It's my party and I'll eye stab you if I want to.

This is the kind of picture you get when you have a birthday party during the time that the birthday honoree is supposed to be napping. You get a kid who is overly tired, probably overwhelmed, coming down from a sugar coma, with cake in her hair and on her knee (?), half dressed, clutching her favorite gift of all the 58 awesome gifts that were opened, and still looking as cute as can be. (Come to think of it, I have many "day after college party" photos that are quite similar to this.)

Note: she isn't officially 1 yet. We still have 9 days, but you know, the Holidays.

(Stella, I'm going to make a concerted effort to not make this excuse every year. You most definitely deserve your own day apart from "the season" and we will celebrate your day on your day.)

Another note: 1?

Another another note: No this carpet is not in our house.

Photo credit: Turtle Parade (thanks!)


In summary.

Annnnd... done. I did it. 30 days, 30 posts.

I certainly achieved quantity, not so sure about quality. But it's hard to go from very little to a lot in one month. I was hoping to end this with a meaty post, but I'm not quite finished with the one I was working on yet and quite frankly, I'm spent. Thankfully November is a 30-day month instead of 31. But you know what the best part is? This blog won't blow up tomorrow because it's December 1. Nope, I can still post here whenever I feel like it. So that post can wait until it's good and ready.

Can't say that this has helped me with my writing as I was hoping it would, but it did refresh my attitude about blogging. I should do it more. I love the connection with others and I enjoy writing about my life. So for that, I'm glad I did this. But you don't have to bother checking my blog tomorrow because I won't have anything for you.

Your comments have been fantastic. Thank you for caring and responding. And thank you for every awesome post that you all have written. It's been oodles of fun reading such good stuff this month. I've definitely taken some inspiration from each of your blogs. Meaning, I've taken some of your funny thoughts and will be passing them off as my own. But I'll wait a while so that you'll forget what you said.

Congrats to all who completed the challenge!

(Now, NaBloPoMo, I shall look forward to your email telling me what I've won.)


The One Where I Wrote About a Tweet.

I'm crossing the streams for tonight's post. I took to Twitter to find my blog inspiration.

The next tweet that pops up will be the subject of my blog post for tonight.


And a partridge in a pear tree.

Eight adults.
Four kids.
Two dogs.
One and a half bathrooms.
Four days.
One house.

Seven additional family members.
One Christmas celebration.
Two birthday celebrations.
One pedicure.
Two turkeys.
Ten pounds of potatoes.
Six bottles of wine.
One promotion celebration.
One family cornhole tournament.
Eight-hour drive. (screw you, Cincinnati!)
One large family photo.
A thousand laughs.

Hope your Thanksgiving was as enjoyable as mine!


Breakin a sweat.

Shew! Nablopomofosho... you're really testing my endurance.

We're in the home stretch. I feel invigorated. I feel ALIVE! I'm gonna try and make these last three posts something epic.

How's everyone doing after this holiday stretch? Solidarity, my brotha and sistas. I'm here for you.


On bravery.

I miss the days when my Mom and I would brave the crazies and head out to the shopping mall at 5 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving. We haven't done it in years, but I will always remember the years that we did. It's not that we loved fighting the crowds and dealing with hassles, it's that we loved to make memories and have traditions. And it just happened to be a tradition sprinkled with awesome ass deals.

Happy Shopping!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, All!

Spending time with the family, laughing, eating great homemade food, laughing - this is what the holidays are all about. I feel warm.

It's Stella's first Thanksgiving. I hope she knows how thankful I am for her.


For smiles.

Yeah, this happened. Purely by accident. Swearsies.

Photo circa 2005.

Photo credit: Wrestling Kitties.


Because I like you guys.

I'm definitely not a cook. But I do consider myself to be a good appetizer/dip maker. Make what you love to eat - isn't that what they say? Well if they don't, they should.

Wanna dazzle your family at Thanksgiving? Make this. It's an appetizer. But it's the appetizer to end all appetizers.

Goat Cheese Torte

You'll need:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces goat cheese, softened
1/4 - 1/2 cup pesto - patted dry
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes packed in oil - but "dry" them off as best as possible
1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced

Once softened, mix the cream cheese and goat cheese together. Stir in garlic. Line a medium sized bowl with saran wrap in both directions. Put one layer of cheese mixture on the bottom. Spread half of the pesto mixture on top. Add another layer of cheese mixture. Put layer of sundried tomatoes. Put cheese mixture on top. Spread remaining pesto and top with leftover cheese mixture. Put fresh basil leaves on top if you're feeling fancy. Serve with crackers. Water crackers are my fave.

