Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Get Your Cheese!

...'Cause I've got some whine.

Apparently, if you stop going to the gym because you're sick and then spend the better part of a week eating junk food and drinking wine and then eating more junk food, you gain some weight. Who knew, right?

So now I'm not so much poking my toe at that line in the sand as have stepped boldly over it, and now I really, really, really need to get my act together and stop eating like I don't care. (Or else, you know, actually stop caring. But that doesn't seem like the wise move.)

Also on the whine front: bigwigs in the office today, so I had to dress up. My only winter dressy shoes are ankle boots with a four-inch heel, and I'm having feet problems again lately (possibly because of all the weight I've packed on in the last year -- I don't deny it) so I'm praying to all the gods that I don't have to do a lot of standing and walking today.

Sorry I didn't post yesterday, by the way. I had Penny with me in the morning and had to scramble to get my office set up and my computer back online so I could deliver software (of course it didn't go out on Friday) by the 8:30 deadline and then spent most of the rest of the day locating and unpacking all my stuff.

I rearranged my office while I was at it. I like the new arrangement; there's a lot more space in here now. But I need to move all the stuff on my walls, now. And I could use a brighter lamp, because the new arrangement no longer allows for direct lighting. Which means I need to make a Target run.

But not in these shoes.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Twue Wuv

Today, I went out to run some errands and visit my mom (who had hip replacement surgery last week and is recovering nicely). While I was gone, my beautiful, loving daughter sent me an email, presented here in its entirety, unedited and without comment, for your consideration:
Subject: When?
Mom when are you going to be home? It's 4:12 I'm not having much fun without you. I want you to be home by 5:15. I want to play on your phone.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Software delivery at work. Four components, full audit required, and extra delivery documentation. With a PM who does not organize very well, or read his emails very carefully, or explain what he wants very well. Has to be ready to go by the end of the day Friday.

Penny's out of school Friday. As is our usual plan for school days, I've got her for the morning, and Matt will take her for the afternoon.

And to make it all more exciting, they're replacing all the carpet in our office, starting on... Friday! Which is to say that before I leave today, I have to pack up all my loose items and stack them in the hallway, and then pull the drawers out of my desk and stack them in the hallway, and then unplug all my electronics (lights and heater and computer and phone and monitor and printer and everything else that plugs in) and... stack them in the hallway. And tomorrow I won't have access to my office at all.

I'm pretty well expecting tomorrow to suck. A lot. For that matter, today isn't looking like it'll be a picnic.


But Alex made sure I smiled at least once this morning.


"Oh, hello, Iron Man!"

"...Iron Man wants a hug from Iron Mommy."

(For the record, Iron Mommy was happy to comply.)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Llama Drama

One of Alex's favorite books lately is Llama Llama Mad At Mama. Reading it is a ritual -- he has to read the "MAD AT MAMA" line himself, and he must linger over the little llama's tantrum and enjoy the vicarious visceral thrill of throwing things and making an enormous mess. And when it's done, he explains to me earnestly that even when he's mad at me, he still loves me. I love reading it with him almost as much as I enjoyed Llama Llama Red Pajama.

I particularly love the phrase "llama drama", which gets used in both books.

Which, I suppose, is good, because there is llama drama shaping up at work. I can't talk much about it, because it may well involve Official Actions of one severity or another, but it's giving me a hell of a headache. No worries; I'm not in any trouble, but I'm tangentially involved as a manager. I very much fear that it's going to result in the departure (one way or another) of one of the dramatis personae. Which would be bad, because we need them.

Which is all I'm going to say about the llama drama for now.


So I took Penny with me to Bed, Bath, and Beyond this weekend and I tried her patience right down to the very last thread while I picked out a new shower curtain, liner, floor mats, towels, and counter accessories. I wanted a new curtain rod as well, but I want the kind that mounts directly on the wall, and the only ones of those they had were the curved ones, and our bathroom is not well-situated for one of those. So I contented myself with new rings, and eventually I'll make a run down to Lowes or Home Depot for a mounted curtain rod.

