Monday, June 28, 2010

The agony, the ecstasy...and the agony

Noah is now 10 months old.  Take a minute, let that sink in.  He is now 10. Months. Old.  Where did the time go?  I swear it was just yesterday I was in the Pediatric unit sobbing hysterically because my brand-new baby boy was sunning away in a baby tanning bed due to his very high bilirubin levels and I a) just wanted to go home and start out lives as a family of four and b) could not hold him as much as I wanted/needed to since he needed to stay in that damn box to get better.  My mother knew how hard it was for me, how hard it was for us. Dyl knew better than anyone since he ran himself ragged getting Noelle to school, working, picking her up, bringing her over to the hospital to visit, taking her home, keeping her on her routine as we had planned. And she did beautifully.  Noah got better.  And we came home to begin our new normal.   

I wasn't blogging while pregnant with him but the fam remembers how he was a stubborn little Pain In The Ass even then.  He waited a whole NINE (!!!) days past his due date to arrive, only deigning to join the world when his eviction notice was signed, sealed and delivered. (I will get around to posting his birth story at a later date - maybe by his first birthday).

Extreme tangent:  Why the HELL does it smell like bananas/circus peanuts in here?!?!?!?!?!

And we're back.  Talking, oh, right!  Noah.  Where was I....? Oh yes, about how he was a royal PITA.  Okay, not really but as Noelle was the most ridiculously easy baby ever, you can understand why we might think he was a bit more...challenging.  He nursed pretty well though there were days I cringed through the latching process.  And it never really got better until one day, he just...stopped.  Refused to nurse.  Would scream bloody murder if a boob came anywhere near him.  AUGH!  IT'S THE BOOB!  THE EVIL, EVIL BOOB.  PUT IT AWAY WOMAN, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?  So we stopped trying.  I switched over to the all-pumping all-the-time channel which is where we are today.  He's a decent sleeper though nothing like his sister.  He will fight falling asleep tooth and nail (sometimes both at the same time) even though we know he's tired, he knows he's tired, the folks in the next county know he's tired. He just will. not. give. in.  He has a temper and gets frustrated easily, not unlike his sister and mother.  Apple.  Tree. How you doing?

But oh!  The joys a little boy brings.  He wakes up each morning happy and smiling.  He'll play in his crib quietly though we'll hear him 'talking' and 'singing' to his toys in the crib.  (Yes, he has toys in the crib.  I'm a bad mommy.  Moving on...)  His natural inquisitiveness as to what is OVER THERE. BEHIND THE DOOR.  WHAT ARE YOU HIDING FROM ME PEOPLE? can drive you bonkers.  He loves. loves. loves. to open and shut doors.  He has a favorite piece of play food, peas, that he carries around in his mouth like a puppy.  He plays in the kitchen set with it, constantly opening and closing (there's that theme again) the 'oven' door, putting the peas in, taking them out.  I'm sure that they are quite well done now.  He'll crawl over to the box of play food and empty the entire thing out to find the damn peas.  He adores his sister and 'chases' her around the house while she runs and shrieks through giggles that 'Noah's chasing me!'  He loves the cat who, while tolerant of the newest interloper does most emphatically NOT love him back though she will allow him to pet her under close adult supervision.  That doesn't always work out right since his meaty little paw is FAST and will seize a handful of fur before you can say 'boo'.  He loves silly songs and playing 'Where's Noah' where he'll raise his arms up over his head as if to say 'Here I am!  I'm SO BIG!'  He can climb steps and pull himself up on almost anything.  He looks too thin to me but he's right in the middle of the pack for weight. 

He has no fear and will chase after everything as fast as he can.  When he grins, his eyes crinkle up and he seems to smile with his whole face.  He loves his 'Peek-a-Boo' books and any book with animals.  When he's tired or being shy he'll cuddle against your shoulder and snuggle his head into your neck, looking up at everyone through his ridiculously long dark eyelashes.  He has big deep blue eyes and is such a pretty baby that people have corrected us saying 'No, no, that's not a boy.  He's too pretty to be a boy.'  I wish to GOD that I was making that part up.  He loves eating and trying to get to the TV/receiver and DVD.  He is a total man in that he will commandeer the remote every chance he gets.  He gives big, sloppy, open-mouthed kisses and snatches my glasses off my face.  He pats our faces when he drinking his bottle or pinches our arms when being held as if to remind us that he is still there and wants nothing more than to be held close.  He lights up when he sees Grandma, practically leaping our of my arms with a squeal of delight.  When he's happy he kicks his legs like there is no tomorrow and waves his hands together, trying to clap, not really succeeding but also not caring. He is SO MUCH, it's exhausting and exhilarating; terrifying and enrapturing, like an out-of-control Tilt-a-Whirl but a ride I don't want to stop.

