✍ All sorts of new and exciting things coming up for the cast of L to the Third so stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thankful

 My mom and Sammy

In the hustle and bustle of trying to load up the truck and get Sammy prepped for a six-hour road trip yesterday morning, I totally forgot to write a blog post.  Oops!  I have the feeling that I'm going to need a couple of days to recover from the Thanksgiving trip home--I was seriously spoiled by my family this last go round.  My mom and dad are early risers, as is Sammy, so as soon as they heard him stirring in the morning, they would come and take him into the living room to play so I could sleep in a bit.  And if I felt like running to the store in the evening after Sammy had gone to sleep for the night, my dad was home to watch him.  And even though I love to take Sammy antiquing with me, it was nice to be able to leave him in the capable hands of my mom while I took advantage of some of the great sales. If I wanted a little bit of alone time, my brother was also on hand for entertaining Sammy.  On top of all that, my mom washed Sammy's bottles every evening and helped me stuff the clean diapers for the next day.  It was soooooooo nice to have someone take care of me (and Sammy) for a little bit.  I think it goes without saying, but I am so incredibly thankful for my family.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Foto Friday: Food and Family

I hope everybody had a lovely Thanksgiving yesterday!  I took the day off from my blog so that Sammy and I could spend the day with my family; Sammy marked the occasion of his first Thanksgiving by rolling over from his back to his tummy in front of me and his grandparents (now we just need to work on going from his belly to his back), while I celebrated Sammy's first Thanksgiving in a different way by introducing a new solid food to him--carrots. They appeared to be a big hit if this face is to serve as any indication:


Ann Marie, aka the Household 6 Diva, is hosting a new photo link-up each Friday over at her blog and this week's theme is food and family.  Click below to check out this week's photos:

Household6Diva FotoFriday

The MilSpouse Friday Fill-In will be back next week, so it looks like Fridays around here are going to be all about MilBlogs.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Five-Month Update


Sammy is now five months old; sheesh, where does the time go?  I'm going to guess that he weighs at least 15 1/2 pounds (or so my back tells me) and he's definitely pushing the 26" length limit on the bjorn.  To give you an idea of his size, Sammy is now wearing nine-month sized clothing.  Seriously--who keeps putting miracle grow in his bottles?  Speaking of bottles, Sammy has begun to eat solid foods and has mastered bananas; this week I'm going to introduce carrots so hopefully that will go as well as bananas did.  Sammy enjoys sitting up on his own and has recently discovered his toes as a result.  Sammy has also mastered passing toys back and forth from each hand and enjoys feeling the texture of everything, including my face and glasses.  He may have rolled over from his back to his tummy the other day, but this feat was done while no one was paying close attention (one minute he was on his back and the next he was on his tummy) and has yet to be repeated so I'm not going to call that one in the bag just yet.  He loves talking to his dad on Skype and gets excited whenever he sees me open up the laptop.  Sammy is one happy little guy--all you have to do is say hi to him and you're pretty much guaranteed a big gummy smile in return (no signs of teeth yet).  Unless, of course, you happen to be Santa Claus.  Sorry Santa.


Hopefully in the next few weeks I'll get my act together enough to finally get his room started.  Sammy's lovely little habit of talking himself to sleep, while endearing, is keeping me awake at all hours since it takes place roughly 6 inches from my ear.  Don't get me wrong--I love that he can soothe himself, I just wish he did so in a more quiet manner.  My plan is to have Sammy in his own room by the time he turns six months, which is right around Christmas.  (Learn from my mistake and don't wait until after your kid is born to do his room--I don't know what I was smoking when I thought, "Why yes, I'll do a nursery all by myself while simultaneously taking care of an infant!  Easy peasy!"  I blame the pregnancy hormones.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A view of fall from above

This week's theme at Paper Heart Camera is a view from above, while the theme over at the Trendy Treehouse is fall.  Done and done.  (Don't worry about Sammy's bare feet-it was unseasonably warm when I snapped this photo.)


Be sure to check out the other entries by clicking here:

Photography love...

