I was watching Wild Kratts with Wesley and they were doing an episode on Giant Pandas. For those who don’t watch PBS Kids, it’s an animated series by the Kratt brothers* and they have power suits so they can use the attributes of different animals (creature powers).
Kratt Brothers: What if we had panda powers?
Me: WTF are panda powers? Sitting around, eating, and refusing to have sex?
Spoiler alert: basically yes, although since it’s a kid’s show, it skips over pandas’ mating habits (or in this case, lack thereof)
*Who have been around frickin forever. I remember watching one of their shows on Saturday mornings when i was a kid.
This past weekend we finally cleared all my refinishing projects out of the garage. The desk still needs a couple coats of poly, so it’s living on the front porch at the moment, but we’ve started getting snow so I want my covered parking back!
Monday was a bank holiday so I had the day off of work. I meant to do productive things like hemming curtains and putting the finishing touches on master bedroom. Instead I couldn’t find a ruler, lost my hem gauge as soon as I set it down, then gave up and went to IKEA. Running errands, in and out, perfectly normal day, right?
Well then comes Tuesday. I leave for work around 6:30am so it’s still quite dark out. Off I go to the garage, enter the code in the keypad, and….nothing. It’s not even like the door is frozen shut–I can’t even hear it trying to open.
After re-keying the code a dozen times, I finally give up and go in to wake up Matt for backup.
I convince him it’s not a power issue–the keypad still lights up when you press buttons, and Wesley’s room (on the same breaker) still has power. So he comes out and tries the code in the keypad a few more times.
Just for kicks, he goes back in and flips the breaker off and on again (hey, power cycling works for computers).
Around this point I ask if the keypad is hardwired (vs using a battery). Matt says it is, plus the buttons are lighting up so it’s clearly getting power from somewhere.
We are now officially out of ideas and I have to get to work. The only option that seems to be left to us is to break a window, climb in, and manually open the door from the inside.
Ah, but why doesn’t our garage have a human-sized door you may be asking. Well, it does, but a couple years ago some jerkward broke into our garage, stole a broken snowblower, and seriously damaged the door so it’s been screw shut ever since. Quite honestly it was never high on our to-do list…until that morning.
Yeah…so it’s nearly 7am and we now have to break into our own garage and hope no one calls the police on us. Matt just repaired the glass in this window too.
Is Matt still in his pajamas? Yes he is. Is he also the one who crawled through the window? Yes he was. It was all terribly heroic.*
Once he’s in the garage, I suggest that he tries the button on the wall first, instead of the manual release. Seems a little silly, but he tries the button and…the door opens.
So the inside button works, The remotes in our cars work. But the keypad doesn’t work.
Matt pokes around a little bit and then I hear it:
“Oh look, a battery!”
Yes, that’s right. The keypad I was told was hardwired, actually ran off a battery. A battery that was apparently providing just enough power to illuminate the keys, but not enough power to send the signal to open the door.
Now, in Matt’s defense, there were wires running along the wall near the keypad. It turns out these belonged to the sensors at the bottom of the door (the ones that exist so you don’t squash small children when you close your garage door). I also didn’t press the issue when I mentioned the idea of a battery and have learned a valuable lesson in standing my ground.
Thankfully we had a spare 9V battery so the keypad is now fully functioning. Replacing the side door on the garage has also gotten bumped to the top of our warm weather to-do list. We should be getting the floor of the garage re-poured this spring so we’re planning on waiting until after that to deal with the door, just in case it changes the sizing at all. In the meantime, we’ll make sure to always have an extra 9V battery on hand.
*He asked me to work in the word “heroic” somewhere. You’re welcome.
This really does sum up how outdoorsy I am. I don’t camp. I don’t pee in the woods. I don’t rough it. Period. End of story. I’m an urban pansy and perfectly ok with that.
Still, I didn’t think much of it when I noticed a bug bite a couple weeks ago because bug bites happen to urban and rural dwellers alike…then I woke up a few days later and had a huge swollen welt on my arm. It was red and sore and warm to the touch. Ok, so I was clearly allergic to whatever bit me, right? Matt told me not to worry about since the same thing had happened to him recently and it just went away in a few days.
Remind me to stop listening to Mr-Trust-Me-I’m-a-Doctor.*
A week and half later the swelling had gone down a bit, but the red area was larger..but faded in areas…then darker again. Kinda sorta like a bullseye pattern. And it started peeling in the center, like a sunburn. It also alternated between feeling like a sunburn and feeling like I’d been punched in the arm. Fun times.
