Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mommy dating: Part who knows

It's not new/news that I'm always on the lookout for mom friends -- well, compatible-with-me mom friends. Aside from a couple real friends in town, I've got my playgroup and peeps I recognize/chat with at the park and such...but I wouldn't mind having 1 or 2 more mamas to hang with (specifically during the day) and actually talk about stuff other than kids with. (Sorry I ended that sentence with with.) I was interested in that anyways, but then one of my good pals moved away and another went back to work full time -- so friendship time has been feeling especially sparse.

Yesterday, I spotted a (I thought) hip mom at the park. She looked my age (versus the very common late thirties/early forties moms that abound -- who are awesome I'm sure, but they seem so established and usually have 2-3 kids already and a huge house and are just at a different life stage..) and was wearing a skirt over pants (one of my fav looks, even tho an ex once described it as "the worst look on you ever") and had a beautiful bird tattoo on her forearm (be warned, people, I've become obsessed with arty tattoos) and was being so gentle and loving with her baby (and wasn't on her phone). Then we chatted a little bit and she was funny and had a cute little Midwestern accent and I loved her.

Just as I was crafting my pick-up line ("You...from around here?" " stuff?") another mom asked her how old the baby was.

"Oh, he's 14 months. I'm his nanny and..."

Who knows what she said after that, it all turned to Charlie Brown wunh wunh wunh, because sigh. Nanny. I used to be one, so I'm quite sure making mom friends isn't high on her to-do list. She goes home to her bed at night and hangs with her non-mom friends and sleeps soundly and doesn't eat crusty macaroni and cheese for dinner. Sigh. Bye bye, pretty bird tattoo! My fantasies of running hand in hand thru fields of daisies, sipping lattes and braiding our babies hair, were shattered.

Wunh wunh wunh.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

H at the H

Dada really wants you to go there...

But I'll give you many smooches if you don't. Just to see his face.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

This weekend we

Mostly stayed out of the heat. (No Irene'ing in this neck of the country! Nothing but hot hot hot hot sun blazing heat fry an egg roast a dog hot. IS IT FALL YET.) Oh, and celebrated cc's three-four birthday!

And we went out for delicious (maybe the most delicious I've ever tasted?) waffles with friends and had nakie dance parties and left a screaming Harps with a bewildered sitter to go enjoy a Broncos game (yes, I enjoyed it huh?) and ate sushi and watched old Harry Potter and cooked portabello shroom sammies and took quick walks around the 'hood while the sun hid behind too tiny clouds.

And knit. And read MANY many many many books to Harper.

You will not enjoy yourself, woman! You will read this ridiculous word book to me for the 10000th time!

My throat is killing me, dude. And I've set myself up for disaster because now she flipping expects me to read every single word of every single book. I totes forgot to lie about content in the early days and now she just sits and waits patiently until she knows I've finished the whole page. Cute (and yes, I'm sure it's better for her future reading days ahead), but my throat is broken.

I tried to make progress on the wool diaper soaker I'm knitting, but she wasn't having it till she could help, too.

I think you added a few stitches you weren't s'posed to, mumma...

And I was doing so well until...I wasn't anymore. Lost focus and had to rip it all out blergh says Liz Lemon! Guys: Do not mix babies and knitting. No.

But I made up for that domestic fail with other various and sundry tasks that left me feeling semi-spiffed for the week ahead. We've got an open house for Harps lil school (reminder: must buy adorable mini L.L.Bean knapsack!) and I'm hosting playgroup and hopefully I'll fiiiine-ally get to see the "new" Harry P. Hope you had a good one, peeples!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A yogurt update (and a cloth diaper one, too)

So my yogurt! People, I'm not gonna lie. It came out var var good. It's not super thick (tho I'm used to Greek these days so my thickness scale is warped), but I actually really enjoy that about it. It's got tang, but also a deep creamy mellowness (yes, I just wrote that) that can't be found in store bought stuff. And I just love so hard that it was made with milk + a tablespoon of yogurt + a spaghetti jar. It seems magical that it all came together...

Here's how (inspired by this article but in my own words):

1) Find what you want to store your yogurt in first. I recommend a glass mason jar or spaghetti jar or something of this sort. A plastic container could get all melty when you put the hot milk in there.

