Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Piggy Pudding

2008 has been a pretty good year around here, and we're grateful. (I feel I can speak for Pronto now that he doesn't maintain a web presence.)

We're happy about the new guy, with his adorable Obama ears:

And, we're happy about the big kid, who seems to be imitating gang signs in this photo:

And we're happy to have a roof over our heads, food to eat, a new president, and other great blogs to read.

Last year, I made a resolution to try my best to blog ten times per month. I didn't make it all twelve months, but I did keep my average up. I'm going to call that a resounding victory.

And, I'm planning to write some more in '09. I'll be doing a long-distance triathlon. That'll probably be good for at least a couple of "I fell off my bike" entries. Plus, I think November will be my five-year blogiversary, so it seems a shame to quit now.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Rocks, Hills, and Plains

Christmas was wonderful this year, as usual. I've had fun being excited with Shef about making cookies, the gingerbread house, wrapping presents, playing with the nativity sets, discussing Santa, and watching The Grinch. As for the actual celebration, all of our family gatherings were enjoyable, and we all received many thoughtful and delightful gifts.

And now that it's the 27th, I'm especially glad that my annual bout of Holiday Anxiety is giving way to the other, more manageable types of neuroses I usually entertain. You know, like social anxiety, career anxiety, perfectionism, concerns about the future, endless rehashing of events past, and crippling inability to make even the smallest of decisions. (Dan: Do you want Thai or Japanese? Me: WHAT?! I don't know! What do YOU want?! I can't decide!! Just stop talking!! Let me think!! LET ME THINK!!!)


Last year for Christmas, I got this book called Prescription for Nutritional Healing, which lists the vitamins, minerals, dietary and lifestyle modifications that can be helpful for different ailments. I looked in it today because I've mostly been medicating this year's Holiday Anxiety with alcohol, which even I know is probably not recommended.

After a little reading, I think I've discovered why Holiday Anxiety is worse than my general state. It seems that, if you're anxious, you're supposed to limit caffeine and sources of refined sugar while increasing your intake of calcium and magnesium. You're also supposed to be sure to get enough rest and exercise regularly.

I, on the other hand, been taking high daily doses of high fructose corn syrup and Diet Coke since Thanksgiving. I'm on a no-dairy diet, and my daily multivitamin contains no magnesium. Further, I haven't had a workout in about three weeks, and I haven't slept through the night regularly in about five years.

Some of this stuff is just the harsh reality of being in my current life stage and situation, but I'd say there's a good chance I can at least do something about the calcium and magnesium.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm Rob Base And I Came to Get Down

I've recently started to miss my job a bit.

"WHAT?!" Dan said when I told him. "Are you inSANE?!"

It's true I didn't really like my job at all last year. I dreaded going to it, and I was treated terribly by some administrators and parents.

But it's been six months since the baby was born, so I'm predictably under-stimulated. This is true even though I'm incredibly busy and helpful to my family in my current capacity.

I talked to my teaching friend Rachel about it on the phone this morning. She was between classes, sitting at her desk in her classroom.

"Oh, Kace,!" she said, when I confessed a certain wistfulness about educating the youth of America. "You cannot POSSIBLY be thinking of returning to THIS PLACE!"

Then, she regaled me with an appalling story about cheating. Today at 3:15 she'll have to meet with the dad of the cheater, who is an attorney and is staunchly defending the red-handed student, before the start of winter break. While she was telling me about it, she had to take a break to yell, "STOP WALKING ON THE DESKS!!!" to her sophomore class.

So, okay. Household Managing seems preferable to THAT.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Holly and the Ivy

Mac is six months old now. Here he is rocking the scoop neck:

He's generally mellow and cheerful. His favorite song is "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." He makes the clearest "ah choo" sneezing sound I've ever heard. He does hate getting his diapers changed, but really, who wouldn't?

And he's a mere 19 pounds and 7 ounces. What a peanut! He only made the 82nd percentile! His doctor said she wouldn't use the term "peanut" herself and suggested it's because I'm used to "plump" that this is my impression. But, still! Under twenty! Hasn't doubled his birth weight! This is new territory.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I had dinner with Stylish Emily last night and a couple of other pals from my years as a Camp Foley counselor. It was a blast catching up with these friends. It's a cliche about camp, but totally true in this case, that even if you haven't seen each other for years, you can just go right back to complete familiarity. Anne and Cara, who rounded out our foursome, are both successful and also stylish.

The good news for me is that Emily has been pondering the personal shopping that she agreed to do for me.

"Kace," she said on the way into the restaurant, "here's what we'll do. Day One is a jeans shop. That's our priority, and also a couple of tops. So, Banana, Gap, maybe Ann Taylor. Not too much, so we don't get overwhelmed."

"Ok," I said, "I love that you have a plan."

"And then Day TWO, and this is where you can really hit the mother lode, we'll do the Salvation Army."

"Ok," I said. Really, I have to agree to everything she says. My situation is obviously that dire.

"Now they don't have dressing rooms, so you need to wear a tank-top," she began. "Well, I mean, you need your BRA, and then a tank top, then a shirt and a zip-up thing." She did a pantomime here to make sure I understood the concept of a hoodie. And I love that she really thought I might leave the house without undergarments. It's kind of like the time she asked me if I owned any brushes.

Once during dinner, I had to leave the table to check for Cara, who was running late, and I am happy to report that Emily checked me out as I walked away and was nice enough to remark that the jeans I was wearing were much better than the ones I wore for our last visit.

"Your butt isn't even saggy!" she said encouragingly. I knew she'd be pleased.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hello, World

Mac started waving last week. He's really into it. He waves at the computer, the tv, furniture, and the Christmas tree, as well as at people.

Very friendly, that kid. He also says, "Ba ba ba," which is a sure sign of genius, don't you think?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

We're Supposed to Be Following His Interests

The kids in Shef's class are investigating animals. We got a letter about the project from his teacher:

Dear Parents, it said, and I'm paraphrasing, PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS PROJECT FOR YOUR CHILD. Help your child find an animal HE would like to study. DO NOT force your child to look at websites or books on the animal if he doesn't want to. Again, LET THE CHILD TAKE THE LEAD. DO NOT make your child do a poster or a diorama. There is no required homework. So, please don't do this project for your child. And please, for the love of God, DO NOT DO THIS PROJECT FOR YOUR CHILD. Thank you. And p.s. HANDS OFF THE ANIMAL PROJECT!!

So, Dan and I were committed to helping Shef find an animal he really liked. We reminded him of the many exciting species we've seen on our frequent visits to the Minnesota Zoo. Tapir! Komodo Dragon! Amur Tiger! Prairie Dog!

Or, he could have chosen an exciting animal featured in one of the many animated features we've viewed on multiple occasions. Sea turtle! Panda Bear! Lion! Penguin!

Do you know what he chose? After many weeks of consideration?

The duck.

Like, a mallard.

A duck!

