Tuesday, December 30, 2008

In Some Ways, Bean is Still With Us: Part 2

This morning I was groggily preparing breakfast for Jack after quite a night. (I went to bed late, and then was paged at 12:45, and 3:45, and Jack was up to be nursed at 5am and then up for the day at 7:30.) I was starting my work day, and cooking something for Jack and I left the cabinet open, and Jack helped himself to a tube of graham crackers. I didn't think he could open them, and he was having a great time walking around crinkling. With all the crinkling, I knew where he was without having to watch him, so it seemed like a great way to keep him occupied for 3 minutes. Then for some reason, I walked down the hallway and back. When I got back, Jack had half a graham cracker in each hand and the balance in his mouth. He was smiling and saying, "Nom! Nom nom nom!" Cracker crumbs were tumbling down his pjs and all over the floor.

Cute, funny, not all that harmful. I plopped him into his highchair and gave him the rest of his breakfast. But where were the rest of the graham crackers? Where was the bag? I walked around looking to no avail. Then Luke woke up and asked what I was doing. I said, "I think Jack hid a bag of graham crackers somewhere so he could snack whenever he wanted." In their short time together, Bean really did some serious knowledge transfer.

Ten minutes later Luke was yelling, "I hear crinkling! Jack is feeding himself a snack!" And Jack was indeed, behind the curtains in the dining room, helping himself to a cracker.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day After

Jack seems to be on the verge of talking. We got a Christmas card that had dogs in the picture and when Jack saw it he said, "Da! Oof!" (Dog, woof.) And he seems to be saying "ca" a lot for car. But probably the most exciting thing, because it's a very important little boy milestone, is that he can now make a siren sound. And better than that, it's captured on video. Enjoy.
video

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gingerbread House

From December


Last weekend was the Annual Gingerbread House Making Party at my over-achieving friend's house. The house plans were designed by an architect friend and I really want him to publish a book of gingerbread house plans before next Christmas so that I can purchase it.

I have arrows pointed to all the outdoor equipment that Luke built for his house. Starting on the left and going clockwise, we have an orange gumdrop snowboarder, a police car (already partially consumed by Dave), an orange gumdrop scooter, and finally a sled.

I made Dave redecorate 3 times because I hadn't taken a picture yet and he kept eating all the gumdrops. But now that the picture has been taken, the house can be eaten! In the past I have made everyone wait until after Christmas, until it's good and stale. Then I say, "I'll leave this out for one day and we can eat as much as we want and then I'll get rid of the rest." Then we forget and go somewhere and leave the gingerbread house on the counter and Bean eats the whole thing. So this year, we aren't waiting. In fact, the awning has already been consumed. Yum!

One more view of the scooter/snow jet ski and a shot of the peppermint ATV:
From December

On Being Careful What You Wish For

I have sent a lot of cookies to a lot of people over the last several years, and the recipients always say, "thanks" and "they were delicious" but I always wonder if they mean it. I mean, what else are you going to say to someone who baked you an assorted variety of Christmas cookies, then lovingly packaged and shipped them? "Um, they aren't as good as store bought" or "They were a little stale" or "Well, they were broken into a million crumbs, but I ate them over ice cream"?

I thought I solved the problem of wondering how they taste by trying to slowly eat all the cookies that I didn't send over the course of 5 days and noting any change in freshness or deliciousness. But that process does not take into account the shaking of the box, temperature fluctuations, or as Laura pointed out yesterday, the amount of exhaust the cookies would absorb.

So this year, after I sent Dave off to the shipping store, I was thinking about the whole thing all over again. Do people like to get cookies in the mail? I think I have received cookies in the mail twice and Bean is the only one who knows how the first set turned out. The second set were professionally made and were part of a miscarriage related care package, so they were delicious, but tinged with grief.

And so, and so, and so. So I thought, "Maybe I should ship some cookies to myself and see how they taste when they get here." This thought was dismissed after about 5 seconds of contemplation because, "only a crazy person would ship cookies to themselves to see how they taste. Right?" and "that seems like a lot of work."

Then I checked voice mail the other day, for the first time in several weeks apparently, and I found out that the cookies I had shipped to my cousins girlfriend, who I have in the handmade-gift exchange, did not receive her cookies because they had been returned to sender. So two days later, I finally made it to the package store to pick them up and when the guy handed me the box I said, perhaps a little too excitedly, "well, now we have a box of cookies to eat! And we can see if they still taste good!" I was talking to Luke, but the guy at the counter said, "Wow. Way to find a silver lining."

So the cookies were pretty much as good as they were when I sent them, so I still don't really know if the cookies are as good as they are in my mind, but they weathered their travels to Cleveland and back pretty well. Some were a little stale, but my instructions say specifically to dunk them in milk or coffee if they are stale, so that solves that problem.

