Truth in Advertising

<disclaimer> All the narcissism and navel-gazing and appearance questioning stuff ahead. </disclaimer>

I don’t dress like the other moms I’ve run into in our new town.  When genetic gifts were handed out, I was so busy running to the front of the “MAKE ME TALLER” line that I completely skipped the “put an outfit together” and “master the 5-minute face” lines.  Which has never really bothered me before – I’ve got a nice working wardrobe of unisex athletic/sweat pants, plain t-shirts and ponytail holders, and am slowly learning that there CAN be a middle ground between full-face-makeup and oh-my-god-are-you-ill.

The rub? In our new location, meeting people on my own without a tether to a job, I am realizing that this uniform invites certain… assumptions regarding my athleticism.  In that people assume I have some. Not unreasonable – six foot tall, skinny, dresses like a jock…  But I don’t. Have any athletic ability – not even a little.  So when the coach of Little Scientist’s bumblebee basketball team tosses me the ball and asks me to help run drills, what do I do?

And here’s my dilemma – right now, I fake it.  Turns out, I kinda like being sporty.  I like the ease of conversation it affords, the automatic team camaraderie that gets tossed around.  It gives me a way to relate to the other moms and dads without having to figure out how to dress / talk / look like them.  I don’t exactly SAY I played high school or college ball, but I definitely don’t disabuse folks of that notion.  And it’s starting to feel a little bit like lying.

But it’s also part of a bigger problem, foisting my comfort in appearance onto other people.  Poor Nerddad’s been bearing the brunt of this one for over a decade.  Case in point: I like my hair short, he likes it long.  Not in a creepy I’MCONTROLLINGYOURHAIR way, but in a “well if you ask my OPINION” way.  So why do I make him feel guilty when I want to cut all my hair off?  Why do I put him in a position of having to lie to me or uncomfortably voice his opinion, when we both know (a) that he really doesn’t care about my hair and (b) it’s my hair.  Why can’t I just own it?

And there it is.  What is my problem in OWNING how I appear to the world?

Today’s deep thoughts brought to you by my 18th load of laundry.  And a looming haircut.  Sheesh.

It’s not you, it’s me.

For the last month, I’ve been wallowing.

Moving – sucked. Husband working all the hours, all the days – sucks. The three year old is OMGSOVERYTHREE right now – sucks. The baby is still very VERY attached to dear old mom – sweet, but also kinda sucky.

So I gave myself until today to just be frumptastic about it. But now I need to NOT be a crankpants.  So I’m working on being intentional.  I didn’t just hand the Little Scientist the iThingie this morning – we rode the tantrum wave and went out to play.  I checked the social media wormhole, then put it down.  I drank a bottle of water between my cups of coffee.  I came over here to dust off ye olde blog, write this down while he naps and Little Sister crawls around looking for fuzzies to eat.  Hold myself accountable for it in a day / week / month or two.   We might paint or color something after nap.  Unpack something. Stella’s getting her groove back, baby.

We’ll see.


Our cloth diapering routine

We started cloth diapering when Little Sister was 2 months old. (Nerddad would probably dispute that “we”… I MIGHT have made a unilateral decision here…) I really had no higher motive beyond $$ and OMGSOCUTEFLUFFYBOTTOM. But I got a free spendy one from a vendor at Blogher, then inherited a friend’s whole stash – so it seemed like a low risk investment. And here we are, several months later.

So what does this look like?

We have about 25 of these:


Called “Chinese pre-folds”. They go in covers without pins, like so:


These are my workhorse diapers. I rotate through my 5 covers at each change, reusing them and only throwing them in the wash in event of poo. She wears these most of the time.

We also have about 10 “all-in-ones”:

Some have removable inserts, some are one piece. The common thread is they don’t have covers. You put them on like disposables and when they’re wet or poopy, take them off and throw the whole thing in the wash. These are what I throw in my purse for daily outings and what sitters / Nerddad use.

Some disclaimers:

  • Baby girl HATES wet diapers. Can. Not. Stand. So we probably go through diapers faster than most. Thus the 25 prefolds. Most folks probably use less.
  • I like bleach. Diaper companies / reputable sites tell you to use bleach sparingly. They’re probably right. But I like bleach.
  • I don’t rinse poo. We’re still not feeding her solid food, so the diapers can just go in the wash the way they come off her bum. This will probably have to change as she learns to eat things not on tap at Restauranté Boob.
  • We still use disposables at night – both b/c of the aforementioned pee aversion and because me trying to do snaps without glasses at 3 am is… Hilarious. Yeah. We’ll go with hilarious.

