Blog Archive

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Girl Effect

Wouldn't you just curl up and die if your own babies' destiny was to be married by 14?! FOURTEEN. When I was 14 I was wearing a ridiculously pouffy pink skirt to a homecoming dance without a care in the world, except knowing that I had to get my geometry homework done in time. Education is something another person can't take away from you. It allows you to make something from nothing. It is a privilege, but don't you think it should be a right?

Watch this and be moved to do something.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mama's Day Off

I asked my Facebook friends what they'd do with a whole weekend "day off" from all childcare responsibility. Most gals said they'd eat out, shop in all the stores that require lots of time to look (like craft stores), try clothes on, read, and go to a spa. I pretty much already knew what I wanted to do with my time: read and pedicure.

Eddie gave me the first two surprises of the day. First, he slept in until almost 8:30am! Ahhhhhhh. While Dave was getting Eddie from his room, I nestled back down into bed and waited for Eddie to come in to nurse and cuddle. But then I heard Dave call out for me urgently from the bathroom. I went in to find Eddie and Dave both covered in poop (second surprise). Eddie had a massive diarrhea blowout, poor thing. It was funny and frustrating to see Dave just standing there, clueless. He clearly didn't know what to do--no matter what he did he was going to get both of them covered in more poop. So I took over, undressed me and Eddie and hopped into the shower with him. When we were done, Dave hopped in. No way around it...sometimes poopy diapers just require a full shower for everyone involved!

We all ate some breakfast and then I scooted out the door, with my book, to my 10am pedicure appointment. I chose cherry red polish.

Next it was off to a new-to-me coffee shop for a soy chai latte, a comfy chair, and more reading. I think I was there for about 2 hours! It was heavenly to just read and read. Then I went home to retrieve my basket of gift cards so I could go clothes shopping (Dave was nice to bring them out to the car to me). I went to Target to get some jeans and a few discount sweaters and tops for winter layering. My next stop was Arden Fair mall. Ug. There was TONS AND TONS of traffic on the way to the mall, which totally ruined my floating-on-air mood. I loathe traffic, especially when it is for no reason (no accident, no broken down car).

Of course, the mall was friggin' packed that day--it was a rainy Saturday and the nearest mall had just caught fire and shut down a few days before so every mall-goer in the area was piling into my mall. =) But it wasn't so bad: the gal at Victoria's Secret was super helpful and spent a good 30 minutes finding the perfect bras for my nursed-out ladies. I ducked into Express to see about some more jeans but was shocked to see that they are now a minimum of $80! Ha, yeah right.

By the time I got out to the car (I parked as far away as possible to make sure I'd actually find a spot), I realized I had just enough time to go to the fabric store in Woodland. I got some fabric to make my Halloween costume and bought a much-needed seam ripper (my old one broke). By then I was starving so I headed back to Davis for a leisurely dinner at Cafe Bernardo's. I had a yummy tri tip sandwich, a bowl of roasted butternut squash soup, and a mug of steaming hot coffee. It was all really yummy...and I got to read my book uninterrupted for another whole hour. Ahhhhh.... I brought home an order of Thai noodle salad for Dave and Eddie's dinner.

When I got home Eddie was falling apart...he was tired, hungry, and missing his mama. =) He wouldn't eat dinner unless he was sitting on my lap...he was going to make sure I was with him 100%!

Once he was in bed that night Dave and I dug through our closet for that night's Halloween party costumes. The original plan was for him to be a pirate and for me to be "pirate's booty." But my sewing machine was acting up and I didn't have the patience or time necessary to coax it into sewing the glittery gold and silver fabric into a dress. So....I wore my 9th grade homecoming dance outfit and Dave dressed as a nerd. I couldn't believe the skirt still fit after 14 years and a baby...or that I ever wore that pink thing in the first place!Jacob came over while Dave and I partied it up at Cassie's house. Lucky for all of us, Eddie slept soundly the whole time. It was really fun to hang out at night with other adults, meet some new people, and wrap up my Day Off!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Apple Cider Extravaganza 2010

I'm not sure why I didn't post ANYTHING about our first attempts at cider pressing two years ago...probably it had something to do with my mom entering the hospital that same day (10/12/08). But still...I posted pictures to Facebook...

