Thursday, December 27, 2007

Rocky Mountain High

Christmas morning we awoke to 60 degree weather, leisurely present opening and a quick and yummy lunch out in Germantown to meet baby Blake. A few hours later found us trudging up the mountain to Keystone, eight inches of snow on the ground and the temperature gauge claiming it was 6 degrees outside. Now that's just silly cold. After some delays and brief but nerve wracking car trouble on the side of the road, we made it to the house and scarfed down some chips for our Christmas dinner. And can I just say - traveling via airport on Christmas Day? I'd like to do it every year. No lines, good moods, a happy baby - I think we may have started a new Sweazy tradition. It's been a whole lot of nothing ever since, what we do best in the mountains. The LA crew arrives tomorrow, so we're enjoying a 1st 48 marathon, crossword puzzles, trying to stay out of that 6 degree cold and yeah, more of that nothing.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Weekly wrap up

The Sweazys have been laid-up with a collecive cold, so not much blogging, more on the resting, last minute Christmas dash side. Because she's sniffly, Harlow has needed to eat. A lot. At 3 AM she was howling for attention, so Caleb stumbled out of bed to get her and while I blearily rolled over and got the boob ready. He laid her down beside me in the dark, and in the quiet, came this tiny little voice.


Truly a sweeter sound was never heard. Especially at 3 AM.

And sweet she has been. We now have a clapping, pre-crawling, scooting, picking up the yuckiest thing on the floor she can find generally happy baby.

Unless she is being spoonfed. Miss Independent now only wants to feed herself, so it's down with the pureed food in the spoon, hello fake banana-like cereal. This new phase has resulted in her not eating as much during the day - there's only so much those tiny fingers can grab - so it's no coincidence why I've become the 24 hr. drive thru. And then I had the flash of brilliance. Monkey See Monkey Do, right?

I got me a baby food jar and a spoon and the next 60 seconds was me going to town on air plums and bananas. This pretend glop of food was nirvana in a jar, manna from heaven. This was almost exactly like my eating air hamburgers in the bathroom of my elementary school, except then I didn't have a motive for acting like a nutter. Harlow was intrigued and tentatively took a bite. I kid you not - 2 minutes later that jar was empty. I did a victory lap around the dining room, and for a very special treat, was only awakened once in the night.

Has hasn't happened since, but I then, I can't get all spoiled, right?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My Gift To You

It is said that the feelings and emotions and one's general state of being is imparted into the food one is cooking. If that is true, you might actually taste some F bombs, some third degree burns and generally pissiness when biting into a piece of my homemade Great Aunt Hilda's peanut brittle. The women on my mom's side of the family have been making peanut brittle for generations. Christmas for me has always been associated with my mother stirring away, apron on, Amy Grant and Karen Carpenter on the soundtrack and Frank Capra getting a tight shot of the steaming, peanuty goodness emanating from the large pot on the stove. So it made perfect sense that I would carry on this tradition. In high school chemistry my lab partner and I made the best brittle of the class. It was now scientifically proven. Brittle making was in my genes.

My tradition of peanut brittle making played out like this. A closet-sized Los Angeles kitchen, JT on the CD player, candy thermometers encased in 300 degree brittle goo over an electric stove, said burning goo eating through my skin, cat hair, migraines, frantic phone calls and a pan of yummy smelly peanut not so brittle for my efforts. Each time my sympathetic roommate would just shake her head, suggest this be the year I give gift cards and point out the fire extinguisher under the sink. I absolutely suck at making peanut brittle and tend to make most everyone around me miserable in the process, but yet I persevere, year after year. Why? Because it is my birthright. Because it makes for a very cool gift. And because every year I make one absolutely perfect batch that compels me to return to the Schnucks for more corn syrup and replacement candy thermometers.

Now that we live in an actual house with a Barbie dream kitchen, I thought that maybe my troubles had been equipment-related. Not so much. My first batch of the season could rip the enamel off of your teeth. Then there was the burnt batch. The one that you could roll into brittle balls and maim an intruder with. And then there was the perfect batch, the golden caramel hue, the perfect harmony of crispness with buttery peanut crunch. Biting into a piece, I spied Harlow watching me from her neglectomatic. I have yet to see whether she will inherit the curly hair, the penchant for melodramatics and dreaminess, the mongloid hands. But I can say with certainty there will be a day that she will stand beside me at the stove, listening to me curse at volcanically hot goo while stirring in baking soda like a madwoman. She will glimpse her future and I hope she will choose the gift cards.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

