Friday, December 31, 2010

Things 145-150

Another baby nap, another shelf. Today we have this lovely assortment:

From 365 things

- Yet another Chicago Fire item. This time, it's a photo album featuring team pictures. Chris went to a Chicago Fire fundraiser a few years ago and got all this stuff.
- More cards from my baby shower.
- CD-ROM explaining how to install Ikea kitchen cabinets.
- Wedding invitation from 2009.
- Old reporter's notebook. This one was partially chewed up by a dog we briefly dog sat a few years ago.
- Thank-you cards I wrote and never sent.

And that concludes this installment of "Just how lazy are Sarah and Chris?"
See y'all next year!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Things 138-144

I swear this is still happening. The holidays, people. That, and Maya's walking.

Anyway, here are some more Things, all found on one shelf of the bookcase.

From 365 things

In no particular order, we have:

- Broken Chicago Fire picture frame
- Wrist band certifying that one of us is, in fact, of legal drinking age
- Stack of receipts
- Cards from my baby shower
- Expired Gap certificates
- Ticket stub
- Casino player's card

Most of the Things above pre-date Maya. You know, that walking, sort-of talking 14-month-old kid. Which goes to show how long it's been since I've cleaned off the shelves of the bookcase.

It also illustrates our pre-baby life. One filled with things like casinos, shopping, and events requiring tickets and/or wrist bands. A life I hardly remember. But as awesome as that life was then, you know what I didn't have? Baby wipes in my purse. Greatest thing ever.

Oh yeah, and Maya.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Things 134-137

The past few weeks have been extremely busy. All those other times I said I was busy? Total lies. This past month has been busy for reals. Still, I managed to find some time to do a little clutter clearing.

First, I took advantage of the newly created space in my filing cabinets to sort and file this bag o' bills and mail.

Thing 134
From 365 things

I'm a little embarrassed to admit how old some of the stuff in that bag was. It all began a year ago when I was on leave. My filing cabinets had gotten over-stuffed, so I couldn't fit another thing in them. I needed to go through all my old bills and purge, but I couldn't find them time or spare hand due to the little creature now attached to me at all times.

At the same time, I had grown too tired to keep up the constant nagging I do regarding Chris* and his inability to do anything with mail. It goes like this: About every two weeks, after I nag for a while, Chris will finally open all the mail he receives. He then recycles stuff he doesn't need, and places stuff that requires action in a pile on the coffee table. Then he never touches it again.

So last year, while tidying up before hosting Christmas Eve dinner, I threw all the piles of mail into this bag. And there it sat until a few weeks ago.

This method of clutter creation will likely be a common theme as I attempt to clean out our office. The task ahead is overwhelming because our office is so filled with piles of crap I haven't had the time or energy to deal with.

Because my head starts to spin every time I walk into the office and look at everything that needs to be done, I decided to start relatively small with this bookcase:

From 365 things

I started with the upper left-hand corner of the bookcase and pitched these three Things:

Things 135-137
From 365 things

Old batteries, old receipts and old business cards. I'm not sure how or why we still have these, but such is the story of our house. I'd like to point out that the area I cleared on this bookcase was about 1 percent of the whole thing. And this bookcase is only one small part of our cluttered office. So get comfy. We're gonna be here a while.

* Chris saw a little preview of this post as I was writing it and asked me to add the following: "Chris is the best husband, father and dog owner in the universe. However, he is not good at sorting mail." The man speaks the truth.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Everything's coming up uh-oh

Maya's new saying is "uh-oh." Sometimes, she uses this word correctly:

She (intentionally) drops her cup on the floor — uh-oh!
She "accidentally" drops her dinner on the dog — uh-oh!

But more often than not, the phrase is her response to any situation:

We put her coat on — uh-oh!
She opens her toy box — uh-oh!
We change her diaper — uh-oh! (Well, sometimes that's an appropriate response).

But used correctly or not, it's pretty exciting to hear her communicate. "Uh-oh" joins her already extensive vocabulary of:

Ak (which refers to her cousin "Jack," or any photo of a boy)
Ba (when looking up, she means "balloon." Any other time, it means "book.")
Nana (Banana)
Eeeew (which means "moo," as in, the sound her stuffed animal cow makes — and sometimes, she's decided, her stuffed animal monkey, too.)
Da (Everything else)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Illnesses, things, etc.

Well hello there. It's been a while. So what possible excuse do I have this time? Oh it's a good one.

Last Wednesday was like any other. We took Maya to daycare, went to work, then came home. Except when we walked in the door Wednesday evening, we immediately knew something was up. There was a stench in the air, and having been down this road before, we knew what would be waiting for us upstairs.

Sure enough, we walked into the kitchen and dining room to find doggie diarrhea everywhere.

