Friday, June 29, 2007

Looking for an answer to a sticky situation

Will someone please invent a fruit sticker adhesive that doesn't leave a sticky residue behind or--worse yet--rip the fruit's tender skin right off?

What I've been reading

Three weeks ago I checked three books out from the library. On the surface, they couldn't have been more different. One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding chronicles the enormously profitable bridal industry, Infidel is the memoir of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee who finds success and political clout in the Netherlands, and in The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much?, journalist Leslie Bennetts argues that working women who give up their careers for their families are sacrificing their financial and emotional independence.

Yet all three of these new releases share a rather empowering feminist message, a warning against letting women quietly slip into the roles expected of them by society--be it the princess model of the bridal industry, the patriarchal expectations of a tribal society or the right-wing fueled sanctimommy madness of today's culture of extreme parenting.

If you've already tied the knot, you can probably skip One Perfect Day (although it's an interesting read). Infidel offers a rivetingly critical glimpse of Islam from within and The Feminine Mistake is a must read for any woman. Leslie Bennetts has caused a lot of controversy--particularly among women who haven't actually read the book--but her work is well-researched. Her words are comforting to those of us who've felt guilty about being working moms and her advice to women who are taking time off from their careers is solid.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Lose the heat, catch the beat

Temps in Chicago have fallen dramatically. Calm, cloudy and cool weather has replaced the icky, sticky heat and afternoon downpours of the last couple of days. Which means I just might have to pack a sweatshirt for tonight's free concert at Millennium Park.

We're packing a picnic for an Afro Beat show at the incomparable Pritzker Pavilion. Fela Kuti's son Seun will be playing with Egypt 80, the same 22-piece band that backed his dad in the 1970s.

We'll be keeping Z up past her bedtime for this special event. Good practice for July 4th, when she just may get to see her first Independence Day Fireworks display.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

External Cephalic Version: It worked!

After trying everything under the sun to get my second breech baby to turn head down, I went to the hospital this morning for an ECV. A lot of people aren't familiar with this procedure, so I thought I'd relate my experience for family, friends and all the pregnant women out there who are researching their options.

My midwife advised me to spend the weekend and Monday drinking lots of water so that I would have plenty of amniotic fluid, which I did. I had my last meal and drink before bed last night on the off-chance baby wouldn't tolerate the procedure and I would need to have an emergency C-section.

At 8am, I checked into the labor and delivery ward at West Suburban Hospital. There, I was told to get naked under a hospital gown and pee in a cup. The nurses attached me to fetal and maternal monitors, took my temperature and blood pressure and drew some blood. I was also hooked up to an IV. After about an hour, the staff determined baby was happy and healthy and I was having a few mild contractions.

Dr. Tong ordered a shot of a uterine relaxant, which made my heart race (and undid the relaxed state I'd managed to get into by listening to my Hypnobirthing script), but Josh helpfully massaged me back to a calm state. Fifteen minutes later, Dr. Tong took a look at baby's position on an ultrasound. He predicted turning baby toward my right side would be most successful and they got started. Dr. Tong's hands did most of the pushing, pulling and prodding, with some assistance from Hillary, my midwife. Or so I'm guessing. I was focusing on relaxing my belly and breathing through the discomfort, which wasn't unbearable by any means--more like a really rough massage.

After every quarter turn, Dr. Tong would pause to check the head's position on the ultrasound and the baby's heart rate with the heart rate monitor. After a few checks, it became clear to all of us that this was really going to work. I opened my eyes and grinned at Josh through the last few motions.

Hillary and one of the nurses put on an abdominal binder (a post-natal support belt I'd purchased at Babies R Us) to help keep baby down, and Josh and I stuck around for an additional hour of monitoring.

As we were leaving, a nursing assistant said to me, "So, did baby turn?" I answered yes and she replied with, "Really? I've never seen one work before."

So that's it! We're keeping our fingers crossed that baby stays vertex and we're able to have the VBAC we've been hoping for.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Southwest Airlines: I think I'm in LUV

Apparently customer service is not dead, even in the much maligned airline industry. Quite the opposite. You see, on June 18th, Southwest Airlines took a poor customer experience, one which was due to a situation out of their control, and made the best of it. A thunderstorm threatened the Chicago area and air traffic controllers put a stop to all north and westbound flights, including our Chicago to Omaha route. We boarded our plane at 3:15pm for a 3:30 flight, but we ended up sitting on the tarmac for a full three hours.

