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Phrases! Crazy phrases!

Riley is lightyears ahead of what I'm used to verbally from my children, which puts her just about average. She just recently turned 18 months (blink eyes: wait that was a month ago). In the past week she's been putting together *gasp* phrases!  The phrases have meaning, of which I'm starting to see a bit more of Ms. Accessorizing Shopaholic coming through. I swear, she doesn't take after me.

She has always shown an interest in, well, to put it most efficiently: fashion. (See? She really doesn't take after me. I'm the girl who only wears jeans and a shirt becaust anything more complicated scares me.) Perhaps her early interests here will mean she's less of a trend-failure than her mother in the teen years. She's been choosing her own bows (right around 12 months), trying on everyone's spare clothing by herself(15/16 months), and even more recently getting excited about her new fall clothes by picking (only what she knows to be hers) out of our shopping bags while ignoring everything else in the bag.

To be fair, the first phrase I recognized was "Where daddy?" on the 10th, which was Gary's first day back to work.  And on Tuesday she worried about a broken book about a koala at the doctor's office: "Uhoh! 'walla!?" But subsequent phrases are a little more telling. My favorite happened while I was (shamefully) browing Old Navy's website. The main page had multicolored pants and Riley pointed to the pink and purple ones, exclaiming "Riley's!" for both and only both of those colors. So I clicked on them. Even more excited, she continued to point and insist that the purple ones were "Riley's." I navigated off the page after she looked away, and when she turned back she furrowed her little brow. "Uhoh! Where purple??" she questioned me accusingly.

She's currently (for the record) wearing her tank top as a skirt over top her footie pajamas, just got back from putting Cam's shoes on, and rifling through my purse. I have many questions. Staring with - "Should I be worried that she is already so into expressing her opinion through dressing herself and having preferences in type and color?" and ending with "This isn't my fault just because I buy her cute items for her infant wardrobe, right?" To be fair, she's always been this interested in such things. And I had just as big an interest in my son's wardrobe as a baby, and he never picked up even a slight interest in wearing clothing. He still prefers to be naked.

13 months. Say wha??

Weight: 19lbs10oz (Almost to that 20lb mark!)
Height: Yeah right. I'm not crazy enough to think I could hold her still for that, but she was 29in ish a month ago, so I'm sure it's close.
Incredibility factor that she's at an age where non-parents stop counting by months: infinty.

Words: Nana (banana), mama - rare, da(da) - occasional, Ay-Eee (riley) - chanted to herself while looking in mirrors, Oof (woof), dack dack (quack), done, up, out, hi, nahnah is milk. For comparison, Cam's word list at 13.5 months. I don't listen nearly as hard with Riley, but she definitely mimics us a lot more than Cam did, but we either don't hear the words as often or she just doesn't have the opportunity to use them, so I guess I'm not counting them?

It's often hilarious when she mimics us. This morning as I was cleaning up a bowlful of Cheerios that (surprisingly) I was the one to dump this morning, she thought it was hilarious to help me rethrow handfuls back on the floor. So I whispered under my breath, "Stoppit!!" only to be rewarded with a mini copy of my attitude whispering "tahteh!"

Signs: Banana, All done, milk, nightnight.

Was reading about Cam and realized he just started getting off the couch by himself at 14months or so. Riley has been doing that for at least two months already, so either 10 or 11 months? Sigh, crazy girl.

Gary and I were reminiscing yesterday that we found out we were pregnant with Riley when Cam was 14.5 months. Riley is 13 now. She seems like such a baby still, but Cam felt so big, that we were already ready for another. On one hand, she really has matured noticeably in the past month. Not only can she recognize a lot more of what she wants, but she's getting better at communicating her needs. If anywhere there's a discernible line between babyhood and toddlerness, she's crossed it. But also, I can see why the baby is always the baby, because compared to Cam, even remembering him at the same age, it's very hard to see her as big as I thought he was, because I've seen the future and realize how much bigger he had yet to get back when I thought he was so big already.

