Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday morning

Wardrobe courtesy of Aunt Beth, Uncle Don, Megan, and Holly. I have an image to protect, you know!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tuesday morning

For my triumphant return to school today, I sported my new outfit from Grandma Jan and Pop Pop Jay. Yeah, I'm sort of a big deal.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

We Made It :-)

OK, so it's 3:05 am on December 26 and I'm wide awake. It has been a few rather traumatic days for me, but I'll bypass that boring story.

Bottom line, we did not make it to PA on Christmas Eve like I'd planned. I went to the gas station that morning to fill the tank, and all I saw on Reisterstown Road were cars backed up for as far as the eye could see. I immediately had a very bad panic attack. Seriously. Couldn't catch my breath for the life of me and was shaking like a leaf.

Fast forward through lots of drama that day to the next morning, Christmas Day. My baby was with her daddy, and all I wanted was to be with her and my family for Christmas. Her dad and I went back and begging to come get her, he saying he was concerned about the weather conditions...freezing rain in Johnstown. After much debate and compromise, we decided I'd wait until 11 am to pick her up, when the sleet was supposed to have turned over to all rain.

So my girl and I were off on our journey from Bethesda to PA at about 11:45 am. She slept from Frederick until I got off the PA turnpike :-) (i.e., a half hour from my home). For the brief time she was awake, I handed her individual bags of her snacks and that seemed to satisfy her. One item I believe I am going to invest in (and it's $5, so it's reasonable)...

Her cup always falls, and she frantically calls, "Juice! Juice!" Of course, I'm on the interstate and can't do a thing about it until I can find the next exit to pull off and retrieve it. So I figure this is something worth having! Clip it on and no worries!

It didn't take Claire long to warm up to her relatives (she hasn't seen my sister's family since June). I will have to upload some pics from Dad's camera later. She got an Elmo phone, Sesame Street clean-up set, lots and lots of books, the Elmo Potty DVD, some Cabbage Patch Kid babies, a V-Tech "camera," some cool duds, and lots of gift cards! She still doesn't really get it, and all she wanted to play with was a little kitchen set my mom has had for a bazillion years :-) But she can now say "Santa Claus," and it's adorable :-)

Mommy, among other nice things, got the only two things she put on a list...a back scratcher and Snuffleupagus!!! hehehehehe!

Claire is now fast asleep in her crib (as a bonus, it's the same crib she has at home, so it's familiar), and my parents are sleeping, most likely recharging their batteries to prepare for a full day with their Energizer Bunny granddaughter!!!

I hope to actually get on the ball and take some pics to share in the next few days. Until then...

Keep Christmas with you
All through the year
When Christmas is over
Save some Christmas cheer

Think of this Christmas Day
When Christmas is far away

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mom Poll!!!!

OK, Moms, I need your help.

I'm 89% sure I'm venturing to PA for the holidays. There is still some discussion over weather issues with Claire's dad (he thinks it's too dangerous; I think if I plan my trip when the forecast is good, it should be no problem).

Anyhoo, this would entail a 3-hour trip to Johnstown. Claire and I last made this trip in June. We all know how much a toddler changes in only one month let alone six. Plus, I believe she slept most of the way.

I would love to plan this around her naptime so she would sleep most of the way, but I also have to be realistic and plan for the alternative.

This is where you all come in.

I don't have a portable DVD player, so I must rely on good old-fashioned entertainment for Claire. Any suggestions? Books probably...and I think I found her mini Magna Doodle when I was cleaning out the car a few weeks ago...but anything else? I really wish I had one of those collapsible car seat trays so she could maybe color or have something to lay a book on. Crap.

Please send your suggestions!!!!


Stunning! I think this is total model pose. I happen to think she could be on the Vogue cover right this very minute, thank you very much.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Oh, but for the generosity of my wonderful coworkers! Thank you Gracious for digging me out! My lovely coworker, Grace, after lecturing me on swallowing my pride and asking for help, drove her trusty Volvo wagon up from the city to Owings Mills to dig my sorry self out of four feet of snow drifts. Hot yoga has obviously paid off for this woman, because she shoveled her holly and ivy off and soon I was backing up out of my personal hell and on my way to work.

Oh how I love to be at work! My mood instantly lifted...productivity does that. I just got back from the Rite Aid on E. Baltimore Street, where I purchased myself a big 'ol shovel! Woo hoo!!!

I'm still a little bummed about how things transpired over the weekend, especially since I was having a great time at my holiday party at Ruth's Chris...all red lips and pearls...and had to leave because yet again, my child's father couldn't come through.

So that said, 2010 will be a year of learned self-reliance. That might not mean me shoveling my car out myself. That might mean me getting on craigslist and paying someone a small fee to do it for me. But that's still not relying on others to do what I should be doing for myself. So 2010 means better money managing, better scheduling, and better self-care.

I'm trying to curb my bitterness for Christmas this year (after all, I need some left for Valentine's Day!) and just make the best of what I've been handed and what I've handed myself.

I'm not at the happy elf phase, but I believe I've hopped out of the Ebenezer Scrooge reenactment I was doing earlier today.

Thank goodness for my blog, my place to vent, to work out my thoughts, to be me, for better or worse.


The last time it snowed like this was Valentines Day Weekend 2003. I remember this because I went to Johnstown for my friend, Jodi's wedding shower and got stranded there for days until I could get back to Maryland. Maryland at that time was under a state of emergency and I barely made it back. I drove straight to work only to find that I was the only one who had showed up from my department.

So six years later, circumstances are different. I was supposed to stop at the grocery store for much-needed groceries on Friday after work, but Claire's dad flaked out once again and didn't show up to pick her up, so I had to rush up from downtown to get her before the daycare closed. She is very difficult to shop with, and I was still assured her dad would be there later, so I took her home for the night. Well, of course, he never showed and we spent the weekend with the barest of necessities. Until last evening at 6, I hadn't eaten since the morning the day before. She was eating applesauce cups and cheese slices, and I was stranded inside of an apartment with no shovel and no help in sight.

Fast forward to today. Claire is safely with her dad in Bethesda. I had asked if he could pick up a shovel for me at the store so I could shovel myself out, and he showed up, no big surprise, with no shovel. I attempted to dig my car out last evening with the lid of a Rubbermaid container, but I quickly grew numb and the snow is piled at least three to four feet all around my car, especially where the snow plow plowed me in behind me.

So today I'm sitting at home, unable to get to work unless I spend the money I don't have for a taxi, still with no shovel and unable to find one.

