What's in Your Potty?

The potty has spent MONTHS in this house, getting used to the surroundings, and (mistake in retrospect) serving as a backup toybox.  Until very recently it hasn't seen a drop of pee, and wouldn't know what to do with a baby butt if it sat on it.  (Which it often did, but mostly clothed).   I have spent a couple months casually hinting around the potty, suggesting we read books on it, but I didn't make a real impression, I could tell.   

Few weeks ago I caught Mouse stashing uneaten breakfast blackberries in the potty for later, and I knew then that I was doing it wrong.  I read a bunch of articles from well meaning pediatricians and mothers.  And then some more articles from more frantic mothers and kinda weird pediatricians, and decided I was a professional.  Every night we'd let Mouse loose diaper free (since both of us are home, easier to catch her in mid-pee) and try to read books on the potty.  It sort of worked.  We read LOTS of books, colored lots of pages, and peed on almost every rug in the house.  

Potty is for Playing..  

Mouse has a remarkable ability to stop peeing when interrupted, which makes it impossible to carry her to potty mid-act, to catch even a couple drops into the potty.  So that a celebration dance could be done, of course.  She stops peeing, and then when we've relaxed our watch, finishes up behind a drape somewhere.  Or behind the giant Costco teddy bear.  Or into her little foam armchair.  She's not really picky, except that it can't be in the potty.  This one time, couple weeks ago, we caught her mid poo - and caught it into the potty,  (I have never seen Mr Snork move so fast, and we've played volleyball together) but she was neither super impressed nor convinced that that's a good use of her potty.  Even the Oreo didn't really get her riled up to celebrate.  

She can also hold pee for a really long time.  Like, super long - because, I mean, she's the size of a watermelon herself - so when I feed her half of one, I expect pee galore in minutes.  Especially when I follow it up with water, juice, and grapes.  Not 3 hours later.  That's crazy bladder muscles, and I'm not even sure that it's good for her.  On the upside, when she REALLY has to go - it's REALLY obvious.  So I guess, there was that.

Yesterday, she peed on my leg.  I mean, it was REALLY obvious that she had to pee, to anyone who knows these things, but I thought she was rubbing her butt on me because it was itchy.  I tried to lift her to potty mid pee, but she screamed and looked like was done anyway.   After that, and (like the articles instruct) some mildly expressed mild disappointment from me and new pajama pants, we snuggled up on the couch, and she peed ALL OVER me.  Within minutes of the leg pee.   That's when I really knew I was doing it wrong.

I checked with a Russian forum - they don't say how, and they don't even have a term for "potty training", but all these Russian kids are running around using toilets as soon as they can walk.  (So, my mother isn't lying).   Yesterday night, we did the the usual potty dance.  Read the books, drank some water, pranced around.  Then, when I thought it was pretty close to rug scrubbing time, I took our potty and books, and went to the master bathroom.  It felt like hours, and a little bit like prison, but the beauty of the bathroom is that there are no drapes, no teddy bears, very few toys (she found some behind the hamper), and really, the potty is the only place to sit.  I read the animals alphabet book 6 times, from cover to cover.  The Russian alphabet has 32 letters, so that's 32 poems, plus pointing out all the pictures, and making animal sounds when appropriate.  Periodically, we checked for pee.  And then, just when I was resigning, she got off the potty, and waved at it, nonchalantly.  And there, was PEE!!!!!!!!

I have a picture of that, too, but I have since realized that it's probably not the case where a picture is worth a 1000 words.. 

Not an entire glass of juice and 3 slices of watermelon worth of pee, or anything.  That she was saving for the night time Pampers.  No matter.  I did a dance.  Mr Snork arrived home just in time to join in the dance. I gave her a magical cookie.  (Seriously, it's these Polish soft wafer things, covered in chocolate, with fruit jelly inside.  I don't really share them with anyone).  After she went to bed, I had a Starbucks to celebrate.  

This morning felt like starting over, and just when I was thinking about (and dreading) another hour closed up in the bathroom, I checked for pee, and mentioned that cookie.  And turned on Wall-E, alternating it with the    Animal Jail show, where some dumb chick locked her dogs in a 103'F vehicle.  But plot isn't important, Mouse LOVES dogs, and there was plenty of dog action, and between that, Wall-E, and the mention of the cookie, she peed again.  Just a little.  I mentioned the cookie again, and she peed a lot.  The watermelon may have finally cycled out.  

She's just in it for the cookies, but I don't care.

She peed again in the afternoon, when my girlfriend showed up to visit.  In between she peed on herself when we went outside, but I think that's a form of protest against the training pants.  

They were the smallest (2T) and the prettiest (white) that Babies R Us had.  

I would probably pee on them, too.  Not to worry though, now that I know that this peeing thing isn't a myth, I've attacked Amazon for some adorable 18 month old pink training pants.  Look out, neighborhood.  Mr Snork is going to be appalled when the charges come through, but pre-pee yesterday, I was wondering if we had the most defective, ineffective, and repulsive potty out there (why else would you consistently pee on my doormat instead?) and was pretty sure I needed to start trying every brand out there, until one worked.  Training panties might be cheaper.  