And all I had to do was think, maybe I should ship some cookies to myself, and poof! It happened! Well, I had to make the wish and transpose a 9 and a 2, but you get the idea. This is not the first sort of lame wish I have made that has come true.

New Years Resolution Number 1: Start wishing for cooler things!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

In Some Ways, Bean is Still With Us

I was comparing present-wrapping back-ache stories with my mom on Sunday. She stands at the table to wrap and a friend asked, "Why not sit down?" She was flummoxed. Why not sit down indeed? Well, because she is too short to sit down and wrap presents. She wouldn't be able to see over the present to the scissors and tape. I sit down to wrap, but I do my wrapping on the floor, which causes it's own problems. OK, it causes the same problems which is why my back was hurting too,

I have a touch of the shortness myself, so I can't imagine sitting at the table to wrap presents either. And really, it's that time of year when every surface in my house is covered with cookies, or cookie making ingredients, or cards, stamps and address lists, or let's be honest, dinner from two nights ago that hasn't been cleaned up all the way.

So this year, as always, I sat down on the floor of my bedroom and surrounded myself with presents, wrapping paper, tape, scissors and old cards that I cut up to use as gift tags.

And I was thinking about what a hassle it used to be at this time of year with Bean. You never knew if a present would be safe under the tree, because what if it was a food item? Did I want the present unwrapped and eaten by Bean? Not really. (The Christmas Poop Story is a story for another day. 13 years is not enough time for that to be funny yet.) And he liked to help wrap presents. And by help, I mean he liked to be in the middle of whatever I was doing. If I rolled out some wrapping paper, he liked to lay down on it. If I was about to wrap a sweater, he would lay down on it. And so on. So pretty much every present I wrapped had some amount of dog hair attached to the tape, if not all over the present itself.

So, as I was wrapping presents this year, I was missing Bean, my wrapping buddy. The way I missed him was to repeatedly say to myself, wow, it is so nice that there isn't dog hair everywhere. OK, I wasn't really missing Bean, but I was thinking about him a lot. Then I ran out of the new wrapping paper and had to scrounge around for some leftover from years passed. And when I rolled out the paper, what did I see? Dog hair.

And here is Bean helping us unwrap presents last year:

From New Album 1/10/08 2:53 PM


Miss you Bean!

Bonus picture (I can't tell you how many times Jack made that exact face today):



"Oh, don't mind me. I am just resting my head in the general vicinity of the candy that is coming out of your stocking. "

From New Album 1/10/08 2:53 PM




Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Season of Giving

Dave and Luke and Jack went shopping for my Christmas presents on Sunday and then wrapped them and put them under the tree. Luke is very excited about my present, but he was a little bothered by the fact that there weren't any presents under the tree for him. Last year he got PJs and an ornament from me, and this year I planned for the same. But he already knows about the PJs, and the ornament isn't that big of a deal. So when he asked what I would be giving him for Christmas I said nothing. Santa will be bringing all your gifts! This was an unsatisfactory answer for many reasons, but mostly because that meant nothing under the tree for X more days. We discussed it for a while but he wasn't able to talk me into giving him a present.

An hour later Luke approached me with a new strategy. He was very serious. A tad choked up.

"Mom. Christmas is a season of giving. And I am a little worried about you. Because you aren't giving me anything. "

Poor kid. He just wants to make sure I experience the season.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Where in the World is MetaMegan?

This weekend, when I could have been working on Christmas cards
From December


I was baking.
From December

I made Challah bread from The Bread Baker's Apprentice. (Aside: since I had a loaf of challah bread on hand, I decided I needed to make the number 57 sandwich from the now defunct Zachary's Deli in Athens, OH. It is a grilled cheese, with spinach, tomato, and garlic aioli on challah. But what kind of cheese? I can't really remember. If any MetaMegan readers know the answer, please leave it in the comments. Thanks!) *** Update - it's the #41 Drey's Fusion, and it's provolone. Thanks Eliot!

I have a bunch of stuff to blog about just as soon as I send out those cards! And to tide you over, here is one of the many outakes from the many Christmas card photo shoots:

From December


OK, one more:
From December

Friday, December 12, 2008

Allergies

We have determined that Jack may or may not have some food/detergent/other allergies. I am trying to investigate scientifically, but it is quite difficult when I just want his face to not be red and bumpy in time for the Christmas card photo shoot. The one thing Jack and I have been doing is treating his face with a homemade oatmeal/yogurt mask. It does seem to help.

From November


And he really enjoys it.

From November

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Is There Anything Cuter Than a Baby Dressed as Santa, Sitting on a Box of Diapers and Playing the Blues?


Pretty cute.

