Saturday, April 28, 2012

Two songs

Unfortunately my car doesn't have an AUX jack where I can plug in my phone or iPod so I'm generally stuck listening to the radio.  Since my commute is less than 5 minutes, or maybe 20 min total if I have to drop off T at preschool, I can't complain about this too much.

But there are two songs on the radio I'm absolutely loving these days.  Sadly it's for their nostalgia factor.  I remember being in college/early 20s and feeling invincible.  Especially after drinking a lot.

Fun's "We Are Young" is such a cool song.  It's actually got a very interesting structure and a different kind of sound, which I like.  If I were more technical about music I could put my finger on what that is, but all I can say with my limited knowledge is that I like it.  And I love the drunken swagger (that everyone else around thinks is people being loud and stupid).  It sounds a tiny bit like a Queen song to me.

And how cool is it that the phone in the video is a Windows phone?!

The second one is similar, and a couple of months older.  It's "Nothing" by The Script, and is about a guy who meets his buddies in the pub, gets really drunk and decides to tell his ex that he still loves her.  Typical pop song content, but the lyrics are a lot more emotional than I expected.  I mean, who hasn't been *that* person who gets the alcohol-fueled courage and makes regrettable phone calls (or visits)?  Not me, of course.

My favorite lyric - "Every drunk step I take leads me to her door." You KNOW that's not going to end well. I just found the videos for these today and neither band looks like I expected! Got any songs you love that you have to share? I'm looking for new stuff to download!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Courage to Dream Your Own Dreams

My friend Ginger left a comment on my Vacation Limit post a few days ago that was very insightful.  The part that resonated with me was this:

I don't like traveling.  It seems obligatory to put it on one's wish list, but I've finally accepted that this is someone else's dream, not mine.

I thought about when I looked at other people's Mondo Beyondo dream lists and noted how surprised I was about how different they all are.  Many (most?) of them included some form of travel, usually to far away destinations.  Some of them including things like *moving* to a developing nation to do charitable work.

And each time I read one of these, I realized I don't want any of those things.  And I felt a little twinge of guilt about that.  I mean, shouldn't I want to see the world?  And clearly I *should* want to help those far less fortunate than myself.  It made me feel selfish.

But seriously, isn't the best time to be selfish when you're coming up with your list of dreams *for yourself*?  I'm not being true to myself if I include things I don't really want to do, just because I think they make me look good when I tell people about them.  And how unsatisfying is that - to work towards something I don't really want?

As women, we're culturally programmed to think of other people all the time.  To forego our own needs (especially mothers). 

I think it takes courage to dream our own dreams, without worrying about what other people think, or feeling obligated to include certain things on our lists.  Go forth and be brave!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Jet Lag and Toddler Sleep

My eyes popped open at 3:22am today, and I spent the next hour in bed trying to go back to sleep with no success.  Hello,  jet lag.  After all, it's noon in Ireland. 

I was confused by this, because I only went to bed at 9:45pm last night.  And I'm a high sleep need person - 9 or 10 hours is that sweet spot for me.  So by all accounts, I should still be asleep.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is when I had my epiphany.  One that the rest of you experienced parents are probably well-acquainted with, and will read this and say "duh, of course!".

Sleep isn't just about the sheer number of hours needed.  This is true for me, and also explains the crazy sleep of toddlers.  (Not to mention jet-lagged toddlers!)  I think there's a point where your body just decides it's time to wake up, and no amount of "trying" to get back to sleep will override that.

T woke up yesterday around 4am, and I listened to her sing and talk on the baby monitor for an hour, hoping she'd go back to sleep.  After all, she only went to bed at 10pm, thanks to a monster nap in the afternoon.  She had only gotten 6 hours of sleep, which is nowhere near the 11-12 hours she usually needs.

But, like my own jet-lagged self who had been up since 3:30am, something told her it was time to wake up.  It wasn't light out yet.  No loud noises woke her.  She hadn't had "enough" sleep.  It was just time.