I usually get too heavy-handed with the garlic. I just made this and my sinuses are now uber clear. On the plus side, the vampires will leave me be. For once.


Also, try this for your next football party. Or for your next lunch.

French Onion Dip

1 block of cream cheese, softened
1 can condensed French onion soup, not the powder stuff
1 cup mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cream cheese and soup. Add mozzarella cheese, but save some. Bake for 30 minutes. With about 10 minutes left, top with remaining cheese. Serve with bread pieces.

I don't even like onions, but I eat the ever-living crap out of this. It's phenomenal.



11 months of cool.

11? You must be crazy!

This one wasn't easy for me. With every minute that ticks by she's that much closer to ONE. And that's just not even possible. It's downright stupid. There's just no way time can go that quickly. I deserve an explanation for this.

Stella - 11 months

Loves: APPLES - good Lord does this kid love the apples!, black beans, chicken, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, bread, strawberry-apple puffs, broccoli, Cheerios, pumpkin muffins, her measuring cups, ringing phones (she will put any item up to her ear and say "ohh?" as in "hello?" when she hears a phone ring, and if she doesn't have something nearby she'll just put her hand to her ear - it's brilliant!), walking into school in the morning and seeing all of her friends, nursing, sleeping, board books, being in the Baby Bjorn with Dad, raccoons in trashcans, Grandma Paula, pulling my hair and Nora.

Doesn't love: getting her diaper changed (that makes 3 of us, ugh), being put in her car seat, cheese as of late (she'll eat brussel sprouts but spits out cheese? who is this kid?), and ... that's about it. She loves life.

New in the last month: walks with a push toy, climbs steps, drinks from a sippy cup, says "uh oh", jumps up and down in crib, has two teeth!, points and shares.


You need to hold me. I won't be able to make it through these next four weeks without help. I'm too much of a sap.


I haz the sick.

Feeling like dookie today. Doing my best to make sure the kiddo doesn't contract it. I've been washing my hands like a mad woman. Nose is raw, hands are raw. Blogging is taking a backseat to getting healthy. Check back tomorrow.


Music lessons.

Last night Mike and I enjoyed an evening with The Coug. I've pretty much been a fan all my life. It's probably a little weird and probably not very hip. But it's music I remember listening to as a kid and it's always stuck with me. I like his grittiness, his real-life lyrics, his awareness that he has so much and his willingness to give back. I like him. We were definitely some of the youngest people there but it was a fun show.

He had this violinist who had some of the most cut arms I've ever seen. Lemme tell you something, this girl was a-ma-zing. I mean, she got to a point where she didn't even look human with her actions. She looked possessed and chaotic, but damn was it impressive.

It got me thinking. You know how when you're a kid and your parents force you to play an instrument but you think it's lame and then you're 32 and you wish you had stuck with it longer and could be better at it and then you have a kid and you realize that you're going to force them to play an instrument too so that when they're 32 they'll realize why you forced them? Yeah, me too.

I took piano lessons for about six years and I hated them. They were on Saturday mornings and screwed up my sleepover parties and really got in the way of my sacred Saved By The Bell time. Thank goodness for VCRs, ammi right? I was always so resentful of them. I hated practicing and lessons and recitals and having my old lady teacher cut my fingernails with her kitchen scissors because my nails were too long and would click on the keys. That hurt.

But then it would come Christmas time and I would play my repertoire of Christmas songs for my family and it would make them so happy. My grandparents and great aunts and uncles would beg me to play every year. And I was always petrified. That meant I would have to be the center of attention and show them that maybe I didn't practice as often as I should have. But they loved it! They ate it up. My great uncle would always give me money afterward to thank me. I still play those same songs every year. They're elementary level songs but my fingers know exactly what to do and I'm sorta proud that I at least know how to play some piano. My rendition of O Little Town of Bethlehem would bring tears to your eyes. It's my favorite to play.

Sometimes I'll bust out my old recital pieces - those are actually some really cool songs - and pretend like I'm a fifth grader again in my fancy velvet dress and patent leather shoes bowing before and after I've played. And inevitably my Dad will yell from the other room, "Play Harmonica Man for me!" So I do. It's his favorite. I figure it's the least I can do for always whining about having to go to lessons every week.

So, Stella: what do you want me to force you to take up? The piano or the violin? It's your choice, but YOU'RE DOING IT! You're welcome.


Little diddy...

"... about Jack and Diane..."

