Wednesday, December 30, 2009

two weeks later and still in my pajamas

I have officially been a mother of two for 16 days and I can only imagine things going better if I had a 24 hour on-call masseuse and a private Ben and Jerry's store in my basement. This is largely due to the fact that Thom's parents were here for a week and a half of toddler wrangling, and now Thom has a whole week off from work to pick up the slack.

Oh yes, we've had meltdowns and tantrums, we've had blowouts and projectile vomiting, we've had little sleep and less downtime... BUT, we've also had lots of laughs, lots of snuggles, and lots of time together relishing our new family.

Lila is proving to be an exceptionally easy baby to read. She's simple in her needs: feed me, change me, burp me, get me to sleep. If I can accomplish those things, she's a blissful little girl. The biggest challenges right now are feeding her as much as she wants (she likes to nurse pretty much nonstop from 8pm to 11pm) and holding her as much as she likes. Thom takes care of River's bedtime so I can do the evening feed, and the Ergo helps me hold her without giving up use of my arms completely. Even though it seems like a lot, if I think back to how much I held River during the first months of his life, I'm not spending a fraction of that time on Lila. I'm much more willing to put her down and let her entertain herself than I was with River. I don't go rushing in to rescue her from every snort and sigh, and consequently, she's learning to soothe herself much more readily. Some might read that and think I'm short-changing my second child, but I think she will be so much better off with the skills she learning. She will be better adjusted and, just as importantly, she will have a better adjusted mommy.

River has had some tough times this month, but I think it has to do more with his fatigue of company and less with Lila. By the end of their trip, Thom's parents had endured some pretty snotty behavior from the kid - telling them he didn't want their help, wasn't going to talk to them, wasn't going to do what they said. His need for mommy and daddy was intense, and now that Thom's had some time off, River seems happier. His biggest jealousy issue is that Lila gets to sleep in our room and he doesn't. We tried to let him stay in our bed one night this week and it was pretty much a disaster. After Lila's first feeding in the middle of the night, he was awake for another two hours telling us he thought it was wake-up time. Needless to say it is an experiment we will not be repeating.

Aside from having Thom around, another thing taking the pressure off right now is the generous preparation of meals that my friends are doing. About a dozen of the women from my moms' group have taken it upon themselves to cook a meal for us over the next few weeks. It is such a load off knowing we have dinner covered every other day (and can often stretch the leftovers even further), and I am so thankful for their wonderful gift to us.

And speaking of gifts, the best Christmas present we've received this year is the work grandmas Janie and Julie did to POTTY TRAIN RIVER! Yes, that boy is now officially peeing on the potty entirely during the day. He's still in diapers for nighttime, but he's totally in undies once he wakes up. We've had quite a few days without any accidents, and I am so proud of him (and so amazed that it happened right in the midst of a new baby coming). It's pretty much the last thing I thought would happen this month.

Finally, I have to brag just a little because I was shocked to discover yesterday that I have already lost the "baby weight" (this, in spite of the fact that I'm eating anything and everything I can get my hands on). That doesn't mean my shape is anywhere near where I want it to be (my Wii trainer says I'm still fat), but between eating pretty healthy during the pregnancy, burning up calories nursing, and chasing after two kids, I'm 4 lbs lighter than when I got pregnant. Whoo hoo! I went shopping for some non-pregnancy clothes yesterday and was so pleasantly surprised at the sizes I fit into. I think it's a good start for the new year, and I'm hoping to follow through with better eating and work-out habits.

Once Thom goes back to work next week, I know it's going to be rough adjusting to parenting solo most of the time. Our sitter will take some pressure off, but it's nothing compared to having two full-time parents around. I hope I can carry some of the calm and confidence I have right now into the coming months. I would love nothing more than to be this relaxed and happy all the time.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

check the awesome hair

Tante Crystal and Oma went shopping so Lila has some great new girly clothes. I love the polka dot onsie and bed head.

Friday, December 18, 2009

little squeeker

Here we are at day four and things just couldn't be going better. River is totally smitten with his sister and is always demanding his turn to hold her. He's been acting out with the grown-ups in his life but has shown no resentment or anger toward Lila (well, except one passing comment about putting her on the stove, but I'd say that's to be expected of a two year old).

Lila is a fantastic eater and an amazing sleeper. We've had two nights in a row where she's slept for chunks of 4 hours at a time. I know it can't possibly last, but I'll take the rest while I can get it. She's generally very mellow and content to nurse or sit in someone's arms. She likes to be near warm bodies and squeaks like a mouse when she's lonely. She wails like a banshee when she's hungry or getting changed, and she manages to spit up on whatever outfit we put her in seconds after.

Lila's daddy is so obviously in love. He had to be out of town one night this week and when he got home he held her for hours just staring at her. That stupid grin on his face made me fall in love with him all over again.

So far life as a second-time parent is much easier. We're calmer and she seems calmer (I love my River but that kid is demanding!). I feel incredibly blessed right now.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

family of four

Welcome Lila Jae Doyle! Born at home on December 14, 1:38am. She's a healthy 7 lbs and already has us wrapped around her very little fingers.