If I must say so myself, it looks fantastic.

The color is a little weird because of my phone, but the new colors are a rich chocolate brown and a gorgeous deep red, with cream and silver accents. I think it manages to be attractive and simple without being either austere or so girly that Matt will feel out of place. And as a bonus, the new floor mat I got to go by the sink is actually long enough to cover the whole length of the double sinks, so we can both stand completely on it now, instead of having to either crowd the center or stand one foot on and one foot off!

To console Penny for having to wait while I dithered over all the options for this, I let her pick out the trash can we needed for the kids' bathroom. She, naturally, went straight for the most bling-a-riffic, rhinestone-studded wastebasket I have ever seen in all my life.

Every single one of those little dots is, in fact, a rhinestone stud. She's ridiculously happy with it, and if I had been looking to re-do the kids' bathroom this weekend as well, I'm certain she would have cheerfully picked the sequin-covered shower curtain to go with it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Press Pause

After some discussion, Matt and I are pretty much putting Alex's night time potty training on hold. Too many nights in a row of multiple accidents and everyone being cranky the next day because of interrupted sleep. Too much frustration. And, looking online, it really looks like there's no such thing as providing incentives -- positive or negative -- for night time training. They either wake up in time, or they don't.

Alex is super about daytimes now; he's only had one accident in the last couple of months that I know of. So it's not a reluctance to use the potty. He's just not quite there for the night yet. And it's not that terrible a hardship to plan for having a couple of spare pullups around for nights. So we're back to pullups for now, and we're possibly all a lot happier for it.

(Once our Diaper Genie runs out its current stock of plastic wrap, though, I might toss it and switch to putting wet pullups in the leftover Diaper Duck bags, by way of clutter reduction.)


It's going to be a busy weekend, even though we don't have much in the way of special events planned.

Alex has a birthday party to attend on Saturday, and Matt's monthly D&D game is that night. And of course, there's the usual Friday night hangout with the Hedge.

Working around that, I need to go to the bank, Penny wants to hit the drugstore/post office near my office for a toy she saw a few weeks ago, and I want to hit up Bed Bath and Beyond for a new bathroom set (shower curtain, liner, rod/rings, rugs,  the whole deal. Maybe even towels. Everything we've got has been in there since we moved in, if not before that, and it's all showing its age rather sadly). Also, Alex could use a new pair of shoes, and I noticed a hole the other day in my favorite pair of work pants, so there's a trip to Target in the offing.

Matt and I also, at some point (though not necessarily this weekend) want to replace our mattress and our refrigerator, both of which will take a little extra time in comparison shopping.

Let the games begin!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Well, Crud

Bleh. In addition to the adorable little beaded bags (two words: turtle wristlet!) and the fun toys (ask Alex about his red blood cell) and flyers I brought home from MarsCon, I seem to have also come away with a case of the Con Crud.

It's nothing particularly horrible or serious, just a persistent, back-of-the-throat congestion, but I've got a mild sore throat, a croaky voice, and a lack of energy to go with it.

On the plus side, it's a slowish week at work, so I've been able to work from home for the last couple of days. I'm sitting on the couch and drinking a lot of fluids (thank you, Karen, for the 16-oz pirate mug you sent for Christmas -- I emptied it at least six times yesterday) and listlessly poking at my Pocket Frogs in between checking work email.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


This blog is for me to meander about whatever's on my mind. Right now, that list is pretty short:

  • Alex's lack of success with the no-pullup thing since last week
  • Penny's general surliness
  • A co-worker's very serious and sudden illness
  • Boring work crap
  • Assorted dorky iPad games
So now you will appreciate it as I launch into a quick review of my latest game obsessions.

