Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mommy Fail #95: Unauthorized cell phone use

Mommy fail = not realizing your toddler figured out how to unlock your cell phone and - amidst random button-pressing - managed to place a call.

Bigger mommy fail = not realizing your child is making said call and proceeding to leave a two-and-a-half minute voicemail that consists mostly of you in the background singing (poorly) to pop songs on the radio, interspersed with "don't put that in your mouth"s, and completed with "oh sh*t! Did you...what the...who are we calling?!?"

Saving grace = that the phone call was to your mother and not your ex-boyfriend who is just one more click down the contact list.

Note to self: I really should delete ex-boyfriends from my phone...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My baby's official last "first:" his first second

Over the past year, I've gotten so many thrills out of Little Spaghetti's "firsts."  I'm not talking milestones here; we've got plenty of those left to cover.  I'm talking about holidays and celebrations.  His first Fourth of July, his first Halloween, his first Christmas.

And today, my friends, brings my baby's last first because this is his first "second:"his second Easter.  For his first Easter, Little Spaghetti was only three days old (Easter was three weeks later this year!).

In fact, for his first Easter, I - like some insane person - decided it would be a good idea to dress my post-partum self up, take my three-day old baby into a ridiculously packed church, sit through a three-hour long mass, and have him baptized.* 

Last year, I went to Easter Vigil mass (for any non-Catholics, this is the Easter service held the evening before Easter, and the mass really does go on for 2-3 hours) holding a tiny person that I did not know.  I was beyond anxious.  He fell asleep on the way to the church, and I was overjoyed.  I wrapped all eight pounds of him in a white fleece blanket, and stuck a bottle with the ounce of colostrum, half breastmilk I'd desperately pumped a few hours before into my pocket.  I held him for three hours.  I was dripping sweat.  I was sitting on my stitches, but couldn't move.  I was dizzy and weak.  I was sure that I was about to bleed through my ginormous hospital pad and onto the church pew.  My arm felt like it was going to fall off.  But I didn't want to jostle him or disturb him.

And he slept.  He slept through the singing, through the bell-ringing, through the water being poured over his head.  For three hours he slept.  I couldn't have been prouder.

After mass last year...still sleeping.
 This year, as he sat and watched everything all around him, I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed by blessings.  Boy, what a difference a year makes!
After mass this year...what a big boy!

I've always liked Easter, but I think it may have officially solidified its spot as my favorite holiday.  Any celebration that focuses on celebrating life is a winner in my book.

So Happy Easter to all of you.  I hope you have a wonderful day!

Oh, and for the record, I am SO dying for a Coke!

*In reality, the baptism was awesome.  Mr. Spaghetti was getting confirmed into the church at the same time, so the fact that they go to do it together was very sweet and special.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I feel seasick, and I think I almost got kicked out of the Verizon store

Today is one of my work "9 to 5" work days.  I work on the tenth floor of a 17 story building. Our city gets a lot of wind. And on days like today, when it's *really* windy, the entire building rocks.  The vertical blinds in my cubicle sway.  The walls creak.  And I start to feel seasick.  My head starts to swim. I get nauseous.  And I feel so dizzy I don't think I could walk a straight line. I don't know who designed this building, but they should have their designing privileges revoked!

I'm kidding about revoking the design privileges.  I'm sure any good engineer would tell me that the swaying is a *feature* of the building, designed to make it more resilient in the wind.  Or some bologna.  But seriously, it sucks.  (On a side note, I hate that bologna is spelled in a way that totally doesn't say "baloney"). 

Anyway, since I was feeling seasick, I decided I should go look for a new cell phone because my old one was on its last legs.  Now, I know this is probably treasonous for someone who is supposed to be tech-savvy and such (i.e. a blogger), but: I don't have a smart phone.  I'm on the phone enough as it is; if I had the internet or email, I'd never cook or clean or do any of those other important life things.

So I went into the store and tried to explain to the salesman that I really didn't want a blackberry or a droid; I just wanted a basic phone.  He scoffed, and told me how behind the times I was.  He proceeded to take me over to the smart phone display and try to make me swoon over their features and apps and abilities to make me breakfast in bed in the morning. 

I smiled politely and asked if they had any more "basic" phones.

"I really think you should consider a smart phone," he said.

"I have, and I don't want one," I replied for the twelfth time. I could tell he was getting fed up with me.  I sure wasn't helping him meet his quotas today.

"Is it the features that intimidate you?  Because we offer free classes for users like yourself where we can help you learn how to use the different apps and stuff."  Do I look like I'm 70 years old?  "Really?" I said in disbelief.  "No, that isn't my problem.  I can figure out how to use a phone."

"Well then why don't you want one?" he huffed.

"It's expensive, and..."

