Wednesday, December 28, 2011

As seen in my house

Have you ever seen the advertisements for that space-saving spice rack?  The one that takes up four inches of space?

T and I saw that one evening and I said, "You know, our spices are such a mess, I'm almost tempted to call and order that," without any irony.  We have these lazy Susans of spices that predate our move to our house [shudder] and I just never got around to cleaning them out because who takes time to clean out the spice rack?  Not me.  It certainly didn't rank high on the list of priorities, even though I knew it would make life better. 

Guess what T got me for Christmas?  

I don't even have a picture of the other, two-tiered lazy Susan rack. 
It was too far back, with lots of clutter in front of it.


And Julie Andrews and a host of angels sang in the background.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Well, I must say without prejudice that J was a STAR this Christmas.  If you have read this blog with any regularity, you know that December 25 involves The Great Christmas Road Trip because we have so many people to see, and J did very well with all the traveling.  On the one hand, I feel so fortunate that we have so many relatives to spend time with and love.  On the other hand, spending time in the car going from place to place to place gets a bit tedious.  But I try to focus on the former, not the latter.  In a few years J will want to stay home to play with his toys, anyway, so that will all change.

We went to my stepdad's for Christmas Eve cocktails.  Dad gave J his little Christmas outfit, complete with reindeer footies:

 Sister E and niece C...J is finally reaching back!

Then we went to T's mother's for dinner.  She got to feed J his dinner:

 Note the footies and Dad's "classic Grandma picture!" expression

On Christmas morning we opened our own presents.  No pictures of us unkempt in our jammies, sorry: T made breakfast and I whipped together dough because when you give the gift of bread, it helps to have it fresh.  This made for a slightly hectic morning, although we had fun with our stockings and gifts, as usual.  Then we zipped over to T's father's house:

 Grandpa loved the plaid shirt...he owns many just like it.

Next, we traveled to Batavia to see my grandmother and my dad.  Grandma adores her great-grandmother status, as you can see:

 How terrific is this wrapping paper?  I've tried not to use it anymore in my green living pursuits, but I'd use this in a heartbeat.

 Happy Papa and little J

 Hooray for this Christmas thing!  

Our last stop before heading home was my mother's with my sisters and their families, along with another sumptuous meal.

 T with the two kids
Five men and a baby
(I'll have to post the women version of this once someone sends it to me!)
Home again, home again, jiggety jig by 10:45...a long but lovely Christmas.  Hope all of you had equally nice holidays!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Well, J has grown in leaps and bounds...almost crawling, almost sitting up, close to teething.  Today he reached the fabulous milestone of ratcheting his cries up to a scream when he's really hungry.  It's that cry you cringe at when you hear it in the grocery store and promptly turn your cart around and head toward...anywhere else.  But now he has a few new toys from Santa (aka grandparents), so life isn't too bad (as long as milk comes rightnowimmediatelyfasterSCREAM).  I'm pretty excited for his first Christmas and all the ensuing pictures.  He got a sweet little Christmas outfit from my dad and stepmom, so that will enhance the cuteness.  Not that I'm biased.

On a more sober note, yesterday I found out the boy I home-tutored for most of the last school year passed away on Monday.  He had a rare form of cancer and his family viewed his survival as a long shot, but boy did they try.  Kid went through surgeries, chemo, you name it.  I got him through ninth grade English... we met once a week.  We did a lot of talking about non-English related topics, mostly movies, books, Buffalo sports teams, and the annoyance of younger siblings.  Andrew was mature for his age and handled his illness with a lot of humor and calm.  A huge sports fan, he collected all sorts of memorabilia, and foundations such as Carly's Kids and Make a Wish helped him get a few more, plus visits and introductions to many of his sports heroes.  When I heard he'd died, I broke down because...why?  Why a teenage boy?  Why right before Christmas?  And then I thought about it...this last surgery was a long shot at best.  It may sound terrible, but now he doesn't have to suffer chemo or the many side effects, no more colostomy bags, no more weight loss or worrying that a simple cold would become not so simple.  T also pointed out to me that I had the privilege of giving him a normal spot in his life, even if that normalcy involved me chiding him about missed homework deadlines and making him write essays.  I'm so glad I got to work with him and get to know him.  It's one of the privileges of teaching.

