Friday, January 30, 2009

Hee Hee!

I'm such a passive agressive bee-yotch.

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Yes, it should be tricky tray, not trick tray. I just learned what these stupid things are, I deserve a little slack.

But $2 is $2. Nowhere in the note home did it say we had to donate bills.

I would have given them pennies, but the YMCA Aftercare Program is having a penny drive and the pennies are spoken for. Somehow I'm more inclined to cheerfully donate to them.

And why yes, those would be Canadian nickles you see in there. There's 25 cents in Canadian in there.

Coming from Alaska, I find it odd that these non-border states don't accept Canadian coins so I always have to sneak them into rolls.

I'm sure the Home & School Association will blacklist me for only technically donating $1.75.

Hee hee.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

First You Get a Load In Your Pants...

..then you can start to do the dance!

First a brief explanation of the title of this post.

My Old Man is quite musically gifted. He can pick up basically any instrument and play it by ear. With the exception of the saxophone. His instrument of choice however, is the gee-tar.

As kiddies, he would entertain us making up songs and accompanying them on his guitar.

Now before you think we were a group of kumbayaying-huggie-lovey-dovey-Partridge-family wannabes that did nothing but sing songs for entertainment (we also used to go trolling for sharks* too!), the title and first line of this post are are the opening lines of a little ditty my Old Man composed called "The Shitbutt Shuffle" inspired by the way my Youngest Youngest Brother would walk when he had a poopy diaper.

But the songs weren't always about such vulgar things. A few of our cats had theme songs as well that I can still sing to this day.

Now, I'm telling this story not to make you jealous of my weird childhood rather as a segue into showing you what I did on my "snow day."

My Youngest Younger Sister is coming to visit in a couple of weeks and we'll be taking her into NYC.

It will be our first trip into the city with the Moochman and I realized that I don't have a changing pad for his diaper bag. I donated/freecycled Chunky's old diaper bag that had a changing pad.

I saw something on Etsy that someone was selling that looked easy enough to make but with my own modifications.

First I procured some cute fabric when I went to buy the Chunky Flippy Top Mitten buttons. I'm not sure what the official title of this print is, but I think "Jersey Traffic Jam" fits it well.

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I took an old hand towel (Dr. Mad Scientist's mother is constantly gifting us towels of every size for every occasion--I've got enough towels to dry the Russian Army!), and hauled out The Beast (my sewing machine), and got to work sewing the cute fabric to the old hand towel.

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I decided on a button closure (using a button Chunky found at school and brought home) since I thought I had velcro here at home, but apparently did not.

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It unfurls for maximum diaper-changing action.

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And when it's rolled up, it fits nicely into the diaper bag.

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And it's easily machine washable since hey, it's an old hand towel!

Of course I had to test it out to make sure it worked.

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Why yes, my offspring DOES have eyebrow dandruff!

It worked pretty good. Now Moochie is prepared to have his crappy pants changed on any funky NYC surface!

*Trolling for sharks is an entirely separate post.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

O Solo Mio!

As we live in New Jersey, and specifically because we live in the county with the highest population of Italians, and even more specifically because I love my crockpot, and even even more more specifically because Progresso Soup was on sale a few weeks ago--I decided to make crock pot Italian Wedding Soup after enjoying the Progresso stuff but realizing that it looked like a really easy soup to make.

I just kinda winged it based on what I found on the internets and the can of Progresso Soup.

The most important part of the soup?

The balls.

Isn't it always the balls?

First I took half a pound of snausage--Parks Sausage to be exact--the first black-owned company to go public in 1969. But this post isn't about race and history, it's about hope snausage.
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I minced some garlic.

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Gathered up some breadcrumbs (about 1 slice of dried bread, crumbed of course).

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And procured some familial herbs--basil from Mom, and oregano from the good old Pot Garden.

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I mixed it all together and made little 1/2 inch meatballs.

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Mmm...greasy balls!

I boiled the balls for 10 minutes.

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This helped get rid of a lot of the grease from the snausage. The grease did help keep the snausage balls in spherical form quite well though. If I had used a leaner meat (beef, etc.) I would have probably used an egg in the mixture to keep it all together.

I also made the balls the day before and stuck 'em in the refrigerator.

On the day of the crockpot all I did was dump my balls into the crock along with some carrots and nicely cut spinach.

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I forgot to take a picture of the spinach.

I added 6 cups of chicken broth (or in my case 5 1/2 teaspoons of chicken boullion and 6 cups of water--it's cheaper than chicken broth and easier to store) and I let it cook for 10 hours.

