August 31, 2007

What's for dinner tonight? Guess.

Years ago, a Sri Lankan friend of mine had a baby and her mother came to stay for several months after the birth. She made a delightful mushroom curry that has become a staple in my rotation of meals. My fondest memory of this dish was making it for my bar buddies in grad school - it's a great dish to make at 3am because it cooks quickly and is very satisfying.

I recommend using baby bella mushrooms. Also, this dish is VERY spicy if Indian grade curry powder is used. X is South Indian and even he breaks a sweat if I make it according to recipe - I make it with 1/2 tsp chili. Try it the first time without the chili, then take it from there the next time.

Sri Lankan Mushroom Curry

1/2 cup onions
2 cloves of garlic, 2 slices of ginger
1/2 lb mushroom caps, chopped in quarters
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
2 whole cardamom pods, crushed
1 inch cinnamon stick
1/4 cup tomatoes, chopped
1 tbs oil
salt
1 cup water

-fry onion in oil until edges begin to brown
-add garlic, ginger and stir fry for a minute or so
-add the rest of the ingredients and stir fry for a minute or so
-add water and bring to a boil, let cook for 10 minutes, then reduce and let gravy thicken

August 29, 2007

What happens if every team in the NFL goes 8-8?

Ah, football season is upon us. It is only pre-season, but hello! For hardcore football fans, that COUNTS. Thank god for a household with two televisions.

Actually, I don't mind. For some reason, I associate cozy family situations with football on a snowy Sunday afternoon - perhaps, because my own family NEVER watched football? As a singleton, I dreamed of marrying a football fan and spending Sundays reading a book while my husband and kids cheered teams on. And now, I get to do that. Every fall and winter. For the rest of my life.

Be careful of what you wish for, Grasshopper.
_______________________________

The other night, I was half dressed and I heard X call for me. It was a Come Here NOW call. The kind of call that propels you to scurry down the stairs half-naked even through your blinds are not drawn. The kind of call that fills your heart with a teeny bit of terror as you imagine some serious injury or fire. Nope. It was not to be that particular night. It was a MOUSE. Our kitty Pearson had dragged in the sweetest, furriest little thing that wasn't even as big as my thumb. X held Pearson while I scooped up that cute little mouse and deposited him outside. Oh, I wish Arun would have been up - that would have been the highlight of his evening. And yes, that is the sort of house we live in where I am the one to rid it of varmints and the like.

I keep telling you all the tools in the garage are mine, but you will not believe me. Hopefully, my girl will be a knitter but also will be able to operate power tools. And hopefully, also my boy, so all will not be lost. Gender bend that.

I have been resisting a full-on rant for a long, LONG time about this and even now, I'll try to resist because I do not have anything profound to add to this classic argument. I am really weary of the "boys are stinkers, girls are angels" bullshit being bandied about. Friends. Family. Random strangers. Not all boys are mud grubbing, tree climbing little terrors. We get pissed at the stereotyping of our girls and yank Barbies out of their hands, but we do not mind placing labels on our boys. Is Arun a stinker sometimes? Of course. I suspect that Anjali will be, also.

While I am at it, I might as well add this - do not call my son a "naughty boy" or a "bad boy" and then refer to his sister as a "good baby" or a "good girl". His actions may be naughty, but he isn't naughty. I think this may be a generational thing - it seems the older folks are the ones to place an adjective to the person, rather than to the action. And no, this is not New Age hocus pocus. I firmly believe if you consistently call someone Naughty or Bad, they will begin to believe it.

_______________________________


More Simian Snaps - Two For the Price of One!

Pink is my signature color
One of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies.

Nice


REAL NICE.
X is totally and completely responsible for this new trick. Grrr...

Smirk
The hair is REALLY curly the day I wash it, then gets flat the next. Channeling Don Ameche be damned. Me LOVES her hair. Squee!!

Freeze!
And he does it on command. SCORE.

He looks like a streaker.
Except in diapers.

What's cookin', good lookin'?

We had friends over for dinner on Monday. They are Indian, which always leaves me in a quandary - do I cook what I normally cook? Since I normally cook Indian, that is pretty boring for an Actual Indian. Sometimes, I will do some Kerala specialties, if the guests aren't actually from Kerala. However, X and I are mighty, mighty tired of my Indian cooking in these days of Budgetary Restraint (Read: I am cooking all the damned time now) and we wanted to do something special. So, ziti it would have to be. I do not know many Western dishes and Average Jane's Baked Ziti saves my ass every single time. With the ziti, I served Caprese salad and crème brûlée. An Australian pinot noir completed the meal.

