Wednesday, March 30, 2011


We woke up Sunday morning - early, because Finn was awake - changed his diaper and put him back in bed with us for a couple of hours because, dang it, nobody wants to stare down 6:00 on a Sunday morning.  Luckily, Finn fell right back to sleep snuggled between his mama and daddy, and we were able to get another couple of hours of sleep before Finn kicked us both awake.

While we stole a few more winks, however, Abby was busy up and down the hall, taping balloons all over the house in an effort to make the place more birthday-appropriate and festive; when Uriah finally got up he was escorted down the hall by an array of rainbow colored balloons.  In all honesty, it looked like a clown convention threw up in our hallway, but Abby was excited and extrememly proud of herself, so we oohed and ahhed appropriately.  All things considered it was a low-key birthday that doubled as sort of a farewell party.  Uriah got to stand behind the grill all afternoon, which is his favorite place to stand (second only to standing next to me, I'm sure.).  And in spite of the snow that fell in the evening, we had a long visit with our friends Shaun and Rachel, even after everyone else had gone home and the kiddos had gone to bed. 

Uriah is leaving tomorrow for the first part of his training and I plan to start packing full-force.  I'm trying to keep our new schedule straight in my head and practice my deep-breathing exercises and I'm trying really hard not to worry too much about our mornings going smoothly (I hate the morning.  It is not my most stellar time of the day.).  Abby is already asking to have a movie night on Friday and I'm sorely tempted to give up a night of packing to Bella and Edward.  Sunday is our niece's first birthday party, which I will take the kids to by myself and next week is already filling up with work and a doctor's appointment and making sure I have a menu planned to ease the stress of the evenings.

I miss Uriah already and he's still sitting right next to me.

{Mine | 3.27.11}

Monday, March 28, 2011 should really be an extension of Sunday.

Cherry Collins

On my mind today...
  1. The delicious drink that Shaun and Rachel made for Uriah's birthday
    party...Cherry Lime-aid (made with cherry vodka and grenadine and limes and love).
  2. I'm glad that we have car insurance since Uriah was in a car accident this morning (not his fault; only the car got hurt).
  3. Speaking of insurance, I really need to get some of that for my kids.
  4. Will my tulips survive the snow that we got yesterday?
  5. What should I pack first?
  6. Who will get up with the baby at 3:30 in the morning when Uriah is gone?
  7. Oh, yeah.  Me.
  8. Will I be able to resist the temptation to play Wheel of Fortune on Facebook until I fall asleep?  Because I really love to play Wheel of Fortune and I rely on Uriah to tell me when it's bedtime...
  9. Will I be able to resist the temptation to put Finn in bed with me so that I don't technically have to get up when he wakes up at 3:30?
  10. I'll just remind myself that I don't want to have to re-train Finn to sleep in his crib in a month.  It will be my mantra: No co-sleeping; too much work in the long run.  Maye I'll put a post-it note on Finn's head so that I don't forget.
  11. I have limited will-power when it comes to getting my sleep.
  12. What should I pack second?
  13. I had to move up my last day at work.  I have a lot to do yet.   
  14. Does anyone want to come and pack my house for me?
  15. I wonder if Finn will crawl when Uriah's gone.  That would be sad.
  16. I wonder if Finn will learn to say mama anytime soon.  That would not be sad.  That would be awesome.
  17. I can't wait to have lunch with my old friend Melissa tomorrow (Old as in we've been friends for awhile, not old as in old).  
  18. I'm getting nervous for Uriah to be gone...I'm not sure I'll make a very good single mom.  I'm kind of extreme.  I need Uriah to balance me.  I'll have to pracitice my deep breathing exercises.
  19. I also have to practice my regular exercises.
  20. I'm still thinking about that Cherry Lime-aid cocktail...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday morning with Dad

This is how Finn's morning is spent with dad when mom's at work:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Iowa: More than just piggies.

Greetings From Lake Okoboji Antique Postcard  

I asked Uriah if buying pork products in Iowa was similar to buying lobster in and plentiful and on every corner.  He looked at me like I'd lost my mind.

I guess I'll have to wait until May to find out...when we move to Iowa!

