It’s hard to be small…

Otter and I joined Monkey and a few of her friends at the playground after school yesterday. We usually stop and play for a few minutes after we pick Monkey up, when the weather is warm and inviting. Otter likes to sit in his stroller and watch the big kids run around, climb, and slide.

Yesterday, about fifteen minutes into the experience, it occurred to Otter that he can walk now, so really there is no reason for him to stay in the stroller watching the big kids, he can play with them. So he petitioned for his freedom, and was granted early release for good behavior.

Off like a rocket he went! (If a rocket is small, toddling, and unsteady in it’s gait.) He toddled straight toward his sister on the climbing bars smiling all the way. As soon as he got to her, he grabbed a hold of the lowest rung, and lifted his little baby leg up, and up, and up.

That’s when he noticed that the highest he could bring his chubby baby foot was still well below the first rung. He tried again, and again, and again. Then he turned his little baby face to me and trumpeted his little “help me mama” bleat.

“Sorry honey, you are too small to climb on that.” I said. I grasped his hand and walked him over to the stairs, as he loves to practice going up and down the stairs. He was happily toddling away again, up and down, up and down, when he caught sight of Monkey heading down the huge red slide. Oh the laughter in her shrieks! How much fun it looks!! In seconds he was off, running full baby speed for the slide, a full size, extra long, way too big for him slide.
I stopped him a few feet from the entrance.

“Sorry honey, you are too small to ride on that, let’s go play something else.” Oh the screams!! You could hear him argue “I am not too small! I can walk to it can’t I! Lemme on Mama!!”

It was definitely time to go. I rounded up the big kids and we all walked home for apple slices, cheese, and Goldfish. I consoled Otter on the way, as he fought with being back in his stroller, with being unable to do all these big kids things, and with being too small.

Poor Otter, so certain he could do what they did, so happy to think he was free and able to go roam the playground just like his sister. Here he is, finally able to walk and run around, finally able to get where he wants to go without Mama, and yet, still too little to do anything once he gets there.

It’s hard to be small.

Honey for your honey…

This year for Mother’s Day, do something a little different. Rescue some bees. You can get your mom some bee friendly flowers for her garden, donate to a bee worthy cause, or help her make bee friendly hives for her garden. Honey Bees have been vanishing from all over the U.S., and with them our way of life.

Carrot Cake, Apple Strudel, Blueberry Scones, Cherry Tarts, Pumpkin Pie, Guacamole, Broccoli Quiche, French Onion Soup, Butternut Squash with Cinnamon, Almond Butter. These delectable foods and desserts are an example of some of the foods that will disappear from our diet if we can’t keep the bees healthy and put a stop to Colony Collapse Disorder. These foods, Carrots, Apples, Blueberries, Cherries, Pumpkins and Squash, Avocados, Broccoli, Almonds, and Onions, simply won’t grow without the help of pollinating bees, specifically honey bees. In fact, $15 billion worth of U.S. crops are at risk because of the disappearance of bees.

Why are the bees disappearing? Beekeepers noticed odd behavior in bees and sounded the alarm when seemingly healthy bees began abandoning their hives in 2006. An estimated one third of all honey bees in the U.S. have disappeared. Poof. They have simply flown off.

Scientists attribute the vanishing bees to a number of different factors, including inadequate food supply, pesticide use, and a new virus. The inadequate food supply is due to human activity, building homes in previously open spaces, planting gardens that don’t provide bees the resources they need to survive, spraying pesticides specifically targeted at bees. We might like their honey, but most people don’t like having the bees buzzing about their backyard BBQ. Sadly, our dislike has parlayed itself into acts that damage Bee habitats, and therefore ourselves. Bees play a critical, and irreplaceable role in our food supply, and we should do what we can to help bring them back. But what can we do?

The National Resources Defense Council has a few ideas:

Bee Native: Use local and native plants in your yard and garden. These plants thrive easily and are well suited for local bee populations, providing pollen and nectar for bees to eat.

Bee Diverse:Plant lots of different kinds of plants in your yard. Plant diversity ensures that your garden attracts many different varieties of bees and gives them a range of flowering plants to choose from throughout the year. Make sure your yard plants vary in:
Color: Bees have good vision and are attracted to several different colors of flowers.
Shape: Different species of bees are better suited for different shapes of flowers. Give your bees some variety!
Flowering times: Having a sequence of plant species that flower throughout the year helps sustain the food supply and attract different species of bees.

