Monday, January 24, 2011

My Little Boy is Six Months Old!

Robinson's Six Month Stats:
Length: 28" (97th percentile)
Weight: 18 lbs (50-75th percentile)

My little boy is long and lean! His check-up went very well. What's Robinson into these days? He loves his bouncy seat, jumperoo and walker. He rolls very well but shows no indication of crawling. I can tell he is capable of sitting up unassisted, but the thought has not yet occurred to him, so I have to prop him up or set him in his Bumbo. Supporting the weight of his giant pumpkin probably seems like a daunting task to him.

He hates every type of cereal I've tried to feed him, despite all my efforts to find the perfect temperature, consistency, and mixture with baby food. He does, however, enjoy baby food by itself. Sweet potatoes and bananas are a big hit right now. After two months of gentle coaxing to try and get him to eat solids (which was met with much protest by Rob), when he finally did open up and eat a spoonful of sweet potatoes for the first time I was so overwhelmed with pride that I had to excuse myself to another room for a moment. I didn't want him to see me cry. How pitiful is that?

Robinson is very happy in his crib. He loves his mobile, and is happy every night when I put him to bed. He sleeps through the night and wakes up with a smile on his face. Plucking him out of his crib first thing in the morning is the best part of my day!

The dogs are still doing really well with him.  The sight of the dogs makes Robinson smile and laugh. He likes to reach out and grab their fur, and the girls are very good with him. I sure hope that continues.

Up next: baby-proofing the house and making more of an effort to organize playdates. To sign up for mommy and baby classes or not, that is the question...

Wanna See Robinson's Nursery?

I finished decorating Robinson's room months ago, but I intended to share it with all of you as part of my 101 Things in 1001 Days project:

5. Finish decorating the baby's nursery

We didn't set out to create a theme, but along the way it evolved into a sort of retro room. We filled the room with pieces passed down through our family and flea market finds, and decorated with toys and gifts that belonged to family members and had been saved for decades: a ceramic dog container that held flowers given when my grandmother was born; my mother's cowboy boots; my dad's building blocks, my brother's racecars, my Disney stuffed animals. It made the space feel familiar, comforting and special, and signified the generations of people welcoming Robinson to our family. I believe it was very "green" of me as well to repurpose so many items we already owned. I really cut down on my carbon footprint with this room.
Robinson's nursery: the reupholstered glider my mom once sat in while rocking me to sleep, a Bombay Company accent table from the 1990's that was once in my parents' home. 
The only new furniture purchase: A Pottery Barn Kids crib with custom bedding.
Custom bedding created by my mom.
My childhood dresser from the 1980's, doubling as a changing table, a ZGallerie mirror from my parents' house in the 2000's.
A grouping of some of my favorite family and childhood photos. The frames once hung on my parents' kitchen wall (mid-1990's). The top center photo is of my grandfather, Robinson's namesake.
 This is our flea market find: a telephone table circa 1950's that my mom repainted and upholstered.
 Ikea shelving (a new purchase) holds keepsakes: the teddy bear I gave Jarred when he was born, my mom's cowboy boots, my grandfather's old cigar box (he used them to keep his receipts and important documents organized), my brother's He-Man and racecars, Steve's rubix cube, my Samantha bobblehead.

A bookshelf from Steve's old apartment holds toys and books, including my brother's lava lamp, a frog golfer Steve gave me when we first began dating, and several stuffed animals purchased from Disney World in the 1980's.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bitchface Goes to the Mall

Warning: This post contains stereotypes, digressions, and movie spoilers.

Ok, so you know how most some home schooled kids are socially awkward (stereotype #1) because they don't have the opportunity for social interaction in their everyday lives? Well, I've been a stay-at-home mom/shut-in since June, so my social skills have atrophied to the level of a Duggar kid. Not Josh Duggar. Isn't that the charismatic, sexy one?

Now that I've got a good case of cabin fever, and have achieved a level of isolation and awkwardness rivaled only by Tom Hanks' character in Castaway after they've rescued him (Spoiler!) along with a few other reasons I will expand on later, I chose to venture out into the world, to a place I loathe...the mall.

I know, the thought of me hating the mall seems like a contradiction in terms, doesn't it? Like Charlie Sheen hating hookers. There was a time, back when I had more money than responsibilities, when I could see no better way to celebrate, reward myself, or renew my broken spirit than to take a trip to the mall. Where else on earth can you purchase a pair of $150 faux zebra platform pumps while eating a giant pretzel? Seriously, is there another place? I want to go there.

