Friday, February 27, 2009

Our week so far part 2: Library Adventure

On Thursday Fiona woke up at 5.45am, and was ready to take her nap extra early – she went back to sleep at 7.30. I thought she would sleep for an hour or so, giving us lots of time for her to take a bath (her face was all messy and snotty and crusty) and change into a cute outfit for our big storytime event at 10. However, by 9.15, when we needed to leave, she was still snoring, so I just packed her up as she was and headed out.

We took the train downtown, and walked over to the library. They built a new library a few years ago, and it's pretty fancy...

Unfortunately it has a massive design flaw... enormous icicles form on the edges of the sticky-outy thing, and occasionally fall off, impaling innocent library visitors. So they have to barricade the majority of the entryway during icicle season, which, being in Minnesota, is 6 months of the year. Looks great though.

We made it past the icicle hazard, and sat down in the storytime circle. All the other kids there had clearly been bathed recently, and were wearing clothes. Great. The woman to our left introduced her son, Charles, and it became apparent that she was a special kind of parent... the overprotective paranoid kind. She looked at Fiona with her crusty face and pyjamas and said... 'I'm really afraid of Charles getting sick... she's not sick is she?' and is eyeing her like she might have rabies or something... I assured her that she'd just been to the doctor, and was just fine. She didn't seem convinced, but then it was storytime!

The lady reading the stories was a character... she spoke in an extraaa sloooooooow voooooice, as if babies don't hear at the same speed as adults, and it was so odd that I was struggling not to giggle to myself. The stories were fun though. Fiona liked trying to chew on the books. Afterwards we hung out and played a little and chatted with the other mothers.

Paranoid mother continued to tell everyone about how afraid she was that her son would get sick from our kids. In her defense, he was a skinny sickly little kid, and has had some health problems, so it wasn't completely crazy. However, the real fun started when another child coughed right in her Charles' face. We all held our breath and waited to see what she'd do... she got this crazed look in her eye and turned on the cougher's mother demanding 'IS HE SICK?!!' I thought her head was about to explode... Cougher's mother promised that no, he wasn't, he just had a tickle in his throat, but really, I certainly would not have truthfully answered that question if my child had been less than 100% healthy! Ass-kicking averted, we all decided that it was time to call it a day, and Fiona and I headed home.

What a day. Phew. We didn't do anything in the afternoon because a snowstorm came in and now it looks like this outside...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Our week so far

We've been busy doing all kinds of things this week... here are some of the things we have been up to so far...

Monday... we just hung out at home. Fiona took a bath, we played some games, sang some songs... Fiona decided she wanted to read two books at the same time...

On Tuesday our friend Tanya came over in the afternoon. It was warm enough for a walk, so we bundled up and took Brodie for a stroll. We walked to our local lake, which is still fairly frozen.

Then we walked along Minnehaha creek, which is a few blocks south of where we live. The river is thawed enough for the ducks to be swimming about, but they looked a little chilly. Brodie wanted to play with them, but we pressed on.

Then we headed home for some cups of tea and cookies (homemade by Tanya), and a blondie (purchased from the local bakery by Louise... I know, shameful...). I should have taken a picture, but we ate them too fast. 

Wednesday... Fiona and I took the train to....

We met up with a local "Mom's" group and had a walk about and some coffee. Here are three fun facts about the mall... 
1. Mall of America is big enough to hold 32 Boeing 747's.
2. Mall of America has more than 520 stores 
3. If a shopper spent 10 minutes browsing at every store, it would take more than 86 hours to complete their visit to the mall.

Then in the evening Fiona had her 9 month checkup... she weighs 18 lbs now, and is 27 1/4 inches long. Her head is a massive 44cm in circumference. She's my little bobblehead baby...

And today was even more exciting... but that'll be a story for later because it's long, and Fiona has woken up from her nap and is demanding lunch.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fiona's new, super awesome, baby carrier

When Fiona was teeny tiny, she only liked to be carried, so we spent a lot of time wearing this...

