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Big Girl Rooms Don’t Cry

DSC_0439This week on Mutual of Omaha’s Mild Kingdom: The elusive blog lays dormant in the shadows of the internet, often for months at a time. It hibernates quietly, gathering strength for the moment it will awaken with an unexpected ka-pow! of awesomeness. At last, it is time…

Ahem. Yes, I have a blog! WordPress did not shut me down due to my nine-ish months of inactivity, which is a miracle in itself. And yes, while that is a long enough period of time to gestate a human, I didn’t do anything nearly so exciting while on my sabbatical (sa-blog-ical?). Then again, my latest massive household undertaking does involve a human I previously grew myself (she’s organic, and now free range!). And, you know it must be a pretty exciting project for me to honor it with a reanimation of the ‘ol blog. Welcome back—I hope it’s worth your while (and mine too, for that matter). (I also hope you like things written in parentheses. I know I do!)

Note: There are pretty pictures at the end; feel free to scroll down if reading is beneath you.

We’ve lately been in the throes of both spring winter cleaning and potty training over at Camp Morrissey, and the latter’s final step requires that Maddie Lou be able to get to the bathroom whenever she needs to. Since my monkey-girl has confoundingly never even tried to climb out of her crib, this meant getting her a big girl bed. A Big. Girl. Bed. (Dude. Major.) Of course, as we’re practical individuals, we decided that, instead of dismantling and (eventually) remantling the crib to make way for a twin bed, we’d just move Maddie to an entirely different room with a twin bed in it.* Of course, as I’m me, this meant much, much more than out-with-the-old and in-with-the-newing a few pieces of furniture. Oh no: This meant war. But, you know, not like WAR. More like “Whee, war on ugly paint and war on rooms that aren’t rainbow-y enough!” Or something like that.

 *Yes, it is that annoying to assemble a crib.

Before we could actual create Maddie’s new digs, we had to relocate all of the toys and furniture that were in the room-to-be, previously known as the playroom. Which meant we had to relocate all of the crap homeless-since-we-moved stuff congregated in our basement “rec room” so it could become an actual rec room. Which meant we had to reorganize the laundry room and workroom to accommodate the aforementioned crap stuff treasures. Which meant…you get the picture. Sparing you the details, I got the rec room cleared out, painted the walls—which I originally believed were white, only to find that they were some sort of murky maybe-used-to-be-white?-but-are-now-just-dingy-and-ewww color—and then painted the floor. I let Maddie choose between charcoal and brick red, and she of course chose red. Smart girl.

We assume the rec room was previously finished, because there’s a drop ceiling and the remnants of wood paneling that was very unceremoniously removed (probably after a flood) at some point. I don’t remember being particularly creeped out by it when we originally saw the house, but it’s not exactly the stuff that sweet dreams are made of.

Here’s how it looked before (stay tuned, that bookshelf makes an appearance later in this post, post-makeover):

IMG_0656 This is even after the walls got a new paint job…IMG_0739

After the floor was painted; the shutters-turned-fireplace screen used to be in my brother- and sister-in-law’s living room. Who’s laughing now, Lombard Morrisseys?

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And after:

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We didn’t buy anything new for the room, just relocated items from elsewhere. The big blue cabinet/entertainment center was left behind by the previous owner, whom I’m sure had grander plans for it than painting it blue and outfitting it with circa-2004 IKEA-fabric curtains. When we moved in, it was in the basement with two salvaged windows I’m sure she wanted to use as doors on either side…sorrynotsorry, I used one of the windows for the “art” over the “fireplace” and turned the cabinet itself into game storage.

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So, does that blue paint look at all familiar? It does to me…because it HAUNTS MY DREAMS. It just so happens to be the color that the trimwork in Maddie’s new room used to be painted. Do you know how many coats of white paint it takes to cover something like that? Let’s just say the number is inversely proportional to my patience. Anyway, here’s a walk down memory lane as Sean and I turned the Death Star into Somewhere Over the Rainbow, starting with the OG (Original Gross–but perfectly fine for the boy who I’m sure just loved it–except that ceiling because OHMYGODWHYISTHECEILINGBLUE??):

Screen shot 2015-01-26 at 11.48.12 AMNot really a reason to include it, but I just enjoy this shot of Maddie in her Easter dress surrounded by blue-on-blue blecht. She is not amused.IMG_0833Intermission note: Thanks to thrift stores and Craigslist, I got her bed for $25 and dresser for $20—a little spray paint, and it’s perfect for her new room. Painting furniture outside in sub-freezing temperatures is AWESOME, by the way. #sarcasm
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I shipped Sean and Maddie off to a Daddy-Daughter Dance so I could paint the room unencumbered…it didn’t all happen in one night, but you can see by these photos that any progress was good progress.IMG_0945 IMG_0949 I used a special scallop-edge tape by Frog Tape for the accent wall treatment, which was inspired by the paint I had leftover from doing this to the basement stairs last summer:

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Before we go further, just a disclaimer that a) despite working for a decorating magazine, I didn’t deign it necessary to “style” the room before I photographed it (I just vacuumed and picked up some dirty clothes), and b) I’m no professional photographer. Without further ado (or adieu, because that would mean this post was over), here’s Maddie’s Magical Rainbow Big Girl Room Reveal:

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I made the rainbow pom-pom curtains by hot-gluing segments of ball fringe onto $4/pair IKEA curtains, which were also used for the bed canopy (made with an embroidery hoop and ribbon). To spiff up the white shades, I just found some butterfly stickers that matched the palette. The artwork is by Katie Daisy.DSC_0432 Most of these animals used to live in Maddie’s crib; she doesn’t seem to miss them now that they hang out on these shelves instead.DSC_0433

I really wanted to incorporate family photos into the room; Maddie loves the little photo album I made for her, but this keeps her family and friends close at hand, er, eye (more to come!). The name banner is from her old room; because of the paint treatment and the room being a dormer-and-window-apalooza, this is where it fit best. This banner-on-banner action doesn’t bug me TOO much (just a little). DSC_0440 The photo banner is easy to swap out because I just used mini clothespins on white-and-yellow baker’s twine.DSC_0441 And here’s Panda Bear, which was a generous hand-me-down from Maddie’s super nice neighborhood BFFs. He’s hanging out near the awesome IKEA lamp that Maddie can turn on and off herself—and he’s got a comfy spot on the also-awesome IKEA rug that Maddie LOVES. (This room is sponsored by IKEA and Pinterest, by the way.) The stool used to be mustard, and now it’s fuchsia, which it probably wouldn’t be if I had known how horrible fuchsia spray paint smells.

