Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fancy feet

Nothing much to report today, other than the fact that these are just about the most unbearably cute shoes I have ever seen in my entire life, and not just because I crocheted them myself while watching Shaun of the Dead (which I highly recommend).

Oh, and Napoleon Dynamite has to be the worst movie I have seen in recent memory, and that includes Unbreakable. Ignore all of the MTV-generated hype and run as far away from Napoleon as your little legs will take you - it's bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. And not even in a good MST3K sort of way.

Monday, February 27, 2006

An uneasy truce develops

When we first brought Liza home from the hospital, the cats couldn't have been less impressed. They were never overtly hostile, but they made certain that they were nowhere near the kid most of the time. Not that I can blame them; with the way she used to scream, I would have run away, too, if I had had the option. As Liza got so she could sit up we began to train the cats to come closer to her. This worked a little too well, however, and there were a few months where the only contact they had was Liza attempting to eat Zach whole while he just sits there thinking "I hope I get a treat I hope I get a treat I hope I get a treat."

We've be working to train Liza that cats are playmates, not chew toys, and it seems to be working. Both of the cats will now voluntarily come up to Liza to be petted, and she usually manages to restrain her urges to rip out their fur by the handful and gleefully eat it. Here are a few shots to show the detente we've reached:

Oh, look! A colander!

I wonder what I should do with it?

Zach needs a hat ...

... maybe not.

Why does Zach put up with it? Simple: Liza has learned to share her pork roast (and pizza and chicken and Cheerios and ... ).

This doesn't deal directly with my photo essay, but it was too cute to pass up. Isn't the perfect caption for this one, "Dude, it's totally his fault!"

Quote of the week

"So, did you suckle her into insensibility again?"

- Jason Woods, February 26, 2006, said to me as I returned from nursing Liza back to sleep for the fourth time last night.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Link I Like

A while ago Jason sent me a link that allows you to make your own church signs. You can find it here. This one is one of my favorites of the ones he sent me:

I thought it was appropriate to post this today since Liza has been demonstrating what we believe is a teething-induced 180 degree shift in temperament. Last week while I was painting she was Happy Baby, going down for naps easily and even sleeping through the night most of the time. Illustration of Happy Baby from Saturday afternoon:

Then yesterday as we were getting ready to have some people over for dinner it was like someone flipped a switch to Evil Demon Baby. Here's a photo of Evil Demon Baby, taken approximately two minutes after the shot I just posted:

You can't really get the full effect without the eardrum-splitting wail and video of her head spinning around like a top while blood streams down the walls ... okay, it wasn't that bad, but it WAS painful for all of us. Liberal doses of snuggling and Tylenol and frozen pizza crusts and Baby Einstein videos did bupkis for us, and you'd have thought we were trying to amputate something when we put her down at her normal bedtime, the screaming was so loud. She finally gave up the fight around 10:30, three hours after her recent bedtime. And then she fought the good fight at least twice later on last night, complete with wailing, flailing and general inconsolability. Good thing we had already declared this a Work-Free Weekend, because today none of us have the energy to work on anything more involved than eating.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

I knew it would happen someday

Today is a monumental day, one that will be forever immortalized on the baby calendar as "First Time Liza Pooped in the Tub." Yes, nothing smacks home the fact that you're a parent faster than straining floaters out of your baby's bathwater. A year ago I would have done pretty much anything to avoid touching another person's fecal matter, but today my only thought was, "Hmm, there's the kiwi seeds from yesterday's breakfast." My, how times have changed.


In other news, I finally finished the dress that Liza's going to wear to her baptism next month. Here it is:

It's crocheted from a fine guage cotton yarn - about the thickness of kitchen twine - and then smocked around the front and back yoke.

This is the dress that was supposed to be cheaper than buying one of the ones at the fancy kids' store, but it ended up costing me about $60 in materials (and about a month of nights and weekends spent cursing my decision to start the thing). And it's got about 10 skeins of yarn in it, so Liza's going to buckle under the weight of it if she tries to stand up. On the positive side, I've got enough yarn leftover to make a pair of Mary Janes to go with the dress ... photos of that when I'm done, which should be soon.


One more unrelated thought: Jason has been complaining recently because his employer changed its dress code so that managers can no longer wear jeans to work. Since that's about all that Jason had been wearing, I foresee a trip to the Gap in the near future. I wonder why they decided to outlaw jeans?

Yes, that is a 50-cent-piece-sized hole near the pocket with his undies showing through. And no, these weren't some of his work clothes ... I just wanted an excuse to put a picture of Jason's undies on the Internet.

Friday, February 24, 2006

A life lived one nap at a time

One of the things I've had to adjust to since Liza was born is that I have to fit my life around her schedule. I've always been very independent, one might say almost to the point of being selfish about my time and my ability to do what I wanted when I wanted. I sort of figured that I'd get a laid-back baby who would go with the flow and happily work around my schedule. Ha!

