Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No distractions

Kylie had one of those days when she wanted to touch everything she shouldn't. And she wouldn't be distracted away from the things she wanted to touch.

On our morning walk, she wanted to grab the free newspapers that had been delivered to all of my neighbor's houses on the entire block. When we played in the park, she wanted to grab EVERY piece of trash there and hand it to me (or clutch it close to her neck and threaten to try to eat it forcing me to try to snatch it away). She was insistent on trying the big swing instead of the child-safe swing and furious when I told her no.

Back at the house, she wanted to rub fingerpaint on her face and ears. She wanted to rub lunch all over her clothes and drop food off the table (that second one is a big no-no for her). At the duck pond, she wanted to grab these wires that were sticking out of a utility cone. She had some toddler screams when I tried to distract her from that one. I told her to enjoy the plants and ducks and view dang-it-all or we were leaving. And finally, she wanted to grab balls away from another toddler at Gymboree.

The only reason we were out so much was that she was bouncing off the walls at the house. And at home, she tried to grab my coffee cup, my diet coke glass, my magazine and lotion bottle away from me.

Jeesh! I know you want to explore kiddo but give me a break!

At the end of the day, I simply collapsed on the couch and held my head. My darling Karen insisted on buying me dinner. So sweet. And after I ate, I put the finishing touches on these two pages.

Monday, September 29, 2008

G.L.B.T. Meme

Erin posted this meme on her blog. And Kerry Lynn commented that she was curious about my answers, so here goes!

Are you sure of your sex.ual orientation? Or are you confused?
Very sure

Are you open with your sex.uality? Or is it a secret?
Out and open

Who was the 1st person you told that you're a les.bian?
Well my first girlfriend outed me to my Mom instead of waiting for me to tell her. So it quickly became a race to tell the rest of my friends and family before she did. The first person I told was my Dad.

Is your hair short, medium, or long?

Would you ever shave your head?
If I had to have chemo and my hair was falling out, I would shave it. I think having my hair bleached pure blonde was the worst hair mistake I ever made. It quickly turned as yellow as a canary.

Do you own anything with the Gay Rainbow on it?
We have an Obama rainbow pin. Kylie has a rainbow 2-moms onesie. I'm sure we have others I just can't think of them now.

Do you consider yourself a Stud, Androgynous, or Femme?

What type of females are you most attracted to?
Smart ones.

What FAMOUS Les.bian is your favorite?
Ellen. So beautiful and so funny.

Do you like watching The L Wo.rd?
Yep. It's a sexy soap opera. Alice is my favorite character with Bette running a close second.

What is your favorite les.bian movie?
Fried Green Tomatoes

Do you have any Pride tattoos? If not, would you ever get one?
No tattoos for me.

Do you go to G.ay/Les.bian clubs?
Last time I went was when we were on vacation in Provincetown.

Would you ever be a Dr.ag King? (If you're not already)

What name would you go by if you did do Drag?
Well I wouldn't have a drag name. But my boy name was Wendell. As a child, several people called me that. I never understood why at the time.

Have you ever been mistaken for a Male?
Nope. But recently, several people have thought that Kylie is my grand-daughter rather than my daughter. I have to bite my tongue to keep from saying, "Just because I had fun in my 20's and early 30's instead of popping out babies like you did, does not make me old enough to be a grandmother."

Would you ever have a s.ex change to become a Male?
Never. I love being a woman.

How do you feel about Homo.phobia?
It sucks. Some people are scared of the strangest things. I also feel sad for anyone who can't embrace change. They must have a lot of fear in their lives when things inevitably change.

How do you feel about G.ays/Les.bians having children?
Obviously okay since I'm a parent. We decided to have a child because we had an abundance of time, money, energy and love. I wish all parents could say the same.

If it were legal, would you marry another Female?
It's legal right now in Oregon. But we are waiting for the dust to settle before getting married ourselves. I would love it if gay marriage was legal throughout the US and constitutionally guaranteed in Kylie's lifetime.

Have you ever attended a G.ay P.ride Festival?
Oh yeah! The best one was in Provincetown.

Do you wear make-up?
Occasionally. More for special events or when I need a pick-me-up than day-to-day use.

Do you carry a wallet - or a purse?

Do you wear Male clothes?

Do you prefer wearing cologne instead of perfume?
Perfume. I wear Flower by Kenzo. I love the scent and the beautiful bottle.

