Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy anniversary to us

6 years. Where does time go? Seems like just a few weeks ago I was waiting in the car fuming because the officiant hadn't shown up and wasn't answering his phone. But, he did. And, we got married.

Our marriage isn't perfect.
I am not perfect. Jeff's not perfect.

But, we are perfect for each other. We know and accept each other's shortcomings. We try and help each other overcome those shortcomings. We get mad at each other. Sometimes irrationally. Sometimes justifiably. We make up. We laugh at the stupidest things. But, we laugh together. Sometimes, we cry together. We go off on tirades about the bad drivers out there because obviously we are the best.

He loves and respects my family. I love and respect his. And, our families love and respect each other.

More importantly, Jeff and I like each other.

It's not all roses and rainbows all the time. Remember, at the beginning, how I said it's not perfect? There are issues. In us. In our marriage. We work on them daily. And, we'll continue to work on them. Because someday, this happy 6 will be happy 16, then 26 ... and who knows, like my sis said, maybe even a Happy 60 someday.



I wouldn't want it to be anybody else.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Vacation


The following things really helped keep him calm and entertained for most of the flight from CA to MD: 
But, nothing could help him with his ears through the landings. Take-offs, he handled without any problems. But, 20 minutes of every landing was a pain filled scream fest :(. Hopefully, as he gets older, it'll get easier on his poor ears. But, overall, the travel went well.

Was going to say I'll write about all the fun we had in the 70 degree weather in CA later, but we didn't do much. Jeff and I caught Mission Impossible while Oli entertained the grandparents at home. I managed to get a run in a couple days. We went to the park nearby almost daily. We ate great homemade meals. I read 6 books. Yes, 6. on my iPad and iPhone. It was amazing! Jeff got a nap every day.

All in all, a perfect vacation!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

TV time and family time

yup, double fisting

I will preface anything I say with I am NOT in the camp of "no TV for my toddler at all." Oliver watches his Baby Signing Time DVD at least once every morning.

But, in the evenings, when we have limited time at home before his bedtime, we've started keeping the idiot box off. We get home around 4-4:30. I rarely have to cook dinner, since I started doing majority of my cooking over the weekend, so all I need to do is reheat. Dinner time is 5:30. So, before then, we play as a family. All of us, including Smokey are on the floor of the living room, just goofing off. Oliver maybe will let me read him a book. Or, he'll crawl all over us, giving us hugs and sloppy kisses, all the while giggling at his silly parents.



mmmm chow mein

At 5:30, we eat. At the dining table. As a family. You have no idea how many times I tried instituting this when it was just Jeff and me, but invariably, we'd end up in front of the television. Thanks to Oli for bringing us back to family dinner time. We talk to him. It's a tradition we'd like to continue, so we are starting it now. Even though we don't understand what he's saying, he totally participates in the conversation. I also love watching him discover new foods. Sometimes, he spits things out a couple times before even realizing he likes it. Then, he screams if we can't get it into his mouth fast enough. Or if it's food he can feed himself, his whole hand disappears into his mouth as he eats it. Or he tries shoveling it in with both hands.





Then, it's more playtime till bath time. And, he is off the bottle, so he might or might not have some milk out of his sippy. At 7/7:15, after we've all kissed him goodnight, I lay him in his crib and close the door. Jeff and I sit outside and listen to him "talk" in there for a few minutes. We watch him roll all over in his crib on the monitor and wonder if he's playing a game. Who he's talking to. What is he saying? And, by the light of his new favorite night light, he falls asleep.




Once he is out, it's television time for Jeff and me. We also get a 1/2 hour to do anything on our iPhones, iPads etc. After that, it's technology free zone. Well, except for the technology that records shows onto the DVR ;-). I feel like I get so much more quality time with Oliver and Jeff and as a family on weekdays without the television on.

Do you see how serious both of them are?
On the weekends, the television is on occasionally. Sometimes, Oliver even tries to challenge daddy to video game tournaments. On Sundays, the boys watch football. 

Our house believes in moderation. We don't use the television as a babysitter; but we don't keep it off all hours he's awake either. Growing up, I remember getting to watch TV 1 hr every night and a couple hrs on weekend mornings, and a movie with the family Saturday night. It was neither banned, nor were we glued to it. I hope to somehow keep that balance in this house for Oliver too.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Books

Reading intently
I discovered books at the tender age of 9 or 10; thanks to my mamu (my mom's younger brother). We were living in Raleigh, N.C. and visiting him and his family in CA. He took me to the local library and I picked up a bunch of books - almost all mystery novels. I had Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, series that had the Five Find-Outers, there were another set of books that had 7 children solving mysteries but I cannot find them via Googling. Did I enjoy the books? Do you see the photo to the left? That was taken by my dad after we came back from CA. Apparently, we had to make weekly trips to the library and brought back bags and bags of books.

The obsession with reading carried into middle and high school. Back in India now, we had excerpts from British literature that we read for our English classes every year. I was not satisfied with just the excerpt. Every excerpt I read, I had to read the book. So, by the time I graduated, I'd read Pride & Prejudice, Little Women, and hundreds more that all came out of the great isle of Britain. I also read their version of Harlequin - Mills & Boon, which was a cause for much consternation for my mother. I mean I would hide my books in our bathroom so I could read in hiding.