Thank goodness I've been forbidden from making any dioramas.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Preschool Musical

We're heading over to a Thanksgiving party in a little while. I even heard a rumor about vegan pie. Just the possibility has me feeling truly grateful.

Untitled from Savvy Mom on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

And You May Find Yourself Behind the Wheel of a Large Automobile

There's a new stage happening here. Shef asks bazillions of questions all the time. Here's a sample of today's inquiries between the hours of ten and twelve: Can boys get married with boys? Does everyone have a dad? Is there just black night sky all around the planet? How can I feel the planet? What happens when everyone dies? What time is it in Senegal? What time is it in Senegal now? And, how do we kill turkeys?

This last one was prompted by a tapestry at church which features pilgrim men marching along with muskets behind the Thanksgiving table.

I did a little blah-blahing about how all the meat we eat comes from animals, and we have to kill them in ways that cause them the least pain possible.

"But how do we KILL the turkeys?" Shef said, undeterred.

I sighed. "Do you really want me to tell you?

"Yes," he said, his hands folded in front of his chest in anticipation.

"Well," I began, "I'm pretty sure the best way to do it is to hang the turkey upside-down by its feet, so all the blood runs to its head. And then, after a little while, you cut its head off, and let the blood drain out into a bucket."

I expected Shef to be horrified, but of course he wasn't.

He took a big inhale and looked gleeful. "Can I DO it?" he asked. "Do you use a BIG KNIFE?"

I was saved from answering these questions by the beginning of Church School, during which our cherub was cast in the role of Joseph for the Living Nativity. I'm sure he won't have any questions about that.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sometimes It's Hard to Believe We're Actually Trying Our Best

So, yesterday, I was changing Mac’s poopy diaper, and there was a piece of Styrofoam in it. Isn’t that nice? He had been playing with a little Styrofoam boat Shef made at school, and apparently he ate some of it.

I had to call the doctor and ask if he might die because of it. Were there any secret, poisonous properties of Styrofoam that would slowly seep into his bloodstream and become toxic?

The answer was no to that question, but the doctor was none too thrilled that he’d eaten petrochemicals.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Whose Blog Is It Anyway?

Dan wants me to tell you that he has a new Top Chef Showdown blog. It's here. Since none of us scored any points last week, Dan is accepting new cheftestants.

Everyone should play. There appears to be a real prize and everything.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Top Chef Showdown

Guest posted by Dan

Brett Favre. Michael Jordan. Garth Brooks. Grover Cleveland. Me.

Due to overwhelming popular demand, I have agreed to come out of my blogtirement to run another season of the Top Chef Showdown - the reality show contest that took the blogosphere by storm one year ago.

The Savvy Mom has graciously agreed to host the competition on her blog (though she has enforced some unnecessarily draconian "rules" about when and how I can post on her blog). To be a part of this history-making contest, you need only (1) watch Top Chef; and (2) be awesome.

Here's how it works: Before each week's episode, I will post a preview of the challenges the chefs will face. In the comments to that blog post, you need to make three picks: (1) Quickfire challenge winner; (2) Elimination challenge winner; and (3) Which chef will be eliminated.

It's that easy!

This week's episode is called "Show Your Craft:"
Tom Colicchio takes it home to his very first restaurant tonight as the chefs are asked to serve more than just judges – although the customers' opinions may make them long for the tried-and-true.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'm Hooked And I Can't Stop Starin'

"Mom," Shef began while we were waiting in the car for Dan to get our Thai food, "be sure to shake your butt before you go to bed tonight."

"Shef, don't say butt," I said, regretting his trip to Madagascar II this week, which is apparently heavy on butt-jokes.

"Okay, well what I meant was, shake your booty before you go to bed."

"Why?" I asked.

"Because Dad likes that."

"Hmmm," I said. "And how do you know?"

"Because Dad told me!" Shef said.

So, when Dan got back in the car, I related this conversation to him verbatim. When we got to the last line, Shef piped up from the backseat, "Dad, I just made that up!"

Indeed. Just like he made up for his babysitter last weekend the story that he'd seen Harry Potter "lots of times" with his mom and dad. And just like he convinced my sister when he was barely three that he always rides the merry-go-round at the Mall of America by himself. "Come ON, Aunt Mary," he said. "TRUST me."

Friday, November 14, 2008


The new kid is five months old now. He's got some new tricks. For instance, he's obsessed with his tongue - sticking it out, wiggling it around, rubbing it on his razor-sharp bottom teeth. He also laughs, mostly at Shef.

Another thing he likes to do is grab on to things and push them back and forth. I have documented this interest in this video:

Untitled from Savvy Mom on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Very Own Tim Gunn

This morning I had coffee with Emily, my most stylish friend.

"Okay," she said, as I opened the door, "Kace, I brought some tops for you." She's obviously read my blog. "Try this on. I've told you about the Target Salvation Army, right?"

Apparently, in the basement of the Minneapolis Salvation Army, there's a whole section of new Target stuff - samples and irregulars and overstocks.

I put on a little green hoodie.

"That's too short," Emily said, looking me over. "Try this on over the t-shirt that you're wearing."

So, I pulled on the green v-neck sweater.

"That could work," she said, giving it a scan. "But, maybe the problem is you need new bras?"

That's completely obvious. Tim Gunn already told me that.

"Well, keep that one," she said, frowning. "And this pink one. That could work for spring."

"But look at my butt, Em," I said, gesturing toward the rear of my jeans. It's so flat and saggy."

"Well, you need tighter jeans," she said.


But here's the good news: she'll shop with me. "I'd LOVE too," she shrieked. "We'll do the Mall of America. Nordstrom is great, but it depends on your budget. Banana and Gap are good options, too."

Later in the morning, she told me that she'd read that the average woman has to try on fifteen pairs of jeans before finding the right one.

"You mean I can't just go to Old Navy and grab the first one I find in my size?"

"No," she said definitively. "You need casual clothes, but you need cute casual."

Step One is admitting you have a problem. I'm so glad I did.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Desperately Seeking Stylist

A couple of years ago, Oprah gave me some instructions on how to clean out my closet. She said, throw it away if it doesn't fit, isn't flattering, or doesn't reflect the image you want to project.

For some reason, as I was entering the second trimester of my last pregnancy, I suddenly remembered this advice and took it to mean I should get rid of everything I own except a couple of pairs of pants (now too big - thank you, breastfeeding!), a few fading t-shirts (now too small - darn you, breastfeeding!) and a green cable-knit sweater (see photo below by the Obama sign).

Since then, I also have watched a couple episodes of Tim Gunn's Guide to Style on which the guru pronounced my Dansko clogs "the homeliest shoes in the world," and decried cable-knit sweaters as dowdy and bulky.

Dammit! I'm hopeless! And experts have confirmed this!

So, I guess it isn't that surprising that when Dan thought, because he could see the inside-out logo on the rolled-up cuff of the green sweater at church this morning (ok, yes, it's both too big and unflattering), that I'd simply put the whole thing on in the dark.

"Oh, hon," he said, gently, "is your shirt inside-out?"