And it worked great! We'd take a walk, and she'd take a nap. But she was also significantly smaller and lighter! Recently, wearing this has been really painful, and I started looking for a different kind of carrier - one that didn't put so much stress on my upper back and shoulders. Fiona has specifications... she likes to be able to face outwards so she can see what's going on. And I have specifications... it has to not cost an arm and a leg. So after doing some research, I decided I wanted to try a Moby. The people I talked to said it was actually fairly comfortable to carry a larger child, and the child could be worn in front - facing either way, on your back, or on your hip. And for little babies, you can snuggle them inside it. Miraculous! And what's even better? 

I could make it myself!! 

Ok, stop laughing. I can, really! I am that good. You'll see... 

Ben gave me a sewing machine for my birthday, and the two napkins I made turned out great, so I thought it was time to try something more advanced...

I started by buying some fabric. 16 1/2 feet of fabric... and I cut it in half down the middle. The fabric was only $8, so this project already meets my 'cheap' requirement.

Then I hemmed the three 'unravelly' edges...

Then it was finished! Yay! But wait... what's that you say? It's just a 16 foot strip of fabric? Well, yes, but it aspires to be so much more! With some wrapping and tying, it becomes a...

Brodie carrier!! I was too excited to wait until the morning to test it on Fiona, so Brodie had to do. 

And here are a couple of pictures with Fiona. She got up at 5.45 this morning, so don't judge my appearance too harshly!

And when I flipped her round, she was much happier!

The beauty of it is that it wraps under her bum, and then the fabric is tied round my waist and rests on my hips, so there is much less pressure on my shoulders... the weight is more evenly distributed, so it's less uncomfortable. 

Of course, as soon as I got her in it, she barfed on it, so now it has to go in the wash.

So far I really like it... and the best part is that if I decide I don't want to use it, I didn't spend a fortune, and I can use the fabric to make some more napkins or something instead. Because that's all I can make. Really, this is just a really big, super long napkin!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Where did my baby go?

It seems like just yesterday that Fiona was born, but in five days she'll be 9 months old. To help me feel even more like the time is flying by way too fast, this week she learned how to pull herself up...

She is so proud of herself! And of course, I'm proud of her too. But her increased mobility makes my life harder. Earlier this week I left her in her room for a minute, and came back to find her lying completely on top of the cat. He has taken to snuggling up next to her anyway, and didn't seem to mind, but still, I haven't taken both eyes off her since then! 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Valentines Day

I know what you're thinking... 'Valentines day was four days ago!'... But that's where you're wrong. 

Ben and I don't really make a big deal out of Valentines day. We exchange cards, and maybe a little token gift. This year I got him undershirts. He needed them. And I put them in a cute pink gift bag. (Ok, the gift bag was recycled from a baby gift, and it said 'new baby girl' on it...). Anyway, it's the thought that counts, right? I gave him these on Saturday. Valentines day. After about four hours of nothing I asked... 'so did you forget that it was Valentines day?' and he admitted that he didn't think we were celebrating that this year. Dope!

Over the next few days he received some teasing, and not so subtle threats, from friends and family members, and I think the guilt set in, so yesterday, after work, Valentines day arrived in style!!

Yes, your eyes do not deceive you, it's a lace trimmed, it's heart shaped, and it has a big fake rose on the top! It's the cheesiest gift I've ever been given. And I love it! And as if the box isn't gift enough, inside it's full of....

YES! Chocolates!! And as if that wasn't enough... they were half price!! If there's one thing I love more than chocolates, it's half price chocolates!! I guess waiting four days has its advantages!! (The box was full when I got it, but I had to eat some before I got round to taking it's picture.)

So there you have it. I'm sure you'll agree. It was worth the wait. 

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Fiona's Fluffy Baby Botty

Advance warning to my loyal British readers... this post will contain numerous references to diapers. I'm sorry. I have to choose one or the other, and I figured you were clever enough to understand what I was talking about... :-)


Fiona has worn cloth diapers since she was born, but in the last few months I've become completely obsessed with the various kinds, and I feel the need to share some of my exciting discoveries with you all.

