Monday, February 27, 2006

screen free

This weekend I challenged myself to a rather daunting task: turn off my laptop and put it out of my sight, and don't watch any TV or movies. I had grown weary of pulling myself away from both types of screens bleary-eyed and exhausted. I wouldn't classify myself as a "screen-addict" - but I felt it was time for some detox.

There were literally piles of magazines that I truly love to scour waiting for me. There are always books that are in need of reading. And I'd been longing for some old-fashioned journaling. So Friday night the computer went away. And Saturday was completely, well, I guess the word I keep coming back to is Organic.

Usually, when Ella is napping or down for the night, I click on the Internet and Go. I've got places to be, things to check, e-mails to send, people to IM, blogs to read, etc etc. While most these things are worthy causes in my mind, I've come to realize that I don't need to go to all of these sites every single time the child takes a nap. It's become a habit, and it's about time this habit gets broken.

So what did I do with these screenless hours? At first, I thought about all the things that I could be checking on the Internet. Then I realized that it was a bigger part of my life than I expected. I wanted to check the weather. Couldn't. Wanted to put a couple of books on hold at the library. Ironic, huh? Wanted to check (I realize this is unavoidably nerdy, and I have an actual dictionary, but the website is so much easier. Which makes me mad at myself because whenever Andy and I try to find a phone number, I race him in finding it - him on the internet, me with the phonebook. I keep trying to prove that the "hardcopies" of information are still valid. whoa, sidetrack).

Even all the magazines I was reading referenced websites, and I had to earmark all the places I wanted to go back and look up later. But I got to read some ever-welcomed Goudge, and spent time just quiet. I wrote a long list of things that I either want to do, or wish I wanted to do, and hopefully will someday soon get done. Creative things.

So now the weekend is up, and "real life" has started again. And while it's not the norm that I have the house completely to myself, save for the nursery where aformentioned baby is sleeping, I can apply my little weekend's "retreat" to the everyday. I can keep my computer not-quite-so-accessible, so that it's a concerted effort to get to it. And when my eyes have glassed over in front of the television, for goodness sake, turn it off!

I am so looking forward to the Spring, just so we can spend some time outside. On Friday, Andy and I played with Ella in our front yard. And after spending a good portion of the time trying very hard to not put her hands in the grass, Ella finally worked up the nerve to gingerly crawl around. Soon, she was off like a crazy woman, exploring and trying to put every single leaf in her mouth.

Oh yeah, she also took her very first steps that day. What enticed her? None other than a cell phone dangled in front of her excited little face. Since then she's taking her sweet time working up to another stroll, so we're still waiting for the walking machine. And Ella-proofing Phase 4 is about to begin...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

no family bed for me

When Ella was in her first few months of life, she would often find her way into our bed for a nap or for the critical post-6am window, where I would try to keep her sleeping for as long as possible. And by "finding her way" I mean that it was Always me putting her into bed with us. I just loved snuggling close with my little baby (but not too close - for fear of suffocation).

She was so small that Andy didn't even always know that she was in there with us, unless she made some sort of noise. I think she slept better because she loved being held All of the time, and there was that comfort knowing that her life source (aka: mother) was nearby.

My friends, those days are over. Last night, Andy was out of town (the first time in a Long time) and I decided to harken back to the days of Mommy and Ella sleepovers. I learned 2 things from this less than 1 hour experience. First, the concept of "the family bed" (an entire family sleeping together in one big bed) baffles me more than it ever has before. I am not venturing to argue against it as a whole, but all I know is that Alison and Ella Osenga do not share a bed well in this current stage of life. I like to spread out - so does she.

During our little together time, this child rolled on top of me, pulled my hair, hit my face and chest, kicked my stomach, and almost rolled off our (rather high) bed onto the hardwood floor. All in her sleep. I fondly remembered the days when she would snuggle up to me and Stay. I put a pillow on the other side of her merely as a precaution, not as a laughable deterrent.

Second, I think for the first time since this child was a twinkle in my blue-grey eye, I truly understood the brilliance of a crib. And a bumper pad. For all the reasons listed above, it's a good thing that crazy-sleeping baby has a trusty enclosure - and something soft to barrel against. It's also good for me to be able to have a night or two where I can thrash around, and my poor husband doesn't get nearly pushed off the (rather high) bed onto the hardwood floor.

Monday, February 20, 2006

birds and births

Friday night I went to my first-ever painting class. It was held at this cool little place on 12th south called the Art House. I went with my friends Leslie and Kristen, and after 2 hours we walked away with masterpieces. Actually, none of us were terribly thrilled with our results, but we all want to go back for more.

It was a great format, in that we couldn't make tons of choices. That was one thing I was kind of afraid of before we got there. What if I had to pick something out of the clear, blue sky to paint? There's no way I would be able to pick, much less know how to paint it. So it was a relief when we walked in and the instructor handed us palettes with 3 paint colors and told us to just fill up the canvas with color. The only rule was that we couldn't paint in straight lines. Totally manageable.