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Here’s a photo of the bookshelf de-booked; I painted a light “wood” bookshelf that used to be in Sean’s office with the green paint I used on the wall, and then used spray adhesive to attach butterfly wrapping paper to the back.

IMG_0966It’s amazing what we accomplished in a matter of weeks considering we had no real timeline to follow–unless you count my ongoing decorating neurosis as a motivating factor. Refused naps aside, Maddie has been sleeping fairly peacefully in her big girl bed (BIG. GIRL. BED.) since last Monday. We may, just may, have hyped it up pretty heavily before unveiling it to her. She was maybe a little excited when she first saw the bed:

Life is good. ‘Til next time, bloggeroonies! (Fingers crossed, it won’t be another nine months…)

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To Dine For

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Looks like everyone is settling in.

It’s hard to believe we’ve been in our new house for more than a month already—which means it’s also been well over a month since I actually wrote my last post (nope, I wasn’t exactly sitting around on moving/closing day with nothing to do—scheduling is magic!). Granted, before that, it was nearly a year since I posted anything on this blog, so I suppose I’m not feeling all that sorry about a five-week waiting period. Anyway, here we are again with a little progress report that may or may not impress you.

Why should it impress you? Firsties, because we accomplished all of this with a toddler-size nuclear storm running around—not to mention a 24-hour trip to NYC bookended by plague-y sicknesses for me, the (time-intensive) fruits of successful businessing for Sean, Easter weekend, a visit from our dear friends and their 5-month-old sweetie pie, and, y’know, life.

Why should it not impress you? I don’t know, are you a jerk?

When I haven’t been unpacking, cleaning, crafting, sewing, arranging, traveling, training for a triathlon (HAHAHA! Yep, that’s still happening…er, “happening”), entertaining, cooking, working, or, you know, parenting, I’ve been trolling the interwebs for amazing ideas nobody has ever thought of (except obviously they thought of it if it’s on the interwebs). Both a hearty thanks and a hearty F you to Pinterest, sucker of time and bequeather of inspiration. I have so many projects in mind, I don’t even know where to start when our essential updates are done. I suppose that’s a problem for another day.

Today, I’m just thrilled to be able to say that only one aboveground room has any unpacked boxes left (Spoiler Alert: It’s Sean’s office—no surprise there…the surprise will be if he actually reads this and catches me shaming him publicly). Never you mind that our basement looks like the cardboard factory threw up on it—progress is being made. Hosting Mother’s Day certainly lit a fire under us, and encouragement from our super-swell family has given us a warm, fuzzy feeling (and it’s not just humidity).

In addition to banishing boxes, we’ve also:

• Painted and put closet organizers in the master bedroom
• Painted and decorated Maddie’s room
• Made window treatments for the guest room
• Painted an accent wall in the kitchen
• Picked up several antique and vintage furnishings for the living room, dining room and den
• Filled about 800 lawn waste bags with bush whackings, dead leaves, coneflower stems and assorted other detritus, and so much more! (Can you tell I write marketing copy sometimes?)

The most magnificent change, however, has been in the dining room. Formerly painted in a painstakingly applied yet unflattering harlequin pattern—its palette chosen to correspond with a pair of stained-glass panels now at home in the living room—the dining room was also missing a light fixture and window treatments. Also, the ceiling was yellow. Not years-of-tobacco-use yellow, just dingy, not-white yellow. Blecht.

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Here’s the (wide-angle, deceptively lit so it doesn’t look yellow) photo from the MLS listing, AKA Before.

With a fresh coat of white ceiling paint, a lighter shade of bluish-green on the upper walls (the same as in our old home to match the drapes), and a chair rail and lower wall painted a soft white, the room now feels light, refined and ready for entertaining. Completing the makeover is a beautiful chandelier that’s a dead ringer for the one that hung in our old house; it was a steal on eBay, although I ended up paying more for shipping than for the fixture itself. Score one for UPS’s accounting department.

Please enjoy a little before-and-after tour of the dining room, starting with a more realistic (yet still lightened in Photoshop) shot of the room before.

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Sean had already painted the ceiling at this point, but you get the idea (and yes, we lived with the room this heinously disordered for at least a couple weeks).
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Progress! Each of the windows has its original storm, so I had to VERY CAREFULLY take each one down to the basement to paint it.
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Installing the chandelier wasn’t easy, exactly, but nobody expects installing a 60-year-old fixture in a 86-year-old house to be a cake walk. Worth all the trouble! In the background, you can better see the crazy difference painting the crown molding makes.

 

And now…AFTER (with an iPhone camera):

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Sean installed the chair rail, which is the perfect finishing touch for the room. We were originally going to do picture-frame molding on the bottom wall, but the uneven plaster makes that a risky move—plus, we don’t think it needs it!

 

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And here’s the other angle. (These photos were in no way taken at angles that disguise the fact that I haven’t finished the last set of curtain panels for the angled window area. Nope. Not at all.)

 

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Let there be light! And a very pricy yet beautiful ceiling medallion!

