Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lip Bugs, Plane Rides, and Annoying Hobbyists

Hello folks. We made it. This is how it went down.

I slept horribly Tuesday night - woke up at 1:30 and the last time I looked at the clock it was 3:00a.m. - because apparently becoming a mother has increased my worrying abilities tenfold. I woke up thinking about how the plane trip was going to be, envisioning all of the possible scenarios with Claire: how and if she would sleep on our laps, how she'd deal with not being in her crib for her usual hour and a half nap, how loud her crying would sound in an enclosed space and how strangers would react, how her ears would deal with the cabin pressure, if she'd get sick with the recycled plane air and the ubiquitous coughing of strangers, etc., etc., etc. It was ridiculous. So when 6:00a.m. rolled around I was not very well rested.

We got up, showered, ate breakfast, and were ready to roll out the door with our luggage when one of the fur children made one last attempt to keep us home. The cats hate it when we leave them alone - they thrive on our attention and on the routine of life as they know it (eat, poop, sleep on Mom's lap, eat, poop, sleep on Dad's lap, etc.). So Neville pulled a fast one on us. With my purse on my shoulder and Claire waiting by the door in her car seat, Huz says, "what's wrong with Neville's lip?" I stooped down to see what he meant and saw that Neville's black lips were bulging. My first reaction was, "Neville! We don't have time for lip tumors!" but then I wondered if maybe he had a string wrapped around his lip making it swollen. Huz held him by the scruff of the neck so that I could examine it and we realized that there was something alive attached to his bottom lip. "What the hell is that!?" I grabbed a tissue and had to pull the bug (tick? spider? beetle?) off which was no easy feat because it was really attached and then ran and flushed it then headed out the door traumatized. (You know how when people tell you a story about bugs crawling on them or children having lice and you get all icked out and itchy? It was like that.) I have no idea what it was but now I'm worried it was a tick or a poisonous spider and that I'll have a dead cat when I get home. Oy.

I couldn't stop laughing about it last night when I was retelling the tale to my Mom and sister, though. They decided it was the crazy antics of a teenage cat trying to rebel because we were leaving him at home. My sister likened it to a tatoo or a lip piercing and said that when I pulled it off of him he was like, "Oh man! My mom pulled the lip bug off and I just had it done, God!" I laughed so hard I was crying - it was clear that I was tired and that 2 glasses of booze go quickly to one's head at this altitude.

The plane ride went very well. Claire was a champ in the airport as we waited for the plane and she flirted with all the passersby. She cried a bit at take off while I tried to get her to nurse under the annoying nursing cover that she didn't want on her face (this crying lasted less than 2 minutes, long enough for me to hear a snide "use Benadryl!" comment from behind me. Bite me. Pump narcotics into your own child for no reason; I'll keep mine sober, thanks). She calmed down and fell asleep nursing and had a 30 minute nap (not long enough, but it'll do) until she woke with a start unsure of where she was. During that 30 minute nap my bladder took on new proportions within my pelvis, rendering me desperate for a bathroom. Of course I was completely stuck, my right arm asleep under the 18 pound weight of my sleeping baby, and my knees pressing into each other in a desperate attempt to hold it in. I nearly thought I'd have 2 diapers to change at the end of the flight. Luckily (for me, not her) someone coughed rather loudly and she woke up, freeing me to pass her to Huz and to do the potty dance down the aisle.

The row behind us was filled with 50-something Stampin' Up fanatics that were going to a stamping convention in Salt Lake. (They actually have conventions for these things?) All they could talk about was, oh my god did you see the new desert rose card stock, it goes so well with the brown and all you do is stamp here, punch out this part here, use the 6x6 paper and then the 8.5x11 paper and then print the numbers out on your computer, what font do you use, whatever one looks best, oh my god that is so great i'm totally going to copy you, when I have my stamping parties I used to serve snacks but it was costing me a fortune so now I just serve water and get profit from the sales of the stamps, I never watch t.v., just golf and football and Jon and Kate Plus 8, because all I want to do is stamp...stamp....stamp...stamp.