It's these burgeoning expressions of independence, personality and affection that makes it exponentially harder to leave him every day.  Watching this little person unfold, blossoming like a lily is such a joy and a privilege...and a source of constant heartache.  I want nothing more than to be with him as he discovers the world around him inch by delighted, wondering inch.  I don't have that option; all that I can do is to be the best Mommy to my special little man that I can.  And hope that it's good enough.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Spin Cycle: In honor of Dad

Some may have castles on the banks of the Rhine,
And hire an orchestra each evening at nine,
But richer than I they will never be,
I had a Dad who spent time with me.

- author unknown

This was on a plaque that I gave to my dad many years ago for Christmas.  It rings so perfect and true for us, all the more impressive when you stop to consider the environment in which he was raised with very traditional gender roles.  He was the primary earner, the only earner in fact when I was growing up and yet he still made the time to play 'tin-foil football' with my sisters and I after dinner and to coach us in basketball and softball.  He taught us how to catch and throw, how to dribble and shoot, finesse a lay-up and lay down a bunt.  He taught us how to drive a car, check the oil level and change a tire.  He 'taught' us how to parallel park with his patented method:  turn the wheel this way, turn it that way, and you're in.   He imparted to us a deep and abiding love of the Washington Redskins and how the best way to watch the game was with the TV sound off and the radio turned on to Sonny, Sam and Frank.

He showed us what to expect from a partner by how adoringly he treats our Mom.  He has a temper but only with himself.  He could be intimidating to those who didn't know him but he has a wicked sense of humor and has never met a microphone he didn't like.  He is a talented singer, dancer and drummer of which I inherited precisely zero ability.  He sang at all three of our weddings and performed a special 'dance' with my cousin at his.  He was the only one who could calm Rob down when he got too wound up and to this day has a special relationship with him. 
The semester I graduated from college he lost his job.  Beyond a job, a career, it was his identity as Dad had been working steadily since high school, perhaps even earlier.  But he didn't let the job loss define him; instead, he threw is considerable talents into supporting the Knights of Columbus locally and at the state level.  It would have been all too easy to simply give up and turn bitter but he hasn't.  He has embraced his evolved role and stretched himself in ways most of us cannot imagine as at the age of 63 has his own fundraising and conference organizing business.

He is a man of tremendous faith and lives the creed of Catholicism every day.  He inspires all of us to be better people, to be more tolerant though heaven knows he has been known to make sweeping proclamations on what is right and good.  And here I was wondering where I got that lovely trait from....
He ends every conversation wanting to know how he can help and to call on him if we need anything.  And I have as my Dad has helped us with painting the baby's room, putting up borders, fixing the banister, raising and lowering the crib, assembling the TV stand.  I love that he wants to remain involved and I think that he loves being needed.

He is a wonderful grandfather who is adored by all of his grandchildren.  He is a huge part of their lives, even going so far as to be with me when Noah was born lo these 10 months ago.  He supported my shoulders when it was time to push, physically supporting me like the metaphorical support for all of these years.  It meant so much to me to have him there with Mom and Alice and Dylan.  Now a whole new generation will be introduced to tin-foil football and Tickle Monster.  And I don't think that he would have it any other way.

I love you, Dad.  Happy Father's Day.
Now head on over to Sprite's Keeper for more tributes to Dad:  The Man, The Myth, The Legend.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

RTT: The preschooler edition

"I a police officer.  And Mommy, you a police officer.  And Bonnie a police officer."

"What about Daddy?"

"Daddy a boy.  Boys not police officers."

"Boy's can't be police officers?"


"What are they?"

Well, it's nice to know that the boys have some opportunities available to them.

"Noelle, look!  There's a horse that's colored like a cow!" (Black and white palomino)

"Oh wow Mommy!  I see it!"

"I've never seen a horse that looks like that before."

