Friday, May 3, 2013


Vacuuming and holding a baby? No problem. I can do almost everything one-handed.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Car Seat Strap Cover Hack

Do you ever happen upon an idea so simple and obvious that paradoxically it makes you feel like a genius? That's what this idea was for me. Neither of our car seats came with strap covers. I knew Target sold some monkey ones for $10, but I kept forgetting to buy them when I was at the store. When we went to Pennsylvania for Easter, I noticed the car seat straps left red marks on Will's neck on the long drive. Not wanting him to get more hurt, I was determined to finally get the strap covers before we drove back home.

I searched the Walmart near our hotel for car seat strap covers, but they didn't sell them. In a moment of inspiration, I bought a shoulder belt cover from the automotive section for 99 cents. I borrowed a pair of scissors from my husband's and cut it in half. It is the perfect size for the car seat straps and I saved $9 and it matches my car interior and car seat better than actual car seat strap covers. That's what you call a win win win.

It works for me.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I took these pictures almost exactly one year apart.

Today my baby turns one and (although I fully acknowledge it makes me sound ungrateful considering he is healthy and happy) this makes me incredibly sad. I have loved, LOVED this infant year and I don't want it to end. This has been the best year of my life and I can't help but feel some trepidation going into this next year that some of the magic will have worn off.

I spent most of my adult life certain that I never wanted children; in fact, Chuk and I delayed getting married until he agreed that we would never have kids. And then, one day, I changed my mind. I could have never guessed that becoming a mother, and a stay at home mom at that, would be the most fulfilling rewarding thing I have ever done. But that's the thing about babies I'm learning--they're full of surprises.

Will is still the sweetest, most expressive child I have ever met. He brings joy to everyone he comes across, but especially his dad and me. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude at my luck that I get to be the one to share his days with him.

Happy birthday, Sweetness. I love you with my whole heart.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Cherry Blossoms

 Hands down, the best thing about living in Washington, DC is the cherry blossoms. Every good thing you've ever heard about them is true. Pictures don't do them justice and they certainly can't capture the smell. It's magical.
Even on its worst days, I think Washington is one of the most beautiful cities in the country, but when it's in bloom, it's incomparable.
Last week, we braved the crowds and headed down to the Tidal Basin after Chuk got off of work. It was the peak bloom day and the weather was beautiful: warm and sunny and breezy.
 The blooms were about two weeks later this year than usual, but they were worth the wait.
It's times like these when I feel really lucky to get to live here.
I miss them already. But I suppose their fleeting nature contributes to their magical qualities. 

*  *  *

I took these pictures of the cherry trees on my street. 

These pictures are of the same trees two days later. The blooms come and go so quickly. But even as they're leaving, it is so beautiful. All of the sidewalks are covered in fallen petals. It's the most gorgeous confetti.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Random Monday

1. Have you seen this commercial? Freaking hilarious, especially if you like swearing (as I do).

2. Have you seen WTF Evolution? Nature is so gross/weird. It's a good science lesson for all the eight year olds in your life, or yourself.

3. Speaking of disgusting nature, Florida would be one of the last places on Earth I would live. Here's another reason why.

4. Slate's baby blog is my newest obsession. It validates my theory that children are resilient and can withstand all manners of parenting so we shouldn't sweat the small stuff so often by providing a historical and cross cultural look at babies. I'm trying to get my eleven month old to drink from a cup, meanwhile there's another eleven month old casually chopping open his own coconut with a machete. I cloth diaper, but it's nothing compared to what some other cultures do.

5. I quasi-impulse bought a bike this weekend. (I knew I wanted a bike this spring, but pulled the trigger on the purchase without really planning it out.) It's super cute and I love it. I wish I could afford one of these super cute helmets to go with it.

6. I've started requiring word verification in the comments. I hate to have to do it, but I was getting a crazy amount of spam and no screen time for the baby means no screen time for me until he goes to bed, so I was having a hard time deleting the offending comments in time. I hope you'll still comment anyway.

7. Speaking of the baby, I've decided to start calling him Will on the blog. I want to keep a layer of anonymity here, but I also sort of hate it when people have like a dozen kids and refer to them all as Princess, Peach, Plum, Peanut, Precious, Precocious...(and on and on) on their blogs. It's too hard to keep up with. I think a fake name is just easier.

8. The weather was beautiful this weekend so we took a trip to the farmers' market, had our first cookout of the season, and went to a new playground. Heat, stay away just a bit longer, please.

I'm linking with all the other randomness over at Deb's.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Free Luxuries

Sometimes you need to indulge, but don't have any money to spend try any (or all!) of these ideas.

1) Take a bath. If you don't have a bathtub, take an extra long shower instead.
2) Eat more slowly. Savor each bite.
3) Reread your favorite book.
4) Go for a walk and make an effort to notice the beauty around you.
5) Take a nap.