Do you have several piercings & tattoos?

Do you have a crush on a female celebrity, if so, who?
Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Lopez, Angelina Jolie, just to name a few.

Do you have more G.ay/Les.bian/Bi friends than you do Straight friends?
Pretty even split

Have you ever been g.ay bashed?
Lots of nasty stares but no direct words. In the South I got a lot of that "hate the sin but love the sinner" stuff. And once someone told me that they thought being a lesbian was like being a drug addict. That I was addicted to a sinful thing but this person "loved me in Christ" anyway. I was bemused at the time he said it because I thought he was one of the weirdest, perviest people I had met in a while even before he said that.

Did anyone stop having contact with you after you came out of the closet?
Yep. My childhood friend Sherry. Just too hard for her to accept. I miss her.

What is your favorite g.ay/les.bian quote?
I don't know that I have a favorite but this one comes to mind. For people who think that I'm going to H*ll, rather than argue and say that I'm a Christian, that I believe that God is love and loves me no matter what, etc., I simply say, "Well, I better make the most before I roast".

Do you believe you were born a lesbian?
I go back and forth on this one.

Are you proud? Or ashamed of your sexuality?
Proud and modest--it can be done.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Home, home

My darling wife Karen made it home safely on Saturday.

Kylie was eating at the kitchen table when Karen walked in. Kylie held up her arms and called "Momma!" with delight. They sat on the couch together and Kylie just crawled all over her. Kylie would hug her, lean back and look at her, and then hug her again. She must have rolled and crawled and hugged every inch of Karen. After about an hour of this mutual love fest, Kylie collapsed into her crib and slept for two hours. She was so happy and relieved to have her Momma home.

Later, we went to the park for some swinging and sliding. This picture is so sweet. Kylie is soaking in her Mom's presence.

When we returned home, we had a special delivery of chocolate-covered strawberries and fruit from Karen's boss in appreciation of all of her hard work. Yummy!

I made Karen this simple scrapbook prior to her leaving. And Karen filled it in while she was away.

It's part time capsule, part travel log and part love letter to Kylie. It's filled with Karen's itinerary, boarding passes, Canadian money, receipts, and pictures along with reflections on her time in Canada and what she missed most about being away from home.

Granna also made it safely home to TN on Saturday. She was such a big help this past week in taking care of me and playing with Kylie. On Friday, we dined out for lunch and then played at our nearby duck pond. Kylie, of course, had to crawl and stand at all of the benches.

This is such a beautiful duck pond. Easy to access with a lovely paved walk and lots of ducks and geese to admire.

There is an amazing weeping willow on the path. I'm going to come back here with my good digital camera and snap lots more pictures!

Kylie and Granna were so happy that they did some twirling together. Sorry Granna. This picture is too sweet; I had to share it!

Thank goodness that our lives shall return to our normal routines. Including making some scrapbook pages!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Today You

Scrapbooker and author Ali Edwards teaches a technique to capture pieces of her day-to-day life. She starts with the line: TODAY YOU... and then fills in the blanks. It looks like she's going to have some more ideas about this techniquecoming soon.

But this concept has really stuck with me. Here's a page I made with this back in January.

As I go about my day-to-day stuff, I sometimes make a mental list of it. Tonight I took the time to write it down.

Dearest Kylie: Today you
  • woke up at 5:30
  • put your hands on either side of mine and clapped my hands together
  • said "neigh" when you saw the horse on my shirt
  • said, baaa, mooo, and woof", and made elephant trumpeting and giraffe noises
  • napped from 10 to 12
  • ate peas, carrots, potato frittata, applesauce and mandarin orange slices for lunch
  • played at Gymboree
  • laid down on your back on a Gymboree mat. Smiled at the little girl who laid down beside you. Enjoyed a quiet moment of relaxation with her.
  • danced your baby doll around to music
  • chewed on a bathing suit
  • ate raisins at Starbucks while Granna and I had coffees and looked at pictures of you
  • played in the garage with your Life is Good baseball hat, a bubble-blowing wand, a piece of chalk, a nerf ball and a container of clorox wipes for over half an hour
  • spilled an entire cup of peaches in your lap during dinner