The lovely thing about the ziti is that it can be tailored for dietary restrictions or heat preference which is why I love serving it to Indian guests. I throw in extra red pepper to make it spicy and add turkey sausage if the guests are not vegetarian. Our guests this time around do not eat meat, so I loaded up on more of the veggies instead.

Here are the recipes for the rest of the meal:

Faux Caprese Salad

I fell in LOVE with Caprese salad on my visit to Rome. Back home, I threw this together one day and we have been hooked ever since - it is one of our summertime staples. As you can see, it will not be getting me any cooking awards because it is just a simple Caprese salad that is not authentic in the least. However, it is yummy and that is what counts here. Everything is pretty much "to taste". In the mood for more tomatoes - then throw more in! Want to go more authentic by slicing the mozzarella and tomatoes instead? Go for it!

Ingredients:
8 oz fresh chopped mozzarella cheese, 1 inch cubes
1-2 cups chopped tomato
3-6 tbs balsamic vinaigrette
handful of chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Mix ingredients well, making sure not to smash or crumble the mozzarella. Do not make this more than 30 minutes before eating - once it sits for too long, everything gets soggy.

_________________________________
Crème brûlée
Hands down, crème brûlée is one of those desserts where you get a lot of bang for your buck. For whatever reason, folks are always impressed although it is actually quite easy to make. Personally, I think it is the kitchen torch which adds the element of fire - caramelizing the sugar coating in front of your guests is always a crowd pleaser. I use 200 ml size ramekins - you can go with a smaller size, you will just need more of them. This dessert can be made the morning of your gathering and kept covered in wrap in the refrigerator. Often, I will double the recipe so that we can have a more the next day as well. I highly recommend having crème brûlée with coffee for breakfast.

A few notes about this recipe. I throw in an extra yolk - I like the consistency better. Also, they recommend using a mixer when you temper the eggs which I do NOT recommend. I have had mixed results with this because the mixer tends to add air - I have had the best luck tempering by hand. I mix the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract by hand then add cupfuls of the scalded cream little by little until the eggs are heated enough to where they won't curdle. They are correct when they say the middles will still be "nervous". I pull them out when the middles are a little bubbly and jiggly. No worries - they will finish setting in the fridge. Dealing with pans of hot water is precarious work - I prefer to pull the ramekins out by hand with kitchen tongs, then push the pans of water back into the oven to deal with when they have cooled a bit (another advantage of making this earlier in the day when you will not need your oven while they cool). Then I set them on the counter for a little while before transferring to the refrigerator. Again, this is one of those desserts that is well worth working on until you get it right - I have never had anyone complain that I served them this instead of ice cream.

This recipe is from the Parker House Inn of Quechee, VT
Ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream
6 Tbs white granulated sugar
5 large egg yolks
1 Tbs pure vanilla extract
granulated sugar

Scald cream in heavy-duty saucepan. Beat yolks, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer until pale and thick. Slowly pour hot cream into egg mixture while beating at the lowest speed. Ladle into 4 custard cups and place in roasting pan. Pour very hot water into pan, to two-thirds up the sides of cups. Bake at 325 degrees for 35-45 minutes. DO NOT OVER BAKE- the middles can still be "nervous".

August 28, 2007

Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

Well, I'm back to my normal self - "crabby, sarcastic". Which is infinitely better than "weepy, hormonal". I hope I've left the post-partum blues behind for good, because dude, that SUCKED.

The kids are just adorable these days. Anjali is very vocal and smiley - just as vocal as Arun was, but MUCH more smiley than he was at this age. Arun's still not rockin' an expansive vocabulary, but he is starting to do a few word combinations - to an entertaining effect. When X goes to bathroom, Arun stands outside the door yelling "Da PEE, Daddy! Da PEE, Daddy!" X is slightly repressed when it comes to bodily functions. Let's just say that my sense of hilarity is more refined when it comes to the toilet humor. ahem.

I have a ton of photos I need to upload to Flickr. I've read that it is best to send most photos to your account, as opposed to putting them directly on your blog. This helps decrease download times. I am curious as to whether anyone gives a hoot where I put photos? It's actually easier for me to send most of them to Flickr, then put a few out here. It cracks me up whenever someone gets all snooty about folks posting pics of their kids and whatnot. Why read someone's blog if you don't care about those things that are important to them? I love to see pics of cute kids, cute pets and even cute orchids from my favorite bloggers.