Friday, December 11, 2009

things that are difficult about being 41 weeks pregnant

  • Beginning every conversation with, "No, I haven't had a the baby yet."
  • Following up with, "I have no idea when. It's not up to me."
  • Thinking about the fact that my dad leaves in two days and probably won't get to meet this grand-baby for another three months
  • Feeling River get more and more clingy as he senses the approaching changes in our family
  • Staying awake for hours in the middle of the night willing myself to have a contraction
  • Knowing there is absolutely nothing I can do about any of this
Physically I feel great. It's not easy to get up from a sitting position and I waddle like a duck, but other than that my body feels like it was made to be pregnant. The baby continues to move regularly, my appetite is good, and according to the midwife all my physical stats are great. I'm just so desperate for this stage to be over. I want nothing more to meet my new little one and start on this journey with our new, whole, complete family.

I'm resigned to waiting, but I'm not happy about it.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

And we're off...

Last night I woke up with some light, intermittent contractions and had the urge to get up and cook a giant pot of chili at 1am (I don't scrub toilets, my nesting instincts lead me straight to food). Needless to say, I think I'm in the early stages of labor. River took days and days to arrive from the start of my first contractions and since they've been so slow today, I won't be surprised if we don't see Sweet Pea for a few days yet.

But things are moving, and that makes me very happy. Wish us luck in the hours and days ahead!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

still here...

...and rocking a ginormous belly. Looks like we'll probably make it to Thanksgiving, which is good because the fridge is stocked and I'm not eating all those cranberries by myself.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


River took off the "i" key on my laptop this morning, and while Thom was able to stick it back on, it doesn't engage unless I slam down on it, so the following sentence looked like this the first time around:
Rver took off the " " key on my laptop ths mornng, and whle Thom was able to stck t back on, t doesn't engage unless slam down on t....
You get the I-dea. It's pretty much a pain in the ass. Thanks, kid.

But that's not what I'm really here to write about. I'm not sure what I'm going to write about, but MY GOD THERE ARE A LOT OF "I"S IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE!!

I'm 37.5 weeks pregnant and I had a little epiphany in McDonald's the other day. What was I doing in that greasy heart attack pit? Well, lately this baby has been making me eat copious, crazy amounts of food, and since it's hard to make handmade, healthy, organic fair 53 meals a day, I've been indulging. Maybe it's because River hadn't thrown a fit yet that morning, or some new hormones kicking in, or I was just overjoyed by the fried goodness of Mchash Mcbrowns, but I suddenly realized that I was ready for this baby to come.

Don't get me wrong - we fully intended to have a new child when Sweet Pea was concieved, but a theoretical new child is really different from adding a real-live squirmy, poopy, attention-sucking adorable little munchkin to your life. And up until that beautiful moment - sitting under a gigantic billboard for Mcfish sandwiches - I was feeling a more-than-vague sense of panic should my body choose THIS moment to go into labor.

But no more. Come what may, we will be ready. So the birth tub's not set up? So be it. I'll have the baby in the bed. My parents aren't in town yet? We'll make due until they get here. We're supposed to be hosting Thanksgiving? Well, what's better than setting a place for one more?

I feel good. And prepared. And huge and hungry all the time, but what's new?

I guess I haven't talked about the fact that we're planning a home birth (and that's a subject for an entirely different post), but knowing that the baby has made it to full gestation and I won't be forced into a hospital should I go into labor adds considerably to my sense of well-being.

Anyway, that's where I'm at. It's a pretty good place to be.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

color contest: I'm in!

Every time I enter a contest on Ohdeedoh, I have to wait forever to find out if I got in or not. Just about the time I assume it's hopeless and I didn't make it in, I do a last check, and there I am! That was my nice surprise for today, and it couldn't have come at a better time; I'm sitting home sick and needed something to cheer me up.

I'd love to make a good showing, especially since I've worked so hard to make it a wonderful room for my little pookers, so if you have a chance, go HERE and give me a thumbs up. Voting to get me in the finals only lasts for 48hrs, so if you think you might do it, don't wait.

Saturday, November 07, 2009


After a year of tinkering the nursery is finally complete. I hung the curtains yesterday, did a little staging, and took some pictures to enter into a contest. If I get in I'll let you know how to vote for me. River took a step back from his big boy bed, so he's still enjoying this room. Hopefully he'll be ready to transition back before too long. Here's the final look:

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

We had a lovely, sugar-filled day today. It started out with jumping in the leaf piles, followed by pumpkin carving, a viewing of my friend Jonathan's very gory horror movie (just me), and closed with a great first Trick-or-Treat outing. Here are some photos of our adventures:

River had a great time in our massive pile of leaves. He kept picking up huge armfuls to add to the pile then leaping in.

Thom's great "Bruce" from Finding Nemo.

I did the scary Jack and Thom carved the Alien at River's request.

Banks Street Doyles in their Cat In the Hat tribute.

The Doyle Monsters. This is the best group shot I have; though it's blurry, you can see I did manage to make our coordinating outfits in time.

The boys were so psyched to head out on their first candy run.

They got the whole routine down pretty fast. No freak-outs, no crying. I was very proud of them.

Handing out candy at the end of the night. You can just see the hint of River's chocolate mustache. And of course the evening ended with the expected sugar-high/massive crash.

Hope you all had some great adventures!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

fall adventures

After what feels like an eternity, we have a new babysitter! Twelve hours of my week have been freed up for me to luxuriate in things like assembling baby furniture, grocery shopping, finding xmas presents, sewing Halloween costumes, and oh yes, perhaps blogging. I'm not using the time to get pedicures or massages, but if you have ever tried to go to Whole Foods with a toddler you'll understand how a trip there alone feels just as good as a day at the spa.

