Friday, November 19, 2010

If you're out there, David Sedaris . . .

. . . I need you to know that your popularity has caused me great distress.

About a week ago, Drake and Zeke posted on Facebook that David Sedaris would have a book signing and reading at Davis Kidd in Memphis. What? In Memphis? I could not believe I would be missing this. Just a few days before that Ray Lamontagne had a concert in Memphis that I totally had to miss and then this. Geez. Why does all the good stuff come to Memphis after I leave?

So if you don't know who he is, David Sedaris is one of my favorite authors. Most of his books are autobiographical and discuss his crazy family life growing up in suburbia, his Greek heritage, drug use, homosexuality, and a lot of other things that would make the little blue-haired ladies at First Baptist of Corinth blush. He is H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S to the point that sometimes I can't take the sorority rush week smile off my face when I'm reading. While I don't think everyone will get his humor, I, who have very little in common with him, do.

As soon as I saw the post about him being in Memphis, I did a Google search to see if he had been in Chicago. Nope, not until the next Tuesday! Hoo-ray!! I immediately made sure that Clint could get home from work early, so I could go. He had a crazy week scheduled but knew how important this was to me.

So the day of the event I had everything ready for Mimi and Mack, Clint got home from work early, and I rushed to Border's an hour early just to make sure I beat the crowds. I thought this would give me plenty of time to look around and maybe get some coffee. When I got there I grabbed his newest book Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, jumped in line to pay for it, and got my gold wristband, which showed the order of my arrival. I made my way upstairs where I saw about 200 other people waiting at the doors to enter the room where he would be speaking. I was in nerd heaven.

After playing on Facebook and the internet on my phone for a very long time and listening to random other peoples' convos about work and school, I heard loud clapping coming from behind the doors. I looked around me to see the confused faces surrounding me. "Did he just arrive and the people who work at the store are clapping for him?" I glanced at my watch, and it was 6:00. "Are they opening the doors now?" Nothing.

And then someone who was a little smarter than the rest of us let those of us in the back in on the secret. "The room was full by 4:00. All the clapping came from the people who are actually getting to hear him read."

Oh. My. Gosh. I was too late. I could feel my heart start racing and tears welling up in my eyes. How could I have missed it? I had been so incredibly excited. Why in the world would they not open up the doors and at least let us hear him? Someone who worked at the store came out then and let us know that although we couldn't fit into the room we would still be able to get our book signed by him when he finished in about 30 minutes. Okay, I thought, at least I would get that. She then told us to go downstairs to the basement and someone would get us when he finished reading.

After I let this news sink in, I walked downstairs to the bakery to grab some coffee and a pumpkin scone since I hadn't had dinner. I told myself I would eventually get over this disappointment, and since I rarely have any time by myself it might be nice to sit in a bookstore coffee shop, eat a scone, and play on my phone. After finishing this and stalking every blog and Facebook page that I cared absolutely anything about, I decided to wander around in the children's section, which was on the same floor as the signing. When I got to the top of the steps, I noticed that the door to the room was open, and I thought I could actually hear David reading. I walked as quickly as I could to the doors only to see him shut his book, look up to the crowd and smile, and then to hear the crowd applaud . . . and then be told to get out of the way so all the people who actually got to hear the reading could line up to get their book signed. I glanced at my watch to notice that the 30 minute reading had turned into an hour and fifteen minute reading.

I spoke with Clint who assured me everything was under control at home, and I should wait it out to get my book signed. So I refilled the parking meter and returned to the store. I have heard that he is a really cool person to meet -- someone who should be on my list to have dinner with if the opportunity ever arises -- so I decided I could tough this out. So I went to the basement with the other gold wristbanders and waited . . . and waited and waited . . . and waited and waited. I began reading through his new book, but I was so hyper from the coffee I had earlier (I rarely drink caffeine after 10:00AM) that it was hard to focus. I eavesdropped on the conversation a group of dorky teenagers were having next to me about how their AP English teacher gives them extra points for attending book readings and how they could pretend that they were actually able to hear David Sedaris to get the points.

