Friday, May 28, 2010

There's only one thing sweeter ...

The only thing sweeter than chocolate infused with orange and sprinkled liberally with ribbon candy is a newborn baby.

Well, that's what I was thinking anyway when I got happy news of several new arrivals on the planet Parenthood.

I was also thinking: "Oh-My-God-What-Will-I-Get-Them?"

So. ... I put the two ideas together and came up with a classic gift - A taggie blanket.

Tag Lovie



* Dark brown minky fabric, 11" x 14" (I made the measurement up).
* Orange, non-pilling fleece, 11" x 14" (Just match the measurement you made up for the brown minky fabric).
* A variety of fabric ribbons, at least 4" inches in lenght. My collection is a mixture of purchased just for this project, collected over time as I pass by the dollar bin at Target and saved from boxes of chocolate from chi-chi chocolatiers (That last one is a hint ;).
* Scissors
* Orange thread
* Straight pins
* Sewing machine
* About an hour if you are me or don't have a sewing machine. Twenty minutes if you have the sewing prowess God gave a goat.

ribbon sewing

* Cut about 14 four-inch lengths of ribbon.
* Sandwich the minky and fleece materials so that the outside face each other
* Fold ribbon in half and insert between the blanket material so the loose ends of the ribbon protrude about a quarter inch. Pin the ribbons in place. (I put four, evenly-spaced ribbons on the short ends of the blanket and six on one long end. I left the other long end ribbonless.)
* Sew almost all the way around the outer edges. (I tried to make curved edges, which mostly worked but were uneven).
* Trim any excess fabric outside of the seam. (I forgot this step).
* Turn the blanket inside out and fold the unsewn area inward.
* Topstich around the outside edge. (This is where having even seams would have been nice).

You're Done ...

Tag Lovie

It won't even melt in your hands.

** To provide even more fun, you can attach a baby teether to one of the ribbons before you start sewing or you can sandwich a sheet of crinkly mylar between the fabric layers.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

An illusory reputation


Today was a special day for Ittybit. Not only was I attending a presentation by her enrichment class in the library on the experiment she and several other students had be working on for several months, but I was wearing a dress.

Ittybit had begged and pleaded with me to wear my "wedding dress."

I know what you are thinking. I thought the same thing. And those thoughts must have been so powerful that they immediately jumped from my extremely confused mind to her very clever one.

"Not your wedding dress. The dress you wore to that wedding. The one with the big flowers. Our experiment is all about flowers. You should wear flowers like I am."

Kids are evil, evil little beings who make you do things that go against your nature. Like wearing color and smiling on occasion.

But that's beside the point.

The point I'm dancing around is that in addition to the rare and unnatural sight of me in a dress, I was also tasked with schlepping the "beehive" we found last spring, and that her father had talked up with the librarian.

Only ... as I pointed out more than once to anyone who would listen ... It wasn't a beehive, it was a wasp nest.

No one seemed to care which manner of beast had inhabited the thing once upon a time, all that mattered was the buzz it would create.

And who am I to be a buzz kill.

I had to laugh, though, when we appeared in her class bearing the papery, basketball-sized nest still attached to branches of the bush it had been spun around.

The gasp from students was audible.

"Wow! Your mother really is creative. I can't believe she made that."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

21 Days until school is out for summer

Ittybit's class is celebrating by counting down the alphabet.

Coincidentally (and luckily) "Ama Winda" is visiting on her way through to Maine and brought the perfect gift back from her travels in Mexico just in time for Day 21 - Funky Fashion day ...

funky fashion day

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ice Cream, You Scream

Double dip: cotton candy and bubble gum; Single dip: "danilla"

Oh man, Snow Mans.

Can you believe I've never stopped here for ice cream?

I mean ... I remember my grandfather taking me to Neudecker's when it was a bakery (not a gun shop).

But The SnowMan? ... No memory.

And now, after a taste, I feel as if my childhood has a gigantic hole it that has to be filled with cold, sugary confections.

Ittybit highly recommends Bubble Gum.

The Champ is a "danilla" purist.

Been to any "new" ice cream spots?

Tell me what I'm missing.

Friday, May 21, 2010

No use losing sleepover it


My mom thinks she's too young to be away from family.

She is only six, after all.

I don't know how old I was when I first stayed overnight at a friend's house, although I'm not sure chronology had much bearing on the decision way back when.

Geography was a more likely determining factor.

No one wants to drive too far in the middle of the night to retrieve a crying child. Likewise, no one wants to impose a lengthy period of waiting while another parent has to sooth your homesick sprog.

But here we stand on the bank of this new territory as Ittybit tiptoes in.

It's not a big deal. It's just a few hours.

But there's no denying this waking desire for independence is also a trickle in the river of emotion that will one day separate us.

OK. That's a little dramatic, mom.

I could have picked some age as a benchmark that she would have to reach before she could ride this particular ride.