I'm not making any promises about blogging more often, but I can say that I don't constantly feel the crushing weight of the world on my shoulders at current, so my mind is certainly in the right place.

First up, I'd like to share some pics with you from the past month:

Here's River enjoying the bounty from our day at the pumpkin patch. Our upstairs neighbors happened to go the same day, so we had quite a haul in front of our house.

Visual proof that I am indeed pregnant. I'm about 28 weeks here (34 now), and the bump is significantly bigger and heavier. The little squirmer is moving all the time and gets the cutest hick-ups. Aside from the waddle, I'm loving this pregnancy.

Daddy doing the work of carving while River practices on his bike. It was an extremely cold day, so Thom made quick work of that pumpkin.

Attaching the pattern. We bought this kit that let you put colored pegs into the pumpkin, essentially turning it into a giant light bright.

The finished product!

The tree in front of our house in all shades of red, orange, yellow, and green. Here you go mom - not as stunning as last year, but it sure is pretty.

River's custom-made monster costume. The specs I had to work with (per River): Dark blue, light blue, and orange with 5 eyes and 5 arms. I took some liberties, but I think I stayed pretty close to his vision. Now I just have to make matching ones for Thom and I.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

to the asswipe who cut me in line at the coffee shop today...

Hello there,

You may remember me from this morning. I was the pregnant lady struggling through the cafe entrance with my toddler, who so kindly held the door open for you behind me. You were the guy who let me stand there long past the point of comfort because you were too lazy to reach out an arm and catch the door for yourself. I was that same lady approaching the counter who you squeezed passed with a brisk, "Excuse me," on what I assumed was an urgent mission to the bathroom or a coveted table. Little did I know you were just trying to get ahead of us in line.

Thanks so much. Maybe it didn't look like I had rushed out of the house before having my breakfast and coffee, or that I had woken and dressed my son in minutes so my car wouldn't be towed away on street cleaning day, or that the two of us could possibly make an order quick enough to get you to the front of the line in your due turn. Let me assure you, you were wrong on all counts.

You see, I was a bit flabbergasted and certain such rudeness would be explained by some other pressing circumstances (a double-parked car? running late to work?), but the fact that you followed your coffee order by jabbering at the barista for five minutes about the false rumor of a stolen tip jar makes me believe you weren't actually in any kind of rush. In fact, I feel safe assuming you're just a scumbag without manners who takes any opportunity to screw someone else over for your own advantage.

In spite of all this, I want to assure you that you didn't ruin my morning. I'm growing increasingly accustomed to dealing with Mass-holes on a regular basis, so you probably don't even hold the title spot of d*cks I'll run into today. My son and I did get our coffee, juice, and muffin quickly thereafter, and we enjoyed the food and company immensely.

I hope you enjoyed your coffee. I also hope you found yourself in desperate need of relieving yourself and no bathroom in sight.

Good Day,
The Woman You Cut Off

Sunday, October 04, 2009

you can come visit again, mom, the closet is ready

After fretting about it for a year, I have finally gathered the courage to clean out my linen closet. I know, I know, earth-shattering stuff, but I am seriously proud right now. I had a rough day yesterday (up at 4:30am, worked on projects all morning, threw my hip out, didn't get to nap, dead tired by the end of the day).

Today was so much better. I slept in, woke to my boys making pancakes, then spent the rare morning alone(!) while Thom took River to the park. I suppose there were more exciting ways to spend a free morning, but clean sheets, folded blankets, and medicines neatly organized in that beautiful closet make me feel like I spent the morning at the spa.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

my craptastic re-entry to the blog

Today was unusually rough. River woke at 6:30am and though it was nice that he just hopped into bed with us (instead of us having to drag ourselves out before sunrise on a Sunday morning), it was still too early to get going.

We started out productively with a trip to a diner and Home Depot, then got right to work on projects around the house. I'm not sure what gave me a bug up my ass to paint the brick supports in the basement TODAY but that's what I wanted to do. Once I got started on that (and Thom worked on the yard, somewhat successfully entertaining River at the same time), I decided we might as well paint an accent wall too. Five coats of velvet red later and that damn wall still isn't covered.

Between the weeding, painting, laundry, raking, and cleaning up River did not get a lot of attention today. I know he's not used to entertaining himself for more than ten minutes at a time, but is it too much to ask for one day where I am not his personal trained monkey? Because of the extraordinary neglect he was feeling he started lashing out like a crazy person, turning every little thing into a battle.

He refused lunch, then cried for twenty minutes at naptime when I told him, sorry, the pizza was in daddy's belly, he missed that train. He dropped chips on the floor and laughed at the mess, spit (not spilled, SPIT) milk on the phone then the couch, banged on his daddy's computer, then mine, and generally fought every move we made from dinner to bedtime. It was like he was aiming for the time-out record of the world.

By the time we got to bath Thom and I were snapping at each other, River was delirious with exhaustion, and I couldn't face reading stories to him without breaking down in tears. Not a pretty picture. I know pregnancy has a lot to do with the extreme emotional reaction, but it's not everything.

I need a sitter and some time for myself. I need to take it a little easy. I need to do something that has nothing to do with the house, the child, the pets, the shopping, or the car. Mostly, right now, I need to go to bed and press Reset on this day.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Infinitely Happy

Let's do a little evaluation... Six years ago today I was waking up in the JW Marriott, celebrating a post-wedding brunch, and getting ready to board a plane to Fiji with my new husband. I was slightly younger, quite a bit lighter, a tad more naive, and infinitely happy.