I do try to remain positive. My friend at work insists that I should be open to the universe, convinced good things will happen and they will. I guess my 36 years as a cynic have made me guffaw at that. The new storm is predicted for...of course...Christmas Eve, so the reality is my child will not be with me for Christmas, she'll be with her dad, and I will be in this apartment with no cable (cable boxes have never been replaced...who has time to go to White Marsh when I work full time?), and no family, no gifts to give my sweet child, and probably still snowed in.

Through the years, I have always treasured Christmas as my very favorite time of year. Slowly but surely, I join the ranks of the other "Bah, Humbugs" out there and just can't wait until it's over.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Different Kind of Christmas

This year is going to be a different kind of Christmas for Claire and I. It has been a difficult year with losing my job, and I'm still getting back on my feet.

So this year there is no tree and no gifts, at least not in time for Christmas Day. Keeping up with bills has taken most of what I have, but I honestly feel very blessed because my bills ARE paid, I have no credit card debt, and my daughter can continue attending a daycare I am honestly thrilled with.

I was watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition this past Sunday, and they featured (as a side story) some children living in a rough section of Erie, PA, whose bedrooms were in shambles. Many didn't have a bed to sleep on. Ty and his team blessed them each with a beautiful new bedroom, and these children were in many cases reduced to tears.

Talk about putting things into perspective! I tuck my child in at night into a beautiful crib under warm blankets, her humidifier running thanks to electricity, her body warmed by clean, well-fitting pajamas, a sippy cup of clean water with her if she wakes up thirsty. I call and speak to my family on a working phone, eat hot food for dinner, and take hot showers with clean water.

So even though funds are limited, I felt it was God's will that I should adopt an "Angel" from the Salvation Army. I have normally always adopted a child. This year I decided to adopt a senior. I thought about how cold and lonely the holidays must be for someone older, often with no family at all and no income. I chose an 81-year-old man living in Indiana, PA. He just wanted a sweatshirt and a new cover for his bed. I think there was a hand at work behind the scenes, because I found these items extremely marked down, and the items are on their way to the Salvation Army. I hope this brings some peace and joy to this man for Christmas.

No, we aren't celebrating the usual customs of Christmas that I've always known, but I hope to pass on the spirit of giving to others to Claire, and there is no gift that can match that.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

City Love

I left work yesterday a bit later than usual. Claire's dad had picked her up from daycare already, and I wasn't in my usual daily sprint for the 5:27 pm train. So I left the office around 6 pm. The city was a little quieter, a little darker at this time.

For a brief moment, the cars must have all been at red lights and the usual hoards of bustling, purposeful people not yet to where I was walking. All at once it was completely still. In the cold, crisp air I could see my breath in foggy puffs, and I looked up. The whole city glittered. I studied the beautiful old architecture of the buildings, some still bearing their original names from days long past. I observed the different heights and colors of the surroundings and the sparkle of the street lights. My mind flashed back to a time as a little girl when this is what I imagined. Kara, a grown up, in the city. Kara presenting the 2010 marketing plan to her investment management firm (which is exactly what I did that day), and Kara running to the cafe for a drink (and I only had to look backward to see the Au Bon Pain just a short few steps from my building).

And then in the next moments, the traffic lights turned green, the people rounded the corner onto my street, and the surreal moment was in the past. But I kept smiling, because in a year where a life was dashed, where hope was pulled from my secured footing, I realize I'm exactly where my 12-year-old mind dreamed I'd be. In the office. In the city. In the dream.

And sometimes dreams take us to places we weren't expecting, and you realize that your plan would have been completely meaningless but for those things that happened just as they should...

I hope, my little love, that you too have dreams one day that come true beyond your greatest expectations.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

In My Absence...

I'm guilty of Uninspired Syndrome. I haven't blogged in forever because I've been tired and unmotivated. I'm hoping the spark will return soon.

In the interim, I found these plates/bowls on etsy and am IN LOVE!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I want a Snuffleupagus for Christmas
Only a Snuffleupagus will do
Don't want a doll, no dinky Tinker Toy
I want a Snuffleupagus to play with and enjoy

I want a Snuffleupagus for Christmas
I don't think Santa Claus will mind, do you?
He won't have to use our dirty chimney flue
Just bring him through the front door,
that's the easy thing to do

I can see me now on Christmas morning,
creeping down the stairs
Oh what joy and what surprise
when I open up my eyes
to see a Snuffy hero standing there

I want a Snuffleupagus for Christmas
Only a Snuffleupagus will do
No crocodiles, no rhinoceroses
I only like Snuffleupaguses
And Snuffleupaguses like me too!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Infinite Spin Cycle

The longest wash-rinse-spin-dry cycle ever recorded in history occurred at Willow Bend yesterday, while we anxiously awaited the completion of the cleaning of the beloved Blank-et.


"It's in the washing machine, honey."

[Thirty-seven seconds pass]


"Still in the washer, Claire."

[Dramatic pause of 5.3 seconds.]


And approximately 56 years later (or so it felt), Blank-et emerged, clean and fresh...well, at least for the next five minutes.

The End.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Maclaren Recall

Recall of Maclaren strollers...I don't have one, but posting it in case anyone else might...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Her Big Bird costume didn't work as planned (mask issues), but I'd venture to say my 2-YEAR-OLD (!) bow-tied bear is just as shamelessly adorable :-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The New Favorite Book

Grandma Jan came to town, and with her came some new books. I know Claire's favorite books out of her huge stash, but even she was growing tired of the same old, same old.

Enter the new favorite...

Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee and his wife Tonya Lewis Lee. The book could be Claire's autobiography. Each page presents the baby in a different situation..namely, throwing a fit when she has to leave the playground, refusing to hold Mommy's hand, splashing in the bathtub, i.e., a day in the life of Claire. Even better, the little girl has crazy little curls and knots on her head a la Claire.

Claire demands that this be read at least five times before she gets into bed. She laughs like crazy when I read it. I think the laugh may be slightly diabolical. Hmm.

After checking amazon, I see that Spike and Tonya Lewis Lee have a whole series of books. Looks like I may have some additions to the Christmas list!

What a difference a year makes!

Then (Oct. 4, 2008)...

And now (Oct. 24, 2009)...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Nudey Judy

My camera is outside in my car. You'll have to trust me on this one. Claire is running around the room, jumping on the couch butt naked. Her new favorite thing is to strip herself naked and run around like a nut head. Oh, now I see she's coloring in the nude. This is all well and good except when she pees on the floor. Then it's not so amusing.