Plants Vs. Zombies - An oldie but a goodie. I loved this enough to plunk down cash for both iPhone and iPad versions of this, but I'd played it through multiple times and got all but the most difficult achievements, so I thought I was pretty much done with this game... until about a month ago, when the iPhone update for it included the Zen Garden. Zen Garden is like crack cocaine, apparently; I've played the rest of the game through at least twice in the last month just to earn cash to buy plants for the garden, and hoping to get chocolate bars for the snail. (If you don't know what I'm talking about... just trust me when I say it's got me re-hooked on this game.) Well played, PopCap. Well played. Now, if you would just put it on the iPad version, I'd never stop playing.

Except to check on my Pocket Frogs. I blame this wholly on Elizabeth, who mentioned it offhand on Twitter one day. I looked it up just to see what she was talking about, and bam! hooked! How can I resist? Cute widdle fwoggies! Fun color combinations! Decorative elements! Achievements and requests! I'm about this close to signing up for an account so I can trade frogs and items with Elizabeth and Adin (likewise hooked), except that having an account allows for device synching, and I don't know what that would do to Penny's frogs on my phone. I particularly love that, even though it's built on the freemium model, there doesn't appear to be anything at all that's unavailable to non-paying customers -- you just have to wait longer to get it. And there are free, in-game ways of speeding things up, though my play is slowing down a bit now that I'm reaching the higher level stuff that takes up to two days to complete.We shall see if my patience eventually forces me to drop actual cash and, you know, support the game developer.

I'm also checking into Dragonvale a bunch of times a day. Now that I'm past the game's opening stages, it's slowed down a lot -- it's another freemium breeding/building game, but unlike Pocket Frogs, there's nothing I can do to speed things up without spending actual money. It's also mildly frustrating in that it requires an internet connection to play and is very slow to load, so I don't know how much longer it's going to last. But it's dragons, so that earns it an extra dozen or so free passes for me.

Like PvZ, I thought I was done with Kingdom Rush, too -- I'd gone so far as to put down the dollar it cost to get the premium content and play the new level. But then they released it for the iPad and it's hard to beat this game for fun art and great gameplay, so of course I'm working my way back through it again.

As I mentioned a few posts back, I recently completely finished Where's My Water -- tri-ducked all levels, found all the secret levels, tri-ducked those. There's just a few achievements left to work on, and then my interest in this will probably slip some. But that's okay, because it looks like they release fresh levels once a month or so, so I'm looking forward to the next update of this!

So overall, my hooks tend to be cute art, and gameplay that I can access from multiple directions. I like puzzle games, but I'm often weirdly bad at them (games like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope, which ought to be right up my alley, have both stymied me by being too hard for me to complete the free versions -- which doesn't entice me to buy the paid versions) so Where's My Water? is something of a standout on that front.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Con Report

So, MarsCon? Awesome.

Penny and Alex were not (too) whiny. I got to wear my costume with the leather corset I bought last year. I saw musical shows. I got to hang out with friends I see all too rarely, and made a couple of new friends. I bought stuff for myself and for the kids, most of it pointless and silly. (The beaded cell phone bag, though, was all but necessary. Why didn't I make that stupid skirt with pockets?) I ate junk food and stayed up late and plugged my books.

The weekend is something of a blur, but let me (try) to start at the beginning.

Friday night was Rock Band Night at the Hedge -- the usual Friday night crew, plus Elizabeth and Lorenz and Jenn and Brian. Braz put the boys to bed and told them that if we had to come up and tell them to be quiet, we would separate them. The threat worked, and though I don't think either of them went to sleep until well after 9:30, they stayed in Henry's room and were at least quiet enough we didn't hear anything over Rock Band.

After the boys were in bed, we told the girls to go upstairs to play, and I slipped in this suggestion: "You know, if you stay upstairs and don't come interrupt us, we might forget what time it is, and you'd get to stay up late." The bribe worked, and we didn't see hide nor hair nor hear a squeak from the girls until Adin realized it was time for us to do Penny's 10:00 blood sugar check.