First, cloth has come a long way. There are many different options which are just a simple as disposables to use. 

Far left is a natural unbleached cotton prefold. This is the cheapest of all, and the kind Fiona wears most often. It's called a prefold because it's like an old fashioned flat dipaer, but condensed... it has lots of layers all sewn together. I fold these and hold them on with a 'snappi' - no pins required - and cover them with a waterproof cover (see below...)

On top of the prefold are doublers... one hemp, and one cotton terry (like a towel). One of these adds extra super absorbancy to whatever kind of diaper she is wearing if she needs to be in it for a long time.

The cream-with pink-one is a 'fitted'... it's shaped to fit round her body, and has snaps to hold it on, but needs a waterproof cover on top.

I should also note, as it will be important later, that many people use tightly fitted lanolized wool shorts to cover diapers... the lanolin repels moisture, and the wool absorbs any wee that leaks through... it works very well.

The blue and white ones are 'pockets'. They have a soft inside, a waterproof outside, and a pocket to stuff absorbant things into... like microfiber towels (pictured below the blue one). These are super absorbant and we use them at night. 

Here is Fiona modeling her prefold...

So it turns out that I am not alone in my obsession... those are the 3 main categories of diaper, but there are hundreds of different makes and models. One particularly popular kind are 'goodmamas'... 

Goodmamas are fitteds, and come in very very cute patterns (though still need a cover). Cloth enthusiasts get very excited about the various patterns, and love to buy these. They're cute, and fit really well, and are very absorbant. Unfortunately they are $35 each. Ben calls them 'designer diapers'. Some of them are even collectors items... I've seen discontinued prints being re-sold on second-hand websites for $75 each. Yep, for something your baby will poo in. 

Craigslist is a website where people sell their used things, and someone was selling second hand Goodmamas for $15 each, or 3 for $30. You never see them at this price, so I jumped on it, and Ben and I drove to her house one evening last week...

It was very very strange. I felt like I was taking part in some kind of drug deal! First we go up to her apartment, and there is a crib, but no sign of a child! Then she displayed her stash, and I looked through it to see what I might be interested in. Then her friend turned up with some more, and emptied a box of brand new, never opened $35 diapers onto the floor... there must have been hundreds of dollars worth of diapers sitting there, and she was pretty vague about how/why she had so many. Then the seller asks me in a shifty mumble... 'do you want any wool? I've got wool, if you need wool'... as if she was offering me crack! I told her no, I don't need any wool, chose the three that I wanted, gave her her money and got the heck out! I don't know what kind of crazy backstreet black market diaper selling scheme they have going, but the whole thing was very fishy. 

Anyway, I am very happy with my bargain basement designer diapers, and here's a picture...

Awww cute!!

And just to prove that Fiona loves to have a fluffy baby botty as much as I love it, here's a thumbs up...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fiona loves her Daddy

There hasn't been a lot going on round here in the last few days, so here's a post about Fiona.

Fiona loves her Daddy. Loves, loves, loves her Daddy. It's really cute. Daddy held her first after she was born...

When she was a tiny baby she cried a lot. It seemed that when Mummy held her she cried...

But when Daddy held her...

I have since learned that this is more due to the fact that when Fiona cries, Ben passes her to me, so there are no pictures of him holding a crying baby. But there are lots of pictures of me holding one...

Now she is so much bigger, and does more than sleep and cry (though has not given up on these either). And she loves her Daddy. Fiona has dinner at around 5.15, and usually shortly after she starts eating, Ben calls to tell us he is on his way home. Recently, Fiona has been getting very excited to hear from her Daddy on the phone... here's a video...

So there you have it... even her bib says so... we have a Daddy's girl. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Birthday Food Fest

On Monday I turned 26. Ben says that I am now in my 'late twenties' and I'm an old lady. So for the last couple of days, I've been drowning my sorrows in delicious food! (I'm not really upset about being 26, but it's a good excuse to stuff my face!)