I haven't looked at the research (too lazy and tired) but vaguely remember there are "internal clock" proteins that determine asleep/awake stuff.  If you have details, I'd love to hear them!

A wise friend told me, when T was very small, that there are a few common power struggles between kids and parents.  One of them is sleep, and as she told me, "you can't make your kid sleep".  I've tried to keep that in mind when we've been frustrated by T's occasional schedule blips. 

I guess I should feel lucky that it took me so long to figure this out.  T has been a surprisingly good sleeper since we brought her home 2.5 years ago, with a few notable regressions.  But it took her a good 2 weeks to get on a schedule when we went to Ireland, and I suspect it'll be the same, or longer to get back to it here.

For now, we're handling it by letting her sleep during the day when she needs to (she's actually TOLD US she needs to go take a nap!) but waking her after 3 hours if needed.  We've been putting her to bed about 5 hours after she gets up from her last nap.  Yesterday she went to sleep around 6:15pm and she's still sleeping now at 5am, so I have high hopes that today will be more "normal".

But man, I am glad that this bout of jet lag is going to save me (a little) from agonizing over her sleep -  "But she should be tired...She only got x hours of sleep last night...Why isn't she napping?!"

One more mama lesson learned.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Now I can get that chai!

We Americans have this cultural thing about not discussing salaries.  I was surprised to hear from a Norwegian friend that what *everyone* makes is actually public knowledge.  Fascinating.

So maybe it's incredibly bad form for me to talk about how much money this blog makes, but I have to think there are people who are curious.  And honestly, it's so little money that *I* should be embarassed about it.

She can't believe I'm telling you this! 
Photo by Kristi Lloyd Photography

I think I love the idea of making money from blogging more than I'm willing to put in the effort to create an actual blog that would bring in real cash.  For one thing, I blog about random stuff.  I just can't focus on one thing and create a specialized niche blog like I'm supposed to.  I also don't have enough time to endlessly tweak for SEO, maintain my own hosted Wordpress, etc.

But I was curious about whether I could make *any* money.  Turns out the answer is yes, which is kind of cool. 

I've had Amazon referral links for a little while, maybe 3 years, but I put them in pretty rarely when I'm discussing a specific book or product. Over that time I've earned a kingly $21 from Amazon in credit, which of course, I promptly used.

This household spends a LOT of money on Amazon. It's so convenient, and since we gave up our Costco membership, we actually use it to buy some things in bulk, like Apple Sauce Cups for T's preschool lunches. (See how I put my link in there? Tricky, right?)

I had Google ads for a while because Blogger makes it so easy.  Unfortunately Google doesn't pay you until your balance reaches $100.  I think I've made about $8 total there.  I'll probably never get to the $100 threshold, which I'm sure they expect, so I don't count this in my total.

Someone on Etsy told me about Project Wonderful ads, which I have on the left sidebar.  It's an auction-based inexpensive marketplace, and is pretty easy to set up.  I've had these since 2008, and have made about $40 from them, which is pretty good.  I suppose I could set my minimum ad price a little higher, but I often have times where the spots aren't filled (because so many people set a $0 minimum) so I think my 1-cent minimum is working out ok.

I also have BlogHer ads, which are my favorite.  They're really nice people to work with.  Some people make real money with them.  I'm not one of them. 

I started with their ads in 2007 and took a hiatus when I wasn't posting for most of 2010 and 2011.  In total during that time, I've probably made about $40 from those ads.  In addition, I've done a few book reviews through their awesome Book Club, for which I got a free book (yay) and $20 each, so by far those have been the most "lucrative".  I'm glad to be reading for pleasure again, and have discovered some pretty fantastic books that way.  The per-hour rate for all that work isn't much though, so clearly this is a labor of love.

So, I've been blogging since 2005 and have made a total of $141, plus some awesome free books.  Not exactly time to quit my real job, huh?  But enough to pay for my domain name and the brief period I spent hosting my own Wordpress instance (disaster).

