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March 2009

The sudden and massive influx of chocolate has hindered my ability to think

I went to see Dooce tonight with Carrie and Liz, my local bloggy ladies. It was a blast (really) (thanks to the WACKO LOCALS and the WACKO question and answer session) but I can't do it justice tonight because I'm too tired to go all blog-philosophical and meta on you, and also it would require using words I don't normally use on account of this being a Family Website. I might just have to hope someone else writes about it so I can link.

Anyway. More on that later.

Oh, I did want to say that I totally scoped out the crowd for Mrs. Flinger, and then she disappeared before I could say hi. And I was GOING to say HI. The Social Awkwardness and all around general Fear Of Other People was totally in check, and then she was GONE. So. That sucked.


Molly needs some new clothes.

Because these?
Are pants, not shorts.

(Phillip said, "Molly was so cute today in her summer clothes!" Maggie said, "Summer?" Phillip said, "Isn't she wearing a little shorts outfit?)

And this?
Is the only sweater she owns.

Unfortunately I have used this month's discretionary income to redecorate my bedroom. MOTHER OF THE YEAR.

I better go to bed before I eat the rest of the Triple Death By Super Dark Ultra Rich Five Layer Chocolate Cake I ordered to properly kick off my blogalicious evening. I leave you with vague promises for something more coherent tomorrow. Maybe.

The Anticlimactic Conclusion to the OMG New Neighbors Have A Baby Story

I picked a bad day, you guys. Just all around rotten and un-fun.

I picked today because 1) if Mr. Neighbor was going back to work this would be the day and 2) I was getting tired of sitting around deciding when to introduce myself. Believe it or not, I don't spend ALL my time staring at my neighbors' window. I have OTHER things that need obsessing over.

Sunday night I made a baked macaroni and cheese and froze it in one of those foil containers. I wondered if I should just bring baked goodies, but what if Mrs. Neighbor is on her own Hot By Thirty plan? And it's not like you can count on baked goodies for dinner. (Well, I can, but I know people who would beg to differ.) But then I didn't want to go all out with a dinner, because I haven't even given my just-had-babies-close-friends dinner (today's discussion topic: how much I suck) and, well, I don't know. I didn't want my food gift to screech DESPERATE! or WAY TOO MUCH TIME ON HER HANDS! or I MANAGE TO COOK A BALANCED DINNER EVERY NIGHT OF THE WEEK! or other untrue things. I went with mac and cheese because it seemed like the most noncommittal. I know, I am rolling my eyes at me too. Then I wrote a nice quick card with my Pertinent Info: email address, phone number, fact that I am home every day. This morning I packed a Banana Republic shopping bag (and OH how I fretted over the choice of bag, since you can tell a lot from where a person buys her preppy sweaters, but it was the only one big enough) with the mac and cheese, the card and, at the last minute, a small tub of lemon bars. Because there should be room for lemon bars, even if you are Hot By Thirtying.

It was all prepared. I just needed to do the daily Kid Clean Up and make my introduction. But first I got a text from Phillip saying his boss was laid off this morning, not sure what his day was going to be like.

Then the friend I was going to meet for lunch called and wanted to meet earlier. I said okay. That gave me a little less time to chat with the neighbors, but I figured I wouldn't do much chatting anyway due to the sudden massive increase in the brain hamsters churning out What The Heck Are We Going To Do NOW Scenarios.

I don't know why I didn't just shove the mac and cheese back in the freezer and postpone my visit till tomorrow. Or the next day. But I think I just felt like it was all ready, might as well.

So I stuffed Molly into the stroller and marched the three of us to the neighbors' front door. Mr. Neighbor answered in his pajamas. He looked suspicious. I didn't care.




Then Mr. Neighbor fell all over himself talking to Jack, complimenting Molly, marveling at how we fit two babies into our townhouse. He proclaimed the niceness of bringing dinner about 47 times. He invited us in about 97 times. And each time I wanted to say, "Yes! I'd love to meet your wife! And your new baby! And see how much of MY house YOU can see!" But my brain just wasn't going there. I was still in Does This Mean I Might Have To Go Back To Work? mode. And I really wanted to escape to the mall, where I was meeting my friend for lunch, a friend who would listen with Rapt Attention.