 

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The wall art is very special to me: Sean’s mom gave me a silhouette done of him when he was little (right), which was mounted on burlap. I loved it so much that I knew I wanted to incorporate it into a special place in our house, and it is just perfect for the dining room. I made one of Maddie to correspond with it. I cheated, though; when I accidentally tore the first one I made of her, I just printed it out instead of cutting out a new one and sticking it on some legit burlap. Sue me.

 
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I used spray adhesive to mount the burlap on the particleboard backing of a half-price frame from Hobby Lobby, and gave Maddie’s sil-faux-ette the same treatment. (The frames were made in China and HobLob is locked in a bitter Supreme Court battle threatening women’s rights, but hey, who can resist a deal?!)

Thanks for stopping by! With luck, fewer than 5 weeks will go by before my next post. But, don’t hold your breath—that would be dumb.

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Before and After-Party

Less Is Morrissey has been tragically absent from your life for the last 11 months, and for that I humbly, sincerely and unequivocally apologize—and yet I have a toddler, so the blame isn’t all mine. It’s hers. Blame the child. Anyway…I was inspired to strike the blog back up by this great joke I heard recently:

 

Knock-knock!

Who’s there?

A stranger.

A stranger who?

A stranger at your door* who might want to buy your house even though it’s not listed for sale.

 

Oh, what a chuckle. We all know that timeless joke, am I right? Well, this just happened to be anything but a joking matter when it happened to us last month. Sean had listed our house on Zillow’s “Make Me Move” feature, which is a totally Sean thing to do—and it was matched by me rolling my eyes, saying “Whatever,” and forgetting about it, the equally Elizabeth thing to do. And now, we are doing a totally Sean-and-Elizabeth thing to do: selling our home (today!) and buying a new one six blocks away (also today!).

*Well, technically they called. But they could just as easily have knocked. Just go with it.

Our new house!

Our new house!

I’ll spare the details of the extended negotiating—they came, they saw, they loved, their agent made them play it cool—and leave it at the joyous outcome of us making enough on the sale of our old home to afford a bigger and cooler house on a better street in the same neighborhood. I love our little house and we didn’t expect to leave it until daycare costs were a distant memory, but we planned to upgrade in our neighborhood at some point, and this was an opportunity we just couldn’t pass up. Besides, the new home is on Commonwealth Avenue, made famous in our house the first month we lived here by the snootily, tongue-in-cheekily proclaimed, “Commonwealth? What we have in common is that we’re all wealthy!” Us moving in puts that hair-brained theory to rest permanently, as we will mostly just be rich with love and packing boxes. Well, sliding scale: mostly packing boxes at first and not much love (MOVING!), then I’d imagine more love after that. I think.

As you can imagine, I’m ready and rarin’ to go for a new decorating adventure. While I wait, however, I’d like to take a walk down memory lane in honor of Throwback Thursday with this series of before-and-after photos of our house on Randall. It’s come a long way, baby!

 

The siding used to be this horrible baby-poo gold. I've seen baby poo. It is the same color. Mushroom is mucho better!

The siding used to be this horrible baby-poo gold. I’ve seen baby poo. It is the same color. Mushroom is mucho better!

The biggest improvement: My dream kitchen. The new house has stainless appliances and wood cabinets that, you know, won't show all the animal scuzz. Dreams change.

The biggest improvement: My dream kitchen. The new house has stainless appliances and wood cabinets though, which, you know, won’t show all the animal scuzz. Dreams change.

No major changes for the living room, but I did paint ALL the trim in the whole house.

Aside from decorating and painting it a very similar color, no major changes for the living room, but I did paint ALL the trim in the whole house.

The former owner was a bit artsy. I actually thought her gold grass was nice, but I think what we did set off the chandelier better.

The former owner was a bit artsy. I actually thought her gold grass was nice, but I think what we did set off the chandelier better.

Which room would you like to sleep in? Yes, me too.

Which room would you like to sleep in? Yes, me too.

I don't think any of our guests had to sleep with the fishies, although my mom might have since she visited shortly after we moved in. Hope they didn't keep her up at night.

I don’t think any of our guests had to sleep with the fishies, although my mom might have since she visited shortly after we moved in. Hope they didn’t keep her up at night.

Maddie's room underwent a few changes, first from bubblegum to green for Sean's office, then to a nice neutral tan with a fun stripe accent.

Maddie’s room underwent a few changes, first from bubblegum to green for Sean’s office, then to a nice neutral tan with a fun stripe accent.

The crib was a perfect squeeze...er, fit in the corner.

The crib was a perfect squeeze…er, fit in the corner.

Our bathroom also underwent a few changes, most notably the new tile floor.

Our bathroom also underwent a few changes, most notably the new tile floor.

Not too shabby for a formerly unfinished basement. We (Sean) painted the floor, added trim, installed a ceiling, and painted the bottom wall.

Not too shabby for a formerly unfinished basement. We (Sean) painted the floor, added trim, installed a ceiling, and painted the bottom wall.

One of our last pre-baby projects was tiling the foyer. We installed the carpet runner last year, too, which keeps footsteps from disturbing sleeping babes.

One of our last pre-baby projects was tiling the foyer. We installed the carpet runner last year, too, which keeps footsteps from disturbing sleeping babes.

Needless to say, the blog is back, baby! Stay tuned for tales of taking on a new house with a very adventurous toddler and her hillbilly four-legged siblings.

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The Eleventh Wow-er

IMG_3580Maddie is inches away from the one-year mark! The last month has flown by, probably because we’ve been having fun instead of suffering an ear-infected, thrushy, teething nightmare crapstorm.* With the lack of crises recently, I didn’t have nearly as many humorous revelations for this post as usual—I’m certainly not complaining, but I do want you to get your money’s worth. (Donations welcome.) So, to supplement, I’d like to share a few Maddie Truths to pad this round’s list, followed up by my nuggets of awesome and, of course, a roundup of fun photos you probably haven’t seen unless you hacked my phone.