I love holding a book in my hands, getting lost in the storyline, imagining the characters, having the video play in my brain as I read through the pages. I got made fun of by a Southwest flight attendant for having a pretty large Stephen King novel in my lap once. "Haven't you heard of a Kindle?" were her exact words. But, I still love holding a book, turning a page, dogearing it to mark my spot ... However, it is a huge pain to carry books with me while traveling. Specially now that we have a toddler and of his accoutrements to take with us.

When I traveled without a child, I would get the latest books by my favorite authors from the local library. Pack most of them in my checked luggage, take a couple as carry-ons. (I don't read books more than once, so I don't buy books) Now, I don't have the luxury of space in my checked or carry-on luggage for books. So, the last time I traveled, I got books from work (they have a shelf where people can leave books they've read and borrow others), so I read them and left them at airports, other libraries etc. But, this meant I wasn't reading my favorite authors. I have given audio books a try; they are ok but I missed reading. When I read, each character has a face, a distinct voice ... and that gets lost when you have one voice reading all characters.

Image from Apple
Enter the iPad. We have one. Jeff had an ap - iBooks, that I'd never used. I tried it out last night. I downloaded a sample of a new book by Tess Gerritsen. I read the 40 pages on the iPad. I loved it. It solves a majority of my problems:
  • no heavy books to carry with me
  • I can read my favorite authors
  • I can read it on our iPad or my iPhone, if Oli is entertaining himself with the iPad.
The only problem right now is that I have to buy the book and unlike paper books, I cannot resell these on Amazon. And, since it's so new, the ebooks from the library have waiting lists as long as lines outside stores on Black Friday.

But, for our trip to CA next Friday, I have 2 books from my favorite authors in my hand and it doesn't add weight to my carry on.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Our evenings

Get home around 4, if not before then.

Work on getting dinner ready. Music on the radio. Oli dancing around the kitchen with Jeff and me. He has 4 distinct dance moves now. Butt up and down. Holding hands out, twisting at the waist. Hold index fingers out and bounce arms. And, the latest, stomping both feet on the ground.

5:15 - 5:30, sit down together to eat dinner. Oli feeds some to Smokey. We talk to each other, even Oli contributes to the conversation.

Play with Oli on the floor, try to read a book without him eating it. Pretend to fall down and lie on the ground. Oli giggles and comes over, touches head to my head, climbs over me.

6:15, get Oli naked. He runs around the house shrieking, holding some toy or another in each hand.

6:30, his bath time. Possibly his favorite time of the day. He waits by the bathtub as Jeff's filling it. He's got the biggest grin on his face. He never wants bath time to end.

6:$5/7, milk while snuggling with mommy. Snuggles are few now that he's so busy running around, that I am learning to treasure his bottle time. He holds the bottle himself but he lets me hold him and kiss him and snuggle him while he drinks.

7/7:15, everyone gets to kiss him goodnight. Even Smokey. We walk into his room, turn on his moon and stars turtle. He smiles and points at the ceiling (thanks Suheir mausi). I lay him down in the crib. He immediately pulls up his legs under him, tucks his hands under his tummy and lays there. It's bedtime. He talks a bit in there, moves around a lot before falling asleep. We can hear him out in the living room. It's so cute. But, then, I think everything he does is cute.

7:30 to 8:30ish: tv time for us.

8:30 - 9, bedtime for the parents.


How our evenings have changed. And, I wouldn't change them back for anything in the world.

I know there's a distinct lack of photos in this post. Oli is so mobile, it's getting harder and harder to get photos of him! But, I'll try and get some of him dancing.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Yesterday

our baby turned 1. We've had him with us for 365 days. We lived without him for roughly 12,045 days. Yet, we would die for him in an instant.

My dad used to say something to me, that as a teenager and as an adult, would sometimes embarrass me. He would say that he could not bear to see tears in our eyes and he would get choked up. I understand that sentiment now. I can tell the difference in when Oli is crying because he's throwing a tantrum or when he's in pain. I hold him, and he looks at me with this look in his eyes that seems to say, "mommy, why am I hurting? why can't you make it better?" It shatters my heart into a bazillion pieces. I want to wrap him in bubble wrap and put him in a safe room somewhere for EVER. I never want him to feel pain, or hurt.

On the other hand, I want him to walk, run, jump off my couch. I want him to learn his boundaries, know his limitations and reach for more. I want to catch these impish looks he throws us right before doing something like taking off across the room so he can throw himself at the dog, or try to flush the toilet.

I guess this dichotomy is what's called parenthood.

I am listening to yet another song from my shower CD and thinking of all the things I want to show him. The song is "With Arms Wide Open," by Creed.

Well I just heard the news today
It seems my life is going to change
I close my eyes, begin to pray
Then tears of joy stream down my face

With arms wide open

Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
With arms wide open

Well I don't know if I'm ready

To be the man I have to be
I'll take a breath, I'll take her by my side
We stand in awe, we've created life

With arms wide open

Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
Now everything has changed
I'll show you love
I'll show you everything

With arms wide open

With arms wide open
I'll show you everything ...oh yeah
With arms wide open..wide open

[Guitar Break]

If I had just one wish

Only one demand
I hope he's not like me
I hope he understands
That he can take this life
And hold it by the hand
And he can greet the world
With arms wide open...

