Archive for January, 2014

  • Kids Say the Best Things

    Date: 2014.01.31 | Category: Family, Me, Sarah, Toddler Time | Response: 4

    One of the best parts of Sarah’s developing vocabulary are the things that come out of her mouth. Some are endearing, some are hilarious and some are downright embarrassing. She’s getting so big so fast and I don’t want to forget some of these jewels.

    Here is a sampling of some of my favorites.

    Me: “Sarah, what do you want for Christmas?”
    Sarah: “Quiet.”

    Sarah: “Mama, I’m Mary, Daddy is Jofus, Sister is Baby Jesus and Leela is the camel.”

    On Sunday we were at my parents house and Sarah took a baby doll into my parents room. She climbed into their bed, covered up and “fed the baby like mommy feeds the baby” (if you know what I mean), and then laid there saying, “I’m so tired. I’m so tired.” Which was a very accurate portrayal of her mother.

    After getting in trouble at school for disobeying the teacher:
    Sarah: “Uh oh, Sarah’s in big trouble.”

    While helping me pick Norah up from her classroom at school:
    Sarah: “Mama, I want MORE BABIES!”

    Filling out an “About Me” sheet at school:
    Name: Punzel
    “I have a sister and four brothers.” (Um, what?)
    My Birthday is: “Sarah’s birthday!”

    Sarah: “Mama, I want purple eyes for my birthday.”

    Upon watching the “Let It Go” scene from Frozen:
    “Mama! Princess Elsa has boobs!”

    And my very favorite:

    While at school one day, Sarah accidentally got her dress in the toilet water and they had to change her. While she was standing there in her undies, she looked at her teacher and said enthusiastically, “I’m naked like daddy!”

  • Again.

    Date: 2014.01.23 | Category: Baby, Family, Health, Home, Life, Mark, Me, Norah, Sarah, Toddler Time | Response: 5

    Having a second kid is kind of strange. On the one hand, it’s a lot harder to have to figure out how to split your time between both of your children, how to make sure everyone is fed and happy, and don’t even get me started on the effort it takes to get everyone ready to go and out the door.

    But on the other hand, it’s so much easier. I have done this all before and I know I will not only survive it, but I’ll do it pretty well and be prepared for the many other disasters and illnesses that loom on the horizon.

    With Sarah, she would run a 100 degree fever and I would be frantically calling after hours at the pediatrician’s office, texting my doctor friend Susan and my nurse friend Cassie, and then grilling people about how in the heck they combat these fevers.

    With Norah, she spiked a 102 fever in the middle of the night a couple of weeks ago, and even though I felt that little panicky edge in my stomach, I immediately went into action with Tylenol, stripping her down and laying a cool rag on her head until I was happy with her 100 degree fever.

    With Sarah, I would run and hide in back rooms when I nursed her, and felt like I constantly had to justify why I was still nursing her when she was older than six months. This time? I cover when I nurse, but I don’t usually leave the room (unless I need a time out). That’s lonely and, I think, was a  contributor to my PPD last time. And you won’t hear justifications this time – it just is how it is and we roll with it.

    And my husband? I’m even more proud of him this time around. When we first had Sarah, he had a hard time being alone with her. Granted, a lot of that had to do with her staunch refusal of bottles, but more of it had to do with uncertainty. This time though, he’s a changed man. Norah has been running low-grade fever after getting her shots yesterday, and he volunteered to keep her home with him while he worked so she could rest. And he handles both girls with such ease now. He let me get some extra rest last weekend and when I got up the three of them were huddled together on the living room floor playing.

    Are there still worries? Of course. I think worrying and guilt are inherent to parenthood. The difference is that I know it’s going to be ok (eventually). We certainly aren’t perfect and we have a lot of trying moments and days, but we will get there and we will do it together.

  • Four Months

    Date: 2014.01.21 | Category: Baby, Family, Life, Mark, Norah, Sarah | Response: 3

    Mark and I were talking this morning, and as I gazed at my smiling, sweet baby, I said, “If every baby came out acting like they do at four months old, I’d have a ton of ‘em.”

    Norah, at four months you are so much fun! You are aware of your surroundings now, and can lock eyes with us across the room. You love to smile. All it takes is for one of us to grin at you, and then your whole face lights up. You smile with your mouth, yes, but also with your cheeks, your nose and your crinkly eyes. And you let out the cutest little quiet laughs. It’s like you’re keeping your laughter a secret between just the two of us.

