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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sound the trumpets (and lock up your breakables...)!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, toddlers and tweens....

It's finally happened! He's finally done it! My son, just recently 18 months old, has finally taken his first steps!!!

Seriously. I was starting to think I'd have to carry him to his kindergarten teacher, saying, "Good luck and have fun!" and run away cackling maniacally. Not to mention start taking back pain meds in my early 30s.

But he's really, actually, finally done it. And what better time than 12 hours after his first appointment with the physical therapist recommended by his pediatrician?

(I should take a moment here to explain that the PT was not my idea. Our pediatrician -- as good as I think she is -- can be a little nutty sometimes. She started showing concern at his 15-month checkup at his lack of mobility, especially since at that point he still wasn't even "army-crawling" much, or crawling on his hands and knees at all. So she ordered a hip x-ray, a visit from the Help Me Grow -- an early-intervention type organization -- specialist, and a trip to see the physical therapist. Working in a daycare, I've seen some kids start to pull up on furniture and cruise as young as 9 months, and others not walk across the room completely unassisted until the age of 22 months. So I was not concerned in the least, much less worried enough to get professional help with gross motor skills.)

So he had the x-ray, saw the Help Me Grow specialist, and yesterday, his first physical therapy. After it was determined that he probably had a delay because of issues with balance, confidence, and motivation (conclusions we had already reached), Adam took his first few steps at my parents' house after we'dall had dinner with my aunt and uncle from out of town.

After we came back from the restaurant, we were playing with him on the floor and watching him dance-- he's got a little four-legged toy, that has a tabletop with interactive foods; when you push the cookies it sings "One to ten" to a salsa kind of tune. Adam will pull himself up on the table, push the button, then bend his knee, moving his leg up and down, and thus shaking his booty. It's pretty darn cute.

Um. It seems that thought got away from me. Where was I? Oh yes. So we're watching him play and dance, and then he got bored with that so my dad got up and started walking him around the room, holding Adam's hands up for balance. He said, "Let's walk to Tia (my sister -- tia is Spanish for aunt)." And that time, he did actually walk about 2 or 3 of the 6 or 7 steps it took to reach her. I squealed and giggled (or at least, I tried -- I've had no voice for the past 3 days or so).

This morning we had a hard time getting him to repeat it, but when he did, I was still very excited. Still working on performances for my in-laws. We'll try again tomorrow.

But at least I know he's not never going to walk.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins #125

Found this at Mariposa's site, and it seemed like fun, so here goes:

1. Moving sucks.

2. There's no such thing as free.

3. My best quality is my ability to get along with anyone.

4. Screw details.

5. In nearly 10 years, I've accomplished a lot, but often feel as though I haven't come very far at all.

6. Relaxation is what I need right now!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching tv and going to bed, tomorrow my plans include cleaning up the place a bit and Sunday, I want to enjoy the weather outside with my son!

Try it, you'll like it! You still have 26 minutes if you're on EST like me, and plenty of time if you're further west.

Haiku Friday #21: Self-Challenge, Continued...

Haiku Friday

As long as I am
Updating you on current
Events in my life,

I might as well write
About my latest results
With my fitness goals:

When I updated
Last time, I mentioned that I
Was doing well with

Exercise, but not
So well with my diet plan.
Maybe I was too

Hard on myself, but
The gist was the same. I did
Take some advice from

My commenters, but
My habits are still not what
I want them to be.

I'm still steadily
Improving my overall
Level of fitness,

And soon I plan to
Start focusing on my strength
And balance training.

I am not eating
As well as I want to or
Should be, but I'm still

Trying and getting
Better every week; what I'm
Eating is good food,

But I have yet to
Find the right balance of foods
For me, including

More fruits and veggies.
I'm drinking more water and
My energy's high.

Okay, seriously, gotta switch to prose before I drive all you readers out there batty.

During the past month or so, when I'd been more depressed, I didn't keep up on my fitness plan much. But I can honestly say that I've been back on the wagon for a few weeks now, and I'm very happy with my basic level of fitness. I definitely have more energy, and moving gets easier and easier all the time.

Like I said, I'm not eating bad food, just maybe not enough of the really good stuff -- green vegetables and fruits, primarily. I'm getting better, though.

Anyone else out there still working on getting in shape? How's it going? Leave me a comment!

Want to read more haiku or try it out yourself? Click here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Playing Catch-Up

I've had kind of a crappy few weeks month or so. I've been feeling myself sink into depression again, despite getting a lot better about minding my meds. Who knew that all it would take is putting the bottle of pills in my bedside drawer?

I've really needed to return to regular therapy. I loved my most recent therapist, but had to stop seeing her when our caseworker screwed up our Medicaid and they stopped paying for my sessions. So rather than call and try to resolve the matter, or attempt to find a new counselor, I've been sitting on my ass night after night, watching tv. I stay up later and later (and get up later and later -- meaning I've actually let it get bad enough that I've been late to work a few times), and I ignore all responsibility, save work and parenting duties.

My perfectionist side keeps telling me that trying to fix my situation wouldn't do any good -- that the insurance will never pay for a claim several months old and getting older every day, and even if I could find another therapist that takes our insurance, s/he wouldn't be as good as mine. So I disappear into my fantasy world and escape. Over and over. And once I start, I just can't seem to stop.

