August 28, 2012

Cloth Diaper Quitter (You Heard Me)

I realized something last week, and it's groundbreaking.

Liberating, even.

I don't have to keep on using cloth diapers.

I can quit, if I want to.


I really, really want to.


To cloth diaper Oscar and Lucy on our (many) trips to Pennsylvania is an exercise in martyrdom that I'm not willing to continue. To demand the use of my mother-in-law's washer, dryer, water, and electricity feels inconsiderate. To lug a bag full of dirty diapers around in the van when I don't have to seems excessive. To rinse diapers at Jeff and Amy's house is a waste of the all too rare time that we get to spend with them and their girlies.

So: disposables when we travel.

And when they're being watched by someone else? It's hard enough to watch three kids when you're used to watching none, let alone figuring out the folding, inserting, wiping, rinsing hullabaloo that is cloth diapering for the uninitiated. My mom switched to disposable diapers when I was born because she could. She cloth diapered my older brother, and doesn't want to cloth diaper my kids. Demanding that she follow my system when all she wants to do is enjoy my kids feels rude and ungrateful.

So: disposables when they're babysat.

That leaves the rest of the time, which - frankly - is most of the time. When I take into account the increase in electricity use, the higher than expected cost of the diaper stuff that we bought, our ability to sell said stuff, and the fact that we both really, really hate rinsing poop off of things, we're not saving enough money for it to make a noticeable difference to our bottom line.

I remember looking at the number we so painstakingly arrived at last April when we first calculated the comparative costs of cloth vs. disposables, and being surprised it wasn't more. I was surprised again when I looked at the numbers over the last year to write the post for A Week Of Cloth Diapers (which, incidentally, made me never want to talk or think about cloth diapers again, and yet here we are).

When we switched to cloth diapers, it was to save money. When I went back to work full time, got pregnant with Lucy, and got tired of rinsing and washing daycare diapers every night, it was to stay sane (and stop barfing). When I had Lucy, and it was back to all cloth, all the time - except at night, because baby origami isn't one of my many skillz - it was to continue saving money.

Then I went on a diaper vacation, which brings me right back to the beginning of this post. The relief I felt at the thought of  opening, wiping, changing, and that's all was surprising. It made me realize that whatever enthusiasm I had for cloth diapering has dissolved to the point where it no longer outweighs the prospect of saving another $400 over the next two and a half years (less the disposables we'd buy for traveling and babysitting).

I don't want to cloth diaper anymore, and I don't have to. So as of today, I won't.

The end.

August 27, 2012

I'm (Not) Ready For Some Football

I'm drafting my Fantasy Football team right now (and by "right now", I mean last night at 9:30, aka "past my bed time"), and I'm not ready.

For one thing, I haven't done any research. At all. Is there still such a thing as the NFL? That's how little research I've done. For all I know, professional football could have been replaced by amateur poodle tossing, which would make for a MUCH more interesting draft day, let me tell you.

Of course, last year I did all sorts of research, since I had lots of time at work to read about football work. How did I do after all that research? Let's just say that I'm glad I took this screenshot when I did.

For another thing, I can barely keep up with the laundry, let alone my roster. This year's strategy: only use players whose names would also suit poodles.

Let's see how that goes...

August 25, 2012

Lannis: Day in the Life Revisited

Uh... for the record, this post is less because I think everyone’s interested in how I fill my hours, and more because I couldn’t come up with a topic for this week. Cool? Cool. Heh.

7:13am - Wake up to Mr Lannis creeping into the bedroom for a sweater (he’s going snorkeling today at White’s Falls). Tell him to take my cell. Lay in bed as long as possible afterwards.

7:32 - Roll out of bed. Hit bathroom. Wash face, brush teeth, get dressed. Make bed, open blinds and windows of bedroom. Sunny day means one thing: laundry.

7:45 - Collect laundry. Sort.

7:50 - R (6.5 y/o) is up. Send him upstairs for his dirty laundry. Follow, realizing he can’t reach clothes for school (yes, school) today. Sneak into L’s room while he’s sleeping to collect laundry.

7:56 - Put on water for tea (less than the last DitL post, I promise). Put on laundry.

8 am - Pack R’s lunch for school with his help; begin steeping tea. Turn on laptop.

8:10 - Unload clean dishwasher, fill with dirty dishes. Clean slight kitchen mess those pesky night fairies have left behind.

8:12 - R has discovered our jerky Hamster has tipped over his food dish (first time ever). He thinks it’s funny. I think it’s assholey (yes, it’s a verb.)

8:15 - Copy kindergarten schedule (every other day, some Fridays) onto the calendar. L arrives in the kitchen. Promptly reminds me: no food.

8:17 - Put out cereal bowls for boys, make juice from concentrate.

8:20 - Make tea. Grab banana for breakfast. Eat. Start grocery list. Open email, log onto Facebook. Start this file.

8:47 - Referee boys (STOP MAKING YOUR BROTHER CRAZY!). Thank God one is going to school today. Hang laundry on line. Start second load.

9am - Let cats outside (yes, Asmodean has already snuck into being an outdoor kitty — only the backyard for now). Harvest a pair of underwire from cute-but-uncomfortable nightie, now making it a cute-AND-comfortable nightie, and put wire aside for future costuming.

9:02 - Freak out that it’s 9:02am, and then remember that no, now school doesn’t start until 9:30 so no, we’re not late. Transfer kindergarten calendar to iCal (because the hard copy in the cupboard is really just for Mr Lannis’ sake).

9:15 - Freak out that it’s 9:15am, and realize I’m still in yoga pants. Rush kids through getting shoes on, and change into jeans, then take kids to school.