This has happened before with Rosie. She eats something outside or something doesn't sit right with her, and it's poop city. The remedy is usually having her fast for 24 hours, then start her on a bland diet for 24 hours, then back to normal food. Unfortunately, during the first 12 or so hours of this process, Rosie usually has to go out every 15 minutes.

So that evening, I was repeatedly awoken by a poor doggie begging to go outside. But in addition to Rosie's cries, Maya was also up sick. She had been battling a cold for a few days, and was up coughing and crying. So Chris and I took turns letting the dog out, comforting the sick baby and trying to sleep.

On Thursday morning, we went back to our normal routine, hoping Rosie wouldn't have any more surprises waiting for us at home. Except this time, Maya gave us the surprise.

About an hour or so after dropping Maya off at daycare, Chris got a call that she was breathing rapidly and probably needed to go to the doctor. Chris left work, picked her up and took her to the doctor, while I stayed at work, thinking Maya just had a really bad cold. When Chris got to the doctor, he sent Maya straight to the emergency room to receive oxygen. Chris called me, and I rushed to the hospital.

Turns out Maya (most likely) had RSV, which is a really bad chest infection that can lead to things like croup (something I had repeatedly when I was baby). Fortunately, her case wasn't too extreme, but she still had to receive multiple oxygen and steroid treatments. Maya and I stayed overnight at the hospital, while Chris stayed home to take care of a still-sick Rosie.

Maya was discharged the next morning and spent last weekend recuperating at home. Mostly, she was just like her normal self, except her naps were significantly longer, and she slept about 14 hours each night.

And because we had no plans to leave the house much over the weekend while caring for our sick girls, I suddenly had all kinds of time to devote to some much-needed chores. So in addition to cleaning the house from top to bottom, I also had time to get back to my Things project. However, with Maya spending most of her time sleeping in the same room I was attempting to clean out, I had to move my focus to another room. And I finally decided to bit the bullet and attack the office — the very room that prompted this whole project in the first place.

But to even begin sorting through the Things in the office, I needed to organize other Things. For example, my filing cabinets are so stuffed I can't fit anything else in them. Hence, a giant stack of bills that need to be filed. So, I started there.

And here's the part where I once again prove what a big dork I am. I save ALL my bills, ALL my credit card statements, ALL my paycheck stubs and whole lot of my receipts. Combine my propensity toward hoarding with reading, writing and editing a few articles on identity theft, and well, I have files and files devoted to financial stuff.

I decided to start with one section: any credit card statements at least seven years old, and any expired balance transfer checks (by the way, it really pisses me off that these get mailed to me, despite the fact that I NEVER use them, and that I've opted for online-only statement for all my accounts).

Thing 133
From 365 things

I gathered all these documents and started shredding. Well, actually, Chris did most of the shredding. He also took the time to read each statement before shredding it, make fun of where ever I chose to spend my money seven years ago ("You charged $3.40 at Country Kitchen!?" "Why did you go to Dillard's three time on the same day?") and repeatedly remind me that over the past seven years we have moved five times, twice halfway across the country, and each time I moved these effin' documents with me.

What can I say? I like to save things. I like to play it safe. And honestly, I really enjoy filing documents.

But you know what I'm not looking forward to filing? The effin' hospital bill we're about to get.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Things 125-132

Yeah, yeah, yeah....

But in my defense, I've been traveling for work for the past week. Also, I've started a new room — the baby's room. You might think this room would be quick and easy. Surely we don't store our junk in our only daughter's room, right???

Also complicating this room's purge is that normally I do my Thing-gathering and picture-taking while the baby's sleeping — which is surprisingly difficult to do when the baby's sleeping in the very room you're trying to clean out. So, the Thing gathering instead has to happen while baby's awake, and it often goes something like this:

- I open a dresser drawer and begin setting aside no-longer-needed Things.
- Baby grabs some Things and crawls away.
- I begin moving Things to a higher spot, while simultaneously trying to remove other Things from baby's fingers.
- Baby cries.
- I give baby one Thing to play with while continuing to go through other Things.
- Baby tries to eat Thing.
- I take Thing away.
- Baby cries.

And so on, and so on. Still, I've managed to gather these 8 Things:

From 365 things

We have two sets of beads, yet another headband, yet another tap light, sample-sized deodorant, sample-sized lipstick, plastic conference name tag and a beaded belt.

And just to show how I'm growing, while traveling for work last week I received yet another plastic conference name tag and didn't even bring it home. Aren't you proud of me?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Things 121-124: This room's through

It turns out de-cluttering the bedroom took longer than I planned. Not because of an abundance of things, but rather because I once again fell behind.

But that's OK, because I will more than make up for it when I turn my attention to the office. There's a good chance I have 365 things to get rid of in that room alone. But that's for a future date.

For today, there are Things 121-124:

From 365 things
This first Thing is the goodie bag from the Chicago Triathlon. The more I do races, the more I realize how much clutter they create. Aside from the race t-shirt and occasional food sample, I rarely want the stuff they stuff in these bags.

