Saturday, December 20, 2014


Again, my apologies for being so awful about updating. I may as well start each blog entry with that same apology, because I just don't see it getting any better :)

So, Claire is 8 months old and I was thinking the other day about the difference 8 months has made. In the first couple months, we were so clueless. Completely dependent on baby books, friends who have babies, and google. One time, I literally googled "What to do with a newborn all day".

Now, I'm not saying we're pros or anything, but it really is amazing that after just a few months, you kinda figure out what to do with this tiny human. Even though I just said to Russell, "Um, are we supposed to brush her teeth??", overall, I feel like we're doing pretty well. ( Sidenote: are we supposed to brush those 2 tiny teeth? )

It also doesn't hurt that Claire is a pretty easy baby. She eats anything you give her and loves the bottle (more than the boob, little tear). She goes to sleep around 5:45 each night and sleeps all the way until 6:30 the next morning. She'll sit (or rather, roll around the living room) and occupy herself for quite awhile. She's really happy most of the time.

I was also thinking about all the ways having a baby changes your marriage. Like today, Russell and I are standing in the living room in front of Claire, who is in her exersaucer. Some craptastic baby song is playing in the background and we are BOTH dancing for her. Like.....DANCING. And Russell says, "So, this is a thing we do now." Yup. This is a thing we do now. Lemme tell you - when you're holding hands under the bar with the cute guy who works in the next classroom, you don't picture someday dancing to "Where to Hide My Shushy-Byes" in your living room. :)

Baby stats:
How old is Claire?: 35 weeks

How Claire is eating: She eats all the things. She might make a face at the first couple bites, but by the time the cup is empty, she's yelling for more. So far we've had rice cereal, sweet potatoes, green beans, peas, carrots, applesauce, and bananas.

How Claire is sleeping: Like a BOSS. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

How much weight I've lost:'s the thing. First I went back to work. Then, Halloween happened. Then, Thanksgiving happened. Now, Christmas is happening. So I'm still stuck at 43/48 pounds lost. I started plotting my weight on a piece of graph paper in our bathroom. I drew a line from what I weigh now to my goal. The little dots that represent my weight are currently not going in the same direction as that line. I blame math.
This was mid-sneeze :)

How Russell's doing: Russell is doing great! First of all, if you haven't seen him, he's a very skinny fella now. For Christmas, he's asking Santa for pants that fit. We both ran (well, he ran. I "ran") a 5K on Thanksgiving and he achieved a personal best.

Milestones this month: Claire sits up without any assistance, even in the bathtub (although we don't leave her there, of course). She babbles and screams ALL the time, although no words yet. Her favorite toys are her little blue piano, a squeaky elephant she chews on, and a rattle my Aunt Susan gave her. She was baptized at our church, Powell Presbyterian, and she didn't scream at all when she got sprinkled. Success!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Workin' 9 to 5

...or more like 8 to 4. Or if we're being honest, 8:06 to 4. Punctuality, before 9 am, is not my thing.

So, first of all, I realize that it's been nearly 2 months since I updated. So sorry.  It's Russell's fault - he made me go back to work. Well, him plus the threat of having to live under the bridge if I refused to go back.

I'm actually incredibly lucky to have had 6 months of maternity leave. I took all of my sick days and then a few months of unpaid leave, but it was worth it to be home with this all day:

There was a lot of this:

And a lot of this:

Plenty of this:

This face is the one that will get her a pony someday

which was usually followed by this:


We hung out with our favorite people:

                     And our favorite guy: 

 Some days were really hard, but most were full of this:

I'm glad to be back to work: I don't think I'm cut out for being a stay-at-home mom forever. But I sure do miss that baby all day! 

Baby stats:

How old is Claire?: 29 weeks. Next Monday, 30 weeks. How does that happen so fast???

How Claire is eating: Well, we introduced solid foods starting with rice cereal, then sweet potatoes, then peas. She was a big fan of rice cereal and sweet potatoes. Peas, not as much, but she won't turn them down!

