Friday, November 25, 2011

Better late than never

The peanut and the pumpkin patch.

Some leftover autumn pumpkin pics.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On Turning 40

This year was a big birthday, a life turning point. I’m not the type of person who keeps her age a secret. I don’t care if people know my age, and I don’t feel shame about my age. I think getting older is ok. So turning 40 was not a secret, nor was it a birthday I particularly felt I needed to celebrate in a big way. I told family and friends that I have gotten so much love and support and generosity with my wedding and the birth of the Peanut, that I did not need any more parties or presents. I celebrated with Mr. Right on the day, and then the next day both me and the Peanut were sick so we laid pretty low. Whoopee! We are Party People.

Being the overly introspective type, nonetheless, this landmark birthday does give me pause. What does it mean to turn 40? What does it mean to move into this new decade? I didn’t want to let this one go by without a good ponder. And my dear friend Tina feels like I am some sort of trailblazer as I am a year older than her to the week, and one year older as a momma. She called me last night to remind me that I had not yet shared my musings. I was so honored that she even wanted to hear them that I am trying to oblige her now.

I asked a few of my personal trailblazers: how was or is the 40th decade? And what was your favorite decade? I received the expected mix of answers, but almost all of them asserted that the 40s are a good decade, a year of coming into to your power as a woman, especially. I like that. By 40, you finally feel confident enough of yourself to be yourself. And to like yourself. And to know what you need and when you need it and then go and get it. I like all of this. I can see why it would be true.

I am a little sorry to leave my 30s behind though. The first 5 years of 30 were pretty good. I had an extremely fulfilling run as “Urban Artistic Single Woman” who was all hip and had all kinds of adventures and had freedom and a large community of friends and activities.. I miss my very sweet apartment, the 3rd floor of a triple decker in Somerville, filled with sunshine and my artwork and my cat and my books. My time was my own – a concept I suppose you never appreciate until it’s gone. Then I met Mr. Right and oh my goodness, it has been a whirlwind ever since. I won’t bother tracking all the changes (most of which have been tracked in this blog), but let’s just say I’ve gone from “Urban Artistic Single Woman” to “Suburban Exhausted Working Mom Who Can Barely See Straight.” In some ways, all my childhood dreams have come true. And in some ways, the transition has been one of the two toughest times of my life. My world is definitely much smaller and much more chaotic. I also think becoming a new mom later in life has its advantages (maturity, gratitude, stability, lots of friends with help and advice) and some disadvantages (less stamina is a big one). So my age does have an impact on my parenting.

I’ve always envisioned my 45 year old self as this wise person who looks back in time at me and smiles, both a little ruefully at all the flailing about I do, but also with encouragement. That it will turn out OK, that I’m doing fine, that it will be fine in 10 years … now 5 years. She looks calm and has found the place where I need to be. So now I’m that much closer to finding her, even if I feel like I’m a bit frayed around the edges these days. So yes, 40 is just fine with me.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

We Liked the Fingerlakes

When a state has New York City, the big city tends to drown out anything else in range. So we had no idea how much fun we could have in the Fingerlakes. Every day was packed! The Peanut's two favorite activities seemed to be the pool and visiting a goat farm. She was having paroxsms of joy at both places. The rest of us really loved the waterfalls, the "gorgeous gorges" and eating LOTS of ice cream. I loved being able to hike UNDER waterfalls and swim right up to them. How cool is that! Literally very cool, it turns out.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Little Things

Watching this makes me endlessly happy.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Fun Must Do List

This list is going on the fridge and to be monitored carefully! The summer goes by too fast and I want to make sure I actually have fun.
  • Go to an ice cream stand and eat the ice cream outside and having it drip down my arm
  • At least 2 beach days where we have time to swim, walk, read, snooze and build sand castles (ie just a walk doesn’t cut it)
  • Cooking things on an outdoor fire, most importantly, smores (will do this on vacation)
  • Going to the local pool
  • Take Peanut to local baby pool
  • Playing in the backyard pool from grocery store (already did this, yay!)
  • Eating popsicles in the backyard (already did this, yay!)
  • Making ice cream with the kids (have them create a crazy flavor)
  • Lobster on the backyard porch at mom and dad’s (coming up, yay!)
  • Fireworks! (could we do this on vacation or in New Hampshire on a weekend?)
  • Walden Pond at least one time where I can swim!
  • Go out to eat at a restaurant where we sit outside and have drinks
  • Go for a boat/kayak ride (we can plan to do this on vacation, but maybe also in our town)
  • Eat watermelon outside
  • Eat cherries outside
  • Water balloon fight/squirt gun fight
  • Go pick fruit somewhere
  • Trip to secret New Hampshire swimming hole? (this one is as little more ambitious as it is a weekend away)
  • See some fireflies (probably on vacation)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

She doesn't smash the cake so the video is mostly worth watching for her very serious expression. Hope you enjoy.