I've decided that in lieu of trying to carve entertaining tales out of the boring minutiae of my humdrum extistence, I'm going to start turning to shit sitting on my shelves. It's my lame attempt at saying "I AM interesting, dammit!" First up: books. I have quite an array of quirky books that I've picked up over the years and I am going to share those. They'll be under the category "commonly unique".

What follows is a series by Sloane Tanen. It's a weird set of photos with chicks in all sorts of odd and everyday situations - everything is in miniature. For example, one photo shows two chickens hanging out in a park with a basket of eggs - the captions reads" Caroline's eggs hadn't even hatched and already Victor's eyes were wandering". One of the things I get a special joy out of is the fact that some of the furniture is the very same I had in my first doll house. This book would also appeal to those who love miniatures - the odd humor is just the icing.
Bitter with Baggage Seeks Same: The Life and Times of Some Chicks


Going for the Bronze: Still Bitter, More Baggage



In finding the photos on Amazon, I discovered a new one has just been released! MUST HAVE IT.

Hatched: The Big Push from Pregnancy to Motherhood

August 25, 2007

Mama Knows Breast: A Book Review

Correction: Oops! There IS an index. My bad!


On Thursday, I received a copy of Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner's Guide to Breastfeeding by Andi Silverman. By Friday evening, I had finished it after just two sittings.

In short, this is a quick, easy, interesting read that will make an excellent gift for a mother - new or experienced. The author has an engaging tone and a moderate, non-judgmental voice that should make any mother feel at ease, even if she ends up supplementing or not breastfeeding at all. I would feel totally comfortable giving this as a gift, without feeling pushy towards the mother.

The book is divided into 8 chapters that cover the topics of pros/cons, basic breastfeeding instructions, pumping/supply maintenance information, breastfeeding etiquette, spousal support, sex, public nursing, and finally, weaning. This little gem is small, compact and easily held in one hand. Despite its small size, it still can get you through the entire process of breastfeeding - from the first latch to the last.

There were a few things I found lacking. This book can't be used as an "end all, be all" reference - it covers the highlights, but it doesn't have an index (I am a total Index Whore - I love me a good index). To make up for the lack of an index, it does provide an ample list of extra online resources, though. I also was disappointed in the paragraph regarding co-sleeping - it was a few sentences, mostly which served to highlight the dangers, rather than the benefits. Considering that co-sleeping can go a long way in supporting a breastfeeding mother, I'd like to see more about this in a future edition.

However, overall, I just loved this book and declare it to be an Inhaler * . The illustrations are quirky and the text is light and humorous. I enjoyed that because breastfeeding can be very stressful, scary and downright painful to a new mother. Per my quick Amazon searches, there simply aren't any fun, positive books regarding breastfeeding. Who wants to read a textbook if they don't have to? I'd rather have a friend holding my hand - and this book does just that by walking you through it in a reassuring and comforting manner.

Again, I think this would be a great, unique gift for a mother planning to breastfeed, which is why I posted it here over at Rancid Raves as well as the New BoobLog.


*in-hal-er
noun
1. A book so compelling or suspenseful that it must be consumed immediately in only a few sittings.
2. A book so easy and enjoyable to read that it can quickly be consumed in only a few sittings.

August 23, 2007

Can I have the last word? *

re: Commenting - I've decided to go ahead and leave my URL on comments I make. I debated not doing so, but when I got to thinking about it, I realized I would not have many of my good friends today if it weren't for commenting and leaving my URL. Period. Also, I discovered an intriguing blog last night via a comment on Anjali's** blog. If the author, Jen, hadn't left her URL, I wouldn't have found her.

re: The Funk - my general malaise seems to have waned a bit. This week, I've actually been getting up in the mornings looking forward to the day to come. It helps that we are all finally over our colds from last week. Poor Anjali - Arun didn't get his first cold until he was about 14 months and here she was barely 6 weeks already getting the sniffles (I even had to get out that bulby-snot-sucker thingie for the first time. That thing is a wonder. Albeit an incredibly disgusting one.) Anyway, I am happier and have been enjoying my kids immensely this week. I also have an incredibly pronounced newfound affection for X. I think I've always appreciated him, but I do so even more now. He has been so supportive and sweet. And did I mention his stellar skillz as a barista? Espresso totally makes my heart go pitterpatter. ***

re: The New BoobLog - Today, I posted a Dear Diary entry about the difficulties of breastfeeding a newborn in public while attending to a toddler. ****

re: Let's Get Linky - This week, I've really enjoyed Meno's post "In Praise of Nothing". Meno is one of those who was able to take an early retirement from her career and she talks about being satisfied doing nothing:
What i am doing is being perfectly happy doing nothing of any importance to the world. I'm so happy that i am not even ashamed of my lack of purpose.
I know what she means - I've often pondered what I am about in this world, sometimes I feel a tinge of guilt that I'm not even doing any charitable for my fellow man. I, too, get the question "What do you do?" and no, I don't go about trolling the malls all day. Most days are just about trying to suck some enjoyment out of this thing called Life. It's a short one and I hate wasting it. Which is why my Days of Funk piss me off and I hate being unappreciative of the precious privilege that is Breathing.