Instead I've got a challenging baby, one who wants to do exactly what she wants when she wants. I wonder where she got that trait? Having Liza around means that the only time I can take care of consuming tasks and hobbies is when she's asleep. Finishing my thesis, refinishing furniture, quilting, writing to friends ... all of these are things that I have to chop up into nap-sized chunks of time. That's a lot easier now that her naps are more consistent; at first there was no way to tell whether she was going to sleep for 45 minutes or 4 hours, which made planning a little challenging.

Taking Liza's naps into account is so prevalent in my internal scheduling that I've started to estimate the size of projects based on how many naps they'll take to complete. Sewing project for a friend? That's about two and a half naps. Refinishing a dresser for Liza's room? That was about six naps and at least two days of Jason taking care of the kid while I was up to my armpits in carcinogenic chemicals (smiling like a giddy schoolgirl the whole time, and not just because of the fumes). My friends sometimes marvel at how much I'm able to get done, and I tell them that it's not that hard if you're really driven in a sick sort of way and refuse to turn the television on before your husband gets home from work.

Recently I've been thinking a lot about how my personal life is now lived one nap at a time; I've had lots of time to do that thinking while I painted our hallway. I've been working on this for weeks, pulling out the paint can whenever I have a spare moment. Everything will look great when it's done, but I've been kicking myself for starting the project ... I hate painting trim, and the upstairs hallway alone has five doorways, plus baseboards and crown molding and bannister spindles.

But the tedium of painting has been balanced by the fact that I'm working toward a 20-month-old goal: eradicating the last traces of the boring grey the previous owners of the house painted on every wall in the house. When Sam the Electrician put the finishing touches on rewiring the downstairs hall, it was finally time to pull out the wall paint and get going. His van hadn't even cleared our driveway before that paint can was in my hand! Seven naps, three evenings of intense pre- and post-bedtime painting later, we're just about done. I still have to finish the finicky bits that involve teetering on a ladder at the top of the wall next to the stairs (and paint all of the trim downstairs), but I'm pretty happy with how the color has turned out:

It's one of those odd colors that seems to change depending on the light source and the time of day. So far I've been able to describe it as "peach," "pink," "tan," "mushroom," "grey," and "beige." On the color strip it's actually a warm shade of tan, and it's less pink than the color I was originally going to choose. I think it's a good thing I changed my mind, because the colors we ended up choosing are right at the limit for how pink we could go without having a PINK hallway (which would have upset Jason).


Speaking of Sam the Electrician, the end of our longer-than-a-year, whole-house rewiring project is finally within sight. It's not gonna happen next week or anything, but I can count on one hand the number of rooms we have left to do. Of course, Sam the Electrician keeps finding lots of lovely surprises the previous owners and contractors have left for us, and every time I hear him sigh heavily I know we've just added at least an extra day of work to the project. My personal favorite so far is that when he pulled the lightswitch out of the wall at the bottom of the stairs, there was another lightswitch floating loose in the wall behind it ... and it was still hooked up and "hot." By process of elimination he figured out which circuit controlled it, and he also figured out that about half of the first floor of the house is also run by that circuit, which is hooked to a fuse box in the middle of the basement. Fun, fun, fun! It's a miracle the house hasn't burned down yet thanks to some of the electrical eccentricities perpetrated by Larry, Darryl and Darryl (as we've nicknamed the "good local boy" contractors the previous owners hired to do most of the work in the house ... badly).

Sam the Electrician has been working on our living room and dining room this week, and we've got the gaping holes and dangling wires to prove it. This morning he was trying to drill a hole from the basement up into the inside of one of the walls so he'd have room to run the wiring up there, and the hard wood of the floor joist was smoking a bit as Sam drilled. The smoke was puffing up the wall and coming out of the hole where the switchplate will go, which is what Zach was watching from a prime vantage point:

That poor cat isn't going to know what to do with himself once all the wiring is done and there isn't so much interesting stuff to keep track of every morning. Oh, well - by then Liza should be walking, and he'll have a whole new set of problems to worry about!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Our little cardshark

Two years ago my husband Jason and I went to a gaming convention in Columbus, Ohio, with some friends. Among the free loot we scored were quite a few sample decks and booster packs for collectible card games we had no intention of ever playing. Some were sold to gullible kids at a yardsale we had last summer, but a few have been languishing in a drawer, collecting dust. That is, they were languishing, until last weekend when I tried to play a card game while holding our 9-month-old daughter on my lap. She kept grabbing for my cards, so in a moment of inspired parenting (otherwise known as "distract the kid long enough to let you finish what you want to be doing instead of paying attention to the kid") I dug out a pack of freebies and let her go to town on them. Ever since then we've been using them to keep her busy in her high chair while we fix dinner:

They're the perfect medium for a teething paper-ripper like Liza: small enough that she can get a good grip on them, but strong enough that she still hasn't managed to tear one.

And even better, I can wipe the slime off of them when she's done playing, so there's one less sticky surface in my house.