The next great Hefter Adventure is about to begin...well, actually it began last week when we decided to accept a new job and relocate our own little piggies to Okoboji, Iowa (far north western corner of Iowa, super fun resort-type community with lakes and a small town feel, good schools and only 4 hours from my parents!  Can anyone say: HELLS YES?!).  Suffice it to say, in a short amount of time, lots of things are changing in our house; Uriah starts training next week (for a month, far away from us) and I will be left on the home-front, single-parenting and packing up our house and continuing to work full-time.

I'm tired already, and a little nervous and a lot overwhelmed.  But so, so excited for what is about to unfold.

So there you go.  We are going to celebrate Uriah's birthday this weekend with a big grill-fest and friends and family (Uriahpalooza?) and then next week the packing will commence and disorganization will reign supreme.  But until then, I am going to enjoy a semi-organized house for one last weekend.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Two weeks ago, as I was scrubbing the baby in the tub and laughing at his silly antics, Uriah came into the bathroom looking very...serious.  He told me he'd made an executive decision.

This is uncommon.  I usually make the executive decisions in our house.  I tend to be...shall we say, bossy?

He continued to tell me, over the abnormally loud splashing of one very happy little boy, that sooner rather than later, Finn will be running around our back yard and he didn't want either one of us to have to stop playing or need to take a time out because we were out of breath and couldn't keep up with the baby.  And while Uriah is quite possibly the worlds skinniest man (he skips one meal and he looks like an anorexic homeless person) he did gain some sympathy weight last year when I was pregnant.  So he decided - and decreed - that we would work out 4 times a week and we will limit our  carbs to 1 a day (not per meal, which is bad news when you have a love affair with carbs that has lasted over 30 years!).  Basically, in order to simplify it, if we have hamburgers and french fries for dinner, I can have either the bun or the french fries.  But not both.  Bring on the salads and the eggs and lots of meat and veggies (good-bye stove-top and mashed potatoes and grilled cheese sandwiches and pasta 15 times a week)

I don't disagree with anything that he said.  It really is about making better (healthier) food choices and moving our bums a little bit more.  So last week we commenced with the healthy eating and the getting out and exercising (taking Finn for a walk and pushing his 20-lb baby chubs up a hill is definetly exercise, my friends!).

Much to my amazement, I wasn't super crabby or craving chocolate chip cookies like I had expected.  I actually enjoy taking a walk in the evening or working up a sweat in the morning.  And the grilled halibut and asparagus that I had for dinner last night was as good as any steak and baked potatoe I've ever consumed.

And when I weighed myself yesterday, I was 2 lbs lighter.  It's a small start; but we all have to start somewhere, right?  And I feel more in control of myself (I like to be in control, obviously).  And gaining a little positive self-image is just as important as losing a little weight.

Monday, March 21, 2011

On my mind today...

pretty much my last tulip shot of the year
I love tulips.
Tulips are the harbingers of spring, don't you think?
Mine are starting to poke their little green heads through the earth.
It was in the 70s yesterday and today...I should hope they'd be springing forth.

I love an old fashioned fairground
I love carousels.
I love the colors and the horses and the not-so-fast spinning.
One day I am going to go to Paris and I am going to ride a carousel.
Uriah and I had plans to go to Paris once.  
We bought travel books and got the paperwork for passports and everything.
Then life got in the way, as it is apt to do, and Paris got shelved.
We will go one day and there will be carousels and wine and baguettes.

Summer lake
I love summer.
I can hardly wait for lazy days at the beach.
I love sleeping with the windows open and the sound of crickets.
I can't wait to walk barefoot in the yard and introduce Finn to grass.
I really can't wait to plant some veggies and some herbs.

Gardens, Gunby Hall, Lincolnshire
And speaking of planting...I love this garden!
I wish it was in my back yard.  
I also wish I had the time to take care of a garden like this.
I can totally imagine myself having breakfast in this garden.
Wouldn't that be a great way to start the day?
I think it would be therapeutic and would totally demolish all bad moods.
Too bad insurance doesn't pay for therapeutic gardens.

I love this face.
I want this dog.
Alas, he will not be coming to live at our house any time soon.
At least not until Finn is old enough to help take care of him.
That's the plan, anyway. 
But I might not be able to wait that long to scratch his little ears.

