Thursday, January 28, 2010

Five More Days

In five days Liam will be five years old.

It's hard to believe that five years ago I was sitting in a different house, on different furniture, going to bed each night in a different bed and wondering if those pseudo-contractions I was having were ever going to turn into the real thing. So much has happened in five years and yet it also feels like it's flown past.

I don't know why it sticks in my mind in this way but five marks the end of the toddler years to me. Five is the age when he starts school. It's when he gives up having his parents be his whole world and begins to experience the wider world in a more independent way. Instead of needing us to care for his physical needs so intensely, he'll need us in different, more intangible ways.

In short, he's growing up.

I remember looking at him when he was a baby and wondering who he was going to be. Over the last five years he's proven to be funny, smart, loving, crazy, and obsessed with all things Star Wars. I love watching his personality shine through. I love watching the person he's becoming.

The next year promises to be full of a lot of big firsts - the biggest of which is starting kindergarten. He's been talking about it for months now and I'm sure that when the big day finally arrives he's going to be giddy with excitement. He can't wait to ride the bus to school with the big kids!

I'll be that Mom watching him go with love and pride.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Adventures In Photography

Jamie's first birthday is coming up in a little over a month and in celebration we are having a minuscule party for him. Today I was trying to get a decent photo of him that I could slap on the invitations. Yes, I am a sucker for the photo invites. Sue me.

Anyway, I got the lovely experience of the Jekyll and Hyde baby as we tried to have a quick photo shoot. It seems that the party hat I had purchased for him to wear in the photo as a festive nod to the occasion was the elixir of change.

No hat=Dr. Jekyll:

Hat=Mr. Hyde:

Yes, I took a picture of my kid screaming.

Scot wanted to send out the invites with the screaming photo. Given the small group of people we're inviting, they would have gotten the joke and found it hilarious but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

I went back and checked the photos I took for Liam's first birthday invitation and he's smiling in every single one of them and wearing that party hat like it's the best thing since cab tractors. Apparently Jamie is not one to accessorize.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Notes From The Playground

It was a semi-decent day here today as far as the weather was concerned and Liam was going stir-crazy in the house so I took him to the local park so he could run his beans out on the play equipment. Obviously I was not the only parent to think of doing this so while the place wasn't overrun there were other kids there, too.

It's always amusing to people watch in these sorts of situations and today I came away with two gems.

First, Liam was going down some slides over and over as he usually does and I'm always careful to make sure he goes down the slide, circles to the stairs, and comes back up the stairs so he can go down the slide again. Another bunch of kids came over and started climbing up the slides Liam had been using while their Mom sort of sauntered after them. When Liam came to the top of the slides I said "Honey, you're going to have to wait a second because these kids are coming up the wrong way."

What does the Mom do?

Kicks her kids off the slides by saying "Kids, let's go over here. I don't want you playing around people like that."

Ooo-kay then.

The second thing I saw was a little girl, who could not have been more than 6 years old, wearing enough blue eyeshadow to put a drag queen in Vegas to shame. I wish I could have snapped a picture but it would have been way too obvious.

Let The Games Begin!

Last night after I fed the kids dinner we were sitting around in the family room and Jamie was doing his usual extended cruise along the furniture. He's been getting more and more adventurous with letting go of things and standing freely but he has been really reluctant to take a step without holding on to something.

So, we're hanging out and I'm not really paying close attention when Scot says "He just walked."


He took two steps between the couch and the coffee table. Did he run a marathon? Of course not, but he did take his first steps.

They say that every baby is different but so far Jamie has hit big milestones almost exactly the same time that Liam did. I could recite the litany but that would get boring. The point here is that they both walked at around 10 months (I can't remember exactly with Liam) and Jamie is 10.5 months. So, I guess it was just about time for it.

If I can get video of him repeating the feat, I will be sure to share it.

Life is bound to get interesting now!

Friday, January 22, 2010

An Open Letter To The Neighbors

Dear Neighbor Family:

I write to you on behalf of your neighbors many of whom have the same issue that we do but don’t want to rock the boat to speak to you about it. We have become fed up with the situation, though, and I have taken the step of writing you this letter.

I am writing in regards to your lack of care for your pets.

Brody runs not just the small collection of houses on the cul-de-sac, he in fact roams all over. He has been found at the local pool in the summertime. He has been found at nearby elementary school. He has crisscrossed dangerous roads in the process. This is not safe for him and if you do not begin to keep him home he will one day be found dead on the road. I know your reaction will be to laugh it off but I am very serious.

In addition to the danger posed to Brody by cars and wildlife, he is a nuisance. He does damage to other people’s property. He poops on other people’s property. He gets into the trash left for collection on trash day. He bothers other people’s pets. It is not just Maggie I am speaking about and it extends into the houses in the nearby subdivision. It’s unacceptable.