But I've also begun to realize that I can do that sort of helping elsewhere, too, outside of that profession.  The idea of getting out of teaching for a while has rolled around in my subconscious for a few months now.  I'm meeting tomorrow with a colleague of my dad's who may be able to connect me with others who can help me find work.  I'm cautiously optimistic...the unemployment's running out relatively soon, and I have to have something under my belt.  In the meantime, I can remember Andrew and hug my own precious, healthy boy.  If I don't get to this site before Sunday, merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate it (and happy Hanukkah right now!) and--J is kind of crawling as I write this.  I'm going to go watch that little miracle.

Love to all of you.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Look. At. This.

Today we Skyped with Papa.  These are the screen shots he took of J:



Made it!

And the world will never be the same.  

(Note: Not full-on crawling yet; lots of creeping, arms-only with occasional legs thrown in and rocking in place on all fours.  But it's coming....) 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stationery card (Shutterfly said they'd give me a $10 off gift card, so I've done a little advertising.)

Simply Modern Band Holiday Card
Create modern holiday cards with your photos at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Life lesson

Yesterday I had an interview for an English position at a local school, full time.  I prepared for it, went, answered the questions as well as I could, was my bright and charming self, created a writing sample, and...didn't get called for the second round of interviews that afternoon.  Honestly, the waiting felt worse than finding out I lost out.

That told me something, something that's swirled around in my mind for a while (what I wouldn't give for a Pensieve some days): Maybe I should take a break from teaching.  Maybe the universe or some Higher Power has given me the signal that I can use my other skills and interests to do something.  I love teaching, love it dearly, but the paperwork--grading essays, homework, you name it--tripped me up even before I had J.  I can do it...I can get things done, but it's not my strong point when I don't have a deadline imposed on me by someone else.  I don't do self-imposed deadlines well at all because somewhere in my head, I believe it's not a big deal if I don't meet it.  Somehow I don't get that not meeting that deadline means less sleep, less time with T, more stress.  I know it but I don't. 

I certainly don't think going into a job other than teaching will be...easier.  I just think it might be better suited for me.  Right after I found out I didn't get the callback from this place, I immediately called this person my dad knows who can help me find something.  We've got a lunch coming up, we discussed the idea of international student programs (Trick Panda, may need some help on this from your end on this--I'd love to know more about St. Margaret's program if this comes to fruition), using my languages, editing and writing, and I began to get excited.  It felt good to think about using my other talents as well.

This probably sounds repetitive, but I know now that getting cut from my last job has become one of the most serendipitous events in my life.  I would never, ever have had all this time to spend with my son otherwise.  And I wouldn't have the chance to expand my horizons on the job front, either.  Thanksgiving has come and gone, but I find myself still, every day, deeply thankful and grateful for my life and the course it's taking.  What a surprise.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I made this for dinner...complete with a delicious olive oil dough that really made it tasty.  The recipe for the dough comes from my favorite bread book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  I've taken to looking through it lately to figure out a few fun really is that easy to do.  I managed to put the dough together while J took a nap, but it took me less then ten minutes, honestly.  So delicious on a cold, messy night!

The peppers had their inspiration in Ouiser's pledge on her recent post to eat more vegetables.  Now, I don't do too poorly in that area, but I could do better.  So for the last few days, I've tried more consciously to eat my fruits and vegetables, and I've done fairly well, I must say.  I try to balance it all without leaning too much on pasta and bread (yes, dough counts as bread, I'm aware, but I know exactly what went into it).  Sure, I fall down on the job every once in a while, but I figure if I want to stay healthy for myself and my child (and if I want to work on losing that pregnancy weight), conscious eating goes a long way.  

At least I'm doing something about it, unlike our congress, who considers pizza a viable vegetable for school lunches....

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A glass of water

In the movie White Men Can't Jump (yes, I'm actually referencing that silly movie), T and I always made fun of one scene in which the main female protagonist, Gloria, and her boyfriend, Billy, are lying in bed.  She tells him she's thirsty and he gets her a glass of water.  She then gets angry with him for doing this, saying,

"See. if I'm thirsty. I don't want a glass of water, I want you to sympathize. I want you to say, 'Gloria, I too know what it feels like to be thirsty. I too have had a dry mouth.' I want you to connect with me through sharing and understanding the concept of dry mouthedness."

Billy pretty much says she's overthinking it-- if you're thirsty, get some water.  Solve the problem.  T and I reference it every so often when we think someone's acting like Gloria.

