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November 2008

Most of us were thinner before we came to dinner

Tap tap tap... this thing on? Does anyone read the internet on Thanksgiving?

It's early Wednesday morning. I was watching my mother deal with a naked flappy-skinned turkey until my inner pansy took over and insisted I leave the kitchen for the safer confines of the internet. I cooked Thanksgiving dinner once, when my parents still lived in Italy and I had a brand new house, and it was... well, I'll just say that I don't like to touch raw meat. I am totally one of those people who prefers to believe her steak dinners are magically conjured out of thin air. Also, how lame am I that I am WATCHING my mom and not HELPING? I will say that I artfully arranged the peaches in the peach jello last night. (Peach jello on top, ice cream on the bottom, totally the best part of Thanksgiving.)

ANYWAY. I am sitting here fulfilling my contractual obligation to let you know I have told everyone what I'm thankful for at Parenting today. And it's more things like "Elmo" than "Good Friends and Family". Although they're all right too.

I hope you have a wonderful, blessed and tasty holiday today, and I hope you score that plasma screen at a rock bottom price tomorrow. I will probably be in some sort of food coma till Sunday and unable to post. Oh, and DEFINITELY unable to weigh in on Monday. HA.


The only Highly Anxious Personality Trait I'm currently working on

When I was that middle school age that adults don't particularly enjoy, my room was pretty messy. So I'm told. I don't really remember what my room looked like, although I freely admit I never put my clothes away, preferring to layer them sky high on my desk chair. Knowing this is true I suppose I probably didn't put much else away either and it annoyed my mother to no end. I know she also wasn't a huge fan of my laundry or dish washing or bathroom cleaning skills, although I'd like to say I did a HECK of a better job than my brother, who continually got away with never cleaning ANYTHING. I think with him everyone just agreed to lower their standards.

Anyway, I mention that because who knew I would become the sort of person who finds clutter and disorganization to be Profoundly Upsetting? I'd include 'All Around Filth' in that list, except that we all know it's been a year since I cleaned a bathroom. It's more the Having Stuff Everywhere that drives me to distraction- seriously. It can get so overwhelming that all I can think of to do is stand in the middle of the room and grit my teeth and clench my fists and lay blame. I blame me for not being on top of my house. I blame Jack for having too many toys and not putting them away. I blame Molly for ensuring I am sitting on my couch all day making sure her tummy is full. And I blame Phillip for everything else.

(As if he knows what I'm writing about, Jack has found the extra sponges in the drawer and is now "scrubbing" the kitchen floor.)

Oh, and I also blame my house. My poor little house. My brand-new-when-I-moved-in, shiny-floored, pretty-kitchened little house. Little being the operative word. My main complaint these days is that there's nowhere to put anything. Since the arrival of the Shorties (tm AmFam) my living room has been coopted by primary-colored plastic and also one hulking pack 'n play. I do keep some toys in Jack's room, mostly puzzles and books and stuffed animals, but we spend most of our time down here. And down here is what looks like Toys 'R Us threw up all over the rug. I have designated places for toys- baskets, boxes, even a very cool toy shelf in the corner- but they still end up migrating all over the floor and every night Phillip and I are on our hands and knees finding all the Little People and board books and blocks and stacking cups and putting them away. Unless we are watching TV, in which case I get even more frustrated the next day.

But let's face it: it's not my house's fault. My house is no four bedroom suburban behemoth, but it's plenty big enough for the four of us. Bills and papers and mail and work and magazines don't HAVE to pile up on our table. I COULD put them away when I receive them! FANCY THAT. The corner of my kitchen counter doesn't have to be suffocated by phone chargers and tape dispensers and pens and address books and sticky notes and all the other random crap I leave there. I COULD throw half of that stuff away and organize the rest.

Have I taken long enough to get to my Point? See, Molly is getting a touch more predictable and I totally manipulated the nap schedule to make sure I'd have time for myself. Molly slept for a whole hour IN HER BED. And instead of taking advantage of this time to jog through a Daily Show on the treadmill (my exercise of choice these days, and I sure wouldn't be doing it if I couldn't watch my holy and blessed television shows on the laptop) I spent yesterday afternoon picking up my damn living room. And talk about satisfaction. WAY BETTER THAN A SNICKERS, PEOPLE.

