Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Between Times

We're back from our Christmas stint in Canada, and are looking forward to spending New Year's in Colorado. It's good to be home.

Highlights, in no particular order:
  • Gingerbread house: It's been a longstanding tradition that we construct gingerbread houses from scratch. Usually very large houses with obscene amounts of candy. This year, Mom got a kit (good!) and wanted Anna to decorate it (questionable). I wasn't sure Anna could exhibit enough/ any self control, and was anticipating numerous candy related meltdowns. But she surprised me, and although candy was certainly consumed, the vast majority ended up on the house.  
  • Sledding: This is the first year Anna has exhibited interest in sledding, so we checked out a nearby mini-hill. The first trip she'd only go down once, the second three times, and the third outing saw numerous runs. As for Isaac, he was restricted to a mellow ride in the rail sled. The first trip saw angry faces, the second a frown with scattered smiles, and during the third outing he may have laughed. This has not been confirmed.
  • Teeth: In an attempt to keep up with Anna, Isaac sprouted a "pirate tooth." Top lateral incisor, all alone up there.
  • Christmas Eve candlelight service: Anna and three other darlings danced along the aisle throughout the darkened service. It was magical.
  • Nutcracker: Anna's first ballet. She made it almost to the end. I didn't realize what an odd story it is until I tried to explain it to her. As Jon noted, it's more of a dream sequence than a narrative. Speaking of dreamy nonsense...
  •  Beatles Rock Band: Did you know that it's "I am the egg man" not "I am the ape man" in I Am the Walrus?
  • Jon's B-day, Dec. 23: We went out for a fabulous lunch, and then he went to see Avatar with my brother. A good day, even though it's a tough time to have a birthday. We'll be home for Christmas next year, so I'm hoping we can have an actual party. 
  • Food: Mandarin oranges! Turkey-and-cranberry sauce sandwhiches! Stuffing! Pumpkin pie! Chocolates! More chocolates! Mulled wine!
Lowlights. Not many.
  • Weather: Not! You thought I was going to say weather, didn't you - what with it being Canada in December. A reasonable assumption, especially since last year saw temps hovering between -20 and -40 centigrade. But it was actually quite balmy, relatively speaking.
  • Isaac's non-sleep: I slept in the same room with Little Man and (a) he snores, (b) he knows I'm there, and (c) he doesn't adjust well to new surroundings. All this added up to a decided step backwards in terms of him learning to sleep for long periods of time between feedings. But we soldier on.
  • Illness: Everyone got a bad cold except the kids (!!) and my dad. Jon got it the worst, which was the saddest thing of all.
  • Anna's doctor visit: Did you know that old bruises on one's abdomen can suddenly explode in  size and develop underlying hard lumps? Well now you do.
  • The trip back: This deserves it's own section...
Overall, a good time was had by all. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Geek Alert

With Mom's PC defunct yet again, and our discussions of how she should just get an iMac already, the following ode seemed a propos. I also thought my brother would get a kick out of it.

Sung to the tune of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.
(With apologies to the Irish Rovers, Apple Computers, and the art of song writing in general.)

Mom's Dell got assaulted by an Apple.
As we slept unsuspecting Christmas Eve.
You may say there's no such thing as Steve Jobs.
But as for me and tech support, we believe.

She'd been playing World of Warcraft,
And we begged her "Let it go."
But she'd just slain another dragon,
And so she sat at the computer, eyes aglow.

When we saw them Christmas morning
At the scene of the attack
We found black threads from a turtleneck
And incriminating logos, like a mac.

Mom's Dell got assaulted by an Apple.

As we slept unsuspecting Christmas Eve.
You may say there's no such thing as Steve Jobs.
But as for me and tech support, we believe.

It's not Christmas without the PC
The screen looks cold and black.
And we all can't help but wonder
Should we fix the power supply, or send it back?