Last night I realized, to some extent, I've become Gloria.  In looking at myself critically, I realize that I have what I consider a rather female tendency to want to get sympathy for a problem, to discuss it, but not necessarily to fix it.  Now, I'm not trying to bash myself--I think there's definitely valid reason to examine a problem.  However, if examination doesn't lead to solving of said problem, sometimes it's a waste of effort and emotion.  Consequently, I shall attempt from here on out to quench my metaphorical thirst with metaphorical water...I'll likely still examine my frustrations and problems but will attempt to solve or improve them as well.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Just ducky

Thanks to Toddler Tamer, J dressed as a duck for Halloween.  The fact that the costume fit him slightly too large made it even better:

 What did Mommy do to me?  How did I get like this?

 Well, I know I look pretty sweet....

 I'm kind of excited about it, really

 Actually, today I'm Ducktor Evil 

 Mommy, what is this thing on my head?

 What's with all the adults making all that racket to get us to look up, anyway?  They are so silly.

I'm helping! 
What?  I said I was helping.  I wasn't going to do anything....

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

As promised

I said I'd post picture of J, and here are a few.  If you're friends with me on Facebook, you've probably seen them already, but oh well.  Enjoy anyway.
I am cute even first thing in the morning.

Sweet little froggie heinie!  I love that he sleeps like this.

Got this picture with sheer luck.  What a ham.

First time in the Bumbo


 It's good to have Daddy as a lounge chair.

C was in the process of trying to "pat" him, nine-month-old style (IE, no gentleness but lots of enthusiasm and love)

 A little QT with Daddy

Turning four months is a serious business.                         Nah, I'm ok with it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Easy Crock Pot Chili

Yesterday I made what may be the easiest crock pot recipe I've come across since my favorite Turkey Sausage and Tortellini Stew (have I posted this?  Let me know if you want it--EXTREMELY simple).  I got it from my sister M and BIL C's wedding cookbook.  You're welcome.

- 2-3 frozen chicken breasts
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- peppers of your choice
- 3 different cans of beans
- 1 diced onion
- 1 packet chili seasoning mix
- I also threw in a can of Mexi-corn; I'm sure you could use fresh or frozen

Put the breasts, frozen, in the crock pot.  Take a large bowl and mix the other ingredients together, then pour it all over the chicken.  Put on LOW for the day (I did about seven hours).  The chicken will separate like pulled pork (which you could also use) with just a bit of prodding.

THAT'S IT.  It turned out quite delicious.

Friday, October 21, 2011


I think my last post may have had a tone I didn't mean to elicit, so now I'm wondering if I did it unintentionally.  I meant for it to sound matter-of-fact, me trying to make myself realize that things are actually pretty good right now even though money's tight.  But as a result, I received various e-mails and comments and phone calls of support, so thank you to my lovely friends and family for your endless support.  Plus today, for some reason, I feel I made some potentially good inroads to getting a job.  I have no specific evidence as to why I feel this way, aside from using LinkedIn to make a connection and looking at another university job.  Who knows if either will pan out, but simply making those moves buoyed me immensely.  My mother would be so proud of me: both she and DH rock when it comes to making a Plan (you must capitalize The Plan).  They're both detail-oriented when it comes to getting things done, so I get it from both sides.  This helps because I do not always get those details that seem screamingly obvious to them, like immediately seeing who we know when I apply for a job so I can possibly get my resume noticed above the other hundreds like me, clamoring for work, or making a List of What I Have to Do and What to Do to Make Things Happen. 

But I digress.  On this crazy Friday night I have successfully managed to cook a great dinner and finish Mockingjay, PLUS get a haircut and have nice-looking salon hair, so the fact that it's 8:40 and I may well go to bed in 20 minutes does not faze me.  Did I ever think I'd have this life?  Me on one couch, T on the other, excited about the fact that we just got new space heaters for the bedrooms, both with one ear listening for noise on the baby monitor?  Hardly.  Yet I love the life I have.  It would take too long to explain; I just know I'm happy and plan to work very hard at staying that way.

On a side note, the other night I made an amazing Brazilian fish stew (Moqueca) that T pronounced "restaurant-grade quality".  Got the recipe from my dad over a year ago and finally got around to it.  It's really not hard to make at all, although we have to save it for an "every-so-often meal" in terms of splurging on the fish.  If the idea of a slightly spicy, hearty white fish stew revvs your engine, make this dish immediately.  It calls for serving with rice, but we didn't bother.  Doesn't need it, I think. 

