Losing a Pet


RIP Stella

For years I joked that we had to have a baby before our dog died, just so we would have something happy to focus on when it happened. Since our dog Stella was nine years old, we figured that time was far in the future; when she was old and grey and was done swimming and playing tug-of-war and racing after the tennis ball. It turns out that day was Saturday, when an autoimmune disorder took her in 36 hours.

Frances is young enough that she doesn’t notice anything is out of the ordinary. She doesn’t even notice the tears as she pokes my face while I’m nursing, which makes it almost harder to remember to smile. But smile we must, because life goes on. The more joy you have in your life, the more devastating the tragedies can be. We can’t control the worst, but we can certainly seek out big and little pleasures to keep as memories, and to have something to look forward to.

Stockpiling Update: Year End Review

My freezer four months later






Happy New Year everyone! It’s time for me to take stock of the deep freeze and see how we did. We didn’t manage to eat all the freezer food, but we came pretty close.  Like most yearly goals, all we needed was another few days!

Here’s the run down: The door used to be full of side dishes and lunches, and now it’s full of breastmilk, so I don’t really count that. The middle shelf has quite a bit of baby food at the moment, but the way Franci eats it will be gone quickly.

Baby’s First Trip to the Beach

Beach Combing

Beach Combing

We’re headed to the beach next month to enjoy some fun in the sun, and I can’t wait!  I’m excited to watch Frances take in an assortment of new sights, sounds, smells and tastes on her first tropical vacation. I was hoping she would be able to run around on the beach, but I think it will be a more relaxing trip since she is not yet walking. Unless she has a huge breakthrough in the next two weeks, I expect her to spend most of her vacation time sitting.

Which brings me to my question. If I were 10 months old, what would I like to play with on vacation? And no, Mama’s cell phone is not an option. But it better be at least as exciting as all the flotsam and seawater she will be drawn to ingest.

Recipe: Rolo Pretzel Bites

Rolo Pretzel Bites

Rolo Pretzel Bites

If you want to bring a homemade treat as a hostess gift or to a party but don’t have time to make anything, try this recipe! By the time the oven was preheated they were assembled and ready to bake.
Rolo Pretzel Bites

  • Small pretzels (the square ones would work well too)
  • Rolos
  • Pecan halves, and/or red and green M&M’s
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment. Unwrap rolos. Place unbroken pretzels on baking sheet.  You can crowd them in real close. Place a rolo on each pretzel in the center.
  3. Bake for 3 minutes until rolos are soft but not melted.  Meanwhile, pick out a few intact pecan halves from the bag.
  4. (more…)

Homemade Presents for the Holiday


Owl Pillow

I started a tradition a few years ago to make gifts for my nieces each Christmas. I love to craft and sew and, since I can never get organized enough to make them birthday gifts as well, it’s my mission to send them Christmas gifts that I’ve made myself.

This year, the project was Fleece Owl Pillows. My mom and I found a pattern at Jo-Ann Fabrics months ago, and when I told her a few weeks ago I wanted to make them for my nieces she said. “I was going to make Frances one for Christmas!”. It was destiny. So yesterday we got together and busted them out. They are so cute I should have made one for my self!

Starting Holiday Traditions

Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving Traditions

Now that we’re approaching our first holiday season with Frances, I’ve been thinking a lot about family traditions. What rituals did I relish as a kid? What yearly activities do we want to incorporate into our celebrations? Is it time to re-imagine some of our current traditions?

Quite a few years back we decided to have a Greek-themed Thanksgiving for once. No, we’re not Greek. I wasn’t looking forward to cooking for three days, by myself, only to sit down to a meal I was tired of eating. I think the year before we had turkey for Thanksgivig and Christmas, and I was still burnt out on it. Plus, it’s such a rich and heavy meal! I wanted a menu that incorporated a few more fresh and raw ingredients, and that was a little more vegetarian-friendly. Thus, Greek Thanksgiving was created.

Stockpiling Update 4

costcoFailure, thy name is Costco.

In an attempt to empty our deep freeze enough to defrost it, and because of my stockpiling reduction quest, we’ve been putting off a trip to Costco for months. It’s been so hard watching the coupon books come and go and to NOT jump in the car to stock up on coconut water or ziplock bags, but until this weekend I remained strong.

Finally, we could wait no longer.  Well, the dogs couldn’t anyway, since their food comes from Costco. So we made a family trip to our favorite warehouse store and filled not one, but TWO carts! So now the fridge is full and the one empty freezer shelf was filled. I just couldn’t help myself! The holidays are coming, and I am determined not to run out of butter or pecans this year.

Correcting Bad Baby Behavior


Me, bad?

Frances’ “bad behavior” started off with hair pulling and nipple biting.  A stern “NO” and forcing her to release the hair (or nipple) still results in a giggle and a big smile.

Like all babies, she loves computers.  If she’s sitting on my lap while I type, she struggles in my arms to reach for the keyboard.  Moving her farther away, or removing the keyboard from her path, results in a meltdown.

Now that Frances is crawling, she’s getting herself into a lot more trouble.  We’re more into “house-proofing” the baby than “baby-proofing” the house, but parenting books don’t seem to get into the “how-to’s” of accomplishing that. I’ve read different ideas on correcting “wrong” behavior, and I’m curious to hear what our readers have found to be successful.

Halloween Costumes Using Your Baby

It’s one thing to coordinate your Halloween costume with your baby.  It’s a whole new level of awesome when your baby is essential to your costume.  As a devoted baby wearer, I especially like the costumes that utilize a sling or carrier.  A quick Google Search while give you some great ideas.  Here

are a couple of my favorites:


All you need is for mom to dress up as the three breasted woman!


My favorite spider costume



Would work just as well with baby facing in

Using Baby Sign Language

“More” by Lynn Kelley

I’ve been using sign language casually with Frances for a couple of months now. I chose a few verbs and nouns we use most, like sleepy and nap and I sign them several times a day. Frances is pushing seven months so I figure she should be ready to sign back, but she shows no interest what’s so ever!

I explain to her what the signs mean and how to make them, but she would rather squawk and babble than sign. Or so it seems. Maybe I’m going about it the wrong way. Maybe I’m choosing the wrong words. I’ve started “all done”, but haven’t shown her “more”. Perhaps she would be more interested if the verbs were more active than passive?