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Yes, I put C in daycare today.  Which is somewhat shocking because I am a stay at home mom.  So let me explain.

1. C really needs to be exposed to other children.  We’ve done classes or play groups, but he usually wants to stick close to me rather than engage the other kids.  So really, C needs to be around other kids specifically when I’m not there.

2. C is very dependent on me.  Or maybe we’re co-dependent.  I don’t know and I’m not going to use this moment to analyze the Freudian nightmare I may have created.  Let’s just focus on the fact that my husband was largely absent for the first 20 months of C’s life.  So C had me.  And I had him.  And we were always together.  Maybe too much together, I don’t know.  The point is that now he does not like being away from me.  He rarely goes to anyone else and if he does it is for a short amount of time.  When he was sick, on and off these last two weeks (that is an entirely different post), he largely refused to leave my side, nay my arms.  So maybe we could both use a little away time.

3. My aunt runs the daycare I dropped him off at, so there was never a question of looking for a daycare, interviewing, etc.  She was like a second mother to me, so it was natural for C to go to her.

4. I sometimes need a break, a little alone time with my thoughts or thought, since I can’t think of anything else to do right now than write in my blog.  Literally, I’m sitting here trying to think of what to do next that might be fun and does not involve housework (although the house is clean and the laundry is done so I can’t really do that either).  I could write the Christmas thank you notes I’ve been putting off, but that’s not much fun.  I could clean out my closet, but again, that’s lacking the fun factor.

I think I’ll head outside.  I’ve done my hair and makeup, since I was actually alone in the bathroom for more than 5 minutes.  I think I’ll make the most of it and go somewhere in public.  Like the mall….Yeah! that’s it.  I’m heading to Fashion Island.  It’s outside, pretty, and public.  Woo hoo!

Here I go…right after I check my text messages from my aunt for the 14th time today.

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Dear Reader, I may need an intervention.  I’m serious, I think my addiction is getting out of hand.  I’m constantly yearning for the next time I can use it, the next time I can savor it, the next time I can luxuriate in the sheer wonder of it.

I am, dear reader, an Etsy addict.

What is Etsy? Blasphemy! Please don’t let me ever hear you utter those words again.  I’ll overlook your ignorance this once, but that’s it!

Etsy is, according to its slogan, “your place to buy and sell all things handmade, vintage, and supplies”.  Essentially, it’s an online marketplace for people who run small businesses either out of their homes or in small commercial settings.

Why do you love it though?  I mean, isn’t it just another shop or is it like Craigslist or something? No, it is absolutely not!! Again, this once, I will have patience with you.  Just. this. once.

Most of the items are handmade or “upcycled” (which means that sellers have taken items from mass production and repurposed them or made them their own in some way).  For example, you may have anything to handmade pottery, made by someone with their own kiln in the yard:

Beautiful right?

Or someone who designs their own images and screen-prints them on mass-produced t-shirts:

Ugh! I love it!

Or this one:

I think I know one lucky husband who’ll be receiving this shirt for Valentine’s day.

In addition to all the wonderful handmade/homemade items, there are thousands of vintage items out there:

If I could I would buy this dress and wear it everyday!  However, I am not now nor have I ever been a size 6 (or since this is from the 80s, a size 4).  If you are a size 4, buy it.  Do it right now! Don’t look back, you’ll be so happy you did.

Ok, so maybe vintage dresses aren’t your thing, what about housewares:

No? Ok, so maybe that last one is just me.

But that’s the thing! You can essentially find anything on here, to suit any taste for any purpose.  You’ll pretty much find it and you’ll be supporting someone’s small business (as well as being green-minded) instead of buying something mass-produced from the Gap or Pottery Barn.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I love both those stores, but isn’t there something nice about finding a treasure, that there may be only one of, in the whole world?

If that doesn’t sell you on it, maybe something else will.  For example, I have a HUGE love of Anthropologie.  It’s seriously amazing.  Yes, they too support recycled items and local artists, but they are a little…ahem…overpriced (there I said it!).  So when I fell in love with this beautiful beach cover-up caftan they had, I thought to myself, maybe I can find something like it on Etsy.  Maybe something vintage.  Lo and behold, there are hundreds of caftans on Etsy, each for way less than the Anthro price.

