Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Snow Day with a Toddler is not All It’s Cracked up to be.

Oh, it’s been a rough day.  First, we woke up to no school, which meant no preschool.  Well, duh.  It snowed 18 inches last night.  But then!  Charles woke up mashing his fingers into his mouth in a desperate effort to alleviate the pain of teething molars, so I knew it was going to be a good day.


I decided to make a puffed oven pancake.  If you don’t know what this is, well, let me just say that the buttery, eggy goodness of it has been the bright point in my day.  It’s also called a dutch baby, and I have my own recipe… probably adapted from the ones in Joy of Cooking (the old version, as it isn’t in my new version at all) and the Better Homes & Gardens red-and-white checked cookbook (you know the one – we all have it):


Place 1/4 cup butter in a 9x9 glass baking pan and stick it in the oven while it is preheating to 400 degrees.


Mix the following in a big bowl:

1 cup milk

1 cup flour

1/2 cup white sugar

4 eggs

1/4 teaspoon salt


When the oven is done preheating, pour the mixture over the melted butter and bake the mess for 25 minutes. 


Breakfast time was okay, actually, with a minimum of tears.  But then Leland called and we went from “lazy day at home” to “4WD chauffeur” in an instant.  Which then required a quick shower, dressing, and backing the car out of the garage.


I understand that most mothers have days they wish they could redo.  This was one of them.  Not that I got upset or shouted or went crazy or anything, but just that nothing went smoothly at all.  Charles didn’t want to wear clothes.  Then he did, but he changed his mind five times about which shirt to wear.  He refused to brush his teeth, but as soon as I took the toothbrush back to the bathroom, he wailed for it.  It took multiple time outs for him to allow me to put his diaper and pants back on after he decided, again, not to wear pants.


We got to work and the mood was sour.  After all, our productivity looked to be shot for the day.  I started packing orders, which makes my hips sore, while Charles watched YouTube videos of Thomas the Train in my office.  We went home to have lunch and he wanted mac n cheese, then he didn’t.  Then he ate it and left the table to play with books, but he didn’t want me to put the leftovers away.  He did help me to vacuum by following me and the big vacuum around with his little one, so that kept us all occupied for 30 minutes or so.  Then he didn’t want to nap, but I desperately needed one.  So I laid down and shut my bedroom door, and Charles fiddled with my makeup and underwear drawers for an hour.  Then we watched Beauty and the Beast.  Then I thought we should go outside to play before going back to the office to pick up Leland and make the postal and bank trips, but Charles got halfway into his snow pants and threw the kind of fit that just deflates me.  I can’t deal with it in any way that seems constructive.


I changed out of my snowpants (and by “my” I mean “Tony’s,” as there’s no way mine would fit right now) and scooped up screaming Charles and strapped him into the car and we went to run our errands.  We weren’t even out of our driveway before he was asleep.  He is still in the car.


I am exhausted.  Tony’s working late.  But!  But, Leland just got here (a neighbor dug his car out) and we are going to make pizza and salad.  Perhaps things will be getting better soon.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Snowpocalypse 2011

In case you hadn’t heard the news, we got dumped on in Skagit County today.  Observe:

Snow 009

That’s our car in the street… we think a cat ran over the front of it.


Here is the backyard:


Snow 011

As you can see, the snow is still coming down.  These photos were taken at 7:15 PM and we are expected to have snow all night long.


As of 7:15 PM, the accumulation is 15 inches:

Snow 015


Looks like a snow day tomorrow!!!


Charles is excited, and preparing his toy chest for a big day:

Snow 007




Oh, yes, we went out in the snow… the temptation was too great.  After I got the mail and fell in to the powder up to my knees in the front yard, we knew we had to take advantage of the situation.  We played around, jumping and hoisting Charles from spot to spot, while Buster bounded out paths and forded trails.  18 inches of snow is a lot when you are only 37 inches tall:



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hello, Baby

And so, we just had our 21-week ultrasound, resulting in a pretty big surprise. 


Remember back, if you will, to Charles’ 19-week ultrasound.  Oh, so cute he was!  And also, he was in the ninety-third percentile for growth.  NINETY-THIRD.  That was when we got the first taste of how big he was going to be. 


This time?  Fiftieth percentile.  That’s five-zero.  Middle of the road.  This baby is of totally average size, which I was not at all expecting, not even one bit.


So yeah, big surprise there.  Perhaps I won’t scare people so much in my ninth month as I did before.


No, we did not find out the sex.  But here are some adorable photos:



This is the baby’s profile.  Now, let’s do a side-by-side comparison with Charles’ ultrasound profile (bear in mind that ultrasound is not super exact, and the babies could have been turned opposite directions from one another).  The first photo is Charles, the second is New Baby.