Our routine:

  • Put diapers in wet bag laundry bag (a plastic lined canvas bag) when they come off her bum. Wet, poopy, prefolds, all-in-ones – everybody in the pool.
  • Every other day I dump my wet bag into my 5-yo HE front loader. I do a soak cycle w/ half a scoop of specialty diaper detergent (currently bumGenius brand) and bleach – on hot. I then do a heavy wash (extra agitation & rinsing) with the other half of a scoop of detergent on hot-cold. Finally, I do a rinse-spin cycle on warm-warm.
  • If it’s early enough in the day and sunny I hang everything outside to sun. I then fluff the diapers on hot in the dryer for 15 min (no softener, just dryer balls) to unstiffen them. If it’s rainy or later in the day, I dry the diapers on high for an hour straight from the wash. The covers for the prefolds don’t go in the dryer – rumor has it dryer heat breaks down the plastic & ruins the waterproofing of the covers.

As she gets older I’m slowly trying to build up my stash of the more convenient all-in-ones – mostly through the site or flash sale sites. She seems particularly long waisted (imagine THAT – whodathunkit), so I am starting to search for diapers made especially for long babies.

I’m still learning in this – I’m not quite happy with my stripping routine (not THAT kind of stripping – gutter brain), and always on the lookout for great hints and tips… If you have some, please share!!


Peeking around the corner.

Mostly figuratively.  That last post was out of character (with lots of WORDS! and FEELINGS! ACK!), and I’m not quite sure what to write next.


We’re chugging right along with Little Sister’s food issues – cashews and broccoli are no-gos, but a bit of caffeine in a brownie or Excedrin seems ok… I’m starting to look into banking/donating some of the extra boob juice, hoping that this crazy elimination diet can help someone else too.  (PS – if you know anything about this kind of banking, hit a girl up with some info!)

tummy time is a little more bearable now...

tummy time is a little more bearable…

HEY! is that a bink?!?!

HEY! is that a bink?!?!

The Little Scientist has been all kinds of busy – we’ve made moon sand (8 cups of flour plus 1 cup of baby oil) to use some of the flour I’m not allowed to eat.  The mess was… MOSTLY contained.  Mostly.

playing with our hands is fun, mom, BUT...

playing with our hands is fun, mom, BUT…

... toes are even BETTER!

… toes are even BETTER!

He’s also decided that he wants to play football (OVER MY DEAD BODY, YOU HEAR?!?!?)

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And Nerdgrandma sent us an activity box chock full of ocean activities to do during preschool time in the afternoons.  Chock.  Full.  So we’re elbow deep in plastic frogs and fishies and turtles and my towels are getting quite the workout during activities :).


Oh, and Little Sister and I will be headed to Blogher ’13 this week – and I’m so excited I just might pee on the carpet.  (Take that with a grain of salt.  I did just have a baby.)  We’re planning on meeting SO many people that right now only exist in my computer, and seeing some family that hasn’t met the baby yet.  YAY!!  (Send aaaaaall the good plane baby vibes.  Please.)

I’m super-excited that some of the #iPPP gals will be in Chicago too – you should check out their blogs to see why!!


Tonight the heart outside my body is breaking

We’ve been together ten years and 7 months. I’ll be 33 soon. Our 6th wedding anniversary is in less than a month – two days after my birthday. He never forgets either.

We’re extraordinarily tall. I’m 6′, he’s got a good 5 inches on me. We love sports, but neither of us played. Which is why it’s funny that most people assume we met as ball players. For some reason that makes being interracial okay. I rarely disabuse people of that notion. It’s easier that way. Safer.

We have two children. Our son is almost 3 and looks so much like his father that milkman jokes take on a new level of irony. Our daughter isn’t even 7 weeks old yet. She’s nursing while I write this. Protected from sunshine, her hand at my breast is as pale as my own.

We’re comfortable – some might even say pushing the edge of wealth. Which is a point of pride because two or three generations back on both sides is poverty. Mine rural, his urban. Our grandparents and parents worked hard. So do we.