How Claire is sleeping: Claire is sleeping so well, I'm afraid to type these words because I don't want to jinx it. She goes to sleep most nights with very little crying around 6:30 pm and sleeps straight through til 6:30 AM. It's amazing.

How much weight I've lost: 43 pounds, out of the 48 I gained during pregnancy. I am soooooo stuck with 5 pounds to go. Going back to work isn't helping, nor is daylight savings time. It sucks to work all day, come home, play with the baby for a couple hours, put her to bed, and then head out, in the dark, to the gym. Blah. Maybe if I whine about it more, the pounds will melt off?? Sigh.

How Russell's doing: PRAISE JESUS, BAND SEASON IS OVER. This is a blessing for all of us. Besides having the sinus infection from hell, Russell's doing fine!

Milestones this week: How about milestones this month, since I never update :) Claire can sit up on her own now, although she'll fall over eventually, so we can't wander far. She loves to hold her own bottle and blow raspberries. I think she recognizes the words "daddy", "mama", and "Bijou", who is the love of her life. She doesn't care much for the swing anymore and barely fits in her "shaky seat". She can sit in her high chair for solid foods. Basically, we're applying for colleges next week.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Grevious offenses in children's programming

Before I had a baby, I swore up and down that my future children would not watch a ton of TV. I was downright judgemental about it. Couldn't believe there's actually an entire channel dedicated to BABIES. I mean, really, who puts their infant in front of the TV? Is staying at home really that hard that you have to rely on an animated rabbit to get through the day?

Um, YES. YES IT IS THAT HARD AND HE HAS A NAME. Harry. Harry the bunny. Don't talk trash on him, he's the reason I get to shower every day.
I love you, Harry the Bunny.

Suffice it to say, Claire watches a little TV every day. I know. Go ahead and scratch my name off the “Mother of the Year” ballot. I'll live. But don't think I'm not suffering here – yes, I'm getting a shower, but I'm also being subjected to TV that is geared to someone who poops their pants. Here are a few “highlights” of the BabyFirst channel -

First up we have Larry, the toucan. He teachers vocabulary. Get it? VocabuLARRY? Yeah. That part's not that bad. It's Larry's personality that's enough to push you over the edge. This entire show consists of unseen children introducing Larry to a new word and then Larry bouncing all over the screen, screaming the word like your drunk uncle at Thanksgiving. 
Off-screen children: “Look, Larry! A Shirt! Look at the shirt!”
Children: “Look, Larry: many shirts!”

Fortunately, this show's only about 3 minutes long. Unfortunately, they run it over and over again, all day long.

Next we have a show called “Tillie and Knock-Knock”. It's basically a lesson in how to get kidnapped. Tillie, who is a duck, hears someone knocking at her door. Without seeing who it is, she makes an educated guess (“Who could be at the door?” Person at door: “Moooooo” Tillie: “It sounds like a cow”).  Then here's where it turns bad. Instead of, say, looking through a peephole, Tillie just goes ahead and flings the door open. Someday, some duck pedophile is gonna catch wind of this idiot and go a-knockin', masquerading as a horse or something, and the show's going to be renamed “Tillie and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder”.

And lastly, the “Notekins”. Overall, a good show. It's this group of 8 little people who teach basic music concepts: high, low, fast, slow, you get it. Each episode, they visit someone new: Mr. Banjo, Mrs. Cello, etc. I'm on board with all of that. It's their outfit that bothers me. See if you can figure out why:

Okay, if you're not an anal-retentive musician, this wouldn't bug you. It's their hats. See that “note” on the hat? Yeah, that's not a note. It's like a half note and an eighth note mushed together. Now, I realize that Claire isn't going to remember most of this, but the music teacher in me wants to chat with their music consultant. :)

All drunk toucans, stupid ducks, and incorrect music notation aside, I owe the BabyFirst channel a debt of gratitude. Thank you, BabyFirst, for lulling my child into a zombie-like state for half an hour so that I may shower, get dressed, and maybe even put on a little make up before she starts screaming again.

