Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone gets the chance to do a little monkeying around!


My mom, on occasion, will tell the following story about me:

When I was about a year old, my mom and my aunt took me to the shoe store to get me a pair of shoes. Now, do you remember those white baby shoes that everybody used to have? The kind of lace-up high-tops? Yeah. I wasn't having those. Every time they tried to put sensible baby shoes on my foot, I would point my toes so that it was impossible to put the shoe on my foot. They tried over and over again, and decided that maybe I was just adverse to wearing shoes, which isn't the worst thing, I guess.

Then they set me down and let me walk around by myself. I beelined straight for the black patent leather mary janes, grabbed one off the shelf, and put it on my foot. It wasn't that I didn't like shoes, it was that I didn't like the white shoes. I wanted fancy shoes.

Needless to say, I ended up with both pairs, and would sometimes submit to the white shoes, but mostly wore the black patent leather mary janes. I had good taste and didn't want to compromise.

Or I was picky.

Gabbie has this same sense of knowing exactly what she wants and not having it any other way. It's adorable that she is so much like me, but aggravating at the same time. Especially for Aaron, who regularly blames me when Gabbie won't do what he wants her to do. Like sleep in her bed. She slept exactly 1 minute in her bed last night. 1 MINUTE! I'm beginning to forget what it's like to share my bed with Aaron, since we never sleep in it at the same time these days. Maybe she just wants a fancier bed? I'm hoping that's the case because we are bringing a very fancy bed home for her this Saturday. Please, oh please! Let this work!

Several Things I Would Like To Know

Why is it that every year I get a fall cold and then my nose is runny for the rest of the fall and winter? I got my cold early this year and I am excited by the prospect of continuously blowing my nose until April, at which point I get a break of about a week before allergy season starts. Yes, I really am quite alluring!

Why is it that Gabbie didn't have any issues with most foods until I found the best peanut butter in the history of peanut butters, and now it seems she's having a reaction to peanuts? I read about this somewhere a couple of weeks ago, and then again last week on We're Not Martha, so I had to run out and buy some. Then I apparently overdid, and Gabbie had a rash all over her torso which cleared up when I laid off the cinamon-raisin-swirly peanut butter heavenly stuff. We're going to the doctor tomorrow just to double check that it's the cause, and if not? Well, buy stock in english muffins is all I'm saying.

How on earth did I forget to watch Dexter on Sunday night? Aaron forgot too, and we both realized this earlier this morning for some odd, telepathic reason, and now neither of us can wait to get home and watch the episode. Thank goodness for On Demand!

Finally, why is it that Aaron and I not only cannot stick to whatever budget we set for something, but that we instead tend to double whatever we were planning to spend? Case in point, we are currently working on buying a crib for Gabbie (that involves all sorts of annoying difficulties that are too boring to list here), and the one we have chosen costs slightly more than double the price of the crib we had originally planned to buy. Ditto the organic mattress I insisted on. And Aaron thinks I'm joking about the video monitor (which is about 5 times the cost of a regular one). Good thing I just got a bonus, I guess!

I think she likes it

On Saturday, Gabbie turned five months old. I can hardly believe it's been so long, and yet it also feels like she's been here forever. However long she's been here, it is definitely true that she is growing up way too fast. In celebration of her being five months old, she got to eat cereal for the first time on this past Saturday. Well, I don't know if "eat" is the right term for it. It's still to be determined if she actually swallows any of the cereal we put in her mouth.

She watches us eat quite intently, so when she saw the bowl and spoon, she had a pretty good idea of what was coming. And boy, was she excited. We have video, and it's hilarious.

Anyway, so we stripped her down to her diaper and bib, sat her in the Bumbo, and started the feeding:

She took to it quite easily, and opened her mouth willingly every time the spoon came near:
She feeds herself her bottle at daycare, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised when she grasped the spoon to try to do it herself:
Then she decided that the food wasn't coming nearly fast enough for her liking:
And soon enough, we were done. There was cereal on her face, her bib, her arms and hands, and all over her tray, but she seemed sad that there wasn't any more coming on the spoon:
All in all it was a great success. Even if she didn't end up swallowing any of the cereal, it was too much fun to regret doing it. I just can't wait to see what she does with sweet potatoes in a month.