The last half hour of cooking I added some of these.

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And it ended up looking like this in the end.

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And served it with a wheat roll I whipped up.

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Dee-lish.

When in New Jersey--eat like the New Jersians eat! Although I'll bet no on in Italy has ever heard of this soup before. Ha ha!

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mitts Romney

I finally finished Chunky's flippy-top mittens.

Actually they've been done for about a week and a half now, I just finally got around to buying the buttons for them.

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Moochie wanted to get in on the photo shoot action.

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See his shirt?

"Silent Night? I don't think so!"

It's a Christmas shirt (that didn't fit him at Christmas time), but so appropriate. It's 7:30 at night right now (I love scheduled posts!) and he's basically been up since 2:00 p.m. He gets sooooo close to sleeping and then BAM! Wakes himself up, screams for two hours until he shows signs of being hungry. I feed him, change him, burp him, put him down. He screams. Falls asleep for 2 minutes, wakes himself up, screams for...well, you get the picture.

Moochie owes a huge debt to his big brother. Why? Because if Chunky was this much of a little shit when he was this little (he went thru this phase when he was 5 or 6 months old), we would never have had Moochie!!!

(Shut up Mom, I know you're laughing!)

But back to the mittens.

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The stats:

Pattern: My own.

Yarn: Handspun romney (brown) and merino (red)

Needles: US 9

Notes: Not much to say, they're flippy top mittens. I didn't have enough romney so I topped them with the red merino. I do have a small amount of each yarn left--but not enough of the romney where I could have made two complete mittens.

Overall, Chunky seems to like them.

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Now I must go back to my feeble attempts to pacify the smallest human of the household.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Randomness

I've got a couple of things to blog about this week, but nothing that's post-ready yet.

So I'll give you the recipe for the pumpkin cranberry cookies:

2 cups of flour
1 teas. baking powder
1 teas. cinamon
1/2 teas. baking soda
1/2 teas. allspice (or you could use pumpkin pie spice)
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin (canned not pie filling)
1 egg
1 teas. vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup dried cranberries

Cream together your butter and sugar. Add the egg and pumpkin pie. Mix in the dry ingredients--adding the nuts and cranberries last.

Drop by the spoonfull 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 375 degrees.

And before I leave, I'll give you a picture of a great article I read in the Sunday paper entitled: "How to Keep or Find a Job in a Challenging Economy"

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Here's the best part of the article:

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Yes, make sure you're idispensable and that your work is error-free. Unless you're the person in charge of editing newspaper articles before they make it to print.

And finally I'll leave you with a random Moochie picture.

5 weeks

This is his five week picture. Each week I try to take a picture of him in the same place--kinda like I did when I was pregnant. We'll see how long I can remember to keep it up!

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

D'one!

This is Post 666. From heavenly cookies to Mark of the Beast Post numbers---Eeeek!

Here's the thing about January: I seem to gravitate toward Rosi G. patterns.

Last year it was Capitán, this year it's D'lado (yeah that's a link to The Place That Shall Not Be Named-sorry).

As I look like a D'oofus in a slouchy hat, I didn't knit that part of the two-fer pattern, I only knit the cowl.

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Dark circles courtesy of Moochman Makeup.

I didn't think I'd ever like cowls, but I dig this. I always thought they'd be floppy and not create a good "neck seal" keeping the cold air out, but D'Lado fits really well!

Of course I have to include a bandito picture as well.

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The stats:

Pattern: D'Lado by the aforementioned Rosi G.

Yarn: Lorna's Laces Worsted Weight in "Vera"

Needles: US 7

Notes: No intentional modifications to speak of. There is a part of this that you can't see where I made one of the checkerboards in the pattern a row too big. Not sure how I did that because it should have interrupted the pattern and they symmetry of the checkerboard/stockinette pattern, but it didn't (and thus I didn't notice it until I was pretty far behind it!).

Additionally, on the first chart I also did garter stitch instead of stockinette--but it's at the back of the cowl and to the untrained eye (or someone getting really all up in my space) you can't tell. That's my Amish modification, i.e. my rationalization for making a stupid mistake.

Final verdict on this pattern: D'Elightful!

Once you finish knitting it, don't forget to put your hands up in the air like you just D'on't care.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

The Thing About Muffins...

...is that it's nice to make them with paper muffin cups.