And tonight I’m so scared. For my husband, for the son that both resembles and idolizes him. For the conversations I will have to have with the child that my mom never had with my brothers. About how to be less threatening, less tall, less athletic, less urban in appearance. About how the world will demand he be less black. About how there is nothing wrong with him, but he will have to change because other people think there is.

They are my heart, they are outside my body, and tonight that heart is broken.


FOOOOOD!! (aka – she blogged twice in a week?!?!)

I love food.  LOVE.  Not in a foodie “ugh!  You should have used the WHITE truffle oil, you barbarian.” way, but in a “GET IN MAH BELLEH!!” way.

In our wild and crazy days Nerddad and I would take vacations, staying in cheap motels and seeing free attractions so we could save all our pennies for expensive food.  Omnomnom.

So a little over a year ago, when I turned up with celiac disease, it was irrationally hard.  Suddenly grocery shopping was overwhelming.  Cooking wasn’t as intuitive or spontaneous anymore (and I fancy myself a decent cook).  And I *shudder* became THAT person when we ate out.  The special-order-sauce-on-the-side-what-EXACTLY-is-in-this person.

But it eventually was okay.  Shopping got easier, cooking got easier, I got better at deciphering menus and knowing what and where I could generally eat.

Fast-forward to a few weeks ago.  Right around 2 weeks old, baby girl went from normal baby to Colicky McScreampants.  For HOURS.  Every day.  Apparently “colic” is defined as 3 hours of inconsolable screaming, 3 nights or more a week.  Hell, sometimes we were hitting that mark before BREAKFAST.  So, per Dr. Google’s recommendations, I cut out dairy and soy.  And in a matter of days she was back to her old self.

Ummmm – what?  So now I’m gluten, dairy and soy free?  Oof.

Then I had peanut butter for breakfast.  And she broke out in hives.


Pro tip: if you find yourself googling “anaphylaxis in newborns”, make an appointment with the pediatrician.  Stat.

Our awesome AWESOME pediatrician.  He took me seriously, believed what I said I saw and experienced, and said we were on the right track.  That it was too early to test baby girl for actual allergies (all her antibodies are still really MY antibodies), but it sounded like we had a dairy & nut problem on our hands.

Not an allergy – she’ll probably outgrow the dairy bit, and might outgrow the tree nut bit.


While I nurse, I’m gluten, soy, dairy, and tree nut free.  *overwhelmed* In a few months I can try introducing dairy again, but tree nuts are verbotin until she’s 2.

I tried to go grocery shopping yesterday, and texted a few friends that it felt like all I could buy was meat and produce.  Turns out I’m basically Paleo now, with a swap of rice and corn for nuts.

This should be interesting.  Manageable, but interesting.

(And don’t get me STARTED on the fact that baby girl reacts to my ONE morning cup of coffee.  I’m still going through the stages of grief on THAT one.)

If you have any recipes / tips / experiences – I’m all ears.  Seriously.

And look – cute picture!!  Kids!!


Chore time!!

Housekeeping – not my strongest skill.  I think even the goldfish applauded when that infamous nesting instinct broke out and I actually VACUUMED while I was pregnant.  (Random aside: I worked for a vacuum cleaner company as an engineer and STILL can’t spell that word correctly on the first try.  True story.)

So if I have the opportunity to pawn some of the housework off on the unsuspecting and oh-so-willing toddler?  I’m so totally in.  That I get to call it a “teachable moment” and “learning responsibility”? Icing on the cake.  The delicious, delicious, chores-for-other-people cake.

(Funny part: the parenting books all talk about “lowering your standards” and not redoing your child’s attempts if at all possible.  Ummmm – guys? If my standards got any lower the health department would put me on a reality show.  Kidding.   Kinda.)

So the Little Scientist has his chores – he unloads the dishwasher, sweeps the floor, and takes out the recycling.  And BOY will I be sad when the day comes he needs something more than applause and a “good job!” to motivate the work… Do you think I can teach him to do laundry before then?


Sweeping noodles from scooping practice into the square. Then scattering them out again. Over and over and over.


Aaaand sometimes we sweep with our feet. Whatever works dude.


I never cease to be amazed at the random crap in my garage. But hey – look! Cute kid, recycling!!

Same day, different cutoff shirt. It's our summer theme this year.

Same day, different cutoff shirt. It’s our summer theme this year.

The iPPP ladies are much nicer to their kids than I am – they’re probably doing FUN stuff this summer. Check ’em out!


How to entertain a toddler…

…with a baby on your lap.