Happy Birthday Little Peanut!

Grandma made a butterfly cake and a MILLION cupcakes. Thanks, Grandma!!!!

We had quite a day. We crossed our fingers that the rain would hold off so we could play in the backyard, but it was not to be. We moved everything inside and managed to squish far too many people in our house. The Peanut played with all the kids and we all enjoyed her new toys and books. We were celebrating her birthday but also our survival of our first year as new parent and whew, what a year it was. I'll try and post the happy birthday video later but for now we thought you'd like to see a few pictures of the birthday girl.

She was a very dainty cake eater ... no cake smashing for this princess. It was so great to see all of our lovely friends and family who were able to make it out to celebrate.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mother's Day

A year of firsts ... and here's

my first mothers day. The peanut had a wonderful dress, courtesy of Grandma. Having such a cute peanut is really like having a dolly some days.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Things we love at 9 months

Food: Gracie loves any orange food … squash, carrots, sweet potatoes. However, she seems to be tiring of baby food in general and would rather feed herself. She LOVES puffs and cheerios and would happily eat nothing but those. We like the squeezable baby food from HappyBaby for car trips and on the go -- no spoon needed and you just put the lid back on! She still loves to nurse, gets that totally blissed out look on her face as she first connects. Ahhhhh. Toys: Balls in any form … small balls and large beach balls or exercise balls. She thinks they are great. Empty water bottles, 2 liter bottles for the music they make. Empty coffee cans are great for the noise they make when you roll them on the floor. She was super into a plastic drinking cup we had for use in the bath. Pretty much any of her "real" toys aren't as exciting as these toys. She does love her bird house from Auntie Sue, the velcro part especially. She likes her toys but doesn't play with any particular toy a lot; she kinda cycles through. She doesn't have a lovie yet that she really responds to. When she nurses, she'll hold onto something for a minute or two and then reach over and drop it very casually on the floor. Books: Her favorite books right now involve interactive elements, like textures or doors to open or peekaboo! She likes one with peekaboos on every page and a mirror at the end -- she always kisses the mirror at the end. I'm not sure what that is about. She's big into kissing in general these days. Kissing meaning she grabs your face and licks you. According to her daycare providers, she grabs other babies as they toddle by, pulls them down and proceeds to lick their heads. The daycare providers say her toddler friends think its fun.Mr. Right is not happy about this. Clothes: We vacillate between 9-12 months clothing. I struggle with daycare outfits. My favorite clothes are cotton onesie type tops (with snaps) and matching pants. Things that come in sets make the whole matching thing so much simpler. I don't like sending her to daycare in dresses and tights -- too uncomfortable. And she has several pairs of baby jeans and baby overalls, but they just are a little too stiff for a baby who is trying to crawl everywhere. I'm not sure I get the baby overalls concept -- I think it was a big trend a few years back. Looking forward to trying out our convertible carseat. We also have a lot of baby gates to buy and install, not as excited for that.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Crawling and Turning and Teeth!

It's a milestone frenzy! Here's a photo of her ... scooting? crawling?? I've never looked so closely at our floors before. Mom calls her the new mop.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

9 Months

Photo credit to Auntie Sue and her mad photo skills!

Age: 9 months!
Size and Shape: Definitely can't fit into the 6 months anymore and sometimes even 12 month sizes are a bit small. 17 1/2 pounds. She is definitely getting more hair and occasionally has bedhead which is endlessly amusing to me.

Eat: The peanut remains a fussy eater and sticks pretty close to the banana and orange vegetable spectrum. But she tends to like anything she can feed herself or sees me eating. Puffs are her favorite. And paper still is very popular.

Getting Around: She is good at turning in circles on her bum and moving around inch by inch this way. She can definitely move several feet pretty quickly when I look away for a second, but she is still not fully mobile. She likes to crawl underneath tables and then get kinda stuck.

New People: She is getting more comfortable with new people as long as she has time to adjust first. She still is pretty friendly with anyone as long as she is feeling secure.

