped as soon as the camera came out:

After breakfast we actually went BACK up to Cleveland to hunt down a couple fabrics that my local JoAnn doesn’t carry, then stopped by a quilt shop in Hudson that I’d heard good things about.  I got a few half-yard lengths for my stash.  Maybe to go into Garfunkel’s quilt; maybe not.

I’d love to tell you all about what I’m working on right now, but it must remain secret for a while yet.  But it’s going to be awesome!  HINT:

And no, I promise you on my great-great-great grandmother’s grave that it has nothing to do with Garfunkel.  For serious.  (Just like last time, we’re not finding out if it’s a boy or girl)

Since driving all over northeast Ohio seems to be my hobby as of late, today we went down to Canton for some lunch and shopping with Kathy.  We went to this place called The Flower Factory, which is a closeout store sort of like a Michael’s-meets-HomeGoods.  I can’t show you any pictures of my finds yet because they’re in the car and I’m lazy (HONESTY), but I got a couple delicious candles, some seasonal decorations for next fall and winter, and a few random craft supplies.  All told, we spent about two hours wandering around just looking at everything.  That place is like a dream!  I can’t wait to go back 🙂

Here’s one pic that I grabbed in the store:

Just aisle after aisle of heavily discounted seasonal stuff, decor, craft supplies, party items, and (I wish I’d gotten a picture of this) disposable “spa thongs”.  Needless to say, I stocked up.  I hate having to re-use my spa thongs.

We enjoyed a long lunch and catch-up session at Max and Erma’s, and Simon got some quality attention that he is sooooooo desperately lacking (or so he says).  We’re so lucky to have a friend in Kathy! ❤

My little dragon also got the awesomest present ever:  his very own castle!

Kathy, he has had SO much fun playing with it, ever since he woke up from his nap!   Thank you SO SO SO MUCH.

Apparently the king needed a kiss:

In our version, the DRAGON is the master and sits on the throne:

OK well somebody is staring at me and shaking an empty snack dish my direction, so I believe I’m being summoned.  Have a great evening, everyone!

Yay stuff!

This has been SUCH a busy week.  Yesterday I was moving CONSTANTLY from 7am until 10:30pm.  Work work work.


To pick up my saga where I left off (since I know you’d be disappointed if I didn’t :-P), on Tuesday I verified with our landlord that unfortunately a replacement washer is *not* included in our lease (boo), and then got to go washer shopping (whee?).  I found one at a well-reviewed used appliance place for less than $200, the same model of Kenmore that my parents have.  Our last set in St. Louis were Kenmores, too.  I love those.  You can’t kill ’em.


We ran a couple more errands on Tuesday, too, and I canned 4 quarts of the apples from last weekend’s adventure, into unsweetened applesauce.  And I have this little doohicky that makes things go RIDICULOUSLY FAST!

I actually got it on clearance at Target at the end of last season, and I think it’s the best $13 I ever spent.  I was able to core, peel and slice my whole pot full of apples in about 15 minutes.  That usually takes me HOURS.


Our local grocery store also had 20-quart stock pots on sale for $4.99 each this week, so I picked up one of those and did Wednesday’s batch of applesauce in it, instead of my big Le Creuset pot.  I was able to do 5 quarts of applesauce in one batch (cook the apples down in the stock pot, then heat the sauce in the Le Creuset).  So two days work = 9 quarts of applesauce.  And that’s less than half our haul!


Oh I do love canning.


I’ve also been making cinnamon rolls like there’s no tomorrow.  I did one batch for us, and then decided to get on the neighbors’ good side by making a batch for them.

In a marked departure from tradition, I sprinkled just the tiniest hint of nutmeg on with the cinnamon and sugars, and then put some maple flavoring in the icing.  It’s like eating fall.  OM NOM NOM AUTUMN.  (Here’s that recipe again, if you’re interested)


The new washer was delivered on Wednesday morning, and I spent all afternoon and evening chugging through the massive laundry pile that built up over the past two weeks.  I’m *still* not all caught up, but a lot of that is because I’m doing a wash-strip-rinse-rinse-rinse-wash-strip-rinse-rinse-rinse on all the diapers (two loads), to try and get out all the built up detergent and ammonia that crappy old washer was (unbeknownst to us) failing to remove.


Don’t tell anybody, but I actually think stripping (and just normal laundering!) diapers is kind of fun.  They’re so fluffy and soft and nice smelling!