And it's been adversely affecting my whole life. Like I said, I've been late to work a few times, and when I'm at work, I am exhausted and can't do my job as well. I'm cranky and short-tempered with my son, and my marriage has suffered the most. Last week my husband and I were fighting pretty much the whole week. We've mentioned the "D word" before, but never decided it was the right thing to do.

Yesterday my husband decided he couldn't deal with it any more, and told me he couldn't see any other option but to get a divorce. I said a number of different things to try to change his mind, but nothing would. I told him that I wanted us to be together, but I didn't want him to be unhappy; if being apart would make him happy, then so be it.

But last night our son was sick. He had a midlevel fever, and he kept waking up again and again. I got up with him and got him to go back to sleep. The next thing I knew it was 5 AM and he was crying again. My husband said, "It's your turn. I got him last time, when you were sound asleep." I accused him of making it up (I had no memory of it, right?) but went and took care of the baby anyway.

Forty-five minutes later, I crawled back into bed and apologized for insulting him in that way. I rolled over to go back to sleep, and my leg brushed his. I didn't move it, and a few minutes later, he enveloped me in his arms and we cuddled. I said, "I missed this. . . . Do you really never want to do this again?" We spent the next half-hour cuddling and talking and making up.

All day I've been pretty deliriously happy. I know that we both have a lot of work to do to make up for what we've done to each other in the past several months, but right now, nothing can shake my good mood.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Haiku Friday #20: It's Broken

Haiku Friday

Remember when I
Was berating myself for
Being a bad mom?

Well, it turns out it's
Even worse than all of that.
Wedn'sday the second,

My husband took our
Son to the orthopedic
Doc to check his arm.

At first it was to
Check for any hip problems
Since he's not walking.

But while he was there,
The specialist would check his
Hurt right arm as well.

At the orthopedic center, they took yet another x-ray of his arm and found a healing fracture up near his elbow. So they put a cast on it right then and there. They let him pick out the color he wanted -- he chose kelly green. Apparently he wasn't into the teddy bears or dinosaurs (now, if they'd had a cat pattern...).

Horrible mother that I am, I stayed at work during the whole process -- with all of Adam's illness lately, I'm running out of sick time (the next day, we found out he had roseola as well -- this in addition to already having an ear infection and several molars making their entrance).

So he's still in the sling. He's still trying to crawl on that arm, although with more success and fewer tears and frustration now. And we still don't know what happened, although we now know what's wrong, at least.

The good news? There's nothing wrong with his hips, so as long as he's willing, walking shouldn't be a problem. The nice lady from Help Me Grow came today; she determined that Adam has a gross motor delay, but otherwise he's developing on or ahead of schedule -- especially ahead in the language. No surprises.

Any suggestions for encouraging a child to walk, who is usually content to just sit on the floor with whatever has caught his interest?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

More Of The Same

I have a bit of a dilemma.

When I first set out to improve my overall health and fitness several weeks ago, I did pretty well with eating sensibly. But I had no motivation whatsoever to exercise.

Now I'm doing 4 sets of Dance Dance Revolution (3 songs per set -- it's the game mode for those of you who are familiar with the game) every night -- sometimes more sets on the weekends. I even do a warmup, cool down, stretching before and after, and I'm gradually increasing the speed of the songs.

But I'm back to eating crap. All it takes is for me to think about eating a salad, and I think, "Ugh. Rabbit food." It's like there's a switch: if I turn it one way, I want to eat better. If I turn it the other way, I want to exercise more. How do I get both?

The good news is, I (usually) eat very well at work. We mostly eat with the kids -- and eat what they eat -- and their lunch always includes at least one fruit and one vegetable. And because they're toddlers, we often have leftovers of things like salad and canned fruit (which really comes in handy when the fruit of the day is something I don't like -- I'm pretty picky about fruit).

I have some issues with raiding the snack cabinet lately though. I think the more frequent meals and exercise are causing my metabolism to speed back up again. I'm always hungry. And -- especially at home -- I want to eat something fast, because I'm starving, so instead of cooking or preparing something nutritious, I grab junk food or bowl after bowl of cereal.

My subsequent remorse is twofold: I feel like I suck at the goal of overall health and beat myself up for straying; I also feel uncomfortable what with the different problems with digesting all that junk.

If anyone has any tips for self-motivation for simultaneous diet and exercise, I'd love to hear them.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Almost Forgot...

It has occurred to me since Friday that Adam's vocabulary is actually larger than what I let on.

I forgot all about these words:

  • Chee = Cheese
  • Kee = Keys
  • Buh (sounds like the 'oo' in 'foot') = Book
  • Nah-nah = Night-night
  • La-yun = Lion
And my mom has also informed me that he says juice, although I've never heard him. And it probably sounds more like /joo/ -- he's not so good with the ending consonants yet. But everything he says is fairly easy to understand, and he uses words (mostly) appropriately. He sometimes sees other animals (dogs, squirrels) and refers to them as "kitty".

Just had to brag. :) Of course, he's still not walking at sixteen months....

Friday, April 3, 2009

Haiku Friday #19: Talk Isn't Cheap

Haiku Friday

We're in the middle
Of a language explosion
At the Geek household.

Baby Geek, who will
Soon be sixteen months of age,
Now talks up a storm.

They're serious when they tell you that once a kid starts talking, he just doesn't stop. And sometimes it comes at a price: "Yes, that is the door. No, you drank all the juice already."