Now Mom's shopping 'round for iMacs.
She's so fed up with PCs
And somewhere off in Cupertino,
I know that Steve Jobs is very pleased

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Further Reflections on Cooking

Okay, so I'm a little obsessed with food. It IS the season, after all. You know: love, joy, peace, and sugar.
Cooking is also on my mind since I finally saw Julie & Julia. Very good. At the beginning of the movie I thought "Oh, there's Meryl Streep." At the end of the movie I thought "Oh, there's Julia Child." (Amy Adams was good, but not quite that good.) But beyond the story or acting, I was taken with the idea of a year long cooking project. The discipline of methodically going through an entire cookbook - good, bad, and invertebrate - is very appealing to me. Nothing whisks (hey, that's a pun!) me away more than being able to spend uninterrupted hours in the kitchen.

I imagined going through an entire cookbook of my own choosing (Thai? Middle Eastern? Alice Waters? Vegetarian? No, not vegetarian. Too much cheese.) And then I remembered that I have two little people that some days prevent me from boiling water. So THAT got me thinking even more: Where is the cooking show that shows what it's really like for Moms in the kitchen? The show that demonstrates why a 30 minute meal actually takes 2 hours? The show that explores what to do when you forget to take the crock pot out of the fridge at noon, and it's now 3:30? The show that asks the question: What do I do when it's 5:00, the baby needs to be changed and put down for a nap NOW, but I just dumped pasta into the boiling water? The show that guides moms as they discover they forgot to buy half of the ingredients for the dinner they're making that night?

Then I thought: maybe I should do that show as a series of youtube videos. But before I could mull it over some more the baby cried, Anna needed her milk, the phone rang, the washing machine beeped....

Friday, December 11, 2009

Food, Glorious Food

There is lots of snow on the ground, and the last few days it was quite cold for the Denver region (-15 to -10 C). Felt like winter back home. And homey feelings bring to mind baking.
As summer turns to fall turns to winter there's a progression of foods that I like to make. Early fall brings crisps and crumbles and various muffins. Late fall brings pumpkin in the form of pies and baked good. Christmas brings on the gingerbread (cakes, cookies, yeast breads).
This year I seem to be focused on pumpkin. Perhaps because I've had many half-eaten cans in the fridge (Isaac likes pumpkin puree with a bit of vanilla and spices. At least, he doesn't spit it out.)

The thing is, I rarely follow a recipe as written. I have a habit of amalgamating recipes and improvising when I'm out of some ingredient. Additionally, when I'm baking some goody for myself, I try to reduce the amount of fat and sugar without compromising on taste too much (full disclosure: I don't like as much sugar as most people, so I probably compromise a little more some might like.)
I really like experimenting with recipes. My ideal job would be working in a test kitchen, although admittedly I'm not so great at documentation. So, the downside of my "experiments" is that every time I make something it comes out a little different.
This season a couple of recipes worked out rather well, so I've recorded them below (if for no other reason than to have them handy for myself when I'm up north for Christmas). A victory for documentation.

Maple Pumpkin Custard (low-fat)
Adapted from Alice Water's The Art of Simple Food, The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook,  and a recipe I came across in Real Simple Magazine.

1 cup evaporated milk (fat free)
2 tsp. flour
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
2 eggs, or one egg and one egg white
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
1 1/2 tsp brandy (optional; haven't tried it with the brandy yet, but I think this would be excellent)

Whisk 1/4 cup of the milk and the flour in a small saucepan. Heat over low until boiling, then slowly add the rest of the milk. Return to a boil.
Mix the pumpkin, eggs, syrup and vanilla. In a separate bowl mix the spices.
Combine milk mixture, pumpkin mixture, spices, brandy.
Pour into a pie plate (no crust) and bake at 375 F for about 45 minutes, until the center is almost set.