Happy Monday.
Here's to a week of tulips and warm breezes and baby kisses.

Friday, March 18, 2011

You Capture: Emotion in B&W

"whyever would you pack shells for the beach?" i scowled.
annoyed as i set to unpacking them.

"i want to take them home,"
she answered with a shrug.
"it's not good to be away from home for too long."

she was so right sometimes, it hurt.


Next week's challenge: Youth

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I took my little leprechauns for a walk this afternoon when we got home.  The weather was too beautiful to ignore and since it's supposed to be rainy and gross this weekend, I figured we'd better enjoy every last drop of this 70 degree day.  However, I failed to take into consideration the fact that Finn had taken one nap at daycare today.  And that nap took place this morning for approximately one hour (obviously he's still getting used to his new surroundings, because he will take a 2+ hour nap when he's home with me on Tuesdays and the weekend).  He was tired and a little bit fussy at the park and he kept rubbing his hair, a sure sign of a tired boy!  After we played at the playground for a little bit, he fell asleep in his stroller for the rest of our walk. 

Abby is on spring break all week long (do you ever remember having an entire week of spring break when you were in middle school?  Other than a few days around Easter, I don't think I had a spring break until I was in college).  Since she had a sleep-over at her friend's house last night, I thought it might be good for us to do something as a family (although Uriah was working, so it was just the kiddos and me) so I dragged her along to the park with Finn and me.  We discussed the pros and cons of joining a team sport (she still has a little trouble walking and talking at the same time, so I think some sort of organized sport that requires coordination might help her) and also the benefits of changing her research paper from Justin Bieber to something a little more...academic.  I think she's settled on switching her topic of choice to Ellis Island.  Thank God. 

Happy St. Patty's Day!
I think there is a martini at the end of my rainbow...what's at the end of yours?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sweet stuff

Dear Low-Carb/Low-Fat Cheesecake in my refirgerator,

You are a liar. 

You looked so pretty in the picture and I had such high hopes for how you would taste on my tongue.  I should have know that you were too good to be true, but I am desperate.  I cannot contiue to go through my life eating sugar by the spoonful and expect my bum to get smaller.  I thought I had found the answer in your pretty fluffiness.  I was sure that I was going to enjoy a sweet treat this evening.  Decieteful, dirty faux-Cheesecake that you are, you were in fact not fluffy.  You were not sweet.  You were mostly like eating jello mixed with creamcheese, which I guess is what you are.  Wolf in sheep's clothing...or I guess, jello in cheesecake's clothing.

I will endeavor to get my sugar fix from these sweet cheeks from now on:

And if I want cheesecake, I will just eat the real thing.

Thank you for wasting my time and cooking skills.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Someone has a case of the Mondays...

Finneaus cried when I left him at daycare this morning.
For the first time.  Ever.
My heart broke as I walked away.

I am still not over it.

Friday, March 11, 2011

You Capture: Body Parts

I must admit that I am a silent blog lurker. 

There are some blogs that I check in with daily because the writing is witty or the family is inspiring or the pictures are amazing and phenomenal and make me want to pull out my camera the minute I get home or sit down and type out everything this is in my head.  One blog that I frequent is I Should Be Folding Laundry.  This is a family loves each other, which is so apparent in Beth's writing (I say that like I know her.  I don't.  But if I lived near her I'd accidentally-on-purpose run into her at the grocery store and invite her over for coffee so that I could pick her brain about photography and life and raising kids.). 

And her photography...oh, it's her photography that brings me back.  Beth has a weekly photography challenge.  And it truly is a challenge.  She encourages us (and by "us," I mean whomever reads her blog, because again, I don't know her.) to get out and take pictures for the challenge, not look for pictures that we have already taken.  The goal is to get your camera out and try something new.  And the great thing is that she participates in every single challenge that she posts.

I've never actually done one of her challenges even though she reminds us every week that anyone can join in at any time.  Sure, I've looked at a lot of the people's links who have done her weekly challenge.  And I've been inspired and I think to myself, I'll do it next week.  And, then...well, we all know that I can be a stellar procrastinator.

