Owls by Mouse

Lately, I’ve felt like Cecilia has a shortage of toys.  I always assumed that other people would be gifting them to her, and it wouldn’t be necessary for me to buy them.  However, when friends and family asked what to give her for the holidays, I always suggested practical items like clothes, and they surprisingly honored my requests.  The responsibility of buying toys has fallen into my lap.

I guess it’s probably a good thing.  Baby toys can be super noisy, flashy, and obnoxious.  There’s only so often you can here a plastic blue table squeal, “Splash little duck! Jump little frog!” without feeling an overwhelming urge to drop kick it at the dog.  (I don’t speak from experience or anything.  I’m just speculating.)  In order to find adorable, silent toys, I turned to Etsy.

Etsy is an online community that allows it’s members to buy and sell handmade goods.  They hope to provide creative individuals a means to support themselves and their crafts.  There is an abundant supply of handmade toys to choose from.  I’ve recently become obsessed with owls so I narrowed my search and found adorable plush owls from a seller named Owls by Mouse.

owl-pals

Based on the pictures, I knew her animals were darling, but Sweet! Fancy! Moses!, when the package arrived at my door, I thought the cuteness was going to kill me.  I was also impressed with how well they’re made.  They’ll definitely withstand the wear and tear of Cecilia, which is a good thing because she’s already becoming attached to Marcia (the pink owl).

So here’s the good part, Mouse has generously offered the green owl (whom I’ve affectionately named Owliver) to one of my readers.  It’s going to kill me to separate Marcia and Owliver, but it’s important to spread the cuteness across America.  (Maybe it can help cancel out some of that AIG mess.)  Of course, there are some rules and regulations.

1. Go to Owls by Mouse’s store and find out what other animal she creates.  Then come back here and post it in the comments.  Make sure to leave your email address.

2. You can have an additional entry for subscribing to sleepingKelly’s RSS feed.

Please only one entry per requirement per day.  The giveaway ends on April 5th at 7 pm CST.  All entry numbers will be placed in a hat, and I’ll have Cecilia draw a number.  Assuming she doesn’t eat the paper before I can read it, I’ll contact the winner (and assuming they provided an email address and didn’t cheat).

owlie

Nine Months

Categories: Cecilia | 1 Comment

smiling-swing

Dear Cecilia,

This weekend you turned nine months old! It’s hard to believe that you’re becoming such a big girl! We’ve seen lots of small babies lately, and I have a hard time remembering that you were ever that little. You’ve developed such a sweet and sassy personality. It seems like you’ve always had an opinion and a smile.

Your mobility has continued to improve this month. You’re quite a little speedster when on your hands and knees. We’ve installed baby gates around the house to keep you safe and contained. When I leave the room, even for a short moment, it becomes a game of hide and seek, and you crawl after me. It is incredibly cute, and it feels so good to be wanted, especially by you.

duck-sweater

You also started standing unassisted. This new skill has me a bit more nervous than your previous ones. Thankfully, there have been a limited number of falls. During the times you’ve bumped your head, I’ve tried to remain calm and not react to it. My knee-jerk reaction is to scoop you up and comfort you, but I know I shouldn’t be overprotective. It’s important that you learn through trial and error. Plus I’m always close by when you do need me.

swing-thumb

This month you’ve advanced in your eating. This happened when I finally gave you a conventional, non-organic Gerber baby snack. I’m a little disappointed that I gave in to the convenience of it, especially when our pediatrician teasingly said they were the Cheetos of baby food. However, those snacks opened the doorway to other food, which includes Momma’s homemade baby food. I think when it comes down to it, you really just prefer foods that you can feed yourself, and until those Gerber snacks, you weren’t given that option.