So I didn't go inside and I didn't meet Mrs. Neighbor. I kicked myself all the way home (granted, it's about 4 steps) until Phillip called the second I stepped inside the house to relay The Details. I was glad I was available to take that call, because it meant I stopped worrying about how to support my family of four on an unskilled English Major salary. Phillip is safe. For today.

Then I realized that I hadn't told Mr. Neighbor I didn't need my lemon bar container back. I meant to, because having to give stuff back is annoying. And this wasn't, you know, a NICE container. But I forgot. Which meant I took someone's advice from my first neighbor baby post, and brought my neighbors something they'll eventually feel obligated to return. I suddenly felt very clever. Mrs. Neighbor now has an excuse to visit ME. Perhaps my visit wasn't so pointless after all.

Mr. Neighbor told me he was laid off six weeks ago. He'll be house husbanding when his wife goes back to work. I wanted to hug him. I'm sure you'll be glad to know I didn't.

There were a few times when we thought Phillip might lose his job. When the company was bought out by the national conglomerate, when the first round of layoffs happened, then the second. We've talked about it, thought about it. I think about the summer we graduated, the year of the dot com bust, when Phillip couldn't find a job. I think about that times two children and a mortgage and a wife who stays home. I worst case scenario for a while, then I float back up to my Normal, which is a fairly sunny version of Things Eventually Work Out.

This was the first time I knew some of the people who were laid off. It felt worse.

I went to the mall, where my friend listened in just the right way. I escaped to Target when the inlaws came over to spend time with the kids. I hid in my bedroom until Phillip came home, because I was overwhelmed and too busy thinking to talk. It's night, now. The kids are in bed, Phillip just finished telling me about the corporate bloodletting that was his day. I feel drained and down. I spent my whole day preparing for something that didn't happen. Screw the diet- tonight needs a glass of red. 

My frillionth exercise in humility

We had Jack sit with us in church today. Sure, the nursery is easy, but 1) everyone comes down with something vaguely Plague-ish on Mondays, tired of that and 2) I miss him. I want him to sit in church. Last week he did great. This week: not so much.

He wasn't HORRIBLE. He wasn't AWFUL. He wasn't a TOTAL pest. But he wanted to tear through the diaper bag and bang a toy on the pew and jump on the kneeler. He is not a Sits Still kind of kid, and whenever I attempt to get him to sit still with a book or even just draw quietly on the bulletin, he says, "No!No!No!No!No!" in a voice that is just a SMIDGE too loud for church and then he wins.

There wasn't much to be done about him this morning. He was tired and crabby and whiny. He was crawling all over and complaining and pointing to the windows and demanding, "OWSIGH." And the one Sunday I let Phillip choose where to sit, he picks a row that's way up front, near people I don't know, and too far from the other families with babies to blame Jack's misbehavior on some other kid. There is a REASON all of us with babies tend to clump together at the ends of the pews. POWER IN NUMBERS.

There was a family in front of us- a mom, a dad and a tween-ish girl between them. I didn't recognize them. Whenever Molly fussed or our attempts to turn down the Jack Volume failed, the woman would turn around and look at my kids. Not at me, them. Directing her irritation with the perpetrators, I guessed. IT WAS STRESSING ME OUT. She looked a little older, with a turned down mouth and judgmental eyes outlined in black. Molly smacked her bottle away (crack! on the floor) and the woman turned around. Jack flipped out when we took the little pencil away (drawing! on the pew!) and the woman turned around. Sometimes the girl turned around too, and then she and her mother would conference. Sometimes they'd turn around when NOTHING WAS GOING ON.

Instead of listening to the homily or listening to the prayers of the faithful, I imagined all the things this woman was thinking, and the things she and her snotty daughter were saying to each other. Why don't they take that brat out? Why are they sitting up front? Why aren't they sitting in the back with the other babies, or, better yet, in the cry room? I bet she thinks all the noise that baby's making is cute, but it's distracting. And they're letting that 2-year-old do whatever he wants. What are they thinking? What is wrong with parents these days?

I was angry. This is MY church. Who are YOU? And so what, we sat closer to the grownups than the babies this time. It's not like they're screaming and hollering. And when Jack got out of control, Phillip took him out. Yes, it's embarrassing that Jack won't behave, and embarrassing that I haven't figured out how to control him, but no one ELSE is giving me a hard time about this. Well, except myself, and I'm hard enough on myself, thank you, without you looking disapprovingly over your shoulder 400 times before communion. Gah! Stop it!