9:30 - 9:50: Chat on schoolyard with other parents; admire new baby; drop friend off at her house.

9:50 - 10:45: Take 5 year old grocery shopping; go to butcher and put in order for pickup tomorrow — bring home pork chops for tonight’s dinner; head home, unload van and put groceries away. Update this list.

11am - Gather energy (read: start fresh pot of tea) and gear up to clean upstairs. Put foot down with 5-year-old: (Yes, the radio is ON and will stay ON. Mom’s vote counts more than yours, because she has to do chores and you get to play. Too bad.) Feel like a heel as he starts to cry (lately using tears as melodramatic leverage). Put foot down again. Realize he’s not wearing socks and send him upstairs. He tells me he’s also not wearing underwear. Lovely.

11:02 - Remember second load of laundry in washer waiting to be put on the line... (oops).

11:03 - Discover that load of whites I thought I put on was really only one blanket Mr Lannis used to lay in the sun yesterday, which I decided to wash since I’d fertilized the lawn the day before...

11:14 - Muck around online chatting with reread book club friends on Facebook about nothing, then remember I’m supposed to clean the upstairs...

11:18 - After chatting with L, update Facebook status.

11:19 - Realize I’ve dicked around on the Interwebs long enough that it’s technically lunch time. Make lunch for L (cauliflower, baby carrots, pea pods, with hummus, cheese, crackers, and a piece of sliced turkey), and for myself (turkey wrap with lettuce, cheese, and honey mustard). Eat and update this list. Muck about online with reread friends more... silliness and celebrating a birthday. Fun fun!

11:35 - Discover blood donor clinic tomorrow is set at an asinine time, and cross fingers that Mr Lannis will be home in time to look after kidlets so I can be there. Research next posted dates online, just in case.

11:51 - Swear I’m getting off the internet. Grubby bathrooms are a callin’...

noon - 3pm: Clean master bathroom (scrub toilet, shower stall, soaker tub, sink; wash out and refill shampoo, conditioner, and body wash dispensers in shower, replenish toilet paper stash; wipe counter, tile, baseboards, and cupboard doors; sweep and mop floor); clean boys’ bathroom (same list as previous, except it’s a shower/tub combo instead of separate); go through master closet and pull all clothes on backwards hangers (had set them that way on the first day of school last year, so I can see Mr Lannis and I haven’t worn these clothes all year), reset hangers; make pile of Mr Lannis’ shirts from “didn’t wear” pile that are a wider style, so he can try them on and I can see if I can alter them to be more narrow; bundle the rest of the old unused clothes into bag for charity; dust and vacuum four bedrooms; vacuum stairs; read a book (Magic School Bus) to L; water upstairs plants; give Minette a chin scratch (she swatted me when I stopped... wonderful); shower; sort dirty rags and mop pads for tomorrow’s laundry; iron fabric for boys’ Hallowe’en costumes (they were wrinkly in the dryer); give L a peach for a snack; eat a handful of sunflower seeds; update this list...

3pm - Remember I don’t have to leave to pick up R from school for another 30 minutes (at least — school gets out at 3:50pm now). Open Final Cut Express to edit some home movies while waiting. Give L gummies for cleaning up toy area without prompting (he totally earned them). Clip L’s fingernails and my own.

3:35 - Turn off laptop, change into jeans, get L to put on socks (yes, still hasn’t), and leave to go get R from school.

4:02 - Arrive back home. Remind R to unpack his backpack. Sweep up sand L dumps from his shoe in entryway. Change into yoga pants. Catch Asmo in front lawn — L has accidentally let him slip outside while dumping other shoe’s sand on front porch. Sweep sand from front porch.

4:15 - Turn on laptop. Open Final Cut Express (again). Update this list while video clips are rendering.

4:30 - 5:30 - Mr Lannis arrives home from his playday, he tells me about it, then I tell him about my day. Gather beans from garden while Mr Lannis starts the pork chops on BBQ. He notices a sunflower is broken — Asmodean probably tried to climb it to escape backyard — Mr Lannis cuts it for a vase. I cut more blooms from snowball bush for arrangement.

5:30 - 6:50 - Dinner. Then clean up (Mr Lannis and I tag team the kitchen). Sit down and laugh at silly things on Pinterest. Mr Lannis takes boys outside to practice bike riding.

6:50 - Grab camera to take pics of boys on bikes. Fail miserably. (Or well, underestimate how fast and far the kids travel on said bikes, sit on curb and wait for return).

7:22 - Give kidlets raisin bread and water as bedtime snack. Go online, discover more silliness on pickle status (hence screenshot).

7:32 - Send boys upstairs so Mr Lannis can oversee bedtime. Wash face. Referee boys while Mr Lannis chooses storybook (STOP MAKING YOUR BROTHER CRAZY!).

7:50 - Pour myself a drink (yes, alcoholic. Yes, it’s a Tuesday). Sit down to enjoy drink in sight of two loads of laundry waiting to be removed from line. Sigh. Argue with cat about how it could stay up overnight — not calling for rain. Cat wins. Remove laundry... but I’m not gonna fold it all! Muahahaha...

7:56 - Turns out cat didn’t care about laundry. She wanted food. Feed cats.

8pm - Edit screenshot and update this list.

8:08 - Settle in to watch Big Brother online with Mr Lannis.

8:37 - Drool over Jeff on Big Brother. Heh. Finish watching Big Brother.

9:22 - Giggle with Mr Lannis over the Bob Ross Quotes Generator site. Turn off laptop, brush teeth, and go to bed (this is far more exciting than it sounds. Trust. Sleep. Snnzzzzzz.)

