Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Lil' Patch o' Internet was born one year ago today! It started out featuring the crazy rantings of a pregnant woman who couldn't get a bratwurst microwaved in the middle of the night and now discusses the roller coaster that is motherhood!

Incidentally, that cake pictured is not for my blog, my mom's birthday happens to be today too. But it makes for a nice segue into today's post.

I like making 'improved' cake box cakes. I get them out of this book called 'The Cake Doctor'. The recipes use a regular box cake for a base, but then add various ingredients and homemade touches for very yummy cakes. Since I've started making homemade frosting, I can't stand the canned stuff, it's way too sweet. Anyway, I typically make sheet cakes or bundt* cakes. Then every once in a while I'll tackle a two tier round cake. And then remember why I never make two tier round cakes. I have the world's worst problem icing them. I don't know why either. Most of them have some sort of filling between the layers, which acts as a lubricant. The cake then slides this way and that while I'm icing it. This particular cake has a cherry filling, which I cheated on. The directions were to get whole cherries and basically make cherry pie filling. I just bought cherry pie filling. The author of this book evidently did not know that I would have a child screaming at me while I was baking. Anyway, so the cherries were meant to stay in the MIDDLE of the cake. If you look at the cake, you can clearly see that they are everywhere! They oozed out the sides and into the icing, and then all over the cake. The other problem that I had, was that the frosting just seemed to slide down the side of the damn cake. The butter-cream may have gotten too warm, or may have been a bit too heavy on the milk.** After ten minutes of grappling with it, with Doug screaming at the baby gate, I was ready to throw in the towel. By this point Jeff had finally finished up his project and was able to come and see what both Doug and I were screaming about. After an initial assessment, Jeff decided that he could fix the cake:

(I married an engineer who is a perfectionist. Occasionally it pays off :)

You have to admit, the cake looks much better. Unless anyone is willing to teach me the art of frosting, from now on I'll stick to bundts, sheet cakes and cheesecakes :)

*Does anyone else flash back to that scene in 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' about the bundt cake? Makes me laugh every time. And then I spent a week saying 'Bund-T!'. But I digest.

**Not pictured here is the kitchen counter, which is covered in confectioner's sugar. I used a bigger bowl than normal to avoid the mushroom cloud of sugar,
but the bigger bowl made more of a mess some how. To the side there is a sad tomato that has a lovely dusting of sugar now. Anyway, the ratio of sugar to milk were probably rather significantly off.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Upwardly Mobile

When my in-laws were here visiting in January, Doug took his first steps (at a hair over ten months old). He walked from his grandfather to me. In the days that followed, he would toddle here and there, mostly if some one helped him on his feet and steadied him first. I didn't expect him to be functionally walking two weeks later, but that is exactly what's going on now.

Doug now spends most of his waking hours walking. He walks just for the sheer joy of it, in and out of rooms, around the living room, anywhere. Initially, his steps were cautious. He could only walk a few feet before he would fall or need to steady himself on a piece of furniture. He could also only walk one direction, if he tried to turn slightly or turn around completely, he would fall over. He has since mastered that and is adding new tricks to his walking repertoire almost daily. He now can carry things with him when he walks. I keep finding objects in all sorts of weird locations. The other day I found my cell phone in the hallway. This morning he carried a coaster into the dining room and carried Jeff's bedside flashlight into the dining room too. One of the pieces of his foam mat is now on the other side of the basement. Doug is getting good at bending over or squatting to pick up something. He has also occasionally gotten up from the floor without pulling himself up on something. Doug can also 'work' a room better on foot now. When we're out at a restaurant or a store, he'll insist on walking. We'll hold his hand and he'll drag us over so he can wave and smile at people. He gets irked when people ignore him. He's not running yet (thank God, the child has yet to realize that he has a tired mommy), but I'm sure those days are fast approaching.