Milestones - I'm behind.

I meticulously kept track of Cam's milestones. I happen to be very interested in data collection and quantification.

I'm failing miserably with Riley. And since who knows when I'll have time to dig out her baby book. (Don't argue that I've made time for this entry. The physical book is too much of a temptation to grabby hands.)

So this is just a quick list of random information:

Today is the day before her first birthday. So really, only 12 hours almost to the minute until she is officially one. I just noticed today for the first time that she nods. She bobs her little head up and down. She was fascinated watching her shadow on the carpet while she did it.

She has been half-heartedly waving for at least a month, but I can't remember back further than that. For the past 3-4 days she's been waving 'hi' and 'bye' when asked. She also puts it into context. I was cleaning out the car today and she was watching me head back and forth to the car from doorway, and she kept crunching her fingers into her hand (it looks more like a double sign for milk), thinking I was packing the car to leave. Also when she's presented to a window to see cars outside she waves, because she's used to everyone waving bye out the window.

She also signs milk sometimes when thirsty, gives huge biting kisses on command (if she feels like it), and had been clapping and rolling her hands for patty cake for he past 3 weeks.

Yesterday I taught her to get down off the couch by flipping on her belly and sliding her feet to the floor. She has repeated it on her own several times. Speaking of flipping, she loves to flip. When we set her with her feet on the ground and tip her forward she tucks her head all on her own and loves to be pushed into a flip.

The stubborn molars continue to taunt her. Just below the surface, but won't come out. So 8 teeth it is for her birthday.

Happy one year my baby girl.

That okay?

"That okay my watch Wild Kratts, [while] my chew on my blue?"

I adore when Cam asks me permission for the simplest and sweetest things like the above example. I don't look forward to a day when my opinion is less important.

Parenting: The art of lowering standards

Sometimes I wonder if it's possible to lower my ever-lofty standards further. I long ago abandoned the need to shower daily, change out of my pajamas (at least the half of the week), or even clean the high chair. C'mon. We all know that if I wipe down the high chair, the baby is going to want another meal or snack within two hours. Put that on repeat all day, and it seems fair to only wipe down after major mealtimes. Which slowly slips to once a day. And once you get to that point, is once a day really all that different from once a week? And there goes the neighborhood.

Picture me (on what turned out to be a fairly seasonable mid-February day: Sunshine and 35 degrees. And you know what - that 35 felt like 55.) pushing a stroller one-handed down the sidewalk of a shopping plaza, redirecting it every two steps, because it pulls a little (45 degree angles) to the left. A toddler in wet underpants is holding my other hand, turning halfway around to spot the trash can I just threw an empty cup into, repeatedly asking why we just threw "mommy's drink" away. I'm wearing a hairband around my neck, and have *just* realized there is a hairband around my neck. I meant to put it in my hair, but I didn't want it to slip out while I was getting ready in the morning. Of course, I forgot completely and wore it as a necklace all through the toddler's music class.

We get to the car and the toddler fights me because he wants to lay down on the front seat to change his pants. Underpants have to go on standing up. The baby needs changed or else she'll soak through her clothes if she falls asleep on the ride home and takes the nap I'm so desperately counting on. Get the stroller folded and in the car. Nurse baby in the driver's seat, while handing strategically purchased fries back to the toddler. (The hamburger portion of lunch was eaten in the first store. It simultaneously extinguished a tantrum and lured the toddler into he confines of a stroller.)

With shame, can I admit the worst part of today's trip? The outing involved music class/open play time, drive-thru at Wendy's, the newly opened Carter's store and Old Navy. Was the worst part the wet underpants? The 10 minutes of sitting Cam on the potty in the public restroom while the baby crawled around on the floor? The sobbing tantrum my hungry and tired almost-three year old had when I tried to put his shoes on to leave class? Trying to appease a tired almost-one year old? Nursing in the car while strange old men walk past? My hair band necklace that everyone saw? The fact that our garage door is broken and I had to manually lift and shut it to get the car out and then try to get a sleeping baby in the house through a locked front door, instead of a nice dark trip through the garage?