It seems like Adam learns a new word every few days now. Here's the list so far:

  • KIH-tee = kitty
  • Mih = Milk (or sometimes juice)
  • Buh = Bread
  • LA-ee = Light
  • Boo = Blue
  • Puh-puh = Purple
  • Bah-bah = Bye-bye
  • Ha = Hi
  • Mama (duh)
  • Dada (duh)
  • Mimi = his name for my mom
  • Guh = Grandpere (French for grandfather), his name for my dad
  • Teh = Tia (Spanish for aunt), his name for my sister
  • Baa (like bad, without the 'd') = Bang
  • Me = Meow
  • Yow = Meow (can you tell what his favorite animal is?)
  • Hoo hoo hoo = The sound a monkey makes
  • More (pointing finger into palm)
  • Finished (palms up, hands cupped slightly, waving back and forth)
  • "No no" (shaking pointed finger at someone -- he got that from the JCC)
  • Points finger or taps head to request "No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed"
  • Shakes pointed finger to request "No, No, No, I Will Not Let Them Go" (a Passover song)
  • Does all the motions to Patty-Cake
  • Does some of the motions for "Itsy-Bitsy Spider" and "Mini Mac" (another JCC song)
Of course, he recognizes more words than he can say -- probably more than we are aware of. So far we only know that he understands family members that he can't pronounce yet, colors, and most of his body parts. He also understands words for his routines: mealtimes, bed, bath, etc.

Anyone out there have children of similar age and developmental stage? What cool stuff is your toddler doing lately?

For more haiku or to play along, visit A Mommy Story.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No More Sitting On My Ass: Part II

So... about those fitness goals. What were those again?

Eating habits:
1. Eat more fruits, veggies, and whole grains; and fewer simple carbs.
Hmmm... fruits? veggies? Buying more, but not necessarily eating them. I have four apples and an unopened bag of salad sitting in my fridge while I sit here on my tuckus sipping a Barq's.

But I'm doing better with my carbs. I bought a loaf of whole wheat bread instead of white this week when my husband asked for "regular-sized bread" for his grilled cheese-maker. And because we're on a very tight budget, we don't have any much money for junk food such as 180-calorie cookies from the bakery.

2. Eat when I'm hungry, and only when I'm hungry.
Still kinda sucking at this one. I'm not skipping as many meals (or substituting meals with sugary cereals), but I could still skip, um, no meals. The eating when I'm hungry thing is hard, given the mom thing, and the daycare worker thing, so I'm still frequently forgetting that I'm hungry. And I'm still giving in to most of my munchies.

3. Eat appropriate portions.
Well, to be perfectly honest, this has never been too much of a problem for me at mealtimes -- but always a problem with the desserts (you may not have realized this, but I have a bit of a sweet tooth). I have one cookie, and I just can't stop there.

Unfortunately, this is still kinda the case. :(

Activity habits:
1. Basic level of fitness.
Obviously, this is not a short-term goal. And just getting myself off the couch was a lot harder than I expected. I have not purposely set out to get active since before I found out I was pregnant (for frame of reference, that was about 2 years ago).

So I'm pretty proud of myself today: I just got done with my "workout" for the third time in six days.

Confession time: my "workout" is 3 sets of Dance Dance Revolution.

Yeah, I'm a dork. But I think it's a nice transition from no activity to some activity, and in about a week I'll start doing something a little more intensive.

2. (later) Better endurance, some tone, maybe some muscle even.
Again, long-term goals. But tonight was the third time I did my ... activity, and I already feel like I need more of a challenge to actually get some results (by which I mean pain).

New goals: 1) Do better on my current goals.
2) Keep track of what I'm putting in my body -- food, drink, gum, whatever.
3) Weigh myself every morning (to be averaged at the end of each week). Just to keep myself in check.
4) Drink more water and less pop and milk (which I'm already doing better with, actually: I bought 2 percent for myself and my husband so we don't drink the baby's whole milk; I'm also already drinking more water). I'd like to gradually increase my water intake to the recommended 48 to 64 ounces every day.
5) Get more rest.

I've really got my work cut out for me, haven't I?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Haiku Friday #18: And The Worst Mother Of The Year Award Goes To...

Haiku Friday

*Haiku-ers: I know this is two days late. Blogger was screwed up Thursday night, and I didn't get a chance to publish until today. So sue me.

Oh, yeah, you're right. I haven't posted in weeks. Oops. Sorry folks.

Back to your regularly scheduled blog...

Sev'ral weeks ago,
I took my husband to the
Emergency room.

Silly me! I thought
We wouldn't have to go back
Again -- not this year.

This time, it was the
Children's Hospital ER.
My son's arm was hurt.

On Monday afternoon, my dad mentioned that Adam was favoring his right arm a little, but when I got him home, he didn't seem to be acting unusually. He did sleep horribly Monday night, and had a terrible morning on Tuesday -- he wouldn't eat, or laugh or smile. All he did was cry. And all I could think was, "I wish he would cooperate so I'm not late to work."

When we got to the daycare, I told his teachers about his lack of appetite and his sleep habits. He's been on antibiotics for a double ear infection and teething tablets for these 3 evil molars he's got coming in, so I mentioned that as well.

About an hour later, they came to me (I work in the classroom next door to his) and told me his arm was swollen and he refused to move it. So we made a trip to the ER. The whole time, I was just wondering how this could have happened. What kind of parent lets her child bust up his arm and doesn't even realize it?