And as an added bonus, I finally captured some steps on film. It took so long, that he is almost too coordinated here. I still hope to capture that new to walking stagger, but I'd better be quick!


video

Note: Remote controls are very important tools for reaching new milestones.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Baking Photo Round Up

Did you think I was so nervous about baking with Jack that I wouldn't take a picture? Because that is crazy.

From November


And here are some cookies that won't be shared:

From November


Laura's gingerbread people:

From November


This one is me. You can tell because of the Victoria's Secret Hair. What does that mean? I don't know. I am glad that it's the hair that makes this cookie look like me, or else I may need to tone down my bedazzled bell bottoms.

From November

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It Nearly Happened To Me

Panic Attack Magazine has a section called, "It Happened to Me!" where parents can write in about how their bad or lax parenting led to a near disaster, or more often, how something that would never in a million years occur to you as dangerous, is actually a crisis waiting to happen. Well, I think this weekend I may have come up will a potential submission.

Today was my (8th) annual cookie baking extravaganza, and in years past I have spent the days and weeks and months leading up to this day diligently planning. There are excel spreadsheets to be made with egg, butter, flour tallies, dough to be pre-made and frozen, recipes to be tested, cookies to be pre-made, icing recipes to be pondered over, and so on. This year, I don't know, I am either getting lazy, or mildly over committed. Or maybe I need to be committed? Instead of doing a lot of ingredient planning, I just went to costco and got 4 pounds of butter, 18 eggs, 7 pounds of sugar and a 20 pound bag of flour. Then I went to king soopers and bought 10 heath bars. Then I went back to king soopers and got 2 pounds of brown sugar. When I was at Target I got 2 pounds of chocolate. Then I went back to King Soopers and got 18 more eggs. And so on.

I did test one recipe last week and it was so delicious that I ate almost all of the cookies and then decided that since I am not going to the gym I should definitely not make those again. Or maybe I should since I still have another 5 heath bars and a pound of chocolate left over. (Those are the two main ingredients.) Short story long, all the pre-making of cookies, pre-making of dough, cleaning the kitchen, planning of the hor-dourves and drinks, and everything else, took place between the hours of 9am (when Jack and I got up for the third and final time of the morning) and 1pm when my cookie baking partners in crime arrived instead of over the last few weeks.

Where is the bad parenting? I am just about to get to that. While I was trying to clean the kitchen, Jack got everything out of the bench and put half of it in the oven warming drawer. And then he took half the stuff out of the lazy susan and scattered it all over the floor. Then he wrapped his arms around my legs and wouldn't let go. At this point, when I am cooking, I usually put him in the sling.
From Jack's birthday


But I was so tired...

So I got all the ingredients out, and all the measuring utensils out, and I put the bumbo on the counter (mine is old enough that it can without the warning not to place it on the counter) and I crammed Jack into the bumbo, and I gave him a measuring cup for each hand, and I started mixing sugar cookies. Jack was happy, and not trying to escape, cookie dough was being mixed and I was not getting a pain in my shoulder from the sling. All was right with the world. Until. Until I realized I didn't have the vanilla. So should I take Jack out of the bumbo, set him on the floor, take two steps back, get the vanilla, pick Jack up, put him back in the bumbo, or somewhere actually safe, and then finish the dough? Yes. Yes, I should, but I didn't. I just made eye contact with Jack, slowly took one step back, then another, opened the cabinet door, grabbed the vanilla, never taking my eyes off of Jack, took two steps forward and was back in place, right in front of my precious baby. I have made this sugar cookie recipe every year for 8 years. I can do it with my eyes closed. I can do it while staring at my happy baby who is not in anyway attempting to injure himself by falling off the counter.

And then it happened. Well, then it almost happened. It almost happened to me. While still making eye contact with my happy, smiling, safe baby, I started to pour a teaspoon of vanilla into the measuring spoon. Vanilla? Nope, not vanilla. I had grabbed the apple cider vinegar. Thank the Lord for the heightened senses that mothers experience when they put their babies in harms way for the sake of getting some cookie dough made. Because I caught a whiff of that vinegar and managed to stop myself before I poured it into the dough. Crisis averted people! But tragedy almost happened to me!!!

So I took Jack out of the bumbo, put him on my hip, walked two steps to the cabinet, took out the vanilla (exact same size bottle) and walked two steps back to the counter and put Jack back into the bumbo and then continued my cookie dough recipe.

What do you think? Is this a good scary nightmare story, from which Panic Attack Magazine readers can learn a valuable lesson? Never, never store the apple cider vinegar right next to the vanilla. It almost ruined a batch of sugar cookies.