2) Pour some whole (you can do skim, but please! don't) milk into the container to measure how much you need. The mixture won't shrink or expand really, so how much milk you choose to use is how much yogurt you'll yield. Make sense?

3) Heat up the milk in a saucepan on the stove. Stir it constantly because milk can burn easily. I heated mine up at medium until it started steaming a lot and tiny little bubbles started forming around the sides. Maybe...10 minutes? Don't burn it!

4) Pour it into the jar. Let it sit another 10 minutes or so, until you can semi-comfortably hold your finger in there for 10 seconds. It should be like "Ooo, hot!" but not sending you to the ER.

5) Take a tablespoon of yogurt and put it into a little dish. I used Stonyfield plain, but I'm thinking vanilla or whatever would work fine. What matters most is that it has live cultures. I looked at labels and Stonyfield had 6 different kinds which seemed to be the most? So. Anywho. Mix a little of the hot milk with the tablespoon of yogurt until it's all creamy and blended.

6) Pour it into the jar of milk and stir a bit.

7) Find a warm place to let it hang out. I'm sure there are many different thoughts on this, but I wrapped mine in a towel and placed it under my oven light. (Not in the oven, just like on the stovetop under the light for a little bit of warmth?) I think the warmer it is, the less you need to leave it out. And the tangier you want it, the longer you leave it out. I made mine late-ish at night and wanted to go to sleep, so I left it out for like 9 hours. The article says you can do as little as 3. When I woke up at 6:00 with Harps, I made sure it looked yogurt-like and smelled tart and put it in the fridge. Then when it was cold, I tasted it and did a jig.

That's it, friends! And now I'll just make sure I save a tablespoon of this for my next batch. And on and on and it's a song that never ends, lambchop. I highly recommendy.

Oh and also this is happening:

GOD I love puffy morning face. (And a soft blue wool soaker.)

For a few weeks now, I've been back on the cloth diaper train. I just missed it. And since things (knock on wood) are smoother sailing these days and I have more time to do the crunchy things that complete my heart, I'm making it happen. Less rigidly than before (disposables at night, generally, and when cc's in charge) and a lot more simply. No more stuffed dipes or microfibers that always stunk up my pretty baby. Just a prefold and a cover, voila!

Of course I've found something new to obsess over in the cloth dipe world. WOOL COVERS. They're called soakers and are used in place of plastic (or whatever the hell that material is) covers. I don't really understand how it all works, because it's a piece of fabric absorbing pee what?, but it's so charming and cozy and great. I still use mostly the plastic covers because I wanted to go slowly and buy only 1 soaker, but I have to say...I'm hooked. They only very occasionally need to be washed (they get damp once the prefold is soaked, and then you just dry it out in the sun and somehow it smells fresh again?) and they even have long pant versions so...your diaper cover IS ALSO YOUR OUTFIT?! Somebody stop me, this is killing me.

Okay. I've lost you all at this point, no? I'll leave you now...Harps only napped 30 minutes today and Mama is beat.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Eat yo vegetables

 (Quick story re: why the hell I attached this pic. On my many-times-aforementioned shopping trip to Portland -- hey, I DON'T GET OUT MUCH -- we stumbled upon this crazy artist dude making silk screen tees on the street. I loved them! Espesh this tank that says in the bottom right corner -- I failed to really capture in the pic -- "eat your vegetables" and there's a crazy robot guy with a knife and fork. The artist dude said so proudly: "That's my handwriting!!" and then seemed so embarrassed to charge me 15 dolla for it. Loves.)

On with it.

Did I tell you I'm going (mostly, with some little cheats here and there) veggie? I feel sheepish-ish saying that for some reason...I think because I'm not the kind of vegetarian you think I am. Well, not you exactly. But the general public maybe. Meaning: I don't, inherently, think eating animals is gross or wrong or bad. I've actually tried to convince myself that it is many times, but to no avail. So *shrug* moving on.

So why then? Welp. Because I've done a ton (a ton, a ton) of reading over the past 6 months on health and nutrition and preventative medicine and all that stuff you read when you or a loved one is facing a major medical issue. And one of the basic learnings I came away with is: Eat way less animal protein. Way less. So the Cowan family (including my little lady, tho admittedly the choice isn't hers just yet) is taking it to heart.

