Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sittin' Pretty

I have yet to see Alden not go easily with a new person. At a few doctor's appointments I've had, he has willingly and with big, gummy smiles been handed over to others and toured around the office with nary an issue. As with most children issues, there are two sides to this coin. Great that he is trusting but scary that he is trusting, know what I'm sayin'?

In this case, it was super great to hand him over to Mrs. Clause for the iconic "Baby's First Christmas with Santa" picture. Again, the hat only makes this picture that much more precious. Like, ridiculously precious. Like, puke in my mouth precious. Love. It.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Finally! A Finished Project.

I'll bet you thought we forgot what the original purpose of this blog was, huh? You stopped tuning in because we hadn't worked on anything in the house for about, say, 6 months. Well, behold. A finished shelf.


Decorated for the holidizays

Friday, December 18, 2009


The good news is that we placed Curtis in a new home. The home of a sweet, young family with a girlfriend dog for Curtis to snuggle with and over six fenced acres for him to roam. Plus, and this is a huge plus, the man in the family LOVES to duck hunt. We all know that Curt has the interest in fowl... from poop to pond! We are so happy and excited for him.
... and so sad for ourselves. I have been tearing up and full on bawling for over two weeks now. I miss him terribly and loathe that we had to come to this decision. But, in truth, it is best. We don't have the kind of house or yard where this kind of pooch can live out his full potential. I am terribly impressed with his spirit and willingness to learn and love.

I will always regard Curtis as our practice baby. He taught us a great deal of patience, enthusiasm, and helped me exercise during my looooong pregnancy. He was there when I told Dustin we were expecting, he sniffed my baby bump every morning in wonder, and he accepted Alden right away. Curtis will remain here in my memories and heart forever.

Still life by Curtis.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Oh, Christmas Tree!

A couple weeks back we joined the Allen family and friends up in the snow for their second son's birthday. Dustin picked out a Noble Fir for our second Christmas tree in 13 years. We figured we better adopt the holiday spirit for Alden's sake.

It is totally working. I bought a tree stand. Both Dustin and I grew up with the notion that a pickle bucket with some rocks and sand is the easy way to go. Sure, if your Lou Ferrigno. Heavy, bulky, unsightly. Not Lou. I mean the makeshift stand.
We found this on the side of the road...
Lastly, proof that we are gigantic nerds. Well, more proof anyway.


Right when you think that everything cute for babies already exists you stumble upon this little number in the clearance bin at Old Navy. And your crazed inner-mom goes, "I don't care if this costs a million dollars. I'm buying it."

Similar, much?
Love the shirt.
Love the hat.
Love it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

One Small Step for Alden, One Giant Step for Parent-kind

I remember when I was outside-of-the-home employed and had personal work challenges to rise to and conquer. Say a funky co-worker with a personal bubble invading issue (yes, Gavin, I'm talking about you) or a deadline that was waaaay to close for comfort (yes, Josh, I'm talking about you). Now that I am at home working as a domestic coordinator, I have wins here and there that no one is around to witness. Well, I suppose all of the important people are here... Captain, myself, and A-game.
Sleeping has been hit or miss around here for the past few months. More for me than anyone else. But, as of Thursday night, that is no more. Alden has been sleeping in his own room. In his crib! On his back! Mouth agape and just snoring along. I won't go into detail as to HOW we got there but it involves a lot of patience, determination, and a little thing called teamwork. Somewhere in the fourth hour of soothing baby down, I remembered why I liked Dustin in the first place. His focus on potential. He believed that Alden had the potential to sleep on his own while we coached him along. He believed that I had the potential to wean our son from our room. And he believed in his own potential for keeping us all in line doing so. There was a lot of back patting that night as we encouraged each other along into the wee hours of the morning. And, finally, as a family we slept separately. Together.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dustin's Truths (Only Not True This Time)

Upon setting the bike lock combination
January 2008
We had both decided on something simple like 9991 because of the ease of remembering numbers but, upon actually setting the bike lock combination, Dustin spoke up..
“Well, somehow I misguided it. So the combo is 9197.”
Where I replied, “Ok. How can we try to remember that?”
Brief pause.
“The year you lost your virginity and the year you graduated,” he quipped.
In reference to the first year, I defended with,”Hey, I would have been 12, dude.”
His reply? “It’s not MY fault you were slutty.”