No, seriously, I was UPSET. I'm not big on POSITIVE attention let alone NEGATIVE attention, and my embarrassment threshold when it comes to Jack acting out is very very low. I'm sure Phillip would have kept him in the pew if I hadn't given him the GET HIM OUTTA HERE look. (Guess which one of us is the paranoid people pleaser! Guess!)

I was dreading the warm fuzzy hand shaking time. I air-kissed our neighbor (who thinks my kids are adorable, thankyouverymuch, and is often just as loud as THEY are with all her, "Oh, you're such a sweet baby today!" and "He's such a happy boy!" I don't think SHE listens to the homily either.) I shook hands with the people behind us. And then I sucked it up for the hand shakes with the woman in front of me. Who took my hand, looked deep into my eyes, smiled and said, "Dear, your children are darling, just darling."

I SO need to go to confession.

Reduced Fat Quick Takes With Present At The End

Wow, thanks for moseying on over to Parenting yesterday. I totally sit at the little kids table over there (um, Rocks In My Dryer, anyone?) and every week after submitting my post I think, "This is it! This is the time they fire me!" So thanks for showing up, that was awesome. And also, would you like to know what writing that post got me? A husband who had no idea he was so above and beyond, and, rather than taking pride in this fact, now thinks he should scale back a little so he doesn't make the other husbands look so bad. THANKS, SELF.

It is so past my bedtime. And I haven't eaten dinner. And I'm exhausted. And I'm 99% certain I will be up with Molly at least twice before her regular six o'clock breakfast bell.

But I wrote out everyone's name and asked Jack to pick a piece of paper out of his plastic frying pan. I thought this would be fun. I thought I'd get a cute picture. I thought he'd pick a piece of paper instead turning the frying pan upside down and giggling at the bits of paper flying everywhere. THREE DIFFERENT TIMES.

So I had Phillip pick a winner a few minutes ago. It was not as exciting. I did not take a picture. Well, maybe the winner will find it exciting. I suggest she reserve judgment till the package arrives.

And how much does it suck that I am only going to send one present? WHO DECIDED THAT? I mean, it's not like I don't have enough random crap in my house for EVERYONE. Because, and I know I have said this before, but you guys are the FUNNIEST and say the FUNNIEST THINGS and this insta-publishing gig wouldn't be half as fun without you. I want to send something to everyone! Especially Meg, who practically begged, and Charlotte Pants, who said she'd return the favor using fancy ribbon, and Carrie because lemon bars are her favorite and it's her almost-birthday, and Jess because flattery gets you everywhere with me, and Kate because she could probably USE some of my random crap, and WAH GROUP HUG.

But seriously, if I can't even manage to send my four-year-old nephew's birthday present on time (STILL ON MY DINING ROOM TABLE, GAH, BAD AUNT), the odds don't look good for sending care packages to EVERYONE.

So the winner is...

Amanda from The Mom Job! Send me your address Amanda!

When life hands you orange lemons, write a blog post about it

A week or two ago I went downstairs to use the treadmill and caught sight of a package leaning against my glass front door. I assumed Phillip had purchased some sort of electronic box without telling me, but when I picked it up I saw MY name. And then I saw Elizabeth's name. And my day, which had been slowly swirling down the toilet, started to look up.

Inside were the running mixes she promised me (seven CDs, to be precise, and do you know how much running that is? I don't even want to think about it) and jellybeans and a handful of books I'd been wanting to read. And some roundish orange things.

Those are called oranges, you are saying as you read this, and wondering if maybe you should worry about my role as Chief Cheung Nutritionist. But they were shaped kind of funny. And they didn't quite feel like oranges. But they were orange, so I assumed they were some kind of cooler-than-me California oranges. I AM a Pacific Northwesterner, where there is only enough sun to grow, perhaps, one single orange all year. So what do I know?

Then I read Elizabeth's note, wherein she called the enclosed fruit lemons. Lemons? Since when are lemons orange? Has my Pacific Northwest upbringing steered me so completely wrong in the citrus department?

I left them on the counter, not entirely sure what to do with them.