 The best part was taking a few large and clunky things (the music table, a basket, a chair) out of the living room, reminding me that at one point my house used to feel bigger. Of course, I only put those things away to make room for Christmas, but whatever. I tried to get rid of a lot of toys, although I ended up keeping a bunch for Molly later on. I cleaned off the table. I paid bills. I updated Wesabe. I organized my kitchen counter. I turned on the Roomba and thought about making pumpkin bread with chocolate chips. I didn't, because I didn't want to ruin the bliss effect by eating an entire loaf of pumpkin bread and gaining the requisite 20 pounds, but it didn't matter. Sitting down on my couch yesterday afternoon and looking around was the biggest pick me up I've had in a long time.

So how do I get it to stay this way?

We're starting Thanksgiving a day early this year and won't really be home till Friday (this is what happens when your families are far enough away to be an annoying drive but close enough so that your presence is required at all family functions) (and Mom, WE LIKE GOING TO FAMILY FUNCTIONS) so I think there is potential for my house to still look decent by the weekend. But after that? How do I keep it all from going to pot? Do I need to put myself on some kind of Pick Up Schedule? Is there a tried and true system for making sure you can actually see the surface of your dining room table? Or your FLOOR?


I guess that's one way to save money

*Weigh in post is up at Hot By Thirty. Have YOU weighed in?

It was an interesting weekend. We did stuff and were subsequently totally exhausted by the doing stuff. And then we'd sit on our couch and look at each other and say things like, "This is just how it IS, huh? The REST OF OUR LIVES."

Two babies? More fun, more work. And going anywhere outside of your living room is like planning the invasion of Normandy. Double stroller or single stroller and sling? Are we eating? Do I need to bring snacks? Sippy cup? How many diapers? Is it raining? Which diaper bag? Just a purse? Where are the coats and shoes and hats? Does Mommy's flask need to be refilled? But Jack can only run so far in our living room and we HAD to get out. We even thought it might be fun! Silly parents!

We went to a stuck up fancy pants mall on Saturday because we knew it had a kids' play area. We went to another stuck up fancy pants mall today because Jack was getting his hair cut (and his pathetic parents can't bear to have him get a hair cut at a regular ole SUPER CUTS I mean, are our hearts made of STONE?) and we went to the kids' salon where you sit in red sports cars and play with toy cell phones while the nice ladies carefully snip around your ears. Also, there is a play area, which is really our only requirement for Family Outings these days. (And then guess who cut his lip climbing up to the slide? GAH.)

But at both of these venues I had the ridiculous idea I might get to do some shopping. HA!

I mean, I should have just stopped this train of thought at the "double stroller" point. Seriously. While that contraption fits through doorways and department store aisles, you can't exactly go browsing through the racks. Neither can you leave your 18-month-old and 2-month-old in the stroller in the aisle while you hurriedly dash through the clothes, your head whipping around every 2 seconds to make sure no nefarious person has made off with your children.

And now I have one of those kids who doesn't WANT to go shopping, why am I pushing him down these boring corridors, he wants OUT, do I have any treats?, when are we going to the food court, is it time to go home, this is torture WHIIIIIIINE. And when that gets started guess who chimes in? The little sister. SO. ANNOYING.

Even though I had Phillip with me to do the stroller pushing and the child wrangling, it was still a bummer. I found them some Christmas clothes, but had to leave every other store due to being COMPLETELY DISTRACTED. I don't know about you, but if I am going to spend serious amounts of money on baby Christmas outfits and Christmas party accessories and other Very Important Items, I need to FOCUS.

I now have to say to myself: Self? Do you want to go Christmas shopping? And perhaps get yourself a latte while you're at it? THEN YOU MUST FIND YOURSELF A BABYSITTER.

Anyway.

About the stretched out diaper thing... I was three or four sentences into my politely-written Nasty Letter before I realized that at least half, if not more, of my diapers are 'seconds'. Meaning something was wrong with them. Meaning I got them cheap(er) and, when they arrived, did not see anything wrong with them and congratulated myself on saving a few bucks. It would be slightly embarrassing to write a politely-written Nasty Letter only to be informed that those diapers were seconds because the elastic was not elasticky enough. Or something. And I'm not even sure which diapers are seconds and which ones were full price. I could go through my order history on Cotton Babies, but I don't know how to distinguish the actual diapers. (Most of my diapers are 2.0s and I know I have a mixed bunch price-wise.) I think I'm going to look up how to fix them (and figure out if such a thing is possible on my own, probably not) and go from there. So. That is that. I have yet to deal with a diaper disaster in my new system, but it's only been a few days. I'm sure a disaster is out there lurking somewhere.

