Jaded Optimist

Mothering, making, and generally blathering on

This, this is why we still swaddle M January 28, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 10:19 pm

Co-sleeping from her wakeup at 6 am until our wakeup around 7:30 is quite a bit like this.


This n That January 25, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 11:16 pm

1. Got a cat on 1/16. We (well, C and I) had been hoping for a cat for a while, and G finally agreed. He had enjoyed leaving town without having to worry about cat care, no litter in the laundry room, and no vet bills. But, he is a cat person at heart, and I knew he could be swayed. I just had to agree to do much of the litter changing. We told C on our family Christmas, but had to wait until we were all back in town.

First, we tried Meow, but it wasn’t a good fit for us. The sign saying “The cat was allergic so we got rid of the kid” was not a good omen. Their cats seemed to be mostly from feral litters, hoarders, and other non-ideal situations, with the result that cats that we picked to meet one on one in the private rooms would not come out of the corners. Also, G wanted a kitten and they refused to give us anything younger than 6 months due to the human baby in the house. We left there quite discouraged but continued on to the Humane Society.  This was much more our speed—just rooms of cats that you could go into without a guide and see what cat you liked. G and C quickly focused on a loving little kitty who came right up to them for petting. Her name was Boston, and that day was her 1st birthday. It seemed very serendipitous. I went out to complete the paperwork, and just as I had signed the last form, C came running out saying she did NOT want that cat. Too late, the cat was ours.

Luckily, C has warmed right up to her—Boston has slept in her room a few times. Although the cat cried the whole way home in the car, upon leaving the carrying case she examined the house and  has made herself right at home—snuggles, tolerates M’s “gentle petting”, etc. G, who had seemed wishy washy on the whole cat issue, was seen buying a monstrosity of a climbing tree (seriously, this thing is like zoo furniture. I keep expecting to see a lion on it, not an 8 lbs. cat). Unfortunately, Boston seems to have a variety of kennel cough and has already been to the vet twice and is on multiple antibiotics. Hopefully she will be better soon.








2. M has become a little crawling machine and can get across the floor pretty darn quick. She can sense any tiny objects (which seem to have been carefully spread throughout the house by C) and goes right for them. In the past week she also finally figured out how to reliably roll from back to front, as well as how to pull up to standing. No cruising yet, but it can’t be far off.











Also, she prefers to feed herself. Aim—not so good. I am doing a lot of laundry!











3. My new toy. M does not seem affected by my caffeine intake, so I have renewed my love of(and dependence upon) cappuccino. After a few days where the weather was such that I couldn’t drive to my normal places, G decided on the appropriate Christmas present. I have a few minor complaints about the setup of the frothing nozzle, but this baby makes a nice smooth cup for me reliably—and eventually will have earned its keep (sorry Starbucks and Mondo’s!)











4. Sisters. Tried to take advantage of some brief sun the other day and forced the girls to go to our little neighborhood park. C wanted to slide down the slide holding M. How could I resist?








5. Coming soon…updates on knitting (many things finished that I haven’t shown off), that new sewing hobby (the thought that perhaps my first project in 20-some years shouldn’t be a reversible skirt of my own design occurred a bit too late in the process. Luckily C is my biggest fan and said she would even wear pants if I made them!), a possible 15 minutes of fame for me and/or M, and much much more. For now, I’ve got litter to scoop, laundry to do, and sadly a sick kiddo who will probably stay home from school tomorrow.


Throwback January 13, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 8:56 pm

Last year I wanted a used sewing machine, and in just one day on Craig’s List G came through for me. No manual though, and threading those old machines is not very self-evident. Finally got around to buying a copy of the manual.



















These are some fine, urban ladies don’t you think? The slick business woman, the sexy date night woman (with that coy unbuttoned top button). The lady with the flowers seems very “Thanks Massengill”. My favorites of course are that sporty duo on the bottom. Just two friends out for a power walk, one with short shorts, knee socks, and I think side cleavage, and the other in what…her fat suit? Thinking, you bitch—no one told me we were getting sketched today! You can tell by the eyes—she is bitter.

Any feelings of urban hipster feelings are dissipated by the first page of the manual however:





Screw that, I am going downstairs to knit.


9 Months January 8, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 9:51 pm


















Bright eyed and eager to play, someone sat for their nine-month birthday shot today. Despite a screwed up nap schedule, one shot and a heel stick at the doctors, and of course the Seattle 20 minutes of “light”, I think we got some good ones. Posed in one of those outfits that I would shudder to let her eat in, so was purchased just for photos. On sale, of course.

Hair still crazy, eyes still blue. A checkout person asked me the other day “Are her eyes going to stay blue?” Are they, not do I think they are…gee lady, I don’t know—they didn’t specify on the label. But I hope they do.

Weighed in at a paltry 17.5 lbs. today at the pediatrician’s and a surprising 28.5” long putting her height at 75% and weight at 25%. Trying not to worry too much about this one heading down the same road that C did (battling through one Failure to Thrive diagnoses was quite enough for me, thank you very much) and figuring that it is just her always on the go style that is burning those calories. Because trust me, this one likes to eat.








