Sunday, January 31, 2010

What a difference six years makes

This is a story about January 31. Six years ago, Ry and I promised to love each other for the rest of our lives. We were 23 and 24 and had no idea what life was going to dish up for us in the coming years.

It was cold. Damn cold. Antarctica cold. It was -15 F, to be exact, and yet our family and friends braved the weather to make January 31, 2004 the warmest day of the year.

We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful way to begin our marriage. We were excited to embark on a life together.

Today is January 31, 2010. Our life is certainly different. It is more full of love and joy than I ever could have imagined. Ok, so the trappings are a little different.

The dinner may be little different, but look at all we've added in a short six years: a few pounds, a couple wrinkles, two beautiful boys and an explosion of love.

I am pleased to say that I love Ry more today than yesterday and more yesterday than the day before. In fact, as a wise man told us on the day of our wedding, I look back on that day as the day I loved my husband the least. I love you babe. Happy Anniversary.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Go get your kids vaccinated!

The doctor who authored the original, flawed study linking the MMR vaccine to autism, has been found in breach of ethical and professional guidelines.

Friday, January 29, 2010

And it wasn't a disaster

We have largely been avoiding any restaurant where you don't place your order at the counter. This is mostly because I don't feel (so) bad when my 3 month old decides to scream his little head off for 10 or 15 minutes. He's getting better, but the crying spells are still unpredictable and unstoppable.

Today was the end of a very long week for everyone. Ry worked crazy hours, which meant that I, too worked crazy hours. Most evenings he made it home just before bedtime for the boys, so at least I wasn't trying to get them both down at night. Since he was gone last week and away most of the days this week, by the time we got to today, we were both beat up and wrung out. So we decided to go out to dinner, at a real restaurant with real servers. Brave, I know.

As it turns out, it was delightful. Our waitress was lovely, T was amused by his crayons and I Spy book and then ate an enormous meal, and F had only a few fussy minutes before he passed out on my collarbone. Ry and I got to have a real adult conversation and real adult beverage. Ahhh. Sometimes the stars align and everything is effortless. This was one of those evenings.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

You're a tool, you're a tool ...

You're an unbelievable tool.

Right. So I joined a gym about a week ago. I've been remarkably out of shape since T was born and decided that it was time to start feeling healthy again. Part of the membership is a free assessment/physical training appointment every other month. Yesterday I decided to go and take advantage of this free service.

I knew from the moment Moe introduced himself that this was going to be 45 minutes of my life I'd never get back from the worst kind of Jersey meathead. He walked up to me, said "Hey, I'm Moe," in that irritatingly chirpy voice reserved for caffeinated cheerleaders and those infomercial guys. They he turned around and all but ran back to his office. I followed him as he waved at random people in the gym.

When we got to his office he asked me what my goals were. I explained that I hadn't been a gym member since my older son was born, I didn't feel very healthy and I wanted to get back into my pre-baby clothes and body. He kept pushing me for a specific weight goal, so I finally said, "I'd like to be in [a ten pound range]." "Great!" he said, "so you'd like to be [at the lowest number of the range]. Let me tell you a little about myself!" And he proceeded to spend the next five minutes extolling his virtues. He wasn't a normal physical trainer, you see, he had starred in exercise videos, been featured in [nearby big city] gazette, trained celebrities and written books! And so humble too. The way he gushed, it was apparent I was supposed to count my lucky stars and bask in his reflected glory.

Then he took 25 minutes to explain in excruciating generalities that in order to get to my goal, I needed to lift weights, do cardio and eat right. Thank you Albert Einstein. I guess telling me once wasn't enough, because he continued to repeat the same canned presentation for the entire time. Of course, all during this time he kept checking his watch, glancing over my shoulder to see who else was around and admiring himself in his computer monitor. Finally, he took a breath, looked up at me and asked "Have you ever been [at the goal weight]?" Are you an idiot? Of course, I explained to him, again, that I wanted to get back into my prebaby clothes.

Next he assessed my posture. Essentially, I did a few balance exercises while he looked at my form and shouted "Good, 3 more. Keep on. Let's go!" and other ridiculousness. The whole thing took less than 5 minutes. He took me back to his office and said I should work on my knees. Then he asked if I wanted to sign up for more physical training sessions. Oh, could I? Please? At $85 per session. Pass.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Thanks for your help

I have a small group of women here who I've been friends with now since our children were only a few months old. We try to get together about every week. As a consequence, our kids all know and like each other. They are all within about 6 months of the same age and about half are now potty trained (or in the process).