A few days later Future Pastry Chef Sister stopped by. And I remembered I was in charge of bringing Treats to my meeting that night. The stars, it appeared, were aligned. I managed to talk Future Pastry Chef Sister into making lemon bars with me, only we were going to call them "Lemon" Bars because, seriously, they were ORANGE. Lemon-shaped ORANGES.

Does that look like a lemon to YOU? And does that look like LEMON JUICE?

While FPCS started the crust, I squeezed out the juice. When I had enough for the recipe (which, by the way, is this one, because FPCS and I know the Smitten Kitchen is where God orders his baked goods) I decided I should probably taste it. Just to see. As soon as I'd recovered from the tartness turning my brain inside out, I declared the mysterious citrus the most lemony-tasting orange in the world.

FPCS said not to post a picture of her because "I always look fat on your blog." EYE. ROLL. Although maybe we should take bets on when the FPC part will MAKE her fat. IF EVER.

FPCS did all the work while I putzed around, musing about lemon-shaped oranges and the thrill of unexpected packages, and entertained the girl who needs constant entertainment.

If your life-of-the-party hair was beaten into submission by a rhinestoned clippie you'd be sad too.

And then FPCS was all, "Let me show you my smooth FPC skillz" and demonstrated how to cut a piece of parchment paper to size by rubbing the edges with the dull side of a knife. "Oooh!" I exclaimed. "The blog will love this!"

Except it took as long as tracing and cutting, and we ended up not using it. Oh well. Fun with knives!

I forgot to take a picture of the crust. I know you're crushed. We watched the Real Housewives of New York City while it baked. Those women are not to be believed, people, not at all. And why certain ones of them consented to a second season is BEYOND ME. Oh, here's what it looked like when we poured the lemon mixture on top.

Raw eggs and "lemon juice" MMMMM.

And this is what it looked like when it came out of the oven.

FPCS: "That looks... all right." Maggie: "Nothing a little powdered sugar can't fix!"

And, presto:


Funny, the treats always look better when Smitten Kitchen takes the pictures. Possibly the picture quality is not the fault of the treats. Actually, I thought they were quite good. We used the full recipe, with a thicker lemon layer. And even though we cooked them 5-10 minutes longer, they were still sort of soft in the middle, kind of hard to handle. Not too hard to eat. And, dare I say it, RATHER LEMONY.

I still have half the pan in the freezer. I might include them in my Happy New Neighbor Baby delivery, which I think is going to take place on Monday. Gulp.

Anyway! Receiving a Surprise Package so completely made my day that I thought it'd be fun to send my OWN package. To YOU. Or one of you, at least. I have enough, to quote Elizabeth, "random crap from my house" to fill up a flat rate box no problem. Do you want a present? My random crap is your treasure! (I will not be sending mysterious citrus, in case you are curious, and, now that I am thinking about it, doesn't California have some kind of law banning fruit travel? Or something?) ANYWAY. If you think Random Packages of Stuff are cool, leave me a comment and I'll do a DRAWING. Look at me getting all Official!

OOH. And if you leave a comment on my post at Parenting tomorrow, I'll enter you TWICE. Because I LOVE YOU. How's that for bribery?! (Which, incidentally, is what that post is about: what do I use to bribe my husband to get up in the middle of the night with the baby? GO FIND OUT!)

Don't worry, before I wrote this I extolled his virtues in a draft for

All right! Carping Griping Grousing Crankypants Attitude officially shrugged off. Ah! Don't we feel better?

I planned to write a photo heavy wannabe foodblogger post tonight, but someone is too busy with his new stereo receiver to upload pictures for me. And I don't upload pictures. Uploading pictures means descending into The Cave, taking the little thingy out of the camera, sliding it into the PRINTER, and figuring out what to do with the dialog box that pops up on Phillip's computer, which I try not to touch because there are, like, forty-seven different drives and I have yet to discover where the pictures actually GO. Every time I attempt to do it on my own I inevitably save the pictures in the wrong place, or I duplicate them, or I don't automatically send them to Picasa, or SOMETHING and I am LECTURED and I am not a FAN of the LECTURES.

(In addition to the Uploading Pictures Lecture, I am also not a fan of the I Can't Believe You Use That Stupid Password, Haven't You Heard Of Identity Theft, Oh Dear God You'll Be The Reason We End Up Under The Bridge Lecture.)