Today I wake up with my industrious man doing yoga down the hall, feeling grateful for the 9 hours of sleep I got and the cup of coffee ready in the kitchen. My little boy is (blessedly) sleeping in downstairs, and my baby is doing good-morning stretches in my belly. There are legos and picture books at my feet, and my thoughts are on the errands to run and playgrounds to visit today. I'm 30 years old, I'm a mommy, and I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

Tonight I will have a quiet dinner out with my husband where the conversation will mostly be about River and the new baby to come. Neither of us will feel anything but happy about this.

We won't have the time (or, in my case, ability) to indulge in an evening of endless cocktails, but we'll be doing what we always do: talking about our lives, our dreams, our partnership. We'll be thinking about what we're doing right and what we could be doing to make things better. We'll listen to each other. We'll support and inspire each other. We'll laugh and conspire.

My life is busier and harder than I imagined it would be. But it's so much richer. I feel like the luckiest woman in the world to have married a man who so perfectly fits me. Thank you, Thom, for sharing these six years with me (and for putting up with the woman who accidentally taught your son to say "dickwad").

Sunday, August 23, 2009


It's such a shame that a week of vacation inevitably must be followed by a day traveling home. The 45 minute cab ride, airport, delayed flight, super-fast transfer, second plane ride, lost luggage, and long drive home with 6 people and their bags stuffed into too small a space somehow takes all those relaxing walks on the beach and crushes them like bugs under an unrelenting, steel-toed boot.

And yet, it was a great vacation. Disneyworld was a hyperactive weekend of neon and sugar shock. The heat was unbelievable and there was way too much to fit into so short a time (especially considering the boys still require at least one nap to get through the day), but we saw the great mouse and his duck friend, we rode countless kiddie rides (and a few grown up ones too), we scared the shit out of River with Pirates of the Caribbean, and we ate copious amounts of french fries and ice cream. All in all, what more can you ask of the Magic Kingdom?

The week that followed was spent lounging by the beach and in the pool in the Dominican Republic. The Cuba Libres (rum and cokes) flowed freely (as did the virgin Pina Coladas for me), River nearly learned how to swim, and Finn followed his cousin around picking up a dozen new words. We toasted Jack and Julie's 40 years together, read books, did yoga, laughed, ate, and drank.

It was lovely to have such a concentrated time to relax and enjoy family. I'm so glad Thom got an actual vacation (he turned his email auto-reply on for the first time in SEVEN YEARS!), and I'm thrilled the grandparents had so much undivided time with the little ones. I loved getting into the comfy routine of sharing a house together - spending leisurely days eating, playing, and swimming.

My Italian vacation was wonderful in a different way - I had time alone with my best friend, able to just be Summer, not Mommy. I rushed around foreign cities with the energy of a college kid and came as close as possible to experiencing life without responsibility. But in the DR I was able to slow down, step away from the stress of taking care of my family yet still enjoy my family. It was really lovely. I don't think River and I have laughed together like that in a long time. I'm hoping I can take some of that carefree energy and work it into life back at home, because that week away from it all sure felt like what life should be all the time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Hit Donald again!"

We've been planning a little trip to Disneyworld for a while now and since River has had zero experience with old school Disney characters, we figured it might behoove us to introduce him to the giant mouse before we arrive. Of course YouTube offers a great selection of old cartoons and we watched a couple the other night.

The first one we found featured Mickey, Goofy, and Donald in an eviction scenario which rivaled the horror of an Itchy and Scratchy episode. Apparently, the kid loves violence, and every time someone got smashed in the head with a piano, stuffed into a fishbowl, or blown up by a leaky gas pipe River cracked up. Donald Duck received the brunt of the violence and something about his enraged responses pleased River to no end. Since then he's been talking about going to see Donald and doing his best impression of D-man's scratchy, throaty squawk.

We're watching an episode as I type this and while River cracks up the little one is kicking like mad. Guess it runs in the family.

Friday, August 07, 2009

maybe the Taoists have something here...

I'm starting to think that a certain amount of laziness in our approach to parenting is really paying off. Don't get me wrong - I work my ass off, as does Thom, and neither of us feel like inattentiveness with River gets us anything but more work down the road. So when I say lazy, I guess what I mean is "selectively non-proactive."

Earlier this year we began thinking about how to get River to move to his toddler bed downstairs with enough time before the new baby arrived that he wouldn't feel like he'd been evicted from the nursery by his snotty little sibling. We had a lot of time, and since we didn't have any great ideas about how to make the transition without a lot of drama, we just sort of let it be. The only thing we did was plant the idea in River's head that when he was ready he could try to sleep in his "big boy bed." Every now and then we would play downstairs and remind him that it would eventually be his "big boy room" instead of just his playroom. At bedtime one night, a couple months after we'd started plugging his new room, he told us, "River want sleep downstairs." I'm sure it was just a ploy to extend bedtime, and it actually didn't work out that night, but a few nights later he asked again and it was a success. For a week we had a slow transition to the downstairs room with very minimal drama and by the end of the month he was completely moved.

I just imagine if we'd taken a more aggressive approach we would have had a huge battle and not enjoyed the nearly seamless transition we did because River made the choice to move on his own. Our laziness really paid off in this case.