And here:


ShutterLoveTuesdays

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stylin' and profilin'


Lacey over at the blog Guinn and Bare It has bestowed upon me a Stylish Blogger Award; to accept I have to share seven facts about myself and then present the award to other blogs that I consider stylish.  Here goes:
  1. I am the oldest of three siblings and the only girl.
  2. I say "pop" and refuse to use the word "soda." 
  3. I've split my head open, broken my arm, broken my nose, sprained most of my fingers, and have shin bones like swiss cheese thanks to multiple stress fractures.  Yay sports!
  4. I have a Bachelor's degree in East Asian Studies...that I have never actually used in the "real world." I am somewhat embarrassed by this fact.
  5. After college I lived in Philadelphia; during that time I worked for the Freemasons--you know, the guys who wear aprons and drive funny little cars.  It was an interesting three years of my life.
  6. I am three credits shy of claiming a Master's degree in the History of Decorative Arts and doubt that I'll ever get around to finishing.  I am rather embarrassed by this fact.
  7. I'm going to see a therapist today for the first time ever.  I'm nervous yet hopeful.  Wish me luck!
And now for the latest round of victims...er, I mean recipients; I've decided to pick some of my newest (and obviously stylish) followers so that I can learn a little more about them.  Drum roll please:

Brea at Utterly Chaotic
Adrienne at Right Here, Right Now
KAE at Anchor's Away
Wife on the Roller Coaster from Riding the Roller Coaster
Sarah from Hyphenation Diaries

Have fun ladies!

Ouch

How to tell if your new running shoes are broken in in one easy step: Is there blood?  If you answer yes, then they are not broken in yet.  Also, you may want to look into some band-aids.

Friday, November 19, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

In an effort to learn more about fellow MilSpouse bloggers, Wifey from Wife of a Sailor started this weekly meme;  here are this week's questions.

1. If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs - such as food and water - were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?

My laptop (with an infinite supply of batter power) and a wireless internet connection--assuming, of course, that Captain Husband, Sammy & Sandy were out of the question.

2. If you were a salad, what kind of dressing would you have?

Raspberry vinaigrette.

3. If you had to live on a ranch, what kind of animals would you raise/own?

I think I would have a ranch full of cats.  And then I would do this:



4. If your life was was portrayed as a movie, who would you choose to play you and your significant other?

Hmmm...Zooey Deschanel for me (I wish) and Edward Norton for Captain Husband.

5. What was the last thing you put a stamp on (envelope, duh, but what was in the envelope)?

My registration form for the Burgettstown Turkey Trot; it's a 5K fun run/walk held every Thanksgiving that my family has participated in since it began in 1993.  I don't feel so guilty about eating that second piece of pumpkin pie after having walked three miles first thing in the morning.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Flying solo

Illustration scanned from The Big ABC Book (New York: Z. E. Harvey, Inc., 1961)

My brother came down for a visit this past weekend; I love when he comes down because it gives me a bit of a break and it's also nice to have another person in the house to talk to and eat dinner with, etc.  While he was here, we made a special trip to the Super Target about a half an hour from the house to see what they had in stock that my local Target didn't (turns out it had quite a bit more--must be why it's so super).  We walked around the store for about an hour or so and I found a few things for Sammy's foray into eating solid foods, like some waterproof bibs and feedings spoons.  We then headed back to the house, and my brother carried his overnight bag up the stairs, huffing and puffing the whole way (I live in a stacked townhouse, so it's about 3 1/2 flights of stairs to reach the main living level).  As he made it to the top, he turned to me and said, "Wow, I have no idea how you do this every day."  All I could do was laugh as I mounted the stairs behind him with all 15 1/2 pounds of Sammy in his car seat hanging from my left arm while the diaper bag, bjorn, and two Target bags dangled from my right.

I'll be honest--the hardest part about being a solo parent isn't the loneliness (though it comes close), it's being responsible for everything on top of caring for Sammy.  The little things wear me down the most, like having to wash bottles every. single. night.  Or cleaning out the litter boxes.  Or taking out the trash.  It's being on house arrest as soon as Sammy's head hits the co-sleeper at 6:30 pm.  Running low on formula or fresh out of eggs?  Too bad-it'll have to wait until tomorrow because I can't leave the house.  After a while I start to feel like Sisyphus; no matter how hard I push that damn rock up the hill, it's going to roll right back down to where I started the day before.  This is why I don't often talk about my experiences in solo parenting; I'm afraid that I'll come across like an entitled, spoiled jerk of a person who doesn't realize how good she really has it.  I know, at least in the "big picture" sense, that this period of my life isn't going to make or break me, but every now and then the daily minutiae threatens to swallow me whole.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Going bananas