And, I still have money left over for a couple of Starbucks soy chai lattes!  Sweet.  So, wanna share your lucrative blogging stories?

*Edited 4/23/2012 to add Project Wonderful stats.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Vacation Limit

We have most certainly reached our "vacation limit", that time when we JUST WANT TO GO HOME now, thankyouverymuch.

I'm starting to be annoyed by all those things that seemed charming about being in a different country:
  • The ridiculous number of different Euro coins
  • Lukewarm diet Coke that costs 2 Euros for 200ml
  • Driving on the WRONG side of the road
  • Toilets that sound like 747s taking off when you flush them
  • Traffic roundabouts.  GAH.
I think our limit for a long vacation might be 2 weeks.  This time it was about 2.5 weeks before I really started feeling like I was ready to go home, probably because I was so sick for the first 10 days or so.

Even BabyT says she's ready to go home.  Fortunately our flight is early tomorrow, but we've got a 6 hour (!) layover in Heathrow.  Long enough to drive us crazy, but not enough to do anything interesting.

We hit this limit when we were in Las Vegas after our wedding in 2005.  We had gone for 5 days, and by day 4 we were so done.  We vowed any future trips would be 4 days or less. 

I think we need a new rule for other vacations.  2 weeks sounds good.  If we have more vacation to burn, a week at home would be lovely.  I think I'm just not an adventurous world traveler.  I miss my bed, my dogs, and diet Coke.

What about you?  Got a vacation limit?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Now I'm down in it

Having done this twice now, I maintain that the first trimester of pregnancy is HARD.  First, I wasn't really telling anyone I was pregnant, so I couldn't share what seemed like a HUGE secret.  And there seemed to be unnecessary stress worrying about how to explain to work colleagues, etc why I wasn't drinking at Happy Hour or eating sushi anymore.  (Self-imposed, likely since no one probably noticed or cares.)

But the moods - OH.MY.GOD.  By far that has been the worst.  When I was pregnant with BabyT, I was inexplicably ANGRY for most of my first trimester.  Work was very difficult to get through, as I had a job where I had to interact with a lot of people about a process they didn't want to follow.  Already a tenuous situation, I had to hold it together when I just wanted to tell people to do their f'in jobs, already.

This time, it was different, and worse.  Angry I can deal with, mostly by closing my office door and hiding out so I don't accidentally unleash on someone who doesn't deserve it or who does deserve it, but can negatively impact my career.

Sad Light Switch
by Declan Colohan on Flickr

But no one told me about depression during pregnancy.  I didn't expect to lose all interest in crafting, keeping up on Project Life, hanging out with friends, or doing fun stuff with BabyT. 

I also got super irritable, and that combined with T being 2.5-- YUCK.  I was ridiculously tired as well (gotta love being pregnant) which led to some pretty miserable days. 

I don't doubt that it was the hormones that caused all this, plus the fact that my nausea led me to change my diet pretty drastically, away from Paleo and back to simple starches, because that was all I could tolerate.

Just the thought of going to see someone about it made me want to curl up and go to sleep - another appointment or commitment to deal with?  No thank you. 

It helped a tiny bit to find this Ask Moxie post, and realize I wasn't alone.   And thankfully, around week 10, it lifted.  (Otherwise I would have gone to talk to someone about it.)  What did help was: getting outside for walks and actually remembering to take my fish oil and vitamin D in addition to the regular vomit-inducing prenatal vitamin.

But it was scary how much it just seemed like "that's how life is", rather than a temporary/hormonal thing.  

Now, a few weeks later, it's so clear to me that it was the hormones.  I'm happy again, and interested in doing STUFF.  I don't sleep 12 hours a day, and only nap when I'm sick.  I'm nowhere near as irritable.  Though T being 2.5 is still hard.