Nope. None of those. The very worst was when I finally buckled everyone in and started heading home, and I realized I was smiling. I realized that this was the kind of trip I considered a great success. I didn't have to physically drag either of the children. I wasn't sweating (even with a coat on!) No one pooped! Food went into mouths and not on the ground. I completed the objective of my trip (checking out the just-opened-today Carter's store and locating a valentine's day shirt for Cam for the party tomorrow.) How shocking to realize just how rock-bottom my standards have become. Everything can go completely awry, and as long as everyone is in a good mood on the way home, it's a mind-blowing success.

In a way, I guess it's not all that low. Though there was whining; I comforted it. There was hunger; and I fed it. There was wetness; I dried it. Impatience; I distracted it. My children had needs, and I met them. Every. Single. One. And from that perspective, our trip was far from a failure. It really was the successful triumph that, driving home, I'd felt it to be. Every once in a while I suppose it's alright to lower the high standards I set for myself. Besides, that not-having-to-shower-every-day 'thing?' It's quite a time-saver.

Sidenote -
Last week at the toddler music class I lost a button on my sweater. I found my daughter chewing it, took it from her, handed it to the owner of the class, explaining I'd never seen it before and didn't know where it came from. I wore the sweater the entire day. After dinner I looked down at myself and, in horror, realized I was missing a button, and that the two remaining buttons looked suspiciously like the one I'd found the baby drooling on earlier.

Maybe 10 seconds to glance in a mirror might help?

Parenting is not so much filled with decisive actions. Almost every parenting choice is based on, instead, reactive components. Daily, I see manifestations of that misinterpretation, and while I recognize it in my peers, I'm guilty of slipping into that false mindset myself. Having children with fairly differing personalities has forced me to see that parenting isn't about me and my choices, nearly as much as it is about each of my children and what works for them.

Before I became a parent I knew things about my parenting style and my children. Concrete things. Absolutes. My child will be potty trained by their second birthday. In the 1950's the average child was trained fully by 18 months. I am not a lazy parent. What kind of person could allow their child to continue in diapers well into their third year?

And even after having one child, my opinions shifted somewhat in their foundations, but mostly I figured that parenting a child had allowed me to fill in the missing gaps of information that would allow me to once and for all determine my "parenting style." I decided I'd probably never 'cry it out' with my babies because research says it scars their attachment capabilities. But, since mildly-fussing-it-out resulted in an amazing sleeper who put himself down for naps and bed when left fully awake in his crib, I threw that out the window and mentally made a note to judge other parents for how hastily they condemned the CIO method. If only they'd be more open, they'd realize it would work.

As my first crept into his twos without a hint of understanding of how his body worked, I reevaluated, but even still, the majority of my feelings were frustration for my failure. I thought if I merely could narrow down the right approach I could find success in potty training. (And while I do think certain changes could have made that true, overall I'm pretty sure the sheer number of factors that would need to be altered - societal changes that have occurred since the early 1900's - would make it nearly impossible.) All "perfect" world scenarios aside, it just wasn't going to happen. I know 18 month olds who've been trained, but the success relied heavily on the personality of the 18 month old. My son doesn't find external praise to be much of a motivation and he doesn't seem to be the sort of 'adaptive' personality that embraces and embodies changes to fit into molds society demands.

With my youngest, leaving her to cry was simultaneously not an option, and yet, it was the only choice she left us with in the early months. We never left her to cry, because even while held, she shrieked and sobbed for hours. Holding her at least provided a measure of comfort and occasional silence. Sometimes I wonder if her crying would have lasted for longer periods had we not carried her constantly or if it was on some sort of automatic shut-off regardless of our actions. Regardless, she grew out of that phase, but not out of the personality. She sometimes wakes minutes after being put down for the night, and the few times we've left her to cry it escalates, unless one of us goes to her. She has fussed herself down not quite a handful of times.

