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Pepsi Contest Update

January 15th, 2009

I’ve heard that some of you have  had trouble submitting recipes on the “Contact” page .   Instead, please  respond with your submission on the “Your Input Needed”  page!

 I’m  getting some awesome recipes!   This is going to be a stiff competition!   Keep them coming!   (And I’d better get cooking!)  

Pepsi Sponsoring Contest on MommyBlog!!

January 12th, 2009

Ok, Mommies, be honest: how many of you are secretly counting down the days to the end of football season?   How many of you are tired to the TV blaring all Sunday long (and all night on Mondays… and sometimes Thursdays… and now on Saturdays…) and are eagerly anticipating the end of the playoffs and final reward of Super Bowl Sunday??

Ok, I’m sure there are a lot a real football fans out there, too.   I, for one, love going to Navy football games, and even enjoy  watching the occasional game on TV.     And I love a good Super Bowl party.   Segue:  The gold folks at Pepsi  have invited MommyBlog to take part in a contest give-away for The Ultimate Pepsi Super Bowl Party Pack!   The prize, worth over $250 includes an official football, t-shirts, beverage pail, football helmet snack bowl and many more fun items to make your own Super Bowl party the hit of your neighborhood.  

All you have to do to enter is  send me your best Super Bowl party recipe.   Whether it’s chili, nachos or  pigs in a blanket… just send me your favorite football party staple and you’ll have a chance to win the Ultimate Pepsi Party Pack.   Please submit your recipe on the MommyBlog Contact page.   Winners will be judged (be me) on the basis of creativity and taste!   (Relatives ineligible; sorry guys!)   You must submit your recipe by Midnight on January 22nd to give me a chance to try them out and declare a winner.   Pepsi will send the party pack directly to the winner in time for Super Bowl Sunday on February 1st.

Good luck and feel free to enter as many times as you want!   Go Ravens!   (Actually, we’re NY Jets fans in this house, but the Ravens are  our home team, and as the Jets have sorely dissappointed this season, we’ve got to have some one to root for!!)

Mama said there’d be days like this…

January 10th, 2009

I’ve had better days as a mother.


Casey took a short trip out of town and things are always a little edgier around here when he’s gone.   Ok, I should amend that to say that since Cooper was born, things are a little edgier when he’s gone.   Before Cooper (BC… ha ha ha …) Kenny and I had a grand old time anytime it was just the two of us.   We went on dinner dates to the local pizzeria, prowled the mall, played in the backyard in our pajamas and generally had a silly time.   But now with the little wiggler in the mix, and suddenly two totally different little people to deal with, things are rough when I’ve got them on my own.

Dudley is also a mess whenever Casey is gone, chewing everything in sight and prowling around the house nervously all night – whining to go out every other hour until sunrise.   To top all that off, we’ve had a bird stuck on our screened porch since 8 o’clock this morning.   At one point I went out there to try and lure him out, but he ended up flying so hard into the screen, he bounced onto a glass coffee table and stunned himself for a good five minutes.   I locked Dudley in the house (he is famous for getting our stuck birds…. in his own way) and watched the poor thing lay on it’s back, breathing deeply and praying that it would get up.   It did, but then spent the rest of the day perched on the back of the wicker couch, staring out the screen, afraid to try again.   He is still there and I can only hope that some instinct will drive him back out the door and into the wild by morning.   Otherwise, Mommy’s going to have to have a little birdie funeral later tomorrow…

But back to my own brood:   I know that it will be easier as Cooper gets older, but he’s only 6 months and still has those afternoons and evenings when he just wants to be held.   Or when I need to take a little extra time to feed him, or put him down for a nap, or whatever it might be.   And since Cooper’s been around, Kenny has become much more of a Daddy’s boy – quite possibly because so often in the evenings, I’m wrapped up with the baby and it’s Casey who does the baths and storytimes and sings him to sleep.  

Today was not so hot for my record.   Kenny was extra “needy” all day – no matter how much one-on-one we had, he wanted more.   Excpet for the few hours Cooper was napping and I was playing solely with him,  Kenny purposely made messes, sassed me back, jumped all over the place and then wailed like a fire engine when I scolded him.   By the time I started making dinner, he was bouncing like a wild man and semi-purposely dropped a full cup of apple juice all over the floor.   I so almost lost it.   I didn’t say a word to him, but I threw the empty cup into the sink and marched myself into the other room, swinging the door shut behind me.   I could hear him start to cry.   Which made Cooper start to fuss.   Which reminded me that I really couldn’t leave them unattended in the kitchen with a hot pan on the stove.   But even though I was cordial during dinner, I simmered, and Kenny, perhaps in effort to make amends, cleaned his plate (even managing a, “Yum, Mama.   This is go-od!”) and  asked sweetly for dessert (“Mama, can I please have a little vanilla ice cream, please, Mama?).   Cooper then hit his witching hour just as we settled in the bed for stories, and Kenny was more than a little distraught that I couldn’t hang in the room with him very long.