"It a horse-cow."
If we can have tiger dogs, why not horse cows.


A snapshot of Noelle's week:  bowling, birthday party, picnic, pajama day, ice cream sundae day, bike day, Ultimate Playzone day, Storytime Live, Father's Day festivities.  Anyone else envy this kid her social life?


We got tickets for Nickelodeon's Storytime Live and have been talking it up to Noelle.  Perhaps a little too much since at least 20 times a day we hear "Daddy take me to the show and I gonna see Kai Lan and Wonderpets and Backyardigans and Dora the Explorer."  (Takes a breath) "And then I go to the beach and we make a sandcastle and see little dolphins and little giant clams but not big ones cause they are scary and little sharks and daddy sharks but not mommy sharks.  Mommy sharks scare me.  And jelly fish and whales.  And we see mermaids and we make a sandcastle, Mommy." 

So much for me getting any rest this vacation!


I had an interview for a new position last Thursday.  While searching for appropriate interview wear I realized that I had donated every. single. blouse. I. owned.  Hi, irony!  Welcome back!  I've missed you!

Now head on over to Keely for even more random Tuesday fun!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Spin Cycle: Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they aren't all out to get me!

"Hey, we've got the 'Skins game today.  Want to watch?"

"Really?  The Ravens - oh that's right, they play later.  Sure, what channel - hey, when did the game start?"

"Uh, not sure, maybe 15 minutes ago?"

"Well, we can turn it on real quick to see how they're doing but after that we have to change the channel."


"Because you know that if I don't watch from the beginning, we'll end up losing and it will all be my fault."


"Just can't take the risk."

Eye roll.  "You are so odd."

This fascinating trip into my addled psyche has been brought to you by the Spin Cycle over at Sprite's Keeper, the provider of mystery topics.  Can you guess what mine is?  Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go and crack my knuckles in counts of eight.  Mostly in frustration as I STILL cannot seem to be able to add the awesome 'Spin Cycle' button/badge but a little bit because that's the way I seem to roll.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Beautiful Day

Children may just be our greatest blessing, not because they represent hope for the future but because they force us to slow down and appreciate the beauty around us.  I know that I am guilty of not slowing down, of the constant rushing to get dinner on the table, baths and bedtimes on schedule, out the door to get to school and work but it was always in the abstract, the 'I know, I know but this is real' way in which we inflexible adults live our lives.  Family and childhood, what should be the first consideration in everything, gets relegated to weekend or vacation status and that is only if Mommy doesn't have to work. 

This morning was no different:  getting Noelle up, dressed, fed and ready for school.  My repetitious statements to finish your breakfast, are you done yet, please be quiet, Noah's still sleeping, little by little draining the color out of the vibrant preschool world.  I know I'm doing it, I hate that I'm doing it yet can't seem to be able to stop.  Yes, we have to get ready to go but what I think at the time is a logical statement 'Let's finish getting ready and you'll have more time to play with your 'Wonderpets' before Grandma gets here', is it crushing her little soul?  Twenty years from now, will it matter?

We walk outside to the car and she stops and looks around. 

"It's a beautiful day, Mommy!"

I turn and look at her, see what's she seeing:  a brilliant blue summer morning sky, warm golden sun illuminating everything, the bright green of the grass and leaves and the stunning pop of color of the purple irises in the flower bed.  But nothing is as lovely as the vision of her in her pink skirt, white t-shirt and sparkly pink shoes smiling and squinting up at the sky, delighting in the perfection of a new day, full of endless possibilities.

"It's a beautiful day, Mommy!"

Yes it is sweetheart.  Yes it is.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

60, 40, whatever, they're awesome!

40 years.  That's how long my parents have been married.  That's half an (average) lifetime.  They are just getting started.  And this past weekend, we celebrated them in style.

Renewing their vows

The happy couple

The famCath, Mom, Dad, Shann and Me


The first fortieth dance

This is just for blackmail

Dancing with Grandma

Let's get this party started.  My backside.  You are welcome.

Jeff, Dyl and Mike.  The boys who put up with our shenanigans.  Yes, my husband is the one flashing a gang sign.  Le sigh.

Um, yeah.  I got nothing.

