Jun 29, 2011

sleeping arrangements

When we were on vacation in Florida last week, PJ, Cara, and I all shared one hotel room.  It was an awesome room with a little kitchen and a balcony overlooking the ocean and a nice big king-sized bed. We usually put Cara in a pack and play to sleep when we travel because sleeping in the bed with us is not really an option; she would never go to sleep.  We also try to put her in another room or in a secluded, dark place so that she will stay asleep all night.  So, sharing one hotel room meant that we had to get creative about our sleeping arrangements.  Luckily, the pack and play just barely fit into the bathroom, so that became Cara's bedroom after about 8 pm.

It worked really well; we could even sneak in to go pee after she was asleep.  I checked on her one night and was overcome with how sweet and peaceful she was, so I made my hubby take a picture of her.  In the dark.  With no flash. 

I didn't really notice it when I was looking at her in the dark, but in the picture, the first thing that screams at me is that she is basically touching the sides of the pack and play with her head and her feet.  My baby is getting too big for it.  Fortunately, this picture is what finally convinced me that we need to move Cara to a toddler bed.

I have been agonizing over this decision (um, yeah and ahem) for a little while now, but I realized that we cannot keep making this child sleep in a pack and play when she is too tall for it.  That's mean.  And getting her out of the pack and play means getting her out of the crib.

So we bit the bullet.  Took the plunge.  Climbed the mountain.

Okay, it wasn't that dramatic.  We just took the side off of the crib.  Actually, very little changed except that CARA CAN ESCAPE NOW!  But, you know, I always worry about how Cara will react to something and whether or not she's ready to handle something, and she almost always proves that I don't give her enough credit.  She's been sleeping in her new bed since Sunday, and she has not escaped once.  She climbs in for naps and bedtime all by herself and I cover her up and give her a kiss.  And that's it. 

There have only been two moments when I questioned the change.  Cara fell out of the bed on the first or second night.  Her daddy went to rescue her, and he said that she was sitting on the floor bewildered by her rude awakening, saying "Cara fall down."  Her crib mattress is so low that I don't really think she can get hurt unless she falls out on her head.  Which almost happened last night.  When I went to check on her, she was laying sideways with her head hanging off the side of the bed.  Perhaps that is dangerous?   

So it seems that we have made it through the big girl bed transition unscathed.  I hope potty training is this easy...

Jun 27, 2011

garden goodness {with a recipe}

My friends Jillian and Melissa came over to hang out and play baby today, and they both got sent home with a handful of basil because my garden is out of control.  Jillian looked at it and said, "I can't believe you haven't blogged about this yet."  So now I am.

We planted our little garden back in April right before Easter because my great-grandaddy always planted his gardens around Easter to avoid the frost.  I was such a proud little garden mama.

They were such babies.

We have tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumber, peppers, jalopeno, cantelope (which turned out to be more cucumber), and variety of herbs.  I almost thought we didn't put enough in our little vegetable patch, but now I'm beginning to think we overdid it a little...

This shot is a slightly different angle, but I think you get the point. 

Things are a little out of control in there.  I am amazed at how big everything got, but this is my first vegetable gardening experience, so what do I know anyway.  I have to admit, though, as a garden mama, that I am a little embarrassed by the behavior of some of my vegetables.

It might be a little hard to tell exactly what you're looking at in that picture, but basically, the cucumber took out the cilantro.  That poor cilantro was trying to stay upright, but those cucumber vines will not be stopped.  I'm half afraid to reach in there to pull weeds or pick anything because it might just grab me and take me down too.

All of this garden craziness happened while we were on vacation.  We came back and had lots of baby tomatoes and cucumbers (which might be all we have if those naughty cucumbers don't start behaving); in fact, three tomatoes should be ready in the next few days and one huge cucumber was seriously ready to go.  I also realized that we had four overripe tomatoes in the fridge that absolutely had to be eaten now (tomato overload!).  I decided to make our favorite veggie dip and share it with you all.  This recipe was given to me a few years ago, and I honestly can't remember the circumstances or who should really get credit for this deliciousness.  Sorry.  But I am happy to spread the yum.

Use Up Your Cucumbers and Tomatoes Veggie Dip

Gather your ingredients:

You will need:  corn, black beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, olive oil, vinegar, and Good Seasonings italian dressing mix. (side note:  there are some crazy ingredients in that dressing mix...guar gum??? BUT, it makes this dip so delicious.  I deal.)

Add your corn.

Add your black beans.

Add your cucumber.  It's best to chop the veggies pretty small so that they will fit on your chips.