Finally I had enough of this nonsense and walked upstairs again. I pretended to care about the sci-fi books near the front of the line so I could see if someone was actually checking wrist bands before people entered. Dang it. They were. Then I overheard a bossy little man telling a girl that the gold wristbands will probably not get their books signed until after midnight. I had to ask him again to make sure I heard this correctly. I had already spent almost 5 hours wandering around in this bookstore, and then I was told that I would probably have to wait at least 2 or 3 more.

I know most of you have already stopped reading this annoying post by now, but you have to understand that I am NOT as infatuated with this author as it may seem. It's a matter of me not knowing what to expect, and I HATE not knowing what to expect. Just yesterday morning I toured a preschool for Mimi and took her thinking it would be okay . . . only to find out it was definitely not okay. But I didn't know, and this embarrassed me and annoyed me to no end. And it was not only this but also the fact that I had actually found some time to get out of the house and do what I wanted to do. So here I was about to have a complete breakdown in front of some bossy little guy over not getting my book signed.

Earlier in the night I had asked my friend Ashley in Memphis, who is also a fan, if she actually got to hear and meet David and at this point she had finally e-mailed me back. She told me that I was going to hate her, but she does PR for Davis Kidd and not only got to meet him but basically hung out with him all day and stood next to him while he was signing books and telling people dirty jokes. Grrr. That was it. I was finished. I needed to go home. This was not going to happen for me.

So Mr. Sedaris, I am obviously very upset about a night that I thought was going to be very memorable for me. If you are an avid fan of the Darby blog, which I'm so sure you are, I would really like a signed copy of a book, any book will do. I don't have the Santaland one yet, so that one will be fine. Thank you in advance for your generosity and understanding.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Yes, his eyes match his Bears shirt. He looks like he has a little man haircut. His cheeks are nice and chubby. And I am absolutely head over heels in love with him. God couldn't have sent me a sweeter little thing in this world.

And he couldn't have sent me a wilder little angel than Mimi.
I keep my camera handy just in case I can catch a sweet shot of the two together, and I grabbed it as soon as I saw the two of them snuggled up in the chair. But of course Mimi decided to jump on the side and be a monkey.

But she does love Baby Mack, as she calls him. She doesn't like for him to be upset, which he isn't too often. And he loves her, too. Last night Clint was making Mimi laugh like a hyena, and every time Mimi laughed, so did little Mack. Whenever he hears Mimi squeal, he squeals. If she smiles at him, he smiles back.
Mack has been sleeping through the night for the past week, and he is only 12-weeks-old. This isn't wimpy sleep either. I'm talking about 8:30PM to 6:30AM -- that's 10 hours, folks. Mimi's bedtime is also 8:30, so this has been working out perfectly for Clint and me to actually have a little bit of time to ourselves . . . but I'm sooo exhausted from chasing Mimi all day and Clint is zapped after spending long hours at the office that we rarely make it past 9:30.

Also, Mack has been eating about every 4 hours during the day. Is this normal? This also started about a week ago when a mom at a playgroup told me her daughter eats every 4 hours. I didn't think that was possible -- I just assumed they all ate every 2 1/2 - 3 hours. The next day I noticed Mack slept longer during his morning nap, so he ate an hour later. Then the same thing happened for the next feeding. And then the next. Normally I would have woken him up to feed him every 3 hours, but now I know he won't starve to death and his stomach must be big enough to hold more food.

He is so go-with-the-flow it's crazy. He is totally my son. Mimi wants to go the park in the freezing cold weather, and Mack's cool with that. Just zip him up in his bunting, and he'll sleep soundly for a few hours. I think I could also sleep for a few hours in this thing. When I unzip it, I swear steam comes out it's so snuggly warm. (Thanks, Shea.)

