Friday, December 26, 2008

Have Coat, Need Snow.

New Coat and Boots, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

Just a quick post, hoping you all had a nice holiday.

Rowan got a new snow ensemble, but when there's no snow it's not really worth the effort to put on the snow pants that match it. But I do love the coat--she's our little snow bunny. Here we are, out for a walk/slide. (It's quite icy around here.) Later that evening, we got hit with a big rainstorm. Who knows what we'll get tomorrow? (Hoping for snow--she got a sled for Christmas.)

We hope you can take some time to relax between now and the new year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Little Pitchers

Upon looking at the cover of a book she loves:

"Look, honey! What does the cow say?"


"Good job! What does the sheep say?"


"Well, no, he says 'Baa'. Can you say 'Baa'?"


"Right! And the pigs?"

Right on pitch, and in rhythm... "Na Na Na*!!!"

Thank you, Sandra Boynton. Apparently my daughter thinks all pigs are wonderful singers.

*N's are currently her version of L's. Lucy is now "Nootsy".

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008

Merry Christmas 2008, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

Wishing you and your family a very happy Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Butter on My Doorpost and Candles on My Head

Yeah, it's been a while, sorry.

Just didn't feel like posting more of "I'm stressed--it's the holidays--ACK!" I am living it, so are you, don't need to rehash.

Rowan's doing well, and getting new words every day. Today we got "Sorry!" which is big, let me tell you. Especially after 4-7 PM. Ahem. She is likely teething again, because a string of weird symptoms led us to a semi-emergency doctor appointment on Thursday afternoon which didn't turn into anything except one MAD little girl who did not appreciate getting checked for a bladder infection. Which she didn't have. Ouch.

Anyway, the blue lips and hands, crankiness, tugging at the ears and sticking her hands down her diaper a lot, more crankiness, and 102.5 fever turned out to be...nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

Great. We missed a Christmas party for nothing. (Ok, the weather was bad, too, so it's not all her fault.)

The weather's been weird, cold and then warm and sleet and snow and wind and ice. My gifts are bought, wrapped (except 2 hiding from Dr. B until he goes to his meetings tomorrow), and mailed, and the Christmas baking is on hold because I kind of like it when my jeans fit. We've made our holiday plans, though they don't include driving 48-hours round trip back to the tundra this year. We'll spend our Christmas here, at home, doing our own thing, and that's good. We're looking forward to making our own traditions.

Rowan is loving the tree ("Tee! Pee! Pee!"= Tree, pretty, pretty!) and has only broken one decoration so far. The one-finger touch rule is doing its job, though she usually grabs the ornament with the other hand and then touches it with one finger, but all the glass ones are still in the attic, so it's all good. She loves to listen to us sing carols, and nods emphatically when asked if she is a good girl. Tonight, after the meltdown that lasted hours, I asked again. She didn't nod this time. That's when she learned to say "sorry". Hey, whatever works! I'm sure Santa will be good to her.

Tonight is the winter solstice, one of my favorite nights of the year, because of the sense of hope for the future. I hope I hope I hope it will stop being so darn dark outside. Though the holiday lights are cheerful and uplifting, there's nothing quite like Old Mr. Sun coming back to take away the winter blues. We're celebrating by relaxing on the couches with some cocoa. Just didn't feel like walking around with candles on my head or covering my doorpost with butter. Maybe next year.

Tonight is also the beginning of Hannukah. Though I am not Jewish, fried food is wonderful and I like candles so Happy Hannukah! To Seth, I hope you get lots of high holiday bacon.

Wherever you are, I hope you are warm and comfy and have good things to eat. And if I don't get off my tush and post until then, Merry Christmas, too.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I can complete a sentence.

Feel free to play along in the comments section or on your own blog. I stole this meme from my cousin because I've got a busy weekend planned.

Today I: went to Barnes and Noble with Rowan. Mistake: see "leaving the Library tantrum" (except there were more people at Barnes and Noble.)

Tomorrow I will: sing in concert with Essence 2, the Choral Society, and the middle and high school Honor Choirs. We're doing the Daniel Pinkham Christmas Cantata Gloria. It rocks! WOOT!

I'm looking forward to: being done with Christmas gift getting and mailing. I love it, and I hate it.

I could pass on: Liver and onions (love foie gras, but hate the fried stuff), baked beans, watermelon, and hot dogs. The weird chemicals give me headaches, and I hate yellow mustard.

Newest song I like: the sad thing is the only new stuff I know is on preschool TV. Unless you count that Pinkham Gloria! It's new to me. :)

Last show I saw: As in live theater? Rocky Horror in Paris. That's pretty sad. Movie in a theater was that forgettable Cohen Brothers one with Brad Pitt. It stunk.

Something aggravating: Central Pennsylvania drivers. They don't know what an accelerator is.

One thing you may not know about me: I have chronic low seratonin. I guess this means I need *more* chocolate and bow chicka wow wow. Heh.

I can still: put both ankles behind my neck and slip my shoulders through. That scares you a little, doesn't it?

Gift I'd want if money was no object: A Time Machine!

Take it if you want it, and let me know so I can snoop.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I do not understand this state.

It is 11 AM.

It is 34 degrees.

There is not a flake on the ground.

It's not raining.

It's not snowing.

There's no wind.

We're supposed to have freezing rain at 8 PM. That's tonight.


OK, yes, I grew up in North Dakota, where they don't cancel school when it's -60 F, we have 3 feet of snow on the ground, 80 mph winds, and more snow falling. AND we're all driving around on 2 inches of ice because it's illegal to salt the roads. But come on! This is insane!

Proof: East Coasters are WUSSES.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Originally uploaded by MrsBinParis
It's in her blood, dancing. Also, apparently, a love for Iggy Pop.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Your kid probably already said this.

Goofy girl, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

Me: "Did you poop in your pants?"

Her: "No."

Me: "Who was it, then?"

Her: "Grandma!"

Your kid probably already said this

Me: "Did you poop in your pants?"

Her: "No."

Me: "Who was it, then?"

Her: "Grandma!"

Our Favorite

"It's bedtime, Rowan! Let's go! Up! Up! Give your dad a kiss goodnight, and let's go!"

She runs to the stairs, and begins to climb, pausing as her head pops over the banister, and waves goodnight to Lucy. Hand over hand, she goes up. I follow, arms full of clean, folded diapers, a baby bottle full of soymilk, and whatever else. An occasional bump on the bottom from my knee keeps her motivated. She hands me small bits of lint she finds on the carpet as she makes her way up the stairs. I open the top gate, and she stands, running off to find a book or a toy or perhaps one of her dad's shoes.

One of us chooses a story, current favorites being A Wocket in my Pocket and Tous les Amis, and I sit in the old rocker. She takes the bottle, and either joins me or busies herself with other toys as I read. Some nights, she follows the story, pointing to the characters and drinking noisily. Others, she's a cowgirl riding her horse Diane, or a builder, making a MegaBlok tower.

The book finished, I turn out the light and head to the bathroom. I know she'll never leave unless it's dark. I wait, and she joins me, often with another book in hand. I prepare her toothbrush, and stick its little suction cup to the counter. When she's ready, she comes over to get it, playing with the suction cup and giggling, before brushing her teeth, also known as chewing on the brush, with the occasional arm movement. "All done!" she cries, throwing up her arms. I put her on my lap, and finish the job while she protests and squirms. We head back to her room, shutting the door behind.

In the dark, I make my way carefully to the chair, slowly, so I don't knock her over. Her night vision is much better than mine. She comes to my knees, patting them, ready. I pick her up and she wraps her arms around me, tucking her head against my neck. I offer her the pacifier, for sleep only now, and she pops her head up, opening her mouth to accept it.

We rock. She lays against my left shoulder, her left arm curled around me. She sighs. I kiss her neck. "I could kiss you a thousand times a day, and it would never be enough, my beautiful girl," I whisper. She sighs again. We rock some more, the chair creaking. Suddenly, she sits up, pulls the nuk out of her mouth, and gives me a big kiss. In goes the nuk, and her head goes down again.

"This is my favorite time," I say. She nods against my shoulder, and hugs me tighter. We rock.

Again, suddenly, she sits up, looks at me. "Are you ready?" I say. She nods and tries to say, "Ready!" through the nuk. "One more hug," I ask, and she obliges, as I scoop her up, my arm under her bottom, and take her to her crib. "I love you soooo much," I say, "do you know that?" She nods against my shoulder, and squeezes me once more.