And THAT is how you know you have a healthy relationship with your husband. :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Alden for Hire

Alden is four months old now! Almost time for him to start on solids. Almost time for him to get a job. So, like any good mommy, I pose the question: should I start him on rice cereal or just go straight to coffee beans? On the one hand, rice cereal introduces the idea of food, how to use the cumbersome tongue, and forms a healthy relationship to eating in general. On the other hand, coffee beans could make us some money, honey. Consider if you will Kopi Luwak where the coffee berries have been eaten, passed through the digestive tract of the Asian Palm Civet, gathered by natives, and bagged for the wealthy to enjoy.
The above is NOT a picture of Kopi Luwak but it is the only picture of coffee that I have on file. It is actually a cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate with a side of Cuban Toast from a visit to Cafe Diablo with my good friend in Seattle. The drink is good but the toast is to DIE for. Best two dollars I've ever spent.
I couldn't decide which caption to pair with this picture so I'll let you decide:
*Kopi Luwak (that's Vietnamese for "smell this")
*Picture an imaginary comment bubble hovering over his left shoulder, "I make less than one cent for every cat turd I collect. " Pause. "Fair enough."
*Fair Trade, my civet ass!
*Since typical coffee is a diuretic... what are the effects of Kopi Luwak? Implosion?
*While we're on the topic of hybrid etibles... what IS nutella?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Oh, Wook It! I'm Four Months Old!

You've probably noticed that this blog has become, at least for now, really about Alden. Less about the house and how we are living in it as we fix it up. And THAT is tough cookies for anyone who thinks we may be a bit obsessed. C'mon! He is our ultimate project!
I introduced him to the jumping chair which, if you ask me, is one of the oddest contraptions invented. And I'd be lost without it! Alden detested his swing chair and was more than pumped to get set up in this thing... this thing that hangs from the door moulding and resembles something you'd rig your food up in while camping. But. Who am I to question the desires of a baby?

Monday, November 9, 2009

And the Insisting Begins...

Dustin and I have always been kids at heart. When we lived in San Diego, we had season passes to Sea World and would go all of the time. We'd cheer and laugh even more than some of the little kids sitting next to us in the Splash Zone at the Shamu Show. It's a wonder what took us so long to get on the kid-havin' train. Anyway. Now that we do have one, it gives us a better excuse to do even more family oriented stuff. We're no longer the creepy kid-less adults laughing maniacally at otters balancing soda cans on their heads or shrieking with delight when a clown hands us a balloon. Now, with Alden in tow, we can go to pumpkin patches with dignity even though our child won't remember any of it and will probably sleep through the entire thing.
Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Oooh, oooh! His eyes are open!

Totally worth it!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Puppets! Git Yer Fresh, Hot Puppets Here!

As a freshman, I remember being extremely disappointed with the options that were offered at a career fair hosted at our high school. As an alternative aspiration, I declared that I wanted to be a puppeteer. Now, sixteen years and several career paths later, I am making personalized puppets for those that like a little flair in their gift giving. I've been making these for close friends and family for 2 years and now I am taking them globally. Help me populate with personalized puppets, please.
  • Do you know someone who would appreciate a personalized puppet of themselves or someone they love?
  • Do you know a child or spouse that could use a personalized puppet to teach them things like how to be brave, how to take a nap, or how to replace the roll of toiler paper?
  • Do you have some bad news to tell someone and don't have the heart to do it yourself?
  • Do you have a friend that has everything and you're stumped on a gift to give them?
Give the gift of puppet. Personalized, of course.