Oh, and for the record, I still love these diapers. I still love the one size. I know a lot of moms love collecting diapers and trying all the different kinds and different colors/patterns and all that, but MY GOD I have enough trouble switching out the too-small clothes, let alone dealing with sized diapers. In case you were wondering. I'm sure you weren't.


Those of you who did not research cloth diapers for months will have no interest in this, sorry!

If I give Jack the blue and green diapers and Molly the yellow and white and brand new pink diapers, then they're divided about evenly in half. I think that's about two and a half days for Jack and two days for Molly, and two days was about how long I wanted dirty diapers to sit in the pail anyway. The extra laundry doesn't bother me so much. I do fifty loads of laundry every day anyway. What's another one?!

The problem with color coding was that I wasn't sure if some of the stretched out diapers were yellow and white. I didn't want all the blue and green diapers to be Jack's, except for the ones I switched out with the yellow and white ones that wouldn't fit Molly. I guess I could have distinguished which was which from the snaps, but I am lazy.

Thankfully only one yellow diaper is sort of stretched out and one white diaper is extra stretched out. I'm going to see how those do on Molly (maybe it won't make such a difference since I'm making them so much smaller anyway?) About half of Molly's diapers have newborn inserts and the other half have the regular inserts. I tried both on her yesterday and I didn't think the regular insert diapers looked too bulky. Of course, I'm used to what we will call Cloth Diaper Butt by now and Molly's also a lot bigger than Jack was at this age. Molly is in the 90th percentiles for height and weight while Jack's category is simply labeled Shrimp. At this rate Molly will be beating him up by kindergarten.

The other problem was where to put them. I change all of Jack's diapers upstairs in his room, but I change the majority of Molly's in the living room (I have a changing table attachment on the pack 'n play.) I just decided I'd change her upstairs too, for now. I'd have to march the dirty diapers upstairs anyway, since the pail is in the bathroom up there. Hopefully this is going to cut back on my baby wipes use too (I use little baby washcloths with the cloth diapers) because MAN those baby wipe containers are IRRITATING. The ones that come in the nice little box are expensive, and the cheap ones either come out 40 at a time or you have to peel back the top or they stink or they're not soft or something else I can't stand.

We'll see how it works. I am annoyed, though, at the fact that I have so many stretched out diapers. Most of them are blue and green because I tend to favor those when I'm changing Jack. But only a handful of them are even over a year old. I think they've held up beautifully otherwise- even the the velcro that so many people complain about on the diaper message boards looks great. Age doesn't seem to be a factor, though, since my oldest diapers (I can tell which ones they are because they have white snaps instead of color coordinated snaps) are fine. They're not brand new and super stretchy, but not as stretched out as others. I don't want to try other brands or do the prefold thing, just because I've already spent so much money (with the intention of using them for more than one kid!) Right now they're fine. And now that they have some new colors I may not be opposed to replacing a diaper here and there. Those hot pink ones are TOTALLY Molly's color.

And now I'm going to go type up the eBay ad for the boy. He won't eat his yogurt. Won't stop whining. Wants his daddy and daddy ONLY. Jack can be such a prima donna. Thank goodness we're going to grandma's today.



If you didn't think I was a geek BEFORE...

Since my kids slept all afternoon (it must be the weather, everyone sleeps when they're depressed) (and only one of them slept in his bed, the other one slept on her mama's shoulder, as evidenced by the giant drool spot), I got to work on Project Bill Paying. I am an odd choice to be the family banker, as I am so the girl who throws the check to her friend saying, "YOU figure this out and just tell me what I owe!". But I figure if Betty Draper can do it, I can too.

Not without my trusty laptop of course, and not without a Web 2.0 application to make it all a bit nerdier. We set up a Wesabe account ages ago, but last night I started a new one. I downloaded all the accounts, I tagged absolutely everything, I squinted at the graphs and summaries and thought to myself, "DUDE. We can do better than this."