And the adults...? Well, we rocked.

Until after Adin had to leave for work. Until after Jenn and Brian realized they had an hour and change drive home and reluctantly left. Until... until Matt realized that it was coming up on 1 in the morning and we really should get the kids home.

The next morning, we got up and ate breakfast and took showers and got dressed (more or less in that order) and eventually (near lunchish) found ourselves at MarsCon.

We found KT and Kevin right away, and Penny and Alex and Jess spent a while playing in the huge pile of Legos and getting their faces painted.

Then KT and I left the kids with Kevin and Matt and went off to a writer's workshop, where I joyfully also ran into my brother. I've wanted to do this workshop for years, but it's always conflicted with something -- other panels, childcare, etc -- that took precedence. It was a lot of fun; a closed panel where everyone present wrote the opening few sentences for a short story. The hook, in other words, and the panel judges offered up critique to help us hone our writing styles and do a better job of genuinely drawing in the reader. (One of the panelists said the very nicest thing about mine, which was "Every single sentence had something I wanted to ding you for, but somehow you made it all work." I all but squee'd. I may share it with Wednesday's post to the writing blog, if you're interested.)

While we were doing that, Matt and the kids went to a puppet show that sounded like oodles of fun, then had lunch up at the Con Suite. (MarsCon has the Best. Con Suite. EVAR..)

We took the kids to a workshop on drawing cute creatures. Alex was showing signs of needing a nap, though, so Matt took him over to Braz and Adin's (as we had arranged previously), and I left Kevin to keep an eye on Penny while I dashed up to the Con Suite for my own lunch, where I was fortunate enough to encounter Pickleman!

When the drawing workshop was done, we took the girls to the Hysterically Correct Pirate Show, at which Penny and Jess became apprentice pirates. Then we took the girls to another workshop to make little felt zombie dolls. (I may be getting things out of order. The whole day was a bit of a blur.)

In the meantime, we bumped into dozens of rarely-met friends and took lots of pictures of people in costumes. (Those links include a fantastic Chel from Portal, including a gorgeous portal gun, a collection for four different incarnations of Doctor Who, and the obligatory Slave Leia.)

We spent half an hour in a musical concert from Jonah Knight, who writes and performs... I don't want to say "filk" because I think of that as music about existing franchises, and this mostly wasn't. Let's call his stuff steampunky short stories set to music. Sometimes spooky, sometimes silly, but definitely fun. KT was obsessed with his fingering; I was fascinated by his awesomely well-worn guitar.

We went out to dinner with the Hickses, our old college friend DJ and his son, and Vicki, and that was awesome, too -- we put the three kids in a booth to themselves and the grown-ups had a grand time talking about all kinds of stuff.

Then Matt and I dropped by the house so I could change out of my costume (it was fun, but the lack of pockets and the continual need to, er, "adjust the girls", so to speak, was getting annoying) and then we split up again. He took Penny over to Braz and Adin's to hang out and go to bed, and I went back to the con to go to a panel on GLBT in speculative fiction. (Matt also went back to the con after he'd dropped Penny off. I think he went to the Coyote Run concert along with KT and Kevin.)

While I was waiting on the panel to start, one of the panelists came in and it turned out to be JM Snyder, whom I'd met back in September in Roanoke, so we sat and chatted for a while, which was awesome. The panel (more of a panel-moderated discussion, really) was fascinating, too. It was followed by another panel-moderated discussion about repopulating the planet in the event of an apocalypse -- elements to consider, things that might or might not happen, how best to ensure the survival of the species -- that was super fun. When that was done, there was a reading from four authors where it looked for a while like I was going to be the only person in the audience, but eventually the room filled up.

I ended up talking for a while with another one of the audience members who I've seen before but not spoken to, and she was really nice, so I'm looking forward to seeing her again next year. I gave her one of the free copies of "Of Sound Mind" I had with me for promotion purposes, and she promised to read it and pass it on to friends who might like it.

