Category: Baby Mama

A Really Useful Party

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Last Monday was kiddo’s third birthday, so we had her party on Saturday, August 2nd.

For the past two years, I’ve busted my bootie trying to put together the perfect party elements.  I spent weeks scouring various sites and stores looking for the right decorations.  As guests would arrive, I’d be scurrying about trying to do 500 last-minute things.  It was exhausting.

This year was totally different.  Having a theme like Thomas the Train made everything so much easier.  I stocked up on Thomas goodies at Party City and bought her a Thomas dress via etsy (because stores with Thomaswear don’t offer girl selections grrrrr).

Normally, the food is a big ordeal.  Instead of ordering food from a handful of places while still making dishes of my own, I kept it super simple.  Save the cupcakes, I got all the snacks at HEB (hummus, guacamole, cheese, fruit).  Rather than using my white servware platters, I put everything in aluminum tins made to look like train cars.   I spent far more time printing out the DIY cupcake toppers than I did putting out the food (damn you, printer jams!)

This was the first party ever that I was completely done before all the guests arrived.  It was Calgontastic.  Everything was in place.  Well, except for the serving spoons I forgot to put out until the shindig was almost over… oops.   And then there was the cute little sign I put on the water dispenser with arrows indicating how to turn the spout on and off.  Yeah, only I reversed them.  Special, huh?  But, eh, it was still good times.

We loved watching Em play about with her friends and cousins.  At her past two parties, our little introvert has stayed fairly quiet, observing the activity around her.  This year, she was an active participant.  I have to give her major kudos for being such a trooper.  After watching Dan and I prep for the party all morning, she awoke from nap to find a display of cupcakes she couldn’t eat followed by a houseful of kiddos playing with her stuff.  I expected meltdowns o’ rama and dreaded bedtime.

But she was fabulous.  And though it took an hour for her to fall asleep that night, she spent the entire time clapping and singing.

Lesson learned.  K.I.S.S.

Caught on Tape

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

This week, I decided to lay out Em’s room using painter’s tape.  This would be the last step before buying everything.  I’m so glad I did it, because it made me realize one particular thing…

Everything was wrong.

The scale was completely off.  With her room being on the small side, I saw just how large and blocky IKEA furniture would be.   I decided to nix the Kallax, opting for a dollhouse bookcase.  Pottery Barn Kids discontinued my dream model, but Land of Nod and Target have comparable ones.  I’m even toying with the idea of building my own.


I was ready to scrap the 6-drawer Tarva Dresser for a 3-drawer, but Dan thinks that would be a mistake.  The more I think about it, the more I’m leaning towards my initial decision.  Second-guessing is kind of an issue of mine.   As you think “No! Really!?! You!?!”

Assembling a girl’s toddler room is more difficult than I assumed.  The challenge rests in planning a threenager-prooffriendly room that can grow with her in a relatively short period of time.  For example, I’m planning around a crib now, but the room layout will need to accommodate a twin bed in 1-2 years without having to move everything around.

But I’m not going to think about it for the next few days.  I’ll place my Pottery Barn Kids order for the drapes and chandelier before my coupon expires Tuesday; I’ll order the Tarva and buy the paint before Sherwin-Williams paint sale ends next Sunday; and I’ll stalk the furniture dude who’s supposed to refinish my grandmother’s old telephone table.  The other stuff?  I’m just going to wait for the Mercury Retrograde fog to lift.

And if that doesn’t work, I’m calling in professionals.

I wonder what size straight jacket I wear…


Daddy Day

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Dan’s been knee-deep in work, spending every night this past week and all weekend in his office.  So when Em awoke around 2:00am, I gladly took on our gentle “Go the F*ck to Sleep” routine (put on blankets, flip on crib aquarium, sing “Dream of Me & You” from music class and get the hell outta dodge, crossing fingers she doesn’t need a return trip).

And when she awoke at 6:00am, I jumped up to get her and start our special Daddy Day breakfast prep.   Instead of our regular Sunday morning trip to Grandpa and Annie’s, I made plans to bring breakfast for Dan’s parents and his brother visiting from Austin.

I’d started the night before, making the Bananas Foster Overnight French Toast and chopping the Best Breakfast Potatoes Ever components.  I was kinda worried that Em would make the morning preparations challenging, but she was a fabulous trooper!  She patiently played with her magnetic alphabet letters while I assembled a fruit salad and mixed the spicy potato goodness.   It didn’t take too long, so we had ample time to watch and sing along to toddler nursery rhyme videos on YouTube.   She also “helped” me assemble a photo collage for uploading to Facebook. (“How about this one, Charlie? (her Thomas the Train name of the day) “Yeah, that’s good. Do that one.”) 😀

When Dan came downstairs, she jokingly shouted “Happy Mother’s Day!” before running to him and greeting him properly.  I’d practiced “Happy Daddy’s Day,” so she kind of impressed me with “Happy Father’s Day!”  I took a quick shower, got ready and dressed kiddo while the French Toast and Potatoes cooked simultaneously.  Everything was piping hot as we drove to G&A’s house.   I unpacked the food (big up to Crate&Barrel’s awesome oven-to-table Everyday Bakers), whipped up the French Toast sauce and we all sat down to eat, even Emme!

Breakfast was a surprising hit with few leftovers!   I’m my own worst critic when it comes to cooking.  I always preface a new meal cooked for friends and family with with “If it’s gross, you won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t eat it.  We can always order pizza!”   Seeing empty serveware was a relief.

