Archive for May, 2007

Warning, gratuitous baby photos ahead

May 31, 2007

I know, I know, it’s been nothing but the Henry channel around here recently, but what would I show you of Will, photos of baby shampoo dripping off the walls?

JUST KIDDING, more about Will next time.

But back to Henry, who was baptized this weekend at our lovely church by the sea, surrounded by a warm and wonderful assortment of family, friends and his wonderful godparents, Maria, Ellen and Rush, who writes about the weekend here.

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Between wiping him dry at the font (the water, it’s SYMBOLIC, did he really need to get THAT WET?) and wishing I could eat this yummy cake from Sarah and Rush,

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I didn’t get to take a lot of photos, but Auntie Melissa didn’t let me down.

Or any of you.

 

 

 

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Henry holding tight to Aunt Kate.

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Will in post-cake euphoria.

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Henry and his “godsister” Lydia.

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Godmother Maria and her handsome fellas.

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And one more of Maria’s dashing young man–love those cheeks!

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Will biking through the party in search of more fruit salad.

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Maria and Henry

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Dad and Henry working on Operation Must Walk

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Uncle Matt and Henry

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Lydia, Jack and Will in a pig pile

 

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And finally, Henry smiling, now that the risk of excessive baptismal waters seem to be a thing of the past!

Without you, it’s going to be “Twinkle, Twinkle”

May 29, 2007

Okay, you guys were SO GOOD at giving me music suggestions that I have to come back at you with this request: I desperately need your help finding a song or songs for the one-year slide show I will make for Henry soon, because he will be a year old in just a few weeks.

It will take me another year of his life just to weed through the hundreds (thousands?) of photos I have taken of him, so I don’t have time to find the appropriately heartwrenching and uplifting music for this, at least if I’m going to get this done before he turns two. I know there are good songs out there that would be perfect for this, but it just hasn’t come to me yet.

Here are a few photos, fast forwarding through 11 months of Henry’s life for inspiration.

Two days old, or in NICU parlance, day of life # 2

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Five months

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Eight months

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Ten months

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Eleven months and two weeks

 

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I did one for Will with several songs, from Stevie Wonder (Signed, Sealed, Delivered–get it? For a new baby?) to Vertical Horizons The Man Who Would be Santa and other oozy, groovy, lovey songs.

But now I need some new material, and I know you’ve got it.

I will even post an Internet-friendly (i.e., short!) version of the slide show here with the best suggestion I get. Do I know how to tempt you all or what!

P.S. Red…not to worry, I have almost no idea how to text message, but the comments/song suggestions go below, just click the link where it says “No comments.” And now knowing that, you are more tech-savvy than I am, by far!

Sleeping like a baby and other news

May 26, 2007

While I’m sure the victory is temporary, we’ll claim victory all the same.

For the last two nights, my husband has executed the finest in Supernanny bedtime technique, specifically the “Calmly and Quietly Carry Him Back To Bed Over And Over Without Engaging Him In Conversation Even If It Takes All Night” technique, and after less than ten minutes each time, Will was in bed for the night.

I was not involved with the bedtime routine on the first night of going all Supernanny on Will because I was downstairs enjoying a half gallon of “Half Lytely,” in preparation for a little procedure made famous by Katie Couric in 2000. For the record? The claim made on the product packaging, “Now available in delicious lemon-lime flavor!” is overselling it JUST A LITTLE BIT.

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But, as anyone who has ever done this will tell you, drinking that stuff is truly the worst part. (Or maybe saying the word “colonoscopy” out loud to your friends and coworkers.)

But the procedure itself? I guess it really happened, but the last thing I remember from before the drugs was my doctor asking me if I was still speaking to her after the prep, and the next thing I knew I was drinking ginger ale with a bendy straw. It was THAT easy. Plus I got to sleep all afternoon on a delicious cloud of Demerol while my aunt and my husband chased two boys.

So, I write about this topic for one reason only—if you have a family history of colon cancer, or if you are of an age that screening is recommended, don’t put it off. If my mom had only known she needed to go for screening at my age, she might have lived to meet my husband and her grandsons—colon cancer has a 90 percent cure rate if detected in time. As Katie Couric says, “Colon cancer is a lot more inconvenient than a colonoscopy.”

I got a clean bill of health after my screening, which gets me a five-year pass until the next one. And hopefully we’ll see five more years of serious R & D on that prep solution, DO YOU HEAR ME OUT THERE, RESEARCHERS?

Stay Up Late

May 24, 2007

Will has been a wee bit challenging in the bedtime department recently. He’s a sweet, wonderful boy until the last page of the last book, when he dons his battle gear, deftly and swiftly launching Operation Stay Up Late before we’re even out the door.