Why do I hate despise the mall? Let me count the ways:

I hate despise the parking
I hate despise the crowds
I hate despise the moms who carelessly ram their strollers into my Achilles heel and don't even apologize
I hate despise that the mall compels me to buy things I don't need with money I don't have
I hate despise the guy at the kiosk who lunges at me and insists I allow him to:
   A) buff my fingernails
   B) flat-iron my hair
   C) thread my eyebrows
   D) introduce to me a revolutionary line of skincare products made from ingredients found in the Dead Sea

I just really hate when strangers invade my personal space.

Midway through this rant, I remembered just how much I hate the word "hate" so I'm going to replace it with a watered-down, less aggressive word.

When Kiosk Guy violates my personal bubble, I have fantasies of retaliating in a totally obnoxious way, so he'll think twice next time. But instead of blowing my rape whistle in his face or flipping him off, I go with the old passive-aggressive standby: pretending to talk on my cell phone. Sometimes, during my fake phone conversation, our eyes lock, and I know what he's thinking: "I know you're not really on the phone", and I look at him like, "I dare you to interrupt my fake phone conversation, sucka!" The closest I came to tangling with Kiosk Guy was when I was (extremely) pregnant, and he jumped in front of me and blurted, "Miss, would you like to--" and I shouted, "NOOOOOO I WOULDDDDDN'T!!!!!"

For somebody who clearly despises the mall as much as I do, one might conclude that online shopping is my ideal solution. There's just one problem: I'm married to a retail professional who is of the belief that online shopping will be the demise of retail, which will lead to the demise of our economy, which will lead to the demise of democracy. Or something like that. So, even though there's this hot new pair of Steve Madden platform pumps I just have to have, and I could have purchased them online, three days ago, in about five minutes time, I am schlepping through my third least favorite place on earth (#1 is the airport, #2 is the DMV), pushing a stroller through the frozen tundra, wearing platform clogs. Welcome to my nightmare.

Unfortunately, strollers require the use of an elevator. As the doors finally open on the world's slowest elevator, I stand aside to allow a mom with three kids and a jogging stroller to get off. And boy, do they take their sweet ass time. They come to a dead stop--right between me and the elevator, barring my entry. Everybody knows this particular elevator's doors only stay open for a nanosecond. After that, it's five whole minutes for it to come back. We're inches apart, yet Stroller Mom has no idea I exist. If she would just scoot, I can push my Go-Go Gadget arm out and hold the elevator. Once she finally begins to move, Stroller Mom notices me and says, "Oh!" and attempts to "help" me in the way your three year old "helps" you frost a cake. Sweet gesture in theory, hot mess in reality. Stroller Mom lunges between me and the elevator, much to my bewilderment, and instead of stopping the elevator, she mashes all the buttons, causing the elevator door to slam shut in my face and take off for the third floor where presumably nobody is waiting.

Realizing what she'd done, she says "Oops!" I let out a sigh and give her a withering look. Ok, "withering look" is just a euphemism for "bitchface". This bitchface was so blatant, Shannen Doherty got a royalty check for it. Shannen owns the rights to "bitchface"!
Stroller Mom freezes, apologizes, and her eyes twitch. That's when I realize that she sees my bitchface. Dammit. Ever since my Botox wore off last year, everybody knows what I'm thinking. That's the glorious thing about Botox (besides not aging). No matter what I'm feeling on the inside, my forehead is as smooth and placid as the ocean on a peaceful day. Without it, my angry forehead is as choppy as the ocean in The Perfect Storm, and that didn't end well. (Spoiler: Everybody dies!)

After much delay, I arrive at the Steve Madden store, where I learn that none of the seven area locations carry this particular shoe.

Disappointed but not defeated, I roll into Nordstrom. No blue suede shoes here, either. I inquire with the sales associate, explaining, "Well, I know which shoe I need, and it's available for purchase at, but I figured I'd try to support my local economy and purchase the shoe from a brick-and-mortar store..." "Yeah..." he sighed. And no luck buying the picture frame I wanted from Pottery Barn, which was also available for online purchase. This is just a big shopping FAIL. There's only one thing left to do...go to Williams-Sonoma, where I can indulge my love of overpriced spatulas.

As I'm exiting Nordstrom, I pass A Pea in the Pod. "Mama doesn't shop there anymore!" I say to Robinson, who smiles. Next door is Bebe. "Mama doesn't shop there anymore, either!" [Sigh]. Robinson laughs, as I gaze longingly at all the slutty halter tops I'll never wear.

