Monday, March 31, 2008

The Cast

I think it’s been fairly simple for both of my readers to follow my thoughts when I refer to the family as Mommy, Daddy and Baby. The recent appearances of bonus daughters on my blog makes this whole mess just a little more confusing, though. Besides, it’s just too much work to type “Bonus Daughter, age 12” over and over and over again.

For your reading convenience, I am renaming the family.

We’ll keep the monikers Mommy and Daddy just for simplicity’s sake. For future reference, I am Mommy and I am also the Baby Addict. Daddy is my husband and the father of the Baby.

We’ll change Baby’s name since I’ve recently realized that he won’t be a baby forever. It would be embarrassing for him and confusing for you if I continue to refer to him as Baby when he is in junior high school. His name will now be Little King David, or LKD for short. My reasoning for this is that he was named after Kind David, the dude that killed Goliath and wrote the Psalms of the Bible. He also thinks our home is his kingdom and that we are his servants, so the title seems appropriate for him.

Bonus Daughter, age 17, would throw a diva tantrum if I told her what I’ve named her on my blog. She is incredibly high maintenance and loves to whine about the trials of adolescent life. Ironically, she constantly accuses her little sister of acting like the “Queen of Sheba.” I have no idea who the Queen of Sheba is, but she sounds like a spoiled brat that always expects to get her way. We usually laugh at the irony of this. Going forward, Bonus Daughter, age 17, will be known as the Queen of Sheba.

Bonus Daughter, age 12, will absolutely adore her new name. Her real-life middle name is Sky and she is a big fan of the Star Wars saga. Just in case you are wondering, she thinks Hayden Christiansen is hot. I just realized the other day that if she married a guy named Mr. Walker, her married name would be Sky Walker. Ya’ know, like Luke Skywalker? She was absolutely mortified by this discovery, so she will be known as Skywalker going forward.

Because I am just that evil.

(I’m a stepmonster, remember?)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Internet Police

I got an email this morning from our Information Technology department warning everyone that they are blocking all the fun websites to increase bandwith for people that are actually using the internet to work. Who does that?

I have this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach telling me that my blog will be blocked. I usually post from work because I’m clever enough to get paid while I dump my miscellaneous thoughts into cyberspace, but I fear that will change next week.

If you don’t hear from me daily, never fear. I will find a way!

Living In Cleveland

Lynette recently left a comment on my blog because her family is relocating to Cleveland and she is wondering how I feel about living here.

Despite what my father would tell you, there are people that enjoy living here. He lives in Florida and visited recently for Baby’s first birthday. He complained to the ticket agent for Continental Airlines that it is more expensive to fly to Cleveland than it is for him to fly to Seattle. When he asked for an explanation of the cost, the ticket agent replied, “Who wants to go to Cleveland?”

Obviously, there are at least two people in this world that would not enjoy living in Cleveland, but there are plenty of reasons to love it here.

*Affordable housing
*Job opportunities
*Family friendly activities
*World-class healthcare
*Secondary education options
*Professional sports teams
*Moderate climate that changes during all four seasons

Since you’re all dying to know more about Cleveland, (stop snickering!) I’ll be sharing more about each of these topics in the coming weeks.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Fridge Meme



For more Wordless Wednesday, visit 5 Minutes for Mom
P.S. While you're here, help a girl out and vote for the creepiest bug here

Fridge Meme Explained

Heather over at Not A DIY Life tagged me for the fridge meme recently. Any normal person would use this as an opportunity to post a picture of their refrigerator for Wordless Wednesday and be done with it, but you know I can’t resist the temptation to speak.

I suppose your home says a lot about who you are, so I feel a need to explain the current condition of our kitchen. When we bought our house, it had been vacant for over 6 years following the death of the owner’s mother. Evidently, the house had not been painted or the carpet replaced since the house was built in 1956. Luckily for me, I married Bob Vila and he promptly fell in love with this fixer-upper.

Since we moved in, we have painted every wall and ceiling in the house and removed all of the carpeting to reveal beautiful hardwood flooring. We finished the second floor of our bungalow to add two bedrooms on the upper level. I strongly recommend a 16-month DIY home renovation project to any couple that is eager to test the endurance of their love.

The kitchen is somewhere on our remodeling list, right after we do something with the green and pink tiled bathroom with pink fixtures, which is somewhere on the list after adding a family room, laundry room, home office, and second bath in the basement.

