Fur Babies

Before Henry was born, my two cats and dog were my babies.  My animals and I would snuggle under the covers.  I’d take Dana dog to the dog park every day.  I’d roll around with them on the floor.  I even took pride in grooming them.  Mostly, I was more forgiving of their…um, shortcomings.

For years, we’ve had to feed them all in separate rooms…four times a day.  Cleo, the cat, eats her meals in my bedroom.  Yesterday morning, I awoke to the sound of Cleo puking on the bedroom floor.  I was startled, however, by the awful smell.  Surely, Cleo’s vomit couldn’t smell to awful?  I noticed the laundry basket was on its side.  I thought, “No, way.  My little princess couldn’t have…”  A sniff confirmed the truth.  Cleo had left a sock incrusted pile of poop in my laundry basket.  Hiss!

Here’s Cleo playing in a shopping bag (not said laundry basket.)

So, I cleaned up the poop and the barf, started the washing machine, got ready to jump back into bed.  But guess what?  Ote, cat number two, had done a number two on my pillow…

I change umpteen diapers a day, pick up Dana dog poop, scoop the litter box…but this is just more crap than a mama can handle!


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Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies for Mamas ONLY!

As Henry cries himself to sleep (we’re trying to give him the skills to fall asleep on his own, by effectively pushing him out of the nest and hoping he can fly) I decided to make cookies.  At least I will have cookies to soothe my stomach, if not my aching heart.

2 cups whole wheat flour

1/4 cup oats

1/4 cup oat bran

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup salted butter (or two sticks)

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.  Combine the flour, oats, oat bran, and baking soda.

In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture.  Stir until thoroughly mixed.

Add the chocolate chips.

Spoon by teaspoon onto baking sheet, spacing cookies two inches apart.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes.

Allow to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.


***Enjoy your delicious baked delights with a glass of warm tears or cold milk…your choice…***

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Shock and Awe…An attempt at fewer yawns…

Friday night…  baby crying in the periphery…  let’s hope this gets better…

On the weekend before Henry’s four-month birthday, we decided it was time to sleep train.  After reading a few books and getting some sage advice from friends, we decided to give it a go.

I checked out the following books from the library:

I am reluctant to say this, but I really enjoyed sleeping with my baby for the last few days.  Last night, as we cuddled in bed, husband on the futon in the other room, I whispered,”I love you and I’ll miss having your snuggles by my side.”  The first of many times in his life that I will have to…let go…

So, here’s how it went:

7:00 We gave him two bottles!  Totaling about 7 ounces (way more than he’s ever eaten before).  We swaddled just his arms.  I placed him in bed and he fell asleep immediately.

10:00 Awake.  We waited five minutes, listening to him cry…

10:05 Spencer went into his room and said,”Shhh… Night, night…”  He waited thirty seconds.


10:40 Awake and crying.

10:45 I went into his room and adjusted his swaddle.

10:50 Still crying, but slowing down…

So far, so good, I’d say.  But really, it just feels awful.  I had never let him cry for more than a few minutes without running to soothe him.  I wonder if he feels abandoned, scared, terrified as he chokes on his tears.  My poor baby!  This just can’t be the best way.

I’ve received several recommendations for this book, saying it has worked wonders for their children.  I’ll check it out tomorrow, if Henry and I survive.  He may just wake up beside me in bed, suckling gently in his sleep.

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Book Reviews for The Bleary-Eyed

A common mom-to-mom joke is, “Oh, you can do that with all of your free time!”  Snark!  Snark! 

While on maternity leave, I actually did have some leisure time, mostly when my little angel was asleep.  And he did sleep often.  Henry went through a period of taking many catnaps throughout the day, but lately he’s been tireless (more like sooooo tired, he can’t settle down).  Somehow, whether the snooze is miniscule or mammoth, I still find time to sit down and read.  On my Kindle, I’ve read dozens –yes, I said dozens- of books in the last four months.  Some of the books have been wonderful, bringing my hormone fueled body to tears.  I plan to share a few of those winners here.


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Three Bean Turkey Chili

This is a fantastic, nutrient rich recipe to make on a Sunday morning and will last throughout the week. Or you can freeze a portion to easily reheat later.