Chasing Rabbits in McCalls 6268

Mouse was doing a duo act for Halloween with (very reluctant on his side) her Papa.  It was supposed to be a trio, but I ran out of time to make my Queen of Hearts costume.  May be next year.

Mr Snork's Hatter costume came together over the last couple months or so frequenting the Boutique (women's capris, blazer and shirt to modify, sparkly bow tie, MY socks), but I could never find anything suitable for Mouse.  I don't trust internet costumes, and she's so small, (20-ish lbs) that there's a very limited range of things she can be that aren't footed, fluffy, and have a headed hood that she HATES.  So I couldn't find her an Alice in Wonderland costume ready to go.

I looked in stores and on EBay for a suitable blue dress, but struck out there as well.  Queue McCalls 6268 and an old blue button down of Mr Snorks.  I've kept that pattern on top of my 'want to make' list, just because it's cute, but if you use the poofy sleeves from view D, it becomes a perfect Alice dress:

A size large fit my 29 pound, 31" tall Mouse.  An old large size shirt of Mr Snork's provided just enough fabric for the dress, when seam ripped (not cut, I used the seam allowances on several occasions) and I had to piece the back skirt from two pieces.  I could have just bought some blue fabric, but then I'd never use up my giant pile of "repurpose" stuff.  One shirt down, 234058274 to go..

Just a tiny pile of scraps left over:

I was happy to see that Janie and Jack currently carries a (beautiful) dress, that looks just like this pattern, minus the sleeves.  So, we're even in current fashion.

It came together really easily, except I apparently suck at making plackets.  The whole make a slit, and then make that slit a straight piece of fabric didn't work out for me, it's puckered in the back..  I will practice it to get it right, because I really like the finished look.  Alice's pinafore ties covered the back, luckily:

I cut the skirt on bias, just because I really like bias cut skirts.  I love how full the skirt is on the pattern, many times the envelope picture looks awesome, and then you cut what is essentially a wimpy A-line.   I'm pretty sure I want to make a holiday dress from this pattern, as well.

Dress front:

Dress from the side:

Alice isn't complete without a white pinafore, and although I'm sure somewhere in my pattern pile there's a perfect vintage pinafore, I couldn't find it, so I made one up.

 I drew in some card symbols with pencil at first, and they looked fine, but then I had time to waste, so I went over them with some running stitch.

Alice was adorable.  She didn't really get trick or treating, and was trying to sneak into people's house's, past their legs and bags of candy, but she did help her dad win the office costume contest.  She makes for an awesome prop.  Or, rather, he makes an awesome prop for her.  The cat helped.

I used Mr Snork's old shirt, and some white eyelet fabric I had picked up at a yard sale, the lining came from Costco's Kirkland 600 thread count bed sheet that I found in the boutique.  I usually draw a line at bed linens from thrift stores, but I figured if I cooked in in industrial laundromat long enough, it would make a delightful Queen of Hearts dress.  I never made it that far, but it does make really nice lining.   I think I might talk Mr Snork into buying us a King set from Costco.   I also used some JoAnn's tulle for the ruffle, from the massive tulle sale they had, where I bought all of it, in all the colours.  Whew.  One yard used, 9874560348756 to go.

Alice and the Hatter:

I think this might be our thing.  Every year.

How long do I get to pick her costume?  I figure, at least 9, 10 years, right?


It's Alive, and It Blogs! About Pillow Shams.

I've actually been able to sew up quite a few things lately.  I found out having a toddler on hand does not, in fact mean the end to all hobbies, but it does mean having to break them up into minutes here and there, and the pictures I take 'for the blog', always end up getting lost behind adorable pictures of Mouse sleeping in her carseat, or Mouse standing on her head, or Mouse doing less adorable things that still need capturing.  She's our first, so..

My latest project, despite of the incredible month+ long heat wave we've had, has to do with flannel.  I want winter so badly to come, I am planning my 'winter bedding' while it's 105' outside.  To that end, LAST winter I stalked some Company Store flannel - an adorable birdhouse pattern:

I think it's adorable, anyway.  When it arrived, Mr Snork was sure it was for the nursery.   He's still holding out hope.

I LOVE The Company Store.  They don't send me free stuff or anything, but I have flannel sheets my mom got me years ago, and they're still as new after wash.  Those things went through college, and everything.  They aren't the only ones who carry high quality flannel, but I also lovvvvvve their patterns.  The other day, they came out with penguin flannel.

Pretty sure I'm going to have stalk that in the spring..

By the time I got done stalking their flannel into clearance last time, I was only able to get a duvet cover and a fitted sheet, no shams.  BUT, the fitted sheets were on super clearance for $13.99, so I got two.  I figured I can easily make pillow cases, or, since Mouse was tiny and the possibility of sewing seemed like light years away, I could just drape the extra sheet over some pillows, until shame would bring me to finally sew them up.  Ha.

But, babies grow FAST.  And humans get more efficient in taking care of them.  And now I have found time to sew.  Yay!  And even blog about it!!  Double yay!