I make my own cards on occasion too, folks, but this? This was over the top stamping enthusiasm. They were even stamping during the flight.

We had a rough night as Claire didn't nap even close to as much as she normally does yesterday and she kept waking up screaming because of being in a new place, but we've got her back on schedule today (she's napping as I type) so we hope for a nice, long sleep tonight.

In summary, I had nothing to worry about and should have slept on Tuesday night. We did fine.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 2:15 PM

Monday, July 28, 2008

Rabbits and Planes


This is Wella the Wabbit. S/he is Claire's newest, simply styled, over-priced toy that I just couldn't resist. Truth be told, I copied my FF because her daughter has one too (hers is Red and named Manuella which is the brand), but I couldn't help myself. It's so simple, cute, and it comes in green!

Wella was the inspiration for my new header. I struggled with this one because I couldn't decided if I wanted to make it eye-popping green with some spring foliage texture on it:


or to make it sepia with some vine-like texture on it:


or to make it with a description of who I am as a blogger (I spent 30 seconds on the descriptors so it's not very creative or exciting and I didn't like the crumpled paper look after all, hence my not using it):


Thoughts? Comments? Questions?

So, we're going on vacation the day after tomorrow. While I should be excited (and I am - I can't wait to show The Bear off to the g'rents), I'm mostly nervous. Nervous that my ear-achingly loud 9-month-old will screech on the plane and we'll be "Those Parents" with "The Brat." I hope that she'll be able to sleep on the plane because it coincides with nap time but she'll be on our laps and she's only used to sleeping on her back in her crib. I'm going to try all the tricks to keep her occupied - bringing a collection of toys, some of them new, to rotate through, snacks for her to munch on, pacifiers for her to suck on, and, of course, The Boobs. My hope is that she'll quietly play, nurse at takeoff, and then sleep the rest of the flight. That is wishful thinking, but I hope she at least gets 1-2 hours of sleep in or we'll have a serious Bear on our hands (get it? Claire Bear...a bear). If anyone has any further travel advice, I'll take it.

I'll update you when we get in. Wish us luck.

p.s. The reason we're flying home is because my brother-in-law is getting married. When I offered to help take pictures for this back in December, I didn't realize that I'd be The Photographer, but I am! I hope it goes well. It'll be my second wedding and I definitely learned from the last one (pay attention to details like where everyone's hands are, etc.) so it should be good. I just hope that Claire doesn't see me across the room and demand that I pick her up! Speaking of photography, I recently did a photo shoot of my friends and their baby (our god daughter) who is 3 months younger than Claire. I am really happy with some of the shots and plan to share them here as soon as I get permission from them to do so.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 1:43 PM

Thursday, July 24, 2008

And You Thought Candied Bacon Ice Cream Sounded Gross!?

Check this out!

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 9:01 AM

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Homemade Ice Cream Trial Two: Salted Butter Caramel


As promised, here are photos from my most recent ice cream adventure. I got the recipe from David Lebovitz and am now smitten, smitten I say!, with him and his blog. This recipe was decidedly more complex than the easy sweet cream base recipe (that I added blackberries to) from Ben & Jerry's book, but that doesn't mean it was hard. It was only a bit more time consuming because it involved caramelizing sugar into praline (and then the fun part of breaking it into tiny pieces) and cooking an egg yolk custard for the ice cream base. The only thing I would modify next time is using fine, instead of course, sea salt because some of the praline bits are a tad too salty, but other than that this recipe is a winner.

Churning away:



After spending time in the freezer for a few hours it's ready to eat:



Posted by Bird On A Line @ 2:13 PM

Monday, July 21, 2008

Frozen Fun

I'm enjoying our new ice cream maker. Yesterday I worked on my second creation and anticipate trying it out sometime tomorrow. Yes, this one takes a while because it involves cooking a custard and cooling for 8 hours (which was last night). I won't get home until this evening to put it in the machine to churn, and then it has to be frozen for several more hours until it's ready to eat. I think it will be worth it though. What kind is it? Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream. I can't wait to try it.

