Thursday, May 27, 2010


The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

— Rudyard Kipling

Monday, May 24, 2010

Progress, Not Perfection

Accomplished this weekend:

1. Progress on potty learning: Boy is consistently wearing undies/peeing in the potty. He asks for a diaper to go no.2, which is totally fine with me. Just that he's A, realizing that he needs to go and B, making arrangements to do it comfortably is awesome. If you think about it, potty learning is a HUGE new skill for a child who has been diapered. Not only is he learning to pay attention to his body's cues for the first time, his brain now has to learn to be two places at once: on the task at hand (playing, drawing, walking, whatever) but also paying attention to his bladder/bowels. Kind a huge step.

2. Kitchen was taken apart, cleaned, sanded, painted, and then put back together again. It was a big project but finished in less than a day, thanks to the...

3. In-Laws. Who stayed with us all weekend. They were so sweet to drive here and help us paint and buy us dinner and take the boy/dog for walks and etc. etc. I am so petty that I always end up being annoyed by little things when they are here (treating bathtime like a spectator sport, eating noisily, asking mildly invasive questions), but I'm also able to see the big picture: we have folks who adore us, support us, and just generally help us out with anything.

4. Sleep. Yeah, not so much.

Friday, May 21, 2010


demotivational posters
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On Bettering Myself and My Surroundings- An Itemized List

     Item #1:  I ran 5K in less than 30 minutes today!  A personal best, if you don't count when I was running cross-country in high school.  Because let's face it- anything pre-baby doesn't really count, especially when I was 16.   I felt really good the whole time, and was able to keep my pace up without feeling like things were getting to crazy.  And I just realized that the 'under 30 minutes' time includes a short break so the dog could take a shit.  Go me!

     Item #2:  I met with an adviser for a master's degree program today.  We talked, specifically, about me applying for said program.  This is scary and cool and weird and exciting all at once.  She was super chill, gave me a tour of the whole department and was generally supportive and encouraging.  I don't know for sure if I'll apply but its something I've been thinking about for a long time and its nice to have a more 3-D image in my brain of how it would be.  In the (ok, somewhat unlikely) event that I did apply and then did get accepted, I wouldn't begin attendance until a year from now, so there is plenty of time to soul-search and hash out the pros (furthering my career, feeding my need to LEARN, a better life for us as a family) and cons (no money, would have to keep full-time job plus go to school, would take a long time, I would be SO BUSY).  But dudes.  School. 

     Item #3:  The in-laws are in town this weekend to help us paint our kitchen.  When we moved into our rental 5 years ago, it had NOT been recently painted and we had the idea that a little fresh paint and sprucing up might take the sting out of not being able to buy a house for a few more years.  And so, after agonizing over paint colors (with our landlady's blessing, of course), we're ready to begin the first room.  We're going with a nice sage-y green color in the kitchen- "like a sushi restaurant" was the husband's request.  While we're at it, I'll either sew or purchase some new cafe curtains and Oila!  A little face-lift on the room in which we probably spend the most time.

     Once the kitchen's done, I plan to move on to the upstairs (main) bathroom (which is currently this weird pink-white color- gross.) and then the basement.  Its fun to have a summer project.  I'm looking forward to a weekend spent wearing old clothes, working with people I love, ordering take out and just generally not thinking about much other than the task at hand.

     Item #4:  Otto and I started some seeds indoors a while back and it looks like we might finally be able to begin thinking about getting them in the actual ground.  We have sunflowers, daisies, cherry tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce.  I also started some herbs in my kitchen window that are coming a long nicely.  Bring on the mojitos!

Monday, May 17, 2010

One Small Step for a Toddler...

...a Giant Step for Mama...

Suddenly, we're potty learning.  Well, maybe not suddenly...the little guy has been using the potty before baths and at other random times since he was 18 months or so, but now?  We're full on:  Rockin' some mean Buzz Lightyear underwear, peeing standing up, kicking ass and taking names. 