Baby girl showed up in the early morning hours of her due date May 28th (punctual to a fault *grin*).  She did manage to wait until Nerddad had been back from a business trip week across the country for a whole 60 hours 🙂


So what do we do now that mom’s trapped under the wee bebe all. the. time?

Lots of car races:

photo (64) photo (63)

And letter hunts:


And even some of this:

photo (67)

And probably more of this than I’m willing to admit:

photo (68)

But we did manage to pull off an activity or two. I rolled some cotton balls in a flour/water/food coloring mix, and baked ’em to make BASHABLE COTTON BALLS (more detailed directions here).

bash  BASH
BASHBASHBASH the long view - yes, my crockpot has its own chair. what? it's family!

(Yes, my crockpot has its own chair. What? It’s family!)

When I do this again, I’d probably use more water to make a thinner coating – these baked up as hard as little rocks!  I would also not emphasize the word BASHABLE quite so much… I’m STILL hearing that one.

No buddy, baby sissy is NOT BASHABLE.  Oy vey.

Fun times ahead, eh?

The gals at #iPPP are not all trapped under babies, and doing all sorts of neat summer things.  Check ’em out!


Playing in water – the best laid plans…

Nope, no baby yet.  Although I scared the pants off of Nerddad last night with a rousing game of “is it a tummy bug or is it labor”… *grin*. (Spoiler alert – tummy bug.  Blech.)  Keeping things interesting around here, that’s my major function.

So it’s FINALLY warm enough here to get outside and play for real.  I mean, really Nature?  SNOW in MAY? South of the Mason-Dixon?  Vom. It.

But this week was gor-GEOUS, so after helping our AWESOME babysitter construct baby furniture:

So SERIOUS. And So SCARY with a real screwdriver.  Who's idea was that, anyway?

So SERIOUS. And so SCARY with a real screwdriver. Who’s idea was that, anyway?

The Little Scientist and I raided the $5 and under toy aisle for water toys.  Bags of toys later, we set up shop at home…. And proceeded to play with our favorite rocks.  For an hour.  Quite happily.  So I’ll stash the bags away for another sunny day 🙂

water1 water2 water3

Although I do have to admit, we pulled the Nemo water cannon out for a little while, and the peals of laughter over the bubbles (aka Nemo toot-toots) were quite funny.  Ah, potty humor.  NOW we’re in my wheelhouse, little man.

Not to be deterred, after nap (and yes, that’s a THIRD outfit for the day.  Don’t judge.) I was determined to try to make these sponge balls.  I got as far as cutting up my sponges, and, well…

water4 water5

So this week’s lesson, following the last one about slowing down to toddler speed, is about child-led activities.  Because sometimes a rock is the BEST toy, and sometimes the craft project gets derailed in the middle for a building project – and that’s ok too.


Gratuitous shot of nerddad and LS – because *d’awwwww*!!

The #iPPP gals – they’re awesome. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. Go. Read. Now.


Attention Deficit Dis-HEY! Let’s go play!

(I kid.  I kid.  I know that ADD is real and serious for many people… Truly.)

When I was going through teaching / child development classes a few *cough-ten-cough* years ago, the big debate was on childhood attention spans.  Were they getting shorter, was technology to blame, OHMYGOD was Sesame Street to blame, etc…

I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently for one simple reason.  At 8.5 months pregnant, I just don’t move very fast.  (Unless he decides to take off sprinting towards the road.  Then I can still give Usain Bolt a run for his money.  True story.  I would TOTALLY be an Olympic-class sprinter in the “endangered toddler” category.)

So here recently if the Little Scientist wants to camp out on an activity for an unholy length of time, I’m all in.  And I’ve noticed that my internal “let’s do something else” alarm goes off WAAAY before he’s usually ready to do something else.  Which makes me wonder how often I rush him through things before he’s ready to be done…  So yesterday we went to the park with the drainage ditch… err… creek and tossed rocks in the creek for almost an hour.  And again today.

rock1 rock2
rock3 rock4

I don’t pretend I can stop the clock all the time (FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS CHOCOLATE FIND YOUR SHOES CHILD!!!!), but maybe I need these last 6 weeks before baby girl to retrain myself.  I’ll be thinking about that over here on the comfy chair with my ice cream if you wanna discuss 🙂

The ladies at iPPP are doing all sorts of things NOT in comfy chairs – go check ’em out!