On Sunday we had a family party at our house. Cathy and Erik and the kiddos came over, and Bill and Ginger brought a feast to feed us all with. One of my top five favourite foods of all time is turkey sandwiches.... mmm mmm mmm.

Calico beans, cucumber salad, apple salad, turkey sandwich, chicago beef sandwich, potato skin. 

Then, as if that wasn't enough face stuffing, it was cake time. But first was the age test... can I blow out 26 candles... well, no. But, with a lot of effort, I did manage 25. What's a little saliva between friends, right?

Bill made super yummy carrot cake with homemade cream cheese frosting. It is SO GOOD.

Then Monday arrived... I figured since it was my birthday I could have cake for breakfast...

As you can see I also had a healthy glass of OJ and a multivitamin.

Then it was lunch time... So I had some more cake, and a cup of tea. 

I was so excited to eat this slice that most of it was gone before I remembered to take the picture.

Then I felt like having an afternoon snack. I thought I should mix it up a little, so had some leftover peanut butter silk pie...

Then we went to Outback for dinner with Tanya and Boyd. Outback is an Australian themed restaurant. The only real difference is that they add Australian words like 'Bonzer' and 'Mate' to the menu... I started with a chocolate martini...

We had to go for Aussie Cheese Fries. This 'appetizer' is the gold standard for fat and calorie content. It doesn't get any better than this. It's ridiculous. You only order it if you have a team to help you eat it. Although, I think Outback has shrunk it a little after all the negative press it was getting... sad!

Then I had my Birthday Steak. I have steak once a year for my brithday. I like it to be pretty pink, so last year I couldn't have any (you're not meant to eat raw meat while pregnant). It was delicious. 

I asked for my veggies without butter to be healthy.

Then we shared the free birthday dessert... Vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and whipped cream and a cherry. 

It was a great birthday! And now I have to go on a diet, because I strongly resemble this guy...

Happy Birthday to me! :-)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Minnehaha Park Adventure

Since today's high was a balmy 31 degrees (very nearly 0 C!!) Fiona and I decided to leave the house and go to the park. We got all bundled up and took the train down the road to meet our friends Dasha and Tomas. We all walked to Minnehaha park and had a look at the waterfall.

The falls are still very much frozen... They are sooking all the water out of the bottom so they can do some maintenance and try to help with the erosion, just like they did to Niagara Falls. Pretty fancy, huh? Here's a proposed before/after so you can see just how amazing it will look by Summer...



I think it will be lovely!

Then we walked around the park a little before heading back to Dasha's house for a warming cup of tea.  Fiona took a little nap on the way.

We had some tea and played for a while, then Fiona and I went home. It looks like a long walk... and by then, it was pretty cold again, so it felt like one too!

I guess as adventures go, that wasn't particularly exciting. But just wait... tomorrow we're going to have an adventure at the Minneapolis Development Review Department in the Minneapolis Public Service Center. Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I just can't let this go...

I am still irritated by the gigantic box sitting in the middle of the living room. I felt it was best to clean it up before it caused me any more stress. In doing so, I noticed this printed on the box:

It's easy being green?! I didn't really know what to think of this. So I went to the website, and found this:

Since 2007, Amazon has made significant progress to reduce excess packaging in its shipments to customers and has introduced additional types of recyclable packing materials to protect items while in transit.

Amazon has developed a software program that determines the "right-sized" box for any given item to be shipped to a customer, based on that item's dimensions and weight. 

A software program? You need a software program to determine the 'right sized box'? And apparently having said software program eliminates free will. Packager is holding miniscule object in one hand, giant box in other and saying 'well, the software program says this is the right box...'

I'm going to put the box downstairs now. It has become a symbol of all that is wrong with the world. I can't even look at it. It hurts my heart. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

That doesn't make any sense #2

After part 1 of  the 'that doesn't make any sense' series, I was a little concerned that I wouldn't be able to find enough material for a whole series. But lo and behold, today the perfect material was delivered to our house.