Now, if you're like most people I've talked to about this, you're probably going to scrunch up your face when I tell you what kind I want to try making next. Candied Bacon Ice Cream. Yes, that's right, I said bacon. Sounds crazy, I know, but there's something magical about salt and sweet to me, so we're gonna give it a shot - probably only a pint of it to be safe - but we'll at least try.

What kind of crazy ice cream concoctions can you come up with for me to try next? I'll take your ideas into culinary consideration.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 10:04 AM

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Teething, Teething, I Hate Teething


Is she making cookies? If she is I hope they have booze in them. That sounds awful, I know. The picture I just took doesn't capture how awful this morning went. I officially hate teething. I'm over it, Huz is over it, and Claire is certainly over it. The screams that emit from this adorable creature are awe inducing. We are now keeping her dosed on Tylenol until she has all of her teeth (I kid, but I think we'll keep the stuff coming every four hours until the weekend is through). It's been rough. I don't know why or how people decide to have more kids after a day like today. I feel guilty saying that because I sound like I hate my kid, but this is difficult and I know it will only get worse with age as temper tantrums, independence, defiance, and discipline all become part of my daily life. I'm afraid.

It's a good thing she's cute, folks.


Posted by Bird On A Line @ 5:50 PM

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Stolen Images

So, read this and tell me what I should do. Stop posting pictures all together? Put annoying watermarks on everything? What!?

[Thanks to Nanette for the link.]

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 2:05 PM

Only For the Wealthy

I'm not, but I sure would have liked one of these last night at 9:00, 10:00, 11:00 and midnight. Bear? What the heck was your deal last night!?

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 8:37 AM

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Does anyone have a gun I could borrow?

A dull tablespoon would work too - anything to gouge my heart out with. Do I sound ominous, over the top? I'm a tad frustrated is all. See, I decided that now that I have a kid and all, I should be responsible for said kid and do what I can to protect her. I can embarrass myself or Huz on here all I want, but her? It's not really fair since she has no voice to say if she wants me to do that or not (this will get more complicated as she grows and I have to figure out how much I should share about her, both verbally and pictorially). So, in wanting to be a good parent, I decided to make all of my photos on Flickr (which contains ALL of my photos: 6,657 of them to be exact) private so that any schmuck can't Google "cutest baby ever" or "labia ultrasound"* and find their way to my photo album. I still want family to be able to see my photos and for all you, dear readers, to see what I post here, but everyone else? Not so much. So, I did this yesterday at work and it took about an hour for Flickr to do its switching of all 6,657 photos from public to private. Meanwhile, I checked my FF's blog and another person's blog and saw that their pictures were not visible. I really thought that maybe I had caused Flickr to go down because I was asking it to do so much work. Who knows.

*After noticing the 10th or 11th visit here via that exact ultrasound picture made me a bit creeped out, even if it's just pregnant mommies checking out other people's girl ultrasounds.

Anyway, back to why I'm feeling suicidal. I had no idea that when I changed my photos to private that their URL's would completely change. Do you know what this means? It means that all of the photos that I choose to share with the world on this here blog are now gone, invisible, kaput until I go back to each post with a picture, click on every Gawd damned one of them and capture the new URL and re-post. This blog started off as a way to share my photos, and I clearly take a lot of them, so I probably have at least 1,000 photos to fix. Like I have that much time! But this blog is my creation, a reflection of me, and I can't see leaving it such a mess. It would bother me too much.


So, if you're looking at archives or you're a new reader who found me, please forgive the hawt mess that is my blog right now. It should only take me, oh, a year to fix the mess I made. All in the name of being a good parent. Ack!

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 10:48 AM

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Sarcasm Drips but the Message is Crystal Clear

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 12:46 PM

Saturday, July 12, 2008

This and That

By the way, happy belated 4th of July. We went to a friend's house for drinks and a board game and then to our neighbor friend's house for a BBQ. Don't you just love how Claire was looking at the camera? Mo and my sis both commented on how big she is looking, so this will give you some perspective when we're holding her.