Lastly, we all know that I’m a nerd.  Yes, a NERD.  Not a geek, not a dork.  I am a nerd, and damn proud of it.  (I fully embraced my nerdiness when I entered Library School, as there was just no going back from there.)  Thankfully, Etsy is full of nerds who love all things silly and punny (no, that’s not a typo).

There is an entire section of Etsy called the Geekery. Explore.

You’re welcome for that.

So why do I need an intervention?

Because I simply cannot tear myself away!

I honestly don’t buy stuff every day (I swear, it’s more like once a month), but I do peruse the pages every single day, sometimes multiple times a day.  It’s so fun!  There is everything on there! I…I…just love it SO MUCH!

….

….

Ok, I’m backing away now…maybe I’ll go on tomorrow, maybe not.  One day at a time….

I wonder if someone made a t-shirt for that?

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As reported, my son has been driving me crazy and obviously needs some different kind of stimulation than what I have been providing.

I think the piles of books on the floor clearly make this point for me.

So…in order to maintain my sanity I’ve been doing some brainstorming, followed by research.  For several days I’ve been wracking my brain about what activities my boys likes best.  Frankly, I’ve been obsessing about every toy he’s ever played with for more than 5 minutes, every activity he’s ever willingly engaged in, every tiny hint he might be interested in something that stimulates his little mind.

And here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. The “rollercoaster” table.

good times

C played with a table/activity center similar to this at the bookstore, the doctor’s office, and, most recently, the children’s library.  It was this last incident (and yes, I said incident on purpose) that really hammered home for me how much C loves these darn things.

**Let me recount for you what happened: We went to the library in the hopes of seeing a puppet show, which later scared the crap out of C, but we had some time to kill before that happened.  I thought hanging out in the children’s department might be a good idea.  C could flip through the board books, maybe play with the other kids.  Instead, he saw the rollercoaster activity table and made a bee-line for it.  He spent about half an hour pushing the beads up and down the wires, apparently never tiring of the repetitive motions.  When I had to tear him away for the puppet show, he quite literally freaked out! Screaming at the top of his lungs, C threw himself around in my arms as I tried to leave the children’s department in a dignified manner.

My dignity may have remained in tact had we not returned there after fleeing the evil puppet show.  But brilliantly thinking that the rollercoaster would definitely cheer my son up, I failed to take into consideration how difficult it would be to pry him away from it a second time.  And unfortunately, I wasn’t able to wait until C tired of the table since he delivered a very large stinky diaper that need immediate attention.  I was forced to pull him away from the table and yet again, was subjected to piercing screams and full tantrum mode.  I think my dignity is still there on the floor of the children’s department, right next to the puddle of my hopes that C would spend many happy afternoons there.  Alas…**

Needless to say, it was pretty clear to me that C would love to have a table of his own.  So I got one.

No it’s not his birthday and Christmas is still months away.  Let’s just call it a birthday gift to myself.

2. The play kitchen.

A solution to cabinet emptying? we'll see.

My thoughts on this are that C really (I means REALLY) seems to enjoy emptying shelves and cabinets, so maybe he would like to do this in his own pretend kitchen (rather than in Mommy’s real one).

I’m thinking of getting this as C’s early Christmas present.  If this year is anything like last year, he’ll enjoy the paper and boxes more than the gifts.  Truthfully, he probably won’t even know it’s a special day other than the fact that there are a lot of boxes wrapped in paper he’s allowed to rip and shred to his heart’s delight.  So if he gets his play kitchen a little early, no one will know but us.  And I can trust you with this, right?

3. The workbench.

To focus the banging on to hammers and nails

C seems to have a lot of frustration and aggression due to his inability to communicate and control his own environment (or at least that’s what the books say).  Unfortunately this means C has been throwing things and banging his little hands on whatever he’s near.  My thinking here is that maybe he can take some of his frustration out with the little toy hammer and the little toy “nails”.  If not, the whole thing only cost me about $10 and he has plenty of cousins who, I’m pretty sure, would be glad to take it off his hands.

We’ll see if these news toys help to take the edge off C’s terribleness (some time at the park and at the baby gym should help too).