She is a crawling, playing machine, and has caught on to the fact that C has other, more interesting toys about like tiny pieces of foam and glue sticks. Has been gumming things and had a few nights of what I thought were pain cries, but the ped. says the teeth are no where near to popping through. Sigh. So we are still at zero teeth. She is constantly exploring, playing with sounds and gestures (claps and waves hi, and sometimes I think she is trying to burp me, with some firm back patting). Jewelry, glasses, and oddly enough, loose slippers or socks are not safe around her.

She was a champ for all our holiday travel, adapted her normal routine to east coast time in a few days and then back again as soon as we returned (naps around 9:15 and 12:30, goes to bed around 5:30).

M did a little modeling last weekend with the photographer who did our maternity and newborn shoot. It was for a local clothing company called Eight3One (none of the new photos up yet) and we scored a free onesie and photo out of the deal (so, not exactly a college education plan). You can see one of the photos up on the photographers blog:  Shutterbox Photos Blog.

Now, these monthly photos are supposed to be with the birthday cat, so that at the end of her first year (which is approaching WAY too fast) I will have a size comparison retrospective. Well, this one is too fast for me and completely spurning the affections of said cat.











So it goes.

Not exactly nine month related, but wanted to get a few Xmas photos up—the girls in their Xmas pjs (love me some Hanna Andersson) and with their favorite uncle (who hopefully will now have learned his lesson and will smile next time).


Mistakes were made January 6, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 10:30 pm

I think I have finally recovered from the trauma of our Christmas travel enough to report it here for your amusement. Read it, and be happy you are not us.

Plan: Kick off festivities by going to the Nutcracker downtown on Saturday 12/20, followed by viewing of the fireshow/bonfire and dinner out downtown.

Actual: Did make it to Nutcracker, storm started while we were there and streets started closing. Fire show cancelled, went immediately to car and drove slowly home, stopping at a QFC for a jar of tomato sauce and a baguette—pasta for dinner. Did not need to use sleeping bag, shovel, extra sweaters, or chains that we had packed in car.

Plan: Open presents from each other Sunday (12/21) morning, hang around and pack leisurely, leave house around 8:30 for our 11:30 pm flight to Cleveland.

Actual: Did open presents. Snow very heavy. Continental insists flight is on time. We believe them (mistake #1). G shovels driveway and street itself for three hours, while I pack and fret. Continental still insists flight is on time (by this time, the two carriers that represent 50% of traffic through SeaTac had closed) and refuses to change our tickets unless we pay a $150 per ticket fee plus the difference in fares. So, G puts the chains on the Prius and we load into the car at 6:30 and drive to the airport. About 20 minutes in to the drive we see a car that has skidded onto the triangle between the highway and the exit. Next thing we know, we have skidded and spun a bit and are there too. Police come, and we sit in the car waiting for 40 minutes for a tow truck to pull us back on the road (no room for shovel in car once suitcases were in there). $200 fee. Against my advice, G opts to continue to airport (mistake #2). We get there, check in, proceed to gate. There are people lining every wall and in every chair who have been there for hours, or even days—sleeping in makeshift sleeping bags. M, who had slept through the car ride, is now awake, C eventually falls asleep. Continental insists our flight is on time. Around 10:40, Continental cancels all flights except ours and the one to Newark. Around 11:25, Continental cancels our flight. Says “go home, and call to rebook your ticket.” The line at Continental service does appear to be about 200 people long, and we have the kids…so we believe them (mistake #3). Takes over 90 minutes to get our checked bags back, during which I wait on hold with Continental before call gets dropped. Drive very slowly home, again wait on hold for over an hour before call is dropped. Arrive home, figure we can get through in the morning.

Plan: Get new flight on Continental.

Actual: Finally get through to Continental around 9 am, and they have no flights out available until 12/27 redeye. And we would still be returning on 12/31 in the morning. Hmmm. That bites. The other option is to return on 1/6, through Houston, after C starts school and G is supposed to be in Boston for work. Cancel flight.

Plan: So, we’ll do Christmas on our own in Seattle. I mean, we are snowed in, and we have already opened the presents here, and I had the new boots for C and new snowsuit for M sent to Cleveland, but we’ll be fine right?

Actual: Can hear my mom starting to cry on the phone. I then cry off and on for the morning, with “my parents haven’t seen the baby since she was born!” being the most common refrain, “our presents are all in Cleveland” being slightly quieter. G lasts about two hours before he finds new flights on Orbitz.

Plan: Fly to Cleveland on 12/26 through Toronto on United, fly home on 1/2 through Philly on US Airways.

Hold on: Toronto? G’s passport is expired. Call Orbitz, they say it is a domestic flight and we just need regular driver’s licenses. Believe Orbitz, decide all is well (mistake #4).