These past few weeks, I feel like you’ve become more aware of the world around you. I don’t know if it’s your development of object permanence or your newly discovered independence that accompanied mobility, but it feels like you’ve become more self-aware and conscious of your surroundings. It’s no longer a world of objects that you can put in your mouth; it’s a world of objects that exist for a purpose. The expression on your face conveys a new level of understanding.

blue-eyes-pink-shirt

You’ve looked at me with that same intensity. We’ve had several moments, usually while nursing, where our eyes meet and lock and mouths slowly develop into a smile. It’s like we share a very intimate secret. It’s amazing that we can communicate so much love to one another without uttering a single word. I’m so grateful for that connection. I know that in the future we won’t spend as much time together, but I know that deep unspoken love will remain.

Love,
Momma

bw-mom-sass

“Cecilia, Earmuffs.”

Categories: home , Cecilia | 4 Comments

My stepmother is an audiologist so I grew up with a knowledge of decibels and its affect on hearing.  With my recent war on dog hair, I’ve become acutely aware of the volume of the vacuum cleaner.  I love my dyson, but I love Cecilia’s hearing more. At first, I tried leaving Cecilia in her pack’n'play while I vacuumed in the other room, but she was upset by the loud noise and disappearance of her momma.  I also tried waiting until Chris was home so he could hang with her while I vacuumed, but that didn’t happen as frequently as needed.  Two weeks ago, I ordered a pair of Peltor Junior Earmuffs.

I was a little worried that Cecilia wouldn’t tolerate them, but I was happily surprised that she was completely ambivalent.  Now I can clean the floors without permanently damaging her hearing, and, as an added bonus, she looks stinkin’ cute in them!

earmuffs

(That’s a drink coaster in her mouth.)

Ignorance is Bliss (for my bank acct)

Categories: video , Cecilia | 1 Comment

Sometimes after meeting up with our playgroup, I feel like I’m neglecting Cecilia because I see how little she has in comparison to other kids her age.  But then there are moments like these when I realize that she doesn’t know or care.  (It’s worth noting that there’s a brand new $30 push toy in the background.)


Laundry Basket from sleepingKelly on Vimeo.

Next time I feel the need to rush out and buy her a new toy to further her development, I’ll just get out some Tupperware and cardboard boxes.  After all, this ignorance to monetary value won’t last forever.   I should probably just save the money in anticipation for her teen years.

Lavender?

Categories: green living | 3 Comments

lavender

One of my readers turned BFF (Hi Laura!) asked me why I was growing lavender. Actually, she said something like this, “Why are you planting lavender seeds? Are you going to start making your own scented candles?”  Since she thinks I’m some kind of Martha Stewart-esque overachiever, I sensed some sarcasm in her tone.  I reassured her that I’m growing for two non-candle making reasons: 1. It’s pretty. 2. You can cook with it.

milk-lavender

Actually, I decided to grow it based on this recipe (appropriately from Martha Stewart).  I’d never cooked with lavender but was anxious to try it.  Since peaches are not in season, I thought I’d try All Recipes’ Lavender Tea Bread. It’s a pretty easy recipe that involves infusing milk with lavender, mixing up a delicious batter, and 50 minutes of baking. It calls for fresh lavender, but I used dry (not after this summer!).  If you decide to use dry, cut it down to 1/3 of what the recipe calls for.

lavender-bread

What did I think? Eh, I’m not sure this herb is for me.  I had high hopes for it.  The pre-baked batter taste spicy and had hints of cinnamon and lemon.   However, I couldn’t break away from the haunting memory of lavender slippers that Chris gave me when we were dating. Baking just intensified that.  It also gave me lavender breath, which is definitely better than bad breath, but it felt like I had been chewing on house shoes.  I don’t think I’m done with lavender;  I just want to mix it with other flavors, like peaches and cornbread.

Spring Beginnings

Categories: home , green living | 2 Comments

Spring is in the air, and I’ve managed to keep my gardening fervor at bay.  In previous years, I’ve planted way too early and watched with great alarm as a late frost killed my tomato plants.  Of course, the last frost date for this zone (6b) isn’t until April 6th so I’ve got a while to go before I can plant in the ground.  However, it’s getting to be time to start seedlings.  In fact, I’m even a bit late for some varieties of vegetable.  Thankfully I’m not growing those from seeds.  I’m quite the novice when it comes to seeds, and some plants, i.e. tomatoes, are more likely to survive if I buy them already thriving.