White Christmas

I don't know about your weekend, but ours contained Christmas, a nasty cold, America'sMost Smartest Model and snow. With Caleb's nephews needing to be home in Chicago on Christmas Day ( the roadtripping could prove most perplexing to Santa), we had our family Christmas a couple of weeks early, converging in So. Ill for a weekend of baked goods, catching up and general dotage on that sweet baby. Harlow scored a new wardrobe and now officially owns more clothing from H&M than her mother. I scored a miserable cold that kept me quarantined in our rental cabin with reruns of The Hills and FBI Files (how's that for a combo) to keep me company. After a particularly rough night - me with the mouth breathing and she with the general inconsolable shrieking - Harlow woke up fresh faced and angelic only to quickly morph into snotty, sneezy crankster. So Caleb now has two demanding, phleghmy babies to deal with. The unexpected gift was that we woke up to a world blanketed in snow. We're not talking anything impressive by Chicago standards, but it was enough that it covered my boots and would most definitely spook the Shelby County school system. We made a quick trip so Harlow could meet her great grandmother for the first time, and as we headed back south towards home, the sun burned brighter, the snow melted into memory and we desperately searched for a Christmas song that did not contain the words "baby," "please come home" or Miss Amy Grant singing them.

Friday, December 14, 2007

So Illin

We're minutes away from packing up the car and hittting the road for an early Sweazy Christmas in So. Ill. My throat feels like it was raped by a cactus and the house has barely recovered from the Martha Stewart explosion of brittle making, peppermint patty concocting and gift wrapping that's been occuring into the wee hours the past couple of nights. But that's not why I am here.

Although the packaging for the brittle and patties are to DIE for but anyway -

We have a toof. Two actually. The bastards finally decided to show themselves. Well, honestly you can't really see them yet but man you can feel them. I'm sure my nipples will have the honor of doing so shortly.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I don't know if it's the meds or the extremely creepy 80 degree, muggy December, but I can barely motivate to get off the couch let alone address the bazillion chores, tasks and Things to Do that need to be done before years' end. 8:30 rolls around and I can barely be bothered to undress before collapsing in bed. I basically gave myself permission not to write this month, and while my creative spark is still alive (mom and I are making hand puppets and the holiday baking is in full swing), it suddenly feels very important that I watch Dirty Dancing on cable or take a bath instead of being productive when Harlow goes to sleep. Oh, but it must be said that Harlow watched Dirty Dancing with me. I believe that's the second time this year. She thinks Johnny Castle is dreamy.

You know what else she thinks is dreamy? Guacamole. She has started to master the fabled pincer grasp (her technique is reminiscent of my attempts to grab the plush toy with the metal claw) She'd much rather feed herself bits of puffed cereal than be spoonfed gloppy carrots, but as her success rate of food to mouth is about 8 to 1, she's not really eating a lot. So we made the mistake of taking her to the Beauty Shop for dinner and declaring - out loud - what an awesome baby she was. About 5 minutes later she was producing this whine/shriek that could only be silenced if guacamole was in her mouth. So we shoveled it in, and I alternated between pride that my girl was chowing down on the guac and being genuinely pissed off that she was eating more of it than me.

I don't know why I'm continually surprised by her changes. She's chattier than ever at home, but get her around a group of people and Harlow becomes Garbo, silent, moody, Swedish. It's all the more jarring watching her interact with Avery who could leave an auctioneer breathless.

Oh - she had her first piece of bread today. No big reaction, no angels chorus, but I'm writing this down for posterity's sake anyway. I've neglected to catalogue that she also had her first receipt, wad of cat hair and cardboard. I'm not sure which she enjoyed most.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Dancing Fool

We might not have an exactly mobile baby. She's not crawling, but that's not stopping her from getting to where she needs to go. She just stops, drops and rolls and rolls and rolls her way across the room. When she's strapped into her highchair, she can't roll her way to freedom, but she's found a solution. The girl likes to boogie. When the music starts - and we're talking hand claps to rattle shakin to white man's blues - she doesn't care. The's girl's gotta move. And no shocker here. She's got rhythm.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Let me tell you how much sleep I got last night.

I am drunk with it. I am groggy and stiff and mussed and out of sorts because I slept from 11 to 5:30 with no interruptions. And then I slept some more from 5:45 to 7:30.

If I didn't feel so weird I'd be giddy. And then there is the explanation of why I got so much sleep.

Because Caleb didn't. Harlow had a really weird day yesterday, the kind we always chalk up to teething. Her naps were practically non-exist and she refused most solids and was generally just kind of cranky. After she went down at her usual 8, she woke up at 10 PM, tired and hungry, so I fed her and she went back down. Or so I thought. She talked to herself.

For the next 3 hours.

We listened to her chat until 11:00 when I thought she had fallen asleep. So I did the same. Turns out she was just getting started.

I don't know what was so important that needed hashing out until almost 1 AM, but Caleb hung out with her in the guest bed where he was punched, kicked and gabbed to death until the wee hours. This morning he's surprisingly chipper. I'm deeply grateful.

And Harlow? She's still asleep.