*However, we are under threat of another teething crapstorm this week. Forecast calls for major crabbing with a chance of hunger strikes.

MADDIE TRUTHS
by Madeline Louisa Morrissey

1. Bubbles are fun. Bubble wands are funner. Double-fisting bubble wands and bubble bottles while trying to pull yourself up on furniture is funnest.
2. When you get to pick your book at bedtime, the one on the right is always better than the book on the left. Trust me.
3. You can make an entire sentence out of the word “Hi.” Try it sometime!
4. Don’t listen to your parents; sippy cups are toys.
5. All changing tables are built over pits of liquid-hot magma. Boycott accordingly.
6. Naps are for losers.
7. Bananas are the best! Bananas are gross. Sweet potatoes are the best! Sweet potatoes are poisonous. Potato soup is the best! Potato soup is only acceptable when mixed with pasta. (Hey, babies need to carb load, too.) Squash is the best! Squash is barely passable. Strawberries are the best…yes! Yes they are!
8. Always play with the dirtiest tennis ball you can find. It’ll boost your immune system.
9. All meat-based jarred baby food is an abomination.
10. Nobody will ever love you as much as your parents…except maybe grandparents. And the dog when you have poofs.

And now for a few words from an adult (no really; see #5):

– I could have a bunch of stick-figure decals and “look how far I run” stickers on my rear windshield, but I will just let the car seat, the dog bowl, the cat hair, the running stroller, the bike helmet, the vast assortment of water bottles, the spare t-shirt and the giant, injury-waiting-to-happen bike rack speak for themselves.

– I am now the target audience for sappy Mother’s Day commercials.

– Old MacDonald’s farm tends to get a little overpopulated when we have to get all the way home from Home Depot. Did you know that on his farm he had a monkey, a yappy dog, an elephant and a tractor with a horn? It’s a very diverse ecosystem.

– I just read a review of baby sandals and rejoiced that one of the negative comments was that they were too wide for babies. Not too wide for my baby’s stumpy sturdy feet, lady!

– I own more orthopedic shoes than heels, I think all skateboarders are going to break their necks, and I just gave money to a college graduate I am not related to. I kinda feel like middle age should have sent a welcoming committee.

– In an effort to be courteous and not throw a wet diaper away in my mother in law’s bathroom, I inadvertently carried it around in Maddie’s diaper bag for a week.

– I sure hope our neighbors at this romantic lakeside inn are a Chicago businessman and his absurdly young mistress. That’s the only way I won’t feel guilty about Maddie screaming bloody murder at 1 am because her white noise turned off and she couldn’t sleep.

– A playroom full of colorful things that sing songs and light up, and this kid is most entertained by my breast pump.

– “99 disgusting ticks on the dog, 99 disgusting ticks. Take one out, let out a shout, 98 disgusting ticks on the dog…”

– When I was pregnant, I spilled an entire bag of Swedish Fish in my car when I tore it open in a passionate mission to get my fix as quickly as humanly possible. I have vacuumed at least 15 times since then. I am still finding little red fish to this day. At this rate, I may still be finding them in time to fuel my next round of cravings.

– Crawling, walking, talking…all important. However, I believe that the moment your child no longer cries when putting her arms through the car-seat straps is a highly underrated developmental milestone.

Wishing Auntie Jenn a happy birthday...and clinging to the pen for dear life.

Wishing Auntie Jenn a happy birthday…and clinging to the pen for dear life.

Denim Day at the Morrissey house

Denim Day at the Morrissey house

Not quite as into her first slide ride as she was into her first swing ride. All in good time.

Not quite as into her first slide ride as she was into her first swing ride. All in good time.

Flour + baby oil = edible mess

Flour + baby oil = edible mess

Hanging out with Mommy at Stah-bucks, dahling!

Hanging out with Mommy at Stah-bucks, dahling!

Shopping for annuals and chatting away to nobody in particular

Shopping for annuals and chatting away to nobody in particular

Ooooh, sand!

Ooooh, sand!

Heeeere, fishie fishie fishie...

Heeeere, fishie fishie fishie…

Farmer? Surfer? Looks like somebody is all set for an identity crisis while wearing overalls to the beach.

Farmer? Surfer? Looks like somebody is all set for an identity crisis while wearing overalls to the beach.

I want to go to there.

I want to go to there.

Well lookie who got herself from the far corner of her bedroom to the doorway of the guest room all by herself. Slippery slope from here!

Well lookie who got herself from the far corner of her bedroom to the doorway of the guest room all by herself. Slippery slope from here!

Hanging out with Grams and Pops on Mother's Day

Hanging out with Grams and Pops on Mother’s Day

Alfalfa Morrissey, at your service!

Alfalfa Morrissey, at your service!

"This playground is amazing, don't you think, Doggie?"

“This playground is amazing, don’t you think, Doggie?”

"Here, Mommy, you look like you need some wood chips."

“Here, Mommy, you look like you need some wood chips.”

True story!

True story!

Waiting for fun to arrive.

Waiting for fun to arrive.

"Here, Auntie Tiff, you look like you need a tulip petal."

“Here, Auntie Tiff, you look like you need a tulip petal.”

Wandering around with Auntie Tiff, watching the doggies. Life is good.

Wandering around with Auntie Tiff, watching the doggies. Life is good.