Now that they are both asleep, I looked back over all the little peevish gripes I had throughout the day and I feel  a little small.   Small mostly because, before Cooper, Kenny and I were little buddies – cohorts – partners in our day-to-day rhythm.   Now I feel like I’m on him all the time about everything.   Sure he’s three, so he acts like a hyena most of the day, but he’s also my little boy and I love him so much and yet I find myself irrationally annoyed with him when he acts up.   Like he’s suddenly supposed to be the big boy  so I  can  attend to the baby.   I don’t know what the answer is.   But there suddenly is a tension I wasn’t expecting in having a second child.   And I do want to have another one.   But for now, it really is kind of hard.


If Cooper Could Talk…

January 7th, 2009

… he would say, “Gee, Mom.   I’ve been trying to tell you for months… stop tying me up to go to sleep for goodness sakes!   Set me free!   Let me cry for a minute.   I LOVE sleep.   Just let me do it my way!”

I mentioned a few posts back that with the new year I decided to stop swaddling Cooper and stop rocking him to sleep for bed and naptimes.    Trying to get him to sleep  was getting out of control: he wasn’t napping and was waking up all night.   So we let him be free to roll around (and sleep on his tummy) and VOOM:   He had been taking naps like clockwork and sleeping at night  like  a champ.   Sure, he cries for a bit: usually 5 to 10 minutes to settle down to nap, then hardly a whimper at bedtime, but he’s been napping in two-hour stretches and sleeping from 8 to 6ish, nursing, then settling in until 8 or 8:30 to wake for the day.

It’s a whole new world.

Kenny never napped.   That is, he stopped napping at 8 weeks and started again at 14 months.   But I always tried to nurse him to sleep.   The poor little rascal was so darn tired, he’d always fall asleep nursing, and I’d carefully try to lay him down, then *wham* he’d startle awake screaming and that would be it.   I didn’t know any different.   Grr.   Now with Cooper actually sleeping during the day and night, I have a whole new ream opened up to me.   I can play with Kenny.   Do chores.   Darn it, I may even pick up a hobby.   Ok, I’m not going that far.   But it was fun to dream for a minute…

Now if only Kenny hadn’t given up his naps so soon…

Let’s Get Physical

January 6th, 2009

A month or so ago, I realized that I’d hit my pre-pregnancy weight and did a little happy dance.   But the dance was short-lived as I watched myself in the mirror and thought, “Hm.   Weight same; body still looking like jelly.”   I tried on my favorite “I really look great in these jeans” jeans and they were baggy where they used to fit and tight where they used to hang straight.   Hm. Same weight… jelly belly…  bad jeans…

I’m a runner.   Or was one.   When Kenny turned six-weeks, I hit the pavement, and though I never got back to my pre-kid-five-mile-a-day running streak, I did  become a  pretty consistent jogger again.   Me, Dudley and Kenny in the jogging stroller became a fixture in our neighborhood and continued so until I found out that I was pregnant with Cooper.   But somehow when Cooper turned 6 weeks, running was about as far down on my To Do list as getting my legs waxed.   In fact, even going for a walk was a different ball game – with Kenny now 35 pounds and Cooper either in the front pack or in the double stroller wailing, my walks lost their zing and when the cold weather hit, I was more than happy to hang it up until Spring.

Until now.

A few weeks ago I went for a run with Dudley before Casey left for the day.   It was awesome.   I did it a few more times, and Casey jumped on my cheering squad, more than willing to see me sprint towards my honeymoon figure.   Then came Christmas, colds and really nasty weather and the next thing I knew, I found my running shoes frozen in a puddle on the side porch.   Take two.