With arms wide open

Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
Now everything has changed
I'll show you love
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
With arms wide open

The song is so true. I didn't know if I was ready, emotionally, till he was placed in my arms. And, a year later, I still don't know if I am ready and capable. But, I know I want to hold his hand, help him walk, run and climb. I want to show him as much of the world as I can. I want to teach him to be a patient, kind, tolerant, loving man. I want to show him the stars in the sky and have him ask questions, so I can say, "ask daddy about that." I've warned his grandma that when he asks where babies come from, I'm telling him to call her. I want to see him grow up to be independent and smart. I want him to not be afraid of venturing out into the world on his own when it's time. But, I want him to know that I'll always be there at home, with arms wide open, if he ever needs or wants their shelter. It's so weird, I started writing about his first year, and I started wondering what he'd be like as a 5 yrs old, as a teenager, as an adult ...

At his party
Let's go back to him being ONE. We had a party Saturday for him, where all our closest friends helped us celebrate him and well, us surviving a year as new parents. It was extra special that my sister and parents were able to be there. He was showered with so much love (and lots of loud and bright toys - I have to talk to my friends about this!) that we feel blessed to have this network of support around us. Oli had a blast, he was walking, crawling, playing with other kids.

We tried to have him eat cake.That did not go over too well.
 
We tried 2 different types of cake and he barely touched the frosting, before screaming for the abomination that was in front of him to be taken away.

At home, on his birthday
I thought about it, I'd rather eat a bag of lime tortilla chips with an entire container of mango habanero salsa, and Jeff a bag of Doritos, than anything sweet. So, maybe that's why our son did not touch cake.


A year. I am still trying to wrap my head around that. He also had his well check appointment with his doctor yesterday. 5 shots. He was a champ. Screamed when he was shot up, but 5 minutes later, was back to his regular self. He's stayed strong on all his charts. He's walking more and more daily. He knows 5 signs solidly - dog, fish, more, milk, signing.
 
videoHe's so vocal. Still no comprehensible words but oh, is he vocal. Happy shrieks. I love them. He'll crawl on hands and feet or run around the room, shrieking at everything and everyone, grinning wildly. I could watch him all day.

This video was at his doctor's office. And, he took a spill from running into my foot. But, it did not faze him a bit, as you can see.

Happy birthday to my beautiful boy!

Saturday, my family also said their farewells to a beloved family member. I alternated between sharing Oli's party info and photos and not because it was the same day. But, then I thought about the fact that both were celebrations. One of a life just begun, a mere 365 days in a long journey. The other? A celebration of a long life, well spent. She lived to see her great-grandson be born; moved with her family across the world to a new country and set roots. So, I am sharing the photos. I'll publish his photo album on Facebook from home later today.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Wow, a year already

I cannot believe it's been almost a year already, since we welcomed Oliver into our lives. I had this published online and did not want to lose it, since it took me some searching to find it.

Published on August 03, 2011 in Online Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine:

I was due November 15, 2010, but our son, Oliver, was breech throughout the entire pregnancy so we had a planned C-section for November 11. From the time we first made out limbs and a spine, he was butt down. That’s how he remained until the day he was born. Also, I had an anterior placenta and scar tissue from previous surgeries. My OB did not feel comfortable trying any versions.

On November 6, we headed to a friend's surprise birthday party. Earlier in the day, I was having some contractions. I kept thinking they were uncomfortable but not painful, probably Braxton Hicks. My husband Jeff downloaded an iPhone app for timing contractions and since I never thought I was going to use it because of the planned C-section, I decided to go ahead and time these contractions for the fun of it. For six hours or so I kept track of them. They were all over the place: sometimes seven minutes apart, sometimes three, sometimes lasting 30 seconds, sometimes over a minute.

Later, I joked with our friends that I had done everything listed under “what to do to go into labor,” including eating spicy food that morning and taking a walk. I also brought a pineapple over to their house for dinner.

Throughout the evening, I kept timing the contractions. They were still all over the place. Around 9:00 p.m., I used their bathroom. I thought I heard something plop into the toilet. I looked in and swear I saw pieces of the mucous plug. There was also some blood and mucous on the tissue when I wiped, but my contractions weren’t bad. We left their house around 9:30 p.m and told them we were probably going home, but we might call Labor & Delivery because the contractions were getting slightly painful.

On the way home, I called my OB's answering service. I got a call back from the doctor on call who told me to come in to be monitored. In the next 30 minutes, the contractions went from being slightly painful to me screaming at Jeff that if there was any day he was allowed to speed, this was it. We made it home, dropped off our dog who was with us, grabbed our packed bags (thank heavens for that), and headed to our hospital 15 minutes away. Every contraction from that moment on was excruciating. I now understand and empathize with the women screaming in all those movies during labor.