My 2 year anniversary of "staying home" was June 30th - it still takes me by surprise that I've only been out of the "working" world for 2 years. It feels like forever and honestly, I have NO desire to go back anytime soon. Even though the last few weeks have been tough, I'd still rather be nowhere else but here.


*Okay, I won't really have the last word if you comment.

** Yes, there is another Anjali in this world. Because, as I've insisted all along, Anjali is not that unusual of a name.

*** Caffeine will do that, I suppose.


**** I wish Arun could understand the phrase "If you don't get your diapered ass back here right this instance, I'm totally going to buy that creepy teddy bear backpack leash gizmo, I SWEAR TO GOD."

August 21, 2007

Care to comment?

Have you seen my tagline? The part about the drivel? That is outdated? Last week, I read the lovely Miss Zoot's post about "to follow" or "not follow". Apparently, many folks comment on blogs because it increases their ranking on Google's page rank function since the link in the comment back to their URL is "counted" or something. The basic gist I got out of it was this: it could appear the primary reason for my comment may be that I am trying to generate traffic back to my site. Yikes. That has had me thinking for quite a bit this past week. I do comment quite a bit on other sites. It doesn't take any time and if I find the topic interesting, I love, LOVE to throw my 2 Lincolns in the pot. Why not? Didn't the blogger open comments for a reason? Aren't they inviting comments? Don't they want conversation?

However, since I read that post, I've totally been questioning my commenting. Which makes me sad and I am not sure why. It's not like I think most bloggers are just waiting with bated breath for my comment. I guess it's because one of the things that I enjoy about many of the blogs I read are the comments - they are conversations in their own right. I hate that the whole Google page rank has made it a case for the cynics.

Anyway.........

So, onto brighter, prettier things. My kids. I think most Second Children complain about the dearth of pictures taken in comparison to their older siblings. I suspect that in my case it will instead be Arun complaining about all the pictures of his sister. When Arun was born, we had a crappy camera that has since been replaced. A camera that holds residence on the table beside my chair, which makes it quite convenient for whipping it out should the need arise. Which it often does.

I've downloaded a bunch of snaps to Flickr - I'm not putting them all here, but feel free to check them out there. I've also created 2 Sets - one is of Anjali's weekly/monthly chair snaps. The other is a special set called "Stuff on My Kid". Arun is very "generous" with the stuff around our house and likes to "show" the stuff to Anju. And I am more than happy to photograph the results. I see a grand future for that set, quite frankly.

We are still having many issues with Arun liking Anju WAY too much. He will not leave her alone. It's a good problem to have, for sure, but it's still a problem. His newest thing is getting in her face and lying on her in an attempt to hug and kiss her. Sigh.

In other news, Anju is a smiley, smiley girl who loves to coo. It also appears that she may have curly hair, which means that yes. I will have to eat her. For reals, because CURLY HAIR? Would send me over the edge.

Yo, personal Space THIS



The Eyes Have It


Week 6
You'd also be sad if you realized that with your receding hairline and poofy hair, you resemble an infantile Don Ameche.

August 20, 2007

Why isn't the caps lock capitalized?

Having a blowout while doing 70 MPH on a major interstate is pretty scary. You're driving along, minding your own business, merrily banging your head away to some righteous tunes when suddenly BOOM! It sounds like a pipe bomb went off in your car.

Except, I'm not talking tires, Gentle Reader. I'm talking diapers.

This girl, Anjali? She doesn't have many dirty diapers. Oh no....she's a Saver. And her carseat is her very favorite place for her daily constitution. The thing is - in a carseat there's no place for all that muckity muck to go. Except up and OUT. We've sacrificed 3 outfits thus far to the Blowout Gods and there's no end in sight. Pun sorta intended.

In other news, things are going pretty well. Yes, it is very clear to me that I have Los Hormones coursing through my body and am suffering some serious baby blues. It's very odd to know logically that is what is going on. I've been trying my best to do the things that matter the most when going through these funks. Daily shower? Check. Hair, makeup and decent outfit? Check. Taking time to read a bit every day? Check. Taking my flaxseed oil and vitamins every day? Check. Leaving the house every day? Check. Copious amounts of alcohol? Dammit. That's the missing piece.

