Category Archives: World Domination – Leanne & Jon Plus Spawn

Little House In the Suburbs

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Today is not a good day to start things. Jon is down with the flu and the house is recovering from an influx of Christmas decorations and presents, and the general chaos caused by two working parents with various hobbies and two small children with more toys than a small nation.

While writing this sentence, I’ve set up Jessie’s paints and found Maddox orange and red for a volcano, fielded a disagreement about whether to wash your brush in between paint colors to keep the paints from getting ugly, cleaned up the paints off the floor with Maddox, duct taped a sword back together thrice, narrowly avoided milk on the rug with a hasty switch from a glass to a sippy cup in a cardboard block construction zone, heated up leftover pizza (yes, for breakfast) and demystified the “green specks on the top” as oregano. This is after everyone gets up and dressed, had iPad time, and mom’s had green tea and cleaned up the inevitable cat puke off the rug. I’ve also admired some “very handsome burps” and pretended to eat a block for breakfast and the amusement of a small, pink tyrant who is currently “stuck” to a green chair in order to avoid having to fetch things for herself.

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This is a pretty normal weekend morning, aside from Jon being sick, and is actually pretty great (again, aside from Jon being sick). I wouldn’t change the pace of our life, and would add to the chaos with #3 and #4 if it didn’t mean college debts for everyone and the whole gestation/lactation gig again. I would, however, like to continue to make general changes, even if it’s a slower process than it might otherwise be.

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Having less stuff. For a minimalist, or at least a parent and crafter (two labels that are not generally associated with less stuff), I’d like to have less clutter around the house. Seeing all of the surfaces in our house is never going to happen, but unburying them periodically (and having and getting less stuff to bury them with) is a good thing to keep up. Also, it helps to continue to move out stuff that is no longer beautiful or useful (and not just bagging it and leaving it but removing it from the premises entirely). This is a difficult thing to work on during the holiday season, but I hear it’s entirely possible.

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Reducing the evil presence of flour and processed sugar in our diet. This is particularly difficult for me, as I love sweets and baked goods. Also, the kids love baking, and it’s an activity we can all get behind because, I mean, cupcakes.

Finally, I’d like to simultaneously provide stronger limits on the kids’ iPad time while also encouraging them to play more on their own, or with each other (i.e. with less helicopter parenting). I love pretending to be a banana that is eaten by a monster plant then flushed down the potty into the ocean as much as the next girl (seriously, you should try it) but one cannot emulate a fruit (a starch? I dub thee a fruitstarch.) for all waking hours. For one, you start questioning whether you do actually need to wear pants because do fruitstarches need pants? I think not. For another, your kids grow up with the added expense of needing to hire a troupe of entertainers at all times and they have to save all that cash for professional gambling at Foxwoods (see, we have a fallback in case we have an oops baby and college doesn’t work out for someone).

Life will indeed smack us in the face with a good or a bad something (a last minute birthday party to shop for, sickness, potty training, another fruit fly explosion, overloading our work schedules, anything) but the thing is to try to continue to grow, even with everything going on, but with generosity to ourselves and the understanding that choices and change are part of the every day march, not a extra to do list, or a standalone project to try during free time.

Laugh and Learn Puppy & Other Stories

It’s a great big colorful world out there!  Everything’s got a color that it can wear. Hand! Green hand!  Yaaaay clap clap clap clap clap.

I am starting to dislike our Laugh and Learn Puppy dog.

Of all our toys that talk, sing, giggle and snort, the Laugh and Learn Puppy is the only one that gets on my nerves. Mainly, this is because the song takes over your mind and repeats itself, over and over.

To put this in perspective, this is including a 2 page story that repeats, “Let’s go out to play; it’s a sunny day!” and “Playtime was such fun; it’s bedtime everyone!” over and over.  And a hoe-down banjo toy.  And a talking octopus with a really snotty voice.

In addition to having numerous voices chasing me around the house (nothing new, they’re just outside of my head now), my emotions are still shot to heck.

During pregnancy, it was normal to cry at ads with saccharine plotlines and books where children were eaten.  (Thanks, Desperate Passage.)  But, Maddox and I watched Tarzan today, and I cried through the first 15 minutes of it.  Baby eaten by tigers?  Parents eaten by tigers and baby left all alone?  Sobs, I tell you.

Possibly, both of these reactions are caused by exhaustion. A friend of mine used to say, “Plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead.” This may be true, I don’t know. But if I have to be dead before I get another 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, I may have to scare up a couple of tigers and feed them Laugh and Learn Puppy.

But what the hell. It’s a great big colorful world out there (or so I’ve heard) and Mr. Maddox and I are going to go enjoy it.

Review of Sony Baby Call Baby Monitor – 900MHZ

The Back Story:

It took awhile for me to trust our baby monitor. I didn’t believe that the voice-activate setting would work, and pictured my poor baby crying his head off in the other room.

Note: We live in a 2 bedroom apartment, and there is virtually no room in the house where you could not hear a baby from another room.

So, this is a post for all the other neurotic new moms out there who are worried that their baby monitors won’t actually allow them to monitor their babies.