So you're right, extra-nerdy commenters! This DOES sound exciting. And totally the kind of thing I can get obsessed with if I'm not careful, like watching blog stats or seeing if anyone thought your post at Parenting.com was worth reading today. (If you're interested in bemoaning the inevitable Hair Falling Out After The Baby sadness, then yes.)

There are money management ideas that always made sense to me, but Phillip would say, "Well, it all goes to the same place ANYWAY" or "It's not different chunks of money, it's ALL THE SAME MONEY." But I need to set piles of money in different heaps, you know? It's a visual thing. How am I saving that $100 when it's not in the right heap? And how is that other $100 designated for this particular use when it's in THAT heap? I'm annoying like that. Also a bit Scrooge McDucky what with all my heaps of money talk. (Note: There are no heaps of money. More like small piles of nickels.)

And oh, Internet, the nerdiness did not stop there. After Wesabe I started looking for another organizational thrill and lo, there was iGoogle. YOU GUYS. STOP ME.

I am now able to view, on my brand new Google homepage, the innermost workings of my entire online presence. I combined my two gmail accounts (like I asked you guys about a YEAR ago) and stuck the inbox on my iGoogle page. I set up BeTwittered. I finally set up Google Reader and added THAT to my front page. I even found the Facebook gadget and stuck that on there, even though I STILL DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH FACEBOOK. And now I have, like, four tabs open on Firefox instead of ninety-three.
I have some issues (of course) mainly having to do with combining my email accounts (the Blog account and the Real Live Person account.) I sent the Blog email to my regular account, which means I no longer have the Blog contact list. And since my reader is set up in my regular account, I can't 'share' (when I figure out what sharing is) in Google reader with you fine folks. Who are much more likely to be interested in whatever I have to share than the anti-blog people in my regular account. (Okay, not ANTI-blog, they're just the people who still haven't figured out what a blast it is to publish your every whine and whimper.) Just a minor snafu, right? And while I have yet to fall in love with Google Reader (I'm a Bloglines girl from way back) I'm willing to switch just so I can keep using my clean and beautiful iGoogle page.

Anyway. Now that 90% of you have disappeared I think I'll go make myself some breakfast and decide which of Jack's toys I'm going to throw out or store (where?) for Molly when she's older. If Jack's Christmas haul is anywhere near what the grandparents are hinting at, we're going to need the room. And I'm going to need something to do tonight while Phillip and his coworkers eat pizza and push buttons in the server room till one in the morning.


Might I actually be in a good mood about FALL?

I don't know if it's the placebo effect or what, but those little Vitamin D pills (the girl who cut my hair called them "happy pills") are doing their job. I have yet to enter into full on It Gets Dark At Four O'Clock Breakdown Mode and I am happy to give credit where credit is due. My pharmacist friend sort of turns up her nose and says, "Everyone is taking Vitamin D now, it's the new thing." And to that I say, "Finally! I am following the trends!"

I've been so annoyingly cheerful about the season that I've been sort of disappointed my kid is too little to do crafts. CRAFTS. I am not even the crafty TYPE. I mean, I often wish I WERE, but I don't even like to bake cookies that require more than one bowl. I am an impatient slap-it-together kind of person who has no attention span for making felt ornaments or gingerbread houses, so why am I bummed out that I can't make cookies with Jack? Or construction paper turkeys? (You know how to do this: trace your hand, cut it out, fingers are the feathers, etc.)

I suppose we have plenty of years ahead of us to share the electric mixer beaters, but is there anything I can do with an 18-month-old? So far we spend a lot of time walking around the neighborhood kicking the leaves and gathering them like a rotting brown bouquet.

Molly continues to be the most perfect baby ever. Since the beginning of November she has woken up in the middle of the night exactly once. Where did she come from? Of course, she doesn't go to bed until eleven (or sometimes later, ugh) but the only reason that bothers me is that I suspect that's not the Right Way To Do Things. Aren't babies supposed to be going to bed early? Doesn't that sleep book guy say you should put your baby down at, like, three in the afternoon? I think Molly's still a little young for that kind of schedule and I'm willing to wait and see if she does an earlier bedtime on her own, but I'm still a little concerned. Like I should be fixing this. But all the ways I can think of to get her to go down earlier involve either a) waking her up to eat around 10 or 11, thereby ensuring we have to do the whole Get Molly To Fall Asleep Already dance we're already doing or b) not waking her up and having her wake up on her own at 2 or 3 in the morning. And you are left thinking: why do they want to mess with the sleeping through the night again? Have the diaper pail fumes messed with their brains?