And, here are a few videos you may have missed:

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Love Me Ten-der

Top 10

Our Perfect 10

Maddie is a decade (of months) old! Where has the time gone? Well, this month it has gone to an ear infection, fifth disease, teething, extreme thrush (including Technicolor diaper rash!) and the endless pursuit of balance and mobility. But, because we dig looking on the bright side around these parts, I would like to point out that the teething resulted in, you know, a tooth, and the thrush rash required wearing far-less-cumbersome disposable diapers, which handily unencumbered Maddie so she could start to crawl (sort of)! See below for videographic evidence:

And, here is videographic evidence that I did, in fact, give birth to a Morrissey, as seen by her antics on a wild Saturday night after hanging with Uncle B and Auntie Tiff:

And, here’s a short video of her first time in the swing, which Daddy could not WAIT to put up for her. For the record, it was snowing at the time.

And now, here are the latest nuggets of profound…oh, whatever. Check it out:

-If it weren’t for people other than her parents, I’m pretty sure Maddie would think her first name is really Sweet Pea.

-I’m reading a book that compares different parenting philosophies. Do this…no, don’t. Do that…no, don’t do that. Ugh, makes my brain hurt. My parenting philosophy is: “Keep them alive, keep them fairly happy, and teach them not to be a dick.”

-I seem to be hitting my head on things with above-average frequency. I think it’s the universe’s way of retaliating for all the times I let Maddie fall on her poor little baby face.

-There’s a reason this beautiful linen Easter dress doesn’t have a “wash before wearing” disclaimer. Ugh. Looks like my iron and I will be spending lots of quality time together.

-Find me someone who shows me how to power-wash the inside of my house, and I’ll show you someone going to heaven.

-None of the baby books tell you that the best way to get your kiddo to chill out at the doctor when she has a 103 fever is to give her a crumpled Target receipt. Take that, experts.

-I don’t always spill bubble gum-flavored (and -colored) liquified antibiotics on my child, but when I do, I do it when she’s wearing pink. And then I send her to school.

-In ten months of parenthood, I have encountered fewer more difficult tasks than finding or making a new purse/tote bag that holds all my crap, doesn’t cost a fortune and doesn’t scream “I’M A MOMMY IN HER 30s WHO WAS NEVER PARTICULARLY COOL BUT IS NOW WHATEVER THE OPPOSITE OF HIP IS.” I don’t think there’s really a good option here.

-You know you’re a mom when you let your baby stick the irreplaceable French barrette you bought with your BFF 10 years ago in her mouth because she might think it was neato.

-This month’s exotic baby-feeding locations include the Home Depot bathroom (bonus points for Maddie eating a piece of toilet paper off the floor for dessert when I set her down for 10 seconds so I could pee) and the parking lot between an IMAX theater and an off-track betting establishment. It was a slow month.

-In search of an Easter bunny, I just went to the ritziest mall in town in my painting jeans with no makeup on my face and baby snot on my hoodie. Keep it klassy, Chicago.

-And then we ended up at the Bass Pro Shop.

-Sometimes I wonder if Maddie thinks I am replaced by a hologram if she’s not physically touching me. No, sweetheart, I don’t cease to exist when I hand you off to someone else.*

*Update: Mommy has been demoted. Now when we go to school, it’s like, “Ugh, Mom, you’re embarrassing me. Just leave.”

-I can only imagine what our oddball new employee, who actually eats his lunch in the kitchen (unlike normal employees who eat at their desks), would think if he knew I was putting breast milk in the fridge every day at noon while he’s chowing down his turkey sandwich.

-No, Madeline Louisa Morrissey, just like all the other 100s of times I have laid you down on your changing table, I have no plans to filet you, grill you and serve you with couscous. Perhaps you could limit your ear-piercing shrieks of despair to moments when you life is actually in danger.

-Babies who can crawl are like ninjas. Little miniature ninjas. All of a sudden, they’re just there.

-You learn something new every day. Today, I learned what fifth disease is. Because Maddie and I have it. Hurray, learning!

-You really don’t know what living is until you let a teething baby with an itchy rash who needs a nap play with a full Nalgene bottle and subsequently drop it on her foot.

-Well, start planning the Nobel ceremony…my child can blow raspberries before crawling or saying her first word. Destined for greatness, she is.

-They make a lot of baby clothes that have little “Mommy loves me” emblems. That’s because there’s no room for “Mommy loves me…even though I scream if she looks at me wrong, I regularly blow raspberries with sweet potatoes in my mouth, and I have had six sloppy poops today.”

-The Lollipop Guild Ninja is a perfectly acceptable nickname for a pediatrician. She sounds like she sucked down three helium balloons…but she has a black belt. So, ah, forget I said anything.

-Don’t toss that underripe cantaloupe! It can provide hours minutes of entertainment and joy to a teething baby.

-“You’re normal…not crazy like other new moms” might be the nicest compliment I’ve ever received.  Thank you, Rachel the dog park buddy! It’s not true, but I’ll take it.

-In our house, “healthy” is so relative, I think I should invite it for Thanksgiving and put it on my Christmas card list.

-If nursing, training for a triathlon and cutting sugar don’t get my BMI below 29, I doubt anything short of a Somali famine will.

-When Maddie was first born, I worried obsessively about how much she was eating, about whether or not she was sleeping enough and at the right times, and about every questionable noise she made or mysterious mark on her body. I’m happy to report that I don’t really worry about that stuff anymore…which is great, because it really frees me up to live in a constant state of fear that she will be blown up by a fundamentalist in broad daylight or attacked by a pack of dogs. So, you know, I have that going for me.

-I like to do things as awkwardly as possible.

-Apparently, using the same contact lens case since seventh grade is not something to be proud of. Huh.

-Most children have teddy bears, stuffed bunnies or baby blankets as woobies. Mine counts a turtle-shaped hairbrush and a rubber ducky dressed like a mermaid in her wolf pack.

Just hanging out with "doggie."

Just hanging out with “doggie.”

Now that she's in a big-girl car seat, she gets to ride in shopping carts like a big girl. Her first such outing? Home Depot, of course.

