Toddlers are a handful

It’s not like I expected the Bwun to be calm and quiet all the time, but he’s certainly gotten more lively in the past few months.

We got a hand-me-down bouncer for jr and I took the cover off to wash it. The Bwun has since decided that the frame is one of his toys. Can you blame him?

He also loved when I let him see himself in the camera. With a few new teeth all coming in at once, the Bwun has been sticking his tongue out a lot.

And this is what happens when you're 7 months pregnant and too tired to go check on that rustling noise in the other room, choosing instead to tell your husband that "The cereal was cheap and I'd rather buy another bag than get up right now." The Bwun was mighty pleased with his mess.

Can I just say, I’m a little worn out? How do I handle TWO kids?!

Unacknowledged goal: achieved

In the last 48 hours I’ve had three people tell me that they think of me whenever they see donuts.

I feel like I’ve made a real difference in the world now.


There are two things I really, really want to buy for jr.

First, to play with:

Baby Doughnut Gift Set (interactive rattles and crinkles) from Emmy Cake

Second, to decorate with:

WallFlutter metal dragonflies from UMA

Either would make a great baby gift or Christmas present, I think…

The Secret Life of Bees

by Sue Monk Kidd

{ 2002 | Viking Adult | 320 pgs }

Did you read To Kill a Mockingbird? Everyone did, right? Including the author of The Secret Life of Bees, it seems.

While the plot of Kidd’s book is interesting, I felt like she was trying too hard to write a masterpiece that would equal To Kill a Mockingbird. (I’ll be honest, it’s been about 10 years since I read To Kill a Mockingbird, so my memory is a little fuzzy – I’ve read a lot of books since then – but I’m pretty sure these two books at least fall into the same genre.) It really felt as if the author was simply putting too much effort into making her book noteworthy, and with first-person narration it just didn’t work well. The main character’s words were nowhere near as poetic as I think Kidd wanted; regular people just don’t talk like the character did (especially in the Carolinas in the 1960s*).

It’s possible that part of the reason I was “meh” about The Secret Life of Bees is that the copy I had was a movie-cover edition. Something about having Dakota Fanning on the cover just irritated me.

That being said, I got more involved in the story than I expected. True, I finished the book mainly because I’d already used up my monthly Kindle money and we were in North Carolina at the time, so the only other thing to read in the apartment was the phone book. But I did (at least at times) wonder how conflicts would be resolved or what would happen next. I’m never quite sure which elements are intended as plot twists, since I’m so terrible at predicting what will happen in a book – often things that are lightly (or heavily) foreshadowed escape me and I’m stunned by the sequence of events. To be fair, I am getting a lot better, and maybe that’s why nothing in The Secret Life of Bees came as a surprise. Then again, it could just be that the author did a terrible job of creating unforeseeable plot twists. Who knows?

So…if you’re not me, and you don’t have a very odd self-imposed rule about reading 26 specific books this year, skip The Secret Life of Bees and just re-read To Kill a Mockingbird. That’s my advice.

Dessert is the best thing

…Not counting all the other best things in life. But dessert is pretty great.

S'more Cakelettes from Desserts for Breakfast

Doughnut Muffins from How To: Simplify

Candied-Hazelnut Cupcakes from Martha Stewart

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Cupcakes from Annie's Eats

Pumpkin Nutella Bread from Two Peas and Their Pod

Nutella Cheesecake Brownies from Chocolate Suze

Not for eating: Cupcake knit hat from Hip & Little


(Thanks for pretending to like the stamps. You’re such good readers. And commenters. And pretenders.)

Remember I said we’ve been working on the Bwun’s room? Because we’re having another kid and wanted more room and might have moved upstairs and then didn’t? Ok, let’s talk about that.

This would be a lot easier if either the Romgi or I had thought of taking a “before” picture. Use your imagination. The Bwun’s room is about 11 x 11, and on one wall there was a built-in desk. A poorly-built-in desk, actually. Our landlord has a handyman who’s very nice and kind of old and apparently not so great at carpentry. He designed, built, and installed these desks in both bedrooms in our apartment (and all the other apartments in the duplex…fourplex?). Aside from the distinctly unattractive design of the desks, they’re made of cheap I-just-blanked-on-the-word. The stuff made of compressed sawdust and glue. Seriously, what is that called? Anyone?

…Anyway, the drawers are made of that stuff, and the sides and top were funky wood laminate. The whole thing was nailed into the cement floor. Yes, the rest of the room has carpet but instead of just putting a desk on top of the carpet, our helpful handyman cut away the carpet, nailed down the desk, and glued the desk to the wall.

It’s kind of tricky to get rid of the desk, then.