He cut me off, "Oh, no it isn't!  We just added a plan where you can sign up for as low as $15 a month."

"Yeah, that's a lot!" I said.

"Fifteen bucks?"  He was very exasperated.  "That's hardly anything!"

"Fifteen bucks times 12 months" I said, "that's, oh, $180 a year.  If you multiply that by 60 years or so that I might have left of my life...that adds up to thousands of dollars!"

"Well, if you look at it that way then I GUESS it seems like a lot," he sniped back at me.  "But you don't have to keep it forever!"

Yeah right, Mr. Verizon Cell Phone Guy?  At what point in the foreseeable future can you envision everyone just giving up their cell phones?  Getting back to a simpler, less tech-y life?  That's what I thought.

I know I can't put it off forever, but I'm not giving into the smart phone without a fight!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Count to ten before you lose it or...

if you're me, say the alphabet.  I've started doing that lately...for no apparent reason.  But when I'm frustrated, frazzled, tired, or about to lose my cool, I sing the ABC's.  And Little Spaghetti almost always stops whatever he's doing that's making me feel like I'm on the edge of a cliff.  It takes a little longer than counting to ten, but it's worth it to regain my "mommy zen."

This is going to come in particularly helpful in the next couple days because as of last night we've officially started: NIGHT WEANING *insert cruel, maniacal laugh here.*

Since my kid still nurses every two hours throughout the night like a newborn, I decided it was time.  All-in-all, it went ok. We're tired, which is to be expected.  He was a little clingy this morning (ok, a LOT clingy), which is to be expected.  I spent most of the night on a cot or in a rocking chair, which is to be expected.

None of these things would bug me *quite* so much if today weren't my birthday (Hello, Late-Twenties!).  Ah well, once you're a mom, everything changes.  Isn't that right?

So, please excuse my lack of wittiness or cleverness or ability to spell or use grammar correctly  for the next few days.  I'll be getting more sleep soon...I think.

Oh, and did I mention that my "girls" hurt like a mofo today?  Thank you, engorgement.  Happy Birthday to me.

A, B, C, D, E, F, G........

Thursday, April 14, 2011

{Free Printables} Sock Monkey First Birthday

At long last...the birthday recap post!  I will warn you:, there are a ton of pictures here.  I had so much fun putting it together, and I'm excited to share it with you all now.  

I love the big, fancy parties I see on other people's blogs, but I didn't want to spend a fortune.  I did a lot of DIY projects, I baked my own cupcakes (and they didn't turn out too ugly!), I had my husband do our photography (it's not quite professional, but I'm happy with the photos), and I bought a couple big-impact items (like paper lanterns).

I also created all my own "paper goods," which is a bonus for you because now I can offer them to you as free printables to share: there are cupcake toppers, cupcake wrappers, candy buffet signs, food table signs, paper backgrounds, and favor box tags (all in both the red and white stripe pattern and the checkered pattern). Scroll down to the bottom of this (*very* long) post to find the printables. 

 This was the inspiration for the party: a sock monkey I sewed with my mother when I was 10 or 11 years old.  I've now given it to  Little Spaghetti, and he really likes it.
Here's a shot of me and the birthday boy!
The hat I crocheted, the DIY fabric-covered birthday hat, and Little Spaghetti's shoes.
Cupcakes I made - half vanilla (recipe) and half chocolate (recipe) with a basic vanilla buttercream frosting.  Scroll down for free cupcake topper printables. 
A few shots of the birthday boy, plus the balloon wreath and a view of the party area.

The candy buffet.  Scroll down for free printable candy buffet signs.
Favor boxes with DIY scrabble magnets and the sign on the candy buffet.
See more about the favor boxes here.

Paper lanterns (from the Paper Lantern Store).
Mason jar drinking glasses with old-fashioned paper straws (from Hey Yo Yo on Etsy).  I love these!  I especially loved the tiny glass I got for Little Spaghetti (in the front).
Red and brown polka dot balloons were a hit with all the kids.  Excuse my diaper-bottomed child playing in the background.

The balloon wreath I made, complete with a sock monkey Christmas Tree ornament I dug out of my Christmas decorations box.
A few shots of the festivities...including me blowing up one of many balloons (don't I look thrilled?) and a nice shot of my apron.  After the cupcake, Little Spaghetti's clothes were wiped out (including the sock monkey onesie my mom made for him).

 DIY custom-labeled water bottles.

 The best shot I could find of the sock monkey onesie my mom made for Little Spaghetti.
Happy Birthday sign on the chalkboard wall of our house.