We got to the hospital parking lot and I had to stop twice on the walk to the door because of the contractions. The guard on duty took one look at my face and immediately brought me a wheelchair. They got me into Labor & Delivery, checked me in, got me into the beautiful gown and strapped me to the monitors. The doctor on call came in and did an internal. Uhhh ... I was 4 cm, 100% effaced and -1 station!!! What that means to the uninitiated is that I was in active labor. They did a quick ultrasound because of my scheduled C-section. My son was fully engaged in my pelvis – butt first!

Things moved fast after that. They prepped me for my c-section and rolled me into the Operating Room at 11:09 p.m. The anesthesiologist gave me a spinal. It had an immediate effect. I kept mumbling “It feels weird, it feels weird in my feet and legs,” but I didn’t feel anything from my c-section, not even pulling. My husband sat by my head the entire time. At one point, the anesthesiologist asked him to stand up and I heard Jeff ask, “What's that?” The anesthesiologist replied, “That's his butt.” My husband saw Oliver being born, still butt first.


Oliver Gary Williams was born on November 7 at 12:37 a.m. weighing 5 lbs 12 ounces and measuring 18.5 inches long. They took him to the nursery, promising to bring him back once I was sewn up and in recovery.

Oliver ended up spending a few days in the NICU because of a spontaneous pneumothorax but he is doing wonderfully now. He is the center of our universe. His smiles light up our days and his giggles make my heart skip a beat every time.


I can't believe that this little one:


is now doing this:
video

Happy birthday, my little one. We love you so much. There will be another post after his birthday with photos and some stat updates.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Baking Gals

A few months ago, I heard about this group, Baking Gals. They bake and ship home made goodies to troops stationed overseas. I joined the group, created a team and was assigned somebody stationed in Afghanistan. I also found out from his wife that his birthday was around the time our team was supposed to ship him goodies. Even better!

I got some friends involved; some other people joined my team online. We baked stuff, I bought some Halloween goodies, and we shipped the boxes off.

I wanted to share the first email I got from his wife:

"My husband got your wonderful package from you and your baking team... he wanted me to send along his thank you and I wanted to tell you his response.  He loved the cookies and said they were absolutely delicious.  Apparently, he gave a couple out to his friends and after they tasted them, word got out about how good they were and the cookies were swarmed.  He told me everybody loved the "professional cookies" and I said "the cookies were professional?"  He said that they tasted so good that they had to be "professional cookies."  I'm pretty sure he meant made by professionals, but, regardless, he raved about the taste.  In particular, he said the oatmeal ones tasted like they just came out of the oven because they were so soft. 

Thank you, and your baking friends, for your support and making my husband and his battle buddies smile."
 
I also got a second email from her:
"I sent my email yesterday too quick... I heard from my hubby early this morning that he received more goodies!  Thank you again; you guys are awesome."
 
And another one:
"I thought you and your team members would like to see a picture of the company.  It is about 170 soldiers and whenever he gets a package, he shares with the guys he is in charge of, which is about 30 guys.  So your goodies are going to 30 of those guys!"
 
Here's the photo she sent and I thought I'd share with the rest of the team:
 

It feels good to know that we were able to send a small slice of home to these guys! Thanks to everyone who joined my team and participated! We'll do this again. It was truly gratifying to do something for somebody who's doing so much for his country, far from his loved ones.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Food withdrawals?

Since I started WeightWatchers, I've gotten headaches every single day. I think they are withdrawal headaches. Withdrawal from food. Now that I am counting everything I eat, I realize how much I had started snacking at work. I don't think I went a half hour before looking for something to chow down on. Chips and salsa, cookies, 100 calorie bag of something, another 100 calorie bag of something else ... BTW, when you eat 6 of those in one time, they aren't so healthy anymore. Just sayin'.

So, I am going through a detox from food. They should have rehab facilities for this. I am sure they do. I am not rich or famous enough to check myself into one of those. So, I'll stick with my weekly meetings and keep on truckin' towards my goal of getting back to pre-pregnancy poundage. I have a closet and a 20 gallon bin full of clothes waiting for me to lovingly take them out and proudly wear them.

I'll think of them the next time a slice of baklava beckons to me or that tiramisu calls my name.

Actually, I might listen to them and eat them. I'll just have to cut out something else that day. That's the beauty of WW - no deprivation, no dieting. It's just a balanced intake of calories, carbs, proteins, fiber and fat. Last time I lost and maintained weight was when I was counting calories. I just needed a kick in the butt again and the whole getting weighed in a room full of people weekly is a pretty big motivator for me right now.

wish me luck.

and, send me painkillers for this headache.

Friday, October 14, 2011

11 months ... how can it be?