Today seems to be full of unexpected windfalls. This morning as I was getting Doug and myself up, my mother texted me to see if we could meet for lunch at the Amish Market. So I got Doug and I packed up and ready to go. We ended up having a nice lunch there and Doug surprised us by feeding himself with a fork! After lunch, my mother said that she could take Doug for the rest of the afternoon! I was so excited and relieved that I didn't know what to do! So, now Jeff and I can enjoy a nice dinner out and a relaxing evening!

After lunch I proceeded to Target to pick up a prescription and get some new trash cans with lids (Doug has decided the trash cans are a fun place to rummage in). Despite having called in my prescription hours ago, I had to wait about ten minutes for it. Afterward, I went to the in store Starbucks there to get myself my usual chai latte. There was a manager there, covering for the barista while she 'went to get supplies'. He said he couldn't make up the drink, but he could ring me up. I gave him a gift card, but he had trouble with it. Something had happened to it so that it wouldn't deduct the sale. The manager then put the balance of the card onto a new card so it would work. By the time he had finished with that, the barista had returned and made my drink. I went to get my drink and then I kinda waited for a second. I wasn't sure if my drink had actually been deducted from the card. So, I waited and then I decided I would slowly walk out. I thought, oh well, not my responsibility. Outside the doors of Target I began to rationalize my actions, 'I had to wait at the pharmacy,even though I'd called in my prescription', 'There was some one sitting on the bench and I had to stand and I am so sore and tired!'. When I realized I was rationalizing, I realized I was in trouble. I decided to go back in and double check that my drink had been actually paid for. The manager had been very nice about the whole card thing and I didn't want to take advantage of that whole confusing situation. He told me that it had been paid for. I left feeling better, but a bit confused, because I didn't think my balance had changed (I will admit that cold medicine is muddling my brain a tad more than usual today). But I did try and make things right.

When I got home, a package of clothes I'd ordered had come early!

So cheers, because it's almost Friday!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Socializing the Beast

It's been painfully obvious for quite some time that Doug needs to spend time with his peers. He will see other children his age here and there, and gets very excited about it. There was an incident a few weeks ago at a Barnes and Noble train table in which he tried to grab a little girl's face. Despite being a little older than he was, she was smaller, and he didn't realize that he could easily knock her over. I decided it was time for Doug to spend time with his peers.

So I started looking for classes or groups to enroll him in. The county we live in doesn't offer much in his age range. Montgomery County does have quite a lot of classes for babies his age, but most of them started a month ago. And then there's the problem of the drive back and forth. The local indoor pool offers classes for babies his age, but to be honest I'm worried about ear infections. I'm also not sure how much of it I can put up with either. Doug loves the water, but after taking him in the pool, I'm usually fairly wiped out. Then there's drying off and changing both of us back to our street clothes and everything else. Very exhausting. The other options were story times at the library and classes for babies at gyms for kids. I decided we'd try a free class at one of the gyms for kids.

When we got to the gym, a class for preschoolers was letting out. There were lots of excited kids running around, and Doug was quite interested in them. Once I got Doug out of his carrier and our coats and shoes off, Doug and I walked around a bit exploring. Only two other babies turned up for the class, one of which was also trying the class out for free. So they only had one registered baby in the class. The class consisted of songs and climbing up and down the various pieces of equipment. And lifting Doug. Up and down. Twenty pounds up and twenty pounds down. The instructor really liked activities in which we had to do this. Doug had an okay time, he didn't get terribly excited or hate it. He was mostly interested in the other babies and their parents. He met his first hippie. Doug was amazed that one boy's father had hair longer than mine. Doug also was really into the perky instructor. I didn't have the heart to tell Doug that she was paid to flirt with him. After it was all over, I was very tired and extremely sore. The physical toll on me wasn't worth the class. The price was also a bit much. Maybe when Doug's a few years older and there's less physical involvement on my part, we can try it again.

Until that time comes, I think we'll try story time at the library. The church nursery is also a nice place for him to socialize, but he's the youngest there by quite a bit. I'd also like to try to find him some play dates, so if you have a baby about Doug's age, I might start harassing you for some play dates. Now, I think it's time for a coke and some tv and not moving for a very long time :)