I'm off to try to catch the exhibitionist.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I've just read some of my archives on here, and I'll be damned if I'm not whining in over half of them. To my readers...holy moly, I'm sorry. My sounding board is desperately out of tune.

Can't promise you anything is going to change, but I'll try to throw in a little warm fuzzy joy once in a while.

ok, kiddies, i'm headed for slumbertown..happy dreams!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's a Mad, Mad World

Don't have much time to blog unfortunately, but had two bits of news I'm pondering this morning.

Number one, Claire peed on the potty. Yes, this is CNN headline worthy. Claire actually LIKES peeing on the potty; it's her lazy mama that has been dragging her feet. I still don't even have a little potty for her, but that will change this weekend. She has been going down at her grandparents' house. I just haven't taken the plunge yet.

Rewind to last evening. I was changing Claire for bed when, as usual, she hopped up and ran away from me, all attitude and bare butt w/her bad self. She started peeing. On the carpet. Again. (I should own stock in Resolve Spot Cleaner.) But after a little trickle, she shut her legs together and grabbed her "stuff." I said OK Claire, let's go to the potty! You would have thought I just invited her to Disneyworld. She flew into the bathroom and I lifted her on the potty and held her. She thought this was great. She didn't go at first. She wanted to stand on the toilet seat (big surprise). She wanted to stick her foot into the toilet. (Um, no.) I grew impatient and said let's go back to your room, it's time for night night. But she stubbornly insisted, so I put her back on the potty one more time. And she peed!!! Then it was like the Fourth of July celebration at my house. There was singing. There was dancing. There was clapping, hugging, kissing, bottle rockets, champagne, the works. So I guess this journey is beginning.

Next thing on my mind. In fact, obsessively on my mind. The H1N1 virus. Swine flu, whatever you want to call it. As I see and hear of more and more people coming down with this, I get nervous. Not for me...for my child. I discussed in the last blog my decision to get her the vaccine. Well, little did I know once I made that decision how difficult the next step would be. The H1N1 vaccine shortage is the new reality. And for whatever reason, my mind has decided to obsess over this and wake me from restless sleep, give me anxiety attacks, and preoccupy my mind.

Claire's pediatrician is not expecting a shipment until sometime in November. There are clinics in Baltimore County, but people are waiting hours in advance and many are turned away because they run out far before the scheduled close. So here we are today. There is a clinic at the Perry Hall High School in northeast Balto County on Saturday, you know, the same day as Claire's birthday party. Brant and I decided we must make the vaccine a priority. So Claire's party will go on as planned, but she may not be there!

After reading news stories and seeing TV news about the masses waiting for hours and hours at these clinics, Claire's dad has decided he will be camping out on Friday night up in Perry Hall at the school to ensure we get her vaccinated. I mean, have you heard of such a thing? Didn't we all do this 15 years ago to get U2 tickets? Now it's sleeping in the rain to get a vaccine. This feels almost Third World. I will just be glad when it's over.

Closing my eyes and praying for peace of mind.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Protecting my child

I, like many people, sometimes feel the media puts the fear of God in us unnecessarily. Seriously, I feel like the media has been an enormous influence on the downfall of the morals in our lifetime.

On the other hand, there are stories presented that serve to help me in a decision. This one was one of them.

I'm pro-vaccine...always have been, always will be. But I was having more than second thoughts about the H1N1 vaccine for Claire. I was really 90% sure I wasn't going to get it for her. I've changed my mind. My child is in daycare. You always think it can't happen to you, just like Isabella's parents thought she wouldn't get so sick. By God's unending grace she got better, but I'm not taking the chance.

This is just is just one drop in the infinite bucket of worries and decisions we as parents face each day. It, as always, increases the enormous admiration I have for my parents. I think of all the worries and decisions they, too, encountered...except for me it's just for one child and for them it was three (because Mother you two were nuts enough to have three of us). I also remember not thinking about any of it as a child. Because that too is a part of parenting...trying to save your child from fear and worry.

This is a hard gig, but I'm glad I had shining examples of how to handle it, and I'm equally glad to be surrounded by my "circle of moms" to commiserate and vent with. With love.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Oh life is bigger, it's bigger than you

I just posted this question to my mom and to poor Mary Zane...

When you were younger, did you ever have this sort of illusion of how your life was going to work out and then as you got older and looked back all of the sudden you realized it just wasn’t working out the way you planned it at all?

Yeah, I'm sure everyone feels that way. But I'm really kind of in the middle of something I can only label as an existential crisis. It's not the kind of crisis that comes to a head like a Level 5 hurricane or anything like that. It's just a slow process of feeling really unsettled, thinking about where I am, where I should go, being really confused and kind of down about it.

I'm not doing a very good job of articulating my thoughts, which really adequately represents how I've been feeling for a while. Unsettled. Wayward. Garbled.

I'm an answer gal. I like neat, tidy answers. I like taking proactive steps to "fix" a problem. But I'm not sure the direction I need to take here.

This is what I call talking in circles. Sorry if I made anyone dizzy.

Friday, October 2, 2009

I Am Beautiful, In Every Single Way

When I arrived today to pick Claire up from daycare, I noticed they had her hair pulled back in a ponytail. They often play w/their hair and I think it's cute. God bless whoever managed to get almost all of her curls, including the front part of her hair, into that ponytail. When I put her in her car seat, I looked down at her and it absolutely blew me daughter is BEAUTIFUL. Part of Claire's charm is her wild, unruly, spiraled hair. I've grown to love it. But it's what you notice first I think. When it's all pulled back as it was today, all you see is that face, and that face is pure beauty. I'm being totally objective, by the way. I have no idea why anyone would think I was biased...

So I just wanted so desperately to capture this face on camera. Unfortunately, I am surrounded by photographry elite friends and I can't take a picture w/my sad little point and click to save my soul. Oh, and Claire was eating her apple slices and watching Elmo and didn't want to be bothered. She actually started almost crying a little after I took a few pictures. And by a few I mean 86. For real.

Anyway, even shoving apples in her mouth, she's a beauty...

Can't get it outta my head

I have here a newspaper 13 months old
I've wrapped fish inside it, it's smelly and cold
But I wouldn't trade it for a big pot of gold
I love it because it's trash

Oh I love trash
anything dirty or dingy or dusty
anything ragged or rotten or rusty
Yes I love trash

Sigh. Gone are the days when I'd be humming the new Feist song or touting the praises of Damien Rice's achingly emotive voice.