Mack and I were in a serious game of "try to catch the hangy-down giraffe" a couple of days ago, and he was cackling and cooing and having a fantastic time with it. I walked to the kitchen to get some water and came back to find this. He falls asleep so easily on his own.

And I pulled out the new, green Bumbo chair for the little man. I looked back to find photos of Mimi when we first tried her out in it. Oh my gosh, she is such a little shrimp compared to this giant. And now I'm in tears from going back and looking at the photos of her when she was this tiny. This time flies.

And she still likes the Bumbo chair.
And now for a photo of him with Blue. And you can look here for a first week comparison. Crazy.
Mack is still in love with his swing, which is a nice, safe place for him to steer clear of my wild children, Mimi and Ruthie.

But Mimi still likes to check on him from time to time.
We let Mack sleep in his crib for a couple of nights last week, and it was wonderful. Those were the first two nights that he actually slept through the night. But there was a little problem and he had to be returned to the bassinet in our room. And here was our little problem:

Mimi and I had been talking up sleeping in her big girl bed in her room for quite a while, and she was so excited about it. I bought a rail for the side and moved her noisemaker and snuggly baby and blanket to her room, and at naptime that day, she went right to her bed and told me to close the door. Easy enough, right?
Wrong. Very, very wrong. For two-and-a-half hours I marched her back to bed. I tried the
Supernanny technique that so many of my friends swear by: the first time she got out of bed, I was to take her back and let her know it's bedtime, and she needed to stay in bed. The other 9,543,788 times I just led her back to bed and wasn't allowed to say anything. I did this for 2 1/2 hours. And then it was snack time, and so there was no nap that day. I was mad, and she was delirious. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't mad the whole time. At first it was really quite funny -- actually, it was hysterical. Each time she came out of the room she said something silly or brought a toy like her shopping cart with her. The doors to her room are French doors covered with curtains, and I had to turn my head to laugh when I saw her smiling face smashed up against the windows. When we tried it at night, she did the same thing, and I warned Clint it would be funny -- but she couldn't see him laughing, and he couldn't talk to her. After about an hour of this, he said that it hurt him that every time he put her in bed she said, "Night-night, Daddy," and he couldn't say anything back to her.

After two days of spending hours trying to get her to stay in that bed, I lost. I gave up. At least for now. Mack is fine in the bassinet, and she can stay in that crib until she's 10 for all I care. We may even put another crib in Mack's room, but I don't have the energy to fight for sleep right now. And I was pretty sad about Mimi being old enough to sleep in a big bed . . . so I'll keep her a baby for a little while longer.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sick Day

Tonight I've finally made the time to download some photos and look through them . . .

. . . and I found this pitiful little thing.

A couple of nights before Halloween we woke up to Mimi crying, and when Clint checked on her he found quite a mess and a very sad little girl. When I walked in she said, "Mommy, I burp. I sorry." Well, I guess having a stomach bug is like having some big burps, but there was nothing for this little sweet thing to be sorry about. So we cleaned her up and stuck her in bed with us -- where she proceeded to sit up and laugh and talk and do absolutely nothing that a sick child should do. The next morning she was still weak and not feeling well, so she just hung out in our room to watch cartoons. And snooze a lot . . .
Clint and I felt so sorry for her, but in a very strange way I really enjoyed this day. She was so sweet and snuggly and really, really needed us. We were able to baby her and hold her, which I don't get to do too often. Luckily we had just gotten some fun Halloween books in the mail from my sister that day to keep her occupied. I think the silly Grover book made her feel a little better.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Revenge of the Nerds

I heart nerds. It's true. And I'm not ashamed.

When I was a little girl, I dreamed about Kirk Cameron and Fred Savage and Tom Cruise. Then in high school I preferred cute jocks, and in college the semi-hippie seemed cool to me. But something in me always had a soft spot for the nerds.