Pumpkin Scones (reduced fat)

Adapted from The Cheese Board Collective Works

1/2 cup half-and-half (fat free), or evaporated milk (fat free)
3/4 cup skim milk combined with 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter

Preheat oven to 375 F.
Whisk together wet ingredients. In bowl of food processor or mixer combine the dry ingredients (not butter). Cut in (combine) the butter with the dry ingredients, until the butter is pea sized. Make a well in the center of the butter mixture and add the wet ingredients. Mix briefly, just until combined.
Drop batter, about 2 Tbsp at a time, onto prepared sheet. Bake about 20 minutes.
Very tasty with pumpkin-apple butter.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Great Expectations.

So our sump pump just exploded awhile ago, which strangely gives me more time than I expected. We were supposed to head to Target this aft', but are now waiting for the plumber. In the meantime, Anna and I were going to bake cookies (oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip), but she's just fallen asleep on the couch. And Isaac is napping. How long will this domestic bliss last? Dunno, so better type fast.

It's been awhile since my last post. I meant to write something over the Thanksgiving weekend, but had less time than I thought I would. Anna's birthday generally falls on that weekend, and this year it was on the Saturday. We had a great time celebrating her day with some friends and family, and to quote Jon "Things went better than I expected."

I tried to keep it simple: Streamers, balloons, music, stickers, food, treasure hunt, gifts. And the weather was in the 50s, so we got to enjoy some outside fun.

Before - the Spider Web!



Anna Girl is now the big 0-3.

Wow! I think this means something. Couldn't tell you what exactly. It's not that the time has flow (I think we've fully experienced every minute of the last three years. Anna tends to take large bites out of life). It's not that she doesn't seem three (she's seemed three for about 6 months now). Three just seems older. How's that for stating the obvious?  She's not a toddler anymore, she's a preschooler - regardless of what the state of CO thinks (school cut off is Sept. 15). That must be it: she's a preschooler. Let me say it out loud:
"I'm the mother of a preschooler."
 I think I just sprouted another gray hair.

So, the long weekend has come and gone and now the Christmas season is upon us. I've put up a few Christmas decorations, but we're not doing the tree. We'll be at my parents' house for about 10 days and while I like putting up the tree, the though of taking it down again once we're home seems extra sad and depressing. And a huge hassle. We haven't even done the outside lights this year. Chalk these things up as casualties to our "lost year."

[Have I explained the "lost year" to you? Maybe, but I'm losing my memory so I'll explain it again. The lost year is the year post-baby when I get nothing (NOTHING) done and try to have extremely low expectations of myself. So far we're on track. It sounds like a depressing mind set but it's freeing more than anything. If I had known about the Lost Year the first time around I would have been a happier person. Instead, I had read horrible baby books that gave the impression that I'd have my life back within 6 weeks to 3 months. This. Did. Not. Happen.
I am aware that many moms retrieve an ordered (more or less) life in less time than that, but I figure if expectations remain low then I can't be disappointed. I don't mean to be glass-half-empty, but I do mean to be realistic about my own abilities. 'Nuff said.]

One thing I look forward to in the Christmas season is the TV specials. I'm a sucker for Grinch, Charlie Brown, Rudolf, and all the rest (except Frosty). I really like watching them with Anna, and seeing her reactions. It's all so new for her. So far her favorites are the Grinch and "Snoofy." In fact, the soundtrack to Merry Christmas Charlie Brown is one of the few CDs our whole family can agree on.

Anna's a little young for one of my favorite movies, though: One Magic Christmas. Not a lot of people remember this film, and it's not the greatest holiday movie, but I like the realistic aesthetic. Outside is generally overcast, the colors are a little washed out, dirty snow, noisy malls, discount stores, flourescent lighting. There's very little everyone-and-everything-glowing-with-Christmas-lights-and-good-cheer-while-big-snowflakes-fall-gently-to-the-pristine-white-ground-outside-the-huge-house-decorated-in-green-and-red. Granted, Santa does figure into this one (something involving a snow globe and a Christmas angel?) but I don't watch for the plot. I watch because of the lack decorations and glitz. It's not what you'd expect from a holiday film.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Little Big Man

Isaac has had a big week. Sometime yesterday morning he cut his first tooth. Unlike Anna's "pirate" tooth (her bottom lateral incisor came first), his was in a very normal place: bottom front. He didn't seem any fussier than normal, and I hope the rest of them come in so easily. I'm kind of sad that his teeth are coming - the toothless grin is such an endearing pleasure.