The rollercoaster table arrived today and I don’t know who was more excited, me or C.  But I know this for certain, my boy happily played with it for about 20 minutes without a hint of frustration and I saw some of my happy baby boy peeking out from behind his “terrible” toddler faces.

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I complain on here…a lot.  Tonight I’m going to tell you all the things I love about my new house.

Why tonight? Well, as I was giving C his bath, we listened to the Raffi song “Thanks A Lot”.  Yes, I know I am siting Raffi as my writing inspiration, but you never know what spirit will move you.

So tonight I’m thankful for:

  • The stars. I can actually see them here.  At our old house in Redondo Beach, I could typically see about two stars at night.  Though Redondo is considered a “suburban” part of LA county, it is more urban than most of the places I’ve ever lived.  Ever block is crammed with houses, stores, apartments, professional buildings, etc.  Traffic (and traffic noise) is non-stop.  Thus, when sun sets, it is often brighter after dark than at dusk, thanks to the thousands upon thousands of street lights, traffic lights, security lights, neon lights.  Here in Huntington Beach, I live on the edge of nowhere.  There is literally nothing between me and the ocean except for a few old oil derricks.  When I look out my window at night, I am greeted by the blackness of the ocean’s night sky.  All that lights my view is a twinkling line of orange lights along Pacific Coast Highway.  And in return for my journey 30 miles south I am given a sky-full of stars.
  • The hawks. I am not a bird person.  At ALL.  I think birds are rather mean, spiteful creatures, who seem to have a special hatred for humans.  Not that I blame them.  We eat their kind, so it’s understandable.  But they are still mean.  And beautiful.  Mean and beautiful.  Anyways….I hate crows.  They are especially mean, just ask a friend of mine who got attacked by one while riding her bike.  Or ask my old room-mate about how we were tormented by a murder of crows that lived on the garbage bin behind our apartment during our sophomore year.  They would sit there and caw for hours.  HOURS! Redondo was no better.  For whatever reason, there are thousands of the horrible suckers in the area.  They would land on my chimney, lean into the chute and caw…loudly, driving me and my dogs slowly insane.  We have slowly been regaining our sanity, thanks in large part to the enormous hawks that patrol our beautiful backyard wetland.  They seem to hate crows as much as I do and for that, I am very thankful.

    My hero

  • My new view.

    ahhhhhh

  • The quiet.  Part of living in a city is the noise.  The constant noise! This made my poor Penny very nervous.  She takes her job as watch dog very seriously.  A loud truck? BARK! A distant siren? Bark! A couple walking their dog past our house at 11pm? BARK BARK BARK BARK! Now, I have literally 7 houses other houses on my street, sharing a wall with only one.  There is no house behind, no house to the left.  The closest street light is over half of a mile away.  Sure, people use the trail behind my house to walk their dogs, but mostly during the day, and a good 20 meters from the house.  Penny is, needless to say, relieved.  She only barks at people who come to my door (so mostly tolerant relatives and delivery men), and any trucks that rumble by.  Thus, trash days are awful, but the rest of the week is blissfully quiet.
  • The backyard. Since moving, C’s hair has gotten noticeably blonder, I’ve actually grown tanner, and my dogs have acquired bumps and scratches from joyfully racing through the rose bushes.  My poor Dodger ended up with a quarter-inch thorn stuck in his paw! But this is not what makes me thankful.  What makes me thankful is that all my children have yards and yards of space to run, frolic and play.  It’s not unusual to see one or both of my dogs squirming on their backs in the green grass or chasing each other full speed back and forth across my now expansive lawn.  And what of C? You can find him running, laughing after the dogs as they play.  Sometimes he’ll pick up one of their tennis balls, run after them, offering it (ok, trying to push it into their mouths) as he giggles.  I honestly feel that heaven may look a little like my backyard when they’re all having fun like that.

Yes, there are many, many things I do not love about my new house, but once the renovations start I’m sure you’ll get an earful about each and every one of them.

For tonight though, just assume that I am blissfully happy with my wonderful new-to-me Huntington Beach house. And I’m more than a little thankful for the beauty God put outside my window.

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Beginnings

I don’t even know where to begin.  The last few weeks have been down-right crazy!

