Buh Bye….Buuuhh Byyyeee!!!!

A few weeks ago a friend told me that her son got a small staph infection from his pacifier after having a bad cold. I made the mistake of sharing this anecdote with Peter who immediately decided it was time to throw Baylie’s “minkies” out the door.

While I know that at some point she was going to have to give up the pacifier, I just figured it was something we would do when she was, like, 10. So I held him off for about 2 weeks but lost the battle this past weekend. I had to agree that it wasn’t the worst idea to get rid of them – I was just afraid of the aftermath.

Aaaannnddd I was right.

After nap time on Saturday, Peter got a big envelope and wrote “For the Babies” on the outside. Then Bay got to add her personal touch and one by one, add the pacifiers to the envelope. She was happy to pack 7 of them away, but hesitated on the last one. After gentle encouragement from Daddy, she happily added the last one. They sealed it up and put it in the mailbox. All we had to do now was wait for the inevitable meltdown.

That night was rough getting her to sleep, but not the end of the world. She fussed a little during the night, but for the most part, it was not the end of the world. She did cry for several minutes saying “buuhh bbbyyyeeeee!!!! buh byeeee!!!” in the saddest voice I’ve ever heard. It was killing me. The solution to her pain was a mere 5 feet away in the mailbox outside the front door and I couldn’t get it for her. I was dying. But she quickly calmed down with a rock and a kiss and then slept semi well.

The big issue was nap time on Sunday. I knew it was going to be ugly, I just didn’t know how ugly it could be. I again rocked her to sleep and then put her down only to watch her pop back up a second later. We decided to let her cry it out for 10 minutes. At 4 minutes, I was concerned about the sounds that were coming out of B’s little mouth so I went into check on her. Apparently in an act of opposition, Bay had torn off her diaper and proceeded to pee all over her crib. A.MA.ZING. Peter continued to rock her in the bedroom while I stripped down her bed. An additional hour of rocking and she finally went down and stayed down. Sheesh.

Sunday night I was not up for the fight and was this close to giving in and getting the minkies out of the mailbox. Thankfully Peter’s competitiveness outweighed his exhaustion so he took over the downing process. There was the typical fussing and then silence. He exited her room and there was still silence. I was so grateful, but not amazed. Peter has had the ability to calm the kiddo since the second she was born. She was all screams when she was carried to the side of the delivery room to be weighed and measured and it wasn’t until Peter leaned down and whispered to her that she was quiet. When I asked what his secret was for getting her to calm down this time, he said that he simply made her look him in the eye while he told her that she was a big girl and that she could go to sleep without a pacifier. She responded “noooo” and so he repeated himself. She then responded “ok” and laid down in her crib. Done and done. Daddy does it again!

Nap time today was rough. The kid has some amazing lungs. A few minutes of quiet time, 10 minutes of crying followed by 10 minutes of rocking and she was out. This is a significant improvement over yesterday so I’m thinking by Friday, we should be in a good place. I’m pushing the blankie and a stuffed animal of her choice so that she gets attached to one of them. As someone who had her yellow satin blankie until she  was 11 years old and took Foofur the dog with her to college,  I think these are safer options. People might laugh if she has a pacifier. But a stuffed dog is always in style.

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Fast + Easy + Cheap = Dinner

This is one of our favorite dinners and it actually is fast, cheap and easy. It’s one of those recipes where I don’t actually have measurements. I throw this together and sample along the way and whatever tastes good is what I use.  So I’m going to estimate the measurements and feel free to make it what tastes good to you.:

1 flank steak

Red potatoes – or some other kind of potatoes, whatever is available and looks good

A1 Steak Sauce

Teriyaki marinade

Soy Sauce

Grainy mustard (not sure the proper term but look for a mustard where you can see the seeds)

Chives

Garlic cloves

Sour cream

Butter

Cheddar Cheese

Salt and Pepper

At least 2 hours before cooking (the longer the better), put the steak in a dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Pour A1, teriyaki, Soy Sauce onto steak. Enough that there is some liquid in the bottom of the dish – go lighter with the A1 than with the Soy and teriyaki. Flip the steak – same salt and pepper and then spread the grainy mustard on. Add a little more liquid to this side. Cover and put in the fridge until you’re ready to cook. Depending on the thickness, broil or grill to preferred done-ness (if it’s a very thick steak, broiling can cause the marinade drippings to burn, thus making your house smell like steak for a few days).