While we let the paint dry, she explained the basics. Some people in there had painted before and knew all about the color wheel and planes and things of that nature. I knew absolutely nothing. I ventured a few answers to questions she gave the group. I got them wrong. It's a good thing the class was called "painting for dummies."

We then picked one of two things to paint. It was between a bird and a vase of flowers. Although no one outside of the class has yet to guess what it is, I painted a bird. We basically copied a very avant-garde bird sketch she had for us, and then practiced our new-found knowledge in the techniques of color contrast, shading, texturing and such. My bird was by far the fattest in the class, and the colors weren't at all what I had envisioned them to be. I was hoping for a serene, yet jovial, scene filled with light blues and greens, with a splash of yellow and white. I ended up with dark reds and oranges, and varying shades of green. But it really was a good experience, and the right side of my brain is craving more.

The next night I found this Chickadee and did my best at copying it with pencil and paper. The result actually looks like a bird, so that's encouraging.

Also, today is Andy's 27th birthday. Hooray!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

It's official

I've reached a whole new level of motherhood. This morning I found a pacifier nestled in my nursing tank top. Since I've been wearing this shirt since yesterday, I have no idea how long the pacifier had been resting there. Awesome.

Monday, February 13, 2006

hello, caffeine - goodbye, leftovers

After over 2 years of all-natural energy, I've moved back to the dark side. Or the light, depending on how you look at it. I almost can't believe I made it as long as I did without this legal drug. I went through my whole prenancy and almost the whole first year of Ella's life without so much as a sip of coke. Two years without Baja's fruit tea! No more, my friends. I have welcomed the sweet goodness back into my life.

Funny enough, I'm not getting the bursts of synthesized energy I was anticipating. I must be way more exhausted than I had expected. Granted, I'm not even drinking a full bottle of coke (note: being from the south, "coke" indicates any carbonated beverage - my preference is actually Pepsi) or cup of fruit tea at a time. I thought that after so long an absence, there would be more of an effect. I suppose the ever-present dark circles under my eyes suggest otherwise.

The healthy answer, I realize, is to sleep more, but I'm still working on being a better time manager. I also need to be a better food manager (how's that for a segue?). I either need to master the art of cooking for exactly how many people are eating that night (usually 2) or we need to start eating the leftovers. I clean out our refrigerator every Wednesday night (trash day is Thursday) - and, without fail, there are multiple meals that get thrown away.

I admit that I am slightly neurotic when it comes to tossing food. If it's been in the fridge 3 days, I begin to question it's integrity. Andy, on the other hand, eats hamburgers on buns that have literally been sitting out for three weeks. We need to come to a happy medium. I Do feel guilty about not eating the leftovers when there are starving children in Africa (although I still don't quite get the exact correlation - if I could send them the actual leftovers I would).

So last night Andy and I ate what may be leftovers. It was cooked but never even partially eaten - just refrigerated - so it seemed a bit more appetizing than a half-eaten cuisine. It wasn't. Actually, the mashed potatoes weren't bad - nor were the green beans. But no matter how much lemon juice I spritzed on the chicken, it just wouldn't produce any moisture. Chicken breasts were not made to be microwaved after being fully cooked and seasoned.

Good thing we're eating take-out tonight.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


At long last, we have a new dining room and kitchen floor. All last week we poured the required blood, sweat and tears into the project. This involved ripping up the (extremely gross) carpet and (not so bad but i'm happy to see it go) linoleum, painting above the chair rail in the dining room so that it matches it's lower half in the "red red wine" variety, painting the kitchen the perfect shade of yellow, and putting in our "hardwood" floors.

Okay, so Andy did all the flooring. He and cousin Dean rocked it, and did a mighty fine job. I commandeered the painting with the help of some very kind friends. And all day last Wednesday (and naptime on Tuesday) I imposed upon some more kind friends so that Ella wouldn't lose her hearing and I wouldn't lose my sanity. If it weren't for everyone's help I think we would still be rolling up the (so disgusting I can't even think about it) carpet.

Projects are never really ever finished, though (at least not around here), so we have some trim work to do, and some painting on the cabinetry - but the bulk of it is finished, and it looks amazing. Ella is slipping and sliding all around the floor, and seeing just how much she can make her voice reverberate in the "new" space. The rest of us are slipping and sliding on the floor, and it's become a new favorite past time (for me, anyway). If you take a running start all the way down the hall, you can slide almost the entire length of the room. Good times.

It's amazing how fast things pile up in a week's time. I've done six loads of laundry in the past twenty-four hours, and have at least three more waiting. There are almost no provisions left in the fridge, so a massive grocery trip is in the near future. There are bills to be paid, and CDs to be shipped. There are bathrooms to be cleaned, and babies to be bathed (I didn't wait a week to bathe Ella, but she's due for another one). There's our Tuesday tradition to resume. Most importantly, there are nights to spend just hanging out, enjoying our surroundings and each other.