Monday, April 8, 2013

I Scream, You Scream

We all scream for free ice cream! This is just a public service announcement that tomorrow is free cone day at all Ben and Jerry's scoop shops. I've participated in this event in the past, and there's no catch. Go get some.

(Not a sponsored post.)

Are You Freaking Kidding Me: Look Alike Edition

Photos on the left are of me, photos on the right are my son.

Before I became a mother, I didn't realize how tiresome it is to have everyone in the known universe weigh in on who your child looks like. (I still do it to others, but I'm trying to break the habit. This is a "do as I say, not as I do" kind of situation.)

My son look almost exactly like I did as a baby, but if you're looking at Chuk and I as adults, the baby looks  slightly more like Chuk because they have the same block heads and make similar expressions. (Although the baby really does have my features rather than Chuk's.) Anyway, the reason it's tiresome to hear peoples' opinions on who the baby looks like is mainly because I hear it so often and because it's difficult to respond to. If someone says, "Your baby looks exactly like your husband" it's not like I'm going to say "Thank you". It's not a compliment; it's just their random observation. And I know they don't want to hear my whole spiel about, "Well they have the same head shape and eyebrows, but if you look closely, you'll notice he has my eyes, nose, mouth and ears." I'm socially awkward, but not that awkward.

So while I think that's sort of boring, twice recently I've gotten comments on this subject that have me in a tizzy. In the first instance, our little family was out for a walk and someone walking by in the opposite direction said to us, "Well we know who his daddy is. No mistaking that." Like we were in some drive-by episode of the Jerry Springer show.

On the second occasion, we three were in line at the grocery store and Chuk stepped away for a minute to grab something else and the person behind me in line whispered to me, "You don't have to worry about who that baby's father is. It's definitely him." Um, thanks for sharing the results of your visual paternity test, but next time keep it to yourself. No matter who he resembles, I know who my baby's father is. I'm not a skank, but I appreciate your assumption that I am.

Oh random strangers, you never cease to amaze me with your rudeness.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Ultimate Blog Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2013

If you're visiting from the Ultimate Blog Party, welcome. (If you're not visiting from the Ultimate Blog Party, you're welcome too!) This is my second time participating in the UBP. I was exposed to so many great new blogs the last time I joined that I wouldn't have otherwise come across that I'm excited to be participating again. 

Unintended Housewife is a chronicle of my journey ("journey" sounds so new-age and lame, but I can't think of a better word) from un- and underemployment to stay at home mom. At its heart, this is a lifestyle blog where I write about what's on my mind, my family, the fun things we do, tips I've learned along the way, and what ruffles my feathers

If you'd like to look around a little, I suggest you start with:

Controversial posts about keeping my maiden name and circumcision

I'd love for you to leave a comment so I can visit you too. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Easter Dress Up

Honestly, I just can't help myself. The only thing cuter than my baby is my baby in an animal costume. I bought the little bunny hat while I was pregnant, but that little stinker was so late that he missed Easter last year so I saved it for this year and it was totally worth it. I made the tail out of a loop of packing tape and three cotton balls. He didn't even know it was there. 

I made the carrots too. I loosely followed this tutorial, which is really just a picture of the different steps. One sheet of felt was enough to make the two carrots and I braided embroidery floss for the carrots' stems. One is stuffed with cotton balls and the other is stuffed with uncooked buckwheat, because I thought the different weights and textures would be interesting. He only medium likes them as toys, but I'm going to save them anyway because I'd like to get a play kitchen at some point down the road, and I think they might be more fun then. 

We spent Easter weekend in Pennsylvania with my husband's extended family. The baby got to meet his great grandma for the first time, which was really special for all of us. Even though walking past all the little girl dresses in the store makes my uterus hurt, I love the challenge of dressing up a baby boy.* Seersucker pants and a bow tie did nicely. 

*Has anyone else noticed that the baby girl clothing section is twice as big as the baby boy section? Come on retailers, get it together.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Montessori Inspired Toy

Like most children, my baby isn't particularly interested in toys. He is much more interested in whatever I'm holding--my phone, my computer, a tissue, etc. Because I don't want these things in his mouth, I often have to say no. However, when it comes to keys, I say yes. They're metal so he can't damage them and they can easily be cleaned.

I know they make plastic keys for babies, but I thought it would be better to get him a set of "real" keys because I knew it would be more appealing to my son to have something adult, they could be recycled when my baby outgrew them, and probably wouldn't be any more expensive.

We headed down to the local hardware store and I asked how much blank keys cost. The clever man working behind the counter asked if I wanted them for my baby and when I answered in the affirmative, he offered me a paper bag with half a dozen keys for free. They were miscuts that had been lying around. Because I was so pleased with the service and because I wanted to support this particular local business, I decided to buy a couple of key covers too; the different colors and textures makes for a more interesting toy too, I think.