When that broke up, I thought about wandering down the hall in search of one of the dozens of ongoing room parties, but it was nearly 1 in the morning and I had to drive home, so I made my farewells and headed out. I figured Matt would have been home long since (he'd come to the door of the panel and waved at me at least an hour before) but when I got home, he had only arrived a few minutes earlier and had just finished bringing the kids in and tucking them into bed.

We went back the next day as well -- had lunch in the Con Suite and wandered around a little, chatting with KT and Kevin some more and making a last sweep through the dealer's room before we headed home. KT and Kevin followed later to hang out with us some more that afternoon before they went back home.

It was a super weekend, and I'm sad it's already over. Matt and the kids have today off for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but I'm stuck at work. At least it'll be quiet, since all our government customers will be closed.

We're talking about getting a room at the hotel next year -- it's great living so close to the Con, but we were getting sick of having to lug our coats and bags around all the time, and it would've been nice to have a spot to eat and rest and regroup. We're also juggling the notion of going to another con up in Richmond in April -- the writer GoH is Glen Cook, and I'd love to get my ancient and battered copy of The Black Company signed. Alas, their website is not very helpful in determining whether they have any child-friendly programming, so we're not sure whether this is something we can all go to for the weekend, or if it may be a Mom-Only Day Trip. We'll see.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Many Parentheses and Exclamation Marks

I know it's going to be a great day when my two kids have three crying jags between them before 8 am.

So there's that.

But hey! It's Friday! We're doing dinner and Rock Band tonight with the Hedge! (and Elizabeth and Lorenz!) (and Jenn and Brian!) And Jenn promised to bring her lasagna. NOM.

And tomorrow we'll be at MarsCon for most of the day, so I'm really looking forward to that! I decided this morning that I should pack my gear for the day into my Bag of Holding that Karen sent me for Christmas. Because what could be more perfect for a geek con?! Nothing, that's what. (Note to self: Sharpie my name on an inside flap, just in case.) And yes, I will be wearing the leather corset I bought last year. There may be pictures. If you ask nicely. Will I be buying other fancy goods? It's entirely possible -- I've got Christmas money to spend, after all! And Braz and Adin promised they'd take the kids for a while so Matt and I could be adult geeks. (Though looking at the programming, we may drop Alex off with them in the early afternoon, and then let Penny stay at the con until after dinner. We'll have to sort that out somehow.)

And! And! AND! Alex went all night last night without an accident! That's two nights in a row! (I'm wondering if the potty training is making him sleep a little lighter than he's usually prone to, and that's why he's been so cranky and touchy for the last couple of days. No way to tell, really. He'll figure it out eventually.)

Also, I have finally tri-ducked every single level on Where's My Water, even all the bonus levels! And all the levels (including bonus ones) on the free version! Which may seem like a lame thing to be excited about, but it's nice to find a game that I'm actually good at, after watching all my friends completely blow past me without even trying on all the other games I've enjoyed. (I know I'm prone to hyperbole, but I'm not exaggerating even a bit there. The only other game of any sort I've played and been better than any of my friends at was Minesweeper.)

So in the face of all that, what's a few hysterical crying jags over stupid stuff? (Seriously. Alex's first jag was because I made him wear a warm coat. And buttoned it for him. Truly, I must be in line for the Evil Parent Of The Year Award.)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Success x2!

I sat down to write last night and had a very hard time getting into it -- I'd left off smack in the middle of major changes to my big story and I'm so out of routine and practice that I don't think I wrote more than maybe two hundred words before I petered out and wasn't sure where to go.

But instead of calling it a night and giving up, I flipped through my "ideas" file until something struck me, and then I opened a new document and wrote about four hundred words on that.

Which still isn't much, but I'm calling it a victory, given that it's the better part of a month since I've written more than a few lines, and that my brain has been stuck heavily in Edit Mode for the last couple of weeks.


