Sunday, September 26, 2010

September Randomness

So Dan is watching TV and every once in a while I hear "Whoa, that looks awesome," or "This is so much better than the old POS," or "Look Wifey, we can see the score." I know what you're thinking. 1) What do these statements have to do with anything? 2) Why do I even visit this odd gal's blog anyway? 3) I'm here for the baby. Are there going to be cute pictures of Lana?

Here are the answers you're wanting:
1) New TV. We've been married for nearly three years and have been watching a 19 inch television this whole time. It was fine enough for the little apartment, but then we got a real house and a real living room and suffered real eye strain. Here is the old next to the new.

Dramatic difference isn't it?
Now you understand the 'Whoas' and the excitement over being able to see numbers across the room and the dissing of the old TV. (yes, that is the Coug game playing on the little TV. It's the last thing we watched before hooking up the new big screen.)

Oh, and in case you were in Moscow yesterday looking at TVs or mattresses or appliances, that most certainly was NOT my toddler you saw/heard throwing a major screaming and kicking fit in the middle of the showroom floor. Nope, not mine.

2) I dunno. Maybe you're related to me and somewhat contractually obligated to check in here every once in a while. Maybe you like our stories. Maybe you like baby pictures. Or maybe you like cupcakes. Speaking of cupcakes, have you seen Cupcake Wars on TV? It's a cool competition show and they make awesome cupcakes. I saw a cupcake book at the library last week and made some yesterday and then tried my hand at food photography. I promise, these triple chocolate cupcakes taste infinitely better than they look in the picture.

If you come over you can have one. I also made lemon yogurt cupcakes with a white chocolate ganache frosting. Oh yeah, they're good.

3) Well, since you stuck it out this long, I should give you what you've really been wanting:

Lana is oddly attracted to piles of neatly washed and folded laundry. She gets much joy and pleasure from scattering the clothes around the living room and rolling around in them. Sometimes she tries to dress herself in Mama and Daddy's clothes. She's so cute I usually don't mind the mess, even though I end up re-folding everything.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Round Up!

Growing up a resident of eastern Oregon, the Pendleton Round Up wasn't just a rodeo, it was the week of the year that all other weeks were based around. People would say things like, "We'll get around to that after Round Up," or "Better get that done before you're too busy with Round Up." Schools in the county are closed, Friday night football games are played on Thursday, high school bands practice marching formations and everyone makes sure their boots are shined and their Wranglers are pressed. Yeah, it's a big deal.
When I was in middle-school, I (begrudgingly) pounded a drum in the opening parade. Later I got a job selling pop in the grandstands to parched rodeo fans. Another year I sweat in the heat on Main Street cooking up fajitas, and another year I was volunteered by my mum to work in the high school band's concession booth. When I went away to college, I'd come back for the last weekend of Round Up with a car load of girlfriends all looking for their own Pendleton Round Up adventure. We'd spend the day at the rodeo and the night out dancing and get back to my parents house exhausted and then wake up in the morning and make the eight hour drive back to school.

Our Round Up adventures are quite different now and considerably scaled back. This year we watched the Westward Ho! parade. Dan and I figured Lana would like all the animals and enjoy the marching bands. We were wrong. She liked sitting in a nearby tree.

Lana fussed through most of the parade and then fell asleep for the rest. Oh well, the parade was pretty cool and the grown-ups liked it.

To celebrate the 100 year (give or take) anniversary of the Pendleton Round Up, the parade opened with 100 riders carrying 100 American flags. This picture doesn't really do it justice; it really was quite impressive.

The parade also boasted several marching bands, lots of rodeo queens and my personal favorite, restored horse-drawn coaches and carriages.

My Grandpa Bob is a past champion of the Pendleton Round Up and he and my Grandma Ree came to town for the festivities and a big reunion of champions. I hadn't seen them for over a year and it was great to catch up with them both. They each doted on Lana and we got this picture of 4 generations of lovely ladies.
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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mother of the Year

Lately here on the ol’ blog it’s been pretty sweet. Pictures of a cute little girl in the midst of her adorable toddlerhood, musings of a first-time mother, and sentimental nostalgia make for a rather Norman Rockwellian image of life at our place. Alas, it’s not all like that. Lest you start to believe I have super powers greater than the average mom, I give you this:

To the Mother of the Year Award Committee:
I have previously submitted entries nominating myself for the esteemed Mother of the Year Award, however, I believe this current application and nomination is far superior to my previous ones.

