Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Baking Buddies

I really do need to do cooking projects with Harper more often because she likes it so much. Baking seems to be the easiest thing to do with her, especially when it involves brownies from a box rather than homemade pretzels. Also, box brownies take about ten minutes to make, and that's with a toddler "helping."

We talked about measuring and pouring, as well as designating, "Harper jobs," and, "Mommy jobs." For example, pouring oil in the bowl is a Harper job; cracking the eggs is a Mommy job. As long as there were Harper jobs she didn't fuss over the Mommy ones.

Stirring was probably her favorite part, although she kept saying, "Yuck. Dese bowneees are yucky!"

You have to admit, brownie batter does look a little like dirt.

Once she got to taste the batter, Harper was totally on board. Don't worry, we didn't consume massive amounts of batter, just a taste. While we were tasting I said to Harper, "This is called, 'Licking the bowl.'" Which I should have know she would take literally.

Today Harper actually got to eat one of the brownies; they weren't cool enough last night. She doesn't get a lot of chocolate (most of it isn't safe for someone with peanut allergy), and she loved it. Although she still thought the crumbs looked like dirt and didn't care for them on her hands. "Dis bownee made my hans all yucky." It did not bother her enough to stop eating.

And now I say goodbye, I am going on hiatus for a few days. I have a ginormous project due Sunday night and darn it if it just keeps not getting finished. So no more blogging for me until I submit it. I might also, gasp, take a break from reading blogs for the next couple of days. So if I typically read and comment on yours, don't be offended. I'll be back next week. Have a good weekend!

Play Day

My friend Andrea approached me with the idea of having a babysitting swap. One Monday a month she'll take the girls for an entire morning and the other day, I will. We decided 9-12 is a good time frame, mostly because it allows the "free" mother a whopping amount of time to clean her house or eat chocolate, her choice, without child in tow. We began this week and I went first. Andrea dropped Dana off at 9 a.m. Monday morning and off she went. The girls were so excited to play together and Dana even relaxed about the dog, so we didn't have to keep him in the basement for three hours.

The day did not, however, pass without incident.

Two-year-olds, as it turns out, are not so great at taking turns. Duh.

I mean, mostly they were fine, especially once I hid Harper's baby doll and stroller, being that there's only one of each. Oh. My. Word. I literally had to pry both of their hands off the stroller and left them both crying on the floor while I locked it in the spare bedroom. We also had incidents over Harper's bear shaped pretend cookie mold, the ride-on corn popper, and a pair of infant sunglasses. But the girls mostly played well together.

A good thing about two-year-olds is that they seem to recover quickly from disappointment. While there were a few fits here and there, I think the morning can be called a success. Despite the knock-down-drag-out over the doll and stroller, both girls said they had fun and want to play together again.

Another benefit to this play day was that, as much as she drives me crazy, it helped me recognize that Harper has learned and follows a lot of our ground rules. I think I had been taking that for granted a bit. It's not that Dana wasn't well-behaved. For example, there is a stereo receiver/VCR/DVD thing on an open shelf below our television. Harper hardly ever touches that anymore, not that we didn't have to teach her to leave it alone. But at Dana's their equipment is behind childproof cabinet doors so she hasn't had to learn to leave it alone. I found myself saying a lot of, "At Harper's house we. . ." and she figured it out.

Of course the very best part will be a week from Monday, when I get to drop Harper off at Dana's house for three glorious hours!!!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Tag! I'm It!

This is very exciting. I have received my first ever meme tag. And it came from Mommy Daisy.

I think a significant number of people who read this blog are not necessarily bloggers and therefore may not know what a meme is, so allow me to try to enlighten. There are lots of definitions and if you look up "meme" in Wikipedia, it has a complicated history that I knew nothing about. A "memetag" however, is what we're talking about. (Read here and here if you care about these things!) A meme is when one blogger tags another and the tagged blogger answers a list of questions or lists their favorite books, or some variation of that sort of activity. So Mommy Daisy tagged me, and if you read to the end of this post, then you can see who I tag.

1. What is your main cell phone ring tone?

My phone plays the "Chinese Dance" from the Nutcraker. I always know when it's my phone that's ringing. I would also like to note that our home phones play "Old MacDonald Had a Farm."