P.S. I have lots of cute pictures from today, but I don't know where the card reader is. Soon. I promise.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Panic Attack Magazine: A Thousand and One Ways That Christmas Can Kill You

This month Dave got to enjoy Panic Attack Magazine because I read it to Dave, Luke and Grandad on the way to Eldora last weekend. Luke loves it because of all the recipes for sweets and pictures of junk food and toys. Dave mostly ignored me, but I think some of the message sunk in.

We learned that you need to bleach your tree trunk, let it dry out in the driveway, clean off mold and allergens, never let your tree dry out, put your tree up immediately, and don't leave it for more than a month.

Inspect each ornament for dust, dirt, wear, tear, frayed edges, and allergens.

Call ahead to ask your hostess not to use scented candles that can inflame airways. Call ahead, people.

Also, know that your baby could pull on the stockings and get clocked in the head by a clunky ornament holder. And once again, a little bit of panic crept in. Dave busted me when he saw the naked stocking holders, with the stockings limply laying on the chair, homeless. "Yup. Good job avoiding a head injury."

In other news, posting once a day for the entire month of November caused me to get burned out, hardly write anything, post only pictures, and take Dec 1 off. Then the cable was out on the 2nd. When I got home from the PTA meeting on the 3rd, I had to do a whole days worth of work due to the cable outage, plus watch the last two episodes of Band Of Brothers. See, I bet I never even said anything about how our latest TV obsession was Band Of Brothers, and now it's all over.

So, now I have to ease back into the posting thing, and after writing about how ornaments and trees can kill you, I don't even have time to cover the fact that your children will have holiday meltdowns, and be afraid of Santa, and I am not even going to touch the fire safety. Sigh.

If I can find the memory card reader, I should have cute pictures for tomorrow though!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Review

Some years I go a little overboard on Thanksgiving, and cook way to many different dishes and get all stressed out and tired. Last year we ordered our dinner from Brothers Barbecue because Jack was only a week old and I still made some side dishes and desserts. I think my problem is that I feel the need to cook the traditional stuff, and also whatever I want. This year I decided to limit myself to one or the other. I read a delicious looking recipe for brussel sprouts, but the majority of eaters wouldn't have liked it, I didn't make it. But instead of making a pumpkin or pecan pie, I made a chocolate chip pie. Yum!

In Summary:

Turkey: Ordered from Brothers again. It was delicious. But it was supposed to be reheated for 1-1.5 hours and it wasn't done after 1.5 hours so that was annoying. Next year: start reheating earlier. The turkey was really moist and delicious.
Mashed Potatoes: I roasted two heads of garlic and added them with a spoon full of sour cream, a T of butter and some salt and pepper to a little less than 3 lbs of potatoes. Yum.
Green Bean Casserole: The old standard with the french fried onions. Luke said it made him feel like he was going to throw up. Otherwise, enjoyed by all.
Cranberries: From Domino Mag. A big hit. Really big.
Stuffing: From Domino Mag: This recipe called for cooked chestnuts, but didn't give any hint as to how to cook the chestnuts. Well, I roasted them. So once I added my cooked chestnuts, and then cooked the stuffing... Let's just say that it led to a really detailed discussion on dental mishaps. If you avoided the chestnuts, it was really good though. It may have been better suited to being cooked as real stuffing, inside the bird.
Chocolate Chip Pie: Yum.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Colorado Native

Growing up in Ohio, I do not recall a lot of people driving around with Ohio Native bumper stickers. There just wasn't that desire to distinguish yourself as someone whose parents chose to give birth to you in Ohio from people who parents gave birth to him/her in another state. I am not really sure what all the fuss is about, but I was thinking about it today as I took a picture of my own little Colorado native:



From Thanksgiving

Friday, November 28, 2008

Jack Reviews the Cranberry Recipe

OK, Mom. I'll try a bite of cranberry.
From Thanksgiving


What's that? What are you asking? Do I like the cranberries?

From Thanksgiving


Yes, I do. I do like the cranberries.
From Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving


Last year on Thanksgiving, I was so overwhelmed with emotion during grace that I almost started to cry. I was so thankful that baby Jack had finally arrived. And so, so,so full of crazy new mom hormones. But I feel the same way this year. I am so thankful for my wonderful family, friends and neighbors. Thank you!

And I was looking for a wonderful picture of my family, and I decided on this one because of that joie de vivre!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Circle, Star, Star, Star

The Target toy catalog has been floating around the house lately, and I told Luke it would be a big help if he circled a few ideas for me, so I could share them with relatives. He pretty much circled everything in the book that wasn't pink. Then I said, "OK, how about this? Put a star next to the three things you want the most." Minutes later, in anguish, he turned to me and said, "I have already starred 10 things I just JUST got to the Star Wars Lego page!" So I said, "Put two stars next to the three things that you want the most." Long story short, everything in the book (that isn't pink) now has three stars next to it. Three stars and some initials. The initials (D, J, M) stand for things that Luke would like, but that aren't worth one of his precious three stars.