That’s it. Now it’s Sandi’s turn to update how she spends her hours — because we all know it’s not maple candy season... heh.
Occasional poster at The Mrs, I'm Lannis - or Leslie, depending on which circles you're swimming. A while ago I decided that I don't care anymore, hence my general standards for life are lower than The Mrs' (but she still loves me.) [Editor: I do]

I live in a small town with my favourite people: my husband, Mr Lannis, and our two boys, along with two cats and one hamster.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might witness my issues with linear thought, road rage, spending more money on food than books, and potty mouth. Be warned.

August 22, 2012

...And Then The House Exploded. And I Died. The End.

You know how you have friends over, and the afternoon light streams through the kitchen window right onto your oven, and it shows how the front (and back and sides) of the oven has The Cooties, and you worry that your friends will want to leave immediately and not eat the food you made for them because the thick film of visible grime over everything strongly suggests that they'll die if they do, and you want to burn your house down?



August 20, 2012

Home Again

We are home. We had a fantastic time, and as far as Norah is concerned, if we had spent the weekend doing nothing but this, it would have still have been great.

Now excuse me while I go launder every piece of clothing that we own.

August 18, 2012

Lannis: The Things I Do...

This will come as no surprise (uh, unless you just stumbled upon this blog randomly, in which case I say where have you been and have you read the archives?!)—

Ahem. Anyhow, this will come as no surprise to those who’ve been here a while (or who know me in person), but I make people laugh.

Bigger surprise? (Erm. Or maybe not a surprise at all...) Sometimes not on purpose.

Shocker, yes?

I have what I like to call a “broken filter” coupled with a strange lack of shame. Sure, I get insecure at times—I’m human, after all—but generally I’d rather err on the side of looking human, and giving bystanders onlookers a chance to laugh at with me, than appear unapproachable and cold.

This means I tend to engage with strangers in public. A friend of mine says it’s a clear sign I’m from a small town. I might agree. Somewhat. I couldn’t care less.

And it’s in my manifesto from a while back—I’d rather err on the side of being approachable and teaching my kids that a smile and a smidgen of self-deprecating humour will gain you more friends, and if nothing else, the feeling that this Earth is a touch smaller and less isolating.

Of course, in practice, you have to realize that when wrangling a pair of boys solo through the third largest zoo in North America, your rambling monologue (which, let’s face it, isn’t floating as high over your kidlets’ heads as you’d like to believe) will earn you a few odd looks. Maybe a snort. A guffaw here and there. An open grin from a zoomobile driver...

What am I teaching my kids? That mom says stuff out loud, isn’t afraid to appear be weird, but most of all, that she explains stuff to them.

Yes, folks, this blog post is brought to you by the whine of another parent’s child, who was begging her mom to disclose why, oh why, oh WHY must we put more sunscreen on, we JUST did it this morning?!

For the love of everything mysterious and wonderful in this universe, just explain it, for crying out loud!

“I’m putting more sunscreen on because you got soaked in the thunderstorm and the sun is back out bright and strong, and we don’t want your skin to burn off and shrivel up until you resemble a french fry.”

Easy peasy lemon squeezy. She’ll remember that.

My kids are used to it. So they don’t blink when we go someplace new and I make them wear matching shirts so I “don’t have to remember what you’re wearing” [read: can spot them more easily amid the throng of short people vying for a glimpse of some fuzzy/slimy/gross thing behind glass].

They don’t complain when I say, “all right, go stand at the wall so I can take the mandatory ‘this is what my kids look like today’ photo in case you get misplaced.”

(A dad manning a stroller nearby chuckled as they patiently waited for me to verify it’s a half-decent photo, then admitted it’s a great idea. For the record, they DO have faces. Just sayin’...)

They don’t flinch when I ask a restaurant clerk, “may I borrow your pen, please, so I can write my cell phone number on my kids?” and then follow through. Her snort of laughter earned her a wink from me.

They might roll their eyes, but they wait while I struggle with the camera to take a photo of us with hundreds of fish in the African Rainforest Pavilion, because the thunderstorm has scared off most zoo visitors and I say that if I don’t appear in at least a few photos, it’s like I let my kids loose at the zoo WITH NO ADULT ACCOMPANIMENT

Which, let’s face it, is a dream come true. For them, AND for me. (Though in slightly different capacities. Heh.)

To one wandering gentleman who was clearly baffled by me (I could tell by your head shake and quiet chuckle): Yes, I meant it when I told the boys that if I don’t appear in a few photos IT’S LIKE I NEVER HAPPENED.

I’ve seen those photos. Albums and albums of them. And you know who’s missing? My mom. Because she was always behind the camera. Lesson learned, thanks.

So yes, I might explain things too much. And yes, I might earn a few laughs and bizarre looks along the way.

But when I get to the end of our busy busy day, and the boys want my foot added to the pic, instead of just theirs, it’s because they mean it when they say, “we want to remember you were at the zoo, too.”

They get it.

A little explanation goes a long way. Go figure.

Occasional poster at The Mrs, I'm Lannis - or Leslie, depending on which circles you're swimming. A while ago I decided that I don't care anymore, hence my general standards for life are lower than The Mrs' (but she still loves me.) [Editor: I do]

I live in a small town with my favourite people: my husband, Mr Lannis, and our two boys, along with two cats and one hamster.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might witness my issues with linear thought, road rage, spending more money on food than books, and potty mouth. Be warned.