    You are also constantly sticking your fingers in your mouth. When you’re sitting up and awake, it’s your pointer finger and your middle finger, but when you’re sleepy or sleeping it’s always your thumb. Both make you happy, so we leave you to it.

    You absolutely ADORE your older sister. Any time she comes across your line of site, you stop and stare at her, giving her a megawatt grin. She obliges you on occasion, kneeling down next to you, grabbing your hands and “dancing.” She wants you to join in with play time so bad. Just last week while Mark and I were in the kitchen, she picked you up and carried you to her picnic table for a tea party… not realizing that when she sat you down you would roll under the table. We heard your cries and came to your rescue. It wasn’t a far roll and it was on the carpet, so you were fine. And I have to admit that I found it completely adorable that your sister took matters into her own hands so that you two could have a tea party together.

    You coo and talk and blow bubbles all the time. Your dad and I can’t get enough of it. He claims that you are going to be a daddy’s girl, and I’m starting to believe it. You love it when your daddy hold you and talks to you.

    You also absolutely love “patty cake.” Playing patty cake elicits your best smiles and giggles. Just this morning when we were getting everything ready for school, we looked up to see your sister playing patty cake with you. You both loved it. Mommy also sings “Do Rei Me” from The Sound of Music to you and you think it’s fantastic. Sarah constantly refers to the two of you as “Princess Elsa and Princess Anna,” the princess sisters from the movie Frozen. She also sings “Let It Go” from the movie to you on a regular basis.

    You can now also grasp and shake things, like your caterpillar rattle, and you’re starting to put things, like your lovie blanket, in your mouth.

    You are doing so well at school! I was so worried about you not taking bottles, but that worry is a thing of the past. You down six ounce bottles like it’s your job, then sleep like a champ at school (way better than your sister ever did at both, I must say). Your teachers seem to really love your big smiles, and are impressed by your extremely loud screams.

    You sleep through the night 3-4 nights out of the week, but still wake up some when your ears or tummy are bothering you. Speaking of tummies, you still will only sleep when we lay you on your tummy, but for some odd reason you hate tummy time. You have rolled from tummy to back twice – both times in your bed when we weren’t there to witness it.

    We are so glad that evil colic is a thing of the past. I feel like once that finally went away we were able to finally see the sweet girl you truly are. You are so much more content and happy now, wanting to observe and interact with the world around you. Four months is a wonderful age and I’m still shocked to find that you’re already so old!

    We love you our sweet Norah bean.

  • Back at Work

    Date: 2014.01.07 | Category: Baby, Family, Home, Life, Me, Norah, Work | Response: 4

    Although I’ve been working from home for a while now, yesterday was the first official day that I returned to the office. This meant it was also the first day that Norah went to daycare, or, as we like to call it, school.

    Let me back up and tell you about the first time I dropped Sarah off at daycare. It was bad for all kinds of reasons.

    1. Sarah was my first, precious baby and in my mind not a soul could care for her like I could, therefore no one else was worthy to care for her.
    2. Sarah refused to take a bottle, so I feared my baby would starve herself.
    3. I had post partum depression and anxiety, one of the symptoms of which made me want to hold my baby in a dark room and not let anyone touch her but me.
    4. I didn’t know anyone at the daycare, so I was leaving my baby with strangers.
    5. The baby teacher at the time was good and capable, but not very friendly and I wanted someone who would reassure me. The office staff did, but they weren’t the ones with my baby all day.

    And so I cried a lot when we took Sarah to daycare and my depression deepened into full on crazy. This lasted for several months and, although Sarah blossomed at daycare and eventually caved to taking bottles, I wasn’t well for a long time.

    Flash forward to now, or, Sunday really. The night before I was a big, giant, anxious mess. I kept thinking back to how things were with Sarah. And like Sarah, Norah hates bottles. But I reassured myself because I know all the teachers and staff now (and the teachers are much friendlier this time around). And, so far, the PPD has stayed at bay. I was trying to make sure we had all the things ready for Sarah and Norah to go to school (thankfully they are both in the same place). Norah must have been picking up on my anxiety, because she refused to go to sleep and screamed her head off for two hours until 11pm. As a consequence, both of us were getting more and more worked up. The next morning Mark and I were so busy hustling to get it all together that I didn’t dwell much on the whole dropping Norah off part.

