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17th-Nov-2014 09:14 am(no subject)
mantis
It was a nice weekend. We went to the Museum of Science Saturday. We have a lot to get done but we gotta remember that face time/family time is as important. We went with some good friends who we see frequently but hadn't actually been there with before. It can be fun to see it through other people's eyes. And how the dynamic of the day can change in ways you might not let it if you're there alone.
For example, there is a model space capsule. Usually we'd encourage the kids to move on after a few minutes because the place is HUGE with rotating exhibits and a lot to see and you want to give other people turns, besides. But they started role playing this time. And the other little visitors seemed really into it too, so we didn't feel like we were monopolizing the thing. They were doing pretend "space walks" to repair the outside, and listening raptly to our elementary physics lessons and stuff. Sunday was productive with a lot of errands done and stuff completed around the house.

People complain about others getting into the holiday season too early. I'm not obsessed and don't actually start decorating yet, like some (I'm actually seeing more posts from Canadian friends, who don't have the later natural Thanksgiving cut-off).
But some planning has to be done early, depending on what you do. We still send Christmas cards. So many people stopped, and we've been holdouts. There are environmental benefits to not, but otherwise I think it is a good thing. I almost feel like it might come back as a retro thing.
Speaking of retro, there used to be a craft fair across the street where this woman sold large amounts of vintage cards for like .99 cents a box. Sure, you can get cheap cards post-holiday, but then they are all picked over. We're talking shit like elves romping in a VW bus and stuff. Great stuff. But they haven't held it for a couple of years. So I've been going to Marshalls for them for the last couple of years. Nice designer ones for 3.99/box rather than 16.00/box. The grocery store sells them cheap, but they're, well, cheap and uninteresting. I picked out half and told Bridget she could pick out half. I got some owl ones--yes owls are almost overdone as a trend but we loved them before they were cool, and they have a very ~outdoorsy~ vibe like we like to send. In true 5 year old fashion, Bridget picked ones with dogs dressed up in costumes and...glitter ones. I didn't even look closely at first. It is kind of an unspoken rule not to send glittery cards because it gets all over people when they open it (it is ostensibly attached, but...). They are gorgeous, but I've known people who have written people out of their will when they received a glitter card from them. I actually don't mind that much, but many people do. I'll try to remember to reserve them for people who send me glitter first, lol. But if you get one from me--I like you, I really do! I just had a brain fart.
Speaking of which, if you've never gotten one from us in the past and would like one, private message me! International okay, too.

Since we're extroverts who actually enjoy parties, we've got to sort out the social stuff. We've been invited to like 7 things the weekend of the 13th/14th already! The thing is? EVERY last one of them is before 11am. Some are short (e.g. ceremony at the reservation I work with) and spread out over the three days so we may actually be able to make it to most things. And if we're actually invited to evening parties that weekend, we're wide-open with great long stretches to rest in between, despite the early mornings.
There's only one clash and it is kind of a complicated one. I have pretty good college friends with kids the same age as mine. We see them a few times a year, and it'd probably be more if they lived closer (a little over an hour). They have a birthday party one of the mornings.
Then I have former work friends. We hung out regularly enough when I worked there. But haven't really since, and it has been several years. But they've asked a handful of times. I've legitimately *always* been busy. They are in that formerly-pretty-good-but-now-solely-online-but-that-is-pretty-frequent-and-entertaining stage. They are hosting a fantastic sounding brunch. I'm afraid if I don't go, they'll just plain stop inviting me but these people are great and I wouldn't mind re-cultivating the friendship. Especially as most of them are journalists so great networking.
If the kiddie birthday party were a house party I'd be strongly leaning towards that anyway. I know their family and other friends and it'd be a nice time. But it is, like, an hourlong one at a bouncy house place. I did already RSVP yes, the kids will love it, and I care about them more. Their kids' birthdays are both in January. They should've just waited but I don't blame them because they were probably worried about the higher liklihood of blizzards or something. If they'd waited we could've had a joint one with Fiona!
I might compromise by sending Craig to the birthday party (they were originally my friends but he's close with them now) while I put in some face time at the other. He'd be getting the short end of the stick for sure, but it might pay off for him in the long run, me putting in some time with this other circle of old friends. Anyway, I don't have to RSVP that one for a while yet. The kiddie one is also the hour away whereas the brunch is on the T so if the weather is sketchy for driving I can look at the forecast and gauge.
It's better than the major holidays at least. I always feel like for things like NYE or July 4th I'm invited to nothing and feel like a loser or like 6 things and it is an impossible decision. No in between!
12th-Nov-2014 04:53 pm(no subject)
mantis
I can't remember if I did a write up of exactly how my step-father burned through hundreds of thousands of my mom's money for a failed business venture. If not, I will, because it gives a very good illustration of how severe the financial abuse she is going through is (I'm not going to dissect that part right now)