I don't like pillow cases, they seem really asymetrical and weird with one side all open and hanging out, so I made some shams, with 2.25" flanges all around.  I have a king bed, so I needed king shams.  The standard size of a king pillow is 20 x 36, and after doing some math, I came up with the measurements to cut:

25.5 x 41 - front   ( .5 seam + 2.25 flange + 35.5 (or 20) body + 2.25 flange + .5 seam)
25.5 x 11;  25.5 x 36 - back (envelope type french closure).  I think I saw it called french somewhere online, don't take my word for it.  For the back, I figured in an extra inch for the hem on each piece.  You could also make the two back pieces equal, to make the closure in the middle, but I find that harder to wrestle a long pillow into.  This makes a finished size of 35.5 x 20, and I could have gone a half inch smaller all around, I like when pillows fill out the shams completely.  That was the plan, but then I chickened out and added a half inch to prevent a stubby sham disaster.  The seam allowances are a half inch.

I cut away the elastic on my fitted sheet, and ripped the corner seams to make a flat piece, and gave Mr Snork the job of figuring out efficient placement, so I could save enough fabric to make something else:

Mr Snork is really good at this sort of thing.  I cut out the pieces, two of each, since I need two shams.

The four back pieces need hems for the envelope closure, so I turned and pressed under a 1/4" raw edge, turned under another 3/4" and top stitched the hem in place, on the right edge of each longer piece, and the left edge  of each shorter piece.  The birdhouse pattern runs one direction (roof - up), so the hem placement was specific.  On a non directional print, you could hem any edge.   I basted e v e r y t h i n g.  It was awful.

Once the hems are done, I layered the front piece, right side up, the longer back piece, right side down, and the shorter back piece, right side down, in a way that would make an envelope when sewn.  I pinned and basted, because I don't want the pieces to shift.  There's plenty of material left over in case I make a mistake, but I have high aspirations of making a sleep sack or something adorable for Mouse.  She hates being left out, and since she's gracious enough to nap to allow this sort of thing, she needs to be considered.

I also basted closed the envelope opening, once I lined up the pieces with the front, to prevent any shifting there.

I also screwed around a considerable amount of time, matching up the pattern on the back pieces, then I remembered they'll puff out when filled out, and won't match regardless, so that was an hour wasted.  Nonetheless, I matched the patterns, and overlapped a further inch.  It does look nice in the back, but I'm not sure it was worth the extra effort:

 I mean, it's the thing you sleep on, AND it's the back of it.  Overkill much?

 I sewed all around, with a 1/2" seam allowance.  I also surged the edges, but that's probably overkill also.  I guess since I anticipate these lasting a lifetime, I'd hate for them to start unraveling from the inside 50-70 years from now.  Ha.  I clipped the corner to within 1/8" of the corner, turned inside out, tried my best to get pointy corners and pressed all around.

For the flanges, once pressed, I basted the opening closed again (had to open it to turn shams inside out),  pinned and basted (again!) 2.25" from edges all around,

I wish I was just good, and didn't have to baste.  HOURS wasted.

and then stitched all around, creating a 2.25" border.   I measured 2.25" from the needle with a quilting square and stuck a piece of tape on the sewing machine bed, to make sure I stayed at 2.25, even if my basting wasn't perfect.  I backstitched at the envelope edges, since that's where most of the stress is on the fabric when inserting pillows.  If this was a decorative sham, I'd slip some interfacing into the flanges, to keep them straight, but I didn't want to bother this time around.  They're sooo floppy, that I'm tempted to undo the last stitching and stiffen them up..

Since, the weather outside does not permit flannel, and Mr Snork flails MOST dramatically at the sight of it, I can't make up the whole bed in birdhouses yet.  But, soon..  HOPEFULLY, soon!!  This took 3 evenings, but it should be noted that I'm a really slow sewer, and I was being extra slow, to make them perfect, as if I'd bought them.   The basting takes most of the time, but a number of traumatic seam ripping incidents make the basting a necessity for me.  20 minutes basting ensures I don't spend an hour picking out seams.

 Mouse approved.  

What is it about toddlers - they must be in the very middle of whatever you're doing?  When I was cutting the sheet, she set up play camp on the other end of it.  When I was basting, she was acting crazy about the thread, like a cat.  When it was picture time for the final product, she RACED into the bedroom, like she sensed she had business there.

This was my first such project, but I will definately do this again.  Even if the shams are available, this might be a more cost effective away to get them..   In this case, $13.99 = two king shams, and a possible adorable baby sleep sack/blanket/nightgown, another standard pillowcase, (or two, I haven't measured).   I've also seen some people online doing this with Pottery Barn, and shower curtains - when king shams aren't available, but a shower curtain in the same print is.

The other day, someone on Ebay was selling a matelasse coverlet in the same color and pattern I have, for $37.  I THOUGHT about buying it, and sewing ALL the shams, to complete my set since I'm too cheap to spend $59 per sham.  But by the time I got done thinking, someone else bought it.  UGH.  Totally should have.   I'm heavily side-eyeing you, Ebay purchaser that ruined my home decoration plans.


Why You Gotta Be So Mean?

Last night I googled "my 13 month old hits me".   I don't know what I was expecting to find - a pill, a support group?  Some BabyCenter article on baby brain and why it thinks it's OK to pummel me?  Some baby therapy options in my area?  A way to deal with it that has GOT to be better than mine, since it isn't working?