    Today I
  • wished for the 200+ time that I had a digital voice recorder with me as Kylie drank her morning bottle. I really want to capture the sounds of her as she gulps and sighs before our bottle days are over. It's one of my all-time favorite sounds.
  • felt really scattered when I realized that I had left two cups of coffee (from the previous two days) on the window sill behind the family room couch.
  • worried when Karen told me that her rental car had its passenger window bashed out during the night as it sat in her hotel's parking lot (nothing stolen though).
  • took a much-needed nap from 8-9am while Granna took Kylie for a walk
  • cooked a hashbrown frittata from a new recipe for our lunch
  • called my Mom a laundry goddess when she did some of our laundry
  • made a list of 15 scrapbook pages I want to create
  • checked my Flickr and Google Analytics stats
  • read a few blogs and made a few comments
  • read several stories to Kylie
  • made a quick Target run while Kylie napped
  • cleaned my kitchen floor
  • picked up, put up, organized throughout the day
  • listened to an audio book while Kylie played in the garage
  • made a taco salad for dinner
  • watched Sex and the City movie after dinner
  • did not take any pictures or make any scrapbook pages
  • told my Karen, my Kylie and my Mom that I loved them.
  • came up with lots of blogging and scrapbook ideas between 10-11pm

    I encourage you to try this technique. It helps me to slow down and appreciate my life. Now off to bed!
  • Thursday, September 25, 2008

    Swings & swimming suits

    One of my mainstays of taking care of Kylie all day is to take her to the park. She LOVES the swings.

    This is Kylie watching her swinging shadow. She was lifting her arms and waving them to see her shadow do the same.

    She also likes tucking her hands around the seat like this. I have no idea why. It must be fun for her because look at that bemused look.

    She's also started carrying one of her bathing suits around the house and in the car. She chews on it, slings it around her neck and carries it around all day. I think she likes its silky texture, the sunscreen smell and perhaps the fun memories of having it on in the swimming pool and fountain. She's not had a security object before now--perhaps this is one?

    Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    Wordless Wednesday Sept 24

    And more here.

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008


    We took a little trip to the zoo yesterday. This was Kylie's fourth time there. And each time we go, we see something new. Yesterday we saw meerkats, a sun bear, a DeBrazza's monkey, and two leopards.

    But the mountain goat, the giraffe and the sheep and chickens remain Kylie's favorites. Here's Kylie and Granna both saying baaa to the sheep.

    We took a break for Kylie to stretch her legs and to have some raisins. Here I am scurrying and kneeling trying to feed Kylie raisins while trying to get close enough for a picture of the both of us. This girl loves her raisins; can you tell?

    She's such a cutie!

    Karen has been working near Toronto Canada for the past ten days. And we are both feeling the strain. I was looking forward to using our IChat to video chat with one another so that she could see Kylie but we had trouble getting that to work. So Karen has sent Kylie videos that she's recorded reminding her that Momma loves her.

    My Mom is here and will keep me company until Karen returns on Saturday 9/27. But it is still hard. I keep losing the phones in the house (I only do this when Karen is gone) and the baby monitor. I also end up sleeping in strange positions because I keep seeking out Karen with an arm or leg or foot while I'm sleeping. I could go on and on about how much I miss her. But the baby is waking up from a nap and I've got to go.

    Have a great day everyone!

    Monday, September 22, 2008


    My Mom, known to Kylie as Granna, is visiting with us this week. On Sunday afternoon, it was raining but this didn't stop me from taking a few photos as we played on our front porch with some chalk.

    And I made this milestone scrapbook page:

    Thursday, September 18, 2008

    Leaves and roses

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    Closed doors

    We have a small walk-in closet in Kylie's room. Lately, Kylie has started walking into her closet and shutting the door. The first time she did it, I was alarmed because I thought she would get upset being away from me. Quite the opposite was true.

    She wanted to be in there and have some private play time. She did it again this morning. As I sat in the room's rocker and read a book, it was hard to not worry. I just kept telling myself that the closet is completely child safe and that she's not going to hurt herself or smother or anything. But I still checked on her twice during the 20 minutes she was in there. Each time, she was simply playing with toys. And each time, she stood up, smiled at me and then shut the door.


    And as I write this, I can hear you Moms with older kids saying, "Get used to it honey! There's going to be a lot of closed (slammed) doors in your face in the coming years."

    I know. Sigh.
    (Note- the above picture was taken in May. Hasn't she changed a bunch?!)