I am late but Oli turned 11 months old on the 7th. I cannot believe it. Here's a song form my shower that goes perfectly with how I feel today:

Watching Scotty Grow (don't know who sang the version I have)

There he sits with a pen and a yellow pad
He's a handsome lad
That's my boy

B-R-L-F-Q spells Mom and Dad
That ain't too bad
That's my boy

You can have your TV and your nightclubs
You can have your drive-in picture shows
I'll sit here with my little man near, we'll listen to the radio
Bidin' my time and and watching Scotty grow

Makin' castles out of building blocks
And a cardboard box
That's my boy

Mickey Mouse says it's thirteen o'clock
Well, that's quite a shock
But that's my boy

In four short years I've gone from rags to riches
But what I did before that I don't know
Well you can let it rain on my windowpane, I got my own rainbow
And we're just sittin' here shinin' watching Scotty grow

Up on daddy's shoulders and off to bed
Old sleepy head
That's my boy

Got to have a drink of water and a story read
An old teddy bear named Fred
That's my boy

Well, what's that your say Momma, come on and keep your feet warm
Well save me a place, I'll be there in a minute or so
I'll think I'll stay right here and say a little prayer before I go
'Cause me and God are watching Scotty grow
Me and God watching are Scotty grow
 


He's doing so many new things and growing so much, physically and personality-wise too. I'll focus on one thing. Him with Smokey. He has learned which toys are Smokey's and when he wants to play with the dog, he holds up his toy and waits for him to come to him. For example, the rope. He holds it up to Smokey's face and then waves it around for him to grab and play tug of war. Smokey will grab it and pull gently, but it still ends up with Oliver on the floor on his belly. Oli just laughs and laughs when that happens. And Smokey is so good with him. We obviously watch them very closely when they play together, but Smokey will grab the rope and pull hard and growl when playing with Jeff or me or another adult. however, when playing with Oli, he is so gentle. No bared teeth, not a growl, just a gentle pull. And Oliver is so pleased with himself, you can see it in his face.

My little one is growing so fast I am afraid to blink an eye. Every time I turn around, he's doing something new. 

Dear Oli, 
 
Keep on growing and keep on laughing and know that when mommy starts crying without any obvious reason, it's because she loves you and knows that someday you'll grow up too big to fit in her lap or on daddy's shoulder and you won't need to hold our hands to walk and it makes me cry now even thinking about that. But, I am also proud of you and love you and will always let you sit in my lap, no matter how big you get. not sure about daddy's shoulders though ;-) And, you can always hold my hand or come to my embrace when you need it.

Daddy and I love watching you grow, booboo.

Love, your mummy and papa.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Things we've handed down

A song from my baby shower CD that's making me cry as I listen to it:

Things We've Handed Down - Marc Cohn

Don't know much about you
Don't know who you are
We've been doin' fine without
But we could only go so far
Don't know why you chose us
Were you watching from above
Is there someone there that knows us
Said we'd give you all our love.

Will you laugh just like your mother
Will you sigh like your old man
Will some things skip a generation
Like I've heard they often can.

Are you a poet or a dancer
A devil or a clown
Or a strange new combination of
The things we've handed down.

I wonder who you'll look like
Will your hair fall down and curl
Will you be a Mama's boy
Or Daddy's little girl
Will you be a sad reminder
Of what's been lost along the way
Maybe you can help me find her
In the things you do and say

And these things that we have given you
They are not so easily found
Oh, but you can thank us later for
The things we've handed down
The things we've handed down
down,down,down,down,down

You may not always be so grateful
For the way that you were made
Maybe some feature of your father's
That you'd gladly sell or trade
And one day you may look at us
And say that you were cursed
But over time that line has been
Extremely well rehearsed.

By our fathers and their fathers
In some old and distant town
From places no one here remembers
come

The things we've handed down
The things we've handed down, down
The things we've handed down

 Last night, Jeff and I were watching our taped Dancing With The Stars show from Monday night, and I picked up Oli and started doing the jive while holding him. He chuckled, he giggled, he laughed out loud while holding on to me hard. I told Jeff I hope he gets my love for music and dance and my mom's talent for learning dance. I don't him to ever be self conscious of himself and I want him to know how to dance. And, it got me thinking. When I was pregnant, we would wonder who he'd look like. We analyzed the ultrasound photos; family proclaimed his mouth looked exactly like Jeff's.

Now that he's here, every expression he makes, every feature he has, we try to figure out who he got it from. Sometimes it's me or Jeff, sometimes it's a grandparent, maybe even an aunt. He has this habit of putting his index finger right on the tip of his lips as he looks at something new or is thinking, that's exactly like what my sister does. When he's frustrated, he gets a slight vein showing down the middle of the forehead. I have that too. His hair curls all over the place, like mine and Jeff's did. When he's sleeping, he tucks his lower lip under his upper lip and sometimes grinds his teeth. totally Jeff!


I hope he gets the love of history from his dad, the love of science from his aunts, grandma and grandfathers, the love of dance & music from his other grandma ... I hope he doesn't get my short temper, his dad's resistance to change and other things I won't mention here for fear of offending other family members ;-). I hope he retains the playfulness he has now and never loses the ability to laugh.

I also know at some point in his life, he'll tell us he wishes he was adopted and then some 5-10 years later, he'll tell us how much he's grateful for everything we've done for him (I am just basing this on our own experiences). However he's feeling at whatever time, I hope that his dad and I and the rest of his family instills in him all the things needed to be happy, content and successful in his life. So that in the end, he's glad for the "things we've handed down" to him.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The first sickness



Sunday, our little bugaboo woke up feeling warm to me, so I took his temperature and it was a 100. I gave him some Tylenol, and kept him quiet. I called the after hours nurse at his pediatrician's office and was told to not give any more medicine unless the temperature went past 102. Ok.