Ah, yes, I know I promised Little Man pictures.  Forthcoming.  And wait until you see J in his Halloween costume (thanks to Toddler Tamer!)....

Monday, October 17, 2011

What I know

Wow, time flies.  I didn't realize it had been so long since I last posted; I'll try to do better.  However, right now most of my days consist of playing with J, learning the ins and outs of his dietary and digestive habits, and looking for jobs.  I love the J part, although the job search gets a bit frustrating. 

To that end, here is what I know:  I cannot control

...the job market
...why people choose to hire or not hire the way they do
...the weather
...whether people call me back or not long J naps
...the quality of T's day at work
...the health of my loved ones
...the fact that we simply have to spend money on certain things
...certain changes my body has gone through, post-baby

I can control much I pursue a job and the avenues I choose to take to get one I present myself as a candidate
...dressing for warmth, wind, and rain
...making attempts to get together with friends and meet new people
...the general pattern of J's days and what I do within my days I respond to T when he's had a hard day to make it a better one
...positive thoughts and vibes, calling the doctor when J feels bad, trusting my instincts spending on frivolous items, staying within our budget
...working out in tiny increments when I can, eating healthily, accepting the fact that my body's changes have resulted in the most fabulous life change I've ever had the privilege of going through

So I'll do my best to live the Serenity Prayer, really.  Not a bad way to go about things, is it?

(Upcoming:  lots of pictures of J)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Quick List of Things I Have Learned to Do One-Handed

This should imply I have the baby occupying the other hand.

I'll post pictures soon...I think J may be going through another growth spurt, so I'm on call a lot lately.  He's also rolling over and then becoming royally ticked because he can't roll back or hold up his head well yet, so I do a lot of rescuing.  He's like a reverse little bug, except he's stuck on his tummy instead of his back, poor little guy.  But he can already use his legs to thrust himself forward.  We may be in trouble....

Anyway, here goes (and yes, I'm doing this LEFTY)
  • type (obviously)
  • eat
  • take out and fold laundry
  • put a bottle together
  • dress J (while holding him in place with the other)
  • Push a stroller with the dog on her leash using the other hand (work in progress)
  • text
I bet there are more, but I can't think of them right now.   By the way, my friend L sent us a Halloween costume for J that will make you melt from the sweetness.  When I post the picture at the end of next month, I dare you not to react. 

P.S. Twelve weeks today!  And happy birthday, dear sister M!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Later

I feel a need to write about September 11, 2001.  If you don't want to read it, that's fine.

I'd just begun my third year of teaching in a very small town in Virginia.  Strangely enough, not two days before that in a class discussion, I had informed my rather sheltered female students that they should count themselves lucky that war had never truly touched their lives.  They'd agreed.  [I bet they're remembering me saying that, too.]  Little did we all know. 

I had sent a girl down to the book room to get a class set of a novel we were supposed to begin that day.  She came back after a while and told me that nobody was in there; a plane had hit one of the World Trade Centers and all the adults had gone to watch the coverage on TV.  In typical student fashion, the girls immediately begged me to go watch as well.  In typical teacher fashion, I told them we'd finish our grammar lesson, but then I'd let them go watch because I wanted them to be informed about what was going on in the world.  Two minutes later, a voice came on over the intercom and asked us to go to the chapel.  We knew then something had happened.

The headmistress informed us all that two planes had hit each of the Twin Towers in New York.  Not only that, a third plane had hit the Pentagon.  At this one of my teacher friends uttered a scream and ran from the room to call her mother, who worked there.  We were in northern VA; a few other girls had family members in that same building.  Thankfully, nobody lost anyone in that tragedy.  I remember feeling overwhelmed, wanting to know if my sister and friends who lived in NYC were all right, wanting to rush to the phone myself.  At that same moment I knew I had to put on a brave face for my students, just teenagers who quite suddenly had war thrust upon their formerly quiet lives.  The head of school sent the girls to their dorms or the cafeteria (I don't recall) and asked the teachers to stay. 