Live. Tonight.

Don't laugh. I'm nostalgic.

Love my Indiana boys!


Sweet revenge.

In October the whole D family gathered for the bust-your-gut Fall Festival in the 'ville. It's an annual fun family tradition complete with Pronto Pups, corn fritters, deep fried everything, sausage and cheese on a Donut Bank donut (my new fave!) and hundreds of other fat-laden, delicious food items.

Ever since we found out we were having a girl, my sister-in-law Kate and I have been excited for our girls to do things together. We're seeing to it that they become best friends.

So after a gorging at the Fall Festival in 90 degree heat, we decided to give our kids a bath.

Kate and I looked at each other. "You thinkin' what I'm thinkin'? Yes! A bath! Together! Cousins!" This is the kind of stuff friendships are built on.

So in they went.

I also got in (clothed). It's a big tub with a seat, plenty of room for three. Everyone gathered around with cameras to witness this monumental event.

Tess is a little more than 2 years old and Stella was a little over 9 months. So there's a sizable difference between them. We washed hair and played around a bit. Tess was rinsing her hair with a large cup, she dunked it under the water to fill it up and then... threw the entire cup of water directly in Stella's face.

Oh boy.

Stella was stunned. STUNNED. And then she lost it. Tears were everywhere. She couldn't believe that her best friend had done this to her.

So I picked her up and put her on my lap, trying to comfort her.

And then it happened.

She did the only thing she could do to retaliate.

She peed.

Stella peed on Tess.

Because she was sitting on my lap, the pee was able to take a nice, boy-like trajectory all over Tess, and my pants.

We roared. No one was expecting it. Least of all Tess.

Needless to say their bath time together was cut short.

So our first attempt at getting our kids to be besties didn't exactly go the way Kate and I had planned. But it's going to be so fun telling them that story someday when they are older and having a sleepover together.


Wordless Wednesday - Cousins.

I'm not supposed to talk today, but remind me to tell you a funny story about these two.


Just eat it!

Today for breakfast I had a donut. Today for lunch I had pizza. Today for dinner I had pizza.

Anyone looking for scientific evidence that you lose weight when you breastfeed, look no further. I'm your lab rat.

What a beautiful gift nature has given us. In so many, many ways.


Sometimes myself annoys myself.

My cousin moved to India today. She quit her awesome job with a major company in Chicago to teach art at an all boys elementary school.


While it's not a move that I would ever make, I'm jealous of her courage. If I have one regret in life it's that I've never moved out of this area. Lest you think I'm not grateful for what I have, don't get it twisted, I have a great life here. I know this. And I'm thankful for it everyday. I just wish that my 23-year-old self had packed it up and taken this show on the road when it had the chance.

Sometimes I let myself think about this too much. And Facebook doesn't help. I see all of these people from high school living all across the country and I wonder why I'm not one of them. I don't hate Northwest Ohio, I hate that I don't know anything else.

Woe is me, right? Someone slap me.



How much is too much to pay for a haircut? My gal is rather pricey. I think she just became co-owner of the salon, which means I pay... too much.

I only get 4 haircuts a year, I wait 3-4 months in between because I refuse to pay $60 for a trim. A trim. Who's dropping dimes on trims? We ain't the Rockefellers. If I'm paying $60 for a haircut, then I'm getting my gosh-darn hairs cut. I can't stand paying that much and have people not be able to tell. Seems like such a waste. I'm paying $60 bucks for attention! No one wastes time on complimenting a trim.

Now granted, she does a decent job. And I'm pretty sure I would pay the $60 just to have my hair washed. They do a little head massage while they wash - it's yummy.

So tell me, am I being taken? Is it time to find a new person? Ugh, I'm so bad at breaking up with people.


Wie Gehts!

We're back from our min-vacation to Little Bavaria. What a charming place! I was there once about 20 years ago but remembered very little. If you don't like cheese, salty meats, bakeries, fudge, pretzels, lederhosen, or Christmas, then this place isn't for you.

This trip made me realize that I don't take nearly enough photos. It's hard. I want to enjoy the moment so I take any pics, but then I get home and wish that I had taken more. I need to get famous so the paparazzi start following me capturing life's moments for me.

At the Frankenmuth Brewing Company. Did I mention this town also has lots of beer? You gotta love that about zee Germans.

Stella checking out the menu. While stuffing her face full of edamame.

Posing with a Bavarian pretzel. So delicious! And the mustard dip they serve with it? To die for.