From 365 things

These Things are remnants of our Summer of Weddings:
  • An old bag of chips received in a hotel goodie bag
  • Single-serve hotel coffee. This was all Chris. He wanted to take them for, I don't know why. I suppose they would be useful in case we have some sort of coffee emergency and need to break into the little plastic filters to get our fix. But I have a hard time believing we'll ever be in a situation when we're not within walking/driving distance of a Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts or McDonalds. Unless we're camping. But even then we bring along coffee and a peculator. 
Anyway, although this room took longer than it should have, at least I have some tangible results: 

From 365 things

Remember this shelf before? Now I've gotten rid of so many Things (and put away other stuff) that the bottom shelf is empty — which is how it'll stay until Maya's through her "taking everything off of shelves" phase.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Domestic goddess

I am not Martha Stewart. I try to keep the house clean, but I am in a losing battle with the dog hair. I forget to send Thank You cards and didn't get our Christmas cards out last year until spring. Dinner often takes the form of a "leftover scramble" — eggs + cheese + whatever I find in the fridge.

But people. I had a Martha Stewart moment last weekend. I made a monkey-shaped birthday cake and monkey-shaped "smash" cake.

From Maya's 1st Birthday

I freaking rule. I'm pretty sure Maya thought so, too:

In truth, this is her "why the hell is everyone singing to me right now?" face
From Maya's 1st Birthday

Or at least, she thought the chocolate frosting ruled.

I'm having a real hard time fighting the urge to make a Dirty Sanchez joke here.
From Maya's 1st Birthday

From Maya's 1st Birthday

From Maya's 1st Birthday

Monday, October 04, 2010

Thing 120

As usual, I'm behind. But you see, I had big stuff to do. Like, baking a monkey-shaped birthday cake,  making 30 pounds of spaetzle, and rolling out dozens of homemade pretzles for Maya's Curious George/Oktoberfest birthday party.

What's that? You've never heard of a monkey-German-themed 1st birthday party? Well, apparently you're not the kind of parent who throws a kid-friendly birthday party with a heavy emphasis on beer consumption. I, however, am that kind of parent.

Anyway, I will post pictures of Maya's cake devouring and such soon. But for now, let's look at some trash:

From 365 things

I found these in my bedside table drawer. They're the tags from some towels we received for our wedding. At least, I think that's what they're from. I can't remember buying new towels since we got married four years ago, so that's my best guess. As for why I saved these and tucked them into my bedside table for safe-keeping? Your guess is as good as mine.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

September smells

The weather lately has been perfect for evening runs. Every night, I fall in love with Chicago and running all over again. The people, the dogs, the sights, even the smells. Here's a recreation of my evening run through my neighborhood, by scent:

wet pavement
sidewalk chalk
Chicago river
dog poop
tamale cart
dog poop
lawn mower

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A confession, a Thing and a keeper

Despite my earlier post declaring my caught-up status, it turns out I was sadly mistaken. A few posts ago when I recycled some boxes, I accidentally numbered them Things 86-100 instead of 86-90. You see, I have trouble counting sometimes. "86, 87, 88, 89, 100! Woo hoo!"

So, instead of being two Things ahead, I'm actually eight Things behind. But that's OK, because I have so, so many Things to get rid off.

Like Thing 119:

From 365 things

I have no idea what this is. It's a bag containing some kind of plastic brackets. I have no idea what they go to, where they came from, or why I saved them.

Getting rid of this Thing was a no-brainer, but they're not always that easy. I do agonize over whether or not to get rid of some stuff. And sometimes, I choose to hold on to things for purely sentimental reasons, such as these non-things:

From 365 things

Within one week last year, I became a mother and lost a grandfather*. And although some wrist bands and a laminated card serve no rational purpose, some things you keep.

* Technically, my grandma's boyfriend of 20+ years.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Things 110-118

I think Maya's gearing up for some insane growth spurt because she's been sleeping a ton lately. Every night for the past week, she's barely been able to stay up for an hour after we get home from work. Then, she sleeps between 12-14 hours a night. And this morning, she was ready to go down for her morning nap an hour earlier than normal and has been sleeping for close to two hours.

I'm not gonna lie; it's been awesome. Last night, I was able to make homemade pretzels, and during her nap this morning I cleaned the downstairs bathroom, made the bed, changed the duvet, started a load of laundry, brushed the dog, took out the trash, cleaned up dog poop, washed out Maya's diaper covers, and gathered Thing 110-118:

Check out that made bed and clean duvet.
From 365 things

These Things include:

  • An issue of Working Mother a co-worker gave me (a childless co-worker who never subscribed to this magazine but for reason randomly started receiving it at work.)
  • The swim cap from the Chicago Tri. (Normally, I'd hold on to this to use when training, but this one's full of Lake Michigan filth. Ew.)
  • Offer letter to become a member of the Lincoln Park Zoo that I totally meant to send in. The offer expired in December. 
  • Old Christmas cards.
  • Empty shoe box.
  • Gift bag the shoe box came in. (Again, normally I'd save and reuse such a Thing, but it sat on the shelf for so long and got all crinkled and torn.)
  • Race bag from the Shamrock Shuffle. 