And I didn't even complain about how hard it can be to take care of a poor, sick baby.

There are some days, like today, when I wish for a magic sort of Google search. One that would give me answers guaranteed to work when I use search strings such as "How to get my baby to sleep in her own damn bed instead of on my chest while I sleep on the couch?", and "Why did baby pick up new habit of trying to stick her hands in my mouth on the day she came down with her first ever cold?". And most importantly, "Where the hell are my housekeeper and chef, and how do I find ones that work for smiles and compliments instead of cash?". So, suffice it to say, I'm tired and sick with a dirty house and have been eating take out or frozen pizza for days on end. Fun times!

In more exciting news, I'm planning a baby shower for my friend in our home town, the same weekend my in-laws decided to come up for a visit, and they've already bought the tickets! True, they're coming to town for my husband's grandfather's 80th birthday party, and my friend is in from California for an interview, so it's not like either of these events can be switched to a different date, but I just have one word to describe this: typical. It's always like this for me for some reason. So I'm going to deal with multiple house guests with a smile, throw the best darn baby shower anyone has ever seen, and become deaf to my in-law's complaints about wanting to see the baby more. I guess they should have thought about that before they up and moved to Florida.

I truly am incredibly happy to get a chance to see everyone, just slightly stressed out that it's happening all at once. I'm also enormously excited about the baby shower. There's not too many activities I enjoy more than putting together a killer party, and this one is sure to be a blast. It's brunch, with virgin Mimosas, a funny multiple choice quiz about my friend's pregnancy, and lots and lots of cute baby items. Not to mention seeing all sorts of people from my past that I haven't seen in forever. It should be a blast. Hopefully I can survive it all.

MUST. Find. Sleep.

I'm at a conference today, blogging from my iPaq. I had to get up at 5 a.m. to get here on time, which, when added to a baby girl who refuses to sleep in her crib, makes for one mighty tired set of parents. I feel like warning the pregnant woman sitting next to me; "Sleep now! It's not just annoying advice. It's really, really real."

Any bets on how long it takes me to fall asleep during a session?

I'm glad I made my childless coworker drive this morning.

Totally Taking the Cheap Way Out

If you've been on my Flickr recently, you've already seen these, but I thought I'd post a few recent pictures of Gabbie today.

Here's Gabbie with her Great Grandfather.

We talked to him this weekend, and he said that she might be the cutest, smartest baby he's ever seen, and also that he might be a little biased. We must be too, because we think the same things.

Gabbie is very into books lately. Very into trying to eat them, that is. We don't let her chew on most of them, but this one and another plush book are the exceptions to that rule.

Other things she'd like to eat include any remote control she sees, my cell phone, anything mom and dad are eating (especially cookies), and mom's fingers (which is the only thing on this list she's allowed to chew on).

We took her to the park by my parents' house this weekend to see how she liked baby swings. It was not a rousing success, but it was pretty darn cute. My mom took pictures, and as soon as I can convince her to send a few of them my way, they'll make it up here too.

On the way later: the recipe for the best tomato soup I've ever made.

Gabbie at 4 Months

It's a grey, wet day here, and it seems to be sucking any motivation I might have right out of me. It probably doesn't help that I haven't gotten much sleep over the past two nights (we're trying to get Gabbie to sleep unswaddled. It's not going well.), and am feeling overwhelmed that we're going out of town again this weekend and I have a million and five things to do before then.

But! Instead of whining, I'm going to brag on my daughter for a few minutes instead.