8 mos - 4th of July BBQ

Speaking of holding her, my arms are buff!



We don't own a scale, so when we were at our friend's the other day I stepped on theirs and was a.) quite pleased with my own weight - I'm down 7 more pounds since the 6 week postpartum weigh in, so now I'm 11 pounds lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight! I think I'm going to breastfeed until Claire is 18 - and b.) shocked at Claire's weight. She is TWENTY WHOPPING POUNDS and not even nine months old yet. No wonder I'm so toned!

Thanks to my FF for babysitting last night. It was great to go out for a nice dinner after a long week at work and to celebrate with Huz as he just finished writing his first chapter of his dissertation - I'm amazed by you, babe!


Posted by Bird On A Line @ 11:29 AM

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Q: What's a Good Way To Start Your Work From Home Day?

A: Going on a run as a family in the park.

It was already super hot, but I feel so good about myself after I exercise. Here's Claire Bear in her cool jogging stroller I told you about.

8 mos - Chilling in the jogging stroller

Here she is with her red-faced, sweaty mama.

8 mos - Me: hot and sweaty after a run. Claire: chillin' in the jogging stroller

8 mos - Me: hot and sweaty after a run. Claire: chillin' in the jogging stroller

And with her super sweaty daddy.

8 mos - Huz: hot and sweaty after a run. Claire: chillin' in the jogging stroller

See the new, expensive, BPA-free water bottle? It's a Klean Kanteen and better be indestructible for the $15 I paid for it!

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 2:37 PM

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Food, Food, All About Food

I guess if Claire is really allergic to dairy it just means more ice cream for me. Ha! Remember when I told you that we drove up to our farm a few weeks ago and picked blueberries and blackberries? We got a pretty good amount - around 2 pints of blueberries and a pint of blackberries.


Huz used the blueberries to make a divine cornmeal double-crusted blueberry pie with lemon cream sauce (I know, right!? Who did I marry? Barney Crocker? Melvin Stewart?) and I froze the blackberries until the ice cream maker we bought came in the mail. We bought the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream book so that we'd have some recipes for our new toy and, I have to tell you, making your own ice cream is so easy! Why didn't I do this a long time ago!? I made blackberries and cream ice cream which is so very tasty. My next ice cream is going to be mint oreo crunch. Y-U-M-M-Y.

Huz made homemade pizzas the other night: Mexcian pizza with chicken, corn, black beans, cilantro and onions served with sour cream and homemade guacamole and BBQ Pizza with chicken, red onions, and bbq pizza sauce.


And, if you'll believe it, I actually cooked something the other night too - Italian stuffed zucchini* and cod fillets. Very fresh and summery.

*Yes, I've posted the recipe before here.


Now if that doesn't make you hungry, I don't know what will.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 11:33 AM

Monday, July 7, 2008


Little Miss Claire,

You gave us quite the scare yesterday after I fed you yogurt for the first time. Your face broke out in a bright red rash immediately after you ate about 1/4 cup of yogurt. I paged the pediatrician on call and Daddy and I watched over you like a hawk for the next hour to make sure your breathing wasn't affected by the obvious allergy to dairy. I'm sorry, baby girl, I won't feed you yogurt ever again (the Dr. suggested trying again in a few weeks, but I'm so scared that I may never let dairy come near you again).

I love you, sweet thing.



Posted by Bird On A Line @ 9:29 AM

Sunday, July 6, 2008

7 and 8 months

Dearest Claire Bear,

You are 8 and a half months old and you continue to make me laugh and smile so hard that my cheeks ache. You find joy in the simplest things - a cat walking by, a butterfly flitting around outside the window, Mommy or Daddy when we walk into the room, playing peek-a-boo, being tickled on your ribs. You have quite the vocal range now, not only volume - it DEFINITELY goes to 11 when it comes to you - but in consonants. You can say, "ya, ya," "wuh," "huh," "kee," "bah," "mah mah," "dah," "pah," and all sorts of other gibberish that is quite cute to hear.