My sister is trying to teach her daughter, who's in eighth grade, that the bad, popular boys will be the ones at the 25 year class reunion who will still have mullets and drive Camaros and work on an assembly line. Ok, well maybe not mullets and Camaros but whatever the cool thing is for them. It's the little nerd who hasn't hit his growth spurt yet, the one with the retainer and thick glasses and pimples, who will be in charge one day. HE will be the one with the cool loft apartment in New York because he will be an architect. He will have the latest and greatest computers and phones and surround sound because he will be the engineer who invents it. He will be the famous musician playing on your IPOD and Pandora because he stuck with his piano lessons. And this is the true revenge of the nerds.

So what plays on my IPOD occassionally? Nerd rock. Otherwise known as Ben Folds. I love his quirky sarcastic songs about suburbia, being dumped, and growing up. He has a song named "There's Always Someone Cooler Than You" that plays in my mind whenever I see someone trying a little too hard. But he also has some super-sweet songs about his children. The one for his daughter always brings me to tears, but has a little comic relief with him saying, "you'll be a lady soon but until then you gotta do what I say."

Clint and I made it a point to buy tickets to see Ben Folds last weekend -- our first concert in a very, very long time. We also saw him a few weeks after Mimi was born, which is a neat little coincidence. Anyway, we bought the tickets, booked the sitter, and bundled up for our night out on the town.

One thing that is fantastic about Chicago is public transportation. It's nice to not have to deal with parking and to not have to worry about who's not going to have a beer because we need to drive back home. It was fah-reezing that night, but I didn't want to overdress because I knew this little theater, which is small and standing room only like the New Daisy, would get steamy hot as soon as everyone piled near the front. Wrong. There was NO HEAT. So basically I was cold from the second we left the house until we finally stopped for a burger after the concert. We wore our gloves just so we could hold our drinks. So standing outside waiting for the train made me absolutely frigid and hopefully got me a little ready for what's to come this winter.

The concert was great. I got a kick out of seeing all the kids who were either high school seniors or college freshman going nuts over all the songs. They were indeed the nerds. Probably not the coolest kids but definitely not losers. You know, the Seths and Evans of Superbad. The ones you love to sit near during class because they have a really clever sense of humor AND know all the answers. They had so much fun dancing together and yelling the lyrics.

But then there has to be something for me to complain about. And she was standing next to me. A short little woman who thought I owed her my fantastic spot that I had glued myself to as soon as I got there. She kept leaning in front of me and shaking her head while she danced very Seinfeld Elaine-like. And then another couple tried to weasel their way in front of me, and this is when I lost it. "Seriously?!! I have been standing here since 6:30 and paying a babysitter $15 an hour, so I would really like my spot back!!" And this is how I was finally able to see and enjoy the show.

Because, after all, this nerd needed a little revenge herself.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On being a housewife

In just a few weeks, my time as a stay-at-home-mom will be coming to an end. No more days without showers, no more uniform of jeans and tennis shoes, no more trips to the park before lunch, and no more snuggle time before naps in the afternoon. I would by lying if I said I wasn't going to miss these things. Don't get me wrong -- I'm not going back on my decision to at least try working again -- but I am beginning to realize the little things I'll be giving up.

There's one thing I've really worked on since being home these past few months that I do not plan on giving up though, and that's cooking. I am so, so proud of myself that I can confidently say I am okay in the kitchen. I'm not fantastic by any means, but I do not stink. Those of you who know me well are probably falling out of your seats to read that I am cooking now. In the past both Clint and I ate out for all three meals most of the time, which was sooo unhealthy. Occasionally he would cook or I would, but it was such a ridiculous process. Since I didn't cook often, I rarely had any necessary ingredients stocked in the kitchen. And the ones I did have expired in 2005. As often as I cooked dinner, I also had to clean out the fridge of old cheese and eggs and butter. This was never pretty. And the shopping we did have to do at the grocery store was ridiculously expensive because we had to stock up on EVERYTHING every time we cooked. It would have been cheaper to just pick up dinner from a restaurant . . . and so the vicious cycle continued.