Yesterday I gave Sammy his first taste of "solid" food: a yummy mashed-up banana mixed with a little formula (I wussed out over the weekend).  Here's a video of the action (please excuse the poor camera work; I was trying to film and feed him at the same time):



All in all I think Sammy handled things pretty well; there was no screaming or crying (on either of our parts) and he actually seemed to enjoy the process although he was comically perturbed by the introduction of the spoon.  Just look at that face (it probably didn't help that every time he made it, I laughed).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Show and tell: From where I'm sitting

The latest challenge over at Paper Heart Camera is to show off a photo taken from where you're sitting.  In this case, I was sitting on the floor of the living room, playing with Sammy (have I mentioned how excited I am about him sitting up?!?).  If you look closely you can see Sandy's stealth photobomb in effect.


Photography love...

Baby Braelyn!


Introducing Braelyn, the daughter of my friend, Josy. She was born on November 5 at 1:20 AM and was seven pounds, seven ounces and twenty inches long. She's such a little peanut!  Sammy and I got to meet her the other day and she's already got her mom and dad wrapped around her little fingers.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fall feasting

I've been meaning to start cooking more often now that it's not 80 billion degrees outside anymore.  Two of my favorite things to make are no-knead bread and cheddar-cauliflower soup--they're both relatively easy (I don't do difficult when it comes to food) and together they combine to become the perfect meal that totally hits the spot on crisp fall days.  Before beginning, it's imperative to have some tunes to dance around to while prepping the ingredients as well as having a happy helper in the kitchen to lend a hand or two.


I cheated a bit and made the bread the day before; here's how it looks after it's just been taken out of the oven.  (It's best to make this on a cool day as the oven will totally heat up your entire house.)


After chopping up the onions and roasting them in the dutch oven (snicker), it's time to add the cauliflower.  Here's a cauliflower-browning action shot--can you feel the excitement?  Note the handle-cover thing-a-ma-jigs...if you use cast iron a lot, these are worth buying as they make it possible for you to actually hold onto the pot while you're stirring or using an immersion blender.  I think I bought the set at Williams-Sonoma.


Once you're finished adding the stock (I tweaked the recipe a bit and use vegetable stock rather than chicken), cream, blending and stirring in the cheese, this is what you will end up with.  I like to toast the bread to give it an extra little bit of crunch and dip it in my soup.  It's also been scientifically proven that Fiesta Ware actually increases the tastiness of all foods eaten off of it.

 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Are you sitting down?

Earlier today I was Skyping with my friend, Julianne, and her daughter, Lillian (who's three weeks older than Sammy), and we were having a good time pretending that the two kiddos were actually conversing with one another. In an effort to make myself more comfortable I moved Sammy off of my lap and sat him on the floor. To my utter surprise, he remained there, sitting on his own accord.  I went to get my camera, half convinced that he'd have tumbled over by the time I got back, but nope, he was still sitting there like a champ.



I think he read my post about holding off on starting him on solid foods until he could sit up on his own and the cheeky monkey decided to call my bluff.  Looks like I've got myself a new weekend project.

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

In an effort to learn more about fellow MilSpouse bloggers, Wifey from Wife of a Sailor started this weekly meme;  here are this week's questions.
  
1. Were you named after anyone? 

I don't want to name names (ha!), so let's just say that my mom was a big fan of the show Little House on the Prairie, so I'm named after one of the main characters...if you read last week's MilSpouse Fill-In, it should be pretty easy to figure out.  My middle name is my dad's first name.

2. What color, if any, are your toenails usually painted? 

Usually some version of fuschia/hot pink although at the moment they're peacock blue.

3. How do you flush a public toilet? Hands? Feet? Something else? 

I'm totally a foot flusher.

4. When you were a little kid, which TV character did you have a crush on? 

Magnum P. I.  I knew that Tom Selleck's mustache was a special kind of awesome even at a young age.

5. Let's say you had to lose one of your five senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell).  Which one would you choose? Why?

I think I'd have to go with smell; trust me, if you had to change Sammy's diapers, you'd totally understand.  And I could certainly live without having to smell a litter box ever again.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

In thanks and gratitude to America's veterans, as well as those currently serving, and their families; your bravery and sacrifices will not be forgotten.

The Things That Make a Soldier Great by Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959), 1918

The things that make a soldier great and send him out to die,
To face the flaming cannon's mouth nor ever question why,
Are lilacs by a little porch, the row of tulips red,
The peonies and pansies, too, the old petunia bed,
The grass plot where his children play, the roses on the wall:
'Tis these that make a soldier great.
He's fighting for them all.