It was doomed to fail for a variety of reasons, including the fact he's an arrogant ass who insists he's always right and everyone else is an idiot, no matter who they are. Due to the fact apparently he doesn't believe in business plans, budgets (or cut-offs), resumes, networking (social and otherwise, although he's actually great at the traditional kind) and more. Due to the fact if he was planning on starting a business (where he'd have to manage, AND occasionally take other people's feedback) where he'd do training and customer service and whatever else *maybe* he'd eventually recoup what he'd spent, but he was just hoping to sell to venture capitalists, and as a package, it is not worth what he spent, especially as his main market is non-profits.
It was all just painful to watch.

It is too bad, though, because it was actually a good idea. And from what I can tell and what I've heard from software folks, really well done (aside from the fact the website is written in super technical engineer speak because, well, see above). If it weren't for his steam-rolly God Complex, it might have had a chance.

What it is, is software management for certifications, basically. Apparently for fields where multiple-times-a-year certifications or continuing ed, or credits, or whatever else, are needed, there isn't a comprehensive way to track this. Places from schools to hospitals are still using things from hard copy records in file cabinets, or if it is computerized, basic spreadsheets. Apparently, it is a really comprehensive way to track and schedule and communicate and network these things. If he didn't talk down to everyone, and if he'd not been blackballed from various local industries, it might have had a fighting chance.

I was thinking of this (aside from the fact I worry about my mom everyday) because our local Girl Scouts could use this, lol. Bridget is loving it! The meetings are great, and there are a lot of fantastic and inexpensive and super fun town wide events. But you've got to register for these town-wide events. At any given time I have actual flyers half filled out (partly because I still can't remember the troop number, or how to spell her friends' last names, or because it is unclear which family members are welcome, if any). Then when they are filled out I'm asked to write an old fashioned check and hand deliver to someone's house (different most times). We're having a great time with the organization but this part is convoluted and confusing. I'd be great if it was online like most everything else!
12th-Nov-2014 08:44 am(no subject)
mantis
Some linkage:

Lastest blog post (actually sorta mediocre but some cute pics of the girls)

http://www.playgroundhunt.com/blog/20090/

Craig's Istanbul album. No one you know in it (most likely! one never knows!) but he's a pretty good photographer, so you might find it interesting, especially if you love travel

https://www.facebook.com/acbeal/media_set?set=a.10204483417460993&type=1&pnref=story
7th-Nov-2014 02:21 pm(no subject)
mantis
Whew! I do feel better. It helps to get it out. BTW, I'm not usually a comment whore, but *I* don't need everyone to completely agree with me. If you identify, speak up. If you don't, thanks for the vent!! If you disagree, don't go "you crazy self-centered bitch" (I know none of you would,lol) but more of a "this one time, in my experience, this is where this person was coming from in actuality...perspective perspective".

Solo parenting is going okay, and he should be home tonight! He should be on the plane right now! There have been moments that have been very frazzly and hectic, but not hellish. And some good bonding time.

Bridget's been great! Not a perfect Stepford kid by any means, but she's pretty go with the flow. Fiona has been extra whiny and needy. I don't know that it is so much that she misses him (I'm not sure small kids miss people in exactly the same way we do) as toddlers are more sensitive to their routine being thrown off. And two year olds are at a stage where they'll have a two week amazing stretch and a two week terror stretch. So she might have been having an off week either way.