I’m not really in a rush to remodel the kitchen because it has character reminiscient of the Leave It To Beaver Days. I am absolutely in love with our 1951 Magic Chef gas stove, which appears in photos right next to our fridge. The stove came with the house and it works perfectly. We’ve considered selling it on Ebay or Craigslist as an antique and using the money to buy a new stove and fridge, but the old stove won’t fit through any of the doors in our house. Was the house built around it?

I seem to be on a tangent. Wasn’t this post supposed to be about my refrigerator?

Anyway, the fridge is just your basic, white refrigerator. It is covered with family photos, magnets, memorable quotes clipped from magazines, kid craft projects, our monthly dinner menu, expired coupons, and a marker board that we try to use for messages but ultimately just becomes a place for adolescent graffiti.

You may notice that all the papers and magnets are strategically placed far above Baby’s reach. This is a new improvement made after we realized that Baby liked to pull papers off the fridge and push them around on the kitchen floor. Who needs toys?

You may also notice my treasured Winnie the Pooh cookie jar that sits atop the freezer. My Dad gave this to me as a birthday gift one year because Pooh was my favorite childhood friend. Pooh used to sit on a low shelf near the sink, but Pooh has a porcelain butterfly sitting on his foot and that beautiful butterfly has wings on springs. How tempting is that? Pooh had to move.

So, there you have it. Another rambling post filled with more than you ever cared to know about me!

You can thank Heather for your suffering.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Vote for Centipedes!

I was having a very serious conversation with Bonus Daughter, age 12, this evening about centipedes and cockroaches. We are not able to agree on which bug is creepier and her friends are not much help because they keep voting for the wrong bug.

Help a girl out and cast your vote.

Note: the poll is in the sidebar

Freak of Nature

Last night, Baby sat down to a very healthy dinner of hot dogs, macaroni and cheese and corn. Relax, opponents of nitrates and artificially-flavored food products, this story has a happy ending.

As we started eating, Baby started screeching. Nothing unusual about that. He was pointing vehemently at the table and saying, “DIS,” which is baby-speak for “this.” Unfortunately, Baby doesn’t realize that “this” could mean just about anything on the planet, but the pointing helps us to narrow it down.

Luckily for me, Daddy was sitting closest to Baby at the dinner table, so this conversation was his responsibility by default.

Baby: “Dis!” (pointing vehemently towards the kitchen table)

Daddy: “Do you want more hot dog?”

Baby: shakes head no.

Baby: “Dis!” (pointing vehemently towards the kitchen table)

Daddy: “Do you want more macaroni and cheese?”

Baby: shakes head no.

Baby: “Dis!” (pointing vehemently towards the kitchen table)

Daddy: “Do you want more corn?”

Baby: shakes head no.

Baby: “Dis!” (pointing vehemently towards the kitchen table)

Daddy: “Do you want more milk?”

Baby: shakes head no.

Baby: “Dis!” (pointing vehemently towards the kitchen table)

Daddy: “Do you want something on Daddy’s plate?”

Baby: nods head “YES, YES, YES.”

Daddy: “Do you want asparagus?”

Baby: nods head “YES, YES, YES.”


Baby completely abandoned his hot dog, macaroni and cheese and corn for asparagus.

Freak.

Unfortunately for me, he didn’t bother to chew the asparagus spears, so we’ll be having some very interesting diaper adventures today.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Danger Zone

I am exhausted.

We spent the Easter holiday at my mother-in-law’s house. She insists on hosting dinner at her house for every major and minor holiday, which is a fabulous arrangement. I don’t have to cook and I don’t have to worry about in-laws wearing out their welcome.

The only problem with this arrangement is that her house is the epitome of a nightmare for any parent of a small child. “Babyproof” is evidently not a word that is part of her vocabulary.

I spent about 5 hours yesterday that looked a little something like this:

Mommy: “No, you can’t throw that glass candle holder on the floor, even if it is on the coffee table, which is directly at your eye level.”

Baby: “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

Mommy: “Baby, stop playing with that sharp knife that is on the tray of cheese and crackers. Just because it is on the coffee table, which is directly at your eye level, that does not mean that you are allowed to touch it.”

Baby: “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

Mommy: “Baby, stop playing with that bottle of ibuprofen that is on the lower shelf of the end table. It is not a rattle.”