Bee Pesticide Wary: There are many natural methods to control pests in your garden. Researchers believe pesticides are a contributing factor to Colony Collapse Disorder. Moreover, some insecticides are harmful to bees and wipe out flowers that provide bees with food. If you must, use targeted pesticides and spray at night — when bees aren’t active — on dry days.

Bee a Hive Builder: Building your own bee hive is easy and fun. Creating a wood nest is a good place to start — wood-nesting bees dont sting! Simply take a non-pressure treated block of wood and drill holes that are 3/32 inch to 5/16 inch in diameter and about 5 inches deep and wait for the bees to arrive.

For more ideas on helping the honeybee, you can visit, this Haagen-Dazs supported website offers articles on the Bee Crises, links to ideas on how to help, and more. You can also visit and support the PennState Bee research and UCDavis’s research. To be more personally involved in the solution join The Hunt for Bees at The Great Sunflower Project. Check out the articles at The Daily Green for more ideas.

The N.Y. Times provided this map tracking the bee disappearances, along with some well written articles on the issue. Click on the map for a link to one of their articles.

Haiku Friday

The time to act is here, losing the bees will have a direct effect on your lifestyle. No more strawberries on a hot summer day, or piping hot slices of All American apple pie when it’s cold outside. We need the bees. Plant a bee garden, get a hive going, donate to organizations that are trying to make a difference, do something.

This year for Mother’s Day, help your mom be a source of change, and save a few bees.
What better way to celebrate Mom, than to save the world’s fruits and veggies?

The big baby…

Otter is one. Just one, he hasn’t even hit thirteen months yet. Despite his youth, he is big, huge really. His last stats were:

Weight 30 pounds 6 ounces
Height 31 1/2 inches
What does this size mean beyond increased muscle gain in my arms? (All right, my arm, I am really bad at alternating, so I end up with a muscular right arm, and a measly left.)

It means I have a one year old, who sometimes acts like a two year old. He reaches up and opens all the doors and he can hold my hand when walking without me stooping to reach him. He pulls furniture down on himself, and can reach onto all the surfaces in my home, except the kitchen island. Last night for dinner he ate a serving of meatloaf, as in, the same size serving I ate. Then he nursed for an hour. He is a big boy, destined to be a linebacker, or wrestler, or an interior decorator (What? He will be able to better reach the draperies for improved artistic arrangement). He can also get himself down off of the bed and couch, without hurting himself.

Don’t believe me? Luckily for you this whole diatribe is a thinly veiled excuse to show you more baby cuteness… so here it is:

Note how he is taller than the tall kitchen garbage can in our bedroom.

Thank you for sharing in my Otter’s accomplishments with me. I am going to start strength training to deal with his increased weight, but I don’t think I will be needing much of an exercise plan after he gets through with me.

Something a little stronger?

I don’t think coffee is going to get me through the day. I need something a little stronger, like tequila, with a lime, and large grain kosher salt, or maybe Speed.

Otter was awake playing “crawl thru diner” most of the morning. (By morning I mean the hours after midnight.) Now, of course, he is wired for sound, taking things apart, running through the house, sucking on butcher knives and sticking his fingers into light sockets.

Me? I am barely conscious as I drink my first cup of coffee in what promises to be a very, very long day.

Why can’t he be, oh I don’t know, TIRED on the days when neither of us get any sleep? It’s not as though I was out all night clubbing while he slept away in dream land. No, I was in bed, cursing the day I decided to pop a tit in his hungry hungry hippo mouth! I was desperately trying to sleep while he twisted my skin between his fingers, kicked me in the stomach, groin, and thighs, and nursed all night long.

Is he tired? No! Otter wants to pull all the magnets off my office filing cabinet, so he can suck the magnetized metal bits out of the large plastic covers and choke on them before he determinedly eats the papers they were pinning to the cabinet. He wants to dig through my drawers and spread printer paper all over the floor! He wants to open the front door and wander out into the street!

Otter wants to climb the stairs, up and down, up and down, holding tightly to my fingers with his chubby baby hands. On a quasi rested well adjusted day I would console myself with thoughts like “at least I am getting my exercise today” or “Who needs a stair stepper when you have a one year old?”, but today the only thought in my mind seems to be “are you frackin’ kidding me?! I want to lie down and watch ER reruns until I drool!”