Today we were at one of the women's houses when her daughter, Kitty, went to the bathroom. This prompted T to decide that he also had to go. After Kitty finished up, T went into the bathroom. "Do you need some help?" I asked. "No," he said, "Kitty will help me." They closed the door in our faces and we heard some bumping, peeing and flushing. A few minutes later, Kitty opened the door to reveal T in his sweater and socks. Only his sweater and socks. Kitty looked up proudly at all of us and said "I helped him!" So you did, sweetheart. Then I got to chase my freewheeling toddler down to get him to put his underwear and pants back on.

We all got a good laugh out of it and decided that in 10 years Kitty could most definitely not help T take off his pants and underwear.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Why does he have feet?

The other day I went over to my girlfriend's house for a playdate. Her son and T are about the same age. When I got there, I made some joke about Little Bit not having legs yet. Then we chatted as the kids played. About 15 minutes later her son came up to me, pointed to Little Bit's feet and said "He has feet!" "Yes, he does," I said. "Why does he have feet?" he asked. "What do you mean?" I replied. "If he doesn't have legs, how can he have feet?" Then I got to explain to a 3 year old that I was making a joke.

Friday, January 22, 2010

It's a good thing there are Dads

There are some subtle differences between my and Ry's parenting styles. For instance, Ry told me this story this afternoon. "Yesterday when T was taking a bath, he realized that if he slammed the juicer bowl into the water really hard he could shoot bubbles like 5 feet in the air. It was hilarious!" And here I was thinking that this isn't such a good idea. Apparently, it was OK though, because the bubbles were staying inside the bathtub. Oh, well then, that makes it all OK.

Also, this. T spent a good 20 minutes jumping on top of my husband this afternoon. Not only am I physically incapable of playing with our 33 pound son like this, frankly, it doesn't look like so much fun. They had a blast.

Dads are different somehow. My Dad got busted when I was a kid for letting me jump on the bed when my Mom told me not to do it. "But Mom," I said, "Daddy lets me jump on the bed!" Dads are different. And thank goodness for that.

Is that even possible?

Today, T told me that he wanted 10 brothers.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Want to lower healthcare costs?

Hire a midwife! This link is to a video lobbying for a law in Massachusetts, but the information is valid for the entire country. It's concise and quick.

Update: It looks like the video was taken down. Maybe it'll be up again later!

I'm a grumpy old troll

In the past few weeks, I've started to understand how people become that crotchety, old neighbor who sits on the porch and screams at kids to stay off her lawn. There have been moments recently when F is crying for no apparent reason, T is throwing a tantrum because his banana is "broken" and my house is a total disaster that I look around and wonder how in the world I got here. In those moments, I've taken to singing this song to myself:
And then I take a deep breathe and try to solve my riddle. Usually by the end of the day, one or both of the boys has done something so precious that it makes it all worthwhile. It often takes a conscious effort on my part to remember to have fun though. I don't want to turn into one of those mothers who only corrects and never cuddles.

I'll leave you with this fun little exchange:

Me: T, why do you have a bandaid on your face?
T: 'Cause Aidan scratched me.
Me: He did? Why did he do that?
T: 'Cause I pulled his hair.
Me (stifling a giggle): Well, I guess you shouldn't pull his hair then.
T: He took my toy.
Me: Right, but that doesn't mean you should pull his hair. You have to share the toys.

Boys ... fun.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The prayers of a toddler

Dear Jesus, thank you for making me warm and comfortable and a good night sleep and a good day tomorrow. Dear Jesus, blessing all the people. And Tucker. And Papa in the hospital. Dear Jesus. In Jesus name. And all God's children say, AMEN!

Put your fingers in your ears and say "La la la"

If you are a guy and/or don't want to listen to me rant about bras.

Seriously? Seriously lingerie industry. For an industry that glorifies big big breasts and tiny, tiny waists, you offer a serious dearth of bras for those of us with gigantic boobs without a matching ribcage. I have looked high and low to find a nursing bra in my size in an actual brick and mortar store. I haven't found one. Not one. I had a hard enough time finding my size before I went and had two babies, but now? Freaking impossible!

Luckily for me and my mammareous friends, I have found the online spot for bras for the rest of us. They have free shipping, they have sales, and they have a great return policy! I'll be shopping there well after I'm done breastfeeding Little Bit. My girls thank you.