This week, however, I pushed myself a little bit and took Beth up on her challenge: You Capture: Body Parts. 

This particular challenge came at the most opportune time.  I've been lamenting this week how fast time is flying...Finn will be 8 months old in a few days.  He has two shiny teeth that we have started brushing.  He eats fruits and vegetables with gusto and we give him Baby Mum Mum crackers that he crunches loudly.  He can drink from a sippy cup and sometimes I let him feed himself the last bits of his bottle.  He gets up on all fours and rocks back and forth in an effort to gain enough momentum to crawl (but then he get's tired and scoots himself backwards on his belly, unsure as to why his toys are getting farther away instead of closer.).   I'm finding that the memories of how he smelled when he was brand new are fading (he's losing his new car smell, as my pal Sam would say).  And I miss the way his body could curve around mine when I fed him; he's so wiggly now and wants to see everything that's going on.  His hair was so dark when he was born and it's slowly fading into blond and it is so soft and fuzzy; he likes to rub his own hair in the evening when he's tired or when I lay him down in his crib for the night.

This challenge was perfect for me and these pictures are just for I never forget his fatty legs and baby squishy-ness, his soft hair, and his two-tooth grin.


Happy weekendning!
Next week's challenge: Emotion: In Black and White

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Books! Books! We love books!

We love books in our house.  LOVE THEM!

One of the first things I did when I was getting Finn's room ready was to go through my stash of children's books and begin building his collection.  I've limited his books to board books for the time being because he likes to chew on them.  I keep a couple of books in his toy box and when he's playing on the floor he's always got at least one book pulled out among his toys that roll and make noise.  To keep him occupied at dinner time, we put a book on his highchair and if we're going on a long car ride, I usually have a stash of two or three books in his diaper bag.

Finn's current favorite is Olivia, by Ian Falconer.  I'm sure it's no coincidence that the colors are red, black and white, which make it easy on little eyes, but we also like to look at all of the silly outfits that Olivia tries on every day.  Some of the writing (which is very witty) is more adult-geared, so that makes reading fun (and funny) for the mama, too.  He also has a stuffed Olivia, who sometimes joins in the reading of the book.

It's never too early to learn about the ABC's and the nice thing about Click, Clack ABC by Doreen Cronin, is that it has minimal words.  Since Finn still sometimes suffers from goldfish brain (his attention span can be pretty short), books with a few words, lots of colors, and fun pictures tend to be our best bet if we're going to get through the whole book with minimum biting interruptions.  The quicker he can turn the page, the more fun he has and engaged he tends to be.

One of the most fun books to read is The Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton.  I found it in one of my boxes at my parent's house over Christmas break; I have no idea when or where I purchased it, but it was a nice surprise.  Not only are the pictures super cute, but it's pretty fun to say, "Be-Bo!"in a high-pitched voice and poke Finn's belly button.  He giggles every time.

Occasionally we'll read some of our paperback books, like the Froggy books by Jonathan London or Chewy Louie by Howie Schneider, but Finn has a tendency to put things in his mouth and two little teeth marks and lots of slobber are not agreeable to the longevity of paperback books at this point.  I like for him to be able to hold the books and help turn the pages and I feel as though it defeats the purpose if I have to keep pulling the paper out of his fingers so he doesn't rip the pages.

What are your favorites?  I'm always on the look-out for new books - especially books that have great illustrations, and I would love to know what's in your collection.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Water conservation

Abby wastes so dang much time in the shower, you'd think she had a pet elephant in there that she needed to scrub from top to bottom nightly.  So, in an effort to be more green and less wasteful (and because sometimes I get annoyed and make up rules before I truly think them through) I told Abby that starting tonight she has 5 minutes worth of water-time in the shower.  That means that from the time she turns the water on, the clock starts ticking. 

5 minutes.

You can imagine how well that went over.  Like...well, like an elephant, to be perfectly honest.  Apparently there is a process of shampooing and conditioning and letting it work through her hair and face washing and leg shaving that goes on pretty much ever single night.  So I told her that one night a week she gets 10 minutes of shower time so that she can shave her legs (sweet Lord, this is what my life has come to!). 

