I Always Feel Like... Somebody's Watching Me!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I'm feeling surly and annoyed by a lot of things today. Chalk it up to hormones or the heat or the general absurdity that the YMCA closes their indoor pools during a rainstorm (after I rushed there through said rainstorm to get to Ayla's class).

I'm going to roll with this feeling of general ickiness and list some of my biggest pet peeves.

#1. SELF PITY - it's a pathetic thing to witness, especially when it isn't truly warranted. I have a certain person in my life who pities themselves constantly. It goes hand in hand with having an unrealistic sense of entitlement and also being a victim. If you live in America, don't have to work, have every freedom and liberty you need, are freakin' alive... you should probably give up on the "poor me" mentality.

#2. STUPID BUMPER STICKERS - Very rarely are bumper stickers interesting. They either spew some hateful rhetoric against a woman's right to choose (and always with a white male driver!) , tell us where you've been on vacation (OBX) or list all of your children's names with a cute stick figure. Why would you do that? Any freak child molester could follow you for 2 minutes and then take advantage of that information. Some idiot who attends the church on our street has a bumper sticker that says, "I've still got my Bible and gun." Good for you dude, I don't really think that's advocated in Jesus' teachings. And the worst? Keeping your political stickers on ten years after the election. Seriously. If your candidate didn't win... keeping the sticker on your car won't help.

#3. PEOPLE WHO ABUSE THEIR KIDS WITH FOOD - I'll clarify that I don't like any child abuse. It's all terrible. What gets me about this one is that it isn't called abuse. I'm talking about the two year olds that are morbidly obese and only their parents are to blame for indulging them with every packaged, processed food. I let my kids eat candy, cookies and ice cream too. But they are NOT in charge when we go grocery shopping. It's so terribly unfair to these kids and almost impossible for them to ever have a normal, healthy relationship with their bodies and eating.

#4. STEREOTYPES - Both people that enforce their stereotypes on others and the ones that perpetuate them within themselves. We are not cardboard cutouts. You cannot say, "All women should do this, and all men should do that." People are mysteries, constantly changing and adapting. Yet, it is the root of a LOT of problems in our world.

#5. KNOW IT ALLS - We've all worked with one. They have an answer for everything and will "one-up" you in every regard. They've been everywhere and seen everything. And plus, it's just weird. Somehow a lot of know-it-alls end up being pathological liars. I really like people who ask questions and are willing to look silly. At what age do we decide it's not okay to learn from others anymore and start pretending we've invented the world?

I've missed a ton of obvious pet peeves, but it certainly made me feel better to vent about a few of my top choices! (I also can't stand it when people bump into me and don't apologize.) And unless your major annoyance is blogging - let me know what really irks you!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dinner on the Patio

Or dinner on the front porch. It sounds fancier to use the word patio when I'm describing Ayla and Jackson's dining arrangements for the summer time. I haven't served them a dinner inside since May... and it's working out for us. I grit my teeth a little bit less when rice or a drink or ketchup is spilled on the porch. It's either food for the birds or easily washed away with the hose.

Ayla and Jackson absolutely love watching cars drive by, yelling at our neighbors (in a nice way), saying "Hiiii!" to every person who parks on our street and chasing lightning bugs.

We can also keep the insane Baxter happy by latching the gate and having him sit outside with us. (Because many a household item has been ruined by his chewing anxiety if left alone even for five minutes.)Most importantly, I have the peace of walking in and out of our house - grabbing drink refills, clearing away plates, etc. - knowing that everyone is safe on the porch. We've had enough escape attempts to worry what happens when we look away or wash dishes for five minutes.

However, the other night I was putting things away in the kitchen while the kids played on the swing and I heard Baxter howling at something out on the street. I'm not positive he wouldn't try to jump at a really enticing cat or bird, so I ran out to see what the problem was. It wasn't a wild animal. It was some dorky guy getting back into his car that was literally barking at my dog. If I were Baxter, I'd be upset too. Ayla, Jackson and I just stared at the guy until he got in his car and drove away. I'll chalk that up as one of the weirder things that has happened on our block. (Weirdest is our dancing neighbor... but that deserves a post of its' own.)