This time last year: Food Waste Friday: Seriously, The Sequel

August 17, 2012

In My Defense, There Was A Whole Bottle Of Wine Involved

Just after I wrote the Ring Cycle, I read an article about how most people online are only here to brag about their wonderful selves, amazing kids, perfect husbands, pin-worthy cooking, jaw-dropping organizational skills (pardon - skillz?), and practically perfect in every way lives.

And I felt terrible. (Still in possession of a surprise diamond ring, mind you, so not too terrible. Just slightly dead terrible.)

Because I had plans to write another post about it (actually, I realized I had more pictures I wanted to show you but only found them on my memory card today), and now feel like a bragging jerkface, because I'm still going to write it.

First, the inside of the book:

Then, the multiple attempts at trying to take a picture of the ring:

Then I got distracted by the sushi, and the very high likelihood that it was about to jump out of the roll and eat my face off:

Then I took this picture (wonder of wonders):

Thanks Terry.

This time last year: Backyard DIY: The Rot That Will Not Speak It's Name

August 16, 2012

Diaper Vacation

You'll notice that while I posted a whole week of stuff about cloth diapers, I never actually said "I love cloth diapers".

Because why? (As Oscar would say.)

Because I don't. I almost hate them. So you'll pardon me while I do a little dance of anticipation for the next four days, since we're currently on the way to Pennsylvania for what I already know will be a too short cabin trip to see our very very dear friends and relatives who we don't get to see nearly often enough and this is the event in my yearly calendar second only to Christmas in excitement levels and there's no washing machine there so we're using disposable diapers!

::pant, pant::

Yes, it's that time of year again. Time for much anticipated and never regretted Enormous Visit.

And the only way it could possibly be better than it was last year is if I don't have to rinse poop off of anything.


August 14, 2012

Meanwhile, Seth Was Busy Being Awesome

I don't go in for heart-shaped things. I like books, beer, and food. So when I sat down to feed Lucy on Thursday before supper, and noticed that Seth had cleverly hidden a new Terry Pratchett book in my pile of books, I was pretty happy.

He does that a lot - clever book hiding. This time was different, though.

This time, when I picked up Snuff, I had a hard time opening it with the hand that wasn't holding Lucy. I thought there was one of those postcard pages in the center.

Nope. It was a diamond ring. (She said, nonchalantly.)

That man saved up bits and pieces of cash over the past few years, kept it hidden, and bought me a diamond ring with it.

Even better: He gave it to me on a totally normal day. He hid it in the hollowed out inside of a book that he knew I'd love to get on its own. He even wrote a page of nonsense (to anyone but us) dialogue for the ring page, copying the font and layout of the other pages so that it would blend in (so much so that he had to point it out to me.

Best of all: He made sure to have another copy of the book ready that didn't have fifty pages glued together with a ring-shaped hole in the middle, and then he fed the kids grilled cheese and got us sushi and a bottle of wine for us to have after the kids went to bed.

Nope. Nothing heart-shaped about that.

This time last year: Lannis: Small Potatoes

August 13, 2012

Giveaway Winners: Two Christinas, And A Jessica

You guys are pretty rad...but you knew that already.

Christina, Christina, and Jessica, don't delete any emails you get from me today. I promise to not send you any pictures that I drew.

Thanks to everyone who entered. I hope you stick around, because I'm Totally Hilarious, and Not At All Weird.

This time last year: Shhh...

August 11, 2012

Lannis: Gallows humour and an introduction...

All I can say is this: So sorry about Shakes.

WHY DIDN'T YOU TAKE MY CAT?! She's so awesome. Plus, she's pure evil, so SHE'LL NEVER DIE. 

* * *

Friday July 13th marked a simultaneously hilarious and horribly sad day in the Lannis household...

I don’t normally subscribe to the “Friday the 13th” brand of superstitious—my grandmother raised me on an earthier sense of groundless irrationality than that of the fall of calendar numbers...

[Disclaimer: some are grounded, as I discovered through research—still doesn’t stop the quiver of dread if I see shoes on a table, though...]

If you haven’t guess from previous posts, I have a healthy sense of gallows humour. Thank the shit sandwiches life has forced down my throat, or perhaps the quirks that pass for an ordinary day around the Lannis household—I stopped trying to logic it out long ago (right about when my verbal filter broke and I lost my sense of shame).

That’s as close as I’m going to come to an apology for the content of the remainder of this post. And to anyone who believes it may be disrespect, it’s not. It’s actually healthy coping skills with a dry twist of black humour...

So. Jumping straight into the fray...

On Friday the 13th, I went into the basement to find my cat, Shakespeare, laying on the floor.

As in: dead. D.E.A.D.

Yep. Very obviously stiff, no mistaking it—even from a distance—dead.

My first thought? Like, seriously, the very first thought in my head when I saw his unnervingly-still form?

THAT’S a blue job.

(I wish I was kidding.)

Of course, halfway back up the stairs I turned around because within me flickered the thought that I needed to make sure that THAT was a done deal...

Thankfully, it was.

My next thought was to remember it was Friday the 13th.

And my gut froze, my brain anything but frozen with possibilities of exactly how whack-jobs like to lash out at neighbourhood pets... How a potential serial killer would have no trouble luring my overly-friendly Shakespeare close enough to do harm...

Turns out this wasn’t the case.

Thanks to an investigation by CSI: Small Town (observations of which I’ll spare this blog), and a discussion with our vet, it has become evident that Shakespeare mostly likely suffered a massive coronary, and in all likelihood was dead before he hit the floor.


Believe it or not, this gives me peace.

Some vindictive nut possibly trying to poison the local obnoxious stray and getting my cat instead? Well, animal cruelty makes my blood boil, regardless of whether that animal has a home or is even domestic...