We made the decision to go on with classes as best we could for some sense of stability, even if we couldn't really teach lessons.  We'd resume after the next period technically began.  [G and N, am I getting this right?  Do you remember?]  As we filed out of the chapel, I remember looking at my fellow teacher, Leigh, and not having any words; neither of us did.  We simply reached out to each other and hugged tightly for a few long minutes, young twenty-somethings who'd realized how much our world had changed in such a short time.  I went to class and for the rest of the day the girls and I began the period talking about what had happened for part of the period, then attempting a lesson to achieve some sense of normalcy.  At lunch I rushed home and called my parents, desperate for news of my sister, A.  She'd managed to call my dad before the lines flooded and became unusable to tell him she was OK.  I remember turning on the TV and watching the coverage by myself, holding my dog Boo close and wondering why this had all happened, how were my other friends, would I know anyone who had died.  My friend T called to tell me our other dear friend L was safe, and I thought with a shock that L hadn't crossed my mind in the wake of worrying about my sister.  I felt terrible.

Strangely, my sister, abroad in Italy, had called my mother to find out what the hell happened before my mother had even turned on the TV or radio.  Her professor told her and her fellow students not to travel in large groups and to say to anyone who asked that they were Canadian.  The memorial e-mails began to fly the next day.  I remember sitting in my classroom alone the next afternoon after having looked at one particularly poignant group of pictures: stills from the tragedy combined with vigils that had sprung up around the world.  I put my head down on the keyboard and finally let myself weep for those who had died so needlessly and for the bizarre act of terrorism fueled by hate and religious zealotry.  A student came in to ask for something and I waved her off, unable to even look at her.  A day after that, the beep for the intercom came on in the middle of class again and we all froze, only to hear that some teacher had a phone call.  We all let out breaths of relief at the mundane announcement, recognizing at the same time how things had changed....never before had we felt fear at that innocuous little noise.

After the dust had literally and figuratively settled, I discovered I knew two girls who had perished:  Lindsay Morehouse, a year behind me in high school, and Cat Macrae, a girl I'd known a bit from summers in Southampton.  I don't bring up their names to be macabre or just to make a connection; I do it in remembrance of lives cut short.  We've all been touched by September 11 in some way.  Complacency of living in America--who would dare attack us?--has gone, replaced not by fear, at least in my mind, but realization that we cannot afford complacency of any kind.  I don't take things for granted as I used to.  I realize how fleeting life can be and how fortunate I am to have people in my life who love me as they do. 

So today I'll probably watch some of the coverage, hold my baby tightly, and kiss my husband a bit more than usual.  I'll look back on these ten years and what it's brought.  And I'll try to be grateful.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September fare

Although I won't have that first day of school, I plan to continue the tradition of the first day of school meal; keep up tradition.  Plus as the nights cool off and the air has that hint of fall to it, my mind turns to hearty soups and stews.  I love this time of year, fleeting as it is.  This one is super easy!

Crock Pot Turkey Sausage and Tortellini Stew

- 6 oz. turkey sausage, sliced (if you don't have the pre-cooked kind, I'd throw it in a skillet until it's just cooked through)
- 2 cans stewed tomatoes
- 1 can french onion soup
- 1-2 cups frozen green beans (I love extra)
- 3 c. water
- 1-2 c. coleslaw mix
- 1 small package cheese tortellini
- grated Parmesan cheese

Throw everything but the tortellini and cheese into a crock pot and stir to mix.  8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.  After the time is up, add the tortellini and cook on high for 15 more minutes.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top of each serving.  Makes about six hearty servings.  NOTE:  You may want to add more water to thin it out a bit.

It's that easy!

Monday, September 5, 2011


So I've had a theme in my posts lately, and this one will follow that theme.  I think it's because tomorrow is the first day of school and for the first time in a long while, I won't be part of it.  No laying out that "first day of school" outfit the night before, getting my lunch ready, making sure I have my class lists and attendance book all set to go.  That thrill of a new year, new possibilities in teaching. 

But I'm not sad, not really.  Well, I do feel a bit bittersweet.  However, I have to say that when I watch the kids walk down the path to school and I get to do so in my pajamas while holding my son, who just rolled over for the first time today, I will feel lucky that I have this time, even if it means we're tightly budgeting and a wee bit scared for the future.  Any extra minutes I get to spend with J, I consider a gift, something I wouldn't have if I still had a job.  So there's not a thing wrong with that.

Plus job hunting has reminded me of my other interests and skills--I've widened my net for possible work environments, and it's caused me to re-examine other passions I hold.  While I may not end up in a classroom setting, I can still find a way to use what I love about teaching--reaching out to others and helping them--in another arena.  Who knows what the future may hold in that respect?  I try to look at it as exciting rather than daunting, even in this hideous economy.  Meantime, watching J smile at me and grow a little each day fills me with love and the desire to do all I can for him and our family. 