But unlike an amusement park regulation, this measure would be arbitrary.

She's ready now.

She is brave and willing to explore now.

So we agree. She can go and spend the night with her friend.

Excitement may keep her awake longer, but when she finally closes her eyes, she'll likely sleep through until morning.

If I'm wrong, it's only a few minutes of lost sleep and a few miles in the car.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lately I've been phoning it in

superfriend In another life I was a punk rock icon
Having fun with iPhone and tilt/shift app Around the bend 129/365

I have to admit, the camera phone as a medium is growing on me.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

More than once in a while ...

I wonder why I'm here.

Taking to myself.

In a place accessible to lord-knows-who.

I ask myself, 'Why is it, year after year, I bother trying to start conversations few ever join?'

I know it's because of her ...


and because of him ...

crusty boy

Because, despite our differences in thought and self expression, we are not alone in our experiences. Even though it feels like it most days.

I'm just trying to get it down and put it place where I can't lose it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

From the worst, the best

The Not Awesome: Screaming, fighting, wet-hot mess of a son who won't change his clothes, brush his teeth, take a bath, part with his stinky shoes or eat food that doesn't contain sugar, chocolate or air.

Mighty Roar 130/365

The Awesome: His mighty roar ... and apps that make camera phone look like vintage camera.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Who was that handsome, absorbing man?


Who's the most absorbing super hero ever?

It's not SpongeBob.

It's Bath Towel Man.

Stronger than a roll of two-ply bath tissue.

Faster than an open faucet.

Able to leap giant puddles with a single splash.

1 Bath towel
1 Hand towel (matching color)
2 Washcloths, (contrasting colors)
Loop and hook strips
Fabric scissors
Your kid's ability to suspend disbelief

A computer printout of a giant letter
Sewing machine
The ability to suspend disbelief

First I stared off into space for a very long time.
Then I looked online for instructions.
Finding none that matched my mind's snapshot, I resumed staring into space.

I got a really bad idea and ran with it:

*PIN your letter template to a washcloth and cut it out (I, of course, winged it).
*Next SEW the washcloth letter to the other washcloth with a straight stitch, and then zig-zag stitch all around the inside and outside edges of the letter.
*Then SEW the washcloth insignia to the bath towel. (Mine was all askew, you'll get it centered.)
*Take a hand towel and FOLD it over length-wise about two and a half inches and sew. (This will be the collar.).
* CUT the remainder of the hand towel away so you have a long strip.
* Take the bath towel and SPREAD it out over a table.
* LAY the hand towel piece about seven inches from the top.
* GATHER the bath towel in so that the ends of the hand towel piece extends slightly past the edges of the cape.
* SEW the hand towel to the bath towel
* AFFIX loop and hook strips to the "collar"

That's it. Put it on and you are ready to absorb water droplets everywhere.

superboy model

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Breakfast in bed, and other techniques of diversion


Ding, ding, ding ... That was the sound of the alerts he got with each receipt from the App Store, thanking him for my purchases.

During the course of an upgrade, I inherited my husband’s first-generation iPhone as well as his sophomoric tastes in games and apps such as iFart, Sex Jokes, and Flip Strip, which is essentially a novelty wherein girls become unclothed down to their skivvies as a person turns their cell phone on end (think stripping pens with tattooed ladies).

The mistake he made – beside giving me his App store access code – was leaving the kids in bed with me on Mother’s Day whilst I tried to “sleep in.”

What’s 99 cents here and there for distraction, right?

Ca-ching, ca-ching, ca-ching.

Some of the selections we made included:

Talking Carl (Awyse, $.99). A square, red monster that repeats virtually everything you say at helium pitch. Awesome! The Champ was so enamored of the virtual “pet” that he began referring to Carl has his best friend and asked him if he’d like to watch the movie “Cars” together. The relationship, unfortunately, has turned ugly since the boy learned poking Carl in eye yielded some funny results. You can also pinch and tickle him. Ignoring him makes Carl testy.

TiltShift Generator (Art & Mobile, $.99). This is an app filter you can run on your camera phone pictures to make them look more artsy-fartsy. You can select the area you want to be in focus, the amount of blur and saturation levels. It’s a lot of fun. I also like the idea that photographers can take crappy pictures on a really expensive smart phone and make them look almost as good as if they’d taken really cool pictures on a crappy plastic camera.

My Makeup … OMG (AppsNMinded, $.99)! Remember those Barbie heads that looked like a Mattel version of a beautician’s mannequin? That’s pretty similar to what this app is. “Blake,” “Tia,” “Tessa” and “Brook” are ready for their make-overs as soon as you press the screen over their already over-painted faces. Ittybit loves to choose what garish look this gals will sport. Green mascara and purple lips? Beautiful. Some of the talking heads have English accents while others sound like they’re from The Valley. "Ooh-la-la" (retch).

