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.