So I look at September as a month of new possibilities anyway, just differently than I'd expected.  And I look forward to each day.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Closing a chapter

This week I packed up the last of my belongings from my previous job.  T picked them up on Friday and brought them home.  I don't work there anymore.  Since I live so close, it makes my feelings for the place...complex.  Yesterday as I walked the dog and baby, I saw kids getting ready for morning football practice.  One of them called out to me and asked about the baby, gave me a big smile.  It made me smile, but it'll take a little while to get used to the fact that that will not be a part of my life anymore.  Of course, that has its merits--no longer will I have to worry that I'll know the cashier at Rite Aid when I have to buy something personal.  That has actually happened more than once. 

I think the packing brought into sharp clarity that fear I mentioned from my last post--we have a newborn, I'm on unemployment, will we have enough to live on, will I become too expensive to hire because I ironically have too much experience....Nope.  Can't go down that road.  So I will try to look at this as a positive.  I feel so lucky that I'm getting this time to spend with my dear little man.  I don't regret a day of that.  This may give me the chance to try something different, something outside of teaching.  And I never quite felt comfortable at my job, honestly.  I don't want to get too far into it, but I never felt like I truly belonged.  This just gives me new opportunities, and I will try to take advantage of as many of them as I can.


Well, it's a bit more of the same, although summer's coming to a close and I don't have a job yet, and frankly, that's scary.  I do have an interview, so I'm hopeful, but I don't even want to write any more about it...superstitious, you know.  I have a tendency to find things to worry about...I don't know if this is just part of my personality or inherited (my mom does spring to mind) or what, but for some reason I sometimes will think of ways that something won't work instead of looking on the bright side.  But as T pointed out, the only way we can think is positively because anything else becomes self-defeating.  We have a beautiful, healthy baby boy, and I give thanks for that miracle every day.  So as long as I remember the great things I do have and think in terms of when I'll get a job, we'll do just fine.  I think in this economy I have to play Pollyanna a bit, plus work hard to make my own luck.  That's the fine but important difference between expecting something good to happen and making something good happen.  I realized that if I think of my life right now in terms of doing for us and not for me, it gives me more impetus to get things done.

I apologize if this seems rambly; these thoughts have swirled around in my head for quite some time now, and I've just gotten the opportunity to give voice to them.  Bottom line, if I live my life fearing what bad things might happen, not as much good will happen, either.

Baby J has begun smiling more.  He rolls to the side and his little face lights up when I get him out of bed in the morning.  We've begun going for more morning walks with him in the Ergo; he tends to fall asleep and drool all over me.  I love it. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Mom Thoughts

So I have a few minutes, and I thought I'd write.  A few baby updates:

- He has begun gurgling, cooing, and smiling.  It's so thrilling I don't know how to express it.  He started at about five weeks (he's 6 and a half now--WOW) and T and I spend half our time just watching him and making noises back.  Cheap and wonderful entertainment, folks.  I truly love it.

- He weighs over 11lbs and sleeps well.  I don't even want to write more about it for fear he'll suddenly develop colic and scream for hours a day, poor little colicky babies.

- Apparently, the child likes funk and soul but not classic rock:  The Who came on and he began to cry, so we switched to The Spinners and he quieted right down.

- First official outing:  Taste Coffee House the next town over.  He slept the whole time.  It was very exciting.

- He's begun truly looking at things, especially this painting in our living room and the turtle mobile in his pack-n-play.  They don't even move and he gurgles at them like mad.

I'm writing this down partially for me...haven't begun a baby book yet and I know if I don't write these things somewhere, I'll forget.  So I apologize, but consider yourselves privileged that you're part of the record of his young life.

Recently I joined a parent group in my area--the Internet is a wonderful tool.  I realized I needed to meet some other moms in the area and this is the modern way to do it.  I knew they had to be out there; the schools wouldn't be so damned overcrowded otherwise.  Went to my first meeting at the one woman's house the other day, and it just felt nice to make myself part of a network of other women like me, at least in terms of having kids.  They all seemed quite nice and the group has TONS of outings.  The coordinator also pointed out that even if an event was geared toward older kids for me to come anyway and just hang out with the parents...that's part of the reason for the group.  I'm glad she reminded me of that.  I don't always reach out or ask for help when I need it, so I end up alone far too often.  I've written about this before: I'm not an unfriendly person, but I think I wait sometimes for opportunities to meet other people to present themselves instead of making the opportunity myself or seeking one out. So I'm making attempts and seeing what I can do to pull myself out of...myself.  I'm trying to make more calls to friends and keep connections going.