In just minutes he can unleash the “I’m thirsty!” attack, followed in rapid succession by “Rub my back!” “My stomach hurts!” “I don’t feel very well!” and “I can’t find my ______ (fill in the blank with all-of-a-sudden-precious objects).”

He has taken some different approaches recently, though. Two nights ago all was silent, and I went up with a smile on my face to peek in on what I thought were two sleeping boys. Instead, I found one sleeping angel in his crib in his bedroom, and one wide awake boy in the other room, quietly pouring baby shampoo all over his room.

And his hair.

And the walls.

And his animals.

And the floor.

And his bed.

After stripping him down, washing him off, changing the sheets and cleaning up the room, he fell asleep in his tracks, but not before cracking his head open on a wooden school bus. The bump on his head was probably equal in volume to the amount of shampoo he spread around the room, if you’re keeping track of things like that.

So last night when I was out at a banquet with some coworkers, enjoying awkward man hugs and cowboy hats, it was with some trepidation that I called home to check in. My husband assured me that everything was fine.

IF YOU DEFINE “FINE” as Will naked and doing laps around his bed, which he had moved into the middle of the room.

I hung up, and enjoyed the rest of my gin and tonic.

Got any ideas for us?

The Real Simple Story, or Wearing Your Dirty Laundry in a National Magazine

May 23, 2007

The editorial staff at Real Simple is always searching for real women to feature in their magazine. You know, a group of friends who travel together every year, a woman who needs help organizing her closet, women who change their hair color frequently and so on. When I get these search queries, I often pass them on to women I know who might enjoy them. (Email me if you want me to add you to the list—it’s now my goal to get all my friends and family in Real Simple!)

The Background:

The message that will find me in the pages* of Real Simple had to do with women meeting with friends to play games, something I love. At my previous job, I worked with some bright, interesting people whose company I enjoyed. Being the wordy types (we were in the COMMUNICATIONS office, after all), we passed around a fantastic book, Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players by WSJ sports reporter Stefan Fatsis. I challenge you to read this book and NOT play Scrabble. It’s that compelling. Seriously. Click on the photo to read more.

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Well, for those of you that play, you know how addictive Scrabble can be, and we began playing a few times a week. Several years later, the core group of Scrabblers work in different places, so we play online as life allows.

So Real Simple decided to pick us, along with four other groups of women, to talk about the joys of growing friendships through playing games. We’ll net about 300 words of the 10-page feature, which is about the length of this post so far. They took photos of each of us, but instead of shooting us together, they wanted to play up the online element of the story, so we were each photographed at home with our computers.

THUS the hot rollers:

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The Good Parts:

1. On a separate day, I got a free haircut by, as my Scrabble friend Karen put it, the Jose Eber of my town, who was SO NICE.

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2. The stylist and makeup artist CAME TO MY HOUSE and did my hair and makeup, right there in my kitchen. IN MY HOUSE.

3. The weather was dry, and I didn’t have to worry about the curly halo. In fact, my hair stylist said, “Your hair is behaving MUCH better today.” (It had been raining when he did my haircut, and he had visibly winced at the frizz factor when he started blow drying it.)

4. My friend Crista loaned me tons of cute clothing items to choose from and came and took pictures. Her mom loaned me her laptop.

5. The photographer and his assistant were really nice and it went quickly. Plus we shot outside. (Still nice to have a clean house, anyway!)

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The Not-So-Good Parts

Well, it would have been more fun to be photographed WITH my friends, plus I know we would have figured out a way to sneak in a game!

Other than that, the photo editor at Real Simple had asked us to choose several outfits and have them ironed (!) and ready to go. The photographer would make the final choice that day. She advised lots of color and/or small prints, summery, fun, casual, sundresses, capris, etc. Whee!

Monday morning dawned, and I was ready.

House cleaned beyond all recognition? Check.

Six outfits laid out on the couch? Check.

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I showered, and threw on a long, flowing skirt and, at the request of my hair stylist, a wrinkled white button down shirt (to protect THE HAIR). Since it wasn’t part of my carefully crafted collection of outfits, I just pulled the shirt out of the dry cleaning pile. I sat patiently and got my hair and makeup done and dispatched the photographer into the living room to choose my outfit.

He comes back into the kitchen, looks me up and down, and says, “I think I like you best in this. It’s really natural.”

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Did I mention I was wearing a wrinkled shirt HEADED FOR THE DRY CLEANERS?

And NO SHOES?

And a FLOWY LONG SKIRT WITH NO COLOR?

I thought so.

And that, my friends, is how I came to be wearing my dirty laundry while being photographed for a national magazine.

( I did convince him to let me wear sandals and change my shirt halfway thru the shoot, but who knows what they will use, plus, you should SEE THE WEEDS BEHIND ME. If this photo was bigger, you would. Argh.)