Lookalike Puppet Model: $25 total
The sock puppet will have the following:
  • skin color of choice
  • hair color of choice
  • eye color of choice
  • moving mouth
  • shirt in your preference of color
  • bendable arms (NEWEST FEATURE)

Mirror Image Puppet Model: $35 total
The sock puppet will have the above AND the following:
  • shirt embroidered with an initial or simple design
  • sequined eyes
  • something of interest to hold

Dead Ringer Puppet Model: $55 total
The sock puppet will have the above AND the following:
  • body art (arms only, others depending on complicity)
  • piercings (ears, nose, possibly others)
  • bendable hair (NEWEST FEATURE)

Mini-Them Puppet Model: $7 total

To get the ball rolling, I require:
  1. a picture of the person's face, up close and personal with descriptions of hair and eye color
  2. a brief description of the person's attributes and personality that I am capturing
  3. any pictures of the top notch stuff (tattoos specifically)
Lastly, if you are wanting a puppet that will actually be played with a lot, say by a child, I am limited to using only felt, thread, foam sheet, and glue on the puppet. These styles of puppets are made more durably so that parts and pieces remain affixed to the puppet though they should be examined before and after play time for steadfastness. If the puppet is intended for adult use and care, depending on your person that I am puppeting, I may use felt, paint, beads, foam sheet, embroidery thread, and adhesives. I am not limited to those materials and will discuss new options with you.

If you are interested, leave an inquiry in my email

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Where the Wild Things Went...

Some parents are content letting just their kids dress up for Halloween while they look on adoringly. These particular parents aren't simply satisfied with that concept. We both just sort of shake our heads back and forth in dismay like you would when trying to convey that you don't understand someone's accent. We not only dress up but build a friggin' theme with back story. This year? We were mythical creatures...

Ah, the majestic unicorn and dragon.

A jackalope and his son...

Ignore my Captain Morgan stance and concentrate on the adorable-ness of Baby Dragon's profile. I want to eat him like a cob of corn.

Crouching Jackalope, Snoozing Dragon

Alden was more lulled to sleep than excited over the stroll downtown to Trick or Treat. Once again, this parenting thing seems to be more about us right now.

Inter species cuddling...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things: Part 2

1. I like that Dustin thinks that Alden has my smile.
2. I like that I think Alden has Dustin's smiley eyes.
3. It fun to give Alden baths. He is very peaceful in the tub.
4. Alden's head smells like honey.
5. I like that "tummy time" also means "farty time".

Friday, October 16, 2009

Curt, A Year Gone By

A year ago today, I had been newly hired, Dustin was leaving for Elk Camp with my dad, and my biggest worry was leaving our little puppy dog, Curtis, at home by himself for the day. Little did we know that life was going to get a whole lot more exciting. We were pregnant for a less than a minute and had a while before we found out. Anyway. I'd like to take a moment to show our Curtis growing up in this past year. Must be all that dry wall in his diet...

He is a great dog with the best intentions but puts Marley to shame. You can actually hear the gears turning in his noggin as he thinks up the next thing to destroy...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Scent of Money

Lever 2000 soap smells like money to me. And I'll tell you why...

When I was younger and living with my two older sisters and parents in the woods outside of town, neighbors with kids our age were hard to come by. Luckily, we had a family that lived about 2 miles away that had three daughters around our same ages. It was a comfortable bike ride away if you were committed to visiting. And I typically was because the middle daughter and I were good buddies who liked to clean and organize for fun, play office, and set up rigid schedules for our summer time enjoyment. Like the military for 12 year olds.

They would sometimes visit our home but not nearly as often as we would go to theirs. We lived up a dirt road that had 3 tough hills in it's mile long distance and we didn't have a 3 hole golf course, golf cart, in-ground swimming pool, or Coke on tap. That's right, you heard me with the Coke ON TAP. They also had a lynx-y/bob cat in a beautiful cage that ran along the side of the house that the girl' bedroom were on. I can still see it looking into their window at me from my sleeping bag on the floor. As a result, I can only clearly remember staying over two times in the entire 14 years of living near them... the second time I slept in the parents' room. But I digress.