Interlude: 2 days of playing in the snow, grocery shopping with chains on the car (no food in house due to planned trip). Have friends over for Christmas Eve dinner (Nice thing #1). Christmas day dawns with no presents, but C seems unaware that anything is amiss. Have mentioned that “AmazonSanta thinks we are in Cleveland”. More snow Christmas day, but able to make it to a kind friends house for Christmas brunch (Nice thing #2).

Plan: Will drive to airport at 5 am on 12/26 to make 8 am flight to Toronto, with my passport, G’s expired passport, our driver’s licenses, and birth certificates for the kids.

Actual: Check airport website on Christmas and there is no airport parking, and no available offsite parking. G heads to neighbor’s to interrupt their Christmas party and finds number of a car service, they will pick us up at 5 am.

Plan: Get picked up by car service (they are driving a Yukon to fit car seats and make it up our hilly street).

Actual: Car service makes it. Car seats are in, kids are relatively ok given 4 am wake up. But wait…G can’t find his driver’s license. 30 minutes of searching ensues. It is gone. (mistake #5)

Plan: Attempt to board Toronto flight with just the expired passport, since it is a domestic flight.

Actual: Actually, the expired passport went unnoticed by the United ticketing agent, but the lack of passports for the girls turns out to be a deal breaker. We will not be getting on our 8 am Toronto flight.

Plan: United guy is quite sympathetic (perhaps because, for only the second time of this ordeal, I have burst into tears in line?) and rebooks our flight at no charge (Nice thing #3). We are now flying to DC at 1 pm and then catching a connection to Cleveland, landing around 11:30 pm.

Actual: Wait around airport for five hours—get some breakfast, G sleeps in the restaurant, girls and I take three shuttle trains each way just to visit the airport Borders. Boarding time comes and goes. Finally board the plane…and there is mechanical difficulty. Struts need fluid. Sit on plane for 2 hours. Finally take off. We are going to miss our connection by over 2 hours.

Plan: G calls Holiday Inn Dulles before we have even taken off. Will see what United’s plan is once we land.

Actual: United had their act together—three agents dealing with the line of passengers who missed connections, gave us our new tickets for the next morning, a Hilton hotel voucher, and three meal vouchers. They will be keeping our checked luggage. So we are carseat free—can’t take a cab. Can only find a Marriott van shuttle, but it is willing to take us to the Holiday Inn. The holiday inn is willing to take the Hilton voucher (Nice thing #4), and has free tooth brushes and tooth paste. We will be wearing our same clothes however. Into bed at midnight, up at 5 am.

Plan: Catch 6 am shuttle to airport, get breakfast, get our 8:30 flight to Cleveland.

Actual: Got the shuttle, got to airport, go to security (they gave us boarding passes last night right?—mistake #6). Maybe because it is DC, or maybe because the agents here are playing closer attention, they notice that G’s passport is expired. We are all taken over to talk to a supervisor. He makes us sweat, but then lets us through. However, he points out that our boarding passes are for the other flight, for this one we just have an itinerary. So we need to go back out, through United check in, and then back through security. However, he does speak to someone who will let us cut in line at security (nice thing #5).

Plan: Get to Cleveland. Whatever it takes.

Actual: Do manage to check in and get through security. Get breakfast at Five Guys. Give other two vouchers to other families with young kids (we need all the good karma we can get). Get on plane. It is mostly on time. Get to Cleveland. It is about 10 am on 12/27.

Aftermath: Given short stay plus weekend days plus holiday on 1/1, cannot figure out a way to get G a new license or passport before we had to fly back out on 1/2. He was questioned carefully again by security in Cleveland, but we all made it on the flight to Philly, and then the flight from Philly (after two gate changes, and leaving about an hour late) made it to Seattle—six hours of sitting on a plane with a sleeping M on my lap. Over an hour to get baggage (thanks for putting out the car seats last guys!) and met by car service and we were home, sweet home around 2 am on 1/3. G got up right at 7 and managed to get a temporary replacement driver’s license that day, as he was flying out on 1/4 to Boston.

Remember, we did all this in the company of a five year old and a 8.5 month old. And to be honest—they were completely awesome. C sat in the airport and did mazes or practiced her writing for hours. When we got to the hotel in DC, she said “I am going to unpack my backpack and start playing!” There were no tears even with the time change, crazy hours, and long stretches of boredom. M slept on just about every flight, happily crawled around in the airport, and except for one stealth pee all over her outfit shortly before the DC flight boarded, she was a very low maintenance baby.

Lessons learned:

1. Always plan on taking car service to and from the airport.

2. If all the flights are getting cancelled…your flight is going to get cancelled too. Rebook early, while there are still flights available. Even if there is a fee, it will probably be cheaper than, say, buying new tickets + paying a tow fee when you go off the road in the snow.

3. Consider packing clean underwear and socks if you have a tight, late night connection in your carryon luggage.

4. Check for your license the night before your flight.

5. Don’t believe the Orbitz phone answering person about major issues such as whether you need a passport or not.

6. Next year, we stay here—and people can fly to us instead.