Baby: “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

Mommy: “Baby, I know you love furniture walking, but you cannot grab the table cloth on the end table. There is a tiffany-style table lamp and a bazillion picture frames up there that will bonk you on the head.”

Baby: “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

Mommy: “Baby, stop playing in the fireplace. I know that it is an interesting place to display candles and flower arrangements, but none of those items are toys.”

Baby: “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

Mommy: “Baby, please stop unshelving the VHS tapes. I realize that no one has a VCR anymore, but you never know when Free Willy on videotape will be worth lots of money on Antiques Roadshow.”

Baby: “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”


Mommy: “Baby, please stop playing in the basket on the floor next to Grandma’s chair that is full of prescription medications, hand lotion, and knitting needles. That big ball of yarn looks like fun, but it is attached to a knitting project in progress.”

Baby: “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

Mommy: “Baby, please stop trying to drink from the 347 Pepsi cans lying around on every flat surface in this room. I know everyone else is doing it, but Bubble Juice is not for you.”

Baby: “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”


Mommy: “Baby, where is your father?”

And this was only the living room. This house has a dining room, kitchen, bathroom, and three bedrooms, too.

I am so tired.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Things We Do For Love

I think it’s fairly easy for anyone that visits my blog to see that I love being a Mommy.

I was never one of those teenagers that “oohed” and “aahed” over every baby that bounced by, but I knew as soon as I laid eyes on my husband that I wanted to have his child. We were married for seven years before we were ready to conceive, and I spent much of that time in anxious anticipation and preparation for our little bundle of joy.

I read pregnancy books. I read childbirth books. I read childcare books. I shopped kids’ resale events and garage sales to stock up on gender-neutral baby clothes, strollers, toys, sippy cups, and nursery d├ęcor. I took my vitamins, exercised regularly, and lost weight in preparation for pregnancy. I did all of these things before Baby was even conceived.

Once I was pregnant, I spent most of my time learning more about childbirth, interviewing daycare providers, finding a pediatrician, hiring a doula, decorating the nursery, washing baby clothes, and attending classes. Mommy and Daddy studied the Bradley Method and practiced relaxation techniques.

All this preparation for just one day of my life for just one little person.

One day that would change my life forever.

Imagine how Christ felt on Good Friday. How did he feel as he prepared for just one day that would change the eternal fate of all of mankind? How did he prepare himself to make the ultimate sacrifice of pain, suffering and death for us?

This holiday season, I consider the discomfort I was willing to endure for the health of my child out of indescribable love for him, and I realize that the love Jesus felt for you and me must be even more indescribable for him to endure the pain and suffering that brought us eternal life.

Happy Easter.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mother of All Milestones

He did it!

He walked!

Ever since Baby entered his clumsy stage about a month ago, which culminated in his bleeding lip, he has been more cautious than he needs to be. We knew he would walk soon because he has been furniture walking for a few months and every once in awhile he would stand without support without realizing it. We knew it was just a matter of time before he got brave enough to get moving.

It was evident enough last night that Mommy and Daddy had the same fears tucked away in the back of their minds.

Would Baby take his first steps at daycare?

Would we miss this very important milestone?

Thankfully, we were both there to enjoy this memorable moment.

Daddy was working on our home computer and Mommy was busy trying to keep Baby away from the computer, since one of his favorite hobbies is turning off the computer. As Mommy dragged Baby from the room, Baby bucked and bounced like a determined rodeo rider. Mommy relented and set him down on the floor on his feet. Baby remained standing and took about ten steps toward Daddy until he reached the computer desk.

HURRAY!

Despite his momentous achievement and extraordinary determination, he was still not allowed to touch the computer.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Quotable Quote

A mother is not

a person to lean on,

but a person to make

leaning unnecessary.

~Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Just In Case You Ever Wonder

Our family has several traditions for celebrating Easter, but one of my favorites is the Easter baskets for the kids.

Rather than fill their baskets with Marshmallow Peeps and Chocolate Bunnies, our kids get hand-made chocolate candy that our Youth Ministry makes every spring and sells as a fundraiser to help a needy family or local charity. Since my bonus daughters are teenagers now, they are the kids making the candy and it gives them great pride to munch on their own handiwork.