It's funny how quickly you go through phases. A few weeks ago you were testing out all that you could do with your tongue and you'd stick it out and wiggle it side to side. You did this every day for a week or two, but now you've moved on and I miss it.


We gave you your first finger foods last week (o shaped cereal). You pretty much had the pincer grasp down, using your thumb and index finger to pick up the cereal, but it took a day (only a day, though!) to master getting it from your hand to your mouth. I think the sound of you gumming food is the most adorable thing in the world. I even video taped you chewing just so that I'd remember what a new accomplishment it was. Your diet consists of mama's milk (this is still going well and you expect it as part of your bedtime ritual, but you have bitten me a few times when you get playful or bored and I don't like that too much, so please don't do that anymore, okay?), broccoli, peaches, pears, apples, oatmeal, rice cereal, Purely O's, squash, prunes, potatoes, and bananas. We're going to try yogurt today and move on to steamed chard (from the farm) and perhaps try asparagus too. You newest habit (which, hopefully, will be short-lived like the tongue wiggling) is to spit food back out at us when we feed you. You blow raspberries when you aren't eating, but it's loads more fun when you have food in your mouth and can make Mommy and Daddy react, huh? We try our hardest not to react to broccoli chunks being sprayed all over us (why am I always wearing white pants when I feed you?), but it's hard. We know we should just end meal time when you do it, but we don't want you to starve (ha, ha), so we try the distraction technique instead which works fairly well.

So far you like everything we give you which is good because apparently your Daddy was really picky as a child and I don't want you to follow suit. I don't think you will, though, because you seem to enjoy your "numah numah" very much - you even tried to eat a blueberry when we went and picked some from the farm last weekend. Speaking of the farm, I just took some pictures of you this morning in our produce basket that we use to get our fresh veggies in each week. I thought you were an adorable pumpkin sitting in that basket.


You have two bottom teeth and they are sticking out more every day. I'm convinced you're going to sprout some more, though, because the drool factor has really kicked it up a notch lately. Hopefully the next ones will be easier on you.

Your newest accomplishment is rolling over. Just like that you decided you knew how to roll from your tummy to your back. I guess this isn't surprising given how much you hate being on your belly, but what is surprising is how quickly you mastered the skill. Daddy called me at work last week and told me you did it in front of him for the first time and when I got home that afternoon you did it for me three more times! It's adorable. You turn your head to the side, laying it onto the floor, and then you kick your little foot to flip the rest of your body over onto your back. Yesterday morning you did the opposite in front of me for the first time - you rolled from your back to your belly and proceeded to do it all day long. It's amazing, Claire. Amazing how fast you're growing and developing right before our eyes. Next thing I know, you're going to be crawling all over the house and getting into trouble! I better baby proof this place pronto.


I love you, Pookie. You will always be my sun, moon, and my stars.



Posted by Bird On A Line @ 11:19 AM

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I feel like a string that has been pulled as far as it can stretch and is about to snap.

I feel downtrodden, bruised, depressed, shitty - let me count the ways: while my boss was apologetic about it, I didn't get the raise I asked for and think I deserve due to increased responsibilities (chalk it up to "budgetary reasons" at a multi-billion dollar company. Whatever.); I'm getting booted from the fourth office I've had in a year (I'm a lowly admin and faculty will always get what they want - I'm not surprised because it's too nice of an office for my position, but STILL. FOUR moves in ONE year. I feel like I'm getting jerked around on a chain.); Claire has been screaming this morning AND she bit my nipple AGAIN which KILLS; the cats are always in my face, stepping on my pillow or my hair or my stomach...they are way too needy and they're driving me nuts; a person at work is a bossy bitch and she's not even my boss - somebody tell her that please!


Life sucks at the moment. Calgon, take me away!

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 10:57 AM

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