Baby profile scan0003

Pretty different, huh?  A bit more jaw on New Baby, a bit less roly-poly looking.  Same sloping forehead (which, in person, was not nearly so ape-like, though you’d better believe that I agonized over that for months whenever I looked at this ultrasound waiting to birth Charles).


Here is New Baby’s mouth and nose (which I think looks so much like Charles!):



Can you see them?  No?  Well, try this:



Those are the nose, lips, and chin right there…


So, should we start the pool now?  Boy or girl, what do you think?

Monday, February 14, 2011

VD Panic Throughout the Nation

Happy Valentine’s Day! Hahahahaha… did you think this post would be about venereal diseases?

Not that we should make light of venereal diseases. In fact, I plan to talk about venereal diseases in graphic detail with Tony in front of our children when they are older. For fun. But also because they are a real problem and extremely gross and we should work to promote safe sex.

I know a bunch of people who hate Valentine’s Day. Or, as some of them call it, “Singles Awareness Day.” Pooh on them, I say. This day is about LOVE, and there are so many kinds of love, and love should be celebrated, and the cookies and candy are nice, too, and you can buy those for yourself, because you love yourself. And all of you love someone and have someone who loves you. Even if it’s “just” your mother. But don’t think about it as “just” your mother, because I’m here to tell you that a mother’s love is stronger than almost anything in the whole world. Except for maybe your dog’s love. Although a dog’s love is shorter-lived, canine lifespans being what they are.

When I was younger, the worst thing about Valentine’s Day was when the Key Club or whatever would sell roses or carnations and then deliver them in school. I (along with many of my classmates – all girls, of course) spent the whole day waiting for a delivery that didn’t come. Why? Because teenaged boys are dumb. And if you are a teenaged girl, trust me, that is all the explanation needed. Someday, they’ll wise up, I promise.

Later, my dad would always send me flowers on Valentine’s Day. It made my heart happy to receive a bouquet from him every year in college – much more so than receiving flowers from some dumb boy. I knew my daddy loved me more than any other male and those flowers always made me feel special to him.

Now, I am lucky enough to get valentine gifts from many boys… flowers from my husband, a card from my brother, kisses from my toddler, nuzzles from my dog (okay, those last two happen every day). But here’s the thing: the flowers, cards, and candy are just expressions of something I know they feel. And tonight, I’ll try to show Tony, Charles, and Buster how I feel about them through heart-shaped pizza and heart-shaped cookies. Because Valentine’s Day is a day for expressing love. And sad as it is to note, many of us do not express love to those we care about on a daily basis. And yes, sometimes the expression of love is expensive. After all, without some small personal sacrifice, actions don’t have much meaning. I can tell a person I love him/her, but to sacrifice my time, money, or what have you to show them? That is real love.

And so, maybe I’ll just make a really late resolution for 2011: I’m going to show my love more often this year. I’ll try to send care packages and give gifts. I’ll make more phone calls and drop more letters in the mail. I’ll spend a bit more time smooching with Tony (when he’s not sleeping off a long day of preparing taxes). I’ll do more favors. There are so many, many people in this world whom I love, and they should know.

Counting your blessings is so much easier than cataloguing your complaints. Listing the people you love and finding ways to show them should be easy, too. So stop complaining about the “commercialization” of this “Hallmark” holiday and enjoy Valentine’s Day by celebrating all the love in your life!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Go make a pot of coffee, drink it, and start making burgers

How is that morning sickness going, Amelia?

Fine, thanks.  I’ve been feeling better over the past few weeks, and I mostly control my vomit urges by eating more food, more often, and I haven’t turned to the drugs since mid-January. 


Feeling better coincided (as it often does) with feeling like I have taken a handful of uppers every morning.  I cram the fleeting hours of every day with laundry and cleaning and reorganizing, sure that this child I will bring forth will be embarrassed by the disorganization in the house… or something.  Where does this urge come from?  Anyhow, in addition to garage storage, new TV, and bookshelves moved and repopulated, my mom has proposed a true remodel project for after-tax-season: ripping off the red-painted wood paneling that covers the cement foundation wall in the basement, insulating it, and putting up new wood paneling (that we would leave wood-colored).  If we did this, it would only make sense to replace the carpet (of course).  So!  My plans of no big renovations might be tossed to the side as opportunity knocks.


Otherwise, pregnancy seems to be moving along swimmingly.  At 20 weeks and change, I am feeling all sorts of movements from the baby now, and we’ll get to see him or her through the ultrasound machine next week.  No, we will not be finding out the sex of the baby.  We didn’t with Charles, and we enjoyed the surprise.  Yes, this means we need to find two names.  We have a girl’s name, still working on the boy’s.  No, we will not be revealing the name until after the birth.