Wash and cut potatoes into equal sizes. Boil until fork tender. Mash with a good helping of salt and pepper, sour cream, butter, minced garlic and chives. Stir in a little shredded cheddar cheese. Sample along the way and add more of whatever you like best – the dish tastes best with lots of seasoning so go nuts. Put in a baking dish and top with a good portion of cheddar cheese.  Bake for a few minutes at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted and getting bubbly.

Slice the flank steak against the grain into long, thin strips. Serve with a heaping mound of potatoes and a big glass of wine. Enjoy!

What’s in Baylie’s Bag?

I’m starting a new weekly post called “What’s in Baylie’s Bag?”. Since Bay has been able to carry a grocery bag, a beach bag, a shopping bag, a bucket, a bag made for kids or a purse, she has filled it with various items from around the house. She will carry said bag around to various locations, unload some or all of the contents, reload and then move on.  At some point I end up emptying said bag to either clean up the house or if something important has gone missing – a phone, the remote or a shoe – it’s almost guaranteed to be in Baylie’s bag. The contents never fail to make me laugh – it cracks me up to see what she’s found to be important enough to carry around with her. So I laid out her treasures and took a picture. Here’s what was in this week’s REI shopping bag:

Contents:

Barbie

Barbie’s brush

2 pacifiers

Play food cookies and 2 bottles of soda

Nesting cups

A head band

Her UofA hat

Boo boo bunny

A hair tie

Star shaped sunglasses

Swim goggles

Retail Me Not

Peter turned me onto a great website called RetailMeNot.com. It is a coupon type website targeted at online shoppers. It almost always has a free shipping or percentage off coupon for even the smallest sites. Next time  you’re getting ready to check out, be sure and check for a shipping or percentage off coupon at http://www.retailmenot.com!

The Power of Suggestion

As Baylie’s language skills grow, I’ve discovered a very humorous phenomenon.

We have several classes we attend each week that are great chances to not only teach interaction with other kids, but verbal skills and manners. So I’m often heard saying to Baylor “What is your name?” and “Can you please say hello to Ms.Maria?” or “Say ‘bye bye’!”, etc. The thing I find hilarious is if I don’t preface each phrase with Baylie’s name, the person I am trying to get her to talk to will usually be the one to respond, not Bay. I kind of expect it from kids because they are used to someone giving them the same prompts – but when I say “Say ‘hello'” to Baylie and an adult responds “hello!” it cracks me up! If I just randomly asked someone to say hello or tell me their name, there’s no way they would respond. But put a cute blonde toddler in front of them and they’ll say anything.

I should start saying “give them $5” or “what is your credit card number?” and see what kind of response I get. My luck the plan will backfire and Bay will dive into my purse and start rifling through my wallet for goodies to hand out…

Handy Home Improving

Any homeowner will say that the job of improving, maintaining and updating a home is never done. Even friends of ours that live in brand new houses are always doing something. Our story is the same – it’s always something.

That something (besides the dishwasher) was the master bathroom toilet. For weeks it would fill. STOP. Fiiillllll. STOP. Fiiiillll some more. STOP. And on and on until it was done filling. And because our water pipes are in the attic (yes East Coasters, they are in the attic because we don’t have to worry about them freezing) the process was heard throughout the house as the pipes banged with each pause. Not exactly what you want to hear at 3am – or worse, at 5:30am because the sound will inevitably wake up Baylie.

Now when Peter and I were both working, we would have certainly called a plumber and gladly handed over the $100+ to fix the toilet. We were both working 60+ hours a week and it made sense not to waste the precious time we had outside of the office on trying to fix something we know nothing about. But now that we only have 1 income, that’s no longer the case. And after a quick pep talk from my mom – the woman who can fix anything – Bay and I ventured out to the plumbing supply store. After a quick explanation and a new flush valve, we headed home to fix our commode.