He had a few x-rays taken (boy, does he HATE those -- he had to have one of his hips two weeks ago), and he was pissed. You could practically hear the obscenities he was trying to scream at the x-ray technicians. And I don't blame him one bit -- those x-ray rooms are pretty scary. Mostly darkened, large cameras looming overhead, a long table that looks more like a creepy kind of conveyor belt -- I'd be freaking out too.

While we waited for the results to come back from radiology, my husband arrived and just held our son for the longest moment. If I hadn't been so stressed out, I would have thought it was really sweet.

The x-rays didn't show a fracture, so they put his arm in a full splint and told us to monitor his pain for the rest of the week. We got to leave around noon, my poor kid in a sling, and we went to Penn Station for lunch, where we spoiled him with undiluted apple juice, bread, cheese, and part of a cookie.

By the time I started writing this a few days ago, Adam was moving all over the place, trying to point, reach, and crawl with his bum arm. I thought that was a good sign, and the doctor had told us that should his condition improve, we could remove the splint.

So I took it off, moved his arm in every direction, and gave him a bath. But as I was putting some lotion on his arm, he screamed out in pain. Back to the emergency room we went.

The nurse who saw us told me that another x-ray wouldn't do any good until 10 to 14 days after the injury, so he will see his regular doctor on Thursday. They put another splint on, and at least he's much happier and more mobile than he was last week.

I hate myself for not even knowing what happened. Did he fall? Did he bump into something? Did he do something in his sleep?

I guess we'll know more on Thursday.

For more haiku or to play along, check out A Mommy Story.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Haiku Friday #17: Generosity

Haiku Friday

My husband is in
The middle of his student
Teaching semester.

The head of his school's
English department bought four
Dress shirts in his size

So that he may have
Something nice to wear for job
Interviews this spring.

He said, "I've been broke
Before. I know what you are
Going through right now."

All he wants? That he
Pays it forward to someone
In need, when he can.

Wow. Talk about generous. This man has only met my husband fairly recently (within the last month or so), and he doesn't spend much time with him. But he saw fit to reach out and help us with something that could mean the difference between twice and more than three times our income next year. Those dress shirts are nice.

My father-in-law bought my husband a suit a few months ago to wear to interviews, too, so provided a job exists and Brandon is qualified for it, he may just get it. His dad also agreed to lend us the money for the PRAXIS test as well.

All this is really a lot off our minds. We were supposed to get our tax refund last Friday, but the date was changed to next Tuesday for some reason. That was a huge blow, considering that several bills are coming due in that time -- or have already. We're also looking at trying to pay off some that have gone past due with this rather large chunk of change we're expecting in the mail.

Yeah, preschool teachers? We don't make enough to support two adults and a toddler -- even with government help. And regardless of whether my husband is able to find a job with benefits after he graduates in May, we will lose our government health insurance in October. Why? Because apparently, eight dollars an hour is too much money, and in October our twelve months of "transitional assistance" with medical costs will end. But at least our son will get to keep his until we make about twice that.

But with help from our friends and family -- and the recent warm front -- it feels like we can conquer almost anything.

To read more haiku or to play along, check out A Mommy Story.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

No More Sitting On My Ass

It seems like everyone has physical fitness on the brain these days.

The FLYLady (aka Marla Cilley) is right in the middle of a Body Clutter challenge on Facebook. Kristen from Motherhood Uncensored is hosting the Shredheads for the month of March. Christina of A Mommy Story is once again hosting Hot by Blogher this year -- even her husband Aaron is aiming for a goal of his own.

Independently of all this --I swear, I've been thinking about this for like a month! -- I've also been thinking more about my own health and fitness. I'm coming to the realization that although I may not need to lose weight (come on, I want some boobs to speak of), I'm waaaay out of shape. I have no muscle, no tone, and no endurance whatsoever.

My husband and I are also starting to think about planning for baby -- and pregnancy -- number two (nothing solid yet, just starting the conversation). I am not at a place where I am happy with my body -- not that I've tried very hard to fix that. And before I get pregnant again, I'd at least like to be mostly satisfied with the shape I'm in. That way it will be easier to get back to a place I like after the fact (or at least not harder).

Plus, you know, I should probably start thinking about setting a good example for my kid(s) in the matter of eating habits and staying active. So they may be motivated to do the same.

So, here goes: my two, very general goals are: A) to eat better, and B) to be more active.

As far as my eating habits go, I want to eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; and fewer simple carbohydrates. I'd like to eat when I'm hungry -- no more, no less; and eat appropriate portions for my caloric needs.

As for increased activity, I'd like to have a basic level of fitness, and then add endurance, a bit of tone, and possibly a little more strength and flexibility. Oh, and it has to be fun. I know myself by now, and I won't stick to it if it's not fun or if I can't find a way to make it fun.

So maybe I'll try some walking or jogging, swimming in a few months, maybe even basketball or something. I have three great places to work out: the Jewish Community Center, my apartment complex facility, and the Power Shack gym -- all of which are free! But they're not doing me any good if I don't go.

So tell me: are you in good shape? Do you have room for improvement? Do you have any plans for improvement, and if so, what are they?