    We just shifted some stuff around in Kylie's room. And I found myself wishing that I had taken more pictures of how her room has changed during her different growth stages. I'm bad about not taking full room pictures because I have a macro lens on my camera. But I resolve to do better. And let this be a lesson to all you. Take pictures of your rooms or you might regret it!

    In other news, I am in love with these toddler yoga pants.

    They are from The Children's Placeand they fit Kylie perfectly. They are having a sale right now so head on over to their online store.
    We found The Children's Place by visiting a mall across town. I just love the bright, vibrant colors of their clothes.

    And I especially love these pants. Kylie is wearing 18 month shirts and 12 month pants. And even her 12 month pants are too long in length and don't come up high enough on her body. As a result, I see her diaper all day long (unless she's in a onesie) and I'm constantly pulling them up or rolling up the bottoms. But these yoga pants have a great amount of spandex so they hug her thin frame really well. And they are the perfect length.

    Lastly, here is a scrapbook page I made last night. The template is from Jessica Sprauge's Type+Writer class. She has such awesome templates. The finished pages I've created from her class have such wonderful details that add to the overall beauty of the page. In particular on this page, I learned how to create a word overlay (using a word pattern paper). The words treasure, enjoy, laugh and more are on the edges of the focal photo and on the subtitile.

    The class prompt for this page was "I love the things you say". And it was a great jourmaling prompt for me. Without it, I don't think I would have recorded the story about this nonsensical song that Karen sings to Kylie. You'll probably have to click hereto read the journaling.

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    17 months

    Dearest Kylie,
    This month, you have gained confidence in walking. You learned how to walk on level changes (such as the carpet to the hardwood floors or the Gymobree mats to the carpet) without falling. You can hold my hand and take a step up the sidewalk and then back down the sidewalk. You can squat to examine something or to pick up a toy or two and then stand up and continue walking. You still scooter feet first down the stairs. You like proving your strength by picking up your heavier toys and moving them around.

    You have learned to twirl. When you hear music, you will turn in a circle. This delights your Moms and you get lots of claps when you do it. You’ve also learned to stand on my feet while I hold your hands and dance you around. You learned how to drop a basketball through a basketball hoop. And you like to climb my back and have me jiggle and bounce you.

    We’ve started working on some simple manners such as setting your sippy cup next to your plate and not on your food, wiping your hands with a napkin during meals, and picking one book for us to read and lot grabbing handfuls of books and raking them to the floor. You are using your fork and spoon more effectively; you are learning to turn your wrist correctly. You still eat about half of your meals with your fingers.

    This month, you added six more words to your vocabulary bringing our total to 24 words. The five words you learned were rock, beep (you love to say this when the microwave beeps), mole (while pointing to a mole on Momma Karen’s leg), tickle, and when they were visiting you learned to say Nana and Pap.

    Some other milestones include:
  • You can scribble with magic markers without getting marks all over your clothes.
  • You are interested in cartoons and The Wiggles on TV. Before now, you would glance at the Baby Einstein DVDs we would have on for you at night while you continued to play. Now, you will actually sit and watch about 20 minutes of a children’s program.
  • When I’m cleaning, you like to grab a paper towel and help me clean.
  • You continue to be very organized. You are constantly organizing your toys into various groups and you would rather put toys into a basket than dump them out.
  • You cut your right top and bottom incisors, your left top molar and right top and bottom molars.
  • A few fun things

    Kylie was very opinionated today. And I seemed to irritate her by doing the smallest things like offering her sidewalk chalk on our walk or by insisting on her outdoor shoes instead of her house shoes. There were lots of frustrated toddler yells today.

    But Kylie did do some very funny and cool things! Such as:
  • She stuffed her large Elmo doll into her Little People barn. She just kept pushing until she got him all the way in there. "Get in there and stay in there". And there he stayed all day!
  • She walked across the playground gym bridge all by herself.
  • And she crawled up the many stairs of the playground slide by herself, turned around and slid down the slide feet first on her belly. I forgot to breathe for a few seconds but she just looked at me triumphantly and proceeded to do again 6 more times.
    Way to go Kylie!

    Here are a few scrapbook pages:
    This template is from the Type+Writer class.

    And I finally got around to creating Kylie's 16 month milestone page--just in time to start working on her 17 month one.