So! Maybe later!

And the stereo receiver thing... I swear, you'd think Phillip was waiting for Ed McMahon and the 8-foot Publisher's Clearinghouse check to arrive. The receiver is broken? Or something? I don't know. Then we got a tax refund, then we refinanced the house and the mortgage company keeps sending us refunds for things we didn't know were being refunded (which we think evens out somewhere along the line in the mortgage terms, but for now we're all HELLO FREE MONEY) and I was told a new receiver was Necessary. And since I've been all Ikea Shelf Is Necessary and New Etsy Habit Is Necessary, who was I to object?

(Although, I would like to state for the record, I will have to do a lot more Etsy shopping before I spend as much as that stupid receiver. I'm just saying.)

Oh, right, so it was supposed to be delivered today and Phillip asked me to keep an ear/eye out for the delivery guy and then EMAILED ME just to make SURE because, did you know, I need to be here to SIGN for the preshus receiver and oh, we can't let it sit on the doorstep, what if the neighborhood miscreants make off with it and OMG I WILL MAKE SURE YOUR RECEIVER IS HERE WHEN YOU GET HOME CALM DOWN.

So ALL DAY I've been listening for the doorbell and hoping I'm not putting Molly to bed when it arrives because I can't hear the doorbell on the third floor. And I never heard it. Eventually I found a spare moment to sneak downstairs sans kids and wouldn't you know there was a giant box sitting on the patio furniture? Didn't they know I was supposed to sign for it?

Anyway. This means I don't get to watch TV tonight because we are setting up the receiver. Well, Phillip is setting up the receiver, I am trying not to watch because I don't want to get into the giant Visible Cables Argument tonight. I am too tired.

Speaking of: please tell me you have this fight with your electronic gizmo-obsessed husbands too. Pretty much the entire time we've been living together, Phillip has been lobbying for Rear Speakers. Even though we 1) rarely watch movies at home and 2) certainly can't turn up the bass and volume too much because we share a wall with neighbors, Phillip assures me he will lose his will to live if he cannot affix Rear Speakers to the wall behind our couch. Of course I have been adamantly against this project from the get go, not only because of 1) and 2) but because 3) I do not want my livng room decorated in the Lined With Speaker Cables style.

The TV is on the opposite side of the room from the couch, which means the cables have to go across the floor somehow, and then UP THE WALL because of course the speakers have to be MOUNTED IN THE PROPER PLACE. Which is not Here or There but Exactly This Much Above And To The Left And Right Of The Ends Of The Couch, Allowing For Maximum Audio Happiness.

People, I am so sick of the Rear Speakers argument, and am actually beginning to believe the whole Losing His Will To Live thing, that I actually came up with a compromise. The cable can follow the baseboards in an acceptable mostly-not-noticeable way, and then go up the side of the wall, with just two or three inches showing on the living room side of the wall. I think I can deal with two or three inches.

But would you believe that Phillip did NOT instantly jump at my generosity? My willingness to find a workable solution? NO! He whined about how long the cable would have to be, and how it would be okay going up the right end of the wall but not the left and SERIOUSLY PHILLIP? REALLLY?

Oh wow, you guys, this is, like, the Tangent That Turned Into The Whole Post. Am I really making fun of Phillip and his beloved stereo equipment while he sits upstairs with our little boy who barfed in his bed AGAIN, waiting for little boy to fall asleep before he returns to the new receiver? I AM. Have now earned an entire year's worth of Wife Demerits.


I'm up again with Molly. The boys are asleep.

One night last week Molly cried when I put her down- unusual. And I thought, "No time like the present!" and decided to see what happened. She cried for 40 minutes and then had one of the best sleeping nights she's had in a while. Woke up once or twice, but went right back to sleep after a bottle.

Since then we've either been too tired and/or lacking the intestinal fortitude to let her cry it out in the middle of the night, plus we have swapped the stomach flu for snotty noses. And I can't think of anything more pathetic than babies with colds, so of course she isn't sleeping well. She was up 4? 5? times last night? Sometimes we can put the pacifier back in and turn on the white noise machine, other times we have to feed her, other times we just have to hold her until she calms down and maybe falls back asleep.

It's getting OLD, is what I'm saying.