Once we moved to Chicago, I thought I would have more time to cook with staying home, and that is the farthest thing from the truth. Staying home with a toddler and a newborn does not necessarily give me more time to cook . . . and definitely not more energy. But I had set my goal of cooking, so I had to figure out how to do this. First things first -- I had to stock the refrigerator and pantry. It was completely empty, so it had to be done. Before I did this I made a list of the types of meals that Clint and I liked: Italian dishes with spicy red sauce, cheesy Mexican meals, Bbq chicken with mashed potatoes and baked beans, and the list went on and on. I tried to pick out the common ingredients in the meals we liked along with figuring out which ones I would actually attempt making. And this was how it all began.

So I am about to give you what I wish someone had given me when I began cooking. An easy peasy shopping list and some meals you can make with it (just Google the recipes). If you are a pro like I know some of you are, just stop reading and feel free to stalk any of my friends' blogs listed to the side . . . or play on Facebook or whatever. There will be no photos of my adorable children and no ranting and raving from me. Just a grocery list. And I will be a snob for a second and suggest always buying organic dairy products (especially if you have little girls. Haven't you seen the 10-year-olds who need to be shopping at Victoria's Secret lately?), frozen or fresh veggies (no canned!), and whole grain breads and pastas as much as possible.

Butter (skip the margarine, not very good for you)
Sour Cream
Cheese (I keep cheddar and parmesan. Don't buy low-fat for cooking because it doesn't melt well)
Vanilla Yogurt
Minced Garlic (shortcut for dealing with garlic)
Fruit (I always keep blueberries, strawberries, apples, bananas, grapes, and tomatoes)
Lettuce or Spinach
Veggies (I keep an onion and sometimes sweet potatoes, carrots, or mushrooms)
Hummus (to snack on when dinner is taking way too long, just add some olive oil to it to make it taste homemade)
Meat (I keep chicken and ground beef)

Vanilla Ice Cream -- goes with any dessert
Frozen Pizza (I keep what I think is a Freschetta Brick Oven pepperoni for emergencies)
Frozen Veggies (We like broccoli, green beans, carrots, and peas)
Ore Ida Steam 'n Mash Potatoes (a LIFE SAVER! Just add some milk, butter, and garlic)
Rolls, Biscuits, Cinnamon Rolls

Baking (if you're not a baker, then you may not need all of this):
Brown Sugar
Olive Oil
Canola Oil
Vinegar (I keep balsamic and red wine)
Jiffy Cornbread Mix
Nuts (I use walnuts and pecans a lot)
Pancake Mix
A quick mix for guests who pop in or potlucks (Brownie, Pumpkin Bread, or Lemon Poppyseed Muffin are great ones)

Van Kamp's Baked Beans (just add some brown sugar, garlic, bbq sauce, ground beef and onion - yum!)
Black beans
Assorted Noodles
Italian seasoned diced tomatoes
Wheat thins
Cream or chicken, celery, or mushroom
Wheat crackers
Pasta Sauce
Peanut butter
Panko bread crumbs
Potato Chips (Sun Chips are supposed to be fairly healthy, at least for a chip)

Some yummy meals that can be made with the list above (you may need a couple of other things). I found most of these on Yes, I have tons of recipe books, but I love looking on-line because there are lots of easy options:
Parmesan Chicken -- SOO easy. Can make it with spaghetti noodles and a salad or by itself with some veggies on the side.
Spaghetti -- add mushrooms for more flavor. For an easy sauce that tastes homemade, use half a can of red pasta sauce with a can of Italian tomatoes. Try to find Tone's Spicy Spaghetti seasoning -- it is amazing.
Poppyseed Chicken -- probably not too healthy but everyone loves it! Put a salad and some rolls with it for an easy meal.
Mexican -- easy tacos, taco casserole, Mexican pizza, enchiladas. I use black beans wherever refried beans are in a recipe.
Garlic Mushroom Stuffed Chicken -- just add some easy mashed potatoes and brocolli on the side.
Pecan crusted chicken

And the list can go on and on. I've learned to just Google with the ingredients I have and see what pops up. It has made dinner at our house much easier!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Once upon a time . . .