    Details for the pages are here and here.
  • Sunday, September 14, 2008

    Rules, manners and a tub of fun

    I was reading a section in "What to Expect the Toddler Years" which states that some parents begin to use time-outs as a discipline aid for their 17 month olds.

    This got me to thinking about what rules and guidelines we have in place for Kylie. Just for grins, I thought I would share them with you.
    Rule #1. No hitting. Karen and I have both talked about this one but fortunately it hasn't been an issue for Kylie.

    Rule #2. We don't throw food off the table.
    For a couple of months now, Kylie has occasionally tested us on this one. She'll hold a piece of food away from her highchair or booster seat and look at us like, "Are you going to say/do something?" And we'll say, "If you don't want it, put it on your tray or hand it to Mommy ". And she usually puts it down. But it took some doing to get this boundary in place. For a while, throwing food was Kylie's way of letting us know she didn't want something or was done and frustrated. But then she learned the "all done sign" in sign language and she learned to say "No". Now she hardly ever throws a piece of food.

    But every once in a while, she'll get a mischievous look in her eye and she'll hold a piece of food away from her. We'll say our usual line and she'll kind of nod to herself as if to say, "Yep, that boundary is still there". It really IS all about repetition. And if she throws it anyway, we say "Kylie!" in a stern voice and we get her up quickly from the table. The key for us is to not talk to her because normally, when we clean her hands after a meal, we praise her for being well-behaved at the table.

    Off the top of my head, these are the only two rules we have in place. But we do have some expectations and some things we are working on.
  • During meals, we are trying to teach Kylie to put her sippy cup NEXT to her plate instead of ON her plate of food. And we're working on teaching her to "SET DOWN" her sippy cup of water and not throw it when she's walking around the house and decides she's done with it. We've gotten some success on the first part and not so much on the second.

  • This month, she's become interested in wiping her hands so we've started putting a small napkin next to her during her meals. And she's started to signal to us to let us know she wants her hands wiped. We'll wipe them and then she'll grab the napkin and finish wiping them herself.

  • She can stand on our family room green couch and on her own child-sized chairs but we've started telling her to sit down when she moves like she wants to stand on one of our other pieces of furniture. This is mostly for her own safety.

  • Stay on the sidewalk.
    Kylie wants to walk up to all our neighbors' front stoops and doors. She is very used to hearing me say, "Stay on the sidewalk" and guide her away from the driveways. The good news is that the sidewalks are filled with interesting rocks and lovely flowers so I have lots of options for distractions. But we have had quite a few toddler meltdowns when I've needed to herd her back to our house and she doesn't want to go.

  • One book at a time.
    This one is important to me. Kylie can play with her books, she can explore them and chew on them and so forth. But we've been encouraging her to not rake large armfuls of books off the shelf and onto the floor. If she looks like she's going to get a handful, we'll say, "Pick ONE book please" and amazingly she does!

    Of course, manners go both ways. In the past, if Kylie was holding something that she shouldn't, I would just take it from her. Now I'll say, "Please hand that to Mommy" and she usually does so. It's the same thing with wiping her hands and mouth, I used to just do it. But I've started announcing, "I need to wipe your nose" and she tolerates it better.

    Whew! That was a long post! What rules/expectations/boundaries/things are you working on with your kids?

    And for those of you who visit to see Miss Kylie, here she is playing in a tub of water in our back yard. We are making the most of end of Summer.

  • Friday, September 12, 2008

    Photo Friday

    I shot these photos yesterday. They are pretty unremarkable. But I don't feel like unloading the dishwasher yet so I thought I would share them with you! These are straight from the camera. You can click here if you want a closer look.

    Sitting on our front porch watching the garbage truck attend to our neighborhood.

    Enough of that. Let's get down and play.

    I made it to the bottom of the steps. Let's dance for joy.

    I'm going to draw on the side of the house with chalk.

    And crawl all over our utility meter. (I love how the sun kissed the top of her head on this one.)

    And see how dirty I can get playing in the muddy spot around the side of the house.

    She spies her bathing suit while we're changing her clothes and carries it around the house while signing for "water".

    "Please can we go to the fountain?" Who could resist that face?

    And that's about 20 minutes of our day and me looking for beauty in the ordinary with my camera.

    Maybe I should stick to scrapbook pages?

    Details are here.
    Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!