She's getting so big, I can't believe it. She's still skinny with a teeny head - 25th percentile for both - but also incredibly tall, at 26 inches long and in the 97th percentile for height. Just like her dad, tall and skinny. The wonky weight-to-length ratio means that we can't find a pair of pants that fit her right. If they're long enough then she swims in them at the waist, and if they fit her waist, they might as well be knee-length shorts. We have the same problem with sleepers, but we just put her in the size that fits her legs and then laugh at all the excess material around her middle. At least they're not falling down like her pants do.

Every time we lay her on the ground to play, she immediately rolls on to her stomach. If she's in a good mood, she then turns herself in a circle trying to get at different things. If, on the other hand, she's in a bad mood she starts screaming and doesn't stop until someone rolls her back over onto her back. At which point she immediately rolls back onto her stomach and starts screaming again. It's a fun game that's getting old real fast, but that's also incredibly cute. When I'm not exhausted or talking on the phone.

During diaper changing time she also likes to try to roll over as soon as the diaper is off. That or she immediately tries to get her feet into her mouth since her pants are off and it's apparently easier to bend in half sans pants. This makes diaper changes difficult, but also makes Aaron and I laugh the entire time. She does the same two things when we're changing her clothes.

She's laughing more and more these days, and I'm still the one who can get her to laugh the most. Apparently looking at the ceiling and then quickly looking at her with a big smile on my face while fake sneezing ("A-choo!) is hilarious! She's such a charmer too. This past weekend when she was meeting my aunts and uncles, she smilled and cooed, and literally never cried in their presence. She's a very happy baby and she loves a party. So much so that she basically refused to eat or sleep the entire weekend, but we still had a great time. At day care they always comment on how she had such a great day, and what a happy baby she is. I'm glad that we seem to be doing something right, although I don't know if I can take all the credit. I just hope she keeps this sunny disposition. It will definitely serve her well in life if she does.

I keep meaning to upload pictures, but I also keep running out of time. Aaron and I always comment on how we don't know how other people do the whole parenting thing, because it takes all of both of our time to take care of this one little girl. We don't mind it too much though.


Oh, October. The month that's the start of one of my favorite things: the Holiday Season. Why do I love the holiday season so much? Because it’s the perfect time for crafting and baking, two of my very favorite things. Also, sweaters. I love the feeling of being all cozied up in a sweater more than just about any other feeling. (Except now, and excuse all the annoyingly cute gushing, the feeling of cuddling up with Gabbie. That truly is the best!)

Another one of my favorite things that is definitely in full swing right now, is the eating of anything pumpkin flavored. I have a few things I’m itching to make right now, including some standards like Linda’s Insanely Good Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins and Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars, as well as a new recipe this year: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. Ooh, and pumpkin butter from The Pioneer Woman. Yum!

Newly added excitement this year includes dressing up Gabbie in a Halloween costume. There are so many cute options, like all of these at Mighty Junior, it’s hard to choose. Especially since I don’t want to spend a lot on something she’ll likely only wear once, although the costumes at One Step Ahead might fit her next year if she continues on her growth curve.

Finally, I love the photo ideas from this post at Momspark. I’m definitely going to have to add trips out to the local cider mill and pumpkin patch to our weekend activities sometime soon. I’m quickly finding out that holidays with a little one are way more fun than they were before. Or at least they are fun in a totally different way; you know, no more getting all dressed up and then wasted on the spooky spiked punch at a friend’s party.

I was getting too old for that, anyway.

Baby's First Fundraiser

Is it just me, or is four months old a little too young to be out selling cookie dough and popcorn? Our daycare is having it's annual fundraiser (just after it's annual book fair and a fundraiser to help out a local family), and I'm feeling a little mixed about participating. Sure, the premise behind it is sound - the purpose is to replace toys and equipment that have worn out - but I pay a lot of money for them to take care of my baby, and I would think that some of that would cover new toys and equipment.

I asked Aaron for his opinion, and he's all for it. We're not going to do the hard sell with anyone, and just order a couple of things for ourselves, but still. I thought I'd have at least until kindergarten or Brownies before I had to start doing this.

But maybe, putting an adorable picture of her beautiful face next to the order form will help out our cause. Couldn't hurt, right?