. . . in a village far, far away, lived a silly little froggy named Mack.

He was a sweet little froggy who loved to smile and laugh and stare at the ceiling fan. One day he woke up from a nap and his mommy let him know that he would get to go Trick-or-Treating for the first time. Oh joy!

Then his big sister Pincess Mimi woke up all fussy and whiney from her nap. Legend has it that she is supposed to kiss the little froggy to turn him into her prince, but she wasn't really up for that. So her mommy only got a so-so photo of them together. Oh, well.

Mommy and Daddy then reminded Mimi that it was Halloween, which means trick-or-treating and CANDY! Wahoo!

The little princess traveled throughout the village going from house to house begging for treasure. "Twick o Tweat. Smell da peet." And the other villagers happily gave her chocolate and sugary stuff that she would later share with her parents :).

After a while, the little princess really got the hang of this and stood around for a while after receiving her candy to see if the other villagers would give her more. And, of course, they did.

What a wonderful adventure for the little princess!

And for the baby frog who had absolutely no idea what was going on while King Daddy carried him around in his royal Baby Bjorn.

And the little princess even held her mommy's hand when crossing the street (a lesson they have been struggling with for quite some time!).

Then it was time to return to the palace to count all the candy. Mimi wasted no time getting into hers.
And they lived happily ever after!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Soap Box