Mother Nature deciding it was time for our almost-four-year-old, 16 lb, heart-murmur-suffering, long-haired cat to drop dead in the middle of a heat wave?

THAT I can live with.

The vet, upon consultation, was astounded to realize we had a 16 lb murmur cat... apparently 6 years old is considered a very long life for a heart murmur cat, and they’re usually small in size. That we had a gloriously healthy, not-overweight (simply large), outdoor-hunting-loving tomcat with a heart murmur? Apparently shocking!

He kept remarking on Shakespeare’s weight, like I was supposed to have stopped feeding him around the 7 lb mark...

Uh, dude... I’m no DVM, but in that case, I think starvation would have got him first, not the faulty heart, eh?

The boys, upon hearing the news of Shakespeare’s passing, surprisingly barely blinked. I started by telling them not to go in the basement because Shakespeare wasn’t doing well, and my oldest wanted to know how bad it was... caught off guard, I said it didn’t look good, and that our beloved pet was probably dead.

My 6 year old took this in stride. By the next day he had declared we needed a “memory rock” to remember Shakespeare by, and he wanted it to be in the backyard, so he could see it when he was playing.

Consider it done!

Of course, there’s a whole anecdote to insert here about my “stay out of the basement” command, coupled with my heading downstairs with the phone to assess what I could do about the stiff-cat scenario, to return upstairs and find my oh-so-well-behaved youngest in tears because the oldest was locked in the closet, and HE HAD NO IDEA WHEN I WAS COMING UPSTAIRS AGAIN, POSSIBLY NEVER! AND HOW WOULD HE EVER TELL ME HIS BIG BROTHER WAS LOCKED IN THE CLOSET SINCE I SAID NOT TO GO TO THE BASEMENT...?! WHAT IF HIS BROTHER WAS LOCKED IN THE CLOSET FOREVER AND EVER?!

Did I mention Mr Lannis was at work during all this excitement?

Yes. My Friday the 13th was fun.

Nothing like standing at your neighbours’ doorstep, telling them that you’ve two crises in motion: one they can help with, and the other? Well, don’t worry about the dead cat, he’s not going anywhere, anyway...

(Seriously. That was the official joke that day—any time anyone went into the basement, the first thing hollered up the stairs was, “he’s still here!” to the giddy relief of the handful of us assembled for the morbid event.)

There’s also another anecdote to stick in here, before moving on... before leaving for work Mr Lannis had left a note reading, Worried about Shakes.

After having found the cat, I wrote on his note, DID YOU SEE HIM BEFORE YOU WROTE THIS?!

Then realized that wasn’t helping. And that upon returning from his late shift, after I was in bed, perhaps that line wouldn’t be the most reassuring one to find on the kitchen counter?

I debated writing, Don’t worry about Shakes. or He’s fine now. or Don’t go in the basement. before logic kicked in and told me that anything I wrote would prompt Mr Lannis to investigate...

So I put, He’s dead. Then thought that too harsh. So I added a sad face, but couldn’t stop laughing (no, really, it was all too absurd). Finally I scrawled, So sorry, Honey.

Then my friend from this post showed up and pointed out that we couldn’t just leave Mr Lannis a NOTE! What was I? Crazy?! Clearly we had to stay up, get drunk again, and inform him in person that we had a dead cat in residence...


(Perhaps I was the only one drinking. Shh.)

Anyhow. Onward once again...

After that night...

After toting a shovel at 1:30am (thanks to a husband who couldn’t contemplate sleeping with a dead cat in the basement—I don’t care what he tells you, he had the heebie jeebies and the wide-eyed incredulity of those who’ve read Pet Semetary, and who believe in a zombie uprising!), after shockingly blasé children, after a sappy she-cat, after smashing a car with a sledge hammer for charity (true story), after sunshine and rain, and oh, maybe 48 hours with only one cat in residence (closer to 36 if you counted the one hanging out in the basement but not breathing...), we have a new family member...

Because what better way to honour the life and death of our Shakespeare, than by opening our hearts to a new friend who needed a home? Our local Humane Society was having an open house because they were overrun with kittens, and we, well... let’s just say we suddenly had an opening, eh?

As it turns out, this little guy’s littermate was adopted out on Friday the 13th, and he was alone in his cage until Sunday morning when he came home with us. Seemed rather fitting to me that we’d both lost loved ones on the same day—perhaps we could find some peace together?

Not a true replacement, never a true replacement. Simply a new friend.

For Shakespeare’s purpose was to be a companion for Minette once our house was empty—when one day I return to the workforce (ha!) and the boys are both in school. And well, he’s not exactly filling that purpose anymore, so much as he is filling a hole... (::snort::).

Welcome, Asmodean!

Let you be as sucky at being evil as your namesake, and as friendly as your predecessor.

So that is the story of how we were a two-cat house, down to a one-cat house, then back to a two-cat house in less than 48 hours...

Hope your Friday the 13th was less eventful than ours!

Occasional poster at The Mrs, I'm Lannis - or Leslie, depending on which circles you're swimming. A while ago I decided that I don't care anymore, hence my general standards for life are lower than The Mrs' (but she still loves me.) [Editor: I do]

I live in a small town with my favourite people: my husband, Mr Lannis, and our two boys, along with two cats and one hamster.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might witness my issues with linear thought, road rage, spending more money on food than books, and potty mouth. Be warned.

This time last year: P Is For...