This week in Babytown

How old is Claire?: 21 weeks tomorrow! I can't believe she's 5 months old. On one hand, it feels like she's been with us forever. On the other hand, it's flying by!
Ugh, that fat roll above her knee is my FAVE

How Claire is eating: Like a champ, as usual. She's starting to take interest in what Russell and I are eating, so even though we're a month away from starting solids, I have a feeling she's going to be a big fan.

How Claire is sleeping: Well this is a whole different blog. Here's the short version: around 4 months, babies do this cool thing called “sleep regression”. It has to do with their sleep patterns changing and REM sleep vs. Non-REM sleep and blah blah blah. What matters is she stopped sleeping through the night at around 15 weeks. Back to “up every 2 hours”. With Russell back at work, this made me near homicidal. So, around 19 weeks, in an act of desperation, we decided to do the unthinkable: we let her “cry it out”. You may have heard it called “Ferberizing”. It gets a really bad rap. Basically, we go through her bedtime routine and then lay her down, drowsy but not asleep, and let her cry until she falls asleep on her own. We go in and check on her periodically. The first night, I tried it on my own because Russell “Go the F to sleep” McCurdy has a heart of coal and doesn't mind hearing an infant cry. Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but I was feeling uneasy about the whole thing and wanted to try it on my own terms. So, I waited until he was at a Friday night football game, and I gave it a whirl. She cried for 3 minutes. I checked on her: patted her stomach, sang her a song. She calmed down and I left. She cried for 5 more minutes. Checked on her again. Cried for 8 more minutes and.....ASLEEP. WHOA. I deemed this a miracle from Jesus. To my surprise, she has put herself to sleep with very little crying (like, 20 minutes TOPS, interspersed with check-ins) every night since then. AND as an added bonus, she's starting sleeping through the night again. It's pretty much a miracle.

How much weight I've lost: A whopping 41 pounds, baby! I'm 7 pounds from my pre-baby weight and I better hustle because I've got 5 more weeks til I go back to work and none of my work pants fit currently... I doubt the students want to see me in running shorts and a t shirt, which is what I wear nearly every day.
this is why I hate selfies: GIANT HAND.

How Russell's doing: He's doing pretty well. His return to work has been a hard transition for all of us– fall is an especially busy season for marching band directors, so he's struggling to balance us with work. But on the plus side, he and Claire got to share their first UT game!
This is my parents fault.
See? Much happier in orange and white!

Milestones this week: Well, Claire rolled from tummy to back at 4 months exactly. I think she did it solely to avoid tummy time, which she hates. She loves to play with her rattle and her soft blocks, both of which can fit in her mouth (the ultimate goal for any toy). She enjoys being read to, especially "The Very Hungry Caterpillar".  She's weaned completely off the swaddle, which made me a little sad. Her hair keeps getting redder and her eyes are still blue. She's stopped screaming constantly in the car, which is awesome. And she's starting making that high pitched, girl squeal that all little girls make. Right now, it's adorable! Ask me again in a few months!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Rainbow Connection

So, as you may remember, we are cloth diapering. Actually, we do kind of a mix between cloth and disposables for a couple reasons – 1st, we got a ton of disposables at baby showers. And 2nd, we only had about 8 cloth diapers that fit her right now, which means a load of laundry every day and sometimes that just doesn't happen. 

I decided we needed a few more diapers so that I wouldn't be tied to the washer every day. The ones we LOVE are called “Blueberries” - they're actually made in Knoxville and they're wonderful. But they're, like, $25 a diaper, and mama's on unpaid maternity leave. So, I found a much cheaper option called Alva diapers- $5.00 each. The only hitch: they're made in, like, South Vietnam. So it was going to take 3-5 weeks to get here. I decided I was okay with it.

I ordered the diapers on July 13th. On July 19th, I got a shipping confirmation. “Sweet!”, I thought. “Diapers by early August!” Um, no. On July 25th, I get this email:


 We are so sorry to tell you that we have not sent you order,because now that the A6 and M13 are out of stock in your order, could you please change them to others instead?  You can just tell us 2 replacements here.  After you changed.  We will send your order out.  Thanks a lot,have a nice day.
-Your faithfully, Rainbow.