Thursday, October 1, 2009


I need a vacation. Period.

Life has been a bit unsettling for...well, a really long time!

Losing my job this year hit me in such a way that is hard to explain to even my closest friends and family. My very foundation felt like it crumbled beneath me. My loyalty was so dedicated to both the company and my job, and it was literally like a very bad breakup. It shook my confidence and stripped me of self-esteem. Even with these words, I still can't describe the sense of betrayal and loss I felt. When driving from Claire's daycare to the metro station every morning, I come to the light that used to take me to T. Rowe. Now instead of a right turn I make a left. I glance up at the entrance and see long rows of cars making their routine left turn that leads them to their workday. It still stings to see it.

The new job is coming along. I still have so long to go in this learning process, and the changes are still difficult to get used to. I feel so blessed to have gotten this job and there are definitely many more opportunities for me to improve my skills and really shine. But the adjustment period has been challenging. Just our morning routine is enough to throw me off. Whereas my old "commute" was a mere 10-15 minutes, with Claire's daycare just down the road from T. Rowe, now it involves much more. I had to be at T. Rowe at 8:30 am, which meant I could leave the house at 8:15 or so (oh, I was also blessed with a very lenient boss who didn't mind if I showed up ten or so minutes late). Claire could sleep until she woke naturally, which was until about 7 or 7:30. I often stopped at Starbucks on the way to work to pick up a chai and sometimes a coffee for Mark or Jonathan.

Fast forward to the present. I am supposed to be at work here by 8 am. That has been more than challenging, and as of late I haven't been doing very well. I get up at 5 am to get myself ready. I wake Claire up at 6 am and put Elmo on for her and give her milk. I hold her for a half hour. I will NOT give that up. She is understandably tired and therefore, more clingy, and I enjoy this time together. Of course, that doesn't help the schedule. I have to get her dressed and cleaned up, get her daycare stuff ready, my lunch stuff, etc., and have us out the door by 7 am. HA! Exactly. Not happening. Once I get her to daycare, she is often clingy, not wanting me to leave, particularly when she is left w/one of her morning teachers who isn't exactly the warmest individual out there. After I unlatch her from my leg, I walk out the door (feeling like a jerk) and get myself to the metro station parking lot, aka, the Indy 500 track. Don't ask...just know that these people treat that parking lot like it's the Beltway. I then run to try to catch the train before it leaves the station and I have to wait for the next one. My success rate on that is 50/50. Once on the train, I travel for 25 minutes, hop off and then run down to the office. I feel like I have a whole day in before I even sit down to work.

Did you enjoy that long, boring, self-indulgent story? It's my blog and I can whine if I want to (you would whine too if it happened to do do do).

My nights are much the same. I hop off the train and hustle to the daycare, sometimes stopping at Giant for any necessities. Claire and I get home and I make her dinner, then it's bath time or play time (I will need to blog about how she is obsessed w/diapering her baby's so cute). Then to her room for books (or more diapering) and bed. Then mommy makes herself some dinner and the trend since starting the new job is I fall asleep in my room around 9 pm, sometimes w/the light still on and my contacts in. I cannot shake the exhaustion.

So my days are rolling into one another with no truly good routine.

I have decided mommy needs a weekend retreat. So here, blogger friends, is where I need your input or suggestions.

My requirements...somewhere I can go that isn't too far. Somewhere that has woods I can walk through. Somewhere quiet...maybe a small town with a great main street, bookstore, fruit stands. I'm thinking quiet rejuvination. Oh, and cheap. Let's not forget cheap.

Brant is thankfully supportive and would take Claire for two or three days. I'm blessed that way.

So there you have year's journey that has led me to today, in need of a little clarity and rebooting.

UPDATE: I already think I found a place...Boonsboro, MD...near Hagerstown (hi, Jess!)...I pass the exit when I go home to PA on Route 70. It is quaint, has the Appalachian Trail (walk through woods), a very cute main street that includes a book store, and a few nice inns that if I go on a weekday won't cost a fortune. I'm going to try to do this in October. Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Congratulations, Nick and Rose!

Remember this post?

Well, rather prophetic, as the glorious couple just gave birth to the beautiful Countess Jocelyn Pearl Leibee, born this morning at 6:28 am weighing 6 pounds 9 1/2 ounces and measuring a perfect 19 3/4 inches.

And Rose is already home. Love you, Rose, but you're nuts! God bless your strength!

Love to you all!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Last weekend

So I've been going crazy w/my Style Times Two posts but neglecting my main blog. To catch up, here are some highlights from last weekend.

Brant and I took Claire to Children's Day at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton. I've blogged many times about Brookside Gardens and I continue to praise it, because it's a beautiful place and always has something going on. Laura and I took the girls last year to the butterfly exhibit (nevermind the heat and how we spent most of the day sitting under a tree).

So last Saturday was a magnificent, perfect day. Children's Day was bustling with families, and Claire got to enjoy some of the activities and just being outside among the beautiful surroundings.

Sunday we decided to go down to the DC Zoo. Another beautiful day, perfect for outdoor activities. The zoo was understandably busy, and Claire was a little out of it (no naps either weekend day...eek), but she enjoyed it. I'd like to go again on a weekday, although I'm not sure if it would be significantly less busy. We stopped at Starbucks on the way back and sat outside to enjoy people watching and the sunshine.

Claire eating her apple and brie, sitting on Daddy's lap...

The whole weekend cost us six bucks...that was the subway ride to the zoo. Can't beat that!

Looking forward to some things coming up at the library branches and I'm evaluating a few different hay ride/corn maze places for our next family weekend, weather permitting. Before you know it, the festival of birthdays will be upon us! (Chase-->Claire-->Minhae)

OK, it's past 10 pm, and this cowgirl needs to call it a night!

Scenes from the weekend...


There's my...


Going through the log tunnel...

And out I come!!

And I crown thee, Queen Claire of the Wild Flowers...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Style Times Two now open for business

Hi All...

My new blog is available for viewing here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Problem Solved

OK, so I'm now back to blogging in the discomfort of my lovely apartment. That's the good news. Temporary bad news is...I'm too dang tired now to blog. Will return in the next day or so to begin anew. And now, while my head still spins in a sleepy euphoria induced by the House season premiere, I am off to bed!