Today, though, was the most exciting!  First we got to go to the HYUNDAI DEALERSHIP!  wheeeee!!!  And we got to eat breakfast there (cheese sticks, granola and banana!), and play with A BASKETBALL!  And Mama got her car fixed!  And it was under WARRANTY!

Yeah, it’s not exciting.  No matter how I spin it.


On a completely different (and legitimately exciting) note:  Ohio Mart!


I had been looking forward to this for SO LONG, until Jeff and I actually looked at our calendars and realized that it conflicted with his cousin’s wedding in St. Louis.  And given that Jeff has to go to that silly place called “work” every day to earn “money” so we can “eat” (Ugh.  PRIORITIES, MAN.), he wouldn’t be able to go with us on Thursday or Friday.


Which meant that we had to have a Weekend Adventure in the middle of the week, with only 67% of the usual adventuring team.  But we pressed on.


Ohio Mart!


I present to you the finest photo ever taken at the festival’s interest:

Blurry back of a stranger’s head? Check!

Photographer’s finger in corner? Check!

Lack of discernible subject?  Check-CHECK!


Simon was none too impressed, either.

Actually, that picture was taken about 15 minutes before this happened:

This was the perfect situation to have the stroller, BTW.  No Jeff to help bear the load, a bunch of random crap to haul, and a baby who suddenly finds the wraps to be more exciting than sleep-inducing.  So I wore him about half the time, and strolled him the rest.


I shouldn’t have been surprised about the demographics represented here, since we went on a Thursday morning and all.  It was mostly retirees, “ladies who lunch”, and a handful of other young moms.  All other things being equal, I think I prefer adventuring on weekends.


It was nice strolling on the beautiful grounds and window-shopping in the booths (a lot of the stuff wasn’t really my taste, but was pretty anyway).  And then there was…the rest.  Take the World’s Largest Assemblage of Fun Fur, for example.

That hurts my eyes.  And my heart.


I also saw this craft, which falls in the category of “cute idea, crappy execution”:

I could see myself putting together something sort of like that (only better… ;-)), maybe in blue/white, for late winter?  I’d use Lamb’s Pride Bulky or Lion Brand Thick ‘n Quick and do it a little more thicker and rustic looking.  I can see it in my mind.  It looks nice in there.*


But ANYWAY.  The gardens! And the hall!  I wish we could’ve gone inside (but I decided to save that for sometime when Jeff can come :)).


I think I’m going to doctor up this photo and make it my phone wallpaper.

Have I mentioned I love autumn?


I also love food (because duh).  I pretty much gorged myself all day.  With hot spiced cider!


And pumpkin roll!

I know I’ve said it before, but I’m seriously going to have to breastfeed forever so I can gluttonize guilt-free.  Or else take up ultramarathons and/or Zumba once the last Hoopling is weaned.  Probably ultramarathons.  Less silly looking.


I’ll wrap up with a picture from the end of our visit (not coincidentally, about 5 minutes before it started pouring rain):

(My mom showed that to someone at her work, who said “He’s so sweet I could get diabetes just looking at that picture!”  I concur, work lady.  My wonderful sugary babyface!)


TWO SEPARATE groups of old ladies stopped behind me and started cajoling Simon to smile for the camera as he posed in this little setup. 😀


(I also texted that picture to Mona, Miss “Orange County winters are so cold!”, and she started chastising me for not having Simon bundled up enough in the harsh midwestern air.  It was 75*!  Silly California friend.  I miss her :))


Yay for OhioMart!


Kathy, I only wish you could’ve come along 🙂  We’d have had a blast!


This has gotten long enough for tonight.  Tomorrow I’ll show you my most exciting find from the festival.


What’s your favorite autumn activity? (we’re on the lookout for more weekend adventures…)




Officially a tradition

This weekend was awesome, dudes.  Awesome.


Friday night we had a dinner with some of the people from Jeff’s work, at an Italian restaurant here in Akron.  When I was getting ready for the dinner, I hit some sort of breaking point re: my clothes.


Remember how Jen and I had that style blog a few years ago?  How much fun it was, and how even though I’m not, like, the most stylish person ever (HA), I enjoyed combining pieces to make fun outfits, and finding good deals, and looking put together?  Well, I’m sure I’m the first person in the history of the world to say that that all changed when I became a SAHM.  😛  Really, though, since before I got pregnant I just haven’t really bought any nice new clothes.  I got a few pieces here and there, but they’ve all been utilitarian button-downs or plain tee shirts.  And so for the past 2+ years, my wardrobe has become progressively more boring and threadbare.  Couple that with the postpartum weight loss and Magic Boobs, and everything I own is suddenly either too big, holey, stained, or out-of-date.  Or all four.  And I’m kind of tired of it.