But no, he is not tired today. His new motto is “sleep is for the weak”. He is an unstoppable force of pint sized determination.

I, however, am the thick dull sludge left in the bottom of the coffee pot when the burner has been on all night.

He fell asleep not too long ago, snuggled warm with me on the couch. I tried to sleep, lay there for an hour listening to the traffic, the birds, the neighbor’s loud oompa loompa polka music. No sleep. None. Finally got up before going stark raving mad.

Pay it forward…

Some of you may remember my Pay it Forward Exchange. Well I created a lovely green summer hat for WesnLani’s chemo angel recipient, and I finished my second craft, a lovely black and shiny gold and silver evening bag for Mandy over at Not Another Mom Blog. I had a lot of fun creating this bag. I crocheted it out of 100% cotton yarn, with a sparkly deco yarn trim, lined it with a thick sparkly felt lining, and crocheted a clasp closure so it’s contents won’t spill easily out of it.

Here is the bag itself:

Here is the handcrafted enclosure:

Here is a detailed shot of the stripes:

It was a great deal of fun making this. It may be the fanciest one I have made yet. I think I may use this pattern again for christmas gifts.

Thanks for everyone who participated! I am sending the gifts out Monday.

Vice and Vices…

My head is stuck in a vice again.

The throbbing pain coupled with photophobia (light induced pain) makes it hard to write anything interesting. I am trying to fight off despair. I am so tired of dealing with migraines. I know I don’t have a life threatening illness, and I am ever thankful for the mostly healthy life I have had, but I am still longing for a headache free life.

I mean seriously, who has time to sit still in a quiet dark room for days on end? If I had time to do that, I would be a member of the landed gentry, stuck in a whale boned corset, and forced to gorge on meals before leaving for parties in order to maintain the image that women eat like birds. (An asinine comparison, since birds eat more than their weight each day, and therefore a woman eating like a bird would be consuming over a hundred pounds of food daily. I digress.)

I have suffered from these nasty, soul sucking, headaches since I was twelve. In fact, this year marks the 20th anniversary of my introduction to migraine hell! Bully for me! Two decades of intense headaches coming and going, sometimes a few a year, other times a few a month.
I have gone to work and class in sunglasses, lived with a permanent prescription for percoset and muscle relaxants, and worn earplugs when watching my kids play. I have tried yoga, massage, chiropractic treatments, diet and vitamin changes, heat therapy, cold therapy, herbal therapy, swimming, walking, sleeping, drinking, lying in a dark room, working through the pain, sex, and more. I have had dozens of C.T.’s and MRI’s, not to mention the plethora of EMG’s and nerve conduction survey’s I have been treated to. I can’t even explain the other myriads of medical brain and nerve scanning technologies I have been treated with over the years.

I have been told they were caused by stress, hormones, insufficient bra support, birth control medication, allergies, the manner in which I carry my children/backpack/purse, diet. You name it, I have been given a reason. I have even been told to get breast reduction surgery on the off chance it will improve my headaches. (Cause yeah, medical science is down to a science, there ain’t no guess work in them there diagnoses.)

What I haven’t been given, is a solution. Each time I try a remedy, I get hopeful. I think maybe this time I am done. Each time I have a month, or two, sometimes even several months, without headaches. Each time they return. The only time I have been successful in getting rid of them is when I am pregnant. As much as I enjoy the lack of migraine’s while enciente, I am certainly not going to be pregnant forever. (That would be another nightmare entirely.)

I refuse to let these headache’s ruin my life, so over the years I have adapted to living with a certain amount of discomfort. I buy ridiculously huge dark sunglasses to wear in and out of the house, I take medication to dull the ache, and I live my life.

I know my family can still tell when I am having one. Monkey will come to me and pat my head and say “I am sorry you hurt mama.” Lee will make me tea and rub my shoulders. I wish I could live my life with as much zest as normal, but at least I am up and about.

And today, I am blogging. Which has become one of my vices. I am pretty sure I could be at death’s door in the ER and still would ask for a laptop and wireless connection so I could connect with the blog-o-sphere. It’s better for you than most vices, I won’t get lung cancer or destroy my liver by blogging, though carpal tunnel is certainly a risk. At least I can socialize with someone, without having to explain that smiling makes my head hurt.
Thanks for being there to socialize with.