Kept checking his temp, our Braun in-ear thermometer gave us widely fluctuating readings. Around noon, it started reading 101.3 and I thought he was burning up worse than that. So, we took him to Convenient Care. His temperature was 103. When the nurse said that, I started crying in the room. I felt horrible. He was being so good and I couldn't even imagine how uncomfortable he had to be. I know I am pretty pissy at that high of a fever.


Then, they did his check-up and found a right ear infection and his strep test came back positive. The poor guy! They gave him a dose of Tylenol right there and gave us Amoxicillin. He pretty much spent all Sunday like that photo on the left, either on me, on the couch or in his crib. Thankfully, he slept very well that night an was feeling a 1000 times better by Monday.


As you can see, he had to have the iPad and the remote control in his hands, so he was picking up the Cheerios with his mouth.

We did a follow up at his pediatrician's office and his fever was already gone.

Well, he's been in daycare for 8 some months, so our little buckaroo had a good run. But, just like last year, I hope if he has to bring home germs, he just passes them on to me and not keep them for himself. Seeing your little baby helpless and crying and confused was possibly the worst thing ever in my life.

Playtime Montage

If I lie down on the floor, he comes screaming, giggling, full speed at me:




Then, he gives me "kisses," or more like chews on my cheeks and nose and face:


 Then, he tries to climb over me:


 How can you not fall in love with that beautiful smiling face?

I apologize for the very very low resolution iPhone photos.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The first fever

We have been lucky so far. Oli just brings home the germs and shares with Jeff and me, and we get sick. But, today, my poor little booboo has a fever. So, his first sick time at 10 months, 1 week and 4 days.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Oli has learned

How to get off the couch backwards!!!

Instead of falling offof it face first.

10 MONTHS!!!


I wrote at his 8 month post that he hadn't walked yet. I don't think that's that far away.As you can see from that video, he's trying. It's funny, he'll take off really fast because he doesn't have that great of control yet; then he'll hit somethign and instead of going around it, he'll try to go through it. Doesn't matter if it's a pile of toys, the couch or the wall. He keeps pushing!

He's 10 months old. I can't believe it. This last month's brought us 2 more teeth, walking pretty fast holding on to furniture and tantrums. Oh man, the tantrums. Everybody warns you about the terrible twos, but nobody tells you that they start at about 9/9.5 months! If he doesn't get something he wants, like if mommy moved the remote out of his way when he was reaching for it, he throws himself on the ground and cries. Then he looks at us, and throws himself the other way and cries some more. Such a drama queen, my little one.

It's amazing how that little heartbeat has grown and still growing into this little person with this huge personality! I fall in love a little more with my little one everyday. I leave you with another song from my baby shower CD:

The One Who Knows - Dar Williams

Time it was I had a dream
You're the dream come true
If I had the world to give
I'd give it all to you

I'll take you to the mountains

I will take you to the sea
I'll show you how this life became
A miracle to me

You'll fly away

But take my hand until that day
So when they ask how far love goes
When my job's done
You'll be the one who knows

All the things you treasure most

Will be the hardest ones
I will watch you struggle on
Before the answers come

But I won't make it harder

I'll be there to cheer you on
I'll shine the light that guides you down
The road you're walking on

You'll fly away

But take my hand until that day
So when they ask how far love goes
When my job's done
You'll be the one who knows

Before the mountains call to you

Before you leave this home
I want to teach your heart to trust
As I will teach my own

But sometimes I will ask the moon

Where it shined upon you last
And shake my head and laugh and say
It all went by so fast

You'll fly away

But take my hand until that day
So when they ask how far love goes
When my job's done
You'll be the one who knows

Time is going by so fast. Before I know it, he'll be a grown man leaving home. And, I hope when he grows up, he knows how much we love him.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Going back to the gym after 3 weeks ...

  • you will not be able to run like you did 3 weeks ago. Where you could do a mile without stopping; a quarter mile will make you gasp for breath like a fish out of water.
  • a creepy old guy will walk into the ladies' locker room and look at you like you have 2 heads. And, when you smile and say "wrong one," he'll say, "I don't think so." I had to walk him out and point to the other door.
  • you will drink water while running and think it tastes funny. Then, when you empty it out after the run, the water will be yellowish brown. I had filled an empty bottle before the run, so who the hell knows what I ingested this morning. I feel ok but if something was to happen to me today, there's a water bottle in locker 25 in the ladies' locker room that should be tested.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lessons learned & a proud moment

Here's our proud moment: 1st vacation with Oliver that involved a flight across the country and we cloth diapered the whole time :-) I wasn't sure I'd want to deal with that with a flight and somebody else's house. But, we made it work. It was no extra effort at all.