So after whining to Simon and trying on sixty different things for a casual yet sort of professional dinner (I ended up in an old work shirt – an olive green button-down from Express, my faithful corduroy GAP skirt, and an Old Navy cardigan that should be relegated to the rag bag), I snapped.  I was done!


Jeff apparently loves me, so I got to spend a while browsing on LLBean.  They’re having a “spend $50, get a $10 gift card” sale, and I already had one gift card from ordering a new casual winter coat a couple weeks ago.  So I used that, shopped the sale section, and now have a couple new pieces coming my way.  I got *another* $10 gift card from that order, so in a week or two I’ll order some more (just to hit that $50 minimum to get yet another $10 card :-D).  Winning!


Then yesterday in the course of our running around (more on that in a bit), I found an outlet mall in Aurora that has a Banana Republic outlet.  Banana was always one of my favorites back when I was working, so I was psyched to hit their outlet.  But it wasn’t quite like I remember.  Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I always had good luck finding natural fibers at Banana.  Silk and cotton and wool, not rayon and polyester.  Browsing yesterday, though, it seemed like just about everything was synethetic fibers.  Disappointing.  I did find a couple cute things, though, that fit within my self-imposed rules of “not slobby, not neutral, not boring”:

That short-sleeved shirt looks sort of sickly colored in the pic, but I promise it’s quite lovely 🙂  It also has a really great waist detail shaping.  I think it’ll look good with some of my handknit sweaters this fall :).


So, backtracking a bit:  we had the dinner on Friday night, which was fine, whatever.  Friday is *also* when we discovered that the washer (which came with the house but isn’t maintained by the property manager) is broken – and apparently has been since we got here.  The agitator doesn’t agitate (though the spin cycle still spins, and it fills and empties OK).  So I called a repairman who came out, looked at it, and said it’s un-fixable: the motor is completely seized; the repairs would cost more than the washer is worth.  Ugh.  So no we have to go buy one of those.  But that also solves the mystery of why none of our clothes really felt like they were coming clean, and Simon’s diapers were building up ammonia despite 3-4 rinses on each load.  And yes, our landlord is a damned dirty liar in yet another regard “Oh yeah, the washer in the house works!”.  Bullshit.


The Akron Marathon was Saturday morning, and Jeff had signed up to volunteer for it (two of his co-clerks were running the half marathon).  But since somebody waited until the last possible minute to fill out his volunteer form, the only position left was “recycling steward”, on a 5:30-8:00 am shift.  Oh, that did give me such joy!  That my beloved would spend the wee hours of Saturday morning sorting recycling.  Because I am not a nice person.


Simon and I rolled out of bed at our usual time and strolled over to the marathon route (the portion running down Market went through Highland Square proper, just a few blocks from our house) to cheer on the runners and our stalwart (recycling) steward.  This is the only picture of any runners that I got before my phone started being an asshole:


Simon didn’t think much of the whole thing at first…

but he quickly picked up on the fact that there were people clapping all around him, so by the time Jeff’s shift ended and he joined us, Simon was busy clapping every time he saw someone (runner or bystander) pass our spot.  So helpful!


The rest of Saturday was pretty much just spent around the house.  I got a fair amount done on my cross-stitching project and the stripey knee sock I’m knitting, and we went on a nice long family walk that evening, through the ritzy neighborhood adjacent to ours.


But then Sunday.  SUNDAY!  So much fun!  I got up early and did a bunch of random cleaning (the kind that’s impossible to accomplish with a toddler underfoot), then when my boys woke up we headed out on a super autumn adventure 🙂


First stop was the aforementioned outlet mall and lunch at some local grill up there – nothing too exciting.  After that, though!  APPLE PICCKKKINNNNGGGGG!!!!


We went to Monroe’s Orchard, just northeast of Akron.  It was SO AWESOME.  Much more authentic than the orchard-that-must-not-be-named 😉  (Yes I AM still on about that.).  More fun than the orchard in the desert of 2012.  Pretty much in line with my previously-established high expectations, circa 2011.


Look! I was positively giddy with excitement!


Jeff was his usual cool self, and Simon was underwhelmed:


I then enthusiastically dubbed myself the Apple Wench, and set about scampering among the branches and gathering a full bushel of Cortland apples:


Everything was just right!  YAYYYYY apple picking!