I know your solution to this is “call me and I’ll fix it.” The problem is that we should not have to be responsible for monitoring the actions of your pet. If it were once or twice, that would be fine. But it continues to happen. The words “I’m sorry” become totally meaningless if you do nothing to change the behavior about which are apologizing.

You have already had one pet severely injured and left with a permanent disability due to your negligence. Do you wish to have another?

There are laws in our community regarding pet care and it is strictly against those laws to let your pet run like Brody does. He is supposed to be either contained on your property or on a leash at all times when off your property. Neither of these things occur and your neighbors pay the price. If Brody will not respect the invisible fencing you installed, it is up to you to either put in fencing he cannot escape or to make sure is on a leash at all times when outdoors.

Brody is a sweet dog and he doesn’t deserve to be injured or killed due to the fact that you refuse to properly contain him. Your neighbors shouldn’t have to deal with his running and destructive tendancies.

Please keep Brody home. If not for the sake of your neighbors, do it for the health and wellbeing of your pet.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Roundup Time

It’s been awhile since I did general round up post so here we go.

1. As of January 4 I have been back on the diet. I have 30 pounds of baby weight that I would like gone as of 6 months ago so I’ve started working in earnest. At last weigh in I had lost 3.6 pounds. I know, Whoop De Doo, Basil. But I’m trying. Changes have been made. I just wish they’d evidence themselves by shrinking the size of my ass. One day at a time, as they say.

2. Jamie is weaned! Yes, ladies and gents, the titty bar is closed. You don’t have to go home but ya can’t stay here. This is yet another reason for my work on the weight loss - I no longer have to eat like a horse to make milk and I don’t have to worry that I’ll jeopardize my supply by dieting. He’s doing well on regular milk and made the transition with nary a hiccup. Now that he’s fully over to milk, my next task is getting him to sleep through the night. He’s very close to that now so I’m hoping a little nudging on my part will do the trick. Oh sweet sleep, how I’ve missed you these last (long!) five years.

3. In other Jamie news, I discovered today that he understands language better than I thought he did. He’s been working on learning to use sippy cups and while he’s mastered cups that have soft spouts he can gum on to get some milk out, he’s had trouble figuring out spouts that require actual sucking. Even being on bottles hadn’t really helped all that much.

Today I gave him a sippy of the sucking variety because the other ones I had were dirty. He played with it for a bit. Chewed on the spout some while working on teeth he has coming in. But he was obviously looking to get the milk.

“Honey,” I said, “you have to suck on it like a bottle if you want the milk.”

I went back to whatever I was doing and a few minutes later turned to look at him. He was sitting on the floor with his head thrown back, the sippy spout in his mouth, sucking back milk like it was the greatest thing on earth. So. One little tip from Mommy and he figured that out.

4. Scot dug up this little gem today that has had both of us snickering. Amusingly written yet full of interesting and little known tidbits.

Four Fun Facts About Sloths

I just want to say that if I had a metabolism that didn’t store fat except for small deposits on my feet I would eat macaroni and cheese every day of the week with a Girl Scout cookie chaser.

5. Lastly, I leave you with Liam. Crazy Man with the Crazy Hair

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The First Word

Jamie is fond of playing The Gravity Game. Anyone who has played with a baby knows this game. It's the one where babies drop things on the floor so they can see adults do their evil bidding by picking up the item that has been dropped. The adult hands it back to the baby. The baby drops it again.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Jamie plays this game while sitting in his highchair almost every night. Sometimes he drops food to the dog. Sometimes he drops his sippy cup over the side and then shrieks until we pick it up. This goes on until we refuse to pick up the cup or we pick up the cup and put it out of his reach.

Tonight he did a little something different. He threw the cup over the side of the highchair, it hit the floor, he turned to me, and said:


Yes, his first word is 'uh-oh.' I'm screwed, aren't I?

It's Good To Have A Plan, Son.

A few months ago Liam informed us that when he turned 10 he would be an adult and since adults don't live with their parents, he would be moving into his own apartment. We told him that if that's the case, he can go for it. ;)

Over time the plan has evolved. He decided that when he gets his own apartment at age 10 he will also get a cat for a pet. I am severely allergic to cats and we can't own one so he wants one when he has his own place.

But he wants us to pay for it.

We told him that if he can move out on his own he can pay for his own pet.

He insists that we will be purchasing the pet for him. He seems to think that we'll take care of everything.

A few days ago this plan came up in conversation again and this time, when informed that we would not be paying for his pet or his apartment he announced that he would be moving in with Oma and Puppa when he turns 10. (Oma and Puppa are my parents.)

Why, you ask? I certainly did.