Tough Cookies

I'm getting ticked at whatever is preventing me from blogging at home; as I stated before, the site keeps saying I need to enable cookies and javascript, both of which are totally enabled and work everywhere else. I'm going to contact someone at the help desk to hopefully get it resolved.

I've decided to start another blog in addition to this one. My new blog will deal entirely with fashion, my second love. Stuff I like in general, things for me, things for Claire, things I saw on the street that moved me, things I see in public that are get the gyst.

This new blog, like this current one, doesn't require an audience. I do it as an outlet for me, and whoever wants to stop along the way is welcome to. So feel free to drop by, but no obligation if that isn't your thing! So hopefully blog #2 will be up and running soon. And stay tuned for pictures from our lovely family weekend (could the weather have been any more beautiful?) down in metro DC-land. Until then!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Could you ever believe such a beautiful, sweet soul as this little girl, playing in the sand on a beautiful sunny Sunday, oblivious to the chaos of the world around her, would warrant her weary mother to purchase this from

God bless her wild heart :-)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Good morning, Moon!

This is just to let you all know that my child decided that bedtime was officially over at 3:24 this morning. There was no rocking, cry-it-out, or bribe on this earth that could get that child back to sleep. So there we were, sitting in the dark from 3 to 6 watching Elmo's World and the little insomniac begging for "goo-gees"...cookies. I threw her an animal cracker and flopped on the couch.

Fast forward four hours later...I dropped her off at daycare and wished them good luck! If anyone needs me, I'll be sleeping under my desk.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Two-and-a-Half-Foot Terror

I haven't been able to post lately because for some reason, the new-to-me-but-old computer I generously received from a friend of my sister-in-law's keeps telling me I need to enable active scripting and won't allow me on the blogger site. Trouble is, active scripting IS enabled and so are cookies. So the mystery continues.

Anyhoo, a short byte before I plunge into my workday.

The terrible two's are in full swing. Claire let's just say strongly objects to being put into her car seat now. This morning while trying to get her buckled in, she was thrashing and all of the sudden kicked me right in the head. I was so stunned I couldn't even scold her. I just stood there. In the next minute as I continued trying to buckle in this squirmy, kicking beast, she sunk her teeth into my arm. Excuse me, is my child destined for juvey? I already bought the "Hands Are Not for Hitting" book. Now I guess I must invest in the "Teeth Are Not for Biting" and "Feet Are Not for Kicking" volumes.

Honestly, I really have no clue how to discipline or teach her right. I thought I did, but nothing seems to be working. My sister-in-law also lent me about six books on parenting, including one on raising a "spirited" child. I think I better crack the books.

Nanny 911 is on speed dial.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Dangerous Liaison

Au Bon Pain is located way, WAY too close to my office. Sigh.

They have a soup today called Harvest Pumpkin. I already feel the gravitational pull forcing me toward South Street.

At least there's no DSW close by.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Imperfect Storm

I have been on blog hiatus for a while because of the new job/new schedule. I was hoping to remedy that this past weekend; however, nature had other plans.

Friday evening brought a storm of epic proportions. I had just gotten home from work, and Claire was on a sleepover at her daddy's/grandparents' house. I had just whipped up a pan of sloppy joe and flopped on the couch to eat dinner and watch meaningless TV, i.e., Lifetime or something of the sort. I heard the thunder start and the lights in my apartment flashed off and then back on.

Grrr. Please not another two days of no electricity.

Nope, as luck would have it the electricity did not go off. As luck would NOT have it, a booming crack of thunder followed in mere seconds by violent bolts of lightning hit my very building. Simultaneously, my cable box and computer seemed to fry up and fizzle out. At this same moment, the fire alarm for the building was set off....and proceeded to ring for an hour straight. Fire trucks and emergency vehicles remained at my apartment for hours. Funny, no one even bothered to check if there was a fire. I actually went over to the front door and put my hand on it, thinking I'd smell smoke or the door would be hot or one of those things you learn in some elementary school assembly.

So my friends, about one month after my TV was destroyed by a storm, my computer and my cable box have also bitten the dust. I am w/o my computer,i.e., the internet, and I'm not happy about it. Comcast is coming Wednesday to fix the cable box, and I have to somehow get myself a new computer to replace the one that died that was LESS than four months old.

I'm so done with these storms.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


I am just sitting here about to get ready to go on some errands and I'm thinking of Claire. Every minute that Claire is not with me, I think of her. And I was sitting here imagining her walking through the door later today, and it hit me.

She is MY child. I created that life. After almost two years, that still blows me away on a daily basis. I study her face, her little body...I made this. There is no greater miracle. This world was meant to have Claire in it. I love her in a way that I could not explain to anyone. I'm a mom!

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Well, I made it through my first week in the office...barely! Wow, that kicked my butt!!! After two and a half months of being homebound and unscheduled, it was an adjustment being on a timetable. But the hardest part was the constant rushing. That will probably continue for a while. I was so spoiled with my ten-minute commute to work. I could let Claire wake up on her own (which I still believe..and probably always will the natural, healthy way for a child to wake up!). We could relax a bit and left the house usually somewhere between 8:00 am and 8:30 am (plus I had a great boss who wasn't strict w/starting times, cause mine was technically supposed to be 8:30..hehe).

Fast forward to present day, new job. I have to get up at 5 am, get Claire up at 6 am, and be out of the house by 6:45 am to ship her off to daycare and then rush to the metro station to grab the eastbound train, then off the train at Charles Center for a thankfully short two-block walk to E. Redwood St. downtown, where I need to be in by 8 am. I work until 5 pm, and then back out, run to the metro station to try my hardest to catch the 5:05 train (which I accomplish by leaving the office at 4:55...I figure close enough), back up to Owings Mills, then in the car and rush to daycare to try to be there between 5:50 pm and 6 pm.

I'll tell you this...I get Claire home, we play, I get her dinner, we play and usually relax w/Sesame Street (I heart On Demand), then off to the bedroom for books and bed. It's now 8 pm, and I grab some dinner, go into my bedroom to eat and watch TV, and all this week I've actually never come out of the bedroom once I go in! I've fallen asleep each night by 9 pm. Mama's a tired puppy!!!!

The was the typical first week. I don't really have a clue what I'm doing and sit there most of the day reviewing program tutorials or old copies of proposals. Once in a while I get a task to do, which I gobble up because I hate feeling useless. I repeat over and over to myself that I have to be patient. The people are all nice, but it's a different environment. I can't kind of slip into obscurity here and take a mental break to read my e-mail. This is not a 5,000 person company that I'm used to. This is a 9-person company, and I have to follow the rules to the T.