All in all, we are loving summer and our new dining arrangements. Cheers to summer!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Escape to the Ocean State

Two weeks ago, Gregory and I were lucky enough to escape Pittsburgh for a sublime "babymoon". (A vacation with the purpose of spending time as a couple before everything is turned upside by a baby... especially when it's the third one!) It was all made possible by Gregory's parents who had given us a Bed & Breakfast gift certificate www.bedandbreakfast.com for Christmas. It was unknown to them at the time that we were going to have another baby, but they understand the need for us to have the opportunity to get away from our kids for a few days and reconnect with each other.
If you take a peek at the website, the choices for locations and amazing B&B's are endless. It took us awhile to decide exactly where we wanted to travel because so many places looked awesome! I'm the type of person who would rather visit a thousand different places once then vacation in the same spot over and over again. I appreciate familiarity and some places deserve to be explored many times (like New York City or Paris), but we wanted to see a region of the country we'd never really seen before.

Destination: Rhode Island. (Disclaimer: Gregory has been to RI before... )

Sounds thrilling, right? But I would recommend that everyone go there. It's called the Ocean State because it seemed if you drove in any direction more than a half hour, you hit the shoreline. Granted it wasn't tropical, but for me in my 7 month pregnant state... the northeast coast temperatures were absolutely perfect.

We chose the William's Grant Inn in Bristol, RI. Cutest house ever. Cutest innkeeper ever! It felt very similar to the times I stayed in people's homes while traveling in Europe. They give you a key, offer advice on the best sites to see and a cozy room to sleep in. Not to mention a home-made breakfast every day.

Bristol is an adorable town with a lot of history. Our B&B, among other homes, was labeled with an historical plaque and probably preserved under strict guidelines. It was similar to Sewickley in that almost every store was either antiques or a restaurant... even the Dunkin Donuts looked pretty classy.

Our first day was pretty exhausting, since our flight was scheduled to leave at 6 AM. Anyone that knows us, knows very well that we are not morning people and it is almost impossible for us to go to bed earlier than midnight. We didn't get a lot of sleep Saturday night and get to the airport at a god-awful hour only to find out that the flight is delayed. We were routed through D.C. and the first part of the trip induced some serious nausea. I've never gotten airsick in my life, so I was not pleased with the implications for the rest of our trip. Who knew if this was a new pregnancy symptom and I wasn't going to be sick for every other flight AND our scheduled whale watching tour?

We arrived in Boston safely (and without using airplane barf bags), rented our car and drove the hour to Bristol, RI. We took a little walk through the town, had a lunch of sandwiches at a cute restaurant with a view of the harbor. Now here's the beauty of a babymoon: we were able to check back into our room and take a long nap! No kids to interrupt!

We woke up a few hours later and found the last place open in a sleepy little town on a Sunday night. I can't overestimate the value of relaxing during a dinner with Gregory. This probably happens about four times a year for us.

The next few days involved a lot of coastline hiking, whale watching, eating, stressing out in Boston traffic and exploring all that was possible in a few day's time. I'll get to those posts eventually!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The BEEP said it all

What's a beep?

It's a fart, or passing gas, or whatever your family may call it.

I grew up in a house where we weren't allowed to say the word "fart", making it one of the funniest words I know. I am extremely juvenile about it - and always have been. I spent many a sleepover with my friends laughing about farting.

And the humor lives on...

Tonight, while Ayla, Jackson and I were out enjoying ice cream cones on the back porch, Ayla let out a huge "beep" and proceeded to laugh about it for ten minutes. And it's kind of hard to discourage the behavior when (1) it's natural and (2) it's still hilarious. She's definitely my daughter!