Not, "Ha ha, what a funny anomaly! You dressed inappropriately!" But, rather, "Oh, how sad. You've done it yet again."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Families for Franken

It's time for me to return to my usual fodder here on the blog. Dan told me that I didn't totally suck as a political blogger. That was nice to hear, and I'll probably still Twitter the Franken recount, but... well, I think I'll have to go back to writing about the little things that happen to us. That's probably my best stuff.

I'd like to thank Lee for the idea to blog Barack until he won. This was fun, and it felt worthwhile.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

America for Obama

This was an unbelievable victory. I'd like to thank Senators Obama and Biden for inspiring so many people. I'd like to thank those people for making this happen.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


It's happening today, and I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. On the way to school , Shef asked, "Who is the next president of the United States?" I think we all know the answer to that. It's Barack Hussein Obama.

Here we GO!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Families for Obama

Did you know that 90% of brain development happens between birth and age 5? That's why Barack Obama has a big "Zero to Five" initiative that will help states adopt universal pre-k programs and expand Head Start.

McSame advocates more regulation for Head Start centers. This is kind of funny, don't you think? More regulation for Head Start and less for Wall Street?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Franken Supporters for Obama

So, the Strib buried this story in Metro, but the word is that a good pal of Norm Coleman's used a company in Texas to pay his wife, Laurie, $75,000 to do nothing.

That's a pretty sweet job, right?

I've been in teaching for ten years. Would you like to know what my top salary has been? $41,000. For doing quite a lot, thank you very much.

Al Franken's daughter has been a public school teacher, so he has a clue about what it's like to teach in a test-crazy climate. Al would like to scrap or rehaul NCLB. For instance, he would like to stop testing ELL students with their age-mates until they can actually speak English. I think that's an excellent idea.

Let's vote for Al Franken for senate. Abby, I'm talking to you.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Playmakers for Obama

We are coming up on the last weekend, and I'm fired up. I'm so fired up that I'll be making some calls on Barack's behalf. You can do it too. You can do one call, or five, or fifty. All you have to do is go to, and it'll spit names at you. Then, you dial the numbers they give you and read the script they provide. I'll also be doing visibility on Monday and Tuesday, waving my signs at a busy intersection reminding people to vote. If you want to commit to waving a sign for the Strong Schools; Strong City referendum, you can sign up here. I plan to wave their sign and also my Obama sign.

Let's vote for Barack, Al Franken, Keith Ellison, YES on on the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment; and of course, YES for the Minneapolis Public Schools.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Siblings for Obama

So far, in our first six hours, the kids are doing a pretty good job without Dan around. He's in Pittsburgh for the week, a place he's never been and a place where he'll spend many hours in a warehouse sifting through boxes. To make Shef more amenable to being cared for only by me, I bought him a little Star Wars Lego set. He's happy with it.

Speaking of Legos, here's a video of Shef and Mac having a little conversation. Usually, when Shef says a sound that's kind of like "alego, lego, lego," Mac does something similar. Not for the camera, though.

Untitled from Savvy Mom on Vimeo.

Friday, October 24, 2008

People for Obama

There are some amazing photos of Barack, his family, his staff, and his supporters here. The photographer's name is Callie Shell. Here's an example:

Shell writes a little narrative with each one.

We will win this election. We just have to.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dorks for Obama

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Shef's first skating lesson and how we all spouted lines from Ice Princess the whole time we were at the rink.

Well, that super-fun activity has continued from Saturday to Saturday. We start on the way there, and then we continue for the duration of the lesson and on into skate removal and return.

We've done the lines of all the characters, including a supporting skater called Nikki Fletcher, aka The Jumping Shrimp.

"A BLT, hold the B, heavy on the L."

"Well, if it isn't The Leaping Dwarf. It's the JUMPING SHRIMP, actually. Like that's an improvement."

"Six months with Tina and she's going to whip my BUTT!!"

This really cracks us up, and it never seems to get old.

Last week, midway through the lesson, when Dan and I were yukking it up with our usual pitter-pat of IP dialogue, I noticed that one of the really good skaters looked pretty familiar. I stared at her while she put some stuff into a bag monogrammed with her name.

"Um, Dan," I whispered, "I think that girl IS The Jumping Shrimp."

He tried to look at her surreptitiously, but she probably noticed. Then, he got out his smart phone and we checked it out on IMDB.

Sure enough. Nikki Fletcher skates at Shef's rink. And she's probably heard us acting out her feature film every week in the small lobby. We've had finer moments, surely.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Congregationalists for Obama

Mac is four months old now, and today we had him baptized. I'm glad he's officially a child of God. We all enjoyed the service. Since our church is exploring world religions, the music and readings were inspired by Hinduism. I thought that was cool. I'd like it if both of the boys grew up to value religious pluralism.

Mac has some new tricks this month like scooting in circles and eating his toys with more voracity. He's also been enjoying chewing on books. And he has a tooth! One of the bottom front two.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Programming Break

Cari and I were in the same graduate program at the U, and we started blogging around the same time. I've had her on my blogroll forever, and I know a lot of people who read this blog also read hers.

For the last 14 months, Cari has battled an aggressive type of breast cancer that, in August of this year, metastasized to her brain. Now in October, the cancer is also in her spine.

I'm not particularly devout in my Christian faith, but Cari is in hers. When she asked for prayers for her and her family, I dusted off my old rosary beads and started offering those familiar and comforting prayers to the heavens.

Now Cari's situation is more serious than ever, and I think it would be good to get her some more prayers. I feel sort of sheepish asking this, but if you're at all inclined, if you prayed when you were little but haven't for awhile, if you're not sure it will work, if you just have thirty seconds - would you pray for Cari, her husband Melvin, and their three adorable kids?

You can read more about her here.

Okay, thanks.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Readers for Obama

When I was little, my mom and dad read me all of the Little House on the Prairie books. I also watched the tv show. So, when my mom offered to take me to the new musical version of the story at The Guthrie, I jumped at the chance to see Melissa Gilbert, who played Half-Pint for ten years, star as Ma.

It turns out that Melissa Gilbert is not a very talented singer, but that was okay. She only had one solo, a ballad called "Wild Child," which she sang to Laura, her former character. The moment brought a tear to my mom's eye and mine.

When I got home, Dan summarized the debate for me and showed me some clips of McSame smirking and being sarcastic. He did not appear very presidential in these clips.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Preschoolers for Obama

Michelle Obama spoke at my alma mater yesterday. I wanted to go, but I had to take Shef to swimming lessons. Still, my support for Michelle is unwavering.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Door-Knockers for Obama

Because this is the most important election of my life so far, I volunteered to canvass our neighborhood for Obama. I hate door-knocking so much. I also hate answering my door when other people knock, so now I have a sign up saying, "Please don't knock, thank you very much." But still, I felt compelled to volunteer to do this terrible job.

Luckily, Dan, Shef, and Mac decided to knock with me. As we walked, Dan told me I had better improve my attitude, and fast. He was right, so I assumed a cheerful disposition.