Tap Tap Revenge 3 (Tapulous, free). You know that ride at the amusement park that’s kind of a cross between the bobsled and a rock concert? Add those plastic balls from a toddler inflatable and Whack-a-Mole, and that’s basically this game. A blend of popular music genres play as you tap little “drains” to the beat before the balls fall in. (I don’t feel like a total dweeb if I play with the sound off.) No matter what you're kids are doing, you can ignore them playing this game.

Flick-A-Pop (The FORM Group, Inc., free). From the makers of Dum-Dum-Pops, this is a game that really fits the definition of “Virtual Reality.” You spin a wheel (for no real reason) and then start racing to clock to eat one Dum-Dum after another. Shake to get a new pop, tap to upwrap it and flick the screen to lick it. The boy, of course, thinks it’s funny to lick the iPhone while playing this game. I think, “at least they won’t get cavities.”

Sheep Launcher Free (Kronos, free). That’s right, a sheep launcher. Push a button and an animated sheep gets jettisoned into the sky. Higher and higher, out of sight it goes gaining you points with the tinkle-tinkling of little stars. To keep it up and launch it higher, you tap the sheep when it starts to fall. I love the concept, but with it also comes the potential for social networking. Turning off all bells and whistles that make it “so much more fun to play” -- such as publishing of results on Twitter and Facebook -- not to mention the amount of advertising it launches at players, makes me realize Sheep Launcher Free is almost worth what I paid. Perhaps I should have sprung for Sheep Launcher Plus for $.99.

So ... What's your favorite app?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chicken Croquet

sticky wicket!

This really IS a sticky wicket!

But persistence really should be the name of the game.

the game

here it comes ... Oh yeah, baby

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I know it's not for me alone ...

But still, a cool birthday present from the New York Times.

See my contribution here.

It'll probably take me until the next birthday to get through it all.

Monday, May 10, 2010

She may have waited her whole life for a boy to love her ...


But now she'd just as soon have his mac-an-cheese.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Mean, rotten, horrible jerks

I said it once, I'll say it again: Kindergarten teachers may seem sweet, but underneath their friendly exterior there is a tiny, hardened and sadistic core.


A note came home with Ittybit, attached to a sheet of pink construction paper, outlining my "homework assignment."

I was to trace my hand and cut it out.

Yesterday THIS came home from school ...

mom' s day

Inside it says, in Annabel's handwriting: "You will hold my hear t forever. - Love Annabel."

To this class of professionals whose job it is to make moms cry, I must also add childcare providers and librarians.

Why do you ask?

See for yourself:


This came home from the babysitter with the boy. Inside it shows construction paper cut outs of his hands with a heart popping out that says: "Mommy, you have my heart! Love, Silas."

library pic

This - an 8 x 10 print of The Champ feeding a goat ("he ate it all up") - came attached to a card from the Nassau Free Library with a note: "I love you, Mommy. Silas"

I tell you, the only thing I need for Mother's Day now is a box of tissue. Thanks for that.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Anyone interested in taking bets on when we'll all go back to journaling with pen and paper?

here you go

That's a semi-serious question. I'm not really the betting sort.

Lately I've been really dreading the internet. Sure, everyone having a voice they can raise to the wilderness is liberating and can be illuminating, yet the immediacy and seeming intractability of the medium has made me weary of where it's all leading us.

It's not that we feel anonymous or impervious that bothers me. It's that there's no real gatekeeper other than a Darwinian survival of the fittest. If it resonates it rises, period.

I suppose in many ways all we are is a mass of cells mixed with water and electrical impulses attached to opinions. We can ask questions. We can cite study. We can judge any number of scenarios without doing either. I suppose it doesn't matter. We all think we have integrity. We all think we are on the side that is righteous.

But what will my opinion matter now or in a thousand years? Probably little.

Perhaps there's real cause for alarm, or perhaps I've just reached the point in historical progressive maturity in which I pine for the good-ol'-days of cassette tapes and Tri-X film ... of driving to work without the distraction of the potential for contstant contact. ... just as my parents wished for the return of wingtips and high-fidelity and the art of letter writing.

Most of all, I wonder what it will be like in the world when my children pine for simpler times. I just can't imagine.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

I often wonder what the neighbors think


Yet, I don't really care if their thoughts come complete with crumpled brow and crinkled nose when they pass our busstop.

Some things may seem made of spit and mud, but if you look more closely you'll see everything about them is really all gilt-edged and august.

Monday, May 03, 2010

So, how was your weekend?

I suppose this really does sum up our weekend ...

New York Times #Moment

And it's probably fitting it took place at exactly 11 a.m. on Sunday when I was trying to document our Moment in Time, an open-source project from Lens, New York Times' photography blog.

This weekend found us all a little over-the-top with emotion. Perhaps we were all just a little overheated, overtired and generally overwhelmed.

So? How'd you're Moment go?