Stuck In Reality

I kinda went AWOL there for awhile, because life. Man, it just refuses to give you a break sometimes.

So here’s a quickie post about some things going on with us and random thoughts!

  • The boy was sick on Monday and Tuesday with a fever, mild chills, and was generally a very unhappy monkey. I took him to the night clinic on Monday because of a high fever. They had to dig wax out of and then “flush” his inner ears to check for an ear infection. This did not go over well. At all. I had to help the doctor pin him to the examining table while they squirted warm peroxide solution in his ear and he writhed and chanted “momma” between screams. In the end, we were both drenched, he was naked, and clinging to me like his life depended on it. Also, no ear infection. He got a bath when we got home and fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.
  • The girl is teething. This means she’s clingy. That’s about it.
  • Took the girl to her 9-month well check (already!) and she’s in the 20th percentile for weight and head circumference and in the 60th percentile for height. And yes, she managed to charm her doctor and nurses while we were there. It’s what she does.
  •  I’m so glad Sesame Street’s new season has begun. Even if it means I have to watch the “Rocco’s Boat” episode constantly. It was all Sean wanted to watch on Tuesday. On repeat. While we cuddled on the couch. All day. I think I know all the skits by heart at this point.
  • I’m back on the horse in terms of exercising. I had fallen off it — in a major way — after I got sick a couple of weeks back. Now I’m back, and that is a very good thing.
  • Hubbs and I had a lovely overnight trip and an even lovelier dinner at The Duck Club restaurant in Lafayette. I have two words for you: osso buco. Simply freaking amazing. That meal will haunt my dreams.
  • Our server was also spectacular. When we mentioned that it was our anniversary — and the first away from the kids — she gave us two glasses of champagne and bought us dessert. (In addition, she highly recommended the osso buco. So glad I took her advice!)
  • I still haven’t started the ladybug hat or figured out what to do for Sean’s Halloween costume.
  • We’re going to a wedding this weekend and I’m really excited in a selfish way: I get to dress up (in a new dress no less), put on make-up, and catch up with old friends. The grandparents are stepping in again to watch the kiddos. Sean’s going to be thrilled!

That’s it. My brain is mush today. I’ll likely be on hiatus for most of next week too. 

Life. I tell ya.

Parental Escapes

It seems a little ridiculous that I am this excited about Friday night: For the first time in more than 2.5 years, the Hubbs and I will be spending an entire evening and morning alone. And then we’re doing it again next week.

Folks, we’ve called out the big guns: Grandma and Grandpa. They will be staying at our house overnight while we celebrate our five-year wedding anniversary with dinner out and a night in a swanky local hotel.

The kids will not miss us.

Seriously, mom and dad don’t really exist except to change diapers and provide food when my parents are around.

Grandparents are rock stars in our house. They have that whole “spoiling the grandkids” thing down to an art.

It’s gonna be ice cream sundaes and cookies for dinner, followed by games of chase, hide-and-go-seek, the flying squirrel drop, and god only knows what else before the two of them fall into an exhausted heap.

And then the kids will wake them up like this:

I think this move is programmed into little boys' DNA.

And they’ll do it all over again.

On the other end, Hubbs and I will be dining solo, and returning to our swank hotel room to relax. (Imagine violins softly playing in the background. Oh the relaxation!) I am also SO SLEEPING IN on Saturday. Really. Because I haven’t done it in 2.5 years. And I miss it. Deeply. Then we’re going to have breakfast at a nice restaurant before returning home.

I’ll still leave a 100-page opus on the kids and how to get to the doctor/hospital/dosages/operating instructions for the kids (I’m OCD like that); but hot damn, I’m having a date night with the Hubbs and I’m totally stoked.

This Means War

Totally gross.

I found THIS in my car this weekend.

I knew it was there, because out of the corner of my eye, I saw this little fuzz hanging down from the corner of my closed visor, right around the beginning of the windshield.