Still, I was happiest in the following scenarios: 1) It was Dan's turn to knock; 2) The voter was not at home; 3) The voter had moved, as indicated by a new name on the mailbox; or 4) The voter had a sign saying, "Please don't knock."

Friday, October 10, 2008

Night-Wakers for Obama

I took Mac to see our beloved pediatrician, Dr. G., today. She pronounced him generally cute and healthy, and then she asked some questions about his habits.

"And how's this one sleeping?"

Of course, we all know that Big Brother is not a model sleeper. Dr. G. and I have discussed it many times over the years, and we still talk about it. In fact, we spent a few minutes of Mac's appointment talking about it today. But Mac? #2? Oh, he's fine. Sweet. You know, stays asleep for more than forty-five minutes at a time most nights.

"Oh, he's pretty good," I said. "Like, last night he woke up at 2:30 and 4:30." It had been a pretty decent night's sleep, overall.

"Hmm," Dr. G. nodded. "No, that's pretty bad, actually."

Huh. I had no idea.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Viewers for Obama

I was happy to read that most of America agreed with me that Obama was the winner in the last debate. I had fun live-twittering the debate with Lee, my friend from afar. The only trouble was that I was behind because of the DVR. Every once in awhile, Lee would twitter something that I didn't understand like, "Cool hand on the tiller."

What's that about? I would wonder.

And then ten or twelve minutes later, I would hear McCain say "cool hand on the tiller," whatever that means.

I didn't think it was that great of McCain to keep calling me his friend and then to be such a petulant loser, as shown by his refusal to do a second handshake with "that one."

You know, "That One." The one we'll all be voting for.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Parents for Obama

Shef's new school has a lot of events you're supposed to go to and mingle with the other parents and become their best friends. So far, we've had the new student picnic, the first-day-of-school coffee, back-to-school night, parent coffee after drop-off (nannies invited too!!), and pre-kindergarten open house. And this weekend, there's Parent Party on Saturday from 5:30-7:30. We also have drop-off and pick-up every day, which offer multiple opportunities for socializing.

I think I've met most of the pre-k parents now, and here's a sample of how each introduction goes:

Other parent: Hi, I don't think we've met.
Me: Hi, I'm KC, Shef's mom.
OP: OH! Shef's mom! We've heard a lot about Shef at home!!
Me: Ah! [nervous giggle] Well, I know he really likes playing with your child. [and here I try to insert a specific story or piece of information about the other kid in question, if at all possible]

I ask you, how could it be true that EVERY parent hears a lot about Shef at home? I have a feeling this isn't such a good sign.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Eaters for Obama

Renee and I had dinner at a Thai restaurant, and we talked about how we both love Barack.

"But I don't like to listen to him talk about his policies," Renee said. She's a social studies teacher, by the way.

"You only like to hear about hope and change and stuff?" I asked.

"Right," she said definitively. "Because let's be honest, the rest doesn't REALLY matter." Barack is a good citizen, I'm pretty sure she meant, and that's the most important thing.

Later, Renee made fun of me for talking about my reptilian post-partum brain and also for saying I'm really good at breastfeeding. But I am really good at breastfeeding, and I'm not afraid to say it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Babies For Obama

I saw some shiny new Obama signs in our neighborhood today, so I told Dan to hurry up and call the local Obama office to see if we could get one. Sure enough! We now have our sign AND some buttons.

And now, here's a little video of Mackie. To really appreciate it, you'll have to turn your volume way up. You'll also get a nice view of Mac's soul patch on the back of his head.

Untitled from Savvy Mom on Vimeo.

Jesus Was a Community Organizer

Shef started skating lessons yesterday. He's kind of interested in hockey. I'm leery of hockey as a sport choice because at least 85% of the hockey boys I've taught in eight years have been pretty much assholic.

But Dan kept telling me that if I didn't let Shef learn how to skate RIGHT NOW, I would ruin forever any chance he'd ever have of playing on any hockey team in the universe, even the nice ones. So I relented.

Shef is convinced he already knows how to skate because he's seen Ice Princess a few times. He was jumping around on his little rented figure skates the lobby before his lesson, and he and Dan were quoting lines from the movie, like "The toe pick is there for the reason! Use it or no friends over for a week!" And, "Those skates take, like, a minimum of ten days to break in. Everybody knows that." And, "To increase the height of my jump, I'll apply more force with my toe pick."

I thought this was pretty embarrassing, especially when Dan was crossing his arms across his chest and pretending to take off for a salchow. Also when he was watching the real skaters, and saying things like, "She keeps popping her lutz."

"What level are those girls?" Shef asked.

"Junior Pass," we told him simultaneously, and then we laughed because we have no idea if that's actually a real thing.

When Shef lined up with his class (no parents allowed inside the rink), Dan said meaningfully, "Hey, Shef! Skate with your heart, Buddy."

The lesson, which we watched through the glass in the lobby, consisted of moving about ten feet and then practicing sitting down and standing up.

Afterward, the kids were allowed to grab a cookie from the sign-in table. "Did you skate already?" the table lady asked cheerfully.

"YES," Shef told her. "I was totally awesome."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I Wasn't Going for Elegant, Heidi

I support Joe Biden for Vice President. Biden chairs the senate Foreign Relations Committee. Although Sarah Palin says she keeps watch for Putin's ugly head from her house in Alaska, I still think Joe is the more qualified to contribute to important foreign policy decisions.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ab Contest - Final Standings

Some people have not reported their minutes for the ab contest, and therefore, these results are not official. If you still need to report, please do so in the next 24 hours.

1. Cyndy and Abby - 47 points
2. Liz and KC - 37 points
3. Amy and Avery - 32 points
4. Pat and Emily - 31 points
5. Anne N. and Molly - 22 points
6. Anne B. and Maritha - 21 points
6. Theresa and Sheila - 21 points

I hope the scores are right. They probably are; although there may be a mistake or two. The thing is, it doesn't really matter. It's a contest with no prize, and we are all winners for doing our abs.

Also, the importance of abs is really insignificant compared to the importance of the upcoming election. I will be following my friend Lee's example and blogging Barack until he wins. I have purchased a Barack bumper sticker and have displayed a Barack sign on my property. I will also be featuring images of Barack on this website, which I will grab from Lee's website. Here's one encouraging you to continue to work on your abs:

You can look for October's ab contest at Go Mom Go. I'll be playing because otherwise I don't do any abs.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ab Contest Check-In: This Week I Was a Success!

It's time to report your work for the week, intrepid ab-refiners!

You were either a Saturday or a Sunday starter, and there were four possible five-minute sessions at three-points each. I did my abs on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday for 12 points. I also get a bonus point for doing 10 different exercises, for a total of 13 points. Hooray!

Molly, who scored 0 points last week, called this morning to report in. "What was I supposed to do this week?" she asked.

"Oh no." I said, "I'm not falling for that. First you tell me what you actually DID."