And now that I'm truly thinking it through, Uriah and I can probably be a little bit more water conservative, too, since we are not the greenest family on the block.  If I'm asking Abby to limit her water usage, I should be able to, as well, so I'm limiting my own showers to 5 minutes of water time (however, if I don't shower every day, does that mean that I can save up my minutes to use later?  No, that's just going to get too complicated.  Better stick with a simple-stupid plan).  And even though I'd like to dictate to Uriah, as well, I'm not sure he'd be so...receptive to my request.  I might have to ease him into it.

I think I might have Abby do a report for me regarding water usage (or misusage) in America versus other countries - specifically countries that have very poor well systems.  I'm going to have to do some preliminary research and I'm not sure where to start or which countries have to worst water systems, so if you have any suggestions, I would appreciate it.  Sometimes it's good to have our eyes opened to what the rest of the world is suffering through; it might just make her 5 minute shower seem decadent.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The only thing constant is change

Uriah came home a couple of weeks ago after picking up Finn and told me that his day care was closing.

Not just for the day. 
I threw up a bit in my mouth.

Oh, and we only had a month to figure out new care. 
I threw up a lot in my mouth.

Apparently, I did not get the memo about procuring childcare before your baby has entered the world, because I didn't start looking for daycare for Finn until after he was born.  I was laughed off the phone by a couple of centers, which, by the way, is really inappropriate to do to a new mom who's sleep deprived and hormonal already.  I called Uriah crying a couple of times, convinced that we would never find any place worthy of our sainted son.  For two weeks straight, Finn and I toured the crap out of daycare centers in our neighborhood (this was the extent of my adventures outside of my comfort zone of home, couch and yoga pants in those first few weeks of Finn.).  I talked to home daycares on the phone (for the record, if the first impression people have of you and your home business is how you answer the phone, probably it would be best not to allow your teenaged son to answer the phone with: "What you want?").  I toured a bunch of centers - some good (with a wait-list to prove it), some not so good (please do not advertise that you have a playground when what you really have is some gated asphalt with a small container of dried grass and a couple of hula-hoops.  Thanks.).

We finally settled on a nice church daycare; of course, I had to make sure that we could bring our Catholic son to a Baptist church daycare (I didn't know if there were rules about being members to go there.  They assured me we could stay Catholic.).  This place was a Godsend - no pun wait, pun intended!  Finn loved it there.  His teachers loved him.  He was in a small classroom with 3 other babies so he got lots of love and snuggle time.  They went outside for walks when it was nice and I got a run-down every day of every single thing that he did...I loved that place and after looking high and low, I knew I was sending my son somewhere that was going to be almost as good and loving as being with me all day.

Today, after touring a couple of places and making a decision, Finn started his new daycare.

{First day of New School | 03.07.11}
I didn't sleep well last night. I felt like it was going to be my first day of school, and in a way, it was. I felt as though Finn was going to feel like I was abandoning him with people that he didn't know. My stomach was all knotty this morning as I got ready. I am such a creature of habit that it's almost detrimental. For the past 6 months, my rountine has been the same every morning. I get up, get myself ready, get the baby ready, drive 10 minutes to school and chat with his teachers, whom I've chatted with every morning for the past 6 months and then kiss my baby good-bye and head off to bring home some bacon. But this morning my drive was 2 minutes - just around the block - and the teachers welcomed him with open arms and they listened to me babble on about what he does during the day and what his moods are and how he naps and what he eats and that sometimes he likes a pacifier and sometimes he likes to suck his thumb and all the while Finn was looking around at the new toys and the new friends and the new faces and he didn't seem the least bit traumatized or unhappy. And then they assured me that Finn was going to be okay and that they would love on him all day for me.

Finn did have kind of a tough day. He didn't really want to nap, and I don't blame him; getting used to a new place is hard, so I played with him and I kissed and squeezed him from the minute I got home from work tonight until we had baby bath time and a bedtime bottle. And I held him a few extra minutes before I put him into bed (you're right, it was more than a few.  I probably would have held him all night if I didn't think it would make for a very, very hard day tomorrow!).

But when I finally laid him down, even though I knew he was sleeping, I told him I would be there when he wakes up. No matter what changes, I will be his constant.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Heavy heart

Let's not mince words, tonight, okay?  It's been a long day. 