I stayed up later than I expected last night. Matt's been watching back seasons of Burn Notice for the last month or so, and I admit to a visceral thrill for that moment in any episode when Michael flashes his bland, charming, "I am going to destroy you" smile. And also a complete adoration for his mom. It's not a show I'm going to plan my schedule around, and I've walked away from it to go to bed before.

But last night, as I was doing what I thought was a final email check before going to bed, Matt started up what immediately turned into a very exciting and cliffhanger-y episode. (The season finale, it turned out, and if I was understanding right, the last of the episodes available on Netflix streaming.) So I did kind of get sucked into staying up to watch it, and didn't get to bed until nearly 11:30.

So, naturally, Alex woke me up at 5:50.

But I didn't wake up to, "Mommy? I had an accident."

Nope. I woke to the sound of him singing to his toys in bed. I got up and went to check on him. "Hey, buddy. Did you have an accident?"

"Uh.... Nope!"

Holy cow. He did it! A whole night without an accident! Whoo!

"That's great! Give me five! Yeah! Okay, now, why don't you go sit on the potty."

"I don't want to!"


"I don't want to!"

I'd had just about six hours of sleep. I am not a six-hours-of-sleep kind of person. I didn't have the energy to fight it. "Okay. But no accidents, okay?"


"And you need to go potty before you come snuggle with Daddy and me."


"...Because I don't want you to have an accident in my bed. I'm gonna go get some more rest. Play quiet until you hear the music, okay?"


Five minutes later, our alarms went off, and like magic, a little blond head appeared at my elbow. "Mommy I want to snuggle you."

"Go potty first, kiddo."


And that was that. I'm not foolish enough to think we're done (especially since I suspect his success had something to do with his extremely minimal dinner last night), but that was a much-appreciated glimpse of the light at the end of the diaper tunnel.

We can postpone or even do without his nap from time to time. We're nearing the end of diapers and pullups altogether. And I realized this morning that he can reach the light switch in his room all by himself, now. (A table by the door puts that switch further out of reach than the other switches in the house.) I may very shortly have an honest-to-gosh Big Boy on my hands.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Washed Out

Have I mentioned that we're trying to get Alex out of pull-ups at night? We decided to take the same tack we'd taken for his daytime training, which was to just get rid of them and let him have however many accidents it takes for his brain to key in.

Which, for the last two mornings, has meant that he goes to bed and is fine right up until about 5:45 in the morning, when he comes into our room and says, "Mommy...? I had an accident."

We're double-sheeting his bed, so it only takes a couple of minutes to get him into clean pajamas and strip the wet sheets off the bed and put him back down... but by then it's almost 6 and the boy is Awake.

And Matt and I, manifestly, are Not.

He willingly lies down and is mostly quiet for the ten minutes it takes for our alarms to start going off, at which point he appears back in our room. "Mommy? I heard the music. I wanna snuggle."

Which is code for, "I want to play with Daddy and possibly lean my elbow on your boob," so you can imagine that it means we're pretty much done sleeping.

So far, he's gone to bed in underpants three times. So far, we've had to wash four sets of sheets. I may need to start going to bed at 9:30 again and just getting up when he has his accident at 5:45, if it goes on like this. Or possibly, set an alarm to wake him up and take him to the potty at 3, when it's still late enough that we can all go back to sleep afterward.


I had my day off from the Day Job yesterday. I try to use my days off as writing days (by preference) or to run errands and do chores. I'd wanted to get together with Lynn to talk about a book we want to work on together, but her daughter turned up sick with what turned out to be strep throat, so that was out. So I figured I'd just take my iPad over to Panera and have a regular writing day.

Except that as I took the kids to school, I was yawning obsessively. And my eyelids were heavy. After I'd dropped Alex off and was on the way to Penny's school, I twice had lights change fortuitously quickly, so I didn't even have to stop -- and was frustrated by that (usual) good luck, because I desperately wanted to be able to bring the car to a complete stop so I could close my eyes and doze for a minute.