Moxie's okay. They also don't miss people in the same way we do. I think she is feeling both the difference and the reduced long walks. I thought I was going to be able to get great ones in every day. Usually mid-day works fine for it. But there have been a couple of foils. One day, Bridget was sent home sick right when I was about to leave on one (just a headache, but I guess since they can't give them painkillers they dismiss them?) and since she was feeling off I wasn't about to drag her on a 3 mile run, lol. Then today Fiona was very very stubbornly against it and on the verge of a tantrum. Rather than have her screech on my back for an hour, I let her walk and pull her wagon. Taking 45 minutes to go around one block. Moxie got to shit and get some outside time, but neither of us got a work out. Any longer I'd go ahead and hire someone if I kept getting foiled but we'll make up for it as it is.
And she's fine. Well behaved, but also a little clingy. Following me around the house when she doesn't usually and I know she doesn't have to pee or eat. A little pully on the leash when she usually isn't. But seemingly happy and playful and well behaved.

Craig had a great time and his conference went well and he got to see a lot. That was part of it. I'm not complaining because a week isn't hellish as far as business trips go, especially for one so far away. But he got two days work and four days tourism due to when the cheap flights were scheduled. With lodging and food (but not admissions and souvenirs of course) on the company's dime, and the play-days counting as work days. Ideal for me would've been 4/5 days gone rather than 7/8 given the situation, but we survived.

He's a good photographer and his pictures are gorgeous! I'm not sure if he made the album public or not. I'll check back and share, if so.
2nd-Nov-2014 12:19 pm(no subject)
mantis
Now for the fun stuff!

Halloween itself was fun. Bridget brought home especially cute crafts from school and trick or treating went smoothly. It was a bit on the colder end of what it can be (mid-40s) but that is actually nicer than the last few years--so basically their entire memory--so it was nice. Hanna came over and everyone was good and got a great haul and everyone who came out our house was super sweet and cute, too. We generally get quite a few--about 100.

Yesterday morning, I went up to help for the marathon my step-mother and father are the organizers of (not New York, Manchester, NH. I think it is the one people who couldn't make it into NY go to). The actual marathon is today--shitty weather, and too cold--but I think it is going okay anyway. But yesterday was registration and the expo. In between stations we could have fun at the kid's fitness festival they had as part of it and the girls loved it. I'll probably write an article about that. Bridget is really impressive with sit-ups--she did 25 in a row, within 30 seconds, with great form, which the trainers running the thing said was excellent for her age. Of course there were lots of giveaways and swag and stuff, too. I have a lip balm addiction which seems to be a popular promo item at exhibitions even if it has nothing to do with the company, so I love adding to my stash with freebies--I'm such a dork!

My friend's party was good. I ended up making the molasses rum cookies. They are honestly not my favorite but others love them so I figure that is the perfect time to make them--when you're giving them away! I think I got the flavor balance perfect, but they tasted a bit overmixed. The texture was very slightly off even though they were still very good. I don't think that happened in the mixer. I think I basically overkneaded them while rolling them out. But only very slightly off; I'm not sure a non-baker would even notice. Especially because I brought whipped cream to put on top of them, lol. I think people liked them. I heard good noises about them at the party, and it was, like, overheard ones while I was a couple rooms away and they didn't know who made them yet, so I don't think they were just trying to be nice. And my brother wanted to take the leftovers home and he avoids treats so that's saying a lot. I'll have fun experimenting even more with baking with the holidays, I'm sure!

The chili was great but there were fewer official entries than last year. I'll really have to go out of my way to try to enter next year so it is not a side-dish party. Next year Halloween is on the Saturday and I doubt she'll have it the exact night so if she has it the week later it'll be more doable.
After the contest, many of her work guests, etc., left and it was just the college friend crowd left (how I know her). She busted out Cards Against Humanity which I've heard many of you go on about but which I'd not actually played yet because it is not really an appropriate one to play with the kids around. The others were in the same boat. I swept it! I'm not sure if it is because one of my hats is being a professional comedy writer or if I just lucked out with hands. I'd been thinking of getting it for my father--I have the type of father it would be VERY appropriate for, and it did kind of cinch it.
2nd-Nov-2014 11:22 am(no subject)
mantis
It was mixed with my family this weekend. We all got along well and had a great time when we were together. So what's the problem? I've figured out how to offer my brother support, both through my own education and processing and it is also more workable now that he's focusing on his recovery and not in denial.