But the Romgi did it. Because he loves me and I asked (and I am pregnant, which means I get whatever I want within reason – more than one donut a day is apparently not within reason). We may or may not have used the wood to have mini-campfires in our backyard and make s’mores after the Bwun went to bed for about a week.

To go along with the ugly desk, the whole wall in the Bwun’s room had fake wood paneling on it. We decided (it may have been mostly me) that the room would be better without the paneling. So the Romgi tore it down. Of course, that meant he had to put up new drywall, because the paneling was glued to the wall and it didn’t come off nicely. So the Romgi did more repairs (with the help of a friend, and also me. I helped once).

Oh – and the Bwun helped, too.

Here the Bwun is using a plastic beach rake toy to put on drywall mud. His handiwork had to be sanded down several times.

Imagine that you leave on a Saturday morning to go to a baby shower and when you come home, your toddler is putting drywall mud on the wall in his room. At least he had supervision!

When the Romgi finally perfected the wall to his liking, it was time for primer. I was surprised how much bigger the room looked once we got two coats up. (Really, I mean when the Romgi got two coats up. I observed most of the process. Apparently I am so terrible at putting up paint that the Romgi would rather do it all himself than suffer my “help.”)

The rest of the room is done in a gradated blue space theme (pictured below), but quite honestly, it was a lot of work the first time and I don’t think the Romgi was looking forward to doing it all over again on the new wall.

Obviously this was taken before we actually had a child to make a mess in here. I recently replaced the rocking chair with a glider that I'm going to reupholster (no, really) and we painted the drawers on the left to match the walls. Only not gradated. And we might replace them too. But, the important thing here is the wall color(s).

I had mentioned before we started this whole project that it would be fun to paint the inside of the Bwun’s door silver. Like a rocket ship? Or a robot? The Romgi either approved of the idea or really wanted to humor me, so he said we should just paint the wall silver. Home Depot sells a Ralph Lauren silver paint – we learned after several coats that there just isn’t a way to make it even. You can see brush strokes (rather, roller strokes). I thought if we made it look intentional, no one would know…and then I went and wrote a blog about how it was accidental. Genius.

But it turned out well. The Romgi figured out how to make it look like “brushed steel” or something I wasn’t paying attention to, and we finished painting this morning before the Romgi went to school. (Actually “we” this time. I painted the bottom half. Sitting on the floor.) I even got the Romgi to put the outlet cover and light switch plate back on, which means it is a REAL WALL now!

…The Bwun is taking a nap at the moment, which is one reason I haven’t showed you a picture of our awesomeness yet.

The other is that we have to re-paint some of the adjacent wall where the desk used to be, and we have to patch the carpet, install baseboard, and put new trim around the door frame. This we = the Romgi. I plan to go back to my role as an involved observer.

Once that’s done, the Bwun gets his very own Bed. The crib we have converts to a toddler bed, but he loves this Ikea bed that’s about the same price as getting their cheapest crib:

It's called Kritter. Oh, those Swedes.

With any luck we can get this all done before jr arrives.

If you’re interested enough in what I say to still be reading at this point, can I take a minute to tell you how fun it was to wash a load of baby blankets we got and have the dryer lint come out PINK? The Romgi and I are both surprised by how much I’m loving all the pink and ruffles and girly-ness of having a baby girl.

Two months to go!

P.S. I had two donuts today.

Hello again

Things that have been happening recently:

  • We thought we might get to move to the apartment above us, which meant an oven (!) and a dishwasher, among other perks. But it didn’t work out. So we’re redoing part of the Bwun’s room to make way for jr.
  • The Bwun loves to talk and say new words. He also is currently obsessed with airplanes.
  • School started again for the Romgi, and it seems (so far) like he’s enjoying classes this semester. I like that his schedule is a little more open and I get a few extra naps during the week.
  • There’s a house near us that has a really amazing yard, with a garden and a little fish pond. I went on a walk with the Bwun last week and we stopped to see the fish. While we were there, a mangy-looking cat came and started drinking water off the plants. The Bwun and I went on another walk today, past the fish pond, and he kept asking where the cat was.
  • I realized that I don’t actually enjoy doing anything. I mean, aside from spending time with the Romgi and the Bwun. Don’t most people have a hobby (or two)? I’m tired of reading for the moment, so I spent a while harassing the Romgi until he came up with something for me to do. It turns out I do like carving stamps out of soft linoleum. Here are some poor-quality pictures of the old and new stamps I’ve done. Please pretend it’s cool, because I am a little bit having fun.

Old: bird

Old: mouse

Old: crocodile

New: ladybug

New: giant anteater

New: fox

New: owl