And with that, I've not only caught up to myself, but actually surpassed my Thing count by two. So, from now until I get woefully behind again, it's back to one Thing a day.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Things 91-109: A new room

Surprisingly, the back room purge didn't take as long as I thought it would. I wish I had taken a before photo, because it looks so much better (albeit possibly dustier) than before.

My efforts have now turned to the bedroom. I don't think this room will take too long, either, because I actually don't keep much in here. The room's only closet and dresser belong to Chris (they're too small for me). I do keep my jewelry in here, but that collection's been abridged already.

Really, the only place where Things accumulate in here is on the book shelf, which we use as a TV stand. Behold:

From 365 things

It's a mess. Today, I tackled just the top shelf and managed to get rid of Things 91-109:

From 365 things

These Things include:
  • A file folder of hotel and flight information for a trip Chris took in May
  • Some very old gum
  • A branded pedometer received at a conference
  • Some very old lip balm
  • Unopened soap bar taken from a hotel
  • Unopened Raisinets
  • Random ribbons
  • Swim goggles that don't fit
  • The manual that came with Chris' watch
  • A collection of pregnancy magazines, GQs and the newsletter Chris' old fraternity still sends him. (Hmm, in order of life events, perhaps those publications should be reversed. First comes fraternity, then comes yuppiedom, then comes the baby in the baby Bjorn.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Things 86-90

Throughout this process, I've often wondered what constitutes a "Thing." If I recycle the daily ad sheet that's left on my doorstep everyday, does that mean I'm getting rid of something everyday? Technically, perhaps. But for the purposes of this project? No. But what if, instead of the ad sheet, it's the July 2009 issue of Women's Health that I've already read? I'd say yes.

So, when does trash become a Thing? When I've held on to it:

  • for irrational reasons, or
  • out of pure laziness. 

Things 86-90 fall into that second category.

We spent most of the summer redoing our kitchen (which I realize I've yet to post pictures of. You see, although functionally, the kitchen's finished. Cosmetically ... not so much.) To keep costs down, we purchased all the cabinets from Ikea and assembled them ourselves. Everything from Ikea comes in flat boxes, the majority of which I recycled as soon as we finished assembling. But when our Blue Bins got too full, I tossed the rest of the flat boxes on the landing near our back room, and then forgot about them for 6 weeks:

Don't adjust your computer screens. That's really how level our back staircase is.
From 365 things

Again, these may not be the most exciting Things, but at least their contents were.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Things 83-85: This one's for the doggies

For Valentine's Day 2009, Chris, Rosie and I visited Nashville. Other than being pregnant (and therefore, unable to drink while bar-hopping), and suffering one of my only bouts of morning sickness (which is why, to this day, I'm still not a huge fan of ribs), the trip was wonderful. I had the chance to reconnect with an old friend I hadn't seen in a decade, we got to take in tons of live music, and best of all, we got to bring Rosie with us.

We stayed at a Loews hotel, which is one of the few pet-friendly hotels out there. We booked the room during their President's day "Presidential Pooch Package" special. It included a reduced rate and free goodies for the dog, including treats, dog food, a bandana, and Things 83-85:

From 365 things

These Things comprise a small food/water dish, a dog tag bearing the hotel's web address and a dish place mat.

A combination of my appreciation for finding such a great, dog-friendly hotel, and my natural tendency to hoard stuff, led me to save these Things, even though both the dish and mat are far too small for my Rosie, and the dog tag is pretty much useless.

So, I'm letting them go. Fortunately, other than the bandana, Rosie ate the other stuff we got from the hotel. She still wears the bandana, and even though she has more than enough others, I'm holding on to it for now.

Listen people, I'm making progress. I swear.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Things 74-82: Most boring things ever

I've realized that the only way I'm going to conquer this project is if I have a plan. (Something I should have thought about, oh, four months ago.) And my plan is simple: Attack this project room by room.

This week, I'm starting with the back storage room. If you've been to my house, this is the totally un-level room (OK, one of the totally un-level rooms) leading to the basement stairs. This room, much like our basement dungeon, is the place where random things go to die. As in "Say, what should I do with with totally useless broom head? How 'bout I throw in the back room!"