But there can still be jealousy stuff. For stuff that goes beyond the extra help he needs from my mom. I'm thankful she came out to watch the kids so I could go to my friends' party, although it was after their bedtime so at least the sitting part wasn't too stressful. Yay for rare adult time!

But some things still hurt--not even so much the not being there or doing but just the way it was said. I asked if she was going to come out Friday, and she was like, "OMG NO! I'd NEVER miss Halloween here!". With the implication being that she'd never miss taking Colin (nephew) out. That's the only thing I can think of she'd mean. It's not like she has a regular adult party and she gets very few trick-or-treaters so she wasn't referring to experiences like that. The only interpretation I could have taken is that it is more important to have the experience with him than the girls. Every year.
Bridget's Powderpuff Derby is in a few hours. Originally I asked if she could stay a little longer both to help with it (I've got to actively coach, and chase a 2 year old, and maybe try to take pictures) and to experience it since Bridget's been working long and hard on it for weeks. She said no, because Adam gets stressed out if she can't watch football with him (even though it wouldn't overlap, if cutting close). Ultimately, the weather turned to crap anyway, so escaping early is understandable,but that wasn't the original excuse.
Then she brought them out with her. Overall, this is a good thing! Despite dynamics, things are good between us now and I love seeing them and the cousins love seeing each other. But Adam can't deal with the noise so we had to try to keep everyone super quiet. The weather was complete crap so outside was tough.
Then, the two of them they took off on errands for several hours this morning (yes, it is still early. Yes, they left starting at 7--Walgreens opens early!) leaving me with the three kids and the dog, even though ostensibly the original reason she came out was to give me a break because I'm alone for a week or more with Craig overseas. So last night was a huge help for a rare treat but otherwise this morning was harder, right before a super crazy week (but I still have it easier than single moms).

I hate giving her a hard time. She still works really long hours because my step-dad is a deadbeat. She basically does co-parent my nephew because my brother lives with her now and half the time can't function enough to do it. Her life is tougher than mine on several levels. I know I rant on here sometimes but there are loads of wonderful times too. Generally I don't express this stuff to her because a) it is not fair to and b) she'd completely martyr herself rather than hear me anyway. And individually they aren't a big deal--it is just that things like the examples I gave in the last section are constant. And some of the excuses for making it a really short weekend were probably just that--excuses, so she could catch a few minutes for herself. But I don't think she realizes it might be kinder to me to just say that, rather than to essentially say Adam Comes First. It's the stereotypical mom thing--you feel pressured to not say you NEED it for yourself, so you make it about someone else. Which may put false presumptions out there and it is tricky because I'm both annoyed with her inability to just say so yet sympathize deeply!

I think what I need to intellectualize it she very likely doesn't prefer them over us even though it appears and feels like she does. That's what Craig thinks. It's very easy for me to take the comments personally due to the parental dynamic and a complicated upbringing.
Her bending over backwards even when my brother is in a super stable stretch or just in general defaulting to him feels like favoritism to me. Craig says he thinks topically she does indeed treat us very unfairly (even taking his valid extra special needs out of the equation) and if she tried she redirect focuses on occasion and could give the girls more time and energy without exhausting herself or having my brother fall apart. But he doesn't think it is because she inherently loves them better. Just that she takes the fact I'll be okay and they'll be okay (because they have two great stable parents, but they do notice the uneven treatment) for granted and is so proactive with walking on eggshells and sticking her finger in the damn and all those other cliches she still coddles the boys. Craig says he sees why I'm hurt (He was very WTF about the Halloween comment too, which I guarantee she would deny remembering making) sometimes, but he doesn't think it is about level of love.
She's really beautiful and also the baby of a very large family but at the same time she's had some really extra shitty things go on in her life, more than most. So she's this odd combination of coddled and spoiled but broken and damaged. And strong, too. And she does what she needs to do to stay strong, which can be clumsy. Same with all of us. And here I am being self-centered making it about myself, too. It has actually been really good since May but sometimes the little things build up and I'm not sure what jealousy is appropriate and what is not.
29th-Oct-2014 04:22 pm(no subject)
mantis
So everyone in our family has their flu vax. Bridget got hers at school and Craig got his early so he wasn't having a minor reaction while boarding a plane. Fiona had hers scheduled for today. She was a trooper, and I explained I had to have it done too and she pretty much bounced back with the 2 year old version of "prove it".