2. What is your default avatar?

I think I have an avatar on Yahoo, and it is just a girl/woman with brown hair and eyes. I'm not sure anyone actually sees it. It is not very accurate; they were short on the avatars that looked like sweat pants wearing non-professional housewives.

3. What station is your car radio permanently tuned to?

My car radio is often playing Raffi's Singable Songs for the Very Young. But when Harper isn't demanding the "Waffi singing," I listen to one of our two local NPR stations. (If you are a dork like me you are totally jealous that I have two NPR stations to listen to.)

4. What is your computer desktop image?

It is one of Harper playing in the snow. Actually, the last one from this post.

5. Is there something you wear every single day?

Socks, slippers, flip-flops, or tennis shoes. I greatly dislike having bare feet, even in the house.

6. I wish I had a tracking device on:

There is no one object I consistently struggle to find. But there are always those items I know I have and that I put in a very specific space for safekeeping and then I cannot find when I need them. So I really need a tracking device for anything I put away thinking, "I'll put it here so it doesn't get lost and I can find it when I do need it."

7. What page does your Internet browser open with?

My Yahoo page.

8. This item never leaves my car/purse:

Blistex Lip Medex or DCT, especially in the winter. I also always have one of those little tissue packages.

9. What TV show do you never miss?

There are several I enjoy weekly, but LOST is probably the one I'm most upset to miss because it is hard to follow. I am addicted because I just can't figure out what the heck is up with that show!

10. What phrase do you hear yourself repeating too often?

"Harper? What are you doing?"

Now I tag Erin at MO Mommy. You're it!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

How To Appear Smart

A little tip from Harper:

Don't know what something is, but embarrassed by your lacking vocabulary? Here is a plan that will ensure you remain clever and cute in the eyes of your parents.

1) Point to object(s) in question.

2) Look lovingly at the nearest adult and ask, "Wha is dat?"

3) Wait for the answer with a thoughtful look on your face.

4) When the adult answers, enthusiastically say, "Yes, dat's right!"

Nodding your head helps sell that last part; a little pat on the adult's arm doesn't hurt either.

It's a win-win. You now have a word to put with the previously unknown object and any adults around you will beam at your brilliance.

You're welcome.

Friday, February 23, 2007

There's An Announcement Here Somewhere

No I'm not pregnant. If you are my age, married, and use the word "announcement" it's one of the first things people think. Not happening yet. Moving on. . .

I read a lot of blogs. Several of them have new posts once or twice every single day. I did that for this past November and it about drove me insane. I don't know how many of you (besides Erin!) check here daily, but I will try to be more consistent with my posting. If you are still reading, you deserve that!

If I haven't posted much it either means:

a) Things have been going pretty well, leaving me nothing to rant or whine about.


b) I have been up until ungodly hours trying to finish my school work and I just can't bring myself to spend one more ever-loving second at this computer.

This week has been a little of both, but mostly b. This has been my most challenging quarter of graduate school yet. The good news is the worst will be over in only ten more days. The better news is that I'll be 1/2 way through my program after this quarter, and the BEST news is that Matt and I are going to Mexico!!!

Yes, Mexico.

(That was the announcement.)

Thanks to the fact that Matt works hard and is good at his job, and the fact that we have wonderful parents willing to play the toddler game for a few days, Matt and I will be spending a few days in Riviera Maya toward the end of March. This is similar to the trip we took to Florida last year. The trip just happens to be timed perfectly to coincide with the week between quarters where I am going to school. Talk about a reward. We are staying at some five-star, all inclusive, adult only resort. We get to spend a day visiting some ancient ruins. We are going to sleep. We are going to eat. We are going to get to see each other more than in passing!

Of course I'll miss Harper, but last year I amazed myself with my ability to say goodbye and truly enjoy our getaway. I would get teary when we called home or if something reminded me of Harper, but mostly I was able to let go and have fun. We'll only be gone one extra day this time. The other difference is that we know about her peanut allergy now, but both of our parents are educated about it and know how to keep her safe just as well as we do. She'll be in heaven with all the attention. Last year I think she was kind of upset when we showed up again. The Mugga fun train came to a screeching halt. This year she'll spend time with Nana and Dziatku and Mugga and Grandpa. She'll probably try to lock us out. At least we can count on Rebound to be excited by our return as he thinks, "The people who come home with my food are back, whew!"


In Harper news, I just want to mention that she drives me crazy sometimes, but mostly Harper is an amazing kid and totally cracks me up.

This morning she was sitting on our bed and I was chasing the dog around. Rebound kept running over the top of our bed, which Harper found hilarious. She was laughing one of those wonderful belly laughs that seem to disappear with childhood. She kept saying, "Do it ageen Mommy!"

After a while I was getting pooped and I flopped down on the bed. When Harper protested I told her I needed to take a break because I couldn't breathe. She replied, "Yes you tan Mommy. It goes like this. . . " Then she leaned over with her mouth open and made noise which sounded like a Darth Vader impression. So literal, the two year old. I love it.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Two Posts in One Day; Don't Let Your Head Explode

Here is a little summary of this "winter" in Ohio.

Phase One: Where is our snow? Where is our cold? Why is it 60 degrees this late in October? No, I will not mow the lawn anymore.

Phase Two: Finally, it's a little cold, we can stop putting flea stuff on the dog.

Phase Three: OHMYGOSH! It. Is. So. Cold. I don't like this. Where is spring? Or at least let us have some snow!

Phase Four: Why is it still snowing? Never mind. No more snow. Kids need to go to school and I would like to pull the car out of the driveway.

Stay tuned for Phase Five, The Great Thaw, which is likely to contain flooding and all of Ohio sinking into a giant mud puddle. (FYI: I won't be a fan of Phase Five either. Apparently I don't think much of this "weather" stuff.)

So we finally had snow on the ground and a day warm enough to take Harper out to play in it. Sadly, it was not packing snow and, though we tried, there is still no snowman with a carrot nose gracing our front yard. Harper was only mildly upset by the lack of snowman.

Harper spent a lot of time just sort of flopping around in the snow. Then she would struggle to her feet and throw some in the air yelling, "It's snooooowing!"

After while, to take a break from the flopping and the throwing, she helped us shovel. It appears that, when you are two, shoveling and playing are not mutually exclusive concepts.

Tomorrow it is supposed to rain (see Phase Five, above) and we will enter the part of the year in which the dog will not be clean again for months. This is otherwise known as spring. If you were not fortunate enough to be here a few weeks ago, after my mom had scrubbed the kitchen floor, you'd best not visit soon. The floor is scheduled to be clean again in June.

Day with Daddy

It is no secret that Harper loves spending time with her dad. Between Matt's work and basketball, Harper spends most of her time with me, the lucky girl. Matt didn't have to work today and he was with Harper all day so I could get some school work finished. Today's daddy-daughter-bonding highlights included a tea party, playing an Elmo game that Matt found on the computer, and playing in the snow.

The first few pictures aren't from today, but they do show how much Harper loves her dad.

I have to say, if she's going to idolize someone, she's made a pretty good choice.


What do you do to entertain a toddler when it just keeps snowing and snowing and snowing and it's too cold to go outside?

Well these things have a way of working themselves out.

Yesterday Rebound went out and ran all over the snowy yard until he was covered. Then he came inside and started getting little bits of snow and water all over the place. Harper knew that little tiny puddles of water did not belong all over the place, so she decided it would be her job to dry Rebound.

She ran to the bathroom to get the hand towel and started chasing Rebound, saying, "Come ere Reba! Yet me dwy you off!"

Dogs are unlikely to hold still for two-year-olds wielding towels. Which worked in my favor. I'd say the game lasted about half and hour before Rebound came to me with a desperate plea to stop the madness.

Tomorrow it is supposed to be slightly warmer here and we may finally get outside to build that snowman.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy candy and flowers day to everyone. Nana and Dziatku generously joined us for dinner and then stayed to babysit so Matt and I could see a movie. We saw The Pursuit of Happyness and it was wonderful. A word of caution though, the movie is about 99% pursuit and only 1% happyness. I cried a lot. If that movie didn't have a happy ending, they would probably have needed ushers handing out Prozac as people left the theater.

Going to see a movie with Matt was a nice treat, which couldn't have come at a better time. Today was not a good day, toddler-wise. Example: I went downstairs to switch a load of laundry while Harper was finishing her applesauce. I heard her laughing as I was pouring laundry detergent and came upstairs to find she had literally flung applesauce all over the kitchen with her spoon. Harper is ornery in what I suspect are many normal toddler ways, but she has an abnormal fondness for throwing her food. It drives me absolutely crazy. I took the remaining applesauce away (we're trying to teach her that food on the floor or walls means she's finished eating) and she screamed. Then she screamed because I wouldn't give her marshmallows.

Then the dog refused to come in and stood barking at our unkind neighbor who was shoveling his driveway. Our history with the neighbors and our dog is a long and unpleasant one, resulting in the fact that we tell the dog not to bark when he goes outside. I couldn't even chase him and bring him in, the snow was too deep. I will admit that I cried in frustration (there was a lot of crying today, come to think of it) and then Harper gave me two of her Fisher Price babies to make me feel all better.

She actually said, "Was a matter Mommy? I tan make you feel better, otay? I give you dese babies, otay? Der you go. Is dat much better?"

Then she went back to screaming about marshmallows. That's two for you.

The snow has kept us housebound for two entire days with not even a trip to Kroger to break up the insanity. I desperately wanted to go to playgroup today, but would not have been able to get my little car out of the driveway. So we played at home.

Have I ever mentioned that some of Harper's favorite toys are actually Rebound's toys? Yesterday she fell in love with this tennis doughnut. And she decided that looking at me through it was hilarious.

"Yook at me Mommy! I tan see you!"

I laughed because she though it was so funny. Then she asked me to take her picture.

Today she pulled out the routine again, and again requested a picture.

Tomorrow we will get out of the house!

(Thanks to the supportive things everyone wrote about the peanut allergy post. And thanks to all the non-commenters who were supportive over the phone. A combination of one or two more hives and some very sloppy diapers makes me think the virus theory was the correct one and she wasn't having a reaction at all. You just never know.)

Monday, February 12, 2007

This Blog is Not About Peanut Allergy

. . . but this post is.

I don't write a whole lot about Harper's peanut allergy. There are a couple of reasons for this:

1) It is so ingrained in my thinking, that most days we just deal with it the same way we deal with poopy diapers; it's inconvenient, but life goes on.

2) Her allergy causes me mostly manageable, but sometimes completely overwhelming, anxiety. I am afraid if I write about it all the time I will let that anxiety overcome me, which really isn't good for anyone. Also, people don't need to read about how anxious I am.

3) Harper is a child with a life threatening peanut allergy, but she is mostly just a child. The people who spend a lot of time with her or care for her have to know about her allergy and how to keep her safe, but I don't want her life to be defined by her peanut allergy.

4) Harper is mostly cared for by her parents or grandparents in our home. While we can never guarantee it is perfect, our home is the safest place for her to be in regard to her allergy. All of this will change when she starts to go to school. If I'm still gracing the world with my writing-via-blog (it is such a gift you know, ha ha), you will probably hear a lot more about it once she heads for school.

If you are new to us, you can read about our initial experiences with peanut allergy here and here.

Tonight Harper's allergy sent us running down the road to the urgent care around 8:30. She had gone out to eat with Matt and his parents, to a restaurant we've been to several times. It is a place we feel comfortable with and she ate only food she has previously had. Matt brought her home, gave her a bath, and put her to bed. About five minutes after I got home from class, she woke up screaming the kind of scream that sends me from one end of our house to the other in a big fat hurry. When I got to her crib she still seemed half asleep but was clearly in pain. She continued to scream and I could barely hold her because she was squirming so much, trying to find a comfortable position. I also noticed her cheeks were looking really flushed, although this could have been from all her thrashing around. She said her tummy hurt and she was pulling at her pajamas. I took her pajamas off and noticed she didn't exactly have hives, but her skin was red around the elbows, a spot on her stomach, and seemed red on her calves.

We (Matt heard the crying and came to see what was going on) took her into the kitchen to have a look where the light was better. Vomiting and skin reactions can both by symptoms of an allergic reaction. Harper wasn't vomiting, but I was really concerned about the amount of discomfort she seemed to be in. She was not having trouble breathing or having any swelling or apparent itching around her mouth or throat. She had a strong pulse. If any of those things had been different, we would have used her epi pen and called 911. Our allergist told us the #1 reason people die from food allergies is that they either don't have their epi pens or someone is afraid to use it and doesn't administer the epinephrine quickly enough. Don't get me wrong, I would use it immediately if she seemed to have poor circulation or was having trouble breathing, but it is sure difficult to imagine jamming a needle into your baby if you aren't sure it is necessary.

I called the emergency number for our allergist and explained what was going on. She said it didn't sound like an allergic reaction (though she couldn't tell for sure over the phone, obviously) but from the sound of Harper screaming she suggested we give her some Benadryl and take her to urgent care. So that's what we did.

Harper was a trooper. Thanks, in part, to a DVD episode of Blue's Clues which we have watched a billion times, she was actually kind of thrilled to be going to the doctor. Her symptoms never got worse, and she became pretty mellowed out once the Benadryl kicked in. You've been reading long enough, so I'll fast forward to the end, when the urgent care doctor decided it probably wasn't an allergic reaction, but maybe hives due to a virus. She thought the hives could have been brought out by heat from her bath and those warm pajamas/covers in bed.

To be on the safe side I have my alarm set for 2 a.m. which is about when the Benadryl should be wearing off. If it was an allergic reaction, her symptoms could come back and be more severe. Whether I will be able to fall asleep before 2 a.m. is another matter. I don't know how not to get worked up about this food allergy. I try so hard not to let it drive me insane or rule our lives, but there is a small part of my mind which wonders with every little mark on Harper's skin, whether we are seeing the beginning of the reaction, the one I never want to experience. Everything I've read about peanut allergy seems to suggest that a serious reaction is almost inevitable at some point. Unless we live in a bubble, which doesn't seem to be the answer. We have to do our best to keep her safe and just be prepared.

Sometimes I think I should write more about her allergy. There are so many people in the world who simply do not believe that ingesting a trace amount of peanut protein can kill someone. It can. Maybe I have a responsibility, though I'm not an expert, to do what I can to educate anyone who might read this about food allergies? I don't know.

All I know is that we love this girl more than seems humanly possible.

And I just want her to be safe.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Note About People in Cars

Is it me, or does it seem more and more dangerous to leave home these days? I'm not going to go on a long rant about bad drivers, Lord knows I've had my own moments, but I just thought I'd send out an extra word of caution as a sort of public service announcement.

We live in a fairly subdued area and I still routinely see people driving way too fast, not paying attention, following too closely, and generally committing an entire list of traffic no-nos. Even if you are an excellent driver, you cannot account for the actions of anyone else. Last week Harper and I were crossing a Kroger parking lot and I saw a car hit another woman's cart as she was crossing the road! Fortunately no one seemed to be injured, just scared. At least the driver of the car was moving slowly, she just wasn't looking and plowed right into the other woman's cart. Can you imagine? These are the people we are on the road with, so please, be careful out there.

Someday she will be one of those people on the road.

I'll let you know when it happens.

It might be a good time to retire to Bermuda.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Voices In Your Head Are There For A Reason

If you are a parent of a small child there are have probably been times when you feel like you have few brain functions operating at full capacity. And yet, there are probably times when the little itty bit of reason left up there calls out to you. You should listen.

A week or so ago, a friend emailed me about an invitation to a birthday party for Elmo. She said it sounded like a nightmare to her, but might be something Harper would enjoy. I called and "reserved" our spot at Elmo's celebration. Harper loves Elmo. Whenever we're watching Sesame Street and Elmo's World comes on, she turns and announces it to me, like it is a wonderful stroke of luck that it happened again. Elmo's World is on Sesame Street every day, but Harper acts like she's won the lottery every time it appears. So of course I was going to take her to Elmo's party.

What kind of mother would I be if I didn't?

Try a sane one.

The kind of mother that listens to the part of her brain that says, "Harper will never know if you don't take her to Elmo's birthday, she won't remember it if you do take her, and she'll probably be scared of six foot Elmo anyway. Remember your experience with Santa?"

Now I love our local bookstore (despite the fact that a big chain bought it and left the name the same, so it's sort of only faux local now), but the planning for this event was not great. I don't know if it was their fault or the fault of the traveling Elmo people. Either way, it is unrealistic to expect a group of toddlers and preschoolers to wait calmly while Elmo shows up half an hour late, and then make them stand in line to have a picture taken with him. We sat on the floor while we waited, and an enthusiastic employee read Elmo board books to the group. She also lead a round of Elmo Says and had the good sense not to make the two-year-olds sit down if they didn't quite follow the directions, thank goodness. Then they passed out a coloring sheet and cups of crayons for the kids to share. There was nothing terribly wrong with it, other than it all felt a little haphazard for an event we had to make reservations for, and the kids kept asking where Elmo was.

Once Elmo arrived there was a mad-dash to line up for pictures with him. I could not believe the way people grabbed their children and practically trampled each other to be at the front of the line. I am not so aggressive, especially with Harper in tow, so we ended up quite near the back, with a long wait ahead of us (when we'd already been there nearly 45 minutes). Harper waved to Elmo when we first got in line. As we waited, it must have occurred to her that I intended to stand her next to Elmo and take her picture. That's when she started whining, "I can't want to go to Elmo's birthday. I can't want to see Elmo." And she secured her monkey vice grip on my shirt and shoulder.

Again, instead of listening to the tiny shred of sanity I'm holding onto (which said, "Cut your loses and go home.") I thought that Harper might be less scared if we just got closer and saw how Elmo didn't attack the other children, or even make any loud noises.

She was not moved. She would not even look at Elmo. At least she didn't cry.

By the time we got home I felt pretty guilty for carrying her over to stand by Elmo, when she was clearly communicating that she did not want to do it. The whole way home she reminded me, "I can't want to see Elmo!" Just in case her refusal to look at him didn't register with me.

So I let her choose whatever she wanted to eat for lunch. She chose an apple and a plum.

That is called retaliation via diaper. And retaliate she did.

By the time she finished her fruit all appeared to be forgiven and forgotten. Today she was still happy when Elmo's World appeared on television. All's well that end's well I suppose.

The moral of our story is:

Trust the little instinct you have left.

When in doubt, stay home.

The two-year-old does not know the difference.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Winter Wonderland

It has been insanely cold here. The schools are closed. Pipes are freezing. I had to walk two minutes from my car to a building on campus Monday night and I was so unbelievably cold I wanted to cry. Again, thank goodness I have no plans for moving to Alaska, or even Minnesota.

Today was one of the days when I am totally and completely grateful for the fact that I am a stay at home mom. Because that's exactly what we did, we stayed at home. The only real plans we had for the day were to go to ABC class at the rec center and then hit the grocery on the way home. The local school district closed, which meant the rec center was also closed, and Matt stopped at the grocery on the way home. Plans effectively canceled.

Harper and I stayed in our pajamas. We watched Elmo. We ate graham crackers. We climbed in and out of her tent so many times I was starting to worry I would light a fire with the static electricity I'd built up. We snuggled on the couch to play Brain Quest and read books. Every once in a while we'd head back over to a window and Harper would squeal, "It's sowing!!!" And snow it did, for about eight hours, leaving us with a little over four inches. Hopefully it will remain cool enough to keep the snow in the yard, but warm up just a little so we can get outside and actually build that snowman.

One of the wonderful side-effects of teaching first grade for four years was continuous access to Scholastic Book Orders. I think I loved the book orders more as an adult than I did as a child. As a result of these book orders I have approximately 1,000 picture books in the basement. 1,000 pictures books. That number does not include the chapter books. I'm not including Harper's books either. I know that Matt thinks I'm a little insane to have that many books. But I knew they would come in handy, eventually.

Harper is getting old enough that we can move beyond concept books and board books with short stories. She can't sit still for very long picture books, but her appreciation for a longer narrative is definitely growing. As she was eating lunch, and we were watching the snow come down, I remembered that I had all kinds of snow related picture books in the basement. We went on an expedition (with no falling down the basement stairs) and returned with an armload of books.

Visiting that bookshelf feels like finding buried treasure to me. We had All You Need for a Snowman; The Biggest, Best Snowman; The Missing Mitten Mystery; Grandmother Winter; The Snowchild; The Mitten Tree; The Wild Toboggan Ride; The Hat; A Silly Snowy Day; The Mitten; and Snowballs. I did not bring up any of the books starring penguins or polar bears, as that is snow related mostly to location, as opposed to winter snow. I also left a few that were just too complicated for Harper.

Want to come over and read with us?

We'll save you a spot on the couch.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


For the past six years or so Matt's parents have watched every Super Bowl from our living room. It started right after Matt moved into our first house, when we were engaged. The idea of making dinner and having his family over was exciting. I made a chicken casserole, green beans, and rolls, and our tradition was born. Now we always have that casserole and watch together. That is absolutely the right kind of party for me. We enjoy each others' company, watch the game (when it is exciting), watch the commercials, and chat. Beautiful. We don't have to worry that the food isn't safe for Harper and we can put her to bed at halftime.

For over a month I have "owed" Matt a batch of homemade soft pretzels that I was going to make for Christmas Eve but ran out of time. Then I was going to make them to enjoy with New Year's Day football when we were in Wisconsin, but I forgot to bring the recipe. So today I finally made some. And Harper "helped."

It was a huge mess, beginning with the cup and a half of water she spilled on the counter and floor in the first thirty seconds of our project. Not that water is difficult to clean up, but it didn't seem a good omen at the time. After a lot of deep breathing and mental reminders that nothing we were using couldn't be cleaned up with a wet rag, broom, or vacuum, I just let it go. I had to choose to let it be messy and deal with it later, which is hard for me. I'm not a fanatic about cleaning the house, but I tend to avoid situations that lead to certain disaster, like baking with a toddler. Matt was at basketball games for the morning and early afternoon, so it was make pretzels with Harper or don't make them at all.

So we just dug in. Harper had so much fun. First there was lots of dumping and stirring. I don't think I've ever heard the phrase, "I want to do it," so many consecutive times. Then we had to actually turn the mound of dough into pretzels. Fortunately the pretzel dough is only yeast, flour, sugar, salt, and water because when we got to the kneading and pretzel forming stage all Harper did was pinch dough from the mound, roll it into little balls and eat it. She also really enjoyed spreading the flour around on the work surface.

With each bit of dough she put in her mouth she exclaimed, "Dat's tasty!" And you try to stop a two-year-old from eating the dough when your own hands are coated with pretzel gunk. There's not much you can do. Once all the pretzels were formed, I did remove Harper, wash her hands and get her distracted with something else. I did the egg brushing and salt sprinkling myself.

The game was fine, the pretzels were delicious!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Good News!!!

While many people are getting excited about the Super Bowl, I have something else to cheer about. I'm not at all embarrassed to say that this makes me so incredibly happy I nearly cried reading about it. How many days until preseason starts?

Rites of Passage

Aside from the cute kid, what do all of these pictures have in common?

If you guessed that Harper's hair was totally out of control, you win! (You will be contacted by our prize department shortly.)

Harper is two, and she comes from a long line of less than full heads of hair, so my expectations for her hair are minimal. Since she had so little hair already, I was extremely reluctant to get it cut, there hardly seemed anything there to be cut. However, it had grown more unruly by the day and we finally decided to bite the bullet. Not because it was so thick, rather, because it was getting so scraggly looking and the ends were just sticking up all over the place. She also had some hair that was hanging down in her forehead, almost to the top of her nose. Time for a trim!

So off we went yesterday for haircuts. I was a little embarrassed, as it had been a full year since I last had my hair cut, fortunately Laura, who cuts my hair, didn't give me too hard a time about that. Incidentally, my hair is so long that she just trimmed it, in a couple more months I'm going to go back and cut it off for Locks of Love.

Harper did very well getting her hair cut. She was a little nervous about that big chair, until Matt pointed out that she got to wear a huge bib, then she was on board. She also really enjoyed watching the process in the mirrors.

Laura didn't want to cut too much and leave Harper with no hair. We'll see how it grows and go back in about six months. Sadly, Harper's hair was so thin and wispy, there really wasn't even anything to save from her first haircut. Oh well, that's one part of her baby book that will remain empty. Maybe I'll stick a photo in the envelope instead.

The other rite of passage that Harper experienced was less pleasant. She fell down the basement stairs. Living in a ranch, we'd avoided stair falls for a pretty long time. Lately Harper has been coming down with me to change loads of laundry or get items from the freezer. Yesterday she was following me down the stairs, which she has successfully done several times, and I was a little ahead of her. I turned the corner at the bottom of the steps and then heard several thumps in quick succession, followed by screaming of epic proportions. It about stopped my heart. Fortunately Harper, other than being scared, was fine. It only took about five (long) minutes to calm her down. Then she asked me for ice for her forehead, the only part of her she claimed was hurting. As she stood in our kitchen with her Pooh Bear ice pack pressed to her head she said, "I tan't go down dose stairs by myself!" I guess not.