It was a fabulous time, a truly tremendous celebration of a phenomenal relationship with family and friends old and new joining in the fun.  Mom and Dad have touched and influenced so many people over the years that the outpouring of love for them comes as no surprise.  We are honored to be your children and may we ever live up to the shining example of a strong and successful marriage and partnership that you have wholly lived out these past 40 years.  Congratulations and here's to the next 40 being just as wonderful!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Weird and Wild Wednesday

Okay, so technically this stuff all happened yesterday and I was too busy playing on Facebook and Twitter last night to do real work which is why it's neatly fitting into today's little slice of heaven.  Behold the glory of suburban existence!

No, your car is NOT the open audition for the next American Idol 
Driving home from work with Noelle in the back seat last night, I looked in my rear view mirror as I am wont to do when sitting in bumper to bumper traffic.  Because people watching? Is the BEST spectator sport ever.  And on this glorious afternoon, the lady in the big-ass truck behind me (seriously, it was like a 4-runner on steroids) was giving her rendition of something (Copacabana?  Paparazzi?) her ALL.  To the point where it really looked like her head was growing out of the steering wheel and the veins in her neck were trying to escape the what I'm sure was divine caterwauling.  It kind of reminded me of the 2-headed podrace announce in Episode I.  Since I was already in a bad mood, being reminded of that little piece of cinematic travesty did not help matters at all.  Thank God for the Backyardigans Born to Play CD. 

Why?  Why would someone think this is a good idea?
A bit later on the drive home (yeah, we were still in the car), I glanced out of my window in a vain attempt to alleviate the boredom from the view of the lovely car that had been in front of me the past 13 miles and guess what I saw in someone's yard?  No, really, guess.  You'll never get it.  The oddest lawn ornament I've ever seen.  And I've seen some odd ones. We have some odd ones.  This proud Raven fan displayed purple...flamingos.  Because the flaming pink actually FOUND IN NATURE isn't hideous enough, no, some store somewhere decided to improve on this by making it purple.  And not like wearing a jersey, no.  This was your regular (isn't that sad that we can identify these things are 'regular') garden variety plastic flamingo.  In purple.  In their front yard. Grazing in the flower bed.  I...give up.

The paso dobee
While still in the car (because of course we still were), I make the turn onto the main road to get to our development and BAM!  Sudden standstill.  Still have no idea what caused the back up but whatever.  So we are inching (and I do mean inching) along when out of nowhere a bee lands on my windshield, right in my line of vision and starts....spinning.  In a circle. Round and round and round and I'm just watching absolutely fascinated by this random display of bee-ness.  It kind of was like Noelle dancing - spinning round and round.  Then it slowly got tired and staggered off to the side of the windshield (still spinning but much slower) before finally falling off and I hope making it home safely because that was comedy GOLD there people.  So in a much better frame of mind we whip through a no-thru parking lot to get home where we are greeted with...

Snakes!  Snakes under a porch!
Only 1 snake really, a long black snake apparently likes under our stoop.  And our neighbor's stoop.  Little ingrate.  Anyway, Mom and Noah were sitting outside and saw the snake yesterday (Mom is really into gardening so isn't fazed by something like that.  Neither am I as long as it 1) stays out of my house and 2) gets rid of the spiders before they get into my house.  As long as we have an understanding....)  But it's NOT poisonous as our neighbor Steve bravely volunteered to test this by PICKING THE DAMN THING UP.  And got bit.  This is where being a big giant wuss is a good thing.  I would never get bit because I would never be tempted to pick up a snake in the first place.

Introducing Captain Chaos
It's not a post without some relation of the asinine doings of my children so Noah was glad to oblige.  He's a very busy little man.  Lots to explore, doors to open and close, things to put into his mouth, cats to torment (this time with a spoon.  He was...petting her.)  Anyway, we have these door locks that loop over the handles and tighten so you can't open the doors.  (Well, duh, that is what they do, you idiot).  The ones that we have look like a bow when you use them properly.  Or just use them.  Which we have to be better about since he crawled to the cabinet under the sink which wasn't latched (one side hanging off), you know, the one that houses the trashcan, carpet cleaner, kitchen cleaner, dish washing detergent-you get the idea- pulled it off the knob and handed it to Mom.  Oh dear lord in heaven are we in trouble now.

So thanks to Captain Chaos and Boris the Dancing Bee, I ended the day with jellybeans and my sanity intact.