So Blogger and I are in a huge fight right now. I have been on this dang computer since 9:00 AM this morning and have yet to get it to do anything I want it to. My first post is only partially finished because the photos kept disappearing and all this ridiculous blank, white space will not go away. My second post is also incomplete, and I am just done. Finished. Kaput. It was going to be all sweet and wonderful about my parents and Clint's parents, but forget it. I hate Blogger today. Is anyone else having this problem?
Maybe I'll get the Halloween photos updated soon before Thanksgiving arrives, but today there will be no more photos.
It's 2:30 now, and I'm still in my red jommers with a ponytail on top of my head. It's cold outside -- maybe 45 degrees -- but beautiful, and I have seen different groups of people playing at the park all day . . . while my child is still in her jommers and has been watching cartoons all morning. She doesn't mind since she's about to take a nap anyway and she lubs her new jommers. They are very big-girl -- the kind that buttons up the front like a shirt and has matching pants with cuffs at the bottom. I would really like a pair like this for myself. Must put new jommers on my to-do list. Which is about a mile and a half long. There are still some thank-you notes that need to get written. I have some outfits I've sewn for friends that are sitting by the door ready to be mailed, but I'm too lazy to get to the post office. I need to figure out what in the world is wrong with my sewing machine that it hates brown thread. If you've asked me to make something for you requiring brown thread, it may not happen anytime soon. I need to go to the bank and deposit some checks. But today I am done with everything. I think I'll just make some hot chocolate for myself. I also think I may put some Kahlua in it.
I kind of had a crummy night that I won't go into, so instead of addressing the real issue I'll just complain about everything else because that's much easier to do. And the real issue will probably work itself out if I will just be patient, so it needs no more attention.
Other than that, everything is going well. Mimi is still cracking me up. I just put her down for a nap, and it's always such a silly production. She knows that as soon as Olivia goes off that I will walk over to her and tell her we need to go upstairs and read. At this point she turns into a noodle and dramatically tells me, "I watch TV! I play blocks! I need milk! My milk! My milk!" And then she likes to tell me, "Mommy, I crying!" like that will change anything. But as soon as we get halfway up the stairs she snuggles up to me and sucks her fingers. Then I must get her baby, her blanket, close the blinds, and turn on the noise maker. We read a book -- today it was a Curious George book about snow (I feel like I need to prepare her for the winter) -- and then she tells me, "Mommy, I go night-night now."
Before Mack was born, Mimi made me hold her until she fell asleep for her nap, which could take up to an hour and a half. If I left her in her room to cry, she would fuss for this hour and a half, which was sooo draining for me. The first day my mom was gone and I had both children on my own, Mack began to cry as soon as I took Mimi to her room for a nap. I knew that was the day she would have to be a big girl, so I told her that Mack was crying and I needed to check on him. I put her down to sleep, and, you know what? She went to sleep. Crazy. She totally understands that Mack needs me, too, and she seems to be cool with it.
I was just talking with a friend about how amazed I am that Mimi is so sweet to Mack. Last night she and I went on a Mommy-Daughter date to eat comfort food at Wishbone (a Southern restaurant near my house), and she had to make sure she kissed him before we left. She makes up songs about Mimi and Mack and will get upset when he is crying. But there's one thing she's not so sure about. It's something that he has that she doesn't.
While I was changing his diaper a few weeks ago, Mimi was standing on the side of the pack 'n play observing and suddenly became very distraught. "Mommy, what is that? Oh no! A monster?! Yucky monster!"
I was totally taken by surprise that she even noticed, and since I didn't know how to handle this I just ignored it. Maybe I misunderstood exactly what she said, but then she said it again the next day. I still hadn't spoken with Clint about what we should name it. I know that some people say you should just call it what it is, but I am NOT having my babies walk around saying penis and vagina. Sorry. So I told her it was a "wee-wee." And then she said, "A wee-wee monster! Ew, yucky." I told Clint about this later on, and he said to not correct her. That is exactly what she should think it is.
And she just got annoyed with him for the first time yesterday morning. He was lying on our bed practicing running for a marathon, and Mimi decided to climb on the bed and sit next to him to watch Mickey Mouse. When she finally got settled, he continued kicking, and she looked down at him and said, "Stop it, baby Mack." And then she smiled at him and said, "Siiilly!"
I think little Mack will have a good time with his big sister as long as she continues with this. By the way, he slept through the night a couple of nights ago. He hasn't done it since, but we're on the right track. He's basically eating every three hours during the day now rather than just whenever, which is what he had been doing for a while. My routine with the second child is much different than with the first. With Mimi I tried to so hard to read all the babY books and put her on a set schedule as soon as possible. I tried to force her to sleep longer or wait out feedings longer. I overanalyzed what worked when she did sleep longer at night and came up with these "theories" about what would make her stop crying or eat faster or sleep longer. Oh, you moms know about these "theories." "If I feed her 4 ounces and 8PM then another ounce at 9PM, then she'll sleep through the night. If I do not drink any caffeine, he won't be so fussy. If I count to ten before picking her up when she cries, then she'll learn to self-soothe." All the crazy terminology. Self-soothe. Sleep training. Dream bottle. Swaddle. Geez.
I have new theories this time around. If Mack is hungry, I feed him. If he is sleepy, I put him down to sleep. If he cries for no reason, I check his diaper or just hold him. Okay, now I only need a publisher for this book. I'm patenting my techniques. Because they work.
My mother, who happens to have four children herself, tried to teach me these "techniques" when I had Mimi. She said her the doctors always told her to use common sense. What a great idea.
I love that I have so many mommy friends on Facebook who post their questions about new babies. I try to not put in my two cents because I know they are going to get oodles of advice from other new mommies who are also clueless. And this is how we learned. Lucky for me I had two good friends going through it at the same time I was with Mimi, and I just let them figure it out for me. But what they did didn't always work for me because every child is different. Mack is so different from Mimi. When he is sleepy, he wants to be left alone. Stick him in his swing, his bassinet, or in the corner by himself. Back off, Mommy. Mimi wanted to be held while she was sleeping and would wake up the second her body hit a mattress. I tried putting my hand on the mattress or blanket to warm it up, but nothing worked. But I didn't mind holding her. Just like I haven't minded feeding Mack every hour or so for the past few weeks. He's a chubby little baby now because of this, so no harm done. I just found myself feeding him during my dinner, at the park, in the Grove, in the car, or at a restaurant. Thank you, accepting society.
So I've just written myself into a better mood, which was what I was hoping for. I didn't even have to pull out the Kahlua. I'm sorry this is a horrible post and I'll try to get the Halloween photos up soon. That is, whenever my patience returns.