Now a three hour delay for an 80 minute flight is exceptional, and since I was 36 weeks pregnant and traveling with a 2 1/2 year old to a funeral, it wasn't fun either. But my husband and I appreciated the crew's attitude. Every 15-20 minutes, the pilot would update the passengers on the situation and give us a revised estimate of when he thought we might take off. The flight attendants handed out water, peanuts and pretzels and did their best to entertain the unaccompanied minors across the aisle.

But while the behavior of Southwest employees on 2081 kept me from swearing off flying the discount airline ever again, the letter we received from Southwest has forever cemented my loyalty to the company. You see, they sent us unsolicited apologies along with a $75 travel voucher for each traveler.

Here's an excerpt from the letter, which was dated just three days after the flight:

"[W]e truly regret you had this unfortunate experience, and we would like to have another opportunity to provide you with better memories of Southwest Airlines. In this spirit, I have enclosed a LUV Voucher that we invite you to apply toward the purchase of a future reservation with us. Of course, this goodwill gesture may not offset the total amount of each person's inconvenience, but I hope it will be accepted as our acknowledgement of the frustrations created by this situation."

Did every passenger get this treatment or did we qualify because we're Rapid Rewards members who purchased full price tickets (the only fares available on one day's notice)? I don't know, but I hope we aren't the only ones feeling the love.

And there you have it. Thanks to Southwest's unexpected, authentic gesture, I'm spreading positive word-of-mouth for a company that I could just have easily been complaining about.

Stroller lust

We've found the ultimate double stroller.

The Phil and Teds Sport Buggy can work as a single stroller for an infant or a toddler, a double stroller for a toddler and a baby or a double stroller for two toddlers. Yet it's no bigger than a regular jogging stroller. It does cost a pretty penny (at least $425). But I want it. In lime.

A crazy morning on the El

I board the Blue Line at Oak Park, which means that just north of the platform there are six lanes of expressway traffic whizzing by, three in each direction.

This morning a teal colored Dodge Neon pulled onto the left shoulder of the westbound traffic. A young olive-skinned man in an American flag t-shirt, shorts and a black cap with flaps hopped out of the passenger side and bounded over the fence separating the westbound lanes from the eastbound lanes. Then he dodged cars and trucks headed into the city and scaled the fence between the expressway and the El tracks. Hopping over the tracks, he hoisted himself up onto the platform, jumped onto a series of benches and took off his shirt (he had another one on underneath). He waved his t-shirt triumphantly for a minute as a train pulled into the station.

Then he retraced his steps, jumping off the CTA platform, skipping over the third rail, scaling fences and dodging cars before getting back into the passenger seat. At which point his female driving companion pulled back into traffic, giggling.

Was it a dare? Did he just feel like doing some crazy sh*t at 8 o'clock in the morning? I have no idea. And the conductor of the westbound El train who witnessed most of his antics? He didn't give a damn.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Have the terrible twos arrived?

Z threw one hell of a tantrum at nap time this afternoon. Apparently limiting her to merely three library books was completely unacceptable. When I came back and offered one more book, she triple freaked out--crying, throwing herself on the bed and on the floor, hugging me and pushing me, all the while screaming "No one book. All the books!"

It took her a full half an hour to realize I wasn't budging. I read her one last book and she closed her eyes.

Why, oh why do they have to make life so difficult? So dramatic? Most of us grown-ups would give our right arm for a daily siesta.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Please excuse me

I received a jury summons from the Circuit Court of Cook County yesterday. They would like me to show up at the Daley Center on July 13 at 9:30am. That's one day before my due date.

Last time I received a summons I ended up finding a man guilty of murder for killing his neighbor over a $20 drug deal gone bad.

This time I asked my midwife to write me an excuse note.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sheer exhaustion

Traveling to a loved one's funeral on one day's notice is hard enough. But doing it 36 weeks pregnant in 90 degree weather with a newly potty-trained, non-napping toddler in that's a recipe for exhaustion. Add in a 3 hour flight delay, wickedly swollen feet and sleeping on an air mattress one night and a couch the next, and you'll understand why I went to bed last night shortly after putting a tearful, overtired Z down at 7:30.