Remember on Sunday when I thought I was getting better? 

Well, I'm not.  I am, however, going to the doctor tomorrow because the pressure in my sinuses must be near the breaking point and I'd prefer that they don't explode flesh and bone and neon yellow snot all over my computer screen or car windshield at an inopportune moment (because there's an opportune moment for that to happen?).  I have all of my hopes and dreams set on some miracle drugs coming my way tomrrow afternoon. And if not, I am determined to kill this infection the old fashioned way...with a martini.

But that's not really what this is about.

We (and by "we," I mostly mean Uriah, but me, too, so "we") have been attempting to get some sort of child support from Abby's mom for a long time (2 years, 8 months and 4 days.).  She seems bound and determined to avoid doing that at all costs, which means that every couple of weeks, Uriah is forced to call DCFS and find out what they're doing to get some support from her.  And it's come down to him having to actually go to the office to see if someone...anyone...can help him.

And if you've never had to deal with DCFS, let me tell you it's a little something like going to the DMV during your lunch hour, which also happens to be the majority of the DMV worker's lunch hour and also everyone else's lunch hour in the tri-county area, all of whom are converging upon the lone DMV worker who gets the late lunch break becuase she's the newest and gets the crap shifts.  And she's pissed about it.  And she let's you know that she's got a LeanCuisine waiting for her in back by working very, very slowly.  Oh, and did I mention that you are at the end of the line?  Yeah, that's pretty much what it's like to work with DCFS.

They feed Uriah the same scripted line everytime he calls and every time he goes into their offices, "We'll send another request the the state that she lives in and we'll have to wait 30 days for a response and someone will call you when we hear something."  And then when DCFS doesn't hear something from the other state and nobody calls us back (shock and suprise) we have to call them again.  And they send another request and we have to wait another 30 days (lather, rinse, repeat for almost 3 years).  And, if he asks to talk to the (clearly overworked and under-staffed) lady in charge of inter-state collections, she's always out of the office.  Always.  As in: Every. Damn. Time.

So, yes, this frustrates the hell out of me.  But, still not the basis for my rant this evening; just a little preliminary background, if you will.

Uriah went to DCFS again today to see if someone, anyone, had miracled some information for him (long wait for a train don't come since we didn't get a phone call, but I guess we're nothing if not persistent.).  And, you guessed it, the lady in charge of interstate collections was out of the office.  So, while he was waiting for someone, anyone, who could tell him when she'd be back in the office, he sat in the waiting room.  And in the waiting room was a sign that someone had painstakingly printed off of the computer and laminated and put in a nice little easel on the front desk for God and everyone to read:

What is a Dad?

And it listed all of the things that make a "dad" - a good provider and a support system among other things.  But the implication was clear:  A "dad" makes his child support payments.  A "dad" provides financially for his children.  A "dad" supports his children any way he can.  And, while I get that the majority of deadbeat parents are, in fact, dads, what about the deadbeat moms out there?  Why is it that DCFS felt the need to single out the deadbeat dads and not the deadbeat moms?  What about the dads that fight tooth and nail to give their kids a stable and nurturing home?  What about the dads who use every last penny that they have to get their kid out of an unstable environment so as to provide a better, more emotionally healthy life? 


What about every single-parent dad out there just trying to get the job done and raise his kids right?  Yes, I know that Uriah is not a single-parent.  We are a team and we provide Abby with the financial and emotional stability of having a two-parent household.  But because we are a double-income family should not imply that we are less importnat than, say, a single mother raising multiple children - or even just one child.  Our case is just as important and should be alloted just as much time.

Really, though, I'm just sad tongiht.  I'm sad that there are dads who don't care enough about their kids to take them to a baseball game or teach them how to build a model airplane and who avoid paying their childsupport at all costs.  And I'm even more sad that there are moms out there who avoid their financial responsibility with as much fervor as some of the dads do - women who grew and birthed children in and from their own bodies - who don't call their daughters; who don't send them Christmas presents or notes in the mail.

When I think about deadbeat parents, it makes me so angry I could scream. 

But when I think about the kids of those parents, it makes my heart heavy.