I made up my mind last night that I would go for a run this morning.   So when Cooper woke up a six, I jumped up and headed down to the kitchen with him on my hip for some coffee.   We nursed and played in the living room and just as I was about to put him back to sleep and sneak outside before Casey and Kenny woke up, Kenny came downstairs.   I was not deterred.   “Kenny, Mommy’s going to put Cooper back down and go for a run…” and I was about to add, “Do you want to watch Curious Geroge while I’m gone?” when he piped in, “I want to come with you!”   It was dark.   It was cold.   I protested.   He whined.   Why not, I thought?   So I put Cooper back to bed, got dressed, bundled Kenny up and whispered to Casey, “I’m taking Dudley for a run.   Kenny’s with me.”

We got to the door.   Dudley had slunk back to bed.   I called Dudley, even rattling a box of crackers to bribe him.   He came warily down the stairs, then tried to bolt, but I caught him and hooked on his leash.   “Let’s go!”   I hooted.  “Can I have some crackers, too, Mama?”   “Sure.   Here.    Let’s go…”  “Mama?   There’s something in my eye!”   Ok.   Eye check.   Movin’ out.   “Mama?   It’s raining!”   Hm.   freezing rain = bad.   But I’m stubborn, so I said cheerily, “You’re so bundled up you won’t feel a thing!” and I quickly put one of my turtlenecks on Dudley to keep his nearly bald body  warm.   “Mama?   Why is Dudley wearing your shirt?”   “He looks good in grey!”  I chortled, and off we went down the street.

Mile .1 – Turtleneck arms too long; tripping dog.   Stop.   Roll up sleeves.   Start.

Mile .2 – Just realized that it really is raining and I have no gloves.   Hands cold.

Mile .3 – Sleeves dragging on Dudley’s paws again.   Stop.   Take turtleneck off relieved dog.   Start.

Mile .4 – “Mama?   This is fun!   Wheeeee!”

Mile .5 – Can’t feel hands.   Realize they are turning blue.   Too late to go back.

Mile .6 – Uphill.   Calculate that Kenny + stroller = over 50 pounds.   What was I thinking?

Mile .7 – See neighbor.   Banter and fend off questions regarding my sanity.

Mile .8 – Can no longer feel fingers.   Wondering if perhaps this was a really dumb idea.

Mile 1.5 – Pass the house, then turn back and go in.   Deposit Kenny with the now awake Casey.   Put on gloves.   Dudley and I escape before anyone can protest.

Mile 1.6 – 2.0 – I feel like I’m flying!   I feel free!

Mile 2.4 – It starts raining again.   Hard.   Look at faithful and now very wet Dudley.   Time to go home.

Mile 2.5 – Home.   Sweaty.   Feelin’ good.   Dudley looks at me as if to say, “That’s it?   You dragged my hide out of bed into the freezing ran for two and a half miles??”   Oh yeah.   And I’d do it again.


Kenny runs up and beams at me.   “Mommy!   Can you take me out again tomorrow??”   Sure.   Why not?   At this rate I’ll be back in shape before you can say, “Happy 2010!”

Everyone Is Beautiful

January 5th, 2009

Book Review: Everyone is Beautiful, by Katherine Center, published by Ballantine Books, 2009

Available in hardback February 17.

For any mom who has ever found herself on day two of going shower-less; who has ever accidentally flashed her nursing bra in public; who has ever wondered for a second too long why the kids were so quiet, and found them swimming in shaving cream in the bathtub; who has ever wondered how many years until the kids stay quiet long enough for her to have a real and meaningful conversation with her husband; who has ever wondered if that husband and you can ever even look at each other with passion again, this one is for you.

Everyone is Beautiful, the second  novel by Katherine Center (whose debut, The Bright Side of Disaster, was reviewed here last Spring) is at once lovely, heartbreaking and hopeful.   The story follows Lanie, a mom of three boys under four, and her family as they move across country to follow her musician husband’s dream of graduate school.   Moving is stressful enough, but when, on her first day in town, she is asked by another mom at the playground, “When are you due?” Lanie is shocked into a realization that she is no longer the woman her husband married.   Not just in pounds, but in dreams and ambition; she startles to find that all of the things that once defined her have fallen by the wayside and been replaced with diapers, boogers and a two-year-old whose favorite playmate is his “noodle.”

The novel follows a charming sequence of alternating chapters: first the present day, then a slice of her college days of meeting and falling in love with her husband,  then back again to her maddening and often mundane world of child-wrangling.   Armed with the memories of who she once was, she resolves to change her life.    She sets on a path, first just to get back  in shape,  and ends up unleashing the artist inside her.   I don’t want to spoil any of the suspense that kept me up reading all night, but suffice to say  that the  “self improvement project” she embarks on has some unexpected effects on her relationship with her husband.