Actually, I prefer live plants most of the time.  Unfortunately, there is one variety of squash that we’re addicted to and is only available as seeds. Last year, I tried to grow it but failed miserably.  After all, it’s difficult to force yourself out of bed to water your garden in the morning, and it is especially difficult if you’re a sleep deprived new mom.  In order to get our fix, Chris, Cecilia, and I loaded up and went to the farmers’ market every Saturday morning because there was one farmer that grew it.  And on the weeks he wasn’t there, there was quite a bit of sadness in our house.  (I might be exaggerating a little bit, but if we thought about it, we were sad.) This year I’m determined to grow my own.  We’ll probably still go to the Market on Saturdays, but we’ll spend our money on other things, like local honey and watermelons.  (We all know I don’t need to grow watermelons again.  I was too successful at that.)

Despite my failure, I did learn a couple things last year.  First, the supplies to start seeds can be a little expensive for something that you plan to either put in the ground or throw away.  Second, you shouldn’t use paper to mark your seedlings because it will wash away when it rains, and you won’t know which plant is which until you have four butternut squash vines growing.  This year, I have a new method, a cheaper method - yogurt cups!  It’s always bothered me that yogurt comes in a #5 plastic, which isn’t recyclable in our area.  How can something so good for your digestive system be so bad for the earth?  Anyway, I thought I’d give the cups one more use before tossing them in the trash.  I also marked the appropriately labeled the cups with a permanent marker.  Take that rain!

So here are my kids.  I might plant a few more veggies in the next few days.  It just depends if I’m craving yogurt. (As you can see, I ran out of yogurt cups and had to use a few traditional peat moss pots.)

starter-seeds

Cereal Saver

At the beginning of the year, I mentioned that I’ve been buying meat in bulk when it’s on sale and storing it in our deep freezer.  I generally try to keep it around $2.50 per pound.  This is often a challenge because I only buy lean, healthy meat, which rarely goes on sale, and I spend the first part of Sunday morning scouring the newly posted sale flyers of our local grocery stores for the latest and greatest deal.  Some weeks are jackpots ($.99/pound lean 93/7 ground turkey), and some weeks are flops.

In addition to meat, I check the other groceries on sale and match them to my coupons.  If there is a product I know I’m going to purchase, whether to replenish our dwindling supply or because it’s on special, and I don’t have a coupon, I’ll do a quick google search.  Those searches are usually a bust, but one out of five times, you find something worth printing.

A couple weeks ago, one of our local grocery stores had Cheerios (all varieties!) on sale for buy one, get one free.  Cereal is one of those items that I only buy on sale, refusing to spend more than my arbitrary $2.50 per box.  I’ve found that most stores rotate their cereal sales week to week, and anticipating this, I had hoarded away all my Cheerio coupons.   Before leaving the house, I did a quick Google search and printed off a few additional coupons.  Then I went to the store and stocked up.

cereal-bulk

All in all, I bought 12 boxes of cereal that day.  (I stopped at another grocery store on the way home to pick up Honey Bunches of Oats.  It was on my way and only $2.16 per box.)  I know this seems crazy, but the price of cereal is rising because the price of wheat is rising.   Now we’re set for a couple months. Given some people might not like cereal that much, but you can always mix other things, like eggs, into your breakfast lineup.  Thankfully, we’re cereal people.

Code Word

Categories: Lucy | 4 Comments

Like most Americans, we’ve been cutting back our spending due to the recession, and the person who has felt it the most is Lucy.  Previously we were taking Lucy to doggy daycare.  Attending daycare gave her much needed exercise and helped keep me from losing my sanity due to her neurotic squirrel chasing.  At first, keeping her at home presented a challenge since we don’t have a fenced yard and toting a baby while holding a leash to a dog searching for the perfect poopin’ place gets to be a balancing act.  This is especially true on wet, windy days when it’s bitterly cold - too cold for Chris to walk her in the morning before he leaves for work and too cold to stand with the baby outside while we wait for Lucy to “go potty”.  Of course, when we’re forced to skip her exercise, she is even more energetic and more likely to run to the neighbor’s house to play with Sophie, the poop-eating poodle.