This is definitely going to be a place though where I can really challenge myself. I'm not working in conjunction with a group of other writers; I AM the proposal department! With that, I plan on taking my test to become accredited and then join the Association for Proposal Management Professionals. I will be attending industry conferences, and I really have the chance to make my mark. That is both exciting and terrifying to me. But we shall see where this journey takes me.

So Claire's dad took her today for an overnighter. I have to take this time to run errands, another luxury I had to give up with this job. When I worked in Owings Mills, at lunch I'd buzz around to the bank, the post office, grocery store, tailors, even for a haircut. I finally located my bank downtown. (And I'll spare you that story on the blog, but some of you individually will have to endure my tale of "Kara has no sense of direction and walked an hour to find her bank that was two blocks away while sweating in a sweater in 90 degrees and burning her feet" Yes, you'll hear it.) But today I'm off to the grocery store, post office, tailors, bank. Ugh, thank goodness for grocery store banks!

Two really positive side effects of the new job...walking and reading. I have gotten no exercise probably since Claire was born, I'm ashamed to say. I've begun my journey to address my eating and weight issues, albeit very slowly, but still no exercise. Well, now there's the metro, and even though it's only about two blocks, it usually involves me walking very fast...yesterday it even involved me full out sprinting because I heard the train coming in while I was still two flights of stairs away in the station. (And I caught that dang train, too!!) It's really hard...I'm out of breath all the time. That's how I know it's a good thing! At some point, I won't be so out of breath, and the 20-25 minutes of exercise I get each day will be a good thing.

I've always said that I never got as much reading done as I did when I worked downtown at Lippincott during 2003-2004. Well, I'm happy to say that good habit is back. I had a book I had bought a few months ago that I had struggled to get to page 75 (out of 300). I could just never find the time. Well, with two 25-minute metro rides and an hour lunch each day, I had the book finished Friday afternoon. So now onto the next one! Reading always makes me feel happy and more creative.

I guess the part I am struggling with and probably always will is the daycare situation. Like I said, I hate forcing Claire out of bed at 6 am. I still insist on holding her for a half hour because I can't bring myself to force that little baby to be rushed right when she wakes up. So we sit and watch Between the Lions on PBS and snuggle. That has resulted in me usually not making it to daycare by 7, but so far, I've made it to work by 8 am each day regardless. But she's the only one in her class at daycare that early. Her teacher is actually in with the 3-year-olds, so I take her in there and she holds Claire until they both go to the toddler room. I hate that I have to do that to her. She is quite tired at night, and I feel even worse. I'm trying to move the bedtime back, but she hasn't been very receptive to it. I just can't get over the guilt. She doesn't seem to be suffering from it, and her teachers say she's doing great, but there's nothing anyone can say that will ease the sadness I feel when I have to rush this little sweetheart because of a situation she didn't ask for. Oh well. Something I'll continue to wrestle with, I'm sure.

OK, it's 1:25, and I've gotta get out of here! What exciting plans do I have since I'm baby-free??? Tonight I'm cooking up some gnocchi w/meat sauce and renting Obsession on On Demand. Total guilty pleasure!!!!

I'll leave you with these two photos...

"I love eatin' my blueberries right out of the carton!!"

Claire eating her pasta pickups and broccoli with both a fork AND spoon...she prefers adult-sized now, and she does a terrific job with them!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pasta a la Claire

It was spaghetti night here at Willow Bend Drive...

Can you tell? ;-)

As a side note, I managed to puree and sneak over a full cup of carrots into the sauce w/o it affecting the flavor too much. Girlfriend isn't enthusiastic about veggies (have NO idea where she got that from [kara shifts uncomfortably and whistles]), so I gotta get 'em in there wherever I can!

A little redemption

OK, so I for whatever reason feel the need the apologize for my previous self-pitying rant. Honestly, I just type it out to get it out of my system; I use this forum as sort of a personal journal at times...I'm too lazy to physically write anymore!

With that being said, I will at least provide an update that brings some good things!

1. Just found out that we will be getting the reduced, 2-year-old rate at daycare as of August 31 and NOT as of October 29 (Claire's b-day) like I thought. So less tuition in only a month! Yay!

2. My porch chair has been located. Someone obviously found it (probably blew into their area), and it was sitting kind of sadly by itself on the side of the apartment building. It has now been returned to its happy home on my balcony!! Yay!

3. Got the car fixed. Yeah, it was expensive, but the good IS fixed and they did it in a few hours, so I didn't have to spend more money to rent a car. Yay!

So all of this is very good!!! Now if I could only find a solution for the tantrums...ohhhh, she can throw them, too.

But for now, I'll take the good and hold on to it!!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

And yet another food recommendation...


No additives or preservatives (95% organic), 100% daily recommended vitamin C, and they passed the Claire test! Perfect portable snack for diaper bag or even your purse, to share for play dates or daycare parties, or for "here, just eat this" moments. Not that I have any of those. Ever.

Oh, and Mommy just snuck one in for her own snack, and me likee.


**Disclaimer: Huge, self-pitying rant. Those who detest huge, self-pitying rants, please X out of this window and enjoy your day. Thank you, and come again for more cheery updates.

Spent weekend in Bethesda with Claire's dad and her grandparents. She had a summer cold, which thankfully was swift and she's nearly 100% already. She spent the night at her dad's, and I got a phone call on Saturday morning at 5:45 am from him...all I could hear when I picked up the receiver was my child screaming. That sure wakes you up fast, though I had already been awake...insomnia has invaded my house.

"Claire's nose is bleeding profusely and isn't stopping. Do you have any experience with this?" he asks. Yes, yes, I do. My own experience as a child, where my nose bled (as did my brother's) every other minute. Poor Mom. Claire's nose bleeds at the drop of a hat. A mere brush against any surface sends it in an uproar. But I knew this time it was her cold. Dry, irritated, and engorged blood vessels and nasal passages at their limit. So I advise him to try and keep her nose pinched and get it stopped. He tells me he'll call me later that day and hangs up. So what mother can now lay down and peacefully drift into sleep??? I call back 15 minutes later. It has stopped. I tell him right then and there I'm coming down later to get her. I don't like when she sleeps there. They don't have a crib...she sleeps in a pack-and-play, and it's not the same as her crib. She never sleeps well there.