I took a photo of Little Spaghetti each month sitting with his teddy bear. For the party, I printed them out and hung them by the cupcake display with clothespins. Everyone loved seeing how he'd changed over the year.
The food! The menu included:
-"Monkey See, Monkey Do: Build your own sandwich" (cold cuts, cheese, rolls, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and condiments).
-"Ants on a Log" (celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins)
-Banana pudding (seriously, so delicious. Everyone RAVED about this recipe)
-"Monkey Mix" (tropical trail mix)
-Banana chips
-Fruit skewers (pineapple, strawberries, and grapes)
-Potato salad
Sock Monkey Trivia Board for people to test their sock monkey knowledge.  I set this up by the food table so people could check it out while they waited in line to make a plate.

 The party set up.
 A few miscellaneous things, including the barrel of monkeys race I had for people to entertain themselves with.

And now: the free printables! 
Cupcake Wrappers
(click on each picture for full size)
To assemble: Print (I used cardstock).  Cut out each wrapper.  Line up the two short straight ends, overlapping them a little to create a "cup" for your cupcake to go in.  Glue or tape the ends together.

Cupcake Toppers
(click on each picture for full size or click here to download the .doc version)
To assemble: Customize and print (I used cardstock)out twice as many as you need.  Cut each circle out (I used a 2" whole punch, and it made the whole process SO much easier).  Put glue on the back of two circles.  Place a craft or Popsicle stick between the two circles, and glue them together). 

 Food Table Signs
(click on each picture for full size or click here to download the .doc version)
To assemble: Customize and print (I used cardstock).  Cut out leaving extra white space above each sign so you can fold the sign to make a tent card.
Candy Buffet Signs
(click on each picture for full size or click here to download the .doc version)
To assemble: Customize and print (I used cardstock).  Cut out leaving extra white space above each sign so you can fold the sign to make a tent card.
Favor Tags
(click on each picture for full size or click here to download the .doc version)
To assemble: Customize and print (I used regular paper).  Decide how you want to attach them to your favors.  I made scrabble tile magnets and used magnetic strips to attach  mine.  See how I did it here).
Background Papers
(click on each picture for full size)
Use these however you want.  I printed a couple of each on cardstock to use as backgrounds for my 12 months of pictures.  I printed a couple and punched out 1.5" circles for people to write their names on and tie to the handles of their drink cups so they wouldn't lose them.  Be creative!

A few things to keep in mind:

-These printables are made by yours truly!  And I appreciate it if you use them for personal use only.  If you really, really want them for something else - just ask me.

-These printables are blank.  Why no sock monkey face?  Two reasons.  1) Because I bought the rights to use the sock monkey face here (so I can't give them away free).  2) This way the free printables are more flexible: use whatever theme you want!  I've been envisioning circus theme with the red and white stripe (it reminds me of a popcorn bucket).  Or robots with the checkers.  Or heck, you could use the red and white stripe for Christmas!

-You can customize these files however you want.  If you want to use the sock monkey theme, it's super easy to stick the sock monkey back in the circle if you buy these (really cheap, great files) or any other files. As long as you're moderately handy with a computer; you can use photo editing software, Word, or even Paint.  If you can't figure it out, I'm happy to help - just let me know.

-You can download the .jpeg files or the .doc files (if applicable).  The .doc files are already set up with text boxes for easy customization, but remember that sometimes fonts and formats do funky things in Word from computer to computer, so if it doesn't look right, you'll have to change the font type, size, etc.  I used a font called Giddyup.

Monday, April 11, 2011

My music choice dilemma

I've been complaining a lot about music lately, and every time I open my mouth, all I can hear is my mother speaking.  Or maybe even my grandmother.

"What kind of crap is that you're listening to?"

"That's not music, it's just noise."

"No wonder the world is filled with teen pregnancy and drug addicts nowadays with this kind of music playing!"

I listen to a lot of pop music.  I know, not very deep and meaningful, but the tunes are catchy and the lyrics are funny.  But as I'm becoming increasingly aware of Little Spaghetti's attention to the world around him - especially as he's begun to mimic the things Mr. Spaghetti and I do - I can't help but notice how much of the music is just...smut.

I just imagine a few years from now when Little Spaghetti is a walking, talking little kid.  I know he wouldn't be the first kid on the playground to say, "Sticks and stones may break my bones..."  I just don't want him to be the first kid on the playground to follow it up with, "but chains and whips excite me." (Thanks, Rhianna...)"

You know what I'm saying?

And based on his music preferences already (measured arbitrarily by the music to which he dances most enthusiastically),  I've got plenty to worry about: his favorite song right now seems to by Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance."

So what's a girl to do?  I do have a couple kid's CDs - and I genuinely do like them.  But sometimes I want to listen to grown-up music.  And Mr. Spaghetti is definitely not into kid's music.

Do we suck it up and fill our heads with "Pop Goes the Weasel" and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" for the next decade?