It seems kind of random, but I just had a hunch this weekend that it might be time.  I can tell he's going through something developmentally (crazy verbal/hyper all weekend, huge leaps in vocabulary, sleeping really hard, eating a ton) and it seemed like a window of opportunity.  He's had little bouts of underwear-wearing here and there (a few hours at a time) but yesterday we rocked it all. day. long.  Except for nap.  But!  He was dry when he woke up.  Rock star!

He was so excited to wear underwear to school this morning, too.   I think he peed in the potty 4 times before we left the house.  "Just in case, Mama," he said. 

I just hope it goes well and that everyone is positive and encouraging to him.  I know that he's at a great place and they potty train A LOT of kiddos so they know what they are doing.   And there really is something to be said for peer pressure.  He was the most excited to show his best friend in his class (who's been potty trained for a couple months) his undies.

I really love his teacher and I know that she will be supportive and patient with him but I still have this little knot of anxiety about it.  I'm going to have to stop myself from calling once an hour today, probably.

I know its just the first of many achievements I'll be nervous for him about.  Ok, it's 8:11 am.   I might have to call them now.  Heh.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Takin' it to the Limit

So I got a wild hair the other day when I read somewhere that rollerskating burns like 800 calories an hour.  I remembered how much I used to love skating and decided to post on our community's Freecycle message board to see if anyone had some skates to give away.  In the fortuitous way that freecycling can sometimes be, about 20 minutes later I got an email from a person, not 8 blocks from my house saying Yes!  They had some old skates collecting dust, exactly my size.   I love them so much and am guessing they are maybe about as old as I am :-)...

And so last night found me clumsily rolling back and forth in front of my house, using my son as a balancing tool.  It was the most fun I've had in days.

Happy weekend, y'all.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day

We had such a fun Mother's Day weekend, I'm sad now that its over.  The holiday kind of snuck up on me this year.  In all honesty, Mother's Day wasn't even on my radar until embarrassingly close to the actual day and then it was just me panicking about getting something to our moms...

Fortunately,  a couple weekends back, the husband took the boy to our university's art museum for a "Mother's Day Art Project"  and they made a gift for his mom (and for me, although I didn't realize it.)  So that was covered.  For my mom, I had Otto paint a sweet picture and then write his name on it (I know! He's writing his name!  Squee.).  I framed that and sent it off with a homemade card.

For me, however, the boys really went above and beyond.  On Saturday, we drove down to Denver to the Butterfly Pavillion.  It wasn't as impressive as say, the Zoo or the Downtown Aquarium but for the money, it was a wonderful thing to do together.  They had a room with live exhibits of tarantulas, cockroaches, millipedes, centipedes and other bugs from all over the world.  It was equally gross and fascinating for me.  Otto, of course, loved it.  He was especially intrigued by a tarantula named Rosie that an employee was holding in her hand and allowing (older) kids and parents to touch. 

The butterfly rain forest was one of the most peaceful indoor spaces I've ever been in.   So many beautiful butterflies and flowers and water features. 

They also had a big, open play area with a special section just for kids under 5.  There were coloring activities and things to climb on and more cool bug/worm/spider exhibits.  Otto pretty much ran around willy-nilly like he was on crack and/or copious amounts of sugar.

After that, it was lunch out and then some shopping at Whole Foods where we carefully chose sea bass steaks to grill that night.  Of course, when we got back up to Wyoming, the weather was too shitty to grill (i.e., cold, windy, and generally disgusting) so the husband improvised and pan seared the sea bass.  It was, of course, awesome.

Oh, and he bought me flowers.  Aw.

Sunday morning, I slept in, woke up to an empty house and discovered that the husband and the boy had taken the grocery list and the shopping bags and were doing the weekly trip.  Yipee!  I lay around like a woman of leisure, sipping coffee (that was already made and waiting for me) and reading the paper.