The second big thing was that Isaac can now pull himself into a stand. He is so thrilled with himself, and lets loose a happy squeal each time. (This squeal sounds more like a desperate gasp for air than a joyful proclamation, but whatever.) He's also getting close to crawling so perhaps will lose interest in walking, which is fine by me. I wish I could cover our mean wood floors with rubber. We had wood floors in Connecticut, and I imagine it cost Anna more than a few brain cells. Poor girlie.

The third thing is that we've cut down Isaac's night feedings to just one. My pediatrician says he should be able to go 8 hours without eating, so we've been slowly reducing his first night feeding over the past couple of weeks. This had been going fine - even slept until 5 one day! - until we also stopped swaddling him. So last night he had only water and a sleep sack, and got up as much as you might expect. Jon (awesome dad that he is) took the first half of the night and I did the second half. I should note here that Jon has been such a huge help with the night wakings. He always gets up with Isaac in the first half of the night, and then gets up with Anna in the morning. This is the only reason I'm able to function.

Anyway, I'm hoping Little Man adjusts soon, i.e., by tomorrow night. Jon is leaving for D.C. Sunday afternoon, and it will be the first time I've had both kids at night, by myself. I'm quite nervous about this, since Anna is still adjusting to the time change and gets up 30-60 minutes earlier than she used to. Those are golden sleep minutes so I expect Monday will be zombie day. Luckily our neighbor is able to look after Anna that day so maybe I can catch some zzzzz's. Regardless, I should be thankful since Jon is only gone one night, and the next trip isn't until early December. He's traveling so much less than last fall, when it seemed he was gone half the time.

In other news, I've been thinking about discipline lately. Anna is still firmly in her "not" phase. This is a variation on the "no" phase, which we also still experience on a regular basis. Luckily, the "nots" are much cuter. For example:
Me: Anna, that's called sleet.     Anna: It's not, it's called plum.
Me: It's cold outside today.        Anna: It's not cold, it's hot.
Me: Look at that cow.               Anna: It's not a cow, it's a horse.

You get the idea. She's finding her voice and her place in the world, and these word games illustrate that. They also illustrate the ambiguity between encouraging her voice and setting appropriate limits. It's fine to call sleet a plum, but it is in fact cold outside and she can not run around the yard naked. I've been thinking about these things more than usual, because it's slowly dawning on me that my daughter is a little more... high strung than other kids her age. This isn't really a surprise, since she was a tough nut as a baby (colic! no sleep! no cuddling!), and I suppose some of those difficult tendencies have carried over into her current temperment. So what do I do about this? Do I do anything? I love her independent spirit, her love of life, her energy and imagination, and her ability to see (exploit?) the nuances of various situations. But I would also love the highs and lows to be a bit more muted. I would love her to be able to sit quietly for an hour (without TV), to get through a meal without a meltdown. I guess what I'm wondering is: how much of this is toddler-hood, and how much of this is Anna? How much will she grow out of on her own, and how much requires parental guidance? I don't want to break her spirit, but I do want her to be obedient and well-adjusted. 

This highlights one of my biggest challenges of being a parent: the lack of immediate feedback. There is no way to know if I'm making the right decisions until my babies are much older. What comforts me is something Jon said awhile ago: "Millions of children are raised in a million different ways, and the vast majority turn out just fine." Maybe I just need to stop second guessing myself.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Look out! Here comes the Isaac Man.