All miiiiiiiiiine!


I MAY decide to share with Jeff and Simon.  Maybe. 😛

There were perfect rows of apple trees!  And a wagon with hay bales to ride out to the orchard!  And hand-painted family signs!  Even the cute-but-surly teenage son that Eckert’s was lacking.  SHEER AND UTTER PERFECTION.


Then after we deposited our overflowing apple bags in the car, we headed over to the orchard’s pumpkin patch.  Because DUH.


We found a Simon-sized pumpkin, and a Jeff-and-Kate-sized pumpkin:


Then we rounded out the trip with a peck of Macintosh from the store (they didn’t have any for you-pick), and a candle and some local honey.  It was marvelous.  Monroe’s Orchard gets an A+ from us!


Here’s our front porch this morning:

Doesn’t that look nice?  I need to paint all the white with Killz before it gets too cold, and do something with those poor sad flowerbeds.


And now I must away!  The wee one is whining for boob + lunch, then once the washer repair guy leaves I have to run to the store for quart jars, and start canning! 🙂


Happy Monday, friends!

Who knew southern California was hot in August?

(Subtitle: and other such trivia I’ve learned this year)


Let’s see…where did I leave off yesterday?


Late afternoon I went on a little walk with Tea and Ella and another neighbor of ours.  This lady is a clothing designer, super cute, and rocks the pixie haircut.  And she’s ridiculously nice.  So I’d have to hate her, if she weren’t so damn friendly.  You know that kind of person?  Where you look at them and you’re like “you…you cannot be real.  No one is that nice.”  I also think I’d have a new friend, but I don’t want to go making friends  just to run away in two weeks.  Too much effort.   LOL I think I’m revealing more about myself here than anything else 😛


Then as soon as we got home Roxie needed out (I didn’t want to bring her on the earlier walk because it’s a little exhausting to wrangle her and keep Simon’s hat on and carry on a coherent conversation), so we headed back out – I didn’t even take Simon off – and walked down the street to meet Jeff on his way home.  I partially do that to spend a few extra minutes with him, but mostly because it’s so much fun to watch Simon and Roxie lose their shit when their white knight appears, riding up the street on his bike 😉  Yesterday Simon was clapping every time a Metro train passed, applauding like it was the best show he’d ever seen.  So damn cute!


Nothing big yesterday evening: I did a little housework, we had a light dinner, then Jeff and I both crashed at like 10:00.  WE ARE SO OLD.


Have you guys heard of the Beautiful Mess app?  It’s one of those photo-editing ones, and it’s so much fun to tinker with.  Really cute and well done.  My cousin Lacey turned me onto it; she used it to edit an adorable picture she took of Simon and Jett at the Monson reunion last month (I won’t show it because I don’t know her policy on showing off her kid for public consumption).  I’ve been having a lot of fun editing pics of Simon, usually when I’m awake at 3am.  It’s more productive than screwing around on Reddit, right?  Here’s one I did of him at breakfast today:

I cropped it and fixed the tones as best I could using Aviary, then I used Beautiful Mess to add the caption and border and the picture effect.  That app has *so* many cute fonts, and adorable borders and graphics.


Here’s the original, for comparison:

Soooooo much better, right?


Here’s a couple more that I did, using the same thing (Aviary to make it pretty, Beautiful Mess for captions).  On the whole, I like Aviary’s effects the best: way better than Flickr or the ones on Instagram or Twitter (though the former aren’t too bad, really).


Anyway.  Enough photo-whoring.


We had grand plans for this morning:  Simon and I were going to run up to Glendale to pick up the prints from his 1-year photos, then we were going to take the train (!!! TRAINS !!!) downtown and have lunch with Jeff, then spin by the bank on the way home for laundry quarters.


Instead, just as we were walking out, I reached to the key peg by the door only to see that (cue ominous music) my keys weren’t there.  In fact, my keys and Simon’s hat were in Jeff’s briefcase, which was with Jeff, who was downtown at work.  That’s a great place  to keep them, eh? 😛  Obviously, a reconfiguring of plans was required.


Without keys, I couldn’t drive anywhere or even get things from the car.  Nor could I regain access to the apartment if I left.  Also helpfully in the car were Simon’s diaper bag and the umbrella stroller (Jeff calls it a “parachute”) that Simon’s Grandma and Grandpa gave him for his birthday.  And our big stroller would be a nightmare to maneuver on the train, not to mention once we reached the courthouse.  So I couldn’t even walk to the train, pushing Simon in the 85* heat.  And I couldn’t reschedule the lunch for another day, since without keys I can’t even take the dog out for potty.