It turns out she did three sessions for 9 total points. Much better! Congratulations, Molly, on your solid effort. Your abs thank you, I'm sure.

Everyone can report in the comments. If you did 15 different exercises, your bonus is 2 points.

And now we push to the 30th with this extra challenge: Do a total of 15 minutes of abs (your choice of days) by Tuesday. If you do that, you earn five extra points for your team.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Rare Bird, A Ratlin Bird

For five summers in my late teens and early twenties, I taught environmental education at a camp in Northern Minnesota. I used to handle snakes, turn over rotten logs, and compare notes on interesting mammal sightings with my colleagues. A bear on a morning run? Check. A fox on the soccer field? You bet. A bat in the church sink before mass? My gardening gloves and I totally took care of that, thank you very much.

Since then, I've become a total wimp about wildlife. I don't like bugs, I don't like birds, and I for sure don't like anything in the least bit large.

So, the other night when two raccoons were just hanging out by the oak in my front yard, climbing up and down the tree and staring at me with their beedy little eyes, there was no way I was going out to the car, which required a walk within fifteen feet of them, to get the candy I'd purchased to eat with my friend Jordan.

Jordan gave me a hard stare. "Give me the keys," she said, and then she marched out the front door, clapping her hands together and yelling to the "racoonies." One of them slunk toward the back yard, and the other one scrambled up the tree.

"You are so brave," I told her when she came back with the Hot Tamales.

Another hard stare from my pal. "Well," she said, "I just have never heard of raccoons attacking anyone."

"But they're rabid," I whispered. Jordan rolled her eyes and handed me the candy.

And then today, I looked up from my computer and saw a gigantic wild turkey standing on my fence. As I was running for the camera, I saw another wild turkey standing a few feet down.

The turkeys stayed on the fence for an hour. Good Lord!

Attention wildlife: we live in the middle of the city. Please seek entertainment elsewhere.

5-Minute Abs

With 13 of 14 participants reporting, here are the current ab stats through Saturday. Sunday's points will be added to our next check-in total - this one is just for the first three sessions (MWF, or TTHS).

1. Pat and Emily - 17 points
2. Liz and KC - 16 points
3. Avery and Amy - 15 points
4. Anne B. and Maritha - 12 points
5. Cyndy and Abby - 9 points
5. Theresa and Sheila - 9 points
7. Anne N. and Molly - 6 points

Pat, Liz, and Amy got 9 out of 9 possible points. Excellent work, women! Emily scored a 2-point bonus for amazing variety - check out the comments for ideas from her.

On Saturday, we'll check again on our efforts. You're either a Saturday-starter or a Sunday-starter (your choice), and then you have to maintain an every-other-day schedule until our next check-in next weekend. The variety bonus will stand as is. Then, we'll push to the finish on the 30th and one team will be declared a winner.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ab Contest Check-In: I'm A Failure Already!

Ok, so after all my tough talk, I totally forgot to do my abs on Thursday (I was a Tuesday starter); however, I did do 10 different exercises for a bonus.

I did regular crunches, plank pose, side planks right and left, bicycles, bicycles with arms, scissors, crunches with my legs to the left and right, and this horrible thing that Dan demonstrated for me where you lie down, keep you arms to the side, and raise and lower your straightened legs while trying to "walk forward" with your glutes. It was so awful, I can't even tell you.

Here's how we'll do the scoring: 3 points for each of your ab sessions done on the correct day. So I have 6 points for that - 3 for Tuesday and 3 for Saturday. Then, if you did 10-14 different exercises, you get 1 bonus point. That brings my total to 7. If you did 15 different exercises, you get 2 bonus points. For the bonus, you have to list your exercises in the comments.

Ok, so post your points below for the first three sessions! Like, if you started on Monday, just score until Friday - don't include Sunday if you've kept going. And then, if you want to switch from odds to evens, you can do that this weekend. We'll report in again next week.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Shef Stubbed His Toe And His Wart Fell Off

I was sitting around in the bathroom reading Waiting for Birdy while Shef zoomed cars around the tub, and I laughed out loud at one of the author's descriptions of the last days of pregnancy.

"What are you laughing about?" Shef asked. "Sarah Palin?"

"How do you know about Sarah Palin?" I asked.

"I've heard of her," he said, simply.

"No, I'm not laughing about Sarah Palin," I said.

As if. I wish. Sob, sob.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ab Contest Partners - Here We Go!

All right, let's review the rules: you MUST do your abs every-other day. That's your main way to earn points. You cannot deviate from your every-other-day schedule and still hope to win. Also, you have to do your abs for five minutes. You can do more, but you won't get any more points. If you do less, you won't get your points at all. We will obviously be working on an honor system here - if you cheat, you're only cheating yourself.

There will be a bonus for including a variety of exercises. If you can do ten different moves per week, you'll get a bonus. You may get more of a bonus if you do fifteen moves. Keep track of the exercises you try for our weekend check-in post.

Ok! So, here are the partners with links to each person's blog. If you have a blog that I don't know about, please post the link in the comments and I'll add it!

Team 1: Cyndy and Abby

Team 2: Maritha and Anne B.

Team 3: Avery and Amy

Team 4: Theresa and Sheila

Team 5: Pat and Emily

Team 6: Molly and Anne N.

Team 7: Liz and KC

Just so you know, I'm planning to totally "bring it" in this competition.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Little McMillan is three months old these days. He likes to roll over both ways, make lots of sounds; and chomp away on his hands, my chin, and anything else he can get into his mouth. Like his brother, he demonstrates a strong preference for the family king-sized bed.

"It's perfect for four!" Shef recently observed. Hmmm.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lipstick on a Pig

Last month, I participated in a contest on Sheila's blog designed to motivate readers to work on their abs. Because I love winning more than is probably healthy, I did 135 minutes of abdominal exercises in August. That impressive total, combined with my partner's substantial effort, earned me a win in the contest.

Yay! I love winning!

And apparently a contest with no prize is enough to make the difference between 135 minutes in August and, uh, NO minutes so far in September.

Let's remedy that, shall we? Sheila asked me to host the ab contest this month, and here are the terms: you have to comment to say that you're playing, and then we'll work on the key to great abs: consistency. You have to do abs every-other day for the rest of the month starting on Monday the 15th or Tuesday the 16th (your choice), and you have to do five minutes per session. That's it! We'll have partners to increase the chances that we'll do it.

Post in the comments by Monday if you're playing. I hope you are. It probably won't be that terrible.

They're Kicking Off Two Designers Tonight! You Just Need One Winner Guess! Go!

There's nothing to report.

Do you want to know how I used five CSA veggies in my dinner last night? Probably not.

Do you want to know that I really like the show How I Met Your Mother, and I've been obsessively watching it on DVD? Uh, not really.

Do you want to hear the details of my non-dairy existence? Not particularly.

That's okay. I totally feel the same way about those topics and also about laundry, my limited wardrobe, and Mac's apparent teething.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Another Baby, Another Presidential Election

After Kerry lost in 2004, I cried in baby music class with eight-month-old Shef and a few of our friends. One of the moms was a republican, but I didn't care if I was making her feel uncomfortable.