This year we got a total of 21 gallons from 9 boxes of apples. I sent out an "interest" email in July to see who, if anyone, would be interested in participating. Then we planned pressing dates for October and invited everyone who had responded to the first email (I didn't want to bombard people with TOO many emails if they weren't interested at all). We had to cancel two of the three events because the apples just weren't ripening as fast as expected.

Last Saturday was the big day. We had like 20 people here helping with everything from washing, cutting, puree-ing, grinding in the garbage disposal, and the actual pressing.

We staged washing on the patio, cutting in the dining room, puree-ing in the kitchen (via an arsenal food processors), grinding in the garage,
and pressing in the garage. You can see we collected the cider in our juice jar with a spigot and then bottled the cider in clean milk jugs we've been saving since May (!). It worked out nicely, especially since a lot of the particulates in the cider were able to settle out at the bottom of the jar before filling the milk jugs.

Everyone worked SO hard! But I hope everyone was able to find some down/social time, too. I know Edward and Cassie made cheese, some folks played with the variety of kiddos we had running around, and we even BBQed up some tri tip and sausages for lunch (to add to the smorgasbord of delicious goodies people brought for our potluck).Overall, the house was kept pretty clean. Edward and I washed everything on the patio afterward because our big steel bowls and commercial-sized cutting boards would be difficult in the kitchen. (The dogs were kind enough to do the pre-wash for us!)We were losing motivation and energy after 7 boxes so the last two were done by more friends the next day. Mike and Sandrine make homebrew and wanted about 5 gallons to harden. So we let them have the remaining boxes and full use of our house and cider stuff. (Our family went out to sushi while Eddie stayed home with the sitter...apparently Eddie "helped" Sandrine by taking a bunch of the washed apples out of the bucket.)

That night I finally mopped the house and got everything back into order.

Most folks took home a gallon or two of cider, pretreated with Campden tablets (they produce sulfur dioxide in the juice, which kills most harmful bacteria and yeast). Ours were put into the freezer so we can take our time drinking them or maybe hardening them later with added yeast. We'll see.

Dave is hoping we'll get another 4 boxes of apples by Halloween we might do another small pressing then. But again, we'll see...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Joanne's Wedding

Two weekends ago my mom and I flew to Iowa for my college friend's wedding. We left on Thursday and returned home the next Monday. That way we had a whole free day (Saturday) without the wedding, travel, or any other organized thing to do. We stayed in the hotel recommended by the brides, which was on the same property as the Living History Farms--these are working farms (and a mock pioneer town) that operate using agricultural technologies up to certain points in US history (1700, 1850, and 1900).

The workers wear the clothing of the time, too. We went on Saturday, but only visited the town and the 1900s farm (because it has the most animals and we thought Eddie would like that most). We rented a red wagon to haul him around and put his koala bear leash/harness on so he could run around without getting too far away from us. Because it was the end of the season, there wasn't much going on--no demonstrations, no blacksmith, etc. We still had fun, though. Eddie LOVED the pigs and kept making the "doggie" baby sign while we were standing at the pen. The night we ate at Crate and Barrel and had a good time watching Eddie eat his applesauce.

The wedding was on Sunday at 11am on a deck overlooking a beautiful lake. I was too busy chatting with the nice ladies at our table and keeping an eye on Eddie to take any pictures during the reception. Instead of a big wedding cake, they had a variety of mini cakes--I even took a chocolate mousse one back to the hotel for that night and it was SO rich that I could only eat half of it!

On Monday morning Eddie and I hung out with Joanne and Kemmie in the hotel lobby area. Our original plan was to take Eddie to the park where my mom and I had taken him the two previous nights so he could play while we chatted...but in true midwest fashion it started raining. Oh well. We still had a great time--but not enough! Us Bower-Levies headed to the airport super early, with the intention of grabbing some lunch on the way. But Eddie fell asleep in the car and we decided to let him sleep so we drove to Madison County to see some covered bridges. You know that movie and book called The Bridges of Madison County? (Yeah, I've not read or seen it either...). Well, it turns out there's an annual festival celebrating said covered bridges. And it was held that weekend. Since it was Monday the festival was over, of course, but we did see one bridge and drove past John Wayne's house.
Eddie was AH-MAZING on the plane, as usual. There was a little fussing, but certainly no screaming or crying. I bought him some new pull-back-to-wind-up-and-go cars at Target before we left and didn't let him see them until we got on the plane. We put the cardboard safety information card over the gap on our tray tables so the cars could zoom across the whole thing. I also brought coloring pencils and paper to entertain him. I know crayons are more age-appropriate but he eats crayons! Yuck. Upon debarking each flight, some nice lady would tell me, "He's a doll and you're such a good Mama." Isn't that always nice to hear?