I started a conversation about picking a family charity by saying, "What are you concerned about? What do you want to fix in the world? Are you worried about animals? People not having enough food?" He said, "I am worried about kids not having enough toys." So he wants to donate some baby toys. I think we have a ways to go with this philanthropy thing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

529 Plan

Sadly, although it was caught on video, the video was not saved. So only Dave and Grandad and 20 cheering spectators witnessed Luke's stunts in the terrain park at Copper today.

I've been filing all the investment statements, including the college funds, without even looking lately. But I just decided not to worry because maybe Luke will go to college on a skiing scholarship!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Um, yeah. So Jack is walking. A little.

I had big plans to have a splashy, exciting title, and a video to match to announce the precious baby steps. But Jack and his walking can be very elusive. I have yet to capture one tiny little wobble. Two weeks ago Dave said, "Jack took a bunch of steps. He was holding on, but only to the hair on my legs." And since then, Jack has progressed from a half step to a step. Then two steps. At his birthday party, Jack tried to go from the chair to the ottoman with a quick break wrapped around my legs, but I stepped out of the way and he probably took four steps to show off for his guests.

At our house he seems to have the whole crawling thing down, but if I had taken my camera out with me on Saturday night, I would have videoed steps galore, because I think Jack felt the need to work on running in order to keep up with Luke, Scarlett and Stella.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Momtrepreneur

Jack has a booger situation. Just lots of boogers. And he doesn't like to have his nose wiped. If he sees you coming with any form of washcloth, tissue, or even napkin he hides his face and it's all over. The best method is usually to hold him in one arm, and sort of trap his hands and wrestle him to the ground with the other arm wielding a wet washcloth. But if I miss, which I do about 80% of the time, then I get a shoulder full of mucus. My latest invention idea (said as if I have ever before come up with an invention) is a terry cloth shoulder/arm band that could act as a secondary mucus receptacle. Or could at least protect my clothing.

In fact, the other day at work someone was talking about which of their kids had the highest fever, and how bad they felt, when I moved as far away as I could in a tiny conference room and then refused to use their pen. I tried to make light of my germaphobia by saying, "No seriously, I just decided I didn't really need a pen after all! I have a little Howard Hughes thing going on. And I probably even have boogers on my shirt, ha ha." Hair toss, non-crazy smile.

"Yeah, you do. I can see it from here."

Eww.

So today I put a warm wet washcloth over my shoulder and went after Jack with a kleenex. He nuzzled right into the washcloth, yanked his head back and then burrowed into another, unwashclothed covered part of my arm, spreading the wealth all over the place. And I had a wet shoulder. So now I just have to go for plan C: wear t-shirts and do a lot of laundry, and brace myself for a long winter.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Namoblopo


I don't think this whole posting everyday thing is for me, since I am just putting up a lot of pictures, and I rarely have time to write anything. But this is a really cute picture, right?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Attack of The Killer Babies


I found out on Thursday that my dear, sweet Jack has been attacking other babies at the daycare. Apparently he picks one out and makes a bee line for him/her, and, if he can make before anyone gets to him, he climbs on top of the other baby and bounces. The teachers have been encouraging him to climb on top of a teddy bear and bounce on it, which I guess isn't as fun because there is no screaming, crying, and general mayhem. I would be freaking out about having a bully instead of a baby, but we went through the exact same thing with Luke and he turned out to be a nice, little gentleman.

But we do need to tone down the horseplay at home, I guess. And no more hysterical laughter when he attacks his brother. But they do look so cute together when they wrestle.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Last Post About the Pumpkin Cake

The bake sale raised $980 which is extremely exciting. And I would say at least $100 of that came from the sale of my cake. Ok, maybe not.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's Not That He is Jealous, It's Just That He Doesn't Want Luke on Your Lap

Today after dinner we were all playing with this cool shake-up car. Dave and Jack were at one end of the hallway and Luke and I were at the other. We took turns shaking up the car and watching it go, then sending it back to each other. New batteries really turned things up a notch with that car. At one point, it went careening down the stairs, shook itself up on the way, hit the landing and took off again. Hilarity ensued.

And then Luke sat on my lap. And from across the room there was this ungodly yell. A roar almost. It came out of a one year old that was crawling like the wind, at speeds never before clocked in our living room. And that one year old was coming straight at us. He climbed right up Luke's body, over his head and onto my lap where he started pushing Luke as far away has he could. Which wasn't far, because Jack has short arms, and Luke wasn't going anywhere, so there was lots of yelling, pushing, and laughing. Luke and I were shaking with laughter. When I got my breath I said, "Jack never struck me as the jealous type." And Dave said, "It's not that he's jealous. He just doesn't want Luke on your lap."