I've run across so many parents that know everything. What they know is everything about their own child or children. Parents of only one child or of multiple children with similar personalities are usually the most secure about how their parenting ideas are products of their choosing.

A friend recently boasted to me about how "well, some people don't believe in cry it out, but I do what I have to do, and my children are great sleepers." I wanted to tell her how I used to feel that way, too, because it worked for my son. I wanted to explain how my daughter is just a worse sleeper. She is sleeping through the night, but my son had a solid 12 hour sleep every night. My daughter like clockwork sleeps an exact 10 hour cycle before needing fed. I tried to mention my conflicting experiences offhandedly so I didn't come off as argumentative, but I was quickly rebuffed by her reassurance that "Oh I know my methods don't work for everybody." By which it was clear she meant every parent. She simply wrote off my opinion. I couldn't find a way to make her understand that what she should have meant was every child. I had done it for my son. It did work beautifully. It. Did. Not. Work. For my daughter. I dropped the topic instead.

Another friend was relating her discipline strategies to me with pride. She bragged about her ability to quell her daughter's tantrums with just a word. From what she told me it seems like we use fairly similar methods, but it struck me just how definitive she felt they were. I responded noncommittally with "Yeah, we do similar, and it seems to work well for us," stressing the us. I couldn't in good conscious wholeheartedly agree with her, especially knowing that while those same methods had worked great when my son was her child's age, that over the next year of his life, no matter how well we employed them, he did not snap right back in line. The way I've parented him changed a lot in the span of a year. Maybe she'll change her mind as her child ages and she has to adapt some of her ideas. Maybe if she has a second, she'll realize different approaches affect each of her children with varying degrees of success. Maybe she'll have two similar children, and it will reinforce her staunch belief in how (subjectively) "correct" her parenting is.

I love what open eyes my children have given me. Even though I still find myself judging parenting styles, I hope I'm able to be more objective knowing that what I've found to work for me, in reality, has been more about finding what works for my children. My values and ideas may be mine, but my children are the ones who shape those theories into structure. Parenting is more about being reactive and finding ways to bend than it is about blindly holding firm. If I keep reminding myself of this perhaps I can continue to grow as a parent. I'm sure my children will be thankful for it.

1. You must post these rules.  [CHECK.]
2. Each person must post 11 things about them on their blog. [CHECK.]
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer. [Um... No check?]

11 Things About Me:

1. I am still so incompetent at 'social' things that deciding who to invite to Riley's birthday has kept me awake in the mornings lately. Who would I offend if I didn't invite them? Who would feel burdened and obligated to come? Should I just can the whole thing even though I love planning parties and have it completely planned?

2. I love to read fantasy books. I don't tell people that because it makes me sound like a weirdo. I actually never admitted it until I fully understood that fantasy simply meant "a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common." as per wikipedia."

3. Even though I always claimed I wouldn't be - I'm an overscheduling mom. We hit up the library every Wednesday morning. We've been taking a break from our music class, but I decided to try out the bigger kids class, so we're picking that up halfway through the session for Thursdays. Cam has speech on Fridays. I even took Riley to her own library this past week. And I'm considering trying out swimming some point this summer and maybe gymnastics for the fall for Cam. It's so hard to keep a busy 2 (almost 3) year old entertained. I am just too old (so tired) to be hands on for the majority of the day.

4. I'm dreading introducing milk and cutting back nursing sessions. I'm dreading it most, because Riley is completely gung ho about it. She has been waking shortly after falling asleep lately, but on the nights that she's had a couple ounces of juice/water before bed, she sleeps right through.

5. I meet the UPS guy at the door, and it's all I can do to wait a couple seconds after his knock so that he doesn't realize I was standing there waiting the whole time. It takes even more restraint not to run out of my house and meet him halfway down the driveway.

6. I like creamer in my coffee and feta cheese on my eggs.

7. I love buying outfits for the kids for special occasions, even though there's a chance they may never wear them enough to make it worth buying them. (Found Riley's birthday dress this past weekend!)