Isaac turned six months old a couple of days ago, so it seems time for an Isaac update. He is certainly turning into his own little person. Little Man has been walking (with our help, of course) for over a month now and I think it's mitigated the fussing. When frustration hits we just set him on the floor and he shows us where he wants to go. Half the time he just wants to GO - the destination is secondary.

Other Isaac turn ons include sitting (supervision required), eating solids, chewing, feeling different textures, music (loves loves loves the keyboard), babbling and singing, playing ball, and banging tables. Turn offs include spending time on his back (hence his inability to roll back to front), getting changed (see prior point), and sleeping more than 3 hours at a stretch. One quirk is that he is extraordinarily right handed - we say he has a propeller for an arm. The left, while not flaccid, is decidedly the second fiddle. I'm actually going to ask the doctor about this, since I remember Anna being much more ambidextrous. Overall, Isaac is a happy baby. His favorite person is Anna, and when she deigns to show interest in him, he just glows. Such a smiler.

"So how's Anna doing with her little brother?" This is the common question, and a good one. After all, I was less than cordial to my own little brother back in the day. But I'm happy to report that she does quite well. She likes to hold him and kiss him. She does NOT like it when he touches her stuff. There will be some issues with sharing in the near future, I think.
As for her general interests, they include dress up (they mostly include dress up), make up, pretending to be a princess or Mary Poppins, "spooky" things, jewelry, climbing up and jumping off, the occasional art project, and eating.
Turn offs include doing anything - ANYTHING - by herself, and getting to the potty on time. We're working on it.

We arrived home yesterday to a winter wonderland. Lots of snow, coupled with the purchase of mandarin oranges, makes it feel Christmas-y here. It does not make it feel Thanksgiving-y. I've lived in the States for over a decade now and still can't quite wrap my brain around the November Thanksgiving thing. It always takes me a bit by surprise.

Anyway, our last week in Canada was marked by a couple of interesting things. The first was a visit from a friend from high school. She lives with her husband in the town I grew up in, and was kind enough video tape a bit of the area for me. Turn out that many of the places I remember haven't changed. At all. If she can, she'll send a copy here so that Jon can see the area, too. (I mentioned in my last post why this is a big deal for me.) Beyond that, it was just nice to see her and catch up a bit.

The second event was that we all got the H1N1 vaccine. H1N1 is still getting big play in the Canadian media, especially since a healthy 13 year old boy recently died within 2 days from the flu (and less than 24 hours after a doctor examined him and declared his lungs clear). With Anna's asthma, I decided that standing in line for 2 1/2 hours was worth it. I am very grateful to Alberta Health for allowing us non-residents to receive the vaccine. I'm not sure when it will be available in Colorado - next week, perhaps? And that's just for the kids. Jon and I are considered low priorities here, so who knows when people like us will even be eligible?

I guess that's it. Will be carving more pumpkins today (we have one that weighs 100 pounds this year!! Got it from Jon's co-worker), and trick-or-treating later. Candy Candy Candy!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Merry Halloween

There was a real Nightmare Before Christmas moment on Saturday. The snow was coming down in big flakes whilst Anna and I decorated Halloween themed gingerbread cookies, and then decided how to carve two huge pumpkins. Nothing like mixing up our holiday endeavors, I say.

The past week went by fairly quickly. Anna and Isaac settled in, and the grandparents are enjoying themselves immensely. We have 4 more days here, and not too many plans. Kind of like at home, I suppose. It's hard to get out when Isaac still naps 2-3 times a day. Not that Anna is all that thrilled to go anywhere, anyway. This is a very comfortable house, so I can hardly blame her. I've never actually lived here myself, so visiting has almost a vacation-y feel. My folks moved to Calgary after I left for graduate school. As a result, Jon's never actually seen the house(s) or town(s) where I grew up. In contrast, he lived (more or less) in the same house until college. I really like seeing the area where he grew up, and wish I could introduce him to my past in the same way. I've always felt that environment is as much a part of one's life as any person.