Sometime in the 90's, Lever 2000 soap came out on the market. It was a brand new soap amidst so many tried and true and, frankly, tired soaps like Ivory, Irish Spring, and Tone. It had fresh and modern packaging and was more expensive than the other soaps. That is why we never had any at our home. Not to say that we couldn't afford it but that is wouldn't be the NEXT thing we'd buy. But, one day, while rinsing off in the outdoor bathroom after swimming in the neighbors pool, I got to try Lever 2000. It was a significant time in my life already, so I apologize if this seems a bit dramatic. It made an impression, is all. I was starting high school soon, I was going to be a cheerleader after having been relatively friendless through middle school, I was soon to be a child of divorce, and so and so on. I was noticing differences between my lifestyle and those of my peers for the first time. Some of those differences were materialistic. So there I was, having just spent the day drinking Coke from the tap like I was getting paid for it after cruising down to the country store in the golf cart to put candy on our parents' tabs before swimming in a pool that looked like it belonged in Miami and not Southern Oregon. Who was I? Where was I? And where do I fit in? And what is that amazingly luxurious sent? I decided that I wanted more of what the Lever 2000 lifestyle had to offer.

To this day, I use Lever 2000 soap in my home. I didn't know then what kind of money one had to have to live like our neighbors did but I liked thinking that I would know some day. This isn't to say that I've made it materially but when I do you had better believe I'll be having me some Slurpee on tap. And a mini-cow. And a butler. And a finger monkey.

Dustin's Truths

About once a week, when I'm feeling dull, I read this from my favorite conversations with Dustin. I shake my head and move on with my day, renewed.

July 21, 2008
Upon discussing our new dog’s fecal matter:
D “Have you ever looked at his poop?”
Me “Yes. It looks like Palak Paneer.”
D “It looks like a junk drawer. Some matches, a balloon, Easter grass, a birthday candle, a golf tee….”

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things

Awww. That's nice.

He's lucky to have any toes left... for I have tried to nibble them all.

Me and my buddy getting ready for a walk.

Other things I enjoy about the baby Alden are:
1. His adoration for a stuffed red bird that we have cleverly dubbed "Red Bird" is palpable. Every time he sees it, his faces lights up, his mouth opens wide, and his eyes shine. I've seen him react similarly with a pair of orange handled scissors that I had near by but the Red Bird is tried and true. Buddies til the end.
2. His smile in the morning is wobbly and grows stronger as the day progresses.
3. He has discovered his hands and sucks on them for comfort and in curiosity. They smell a little because of that but that just means we can call him names like "Stinky Mittens".
4. He seems more satisfied than not as the weeks go by.
5. He loves to be held and rest his head on our chests. That means he feels safe which is something that I have always sought for myself and am happy to provide for another human being.
6. His eyelashes are nearly translucent but when he cries they clump up and show a light strawberry blond color.
7. He gets distracted by his own reflection in the mirror when he is upset. I'll show him himself and he instantly smiles back. That seems like the start of a healthy self-esteem. "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And, Gosh darn it, people like me."

This is just the beginning of a very long list.

Ok. Don't Laugh At Me

Until today, I didn't know that the "www" of a website address is OPTIONAL when typing in the URL. I had silently watched Dustin skip typing in the "www" before several sites' addresses while showing me some stuff about a project he's been working on. Admittedly, I don't really remember what cool stuff he'd discovered because I was frantically digging through my computer knowledge like a dog looking for his dinner bone on a beach. Sand. Was. Everywhere.
Did I know this and somehow forgot? Why have I been wasting precious time typing out the tedious and all-so-obvious "www" for all these years? Why do people even display this portion of an address when we ALL know that "www" is the standard precursor to getting there?
When Dustin finally turned to me and asked excitedly, "Well? So what do you think?" I whispered, "It's amazing."