I look at when River stopped nursing at about 20 months and though I needed to stop for my own sanity, I know River was definitely not ready. He drew great emotional comfort from nursing - much more, it seems, than other children who ween themselves by their first year. The decision was not his own, and while weening took a short time, I think taking the choice away from him has had repercussions that last to this day. After all, the reasons he needed to nurse didn't just disappear when the boobies went into confinement. So he took the next best thing and started holding my boobs when he was sad or hurt or just needed love. At first I thought it was part of the transition and didn't want to take that source of comfort away from him too. But it's been nearly 10 months and there are no signs that he's ready to, uh-hum, let go just yet.

So yes, it's uncomfortable when I walk into a store and my 2 1/2 year old is gripping mommy's girls, but I can't let my anxiety about social acceptance affect me the way it did with weening. It's not fair to River, and I have to accept that the time will come when he is ready to pull away on his own. Making that decision himself will make all the difference for both of us. I'm taking the lazy route on this one and trusting River won't still be clutching at my boobs as he heads off to school.

Last night, as we were getting ready to plop River in the bath, he looked down at his peeper and kind of wiggled his bottom. This is usually a sign that he's ready to pee, so we asked him if he had to go and he said yes. Normally, we would follow this by an offer to go on the potty (a question he responds to as though we'd asked if he'd like some hot pokers in his eyes). We've had a couple rough days lately and I didn't want to push any buttons, so we offered to let him go in the bathtub. Imagine our heads nearly flying off when he told us he wanted to go on the potty.

Really, we were woefully unprepared. Because of his typical reaction (see: hot pokers, above) I haven't pulled out his potty chair in months. We've taken the anti-proactive approach to potty training, ignoring the issue (aside from the occasional suggestion to River) and assuring ourselves that changing diapers on a four year old wouldn't be that bad. Every now and then I think about how my grandmother potty trained me over one weekend when I was one, or I hear one of my mommy friends has started with her child. And then I happily ignore the urge to rush, and I enjoy my laziness.

Since there was no potty chair in sight, we stood him on top of the toilet seat, strattling the bowl, and hoped for the best. He stood there a while, holding his peeper, wiggling his bottom and seeming generally pleased to be doing something new. Well, a while went on for even longer and I realized that the cats hadn't been fed, and hell, preggers wanted some cookies when bathtime was done, so I went upstairs to attend to those things for a few minutes. When I came back down River was now sitting on the way too big seat and boasting of having GONE PEE! IN THE POTTY! I couldn't believe I missed it. I am so proud. And so happy we didn't try to force him onto that stupid seat before he was ready. I know it's just the first step, but because he's started on his own, all of my (repressed) anxiety about getting him out of diapers is gone. I know he will do it in his own time. And maybe even before he's four.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

imagine what we could do with 48 hours?

River went camping with his aunt, uncle, and cousin yesterday afternoon and returned today just before lunch. It was his first sleepover trip and it sounds like he had a wonderful time. Meanwhile, Thom and I were taking advantage of the uninterrupted time to do some work of our own. During the 24 hours he was gone we:
  • Emptied the storage closet
  • Sorted the contents of a dozen boxes
  • Reorganized the storage closet
  • Weeded the lawn
  • Got ice cream
  • Put new linens and a new magnet board in River's room
  • Slept 8 hours
  • Held a yard sale
  • Organized all of River's baby clothes
  • Began setting up the nursery
  • Assembled three new end tables
  • Rearranged the patio furniture
  • Mowed the lawn
  • Backed up my computer
And we still had time to watch The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

back from italy...

...can anyone loan me about ten hours to sort through the pictures and tell you about it?

Monday, June 29, 2009


I just can't bring myself to post about anything these days. River is doing some wonderfully cute things, and I've had some great outings myself, but I'm just not feeling the bloggy vibe. Maybe it's all the rain. Seriously it's been almost a month now with nary a blue sky and we have at least another week ahead of us. This. Will. Not. Stand.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

sorry for the crappy gift, honey

River's present this Father's Day was to learn that the invisible barrier keeping him in his toddler bed does not, in fact, exist. He's climbed out of his bed and up the stairs roughly half a dozen times the past two nights and we've had to resort to putting him back in the crib. It's a giant step back, but I can't really complain. I'd always thought we'd gotten off too easy with this transition in the first place. The sleep battles continue...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dance Machine

(Click on the video to see wide screen version)

Thursday, June 11, 2009


To visit New Orleans while pregnant and with a toddler at times seemed to miss the whole point. I could neither leave the hotel past 8:30pm (when, from the sounds outside our window, things actually got started) nor could I hop from bar to bar drinking Hurricanes or "huge ass beers" even if I could get out at night. More than any other city I've visited (and remember, I'm from Las Vegas) this city seems dedicated to the sole pursuit of getting bombed out of one's skull. Oh yes, people talk about the wonderful music and Cajun food, the beignets, the muffulatas, the pralines. But I know the truth - if you are a tourist in New Orleans and you can't join the party, you might as well be a eunuch in a whorehouse.