** I think I read somewhere that you have to identify when you're being compensated for advertising. For the record, this is a completely unsolicited love fest.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Calgon, take me away

Right, so anyone younger than me probably doesn't get the title reference, so here's the commercial.

Ry is out of town until Friday. Today, while not horrible, was a very long day. It looks to be a very long week. While T was in school this morning, F and I unloaded dishes and looked at mortgage paperwork. Then we went and picked him up from school, had lunch, and I put the boys to bed. T slept for 45 minutes. Usually, it's 4 or 4:30 before he's up. By the time he's gone to the bathroom, had a snack and played for a little while, it's almost dinnertime and my day is nearly over. Right. And today he was up at 2:30. F was up at 3:30 ... and for the rest of the afternoon. Of course, that also meant he was asleep by 7:30 and T in bed by 8 pm. Whew. I'm beat. I don't know how single parents do it, but I sure gained a whole new respect for them.

Also, how do people have like 4 little kids under the age of 5? Are they certifiable? Having three kids seemed like a really good idea until I had two. Sorry for the randomness of this post, but I'm too tired to make a lot of sense right now. Going to try and start tomorrow off with a fresh, positive attitude. It'll help if F isn't up for two hours again tonight.

They're pretty cute though. I guess I'll soldier on.

Grrr, credit reporting

Hubby and I are in the process of refinancing our home. It has been a surprisingly smooth process, especially when you consider that our house is worth less now than when we purchased it 5 years ago. The financers take the middle of the three credit agency's numbers when calculating our interest rate. I have always had, and been proud of my really good credit.

Imagine my surprise when one of the agencies had a medical collection on my record from a town I never lived in under a name I never used! Why can an agency add a random collection under a random name? It's not like it was my name with a different middle initial or something. This was listed under my first name (the most common in my birth year) with a last name that was completely different from either my maiden or married names. Really? Shouldn't they contact you before doing something so completely asinine?

Now, of course, the burden is on me to prove that this collection doesn't belong to me and that this last name wasn't mine. My favorite part is that the agency does its investigation by contacting the organizations that reported the collection to them in the first place! I'm sure they have vested interest in maintaining that the overdue bill was in fact, mine. If the agencies decide that they aren't wrong, they keep it on my credit report and all I can do is file a note explaining why I don't think it should be there.

The only good news here is that my other two scores are quite good and this erroneous score isn't going to hurt our mortgage refinance. I can only imagine how angry people must be who have their identities stolen. How in the world do you go about proving that?

Monday, January 18, 2010

V.2 Upgrades

V.2 has been hard at work downloading upgrades. Here is his latest:He smiles! Smiles are fleeting and usually directed at me after nursing, so they're hard to capture. I am persistent, however, and can now bring you V.2a

Sunday, January 17, 2010

An interesting theory

Ry has an interesting theory about food intake. You see, I'm trying to lose about 15 more pounds of baby weight (12 this morning!). I've been trying to keep an eye on how many calories I'm eating every day, so I can make sure I'm getting the right balance. Too many = fat Jube. Too few = problems with breast milk production. Most days I do pretty good, but it seems like when I fall off the wagon, I fall off the wagon. Once I start eating crap, it seems, I can't stop until sleep wipes the palate clean.

Ry's theory is this: if you're going to eat bad food, eat it all in one day, because the body can only absorb so much junk in one sitting. I wonder if there is anything to this theory. Could it be it's better to eat your weight in girl scout cookies in one day as opposed to spreading it out over the week? Talk amongst yourselves.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Not that Nuprin

Scene: The family is sitting, eating dinner at a local grocery store/cafe. T is happily eating pizza, F is snuggled in his sling.

Random woman: Awww, your baby is so cute!

Me: Thank you.

RW: He looks really comfortable.

Me: Yes. It's probably his favorite place to be.

T: That's my baby!

RW (Turning to T): Are you a big brother?

T: I'm eating pizza!

RW: I see that. Can I have some pizza?

T (Looks confused. Sizes up his pizza and picks up a piece, offering it to RW).

RW (Laughing): Thank you! You should eat it. You are a very good sharer.

T: Oh, thanks.

RW: Are you going to share with your brother?

T (Looks confused): But ... he doesn't eat pizza yet.