The Easter Bunny also brings them a small gift. It is always something that reminds them of the meaning of Easter. They usually get a devotional or a Christian music CD.

We have continued this tradition with Baby and I’m really excited about the book the Easter Bunny is bringing him this year.

It is Just In Case You Ever Wonder by Max Lucado.

It is a board book that is beautifully written and illustrated. I read it when it came in the mail yesterday and I was in tears by the time I was done. We all know that’s not difficult to believe because I am a sentimental train wreck lately, but I just had to share this with you because it would be a perfect gift for parents expecting a new baby or for your own little love.

Read this excerpt from the book and tell me it’s not beautiful:


Max Lucado puts into words the thoughts that are in every parent’s heart.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Farewell to a Friend

I said goodbye to a dear friend this weekend.

My pet rat died.

Stop flinching at the thought of a pet rat. I know you’re flinching at the thought, because I had the same reaction before I met Mickey. This is the story that changed my mind.

Once upon a time, Bonus Daughters wanted a gift idea for my birthday. I jokingly told them that I wanted a pet of my very own because I was tired of cleaning up after hamsters, guinea pigs, fish, and tortoises that did not belong to me. Rather than take the hint and start cleaning up after their pets, they bought me a pet hamster.

My hamster’s name was Murphy and he was a very friendly little hairball. Shortly after I got Murphy, I became pregnant with Baby. Shortly after I became pregnant, Murphy died. Since we only knew each other for a few short months, I should not have been upset by Murphy’s passing. But I was pregnant, so I was hysterical and reduced to tears. Bonus Daughters felt so bad that they insisted on buying me another hamster.

Reluctantly, I let them drag me to the pet store. We admired several baby hamsters and I asked a store clerk to let me hold one of them. The store clerk assured me that the baby hamsters were very cute but also very mean and there was no chance in heck that she could put her hand into any of the cages without one of the little buggers biting her. Instead, she nonchalantly placed a baby rat in my hands and proceeded to explain to me why he was a far superior pet.

I was panic-stricken. I was so shocked by this unexpected turn of events that I couldn’t even react. The baby rat used that opportunity to cuddle up in my hands. As the store clerk explained that rats don’t bite, they answer to their names, they are trainable, they enjoy the company of people and like to sit upon the shoulder of their owner, my heart melted and I forgot that I was holding a rodent.

In utter disbelief, my dear husband consented to the purchase of the rat.

I took him home and named him Mickey.

Mickey kept me company throughout my pregnancy. He sat on my shoulder for hours at a time and liked to play hide-and-seek in my hair. He learned his name and he came running when I called him. His favorite food was blueberries. He liked to play tag by running back and forth from couch to loveseat to couch. On the rare occasion that he would escape to the floor, he would timidly run back to me. He liked to bounce and run on my bed and hide under the pillows. That was great fun until he chewed a hole in hubby’s pillow and got banished from the bed.

Once Baby was born, Mickey was sorely neglected. I no longer had time or energy to get him out of his cage and play with him. I tried my best to remember to feed him regularly and sometimes offered him special treats, like half a pound of cheese or an entire peach as a way to appease my guilt.

As Baby grew, he became infatuated with Mickey. They loved to gaze at each other through the cage bars, as if they were having a heart to heart conversation that only the two of them could understand. I’m sure Baby was thinking, “I can’t wait to open that cage door and set you free. Just as soon as I’m big enough…”

Baby will never have that chance, but Mickey will forever be in my heart as a dear friend.

Goodbye for now, Mickey.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

End of the Road

I thought I would be jubilant on the day I quit pumping breastmilk.

I remember the days I spent hooked up to a pump when Baby was just two weeks old and I had a mastitis infection that made it too painful for Baby to nurse. I remember the weeks before I went back to work after maternity leave when I pumped milk while Baby napped. I remember the first few months back at work when I was pumping four times a day, which was two hours a day and ten hours a week! That’s FORTY hours a month!!

Assembling and disassembling the pump was so tedious! Pumping was so tedious! I couldn’t wait to quit and I spent those early months of Baby’s life counting the days until I could quit.

As time went by, I learned to make the most of my time. I invested in a hands-free pumping band and I was finally able to enjoy hobbies, like leisure reading and listening to my i-pod. My pumping sessions became my little oasis. I had a legitimate reason to get away from work, I had peace and quiet, and I had some time to enjoy some of my old hobbies. I even went back to school to continue working on my degree and had plenty of time to study.