So, I guess that's my Public Service Announcement.  It's also a reminder to myself to keep an eye on it over the next year or so.  My fabulous husband was also watching for it during and just after my last pregnancy, and knows to do it again this time. 

It's really hard to see when you're in the middle of it.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

One mama's feminist rant

I don't often blog about the larger issues of racism or sexism in our culture.  I know they're out there, and they just make me angry.  I'm not a "get out and join the cause" kind of person - it's just not a priority for me right now.

But I HATE when I pay money to bring this crap into my house.  It doesn't happen very often. 

The first time was when I bought The Chronic by Dr. Dre on CD back in the 90s.  I knew I was hearing the "clean" versions on the radio, but figured they were just bleeping out the swearing.  Turns out, it was a lot worse than that.  The lyrics were horrible - way more misogynistic than they seemed on the radio, degrading, demeaning, all that.  I was so offended, I had to give it away (and I'm not easily offended!)

It happened again recently, though on a much less offensive scale.  I was stocking up on new books for T for our plane trips to and from Ireland.   I found one called My Plane Trip by Cathy Beylon - it was both a storybook and a coloring book and even better was eligible for Amazon's 4-for-3 promo.

We read it, and T liked it.  It's about a family of four who takes a plane trip and it goes through the details of getting packed, going to the airport, completing the security checks, the flight itself, and getting to the destination.

But upon reading it a few more times, I started noticing things that irritated me.  Mom plays a very minor role here.  You can see her packing, but all the text mentions Dad putting the luggage in the car, Dad drives them to the airport, Dad gets them checked in, Dad consults the monitor for the flight info, Dad stows the baggage,  Dad collects the baggage.  The only thing Mom does in the text is help the baby get ready for a nap.

Of course, both the pilot and co-pilot are male, as are the air traffic controllers. The flight attendants are female.  TJ pointed out that everyone is white, or at least seems to be from the hair, features, and the few color pictures (it's a coloring book).

It irks me a little that both kids in the family are boys - I mean, little girls go on plane trips too  - it would have been nice to make one of the main characters female.  And the author is a woman.  Sigh.

I know this seems minor, but it's something I think about a little harder with a daughter, who has already started telling me that "only men do x", where x is something that can be done by either gender.  It's not like we have 10 books about plane trips and this is just one, so issues like this seem magnified.

Problem is, we can't screen *every* piece of media before buying it - our local bookstores don't have much of a kids' selection so we take our chances with what we order online. 

I spent my entire childhood being essentially "invisible" on TV, books, magazines, etc because there just weren't any Indian-American characters anywhere.  So maybe I'm more sensitive to this kind of thing. 

I just wish there was an easy way to preview these things before dropping cash on them.  Has this happened to you before?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Things I've Learned About Ireland

We're enjoying the Kenmare Druid Circle
I'm vaguely uneasy that we're not having the "ideal vacation", whatever that means. I've *still* got a cough and the second round of antibiotics is making me nauseous so I'm not feeling as enthusiastic as I should.

But part of what I wanted to do is just hang out and "absorb" the culture. So that could be as simple as having lunch at the pub (check!), walking around the city of Cork (check!) or wandering through the grocery store and marveling at the box of "man-sized" Kleenex (check!).

First, things are ridiculously expensive here. Everything is in Euros, which is about $1.30. So I see the price and think "oh, that's not too bad" but then realize I am thinking about it in dollars rather than actually converting it. We spent around $70 on *lunch* the other day, and it was just in a pub.

There is no fountain diet Coke here. All diet Coke appears to come out of a bottle or can (usually 200ml, which is not very much), is really expensive, and is served lukewarm, with a few ice cubes if I request them. And of course, there are no free refills. One could argue that I shouldn't be drinking it anyway, since I'm pregnant, but it still makes me sad.

People are kid-neutral, not friendly or actively unfriendly like many places in the US. But there are a lot of little kids everywhere, including at the tables in the pub.