I've been in this apathetic funk lately. I don't feel like going anywhere or doing anything, unless an opportunity to go to Target presents itself. I spent $100 there yesterday on storage bins and cleaning products. Oh, tis a thrilling life I lead. The weather just said: Showers in Seattle, 47 degrees. That right there is reason enough to stay home.

I'm also holding all this tension in my upper back and shoulders, which is, in my little world, The First Sign That Something's Wrong. I'm not anxious, but I'm stressed about something and while Phillip was trying to get Molly to go back to sleep at 2 am I was wide awake thinking about the possibilities. The endless organization project in my house? The baby who doesn't sleep anymore? The fact that I have to go grocery shopping today and have never attempted that with two kids? My indecisiveness about whether I want to join another church committee after my current term is up in June? That my rediscovery of the library has led to a huge pile of unread books next to the bed? I have no idea.

Does this have anything to do with the fact that I haven't exercised in, uh, a while?

Maybe I'd feel better if Molly just went back to her rock star sleeper self.

Jack's awake now.

We have playgroup today. Part of me is planning to go, because those are My Peeps and we have fun. Part of me thinks I should respect the germophobe moms and keep my snot nose babies home. Part of me just wants to stay in pajamas and let Jack eat cookies for breakfast and not worry about getting dressed and into the car and being anywhere on time. Part of me wonders if I can convince one of you to watch the kids while I go get a three hour massage.

In which I am Want Want Wanty

I think I spent, oh, a good two thirds of my weekend scouring the internet for Stuff.

Play kitchens, fabric storage bins to fit inside my new bookshelf, baskets and bins to store toys downstairs when I switch out the current toy bin for the play kitchen, a rocking chair pad that will match something (anything!) in my bedroom- stuff I've been thinking I want to buy and probably will buy, eventually.

Then I moved on to things I didn't know I needed. I switched gears from clean modern housewares to whimsical Etsy finds. I decided I need to redecorate Jack's room in these prints. I want this one for my room. I want this one to give to Budding Pastry Chef Sister. I found dozens and dozens of hair clips I had to have for Molly, and then I saw these little shoes and died of adorableness.

Then I came back to life (sometime after Phillip had put the kids to bed and cleaned up the kitchen and picked up the living room, because I thought that was convenient) and wondered if I needed to have a talk with myself. I mean, two thirds of a weekend is a LOT of time spent thinking about STUFF.

My trip to Ikea was successful in that we found, brought home, assembled, and fell in love with (well, maybe that last one is just me) this shelf. We rearranged the bedroom to make it fit and now there is room to maneuver, plus room for all the books and toys and other random assorted crap that ends up hanging out on my bedroom floor. And I can put pictures on top! And a plant! Love! My trip to Ikea was unsuccessful in that I didn't find any of the other things I hoped to find, which meant the Buying Stuff Will Make Me Happy hole in my heart wasn't quite closed.

I hate it when I get like this, like something is missing from my life because I don't have more Stuff.

I don't even LIKE stuff! I am the opposite of a packrat, whatever that is. I'm constantly on Phillip's case to clean out his office. I gave away almost all of Jack's baby clothes. I ruthlessly purged my OWN closet. I just don't have a lot of space and too much stuff makes it hard to keep things in order, which in turn makes me crazy. I am a big fan of Liz's rule: is it awesome? If it's not awesome, out it goes.

I'm trying to be more... what's the word? Choosy? Conscientious? Deliberate? About my stuff. I've come home emptyhanded from more than a few shopping trips because I didn't love anything enough to buy it. (This is especially true when it comes to clothes. All the stuff I purged? Stuff I never wore anyway.) And I'm just trying not to buy stuff in GENERAL. I am obnoxiously proud of the fact that our last two credit card bills were significantly less than the previous eight or nine or ten. Take THAT Dire Economy News!

But I still stand in my living room and think, "You know what we need? The right size basket to fit in that empty spot, right there. Then our house will be perfect." Or I sit in my newish bedroom and think, "Now what I need is a new curtain rod, then this room will be awesome." Today it even occurred to me that I should re-frame a picture (a picture I had PROFESSIONALLY FRAMED, which is EXPENSIVE) to better match the "color scheme". This is hilarious, because I have absolutely no talent for decorating, let alone color schemes.