*Remember: healthy weight loss is defined as only about 1 to 2 pounds per week. If you're fairly inactive like me, start slow and build up. Don't work the same muscle groups every day -- every other day is plenty. Most importantly, get a buddy! If you have someone going for a goal right along with you -- even if it's a different goal -- it's sooo much easier! Plus, if you have to be accountable to someone other than yourself, it's more likely you'll actually follow through.

And don't forget to stay hydrated!

Hmmm... also I can't seem to find my camera-uploader-plugger-inner-thingy. So, I will post the "before" pictures at a later point in time. After all, what's the point of planning to post "after" pictures if there's nothing to compare it to?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Importance of Vehicle Maintenance

Sunday night I got a call from my dad. Someone had crashed a car into their house.

At first I assumed it was a drunk driver. What I couldn't figure out was, how drunk do you have to be to hit their house? Their neighborhood is an oval -- it doesn't go anywhere else. And they live on the straight part of the street. Furthermore, their driveway is half an acre long, and uphill. Seriously? How does that work?

Well, it turns out the driver was not drunk. It was a 70-year-old woman whose gas pedal in her new Toyota got stuck. She was visiting my parents neighbors across the street, started to back out of their driveway, and the pedal stuck. The car traveled across the street, up my parents driveway, into their garage door, the supports on the front porch, over the lavender bush, and into their next-door neighbor's tree.

Thankfully, my parents, and their cat, are fine (just somewhat shaken). Their cars even survived without so much as a scratch on either one.

But it was scary walking through their front door yesterday. Bricks, wood, glass, pieces of the car were everywhere. Miraculously their rocking chairs were unharmed as well. There is a temporary support holding up the porch ceiling, and the entire garage door is gone now. My parents' bedroom is crooked, and basically looks like it could come down at any minute. My mom says she won't sleep there for awhile, and I don't blame her -- even though it was deemed safe.

So, the lesson for today: Have your car inspected by a mechanic you know and trust. Get a Carfax report (or another report) before you buy. Take it in for regular checkups, just like you would your kids. After all, it is your life, and the lives of your passengers, that it's carrying.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Haiku Friday #16: Babies!

Haiku Friday

Lately I have had
A lot of weird dreams in which
I'm pregnant again

Ev'ry time I see
A newborn baby, I get
All warm and fuzzy.

Sure, I remember
The nausea, the contractions,
The emergency

C-section... But I
Also got a beautiful
Baby boy to hold.

Yes, there were
Sleepless nights and zombie days,
Spit-up and sore boobs.

But now look what I
Have to show for it all: my
Son, my very own.

I've had some serious baby fever lately. Every time I look at a baby, all I want to do is hold it. We absolutely do not need another baby right now -- we're doing all we can to support our family of three as it is. And while some families manage really well with two children under the age of two, I'm not sure my husband and I are cut out for it.

Still, I can't help but want a new baby again. I'm not ready for two kids yet -- I still haven't accepted the changes my body has gone through seen my first pregnancy (not to mention the surgery, breastfeeding, and weaning). But I miss that feeling of waiting expectantly for something small and wonderful to make its entrance, the bonding between mommy and belly.

For more haiku, or to play along, visit Christina at A Mommy Story.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Date Night

On Saturday, my husband and I went out on a date. Because of how tight money has been for the past year, the last real, dinner-and-a-movie-date we went on was for my birthday -- back in August.

My parents had given us some cash and an offer of free babysitting (woot!) for a date night as our Valentine's day gift. We also had a gift card to P. F. Chang's, one of the few Asian restaurants my husband actually likes (he's very particular about Eastern-style foods).

We ordered a "dinner for two" and the lights dimmed just as we got our appetizer. For once, we had an evening that was actually... romantic. (No... wait, yes, we are parents, and we had a romantic evening to ourselves... huh? Does. Not. Compute.) We enjoyed a four-course meal and headed over to the movie theatre to see Coraline in 3-D.

Usually we don't see too many movies in the theatres because of the exorbitant ticket prices, narrow seats with stationary arms (as opposed to the kind that flip up so you can cuddle), cheap-ass food for an arm and a leg and your first born... oh yeah, and did I mention that we saw a movie in 3-D? Which requires those plastic goggles for which they want TWO. EXTRA. DOLLARS. PER. TICKET. My good Lord.

But we had heard from some friends that if we wanted to see Coraline, we should splurge for the 3-D showing. Of course, last weekend was the last opportunity to do so, as the Jonas Brothers are kicking poor Coraline out this coming weekend. Hint: if you are considering shelling out the extra cash to see a flick in 3-D, do yourself a favor and sit in the middle. A seat on either side will do you no good, and, in fact, make you a little dizzy and disoriented.

Movie theatre problems aside, it was even better than I'd hoped. There were plenty of modern Alice in Wonderland parallels, but it also had a bit of a Wizard of Oz, "no place like home" vibe (then again, those two stories are pretty similar themselves) -- but the audience is left a bit unsure of whether Coraline was dreaming or actually awake.

I'd like to keep this fairly spoiler-free, so I'll just say that like both Alice and Dorothy, Coraline gets what she wishes for, realizes it's not really what she wants, and has to use her brain to get back home.

And if you're planning to see it and haven't yet, stay through the credits. The bit at the end is very cool.