I lay her down in her crib, covering her with her quilt and tucking a bear beside her. "Goodnight, my beautiful girl," I whisper as I turn to leave. She jumps up to standing, and smiles. She waves, and blows me a kiss. I laugh, blow one back and close the door.

This is my favorite time.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Thank You!

Thanksgiving is over, it was absolutely wonderful and I'm exhausted. Since I've been absent from here for a while, I figured I'd better update so you all know we survived Turkey Day, even though we eschewed turkey for beef. Rebels, yes we are.

My dad and his wife Pam came to spend the week in Pennsylvania, and we had a great time. They worked hard to tire out their granddaughter, and she responded with lots of squeals and a few new words. She sort of learned "gobble gobble" (though I'm pretty sure it was Gabba gabbba), and added "Happy!" to her vocab. When asked to say "Happy Thanksgiving", we got "Happy! Thank you!" Close enough. Though the hotel pool was too cold for swimming, we found plenty to do, and had a lot of fun.

We spent Thanksgiving playing Wii (Dr. B's self-purchased early Xmas gift), setting the table with the fancy dishes and cooking. Friends joined us and helped with the meal, and we all rolled away from the table stuffed with my Mom's Norwegian meatballs and gravy, rare roast beef with au jus (I hate writing that. With "with juice". Argh!), lefse (which turned out beautifully this year), cream cheese garlic mashed potatoes with extra garlic, green beans with almonds and garlic (well, we figured we already would have stinky breath due to the spuds), spinach soufflée-ish thing, salad with clementines, red onions, dried cranberries candied walnuts and lemon vinaigrette, brown sugar/vanilla cranberry sauce, dill pickles, gherkins, 2 kinds of chow chow, pumpkin cheesecake and shoefly pie. Bring out the fat pants.

We took Dad on a tour of Happy Valley, Big Valley and Stone Valley yesterday. Pam was feeling kind of yucky, so she decided to avoid the possible car sickness and rest up. We enjoyed the drive, and shared the sights of central PA, including the Allegheny Mountains (also known as biggish hills), the Susquehanna River, Amish buggies and purple dresses flapping on the clothesline*, and even a black bear that ran across the highway and up the hill. During a particularly curvy part of the road, I started to feel a bit ooky myself. I focused on the horizon, leaned to the center of the car, and gripped the door handle. Just then, Rowan looked at me, reached out, and grabbed my hand. She held it until we were on straighter roads and I relaxed. Her dad says she is an old soul. I think he's right. (I rewarded her thoughtfulness with banana Teddy Grahams, which rock, by the way.)

After a gargantuan Mexican lunch at Mad Mex, we spent some time watching her play at the library before driving them to the airport for their flight. It is hard to watch them go, knowing it will be a while before we see them again.

Today was spent napping (her), doing laundry, and running errands. Dr. B took care of Rowan while I ran out, and essentially ran in circles. Without a plan and a need for speed, I didn't quite know what to do. Not a Christmas gift was purchased, and I came home with something for me and a bunch of food, and forgot the thing I really needed, a folder for my choir music. Though the stores were full of supposedly great and amazing deals, it still looked like a bunch of stuff I didn't need or didn't want to give, so except for a cute vest I found for about half price that I knew I had at least 10 things in my closet to wear with, I came up empty. That's OK. My wallet stayed fuller that way.

So that's what's up around here. We're planning on staying at home for Christmas, and I'm looking forward to a relaxing holiday. I've got a lot of things on my list to do before then, including more gift-buying (I started during the sales in January, but I'm not done yet), gift making, holiday cards, baking, and even a few concerts. I know this month will fly by, but I'm hoping to enjoy the ride.

*along with striped towels. I didn't know they were allowed stripes!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thanksgiving: Mother, Daughter

Self Portrait: Rowan and Mom Rowan and Mom, November 2008

What a difference a year makes.

How many days, weeks, months. Mornings, afternoons. Evenings. Nights. Feedings, meals, snacks. Tears, giggles. Cuddles, baths, walks, books. Games, toys, songs, dances.

How many moments.

How blessed.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My boobs hurt.

I'm weaning her.

After 17 months, it is time. I've got nearly nothing left, and she varies from barely nursing at all for days to sucking on me with such ferocity that I feel like my boobs have been drawn through a keyhole with a crochet hook. She doesn't need it anymore, physically. She gets plenty of nourishment from all the things she eats, and we're learning her likes and dislikes more and more as she gets older. Likes: fruit (especially pomegranate, which she calls "apple"), kidney beans, chocolate, anything we're eating that she can't have, black coffee and diet Coke. Dislikes: meat (except ham), little things like rice that are hard to pick up, tomato sauce (but not ketchup--that she loves). Can't eat: dairy, apparently. But a little cheese just yields a few farts so we let that go sometimes.


The past few days have been hard. Her dad's been on duty, going to her in the middle of the night and laying her down for sleep. He's cuddled her at 3 AM, brought her bottles of warmed soymilk, and soothed her tears while I laid in the other room feeling like I repeatedly got hit in the chest with a sack of old boots. At first, there were many tantrums when she'd ask, "Nuh? Nuh?" and I'd have to say no and try to distract her. It took a few days, but the requests come less frequently, and she gives up more easily when I say no.

Today, she woke at 5:30 and no Dad-soothing was good enough. She joined me in the big bed, draping her body over me, tucking her head against my cheek, with a shudder and a gulp. I laid there, relishing the snuggles, missing the closeness. She fell asleep, and I waited until I knew she was really down before gliding her off into the crook of my arm, closing my eyes, and letting go. We slept together like that until 8. On the way down the stairs, she clung to me, hugging me tight.

Today, she's reclaimed me. Not the same, but still all hers. Most of the day has been spent sitting in my lap, pointing to the laptop screen, flipping through magazines, reading books, watching "Gabba!", eating my food, trying to steal my diet Coke, kissing, hugging, poking, and loving. Standing between me and the kitchen counter, pushing me away and then demanding "up!" Dancing. Trying to climb me and startling with surprise when I scream "OW!" as she hits Mommy's ouch bags. Begging for a bite of my pickle. And finally collapsing against me when she's just too exhausted to move. After trying to nap with her, I finally had to do tough love and let her scream until she passed out. She just couldn't let me go.

She's still my baby, my little girl.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Flickr our President

I found this on another site, and had a lot of fun flipping through the photos. Click on the picture to take you to a set of photos taken the night Barack Obama made history and became our 44th president. The campaign is not selling them to the media--they are all posted on flickr.
How cool is that?

This is one of my favorites, and it's my guess that it'll be one of Malia's all-time favorites. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


My jeans. For the first time since Rowan was born*, I'm feeling a bit poofy.

Damn these things. They are now officially banned from my house. And they can take the cupcakes with them.

* (Yay for breastfeeding!)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I grew up in a mixed household. My Dad is a lifelong Republican, my Mom was a Democrat. In the days before 24-hour news, the internet, Twitter, Facebook, and texting to your personal back-pocket phone, it was easier to avoid politics. They didn't discuss it, and we were left to make our own decisions.

I became a Democrat. My sister, an Independent.

When I got to high school, a very cute senior boy was a bit smitten with me. I was flattered, but didn't quite know what to make of it. He was really popular, handsome, and well-liked.

Then he found out my political leaning. And that was the end of it.

I couldn't quite believe it.

I guess I was sheltered. I believed people could work together, live together, love each other, and be successful even when they didn't agree. I thought I'd be given a chance even if I didn't have the same views as someone else. I thought that intelligence, character, and integrity were more important than blue or red.

Over the last 8 years, we saw our country swing very far to the right. People took sides, and anger bubbled to the surface. We saw some really ugly behavior on both sides. Living in a very liberal city, and working in some very conservative schools, I saw both sides on a daily basis.

I got tired of defending myself. To people who questioned my reasons for wanting to move to France, to French people who questioned my country's reasons for electing President Bush, to people who questioned whether or not I was A Good Person because I didn't agree with them, to people who thought I wasn't radical enough because I was proud to be a Democrat, and to those who thought I was a traitor to my country because I wasn't as angry as they were.