But I was driving what felt like 1,000 miles with my two yard monkeys to my parents’ house — without Hubbs.  The boy hadn’t napped that day, despite me staying at home so he could go down at his normal time. He was exhausted. Yet he fought with me for almost 2 hours before I turned to the sky and barked “eff it!”, threw oh-so-gently placed them in the car, and hit the road.

He fell asleep 30 minutes into the car ride. Which meant he would nap for about 20 minutes before we reached my parents’ house. I was debating with myself about whether to drive all the way down to Mexico just so he could nap when the sun hit that perfect angle where sunglasses do absolutely nothing.

Unthinking, I pulled the visor down.

And the stupid fox head fell from the visor, stuck its nose (or maybe it was an ear) into my cleavage, and then fell into my lap.

Because both kids were asleep, I barely refrained from screaming. But I muttered a thousand curses about the Hubbs for putting the dumb fox head there.

For the next 10 minutes or so.

I’m pretty sure it sounded something like this:

It is SO on.

Homemade Halloween Part II: Ladybug Body

Social commentary aside, I have decided to make my daughter’s Halloween costume this year. For her first Halloween, she’ll be a ladybug.

That being said — and announced to the interwebs — I was stuck. How the bloody hell was I going to accomplish this?! I don’t even own a sewing machine for chrissakes.

I decided to wing it. And you know what? It actually worked.

I quickly decided to treat the body of the costume like a vest or jacket. Underneath this, she will wear a plain black onesie (purchased at Buy Buy Baby for $3.50!) and a pair of black leggings (Circo brand, puchased at Target for $2.50 — I had a coupon). Both items will get a lot of use in other capacities, so they’re solid purchases in my view.

Part III of this series will be the hat, which I haven’t made yet.

But on to the tutorial! (This size is for a 6 month old)

Also, I apologize for the picture quality — my phone sucks.

For the ladybug body (only) you will need:

  • 1/4 yard of Red Felt (I bought 1 yard to allow for oodles of mistakes. Now I’m not sure what to do with it all);
  • Red thread;
  • Black thread;
  • 1 bag of buttons of varying sizes
  • Paper (preferably thin tracing paper, but I used binder paper and it worked just fine);
  • Tape (if using binder paper);
  • Black felt pen;
  • Pencil;
  • A large, round, serving platter;
  • A current sweater and/or shirt to use as a model;
  • Pins; and
  • Scissors.

The black fabric is for the hat.

Step 1: Draw out your ideas
This is actually the hardest part. I made several sketches of the body, but couldn’t figure out how to make them work with the back, which is kind of like a cape. For my daughter, ties or strings = choking hazard, so those were out. Another idea was to have the shoulder strap button onto the onesie, but I didn’t think that flimsy onesie flap could take the weight of the fabric and buttons.

In the end, I looked through some of my daughter’s clothes and this sweater caught my eye. One button holds it together. It was perfect.

Imagine it without sleeves.

Now that I had figured out the front, I dug through some more clothes to find examples for shoulder straps. I decided to use a tank-top style, because of the wide straps, which I figured would be more comfortable in case the cape got heavy.

Shoulder & arm size model.

Step 2: Make A Pattern
Don’t be intimidated. I simply traced the outline of the onesie above onto a piece of paper with a pencil. The end of the skirt = the end of the cape in back. All told, this took 6 pieces of binder paper to trace. (I taped them together. ) Although if I had planned it better, I probably could have used only 4 pieces.

Then take your large platter/serving tray and line it up with the shoulders. Trace around it with the pencil.

Red, baby.

Once that’s done, go over your pencil lines with your black felt-tip marker. In the picture below, you see the dip for the arm area — ignore that. The red circle is what I ended up going over in black.

The back takes shape.

For the front/vest, I traced the shoulder and front of the sweater onto a piece of paper, leaving the arms off. (I forgot to take a picture.)

Cut out your patterns, leaving 1/2 an inch extra along the sides.

