Will be scarce for a while

I’ve got so much to do in the next few weeks that I doubt I’ll be blogging (or visiting many blogs – sniff, sniff) for a little while. Between Ava turning one on June 22, getting everything ready for her birthday party on July 2, my sister returning from India on June 27, my parents getting into town on June 30, and working on some other projects that I’ll have to write about at another time, I am going to be up to my ears in it.

I’ll try to check in here and there, but I can’t make any promises. Of course, if the writing bug bites me, I may be back sooner. I have so many things I’d like to write about lately (especially a follow-up to “The View” nurse-in and all the wonderful [and some negative] press breastfeeding is getting as a result), but that will have to wait.

Hope all the daddies out there have a great Father’s Day!

Oh, and guess what happened today!! Ava took her first steps! We were at a friend’s house and she took two steps into my arms. I just about melted. Hopefully she’ll do it again soon as a Father’s Day present to Jody. ;)

My husband, the philanthropist

Despite the fact that I have a sign on our screen door that says “No Solicitors,” some brave (or illiterate) soul came a-knocking tonight and managed to get my husband to commit to donating $10 a month to a “worthy” cause. (It would’ve been $25 a month, but I told him absolutely not. I actually said something along the lines of “You can give him $25 total, but not $25 a month.” You can see where that got me.)

I don’t have a problem with supporting worthy causes, in fact, I’d be all for it – IF and ONLY IF we had the money to spare. We are hard-pressed enough living on one income, owning only one car and trying to pay off debt. There are so many causes I’d love to support, but I tell myself that someday (when I’m better off), I will do so. Right now, however, we need to take care of our family.

So what is this worthy cause you ask? It’s a good one, I admit it. The group is called “Environment Colorado.” They’re currently lobbying against the oil companies who want to do clear-cutting of trees so they can drill for oil. Definitely a worthy cause. I certainly don’t want to see our forests depleted. But can our family afford to save the trees? I don’t know.

Maybe I’m over-reacting. It is, as my husband says, “ONLY $10 a month.” Perhaps that isn’t more than we can afford. Maybe I can just have him cut back on his lunches out a couple times a month to pay for it. (He rarely eats his lunch out, but on the days we don’t have leftovers ready to take, it does occasionally happen.) ;) Yes, I think that should cover it nicely.

Fastest shower in the West

Long gone are the days where I could put Ava in her bouncy seat to play happily in the bathroom with me while I took a leisurely shower.

These days I am lucky if I get 30 seconds alone before she tears open the curtain in hot pursuit of me.

See, I put her in our bedroom on the floor, complete with some toys to entertain her (thinking this will buy me some time – ha!), and I make a mad dash to the bathroom (which is connected), stripping off my clothes as I go. I throw the water on and jump in (it doesn’t even have a chance to warm up, but I think that helps me move all the faster). I generally have just enough time to wet my hair before I see the curtain rustling and then her little face peering in at me.

And so my showers (at least during weekdays) are very short and to the point. No time to relax and let the water massage my back. No time to shave my legs (hey, it goes with my whole hippie image anyway, LOL, j/k). I’m lucky to get my hair shampooed, my body soaped up and my pits shaved.

Thank God for the person who invented leave-in conditioner. One less thing I need to do while in the shower. ;)

Good things come to those who piss and moan

Just when I resigned myself to the fact that my neighbors would be living next door to us for the summer, Jody (my husband) says to me this morning while looking out the front door, “There’s a moving truck next door.”

I thought he was pulling my leg. So I took a gander out the window, and sure enough, there it was!

Not wanting to get our hopes up and assume they were actually moving, we thought of other scenarios where they might require a moving truck. Other than selling off the girl gang and their belongings to gypsies, we couldn’t come up with anything that made much sense.

Could it be? Could they actually be moving??