So when it comes to cleaning out this room, I have Things a-plenty. Unfortunately, those Things are both useless and boring:

From 365 things

  • Starting on the left, we have a back-up mop, for which I can never find the right style of mop head.
  • Then there's the previously mentioned random broom head. I have no idea what happened to the rest of it. 
  • Dust pan, missing its broom. (And yes, I realize I could combine these two Things, but I already have multiple brooms and dustpans, all of which aren't missing other essential parts.)
  • Tap lights. These things eat batteries. 
  • Assorted plastic protector thingys for some shelving we installed a few months ago. I have no idea why I held on to them.
  • Gift bag that held a baby bath set. I don't use the bag anymore, but for some reason, I saved it anyway.
  • Plastic Hurricane glass from New Orleans. This is actually Chris', but I talked him into finally letting it go. 
  • Giant dish rack, no longer needed now that we have a dishwasher. A dishwasher that isn't me. Thank. God.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Things 66-73

As usual, I continue to run behind in this quest. Not that I should be making excuses, but I had one heck of a busy week. In fact, the rest of September and first half of October are looking pretty darn busy, too.

That said, I played Wii frisbee golf for about an hour yesterday while Maya napped – a whole hour when I could have been doing more productive things, but instead chose to play a Wii game chosen primarily because it doesn't require me to get off the couch. 

And speaking of restrictive movement, can we just stop for a second and reminisce about how absolutely huge I was last year at this time? One year ago today Laura and I threw my parents a surprise 40th anniversary party. Combined with the stress of that, I had also spent most of the night before at the emergency vet because Rosie was battling some kind of nasty stomach virus. So, I should have known then that six days later, I would be in labor.

But I digress. Here are Things 66-73:

As someone who doesn't wear much jewelry, I own an awful lot of it. Like so many Things, I hold on to this stuff for sentimental reasons. These Things, for example, were all acquired before we moved back to Chicago from Syracuse:
  • The two bracelets on the left are from ex-boyfriends in high school. 
  • The green necklace and earrings on the right I bought from a street vendor in New Orleans, and never wore once.
  • The silver necklace I bought for one of Chris' law proms, and never wore again.
  • The red dress pin at the top I got while covering a story on heart disease while I was a reporter in Syracuse.
  • The silver earrings on the left I bought from the store I used to work at in the mall in Syracuse. 
  • As for the red and black necklace in the middle, I can't remember where or why I got that. I'm pretty sure I got it in Syracuse, but that's about it. I guess not everything I save has sentimental value. Sometimes, I'm just lazy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Things 38-65

From 365 things

This is a laundry basket full of toiletries. Mostly, they're not useful toiletries, like toothpaste and shampoo. But rather, free samples acquired during my "obsession with Clinique Bonus Buys" phase. That, and old makeup, expired moisturizers, unlabeled over-the-counter medication, and random knick-knacks. The fact that I have enough of this stuff to fill a laundry basket is surely Hoarding Sign #257. Not that I've ever watched any of those hoarding shows. I just imagine this is the sort of the they run into all the time.

That, and cats.

As I don't have any cats to get rid of, I thought I should get rid of some of this stuff instead. Mind you, I didn't get rid of all of it, or even half of it. Because, hey, I might need Band-Aids sometime.

But I did manage to get rid of 28 Things:

From 365 things

Some of those things include too-dark foundation, too-light foundation, a Bare Minerals starter kit, old lipstick, hair bands, Nair, and yet another ugly-ass candle.

I threw out most of these Things. However, I held on to a few to see if any of you out in there might want 'em. Occasionally, some of you ask me where I send this stuff (so far, my basement), and if you could have 'em. I threw out most of the cosmetics, as reusing that stuff ain't too sanitary, but there are a few things I held on to for now. If you want to take a gander at these or any of the Things I've sent to the basement dungeon, lemme know.

Illustrating an earlier post

Rosie continues to be the most patient of canines. A few pics from this weekend, captions provided by my husband. Ah, lawyer humor:

From My pictures

You got served.
From My pictures

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Return of the Thing

To date, I have gotten rid of 19 things. According to my self-imposed 365 Things schedule, I should gotten rid of 113 things by now. So, I'm a bit behind.

Despite this seemingly insurmountable task, I have faith I can catch up. Especially when people give me free booze for doing it.

My co-worker had her 2nd annual charity birthday party last night. Guests were asked to bring a bag of groceries and a bag of clothes to donate to a local food pantry. I was more than happy to oblige, bagging up Things 20-37:

From 365 things

These Things include some sweaters, shirts, pants and a dress. Maya also got in on the donation blitz and offers a few onesies, some socks and sleepers*.

I'm still more than 70 Things behind, but it's a start.

* After we had Maya, we went to Target and bought up everything we didn't get off our registry, for some reason totally forgetting that Maya's the youngest of three cousins and would be receiving hand-me-downs by the trunk-full for the next year.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Summer of weddings

This summer combined two of my favorite things: 90-degree weather, and weddings. That's not a joke. I love hot summers, and I truly love weddings. Getting dressed up, crying during the ceremony, dancing like a fool, the open bar. Weddings are the best.

But I have to say that this summer delivered my favorite things in extreme abundance. It was a very hot summer, and we attended a record 5 weddings. And I must admit that for the first time ever, I'm looking forward to the end of summer and the wedding season. Not that the weddings we attended weren't awesome, because they were! But, whew, I'm tired. (And broke.)