So I wrapped Simon on my back (yay babywearing!), made a makeshift diaper bag using my favorite satchel (the one I’ve had since high school, that I also toted all over England), caked us both in hippie sunscreen, and we set out.

Poor sunny bebeh.  I was going to put his old, too-small hat on him, but it wouldn’t even stay over his head.  LARGE-HEADED CHILD.  DEFINITELY JEFF’S.


Of course, as soon as the door closed behind me I remembered that I’d meant to change into my walking shoes, but instead I was stuck in some brand new (not broken in) flats.  Real smart, yo.


Luckily, Simon conked out on the way:

and he has not yet developed the “magically becoming heavier when he falls asleep” feature that I understand many children possess.  Which made it easier 😉


The 2-mile walk to the train wasn’t so bad – we’ve done that walk a bunch, since the farmer’s market is right by the train station – but I usually have a stroller to pop Simon into when we get too hot.  And it’s usually 6:30 instead of 11:00.  The walk from Union Station to the courthouse wasn’t too big a deal, either.  But then Jeff said we should go to this shawarma place by Little Tokyo, and it just sounded too good to pass up, so by that point I was getting a wee bit tired and cranky 😉


All that traipsing around was worth it in the end:

My wrap was good, but the fries and that sauce were OMG RIDICULOUS.  I just…I didn’t even know that the humble french fry could be so delicious.  I’m gonna be dreaming about these tonight.  I also wanna try and recreate that dipping sauce, because I have hunch it would be amazing on falafel.  I’m pretty sure it involves mayo, rooster sauce, and parsley, but heck if I know where to go from there.  To the test kitchen! 😀


It turned out to be a good thing that I’d put together the ghetto diaper bag, because of course Simon pooped at lunch.  We couldn’t find a changing table anywhere, though, so I ended up spreading my wrap on a bench outside and changing him next to a statue of some Japanese hero from the Holocaust or something.  Then back onto my back he went, and we said goodbye to Jeff and began the long hike back home (this time with keys and hat!).


Picture me sitting on the train, leaning forward with a Simon peeping over my shoulder as I rock back and forth, trying to quiet him into a nap. Then picture a meth-y looking crazy guy.  Crazy guy told me all about how smart Simon is (“I can always tell”), and that he’ll go far in life as long as “the devil don’t get him”.  So y’all be on the lookout for the devil around my kid, eh? ;-P


The South Pasadena train station is conveniently located right across the street from my favorite coffeehouse, Buster’s.  So I popped in for some provisions to last the trip home: a mango iced tea in my Klean Kanteen (SO GOOD, especially with just a wee bit of raw sugar shaken in).  Simon fell asleep again as we were walking through the farmer’s market, and stayed out until the elevator ride up to our apartment.  As soon as our butts hit the door I took off both our pants (LOL) and we hydrated via our respective favorite methods (iced tea and boob juice – you guess which is whose), and now he’s kicking around on the floor, clapping and feeding Joe’s O’s to his “bogbog”.  And I need to think about getting dinner started.



New Leaf: Day 2?

It felt weird to open up WordPress two days in a row.   And yet, here I am.  LOOK AT ME SELF-IMPROVING, Y’ALL!


I’ll take all the accolades you can spare. 😛


So yesterday ended up being a wash.  Right after I finished writing, Simon wanted boob.  And then he fell asleep on me, which meant I was stuck until he woke up.  So I farted around online (thank you Reddit and Pinterest!) and when he woke up, we headed up to Tea’s to hang out a bit.  I took up my last bottle of that really good Trader Joe’s Moscado, but she didn’t feel like splitting it with me so she just made me a pineapple rum punch (with fresh-ground nutmeg!  Mmmm) and listened to my tale of woe, lol.


Meanwhile, Simon was scooting around on the floor eating raw baby carrots, and Ella was offering him all her toys, in turn, to play with.  I love watching those two play!  I also got a really cute picture of the two of them together, but Tea doesn’t like pictures of Ella going online so I won’t share it.  But trust me.  CUTENESS.