Yes, yes, I know liberally greasing your muffin tin works just fine too. But I find molded cakes of any kind (even a regular cake in a regular cake pan) such as muffins or bundt cakes--no matter how liberally I grease and sometimes flour--stick and won't lodge free.

The recipes I listed the other day were recipes I had the ingredients for on-hand (thus no pumpkin cheesecake--no cream cheese in the house!). I didn't think to look for muffin cups.

But I did have enough for Harvest Cookies.

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They're cake-y pumpkin cookies with dried cranberries and walnuts. Freakin' YUM!

They're almost heavenly!

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And God said there would be cookies, and there were cookies.

That's my attempt at a close up of the inside of one of these cookies. Not so good, but I've never seen a cookie reflect light like this before!

Stay tuned--there's actual knitting content coming soon!

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

From The Backpack

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You have got to be kidding me!!!!

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Freezer Spelunking

I ushered in the quiet transfer of power at 12:01 letting a Mooch mooch some food off of me.

I thought about waiting to change his diaper until 12:01 just for the symbolism, but someone was packing a load and couldn't wait past 11:30 for his own personal transfer of the turds.

Speaking of bodily fluids, with T-minus four weeks and counting til I go back to work, I've started to attempt to up the supplies of Fresh Squeezed Mommy Juice for Dr. Mad Scientist's use when watching the Mooch during the day.

While I was putting my first measly ounce of FSMJ into the back of the freezer I discovered the last cup of pumpkin from September.

I went through my cookbooks and I've come up with the following pumpkin recipes I could execute:

* Pumpkin praline muffins
* Pumpkin bread
* Carrot pumpkin cookie bars
* Harvest pumpkin cookies
* Spiced pumpkin muffins
* Pumpkin cranberry muffins

They all sound really good, but I can only make one! What do you think?

And as long as we're walking down bloggo memory lane, remember my annoying robo call from a Texas Republican trying to get me to vote for him (despite the fact he called me in New Jersey and it had been nearly 2 years since I lived in Texas)?? Actually he robo-called me TWICE before election day.

He's the same fucknut trying to hold up Clinton's confirmation as Secretary of State. Thank god he didn't get my vote!! Ha ha!

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

God Bless America

I love that in America you can buy these to commemorate our newly sworn in Commander in Chief.

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Image stolen from obamacondoms.com.

These have to be best Obamacashin Merch I've seen yet (although they do have McCain and Palin versions...).

"These are uncertain times. The economy’s a ball-buster and the surge went flaccid! But now there’s ObamaCondoms, for a change you can believe in!"

Words to live by children, words to live by.

And on a completely non-historical non-political note--look what we got this weekend:

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Woo!!! Chunky and I went sledding and I got to use my sled for the first time. Nothing like being able to finally use Christmas presents you received--last year!

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Five Cents

Remember what I said about being a financial squirrel right now?

Every little penny is being hoarded away!

Even though I absolutely love plastic shopping bags, the fact that ShopRite will give you a nickle for each non-plastic bag you use is tempting. (They only give you two cents for reusing a plastic bag.)

I decided to use the Barfy Marfy (that's Martha Stewart for the uninitiated) tutorial and make my old t-shirts into shopping bags.

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These two are my favorite as they are about the size of a real shopping bag.

I seamed the handles and opening of the pink one. But it's not really necessary. The edges will roll in on themselves and not fray. And besides, they're going to hold groceries, not Oscar Swag.

The other two I made were out of my Don't Mess With Texas shirt:

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And my Alaska shirt:

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Now with more cat butt!

For the record, the Alaska shirt bag is bigger than the Texas one. Ha ha!

I'll take these along with a large stack of coupons (maternity leave is great for surfing the internet and finding good coupon deals) to the grocery store today.

I figure if I use these four bags every other week, that's 40 cents a month I save off my grocery bill. Forty cents times 12 months is $4.80. Shoot. That's enough to wash my darks and lights and dry them for 30 minutes at the laundromat--with five cents to spare!

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Last Day

Today is Dr. Mad Scientist's last day working as a postdoctoral fellow at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.

MSSM

He's been there nearly two years and worked for two labs.

Luckily, he's getting out on a high note. Apparently the other three post-docs that were in his lab all left under "interesting" circumstances. I'll leave it at that.

And now he's off to venture into two new frontiers.

Well kind of.

The first frontier is being a full time college student. But that's not 100% new. He's been doing since he was 18 years old, minus the last two years at Mt. Sinai.

But now he's going to school to be a teacher which is a whole different type of learning from the black-and-white science training he's done for all of his his undergrad and graduate work.