Kris Kardashian and I have one thing in common: bitch loves her some colored spatulas. I thought I was the only one.
Did you see the episode where Khloe tries to help Kris organize her kitchen and discovers that Kris hoards red spatulas? No? Just me? Damn. Williams-Sonoma carries different colored spatulas throughout the year. After some careless cake frosting last fall, Libby ate my last red spatula, and I knew that I had to replace them quickly before the pastel spatulas arrived and ushered in springtime (yeah, you thought it was the Groundhog. You're wrong, it's the Williams-Sonoma pastel spatulas that signal the end of winter.) So, I left the mall with one orange spatula and one yellow spatula. Not exactly a pair of blue suede platform pumps, but I'll take what I can get.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What?! I LOVE Her!

The other night, Steve and I are watching the new Showtime series, Shameless.  It stars William H. Macy as a neglectful, drunken father of six, and Emmy Rossum as the oldest of his brood. Aside from the generous helping of full-frontal nudity and gratuitous sex scenes, I rather enjoyed the show. In the middle of one scene that is focusing on Emmy's character Fiona, Steve turns to me and says, "I don't know what you're talking about, this chick is great."

My head snapped towards him. "What? What are you talking about? I've never said anything negative about Emmy Rossum." Steve shrugs, like "Are you sure? Ok." and I'm all like, "No! Why would I have anything bad to say about Emmy Rossum? I like her. No problems with her whatsoever!"

Maybe I'm a little sensitive because I post a lot of blogs about chicks who I like to make fun of and who I don't really dig. That's why I've decided to dedicate this post to Chicks I Like: Ten Women in Showbusiness who I find completely lovely.

1. Sandra Bullock
She's witty, self-deprecating, and down-to-earth. She handled an embarrassing public divorce with grace, and rather than seek attention, she lives a quiet life in Austin, Texas with her adorable baby. As far as Academy Award-winning mothers go, I much prefer Sandy over say, Gwyneth Paltrow.

2. Sheryl Crow
She's a prolific musician with a laid-back, no nonsense approach to life. Like Sandy, she also handled a public split with dignity, beat breast cancer and has quietly adopted two really cute little boys who she raises in Nashville. As far as rocker moms go, Sheryl Crow is so much cooler than Melissa Etheridge.

3. Emma Stone
I dig a smart and sassy girl, and Emma has smarts and sass in spades. I think she has a bright career ahead of her, and as far as flame-haired, raspy voiced starlets go, she's a huge improvement over Lindsay Lohan.

4. Shakira
Besides being a star here in America, she's a huge sensation in her native Colombia. The things she can do with her hips are extraordinary, but have you listened to her talk in an interview? I was not prepared for how thoughtful, intelligent and well-prepared she was to speak about the charity she was working to raise awareness for. This woman really has her shit together. Sofia Vergara could learn a thing or two from Shakira.

5. Kelly Osbourne

Five years ago, I never thought Kelly would land on a list like this. She is a shining example that if you don't like the life you're living, you can turn it around and make a whole new life for yourself. She used to be fat. Now she's not. She used to be a horrid dresser with weird hair. Now she's not. She used to be a drug addict. Now she's not. She hosts a show called Fashion Police, where she makes the most astute, thoughtful observations of any member of the panel. In terms of musician daughters-turned-fashionistas, I'd much rather spend a day with Kelly over Nicole Richie. It ain't even close.

6. Julianne Moore
She's a redhead, she's extremely talented, she doesn't crave attention or have an agenda she wants to cram down our throats. She's a gorgeous actress with a beautiful family, and the poster child for sunscreen. Basically she's my hero. People should be blindly worshiping Julianne instead of Angelina Jolie.

7. Rachel McAdams

I hope Rachel's career spans decades. She's so lovely and talented, what more can I say about her? I couldn't even hate her when she was dating my boyfriend, Ryan Gosling. I'd much rather see a film starring Rachel than Claire Danes.

8. Lauren Conrad
There are about ten reasons why this chick should bug the piss out of me, but she just doesn't. I like her, I think she has great style, and I respect the way she used two silly reality shows as a launching pad for this amazingly successful career she has created for herself. It's like carving a masterpiece out of a hunk of Spam. It's like playing a symphony on a ukulele, it's like writing a work of literary genius on a cardboard box. You get where I'm going. Even if none of it was her idea, she still managed to surround herself with smart business people and not screw it up, which means she must be kinda smart. She's no Kardashian, that's for sure.

9. Mila Kunis
I have maintained for years that if I could look exactly like a celebrity, it would be Mila Kunis. She is just drop-dead gorgeous, and tiny, and adorable. It helps that she comes across as bright, relaxed, and unpretentious. I just really dig this chick and I'm glad her star is rising. Compared to other sexy starlets like Scarlett Johansson, I much prefer Mila.