On to lessons learned:
  • Bottle or food on take-off and landing. Wake up the baby if he/she's asleep. I didn't do this and he woke up crying on our landing in the last flight.
  • A few new toys. I got 3 new things for him and brought them out 1 by 1. Each was good for a good half hour and then I put them away and took them out on our way back and it was all new to him again.
  • Take the window seat next time. On the first flight, we took the aisle and the middle seat, and I had to put my leg up to stop Oli form crawling to the guy sitting in the window seat. On the way back, we had the window seat and he was fascinated with looking out the window, banging on it etc.
  • Don't drag the stroller for a 3-4 day vacation where we are going to a wedding and related functions. My cousins took him for a walk one day but otherwise we never even took the stroller out of the car. So, really evaluate what you'll be doing on vacation before dragging another piece of equipment.
  • The Ergo carrier was AWESOME! At BWI, they even let me carry him in it through the metal detector. At OAK, I had to take him out and send the carrier through the x-ray machine but it was still worth it to have it. He was in it while we waited in line to board; I wore him on my hip and he just looked around at people the whole time.
  • My kid sleeps better on vacation than when we get back home. So, be prepared for a few days adjusting back to normal schedule after every vacation. I was happy he did so well on vacation, I wasn't prepared for the sleep regression we are going through now.
  • If there's a washing machine available, don't over pack for the baby. I took 3 times the number of clothes I needed for him.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Oli's first flight (photo heavy)

was all the way to CA and he did so good!We flew Southwest, and had a layover in Phoenix on the way there. Oli did awesome with both take-offs and the landing at Phoenix. On the landing into Oakland, I forgot to wake him up in time to give him his bottle and his ears started popping while he was asleep, so he was crying for the last 10-15 minutes of the flight. But, otherwise, he flew like a pro.

Once we got there, he did everything you are supposed to do on vacation. Napped, played at the playground, even got some video game time in with daddy.


We had my cousin's wedding reception to attend; don't my boys look handsome? I had shoes for Oli but they came off even before we left the house. So, I left them off, his socks were dressy enough. He had so much fun at the reception, he would raise his hands and shriek when everyone clapped at the speeches. He tried all the food that we had and then he passed out, sans pants.
He met some new people this time. He met his great-grandma, my mom's mom; he met his Aunt Jenny and Uncle Chris.

He also met my mom's brother and his wife for the first time but I can't find a photo of my uncle, but here's my aunt. He was fascinated by the shiny sari.

He met his soon-to-be Aunt Cindy, who he got fresh with and gave some smooches to as soon as they met. We figured out eventually, he just wanted to eat her pendant.

The flight back was a little worse for us, since we had 2 stops, no plane changes, but that meant 3 take-offs and 3 landings. He did so good with all take-offs and the first 2 landings. The last landing, he was just tired of being cooped up, tired of the 12 hr day and probably hurting from the air pressure. So, he cried for a half hour or so before we landed. I have tons of photos that I'll upload to Facebook when I have more than 10 minutes to myself at home. So, probably this Sunday.

Here's a photo of him with his grandparents:

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

First time away from the bubs

4 days without seeing him. 2 calls a day to my mom. 1 video chat.

And, after all that, it was so amazing to come home Monday evening to this:

Yay, you are home!
Which changed into this after just a few kisses from mommy:

Daddy save me!

2 days in Gettysburg, just lounging, taking it easy, sampling some local wines, some microbeers, dinner with great friends, eating at some great local joints.

We stayed at the historic Gettysburg Hotel, which is now owned by Best Western. It was right in the middle of town, perfect spot for us to walk anywhere from. We went to see the Gettysburg Diorama the first day. It was the perfect start for me, since I didn't know much about the battle, it gave me an overview and pointed out all the important landmarks. So, the second day, when we did the tour, I could see the whole picture in my head as we drove through the different parts.

I am proud to say I even ran one day on my vacation. Now, the plan was to run everyday, so I should be ashamed of failing at that goal. But, the very first day, we got there and checked in. Jeff took a shower and a nap and I went to find the fitness room. It was in the basement, this 10X10 room, with a non working TV. Now, I listen to my iPod when I run but I like the distraction of moving photos. But, I started running. Within less than 10 minutes, I was so short of breath, the room was fogging up and I was having trouble lifting one foot after the other. I looked at the thermostat and it was 72, so I lowered it to 65 and ran some more. After another 10 minutes, it had only gone down to 71. I somehow managed to finish my run and stumbled outside. There were the laundromat and the kitchen right next to the work out room. Yeah, I didn't make it back down to the dungeons for exercise. But, for those who might worry for my health, I went back at work today and managed to do my regular run without too much of a problem.

It's good to be back. It was good to get away. BUT, we missed Oli so much! I am not sure we'll ever be able to do a child free vacation ... at least till he's at some annoying stage. But, right now, with all his cuteness, we are not letting him out of our sight overnight anytime soon.And, he turned 9 months on Monday! Pediatrician appointment today, so another blog post will be up tomorrow!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Parenting by Instinct

Our grandparents did it, our parents did it, I am doing it. I was given the book, What to Expect When You are Expecting ... did I read it? Nope. I was given some other books that I didn't read. I did not read Consumer Reports or the Baby Guide on the Bajillion Things Your Baby Might Need. And, you know what? I survived my pregnancy. I gave birth. And now that my baby is here, I have not read a single book. Not one on sleep training, not one on feeding, nothing, not a single one. But, I think I will write one that's titled "Parenting by Instinct." It'll be a page long. This is what it'll say.