After a lot of soul-searching, I decided to stop pumping after Baby’s first birthday. Baby will drink whole cow’s milk at daycare during the day and continue his normal nursing sessions at home with Mommy at night.

I’ve slowly been reducing my pumping sessions at work over the past few weeks. When I wasn’t pumping enough milk for Baby’s daily needs, we started thawing the stockpile that I had in the freezer.

Now, we have one ounce in the refrigerator, four ounces in the freezer, and I haven’t pumped at work for the past two days.

In one sense, I feel liberated. I don’t have to haul my breastpump back and forth to work. Daddy doesn’t have to wash bottles and sippy cups and pump parts everyday after work. We don’t have to pack bottles for daycare, rotate the milk inventory, freeze milk, thaw milk, or cry over milk bags that leak.

So why do I feel a little melancholy? I miss leaving a part of me with my Baby when I drop him off at daycare. I feel a little twinge of regret that he needs me just a little bit less today than he did last week. I mourn the babyhood that has passed and I cling to my memories of his infancy. I’m not ready to pack up that last ounce of milk from the fridge or thaw that last bag in the freezer.

Change is hard, but I remind myself that it’s my job as a mother to teach him not to need me.

It’s all about Baby.

And Baby is happy.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Firsts

I got this email message from baby.com today:

Here's To Firsts

The first joyous news • The first midnight cravings • The first sonogram photo on the refrigerator • The first time you look in his eyes and know you’re no longer number one • The first night at home • The first funny little smile • The first time he sleeps through the night (Hallelujah!) • The first laugh • The first crawl • The first stumbling steps • The first time she says "Ma…ma…ma…mama" • The first love pat • The first kiss • The first time you realize that — no matter how well you’ve prepared — you’re never quite ready.

Happy 1st Birthday!

Very funny.

Who is sleeping through the night?

Thanks for taking the opportunity to rub it in my sleep-deprived, mascara-smeared face!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Little Baby No, No

Just when I get the hang of this Mommy gig, the rules change. I am finally able to change a diaper, diagnose an ear infection, interpret the cause of any rash, translate Baby’s whines and cries, and keep track of 2, 348 balls and the appropriate toy each ball coordinates with. Just when I finally feel like a professional, now Baby changes the rules.

He needs DISCIPLINE.

No more carefree days of feeding, cleaning, and cooing.

Some of Baby’s recent hobbies include:

Hanging on the blinds on the picture window in the living room.

Turning on and off and on and off and on and off the 57” Projection Television that is one of Daddy’s most prized possessions.

Turning on and off and on and off and on and off the computer.

Flushing the toilet.

Removing all toilet paper from the roll and distributing throughout the house.

Unshelving every single book from his personal library.

Trying to stick his fingers in the pet mouse’s cage.

Dumping his toys into the pet tortoise’s habitat.

Opening the tortoise habitat and setting the inhabitant free.

WOW! I didn’t realize the list was so long until I started ticking off his recent offenses one by one.

So, you can see that Mommy and Daddy need to quickly develop an effective discipline strategy and implement it.

I’ll let you know the game plan, right after I untangle the blinds, reboot the computer, turn off the television, restock the bathroom and shut the door behind me, fish all the board books out from under the couch, and find the turtle.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Birthday Aftermath

I know I promised to return today, so here I am. I’m exhausted, frazzled and melancholy, but I’m here.

Although Baby’s first birthday party was a smashing success, we just barely survived the recent visit from the grandparents. Baby enjoyed his third ear infection in three months during our sleep-deprived vacation from work.

Inexplicably, I spent Baby’s entire first birthday in tears. I was obsessed with the clock and thoughts of “this time last year, Baby was still in my belly” and “this time last year, we saw Baby’s face for the first time” and “this time last year, I nursed Baby in the delivery room” and “this time last year, I had my first meal after Baby was born.” As you can see, I am a sentimental train wreck.

Despite the chaotic nature of our lives and my regret that Baby may be my one and only baby in this lifetime, I remind myself that I have so much to be thankful for. My baby is healthy and happy. My marriage is healthy and happy. I am healthy and have no reason to be unhappy.

God is good and I feel like an ungrateful, spoiled brat this week.

I’m glad He loves me, anyway.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008