Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Crazy? I think not!

I started "babysitting" for the family that lived next door when I was eight years old. I say "babysitting" because it was more of a mother's helper role for the first few years. When I first started helping out, for $2 an hour, they had two little boys. By the time we moved away seven years later there were four boys and I was a full-fledged babysitter, making the then-high wage of $5 an hour.

I was a pretty mature little 8-year old, if I do say so myself, but over the years I have wondered if our neighbor (DB) wasn't a little crazy to have such a young kid playing mother's helper . . .

And now as a mother, I get it. And know that she wasn't crazy, she was a freakin' genius!

If she ever did leave the house it was to run to IGA right down the road, and my mother was right next door in case of an emergency. I don't know what DB did with most of her time when I was over, as we were usually outside playing, but I would guess it was a combo of catch-up with the house and some me-time. For $2 an hour, totally worth it!

My nieces and nephews live around the corner, my oldest nephew (R) is 10 going on 11, and now I am the one hiring a mother's helper. Last week I had R over for an hour to play with Sophia outside, and it was awesome! They played in our side yard so I could see them out the kitchen window. Meanwhile I got caught up on a massive pile of dishes, started dinner, and organized the bill/filing pile. My most productive hour in a long time!

Great deal for me, and great deal for Sophia. I went outside to check on them at one point, and know what they were doing? Sitting on the deck stairs . . . breaking bark.

Now, my tolerance for sitting on the steps and breaking up bark is definitely not as long as R's, so way more fun to do it with him. And as far as time goes, for once Sophia got to play outside as long as she wanted, and actually decided to come in on her own.

My parents are moving just around the corner this summer, so my youngest sister is going to be able to bike over . . . and she isn't just a mother's helper, but a legitimate babysitter! The timing couldn't be better with baby #2 on the way.

Amazing how your perspective changes with the arrival of a kid or two. The next door neighbor is no longer a lunatic, but a brilliant woman who knew the key to staying sane. May you all be so lucky as to live so close to a potential mother's helper!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bedtime, and a conversation with the Snuggler

Several hours after putting her to bed last night, I could still hear the Snuggler talking in her crib upstairs. As many of you know from your own kids, still wakeful reason #1 is a poopy diaper, so up I went to check.

Me: "Hi sweetie. Why are you still awake? Do you have a poop?"

Snuggler: "Yes!"

M: "Well, let me check" . . . sniff bum . . . "Hmm, you don't smell poopy. Are you sure?"

S: "Quiet poop."

M: "Quiet poop?"

S: "Yes!"

John and I still are not sure what a quiet poop is versus, I don't know, a loud one? Especially since she didn't have one at all. But we're thinking that being awake for several hours after being put to bed multiple times a week equals needing to move bedtime a little later.

Sniff. (Tearful sniff, not the other kind that has already appeared in this post.) Goodbye, 6 o'clock bedtime. I am going to miss you!


P.S. Where are the blog name suggestions, people! Does no one want to win the lemon bars?! Help a blogger out!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Scrapping the list

I am a list person. I like to make a list with little boxes next to each item so I can neatly check it off when complete. Most days I have a list, and usually feel that the day was a good one when there is a check mark in each box.

What Sophia has been teaching me, however, is that sometimes other things are more important than filled check boxes. Like story time, or building a tent, or going for long walks outside to pick up as many rocks and sticks as her clenched little fists can hold.

Last Wednesday I had a list. It was full of items like laundry, dishes, and vacuuming the house. And it all got scrapped when Sophia and I spontaneously headed to the Children's Museum in Portland with friends, and then back to their house for lunch and nap-time.

And it was so much fun . . . way better than staying home to do chores on a rainy day would have been!



Of course, Sophia knows how a stethoscope works from her many doctors appointments, so she popped that right on in the "Veterinarian's Office." She worked on a big stuffed dog and a little green parrot while we were there, and I am happy to report that both patients did well.



By the time we headed out of the grocery store, Sophia had loaded up her basket with all of the carrots and cucumbers that were available . . . although of course she won't touch either item when I prepare them for her at home.


Sophia's favorite activity by far was "Cascade Stream" on the second floor. She kept me busy fetching toy turtles for her to throw in the stream and watch float away.




After the stream she got to see real turtles swimming around in a tank, and we didn't move from that spot for quite some time! Then it was on to the space shuttle and the cafe before we finally headed out to go have lunch and nap.

So no items got checked off my list that day, but somehow the laundry and dishes didn't seem to mind. And Sophia certainly didn't mind, because she got to have me all to herself. And I loved our spontaneous day, and am already looking forward to the next time I can scrap the list and head out on another adventure with my little Snuggler.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Sophia has a favorite relative, and it is not her mom or dad. You would think that since we provide her with food, shelter, and lots of love that we would be her favorites. You would be wrong!