Step 3: Pin & Cut The Pattern
When you get your fabric from the store, its folded in half. Keep it that way. On the floor, lay the fabric flat. Place the body (the big one) with the shoulders closest to the fold in the fabric. Pin the pattern down as flat as possible. (The little triangles are to help line things up.) Pin the vest part below that. This will take up exactly 1/4 of a yard, with enough extra to pin another front piece if you need it.

Try not to prick yourself.

Now cut them out. This will be a rough-edge costume, so you won’t be sewing the edges. Go back and check everything to make sure your cuts are at least smooth.

Notice the shoulder straps.

We have basically made 2 backs at this point. I did this on purpose, in case I royally messed up on one I wanted to have a spare without the extra effort.

Two other options:

  1. Leave the shoulder straps as-is, and sew the sides — giving you a sandwich-board type costume. (This would work well for a turtle if you used a different color.)
  2. Leave the shoulder straps as-is, and put a thin piece of cardboard (think clothes gift box) between the two pieces. Cut the cardboard so its about 1/4 inch from the outer edge and sew the pieces together. This will give you a flat, yet quasi-flexible back.

If you’re following my pattern, snip the shoulder straps at the fold in the fabric. Pull out all the pins and put one of the back pieces to the side.

Step 4: Pin Everything Together
Pin the vest front to the shoulder straps, giving it a bit of wiggle room — maybe 1/4 inch. Pin the sides to together. Make sure the front edges — where it will be held with a button — overlap.

Almost there.

Here’s a closer view:

Make sure the front edges overlap.

Step 5: Sew It
Remember, I don’t have a sewing machine. So I had to hand-stitch everything together with the red thread. Make sure you reinforce the beginning and ends. (I actually sewed over everything twice for strength.) Remove the pins and flip the garment inside-out. You’re so close!

Step 6: Vest Button

Pick a button for the front of the vest (not too big!), and using your scissors, cut a hole for it on one side. Sew the button on the opposite side with black thread. Make sure to reinforce it really well. Sew around the button hole with red thread, making sure to reinforce the area closest to the edge of the fabric.

Close up of front button. Apologies for the angle.

Step 7: Sew Back Buttons
I don’t know about you, but I thought that cutting out perfect circles in varying sizes out of black fabric and then sewing said circles onto the back of this outfit would be tortuous. So I bought a variety pack of black and white buttons from the fabric store for $2.50. Lay your extra back down and use it to figure out your spot pattern. Once that’s done, sew the buttons on with black thread, being sure to reinforce them well. (We don’t want a choking hazard.)

Finished product!

And the body of the ladybug is done! Try it on your little diva and see how it looks.

Modeling the costume's front.

Close-up of the front.

The back!

Next tutorial: The hat with antenna!

We’re Very Mature Adults …

There’s something you need to know about the Hubbs: He’s a jokester and he loves to mess with me.

NOT what I was expecting to see.

So I really shouldn’t have been surprised to open our linen closet door and find myself face-to-face with a creepy doll.

I jumped back with a “Gaah!” and shut the door. Hubbs was sitting at his computer with his ear buds in, so he didn’t notice me until I threw a towel at his head.

“Punk!”

“What?” He popped his ear buds out and I rolled my eyes at him.

“You’re a PUNK.”

He grinned at me. “Found him, huh?” He snickered. “You’re lucky its a big doll. My original plan was to put him at the bottom of a box of tampons and cover him up, so that one day when you’re reaching in there in a hurry, you’d pull him out instead!” He practically howled with laughter.

“I’m so going to get you back.”

“Uh-huh,” he popped his ear buds back in and turned to the computer.

Oh, it won’t be hard. All I have to do is sneak up on him and grab him. I do it — unintentionally — all the time. Its a habit learned from many years of quietly padding around my parents’ house, trying to sneak up on my Dad to scare him. My brother and I were obsessed with it, since my father’s favorite thing to do was to hide behind doors and corners in the middle of the night and jump out and scare the bejeezus out of us when we walked by. (We also like to torment the Hubbs by scaring him when he walks out of the bathroom at night. We’re sadistic like that.)