You can't put anything in front of this kid without it going in her mouth. It's like she's taunting us in this pic. "What, I'm not supposed to drink this? I'm not drinking it, Mom, relax. I'm just putting my mouth on it. Look, I'm not even using my hands!"

"Now I'm using my hands."

Ok, this place was like the mother ship calling me home. A whole house full of cheese! Everywhere cheese! I think we got about 7 different kinds - salami and cheese cheese, maple syrup cheese, 12-year aged cheddar, just to name a few. They even have chocolate cheese. They really need to look into making this a chain.

Stella and the big guy at Bronner's, the world's largest Christmas store this side of the North Pole. It was just us and 25,000 of our closest friends.

"Hey Santa, wanna see my cups?"
We don't go anywhere without these measuring cups/spoons. Is it weird that her security blanket is plastic measuring cups? Hey whatever, dude.

Me and Stella in a rare photo together.

What a perfect little getaway weekend. Think we're gonna make this an annual family tradition.



On a family trip to Frankenmuth. Pics of cheese, babies and bier to come.



I breastfeed therefore I am.

When I got pregnant I knew that I wanted to breastfeed. The benefits were tremendous, the time together precious and the cost unbeatable. I read the books and went to the classes, I had a vague idea of what was supposed to go down. It seemed simple enough - I have boobs (arguably), the ultrasounds show that Stella has a mouth... boob, mouth... got it.

Cut to December 22, 11:05 p.m.: tears, happiness, smiles and complete awe were everywhere. From reading the books and talking with my doctor I knew that it's best to nurse the baby within the first hour after birth. They would be hungry and you can begin to establish your milk supply right away. So that's what we did. We got into position. I thought I was doing it right, but it obviously was something I had never done. It took, I don't know, a thousand years. That's a generous estimate.

A normal feeding for us used to take an hour plus. Luckily Stella ate every three hours. I didn't understand how some babies would eat every two hours. That would mean I would have about a half an hour in between feedings. I couldn't wrap my head around that math.

I was bewildered. I was sore. You know how marathon runners get bloody nipples from their shirt rubbing on them when they run for 24 hours or however long it takes to run a marathon? It's like that. My nipples weren't used to that much attention. I advised Turtle Parade that the best way to prepare herself for breastfeeding was to flick them all day. It's one thing the books didn't really mention. You can prepare your mind but you can't really prepare your nipples. And THANKFULLY I had it a heck of a lot better than some others that I know. Its definitely mind over matter in the beginning. And anyone who attempts it is my hero.

Our pediatrician told me that once we got the hang of it feedings would only take 10 minutes. I laughed in her face. "Quit yankin' my chain, Lady. Ten minutes? I call BS. Maybe for other kids, but my kid apparently enjoys hanging out watching an hour of The Cosby Show at 4 a.m., I doubt she's gonna give that up."

But danggoneit, she was right! Somewhere around the 4-5 month mark I started noticing that feedings were getting shorter and shorter. Now, at 10.5 months, we're in and out. I wake her up at 7:30, feed her, Mike changes her diaper and clothes and we're out the door by 7:45. We've got it down to a well-oiled, efficient, calculated science. It's a phenomenal thing. It's hard to believe that it ever took as long as it did.

Breastfeeding my Stella for the last 10.5 months (and still going!) is probably the thing I'm most proud of in my life. But I can definitely understand why people quit. There are plenty of outs, countless inconveniences and worries and fears. I'm thankful that we've been able to maintain this relationship for this long. These boobs are helping keep my baby alive. If there's something cooler than that in this world, I don't know what it is.

And I gotta give a major fistbump to my pumping homies. Pumping is a whole nother animal, and post. And to those who pump exclusively for any period of time: I bow to you. I couldn't do it.

Viva la boobs!


Gillette model.

Someone had some fun playing with shaving cream at school yesterday! The amount of hilarity in these photos is TOO DARN MUCH!

I love it that her school sends me photos on a weekly basis. It's so great to see what she's up to when I'm not around.


Coco nuts.

I feel that late night television is one of the few funny things on tv today*. (Modern Family and How I Met Your Mom aside.) I appreciate good comedic timing and the art of telling jokes. I like things funny.

Over the summer there was quite the debacle between Conan O'Brien, NBC and that other guy. Conan was pushed out. He was royally effed over and someone probably punched his dog too. I don't care what Leno would have you believe, he worked a deal to get the Tonight Show back. It may not have happened the way he thought it would, but he reneged on his retirement and kicked Conan right between the legs. If I didn't already dislike Leno, this would have done it.