Since I'm not ready to give up eggs and dairy (yet, maybe someday? I'll cut down, but no...not those!) it's gots to be the meat for me. It's more complicated than that, of course (the current state of how meat's produced, what going veggie means for our environment) but much more informed and impassioned people have written on this subject quite frequently. I just wanted to put it out there -- that except for some occasional seafood I'mma give up the meat, yo.

It feels weird to admit it aloud, like because I've eaten so much bacon (and steak and pork chops and turkey-hot-dogs-filled-with-cheese) in the past I shouldn't be allowed? Or like I'm supposed to become a crazy animal activist and tattoo crying dogs on my chest? Tho I mean, I've had a sketch of a pitbull for quite some time at the ready, I just haven't found the right tattoo artist...

(Oh also! I'll eat whatev you put in front of me if I'm a guest. Well, probably not elephant, but... Buddhists -- who are often veg -- eat what is offered to them when they're out/about and I really like that method. So if you know me in real life, go about your bi'ness if I'm coming over. Huzzah!)

Kisses and kale chips.

Monday, August 22, 2011

While I sit here waiting for my yogurt to...yogurtify

2 seconds earlier that rock was in her mouf. (Amazing shirt made by Grammy. )

That's right, yous guys. I'mma make some yogurt and then eat it. Inspired by...a bunch of different places, I read this article when I wanted to get down and get busy with some cultures. It's been very simple so far. Currently, my creamy concoction (you betta believe I'm using whole milk) is resting in an old spaghetti jar, nestled within some towels under a light. Very scientific. I have high hopes for this latest culinary adventure. Will keep ye posted.

What else? Well, today I got an email from a Parents Day Out program that Harps was off the wait list and into her Ivy of choice. I put her on the list tentatively, not feeling exactly overjoying with readiness about leaving her with strangers, but also knowing I could use a few hours to myself during the week. I honestly thought it'd be months before we were off the list, but uh no.

It's once a week for 4 hours and the whole idea fills me with a confusing mix of overwhelming panic and tentative joy. 4 hours?! stuff? I can't imagine. I've never even left her at a gym nursery to take a yoga class. But then, back to the panic! She's my earth/moon/star/sunshine/lovebucket and I'm a complete nutjob with trust issues. It doesn't help that she's extremely active and adventurous and semi-fearless (I say semi because she doesn't really love men?). The things she's climbing/thinks she can climb make my heart jump into my nose and she loves sprinting and stairs and headstands. How will she be safe without 1:1 attention?! (This isn't a rhetorical question. I need assurance!)

Oh and here's another pic:

(From ze back!)

I said yes to the opening and next week we'll be attending the open house so we can MEET HER TEACHERS WHAT HOLY GOD TEACHERS?! I die. She'll be sad when I leave (not doing so well with the mummy-in-a-different-room thing), but girlfriend l-o-v-e-s other kids and ultimately is an independent ham, so I know she'll end up digging it. But choke gag gasp...will I?!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

On my pretty new shoes and letting it be

I've been obsessing over Bensimon shoes for awhile now. Once I heard/read them described as the "French Converse" (does anyone else feel super corny when they put things in quotes like that?) and I got all drooly because, well...I love both those things. (I worked really hard to dress right when I visited Paris at 18 and felt too proud when a few people asked me directions ha.) But I semi-stressed over their relatively high cost for a canvas shoe. So I kept my eyes peeled for sales and such and was happy when I found one over at Madewell.

Tho alas! The beauts arrived and were just as scrumptious as pictured, but...I'd ordered the wrong size -- and then, by the time I returned them, the next size up was gone. Devastation!

(This story is so interesting, I know.)

Fast forward to my trip to Maine and our little shopping excursion while T babysat the biscuit. After lunch, we got a bit lost and were soon wandering random streets. Mom grew a blister on her heel, I started stressing about getting back to the house late, and we hadn't even hit the shops yet. Frustrated and nearing crabbiness (tragic, considering the delicious mojito we'd just sipped), I felt a small sea breeze and together we noticed a cute little playground to take Harps to later. Deep breath, let's not stress over shopping woes. When suddenly! A cute little boutique popped up on our left, a random location on such a small residential street.

"Let's pop in!"