On one of the Delta flights I was REALLY surprised to discover that there were NO changing tables in any of the 3 bathrooms on board. I've been on probably 8-10 flights with Eddie and EVERY ONE of those has had a place to change babies (just a fold-down table above the toilet in a labeled bathroom). Of course, the flight without a table was the one when he pooped. The flight attendant looked a little miffed when I complained (very nicely)...she retorted with, "well, can't you change him on your lap?" I pointed out that he was a poopy 14 month NO, changing him there was not really an option. She wouldn't let me change him in the aisle/standing room area near the bathrooms so she put a clean blanket on the floor of the bathroom...and I told her to throw it out because it probably got poop on it.

We had a long layover in Denver so we got a big pizza--and Eddie ate two whole pieces!
It was a great trip for Eddie, my mom, and I to hang out and for me to catch up with Joanne and to meet her wonderful wife, Kemmie. I can't wait to plan our next trip to see them--hopefully we can go toward the end of summer so we will be able to can some foods together.

What Would You Do?

Fellow mamas,

If you could have one guilt-free day where you didn't have to deal with...

fussing crying:
Someone using you as a jungle gym:Sticky, dirty, messy:What would you do all day?

I'm taking this coming Saturday "off." No baby duty. Dave has had a couple of weekends all to himself during Eddie's life, but I have not. My sweet babe doesn't need or care to nurse much so after his morning mama-suck, I'll be outta here (unless I want to sleep in...we'll see...).

So what would your ideal baby-free day be like?

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Yesterday Eddie started calling me "Mama!" (The exclamation point is two fold: from my excitement when I hear it and his excitement when he says it.)

I melt into a puddle every time he says it (which is, like, every 5 seconds).

Up to this point he'd just cry out and point to me. Hearing him call me "Mama" is the most beautiful sound EVER. Until he says it in a whiny tone when he's older I know it'll remain my favorite sound.

In order, here are the words Eddie can say at 14 months old:

Sister (referring to Ruby his dog-sister, sounds like "sisler")
Thank you ("teechoo")
Cheese ("chee-ssss")
Doggie (sounds like Dadda but he makes the baby sign for dog)
That ("Daaaaat")
Shoes ("shoe-ssss")
Cull ("uncle," as in Uncle Edward)

He understands a LOT more words than he can say. He can fetch a book, point to the correct dog when he ask him where one of them is, get a ball, grabs my shirt when I ask if he wants to nurse, and lots more.

Not only can be throw a ball, but he is getting pretty good at throwing grain to the chickens through the wire on the coop.

Everyday is so exciting because he's learning SO much new stuff. Most of his delicious baby pudge is gone because he burns so many calories moving around all the time (I swear, he's the wriggliest kid ever). We're thinking of making him an Energizer Bunny costume this year since he just keeps going and going and going and going....I keep hoping MY pudge will disappear from having to keep up with him but so far, it's a no-go.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What Does I O Weigh Boys?

Every time I see a license plate here in Des Moines, Iowa I sing that kid song, "What does I O weigh, boys, what does I O weigh? She weighs a Washington boys, she weighs a Washington..." (The song pronounces Iowa as I O weigh.)

My mom and I are in Des Moines for my college friend's wedding. Joanne has been here in Iowa for the last few years for medical school. I haven't even seen her since my own I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see her. The only crappy thing about going to the wedding of someone you've not seen in a while is that you don't have much time to actually hang out with them between the craziness of the wedding ceremony and reception. In fact, I've only seen Joanne for about 10 minutes so far (the wedding and celebration won't be until tomorrow) but we're planning on having breakfast together on Monday to catch up before our flight home. And I fully plan on coming back for at least a week-long visit someday soonish.