"I don't know how I'm going to explain that this is the kind of world he lives in," I said, snuffling. The other democrat moms agreed, and then we went to lunch and watched Kerry concede on the overhead televisions, tears in all of our eyes.

And now here we are four years later, and I have another baby. Yesterday, Mac and I walked with my friend Anne and her six-month-old near Lake Nokomis.

"So, you and Eleanor are going to England?" I asked.

"YES!" Anne said. "On the 24th of this month!"

"So, Eleanor has a passport?"

"She does," Anne confirmed.

"Well, she's ahead of Sarah Palin," I said. "The woman has never traveled abroad, but she's sure qualified to be Vice President."

It turns out I was wrong about that - she got her passport in July of '07 to visit Kuwait and Germany on a single trip. But, still.

If we lose this time, I don't know what I'll do.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

New Ep of PR Tonite! Guess Three Losers + One Winner and Then Watch What Happens.

The change in Shef since he started school last week is sort of remarkable. It's like he's aged a year in a week. All of a sudden, the toddlerisms are out of his speech patterns, his vocabulary is exploding, and he tries to make hilarious jokes and have grown-up conversations all the time.

"I'm concerned about the weather," I told him on the way to school the other day.

"Concerned?" he asked. "You mean anxious or nervous?"

"Right," I agreed.

And at dinner the other night when there was a break in conversation Shef took care of it. "Dad, do you think Star Wars Legos are cool or really boring?"

"Uh," said Dan, "cool."

"And what about Indiana Jones Legos? Cool or... reallyreally boring?"

"Cool," said Dan. We were all cracking up.

"How about Mars Mission Legos? Do you think they're cool or... reallyreally boring?"

"Cool," we decided.

And then I turned to Dan and said, "Why is he so grown up all of a sudden?"

"Because I'm four years old!" Shef interjected, handily shoving spaghetti into his mouth.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Shake It Like a Polaroid Picture

Shef developed a gross wart on one of his toes this summer. I have extensive experience with warts and their removal. So, not surprisingly, I'm obsessed with the eradication of Shef's wart. I'd like to pick at it and peel it and pour acid on it every hour of each day. Sadly, Shef won't let me near his feet unless I promise not to touch the wart or any other part of any toe.

His understandable apprehension gets in the way of the treatment plan suggested by our pediatrician: file it down with an emery board and apply Compound W daily.

I told my mom about this problem and she scoffed at the Compound W plan. "Warts come in times of stress," she said, knowingly. "All you need to do is rub the wart with a green scapular in the sign of the cross and say some prayers."

"Really?" I asked.

"Yes!" she said, very sure of herself. "That's how I got rid of my warts in junior high. They were huge!" She gestured at her legs. "And then Aunt Judy's warts were cured by the faith healer, but the green scapular will do it."

Because I had my doubts about the medical plan, I decided to give the painless Catholic treatment a try. "But, I don't have a green scapular," I told her. "I only have brown."

"I'm sure that will be fine," my mom said, nodding.

"And what prayers do we say?" I asked.

"Oh, well," she said, waving her hand nonchalantly, "just try some Hail Marys."

"And how long will it take until the wart is gone?"

"Nine days," she said confidently. "And just make sure he knows it's going to work."

I'll tell you what: he's much more willing to let me touch the wart with the scapular than with the emery board. So, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, I'm counting on you!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

But Really His Name Is Ratbones

I made a goal this year to post on my blog at least ten times per month. This month, I may not make it. It's been kind of hard to think of amusing anecdotes, to tell you the truth. I don't really have a good excuse except that I've had both kids at home full-time since July 25th. I know that plenty of people do that job all the time, but I was new at it.

It occurred to me that since I'm not teaching at the moment, my yearly emotional calendar has shifted. It used to be September-May was super difficult and stressful, but now it's June-August. Next summer, I'll employ some different coping strategies.

Lucky for me, Shef started his Pre-Kindergarten class last week. He did two half-days to orient himself, and starting on Tuesday he'll be going all day. On Friday, I took this video of him. Before I pressed record, we'd agreed that he would discuss his impressions of school. Instead, he leads off with a description of a violent Indiana Jones game we were playing at my mom's house. Oh well.

Untitled from Savvy Mom on Vimeo.

He is pretty funny, I've gotta say. Next I'll try to get him on tape singing High School Musical.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Project Runway Tomorrow: Some Kind of Automotive Challenge. You Need One Winner Guess.

Last night, Dan was working at the dining room table, and I was tending to my second-born.

"Mr. Masculine and I are going up to bed," I told him eventually.

"Okay," he said, not looking up from his computer. "Why is he 'Mr. Masculine?'"

"Uh, he's wearing a yellow-striped suit that says 'Snuggle Time.'"

"'Snuggle Time'?"


Monday, August 25, 2008

Like A Storm in the Desert

I ordered produce plus from my farm this year, and so I got a pound-and-half each of basil and garlic. Yesterday, I made a huge amount of pesto and froze it in meal-size portions to eat throughout the fall and early winter. I was so proud of myself, and so looking forward to eating that delicious, organic pesto for months to come.

And then, this morning, there were specks and streaks of blood in Mac's stool.

You know what that means, right? It means I probably can't consume any more dairy products for the duration of our nursing relationship. So no pesto for me. Not even a tiny bit.

Friday, August 15, 2008

There Are a Lot of Bikers In This Country That Watch The Olympics

The new kid hit the two-month mark this week. He plays with his hands and feet, tries to bat and kick at toys, makes lots of funny noises, drools profusely, screams every time he rides in the car, and sleeps pretty well, especially compared to his older brother, who still at age four, is widely considered one of the worst sleepers on the planet.

Also this week, Dan and I marked our sixth wedding anniversary. It's been a pretty fun six years, I've gotta say. I reviewed the wedding album in honor of the occasion, and I noticed that I look a lot older than I did in 2002. I figure four years of sleep deprivation might do that to a person.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Show Some Muscle. Do the Hustle.

This is my third week as a full-fledged stay-at-home-mom of two. I cannot tell a lie: I'm pretty tired. During the last week, I've thought of many potential blog topics:

A) My feet, after this second pregnancy, have settled in at size 10.5 or 11. How large is that?

B) My budgeting is going well, and I've been very creative. For instance, instead of buying a new box of nursing bra pads, I've been cutting up leftover maxi pads and sticking them in.

C)Um, I guess that's it. I thought there was one more, but I guess I'm too tired to remember it.

I realized in a panic this morning that today is Wednesday, and we all need to record our Project Runway guesses. Here's what you need: your picks for the next three losers, plus a winner pick for tonight's challenge. Here's the description of the challenge from "The workplace can be a jungle. Inspired by a hit TV show, the Project Runway designers help working women dress the part. Guest Judge: Brooke Shields."