As an ex-liberal arts major, I find it kind of amusing watching him adapt to the assignments he's given in these classes.

The second frontier is being a Stay At Home Daddy until at least September.

Again, this isn't a totally new thing--he obviously helped see Chunky grow up to be who he is today. But he was also very busy with grad school and some other nefarious things involving his old pal Buddy Weiser, so a lot of the Chunkification fell on me.

His class schedule this semester is such that he has classes three days during the work week (and once on Saturdays) starting at 5:30 p.m.

I spoke to my HR lady at work and asked if it would be possible for me to work 8:30 to 4:30 three days a week so I could be home by 5:00 so he can go to class. I added it that this schedule would only be until the middle of May (when the semster ends)--Big Boss is kind of a late-bloomer, he likes to really get rolling with work at about 3:00 p.m. every day--to make it a bit more palatable to them. HR lady told me it wouldn't be a problem. Have I mentioned I love my job?

We really really lucked out with this whole thing.

First that he will be able to stay at home with Moochie for five months, and then watch both boys over the summer and still go to school.

That saves us a buttload of money. We figured even if he was still working full time and we had to put Moochie in full time daycare--half of his monthly takehome pay would go straight into daycare. That's about $1200-$1300/month.

Crazy I know. But consider I was paying $800 a month to have Chunky in full time daycare not so long ago--and he's pretty independent. He can feed himself and wipe his own butt--two things that will save you money when you're looking at daycare. $1200/$1300 a month doesn't seem so far fetched when you put it in comparison.

Second, we're very lucky that he stumbled into the scholarship program he did that will pay his tuition and fees in exchange for teaching in Newark for three years. If not for that program, there's no way he'd be able to go to school full time in order to start student teaching (and pulling a paycheck again!) in January 2010.

Third, the start of the semester overlaps my maternity leave just right. Dr. Mad Scientist will have four weeks to get into his new schedule while I'm still at home. He won't be thrown head first into Stay At Home Daddyhood all by himself. Not that he couldn't do it, but he's got some meetings and school orientations that are happening before 5:30 p.m. that he'd have to miss if I was working and not home to stay with the Mooch.

Although today ends an era--I mean he trained sooo long to be a researcher--I think it's the start of an even better one!

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Updated Old FO

Remember the Koigu Tulips Baby Sweater I knit for Dr. Mad Scientist's brother's new baby boy?

Well, that wasn't a total lie.

His brother did have a baby boy in October, but he didn't get the Koigu Tulips Baby Sweater:

BJB

I'll be honest, he's cute, but not as cute as Moochie.

But that's how the rule of Parental Bias works.

Parental Bias means that despite the fact that you do love a baby, you're entitled to say that your baby is cuter.

It's tacky, but it's allowed.

For example, my brother also had a baby boy a little over a week ago (The honest to god recipient of the German Baby Tulips Sweater! All of this crap is in The Place That Shall Not Be Named--so if you want to go look at it, go ahead, I'm too lazy to link you over but my TPTSNBN user name is Kayebugs...):

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Cute! Very cute! But again, the rule of Parental Bias means that this one is cuter.

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Now I have no problem with my brother in law or my brother saying that their boy is cuter than Moochie (even though he does look smashing in the Koigu Baby Tulips sweater) because under the rule of Parental Bias, they're allowed.

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Yes, Moochie, all this baby talk is making me crabby too--moving on!

Yesterday during an email exchange with my sister T. we were talking about cleaning out our closets and all those t-shirts we can't bear to part with.

Last night, I decided to tackle my t-shirt drawer and do some weeding.

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I'll update you with what happens to these cast offs soon!

I also went through my closet last night and decided that since it has been nearly four weeks since Moochie was ripped from my loins, I ought to try on my work slacks and maybe some of my jeans to see if they still fit.

The jeans are a little snug, but nothing that will make me blue in the face, and the work pants fit!

And the best part? Come mid-February when I go back to work, I'll be able to wear work slacks that have POCKETS! Oh sweet pockets! How I've missed you so!!!

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Are You a Moron In a Cage?

Back when that TV game show, The Weakest Link, hit the American airwaves, Saturday Night Live did a spoof of it. Rachel Dratch was the insult-spouting Brit host (paving the way for Simon Cowell perhaps?) and one of the questions she asked one of the contestants was: "Are you a moron in a cage?"

When he replied, confused, "No." She spat back at him, "Moron on the loose!!!"