What I found instead was reassurance.  Turns out I do not have the only violent baby on the block.  There are others. True, most started at 20 months old and not 4, but whatever, I won't split hairs.   For an hour, the husband and I wondered HOW she knows to pinch us.  It's crafty, and it hurts, and it seems like quite a feat for a baby brain that doesn't understand you can't just walk OFF the bed/couch/playground tower to know that squeezing two/three fingers over a small amount of skin hurts like a mother.  

I was super relieved that other babies know this too.  Many don't employ it, but they probably also know,and keep it on the back burner, if ever confronted with a bed time they don't like.  or a brown rice pudding.   On the other hand, that means she's not a prodigy, or a genius.  Bummer.

Which brings me to my beef with BabyCenter and some of its articles.   This month's edition was about violent toddlers, and for a second I was excited.  Until I read that baby brain at this point doesn't understand pain.  And, that putting down an angry toddler is not good for their mental health.  Something about abandomment.  And, my absolute favorites were about anticipating the situation, and lots of hugs DURING the beatdown.

Listen, BabyCenter.  She understands pain.  The glee in her eyes when she's twisting my skin away is unmistakable.  She knows full well I don't feel like a million roses right then, and that is the point.  If she was tall enough to kick me in the shin, she'd do it.

I GUESS I can get behind 'anticipating' a situation, but what can I say, sometimes, I am just not fast enough.   And when I have to wrestle away the dirty week old Doritos package she found under the playground slide, I AM the situation.    It happened, like, 4 times yesterday, old water bottle caps, straws, slimy baloon remnants, and by the time the Doritos package came, I had sworn off playgrounds, and she was in a kind of rage you don't want to get near, let alone hug.  I dare you, BabyCenter, to try and hug her after the last slimy bit of trash just left her hopeful, angry little hands.   I.  dare.  you.


Living with Mice

She's almost a year old!!  I literally can not believe she's here.  I made (well, we made..) this little person, and I grew her, and she's strutting around now, with opinions and preferences that I DIDN'T make.  Last Tuesday she took her first two steps towards Mary Ann, our neighbor.  Then she took a couple more when her dad got home.  On Thursday, she took four steps towards Liz, our other neighbor.  Since then, she's decided it's overrated.

She walks holding  my finger, and RUNS if she can get both hands.  She runs around the block with her push toy.  But, when we try and trick her into more steps, she sits down, or goes to crawl.  She's even developed a spider type crawl - just feet and hands, no knees.  I guess she doesn't think very highly of walking.  If she's too tired, in protest, when we let go off her hands, she folds onto the floor entirely, head and everything and acts sleepy.  I'm pretty sure it's a ploy to get picked up.

Today, Mr Snork was feeding her, and every time I came by, she'd get irritated.  We thought I was distracting her from food.  Mr Snork thought it was funny, and had me come over again, to check.  She stared me down, and then let out a little scream/grunt, as she slapped her hand on the table.  The universal "get out of my face"??

Twenty minutes later, Mr Snork was putting her to bed, as I sat on the couch, feeling appropriately dejected.  Mouse came by to say good night, and was ALL smiles.  Even with the "LoL" face - where she opens her mouth wide, as if she's laughing, but not really.

I just told Mr Snork, how odd it was that she changed her attitude towards me back and forth so suddenly.  He said, "She knows she's gotta blow you kisses before bed time.  You're the one who gets up and tends to her in the morning".

On one hand, I don't think she could possibly be that crafty.  On the other, she probably already is.

I made her a couple of cloth diapers, for fun.  She tore them off immediately, and wanted nothing to do with them.

A friend of mine has totally punked me with Naartjie.  As in, introducing me to it.   I have, for the most part avoided buying new baby clothes, save a clearance item here and there at Baby Gap, or a tutu at Target.  I spent $130 at Naartjie this month.   The friend in question would suggest we stop by there every time we were at a mall, to buy clothes for her little boy.   Now, her "little" boy is close to 30 lbs at 8 months, and Naartjie baby clothes don't even fit him.   But Mouse looks ADORABLE in their stuff.   I don't even know how this happened, but she owns their spring line in 3 colours.  Mr Snork is in shock.   I should probably get to sewing a lot more cloth diapers, HA.


Vacationing with Mouse

Mouse is a pretty traveled baby, with almost monthly trips to Chicago, Colorado, and NorCal, and a lot of flights in her tiny lifetime, so we weren't too worried about taking her to Maui.  Although, preemptively we looked up nanny services.  Because she can be vicious, and we weren't sure if we can swing her 24/7 for 10 days, all by ourselves.

She has exceeded our best expectations.  With the exception of the first night, she has been fantastic.  First night she woke up every 2 hours, and Mr Snork, terrified the hotel would throw us out, walked her on the beach, every couple hours all through the night.   After spending the next day delirious with no sleep,  Mr Snork relaxed about the possible hotel baby discrimination, Mouse realized he wasn't running to walk her on the beach at 2 am, and gave up.  Babies are crafty.