Add tomatoes and a little dash of salt and pepper.

Add the red onions.

Follow the package directions to mix the dressing.  Pour it over the veggies and stir well.

Pile it on a tortilla chip.  Yum.

Jun 26, 2011

miss me yet?

Hello out there!  It's been a few days.  Between my friend Christie's wedding festivities, a few delightful houseguests (hi, Julie! hi, Andrea!), a broken dryer, and a week on the Gulf coast of Florida, I'm afraid my little blog here was pushed to the back burner.  No worries, my friends!  I'm back with vacation stories to tell!

Everyone should get a pedicure on vacation.

We drove 10 hours to Treasure Island, Florida for a week of blissful relaxation with PJ's family.  I think the words "family vacation" hold a bad connotation for some, but ours was truly relaxing.  Papa and Mimi set us up in an awesome hotel right on the beach, and we couldn't have been happier.  We spent a lot of time playing, napping, eating, and doing whatever we wanted to.  For me, that included catching up on some reading; I read Woman at Point Zero, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, and Jake, Reinvented.  Don't be too impressed.  All of those are pretty short.

Cara was made for vacation, obviously.

She LOVED playing on the beach and in the pool, which worked out really well for me in my lounge chair.

Okay, I didn't sit in my lounge chair the entire time.  But it sure was nice when I did.

All toddlers throw sand, right?

This girl has no fear of the ocean, which is a little scary to me.

She also has no fear of the pool...

We tried to take some family pictures on the beach, because that's a vacation requirement.

This is the best we could do.

Cara would much rather dance with Papa than pose for pictures.

Who is this handsome young fellow?  I swear, the last time I checked, he was only six years old.

We didn't spend all of our time out in the sun though.  We also went to a children's museum.

So precious, I can't stand it.

I *might* have told an unruly little group of baseball players that if one of the cans they were throwing around this pretend grocery store hit a child that I brought, I would be coming after them.  The look of fear in their eyes *might* have given me a great deal of satisfaction.  Seriously, where were their parents?

the children in motion

Look at that sass.  I love it!

All in all, I count this vacation a huge success because no one got sunburned (I am a "sunscweemies" nazi), I got a t-shirt from Sloppy Joe's with Ernest Hemingway on the back (heck yeah!), and I'm beginning to feel my inspiration returning.  It's gonna be a great week.

Jun 17, 2011

if it's too good to be true...

Earlier this week, our dryer died.  We were sad for two reasons.  One:  Household appliances of all kinds are really freaking expensive, and I would much rather spend my money on fun things like shoes and martinis organic groceries and fabric.  Two:  Think of the worst possible time for a dryer to break.  Are you thinking of it?  That's what time it is.

Good thing my grandmama sent me this dress cause I have no clean clothes.

As it became more and more necessary to conquer the pile of dirty clothes, I became more and more frantic and stressed.  My hubby is a lover of good deals, and he found the mother of all dryer deals on Craig's List.  I have never bought anything from Craig's List, but I know people who have, and they always return from making their purchases unharmed; however, I am still a bit skeptical of Craig's List.  It's just hard to turn down a dryer for $65 that the seller says works great.  The only problem is that occasionally clothing gets caught in the drum.  I pictured this as the explanation for all of the missing socks in the world.  Every dryer must have this problem, so it can't be that bad.

Things seemed perfect at first.  The loud shaking noise coming from the dryer wasn't really concerning.  I mean, this dryer didn't smell like it was catching on fire, so that's good.  Because I am not a huge fan of laundry, I washed and dried almost all of our clothes before I decided to fold anything.  And this is what that stupid, cheap dryer had been doing to our clothes:

PJ's favorite soccer shorts, soon to be retired to the trash

"Getting caught in the drum" is actually a big deal.  Apparently, it leaves a streak of rust or mud or some other type of poo on your clothing, and sometimes it rips a hole in an inconvenient location.  And I just washed and dried all of our clothes.  Great...

don quixote vs windmill .
Me vs. the dryer...I'm fighting a losing battle, my friends.  {via}

On the bright side, it seems that I will be saving the world for the next few loads by drying our clothes out on the deck or draped over the dining room chairs. 

Jun 13, 2011

inspiration (or lack of)

I have been off for one full week, and I am already lazy.  How sad is that?  I had big, ambitious plans for all of the things I was going to accomplish with my free time, but so far, all I have done is give the house a good cleaning, make a romper, and play.  Lots and lots of playing. 