I don't know what my deal is. Yes, I'm looking at several more years in a smallish house with two growing kids. Yes, "maximizing my space (in an eye pleasing way!)" is very much on my mind. Yes, getting organized requires some thinking and a little bit of money, but do I have a money tree in my front yard? No, no I do not! And it's not like we're living in a studio apartment. I don't NEED this stuff. It feels downright UnChristian, all this want want wanting. And this is Lent! The season of penance and sacrifice! What am I doing sniffing through Etsy for the perfect prints to hang on my green wall?

(And seriously? If I were independently wealthy? I would pretty much wallpaper my house in bright cartoony found-on-Etsy prints.)

Anyway. My desire for Stuff these days is getting a little frightening, a little out of hand. No normal person spends an entire afternoon hunting down the Exact Right Perfect fabric storage bin to fit inside her new Ikea shelf, and then goes morosely to the wine rack when hours of searching yield displeasing results.

If you made it this far, Lindsay finally posted her interview with me. Go see where she thinks Rory Gilmore ended up. I shall be upstairs staring at my new shelf and discovering that now I need something ELSE to make my bedroom awesome. GAH.

Seven Quick Takes: Half Organize My House, Half Regularly Scheduled Blah Blah-ing

I'm going to Ikea on Saturday. The utter joy I find in this fact both disturbs and amuses me. I have a prioritized list, because with my dad and my husband in tow I know I won't get to get do any Absentminded Browsing or Indecisive Mulling. Yes, I know Saturday is hardly the ideal day to visit Ikea, but it's the only day that worked. The logistics and strategic planning made all those involved slightly homicidal, but a plan (with the requisite contingencies) is in place.  I. Can't. Wait.

My favorite part of Almost Two is the talking. He's not exactly eloquent and doesn't have the fullest vocabulary, but he makes up for it with enthusiasm. But my favorite FAVORITE part of Almost Two is the singing. Oh my gosh, the singing. I sing 'Baby Beluga' to him before he goes to bed and he SINGS ALONG. MELT! The other morning I went to get him out of his crib and he was sitting in the corner singing his favorite Veggie song: "Ah bunny! Ah bunny! Ah bunny!" Totally offkey and not even the right words, really, but I was such a puddle of goo I gave him a waffle AND a pancake for breakfast. (Every morning: "Jack! What do you want for breakfast?" "CAKE!")

The comments on Jen's post about small houses was super eye opening for me. Ever since Jack became mobile I've been thinking about what I want our next house to be/have. Because there will BE a next house, right? This one is too small! Except, after reading those comments, I felt like I lived in a mansion. A poorly-designed-for-a-family-with-small-children mansion, but swimming in space nonetheless. My living room may look like Life As Envisioned By Fisher Price Marketing Gurus, but everything has a place and did I mention my trip to Ikea? Home of the Maximize Your Space-ers? SO EXCITED.

What do you guys do with picture book dust jackets? We're lucky to have a bajillion wonderful and oft-read picture books, but all the dust jackets are sitting in a heap on top of the wardrobe in Jack's room. When he was smaller he was really rough with books and I didn't want him to rip up the dust jackets. I don't want to put them back on because Molly's not likely to be nicer to the books, and Jack still throws his stuff around anyway. I don't know why I'm keeping them, though. I imagine some of these books will last till Jack and Molly have their own kids, but will I really go back and re-dust jacket their books when they're off to college or something? Surely someone else has wasted thinking time on this subject, right?

I have ordered an item of clothing so useless, so unlike me, so pointless and ridiculous and undoubtedly terribly unflattering. But I had a gift card and I thought it might be fun and I'm dying for it to show up in my mailbox already so I can get the whole "What was I thinking?" trying-on episode of shame over with.

So you know when you're talking about the thing about your kid that you're struggling with? And the person you're talking to starts asking you very direct pointed questions about it? As if they were, say, attempting to pinpoint your, say, errors? So that when you are forced to admit, "Yes, I suppose I DO do the thing you're sort of somewhat sneering about," they leap at the opportunity to inform you that you're going about it all wrong and obviously you should do what they do, which always works instantly? Yeah. In these instances I say to myself, "Self? What an excellent opportunity to practice grace and humility!" No wait. That's what I SHOULD say to myself. What I really say is, "Self? BREATHE. JUST SMILE AND BREATHE."