It's interesting: In a recent issue of Real Simple, I read an article on how to be a better friend.  It had suggestions from various experts and then the last one came from a nine year-old girl.  She pointed out that she has all day at school to see her friends, but adults don't have that and they need to do a better job of seeing their friends.  Talk about a case of out of the mouths of babes....

Monday, July 25, 2011

Still Here

Just checking in...I simply don't have a whole lot to report other than feeding frequency, diaper changes, watching Baby J grow and change (which is really amazing--he's a month and already almost 12lbs, according to our scientific method of weighing ourselves and then holding him and re-weighing), and realizing the beauty and wonder of showers and naps.  Oh, and the occasional job search.

Right now he's in the middle of a growth spurt, which means he's eating ALL THE TIME.  I love him so much, so I feel guilty when he cries and a part of me thinks, "Again?!", but I know this too shall pass (thank you, Ouiser) and I'm so lucky to have him in my life.  I sort of can't figure out what we did before we had him.

OK, he's crying, so I'm off to see what Mommy Magic I can pull off.  I'm thinking a drive around the neighborhood to calm him, likely in the A/C!  Promise I'll write more when he gets a wee bit more scheduled. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Baby J makes his way into the world

Well, I have a few minutes here while little man is in his swing (aka The Neglect-o-matic) after feeding, so I'll finally get to write a little bit about how the last ten days of my life have utterly, completely changed...and yet it's all getting to be routine.

I was due on the 18th, a Saturday.  That day came and went.  Father's Day came and went, although I still gave T a card.  We even went to brunch in hopes that if we got out of the house, I'd start having contractions.  No go.  Doctor's office on Tuesday:  zilch.  I'd had no water breakage, few contractions, and he seemed perfectly happy to stay where he was.  So we scheduled an induction for Wednesday afternoon at 4:30.  That day we managed to distract ourselves pretty well, re-cleaning the house and wandering the mall because I knew I couldn't sit through an entire movie.  Well, we got to the hospital, I changed into a gown, they told me they were going to give me something to dilate me, and then, the ultrasound....

The resident (who seemed very capable--I know from Dr. B. that residents are, indeed, "real doctors") couldn't quite find the head.  She called in another doctor who could read them better and "'s the head.  At the top.  Oh, yeah, he's feet down."  Ohhhhh, crap.  The awesome 30-year veteran nurse informed me that we could try to turn the baby and the other option was a straight c-section.  At this I began to cry, of course, out of fear and anxiety and about a MILLION hormones.  T immediately asked what the safest option was and we were told c-section.  Thankfully they hadn't given me any of that other medication yet.  However, I'd eaten a Kashi bar at 5pm, thinking I was prepping myself for labor, so we had to wait until 6:30am to actually do the surgery.  To be fair, when I spoke with my doctor, she honestly told me while she could do it at midnight, she preferred the morning so she could get a good night's sleep.  I had to agree--I preferred a well-rested doctor doing major surgery to remove a baby from me than one who'd probably be hopped up on caffeine.  Fewer chances of jittery hands.

One well-utilized Ambien and about eight hours later, I was anesthetized from the waist down (but awake--pain receptors are blocked but feeling receptors aren't, so I could feel some things) and ready to go.  T was an absolute champ, stroking my hair, holding my hand (which I could feel) and being extremely calm.  I found out later he took pictures of them weighing the baby and all those absolute firsts, and I vaguely remember seeing my mother and T's mom and stepdad right after.  The picture we put on Facebook tells it all: ecstatic father, tiny baby, and barely-post-op-already-crying mommy:

Four days later on Sunday we got to take him home, which felt almost surreal.  T drove exactly the speed limit all the way home; J slept the entire way, thank goodness.  We came home to a spotless house, flowers, and a completely full refrigerator, compliments of our families and friends.