It’s a little hard to see, so here it is highlighted with the power of Photoshop:
Yes, it takes up my entire upper arm, and let’s be honest, I ain’t no Michelle Obama in the arm department.**
I only know one thing that’s known for causing a bullseye pattern, but that’s Lyme Disease. It’s caused by ticks. Ticks live in the woods, and, as I’ve already established, I really don’t spend time in the woods. Plus, when ticks bite you they stick around and continue to drain your blood, right? And I certainly hadn’t seen any ticks on me. So now I’m clearly being paranoid, and I know I’m being paranoid. I did an image search for Lyme Disease and the pictures that came back looked WAY worse than what I had, but since it wasn’t going away I went in to see our onsite nurse at my work to figure out what the heck was actually going on.
She took one look at my arm and went “Woah… you know what that is right?”
“I was hoping you’d tell me I was being paranoid….”
Nope. Lyme Disease it is (in a world of paper cuts and sniffles, I was officially her most interesting case of the day). So now I’m on antibiotics twice a day for the next 21 days. Whoopie! The nurse I saw thinks the antibiotics will clear it up, but she opted for the 21 day treatment over the 14 day treatment because I’ve been sitting on this for at least two weeks. Later today I’m going to see my GP since our work clinic is fairly limited and the CNP.I saw yesterday thought I should have a follow-up appointment.
Apparently the ticks that cause Lyme Disease are very tiny and don’t always hang around. PSA for the day: if you see a weird bullseye patterned rash, get thee to a doctor and let them decide if you’re being a hypochondriac. It’s much better to catch it early and treat it with antibiotics; ignoring it can lead to serious complications.
My best guess at the moment is that the ninja-tick ambushed me some time while we were in Door County over Labor Day. We walked through a nature preserve (on a boardwalk), hit up some restaurants, checked out some shopping areas, and took another walk (on a road). We weren’t exactly roughing it or crashing through woodland, but other than that I’ve been spending my extra time in my garage refinishing furniture. Not exactly a known tick habitat.
Remind me to just avoid nature from now on….***
Update: The doctor I saw today agreed with the nurse from yesterday. It looks like classic Stage 1 Lyme Disease (too early even for a reliable blood test) so the antibiotics should clear it up no problem. He then followed that up with a warning that based on the size of the rash it possible it may develop an abscess so if I notice any additional swelling or pus I may need to come back in to get it lanced. Ew.
*J.D. does not qualify you to give medical advice. It basically just means that you have a doctorate in arguing with people.
**But despite my chubby exterior, I’m stronger than a number of women I know, so you win some, you lose some.
***On the bright side, if Matt ever gets some crazy urge to go camping again (yes, this happened once, and I shot him down), I can be all “REMEMBER THAT TIME I GOT LYME DISEASE???”
One year ago (ok, a year + a week since I’m behind) this precious little peanut was born.
This past year as simultaneously flown by and taken forever and my little peanut is now a little munchkin who wants to investigate everything and is already trying to eat us out of house and home.
He’s not walking yet, but getting pretty close. His top 2 teeth are just starting to come in too so pretty soon he’ll really start to resemble a chipmunk (he’s already mastered stuffing his cheeks full of food). Probably his biggest achievement this last month has been discovering that he can put objects into bins rather than just dump them out everywhere. Last night I watched him happily pick up all his blocks and put them back in their box before bed (I’m under no illusions that this will last).
This lucky guy got not one, not two, but THREE Birthday celebrations!
For his main party, I fully admit to losing my shit a little bit. I made a balloon garland (meant to do 2, but I ran out of time and balloons #pinterestmomfail). I made tassels. I spray painted dollar store animal figures. And after all of that everyone ended up hanging out outside because the weather was glorious and the kids had a splash table and bubbles. I didn’t take tons of pictures because i spent more time enjoying the party itself. #momwin
Moral of the story is, it’s ok to lose your shit. It’s a first birthday and a big milestone. But if you play it simple (and dare I say, sane?) that’s cool too! Baby won’t care and none of your friends will judge you (and if they do, get better friends, seriously).
Second moral of the story: if there is any chance you’ll be spending time outside, clean off your Garden Chair of Solitude and make sure you have an outdoor or folding table. I quickly grabbed the coffee table from the porch so we could move the food nearby. Our backyard is still a mess, so I hadn’t really planned to be out there the whole time, but it worked!