The roads (and cars!) in the country are really, really small. In some places a two-lane, two-way traffic road is about as wide as a one-way street back home. In a few spots, we actually had to pull over to let the other traffic come our way before we could cross the bridge. You also have to watch for sheep that have wandered onto the road. I'm regularly carsick here and that's rarely been an issue at home.

I think I might be the only brown person in all of Kenmare. OK, that's probably not true since there is a combo Indian/Thai takeout place and a fair number of tourists, but I forgot what it's like to be somewhere with so little diversity. Cork had more people speaking different languages and visual diversity, and I suspect Dublin is very different (we'll find out next week).

The countryside is crazily picturesque. It's like driving through a series of postcards. Lots of mountains, forests, bright green fields, cows, horses, sheep, cute houses here and there. And the other day we drove part of the Ring of Kerry and saw amazing bright blue water on the coast. My photography skills are nowhere near good enough to do this justice.

"Hot" salsa is maybe mild, at best. I had a craving for Mexican-ish food so asked TJ to pick up some tortillas and salsa at the grocery store. Which they had, in Old El Paso brand of all things. He bought the HOT salsa and I was worried, but it turns out I shouldn't have been. It's not even remotely spicy. (And I'm a spice lightweight.)

The BBC thinks children should be in bed by 7pm.  They have a kids-only cable channel that T was settling in to watch yesterday, but they stopped programming at 7pm and told everyone it was time for bed (!).  T's Ireland bedtime is around 9pm, and she's still waking at least once at night.  Sigh.

We have a week left, and are planning a visit to a petting farm, and to Dublin as well as exploring the town of Limerick on our last evening.  And there will probably be more Guinness in pubs.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Crowdsourcing Baby Name Suggestions

I need inspiration and I know you guys have it!  Send me your suggestions for awesome, cool, unusual baby names for Baby X'.  

Vacation Hack: Rent a House

Laura Vanderkam had a good list of money-saving hacks on her blog earlier this week, and asked readers for their suggestions.  Since I'm right smack in the middle of executing one of those hacks right now, I figured it would be a good thing to write about.  Also, I'm still sick (gah!).

We haven't traveled much since we had BabyT because baby+airplane still fills me with fear.  But we have gone on a few trips, and the best advice I can give, is to stay in a place with a kitchen/fridge/microwave.

On the few short US trips we've done, we've stayed in a place similar to the Marriott Residence Inn - something that has a kitchenette where we can store T's soy milk and snacks.  Since she needs to eat more frequently and there are only so many times I can feed her fruit leather or graham crackers on the go, we like to have a spot where we can store fresh fruit, yogurt, lunchmeat, etc. 

If we're going to be staying more than one or two nights, we find a place set up more like a "suite" that has a separate bedroom with a door that can be closed.  This allows us to put her down for naps or bedtime and still have space for the grownups to hang out.  Because we don't really need to go to bed at 7:00pm when we're traveling :)

So it wasn't much different when I was looking for a place to stay in Ireland.   I knew we wanted to stay put in one place for the entire 3 weeks, since we were renting a car to do day trips.  (I underestimated how big Ireland is, and how long it takes to get places on the tiny twisty roads, but that's another post.)

For 3 weeks, I wanted more space for us.  Since T sleeps a lot, I figured we'd be spending a lot of time in the house.  I hadn't even thought about what actually happened with me being REALLY sick.  We've spent the majority of our vacation at home so far and are not ready to poke each other in the eye, which is pretty awesome. 

I poked around on, which is a site where owners of vacation properties list their rentals.  I pretty quickly realized that we didn't want to rent an apartment or condo where we'd have to worry about T being quiet most of the time, so I focused on houses and cottages.

I entered some search criteria to narrow down our list - I wanted Wi-Fi, a washer/dryer in the unit, and kid-friendly (whatever that means, but you can search on it).  The search function's not great, so I had to keep notes offline to track the places I was interested in.