    Side note: You should just SEE how much stuff we were carrying. We seriously looked like we were preparing to vacation for a week.

    We got there and took Sarah to her room first. We don’t have trouble with dropping her off at all anymore. She has an amazing teacher and loves going to learn with her and spend time with her friends.

    Then it came time to drop Norah off. I did so well with the emotions until I walked in that baby room, then I immediately started tearing up. The thought of being away from my baby for the most of the day, combined with the guilt that motherhood inherently brings with it anytime we think we might greatly upset our kids, combined with the thought of Norah not taking bottles, starting getting to me. I held it together until I got into my car, then I had a good cry and got all that anxiety and emotion out of my system. After that, I pulled it together and went into work.

    And guess what? Everything was just fine. My coworkers welcomed me back with open arms and chocolate. I called and checked on Norah throughout the day and no one at the daycare made me feel even remotely bad about that. She did refuse her first bottle, but took her second and part of her third (girl doesn’t want to miss a meal). And yes, she fussed and had to be rocked asleep in the office for a while, but I don’t think any of those ladies minded rocking a sleeping baby. Overall, it was a bit emotional, but a good first day back. I even got to listen to one of my audio books while I worked and felt like a little piece of myself was coming really and truly back.

    Today is day two and I was feeling much more confident about things… that is until Sarah woke up with a fever that meant she couldn’t go to school. All our carefully laid plans of Mark dropping the girls off quickly got scrapped. He volunteered to stay home with Sarah while I took Norah on to school – and while that worked, it also mean that I was 45 minutes late to work on my second day back. I was worried about drop off again, but guess what, it was just fine! Norah’s teacher embraced her and made me feel better immediately. I walked out of there shedding no tears, and when I called to check on her mid-day, she had taken her bottle and was napping.

    So now we  are embracing the normal, and I’m happy to say that it’s not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

  • Books of 2013

    Date: 2014.01.02 | Category: Books, Me | Response: 13

    It’s time for my annual rundown of books I read in 2013. I always love going back over my Shelfari list and remembering (or trying to forget) what I read over the course of the year. I read a lot leading up to Norah’s birth, then things slowed way down after that. But I still managed to read 56 books this year, and that makes me happy.

    Instead of my top 10, I’m going to list them a little differently like I did last year. So, let’s get to it.

    My favorite new Young Adult (YA) author: Rainbow Rowell
    I read all three of her books this year and absolutely loved them. Fangirl was probably my favorite, but Eleanor & Park was a very close second. And Attachments was pretty dang fantastic too. They all cover awkward young people at crucial moments in their young lives and manage to tie in great, nerdy things like Dungeons and Dragons, comic books and fan fiction. I also love that her characters and not perfect. Their hips are too big and foreheads too long. They are normal people with flaws, but most of them are easy to love.

    My Other Favorite YA Author I Discovered This Year: John Green
    The Fault in Our Stars is definitely one of the best books I read this past year about two kids with cancer who fall in love. It’s so sad, but so wonderful. Looking for Alaska was also quite good. ( And they are both only $3.99 in the Kindle store right now).

    Speaking of YA, I read a lot of it. And they are almost all done in trilogies. Several of those trilogies came to a close this year. Which leads me to:

    Worst Ending to a YA Trilogy: Allegiant by Veronica Roth
    I loved the first book in this series, Divergent. But after I finished reading Allegiant, I stopped, erased what I had just read in my head and made up my own ending, then shared it with my friend Susan. We both agreed my ending was better.

    Best YA Trilogy: The Infernal Devices (Clockwork Angel / Clockwork Prince / Clockwork Princess) by Cassandra Clare
    Forget that whole Mortal Instruments series Cassandra Clare wrote, The Infernal Devices books blow that out of the water. Not only is the writing better, but the story and characters are wonderful and it is one of the few YA trilogies I’ve read that actually ends well.

    Best Guilty Pleasure Reads: The Selection and The Elite by Kiera Cass
    It’s The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games. Both are sort of awfully wonderful.

    Worst Book That I Knew Would Be Bad and Still Felt Compelled to Read: Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
    The conclusion to the Sookie Stackhouse books was absolutely terrible, but I had invested so much time in them I needed to know how they ended. Again, I probably should just write my own ending for that one too.