I was relieved to find out vacationing is almost the same, except there's a tiny creature who wants things.   Wanting things is her THING right now, and it's really the only thing she's good at, so we humor her, in hopes she soon develops other, less taxing hobbies.  (That, and we're whipped).   Sometimes we cave and stay home during happy hour and let her take a nap, and sometimes we pretend we're in charge and take her for a run in the stroller.  And she screams for 2 miles, to let us know she doesn't like it.   But, what travel partners are perfect?  At least, this one can be bought with crackers.   (For a few minutes at a time, so I really need to find a longer lasting alternative, or buy stock in cracker companies).  And she only snores a little.

Sunshade + blow up bathtub + baby UV suit =  HOURS of fun on the beach.   Mr Snork and I take turns snorkeling and diving for sea glass.   The beached parent invents games with rocks, monitors sand intake, build sand towers for Mouse to crumble, and bathes the Mouse in the ocean.  She loves it.  I haven't spotted obscene amounts of sand in her poop, so we must be doing OK.   Once we had to emergency evac - she rubbed her eyes as she played in the sand.  It was a little ugly, but she recovered after a shower and a nap.   For all the time we spend on the beach I'm surprised it only happened once.  All this playing makes her nap super hard.   This morning we spotted turtles from our balcony, and I dispatched Mr Snork to go snorkel with them, and make sure they aren't rabid or mean, or anything.  After he swam with them and cleared any human related psychoses they might have and they still stuck around, I went down and also had a turn.  Mouse slept through all that, but she's not much of a snorkeler anyway.  

 My mother emailed me and told me she had a dream of Mouse taking her first steps, in the sand.  Because she had a dream the night before Mouse was born, (that she would be born), we have taken the appropriate steps to let this dream happen.  We've walked her on the beach, and on the plush Hyatt lawns.  (We aren't even staying in Hyatt.  We go down there for the grass).  We've tried sunrises, and evenings, and live bands.  No dice.  As soon as we let go off her hands, she promptly nose dives for the ground.  Or sits back.  I'm thinking it was a dream glitch.  I have put hours into this, and all I have is a million pictures of Mouse butt scooting around on all fours, away from us and our aggressive need to teach her things.

The only thing Mouse consistently doesn't like (other than sitting in her carseat) is shopping.  She gets super antsy in the stores, dives for displays, chews tags, attacks things, and thrills Mr Snork every time we have to make a hasty exit.  No touristy loot for me.  I make do by looking at the windows, and making a mental note to Ebay things later.  I should make physical notes, but it would ruin Mr Snork's day each time.  This way, I'll reliably forget each thing once I'm three storefronts down.

We take her into Lahaina art galleries, and she pretends she's into art.  She's almost snobbish about it.        There were some silly paintings with a bear and rabbits, and the salesperson rushed over, telling us how perfect it would be for a nursery.   Mouse stared her down like, "Why would I want this ridiculous bear??  The place next door had a stunning bronze mermaid sculpture, so please leave my face, and take your nursery rabbits with you".     Like us, I'm pretty sure she's obsessed with Vladimir Kush,

and Fabian Perez.

Lucky for her, they're both available to stare at locally at Laguna Beach, because it might be a while before either one comes home with us.

Speaking of beautiful pictures - I tried, despite popular protests to take an ADORABLE picture of Mouse and Parrot named Pearl that hangs out in Lahaina, charges $30 per picture, and is an exquisite shade of greys and pinks.  As soon as Pearl, perched on my hand entered Mouse's line of sight, she started reaching for her with vigor indicative of plucking and other unfriendly behaviors.  Pearl freaked out and was replaced by a not-nearly-as-exciting dull green bird, who was a veteran and a trooper.  Our "Aloha from Maui" postcard choices consisted of 2 shots of Pearl scaling my arm in desperate escape attempts and 4 shots of Mouse glaring at the stoic green bird.  No $30 material in sight.   I guess 10 months is too early?  My plan is walk her past the birds daily, until the novelty wears off, and she can play nicely with them for a fraction of a second.  I have 6 days to accomplish this.  Mr Snork is hoping I fail and save him $30, so I'm double committed.

In Mouse's defense, she lets me take countless pictures of her, for free.  A lot of our time is spent doing just that, on the beach, on the resort grounds, under every plumeria tree or hibiscus bush I can spot, and in the wild.  Sometimes, Mr Snork mans the Mouse while I climb waterfalls and try to get artsy with the camera.   They climb waterfalls too, but prefer the outskirts of the waterfalls, with less slippery rock.    Mouse can also play with a pile of rocks by the river while we have lunch.  Sometimes, we all hang out in the shaved ice trailer by the road and eat the ice, watching the Sugar Cane Train go by.   Other times we hide, and watch her head bobbing in the pack and play, looking for us, when she's supposed to go to sleep.  Like right now.  


Running Sucks, I Rock.

I don't know how it is that sometimes, I can run 9 miles with giraffe, and it's glorious, and then other times, I'm flailing all over the beach boardwalk, for 10 miles - and it's the worst thing ever.  Seriously.  I was all over the place, slowing down, acting like I'm having cardiac arrest issues, trying to get water from sprinklers that unexpectedly shoot mist at your crotch area, stumbling around bars because I lost the beach trail.