When I narrowed it down to a few, I contacted the owners to find out rates.  Most had posted rates for a few nights or a week, but I figured we might be able to get a better deal for 3 weeks in a row, and we're also traveling before the heavy tourist season starts. 

I was right - most of them offered a pretty significant discount for such a long stay.  Some I eliminated because they were on the high end of what we wanted to pay.  Others I eliminated because they were *too* remote - T's gotta have her soymilk, right?

I was worried about dealing directly with the owner, and having no recourse if we showed up and the place was crappy or non-existent.   VRBO doesn't take any responsibility for this.  So here are the steps I took:

1.  Found a place that was advertised on a few different sites. also has a sister site that does vacation rentals, and I looked at the reviews/description there as well.

2.  Looked at the reviews.  Discarded any options that had no reviews at all.  I know it doesn't mean much, but it gave me a tiny bit of peace of mind.

3.  Did a little creative Googling.  The owner listed his name on the place I was considering, and I found out that he also owns the pub in town (which is excellent by the way!) and several other vacation rentals.  I figured he was less likely to be sketchy than someone who didn't list their name at all, or had only one listing online.  I also found pictures of the property online on several different sites, so it looked like it was real...

4.  Emailed the owner a few times.  I wanted to make sure he'd respond, he'd answer specific questions about the town and property, and that he didn't have a shady vibe.  Again, not fool-proof but made me feel better.

5.  Confirmed payment via credit card. I knew our card would protect us from outright fraud.

I held my breath and booked the place.  I emailed him the week before our trip and was relieved to get a response, and he was ready for us. 

We got here, and it's been FANTASTIC.  The house is 3 bedrooms, with a kitchen larger than our own at home, a great (but tiny) washer/dryer, 2.5 baths, decent Wi-Fi, and cable TV with lots of interesting (European) options. 

Even better, we're paying FAR less per night than we would even for the not-fancy B&Bs in the area, and we're very close to the grocery store, so we stocked up.  We eat most meals at home, which has saved us a ton of cash.  EVERYTHING is expensive here, especially meals out. 

We've done our own laundry (and can leave it in the washer/dryer rather than shlepping to a laundromat) which enabled us to bring less clothing overall.  We've spent a ton of time in the house but don't feel like we're on top of each other, which we would at a B&B or regular hotel room.  T doesn't need to be particularly quiet, which is nice, because it's her vacation too.

We're not *trying* to be super-frugal, but this was one huge area where we could save some money, and it wouldn't cost us in enjoyment of our trip. 

So if you can take the leap of faith to do a vacation rental, it may be worth it.  There are probably agencies you can work with to reduce the risk factor a bit, too.  I've heard there are lots of people selling timeshare weeks at vacation condos online as well, so if you're going to a popular destination, that may be a good way to get a deal.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to make myself a nice cup of tea.  Cheers!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Baby Names We Won't Be Using

One of the more pleasant things about pregnancy is daydreaming about what to name the offspring.  I recently discovered Swistle's Baby Names blog, and though many of the names are not my style, I still love reading through it.  However, my always-practical husband refuses to engage in any serious name discussions until we find out the sex, which is still a good 6 weeks away.  So I'm on my own here.

But I can safely share with you a handful of names I love, but we sadly won't be using.

1. Xavier - I've loved this one for a long time. As an added bonus, there's a university called Xavier which means instant personalized clothes!  But TJ strongly dislikes it.  I'll never get him to come around. 

2. Felix -  Yeah, I've got a thing for names with an 'x'.  TJ is meh about this one too, and since our last name starts with a hard 'C' sound, this one doesn't work too well anyway.  Sad.

3. Evangeline - I'm pretty sure I heard this one even before Lost, but it's got way too much of a Christian religious vibe for us to ever use it.  Which is sad, because it just sounds so lovely to me.