    Most Disturbing Book: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
    I love warped fairy tales, and this is a fantastic one, but there is a scene with the huntress in this book that played on all my childhood nightmares and I still try not to think about it before I fall asleep sometimes.

    Best Non-Fiction Read: Wild by Cheryl Strayed
    This book made me want to get up and hike up mountains in the snow. My original review: “A great emotional, spiritual and physical adventure of one woman who chased away her sorrows through the amazing Pacific Crest Trail, walking over 1,100 miles. I’ve seen many people fault the author for being unprepared and an idiot, but I love that she owns her mistakes, chastises herself briefly and moves on. I love that they all lead up to her great accomplishment. A great read that makes me want to go backpacking again.” (Also only $3.99 in the Kindle store right now).

    Best Epic Fantasy: The Lions of al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
    I love that most of this author’s books are mostly single volume tales with an insane amount of world building and loosely based on real historical events. If you have the time and energy, pick this one up. The main female character is especially impressive.

    Craziest and Most Awesome Book About the Rainforest and Fertility : State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
    I have a whole new respect for doctors who do c-sections after reading this book. But there was this crazy, immersive, magical quality to this book that makes me want to read it again.

    Best Sci-Fi Classic That I Finally Read: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
    I got on a sci-fi kick this year and read quite a  bit of it, including a bunch of older titles that have won Hugo Awards, but this one was still my fave. This one about a boy who is basically bred by the government for his strategic war brain and the path they put him on really captivated me. (Also $3.99)

    Best Book About Messed Up People That They Made Into a Movie: The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
    I loved the crazy characters in this book and their weird weird story. Please read this before you watch the movie. The movie is great, but it’s much more feel-good than the book. And the book keeps one of the most important parts a mystery and the movie blurts it out right away. ($4.99)

    Best Fantasy Adventure: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
    You know how I feel about Neil. If you don’t, then you should know he’s my favorite. I was thrilled that he released a new book last year and it was everything I hoped it would be made of: good writing, great story and an insane imagination.

    Most Disappointing Read: The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
    I’ve read a lot of books that have taken historical moments or tales and imbued them with strong women and mysticism (The Dovekeepers and The Mists of Avalon, for example). This one did that but fell short. This is the story of  the wars of the Plantagenets who ruled before the Tudors. I expected a lot more plot and drama. Instead, I felt like vast swathes of the story were skipped over and accepted for what they were.

    Best eBook Sensation: Wool by Hugh Howey
    Dystopian society living inside a silo buried in the ground. The worst offense you can do is ask to go outside. They fit you with a suit, let you out long enough to clean the lenses so everyone can see the outside world, then you die from the harsh outside environment. But there is, as with all good dystopian reads, something the higher ups aren’t letting the general population in on. This book grew in popularity when it was released only as an ebook. Howey has since released two more, but I haven’t picked them up. Still, a good read!

    Best Book About Clairvoyants: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
    This is apparently the first book of seven planned. I loved that is was something different (even if it was wrongly compared to Harry Potter). I think it was also a bit over-hyped, but I really loved the story about clairvoyant people being outlaws and collected and made as slaves to a crazy alien race, so I’ll forgive.

    Other Books Worth Picking Up:

    The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker – Magical realism about a golem and a jinni living and surviving in a more modern New York. A bit long, but good.
    Under the Never Sky ($2.99) / Into the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi – YA dystopia, but better than most I’ve read. And the final installment comes out this month!
    Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce – A girl goes missing and comes back many years later claiming to have been secreted away to fairyland. Is she telling the truth, or just insane?
    Across the Universe trilogy (Across the Universe / A Million Suns / Shades of Earth)  by Beth Revis – A floating spaceship full of people who have been cryogenically frozen and the people who maintain the ship. All of a sudden the frozen ones start getting killed…
    The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach – Beautiful writing about several college boys who play baseball. It actually made me care about baseball, but was way  too long.
    Shadow and Bone ($2.99) / Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo – The first two books in a very cool trilogy that taps into mythology and magic. Loved reading these.

    Note: I don’t get paid to do this (I wish!) But if you click and buy, I do get a few pennies to spend on buying myself more Kindle books. :) I’ve also noted where some of them are on sale for awesome prices in the Kindle store.