As we were leaving our fortress of solitude to run errands this afternoon, we ran into the mom out front. We asked what was up and she informed us that they were in fact moving. I quickly asked about the status of the house – was it still up for sale? (I.e. Would we have peace and quiet for a few months?) Would they be renting it? (Lots of homes in our neighborhood seem to be becoming rental property lately. The house on the other side of us is. That has it’s good points and bad points, but that’s a story for another day.) She said it had sold and they were closing on it on Wednesday. That struck me as odd since they never put up a “sold” sign (and I figured that was required so the Realtor would get credit, etc.), but I will take it! :) They sold it to a single mom who’s a teacher in our local school district. Current neighbor mom says she’s really nice and she’ll bring her by and introduce her this week if I’m around.

It’s amazing how friendly I became towards her once I found out they would only be in our lives for a few more days. I nearly volunteered to go over and help her pack boxes. Nearly, I said. ;)

So now I can heave a sigh of relief knowing we won’t have to worry about the girl gang running down our party-goers or giving our guests any exciting trampoline performances. (Though that would have made for free entertainment.)

Ahhh, sweet victory. :)

Birthday party planning for dummies

Who knew planning a first birthday party could be so involved? And I’m not even throwing a big party! :oP

There are invitations and envelopes to think of, address labels, decorations, coordinating plates, napkins and cups. Then there’s the menu. What to serve? How much food to get/make? What will everyone drink? And then comes the really important part – the cake! Do I tempt fate and make it myself or relax and just buy one? Never being one to take the easy way out, I think I’m going to throw caution to the wind and make it myself. Since we’re having Ava’s party a week and a half after her actual birthday, I figure I can do a test-run for her birthday. If it turns out horribly on her birthday (she’ll never know), then Baskin Robbins will be getting a call for the party. ;)

With all the planning and details involved, perhaps there should be a new book in the “For Dummies” series – “Throwing a First Birthday Party For Dummies.”

Anyway, since we like to call Ava our “strawberry” (Jody wanted that to be her middle name, but I held power of veto and it’s Elizabeth), I’ve decided to do a strawberry theme for her birthday. Not Strawberry Shortcake, mind you. Just strawberries. :) Surprisingly enough (at least to me), there’s not much out there in the way of strawberry-themed party supplies. Watermelon seems to be big this year, as is Dora the Explorer and Hawaiian luau stuff, but strawberries? Not so much.

I think I’m going to get some heart-shaped cake tins (hopefully a big one and a small one) to make into a strawberry cake. It will take a little creativity, but that’s why I’m doing the dry-run a week ahead of time. ;)

I designed the invitations myself (with a little help from Jody) and I’m pleased with how they’ve turned out. Though they haven’t actually been printed just yet. But barring any natural disasters, I hope to have them printed tomorrow and in the mail by this weekend cuz time’s a runnin’ out.

Oh, I can’t forget the “entertainment.” A friend of Jody’s bought one of those big blow-up bouncy castles which we hope to borrow for the day. Most of the kids at the party will be too young to fully appreciate it, but hopefully a few (if not their parents!) will have some fun in it. I don’t really feel that having entertainment is crucial, but since we have access to it, why not?

Another thing that concerns me about the day is Ava’s nap. She’s been incredibly unreliable in her napping the past week or so. I think she’s trying to transition from two naps per day to one and it’s throwing me for a major loop. How can I schedule a party time if I don’t know when the guest of honor will be snoozing?

And what is the girl going to wear? I haven’t found the perfect outfit yet. Ideally, I’d like it to have strawberries on it, but again here in clothes just like in decorations, lots of watermelon out there, not so many strawberries.

Lastly, our backyard still needs some work. We laid sod back there over a month ago and that looks great, but we didn’t do the entire yard because we had plans to put in a small deck. Now we are thinking the deck idea needs to go on hold (due to lack of funding), so we’ve got a dirt/rocky area that is in desperate need of some landscaping. Is three weeks enough time to get something growing back there? ;)

But all of this party and landscaping hub-bub aside, the reality is my baby girl will be 1 in less than 2 weeks. For nine months, I carried her in my womb. And for the last 12 months, I’ve held her close to my heart (both literally and figuratively). She’s becoming a little girl, complete with curiosity, intelligence, a sense of humor, fiestiness, determination, and of course, incredible cuteness. I feel incredibly blessed and so thankful to have her in my life. Happy birthday my strawberry! :)