Just joking. Maybe.

The weekend actually went very well and this week has gotten off to a great start. I also have a dirty little secret. While I would love to list my lamentations of having two kids under the age of two, the truth is that I actually have it pretty easy. I have an incredible husband. He works from home most mornings and if the afternoons are rough, he comes back to help when he doesn't have meetings. He calls every afternoon to make sure Arun went down okay. He spends the evening with us, then puts Arun down most nights, then works until midnight to catch up. Um, I'm not exactly doing this alone all the time.

I still get teary-eyed thinking of all that X did those first weeks after Anjali was born and I was out of commission. It was just the 4 of us and he did EVERYTHING in the house - cats, kids, cooking, grocery shopping, EVERYTHING. All while building AND running a new business. He's conducted many a meeting with Arun hanging on his legs. As a special bonus, the guy makes the very best espresso - my favorite over just about any coffee shop in town. So, I'm waking up to two fresh shots a day. Spoiled much? Yes. Yes I am.

Let's Get a Little Linky
I'm starting a new section where I throw out links that I am loving. Lately, I've been loving She Doesn't Get It. Two sisters, two very different lives. Sister Big is married, has a child and lives in Kansas City. Sister Little is single and lives in Chicago. I say, both are living the high life. They answer reader-submitted questions with their very unique life perspectives.

Their latest entry has taken on the Food Pyramid. Sorta. Well, except this would be food lightly flavored with the Spice of Life. I also really enjoyed the Co-Sleeping entry which had some great commentary. Check 'em out and submit questions of your own. I will say that the sisters tend to play nice. I'll be curious which entry it is that compels them to yank the gloves off in a Point-Counterpoint scenario. Stay tuned.

August 17, 2007

Didn't mama tell you there'd be days like this?

Yesterday was another dicey, stressful day. Arun refused to take a nap despite my best efforts. At one point, I realized I was getting very angry with him and knew that I just needed to let him cry for a bit while I calmed down. After 15 minutes, he was getting a little hysterical mixed with heartbreaking whimpers of "da mama.....da mama....." So, I went to get him and that made him even more hysterical as he tried to crawl away from me in the crib. I grabbed him and we came downstairs to sit on the steps. I held him tight and tried to soothe him. He kept crying and crying - it was building and he was becoming overwhelmed with emotion. Hoping to distract him, I asked if he would like to give Anjali a kiss. Through his tears he sniffled, "Yeah." So, we went over to Anju in the bouncy seat. Arun immediately calmed down as he kissed her, rubbed his head on hers, adjusted her blanket and patted her tummy over and over. He even giggled a little. I was so overcome with the incredible sweetness of this that I started crying.

I have the patience of a gnat, yet my toddler can find it within himself to display such love and affection even when he himself is distraught. As I was crying, Arun looked at me with his big gemstone eyes still full of his own leftover tears. He grabbed a tissue, wiped my eyes, then happily scampered to the trash to throw the tissue away. Of course, I cried some more.

As it turns out, I need those kids a little myself.

That afternoon, Arun and I finished off the last few pieces of my secret stash of Choxie Dark Flakey Truffles. Sometimes, even toddlers need chocolate on their bad days.

August 15, 2007

Why are toy lobsters always bright red?

Think about it. Lobsters are normally a rusty brown while alive - they turn bright red after they've been boiled. That adorable toy your precious progeny is playing with? Yep, it represents a carcass. Albeit, a tasty one.

So........I usually refer to Rancid Raves as my Happy Place. However, it appears my green card has been revoked. I am not sure what to write. I feel paralyzed. Things are not bad. But they aren't great. Oh sure.....the kids are fine. Arun is SO sweet and full of personality. And fairly agreeable. These tantrums that I keep hearing about? Just a concept in some Wise Parenting Tome I once read in my fat and lazy days during my First Pregnancy (you remember the First Pregnancy? The one filled with Hope and Dreams?) Anyway, we have yet to see a full-blown, Category 5 tantrum out of Arun. I'll gladly ride that pony til it turns to glue, thankyouverymuch. And Anjali is also so incredibly scrumptious- very snuggly and tolerant of Arun getting in her face (all the time!). My kids are so fucking adorable it blows my mind. So, yeah - to quote Livia, "Poor me."