Good doesn't have a side. We all care. We all want the best for this country. We don't always agree on what that is, but this isn't black and white, good and evil, right and wrong.

Last night, I was excited to be a part of history being made. I stood in line for an hour, laughing and talking with other citizens who were casting their votes, too. I was so proud of my daughter, who waited patiently, munching on vanilla wafers and saying "Tekk Ooo!" to the volunteer who brought them to her. After voting, we picked up her dad to bring him back to the polls, sniffling and coughing, where he waited ninety minutes to cast his ballot.

Even before the results came in, I felt an amazing sense of pride. More people came out in this election than I've ever seen. The election workers said in a typical election, our polling place would get 200 voters. By 3 PM, voter number 713 cast her ballot (that was me!) I've voted in nearly every election since I turned 18, and I have always been proud to exercise my right, but last night, I was prouder for our country than I can ever remember being. Not because of a war we won, or a thing we invented. Because we are the United States of America, and we each have a voice, and more came out to exercise that right than I thought possible.

This election, no matter how you feel about the results, changed the face of America. It brought us out, got people to stand up, and brought excitement back to our country. It reminded us that we do matter. Our votes are worth something, and the sacrifices made for our right to them cannot be forgotten.

We have broken through a barrier, and there's no going back.

Congratulations, America. I knew you could do it.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween 2008

Our Sweet Little Candy Corn, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

I've been trying. The little stinker refuses to face front with a smile. This is one of 2 photos I got where you can even see both of her eyes, and don't ask me how I got the whole thing blurry except her face, because I have no idea. Watch flickr for more, which I'll upload as I edit them. But I do think she turned out pretty cute (and yes, I did make her costume), and she got lots of "Aw!"'s and treats today when we went to Target and to her Dad's office, with more to come tonight. (Yeah, we're going out. You nuts? People give away free Reese's peanut butter cups! We can't turn that down. And it's not like she knows how much candy Mom and Dad are supposed to eat.)

We wish you all a very Happy Halloween! May you get lots of peanut butter cups! (And no bit o' honey and circus peanuts. Except for Wendy and laurenorange, of course. You guys can have them ALL.)

Watch flickr for more, which I'll upload as I edit them.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mikayla Teevee

I wanted to be a perfect parent.

I also wanted to be a supermodel astrophysicist who saved the world and cured cancer and the common cold, all while looking really hot and piloting my own personal jet.

So yeah, it's not happening. I make mistakes, a lot. I fail, keep trying, and still I don't live up to my own expectations. And that's OK.

Until recently, Rowan didn't watch TV. At all. We read a lot, listened to music, and played. But just a few weeks ago, she started noticing when it was on. And after a particularly frustrating morning, I turned to the preschool channels for help.

And all of a sudden, she's watching. Climbing on top of her little kitchen to get closer to the screen. Dancing along with the Dancey Dance bunch. And absolutely mesmerized by Dora (which I do not get.) Snuggling in my lap and munching on Ritz peanut butter sandwich crackers and glazing over like a true couch potato. (I do enjoy the snuggly part. And the crackers.)

Dr. B came home from work early one night, and caught a few minutes of Yo Gabba Gabba! He was hooked. He spent the next 2 days obsessively researching the "cool" shows for her to watch, and the annoying ones to avoid. He wants to be modern and hip and for her never to play princess or Barbie or watch Barney. I'd love to agree with him, and am avoiding these things as much as possible, but I know they are inevitable.

Dooo-dit. Doooo- dit. Dooo-dit. Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun...

So anyway, I've been slowly exposing her to a few shows, seeing what she likes and what she doesn't. OK. I lied. Seeing what I like and what I don't, and what she responds to off that list. Doing it quickly before she's old enough to ask for Barney herself. ("What? Barney who? Barney Rubble? OK! Flintstone time!") We are lucky to have the KIDS channel that has listings and shows what's on 4 of the channels at a time to make it easy to pick. Plus, we have found Sesame Street free OnDemand, so I use that when I need it. I try not to have it on all day long, but it does have a place in our day.

That being said, here are a few of my choices, and the ones I avoid. And I'm waiting for the rerelease of the Electric Company.

The Watchy-Watch Bunch

1. Yo Gabba Gabba! (Free iron-ons downloadable here.)
2. Sesame Street
3. the Backyardigans
4. Bob the Builder (not Joe the Plumber. I have always liked Bob, maybe because he's positive and he fixes stuff rather than throw it out and buy new. He's very green, our Bob.)
5. Roary the Racecar
6. Sunny Side Up (AM talk for tots! I love Chica the Chicken.)
7. Max and Ruby
8. Blue's Clues (eh. Easy to ignore.)
9. Little Bill
10. Jack's Big Music Show
11. Maggie and the Ferocious Beast (I should hate this, but I don't. I like that the beast is called "Ferocious" and he's a total wuss.)

The Turn Offy Off Bunch

1. Barney and Friends (it's mostly the friends I have a problem with.)
2. Fifi and the Flowertots (this makes me want to yak.)
3. Dragon Tales
4. Thomas and Friends (that's the tank engine)
5. Dora the Explorer (and all her spin-offs)
6. Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends
7. Lazytown (Creepy. Scary. Gives me nightmares.)
8. Reba. (I know that's not a kids show, but one second of it burns my eyeballs. If it comes on, Dr. B and I scream and leap for the remote. Just had to share.)

Then there are about a hundred I don't have an opinion on yet. (And the watchy watches may turn into Offy offs any day now.)

So, what about you?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bit O' Honey and Circus Peanuts

Our friends stopped by at 7:30, and at 8 we headed off to campus, to the dorm that hosted trick or treating for the kids. Rowan was all decked out in her costume (photos to come, don't bug me--I'll get to it.) PK crawled around in his bee costume, allowing the hood to stay up due to the whipping wind. We walked from the parking lot, cutting through buildings, until we got to the dorm that was affiliated with Dr. B's college.

We started in the basement, and Rowan really didn't know what to make of it. She wouldn't carry her bucket, didn't want candy, and stared at the "crazy" guy in the straight jacket strapped to a chair, possibly considering climbing up in his lap for a story. At the end of the hall, she met a vampire lady, and clung to me, screaming and crying with her first official Halloween fright. (Earlier she had a similar reaction to the vacuum cleaner and a turtle puppet, so I'm not quite sure what it is she's scared of.)

By the second floor, though, she'd figured it out. She strutted from room to room, taking candy out of their bags and putting it in her bucket, which she'd heave over her shoulder as it got heavier. Due to a lack of nap time, she didn't offer a single smile or thank you, but many got kisses blown to them and bye-byes waved. She was a big hit with the girls, who kept calling her their "Candy Corn Cutie".

On the top floor, we met a group of young men who were in classes taught by Dr. B and Dr. K. They talked and joked with us, and we all commiserated over bad Halloween candy.

"Walmart candy--those bags of non-descript yuck!" "Circus peanuts." "Wax bottles." "Bit O' Honey!" And the good ones: Peanut butter cups, Skittles, and the houses that gave out the full sized bars.

"Wow. Interesting to know that bad candy is the same all the way from your generation to ours," said one boy.


I looked at him, puzzled. My generation?

And on the drive home, it dawned on me. This boy was likely born around the time I started college.

I am so old.

(But not too old to raid her stash. Don't tell her, OK?)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Preschool TV Fashion in France

Rowan's recently gotten into watching TV. I've set up her own playlist on the remote, and we watch Sesame Street (also free On Demand, which I love), Sprout, Noggin, and even a little SpongeBob. Her attention span is short, but so are the clips on the shows, and she loves the colors and music, often clapping along (and actually, her steady beat is already pretty good.) She dances with the television, shaking her tush and rocking back and forth from foot to foot, spinning in a circle, waving her arms and waggling her head back and forth.

A very dear friend suggested a french show her son loves, so we started watching on Rowan loves the music, dancing along with it, and clapping her hands with the little bear every time he does during the theme song. We love seeing so many little aspects of french culture embedded in it.

Here's one of her favorites. After singing along with the theme song, we started watching. I remembered walking the two blocks to our local marché, and ordering fruits, veggies, cheese, butter, bread and meat from the vendors. Then I looked more carefully.

Watch Papa Ours' pants. The length.

Hilarious. Even french cartoon men wear their pants too short.