I've considered switching to country music; it seems cleaner.  I was a country music fan for a while in high school...I could probably get into it again.

What do you listen to?  What do you recommend?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Mommy Fail #83: Thinking you don't need a diaper bag

The root of this particular mommy fail was overconfidence.  Luckily for me, every time I'm feeling like I've got this mom thing under control, the universe takes me down a notch to show me where I belong.

I decided that Little Spaghetti and I could take a quick trip into one of our favorite sandwich shops for lunch.  And by quick trip, I mean without the diaper bag and all the other crap I usually take into places with me.  I grabbed a diaper and a few wipes, went inside and ordered lunch.  All was well until...I heard an all too familiar grunting sound, followed by an all too familiar squishing sound, and I knew it was time to hit the bathroom for a diaper change.

I walked in, and peeked into his diaper.  I didn't have to look far because the poop has squished up his back and onto his shirt.  This hasn't happened in months.  Why now?

Because I didn't have the diaper bag.

I popped his shirt and pants off and looked around.  Where's the changing table?  No changing table?!?  What kind of a restuarant doesn't have a freakin' changing table?

The kind that you go into without your diaper bag.

So I faced a choice: carry my mostly naked, poop-covered kid through an establishment where 90% of people are eating and the other 10% are waiting to eat, or MacGyver it.

I proceeded to take about two dozen toilet seat covers out of the dispenser on the wall and create a makeshift, relatively germ-free changing area on the floor of the bathroom.  I arranged the covers just right so that the seat part of one cover lined up with the hole part of another cover, and there wasn't any floor showing.  Then I made a second layer.

I won't even get into the part where I had to wet some paper towels to use as wipes since I only had a couple on me...

It worked...mostly.  Though it was perhaps not the most eco-friendly diaper change I've ever done.

All I wish is that I'd taken a picture, but wouldn't you know it: my camera was in the diaper bag.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

DIY: Fabric Covered Birthday Hat

I promise I'm almost done with birthday posts.  I'm sorting through a billion photos so I can present the par-tay all at once.  But, before I do that, let me share one more tutorial: the birthday hat.

And here's how I did it:
Supplies: You'll need some cheap birthday hats, the fabric you want to cover your hat with, scissors, glue, and yarn.  You'll also need (not pictured) tape, a pencil, and any other decorations to finish it off (in my case, a little ric-rac).

Step 1: Disassemble one of the birthday hats to make a pattern.
Trace your pattern onto your fabric.
Step 2: Cut out your fabric.  I erred on the side of cutting outside the lines instead of inside, figuring I could fix too much fabric, but it would be harder to salvage too little fabric.  I probably didn't need to cut around the little notch, but I did for good measure.
Step 3: Get a fresh hat (you could reassemble the one you disassembled, but I had eight of them, so I got a new one).  Glue your fabric to your hat, lining up the edges as best you can.  I made sure to put the notch side down first so that the other edge of the fabric would overlap and cover it.
Press the fabric down on the glue nice and good.
Trim off any extra fabric.
Step 4: While the glue is drying, make your pom-pom.  Wrap your yarn around your fingers a bunch of times.  I used three fingers.  If you make it too big, you can always trim it down to size.  I wrapped the yarn around 35 times to be exact.
Step 5: Take the yarn off your fingers, and tie a length of yarn around the middle of your bundle. 
Pull it nice and tight, then knot it to make sure it'll stay.  I left my tails long, which came in handy later on.
Step 6: Cut the loops on each side of your pom-pom. 
Step 7: Trim any long stragglers off your pom-pom, and make it the size and shape you want it. 
Step 8: Insert the long tails of your pom-pom string into the hole in the top of the hat.   I wrapped a piece of tape around the end of my string to keep it from fraying like we used to do back in the day when I  was a Girl Scout lacing construction paper shapes.  It worked out nicely.
Pull the tails tight inside the hat, and make sure your pom-pom is sitting where you want it to.  Tape your strings inside your hat. 
I also put a little glue on the tip of the hat right under the pom-pom for extra assurance that it wasn't going to pop off.

Step 9: Add any other decorations you want: I glued on some ric-rac for this hat, but lace could be super cute on a girl's hat.  Go wild!

Step 10: Find a model who may or may not be convinced that he should wear the hat you're putting on his head.
Or a model who decides once you put the hat on his head that it is the worst day of his life.  "Oh no you didn't, mom!"
Finally, find a model who is much more complacent than your first model - even if said model is a dog - to show off your hat.
And you're done!

P.S. Before anyone goes thinking I'm a terrible mom who disregards safety to try to take pictures of her kid on the kitchen counter, you should know that my mom was standing right there next to him.  Safety first.