For those of you out of the loop, we moved! Hurrah!  We now officially live in Orange County.  I love love love our new house.  Everything about it is awesome: the location, the view, the natural light, the dog friendly neighborhood.  It’s truly fantastic.

That does not mean that it wasn’t absolutely hellish getting here….because it was….HELLISH.

I don’t think I was ever more tired than I was last week during the move (ok, maybe after giving birth, but next to that this was pretty exhausting).

Let me take you back to the beginning.

About two-three weeks ago, C and I both had allergy attacks, probably from the packing and cleaning going on at the house.  We both have hay fever, but it usually passes.  So I wrote off my persistent headaches as allergy related and C’s crankiness as teething.

As usual, I was wrong.  I’m getting a little tired of being wrong ALL the time.  It is seriously annoying.

After about a week of crankiness, sleeplessness, massive drooling, and finally a refusal to eat I took C and I to our individual doctors. On our first visit, the doctors checked us out, confirmed my suspicion of a sore throat and ear infection (since I had the worst sore throat of my life, as well as some massive pressure in my ear, I figured C might be suffering a similar fate).  We were each given some antibiotics and sent home with orders to rest.

Rest is difficult enough when you’re trying to move an entire household in just a few days, but when you’re a psuedo-single mother dealing with a sick child and trying to manage it all alone, it’s damn near impossible.

For the week leading up to the doctor visits, as well as the first few days after I was averaging about 4 hours a night.  Sigh….It was….challenging.

My mother finally took pity on me and kept the baby overnight, while I drugged myself with NyQuil and slept for 10 hours straight.  I should have turned the corner after that, but I didn’t.  In fact, I felt worse.  And to top it all off C was worse.

After debating all Sunday about whether to make an ER visit or just wait until Monday morning, I finally packed us up and off we went to urgent care.  By the time we got there I was wheezing so badly it was nearly impossible to get a clean breath, while C screamed his head off for about 3 hours straight.

I begged, cajoled and threatened my husband until he left work and met us at urgent care so I could actually be treated for whatever was wrong with me without trying to keep a miserable toddler happy.  Good thing I did, because I had to have chest x-rays followed by a breathing treatment since bronchitis appeared to be forming in my lungs.  After a shot of antibiotic and a couple prescriptions, I was sent home.

C was no happier, so I took him back to his doctor in the morning where he also got an inspection, and a shot.  His single ear infection had spread to  a double ear infection as well as a raw, red throat.  No good.

It took about 48 hours for both of us to start feeling better, which wasn’t an ideal schedule since we were still sick on Tuesday when the movers showed up.

I opted for the more expensive and slower move by stretching it over two days.  It cost a bit more, but it gave us a chance to hole up in the master bedroom and stay in bed all day while the rest of the house got packed up and moved out.

Without going into too much detail, let’s just say it was an extremely stressful 48 hours (for which I would like to thank my mom and cousin A for getting me through).

I’m not going to think about it anymore.  Instead I’m going to focus on my lovely new house and the wonderful beginnings we have here.

(I’ll try to locate a camera other than my iPhone and post some pictures of the new house so you can see just why I’m so happy)

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We had an accident in the tub.  No…not that kind of accident.

We had a slip and fall kind of accident. We had the kind of accident where my son does a little flip in the water and my heart follows suit.

Everything was going so well, at first.

C had another of his “challenging” days as the last of his one year old molars comes in.  As typical of these days I prepared him two separate dinners, of which he wanted neither.  After struggling to get any food in him at all (which ended up being an applesauce, a yogurt, and some crackers), I was looking forward to getting him in the bath.

Usually, he’s somewhat happy in the bath.  C loves to pick up his various bath toys and tell me stories about them, or at least I think that’s what he’s doing when he babbles to me for half an hour picking up toy after toy.  C has recently discovered how much he likes splashing, making bath time endlessly more entertaining.  He doesn’t seem to mind that he mostly splashes himself, as the sheer joy of roughing up the water seems to be enough.

C also likes to wander from the front of the bath to the back, usually sliding on his bottom, sometimes walking.  It’s the walking in the bathtub that I have been growingly concerned about.  But, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before on here, my son is a tad stubborn, or let’s say “independent” to put it nicely.