We want to see this smile again, really soon.* Updated

Graham grins!, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

Please keep him, his family and the hospital staff in your prayers. Things are slowly getting better, but still very slowly.

Rowan misses her friend. So do we.

***Graham is home from the hospital, and doing much better. They are still trying to figure out if it was Mycoplasma or not, whether the intubation caused his lung to collapse or if the pneumonia did (that they didn't notice a few hours before), and if the drugs interactions were the reason for his great distress, since some didn't show up on his computerized chart. Scary stuff. But thankfully, he's OK and is at home again. We are very relieved. Thanks for all the prayers and good thoughts.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And then life shakes you

I complain a lot. Too much. About stupid stuff, but who doesn't? We all get bogged down by little crap that we don't even remember a year later. Poopy diapers. Crabby kids. Overflowing toilets. Leaves that blow in my door all the freaking time.

Nothing really important.

We got a text message yesterday. Our friends' son, who is just a few weeks younger than Rowan, is in the Peds ICU. They don't know what's wrong. Every few hours, I'd get a new one: aggressive infection, but his heart is OK. Airlift to the big hospital in Danville. He's no longer purple. Only one seizure. Intubated. Sedated. On IV's. Rash is improving. CT scan says his brain is OK, they think.

But they still don't know what's wrong. Infectious disease? Scarlet fever? Still don't know.

His dad called me yesterday afternoon, and cried while he told me what was happening. So did I. He asked me to go to their house and get some clothes together for them. Rowan fell asleep, so I made them some banana and chocolate chip muffins while I waited. Then another friend called and said he'd do it, since he was going to take the stuff to them anyway, and had the time. He and his wife live halfway in between here and the hospital, so they can most easily be the go-betweens. He'd stop in for the muffins.

Secretly, I was relieved. If it was infectious, and was on his toys--what if Rowan picked it up? I feel for them, I am so worried, but I have to protect her, too.

The friend's wife called as they were driving home from the hospital and gave me the update. Things are looking better, but they still don't know much. He's in a clean room, and everyone is in masks and gowns to go in. Just like an episode of House, they are still trying to figure out what is going on. They know they will be there for at least a week, if not longer. We are praying for Graham, Angie and Erik, and the doctors and nurses taking care of him.

Every minute, every step, every breath she took was magic. I attacked her with kisses, and she attacked back. Her dad scooped her up, tossing her in the air and both of them squealed with delight. Such a relief, knowing she was OK.

Amazing, how something like this even makes tantrums look precious.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

OAK Soup: There's a party in my tummy!

I love soup. Not the canned variety (generally, yuck), but homemade, slow-simmering, use up the little bits of junk you don't know what to do with soup. When I was a kid, I hated soup, but I think that was mainly because the stuff I got was bland canned soup--until my mom started making her own. Then, I couldn't get enough.

I make my own stock when I can, cooking a chicken carcass with onions and garlic and all their skins, parsley, carrots, celery (if I have it, which is rare), herbs and peppercorns. Last time I did that, I froze some.

Today, I put it to good use.

Usually my soups are OAK soups. As my mom used to say, "Once Around the Kitchen!" A little of this, a little of that. Add until it smells good. (Mom taught me to cook by smell, and I still do.) That's what I made today, but it turned out so yummy, I want to write it down, so I can do it again. So can you, if you like. Here's what I did. All measurements are very, very approximate.

Autumn Ham and Butter Bean Soup

1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced
about 3/4 cup sliced carrots
about 3/4 cup sliced celery
1 cup sliced fully cooked ham, cut into batons (little sticks)
a bit of olive oil, and a knob of butter
about a quart of chicken stock
1 can diced tomatoes
1 large bay leaf
1/2 T. Herbes de Provence
some ground pepper
a few drops of Liquid Smoke. (This stuff really is liquid smoke! I saw a show on it. Very interesting. I wanted to up the smoky flavor. It worked.)
One can butter beans, rinsed and drained.

Sautée onion, carrots and celery in oil and butter until fragrant. Sprinkle a little salt on it. Add ham and garlic, and keep cooking until you can smell the garlic.

Add everything else except the beans. I also added a few shake of Penzey's Granulated Garlic because it always adds such a mellow garlicky flavor, and really enhances the fresh garlic. You don't have to do this. But if you do, you won't regret it.

Simmer for a while. A few hours if you have the time. In the crock pot if you want. Whatever.

Just before serving, remove bay leaf and add salt and more pepper to taste. (I don't salt my stock, so add just before serving. I don't need much usually, so it's quite a low-sodium food.) Add the beans, stir to heat them up, and ladle into bowls (The beans will fall apart if you add them earlier. Home cooked beans would be firmer. I only had canned.)

Serve with yummy bread, and top with some grated, hard cheese like Parmeggiano Reggiano or Pecorino or something, if you like. We didn't tonight, but it would be tasty. I had red wine, he had a beer. Both were great with it. Serves about 4 people.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Babe's Anatomy

Before the taping started: "Rowan, where's your nose?"

And Dr. B thought it was pointless to name all her body parts as I washed them in the tub, when she was just two months old. It's amazing how much they soak up.

Note the "Tappe, tappe dans tes mains" at the end. It's from the Petit Ours Brun theme song. She claps along whenever it plays, and tries to hop by stomping her feet when it says, "saute, saute, les pieds joints". She's learning French!

I ironed his shirt, but you don't get to see that.

Dr. B's work on the Solar Decathlon eats up a lot of his time, but it's really an amazing project. Please check out the link for more info, but to put it in a nutshell, this is a world-wide competition where the students build a house that runs entirely on the power of the sun. They design every nut and bolt, and it will compete on the national mall in Washington, DC next summer. Last competition, PSU entered for the first time and took 4th. Dr. B was asked to head up the project for next year's competition, and is in charge of a lot of stuff, including advertising their work. Last winter, I sent an email to the local news, hoping they would interview him and get him some more press.

They finally did, yesterday. They left him on the cutting room floor, but at least you get a (very) little bit of information on this cool project. (That's OK, I'm not wild about his current haircut anyway.) They interview one of the leaders of the project, a cool kid that he works with a lot. It played on the 5 PM news, which of course I missed, but it is online already.

You can watch it here. Turn off your sound for the first 5 seconds, because there's lots of loud static during the ad for some reason. (Hey, we are in Central PA. I'm just happy they put it on the web in the first place, but I wish they would let me embed it.) You can visit the house this weekend (it's homecoming, so parking may be a problem.) It's right by the stadium, so I think it'll be very busy. Dr. B is planning to bike over and see how it's going a little later this afternoon.

Now when they win the next competition, I'll make sure his hair looks great.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Green Slime and a Lentil

I thought she would escape it.

No allergies, whatsoever. "Go ahead, give her peanut butter!" the pediatrician said.

Peanut butter? Fine. But now, we've got other problems.

She doesn't have many words. Mama, Dada, Teeth, Cheese and Ham. Oh, and "Uh?" That one she says a lot.

So, when she's hungry, she often asks for cheese. She's been experimenting with refusing foods, unpredictably. Asking for things by pointing, choosing milk over juice, and Cheezits over Club crackers. Refusing things she used to gobble up. But she always ate her cheese.

She started having diarrhea, lots of it. Then some unexplained diaper rash. Finally, we had Saturday night. Screams, screams and more screams. Only sleeping when she was draped over either our shoulder or our chests. And then came the farts. Frrrp! Frp. Frp frp frp frp. Frrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp!

After a night of trading off sleeping with her (in which we all overslept and missed church), we'd figured it out.

Dr. B is lactose intolerant, though he manages it with a steady diet of natural yogurt. I was as a baby, which my parents didn't find out until I was a year old. I could eat cheese or ice cream, but no milk. A few years later, I could have it, no problem.

I took away the cheese and milk, and switched her to soy. Screams and farts have stopped. She's eating a little better, and the diaper rash is nearly gone.

But the diarrhea is more stubborn. New colors each time, and new consistencies with every change! Yellow, brown, gray, orange, and green: my life is a rainbow!

So, if you're wondering about the title of this post? Now you know.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

3 Meme

Hit again, by my cousin. She knows I'm a sucker.

So here goes. Trios: 3 joys, 3 fears, 3 goals, 3 current obsessions and 3 random facts:

1. My daughter, especially laughing. No matter what she's laughing at.
2. My relationship with my husband.
3. Living the life I want to live.