But tonight Conan returns. You gonna watch? I'm with Coco. For tonight anyway. I'm still all Dave, all the way.

*This obviously does not include Jay Leno. I said funny.


Too busy for a subject.

Sunday nights are always stupidly busy. I can complete 81 tasks throughout the day but it never fails that 23 more things have to be done before I can relax. Surely reorganizing the sock drawer could have waited, but in my mind it had to be done NOW. Remember when Sundays were the day to relax and do nothing? Biblical times must have been nice.



Remember: the clocks go back an hour tonight. You don't want to be that person who shows up early - or is late? - to your Sunday brunch.

I can't remember, is this when the college students riot or is it when we spring forward? Did your college ever riot over clocks? Mine did.

I'm curious to see if the horror stories are true about babies and daylight saving time. I guess the happiest babies (and parents) live in the parts of Indiana and Arizona, where daylight savings doesn't exist.

I heard that if you have an iPhone you'll have to manually change the time on it... I beg your pardon?.... you can turn off my oven and knit me a damn sweater but you can't automatically adjust to the time change? Shew.

Happy extra hour, (although is it really an extra hour if we've already lost an hour this year? I think we're just evening out) y'all!


Phoning it in.

I called on NaBloPoMo for inspiration today. I like this question, it's not one that people usually ask.

If your house was on fire, what five things would you be glad to see go up in flames?

5. Mike's brown shoes. All I can is, sigh.
4. Our bedroom curtains. They're forest green and nothing else in the room is. Plus there's this odd rosette thing covering up a half moon shaped window. They haven't made anything like it since 1997. But taking it down would mean letting light into the room. I'm like that Edward Cullen dude when it comes to light in the bedroom. Can't have it. Not even a tiny sliver. So I suffer in silence.
3. The clothes in my closet. Save for my jeans and shoes. If my clothes burned I'd take the insurance money and go on a major spree. Some things in there are due for an update. Like the work pants I've had for 10 years. I'm actually considered wearing my maternity pants in their place. They were a lot more modern looking.
2. Our kitchen counters. They are cheap black laminate or painted black cardboard, I'm not sure. They show every single crumb and piece of dust. But on the plus side it's easy to see where I've spilled chicken juice, so it's got that going for it.

And now for the #1 thing that can BURN...

1. Our kitchen floor. I HATE THIS FLOOR. Hate it dead. It's pure white and shows dirt like a mofo. It's impossible to keep clean. And I hate cleaning it because my efforts are usually wasted 45 seconds later when someone accidentally breathes on it. I've implemented a no shoe policy because of this floor, otherwise it would have to be mopped twice a day. I tell people they have a choice: they can either take their shoes off or they can mop my floor. Most people abide by the rules but there are a few violaters that I've had to prosecute. I've considered asking our family members for their shoe size so I can get them their own slippers to wear when they come over. I'm a thoughtful kind of crazy.

(I kinda feel like this post made me sound like a loon. I guess I'm letting my freak flag fly this month.)

Anything in your house that you'd be happy to roast marshmallows to?


I didn't totally hate it this year.

Now that Stella stands and grabs things and eats them we've had to make sure things are safely out of her reach. In doing that, I've been misplacing a lot of things.

I'll just put my keys in the corner of the guest room closet behind that suitcase, on top of Nora's cage and next to the red pair of shoes. She'll never be able to find them there.

Without fail, the following conversation will occur 30 minutes later: "Miiike, have you seen my keys? I just saw them! Where the hell could they have gone? I JUST FREAKING HAD THEM!"

Nothing sends me into more of a frenzy than losing something. I get mean and sweaty and shouty. It's really quite unpleasant.

Basically this is why I haven't posted any Halloween photos yet. The camera/computer cord has gone missing. I know I just saw it. Thankfully Mike knows my habits and brought me this other photo thingy and now I'm able to share them with you.

So enough talky talky, here are photos from Stella's first Halloween.

This isn't Stella. It's Robert Downey Jr. Oh, no, wait... it's her Dad.

Stella in costume #1. Ridiculously cute she was.

Mucho excited about being Yoda! Please note the light saber on the right.

I like this one because it's a good shot of the ears. Hee hee!

Costume #2 - a hot dog! I love hot dogs more than life. So when I saw this gem of a costume for $5 I had to have it. She liked it more than it appears, she had just woken up. With our cowboy friend.

To go along with my little hot dog, I dressed up as a slutty mustard bottle, but I must have missplaced those photos. Darn.