It's so nice to get out of the house for once. Spending time alone together isn't too hard when Adam goes to bed before 8 PM, but actually getting out and having a good time is something everybody needs. It really has a way of rejuvenating you.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Haiku Friday #15: Sick (of Winter)

Haiku Friday

My whole family
Is sick: my son has had hives,
Pinkeye, and a cold

All in the last week;
My husband passed a kidney
Stone Monday morning;

While recovering,
He caught pinkeye from my son.
I just have a cold,

But that is enough.
I'm fed up: with being sick;
With the weather, too.

I'm sick of the snow
And temperatures below
Forty-five degrees.

But mostly I hate
The constant changing from one
Extreme to the next.

It's hard to predict
What I should wear or what clothes
To dress my son in.

And ever-changing
Temperatures are good for
Making tornadoes. :(

The downside to a lot of cold, snowy days in late fall this year is that it now feels like winter is dragging on forever. I am so ready for spring right now, it's not even funny. I have cabin fever in the worst way. I want to see some green leaves, smell the blossoms growing on the trees, and hear the birds rejoicing in the warm(er) weather.

Sigh. Why is it still February?

If you'd like to read more Haiku, visit Christina at A Mommy Story.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New York, New York

Last weekend (February 6-8, not Valentine's Day) we had our seconnd-ever family vacation. Well, sort of.

Our first-ever family vacation was more of a long weekend. We were still living in Boston, my son was about 6 weeks old, and my aunt-in-law Krystie, who lives in New York, wanted to see the baby us before we moved back to Ohio. She bought us Amtrak tickets there and back, and we took the very pleasant 4-hour train ride to Manhattan.

Adam slept much of the time while on the train and while in the city. We went to an art gallery and saw a glass blower, had dinner in a few very nice restaurants (between my husband's 22-dollar lobster platter -- which included an entire lobster, several mussels, shrimp, scallops, and clams over pasta -- and his uncle's cooking, we ate very well). Krystie took me shopping, and Brandon and I had our first post-baby date at a Mexican restaurant where they made the guacamole right there in front of you.

This time was another long weekend, and it wasn't exactly a vacation for my husband. Our friend writes for MovieWeb, and they wanted him to attend the New York Comic Convention. He needed someone to film the interviews, so my husband obliged. It worked out for all of us: Brandon got to go to the convention, Aaron got free lodging with us at Krystie's (and half the price of gas), and Adam and I got a vacation.

We drove up on Thursday with the help of the TomTom. Apparently there's a difference between 17th Street and East 17th Street, and we ended up lost in Brooklyn at 1:30 AM. Overall, though, we made pretty good time and the baby slept most of the way there.

Friday the guys went to the convention. Krystie was working, and Dan (her fiance -- the "uncle" I mentioned before) was running errands, so it was just Adam and me all day Friday. And he decided to take a four-hour nap -- he was exhausted from the trip. So I got Friday afternoon all to myself, to watch a movie, take a nap . . . and paint. My. NAILS!!! I haven't done that in about 2 years. Every time I find myself with free time at home, I use it to clean or read other blogs. With no such distractions in NY, I spent four hours pampering myself.

Saturday we took the baby to the library, where they had a children's play area. A five-year-old boy played hide-and-seek with him, and brought him blocks to stack. Then we went for a walk, saw a film crew, and Krystie and I had lunch while Adam fell asleep in his stroller.

That night my husband came back from the convention around 9 o'clock, so Krystie took me out to meet her coworkers at a birthday party. We went to a really nice bar, where I had the best chocolate martini of my life and a great time chatting, dancing, and playing terrible pool.

Sunday we drove home, and Aaron gave Adam a stuffed Venom doll he had bought at the convention. He giggled and immediately started chewing on it. It's the cutest little scary thing you've ever seen.

Really, though -- one of these times, we're going to have to go to New York when it's not winter (although it was actually quite pleasant last weekend) and actually stay for a week or so, and, oh, I don't know, maybe even do a little sightseeing.

Where did you go on your last family vacation? Ever been to New York? Feel free to comment.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Haiku Friday #14: Babysteps

Haiku Friday

Remember this? Yeah,
Forget I said that. Or, you
Could hold me to it --

Starting with today.
I am trying my best to
Take it in small steps.

One day at a time.
Babysteps. Speaking of which,
Someone else is, too.

Taking "baby steps,"
That is. My son is cruising,
Pulling himself up.

Walking with my help.
He thinks he can stand alone,
But has no balance.

But as soon as I
Try to help, he gets annoyed,
And wants to sit down.

Sorry this is a day late, folks. Blogger's finally working for me now, though. Hopefully I won't have anymore internet problems this week....

You remember how I said my son is not interested in crawling, pulling himself up to standing, or walking? Well, apparently he is interested, providing I'm not expecting anything from him.

He got some new toys for Christmas, a few of which are about as big as he is. He'd been trying to pull himself up on them and getting stuck about halfway to standing. Now he's pulling himself up, and cruising a little too (only a few steps -- enough to get from the toy to the couch, or if he puts too much weight on the toy, scooting it across the floor a bit, enough to catch up and stand up straight again).

And the other day, I went in to get him out of bed and he was sitting up in his crib. This morning I found him the same way. Looks like the large muscle toys at the day care are paying off.

I've borrowed the word babysteps and the accompanying concept from the FLYLady. I joined her site in late December, and I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. It's the hardest thing in the world to just tell yourself not to worry about everything, to just take it one day at a time.