8. Even if I know I'm not going to finish a certain leftover, I leave it in the fridge. Instead of throwing it out when it's fresh and manageable, I wait until it's grown mold before admitting it. Then at least I feel like I gave it a fair chance enough to assuage my guilt for wasting it.

9. I go whole summers never putting on a pair of shorts. I love jeans. I used to wonder how my mom could stand to wear pants and not be hot in the summer. But I feel so much more comfortable in jeans.

10. I had a McGriddle for the first time a few weekends ago. I loved it. It was a poor man's blueberry waffle Dunkin Donuts sandwich, but since DD discontinued their sandwich I had to do something. It's also something I'll never repeat after I looked a the nutrition information. But, oh, man, those 2 seconds it took to consume it were worth it!

11. I don't wear a coat since I became a mom of two. While lugging two around I'm often sweating in just a thin long sleeve tee. Adding the bulk and warmth of a coat might just bring about heat exhaustion.

11 Questions from Louise:

1. What is your favorite holiday, and why?
Christmas. Hands down. I think it comes down to the traditions of Christmas. The littlest things add such a spirit of joy and festivity, even down to putting out the same ornament that's been on my tree for the past 28 years.

2. How do you most like to style your hair?
Oh boy, you've caught me unprepared. Does style mean I actually *do* something to it? I wear it down now (it was ponytail every day before I cut it.) I would prefer to roundbrush it under while I dry it, but the back of my head disagrees with this method, so I'm at standstill right now.

3. If you could live anywhere in the US, where would it be?
In reality, right here. I depend on and enjoy the company of our families far too much to be even 10 minutes further from them if it can be helped. In theory, I wouldn't mind Columbus, or other major Ohio cities like Cincinnati or (a good part of) Cleveland. Indian foods! Weird botique-y ice cream shops! Pottery Barn! World Market! Okay - that's not all that adventurous is it? Of course, weatherwise I would love a warmer climate...but I would miss the snow. Can I have a timeshare vacation home? lol.

4. What's your favorite recipe that either you or a family member makes?
Food. Where do I begin? Side dish: Sweet potato fries. Is it wrong to admit that I can wipe a whole tray of them clean before they even finish cooling from the oven? It's scary to think how quickly I can down the entirety of a sweet potato this way. Actual recipe: My grandma's potato soup. It's filled with potato chunks, sliced carrots, wax beans, and kielbasa, and swimming in a creamy potato-y vinegary  "broth." My grandma is no longer around to make it, so I make it now.

5. What was your favorite class that you took in either high school or college?
A tie. Gun and mythology. Okay I'm going to showcase my slacker-like preferences here. No matter how much I enjoy learning and have loved particular classes, the gun class I took in college was awesome. I don't even like guns. We came to class, we shot a gun 10 times, and when we were done, we left, off to enjoy the remaining 40 minutes of class on our own. Lol. Mythology was the best overall class I ever took. So much so that I took it 3 times. It was an AP English class offered at my high school (by none other than Mr. Marino). I took the Summer Honors institute version of it during a summer before college. And I signed up for the Honors seminar of it in college, but it got cancelled. (All versions taught by Mr. Marino.)

6. Would you rather go shopping, to a sporting event, or to a museum?
Why must shopping and museums be mutually exclusive?? Sigh. Probably museum. (Notice how sporting event doesn't even get any billing?) I do enjoy shopping when it comes to children's clothing, and I enjoy window shopping to decorate m house, but if only for the sheer elusiveness of museum attending I would choose it over shopping. I enjoy museums of all kinds. Can't think of one I wouldn't like to go to. I'm planning on taking the kids back to Pittsburgh's Children's museum this spring.