Reason #416 Why I am Mother of the Year
Several weeks ago our family went on a lovely trip across the state. We made it back in time for me and Dan to get the laundry done and unpack the bags. Lana had started to develop a runny nose and a slight cough and I worried that she might be getting sick. I made a mental note to ask Miss Belinda to keep an extra watchful eye on her. I put Lana to bed normally and she slept through the night. Sometime in the night I awoke to hear her coughing. I listened, hoping it wouldn’t wake her, and she seemed to settle down fine. I didn’t hear any other disturbances the rest of the night.
The next morning I hit my snooze button twice before I finally got out of bed. Once it hit me that I was running late I ran to get ready and get Lana ready. She was still sound asleep when I went into her room and her blankets were balled up in the corner of her crib. I quickly changed her, got her a bottle and threw dinner fixins’ in the crock-pot. I made sure to close her bedroom door so she wouldn’t toddle in there and get herself in trouble. After a quick breakfast and teeth-brushing, we were out the door, and we weren’t even late.
That evening I was actually feeling pretty good about myself. Lana had a good day with Miss Belinda and I got a lot accomplished at work, including a lunch-time run. The house smelled wonderful because of the bubbling crock-pot dinner. Dan came home and the three of us enjoyed a nice dinner together and we got our chores done.
It was only upon entering Lana’s room to get her ready for bed that I noticed a problem. Well, actually at first I wasn’t sure it was a problem, but I definitely noticed a horrible smell. It was overpowering and unfamiliar, not a typical “baby smell” I was used to. I checked the diaper pail and the dirty clothes hamper – nothing. I wondered if there was a dead mouse hidden away somewhere. Finally, I checked the crib and found the blankets in the corner were covered in putrid vomit. Yes, you read that right, I said vomit. Sometime in the night (presumably when I heard her cough) my sweet baby girl threw up and just slept through it. In the hustle and hubbub of getting us both ready and out the door on-time, I didn’t notice that she was sick and had puked in her sleep. I failed to be aware of the overall health and well-being of my child. I let her go out for the day when she needed to stay home.
I called Dan in and we stripped the bedding, got out clean linens and took Lana’s temperature. She had a very slight fever, so we gave her some Tylenol. She slept fine and had no fever the next morning. Even though she bounced back from the incident, it in no way excuses my behavior or the fact that I let my baby sleep in her own vomit.
I understand that the Mother of the Year Award Committee has already reviewed my previous entries, including #4 I Starved my Baby the First Four Days of Her Life, #81 I Drove Across Town with the Child Seat Not Securely Fastened, #101 I Force-fed my Daughter Peas and #234 I Took Pictures of my Screaming Child Instead of Consoling Her When She had the Biggest Meltdown Ever. I believe this current entry, #416 My Daughter Puked in Her Sleep and I Didn’t Notice Until 13 Hours Later far exceeds the merits of the previously submitted ones. According to the Mother of the Year Award rulebook, entries are judged year-round with a final decision made in late December. I assure you, I will consider your gold statuette a fine Christmas present and will have an appropriate place on my shelf cleaned and dusted, awaiting its arrival. I look forward to hearing from the committee later this year.

Thank you,
Shelle Lenssen
Nominee, 2010 Mother of the Year

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lessons Learned by a Working Mom

The beginning of September marks a huge milestone for me. On September 1st last year, I ended my maternity leave and became a full-time working mom, or WOH mom for short. (WOH stands for works-outside-home. I certainly would never dis my stay-at-home mom (SAHM) friends. As it was explained to me early on, all mothers work full-time, some in the home and others out.)

My first day back to work was tougher than I thought it would be. Miss Patti had to literally take Lana out of my arms. I cried the entire way to work and for ten minutes or so in the parking lot. I cried again when Dan called to check on me before I walked in the building. Fortunately no other day this year has been more difficult than that first day.

It’s been a challenging year. I knew it would be when we started on this adventure, but I never dreamed of all that we’d go through and all that I’d learn. Here’s a sampling of lessons and wisdom gained from the past year:

1. Spit up happens. It just does. It took me a few days, but I quit freaking out and just changed clothes (mine and Lana’s) and moved on. Poo happens too.

2. If I need to wear nice clothes for a special work event, I get the baby and myself ready while still wearing my pjs. Once she’s loaded in the carseat, then I quickly change into my good clothes.

3. Meal planning gets old, but it is the only way I know to guarantee I always drive home from work knowing what’s for dinner and what I need to do to get in on the table by 6:00.

4. The crock-pot is my friend. We’re BFFs. Seriously, I put ingredients in it in the morning, turn it on, set the timer, and viola! Dinner is ready when I get home.

5. Tickle time takes priority over house cleaning time. I would much rather hear Lana laugh than have a spotless house. Remember that if you come over and see the light fixtures need a good dusting and all the laundry isn’t folded.

6. Some mornings, everything takes twice as long as it should. I don’t know if it’s due to the pull of the moon or what, but occasionally my hair won’t cooperate, I’ll have to change clothes (see #1), Lana will have to be changed (again, see #1), she’ll take sooooo long to eat, I’ll drop the mascara wand on my face and shirt and have to change again and wash my face, and I’ll realize after we’ve driven three miles down the road that I forgot the diapers. Yup, mornings like that happen.

7. I work with a great group of people, but as wonderful as I think my daughter is, I know they don’t want to hear about her all the time. Nope, they don’t care that she babbled adorably or didn’t sleep as well as expected and I’m exhausted; they just care that I get my work done.

8. I now run after-work errands according to the child restraints involved. For example, running to the grocery store is fairly do-able because Lana can be put in the shopping cart seat. Going to the bank however is much, much tougher. The bank has no shopping carts and no way to contain a 14 month-old. Bank trips now happen on my lunch.

9. My supportive, encouraging husband is worth his weight in gold. He works hard every day. He comes home with a kiss and a hug for each of his girls. He eats what I put on his dinner plate, even when it looks questionable, and he usually is ready with a compliment. He never complains about the chores that have to be done and looks for ways to make things easier for me. He’s the best Daddy little Lana-girl could ask for and the greatest husband ever.

10. I like things done a certain way and I prefer order and routine to randomness and chaos, but that’s not always the way things happen. I’ve learned that being flexible and just rolling with the waves is the best way to not go crazy.

So, Been-there, Done-that Moms, please share your wisdom with this working-mom rookie. What lessons are there still to learn? What are the best ways you know to do it all?