And first thing I saw? A pair (one pair in the whole store) of olive green Bensimon's size 37. THE size (and type of color) I'd been hunting for aaaaand on major final sale, too. 30 dolla! Cheaper than the Madewell pair! 

"Those shoes have been looking for a home for a long time. Couldn't find the right pair of small feet!" says the shop owner.

I snatched them fast -- before some other tiny footed female could enter and whisk them away -- and performed a little jig. The lady understood my weirdness. "I love mine, too."

And now, and now. I wear my little sneaks all around, with stripey dresses and with holey jeans and sometimes with my jammies on our early morning walks. My feet and I? We're feeling a bit more okay with detours these days. (Oui oui.)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Docta docta

Holy what in the hell does my child hate the doctor.

We went today for her 18 month (how'd that happen?!) well kiddo appointment and, as per usual, it was a complete nightmare. As soon as the nurse starts the measuring/weighing

(sidenote: HJ's in the 83% of height, maintaining her semi-giant-since-birth status. I knew she was tall -- hi, she can't wear 18 month clothes anymore -- even when occasional weirdos at the park will say "oh, is she small?" And I feel irrational fury.)

she loses her everloving MIND. Blood curdling screams, clutching and clawing me, inconsolable sobbing. It's insane. At least this time, he was able to look in her ears and eyes and other parts (because I was pretty aggressive with my efforts) so it was worth the trip (versus last time, when he couldn't even get near her).

Any ideas on this, my frands? Should we try out a female doc instead? Try out a doctor kit at home? Just... wait for her to outgrow it by middle school?

(Oh, also: Awesome moment? As she was freaking out, exorcist style, I tried to sit and comfort her. But I completely missed the chair and fell on my as%...hard. The ped felt so sorry for me he just kind of stuttered and stared and blushed. I win!)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Some confessions

1) I used to watch much edgier TV. Then...I had Harper. (And some other big life events happened, I s'pose). And my brain got filled with a whole new world of fears and worries and realities. Which = I don't like to spend my escapism time on things that could make me anxious. So I'm pretty much a sitcom junkie now. Modern Family, The Middle, reruns of The New Adventures of Old Christine (dude, I'm sorry but that show is really funny) and on and on. I've always loved old school comedies (Newhart, Mary Tyler Moore Show, Taxi, etc.) but this straight up, regular person viewing normal?

2) We've barely recycled since moving to Denver. We had valid-ish excuses (having to do with weird pick-up schedules and busted recycling bins), but it wasn't good. We always apologized to Al Gore ("I'm sorry, Al!") when we threw away a cereal box or soda can (I feel genuinely guilty even typing those words, uh blame my childhood), even tho...I'm pretty sure he isn't the earth's spokesperson for recycling? Anywho. We got a brand new, HUGE recycling thing last month and we're back on track. Whew.

3) My baby's clearest two syllable word is Elmo. (P.S. Did you know this guy does Elmo? MIND BLOWN.)

4) Even though I'm a crunchy-ish mom and probably draw my own eye rolls for my paraben fears etc, I gave this uber crunchy mom an evil evil look at the airport yesterday, when she said to her 4-year-old (trying to watch Scooby Doo in the kid's play area) "No no! No! Let's uh...go somewhere else! That's just...weird!" Lady. Get a grip on your life. But best moment was when the girl comes back at her with: "But I love Scooby Doo!" Ohhhhhh the look on her face when she realized her daughter knew a 70's icon. Made my night.

5) I cannot walk away from a Baby Gap sale rack without at least three items.

6) I'm eating veggie lo mein from the container.

7) I can't remember the last time I showered?

8) I let my child climb into and get stuck in this thing while I played Words with Friends:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Buh bye, Maine

Harper's main activity: Pushing her own stroller everywhere, always.

Tonight, my sidekick and I board a plane and head back to the Rockies. Trying to feel unsad about it, but it's hard. Why and how do these weeks go by so fast? Till next time, ocean breeze! We love you.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

How come I don't buy face masks like my mom does?

You know... the tubes of herby clay or cucumbery peels or apricot grittiness? They line her bathroom window and each night I try a different concoction, letting them dry as I watch a Brit mystery and snuggle into my brother's sweats. But I never remember to buy them for home and I don't know whyyyyyy.

Here's a few pics of our (continuing, soon-to-be uncontinuing) week in Maine.