Errrr......Rainbow? Interesting name. I picture a girl named “Rainbow” like this:

Obviously, Rainbow's on the left, wearing a rabbits face for a hat.
So, I'm pretty irritated by this, but I respond with a few alternate diaper selections for “Rainbow”. Here's what I got back:

Ok. Thanks. We will send out today. You can get it after 3-4 weeks, pls kindly wait.  :)

-Your faithfully, Rainbow.

Pls kindly wait my ass. I felt like this deserved, at least, some faster shipping. I replied:


It would be great if you could express mail it, especially since my order has already been delayed by no fault if my own. 
 -Becca McCurdy

To which “Rainbow” wrote back:


We are cuz your order is under 49 usd, so we can just ship it by normal airmail. Maybe if you can order 40usd, we will also send for you by Express in order to make up our delays. Is ok?

-Your faithfully, Rainbow

Um, nope. Is not "ok". I don't really want to order 40 more dollars in diapers from you so you can justify Express mailing my, already hella late, package. I replied:


I understand that, but since your company messed my order up, I feel like you could make amends by shipping it faster. 
-Becca M 

To which Rainbow replied:


We are sorry we have no right to do that. Also we did not mess your order up just because of our short time trip from June 13 to June 7 and the out of stock items, so hope can get your great understanding. Thanks.

Okay, lemme get this straight: it's not your fault my diapers are late because of....time travel? That's the most I can get out of this email. Also, notice that this one wasn't signed “Your faithfully, Rainbow”. I think I made Rainbow mad. :) But Rainbow made me mad! So, I unloaded on him/her (what gender is a “Rainbow”?) Well, as much as I unload on anybody:

Oh, Rainbow, but you DID mess my order up! I ordered on June 13th. On June 19th, I was sent an email saying my order had SHIPPED. Then, on June 25th, I received the email saying it had NOT shipped AND my items were out of stock. That's called "messing up my order".

It would make good business sense to provide me with either some kind of refund or faster shipping, since it was NOT MY FAULT that my order is now super late. It would make me a happy customer who would give other moms a good review of your business. But instead, I'll be telling other mother's this: Alva Baby is hard to work with, lies about shipping, blames the customer, and is unwilling to make up for mistakes.

-Becca McCurdy

BOOM. Suck on that, Rainbow! Here's her/his response:

Dear friend,

We are sorry for the delays. We do really know your feeling now. But after our trip, only past 2 days, our weekend was coming. So we back to work on June 23th.  You know, after several days, there are lots of order need to be processed, pls also stand by us and understand us. But even so, we also thought we have fault cuz our workmates a little bit less in this situation. We must do something to make up.  But now your package has been sent out by normal airmail, it is on the way to get to you. So how about sending you a gift or give you a discount when you order next time? Is it ok? Thanks.

“We really do know your feeling now” LOL

I don't know what the hell Rainbow is talking about with trips and weekends and time travel, but I know what he/she means by “gift”! :) I replied:


Thank you. That was the response I'd been waiting to hear from you.

I would love a gift to make up for the error! I assume you have my address?

Thank you,

To which Rainbow replied:

Thanks. So kindly of you. But is it possible to send you a gift together with your new order? Your faithfully, Rainbow

HA! Rainbow, you jackass. I'm not ordering more diapers from you! You crazy. I wrote:


Well, I don't have a new order, since I just placed my first order and haven't received it yet. So, you can go ahead and send the gift. Thanks!

To which I got: 

Pls kindly keep waiting for your package. One of our workmates will go to America on July 19, I will ask her send the gift by USPS for you after you got your package.Is ok? Thanks. Your faithfully, Rainbow.

LOVE that Rainbow is going to make one of her/his “workmates” carry my “sorry we effed up your diaper” present all the way to the US just to save on shipping. Rainbow's a man/woman after my own cheap ass heart.

Eventually, my Alva diapers arrive. They're cute and work just fine, despite Russell's constant jokes about them being made by a 5 year old in a sweatshop. I say, that 5 year old does a damn fine job.