While it would've been a good day to bring the dog for an extra long walk, I figured it would be a good opportunity to model behavior and not appear a hypocrite (I would've done it eventually, but she might not have witnessed.) So I said, "why not?"

Our usual pharmacy is about three quarters of a mile away. Very walkable and a gorgeous day. Fiona walks half of it, then climbs in her Ergo on my back. And proceeds to kick off her shoes! I didn't notice until she tried to press the walk button with her big toe, lol. I wasn't sure how far back they were so I just figured I'd take my chances on the way back.

I got to our usual pharmacy only to find they no longer take our insurance (with which there is no co-pay). The next one that does is another three quarters of a mile. Not horrible, but doubles a quick errand. We also get there later, so what would've been a quick turnaround now co-incides with a lunch rush. But they are friendly, and it is indeed "free". But I do have to wait 40 minutes. With a kid who can't pace while holding my hand because she lost her shoes. She juuuuust started to get restless at the tail end of that. Not quite the fussy stage, but you could kind of tell it would get there soon. Rather than get irritated by a squirming toddler, a nice grandpa type sitting next to us asked if he could give her a mini Hershey bar. Hell yeah, I'll definitely take candy from strange men in that situation! We did end up finding the shoes on the way home. It was just an interesting combination of foils big enough to throw the day off, mixed with good perks and nice people.

You know what irritates me about anti-vax people the most? (These are generalizations, I know, for those of you who may be). I actually sympathize with them sometimes, even though I generally disagree. I think they get too many ad hominum attacks directed their way, many sexist. While some of what they tout is just bad science, I think some pro-vaxxers don't acknowledge some of the real downsides of them. They're there. The difference is most of us just find the risk/reward ratio WAY in favor of them. Some anti-vaxxers will share mercola stories and shit that talk about herd immunity being a complete myth (I realize different diseases and different vaxes work different ways but they seem to be in complete blind denial of the concept).
But one thing I ALWAYS see? In their own threads, they frequently talk about how "Oh, I did give in, but only because we were traveling overseas". And no, they didn't give in for some exotic thing. Then all of a sudden they'll give in on everything. And they NEVER call each other out on that. So they do work sometimes, and maybe there is something to the herd immunity, eh? It just kind of outs them, and makes me suspect some of the arguments they give are just a face for us, as they ride on our coattails.

Similar hypocrisies seem to come out in discussions of this nurse in Maine. Even though I'm pro-vax, I agree they shouldn't be forced. I think my stance on bodily autonomy is so strong it trumps even public health in that case. Anti-vaxxing friends seem to be very pro forced quarantine for her, although at least some of them have conceded that they are okay with public health quarantines in general (as many of us forget how they were more frequent before vaccines were common--my grandfather speaks of being asked to stay home pretty much the whole week of August so people's systems were clear before school starts. Of course he was in elementary school only very shortly after the Spanish flu pandemic) so there isn't a huge contradiction there. But still, all of a sudden big government medical involvement isn't such a conspiracy.
It is also more my conservative friends (including the pro-vax ones) who are raging about her not following it. I thought they were all about ~personal liberty and freedom~.
I can only think of two explanations. One, I've heard conservatives tend to be more squeamish, inherently. I don't mean this as an insult! It isn't always a bad thing. So they may be more likely to be having the visceral reactions to ebola, even if an academic investigation would leave them to a different conclusion.
They may also see it as more of a "national security" issue and they tend to be big on national security. On one level, I don't disagree with parts of that aspect. But if so, why only for random, specific things like this, as major as this is? Wouldn't it follow that national health as a whole is a national security issue?
28th-Oct-2014 12:35 pm(no subject)
mantis
You guys were so good at giving ideas and letting me talk through bake sale brainstorms, I may ask for your baking advice again. Especially now that the communities are slow.