1. My family members' health. It can all be taken away in an instant. (This includes my own.)
2. Having the resources to live once we are retired.
3. Bees. (I am allergic.)

1. To raise intelligent, self-reliant, centered and confident child(ren).
2. To treat others with respect and tolerance, even when I don't agree. (I am working on this.)
3. To be kinder to myself.

Current obsessions:
1. Historical fiction. This one's been going on for about 20 years. I just finished this book and this book. Enjoyed both.

2. Dulce de leche. I made it in my crockpot, like this. I like to cut up some apples I got at the farm down the road, and dip them in it. Rowan loves it, too.

3. Making our home our own, cheaply. Just found some great drapes on clearance for the living room and our bedroom. Have plans to paint our bedroom, and install shelves in the laundry room. Also need to change the cabinet hardware in the kitchen, get new light fixtures, put in hardwood floors... (obviously not all happening at once--a little bit as we can afford it. Which we can't. Hence the clearance curtains!)

Random Facts:
1. I am trying to break my addiction to cleaning my ears with a Qtip. I know it's bad. I know, I know, but I just can't stop. A friend once described the feeling as "eargasms".

2. I have recently fallen in love with Rimmel's quick dry nail polish. I buy crazy colors and don't feel bad because it's cheap. But the colors look good on my skin (hard because I am a true neutral--too warm or too cool both look icky on me), they are surprisingly good quality, and I can be kind of trendy for less than 3 bucks.

3. Caffeine makes me have to pee a lot. When I have to drive a long distance, I eat craisins and drink diet Coke. The craisins soak up the liquid, so I don't have to pee so much. It works!

As for passing this on, I'll ask Vivi, Dee and Doc, because she hasn't posted much in a long time and I'm wondering if she's still out there.

And you! If you are reading this and want to! Please comment and link if you do...

Friday, October 03, 2008

Too Fast

Next week, it will be official. She'll be sixteen months old. SIXTEEN.

She's growing up, so quickly, I can hardly believe it. It seems like just yesterday I was putting her into her very first onesie. Then yesterday, in the attic, I looked around to see 6 large Rubbermaid containers full of outgrown clothes, with another soon to join the stacks.

She's walking, talking, and expressing opinions, all her own. (Most of them are about cheese.) She loves to brush her teeth and take a bath, but would prefer to spend her days naked, wearing shoes of course.

And today, as I walked Lucy just outside our door for the noontime pee-break, she proved just how fast time is flying. She's growing up, whether we like it or not.

By the time I got back in, she was 2 remote-control button pushes away from ordering an OnDemand movie.

It was porn.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Sarah's Solo

Sarah's Solo, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

Here it is: I found the music online, just in case you really want to emulate the possible future VP and play the same tune on your flute. Her part starts at m. 9. Music is here, and the video is here.

Condaleeza Rice is a classically trained concert pianist (thanks, Nicki!), so I guess music is important to the Republican party. May they remember that when they attempt to cut funding to the Arts and Education.

Enjoy, music makers!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Why is it...

Slicker, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

...when you finally give up and decide "that's IT! I'm calling for a hair appointment!" and you do, then the day of the appointment you have a great hair day? (It happens to me every time.)

There must be some sort of name for that. Murphy had a law. What is this one called?

Obviously, it's the same thing as when you decide you are going to start teaching again, subbing just very, very part time, and only dependent on finding child care.

The next few days? She is an angel. A happy, giggly angel who gives you hugs and kisses and just wants to spend all her time with you. Figures.

But, I think it's time. Not just for me, although I am looking forward to getting back into the classroom a little bit, maintaining my credentials so I can go back part or full-time when we're ready, and meeting some people, but mostly for her.

When we go to the library to play on their toys, she is in heaven. She loves to be around other kids, and really behaves herself well. She shares with others, smiles and giggles at things they do, and looks up at them with those big blue eyes. And when it's time to leave, she pitches a fit.

I think she needs some time with other kids. And Mommy could use some time, too. Not that I don't love staying home with her, because I do, but I'm listening to my student teaching mentor, Mrs. Swenby, waaaaaay back in 1996. Her motto (and it is the best teaching advice I've received, ever) is "monitor and adjust". Right now, my monitoring says that it's time to let her stretch a bit. And maybe for me to put on one of my old hats. (Or high heeled boots, as the case may be.)

So we'll see. Nothing crazy, and it won't start tomorrow, but it's time to start thinking about it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Shoe That Droppeth

This past weekend, we drove all the way up to Burlington, Vermont, to spend time with my cousin and her husband, son, dog and two cats (which stayed in the basement, because we're allergic, but we did play some games of bat the organic cocoa puff from under the door.) We also attended some good friends' wedding in Stowe, calling on J and M to babysit the evil monkey so she wouldn't drown in the pond behind the chuppah. We set off on Thursday, leaving late because Dr. B had some REALLY IMPORTANT MEETINGS (read: ones he regretted not rescheduling) and because he hadn't packed anything so had to when he got home. I spent the morning taking the dog to the kennel, packing mine and Rowan's things, and making sandwiches to tuck into the mini-fridge Dr. B got for his birthday from my Dad and his wife. It plugs into the car cigarette lighter (do they still call them that? I don't think ours even has a lighter.) I also tossed in string cheese and apples, and nearly used up everything spoilable in the fridge. I was pretty proud of myself.

By the time we got going for the 8 1/2 hour drive, it was after 2. I wasn't very happy about that, but chose to keep quiet while he decompressed after a stressful morning. We stopped to fill our tank somewhere before Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. (Did you know it's pronounced "Berry"? I didn't. You learn something new every day.) We pulled into the very busy station, and I opened the tank door.

And it didn't open.

And I tried again. And again. And again.

Then we tried opening it by hand. And using my library card. And even the edge of my key, until I was worried I'd scratch the car. No deal.

There we were, in Bufuegypt, PA, and we were out of gas and couldn't fill our tank. I asked the women inside what to do, and they spent about 5 minutes going back and forth discussing who I should call. Finally, after hunting for a piece of paper and pen for another 2 minutes, they gave me a phone number. "Where are they located?" I asked. "Oh, they're right across the street." I rolled my eyes, and got back in the car to drive across the street. (I had enough gas for that. And I won't even mention how many teeth each of the women had, but let's just say I had more than both put together. Ah, central Pennsyltucky.)

Dr. B was busy changing Rowan when I got to the car, because OF COURSE, there were no changing tables in the men's room. He tossed my jacket aside, and attempted to hold down the monster, who had lots of energy after sitting in her seat for a few hours. We were helped by the mechanic, who untwisted the thingee through a panel in the trunk (and it wasn't my fault, BTW, there weren't even suitcases near it.) We filled up at his station, and went on our way.

"Now, when is the other shoe going to drop," said Dr. B as he drove in the rush-hour Scranton traffic, "because you know it will." (doom gloom doom gloom doom gloom) "It's just a matter of time."

A few minutes later...

"Do you smell that? The smoke? Is that inside or outside our car?" he said.

I looked around and couldn't see anything outside, but it was getting worse. Then I turned around.

"AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!! Stop the car! STOP THE CAR! Something's on FIRE!!!"

Remember that jacket? Yeah. Lesson #1: do NOT drape a jacket over the fan for the little plug in fridge, and forget to put it back on the car seat. Luckily, where there was smoke, there was no fire.

But Dr. B is still waiting for the third shoe...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Glue Gun

It's nearly that time of year. The leaves are starting to turn, nights are getting cooler, and thoughts are turning to various types of sweet, sickening, fattening crap we can stuff our gullets with until the sun comes out again.

In other words, the Halloween costumes are back in the store, and bags and bags of "FUN SIZE!" candy is waiting to be consumed. And repurchased for the trick or treaters (who never show up, so you eat it again.)

Rowan needs a costume, and being the creative (read CRAZY) person I am, I really want to make it myself. I am very handy with a glue gun and felt, and even have been known to stitch things when I get a wild hair. Upstairs I have a giant meatball, green and red pepper and mushroom pizza costume (mine), and some couples-costumes of bacon and eggs (I was the eggs) and two trees and a hammock.

So now, I need some inspiration for my 15-month old. Plus, it must be something she can't destroy and nothing can go on her head because she'll just rip it off. And I want to to be clever, G-rated and really adorable. And if it came with an accompanying set of parent costumes, more the better.

