Archive for September, 2011

  • Road Trip!

    Date: 2011.09.29 | Category: Baby, Birthday, Dogs, Family, Friends, Halloween, Holidays, Leela Fish, OMG YAY!, Sarah, Travel | Response: 18

    We’re headed to Austin, TX, today to see some of our best friends and celebrate my birthday in one of my very favorite cities. This will also be Sarah’s first road trip. Let’s hope it all goes well. We’re packing our swimming gear because it should still be reaching 95 every day while we’re there. I just hope that fall will have magically set in by the time we return. It will be October, my favorite month, after all.

    I hope you have a good weekend (and Happy Birthday to you too Bluz!)

  • 7:20

    Date: 2011.09.27 | Category: Baby, Family, Health, Home, Life, Mark, Me, Sarah | Response: 15

    The other night, mom asked me when I feed Sarah baby food. And by that, she meant, about what time of day. I replied, “7:20.”

    Mom burst out laughing at my exact timing and level of detail.

    But let me tell you, I am obsessed with my girl’s nighttime schedule because IT WORKS.

    At 7:20 she eats some baby food. Afterward, she plays a bit on the blanket while we get everything ready for her bath. At 8:00, we bathe her, lotion her up, put her in her pj’s, then she nurses until she passes out and goes to bed by 8:30.

    Upon explaining this routine to my mom and sister this past weekend, my sister said, “You don’t let her stay up late on the weekends?” “No,” I said, “Because if Sarah misses her sleep window, she will attempt to FIGHT sleep until she is an exhausted, screaming, crying mess and then I will become an exhausted, screaming, crying mess.”

    My sister’s baby is the most laid back little guy ever. He will sleep in a room full of people if you put a blanket over his head. Sarah would take that blanket, shake it around, laugh and throw it to the floor. So where staying up late for my nephew is no big deal and can actually be quite fun, staying up late for Sarah is a nightmare.

    The same goes for her morning nap. If we miss morning nap, it is game over for the rest of the day. So I’m a stickler about it. And if that makes me not fun, I’m ok with that because I will be much worse than “not fun” if she misses that nap and makes the entire day miserable.

    But, I’m a planner, so I really don’t mind this scheduled routine. It bothers me when I’m late for things, or when other people are very late for things.

    I guess it’s good that I have a deadline-oriented job. I thrive on a schedule and on a routine. I like having an end date and time in my mind. And while I may procrastinate at times, I’m always ready when it is time to do something.

    It makes my husband crazy that I want to know exactly what we’re doing. When he says we’re going to go to dinner with his parents this weekend, I want to know which day, what time and where we’re going. I’m sure he thinks I’m obsessed, and maybe I am, but I NEED to know. It keeps me sane.

    But just so you know, if plans DO change, I don’t freak out, I just want to know what they are changing to.

    Maybe I’ll let up on the strict routine for Sarah when she gets older, but for now we’re going to stick to it.

    Do you have a routine you’re a stickler about?

  • Flap, Bounce, Rock

    Date: 2011.09.26 | Category: Baby, Family, Home, Mark, Sarah | Response: 16

    This kid?

    Is moving.

    A lot.

    She flaps…

    She bounces…

    And then there’s this she picked up from baby Mae.

    And me? I’m one tired, proud mama.

  • Eatin’, Drinkin’ and Partyin’ Southern Style

    Date: 2011.09.20 | Category: Baby, Bonnie Barrell, Dogs, Food, Friends, Home, Life, Mark, OMG YAY!, Pets, Sarah, Style | Response: 21

    Blogging has been a great experience for me. Through Livejournal and through this blog, I have met some great people and made some really amazing friends.

    Cassie is one of those friends. I can’t tell you how many private message conversations, then phone conversations, then video chats we had over everything from coping with PPD to crock pot cooking to exercising to baby proofing.