Post here or on Facebook before you watch the show!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

You're Both Brilliant

At the risk of over-mommyblogging, here are a couple of videos:

This is one Dan took of the new kid getting weighed. His size was a surprise to all - my OB guessed "seven-and-a-half or maybe eight pounds."

Untitled from Savvy Mom on Vimeo.

And here's Shef at swimming lessons. He finally started swimming by himself, and we're all pretty excited about it.

Untitled from Savvy Mom on Vimeo.

You're In - Post Your Guess for Tonight's Runway Winner Here or On Facebook

One of my pals just had a baby boy yesterday and posted some lovely photos on Facebook of moments after the event. They're images you've seen a million times, featuring a triumphant mother and a beautiful newborn looking into each other's eyes.

My friend looks radiant in these photos - really glowing with the joy of birthing her new child.

And of course, I'm super happy for her and her unbloated face.

Now, offered here for the sake of contrast, this is me about four hours after Mac was born:

Seriously. WTF?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Holla At Cha Boy

My good pal Renee is getting married tomorrow. It'll be a great day for many reasons, but especially because after the ceremony, her first and last names will rhyme.

Isn't that awesome?

It IS awesome, and I'll tell you why: 1) Renee asked about the status of my fetus's "tail" every day for several months straight; 2) she told 150 eighth graders that I sometimes pee in my pants when I laugh too hard; and 3) she throws balls at me for the sole purpose of making fun of the way I catch. And then, as a bonus for her, to also make fun of the way I throw.

So, I'm totally milking this rhyming thing. I'll be milking it for the rest of my days.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Did They Not Remember Austin's Cornhusk Dress?

Today's Wednesday, PR viewers. Are you ready for your next challenge? Pick a winner for tonight's episode, and post your guess here or on our Facebook page.

Last night, after Shef's soccer game, I carried the following items 400 yards uphill to my car in one trip: the diaper bag, the bucket car seat (with the 15-pound baby inside), the cooler filled with leftover soccer treats (it was my night to bring), and Shef's booster seat.

If I can do that, surely I can guess one little tiny winner. Daniel it is.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Suede F#*$in' Rocked It!

A couple of weeks ago, I ran into my doula, whom I adore, at a coffee shop. She admired the baby and then mentioned that she was facilitating birth story night at an upcoming meeting of the Childbirth Collective. Would I want to come and talk about Mac's birth? she wondered.

Wouldn't it be too depressing for the expectant moms? I asked.

"No," she said, "It was a wonderful birth, and besides, people need to understand the reality of VBAC."

I thought about it overnight, and then I agreed to go. I imagined it would be good for me to tell the story from start to finish. Maybe process it a little.

So Mac and I went, and there were four other moms at the meeting who'd agreed to speak.

The first mom had an idyllic water birth. "Labor wasn't that bad!" she said. "It never occurred to me to ask for drugs!"

The second mom also had an idyllic water birth. "They gave him to me, and it was amazing!" she said.

The third mom had a mostly-idyllic water birth. "I did two pushes, and her head was out!"

The fourth mom had a three-hour labor, and because her hospital doesn't allow water birth, she got out of the tub to push once or twice before her boy was born. "It can go fast, even the first time!" she reminded us.

Then, the group erupted into spontaneous conversation about how to boost your chances of having an unmedicated birth.

"I'm only listening to positive stories," said one expectant mom, bouncing on an exercise ball. "I don't want to hear anyone's scary experience. I think it's bad for the psyche." People nodded sagely.

"So true," someone murmured.

And then my doula invited me to start my story. My pitocin induction/vacuum-assisted/failed VBAC saga.

"Okay," I said, already sweaty and red in the face. "So, because my first baby was born my emergency c-section with general anesthesia, my #1 goal for this labor was to remain conscious."

When I was finished, one of the doulas called me a Birth Warrior, which was nice. But that positive-story lady didn't really say anything at all.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Viewers, This Is A Competition For You, As Well

It's Wednesday, which means it's time to cast your votes for the next three auf in the PR Challenge.

I'm picking Stella, the rocker chick who used the trash bags last week; Blayne, the tanning addict; and Emily. She made that weird dress with the sticky-up blue collar, and I think she might be boring.

Speaking of boring, is anyone sharing my lack of enthusiasm for Season Five? Maybe tonight will be more electrifying? We can only hope.

Post your guesses below OR visit the PR Challege group on Facebook. I think I'm more excited about the possibilities of Facebook than I am about the show. Here's what you do: Become my friend on Facebook. If you want to be my friend, but you don't know my full name, then email me at thesavvymomblog AT gmail DOT com. Then, on my profile, you can see the group "PR Challenge." Join it! Come on!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Once We Know That We Are, We're All Stars

Dan and I are embarking on a new budgeting plan now that we're becoming a one-income family. The plan includes a weekly discretionary spending allowance for each of us. This week, though, we don't get any allowance because of the money sucking endeavor known as Having a Baby.

They charge for that. Did you know? They even charge for anesthesia that you weren't planning on using.

So, I know how this is going to sound, but clearly the major problem this week is that we have no alcoholic beverages in the house. No gin and tonics. No glasses of wine. No relief from the hours between 6pm to 10pm. Only intermittent screaming. And NO ALCOHOL.

The prospect is bleak.

Luckily, Dan had a brainstorm. "I know!" he said, looking smug. "I'm cashing in my change." He has a giant canister on his nightstand filled to the brim with coins he's emptied from his pockets over the last five-ish years.

"Awesome!" I said, thrilled with this idea. "It's half mine!"

He looked dumbfounded. "No, it's not," he insisted. "It's mine. I saved it."

"That change comes from dollars that you withdrew from our joint account," I pointed out. "It's half mine."

"But you spent yours."

"I use my change, and therefore, I withdraw less cash from the ATM. Your change is half mine."

I won this one, ladies and gentlemen. I'll be purchasing some cheap-ass boxed chardonnay for my drinking pleasure, and I won't be sharing.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Don't Mess With the Flow, No No

"You haven't updated your blog or your twitters or anything," said my father-in-law, clearly exasperated. "You're completely worthless."

I know.

What happened was I discovered Facebook, and I can't stay off of it. I think I want to move to Facebook.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

5 Weeks Old. This is All He Does.

Here's a little video of Mac making sounds. I took it yesterday. The kid just starting smiling on Monday, but he doesn't really smile in this video.

Untitled from Savvy Mom on Vimeo.

You can hear me talking to him in the background, and I think I sound pretty lame.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Tra La La Zone

So, despite a total lack of promotion by Bravo, it appears that Project Runway Season Five premiers tomorrow night.

I'm already really busy on Wednesday nights watching my third or fourth favorite reality show, So You Think You Can Dance. It'll be tough, but I will still make time for Mr. Gunn and company.

And will there be a challenge? YES THERE WILL! YES THERE WILL! HAHAHAHAHA.


Anyway, there will probably also be a fabulous prize for winning the PR Challenge. And don't forget, our reigning champ, my darling sister, is overseas, so it's anybody's game. Let's all watch tomorrow, and then we can guess the next three auf'd designers.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Was It Sultry? YES IT WAS!