All this took place under wafts of pumpkin cake aroma. I took a picture, but why bother getting it off my camera, when it looks exactly like this?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Crazy Cook

Fresh on the heels of my birthday party culinary successes, I am planning to participate in my first school bake sale. So far I am $15.00 in the hole, and I haven't even purchased any ingredients. But I love to bake, and I needed an excuse to buy a 9" spring form pan. My excuse? Oh, I was trying to take it up a notch, so at Andrea's advice I took myself to the cake supply store to get myself a cake box or five. (What else was I supposed to do? Put the cake on a paper plate and cover it with plastic wrap? No, I am seriously asking, what do I do with the cake?) The cake supply proprietress was sort of bossy as I was interrupting her soaps on the 13" rabbit ear set. I said, "I think I have a 9 pan." And before I knew it I was out the door with my 10" cake box. Alas, during the practice cake run, I determined that I have a 10" pan, thus rendering the cake box totally useless. Dave suggested I just bake the cake in the pan that I have and then trim the edges so it will fit in the box. Are you kidding me Dave? So today I bought a 9" pan, which increases the challenge because now my practice run means nothing. New pan, new size, new cooking time.

Wish me luck!

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Birthday Pictures

This car came with 25 balls. And we decided that wasn't enough. Dave wanted to get 7000, and fill up the whole basement, but I put my foot down at 200.

From Jack's birthday


At the party, there was some present opening pandemonium:

From Jack's birthday


This one is very fun, and tasty:

From Jack's birthday


Speaking of tasty, I had some problems with the snake calzone.

From Jack's birthday


But the rest of the pizzas turned out well:

From Jack's birthday


And then the big kids went downstairs and left the little ones to yell down the stairs at them:

From Jack's birthday

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Birthday Bash

To quote one of the party guests, "Wow! The cakes look good. Last time you made these we couldn't even tell what they were!"

From Jack's birthday


Did the birthday boy enjoy his cake?

From Jack's birthday


Yes, he did.

From Jack's birthday


Right up until we had to hit the eye wash station:

From Jack's birthday


I think the rest of the guests enjoyed their cake too:

From Jack's birthday


And it certainly didn't make anyone go crazy from too much sugar:

From Jack's birthday


Coming tomorrow - present pictures!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

One Year Ago Today (Continued)

One year ago today at 12:30 am I was propped up on the couch, cursing Dave’s cough, and my incessant heart burn, and watching Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. I fell asleep at some point and then I woke up at 5:00 am and went back to bed.

At 6:30 I woke up again and I thought maybe I’d be having a baby that day. It was in fact, pretty obvious that I would be having a baby that day but for a while it didn’t sink in. I thought, “Hmm. Maybe?” I decided it was the perfect situation because I could leisurely get ready for work/the hospital rather than rushing around in the middle of the night. I took a shower and finished packing my bags and looked forward to getting Luke off at school and finalizing the plans for where he’d be staying that night. Then Dave woke up and I told him my water had broken. His eyes sort of bugged out and he got up and read the child birth preparation pages that I had book marked for him.

I called the Dr. around 7:30 and she said I should meet her in the office at 9am. I said, "OK, sounds good, but I have a feeling that I might have a fast labor. Nothing is happening now, but if it changes, you need to be really close to the hospital." I don't think she really took me seriously.

So I did a little work, sent some e-mails, (including one that said if I didn’t dial into the 10:3o meeting it was because I was at the hospital) while Dave took Luke to school and then we left to get coffee on the way to the hospital. Unfortunately, while Dave was taking a picture outside the coffee shop the line had grown out the door. Dave wanted me to play the labor card but I didn't feel like announcing to everyone at the coffee shop that my water had broken so we just left.

The doctor gave me the option of going home for a while or just checking into the hospital because I was only 3 cm and not really contracting. We hate to waste gas, so we stayed.

The Dr. also said, "Since your water broke, we want to have this baby within 24 hours, so after 12 hours we'll want to start pitocin, so we'll do that this afternoon." I thought to myself, "Yeah right. I am not doing that, but no sense fighting with her now because the baby will probably be here by this afternoon."

So Dave went with me to labor and delivery and got me into a room and then he left to get coffee. I called Andrea while I waited for a nurse to come in and I said, "Hi – I am 3 centimeters can you pick up Luke from day care?" The answer was no because one of her kids had pneumonia and she was at the hospital too. Fortunately, Dave had already talked to our plan B at daycare that morning and they were prepared. I got off the phone with Andrea at 10:45 and then I started having contractions.