Jackson, with his limited vocabulary, is in on the joke. He sits around making beeping noises and showing us his butt. It's just too funny to stifle him.

Perhaps we will teach them to only beep and talk about beeps at home. I can only imagine the situations Ayla would get us into at school, church, etc. For now, I'm going to laugh at every beep and enjoy their sense of humor!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


You read that right, today is my first blogiversary! I've been writing on here for a year and although it's far from consistent - I feel like I've managed to document part of my life. Therapeutic writing and keeping my sanity through the process of sharing all the crazy things that life brings... that was my goal.

Who knew a year ago that I'd be expecting baby #3 and we'd still be waiting on Gregory's prospective job with the FAA. Just like wedding anniversaries, birthdays and other milestones - looking back on how much as happened in a span of twelve months is always overwhelming.

To readers and followers - I can't tell you how happy it makes me to know that someone out there is interested enough to read what goes on in my suburban life. I love the comments and suggestions and support.

Now I'm off to celebrate with a tall, icy glass of... oh, water.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bedtime, anyone?


I might understand why as we get older, many of us tend to become less willing to change. Or transition. Or alter from routine. From a parenting perspective, change can be daunting - especially when it comes to a bedtime sequence. We get used to what works and shy away from the necessary changes that come with growing up.

This is why binkies and bottles go on longer than they should. I began to feel like a bad mother about six months ago, because I was sometimes putting Jackson in his bed with a bottle. I tackle bedtime alone most nights a week (while Gregory is at work) and it's always a challenge to get them both peacefully in bed. It's not a good excuse, but it was just easier to get him in his crib that way.

I was so worried about changing that routine. 10 pm is not my most patient hour of the day. But it literally took one night to transition. We now have our bottles (yeah, say what you want, but it's really just like a drink of milk) and then we all brush our teeth. No dental foul, no problem!

Now we're in the thick of transitioning both Jackson out of his crib and into a toddler bed AND having the two crazies share a room. At this moment, I can hear them both getting out of bed, throwing toys, giggling, yelling and making some sort of hellish mess.

I've already scolded once tonight and told them both to lay down... and even if one of them is dead tired, the excitement of being together keeps them up way later than they want to be. The night either ends well with Jackson asleep on a pile of books on the floor or badly with Ayla freaking out because he has turned out her night light.

I know they're having a great time up there. I, as an exhausted short-tempered preggers pseudo-mom-monster, am not.

(Real time update: I went upstairs to yell a second time. They have thrown their play kitchen items all over the room and Ayla has somehow "hurt her back").

Better now than in two months when we have a newborn trying to sleep two doors away from them. Bedtime with three? Now, that's going to be interesting.

Monday, June 14, 2010

June in the Garden

Oh! There's so much to catch up on: Ayla's dance recital (and the true performance that finally came out), our Babymoon trip to Boston and Rhode Island, the new fence, excellent books to share, etc. The problem is that when I finally sit down at the end of the night to share anything - I'm exhausted. I'm sticking to a simple post tonight.

Part of the reason I've been so tired is all of the work going into the garden. My green thumb has been pretty weak lately - I can plant only a few items at a time before my legs get all tingly and I have to park it in one of the lawn chairs. My body is just not keeping up with my brain.

But we've made a lot of progress and almost all of the available garden space is growing new plant life! Things aren't as perfect as I'd hoped after Baxter tore up more than half of the broccoli sprouts. But Gregory built a beautiful new raised garden bed AND a cucumber trellis - man of my dreams! And I'm not kidding, he knows what really makes me happy.

This is the June garden update: look forward to a month from now when the zucchini plant is threatening to take over and we have tons of berries to pick!

The strawberry patch takes over

You can see the grapes are going to be out of control.

A delicious snap pea.

Heirloom tomato plants from Construction Junction

A japanese eggplant (Ayla asked if it was going to lay eggs).

The old fence which Baxter totally ignored... as he does the NEW higher fence we put in later. My poor broccoli.