Now that she’s in a big-girl car seat, she gets to ride in shopping carts like a big girl. Her first such outing? Home Depot, of course.

Despite the knowledge that water comes out and should go in her mouth, she's more interested in a) chewing on her sippy cup, and b) turning said cup upside down so that the water comes out nowhere near her mouth.

Despite knowing full well that water comes out and should go in her mouth, she’s more interested in a) chewing on her sippy cup, and b) turning said cup upside down so that the water comes out nowhere near her mouth.

Waaaah! Doctor's office! Waaaah! Waaahwaaahwait a minute...paper! Ooh, paper, I love you!

Waaaah! Doctor’s office! Waaaah! Waaahwaaahwait a minute…paper! Ooh, paper, I love you!

Having an oral child comes in quite handy for albuterol treatments, as she's willing to just stick the tube in her mouth without wearing the elephant mask. It's the little things.

Having an oral child comes in quite handy for albuterol treatments, as she’s willing to just stick the tube in her mouth without wearing the elephant mask. It’s the little things.

Howie is king of the forest. We are such hillbillies.

We are such hillbillies.

Crabby days become less crabby when there's an empty cardboard box to chew on in a laundry basket.

Crabby days become less crabby when there’s an empty cardboard box to chew on in a laundry basket.

"Keys are AMAZING," said every kid ever.

“Keys are AMAZING,” said every kid ever.

Smile!

Truth in advertising.

And sometimes crabby days end with getting up close and personal with the laundry room rug. She is perfectly content here, for the record.

And sometimes crabby days end with getting up close and personal with the laundry room rug. She is perfectly content here, for the record.

Enter the Maddie Megadome. 360 degrees of pure awesome.

Enter the Maddie Megadome. 360 degrees of pure awesome.

Hangin' with Ozzie, no big thang.

Hangin’ with Ozzie, no big thang.

Like mommy, like Maddie. I regularly dress us alike, but I swear it's an accident. Usually.

Like mommy, like Maddie. I regularly dress us alike, but I swear it’s an accident. Usually.

More doggie love. I have no illusions...he's totally scouting for crumbs.

More doggie love. I have no illusions…he’s totally scouting for crumbs.

Beautiful day, isn't it, Mr. Turtle?

Beautiful day, isn’t it, Mr. Turtle?

I HATE THE WORLD, I HATE LIFE, I HATE...oh wait, I don't hate you, cool blanket from Aunt Shirley. You may remain.

I HATE THE WORLD, I HATE LIFE, I HATE…oh wait, I don’t hate you, cool blanket from Aunt Shirley. You may remain.

Because it was a rainbow leggings kind of day. But shouldn't every day be a rainbow leggings kind of day?

It was a rainbow leggings kind of day. But shouldn’t every day be a rainbow leggings kind of day?

Meeting her fellow flower girl, Emily, at future-aunt Stephanie's beautiful bridal shower. Fast friends!

Meeting her fellow flower girl, Emily, at future-aunt Stephanie’s beautiful bridal shower. Fast friends!

I gave Maddie a piece of banana from my cake...how long will it be before she realizes there's more to cake than fruit?

I gave Maddie a piece of banana from my cake…she seems content now, but how long will it be before she realizes there’s more to cake than nice, wholesome fruit?

Getting ready for her first go in the swing...

Getting ready for her first go in the swing…

Roller Coaster Baby approves!

Roller Coaster Baby approves!

Oooh, pretty vapor! (Hard to believe it took so long for her to discover that her frog humidifier kicks out water vapor.)

Oooh, pretty vapor! (Hard to believe it took so long for her to discover that her frog humidifier kicks out water vapor.)

STRAWBERRIES! Love at first gnaw.

STRAWBERRIES! Love at first gnaw.

This is the face of a child who just put a handful of dirt in her mouth. At least it was potting soil, so it was full of nutrients.

This is the face of a child who just put a handful of dirt in her mouth. At least it was potting soil, so it was full of nutrients.

Now that she can stand, she is ready to rock! She intuitively started using this walker.

Now that she can stand, she is ready to rock! After discovering this walker in a corner of the living room, she intuitively figured out how to use it. She’s pretty sharp.

The future is so bright, she's gotta wear shades...for about 3 seconds before she pulls them off and sticks them in her mouth.

The future is so bright, she’s gotta wear shades…for about 3 seconds before she pulls them off and sticks them in her mouth.

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Sweet Child o’ Nine

How old am I? Nine o' your business!

How old am I? Nine o’ your business!

Madeline Louisa Morrissey is 9 months old! And (kinda) standing! She’s officially been in the real world longer than she was in the inner sanctum…thankfully she hasn’t let the maturity go to her head. Yet.

Some of you may have noticed that I missed the 8-month update. Well, thanks to the soul-crushing loss of all my hee-larious kernels of ridiculousness (no, thank you, iCloud), I had no material. And, because I was on a crazy work deadline and then we were traveling for a fair bit of the last month, I also had no time. I did, however, have a fantastic headline: “Eight That a Kick in the Head.” Actually, losing my notes felt more like a kick to the kidneys, but that’s neither here nor there.

Without much more ado, here is the paltry (yet hysterical!) rundown of observations vaguely remembered and newly written post-psychological recovery. (Gotta say, the loss of all that material was a real blow; my remarks on cry-it-out sleep training were gold, Jerry, gold!) Most of the nuggets are travel-related, since we went to Montana and Colorado to visit anyone and everyone who matters (unless, ah, we didn’t visit you…in which case, you matter, too!). Plus, below that is the requisite photostravaganza of what our little peanut butter cup has been up to for the past two months. Enjoy!

• Never ever tell people who let you and your baby cut in the airport security line that you packed well. There’s a full water bottle in your backpack and you forgot to take your laptop out.