His second party piggy-backed on my Grammie’s 90th birthday. His birthday is the day before hers and we had a big family reunion in Maine. We got to see tons of relatives we don’t usually see and spent the day before his birthday traveling for 12 straight hours (drive to a park-n-ride, shuttle to the airport, fly to Boston, wait for baggage, bus to the rental cars, drive out of Boston,* continue driving to Maine**). During my Grammie’s party all the July birthdays got a special shot-out and bonus cupcakes (because apparently there are loads of us–myself included).
After Maine, we drove back to Massachusetts (with a stop in the White Mountains of New Hampshire) to visit Matt’s Grammie. We also went over to Matt’s uncle’s and they had a surprise party for Wesley. Kiddo got pretty spoiled by all his relatives!
I don’t know where they got this smash cake from, but it was seriously the perfect size. I got his main birthday cake from our local grocery store chain (Lunds & Byerlys) and they include a free smash cake for a first birthday*** but, as you can see from the earlier pictures, it’s frickin huge (7 inches) for a little baby. I almost wish I had just gotten a jumbo cupcake instead (but hey, it’s hard to argue with free****).
*City motto: Fuck GPS
**Matt kept describing it as “Northern Maine,” it wasn’t even the northern half of the state….but possibly the northern end of the populated half of Maine.
***Lots of places apparently do this, so if you’re planning a first birthday party just ask around (I know Hyvee does and I’ve heard Target does).
****Part of it being free was that there were no custom options (which I can’t really argue with because, free). It originally had balloons and a 1 on the top, but since I had a cake topper I wanted to use, I just carefully scraped them off. Matt thought I was nuts, but it wasn’t my first cake surgery,***** so I more or less knew what I was doing.
*****I worked food service in a nursing home in high school and college, and got called done to one of the party rooms one day because the cake ordered for a resident’s birthday had her name misspelled. I was elected to fix it–no pressure. Thanks to our annual Pig Roast, I can also craft 3D pigs out of frosting like a goddamn pro.
Matt and I don’t always see eye to eye on decor. For one, he has this weird obsession with themes. Personally, I think the vast majority of themed rooms are poorly executed, but I do love touches of bizarre and whimsical.
So when I found this rug, I wasn’t terribly surprised that he had some objections. One of them being that he didn’t think it “went with the room” (“the room” being our study/guest room/everything room… that hasn’t gotten a formal design plan yet…).
Matt: We’d need to replace the album covers with a… thingy… a wheel.
Me: A wheel?
Matt: Yeah, a ship’s wheel. And an anchor. And you’d need to get. a peg leg.
Me: Me? Why me?
Matt: Because you’re the one who wants the rug!
I still really want to find a place in my house for this rug…
Wesley the Crusher is now 11 months old! He’s 24lbs, has 2 teeth (and is working on 2 more), and has almost discovered his knees. He still mostly drags himself around like a walrus, but occasionally we see him move a few feet on all fours. He’s pulling himself up on everything, whether it’s stable or not, and super curious. Luckily for the cats he’s also (gradually) getting more gentle with them.
Poor little guy also just got his first significant illness. He’s had a few colds, and a mild case of croup, but this time he has something that’s really taken a tole on him. It’s pretty scary for the parents when your baby’s temperature climbs to 105, but our pediatrician said that babies tend to run a little hotter, so while it’s definitely a significant fever, it’s not an oh-my-god-my-baby-is-dying fever. The doctor thinks it might be Hand Foot and Mouth since he had a couple red spots on his feet. The spots haven’t spread at all though, so who knows. Either way, he’s doing MUCH better today, but still exhausted.
Traveling With Baby
Over Memorial Day we took Wesley on his first plane trip, fittingly enough, to North Carolina. It was actually a great choice for a first flight because it was 1) fairly short (2 hours in the air), 2) a direct flight, and 3) we were visiting family and they had a bunch of extra baby gear so there was less big stuff we had to lug. We’ll be doing a more intense trip later in the summer, but after this one I’m feeling pretty optimistic.
We got the Summer Infant 3D Lite stroller a couple months ago. Our travel system stroller was way too bulky to be convenient and we knew we’d be navigating airports in the near future. You can get super-cheap umbrella strollers, but the 3D Lite had some great features without being super pricey. We’ve been using it as our everyday stroller, but it small/light enough to work well in airports too.
1) It’s tall enough for parents. This is a common complaint when I was reading reviews of umbrella strollers–unless you’re super-petite the handles tend to be uncomfortably low. This does mean that it’s larger than a lot of other umbrella stroller and it barely fits in the trunk of my Chevy Sonic…but it does fit and all the other features make it totally worth it.