To learn more about her system for organizing your home and your life once and for all, visit FLYLady's site here.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Haiku Friday #13: Lucky Number 13

Haiku Friday

This is my thirteenth
Haiku Friday; I think it's
Been so far so good.

Also, my son turned
Thirteen months old on Monday
He's getting so big!

Not superstitious,
I think the number thirteen
Is lucky instead

Actually, I've always thought of thirteen as my lucky number. Life just seems to work out in weird, unusual ways for me. Often it seems things turn out the exact opposite of how I expect. So thirteen being my lucky number just works.

Haiku Fridays are a bright spot in my week. I'd like to make a point of doing them every week, just so I can have something to look forward to at the end of my work week. And I'd like to think that my readers enjoy something fun too. Might as well make it more often.

My gift for the thirteen-month anniversary of being a mom? Another step towards turning into mine -- last night while feeding my son dinner I bestowed upon him The Mothers' Curse: "Someday you're going to have a messy eater child just like you!"

To read more haiku and/or participate yourself, visit Christina at A Mommy Story.

Happy Friday, everybody!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Toddler Swearing

My son is now 13 months old. I can't even believe how fast he's growing and changing. His communication skills, epecially, are developing rapidly: he says cat, meow, roar, ho ho ho, and uh-oh (ho ho ho as in what Santa says, not a derogatory term for three women down on their luck). He knows a few signs: shaking your finger for no, opening and closing your hand for on and off (although he uses those interchangeably), and he tries to sign more, finished, and stop.

He plays peek-a-boo, either by pulling a blanket over his head, waiting for someone to say, "Where's the baby?" and then pulling it back down for the "peek-a-boo!" part, or using his hands to cover his face and then removing them. He also plays patty-cake -- his favorite part is "Roll it". He even helps a bit when he's having his diaper and clothes changed: he will hold up his legs during diaper changes and he pulls his arms through sleeves, both to put on and take off a shirt.

And recently, he learned how to swear (no, not like Mommy and Daddy do). You know what I'm talking about -- that angry babbling noise toddlers make when they're clearly trying to cuss you out.

He still has no interest in trying to walk, or even trying to crawl on all fours most of the time. He does this army-crawl/scooting thing to get himself from one end of the room to another fairly quickly, just to get to what he wants, and then he stops. And if he decides that it's too far, he won't bother.

Occasionally he's been attempting to lift his belly up, even pulling himself up on the furniture halfway to standing. But the other day I stood him up on the couch and put his sippy cup just out of reach, to see if he would try to cruise. He reached and reached and reached with his arms, but wouldn't so much as budge his feet.

I tried to encourage him, saying "Come on, you can do it!" and trying to help him move his back foot forward. But that just made him madder. He yelled, "Nyigh nyigh nyigh nyigh nyigh nyigh nyigh!" Actually, it almost sounded like he was saying nein over and over (that's German for no, if foreign languages aren't your thing).

I guess my baby's growing up. :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I Love You Mom

This morning, the weather in central Ohio was awful. Around 7:30, a mixture of sleet and rain began and let up about an hour later, about the time I got to work. It was a bit slick in places, but overall, it wasn't too bad for my commute -- although that may have been because everyone was driving at about half the speed limit. I skidded a few times and was glad to get to work and not have to drive anymore, but I wasn't afraid for my life or anything.

Maybe I should have been.

Around noon, when we were just serving the kids lunch, we heard whooping and hollering. My first thought was that some kids were running wild through the hallway. And then I realized it was crying. We had heard yesterday that one of the infant classrooms had a new baby and the mother was really upset when she dropped the child off. I thought maybe that infant was a little late in arriving or something.

And then I heard, "No, it's not true! It can't be true."

It was our music teacher, Kate. Her husband had come to work to tell her that her mom had been in a car accident on her way to work this morning. She had skidded and gotten her car turned around on the freeway, her car was hit by a semi, and she died instantly.

It took awhile for the center directors to get her calmed down a bit, and then she got in her car and followed her husband out of the parking lot. I don't think I could have done that myself.

I have no idea what I would do with myself if my mom died. I don't even want to think about how my husband and my son would cope if I died. And then I think about my husband, whose own mother passed away when he was only 11 years old.

Have you told someone you love them lately?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Very Own Con

My husband and most of his friends, and many of my friends, by proxy, are really into comic books. I'm a bit of a fangirl myself, although I haven't read much. What I have read (a bit each of Justice League, Ultimate Spiderman, and the latest incarnation of Green Arrow) has only been recent. I've also enjoyed the fairly recent explosion of movies based on comic books (I'll be truthful, they're more succinct -- although that's not always good, as in the case of X-Men: The Last Stand).

Ever since we moved to Columbus, we've been hanging out with Aaron and Christina more often. Mostly it's for playdate reasons, but it's also nice to have adult friends that a) understand kid-related conversations, and b) don't always want to talk about their/your kids. Aaron writes for Superhero Flix and often goes to comic conventions as a member of the press. He's interviewed some seriously cool people, like Seth McFarlane and Jewel Staite most recently at the San Diego Comic Con.

So you can imagine that I might be a little jealous. Even as an ordinary citizen, attending the San Diego Comic Con would be too cool. But I might have a chance to go to a convention of a different kind instead.

Christina has a blog of her own -- you probably read it if you're a mom too -- and she attends blogging conventions. The biggest one I've heard mention of is the annual BlogHer Convention, a blogging con for women bloggers (in fact, the whole BlogHer site is for women bloggers -- it's pretty cool, so I'd check it out if I were you!).