The thing I appreciated most about this book was the love story between Lanie and her husband.   There is a scene where Lanie shows up at the gym where her husband is working out on the treadmill, and she is so self conscious of him seeing her baggy and sweaty in the land of lycra-clad nymphs, that she purposely picks a spot where he won’t see her, and then spends the hour staring at him, admiring him, and praying that he won’t turn around and catch her.   It’s such a unique, yet achingly real moment for a wife.   On the one hand, you let this  guy you married see you in sweats and oily hair at the end of an exhausting day with the kids,  and on the other,  you remember that you were once pursued by him and had a romantic relationship with him, and you are terrified that he might actually look at you and be embarrassed by what he sees.  

In another chapter, the family is invited over to a friend’s house for dinner, and as Lanie listens to the other wife asking her husband questions about his music and career, she is stunned to find that she never once thought to ask him those questions herself; that in the space of a pre-dinner cocktail, she learns more about her husband’s aspiring career than she  has in the last five years.     She is embarrassed and curious at the same time, wondering what else about him she may have never thought to ask about.   I actually got a little knot in my stomach in that scene – have I asked my husband any questions today besides “When do you want dinner ready?” and “Can you change Cooper’s poop?”

I have only one tiny gripe with this otherwise fantastic book, and that is the occasional foul language.   Longtime readers of this blog know that it’s a pet-peeve of mine.   Though even I have to admit that Center’s use of “the f-word” made me laugh once or twice, most notably in the scene where Lanie asks her landlord that if he really feels the need to use the word, to at least spell it out, for goodness sakes, in front of the kids.

There is something truly special about Katherine Center’s writing.   Regardless of how many personal traits I may or may not  have in common with her leading ladies, in both of her novels to date, I have had the distinct feeling that she is writing me.   The feelings and emotions in her books are so tangible, so authentic.   The theme of “losing yourself” when kids come along is one that every woman – especially a stay at home mom – struggles with, and Everyone is Beautiful embraces it and then tackles it; you find yourself not only cheering Lanie on, but wondering where exactly it was that you left your own streak of Who I Am.   This book will inspire you to get up and get moving and remember all those little parts of  you that still exist beneath the Mommy banner.

In fact, after you finish reading it, you might feel just a little bit beautiful, too.

Like Clockwork… kind of…

January 5th, 2009

I had no idea how many pro-tummy moms I’d hear from!   Thanks to all for the comments and emails about the blissful life of the tummy-sleeping-baby.   Cooper has found his niche.

We did hit a bump in the “cry yourself to sleep” road, though, as right after I wrote the last post, he came down with an awful cold / virus and sported his first ever fever – 101.6.   He was sleepless, napless, and spent the better part of the day wailing.   He is much better today (thank goodness!) and actually slept for 10 hours straight last night, once his fever broke.   Casey and I had an early morning meeting to go to together today, and I actually had to wake the bugger up to nurse him before I left.

Now the baby Boo is napping (after a little screeching – but hey – he fell asleep on his own!  and it’s been nearly two hours!) and Kenny is having some “quiet time” in the living room… he’s coloring pictures and listening to Abba on the IPod.   Is there anything cuter than that??   Of course, “quiet time” to Kenny usually entails him calling to me every three minutes: “Mama?   Is my quiet time over yet?   It’s taking a really long time.”

I decided to  celebrate my own quiet time today by not folding laundry and instead  did something more interesting and enriching.   I spent fifteen minutes  surfing on  Ebay.   I even bid on an awesome pair of designer jeans.   After all… I need something to jet around the house in, right?   Real Housewives of …the Chesapeake Bay?   Ha.   Ha, ha.

Hm.   I hear a baby calling my name… “WAAAAAAAAAA….”

Cracking the Cooper Code

January 3rd, 2009

So it turns out that Cooper did’t really “need” to be swaddled to sleep.   In fact, all this time he’s been begging us to set him free… and let him sleep on his tummy.   For three days now, he’s napped like a champ – falling asleep on his own after only a little crying, and has slept much better at night, waking only close to 5 to nurse and then sleep until 8.   He’s been waking up happy, too.   Whew.   What a difference a few days makes!

I am a little nervous about the tummy thing, still.   I know that he can roll himself over if he needs too, but the “back to sleep” mantra keeps drilling in my head.   The extra time and sleep I’ve been getting, though, has nearly wiped the nerves away.