Oooh, speaking of DIAPERS, today I am going to sort them into Jack diapers and Molly diapers. VERY EXCITING, I know. And yes, Molly is still in disposables. Sigh. The truth is that I'm completely overwhelmed by how to sort our collection of BumGenius one sizes so that I am not constantly snapping and unsnapping diapers to get the appropriate size for the appropriate kid. It seems easier to designate certain diapers for each kid and just make sure they're the right size when I'm doing laundry. What makes it complicated is that I don't know how many I need for each kid AAAAAAND some of the diapers are not very elastic around the legs anymore. Which means those can't be used for Molly (and they're even sort of loose on Jack.) But I've got the washer going right now and this afternoon I will do The Sorting and I guess I'll just experiment. I hate experimenting. I want to get it right on the first try.

Anyway, it's sunny and I think I might try getting them outside, even if it's only to kick more leaves on our sidewalk. Let me know if you're doing anything fun with your toddler. We need some inside activities!


Layoffs and Organizational Restructuring

***I've weighed in at Hot By Thirty. HAVE YOU?***

I'm not sure when we had the Define The Roles conversation, but I'm sure it was early on in our marriage, if not before. That was the conversation where we laid down the laws. I clean the bathrooms*, Phillip will clean everything else in the house as long as he doesn't have to clean a bathroom. I do the inviting and cooking and preparing and planning for parties and get togethers at our house, Phillip does the job of talking to our guests while I hide in the kitchen with a bottle of wine. The chocolate is mine, the potato chips are his. And when it comes to finances, I pretend they don't exist while Phillip is hunched over his desk glaring at online banking.

We have been perfectly happy with this arrangement. People say that one of the biggest married people fights is The Money Fight, but I am almost positive we've never fought about money. That is, of course, because we've always had enough and haven't had to worry and blah blah spoiled much? To be honest, I just go along with whatever Phillip says or thinks (after asking the requisite questions- I don't want to look uninterested) and that seems to work. Even now that we're down to just his paycheck and everybody is Tightening Their Belts (what does that expression MEAN anyway?) it's still not a source of tension.

What it IS is a source of JITTERY. Which, my friends, I have NEVER BEEN IN MY LIFE.

[Wait. I've been jittery. I am the QUEEN of Jittery. Just not about money. I AM the girl who decided to spend the money designated for Senior Year Of College on a Eurail pass and sketchy hostels, after all. And, if I may say so, excellent choice, me!]

The jittery started when I quit my job to be a Stay At Home Mom and I realized I could no longer justify my Target habit on the fact that I EARNED THIS MONEY MY OWN SELF, DAMMIT. I started to be concerned about things like how much I spent at the grocery store and my US Weekly subscription. (Getting your celebrity gossip fix is not cheap, people.) I started to view stretching Phillip's paycheck as part of my SAHM job. I plan meals. I try not to dilly dally in Target because that place just empties your wallet without you even noticing. I go absolutely ballistic if Phillip has to do the grocery shopping instead of me and comes home with the pricier cheese or the name brand pasta. WHAT IS HE THINKING?

My newest money saving venture is getting rid of our landline. Oh, this hurts me. I can hardly bear to think of all the calls I must now take on my cell phone, not to mention the fact that I now have to remember to CHARGE the stupid thing. But the landline is redundant and that's money I could be putting towards my celebrity gossip fix. (I HAVE NEEDS.)

But the other night I went even farther. I started to nag Phillip about the checks we haven't cashed. The unpaid bills that have been sitting on the table for a week. I'm getting NERVOUS. And you guys, I have a morbid imagination. What if something happens to him? I don't even know where we keep the passports let alone know how to log on to the bank website and pay the BILLS!

And so? I am now the new bill payer in the family. God help us.

Although I will have you know that I was Miss Ultra Super Responsible when I was a single gal living on my own. Oh yes! My own father will tell you how shocked he was when I didn't end up asking him for more money after my first quarter of school. I worked all through college and paid everything on my own and I KNOW HOW TO DO THIS. I just haven't done it, you know... recently.