Any ideas?

PS Vermont trip updates to come!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


She loves the music, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

This weekend we were happy to host my sister and her husband for a nice visit, and especially to have Rowan baptized. (More pics on flickr, and more to come when my sis sends them.) Since we really wanted Rock and Josh to be her Godparents, and since I didn't have the heart to ask them to get up early the day after their wedding reception to do it. we had to wait until all involved parties were in the same zip code. Though I didn't realize it until the service started, her baptism day was 35 years to the day I was baptized, though she couldn't wear my dress, packed away in the cedar chest and ironed so carefully by my own mother long ago. Since I was only 4 weeks old when I was baptized, she has long outgrown the gown, but I was able to find a white dress for her to wear.

The service began, and it was a long one. Rowan did really, really well until about 2 minutes before the big moment, when she began to pitch a major fit and ran away from me, across the back of the sanctuary. While Pastor Ron read all the opening lines, she wiggled and squirmed (and the slippery dress did NOT help), yelled and cried, and did everything she could to escape. Her dad held her over the bronze bowl, and suddenly she stopped crying as the water dribbled over her forehead. She twisted around, and to the delight of the congregation, began splashing and playing in the water, banging her palms against the metal bowl and bringing handfuls of water up to her mouth. She's got the spirit in her!

Following the service, we came home for brunch, and were joined by nine of our local friends. We felt very lucky to have made such good friends already, after only being here for a year, and were very happy they could celebrate with us. Rowan fell asleep in the car on the way home and didn't wake up until most of them had gone home, but everyone seemed to have a good time, nearly all the food was gone and people were groaning, so I guess it was a success!

Rock and Josh went home yesterday, and I've been busy trying to catch up on laundry in preparation for our trip to Vermont this weekend to see family and to attend some friends' wedding. I'm tired, yes, but looking forward to seeing a new part of the country, and spending some time with Dr. B. The first weeks of the school year are not good for the professor and his wife's relationship--I hardly ever see him!

Now I just need your prayers that she'll sleep in the car. If not, those will be 8 loooooooong hours.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where I Was

9/11 v5.0, originally uploaded by absolutwade.

Teaching. St. Francis Xavier K-8 School in Cross Plains, Wisconsin, a tiny town about 20 minutes west of Madison. We were in the middle of our band rehearsal, and things were going fine--no big problems or surprises, just a regular rehearsal. They didn't come to get us because they figured we would know soon enough. When my first lesson didn't come down to the classroom, I went up to get them, and found the entire middle school huddled around the television, many of them crying and praying, all of them looking shell-shocked.

Julia (a student) asked me, "Are you scared?" I said, "Yes. I am." Then she panicked, thinking the terrorists were going to target her school next. (The mind of a sixth grader.)

It's hard to believe it's been seven years. Nothing has been the same since.

Thanks to absolutwade for creative commons licensing this amazing photo.

The Post that wasn't.

Hi. It's been a while. I know. Sorry.

I have had a bit of writer's block. Nothing funny has really been happening, and I'm kind of just doing my thing. Then something kind of big happened and I was upset and freaked out and worried but I didn't write about it because I was afraid. Then it didn't. And it was all sort of a fizzle and then I didn't know what to write. And now I feel sort of stuck.

So here it is. I'll just tell you, get it off my chest, and then I can go back to writing about how teething sucks (it really, really does), Rowan's baptism and the brunch we're having (this weekend), my sister and BIL's visit, and our Vermont trip for the BlumingWhiteSacks' wedding and to see my cousin and her family.

OK. So. I was in the shower on a Sunday morning, getting ready for church, and I felt a lump. Under my arm in the boob region. And it hurt. A lot.

Of course, it was Memorial Day weekend. No doc until Tuesday. And I got scared.

All the scenarios ran through my head. Dr. B couldn't really understand why I was so upset. "It's probably nothing," he said.

But all I could think was, "she won't remember me."

(I know, I know. Total overreaction.)

"Why do you do this? Why do you think about any possible bad thing that could happen? What good does it do?" he asked.

"I have to. I've been trained to. Mom. She trained me to think about it so if it ever happened, I'd be prepared," I answered. "And I was. When she died, I was the one who knew. Where she wanted to be buried, her favorite hymns, where the funeral should be, even the type of flowers to order. I didn't have to think." Yes, I am a bit of a doomsdayer, and superstitious, to boot. I won't wash our sheets, even if they really need it, when he's out of town. I know it's dumb. I also save his voicemails until he gets home. I don't talk about it, but it goes through my head. What I'd do, if I had to.

And so, I went to the doctor Tuesday morning, fully prepared to be told to have a mammogram, to get an awful diagnosis, to lose my hair from chemo, and on and on and on.

But, it's just a plugged duct. A few hot showers, some massage, an angle change and a very aggressive session with the breast pump, and I'm fine.

And thankful. For the teething, which does suck big time, but I am glad I'm here to be with her when she needs me. For the poopy diapers and the turds that fall on my bare foot. For the Cheerios in my sheets, the plastic toys I step on, the banana chunks on the floor, and the Cheezit crumbs at the bottom of my purse.

It's all worth it. And I want every minute.

Monday, September 01, 2008


For the video, click here. I'm suspecting it's slowing my site right now, so I've taken it off to see.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


A friend let me order a couple of free-range chickens from her farmer's group, so I spent three hours roasting one the other day. It was awesome. Delicious, tender, really chickeny-tasting, not dry--yum. I threw the carcass in the stock pot, added onions and skins, garlic, carrots, fresh herbs from my patch, peppercorns, and a bunch of water and let it simmer for a few hours. The next day, in our crock pot was homemade chicken soup with orzo, carrots, corn, green beans and peas. Along with some cornbread mini-loaves, it helped chase the foggy, rainy chill from our bones (unexpected in August.) Half the stock is in the freezer, and there is at least 2 more meals of the soup in the fridge for us.

So today, after Rowan woke from her nap, I asked Dr. B to "heat up some chicken soup" while I changed and nursed her. I planned to make us a quick sandwich to go along with it, but when I walked in the kitchen, I saw leftover lasagna being heated up.

"What are you doing? There's lots of soup."

"I thought this would be nice. Chicken soup and lasagna!"

"What? Won't that be a bit heavy for lunch?" I said. (Not to mention a really weird combination, but I didn't say that because to Dr. B this is normal. The man once served me spaghetti marinara with a side of plain steamed spinach. Ick.) "I'm not that hungry. We did go out for breakfast."

"Yeah, well, I didn't think the soup would be enough," he said.

I walked over to the pot, and picked up the spoon to stir it. "What is this?"

Instead of my lovely, free-range organic homemade stock delicious fantastic oh-man-this-is-good soup, there was some wimpy Campbells' with chicken flakes and carrot confetti (that I didn't buy, he did).

"Uh, yeah. Well. When you asked me? I had just woken up from a nap and I wasn't thinking clearly."

No kidding.

He attempted to doctor it up, but I must say, no amount of dill, garlic powder, Smoked Spanish Paprika and Herbes de Provence can add as much flavor as one can get by roasting the chicken themselves, simmering the stock, and adding their own veggies and pasta. And it doesn't go with lasagna.

So, anybody want some soup? We got lots.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I had to brag.

I am such an idiot.

After two lovely days with PK, me foolishly believing I could handle two kids, we got a whopper.

Not one, but two molars cut last night. Screaming baby clinging desperately to my torso for an hour and a half, and I couldn't do anything to make it better (and it had nothing whatsoever to do with the boring speeches or even Hillary's hideous orange suit.) Her diaper rash came back, though it disappeared by morning. And of course, I couldn't find the teething tablets or orajel, either. I ended up sleeping in the guest bed with her, so she wouldn't be alone when she woke up in pain. Neither of us slept much, and I woke up more than drained, because nursing was the only thing that would calm her in the wee hours of the night.

Bleary-eyed this morning, I turned the house upside down, but the magic meds were nowhere to be found. PK left early today, but Dr. B had the car (first week of school--he's swamped with meetings and planning and teaching and is still at work at 9 PM) so I couldn't even go to the store. He came home for supper, and watched her for a bit while I ran to the big box, desperately searching for the homeopathic air pills and goop to make her a little more comfortable. She took them without question, and even came back for more gel (I guess she likes that fake weirdberry flavor).