(And as a post-script, we talked to the director about the perfume issue, and it has been resolved. Apparently there was an intern who had just started coming in during the afternoons - there's a big university nearby that has an excellent early childhood education program, so we get lots of interns coming through - and as this was her first thing she had to do during the day (ah, the life of a college student) she was freshly showered and perfumed when she showed up to work. She has been asked not to wear perfume to work any more, and none of the other teachers had to be bothered by our complaint since they already know better. Problem (hopefully) solved!)
Life, it seems, is not slowing down any time soon, even though I really want it to. We haven't made it over to the Extreme Makeover house yet, because the crowds are so big they are having to bus people in. I don't deal well with crowds, so we've stayed away from that side of town.

This weekend we're heading back to Ohio to my grandmother's hometown. The purpose of the trip is that we're interring her ashes, but the secondary purpose is that my grandpa and six of my mom's seven siblings get to meet Gabbie for the first time. (The seventh met her a while ago.) I can't wait to get down there, but the usually five hour drive takes about seven with an infant, and I'm not anxious to spend seven hours in the car. I need to find a new knitting or crochet project to help me pass the time. I'm also stopping at the local toy store today to pick up some new and exciting toys for Gabbie, since she seems to be getting bored with the few she already has.

This weekend could be quite interesting, though, as my uncle that I haven't seen since I was ten is supposed to be coming. For those of you playing along at home, since I'm currently 28, I haven't seen him in 18 years. Different family members have different viewpoints about him showing up, since he pretty much disappeared without a reason, deciding to no longer participate in our family, until my grandma was dying. He also lost a son this past spring, right before Gabbie was born, but didn't show up for the funeral.

In addition to this, my mom and her siblings are all taking my grandma's death pretty hard still, so there has been a lot more bickering over the phone lately, which I'm sure will make seeing each other in person so much more fun (/sarcasm). We plan to insert the baby into any stressful situation as kind of a distraction. It should work since everyone is beyond excited to see her, and I'm setting a no fighting in front of the baby rule. The hardest part about this is going to be enforcing my authority as Gabbie's mom this weekend, since these people have been in charge my whole life. I've had to tell my mom numerous times that, okay, we'll go with the flow this weekend, but when push comes to shove I'm the mom, I get to make the rules.

Man, this post is rambly. And just to make it more so, I need your opinions on something completely unrelated.

We really love our daycare. They're organized, the teachers are nice, and they absolutely love Gabbie and it shows. However, lately she's been coming home smelling strongly of perfume. Like, it makes my eyes water sometimes because it's so strong. I'm sure it's because one of the teachers is cuddling her, as the smell is on her head, which she probably rubs on the teacher when she's being held, but still. I don't think my four-month-old needs to smell like she got into my perfume collection. Would you say something? Do you think that there should be some kind of "no strong perfume" rule for the teachers? Also, do you think they'll hate me for complaining? It seems so petty, but she truly is stinky with perfume every day. Yuck.

From Our Kitchen Recipe 3

This is one of my favorites lately. My friend's mom made something like this for her wedding dinner in June, and I've been making my version ever since. It's one of the easiest salads I've ever made, and one of the most delicious too (I think second only to my favorite Cobb Salad). Aaron insists that a salad without meat is not dinner, so I typically grill up a chicken breast, slice it, and serve it over top, but that step is completely optional. In my opinion, the salad is better without it, so I guess the chicken part is totally your call.

Fruity Poppy Seed Salad

One to two romaine hearts, washed and chopped
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 can mandarin oranges in juice, drained
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup sliced green onion
Poppy seed salad dressing

Mix all ingredients except salad dressing in a large bowl. Toss dressing with salad or serve on the side.

Seriously, that's it. And it's delicious. We made it for Gabbie's baptism a couple of weeks ago, along with a really good ham, cheesy potatoes, and green bean casserole, and surprisingly the salad was the only thing that we finished off, even though I made a huge batch of it. It's really that good.
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