Sunday, May 31, 2009

Loose Teeth Vintage Inspired Sundress with Petticoat

Another fabulous Grosgrain giveaway. I'd love to win this for my sister. I am getting into the vintage-y style stuff, but my sister is already there. The girl rocks heels and 1950's petticoat skirts like nobody's business. She perpetually looks like she's ready to play Beach Blanket Bingo or have Rock Hudson bust in on her pajama party. This would be right up her alley.

Loose Teeth Vintage Inspired Sundress with Petticoat GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Terrible" Doesn't Quite Cover It

We are slowly feeling better over here, although I still find myself holding Piper down ten times a day to wipe her nose and I keep making spicy things for dinner to make my sinuses feel better. We had to miss a friend's barbecue on Sunday due to this oh-God-when-will-it-END sickness. Piper was feeling a bit better that day and starting to run around like usual, but I decided we should probably stay in quarantine. There were going to be other kids there, and I thought about how pissed I would be if somebody brought their coughing, snot-dripping kid to a party and let them hug all over Piper. I also didn't want to be responsible for giving this plague to anyone else.

Piper's birthday is next week. She will be two years old, and some days I wonder where my sweet little baby went. I wonder that most days, actually, because two is shaping up to be pretty challenging. I feel like all I have done for the past few days is scream at her and put her in time-out. She has stopped listening to and obeying our requests; the threat of a time-out or telling her "NO!" is no longer enough to deter her. She's smarter, taller, and has better dexterity than ever before, so her capacity for destruction is huge. So far this week she has:

- Refused to stay dressed on a daily basis. Every day it takes me until noon to talk/bargain/shove her into clothes, and by the time her nap rolls around in the early afternoon, she is always at least half-naked again. The naked little wild thing running around did come in useful when some bible-thumpers rang the doorbell and wanted to talk about Jesus, though.

- Started climbing into the bathroom sink. Two days ago I heard the bathroom fan running and went to investigate. I found Piper sitting in the bathroom sink, gleefully pumping the hand-soap dispenser and rubbing it all over her (naked, of course) body. She'd already uncapped a tube of toothpaste and squeezed half of it onto the counter, in addition to putting generous amounts of soap on my toothbrush.

- Because she is potty-trained (has been for a couple months, whoo!) I can't lock her out of the bathroom. Despite my warnings to stay out of the sink, the very next day I heard her howling and found her sitting in the sink again, this time with her chin covered in blood. She had climbed up there, taken the razor Ryan keeps in the toothbrush cup, and licked it. She was okay, just a small cut on her tongue, but after that I stuck her potty chair in the hallway and shut the bathroom door.

- Pried open the under-sink cabinet in the kitchen to the full extent allowable by the safety latch and rummaged inside. I caught her trying to drag a bottle of hardcore flea spray through the two-inch gap.

- Used the refrigerator handles to try and climb up the fridge. Used the long, flat box that serves as a door to her room first as a slide and then as a ladder to climb to the top of her 6-foot bookshelf. Climbed up on the couch and jumped off. Climbed everything that is climbable and then some.

She throws her clothes into the bathtub as I'm running water for her bath at night. "Sploosh!" she yells, then giggles as miniature My Little Pony underwear and a striped t-shirt disappear under the bubbles. I tell her to stand up, she sits down and looks at me defiantly. I tell her to sit down and she stands up and runs around. I tell her to stop touching the floor lamp in the living room, and she pushes it over. I give her a waffle and tell her to take small bites, and she crams the whole thing in her mouth. I break it up into bites for her, and she stuffs three pieces in at a go. Yesterday she was jumping around on the couch and took a header. Literally, she fell right on her head. Twice.

If I ask her to be quiet, she talks more and louder. I ask her to be careful of my foot (I think I broke my pinky toe...again), she finds a way to stomp on it every time she comes near me. When we're outside, I tell her to be careful of an anthill and she runs right through it. I tell her to stay out of a mud puddle and she grins at me and jumps into it with both feet.

She buckles herself into her jungle-gym swing and then screams when she can't get out. I unbuckle her and tell her not to buckle it again, but she does anyway, and screams for me to come let her out. We repeat this process 20 times every day. She takes the clothes off her dolls, then asks me to put them back on over and over again. She slams doors and howls because she can't get them open again. She asks me to read the same books 10 times in a row, and when I ask her to pick a different book or say I'll read it again later, she screams "Again! Again! Ag-g-g-g-g-ain!" She asks for something and I tell her no, then she spends the next 15 minutes following me around asking for the same thing over and over, until I get mad and yell and send her to her room.