So after doing my daily alotted typing, I set out for Bethesda. I have every intention of coming home that evening with Claire, but as the afternoon turns into early evening, I'm exhausted and don't feel like driving an hour back to Baltimore County. So with not so much as a toothbrush with me, I stay over. Sunday I'm in the same clothes, slept in contacts, feel like a dirty, smelly greaseball.

Finally, on Sunday evening I drive us home, impatient for a long, hot shower and for my girl to be in her comfortable crib with her aquarium and the soft hum of the humidifier in her cool, dark room. As I drove up our road, I am confused by how dark and quiet everything is, and there are entire trees collapsed in the middle of the road, all the way up to my apartment. The traffic lights at the end of my road intersecting with Reisterstown Road are out. I pull into my parking lot and notice there is not one light on in my complex. Sigh. The power is out. Oh, and there are no parking places. So I park down the street and haul my sleeping baby up to my building and then up a pitch black stairwell. I find my way into her room and put her in her crib.

Regardless of the power situation, I MUST have a shower. So I lit a candle and took it in the bathroom. It gave it a rather peaceful glow, which almost made up for the cold shower I was forced to take after the hot water quickly ran out (electric hot water heater. Everything is electric. Blah.). When I finished, I carried my candle from the bathroom to my bedroom, which is right next to the bathroom. That 12-second walk was enough for the smoke alarm to go off. In the darkness, I groped for something to fan the alarm. I found a few flimsy pieces of paper and fanned with all my might. It finally went off. Two seconds later, it went off again. More fanning. Then it went off again. Vigorous fanning. Then it went off again. Fanning and cussing. By the grace of God, Claire didn't wake up.

I feared Claire would wake up in the middle of the night and I wouldn't hear her from my room, so I went out to the couch to sleep. Except that I couldn't sleep. I can't sleep without some white noise, and the apartment was dead silent. I could hear every sigh Claire made and would sit straight up, fearing she was about to wake up. So I didn't sleep at all.

Next morning, still no power. I had to take a flashlight with me every time we used the bathroom. I feared for the full gallons of milk and fridge and freezer full of food. Claire and I sat in silence for a watching Martha Speaks as we usually do. After our usual wrestling match, I get Claire in the car to go to daycare. The traffic lights are STILL out on Reisterstown Road (and this is a major intersection). I went to the end of another road with a stop sign. I was attempting a left onto a very busy four-lane road. I made my turn and..smack..the front side of my car by the right headlight got clipped by a work truck, who looked in his rearview mirror, shook his head, and kept on driving. I have Claire in the car so what to do? Shaken, I keep on my way to daycare.

Back home, still no power, and it's hot and A/C. And no project for my new job is typing a book. I have alloted a certain amount of pages per day to complete the project on time. There is nothing to be power, no typing.

I run an errand to JcPenney to exchange some new work clothes my mom had bought me (she not realizing that I have gained 845 pounds since she's seen me last). On my way back, a warning light comes on in the car. I read the manual. If I continue to drive, I can seriously damage my car.

Back at home, and still no power. I have no food for Claire for dinner...can't cook, can't open fridge. So Claire had her first Happy Meal. Sorry, but I really don't like giving her that stuff. I at least replaced the fries with apples, but I hate giving her that processed chicken.

Finally, at 7:05 pm, over 24 hours later, the power came back on. I put Claire to bed, where she screamed herself to sleep. I shut myself in my bedroom and tried to de-stress.

Claire was up at 5:40 am this morning. She was overtired and threw tantrums for an hour. I wanted to calm her with our morning PBS shows, so off to the living room we went. The TV won't turn on. I check it with different outlets. Nothing. The power outage fried it. No TV. Daycare registration is due this week. Tuition is going up this fall. One of my patio chairs was lost in the storm...only one remains on my deck. Oh, and all of this is just over the course of two days.

Anything else? Come on now, let's just add to it. I mean, I was "awarded" a new job, so that is my one good thing for the millenium. One drop of good in a full bucket of struggle. I need a vacation that is nowhere to be seen.

I. am. tired.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rough Waters

We have entered a new phase here at Willow Bend Drive. Waking up early and lotsa tantrums. This has been challenging for me as a mother. I readily admit I never had dreams of being a mom. My dreams as a young girl were always of a corner office and a personal assistant. I never babysat, never wanted to, and was never interested or amused by children.

Claire came along and I fell in love wholeheartedly with my child. However, this still has not endeared me to other children (unless they're friends' kids), and I often feel ill-equipped for some the the challenges with which I'm faced.

Claire has always been a good sleeper. She's slept through the night since she's been about six months old, and she has been able to get herself to sleep in her crib without my aid that whole time. Luckily, she still does that for herself. But she wakes up more frequently during the night, sometimes from what I assume are night terrors, and she has woken up for the day at much earlier times in the last two weeks...anywhere from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. where once it was pretty consistently between 7 and 7:30. I have been increasing her bedtime cautiously as she's grown older, and she had been up to 8 pm, which I had not planned on going past for the foreseeable future.

I have since decided to pull her bedtime back to 7:30. I read a really great sleep book twice cover to cover before she was born, Sleeping Through the Night: How Infants, Toddlers, and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night's Sleep, and it had said that if your baby/toddler is waking up too early, they may actually be overtired and need an earlier bedtime. So last night I aimed for a bedtime of 7:30. I got an actual lights out at 7:39. I could hear Claire up until about 8 p.m. She was really wired at the time I tried to put her down. She didn't want to sit for books and was preoccupied with her baby dolls. It was somewhat frustrating, but I did my best.

The tantrum thing...from what I hear, her style is common. She throws herself on the ground and screams and thrashes and kicks. If she is on the floor at home and there is nothing around her that's harmful, I walk away and let her go to town. But out in public it becomes difficult. Yesterday when leaving daycare, she did not want to hold my hand. Of course there's no way I'd let her in the parking lot without at least having a good hold of her hand, so she throws herself on the ground and refused to walk. I then pick her up and carry her to the car, and during this process she is kicking, thrashing, and screaming, and she is grabbing big chunks of my hair and pulling as hard as she can. All the while I'm trying not to drop her in the parking lot and get her buckled into the carseat. And next comes what has been happening more and more lately, my tears.

Her behavior might be typical, but I'm not used to anything like this, and it's so hard doing this day after day by myself. I do get a lot of help on the weekends from her dad, and I get a reprieve during the day while she's at daycare.