• Thanks to the WhiteNoise app, I can feel like I’m in an appliance showroom during a hurricane while sharing a hotel room with my child. (“Dishwasher Running,” “Whistling Wind” and “Rainstorm” are the sound mix of choice.)

• Watching “Cops” on mute at the Holiday Inn is awesome.

• If you ever think to yourself, “Self, I shouldn’t let my infant play with that Diet Coke can,” listen to that advice. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself borrowing Band-Aids from the rangers at Little Bighorn Battlefield and trying to nonchalantly explain why your innocent baby is bleeding profusely. (Also of note, if you ever think to yourself, “Self, we don’t need to travel with the first-aid kit that is usually in the diaper bag–whyever would our pre-walking baby need a bandage?”—don’t listen to that advice.)

• Well, sir, perhaps if you hadn’t reclined your seat back fully on the nice lady and her precious little baby, the aforementioned baby’s head hitting your seat wouldn’t keep waking you up.

• In the land of sequestration-induced TSA personnel cuts, the woman with stroller is queen.

• I can add six airplanes, Little Bighorn Battlefield, the Target parking lot, a handicapped bathroom stall at Midway airport (twice!) and the parking lot of the Stanley Hotel to the list of 101 Places to Nurse Your Child Before You Die.

• Nothing wrong with using the bottle drying rack for wine glasses. Er…right?

Beauty Tip: Hide that not-so-fresh feeling caused by your baby yakking on you before work by spritzing on a little perfume. NO ONE WILL NOTICE. Except everyone probably will.

• The problem with not remembering who gave your child that pink teddy bear is that you don’t know whether or not to hide its dog-ravaged carcass when company comes over.

• I deal with far more human, feline and canine excrement on any given day than can reasonably be expected of a single person. If you ever hear me say, “I’m sick of this shit,” there’s a 98% chance that I mean it literally.

• The assortment of items my child is playing with this morning includes an ice cream bucket, a dish towel, a metal binder clip and some plastic Easter eggs. Where are the real toys, you ask? Pshaw. What do you think this is, amateur hour?

• Carseat installation could easily be a challenge on “Survivor: Baby Island.”

• Every newborn’s parents need to be sent home from the hospital with a watch, a calculator and 12 coupons for free pizza. Nobody told me how much math is involved in parenting. And I just really like pizza.

You say laundry basket, she says happyfuntime basket. Potato, potahto.

You say laundry basket, she says happyfuntime basket. Potato, potahto.
You know what they say...one man's trash is another baby's favorite new toy.

You know what they say…one man’s trash is another baby’s favorite new toy.

The winner of the 2013 Morrissey Super Bowl Party Costume Contest, ladies and gentlemen!

The winner of the 2013 Morrissey Super Bowl Party Costume Contest, ladies and gentlemen!

Maddie's teacher, Ms. Lois, sent her her first Valentine in the mail. Of course, Maddie thought it needed to go directly into her mouth, do not pass go.

Maddie’s teacher, Ms. Lois, sent her her first Valentine in the mail. Of course, Maddie thought it needed to go directly into her mouth, do not pass go.

She never forgets a special occasion.

She never forgets a special occasion.

Our funny Valentine!

Our funny Valentine!

Practicing her standing...and her over-the-shoulder modeling looks.

Practicing her standing…and her over-the-shoulder modeling looks.

Maddie's first non-in-utero visit to IKEA was a blast!

Maddie’s first non-in-utero visit to IKEA was a blast!

Take Your Daughter to Work Day! Or, as we called it, Take Your Daughter to Mommy's Work Because KinderCare Is Closed and Daddy Needs to Do Something With This Baby Day!

Take Your Daughter to Work Day! Or, as we called it, Take Your Daughter to Mommy’s Work Because KinderCare Is Closed and Daddy Needs to Do Something With This Baby Day!

In addition to being the only two girls in the house under 20 pounds, Maddie and Bella have found more common ground: BUBBLES!

In addition to being the only two girls in the house under 20 pounds, Maddie and Bella have found more common ground: BUBBLES!

Eight it great?

Eight it great?

Every time I feel like I'm getting nothing done at work, I will remember what it's like to have a baby on my lap while I'm trying to proof pages. Her notes on page 37? "gljk4lktjgre4tkfd."

Every time I feel like I’m getting nothing done at work, I will remember what it’s like to have a baby on my lap while I’m trying to proof pages. Her notes on page 37? “gljk4lktjgre4tkfd.”

I can only hope that I don't catch her posing like this in a bathing suit in 15 years.

I can only hope that I don’t catch her posing like this in a bathing suit in 15 years.

Rare is the Morrissey vacation that doesn't involve a historic site. This round was Little Bighorn Battlefield.

Rare is the Morrissey vacation that doesn’t involve a historic site. This round was Little Bighorn Battlefield.

Thanks for the gauze and bandaid, Little Bighorn Battlefield visitor center staffer, sir. PS, can you tell me why my mom always accidentally dresses us alike?

Thanks for the gauze and Band-Aid, Little Bighorn Battlefield visitor center staffer, sir. PS, can you tell me why my mom always accidentally dresses us alike?

Haaaaaaay, other passengers on my flight. How you doin'? I'm cute.

Haaaaaaay, other passengers on my flight. How you doin’? I’m cute.

Vacations are hard work!

Vacations are hard work!

Discovering that standing makes it a lot easier to get things out of the toy box...meanwhile, Brody could care less.

Discovering that standing makes it a lot easier to get things out of the toy box…meanwhile, Brody could care less.

Maddie, meet Elwood.

Maddie, meet Elwood.

Because why wouldn't we take our daughter to the hotel where "The Shining" was set? Er, an American landmark full of history that is not at all creepy or scary?

Because why wouldn’t we take our daughter to the hotel where “The Shining” was set? Er, an American landmark full of history that is not at all creepy or scary?