I ended up making sandwich cookies, and was even brave enough to do a little decorating. This isn't my picture, but this is what I made. They were a huge hit. They ended up selling out the first 7 minutes of the bake sale!

(Incidentally, I love how that blog is called barns and noodles. It seems to be purely a food blog, and while they may appreciate the play on words, I'm guessing they are also referring to farm fresh food and pasta. Or whatever. But that's what we called the bookstore chain I used to work at when we were talking about it online and didn't want it as easily searchable. I'm guessing they have former bookseller followers, and/or may be one themselves)



So, it sounds like I will have a babysitter to make it to my friend's chili contest party. Originally I had thought about entering this year, but not seriously, because I was going to make something a bit fun and different, and she said red beef chilis are the only ones that ever end up serious contenders in these things, no matter how fantastic the other ones are.

But things got overscheduled and now I don't think I'll have time, even though you can crockpot it. I don't want to show up empty handed, though, so I was thinking of bringing a dessert I could make ahead.

What kind of dessert would go well with chili? Some kind of Mexican chocolate brownies? Or even some kind of gingerbread might have a complimentary spice to it. Or something super mild and soothing to temper the heat from the meal? Or just something autumn-y? Alternatively, a crusty bread might work, but that may not freeze as well. Ideas?
27th-Oct-2014 09:49 am(no subject)
mantis
The girls' volcano costumes came out well! Some defense against all the Elsas trying to freeze the world. Although apparently Kilauea is more active than usual at the moment--if a disaster happens, their costumes might move into the Too Soon category. But right now they're just cool:

For those not on FB:







For those not on FB who want to be, feel free to add me!

https://www.facebook.com/lindsay.beal

Bridget's school pictures came out well, too, but I've got to convert it.

Craig's going to Istanbul soon. It'll be the longest he'll have been gone since we had two kids, but I'm not too worried. He tends to work long days anyway, and then they just get REALLY wound up when he comes in late, so in some ways it is actually easier when he travels. Temporarily! Lol, that almost makes it sound like we'd be better off without him! Nah, he's dedicated to us on weekends, and gets lots of time off and his flexible schedule helps loads with juggling things. Just don't think this one-off will be wildly disruptive.
The conference should be interesting (he's presenting) and it should be exciting. He/we've never been, although we've been to Rhodes and other parts of southern Greece that have a bit of the feel. The co-worker he's going with is from Ukraine so his family is coming down and they travel there a lot so he'll have tour guides, essentially.

These last couple of months have actually been really good financially but one sort of strange thing is our water bill was HUGE over the summer. Like, apparently, we used twice the water we usually use. And we were gone half the time camping and stuff. We don't have a pool or garden besides small box stuff.
We have NO idea what happened. I know it can be caused by a hidden leak but if we had one it fixed itself because the billing runs a season behind and we ran down and checked the meter and it has been totally normal for fall. The only thing we can think of is we accidentally left the toilet running or an outside faucet on for one of our trips, although we didn't notice anything like that upon arrival home. We'll have to be more anal about it because it is an expensive mistake. Weird!

Bridget's school Halloween party was fun! It was basically her first school dance and her lava cone twirls perfectly.
Things are still a bit weird with her friend. She seems to like Bridget okay. She initiates hugs good-bye at the bus stop and invited her over one day last week. But Bridget said whenever she happens to sit at her lunch table (between allergies and upper grades, there are only a few they can sit at, so she says it isn't like she's seeking her out), she gets up and moves. Bridget says it doesn't bother her anymore and just thinks it is kind of weird and chats happily with all her other friends who stay. And sure enough, a good handful of moms came up to me at the party and told me how their kids talk about Bridget and how much fun she is and about planning playdates and stuff so it sounds like she's still doing fine socially with everyone else (I'd be worried if *everyone* was moving to another table; I know that's been known to happen!). I suspect this girl may just be a bit advanced when it comes to the drama stuff (Most kindergartners are still at the OMG I LOVE YOU ALL stage, and when they get annoyed, they tell each other to their face. I wouldn't be surprised, because her mom is friendly but super duper gossipy) but I still have some concern if there was a boundary thing.