Not that there is anything at all wrong with playing (it was definitely on my list of things to accomplish), but I also wanted to complete the 30 day shred, add new recipes to my dinner toolbox, sew a lot and learn some new techniques, and read a huge stack of books.  Unfortunately, my inspiration to do all of these things is seriously lacking.  I love reading, sewing, and cooking--I won't even pretend to like working out--so you would think that I would be all over these activities, but I just don't have projects that I am super excited about. 

In theory, I should be excited about all of these things.  I have a secret sewing project that I am actually pretty jazzed about, but the details of the project are still a little vague.  I am teaching a new class next year, which is so cool, but I can't start reading those books until I finish the one I am currently reading, and it's taking me FOREVER to get through The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.  Grr...  And, I should be all excited about dinner in the summer since I love fresh fruits and veggies, and seriously, those take like zero preparation, and I have my own little garden in the back yard.  My little garden is definitely growing, but nothing is ready for eating yet.  Soon, I think, but not yet.

So there's where I am today.  Uninspired.  Can you direct me to some inspiration?  Perhaps drop me a link that will get my creative juices flowing again?  I will be forever grateful (ok, maybe not forever, but at least for the summer).

Jun 10, 2011

the Saffron romper

I just can't stay away from my sewing machine for very long.  I'm actually working on a secret project, and this little romper was a practice round.  I cannot put into words how much I love this fabric.  Amy Butler is a genius.  Thank goodness I have a dress for me already cut out, but I promise not to wear it when Cara wears hers.  (*wink, wink*)

The pattern for this romper can be found here.   It was super quick and easy, a naptime project at most.  I love it when things come together like that!

Look at that face.  I love it.

Side note:  Cara is not a fan of these photo sessions anymore.  There is no cheesing for the camera.  Most of the pictures look like this:
Really?  No smiles for Daddy?

Jun 9, 2011

Cara's day in cell phone pics

PJ had to work late tonight, so I decided to document Cara's day for him since he probably wouldn't get home before she went to bed.  Today was...interesting.

We started the day by watching too much TV.  PBS kids could keep her glued for HOURS.

In addition to watching too much TV, Cara also ate too many gummies.

We made a weak attempt at doing some laundry.  We abandoned this to meet up with Grandaddy for lunch.

After the longest nap ever, Cara played in her pool in her sunglasses.

And this is what happens when things get too quiet.  Bad mommy.  That's waterproof mascara, by the way.  Lovely.

Linking up to Happiness is...on Rub Some Dirt on It.  Check it out.


Jun 8, 2011

embracing the changes

This always happens to me.  As soon as I think I have decided something, I realize that I may have to change my mind.  I hate that.

Remember that post about the toddler bed?  After considering all the advice and experiences everyone offered up, I had decided to keep Cara in her crib for a little while longer.  No rush, right?  Except that ever since I posted that, PJ and I have noticed a lot of banging noises coming from the baby monitor after we tucked Cara in for night.  We joke about what she might really be doing in there, but I think there are only two logical explanations for the noise:  1) she is kicking the drop side of her crib because it makes the more noise than the other sides or 2) she is actually trying to climb out.  Crap.  Either way, the crib is becoming a distraction from sleeping.


The other day, Cara and I were killing some time at Target, and we stopped over by the big girl panties.  We stared for a few minutes, and then I asked Cara if she wanted some big girl panties, and she said "of course I do, mom.  But I only want the princess panties." (Maybe those weren't her exact words; I'm paraphrasing here.)  When her daddy came home, she was carrying a pair of panties around the house with her, and I think it caught him off guard a bit.  PJ said it made him sad to see that.  The little pairs of panties are washed and neatly folded in her drawer, just waiting on her.


I feel like I'm at a point where I need to decide whether to move ahead or stay here.  We can take the side off the crib and lower the mattress and we can start potty training, or we can stay.  What's funny is that I need to make this decision in several areas of my life all at once, in my career, in my relationships.  The problem is that I am not a drifter; I don't wait for things to magically just happen.  But I am also very afraid of screwing things up.  Or making the wrong choice.  Of moving too quickly, of jumping in without looking carefully first.  I guess it seems pretty silly to be talking this way about potty training and toddler beds, but the parts represent the whole.  I think it's time to find my courage and move forward and embrace the change.


Jun 7, 2011


Sometimes I feel like I get more and more dumb.  Where did the brain cells go that used to remember things?  If I lost my cell phone, I would really be lost.  My calendar is in there, and I would never remember appointments, birthday parties, or deadlines if I didn't have that alert to remind me.  And don't even ask about phone numbers.  If my phone went missing, so would all of my numbers.  The only phone number I have in my head anymore is my husband's, and it took me almost a year of marriage to learn it.  Really.