Augggh. It Can't Stop

I'm just going to say the two that have come up since yesterday and get it over with because I can't seem to stop it from happening.
Squealy Dan
Wailin' Jennings (thanks, mom)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

An Oldie But A Goody

I can't seem to stop coming up with celebrity names with baby Alden twists. Here we go with Snoozin B. Anthony.
I'm sorry. I hope it stops soon.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Love/Hate Relationship

I love hot glue guns for their instant adhesive-ness. I love that they can make nearly all craft projects that much easier and more quickly accomplished. I love the quick clean up and very small expense associated with a glue gun.

I hate that when a minuscule drop of hot glue gets on your skin you would gladly rip of that portion of your body if it would stop the soul ruining pain that is the burn of hot glue.

Thought you should know.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


You just LOOK at this picture and, BAM, spontaneous pregnancy.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cloth Diaperth Are Rad-th

We made it through an entire three days of cloth diapers. I was admittedly nervous to try these suckers out because what if they did, in fact, suck? What if they didn't work like I had hoped? Determined to get on the saving money train, I tried them a few weeks back with Alden was under 10 pounds. He looked like a tick. Ridiculous. Also, I was still VERY novice level at the mom thing so I was scared of adding more laundry to my chore list in my sleep deprived state. I could see myself forgetting to take the cloth diapers OFF of the baby and just tossing the whole works in the washer.

But weeks, pounds, and sleep add up. I am more confident in my abilities to care for my son, myself, and our home all in the same day. Alden is also a bit bigger and fills out the diapers better. Further, Dustin encouraged me that cloth diapers were what we had been raised in and our parents before us so there must be some value to them. Also, in a previous post this week, I discussed my walk of shame with my son's poo on my ankle? 'Member that? Those were disposable diapers and they failed to contain the poo so I figured cloth couldn't do worse than that. So far, so good. Alden seemingly hasn't noticed the change up so that's a plus, too.

Now both grandma's can be assured that those days of sewing diapers and their covers were well worth it. Alden's hiney has never looked cuter all bundled up in 10 and 1/2 inches thick of fabric. Sure, the kid can't bend at the waist and looks like he just got done riding a horse for a week but at least it won't embarrass him or anything.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dustin's Truths

This dates back to May of 2008 when things had been more simple...

Upon preparing to pack our San Diego home into a U-haul:

Me: This is some serious shit. This stuff is heavy and there is a lot of it.
Dustin: It’s cool. We’ll figure it out (meaning that I will have to figure it out)
Me: (getting defensive) Hey, I’m tough. I’m not whining.
Dustin: Oh, I know I married a tough broad. You could probably have a baby sideways.

Awwww, thanks, D.

You Know You're A Mom When...

... you feel something wet drip on your ankle while you are out on a walk with a friend and you don't even PAUSE to think "wait, is it raining?" because YOU KNOW that it is poo. Poo from your baby that is strapped to your front. Poo that is everywhere BUT the diaper. Up the neck and on the ears of that baby and on your shorts and ankle. You further know that you are a mom because you then continue doing errands only to stop to stuff toilet paper around the diaper because why on earth would you have a back up diaper? That would make just TOO much sense and sense is something that went out the door with modesty during labor.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I've Still Got It

Being pregnant is such a glorious feeling. You are giving and creating life and, although exhausting, you do have moments of feeling beautiful. Full hair, fuller chest, letting your abdomen hang loose for the first time since adolescence... it is so pure and specific to those nine months. You are adored by women who have been through it and strike awe in those that haven't. Men, on the other hand, start calling you "Mrs." or "Lady" and steering clear because a) you probably have become unstable emotionally, b) they don't want to catch the virus that got you pregnant, and c) even if you're pulling an Angelina and looking EVEN FOXIER pregnant, you're clearly spoken for. This last part hardly registers in your radar until your final month of pregnancy when you feel utterly enormous and hideous and a bit helpless. You start to wonder if you'll ever get a compliment from the opposite sex again. But then, after hours of labor and many sleepless nights, covered in milk and your tiny infants' feces, you realize that someone has a crush on you.

And, just like that, you realize that you've still got it!