But anyway, there's been other fun Halloween stuff, too. We saw Craig's family on Saturday. They actually got out of the house with us and we went to a fun scarecrow festival and on a hike, which was great. We're not sure if we're going to be able to see everyone for Thanksgiving. His aunt needs heart valve surgery. Her overall heart health is actually great, but she had rheumatic fever as a kid, which affected part of it--same thing happened to my grandfather. So it depends when they schedule it.
We missed the TV station party due to that, but made it to the town parade the next town over for the first time. Halloween parades are always extra fun with the costumes and stuff. It was a long one and pretty sunny (and the few clouds formed a beautiful rainbow) but chilly, but the girls didn't complain one bit, despite the cold and having to stand for hours. I guess having candy thrown at them helps, lol.
21st-Oct-2014 09:28 am(no subject)
mantis
So Bridget and her friend have been merrily sitting together on the bus this week. But she has to promise not to sing. This is what I meant by the annoying/intense thing. Bridget is compelled to sing very loudly when in a vehicle. It is cute for the first five minutes, and then you need to find a distraction. And I deal with annoying noises well. She's really likable but these are the kind of social cues she'll have to respond to.

I need to lose 5-10 lbs, not out of vanity or health reasons (although it'd be nice) but out of practicality. Between Bridget and Fiona I lost about 20lbs. I gained some of that back with Fiona, but not all. I've been yo-yoing up and down about ten lbs the last few years. (They say yo-yoing is supposedly worse for your health than staying stable at a higher weight, but I think they mean larger amounts and bingey habits that lead to rapid--not slow--gains but I may be wrong).
Basically, I had a bunch of clothes for this medium weight (about 160) and they are starting to wear out. I have dozens of classic cuts in wonderful shape for that slightly lower weight so it is get into them or spend several hundred dollars shopping.
I know they said it can be ridiculous to hold off forever and you should just bite the bullet and get clothes that fit before you look ridiculous. The smaller clothes technically fit while looking okay but the pants pinch a bit--even without muffin top they are better for short evenings and not running around all day.

We'll see, but going into the holiday season is a tough time for it. At least it is easier to work out with only the one kid. I've always been decent but it is even simpler so we'll see if that helps. And then of course I have baking on the mind this week. Bake fairs for school have started, and I've been assigned something.
I'm trying to figure out a good thing to make. I'm actually a pretty great baker if I do say so myself i.e. the stuff tastes fantastic. But I'm a terrible decorator so I fail at cutesy stuff which is what flies at bake sales, or so I've heard. There is no way I'm going to be able to make adorable Disney cupcakes so I'm debating whether to go in the direction of really classic, like chocolate chip cookies, or something a bit cuter that doesn't involve decorating, like homemade sandwich cookies. Let me know if you've got any winning ideas!

Fiona had her second bad but thankfully very short potty regression in the 8 months since she trained. It makes me all paranoid because the literature says, "usually triggered by outside stresses" but we have a peaceful home life but having not had a peaceful home life growing up I get paranoid.
The first one seemed to coincide with arriving home from vacation (good stress) and a huge verbal explosion as well as a broken kiddie potty but there's been nothing like that with this one.
Sometimes I think 2 year olds are just weird and confused. I was helping her clean and talking to her about what we could to do help and she's like, "Well, the REST of you have accidents all the time, too!". I'm like, "What are you talking about? No we don't". She says, "Well, you're washing and drying all your clothes along with mine all the time". LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.
It appears she might figure since I do laundry for the rest of us we're constantly pissing ourselves since that is why I'm sometimes washing her clothes. Toddler logic. And sure enough, she's had 5 perfect days once we had that discussion. We'll see. Toddlers are weird.
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