I try not to get mad at her, but lately I haven't done a very good job of it. We are here, together, just us, in the house, every day. There is nobody else for her to scream at and stomp on the toes of; there is nobody else to make the lunch she refuses to eat. Aside from a trip into the back yard or up and down the sidewalk (where I will spend a lot of time telling her to stop putting rocks in her mouth, stop stomping on ant hills, stay out of other people's yards, and stop sitting in mud puddles), there is nothing to do and nowhere to go. There is nobody else to answer her howls and demands or tell her NO! Stop it! Get out of that! Put that down! every thirty seconds. It's hard to form a complete thought, let alone get anything done. I know it's just her age, I know she's just testing boundaries. But you know what? My boundaries are tested enough these days. I'd just like a little peace and quiet.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bubble Blowing Skirt and Top Giveaway

Kathleen strikes again. This outfit is so cute. Piper is getting way into skirts now, I think because they're easy for her to put on/take off - mostly take off - by herself. She would look adorable in this.

Bubble Blowing Skirt and Top GIVEAWAY!!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


We are sick.

Piper and I are sick, sick, sick. We've been suffering some sort of cold/fever/sinus/cough/headache crap for a week and counting. It just draaaaags on and on and on. No combination of Sudafed and Ibuprofen and herbal tea and orange juice has managed to put a dent in it. Piper's sleep has been crap (crappier than usual, anyway, and that's really saying something) and therefore I am tired and grouchy. She was so tired and sick yesterday she spent a lot of time doing this:

This is totally unheard-of in our house. Even when she is watching Kipper or Yo Gabba Gabba!, she will dance around, roam from room to room, destroy/empty/rearrange things, and generally carry on with what she does. When all she wanted to do was lay on the couch, that's when we knew she was really sick.

This marks the first time she has actually been sick. She's had a cold or two before, including a couple during her first winter that had her wiping silvery snot-trails on the shoulders of all my shirts for a week at a time. She's been grouchy and tired after getting her shots and checkups; she has been overtired and moody. But never this, the rattling cough and intermittent low-grade fever and refusing food and sitting still for long periods of time. I am somewhat at a loss as to how to deal with it. She's woken up two nights in a row coughing and moaning "Owie, owie." There's not much I can do for her, other than keep offering her drinks (which she refuses), give her some medicine (which doesn't help), and cuddle her (which she's been asking for a lot of). We haven't taken her to the doctor yet, because I really don't think there's much they'll be able to do for her either. She seems better today, but we are still watching her warily and putting the pediatrician on speed-dial.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Still Missing Him

Piper and Chick, December 2007

He was a good companion and furry friend. And he loved Piper. I miss him; I keep expecting to see him on the back stoop, or under the dining-table. I hear a noise in the house and I think he's gotten himself shut in the pantry again. I get halfway to the kitchen to let him out before I remember that he's not in the pantry. He's not anywhere in the house, and never will be again.

Chick was with me for almost seven years. That's longer than I've had my husband.

I miss him so much.

As a total aside, holy crap my kid was bald back then.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

One of the Worst Days Ever

Our neighbor's pitbulls killed Chick, our sweet, slow 17-lb tabby today.

He was a great cat, the favorite of pretty much everyone who has ever visited our house. Even people who don't like cats liked him. He was a big cat - not just overweight (which he was, a bit) but big - and extremely gentle. Piper (and more than one friend's kid) have ridden him, poked him in the eyes, pulled his ears, whiskers, or tail, dragged him around, or sat on him. He never retaliated, just sat patiently and occasionally whined for help. He was good company, good for a snuggle, never got into anything, and never fought with the other cats.

We really, really loved him, and what happened today was horrible. We miss him very much. I have spent a lot of the day crying, because this was totally preventable. We have talked to the neighbor many times about his hyper dogs (they almost killed our cat Beckham a couple of months ago) and he didn't do anything. I was too nice to call Animal Control on him. We are very concious of the fact that he is friends with most of our neighbors and I didn't want to start trouble. His dogs have knocked Piper down, scared all our neighbors at one time or another, scratched Piper's face, broken our fence, scratched our back window, and done plenty of other damage. Still we wanted to be nice, give him a chance.