And do you remember how I carried Charles?  All out in front?  I am thinking I am carrying this child the same way.  Probably there are some wives’ tales about how I’m carrying being related to the sex of the baby… so maybe it’s another boy?  At any rate, I am thanking my lucky stars because I carried Charles so far out that he didn’t squish my bladder and cause the incontinence issues that many other women experience.  Who wants that?  As far as I’m concerned, this baby can be big and all out in front!


Amelia, is that oil-cleaning thing still working out for you?

Yes, yes it is.  I am slowly working my way through the standard face cleansers I own in the shower, but I’m experiencing a bit of chloasma (the mask of pregnancy) in my cheeks, and the weather is sapping my skin of all moisture, so I might give that up soon.  I hate to waste things I paid money for, but my poor face is so dry, and I’m sure the oil twice a day would help!  My hands are also dry, and in that uniquely Russell way, they are cracking and bleeding.  So are Leland’s.


The treatment itself is doing wonders for my acne, though.  I haven’t had a breakout since I started with the oil cleansing six weeks ago, and my pores look smaller.  I do need to buy more washcloths, though, as I can’t quite make it through a laundry cycle with enough for a face wiping every night.


It’s funny, more people have asked me about this than almost anything else I have written about.  I guess we all want to look better, huh?


How’s tax season going this year?  Anything I can do?

Tax season is always tough.  We lose Tony to the office for 12-14 hours every day and that is exhausting (for him), no matter how you slice it.  Tony has been getting to the office by 5 am, sometimes as early as 4:30.  This is nice because he is able to come home and have dinner with us (or shortly after us) each night.  He is working weekends already (has been for a month), and he is only going to get busier.  I have no doubt that we will lose him for dinner in the near future. 


But!  But, he looks better than he has in years during tax season.  Oh, sure, he’s tired, but he doesn’t look drawn and pasty and ill.  He’s not short of temper, and he’s maintained several of his household responsibilities (finance, dirty-diaper laundry {he puts them in the washing machine and starts it so I don’t have to smell them, then I move them through the wash and dry cycles and fold and put away}, and random stuff the pregnant lady asks him to do).  Starting this weekend, Charles and I will be heading out of town quite often to give him the chance to work 20 hours per day in the hopes that he’ll be able to keep up dinners with us for a while longer.


I am starting to lag on my housekeeping, however.  You might recall that when I was about 24 weeks pregnant with Charles, I threw my back out (or rather, Charles threw my back out by being such a giant baby).  I am starting to feel my lower back throb when I do activities such as vacuuming, and Buster has started shedding, so vacuum I must, and often.  I am hoping to be able to keep up with other chores at least until the end of tax season, but if you are so inclined, you would be welcome to come over and vacuum or mop any day.


What’s new with Goodwinds?

Well, we are interviewing and MBA grad student for a maternity leave internship next week.  The interview is next week, not the maternity leave.  I don’t plan to go until I give birth, but someone will need to come in and take over ordering, invoice processing, etc.  Leland is working his butt off and our website traffic is up 54% over last year.  We’re hoping for continued success and working on strategically positioning ourselves to reach the industrial supply market within the next year.    All good things.


What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?

Absolutely nothing.  Tony’s a tax accountant.  What do you expect?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Playing Dress-Up

If I wasn’t pregnant, we would have bid on (and won) another trip to Mexico… alas, the timing of May 6-14 just won’t work out for us this year.  Even so, we had a great time at my Rotary Auction last night.  We stayed up waaaaay too late and I’m paying for it today, but that’s okay. 


Here we are, pre-auction:


auction 004

I rented the dress for the weekend from and it was fabulous.  They sent me two sizes in case one didn’t fit, along with a postage pre-paid envelope to send them back.  I got compliments all night long :-)


We did bid on and win a Children’s Museum membership (ours ran out last month) and a large pizza per month for a year from Round Table.  Yum!  There were some really interesting items on the auction block, both silent and live, and it makes me think, hmm, not a bad way to spend your money if you’ve got a lot of it.  After all, someone went home with a beautiful chocolate cake (that taunted me all night with its delightful scent – oh, people, it was covered in chocolate ganache with a Bailey’s caramel glaze… ohh, I could almost taste it!  Curse this pregnant nose!) and they supported the Rotary club at the same time.  On the whole, most everything was far out of our price range, especially when there is very little in life that we actually need right now.


John Curley, formerly of Evening Magazine fame, was the auctioneer, and I have never seen an auctioneer work harder.  He was frantic, frenetic, and a little bit scary. 


Speaking of timing (I was, back at the top), Tony has decided to take Charles on a Father’s Day fishing trip in June.  Does anyone remember what happens in June?  He’s inviting others along with him… and I will be stuck at home, potentially having a baby alone.  Not cool.  Somehow, I don’t think my brother will want to hold my hand during delivery.  So, fingers crossed this baby doesn’t arrive while the only one around to drive me to the hospital is Buster!