August 10, 2012

Phoning It In, CSA Style

I'm phoning it in today, because yesterday got hijacked by Terry Pratchett, Seth, and awesomeness. So here's my CSA basket that itself got hijacked by A Week Of Cloth Diapers (today's the last day to enter for the Thirsties Duo Wrap, the $20 Caterpillar Baby Gift Certificate, and the ANY Book Depository book (under $13), so there's still time to get drawing.)

From this bounty we've eaten the carrots and the chicken. And some of the potatoes.

Tell me, is free range, happy chicken by it's nature tough? Because I don't know if you can tell from this picture, but this bird might have been made of cardboard.

This week's basket included all this meat, and some Very Good Buns.

Which we promptly ate for lunch. And now I have an overabundance of Blade Steak, which WilliamB assures me will make some great Philly Cheesesteaks for my dear Pennsylvanian husband. Who is awesome.

That is all.

August 9, 2012


So Lucy does this now:

Despite evidence to the contrary, I'm kind of over posting all the milestones to Facebook...partly because third babies (if she was a boy, I was lobbying hard for Lucy's name to be Ender) don't actually have milestones, and partly because I'm quite aware (now) that No One Cares But Me And Possibly My Mother.

So that's why I blog. Heh heh.

In other totally blog worthy and not at all interesting to anyone except possibly my mother milestones, Oscar has realized he can get out of bed by himself (after two months of sleeping in a bed instead of a crib), and Norah has realized that there are more words on the page than we read. 

Neither of these things are good.

No, the real reason I wanted to show you a movie of my five month old eating her first bites of solid food while her siblings try to kill each other in the background is because I wanted to poll your collective reader wisdom on the subject of homemade baby food. Cereal, to be precise, because I clearly have the whole fruits and vegetable thing down pat.

Can I make my own baby cereal? Do I have to buy the Milupa, Gerber, or Heinz stuff because it has all that extra stuff in it? If she needs extra fortification slash vitamins slash stuff, can I just buy some iron drops and add them in?

I'm scared to ask my doctor, because - bless his soon to retire heart, I'm afraid to let him  know how dumb I am, and also because he still calls in pablum, and it makes me laugh uncontrollably.

August 8, 2012

Thanks For Explaining The Olympics, Google

I'm not entirely sure how I'd be able to understand the Olympics without having the iPad on my lap.

"Why does Aliya Mustafina always look like she's about to cry?"

"What's the deal with those fast swimsuits that aren't around anymore?"

"What's with all the tape?"

"Is anybody admitting that they hated the opening ceremony?"

"I'm going slow, I'm going slow, I'm going slow, oh look, the guy behind me is speeding up, I'm going fast, I'm going fast...what the hell is this sport?"

These answers and more have significantly enhanced my viewing pleasure understanding of sport inability to focus.

What do you want to know about the Olympics? Because I'm sure I can tell you.

I know it all.

August 6, 2012

...And That's How I Ended Up Wearing Her Pyjamas.

You know when you have your first baby, and you go places, sometimes for hours, sometimes for days, and you pack your whole house?

You have three things for her to play with, four things to sit or lay on, seven changes of clothes, a whole box of diapers, a pack of wipes, some laundry detergent (just in case), six burp cloths, and a change of clothes for yourself. In two separate bags.

And then you have your second baby, and you realize you don't need all those things. You realize the baby will sit in his carseat, or lie on the floor. You know you can survive with just some extra diapers and a pair of clean pants. Your diaper bag has some Cheerios and an extra set of underwear for your oldest, but you're down to one bag and feeling pretty confident.

Then you have your third baby. You jettison the diaper bag entirely, and often leave the house for hours at a time with just a diaper in your purse. You brag to your friends about that time you drove past the airport, and "could have just flown to Florida", because you're such a seasoned parent that all you need is your baby and you'll figure out the rest.

You're cocky. And then you're punished.

The baby poops all over herself at her immunization appointment, and you have to drive her home naked.


You change your toddler at your mother's house, and you have to use paper towels because you didn't bring any wipes with you. 

And then, the pinnacle: you take your three kids with you to your cousin's house for an overnight visit, and - at an idyllic rest stop on the way there  - your son's butt explodes, your daughter pees her pants, and your baby barfs all over herself. 

And you end up doing laundry in your cousin's basement, in her pyjamas, because you didn't want to bring more than one bag.

(Thanks for letting me wear your pyjamas, Rhonda. And do laundry. And win as Sequence. Quack.)

This time last year:  Lannis: Sing With Me

August 4, 2012

A Week Of Cloth Diapers: Have They Really Saved Us Any Money?

It's THE LAST DAY of Cloth Diaper Week hereabouts (everybody shout HOORAY!), complete with giveaways! (That's right, I used an exclamation point. Because there's more than one giveaway!)

If you'd rather gnaw off your own arm than read about cloth diapers, then today's your lucky day. To you long suffering folks, I present a chance to win ANY. BOOK. YOU. WANT. (as long as it's under $13) from our fine friends at The Book Depository (free worldwide shipping, which is how come I can pay for it). Um, entries are from my (new) favourite post of all time: The End Of The World In A Cheese Shop.

(And you can still enter Monday's giveaway! And Wednesday's! And today's! Even more joy! Many exclamation points! Send your friends! Tell your mother!)

* * *

Figuring out the theoretical cost of switching to cloth diapers when Oscar was a year old gave me a headache. A very bad one.

And here I am again, utility bills in hand, trying to work out whether we've saved money or not. It's making my eyeball hurt, truth be told, and I don't like it when my eyeball hurts. It makes me worry that parts of it will get lazy again, and I'm not into people drawing on my cornea with markers (anymore).