(It's probably a good thing that Lynn couldn't meet me, because the hour-ish drive down to her place would've been unreasonably dangerous, and I doubt I'd have been in any shape to focus on the topic at hand once I got there.)

When I'd dropped Penny off and gotten back home, I thought about making myself a cup of coffee so I could buck up and get on with my writing, and then I decided that I had the day off, and rather than settle for the quick patch that would get me through, I should take the actual fix and get some extra sleep. So I changed back into my jammies and crawled into bed, thinking I'd nap for an hour or so and then get up and just write through lunchtime instead of breakfast. No sweat.

Except that I didn't wake up until 12:30. Well, I do fuzzily recall opening my eyes at 11, thinking I should probably get up, and then going back to sleep. I'm pretty sure that doesn't count.

That's easily a three and a half hour nap. Maybe more. Apparently, my tank was running emptier than I'd thought. It's entirely possible that I could've slept another hour or so if I'd really tried, but by then I was starving. So I got up and ate lunch, and then decided the day was a wash for writing. Instead, I purged the clothes and toys in Alex's room, filling two trash bags with clothes to donate, one with stuffies he hasn't so much as looked at in a year, and another with a Little People set he hasn't played with since about two weeks after I took it out of the box, all of which I took to the CHKD thrift store near us while Matt was picking Penny up from school.

My next day off, I may tackle Penny's room. She actually plays up there, though, so it'll be harder to figure out what to keep and what to junk.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Under Where?

For those of you who may have seen Matt's comment on yesterday's post -- I am planning to do a post about my Christmas Legos. But I only just finished building the big set last night, and I want to do some dorky pictures with my nice camera that I didn't have the energy for last night. So sometime soon -- possibly next week -- I'll talk about my Very Lego Christmas, with pictures. But not today.

Today, I'm talking about Operation Underwear.

Matt and I had decided that after the holidays, we'd transition Alex to wearing underwear to bed instead of a pullup diaper. He's four now, and it's high time we were done with diapers of any sort. We had to go with this "endure multiple accidents" approach with him for daytime as well, so I suspect the kid may just not get it until we let him deal with it.

Matt's sister, who is currently potty-training her eldest, had a brilliant suggestion for us (that I have no idea why we hadn't encountered it or thought of it before): instead of changing the sheets in the middle of the night, just make the bed in layers to begin with: mattress pad, sheet, mattress pad, sheet. So when there's an accident, you just strip off the top layer and you're ready to go.

So last night, Matt double-made Alex's bed and put undies on him under his pajamas. We both reminded him that he could get up and go potty whenever he felt like it.

We both checked him before we went to bed, and he was dry.

At 3:45, he came into our room to report an accident. I sent him to sit on the potty while I stripped the top layer off his bed. Matt got up and retrieved the wet pajamas, and I got him dressed again and tucked him back into bed. Matt decided to go ahead and wash the wet sheets right away -- that way they'd be ready to put in the dryer when we got up in the morning, and ready to put back on his bed after work.

Which is pretty smart thinking for 3:45am.

Now, Alex almost never has accidents during his nap anymore, so I felt pretty good about his going back to sleep at 4, because we get up for the day around 6. Surely he could make it that long.

Nope, apparently not. When my alarm went off at 6, Alex came in (as he usually does) and I said, "Are your pants still dry, buddy?"

"I changed into shorts."

"You did? Why?"

"My pants were wet."

I got up and checked his bed and yep, sure enough, he'd had another accident.

We may need to invest in another set or two of mattress pads and sheets...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Things Fall Down

For a variety of reasons, I'm considering putting this blog on hiatus.

It hurts to consider, because I've been writing it nearly daily (in one location or another) for more than 10 years. (Coming up on 13, really, if I've done my math right.) It feels very awkward to start a workday without spending a half-hour rambling into the blog first.