3/4 cup chili beans (dried)

3/4 cup black beans (dried)

3/4 cup black eyed peas (dried)

1 28 ounce can chopped tomatoes

1 6 ounce can tomato paste

1 pound ground turkey breast

1 cup carrots (chopped)

1 onion (chopped)

3 cloves garlic (minced)

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup zucchini (chopped)

1. Soak the beans in water overnight (8 hours). Drain and rinse.

2. Brown the ground turkey. (I like to use a non-stick pan to avoid added fat. It doesn’t make a difference in taste.)

3. Combine all of the ingredients in a slow cooker, EXCEPT for the zucchini. Cook on LOW for 7 hours.

4. Add the zucchini and cook for one hour.

5. Serve with shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Yum!

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Mommy Group Mean Girls

This morning, Henry napped while I made turkey chili (yummy).  I was so proud of myself for being productive, set the slow cooker to low, and anticipated coming home from afternoon activities to a house smelling like… apparently nothing, because the crockpot wasn’t turned on. But I digress…

We started our afternoon fun with a trip to Cuddle Club at the Walnut Creek Library.  Mommies sang songs and we read a Rosemary Wells story to our babies.  I saw my friend, Meg, who is cheerful and always decked out in pearl earrings, despite wearing cozy jeans and a winter vest.  We shared anecdotes about our babes and sleep secrets (Henry is waking up every thirty minutes…ugh!  Explains my slow cooker malfunction and extreme pride in getting ANYTHING done today). Overall, a nice gathering with some mommies.

Our next stop was Day One Center, on Main St. for a Musical Play class.  When I arrived at Day One, mommies were busy chatting with one another.  They seemed friendly…

All of the mommies sat around in a circle on the floor, some with babies on the floor, some cuddling, some nursing.  And they all continued their chat with each other, seemingly unaware that a new couple, Henry and I, had joined the group.  Maybe they were busy, maybe they were as exhausted and delirious as I was, maybe they were just…mean girls, disguised as mothers!

Since nobody noticed me, I was free to unabashedly eavesdrop on their conversations.  Ashton’s mom was dressed in a DRESS and Tiffany earrings said over and over again, “I’ve GOT to BUY that!” Emma’s mom, in her skinny jeans, full make-up, and impeccable blow-out, raved about her daughter’s new jeans and sweater… to which Asher’s mom proffered her usual retort.  At least half of the mothers let their babies flail on the floor as they engaged in adult conversation with WAY too much enthusiasm, talking with their hands, showing off their gigantic, gaudy wedding rings.  Finally, the teacher arrived…yes, Henry and I sat, enjoying each others’ company
for fifteen minutes (despite my attempts to enter conversation…the tried and true, “Your baby is so cute! How old is he/she?” failed to produce any interaction).

When the teacher sang songs with the group, the mommies did participate, but many of them seemed reluctant.  When we did the “freeze dance,” mommies danced awkwardly and didn’t let loose like my giggle machine and me.  They seemed irked that they had to engage in this juvenile activity.  “Why are you here?” I wanted to scream!  When only three of the fifteen mommies played airplane with their babies on the floor, I noticed the mommies who weren’t participating, roll their eyes at each other!

After forty-five minutes of play, we sang the goodbye song.  I changed Henry’s diaper and left.  Now, I can’t help but wonder if I should go back next week.  Maybe the mothers were just so excited to see the familiar faces of the veterans, that I was forgotten.  It may be that next time we go to class, we will be welcomed, exchange banter about our children’s poopy diapers, our husbands, our dogs…  It seems like this is the way things go with women’s groups.  The newbies are hazed, by a seemingly unintentional slight.  Maybe these women are just mean girls…but no matter what, if I continue to see them that way, this group will not be fun for me or Henry.  I suppose I just have to go back next week to either confirm my suspicions or get to know some new friends…

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Music for Pretentious Parents

Cover of "Nilsson Schmilsson"

Cover of Nilsson Schmilsson

I have always wondered what my life would have been like if I’d grown up listening to The Beatles, Neil Young, or Harry Nilsson.  A realm of possibilities swarm my head…  Instead, my musical upbringing consisted of Phil Collins, Debbie Gibson, and Whitney Houston, sprinkled with the likes of Wham!  Although, on occasion I indulge in the music of my childhood, blasting “Wake Me Up Before you Go-Go” and dancing around the house.  Still, the music I grew up listening to does not qualify as enriching nor interesting.  Even later in life, I cringe to think of the music that once filled my CD case.  I am loath to admit that in my twenties, I went to an ‘N sync concert…  I want to be sure that I influence Henry in a way that we can both tolerate.

My taste in music has matured over the years, thanks to my amazing husband, Spencer.  His music collection spans the globe and a dozen genres.  Now that I have more discerning tastes, I want to be sure my little boy absorbs quality music instead of the garbage music that infiltrated my ears.  Last night, while listening to Elliott Smith, I expressed to Spencer my desire to come up with a list of baby appropriate music, designed to season his future taste in music.  Later, we saw this on IFC’s “Portlandia.”

Shooting Star Preschool

I am finding, however, that much of the music on my iPod is not child friendly, either rife with inappropriate language and content, or downright morose.   It is now my noble quest to find music to help mold Henry’s little mind and ears… and inspire!


One of our favorite albums to listen to is Putumayo Kids Present: Dreamland.  The thirteen tracks on this album are each from a different country.  The songs are soothing, weaving fantasies of far away places.

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