In spite of my grief, it was wonderful seeing my family come together to celebrate Grandma Lorraine's remarkable life. She was the magnet that has keep us connected all these years, and I hope her absence won't mean seeing a lot less of my aunt, uncle and cousins.

And speaking of cousins, Z couldn't get enough of her 8-year-old second cousin Lindsay. She shadowed her every move, picking up good things (like dressing herself and letting me put her hair up) and bad (Bratz dolls).

Monday, June 18, 2007

Book review: Garage Sale America

One man's trash is another man's treasure. It's a cliche, sure, but it's true. Even within our throwaway culture, many of us are happy to pick through someone else's belongings in search of something we could use.

I'm a moderately avid yard saler. I'm not hardcore enough to hit distant estate sales with a fanny pack full of ones, but I do circle a handful of listings in our local paper's classified section and stop by a few on the way to the farmers market in search of baby clothes and kiddie toys, books and gear. Every week there's at least one block sale in Oak Park. And every block sale has at least one family with a highchair, bouncy seat and baby swing parked on the front lawn.

So when Parent Bloggers Network invited me to take a look at Bruce Littlefield's Garage Sale America, I was happy to pick up a few tips from an real expert. What I found was a photo-packed brag book of super scores and kitchy collectibles with a handful of helpful hints thrown in. I liked his tips for getting a good deal and the too-short section on how to host your own sale. And I loved the chapter on the World's Longest Yard Sale, if only because it was a trip down memory lane.
Route 127 Sale 2
I actually shopped about 150 miles of the 450-mile-long U.S. 127 Sale in 2004. For work, no less. I was the creative brain behind a partnership between Suave and the Style Network's The Look for Less, so I got to watch four women compete for the title of America's Smartest Shopper (by creating outfits exclusively from yard sale finds) and I was given a huge pile of cash to spend on prizes for a related sweepstakes. It was an unbelievable event: mile after mile and table after table of stuff, priced from a nickel up to $5000. Old baby clothes, farmhouse furniture, guns, tools and vintage cars. Everything was for sale and every car held shoppers. I don't think traffic ever picked up beyond 30 miles per hour.
Route 127 Sale
But back to real life. I probably won't become a collector of vintage anything (sorry Bruce), but after reading Garage Sale America's section on design, I am going to try to keep my eyes peeled for unexpected items can be worked into our decor.

That, and a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Goodbye Grandma

My Martini Grandma passed away this morning. It's sad news to start my birthday with, but it's what she wanted, so for that I'm relieved. We'll be in Omaha for the funeral.

Friday, June 15, 2007

My Martini Grandma

That's what my friends call Grandma Lorraine. She earned her nickname for her particular love for martinis--not the trendy vodka 'tinis of my generation, but the old school gin and vermouth martinis. Served in a stem glass. And garnished with olives. Wait staff who got it wrong got it sent back.

She expected a martini at 4pm (cocktail hour), and if you let her have more than one, you'd better stay out of her way. I don't think I ever saw her drunk, but I've seen her get feisty and belligerent about the issues she cared about (she's a fierce defender of liberal politics and Israel).

Grandma Lorraine turns 88 today, but it's looking like this will be her last birthday. She's dying of cancer and has been in and out of hospice care this week.

Growing up, I celebrated most of my birthdays with Grandma L. Our birthdays are only two days apart, and we spent a lot of summers visiting relatives in Omaha. Birthdays with Grandma Lorraine meant dressing up for a restaurant dinner (usually in an over-cooled Italian restaurant with a salad bar) and a shared cake. The parking lots were always blisteringly hot.

I know she's ready to check out, but I can't quite get my head wrapped around the fact that Grandma likely won't meet her latest great-grandchildren. But like the brown cigarettes she used to smoke (were they Mores?), she's forever burned into my memory. And I'll share those memories with my children.

She drove tank-like American cars (although her last car was a Toyota). She favored leisurewear, clip-on earrings and chunky necklaces. Her homes were decorated with original art, which ranged from strikingly contemporary to pop-art to clown sculptures. For many years she rode motorcycles with her husband, my Grandpa Bob. She campaigned for Governor McCarthy and spoke out against the Vietnam war. When Grandpa was dying from prostate cancer, she shocked the preteen me by telling me now much she missed their "very active sex life." After he passed away, she had boyfriends, no easy feat when the women outnumber the men 10 to 1.