…OK I just got back in from a 20-minute break in the bedroom to boob Simon back down.  He’s actually napping really well this morning!  He’s all tired out from yesterday’s excitement I guess :-\


Anyway, after we left Tea’s, Jeff asked us to come pick him up at work, so we headed downtown for that.  I love driving to downtown during rush hour(s) when everybody else is fleeing.  It makes me feel like such a rebel! 😛  The stress of yesterday morning finally caught up with me though, and on the way home all of a sudden I was like, “I am so done with today.  Just done.”  So we ran through the Taco Bell drive-through for some white trash comfort food (lol) and I went to bed as soon as I’d gotten Simon down.


If you follow me on Twitter, you might’ve seen me mention our elaborate baby bedtime ritual.  So here, in >140 characters, is the thing:  Simon is a really really really ridiculously light sleeper.  REALLY LIGHT.  So every night, Jeff gets him ready for bed and we read a story and turn on the white noise app on my iPad.  (Best $0.99 I ever spent.).  Then I lay in bed with him and boob him down.  Once he’s out, I text Jeff to come move him to the co-sleeper.  Jeff takes the collar off the dog (so she can’t wake him with its quiet jingle), then he steals into the bedroom on tiptoe.  We gently roll Simon from the boob onto Jeff’s outstretched hands, then Jeff carefully walks (avoiding the breeze of the window fan) to the co-sleeper, where he slowly lowers Simon down, watches to make sure his eyes don’t open, then geeeeeeently covers him with a light blanket.  And then I have about 45 minutes to do whatever I want, before he wakes up for more boob.


In the night – usually after his second wakeup, but sometimes after his first if he stays out long enough – I drag him into bed and he spends the rest of the night latched on and cuddling (or sometimes snuggled up against Jeff).  That’s my favorite.  I love co-sleeping 🙂


All that ceremony for bedtime, and you know what Simon does when it’s naptime and we’re out running around or I’m doing housework?  He just crashes on my back, O-U-T.  This is one attached kid!  As long as he knows where his next meal is coming from, he can sleep anywhere.


An abbreviated, completely true and non-exaggerated list of things that have awoken Simon abruptly from a sound sleep:

1)Roxie stretching and flapping her ears

2)Jeff popping open a soda can from the living room

3)Us quietly sneaking into bed and pulling back the covers

4)The spine of a book cracking

5)The sound of our phones vibrating when we plug them in

6)Macbeth leaping onto the bed

7)Our next-door neighbor flushing the toilet (thin walls)

8)The fridge door opening or microwave beeping




Shortly after we get to Akron (long enough after that it’s not extra stressful for him, but soon enough that he doesn’t get completely settled into our old routine), we’re going to start the gradual process of moving him into his own room.  We’re going to try a Montessorti floor bed.  That’s essentially just a plain twin-sized mattress on the floor, in a completely child-proof room.  I’ll start out trying to get him to nap in there sometimes, the same way we do now (boobs + sneaking away).  After a while we’ll try it for bedtime too, fully expecting that he’ll end up in bed with us each night.  Ideally I’d like to have him mostly in his own room by about his second birthday, but we’ll see how it goes.  I’m not in any hurry to stop nursing him down to sleep, but I’d be lying if I said it wouldn’t be nice for him to be able to put himself back to sleep when he wakes up.  We’ll get there someday 🙂


We drove Jeff to work this morning, and stopped by the store on the way home to use up a gift card that he got for his birthday.  I felt like some retail therapy but didn’t want to spend money.  So I got him an annoying noise-making remote thingy (Ella has one and he loves it).  He started fussing on the way home so I tossed it back to him, and he just started chewing on the cardboard packaging.  Way to spend $9, eh?  😛  But he’s playing with it now, so here’s at least 2 minutes of entertainment from the silly thing.  After today I think I’ll put it away until the long drive, because I’m a masochist and I think there’s nothing Linda and I will enjoy more than hearing “1-2-3, count with me!” in a chirpy, tinny voice for 700 miles, lol.  (Don’t be surprised if this ends up chucked out on the roadside somewhere around Indianapolis)


I took a picture of him playing with it here, but he just looks disheveled and befuddled, so I’ll spare you.  I only want you to see my progeny at his best. 😛


Anyway, he needs some grownup food now so I should get movin’.  Time to prepare a nutritious and delicious lunch for him to throw on the floor. Yay, baby-led weaning! 😀


I’ll end with one of my favorite recent pictures.  This was at the train place on Sunday:

Simon Hoops: future DDS?


Until next time!  (dare I say, “tomorrow”???)


PS> Remind me to tell you about the crafting I’ve been doing in my precious little free time, eh?