    So imagine how thrilled I was when Kelly and I somehow managed to convince her to leave Pittsburgh for a long weekend to come stay with us in Louisiana. I didn’t even give Kel a chance to call dibs on letting Cassie stay with her, I was too excited.

    So this past Thursday was the appointed day of her arrival. Kel and I showed up at the airport and waited on Cassie and Mae to arrive. When they did, I felt like I was saying hello to a friend I hadn’t seen in a while, not someone I had never met in person.

    Mae yelled with joy when she met Sarah… and then Sarah promptly burst into tears. She had no idea what to do with so much happiness. Good thing she toughened up over the next few days.

    We had a great four day weekend. We ate a lot of local food, including Rollin’ in the Dough, Trejos, Pieworks, Blind Tiger and Strawn’s.

    I made sure Cassie met some of my best friends, including Susan and Angela. We drank wine together and we made favors for Kelly’s shower.

    With Cassie’s arrival came cooler temperatures. I think she thought I was lying about all the 107 degree days, because temps hovered in the 80’s the whole time she was here. This meant we got to walk along the riverfront and watch Mark and the dogs play in the downtown fountains.

    Disappointed by the lack of colorful southern characters she had seen thus far, I took her to Walmart where she saw some sweet mullets and a braided beard.

    Cassie was shocked at the sheer volume of alcohol in our grocery stores, and was even more surprised that you can drive on through the Thrifty Liquor and pick up whatever liquor your heart so desires. So of course I had to take her to one of the infamous Louisiana drive-thru daiquiri shops.

    Mae paid attention to what her mommy was doing and later attempted to replicate her drinking at Kel’s baby shower.

    Kel’s baby shower was a hit too. It was so nice to have Cassie and my mom there helping man the babies.

    Bonnie especially took a liking to Mae and didn’t even pee in their room once.

    Cassie was the most amazing house guest I’ve ever had! When I was preparing for Kel’s shower, she insisted on helping me clean, and didn’t even get grossed out by all the dust and animal hair. She also made us an amazing strawberry and pineapple crumble with vanilla ice cream.

    I said it once, and I’ll say it again, I so wish Cassie would move down here and be my stay at home mom.

    Already I am making plans to try to go up to Pittsburgh next summer. Let’s hope it works out!

  • A Star is Born

    Date: 2011.09.19 | Category: Baby, Friends, Home, Photography, Pregnancy, Style | Response: 14

    There are so many things to tell you about the past four days. Cassie visited, we toured Shreveport, we ate our way through southern cuisine and I helped host a baby shower for Kelly!

    Many posts to come, but first, how about the details of Kel’s theatre-themed shower?

    Angela, Joy, Haley and I have had so much fun planning this shower. We quickly agreed that theatre would be the perfect theme. Our creative minds came together and had a blast putting all this together.


    Row 1: Clothesline gifts  in shower colors Onesies and socks from Target, red onesie from The Children’s Place, clothes pins made by Angela; Mamma-to-be Kel poses with “A Star is Born” playbill posters made by Haley.
    Row 2: Baby name napkins from The Paper Tulip; Play scripts from Haley’s collection; Food tags designed by me.
    Row 3: Table of goodies! Fruits and veggies from Sam’s Club, flowers from Kroger, champagne flutes from Party City and cake made by Joy’s friend; Joy’s husband Jeff served as our paparazzi and took photos of guests on the red carpet outside the front door.
    Row 4: Kate Aspen “About to Pop” popcorn boxes filled with popcorn and M&M’s, boxes from; cake made by Joy’s friend.

    Oh, and we also had show tunes playing in the background and had guests sign the hardback anniversary edition of To Kill a Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee of course.

  • Happenings

    Date: 2011.09.15 | Category: Baby, Food, Friends, Home, OMG YAY! | Response: 16

    It’s an exciting week.

    I have a deadline to meet.

    I have Kelly’s baby shower to host at my house!

    I have Cassie and Mae coming to visit!

    Which means I have a house to clean.