** For those of you who don't know, the title of this post refers to a little experience I had just after having my wisdom teeth extracted. My stepmom had given me some Nuprin, which I gagged on, and ended up spitting out, since my mouth was still mostly numb. I spit them into her hand (sorry Lala). She asked me if I wanted more Nuprin. In my drugged state, I looked at the slobbery, oozing Nuprin in her hand and thought that I really didn't want to try them again. The thought must have shown up on my face, because she stifled a little giggle and said "Not that Nuprin."


I read a lot. I tend to get in reading ruts. When I first started contemplating returning to school, I read every book on midwifery I could get my hands on. Then I branched out to nursing and the medical field more generally. While I will still read a book on the topic if it seems interesting, it's not something I actively seek out at the moment. I don't know how my mind decides to be saturated on a topic, but at some point something clicks and I don't have to read everything on the topic anymore.

My current obsession is English history. More specifically, Elizabethan English history (and the surrounding reigns). It all started when I saw the most recent Cate Blanchett movie about Elizabeth's reign: Elizabeth: The Golden Age. It occurred to me that while I knew a fair bit about the early part of her reign, I knew very little about the last years. So I read a biography about her. Then I read about her father, Henry VIII. Holy crap, if you want a fascinating historical character, he's the man. Normal life: you don't like your wife? Divorce her. Henry VIII alternate reality: you don't like your wife? Send her to a damp remote area and hope she dies/chop off her head/make her your "sister"/chop off her head.

What followed were biographies of his Queens: Catherine, Anne, Jane, Anne, Catherine and Catherine. I also read the biography of Mary, Queen of Scots (a contemporary of Elizabeth). Then I read a bunch of historical fiction about these, real, historical characters. Next was historical fiction about made up people living in the midst of these real characters, Elizabeth's daughter, the court jester, another random noble woman.

Now I've started a few books about Henry VII and his Queen, Elizabeth of York (Henry VIII's parents and Elizabeth's grandparents). What's the point of this post? I'm not really sure, except to say that it's funny how you get to where you are. Two years ago, I would have never guessed I would know so much about a country I don't live in or people who have been dead for centuries.

I tried to start some biographies of the founders of the U.S., but they just weren't interesting to me. I'm not sure if it's because their lives were so real or if it's because there were no really powerful interesting women during that time. I guess I'd rather learn about some wickedly intelligent women who rocked the boat a little (and sometimes paid for it with their lives).

So what are you obsessing over these days?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm a baby wearer

This is my newest baby wrap, the Snuggly Wrap. It goes by many names, the Moby Wrap, Ultimate Wrap, blah blah blah. It's basically just 5 yards of stretchy knit material and it's awesome! I also have a shoulder sling (thanks mom!) and a Baby Bjorn. I never really liked the Bjorn. It was difficult to get into, and T never seemed comfortable. I used the shoulder sling almost continuously through F's first 2 months. Once he started to get big though, it started to really hurt my upper back and shoulders.

I had seen these out and around but thought they looked impossibly complicated to put on. As it turns out, they really aren't. It's quick and easy to get into, comfy for F, and great for my back. It also allows me free movement of both arms (the only major drawback of the shoulder sling and a must with a busy toddler around). I'm sold. So sold in fact, that I bought a bunch of fabric and mailed it off to my mom to make me another. Snuggly wrap ... you've saved my back!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Another reason

I love my husband. I have turned into a bit of a coffee drinker lately (as in, I actually drink a cup from time to time). Ry had started making extra coffee for me in the mornings so that when I got up, there would be coffee waiting for me. He would put it in an insulated thermos thing so the the coffee maker didn't burn it. You know, in case my son(s) decided to sleep past 7. Which they haven't. But that's not important.

What's important is that I bought decaf coffee for myself, as I'm trying to keep caffeine mostly out of my diet. Since Little Bit seems especially sensitive to what I eat and drink, I figure I'm better safe than sorry. I assumed that buying separate coffee meant no more weekday coffee for me. Yes, I know I could make it myself, but I won't. My mornings are spent juggling a baby and a toddler. By the time I actually think about making coffee we're usually getting ready to head out someplace. Plus, I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I don't know how to use our coffee maker. I'm sure I did at some point, but since I don't drink much coffee, Ry has really been the only one to use it in the 6 years we've been married. If I actually want coffee (and he hasn't already made himself a pot) I usually just bat my eyes and sweetly ask if he would mind making me some coffee.
And then this morning, I woke up to this (click if you need the closeup). Here's what I love about this, in no particular order:
  • He was thoughtful enough to prepare a batch of decaf for me, even though he had already made his coffee and was headed out the door.
  • He knew I have no freaking idea how to use the coffee machine.
  • He made a diagram, complete with dial and light representation.