When we came home, Em’s disappointingly short nap resulted in a Mommy-Emme grocery store run.   I needed buns for the Mango Pulled Pork I had braising, and she needed some kiddo-lobster conversation.  She asked about their day.  They waved their banded arms and swam about.  Translation: “Ya know, the ‘uge…just chillin’.”

The rest of the afternoon was spent doing tantrum control as my overtired toddler tripped, fell and knocked into various objects, causing her much embarrassment and total devastation.  Some afternoon sidewalk chalking with Daddy provided a temporary respite.  She went to bed early a happy camper.

At last check, our Facebook collage has 40 Likes and some great comments about what a fantastic father he is.  And as much as I know he appreciates the kudos, I’m pretty sure there’s one particular like that matters most.

She’s not on Facebook just yet, but she’d definitely give him a big thumbs up.

The Apologetic Mom

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

That three week plague/stomach flu quarantine we endured meant that I was a less than stellar mommy.  I trudged through my sickest days, often resting on the couch trying to do as little as humanly possible and feeling terribly guilty about it.

Emme quickly rebounded from her plague bouts and would demand to go outside or play “getchoo” (chase).  My exhausted, old butt found myself saying “Daddy will take you out when he gets home from work…”  Instead, I’d try to engage her with low energy activities like crafts, puzzles and blocks.  I told myself “When you feel better, you’re going to make this up to her.”

So that’s what I started doing today.  I tried to make the day’s activities as fun as possible.  I took Em on her first trip to the post office.  I purposely took her to an old neighborhood post office with little to no traffic so she could walk around.   She tried to politely engage a curmudgeon in conversation.  He mumbled and scowled at her.  Luckily, she was obliviously unscathed.  I was not, so I gave him the “what the hell is wrong with you!?!” look he deserved.

As we walked out, we saw a huge excavator and various large construction trucks across the street.  We spent a good time watching them work and singing “Bob the Builder! Can we fix it? Bob the Builder! Yes, we can!”  We returned to the car, trading our Bob the Builder acapella for a “Thomas & Friends” sing-along.

During lunch, Em requested a trip to the mall.  She’s only been to one maybe once or twice in her whole life, so I found that amusing.  She gets her mall curiosity from a music class song about shopping at a mall.  While she napped, I researched a local mall to see what it offered the toddler set. Carousel, ice rink, play castle…score!   Plus, I needed to get her some sandals at Stride Rite.   We arrived, got our shoes and headed out to explore the mall.  I got her a rare sugary treat (a sprinkle-covered sugar cookie) at Great American Cookies.  She eagerly spotted Target. (Bullseye!  That’s my girl!).

I tried to convince her to ride the carousel, but she wasn’t having any of it.   As we watched it spin, she said “I want to go home!”  Instead, we walked through the American Girl store.  I have a feeling that’s in our future, so I wanted to check it out.  HOLY CRAP, it’s a racket!  I couldn’t get over how expensive everything was.  The $120 basic doll is the starting point and it just gets crazy bananas from there with all the clothes, accessories, etc.  I thought I was the shit when my Cabbage Patch Kid had a table-attaching high chair and a Koosa.  The American Girl swag makes CPK look ghetto.

I walked through the store in total disbelief.  But then I saw a group of little girls having a tea party at the American Girl Bistro (yeah, they have a bistro) and it was really adorable.  They looked so happy with each other, drinking tea, eating cakes and holding their dolls.  I’m looking forward to doing things like that with Emme.

After touring American Girl, we headed for the ice rink for some sight-seeing.  Em loved it.  She kept saying “Look at her, mommy!”  “That boy is FAST, mommy!”  She wasn’t thrilled about leaving.  Through the parking lot, she kept saying “I’m not scared! I want to ride the carousel.”   That tantrum was avoided when I suggested we get her Whataburger for dinner.  She’s been asking for it since before she got sick, so she was super excited at that prospect.

After dinner, I took her outside to ride her bike.  We played fetch with a neighbor’s dog, made a sandcastle and ran about playing getchoo.  I asked her how her day was.  She replied “I had FUN!”   She soon went down at bedtime without a fight.

It was a good day.  (kow)  🙂

Purple Reigning It In

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

Em’s nursery is attached to our bedroom, separated by french doors.   During her sleepless infancy, the close proximity was fabulous.   But we’d like there to be another infant in there within the next year or two (knock on wood.)  Rather than generate unnecessary resentment over a potential sibling, we’d rather move her now than when there’s a kiddo on the horizon.   It’s time to transform Junk Room Left into Em’s Purpletastic Boudoir.

Plus, I want to move her before she turns into crib Houdini.  I have nightmares of moving her into a new room with the ability to easily escape.   To our bedroom.  (KNOCK ON WOOD)

I’ve ordered her bedding, purchased a rug, researched curtain options and pinned a gazillion ideas. I’ve got grand designs for painting an IKEA dresser and transforming two furniture pieces that once belonged to my grandmother.  When the bedding arrives next week, we’ll select her wall paint color.  The goal is to paint her room on Saturday the 14th.  I was going to pay to have the room painted, but I’m going to take that money and put it into room essentials…ya know, like a sparkly, little chandelier.

I know…I know…a chandelier sounds a bit much…. some would say “princessy.”   To which I say aww hell no.  We’re going for pretty not princess.   I just really want her room to be something she loves, and the bling appreciation is strong in that one.  She’s kind of obsessed with a chandelier lamp I’ve had forever.  And should she grow into the 2024 version of a riotous, steampunky gothgrrl, she can slap in black light and hang Tim Burton figurines from it.

Until then, here’s what I’m envisioning: