Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Moral Question

Tom and I are crazy thrift store/flea market shoppers. Nowadays, I always search through the children's books at these things, and often come home with a few gems. Yesterday evening, I was sharing one such book with Tom. The book is called Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers. It is a very sweet book with beautiful illustrations, showing all the things that babies do. Each page says something simple like "Everyday, everywhere, babies are fed." And then you see pictures of a baby nursing, babies drinking bottles, babies in high chairs, etc. The expressions and attitudes of the people are varied and relate-able. The pictures are just delightful, and would be very captivating to a child. So, after a quick scan of the book at the flea market, and noting that it was only 25 cents, I had thrown it into my pile.

So back to last night. I was holding the book out in front of Tom, turning the pages and pointing out the great pictures, and how cute they were. Then I came to this one:

"Are they....lesbians?", I asked. We both kinda laughed in an unsure way, and Tom concluded, "no...no...it's just two women. It doesn't mean they're lesbians."

So I turned the page.

Look at that more closely!!

Those men are DEFINITELY romantically involved. "ahhh! This is a GAY book!" I yelled.

I quickly scanned the rest of the images, and didn't find any others like it, thankfully. Now sure, someone might argue that the book is trying to be realistic and portray scenes that one might encounter in the real world. But that still doesn't mean I want to expose my kids to that at a young age. To allow the thought that living in a homosexual relationship is "normal" or "good."

The book is so excellent aside from that one image. And maybe our kids would never even pick up on it?? But I don't know if that's a safe thing to count on. Could I pass it off as the guys just being good friends? It's ridiculous that I even need to ask such questions!

So what do I do?

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Ducky 1st Birthday Party

Here's how the cake turned out. I kept changing my mind about how I would make it. Originally, it was going to be a white sheet cake cut into the shape of a duck. It ended up a chocolate 3-layer cake with a duck frosted on top! It looks alright from this angle, except that the yellow icing was a bit too runny.

But this is what happened at the back. It just fell apart. And now I remember why I always avoid baking homemade cakes - they never stay together!! It is impossible to get them out of the pans cleanly, and I always have the most difficult time stacking them, and frosting them, since they are so flimsy and crumbling everywhere. Is there something I am doing wrong??

Here's the kitchen table, starting to get ready for guests.

The rainbow sherbet punch with, appropriately, rainbow-colored duckies.

Blue raspberry lemonade (this one was supposed to be reminiscent of a bathtub).

The backyard table all set up.

Sly, having no clue why we're all singing at him. Please disregard the back of the cake!

mmm - yum!
Helping him to open his presents out back.

Sly got four different Little People sets! They take up a lot of room, so that prompted us to have to sort through and pack away/give away a lot of his other toys last night!

These are the ridiculous (but cute and amusing) inflatable coasters my mom got. All the guys were using them for their beers :-)

He got a great wooden snail pull-toy.

Enjoying his car from Grammy and Grandad!

Happy Birthday to my big boy!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Some Pretty Gifts

My birthday was last week, and my gift-givers were all quite generous, and showed a good knowledge of my love of beautiful things! Let me share some of the new goodies I was blessed with...

Tom's parents gave me stuff from Anthropologie!

I have been coveting these towels ("Storybook Romance Towels") ever since I saw them, and bought them for a friend last spring. I hung them over a kitchen window by clothespins on a stretch of clothesline. I think it's pretty cute. Sorry for the poor picture quality - we don't get great lighting over there. The towels say "they fell in love", "they got married", and "they lived happily ever after." Yay!

They also gave one each of these helianthus goblets in amber, green, pink, and clear.

gave me a renewed subscription to Netflix, which will allow me to waste more time watching BBC dramas this year!

Elise sent me some Ekelund dish clothes and a dish towel. They are very well-made and sturdy. Because they have bamboo, they dry quickly and supposedly won't smell bad. So far, so good!

Mommy took me antique shopping, so I could pick my own gifts.

Notice any trend in the sorts of things that attract my eye? Man, I'm predictable. Using these new pieces as inspiration, I did a re-work of one wall in my kitchen, and made it (IMHO) totally beautiful (i.e. packed with aqua blue pieces)!! I will get a picture eventually, but as I mentioned, that wall of the kitchen is too dark to get a great shot. Plus, it's gray and rainy today.

Mom also bought me a great vintage dress. It's brown with brass buttons up the thigh. No pictures, sorry.

My man gave me several things I don't have pictures of:
F.W. Tamblyn's Home Instructor in Penmanship (republished from 1938). Looks basically impossible, but how wonderful would it be to develop beautiful handwriting?
You Can Can - oh, I sure hope so! we're hoping to go apple picking in October, and can some homemade applesauce.
Tickets to a Justin Townes Earle concert (which was awesome)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Getting Ready for Sly's First Birthday

I mentioned before that I wanted Sly's little party to be rubber ducky themed, since he loves them so.

Here are the cute invitations I made.

I'm not into scrapbooking at all (it's hard enough just to keep up-to-date with the hard-copy photos in my albums, let alone designing entire themed pages around them!), but MAN, do I love the scrapbooking section at craft stores these days. I feel like I've been doing a lot of little projects with cardstock recently.

Presumably, my mother's massive shipments of rubber ducky items have arrived, so all the decor is taken care of (she showed me the "inflatable rubber ducky coasters" last time I visited. Oh my gosh.)

I still want to make a cake. I've never decorated a cake before, beyond simply icing it with a knife! So I have a feeling my ducky cake might turn out pretty badly. There are several components that all have to come together in order for this not to be a total disaster: 1. the recipe I choose has to work out alright, and result in a cake which is edible, 2. I have to manage to sculpt the cake into something at least vaguely rubber duck-shaped (or do I?), and 3. I have to decorate it in such a way that it actually resembles a duck.

Luckily, I'm visiting a friend tonight, and she's going to teach me a few cake-decorating techniques.

One more week, and then my baby's not really going to be a baby anymore...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Down to One?

It seems to me like Sly is ready to start shifting from two naps a day to just one. He used to be pretty precise about needing one at 10am and 3pm each day. But this week, I haven't been able to get him to sleep at those times. Most days, he will not sleep as early as 10 anymore. He stays up, full of energy, until he finally gets too tired - around 11 or noon. And then the afternoon nap doesn't always happen, or is short.

If I am correct that his body wants to take just one nap a day, does anyone have suggestions for helping the transition?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Things Are Getting Disgusting in This Joint!

Ugh. I suddenly feel like I'm living in a pigpen. It's a combination of various factors: having a baby who's now walking (and requiring so much more vigilance on my part!), the two kittens frolicking about the house, my own summertime heat-induced laziness, the fact that I was away for so long on vacation, and the complete inadequacy of the landscapers hired by the management company.

1. This morning, I spent a good fifteen minutes digging through every inch of my kitchen, trying to find the source of a wretched odor. It was a rotting meat sort of smell, but I could find no trace of it in the likely places I sniffed. Finally, I discovered where it was coming from. The little microwave cart which has become our cat-feeding station (because of Sly, we can't feed them on the floor anymore). Months of dropped canned cat food had built up in the crack where the end can fold down the make the table smaller. Ugh. I scrubbed it out, and hopefully, that will take care of the problem.

2. Our backyard is a literal jungle right now. The management company is responsible for cutting the "grass" (I use this term loosely, since our yard seems to be mostly super-quick growing weeds with a tiny bit of thick crabgrass thrown in). But the landscaping company has not visited for WEEKS.

I snapped this picture this morning. Notice that the weeds are LITERALLY TALLER THAN ME!!

[edit: since writing this, they have finally come and cut our yard! yayyy]

3. We thought we had the house pretty well baby-proofed. But it seems that every few weeks, as Sly gets more and more capable and crafty, he finds more things to get into. His newest discovery is trash cans. What can I even do to prevent that? Even when they have lids, he still knocks them over and opens them. He's like a raccoon or something! And we don't have a single inch of closet or cabinet space to stash them in. I'm getting tired of pulling nasty trash out of his hands and mouth.

The bathroom has to be basically off-limits to him now. Here's just a short list of the trouble he gets into there: digs through the trash, flushes the toilet repeatedly, tries to stick his hands in the toilet (but we have a lock for the lid, which is great!), unrolls the ENTIRE roll of toilet paper in about 2 seconds flat, picks up and tries to eat (bleeeech!) the toilet brush, and peeps in through the shower curtain when someone is in there, getting water all over the floor.

The bedrooms are no longer safe to him because his new favorite game is pulling every single book off the shelf. If you are familiar with the insane number of books we possess, you will realize how frustrating this is to us.

4. The kittens. Oh man, yes they are very cute. But a big part of me will be happy to see them go. We ended up pulling everything off the floor of my closet (two huge rolling drawer units, all my sweaters, some shoes, etc.) so that we could gate it off and give them a safe baby-free zone. It's nice, because now I don't have to keep pulling kitten chow out of Sly's mouth, or running to grab him before his hands plunge into their litter box. But it means all my closet crap is taking over the rest of the bedroom.

Plus, they're still in the learning phase of litterbox use. Sometimes there are accidents. Especially on soft cushy things. For this reason, we had to dig out every last sheet and blanket which was stored under the bed (and wash a number of them) and buy those under-the-bed storage containers. Those things are great, actually, and I'm happy we finally had an excuse to get them. But our dust ruffle/bed skirt was a prime target for them as well, so that's currently out of commission. Now the bed looks bare :-(

5. There's gross black mold growing in the caulk in the shower. I've been dying all day to go at it with some bleach, but my baby would not take a nap, and I know I could never do that kind of job with him awake. And now it's minutes until my husband comes home to take me to Mass and then out to eat for my birthday (just the two of us!!). So that's gonna have to wait as well...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kittens at Five Weeks

I can't believe the time has passed so quickly. In one more week, the kittens will be the minimum age for giving away, and it seems like they just arrived! I haven't had as much time as I've wanted to hold them, pet them, and help turn them into wonderful lap cats ("breaking their spirits", as mom would say). Mostly because during the day, "Sly the Kitten Destroyer" is awake, and I try to keep him far away from them. Sly is seriously abusive towards cats. He whacks them, pulls their fur, yanks their tails, and throws things at them. For real. It's one thing when he beats on our adult male cat, who at least sometimes stick up for himself. But he could do serious damage to the kittens.

Here's a picture of him trying to do just that...

He's tugging on its ears!

The kitties are very adventurous, running around our bedroom all the time (they still haven't ventured out of that room much, even though the door's always open). They are supposed to have started eating solid foods two weeks ago, but as far as we can tell, they still haven't even tried a bite!! It's all Iive's fault, because she's such an indulgent mother. She still nurses them as much as they like.

Aren't they getting too big for that, Iive?

So, of course, there's no incentive to try real food. I worry that we won't be able to give them new homes at this rate! We've been contemplating the idea of separating them from their mommy for a day, making them desperate enough to eat solids. But it would be tough to subject all three of them to that.

Back in the Burgh

I just wanted to put up a quick post, so people didn't think I disappeared. Our vacation to Lake Erie was very nice. I knew it was going to be a lot more work to look after a baby, but I don't think I fully understood that vacations for me now, are no longer going to be synonymous with "relaxation." I never had a chance to just kick back on the beach with a magazine, or laze around on the front porch for longer than two minutes, before I had to jump up and stop Sly from doing something he shouldn't.

Here are a few pictures from the week.

trying to eat a rock

with my dad

watching the sunset

releasing sky lanterns