All I had to do was assemble it all on a key ring and my baby had a new toy for pennies. We've had the keys for a couple of months now and they're still one of his favorite toys. A virtually free practical life toy works for me.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Academy Awards Picks 2013

I've mentioned that I really enjoy trying to see all the Academy Awards best picture nominees each year. I did such an abysmal job last year in seeing movies (darn that terrible pregnancy) that this year I redoubled my efforts and I'm happy to report that I saw all  nine best picture nominees, plus some of the films that were up in other categories. It was a huge time commitment (and is one of the reasons I haven't been blogging lately) but I really love cinema and miss not going as much as I used to. I consider this part of my efforts to cultivate myself outside of motherhood.

In general, I think it has been a great year for movies, for which I am thankful because in the past few years I don't think there's been many great films released. I think both Moonrise Kingdom and The Master should have been nominated for academy awards. And while perfectly fine, I don't think Life of Pi was quite good enough to have been given the Oscar nod. It was average in my opinion. I thought the acting was weak and the special effects looked too fake-y to me. I liked the story (I liked the book too), but overall, it was nothing to write home about.

I also liked Les Miserables and Silver Linings Playbook, but I don't think they were as great as everyone keeps saying they were. I think The Master did a much better, more sophisticated job of dealing with the themes of mental illness and an outsider seeking love than did Silver Linings Playbook, which felt very much like a typical romantic comedy to me.

I wasn't looking forward to seeing either Zero Dark Thirty or Django Unchained because I have a really hard time watching violence (age and motherhood both have seemed to strengthen my aversion) but I loved both movies. I'll admit to closing my eyes during both though. I thought they were both compelling, interesting, well acted films that kept me thinking about them long after the movie had ended. I also really liked that Django Unchained was something different than we've seen before. Everything from the camera work to the music helped propel the story and reinforce this notion of the recreation of the genre of westerns while also being a reinterpretation of historical fiction in general. Hands down, I think Quentin Tarantino should win the Academy Award for best director for Django Unchained, and I think it's a shame that he's not even nominated. What were they thinking?!

I hadn't heard of either Beasts of the Southern Wild or Amour before Academy Award nominations. I'm glad each was nominated otherwise I might have missed these two great films. BOTSW gives such a wonderful sense of place, culture and lifestyle. It is deftly told through a child's perspective, which I think is really hard to pull off, and Quvenzhane Wallis' performance was remarkable for an actress of any age. (In case you're unfamiliar with the movie, she's five years old.) Amour so accurately captured a sliver of the human experience that often goes un-talked about. It's about how an elderly couple copes when the wife has a stroke and the slow and difficult journey towards death. Having watched three of my grandparents' cope with long term, debilitating illnesses before dying, and having provided full time, live-in care to two of them in the months leading up to their deaths, I identified so strongly with this movie. I strongly recommend it to anyone.

Argo and Lincoln are probably the two most talked about, and heavily favored to win, movies in the category, and rightfully so. They are excellent. Argo is exciting, well told, and well acted. I loved the story and the pacing. Lincoln was interesting and moody, by which I mean you really feel the mood of the era and the players in the ratification of the thirteenth amendment. Great films.

Now for my picks! I don't necessarily think these are the movies that will win, but they're the ones that should win. (See the full list of nominees here.)

Best Picture: Zero Dark Thirty
I couldn't get it out of my head. It had so much food for thought, was a great story and well acted. Honorable mentions to both Argo and Django Unchained. I would be happy if either of these won too.

Best Director: Michael Haneke for Amour
But really, it should be Quentin Tarantino, seriously.

Lead Actor: Daniel Day Louis for Lincoln
Honorable mentions to Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) and Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables). In any other year, either of these performances would win the Oscar. All three are transcendent. (Note: I didn't see Denzel Washington's performance in Flight.)

Supporting Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master
Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained was robbed of a nomination in this category. I thought his performance was better than every other person in this category, other than Hoffman.

Lead Actress: Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty
Honorable mentions to Quvenzhane Wallis in Beast of the Southern Wild and Emanuelle Riva in Amour. (I didn't see Naomi Watts' performance in The Impossible.)

Supporting Actress: Amy Adams in The Master
Honorable mention to Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables. (I didn't see Helen Hunt in The Sessions.)

Adapted Screenplay: Argo
Honorable mention: Lincoln

Original Screenplay: Amour
Like best picture and leading actor, this category is full of great nominees and in any other year I think most of them could have won. However, my honorable mention goes to Django Unchained. (Moonrise Kingdom is right up there in my estimation too though.)

Costume Design: Snow White and the Huntsman
I didn't see Anna Karenina or Mirror Mirror and I actively hated the costumes (and hair and makeup) in Les Miserables.

Cinematography: Django Unchained
Honorable mentions to Beast of the Southern Wild and Moonrise Kingdom, neither of which were nominated.

Film Editing: Argo

Visual Effects: Snow White and the Huntsman
Seriously so much better done than Life of Pi. 

What are your picks? Are you going to be watching the awards tonight? I bought popcorn and red vines especially for the occasion.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Pinspired by this, but I can't find the original source.