Prologue & disclaimer: This book, in no way, shape or form, attempts to be the guide to parenting and the writer, in no way, shape or form, attempts to be an expert on parenting. The writer is a novice parent of a 9 month old, stumbling through the obstacle course that is parenting along with her infant.

The book:

Go with your instinct.

If you think your baby is hungry, feed him.

If you think your baby needs changing, change him.

If you think your baby is hurt, cuddle him and give him lots of kisses.

If you think your baby is bored, put on some music and dance with him.

If you think it's none of the above and your baby just needs to cry, let him cry.

If you think your baby needs a pacifier, give him one. If you think he needs to be weaned, take it away.

If you want somebody's advice, ask for it but remember no two babies are alike.

If you like somebody's advice, follow it.

If you don't like somebody's advice, don't follow it.

If you don't want somebody's advice and they give it anyways, grin if you want to or scowl if you want to. Or throw your coffee in their face and tell them to mind their own business. But, you could get charged for assault for that behavior so don't blame me.

If you want bazillions of pieces of advice that are irrelevant, you can ask Dr. Google.

In the end, listen to your heart. you know your baby and his moods the best. Nobody else can step in and tell you what's better for your child than what your instincts tell you.

Epilogue: I am not saying all books are bad. But, one book cannot prescribe to every child. We are all individuals. Just like we shouldn't group adults and apply stereotypes to them, we shouldn't be doing that to our children. That's what these websites and books that say, "oh by 6 months, your baby should be applying to Harvard," do. They are stereotyping babies and causing unneeded anxiety in many new parents.

So, read the books, if you want, listen to people, go to the Internet, but in the end, parent by your instinct. Your mental health will thank you for it!

Back jacket of book:


What did the book say I should be doing now?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Why am I insulted

By somebody saying they're proud of the fact that I worked out 6 days last week?

1. I never asked for external validation for my actions
2. I don't need external motivation for working out. That's why Weight Watchers would never work for me, when it's been widel successful for so man others. The idea of weighing myself in front of other people doesn't faze me. Here, let me share. I'm at 179-181 now. I would love to be at 160, I was at 170 pre-pregnancy and was very happy with how I looked. So, my own goal is to get back to at least that, if not for nothing else but the fact that I am not buyin any clothes in the next size up.

Ok, going back to my original reason for this post. I got an email from a very good friend that talked about a lost of motivation factors for working out. I asked why she felt the need to send me that since I worked out 6 days last week. Her answer was that she was proud of me and wanted me to know that and some other stuff that I can't remember, probably because of the rum and coke zero I just had ;-) but, I instantly felt insulted. Why? To me, if somebody hasn't indicated the need or want for validation of their choices, you don't go out of your way to do it. I don't need or want outside motivation or validation to work out. So, it was insulting to think my friend thought I needed to read about motivating factors for exercising.

Does this make sense?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Breastfeeding does not quate to peeing

Breastfeeding is not like peeing, I wouldn't feed my toddler or myself in the bathroom so why would I take my infant into one?

I see more boobage at the beach than from a nursing mother anywhere.

Your kids look curious? They ask a question? Just say she's feeding her baby, this is how I fed you for a while.

By making faces, comments or dragging your kids away, you're creating an uncomfortable situation where none should exist.

And if all of these arguments fail, it's a legal right so neener neener. Sorry that's childish but adult discussion doesn't seem to be understood by some.

Oliver's first baseball game




So, last Saturday, thanks to a friend, we took Oliver to his first O's game. They were playing the Cleveland Indians, and after a 9 game losing streak, they won. I'd like to say Oli was their lucky charm ;-). We took Oliver to fan services and they gave him a certificate that has his name and the date on it and states that this was his first game. He was so good, he stayed awake till almost 10 p.m., fascinated with the people, the lights, the sounds. And he charemd all the ladies around us. There was one behind us who kept talking to him and was absolutely in love with him.

Jeff was tickled pink at being able to take Oliver to the game; I think some of his fondest memories are of games with his dad and so I hope he can continue the tradition with Oliver. I can stay home and do my hair, watch Lifetime Movie Network, read a Harlequin Romance novel, drink a bottle of wine ... endless possibilities.

He was chewing on my necklace


Before the game, we had dinner at the Pratt Street Ale House. They have great food and very good beer. They ahve their own brewery and it's called Oliver Brewery, so of course we had to get some pics of our Oliver in front of their logo.




Thursday, July 14, 2011

Home improvements


Well, our darling 8 month old decided this last weekend he was going to start zooming around the house on all fours. Then, he decided that was boring, and he wanted to stand up. Which, as you can see on the left, he did. And keeps doing using every chair, bar stool, table, toy we have lying around. We've had a few head bumps and a minor amount of crying over the aforementioned head bumps, but so far, he seems to be doing great.
What this meant for the house was some more baby proofing. Baby gates on both ends of the kitchen because we don't have doors there.

Which he immediately used to stand up and  scream about the injustice of not being allowed in.
It also meant fridge door and oven locks, which we've pulled off a few times ourselves because we forget they are there.