'Tis not the pomp and pride of kings that make a soldier brave;
'Tis not allegiance to the flag that over him may wave;
For soldiers never fight so well on land or on the foam
As when behind the cause they see the little place called home.
Endanger but that humble street whereon his children run,
You make a soldier of the man who never bore a gun.
What is it through the battle smoke the valiant soldier sees?

The little garden far away, the budding apple trees,
The little patch of ground back there, the children at their play,
Perhaps a tiny mound behind the simple church of gray.
The golden thread of courage isn't linked to castle dome
But to the spot, where'er it be — the humblest spot called home.
And now the lilacs bud again and all is lovely there
And homesick soldiers far away know spring is in the air;
The tulips come to bloom again, the grass once more is green,
And every man can see the spot where all his joys have been.

He sees his children smile at him, he hears the bugle call,
And only death can stop him now -- he's fighting for them all.

***
My great-grandfather, Frank Libert (1894-1986), World War I Veteran
 
***
My great-grandfather, Andy Rapacuk (1895-1979), World War I Veteran
***
My great-grandfather, Harry Ivory (1891-1963), World War I Veteran
***
My grandfather, John Libert (1923-1977), World War II Veteran
 ***
My grandfather, John Ivory (1927-1974), World War II Veteran
***
My husband, OIF & OEF Veteran

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A crafty gathering

This past Saturday my friend Gretchen held a crafting get-together at her place in Fredericksburg; on the to-do list were pom-pom acorns (inspired by these), a squirrel garland, and modern 3-D wreaths.  As an added bonus my friend Phil volunteered to watch Sammy for a large chunk of the afternoon so I could get my craft on without worrying about Sammy gluing pom-poms to his face.  I helped Phil load Sammy into the bjorn and they headed off to do some male bonding.


I'm not much of a wreath person, so I didn't bring any materials to make my own 3-D wreath (and let's be honest--I took one look at the supplies needed and instructions and was promptly overwhelmed), so I spent most of the wreath-making portion of the afternoon eating the awesome butternut squash soup that Gretchen had made and helping to cut out circles and applying Mod Podge for the other ladies' wreaths.


Of course, after seeing how awesome their wreaths turned out (and how much fun they were to put together), I was sort of kicking myself for not making one myself.  Oh well.  While waiting for all of the glue and Mod Podge to dry, we moved on to making the pom-pom acorns, which was more of my speed as it was pretty simple.  Pick an acorn cap, select a pom-pom, add glue, and voila!  You're done.

 

While the ladies were putting the finishing touches on their wreaths, Meghan and I tried our hands at making the squirrel garland.  It seemed simple enough--just trace the squirrel pattern onto accordion-folded paper and cut.  Except for some reason Meghan and I seemed incapable of making neat accordion folds, and when I traced the pattern onto my paper, I was left with a deformed mutant of a squirrel; I tried again and yielded much better results the second time around.


We all had such a good time that we're going to try and get together to do this every month or so.  Now I need to find something that's Christmas-appropriate for next month; anyone have any ideas or recommendations?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Shutter Love: Brown

This week's theme at the Trendy Treehouse is brown so I entered this photo that I took a while back in the cellar of an abandoned eighteenth-century fieldstone farmhouse not too far from where I grew up in western Pennsylvania.  Derelict and full of ennui--what's not to like?


You can check out the other entries by clicking here:

ShutterLoveTuesdays

Mount Vernon

Thank you all for the well-wishes; I'm feeling much better today so my fingers are crossed that I'll be fully recovered soon.  And now back to our regularly scheduled programming:


Some of my husband's family were in DC this past week so I suggested that we meet up at Mount Vernon, one of my very favorite places in Virginia.  I was eager to introduce Sammy and his cousins to the awesomeness that is the home of all things George Washington, a.k.a. my eighteenth-century boyfriend.  We purchased our tickets and then made our way around the grounds, taking time to visit with all of the farm animals.


 


It was then time to tour the mansion house; the girls had a great time hearing about the Washingtons and how they lived in the eighteenth-century.  Even Sammy seemed to enjoy himself and was very well-behaved the entire time.  I'm pretty sure the bjorn is made of magic.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Show and tell (I'm taking a sick day)


Paper Heart Camera is hosting a photography show and tell this week inspired by the little details all around us; I took this close-up portrait of Sandy the other day and I think it will work (click here to view the other entries).  What can I say--I'm sick and not thinking clearly.  Hopefully I'll be back to normal after a day of rest and able to resume my normal blogging schedule.  Coming up: Sammy's first trip to Mount Vernon and a very craftastic get-together.  The anticipation is killing you, right?