After this last exchange, Rainbow and I went back and forth for awhile: “Did you receive the gift?”  “No I did not”   “Please let us know when you receive the package”   “I have not received the package.” Finally, Rainbow replies that he/she will send it again. Sigh. By the time I receive the diapers, Claire will be potty trained. He/she also tries to get me to buy MORE diapers which he/she will include with my gift. I pass. :) It's now August 21st and I'd pretty well given up on getting my gift, but as it turns out, Rainbow had the last word.

We are trying to wean Claire off the swaddle when she naps and she's really fighting it, so naptime (and nighttime) have become pretty rough. Today, after an hour and 40 minutes of nursing, she FINALLY went down for a nap. I tiptoe out of the room to change into real clothing (It's 2 in the afternoon). Right when I've stripped down, the doorbell rings. Sidenote: if you haven't heard our doorbell, check out this post with a video. It's pretty cool, but also super loud. Anyhow, Bijou loses her mind, runs downstairs barking her face off. I throw on clothing and run after her, as the nursery is directly below the front door, where she is having a complete fit. It's the mailman. I throw open the door, shushing Bijou frantically. He needs me to sign for a package. It's from China. 


As I walk inside with my free diapers, I can hear Claire start crying. And I can almost hear Rainbow start laughing, all the way from China.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Very Lovely Life

This past week, I had a pretty cool experience. You may not know this, but I have an Etsy shop where I sell vintage - specifically vintage linens. I actually reserved the shop name back in 2009, but didn't actually start selling until late 2011. When I started, my focus was vintage kitchenware, like Pyrex. But pretty soon, I started to become interested in old sheets. I just love the patterns and colors on vintage sheets, plus I love that "worn in" feeling. And when you ship sheets, there's no chance they'll arrive broken because the USPS guy kicked them over a fence. :)

My favorite way to use vintage sheets is in what I call a "remixed" set - it's really hard to find a complete vintage set with no missing pieces, so I take the "orphans" and put them together to create a set where each piece coordinates with each other, but doesn't necessarily match. I love seeing the different patterns together - I think it gives the set the feeling that it was collected over time.

So, a few months ago, I was approached on Etsy by Jann Jones, the craft editor for the magazine "Mollie Makes": a UK magazine that has recently come to the US. She told me that the magazine would like to feature my vintage remixed sheet sets in their upcoming September issue and asked if I'd send her a picture. Um.....yeah? I sent the picture on, but honestly didn't think much of it and assumed I'd never see it actually happen.

Last week, I'm in Target, and I see "Mollie Makes" in the periodical section. I flipped through it and, lo and behold, there I am! Page 40! Not gonna lie, there was a lot of shrieking and I think I scared some Target customers. I know it's not the front page of Better Homes and Gardens or anything, but it was pretty dang exciting!   

that's meeeeee!!
It's weird to have your guest bed pictured in a national magazine.

Anyhow, it will be fun to see if this goes anywhere! I've seen an increase in "views", meaning more people are looking at my shop. My sales have stayed pretty much the same, so I guess I won't be quitting my teaching job to run the sheet biz. :) But hey, if you're cleaning out Grandma's closet and you come across her sheets, hit me up! I'll gladly buy them from ya!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Here's your sign

So, last week, I celebrated my birthday. I'm 34. I have a friend who has “stuck” at 29 – she refuses to turn 30. Every year, she just says “I'm turning 29 again”. I think this year will be her 5h time as a 29 year old. Not me, man. Personally, I like my 30's. Your 20's are, frankly, kinda rough! You have to graduate from college and figure out what the heck you're going to do for money. You have to figure out health insurance and whether or not you're a dependent anymore. You're probably dating, which means blind dates and first dates and, worst of all, being set up with some dude who works with a friend of your moms friend's cousin and starts the date by telling you his frat brothers nick-named him “The Donkey” because of the size of his, um, manhood. TRUE STORY, FOLKS.

So, all in all, I like my 30's! However, I'm starting to feel less like a teenager and more like a mom. Yikes.