Even without her dog and kitties running around, Maddie still found some wildlife to watch while on vacation.

Even without her dog and kitties running around, Maddie still found some wildlife to watch while on vacation.

Hanging out with Timmy the Talking Bear at Great Kate's house. He asked her what she'd do if she found a dog in her pajamas. I think it stumped her.

Hanging out with Timmy the Talking Bear at Great Kate’s house. He asked her what she’d do if she found a dog in her pajamas. I think it stumped her.

Nobody told her babies aren't supposed to like hummus. More please!

Nobody told her babies aren’t supposed to like hummus. More please!

At our St. Patrick's Day celebration, Grandma Suzy let Maddie borrow her red braids...not a bad look!

At our St. Patrick’s Day celebration, Grandma Suzy let Maddie borrow her red braids…not a bad look!

Practicing her beer mug grip for the future.

Practicing her beer mug grip for the future.

She's been wearing these PJs for awhile, but they were especially perfect for St. Patty's Day...and she has her rainbow rings to complete the leprechaun look.

She’s been wearing these PJs for awhile, but they were especially perfect for St. Patty’s Day…and she has her rainbow rings to complete the leprechaun look.

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Seven Is a Place on Earth

Seventh Heaven!

Seventh Heaven!

Seven months! Where has the time gone? Well, for the last several weeks, the time has gone to entertaining some cherished friends, reclaiming our house from Hurricane Christmas, and recovering from (in no particular order) stomach flus, colds, thrush, teething that was not teething and was instead a crazy growth spurt, and crappysleepitis. I’m not going to spell out the (horrifically painful, obnoxiously persistent) details of thrush for you, except to say that Maddie was not the sufferer, and I went through several prescriptions before quite painfully (in more ways than one) coming to terms with the fact that the only relief comes from eradicating sugar from my diet. And the angels wept for me. In other news, Maddie learned two major things this month: 1) How to fall asleep by herself once lulled by a reading of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and a few rounds of “Champagne Supernova” and “Hey, Jude”; and 2) How to roll over at last! Here’s video proof, followed by this month’s pearls of absurdity:

– I would have preferred that Maddie wait until college to learn that a fun day should end with puking.

– Would I take a bullet for my child? If my eagerness to catch her banana-mucus vomit with my bare hands is any indication, all signs point to “yes.”

– What kind of parent does it make me that, upon seeing my child playing with the plastic case her blocks came in, I was less concerned about the “Warning: This bag is not a toy!” sticker than the Made in China tag?*

*My “Buy American, Shop Local” soapbox is awfully high these days…at least, y’know, when it’s convenient.

– Know what is horrible when your baby is teething having a crab-tacular growth spurt? Having a version of the flu that’s just slightly less awful than that suffered by your spouse, who is passed out on the couch with no regard for parenting responsibilities. Know what can make you feel better? Your daughter being entirely enraptured by “The Sound of Music.” Grandma Preston was watching out for me that day.

– After not eating for 30 flu-tastic hours, I thought I should give fenugreek a try to keep my milk supply up. In case you were wondering, this is what the Interweb has to say about it: “One way to determine if you’re taking the correct dosage is to slowly increase the amount of fenugreek until your sweat and urine begin to smell like maple syrup.” Shall I point out the irony of this considering my inability to eat sugar? Or would you like to put those pieces together yourself?

– I honestly can’t remember if I brushed my teeth today.

– Nothing makes you feel like a bad parent like almost dropping your child in front of your closest friends.

– Nothing makes you feel like a good parent like being stuck driving behind a Mazda 3 with a bumper sticker that has “I Support Single Moms” written around a picture of a pole dancer…and an infant carrier in the backseat.

– My daughter has a crush on David Gregory. Apparently she didn’t get the memo that we are a George Stephanopoulos household.

– I’m trying not to question the fact that this 4.5-star sleep-through-the-night book mentions cassette tapes and film cameras.

– And this one discusses the caffeine content of Sunkist Orange vs Diet Sunkist Orange.

– There are few things more frustrating than your baby waking up two hours after going to bed…when you are busy reading a book about how to prevent your baby waking up two hours after going to bed.

– Pooping messily not once but thrice between midnight and 5 am does nothing to help a baby fall back to sleep. In case you were wondering.

– I doubt “bitch be trippin’!” is an appropriate reaction to “Downton Abbey” plot twists.

– Know what’s more fun than crying it out? Crying it out while Mommy is going solo. Know what Daddy missed? A baby who slept from 8:15-6:45. Straight.*

*Don’t get too excited; this was an isolated, though blissful, occurrence.

– I missed the gym. I did not miss getting to the locker room right when Tween Swim Team practice lets out.

– When you’re not allowed to eat sugar, it’s perfectly acceptable to watch the video of a 2-year-old’s birthday and be jealous of her cake. Um…right?

– I’m quite minimally ashamed to admit that I am slightly more enthusiastic about parenting when I only have to get up once a night.

– My thrushy baby-feeders and I would just like to ever-so-cordially say: F you, Pinterest. F you and your creme brûlée and your Twix brownies and your  cherry almond bars and your s’mores seven-layer bars and your cookie dough fudge and your dark cocoa buttermilk cake with a creamy cocoa mascarpone frosting. Seriously. F you.

– I was only the tiniest bit concerned that Maddie’s first night with a paid babysitter would somehow end up like the plot of “Labyrinth.” Thankfully, David Bowie did not steal my baby and hold her hostage in a mythical maze.

– Nothing beats texting with your brother about carseats while watching “American Reunion.”

– After your baby shoves enough flyers, greeting cards, bills, coupons, magazines and books in her mouth, you start to wonder if she has pica.

– Maddie’s dexterity is improving at an alarming pace. I am beginning to understand why so many moms choose to have 13-year-old boy hairstyles.

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