    Oh, and I have a baby to take care of and a husband to spend time with.

    Let’s just hope that everyone is distracted by the adorable decorations and treats we’re putting together for the shower and manages to overlook the dog hair tumbleweeds flying down my hall.

    Let’s also hope that Cassie isn’t too offended by the chaos. From what she’s told me and showed me of her own house, I already feel less worried. Babies and animals mean chaos, no way around that.

    I am so excited about the events of the next four days.

    The theme of Kel’s shower is a surprise, so more on that later.

    Can’t wait to show Cassie around our southern city. We have plans for good eats, drive-thru daquiris, donk hunting and yoga.

    I’ve got some ideas on where I want to take her for some delicious local food, but I’m open to suggestions from fellow Shreveporters (so please comment and tell me where you would take a Yank to eat some delicious southern food).

    Also, if you were coming to Louisiana (albeit not New Orleans) what would you want to see and do?

    Time to crash now. Don’t be surprised if I disappear for a few days. I’m sure I’ll reappear covered in baby gift bags and Cajun daiquiris some time around Monday morning.

  • 5 Months

    Date: 2011.09.11 | Category: Baby, Dogs, Family, Photography, Sarah | Response: 16

    Sarah is 5 months old today. 5 months!


    During this past month Sarah has started showing an intense interest in everything around her. She reaches, she grabs, she shakes, she lunges.

    She is concentrating all her efforts on getting what she wants. The remote control is her favorite thing to try to get and gnaw on. Cell phones are a close second.


    She has figured out how to squeal, and squeal loudly. She giggles when we tickle her and wiggles non-stop.

    She has also figured out how to take her shoes off and gnaw on them, or alternatively, gnaw on her own feet.


    She reaches for the dogs, who are surprisingly tolerant of her.


    She now LOVES her toys, crossing several yards to get at one. We even have to take a toy to the bath tub so she’ll focus on it and let us bathe her. Otherwise she’ll wiggle to the point of plunging herself underwater.


    She’s also loves going out and about. No more screaming in Target. She’s far too interested in people watching.

    And in just the past two days, she’s figured out how to do a pushup and hold that stance. I can barely do that.

    She can sort of sit up on her own for about 30 seconds before losing balance and face planting.


    5 months already. She’s growing so fast!

  • Determination

    Date: 2011.09.08 | Category: Baby, Sarah | Response: 18

    I have a determined child who loves to move.

    When I was 12 weeks pregnant, she was enthusiastically break dancing across the ultrasound screen, and for the duration of my pregnancy there was rarely a lapse in her bumps and kicks.

    Since she’s been born, she has loved to kick her legs and shake her arms and has screamed when we made attempts to swaddle and contain those little limbs.

    She rolled over front to back just shy of three months old, and then back to front just shy of four.

    So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that at just shy of five months, she is making great efforts to crawl.

    About two weeks ago she figured out how to continuously roll to get where she wanted to go. Then about a week ago she was onto the army crawl.

    Now she is “inch worming” to get to her toys. And she can do this across a pretty good distance.

    All that’s left to do is figure out how to get those knees to stay underneath her and we are going to have a crawler. My guess is that it happens just shy of 6 months.

    Time to pick up those dog toys and shoes. She has already been caught gnawing on both when I turned my back for less than a minute.

  • Bad Day?

    Date: 2011.09.07 | Category: Baby, Friends, Health, Sarah, Weirdness, Work | Response: 16

    Sometimes I think things are rough, and then I get a jolt of jarring perspective.

    This morning, as has been usual lately, Sarah had me up at 4:00 a.m. I usually go right back to sleep, but struggled to do so this morning.

    Then, right as I was about to leave for work, little bit spit up all over my dress and I had to rush to change clothes.

    On my way to work, I quickly discovered that the main road I use was completely shut down and there were large vehicles completely destroying the road to get to, what I guess, was a busted water line as there was water flowing down the street. This led to a long detour that everyone else was taking. Traffic was backed up and I was late to work.