In the French Quarter in particular the street is lined with bar after bar blasting fantastic live music or horrible Brittney Spears remixes - and music choice doesn't seem to matter because neither kind of establishment wants for customers. Every place we passed by (we can't go in, remember: toddler) advertises "Cocktails and Beer to Go," even the restaurants that look like you might need a tie and a reservation to get in. No one wants to miss the opportunity to sell cheep beer or mixed drinks to the throngs of college students and tourists who are looking for god at the bottom of a plastic cup. And I'd like to be one of them - at least for a little while. It looks like fun to spend the afternoon strolling down brick-lined streets with no agenda but to find the next Hurricane. It's the kind of escapism I could enjoy for a day or two until my liver screamed out in protest and my throbbing head told me to STOP! PLEASE STOP!

But there were definite advantages to experiencing what I view as "Bizarro New Orleans" this past weekend. We stayed at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, situated at the corner of Bourbon and Orleans Street, and our room was a lovely suite on the corner of those two illustrious streets which, if you've been there, you know is the epicenter of party town. So after a long day of travel as we were anticipating the sweet sleep to come, we were affronted on all sides with music that hasn't been popular since Regan was president. And someone had told them to crank it up to 11. Below that was the sound of wild revelers, broken bottles, and lost inebriates. How River and Thom slept that first night, I'll never know, but I got by with one ear plug and my head against the pillow.

But back to the advantages of Bizarro Nola - when I woke up the next morning at an unthinkable 6:30am, I made myself a cup of tea and took advantage of the beautiful deck we had overlooking the street (which I'm sure is typically engaged by people drinking something much stronger than tea) and watched what goes on The Morning After. On the next patio over were a couple of ladies - and I use the term loosely - finishing some beer and cigarettes before heading in for the night. Down below, the street cleaning crews were busy at work hosing down the wreckage of the streets, emptying the overflowing trash cans, and attempting to scrub the party stink off the sidewalks (though never entirely successfully). The bars across the street were quiet, though not empty, and I gave thanks for the hangover I would not have later that day.

River woke up shortly after and this moment of calm was about my last for the weekend. The next two and a half days were spent in a flurry of activity, roaming the city and seeing sites that had nothing to do with Mardi Gras or deadly blood alcohol levels. I occasionally experienced a sting of jealousy watching those giant "To Go" cups wander down the street, but mostly I was thankful to get to experience a part of the city I might have otherwise ignored.

River and I started our first day off riding the streetcar to the New Orleans Zoo. We took a long walk through the Audubon park, enjoying the stretches of green and the waves of sticky heat. River fell in love with the zoo and could have watched the elephants for hours if there weren't so many other things to see. Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! Gators and flamingos and monkeys, whoopee! We fed the turtles and took the zoo train and wandered well past River's nap time.

Thom played hooky from his conference that afternoon and we snacked on fried pickles and Cajun eggrolls at Jackson Square. Afterward we walked along the river's edge and into the French Market. River ate a fresh peach and mommy tried to keep herself from attacking the flea market booths. Since I couldn't drink, I was determined to sample as much of the local culinary delights as I could, so we spent the evening wandering the French Quarter in search of a restaurant that could accommodate a toddler and a vegetarian. We found a gem in Cafe Amelie, and though River only took two bites of dinner and tried to swim in the fountain it was a lovely evening.

Once again the revelers were out that night, but this time I was supplied with TWO earplugs and I slept like a dream. We had a fantastic breakfast at The Coffee Pot, complete with surly waitress. Since it was Monday and most of the sights we wanted to see were closed, the three of us took a morning carriage ride through the French Quarter. River was enamored of the mules, but less so by our friendly driver Joe's description of the history of Nawlin's. Thom and I were unsurprised to discover we'd been unknowingly walking past sites of historical import the entire trip. My favorite was the shop of Marie Laveau who, Joe tells us, was the creole con-lady who invented voodoo. After the ride we wandered over to Cafe du Monde for some heavenly biegnets and coffee and Thom headed off to do some work.

River and I had a great afternoon in the hotel swimming pool, eating panini and gelato at La Davina Gelateria, and walking in a sprinkling rain to dinner. Thom met us at El Gato Negro across from the French Market - a fantastic Mexican restaurant serving fresh guacamole and homemade tortillas.

That night I looked out our balcony to see a giant hand grenade mascot advertising the bar's signature drink. Later, I dreamt of spilling decadent cocktails on my large pregnant belly.

Our last morning in New Orleans was spent wandering the boardwalk and playing with the fishes at the Aquarium. This was absolutely fantastic! We watched sharks and rays and turtles through giant windows. River played in the Amazon Rainforest and pet a baby shark. By the time we left it was hot, my legs were seizing from all the walking, and I was worried about getting to our flight on time. Still, the stars were with us and River and I caught a streetcar back to the hotel just as we walked up to the stop, and we left the city with smiles on our faces.

I can't remember the last time I was a tourist in a city. Amsterdam and Bielefeld in 2003? Every vacation since then has been spent with family for the holidays or on a beach relaxing. And I loved it. I'm glad I didn't spend the trip in a drunken stupor - there was so much I would have missed! I loved looking at maps and charting our course everyday (even if it rarely ended up being the course we actually took). I loved sharing a new place with River and Thom and walking around proudly with a giant TOURIST sign stamped on my forehead. I loved having no obligations to anyone, the absolute freedom to do anything or nothing. And I love Bizarro New Orleans. It's a beautiful, rich city, and I know we've only scratched the surface of it. I hope I can go back someday (and maybe spend a little time seeing how the other half lives).

Monday, June 08, 2009

Good times in New Orleans

Checking out the wildlife at the Audubon Park Zoo - awesome hat courtesy of mommy forgetting his baseball cap at home.