It's Tom. Uncle Tom.

Sophia talks about Tom constantly. When I say that Grammy is coming over, she responds with "Tom?"

I tell her we are going to church . . . "Tom?"

John asks if she wants to go for a walk . . . "Tom?"

Grammy Libby came over to watch Sophia for the morning last Saturday, and as soon as she walked in the door Sophia came over to her, looked past her, and said "Tom?"

"Tom" is apparently a response to every question, and as much as we love Tom, boy would I like to be as popular as he is! Of course, the really difficult part is that Tom is very busy, and lives an hour and a half away. So Sophia does not get a Tom fix very often.


Yesterday Uncle Tom called to see about visiting in the afternoon. Of course I said yes, please come! And I wasn't going to tell Sophia, because I didn't want her to get so excited she wouldn't take a nap, but I wanted to make her happy and so of course she had to know. And I was right. She did take a nap, but just barely.

Before Uncle Tom arrived, we walked over to my sister's house to show her a new barrette of Sophia's. In the five minutes we were there all four of older her kids managed to enter/exit the house at least a dozen times. (That might be a slight exaggeration, I admit.) And despite the fact that we were not even at our house, each time the door opened and closed Sophia looked over and asked "Tom?!"

Tom finally arrived (Unfortunately just after I had accidentally slammed Sophia's finger in the door and she got a huge blood blister!), and Sophia got to have her Tom fix. A quick visit is better than no visit, that's for sure. By the end of half an hour, Sophia had loosened right up and was letting Uncle Tom read to her.



Sophia even brought out the strange leg-kick dance, just for Uncle Tom!

The visit came to an end, and Tom had to leave. Sophia said good-bye, and then had only one word to say when the door closed behind him.

Tom? No, it seems that Sophia has moved on.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Stylin' . . . and chillin'

Sophia has her own sense of style, and it is definitely not bound by what others may think should be worn as clothing. My favorite recent outfit?

Ordinary jeans and shirt, topped by leg warmers and a slinkie. I've never seen anyone wear a slinkie before, but Sophia has introduced me to the concept. The whole outfit is a little tricky to get on, and requires some help from Mama . . . especially the leg warmers over jeans!





Last night I was up far too late (But it was worth it, hanging with some girlfriends!) and so was not too bummed when I saw that it was raining today. Sophia and I spent the morning cuddled up on the couch reading books together, wrapped in the new picnic quilt. Cozy times!




Tired mama, happy baby.

And that's all for now, as the Snuggler is sitting on my lap, not-so-patiently waiting to watch "Coos" . . . one episode of Blue's Clues per rainy day!

Friday, April 8, 2011


I have been informed lately that I am kind of granola. And while I was a little bit surprised to hear that I had earned that title, I am not the least offended. I guess I had it coming . . . I do own two pair of Birkenstocks (and even call them Birks), went thru a phase where I was making the bread for our family (That was a pretty short phase because John didn't like making sandwiches from it . . . you had to cut really thick slices or it would fall apart.), and now the kicker . . . we're having a homebirth!

To me having a homebirth is not that abnormal. My mom had the last four of us (I am one of seven) at home and my sister has had all five of her children at home, and with the same midwife I will be using. But I can see how homebirth would be foreign to people with no prior experience with it, and how it would be the final straw toward being "granola" or "crunchy."

FYI, I prefer the title "granola" over "crunchy."

You have to remember that despite having an almost-two year old, this will be my first labor and birth, as Sophia was born via C-section. I didn't even have any Braxton-Hicks during my pregnancy with her, and she was born a day shy of 39 weeks. My family has a tendancy to go late, so I figure with a due date of July 20th I'll be happy if the kid pops out by the first week in August. So we aren't just going for a VBAC, but an HBAC (H stands for home).

Now John and I have finally started preparations for the birth of Libby baby #2. And to that end we are going super-granola and taking Hypnobirthing classes. John insists that he is going to learn to hypnotize me with a dangling crystal amulet, but really that is not what it's all about.

The point is to learn to allow yourself to relax so deeply that your body can do what it is made to do, and to minimize fear of the process because angst really can slow things down and complicate birth.

So we go off to class every Tuesday night for five weeks, to learn to help me relax. And that is hard work for me, because my mind tends to be everywhere, buzzing all the time like a crazy hummingbird on crack that won't quit. Especially if I am trying to NOT think. Especially at the end of the first class, when we all curled up on our own giant beanbags (even the spouses) and listened to our instructor (who sounds like a female Kip from Napoleon Dynamite) read a relaxation exercise aloud and the guy next to me snored the whole time. Thank goodness Snoring Man and his wife weren't there this past week, so I actually succeeded in my attempt at super-relaxation.