Very little derails hyper Lucy from her mission.  She becomes deaf to all commands.  Short of catching her and dragging her into the house, there is nothing I can do to get her to come. Except one thing - her love for the hairdryer.  (Many of you have seen this video and know her obsession.)  I have found that screaming, “HAIRDRYER,” out the back door makes Lucy come to a complete stop, turn around, and return to the house.  Now, I can only imagine what the neighbors are thinking when they see me in my pajamas with a baby on my hip screaming about bathroom appliances to the heavens.

Object Permanence

Categories: video , Cecilia | 2 Comments

Life suddenly gets harder when simply taking away an object doesn’t stop her.


Object Permanence from sleepingKelly on Vimeo.

Apparently Lucy also has object permanence.

Playing with Spray Paint

Categories: home | 5 Comments

I’ve mentioned that we bought this house with the intentions of slowly fixing it up.  Of course, two years ago we didn’t anticipate getting pregnant and bringing home a baby.  Needless to say, a lot of those big renovation dreams got pushed to the back burner.  Unfortunately, this didn’t stop me from daydreaming about the variety of projects that I’d like to undertake (or rather, have Chris undertake).  This was especially true as I spent hours and hours sitting on the couch nursing my sweet young baby while watching too much HGTV and staring at the wall.

I wasn’t staring with boredom;  I was staring with animosity.  You see, our fireplace is horrendous.  It has an excessively large hearth made up of white painted brick that spans the entire living room wall.  The fireplace has an unnecessary, frilly detail, and the fireplace screen is an ugly 80’s brass.  We loathe it.

The plan was to rip it out and redo it sometime this year, but then things got a little shitty.  With my recent resolution to save money, it’s just not practical to renovate until we’ve built up a savings and paid down debt. Poo. But then one day, I was watching HGTV, and they painted a fireplace screen with high heat spray paint.  Eureka! (Please note that I know and acknowledge that spray paint isn’t super earth friendly but sending your dated but functional fireplace screen to the landfill isn’t either.)

Last week, while wandering the aisles of my local home improvement store, I picked up a can of black high heat spray paint.  (They only had black, white, and BRIGHT silver.)  I had a new mission!  All I needed was for Chris to remove the fireplace screen and doors and paint.  Easy, right?

First, I taped up the glass.  You can see the fugliness of the brass.  (You can also see the reflection of Lucy’s rear end.  I think that’s fitting.)  Then I cleaned the visible surface area.  I did this while Chris watched an episode of Battlestar Galatica.  It looks like a good show, but I never got into it.

fireplace

On Saturday afternoon, Chris took the screen apart.  (If you’re a BSG fan, you know that it airs on Friday night.)  I thought that it would be pretty easy to remove, just loosen a couple screws.  Boy! Was I wrong! It took Chris several hours to get it apart.

You know what was easy to do?  Spray painting!  It was a bit windy, but the stuff dries fast.  Thankfully nothing blew into the wet paint.

fireplace

The can said that it would take 2 hours to dry, but we decided to wait overnight.  This was mainly for Chris’s sanity.  I didn’t think his soul could handle disassembling and reassembling on the same day.  Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but he said he wanted to wait and I was in no position to argue.

So four hours and an endless supply of curse words later, the pretty new doors were in place and looking like a million bucks!

fireplace

Here’s the vertical picture.  What’s all that crap on the top?  Oh, that’s the stuff that use to decorate my house until the baby became mobile and tried to stick it in her mouth.  Now it just sits up there collecting dust.  Maybe I stop watching renovation shows and start watching decorating shows.

fireplace