I believe that the blame for this stupidity lies on the shoulders of the cell phone.  I did not have one of these devices until I went to college, so all through my early driving years, my parents sent me out into the dangerous world alone...(and no, they weren't bad parents).  I think the lack of a cell phone was better for my brain development.  I had to keep a real calendar and actually memorize phone numbers. 

Synapses firing!

Those synapses must have made permanent contact because I still remember the phone numbers of my childhood BFFs, but, no, I'm not going to prove it; this is the internet, after all.  I'm sure there were more numbers that I knew at the time, but these three are still stuck in my head amongst the memories of slumber parties and Dirty Dancing, lip-syncing videos and giggles.  Our fun was so innocent.  Did not having cell phones allow us to stay younger longer?  There were no text messages to analyze and circulate and recirculate.  Maybe we were more isolated, or perhaps insulated in our own bubble of silliness and innocence.  Those memorized phone numbers meant that I had someone to call anywhere, anytime.  How lucky we were. 

I try to imagine life without a cell phone today, and I honestly can't.  There is not room in my head for any phone numbers these days; I'm afraid that I would have to push something else out to make space, and what if that something was important, like Cara's birthday?  What if it was the PIN number for my debit card?  We have a phone upgrade waiting on us, and I am really debating a smart phone.  Would that make me even dumber?

Jun 6, 2011

six years

PJ and I celebrated six years of marriage on Saturday.  I should probably clarifying "celebrating" since our definition may be slightly different from everyone else's.  Last year, we spent the weekend at the beach sans baby, and it was most definitely needed.  It's way too easy to go through the motions of everyday life and not really live.  Two working parents plus a baby can equal going through the motions in a hurry, and I still find myself in this place more often than I want to. 

The beach wasn't really an option this year because my school's graduation fell on our anniversary, and it seemed like our day was full before we had made our own plans.  PJ had wanted to cook a special dinner, but we didn't even have time for that.  It was a go-go-go kind of day.  And that's okay because the purpose of an anniversary is to stop and appreciate the one you have, right?  Show a little extra attention, say an extra "thank you" and "I love you."  Aren't those things we should do every day?

We had an easier schedule for Sunday, as in no schedule.  PJ got to cook his awesome dinner.  While we ate, we watched the sky darken and listened to the thunder roll in, so we decided that a quick bath for the toddler might lead us into a movie until bed time.  I made some brownies, left the dirty dishes in the sink, and snuggled into the couch with my hubby and my girl to watch "the prates no do EN-LEE-LING" (that's toddler speak for "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything"...obviously).

This anniversay might not have been the most exciting one yet, but last night on the couch, I was so thankful for my little family.  We have each other for the rest of our lives.  I feel like showering them both with extra hugs, kisses, and I love yous.  The past six years have been the best, and I pray for many, many more.

Jun 3, 2011

"Is Cara in a big girl bed yet?"

People ask me this all the time, and I am usually slightly embarrassed to give my answer, but here it is:  Cara still sleeps in her crib.  When I say this, people generally react with admonishment.  "It's dangerous if she climbs out and falls!"  To this, I say that she has not even tried to climb out yet, and then I typically hear, "But you don't know when she'll try to do it in the middle of the night!"


Is it bad that I want to keep her in her crib for as long as possible?  I have toyed with the idea of moving her to a toddler bed, but then I try to imagine how that scene would play out.  Would she stay in her bed?   I'm sure she would...sometimes.  Would she get up in the middle of the night and roam around the house?  Probably.  I'm guessing she would jump at the chance to steal my make up and jewelry (she's all girl, this one.  I catch her trying to do this in broad daylight all the time).  And of course, I have safety concerns.  My pediatrician has warned us several times about finding toddlers on the front porch at all hours of the night, and my friend Laura has found her son (who is a few months younger than Cara) taking the dog for a walk right out the front door. 

How do you prevent this?  Just close the bedroom door?  Is that mean?  Will it create irrational fears of being locked in with monsters in the dark? 

I think my primary reason for keeping Cara in her crib is a selfish one.  I like my nighttime sleep.  Cara doesn't fuss about getting in her crib to go to bed, and if she wakes up in the middle of the night, there's nothing for her to do except go back to sleep.  I don't really want to wake up in the middle of the night to those little toddler eyes staring at me as she says "Mommmmeeeee, come on!" 

Is it time to bite the bullet?  How exactly do we do this anyway?
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