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*Coming to a newsstand near you in August, 2007.

Heavenly Hot Rollers

May 22, 2007

I’m DYING to tell you all about it. Really, I am.

But I didn’t get to it last night, or this morning, and I really, really have to go be a productive employee right now, so please do come back later for the whole story. ( I hope it’s worth the hype!)
In the meantime, feast your eyes on this:

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This is your house on Real Simple

May 21, 2007

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So, you know how much you clean the house when you have guests coming?

Guess how much you clean the house when you have Real Simple magazine coming?

To take photos. IN YOUR HOUSE.

This much.

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So this morning, as you sip your coffee  and read through the excellent music suggestions from my rocking readers, think of me enjoying my clean house, getting my hair and makeup done (!) at my house (!) and posing behind my computer to bring you “life made easier.”

Full story on this whole deal later. But you’ll have to excuse me while I go figure out what the heck I’m going to wear.

And to ask my children and husband to exit the house from the second story, because I DON’T EVEN WANT THEM BREATHING in the downstairs this morning.

Edited to add: Here’s the final result.

Tell me something good

May 17, 2007

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You never know WHAT you’ll find when you click on this page, do you? Say hello to Chaka.

Living in the iPod age has limited me in some ways, because when I actually get to choose the music, instead of handing over the reins to a Laurie Berkner-obsessed Will, I tune in to those same old playlists each time, severely restricting my access to anything new and different.

And as much as I love my embarrassingly named playlists, like 70s Baby, 80s Child Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (name courtesy of Jess and originally on a mixed tape, circa 1992), Mellow Morning, Groovy Chicks, Recent Classics (you know, like Baby Got Back) and Party to Go, I’m seeking something more.

So I entered the sometimes dangerous world of random play on my iPod (it’s a minefield, folks, positively LITTERED with Christmas music and kids tunes) and found these:

Songs That Deserve Better Than Random Play

Tell Me Something Good (Chaka Khan & Rufus) (kind of a weird (pitchy?) live version, but still hard to beat)

High and Dry (Radiohead)

Bring on the Night (The Police)

Such Great Heights (Iron and Wine)

Dirty Mind (Prince)

Like Dreamers Do (The Radiators)

Groove Me (King Floyd)

Better Off Alone (DJ Jurgen)

Sugaree (Grateful Dead)

Jessie’s Girl (Rick Springfield)

Shining Star (Earth, Wind and Fire)

Wilder Than Her (Dar Williams)

Avalon (Roxy Music)

And while those old musical friends were a welcome respite from the constant rotation of 10,000 Maniacs, Allison Kraus, Prince and Stevie Wonder and a little Maroon 5, I would be very grateful if you would please, please, please tell me about three (or more!) songs you’re listening to right now. Any artist, any genre, any vintage.

For your troubles, I reward you with THIS walk down memory lane. Enjoy.

Sweet William

May 15, 2007

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Nearly every day Will showers me with sweet comments, something he no doubt learned from the example set by his sweet and thoughtful father. His default is “Mommy, you’re beautiful,” which NEVER gets old, let me tell you.

Some days he’ll compliment my cooking, whether it came from my kitchen or Amy’s, or the mature flowering shrubs in the yard which I do nothing to maintain. Sometimes he’ll switch it up and deliver another one of my other favorites, “Mommy, I like your new haircut,” which I get a couple of times a week, sometimes even when said haircut is buried in a pillow at 6 a.m., even when the last new haircut occurred well before Henry was on the move.

So the other day, I caught him studying my newly bared, not-so-clean-shaven legs on one of our first really warm spring days, and I was trying to imagine the accompanying compliment. He didn’t let me down:

“Mommy, I like your little black spikes on your legs.”

At least he’s not crying

May 14, 2007

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There’s a caption in this somewhere, but I’ll have to leave that to the creative ones among you to suggest, I’m far too busy being crabby about the fact that it’s Monday already. I will submit this one to Best Shot Monday, though.

We did take Henry’s 11-month photo this weekend, and those following along at home will be pleased to see I do take photos of him when he isn’t sobbing. See?

 

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Project Must Walk is back on in full force—we observed a solid four-step move this weekend, but the good news is that he has ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what he is doing so far.

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I think.

 

 

Angels in blue (or purple or green and sometimes in matching Crocs)

May 11, 2007

It’s National Nurses Week, and if I ever had a year to recognize the amazing nurses out there, this was it.

So thank you to the nurse midwife who, on the night Henry was born, heard something in my voice that I didn’t believe was there and coolly instructed me to get to the hospital. (I was planning to wait out those pesky contractions and see her the next day.)