She didn't just play bridge, she won at bridge. She kept her brain engaged with crossword puzzles and Sudoku. She was into yoga long before it was trendy, and I doing headstands on beach towels next to her king size waterbed.

Grandma Lorraine wasn't a milk and cookies grandma. In fact, I never liked her cooking. But I have many fond memories of playing cards with her or letting her give me a manicure (she had an enormous toolkit of polishes, files, cuticle potions and lotions).

Happy Birthday, Grandma. And cheers!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Grab a Kleenex

I'm not the Chicken Soul for the Soul type, but my eyes welled up for this truly inspiring bit of television.

Gifts for new parents

My sister finally updated her blog and reiterated what most new mothers know: the best baby visitors come armed with food. But there are other nice things we can do for bewildered and sleep-deprived moms and dads: just check out the comments section of this Ask Moxie post.

Personally, I'm not the most creative gift-giver. But I am practical. Most of my friends have received a bag of newborn diapers, a hot meal or two and toy or activity to occupy the older sibling. Hospital visits warrant a plant or footie pajamas.

But the Ask Moxie suggestions have me feeling more inspired. Why not replace that mac and cheese casserole with a variety of sandwich fixings or a fruit salad? What parent wouldn't love it if you'd run to the grocery store and pick up a week's worth of necessities? We were thrilled to shop the farmers market for our friends Deb and Andy when their daughter arrived last August.

So what do I wish for come next month? Delivery of healthy, wholesome munchies that are quick to prep: good breads and cheeses, fresh fruit and juices. An outing or focused playtime for my toddler. A pair of arms to hold my newborn while I get stuff done around the house. A friend to accompany us on those first big outings: to Scoville Park to see a concert, to the Brookfield Zoo, to the pool. And diapers. You can't have too many diapers.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Parent and hacker

I'm a huge fan of Asha Dornfest's Parenthacks, and I contributed my own parenting tip to her site ages ago, back when we were moving Z from a crib to a toddler bed. But I'll enjoy my moment of fame anyway. Check my very own Parenthack.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I'll try anything

Headstands in the pool? Check. Lying on my back with a bunch of pillows under my butt? Check. Listening to Hypnobirthing scripts? Sitting on an exercise ball? Chiropractic's Webster Technique? Check, check and check.

At 35 weeks pregnant with my second breech baby, it seemed the only thing I hadn't tried was acupuncture, so on my midwife's insistence, now I'm giving that a go too. See the picture of the needle in my pinkie toe? We're complementing the professional poking with moxibustion at home, which means all of our neighbors think we've been lighting up a bong at sunset.

I'm really hoping this little girl decides to get with the program and turn head down. I really don't want another C-section.

If I'm still presenting as breech in a couple of weeks, I'll let them attempt an external version. And if that doesn't work, I'll settle for the section, knowing I've done everything I possibly could to avoid it.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Welcome Baby Abby

Baby Abby
Our friends Gloria and Eric welcomed Abigael to the world early Wednesday morning after only 3 hours of labor!

Abigael is a real beauty and the spitting image of her big sister Lia (Z's BFF). Visiting Baby Abby was the highlight of Z's day, and I think she's really excited about the arrival of her own baby sister.

And the timing couldn't be better for me and Gloria! We'll have two daughters with playmates less than 2 months apart in age.

Potty training boot camp, day 10

Face paint
Success! We haven't had an accident since Wednesday and Z happily tells us when she needs to use the potty. She's #1 with number one and will manage number two, albeit with much more trepidation and reluctance. She's peed inside, outside, in our house and at a friend's house. She's used her little floor potty and big toilets with a kiddie seat insert. She hasn't yet managed to go the bathroom while we're out and about, but she's very interested in checking out the toilets at restaurants and grocery stores.

Sometimes she asks for a reward (she's back to preferring candy to nail polish), but most of the time she doesn't. She's even learned the importance of going to the potty before we go somewhere.

Like sleep training and the transition from a crib to a toddler bed, I felt like this was as much of a milestone for us as parents than it was for Z. And, just like those previous milestones, this one doesn't seem like as big a deal/ordeal as it when it was still looming. Sure, the first three or four days were frustrating, but like everything else we've learned, tailoring your approach to your kid's personality helps a lot, but consistency is absolutely key. It's been tempting to put her in a Pull-Up for outings, but we've resisted giving her one for any time but sleepy time. Instead, we started out carrying about lots of underpants and a few changes of clothes. Now the bag formerly known as diaper has a Ziploc bag with a complete change of clothes in it. Which--knock on wood--we haven't needed yet.