As Dr. Mad Scientist winds down his post-doc at Mt. Sinai and gets ready to enter school full time next week, I've been collecting money.

In other words, I've been submitting the claims for our 2008 Dependent Care expenses and calculating how much of the loans Montclair State University offered him we should take. (I feel like a financial squirrel--hording away little bits of money for the long winter year we have ahead of us!)

In this process I've come across a rash of what appears to be Morons On The Loose.

Take this screen shot from the Montclair State U website shows the first example I found:

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You can't see it too well in this picture but the word intention has been spelled intenetion.

Today when I was printing the form to submit for our aftercare reimbursement for Chunky I found yet another lovely example.

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Provider verification is "necessary only if receipts is not provided."

Morons on the loose!!

Now my intenetions is not to make this post a total rant.

I'll leave you with cute baby pictures of Moochie modeling a sweet bib his Great Aunt Susan made for him that is almost too nice to spit up on!

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He'll get more wear out of that when it doesn't take up his whole torso and then some!

And a picture of him doing his "sexy" pose.

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That's also from Great Aunt Susan and Great Uncle Joe--a onesie that reads: Heartbreaker.

All morning long I've had that song stuck in my head:

You're a heartbreaker,
Sleeptaker,
Poopmaker,
Don't you mess around with me!

Sorry Pat Benetar!!

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday Monotony

I called it.

I told the girls at work I'd be bored at home after about four weeks. And here I am starting week five and yawns away!

Sadly the "snowstorm" was more like a snowfart.

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Maybe an inch and a half if we were lucky--topped off with a sugar glaze of ice. Which rendered the snow unsleddable.

But Chunky and I did have fun tossing chunks of ice-snow off the railing of the apartment into the driveway. The chunks would shatter like glass on the cement.

Today I'm just waiting for Moochie to wake up so I can feed him and then take off to the office of Vital Statistics to pick up his birth certificate. I guess they don't mail them anymore. Lovely.

In the meantime I have this cooking for dinner.

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That's a blurry shot of a downright vomit-looking crockpottery creation. There are porkchops in there under the vomit-looking mushroom sauce.

I love winter and the crockpot! I think I'm going to attempt an Italian wedding soup next time.

This weekend I also cast on for a pair of mittens for Chunky.

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But I'm not going to have enough yarn. I might have to improvise a little.

He came home telling me about a kid at school that had flip-top mittens and he thought they were the coolest damn thing. I told him I could knit those for him and his eyes got really big and he asked me if I would.

How can I say no?

I might have to make the flip top a different color from the body of the mitten though as once that brown handspun is gone--it's gone.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Stick Baby Stick!

It's snowing!!!

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Our dire winter weather warning was downgraded to an advisory, meaning we'll only get 1 to 3 inches--not 3 to 7.

But I'll take it!

I'm counting this as the first real snow of the season since I was a drugged out mess December 19 when we really got dumped on. Leave it to me to be in the hospital the one day out of the year that I could have been using the sled I got for Christmas 2007. (I still have yet to use it. We haven't had good enough snow aside from the 12/19 storm to use it!)

I hope it sticks!

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I had to take a picture of this.

This is Zorba the landlord's nurse's car.

Until I moved to New Jersey, I have never seen people do this. When there's the threat of heavy snow or ice, they pull their windshield wipers out like bug antenna.

I guess it helps them scrape their windshields later?

I grew up in Alaska where we got 10 times more snow and I never saw anyone do this before.

Do you like the way I call anything I see here that I'm not familiar with a "New Jersey thing?" Hee hee.

Finally, I'll leave you with a picture of my own little snow bunny wearing a hat that Disco sent to Moochie (along with some cute little onesies, bibs and burp cloths!).

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I think this is the first awake picture I've been able to get of him.

Ironically we've discovered he likes to sleep in that carseat at night as opposed to his crib. Fine by me! I had been taking him to bed with me, but after months of uncomfortable sleep I'm happy to be able to roll around at will in my sleep.

He's also quite the opposite of Chunky with the pacifier love. Which is kind of weird too. I've heard breastfed babies shouldn't be introduced to bottles and pacifiers at such a young age to prevent "nipple confusion."

Not my little Moochie. He's smart enough to know which nip's gonna give him the good shit. He switches from pacifier to Lavern & Shirley's Diner with ease.

Chunky on the other hand always had take-out from Lavern & Shirley's Diner in a bottle and HATED pacifiers.

Leave it to us to have weird children.

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