Let's talk about data, shall we? We started cloth diapering full time at the end of April 2011 (yes, right before I went back to work full time. Smart, I never claimed to be.) By the end of October 2011, three months pregnant and ready to die, I had had it with dragging bags of poop home from daycare, and switched back to disposables for weekdays and cloth for nights and weekends. It was April of this year by the time I had Lucy in cloth full-time (except for at night; both are in disposables then).

This means that trying to compare May-April 2010 to 2011 is like comparing vampires to zombies; impossible except on the purely subjective level.

May-June 2010 to 2011 to 2012, however, is a different story. For that period of time, we have this:

Electricity rates are hard to compare, since time-of-use billing came into effect sometime in the middle of all this hullaballoo. You can see from the chart I used the off-peak rate/kWh because when I dry diapers in the machine (eight months out of the year), it's after seven pm.

We've successfully shifted our electricity use to off-peak hours, so from what I can see we've decreased our costs. Somehow we've also decreased our water consumption. Super-people? Probably.

More numbers to consider: so far, in purchasing all the diapers, wipes, laundry detergent, etc (more than I needed, even though I thought I was being super-cheap), I've spent $385.87. If I had diapered Oscar and Lucy in disposables exclusively instead of switching to cloth, and using the numbers from my theoretical calculations, I would have spent $715. 

Hold on, though. On top of the $385.87 in cloth diapers and related accessories, I spent about $130 on disposable diapers and wipes for Oscar at daycare, and Lucy until I got her in cloth full time.

That means that we've saved about $199 in a year and a month of cloth diapers. If things continue on the way they have been, and since we've bought all the diapers, wipes, diaper sprayers, and covers we're going to, our only continued cost to diaper our children will be one disposable a night, more Rockin' Greem laundry soap (now that I've figured out my front-loader, that equates to about one bag every four months), AND THAT'S ALL.

Which means I'm done spending money on poop.

Unless you can read my raw utilities data and tell me what it means. My eyeball hurts too much.

August 3, 2012

The End Of The World In A Cheese Shop

Last night, I dreamed it was the end of the world.

I knew it was the end of the world because - obviously - the lights were flickering. Also, I was in the cheese shop.

I was in the cheese shop to protect the cheese at the end of the world, and my fellow cheese protectors and I were reverentially taking the cheese out of the lit display cases and placing it on the floor, because even at the end of the world, no one wants the quality of the cheese to be compromised by light flickering. (Am I right or am I right?)

At the other end of the store, Julia Roberts was eating gelato out of the display case with her fingers, and we were all "end of the world or no, there's still such a thing as manners", but she didn't care.

When the end came, I had time for one last, profound thought: I wish I had spent more time with Neil Patrick Harris.


Now you know what my brain does in the middle of the night because it's been fried thinking about cloth diapers all week. You're welcome.

And now, for all you book fans out there: a giveaway. May I suggest Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, or Ender's Game?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Not this time last year, but if you like this post, you'll probably like this one too

A Week Of Cloth Diapers: Diaper Love, Diaper Hate

It's Day Five of Cloth Diaper Week hereabouts (also cowboy week, apparently), complete with giveaways! (That's right, I used an exclamation point. Because there's more than one giveaway!)

If you'd rather gnaw off your own arm than read about cloth diapers, there's a special giveaway just for you later this week soon TOMORROW. Until then, why don't you go read something more entertaining?

This is the post by Seth, in case the picture of beer didn't clue you in.

(And you can still enter Monday's giveaway! And Wednesday's! And there's another one tomorrow! Even more joy! Many exclamation points!)

* * *

It truly is a love hate relationship that I have with cloth diapers. I love how much money we have saved. It means I can buy more of this:

Or put it into savings or whatever
I love how cute those kids look in those giant diapers. The nostalgic me also loves that we are doing it the way our parents did. And I do love seeing all those diapers hung out on the line just so.

But man do I hate those diapers. It's just gross. I never planned on having poop on my hands on such a regular basis. There's no way around it; you will get it on your hands. A lot. For those of you unfamiliar with the rinsing process it's basically getting the poop from the diaper into the toilet. Sounds easy, but just picture it for a minute.


Have you done it in your head? See? You got poop all over you. My advice is know what you're getting into.

But really I can't complain too much (too late). I change maybe one diaper to Sandi's 6. And I have to keep in mind about 947 billion people have done this before me and none few of them died from it. It's never even made me sick.

But if my Mrs dies (please don't die, I won't have anyone to make fun of Olympic opening ceremonies with) someone will be getting a good deal on some slightly used cloth diapers.

August 2, 2012

A Week Of Cloth Diapers: Conquering The Front-Loader, And Other Tales From The Crypt

It's Day Four (whew!) of Cloth Diaper Week hereabouts (also cowboy week, apparently), complete with giveaways! (That's right, I used an exclamation point. Because there's more than one giveaway!)

If you'd rather gnaw off your own arm than read about cloth diapers, there's a special giveaway just for you later on this week soon. Until then, why don't you go read something more entertaining?

(And you can still enter Monday's giveaway! And Wednesday's! More joy! More exclamation points!) 

* * *
Yesterday was all about my opinion. And then you sent me to school. Man, if only I had talked to you all about the bare necessities before buying them. I could have saved myself the cost of the wet bags.

So now you know how much I don't know. Secret's out. And in an effort to restore my credibility learn more from you, I present to you A Day In The Life Of My Cloth Diapers:

We keep our diapers in a drawer. A very tall drawer. The change pad goes on top of the dresser, and it takes some Olympic-worthy hefting to get Oscar up there these days, let me tell you.