Anyway, this is pretty close to the kind of house I would like to have. Lots of blue and white with wood accents. Everything is in good shape, organized, clean... Okay, maybe that last part is because kids have never actually lived in this lovely abode. And of course, after two days my precious children managed to undo all of the organization and cleanliness they could see.

We've done a few things while visiting, but it's been largely low key. We've checked out a couple of play areas in the local malls, visited the local library, explored some parks. Calgary is looking a little surreal at the moment. I guess there was a serious freeze (-16 C/ 2 F) while a lot of the leaves were still green. So, instead of turning a nice golden yellow or orange and floating gently to the ground, they just died (freeze dried?) right there on the branches. Looks like someone took a can of bronze spray paint to all the deciduous trees.

There's a surprising lack of  activities for the toddler set in Calgary, particularly in the colder months. It's a little disappointing, but we manage to make our own fun. For example, we threw a little pre-birthday party for Anna. I was trying out a few games for her upcoming b-day in November. I think there will be about 9 kiddos - her biggest party so far. I'm going with minimal planning. I figure they mostly just want to run around and bump into each other - with balloons.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Home again, home again; jiggety jig

Greetings from Canada. The kids and I arrived in Calgary on Saturday to visit my folks for a couple of weeks. Why would I take two tiny kiddos on a plane by myself? Well, Jon is away for 5 days and the prospect of a couple of flights with the kids seemed less insurmountable than 4 nights alone. So here we are. The flight was fine, although I left the DVD case on the plane. Fifteen of Anna's favorite DVDs are now flying the friendly skies. oog.

Anna loves visiting here, and she seemed to settled in quickly at first. But there are some cracks around the edges. I think she's missing Jon more this time. I suppose that will happen more and more as she grows. Isaac - who has been exhibiting stranger anxiety since August - had a rough 24 hours. But he's come around since then, warming up to his grandparents and enjoying his new surrounds. His crib is right beside my bed, and that's taken some getting used to. Little Man snores.

In the past, when I've visited here, I've always had a good amount of time to myself, generally squandered playing computer games. This time I came with a mental to-do list, centered around editing and ordering pictures from Isaac's early months. Zero editing accomplished so far. I forgot that I came here with two kids, not one. Once again, I need to adjust my expectations. So far, I've purchased a gently used snow suit for Anna (blue, so Little Man can eventually use it) and figured out how to get cash in this foreign land. Small steps, but important ones.

As for Jon's whereabouts, he's at a conference that we used to attend together (Society for Neuroscience). I've left the academic track, but even so I kind of wish I was there. Maybe because conferencing reminds me of those carefree graduate school days....
Ha! The truth is I was a nervous wreck during those years. I may be sleep-deprived, adle-brained, and lonely but I'm still fundamentally happier now. Maybe because having a family is fundamentally more fulfilling, or maybe I just wasn't cut out for research. Who knows? And this isn't to say I won't go back to work, but when and to do what remain open questions. Figuring that out will not be on the to-do list in the near future. For now, I just need to work on those pictures.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Silly Superstition

"The difference between hope and despair is a good night's sleep."
I read this quote in some parenting magazine, and I think it's pretty accurate. There is something unique about the sporadic sleep patterns that come with parenthood, particularly if you're a mom (even more so if you're a nursing mom). Suddenly, the decision of when to wake or sleep is no longer your own. And no one else can fill in if you're worn out. You become irreplaceable.
This can be a satisfying feeling- how amazing that such a tiny creature needs and wants only you! It might be this sense of wonderment that protects many moms from the learned helplessness that might otherwise develop. Protects me, at any rate.