He didn't even apologize. At all. Not even when Ryan took one of the dogs back to him and said "This dog just killed our cat. It killed our pet." Not even so much as a "sorry."

I wish I'd called the cops on his damned dogs the first time they got out. I wish I'd reported it when they knocked Piper down and scratched her face, or earlier this week when they jumped all over me and nearly smashed my $1,000 DSLR camera, or when they jumped all over some poor guy and tried to pick a fight with his Great Dane.

I wish, I wish, I wish...

...I wish I'd done all these things, because then Chick would be waiting by the bedroom door for me right now, as usual.

I don't think I can sleep.

RIP Fortunato ("Chick"), 2001-2009

Friday, May 08, 2009

What Not To Get A Teacher

This week was "Teacher Appreciation Week."

Some administrator-or-other gave candy to the teachers at Ryan's school. It would've been nice if, instead of candy, they had appreciated the teachers by giving them a) a raise, b) a union, and c) bullwhips, but whatever. At least it was something - three pieces of candy.

His kids stole it off his desk.

That pretty much sums up his education experience right there.

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I would like to review some things NOT to give a teacher as gifts.

1. Anything with apples on it. Do you have any idea how much apple-themed crap a teacher collects over the years? I think this is a much worse plague at the elementary level, where your kid only has one teacher so you may feel compelled to give gifts throughout the year. Seriously, leave the be-appled knicknacks, notepads, hats, coffee mugs, plush items, and pencils at home.

2. Anything you got as a gift but didn't want. This includes but is not limited to: coffee mugs; coffee mugs with candy in them; coffee mugs with stuffed animals in them; stinky perfume, bath soap, or lotion; an eye-poppingly bad blouse in size 3XL; novelty socks (and for God's sake don't wear them first); and my personal favorite, a bottle of shampoo you used half of but "just didn't care for."

3. Coffee mugs. Teachers are already pretty adept at getting their hot drinks into their mouths. Please stop with the coffee mugs.

4. Calendars - wall, desk, or otherwise. They did have to graduate from college, so most teachers can figure out what day it is without 35 calendars to remind them.

5. Animals - live, stuffed, or otherwise. And if it's something you caught in the woods behind your house, please don't even bring it to school.

Some Things That Teachers Might Actually Like:

1. Coffee gift cards - even if they don't drink coffee, they can enjoy hot chocolate, a smoothie, or tea. Nothing says "thanks for putting up with my child for more hours in the day than I can stand to be around him" like a free beverage.

2. Bookstore gift cards - so they can read something that doesn't have "TEACHER'S EDITION" on it, or isn't so grammatically incorrect they want to poke their eyes out.

3. Supplies for their classroom - ask the teacher what they need. Things like art supplies, toilet paper, and paper towels are in short supply at a lot of schools. Stock the cupboard. Assuming the kids won't immediately steal it all, of course.

4. Cheesecake. Unless they're lactose-intolerant, of course.

5. This gift guide is not so bad, except for the apple earrings. The necklace is actually kind of cute. I am usually lukewarm on these kinds of "guides" (an $80 robe? $120 baby romper? Really?), but some of the suggestions on there are pretty cool, useful, and affordable, like the alphabet print or the personalized note cards. The copper hand bell, not so much.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Now, With 100% More Ravelry

I finally got around to joining Ravelry. Why did I wait so long?! This thing is awesome. Now if I only had time to knit...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The New Pornographers

Does anyone else dream of planning parties? Don't get me wrong, I love kickin' it at home in my jammies eating Cheetos and watching The L Word as much as anyone, but I also dream of parties. Elegant, wonderful parties where friends sip color-coordinated drinks that tie in to the decorating theme and eat delicious food that I have meticulously prepared myself. Oh, and there are always amazing decorations in these fantasies, hand-crafted by me of course. Why, it's so easy! You just spray-paint the branches, twist up the tissue paper and...taa-daa! Not to mention in these little daydreams, I am actually enjoying my own party, flitting from guest to guest accepting compliments on my hospitality (while wearing a very nice dress that has no trace of food on it and sporting a hairstyle that does not involve a hat or a ponytail), refilling drinks, and nibbling on sumptuous appetizers.

Total fiction, I know. But at least there are people out there willing to put my fantasies in an RSS feed-friendly format.