Best moment this week: We had a lot of fun with my sister visiting from Pittsburgh. It was great to show her the Ipswich Bird Sanctuary, and she was really awesome about taking the Peanut early in the morning so I could sleep in a little.

Worst moment this week: Being in the emergency room because she was covered in hives. It was awful to see your perfect baby looking so awful, even though she was pretty cheerful through the whole thing. We now know she is allergic to penicillin (assuming they identified this correctly). I hope it isn't the first of many er visits ... although Mr. Right says don't count on it.

What I miss: When you don't have a kid, you can budget out your time off of work. It is strange to give up so many of your vacation/sick days for her. Of course it's worth it and we've had some fun playtime, but I wonder if there will be much left for summer vacation.

What I am looking forward to: People say she will sleep through the night at some point ... when?

Weekly Wisdom: Trying to learn the "sweetness of doing nothing." Learning to just sit and play with her and enjoy this time that is going so fast.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

At daycare they told us to wear red. So we did. We did a better job than last week on pajama day when we did not wear pajamas because mom didn't get the memo. Sigh. We'll get on top of things one of these days.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Delicious delicious paper

It's definitely getting more challenging to take the monthly photo as the Peanut has discovered she likes to eat paper and in general just has become very curious about everything. We did our best. But next month I think we'll have to make a sign out of prunes or something. She won't eat those.

8 Months Old!

Age: 8 months!
Size and Shape: She has been right on target with her clothes -- wearing 6 month clothes at 6 months. Which, strangely, makes her on the small side. She's definitely getting longer -- her feet are starting to stretch through her 6-9 month pajamas so it looks like we're moving into the 9 month clothing sooner than I thought. But she's definitely not got the long legs that her brother and sister have, so I don't think she'll be a six footer.

Eat: She likes her food but is not an adventurous eater, unless you call eating paper/floor lint adventuresome. On a spoon, she mostly likes bananas, avocados, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, and cereal. I am baffled that she does not like yogurt much. And I can never tell if she's going to eat one bite and done or want two jars of food, so it's always a guess as to how much to make/open. When she is feeding herself though, she happily eats everything in sight, including her daycare write ups and any stray bit of thing she can dig up that I later find in her mouth.

Getting Around: Still not crawling but occasionally she'll inch toward something. She seems much more interested in standing, but is not pulling herself up yet. She is definitely heavier -- even in the carriers she is awfully heavy now.

New People: She's adjusting to some new daycare people. She hung out with John during the superbowl but was perplexed by his beard. Doing better with "stranger danger" but does NOT like it when you walk out of the room. She watches you very carefully to make sure you are still there. And if she is sitting in front of you while playing, she will reach behind to make sure all is well. She will play independently for a while and then turn around and want a hug, and then go back to playing again. It's very sweet.

Best moment this week: I love it when she says ma ma ma ma even though I'm not sure if she knows that is me. Also, I found out that one of my best friends is pregnant! Yay!

Worst moment this week: When she threw up all over me on Monday. We all had some sort of flu and I was thinking she didn't get it and then, oh, yes she did.
What I miss: I do love seeing the newborn infants at the baby café and how teeny tiny they are. But I love the age she is at now: so interactive!

What I am looking forward to: When she says "ma ma" about me! I'm not sure I'm ready for her to be mobile -- I know things are harder then. We are trying to baby proof now.

Weekly Wisdom: Trying to continue to "make friends with the moment."

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Early Valentine's Day Prize from Daddy

It was a very delicious cookie. Thanks Dad!

Peanut Waves Away Post-Nap Paparazzi

Please, no photos at this time.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Holiday Newsletter I Never Sent Because My Brain Melted

This post inspired by my dear friend Susan in NJ, who resolved to write one blog post per year. In my previous life, I manged to send out an annual newsletter. This will have to do for this year (and yes, I know I'm a little late for the holiday).

Dear friends and family,

Here is where I attempt to summarize an entire year in the life … and this was one was a doozey. But let’s start back in January.

We were settling into our new home in Melrose. This was the first time we’d set up a home together so it was a lot of work! We started sharing the news about my pregnancy right after the holidays. I was almost four months at that time, so I couldn’t hide it much longer anyhow. The first question most people ask is if that baby is a boy or a girl. I would have loved to have known but Baby wasn’t cooperating and kept its legs crossed, so my doctor told me we’d just find out in June. I had no idea that one possible answer was: “we wanted to know but couldn’t figure it out.” I was completely flummoxed by this. Let's just say that was the first of many flummoxes this year.