I found that I was a little more into Halloween this year than I ever have been. It was a really fun day hanging out with family and having a little Fall Fest party and then later hanging out with friends laughing and eating pizza. I still am very leary about passing out candy to kids wearing masks or dressed as clowns. But I enjoyed decorating the house and thinking of costumes and starting new traditions with Stella. I'm softening.


Kind of a big deal.

My husband had a great day yesterday. He earned a big promotion at work. BIG. All of those long nights, weekends, early morning meetings, last-minute European trips, headaches, extracurricular work activities, dinners that we ate together as a family in his office and years of schooling and test taking finally paid off for him.

He came home last night with a smile on his face so big that it brought tears to my eyes. He looked truly happy. It was amazing.

So I just wanted to take this opportunity to say that I'm incredibly proud of him. And I appreciate all he has done to provide a nice life for our family. And that I wish he could find better places to celebrate than Red Lobster.


Day 2.

Wow. This isn't easy. I thought it would be, but I'm completely drawing blanks. I'm pretty sure I've psyched myself out already. I say, "Ok, Self, write something witty and worth reading..." and then my mind freezes as if I've eaten ice cream too fast. Gah!

If I still wrote for my college newspaper, this would be the point where I would grab a wine cooler to get myself loose and my thoughts flowing freely. But I'm passed that point in life. Plus, wine coolers are laughable forms of alcohol.

So today's post will be a collection of thoughts that pop into my head. There will be no rhyme or reason to them. Pure stream of consciousness. You ready?

"I thought Stella was getting teeth. I thought I saw the top of tooth, but perhaps it was food? Nothing has popped through yet. I wonder why?"

"My "friends" on Facebook really need to stop telling everyone to vote. Really person-I-went-to-junior-high-with, I should vote? Gee, thanks for the heads up. I only listen to P Diddy when it comes to voting."

"I have to use the restroom. Must mean it's close to quitting time."

"I really hate the restrooms here at work. I'll wait until I get home."

"Did I use correct punctuation so far in this post? Probably not."

"I have weird fingers. I don't like my hands, they're not very feminine. And they're dry and cracking and they hurt. Sorry, digits, it's gonna be a long winter."

"Where should we have dinner tonight? It was kind of a big day in the D house. Hopefully not Red Lobster."

"Who is to blame for the giant container of leftover Halloween candy sitting on our work cabinet? Imma kick them in the shins. Do they know how many Kit-Kats they've forced me to eat today?"

"My head itches."

"Co-worker just said that I'm known for one-liners and that I'm funny. That made my day. "

"It's time to go. Here I come Stella!"


I signed up.

Do as the "T" says. I am.

I love that this NaBloPoMo month exists. I need motivation for things like this. It's like exercising. If left to my own devices, I'll never do it. But if I sign up for a class, I'm all in. And I usually sign up for a class once a year. Seeing as how there's only one or two months left in this year and I haven't taken any exercise classes yet (damn kid!), this will have to suffice. We'll call it my writing exercise.

And today it commences.

Look out, suckas! I hear there's free stuff on the line if I complete this. Ain't nobody or no thing gettin' in the way of me and free stuff.

(Look at that! I've already completed my task for the day. This is easy! Pimpin' ain't. But this is. And I may even have another up my sleeve.)


Stella: months 8 - 9.

Who? Us?

This banana didn't stand a chance. It's possible some of it went in her mouth.

Would you look at those sweet hands. Edible.

This is photography GOLD. This is the kind of shot Olan Mills can't provide.

Trying to get her dressed is like wrasslin' alligators. We've had to consult the WWE. Here she saw her pajamas and was making a break for it.

Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Willis?

Quintessential Stella. THIS is my baby. This photo describes her better than any words ever could. (9-months)

We have entire discussions via back-and-forth raspberry blowin'. We've solved many of the world's problems this way. You don't even know.

I've been looking forward to taking a photo like this since the day I found out I was pregnant. My favorite time of year + my favorite baby = pure happiness.


Anyone want to save a dying blog?

I've emailed Sally Struthers to get some advice on how to save dying things. I'll bet she could tell me how to go about getting people to send me money so that I can continue the life of this blog. For just $5 a day you can help make a difference. I will send you monthly photos of me sitting at my computer blogging away. Personal checks will be accepted.

Gah. I just need a swift kick to the pants to jumpstart my motivation. I wish I could tell you all just how much I want to blog. I'm stuck. I'm stifled. I'm scared. Hold me.

Won't you help?


Wanna see some cute pictures of my kid?

Watching the World Cup with Dad. She's a patriotic gal.

