Monday, October 27, 2008


Not the ribbon (which I do love) but the blog (which I think I love even more than the ribbon). Have you seen this? Kathleen creates the most lovely, amazing clothes...and then gives them away. She GIVES AWAY beautiful clothes like these skirts. You don't have to give her your firstborn or tap-dance or forward an email to ten strong women to win them. You just have to link to her blog. How amazing is that?!

She's opening an online shop soon, and you can bet I'll be buying from her. Piper would look adorable in those clothes. And I'll be forwarding a link to everyone I know so they can get some of her beautiful designs too.

P.S. Check out this amazing costume she made. It would be years too big for Piper, so I didn't enter to win it. It would've been a crime to store it until she grew into that gorgeous dress.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

For Those As Obsessed As I Am

Indulging my well-documented obsession with Babylegs, the tiny-sized leg warmers, I am posting some sales links for those who also find them irresistable:

The excellent Banana Peels Diapers has a lot of deeply discounted designs, many half-off. I've ordered from BPD before and the customer service is OUTSTANDING. They seem to have a ton of designs on sale at the moment. Don't forget to check out their cloth-diapering supplies, too. Lots of good stuff.

Today's Babysteals deal is a two-pack of Babylegs for half off. The pink ones are sold out as of right now, but there's some of the navy/Ivy League sets left.

Little Dudes and Divas has sets at half-off. While I am not crazy about the name of their establishment, they do have "choose your designs" 3-,4-,5-, or 6-packs for half their normal price. There's a limited selection of designs to chose from for the deal, but some cute selections are to be had and the price is great.

BabySnazz has some not-quite-as-good discounts on quite a few designs, as well as "Skidpants," which also appear to be baby legwarmers in cute designs. I don't know much about the website or the Skidpants brand, but they are nice-looking.

I just ordered Piper some very cute See Kai Run shoes that were on mega-sale at Amazon ($15 for shoes that are normally $36? Yes, please!) and I am having to restrain myself from going buck-wild with the Babylegs today. The weather here has cooled off considerably and she wears a pair pretty much every day now, either in place of pants (we have precious few items of cold-weather clothing that will fit over the lumpy bulk of cloth diapers), or under dresses. I am trying not to use this "but she wears them every day!" thing to justify whipping out the Fantastic Plastic and ordering up a few dozen more pairs. They're on SALE, fer crying out loud, HALF OFF. The only thing that has stopped me so far is looking at the sales and realizing just how many of those designs we already own.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Today I watched Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog again (that's only the fourth time, amazingly) and then poked around online reading about it. I had the radio on - NPR, what else? Commercial pop radio makes me want to stick a screwdriver in my ear - while I was futzing online and waiting for my biscotti to finish baking.

This radio vs. internet media convergence has caused a very strange side effect.

I cannot stop thinking "The hammer is my penis" whenever I hear John McCain's name mentioned.

I also cannot stop thinking of Sarah Palin as Moist.

I have been amusing myself with these thoughts all morning. If my next-door neighbor is home, she probably thinks I'm nuts. Our windows are all open (it was 82 yesterday and they're predicting 86 today) and I'm pretty sure my random bursts of hysterical shrieking laughter carry quite far.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lists, Part 1

Things That Freak My Kid Out
The Kitchen-Aid Mixer
The Espresso Machine
The Steam Wand On the Espresso Machine
My Mother-In-Law
The Song "Ted Mosby Is A Jerk"*** (warning: sound)

Things My Kid Is Not Afraid Of
Strangers' Dogs
Strangers' Really HUGE Dogs
The Street
Pulling Things Down Onto Her Head
The Hot Oven
Diving Headfirst Into A Bathtub With Or Without Water In It

***Seriously. She started sobbing within the first ten seconds of the song playing. Sobbing and howling "no, no, no!"

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Things That Are Annoying Me Today

I was never good at math. At least, I was never supposed to be. I jokingly told Ryan the other night that "the only thing I remember about Math is that I was good at English." Which is true - I was a girl, I learned to read early, I was encouraged from a young age to focus on words and forget about the numbers. There was also the subtle, underlying assumption that girls aren't as good at math, and hey since I had the English thing going, why bother to fight nature?

I wish I'd paid more attention, because today most of my gripes are math-oriented*:

- I got a letter from our mortgage co. saying we owe an extra $300 to our escrow account. As near as I can tell, after half an hour of staring at two pages full of tiny columns of numbers labeled with lots of words like "projected," "required," "comparison," and "previous," when they did the initial calculation for our payments, they underestimated the taxes. Or our taxes went up. Or they're going up next year. Or our homeowners insurance went up. Or is going up. Or something.

- The thing is, we switched insurance carriers and got a refund earlier in the year. Our new policy was $200 less than the old one, but I took the whole refund and put it in the escrow account, just to be safe. I can't seem to figure out what happened to the extra, unless our taxes are going up by $500, not $300.

- It seems like we are paying a lot of taxes. When we were house-shopping in California, I'd always look at the estimated taxes on the houses we liked. What we're paying here seems high in comparision, which doesn't make much sense.

- I would not mind paying extravagant taxes if I got something in return. Like maybe if there were sidewalks beyond the borders of our neighborhood, or a bike lane on a road within five miles of here, or if they ran some buses within eight miles of here, or if they had plans to build an arm of the new and very successful light rail anywhere near here in the next 25 years (they don't; I've combed the CATS website).