Photography love...

Friday, November 5, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

In an effort to learn more about fellow MilSpouse bloggers, Wifey from Wife of a Sailor started this weekly meme;  here are this week's questions.

1. A different twist on last week's question. This week, the first question is: what’s the nicest thing a MILSPOUSE has ever done for you? (brought to you from navy_smurfette) 

I'd have to say it was when my friend, Lindsey, volunteered to watch Sammy for a few hours so I could go out and get my eyebrows and toes tamed for my brother's wedding.  I don't really know many other MilSpouses in real life.

2. How often do you drive faster than the speed limit? 

All the time.  I have a lead foot--it's an inherited condition.

3. Did you have a nickname in school? If so, what was it?

Not really, at least not one that anyone used to my face.  A few people called me L-cubed because all of my initials are the same, but that's about it (now the name of this blog makes a little bit of sense, right?).  My name doesn't really lend itself to nicknames, which is part of the reason why I like Samuel for our son--he could be Sam, Sammy, Sam-a-lam-a-ding-dong, etc.

 4. If your life was a book, what would the title be and how would it end? 

This is probably the hardest question yet; I'm quite fond of my tag line, "Adventures in Embracing the Suck," so I think that would make a good book title.  Hopefully the book would have a happy ending in which Captain Husband and I and our small brood of children make it through the suckage relatively unscathed. The book would end with us embarking on our next adventure: starting our own antique business. 

5. Look back (in your planner if you have one) to September 14th... what did you do that day?

This year's September 14th was empty, which likely means I spent most of the day in my pajamas taking care of Sammy, possibly with a Target or Babies-R-Expensive run thrown in there.  Just for fun, I checked my planners from 2007, 2008 and 2009: nothing going on then, either. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gifted


I stumbled across a great online holiday magazine and gift guide and just had to share it.  Gifted is the creation of Creature Comforts--an awesome blog by the way--and it's chock full of interviews with crafty people and designers, gift ideas, free projects and downloadables.  You're certain to find at least one thing in there that will be perfect for that one person you're never quite sure what to get.


I'm going to try my hand at this embroidered cardinal ornament for my MilSpouse Secret Santa; I wanted to include a little something something that represented Virginia as part of my gift, and since the cardinal is the state bird, I think this will do the trick quite nicely.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Food for thought

Photo courtesy the Life Photo Archives

When I was pregnant with Sammy, I was so preoccupied with the pregnancy aspect of things that I kind of dropped the ball on preparing for life with an actual baby.  I learned a lot simply from trial and error (and a few panicked phone calls to my mom) and was feeling pretty good about how things were going--that is, until Sammy's last doctor's visit where I was told I should start thinking about starting Sammy on solid foods.  Crap.

I don't know why, but for some reason this next developmental milestone fills me with anxiety.  Several friends have loaned me books on baby feeding and baby food recipes, but they sit unopened on my coffee table.  A big part of me is convinced that this is going to be the one thing that I'll really screw up and Sammy will inadvertently wind up with crazy food allergies and other complications because I used the wrong rice cereal or started him on the wrong thing at the wrong time.  The fact that I feel obligated to attempt to make my own baby food since I'm at home all day with Sammy doesn't make things any better, especially since most nights the most that I make for myself to eat is a bowl of cereal.

I think in this instance I'm just going to have to follow my instincts and hold off for a little while longer.  I mean, Sammy hasn't really shown any interest in what I'm eating.  And it's not as though he needs any help sleeping through the night, which is the other frequent reason given for starting solid foods, as he's been doing that for more than two months now.  So I think I'm just going to wait a little bit longer; maybe by the time Sammy's sitting up on his own, we'll both be ready.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Shutter Love/The Paper Mama Photo Challenge: Halloween (Costumes)

This week's theme at the Trendy Treehouse is Halloween costumes; I chose this photo of Sammy doing his best pumpkin impression:


You can check out the other entries by clicking here:

ShutterLoveTuesdays



And because I like to multitask, I've also entered this picture in The Paper Mama's photo challenge whose theme this week is Halloween.  Click here to view the other entries:

The Paper Mama
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