Fixing a toilet is a challenge. Fixing a toilet with a busy, curious and eager-to-help 20 month old is an Olympic sport. Thankfully she was very content to play with the extra parts that came with the new valve (yes, there were supposed to be extra parts, I asked) and hand me rags to mop up the water. 20 minutes after we started we were calling everyone we knew to make them listen to the toilet flush without pausing. Yes, we fixed it and fixed it right in one try – $20 worth of parts, a patient salesman at the plumbing supply, some elbow grease and a blind eye to the fact that there was toilet water leaking onto the floor and we did it. The best part is that when we called Peter, A. he was stumped by what the hell I was asking him to listen too and B. was convinced I had called a plumber. When I actually showed him what I had to do to fix it, he was most impressed.

I contemplated taking pictures of my work in anticipation of a blog, but realized that pictures of the back of the toilet was pushing it. However, this goes down as my new “best” when it comes to home improvement. Next up: sprinkler repair!

Appliances With Attitude

Almost four years ago we moved home to Arizona from Washington DC. We had decided we were going to renovate our rental house for us to live in and started the project prior to our 40 hour drive across the country. We walked in to this:

More than once we had a “Oh sh*t. What have we started??” moment. But the house came together beautifully and 9 months after we started, we ended up with this:

We had only minor snafus along the way – one of them being the dishwasher installation. Because we were total novices at remodeling a house and managing the contractor and the sub contractors, supplies (we learned the hard way to buy our own materials and hire someone to install them) and the physical work we did ourselves, we didn’t catch that we had measured the hight for the dishwasher from the sub-floor rather than the tiled floor. And when you’re using 1 inch thick and extremely inconsistent sized Saltillo tile, this is an issue. Long story short, we had to chip out the tile under the counter and in front in order to get the dishwasher in place. This resulted in a very serious condition called Appliance Attitude.

Yes, the damn thing developed a negative attitude towards work because he knew that he had job security. Often at night I would hear Dishwasher chuckling as I loaded up dirty dishes. Then in the morning when they were still dirty he would mumble under his breath “What are you going to do about it, lady? Chip out all the tile, haul me away, put in a new dishwasher, relay the tile and then seal it?? I don’t think so!! Mmmmwwwaaahhhaaaahhh!!”. Dirty bastard. And the worst part was he was right – it was way too much work to get a new dishwasher. So I called the factory service – who were no help. I changed detergents and even – gasp – washed the dishes before putting them in to be washed. Some of it helped, but not enough. So this past Christmas, we decided it was time. We were going to do the work and get something that actually cleaned our dishes instead of just making them appear clean but smell funny.

And that’s when it happened. Dishwasher decided he wasn’t going out in handcuffs, he was going out in a body bag.

Tuesday night I was settling into bed and Peter was working out on the couch when we both heard a very loud and ominous BANG. He came flying into the bedroom saying that he thought someone had thrown something at our front window. We both proceeded to investigate and Peter proceeded to ignore my snarky comments questioning why someone would choose to break the front window rather than one of the two glass doors on either side of the window to get into our house.  We settled on the dishwasher and when we opened it, we were greeted with a plume of smoke and steam. Not to mention all of the “clean” dishes were covered in a crunchy white substance. There was the telltale sign of a problem in the bottom of the dishwasher – a tube thingy was split wide open and a wire was hanging out – it reminded me of the Sad Mac face with two X’s for eyes and it’s tongue hanging out.

And so the process begins. The handy man is coming today to chip out the tile – the new super fancy and tested by my mom dishwasher comes tomorrow and by Saturday night, we’ll be washing dishes like normal people. And by sometime next week we won’t have a giant, tile-less section in our floor.

I did ask the salesman if the installation people who will be hauling away our POS would let me kick it – he didn’t laugh. There’s probably now a note in the delivery instructions to beware the crazy homeowner.