Totally gross.

But back to the creepy doll. It was a gift to our son from a family friend. I’m sure it was a lovely gift, but it gives me the creeps. “Chucky” creeps. Its still sitting in my linen closet. I haven’t decided where I’ll hide him yet.

We also play this “game” with an ugly old fox skin the Hubbs has from the way-back machine.

It started with him hiding it under the covers on my side of the bed after I told him it creeped me out.

Admitting that? Giant mistake.

I laughed at him, tossed it on the floor, and went to sleep. The next day when he was in the shower, I stuck it in his underwear drawer, nose up.

Two days later, I found it in my jacket pocket.

And so it goes.

I was actually pretty annoyed when I found it in my pantyliner box, since they’re not individually wrapped and that’s just gross.

I’m still trying to figure out where I’m hiding it next. In a cocktail glass? In a pair of socks? In a pant pocket?

The possibilities are endless.

But that freaking doll still creeps me out.

"They're coming to get you, Barbara!"

Snapshot

What do we watch in our household? A lot of kid programming. Here are some of our regulars. And yes, I’m only posting these because I’ve got 99% of them stuck in my head right now.

1. Grover’s “Be My Echo” with Madeline Kahn
To be perfectly honest, I love this one. I have a soft spot for Grover, and both Sean and Allie light up when they watch this. Also new: Sean tries to be Grover’s echo. Hilarious I tell you.

2. “We All Sing With The Same Voice”
Its an ear worm. A really annoying ear worm. Hubbs hates this song, and makes up his own lyrics — I really hope the boy isn’t paying attention, because the improvised lyrics usually contain words I don’t want him to learn yet.

3. Beaker’s “Ode To Joy”
I can always tell when things start to go haywire in the video (poor Beaker) because you can hear Sean laughing from across the house.

4. Dinosaur Train’s “Dinosaurs A to Z”
A new way to learn the ABCs. Catchy as all get-out too.

5. Dr. Scott The Palentologist

Dr. Scott Sampson always has a segment after each “Dinosaur Train” episode. Every time he comes on, Sean point and says “Dah-or Ott!” Then we have to watch the segment 3-5 times (thank you DVR!).  We’ve also seen him on several National Geographic dinosaur shows. One more thing: In our house, he’s also known as “Mommy’s Boyfriend”. Mostly because Hubbs thinks its hilarious. THAT won’t get confusing in a year or two …

Hormonal Insanity

“I’m sorry about last night.”

It’s Saturday morning, and a groggy Hubbs blinks back at me from across the table. “Me too. What was with you anyway? I was just joking with you like normal and you went all … crazy.”

(“Crazy” meaning I glared at him, told him to take a flying leap hissed at him, stomped off, and avoided him for the rest of the night.)

“I know. I was trying to figure out why I was so pissed off at you. Then I went to take my medicine before I went to bed and realized what it was.”

“Well?”

“I’m getting a monster visit from Aunt Flo. I’m seriously ragey, just to warn you. Haven’t seen her in four months.”

A knowing look dawned on his face. “I hate her.”

And why haven’t I seen her in four months you ask? Because my doctor told me to double — actually, quadruple up on my birth control pills. Remember that whole anemia thing after the IUD disaster? Well, this was to help get my iron levels back to normal.

It also means that I’ve got four months worth of … stuff … going on. Ragey, hormone-laden, acne-producing STUFF.

And despite — or because of — my warning, Hubbs felt it was necessary to push my buttons.

All freaking day.

Finally, I snapped: “What the hell, man? I told you I was ragey and pissy. WHY do you insist on pushing my buttons?!”

He smirked — he’s a first-class smirker — “It adds an element of danger and excitement to our boring errands. Its like poking a sleeping bear or playing with fire. I just can’t stop!”

And then my head imploded.

Internet? This  is why movies like “Jackass” exist.