I bring this up because Isaac had a good night last night, for the first time in awhile. As with other good nights, I greet the next morning with these questions: Why last night? What made last night special? How can I ensure that this will happen again?
Yes, maybe there was something special about last night, but for me there is a danger in over-analyzing every little thing I did before, during, and after bed-time. And this over-analysis leads to something akin to superstitious behavior. Maybe he slept because he didn't nap too much during the day, or maybe because Jon gave him a bottle at midnight instead of 9:00, or maybe because it was Friday, or maybe because I swung a dead cat clockwise three times. The behavioral psychologist in me really wants to predict his future behavior with certainty. Unfortunately, there's nothing certain about the ever-changing infant.  Maybe he just slept well. It's hard, but I'm trying to chill out about this uncertainty and just enjoy the mysteriousness of my little man.

Sleep will come, in time.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Unnecessary baggage

Went grocery shopping this afternoon so our formerly empty fridge is now mostly full. Only mostly, since I'm getting more frozen (as opposed to fresh) veggies these days. Isaac has a bad habit of requiring sustenance exactly when I'm supposed to be making dinner. Regardless of when dinner is.

I'm getting twinges of guilt in the produce aisle these days. It's those silly plastic bags. I hate thinking that they're just going to end up in a landfill, but I'm too cheap to buy mesh ones. What to do? Sometimes I reuse them, which I suspect makes me seem like a crazy cat person. Or like someone that brings their own salad dressing to a restaurant. I know I could recycle these bags at the store, but do they really get recycled? And anyway, I have a hard enough time remembering my canvas grocery bags.

Actually, the big news is that Anna actually fell asleep in the cart. She never falls asleep in the cart - generally she's flying down the aisles, so it was nice to have Sleeping Beauty for a change. The reason that she was sleeping there in the first place was that we've cut out her formal naps. More or less (she's snoring on the couch as I type). I feel very ambivalent about this since she seems to need a nap in the late afternoon. Obviously, since she fell asleep in an uncomfortable cart, right? Inevitably, however, naps lead to late bedtimes. I'm talking 9:30 or 10:00, which is past my own bed time these days.
Regardless of her nap needs, I'm pretty sure that I need a one so I've tried various tactics to keep her entertained:
(1) Quiet time in her room.
      Pros: daughter gets some down time, location of daughter always known
      Cons: lasts all of 15 minutes, commences with screams & door banging if mommy is insistent, very little mommy rest achieved

(2) Watching a show in the family room
     Pros: she gets some down time, lasts about 30 minutes, no doors to bang, sometimes she falls asleep on her own, greatest potential for mommy nap!
     Cons: location of daughter not assured.

[This last point has become an issue only very recently, resulting in the consumption of half containers of Cool Whip, medicated powders coating my bathroom, chairs pulled up to mantels to retrieve toys that are out of reach for a reason, etc.]

(3) Lots of coffee in the morning for mommy, so she has enough energy to read books to daughter in the p.m.
     As yet untested. Will try this out, and report back.

First things first

"Anna, you're on edge."
"There's no edge here!"

And therein was born the title of this blog. Anna's still in that concrete stage of toddler-hood, which provides some much needed daily humor. Since this blog will inevitably cover some of that humor, along with the adventures of a toddler and her baby brother (Isaac), it seemed fitting that the title come from the kiddos.

More than that, the title aptly describes how I've felt about life for the past decade or so. I like edges - well defined problems, solutions, choices, and life paths. I'm pretty much a hobbit in that sense. But the edges have gotten fuzzier over the years, especially since becoming a parent, and they don't look to solidify any time soon. So the other purpose of this blog is to allow me to record how I've tried to navigate my surprising life. To "talk it out."

The danger here is succumbing to some hard core navel-gazing (I'm a world class navel gazer), but I hope to avoid that by posting not too frequently: posts that are more retrospective than on-the-scene. I'm sure the kids will also prevent me from over-posting. At this point I can rarely even type with two hands.

So there you have it - another blog among millions. But a little anonymity never hurt anyone.