But it seems like all I do anymore is throw out a laundry list of activities, or (increasingly, distressingly, and boringly) whine about stuff. I don't really talk anymore. I'm not funny, or interesting, or insightful. I don't have amusing anecdotes or thoughtful critiques or fascinating links. And thanks to an assortment of unpleasant experiences, I can't talk about many of the things that are really on my mind, because those things involve other people who would be excessively unhappy to see them aired.

I'm not fully decided yet. It's hard to give up such a long-held habit. And I know a lot of my "real-life" friends use this as a way to keep track of what we're up to.

But the whining and the laundry lists are boring even me.

This is very much a one-way communication most of the time, but I'm really hoping for responses this time. Give me some ideas or strategies for keeping this going without turning it into the whinefest it's been for the last few months. Or tell me that yes, it's time to hang up the keyboard. I want to know what you're here to read about!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I'm back! Did you miss me? I missed you!

My holiday was mostly pretty good, barring the usual stresses and frustrations of travel and trying to live in someone else's space. But it was great to see everyone, and I got to hold multiple adorable little babies, and my kids were mostly really well-behaved (barring a couple of utter breakdowns, but if your kids can get through 9 days of complete routine upset without any breakdowns at all, then I suspect you have automatons rather than children). I'm only about halfway through processing my pictures, but I promise I'll post a link to the Flickr set when I get them all done and uploaded -- we did some really fun stuff even aside from visiting people, like going to the zoo (which I'd love to see again, though possibly in warmer weather) and a really nifty display of models of famous Chicago buildings build entirely out of plantstuff (and model trains to keep the kids interested) at the Chicago Botanical Gardens.

New Year's Eve was great -- We had our family Christmas that morning, and then brunch and presents with my family at John and Sam's house (instead of Mom and Dad's because they hadn't even bothered to decorate this year). Then we went over to Braz and Adin's for their New Year's Eve party, which was awesome: Rock Band and champagne and counting down to midnight and an epic 9-player game of Cards Against Humanity after we sent Penny (the last child standing) to bed. (We'd told Penny and Ripley they could try for midnight; Ripley gave up the ghost and conked out at 9:30 or so, but by gosh, Penny made it!)
New Year's day was a little hangovery (note to self: one glass of champagne, and stick to more familiar liquors the rest of the night) but it was lovely and calm.

I'd meant to start taking down our Christmas decorations on the 2nd, but after Penny and I went to Target and bought a bunch of stuff (I spent some of my Christmas money on a very pretty and nice enameled cast iron dutch oven to replace my old pathetic soup pot) I kind of ran out of steam and spent most of the rest of the day just sitting around.

But I'll be moving on it soon, I think; I did spent the last couple of days wandering around the house and developing that twitch that means I'm about to do some serious purging. I cleaned out some drawers in my dresser that were filled with sweatshirts left over from when I was nearly 100 pounds heavier that for some reason didn't go in the initial clothing purge. I kept my favorite two -- sometimes you just need a hugely baggy sweatshirt day -- and dumped the rest in my "clothes to donate" pile. So once the Christmas stuff is packed away and back in storage, it looks like I'll be making a run to the thrift store to donate a bunch of bags of clothes and old toys and random crap I don't want anymore. And another one to the bookstore, as well, as I have a couple of boxes of those ready to go.

As of today, I'm back on the diet, too. I'm embarrassed to say how much weight I gained this past year -- most of it in the final quarter -- so I'm going to be using SparkPeople religiously for a while. (Email me if you're a member, too, and I'll add you to my friends!) My first new big goal is 25 pounds. I'd like to get there before my anniversary in April, but that's a little bit ambitious, so we'll see.

That's my only big resolution for this year, though I'd also like to make some more headway on the writing, and possibly do some (digital) scrapbooking.

And of course, having been away from work for nearly two weeks, things are utterly insane, so I'd better get to it...