There was an episode where I thought I would run along the water, gracefully, and be all, one with the waves.  Except it turned out running in the sand is hard, waves are faster than me, and sneaky.  Also, running in the sand sideways sucks, and, in general, I would make a terrible, slow crab that would get picked off on the first day of being crab.

At the end of the beach there was an old guy playing harmonica, and I didn't realize that I ran up behind him, determined to touch the rock wall like there was a prize for it, and scared the shit out of him.  He was knee deep in the water, being actually all - one with the waves, and I spoiled it.   I still had 2 more miles to suffer, so I didn't even apologize properly.  Sorry, old guy who almost lost his footing, and possibly harmonica.   You were very good before I got there.

I finished off my conquest of the Kaanapali Beach weaving the golf course, even after I realized they had games going.  I was still barefoot from the beach, I had tossed my shoes away  by the hotel (because I thought running back to that point was going to be 10 miles and was wrong), and I figured the somewhat likely chance of black out via golf ball was still better than the much likelier chance of gouging feet on asphalt.   My time:  2h, 6 minutes.  But I walked all of mile 4, at 18 minute pace (the sun had risen and I wasn't prepared for it) so, really, it's better than it looks.

Then I soaked in the ocean immediately after, and lazy jogged a mile next morning (yesterday) to make sure I wasn't totally broken.   And snorkeled, a lot, since I AM on vacation.   I'm OK, it turns out.  Amazing.

I was all but done with the running business, thinking I'd exchange it for snorkeling, until Mr Snork showed me a video of myself diving for sea glass.  It's not pretty.  It seems when I dive, I can never get either my ass or my flippers under water.  I look kind of like my hands are stuck in the sand, AND I'm getting attacked by a very mean fish.   Then I pop up, empty the mask, take a breath, and circle around looking for that piece I never did get, and it happens all over again.  That sea glass jewelry business idea will have to wait.

Today I made myself run the charted 5 miles, and it was totally fine.  All 53 minutes of it.  My fastest 5 miles ever.  I'm pleased.  Pleased that I made myself go, that Mr Snork took Mouse duty and cheered me on, that I possibly burned off the half pound of Nutella I ate earlier, and that I I kept a pretty consistent 10:xx pace  throughout.  I mean, I was dying in the end, and that cursed golf course is always in the way, and is not lit up at night, and my Ipod does not light up sufficiently to avoid sand traps, but whatever.   10:xx minute miles times 5?!  I should offer myself up for the Olympics.  They'd be crazy to pass all this up.

On a side note, why is there a swarm of people in the gym, looking longingly at the sunset/sunrise/ocean through the giant, sad glass window, every time I ran past the fancy Hyatt?    Come outside, people.  Leave the concrete.  Be one with nature.


The Second Wind DOES Exist.

It's not that I don't trust Giraffy, I just thought she was lying.

A little white lie to keep me going, kind of like, "Let's go run, it'll be great".   It's never really great.    But by then, I have shown up, in a sports bra and everything, and I may as well try and lose those 2 Butterfinger bars that were truly great with tea last night.

I thought it was part of her ploy to get me to realize that there IS, in fact running after the occasional 5k.   She suggested I train for a half marathon, after I turned green and died of jealousy at all the Tinkerbell Half fun had without me.

I ran 4 miles a few times, and then 5, and then 7, and then a magical thing happened.  I realized that after the first 3 miles (so, a 5k), all of a sudden, it truly gets easier.  It's counterintuitive, because my brain after 3 miles is ready for the shower, bed, cookies, whatever I've promised and delivered before.  But, somewhere something else clicks, and it's like your body gives up.  But in a good way -  "OK, I guess, if you insist, we can do this together.."  Breathing is easier, legs find a rythm, and all of a sudden you feel like you can do this, for a while, and you're going to be just fine.   It's almost a teeny bit enjoyable.  Not GREAT, mind you, but not bad.  In contrast to the recent 5k's I've ran without training or practice, where I felt like I might pass out right after the finish line banana.  Who knew you can keep going after all that?

As a built in bonus, once 3 miles is no longer your longest distance ever, it starts to look and feel really short.   Hard to believe that around this time last year, I'd hop off the treadmill at 1 mile and congratulate myself on having gone that far.

I hope someone as lazy as me reads this and gets inspired - from couch to 5K to ..?  Who knows.   Couple years ago I couldn't jog a quarter mile.    Giraffy and I started jalking - jog-walking couple years ago,  ending our 'workouts' with a beer.  She's now running crazy mileage each week, and training for a marathon, I'm training for a half.  My total miles for March were 68!    It crept up so slowly, and one day few weeks ago, we were jogging at a steady pace, and talking, and it occured to me, we were TALKING, and running, at the same time, for a while now.  I guess that moment was a little bit great.

This Saturday we ran 9 miles - to a little nature preserve near by.   Getting up at 5:30 am for me is super ugly.  But we got there, and the sun was rising, the birds were chirping, the morning fog was drifting over the streams as we crossed them.  It feels surreal to have a place like that in the middle of Orange County, block away from a shopping center, and commercial center.  I really wished I had brought my Nikon, but I'm guessing constant shaking for 2 hours is not good for it.  I was tired for a couple days afterwards and unreasonably hungry.  Like, burned 900 calories, but wanted to eat the entire supermarket.  But I felt great.