Later that morning, we had a trip to the park, a picnic in the front yard (because the weather decided to cooperate for a couple of hours), a gift of a painted flower pot from Otto (from the before mentioned Art Museum Day), a family nap, and another amazing dinner cooked by my man  (pork satay, jasmine rice, and salad). 

Oh!  And we also went to Otto's first peer birthday party.  A little girl in his class at daycare invited him and a couple others on Sunday and it was really fun!   I wasn't sure what to expect and I was really worried I might have to make small talk with other parents (oh the horror!) but the Husband went with me.  The theme and trinkets were little over the top for my tastes (Disney themed complete with Mickey Mouse ears, balloons, games, favors, cupcakes, pinata, buffet...etc.) but the gathering itself was super enjoyable and surprisingly relaxed considering it was a bunch of 2-3 year olds and their parents.  It helped that two of our friends are related to the little girl and were there to take the pressure off having to talk to strangers (scary!!).

And that, in a (very large) nutshell, was Mother's Day.  I do realize that I'm so lucky to have the family I do.  I know that Mother's Day is hard for many women for many different reasons.   And also lucky, I realize, to have such a good relationship with my Mom and that she's here.   (She lost her own mom to stomach cancer when she was pregnant with me).   We may not live physically close but we talk at least once a week and she's always there for me. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

They come and go....they come and go-oh-oh-oh

A shameless plug:

My (not so little anymore) brother wrote a children's book!!  If you have time, please click the link to check it out.  You can preview the entire book online.     He is an amazing photographer and the pictures are just stunning.  I just ordered little O his very own copy.  Super proud big sis, here. 

P.S., I am also the one who suggested the name for his chameleon.  . Boy George 4EVR!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Digging Myself Out

I did it.  Somehow, I made it through last week's Insane Work Craziness and came out the other side relatively unscathed.  There might be some delayed decompressing but right now I feel pretty fucking amazing.  I accomplished a lot, had many meetings, threw one enormous event (about 600 attendees) and am still almost not crazy.  You know what I mean.

Here are a few of the things that are helping me dig myself out of the stress-trench I've been trapped in the last 10 days or so.  I'm stoked that I have time to read books, play with my kid, cook, and surf the net again.  Life is...well...better.

1.  Donkeys.  OMG how I love looking at pictures of sweet little donkeys.  I've always loved them- they have such personality!  My grandma used to love to tell this story about a little Family Circus moment I had when I was young:  She and I were driving in the Kansas farm-country when we saw a sweet pasture of little gray donkeys.  "Those donkeys remind me of Jesus!" I declared.  Obviously, I was very young and smack in the middle of Catholic Ed. but even now...Donkeys kind of remind me of Jesus.  But in a good way.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
2.  Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a fucking fantastic book.  I loved Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride Predjudice and Zombies, as well.  Just totally awesome.
I especially love how he weaves the source material with the monsters so seamlessly...I'm simultaneously really interested in story while laughing my ever loving ass off.  Leave it to me to discuss Jesus, Abraham Lincoln and Vampires in the same post.

3.  This recipe for Black Bean Burgers with Mango Salsa.  We've made it once a week for probably the last month.  And none of us are sick of it yet.  Otto absolutely loves it.  Its wonderful "we wish it was summer" food.  (And no, it is not yet summer here.  Cold, windy, high temps in the 30's and 40's.  To paraphrase Steve Zissou, "Sonofabitch I'm sick of this weather." )

But seriously, you should make this dish because it is awesome.  The only thing we do differently from the recipe is we cook the burgers on our big ol' non-stick griddle instead of baking them- we like the crustiness the griddle provides and it seemed like baking them just kind of dried them out and made them fall apart a little bit.

4.  Hangin' with my homies aka my family.  They are awesome.  Otto is super into cutting pretty much anything with his little green scissors these days so I put him to work on some coupons.  Heh.   And yes, that ad for tampons features a busty lady in a sports bra.