7. Post a photo of your favorite movie character.
Yes, I'm a child of the 80's.

8. What is your favorite type of jewelry (e.g. necklace, earrings, bracelet...if you want to talk about specific styles, that's fine too!)?
Necklace. I've had the same earrings in for the past decade. They've only come out a handful of times. I have probably worn 3 other pairs in those 10 years, only to go to formal events. Bracelets always hang awkwardly and get in my way. So by default, necklace wins!

9. What is one part of your life that you hope will change in the next five years?
Magical surprise baby #3? I guess if I have to live in reality, then I want cousins for my kids, and it looks like my wish is coming true!

10. What do you like best about the city you live in?
My family.

11. What is the ideal outdoor temperature?
69 degrees Fahrenheit. Still cool enough with a breeze that a hoodie and jeans are super comfy if you aren't doing anything strenuous, but warm enough that you woudln't feel a chill with bare arms.

Morning coffee roundup

One of my favorite things lately has been Cam's auto-response when I call his name, "Yes, mommy?" It's, number one, a nice change from being completely ignored and not even glanced at as if he was completely deaf to my voice. But it has a lovely side effect of sounding adorable when he says it. When Gary calls him, it sounds equally charming as "Yes, daddy?" though sometimes it still comes out as "Yes, mommy?" and he catches himself, looks around, finds Gary, grins as he realizes his mistake and corrects himself.

Speaking of awesome - two years to two-point-five was rough. Two-point-seven-five is measurably less stressful. His words are coming out clearer than ever, so he has one less reason to be frustrated, and really - he's just getting old enough to really understand some logic. He's finally coming out of that completely self-absorbed stage to realize patterns in the way he fits into all his small little worlds. And Riley is becoming a little companion he can play with.

Riley is 10 months. And that ten is fast fading into eleven. She bear crawls up on her feet and hands when she comes to the hardwood floor. She's stood a handful of times for up to 10 seconds, though it's not a regular event. When it's nearing nap or bedtime she crawls over to me, suddenly distraught, even if she was playing happily the minute before, and cries to me "mamamamamama nanananana." Which I like to think sounds like "Mama. Nightnight." I'm likely reaching, but sometimes I swear she means it.

In a way this 10-11 month stage is really fun. She's gaining independence and she's becoming willful. She can understand what she wants and try to achieve it. No longer is she happy to stumble around and play with whatever happens along right in front of her. She empties the dvd storage at least twice a day. And it's a good thing Cam has no interest in his potty chair, because it's one of her favorite toys to dive into headfirst.

Profile of a 10 month old:

Likes: Bananas. Lots of them. She can polish off a whole banana in one sitting. She will do this every day if I let her. Being carried. Pulling double fistfuls of Cam's (or my) hair. Dancing - she loves music. Rubbing her face into fuzzy things, both living and stuffed. Lasagna.

Dislikes: Nose wipes. Being put down. Not being allowed to touch the computer. Snow.

Most desirable features: Pushes her arm though a sleeve when I dress her. That helps immensely. Entertains herself by emptying my cupboards. Score for occasional free time!

Least desirable features: No longer sleeps through the night. Still goes down at 7/730ish and gets up at 830ish, however now wakes twice - 930/10pm and the usual 5-6amish. Drops toys/food repeatedly.

Weight: 17lbs3oz

My most exciting news of late is that Gary and I have made our second 'big' purchase of married life. Well, I guess third. The first was a house (which I wasn't counting, but - heck, it's big, so I guess), the second was our couch, and now a dining room table! I am pretty thrilled with owning my first dining room table. It's still on order and can take up to 3-4 weeks to come in, so now I'm on pins and needles just waiting for the call.

Oh, wait, let's back it up. Why are we getting a new dining room table? Our current set was Gary's parent's set. They bought it when their kids were little. It was used when they first got it. I cannot fathom how old the set is. The chairs wiggle back and forth, and so does the table. The leaf for the middle is missing. Gary dripped paint all over one chair last year. And last week he was standing on one of the other chairs to reach our high cupboard (a common practice in our kitchen) and it broke.