I still  don't like running.  The actual feet shuffling part of it, KILLS me the first 2-3 miles, every time.  You'd think it would get better, but it's like your body forgets and hopes you did too, and acts all shocked that you're doing it all over again.  But the larger picture - being in shape, getting places the way your body was meant to, being able to eat all of the desert aisle without much guilt or consequence, and the top of the world feeling at the end of each long run - those are a little bit great.    

Did I mention 9 whole miles??!  9 of them!  All made possible by the totally real second wind - that kicks in around mile 4 and for me, lasted until about mile 9.  That last one mile I really wanted nothing to do with, except that it was getting me home.  Average pace 11:40.  (How do I know this?)  Mr Snork got me a  Garmin Forunner.  Which, by the way is the other really cool thing about running - all the accessories.  A GPS watch.  The skirts.  The headbands.  The medals.   Its really a never ending pool of positive reinforcement possibilities.


Bikram Yoga Is a Terrible Way to Spend Your Time. - Review

It sucks.  There, I said it.  

These Groupons will be the death of me.  I thought it was such a good deal, and I know a couple people who seem to really like it, so I bought and signed up for the $25 for 25 sessions, dragging the running Giraffe with me.  Without the coupon, their pricing is outrageous, and I having gone, I don't see where the money goes - to heat up the room?   
--Scratch that, I looked up Bikram the Man talking about making "about 10 million a month".  So, I guess, I know where it goes.  Meanwhile, 24 Hour Fitness charges a tiny fraction of that, and offers yoga classes.  And babysitting.  And they are way nicer.  And don't smell like feet.   But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I went a few times, just to make sure, that I wasn't being a sissy.  I didn't want to be a quitter, and I didn't want to have $25 go to waste.   So, I guess I AM, in fact a quitter, but the $25 did not go to waste, I now KNOW what it's like, and it's not pretty.  

Out of the three instructors I had, two were pretty good, and one was not so good, and really, kinda mean.  It was during her long, tedious 90 minute reign that I had a chance to gather my thoughts about what really irks me about the her, Bikram, and the whole thing in general:

1.  Who is Bikram?  I did some rudimentary internet research, and it appears he is a liar who makes a lot of money.  And knows some yoga stuff.   I also think he is a tremendously successful businessman.  He is also the one personally certifying the teachers - and it appears that his medical background is next to non existant.  So, when the instructor started talking about how - the deeper you bend, the harder you squeeze - your various organs are getting compressed, and then decompressed, and all the fresh oxygenated blood is rushing to them, I was a little skeptical.  
 I feel like thousands of years of evolution have been at work to make sure that I don't squish my kidneys and liver every time I bend down to vacuum the sideboards.  I just don't think it's that easy to wring out your internal organs. I don't think pulling my knees to my chest will do it.  At some point, I started feeling like I'm really going to need this instructor to show me a medical degree if she's going to keep that up.  It all sounded a little too, "The earth is flat" to me.  

2.  Speaking of freshly oxygenating your organs:  I mentioned the room smells like feet.  Dirty, stinky feet, that haven't been washed in a long time.  You'd think they could spring for a steam cleaning more often, with all that money coming in.  150+ people in a room worth of income.  It's costs $28 to rent a carpet steamer at Vons.   The smell hits you pretty hard in the beginning, and, then, as you get adjusted to your new steamy, murky, hot surroundings, it mercifully dissipates.  Until towards the last 3rd of the class, when you start getting a little nauseated - it comes back, and it hits you pretty hard.  It occurred to me I really don't want this dirty foot oxygen anywhere near my organs.  Really, the very existence of oxygen, fresh or otherwise is questionable, since 150 people are using it, too, and the room is locked up.  

3.  You can't leave the room, or at least they try to make you stay.  I've seen people leave to puke.  I've seen people leave almost every class.  Except today, when a person got up to go and got told to sit back down.  The instructors vary on their water breaks, too - which, by the way is $3 per bottle if you didn't bring your own.  There is NO water fountain there.  Why would there be.    Some instructors say you can't have water except on scheduled breaks, period.  Some let you have it, but never 'during poses'.  You're almost always in a pose, unless it's a scheduled water break, so I don't understand how that works.   I sipped water whenever I felt like it.    

4.  I smell lawsuits coming.  I didn't sign any paperwork, and the studio makes less disclaimers than the gym yoga classes.  Like, none, really - except that if you're new, you shouldn't be in the front row.  There are so many people in the room, and particularly when they run the price reduction specials - you really don't know what physical shape people are in.   When you tell them they can't leave the room, can't have water, and it's OK to feel nauseated and lightheaded - you are paving your way to trouble.   That's your body telling you to knock off what you're doing.  It's been perfected over time, and pretty dependable, just like the location and access to your internal organs.     