But they aren't sleeping at the same time. EVER. Which also blows my mind in its own special, unique way which I need to look into trademarking. Some days, I feel as if I can't even catch a breath because there is always someone wanting something. And the deadline is now...now.... NOW. Oops. Yesterday...... Arun is still so fascinated with Anju that I am actually afraid of him loving her to death. Every morning, I feel the bed shake as he scampers onto it so that he can see "da bee-bee". He HAS to see her first thing and he HAS to kiss her first thing. Every morning. However, he has to be watched constantly. Constantly! And Anju? She has awakened from her peaceful newborn state. She veers between needing to be entertained to needing to be held so that she can go to sleep to needing to be nursed to needing Yet Another Diaper Change.

Need.....need......NEED. That should be the first line of those stupid "what to expect" books. Expect to be NEEDED, my friends. That's really all you NEED to know.

And what is totally kicking all of our asses right now is the weather. We NEED daily visits to the park. We NEED our backyard. We NEED our front yard. We NEED the Deanna Rose Farm. WE NEED TO BE OUTSIDE. All of us. Even my South Indian husband refuses to go outside. Dude. It's THAT hot. Arun is bored stiff inside. Anju looks in wonder at the world everytime we hustle briefly outside on our way to air-conditioning. I know that she also needs the stimulation of the outside world. And I need the exercise. All these months of being a slug are catching up with me emotionally and physically.

Again, with the Perspective. It's all temporary. All of it. Fall will arrive.....the kids will grow up. It's still the middle of August, 2007, though.

Dammit.

Anyway, while I am fighting deportation from my usual Happy Place, I've been skulking in other locales........

Over the Moon Over Lunar
Over at Kansas City Kitty, I've posted about Boulevard's newest year-round beer offering called Lunar. Boulevard Brewing Co is a Kansas City based brewery and their beers are YUMMY. However, it appears the Lunar brew may not be taking off as quickly as hoped. Which worries me because I LOVE this new brew.

Beer, Babes, and Boobs
Over at the New BoobLog, I've posted about consuming alcohol while breastfeeding. Believe it or not -- a breastfeeding mother probably can partake in an alcoholic beverage of her choice while breastfeeding. Shocking, but true. But only if her baby watches Baby Einstein while doing so. You know, to even things out .

August 12, 2007

Why is glaze good enough for donuts, but not for the eyes?

So, I was all set to write a whole rant on the Baby Einstein video scandalous shocker thingie, but seriously - these two gals do such a far more eloquent job of it. Why bother?

Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I'm going to chime in with my 2 Lincolns..........In short, I think it is silly that a parent would depend solely on a video to teach their child. But as an entertainment option? I don't see an issue with it. I've said it once, I'll say it again - it's all about balance. Just as I wouldn't want to see my kid sitting and reading books all day or running around outside all day, I wouldn't really want him to do any ONE activity all day long. He's up for about 11-12 hours a day. A few television programs here and there are just one small part of that day. These past few months have been hard - I was sick for much of them and then after birthin' Anjali, was laid up. So, yes - Arun has watched his fair share of videos. Am I happy about it? No, of course not. But it doesn't mean that we've just always plugged him in the front of the television. Often, I am sitting with him while breastfeeding Anju and narrating the action for him. Or I'm in the kitchen, getting things done and still talking to him. The television doesn't have to be a boob tube.

I should also add that I do appreciate having a video as a reinforcement for things that we are already working on - For example, I really, really liked how Baby Newton fit in when we were working on shapes - Arun's eyes would light up because they were doing the things he already knew, but they were animated and different than what I was drawing myself or pointing out in a book for him. In the same vein, the alphabet and counting segments on Sesame Street are his favorites - sure, we work with numbers and letters on paper and puzzles, but he appreciates watching some dancing numbers, too. And we live in Kansas - if we didn't have the miracle of video, how would my kid ever see a panda or a whale in action rather than just a photo on a page? And finally, when mama needs a little somethin'-somethin' from daddy it's Baby Noah to the rescue. You don't mess with THAT.

Speaking of somethin'-somethin', remember the condom found lurking in a drawer a little too late?? The same one that had we been able to find it on October 16, 2006 our sweet baby girl would not be here? Yeah. That one.

It's been put out of its misery. Poor bastard.

August 9, 2007

Why am I here?

After a particularly bad day this week, I was tempted to post a diatribe of all the sins committed against me. I resisted the temptation and instead posted tripe about purchasing a backpack for my kid. And I felt better after having pulled out the positive and writing about that instead of the negative. In a nutshell, this is why I blog most of the time. It helps me keep Perspective on what's going right in my life. Because for the most part, everything IS indeed, going right.