I want to get Jack a play kitchen for his birthday. I have two requirements: 1) there must be many cupboards and doors to open and shut and 2) I have to like the way it looks. Easy! I've already caved to the Plastic Gods so it's not that I don't want to shell out more money to whatever Fisher Price monstrosity Toys R Us happens to have in stock, but you guys just seem to know where the cool stuff is and I thought I'd ask.

More quick takes here!

This post brought to you by the espresso machine

Molly goes down for the night somewhere between 6:30 and 7:30. It took a looooong time to get her there, and it's still a work in progress since we're still dealing with all the "did she eat enough?" and "did she take a bottle before bed?" and a bunch of other boring details, of interest only to the people stuck with putting her to bed.

When she started waking up once or twice or more in the night, I didn't mind. Not at first. I knew she was capable of 10 to 12 hour stretches since she'd been doing it since two months, but an earlier bedtime maybe meant she was hungry at midnight. Or she just wasn't used to this new schedule. And whatever, at least that's a NORMAL baby problem.

She takes, for the most part, fabulously long naps. She falls asleep on her own, a skill Jack didn't get around to learning till he was over a year old and this is why it will take a lot more to elevate Molly above Jack in the Annoying Sleep Issues department. She goes to bed easily at night. But the night waking has either been getting worse or my tolerance is rapidly decreasing. Sometimes she'll wake up only once or twice and easily fall back asleep after nursing, or even just popping a pacifier back in (a pacifier she only started accepting a few weeks ago.) But other times she'll be up for HOURS. Just staring at you and gurgling and kicking her feet and making her an utter drag to have in bed next to you, which is what you've settled on as The Last Resort.

Last night, after putting her to bed around 7, she was up at nine, midnight, three and up for the day at six, even though she was still crazy tired. I am starting to think we should turn to the LAST Last Resort, which would be CIO.

I have no problem with crying it out in theory. I tend to think some kids need to and some kids probably shouldn't, but that the parent is obviously the best judge and families should do whatever works.

In practice, though, it's a soul-sucking DRAG.

We eventually did CIO with Jack when he was 7 or 8 months old. It worked as quickly as everyone told us it would, and even though we had to reinstate the CIO regime a few times over the next several months, it made us believers. We told ourselves we wouldn't wait so long the next time. A few days of suck were worth the infinitely better sleep EVERYONE was getting.

With Molly, though, it seems like the terms are different. For one thing, I'm not always convinced she doesn't need us in the night. Even at 6 and a half months old I can't always tell if she ate enough during the day, so of course I worry that she's hungry. She's such a good napper that I feel like there HAS to be a problem if she's waking up so often in the night. Not to mention the extra stuff, like the stomach flu (which I don't think she really had, but was sort of just generally not feeling well) and teeth, which seem to bug her way more than Jack's did. I've been reluctant to let her cry at all because I can't be sure we haven't tried everything else first.

The last couple nights, though, she hasn't wanted to nurse and rejects a bottle. There've been enough times when we've just given her a pacifier and she's gone back to sleep that I don't see why she can't do that EVERY time. She doesn't want to be held or rocked and she's too restless to lay down in bed with us. We've been giving her ibuprofen, in case it's her teeth, and that's helped. But we're starting to look at her and think, "Molly? You're a big girl. And we know you're capable of sleeping through the night. YOU USED TO DO IT ALL THE TIME."

So it's cry it out time, folks, if I could only figure out how to do it.

See, she's in our CLOSET. We wouldn't be doing CIO when she goes to bed, we'd be doing it in the middle of the night. When we are three feet away. Either we just have to suck it up and expect to not sleep all night, or figure out how to camp in the living room, I don't know. I really REALLY want to move Molly into Jack's room, but it's stuff like this that makes me think it's impossible, at least for another six months or so.

Anyway, I'm not QUITE ready. I think she's still getting over something (as evidenced by her Total Crankypants Behavior over the last week), and I'll need a few days before I can feel like I've exhausted the options. But, you know, approaching Something Must Be Done territory and all that. I just wish I could hire someone to do it for me. While I soak in a bubble bath at the Four Seasons.

Even more Molly at Parenting sometime today, wherein I get all ranty about solid foods. IT'S JUST ONE OF THOSE WEEKS, OKAY?