Signs you're getting older:

1. You are excited when a new store opens, only to find that you are too old to shop there. I'm looking at you, Urban Outfitters. We recently got one in Knoxville and the first time I went in, I was like, “Oh. This place is for teenagers.” It may as well have been a Gymboree - nothing in there was for my age group.

Perfect first day of school outfit, right? Maybe when I was a 6th grader back in 1990.

Not you, Forever 21. I don't care how old I am, cheap sunglasses are my spirit animal.

2. The people in charge of your kids seem like kids themselves. My friend (actually, the same friend who is still 29) recently dropped her kids off at day camp. She filled out the medical form and asked the teenager working the desk where to hand it in, to which the teen replied that she could give it to the nurse. My friend looked around and, seeing no nurse, asked again for clarification. The teenager then pointed to the girl sitting right next to her, who, according to my friend, looked about 13, and said “This is the nurse!”. Yikes.

3. Cute college boys now look at you like you're their mother. The other night, we were walking by the river and passed a group of young guys. One of them approached us and asked if we could take their picture. Right as I'm agreeing to it, a girl their age runs by, and no joke, the kid could not abandon me fast enough. Funny thing is, I totally thought all these kids were in about 9th grade, but Russell pointed out to me that they're probably college freshmen at orientation. Oh my lord.

4. Everyone calls me “ma'am”. The waiter. Guy who sprays our house for bugs. The Starbucks guy. It's unsettling when I'm all “wassup, bro” (on the inside. I don't actually say that out loud) and he's all “Ma'am, you can't park your power scooter here. Can I help you with your walker, ma'am?”

5. We had some big storms the other night and my knee throbbed so much, it woke me up. I've become one of those people that says things like, “Must be fixin' to rain, 'cause my knee's been singin' all day!" Yuck.

6. When we first got married, Russell and I talked about stuff like what's for dinner or what's happening on LOST tonight or how much it would cost to put a pool in the attic. Now, we talk about 529s and 401ks and making a will and saving for college. Remind me why 9 year old me thought growing up was cool? 

The scariest part of all of this is not the act of aging. It's the realization that we are the grown ups. Us. I still laugh at fart jokes. And carry cherry chapstick instead of lip stick. I'd rather re-read Harry Potter for the 12th time than watch a documentary. If no one was watching, I could go without eating my vegetables for days. The other day, I bought grape flavored Big League Chew (which, incidentally, I do NOT feel bad about because, duh, it's amazing.) 
Yeah, I play in the big leagues.

But at the same time, I'm almost old enough to run for President. PRESIDENT. By my age, Michaelangelo had completed the Sistine Chapel. Edison had invented the phonograph. And I still don't know how to curl the hair on the back of my head. Sigh.

This week in baby-dom:
How old is Claire?: 16 weeks! I can't believe it!

How Claire is eating: Pretty well. She went on a bit of a “breastfeeding strike”, the little union worker, but she got over it in about 24 hours.

How Claire is sleeping: Oh, not at all! So, here's a little gem they don't tell you when you're picking out sweet baby blankets and dreaming of nursery paint colors: your baby's a little jerk. Seriously. They'll fool you by sleeping through the night and then, just when you're starting to feel a little human, BAM. Asleep at 8. Up at 11. Back to sleep at 11:30. Up at 1. Down at 2. Up at 6, for the DAY. Naps? Psh, naps are for CHUMPS now.
"Mother, really. This again?"
How much Claire weighs: Around 12 pounds.

How much weight I've lost: Do you know the sad part about this statistic? I have to do the math every. Single. Time. With a calculator. THAT'S HOW BAD I AM AT MATH. Anyhow, I've lost 38 pounds. 10 to go!

How Russell's doing: Well, Russell is back at work full time, which is an adjustment for all of us, but so far it's going well. Claire is such a daddy's girl, so she's super excited when he gets home every day, which is precious. 

Milestones this week: Claire had her first big laughs this week. :) She's made laughing sounds before, but never in response to something funny. This week, we had genuine laughter. ADORABLE. I'm working on uploading a video, but that requires patience and some kind of internet magic I don't possess.