The estimated date of arrival of the Peanut was June 29. We planned a few small trips in the meantime knowing we wouldn’t get around much after that date. In February, Mr. Right and I did a house swap with a family in Montpelier, Vermont. Rob went to school in Castleton VT, so about once a year, he starts yearning for the green mountains. We had a great weekend exploring the town and cross country skiing on a maple sugaring farm.

Mr. Right travels a lot for work and this is cause for both pity and envy, depending on the trip and how hellacious his travel schedule is. When he said he had to go meet people in Santa Barbara, I said there was no way he was going without me. I cashed in some miles and joined him out to the West Coast and hit all my favorite haunts on the weekend before he actually had to do work. Our favorite part of the trip was taking him to Cold Spring Tavern, an old stagecoach stop in the Santa Barbara foothills, reached after a windy drive through the mountains with amazing ocean views. We also made it down to LA to see my dear friends Lia and Angela for a quick dinner before I flew back east.

After that trip, I was better able to settle in for the remainder of my pregnancy. I worked up until the end. On Thursday, June 10 I led an offsite event for work and went home feeling tired but otherwise normal. I went to bed and woke up with a shock at 1:00 am. My water had broken! 2.5 weeks early! The conversation that evening continued in this vein for a while longer. What! But! Ok! We can do this! But we have no diapers! Or car seat installed! It's Ok! Call the hospital! No, call the midwife! Ack! Finally we managed to pull our gear together and get into the car.

At 5 am on June 11, The Peanut was born. It took me a week or two just to believe she had really arrived. She was so little at 6 lbs and 11 oz and 19 inches. We both were expecting a large baby since we both are relatively tall people, but nope, she remains a petite little girl. I never knew having a baby could generate the mountains of pink clothing that have descended upon us.

As advertised, our life will never be the same again. All of the clichés, both positive and negative, are all true. You just can’t prepare yourself for it – you just have to live through it. The peanut is a happy baby and for the most part, a pretty easy one. She still isn’t really big on sleeping for long stretches, but everything else about her is pretty much perfect. Adjusting to new mom-hood has also been a stretch for me; let’s just say it feels like your entire brain gets rewired. Maternity leave was less fun than I expected: I had visions of a lovely summer off, spent going to the beach or other outdoor adventures with my sweet baby. Instead, it was HOT and this baby did NOT like her car seat. We spent a fair amount of time on the couch at home, huddling in the air-conditioned rooms. But that was easy peasy compared to returning to work.

There are just not enough hours in the day or enough sleep to go around. The life of after work activities and projects no longer exists. Now I scramble to get ready while holding her as much as I can in the morning, rush off to work, rush home from work to connect with Mr. Right and the Peanut until bedtime while simultaneously trying to prepare, eat and clean up from dinner and get ready for the next day. Then I try and get as much sleep as I can between feedings. Talking on the phone? Reading a book? Watching a tv show? Visiting with friends? Cooking/cleaning/other projects? No longer on the schedule. I now understand and sympathize so much more with any new mom who has ever existed and said they were tired and unable to go anywhere/do anything/drink a full glass of water. Yup.

My three saving graces in all of this chaos: 1. loving friends and family 2. The Baby Café, a nursing moms group that meets just down the street and 3. the internet, where I can google anything and read way more advice about anything I could possibly want to know. What amazes me is how every single dimension of babyhood requires dissertations worth of research and preparation. Like, feeding Grace baby food. Who could ever master the ginormous array of options and opinions? The most valuable to me of all the advice I've been given so far was from a very elderly woman at the drug store who stopped to admire the Peanut. "Just enjoy every moment. It goes so fast." Her wistful smile still catches at my heart; that will be me if I'm lucky in 40 years when the Peanut is grown and has her own peanuts to raise.

Ultimately, I’ve learned that most important lesson: just give up trying to master it and blunder through. Oh and, “Let it go. This too shall pass.” Grateful, amazed, and freaked out pretty much is my continual state. So, happy new year indeed. If I don't return your phone call, hang in there. I'll call you back in 2012.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Yes, we had a lovely holiday, thanks.

We had our first Christmas with the munchkin. She even had her first plane ride to Pittsburgh and did very nicely, conking out on my lap almost immediately both coming and going. She received lots of great presents and really was only interested in eating wrapping paper.
Now the holiday is over and we're home together on a work day because she's got a little fever and cough. We're listening to silly kid songs and trying not to get cabin fever and eat all the leftover holiday cookies in one day.
Happy new year everyone! Can't believe she's seven months old tomorrow.