- Staring at those columns of tiny numbers has also made me pissed off at how much of our payments go to "mortgage insurance" every month. As near as I can tell, "mortgage insurance" means paying someone to sit on their ass and do nothing. It doesn't help me, and people paying it has certainly not helped banks or mortgage carriers stay upright (Helllooooo, Wachovia, Countrywide, Silver State, I'm talking to you). So how about I keep my money every month and make my payments more affordable? I'm sure a lower payment would help prevent a default more than paying your mob-like protection money "mortgage insurance" every month.

- Also, if you are going to screw up the amounts I'm supposed to put in escrow for my taxes and homeowner's insurance, can I just do it myself? I mean, I can't, under the terms of our loan, etc., but I think I'd rather. The mortgage lender has generously offered to front the money (and charge us interest, of course) or work it into our payments (which means our payments are going up by $20 a month) but personally I'd like things to be all separated out so I can see what's going on with each thing, instead of scrutinizing the jumble of figures currently before me.

- They also seem to have the amount of our last payment wrong. It's only off by a small amount, the few dollars extra I put into principal every month to round the payment up to a nice whole number, but now I have to figure out why it doesn't add up and that is also pissing me off.

Non-math related:

- I just ate my last biscotti. Now I have to make some more, and not think about the fact that I am the only one in the house that eats them (well, Piper takes occasional bites) and that I have been making them once a week, which means that every week I am consuming half a stick of butter and 3/4 cup sugar in baked biscotti goodness form. There's other stuff in there too (like, um, flour and eggs), but it's the butter and sugar that I find most objectionable. And by objectionable I mean delicious.

*Also, I wish I'd paid attention because science and math would've served me far better in life than my meandering Liberal Arts education. I would have a viable career now, instead of wondering if I'm going to have to eventually ask people if they would like fries with that.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

16 Months

I haven't done one of these in...I don't know how long. It was long enough ago that I could still keep track of the weeks. I have no idea how many weeks old she is now. I haven't even had time to write down for myself all the things she does. There's so much I've already forgotten.

The past three (or so) months have seen an astounding word explosion. She learns new words every single day. It's still amazing to us when she pops out with new ones, because hey, we did not explicitly teach her that!. Her little brain is like a sponge right now. She's learning not only the words but also what they mean, which is the thing that floors me. One day I'll ask her "do you want your jacket off?" and the next day she starts screaming "OFF! OFF! OFF!" and tearing at the zipper when she gets too hot. We bought her some Halloween books, and by the third day she is pointing to pictures and words and saying "Witch. Pumpkin. Bats." Whenever I open the fridge, she grabs things out of the door shelves and lines them up on the floor, then picks up each bottle of marinade or jar of jelly and puts it back, all the time saying "Back. Back. Back." She says this when we clean up her room, chanting it as she hands me books and toys to put back in their proper bins, boxes, and shelves.

Yesterday Ryan stayed home from work, felled by a wicked head cold. When he heard Piper stirring in the morning, he went in to see her. When she opened her eyes and saw him, she grinned, kicked her feet, and gave him a big smacking kiss. "Awesome," she said.

She can call the cats by individual names now; so far she knows Fritz, Beckham, Ellie, Joon, Mei-Mei, and sometimes Chick. She really really loves animals, cats and dogs especially. We had to tell her to "be nice" a lot at first, so now whenever she says "nice" it is always accompanied by a petting motion. It's more common these days for her to say "nice one" when she is petting an animal. I don't know where she got that, since it's not something I recall saying to her.

I hear her chattering to the cats in the kitchen sometimes: "Kee ("Kitty"). Fritz. Kee. Nice one. Eyes. Nose. Mouf. Kee. Kee. Ears? Kee. Nice one." I usually come in to keep watch and make sure she isn't poking the cat in the eyes, yanking whiskers, or body-slamming the poor creature. Some of the cats will let her do this kind of stuff, but their tolerance only goes so far.

She likes to comfort us. "Mom-mai?" She says. "Up." So I pick her up and she gives me little reassuring pats on the back. "Mom-mai. Mom-mai," she says as she lays her head on my shoulder. Sometimes when I'm really frustrated with her, she climbs onto my lap and gives me a hug or kiss. "Awright, Mom-mai. Awright." No matter how pissed off I was seconds before, it's impossible to stay mad.

In truth, I don't find myself as irritated and angry with her as often as I used to. I think her new communication skills have helped; she can tell me what she wants most of the time, instead of standing there clenching her fists and shrieking because I don't understand. She seems to have also realized that sometimes Mommy just needs a little space. I can tell her to go play in her room for a few minutes or say "no not right now," and she'll usually comply. It gives me a few minutes to simmer down when I feel like I'm getting near the boiling point.

She's really pretty fun right now. I love watching the things she labels "awesome" (like when I read her favorite books or she hears a song she likes). I love watching her dance. She really likes music and we've watched the evolution of her dance moves over the past few months. The opening credits of Freaks and Geeks had her raising her arms and head-banging in the middle of the floor; classical music makes her bob up and down and flap her arms; Zydeco, the theme song to How I Met Your Mother, and her beloved Cuban music inspire frantic marching in place; the closing credits song for Numb3rs causes her to do this strange routine where she puts her arms behind her back with her elbows sticking out at the sides, sticks out her belly, and does a slow, undulating walk around the living room, sometimes turning in circles on the spot. It is the most hilarious and cute thing I have ever witnessed.