4. Brinjal - OK, this one really isn't a name, and anyone Indian is probably giggling at me.  It's the Hindi word for "eggplant" so it's probably not a good choice for a name.  But it sounds to me like a thousand tiny bells.  (I know, I'm nuts.  But I love the way some words sound!)

5.  Maya.  See also Asha and Anjali.  When I was pregnant with BabyT I had high hopes of finding a really cool "crossover name" - one that was both Indian and American, that was easily pronounced and spelled.  All of these fit the bill.  And nearly every Indian family in the US has figured that out too.  Besides knowing people my age with these names, I can also come up with about 7 little kids (and a dog!) with the same ones.  So they're out.

I'm hoping for similar inspiration this time as we got last time with BabyT.  I'd prefer something NOT in the Social Security Top 1000 list (ever), but also don't want something totally made up or spelled uniquely for its own sake.  A tall order, I know.  But we have 6 months, so I'm not worried.

What about you?  Got any discard names to share?  :)

Friday, April 06, 2012

Releasing expectations

I am really lucky that TJ and I have similar vacation styles, because he would be thoroughly fed up with me by now.  It's Friday (Happy Good Friday!) and I'm STILL sick.  As of last night I still had a fever, puked again, and went to bed at 7:30pm and slept (sort of) until 10 this morning.  I'm the worst vacation buddy ever.

Even worse because he's had to pick up 90% of the kid duties, including adjusting to T's new schedule which seems to be:
  • Nap normally (1.5-3 hours around 1pm)
  • Go to bed between 8-9pm (so far, so good)
  • Sleep exactly 4 hours then awake and ready to rock
  • Go back to sleep between 2-3am and sleep until 10:30am (this we can live with)
We've tried waking her up from naps if they're longer than 3 hours, putting her to bed earlier, putting her to bed later, and they all result in her waking up exactly 4-5 hours after we put her down.  It doesn't really correlate with the time back in Seattle and she's getting the same *amount* of sleep.  Sigh.

On the bright side, she decided all by herself that she wants to sleep in the Big Girl Bed instead of the port-a-crib.  So the first night she just switched and (fingers crossed!) hasn't fallen out yet.  She agreed at home that she would give her crib to The Baby in Mama's Belly, so that may be easier than I thought.

We did venture out for a bit yesterday, because I couldn't stand it anymore.  We drove up to Killarney, the next big town, about 30 km away (see how I deal in kilometers now!).  That may have been a mistake because the drive is on a steep, narrow, winding road that would have been fantastic on a motorcycle but in a compact car was a bit nauseating. 

We got to the town and couldn't find the cathedral we were looking for but wandered around and stopped in a pub for a bit, where I heard the original version of Over the Hills and Far Away by Gary Moore, which totally made my day.  It's the little things.

The landscape here isn't as green as I expected; in fact, the road to Killarney (good old vomitous N71) is surrounded by scrub and mountains that looks remarkably like Southern Arizona, minus the cacti.  We saw a LOT of sheep, this time with hot pink stripes, so we dubbed them Fashion Model Punk Rock Sheep.  Sometimes they escape through holes in the fence and wander across the road, but TJ wouldn't let me get out and hug a baby lamb.  (Probably just as well.)

I've taken less than 10 photos on this trip (aagh!) and really hope to get it together in the next couple of days.  Please send virus-fighting thoughts!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Looking for a few good apps?

I've been meaning to post about appSmitten for a while.  It's a brilliant idea, really.  It's a daily or weekly curated newsletter about phone/tablet apps in categories you're interested in.  You choose whether you want iPhone, iPad or Android recommendations.  They have a separate newsletter focusing on kids' apps.

Every parenting email list I'm on has had a query about what apps are good for kids.  People cobble together what's worked for them, but it's hard to just "discover" these apps in the app stores, because there are *so many* bad ones.  And who wants to pay for something that sucks?!

I'm digging the appSmitten newsletter because it's led me to a few kids' apps I know T will like and other interesting apps I would never have found on my own.  TJ has an Android tablet and we both have Android phones so I'm especially happy it only shows me what's available for our platform.