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that Mac was pretty fussy. Because Shef was lactose intolerant as a baby, I came to the conclusion that perhaps Mac was sensitive to milk, as well. I decided to remove all dairy from my diet for seven days and see what happened, and what happened was that he seemed less fussy.

But now he seems more fussy than he ever has been, so I'm second-guessing my dairy conclusion. Foregoing dairy has not eliminated any fussy times, especially not the fussy time that begins around six p.m. and continues until ten.

I think I'm going to begin eating foods containing dairy again and see what happens. I love dairy.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

On the Hot Tamale Train

The baby is just about a month old. The days have mostly been a blur, to tell you the truth.

Two weeks ago, I went to the OB's office to have the incision inspected. While I was there, I asked if bladder irritation was a common side effect of a cesarean. After a few follow-up questions, Dr. F. handily diagnosed my problem as Forgetting To Go.

So, that cleared that up.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Unit, Corps, God, Country.

Everyone knows about Dan’s admiration for Padma Lakshmi, host of Top Chef. He says he’s not as attracted to Giada De Laurentiis of the Food Network’s Everyday Italian even though Giada has long hair, a toothy smile, expressive hand gestures, and ample cleavage.

Shef, on the other hand, seems to really admire Giada’s many pleasing attributes. “Is that Giada?” he asked me while I watched the opening of her show the other night.

“Yeah,” I said.

“And is that Giada?” he asked, referring to a clip of the chef cheerily holding up a live crustacean against airy background music.

“Yes,” I said.

“And is that also Giada?” he wondered, as she toasted some friends with some delicious Italian wine.

“Um hmmm,” I said.

“And is that her?” he pointed at Giada laughing, throwing her head back and tossing her hair.

“They’re all her,” I confirmed.

Shef stared at the screen for a few more seconds. “She’s really nice, Mom,” he said.

“She does seem nice,” I agreed.

“She’s way better than you,” he continued.


“Way better than me at WHAT?” I demanded.

“She’s a way better cooker than you, Mom,” he declared, quite sure of himself.

I suppose there’s no denying it.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I Forgot How Nice Romance Is

Today, Dan had to go to work for about six hours. I arranged a play-date for Shef over here for the first two, which was great for all of us.

The other four hours? I'm not going to lie: they were long.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Is He Singing "Funky Town"?

People keep asking how Shef us adjusting to having a brother. We've been saying that he seems okay, but that he's been acting kind of weird. Here are some snippets from this afternoon's conversation on the way home from school:

Shef: I'm going to do naked biking like that guy.

Me: That guy is not naked.

Shef: Yes he is!

Me: He's wearing shorts.

Shef: That's naked!

Me: No, actually no clothes is naked.

Shef: OH! I wanna do THAT! I'm going to naked bike!

Me: I think that would be very uncomfortable.

Dan: There would probably be some chafing.

Shef: I'm going to do it when I'm all alone and not in your house anymore.

Dan: Yeah. Do it when one of your friends can post bail for you.

And then a couple of minutes later -

Shef: Mom, you can't do summer stuff.

Me: Why not?

Shef: Because you're a woman and womans can't do summer stuff.

Dan: Shef, womans can do anything that men can do.

Shef, laughing maniacally: NO GIRLS ALLOWED in my summer stuff!

He's outside right now doing "summer stuff," which is running through a sprinkler. I think he's having a good time. And there aren't any girls out there.

Friday, June 20, 2008

C-Sections Are Not Safer, But They Are More Disgusting

It's hard for me to see my incision what with the round, mushy belly I still have; but Dan said something looked odd about it this afternoon while I was getting dressed after a shower. I called the doctor, and she suggested I come and see her and have it checked out.

After she poked around a little with some swabs and removed the "steri strips," which in her estimation, had only made the situation worse, she asked me to sit up a little and take a look at what we were dealing with.

"Oh, GROSS," I said, sinking back down on the table after looking at it for a second or two. "That is the most disgusting thing I've ever seen."

"I've seen worse," she said, smiling.

"Yes, but you're a DOCTOR," I blurted. She agreed this was the case, and then she stepped out for a moment to get some supplies.

"Dan," I said when she was gone, "isn't that the most disgusting thing you've ever seen in your life?"

"No," he said. I could tell he was trying to make me feel better.

"What have you seen that's more disgusting?" I demanded.

"Your face," he countered.

This made me laugh really hard, which hurts my incision. When she got back, the doctor probed around in there some more, attempting to see if in fact, my skin is coming apart. This obviously hurt my incision, as well.

When I got home, I had to take a nap to rest from all the hurting. And while I was drifting off, I thought about how much I hadn't wanted this stupid surgery in the first place.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I Still Look Pregnant

The new kid is incredibly familiar-looking. When we caught a glimpse right after he was born during surgery, Dan said, "Great! We won't even need to take baby photos!" The truth is, we could easily interchange photos of Shef and Mac during these first few days, and few people would notice. Here Mac is on his second day, trying to keep his eyes open:

He seems to be sleepier than Shef was at this stage, he has more hair on his head, and he appears to have a dimple in his right cheek.

The big brother is adjusting all right. I think he thought Mac would be a little more exciting than he is. Right now, the ten or twelve dirty diapers a day are the highlight, and I think we can all agree, that's not really as awesome as t-ball or Kung Fu Panda.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Introducing McMillan (Mac)

[Guest-posted by Dan]

Thanks to the miracles of both childbirth and wireless internet, KC, Shef and I are pleased to introduce Mac, who joined our family at 12:50 this afternoon.

So far, he seems pretty nice. He weighs in at 9 lbs. 13 oz. and is 22.5 inches tall.

KC and Mac are both doing well, and we expect to be home sometime this weekend. More pics to follow, but here's what he looks like at ~5 hours old doing the two things he does best; being asleep and awake.


And, awake:

For good measure, and apropos of nothing, here's a picture of Shef playing t-ball:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I Drew the Line at Castor Oil

Yesterday’s doctor’s appointment confirmed that the kid is just completely happy hanging out right where he is. Sadly, he can’t stay there forever.

“There has to be an end point,” my doctor told us, as I finagled for more time in various hypothetical situations.

I told Dan the other night that I would be so happy to go into labor that I would welcome the onset of each contraction with unconditional joy. We’ll see if that’s the case when I go to the hospital tonight, where I agreed to have my water broken.

This is basically the last resort for someone with a prior uterine surgery who needs to get induced. Regardless of whether or not it works, the baby should be born tomorrow, June 11th. I’ll let you know.

Monday, June 9, 2008


I just finished Jhumpa Lahiri’s new book, Unaccustomed Earth. I enjoyed it heartily. To tell the truth, I didn’t think I would finish the book before the baby came, but in the end, that’s the way it worked out.

This has been a hard wait at times, but I am trying to be patient. I am reminding myself I have been here before. Some people just cook their babies a little longer, and apparently, I am one of those people.