Tomorrow is my 3 year anniversary of blogging. During the past few months, I have had a total questioning from myself regarding blogging. Why do I do it? Why do I spend so much TIME doing it? What am I getting out of it? How can I do better? Do I want more readers? If so, how do I get them? Should I post more? Should I post less? Does any of it matter?

Some of these existential mental meanderings did concern the BoobLog. Last week, it came to a head - I had to take Arun to a last minute appointment for an infection, a friend needed my help in the afternoon and X needed me to do some things for the Big Idea. On top of this, I was VERY stressed about getting a post out for the Nursing Your Kids site. After that day, I realized that I needed to refocus my priorities. Therefore, I did submit my resignation notice this week and will no longer be posting at Nursing Your Kids. I LOVED writing that blog. In particular, I LOVED writing a topical blog. But I didn't relish posting 5 days a week and I was never entirely comfortable with ads - all of sudden, I was concerned with hits and traffic. Actually, I HAD to care. I'd rather just write - whoever wants to read, can read. Whoever doesn't want to read, can click "Next" and move on. There was a time when I used to care about hits and traffic on Rancid Raves - and I didn't like caring back then, either. It made me question what I wrote. So, I will no longer be doing the Nursing Your Kids site. I've been a little down about it this week because I HATE quitting things. However, I will still be writing a breastfeeding site - breastfeeding is a topic that I am very passionate about, but have never felt comfortable writing about here. It's not a topic that concerns everyone and I didn't want to "force" it on anyone. Therefore, I have set up another blog called A BoobLog and I will be posting there a few times a week.

So, after much thinking, I've come up with my new blogging plan. I will continue to post here and am hoping to start writing more. I also want to get better about replying to comments - I appreciate and look forward to every single comment I receive. I should start showing that appreciation. Also, I am a lazy contributor to Kansas City Kitty and I would like to start posting there as well - my goal is every other week on that one. And then, I'll be posting on A BoobLog. But most importantly, I don't have to post at all if other things come up.

This afternoon, Arun refused to take a nap and needed extra attention. Then, X called at the last minute for some wordsmithing of a document on which he's working. On top of all this, Anju was fussy and just needed to be held. And I was more than glad to do it.

All of it.

August 8, 2007

Why can't Diego just stay put?

And while he's at it, could he please!stop!shouting! He's giving me a headache.

So, in preparations for Arun's nursery school at my grandma's church, we had to get him a backpack. Today, we journeyed to Toys 'R Us in a holy quest for the Official 1st Backpack Eveh. This is where I started to get teary-eyed. Wait, that's a bald-faced lie - I actually began to get weepy last week at the mere thought of dropping him off and LEAVING HIM. It physically made me ill and I harbored dark thoughts of pulling him out all together. Then, we went to a La Leche League fundraiser Sunday evening and I couldn't keep Arun near me because he kept running away to play with all the kids. At that point, I knew pulling him out of nursery school would simply be selfish on my part. But I digress..... So, where was I? Oh.... anyway......today, we were picking out a backpack for him and holy crap - they were all TOO big for him. Way too big for my baby. Seriously. So I showed him a few that didn't threaten to topple him over and he chose the one with Diego. Even though we don't watch the program because I can't stand!all!the!shouting! However, the Diego backpack had an elephant on it thus, making the decision a no-brainer for Arun as he merrily threw his arms up while making his elephant noise. It's a testament to how much Arun loves animals because once he spied the elephant AND the bonus jaguar, little Elmo didn't get a 2nd glance, the poor red fuck.

Speaking of Diego, when I was at Toys R Us earlier this week for another purchase (yes, twice in one week. Sue me), one of the cashiers pointed towards Arun and exclaimed to another customer, "Look at that little boy - he looks like Diego!". The comment wasn't made directly to me, so I didn't have to respond and actually, I pretended I didn't hear it but geez. It's been a Diego kind of week.

So, things are going okay. There is a bit of Baby Blues Malcontent threatening to bubble up, but I am trying my best to keep it at bay. Overall, X and I agree that things are about as bad as we thought they would be and maybe even a little better. Having 2 kids is exactly as hectic as we had planned. What I didn't account for was this ridiculously hot weather which limits our entertainment options - a trip to the zoo or a park or crap, even our very own backyard would be much welcomed relief at this point. You can only chuck so many new toys at your kid before he gets bored with that. Or at least, your bank account rises a mounting protest and administers a well-deserved financial bitch slap. And rumor has it, television is bad for your kid. Who knew? So, our #1 problem is entertaining a very bored 21 month old. I am just grateful that he adores Anjali because holy crap - a bored, jealous 21 month old? Que horror!