Three-Headed Kitty

Bess, Sweetie Pea, and Mei-Mei decided to share the cat bed.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


When some friends stayed with us during Spring Break a few weeks ago, we finally got around to watching Penelope. I had wanted very much to see it when it originally came out, but didn't get to. It had been sitting in our Netflix queue for months, and thanks to the Xbox, we can watch all that stuff on the big TV (rather than all of us cramming into the spare bedroom and asking our guests to squint across the room at the computer screen). We all wanted something light (and light on the swearing/violence, since our little night owl was still awake at 11:00 pm). We figured this should fit the bill.

It did, and then some. What a GREAT movie. As the final credits rolled, Ryan and I asked each other how we could be so stupid as to have put off its viewing for this long. It was freaking fantastic. Funny, smart, lushly realized and beautifully acted. Not only did all four adults (HA! We're adults!) enjoy it, but it was a very rare thing: a fairy tale I would totally let my daughter watch. Encourage her to watch, even. Oh, yeah. It was that awesome.

Our friend Morgan said she'd seen some not-so-great reviews of it when it orignally came out. I was flabberagasted. "How could anyone not love this movie?" I asked. "How did it not make a gajillion bucks? It's so smart and young and funny and witty. It's well-written and well-acted. The director and the performers all turned in good performances, but resisted the temptation to go cartoony. There's enough fun dialogue to keep the adults listening but enough jokes to keep kids entertained. The plot didn't go where we thought it was going, but in a good way, it didn't take the hokey, sappy route. The sets and costumes are stunning, and the takeaway moral/lesson/point is one that I hope every little kid- girls especially - would be encouraged to learn. How did it not do well?!"

"Well," Ryan pointed out, "maybe that's why. Maybe it didn't do well precisely because it's so awesome. It's not exactly the Bratz movie or Hannah Montana. It's kind of the opposite of those things. People can't handle thinking anymore."
"True," I conceeded. "And this is not a movie that will sell lots of shitty plastic toys, either."
"Which," he said, "Is probably exactly why we love it so much."

Which is not to say that I wouldn't buy Piper a Penelope doll. I totally would. And a playset of her bedroom. Oh, and I want to dress her as Penelope for Halloween this year (if you've seen the movie, you'll get the joke).

But seriously, everyone should see this movie. And then buy it for some kids. 'Cause it's great.

Also, as an aside to Morgan (or my knitting peeps): I found a pattern for the scarf that seems pretty accurate. But holy shit, it's ten feet of colorwork stockinette in the round. So, um, like I said, I'll have one for you in about twenty years. The original was apparently up on Ebay last year.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Gauze Celebre.

After seeing this post on a knitting blog, I coveted not only the fingerless mittens (never mind it's 82 degrees outside right now), but also that scarf. She was kind enough to link to the website where she bought it. I decided to click through, y'know, just to see.

I looked at the Uniform Studio shop page, and realized that the "scarf" was gauze. Closer inspection of the product pages made me realize that this "light as air cotton scarf" with "textural, distressed raw edges" was just a 20 inch by 6 ft. piece of cotton gauze fabric they ripped instead of cutting and didn't even hem. And it costs $40. It even comes in my new obsession color for this spring, mustard yellow. But $40? Seriously?

Now, generally I'm a champion of the "buy handmade" ethic and support the little guy and rah rah rah, but in this case I think "make handmade" will suit my budget a bit better. I'm sure they are very nice pieces of cotton gauze scarves, but for about $7 I can get enough cotton gauze to make one and rip it in half myself. I'd even have one to give to a friend.

Of course, assuming I ever make it to the fabric store/get around to ordering it, and the store or website has what I want...I'd get it home safely and spread it out and spend forty-five minutes laying it out on the floor, supposedly trying to see how wide I want it but really spend all my time yelling get off, cat! and Piper, NO NO NO! before I realize I can't find the fricken scissors, then fold it all up and tell myself I'll try again tomorrow, but there it sits for six months until I forget why the hell I bought it in the first place.

Uhh, not that this has happened with other craft projects or anything...I certainly don't have entire closet that might as well be labled "Where Good Crafts Go To Die." Nosir, not me.

Hmm...maybe $40 isn't such a bad price after all...

Swanki Hats GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Swanki Hats GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!
Wow, the sponsors on Grosgrain keep ponying up more and better giveaway prizes. Shoes, jewelry...and now hats! Since I am a hat freak (years of really tragic haircuts will do that to a person), I couldn't resist mentioning it.