Friday, June 08, 2007

I love Millennium Park

Homemade hat Family Activity Tent
It may have cost Chicago millions of dollars in cost overruns and opened a few years after the millennium, but Millennium Park brings together fine public art, music, food and kid-friendly fun. I played hooky for a couple of hours today and I think Z had a blast.

Millennium Park foundation Millennium Park foundation 2

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Who has time for hobbies?

Not me, that's for sure.

ReadyMade editor Tina Barseghian's Get a Hobby: 101 All-Consuming Diversions for Any Lifestyle has succeeded in making me feel woefully inadequate.

Potty training? Not a hobby. Reading library books on the El? Not a hobby. Making my own ice cream and topping it with melted peanut butter and Hershey's syrup? Somehow it didn't make the cut. But--wait a moment--blogging is included as a hobby! I have a hobby!

I used to have plenty of hobbies--artsy-craftsy stuff like drawing, knitting and pottery. I've even tried mosaics, silk-screening and sculpture. But reading about them makes me feel all the more guilty for abandoning them in favor of Deadwood marathons and that most precious of all pursuits, sleep.

But while full-time employment and early mommyhood has put a damper on my free time, I know it's only temporary. I plan to get back into knitting during my maternity leave (although I'm not promising to finish niece Eliza's b-o-r-i-n-g baby blanket), and I think I can find time to try out some of the smaller, low-investment ideas like olive oil infusing and beading.

Better yet, I can look forward to revisiting this book with my girls as they grow older. I'd love to involve them in composting, candy making, decoupage and rubber stamping.

But I'm definitely going to give falconry, fantasy sports leagues and model shipbuilding a pass.

See what other bloggers had to say about Get a Hobby and see how you can win a copy of the book plus a $100 Michael's gift card at Parent Bloggers Network.

But before you leave, I'd love to hear about your hobbies, past and present.

34 weeks pregnant

34 weeks pregnant
I haven't posted a belly shot for awhile, so feast your eyes on my hugeness!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Major potty training breakthrough

While Z didn't use the potty at day care yesterday or today, she's tinkled 3 times in the past 2 1/2 hours at home. The trick? Rewards she actually cares about. M&Ms weren't doing it. Cookies weren't doing it. Promises of a trip to the Aquarium weren't doing it.

But nail polish and the opportunity to watch Alice in Wonderland? Now that's some serious motivation. We're painting one toe or finger nail for each successful trip to the potty. OPI's I'm Not Really A Waitress, in case you were curious.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A little marketing magic

The online 'zine West Virginia Surf Report's Fast Food: Ads vs. Reality features an entertaining side-by-side comparison of fast food meals as shown in the advertising and actually served.

It should come as no big surprise that professional photographers and food stylists can make even mediocre food look appetizing. And while some might complain that making McDonald's burgers extra appealing for the ad is misleading, it is no more unfair than the equally common practice of styling and then retouching models after a photo shoot. You've probably seen how different celebrities look without makeup and advantageous lighting. And let me tell you, even the best skin cream can't give you the invisible pores a skilled digital artist can.

Early on in my career I remember learning why the best, most appetizing photos of pizza (think of that cheese pull) didn't show the whole pie. Turns out it isn't ethical to add extra cheese to a frozen pizza, but you can use a pair of tweezers to arrange all of the included cheese on the small area of the pizza you're shooting. And then it's on to blotting grease off the pepperoni!

Hungry yet?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Marketing Mommy sings the blues

Tired of potty training posts yet? I am, and I haven't even updated the masses on day 4 and the remainder of day 3.

Plus, I haven't had much chance to react to the news or post comments on my favorite blogs lately. With potty training taking up 100 percent of my brainpower at home and an enormous, time-sucking pitch taking up 125 percent of my time at work (goodbye work-life balance), I'm just sapped. Tapped dry and 34 weeks pregnant. And on top of everything else, baby's still breech.

The good news is that the end is in sight. I'm working for Wednesday.

Baby names

No, I'm not telling. In fact, Josh and I aren't 100 percent decided anyway. So don't ask.