Week 3


Love
When I change Anju's diaper, Arun rushes over to help. I suspect he is simply relieved that it's not HIS diaper being changed.

Reading
He's as comfortable as he looks.

Fuzzy
The hair! Is Fuzzy! Will try to get better snaps the next time I wash it.

Week 4
Baby acne is in full force. Poor thing.

August 6, 2007

Have you met Susan?

Dear Kansas City,
Be on the lookout for a woman named "Susan". This woman is a wily one. You both will meet in your hospital's breastfeeding support group and she will be all smiles. Before you know it, you are neck deep in a friendship with her. You will find yourself going to parks with her, going to library rhyme time her and even inviting her to your son's 1st birthday party. You will find yourself singing seemingly innocent children's songs with her. But beware. It's a trick. Before you know it, you will be giving birth to your 2nd child and this is where your mid-western version of Amityville Horror begins.

You see, Susan lies in wait so that she can strike in your darkest hour.

She will come to your house bearing gifts all in the guise of coming to see your newest born progeny. She will bring you Soothies to help you with breastfeeding. She will bring a thoughtful gift for your son. But this is where it ends. Because, she will also come bearing Choxie chocolate covered pistachios. A delightful, salty pistachio smothered in dark chocolate. Something akin to crack, but there is no Promises-style rehab for this habit lurking in the dark cloak of sugar. And that, my friend, will be your downfall. Before your new child is 4 weeks old, you will have hobbled back to Target no less than FOUR times to purchase more of your beloved chocolate covered pistachios. You will bravely tell your diabetic husband "No worries! I'll make the Target run! These stitches will hold true!" in the hopes that he won't discover your dirty little dark chocolate secret.

And the worst? The most heartbreaking? Susan's victims have no boundaries. Even your 21 month son will discover all your hiding places as he desperately scouts around your kitchen while feverishly pointing and declaring with wild gemstone eyes "Da more! Da more! Da MOOORE!".

And finally. Most importantly........Beware of her partner in crime. She is a 22 month old pixie known by the name of "Aubrey". She is adorable, yet lethal because her mother has trained her well. She will worm her way into your heart faster than you can say "flakey truffles".

You've been duly warned, Kansas City. There is evil lurking in our midst and her name is SUSAN. Forget the rest, save yourselves........

August 1, 2007

But, will they?

You toil away, hoping your progeny will appreciate all your hard work.

I came to my love of celebrity gossip honestly. My Olathe Grandma has had a subscription to People for as long as I can remember. I spent many weekends at her house poring over those mags, getting all the skinny on Charles and Di (will he marry her even though she didn't wear a slip underneath that skirt? WILL HE? for the love of God, what was she thinking?) In fact, I still depend on that subscription - to this day, my grandma passes along her mags after she's done with them. Her generosity allows me to blow my hard earned bucks on US Weekly as well so that I never.miss.a.scandal. And yes, I fully intend to pass along this adoration of the Innocuous, Insolent, Inept and the Insane to my own daughter. She needs to appreciate the value of the much appreciated snap of celebrities pumping their very own gas and buying their own groceries. No?

Anyway.........we are easing back into a routine and things are going REALLY well. But to be truthful, we are living by a 90/10 rule. 90% of the time things are awesome, and 10% of the time I am slowly losing my shit. But, HEY........... you've caught me in the 90% Zone, so Squee!!! I am totally digging this mothering gig! La la la la........... Drink.More.Yellow Tail......la la la la..... It certainly helps that I am gradually getting into a rhythm. For example, if I change someone's diaper, I immediately go ahead and change the other's diaper while I have everything out. It's all about scheduling - remembering that I need to start breastfeeding Anjali at around 1:00pm so that we are all done in time for me to put Arun down for his nap. Taking a shower as soon as I get out of bed. It's that whole "fool me once" concept. Or, it's just drinking more Yellow Tail. Either works equally well.

In other news, X has finally realized this blogging thing is comprised of REAL people with heartbeats and such. A few of my blogfriends have sent lovely, thoughtful gifts. As I open each one and get all blubberly, X is all "who are these people?". Then, I tearfully explain "oh, this is so-and-so from Wisconsin and oh THIS one is from so-and-so from Virginia". Then, I squeal and say "OH! this is from so-and-so from Arkansas". But, it's not only the gifts. I really appreciate all the emails and comments. To know that so many people are pulling for you. wow. I'm approaching 3 years of blogging and I suspect X thought I was just farting around on the Internet all this time.

Little did he know that I was making friends.