10. Elizabeth Banks
In addition to having appeared in some of the funniest films and TV series of the past decade, Elizabeth Banks seems like a Good Time Sally who is down for having some fun. She's gorgeous, but doesn't seem to take herself too seriously, and doesn't seem to be trying too hard to be the hot, funny chick. She could teach Jenny McCarthy a thing or two.

Honorable Mentions: Amy Sedaris, Catherine Keener, Annette Bening, Jane Lynch, Sarah Chalke, Kristin Davis, Jennie Garth, Toni Collette, Edie Falco, Laura Linney, Keri Russell, Maya Rudolph, Rashida Jones

See, I like lots of people!

Edit: How on earth did I forget Amy Adams?! Love her. Consider her on my list...and Amy Poehler.

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Blog Design (Obviously!)

Shabby Blogs is a cute little site offering lovely (and free) blog backgrounds, headers and more. I got a message that I had to update my codes, yada, yada, original background is no longer available. I hastily threw together the layout you currently see. What do we think? It's like the blog equivalent of a sweater set and a strand of pearls, and anybody who knows me knows that a sweater set and pearls looks so out-of-place on me. Unless I am dressing as Bree Van de Kamp for Halloween.

I think my blog might be too snarky for such a classy layout. Maybe I'll change it. I need something for sassy blogs. What do you think?

Doing Good Deeds: More Inconvenient Than Ever Before

I hope your dog never runs away. If your dog ever does run away, I hope I'm the one who finds it. And if I am the one who finds it, I hope your dog doesn't have some complicated, pain-in-the-ass ID tag recovery system, forcing me to jump through all sorts of hoops in order for me to return said dog to your loving arms.

Last week, Robinson and I were enjoying a nice, long stroll through the neighborhood, when I notice a big, black puppy scampering in my direction, clearly AWOL. It looks like a black lab, and it looks to be about six months old--so it's basically all lanky legs, and "it" appears to be a "she" based on the pink collar she's wearing. I scan my perimeter, expecting to see somebody running frantically towards me with a leash, struggling to catch up with this boisterous pup (it's happened before), but it's just the three of us: Rob, puppy, and me. I pause my iPod (I was listening to "Love Today" by Mika) and I'm able to read the tags on her collar. This is a delicate task with an excited dog, because you have to have a firm enough grasp in order to read the tags, but if you're not careful, the pup can pull out of her collar and then you're standing there holding a collar while the dog gallops off into the distance without her identifying information and you're stuck feeling like a jerk. Then there's the whole, "not wanting to get bitten by a strange dog" thing.

I should back up for a minute and say that I have a lot of experience picking up and returning other people's dogs. I would estimate that one out of every three times I go for a walk, I catch, rescue, return, or otherwise wrangle somebody else's dog. Sometimes I take the dog back to my house and dog sit all day, sometimes I load the dog into my car and drive him home. It varies.

No big deal, right? The puppy is wearing a tag. I'll just dial the number and tell the person who answers that I have their puppy and all will be fine, right? First of all, this was not your typical dog tag that says "LANEY" in big block letters with a phone number beneath it. It was a yellow plastic tag that displayed a 1-866- number in raised yellow numbers (so not easy to read on a squirmy puppy), and beneath it, instead of a name, is a ten-digit alpha-numeric ID. And me without my glasses! Perfect. Good thing I applied the parking break to my stroller and Robinson is content (must not forget baby, right?) because I have to dial a phone number while reading this hard-to-read tag and not lose my grip of this puppy who is growing more fidgety by the second.

After much maneuvering, I manage to dial the number:

THEN I have to wait while it rings
THEN I have to listen to a lengthy, automated message with a menu
THEN I select "English"
THEN I listen to another automated message, this time an advertisement
"Are you f*$#!ng kidding me?" I ask the puppy. She doesn't reply.
THEN I select "Report a found pet"
THEN I have to wait while it rings
THEN somebody finally answers

I'm still holding the dog, remember? It's a good thing this is a friendly puppy. If this dog were some kind of bratty mutt, it would have bitten me by now and I would have said "Forget this!" But I can't do that. I have this unstoppable compulsion to "save" every dog I see. For all my bitching, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night had I not done this.