Getting ready to eat food for the first time. Avocado was on the menu that day. Look how excited she is to get it in her belly! I had to put it out of her reach so I could take the photo.

The best meals are the ones that end up all over your face. Avocado FTW! She told me it was the best thing since sliced bread. Which is weird because we haven't gotten to bread yet.

Rolled herself into a burrito. Before I could help her out I had to take some photos, like any good parent would do.

Seven months old today! This means she is now officially closer to 1 than 0. Whoa. Slow down, kid!

Loving life as a seven month old!


Parting is such sweet sorrow.

This past weekend was my first weekend away from my Stella.

We were in California for Mike's great aunt's 80th surprise birthday party. I have heard a lot about this aunt and how terrific she is and Mike really wanted me to meet her. And being that she's 80, the chances of her flying here are slim to never happening. So we went.

The day before we left and the day that we did leave, I had that butterfly in the stomach feeling. But not in a good way. In a "I may hurl at any moment" and "who keeps punching me in the gut?" kind of way. I was sad. I didn't want to leave her, but since we were only going to be there for one full day, it just didn't seem worth it to take her and all of Babies 'R Us with us. Plus she didn't have $80 to check her luggage, so she stayed home with Grandma.

There were lists and friendly little (and not at all annoying) post-it notes left all over the house... here's how you feed her, this is what you push to turn on the dishwasher, this is where we keep her crib, this is how you breathe and blink. But don't blink because then you won't be keeping your eye on my daughter! And no parties! ... From what I can tell the rules were followed but maybe that's because my Mom is a good cleaner-upper? Who knows. The nanny cam I installed will reveal all.

We walked through the airport and even though I was carrying my luggage, my arms felt light. Something was definitely missing. It's not often that I walk around the house without a baby in my left arm. It's how we do things. She loves to be held and carried and I love having a really buff left arm. And so walking through the airport and having my left arm swing back and forth felt wrong.

I probably called home half a dozen times before we even got on the plane. I missed her every second and I just wanted to see how the first few hours were going. Plus I wanted to hear her little voice in the background. I heard laughing ... Can you believe she was laughing? Without me! Like my Mom is as funny as I am. Whatever, Stella.

No really, hearing her laugh made me feel a hundred times better. She was in a good place and was being well taken care of. It was a huge relief. I needed to hear it. And I needed the 3 alcoholic beverages I had in the airport. In the airport. I had a couple more on the plane, but Part II of this story will explain that further.

So we boarded the plane and headed out to Los Angeles. Our baby at home. Laughing. Me on an airplane. Slowly unclenching.

(Part II to come - How to Fly like a Baller)


Aunt Michelle x 9.

My BFF is having a baby soon! Like, 3 days! I'm so beyond excited! And if you know her, or if you've read her blog, you know what a major deal this is for her. She was destined for this job and I could not be more thrilled to see it all come to be.

It's hard for me not to tell her everything about my experiences because I want her to have her own and not worry about what anyone else did. If there's anything that I've learned from having a baby is that everyone (read: EVERYONE) has their own unique experience. No matter what, her delivery will be different from my delivery, her baby will be different from my baby and the way she handles both will be different from the way I handled them. It will be equally as awesome, but different. And I can't think of anything cooler.

I can't wait to meet her little person. I have a thousand stories I will share with him/her (even though I totally think it's a girl!) and the first one will be about how the two of us became friends 25 years ago and how our kids will have no choice but to be friends for life too. So deal with it!

Best wishes Turtle Parade! I will be thinking of you every second! Much love!


Change is good. And it's coming.

I really wish I could explain to you all just how much I wish I could throw myself back into blogging. I want to do it! I need to do it! I feel my connection weaning and I don't like it one bit. I could comment on your blogs all day long, but I feel that's not fair. This is a two-sided relationship. I can't live my life knowing that I expect more from you than I'm willing to give. We all know how those relationships work out.

I think what I need to start with is a new template. I chose from the Plain and Boring catalog when I initially chose this. I thought I was going for simple but I think I ended up with the equivalent of an unsalted, unbuttered rice cake. There's no motivation to visit this blog. And there's no motivation to write on it.

So, I need a change. That "design your own blog" thing that Two Pretzels blogged about a while back is just the thing I need. I'm going to monkey around with that to see what it's all about and see if I'm smart enough to figure it out. I'm eager to see what's out there for poseurs like me.