2) Storage! The 3D Lite has a generous basket underneath which I find to be incredibly useful.
4) Sun shade. While it won’t protect your baby from everything, it’s better than nothing for sure!
5) Recline options. The 3D Lite has multiple recline options, and can go almost horizontal, which is awesome if you need some nap time on the go.
Other useful things:
Sticky place mats for eating out (these are way classier, but personally I couldn’t justify the price difference for something that’s designed to be spilled on and thrown out)
Sippy cup/bottle tethers (If your cups have handles, you can just use toy tethers, but ones like these have a non-slip grip designed for bottles)
First aid kit (I already keep one in my diaper bag with some bandaids, and neosporin, for trips I add hyrdrocortisone, a thermometer, and infant Tylenol)
Alcohol wipes (good for cleaning off baby utensils on the go)
Gate check bag(s) (for stroller/car seat). This one worked ok for our stroller, but already has a small rip. At some point I may just take it apart to use as a pattern and make my own.
Mini bottle of dish soap
Travel bottle brush (we use the Como Tomo bottles which have a really wide neck so we didn’t need this, but depending on your bottle style it might be useful)
Depending on where you’re located, this won’t always be an option. If you have the option to fly non-stop DO IT. There will be fewer pressure changes for baby, and less hassle of hauling all your crap around an airport.
Condense your Baggage
When it was just me and Matt flying, we’d travel with 2 carry-on suitcases + my purse. Easy-peasy. This time around we knew we were going to have to check luggage. We had 1 medium-sized suitcase we packed for everyone (rather than individual suitcases for each traveler). This not only cut down on baggage fees, but allowed us more free hands. Just keep in mind, airlines tend to charge an extra fee if your bag exceeds a certain weight so if you pack heavy, weigh your bag and check policies beforehand.
In addition to our checked bag, I also packed an emergency carry-on suitcase. This was basically the everything-goes-wrong-and-holy-shit-now-it’s-the-zombie-apocalypse bag. I had a couple changes of clothes for Wesley (in addition to the back-up outfits in my diaper bag), one change of clothes for me and Matt (because babies tend to poop on you at the most inconvenient times), a 2 day supply of diapers, and extra formula.* Once we checked our bag we were left with one carry-on suitcase, a diaper bag, my purse, and a stroller. Strollers and car seats are typically exempt from baggage limits, but always check your airline’s policies.
You Don’t Need it All
If you’re going to visit family/friends, check with them ahead of time to see if they have (or can borrow) larger baby items–car seat, pack-n-play, highchair/booster. If you’re not, check with your rental car company to see if they also rent car seats, and check with your hotel to see if they provide cribs. Even if things cost a bit extra, it may be worth your sanity to not have to lug EVERYTHING around with you.
If you do need to Bring All the Things, you may want to invest in some travel-specific gear (which may not be worth it unless you’re a frequent traveler). The Cosco Scenera seems to be a popular choice for travel since it’s FAA rated (so you can use it on the plane), it’s lightweight (about 10lbs), and fairly easy to install. You can also get things that let you strap the car seat to your luggage, or convert it into a stroller. If you think you’ll need a highchair (like if you’re staying in an Air BNB, or with non-baby family/friends), I’m personally eying this one for our next trip. It’s inexpensive, condenses pretty darn flat, and still provides a boost to get baby at the right table height.
*Which promptly got my bag flagged by security because I was traveling with a large box of powder. They just had to run some magic swab over the box and we were good to go.
If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know we just got back from (almost) a week in Raleigh, NC. Matt’s brother lives out there so we decided to take a relaxing Memorial Day vacation. Crazily enough it was also cooler in NC than in MN so we lucked out and beat the crazy 100 degree heat wave in St Paul.
It wasn’t the world’s most exciting vacation, but it was relaxing which is possibly even better. Wesley got to spend some time with his cousins (ages 6 and 3) and had a blast. Matt and I got to chill poolside with Moscow Mules,* so it was really a win-win.
Wesley got to go “swimming” (read: floating) for the first time. He was a little concerned at first, then fell asleep in his float.
We saw a Balloon Fest sans balloons (too windy).
Walks were had.
Barbecue was eaten.
Museums were explored.
And I was massively jealous of all the magnolia trees.
*Ok, that was really just me and the in-laws. Matt is pretty convinced that the only mixed drink worth having is a G&T.