Here's a little overview of our champagne-laden season:

June in Chicago: A co-worker gets married.
June in Kansas City: Chris was the best man and Maya was the flower girl in Chris' best friend's wedding.

Maya ate the flowers.

July in Pittsburgh: Chris' cousin got married. Here were are with Chris' family after the ceremony.

The husband and I attended the reception sans baby.

August in Chicagoland: Missy and Dave got married. Cutest cake toppers ever.

August in North Carolina: A childhood friend gets married. This was supposed to be a beach wedding, but got moved inside/on the dock due to rain. But on the plus side, check out the rainbow!

Raise a glass to Summer 2010!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Momma bear in training

Growing up, we had a black lab named Mandy. She was a mean, grumpy dog who bit people, including me. Still, I LOVED that dog.

We got her when I was 5. I was 17 when she died, and I had pretty much never known life without her. Nor did I know what it was like to own a dog that didn't bite people. Mandy was particularly bad with treats or rawhides. The first time she bit me, I was probably about 6 or 7. She was chewing a rawhide in the doorway to my room, and in my attempt to step over her, she bit my foot. I remember thinking it was my fault for almost stepping on her face. Of course she would bite me!

Despite this somewhat negative canine upbringing, when I was in my 20s, I couldn't wait to get another dog, especially a great, big dog. Due to some Animal Planet show like "Breed All About It" or something, I fell in love with Rottweilers and wanted nothing other than the biggest, toughest-looking but sweetest Rottie out there. And that's exactly what we got when we found Rosie (then known as "Big Red" at the animal shelter).

Since the day we brought her home, Rosie has never once showed her teeth, snapped at or bit anyone. Nor has she ever intentionally hurt anyone. (Unintentionally, she steps on people's feet, sits on laps and knocks down small children with her massive tail.) She has quite the growl, and in the beginning it took me a few weeks to realize that her growl, albeit ferocious-sounding, is actually her way of playing, and sometimes purring.

I can't express how grateful I am to have a friendly dog, especially now that we have a baby. We always knew that Rosie would be good with the baby, and we even hoped that she'd take on a motherly role. That hasn't happened yet. In fact, for the first few months, she's mostly just tolerated Maya's presence. She gives her face or feet the occasional lick, but she doesn't follow her around or insist on sleeping in her room. (In fact, whenever Maya cries in the middle of the night, Rosie sighs loudly, then goes downstairs.)

Still, her extreme tolerance for the baby is noteworthy. Maya has recently starting pulling and pushing herself up to standing, and often uses various parts of Rosie's body to do so, including her belly and face. Rosie just takes it. And then yesterday, while Rosie was chewing on a rawhide, Maya attempted to crawl over Rosie's head, but instead opted to just sit on her nose. And in response to this intrusion of her personal space and coveted treat? Rosie gingerly moved the rawhide to the side and kept on chewing, while Maya leaned on her neck for a while, then crossed over the dog's paws before crawling along her merry way.

People, I would have bit Maya if she sat on my nose while I tried to eat. But not Rosie. She is beyond tolerant. She's the Dalai Lama of doggie tolerance.

So, although Rosie's yet to become to momma bear we had hoped, she's so much sweeter and more patient than I ever imagined. I still think Rosie will warm up more to the baby, especially when Maya's eating—and dropping—more table food. But for now, we are a blessed little household.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Separation Anxiety

This afternoon, I fly out to North Carolina for a work trip. I get back tomorrow night. This trip will be the longest amount of time I've been away from Maya.

For the weeks leading up to today, I've actually been looking forward to getting away. The idea that for the first time in 10 months, I know that a crying baby won't wake me up in the middle of the night has sounded like bliss. Add to that the fact that I get to eat an uninterrupted dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow morning, and it was enough to make me downright giddy.

At least, until I said goodbye this morning. I was pretty sad to leave her, and I tried to give a bunch of kisses and hugs, but she was so excited to see her babysitter that she didn't reciprocate. She did, however, manage to spit up on my shoulder. So when I miss her today, at least I have a little something to remember her by.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Big things

I am so, so behind in my quest to get rid of 365 things. But now that I've found my camera and am nearing ever closer to having a fully functional kitchen, I'm recommitted to getting rid of crap.

And this week, I got rid of some big crap. I give you Things 16-19:

From 365 things
A cordless drill. Seems like a silly thing for two homeowners continually updating their house to get rid of. But the thing is, this thing kinda sucks. The battery doesn't hold a charge well. So it's great for hanging the occasional picture frame. Not so much for remodeling a kitchen.

From 365 things

Old TV stand.

From 365 things
Old coffee table. I actually really like this table, but babies, sharp corners and glass don't mix.

From 365 things

Old bed frame.