For funsies, and because I'm committed to this two-way relationship, let's do this: in the comment section, tell me what you would like my first post on my new blog to be about. I'd like to know what the people want because then I can be sure that you'll come back to visit me. I'll choose one winner and just write about it with no prior announcement as to which one I've chosen. Sound like fun? It does to me!


Lord of the Rings.

Well slap my knee and call me Picabo! It's Olympics time again! (Cue fantastical Olympic song here!)

I am all too thrilled to be on maternity leave during the Olympics. You can bet your wallet that I will be firmly planted in front of the tv watching as much of the coverage as they want to show me. Curling at 4 a.m.? Yes, please! Synchronized skiing at 2 p.m.? Hell yeah!

I've always been a fan of the Olympics. I love the competition. I love cheering for my country. I love hearing athletes' stories via Bob Costas and his heartwrenching journalism. These athletes have trained their entire lives for these moments. Families pick up their whole lives to move half way across the country and eat peanut butter and jelly for dinner just so these kids can be at the ice rink everyday at four in the morning with the hopes of maybe one day making it to the Olympics. There is so much riding on them to succeed. And sometimes it comes down to two minutes of competition. And one small flub and it's all over. Ugh, so emotional! It's intense and I just love it! (So sad about that Georgian luger. Wow. How tragic.)

I know some people have a preference as to which Games they prefer - the winter or the summer. But for me that'd be like choosing my favorite child. Can't be done. I have love for both equally. (Yeah, I know I only got one kid right now, but someday I may have to choose between more than one and at that time I wouldn't be able to do it.)

Opening ceremonies are tonight and the fun won't stop for the next two weeks. Hooray! Lemme know if you want to come hang out and experience them with me. Bring nachos.

P.S. How awesome does Vancouver look? I could live there.

P.P.S. Let's share. Tell me your favorite winter Olympic sport. Mine would have to be ice skating or downhill skiing. I took an ice skating class in college, so I know how difficult it is to do what they're doing. And believe you me, I was of Olympic caliber. And I just love how fast the downhill skiers go, it's flabbergasting.

P.P.S. I hope no one is upset with me for not talking about the real Lord of the Rings. I'm afraid you've come to the wrong Hobbit house if you're looking for conversation on that.


Have they decided whether or not to include a DISLIKE option?

I've spent a decent amount of time looking at Facebook since I've been on maternity leave. It's my way of keeping in touch with people while being couped up in the house - thank you 10 inches of snow and recalled Toyota! And I've come to a conclusion. It's probably not going to be a popular conclusion and there's a good chance that I'm far more angry about it than I should be, but, I do not like it when people have their children's photo as their profile pic*.


"Oh, but my kid is so cute and funny! Look at him with food on his face and a funny hat on!" While this may be a true statement, the fact remains THAT AIN'T YOU! It's your kid. He can post that pic on his own page! Why not post a photo of your goofy, drunk uncle dressed in drag at Halloween if you're not going to post a photo of yourself? It's just as funny and equally ambiguous.

Now, I have no problem if you want to post a photo of you with your kid. That's completely acceptable because you are actually in the photo. I'm friends with YOU, so let me see YOU. How else do you expect me to judge how much you've changed over the years?

Trust me, I'll be snooping around your photos plenty to look at the ones of your kids. As well as your vacations and your Holiday celebrations, and I promise to take special note of the ones where your kids are wearing funny hats with food on their faces. I may even leave a comment on how cute I think they are.

But I'm taking the stance that your profile pic should be of you. I may even try to start a "Become a Fan of having your own photo on your profile" page for it.

Please note that I love my kid and I feel that she should be highlighted doing funny things and I fully intend to take photos of her wearing silly things and looking messy, but you will have to be my friend and click on the "Stella" photo album to see them. You gotta do some legwork to see the cuteness! I think this is fair. I don't want to give away the goods for free.

*Also applies to pets. Again, not you.


Four Tuesdays.

Stella J. is one month old today! Huh? How? So far, life with her is there-isn't-a-word-to-describe-it-well-enough. WE.LOVE.HER.

So far her likes include: sleeping, eating and pooping. Her dislikes include: not sleeping, not eating and not pooping and Jay Leno. She's growing and filling out quite well. We go to the pediatrician this week, I'm curious to see how she's changed.

You could set your watch to her, she eats every 3 hours to the minute. It's awesome and works out quite well for me to get things done (i.e. nap).

To commemorate her first month of life, we had a photo shoot. Here are 3 of the 300 that I took:

Look at those CHEEKS!

Get me two pieces of bread and some mustard, I'm going to eat this kid!

This photo = epitomy of cuteness!