I’m interested: are there any medical folks who read this blog?   Doctors, PAs or Nurses who’d like to give some input?   I’ve been reading about baby sleep positioning and SIDs nonstop, and the general consensus seems to be that “back is best” but that after 6 months, many babies roll onto their tummies anyway to sleep.

So what else is new this year?   Well, for those out there who have been long-time readers of MommyBlog, I have commissioned the artist who drew the funny cartoon at the top banner of me watering a “Kenny Tree” to draw up a new cartoon of the whole family.   It should be appearing sometime near the end of the month.     And Casey, ever the business genious, is working to expand MommyBlog to become a portal for readers to start their own blogs.   That should be developing (hopefully) by MommyBlog’s 3rd birthday in June.

I am also in the  process of revising my blog roll – I’ve never had many blogs on there to begin with – just a few of my friends – and I’m looking for some  new blogs to sink my  teeth into.   I don’t have time to read too many, so I like to find a few hearty ones to really get to know.   And though a read many blogs here and there, I tend to only blog roll the ones I read on a very regular basis.   If you have a favorite blog – or if you write one – please send me a link!      Though I can’t add them all to the list, I’d love to check yours out!   (a post script to that: on general principle, I won’t add any blogs that use foul language !)

On a more personal note, for those who have been following our move – then move back – to and from Atlanta, we are contemplating another move – this one about 17 miles from our current home – into the historic district of  town.   We have put in an offer on a house, which was haughtily countered, and are in negotiations to meet at a happy sales price.   We purposely didn’t unpack about 50% of the boxes from our October move, hoping to find an historic home, so this move should go much smoother.   The timeline is a little sketchy, but if all goes well, expect to hear much more about this change of pace for our family.   We currently live in a medium sized house with a large yard on the water, and this move would take us to a spot with a about 3/4 the square footage, no yard (except a token patch of grass for Dudley to pee in), and a city address.   That alone will lend for some interesting writing!

So much to look forward to in 2009!

Ringing Out the Old

January 1st, 2009

Two nights ago, Cooper had his  worst night.   Ever.

He did get his six-month vaccines  that day  – a whopping 4 shots and an oral suspension.   His doctor told me to keep him on Tylenol, and expect him to be feverish and cranky.   Oh, had I had an inkling of what the Mini Coop would do with that vertical, I would have taken a nap.

Casey and I started the evening by going out with one of his business associated and his wife.     We left the boys at my parent’s house, and returned home at 11PM, stuffed to the gills and informed that Cooper had hardly slept a wink.   But I thought, he’s down now, so surely the fatigue will over take him, and we’ll have a nice night’s sleep.   Right.   He was up at 1AM, and never went down again.   I nursed him, Casey and I took turns rocking him, we sang, bounced, prayed and swung.   Finally at 3 I headed to my parent’s living room and sat in the lazy chair for the rest of the night, soothing him to sleep each time he squirmed.     Finally at 6:30, I handed him over to Casey and managed a short snooze,   but Oh, what a way to start New Year’s Eve!

We scratched our plans to party at our hometown’s “First Night” and instead headed out to see only our 2nd movie of 2008 – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.   It was really quite good, even with a nearly 3 hour running time.   The last ten minutes were so heartbreaking, though, Casey and I went skipped a celebratory drink and went home instead to hug our boys.   Good thing, too, because Cooper had another rough one – waking at 1 for 40 minutes, then at 4 for over an hour, then at 7 for good.  

So today begins not only a new day, but a new year.   I have decided to stop swaddling Cooper – the only way he’s ever slept – and also to stop rocking him to sleep, cold turkey.   Instead today, I put him down for both naps alone in his crib on his tummy, with only his little lovey, and within 25 minutes for the first and 15 for the second, he was sound asleep.   Ah.   Tonight will be the real test – seeing how well he lasts through the night.   I’m not comfortable putting him on his tummy yet for the night – it’s one thing to be able to watch him like a hawk on the video monitor for a nap, but quite another to leave him like that all night while I’m asleep myself.   But he’s had such bad nights this week, it certainly can’t get any worse.

Can I hear an Amen?   Seriously, though, I’m a fervent follower of the “back to sleep” advice for infants,   I remember that Kenny started rolling onto his own tummy around 7 months, and we’d always flip him over when we went into check him.   Cooper can roll over himself now, so I would think that sleeping on his tummy is no longer an issue… Any opinions out there?

And, Happy New Year!!

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