    Once at work, I managed to spill boiling hot water all over the kitchen counter.

    I then went into a long meeting where my patience was tested over and over.

    In short, it was not a good day.

    And then I talked to my best friend Doctor Susan. Susan told me about a very scary and tragic accident that came in while she was working in the ER last night; a story involving a pregnant mother and her now-born child. As I easily put myself into that mom’s position, it shook me to my core and renewed that lingering anxiety that makes me constantly worry about my own daughter.

    It made me thankful that we have people like Susan who have the strength, determination and knowledge to take care of these people with disaster strikes.

    And it quickly made me realize how petty my “bad day” seemed. Perspective is a good thing sometimes.

    It also makes me want to run home, scoop my little girl up in my arms and never let go.

  • Lions and Orcs and Muggles, Oh My!

    Date: 2011.09.02 | Category: Books, Life, Me, Nostalgia, Travel | Response: 20

    Since my last post on my favorite books, it seems like they’ve been cropping up more and more on my radar.

    Today on Yes and Yes, they made raspberry cordial from Anne of Green Gables! And there is an Anne cookbook… who knew?

    I was also recently reading The Thirteenth Tale, wherein they constantly referenced Jane Eyre. I remember reading it as required reading in high school and being one of the few who actually read it all the way through and loved it. And since the book is now out of copyright, I downloaded it for free on my iPhone and have been reacquainting myself with the story.

    And just the other day, I found myself explaining my rag tag collection of Potter books to my friend Lori:

    “I have books 1 and 2 and 6 and 7. But  1 is the British children’s version, 2 is the American hardback, 6 is the adult British version and 7 is the American hardback. So I got on Amazon and ordered 3, 4 and 5 in the American paperback.”

    Which then lead to an explanation of the British children’s vs. adult’s covers of the Potter books… which led to an explanation of how I came across those copies in the first place.

    The summer of 2005 I had the opportunity to study at Oxford for the summer. Through the miracles of scholarship and a small inheritance, I managed to pull the funds together to go. And while I was admittedly homesick at first, it ended up being one of the best times of my life.

    See? You actually eat there when you go to college at Oxford.

    I took classes on children’s Brit Lit (including HP, His Dark Materials, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Narnia, etc.), Tolkien (though that did require me to finally read the Silmirillian, which was sort of Tolkien’s Bible for the Lord of the Rings world), and a class on WWI.

    I was in literary nerd Mecca.  I got to go to the Eagle and Child pub (locally known as “the Bird and the Baby”)  where Tolkien and Lewis met up and wrote their famous books. I visited Tolkien’s grave. I went to The Globe and Stratford-Upon-Avon to Shakespeare’s childhood home. I went to Christ Church, where Lewis Carroll resided. There are even Alice in Wonderland figures in the stained glass windows of their dining hall. The same dining hall that the HP movies modeled theirs after.

    And the cherry on top? The sixth Harry Potter book was due to come out while I was there.

    As you can imagine, in Oxford there are tons of book shops. In the weeks leading up to the book release, each had its own marketing ploy to get people to their shop the night of the release. Everything from “Hagrid will be here!” to  “Live Owls!” Me and a couple other girls from my college back home went with the live owls at Borders Books.

    The night of the book release they had three live owls there, and all of the staff were dressed up as HP characters. We found our place in the reserved book line and began to watch people and talk about our predictions for the book. Every once in a while, one of us would do a little dance of joy. There was some old guy there on a microphone that kept trying to get everyone to cheer and reading off Harry Potter facts.

    Once I got my book and we rushed back to college. I took photos of my copy and emailed it to my American friends back home, where they couldn’t get it for another six hours. I know, mean. Then I read the first five chapters before passing out.

    Live owls!

    With my British "adult cover" version of HP 6.

    It was hard to take two literature classes, read for them AND find time to read HP, but somehow I managed it.