Product Description

The Sony Baby Call Baby Monitor has three settings: On, off, and voice-active. The “on” setting is a bit much – you hear absolutely everything, and if your baby requires music or a white noise machine to get to sleep, this is not a benefit.

Voice-activate is smart enough to recognize a repeated sound, so it filters out the background noise. The sensitivity is good – it picks up our baby’s cries pretty early on, so he’s hasn’t reached the full-out “WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON” stage by the time we reach him.

The “send” half of the monitor plugs in, and the “receive” half has a detachable plug, so you can carry it from room to room. When the receiver needs to be charged, it beeps at you until you hunt down where you’ve put the plug and recharge the battery.


The monitor costs $45 at Baby’s R Us, and there’s currently a 10% discount if you use the code 930851. It’s $42.50 on amazon, but then of course you have to ship it.

Either way, I think this is a fair price. You and your baby get security, the monitor lasts a long time so you can reuse this with each child you have (or give it to your sister) and you don’t even need to buy batteries.

Overall, the Sony Baby Call Baby Monitor has allowed me to sleep easier, and to stop making 3 minute check-ins when our baby is napping. Also, while letting our baby sleep in his own room is traumatic for Mom, it gives our baby quieter, less-interrupted sleep and will probably decrease the chances that I’ll need back surgery from contorting my body in weird shapes to protect him when he’s in our bed.

Coping with Labor Pains with Technology

I’ve been having contractions throughout the night and into this morning. I’m not sure if they’re the real kind, or if they’re a false alarm – darn those Braxton Hicks.

In any case, I haven’t called the doctor yet because 1) we’re still in the process of recording the time between contractions 2) I’d rather stay home as long as possible and 3) I can still talk (and type) through them.

warcraftbabyOn that note, I figure the best way to get through this is to breathe, blog and play World of Warcraft. It’s hard to be stressed when you’re editing a post or beating down virtual monsters.

I’ve also started our #labor twitter updates. Part of me is reluctant, just in case this is too much personal information to put on the internet, but what the hell, it’s a Brave New World and I’m going to roll with it.

Breathing is pretty self-explanatory – I’m trying to use the coping mechanism Jon’s Mom suggested, which involves kind of going with the pain, and visualizing to help your body do what it needs to instead of resisting this. The fact that I can still be rational about it tells me that this is the very beginning and things are going to get a lot more painful.

nestingI’ve also been resisting urges to clean the fridge, to spray my plants with lemon oil for fruit flies and to do laundry. All these things need to be done, but after hours of off-and-on contractions, I know I’m going to be tired later, and want to conserve my energy.

Wish us luck, and cross your fingers that this is the real deal – we’re ready for this baby to arrive! Drop us a line via Twitter or email – unless the hospital turns off the wireless internet, we’ll be on throughout the day.

Image Credit: Warcraft Baby and nesting

Update from Preggo-land

Well, we’re at T-minus 5 days and counting, and here are some random thoughts that have been collecting in the empty space that used to house my brain:

bouquet-copy1. I feel like a poser every time someone wishes me a Happy Mother’s Day. My Mom, who is amazingly talented at the right gesture in any situation, actually found and mailed me a “Happy Mother’s-To-Be Day” card. If she was in charge of the world, things would run much more smoothly.

On that note, I wish my sister was on Facebook so I could wish her a Happy Mother’s Day without having to use my phone. My newest unobtainable desire is an iPhone, which is so awesome of a phone that you don’t have to speak into it to communicate, you can just email people from any location.

riverview22. Time slows down when you’re waiting for things. Yesterday, we had time to do some contract website work, visit Crane Castle , try out a new pizza place in Ipswich, and we also spent a good two hours hanging out with the Tivo guy, who was very nice and tried hard, but who utterly failed to fix our box.

3. You must get really great upper arm strength once you have a baby. We live on the 3rd floor of our apartment complex, and I was trying to work out the logistics of carrying my laptop, the baby and the baby’s bag down to the car, and I came up with two trips, carrying the baby the whole time.

he-manIt’s sort of like those logic puzzles where you have to cross a river with a wolf, a sheep and a head of sheep-attracting lettuce, and you can’t leave either the wolf or the lettuce with the sheep. So, you just carry those suckers with you everywhere.

Finally, wish us luck! Remember, we’ll be online during the labor until I become incoherent, or, like my friend Sarah suggested, until I have a contraction and snap my laptop in half.

Image credit: he man, original image: bouquet and pizza.

Birth Announcement Location

Today, I had a “non-stress test,” a.k.a. being hooked up to a fetal monitor for 2 1/2 hours in a hospital bed. It is more fun than being shot in the chest and left for dead, but you know, most things are.

I figure that it’s better to be safe, and all those doctors must have some reason for prescribing this, so we’re going to do this once a week until the baby is born.

On the plus side, there may be internet access in the birth center area of the hospital. (Jon was able to get online today during the test.) This means LIVE TWEETS OF THE BIRTH, which is vastly entertaining and should contain choice bits of interesting pregnancy information. That is, if I can type at that point.

If anything, after the phone calls to our parents, this will be the first place where the birth will be announced, so if you want to be one of the first to know, check out our twitter feeds. You can view my updates on my twitter feed, or get Jon’s perspective on his feed.