We don't technically need the fourth chair yet. Riley could be in the high chair for almost another year. But Gary got a nice Christmas bonus, so we had the money to replace it. As much as I miss him and as difficult as it is to only have him to ourselves one day a week, I'm very grateful for how well his job provides. Since, not only can I stay at home with the kids, we can also afford to replace the things we need without too much struggle. And wow - how adult to I feel. Nothing makes you feel more responsible and 'grownup'-like that purchasing large furniture items.

And now I can see the bottom of my coffee cup. Yummy cinnamon creamer. And Cam is up asking to watch 'choo choo trains with faces. Peeease.' And we all have to dress to leave here in 15 minutes for Cam's speech. Hopefully Riley will wake by then.

Maybe I shouldn't do things in public

I'm sure we all have social situations that unsettle us. For an introvert like me it includes most public experiences. I've gotten a lot better at existing in public lately. I would like to say age and experience played a role, but really, having children who take the focus off of just little old me has been the biggest help. I *have* to call the pediatrician because my baby is sick. I'm still terrified to call and make my own hair appointment. Which is how I ended up emailing my mom "Mom, please call the hair people. I'm scared to."

Being the most awesome (enabling) mom that she is, she happily picked up my slack. I honestly can't say as I recall *ever* calling to make my own hair appointment. Yes, shame. I get it. In fact, it's not just hair appointments I fail it. I pretty much epic fail any time I'm presented with purchasing any kind of 'service.' 'Goods' I'm cool with. I can totally do drive thrus and order french fries at the fuzzy speaker. I can load groceries on a conveyer and say "Hi!" cheerfully while a nice lady loads my groceries into bags. But calling for pizza, making doctor appointments for myself, and most especially getting my hair cut amount to terrifying events.

Enter Gary. My loving and doting husband. He bought me a giftcard to Casal's two years ago. Yes, two. Thankfully the value hadn't depreciated, so I (had my mom make) me an appointment.

My hairdresser's assistant greeted me and showed me back to the chair for a consultation. I told her "Uh, I dunno. I kinda want it short. Layered? Easy? I have a picture maybe." Then the assistant took me in a darkened room for my "relaxation," except it was kind of the opposite of that. My scalp massage consisted of my hair being mussed with. Following was a hand massage which, I don't know, I must be weird, but having a girl caress my hands while I sit in the dark was not relaxtion. It was awkward. I have never been more thankful that she had my face shoved into a towel. I could not have kept a straight face through all of this. And if you must know, I sat down on the massage chair backwards. It's offical I'm an idiot. And while I realized I was 'bad' at the social experience of hair cuts, until this point I was sure it was only because I'd rather sit with my eyes squeezed shut while the cut was going on rather than make small talk. Now I realized just how epically I fail at this stuff.

Finally we got to the hair washing. While my hair was being conditioned she cleansed and moisturized my face. And then finally I was allowed to get my hair cut. There was a brief moment of terror as my hair mushroomed up like a nuclear bomb. I was envisioning running out of the salon in horror and tears, trying to find someone who didn't intimidate me so that I could beg for normal hair. But in the end I really liked the cut. As I started to run for the door, I was asked about complimentary makeup touch up. I refused, much to the horror of my 'stylist.' Either no one turns that down,or I must have really needed it.

I still have half the gift card left, should I want to return for another cut some day. I mean, I'm almost 30, and it really wasn't that bad. I think I'm almost socially acceptable enough to handle it. We'll have to see next time I get straggly if I can stand to face them again.

When Cam was little he used to get yogurt and oatmeal mixed together for breakfast every morning. I made sure to serve it in his high chair every morning, lest he become conditioned to not eating at the table for meals. When I felt like putting in extra effort he would also get fresh minced strawberries mixed in, as well. Riley gets a packet of mum mums, each cracker broken in half (see! I take them out of the wrapper and everything!) in her high chair in the backroom while Cam watches his morning shows and I putz around on the computer for a bit trying to wake up.