She went down easy tonight. Hopefully, she stays down. Mama's tired, too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Two's Company

This week I've been doing a favor for a friend who is a teacher here in town. Her babysitter's still on vacation, so I've been watching her almost-11 month old son, with me taking Monday through Wednesday and another friend covering Thursday and Friday. At first I was nervous about it, wondering if I'd be completely and utterly overwhelmed. But I knew that PK was a very mellow kid, and since Rowan was once again healthy, I hoped for the best.

And I was surprised. Amazingly surprised.

Though their schedules don't coincide, it's been fine. More than fine. Good, in fact. Watching them play together, interact with each other, share Cheerios and rattles, and even some dueling diaper-filling (Danga dang dang dang dang dang dang daaaaaaannnngggg...) has been really fun to watch. Rowan loves having him around, and I have never been so productive. My carpets have been vacuumed daily, kitchen floor quickie-mopped, dishes done, laundry done, bathrooms cleaned--all because I don't have to be her only playmate. She's not as bored, and her toys have taken on a new gloss now that there is someone to share them with (and steal them from.) We have shared some snuggly moments watching Sesame Street and cuddling on the couch, all three of us, and even swung together on our neighbors' swing set, my arms wrapped around the chains and hugging them both in my lap. His mom comes each day at three, doling out kisses and hugs, and we take an afternoon walk, talking and laughing. I do miss the comraderie from spending time with fellow teachers (and if she had her way, I'd start subbing soon), but hearing how much she misses her son when she's at work, I know I'm not ready.

And now, watching Rowan, I am starting to think, that sometime, maybe sooner than I thought, we will be ready to add another to our family.

But first, there are some more bills to pay. (So don't get excited, Dad.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Rowan is fighting through the diaper rash, thanks to all the great advice I've received. Dr. B didn't think it would be wise to change the antibiotic now (something about different flora?), but the combination of butt-blowing and Boudreaux's apparently did the trick and most of the rash is gone, the remaining bits not seeming to bother her and shrinking fast.

I've added yogurt (homemade) to her food, and upped her banana and applesauce intake to help the digestive issues, but I think the thing that worked best was missing a dose of the meds last night (woops). Today's two poops were much more solid.

This afternoon, since she'd done those already, I gave her free reign following her bath to run around for a few minutes, drying out. Everyone said, "leave her diaper off as much as possible!" I was told to lay a pad down, but that doesn't do much good with her, due to her newfound mobility and joy in Walking! All! The! Time! I kept an eye on her as she dug through my shoes in my closet while loading shirts and pants on to hangers.

Now I have some advice for you: This stuff is great for removing poop stains from carpet.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Yes, we have a girl. We've been to Target, and seen the rows upon rows of pink and purple spangles. We've got nieces, one of whom is a princess, and we've been warned by my SIL that it's coming. But still, we're trying to avoid it as long as humanly possible.

Clothes with "Princess" on them have been nixed, and her wardrobe is a mix of many colors (though she's usually in something kind of girlie when we go out because I am sick and tired of people thinking she's a boy just because she's sort of bald and has on jeans). Her bedroom is nearly pink-free, and could easily be reworked for a boy by changing the floral curtains for stripes. She has dolls, yes, but cars and trucks and balls and building blocks, too. She doesn't seem to have that little-girl-nurturing thing going on (most of the dolls are ignored thus far), and is much more interested in taking apart the remote control, though she does like to stir the soup (AKA the dog's water).

But, apparently, the fashionista gene is already coming to light.

When she was littler, Rowan hated anything on her feet. She'd rip her socks off, and rip her shoes off, as fast as we could put them on. We fell in love with Robeez, because they prevented it and kept her tootsies warm.

Now that she's walking, though, things have changed. She loves shoes. Loves. LOVES LOVES LOVES. She wants them on first thing in the morning, with her pajamas, and would happily sleep in them if we didn't remove them before bed. She loves to dig in our closets and bring us our shoes, and to throw all the shoes sitting by the door outside. She knows whose shoes are whose, and is very bothered when mom puts Rowan's tiny shoes on her gigantic feet. She will bring you her shoes to put on her feet, one at a time, and if you try to pretend you don't know what she wants, she'll hold up the shoe, grunt pointedly, and then lift her foot up into the air.

She's also very into other accessories, and loves to tug at Mom's necklaces or earrings, and turn just about anything into a stole, wrapping it around her shoulders and walking the catwalk of our hallway. The other day it was a scarf. Then the dog's leash. A piece of tulle. Mom's sweater. The strap from my camisole (while I was still wearing it). A kitchen towel. Then, an extension cord.

In planning for her upcoming baptism (her Aunt Rock and Uncle Josh are coming to visit soon), I knew I'd have to find her some shoes. She's long outgrown the ones I got as a gift when she was born, with their lace and satin ties. My own baptism dress, so carefully pressed and preserved by my mother, won't fit her now, so I found a little white toddler dress for her to wear, and even plucked a fancy white cardigan from the hand-me-down box, but I didn't have any shoes.

I checked all the fancy downtown shops, who didn't have anything, and looked online, but was disappointed again. Finally, I packed her up, and headed to the mall. We toodled around, checking the department stores and shoe stores, but had our best luck at Payless. I'm not a fan of their adult shoes, but the kids' ones seemed to be decent quality, and I couldn't beat the price for shoes that may not make it to Spring, especially with the BOGO half-off deal. She was measured, and I chose some white mary janes for her, as well as a pair of beige suede T-strap mary janes for fall.

I created a monster.

This morning, we spent 45 minutes changing shoes, until I finally got smart and hid them.

I am not looking forward to high school.

She's got legs..., originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

These are her Nikes, a gift from her grandmother, who is planning to bronze them.

She is his.

MyHeritage: Look-alike Meter - Family search

Well, maybe 30% more mine, but still.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Here you go, the money shot., originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

Rowan had a rough weekend, and no amount of anything would make her happy. She'd be fine, then suddenly screaming bloody murder. We tried everything we could think of to make her happy, and nothing worked. Plus, she wouldn't sleep. No naps, no way.

She was cranky and exhausted. We were cranky and exhausted.

Finally, on Monday morning, I took her in to the doctor.

She had pink eye, even though her eyes were white as ever (but goopy, admittedly goopy). And? Ear infection. Both ears.

I felt like the worst mom in the whole wide world.

My poor baby.

I picked up her antibiotics, and even had the pharmacists add some extra watermelon flavor to make it extra special. (I love Target's pharmacy, and it's not just because my stepbrother and his wife-to-be work at one. Their packaging rocks, they are super nice and always remember us, and the list of flavors you can add is a smorgasbord of fun!)

And the next day? Back to the screaming bloody murder.

Turns out antibiotics can cause gooey, explosive diarrhea that doesn't smell like anything (really, like nothing), AND causes wicked, horrible, burning red diaper rash.

Worse than the worst mom in the world, yep, that's me.

So we are plowing through boxes of disposable diapers (I won't wreck my BumGeniuses with diaper rash cream), using the Boudreaux's Butt Paste like nobody's business (that stuff is great), blowing her dry between the wipe and the butt paste, and changing her what seems like every five minutes.

After 3 poopy diapers today, I thought I was safe. Then, she farted. And smiled at me.

When she stood up, there was corn trailing down her leg. Among other things. Down her leg, into her socks, and on the carpet.


I can't wait for these 10 days to be over.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

C'est Moi.

C'est Moi., originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

Just more cartoony.

And my ears don't stick out quite that much, but what can you do?

You can make your own here. The best part is all the cute translation errors from the Italian. Molto bene! (Yeah, that was probably totally wrong, too. I'm sorry if I just said something nasty! Heh.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Loves Me Spinach

I used to work at an awesome restaurant. It was local, had great beer and really good food, and the owners were super cool. The wages were decent, the tips were good, and people loved to go there, so generally were in a good mood. On Halloween, they let us wear costumes, so I waited tables in a jester costume and curly-toed slippers, complete with jingle bells.

One of their appetizers was my manna from heaven. Nearly every shift would end with a plate of it plus a cold pint of Summit Great Northern Porter, and since it has vegetables in it, I considered it a well-balanced meal. Heh.