"I was planning on that anyway, Mommy," that's why.

It's good to have goals, sweetie. I'll make sure Oma and Puppa take delivery on your 10th birthday.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Today I Am Grateful

There are days I get so caught up in my own life that I can barely see past the end of my own nose.

Today is not one of those days. Today I have spent a lot of time worrying, wondering, hoping, and praying about the children in the BRESMA orphanage in Haiti. As I've thought about them I've looked at my own kids and been so grateful that they are safe and healthy.

I held Jamie and Liam a little closer today.

I'm grateful I have enough food to feed them. I'm grateful I have enough clothes to keep them warm. I'm grateful I have a house for them to live in. I'm grateful I can drive 20 minutes and buy Costco sized boxes of diapers. I'm grateful for running water and heat.

I feel impotent in the face of what those two young women and their 150 charges are going through. I've done what little I can and now we must wait for the cogs of government to work. We have to pray that those cogs work at breakneck speed. I hope that somehow they can get the supplies they need to last another night. Another day. I hope that they can get out before the looting and riots take over.

But most of all I feel grateful for all that I have and all that I am given.

(for updates and news about BRESMA, read Virginia Montanez's blog That's Church and follow her on twitter.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

If You Can Help, Please Do.

This is not just your generic post about the devastating earthquake in Haiti. It's not a plea to help nameless, faceless people who have lost everything and may end up losing their lives as well. It's about two local young women who have dedicated themselves to living and working without pay at an orphanage in Port-au-Prince.

They are trapped.

The children they work with have no food or fresh water. The infants they look after will die if they are not evacuated.

Many of these children have adoptive homes waiting for them here in the United States.

But they are trapped in Haiti.

Communications from these women are sporadic but at this time it seems as though the only hope for getting them out is to get a private plane down there to evacuate them. Reports say that the airport in Port-au-Prince is functional.

Virginia Montanez, who writes the blog That's Church, is spearheading a local effort to find a way to help these women. To learn more about it go to her blog. If you can help in any way, please do.

I know that my readership is small but I'm doing what I can to get the word out.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Date With My Little Man

I had a date the other day.

For the first time in almost a year, I got to go out and spend time alone with Liam. Until now I’ve been tied to Jamie via his feeding schedule and because I wasn’t regularly pumping, I pretty much couldn’t miss a feeding without serious advance planning. But, we started the weaning process last week and while I am still spending quality time with the pump, Jamie’s getting bottles during the day and I’m not a necessary component to his schedule.

So, on Sunday, Liam and I left Scot home with the baby and went to see The Princess and The Frog. We got popcorn to share and sat through the movie together enjoying the story and the music. We had a great time. Afterward we stopped at Barnes and Noble and read a few books together before choosing one to take home with us. When we got home most of the neighbors were out sledding so Liam and I suited up and headed out to play in the snow for a bit.

It was great. I haven’t had a chance to spend that kind of one on one time with Liam in forever. We had a fabulous time together. I had forgotten how easy it is to be out and about with my kid when I’m not hauling the baby around, too.

It was a great date. We’re going to have to do it again sometime.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Giggle Worthy

I just wanted to quickly share two things that have me giggling insanely tonight. The first comes courtesy of Burgh Baby who tweeted it:

Pittsburgh Horror

That is so totally Pittsburgh in the grip of a snowstorm it nearly made me pee from laughing so hard. Scot kept looking at me and saying "what! WHAT?!?" until I finally just emailed him the link.

The second was just random happenstance. I wandered over the Awkward Family Photos (if you have some time, peruse the site, it's almost always hilarious) and found this at the top of the page:

Engagement Photo Winner

That sent me off into another spate of hysterical giggling.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Kids Say The Darndest Things

Liam has a friend at school named David.* He and David tend to spend most of the day together and generally get along pretty well. The only problem is that David is what Scot and I refer to as a "bad influence." Without getting into specifics, the kid doesn't have the same boundaries or rules that we set for Liam. So, Liam is constantly coming home with inappropriate things - be they words, actions, or stories about David. It's not really David's fault that this is the state of affairs but he really does set a bad example that my kid has a bad habit of following.

Today on the way home from school Liam announced to me, "Well, David the Dreaded Bad Influence was at school today."

I couldn't help myself. I burst out laughing.

For all that he copies David, he apparently copies us, too.

*name changed to protect the innocent.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Finally. Life Returns to Normal.

Life is slowly returning to normal and I could not be happier about that fact. If I had to live one more day with my routines all out of whack I was, quite possibly, going to do something rash and destructive.