I was aghast when a neighbor gave Cam a matchbox car at 17 months old, because - dude- choking hazard! Doesn't he realize the package says 3+ for a reason. Riley happily munches on Cam's cars now. When Cam tries to take them away from her, he is the one scolded and told to return the toy.

Cam has started counting! He's been doing it for almost a month at this point. Yesterday he munched on some Wendy's fries happily in his carseat, mumbling "bah, two, pree, bive, dix, ay, nigh, deh, eh, tel, der-ee, dix-ee." Always important to monitor that french fry intake. :) He's added a lot of fun new tricks to his repertoire. He can take a few of his own shirts off, to which he exclaims "My go beach!" after seeing some beach goers in swim trunks on Phineas and Ferb. Sometimes his exclamation is proceeded by the removal of his pants, sock, and diaper, and I wonder about which beaches are going to be appropriate for him. His flavor of the week - Angelina Ballerina - has him constantly wanting to "dance ballerina, mommy!" He twirls around in circles, and then switches to his hip hop moves (also copied from the show) which, I'm not going to lie, are starting to show some promise, complete with beatboxing. To snap his fingers, he kind of moves them together and then clicks his tongue. It's hilarious.

Riley has been giving me some wonderful 7:30/8pm-5am stretches. On good nights mornings I can go back to sleep until my 7:30 Cam alarm, but lately since I've been so rested I'm just wide awake from that point on. She inchworms all over the house. She made her way from the back room to the kitchen a few days ago, and, always an opportunist, never misses the chance to score some floor food from whatever snack Cam has dropped or I've exploded in the kitchen. She'll be 8 months tomorrow (less than 24 hours if you go by exact times) and her babbling is really starting to take off. Tons of 'dah's and 'nah's with a few 'bah's and the occasional 'mah.' Nah is actually her favorite right now - most especially when she's mad (left in her high chair after having finished all her food.) Still only 2 teeth and I'm loving it! She wants to 'real' crawl so badly. She's always getting up on her knees to bounce, but then inevitably flounces back into a squirm to achieve movement.

I'm terrified that Cam was crawling at 8.5, cruising at 10, and walking independently by 11. Riley is EIGHT, you guys. This could be quite a productive next few months leading up to her first birthday. I'm still in denial over that imminent event.

I'm adoring cloth diapers still. They are really more of a hobby to me than a way to save money. Though they could be a great way to save money if you did it correctly and not the way I do it. Our pockets work wonderfully, but I got really curious about AI2s so bought a few, then figured out to make a few. And now that I've explored that I'm dipping a toe into the fitteds and covers arena. I never thought I'd try fitteds (non waterproof diapers, hence the need for a cover. Cuz, seriously, why bother? Who wants too add extra steps and complicate things? Answer: me, apparently.)
Though, honestly, it's probably keeping me sane. I though having one child was terribly straining on my need for a balance between "me" time, gary-and-I-time and family time. Having two now means I'm outnumbered 85% of my day. And even when Gary comes home, the best we get is one on one with each separate kid. Then on the lucky nights an 1-1.5 hours of time to choose to do our own things (computer, facebook, read, watch TV) or actually talk to each other.
So - to make up for the lack of time I get to spend on myself, I've found a hobby that, not only can I do it with the kids and it doesn't take much time at all, it actually depends on (one of) the kids. So I keep trying diapers and fancy new ways to hold poop. Seriously - my most thrilling creative outlet is trying out different containers for human waste.
So, no, I don't save money by cloth diapering, but I do have an outlet and something of my own. And right now, it's the most convention of hobbies, because it costs me the same or less than buying disposables, so, at least, it evens out - and I'm sane.

Also - omg - it's October. More than halfway through October. Another week and it will be Halloween. We've done a wagon ride though Mill Creek Metroparks Farm, the pumpkin walk at Fellowship gardens, a mini-trip to White House fruit farm, and I'm hoping to do a larger one, because even though we already bought pumpkins, I want to take pictures of the kids sitting in a field of pumpkins.