This year the convention is in Chicago, the closest to Columbus, Ohio that it's likely to ever get. I really really really want to go, meet famous and little-known bloggers like myself (well, at least the little-known ones would be), hear all sorts of great speakers, and, of course, party. I'll admit that part doesn't sound half bad.

But it's gonna be pretty tough. I'm still the only family member working, while my husband is going to school to try and get a job that pays more than minimum wage. I make just over minimum wage myself (I mean, I work in a daycare, and it might be the most expensive daycare in the area, and the best place to send your kids, but it still pays crap). We're on food stamps and Medicaid, and that helps a bit, but it's not enough. We try to pay our rent, car insurance, and my student loan on time every month, but sometimes it's late, and other than those three imperative payments, we have to choose which other bills to pay. This month we're paying the gas bill so it doesn't get shut off. And you all know about the higher cost of living now (especially diapers and cat food -- at least gas isn't as expensive now).

Sometimes it's hard. We haven't gone on a date since my birthday, before I started writing this blog. We basically have to avoid fast food of all kinds, limit our road trips to Cincinnati to see the in-laws, decide what we really need and what we can wait on -- sometimes I ask my mom for diapers and wipes, and she buys all my son's clothes. He wouldn't have anything to wear otherwise. And we still don't have a pack 'n' play, second carseat, or even a baby gate. He's thirteen months old, and we don't have a gate for our stairs (we live on the second floor and the stairs are on the inside).

But we know this is temporary. As soon as my husband finishes his certificate, he's qualified to teach high school English. We hope and pray every day that he will get a job offer upon his receipt of the certificate. Or at least by August. As soon as he gets a job, things will get much, much easier. We'll move into a bigger place, buy those things we need that we just can't afford right now, even think about the possibility of a second child.

Unfortunately, we just don't know. So, as much as I want to go to the BlogHer Conference this summer, we may not be able to. We're trying to save any way we can: carpooling with Christina, splitting a hotel room, trying to finagle a way to get that student discount on admission. Since our daycare/preschool is NAEYC accredited, I have to do training each year. I'm hoping to find out that the training sessions I have to attend count as classes so that I can get in as a student -- a steep discount.

My best chance at going? Would be to win the Queen of Spain's giveaway. We'd still have to figure out our half of lodging and gas, but I have a feeling it would all be downhill once the registration is paid for. She's giving away one full registration on her blog.

There's still time! If you have been wishing you could go to the BlogHer Conference '09 if only you could afford the registration fee, this is your best chance too. All you have to do is write a blog post, link the post to her giveaway post, and leave her a comment. Click that link for full details.

What a beautiful, generous person. May we all be so generous (or as much as our personal situations allow) in 2009. And to those of you who are entering at the last minute like me, good luck!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thank God That's Over

A quick note: To all three of my faithful readers, please accept my apologies for my long absence. With a busy holiday season and six differeent family functions to attend, I had very little to say that was actually interesting to read time to write. I hope you will forgive me and keep reading anyway. My (blogging) New Year's Resolution is to post at least 2 to 3 times each week. And by telling all three of you this, I now have an obligation to live up to that goal. :)

Well, I have to say I'm really glad it's 2009. Anybody else? I wouldn't trade the memories of my first year as a mom and all that comes with it, but the rest of 2008 can bite me.

Now that 2008 [finally, thank God, hallelujah, praise your deity of choice] is over, many of us find ourselves feeling a little reflective. I think it's a result of the way most of the world is taught to think about our lives: that they are, relatively, very short, and that our brief time on this planet is all we get, and we have to make the most of it. (I know not everyone believes this, but this is not a religious/spiritual blog. If you want to read and discuss spirituality, go here.)

So as the end of each year approaches, all of a sudden we realize, "Crap! What the hell did I accomplish this year?" And right then and there we decide: "Next year will be different. Next year I'm gonna stick to that diet/hit the gym every day/spend more time with my family/be a better person." Take your pick.

For me, I could never pick just one. There was always too much about myself that I wanted to change. I would write out a detailed plan for my perfect life in 19__ or 20__. And I would inevitably fail. Perfect doesn't exist.

So this year, I'm posing a challenge to myself: I'm only going to make one resolution this year. And I'm going to keep it. As of today, January 1, 2009, I hereby resolve to organize my house once and for all. I am going to start slowly, take it step by step and work through my apartment, and then expand my newfound organizational skills to include a calendar (paying all my bills on time and always knowing when we have doctors' visits -- what a concept!). Then I'll go from there.

Sure, I have other changes I want to make -- eat healier, exercise at all more, and (let's be honest here) work on my marriage. But I'm not going to magically turn into the person I want to be today, or any New Year's Day for that matter. Change takes time, and patience, and pacing oneself, so that one isn't tempted to try for perfection. And if I begin by organizing my house into a home -- and maintaining it -- I'll have more time to spend on my family (and myself).

I invite you to also challenge yourself to make only one resolution this year, and keep it. Don't overwhelm yourself. Oh, and let me know what your resolutions are in the comments below!

Goodbye 2008, and good riddance!

Thanks to FlyLady for the wisdom on organization. If you too struggle with organization, I encourage you to check out her site. She has some great insights on how easy it is to get sidetracked, perfectionistic, and overwhelmed--and how to overcome it!

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