Recently, Ben and I have been making more of an effort to reduce our waste, and be 'greener' in general. Other than recycling, keeping the water temperature low, etc., we use cloth diapers (sorry, nappies) instead of disposables, we try to use cloth napkins instead of paper towels or paper napkins, and I make most of Fiona's food to avoid all the packaging for the individual servings of baby food. I also recently switched from dryer sheets to reuseable dryer balls. Yep, we're pretty awesome. 

Today the doorbell rang, and who should be on the other side, but our friendly neighbourhood FedEx delivery man, with a large box. I was instantly concerned, because Ben has been ordering a lot of things from Amazon recently in order to have the Ultimate Movie Setup, and anything that came in a box this size was bound to be bad news.

So I sent him a message, and he told me that it was cables... Now, he has received a lot of cables lately, and usually they come in a much smaller box, such as the ones in the background of the above picture. I told him that if it was a cable, it was enough cable to wire an entire apartment building, and he informed me that it was a pretty big cable.

Still, I was curious, but had to wait until he came home to find out exactly what was in the box, because he likes to have the excitement of opening them himself, and gets upset if I open them before he gets home... :-)

Finally, he arrives and opens the box...

I'm still concerned... that looks like a lot of air and paper to me... And sure enough, when the paper was removed, this is what remained...

Really Amazon? Really? You felt this was an appropriately sized box? Really? That just doesn't make any sense! Is your shipping department working under some kind of russian roulette box selection method? They just grab a random box and hit the mark one time out of six? I just can't fathom how someone could feel that this was ok! Is someone kidding? Did I just not get the joke?

Anyway, I think my conclusion has to be that if you order something from Amazon, they have a team of monkeys working for them sending it out. Not trained monkeys, mind. Just monkeys. Trained monkeys would have done a better job.

I may not be confrontational in real life, but I can write a great angry letter. Amazon will be hearing from me. Maybe I'll send the letter to them in the box. 

Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog Day

February 2nd 2009. Groundhog day. Here's the play-by-play...

Step 1: Wake up Punxutawney Phil, world famous weather predicting groundhog.

Step 2: Ascertain whether Phil did or did not see his shadow.

Step 3: Terrify Phil into changing his answer? I have no idea what this is about. Poor Phil. I would have pooped on his stupid hat.

This year Phil did indeed see his shadow, which means that we won't have an early spring, and will instead have six more weeks of winter. 

But... there is some controversy in the world of Groundhog weather prediction. Apparently Chuck, the Statan Island Groundhog, did not see his shadow this year, predicting early spring. And Chuck has accurately predicted the weather in 21 out of the last 28 years. Phil's accuracy statistics are mysteriously unavailable. So there may still be hope...

But really, living in Minnesota, if we only have six more weeks of winter, it will be an early spring. So it doesn't really matter to me which Groundhog is right, I just pray that at some point, winter will actually end. 

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Superbowl Sunday

As you probably know, Ben and I are not exactly huge sports fans. But when an excuse to watch
something in HD on his big screen comes up, Ben grabs it with both hands! Today was the superbowl. Superbowl XLIII to be exact. 

So other than a way to expose the American people to the wonder of roman numerals, what's the point? Well, food, and advertising. And of course, hanging out with awesome people. And showing off your big screen. And endless football related innuendos. Tight end. HeeHee. 

This year, Tanya and Boyd came over. 

Friends... Check!

And they brought with them... delicious chicken wings and jalapeno poppers. And slippers and sweaters. Smart!

Food... Check!

And I made chili and cornbread and brownies.

Food... double check!

Then we settled down to soak in some of the finest advertising money can buy. And our expectations were high. This year, one 30 second advert during the superbowl cost $2.6 MILLION. 

In my opinion, these were the highlights:
Winner! Hulu: Alec in Huluwood - Funny Stuff. Probably also 100% true.
2. Budweiser: Clydesdales Stick
3. Cheetos: Chester the Cheetah 
4. Teleflora: Talking Flowers
5. Taco Bell: Overrated 
You can view these adverts here:

And of course, the big screen was incredible...

So even though the team I arbitrarily chose to support did lose, it was a great superbowl! Roll on XLIV! And you're all invited.