Riding the Zoo Train (nice and sweaty by this point)

Bathing in the fountain at Cafe Amelie - gotta wash up somehow, right?

Petting (Oscar? Denny? Obediah? - what was his name?) the mule before we got on for a carriage ride.

River, bored out of his skull halfway through the ride. This could be a Madonna and Child pic, right? I'm actually giving my best "listening face" at the moment.

Playing in yet another fountain outside of Cafe du Monde. There are like a million of these in this city. I've discovered New Orleans does not want my son to stay dry.

We're having a fantastic time with more adventures to come!

Friday, June 05, 2009

feeling gloomy

I don't know if it was the 3am wake up call from River, the rough start to the morning, or just plain pregnancy hormones wrecking havoc, but I just can't seem to get out of this funk today. I even had a rare few hours to myself this morning as River was with a friend for a playdate exchange. And what did I do with that time? Bought some pretty shirts and a dress to accommodate the growing belly in the hot weather. Fun, right? Still, I feel like locking myself in my room and sleeping all afternoon. Or growling at strangers. Or crushing some happy daffodils.

I guess I'll have to satisfy myself with snuggling with River and vegging out for a little while.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I'd like to get off now please

The unfortunate downside of riding the subway all morning to entertain your pre-schooler is the queezy feeling you get from the stop-start-side-to-side-nausea-inducing momentum of the train. We were about 20 stops out before I realized I couldn't take it much longer; which meant we got to turn around and do the whole 20 again before I could make my escape. On a positive note: happy kid, so there's that.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts


  • I'm really ready to be done traveling now. So far in 2009 we've been to Mexico, Las Vegas, Nebraska, Las Vegas, Las Vegas again, and Colorado. And it's only May! Next week we go to New Orleans, and after that will be Italy, Florida, Dominican Republic, and finally Maryland. Now I am in no way complaining about the wonderful opportunities we've had to see family and - HELLO? ITALY! - but I am sick of planes, tired of sleeping in a bed that isn't my own, and starting to miss home. Thankfully, by the end of September, I will be physically unable to get on a plane with my big pregnant belly, so people will have to start coming to us.
  • I am so happy spring is here.
  • We've joined a fitness club that has a pool. I wish you could see the crazed look of joy on River's face when he gets in. He couldn't be happier if you offered him a gallon of ice cream and a day at the playground.
  • Something must be done about Edgar. Something must be done about my lovely, fluffy, sweet, incontinent fat cat. Okay, he's not really incontinent, but from his inability to hit the letter box, he might as well be. He's a huge cat with a history of bowel problems (one of the reasons my parents finally said Thom and I needed to take him from their home in Vegas back to Boston with us - their carpet just couldn't take him any more). And today he's much better about attempting to go where he's supposed to, but instead of standing in the litter box and doing business there, he hovers on the edge and pees directly outside of the box. We have the box set up in a little-used second bathroom shower, so clean up is easy, but unless we go in there and hose it out multiple times a day, the pervasive smell of rank ammonia takes over the entire house. And this pregnancy has not made my nose any less sensitive. It's driving me crazy and I don't see any solution that we haven't already tried. Maybe we should get the Dog Whisperer out here and see if he can work some magic.
  • Have I mentioned I'm REALLY happy spring is here?
  • River has started sleeping in his big boy bed. Four nights and two naps have all been successfully attempted and I can't tell you how proud I am of him! We have his crib set up in an upstairs room that will eventually be the new nursery. Downstairs is a bunk bed (the bottom bed is directly on the ground) in what has been a playroom up until now. Of his own accord he asked to sleep down there one night a few weeks ago, and though that attempt didn't work out, he asked again recently and he's made it through the night every single time since then. So far it's been such an easy move I think I should be prepared for the rough part to kick in. I mean we can't really get off this easy, can we? Like, when will he realize he doesn't have to wait for us to come get him out of the bed and come jump on us at 4am? But it's all awesome now, so I'm just enjoying watching my boy experience such a confidence-inspiring transition.
  • I have the sweetest little boy snuggling in my lap right now. We're gonna go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. Have a nice random Tuesday!
Visit Keely at the UnMom for more random goodness.

Friday, May 22, 2009

what's that? my head exploding.

We've entered the stage of the eternal question. The question around here isn't, "Why?" as you might expect, but rather some variation on, "What's that?" I hear, "What's that?" and "What happened?" about as often as I breath in and out. After a phone call in which the other party is on speaker phone and River can hear the entire exchange, he asks, "What say?" What do you think we said, kid? You heard the whole thing!

Sometimes he asks when we've encountered something new, like a strange truck or a weird plant, and I'll try to do my best to explain. Other times he's reading a story and doesn't quite follow the plot. Much of the time, however, he seems to have his mouth on autopilot and asks about things he knows perfectly well.

"What's that?"
"What do you think it is, honey?"

"What say?"
"Well, I told your dad we're on our way home."

I haven't quite reached the exasperated point yet, mainly because I know his ever-expanding curiosity has found a new form of expression and I love that. I love that he wants to understand, that he thinks I have all the answers, that he's constantly in the process of learning. But someday soon, I may have to answer "What's that?" with an explanation of how mommy's brains exploded onto the floor after the millionth time I heard that question.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

a new addition

I can no longer zip my pants, morning vitamins have me running for the bathroom, and my #1 activity after eating is sleeping. I guess I can't keep it from you any longer: I'm pregnant!