I'm kind of excited though. It does make my control freak heart go pitter pat. And things I always wish Phillip would do I can now do myself (or forget and have only myself to blame.) Maybe if I'm doing more than just creating a nerdy spreadsheet and saving receipts, I might actually stick to a budget. THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS.

Anyway. Just apprising you of the restructuring going on at Cheung Corp. As you were.


*Nowhere in the laws does it say how OFTEN I have to clean the bathroom.


Before my day hits the fan

I have a brother in Iraq. Did I tell you that? A Google chat window opened up this morning while I was giving Jack breakfast and it was my brother. He said, "Did you hear? I won the war today." And perhaps it is a sign that I should start drinking coffee again because my first thought was, "He DID?" And my second thought was, "Should I turn on the news? Did I miss something?"

So now I am drinking a nice hot cup of coffee (which I never make for myself anymore, the coffee in my cupboard is for when my caffeine addict of a mother comes over) and getting nervous about my day. See, I have to get down to my folks' house by a certain time so we can get the babies to the portrait studio by a certain time. This wouldn't be a big deal except I think there's a cap on how early I can leave. Even if I left right this second it'd take me an hour just to get out of the city. There's a sweet spot for traffic around here. You need to leave right as everyone is almost all the way to work, and before the mid morning rush starts, which would be all those office workers leaving to get a coffee and doughnut? I don't know. I have my theories.

Last night we ironed little outfits and packed diaper bags and strategized for every possible Bad Picture Taking Scenario. Which is why my bag is loaded with bad-for-you treats and sippy cups and burp rags and pacifiers and favorite toys. Taking Jack's one year pictures, the last time I did this, was sort of awful, although that was (I think) the height of his separation anxiety. I hope things go better this time. At the very least their outfits are cute.

Also, please don't hate me, Molly slept 8 hours last night. How do we love you Molly? Let me count the ways:

1. She tanks herself up in the evenings.
2. She allows herself to be swaddled once the burping and gassiness is resolved.
3. She falls asleep on her own.
4. She doesn't make enough noise to wake us up during the night (although this could be because we are on our second kid and therefore purposefully deaf).
5. She sleeps till morning. Today it was seven o'clock.

I am thinking this makes up for the fact that she will not let me put her down all day. I do, because I have to, but her highness is not happy about it. Yesterday I was feeling all proud of myself because I kept Jack up a little later than usual and coordinated the sacred afternoon nap. But after ten minutes on the treadmill the Molly baby monitor started lighting up and that was the end of that. I couldn't eat lunch or use the bathroom or do the dishes or pick up toys or ANYTHING REQUIRING MOVEMENT as I had a baby in my arms all stinking day. Eventually I stuck her in the Moby and let her drool all over my shirt so I could give Jack dinner and I was exhausted when Phillip got home. I felt bad, because we'd had a relatively good day and I hadn't done anything especially strenuous, but you get tired of holding babies, even ones as cute as Molly. I passed out for the night right when she did, and that's why I had no idea that my husband was downstairs in his office till some ungodly hour because his company's website was down. Boo.

Anyway. Jack is zoned out in front of Curious George and I am typing up a pointless blog post instead of getting my stuff together. Must go pretend to be Competent On-Top-Of-Things Mom. For the sake of all my relatives, cross your fingers for decent pictures!


Should I do this or that?

Molly's been sleeping through the night for nearly two weeks. There were a couple mornings where she woke up just before five, but I still think that counts. And? The last couple nights? We've been waiting for her to get all her wiggles out, then swaddling her and (shhh) laying her down awake.

You guys, I thought Jack was an easy baby, but Molly is in a class by herself. Last night she went down around 11:30. She woke up just before five and I felt around for my glasses intending to pull her out of bed and into mine. But then she stopped making noise and I fell back asleep with my glasses on and all of a sudden it was seven.

I KNOW.

Therefore I have absolutely nothing to write about and was forced to discuss my underwear on Parenting today. That catch your attention? Don't tell my mom.

I'm trying to decide whether to drive all the way to a fancy shopping mall with a fancy children's play area, or attempt Target with a double stroller to buy some Necessities. The shopping mall is, like, half an hour away and I'm not sure it's worth it, but I'm feeling bad about having to confine Jack to our tiny living room. Such is the dilemma of bad weather. How to wear out one's toddler when it's gray and raining every day?

I have to stop trying to write blog posts in the morning. It's impossible. All these people wanting to EAT!