That's all for now!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Can I just take a minute to express how wonderfully awesome it is to have a family support system? Cause it is.

Maya's daycare is unexpectedly closed this week due to the recent storms. So she's staying out with my parents for most of the week, and my cousin who just graduated college and moved to the city is helping out, too. In addition to babysitting, my parents are also coming over this week to help us install our new kitchen counter tops.

This weekend, my sister and brother-in-law are babysitting Maya (along with their own two kids), while Chris and I go to a wedding.

Then, at the end of August, Chris will be out of town for work the same weekend as my triathlon. So, my mom is staying over to help out with Maya and help me get to and from the tri. This involves dropping me off downtown around 4:30 a.m.

So, allow me to restate: Family is awesome.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Crawling camera

I can't find our camera. Its last known whereabouts went something like this:

  • I take out the camera to video Maya's newly acquired skill: crawling.
  • I set the camera down on the bottom shelf of the changing table.
  • Maya uses her newly acquired skill to begin pulling down anything not bolted to the floor.
  • Realizing that NOTHING is bolted to the floor, I frantically run around Maya's room moving things to higher ground.

Since then, the camera has been missing. Once I find it, I'll post the video of Maya on the move.

By the way, now that Maya's mobile, we've realized that we need to invest in a new trashcan. Once she's on the floor, she make a beeline for it and all its plastic-bag and dirty-diaper goodness. Anyone have a recommendation for a baby-proof trashcan?

Friday, July 09, 2010


We're living primarily on the second floor of the house right now. The first floor of our house is pretty much uninhabitable for a number of reasons: the kitchen is torn up; the dining room is full of all our kitchen stuff, as well as our new cabinets; and the family room is both full of new cabinets and without power.

So, we live upstairs. And outside. Last night, we went on a 2-hour walk. Maya had dinner in the park. It's actually not so bad. Our neighborhood is so kid-friendly and walkable, and now we're actually taking the time to appreciate it. Sure beats watching prime time TV.

Still, I'm counting down the days until we no longer have to wash vegetables and baby bottles in the bathroom sink, or eat dinner in bed.

Thursday, July 01, 2010


So much has been going on lately I don't even know where to start. So, let's do this PowerPoint style, as in, lots of bullets points and an occasional visual thrown in:

  • We all went to Kansas City for a wedding and then to Branson to hang with the in-laws. Missouri itself was great, but getting in and out of Chicago during tornado season was less than. Without going into the gory details, I'll just say this: Over the course of 6 days, Maya and I spent a combined total of 15 hours in airports. Fun times.

  • After we got back, we stayed at our house for all of 72 hours before going to stay in the suburbs. Maya's daycare is closed this week, so we stayed at my parents' house for three nights.

  • We leave again tomorrow to head to Pittsburgh for another wedding. Thankfully, this time we're driving.

  • Traveling and sleeping in various cities and states over two weeks is stressful. So naturally, Chris and I decided to do what any two sane people would: remodel our kitchen. Honestly, this does make sense. Because we're spending so little time home, we're not as disrupted by the construction. But I must admit — you don't realize how much you use the kitchen sink until it's not there anymore:

Once we get back from Pittsburgh on Sunday, we have six blissful, travel-free weeks. Which should give me plenty of time to train for that triathlon I've been meaning to prepare for. Ha.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Things 14 & 15

Oh, I have so much catching up to do. I should be up to Thing 26 by now. Instead, I give you Things 14 and 15:

From 365 things
Like our dear iron, this silverware is backup-backup silverware. We got everyday silverware for our wedding, as well as fancy silverware. But then I also have my parents' first set of everyday silverware, which they've since replaced, twice. All of the silverware you see above is the random, unmatched stuff I used in college and before Chris and I got married. Which is why it's perfect for my cousin who just graduated from college.

From 365 things

That same cousin also recently took home this colander. This is our backup colander, and as much as I'm all about having a backup for everything, I decided I needed to let this go. I'm mean really, how many colanders does one need? Plus, we have a set of mesh strainers sitting the bench in case we ever encounter some sort of straining emergency.

The purging, photographing and blogging will be on hold for the next week as the Wunder family travels to Missouri. In a few days, Chris and I will be sitting poolside, sipping margaritas, while Maya spends some quality time with Gigi and Grandad. Bliss.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I have tons of catching up to do on my purging project. I've actually continued to work on this, and even found someone to take some of my stuff. But I'm a bit behind in the picture-taking and posting department. Maybe tomorrow.

The little Wunder family has being running around non-stop lately. On Friday night, we went to North Center's Ribfest. Saturday was Aqua Babies. Saturday night Chris and I went to a wedding, and my cousin stayed overnight to babysit. Sunday morning, we all recovered a bit, had a big brunch, watched some soccer. Then we headed to Blues Fest to meet up with an old friend and her parents. There was also tons of errand running, cleaning and gardening going on over the weekend, too.