What's up next in our homebirth adventure? I'm sure all you non-granola people are just a little bit curious, right? Pretty soon we need to order our birthing kit online . . . whatever the heck is in a birthing kit. And the birthing tub is already reserved thru our midwife, so that should be delivered a week or so before my due date. Then we just have to rig up adaptors from our shower to a garden hose so we can fill it in our bedroom when I go into labor. And then pray that our 1873 house is sturdy enough that a laboring mama and tub won't go crashing thru the floor.

That's it from granola-land for now. But be sure not to touch me on the shoulder when you see me. She-Kip says that from now on a touch on the shoulder is going to be one of my triggers to help me cue to relax ever deeper. Heaven forbid I get a touch on the shoulder when driving!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

March "cleanup"

I was on such a roll last month, then got sidetracked from blogging by my projects. But I am back, and today is a wrap-up of March, then we'll be off and running with April's blog posts!

First of all, I would like to announce that I am going to be re-naming my blog, as we are going from three to four in the Libby family. So, I invite your name suggestions, keeping in mind my overall blog, with family, decorating, and running as three of my favorite themes. There will be a special prize for the author of the winning name (assuming I don't come up with a name on my own that I like the best!) . . . a batch of homemade Munsell lemon bars! If you don't live within a deliverable distance, I will come up with an alternate prize . . . So get creative, and feel free to put in as many names as you like.

On to today's post!

One of my very favorite things to do as a little (and not so little!) girl was to play dress up. We had some awesome dress up clothes . . . a long, long orange and red dress that you could wear off the shoulder, a black and gray old fashioned skirt and button top, and all of my ballet costumes. (Still have great pictures of you and me dressed up in them, Amber!!! But can't get my scanner to work, so no worries.)

We had three pairs of high heeled shoes to clomp around in . . . red peep-toe, black patent leather with a bow on the front, and cream pumps. It was a sad day when my feet grew past the size 6 or 6 1/2 that those shoes were!

Even before Sophia was born, I knew if the baby was a girl that I was going to be working on a dress-up trunk pronto. And she was, and I have! Post-Halloween I scavenged the Auburn WalMart for fun costumes, and came out with quite the bounty. A Tinker Bell costume, several skirts, purple fairy wings, and a brown hair (Not blonde!) wig were my favorite items. Then a good friend added a pink princess costume and a couple other things, so Sophia has quite the trunk already.

Within the last month Sophia has really gotten into the whole dress-up thing, and she totally owns it. If I suggest it . . . bad idea. If she thinks of it . . . we go all out!

I had tried to get her to put on the wig on several different occasions, but no go. Until one day in March when she decided on her own that she wanted to wear it. Then it stayed on for a good half hour!

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Of course, you can see what she thought of my suggestion that she add a dress-up skirt to the ensemble. Yeah, wig only, no skirt, no dress. I don't know where she gets her stubborn/independent streak from!

Other March fun was the making of our new picnic/beach quilt. Of course, we have only been able to use it inside the house as of yet, but boy, does it make a great fort! I made it eight feet square, so it beats out any other blanket for building a little living room retreat.

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Plenty of room for one kiddo and all of her paraphernalia . . . sippy cup, cracker snack, blanket to lie down on, big pillow, and three library books. And believe it or not, this pregnant mama managed to wedge herself in there for some story time. Now that's a big fort!

One of my favorite bloggers wrote a post about adventuring with your kiddos that inspired me to head out the door on a walk one day last month with Sophia. Our destination?

Going to get ice cream!

I talked my sister into coming as well with her five kids, and we set off, a long parade of us walking the mile it takes to get to the local ice cream parlor. Not quite an adventure in an orange grove, but the best I could do on a late-March day in Maine.

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And that's all you get for pictures, just the "before" because I forgot to charge my camera battery! I hadn't had to charge it since Christmas (One of the most wonderful things about my new camera is the CRAZY battery life!), and it died only a few minutes into our adventure.

If I could have gotten any more pictures, you would have see the Tripps and Libbys stoically eating ice cream in front of an eight foot drift of snow . . . the remainders from plowing the snow out at the ice cream parlor when it opened this spring.

And you would see everyone BUNDLED up, because it was a cool day that turned downright cold while we walked (28 degrees cold!).

And you would see Sophia wrapped in a fleece blanket that I had chucked in the bottom of the jogger at the last minute . . . just her little face poking out so I could pop bites of ice cream in for her.

And I am still pretty sure that getting cold on the walk back didn't do Sophia any favors, as she was diagnosed with an ear infection the next day! (I know, it was already brewing, but still . . .)


It was a great adventure. And Sophia has reached an age where she likes for me to tell her stories while we cuddle, so I have another one in my repertoire now. I'll probably embellish it a little more over time . . . maybe we walked thru snow to get ice cream, or fought off a bear on our way . . . and of course Sophia will be the heroine.
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