Why yes, I did take this picture at night.
With either of the kids on the change table, we can reach into the drawer and grab a wipe (that's what the 492 baby washcloths are for), squirt some homemade wipe solution on it, bundle up the diaper (or, if we're unlucky, the diaper and the cover), grab the clean diaper (and cover), and send whichever kid it is on his or her way.

The homemade wipe solution is just a squirt of baby oil and a few drops of essential oil (currently grapefruit) in one of the two peri bottles my awesome midwife Sarah gave me after Oscar was born. We've been using it for a few months now, and it works great. Happy me.

The diapers used to get rinsed off in the ugly blue toilet, but then it got replaced with a low-flow monstrosity, so now we have a diaper sprayer. Seth says it's necessary. I say suck it up. (Or I would, except I'd be talking about rinsing poop off of diapers and using the phrase "suck it up" at the same time. And I'm morally opposed to that.)

The rinsed diaper sit in the (what I realize now is extraneous) wet bag inside the step lid garbage can for a day or so, until I get close enough to running out of diapers that it scares me, and then (dun, dun, DUN!) they get washed in our front loader.

It is at this point in my (totally riveting and not at all tedious) recitation that I must pause and confess that there was a while there that I despaired of EVER getting these diapers clean. As in un-stinky. Nothing worked, not soaking in the tub overnight, not soaking in a bucket overnight, not even soaking in the diaper pail overnight (are you sensing a pattern?). I even tried this:


Then, I went to the internet. And was enlightened.

I ran all of my prefolds through about six hot/cold wash cycles with a drop or two of Dawn liquid dish soap in the first one. I hung them on the line.

After than, I started using LESS detergent and MORE rinse cycles. I told the washing machine that the soil level was "heavy". I told it that I wanted an "extra rinse cycle". And it delivered.

Now I have clean diapers that don't burn my face off with ammonia stink. This is a good thing, worth celebrating.

Also worth celebrating: this very long summer that has included exactly two (2) days of rain, which means that I can hang my diapers on the line ANY TIME I WANT TO. And you know that makes me happy.

Since line dried prefolds are approximately as flexible as cardboard, I usually run them through a twenty minute air dry cycle in the dryer, at which point I leave them in the dryer until I need to put something else in there.

So that's my story, what's yours?

(Don't forget to enter Monday and Wednesday's know, if you want. Or whatever.)

This time last year: Thanks For Reminding Me, Cat. (No, I still haven't fixed it.)

August 1, 2012

A Week Of Cloth Diapers: The Bare Necessities

It's Day Three of Cloth Diaper Week hereabouts (also cowboy week, apparently), complete with giveaways! (That's right, I used an exclamation point. Because there's more than one giveaway!)

If you'd rather gnaw off your own arm than read about cloth diapers, there's a special giveaway just for you later on this week. Until then, why don't you go read something more entertaining?

Today's giveaway? My friends, I have ponied up a $20 gift certificate to my favourite cloth diaper shop: Caterpillar Baby. They are a home based business out of Toronto, but they ship to both Canada and the US, so it's not useless. They have given me the best service, since - as you know - I'm somewhat prone to ordering the wrong products, and even having them shipped to the wrong address.

(And you can still enter Monday's giveaway! Joy! Exclamation points!)

* * *
When Seth and I sat down in April of 2011 to compare the cost of cloth diapers against the cost of disposables, we thought we covered everything and had figured out the bare bones, absolute minimum amount of stuff we'd need to cloth diaper on the cheap.

We were wrong.

If I could go back in time, I'd have a little chat with my past self and save her a few bucks on that cloth diaper stash, except I wouldn't need to, because - duh - I'd have discovered time travel and wouldn't need to save any money because I'D BE SUPER RICH. And I would be diapering my children in hundred dollar bills, which is what super rich people do. Obviously.

Since I can't go back in time (evidence: that last paragraph is still written, to our mutual chagrin), I will put this advice out there for anyone that goes looking for it: don't listen to articles like these unless you have enough money to diaper your children with it.

Instead, you can survive two kids in diapers at the same time with these bare necessities:

-10 Size 2 Diaper covers (we like Thirsties. Also: skip the size ones and go with disposables for your newborn unless your children aren't as porky as mine. Then you might need 4 or so to get you through that itty bitty stage.)
-24 Prefolds or flats or whatever you want to call them
-32 (or so) baby washcloths (you will get 492 packages of them at your baby shower, so no worries)
-Something to mix wipe solution in - I'm using the peri bottles I got at the hospital after Oscar was born.
-1 big wetbag (I've tried the GroVia ones above - too small - and the Bummis Fabulous - not too fabulous - ours is now Planet Wise. When that's in the wash, use whatever you have around or - gasp! - leave it lying on top of the washing machine. Gross, I know.)
-A diaper pail with a lid - we use a large step lid garbage pail that we already had
-Some kind of detergent made for cloth diapers. I've only ever used Rockin' Green, and I'm happy.

If you bought this stuff today at Caterpillar Baby, it would run you $246.01 plus tax ($297.01 if you opt for the size ones), and because it's over $99, shipping would be free. I'm sure you could make do for some things, and I hear that used diapers are resold all the could probably get even cheaper than this. Give me a call when Lucy's potty trained and I'll give you a great deal.

Caterpillar Baby didn't compensate me for this post at all, and doesn't even know I'm writing this right now - that's how far under the radar I am. I just love their service, and - in the fine tradition of trying to buy friends - I'm giving away a $20 gift certificate to their online store so I can purchase your undying love and devotion.


(Also, stop cheating. That is all.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This time last year: What The Food Is Going On Here?