Monday, January 11, 2010

More stuff I never thought I'd say

  • Honey, it's day time. I can't turn off the day time.
  • Don't put that in my coffee!
  • Yes you're right, the toad is sad.
  • OK, you scratch your bum, but then you need to go pee pee.
  • Don't saw your brother again.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Is google on crack?

Ry was looking something up on Google earlier today. Imagine my surprise when I looked over and saw this in the search list. Is lady gag a hermaphrodite? Really? Where do they get these search terms? What kind of randomness groups them all together?I have to admit that then I went a little crazy looking up random words/phrases. I think "is hell exothermic or endothermic" was my favorite. The answer, as it turns out, was pretty clever too.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Dear God, thank you for the monkey lamp

Ahhh. Here's the now infamous monkey lamp. Isn't it a beauty? I believe he's doing some version of The Thinker pose. And he's wearing a suit. I still have a hard time believing that I let my almost 3 year-old talk me into this monstrosity. Someone, somewhere made some money conceiving of, constructing, shipping and selling it ... so there's that. And then last night, T opened his prayers with this, "Dear God, thank you for the monkey lamp."

Monday, January 04, 2010

Today you're 2 months old

My dearest Little Bit,

Today you are 2 months old. The past 2 months have flown by so quickly I almost can't believe it. At the same time, it feels like you have always been part of our little family.

We have had some rough times during these 2 months. The doctor says that you have colic. I only know that you are sometimes inconsolable and there is nothing I can do to help you feel better. You seem to be getting better and I can only hope that you'll soon feel wonderful.

You have the most delicious, downy fuzz on the top of your head right now. I love to kiss your little head and smell your baby smell. I can already tell that you are going to be a very sweet natured boy. I don't know how big you are right now, but my (very) unscientific baby scale says you weigh around 13 pounds. You are much, much rollier than your brother at this age. It warms me deep down to know that you are thriving though.
I don't know if you are going to keep your beautiful blue eyes, or if, like your brother's, they will turn hazel. I do know that you are just the cutest little guy a mom could want. You have just started smiling and it makes my heart burst every time I get a big, gummy grin.

You are much loved and much wanted (even by your big brother). I love you way, way much.


A prediction

Son the younger will have his first haircut before son the older.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

How did I miss the Mummers?

I have lived right across the border from Philadelphia for almost 5 years. Somehow I missed the annual New Years Day Mummers Parade. What is a Mummer, you might ask? "Mummers are costumed entertainers welcoming in the New Year. Some of the earliest mummers date back to early Egypt, pagan Rome and Greece, England, Germany, and France. Historically, Mummery has influenced customs and perpetuated many interesting traditions. Every nation had its festivals at one time or another, each marked by parades and displays of fanciful costumes. All of these cultures passed along their traditions from generation to generation, and eventually these traditions were brought to America by immigrants." I hate parades, but I would totally watch this parade. Seriously, have you ever seen a parade with a stage crew? Ry maintains they should be wearing grey instead of black to blend in with the pavement. We're going to go to this parade in a couple years when the boys are old enough to appreciate it. This band only took 8th place, but it was the first routine I saw and I literally watched it with my mouth gaping. Mummers? Awesome.

Happy New Year!

To celebrate, here are some pictures from last year. Specifically, here are some pictures from Christmas. My sister covered most of the Jersey Christmas extravaganza, but I promised pictures, and pictures you'll have.
My Dad got to meet Grandson V.2. F is a really fussy baby, so a picture of him awake and not screaming is rare. Apparently, Dad had the touch. It looks like his little jowls are going to fall off his face. Ahhh, chubby baby.

We all got to attend T's preschool Christmas party. We walked down into the little town square and had some pastry before the big event. Here's what we look like after coming in from the cold.

And here's Dad helping with the par-tay.

How gorgeous is my sister?

Christmas dinner. We have a tiny table and a tiny kitchen. We were pretty much at capacity, but we had fun.

I love this picture because my Dad looks terrified of T and his new saw.

T in front of the Christmas tree. Right now, every time he smiles for the camera he closes his eyes.

So Ry asked him to open his eyes. His eyes are open. Ry didn't say anything about his mouth, after all.

T and his loot. He asked to open presents for days afterward.

And again, F awake and not crying! Woohoo!

I always love having my family around for holidays. They are good company and I miss them.
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