5.  And finally - the inconsistencies.  The constant, "Push harder, harder, - your joints should hurt, it's ok to feel lightheaded, push on - press on, it's only 10 more seconds.."  And later, "yoga is not about depth.. it's about breathing, and stillness, and depth will come through them, so never go past your breath".
So, here's the thing, if you make someone squat, stretch, and try to push to have their forehead planted on the floor, between your feet - punctuated by sit ups, in a 110" room or hotter, and be all militant about it,  they are probably going past their breath.  Some are close to passing out.   Otherwise - why would you tell them to lay down and catch their breath after each try?  Hmm.  

5. "Breathe through your nose, because breathing through your mouth activates the fight or flight response" - And you get panicky and want to leave.   All 3 instructors talked about the importance of sticking it out.  About how you want to leave the whole time.  All the time.  Fight or flight.  "Your body wants to leave, and your mind is trying to help.  You don't really want to pee, your mind is playing tricks on you.  It's trying to help your body leave this room".    Umm.  I don't know about you, but I can't keep dedicating 90 minutes to an activity that my body hates so much, all the time, now and in the future, that it makes stuff up.   Fake peeing is nothing to joke about.  

 Having read about this Bikram guy, and his 40 Roll Royces collection, I have a feeling it's important to keep coming back to help him add to his collection.      

I think Bikram, in trying to marry the peacefulness and stillness of yoga to a very trendy, marketable, allegedly calorie burning, profitable fitness miracle has created a mess.  A trendy, stinky, very profitable mess - although I must admit, having sweated out 2 liters of water, and finally stepping out into actually fresh air - I did feel more alive and invigorated.   In part, because I escaped and live to tell the story.  

I read all sorts of estimates of what Bikram yoga session might burn - as low as 300, and as high as 1200 calories.  My feeling is it's in the lower numbers, and your body's natural response to artificial stimuli exaggerates your perception of the benefits.  Even at that, it doesn't last.  I do feel more bendy, and stretchy afterwards, but I never feel like I used up massive amounts of my energy the way other activities make me feel.   I know that in 90 minutes of running, or even lazy jogging I can wreck some calories. 
I have yet to leave the yoga studio and feel like I have earned an extra serving of cupcakes in my near future.

In short, even though I don't like it much either, I'll stick to running and 24Fitness yoga classes in regular old boring room temperature.   


The Brilliant Mouse and Spring Swimsuits

I was getting ready to call Harvard earlier today.  Mouse can drink from a straw!   She didn't know anything about straws earlier today, or cups.  And now, she can drink from a straw.

I saw a baby sip water from a Starbucks cup at Sprouts earlier this week, and was overcome with baby development envy.  But, clearly, Mouse has been ready to sip from straws a long time ago, it's just that none had been provided.  (Probably even earlier than the show-off Sprouts baby.  Definately earlier.)

 She can also 'high five' me, and hand me things that I point to.  She can walk when I hold both her hands (she's tricky and won't step forward till she's got your other hand..). She can grab things with two fingers.   And now, she's can casually sip her Similac, well, her Kirkland-Similac from a Starbucks cup, if need be.  Take that, Sprouts baby.   I've been walking with my chest puffed the whole day.  

In a super unrelated story (except puffy chests), I am currently sewing a bathing suit.  Which means I'm not even done with it yet. Helpfully, I skipped away from a  glorious estate sale last weekend with a BOX of woolly nylon serger thread.   I estimate I have enough thread for 80 swimsuits,  give or take 50.  If I just wasn't so slow.

It took one night to make 3 muslins for the shorts alone, one night to set up the serger, another night to fix the serger after I messed with it too much, and a couple of nights of Half Marathon training zapping all of my will to move and just spacing out at PatternReview.com.  Despite all this, I consider this current swimsuit in the bag, and eyeballing my next one:

I can practically SEE myself in this, in Hawaii.  So, I have a month to finish the one I'm working on, confirm that I am, in fact a master seamstress of the swimsuit, hunt down this one, and also make IT.  


Happy Valentine's Day!

I was really committed to a Cupid themed photoshoot, but her 20 minute refresher nap didn't give me enough time to scrounge up feathers for wings.  (Or, I guess, less authentically paint some onto cardboard).  That and she HATED the fluffy halo headband so much, that my Cupid was going to have a decidedly un.angelic face.  With chewed bits of fluffy headband remnants all around.   I would have *really* wanted to go gather seagull feathers by the shore, for the most spectacularglued wings ever, but I started doubting their hygenic potential.  Can feathers transmit rabies?  Do seagulls have rabies?  Other skin deseases?  Fleas, perhaps?  These things keep me up at night.  Thankfully, because I never got off my bum, they don't have to this time around.

I'm trying to get back into blogging.  By which I mean, at least once daily I think very hard, "I should blog about this" but then I don't.  So, I'm 50% there.  There  are so many cool things I want to write about, and photos I want to share, but then I don't, and then other cool new things happen, and then I forget, and then it never happens.  It must be a time management issue.

It makes me feel like this:

(Those chocolate strawberries are downright heart breaking when they're rudely taken away).

I'm going to be better.  From now on, I will write once a week, for sure.  And then we'll see.  A similar approach to the gym has blossomed brilliantly, and I'm almost, like, a runner.  (Well, a waddling runner wanna-be, like my friends who actually are runners but let's not split hairs).