I am officially employed as of July 15 but am typing a book from home. So my schedule is still pretty flexible. In less than two weeks, I will be in the office and Claire will be at daycare earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon. I hate for her to have to make that adjustment. She doesn't like when the other moms get there and I'm not there, and now she'll be waiting probably a good half hour longer. So I've been worried a lot about that.

I do enjoy being Claire's mom, but I know I don't in the way my friends (many of whom read this) enjoy being moms. It's definitely something I struggle with, and I always feel I'm searching for peace and resolution. I'll just keep doing the best I can for her, and I hope she will realize that although her mom isn't perfect, she truly does her best each day.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My Little Character

Claire loves to put her blanket over her head and walk around until she crashes into something. What can I say, that is my Claire!

I LOVE when she wraps herself in her blankie and cuddles on the couch. I think she looks so precious and angelic like that.

Then five minutes later, my angel is up to her old tricks...

How did God fit so much personality into one little body?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Another Weekend in July

I like weekends in the summer. (It is making me dread weekends in the winter!) I enjoy watching Claire in the outdoors, and I enjoy being part of the growing love she has for nature. I had these visions in my head when I was pregnant, and it's really gratifying to see them come to fruition.

Saturday began with our trip up to Harford County for Miss Victoria's second birthday party. It makes me wish Claire's birthday was in the's just so nice having a summer birthday that you can celebrate outdoors (I always loved my June birthday for that reason).

Laura is one of my many creative, crafty friends (d*mn you all, you know who you are!!!). So as always, the party was creative, adorable, and very, very FUN. Every time I leave her house I come home, log on to a real estate site, and start looking for a house. Going to her house reminds me so much of home in PA. But I digress...

Claire had a blast...she got to spend time in the little pool and going down the slide. At first she was a little hesitant w/the little pool (they have one at daycare, but I'm not sure how they handle that), but soon enough, she was in there and loving it! In fact, when the party moved over to the table for Victoria to blow out her candles, everyone headed over except Claire. We couldn't get her out of the pool!

"You all do what you need to. It's my birthday; I'm having my cupcake and looking beautiful. That's my role here."

"We're working the scene...catch ya later!"

We started Sunday morning by going to the Farmers Market in downtown Baltimore. I had high hopes for this, as I really want to get some good, locally grown, fresh produce for us, especially Claire's favorite...blueberries!! Unfortunately, I hadn't anticipated how crowded it would be. For anyone who doesn't know (and I pretty much think anyone reading this knows), I do NOT do well in crowds. I can't stand feeling crowded in, and I think it's pointless when there's so many people that you can't even look. Sooooo, we left and I'm planning on taking Rose (and another friend's) advice and hitting the Waverly market earlier Saturday morning.

We headed on out and up to City Cafe for some coffee and apple juice for the Fuzz. She was happy, as always, to sit and say hi to everyone walking by. Or not walking by. Yeah, my child says "hi" (more often screams "hi") to every person she sees, and she continues to say it until you say "hi" back. Please, please, just say hi back!

After a good nap, we headed to Oregon Ridge for an afternoon hike. I really need to get in better shape. But we had a great time and afterward kicked the ball around. I am going to be the typical bragging mom here, but my child is so coordinated...she is such a good climber and kicker...she kicks that ball like a soccer pro! OK, obnoxious boasting over :-)

With daddy in her hiking boots and flap happy hat:

Another good weekend. This week finds me starting my new job, which until August 3 will be done temporarily from my apartment. I'm looking forward to it, and I'm hoping it will lead to a lot more motivation and self-discipline, something I've been lacking since I lost my last job. I'm excited to see what the future brings!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Happy happy, joy joy :-)

Huge sigh of of July 15, I am officially employed once again. It hasn't really hit me yet. I mean, I think I've pretty much screamed it (i.e., put it on Facebook and e-mailed people emphatically) to everyone this morning, but it hasn't sunk in for me yet. But it is good. So very good.

As of next week, I am the newest employee at Credo Capital Management in downtown Baltimore. I will be working as an RFP/marketing associate. They are a small, entrepreneurial firm, and I'm excited that I can be part of something that is built from blood, sweat, and tears with people who are top notch.

So...I'm staying right where I am and hopefully this is the start of a wonderful new chapter in my life!


Friday, July 3, 2009


Claire's daddy is coming up today (and not a minute too soon...the wrecker is pulling down everything I'm trying to put away!). In an effort to eat healthier and not go out to eat, we had planned on cooking this weekend. For dinner tonight, it was baked tilapia, broccoli with garlic butter and cashews, and brown rice and mushroom pilaf. For breakfast tomorrow we were having egg white omelets with spinach, cheese and mushrooms, turkey bacon, and fresh fruit. For lunch, we would be having pasta and lentils and a salad.

Great, huh? Problem? I have all these recipes (except for breakfast) stored in my virtual recipe box on Hmmm, can you guess what Web site has a broken link right now? !()@*!()@!_+!@#$@

OK, girlfriend is about to shut the computer down for the fourth time today, so I have to go do damage control.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Claire Manual

Sigh. When I have a problem, I read a book about it. That's how I do. So I have a very sweet little girl who likes to push every button I have. Then she smiles at me and I shake my head, because she knows she has me whipped.

But for those little "quirks" I'm not sure how to handle, I am hoping this will shed some light...

Wish me luck.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Weekend in Bethesda

FINALLY, I have some pictures to prove that we, indeed, get out of the house and do stuff every once in a while!

Claire and I got up on Saturday morning, and after breakfast headed on down to her grandparents' house in Bethesda. Her dad and I then took her to Great Falls for a gorgeous hike. It's always difficult coordinating how long we can stay places because her nap falls right in the middle of the day, but we managed to enjoy the gorgeous weather and scenery a few hours before naptime.

Daddy's little rock climber (check out her hiking boots...just like daddy's!)

Made it to the top!

In the Kelty pack with Daddy...

...gazing out at this

Off the beaten path...

Hitching a ride with Daddy after the hike...

After lunch, we switched modes from nature lovers to party people and headed over to Claire's cousin, Elena's 3rd birthday party. Claire and Elena are fast friends and enjoyed their tea party.

On Sunday, we definitely played it low key and hung around the house in Bethesda. Claire loves to look at the herbs and tomatoes she helped Grandma Jo plant in the backyard, and she is completely obsessed with the apple trees...

And yes, she eats them right off the ground. Bless her wild heart!

There you have it, our weekend in pictures!