My beach baby bum. She lives for the water and the sand and the waves and the seagulls and the sailboats and the bucket and pail and washed up crab shells. Screams "yay!" over and over and runs in and out of the waves and waaaaaay down the shore without looking back for us once. She'll probably grow up and live on a houseboat.

Goodwill bathing suit. A...little low cut. But also a dollar?

My mom and I snuck out during H's naptime yesterday, leaving my bro T with his niece. We had two hours in downtown Portland before she'd probably wake up (and he was a little nerv about that), so we rushed around. Amazing what you can pack in when you're baby free... I'll post a couple pics of the cutie things I bought, but most important was our lunch and the drink we split. (We're serious lightweights, but they also only had enough fresh mint for one...)

Mojito in a mason jar. Oh yes, ma'am. 

This pic is crazy dark, but her hilarious yoda look made me post it. (I actually have more where she's smiling, but those aren't as funny...) My mom's neighb brought this baby backpack over for us and HJ LOVES it. Like, goes over to it on the floor and starts to climb in it. She let me cook scramble eggs while I wore her, which is a plus. Brings me back to my babywearing days, which she stopped letting us do once she could crawl...

We are busy, stop looking. 

And here's Harps with her Uncle T, playing a little piano with her feetsies. She loves when he does anything musical with her, melts like a pat of butter in his palm. I think they were playing the Charlie Brown theme here...

(With sugar from a Tony's donut on her face.)

And with that, I head up to my book and my bed and cry myself to sleep my trip's almost over fall asleep. Goodnight, sista.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Here in Maine and loving Maine

A few minutes to type while I eat my peanut butter toast and soak my toes in the sun. Harper's down the street at the ocean beach with my mom, barely sending me a wave before they headed off. It's a little bittersweet to see my big girl so okay without her mumma...but *crunch crunch* I'm handling it just fine.

I'll try to grab some pics of all her new tricks and routines and craziness. She's gotten super chatty here, a constant commentary of nonsensical mixed with real words, and wouldn't I just love to know what the what she thinks she's saying? She's happy, though, that's for sure.

And how's it already Thursday? Wishing I could slow down time as our week tic tocs along.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Oh hi, also

If you wanna follow me on the Twitters?

My name is: smushharper

I've had a new account for a few months, but kept it private because I wanted to try out that route. But it was all sorts of random and half-assed and the implied exclusion hurt a few feelings which oy, was not the intention at all. And I feel weird tweeting for 12 people? So come read what I ate for lunch! If you want to. Or don't? Or okay. The end.

Aaaaaaand we're back.

Always with my necklace, guys. Always.

Guys. No real Internets for 12 days or something is basically living like cavemen. Semi traumatized. Tho I sure did read a lot... I'll ponder on that another time.

For now! Thanks so much for all your cc shout outs. Made us both smile. Crazy 6 months around here... Fingers crossed for a bit of a break, mmmkah?

As I said, tomorrow Harps and I are off to Maine for some serious hang time. Ocean, ice cream, guitar, the bizarro Catholic channel I'm so obsessed with. Really looking forward to it, tho we'll miss dadadada back at home. (He'll be watching shows about pickers and auctions and cars and sleeping in a wide open bed minus a major flopper, so he might miss us a little less...)

H and cc packed in some fath/daughter time before their week apart. Here's some outtakes from their oatmeal date, Saturday morning. (Looks like we're making this mums sleeping in thing a traditionnnnn cue Fiddler)...

Friday, August 05, 2011

A little short post

 Asking for a few shout outs to mah man cc...who just finished something major. (And unpretty.)

We're so proud of him and love him so much. xoxo infinity!

(And hey! Monday I head to Maine where they have real Internets! Luxury!!)

Happy weekend, lovahs.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

I've been banish-ed from the webz

By Qwest...aka THE WORST COMPANY EVAR. An account mixup  (back from our move in March...?!?!) has us booted with no easy fix. Traumatized.

And I can't even make recent cute pics big on this stinky app. But here's one, nonetheless. (Completely covered in markers and filling up a plastic foot with dirt before dumping it in the dump truck.)

Anywho. All good here, nothing too crazy happening, except I love Greek yogurt now. Hopefully I'll be back sooner than later...?