It's been a heck of a steep learning curve since, let me tell you.  T's mother stayed over for the first three nights to help us out (and we needed it!), my friend M did the same on the night when J fussed for at least an hour and a half in the middle of the night and gave us all sorts of practical and much-needed advice (like how to relieve a gassy baby--I didn't know!  But how and why would I?), my sister M has called with all sorts of helpful advice, and my mother has been an absolute godsend, coming over every day when T is at work to help out.  For my part, it's taken a lot for me to accept the help offered because I really am not supposed to do anything but take care of myself and the baby.  This ranges from doing any sort of housework to going up and down the stairs a lot due to my surgery.  Fortunately, a mild case of mastitis the other day forced me to slow down--in particular the "flu-like symptoms" and I've finally realized that that's what needs to happen.  It also didn't help that two days after I got home, I found out I wouldn't be hired back at my current job and we had to scramble to find health insurance, but the latter's been taken care of and a job will happen, I know.  But not a good time for the old raging, rearranging hormones.  P.S. Insurance can get expensive.  Yuck.

Despite the bumps, I am totally in love with this little man.  We're already figuring out his cries and moods, what soothes him, and that formula is not the devil when used to supplement, especially when you're exhausted and sore and whipping a bottle together means your dear husband can take over one of the feedings.  We've tried to remember to give Penny extra love so she doesn't feel neglected and feels a part of the family unit.  My whole life has changed, and I wouldn't change it back for anything in the world. I never knew I had the capability of this much love...of my husband and my son.  (P.P.S. writing those last two words did indeed choke me up.)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Welcome to the world, baby J

Frederick James III

8lbs, 14oz, 22in.

And our lives will never be the same. Hooray!
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Longest Day

It is indeed the first day of summer, the longest technical day of the year in terms of sunshine.

It also figuratively feels like the longest damned day ever.  No contractions.  No back pain.  No water breakage.  No NOTHING.  I'm only four days overdue, and I don't know how women don't go on total hormonal rampages when they're late.  Seriously, Scarlet, how did you manage to survive nine extra days?  Meanwhile, one of my dear childhood friends who was due three weeks after me just gave birth to a healthy baby girl yesterday.  I do see the cons in this:  They didn't have a bag packed, figured they had more time, etc.  But ohhhh...a tiny bit of jealousy reared its ugly head. 

I've tried all the tricks.  I've walked.  I've eaten spicy food.  I had a beer.  I did other things.  The only thing I haven't done is eat eggplant--clearly my lack of eggplant is holding things back.  

He is moving around maddeningly inside, as if to say, "Ha ha, Mommy, I am so comfy and I just want to remind you that I am still here!"  Yes, I know that I am incredibly fortunate to even be pregnant, and as of tomorrow I'll be induced, so by the weekend I will have him in my arms and be exhausted and happy. 

But I'm hormonal and hot and uncomfortable, and the magic of pregnancy is gone

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Beginnings and Endings

OK, so a few posts ago I titled it "beginnings", and now I have both.  This baby is imminent (and I really hope the next time I post it will be me looking exhausted and weepy with a teeny tiny, wrinkly, gorgeous little bean in my arms)--not quite as imminent as I'd like, considering he hasn't dropped enough yet.  However, I plan to eat spicy food and have a beer on Friday and hope for the best.  I'd love for T to have a true Father's Day if possible, so please send good "come into the world" vibes for him.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to get everything in place. I just finished up the last of my major grading last week and I've got lovely colleagues helping finish my exams for me.  I've cooked up and frozen a few meals (although I probably should do more!) for us to defrost when I'm so tired I can't see straight.  We've been working like mad people to get the room and the house ready:  My mom and sister have come over numerous times to help clean and re-organize, and the baby's room now looks ready, don't you think?:

The organized closet is all my mom and sister M
(Toddler Tamer, recognize the bathrobe?)

Mom and M also re-arranged the clothing drawers.
AND, T finally got the opportunity to get the dining room painted--doesn't it look awesome?  As he said, it's Big Kids.  It looks like a totally different place.  I also love the Pack-n-Play in the middle of things.  We picked the color partly because we loved it and partly because we could not pass up the name:  LaFonda Green.  Not kidding.  How can you not paint your dining room LaFonda Green?

(a little Napoleon Dynamite reference)


 After (we haven't put the art back up yet)

T also rearranged our bedroom--all he did was angle the bed, and it changes the whole room:  We've unblocked the window and just given this whole new dimension of space.  Obviously Penny likes it.
I also realized I better get you one more picture of me, so it's not great, but here I am, right before baby J comes.  My dear friend D, a great photographer, took some genuine lovely pregnancy shots (no, I did not go au naturel), but I don't have them yet, so this will have to do:
He just has to drop a leeetle more.

So that's the latest wrap-up with us.  Hopefully we'll have some news soon!