My nurse was a thousand years old and t a l k e d and m o v e d really s l o w l y which was really annoying. She made me get an IV right away, which if I should have declined if I was 100% serious about natural child birth. That took forever and a day and hurt! and I just wanted to be in the tub. (With Luke the Jacuzzi was the key to managing my labor.) Finally the nurse finished the IV and monitored me forever while she filled the tub with what I would consider to be cold water. I finally got to get in the tub and Dave sat there with his coffee and went to turn the heat up every five seconds when I asked him to. I kept letting water out and filling it up more with hot water, but it wasn't really working for me like it did last time. Finally, I said, "Listen, finish that coffee and get some gum because the coffee smell is killing me." That made us think things were getting serious so I got out and had the nurse check me. She said I was 4 cm. I was like, "That's it? What the?" That was at about 11:30. This may have been around the time that I said to myself, “What am I trying to prove? I’ve already had one natural childbirth, I know I am awesome.”

Then I sat in a rocking chair and breathed through my contractions for about 15 minutes before I said, "I want an epidural." Dave did absolutely everything right from the standpoint of the coach of someone who wants natural childbirth. He convinced me to get through 3 more contractions; he relaxed me by touching areas that were tense and saying, "relax your arms right here" etc. Halfway through a contraction he'd say. "30 more seconds." But after each contraction I would say, "I really want an epidural."

So he said, "If you want an epidural, you push the button for the nurse." So I did.

The nurse said she had to check me first, which she did and I was at 6cm. She paged the anesthesiologist, and then I guess she went to lunch because I didn't see her for about an hour.



Finally the anesthesiologist got there and I said, "How long is this going to take?" He said, "About 10 minutes for the procedure and 10 minutes for this to take affect." And I said, "That is 10 contractions, please hurry." Then he was telling me all the risks, asking me all the questions and I was like, "Yes no, yes yes, that's fine, where do I sign?" He said, "how far along are you? " And I said. "6" and he said, "That far? I'll give you a little bit of a spinal and you'll feel some relief right away." I was feeling a ton of pressure and really intense contractions but I decided to keep that to myself lest someone decide it was too late for an epi. I also noticed my toes were curling with each contraction, and I remember being 10 cm with Luke and waiting for the midwife to show up so I could push and hearing a nurse say, "I can tell when the contraction is at its peak because her toes curl."

Then just as the needle went in I thought, "I hope I didn't just make a big mistake." Then my legs started to feel tingly and I laid down and opened my eyes for the first time in half an hour and I took a deep breath and said, “Ah, I feel so much better.”

I got to relax for 30 seconds before the nurse said, "I can't get a pulse on the baby, roll on your side." And of course the exact thing happened with Luke but I was already 10 cm so they vacuumed him out. At this point I didn’t know how far along I was and I was thinking, "I am going to need an emergency c section." The nurse was now t a l k i n g in slow motion, "Hmm. No still no pulse. Try rolling to the other side. Hmmm. No." And I was thinking, "I made a huge mistake" And I felt like I was going to cry. And she said, "Try pushing, maybe he is so low I just can't get a reading." And then, "Quit pushing, he is crowning, and I don’t want to deliver the baby myself." So I laid there while she called the Dr. and when she arrived, the nurse said, "He's crowning." And the Dr. said, "Hold on I just need to put on gloves." And the nurse said, "He's coming out." And then I saw the Dr. throw a gown on and run across the room and the next thing I knew she was holding up a baby and he cried right away.

Then I started crying for real.

They put him right on my chest immediately and I didn't even notice anything else because I was holding my baby and I was totally in love.

Then the anesthesiologist came in and said, "Well, you should be feeling that epidural now. How are you feeling. I just stared at him, as did Dave and the Dr. and the three nurses. Then he said, "Wait, is that the? Did you have the baby already?" So that was funny.

And then Jack and I just snuggled for an hour and it was a very blissful beginning.

Friday, November 14, 2008

One Year Ago Today

One year ago, on November 14th, I went into work feeling achy and sore. I decided to schedule a massage, and I made an appointment for the next day at 2:30. Then I ran into my friend Laura, who was stopping by to visit with her 6 week old and she said, "You look totally different, did the baby just drop?" I said that I thought so. Then she said that another co-worker who was standing right had said that she knew she was about to go into labor because she felt like she had a bowling ball between her knees. The other co-worker acted horrified and denied ever having said anything of the sort. To be fair, the other co-worker has an accent and I only understand about 25% of what she says, so I am sure all the embarrassment and misunderstanding wasn't Laura’s fault.

About an hour after I scheduled my massage, I had this thought: “I will be so mad if I go into labor and miss my massage and then have to pay the cancellation fee.” So I rescheduled for that afternoon, and I felt so much better afterwards that when I got home I ripped the cellophane off my pre-natal yoga CD and vowed to do it every night until the baby came.