I'm almost 11 weeks along which means the horrible morning (noon and night) sickness should be coming to a close before too long, and I hope my energy levels will rise above zombie soon as well. I shared the happy news with my family quite a while ago, but I've felt the need to keep this pregnancy private from, you know, the whole world for a little while. More than anything, I really just liked the idea of having a little secret.

And it's been wonderful. I have less time to ponder the new little one than I did in my first pregnancy, but I still find ways to ogle itty bitty clothes and fondly imagine how squishy and alien-looking this one will be when born. I talk to my little sweet pea, explaining how awesome our family is, and River has a growing sense that he will be a big brother in the days to come.

And you know that sign I was looking for? Well I was already pregnant when I asked, so I guess I got my answer. I'm glad that it was a bit of an unexpected surprise - I imagine I could have dragged my feet getting pregnant until River had kids of his own, and then I'd be the grandma with an infant and that would just be weird. And of course, the doubts are still there. I occasionally break out in cold sweats wondering what have we done?! But more often than not I am filled with a sense of purpose, of wonder, of overwhelming joy. Yes, even when I'm praying to the porcelain gods, I am pretty excited I have the chance to do this amazing thing all over again.

So that should explain a bit of why I have been somewhat absent from here lately. I'd pretty much rather sleep than do anything these days. But I expect finally having this news out in the open will inspire a whole slew of posts on the weighty days (har har) of pregnancy.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

These boys are the best present ever.

Thursday, May 07, 2009


River is just soaking up knowledge these days and he loves when I explain things to him. Yesterday we were sitting in his glider reading a book and I asked if he wanted to sit up so he could see better. He said, "No. River like it here," pointing to where his head had been laying on the chair. I said, "You like the armrest. That part of the chair is called an armrest." Then, matter of factly, as though he were filing that little bit of information away in his brain, he said, "Oh." Not an insincere, whatever mom, kind of "oh." It was a fully engaged, I totally get it "oh." He was quiet for a second, then just to show he had understood he chewed out the new words, "River like head arm-rest."

I wish I could convey the wealth of meaning that that little "oh" seems to have. He says it all the time, punctuating his certainty with one sweet little syllable. It's even more adorable when he switches it up and says, "Ah." I can just see the spark of insight as though he were Sherlock Holmes saying, "Ah ha! Watson, the game is afoot!"

He's also taken to demanding, "Mommy talk." We'll be sitting in the sandbox playing with a toy airport and he wants me to tell him all about the planes and the tower, how the baggage works, and where the people go. Instead of learning principally through visuals, he understands so much language now, and he likes to hear me teach him about his world with words. I love hearing him say, "Mommy talk," watching him follow along a discussion of traffic lights or cooking eggs, and wrap it all up with a bright little, "Oh."

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts: Photo Edition!


I have a ton of pictures I haven't shared, so I'm giving you a special treat and including photos with my RTT today. Most of these are from our trip to Vegas this weekend, but I think I can keep the randomness intact anyhow. Here we go...

* Edit: I didn't realize what a difference there is between medium and large photos, so it might behoove you to click on them for larger versions

Figuring out what to call this monstrosity has almost been harder than building it. I know they're supposed to be "playscapes" these days but what happened to the swingsets and jungle gyms of yore? Playground is a little too grand and playscape is too yuppie, so I think I'll stick with "The Beast." That seems fitting, right?

Corn is always better when you can wrestle it from your cousin with a choke hold.

It is impossible not to be proud of your child when he does something new, no matter how mundane. I look at this picture and I think, "My kid is a genius! Look how well he can make bubbles!"

My friend, Mikey, the handsome guy on the arm of lovely Jane, has the best memory of anyone I know. Ask him to tell you Dave Mathew's entire catalog and he'll throw in B-sides and live recordings. Want to remember that random guy from freshman English (and I'm talking high school here) and he'll tell you where he sat and what his Shakespeare presentation was. Five years ago Michael hosted a tasting dinner with multiple courses and accompanying wines. We were recounting that great dinner at his wedding and he remembered every course down to the balsamic reduction and dessert wine we had. I can't remember half of the people I've kissed in my lifetime, where the heck does he get it?!

Sometimes I feel like the luckiest person ever. How many people are still close with their friends from high school? We've gone away to college, moved across the country, traveled the world. We've had marriages, meltdowns, new babies, identity crises, divorces. One of us even has an Emmy nomination (you rock, Doug!). Through it all we've managed to maintain that fantastic bond that holds us together. I love you guys.

Feeding animals is FUN! We went to Bonnie Springs on Saturday and River got to feed a deer, peacocks, swans, ducks, and chickens. He really wanted to lose a finger to this guy, but mommy saved him from disaster.

Usually it's my dad that blinks or makes a funny face in an otherwise perfect picture. Good one mom! I guess we shouldn't have given her that lemon before boarding the train. (Click to enlarge this one - it's totally worth it.)

Trains? Still the best thing ever.

I wonder if previous generations liked to dress up as people from the past as much as we do. I can just see a Medieval king talking his wife into dressing up like a cave family for their portrait sitting with the royal painter. Look honey! I'm wearing an animal skin! Ug ug!

In case you were wondering, it is possible to eat enough soft fruit candy to turn your teeth, tongue, and poop blue.

There you go, kids. Head over to Keely's place for more randomness.