As of Monday Scot went back to work and Mean Mommy® reemerged. Liam didn’t like that so much but I was tired of his behavior being obnoxious because it was Christmas. After one tantrum, an attempt to hit me, and then being dumped in his room he began to realize that I meant business. Things have been getting better since then. He’s still whiny every. single. time. I ask him to get dressed or, GOD FORBID, I ask him to wait 20 minutes to eat a meal. Those two occurrences generally make him whine so much I want to flush him down the toilet.

I’m doing my best to return the house to some semblance of clean. I took the tree down yesterday and put away all the decorations around the house. Today I had the lovely task of trying to find a way to deal with the influx of Christmas toys. So, I got to haul out the bins of stored toys, rotate toys into and out of them, and try to get the mass chaos down to a dull roar. Now, instead of it looking like a toy factory blew up in the living room, it merely looks as though the toy factory had a minor bout with the barfs.

Jamie is Jamie. He’s teething (still!) and screechy and cranky. As well as chubby and giggly and cute. It just depends which second of the day it is. I started the process of weaning him today and I have discovered that pumping really sucks. Luckily the whole thing is finite and at the end of it I will be FREE! [cue “I’m Free” from Tommy by The Who]. So far things are going well. When I put him to bed tonight he drank a full 8 ounce bottle and passed out like frat boy during pledge week.

So, life returns to normal, slowly but surely, and I’m glad to be back to routine.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Stick A Fork In Me, I'm Done.

I know this blog has been generally lighthearted up until now but allow me to change tone for a few minutes.

Christmas this year sucked. Don't get me wrong, the kids had fun. They enjoyed the toys and the presents but beyond that it sucked from one end to the other. I spent weeks tearing around trying to get everything ready to go. Between the cleaning, the decorating, the baking, the shopping, and the wrapping I felt like I had something to do every single second of the day especially because I was trying to fit all those things in around taking care of the kids. Throw in the added stress of all the bills (I hyperventilate when I think about our credit card bill) and I'm really struggling with my life.

Liam was a royal pain in the butt leading up to Christmas. He was exactly what a four year old should be but I thought I was going to lose my mind. The kid who gets sent his room maybe twice a month was getting sent to his room three times a day. He simply could not behave properly. My patience with it was thin anyway because of all the other crap going on and I just couldn't take it. I thought it would settle down once we got through the Christmas Orgy but instead he now insists on getting between Jamie and his toys. Liam wants to play with them and he thinks he's playing with Jamie when in reality he's just taking over and blocking the kid from his toys. We've told him a hundred times to knock it off and he seems incapable of doing so.

Scot is fighting his migraine problem more and more and it seems as though the specialist he's seeing really isn't that much help. He ended up in the ER two days before Christmas because he'd had a migraine for 5 straight days and all the meds he had at home couldn't break it. So he's frustrated with the fact that he's getting very little help for a problem that's been plaguing him for at least 6 months. When he's incapacitated with a headache he can't cope with the kids and that leaves me to deal with them. I don't blame him - far from it - he wouldn't choose to be this way if he had the choice. But I feel trapped with the two kids all the time and even when he tries to give me a break it inevitably falls on a day that he's worse rather than better which makes me feel awful because he's got to deal with the kids.

I feel like we've spent much of the last year and a half mired in illness in such a way that our lives are a mess. First I was pregnant and sick, then I was pregnant and bitchy, then Scot fell down the stairs and fucked up his wrist, then I was *really* pregnant and *really* bitchy, then Scot had surgery on his wrist, then I gave birth, then Jamie was a wreck for the first three months, then Scot started fighting incessant headaches. It's one disaster after another and we keep trying to cope and keep trying to deal with the kids and I feel like all I do is pick up slack and try to stay sane.

To add insult to injury Jamie is teething like mad and screechy much of the time. He's not sleeping properly and he's so cranky that I can barely walk out of the room to pee without him having a screaming fit. So, he's *always* with me and *always* climbing on me. I'm getting ready to wean him because I can't take being attached at the boob anymore. I know that people think it's easy to just pump a bottle and go but it's not. It's takes me 3 days worth of pumping to gather enough milk for ONE bottle. Because I don't pump on a regular basis and because I'm near the end of my nursing relationship to boot (and thus don't have extra milk production) that's just how it is. It's more hassle than it's worth unless there's some big event I need to attend.

I'm just really not very happy with my life right now. The kids are driving me nuts. The house is a wreck. My husband is nearly always incapacitated in some way through no fault of his own. I'm overweight. I'm bound to an infant by the boob and I'm ready to scream. I don't get enough sleep and haven't for FIVE SOLID YEARS.

Now I have to look forward to undecorating the house from Christmas (how exactly do I keep Jamie out of all those boxes?!), the dark, cold, frigid depths of winter, and all the screaming of a teething infant that I'm trying to teach to sleep through the night.

Welcome to my little slice of hell.