I'll report the details of the trip and the wedding in another post once we get back home. But tonight I just wanted to share these pictures and video of my darling, independent boy finishing his dinner at Cracker Barrel tonight. Holy good god, I love him to pieces.

Mama, I eat by myself like a big boy!Aren't I just the cutest boy ever? I'm so PROUD of myself!Oooh...Mama you're holding the camera! I want to touch it!And if that weren't enough sticky applesauce mess for you, here's the video:

When he was done, I wiped him down, then took him to the bathroom to turn his shirt inside out so he wouldn't get the toys messy (CB welcomes kids to play with all the toys in the store area). His little koala backpack/leash thing will have to wait for a washing when we get home.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep...

Dave has issues with alarms to wake him up in the morning--the problem is that he usually DOESN'T wake up to the alarm right away, it takes a while. And he's a big fan of the snooze button.

It used to drive me crazy when on the weekends he'd forget to turn off the pre-programmed alarm on his cell phone. He usually had two alarms--a get-up alarm (6:30am) and a you'd-better-be-at-work-already alarm (8am--who sets an alarm for that?!). Back before we had Eddie even that 8am alarm drove me nuts on a Saturday morning. I'd kick him until he turned it off.

Last year when my water broke at 3:30am and Dave was up in Gualala, I had to call him twice on his cell phone before he woke up and answered it. When I finally got him on the phone he told me it was a good thing the phone was across the room so he had to walk over to get it, because if it had been next to him he would have just silenced the phone, assuming it was an alarm. Greeeeeeat.

On Sunday Dave cleared his old cell phone of all the stored numbers, charged it, and then gave it to Eddie as a toy. It was cute seeing Eddie walk around the house chatting to himself while he pushed all the buttons on this phone.

Come Monday morning my own cell phone alarm went off at 6:30am so I could get ready before Eddie woke up around 7am. I hit the snooze button once but I could still hear the alarm (pretty faint, but still). What the heck? I must be imagining things. But I could hear it every 5 minutes for about a half hour while I was getting ready. And this morning I had my alarm set for 6:45am instead and the faint alarm sound woke me up early. This time I realized where the sound was coming from: Eddie's room. I was hearing it on the baby monitor! (Luckily Eddie didn't wake up to the sound.)

After I got Eddie up this morning I looked everywhere in his room, but I can't find the dang cell phone to shut off the alarm. I was ticked off, so I texted Dave:

Me: I think you left the f'ing alarm activated on that old phone you gave to Eddie this goes off at 6:30 and I can hear it on the monitor. He doesn't wake up to it, thank god. SERIOUSLY DAVID BOWER????? You and your F'ING ALARMS!

Dave: Hahahahahahaha. I suppose there was an alarm set on that thing. I know that just makes you love me more! I'm glad it didn't wake him up. He must be just like me!

Me: It ISN'T are lucky you are so handsome...........

Monday, October 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Mommy!

Today is my mom's birthday. Just about two years ago she was diagnosed with metastasized breast cancer...and for a while there no one was sure she'd make it to her next birthday.

It goes without saying that we're all SO HAPPY that she's still in our lives.

Happy birthday Mommy! (And you, too, Uncle Bill!)

(The picture above is from Thanksgiving last year.)

Panel Doors

Ugly doors gone...

New panel doors in!We still have to paint them, but they do look nice so far. Especially with the new nickel knobs instead of icky brass ones. And I love, love, LOVE that they don't stick like the old doors--50 years of paint + crappy doors + shifted door frames = sticky doors. Eddie's door was so bad that I nearly woke him up every time I opened his door at night to check on him.

I purposely painted our old icky doors when I was painting the new trim a few years ago. I figured the more I defaced them, the sooner they'd be replaced. Well, that didn't work out so well...we bought the panel doors on clearance at Home Depot about 3 years ago. And then Dave bought most of the hardware a year ago, again on clearance. We wanted to make sure we replaced them before Eddie got old enough to realize that his mama had painted silly things on the doors--we don't want him thinking he's allowed to do the same thing! =)

Thank you for all your hard work, Lover!