So anyway, I'm finally speaking to a human, and he sounds like Chris Griffin from Family Guy.  I decide that he looks like Chris Griffin from Family Guy also. I will picture Chris Griffin in my mind for the rest of the conversation.
Me: Hi, I found a puppy, I better read her ID to you before she wiggles out of my grasp again.
Chris Griffin: OK...
Me: [reading off ten digit alpha-numeric] D as in dog, F as in Frank, M as in Mary, 5,7...
Chris Griffin: Ok...[reading, verifies and collects info from me] She goes by "Candy".
Me: That's funny, because she looks like a "Candy".

I'm looking down at her like, "Oh, so you 'go by' Candy, do ya? I suppose when you reach adulthood you'll insist everyone call you 'Candice'."

Me: So, do we proceed? I have a baby in a stroller, a dog with no leash, no owners in sight, and I'm about a half a mile from my house. Attempting to tote this dog around could get cumbersome.
Chris Griffin: I can place you on hold and call the owners...
Me: I think that's a great idea.

I'm placed on hold for at least a minute. If the owners had just used an ordinary ID tag with their dog's name and phone number instead of using this elaborate "pet recovery system" I could have called them five minutes ago. Then I begin to wonder--are they weird paranoid people who are afraid for their dog to wear a tag bearing their phone number? Do they think somebody will find their roaming dog and use that information to hold the dog ransom, become a psycho stalker, or steal their identity? Seriously, what's the deal? As I'm crafting theories about Candy's owners, Chris Griffin returns to the line.

Chris Griffin: Ok, they didn't answer, so I left a voicemail.
Me: Alright...[awkward silence] So...where do we go from here?
Chris Griffin: If you are unable to retain custody of the pet until they are recovered by their owner, you can call your nearest veterinary hospital, and they will--
Me: Oh, no, that won't be necessary. I'll simply fashion a leash out of my iPod earbuds and we'll trot on back to my house until her owner's call me.
Chris Griffin: [pause] Oh, were you being serious?
Me: Completely.

So, Chris and I say our goodbyes and as I begin to walk Candy down the street towards home, a middle-aged man is frantically running towards me. He thanks me, and attempts to walk/carry her home. I don't tell him that his "pet recovery system" is a cluster f*$# of unspeakable proportions. After all, he did recover his pet, didn't he?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Robinson Turned Five Months Old (Like, three weeks ago)

Little Robinson turned five months old a couple of days before Christmas. Notice how much he (and Laney) have changed since his one month photo...
Poor Laney. Robinson is having a blast though! He eats and sleeps well, though he refuses to eat his rice cereal. He enjoys his walker and his jumperoo and going for strolls through the neighborhood. Robinson has developed a "fake cough" which he finds both hilarious and a great way to get my attention. He has a couple of stuffed animals he likes to play with, but nothing is more fun than gnawing on his own feet. That's pretty much all for now. I'll update once again after his six-month check-up at the pediatrician's office!

Monday, January 10, 2011

I'm Back! Maybe.

Woo Hoo! Happy New Year, y'all! You may have noticed a steep decline in my blogging activity--I atribute this to: 1) my head 2) my thighs 3) my computer. Not necessarily in that order.

I spent the first five days of 2011 in bed after being struck with, then recovering from, a series of migraines. Or cluster headaches. Or I have a brain tumor. I don't want to speculate. But I did go to WebMD and diagnose myself with a subarachnoid hemmorhage. "Samantha! I didn't know you were a hypochondriac!". I'm not a hypochondriac, you big silly. A hypochondriac would have submitted to about $8000 worth of diagnostic testing by now--MRIs, CT scans, angioplasty, spinal taps. I did none of that. I just declared "I have a subarachnoid hemmorhage!" and retreated to my bed. I'm feeling much better now.

The other roadblock standing between me and my blog was this damn computer. Despite my spending my last $70 on friggin McAfee virus protection (FAIL) my computer is riddled with so many viruses, spyware, malware, and trojan horses (I assume) that attempting to compose a blog entry is a lengthy, time-consuming affair. Posting photos? Fuggetaboutit. After threatining to smash the computer with a hammer (dramatic much?), Steve made a couple of calls and we have a new suped-up computer scheduled to arrive any day now. Happy days are here again!

The third obstacle preventing me from blogging is this big ass of mine. Robinson is nearly six months old, and I'm still forced to wear Raven-SymonĂ©'s old discarded big-girl clothes. If I'm sitting in front of a molasses-slow computer blogging about Lindsay Lohan's triumph over addiction ::sarcasm:: how exactly am I supposed to work on my fitness? Blogging is hardly aerobically effective (says Cher Horowitz).

In spite of all of that, here I am. So...what should I write about? I had so many ideas in the past month that now seem out-of-date, but I'll do my best to catch up.