I buttered up one of the cooks enough so he let me watch him make the industrial-sized batch for the restaurant one day, and then went home and tinkered with it until I came up with a home version that's just as good, and easy to make. I made some yesterday for Dr. B's "Beer Meeting", but doubled the batch so there would be leftovers for me. If we don't eat it all, it may become spinach enchiladas for supper one night, too.

After tweeting about it and receiving several requests for my recipe, and lots of nice birthday wishes that put me in a good mood, and a cake that Erin made me and even sent home with me (yes I am totally on sugar and cheese right now), I felt generous. So, here you go--my birthday present to you. Enjoy.

Ronica's Blue Moose Spinach Dip (Spinach Con Queso)

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 small can chopped green chiles
  • 1 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
  • 1 lb. Pepper Jack cheese, cubed
  • 8 oz. (+ to taste) dairy sour cream
  • Seasoning mix of your choice (I use Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning--it's delicious! Lawry's would probably be fine, too, or do a once around the kitchen.)

Sauté the onion in butter until softened. Add chiles and spinach and cook until any remaining liquid is gone. Season with seasoning salt, and add cheese, cooking and stirring over low heat until the cheese is melted. Stir in sour cream. Serve warm with tortilla chips or bread, and it tastes great with a pint of ale or porter on the side. Can be refrigerated and reheated, but you may need to add more sour cream to make it smooth again.

The Last "Now I Can..." Milestone

Birthday Cake, originally uploaded by PinkCakeBox.

As of today, I am officially old enough to run for President.

That's not a request for votes. But I will accept cake. Mmmm... cake.

Note: I am not 65. Just noticed that after I published this. Pretend they're swirlies.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Great Grandma

My grandmother is in the hospital. She had a fall, and now they are struggling to get her blood pressure stabilized. She's been in for 2 days, after fainting in the beautician's chair.

If you would, please add her to your prayers or place her in your positive thoughts or send her your good vibes. She's a wonderful lady, and we want her back to her normal, sunny self as soon as possible.

Thank you!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

My new kitchen

Flan and Bolero, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

I have promised to blog this, and never quite got around to it.

OK, that's a lie. My kitchen table was never clean enough.

So the day it was, I took this photo, and finally got around to uploading it. Rowan got a big new tooth yesterday, and decided not to sleep either, so today she is taking a good, long, overdue nap. Mommy gets to blog.

The colors are flan (the beige/peach color) and bolero (red, 4 coats.) The trim is the same, Saffron Ivory by Valspar. We painted the ceiling Marshmallow. All our colors are Sherwin Williams. We could have gone even warmer with the ceiling, but after priming and painting it twice, we were done.

Click through to go to my photostream and see a few other pics. I am still looking for cabinet pulls for the cabinets. Dr. B and I don't agree on these, so it will take a while. (It took 4 months for us to agree on a china pattern, and years to agree on a name for Rowan.) We tried brushed nickel, and it just looked drab. We might even go with some sort of irony-black ones, or coppery rust. But we haven't found the pulls yet. He wants modern, I don't think it will work with our furniture. So we're still looking.

BTW, you'll see a weird pic of the ceiling. Our ugly ceiling fan started falling down. Luckily, we realized it before anyone was decapitated. (Phew.) The do-it-yourselfer who owned this place didn't take into account the fact that a plastic holder-upper wouldn't support the weight of a heavy, stained glass ceiling fan. The one in Rowan's room is also starting to come down (obviously we aren't running the fan in there) so we have to hire an electrician to come fix it. Right now we're just living without a light directly over the table, and it's fine.

Oh well, maybe by that time I'll have picked out a better fixture. Heh.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Future's so bright
Yesterday, Dr. B stayed a little later in the morning than usual, eating breakfast with us, and listening to Morning Edition, while he waited for the next bus. We sat on the couches, coffee cups in hand and with dueling laptops, while Rowan played with her toys a few feet away. Soon, she crawled over to her dad and stood up, hugging his knees and bouncing on the tips of her toes.

He laughed and talked with her for a few minutes. Then, she turned her face to the side and leaned against his kneecaps.

"Pew!" he said, "I think she already pooped."

"Nope," I answered. "She's doing it right now. She's got a rather zen look on her face."

Just then, she lifted her head, gave him a big smile, and let out a breath.


Oh, what a relief it is.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Rowan in Gingham

She must be teething. I know, I say that a lot. But really, this time I mean it. I can see 2 teeth just below the skin, she's drooling (a habit she gave up months ago), and she lights up when the Tylenol bottle or the Orajel tube are in sight. She's running a little warm--probably no more than 99, but her natural temp is like her mom's, at a cool 97.1. Her diapers have been, um, let's just call them interesting. She wants to be with me all the time, and with me means ON me, climbing over my feet (which was fine at 14 pounds, but at 22 it starts to hurt). She tries to scale my legs, and wants to be carried constantly. When I'm sitting on the couch, she wants to be, too, though would rather crawl around it, over the end table, and pull the batteries out of the remote control, chew on the computer cords, push the computer buttons and stick her fingers in the USB drives, chew on pens and pen caps, "read" mommy's library books, play with the shutter on the camera, pull kleenixes out of the box and eat them... you get the picture. All the toys in the world are boring except the stuff of ours she can destroy or hurt herself with. This is stuff she does all the time, but usually she can be distracted with toys. Not now. With brief exceptions (that Scooby Doo rubber ball was a smart buy), she is only interested in what we have that she can't. And, of course, her favorite pastime--shoving her fingers in our eyes and mouths. (I really, really hate that. Ick.)

She cries and cries and cries, unexplainedly, and then stops and laughs uproariously. Then, sweetly hugs a teddy and lies down on the carpet to rest. For about 12 seconds.

Last night, a nightmare or a pain woke her at 9:30, and despite several attempts by both mom and dad, she couldn't be consoled enough to sleep on her own. I brushed my teeth, washed my face, and picked her up, carrying her over to the guest bed in her room. Within minutes, she was asleep in my arms. An hour and a half later, she was so deeply gone she didn't even flinch when I picked her up and put her in her own crib.

I may get frustrated. I may lose my patience. I may get angry. I may eat too many brownies. But last night, she showed me the thing I needed to hold on. She needs me. Just me. Angry, frustrated, worried, irritated, patient, loving, confused me. Her mom.

I'm not perfect, not by a long shot. I am not always a good mom. Sometimes I'm cranky. Snarky. Angry. But I will keep trying. I will be proud of myself when I am kind, when I am patient. I will feel good about the good things I am doing. I will forgive myself for the not-so-good, and try again.

Because no matter what, I'm the only one she's got. And that's enough.

Friday, July 25, 2008

TV People

We're not TV people.

OK, we'd like to say that, but the truth is we can be junkies. We'll go through times when we watch A LOT, then other times when the TV isn't turned on for days, at all. We read a lot, do quite a bit of surfing, and try to occupy ourselves constructively in and outside the house, but sometimes we do enjoy a good veg out in front of the boob tube. There are some series we love, so we do keep up with them in spurts when we have a free weekend. (Dr. Who, Torchwood, and anything SciFi for him, Mad Men, the Tudors, Big Love, and the defunct Meadowlands for me. OK, I admit it, I love Dr. Who and Torchwood, too.)(But his love of Stargate is just a sickness. Really. It's bad.)

Rowan hasn't been exposed much. DVD's she's received are still in their plastic packaging, and her attention span for TV is about 4 seconds, though the sound and music can calm her while she's playing, so sometimes Tom and Jerry make an appearance while she flings her toys around the living room and pushes her rolling seat around in a circle.

This morning, as her dad left for a doctor's appointment and I was left with a baby who got to bed way too late last night (party at a friend's in the country), I needed something to keep her from freaking out and breaking my breakfast dishes. For the first time, she was exposed to Sesame Street.

I miss the old theme song (the new one just doesn't have the same charm as those initial chords did), but it's still a good show. We jammed to the Dixie Chicks singing about the letter "B", watched Gordon practice golfing with Telly helping by adding water hazards, sand traps and a wind machine, and then this song came on. Rowan loved it, and we danced to it as it played and again after I found it on YouTube.

I'm a little airplane nyow
I'm a little airplane nyow, nyow
I'm a little airplane nyow
I'm a little airplane nyow, nyow
And wangity-wang, wangity-wang
I'm a little airplane NYOW!!!
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