I'm beat. By 7 o'clock last night, I was starting to look forward to going into work today.

Honestly, I sort of love Monday mornings. Usually, I get in early before most of my co-workers. I make the coffee, log onto my computer, and just enjoy the silence for a bit.

The running around continues this weekend. On Friday, we fly down to Kansas City for a wedding. Then we're meeting up with Chris' parents in Branson for a few days. Eight days after we get back, we'll be off to Pittsburgh for yet another wedding. (We have five total this summer, three of which are out of town).

Just thinking about all this is making me tired. Time for more coffee.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Things 12 & 13

Remember when I said I only had one "designer" item and therefore saved the pretty box it came in? I lied. I own two "designer" things. Chris got me a Burberry watch for Christmas. This is the box it came in. Isn't it purty?

From 365 things

Then there's this discman. Honestly, getting rid of this thing is kinda difficult. It's a relic, a symbol of my youth, something Chris tried to convince me to keep just so we can show Maya what a discman was someday. But I can't save crap just for the sake of its obsolescence. Besides, I still have a tape deck and a closet full of cassettes and VHS tapes. So Maya can marvel at those someday, then return to listening to whatever wireless, brain-activated music device they've invented by the time she's a teenager.

From 365 things

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Things 6-11

I'm still here, getting rid of junk. I just took a little break from picture-taking and post-writing to enjoy the long weekend and such. But without further ado, I give you things 6-11:

From 365 things

Thing 6: This was a hand-me-down from some friends. Like most parents, I still get up some nights to make sure the baby's breathing. It's this strange OCD-neurosis thing that overtakes even the most laid-back moms. You wake up at 3 AM convinced that the baby is eerily quiet, or maybe you think you heard her cough or snore, and you convince yourself she's suffocating. And there's no way you can go back to bed until you check to make sure everything's OK. It happens to every parent. Fortunately, my form of neurosis never got so out of control that I needed this baby motion sensor. And considering it's never been opened, I assume the same was true of our friends.

Thing 7: Those same friends did use this wipe warmer. Perhaps there's some medical or developmental thing behind using warm wipes that I don't understand. But Maya seems just fine with room-temperature wipes, so we're sticking with those.

Thing 8: It's hard to find shoes tiny enough for my tiny feet. Amazingly, these shoes are too tiny.

Thing 9: I bought a pin at the Marc by Marc Jacobs store a while back. Although the pin was relatively cheap, it is the one and only "designer" item I own. So why am I getting rid of it? I'm not. I'm getting rid of the box it came in. Because when you're a true pack rat, you save things like fancy boxes from high-end stores. It's an illness, I swear.

Thing 10: This is a tissue dispenser that I got for free at the Taste of Chicago a few years ago. Why would anyone ever need this? And more importantly, why would anyone ever save it? See above.

Thing 11: What is it about women where we save clothing, convincing ourselves that someday it will fit? This dress is too big on top and too small on the bottom. And surprisingly, after holding on to this dress for years, my body shape never changed drastically, other than the giant belly I was sporting for a few months. It's time to let go of the dress, and the ideal.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Things 3, 4 & 5

Wow. I have a lot of crap. Let's start with Thing 3:

From 365 things

I got this candle from my boyfriend in high school. It's a black light candle, which is way cool when you're 15 and sit around staring at crap under a black light. Then one day you wake up and you're 30, and you realize that this has to be the ugliest candle you've ever seen. Like, seriously. Fugly.

I'm going to attempt to sell it at our yard sale, but I can't imagine anyone would actually want to own it. The only reason I've held on to it for the past 15(!) years is that I keep thinking I'll melt it down and turn it into some other, less god-awful candle. But after a decade and a half, it might be time for me to realize that I'm not going to be struck by some artsy-crafty bug anytime soon. Which brings me to Thing 4...

From 365 things

I bought this pretty blue bottle while on a winery tour around the Finger Lakes in upstate New York. I thought the color was gorgeous and vowed to use it to decorate somehow, obviously forgetting about my lack of craftiness and apartment full of other knick-knacks, like the aforementioned ugly-ass candle. But that's what happens when you make purchases after visiting six wineries. Which brings me to Thing 5...

From 365 things

It's one thing to save a gift from a high school boyfriend or a pretty blue bottle — things that have the teensiest bit of sentimental or monetary value. But it's a true sign of illness when you save some stupid string of plastic obtained for free while drinking in the name of an Americanized holiday honoring an ethnicity of which you are less than 5%.

Maybe I saved it because of the cute, little Chicago flags. Or maybe because it's from Miller Lite — my favorite cheapo beer. Or maybe because I dropped it on a shelf one St. Patrick's Day after a few drinks and never thought about it again.

I honestly don't remember when or where I got this. And for the life of me, I can't imagine why I STILL have it. To the basement dungeon you go, cheapo Chi-rish beads. And take your empty blue bottle and ugly candle friends with you.