The newsletter is short and sweet and easy to read.  Give it a try

This post is sponsored by BlogHer, but the endorsement is totally my own.  I don't lie about stuff I like.

Ill on holiday

Townhouses we're staying in

See how I used words in the title I wouldn't normally use?  Yeah, that's because I'm in Ireland :)  I have to get my "local flavor" somehow because I've been essentially trapped in the house for 2 days with a second showing of last week's cough, now starring Fever and Vomiting.  Sigh.

I went to the doctor today and it was actually quite a pleasant experience.  I had no appointment but they said they could squeeze me in, and I waited about 30 minutes, during which the receptionist *and* the doctor apologized 3 times for how long I had to wait.  When does that *ever* happen at home?!

I went downstairs to pick up my prescription at McSweeney's Pharmacy (sadly, not called a "Chemist") and they filled it immediately. And it cost $7.  Crazy.  No wandering around the store for 40 minutes while hoping it might be done soon.  I'm talking about you Target and Bartell's Pharmacy...

TJ and BabyT took a drive yesterday to see a stone circle and some sheep, which T is still talking about.  She says the sheep she saw were "black and white and purple" and "there was a baby sheep who got lost and his dad had to call him back".  I took another nap while they were out.

We did visit a pub on Monday for a late lunch and TJ got his pint of Guinness.  It is AMAZING how much better it tastes here.  (And no it's not just psychological - it's actually different - very smooth and almost sweet...)  It's probably a good thing I can't drink now.

I'm hoping the antibiotics kick in soon (and actually help!).  I'm ready to start my vacation outside of our rental house!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Every gambler knows the secret to surviving

After 24-ish grueling hours, we are settled into our rental house in Kenmare Ireland.  A small and tired woot to that.  Also, it's 9:30pm Seattle time and 5:30am Ireland time and BabyT and I have been awake for  about an hour and a half now.  I'm not sure this is even jet lag.  It's just confusion.

The flight from Seattle to London was not as horrible as it could have been, though my best case scenario of "it's at T's bedtime, so she'll probably sleep through most of it" did not materialize.  She could not get comfortable in her car seat, and only slept maybe 90 minutes total.  Which meant she was a MESS by the time we landed in Heathrow, though to her credit, she seemed to understand that people around her did not want to hear crying and could she please use her words.

And TJ wisely did NOT tell me that the guy in front of him (who reclined his seat right into TJ's lap as soon as we took off) complained to the flight attendant about us.  I would have unleashed the Whoop Ass on him because T was not any more disruptive than that guy's teenage kid who kept coughing and left his TV screen on super-bright in the completely dark cabin.

Fortunately for us, there were other unhappy babies and toddlers on the flight so we weren't "those people" by any stretch of the imagination.  In the end, T watched HOURS of the in flight TV, which was some sort of odd British Teletubbies-like show.  I'm fully ok with that since it kept her (mostly) occupied.

We are not planning to attempt any flights to say, Australia, anytime soon.  That might have been the longest 9 hours of my recent life.

T fell asleep at Heathrow about 30 min before we had to board our flight to Shannon Ireland.  Aer Lingus informed us we could not bring her car seat on board, which made me NOT happy but we were too tired to argue.  They claimed the plane was "too small" when in fact, it's a freakin' Airbus A320.  On which we've installed that seat several times.  Sigh.

The Shannon airport is pretty tiny so we thankfully got out of there quickly, and the only downside was finding out that the online rental car insurance we paid for is not accepted here, and we had to pay for insurance at 24 Euros per day (!!!).  Which I think costs more than the actual car rental.

T slept during the entire 2.5 hour drive, while TJ reminded himself to stay on the left and I tried to navigate the baffling series of roundabouts using only the rental car map.

But we made it.

And we're in Ireland!

Which looks kind of like Seattle, with less cars and people and more sheep and cows.

I'm digging it already.

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