GRAND Parents

What a cool concept. To have children, raise them and take care of them, send them on their way, and then they come back with children of their own. That the grandparents can get off schedule and break rules and give them lots and lots of M &M's. So fun.

I really didn't have grandparents. When I was born all four of them and even some step-grandparents were still alive, but I was rarely able to see them and was too young to remember what I did get to see. But our children have four amazing grandparents. And they are indeed GRAND parents. Mimi is completely rotten by the time they leave, and I think this is a very necessary part of childhood.
My parents visited a couple of weeks ago, and Mimi immediately knew that all authority was thrown out the window. She could dance on the countertops, eat crackers and juice all day and spoil her dinner, and could whine and fuss and my mom would come running. Bless her heart. Mimi can tell my father, "No way," and he would laugh at her.
But there were perks for the parents. Clint and I were finally able to go shopping at REI for some much needed warm coats and tennis shoes. Ah, my new weekend outfit. A brown Patagonia coat, t-shirt, worn jeans, and Merrill tennis shoes. Love it because it is nice and chilly and very Fallish around here. Mimi even got some fun pink Merrills, which she lubs.


There is always something going on in the neighborhood. The weekend before Halloween there is always a parade on Roscoe Street, and, oh my word, I had sooo been looking forward to this! At the beginning of October, I began the search for the perfect Halloween costumes for my little monkeys, and Clint and I quizzed Mimi on what she wanted to be.
"Mimi, do you want to be a kitty for Halloween?"
"What about a fairy?"
"Uh huh!"
"Do you want to dress up like a dishwasher?"
"Yesh, I lub a dishwasher!"
And so on and so forth. So I decided to take her shopping in the costume aisle at Target one day, and what was it that she truly lubbed? The princess costumes, of course. And it hit me that it would be so cute for Mimi to be a princess and Mack to be a frog (since she likes to kiss on him all the time). But Mommy did not lub them. They were all thin and shottily made. Yuck. My child could not have a skanky Halloween costume. I searched on-line and in catalogues and found my absolute most favorite princess costume of all time . . . that cost a whopping $90. You've gotta be kidding me. So I decided that I, the budding seamstress, could just whip one together for the little princess.
How stupid of me. No wonder that princess costume cost $90. It was R-I-D-I-C-U-L-O-U-S, I tell you, and it took me an hour just to cut out all the little stupid pieces of the pattern. And then trying to figure out the directions and cutting and sewing all the slippery satiny fabric was a disaster at times. BUT five minutes before the parade began, Mommy quickly rigged up some velcro on the back since I didn't have time to insert the zipper and away we went to the parade. By the way, Mack's frog costume took, like, 30 minutes. I seriously considered making a frog costume for Mimi with a pink bow and calling it the end of the day.
On our way there, we spotted lots of little animals and storybook characters and superheroes, and I could see the excitement growing on Mimi's face. When we arrived, she could hardly contain her happiness --- A PARADE!!

The band from a local college was dressed in their Halloween costumes and lined up ready to march. One thing Mimi likes to do at home is hand me a maraca or tambourine, and we march around the den while she sings, "March in a 'rade, doo doo doo!" Even Ruthie joins in occassionally. She always grabs her princess wand and pretends it is a horn that she is tooting. So as soon as the band marched down the street, Mimi begged to get out of the stroller so she could "march in a 'rade." And march, she did.

Mack wasn't much into the marching, so he snuggled on Daddy's shoulder instead.

After the parade the stores were handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters, so Mimi got in some practice before the real Halloween. She loved pointing out all the other costumes -- "Look, Mommy, it's Woody and Mickey Mouse and a puppy! Silly!" But guess what. There were no other princesses like Mimi. Well, we already knew that, didn't we?