Friday, February 27, 2009

We Don't Pay For Buttons

That's why windows and door locks in our car must be worked the old fashioned way. I figure it's also a theft deterent, not cool to lean across to unlock or roll down a window. It sure was luxurious to sit in my sister's heated seats during my winter time visit, though.

After doing a quick online survey and answering "no" to being willing to upgrading to energy star appliances, I figured my greeniness wouldn't outweigh of my frugality. But our latest big ticket item proved otherwise.

We held on to our guidline of cheapness and no extra buttons in our recent washing machine purchase. We knew as soon as we moved in why the previous owners left the appliances in the condo, and it was not their generosity. The bottom-of-the-line-things weren't worth hauling down 2 sets of stairs in the heat of August. This morning our beauty of a washer arrived. We were way more excited than the delivery men, who are never happy by the time they get to the top. It has to be our best purchase ever, next to my camera of course. It was a basic model of a top brand (again, quality without bells and whistles), came with $150 in rebates from our utility companies, will do a much better job even using less water, and can be considered free with the money we saved by me sewing our cloth diapers instead of buying them (which, even bought, saves you around $1000 dollars/child in diapering costs).

It came just in time, Eli had one diaper to his name and as soon as those poor men left, a load of diapers went in. At one point all 4 of us were watching it like a TV, even Charlie. I'll feel like a queen doing laundry and might even be excited to do so the first few times since our clothes will actually come out clean AND soapless. The buttons seem numerous eventhough it was the model with the least number of them. I do feel better having the child lock one, though.

So, the next time you come over, feel free to bring your laundry and you might want to practice rolling down a car window without the people in the next car noticing its not automatic.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Eli has never been a good eater, but lately he has been surprising us. Even when he was a little baby he wouldn't nurse until he had a good cry and was half asleep. When he started eating he would take a couple of bites until he wasn't starving anymore and demanded down. His side of the table was covered with toys and books to keep him distracted long enough to get a few more bites in him. The past couple of weeks things have changed and I couldn't be happier.

I'm always pleased when he wants a spoonful of fattening peanut butter, but his willingness to eat so many different vegetables is most exciting. Just this week he's had asparagus, zucchini, bell peppers, peas, carrots, pureed broccoli, and many more thanks to some vegetable soup. Some tactics have helped, like serving his meals one part at a time, he used to pick his favorite thing on his plate and only eat that. Now I can give him a variety of food and he'll eat it all (with some coaxing). Also, if he's timid about being served something new I get silly and take a ferocious bite. He gets caught up in the excitement and joins in.

I hope this healthy habit continues, but if he gets picky later on I'll have proof that he used to eat loads of produce. Take this artichoke last night:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I loved being at my sister's with her darling kids and perfect little Henry. He was so perfect he never even woke me up, with my sensitive mother's ears, in the night. I wasn't pleased that the house looked too clean when I got there, so I had to look hard for stuff to do. She even took me, the help, out to the fanciest lunch I've ever had, involving risotto, scallops, and chocolate mousse cake. With this extravagent food, some cleaning and cooking, I'm scared to admit I didn't even feel strange Eliless.

The flight home was long for me, I wasn't enjoying any family's company. When I made it to the boys in the airport Eli smiled, clung to dad's legs and pointed and grunted to the escalator he'd been waiting to ride "when mom gets here." I had to steal a hug. Not the reunion with out-stretched arms and slow-motion running I was imagining.

Luckily it was past dinner, so we just had to stop and eat Indian. Brian even tidied up the house and all forms of life (fish, cat, plants, herbs) were still alive! Pampered, I know. The only thing I'm miffed about is that I left the camera for Brian to take pictures since he was going to visit family and it sat on the counter the whole time. I missed out on all kinds of cute niece, nephew, and newborn pictures. It doesn't get better than a blobby baby and all kinds of natural light. Next time I suppose. Thanks for having me sis and thanks for being so willing to give me a trip Bri.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Appreciation All Around

In a couple of hours I'm leaving the boys for 4 days to see my sister and her new arrival, Henry. I've never left Eli even over night and am excited to be carefree about how much he eats and sleeps. I'll be free to clean and cook as much as I please and might be able to wake up on my own. No two year old alarm clock waking me out of deep sleep way too early with "Mom!"

I know I'll miss him like crazy, I already feel incomplete when I go places without him. He's my best little buddy and a part of my identity. I sometimes say that I'm "mom" not "Helena" anymore. I'll come home so refreshed and clingy he'll have to push me away, I'm sure.

I'm already quite appreciated around here, but I'm hoping to come home extra-loved after they have to fend for themselves for meals, cleaning (hopefully) and even a little road trip up to great-grandma's in Logan. I have restrained my organizing, planaholic ways and left them without specific meals planned and luggage packed. My only rule for Brian is that Eli can't sleep in our bed with him. No matter how lonely he is or how cute and snuggly the boy is.

We'll see how Brian does being the one waiting at home, missing his other half. No way, I'm not getting him back for all those martial arts trips he took last summer. Although a lonely Valentines is pretty good payback. Don't feel too bad for him, I've left him several treats and he gets to see his mom. I'll miss my boys, but am happy to see my sister and her family. And I'll come back a better mom, appreciating my boys even more.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Vacuum Phobia

I suppose I didn't vacuum enough while Eli was in the womb because they are his greatest fear. It's getting better, but anything loud upsets him, even a person's laugh. I tend to put vacuuming lower on the chore list partly for the boy's sake, but also for the fact that the house has to be tidied before it can happen. Luckily for the state of our home, and sadly for Eli, potential guests put me into high cleaning gear pretty often, which means the frightful machine must come out. Most of the time I'm alone, so I whip out the Bjorn and wear my big two year old while maneuvering the appliance around the house. He's pretty somber and quiet through the whole ordeal.

I'd been looking around for a toy vacuum when I found the perfect one at D.I. (pretty much my favorite store) yesterday. Classic Fisher Price, Brian said Kim had the same one growing up. No batteries, but still lights up and makes noise. The boy pushed it around all night and even had me put the chairs up on the table like I do when vacuuming for real. I was so excited, not just for the steal of a deal on a toy that was a hit, but that it might be curing him of his phobia.

This morning was the true test, which ended in a miracle. He was somber of course, then interested when I let him down to help hold the hose to clean the molding and before I knew it he ran off to get his vacuum. We gleefully vacuumed the rest of the house together, even the stairs.All our hard work will pay off double, since we have two sets of guests coming in the next few days. I am a little sad when I clean the whole house and they only stay in one room. So the next time you come over, feel free to wander, and know that the boy helped vacuum. (And yes, that is a toddler bed the boy is too scared to use.)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Drinking Hole

The only thing I've seen Charlie use his water bowl for is to clean the kitty litter off his paws. Other than that he prefers to drink from the toilet, the terrorized beta's bowl, and, most disturbingly, our water cups sitting around the house.