Instead, head over to Nymbler, a new baby name website that lets you type in your top choice or choices and receive a list of alternate names you might like just as much. It's at least as much fun as looking up name popularity trends on Baby Name Voyager.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Potty training boot camp, day 3

The bad news is that every morning we start over again. The good news is that after Z's had an accident, she starts volunteering to use the potty.

Here's what I mean:
6:20am: wake up in a damp Pull-Up. No interest in using the potty.
8:30: Starts acting like she needs to go. Occasionally agrees to sit on the potty, but mostly whines and clings to me. Wants to be carried around.
9:30: Really acting like she needs to go. Sits on the potty for 15 minutes, but she's holding it in.
10:00: We leave for a playgroup brunch at Deb's house. Z still hasn't peed or had an accident. I line her carseat with a beach towel and she asks if she can "pee on the blanket." I say no, let's pee at Sammy's house.
10:15: We make it to the brunch without incident, but Z's not acting like herself. Super whiny and clingy with her legs crossed like pretzels.
10:20: Z slides off my lap and pees in her pants. We don't make it to the potty in time.
11:00: Z shouts "potty, potty" and we race toward it, but she slips in her own pee on Deb's kitchen floor. We make it to the potty in time to get a little bit in.
11:30: Z tells me she needs to go to the potty and this time we make it in time. Perhaps 2 drops are in her cotton training pants and the rest goes into the pot. Success!
No successful potty visits or visible accidents (although she is in her swimsuit for an hour) until naptime, when we put her in a Pull-Up.
3:15: She wakes up and tells us her Pull-Up is dry, which it is.

I think we're making progress, but this potty training thing? Not so much fun.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Potty training boot camp, day 2

Let's just say that by 10am this morning I was very tempted to throw in the towel on the whole potty training shebang. But Josh and I had promised each other we'd stick it out this time. We'd said goodbye to diapers and we meant it this time!

Despite being plied with juice and chocolate milk, Z refused to pee (even though it was obvious she needed to) from her 6am wake up until 9:30 in the morning. Tired of listening to her whimper, wail and refuse to sit on the potty without crossing her legs, we loaded the potty into the trunk and headed out to the farmer's market (we couldn't ignore the siren call of charity doughnuts any longer). Z refused to use the potty in the trunk, but as we were halfway home, she said, "Can I change into my Tinkerbell panties when I get home? Because my white underpants are wet." She'd had an accident in her car seat, but at least she wasn't holding it in any longer.

Josh left Z and I in the backyard for some pants-free running around (with her potty nearby) while he ran errands at Trader Joe's. He hadn't been gone 30 minutes before she said, "Diaper, diaper..." and grabbed her crotch. I told her to go ahead and sit on the potty, and she filled it right up! While I was on the phone with a friend, no less.

Then, about 45 minutes after our first success, Z started murmuring "diaper, diaper" again and looking uncomfortable. I guided her to the potty and this time she pooped and peed! Big, big success. She wasn't even interested in reward M&M's or stickers. She just said, "My body feels better now," and asked me if we could save the contents of her potty to show Daddy.

I don't think Josh has ever been so pleased to be faced with a bowl full of excrement.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Date night? Not tonight!

The last time Josh and I went on a date, we headed to La Piazza for dinner. And there, just as we'd finished our salads, my mobile phone rang. Z had just thrown up on the stairs. We got the rest of our dinner to go and headed home, where a feverish Z was already falling asleep in her bed.

Now we've got six weeks--give or take--to go on another date. Because once we throw a nursing newborn into the mix, going out to eat isn't going to be as simple as leaving Z at home with one of our two wonderful teenage babysitters.

That's why I want to win the Parent Bloggers Network's latest Blog Blast, sponsored by eHarmony's new marriage program. They're giving away $100 for a fabulous date night plus an additional $100 for babysitting. You've got until the end of the day to participate.

Today is the day

No more diapers day, that is.

We were off to a pretty good start this morning. Z got a large envelope in the mail from her friend Lia and promptly changed into the Dora underpants Lia sent her. She helped me package up the remaining diapers with wrapping paper and tape. And she sat on her potty...once.

But, as I was getting ready to leave for work she'd started whining, "Diaper, diaper..." Josh gets major props for being the parent in charge of potty training boot camp, day one. I'm anxiously awaiting an update from him.

UPDATE at 12:30pm

After peeing on the kitchen floor and twice watering the lawn, Z peed in the potty of her own accord!