I’ve physically tried to make him sit down, picking him and putting his tiny butt down in the water.  I’ve tried holding his arm so he can’t actually walk any where.  I’ve tried strongly telling him no.  All of these approaches have resulted in tears…mostly C’s tears.

So I took a new approach.  I let C know that I did not approve of this walking around business.  I held his hand when I could.  I said “careful. CAREFUL!” over and over and over.  I watched him closely, refusing to play any games with him until he sits down.

This doesn’t sound so bad, right?

Well the truth of the matter is that I knew that one day C would fall.  He would slip and hit his head or his elbow or something on the side of the tub as he slipped back into the water.  All I could do was to catch him as much as I could, while letting him fall.

Bad parent? Maybe.

Here’s my justification: C was never ever going to learn his lesson until it hurt.

And, this time, it hurt.

He’s slipped a little before, but never enough to actually scare himself and learn that there’s a reason I’ve been telling him not to walk in the slippery bath.

This time he slipped, banged his head just above his left eye, and completely freaked himself out.  He screamed and cried and buried his head in my shoulder for about 20 minutes.  He rubbed his wet fists into his bruised eye again and again, as pain, exhaustion and frustration rolled over him.  C’s little wet body clung to me as he cried, soaking me through, using my dress  as his towel.

Yet as he cried, as he vented, as I comforted C with kind words and back rubs, I kept in the back of my mind the hope that maybe he learned his lesson.

Sad lonely duck

I included this picture of the duck to capture the mood of the bath.  There’s something very sad about a rubber duck floating face down in an empty bath, right?

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Laundry, as you know, haunts me.  It never ends, and it never will until I start wrapping my family in plastic.  It piles up around the house, in dirty heaps or tidy stacks. Given that this is the way my life works, is it any wonder that I think a lot about how to improve my life in dealing with all things laundry?

One way to improve it would be to hire a laundress or send out my laundry.  But I can’t afford that.

Another way to improve things would to have an actual laundry room.  Right now I have a laundry closet.  This is it:

Laundry closet

My washer and dryer are smooshed side to side, leaving only enough room on one side to store a flattened drying rack (approx. 3 inches).  As you can see, laundry baskets are strewn on the floor in front of the machines.  I have one tiny drying rack on the left side of the room, which I am constantly bumping my head into.  Next to that are some ugly open shelves to store all the cleaning/laundering supplies.  I spared you a picture, because they are really to gruesome to immortalize on camera.

So storage is a problem.  Drying is a problem. Space is a problem.  When I need to dry a quilt that just won’t dry in the dang machine (’cause they never seem to completely dry in the machine, do they?), I have to hang it over the banister in the stairwell.  When I need to dry all 5 pairs of BA’s jeans at once (’cause he hates it when I put jeans in the dryer), I have to pull out the collapsible rack and dry them in the hallway.

As you can imagine, these arrangements upset everyone.  First, they invite sticky toddler fingers to pull on nice clean, nearly dry clothes.  Secondly, poor Penny hates the rack, since it wobbles and blocks the path to her favorite room: my bedroom.  And lastly, Dodger hates when I dry things on the banister since it blocks his ability to see ninja assassins coming up the stairs to kill us.

I would also like to store things like this:

Awesome giant box of stain-remover

I had to buy it! It’s 62 boosters (which are amazing at getting out everything C smears on his clothes)! And look:

50% off!!!

How could I not buy it?!?!

The only problem, is where the heck am I going to keep it? I currently have an open bag of these amazing boosters, so I can’t keep them all in the same spot.  If ONLY I had a bigger laundry room……like this one!

New Hot Laundry Room

hallelujah!!

Do you see? Do you see? There are cabinets to store things in! There is a drying bar above the washer and dryer! There is a sink AND a counter!

In about a month, that lovely room you see above will be mine.  All mine! I cannot wait.  I spend so much time in the laundry closet, that this giant room is going to seem like heaven.

Yeah for upgrades!

(ps Go ahead and judge me for getting this excited about a laundry room, but either you need to remember how much of a mess toddlers make or one day you will see. oh, you will see!)

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