Then, as we were doing our bimonthly frantic house pick up because the cleaners were due the next day, I really started thinking about the ideal day for the baby to arrive. I said, "I hope the baby is born on Dec 1 because then my time off will stretch out more because of the holidays." And then, "I hope the baby is born on the November 28th because then all the boys will have birthdays on the 28th.” Then, "I hope the baby is born on November 29th since that is two weeks from tomorrow so the cleaners will come while I’m in the hospital and I'll come home to a clean house."

Then I went to bed, satisfied with my plan of having the baby on the 29th. Dave had a really annoying, dry cough, and I suggested that he sleep in the guest bedroom but he didn't take the hint. His hacking and coughing kept me awake and at midnight I stormed off to the basement in order to quell the urge I had to smother him with a pillow. On the way downstairs I was so uncomfortable that I thought, "there is no WAY I am lasting 2 more weeks. I feel like I have a bowling ball between my knees!”


To be continued...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

361 Days Later

From halloween


361 days after Jack's birth, he slept from 7:30 pm until 7:00. Yea Jack! It was Jacktastic. And the best part is that I slept for 8.5 hours of the 11.5 that Jack was sleeping. I woke up all groggy and disoriented like I had slept for a week. I have found that Jack falls asleep without a problem and stays in bed longer if he has a minimum of 3 pacifiers. One for his mouth and one for each hand. He was even happy to pose for a photo before bedtime. (Note the novelty buck toothed pacifier. I only break that out when I can't find three others.)

In other news, Luke was reading to me this evening and he got stuck on the word "up". As in, "The sun is up."

L: What's this word?
M: Sound it out
L: Yup?
M: What is the phonics animal for U? Urkle Umbrellafish says what? (He likes me to not remember the animal name on the first two tries.)
L: No! Not Urkle! I don't remember the animal but U says "Yuh." So it's either Yup or Yoop. The sun is yup. The sun is yoop.

I know I am supposed to have him sound it out, then suggest he guess based on the picture, then only correct him if he asks for help, but instead I started laughing. I laughed until I was crying, and thankfully so did he. Then he blamed the whole thing on me, and said I told him the wrong sound.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Where in The World is Almost One Year Old Jack

Almost One Year Old Baby Jack almost took a step today. Sort of stumbled a little at The Southern Sun, but who hasn't?

So where has he been lately?

In the lazy susan:
From halloween


Stuck under a chair:

From halloween


Head stuck in the lion cage:

From halloween

Monday, November 10, 2008

Jackstastic!

It may sound like I am complaining about my little handful, but I know he is a blessing. We waited so long for his arrival, years actually. It was like an elephant gestation. Longer than an elephant's 22 months actually. Like being pregnant for a while, and then not being pregnant for a really long time, and then being pregnant again, but having the pregnancy be really precarious for a while, and then having everything seem fine, and then being really nervous about things for a while, and then having everything be fine again and then having a baby! And then all of a sudden after all that waiting and praying and worrying, it's a year later and Jack is a smiling little handful who gets into everything!

So, I have declared this week to be all about Jack, and how Jacktastic he is.

Jack likes to hide behind the curtain until we notice he is missing and then he plays peek-a-boo with us. He gives his hiding place away really quickly with his giggling though.


video

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bath Night

From halloween



I look like a psycho on this picture, and if you have been reading this blog, I am sure you know why. Long story short, I had just given Jack a bath. And he has Mr. Potato Head teeth in his mouth.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Then and Now: Pumpkin Patch

I don't know what it is about my photography skills. I have relatively photogenic children who love to smile for the camera - but I cannot get a good, smiling picture in a pumpkin patch to save my life.

Baby Luke:

From halloween


Baby Jack:

From misc


At least I got one smile here:

From misc

Friday, November 7, 2008

Car Cake Take Two

There are many potential reasons for the spectacular failure of the William Sonoma Vintage Car Cakes that I made for Luke's birthday. The most likely is that I followed the recipe that came with the cake tin without adjusting for altitude. Other reasons include the fact that I was waiting to hear how my Dad's quintuple bypass surgery was going, and combining that stress with a big bowl of butter, eggs, and sugar wad just asking karma to teach me a lesson. (Back in those days I couldn't eat any animal fat without imagining what it was doing to my arteries and it made me feel very nauseous. That doesn't happen any more.)

This is not what the cakes looked like:

They looked like this:

From Blog pix


Those are the ones that turned out well.

The reason I bring this up now, is that I have been thinking about attempting to make them for Jack's birthday. So the main question is... do I make a practice set this weekend to see if I can do it right this time? Or do I just attempt to make them next weekend and plan to buy a cake if I have another car cake disaster? Keep in mind that greasing the pan takes about half a day.

I guess we'll see how this weekend goes!