And thank you to the labor nurse who didn’t flinch once as I squeezed her hands to the breaking point (and to my husband for that, too, but he isn’t a nurse :). She stayed with me and helped deliver Henry even though her shift had ended, and she didn’t go home until she had brought me a Polaroid picture of him in the NICU.

And the NICU nurses! Thank you to the NICU nurse who first taught us how to change Henry’s diaper around all the tubes and wires that draped his tiny body. And to the nurse who watched his oxygen saturation drop when she started to touch him, and calmly reached over to dial up his vent settings without saying a word. Her control of the situation, when I was too scared to even touch him, helped me stay calm, too. And when he was too fragile to be touched at all, thank you to the nurse who showed us that we could still place one gentle finger against his bare skin to let him know we were there.

And to the nurse who quietly put an arm around me, and handed me tissue after tissue as they prepared him for transport to a larger hospital, and the transport nurse who insisted that I stick my head into the mobile isolette and give Henry a kiss before he headed off to his ambulance.

And thank you to the nurse at the larger hospital who oriented us to the scary world of acute care for newborns by spending hours with us that first day. And for caring so much that she asked us to send her email updates on Henry while she was away on vacation, and for sending us a thank you note when we wrote to thank her later.

And thank you to the nurse who looked sideways at me and said, “Wanna hold him?” when just days before even touching him had caused breathing distress. She bundled up his leads and tubes and slid him into my arms. No respiratory distress. He did get a little wet from my tears, though.

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And thank you to the nurses at both hospitals that patiently took our calls at all hours of the day and night. I can remember some very warm, thoughtful and honest words coming over the phone as I sat pumping in my living room at 3 a.m. for a baby that not yet been fed. And to the nurses and lactation consultant who worked tirelessly to teach a sleepy newborn and a nervous mama how to get their acts together and nurse.

And thank you to our NICU discharge nurse, who casually said to us, “Why don’t you take his leads off, and dress him. I’m going to go start a feed and I’ll be right back.” Henry had been monitored since shortly after his birth, and we had developed an addiction to reading the numbers on the monitor, say, every minute. Take OFF the monitor leads? When we stood there dumbly, looking at her, she walked over to the monitor, turned it off and said to us, “Take him home. He is YOURS.” Nearly a year later I still have tears in my eyes telling that story.

Even though it might have been just another day at work for them, it was these incredible acts of kindness, compassion and clinical excellence that helped us tremendously, and I will remember them forever, I’m sure of it. Thank you.

. . .

And while we’re talking about nurses, Happy National Nurses Week to my college friend who must be the best labor and delivery nurse out there. If my labors lasted longer than a few hours, I would have been honored to have her by my side, and I envy the lucky moms who have had her at their labors. And to my aunt who is retiring as a nurse this year, but who has no doubt brightened the lives of all the patients who have had the privilege of having her as their nurse over the years.

Got something to say to the amazing nurses in your world?

Search and ye shall find

May 10, 2007

Greetings readers—both the intentional and the accidental. Because I’m aware that a few of you reading today might just have stumbled across these scintillating words by way of a Google search that went terribly awry.

And since I’m all about the lists, I present:

A Few of the Terms People Have Entered Into a Search Engine That Inadvertently Brought Them Here

1. mama handbag

2. hank aarons

3. Hank Williams Willie

4. toilet training bedtime stalling

5. potty training (you would think I write about this every day!)

6. willie nelson karaeoke (hard to say if that was a mistake or not)

7. captain underpants txt. file

8. watermelon

9. Patrick Swayze rocket (?)

10. and my personal favorite: South Park Hank the Poop

That last one was so perplexing to me that I had to trace back through my poop-related entries to figure out how we connected with a South Park seeker—as it turns out, it was an interesting combination of words from some commenters that actually created that connection. And now, of course, with these words in this entry, we’ll be joined by hoardes of South Park Hank the Poop seekers. (Welcome!)

I can only think who I would draw it I peppered each entry with hot button key words:

Obama! MySpace! Iraq! Paris Hilton jail! Kentucky Derby! Britney Spears shaved head! American Idol LaKisha! iPhone! WordPress!

And since this entry has been so boring that I can’t even stand to read over it and see if I spelled Swayze and LaKisha right, here is a new word for you today, brought to you by the innovative minds at Urban Dictionary:

BLUETOOL

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You all know this guy.

Bluetool: A person who wears a [bluetooth] wireless earpiece everywhere they go to seem trendy and important. Places to spot bluetools include movie theaters, malls, restaurants, gyms, grocery stores and cars.

Bluetool: Heyyyyyy, how are you?

Megan: I’m great, and yourself ?

Bluetool: Oh, sorry Megan. I wasn’t talking to you, I’m on a call. Bluetooth.

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